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Killed Mid-Sentence

No matter what the medium or genre of a work of fiction is in, there are a few general rules that are usually in place. One of them is that if a character isn't a Red Shirt, it doesn't matter if they're in a situation of dire peril as long as they're speaking. Because as long as they're talking, nothing bad is going to happen to them. Oh sure, they can die after saying some Famous Last Words or important Final Speech, but dying in the middle of a sentence, especially if it's an ordinary, unimportant one? That's not going to happen, ri—GHAAAAACKKK!

...Let me step in for him. WRONG.

There are any number of reasons to kill a character, whether major, minor, or mookish, in the middle of a sentence. Firstly, in an Anyone Can Die story, it's a great way to show that not only can anyone die, but they can die at any time. (Which can make for great drama and suspense over the fates of your favorite characters). Secondly, it can be a great way for an Anti-Hero to show off his no nonsense Badass nature by killing an antagonist in the middle of some sort of threat, or as a more lethal version of Talk to the Fist. (Likewise, it can be a way to show a villain is truly Dangerously Genre Savvy and avert the classic Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? scenario). It can be a way of showing that a story is on the gritty and cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Lastly, it could just be that the author doesn't care much for interminable Final Speeches, and chooses to subvert that trope.

One thing is for sure: when this trope happens, you know that this is for real. If the story was a light, not too serious sort before, it's just gotten a whole lot darker and more serious after this.

See also Deadline News when this happens on the other side of a TV screen (though not necessarily in the middle of a sentence).

If a character is killed mid-word, there's a good chance of it being a Curse Cut Short. The Almost Dead Guy will invariably die mid-sentence, and there's a good chance of the sentence beginning "His Name Is..."

If this is a sci-fi story and the scientist figures out how to destroy the alien monster, expect him to die halfway through his explanation, just as he's about to say that it can only be destroyed by—

Contrast Talking Is a Free AcBLAM!

Unmarked spoilers aho—

Examp—

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    Anime & Man— 
  • In Cowboy Bebop, Spike Spiegel did this to one of the mooks of his Evil Counterpart Vicious right as the mook was telling him to put down his gun and step away.
  • Death Note has L getting the trademark heart attack almost finishing the word "shinigami"; as well as Matt being shot and killed by Takada's bodyguards for his part in kidnapping her right in the middle of listing the reasons why they won't shoot him.
    • Not really so much killed mid-sentence, but L does interrupt Soichiro Yagami by going 'Bang'.
  • Revy from Black Lagoon, having a bad day and faced with a huge Neo-Nazi wielding a huge golden pistol, calmly reloads and shoots him in the chest before he can finish bragging about his gun, then ridicules him and sends him off with a final lesson: "As long as they hit their target, any gun will do."
    • She also shot Rotton The Wizard mid-introduction, but he had a kevlar vest on and is still hanging around.
  • Keiichi Maebara in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is killed by the Big Bad mid- Kirk Summation. He got back due to time shenanigans
    • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni's second arc, George's last words are inferred to be a pledge of love to Shannon. "I will always —" "YOU THOUGHT I'D LET HIM SAY THAT? IDIOT!" Darn you, Beatrice!
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Commander of the Drachman army after the annihilation of his forces. Kimblee even lampshades it in a disturbing way. Also the soldier Sloth kills and one of Greed's men.
    • Also, when Al first met Greed, his regenerative powers were revealed this way.
    Greed: "If you're gonna kill me, you're gonna have to do something better than—"
    *Gets his head bashed off with a hammer*
  • Pretty much every Druggie (Clotho, Orga, Auel, Sting, etc) death in Gundam SEED happens mid-sentence/mid-psychotic laugh.
  • Monica from Code Geass: "It's Suzaku Kururu-!"
  • In some translations of Naruto, Shizune's being taken hostage, mind-probed and killed by Pain's Ningendo body happens when she's in the middle of a sentence.
    • Also done hilariously with a Filler Villain who activates his Collapsing Lair and is crushed under a rock in the middle of his Evil Laugh.
    • Tayuya was also killed in this way: she was in the middle of thinking she would use her genjutsu when Temari's huge attack instantly leveled the area and crushed her under a tree.
    • Zetsu's clone of Kisame was decapitated in the middle of Calling His Attack.
    • Sasori dies this way. After being stabbed in the heart capsule by poisoned swords handled by his Mother and Father puppets, he continues to talk to a wounded Sakura and a severely weakened Chiyo, though he is immobilized. He then grudgingly congratulates Sakura on defeating him and gives her a parting gift: Information gathered by a spy he was supposed to meet at Tenchi Bridge. He is stopped mid-sentence while lamenting he won't be able to meet his subordinate when the poison and the damage to his heart finally catches up to him, and he dies.
  • Elfen Lied: Kouta's sister Kanae is split in half by Lucy as she tearfully begs Kouta not to hate her for telling him that she saw Lucy kill people. Shirakawa suffers the same fate when she is about to warn Kouta about Lucy, and Kakuzawa loses his head bargaining with Lucy.
  • In Soul Eater, Mosquito is killed mid-sentence by Noah.
  • Subverted repeatedly by Bleach. There are many occasions when you'd think this has just happened, but it usually turns out to be a trick using a character's power, or that the character being "killed" is Not Quite Dead.
    • Finally happens with Giriko. He boasts so much about his power that Kenpachi got fed up, and just bisected him.
    • And Kenpachi does this again to Berenice from the Stern Ritter group, whom he gives a Impromptu Tracheotomy to specifically because she wouldn't stop talking about her powers instead of fighting him. He even gets to cynically lampshade the trope:
    "The 2nd one went on about having something against me and explained her powers forever. I could hardly hear her cos of the other guy's roaring. She was annoying so I just tore off her throat."
    • Shaz Domino also incessantly brags about his powers before Ichigo blasts him away.
  • Kaji of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Sounding cheerful to see the killer.
  • In the 9th OVA for One Piece, a retelling of the Drum Kingdom Saga that adds Robin and Franky, they do this to Dr. Hiriluk.
  • Kagero in Ninja Scroll, although that may count as Dying Mid Sentence.
  • Almost happens to Wendy in Peter Pan No Bouken, when she tries to reason with the fully Face Heel Turned Princess Luna. Ironically, that's what makes Luna snap back to her senses, and Wendy survives anyway.
  • In Dragon Ball, King Piccolo kills Chiaotzu right before he can wish on the Dragon Balls for Piccolo to disappear. Thus it's a case where if they did finish the sentences they wouldn't have been killed.
  • Happens to Wiseman in Sailor Moon R. Interestingly enough, he is only cut off after his physical form is destroyed, hinting at his true form "Doom Phantom" being the shadowy spirit witnessed for about a second during the battle, which apparently resides inside the Dark Crystal as he is cut off the moment the Dark Crystal is destroyed.

    Comic Boo— 
  • Being both Combat Pragmatist and having a Genre Savvy Medium Awareness, Deadpool has pulled this more than once on his enemies and targets.
    • And had it pulled on him in turn; the difference comes in whether the attacker unknowingly intends to actually kill him, or they are aware of Deadpool's Healing Factor and simply want to shut him up while he regenerates.
  • Jaime Madrox aka "Multiple Man" from X-Factor commented on how nobody ever commits suicide mid-sentence, then later mentions that he might. Later, one of his dupes (duplicates) blows himself up mid-sentence.
  • In Swamp Thing #53, Alec manages to croak out most of "I love..." to Abby before his apparent death.
  • In What If? Dark Reign, Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, does this to Osborn. Best part of the book.
  • In Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers, Snare dies in mid-sentence while asking for a Mercy Kill.
  • The illustrated novel Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection is presented as being the recovered journal of a survivor dealing with the initial stages of the Zombie Apocalypse. It ends with the journal suddenly trailing off mid-sentence, and slight spatters of blood on the side of the page.
  • In the first chapter of V for Vendetta, a Fingerman grabs what he thinks is V's hand, only for him to be left holding a prosthetic hand as V fights the other secret policemen and escapes with Evey. The Fingerman then says, "I've got his hand. What should I do with his" and explodes in the same panel.
  • Makes a Tear Jerker in Empowered, with the death of Mindf**k. "I love you, Theresa. I'll always love y—"
  • In Superman: Earth One, Tyrell's ship blows up while he is mocking Superman.
  • Miss America in The Golden Age is killed by Robotman in her attempt to expose Dynaman as being Adolf Hitler in Daniel Dunbar's body.

    Fan W— 

    Films - Anima— 
  • Lord Farquad in Shrek gets eaten in mid-sentence:
    Farquad: I will have order! I will have— (gets eaten by the Dragon)
  • The Joker when he dies in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker after being shot
    The Joker: That's not funny, that's not—(keels over)
  • In Monsters vs. Aliens, when Galaxar's ship counts down to self destruct, nothing happens. It then ponders this aloud only to blow up in the middle of speaking.
    Ship AI: Hmm. Nothing happened. Maybe my count wa—BOOM

    Films - Live Ac— 
  • In Alfred Hitchcock thriller Foreign Correspondent, World War II has just broken out, and a British passenger plane has come under fire from a German naval vessel. An indignant lady passenger is expressing her righteous outrage when she is killed by an anti-aircraft round.
    "I shall see the British consul as soon as I—"
  • Marathon Man: Roy Scheider's character "Doc", "I couldn't give a fuck about your...*stab*...*gasp*! The fact that the stab is offscreen makes it even more effective as you are genuinely surprised by Doc's reaction.
  • This is how Rachel Dawes died in The Dark Knight, making what was said from the Final Speech that got cut off a slight Tear Jerker. In her case, she is cut off by the warehouse she is trapped in blowing up.
    Grumpy: I'm bettin' the Joker told you to kill me soon as we loaded the cash.
    Bozo: [sighs, checks his watch and steps to one side] No, no-no-no. I kill the bus driver.
    Grumpy: Bus driver? [Bozo gives him the Death Glare] What bus dri-[The back end of a school bus bursts through the front doors and runs over him]
  • James Bond
    • Bond pulled this at the very start of Casino Royale, talking to a traitor about his first kill.
    Traitor: "Made you feel it, did he? Well, you needn't worry. The second is -" *BAMM*
    • MI6 agent Henderson in You Only Live Twice is talking to Bond when he suddenly stops talking mid-sentence. As Bond approaches him, he finds that a knife was stabbed into his back through the shoji wall. Anybody who has seen a death by knife knows that knives do not work this way.
    • A non-lethal version is Played for Laughs in From Russia with Love. Bond is in the Soviet embassy waiting for his friend to set off a bomb so he can steal the coding device. He checks his watch, frowns, then goes to the Russian on the desk.
    Bond: Excuse me, is your clock correct?
    Russian: Russian clocks are always —(explosion covers everyone in dust)
  • Wash in Serenity.
    Wash: I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how I— (gets harpooned by a Reaver ship)
    • Also, Mr. Universe. Okay, technically he didn't die right away, but he gets his speech cut off by a sword to the guts, and he is dead the next time we see him. Fortunately for Mal and crew, Mr. Universe had just enough life left to make a helpful recording.
  • Selma from Dancer in the Dark is killed mid-song.
  • In an awesome subversion of a monologue, this is how Samuel L. Jackson's character died in Deep Blue Sea. The Sedgwick Speech variant of this trope.
  • R.K. Maroon in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
    "Unless Acme's will shows by midnight tonight, Toontown's gonna be land for the free—" (gets shot)
  • Swan is killed mid-sentence, in the middle of a musical number no less, in Trey Parker and Matt Stone's Cannibal! The Musical.
  • Taken. The final bad guy. "We can nego*BLAM*"
  • George Kirk in the latest Star Trek film dies telling his wife he loves her. Somewhat odd in that he had an actual countdown until his ship impacted, and thus knew exactly when he was going to die, but apparently not when he was going to finish his sentence. Still, it was his Moment Of Awesome and a Tear Jerker too.
    • More likely he was just repeating "I Love You" over and over so that it would be the last thing his family hears him say.
  • In a funny subversion, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this is how Brother Maynard dies, but his death scream completes the sentence.
    "It's the Legendary Black Beast of — (is eaten) — AAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!"
    • Earlier in the movie, we're given a glympse of a character who may have died mid-sentence while writing on a wall:
    MAYNARD: "It reads, 'Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Arimathea. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of ... aaaaagggh.'"
    ARTHUR: "What?"
    MAYNARD: "'... the Castle of aaaaagggh'."
    BEDEVERE: "What is that?"
    MAYNARD: "He must have died while carving it."
    LAUNCELOT: "Oh, come on!"
    MAYNARD: "Well, that's what it says."
    ARTHUR: "Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't bother to carve 'aaggggh'. He'd just say it!"
    MAYNARD: "Well, that's what's carved in the rock!"
    GALAHAD: "Perhaps he was dictating."
    ARTHUR: "Oh, shut up."
  • In one scene from American Gangster, Frank Lucas is in the middle of breakfast telling his brothers (newly recruited into the drug trade) the most important things about business, (honesty, integrity, hard work, family, etc.) when he spots a rival across the way, standing on a busy street in front of plenty of people. Frank politely excuses himself, walks up to The Rival, and puts a gun to the guy's head. The Rival laughs, says "Get the fuck out of here, Frank. What you gonna do? Come on, Frank. You gonna shoot me here, in front of everyone? Come o..." Frank then walks away and goes back to eating breakfast with the family. See it here.
  • Star Wars:
    • In Attack of the Clones, Shmi Skywalker's last words to Anakin are "I love—"
    • The Empire Strikes Back has an audio-only version: "Imperial troops have entered the base! Imperial troops have—" *ABRUPT BLAST OF STATIC*
    • Quite a few pilots have their fighters explode as they're talking, though only about half can be heard by the audience.
  • Clue: "Duh-duh, duh-duh duh duh! I, am, your singing telegram—" *BAM*
  • Billy in Final Destination is cut off mid-rant by a large shard of metal kicked up by the train that just took out Carter's car, which whistles up apparently out of nowhere and beheads him. He stays on his feet for a few startled seconds before his legs realize he's dead, whereupon he topples over.
  • Inverted in Pulp Fiction. Vincent Vega turns around to explain something to Marvin while being driven by Jules, and accidentally blows Marvin's brains out while he's mid-sentence.
  • Not a textbook example, as it takes him a few more minutes to die, but worth a mention as the effect is the same, and for the sheer audacity of it: Nicky from Casino is struck with a cricket bat while midway through his own narration, cutting it off with a scream.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides played this for Black Comedy:
    Theodore Groves: This land is hereby forever claimed for the glorious name of his majesty, King George—" (gets shot by the Spaniard)
    Spaniard: Someone make a note of that man's bravery.
  • From Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Que/Wheeljack: "Why did you—?" right before he is finished off execution-style.
    "I'm gonna kill y—*BOOM!*"
  • What happens to Steve in his final conversation with Peggy over the radio in Captain America: The First Avenger, even when the audience knows he is only frozen, not killed.
    "It'll have to be a slow dance, I don't want to step on your-"
    • Also this scene:
      Hydra mook: CUT OFF ONE HEAD, TWO MORE—
      Colonel Phillips: (shoots him) Let's find two more.
  • The Wild Geese: Faulkner's final confrontation with Sir Edward Matheson. Sir Edward is so inflated with hauteur that he cannot conceive of there being any threat to himself - the discovery that the murderous mercenary with a gun and grudge is, yes, there to kill him completely baffles Matheson, and he's left stammering "now wait just a minute—!" before Faulkner fires.
  • The 'Bowtie Driver' in The Untouchables. Mid countdown.
  • Audrey II's death in Little Shop of Horrors combines this with Curse Cut Short. "OH SHI--"
  • Subtle example in I Miss You. Cilla begins to say something and gets hit by a car and dies.
  • In Muppet Treasure Island, more like "Died of a Heart Attack Mid Sentence," the dying Billy Bones warns Jim, Gonzo and Rizzo to beware the one-legged man, but also "Beware running with scissors or any other pointy objects! It's all good fun, 'till somebody loses a-" and he screams "Aaaahh" and dies before possibly saying "leg" or something else, putting the trio in a room "where the dead guys roam"
    • His death scream completes the sentence, which would have been "till someone loses an eye."
  • In Scrooge 1951, near the end of the expanded Christmas Past segment, Marley dies mid-sentence while attempting to tell Scrooge to "save himself".
  • Defied in Pacific Rim. Hannibal Chau tempts fate by giving a long description of how the newborn Kaiju was doomed from the first, only to get swallowed mid-rant. See The Stinger to learn how that went.
    • Played straight with Yancy who is killed halfway through his final words to Raleigh.
  • TRON: Legacy: "DEATH TO THE USE—" *gets shattered*
  • David Mamet's Heist features an amusing variation.
    Bergman: Don't you want to hear my last words?
    Joe Moore: (shoots him) I just did.
  • Shoot 'em Up. Smith discovers Senator Rutledge (running for President on a gun control platform) has done a deal with the Big Bad, gun merchant Hammerson. Smith says he's going to shoot Rutledge, and his death will outrage the public and help his anti-gun bills get passed.
    Rutledge: Then do it. Let me regain some honor. With my—(Boom Head Shot)
    • Another variation on the trope — Hertz has been speculating about Mr. Smith's true identity throughout the movie. He comes up with a theory, but Smith refuses to confirm it.
    Hertz: Oh yes-sir-ee, it has been a pleasure. But before we part ways, just tell me one thing. I am dead on about who you are, right?
    Smith: Say that again?
    Hertz: I said, I am dead—
    Smith: Stop! That part of it you got right. (shoots Hertz)

    Litera— 
  • In the original version of Podkayne of Mars by Robert A. Heinlein, teenage heroine Podkayne says "Do listen please, because this is important. I love—" before she is killed by a bomb blast. However, Heinlein's publisher hated such a downbeat ending to a novel aimed at teens and insisted Heinlein revise the ending to allow Podkayne to live. The most recent editions have included both endings.
  • This is how Fred Weasley died in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
    "You're joking, Perce! You actually are joking... I don't think I've heard you joke since you were—"
    • Could be a mild case of His Name Is... as well, as some readers would have really liked to have heard the rest of that sentence.
  • In Confessor, the last book of the Sword of Truth series, Richard, freshly freed from his imprisonment by the Imperial Order, approaches the officer who'd captured him. Said officer gets four words into his "I've been waiting for this" speech before Richard cuts him down without breaking his stride.
    • Furthermore, he later does the exact same thing to the series' resident Big Bad, and to top it all off, he orders him to be thrown in the mass grave with all his dead Mooks.
  • In The Third World War, two of the emergency of communities involved in the war have this. The first ends mid-sentence, when the building is bombed, picking up with the backup journal noting the deaths. The second one cuts off mid-word, as Birmingham is nuked. It is stated it is found in the remains of the centre.
  • In the Stephen King novella The Langoliers, Craig Toomy is facing down against the eponymous beasties, mistaking them for hobgoblins his father told him about as a caution against laziness. His last thought:
    Toomy: How can their little legs be fast? They don't have any le—
    • Eddie Kaspbrak in It.
    • Carrie dies mid-thought in Carrie
  • One of the characters in Arthur Hailey's Airport is an air traffic controller who's haunted by memories of a mid-air collision that took place on his watch (and for which he holds himself responsible). A flashback scene has him and his colleagues listening to a radio transmission from one of the planes as it plummets to earth after the collision, and the final words of a little girl aboard said plane:
    "...Mummy! Daddy!...Do something! I don't want to die... Oh, Gentle Jesus, I've been good... Please, I don't want..."
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe X-Wing Series novel Wraith Squadron, Admiral Trigit flees in a starfighter after his forces surrender. General Crespin and Lieutenant Donos are in pursuit... Crispin offers Trigit to surrender. Trigit refuses, and instead orders his bodyguards to shoot down his pursuers. Crespin skillfully takes care of them though. Trigit, realizing he's in trouble, tells Crispin he's reconsidered and wants to surrender. He doesn't even get to mid-sentence when a torpedo launched by Donos hits his starfighter.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar has the would-be Imperial usurper Vordarian's last words cut off when Cordelia orders him decapitated: "You're a Betan! You can't do—" BOTHARI CHOP! Later, she references Vordarian's words, and assumes he was going to finish with "that."
    • Miles is thinking "Wait, I haven't-" when he is blown nearly in half by a sniper. As this is Miles we're talking about, he gets better.
  • In Ian Fleming's From Russia with Love, the reader is led to believe this happens to James Bond. Fortunately, he got better in time for the next book.
  • Gavroche dies mid-song in Les Misérables (yes, the book).
  • In Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon, a teletype message from Jacksonville stops mid-sentence when the city is annihilated.
  • In The Split Second, the second book in the Seems series written by John Hulme and Michael Wexler, this happens to Tom Jackal. His body is rapidly aging and he is talking to Becker about his family, whom he left behind to come help save The World (and The Seems): "Don't feel bad for us, son. Because our love will survive anything. And I know I'll see them in A Better ..." He would have said "Place," if he'd had the time... He just didn't quite make it.
  • Pharaun Mizzrym from War of the Spider Queen series once was held at wand-point by a fellow drow wizard. This guy would be more of a trouble if he could shut up on his own, though.
    Pharaun: (to a glasstrike-n statue) If you hadn't been so busy expounding on my foolishness, you might have heard the words of my spell.
  • Salzella in Maskerade... eventually.
    • A minor thief in Guards! Guards! turns around the corner and accidentally finds himself mugging a dragon, and dies with "Oh sh—" And then his ghost finishes "—it."
    • According to Interesting Times, many an ancient lord's final words were "You can't kill me, I'm wearing magic arrrgh!" ("Armour" being the interrupted word)
  • The Hunting of the Snark. The luckless person to find the Snark then calls out "It's a Boo--!" and then softly and suddenly vanished away, for the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
  • The Wheel of Time "You? No!" The word still hung in the air when death took him.” And that's the end of Asmodean. That's also all we hear about it for 8 books. It's slightly frustrating.
  • Jake Featherston, the CSA's Hitler Expy in Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series, does not commit suicide; he's still pushing his underlings to regroup when a group of black guerrillas spots them. "Get us some motorcars and—"
  • Javier Giscard in At All Costs. He realizes that he's up against a weapon he can't hope to defend against, and manages to get through only half of his lover's first name before he's vaporized.
  • Apparently happens to Anna, the protagonist of the fictional story "An Imperial Affliction" within John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, as the story-within-a-story "ends right in the middle of a —"
  • Happens to Father Ferani in the Paladin of Shadows book Unto the Breach.

    Live Action T- 
  • Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly wasted no time in shooting Dobson while the latter was in the middle of a Put Down Your Gun and Step Away moment. Without even breaking stride.
    I'm not playing anymore! Anyone so much asBANG
  • A wounded Damar tried to say some last words, but died after only saying "Keep..." in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Even that much was improvised and Casey Biggs admitted that he actually had no idea how he would have finished the line.
  • Angel
    • In the fifth season, Wesley shot his father the moment dad began threatening Fred. Repeatedly. Fortunately, it was just a cyborg with an illusion to make it look like dear old dad.
    • In the same season, Wesley did this again. While Angel is monologuing about how they're the good guys so they have to protect any member of humanity, Wesley kills Knox.
    Angel: Were you even listening?
  • Paul Ballard dies this way on Dollhouse.
  • In LOST, Boone dies in the middle of giving a request to Jack. Later in the season, Arzt gets one when the dynamite he was handling blows up.
    • Jack's failed kill of Locke would have happened this way, if the gun had been loaded.
    • The last words of Juliet: "I have to tell you something, it's really really important..." Luckily, Miles is there to relay what she intended to say. It doesn't make sense until the finale, when it's revealed that it was something she was saying to Sawyer in the flash-sideways universe/afterlife.
    • Ilana's Arzt moment in the final season. Killed while saying something seemingly very important in relation to The Big Bad, no less.
  • Criminal Minds episode "Mosley Lane": The female unsub is held at gunpoint by one of her hostages and has the bad idea of mocking him.
    Anita Roycewood: Come on, you gotta be kidd— BANG!
  • Kryten is killed mid-sentence in the last episode of Red Dwarf's sixth season.
    • Parodied in Inquisitor:
    "For some bizarre reason, my final word is Enig."
    "Enig?"
    "Yes, Enig!" (Inquisitor crushes Kryten's head against the wall with one hand)
  • Breaking Bad Gets two with the final season.
    • In Ozymandias
    Hank: "Well, Do what you're gonna d-"
    • And again in Felina
    Jack: "Wait, you want your money right? If you kill me you will neve-"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "She's not even half the girl she... OW..." Best Musical Episode ever.
    • "Your shirt", said by Tara after Warren shot her.
    • "You don't have the-" Buffy slices Caleb in half vertically… from bottom to top… probably counts as a Stealth Pun too in this case.
    • Warren.
    Warren: I know you're in pain, but—
    Dark Willow: Bored now. (cue Flaying Alive)
  • Hearing this happen over the phone to two people in Atlanta is how residents of Jericho first learn it's not just Denver that got nuked.
  • Happens to Kate in NCIS.
    Kate: I thought I'd die before I— *BAM!*
    • And, a couple of episodes later, to the killer, Ari Haswari:
    "Sorry to spoil your— *BAM!*
    • This also happens to a Marine recruiter.
  • This happens to the Borg at the start of the Star Trek: Voyager episode that introduced Species 8472 (the baddies one level up on the Food Chain of Evil). Cue much Holy Crap from the fans.
  • Emmett on Chuck is killed in the middle of calling someone a pussy.
    • In another episode, John Casey kills off a bad guy right in the middle of said baddie giving off a gloating speech.
  • This appears several times on 24. The most recent example coming from a private security goon holding a key witness at gunpoint. Jack simply dispatches him with a single shot mid-threat.
  • Stringer Bell from The Wire.
    "Get on with it motherfu..."
    • Also Cheese: "There's just the street, the game, and what happen' here today. When it was ma uncle, I was wit ma uncle. When it was Marlo, I was wit him. But now, nigga..."
  • On The West Wing, in an almost painful Tempting Fate, a secret service agent happens to walk in to a convenience store in the midst of a robbery. Only seeing one of two robbers, he gets him to drop his weapon, gets him on the floor, and then says the kid was smart, because he's secret serv—
    • Actually, it didn't quite happen that way. They first screwed the audience into thinking he might actually, improbably get away with it because he does survive the tempting fate line about being secret service. Afterwards, when he's safe, he jokes to the clerk that he hates to be a problem customer, but if he doesn't get a Milky Way bar pretty soo—
  • The Ice Truck Killer in Season 1 of Dexter.
  • A running joke in the Wayne and Shuster sketch "Rinse the Blood Off My Toga" involves people being killed mid-sentence as they try to tell the investigators the name of Caesar's killer.
  • Happens in the Breakout Kings episode "There Are Rules", when the white-collar criminal who masterminded the prison break of the week pulls a gun on his relatively violence-oriented accomplice, and the latter tries to Hannibal Lecture him:
    "...you got a problem, Ronald. You got nobody to pull that trigger for you. This is a job you can't delegate. You gotta actually dirty your hands for once, and we both know that—" BLAM
  • In the Doctor Who episode "World War Three", one of the Slitheen gets one, getting out half of "Oh, bollocks." before getting blown up.
  • During an assault on an enclave of Russian partisans in Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter, Schmidt is shot while making a quip to the effect of "Maybe they're phoning Comrade Stalin for hel-". It takes him a while to die but, having been shot in the neck, he's in no state to speak.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Irv is shot through the heart as he vows to taken on the demons alone.

    Musi— 
  • "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" by The Beatles. ("But as the words are leaving his lips/A noise comes from behind...")
  • Vaughn Monroe's '50s novelty hit "In the Middle of the House" ends this way, with the singer run over by a locomotive.
  • Dream Theater's song "Pull Me Under'' ends like this.
  • Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut": The line that goes "And if I'm in I'll tell you what's behind the wall" has a gunshot going off after "I'll tell you", suggesting that whoever was trying to say this line was shot. Possibly done to obscure its reference to the main character in The Wall.
  • Assemblage 23's "30kft" ends with the singer's phone call cutting out.
  • "Harrowdown Hill" by Thom Yorke, about the suicide of Dr. David Kelly:
    I feel me slipping in and out of consciousness
    I feel me-
  • Dave Matthews Band's "When The World Ends" (a song about lovers during an/the apocalypse) cuts off abruptly with Dave and the band still in mid-chorus, at least implying this trope if not playing it straight.
  • Dave's brother in Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst":
    Just promise me you'll tell this story when you make it big
    And if I die before your album drop I hope—

    Poetr— 
  • The Slithergadee, by Shel Silverstein:
    The Slithergadee has crawled out of the sea.
    He may catch all the others but he won't catch me.
    No you won't catch me, old Slithergadee,
    You may catch all the others, but you wo—
    • I'm Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor, also by Shel Silverstein, ends with the lines:
    "Oh, heck, it's up to my neck.
    Oh, dread, it's upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff..."

    Tabletop Gam— 
  • Done quite humorously in the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 supplemental Complete Mage, in a line relating to a prestige class.
    "Bah! Face one 'holier than thou' spellcaster, you've faced them all! This so-called scourge doesn't worry me at—"
    Count Lucius Darvold, vampire lord, twice deceased.
  • Commissars in Warhammer 40K are usually presented as this, as it's their job to maintain morale and discipline by shooting any trooper who shows signs of cowardice, heresy, or pointing out that the battle plan sucks grox bal-*BLAM*

    Stand-Up Comed- 

    Theat— 
  • The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples strikes again, since this is how Hotspur dies in William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I:
    ...O, I could prophesy,
    But that the earth, and the cold hand of death,
    Lies on my tongue. No, Percy, thou art dust
    And food for—
    • Prince Hal finishes his sentence:
    For worms, brave Percy: fare thee well, great heart!
  • In the musical Les Misérables:
    • Eponine and Marius sing "A Little Fall of Rain" as Eponine lies in Marius's arms, dying of a gunshot wound. She dies before they can finish the last note.
    "And rain will make the flowers..."
    • Gavroche also dies one word short of the end his song.
    • Fantine's voice trails off on her final words "And tell Cosette I love her and I'll see her when I wake. . ."
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Pirelli suffers a similar fate, Judge Turpin narrowly avoids it in the first act when Anthony bursts in, and Mrs. Lovett gets hers near the end.
  • Sometimes during the final scene of Miss Saigon, Kim dies in Chris' arms before she can finish the line, "How in one night have we come so far. . .?"
  • Orin in Little Shop of Horrors.
    Orin: Are you satisfied? I—laughed—myself—to—
    Seymour: Death? (Orin dies)
  • In The Fantasticks, in the Rape Ballet, Henry meets his death in mid-battle-cry:
    "God for Harry, England, and Saint Geo—ouch!"

    Toy— 
  • Several examples in BIONICLE:
    Mutran: Amazing. If I could tap this energy, I could — Wait! Yes! I see it now — It's so absurdly simple. I can control this storm! All I have to do is — YAARRGHH!

    Bitil: What do I gain by saving them? When I make it out of here, Teridax will see that I am his most trusted lieutenant! He'll see—
    Narrator: No he won't.

    Video Gam— 
  • As if interrupting him mid-speech wasn't rude enough (with a flaming chakram to the face, no less), Axel also cuts Vexen's last words short in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.
    "No! Please don't! I don't want to-!"
  • The player character in Alpha Protocol can do this to a lot of people during the game, depending on dialogue choices. They vary between extremely awesome, or incredibly chilling depending on your relationship with the person in question.
  • In one of the later missions of ''Assassin's Creed II, we see a guard reporting to the Big Bad that "Everything is going according to pla-" before being killed by Ezio, who had secretly replaced one of the others guards.
  • In the Call of Duty: World at War mission "Little Resistance", the landing craft the player character is in gets caught on something. A NPC then shouts "It's the coral! We're stuck on the cor—" * Cue headshot* (A rather gory one at that.)
    Dr. Clarke: Ah, yes, the numbers. They're the key to— (headshot)
    • Modern Warfare: "NEST teams are on site and attempting to disarm, I repeat...", as said nuke detonates.
  • This happens to Cole near the end of Clive Barker's Jericho:
    "Sir! I believe he is going to channel our powers against us, however, if you're currently in possession of —" *ZAP* "Silence, BITCH!" *SPLAT*
  • Even in the original Call of Duty, we get this memorable line
    Medic : Oh man! They're shooting medics too! They're not (playing by the rules)
  • Dead Space 2 takes the cake; for the first time, you get to see a necromorph infection-and-mutation up Close ANd PERSONAL.
    Franco: You're in terrible terrible dang—AAAUUUGGGHHH! WHOOOO... *Snarl*
    • CUE NECK AND FACE SKIN EXPLODING... on Issac's face.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it is possible for a skilled archer to pick off Mankar Camoran midspeech with one shot if the difficulty level's dialed down far enough and the player's got a 100% Chameleon suit (or spell) to ensure the stealth bonus.
  • In Fable II, end boss Lucien rambles on and on for some time after you interrupt his ascension to godhood. The player can kill him mid-sentence, with Reaver thanking them. Alternately, if left to ramble long enough, Reaver will shoot Lucien himself.
  • This happens to Ultimecia in Final Fantasy VIII, and again in Dissidia: Final Fantasy.
    True Ultimecia: Reflect on your... Childhood... Your sensation... Your words... Your emotions... Time... It will not wait... No matter... How hard you hold on... It escapes you... And...
  • A terrified sailor in God of War's first stage:
    "These creatures, they came out of nowhere! Our ships are all destroyed-all hope is lost, Spartan! Even for yo-" *thuk*
  • Grand Theft Auto III’s Maria Latore apparently dies like this off screen.
  • Half-Life "Freeman! I was told to give you a message! Make sure you don— thwip urgh-arrrgh". Couldn't have asked for a more punctual introduction for the assassin characters in the original game.
  • Kat in Halo: Reach, courtesy of a sniper: "Where does he get off calling a demolition op Priority O-"
  • In killer 7, Dan Smith kills Curtis Blackburn mid-sentence to deprive him the dignity of a Final Speech. Hey, the guy deserved it.
    • Well, he wasn't actually in the middle of a sentence. He just said "Guess it's time to close the curtains." before he died, so I assume that counts as finishing a sentence.
    • An actual example exists in this game, though. Christopher Mills said to Garcian, "30 years ago, you and Harman..." and then somebody shoots him, forcing Garcian to flee the scene, as he thought he was in danger.
  • At the end of Killzone 2 Scolar Visari gets shot by Rico in the middle of his third epic speech.
  • The Legend of Dragoon: Lavitz Slambert, as he is fatally wounded: "Dart, survive... and..." He dies in Dart's arms before he can finish.
  • Mass Effect:
    • "You talk too much." BANG
    • Many, many of the Renegade interrupts in Mass Effect 2 use this, though it doesn't always result in the victim's death. In several cases, Shepard simply punches the person in the face, knocking them unconscious (although this makes it no less of a Moment Of Awesome on Shepard's part).
    "There are two ways down..."
    • It's not always Shepard, either:
    Wilson: "Miranda! I thought you were-" BANG!
    Miranda: ...dead?
    • Depending on your choices, you can have a spectacular one in Mass Effect 3 on Tuchanka. And in this case, it's for a major character.
    Mordin: (singing) I've studied species Turian, Asari, and Batarian.
    My xenoscience studies range from urban to agrarian.
    I am the very model of-(BOOM)
  • Robert Barnes, a captured contact in the Nintendo 64 version of Mission: Impossible, falls over dead when you try to talk to him. There's even a Lampshade Hanging:
    Ethan: I KNEW he wasn't gonna finish that sentence...
  • More of a "killed mid-thought", but during one conversation in Neverwinter Nights I an option for every response is "snap her neck", which interrupts the speaking character rather effectively.
  • Towards the beginning of Penumbra: Black Plague, the player can listen to a cassette tape made by a research member on the main weakness of the Infected. You can hear them growling and approaching as he speaks, and they attack and rip him to shreds right before he says the weakness.
  • Saints Row:
    Vogel: But you have to look at the positives! You're alive, they're dead, and you have the Saint's number one fan running Ult—
  • Nobunaga does this to Hideyoshi in the end of his campaign in Sengoku Basara II.
    • Magoichi Saika does this to to Nobunaga himself in one of Magoichi's endings in Samurai Warriors.
  • Kung Lao's death in Mortal Kombat 9.
  • Partially subverted in Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. While the Mad Scientist is giving an insane speech about how the galaxy will tremble before him, Katarn casually throws his lightsaber into the ship's shield generator, leaving it wide open to attack. Followed by a cheesy Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, during the Oracle Knight's attack on the Dreadnought the captain of the ship calling for assistance wasn't exactly able to finish...
  • Team Fortress 2 does this in Meet the Spy, where the Soldier shoots the BLU spy in the head with his shotgun. "He could be you! He could be me! He could even be-" *BOOM*
  • The intro cutscene of Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds has a Martian commander blasted mid-sentence while reporting on the poor state of the invasion. The elders change plans accordingly.
  • Happens quite regularly in games in the Wing Commander series that have speech, with taunts being cut off by the speaker's ship becoming rapidly expanding ball of plasma, courtesy of your guns.
  • In World of Warcraft, this is how the leader of the freed slaves in the Pit of Saron bites it. After you've killed the final boss he gives a very flowery speech of gratitude to the players. Right behind him is Sindragosa, Arthas' pet dragon, who kills him and 3/4 of the freed slaves with an Iceball to the face!
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: "Zelda is your..."
  • MechWarrior 2: "It's got a lock on me! It's got a lock on..."
  • Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway'': Garnett dies like this when Leggett's and Allen's argument attracts a German patrol.
    Garnett: Guys, get the fu-(Headshot)
  • A genuinely funny moment from the Sega CD adaptation of Space Adventure Cobra occurs when Cobra discovers that the Parrot Grass on his vessel is actually a spy impersonating the plant. When confronted, it reveals its true form and says "My name is—" before getting blasted to smithereens by Cobra's Arm Cannon.
  • The Red Queen does this to the Cheshire Cat in American McGee's Alice. Suffice to say if by that point you don't want her dead, you will.
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault: "We've been trying to find our regiment ever since, but there are snipers every..." Boom, Headshot.
  • In Brain Dead 13, this can occur in the final confrontation, after the eyeballs fall from Lance's pocket, but you don't have him pick them up as he starts saying his Pre-Asskicking One-Liner.
  • During the final mission briefing of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, your pilot Bud is shot in the head mid-sentence by the Big Bad, who then steals his chopper.
  • Just before the final boss of Plants vs. Zombies, Crazy Dave tries to tell you the boss' weakness, only for a Bungee Zombie to snatch him away before he finishes doing so. Subverted by the music video at the end of the game, in which Dave returns.

    Web Comi— 
  • The Order of the Stick
    • When Belkar kills the Chimaera at the very beginning.
    Trigak: You may have won this round, Order of the Stick, but we swear our revenge on you! When you least expect—! GAK! GAK! GAK!
    • Xykon does this to a group of mercenary ogres who are complaining about not being paid very early in the comic's run, (and then he zombifies their corpses so he can still get some use out of them), perhaps giving the first hint that he's not a harmless cliché storm of a villain, despite appearances.
    • This is also how Roy Greenhilt dies, mid-pondering in freefall.
    • And in Cliffport, "I'm getting too old for—"
    • Haley gets petrified mid-sentence by Zz'dtri.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures : Dark Pegasus has a personal way of killing people mid-sentence.
  • Mike from It's Walky!, in the middle of a "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner.
  • Zorgon Gola from Sluggy Freelance.
    • Another one, a bit older and not quite mid sentence. More like mid speech.
      First Officer Brenas: Thank you captain. Troops, I'll be brief. (gets eaten whole by alien)
  • Not killed, but Charles in PS238 teleports people away mid-sentence.
  • There are several ones in Goblins. For example, the deaths of Seth Brainwrath, Young And Beautiful (the fortune teller) and Saral Caine.
  • Count Dooku in Darths & Droids: "Non! Wait! Anakin, Ah am your f—"
  • In Something Positive, Aubrey's favourite TV show host in her childhood died of a heart attack mid-joke on live TV. The only part which traumatised her was the fact that she's spent twenty-five years wondering what the rest of the joke was going to be.
  • In El Goonish Shive, at least a couple people are killed this way during Damien's attack on the facility where Grace and her brothers were created. One of them is killed mid-scream.

    Web Anima— 
  • In Homestar Runner, Strong Bad receives an email from someone named Trevor, who says "I am a vampire and"—and his message ends right there. After mocking him for leaving his sentence unfinished, Strong Bad suddenly comes to the conclusion that Trevor couldn't because someone put a stake through his heart while he was writing.
  • In The Demented Cartoon Movie, at least one scene ends with a character being blown up in mid-sentence.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • This happens to South Dakota after being caught and held at gunpoint by Washington.
    South Dakota: Oh, come on, what are you going to do, shoo— *Bang!*
    Wash: Yes.
    • Also, every time someone gets shot, it seems their last words are inevitably "SON OF A--"
    • This trope was also played with in the last episode of the Blood Gulch Chronicles, when Captain Flowers deliberately delayed revealing an (apparently) important piece of information about the Reds to Tucker. When asked why he was doing this, he remarked that he seemed to be dramatically pausing for some- *BLAM* Hrrrk... Blaaah...
    • Agent Wyoming beats up Tex and mocks her by saying, "She never could understand when she was—" Tucker suddenly stabs him in the back, and finishes his sentence for him, "Beaten!"
  • This happens in one skit from The Lazer Collection:
    ** Boy: Excuse me, do you have the time?
    ** Office Worker: Sure, it's errm, half past-
    ** Watch: *Lazers the worker as the face cries, "BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"*

    Web Origin— 

    Western Anima— 
  • Korgoth of Barbaria does an hilarious overkill version of this to a Giant Mook.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender : Katara does this to some poor Fire Nation soldier in the middle of bragging to his friends in "The Southern Raiders", though if he could swim it's doubtful he actually died.
  • Parodied Family Guy. In "The Fat Guy Strangler", Patrick tries to strangle Peter as he is saying "Nothing left to do but finish this sen-"
  • The Simpsons
    • Arnie Pie says "Tell my wife I love..." before his helicopter crashes.
    • Also, in the episode "Homer's Enemy", Frank Grimes has finally gone nuts over no-one else calling Homer on his reckless behavior, He approaches electric wires and says, "I don't even need safety gloves, BECAUSE I'M HOMER SIMP—" Then he touches the wires and guess what happens.
    • In the Dr. Seuss segment from "Treehouse of Horror XXIV", this happens to the Fat in the Hat (Homer) when Maggie stabs him with his umbrella as he's creeping in on the kids.
    The Fat: I'm staying forever, you're all stuck with that, 'cause I'm your new daddy, the Fat in the—(stab)
  • A Disney Death example from Phineas and Ferb:
    Phineas: All right, Candace! Way to-*Crash*
  • On Archer, Jakov is partway through his debriefing and about to give a personal message to Archer when the entire room goes up in flames.
    • Earlier in the same episode, a defector is explaining that Barry is the new KGB head & has a master plan when Cyril shoots him in the head
  • The Parrot in Hey Arnold! is eaten by the monitor lizard in mid-word, even.
  • In Winx Club, after having revealed his group's true goals, the sick and already dying Duman is killed by Nabu while Duman is rambling that he wants to live.

    Real Li— 
  • Did not happen to General John Sedgwick, but everyone likes to quote it that way because it would be funnier and/or more ironic. (Mind you, those were almost his Famous Last Words — he said only one more sentence before being shot.)
  • The last words heard from the Space Shuttle Columbia: "Roger, uh, bu—"
    • Comparatively, the last transmission from Challenger was, apparently, "Uh-oh."
  • Peter the Great of Russia had decided in advance to name his heir on his deathbed. Unfortunately, his last words were "I leave everything to..."
  • Texas International Airlines Flight 655 was cruising at around 2500 feet, at night in near zero visibility, when the copilot became concerned about terrain (they had diverted from their normal course in the hope of avoiding a storm). He consulted the charts, and was startled at what he saw. He started to tell the captain that "Minimum en route altitude here is forty-four hun—" when they hit a mountain.
  • According to Karla Homolka's testimony, Paul Bernardo began strangling Kristen French while she was in the middle of a sentence.
  • Kevin Cosgrove, while on the phone with 911 dispatchers, is cut off when the North Tower collapses, along with a scream.
  • The last words from the American submarine USS Thresher, in communication with a surface ship just before sinking, were "...exceeding test depth...".
  • Frederick III of Germany was dying of throat cancer and could not speak in his last days. He started writing, "Victoria, me, the children..." before lapsing into unconsciousness and dying.
  • William Travis, one of the defendants of the Álamo, was said to have been killed so early in battle his last words were "Here come the mexic—!".
  • The crew of Air India Flight 182 were discussing customs when their plane was destroyed by a bomb in the cargo compartment. The last words on the CVR, from the flight engineer, were "Custom seals. Wo bar seal karane ke liyenote . For their arrival - customs. Bar…"
  • Saddam Hussein at his hanging: "I swear there is no god but God and Muhammad..."
  • BOAC Flight 781 broke up in flight while the captain was in the middle of a radio transmission.
  • SOS SOS CQD MGY SOS SOS CQD MGY SOS SOS CQD MG-

  • Phew... "I can't believe we made it through tha—URK!
Final SpeechLast WordsLast Request
Shut Up, Hannibal!BadassTalk to the Fist
Kazuhiko InoueSelf-Demonstrating ArticleKitchen Sink Included
The Killer Becomes the KilledDeath TropesKilled Off for Real

alternative title(s): Shot Mid Sentence
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