A Deadly Doctor, simply put, is someone who fights or kills with a medical motif. He uses his medical knowledge to injure, torture or kill, and uses syringes, pills or surgical instruments
or medical techniques to achieve his goals. He may wear his labcoat into battle as a Badass Longcoat
Surely the ultimate example of the Morally Ambiguous Doctorate
. One reason for this is due to all his/her training: while having advanced knowledge on the human body can be used to save people, it also gives all the knowledge on how to injure and kill people with minimal effort by knowing all the body's weak points. Some more sympathetic examples equate to the medical version of a Well-Intentioned Extremist
, who may certainly have good (or at least sympathetic/understandable) intentions but ruthless medical ethics.
Unless, of course, he's good
. Which there is a fairly good chance of
, being able to heal as well as harm
Note that this trope is not
"Any doctor who is a good fighter." That would be Combat Medic
. Deadly Doctor refers specifically to doctors who apply their medical knowledge to their combat techniques.
A subtrope of Mad Doctor
. Compare Depraved Dentist
. Contrast Martial Medic
, a character who heals with knowledge they gained in the course of learning to injure people. And while people tend to die around him (not his fault, we assure you), The Doctor
is not one of these.
Not to be confused with a doctor who's just dangerously bad at his job; see Mad Doctor
, Back Alley Doctor
and Meatgrinder Surgery
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- The Crime Doctor from The DCU.
- Not to mention Dr. Moon, who considers himself an artist when it comes to pain. He's also a self-taught medical genius who uses his incredible talent to cause suffering rather than heal.
- Even heroes with medical doctorates have been known to use their skills to incapacitate people.
- Ratchet, in the Transformers: Shattered Glass universe. Being in his care is more of a punishment than a treatment, as he tends to whimsically replace his patients' body parts with whatever he thinks would look better.
- Hush of the Batman comics evolves into this after he drops the guntoting. Scarecrow also counts, having been the head psychiatrist at Arkham.
- Dr. Mid-Nite from The DCU.
- Angeline Kutter, The Surgeon General who fought Daredevil.
- Golden Age superhero, and later member of the X-Men, Doctor Nemesis.
- The Mikado, a foe of The Question, was an emergency room physician who was disgusted by some of the deliberately inflicted injuries he saw in his ER. He donned a costume and used his medical expertise to inflict similar injuries on those responsible.
- Haku in the Naruto fanfic Hakumei. After apprenticing to a medic-nin for some years, his fighting style incorporates drugs and poisons, and while he doesn't like hurting people, he's ruthless when he has to be. His friends would say that he's the scariest member of their group.
- Winter War (a Bleach AU where Aizen won the war) has Ogidou, a former Fourth Division member who fights by reversing healing kidou. For example, one of his attacks reopens old wounds that have scarred over. The other members of La Résistance let him do it, but find it disturbing. Hinamori, who's part of the same small group of fighters, refuses to let him heal her, even though she acknowledges that he's competent.
- Though Dr. Watson is definitely a Martial Medic, he plays the Deadly Doctor trope frighteningly straight in the Deliver Us From Evil Series.
- Elle Driver disguised herself as a nurse in Kill Bill in order to carry out a hit on The Bride with a poison syringe, only to have her mission canceled by Bill himself. Since Elle despises the Bride, she does not take it well.
- Repo! The Genetic Opera has the Repo Men, trained medical professionals who mostly do their deadly work with scalpels, and the Genterns, who, while they don't kill people nearly as often, can be pretty damn sinister.
- Ghostbusters: Egon Spengler states that Ivo Shandor, also the architect behind that building, was one of these.
- Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen features the Doctor, a tiny Decepticon surgeon charged with planting mind probes in victims.
- One fight in Sherlock Holmes had Doctor Watson say "I'm a doctor" to the guy he has in a choke hold. He also looks better at fighting than Holmes is.
- Mel Brooks' character in The Muppet Movie.
- Dr. Christian Szell in Marathon Man
- Dr. Albert Hirsch from The Bourne Series, responsible for creating and running of Treadstone/Blackbriar black ops projects where, via brainwashing, torture and behavioral conditioning they turned volunteers into tools ready to kill on command.
- Dr. Kaufman in Tomorrow Never Dies, a hitman who uses his forensic medicine expertise to cover his tracks.
- Main villain of The Dead Pit is an undead former surgeon of a mental hospital who with his zombies seeks out to remove everyones brains.
- Escape From LA gives us the Surgeon General, played by a wonderfully hammy Bruce Campbell.
- Dr. Rendell and his insane son, the eponymous Dr. Giggles.
- Return To House On Haunted Hill has the ever-so-evil Dr. Vannacutt. See for yourself.
- The evil medical staff abduct people, kill them and steal their organs in The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
- The Stitch class of psychics in Push are nominally healers (and damn good ones at that). They can completely heal bones and the like by laying their hands on a person. However, they can easily use their medical powers to break bones and stir up a person's insides as well. God forbid a malevolent Stitch gets their hands on you...
- There aren't Water Knights in Codex Alera; normally they're just the medics. Now, they're latently empathic medics, so they actually get a significant good feeling from reducing the pain and misery in their presence, meaning they're unlikely to use their powers as a weapon. But, remember, most of your body is water. Are you afraid yet?
- Annie Wilkes in Stephen King's Misery.
- There was also the nurse assassin from It.
- From the Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- Ton Phanan from the X-Wing series, who was a doctor before cybernetics ate his future and he became a pilot-medic. At one point he cuts a man's throat using a laser scalpel, and notes that anything in his medical kit can be weaponized.
Interrogating Colonel: "Did you surrender this weapon to our guards before coming before me?"
Phanan: "What weapon, sir?"
Interrogating Colonel: "The laser scalpel."
Phanan: "Not a weapon, sir. It's a tool of medicine. I wasn't asked to turn over my bandages, bacta treatments, disinfectant sprays, or tranquilizers either, but I can kill a man with any of them, under the right circumstances."
- And Mij Gilamar, from the Republic Commando Series. His medical knowledge is considerable, but add to that the fact that he's the very definition of a Combat Medic, fully trained as a Mandalorian soldier, and you've got someone who can just as easily put you together as take you apart. Though normally a very kind, and even somewhat charming man, when asked about why he wears the Mandalorian color of vengeance on his armor, he has this to say:
Gilamar: "I fell in love with a Mandalorian girl, married into the clans, and a hut'uun killed her. I know his name. I'll find him. And then I'll show him what it means to make a bad enemy of a Mandalorian with anatomical expertise and a scalpel."
- The Heralds of Valdemar series once states that the same Healers who can stop the pain and put you together also know how to take you apart, so it's unwise to anger them.
- In the Sherlock Holmes short story "A Study in Emerald" by Neil Gaiman, the Great Detective remarks, concerning his deduced perpetrator of a brutal murder, "[I]t is my experience that when a Doctor goes to the bad, he is a fouler and darker creature than the worst cut-throat." Of course, the reader is more likely to agree with Dr. Watson on the rightness of his actions, making this a subversion.
- The actual Sherlock Holmes said something to the same effect in 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band,' the same story in which he observed that the city might be full of horrors, but what people get up to in the privacy of the country really chills his blood.
- The story in which Holmes explains how crime can be committed with impunity in the country is actually "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches," though the "A Study in Emerald" quote is inspired by Holmes calling a doctor "who goes wrong" the "first of criminals" in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band".
- Watson might also be considered a Badass Doctor. Holmes frequently asks Watson to bring his revolver along on investigations that may become dangerous, he was a doctor in the war and was wounded in Afghanistan, and still goes on these various risky adventures despite the fact that his wound sometimes still bothers him.
- Which makes him a Martial Medic. And though he certainly has the capacity to be a Deadly Doctor, he's more a Combat Pragmatist - for example, see how he's ready to bash a chair over the head of Charles Augustus Milverton in the canon.
- "Dr. Danco", who slices and dices his victims, in Dearly Devoted Dexter.
- In "Melanie and Merrick", Nurse Katie Heller, who has Manchausen Syndrome by Proxy, uses her medical knowledge of medicines to kill off patients, sometimes even swapping their prescribed medicine with a deadly substance. Her ultimate plan to kill off the Elephant Man fails heavily, and her ass is kicked hard by the hospital's scrubber, Melanie Bell. Naturally, Katie is fired.
- In The Father Luke Wolfe Trilogy, Dr. Brandt scratches Father Wolfe's wrist with a nicotine-filled syringe as a "reminder" to give his son a passing grade. He also threatens that worse than nicotine would have been an empty syringe, since a bubble of air in the bloodstream can jolt the heart into stopping. It turns out this is how he murdered his colleague earlier.
- In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, Medea was designed for this. She both designs the poison to use on Red, and its antidote. And it is Roger, not Medea, who has scruples about it.
- In Time Scout, Jack the Ripper is a rather well known physician.
- Dr. Peter Brown, from Beat the Reaper. He used to be a hitman. Now he's in witness protection.
- In Doc Sidhe, Alastair explains that his world's equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath only applies to his patients — and the guys he shoots aren't patients until after he shoots them.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek:
- A Monster of the Week on Charmed is Doctor Williamson, and infectious disease specialist who had treated Piper when she was sick a few episodes earlier. He's a good guy, but when he accidentally injects himself with Piper's blood, he also gets her powers. Turns out mortal + powers = CRAZY. He goes on a killing spree and takes organs from people. Piper eventually has to kill him to stop him, which she finds very hard to do, as he is the first human she ever killed, and he tried to save her life.
- Dexter's first kill is of a homicidal nurse, who overdoses patients in her care that she considers to be in too much pain to keep living.
- For that matter, Dexter himself attended med-school before becoming a blood spatter analyst. This explains his surgical killing style and familiarity with anatomy and pharmacology.
- On Supernatural, one of the Monsters of the Week was a doctor who had managed to make himself immortal and was taking other people's organs when his gave out.
- More than one episode of Law & Order has featured doctors who killed patients deliberately (many more have featured doctors who killed by negligence).
- Friday The 13th: The Series featured two doctors who had cursed antiques (a scalpel and a Native American shamanic rattle) that could heal people... as long as they were first used to kill.
- An episode of Farscape, "DNA Mad Scientist" had a highly intelligent alien doctor who was always performing experiments on aliens to increase his powers.
- This trope makes up the plot of The X-Files episode "Sanguinarium".
- Evil doctors also make appearance in several Myth Arc episodes. They have no scruples about performing horrible experiments on people. Often it's blurred whether it's aliens or the conspiracy. Or it might be both.
- Subverted in Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger. Dr. Yukito Sanjou/Abare Blue is a chiropractor who doesn't bring its expertise in battle, but when he actually does chiropracticing, it was extremely painful (though you'll feel better afterwards) that could make even battle-hardened veterans wince in pain. Then there's Dr. Mikoto Nakadai, who didn't quite bother bringing his medical expertise in battle or whatever, but considering his battle capabilities, and his motivation... he's deadly on his own.
- In the crossover with Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, Yukito did use his chiropractor knowledge to crush the monster of the movie's bones... unmorphed (it's just a clone though)
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's Doctor Jekyll. He used surgical means to kill his victims, like the guy who got an infected appendix sewn into him.
- The Surgeon, a Serial Killer on Rizzoli And Isles.
- Highlander had a villain of the week who was a slightly mentally unstable doctor who got fixated on Duncan after he witnessed evidence of his immortality. He'd been kidnapping and experimenting on other patients before that as well.
- On American Horror Story, it's revealed that Bloody Face's victims were killed with surgical precision. That's because Bloody Face is really Dr. Oliver Thredson. As a psychiatrist and licensed doctor, he would have had the surgical training necessary to commit his crimes.
- The Orks of Warhammer 40000 have "Mad Doks" or "Painboyz" to keep the lads on their feet during battles, and who occasionally put their bonesaws and "'Urty Syringes" to offensive use (the latter is an actual piece of wargear that does poisoned attacks). Since the specialists in question are mad scientist-esque physicians with an instinctive (if imprecise) grasp of medicine and an urge to "tinker," they count as Deadly Doks off the battlefield, too.
- The main job of Space Marine Apothecary is to keep their battle-brothers alive and collect the gene-seed of the dead, but being an 8-foot-tall genetically enhanced Super Soldiers in Powered Armour, they can and will kick ass if necessary. Not to mention that using the gene-seed extractor on a living person is going to hurt.
- Mad Dok Grotsnik, the most famous of all Painboyz, is also the deadliest of all. Far smarter than the average Ork, he's always in the
ranger's Nobz' hair heads, or rather he puts remote detonated bombs inside their heads just in case they try anything funny.
- Haemonculi, the Dark Eldar's medical scientists (i.e. Torture Technicians), also tend to wear combat gear heavily inspired by labcoats and surgical scrubs. Sometimes that's made of human skin too.
- Combat-oriented clerics in Dungeons & Dragons. One can just imagine a death effect spell being the cleric carefully and precisely snipping off a few selected blood vessels in the target's brain.
- Eberron's House Jorasco focuses on healing (and, thanks to the power of their Dragonmark, has managed to severely cut down the temples' share of the magical healing market), meaning an adventuring Heir would have some aspects of this trope by default. The Jorasco prestige class added by the Dragonmarked sourcebook fits it even better, as it models a secret sect within Jorasco that turns their healing powers to the art of diseases (as in, causing them) and harm. Given that they have to be non-good, the best case scenario is an Anti-Hero.
- Surprisingly subverted by Yawgmoth in Magic: The Gathering. Despite being the Big Bad, he was a very skilled doctor and, even if his cure for phthisis wasn't seen well, it actually worked. Even when he started adding massive doses of Body Horror, his target was always to improve his patients, not to murder them.
- The Doctor career archetype in Hunter The Vigil.
- The demonic Nurse Reficule the Fallen One in the Yu Gi Oh (used by a nurse character in the anime, as mentioned above) is this. Her effect turns any effect that restores Life Points into one that causes Effect Damage. (Basically, she does exactly the opposite of what a nurse is supposed to do. Given the fact that she's a Fallen Angel, it's no surprise.)
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Dr. McNinja, who fights in medical garb (but does so with standard ninja weapons). Played straight only once, when he had to defend himself with nothing but his stethoscope. It's broadly hinted that, while he is strong and stealthy because he's a ninja, what really makes him dangerous is his intimate knowledge of human anatomy.
- Dr. Zexion of Ansem Retort. Granted he doesn't fight with a medical motif, but he is a heartless killer, so he counts.
- He may not fight with a medical motif, but he certainly kills (and injures, and maims, and mutates) with one. Case in point: Riku's liver. Firecracker. Surgical implantation.
- Dr. Murder murders people. 'Nuff said.
- Archipelago gives us Captain Snow, who once apparently practiced as a doctor. Morally questionable procedures cost him his license, and now, he uses his anatomical knowledge primarily for torture.
- The Law of Purple has Doctor Dross, a possibly sociopathic doctor with a Hitlerstache.