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Anime And Manga
- In Pluto, Gesicht is tracking a serial killer who might be a robot, and consults Brau 1589, previously believed to be the only robot who ever killed a human.
- In Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, Yako often gets help from one of the killers she helped catch, Aya Asia.
- In StrikerS Sound Stage X, Ginga and Cinque must consult the imprisoned Big Bad Jail Scaglietti in order to gather some important data on the Mariage serial arsonist case. Scaglietti only asks for enough Belkan wine to honor the dead in exchange for his info.
- In A Certain Scientific Railgun, Mikoto visits her old enemy Therestina Lifeline in her cell for clues on the organization STUDY and for how to save Febri from her life-threatening position. Therestina really didn't want to help, but her advice proved very useful.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, the Ghoul Detention Center exists partially for the purpose of storing informants. The Child Eater Donato Porpora is noted as their most valuable informant, offering his advice and insight on investigations. In exchange, the organization allows him to continue living for as long as he can prove useful to them.
- In The Long Halloween, Batman visits Calendar Man in his cell at Arkham Asylum to ask him where he might find the killer known as "Holiday". Calendar Man suggests that, the day Batman is paying this visit being a holiday, Holiday is likely looking to commit a murder—specifically, to kill Salvatore Maroni.
- At least once, Commissioner Gordon asked Poison Ivy to identify the source of plants and flowers. Specifically, in a case where the killer left a lily on the body, she was able to identify that some of the flowers were imported and others were greenhouse-grown, showing they were bought from different flower shops.
- One brief Judge Dredd Story Arc followed Dredd aiming to catch a spree-killer in Mega-City One who disintegrates his victims' bodies, only leaving their right hands. Noting similarities to a past case involving a spree-killer who had a similar motive with left hands, which Dredd had solved, Dredd consults with the perpetrator of the original crimes, now in an iso-cube. The prisoner requests that he get "a cube with a view" for his assistance, but Dredd convinces him to provide insight unconditionally after threatening him. The prisoner then divulges what he could assume about his Copycat Killer, the most important part being that the suspect must come from Brit-Cit because that's the only place the prisoner's original crimes are given any recognition. Part One of this story arc was even titled, "The Silence of the Limbs".
- A three part story in the New 52 DC Universe Presents had Vandal Savage being consulted about a copycat killer. Complicating things was that the consulting FBI agent was his daughter.
- In the Harry Potter no magic AU by radowan, titled Yours, In Murder, Harry is a psychologist who works with the Mugwumps, an elite police squad that deals with serial killers. Due to a particularly challenging murderer Harry, by the order of his superior officer Albus Dumbledore, has to consult with the convicted serial killer that murdered his own parents, Tom Marvolo Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort. Of course Voldemort wants something in return and has a load of hidden motives.
- In That Epic Plan after L let's slip about Beyond Birthday having some kind of magic eyes Light suggests that they consult this Beyond Birthday for the Kira investigation (so that he as Kira can use him for his Eyes).
- In Backdraft, Brian McCaffery approaches an imprisoned serial arsonist, Ronald Bartel, when in need of assistance in finding the missing links between a string of recent fires that seem to be connected.
- In Copycat, Helen and M.J. consult with convicted serial killer Daryll Lee Callum - the same killer who had previously attempted to kill Helen - in order to gain insight into the copycat killer's mind.
- Parodied in Loaded Weapon 1, when Colt and Luger consult with Dr. Harold Leacher.
- Parodied in The Silence of the Hams when FBI Agent Jo Dee Fostar consults with Dr. Animal Cannibal Pizza. The doctor is so insane that he sometimes violates the laws of physics.
- In Austin Powers in Goldmember, after Austin learns that his father, Nigel, has been kidnapped, and the only clue is that the crew of his yacht have had their genitalia painted gold, Austin visits Dr. Evil, who is being held in captivity in a cell much like Hannibal Lecter's, to find out who is responsible. Dr. Evil reveals to Austin that Goldmember is behind the abduction.
- As stated above, the Trope Maker is Hannibal Lecter, who fills this role in two novels and, later, feature films.
- Red Dragon sees Hannibal approached by FBI investigator Will Graham, who had originally captured Hannibal, requesting his assistance in capturing a serial killer known as "The Tooth Fairy". This is actually an Unbuilt Trope. Lecter's suggestions had either been thought of already or didn't help them identify the killer and sends Graham's home address to the Tooth Fairy, which results in Graham being disfigured and descending into alcoholism. Crawford later admitted that consulting Lecter was a terrible idea.
- In The Silence of the Lambs, FBI trainee Clarice Starling visits Hannibal in his cell on multiple occasions for help with catching another serial killer called "Buffalo Bill". Hannibal ends up giving Clarice cryptic clues in exchange for information about Clarice's unhappy childhood. Hannibal later uses an agreement to disclose Buffalo Bill's real name in exchange for a transfer to another asylum as an opportunity to escape.
- In some versions of King Rhampsinitus and The Thief, the King trying to catch the thief consults an old, imprisoned criminal on how to go about successfully capturing him. Furthermore, some versions of that particular way of telling the story conclude with the older criminal being released from captivity as a reward for his assistance.
- In the Alex Cross series, Cross will often consult with a former nemesis or two.
- In the first books of the The Saxon Stories, both Danes and Saxons use Uhtred to try and understand the other, since he has a unique insight into both cultures. This is mostly done by the Saxons, specifically Alfred, and more than once provides valuable insight into Danish strategy.
- In Pretty Girls, Sam Carroll visits the serial killer Ben Carver on death row because his missing daughter's police file listed him as having information on Julia. The police initially assumed he was lying because all of his other victims were men and consistent with his sexual orientation. However, he did know something about her disappearance and ended up giving Sam a clue contained in a Dr. Seuss book.
Live Action TV
- In The Pretender episode "Once in a Blue Moon", Jarod is helping to catch a Copycat Killer, and consults the serial killer who is being copied.
- In CSI Langston seeks the help of his nemesis, serial killer Nate Haskell, to catch the "Dr. Jekyll Killer". But while he gives Langston a key insight, he mostly just messes around. His actual plan was to goad a guard into shocking him as to fall and break his own glasses... and using the broken arms from said glasses to stab Langston through the bars of his holding cell.
- Happened thrice on Criminal Minds:
- Once when Mad Bomber Adrian Bale was called upon to help stop a copycat bomber. Bale was unable to resist the opportunity to try and trick the team into blowing up a potential victim. Gideon caught on to this and stopped it.
- In another episode serial hostage taker was asked to help stop a group of copycats. It turns out the guy hired the copycats so the BAU would have to consult with him, which gave him an opportunity to escape.
- Third time's the charm in "Outfoxed", where the team has to consult Karl Arnold when a new family annihilator emerges. When they get in contact with Arnold, they find out that it seems as though the new killer has contacted him. Turns out she didn't (although he did accidentally give Prentiss the idea to suspect a female killer) and the note was actually from a much worse source: The Boston Reaper.
- Defied and Deconstructed in a Series 1 episode of Luther when Luther tries to pick Alice Morgan's brain for insight into the killer in one of his cases, she points out that she doesn't suddenly gain the ability to understand other people just because one is a killer like her (allegedly) and that, ultimately, this criminal's mindset is as alien to her as it is to Luther or, indeed, as any human's mindset would be to her.
- In a fifth season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy gets Spike to tell his story of how he killed two slayers after Buffy is nearly killed by a normal vampire.
- The premise of the documentary series Dark Minds pairs a non-fiction crime author and a criminal profiler who revisit unsolved murders believed to be the work of serial killers. They are assisted in their investigations by an anonymous convicted serial killer serving multiple life sentences who offers his own opinion about the potential motivations behind the cases, using his own personal experience to formulate theories.
- In Lie to Me, Cal ends up turning to a serial rapist and torturer for clues about the recent string of copycat crimes. It turns out to be the first victim's boyfriend.
- A situation similar to the above example arises in NCIS, with a serial killer Gibbs put away early in his career.
- Huntress confronts Clayface with these intentions in Birds of Prey.
- In Castle, Rick Castle consults with a retired jewel thief named Powell to find a crew of murderous thieves.
- In Power Rangers S.P.D., Sky consults the imprisoned Mirloc about a copycat criminal. There's a bunch of special precautions involved since Mirloc could travel through mirrors and reflective surfaces, but all Mirloc asks for in exchange is that Sky tell him a sad story, so Sky tells him how his father died in the line of duty... crying a little in the process - which was what Mirloc was counting on, as he then escaped through the reflection in the tears. For bonus points, Sky finds out afterwards that Mirloc was the one who killed his dad.
- A similar occurrence also happens in the Japanese original, Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger.
- In Smallville, after someone frames Lex Luthor for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Clark visits Lex's father in prison, wondering if he somehow managed to orchestrate this from behind bars. Lionel Luthor denies involvement, but he does help Clark figure out the killer's identity, another one of Lex's exes.
- In an episode of Law & Order: SVU, Casey Novak must get the testimony of a convicted Serial Killer who is serving life in prison. He viewed his crimes as "art," and the new killings are the work of a copycat. Actually the killer's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend. At the trial, he "critiques" the "work," and he gets his wish to be transferred to another prison: a federal supermax prison.
- In Law & Order the detectives consult a mob leader who is in prison about a murder of a man. He points them in the right direction by noting the murder scene was just a drop place for the body and identifies a probable kill spot. All the criminal ask for was for the detectives to ask the feds to back off the man's grandson who only shared his name but had nothing to do with criminal activity.
- One episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had Ezri investigate a series of killings this way. Namely, she consults one of her past hosts, which she's not too thrilled about.
- The Sam & Cat episode "#SuperPsycho", a parody of The Silence of the Lambs, has Sam and Cat going to a mental hospital to get help from Sam's old enemy Nevel in helping defeat her other enemy Nora.
- In an elaborate Mythology Gag, the second season of Hannibal has Beverly Katz consult Will Graham on the Muralist case when he's in a hospital for the criminally insane. Subsequently Jack consults Will on Beverly's murder. While Will is innocent of the crimes he's accused of, he has been Convicted by Public Opinion, if not the law.
- In the third season's arc that directly adapts the novel Red Dragon, the show adapts the Trope Codifier when Will Graham consults Hannibal Lecter while the latter is locked up. As in the source material, the exercise is less about getting a profile from Hannibal and more about Graham "getting the old scent back" after three years in retirement.
- In the Haven episode "Exposure", Duke consults Mara in order to solve the Trouble which has discorporated Nathan. She has him tell her a story about his unhappy childhood as quid pro quo.
- The first part of Birds of Prey's finale sees Huntress consult Clayface when the latter's son is causing problems and plans to outdo his dad. However, in exchange for his help, Clayface asks Huntress to recall the night her mother, Catwoman, died. As with the SPD example, Clayface is the one who killed Catwoman.
- In Slasher, as a copycat Executioner terrorizes the town of Waterbury, Sarah resorts to consulting the original Executioner, who also happens to be her parents' murderer.
- In Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps The Mole Grant Ward in a cell, using Skye (since she's the only one he'll talk to) to get information about HYDRA.
- In Fahrenheit, after Carla discovers similarities between Lucas' case and past murders, she visits Janos, the culprit of those past murders, at Bellevue Asylum in order to find out the link both cases.
- In a quest in World of Warcraft, the player has to visit Tyrus Blackhorn, an imprisoned satyr. He gives advice to stop a powerful fire elemental and uses this opportunity to escape his prison.
- There Will Be Brawl re-imagines Kirby as an Expy of Hannibal Lecter, presenting him as an imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer that is consulted in the hope of solving other murders going on.
- I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC's 's "Happy Hour" story arc sees Spider-Man and Batman visit Lex Luthor in custody to ask questions about how his android Lance works, after the Joker had acquired it and began using it for a nefarious purpose. However, Luthor was brainwashed by Joker before the heroes had arrived and informs Joker when they get to him. Luthor only provides helpful information after Batman acquires Wonder Woman's golden lasso, which he promptly uses on Luthor.
- In The Simpsons episode "The Great Louse Detective", after a failed murder attempt on Homer, the Simpson family approaches Chief Wiggum in order to get help in finding out who would try and kill Homer. Wiggum declares that their case requires "someone who understands the twisted mind of a murderer". They end up seeking Sideshow Bob's assistance, which Bob agrees to under the condition that he have "around-the-clock access to all Simpsons... especially Bart". Because the Springfield PD are useless, Bob effectively takes a more active role in the task at hand and does the majority of the investigative work throughout the episode. Like Bob, the suspect they are after has a revenge-based motive for killing a member of the Simpsons family.
- The Fillmore! episode "To Mar a Stall" is one big Shout-Out to Silence of the Lambs. In it, Fillmore consults with Randall the Vandal, who is kept in detention permanently, in order to gain insight into the mind of the mystery vandal 'Stainless'.
- In one episode of Family Guy, Joe consults Lois' brother, Patrick 'Fat Guy Strangler' Pewterschmidt, when kids at a fat camp start turning up dead. Patrick initially theorizes that the killer will remain at the fat camp to ensure a good supply of victims but later figures out that the killer has a specific target in mind but keeps picking the wrong person due to mistaken identity. The killer turns out to be a professional eater who Chris humiliated at an eating contest earlier in the episode.
- In the South Park episode "Toilet Paper", parodying The Silence of the Lambs, Officer Barbrady consults Josh, locked up for toilet papering houses, to help him with a similar case.
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In "Wrath of the Krampus", Mystery, Inc. visit the prison to consult with the grade-school-age Mary Anne Gleardan, one of their former antagonists.
- Extreme Ghostbusters: In the episode "Grundelesque", Kylie thinks the Monster of the Week is a Grundel but her teammates won't believe her because the only existing Grundel has already been captured in the previous show. To confirm her suspicions, Kylie interrogates the original Grundel, who confirms the existence of another one but demands to be freed if she wants his help. She refuses.
- In an attempt to catch the Green River Killer, members of the police task force assigned to the case periodically interviewed convicted serial killer Ted Bundy. Ultimately, many of Bundy's guesses about the real killer turned out to be correct, but were too vague to directly point to any one suspect at the time. This may be considered an Ur-Example, as the Green River Task Force's death row interviews with Bundy inspired Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter novels.
- The most infamous serial killer in (former) USSR was probably Andrei Chikatilo (popularized in the West by Citizen X movie). Being completely unsuccessful in the attempts to catch him, the chief investigator in the case, Issa Kostoev, turned to one of the very few serial killers captured in USSR by that time - Anatoly Slivko. Despite Slivko sincerely wishing to help (he was more of a sympathetic kind of a serial killer, repeatedly atoning and being very guilt-bedridden), his guesses turned out to be almost all wrong. What makes it all more terrifying: Slivko was on the death row at the moment. Kostoev spoke to Slivko mere hours before his execution. Kostoev knew it. Slivko didn't.