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Picking up your ransom can be tricky because it's the obvious way to physically track the money to the kidnapper. To avoid this fate, a convoluted sequence of events is engineered to avoid detection. Switching trains, phone directions, identical bags and so on may be required.
Most thrillers with a kidnapping will have a stab at including a novel method.
Anime and Manga
- In Big O Roger Smith delivers ransoms on several occasions. He presents a Briefcase Full of Money, which is armed and also rigged to fly away with the money if he subsequently finds that the ransomed person is a fake. And if attacked by the kidnappers, he's backed up by a Humongous Mecha.
- In Fargo the ransom is supposed to be delivered by the kidnapped woman's husband who ordered the kidnapping in the first place. He will pocket his share of the money and deliver the rest to his partners. However, in the last moment the woman's father decides to deliver the money himself and refuses to hand it over until he sees that his daughter is alive. The kidnapper shoots him dead.
- TV Movie Velvet. The villains demand a ransom be taken in a bag to a marine park. A guy grabs the bag and throws it into the nearby ocean, where it's picked up by a woman on a jet ski. When questioned, the guy says he was paid to do what he did - he had no idea what the bag contained.
- Speed has one of these in a garbage can on a busy street. The villain cut a hole in the concrete so he can get the bag in the subway below the garbage can.
- The main plot of The Big Lebowski is the ransom demanded for the title character's Trophy Wife, until it shifts into a Gambit Pileup.
- Thunderball requires the British Government to pay SPECTRE a diamond ransom. The ransom is to be airdropped on a certain location at a certain time.
- Dumb and Dumber's plot is kicked off by one of the main characters being a Spanner in the Works. When the woman he loves drops off the briefcase with the money, Lloyd sprints through the airport to grab it to give it to her.
- A botched ransom drop is one of the key turning points in Man on Fire, leading Creasy to vow revenge on Pita's kidnappers.
- In Juggernaut, the ransom demanded by the bomber is to be left in a certain locker at a bus station. The police stake out the locker, but the man who comes to pick up the money turns out to have been hired to collect it and drop it somewhere else, with no knowledge that can lead back to the bomber.
- Ransom, unsurprisingly, has a pivotal scene around this, where the protagonist is made to go from phone to phone to get subsequent directions, instructed to jump into a pool to destroy any electronics he might have on him, etc. When he finally gets to the drop it turns out the police have been following him the whole time, and the hand-off goes bad very quickly.
- In Along Came A Spider, the police officer in charge of the case has to make the hand-off. After being forced to follow the requisite convoluted path, he's made to jump on a train just before the doors close, and then, while it's moving, break the windows and throw the ransom out.
- In Soap Burt & Danny have to exchange a paper bag filled with ransom money to get Danny's wife back. While waiting for the kidnappers to show up they "practice" but they both switch the bags, so Burt-as-the-kidnapper ends up with the empty paper bag he originally had.
- My Name Is Earl. The list item was stealing some antique silverware from the local library. Having been unable to melt it down for the silver content they try to ransom it back to the library, but a bum picks up the bagful of cash from the garbage can where it was to be dropped - and just as well too, since he gets a facefull of blue dye for his troubles.
- In Castle, the ransom is delivered by a local relative of one of the kidnapped girls.
- Criminal Minds. One episode has a kidnapper order the abductee's twin sister deliver the cash on a parking lot at night. Unfortunately, he has no desire to get the money, but to kidnap the twin (which he's obsessed over and is using the kidnapped sister to bait). The BAU is able to figure this out and arrives just in time to scare the kidnapper away.
- Ripcord has an episode called "Ransom Drop". Ted McKeever can't understand why Dana Oliver demands his company prove they can drop a crate of eggs by parachute without cracking a shell. When Ted's team demonstrates its capabilities, she reveals the reason for her strange request - she wants Ted, Jim and Chuck to airdrop a top-secret and extremely fragile missile instrument to ransom her father who is being held prisoner in the mountains by technology-savvy kidnappers.
- One episode of Barney Miller has the kidnappers demanding that a police officer drop off the ransom while running in the park, which the victim's family decides to pay. Wojo ends up running for a good few miles before the kidnapers actually show up to claim the ransom and release the victim.
- The book Ransom Drop by Mike Sullivan is, not suprisingly, about this.
- Classic Traveller supplement The Traveller Adventure. When the people who kidnapped Lisa Fireaux realize that the PC group includes the Vargr character Gvoudzon, they demand that he drop off Lisa's ransom. If he does so, they kidnap him as well, keep the ransom and don't release Lisa.
- Done in Four Two Eight Fuusasareta Shibuya De when Hitomi Osawa is told by the kidnappers of her twin sister, Maria, to the statue of Hachiko in Shibuya. It gets botched when the kidnappers attempt to get her killed, leading to an escalation in the city when the UA virus is released. This forces the Japanese government to quarantine the city.