Murder Is the Best Solution
Crazy Mage 1: We cannot trust anyone.Essentially, there is some sort of problem, and immediately someone suggests killing as the solution, despite there being multiple other, better, and more rational solutions. Sometimes done to show that the villain really is evil, or at least Ax-Crazy. Most often it's Played for Laughs. Bonus laugh points if killing makes the problems even bigger than other solutions. Either way, a clear product of the Rule of Drama... or Rule of Funny. Common with Trigger Happy characters, and when Played for Laughs, by the Heroic Comedic Sociopath. Usually only a suggestion or threat, only rarely carried out. May involve someone assuming that the Godzilla Threshold has been crossed, even when it hasn't. (Actually, make that "especially when it hasn't.") In its most extreme form, it can become a Kill 'em All solution. What will pretty much always subvert this trope is traveling back in time to kill Hitler. In contrast with Violence Is the Only Option, where other options aren't reasonable, when murder is the best solution there are plenty of other options, but murder and mayhem are chosen anyway. Compare with Cutting the Knot, which is essentially violence being used as an answer - though the success varies. Compare Stating the Simple Solution or Kill Him Already, when someone else suggests murder as a more sensible alternative to, say, a Death Trap. If the target is sent on a suicide mission, or if his death is arranged to occur by the hand of a mutual enemy, it's the Uriah Gambit. May require The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much in order for the perpetrator to get away with it (though probably not for long). And of course, a murder attempt can backfire by giving the target an even stronger reason to seek vengeance — Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!. Not to be confused with Death Is the Only Option, or Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?, where the murder has already been decided, but the exact mechanism remains in dispute.
Crazy Mage 2: Especially each other.
Crazy Mage 3: Oh, the solution is so simple. We KILL. KILL everyone.
Crazy Mage 1: How delightful.
(everyone attacks each other)
Crazy Mage 2: Especially each other.
Crazy Mage 3: Oh, the solution is so simple. We KILL. KILL everyone.
Crazy Mage 1: How delightful.
(everyone attacks each other)
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Anime & Manga
- In Valvrave the Liberator, this is usually L-Elf's plan in most situations. Haruto calls him out on it by saying that violence is always the answer with him. In the episode where this is really shown when L-Elf shoots Marie in the head for trying to get the secret of the Valvraves from Haruto and distracting him from a battle he was late for, it's also Justified, as we see his backstory being trained as a Child Soldier from a very young age. He mentions they were taught to be pragmatically cold and violent. "We were told to kill anyone suspicious. Kill any informants. Kill any deserters. Kill any witnesses. Kill. Kill."
- In Bleach, "Will they go back to normal if we kill Tsukishima?" Ichigo says without any hesitation. He doesn't even bother trying to find out what the man's motive is. Ichigo's suggestion is especially shocking, because he'd previously hesitated to kill much less human creatures. To be fair to him, what Tsukishima has done to him was... rough.
- Part of the backstory is that the Quincy were threatening the balance between life and afterlife because their actions destroyed the souls of Hollows, instead of purifying them like Shinigami do. The Shinigami explained this to them, but the Quincy, having lost so many friends and family to Hollows, felt that Hollows deserved to have their souls destroyed. Since they failed to convince the Quincy to stop, the Shinigami immediately proceeded to Plan B: Kill 'em All. (Ultimately they let one Quincy live, who had agreed to their terms at the start.) Too bad for the Shinigami, a bunch of other Quincy managed to escape too. And they've spent a long time developing powerful new techniques to return the favor.
- In Code Geass, the Black Knights' resident propagandist Diethard Reid and Hot Scientist Rakshata suggest assassinating Suzaku once they learn that he's the pilot of the Lancelot (Ha ha, good luck with that). Most of the other Knights, including Lelouch, disagree and outvote them. To get Kallen to attempt to take Suzaku's life, Diethard lies to Kallen that Zero wanted Suzaku dead. Thankfully, Lelouch manages to stop her and later has a word with Diethard as Zero after learning he was behind it.
- And Rolo really liked this mindset, both when working for Villetta and after defecting to Lelouch.
- Kira (Light Yagami), of Death Note. Admittedly, it was the only hammer the man had, but everything from mass murderers to interfering politicians were treated like nails.
- Elfen Lied. Especially at the end, when they go through with it without actually trying to think up any better plans..
- Done on a massive scale in Gravion's backstory: In a land dispute between two planets, the rulers of one side reject Sandman's plan to use his Super Robot to build a new habitable world (or fix their old one) out of hand, and go with Hugi's plans to send an army of Robeasts and Mecha-Mooks to exterminate the people of the other planet.
- Higurashi: When They Cry's Tatarigoroshi-hen:
- Keiichi's plan to kill Satoko's uncle to protect her.
- This seems to be a recurring theme for the show, as Rena kills Rina and Teppei in Tsumihoroboshi-hen to protect her dad from their scam, Shion kills all the people she thought put Satoshi away (and tries to stab Keiichi, and no, she was never at the hospital) in Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen, and the overall theme of the show itself, since Takano wants Rika dead by her own hands so she can enact her plan to raze the village, before 'everybody goes crazy'. When you consider that all of these people have Hinamizawa syndrome, a disease that causes people to go Ax-Crazy, it makes more sense.
- Shion also really wants to kill Teppei in Minagoroshi, but is stopped by Keiichi. In a sound novel only arc, Shion, Rena, and Keiichi team up to kill Teppei. It doesn't go so well.
- The cast doesn't learn until Kai that No, Murder IS NOT the best solution.
- Yuno of Mirai Nikki subscribes to this trope. In her own words, "Everyone who comes between me and Yukki can just die!"
- Unsurprisingly, Yukiteru eventually comes to think this way on the basis of "I can just bring them back to life when I'm god."
- Char Aznable in Mobile Suit Gundam, but more so during Char's Counterattack. Having become a Well-Intentioned Extremist, he justifies a Colony Drop as a way to accelerate humanity's evolution into Newtypes by forcing all of them to leave Earth.
- In One Piece, Admiral Akainu's Establishing Character Moment is to kill a ship full of innocent people because there may be an archaeologist aboard. Technically correct, as the whole reason he and other Marines were there was to ensure a secret guarded for centuries didn't get out, or it could destabilize the world.
- Asakura Ryoko of Haruhi Suzumiya is convinced that killing Kyon is the best solution to find out more about Haruhi. The boss of both her and Yuki is a alien-entity who only wishes to observe passively. The problem is, nothing "interesting" ever happens, so Asakura wants to force change. By killing Kyon, "change" is pretty much guaranteed. But not in the good way.
- In episode 12 of Tokyo Mew Mew, Ichigo's crush Masaya almost found out her identity and she became depressed. In the preview for the next episode, Quiche decides to 'Erase' Masaya. His method of 'Erasing' includes tearing Masaya limb from limb slowly with a Monster of the Week, so it's lucky Ichigo saved Masaya in time.
Quiche: I know! I'll just erase him for you! Then you won't have to worry anymore, my honey!
- In Il Sole penetra le Illusioni, we have what happened if Magical Girl series didn't have purification power. And it was played for heart-wrenching drama.
- The villains of the 4th and 5th arcs of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure have absolutely no compunctions about murder being their Plans A, B and C when it comes to protecting their identity. In both cases, this is what attracts the protagonists. Although Bruno was gunning for Diavolo beforehand anyway, he wouldn't have had a chance of finding him had Diavolo not had them bring Trish to him to kill her.
- Black Lagoon is a series about Crazy Awesome killers for hire, mob bosses, and other criminal elements—essentially Action Movies played both straight and serious. The shock value lies in when a character makes the call not to automatically remove a living obstruction, though the obstruction probably dies anyway. The everyday protagonist has slowly come to terms with this.
- In Inazuma Eleven with antagonist Kageyama: Best way to make sure the team you coach doesn't lose in their middle school soccer regional final match? Crush the opposing team of middle school kids to death of course. Fortunately the captain of Kageyama's team, Kidou, works out his plan ahead of time and warns protaganist Endou about it.
- Again with Kageyama: Best way to make sure your team wins the middle school soccer tournament finals? Run over the opposing team captain's little sister with a truck so he runs away from the match. Fortunately she doesn't die from it, but there was every logical chance that she would have.
- Once again with Kageyama, although more indirectly this time. Before trying to crush them, Kageyama orders one of his spies sent to Raimon to tamper with the bus that Raimon would take to the regional finals match, so that it's crash on the way there. Which happens to be the exact same thing he did to the legendary Inazuma Eleven, with said accident being the thing that seemingly killed Endou's grandfather. Natsumi finds out about it and forces the spy to to confess before the plan to go ahead.
- In Ooku: The Inner Chambers, the Reverend Kasuga believes that the grave is the safest place to keep secrets. This includes prostitutes used to tempt a monk to break his vows (after other murders to force his hand), the mother of Chie, who would become the female Shogun Iemitsu, and the doctor who witnessed the original Iemitsu's death from Redface Pox.
- For Rorschach, deadly force is more or less his first line of defense, and then there's all the people he kills because he thinks they deserve it.
- The Comedian certainly isn't above deadly force, but he really crosses the Moral Event Horizon when he murders a Vietnamese woman who is pregnant with his child. The confrontation starts with him callously telling her he's leaving and not taking her back to America with him; in fact, he intends to forget all about her and her country. So, to make sure he remembers forever, she slashes his face with a broken bottle, but he didn't shoot her while she was coming at him. He shot her after he'd been slashed, and after she'd put the bottle down in response to him pulling a gun. She was practically begging him not to shoot for a solid 15 seconds before he pulled the trigger. It wasn't an instinctive, defensive response, it was murder. Afterwards, he points out to a shocked Doctor Manhattan (who was standing there the whole time), that he's just as responsible for the outcome, really; with his Reality Warper powers, Manhattan could have created any number of solutions by doing literally anything to prevent one or both acts of violence, but he just stood there and let it all happen.
- Actually, she didn't beg him not to kill her, she seemingly wanted to die and may have attacked him to get him to shoot her. She makes no attempt to escape, just stands in front of him with a creepy grin on her face, waiting to be shot. Given her circumstances, this could even be considered a mercy kill.
- Ozymandias seems to solve all problems with murder. Unlike Rorschach and The Comedian, each kill is a premeditated one in cold blood intended to solve a specific problem to which there exist other solutions. It is debatable whether murder really is the best solution, but he believes in each case it is the best way to achieve his overall goal (or at least maintain the necessary secrecy). Usually he justifies it as "one life to save many".
Deadpool: I don't get it, if he loves her, but she loves him, why doesn't he just shoot him in the %^&*#ing face and settle the debate?
- Wolverine is known for suggesting this during X-Men strategy meetings.
- If anything, this is becoming even more pronounced. In Avengers vs. X-Men, teenager Hope Summer is acting as a lure for a cosmic entity destroying everything in its path. The Avengers' solution: get her off Earth. Wolverine's solution: kill her (though he doesn't go through with it). The big story after that, Age of Ultron, has Wolverine trying to undo evil robot Ultron's taking over the world by going back in time and murdering Hank Pym, the Avenger who built it. When this fails to make things any better, he fixes this by going back again and murdering his own past self.
- In The Children's Crusade, this is his opinion of the best way to deal with Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and her sixteen-year-old reincarnated son, Billy Kaplan (Wiccan). While wanting to kill Wanda is at least justifiable to an extent, Wolverine is outright gleeful about the idea of killing Billy as well — and not only has Billy done nothing wrong, no one's even sure if he has his mother's powers or strength. At that point, the biggest display of his power was accidentally putting a bunch of terrorists into temporary magical comas, which stopped a nuke from going off in the middle of New York. And while that display made the Avengers nervous, it wasn't proof of Billy being able to warp reality at all, let alone to Wanda's level. Wolverine is determined to murder Billy regardless, just in case. He outright tries to kill Billy twice, nearly running Billy through with his claws on both occasions, but is luckily stopped first by Magneto and then by Iron Lad. On the Avengers side of things, no one outright agrees with Wolverine's plan of "murder Wanda and her innocent son", but no one says anything against it, either.
- As is Deadpool, during the few X-Men strategy meetings he's been allowed into. Also, during most romantic comedies.
Psylocke: I dare not attempt another mindwipe but, as well, we dare not leave him loose where the Marauders can get at him.
- Psylocke has been known to take her cue from Wolverine. For example, when the supposedly dead X-Men were discovered by former member Havok...
Storm: Have we any other option?
Psylocke: Wolverine's. We kill him.
- Wolverine is known for suggesting this during X-Men strategy meetings.
- The current version of Blue Beetle's scarab. Without Jaime's influence, it skips straight to the homicidal, genocidal, and occasionally deicidal options.
- 1950s EC Comics were filled with this trope played dead straight; the setup for many, many stories was the protagonist meeting a new love and deciding they have to murder their existing spouse. Sometimes it would be justified by them still wanting the spouse's money, but usually not. Do keep in mind that divorce laws in 1950s America were far stricter.
- Moon Knight #9: Moonie drops in on The Punisher mowing down half a dozen thugs:
Moon Knight: You know, we could easily go down there and stop them.Punisher: I am stopping them.
- Turned up to 11 by Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy Secret Invasion tie-in. Since the only surefire way to detect Skrulls is that they revert to their true form when killed, his solution to the threat of Skrull infiltrators is to kill every single person in Knowhere. Oh, and then resuscitate them all. And it works.
- In Savior Of Demons, Piccolo seems to think killing a currently defenseless Frieza is a better idea than waiting for him to regain his strength and kill Gohan and the others.
- This is Gilda's first solution to get out of an Arranged Marriage in Diaries of a Madman, though she's dissuaded from this course. Nav's daughter Taya can also be a little quick to resort to lethal force in combat, over less lethal spells.
- In the X Com Enemy Unknown / Brynhildr in the Darkness crossover X-Com Into Darkness, this is The Conspiracy's main problem solver when it looks like a Magic User will get away. Problem is that they are now trying this on an internationally-funded, well trained Black Ops team charged with protecting humanity. Now XCom is wondering why a bunch of people are trying to kill anyone who talks with these girls.
- In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, this causes some What the Hell, Hero? moments between the Trans-Galactic Republic and the (supposedly) heroic Vault Hunters/members of their galaxy. Jakobs' tech is causing rips in the universe? Nuke planets filled with civilians. And laugh while doing it. People like Torgue think this is hilarious and well-deserved, Admiral Nimitz is less-enamored. However, it ends up being treated as an Informed Flaw, partially justified due to the stakes.
- The example in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep is remade to be a reconstruction of this trope in Bad Alert The Extreme. In this canon, however, murder is the only solution to stopping Lady Tremaine, her two daughters, and Courtney Gears, from spreading their evil across the multiverse.
- In The Games We Play, this is used to demonstrate the growing detachment of the Archangels from baseline humanity. When they received news that agitators were kicking up a fuss while they were trying to conduct a groundbreaking experiment, one of them, Gevurah, declared that he could resolve it in five minutes. He did so by slaughtering everyone rather than trying for a more diplomatic solution.
Films — Live-Action
- In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the HAL 9000 computer, faced with an irreconcilable programming conflict, decides that the only way to ensure the mission's success is to kill the crew of the Discovery and complete the mission by himself.
- This one makes slightly more sense, in that the programming conflict is from two equal and opposite commands to "tell crew vital information" and "keep vital information secret until reaching orbit". If there is no crew, the problem goes away... On top of this, he was actually trying to find a less lethal solution, but after incorrectly equating temporary shutdown with death, decided he had no choice but to take the simple solution of killing the crew and cutting off communications with Earth if he's going to survive.
- In Ben & Arthur, antagonist Victor believes he must kill his gay brother Arthur in order for his church to readmit him after his expulsion. Far from dissuading Victor, the priest (who kicked him out on account that Arthur being gay will somehow send the rest of the congregants to Hell) gives Victor a phone number for an assassin that can do the job. The assassin succeeds in killing Ben... except that he actually doesn't kill him, but missed out on killing Arthur, who ran out to buy groceries. On the second attempt, Victor takes the assassin with him, only to dispense with his services when both of them are already in the building. Victor then enters Ben and Arthur's apartment alone to (permanently) kill Ben and, later, baptize and kill Arthur.
- In Clue, this trope is invoked by Mr. Boddy at the beginning, when he tells the party guests to kill his butler, Wadsworth. It doesn't quite work out for him.
- Nearly every movie by The Coen Brothers begins with people of limited intelligence having a plan that ends with someone dead. And then the fun begins.
- Comes up twice in The Guns of Navarone. Early in the mission, Franklin gets a broken leg, and the team must consider executing him to keep him from slowing them down or being captured and interrogated by the Germans (Franklin even attempts to shoot himself to save them the trouble). Mallory takes a third option. Later, when Anna is revealed as a mole, the gang has a lengthy debate about whether to kill her to complete the mission. They do.
- In Dragon Bones, Ward is the heir of castle Hurog. Only he's been declared unfit to rule and his uncle holds the title. More or less anyone who knows about this suggests killing the uncle, or at least implies that this would be the best solution. Ward's younger brother Tosten, who would be the rightful heir after Ward, thinks Ward wants to kill him to get the castle. Ward is understandably upset by the fact that even his own brother (whom he saved from an attempted suicide) thinks he's a murderer. And then there is king Jakoven, who really thinks that murder is the best solution if confronted with anyone who might be plotting against him. This doesn't work out well for him.
- The Queen of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. As the solution of every problem, no matter how minor, she instructs "off with his head". This rarely ever actually happens, though.
- Used in World War Z. The Ukrainian army is trying to process a mass of refugees who are fleeing from a zombie swarm behind them into Kiev. Since it's impossible to examine everybody and sort out the infected in time, the commanders opt to drop nerve gas on the lot of them. The infected are the only ones who stand up afterward.
- Played straight in Spider Robinson's Variable Star, based upon an outline by Robert A. Heinlein. The hero protagonist, explicitly stated to be trained in avoiding combat, decides on a plan to stop the villain by getting his own friend killed to distract a (likely innocent) bodyguard long enough to kill her as well. This despite controlling the villain's FTL ship (the only remaining valuable asset of a man obsessed with greed), the man who knows how to build new ones and is the pilot, the ship itself, both of the man's daughters, and the only possible escape route for the villain, and being able to escape with all of the above simply by climbing on board the ship and taking off.
- In Bridge of Birds, the first of Barry Hughart's novels of ancient China, Li Kao (a scholar with a "slight flaw in his character") decides that the easiest way to find the Great Root of Power in an Imperial household is to have a funeral — and that, since the need for the Great Root is rather urgent, it's best not to just wait for the occasion to arise. He does express a hope that he'll be able to find somebody who deserves to die, and the person he settles on is indeed a thoroughly nasty piece of work, but it certainly demonstrates the flaw in Li Kao's character.
- Milla of The Seventh Tower seems a little too eager to kill Tal during their first meeting.
- In Warrior Cats, this is generally what the majority of the characters seem to think is the best solution to everything. Oddly enough, the fans tend to agree with them. Notable in that this is never played for laughs.
- The students in The Secret History opt to kill the one most likely to rat out their previous (accidental) murder.
- This is Mr. Teatime's main flaw in Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Granted, he's an assassin and killing people is his job. The main problem the Assassins Guild has with him is that his idea of an assassination is "kill the target, kill the target's family, kill the maids, kill the dog"...
- In Making Money, Cosmo Lavish's habit of defaulting to this when someone has Outlived Their Usefulness leads to a classic Revealing Cover Up as Vetinari just follows the trail of bodies.
- Mostly averted by the tyrannical Patrician, Lord Vetinari, who despite his reputation is more than happy to offer condemned criminals a job rather than a death. Of course, if they turn down the job....
- Lacrimosa's default response to everything in Carpe Jugulum is "Let's kill it!"
- The Alex Rider book series has Well-Intentioned Extremist and Big Bad of the fourth book Damian Cray, who, after petitioning and protesting against a laboratory testing its products on animals, came to realize that murder is the best solution. It all went downhill.
- Lord Voldemort falls afoul of this trope in Deathly Hallows. Despite knowing full well that the Elder Wand can be taken without killing its previous owner — in fact, he's met and interrogated two people who lost it and lived — he thinks the sensible solution is to kill his trusted lieutenant.
- He was specifically asked not to kill Lily Potter, and had any number of ways to neutralize her harmlessly. His decision to kill her regardless directly leads to his defeat on several different occasions, in several different ways.
- In Death series: Hoo, boy. Since the main character is a Homicide detective, this trope comes up more often than not. For example, in Born In Death, two people named Natalie and Bick apparently discovered something big, because the villain first attempted bribery and then murdered them. Eve and Roarke point out that whoever did this made a bad move, because there are ways to handle snoopers without getting the attention of the police by murdering them.
- David's big mistake in My Soul to Keep. He killed a woman who might have recognized him in spite of the fact that she was dying anyhow and there was essentially no chance she'd say anything that would reveal his secret. The investigation into her mysterious death caused him big, big problems. And then he tried to manipulate his wife by killing a friend of hers, and she didn't react like he expected. These were signs of just how morally and emotionally warped he'd become over his long life. The series shows his growth and improvement.
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Played with. The book Sweet Revenge has Rosemary Hershey seriously think about murdering Isabelle Flanders, only to decide against it, because she has the deaths of three people preying on her mind, and she doesn't want to have more people on her mind. The book Lethal Justice has Arden Gillespie seriously consider murdering both her partner Roland Sullivan and the woman she framed Sara Whittler or Alexis Thorne, only for both her and Roland to get drugged, incapacitated, and arrested by Alexis before she can even attempt it.
- Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess. She punishes all criminals, and even minor nuisances, in the exact same way.
- Corsus, general of the Witchland in E. R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, will opt for murder in a tight spot: Thus, he poisons King Rezedor of Goblinland, stabs his second-in-command Gallandus for fear of mutiny, and, finally, poisons the whole remaining elite of Witchland in an effort to save his skin. Each time, it backfires on him and leaves him off worse than before.
- Sometimes comedic, sometimes serious example — Nightblood the living sword from Warbreaker, created with the imperative to slay evil. Problem is, swords aren't very good at telling what's evil and what's not, so it's a bit of a Psychopathic Manchild whose default plan is always "kill everyone just to be on the safe side." It gets pouty whenever Vasher doesn't agree.
- This trope is deconstructed in the climax of War and Democide Never Again after being played painfully straight for the whole book up to that point. The mission of the two main characters is to travel back in time to kill dictators before they end up in power, and for the most part, they succeed without too much trouble. However, after they have killed most of the dictators, Joy snaps and tries to kill a certain politician she doesn't like, even though he has shown no dictatorial ambitions. John has no choice but to kill her before she can kill her new target. Thus leading to the somewhat-Clueless Aesop that you really shouldn't kill anybody, even if they deserve it, lest you come to think that Murder Is the Best Solution and try to kill everyone you disagree with.
- Played straight in the The House of Night, since most of Kalona's problems wouldn't exist if, say, he had just wiped Heath's memory instead of killing him.
- In Scott Sigler's Ancestor, one of the two brothers in control of the Genada corporation has murder as a go-to solution. He kills a woman trying to blow the whistle on the corporation, a government saboteur, suggests murdering an Army colonel investigating the company, and eventually tries to kill everyone involved on the project and blame it on a subordinate.
- In an episode of CSI: Miami, a groom-to-be is worried that the stripper he's been seeing will blackmail him and tells his best man to talk to her. The best man's response is to put a remote-controlled gun to the bottom of the groom's limo and shoot her. Sadly, his Murder the Hypotenuse plot murdered the wrong hypotenuse...
- Really, most of any CSI franchise would qualify.
- A variation is or was apparently used (or so Alias claims) on psych tests in real life for those who want to work for certain parts of the US government:
Given no other choice, would you kill:
a) Your mother
b) Your father
- It's meant to gauge the applicant's attitude towards authority. It is a valid test question, but only if a proctor is giving the questions and can gauge the reaction. The answer given would most likely be ignored in a written test, which it is implied the character who took the test did.
- In Dead Set, the survivors argue about killing (or permanently crippling) one survivor who could possibly endanger them all with his crazy escape plan.
- In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cameron commonly advocates murdering witnesses or other threats, which is usually objected to by Sarah and John. And often enough, Cameron's recommendations turn out to be right.
- Cassie in The Secret Circle seems to think this in the latest episodes, but before killing someone, a Morality Pet stops her.
- The Cigarette Smoking Man in The X-Files resorts to murder as his first option more often than not. Other members of the Syndicate occasionally chew him out for this tendency. In return, he points out that they would prefer to sit around and do nothing.
- Like the comics that inspired it, Tales from the Crypt was loaded to the ghouls with characters who responded to even the tiniest setback or inconvenience by gruesomely killing whoever was causing it. It helped to efficiently establish why they deserved whatever horrible shit was just about to happen to them.
- In Charmed, there were several examples. Cole was forced to kill a landlord who knows Phoebe's secret and wanted to sell it for money. Phoebe hated him for that. But then, in a later season, Phoebe was held at gunpoint by Rick, a mortal; she hinted to Paige to cast a spell to make Rick look like a target of a bunch of demons. The demons killed him. You could argue that lethal force against someone accosting you with a deadly weapon is a good bit more justified than using lethal force against a mere blackmailer, but Paige was perfectly capable of taking the guy out non-lethally...
- In the TV film, Conspiracy, the Wannsee Conference where the Final Solution phase of the Holocaust was devised has the Nazis discussing with coldblooded earnestness why killing the Third Reich's "undesirables" is the best means of dealing with them. Only one of the men has any genuine moral problems with the mass murder — the rest are simply discussing how best to organize it.
- In the S2 finale of Robin Hood, Marian learns that the Sheriff is planning to kill King Richard. Her solution? Kill him first. Never mind that: a) up until this moment Marian has been the voice of reason; b) it has already been established that if the Sheriff dies, Prince John will destroy Nottingham; and c) the general theme of the show has been to rely on non-violent solutions to problems.
- Law & Order pretty much wouldn't exist without this trope. In any given episode, the killer could have just gotten a divorce, stolen money rather than speeding up the inheritance, reported the blackmail to the cops, or any number of other ways to resolve their grudge with the victim of the week.
- In an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane has gone missing and another woman, Andrea, has taken her place. Turns out she was childhood friends with Sarah Jane, up until her death. After a Deal with the Devil, she switches places with Sarah Jane and Sarah Jane instead dies. When Maria figures it out, Andrea makes another deal that rewrites Maria out of history. Then she tried to do it to Maria's father.
- Although Fiona from Burn Notice often suggests that murder is the best solution, with her it is almost always played for laughs. (See the comedic examples below). Broken Pedestal Larry, on the other hand, plays this trope far more seriously and is perfectly willing to kill anyone, usually for no more reason than because it's easier and quicker that way.
- One of the stories during an episode of Beyond Belief Fact Or Fiction had an elderly couple who ran a diner murder homeless people that they periodically brought in so the couple could "relieve them" of their suffering.
- In The Vampire Diaries, Damon's normal reaction to anyone (besides Stefan and Elena) causing a problem is to try and kill them. Unsurprisingly, this creates a lot more problems than it solves, especially because of his habit of overlooking factors like whether he's actually capable of killing them, whether anyone besides him wants them dead, whether they are actually the source of the problem, or whether they have friends who'll come looking for revenge.
- This is the MO of a lot of the killers in Criminal Minds.
- Seems to be the policy of Manny Horvitz from Boardwalk Empire. It doesn't matter how much of a likable Alter Kocker he comes off as, you do not want to get him angry. The cold-blooded and ruthless Jimmy has to restrain him because, as Jimmy puts it, "You can't kill everyone, Manny. It's not good business."
- Head!Amber in House swings this way occasionally.
House: How do we get him into the stress lab without Foreman's sign-off?
Amber: We could kill Foreman.
House: The lab simulates stress. What if it's not simulated?
Amber: We could tell him his girlfriend dumped him.
House: That's a tough sell. She never leaves the room for more than five minutes.
Amber: We could kill her.
- On the BBC series Sherlock...
- ...People who consult Jim Moriarty tend to get this kind of solution. It takes a very special mind to solve a terminally ill man's inability to provide for his estranged family after he is gone by paying the man to commit random murders. He also almost goads Sherlock to kill himself. John stops that from happening, which proves this gentle soul is-well, not quite as gentle if you piss him off by threatening his friend's life.
- In the finale of Series 3, Sherlock himself takes this option when it's revealed that Magnussen's blackmail material is all kept safe inside the man's brain, where it can't be stolen. It doesn't help that he knew John was a pressure point for Sherlock. So he shoots him in the head. It screws things up for him. Way to go, genius.
- Many of the killers on Monk have this mindset, but here's a stand-out example: In "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan", Steven Leight has killed his wife (we never really learn why) and stolen her jewels to make it look like a mugging. Then, thanks to a coat-check mix-up, another man (the Latvian ambassador) accidentally walks away wearing Leight's coat, with the stolen jewels in the pocket. Leight chases the ambassador back to his hotel, but instead of simply asking for his coat back, he shoots down the ambassador and his three bodyguards.
- In OnceUponATime, this is how Rumplestiltskin/Gold convinces Snow/Mary Margaret to deal with Cora. However, committing the deed results in a serious case of guilt and remorse for Snow.
- The first instinct of Lydia in Breaking Bad. The second anyone's usefulness is up, out of fear that they'll come after her or inform on her, she will try to have them killed as quickly as possible. Of course, she doesn't have the stomach to ever do it herself.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel:
- In season 6, Willow gets Drunk on the Dark Side after Warren shoots and kills Tara and automatically decides that Warren has to be killed despite Buffy's insistence that there are other ways. On top of it all, she's not the only one: both Xander and Dawn are so disgusted and furious with Warren that they declare that he's just as bad as the vampires and demons that Buffy slays regularly and fully support Willow's intent to kill... until she actually goes through with it, anyway.
- Buffy herself falls into this in season 7. Upon discovering that Anya, having become a vengeance demon again, was responsible for the deaths of a bunch of fraternity boys, she automatically jumps to the notion of "slay Anya," not even considering the idea of trying to reason with Anya and talk her down like they did with Dark Willow; when Xander points this out to her, Buffy simply states that it's not the same because Willow is human and Anya is a demon.
- In Angel season 4, after the Angel Investigations team is forced to unleash Angelus to defeat the Beast, Connor repeatedly supports just killing Angelus rather than re-ensouling him to the extent that, when Willow is called in from Sunnydale to curse him again, Connor tries to stake him before Willow can finish; fortunately, Faith steps in and physically fights him to buy Willow time.
- Person of Interest:
- Northern Lights, the organization in charge of the Machine, kills anyone who finds out about it, or talks to someone who found out about it, or asks too many questions in the general direction of it. They also always kill the terrorists the Machine sends them after, but that's a bit more justified.
- Samaritan, in contrast to the Machine, comes up with long lists of "deviants" to be executed at a moment's notice. Their crimes range from actual terrorism to merely holding anti-government views.
- "Dogs" by Pink Floyd. The song is from their allegorical "Animals" album, and the dogs are metaphors for ruthless businessmen, and to drive home the inhumanity the band (and particularly frontman Roger Waters) saw in business, the dogs are constantly waiting to murder their rivals and in fear of being murdered themselves (as in "dog eats dog").
- There's a "test" that's passed around on the Internet, which goes something like this:
A girl is at her mother's funeral and meets a guy. They hit it off and then he has to leave. A week later, the girl kills her sister. Why?
- The answer? She was hoping that the guy would appear at the funeral. Supposedly, if you get the right answer, it proves you are a sociopath. Like most Internet tests, it does not really prove much of anything.
- In most printed adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, the player characters are expected to solve their problems by killing the guy causing them, or at least defeating him in combat. In practice, this will obviously depend on your DM.
- The only way to cure the fourth, most deleterious stage of Disquiet in Promethean: The Created is to kill the Promethean that caused it.
- Likewise, it's a part of every Promethean's Pilgrimage that they must create at least one new Promethean, and the only way a Galateid can do so is to use the body of a beautiful youth unmarred by injury. It's noted in text that there are only so many beautiful youths who die of accidental drownings or barbiturate overdoses or gas leaks, and sometimes a Galateid has to take an active hand...
- In Changeling: The Lost, many Changelings, especially those drawn to the Court of Summer, feel this way when dealing with the existence of their Fetch — an Artificial Human created to hide the fact they were kidnapped by The Fair Folk, who thusly prevents the Changeling from returning to their old life.
- Some of the Garou in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, especially the Red Talons, have this kind of mentality about humans.
- The Bloodlust disadvantage in GURPS is this in a nutshell.
- Adorjan and Malfeas in Exalted are really not good about this. Malfeas tends to solve problems with force and domination and radioactive magical fire, with predictable and often gruesome results, and a significant chunk of Adorjan's being is tied up in how much she likes to help people by killing them. Abyssal Exalts can also have this issue, since their power comes from death... especially with the alternate Resonance rules in Shards of the Exalted Dream, which gives them Limit Breaks in which, for example, they attempt to ease suffering with Mercy Kills.
- Standard procedure for absolutely anything in Warhammer 40,000. Xenos sympathisers? Send in the Arbites. Preacher deviating from the canon? Vindicare bullet. Cowardice on the battlefield? Execution by Commissar. Ork boy looking to become the next warboss in your stead? Krump da git. And so on and so forth. Even worse with Chaos troops.
- Strangely averted in one case: The Tyranid Hive Mind sending its forces against an Imperial world was meeting stiff resistance thanks to the Cardinal stationed there. Knowing that merely killing him would turn him into a martyr and galvanize the defenders, it sent the Deathleaper (think Xenomorph ninja) to kill off the cardinal's bodyguards, subordinates, etc. right in front of him. New versions of these were assigned, but the Deathleaper came back almost immediately and did the same thing. Obviously, this drove him mad. Once the cardinal had lost the will to fight, the planet fell quickly.
- Averted by the Eldar and Tau, the only races who don't wantonly murder their own kind. In the Eldar's case, they don't think this rule applies to anyone else.
- From Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing:
Benedick: Come, bid me do anything for thee.Beatrice: Kill Claudio.Benedick: Ha! Not for the wide world.
- See also: RPGs Equal Combat.
- Somewhat ironically, in the Assassin's Creed games, it's the Templars who seem to immediately default to this when faced with any problem, whereas the Assassins (who are defined by the fact their purpose is to murder people) appear at times to be at least to some degree to be willing to pursue alternative solutions, including diplomacy or guile. For example, Altaïr and Al Mualim have a couple conversations in which it's suggested they only resort to assassination against people who are simply too stubborn or fanatical to be talked out of their harmful course of action.
- However, as demonstrated by Connor in Assassin's Creed III and in some of the Project Legacy memories, Assassins of later centuries weren't above a "kill first, question later" tendency either, on the basis of the belief that their targets were Always Chaotic Evil, and unwilling to concede that the Jerkass Has a Point. Also, as shown with Connor again and even Ezio, they sometimes seemed to ignore or dismiss any collateral damage of their actions, such as Ezio setting Cappadocia in a panic by blowing up the arsenal, killing hundreds by fire and smoke inhalation, and later letting a tyrant on the throne of Constantinople because the alternative, his brother, is a Templar. As both Haytham and Rebecca Crane bemoan, their war with the Templars ended up taking priority over their previous progressive and peace-making mindset from Altaïr's time.
- One of your bosses in Grand Theft Auto (Classic), a corrupt narcotics detective, is ironically the most homicidal of all of them. In a fit of pique, he orders you to kill (in no particular order) his partner, his wife, his ex-wife, six trunkloads of people he's murdered while you were busy, and the First Lady (she didn't answer his fan mail).
- The notorious C.R.A.S.H. unit in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is exaggerated for effect — but not by much. Frank Tenpenny's jobs revolve entirely around rubbing out witnesses who can implicate him. He also killed his original partner, Pendelberry, before the game began, and plots to ice his two remaining partners as well.
- Grand Theft Auto IV takes it to new heights with everyone who contacts Niko wanting him to be their personal hitman. Justified as that's Niko's job. The Deputy Commissioner takes this to new heights when, if you finish a mission to kill a single witness that (normally) requires you to kill a bunch of gangbangers, you'll get chewed out if you succeed in making it largely bloodless.
- The notorious C.R.A.S.H. unit in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is exaggerated for effect — but not by much. Frank Tenpenny's jobs revolve entirely around rubbing out witnesses who can implicate him. He also killed his original partner, Pendelberry, before the game began, and plots to ice his two remaining partners as well.
- Pretty much any Final Fantasy game eventually.
- Jin Kisaragi of BlazBlue honestly thought that if he killed his brother, Ragna, he would pay attention to him instead of his sister though he happened to be Brainwashed and Crazy at the time. It's unknown as of yet whether Jin had planned to kill Saya as well though most likely not, as the guy who brainwashed him in the first place did it so he could get Saya without trouble. That, and make Ragna's life miserable for kicks.
- In Mitadake High, players often come to this conclusion. The killer obviously has reached this conclusion long before the game started. Sometimes this is played straight, other times it's played for laughs.
- Subverted in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Though in most of the game Violence Is the Only Option, there are several chapters where not fighting certain enemies will earn you a reward. In one chapter in particular, the force comes upon a building of priests that is under the grip of the enemy, which forces them to fight you. You can kill the priests, but if you get through the chapter without killing a single one, you get one of the best staves in the game.
- Played terrifyingly straight in other games, especially by the villains. In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword, for instance, not only do Marquess Laus and his son Erik decide murdering the heroes is their best option, they do so without a hint of regret, despite Erik having known the heroes since childhood. Also a common reaction in fandom to certain gameplay issues like neutral units getting in the way or stealing kills (and thus experience points).
- In Team Fortress 2, because friendly fire is turned off, the most effective way of determining if an apparent teammate is actually a spy in disguise is to use lethal force. Particularly effective is setting them on fire. Of course, since the game is a first-person shooter where all the characters are psychopaths, violence is always the answer for everything else too.
- In The Suffering, Doctor Killjoy theorises that Torque's insanity form was born from a subconscious belief in this trope.
Doctor Killjoy: Severe dementia, is it? Or perhaps chronic melancholia? Or is it an uncontrollable urge to regress back to a form unseen in modern society, one that will allow you to set matters right in the most direct way possible? Yes, I think that's it. When all else fails, go for the easy way out, the obvious answer, the brute force solution!
- Totally a workable playstyle in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Every MacGuffin or bit of information - bar one - can be retrieved by simply killing the person holding it (or knocking them out, but this trope is about murder) and taking it off their body. And in the single exception's case, you can pay the man for information, then kill him and get your money back.
- Mass Effect 2 has Jack and Zaeed, both vastly preferring the "kill people" solution when presented with problems. Mordin and Samara play surprisingly heroic examples to a Paragon Shepard, such as if Shepard lets the batarians threatening Daniels leave calmly, or if Samara sees the problem that is Tuchanka or Omega.
- Also the aptly named Destruction-Ending of Mass Effect 3. Depending on how you take the last 15 minutes of the game, complete annihilation may be regarded as the only option that saves the galaxy.
- Wrex and Javik both have a standard solution to personnel difficulties. Wrex's is to suggest eating them. Javik's involves an airlock.
- Yuri in Tales of Vesperia. At least when it comes to bad guys, anyway.
- The Elder Scrolls series, starting from Morrowind onwards, allows the indiscriminate player to complete most quests that would otherwise require faction relations, persuade checks, or specialized skills like picking pockets by prying the MacGuffin out of someone's cold, dead hands. Justified as it prevents the game from being Unwinnable by Mistake if you manage to kill or bug out a vital quest chain NPC, but in many cases creates a massive plot shortcut. In Morrowind specifically, killing Vivec right off the bat allows you to skip forward to the final part of the plot.
- In Dragon Age II, many people are hopeful that Grand Cleric Elthina will be able to calm the mage-templar conflict, perhaps by taking a side. A massive exception is Hawke's companion and possible love interest Anders. His solution is a dramatically overblown case of this trope; he believes the only option is an all-out mage templar war, so he provokes one by bombing the Chantry and thus killing the Grand Cleric and everyone else inside. Even worse because while both mages and templars are dangerous, he's slaughtering innocent priests. In his case, mass murder is the only option. And indeed, it provokes the war he wants. Goddamnit, Anders.
- Dishonored seems like it plays this straight, with its tagline being "Revenge solves everything," but it's ultimately deconstructed. Killing everyone you come across only increases the amount of chaos in your game, makes the plague spread faster, drains the city of its remaining security detail (as corrupt as it is), and causes more anarchy to erupt, and darkens the mind of a young girl that looks up to Corvo and is heir to the throne. Furthermore, people see Corvo as a merciless killer, which makes things tougher down the line, and leads to the game's bad endings.
- Since the series is centered around Always Murder, this tends to be the mindset of the criminals of the Ace Attorney series. Someone just got a penalty on your perfect trial record? Kill him. Your stepsister and ex might expose your crime to the police? Kill 'em. A defense attorney is on your trail because of your last murder? Poison him. You ordered forged evidence and are worried the artist who made it will talk? Kill her (especially creepy in that case, as the intended victim was a child!). Someone's blackmailing you? Standing in the way of you getting something you want? Threatening to reveal a secret of yours? Yep, just kill them!
- Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe: On more than one occasion during the story mode, the Mortal Kombat characters, including the heroes, suggest to the DC superheroes that they just kill their opponents, unable to understand why they won't.
- Common in Borderlands 2, especially in the Campaign of Carnage DLC. Is often lampshaded in dialogue or mission briefings.
- A prime example: "Mister Torgue has informed you that much of the beer in Pyro Pete's Bar has been poisoned. He needs you to kill some of the bandits and take their beer so they won't die of poison. As you will be killing the bandits anyway, this plan makes approximately zero sense."
- In Hakuouki, it doesn't matter what the problem is, Souji Okita's suggested solution to it is almost guaranteed to be killing someone. Initially, he comes off as more of a comedic example (if by way of Black Comedy) as he constantly assures Chizuru that he will kill her for any number of minor offenses. As the story goes on, however, it becomes clear that Souji considers himself only good for killing people and nothing else, and that murder is his solution to all problems because it's the only thing he's any good at. Part of the point of his route in the visual novel is convincing him that this doesn't have to be the case.
- In Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, Aqua concludes that the only way to protect the Castle of Dreams is to assassinate Lady Tremaine and her two daughters, because of Master Eraqus' teachings that darkness must be destroyed. The Fairy Godmother stops her from committing the triple murder, and suggests that she instead help Cinderella. The evil stepfamily are eventually killed from crossing the Moral Event Horizon, anyway.
- Gort in Darken; his preferred method is to Kill It with Fire.
- K'seliss in Goblins holds this general philosophy. Of course, every now and then, it works.
- In Freefall, Florence usually does not follow this trope, on account of being an organic A.I. and having something similar to the Three Laws Of Robotics. This doesn't technically apply to robots, but Florence happens to believe (with lots of very good evidence on her side) that Androids Are People, Too. But when it comes up that Mr. Kornada's plan to lobotomize every robot on Jean for the sole purpose of stealing their money was to be carried out entirely by his robot Clippy, she is unable to ignore the "distressingly easy and horrible solution" this scenario presents.
- The mythology of Kill Six Billion Demons regularly glorifies ignorance, selfishness, and violence, though the ultimate example is probably Pree Aesma, who once slaughtered her way through a city-sized monastery because she was bored.
- The SCP Foundation is an organization that takes absolutely no chances; silencing witnesses and regularly executing D-Class personnel is routine for them. Literally, in the case of D-class personnel: all non-vital D-class personnel are slaughtered en masse at the end of each month to prevent them living long enough to escape, then replacing them with more life-term prisoners to make up the numbers (assuming they last that long). Demotion of other personnel to D-class is not uncommon either, should they mess up enough.
- The Foundation also has an aversion-to-subversion in that they generally avoid at any cost the deaths of living SCP's, the only exceptions being those that are so exceptionally dangerous, such as uncontrolled reality warpers, that killing them is the only safe option. The Foundation's rival organization, the Global Occult Coalition, on the other hand, do believe that destroying anomalous objects is the best way to contain them. Objects like SCP-1522 and SCP-1609 show that this policy is not necessarily the best solution.
- One particularly nasty exception the Foundation is making is SCP-1237, a brainwave that appears in random people that gives them Reality Warper abilities in their dreams. The Foundation's method of containment includes the words "involuntary abortion," "genocide," and "ethnic cleansing."
- The Question decides that he must kill Lex Luthor to prevent an Armageddon-level war from breaking out between the Justice League and the United States government, reasoning that the League's reputation could survive the actions of a crackpot like him, but would be crushed if Superman were the one to kill Luthor (since the Superman of another timeline did so and the Question believes the same thing will happen here if he doesn't do it first). Unfortunately for him, Luthor had recently got super powers.
- The Scarab in Young Justice lies somewhere between here and comedy (albeit, for a very dark type of humor). Whether Blue Beetle is faced with abusive jerks, locked doors, or an old man drinking water, he'll suggest "plasma cannon" to deal with it. Sometimes it's funny, but mostly it's scary to see Jamie barely keeping the Scarab in check. Especially considering that in at least one dark future, he basically takes over the world.
Real Life Examples
- In a real life subversion of this trope, the FBI engaged in a program call COINTELPRO, a counter intelligence program aimed at people like Martin Luther King Junior and The Black Panthers. Their methods, among others, included Legal Harassment: The FBI and police abused the legal system to harass dissidents and make them appear to be criminals. When these methods failed (they often did), they would then employ Illegal force: The FBI conspired with local police departments to threaten dissidents; to conduct illegal break-ins in order to search dissident homes; and to commit vandalism, assaults, beatings, and assassinations. One such assassination was the death of Fred Hampton, leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. You can read all about it on the Other Wiki.
- Multiple times in the Second Wave of Black Metal. Faust was hit on by a homosexual in a park. He "rejected" the man by stabbing him to death and leaving him to die. Later, Euronymous, guitarist for Mayhem fell out of favor in the scene and he blamed this on Varg Vikerenes of Burzum. The solution to this was to kill Varg, who, rather than go to the police or anything, went into Euronymous' house and stabbed him twenty seven times "In Self Defense"
- According to George Orwell's essay Decline of the English Murder, this was the motivation behind some of the most famous English murderers of his day: "[murder] seems to him less disgraceful, and less damaging to his career, than being detected in adultery."
- Sadly, some people are so fed up and frustrated with life that they decide to shoot up a mall/school/whatever, rather than more rational ways of handling it (like going to a psychologist) or finding something more constructive to do with their life than mope about life not being fair. Heck, committing suicide is a more rational response than murdering innocent people unrelated to your own feelings.
Anime & Manga
- In Carnival Phantasm, Grail-kun is always happy to help out someone in need by providing them a useful tool. Examples include the Hero Creation Kit (a knife, because "He'll become a hero after killing a million people."), the Friendmaker (a knife, so Shinji can "Show [Gilgamesh] who's boss") and the Servant Strengthening Device (a knife, so Kotomine can kill Lancer and summon a better Servant).
- When Negi has a fight with Asuna in Mahou Sensei Negima!, Chachazero says that Negi should probably apologize to Asuna... but since that's too much of a pain, he should just kill her instead. It comes up again later on, as Negi is a Clueless Chick Magnet, and is going to be a total Bishōnen when he hits puberty. Chisame points out that "He's going to make a lot of girls cry in the future", and that it might be better for all involved if they just kill him now.
- In Heaven's Lost Property, Mikako is asked during a game quiz what she would do if she saw litter on the street. Her answer? Kill everyone.
- Although not exactly involving intentional murder, in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Piccolo can be heard to say "Once again, wanton violence has solved all my problems with absolutely no negative repercussions." Cut to a news report on how the effects of Piccolo blowing up the moon killed millions.
- In Berserk Abridged, this is Corkus's suggestion to every single problem, as well as his favorite hobby.
- Shirou in The Hill of Swords has a habit of responding to every problem Louise has by offering to kill someone.
- In The Wizard in the Shadows, Harry is somewhat prone to this. Since he's been fighting a vicious war for the last four/five years, he's not particularly prone to mercy. Threatening his enemies with obscene violence tends to be his preferred method of getting people to do what he wants.
- Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv): Light Yagami, naturally:
Light: Oh well, time to get a new girlfriend.
Films — Live-Action
- Hot Fuzz: The whole conspiracy.
- Hudson Hawk. Two of Darwin and Minerva Mayflower's minions failed to keep track of Hudson Hawk.
- In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, John Connor orders the Terminator to deal with two jerks, whereupon the T-800 sets out to kill them. Perfectly justified, as this is exactly what the Terminator was made to do.
John: Jesus, you were gonna kill that guy!
Terminator: Of course. I'm a Terminator.
John: Listen to me very carefully, OK? You're not a Terminator anymore. All right? You got that? You just can't go around killing people!
John: Whattaya mean, why? 'Cause you can't!
John: Because you just can't, OK? Trust me on this.
- In Belgariad and The Malloreon, this trope is constantly lampshaded and made fun of in the tendencies of a number of cultures to solve their problems with extreme violence. It gets to the point where certain characters among the True Companions have to be actively restrained from killing anyone who gets in their way — or even mildly annoys them. For additional hilarity, which particular characters are advocating for and against killing tends to rotate among the cast, and their choice of methods is often a source of debate. For example, Silk favors assassination, Hettar and Barak are for brutal slaughter, Mandorallen will gleefully take on entire armies by himself, and Sadi (in The Malloreon) prefers poison.
- The Church Knights in The Elenium and The Tamuli frequently suggest "constructive Elenishism". This tends to involve swords, axes, crossbows, and so forth.
- In the third book in the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, Life, the Universe and Everything, the Krikkit people, up until recently living on a planet entirely separated from the universe through a thick layer of Space Clouds, send a small ship to discover where a recently-crashed spaceship comes from. When they break through the barrier and gaze out at the wonders of the infinite universe, they immediately matter-of-factly decide they have to destroy it all. Thus did the devastating Krikkit Wars begin, causing the destruction of much of the universe (and birthing on a mostly harmless Insignificant Little Blue Planet inhabited by among the stupidest species in the universe a game most civilized species find incredibly offensive.
"It'll have to go," the men of Krikkit said as they headed back for home.
- Fiona from Burn Notice often suggests shooting people as a solution to practically anything. Sometimes she suggests blowing stuff up instead.
- When Blackadder found himself attracted to his manservant Bob (actually a woman in disguise), he went to see the Wise Woman, who suggested three ways to solve the problem:
1) Kill Bob
2) Kill Yourself
3) Make sure nobody ever finds out — kill everybody in the entire world! AHAHAHAHA!!
- Used in the first episode of My Name Is Earl, when Joy tried to kill Earl to claim his lottery winnings, because he hadn't changed his will by then.
- One The Kids in the Hall sketch had an alien spy who was so nervous that he would continually blow his own cover and then order the destruction of the planet that he was on.
- 30 Rock: After Pete mentions that Jenna's dilemma reminds of the "psychopath test" above, she not only immediately gets the answer "right", but takes it as a piece of advice — and poisons Kenneth. She does meet the guy, but dumps him after finding out he's got a kid.
- A humorous variant on the previously mentioned Sarah Connor Chronicles example: Cameron discovers that James Ellison lied to the Connors about Cromartie's corpse. She immediately decides to kill him, at which point Sarah tells her she can't kill him. Cameron's response?
Cameron: But he's the only one I want to kill.
- Seems to work for Mal in Firefly. Whenever there is an enemy threatening his crew and there seems to be no way out, he'll just shoot the guy, or kick him into the ship's engine. Also, while she was only a child at the time and it was just a game, cannibalism was River's first thought on how to survive being cut off from home in a war....
- Community has an aborted attempt. Jeff looks longingly at some hedge clippers when Pierce learns of the secret trampoline, and starts to go for them when Troy stops him.
- Ripping Yarns: This is Charles' general attitude in "Murder at Moorstones Manor".
- In the "Intervention" sketch from Mr. Show, after his friends are fed up with Bob's interventions (which are more about making fun of said person with problem than solving said problem), they decide to murder him. Bob sees his fate through a Flash Forward, so he tells them how to dispose of the body.
- In an episode of Two and a Half Men, Allen's ventriloquist dummy gives him this idea when he gets a bit upset that Charlie's using his friendship with Chelsea so he can avoid spending time with her at places he doesn't like.
- A Running Gag with the cast of The Big Bang Theory in regards to dealing with Sheldon. In fact, that's usually the first option/answer given whenever Sheldon becomes a problem, short of telling him to go away
- Charmed: In one episode, each of the sisters loses a single sense after being cursed by a monkey; they try and formulate a plan of action thusly:
Mute!Paige: (Holds up a sign that reads "KILL MONKEY")Deaf!Phoebe: (To Blind!Piper) PAIGE IS PROPOSING VIOLENCE AGAINST THE MONKEY.
- Stiles of Teen Wolf sure does suggest this a lot. Even against main characters. Sometimes other pessimistic characters get in on it. Come season five, this example gets a lot less comedic.
- Played for Laughs as a group control tactic in Pokethulhu. It explicitly states that if you break the rules, the one who owns the game is permitted to kill you. (It cautions that this may be illegal, and urges you to never kill someone outside a gaming context).
- The Computer in Paranoia executes first. The Computer does not then "ask questions", it "debriefs" ...and executes again. In case the players aren't as naturally homicidal as RPG players are expected to be, they're usually assigned troubleshooting duty, which is summed up as: "find trouble and shoot it."
- Arsenic and Old Lace: Two nice old ladies advertise a boarding house for elderly men. Unfortunately, their solution for relieving these men of their loneliness is to serve them homemade elderberry wine laced with arsenic. It's one of their "charities". Johnny's first solution is often murder or violence too... maybe it runs in the family (or rather gallops).
- Jack Stone in the musical Reefer Madness seems to subscribe to this school of thought.
Perhaps it's time he disappeared
He would never be missed
I could murder him, murder him, murder him!
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath Henry from Fire Emblem Awakening threatens to murder you if you ever give him "stupid" orders like "Don't kill the enemy". In his S support with Tharja, he also offers to destroy your entire army just to show how much he loves her.
- The obligatory Bioware games' Heroic Comedic Sociopath.
- Lilarcor in Baldur's Gate 2. To be fair, he is a talking sword. How else is he going to solve problems?
- In Mass Effect, while on Noveria, Shepard gets entangled in a power struggle between Corrupt Corporate Executives. If Wrex is in the party, he suggests a quick way out of the whole mess: "Just eat them." He frequently suggests you just kill everyone in your way or chides you for not taking the murderous option.
- HK-47 in Knights of the Old Republic ("I would much rather this get bloody, master!"). And his suggestion for gaining prestige at the Sith Academy ("Suggestion: We could start by slaughtering the occupants of this building, Master. Would that be impressive?").
- In Dragon Age: Origins, this role is filled by Shale, whose stated solution to pretty much everything is 'crush it'. Sten and Morrigan also espouse the more violent or 'evil' solutions, usually losing you influence by being selfless unless you persuade them otherwise, but their examples are less Played for Laughs.
- In Jade Empire, it's Black Whirlwind. He can be persuaded to tell a number of stories about his past adventures, and listening to them makes it clear that his solution to any problem is inevitably to kill someone... usually leading to having to kill everyone.
- In Disgaea 3, Princess Sapphire is usually the first person to offer up a solution to the current dilemma — the solution being to murder the obstacle, of course. Even the demons are a bit unsettled by this tendency.
- The Portal universe's backstory reveals that this was the conclusion that Master Computer GLaDOS came to literally picoseconds after being switched on. Prior to the events of the first game, she had already killed all the scientists in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center with a deadly neurotoxin, and now amuses herself by parading an endless stream of Human Popsicle test subjects through a Death Course of test chambers. Those who succeed... she murders anyway. For Science!.
- And in the second game, she subverts it. Killing Chell is actually pretty hard, so she ends up letting her go.
- In Sacrifice, this is played for laughs by the God of Death, Charnel.
- The Dragonborn ends up teaching this lesson to a bunch of orphans after killing Grelod the Kind. One little girl is fascinated by the idea of one murder solving so many problems. And the boy who tried to contact the Dark Brotherhood in the first place tells the Dragonborn that he wants to become an assassin when he grows up so he can help people too.
- For context, Grelod is an abusive orphanage manager who hates the job and the children, but refuses to let go of the position despite that. With her out of the way, her assistant who actually cares about the children can take over and things will improve for everyone, but the only way to get her out of the way is to kill her — which ends up sending the wrong message to the children about how to solve their problems (especially since killing Grelod leads to absolutely no negative consequences the children could notice whatsoever — she is so hated that even if you kill her right in front of a guard, you get no bounty).
- The most extreme example would probably be the entire cast of 8-Bit Theater, for whom murder or genocide is everyone's solution to everything. Especially Black Mage, whose approach to everything is exemplified by the flowchart.
Muffin: You don't want to kill me.
Black Mage: Not specifically, no.
But I enjoy killing in the academic sense.
Also in the murder sense.
Black Mage: That's not exactly what I was thinking. Necessarily.
- Also this.
Thief: It's your standard solution to everything, so yes it was.
Doppelganger: I can't help but think that indiscriminate murder is the only viable solution here.
- And this, from a doppelganger of Black Mage personifying all of his sins.
- Similarly, the 8BT-inspired Ansem Retort. If Axel has a problem that needs solving, you can bet it will involve fire. Or spiked wheels. Or mind bullets. Or, on one occasion, organising a musical number, but that was kind of the exception.
- The Order of the Stick. Lampshaded by Celia in this strip.
Belkar: When in doubt, set something on fire!
- Belkar Bitterleaf, who apparently works on the definition "Enemy combatant: anyone worth XP."
Belkar: I have an idea. It starts with "s" and ends with "litting their throats."
- And another example:
Vaarsuvius: As the size of an explosion increases, the number of social situations it is incapable of solving approaches zero.
- Also Vaarsuvius, in one strip:
Blackwing: *whisper whisper whisper*
Vaarsuvius: And That Would Be Wrong.
- Miko Miyazaki, for a paladin, is always prompt to decide that any evildoer is better off killed by her own hand rather than brought to justice. It takes very specific orders from her liege to dissuade her to apply violence first. Orders she'd obey, but reluctantly. It comes to the point where she murders said liege rather than risk putting him through trial for his deceptions.
- The Jägers from Girl Genius tend toward this solution. An example being when their plan of action escalated until it became one of "dose plans... hyu know — de kind vere ve keel everybody dot notices dot ve's killin' people", and were dissuaded from it by realizing this would lead to them losing their hats. It's quite likely that in the old days they would have stuck with it anyway.
- Not just the Jägers. Both clanks and Sparks default to killing things whenever confronted with too complicated a problem, regardless of whether there are better or easier solutions.
- Ctrl+Alt+Del: here and here
- Used in a Penny Arcade strip with Porkfry, Gabe complains that he always wants to resort to murder. Of course, Gabe himself is usually pretty quick to resort to murder.
- A Darken guest comic has the immortal line: "Ah, murder. Is there any problem you can't solve?"
- Schlock Mercenary:
Rule 6: "If violence wasn't your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it."
- Hannelore of Questionable Content, as seen here. Possibly due to having a Mad Scientist father and a Bond Villain mother.
Hannelore: I MUST ELIMINATE ALL WITNESSES OF MY CRIME.
- Used by Dominic (in the earlier strips) and Kamahl (later on), the resident Sociopathic Heroes, in UG Madness. It gets to the point where, when everyone else is vowing to come in first and take home a prize at an FNM, Kamahl's vow is "I'll just kill the winner and take theirs."
- Pibgorn: Being trapped in a Film Noir scenario will do it to you.
- In Exiern, Tiffany doesn't want to go to the dance with an escort, but she can't not go, and doesn't want to look silly by not having one. The solution, some sort of compromise surely?
Tiffany: ''"...mass murder would solve the problem, right?"
- Technically speaking, the only thing that needs to be done to a Mary Sue in the Protectors of the Plot Continuum is removing her from the fiction she's contaminated. In practice, the Mary Sues are so irritating that Agents will not only default to killing, but find or invent particularly painful ways of killing. This is more for Rule of Funny, though, and some of the less problematic Sues are simply recruited.
- There have been some Sue-killing methods that actually got the Agents reprimanded. The Redneck Trees in particular.
- In the outtakes for Kickassia, after a bunch of different-and gorily detailed-ways of taking down and torturing The Nostalgia Critic are suggested by Bennett the Sage, he eventually goes, "I say we kill him!" Laughter ensues.
- Vice President Chick also tries to sneakily off the Critic every five minutes to gain control of the nation. She could have just easily just chloroformed him while they were alone in the house together and got him out of the way then.
- Cracked article "6 Attempts at Damage Control That Caused Way Bigger Problems" opens with the line:
Mistakes are an inevitable part of human nature, but there's a system for dealing with them the right way — The Four A's: Assess the damage, Acknowledge your role, Apologize sincerely, and Assassinate all accusers.
- Freeman's Mind has Gordon's variation on the "twice fooled" saying:
''Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, everyone dies!
- Magical Fun Time Now has the Magical Girl protagonists killing a prison guard who overheard their plan to escape.
- Texts from Superheroes: Spider-Man asks The Punisher for some advice on how to deal with a villain. He suggests to just kill him and get it over with.
Spider-Man: No, I can't do that. He's my best friend's dad.The Punisher: Murder's my best friend.
- It is implied that this is what Coco says in an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, judging by Mac's reaction of "but then we'd go to jail". It even sounds like she says "we could kill him" if you listen closely.
- Spoofed on Futurama. "Damn! Murder isn't working and that's all we're good at!" (especially hilarious as it's Al Gore, Lt. Uhura, and Stephen Hawking)
Zoidberg: I say kill it.
- Also, this seems to be Leela's solution to everything when she decides to be more impulsive in Anthology Of Interest, implying this is the solution that first occurs to her all the time and is only kept in check by her being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud.
- This quote from Zoidberg from "Fry Am the Egg Man" shows this trope.
Fry: But I love it and it loves me.
Zoidberg: Kill them both!
- The 8-year-old children on Home Movies recommend murder to solve far too many problems.
- South Park
- "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut", wherein some people are temporarily trapped in a building during a storm and, after a few hours, decide to resort to cannibalism to survive, although they really could've just waited a little while. Keep in mind that they opted to eat the annoying celebrity guests first...
- Instances where Cartman states they have to kill Kyle include "South Park Is Gay" when he points out being associated with him is ruining their metrosexual reputation and "Toilet Paper" when he believes Kyle will expose the truth.
- While it's no doubt funny, Cartman was entirely serious and later attempts to kill him — with a wiffle bat.
- In "Pinewood Derby", representatives from countries around the world decide the best way to deal with Finland is Nuke 'em.
- Of course, it being Finland, that would just piss them off.
- In "Good Times With Weapons", Cartman suggests killing Butters, fearing that the incident of the boys injuring him with a shruiken will get them in trouble. Kyle is so scared, he agrees to go along with it.
- The Venture Bros. does this a lot. In one episode, Dr. Venture orders Brock to kill people so he can create more Venturesteins. Brock refuses. In another episode, Brock goes to the Moppets to get them to hurt a kid who disrespected him, but they only seem interested in killing the kid (with a knife!). Brock earlier admitted that he usually kills people who disrespect him, but the kid was underage so he couldn't touch him. And when told to downsize his command staff, the Monarch executes his minions rather than transferring them. Another episode had Hank (who accidentally injected a hallucinogenic drug into himself) convinced that the only way to be with Brock's russian ex-girlfriend is to kill his father.
- The Simpsons
- In "Homer the Great", this is how nearly all of the members of the Stonecutters react to Homer being their leader.
Moe: We've got to kill him!
Number One: Take it easy, Moe. Let's hear from the Stonecutter world council before we act too rashly.
Orville Redenbacher: Kill him.
Jack Nicholson: Kill him.
Mr T: Kill the fool!
George H.W. Bush: I'm afraid I have to disagree with Orville, Jack, and Mr. Can't we just do something to his voice box?
- In "Bart Carny", after Carnies scam the Simpsons out of their house.
Marge: We can't just give up on our house. There's got to be a way to get these guys out of there.
Bart: I say we set fire to the house — kill them that way.
Marge: We don't want to kill them, Bart. We just want our home back.
Lisa: Well... if we did set fire to the house…
Marge: No fires!
Homer: I've got it!
Marge: No fires!!
- In "Homer the Great", this is how nearly all of the members of the Stonecutters react to Homer being their leader.
- In Rick and Morty "Meeseeks and Destroy", the Meeseeks go insane from the pain of existence after days of failing to accomplish the nigh impossible task of taking two strokes off of Jerry's golf game. After trying and failing to kill each other, the Meeseeks Jerry originally created decides the best way to take off two strokes is to take off all strokes — by murdering Jerry so that he will never play golf again.
- In the non-canon crossover episode between Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa "Say Uncle", the Gems are so freaked out by Uncle Grandpa's reality warping antics that they decide they must kill him. They nearly pull it off too.