InAWorld in which StartToCorpse is a statistic vital to {{drinking game}}s around the globe, it is necessary to have a VictimOfTheWeek. No victim, no corpse. No corpse, no drinking.

Bad outcome.

Even if you are not going to [[BodyOfTheWeek kill the victim]], you still need one. Bad guys need to be bad to a person, and when a villain [[KickTheDog Kicks the Dog]], ''somebody'' needs to take the role of the poor dog in question. Your hero is not going to look very heroic if he just runs around arresting people for stuff like abuse-of-lawnchair. It is important to establish that the lawnchair was being kept by a saintly old widow as a fond reminder of her beloved, deceased husband. The bereaved widow is now bereft of her lawnchair and is inconsolable. Justice must be done. This lawnchair abuser is going ''down!''

Did we say "lawnchair abuser?" Lawnchair ''[[DieChairDie terrorist]]'', more like! Pickin' on [[NeverMessWithGranny little old ladies...]]

The point being that, due to the compressing nature of having only 42 minutes to do the whole thing, a writer has to find a "sympathy" gong for the victim early and hit it hard. [[{{Anvilicious}} Sometimes subtlety may have to go by the wayside.]]

Common in series that use MonsterOfTheWeek or MysteryOfTheWeek.

It should be noted that often in MysteryOfTheWeek shows, the VictimOfTheWeek is [[AssholeVictim not sympathetic at all]]. This is due to the fact that there need to be enough suspects wanting the person dead.

If it always seems to be the same person that fills this role (in a non-fatal way, obviously[[note]]well, [[TheyKilledKenny usually]][[/note]]), then it's a DesignatedVictim.

If the character is the point-of-view character in the opening, you have IntroOnlyPointOfView.

Compare PatientOfTheWeek. See also WoobieOfTheWeek and JoggersFindDeath.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

!!Dead Victims

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/DetectiveConan''. Even when it's not a murder (which is rare), there's always a kidnapping or robbery (usually leading to murder).
* If you're in the ''Manga/InuYasha'' universe, you better pray that your occupation isn't "Random Villager". If it is, chances are you're going to have your soul stolen, get aged rapidly, eaten, decapitated, torn to shreds, ritualistically sacrificed or used as a human shield.
* In ''Anime/BloodC'' this is taken to a new extreme with almost each episode, going from a single, unnamed character dying rather quickly to several main characters dying in a single episode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''TheMazeAgency''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* See almost any episode of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
** And most episodes of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''.
** Also the very premise of Series/{{Angel}}, who relies on the victim to come and seek his help (or to appear in visions).
* ''CriminalMinds'' usually has someone, be it a young woman, or a whole family, or a couple, or even one of the agents being tortured or in some other way brought close to death by the MonsterOfTheWeek ("monster" here meaning "psychopathic killer") and the BAU tracking down the killer and saving them in the nick of time...[[WhamEpisode unless the plot calls for something otherwise]].
* Most ''LawAndOrder'' spinoffs, particularly ''Criminal Intent'', which starts off with the crime.
** Although a few ''[[Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit SVU]]'' victims fall into the "aren't dead" category.
* And, of course... ''Series/{{CSI}}''.
** In the same verse, ''Series/WithoutATrace''.
** Also, ''Series/{{Monk}}''.
** ''Series/{{Columbo}}''
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'', obviously (although not always ''dead'' victims).
* ''Series/ColdCase'' also has a victim of the week, but tends to focus on them much more than other shows of its genre.
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'' features a victim of the week - as is common for any crime procedural or mystery genre show.
* See every last episode of ''SixFeetUnder''.
* ''Series/MurderSheWrote''
* ''Series/{{Justice}}''
* ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}''. At least one commentator has noted that, in the real-life wild-frontier Dodge City, there wouldn't have been enough murders over the course of a few decades to account for one season of ''Gunsmoke''.
* ''Series/{{Raines}}'' is an interesting case, as he is a homicide detective who would hallucinate the VictimOfTheWeek.
* Every episode of ''Series/PushingDaisies'' with the twist that Ned can raise the dead for a minute and thus can question the week's murder victim. Not that they're always [[SmokingGunControl all that helpful]].
** ''Series/TruCalling'' used a similar gimmick.
* ''Harper's Island's'' entire premise is that there is at least one victim every week.
* Most episodes of ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' follow the titular character around as he dispatches the victim of the week.
* Almost any episode of any series of Franchise/KamenRider.
* ''Series/SixHundredSixtySixParkAvenue'': So far, every episode's had at least one.
* In ''Literature/TheConditionsOfGreatDetectives'' every episode involves at least one death.
* ''Series/ElleryQueen''
* ''Series/MurdochMysteries'' usually starts with a murder, with one (And sometimes more!) happening later on if there wasn't.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series. In all of 'em, somebody's gotta get whacked for there to be [[AlwaysMurder an intriguing murder case.]]
** Subverted in 3-2, where the case in question is actually a theft. [[spoiler:Then played straight when a murder actually does occur.]]
** Similarly, ''Investigations'' has a case involving a kidnapping. [[spoiler:Not only does a murder occur, but the kidnap is revealed to have been staged.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''Superjail!'': In nearly every episode, some inmates do wind up dead partly at the hands of the Warden. Hell, Lord Stingray's wife Mistress Kilda is murdered in "Lord Stingray Crash Party" by Alice.
[[/folder]]

!!Victims Who Aren't Dead

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Many MagicalGirl shows use the less fatal variety of this.
** ''Anime/SailorMoon'' is a primary offender: every week a new character with a backstory, an example of how the victim is [[ThisLoserIsYou better than Usagi]], and a pure heart to exploit (or whatever the MacGuffin happens to be for that season).
*** Everyone of the Inner Senshi became a victim in season 3. Rei was even the first of the whole season. In Minako's case, it's PlayedForLaughs because she was ''jealous'' that everyone except her got their Pure Heart Crystal stolen once (to her, it meant she didn't have a pure heart). The Outer Senshi Uranus and Neptune also became victims, but in their case, it's very dramatic and the two episodes had completely different mood than the others, except Usagi's two episodes that were more dramatic than Rei's, Makoto's or Ami's.
*** It continues on in Season 4 with Dream Mirrors taking the place of Pure Heart Crystals, and the Inner Senshi once again having an episode with them being a Victim of the Week. Rei is once again the first victim of the Senshi, and Minako's is once again PlayedForLaughs when she [[TwoTimerDate dates two of the villains at the same time]] and they proceed fight over who gets to look in her dream mirror. Usagi's case is even more dramatic than the last. This time [[spoiler: her dream mirror being ''shattered''.]]
** ''Anime/OjamajoDoremi'' uses this about half the time, with the victims mostly chosen from the Ojamajos' [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters classmates and family]]. Notably, there are Victims but no [[MonsterOfTheWeek Monsters Of The Week]]; the problems are all emotional ones in which the Ojamajos really have no business interfering.
** ''ShugoChara'' does this as well. In just about any episode not dealing with the main villains or overall story, you can count on seeing a kid with an emotional issue or unfulfilled problem, resulting in their Heart's Egg being X'd or ?'d and then cleansed by Amu.
** ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'' has people with wilting Heart Flowers turned into [[MonstersOfTheWeek Desertrian]] (the MonsterOfTheWeek, combined with an inanimate object) who the Cures need to purify. Notably, both Erika and Itsuki were Victims who then became magical girls themselves.
** ''Anime/DokiDokiPrettyCure'' has a similar concept, where people with selfish hearts called Psyches turn dark and become [[MonsterOfTheWeek Jikochuus]]. Notable, the villains enhance or corrupt the victims' selfishness with force. In contrast to ''Heartcatch'', almost every victim is just a random bystander.
** ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' takes this even further, where people will imprisoned in mirrors and their positive '''or''' negative emotions will turn into [[MonstersOfTheWeek Saiarks]]. The villains can capture multiple victims at once to create one or multiple Saiarks. Two reoccurring characters, a classmate and a major supporting character's younger sister, hold the dubious honor of being the week's victim ''twice''.
* Being a deconstruction of the FightingSeries PlayedForLaughs, ''MutekiKanbanMusume'' subverts this trope because the various non-fatal victims of the week that we met at the series are regulars in her DebutQueue (they will not solve their problems) or people who will solve their problems themselves, [[StopHelpingMe despite the help the protagonist gives]].
* Enma Ai, the ''Anime/HellGirl'', frequently deals with victims of this type, who have often suffered horribly at the hands of the tormentors that they want sent to Hell.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* On ''Series/BurnNotice'', the VictimOfTheWeek always gets a caption that says "(Victim Name): THE CLIENT".
* The clients in ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' fall into this category, too.
* "If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... ''Series/TheATeam''."
* Michael Knight of ''KnightRider'', as stated in the SeriesBible, helps a different person (usually a woman) who is being messed with by bad guys every week.
* ''Series/RobinHood'' has a guest-star in every episode that Robin has to help; usually an oppressed peasant. In the third season, the show gained a DesignatedVictim in the form of [[TheLoad Kate]].
* A couple of ''Franchise/KamenRider'' series have MonstersOfTheWeek spawn from regular humans, which brings in a VictimOfTheWeek aspect:
** In ''Series/KamenRiderDenO'', the monsters are {{Jerkass Genie}}s who distort peoples' wishes (which are, with perhaps two exceptions, well-intentioned or merely misguided. TheHero, [[TheHeart a very compassionate young man]], makes helping the Victims as much a priority as fighting the monsters.
** ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'' has Clients of the Fortnight, as the protagonists operate a detective agency and often the Monster will be the source of their problems.
** In ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'', the villains take normal if flawed humans and use their impure desires to make the monsters.
** In ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'', the Victims make a DealWithTheDevil because they have reasons for wanting power (the first two are [[TheResenter resentful]] towards the school's JerkJock and AlphaBitch). One of the series' central themes is friendship, so the Victims are inevitably [[{{Forgiveness}} forgiven]] and [[DefeatMeansFriendship befriended]] by Fourze and his team.
** In ''Series/KamenRiderWizard'', Victims are known as "Gates," humans with high magical potential. The MonstersOfTheWeek, Phantoms, are born from inside the Gates when said Gate reaches the DespairEventHorizon, giving birth to the Phantom while killing the Gate.
* Series/{{The Fall Guy}} had Stuntman/Bounty Hunter Colt Seavers help out various people in trouble in every episode, with help from his cousin Howie.
* About half the time on ''Series/PersonOfInterest'', the titular person is someone who is ''going'' to be the victim of a violent crime and the protagonists have to intervene before that happens (the rest of the time, the person is someone who's going to ''commit'' a crime and they need to figure out who the victim is).
* Many but not all episodes of ''Series/DoctorWho'' have some variation of this with a dead or living victim, especially the opening segment in the new series.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Video Games]]
* For the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series, in addition to the dead victim in each case, there's also a falsely accused defendant whose name you have to clear.
[[/folder]]
----