Too Many Clues


(permanent link) added: 2011-02-02 00:41:40 sponsor: foxley (last reply: 2011-02-10 22:21:55)

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A common tactic for fictional criminals (especially murderers) is to plant false clues at the scene of their crime: either to deliberately frame someone else or merely to throw suspicion away from themselves. Sometimes, however, they take things too far and the sheer amount of clues they plant has the opposite effect. No detective will believe that any criminal could be so careless as to leave that much incriminating evidence behind.

Rolling Updates.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • In Daredevil: Born Again, this phenomena was what finally convinced Matt Murdock that the recent misfortunes he had suffered was being caused by the Kingpin rather than simply being a string of bad luck.
    Murdock: "You shouldn't have signed it, Kingpin. Now I'm coming for you."

Film
  • In the movie Minority Report, Danny Witwer outlines the basics of this trope:
    [viewing the crime scene of Leo Crow's murder]
    Danny Witwer: I worked homicide before federal. This is what we call an orgy of evidence. You know how many orgies I had as a homicide cop?
    Officer Fletcher: How many?
    Danny Witwer: None.
    [crouches down and looks back up]
    Danny Witwer: This was all arranged.

Literature
  • Murder on the Orient Express: A bewildering array of clues, much of them contradictory, serve to alert Hercule Poirot that someone is making massive attempts to muddy the waters. the clues include a dropped handkerchief, a dropped pipe cleaner, a dented watch showing the time of the murder, a lost button, someone pretending to be the victim (and speaking a language he did not speak) after he was supposedly dead, an abandoned conductor's uniform, and a sighting of a mysterious woman in a scarlet kimono.
  • Deliberately invoked in the Discworld novel Jingo where a vast amount of stereoypical evidence implicating Klatch in a murder is planted, as the Klatchian ambassador releases this will cause Sam Vimes to look everywhere except Klatch for the killers.
    • Also lampshaded in Discworld/Feet of Clay. Vimes states that he instinctively distrusts clues because "you could walk around with a pocketful of the things."

Live-Action TV
  • Parodied in The Goodies episode "Daylight Robbery on the Orient Express" where the clues they find include a a Union Jack waistcoat, a pair of glasses, and a beard...

Video Games
  • In the Ace Attorney games, this happens a few times. For instance, in the fourth case of the second game, a character has been murdered and is found with your defendant's knife in his chest while one of the bloodied buttons on his costume was found in your defendant's pants. This is considered too incriminating and casts suspicion upon another character with a motive to frame your defendant. As it turns out, she did plant that evidence to frame him, but the defendant actually is the murderer after all.
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