Commonly used in crime dramas.
Once the detective has done The Summation
and revealed the guilty party, we will get a Flashback
of the crime being committed with the perpetrator completely visible, showing how they did it. This is particularly helpful if the murder method was fairly complicated, as a picture is of course worth a thousand words.
Sometimes there will be more than one flashback during the investigation as the detectives think out a theory; in this case, the theories and therefore the flashback may not even turn out to be correct. Sometimes it will be blurred with distorted sound and washed-out colors
Compare Once More, with Clarity!
which repeats an earlier scene but adds new information which changes our perception of what went on in that moment.
- CSI and its spinoffs do this multiple times in every episode. CSI is also notable for its gory body-dives, in which the camera flies around inside somebody's body (often tracing the path of a murder weapon), accompanied by all sorts of icky Foley noises. This is commonly referred to as the TMI Cam.
- Cold Case also does this at the end of every episode.
- Parodied in the penultimate episode of Stargate Atlantis, a Shout-Out to CSI. The lighting, filter and camera effects that CSI uses are copied almost perfectly—except it's someone being murdered by a life-sucking alien.
- Monk also uses this device often, on one occasion subverting it by showing a fake flashback implicating Alice Cooper as the murderer, while a sleep-deprived, hallucinating Monk explained the rock star's intricate plot to secure the victim's antique chair. Like in Jonathan Creek, it's often more a howdunnit or a whydunnit because the identity of the murderer is often shown in the Teaser. In Monk, the Necro Cam is always done in black and white.
- Similarly, Psych did it (especially in earlier episodes), with fuzzy, washed-out, oversaturated shots. This changed in later seasons: instead of showing original footage, often it would repeat key lines that would give a clue to what happened.
- Whilst it does sometimes appear, the Necro Cam is surprisingly absent from New Tricks, especially when considering that most of the cases that the squad investigate occurred over twenty years ago.
- Jonathan Creek does this, probably because the show is a howdunnit more than it is a whodunnit and the complex solutions would be tricky to get across in words alone.
- Crossing Jordan was notable for frequently superimposing lead characters reenacting a crime over Necro Cam footage of the crime actually occurring.
- While not in the traditional sense, House uses a form of the Necro Cam by often zooming inside the patient's body and showing what was going on inside that caused their illness in the first place. Television Without Pity refers to it as the Magic Schoolbus Cam, and it seems to be making a resurgence in the most recent season after vanishing for most of Season 3.
- Murder, She Wrote does this.
- Happens frequently in Murdoch Mysteries whenever Murdoch figures out how the Victim of the Week was killed. Murdoch frequently inserts himself into these flashbacks (implied to be his mental image of what happened) as a bystander to the event, and he often simultaneously narrates his explanation of the murder to someone else (and for the convenience of the audience).
- Most of the film/television adaptations of Agatha Christie's works include at least one 'true' (and usually several 'false') versions of this as the detective crosses off potential theories in the finale.
- The main gimmick of the short-lived show Justice was that, at the beginning of each episode, you'd see what the jury believed had happened, with what really happened at the end. In at least one case, it was shown that the wrong person went to jail.
- NUMB3RS has its own take on this: when Charlie (or in later seasons, Larry or Amita) delivers a Phlebotinum Analogy, often several times an episode, their surroundings fade out and the discussion is overlaid with chalkboard-drawn equations and visual effect sequences representative of the analogy.
- Criminal Minds occasionally does this when the FBI experts try to explain the unsub's behavior in terms the local police (and also the audience) can understand. Usually done via greenscreen, with the agent speaking either physically watching the unsub, or taking his/her place in the crime.
- Star Trek: Voyager, "Ex Post Facto": Tom Paris is implanted with the final memories of the man he was convicted of killing, forcing him to relive the victim's last moments every few hours for the rest of his life. Subverted in that Paris wasn't the killer, but the receptacle for a spy from another race to implant information to his allies to destroy the people who implanted the memories in Paris.
- Veronica Mars gets one of these sequences at the end of season one, where she finally pieces together what actually happened. She presumably explains her theory to Duncan while the audience sees the footage of her idea being performed.
- Willem Dafoe's character in The Boondock Saints not only does this, but he also walks around in the scene Dead Zone style.
- Most of the Wuxia film Hero is in Necro Cam- the main difference being that it repeats several times, each iteration being one version of the events leading up to the conversation between the Emperor and Nameless and recounted in said conversation. Also Colour-Coded for Your Convenience- each version of events gets its own dominant colour, used in the clothes the characters wear and much of the set (for example, in the "Red" sequence, the characters wear red, hang round in a building full of red drapes and have an enormous fight in an Autumn forest).
- Implemented in many FPSes under the moniker "Kill Cam".
- Many, many times in the Ace Attorney series.
- This is the "premonition" part of Deadly Premonition. It starts off full of static and then gets gradually filled in as you find clues around the areas you investigate.
- Max Payne 3 shows the kill shot on Max from three angles.
- The Forensics segments of Trauma Team have some of this, although it's also somewhat of a straight recap.
- Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, with the latter using the slow-mo kill cam for enemies as well as the player.