The accused is in an interrogation room, and has demanded a lawyer, who has arrived. The lawyer sits at his client's side as the detectives/crime lab/whoever drops a key piece of evidence on the table and accuses them again of the crime.

The client immediately begins to confess. Sometimes the lawyer will attempt half-heartedly to stop him ("Don't answer that" or "This interview is over"), but the new evidence causes so much grief and repentance that the victim gives a bone-chilling MotiveRant which real-life detectives would kill to have. Sometimes, the lawyers don't say ''anything''. One can only assume they got their payments up front. Often the result of an ExasperatedPerp.

Legally speaking, the detectives can ask anything they want once the lawyer is available to the client, but if the lawyer asks or demands to speak to the client alone, then police officers are required to leave the room or otherwise allow a private discussion. The fact that the lawyers in TV shows simply tell their clients not to answer something does not prevent the detectives from continuing to question. Which usually means that the lawyers are pretty damn ineffectual.

Another type of ''Don't Answer That'' (featured in ''Series/TheCloser'' frequently, and both nonfiction-book and fictional-TV versions of ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet'') is a ploy used by a detective to get suspects to waive their rights. ("He came at you, didn't he? That's self-defense. Whole different thing, then..." "Yeah, he did! He-!" "Whoa, whoa--don't answer that--you can't tell me that sort of thing unless you sign this waiver...")[[note]]For the record, this is not true, at least in the American legal system. While the police would probably love for a suspect to waive their right to counsel, it's not a necessity for questioning, as one must specifically invoke one's right to counsel for it to apply.[[/note]]

The meta-reason for this trope is that viewers are aware that the interviewee is entitled to have a lawyer in the room, but [[LivingProp narratively, they have nothing to do]] - the interesting interaction in the scene is between the suspect and the investigator, and having the lawyer do his job realistically would just put [[ObstructiveBureaucrat frustrating bureaucratic roadblocks]] in the way of the PullTheThread process.

See also OnlyBadGuysCallTheirLawyers.

'''Not to be confused''' with when someone tells someone else not to answer the door, phone, or whatever, or when one character asks an overly obvious or hypothetical question, and then quickly tacks on, "Don't answer that!" when he realizes that he's just committed a RhetoricalQuestionBlunder.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
* A variation in ''ComicBook/BatmanYearOne'', where DirtyCop Arnold Flass pretty much ''brags'' to Captain Gordon and Harvey Dent that his [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections mob connections]] would kill anyone willing to testify against him ''tout suite''. His lawyer sputters an immediate "My client didn't mean that..."

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfiction/ChrysalisVisitsTheHague'', Estermann instructs his client Chrysalis to zip it when asked about her [[HiveQueen job and work]], as it may work against her during the trial.

* ''Film/KangarooJack'': A non-legal example combined with RuleOfThree when Charlie pulls a gun on MrSmith to save Jessie.
--> '''Smith:''' Have you ever held a gun before, Charlie?\\
'''Louis:''' Don't answer that.\\
'''Charlie:''' (''{{beat}}'') No.\\
'''Smith:''' Have you ever killed anyone before, Charlie?\\
'''Louis:''' Don't answer that.\\
'''Charlie:''' (''{{beat}}'') No.\\
'''Smith:''' What is it you do that makes you so brave?\\
'''Louis:''' ''Really'' don't answer that.\\
'''Charlie:''' (''{{beat}}, then raises gun'') [[RealMenWearPink I'm a hairdresser.]] Now ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome drop the knife]]''.

* A variant is done in ''Literature/{{Betrayed}}'', when two police officers interview Zoey about the deaths and disappearances of several boys she knew from her human high school. Neferet sits in on the interrogation and continuously interrupts by insisting that Zoey not answer the questions. Given that Neferet was in no way acting as Zoey's legal advisor, was not a parent or guardian, and in fact informed the officers that all vampire students are legally emancipated ([[FridgeLogic somehow]]), one wonders why the officers put up with her constant interruptions at all.
* The primary job of the various accountants of the old-money Lavish family in ''Discworld/MakingMoney'' is either advising their clients of this, or performing an after-the-fact version by disclaimer (for instance, when one Lavish casually mentions the idea of poison in relation to [[ItMakesSenseInContext a very unhelpful dog]], her lawyer immediately chips in to say [[ExactWords she was not referring to any particular course of action]], only the existence of poisons ''in general''). In the climactic trial scene, Anhk-Morpork's chief zombie lawyer, Mr. Slant, asks a question of the Lavishes which causes their entire legal department to object at once. Slant makes them sit back down, in unison, with a single DeathGlare.

* If a suspect on ''Series/{{Bones}}'' has a lawyer, they are invariably there for the purpose of saying this. One episode where Bones was the defendant had her increasingly exasperated lawyer [[LampshadeHanging marvel]] at just how GenreBlind Bones is for someone who works with the authorities all the time (Bones proactively gave the cops quite a bit of information that, unintentionally, made her appear ''more'' guilty than if she had just sat quietly until her lawyer could arrive).
%%* Ditto with all the ''Series/{{CSI}}'' series.
%%* Same with most of the variants of ''Franchise/LawAndOrder''.
* Played with in ''Series/NewTricks''. The suspect is technically not entitled to a lawyer in the circumstances, but is stubbornly refusing to speak without one. They set up an elaborate charade whereby an OldFashionedCopper pretends to be an obstructive defense lawyer who aggravates the investigator to the point that he flies into a rage and "shoots" him, terrifying the perp into confessing.
* All the ''time'' on the ''Series/TheCloser''. The perps never, ever listen to their lawyers unless the plot requires it. Sayeth one smart lawyer:
-->"I hate my job."
* Averted in an episode of ''Series/TheWire'' (which is more realistic than most series when it comes to the bureaucratic hurdles the police have to deal with). Bunk and [=McNulty=] trick D'Angelo Barksdale into writing a letter of condolence to the family of a murdered man (hoping he'll include some incriminating information) as they wait for his AmoralAttorney to arrive. He gets there just in time, tells D'Angelo to stop writing immediately, and drags him out the door for a consultation.
* In the PrisonEpisode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E19FolsomPrisonBlues "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19)]] of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', this is an AvertedTrope with the Winchester's public defender stopping the FBI interrogation and asking to meet with her clients alone.
* ''Series/{{Hunter}}'': It's Rick Hunter who does this despite being a CowboyCop, in an episode involving a VigilanteMan who [[AssholeVictim killed a gangster who raped his wife]]. The man is just about to confess when Hunter says, "Stop!" then advises him of his rights, specifically the right to contact a lawyer. And the lawyer just happens to be a skilled AmoralAttorney who's frustrated Hunter in the past. Of course, a police officer advising a suspect to contact a particular lawyer would be illegal, as said lawyer points out.
* On ''Series/{{NCIS}}'', this is one of M. Allison Hart's tactics for annoying Gibbs during interrogations.
* ''Series/LukeCage2016'': Mariah Dillard sends in [[AmoralAttorney Ben Donovan]] to make sure that when Candace Miller is questioned by Misty Knight, she doesn't deviate from the cover story she's being paid to provide that implicates Luke in Cottonmouth's murder. The first words out of Donovan's mouth when he enters the room mid-interrogation are "Don't say another word, Miss Miller. I'm representing you now," and, since she's not under arrest, he insists that she not answer any questions and walk out.
* ''Series/TheDefenders2017'': Once again, Misty Knight has an interrogation that's interrupted by a lawyer showing up. She's in the midst of interrogating Series/JessicaJones2015, who Misty arrested after one of her leads on a case got killed, and Jessica got caught stealing evidence. This time, the interrupting lawyer is [[Series/Daredevil2015 Matt Murdock]], whose first words are:
-->'''Matt Murdock:''' Jessica Jones, stop talking.
-->'''Jessica Jones:''' ''[looks at Matt, confused]'' Who the hell are you?
-->'''Matt Murdock:''' My name is Matthew Murdock. I'm your attorney.

* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' [[ invokes this trope]]