"Take away the horror of the situation. Take away the tragedy of her death. Take away all the moral and ethical considerations you've had drummed into you since childhood, and what are you left with? A 105 lb. problem."Following a death, either accidental or deliberate, no matter how skilfully the responsible party covers it up, there remains the problem of disposing of the most obvious and most damning piece of evidence for the crime: the body itself. (There have been jurisdictions where no corpse means no murder.) There are numerous popular methods for doing this:
— Robert Boyd, Very Bad Things
- Body in a Breadbox: If they stash it someplace really unexpected;
- Burial at Sea/Cement Shoes, if they dump the body in a body of water;
- Carpet-Rolled Corpse, if they wrap it up in one to carry it away;
- Cleanup Crew, if they call a professional to get rid of it for them;
- Cramming the Coffin, if they put the body in an already occupied coffin that's due to be buried;
- Dead Man's Chest, if they hide it in a handy crate (or freezer, or boot of their car);
- Eat the Evidence, if they eat it / feed it to others;
- Fed to Pigs is one especially common and nightmarish way;
- Hollywood Acid, if they dissolve the body or parts thereof in some kind of corrosive chemical;
- Vehicle Roof Body Disposal, if they dump the body on top of a convenient vehicle headed away from them;
- Viking Funeral if they burn it on a pyre;
This is a Death Trope; spoilers ahoy.
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- A Doritos ad has a man see his dog burying something, which he quickly recognizes as the family cat's collar. Then the dog is up in his face, growling, and pushes a bag of Doritos with a note reading "You didn't see nuthin" towards him. At the end of the ad, we hear the man's wife asking "Have you seen the cat?"; the man looks up and sees the dog, outside the door, another bag of Doritos in his mouth.
Anime & Manga
- Higurashi: When They Cry: In Curse-Killing Chapter, Miyo Takano nonchalantly lectures Keiichi about the proper technique for disposing of the body after committing murder.
- "Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies."
- Black Lagoon has Sawyer the Cleaner, a Cute Mute Perky Goth who removes dead bodies for people by cutting them up with a chainsaw. As Roannapore is such a Wretched Hive, this is less to keep the police from catching the killers (because the cops are all thoroughly corrupt) and more to keep the bodies from stinking.
- The EC Comics story "Cold Cuts."
- Likewise in "...And All Through the House" wherein the matter is somewhat more pressing, due to the presence of a Serial Killer outside the house who our matricidal "heroine" can't simply call the police about.
- The "Kitchen Irish" arc in Garth Ennis' The Punisher MAX has an old guy who used to do this for the old Irish mob - his method being cutting the body into lots and lots of little pieces. For example, he points out the importance of covering the entire work area with trash bags prior to cutting - as well as doing it naked so as not to catch evidence in one's clothing.
- In both the comic and the film version of the Sin City story "The Big Fat Kill," after Dwight and the girls of Old Town learn that the abusive scumbag that they just killed was a hero cop, they set about disposing of him and his buddies by having Dwight dump them into the Santa Yolanda Tar Pits. Things... don't go to plan.
- Transmetropolitan: When Spider Jerusalem realizes that he's inspired The Smiler to murderous rage, he acquires Nanomachines designed to break human tissues and clothing down to monoatomic vapor, knowing he'll have to kill more than a few CIA assassins.
- Parodied in a oneshot Sinister Dexter strip. The duo dispose of the bodies of their kills in one place so many times that they're visibly piling up. They note that they need to find somewhere new.
- Camp Nightmare turns this Up to Eleven: the staff bathroom houses dozens of child bodies.
- In Black Queen, Red King, the Earth Changelings eat their kin's dead bodies and those of the humans they kill in order to keep the police and other humans from finding them. The main character also eats his own severed arm to keep it from being foundnote .
- In the Harry Potter fanfic "Bolts From The Blue'' after seeing the end result of a werewolf attack on the several Hogwarts students. Madame Bones and Head Auror Rufus Scrimigeor decide that in anyone from the Ministry was responsible for the bloodshed they would personally help Harry Potter dispose of the bodies of the perpetrators.
Films — Animated
- The Simpsons Movie has a gag where dumping in Lake Springfield was prohibited just as Fat Tony and his goons were about to dump a bag with a dead body inside into it.
Fat Tony: Very well, I shall put my yard trimmings in a car compactor.Lou: Chief, I think there was a dead body in there.Chief Wiggum: I thought so too, until he said "yard trimmings". You gotta learn to listen, Lou.
Films — Live-Action
- Casino gives a very insightful lecture on the subject (straight hole/ground burial)
Sam It's in the desert where lots of the town`s problems are solved.Nicky Got a lot of holes in the desert... and a lot of problems are buried in those holes. Except you gotta do it right. I mean, you gotta have the hole already dug before you show up with a package in the trunk. Otherwise, you're talking about a half hour or 45 minutes of diggin'. And who knows who`s gonna be comin' along in that time? Before you know it, you gotta dig a few more holes. You could be there all fuckin' night.
- Weekend at Bernie's demonstrates an alternative approach to body disposal.
- In the post-apocalyptic black comedy Delicatessen, tenants of Clapet's apartment building can buy cheap meat if they lay off the questions.
- Subverted in the film Shattered where the killers dumped a body in a chemical vat - if they'd not been in such a hurry they might have seen the sign saying Formaldehyde.
- In Pulp Fiction, Jules and Vincent dispose of the body of Marvin, who Vincent shot in the face, in a car compactor.
- Ditto in Goldfinger, where a gangster who opted out of Goldfinger's Evil Plan is assassinated, courtesy of Oddjob.
- In the Spanish film Volver, a woman hides her husband's corpse in the freezer of a restaurant while the owner is away, after her daughter kills him in self defense when he tried to molest her.
- In every version of Sweeney Todd, Todd disposes of his victims by delivering them to his butcher neighbour to grind into meat pies.
- Me, Myself & Irene has the hero and Love Interest steal a car in which they find a shovel and quicklime (highly corrosive), implying the former owner was planning to do this to someone. It is later shown that the owner was planning to do it to them.
- Le Pere Noel Est Une Ordure ("Santa Claus is Trash"), a cult French film adapted from a stage play, has the dead body cut into small chunks, individually wrapped in festive Christmas wrapping; the chunks are then launched into the enclosures of various carnivores at the zoo.
- Psycho has the in-a-trunk-in-a-car-in-a-lake variant.
- In Rear Window, after a man kills his wife, he gets the body out of the apartment by cutting it up and smuggling it in a briefcase in three trips before dumping the parts into the river.
- In The Reckless Moment, Lucia finds Darby's dead body and decides to throw it in the ocean nearby her house.
- In the famous climactic scene of Fargo, Grimsrud is caught in the act of disposing of the body of his double-crossed partner, Showalter, via wood-chipper.
- Eating Raoul uses the Eat the Evidence variety. The clue is in the title.
- Fried Green Tomatoes. Another Eat the Evidence example, the sisters make their abusive husband part of the barbecue experience.
- Shallow Grave presented the issue to a group of friends when their recently-acquired renter keels over in his room. They end up chopping him to pieces and burying him in a shallow grave. Then things start getting worse...
- In The Lady Killers, the criminals dispose of the ever-accumulating bodies by taking them to a nearby railway bridge and dumping them on passing freight trains. In the 2004 remake, set on the Mississippi, the same but with a landfill barge.
- The German Black Comedy Drei Chinesen mit dem Kontrabass has the protagonist and his friends with the body of his fiancee which he isn't sure whether he killed her or not. He didn't. So they cut the body up and borrow a grain mill from the Granola Girl next door to shred the bones.
- In the film noir Rider On The Storm, the heroine kills a rapist in her house, and then calmly proceeds to dump his corpse in the ocean. The lack of a body drives most of the plot. It's never discussed why she doesn't, say, call the police.
- The Trouble with Harry is that he's dead, several people think that they did it, and none of them want his body found anywhere that might incriminate them.
- Lethal Weapon series:
- In Lethal Weapon 2 the South African baddie invites one of his hapless henchmen into his office which is covered in plastic for an apparent renovation. The Dragon then shoots him in the head and wraps him up in the plastic. This becomes a Brick Joke when he's being chewed out later by the boss, and keeps looking down at his feet. "I'm checking to see I'm not standing on plastic."
- In Lethal Weapon 3, the Big Bad kills a mook who had failed him while he was standing in front of a form that would be turned into a foundation of one of the houses the Big Bad was making in his civilian identity. The body lands in the form, and then other mooks pour in the concrete.
- In GoodFellas, the boys bury a dead body in a relatively shallow grave and have to go back and dig him up six months later when they find out that that area is going to be developed and they'd certainly find the body — this is very bad for them because said body was a made man, and if their boss finds out, their lives are forfeit.
- Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher 3 includes a particularly long and gruesome example when Milo and his old comrade Radovan dispose of two bodies by butchering them in his restaurant.
- Very Bad Things is a Black Comedy about a bachelor party trying to cover up the fact that a stripper died in their hotel room.
- Desert Heat features bodies being dumped into a canyon from the bed of a truck multiple times.
- In Domestic Disturbance Vince Vaugn disposes of Steve Buscemi's body (this happens to Buscemi a lot) by incinerating it in a brick kiln. When the young protagonist immediately reports this to the police they handwave it away by saying that an investigation would entail expert criminal pathology.
- One of the final scenes of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is Leland disposing of the body of Laura Palmer, by wrapping her in a tarp and pushing her into the river. This, naturally, leads right into the opening scene of the TV series, to which the film is a prequel.
Pete: She's dead. Wrapped in plastic.
- In Barton Fink, we never find out what Charlie does to get rid of Audrey's body, but the police find the headless body soon afterwards and reveal that he's really "Madman" Mundt, a wanted serial killer. It's heavily implied that her head is in the box he leaves in Barton's room.
- This sets off the plot in I Know What You Did Last Summer, since what the characters did was try to dispose of the body of a hit-and-run victim.
- Nikita. The psychotic Victor the Cleaner is called in to fix up a hit that's gone wrong. After pouring Hollywood Acid over several bodies in the bathtub, he's pissed off when one body starts thrashing about as he's not actually been killed.
- In How to Get Rid of Cellulite, the protagonists plan to get rid of a body by cutting it up, tying it up to weather balloons and allowing them to float across the border. They first test the method using beef with GPS locators.
- In Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law, Zak (Played by Tom Waits) is badgered by a petty hood to "drive a car crosstown" for a thousand bucks. Halfway there, he's stopped by cops, who beeline for the car trunk, which contains a body. Obviously in on it, the cops arrest Zak, who, needless to say, has no explanation for either the car or the body.
- In the 1973 B-Movie The Baby, the female Wadsworths end up being buried in the Gentry's backyard, with a pool being built over the top of the grave. Worse, Mrs. Wadsworth was actually Buried Alive, having been pitched into the hole with her daughters' corpses after getting her legs broken before the hole was filled in!
- Rob Roy. When Grahame is killed, Rob tells one of his men to cut open his belly, put a rock in it and drop the corpse in the lake.
- In Ariel, Mikkonen requests to be buried at a dump after he's been stabbed. Kasurinen obliges him.
- Fright Night 2: New Blood: Charley sees Gerri disposing of one of her victims after she makes sure there are no cops around, wrapped up in a garbage bag.
- How To Murder Your Wife: Bash Brannigan (Jack Lemmon) carries out a "dry run" for disposing of his wife by dumping a shop-window mannequin, dressed in his wife's clothes, in a pile-hole on a construction site; when his (still living) wife finds out, she leaves him and disappears, leaving him to convince the court that he has not murdered her for real.
- The Big Bad in Ant-Man uses a Shrink Ray to murder a troublesome S.H.I.E.L.D. official in a company restroom and (to add insult to injury) scoops up what little remains there are in a paper towel and flushes it down the toilet.
- In American Gods, the junker on the frozen lake has a sacrificed adolescent in the boot, as has everyone for the last several winters.
- In Weather Wardens, an amnesiac Jo has to help Eamon bury the body of a guy she doesn't know. But a couple of other bodies vanish without a trace due to weather related issues.
- In Heinlein's novel Friday, the escape tunnel from a house the title character visits has a lime cavern attached to dissolve the bodies of those caught in that tunnel's deathtraps.
- In Two Bottles of Relish by Lord Dunsany The killer eats the body...with relish for taste..
- Edgar Allan Poe:
- "The Tell-Tale Heart": The Unreliable Narrator hides the body of his victim under the floorboards.
- In Poe's "The Black Cat," a man bricks his wife's corpse into the wall of their cellar. Unfortunately, he didn't realize the cat had jumped in with her. The cat's howling eventually alerts the police.
- In R. Austin Freeman's Dr. Thorndyke mystery The Stoneware Monkey, the victim's body is incinerated in a potter's kiln.
- In Ethan of Athos, Elli Quinn spends an entire chapter disposing of a Mook's body. "Have you ever given thought to the difficulty of getting rid of a body on a space station?"
- In the Warrior Cats series, Hollyleaf attempts to dispose of Ashfur's body by tossing it in a stream, hoping he'll be swept into the lake, the Clan would think he just mysteriously vanished, and that would be the end of it. Things don't exactly go as planned.
- In A Storm of Swords, Tyrion Lannister's hired sword Bronn is sent to kill a blackmailer, and says he'll get rid of the body in one of the stew shops of The City Narrows.
Tyrion: Remind me never to eat there.
- Discussed in the Jeeves and Wooster story "Jeeves Takes Charge", in which Bertie wonders how those murderer chappies get about it (fortunately all he has to dispose of is a book).
- In Native Son, after Bigger accidentally kills Mary Dalton, he considers several ways of disposing her body before deciding on incinerating her in the furnace. It doesn't work.
- In The Picture of Dorian Gray, after Dorian stabs Basil Hallward to death, he has to do this soon before he's found out and executed for murder. He does so via blackmailing an old lover, Alan Campbell, into disposing of Basil's corpse for him under threat of revealing their affairs. Alan reluctantly does so and then is Driven to Suicide.
- In Sweet Silver Blues, Garret and Morley kill one of the thugs that ambush them in Full Harbor. To get rid of the body, Garrett drives them to the red-light district while Morley feigns an argument in the back of their coach, cussing out the corpse for passing out drunk so early in the evening. They stop at a bordello, park the corpse at a corner table, and tell the house staff to leave their buddy alone to sleep it off. After taking their turns upstairs, they leave, knowing that the bordello's operators will dispose of the corpse quietly once they realize the "drunk" is dead.
- The Godfather:
- The Corleones dump bodies they want to make disappear in the harbor or bury them in Jersey, but a mortician that asks the Don for a favor in the beginning is terrified that he might be asked to dispose of a corpse but instead, Vito asks him to embalm his son.
- Then there's the infamous "Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes" scene. The Don's most feared and loyal hit man vanishes around the same time his boss is gunned down, causing some debates in the family whether he turned on them or one of the other family's killed him. Then the Tattalias send them Brasi's bulletproof vest wrapped around a dead fish, and their questions are answered.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star, Lorenzo Smythe, an acting legend in his own mind, has to dispose of three bodies by cutting them up into pieces small enough to go through the oubliette. He's squicked at this until he puts himself into the mindset of one of his characters — "the worst of sadistic psychopaths, who had enjoyed dismembering his victims."
- The Bastard Operator from Hell series regularly brings up the topic usually in regards as to its application to various users, consultants, or bosses. Usually involving carpet and lime, though occasionally building sites or other methods feature.
- Scott Adams, in one of his books, suggested a product specifically designed for this purpose, to be called the "Abra Cadaver".
- In Chain Letter, the teenagers resort to the simple method of a shallow desert grave.
- Wilt, Hen-pecked college lecturer Henry Wilt, victim of an obscene practical joke involving an inflatable sex-doll, dresses it in his wife's clothes and throws it down a pile hole on a construction site (due to be filled with concrete); when his wife goes away on an improptu holiday, Wilt must convince the police he has not disposed of her for real.
Live Action TV
- In the Bottom episode "Gas", Richie and Eddie believe they've managed to kill the Gas inspector when they knocked him out with a frying pan (and hit him a few more times after he hit the floor for good measure). They decide to add an extra entry to his diary ("Left in high spirits, to indulge in my hobby of Bus surfing.") and post his body out of the window onto the roof of a double decker bus.
- In Breaking Bad, the first attempt to get rid of a drug dealer's corpse goes badly wrong when the hydrofluoric acid eats through the bottom of the bathtub and then the floor, dumping a vile pile of half-digested body bits and acid onto the floor below. If you don't vomit, you'll crack up. There later efforts at disposing bodies are less disastrous, thanks to barrels that resist the acid.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Lorne: Oh, relax. It's just a buzz saw. Nothing to get worked up over. It's Gunn and Wes down in the basement. They're dismembering that armor-plated demon.Fred: Oh, right. Well, there's been an awful lot of dismembering going on in that basement lately, if you ask me.
- This becomes a plot point in the episode "Dead Things". The Trio commit an Accidental Murder and get rid of the body by making Buffy think she killed the victim. Spike then tries to dispose of the body and stop Buffy from turning herself in to the police.
- Mostly averted throughout the series, as vampires tend to ash upon destruction because the writers didn't want a good chunk of the episode to involve teenagers trying to dispose of bodies. The episode "The Wish" Lampshaded it when Buffy kills a demon in the opening act and has to figure out how to get rid of the body.
- The problem occurs more often in the spin-off series Angel; usually played for Black Comedy with disposal presented as a messy business involving An Axe to Grind and being Covered in Gunge. Some demons require different methods.
- Done ineptly by Faith Lehane after she accidentally kills the deputy mayor. She ties weights to it and dumps it in a lake, but the weights apparently come loose and the body is eventually found. The splinters in the heart wound tips off the season Big Bad as to who did it. Ironically, the problem could have been avoided had Faith gone to her Watcher first; when Buffy explains the matter, she is told that the Watcher's Council is aware that such "accidents" can occur and they have measures for handling them, implying that the Council had disposed of accidents in the past.
- Frequently on CSI; one notable example being a man who gets stuck in concrete trying to dispose of one at a construction site. Which Catherine thinks is a CMoF.
- Dexter can't really be excluded from this trope considering his thoughtfully planned and executed methods of disposing of bodies. Not only does he completely cover a small room in plastic sheeting and prepare the scene, has everything he needs to both torture his victim (a villainous criminal implied to have no chance for redemption) with pictures of his victims, collect blood for his blood slide collection, then stab the victim in the chest, chop up the body, wrap it up in garbage bags, and deposit them at sea with his boat in the dead of night. Originally he weighted the backs down with rocks and had them sink, but that cache was discovered. He then changed to dumping them in a current which would take them out to sea, ensuring even if they were found, they couldn't be traced. All the while posing as the upbeat forensic blood spatter analyst for the police. Trope mastered.
- When his cache was discovered and he was forced to investigate it, he wound up discussing this trope with Masuka. Masuka instantly and casually listed the Everglades (presumably for alligators), pig farms, acid, wood-chipper...
- One episode of Diagnosis: Murder (that was kind of a ghost story) has one corpse turned into an exhibit skeleton.
- In Dollhouse, Boyd makes Topher do this (hacking the body up and dissolving it) with a death that he technically allowed to learn that "actions have consequences".
- In the first season of Downton Abbey, Mary has to get rid of the body of a Turkish diplomat who dies in her bedroom, where he's emphatically not supposed to have been in the first place. The trope is Downplayed, as she doesn't mind the body being found; it's just necessary that it be found somewhere that won't lead to a massive life-ruining scandal for her.
- In Heroes:
- Jessica buried bodies in the desert.
- Sylar didn't bother with disposal.
- The Company had cleanup crews.
- Angela burned the body of the original Nathan Petrelli.
- On Misfits, the main characters often end up having to covertly dispose of the many corpses that result from their adventures; being young offenders on probation, they firmly believe that they'd be blamed for the deaths even in cases when it honestly wasn't their fault- and given the state of the police in the neighbourhood, they're probably right.
- In the first episode, they bury the bodies of Gary and Tony under a flyover. A few episodes later, it turns out that an environmental monitoring station is due to be built there, so they have to hide the bodies in their local community centre; eventually, the corpses are returned to the flyover and dumped in the wet concrete foundations of the building site.
- Next season, after learning that the body of Sally the probation worker has been hidden upstairs in a freezer for the last couple of weeks, they wrap up the corpse in garbage bags, weigh it down with cinderblocks and dump it in the nearby lake.
- After Superhoodie (AKA: Future Simon) is fatally wounded, he requests a Viking Funeral from Alisha to ensure that nobody ever learns his Secret Identity. She tearfully obliges.
- The third season kicks off with the Misfits having to dispose of yet more bodies: this time, it's the villain of the week and her victim, both of whom are buried in some decently forested territory.
- A mind-controlling villain of the week is given a Viking Funeral by Simon. Exactly as the villain intended.
- Not long after Shaun dies from being stabbed by Jen in Kelly's body, the team bury him as well; we don't see the burial actually happen, but Rudy does ask to borrow Seth's car so the body can be safely transported.
- Episode seven has arguably the highest disposal count of the entire series: in this case, the team have to bury the bodies of Shannon Speers, all six zombified cheerleaders, and their new probation worker. For good measure, Seth has to do all the work because it was his fault that Shannon was resurrected as a zombie in the first place.
- In the series three finale, Alisha is murdered by a ghost; with no evidence that her killer even existed, the Misfits are forced to bury the corpse in the same forest as the last few victims.
- On one episode in NCIS, a drug agent in South America is embalmed alive. That of course is Hollywood Tactics: the most sensible thing would have been to dump the body in the jungle for scavengers to render it unrecognizable. If anyone by a miracle found that it was a murder they would assume it had been done by the drug cartels long ago (which was of course not the case in this episode).
- In another, a body is found buried 18" underground prompting a discussion between Gibbs and Ducky as to why humans are buried six feet down. According to the writers, that's how deep they have to be so animals don't smell them and dig them up.
Gibbs: I said I know.
- In another, a body is found buried 18" underground prompting a discussion between Gibbs and Ducky as to why humans are buried six feet down. According to the writers, that's how deep they have to be so animals don't smell them and dig them up.
- Played for laughs in Fawlty Towers. John Cleese, on Parkinson:
Well, we used to ask people. I had a friend called Andrew Lehmann, who'd worked in the restaurant business, and I knew he'd worked at the Savoy, and I said, "Andrew, what was the worst problem you had at the Savoy?" and he said, "Getting rid of the stiffs." And... your heart leaps with joy, because he's just given you a thirty-minute episode in one comment.
- Apparently, the Savoy Hotel in London has some sort of special allure for gentlemen who would check in, order the finest room service, then down an entire bottle of sleeping pills.
- The Wire:
- The Greeks in season two have a very simple process; cut off the head and hands to make identification difficult, and dump it in a body of water. It's foiled when one of their victims has a recognisable tattoo on his knee.
- Marlo's hit squad Chris and Snoop have a genius system that allows them to off a huge number of rival dealers before the police start to notice (22 bodies are eventually recovered, but their actual hit count is unknown). They take them at gunpoint into one of hundreds of derelict row-houses, kill them and cover the body in lime to hide the smell, then wrap them in a plastic sheet and board the house back up. From then on, as far as anybody knows, it's just one of the many, many abandoned buildings in Baltimore.
- Other methods are discussed at times, including using a rogue funeral home, (one owned by gangsters or where the criminals have control of the owners) to either hide the bodies or more permanently dispose of it. At one point veteran detective Lester Freamon recalls a certain park that was a popular dumping ground, (to the point where training young police there about how to find bodies and what to do at the crime scene when you did could turn into an all day affair) and when the police initially can't find Marlo's victims, Lester theorizes that Marlo may be dumping them into the sewer system.
- In Wire in the Blood, a hospital nurse has access to the perfect way of disposing of her victims: they go into the hospital's cremation furnace.
- Subverted in the Masters of Horror piece Family. Harold is introduced dissolving a corpse in a bathtub. It turns out he is a deranged man who keeps the skeletons and treats them as actual living persons.
- Adam and Jamie tested the ease of moving and burying a body on the Halloween 2012 episode of MythBusters. They were able to perform tasks with simulated cadavers fairly easily (stuffing them in a closet, shoving them out a window, etc.), but Jamie needed over two hours to dig a 2-foot-deep grave when he ran into hard-packed earth. Result: moving the body was "plausible," but digging the grave quickly was "busted." (The latter is Lampshaded in Casino, which recommends digging the grave ahead of time.)
- In a Breaking Bad special, they found that hydrofluoric acid wasn't corrosive enough destroy a body with any speed, and decided to find an acid that would — settling on an undisclosed ("we're not in the business of showing people how to dispose of bodies") mixture of sulphuric acid And Some Other Stuff. Even that failed to eat through the tub and the floor.
- Pops up frequently in The Sopranos. Cement Shoes / Burial at Sea (after some body hacking) is the standard method of choice but straight ground burial is also used. It tends to generate problems in the long-term as the threat of unburial and discovery is always a possibility. The trope is discussed in an early episode, where Big Pussy explains to Chris why it's better for a dead rival mobster to "disappear" than for them to send a message by leaving his corpse somewhere it'll be found.
- One of the guys on The Blacklist specialized in getting rid of bodies.
- In Season 2, a Serial Killer who plans to set himself up as a modern-day Bogeyman is found to have got hold of a bus and a huge load of sodium hydroxide via his underworld contacts. He uses the bus to kidnap some schoolchildren whom he plans to have disappear so no-one will ever know what happened to them. The police rescue the children, and find stacked on pallets a drum of sodium hydroxide for each child, with the paperwork already filled out to have them shipped to India for disposal.
- In the finale of Season 2 Luther has to get rid of a psychotic gangster killed in self-defense by the woman he's hiding in his flat. At the same time an ex-cop working as an enforcer is trying to find out what happened to his boss. At first Luther hides the body on the roof of his apartment complex, but has to get rid of it when the enforcer comes around, dragging it into the lift in a huge sports bag. The enforcer catches Luther locking the trunk of his car and forces him to open it at gunpoint, revealing the bag...is full of sports equipment. Later the police answer an anonymous tip-off and find the body hidden in the enforcer's car. When he realises he's been set up the enforcer flees, expressing admiration for Luther's cunning.
- Wiseguy. Vinnie Terranova uses this trope to advantage when called on to kill someone, as he's actually an undercover federal agent. One time he shows his boss a body (donated from a medical facility) buried in quicklime so it's unrecognizable, while the intended victim is actually in witness protection. On another occasion Vinnie turns up with an urn full of ashes, rather startling the boss in that case as when he told Vinnie to "get rid of him" he actually meant to throw him off the premises.
- In the short-lived series Missing Persons, a girl is missing and her rich-kid boyfriend is suspected of murdering her. A cop poses as a pimp and sells him a hooker for the night, only to wake him up the next day screaming in his face that he's killed her with rough sex. Faced with this problem and a Scary Black Man roughing him up, the kid blurts out a good place to dump her corpse. The cop goes there and sure enough finds the dead girlfriend, which he reports to the police in an 'anonymous' tip.
- Orphan Black: Sarah (posing as Beth) buries Katja in a gravel pit after Katja gets shot in Beth's car. The next day, Sarah has to go to Beth's detective job... and discovers that some idiot dumped a body next to an active mining site. Whoops. Luckily for her, Katja's body rolled into a gravel crusher, so the cops don't immediately realize that their corpse looks exactly like one of their detectives.
- Game of Thrones. After landing in Dorne for a secret mission, Jaime Lannister and his sellsword Bronn have to fight a cavalry patrol, then waste valuable time burying the bodies. Or rather, Bronn has to do the burying, as Jaime only has one hand.
Jaime: Corpses raise questions, questions raise armies. We're not here to start a war.
- Person of Interest:
- In "Cura Te Ipsum", Reese realises the doctor who's this week's POI is planning to murder the serial rapist responsible for the death of her sister.
Reese: Doctor has everything she needs to erase Benton for good.Finch: What do you mean, "erase"?Reese: Eight pounds of lye, heated to 300 degrees. Body will dissolve in three hours, give or take.Finch: I will refrain from asking how you know that.
- In the pilot episode, Detective Fusco takes Reese out to Oyster Bay to be disposed of. Unfortunately he doesn't take the precaution of killing him first, and our One-Man Army easily turns the tables. At the end of the episode, Reese leaves Detective Stills, the (dead) leader of the ring of corrupt police in Fusco's trunk, so Fusco has to take him out to Oyster Bay instead.
- "In Extremis" it's played for tearjerker effect in a flashback in where we see Fusco breaking down crying over Stills' body as he drags him out into the woods. Meanwhile Internal Affairs think Fusco murdered Stills, so they use satellite technology to find disturbed earth in Oyster Bay. Fortunately when they go to dig it up, Carter has already located (with the help of a friendly dog) and moved Stills' body.
- In a flashback, a young Elias survived thanks to two mobsters trying to make this easier for themselves. They have been ordered to kill Elias but do not want the hassle of having to get his body out of the city to a burial site. Instead they trick Elias into driving with them out to the woods where they can kill him and bury his body. Elias is savvy enough to realize what is going on and ends up killing the two mobsters instead. He then buries their bodies in the hole that was meant for him.
- In "Cura Te Ipsum", Reese realises the doctor who's this week's POI is planning to murder the serial rapist responsible for the death of her sister.
- Semi-facetiously Discussed in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit when Stuckey (who has spent several episodes getting on everybody's nerves, especially Stabler's) makes a paperwork error that lets a killer go free:
Stabler: I'll kill him.
O'Halloran: I'll dump the body.
- On Orange Is the New Black, after one of Kubra's men infiltrates Litchfield and attacks Alex, Lolly beats the crap out of him, and Alex finishes the job by suffocating him. Neither one of them know what to do next, so one of the other inmates (who is an admitted Serial Killer) calmly and precisely helps them cut up the body, and bury the pieces in the garden. (The idea being that since the soil is turned frequently, as one would expect, most people would not think to look for a body in a garden. It does get found during a construction project later in the season, however.
- Played for Laughs in one episode of El Chavo del ocho, when as usual, Chavo accidentally hits Mr. Barriga in the head when he arrives to the vecindad, and when he doesn't get back up, the kids think Chavo actually killed him (he's just playing dead to scare them). Don Ramón later plays along with Mr. Barriga by offering the kids to "hide the body" at his house for the time being, and at night, Mr. Barriga pretends to return as a ghost.
- Motive: A large chunk of "Bad Blonde" consists of the killer and her best friend attempting to work out the best way to dispose of the corpse of the Victim of the Week. They still have the body when they are arrested; although they had finally settled on cutting the body up and dropping the pieces off a boat.
- "Dead Body Disposal" by Necro gives various advice on how to dispose of a body and make it harder to find.
- The Dixie Chicks "Goodbye Earl" uses a tarp and a remote, rural lake to get rid of Wanda's abusive ex-husband.
- The music video for "Lay It Down (Saturday Night)" by Samantha Fish features Fish in the woods, digging a grave for the body of a man who tried to cheat her in a poker game.
- Our Miss Brooks: In the penultimate radio episode, "New Girl in Town," Harriet Conklin tricks the eponymous "new girl's" mother into believing Mr. Boynton and Miss Brooks are burying Mr. Boynton's old girlfriends in the athletic field. In reality, Mr. Boynton and Miss Brooks are only burying the bodies of Mr. Boynton's dead lab mice.
- In the Suspense episode "The Pasteboard Box," a man murders his twin brother and dismembers the body to dispose of it more easily, but just can't get rid of the pasteboard box containing the head.
- In Liberal Crime Squad, you need to dispose of the bodies of your fallen comrades before you can use their equipment.
- After Vito comes back from prison in Mafia II, he, Joe, and Eddie Scarpa celebrate with lots of drinks at the Cathouse, but Eddie forgets until after he and Joe are plastered that he has a body in the trunk of his car that needs burying.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, one sidequest has the Warden getting rid of the "evidence" of deals gone bad. The quest is made easy by a convenient public well. It's best not to think about the people who drink from it.
- A lot of Ace Attorney cases have this in some form. Ranging from stuffing the body into a safe to the much more obvious and used throwing the body into a lake. Of course, it never actually goes to plan for the killer.
- A lot of other cases subvert this, by instead using the body in such a way as to throw suspicion anyway from them or onto another person. A lot of killers actually purposely try and lead people to the body, as part of their plan. An example of this comes in Dual Destinies in case 3, where the killer used the way, time and place the body was found to make it seem as though he couldn't possibly be the culprit.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV, you deliver two bodies to an organ harvester, and later help a murderous husband dispose of his wife's body.
- In Grand Theft Auto III, a car compactor and a dog food factory are used for the same purpose.
- In Ka-Ge-Ki, losers, although presumably knocked out rather than dead, get picked up by the referee and thrown into a convenient manhole.
- In Yandere Simulator, if you leave a corpse lying around until the end of the school day, a teacher will eventually find it before closing the school and contact the police, and Yandere-chan will end up going to prison. To prevent this, you need to toss the body (along with your blood-stained clothes and, if another student caught you and is running to the cops, the murder weapon) into a trash incinerator and burn it.
- In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, disposing of a body is a simple as a click of a helpfully-labeled button when looting a corpse. Since nobody exactly cares for dead bodies in the game, however, its main function is to clean the floors so the body in question doesn't block access to whatever it collapsed onto.
- In No One Lives Forever 2, one of the gadgets Cate can acquire is a body-dissolving spray, which is handy, since the guards raise an alarm whenever they spot a dead body. For some reason, it only works on dead bodies, but Fridge Horror ensues in regards to what it could do to a living body, if one spray is enough to completely dissolve 80 kg of human flesh, bone, and clothing into thin air.
- In Metroid: Other M the Deleter disposes of one of his victims by throwing the body into a pit of lava.
- In Dayshift at Freddy's, this is one of your tasks in the first game's Purple Guy route.
- In The Other Grey Meat, John must dispose of Ole Corpsey™ after he discovers his remains in the bunker.
- In one 8-Bit Theater comic, Black Mage tried to cut up a corpse and deposit it in numerous garbage disposals. What he didn't count on was that his knife, usually used to stab his 'friends', couldn't handle the bones. Not that he's a first time murderer or anything.
- In The Letters Of The Devil, Chuck reveals that he had an aide dispose of Lucy Tripp's body.
- Niels once asked the manager of his recycling plant how he gets rid of bodies. He holds up a bag of fertilizer that he explains is 10% recycled ash.
- In The Order of the Stick, Redcloak disposes of Tsukiko's body by having mind-controlled ghouls eat it. Then having the ghouls eat each other. And the last ghoul set itself on fire. He's... thorough like that. In this case, the disposal is presumably for the sake of preventing the body being raised or spoken to, since he's very candid about having committed the murder.
- This has happened enough times on Archer that "I shall fetch a rug" has become a Running Gag.
- "Training Day" had Archer and Cyril planning to bury a dead hooker ( who was just paralyzed) after smuggling her body out in a rug.
- "Killing Utne" had Malory taking care of a dead UN official and his high-class call girl companion by breaking into her hated neighbor's apartment, staging the scene to look like a murder-suicide, then burning the bodies.
- Probably reached its peak with "Lo Scandalo", in which Mallory ropes in Archer, Lana and Dr. Krieger to help her dispose of the body of the Italian Prime Minister, who's been assassinated in her apartment. Krieger's solution is to hack the body up in a bathtub and use the rest of the agents to dispose of the pieces in separate trashcans spread out across the city. At the end, we're left wondering whether it was actually Mallory who killed him.
- One episode of Family Guy had Lois attempting to dump a body in the river in order to protect her son Chris (who she thought killed the man, but in reality, he didn't). Things got complicated when a policeman came by, but Stewie handled the situation by sliding himself into the collar of the man's shirt and acting like it was his body.
- SpongeBob SquarePants, "The Nasty Patty": Spongebob and Mr. Krabs think they killed the health inspector (he's just unconscious) and try to dispose of the "body". Burying doesn't work because of the rain (underwater, I know, just go with it), and two cops arrive on the scene to give them a ride back to the Krusty Krab, so they hide it in the trunk of the squad car and then hide it in the freezer (but not before Spongebob has to bring him through the front door, hidden under his hat, because the back door was locked). And then the cops ask for ice...
- Rocko's Modern Life episode "Ed is Dead: A Thriller", in which Rocko thought he saw Bev Bighead murdering Ed Bighead (she was actually working on a sculpture of him and it fell over and broke), gave many Red Herrings on how she supposedly did this: first Rocko saw her throw a bag (actually containing her failed art project) into a hole shaped like Mr. Bighead (Ed gave her a shovel with a head molded in his likeness for their anniversary), then he saw her take a suitcase out of the house ala Rear Window (but was actually going to the dry cleaners with it), and finally Rock found what he at first thought was Mr. Bighead's preserved body in the basement (like in Psycho), but was actually the neighborhood mad dog that who proceeded to rip him apart.
- In 1978 short Special Delivery, a mailman slips and dies on an icy porch. The panicked homeowner has to figure out how to get rid of the body.
- Numerous instances, but the most famous incident would be Jimmy Hoffa. He was last seen in 1975, and his body has yet to be found.
- Siri used to display a list of options as a joke in response to the question "I need to hide a body", including locations such as mines and iron foundries. This is no longer the case, after stories began to circulate that an actual murderer named Pedro Bravo tried to use Siri for actual body-disposal advice. While this was later shown to not be true, it was decided that Siri's original responses constituted a major case of Dude, Not Funny! and were promptly removed.