Friendly Fire Index

Friendly fire, isn't.
Murphy's Law of Combat Operations

Combat or other dangerous elements in a setting or plot conflict increase the drama by exponentially increasing the danger to the characters. But sometimes that danger comes from an unexpected angle. You look up to see who is on the other end of the knife you've just been stabbed with... and it's your best friend!?! This sort of thing can occur by accident, by treachery, or, perhaps most tragically, because they had to.

In Real Life, friendly fire usually occurs as a case of mistaken identity: innocent civilians, allies, or neutral forces, are mistaken for enemy forces and fired upon, or else the attacker simply didn't know the friendly unit was in the line of fire. While it might be hard enough to imagine the horror of killing someone you like accidentally, in fiction, to play the drama up even more, the attacker often is all too aware of what they are doing.

Given the tropes themselves tend to be fairly broad, there may be some overlap in a given situation depending on the perspective. For instance, even if the person pulling the trigger makes a genuine mistake, they might have been manipulated into doing so by a third party deliberately seeking to cause harm.

Note: Please place non - trope examples in the subtropes listed rather than listing them here.

There are many forms of Friendly Fire, from nastiest to least nasty:

Category A: Deliberately, out of a callous disregard for life (note: doing any of these invariably marks you as a villain or Anti-Hero):

  • Bad Boss: mistreats his own minions for trivial reasons.
  • Disposable Intern: The intern is so unimportant killing them doesn't matter.
  • Kick the Dog: commit an unnecessary evil act to show the audience you're not nice.
  • We Have Reserves: callously place minions in a situation where they will be slaughtered, as part of a strategy.

Category B: Deliberately, out of treachery:

Category C: Deliberately, due to being faced with a choice between evils:

Category D: Due to an error in judgement

Category E: Completely unintentional

  • Cartwright Curse: a character's love interests have a high mortality rate, through no fault of their own.
  • Friendly Target: by choosing to face an enemy, you place your friends in danger.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: While the trope itself is about missed shots being insignificant, notable aversions (the only examples listed) often involve the consequences of firing blindly and causing collateral damage.

Alternative Title(s):

Friendly Fire