Created By: KnownUnknown on May 25, 2013 Last Edited By: KnownUnknown on June 3, 2013

Obsessive Assassin

A hired gun who never stops until the job is done. Ever. Even if it should have been given up.

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"No one cancels a contract with me. Once I take a job I always finish it. No matter what."
- Captain Cold in Series/The Flash, after being fired and putting his employer on ice.

An assassin who, once he or she is hired for a job and pledges to carry it out, will never stop attempting to kill his target - no matter what happens.

This includes situations where one might ordinarily give up; no matter how many years have passed, how many times the assassin has to go to jail, whether the person who gave them the job has cancelled the contract or has even died (or any other reason why killing the target should be unnecessary) this person will always act as though their mission is still active.

Sometimes It's Personal - maybe their first defeat was humiliating enough that the assassin goes out of their way to make sure their target finally dies (or it even turns into an outright emnity). Sometimes it's honor - the assassin feels that once one agrees to a job they should always follow through. Sometimes it's what they have to do - if they don't kill the target they could be hunted themselves, so there's no giving up.

These kinds of characters aren't easy to permanently deflect, usually the hero has to fake their own death or try to make a better offer - if they don't ultimately kill the assassin outright.

If they have extended antagonistic appearances, assassins in fiction are generally portrayed this way. These kinds of characters are especially common with superheroes, as it gives an excuse for what might otherwise be a one-shot but effective antagonist to come back again and again for future issues - an easy way to add a new character to the Rogues Gallery.

A subtrope of Implacable Man.
Examples:
  • This is one of the motivations behind the Teen Titans' enemy Deathstroke, though there are several personal reasons for this as well - mutual loathing, the occasional master plan that goes beyond hired killing, complex family issues...
  • Captain Cold as he appears in the Series/The Flash television series is portrayed this way, and provides the page quote. He even continued to hunt his target after killing his employer for refusing to pay him, simply because he felt honor-bound to do so.
  • The Ghost is portrayed this way in Iron Man: Armored Adventures: when he is hired to do something, he never stops until either the job is done or someone gives him a better offer. No matter how many times it takes. The heroes ultimately have to pay him off to get rid of him.
  • Combustion Man is shown to be this in Avatar: The Last Airbender, though he falls squarely in the It's Personal camp. After being defeated by the Gaang so many times, he is ultimately so hell-bent on killing them that when Zuko tries to tell him that the job is null and void he tries to kill him as well.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • May 25, 2013
    StarSword
    How would the Ginosaji from The Horribly Slow Murderer With The Extremely Inefficient Weapon fit into this?
  • May 25, 2013
    TheTitan99
    Angel Eyes from The Good The Bad And The Ugly, even keeping contracts from people he himself killed.
  • May 26, 2013
    Koveras
    • The Cold Sniper Limelda Jorg from Madlax grows so obsessed with her mark--the eponymous protagonist of the show--that the ultimately deserts the very same military that ordered her to hunt Madlax in the first place.
  • May 26, 2013
    foxley
    Scorcher from the Adventure Time episode "Hitman". He refuses to abandon his mission to kill Finn and Jake even though the Ice King (who hired him originally) orders him to stop and later hires another hitman in an attempt to take him out and stop the hit.
  • May 26, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    In the Babylon 5 episode "Parliament of Dreams", an assassin from the Thenta Makur, a Narn assassins' guild, is hired to kill G'Kar by a dying political rival. Such assassins can't be paid off or otherwise persuaded to abandon their contract once entered, on pain of being hunted by other members of the guild. The way he is thwarted takes advantage of that very fact, in one of G'Kar's early Crowning Moments of Awesome.
  • May 26, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    A Consummate Professional in the assassin business is very likely to be this.
  • May 26, 2013
    Damr1990
    • Duke Togo from "Manga/Golgo13 Golgo 13" fits this trope to a T, once he has accepted a crontact, nothing(incluiding his contractor trying to cancel the agreement) will stop him to get his target, also don't try to cross him, or to to stop him it'll end badly

    see also The Detarminator, The Juggernaut, Super Persistent Predator and The Hunter
  • May 26, 2013
    kjnoren
    I think the name is poor - the term Obsessive Assassin to me would more imply a serial killer to me, or someone who doesn't think of anything else but assassinations.

    Determinator Assassin would IMO be a better title.
  • May 26, 2013
    MetaFour
    • Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men. It's noted in the story that Chigurh is a very principled man (it's just that his principles don't make sense to anyone but himself) and keeping his word is one of those principles. He'll kill his employer for some slight, then continue hunting the person his now-dead employer hired him to kill. He'll blackmail his victim by threatening their loved ones, then if the victim doesn't cooperate, he'll carry through with his original threat--even if the victim is already dead and there is no longer any practical benefit to harming their loved ones.
  • May 27, 2013
    AgProv
    Film

    David Jason plays this trope for laughs as The Odd Job Man. Graham Chapman plays a man who wants to die but shrinks from suicide. So he hires incompetent hitman David Jason to do it for him - to assassinate him in a surprise attack. But Chapman's wife comes back to him and he suddenly has a reason to live again. The problem is, he has no means of contacting Jason and cannot call off the hit on himself... the inept hitman leaves a growing trail of corpses behind him in his remorseless quest to complete the contract.
  • June 3, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Literature
    • The title assassin in Frederick Forsythe's The Day Of The Jackal persists in his efforts to kill French president Charles de Gaulle, despite a nationwide manhunt for him, and his mole in the French secret service being caught. It helps that the Jackal is Crazy Prepared, to the point where he succeeds in squeezing off a shot at de Gaulle.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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