"I shall fetch a rug!"A classic method for murderers, kidnappers, or smugglers to covertly transport a human body, dead or alive, is to lay it out on a carpet and roll it up inside. It's quick, tidy, and comparatively innocuous; unlike blankets, a rolled carpet does not sag or fold out of shape, and it's unlikely to seep fluids like normal cloth or tear like plastic bags can. If used with a dead body, this trope allows a killer to carry off any evidence on the rug along with the corpse. With a living kidnap victim, they're restrained by the thick material and their cries are muffled; while suffocation is a risk, it can be made less likely if the carpet's ends are left uncovered (although pressure on the chest still poses a breathing hazard). Either way, a rolled-up carpet remains one of the few heavy cylindrical objects that can be hauled around in public without attracting much attention. Out-of-character, this trope was first popularized in the theater, where it let an actor be discreetly carried off-stage after their death scene, rather than hauled off in full view and at risk of Corpsing. Subtrope of Disposing of a Body, and one standard technique for a Cleanup Crew. Sister trope to Bag of Kidnapping if the body in transit is a living captive. Rarely, a person might arrange to have this trope applied to themselves, possibly as a Trojan Horse. If someone decides to use a carpet rolled corpse as a weapon, this is Grievous Harm with a Body. Often a Death Trope, so unmarked spoilers may follow.
— Woodhouse, Archer
open/close all folders
- In a Chris Rock bit in which he claims "if you haven't contemplated murder, you ain't been in love", then cites the various preparations that one might make for said murder, including, "if you haven't bought a rug to roll their ass up in."
- Crime Does Not Pay #132: In the story "A Fat Tip for Murder", the murderer rolls his second victim in a carpet to transport her to the hospital where they both work to disguise her as an anatomy class specimen. Like all the stories in the series, loosely based on a Real Life event.
- In one of the Sin City short stories, Schlubb and Klump are sent to dispose of what they think is a body rolled up in a carpet (it has a pair of boots sticking out of one end), and are told not to look inside. It actually turns out to be a test of whether they can follow orders, and the carpet blows up when they try to steal the boots.
- Rare heroic example in Supergirl vol 1 #6. The eponymous heroine needs to stop a gang war so she picks two huge rolls of insulation, and lays them out, knocking the gangers over and rolling them up inside. Once they are paralyzed, they have no option but listening to her.
- After her death at the hands of the Anti-Monitor in Crisis On Infinite Earths, Superman used this method to transport his cousin's body to New Krypton where her natural parents lived.
- When the Matrix Supergirl fused with Linda Danvers, one of the flashback memories revealed Linda, as a young girl, witnessing a church leader beating his wife to death through the window of their house. The husband had the body removed inside a carpet and spread the word she'd run off on him.
Film - Animated
- Occurs early in The Simpsons Movie when Fat Tony and his thugs arrive at Lake Springfield with a rolled-up carpet. Police Chief Wiggum deters them, stating that no further waste dumping will occur at the lake. Though his fellow officers are suspicious, Chief Wiggum points out that Fat Tony mentioned "yard trimmings," so there couldn't be a corpse in the carpet roll.
Film - Live Action
- Inextricably associated with gangster movies, originally because it (like the Chalk Outline) allowed directors working under the strictures of Moral Guardians to imply the presence of a dead body without actually showing one on-screen.
- In The Punisher (2004), the Big Bad Howard Saint has the body of his associate Quentin wrapped in a carpet when he confronts his wife Livia over her supposed infidelity.
- In The Machinist, Reznik kills the monstrous Ivan after he finds that he killed a little boy in his bathtub. He wraps Ivan's body in his carpet and drives it out to sea to dump it. When the carpet rolls open by accident Reznik finds that the body is missing, the answer only being revealed later on.
- In the live-action film of Hogfather, a young woman with a part-time job as a tooth fairy is abducted by villains who roll her up in a carpet.
- In Act of Valor when Lisa Morales is kidnapped while playing Scrabble with Walter Ross. The gangsters knock her out, cut a square into the carpet she is on and roll her up in it.
- In The Boondock Saints, The Sick Mob Man does this with the family he kills on a mob hit, rolling them up in a piece of the carpet of their home, before dumping the bodies in a dumpster and burning them.
- At the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, two Spanish fishermen pull an Almost Dead Guy out of the ocean and deliver him to King Ferdinand wrapped in a sail.
- In Unfaithful, the cuckolded husband does this to his wife's lover after accidentally killing him.
- In Deathtrap, Sidney is pretty pleased by the neatness after noticing that Cliff, whom Sidney just strangled to death, fell on a rug. Sidney and his wife Myra wrap Cliff up in the rug and take him outside to be buried.
- Implied in Jack Reacher. A witness has supposedly 'left town', but Reacher comments that you don't normally pack your shower curtain when you do.
- Ted Bundy does this with one of his victims, carrying the body out nonchalantly as random strangers pass by.
- In Cleopatra the titular heroine meets Caesar this way when introduced to him for the first time, having herself smuggled into his palace, as in the Plutarch's description of the events.
- In Pyramids, Ptraci is inspired by an old palace story to have herself wrapped in a carpet to be unrolled as a "gift" to Pteppic. Between the lint and the dizziness of being unrolled, it turns out less romantic than she'd expected it to.
- Done in Everworld with the twist that the body was a living friend, but his friends were trying to smuggle him.
- Mathias Sandorf by Jules Verne: Pescade had managed to reach the abducted Sava, when two of the abductors are about to enter the room. Pescade rolls himself into a carpet, then keeps rolling into the darkest corner of the room to hide.
- In the young adult novel The Undertaker's Gone Bananas by Paul Zendel, the teenage protagonists find that their neighbor has his wife's body and his girlfriend's head rolled up in a carpet. They end up stealing his car, with the carpet attached to the roof, and taking in on a high-speed chase in order to get the cops to believe their story.
- In Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, it is described how Cleopatra smuggles herself into Julius Caesar's apartment in either a bedsack or the coverlet of a bed (depending on translation), carried by Apollodorus, the Sicilian.
- This happens to the protagonist of Who Stole Kathy Young?, a children's mystery by Margaret Goff Clark. Kidnap victim Kathy Young is rolled up in a carpet while being taken from one hideout to another.
- In the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. novel Hair Raising by Kevin J. Anderson, the detective protagonist visits a human organ dealership in the Unnatural Quarter, and glimpses a couple of men carrying a lumpy rolled-up carpet into a side entrance marked "Deliveries".
- A Song of Ice and Fire. When Sandor Clegane kidnaps Arya Stark she proves to be a troublesome hostage, always trying to sneak off or kill him while he's asleep. Eventually he just ties her up in a horse blanket at night so she can't move.
- Repairman Jack:
- In All The Rage, Doug vanishes from his apartment after hacking into the files of the drug company he works for. His fiancee notes that his living room's rug is missing, which immediately brings this trope to mind.
- Inverted in By The Sword, in which a killer leaves the body where it lies and wraps the murder weapon in a rug, for inconspicuous transport.
- Invoked in Room. This is part of Ma's Bodybag Trick to help her and her son Jack escape captivity. Jack is wrapped up in a rug by Ma, who claims to Old Nick (her captor and rapist) that he died of a fever. The ploy works when Jack unwraps himself from the rug, jumps out of Old Nick's truck, and is found by a passer-by. A smart police officer coaxes GPS Evidence out of Jack, and the cops use the information to locate and free Ma.
- In the first Sweet Valley High Super Thriller Double Jeopardy, Jessica walks through a parking lot. A man approaches her, struggling with a rolled-up carpet. She thinks nothing of it. . .until a woman's arm slips out.
Live Action TV
- On the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "The Cadaver", a college prank convinces a student that he'd murdered the dead body (actually an anatomy class specimen) left in his dormitory bed while drunk. He wraps it up in a rug and drives away to bury it in secret.
- Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena, posing as Cleopatra, has herself delivered to Julius Caesar wrapped in a carpet.
- And of course Rome also depicts this scene, which was Truth in Television.
- Briefly discussed in an episode of Bones where a skeleton is found bowed backwards with its feet touching the hands. Speculating how it got that way, Booth suggests that maybe someone put a dead body in a carpet which rotted away along with the flesh. Brennan starts laughing, saying that that would have taken thousands of years.
- On an episode of Major Crimes the murderer wraps a body in a carpet and drags it to the street hoping it will be collected with the trash. Unfortunately it is a nice carpet, so a couple of college kids take it back to their dorm without realizing it contains a body until they unroll it.
- Played straight in American Horror Story: Coven. Fiona murders Madison in cold blood and is promptly rolled up in a carpet by the butler/secret-keeper Spalding and taken away. The carpet is obviously missing afterward, which baffles the others in the house.
- On the "Fright Night" Halloween Episode of Mythbusters, rolling a (simulated) body up in a carpet was one step in the obstacle course used to test Hollywood corpse-disposal myths.
- Used for a Bait-and-Switch in a flashback episode of Wiseguy, which starts with two Mafiosi throwing a carpet-wrapped corpse into the back of the van owned by Vinnie's father and telling him to drive like hell. A necklace sticking out from the end of the carpet implies it's a girl he was sweet on. It's later revealed that it's actually the local Mafia boss inside the rug; he snatched the necklace off the girl during an argument and was whacked a short time later while it was still in his possession.
- In "CSI Unplugged", the Body of the Week is rolled up in a rug and carried out of the house before being dumped in the garden with note pinned to it with a knife.
- The guy who accidentally killed his wife and neighbor tried to dispose of his wife's body while it was rolled up into a carpet. The CSIs find her unrolled (he dropped the carpet) and him buried waist-high in cement. It's one of those episodes.
- A sideshow performer's corpse was found rolled up in a sheet of heavy tent canvas in "Freaks & Geeks".
- Happened at least one on Castle. A city councilman is found this way... after the carpet had been rolled out by people who took the carpet to their apartment, thinking it was left out for those who needed it (turns out that this is a thing in New York). They immediately realize that the corpse was moved to hide where the victim was murdered, but the carpet actually helps link them to a hotel manager who hated the victim and help discover the victim's affair. Naturally, Castle had to lampshade it.
Castle: What turned you off? The fact he was wearing a rug?
- Murdoch Mysteries: The Victim of the Week in "Elementary, My Dear Murdoch" is carried out of the Toronto Paranormal Society rolled up in a rug.
- The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Used to move the Body of the Week in "The Price of Love". Lucien and Charlie stumble on to the crime when they find the blood soaked rug in the boot of a stolen car.
- Rizzoli & Isles: In "Misconduct Game", Susie Chang is murdered as part of a complex plan to frame the forensics department for poor handling of a recent case. However, the homicide team discover that her body was transported to her apartment wrapped in a painter's tarp. This proves the crime scene was staged and clears Susie's name. The evidence recovered from the tarp helps them to identify culprit and the real motive behind the murder.
- Played for Laughs on Angel, when Harmony runs into awkward obstacles in moving a corpse even as far as the Dumpster outside her apartment.
- In the Gotham episode "Blood Rush", a mob "cleaner" transports the dismembered parts of a corpse to the place where he's planning to destroy them with acid in this fashion.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Three-In-One", the kidnapper cum killer is a painter who carries the bodies of his victims out of buildings wrapped in a drop cloth.
- Dick Tracy: Little Face's henchmen do this with their (still-living) boss when they attempt to smuggle him out of the apartment where he had been secreted.
- Like the Real Life example below, this also happens in Assassin's Creed Origins as Bayek and Aya roll Cleopatra up into a rug to sneak her past Ptolemy’s guards so she can meet with Julius Caesar.
- In the short point-and-click game Serena, the protagonist briefly considers rolling up a dead body in a rug, but never gets the chance.
- Often referenced in Bastard Operator from Hell as a method of dealing with annoying users and bosses, including this threat to a pestering boss
"That was just a bit of voltage," I say. "This is just a roll of old carpet. This is just a spade and those are just bags of lime. This is just a map of abandoned forest trails with vehicle access. Ordinarily I would treat this like every stupid and uninformed request and just ignore it - BUT IF YOU WANT - I can make an exception in this case. Is that what you'd like?
- Done in Archer to dispose of a dead hooker. Referenced many more times when other people seemingly die, though it rarely actually happens.
- Played with in one Mr. Magoo cartoon, when Magoo wanders into a house used as a hideout by criminals and finds a rolled up rug in a closet, thinking it's a corpse, while he passes a man tied up on the floor and thinks it's a rolled up rug.
- The Simpsons, in addtion to The Simpsons Movie:
- In a "Treehouse of Horror" segment there's a Bottomless Pit in the woods near Springfield where people dump stuff they don't want anybody to ever find. We see the Springfield Mafia dump a carpet (presumably with body enclosed) down the pit.
- In "Homer Goes To College", Homer has the idea to "prank" the Dean by rolling him up in carpet and throwing him off a bridge.
- Bart then comes up with a better idea, kidnapping their pig mascot "Sir-Oinks-A-Lot". Homer excitedly adds "roll it up in carpet and throw it off a bridge!"
- In the first episode of Captain N: The Game Master King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard kidnap Princess Lana by rolling her into a rug.
- In the third episode of Galtar and the Golden Lance the dwarves Rak and Tuk roll a rug over Mursa the witch after first tying a sack over her upper body while she's in the form of their intended target Princess Goleeta.
- In the Gummi Bears episode "A Gummi By Any Other Name" Duke Igthorn presents Sunni Gummi (who is wearing a magic hat that makes her look like Princess Calla) to his ogres by rolling her out of a rug, despite having caught her in a sack earlier.
- Subverted in the Adventure Time episode "Root Beer Guy": Finn and Jake roll Princess Bubblegum in a carpet and dump her in a lake. She turns out to have been alive the whole time, and the whole thing was a ruse to test the capability of the Banana Guard.
- Cleopatra had herself rolled up into a carpet in order to be smuggled past her brother Ptolemy's guards and meet Julius Caesar.
- Many real-world murder victims have been found wrapped up in carpets at body-dump sites.
- The body of Georgia teenager Kendrick Johnson was discovered rolled up inside a wrestling mat at his high school gym, although whether it got there by homicide or misadventure is in dispute.
- Al-Mustasim, the last Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, was rolled up in a rug and trampled to death by the Mongol cavalry. This was because royal blood was too special to be spilled on the ground.
- In June 2007, pregnant woman Jesse Davis disappeared. Her mother stopped by her house and found signs of a struggle and her toddler son abandoned and only able to say, "Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in the rug". Several weeks later, her boyfriend—a detective himself—led the cops to her body.
- Although her body was never found, police suspect this was Anne Marie Fahey's fate when they noted that her ex-lover Thomas Capano had purchased a new carpet shortly after she disappeared.