So you've got this character, usually female, always sexy. She might be the Dark Mistress
, she might be the hero's girlfriend, a Femme Fatale
, but who she is in relation to the story isn't really that important. The point is, she's hot. And hot chicks can do one thing really well. Seduce people and ensnare them in a Honey Trap
When a hero resorts to this kind of tactic, their situation is getting pretty desperate. After all, My Girl Is Not a Slut
. Not to mention the fact that having a villain be able to gloat about how they "did your girl" is something with major potential to be obnoxious. Oftentimes the hero doesn't resort to it at all — the Love Interest
does, realizing that it would be very helpful in this particular situation but that there's no way he would feel comfortable asking her to do it.
Villains aren't usually bothered this kind of exploitation. As long as the seduction is for the sake of the greater evil, they can overlook the minor detail that this is technically adultery, because they're evil. In this case it will often backfire and cause his Dark Mistress
to feel sympathy
) for the hero when he's supposed to be her enemy. This rarely happens the other way around.
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Anime and Manga
- In the manga version of Heat Guy J, Trinity designs a buxom, scantily-clad robot girl to go seduce and strangle Clair's biggest (and ugliest) rival. (This does not happen in the anime version; Trinity does not exist, and Clair sent a tanker truck full of napalm to that rival instead of a sexy girl, human or otherwise.)
- In Rurouni Kenshin, the villain sends a woman to seduce Kenshin and find out his weakness. She goes along with it because Kenshin killed her fiancee. She falls in love with him, and the bad guys kidnap her to lead Kenshin to them.
- Mission Impossible 2. A particularly agonizing example. Ethan Hunt recruits Nyah without knowing her true purpose, and promptly beds and falls in love with her. Only to find that Anthony Hopkin's ultra-pragmatic mission controller wants Nyah to seduce Ethan's archenemy (and Nyah's ex-boyfriend) Ambrose. Needless to say, Ethan is not happy.
- Batman (1989). Vicki Vale does this to the Joker while he's forcing her to dance with him. She saw Batman nearby and wanted to distract the Joker and give Batman a chance to attack him. It works (she's played by Kim Basinger, it should).
- The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything (1981). Bonnie Lee Beaumont acts seductively toward Wesley Reins to trick him into a situation where he can be interrogated.
- Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Happens twice: Ivana Humpalot is sent to seduce Austin, but does a Heel-Face Turn. Later Felicity Shagwell has sex with Fat Bastard in the line of duty.
Austin: How could you do it?
Felicity: I was just doing my job.
Austin: No, I mean, literally; how could you do it? The man's so fat, the sheer mechanics of it are mind-boggling.
- Blazing Saddles. Hedley Lamarr sends Lili von Shtupp to seduce and abandon the Sheriff of Rock Ridge. She does a Heel-Face Turn too.
- Undercover Brother. White She Devil is sent by Mr. Feather to seduce the title hero. It works for a while as she helps brainwash him. But when the good guys rescue and deprogram him, she reveals that she's fallen for him for real and performs a Heel-Face Turn to stay on the same side.
- Strangely, she then immediately switches to Smart Brother, likely seeing that Undercover Brother is already taken.
- Dr. Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. She seduces both Drs. Jones at the Nazis' orders.
- Eve in North by Northwest was supposed to seduce Thornhill for the explicit purpose of leading him to his death in a cornfield. It doesn't work.
- In another Alfred Hitchcock example, Devlin in Notorious orders Alicia Huberman to sleep with the Nazi expatriate Alexander Sebastian. Alicia complies, and he berates her for it. Interestingly, when Devlin's superiors demonstrate the same hypocrisy toward Alicia that he has, Devlin defends her.
- The Rocketeer: Initially Jenny is seduced by Neville, but later (when she realizes he's up to something) pretends to still be more interested in him than she really is.
- A textbook procedure against James Bond. You'd think they'd learn.
- In Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid, when the hero is captured, the lady apparently defects to the Big Bad, by saying she could be many things to him, including a word she uses in German. The hero asks him what that was, and the Big Bad says she said she could even be his "Cleaning Woman". This is the good guy's Berserk Button that when he hears it that allows him to defeat the Big Bad.
- In The Prestige Angier sends Olivia over to seduce Borden and steal his secrets; unfortunately for him she is so angered by this that she really does side with Borden and the two double cross Angier.
- The 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie (with Robert Downey, Jr.) has Irene Adler, a seductive Femme Fatale and old rival to Holmes, who is paid by Professor Moriarty to try to snag, among other things, Holmes' heart. It's arguable whether she succeeds, or indeed whether she's succeeded previously; it's also strongly hinted by Moriarty himself that this is more of a case of Go Seduce My Arch Nemesis Who You're Kind Of In Love With Already, Or I'll Kill Him If You Don't.
- In High Plains Drifter, a character resentful of the protagonist sends his wife to distract him with a romantic dinner and sex, and the plan was that afterward he and his gang would kill the protagonist while he had his guard down.
Live Action TV
- In 30 Rock, Jack sends Kenneth to seduce his gay archnemesis, Devin, and keep him from a meeting. It almost works.
- A gender-reversed version occurs in comedy series Campus where Vice-Chancellor de Wolfe sends womanising lecturer Matt Beer to seduce his nemesis Georgina Bryan. Unusually there's no trap at the end - the VC is just hoping she'll mellow a bit after the event and not cut his university to pieces.
- In Gossip Girl, Blair gets Chuck to seduce Vanessa (though not sleep with her) in order to humiliate her. Later, Chuck swaps Blair to his Evil Uncle to get his hotel back - she thinks it's her decision. However, he subtly manipulated her into it, so she didn't find out until later that he'd organised the whole deal.
- In iCarly, Freddie begs to help Sam seduce Shane, so that he has a better shot with Carly, their best friend, who is also trying to seduce Shane.
- Mad Men:
- Pete more or less asks his wife to do, um, whatever she would need to do with an old ex-boyfriend to get him to publish Pete's short story in a reputable magazine (Pete being jealous of a coworker who has a story in the Atlantic). She goes to see the guy, but turns him down when he asks her out (relegating Pete's story to Boy's Life, alas) and calls Pete out on it when she gets home.
- In a later episode, Don is the only one in the office who knows Sal is gay and is grudgingly keeping it a secret. A major client, Depraved Bisexual Lee Garner, Jr., comes on to Sal and has to be rebuffed. He then refuses to work with Sal, losing him his job, and when Sal tells Don what happened, Don is unsympathetic. Sal asks if Don means he should have just done whatever Garner wanted, and Don doesn't say no. Sal stays fired.
- Gaia tries this on behalf of Lucretia in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, saying she's aware that Lucretia would never ask. Doesn't work out so well, as Tullius concludes the encounter by bashing her head in with a wig stand.
- Step One: Watch Star Trek: The Original Series, and drink whenever Captain Kirk finds himself in a situation where Sexy Sideways Smile #6 is his only weapon. Step Two: rush to the hospital with alcohol poisoning.
- In Twin Peaks, Josie Packard is sent from Thomas Eckhardt to be the wife of his arch rival, Andrew Packard. Somewhat similarly, she was also playing both sides against each other when Ben Horne and Catherine Martell were rivals.
- In the third season of The Walking Dead, Carol demands that Andrea do this with the Governor, then kill him in his sleep.
- In The Order of the Stick, Nale switches places with Elan. He takes it on himself to seduce Haley, in order to "coax her into wearing a dress with clear access to her sternum".
- Played for laughs in Cheer! when Tamara Cass (Alpha Bitch) sends her boyfriend to seduce Genius Ditz Joanna Star.
- From Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv) Light tells Takada what to do in case she's ever kidnapped:
Light: Listen, if you're ever abducted by a mysterious and kind of hot stranger in black leather and he takes you into a truck in the middle of nowhere and he looks like this, I want you to totally seduce him and tell me everything. Because that would be so hot.