-> '''Riggs:''' ''Rog?''
-> '''Murtaugh:''' ''Yeah?''
-> '''Riggs:''' ''Grab the cat!''
-->-- ''Film/LethalWeapon3''

A sub-trope of the WireDilemma, [[CutTheFuse cutting]] the Wrong Wire will very often simply speed up the countdown to detonation or, for some reason, jump it ahead an arbitrary amount, typically just enough time to pull out a MillionToOneChance at salvation.

Of course, this would realistically require a far more exotically-designed detonator than most would bother with. In reality, if cutting the Wrong Wire doesn't cause the bomb to go off, there's really no reason why it should do ''anything'' at all. In point of fact, the easiest to make, and by far most reliable bombs only ''have'' two or three wires: a positive and a negative to the ignition switch, and perhaps a ground. Cutting ''either'' of the non-ground wires would logically disable the bomb[[note]]Unless the negative is grounded, in which case the ground wire could serve as the negative.[[/note]], since without power to the ignition switch, there's nothing to trigger the detonator, and the ground wire would do absolutely nothing.

Of course, any bomb maker would know this, and could conceivably start thinking of countermeasures to stop a bomb squad if they start to [[CriminalMindGames enjoy the "game" too much]]. They might even be willing to risk the bomb being disarmed JustInTime to rub their superiority in their enemy's face.

There is one particularly good reason to build a detonator with wiggle room; if the bombmaker screws up while assembling the bomb, they thus have time to ''correct'' that screwup before it kills them. And just in passing, cops and soldiers have a good hard laugh and a round of drinks whenever a DIY bomb-maker gets HoistByHisOwnPetard.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In ''Manga/GunsmithCats'', bomb-maker Ken Taki uses Wrong Wires for safety reasons, and has become more safety-focused recently as he has early stage multiple sclerosis, but was forced by TheSyndicate to keep making bombs despite having a degenerative nerve condition that made his hands shake uncontrollably under stress.
-->'''Minnie-May''': ''OhCrap The power cut off and the power-off switch cycled! We've got ten minutes before it blows!''
-->'''Rally''': ''Why use a timer when the power's cut? Why not just, "Boom?"''
-->'''Ken''': ''Hey, everyone makes mistakes, huh? And I like living!''


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/TheShadow'': In TheMovie, a colorblind scientist cuts the wrong wire on the nuclear bomb, making the timer go to warp speed. By the time he's reconnected that wire to fix it, he's gone from having hours to having about two minutes.
* In ''Film/LethalWeapon3'' the use of this trope leads to the memorable "Grab the cat" line.
* The climax of the mid-[[TheNineties 90s]] Denzel Washington vehicle ''Film/{{Virtuosity}}'' [[SubvertedTrope looks like a straight example of this trope]], with a virtual recording of the now-dead antagonist mocking every wrong choice thrown in for flavor... [[spoiler: until the timer hits 3 seconds, freezes, and begins looping back over the last 30 seconds or so of video. He'd actually gotten the ''right'' wire some time ago, but had broken the detonation program in the process]].
* When Myung-shik is attempting to defuse the bomb on the bridge in ''Film/{{Quick}}'', he sneezes at the wrong moment and cuts the wrong wire. The countdown immediately speeds up.
* When the student-built atomic bomb in ''Film/TheManhattanProject'' is accidentally activated, it's initially set for 999 hours. Plenty of time, right? Except that the circuitry has been damaged, and the clock begins speeding up exponentially...


[[folder: Literature ]]

* The (in)famous ending of ''Literature/DigitalFortress'' does this with a computer virus, accelerating the destruction when the wrong password is entered. [[spoiler: Considering that [[ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish the password is THE NUMBER THREE]], they deserved all they got.]]
* In ''The Frogmen'' by Robb White, a DrillSergeantNasty at the Navy's frogman school becomes infamous for the fiendish tricks he puts in his training mines. Unfortunate trainees who fail receive a [[ElectricTorture shock]].


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The pilot for ''Series/MacGyver'' has one of these in its opening scene, prompting him to get out a paper clip and do his thing for the first time in the series.
* In ''Series/{{Eureka}}'', a doomsday machine jumps from 20-something hours to 7 hours when the wrong wire is cut.
* A similar situation (not with wires, but close enough) occurs in the ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode "Serpent's Venom", where Carter and Daniel have to enter a combination code into a mine in order to reprogram it, but they enter the wrong code, resulting in a countdown starting up (as this is the defense mechanism put in place on the mine so it wouldn't be tampered with.)
* An episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'' had a bomb tech disarm a bomb, only to discover that it has come back on. He disarmed a decoy bomb and this activates the real trigger mechanism. The bomber specifically designed the bomb to kill the cops trying to disarm it and was playing games with them.
* In the BBC series ''Series/DangerUXB'' our heroes are constantly discovering that the Germans have added new and ingenious Wrong Wires to their bombs. Because this was RealLife, it's never as simple as a ''literal'' wire, and it's rarely as harmless as "countdown speeds up".
* In ''Series/{{MASH}}'', a rogue U.S. bomb once landed near the camp and Hawkeye and Trapper went out to disarm it with the instructions read out by Col. Blake. Unfortunately, one of the instructions was [[PoorCommunicationKills written in reverse]] (i.e. "do A ''but first'' do B") and with Henry reading the instructions carefully one line at a time, they do them in the order they are read. Hawkeye and Trapper run before the bomb goes off. [[spoiler: Luckily, it's a leaflet bomb.]]
* ''Series/{{Pixelface}}'': In "Saving Private Romford", Romford's self-destruct protocol has been activated and is counting down to an electronic pulse that will wipe out all the data in the console. Clairparker comes up with a plan that amounts to 'pull out a random cog and hope that it stops things'. She pulls out a cog and the countdown speeds up. The other characters scream at her to put it back.


[[folder: Other]]

* A particularly nasty, not bomb-related, takes place in electrical circuits that have three phases plus neutral to provide power to devices that use single phase (thus lower voltage). If the latter is cut or disconnected while having single-phased devices connected, those will suffer higher voltages and have a ''very'' high probability of ending up fried, especially electronic devices.


[[folder: Pinball ]]

* Subverted in Creator/DataEastPinball's ''Pinball/LethalWeapon3''; while there is a WireDilemma in the game, getting the wrong wire results in an animated explosion but no penalty.


[[folder: Radio ]]

* Happens on ''Radio/TheNavyLark'' when the crew of ''HMS Troutbridge'' is attempting to defuse the self-destruct mechanism on an American satellite. Fortunately, the first time this happens it turns out that what they have retrieved is not the satellite but a marker buoy. The second time, however...


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The classic point-and-click adventure game [[VideoGame/{{Discworld}} Discworld 2: Missing Presumed...?]] further spoofs the above ''Film/LethalWeapon3'' example in the intro, with Rincewind and the Librarian standing in for Riggs and Murtaugh. This being ''Discworld'', the ClockPunk bomb three flasks of [[TechnicolorScience mysterious bubbling liquid]], rather than wires.
* A variation occurs in the Playstation/N64/PC game based on ''VideoGame/{{Spiderman}}'', where a group of terrorists have set up a massive bomb in a bank: the player has to pick up the bomb and carry it over to an explosion-proof safe, but dropping the bomb at any point speeds up the countdown.
* In ''VideoGame/BombSquad'', incorrectly replacing a piece will cause the MagicCountdown to speed up until you remove it. Cutting the wrong piece causes the bomb to explode unless you quickly resolder it.
* ''VideoGame/KeepTalkingAndNobodyExplodes'' plays this trope both ways, and extends it to every bomb module possible. Screw up with strikes remaining and the timer speeds up. Screw up when there aren't any strikes left? Bye bye.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' uses the "wrong wire speeds up the countdown" method in the episode "Wild Cards." Justified because the Joker built the bomb in question, and it turned out to be a fake anyway.
** Happens more than once. This becomes an OverlyLongGag which Franchise/TheFlash is happy to [[IncrediblyLamePun "run with it".]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'', cutting the green wire of a bomb speeds up the timer, because Archer misread the bomb's serial number to their bomb expert. M... as in Mancy?