[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/karma_houdini.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:So is Satan just generous when people don't have a [[DealWithTheDevil soul to sell?]] [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Maybe if you do enough deeds in his name...]]]]

->''"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning."''
-->-- '''Calvin''', about [[TheBully Moe]], ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes''

Sometimes, even LaserGuidedKarma misses its target.

The character has done a number of things that deserve a karmic comeuppance, most importantly things that caused harm to the innocent. But when the time comes for the hammer to fall, that's not what happens. At least, not on them. They ''donít'' get what they deserve. Instead, they get away scot-free. They are EasilyForgiven, maybe even praised, and even elected president. And they might even have ''reversed'' the HumiliationConga that was being planned for them. Worst comes to worst, TheBadGuyWins and a stolen happy ending takes place at the expense of the [[KarmicMisfire hapless victim]] [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished who may be punished in the guilty character's place.]]

This is it. This is all there is to the story. The show is over. The book is finished. The author isn't going to write any more. The WordOfGod has been spoken. The guy has become a Karma Houdini.

Expect fans to clamor for a sequel where the villain gets their comeuppance- or [[FixFic write their own]].

Compare ButtMonkey, for which a character ends up having many disproportionately bad things happen to them throughout the story (and may also technically qualify for this trope, as hard as that sounds). The extreme counterpart of the former trope, CosmicPlaything, can be considered this trope's polar {{opposite|Tropes}}. Also compare with NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished, where the good guy suffers as a result of doing the right thing.

Contrast the aforementioned LaserGuidedKarma, for instances where the villain's comeuppance is swift and immediate. And KarmaHoudiniWarranty, when it takes a while. Also see IdiotHoudini, when a person is forever protected from the results of their stupidity.

Note that a character doesn't necessarily need to be a full-time villain to qualify for this trope. They may simply end up [[KickTheDog doing unnecessarily hurtful things]], yet not suffer the repercussions. (In contrast, when someone ''is'' too evil to kill off, but may suffer other consequences, see JokerImmunity.)

Note also: The work usually must be completed for a character to qualify as this trope. Only if there are no more opportunities for LaserGuidedKarma to strike can a character be said to have successfully avoided any consequences for their actions. Exceptions may be made in cases where StatusQuoIsGod, or when a character can be said to have permanently escaped, e.g. they died peacefully in their sleep at an old age. [[{{Hell}} And sometimes even thatís not enough.]] Otherwise, resist the urge to put it on an ongoing work's page.

Don't mistake a lack of direct karma for this trope. If a character, for example, murders someone and never gets caught, but [[BoltOfDivineRetribution a freak lightning strike kills them]], they've still gotten their just deserts even though the lightning had no connection to their crime.

This is a Spoileriffic trope. Spoilers shall be unmarked. You have been warned.


! Examples:


* KarmaHoudini/AnimatedFilms
* KarmaHoudini/{{Anime}}
* KarmaHoudini/ComicBooks
* KarmaHoudini/FanFic
* KarmaHoudini/{{Film}}
* KarmaHoudini/{{Folklore}}
* KarmaHoudini/{{Literature}}
* KarmaHoudini/LiveActionTV
* KarmaHoudini/{{Music}}
* KarmaHoudini/NewspaperComics
* KarmaHoudini/{{Pinball}}
* KarmaHoudini/ProfessionalWrestling
* KarmaHoudini/{{Radio}}
* KarmaHoudini/{{Theater}}
* KarmaHoudini/VideoGames
* KarmaHoudini/WebComics
* KarmaHoudini/WebOriginal
* KarmaHoudini/WesternAnimation