Created By: SolidSamurai on November 30, 2011 Last Edited By: SolidSamurai on December 4, 2011

Interrogate the Old Folks

Almost every dramatic murder mystery ends with a visit to the retirement home. A parent or close relative of the killer reveals the truth.

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This happens a lot. Probably because it's the last place you'd expect to 'shake up' (murder mystery slang for looking for clues; don't go shaking up retirement homes, bro); because old people in retirement homes are often thought of as whacky.

Sometimes the old person will whisper the answer in the ear of one of the protagonists, after saying 'come closer'; amidst much trembling with resolve.

For extra fun, the protagonist will have to swim through a cloud of alzheimers before digging at the bottom of the ocean that is the old person's mind, until they manage to recover the pirate treasure of truth. Typically, in moments like these, the audience is expected to bond with the old person; quite often though, the primary sympathy will be always that they're old. And being old sucks.

- Heavy rain

- Several CSI episodes, probably.

- Countless novelizations.

- I don't watch a lot of murder mysteries. That one too.

Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • December 1, 2011
    "Almost every dramatic murder mystery ends with a visit to the retirement home."

    I'm pretty sure this isn't true.

    "Some dramatic murder mysteries end..." would be true.
  • December 1, 2011
    Turned up quite frequently in investigations in The X Files
  • December 1, 2011
    I'm not convinced this happens as frequently as you think it does.

    "Almost every dramatic murder mystery ends with a visit to the retirement home. " "I don't watch a lot of murder mysteries."

    You see the problem there?
  • December 1, 2011
    Arivne and Queequeg are correct but with some modification this could be a valid trope. It's definitely not as common as your description implies though.
  • December 1, 2011
    I also think it's a valid trope but needs help with title/laconic. Something like Shady Pines Reveal and "Investigators get the final facts from assisted living resident".

    IIRC, in an episode of Criminal Minds, Reid visits his mother in an assisted living center for the reveal in a case.
  • December 1, 2011
    Does not happen almost every murder mystery.

    It's not even a common outcome.

    It is a trope and does occur, but not as often as claimed.
  • December 1, 2011
    Bones: A search for the Gormagon leads them to a retirement home where they find a man who was obviously the previous Gormagon.
  • December 1, 2011
    • In Dead Again, Mike finally puts it all together after meeting a little old lady who was Roman's housekeeper at the time of the original murder. Technically it's not in a nursing home -- she's living in a relative's back room -- but otherwise it fits the trope.

    I think there's something like this in the Murder Rooms episode "The White Knight Stratagem", but I don't remember it clearly enough to be sure.
  • December 2, 2011
    In Pierre Magnan's The Messengers of Death, Commissaire Laviolette goes to visit a retired physician in a nursing home to get background on a family that's being killed off one by one.
  • December 4, 2011
    I'm not sure this should be limited to the mystery genre. Thursday Next visits Granny Next in a nursing home for information from time to time. A key to this trope is the need to seek out information from the past by seeking out people who lived then and/or witnessed the events in question.

    I agree with those who have pointed out the flaws in the description and name. I'll second Shady Pines Reveal for a name.