Dr. Girlfriend: Is there a reason you always use #21 and #24? The Monarch: I know it sounds crazy, but they both have that rare blend of "expendable" and "invulnerable" that makes for a perfect henchman.
Naoki Urasawa is practically a master of this trope, filling in the main story with short interludes centering on a seemingly random character. You get to know their name, perhaps their family, their motivations. Sometimes they stick around for a few chapters, sometimes they even cross paths with the main characters, but they almost always die, and it never gets any easier. Confound you, Urasawa.
Gundam series are frequently paved with the corpses of Mauve Shirts.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam has a flamboyantly mauve example: Lt. Apolly Bay of the AEUG in Zeta Gundam, who makes it through almost the entire show from his introduction in the beginning of the series without establishing solid personality characteristics. Lt. Apolly is in at least half of the episodes, a named character almost always with a speaking role, yet the poor guy is complete wallpaper. He's the one who gets to say "It's a kid!" and spoil Mineva Zabi's majestic entrance, yet he has no personality whatsoever. It's hard to imagine a mauver shirt.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED has two regular ZAFT pilots who seem to get involved most major battles, and witness Kira's new Gundams, but never get shot down lethally. They would seem to represent the average soldier in ZAFT, and their thoughts on new events as the unfold. They are even still seen in Gundam Seed Destiny.
In Mobile Suit Gundam 00 there's Joshua. He's shown as reckless and undermining and he breaks off from Graham's assault force to attack Lockon, who promptly blows him up just in time.
For a living version, Gundam Seed Destiny sidestory character Shiho Hahnenfuss. According to fan legends she was going to be voiced by singer Nami Tamaki (and presumably would suffer Dead Star Walking like TM Revolution's two characters), but Tamaki passed and Shiho lived, making background cameos in the anime, getting speaking roles in video games, and doing well enough in popularity polls to merit at least one figurine.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE's Diva squadron falls into this during the third generation. Although the previous squads had been a focus—an unlikely trio on a then-rogue warship in G1 and a collection of rookies in G2—the camera moved well away during Kio's time. Although they had a fewnotablemoments in the spotlight, two of them never got anything more than a name. By the show's penultimate episode, they all die.
Chojiro Sasakibe, Yamamoto's lieutenant in Bleach. Complete wallpaper and never seen winning a fight, the only thing on his CV is that he's the first heroic character to be killed off.
In Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas Wolf Junkers, Hydra Curtis, Bear Douglas and Lionet Bleriot sacrificed themselves to activate Athena's ship; and in anime only there were Vela Tsubaki, Puppis Lacaille and Pyxis Rusk who were Capricorn El Cid's subordinates.
Daisya Barry in D.Gray-Man makes a flashy appearance on the scene. He's likeable, has cool powers, a great backstory, a unique character design, a name... then he meets Tyki Mikk.
Last Exile has Mullin Shetland, a member of the Red Shirt Army who is slowly built up and even gets a Love Interest. He has beat the odds and not died in the incredibly deadly Napoleonic style battles he's been in. He manages to survive 19 battles (the 20th promoting him out of the firing line) and even falls in love with a former enemy soldier when, predictably, he is shot in the final episode's boarding actions, wringing it for so much grief it's almost a Shaggy Dog Story. Subverted because he's seen giving a child (son?) a piggyback ride on Earth during the epilogue of the final episode.
Saikano, being a horrifyingly sadistic Kill 'em All series, will often build up characters just to kill them off horribly in the war segments.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this with Gimmy and Darry. Where entire waves of the Redshirt Mecha brigades they are a part of are getting blown away around them, invariably they are the only ones who survive... until the last time, when two other Mauve Shirts get blown away saving them.
While inmates in Dead Leaves are often killed off randomly and rapidly, Chinko Drill actually survived a lot, like repeatedly attacking 777 and just bouncing off. Unfortunately, he's not so lucky when the drill gets stuck in said guard's neck.
Inoue from Code Geass. Stuck around as one of Zero's nameless lieutenants for the majority of the first season before getting blown up at the hands of an enemy mook's mech. Named by another one of Lelouch's nameless lieutenants right after that.
The chimeras who follow Greed being like this. All are likable anti-villains with distinct personalities and it's a real punch in the gut that all of them get killed off right in front of Greed and later, "Greedling" kills the only survivor during the period where he didn't have his memories. What Have I Done? follows immediately afterward.
Maes Hughes is also another possible example of this, due to the fact that as soon as he discovered that the locations of high amounts of war and bloodshed form a transmutation circle on the Amestris map, he was killed shortly thereafter. Also falls under this category because he always shows off the pictures of his daughter.
Mustang:Hughes, a little word of warning. This often happens in movies and novels. A guy on the battlefield who brings up stories of his woman...immediately dies.
Not to mention that Maes is actually seen in a purple shirt.
Hayate Gekko from Naruto is a great example, dying soon after his introduction, but not so soon that he couldn't be voted as one of the series' 10 most popular characters at least once. His appearance also fits, as he wears a standard Chunin uniform with barely enough modification to be unique.
Tenten can arguably be put in this category because she doesn't show much significant value aside from being the only female member of Team Gai and she only wins one out of two battles she participated in throughout the show. She also doesn't have a last name.
Daisuke Saiki from X/1999. Not a Dragon of the Heaven (only nephew to one of them, Aoki) and not very accepting of Kamui at the beginning, but still a devoted ally that has a Bodyguard Crush on Hinoto and dodges death more than once. Until Fuuma fulfills his wish to die protecting Hinoto. Verymessily.
Full Metal Panic! doesn't really have Redshirts, with most Mithril and Amalgam soldiers looking unique and being in named squads. National armies like the US, the Soviets, and the Chinese, on the other hand...
In the Chapter Black saga of YuYu Hakusho, four fledgling psychics join the heroes. One of them gets curbstomped by Docter and is hosptalized for the rest of the arc, and another gets eaten by Gourmet.
In Ginga Densetsu Weed, we meet Jerome and his pack. They're off hunting down the Kaibutsu, an experiment that has broken out of the lab he was created in. We learn the pack's names (North, Robert, Rocker, and Heuler) and we think that they're going to be main characters too. Surprise surprise, all of them are killed off in the space of two episodes, North by ambush and the rest while fighting to give Jerome a chance to kill the Kaibutsu.
Happens relatively often, at least in the anime. If a dog hasn't had a ton of screen time and introduces himself before a fight, his chance of survival is very small.
In Berserk Hawk Raider Gaston is one of the few members of The Band of the Hawk outside of the main characters Griffith, Guts, and Casca and the other captains to have a name, a couple lines, and a little characterization to him. He's also the last Hawk we see alive in the finale.
Due to the Anyone Can Die and nobody stays dead nature of the series, pretty much everybody in Dragon Ball Z dies at one point or another, many of which become important enough to be or downgraded to the level of Mauve shirts.
Attack on Titan is filled with characters who are given a little characterization and then killed off. As with the above example, Anyone Can (And Usually Will) Die. Notable examples include the 104th Trainees killed during the "Battle" of Trost, and several members of the Survey Corps.
Due to seventy-plus years of history, the number of superheroes and super villains available to DC Comics has made it so that every DC superhero or supervillain who does not have an ongoing title - and some of those who do, given their willingness to turn everyone and their dog into a Legacy Character - is one of these. Being in a Shared Universe really helps this.
Kole from the Teen Titans, who was created specifically to be killed as the team's editorially-mandated sacrifice in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. She only ever appeared in about five issues of New Teen Titans and six issues of Tales of the Teen Titans before her untimely demise.
A good example of a DC Mauve Shirt is Mr. America in the Justice Society of America arc "The Next Age". We are told about the reason he took up the mantle of the Golden Age hero Mr. America, see him investigate the murder of his own family- and then, at the end of the first part he gets brutally murdered himself, his dead body landing in the middle of the JSA meeting, kicking off the main plot.
Similarly, everyone in the Marvel Universe with a name and a superpower can be killed, though they do not have as much history as DC. The X-Men are particularly notable because they are so easy to create.
Thunderbird is a classic example. He died only a few issues after joining the team (thanks to an editorial mandate), just long enough to give his demise some emotional weight, even though he lacked any real characterization or development.
In the Marvel Adventures: Avengers line, HYDRA Mook Carl has become one of these thanks to a running gag that he causes a lot of accidents that screw up HYDRA and any other group he joins.
Usagi Yojimbo: There are a few. The captain of one of Noryuk's allies helps Usagi and Tomoe fight off some assasins. Kimi is one of the few Neko Ninja to be named after Chizu, the leader, is cast out, Kimi is one of the few still loyal to her. Also present is Inspector Nii, a policeman serving as The Watson to Ishida, for him to inform about case evidence, and he constantly recurs despite many of Ishida's superiors proving to be corrupt.
Batwoman: The Religion of Crime Sects have a few recurring members. The main sect has Shard, a Cyborg woman who menaced Renee, and now keeps coming after Kate. Abbot's group has Claire and Hayes, two shape-shifters who showed up in Abbot's debut in Batwoman's series, and are the only named Acolytes among his followers. Claire even gets Promoted to Killer Croc's Love Interest.
In Galaxy Quest Guy Fleegman parodied this because of being a Red Shirt in the original show, but bootstrapped himself to Mauve and eventually to main cast thanks to his paranoia and personality. And because he was lucky enough to be in a movie that liked to subvert the classic tropes. Amusingly, he's the one character in the climactic shooting spree that doesn't get shot.
Many James Bond movies have male characters on Bond's side who are not important to the series like Felix Leiter but have enough personality and screen time not to be just another Red Shirt. They are invariably killed off by the Big Bad's goons. Examples: Quarrel in Dr. No (who is wearing an actual red shirt when he buys it), Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View to a Kill, the Turkish intelligence officer Kerim Bey in From Russia With Love, etc.
Biggs Darklighter, an old friend of Luke's and his wingman in the Battle of Yavin (the one who called Luke "the best bush pilot in the Outer Rim Territories"). In a scene cut from the movie (but in the novelization and some deleted scenes on DVDs, also in the NPR Radio Play) Biggs, who has been training at the Imperial Starfighter Academy, returns to Tatooine briefly and tells Luke he has a friend-of-a-friend who knows where the Rebels are hiding and he is going to join them. He's killed in the battle, but not randomly, and it's a hard hit to Luke.
Wedge Antilles appears in all three original trilogy films flying some sort of vehicle. The reason he's there is simply to provide a familiar face who's not part of the main cast. This incidentally gives him a strong dose of Plot Armor because he's too recognizable to be killed off as a redshirt, and he's also unimportant enough that he can't be killed off for the sake of drama. In the Expanded Universe though, Wedge becomes a major supporting character and is even the center of a number of stories, and has been tallied to be second in EU character popularity only to Boba Fett.
A number of mauve-wearing cops show up in The Dark Knight, most of them part of Jim Gordon's Major Crimes Unit. Some of them - including Wuertz and Ramirez - are corrupt and work for The Mafia.
Madril, the rather old and fatherly ranger who accompanies Faramir in movie version of Lord of the Rings is a clear example of this. He gets just enough dialogue and screen time for the audience to warm to him over two films for us to hate the Witch King's right hand Gothmog when he coldly murders him.
In Lethal Weapon 2, all the detectives who bet Riggs he can't escape from a straitjacket in the beginning get killed later on by the villain via The Purge.
In The Ghost and the Darkness, one of the random African workers reveals some knowledge of lions, and claims to have killed one with his bare hands. He's one of the first Africans to get killed by the eponymous lions.
In Redneck Zombies, there is amongst the campers a slightly overweight guy who never gets a name, nor even a single line of dialog. He is one of the only two campers to survive the end. This was intentional, as the filmmakers wanted to play with the audience's expectations about who would survive and who would die, figuring people would expect the nameless guy with no dialog to die first.
Maria Hill and Coulson from the The Avengers. Coulson's popularity may cause him to become higher than a regular Mauve Shirt.
Since he is now headlining Agents Of SHIELD, it appears that he has graduated to the Gold Shirt. Of course, with Joss Whedon, you never know who is eligible for death.
Star Trek and its sequel has Lieutenant Hendorff, AKA Cupcake. His status is lampshaded in Into Darkness when Kirk tells him to take off his red shirt. It's not clear if he survives the second film or not, since he's never outright shown dying but disappears after Kirk and co. return to the Enterprise from Qo'noS. Amusingly, he's named after (and is presumably the alternate timeline version of) a Red Shirt who was killed in the Original Series episode "The Apple".
The soldiers escorting Tony at the start of Iron Man 1 received a few fleeting minutes of characterization before they were wiped out by Stark's captors.
In Animorphs, that is most of the named "auxiliary Animorphs".
In the Redwall series, on occasion, certain vermin in the villain's army will be given some screen time and a chance to discuss the situation. These will usually be the only vermin aside from the Big Bad and his lieutenants to get names. Expect them to desert before the final battle.
Some of the Redwallers or allies of Redwall are treated the same. More than likely, some will only pop up in a few scenes scattered throughout a book, while others will stick around for a few consecutive chapters before they're randomly killed in battle.
Warhammer 40,000 novels tend to be even worse than Gundam. Quite often, a chapter will begin with the introduction of a character, give parts of their life story up to that point, then kill them off at the end of the chapter once the plot-relevant part is over.
Particularly egregious is the novel Dark Apostle. Throughout the book's course, all of the main human characters get killed off brutally. One survives... and gets captured and possessed by a demon.
It is very common in Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, books to introduce about 4 or 5 mauve shirt characters per book. The majority of these characters die near the end of the book or they are not seen again because they are not in Cain's regiment.
Not uncommon in the X-Wing Series, where Anyone Can Die. Stackpole's books make heavy use of Red Shirts with a name, a species, and one or two lines, and now and again he kills off someone with slightly more pagetime. Emphasis on slightly. It's hard to care, even when the other characters remark about the loss of a teammate, when that teammate was barely ever shown doing what they reminisce about. Aaron Allston's books, on the other hand, have a Cast of Snowflakes, and no one dies without having thoughts of their own, developing, and showing the readers their Hidden Depths. It's often hard to tell who lives and who dies.
In the Stephen King novel The Regulators, a character is introduced and given a rather full backstory, such as the fact that she's on her way back from cheating on her husband, and how she realizes she's not wearing any underwear, while she's in the act of dying.
Discworld's Sergeant Abba Stronginthearm made his first appearance in Men at Arms as a mob member conscripted into Carrot's Militia, and made fairly regular appearances from then onward, rising in the ranks and becoming a mainstay of the reconstituted City Watch. His death offscreen in the opening of Night Watch serves to highlight just how important capturing Carcer is. We get chummy with at least 5 watchmen doomed to die by the end (7 graves, but the real Sergeant Keel is killed before we can meet him, and Reg Shoe becomes a zombie).
Cuddy from Men-At-Arms was shaping up to be a pretty good character, and then, WHAM.
The crew of Bridge Four in The Stormlight Archive. Thanks to Kaladin, they manage a higher survival rate that most bridgemen crews, but that doesn't change the fact that a couple of them will die nearly every bridge run.
Most of the Spartan soldiers other than Master Chief in First Strike.
In Redshirts, it is pointed out that, In-Universe, the main characters are these, that is random extras who are given backgrounds and a bit of character development in order to make their deaths hit the audience harder.
David Weber's standard procedure for the Honor Harrington novel series is to create a dozen or so new characters a book, make the reader love them, and then kill about half of them off in brutal, graphic, and sometimes senseless fashion. His explicit reason for doing this is that military fiction where only the bad guys die "isn't military fiction, it's military pornography." War Is Hell, and Weber wants his readers to know it. And also to make them cry.
There have been quite a few characters who end up as this, largely due in part to the writer's need to kill them off to establish the Anyone Can Die mentality, or to build up the next Big Bad. The most notable examples include:
Agent Aaron Pierce, who starts out as the mostly-silent bodyguard of Senator David Palmer and stays in this role for most of the first four seasons. He earned some fan support by being the only guy who stayed loyal to Palmer after he got thrown out by his own cabinet in the second season, but otherwise, he didn't make much of a wave. Cue the fifth season, where he suddenly starts gaining more prominence (he refuses a direct order from the President to stop Jack Bauer's attack on Walt Cummings, and he saves Martha Logan and the Russian President from a terrorist attack). It was assumed that his time was coming to an end, and he ends up disappearing for several episodes before it's revealed that he was placed under arrest by Charles Logan. The writers had intended to kill him off at this point, but Pierce's actor (Glenn Morshower) made such a strong impression with his performance that they hastily rewrote the story to keep him alive. As of the eighth season, he is one of the scant few characters from the first season that hasn't died during the series, and he's been a major player in the later seasons (he helps Jack take out General Juma and the surviving commandoes after Bill Buchanan sacrifices himself).
In season 1, DEA Agent Krugman. He is part of a drug-busting team that raids a house where Kim Bauer is confronting Rick (the man who ended up helping her escape from Ira Gaines), and is the one to arrest Kim and put her in a holding cell. Krugman eventually releases her when he finds out who she is, and seems to show some genuine empathy once he realizes what had happened to her (the kidnapping incident) earlier in the day...until the car he and Kim are driving in is blindsided by Victor Drazen's men. While his fate remains unclear in the TV series, the novel 24: The House Special Subcommittee's Findings at CTU reveals that Krugman indeed survived.
In season 2, a computer tech (played by Rosanne's Sarah Gilbert) joins CTU, and is set up to be a major character. She lasts for three episodes, then is crushed by a falling pillar during the CTU bombing. She holds on for long enough to talk Tony Almeida and Michelle Dessler through getting their systems up and running, then dies anticlimatically.
In season 3, Claudia (Jack Bauer's Mexican girlfriend). She shows up in half the season's episodes with her family, talking about her past relationship and the need to escape the Salazar brothers' influence. She ends up being the one to rescue Chase Edmunds after he is captured in Mexico, but takes a bullet for her troubles (off-camera) when the pair escape from the Salazars in the back of her father's truck.
In season 4, CTU field operative Lee Castle. He is introduced in the ninth episode butting heads with Tony Almeida, but then quickly establishes himself as the most competent CTU member in a long time. He helps Jack out on several missions, and is even the one to rescue him when he gets kidnapped by Marwan. In the second-last episode of the season, though, he and Tony get captured trying to find Mandy the assassin, and he is shot to death while on his knees. He almost made it to the end of the season, too.
There's also Paul Raines, Audrey's estranged husband. After learning that he's unintentionally made a deal with Big Bad Habib Marwan, he accompanies Jack to another company that's recently had ties with Marwan which he also had some involvement with to uncover more information... which leads to the heads in charge to try to eliminate them. By the end of it Paul is wounded, and later on in the season after seemingly being stabilized has to go back into surgery. But there's only one doctor on call working on him and Jack barges in needing treatment for a wounded suspect who's the only lead on Marwan, thus forcing him to save the suspect over Paul, who despite Jack trying to keep him alive dies from his wounds.
Played with during the nerve gas attack in season 5. A security guard named Harry (trapped in a holding cell with the acting CTU Director [Lynn McGill] after the attack) takes the time to show Mc Gill pictures of his young daughter, and complains to Jack Bauer that he doesn't deserve to die. Of course, he ends up dying after Mc Gill runs out of the holding cell to filter the gas out of the building, and lets the gas into their saferoom.
The re-imagined series loved this trope. The show had a huge cast of minor recurring characters - reporters, pilots, mechanics, marines, almost all of who had names, and, sometimes, personalities. Of course, in a show which really liked Anyone Can Die, this wasn't exactly a good thing... RIP, Gunny Matthias, Jammer, Racetrack, Skulls...
The extremes of this would be Kat & Sam on one side with Helo & Hot Dog on the other- Kat and Hot Dog were both "nuggets" (new pilots trained during the series), whereas Helo and Sam were guest stars for the pilot and in Season 2, respectively. Kat committed Heroic Sacrifice, whereas Hot Dog survived to the end. Helo was a Mauve shirt who's actor was so well liked that while he was left to die in the pilot, (and meant to die), a major arc of the first season (some would say the show) was written in to get him back. Sam was a love interest for a main character yet comes back, joins the main cast, and survives to the finale- to pilot the fleet into the sun.
Admittedly, Sam's story was changed significantly when the actor was seriously injured.
Brutally gets a Lampshade Hanging when a new pilot is moving into his bearth and all is jovial. Then he asks about who this guy was the others kept referencing. Cue another pilot ripping the tape with a name on it off the new pilot's bearth and slapping it on his chest.
Bones: One episode attempts to achieve this in five minutes — Sweets meets a kid on a subway who tells him that he's returning from a doctor, who has just given him the news that his cancer's in remission. He talks about how he's going to take this as a sign to live his life to the fullest — until the subway crashes, he hits his head on a pole, and is instantly killed, sending Sweets into Heroic BSOD for the rest of the episode.
Has "Anderson", an FBI agent from the central office who's only had significant screentime twice in the series. He gets a name (or half of one, anyway) because both appearances were memorable, though short.
Also, Sheriff Eva Ruiz from "Rite Of Passage", who unluckily gets killed by Deputy Sheriff Ronald Boyd, aka Santa Muerte, the serial killer the team was after.
Makes this a Subverted Trope with Private Ross Jenkins. He gets a name, a bit of a personality in "The Sontaran Strategem". He is killed in the second part, "The Poison Sky". He managed to get a rather large following on The Doctor Who Forum and a fan club there: Private Ross Jenkins' Widows. The Doctor even shouts about his death angrily, which is more than some of his old companions got when they left the show alive.
In the new series of Doctor Who, nearly any person who is given a name and a bit of sympathy for the Doctor and his companions dies. Davroslampshades this in Journey's End.
Davros: How many more are there, Doctor? How many have died in your name?
It's also important to note that anybody who gets asked to travel on the TARDIS before the end of the episode will die. See: Lynda-with-a-y, Jenny, Astrid and Rita.
This is used for the Doctor's character development, as he eventually notices this trend and stops inviting people altogether...only to realise that he really, really needs a Morality Chain.
Played straight, however, in the old series with Sgt Benton. He showed up as a Corporal in the first UNIT story, then slowly made his way up the ranks, becoming one of the UNIT regulars (and arguably a companion). He became UNIT's Regimental Sergeant Major before disappearing from the show.
Falling Skies: Has quite a few mauve shirts: Jamil, Dai, Mike, Anthony, Lyle—the list goes on. But as of Season 2, the show has been trying to establish that Anyone Can Die. By the end of the second season finale, several of these characters have been killed off.
Farscape: Braca at first appeared to be just another mook, until the first season finale when Big Bad Scorpius tells him "I believe your star is on the rise," a signal to the viewers that he actually is going to be important and they should pay attention to him. He ends up surviving the whole show, along with his boss. The was an Averted Trope because Braca was originally slated to get killed off but managed to survive due to David Franklin's incredible ability to emote. Braca also managed to go from red-shirt to having a first name and command of his own ship, so kudos that mook.
Game of Thrones: Jory is archetypical. The head of the Starks' personal guard, he has a name, gets a few lines, follows people around a lot, and gets killed halfway through with little fanfare. If such a thing as red or mauve shirts can even be said to exist in this setting.
Plays this one quite straight. In last season, there was a merge between hospitals, and new characters appeared out of the blue. They didn't receive much attention, but they were not kicked out quickly. Nevertheless, when a shooter appeared and someone needed to die... guess who did die.
Granted, only half (two) of the new characters were killed, and it was only them because their characters became obsolete when Katherine Heigl left the show. Of the other two, Avery became quite popular, and Kepner had a short arc just after her introduction, and then played a major supporting role in the finale.
In season 2, episodes 17 part 1 and 2, Dylan Young has a mauve flack jacket. Not really, but he gets built up as a empathetic character with all this flirty nonsense, but we never find out if he has a family, or a significant other, or even a cat. He has many of the symptoms of a red shirt, yet catches more screen time then most ever do. Because of his unexpected death (and so invocation of Anyone Can Die) he has a mauve flack jacket (or shirt, but you can't see it under the flack jacket.)
Law & Order: During the first decade of this show, the only police character other than the regulars to be given any character development at all was Detective Tony Profaci, whose job it was to pop into the office, or even into the crime scene, to provide some sort of crucial new information or lab results, crack a few jokes, and leave. In the first nine seasons, Profaci appeared in 53 episodes. Unfortunately, his mauve shirt status was not sufficient to save him when, in the made-for-TV movie Exiled, he was found to be on the take from The Mafia and forced to resign in disgrace. After that, the attempt to give airtime and development to non-regular police characters was largely abandoned. Detective Moe Lamott, a burly and fairhaired cop once used to infiltrate a neo-Nazi group, was a rare exception. Only for a couple of seasons, though.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: This show is much better at establishing a large and rotating cast of Mauve Shirts. They always deal with the same internal affairs officer, the same TARU techie, the same CSU techie(s) until they were killed off, the same half-dozen rotating judges and defense attorneys... and, most notably, the same psychiatrist and the same M.E., both of whom got a Promotion to Opening Titles.
Has done this not once, but several times. Some of these characters are annoying and die ironic deaths; another trend involves a second in command villainous character who dies at the end of the season:
In season 1, Leslie Arzt appears as a (seemingly) knowledgeable science teacher who accompanies the Big Damn Heroes to the Black Rock to help them properly handle the dynamite. Of course, as Arzt is in the middle of a lecture about dynamite safety, the stick he's holding explodes.
Season 3 has Danny Pickett and Ryan Pryce, two security guard-like Others. Pickett has a short plotline in which his wife is killed and he takes it out on Sawyer; Pryce serves no purpose but being a villain. Picket is shot by Juliet and Pryce is run over by Hurley in a DHARMA van.
Season 4 brings Keamy's right hand man Omar. He gets blown up by a grenade Keamy accidentally kicks to him.
In season 5, Neil "Frogurt" is introduced as an irritating, neurotic man who is literally wearing a red shirt and is constantly complaining about the others' inability to make fire. Cue a fire arrow straight through his chest.
Frogurt even gets an onscreen promotion to Red Shirt from mauve, moments before his death.
Sawyer:[Holds up a literal red shirt] Whose shirt is this?
Frogurt:Oh, that's mine.
Additionally, a random DHARMA Initiative security drone named Phil starts making frequent appearances in the latter half of season 5. His increasingly annoying behavior—culminating with punching Juliet and Sawyer's vow to kill him in the penultimate episode of the season—seemed to indicate that he will be killed in the cataclysmic finale. He isn't killed by Sawyer, but from shrapnel caused by the magnetism of the Hatch's site.
One of the Ajira Flight 316 survivors steps forward and appears to be both the leader and really important. He has a lot of mystery about him, making you think he'll last for a while as he's clearly a big player...then he's abruptly shot by Ben, and second-in-command Ilana steps forward as the one who's really important (so much so that she's a regular in season six).
And yet even she gets her ass blown to hell in Arztian fashion after doing little.
Season 5/6 has Ilana's henchman Bram, who, after seemingly being important, gets impaled on a wooden stake by the smoke monster in the 6th season premiere.
Season 6's "annoying mauve shirt villain" is Zoe, henchwoman of Widmore. In the penultimate episode Smokey slashes her throat.
Pretty much everyone introduced in season six is this trope
Merlin: Has Sir Leon, a previously unnamed knight who was given lines of exposition on behalf of Camelot's Red Shirt Army. He proved so popular that when the writers tried to kill him off at the end of season 2, fan outrage ensured that he got better and returned with an even larger role in season 3. In the DVD Commentary for The Tears of Uther Pendragon, Bradley James comments that the biggest cheer they got at the screening was when the audience realized that Sir Leon was still alive. And then he ends up being one of only five regular characters to survive the Kill 'em AllGrand Finale.
Monk: In the penultimate episode of the seventh season, Monk's nebbish neighbor Kevin Dorfman is killed in the episode's beginning. He had been in a few episodes prior to this and had something of a fan following, so this was quite a shock to the viewers.
Revolution: A number of characters do get lines, names, and roles...but it doesn't save them from death. "Kashmir" had Ashley get killed off, despite having a name, some lines, and a role. "The Song Remains The Same" had Nicholas killed off, despite having a name, a number of lines, and role in the episodes "No Quarter", "The Stand", and "Ghosts". "Clue" had Commander Wayne Ramsey and Jim Hudson killed off, despite having names, lines, and roles.
The Shield: Detective Ronnie Gardocki had no dialogue in the series pilot, and the actor who portrays him went uncredited. He appeared in about half of the episodes in the first season, and was a "recurring character" up through season four. According to That Other Wiki, fans originally suspected he would become a redshirt, and the series writers even toyed with this idea in season 2. However, he survived and graduated to a regular cast member in the last three seasons, becoming increasingly important as the series went on.
Almost every single Tau'ri who captains an Earth-built starship on this show and related shows. They're all given names and a little bit of backstory/personality, but only one survived more than a few episodes (Pendergast). One, a long-running secondary character, was killed the very episode he took command of his vessel.
Chuck the Gate Tech might also qualify for this. His predecessor was also a Mauve Shirt who was killed off for dramatic effect in the first season finale.
What about Caldwell, he appears repeatedly in 4 seasons of SG:A?
Introduced Enrique Muniz, who had a strong aura of Red Shirt about him, being a previously unknown crew member in a highly dangerous situation. He survived, and recurred in a couple more episodes until finally being killed off early in season 5.
Had Gold Shirt (the red and gold colors got switched in the 24th century), Irish, curly haired transporter operator from the earliest days of its premiere. That operator eventually got a name and rank, Chief Miles O'Brien, and went on to be a semi-regular character with a family and interacted regularly with the main cast. He went even further to be a starring character in the next Trek iteration, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Miles O'Brien is the embodiment of a character working up from the Red Shirt Army to donning fullblown Plot Armor.
He's proud to be a Mauve Shirt. Unlike almost every other Star Trek main character, he is NOT an officer (nor commissioned as one) note Though there is some confusion, as his rank was not firmly established early on—his costume and some dialogue seemed to indicate that he was a full lieutenant at various points in the show's run. But he has served a soldier.
Lieutenant Hawk in First Contact, the Enterprise's new Conn Officer after Worf was transferred to Deep Space Nine''. He's assimilated and killed a little more than halfway through the movie, but until then they did a pretty good job of keeping him involved with the action, rather than just brushing him aside the second Worf came back on board.
Even the Trope Maker for the Red Shirt, had one bonafide Mauve Shirt - Lieutenant Kyle, who appeared in more episodes than Yeoman Rand, always had dialogue, even if it was just a Mandatory Line, and holds the distinction of being the onlyRed Shirt to have a consistent position on the Enterprise: Transporter Chief. (Yes, Kyle was the transporter chief, not Scotty). He even got to help save the day a couple of times (most notably in "The Doomsday Machine" and "Mirror, Mirror"). He also has a knack for appearing in good episodes, and even made a cameo in the best of the movies (that's him as the Communications Officer onboard Reliant).
One of the ironies of this trope; while the Blue Shirts and Gold Shirts, as mentioned at the start of the page, had a lower casualty rate in TOS, they were actually the first crew members we saw killed; the first actual Red Shirt death didn't happen until the 7th episode.
Had Lieutenant Joe Carey, who was tipped to be the new Chief Engineer before B'Elanna stole his thunder early in the series. He makes a number of appearances in the first and seconds seasons, and is then absent for the remainder of the series, except for time travel episodes that return to the timeframe of those early seasons. He finally makes a return appearance in the present day during season 7, four episodes from the end of the series, and is killed off by the episode's villain in an attempt to show that he's Dead Serious.
Voyager also had Lieutenant Ayala, who kept such a low profile he survived through the entire show!
Hogan is a straight example. Recurred a few times, then died in the Season 2 finale to establish how dangerous the planet they were stranded on was. Then his remains were discovered late in season 3, which is far more thought given to the Ontological Inertia of security personnel's corpses than usual.
Top Gear: Steve, who is ostensibly the director of the "Top Gear Technology Centre." He was featured prominently in an episode in which the presenters need a racing car and a pit crew to compete in the Britcar 24-hour endurance race at Silverstone — and was honored afterward by appearing in the studio when the film aired to receive the audience's applause. Has appeared only once or twice since.
Pro Wrestling has its own equivalent of this - the "jobber-to-the-stars". Unlike pure jobbers, the jobber-to-the-stars usually has a defined character, a theme song, and is allowed to get offense in during his matches. He may even get wins over pure jobbers and other jobbers-to-the-stars in order to establish him as something more than a jobber. However, his primary role in the business is to make the higher ranked wrestlers look good. Jobbers-to-the-stars are usually either newer wrestlers who are scheduled to get pushed in the futurenote for example, Chuck Palumbo early in his WCW career while using his jungle gimmick, or older wrestlers who can still put on good matches but who management has no interest in continuing to push note Val Venis for the last few years of his WWE contract was one of these
Company of Heroes' opening cutscene for the Invasion of Normandy campaign (which is a Shout Out of the opening scene in Saving Private Ryan itself) shows a cinematic beginning of the first boats going on the beach, with a particular shot toward one. It has a sergeant in the boat state their orders and speaks some encouragement to the other men in the boat with him. They soon all die attempting to reach the safe(ish) mound of dirt in front the the German-entrenched hills. The game then cuts to another boat, turning the cinematic graphics to the actual in-game graphics, showing you the troops you will first command in the campaign
In the real-time strategy game Myth: The Fallen Lords, all of the player's units could be considered mauve shirts, since the game tries to get you emotionally attached to them by giving the otherwise-identical units unique names and calling out "Casualty" in a grim voice whenever one of them dies.
Same thing for Cannon Fodder, of course.
There's also the fact that they gain experience with each kill, and that when they die they aren't replaced until the beginning of the next level.
Half Life 1: Blue Shift's Barney Calhoun, who is a redshirt security guard, frequent ally and friendly casualty to Gordon Freeman... He survives the events of his own story and reappears in Half-Life 2, transitioning completely from a minor character to a central one. Arguably, Adrian Shephard from Opposing Force manages this too, being an HECU grunt (mainstay of the game's human enemies). Unfortunately for him, as of yet, he hasn't appeared in another game.
Barney is something beyond this, as he's basically Fan Mandated. 'Barney' is a Fan Nickname, this character in the original Half-Life, a guard that both looks and sounds exactly the same as every other guard, tells you to remind him to buy you that beer. That is your entire interaction with this character. Everything about him, including Blue Shift, is because of fandom.
In most SRW games, certain series allow you to switch pilots freely within their own series, so some of the lesser characters get a chance to shine (putting Boss into a spare Mazinger Z when Kouji gets his Mazinkaiser is popular). In OG, this applies to every character and every mecha, so if you like a side character better than a "main" one using an appropriate robot, go for it. Just be aware that certain chapters will assert mecha ownership, especially if it's an ATX or SRX mecha in question.
In Gears of War, Carmine (whose name is a shade of red) was a facelessRed Shirt squad member, the only man on the team to wear a helmet and mask (in fact his character model was identical to the baseline COG soldier) who has a handful of lines but dies after the first couple of levels to show that the situation is serious (he's 1 of 2 onscreen-named characters in the entire game to die). Due to being "a weird fan favorite", he unofficially returned in Gears of War 2 in the form of his brother, Ben Carmine, the next of the 4 Carmine brothersnote "Well... 3, now.". With the extra screen time he received compared to his brother (surviving to the second act) and given more time to grow on you as a character, he was a true Mauve Shirt.
In Gears of War 3 the tradition continued with Clay Carmine, where the fanbase actually had control over his fate through an Xbox Live Marketplace charity drive (buy one of two shirts saying "Carmine Lives!" or "Carmine Must Die!"). As such the game made a Running Gag over his expendable nature, such as almost getting crushed by a thrown carnote "That was close!" or sniped by a idiotic civiliannote "Good thing I wear a helmet.". In the end, he gets shot down in a helicopter and after a brief fake-out with his discarded helmet, you see him putting it back on, triumphantly subverting the trope and surviving the events of the game.
Jagged Alliance is a fantastic example of this. Even though you can replace the occasional dead merc with relative ease (and in fact, the penalties for getting them killed are often lighter than those for firing them), they're all given names, personalities, and back-stories, making you feel like scum when they die. (Note however that other would-be contractors may notice a trend...)
Except for Reuben, the remorseless mass-murderer. Die, bastard!
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes features several Galactic Federation troopers. While they're all dead on arrival, scanning their corpses reveals their logs, a portion of their character, and their lives and interactions before their deaths—there's the one who's gone crazy, there's the cynical snarker, there's the Straw Feminist type who idolizes Samus, etc.
Jonathan in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops exists for three reasons. The first one is to provide a sympathetic villainous point of view, so you understand why the Russian soldiers have decided to hook up with a crazy American anarchist with a Compelling Voice. The second reason is to be your first non-Snake character, so you can learn how the soldier system works, and he gives He Knows About Timed Hits tutorials to you. The third reason is to take a bullet intended for Big Boss during Gene's Moral Event Horizon, and provide a Player Punch. For the last reason, he and Snake cannot suffer permadeath in online play.
Also, Johnny, the character who survives all the way through the main series by being that one incompetent guard that you just can't shoot. By 4, he's on your side.
Final Fantasy VIII has Biggs and Wedge. They are a couple of reoccurring enemies, in mook uniform, who aren't distinguished from the other mooks very much, besides having names and slightly better stats. You fight them several times, and watch them rise and fall through ranks. They eventually just give up.
Final Fantasy VII has its incarnations of Biggs and Wedge, along with Jessie, as members of Avalanche handling technical tasks while your player characters do the fighting. They are each developed enough to serve as Sacrificial Lambs when Shinra drops the Sector 7 plate of Midgar on the slums beneath it.
Tales of Symphonia has lots of named NPCs with just enough background and emotional value, but the one that sticks out is Botta, the second in command of the Renegades. He starts out one of the first villain characters you see, interestingly, but the plot twists around so far that when he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save the party, many players find it to be a genuine Tear Jerker.
Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War has your second wingman PJ; after Pixy goes AWOL, he goes from Crow Team Butt Monkey to the second Galm 2, continuing to retain his Gameplay Immortality and now actually able to (very infrequently) help you. Unfortunately, his Genre Blindness catches up to him when immediately after the Avalon attack he declares that he's going to propose to his girlfriend back at the base... "I even bought flowers!" Then you see a light in the distance, headed your way...
A common occurrance in squad-based tactical combat games like X-COM. Players often get quite attached to soldiers who've survived a few encounters (especially in impressive ways or against the odds) and been given names and nice equipment... but of course, they're not that much more robust than a rookie and die all too easily when things go pear-shaped.
In Mass Effect 1, the Normandy crew are nameless and voiceless, save for Joker, Pressly, Chakwas and Adams. Come Mass Effect 2, Pressly is killed in the Collector's attack and is referenced several times by Shepard and other characters. Meanwhile, several members of the Normandy SR-2's crew are given names and personalities: Ken, Gabby, Gardner, Hawthorne, Patel, Rolston, Goldstein, Hadley and Matthews (as well as Joker and Dr. Chakwas returning from the first game). All of them can die in the Suicide Mission, but if some survive you can wander the Normandy and listen to them mourning the loss of their friends.
The N7 personnel you play as during multiplayer missions are easy to get attached to and start coming up with names and backstories for, despite the fact that they're technically random side persons with nothing but a name who can and will die frequently when you miss an extraction shuttle.
Hadrin in Gauldoth's campaign in Heroes of Might and Magic 4. Gauldoth, a necromancer, kills him and resurrects him as a zombie to act as an emissary during negotiations with a vampire warlord. While Gauldoth initially intended for him to be disposable, when Hadrin returns from negotiations missing an arm but with tactical information on the vampire, Gauldoth takes the trouble to learn his name and employs him as a bodyguard.
Wonderfully used in thisOrder of the Stick comic, where two soldiers save themselves from dying as part of the city's Redshirt Army by saying their names. One of them even keeps his last name in reserve to potentially save himself from another life-threatening situation. In fact, the two of them later become major supporting characters.
Also, in the same battle, the remaining members of the Sapphire Guard become Mauve Shirts, particularly Lien and O-Chul, while the rest are wiped out.
In Haley's Resistance group, Thanh, Isamu, and Niu were introduced and developed slightly. Isamu ended up (un)dying, and Thanh and Niu now lead the Resistance.
And now Niu's the Sole Survivor of the wiped-out Resistance, which included not only Thanh, but also a bunch of Elven characters who fell just short of the requirements for this trope (they died before getting names, making them Red Shirts instead).
Subverted with a one Solt Lorkyurg who was a gnome traveler in comic 539 who met Haley and the group when traveling to Azure City. He's dead to show Belkar's impulsiveness and cruelty.
On the villain's side there's Jirix one of the only Hobgoblins to get a proper name and some characterization. He's also the only member of the team who was introduced outside Start of Darkness to still be alive in the present. He's able to distinguish himself from the other Hobgoblin clerics with his different colored uniform.
As the body count rises during the siege of Gobwin Knob in Erfworld, Dora, and then Webinar are quickly added to the list.
Misty, the Lookamancer who helped Parson with one of his plans, and Jaclyn, the only named Archon, both end up croaked.
Not to mention John Der Trihs, wearing a red shirt per his rank Lieutenant/Lieutenant commander, often getting shot/blown/cut up but still surviving.
The company's first doctor isn't so lucky, and so fits right in here. Ironically, just a few strips before his death he was lampshading Nick and Shep's red shirt status.
Shv'uu may also qualify, I don't think he ever quite got gold-shirt status, but he was well into the mauve.
Bert from Sluggy Freelance was originally a one-off gag character, but was given a larger role during the "KITTEN" storyline. Of the dozen plus supporting characters in that Story Arc, he was one of only four to survive. He went on to become a recurring character ... until "KITTEN II" finished what the original couldn't. He did get to come back as a ghost, though.
Girl Genius offers Sergeant Scorp of the Baron's Vespiary Squad, a Cool Old Guy in every sense of the term and possibly the least mad character in the entire series.
In Goblins, the survivors of the fight in Brassmoon City. Namely, the hobgoblin (Scrole), the kobold (Takn), the ogre-kobold duo (Pan & Yala) and that female creature that's creature type is yet unknown (fan-named Dorky or Undorky).
Bob and GeorgePoor Mike. The title character doesn't want to risk his life for some piddling secondary character and is unmoved by tears.
Most of the recurring public domain characters in Darwin's Soldiers are this. Examples are Neville Ivers, Cobalt Squad, Wayne Anthony, PFC Reynolds...
To Boldly Flee caused this to happen to Phelous due to, of all things, a conflict of interest. He acted in the belief that Red Shirts were important, a la Star Trek: The Next Generation while Paw believes that Red Shirts are...Red Shirts. Turns out they're both right. Phelous does die, but keeps coming back to life due to the conflicting beliefs. Eventually, he just learns to dodge everything trying to kill him.
Deconstructed and played with in The Venture Bros.. Two of the Monarch's Mooks, #21 and #24, become Red Herring Shirts due to their continued survival and regular appearances. After scores of Red Shirts have died around them, they start to get Genre Savvy and assume that they've got as much Plot Armor as the main characters. In the third season finale, however, #24 dies in an explosion, causing his scorched skull to land in 21's arms. His burning skull now carries his soul. #21 vows revenge and eventually becomes the #1 mook, but out of respect to his friend, he demands to keep his number as #21. Much later down the line, #21 survives the series long enough to pull a Heel-Face Turn.
Most of the Klokateers on Metalocalypse die brutal deaths the moment we see them on screens. It doesn't help that they are Faceless Goons and look identical. There is one exception though, a midget Klokateer who won Murderface's diamond encrusted codpiece during employee appreciation day. This Klokateer is often seen in later episodes, sporting his prized codpiece.
Played with in Futurama's Star Trek parody episode, "Where No Fan Has Gone Before". When the crew meets the cast of Star Trek, they are introduced to 'Welshie', a guy who joined the cast in the twenty-two hundreds. He is almost immediately killed off.
On the other hand, the real reason he was there was James Doohan having refused to take part in the episode.
It's also made funnier by the fact that even dead, Welshie is still the target of rage-induced killing mind-blasts.
In The Incredibles Helen's friend (and former pilot) Snog was originally going to be the pilot of the plane to Syndrome's island and was to have been killed when it was shot down (in the commentary, Brad Bird even said that they needed to have a character who had enough characterisation for the audience to sympathise with who could then be killed off to show the seriousness of the situation), but it was ultimately decided the scene would be better if Helen was the pilot. At least partially because they realized the fact that Syndrome was ready, willing, and able to destroy a plane that carried children more or less drove it home that the situation was grim.
Star Wars: Clone Wars: The unnamed Clone commander, he's always distinguishable by wearing red (He's on the show's page image). The manual lists his name as Fordo.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Any Clonetrooper given a name other than Captain Rex or Commander Cody who survives more than one minute on-screen.
Superjail has Jean and Paul, the gay couple (as of season 2, they're married). They were Star-Crossed Loversfrom rival gangs who terrorized Superjail for years. Their tryst united the two gangs and brought peace to Superjail, so the balance of prison society hangs on their relationship. Their survival is also ensured because they're the former leaders of the two most brutal gangs in Superjail means that the inmates wouldn't dare fuck with them.
Justice League Unlimited: There are numerous unimportant heroes and villains who appear, and have some lines in every episode. Many of the villainous ones, like Shade, Weather Wizard, and Copperhead were killed when Killer Frost froze them and Darkside blew them up. Characters like Evil Star, Atomic Skull and Heat wave barely did anything until the final episodes where they are some of the few villains to survive Darkside.
Young Justice: Kent Nelson in the first season and Aquagirl and Marie Logan in the second season. Got about an episode's worth of character development— just enough to give their deaths an impact, especially in a low-death setting.
Generator Rex: Captain Calan is the most prominent, usually informing the protagonists, carrying out the missions, and leading The Cavalry, even in season 3 he's still around, serving as a mole in Providence for the heroes when they defect. The Second most common is Beasly, a providence agent who's appeared thrice and his partner Wade, who only appeared twice. Kenwyn and several other unmasked providence agents also share this role. On the Villains side there's I-Bol and the Bouncer, two recurring non-speaking EVO creatures who usually serve some purpose, whether to hack/monitor or guard.
Ed: I'm that guy you see in every horror flick/You probably don't remember me, I come and go too quick
Linda (a main character): We've listened to you talk for the past two minutes! You said a whole lot just now, just you! Aw, you're not a bit part demon any more, you're a lead player! A star!
Ed: You're right! Now I see that this thread has been disrupted/I've said more than five words without being inturrupted/I'm a bit part no more, my character's had a swing/Now it's time for this demon to sing, sing, singgggggggggggg, I
Ash: Now you'll have a bit part, in hell!
Sanada Yukimura. He starts out as a normal soldier, pretty much someone you'd expect to die sooner. But he proves to be tougher than expected, surviving lots and lots of dangerous battles, and eventually at the end of the Siege of Osaka, performs a Foe-Tossing Charge, killing many soldiers with just a few helpers but being heavily wounded and finally declaring to supposedly a random mook... "I am Sanada Yukimura, no doubt an adversary quite worthy of yourselves, but I am too tired to fight any longer. Go on, take my head as your trophy." It's no wonder that due to his record and his awesome charge, Ieyasu honors him as Japan's Number One Soldier.
According to one source, he performed the foe-tossing charge many times, getting pushed back at the last possible second, almost getting to Ieyasu Tokugawa's face.
It was the final charge that was his most successful. In the final charge, he and his bodyguards made it all the way to Ieyasu's basecamp, where Yukimura was able to wound Tokugawa right above his kidney with his spear. Had Yukimura's spear been an inch or so down, the trauma to Ieyasu's kidney would have caused the Shogun to hemorrhage to death, which might have changed the course of Japanese history as we know it.
Crispus Attucks, the first man to be killed in the Boston Massacre. He became a martyr of the American Revolution and later on (due to his mixed-race heritage) an icon of Abolitionism. (And the god of Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden.