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No One Is Indispensable
"Everybody here can be replaced. [Turns to an enormous muscle-bound minion] I even have backup for you! It's called a rhinoceros!"
— Mr. Sigfried, Get Smart: The movie

Stock phrase used to indicate that the character being addressed isn't quite as untouchable as he or she might like to think. Can be used in any context, but is often used by Da Chief towards the Cowboy Cop after some particularly reckless form of police action (usually as a preamble to the eventual demand that he Turn in Your Badge), or by the Bad Boss towards a Dragon who might be showing signs of getting a bit too cocky and / or entertaining thoughts of taking over the evil operation.

The outcome varies depending on hero to villain; the Cowboy Cop will inevitably prove his boss wrong by single-handedly bringing down the criminal organisation, killing the bad guy and defeating the evil scheme where the entire police department before him failed, usually immediately after being canned. The Dragon, on the other hand, will usually find his boss' words being proved entirely accurate, usually by means of a horrible death after being informed that You Have Failed Me.

Examples

  • An episode of A Touch of Frost sees Da Chief of Inspector Frost, who is recently retired, attempt to persuade him to come back to solve a case that has the entire force stumped (partly as a consequence of Frost's poor skills regarding paperwork). After a tense meeting, the chief makes the mistake of yelling "You're not indispensible!"... and Frost's reaction is merely to quietly stand up and make for the door, prompting his chief to hastily backtrack and admit that, alright, he is indispensible after all.
  • It's a famous phrase by Joseph Stalin: "There are no indispensable people".
  • In The Ladykillers from 1955, Alec Guinness' character explains to a fellow bad guy that "No one is indispensable, and certainly not you, Louis. Only the plan is essential, the plan, my plan."
  • There's a old saying: "Graveyards are filled with indispensable men."
  • At the end of book 2 of The Thrawn Trilogy, Thrawn and C'baoth start arguing over this, each claiming that he is the only indispensable element of The Empire and that the other, specifically, is merely a pawn. It's hard to say who's right because they die within a few minutes of each other, and the Empire promptly goes to pot.


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