"They're the kind of dames who can wear floor-length gowns and look completely naked. The kind with hair piled up on their head like compliant serpents, or falling down in smooth lustrous waves. Dames with hard faces and mocking smiles and eyes that sized you up and found you wanting… but you’d do, for now."First, she turns you on. Then, she turns on you. The typical client in a Hardboiled Detective story (French for "fatal woman," idiomatically "woman to die for"). You know the type. Dressed all in black with legs up to here and shady motives, she slinks into the PI's office, sometimes holding a cigarette on a long, long holder, saying "Oh, Mr. Rockhammer, you're the only one who can help me find out who killed my extremely wealthy husband." Did she do it? Do I care? Wait, where'd that saxophone music come from? Whatever her story is, whether she did it or not, she's definitely keeping some secrets. The Femme Fatale is sexy and she knows it. Made famous by Film Noir and hard-boiled detective stories, she manipulates and confuses The Hero with her undeniable aura of sexiness and danger. Unlike the virginal and sweet Damsel in Distress (or possibly Action Girl), the Femme Fatale exploits with everything she's got to wrap men around her finger. (In some eras, use of make-up is a tell-tale sign.) He knows that she's walking trouble and knows much more about the bad guys than she should, but damn it if he can't resist her feminine wiles. If the Femme Fatale is vying for the hero's romantic attentions she will likely have a sweeter and purer rival. The hero might decide that she's not worth the trouble she causes, but if he doesn't, then they might become an Outlaw Couple. While related to The Vamp, the Femme Fatale is not just any seductress; she has a distinct look and feel. The main distinction is how she presents herself. If you know she's dangerous from the start, but she's sexy enough that you don't care, she's likely a Femme Fatale. On a lesser note, the Femme Fatale generally uses sensuality instead of upfront sexual advances. She may imply that you could have sex later, but she'll never promise it, not even say it—that would decrease her air of mystery and power. Her wiles may include apparent helplessness and distress, and appeals to the man's greed, desire for revenge, or gullibility, as well as the implication of possible romance or sexual rewards, while The Vamp more often reliances on raunchy sex or the promise of it sometime real soon. The Femme Fatale is generally villainous, and heroic exceptions—in an artificial context to snare the bad guy—are closer to Heroic Seductress. Frequently, she is a Wild Card, changing sides according to her own desires and goals; she does not often go through a High-Heel–Face Turn. If she's actually a kind-hearted person who puts on this facade just for fun, this is Trickster Girlfriend. She's often the Lady in Red but possibly dressed like everyone else so as to not be Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. The Femme Fatale is one of the female character types that can often be seen wearing High Class Gloves, especially in conjunction with her sexy evening gowns, and, during the daytime (particularly in old Film Noir movies), is often seen wearing a "fascinator" or "pillbox" hat with a partial- or full-face veil. She's definitely not above using the Kiss of Distraction. If she can fight, too, then she's really going to be trouble. Subtrope of Manipulative Bastard. The younger version of this is the Fille Fatale. The spy version of this is Femme Fatale Spy. This item is available from the Trope Co. catalog.
— James Lileks, The Bleat for February 7, 2003
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Lupin III's Fujiko Mine is anime's primary and longest-running example. She's a doll and she knows it, often using her sex appeal to charm her way into her mark's good graces, while plotting to rob them blind. Naturally, Lupin can't resist the challenge of trying to smooth talk her into bednote , despite usually being left empty-handed.
- Nao Yuuki from Mai Hime, with claws to match. She uses her feminine wiles to lure overly eager sexual predators with promises of dating them and separate them from their money as a sort-of revenge for the family she lost: thugs robbed her family, killed her father, and left her mom in a Convenient Coma. (Oh, and she can fight, too.)
- Bitch-sensei Irina Jelavic from Assassination Classroom. Before coming to class 3-E, she was a assassin famous for her Honey Trap method. Now that she is a teacher, she's more than willing to pass her skills to her students and at least two of them are already on the way to become this trope.
- Barbara in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, specifically the Crashtown Arc. She not only used her charms to gain Yusei's trust, only to betray him later (and then offer to spare him if she willingly submitted to him, something he refused) she later betrayed her original lover, showing true loyalty — apparently — to her equally-rotten boyfriend (husband in the dub) Lotten, and was, like him, one of the few villains in the franchise incapable of redemption. (Ironically, despite the fact that she didn't duel even once — whether she even did that or not isn't even known — Barbara remains one of the most hated villains in the franchise by fans.)
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, there is Due, the second Number, who infiltrated the Grand Cathedral of the Sankt Kaiser Church ten years before the story began. As a Master of Disguise, she pretended to be an innocent looking sister and seduced an unnamed priest in charge and persuaded him to steal the Shroud of the Sankt Kaiser for her. The DNA of Olivie Sägebrecht were used by the Big Bad Jail Scaglietti to create a clone of her, Vivio Takamachi, Nanoha's (and Fate's) adopted daughter.
- Soti from Cyber Weapon Z left Park Iro for Leiting and at first looks like an indecisive Dark Mistress. However, she's not above infiltrating the Shaolin temple to spy on the man she once loved and gain information for her new boyfriend, but usually doesn't act directly against him out of respect for what they once had. Iro is often troubled by her presence since her sweet face and apparent harmlessness still get to his heart, despite the fact that she's a quite capable Dark Action Girl.
- Bubblegum Crisis: In the public eye, Sylia Stingray is the modest entrepreneur of the Silky Doll fashion boutique. But, away from prying eyes, she's an alluring businesswoman who brokers backwater deals with wealthy clients and informants in high-level government positions, who also act as her eyes and ears against the Genom Corporation. And while she doesn't mind them looking, she makes it clear that her body is never part of the deal.
- The enigmatic Kaworu Nagisa of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame is the Ambiguously Gay male equivalent. He turns up in The Hero's lonely life to seduce him, note all while secretly moving toward his own morally questionable goal. Like many female examples of this trope, he's less evil than he is misguided, and in the end, after presumably falling in love with The Hero, he redeems himself through a Heroic Sacrifice.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, many female ghouls fall into this category.
- Rize Kamishiro is a beautiful and sadistic Ghoul that enjoys preying on men. She uses her good looks to seduce her victims, often playing coy and innocent to draw them in before revealing her true nature. The story is kicked off when she appears as the mysterious and beautiful girl at the coffee shop that ill-fated Kaneki asks on a date. She plays the damsel, faking tears and asking him to walk her home because she's afraid of doing it alone... then attempts to eat him once she has him in a suitably deserted area. After being transformed into a Half-Human Hybrid as a result of receiving a transplant from her, one of Kaneki's primary goals is to learn who Rize actually was and what made her abandon her original identity and spend her life on the run.
- Nutcracker, from the sequel. A beautiful ghoul obsessed with money, she works in a hardcore S&M club as a Dominatrix as a means to meet potential victims. Arranging to meet clients outside the club, she lures them to private locations in order to eat them. Besides that, she also works for a human trafficking ring and lures young women with the promise of well-paying jobs.
- Inari of Princess Jellyfish uses her good looks to bend men to her will. It doesn't work on Shu though.
- Played with in Yuri!!! on Ice: When Yuri performs his Eros program, he uses the Femme Fatale archetype as inspiration, figuring that "feminine seductress" is truer to his personality than "masculine playboy."
- Not surprisingly, due to its noirish roots, Sin City has quite a few. Almost every female character counts, and Dwight is the one that gets in trouble with them as they tend to go back and forth between Damsel in Distress and The Vamp. The most triumphant example from the series is in The Babe Wore Red. Dwight said it best:
Dwight: The moment I lay eyes on her, I know I'm in trouble.
- Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (of Criminal fame) places a horror spin on this trope which also serves to make the femme fatale in question more sympathetic; it's implied that she's supernaturally cursed to forever remain young and beautiful, and the spell also works to cause men to fall hopelessly in love with her to the point where it leads to their own ruin. It's clearly established that she hates her life and the effect that she has on men, but can't escape it.
- Batman's Rogues Gallery gives us quite a few, with Poison Ivy and Catwoman standing out. They have both repeatedly tried to beguile him, though Poison Ivy cheats by using pheromones. And well, Batman technically is a detective who lives in a Vice City...
- Talia in Brody's Ghost is a very unusual version of the trope. She's not explicitly played up for sex appeal as she's a dead teenager, but she's the one who enters Brody's life to set him on a "case", in this case catching the Penny Murderer, has a sweeter and less snarky opposite in Brody's ex Nicole, and is revealed to be way more manipulative, immoral, and untrustworthy than she lets on. Thanks to her involvement, Brody's already crappy life is completely destroyed by the end of the series, with things only getting better thanks to outside help.
- Blacksad: Surprisingly, mostly averted for a comic so steeped in 1950s Film Noir. Of Blacksad's love interests, Natalia Wilford is The Lost Lenore for Blacksad whose worst crime was being a bit of a vain woman, and Alma Mayer is a Brainy Brunette Nice Girl. Jezebel Karup sort of fits the archetype, but is really a subversion of the trope since the person she seduced to lead him to his doom is not the detective hero but the leader of a racist lynch mob who also happens to be her father.
- The female Interrogator in "Nubby's Girlfriend" betrays the All Guardsmen Party in the middle of a mission.
Films — Animation
- The Incredibles has Mirage, who lures Mr. Incredible onto a desert island where the Big Bad can kill him, although she does pull a Heel–Face Turn and begins helping his family when her Big Bad Boss's mistreatment of her goes too far. It is also strongly implied that Mirage feels something for Mr Incredible, even if she knows he is married and with children.
Films — Live-Action
- Brigid O'Shaughnessy from The Maltese Falcon is one of the earliest examples in noir fiction. She's directly involved in betrayal, theft, and several murders all while trying to play innocent to (not to mention seduce) the lead character throughout most of the film and the book.
- Kathie Moffat (no relation) from Out of the Past is the quintessential film noir example. She lies, steals, kills at least three people and conspires to commit another murder, uses sex to ensnare men to do what she wants, and she looks great in a cocktail dress.
- Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct is one of the most iconic examples in modern filmmaking. No surprise, seeing as how the entire film is a 90's update on the Film Noir genre. She seduces both men and women to attain her goals, tempts Nick with her emotional vulnerability after Roxy's death, and probably committed all the murders.
- Selina Kyle has always been a classic example, but the way Anne Hathaway portrays her in The Dark Knight Rises takes it to a whole new level. Suffering from a major case of Heel–Face Revolving Door, her tough, street-smart cat burglar is as elegant as she is dangerous, something Bruce Wayne both notices and forgets when he's in her presence. Director Christopher Nolan claims that he has always envisioned Catwoman as an "old-school femme fatale".
- Summer in Definitely, Maybe is the sexually adventurous "bitch" that destroyed her boyfriend's career to advance her own.
- Phyllis Dietrichson from the classic noir Double Indemnity. She starts an affair with Walter Neff, an insurance agent. Together, they convince her husband to take a life insurance, then kill him and Make It Look Like an Accident so they could collect the money.
- Another great noir performance by Barbara Stanwyck as Martha Ivers in the The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. She kills her aunt as a young child, and stops at nothing to make sure no one finds out.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Angelica is very flirtatious towards Jack and tends to manipulate him to do her father's bidding.
- The mermaids use their charms to ensare sailors to their deaths.
- Europa trilogy by Lars von Trier has two examples. Because these are Lars Von Trier movies, both characters are examples of ruthless deconstruction of Femme Fatale trope, both utterly fail their agenda and turn out to be extreme versions of Jerkass Woobie trope.
- In The Element of Crime, there is Kim, Asian prostitute, who slept with Serial Killer the protagonist is looking out for, and she tries to misguide the protagonist, but fails and, in the end she can do nothing but cry, when he watches how the man who was, in fact, her real lover and father of her child is hanged by himself.
- The other example is Katharina Hartmann from Europa, who seduces the hero, makes him fall in love with her and maryy her, exploiting her image of Innocent Bystander who merely got involved with Nazi underground, while in fact she was a Honey Trap for the hero, and she drove her father to suicide, and tried to make the hero commit bombing killing many allied officers. She utterly fails at the end, and is killed along with every major character in the movie by suicidal bombing of the train by the protagonist.
- The shade of Mal in Inception. She killed or tried to kill someone in about every other scene she was in, but she still gave the hero pause when he was faced with stopping her.
- Tae-ju in Thirst, who seduces Sang-hyun, convinces him to murder her husband and turn her into a vampire, then turns into a gleeful killer.
- Jessica from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She's a toon clearly created by some artist to be the perfect example, from her dangerous good looks and sultry voice, to the slinky way she moves. Even her smile is suspicious. It turns out that she's the Red Herring and was telling the truth all along. She really isn't bad! Just drawn that way.
- Viper from The Wolverine, kills with a kiss… literally. She does know how to use her considerable sexuality as a weapon.
- Naked Weapon is all about a Murder, Inc. organization that kidnaps and trains young Asian girls to seduce and kill their male targets. Their favorite method of killing the target is to rip out the spinal cord, which they can do in a blink of an eye. Often, they will first have sex with the mark and then offer a massage. Cue the spine attack.
- Dr. Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. She seduces both Indiana and his father to gain vital information for the Nazi’s mission to find the Holy Grail. Like most femme fatales, she couldn’t overcome her biggest Fatal Flaw - greed. In a Literal Cliffhanger, she thought she could reach the grail with a free hand in time for Indiana to pull her up. Unfortunately, he can’t hold her slippery gloved hand and she falls to her death.
- Vivian, from noir classic The Big Sleep, is set up to be the typical Femme Fatale, such as being involved in several shady deals, gambling, and admitting to help cover up a murder all while trying to manipulate detective Marlowe into doing what she wants. Where the novel plays the trope completely straight, the film changes up the game by making her turn heroic halfway through the picture instead.
- In the classic noir, ''Fallen Angel, Linda Darnell plays Stella who doesn't care about double-crossing romantic partners or stealing.
- Too Late for Tears: Jane (played by Lizabeth Scott) is the cruelest, most without principle femme fatale ever put to screen.
- A Foreign Affair has Marlene Dietrich as a woman with Nazi affiliations who has an American Captain lusting for her.
- In Ex Machina, regardless of what Ava's motivations were, she does use her charm to manipulate Caleb. In fact this is even invoked as a Turing Test by her creator.
Nathan: Ava was a rat in a maze. And I gave her one way out. To escape, she’d have to use self-awareness, imagination, manipulation, sexuality, empathy, and she did. Now if that isn’t true AI, then what the fuck is?
- Katherine "Kitty" March from Scarlet Street and how. A model turned amateur scam artist, she wraps the main character around her finger with lies, faux sweetness, and alleged helplessness. Meanwhile she and her real boyfriend completely ruin the lead's life in the process.
- Danique of The Last Witch Hunter has this trope down the pat — she's rich, beautiful in crime noir style, smokes from a cigarelle, talks in elegant and sensual manner, and of course tries to have Kaulder killed.
- Detour: Vera sees through Roberts' ruse and blackmails him. She insists that they should milk the situation for all they can, instead of trying to distance themselves from it.
- The German movie Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer has a rare example where the Femme Fatale is also a guy. S/he is a male-to-female transexual nightclub singer who seduces a closeted gay public prosecutor so that he can be blackmailed by political opponents. Previously the singer's boyfriend had been arrested by the authorities for public indecency (homosexuality being illegal at that point in time in the 1950s) and she was offered a reduction to his sentence in return.
- Madelline Linscott from The Black Dahlia is the Dark Feminine to the sweet angelic Kay's Light Feminine, hangs around seedy lesbian bars and has affairs behind her rich parents' back. It's in constant doubt as to whether she can be trusted. Turns out she can't, and she's the one who murders Dwight while dressed as a man.
- The Dreamers evokes this trope with Isabelle - who is comfortable being naked around her brother and watching him masturbate. There's something very erotically dangerous about her - so it's no surprise that when the movie turns out to be happening during the 1968 Paris riots that Isabelle and her brother immediately get involved. Isabelle's actress Eva Green nearly got typecast as Femme Fatales after this.
- Mulholland Falls: Interestingly, averted with Jennifer Connelly's character Alison despite the setting being ripe for it. While she *did* have a torrid affair with the main character, a married Sergeant in the LAPD, it's never established that she was evil or manipulative in any way. She's even killed early on, and becomes his motive for revenge against the real villains.
- Rock N Rolla has Stella, who deconstructs the archetype: She has the looks (which allows her to play all sides in order to obtain a whole lot of money stolen from The Mafiya (twice!)), but unfortunately she doesn't really have the smarts to go with it (she became a way too obvious suspect for the person who did the Inside Job and the only reason she's not found early on is because her boss (the leader of said Mafiya) likes her too much to really listen to his Dragon)... and what does her in is that she accepts a painting that she should have known her boss liked a lot (had she actually bothered to listen to him in details other than what she cared about), and in fact was berserk about it having been stolen, and placed it in her home in a place where he would see it the moment he walked in. Whatever he did to her in retaliation, we were probably better off not seeing.
- Rita, the sexy, deadly, devil-may-care manhunter from Put The Sepia On is named after legendary film femme fatale Rita Hayworth, and lives up to it.
- In The Stainless Steel Rat action/comedy series by Harry Harrison, thief turned galactic secret agent 'Slippery Jim' DiGriz finds himself up against the psychotic (yet beautiful and criminally brilliant) Angelina. Jim falls in love and marries her in the next novel of the series. Supposedly, the psych-techs have straightened out Angelina's twisted personality, implanting her with a conscience, but there are times when her husband has to restrain Angelina's natural enthusiasm for torture and killing. Plus, Jim quickly learns the inadvisability of showing interest in other women, or trying to wriggle out of promises (an attempt to back out of their marriage is stopped by Angelina shoving a .75 calibre recoil free pistol up his nose).
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, Inquisitor Lilith actively tries to incite jealousy in Gaunt as a way to manipulate him. Gaunt calls her on it and tells her it's not needed, he will help voluntarily. She admits at the time that she's not used to voluntary cooperation and, later, when about to go through a gate to an Eldar craftworld, that she actually found Gaunt attractive.
- Patience Kys in the Ravenor books by the same author is a heroic example; she is a somewhat hostile Ice Queen who tends to use her attractiveness to her advantage on covert operations.
- Lara Raith from The Dresden Files. It helps that she's a succubus. It contrasts rather nicely to her sister, Madeleine, who tries to pull this off, bless her sordid heart, but really just comes off as a Vamp.
- Not just Lara. The first time we see Mab, the Winter Queen, she is pulling the classic 'slinky sexpot asks the P.I. for help' routine in Harry's office.
- Harry gets suspicious and manages to figure out what Mab is (although a Cold Iron test is how he was certain). Although it is more surprising for him not to be suspicious of Femmes Fatales.
- Not just Lara. The first time we see Mab, the Winter Queen, she is pulling the classic 'slinky sexpot asks the P.I. for help' routine in Harry's office.
- Senna Wales of Everworld, by a combination of physical attractiveness, emotional manipulation, and magic.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Devil in Iron", the slave Octavia is ordered to do this to lure Conan.
- In Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon, Ljuba uses magic and sex to try to work herself into power.
- Cora Smith in The Postman Always Rings Twice. She's married to an old Greek man named Nick who owns a diner. When Frank, a young drifter, gets a job at the diner, Cora starts a passionate affair with him, and together they conspire to kill Nick.
- Homeland Security agent Cassandra Renaldo in the Dale Brown novel A Time for Patriots, who seduces Bradley to use against Pat.
- In Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Angel is a former prostitute who has no qualms about using her notoriously drop-dead gorgeous looks to get what she wants. Interestingly subverted in that because this is the only way she knows to get what she wants, it’s a sign of immaturity and desperation rather than of self-confidence (and normal social skills) via The Power of Love.
- Annabel St. Clair in the short story Amante Doree from Somewhere Beneath Those Waves — she's a beautiful, charming Louisianian courtesan-spy for the interests of the French government.
- Subverted in Mr Blank: Our genre-savvy hero just knows Mina will betray him on account of her beauty, yet she turns out to be the most loyal ally he has.
- Lampshaded in City of Devils when the hero remarks, upon entrance of the femme fatale, Oscar-winning doppelganger actress Imogen Verity, "not only had I seen the movie, but it had starred her."
- Surprisingly averted in the "Damsels Of Distress'' series of novellas. None of the members of the all-female mercenary gang are particularly apt at anything related to charming or seducing men. They are deadly, however.
- The backstory of Harry Potter has Gellert Grindelwald, the greatest dark wizard before Voldemort, as a male example. By exploiting sexual attraction and feelings of love, Grindelwald temporarily indoctrinated Albus Dumbledore into his White Man's Burden-esque plan to conquer Muggles "for the greater good." However, like many female examples, Grindelwald wasn't purely evil, but instead misguided and capable of redemption. When Voldemort interrogated him about the Elder Wand, he refused to tell, presumably out of respect for the Wand's master — namely, Albus Dumbledore, Grindelwald's former target of seduction.
- Lazlo Woodbine, a parody of the Hard Boiled Detective from the far-fetched fiction of Robert Rankin, invariably has a run-in with "the dame that done him wrong".
- Gone Girl’s Amy Elliott-Dunne uses her sex appeal to manipulate situations, befuddle men, and also kill them while they're distracted. She sets up her cheating husband to be falsely accused for her disappearance, and even though she didn’t go through with it in the end, she still managed to escape punishment.
- Glimmer from The Hunger Games.
- Invoked in Shaman Blues with Konstancja, whose looks and behaviour quickly make Witkacy start to call her this way in his head. She's beautiful, with black hair and long legs, she's his ex and is troubled by a matter she can't take to the police.
- Joe Pickett: Stella Ennis in Out of Range. A Trophy Wife who is a lot cannier than her husband thinks she is, Stella turns to Joe to protect her against her husband's schemes. But she is definitely keeping secrets of her own. Significantly, she is the only woman to ever make Joe question his faithfulness to his wife Marybeth.
- Milady de Winter from The Three Musketeers is one of the earliest examples. Her beauty and cunning turn many men to work for her, such is the case of how she escaped from her imprisonment, seducing her jailor, John Felton, to help her escape and convinced him to murder the Duke of Buckingham.
- The title character of Max Beerbohm's Black Comedy Zuleika Dobson is so irresistible to young men that she drives the entire undergraduate class at Oxford to commit suicide. The novel ends with her preparing to do the same thing to Cambridge.
- Another English femme fatale is Pamela Flitton in Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, a beautiful but mean-spirited woman who likes to use her power over men to make them destroy themselves. One of the novels in the cycle, Books Do Furnish a Room, is mostly the story of how Pamela seduces a promising young writer, wrecks his self-esteem, destroys his manuscript, and leaves him unable to write again until his early death. One of her last conquests literally dies while in bed with her.
- Selena Coombs of American Gothic (1995). In an interesting inversion, however, her primary sexual usage in the show, aside from being Buck's mistress, is not to turn a good man evil, but to keep a man nominally on the side of evil—Ben Healy—from defecting to the good.
- Babylon Berlin features Swetlana Sorokina, a shady Russian cabaret singer and supposed Trotskyist who promptly sells her comrades out to the Russian secret police and tries to make off with several tons worth of gold bars intended to fund a revolution. That said, she even supplies the show's theme song.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Inverted by Spike (a knowingly seductive, platinum-blond male vampire), who tells Buffy that she belongs "in the dark, with me." Especially pronounced in "Dead Things," the source of the quote.
- Darla is also one. She is very manipulative (for example, she easily controls Lindsey in Angel - who is a lawyer) and exercises sexual power over Angel. She's also something of an Anti-Hero, however.
- Drusilla is a wholly villainous example. She appears very innocent and vulnerable (for a vampire) at first and often uses this to lure men into her service.
- Faith, who serves as a Foil to Buffy herself. She would often use her sexuality to her advantage, e.g. she tried to get Angel to sleep with her which would cause him to lose his soul and become evil.
- The episode "Used Karma" accidentally got Phoebe possessed by Mata Hari, briefly becoming a Femme Fatale who tries to get her ex-boyfriend killed by demons.
- Christy Jenkins is a less sexual version of this, but she acts as a corrupting influence to her sister Billie. Through a Wounded Gazelle Gambit, she pretends to be a Distressed Damsel captured by demons - when she's actually working with them and trying to lure Billie to her side.
- Purposefully invoked by Paige in "Charmed Noir" after she and Brody are sucked into the noir themed world inside an enchanted book. To move the plot forward Piper and Phoebe influence her to play up the role and flirt her way through the story by writing the Dirty Cop dialogue that she's "nothing but a regular femme fatale."
- Sam Marquez on Las Vegas works for a casino. Specifically, her job is to keep 'whales' — big spenders — happy. Once, she only slept with a guy because he was dying, and she has openly called herself a slut. Strangely, she rarely sleeps with any of the whales themselves, and had to start going to a therapist later in the series after she was abducted and nearly raped and killed.
- Dita Von Teese's character in CSI episode "A Kiss Before Frying" is a serial-killer that seduces Greg so she can find out more about the case, and she tries to kill him like her previous lovers.
- Maneater Edie Britt on Desperate Housewives who seduces and uses any man she comes across, and she doesn't care if their married either. Special mention goes to Mike, Carlos and Karl.
- Miss Parker from The Pretender. Makes her entrance stomping out a cigarette on an oil tanker, shoots at the good guy a lot, has UST with him, and regularly growls at and intimidates most men within range.
- Dollhouse: Adelle DeWitt - charming, morally grey ballbuster who is equally at home with threats and seduction, and approaches Darth Vader levels of nastiness in the second season. She is. In. Charge.
- Cameron of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has more than once used her physical body's attractiveness to coldly manipulate people, up to and including John Connor himself. It is implied that this was, in fact, the entire reason she was built. Her external appearance was based on a girl named Allison Young, who was implied to be either a close friend or lover of the future John Connor, and Cameron interrogated Allison to learn her mannerisms before attempting to take her place.
- A villainous example is Commandant Mele-On Grayza from Farscape. In addition to being very attractive with well-displayed breasts, she also secretes a chemical from a gland between her breasts that literally hypnotized men into doing her bidding.
- Veronica Mars has a number of gender inverted examples, most notably Troy Vandergraff and Logan Echolls - both Love Interests to the female detective protagonist at some point. The former is a petty criminal masquerading as a Nice Guy, and the latter is a morally ambiguous charmer with shady motives, whose weapons of choice are a) sex and b) psychological manipulation.
- On Weeds, Nancy may not seem like it at first, but she has this effect on men. They seem to be attracted to her despite the fact that she brings chaos to everything she touches.
- The Shadow Line has Petra Nayler, girlfriend of the missing Glickman. She seduces the married Joseph Bede using her apparent helplessness, and is later revealed to have done this to Glickman too, under the orders of Counterpoint. Not only that, she only went to Bede to look for leads on Glickman's location, so she could kill him for trying to expose the conspiracy.
- Katherine Pierce from The Vampire Diaries is a classic example. She's willing to seduce anyone that can give her what she needs, and the many, many men that have taken the fall for her over the past 3 seasons are more than happy to comply.
- Saffron (or whatever her name is) from Firefly is a deconstruction of both this and The Vamp. She's sexy, smart, manipulative, resourceful and morally ambiguous (if not outright evil), but she's also a borderline sociopath with a lot of other mental problems who seems incapable of forming a genuine connection with anyone. Even the one of her many husbands that she genuinely cared for doesn't trust her as far as he can throw her.
- The Deep Space Nine Noir Episode "Necessary Evil" has a suspect who oozes this trope. It's a Red Herring as while she is a villain, the real Femme Fatale murderer turns out to be series regular Major Kira, whom the investigator Odo is secretly in love with.
- Calexico's "Ballad of Cable Hogue" has an Old Western version. She's only ever referred to as "Madame". Even though the narrator suspects that Madame will be the death of him, she sweet-talks him into leaving his gold with her for safekeeping. Then she leads "an army" to his hiding place and guns him down.
- David Byrne's "Miss America" uses this as an extended metaphor for the US's foreign policy. America is a woman who seduces men then discards them when she no longer needs them. The narrator knows how dangerous she is, and he loves her anyway.
- Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" from The Velvet Underground & Nico is literally about a seductive woman.
- "Black Lady" by Donna Summer from I Remember Yesterday, which is more about a bad woman than one who has a black skin color.
Black lady, black ladyShe was mean, really badShe was slender as a cat at night, she made the men go madWell her eyes were green, and her skin was softAnd the lady's heart was as hard as rock
- Britney Spears's 2011 album Femme Fatale played off of this concept, as did the accompanying tour.
- Auryn's song Heartbreaker clearly is about one of these, who seduced the guys only to leave them high and dry. This is emphasized in the music video, in which we see the 'heartbreaker', played by Úrsula Corberó, seduce the five bandmembers and 'kill' them one by one.
She destroyed my life without shedding a tear, like an assassin
- Pretty much the whole description of the girl in Kero One's "So Seductive" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlkRubZeOqI).
She looks so good when she shakes that assMoving like snakes in grass, with a face to matchBut on the inside a straight killer,She'll reel ya in, your head spin like a gorilla … (And that's just the first stanza.)
Mythology and Folklore
- Delilah of The Bible handily seduces Samson into revealing the truth about the source of his strength.
- Venus of Roman mythology (and by the same token, the Greek Aphrodite) often got what she wanted through seduction. For example, she offered Paris any woman he wanted if he chose to give her the Apple of Discord.
- Soodabeh in The Shahnameh is the very attractive wife of Key Kavous who tries to seduce her stepson, Siavash. When Siavash turns her down twice, she claims Siavash sexually assaulted her. Even though the evidence is against her, she uses the aborted deformed babies of a witch to cast doubt on Siavash, who finally proves his innocence by riding through a huge fire and coming out unharmed. Even then she tries to frame Zal for losing the babies which doesn't work and Key Kavous sentences her to be hanged. Siavash knows his father will soon regret having her killed and will hold Siavash in contempt for her death, so he asks for Soodabeh to be pardoned. Soon despite all she's done she bewitches her husband once again and starts poisoning his mind against Siavash. When Afrasiab wages war on Iran, Siavash volunteers to go to battle to get away from Soodabeh and her schemes and this ultimately leads to his tragic death.
- Carmen is this trope incarnate, as she seduces the naive soldier Don José, who abandons his fiancée Micaela and his military duties for Carmen's sake, even running away with her, only to lose Carmen to Escamillo, a toreador. Enraged by Carmen leaving him, Don José kills her outside the bullfighting ring at the end, ultimately meeting his downfall.
- Dalila from Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila. She seduces Samson with her aria "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" (My heart opens to your voice), demands he tell her the secret of his strength as a proof of his love, pretends to cry when Samson refuses, to which he ultimately tells her and is forced to sacrifice his life in order to redeem himself.
- The Foreign Princess from Dvorak's Rusalka definitely counts.
- Subverted with Violetta Valéry from Verdi's La Traviata. On one hand, she has all the qualities of a femme fatale: wealthy, a courtesan, and very good at her job. However, she's a genuinely good-hearted woman who truly loves Alfredo and willingly ends her relationship with him at his father Giorgio's request. Then there's the fact that she's dying from tuberculosis.
- Manon Lescaut from Massenet's Manon is a woman who abandons her lover Des Grieux for the wealthy De Brétigny, gloats her power over men, and she seduces Des Grieux from his priest training into becoming a gambler. However, she eventually realizes what she's doing by Act 5, but by then, she dies at Des Grieux's feet after he forgives her.
- Salome from Strauss' Salome is definitely this.
- Francine would get friendly with the baby faces of ECW, such as The Pitbulls and Tommy Dreamer, become their valets, and then screw them out of title shots against their rivals when they least expected it.
- Billie Kay on NXT has an entrance theme titled 'Femme Fatale', wears black and purple outfits and slinks her way to the ring. Her tag team partner Peyton Royce is borderline too, though she's more of an Expy of Poison Ivy.
- In Rocket Age Princess Stephanika, ruler of the Martian city-state Melikia uses her charms to manipulate the many Earthling diplomats that come to her court. Rumoured to have used her sexuality to keep the various imperial powers focused on one another, Stephanika may be a relatively sympathetic example
- Maggie Chow in Deus Ex. Turns out, she's actually in league with the villains and murdered the leader of the Red Dragon triad and stole his nano-technologically enhanced sword in order to initiate a triad war.
- Olivia Ofrenda in Grim Fandango. She dates several men at the same time, and exhibits all the traits of one otherwise (true to the game's Film Noir influence.) Subverted when she helps the resistance against the main evil plot, but then Double Subverted when it is revealed she tore the leader of the resistance, Salvador Limones, to pieces and betrays Manny Calvera to Hector LeMans, who she is now also dating.
Manny: You know, you have a really bad taste in men.
- Resident Evil
- Ada Wong initially showed very mild Damsel in Distress qualities in her first appearance, but by the fourth game in the series, there was no question that she was a first-class example, to the point that it's clear in retrospect that her original helplessness was playact the whole time. Trying to figure out which side the girl is on and if she's going to help you or hurt you can give you (and poor Leon) a serious headache.
- Excella Gionne from Resident Evil 5 is also an example, being Wesker's Dragon. An example that ends up being subverted: it is she who ends up being manipulated and betrayed by Wesker, who injects her with the Uroboros virus she created. Rather than a manipulative woman behind the man, she's actually just an opportunistic Rich Bitch who is Too Dumb to Live.
- Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite DLC Burial at Sea Episode I as she lures Booker/Comstock deep into Rapture just so she can kill him.
- Miranda Lawson in Mass Effect 2 at first appears to be a femme fatale, but it's ultimately subverted as she quits Cerberus and makes no attempts at seducing Shepard. She actually tries to avoid a romance, at first, if a Male Shepard pursues it.
- Naomi in Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. According to the backstory, she seduced Richard Ames away from his wife, Nastasha Romanenko, in order to get onto the FoxDie project so she could modify it to kill Snake. She spent the game until the bombshell alternately acting very cold towards him and drooling over him. She has good intentions.
- Ultimecia in Final Fantasy VIII is this. When she's possessing Edea - who normally wears a very simple and modest dress — she makes her wear incredibly ornate and over-the-top "sexy" clothing. When you finally meet her in person, the costume she has on is, to say the least, extravagant. She uses her body to get what she wants, and was openly called a Femme Fatale in the spin-off game Dissidia.
- Viletta Vadim from Super Robot Wars, starting out as The Mole of the team for Ingram and is a deadly pilot in combat. This is later subverted as Viletta and Ingram have good intentions, despite coming off as rather strict and oh-so-much a Magnificent Bastard for Ingram, not flat out evil. Her looks also gave her the distinction of being one of Excellen's 'Three Beautiful Sisters' and the only person she'd go Les Yay with. To hammer it home, her theme song was re-named to this trope when Original Generation got a US translation by Atlus (it was formerly 'Woman The Cool Spy').
- In Fate/stay night, the last Bad End you can get is called Femme Fatale, in which Shirou can't bring himself to kill Dark Saber, and Rin is absorbed by Dark Sakura and forced to experience all of Sakura's years of sexual and mental abuse. Forever.
- Bonne Jenet from Garou: Mark of the Wolves. She isn't evil per se (despite being a Pirate Girl, her Lilien Knights only steal from the rich), but she can and will use her feminine wit and sex appeal to get what she wants (she's also very flirtatious). Oddly enough, she also happens to be a Lad-ette.
- In Thief The Dark Project, Viktoria plays this to Garrett's Noir action hero, tempting him with greed, the power of an exotic blade, and obliquely hints at the possibility of sex. Without Constantine's leadership in Metal Age, she becomes less this, but still remains Strange Bedfellows.
- Sylvia Christel from No More Heroes, who manages to convince an impoverished otaku living in a cheap motel to use his laser sword that he got off the Internet to murder people. Granted, said otaku wasn't exactly a prince himself in terms of morality.
- Carlotta Von Überwald in Discworld Noir, the extremely attractive woman who hires Lewton and who turns out to be directly or indirectly responsible for multiple murders, a Religion of Evil cultist, a werewolf, and the Disc's counterpart to the Femme Fatales in The Maltese Falcon, To Have and Have Not and Farewell, My Lovely with elements from The Big Sleep.
- Persona 5: Invoked by Ann Tamaki's Guardian Entity Carmen, who appears as an attractive women leading along two men with hearts for heads on dog collars and chains.
- The Elder Scrolls series has Mephala, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets. She could practically be considered the patron deity of spies and assassins, and to the Dunmer, she actually is, being the patron of the Morag Tong.
- Sahar of the Whateley Universe. She has spent several years seducing any mutant (male or female) with the right powers, so she can copy their best psychic traits. Even the campus Alphas and Intelligence Cadet Corps fear her.
- While hardly alluring at ten years old or younger, Phineas and Ferb's Isabella Garcia-Shapiro played this role in the Indiana Jones-themed episode "Phineas and Ferb and the Temple of Juatchadoon". She even has a card that calls her such.
- Vanessa coincides between this and Daddy's Little Villain.
- Blackarachnia from Beast Wars plays this to the hilt when she gets a chance, towards allies and enemies alike, though she does less flirting and more fighting than is usual for this trope. The choice of a black widow spider as her alternate mode is surprisingly appropriate, though she's not without redeeming qualities.
- The Blackarachnia in Transformers Animated fulfills this trope whenever it's convenient for her, either with the Autobots or the Dinobots. Optimus Prime is especially vulnerable to falling for this no matter how many times she does it. It does make you wonder why she considers herself such a horrific freak, when everyone with a spark seems to want to jump her thorax. Probably because of her face under the helmet.
- The Spectacular Spider Man's Classy Cat-Burglar Black Cat has shades of this trope, willingly flirting with and helping Spider-Man to clear his name, while using the same opportunity to steal jewels on the sly. Though the flirting stopped when her father (the Burglar who shot Ben Parker) decided to remain in prison to repent. She hates Spider-Man for this and will never forgive him.
- Used in The Legend of Korra in the design of Asami Sato. With her long raven hair, beautiful figure, red clothes, fighting prowess, lack of bending, competition as Mako's love interest, rich and evil family she fit this trope like a glove. It was all a subversion, because she really was nice and caring, and not the double-crosser so many fans assumed she'd be based on her appearance. And she went beyond being a Romantic False Lead for Mako - she ultimately became Korra's love interest. Asami was originally written as a femme fatale Equalist early in development but the writers liked her so much they made her a subversion instead.
- Before The Legend of Korra gave us Asami, the predecessor series Avatar: The Last Airbender also put a twist on this trope in the form of Jet, a sexy, charming boy whose used his outer seductiveness to blind Katara to his dangerous intentions. Like many female examples of this trope, he came to genuinely care about Katara, and ended up redeeming himself - and then dying.
- Samurai Jack ran into this type of villain twice. (Demons and bounty hunters were easy for him; seductresses, not so much.) The first one was actually Aku in disguise, and it ended very badly for Jack. The second one was Josephine Clench, also a Dark Action Girl and half of an Outlaw Couple with her ex-husband Zeke. Apparently, her typical MO was to lure a victim into a false sense of security with her charms so that Zeke could attack by surprise, and then she could strike from behind when he tried to fight him. It almost worked on Jack, but the plan fell apart when she tried to double-cross Zeke. Possibly, something like this may have been why they had divorced.
- It's subverted with Ashi, a deadly but sexy young lady of the Daughters of Aku who would fit the trope to a tee, but instead she attempts to kill Jack, and then romances him later.
- Femme Fatale was the name of a one-shot villainess in The Powerpuff Girls episode "Equal Fights." She was a Straw Feminist who tried to indoctrinate the girls into "solidarity." Sedusa is an even bigger example. She is a mistress of seduction who manipulates men into doing her bidding and has snake-like hair she uses as tentacles for battle; both representing her MeaningfulName.
- Rugrats has a film noir parody episode called "Radio Daze" featuring both Angelica and Lil as Femme Fatales. Angelica is the Big Bad who's after the MacGuffin - and her name is 'Madame Evil', dressed like a traditional noir villainess. Lil initially appears to be one - drugging Tommy with a Honey Trap (although since they're babies this is just giving him warm milk so he goes straight to sleep). But she undergoes a High-Heel–Face Turn.
- Shego on Kim Possible, although she does not explicitly act on it.