As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
Having been convinced that the protagonist knows more than they really do, the perp returns to the scene of the crime to cover his tracks, little suspecting that the protagonist, the bumbling chief of police and the Channel 7 Action News Team are lying in wait...
Examples (spoiler alert!):
- This is how Columbo solves a significant number of his cases.
- "Dead" from Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School" from Monk
- Invoked in an early episode of Pokémon.
- On The Aristocats Edgar has to retreive his hat, umbrella and basket from Angry Guard Dogs Napoleon and Lafayette, lest the police find them and link him to the kidnapping of the cats.
- In the first Ace Attorney Investigations game, Jacques Portsman returns to the scene of where he killed Buddy Faith, although it's justified, as he does so under the pretext of investigating the crime, trying to frame Gumshoe and then Maggey for the crime.
- Invoked by a World War 2 German propaganda poster produced for occupied France after a heavy bombing attack on Rouen by the Royal Air Force. It showed Joan of Arc at the stake above the silhouette of the burning city with the legend: Les assassins reviennent toujours ... sur les lieux de leur crime "The murderers always return ... to the scene of their crime".
- In the Talkartoons short "The Herring Murder Case", Bimbo looks in his detective book and reads a passage saying that the killer always returns to the scene of the crime, which gives him the idea to hide in the room and wait for the killer to come in so he can capture him.