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Hide the Evidence
To be fair, he might have been very sorry had he seen that raccoon-skin hat
It happens on nearly every crime show you can mention, although it also appears in other genres. Someone has committed a crime, or has been up to mischief, or has been doing something embarrassing or simply private. So they hide the evidence of what they've done.

Because this is a common trope, it should to be limited to examples where hiding the evidence is either the whole point of the work or a key point in the work.

Do not list all the works by the author or all the works in a series otherwise this trope will be too long. Listing all such examples will not add any value to the trope. Instead, list the author known for this trope or the first work in a series known for this trope along with a single example.

Supertrope to Eat the Evidence.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Film 
  • The premise of Weekend at Bernie's and its sequel is that two office workers have to conceal that their boss died on Friday until the following Monday, in order for their promotions to go through.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Malcolm in the Middle had Lois starting housecleaning, only to start finding various pieces of long-hidden evidence from her family's various escapades. By the time she's done, she's recovered enough evidence to incriminate her husband and her sons for years and years.
  • In an episode of Psych, Gus finds his boss (who he had earlier told off and submitted a resignation letter to) dead with the resignation letter in hand. So he stumbles about trying to cover his tracks only to make the crime scene a mess. He recruits Shawn to help wipe away the evidence that he was there, but it means the two have to solve the case and get a confession before Lassiter catches on that Gus was involved in messing up the scene. It's then complicated even further when they realize someone had tampered with the scene before Gus and they accidentally implicate Henry and Juliet in Gus's mess by admitting what happened, to them.

    Literature 
  • Occurs regularly in most of Agatha Christie's works, usually because the hider found evidence that could point to his/her Love Interest as guilty. Often ends with the happy couple both proven innocent (generally they don't believe in the other's guilt, but think the police might).

    Video Games 
  • In Heavy Rain, Shelby and Lauren must wipe away their fingerprints after investigating the clock store to avoid being associated with Manfred's murder. If you miss any, Shelby's investigation is hampered by being dragged in to the station to explain why he was there. This also ends up being the motivation for Shelby visiting all the families of the Origami Killer's victims and collecting their clues.
  • In Fahrenheit, after committing the murder in the opening scene, you, as Lucas, are tasked with cleaning up or hiding the evidence. In the next scene, you, as Carla or Tyler, have to uncover said evidence all over again. In a twist, the main piece (the knife) is hidden by Lucas off-screen, so the players have to actually look for it in the second scene.
  • Ace Attorney has this at the centre of a number of cases. Usually this is used right at the end of a case, either as the last issue that needs to be resolved, or as the key piece of evidence that all over deductions have lead to. A few examples include:
    • Case 4 from the first game, where the final nail in the Big Bad's coffin is that Phoenix works out he's hid a bullet in his shoulder for 15 years. Phoenix threatens to have the bullet removed and compared to the bullet that killed the victim, to see if they were fired from the same gun, causing the Big Bad to go into a rage filled confession.
    • Case 3 of the second game, where the killer is caught hiding the murder weapon in court, after a sporadic search of his room forced him to hide it. Seeing as how he's in a wheelchair, the only place he could hide it in such short notice was the under-seat section of the wheelchair, which is covered by a blanket. Due to this, the weapon stayed there when he went to court to testify.
    • A few examples also come in the Investigation games. In I2-2, two people have the exact same idea. A witness who was thought to be the real killer hid what was thought to be the real murder weapon within his vicious, murderous and highly trained dog's mouth. Then the person who turns out to be the real real killer hid the real real murder weapon in the exact same way; inside their pet alligator's mouth. Admittedly clever hiding places, since they're places that no one in their right mind would think to, or want to, investigate.

    Western Animation 
  • In a Halloween Episode of South Park Stan's mom ends up burying several bodies in the basement in order to hide Stan's seeming murder spree; but it wasn't him, it was a killer goldfish.

    Web Comics 
  • In one Sandra and Woo strip, Sandra is exploring the attic with her pet talking raccoon, Woo, and finds a raccoon-skin cap. She immediately hides it behind her back and lies to Woo so he won't see it.

    Real Life 
  • During the trial of Canadian serial killer Paul Bernardo, his defense attorney hid video tapes that showed Bernardo's wife, Karla Homolka, had participated in the rape and murder of his teenage victims, in order to present Homolka as simply another victim of his sadism and get her a plea bargain.

Hidden in Plain SightA Safe Index To HideHide Your Children
Hidden WireCrime and Punishment TropesHistorical Rap Sheet
The Game Never StoppedMystery TropesHidden in Plain Sight

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