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Murder-Suicide
A character kills one or more victims and then kills themselves at the end, either because they planned to from the beginning to avoid the inevitable consequences, because they've gone on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and they have nothing left to live for, or because they were Driven to Suicide and decided that they were Taking You with Me.

Super Trope of Pater Familicide, where a parent kills their partner and children. Not to be confused with the mutually-consensual Suicide Pact. This does not count if the murderer attempts to get away with their crimes and continue their life. It has to be part of the same crime, not a later attempt to avoid guilt or punishment.

Related to Suicide by Cop if they organise it so that someone else kills them. Sister tropes to Self-Disposing Villain and Driven to Suicide.

Though this is Truth in Television, No Real Life Examples, Please! It has happened way too many times to count.

As a Death Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Discussed Trope when Riza tells Roy that she is willing to keep her word and shoot him if there is no other option, but then she'll kill herself too as she sees no point in living without him.
  • Gunslinger Girl: Elsa murdered her handler Lauro and then killed herself because she felt that he could never love her the way she did him, and he actually treated her like shit.
    • And later Jose does this to Henrietta as a part of a Suicide Pact.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
    • Attempted by Asuka's mother Kyouko, except the "Asuka" that was murdered was the rag doll that Kyouko thought to be Asuka. It's not clear whether Asuka's more angry that her mother committed suicide or that she didn't get to die along with her.
    • Naoko Akagi also may have killed herself after murdering Rei Mark I, via throwing herself off a platform. Though it's also possible that Gendo was the culprit.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami of all people attempts this in episode 10. In one of the alternate timelines, the poor girl completely snaps when she finds out that Magical Girls eventually become the witches they fight, which makes her believe that she and her friends should die before this happens. (And it's not helped by how she finds out: via Sayaka becoming a witch and having to be put down.) With her mind completely shattered, Mami succeeds in killing Kyouko via shooting off her Soul Gem and is this close to doing the same to Homura, but is then mercy killed by Madoka who shatters Mami's Soul Gem with her beam arrows before she can kill everyone and herself, and then collapses in tears due to the trauma.
    • And then there's the Pater Familicide carried out by Kyouko's preacher father as a result of him finding out that the increased number of followers at his church was not due to people actually believing him, but because of Kyouko's powers as a Puella Magi (born from her wish to get him more followers) making them listen. Kyouko was the only survivor, and man, did that little episode ever mess her up.
  • Sailor Moon: In the manga, the titular heroine attempted to do this on a Brainwashed and Crazy Tuxedo Kamen, but fortunately, neither died. (He was protected by his watch, she by the just-manifested MacGuffin.) In the anime, however, Moon managed to get to Tuxedo Kamen without killing him.
  • Minai from Shikabane Hime did this in her backstory. She killed her boyfriend after being beat and abused by him and then committed suicide, only to come back to become a Shikabane Hime.
  • Attempted by the emotionally broken Countess Francoise in Honoo No Alpen Rose, as punishment for her husband Germont's evil deeds.
  • In Oniisama e..., there are at least two attempts of this:
    • In the first one, Mariko snaps after Nanako tries to leave her home late at night and threatens with this. Luckily, Mariko's mother Hisako reacts fast enough to grab her daughter and let Nanako go.
    • In the second, a Rei who's feverish and drugged attempts to follow her and Fukiko's old Suicide Pact... with Nanako, whom she mistakes for Fukiko due to the fever. Nanako manages to make her react, and she stops herself only to collapse in tears.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden, Einosuke Okuda's suicide kills his already dying daughter Takiko by proxy, as by killing himself he (somehow) manages to kill the whole Okuda bloodline — and Takiko was the last one left.

    Comicbooks 
  • Sin City:
    • John Hartigan commits suicide after killing Roark, Jr., realizing that he's the only link left leading to Nancy (the latest victim). By killing himself, he ensures that she is left alone.
    • Officer Mort, a minor character in A Dame To Kill For is seduced into helping the Femme Fatale, and murders his partner when he tries to make him listen to reason about her. He then kills himself out of remorse.
  • X-23 attempts this, tracking down Wolverine with the intent of killing him and then herself to permanently put an end to the Weapon X project, and because she's so broken by everything that's happened to her to this point that she feels it's the only way out. Logan manages to defuse the situation by accepting responsibility for what was done to her since he willingly participated in Weapon X, but pleads with her not to throw her own life away because she wasn't allowed the same choice, making her an innocent victim rather than a guilty party.
  • A minor incident in Watchmen involves a man murdering his two young children and then killing himself due to increasing paranoia about a brewing war with Russia.
  • Happens in a re-telling of the opera Turandot in comic book format. A Liu who has been driven insane after all the Break the Cutie stabs Prince Calaf to death right before he gives Turandot a True Love's Kiss, then cradles Calaf's lifeless body in her arms and tells Turandot this is her punishment for her cruelty, before stabbing herself as well.

    Film 
  • This is Richard's plan in Dead Man's Shoes.
  • Full Metal Jacket: After Private Pyle kills Sgt. Hartman, he seems to realize that he'll be severely punished, perhaps even executed, for his crime, and shoots himself in the mouth.
  • Exaggerated Trope for laughs: At the end of Penn and Teller Get Killed, Teller accidentally kills Penn, then shoots himself. A guy who was just an actor, hired by Penn to play a trick on Teller to make it look like someone was trying to kill Penn, realizes that What With One Thing And Another there was no proof that it wasn't him, so he kills himself. Then his friend and a friend of his show up, whom he had invited to party with P&T after the planned Reveal to Teller. They kill themselves because there was nothing to prove that they didn't do it. Then the cops come in, see the situation, and off themselves too. A long Zoom Out occurs, as more and more people come in, discover all the dead bodies, and shoot themselves. We hear these rather than see them. The End.
  • Titanic: William Murdoch shoots and kills a fictional third class Irish passenger, then commits suicide from guilt. A Historical Villain Upgrade, as the real William Murdoch was regarded as a hero and was last seen helping passengers.
  • Robin and Marian: This film reinterprets Robin Hood's death scene from the medieval ballads, in which he is left to die by a treacherous abbess as he is being medically bled, into this. Marian, in the role of the abbess, poisons him as he lies wounded following a duel with the Sheriff, then takes the poison herself.

    Literature 
  • Agatha Christie often uses this trope to deliver Karmic Death to particularly nasty murderers:
    • In The ABC Murders, the murderer tries to commit suicide, but Poirot prevents it, because he doesn't believe that the murderer deserves an easy death.
    • And Then There Were None: Judge Wargrave commits suicide after arranging the deaths of everyone else, as he felt himself to be no better than his victims and he was fatally ill anyway.
    • In Appointment with Death, the perpetrator commits suicide to avoid exposure and prosecution.
    • In Death on the Nile the perpetrator commits one final murder (of an accomplice) before turning the gun on themselves.
    • And in Curtain, Poirot himself kills Mr. X (i.e., Stephen Norton) in his only-ever Vigilante Execution to prevent him from committing any more murders-by-proxy; though Poirot doesn't shoot himself but sets the murder weapon (i.e., the gun) into Norton's hands, he does, however, choose an alternative way to die as atonement by keeping his heart medication out of reach so that he can have a calm, dignified end via heart condition with hours to spare.
  • In Death Note: Another Note, Beyond Birthday is his own final victim.
  • Brave Story, Mitsuru's father killed Mitsuru's mother and sister and then himself, which is Mitsuru's Freudian Excuse for being a complete dick. Another character also attempts murder-suicide, but fortunately doesn't succeed at either.
  • This is how Deanna lost her family in The Girl in 6E: Her mother killed her other two children, her husband, and then herself.
    • Later, it's revealed that Deanna was the one who killed her mother. It was assumed to be a suicide because Deanna was assumed to have been at her grandparents' house the whole time — even by her grandparents.
  • In The Great Gatsby, George Wilson shoots himself over the death of his wife Myrtle, taking Gatsby with him.
  • This comes up in a few Lord Peter Wimsey books:
    • In Whose Body?, Peter stops the exposed murderer from committing suicide, so he can stand trial.
    • Conversely, in Murder Must Advertise, he reluctantly encourages the murderer to take actions that are tantamount to suicide (going out alone at night when there's a gang of drug smugglers who want to kill him) to prevent his inevitable exposure from ruining the lives of his family.
  • An accidental case in A Brother's Price. Keifer got his wives to take him to a theater that his family had rigged to explode. He was supposed to get to a bathroom where he could weather the blast, but didn't show; the head of his family went in to fetch him and they both died, along with half the royal family.
  • Jonathan Stonagal's and Joshua Todd-Cothran's death at the hands of Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind series is made out to be this through Carpathia brainwashing those present to witness the event at a secret meeting at the United Nations, with Buck Williams being the only one present not affected by the brainwashing because of God's protection on him. Chaim Rosenzweig, who at the time was brainwashed into believing this was the case, would later come to learn the truth once he becomes a believer.
  • In My Ántonia, it happens to a nasty couple of money-lenders. Mr. Cutter kills his wife and then himself. He does it because he doesn't want her family to inherit their money.
  • In Evil Food Eater Conchita from the Evillious Chronicles, Carlos Marlon attempts this after becoming afraid of what his beloved Banica had become. It didn't work out as planned. Namely, he tried to poison both of them and she was at that point immune to all poison.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Generally played straight on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, though it was inverted in one episode where a stalker attempted suicide in his crush's house, resulting in three people dying.
  • A number of killers in Criminal Minds do this rather than be caught.
  • In the Korean Historical Drama Emperor Wang Guhn when Gung Ye is deposed and on the run, he has his highest General kill him by cutting off his head. The general has his second kill him, and then the second commits Seppuku.
  • The horror anthology The Hunger has this in its second-season premiere "Sanctuary" as the backstory of its host character, Mad Artist Julian Priest: having lost his audience via his increasingly grisly work, even his agent no longer believed in him. Julian murdered the agent and proceeded to turn his own death into a grisly piece of performance art, figuring he would attain immortality as an artist this way...
  • In Breaking Bad, Hector Salamanca did this when he and Walt colluded to find a way to kill Gus. Walt attached a car bomb to Hector's wheelchair and Hector detonated it when both Gus and Tyrus were in the same room as him, killing all of them.
  • Dexter: In a season 6 episode Dexter solves one case of murder/suicide super quickly and the new detective is very impressed with his skills in blood spatter analysis.
  • The X-Files episode "Demons": Agent Mulder's weapon has been used in a crime and he doesn't remember what happened. He's suspected of murder and arrested, but it's found out that the couple's death was as a result of a murder-suicide.
  • The Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns". At the end Kirby kills his late girlfriend Annie's murderously unhinged father under the evil film's effects because they both keep bringing her back with their remaining love for her. Moments afterwards he eats his own gun after pleading at another vision of her that he's sorry for everything.
  • Lines of Fire, a season 7 episode of Homocide: Life on the Street, dealing with a hostage negotiation with an unstable father holding his son and daughter hostage ended this way (the daughter escaped unharmed). Mike Giardello, the cop in charge of the negotiations, ended up repeatedly kicking the man's dead body, screaming he didn't care that the man killed himself, but should of left his son alone.

    Music 
  • The concept album Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory by Dream Theater involves this concept. A man named Nicholas undergoes hypnotherapy to discover that he lived a previous life as a woman named Victoria, who was murdered by her former lover - he arranged it to look as though her current lover (his brother) shot her and then committed suicide himself.

    Theatre 
  • Arguably, Brutus and Cassius in Julius Caesar, though the suicides happen well after the murder.
  • In Othello, Othello stabs himself after he realizes that his wife who he just killed wasn't actually cheating on him.
  • King Lear: Goneril stabs herself off-stage after an My God, What Have I Done? moment after poisoning her younger sister Regan out of jealousy and lust for Edmund during the final scene.

    Videogames 
  • In Remember11, Utsumi does this in two Bad Ends, killing Keiko and then herself (and Satoru in the second one).
  • This is actually required for the good ending of Rule of Rose. When Stray Dog (Gregory Wilson) is made to murder the girls in the orphanage, he succeeds, and the following revelation that Wendy was masquerading as Joshua to manipulate him drives him to kill her, then kill himself. The other option is to simply kill him, which results in the other ending.
  • In one of Boone's endings in Fallout: New Vegas, he kills the officer who ordered the Bitter Springs massacre before taking his own life.

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, Tarrlok does this to himself and his brother Noatak, AKA Amon, when the two are escaping Republic City in the boat after the latter's defeat, using one of the Equalists' shock gloves to ignite the boat's fuel supply. It had been revealed that both were the sons of a powerful bloodbending criminal who raised them as agents of his revenge after being depowered and escaping the city, and Tarrlok had realized that the two of them would only continue their father's cycle of evil in spite of both having tried to change things. And yes, even though the series is Darker and Edgier than Avatar The Last Airbender, it remains a kid's show, on which the murder suicide is not merely implied or given a Discretion Shot, but happens on-screen.
  • South Park did this in the episode in which the kids pretend to be detectives and actually join the real thing. Towards the end, they find out two cops were in with the mob. Then one of them killed his partner, fearing that he'd betray him. Then he figured the only one left who could possibly betray him is... himself, so he ties up the last loose end.
  • Used in the Hey Arnold! episode "Ghost Bride". The titular phantom was a woman whose fiance left her at the altar and married her sister instead. She murdered her sister and brother-in-law, and when the police showed up and saw her, she jumped out the window and died.
  • This happened at the end of the Mr. Magoo Frankenstein special where Dr. Frankenstein destroyed the monster's lab, taking both him and the monster with it.


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