Not Me This Time

"Oh, for crying out loud, no! I had no intention of committing any crimes!"
Mojo Jojo, The Powerpuff Girls, "Telephonies"

In a series with a recurring Big Bad, it is sometimes the case that a side-villain or Monster of the Week is introduced to cause havoc and shake things up.

Of course, since this is a series with a recurring Big Bad, our heroes may feel perfectly justified in going after the usual suspects. This trope refers to such scenes, in which our regular villain is forced to inform the protagonists that this installment's Evil Plan is not his or her doing. This may or may not be believed at first, but after the villain's innocence is established, expect him to curtly dismiss the heroes.

Traditional Truce Zone requirements mandate that regardless of all the crimes they committed yesterday, if caught for the wrong thing today; the heroes have to let them go. Either that or the Big Bad got Off on a Technicality for yesterday's crimes.

This trope can be chalked up to The Law of Conservation of Detail: if you're going to have your villain appear, it might as well be relevant to the plot at hand.

An occasional subversion is for the usual suspect to claim innocence, convince the hero that somebody else did it... and then have it turn out that the original suspect is guilty after all. And in some cases, the Frame-Up inspired the villain to actually do it afterward.

This trope may also occur with any character who has a recurring habit. May or may not lead to Evil Versus Evil or Enemy Mine, depending on the story. (A villain might be upset that he was blamed for something he didn't do, or that he's being pounded on by the hero for something he didn't do, or that he was accused of a crime he considers beneath him, or that somebody else claimed a triumph he would have liked to score for himself. Any of these reasons is enough for him to be pissed at the guy who really did it.)

Also see Villains Out Shopping, which might explain the villain's innocence. Compare Motive Misidentification, where the Big Bad is responsible, but for different reasons than the heroes initially suspect. Contrast Hijacked by Ganon, where it seems like a new villain is at fault but the Big Bad is revealed to be pulling the strings. May overlap with Card-Carrying Villain and/or Villains Never Lie if the heroes believe the story because it would be out of character for the villain to deny his crimes rather than boast about them.

Example subpages:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • A heroic example in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series: Calvin is framed for a water balloon attack he didn't do, and thus ends up having to clear his name.
  • Happens to Don Paolo in the Professor Layton fanfic Knights and Knaves. Inspector Chelmey hauls him in for questioning about a series of mysterious clues that have been cropping up across London - simply because he doesn't have any better ideas about who might be responsible. Don Paolo protests his innocence, and is in fact telling the truth.
  • In Phantom of Beika Street (a Detective Conan/Danny Phantom crossover), an bright explosion somehow causes a large amount of green goo to splatter everywhere. Yamamoto accused Kaito since he was right next to it when it happened and he's known for such stunts, but Kaito nearly quotes this trope. His answer actually satisfies everyone since they're aware that if he was responsible, he would be taking credit for it.
  • In the A Date With Destiny section of the Code Mars Trilogy, Mars seeks to rescue the hostages from the JLF during the hotel jacking. She finds Zero and accuses him being behind it. Unaware of Zero's sudden entrance, he clearly tells her he wasn't behind it, showing the real mastermind's dead body.
  • Zig-zagged in the Attack on Titan fanfic, My Child, when Levi and Mikasa's child is about to die, Levi asks Xaphan, the demon who's trying to take his soul, if he knows anything, but Xaphan responds, "Oh, because I'm a demon, everything's my fault? I see how it is. Well, it doesn't matter." and says that if Levi doesn't give him his soul, his child will die. Once Levi signs the contract, Xaphan admits that he was lying all along, so it is possible that he was responsible.
  • In The Fairly Oddparents fanfic, Never Had A Friend Like Me, there's a rare hero to hero version of this trope. Jorgen thinks Timmy caused the magical chaos that led to disappearance of the anti-fairies and pixies.
  • From Ask Fluffle Puff, when Queen Chrysalis and Fluffle Puff find out that the Library Tree was destroyed (by Tirek in the Season 4 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) while they were on vacation, Chrysalis is prompt to tell Twilight Sparkle that it wasn't her, this time.
  • In The Vinyl Scratch Tapes, when Vinyl confronts Prince Blueblood over him "stealing" an interview with Princess Luna from her, he has no idea what she's talking about. Luna had actually cancelled her interview on her own initiative to be with Blueblood due to her concern over him, because jackass he may be, he was still family, and she had been in too similar a situation for her to ignore him.
  • In Say It Thrice, Betelgeuse claims that he is (mostly) not to blame for Lydia's injuries when Adam and Barbara automatically assume the worst. That honor belongs to Sanduleak.
  • In Friendship Is Magical Girls, Trixie is questioned about a museum robbery. She points out that if she had done it, she wouldn't have had to kill any of the guards.
  • The Great Alicorn Hunt: When Malfunziona escapes his can, a peeved Applejack assumes that he's another one of Celestia's "time released" prisoners that she didn't tell anyone about. In fact, Celestia's never even heard of Malfunziona; he was actually sealed by an expy of Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Corrin Reacts: Niles, Corrin and Kana all deny spiking the wine at the party in Castle Krakenburg. It turns out to be Orochi, who was attempting to prove herself a superior potionmaster to Hayato.
  • This Bites!: Played with. Water 7 being on fire is mostly Cross's fault, but part of it was actually Franky's doing from a few years back.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • While in Ring of Honor, Raven wooed and recruited Trinity to humiliate and beat down CM Punk, who responded by calling on his girlfriend Lucy to do the same to Raven before fulfilling his obligations to Pro Wrestling Zero 1. When Punk returned from Japan, he found Lucy had been attacked and a calling card eerily similar to that used by Raven's Nest, but he was proven innocent, as it was actually the mark of the Prophecy, which lead to Punk leading the Second City Saints after the group's leader Christopher Daniels, who still wasn't the culprit. It was new recruit BJ Whitmer.
  • In WWE Smackdown:
    • A storyline in 2010 involved Kane looking for the one who put The Undertaker in a coma. When he accused CM Punk of doing the deed, Punk replied that while he wanted to do it, it wasn't him this time. Kane proceeds to identify Rey Mysterio as the attacker. Subverted; it was Kane himself who was responsible for it all.
    • An early storyline in 2011 had Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long getting taken out. Since Wade Barrett had just formed The Corre on that episode, had done something similar to the previous Raw GM during his time as The Nexus leader, and Teddy had just tempted fate by telling them that he would not allow himself to be cowed by their beatdown antics like the current Raw GM was, they were naturally the first suspects. However, they denied having anything to do with it. It eventually turns out that they were telling the truth. It was Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler that did it.
  • A third example occurred during the holiday season of 2008-2009, when Jeff Hardy was WWE Champion and Edge was Number One Contender. Hardy was repeatedly wronged by a mysterious assailant who ambushed him backstage at Survivor Series, ran his car off the highway...and nearly burned him alive by sabotaging his in-ring entrance pyrotechnics when Hardy was coming down to the ring to be interviewed on The Cutting Edge. Hardy himself and all the commentators were convinced that Edge was behind all the mischief, but Edge kept insisting he was innocent. And he was: the person who'd been stalking Jeff Hardy for two whole months, and who finally cost him his championship at the Royal Rumble, was Jeff's envious older brother Matt, who admitted that, for good measure, he'd also burned down Jeff's house nearly a year before and killed his dog. Of course, Edge wasn't too sorry about this anyway, since Matt's interference enabled him to win the title.
  • Since arriving in NXT, Kevin Owens laid waste to numerous wrestlers and even tried to end the career of his former friend Sami Zayn. However, when Hideo Itami was found injured in the parking lot and Owens was nearby, he responded with this, and has continued to respond as such every time he's questioned about it. He even asked commissioner William Regal why he'd deny attacking Itami when he's bragged about every other atrocity he's committed.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the Mid Ship Detective Agency attraction for Disney Cruise Line, one of the cases the guests have to solve is who kidnapped the Dalmatian Puppies from 101 Dalmatians on the ship. One of the suspects is Cruella De Vil, who despite her threats against the dogs in continuity, has an alibi, as she wasn't even on the ship at the time they were kidnapped. The Queen is later revealed to be the culprit.note 

    Real Life 
  • You yourself may or have already said this once in your life if you've been blamed for something you didn't do, especially if you're known for making trouble on occasions.
  • 2011, the infamous Play Station Network hack. Anonymous, known for their acts of internet activism/vandalism, came out with a statement titled "For Once We Didn't Do It".
    • Interestingly enough, splinter faction LulzSec once had a hack attributed to them which was actually committed by someone else. They ended up (somewhat reluctantly) taking responsibility anyway.
  • During World War II, an infamous event called the Katyn Massacre occurred. The Soviets and the Allies claimed that Nazi Germany committed the Massacre, while Germany said that the Soviet Union was responsible for the atrocity. The Soviet Union even tried to condemn Germany for the Katyn Massacre during the Nuremberg Trials in 1945. It didn't work because evidence was mounting from German records and witnesses that they had, legitimately, stumbled on the crime site instead of having caused it, and in the years after the war most Western historians took it as a fact the Soviets did it. Records released after the Soviet Union collapsed finally confirmed that, for once, Nazi Germany was innocent of that war crime, and it was in fact the Soviets who did it.
  • LaDondrell Montgomery had his life sentence for armed robbery cancelled when it emerged he was in prison when the stick-up happened.
  • Following the Sony Hack of '14, North Korea vehemently denied all responsibility for the attack, and indeed, top security experts believe it could only have been an inside job at work here. Not that the U.S. government is ready to listen to them, of course.
  • Shortly before the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger was set to start a potential witness named Stephen Rakes, whose liquor store was essentially stolen from him by Whitey and the Winter Hill Gang to use as their base of operations, was found dead in the woods near his home. Due to the timing it was initially theorized it had something to do with his testimony, but when asked about it Whitey pointedly said he had nothing to do with it (with a reaction bordering on But for Me, It Was Tuesday when he had to be reminded who Rakes even was), and it turns out he was telling the truth: Rakes was killed by a business associate for reasons completely unrelated to the trial.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's creator, Scott Cawthon, is well known amongst his fans for inverting the Schedule Slip trope. But when the tie-in novel Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes was to be released on the 22nd of December, by sheer coincidence, the novel was released early anyway. Word of God says that Amazon's publishing of the novel took a far shorter time than expected, and for once, he had nothing to do with this early release.
  • Amid a series of ISIS sponsered Jihadist terrorist attacks in Europe in the 2015-2016 years, a shooting occurred in Munich, Germany. The attacker was Iranian who was alleged to have yelled "God is Great" or "Allahu Ackbar", a sort of battle cry Jihadists utilize, prompting people to declare it another ISIS attack as a knee jerk reaction. It was soon discovered however, that this claim was unfounded as the shooter had no links to ISIS and his particular brand of far-right politics were in fact a twisted form of European ultra nationalism rather than Islamic fundamentalism. The shooter had looked up to Norwegian right wing terrorist and mass shooter Anders Brevik for inspiration, his victims were mostly foreigners (many of whom were Muslim), and he was yelling to onlookers that he was German. The fact that Iranians area mostly Shia who oppose Sunni ISIS was a bit of a give away to this trope. However, since ISIS had been committing so many attacks as of late and the fact that the Sunni/Shia divide is not particularly well known in the west, it took a while for people to figure out it wasn't an ISIS terrorist attack.