Rod Blagojevich: Okay, just one thing, Senator. I want to thank the committee for allowing me to testify here today. It really is an impressive setting—this hearing room. And I think we can all agree; it would be a real shame if something were to happen to it.
Christopher Dodd: What do you mean?
Rod Blagojevich: Oh, you know, like—you know, like a fire or something. These old buildings with the old wiring—they’re always catching fire. If you’re interested, I, uh, I have some friends who can keep an eye on the place when no one’s around. They can also watch your cars, too—$2500 a month.
Evan Bayh: You want the government to pay you extortion money in return for not burning down the U.S. Capitol Building?
Rod Blagojevich: That is what I’m proposing. Yes.
Christopher Dodd: Governor, let me ask you: are you retarded?
A swedish PSA about not buying alcohol for your kids had a young teenaged girl casually remark to her parents how she could in theory make their lives miserable unless they got her what she wanted.
Anime & Manga
After Kaname is kidnapped in an episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Sousuke walks into the female gang leader's hideout. An Extended Disarming later, Sousuke plays the trope for all it's worth, dangling the gang leader's little brother from the hideout's rafters and rattling off a list of the "most precious things" of all the other gang members (sickly mothers, little sisters, exotic fish, etc.), causing them to disperse in tears. This is all done with a ominous shadow over his face and in a Creepy Monotone.
Then, when Kaname is released, Sousuke reveals that he'd bribed the little brother to play along. We're not sure how much he was joking about the rest, though...
In Fullmetal Alchemist, a great scene shows Ed trying to quit his job, but then the Fuhrer King casually remarks about Ed's "nice childhood friend Winry", who of course Ed has fairly intense feelings for. Averted when Kimblee makes a similar comment to Ed, but is honestly saying that he just thinks Winry is nice.
In Death Note, The Mafiakidnap Sayu, Light's little sister, and tell it to her father with a speech to this effect.
Subverted awesomely in Zettai Karen Children. The Normal People, who have The Children in an ECM field try to get Minamoto's computer password by threatening Kaoru, just as Minamoto planned. The password Minamoto told them was actually a trigger for an emergency ECCM unit, freeing Kaoru to use her powers.
Since "ECM" and "ECCM" are pretty obscure acronyms and sound pretty similar: The ECM is an Anti-Magic field, the ECCM is an Anti Anti Magic field.
Yomi: Humans love to travel don't they? It would be a shame if a plane were to crash. Although I doubt a story about middle-aged newlyweds dying on their honeymoon would even make it on the evening news. Kurama: You bastard...
Roberto uses this to great effect on Detective Runge in Monster, talking about his ex-wife, daughter, and grandson in this manner.
Ever since the Green Goblin was revived in the late 1990s, he's done this to Spider Man on a seemingly annual basis. Unlike some villains on this page, Osborn already has a loved one's death under his belt (Gwen Stacy), so when he threatens Mary Jane, or May, or anybody else Peter cares for, Spidey can't afford to hope it's just a bluff.
In an excellent story arc in 2002, however, Peter finally DID realize it was just a bluff, when he came within an inch of killing the Goblin and Osborn tearfully told him to go ahead. Peter, realizing that Osborn is so miserable he's stooped to doing stuff like this just for the attention, just walked away. And when Osborn yelled that by this time tomorrow all his loved ones will be dead, Peter said "Go right ahead", and left.
Played completely straight in the Astro City story "Knock Wood": a lawyer uses a genius defense to acquit the son of a mafia boss, who then wants to recruit him permanently. When the lawyer refuses, the boss says the trope name nearly verbatim to threaten his family if he turns down the offer...
Played straight in Watchmen. Rorschach is in prison, in solitary. Crime boss Big Figure (who Rorschach sent to jail) wants to have a little chat. The guard isn't supposed to let him through... so Big Figure starts making friendly conversation about the guard's wife and kids.
Ivana Baiul of DV 8 calls a troublesome US Senator to console him on the recent death of a good friend of his (which, needless to say, she orchestrated), saying that it would be terrible for anything like that to happen to his wife or daughter.
The origin of Dick Grayson involves this. Mob boss Tony Zucoo uses this on the Ringmaster, and after being thrown out partially cuts the ropes for the Garyson's trapeze. The rope breaks when Dick's parents are using it, and they fall to their deaths.
In the September 1, 1987, strip of Garfield, Garfield tells John Arbuckle that "it would be a shame if someone slashed [his drapes] into party streamers" with the (successful) intention of getting food.
In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Mori asks enemy esper Kyouko how her grandfather is in Osaka. She immediately gains a look of barely concealed terror.
Nights Favored Child: The Inquisitor is attending a Peace Conference with the griffin kings which is falling apart (mostly due to the Inquisitor hating griffins and intentionally infuriating them), when the head king eventually threatens war. The Inquisitor then points out that the king's daughter (implied and later confirmed to be Gilda) is currently in Equestria on an exchange program, and while he's monitoring her, it might be... "difficult" to insure her safety if there's a war. The king backs down.
Frank Nitti threatens Eliot Ness's family in this manner, in The Untouchables. "Nice house."
He proceeds to shoot the man he's talking to, along with his son. After he gets what he wants.
In the crime/horror movie Se7en, villain John Doe taunts Detective David Mills by talking about how lovely Mills' wife Tracy is. Of course, this is subverted in that John Doe has already killed Tracy in order to enrage Mills and get Doe exactly what he wants — his own murder, at Mills' hands.
In The Castle, the firm that is trying to buy the main characters' house send a man around after he refuses their offer. He makes vaguely threatening comments that leave the main character riled up, and later trashes his car. When they try it on his neighbour, a Kuwaiti man, he replies: "You send someone 'round to see me, make threats, I send someone 'round to see you, blow up your car." They decide to leave the Kuwaiti man alone.
The man later tries it again — only this time, after he makes his threatening comments, the main character's son does a less subtle version of this trope by putting a shotgun in his face.
Die Hard: "That's a very nice suit. It would be a shame to ruin it."
The villain in The Lincoln Lawyer uses this.
Your daughter, Hayley, she's very pretty. She has soccer practice on Saturday?
A deleted scene from the movie After the Sunset has the local gangster telling professional thief Max, "I love the view of the water from your house." Max corrects him, "You mean the view of my house from the water" (which actually isn't much better, as both lines indicate that he knows where Max lives). The gangster assures him that his first statement was correct, leaving Max to worry about his and his fiancee's safety should he tangle with the man.
In The Sentinel, the villain outright threatens his henchman when he tries to renege on their plan to assassinate the president. "We're not going to kill you. We're going to kill her. (holds up picture of man's wife) And then we're going to kill her. (holds up picture of man's daughter) And then we're going to kill her. (holds up picture of man's other daughter)
In the film Tormented (best known for its skewering on MST3K), the beatnick ferry operator won't stop rambling about Tom Stewart's house when they meet. Amusingly, the man clearly intended it as a threat but was so obtuse that Tom couldn't parse out the threat until the kid finally explained himself.
Inverted in the backstory to the Discworld novels, where the basically-good Bad Guy (the Patrician) uses it on really Bad Guys (the heads of various criminal gangs) after persuading them to form a Thieves' Guild that regulates crime (more or less turning it into an official, legal profession), for the purpose of reminding them what can happen if they don't honor the deal:
"I know who you are, he said. I know where you live. I know what kind of horse you ride. I know where your wife has her hair done. I know where your lovely children are, how old are they now, my doesn't time fly, I know where they play. So you won't forget about what we agreed, will you? And he smiled.
"So did they, after a fashion."
Also from Discworld, the kind of behavior that led to the disbanding of the Ankh-Morpork Guild of Fire Fighters, who were paid per fire extinguished. "The penny really dropped after 'Charcoal Wednesday'". The guild also had people take out fire protection insurance policies, with encouragement along the lines of "that thatch roof there, would go up like a torch with one carelessly thrown match, know what I mean."
In Jingo: the statue of General Tacticus that Vimes finds in a ruined city in the middle of the Klatchian desert. The words at the bottom read: "I can see your house from here." This was both a boast and a threat.
In Thud!: After two troll thugs working for the troll crime boss Chrysophrase tell Commander Vimes that their boss wants to see him, Vimes tells them "Well, he knows where I live," to which one of them remarks meaningfully "Yeah, he does." Not a good idea. Later, Chrysophrase insists to Vimes that he never gave orders to make any threats, and had the infractors... dealt with.
In the same book, the Low King of the Dwarfs unthinkingly snaps at Vimes "You stand here defying me with a handful of men and your wife and child not ten miles away—" and to his credit quickly realises this was a mistake, especially once he learns dwarf extremists have already targeted said wife and child once.
Rhys: I do look forward to meeting Lady Sybil again. And your son, of course.
Vimes: Good. They're staying in a house not ten miles away.
Especially embarrassing for Rhys, because once he and Vimes had had a second to think, both of them realized that Rhys couldn't possibly have known where Sybil and Young Sam were unless he, *ahem*, had a spy in the Watch.
Nanny Ogg walks right into it in Wyrd Sisters. When the witches find themselves on the balcony of the castle with the evil ruler they're trying to overthrow, Nanny looks into the crowd and, spotting some of her huge family starts waving and calling out to them. The Duke says "I shall remember their faces", but Nanny doesn't get the implication.
In The Truth, the Patrician comments that it would be a shame if something were to happen to William de Worde. It takes Drumknott a second to realise that he really does think it would be a shame if something were to happen to William de Worde.
People like that often wander into Aziraphale's book shop in Good Omens. However, once they've been bade a polite farewell, they never ever come back. Crowley also successfully subverts this trope to persuade Aziraphale to help him stop the Apocalypse, not by threatening but by pointing out how many nifty Earthly things will be lost if the world ends.
In Terry Pratchett's Nation, one of the Gentlemen of Last Resort casually mentions another character's birthplace, mother, and several other minor details. That character mentions that it felt like the start of a threat, and the fact that no actual threat followed was not comforting.
In a non-Pratchett involved example, Payne Harrison's Storming Intrepid ends with A meeting between the US President, the Vice-President(President-Elect), and the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, formerly the head of the KGB and The Chessmaster behind the events of the plot. Said plot has revolved around an anti-nuke Kill Sat that the Americans have. The GS says that if the US insists on rebuilding the destroyed weapon, Russia will simply have to find alternate delivery methods. Then he shows a KGB colonel next to a red, white, and blue barrel in Red Square. And another photo with the same man, in normal clothes, next to the barrel in Washington, DC. He notes how small it's possible to make nuclear bombs nowadays, small enough to fit in a barrel...
One book in the Myth Adventures series turns this sort of sideways when the local Mob wants to get a foothold in the Deveel Bazaar, and begins to extort "protection money" in roughly this fashion. The Deveels decide to hire Skeeve to put a stop to it (blissfully unaware that Skeeve had directed the Mob at Deva to get them off his back), whereupon Skeeve & Co start setting up the sort of "accidents" that the protection money was supposed to prevent. Naturally, the Deveels are Not Happy about these incidents (after all, they paid) and start demanding refunds from the Mob for substandard protection.
In Kim Newman's Diogenes Club story "Soho Golem", a local gangland boss attempts to secure psychic detective Richard Jeperson's cooperation in the investigation of the rather horrific supernatural execution of one of his colleagues by intimidating him with a threat of this nature. Jeperson's response is to cheerfully laugh in his face and to inform the gangster that his threats are meaningless; not only has Jeperson come across too many nastier things in his time to be intimidated by some thug, but the supernatural nature of the threat mean the rules the gangster lives by no longer apply here, and he's dependent on Jeperson's goodwill to remain in the land of the living, not the other way around.
in Trial By Journal the bad guy uses this to get the wrongfully accused guy's lawyer to quit. she quits to protect her two kids.
This is actually subverted in the original novel of The Godfather. Everyone in the neighbourhood fears Don Fanucci because of his alleged ties to a more powerful criminal organization. Vito Corleone correctly dismisses this because Fanucci does all of his own collecting instead of sending Mooks. Thus, instead of buckling under to Fanucci's demands, Vito confronts and kills him instead, knowing there will be no repercussions.
In the early 20th century novel A Candle in Her Room, the third-generation protagonist Nina finds herself confronting the wicked Dido. The person Melissa loves most in the world is her great-aunt Melissa, who became her guardian after the deaths of her parents, and in order to compel Nina to do what she wants, Dido starts talking about what a terrible thing it would be if elderly Aunt Liss were to stumble on the stairs or something equally dangerous.
'I will intercede with my husband, ma'am,' she said. 'He's a true man if rightly managed; and I'll beg him to consider your position. 'Tis a very nice house you've got here,' she added, glancing round, 'and well worth a little sacrifice to keep it.'
One of the Sweet Valley High mystery mini-arcs involved a convicted murder stalking Elizabeth and Jessica because of his grudge against their father. He sends many threats of this nature to Ned Wakefield through the post.
In the web-novel Domina, in one of the flashback chapters, a gang member starts making meaningful observations about a woman's new apartment. She doesn't beat around the bush, and just notes that she already paid another gang, Necessarius, for protection money. Then said gang shows up and, to everyone's complete surprise, actually protects her.
Sinclair: Funny, because it looks like you're harassing...Priscilla Ljunborg. Our records show that she is all paid up on her protection money.
Sinclair: So that means she's under the protection of Necessarius, Gabriel. I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
Septimus Heap: Magyk: The Hunter threatens to burn Sally Mullin's cafe in that manner before doing so.
Luigi: How many men you got here, colonel? Colonel: Oh, er ... seven thousand infantry, six hundred artillery, and er, two divisions of paratroops. Luigi: Paratroops, Dino. Dino: Be a shame if someone was to set fire to them.
Parodied in Malcolm in the Middle, where an officer delivers his files to Lois in response to her objecting a traffic ticket, and tries to make innocuous small-talk:
Police Officer: Nice house you have here.
Lois: Are you threatening me!?
Played with in episode 4.08 of Sons Of Anarchy. Lieutenant Roosevelt remarks that Jax has a beautiful family and naturally, it would be a shame if anything happened to them. However, he's not threatening Jax, just emphasizing that getting into the drug business could cause his loved ones serious harm - by this point the Sons have already been witness to multiple assasination attempts by their cartel's competition.
The episode "Damned If You Don't" of American Gothic inverts this trope: when Buck comes to collect on a debt, and mentions him having "a lovely daughter...how old is she now, fifteen?" Carter believes (helped along by the sheriff's smarmy turn from Affably Evil to downright pedophilic) that this is a blatant threat to his daughter's life if he turns Buck down—but all the sheriff is doing is innocently offering her a job at the precinct. Of course, when Carter does turn him down and opts for a different means of paying the debt, the daughter, his wife, and his entire livelihood are indeed threatened...with tragic consequences.
Parodied in a Swedish cop comedy show called S.W.I.P Snutarna. One Story Arc parodies The Godfather with one family being an apple mafia and their neighbours wanting to keep their apple trees (includes a hilarious scene that parodies the horse head, where a man wakes up to find his bed filled with apples). Anyhow, one member of the apple mafia family threatens the neighbours. "Lovely apple trees you've got. It would be a shame if someone was to... scrump."
"Scrump" may be inherently funny, but it's also a British pastime, generally involving small children pinching apples from people's trees, hence its relevance.
Lana Lang in S6 of Smallville does this with one of Lex Luthor's scientists with regards to his family, home and livelihood. Of course, Lana being Lana, the scientist shows up later in the series to help her get superpowers...on purpose.
Inverted in Power Rangers Ninja Storm, when it's actually the good guys doing the persuading, complete with the "Nice place you got here" shtick. The duo pulls the parody version, which is met with worry from the object of their persuasion.
Salesman: G'morning, Mr. Marco. Mike: Mr. Marco, you want my coffee ring today? Sure be a shame if something bad happened to your store here. Salesman: (Notices shopping cart) Hey! Something new! Mike: Be a shame if this ran over your kid.
Peep Show: "Nice packet of Crunchy Nut you've got here, pretty expensive as I recall..."
On The League of Gentlemen, Papa Lazarou's exceptionally creepy "makeup speech" eventually turns out to be one of these about a woman he's kidnapped.
"You know, the thing a lot of people don't realize about makeup is that you can tend to overdo it. It's much better to have too little, and then add on. I learned my skills from my wives. Each one of them has something different to offer. Your wife, for example, knows a great deal about curling eyelashes. You didn't know that, did you? Perhaps you should have paid more attention to her. I know I did."
Foyle's War contains two examples in the same episode... both of which are rather awesomely thrown back in the faces of the people trying to intimidate our heroes:
Number one has an arrested black marketeer casually mention to Milner that many of the people he works with won't be pleased that Milner has arrested him, and that Milner should 'be careful' and 'watch his back'. Unfortunately for the black marketeer, he made this comment in front of the desk sergeant as well, giving Milner a reason to calmly add two more charges to his sheet — obstruction and threatening a police officer. Even more unfortunately for the black marketeer, someone else later does try to kill Milner, thus putting the black marketeer in the position of Chief Suspect. The marketeer ends up having to frantically backtrack and plead that he didn't have anything to do with it, honestly.
Number two has Sam overhear a conversation that perhaps she shouldn't have between a suspect and a third party at her new job in a map-making facility. Later that night, the suspect surprises her as she's leaving to go home, suggesting that it really would be better for her if she forgot all about that conversation, and that he really wouldn't want anything bad to happen to her as a result of it. Sam calmly replies that she'd actually forgotten all about the incident already, "but since you're so worried about it you've come out here to try and bully me, I'm going to mention it to everyone I can." She then rides off without a backwards glance, leaving the suspect with an Oh Crap expression and the feeling that this possibly wasn't one of his better ideas.
Curiously, the men making 'hints' turn out to be uncle and nephew. Having your threats casually dismissed must be genetic.
Subverted on Dollhouse: when speaking to a possible new Active, Adelle brings up the candidate's mother's financial situation. The candidate thinks she is going to threaten his mother, but Adelle actually offers to solve his mother's financial troubles if he agrees to become an Active.
Since Adelle offers a combination of threats and promises (carrot and stick), the underlining threat behind this promise was "we know your mother matters to you." She's a Magnificent Bastard for a reason.
Various antagonists in Burn Notice do this to Michael Westen all the time. In one episode, this is played straight and then later subverted: Well, subverted in the sense that after playing it straight, the good guy responds with the exact same trope: Michael's brother is threatened by an arms dealer named Brennen. In response, after discovering that Brennen has a daughter living in Europe, Michael threatens her. After burning his American house down to show he's serious.
Parodied in a Mad TV Miss Swan sketch. A mobster tries to extort money out of her by threatening her beauty salon. He demonstrates what could happen if she doesn't pay by "accidentally" knocking a glass jar on the floor. However, Miss Swan is such a Cloud Cuckoo Lander that she finds that to be entertaining, and begins destroying other things in her store for fun. The thug has to quickly step in and stop her before she destroys her television.
Law & Order: UK: James Steel confronts his nemesis, confronting him with irrefutable evidence of his guilt in several murders and urging him to have the decency to plead guilty and not torture the families of his victims with a lengthy trial. The man responds by casually asking, "He's eight, isn't he? Your little boy? Ethan? Gradley Street, Edinburgh. Beautiful house they've got. But busy roads, though. On his walk to school." Although visibly shaken to realize just how much of a monster he's dealing with, Steel keeps it together long enough to coldly bid the man farewell and walk out of the room.
Played With in the final season of The Sopranos, one of the family's minor protected businesses folds and is replaced with a Brand X Starbucks. Two of Tony's lieutenants go in to try this routine on the new manager. He immediately recognizes what they are doing, but in an almost sympathetic tone he points out the store's workforce isn't unionized and the company is a billion dollar multinational with complete insurance. What's more, every single bean is in the computer, so if he started skimming for the mob he'd be fired immediately and they'd have to start over. The two mobsters leave, complaining about the state of modern business.
Then there's the time Bobby Bacala is sent to smooth over a situation involving a recalcitrant union leader:
Bobby: I mean, you recently got an offer, for a lot of money. And, if you don't get paid, you can't feed your family. I presume you got a family. I'm a family man myself, and I gotta tell you I'd rather take two shots to the back of the fucking head than not be able to feed my family.
[makes a gun with his hand and points it to the back of his own head]
Bobby: One... Two... To the back of the head. You think about that.
Variation in the first episode of Sherlock. After kidnapping Dr. Watson, Mycroft says he "worries about Sherlock" in an attempt to get Watson to spy on Sherlock. Watson assumes this is a threat, only to discover later that Sherlock's "archenemy" is really his brother who is legitimately concerned about him.
In the 3DO game Zhadnost, a common thug named Zygi managed to steal a nuclear bomb, and as the announcer is describing him to the game show host, it shows surveillance footage of Zygi "playing" with his new bomb in his house, pretending to be the President of the United States. "You have such a lovely country here. It would be a real... shame... if something happened to it." He pats the bomb while he says this, too.
In Silent Hill 4, you get an ominous note under your door reading: "Better check on your neighbor" shortly before Eileen gets brutally attacked and almost killed.
In Neverwinter Nights 2 if you're playing evil you can try and pull this on a merchant. Of course he won't understand you and once you switch to simple threats, will chastise you for not getting right to the point.
Hilariously, he's actually delighted that the thieves' guild is extorting him, because it means he's treated as a serious businessman and it will generate free publicity and draw customers.
Civilization gives us something among these lines when leaders want to threaten you into giving them free stuff.
In Jak II Renegade, Krew is trying to convince Jak to throw the championship race, which Jak refuses to do. Krew then makes a thinly veiled threat against Daxter. Errol then makes a dramatic entrance, so we don't get to see Jak rip Krew to shreds for daring to threaten his best friend.
"Nice pawnshop you got here. Shame if anything should happen to it."
Okay, so ya want originality. Well, let me tell you dis is 1922 and right now dis line is very original.
Featured in Dragon Age: Origins. A few carta thugs can be found threatening a shopkeeper in Orzammar Commons. As well as another opportunity for good/evil/money it ties into the main plotline for Orzammar.
Dead Winter has this happen. A shady Chess Master coerces hitman Monday Blues into his service with a few off-hand comments about a hunting trip in somewhere in Pennsylvania. Blues decides to play along, then begins viciously hunting down the keystones in his would-be employer's organization, intending to ultimately kill the man at the top.
In Kevin & Kell, a beaver makes this threat against Kevin's tree house. Kevin responds by threatening the beaver's dam in a similar manner, forcing him to back off.
Happens early in Schlock Mercenary. A local union attempts to intimidate Breya into hiring lots of unnecessary local labor for her new ship-refitting operation. Having failed to notice her day job commanding a mercenary company with very big guns, and very little concern about collateral damage. Hilarity, and Plasma Cannon, ensue.
In Dominic Deegan, Urban Eddie and his goons use this approach on several businesses in the rebuilt Barthis, as part of Stunt's plan to take control of the town. Subverted when the aforementioned townsfolk and business owners see through the ploy and aren't intimidated by it. Hilarity Ensues.
In Darths & Droids, the protagonists gain the help of the Gungans when Anakin mentions that they know where the Gungan's Lost Orb of Phanastacoria is, and wouldn't it be a shame if someone's starfighter accidentally blew it up?
In a later rant, it is pointed out that this is a much better way for mercenaries to work.
The Rant: Mercenaries should of course be... mercenary. Any opportunity to turn someone else's misfortune into a quick buck should be grabbed and made the most of. There's no need to be impolite about it though. That's the one mistake PCs often make. Why raid a cave system full of goblins, slaughtering all before you at considerable risk to life and limb, when you can simply rock up to the front door, make pleasant conversation about how nice a cave system it is, and how it'd be a right shame if anything were to happen to it, while meaningfully picking your teeth with a two-handed sword?
In Dinosaur Comics, T. Rex apparently says this kind of thing all the time out of genuine concern, unaware of how it sounds.
In another episode, Homer threatens the manager of a beauty salon by hurling a hairnet to the ground and unscrewing the lid off of a jar. The manager is perplexed, especially as it is only after these things have happened that Homer explains his intent: he wants the salon to honor Marge's coupon for two free hair streaks, "or a lot more jars are going to be unscrewed."
And again when Homer hires a private investigator, Dexter Colt, to find information about Lisa. Dexter comments that it would be a shame if Principal Skinner's papers were shuffled and does so. Skinner responds that he could easily put them back, to which Dexter staples the now mismatched pile. Cue a Big "NO!" from Skinner.
Parodied in The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, when Cindy, trying to sell products for a school fundraiser, says the above phrase in regards to a rocking horse on the man's front porch. This causes him to worriedly buy several boxes.
In Avatar The Last Airbender, Long Feng tells Aang "I understand you’ve been looking for your bison. It would be quite a shame if you were not able to complete your quest." This is a variation on the standard trope, as the threat was merely expulsion from the city; although Long Feng was indeed holding Appa, he had to know that directly using him as a hostage would end... badly.
Played with on an episode of Rug Rats: on a dark and stormy night, a stranger shows up at the Pickles' doorstep, making vaguely threatening statements about their home and family. Then he realizes he's being inadvertantly creepy, and reveals he's just an insurance salesman and would like a few moments of their time.
In ''Gargoyles, mob boss Tony Dracon runs a protection racket and blows up the buildings that don't pay. As a gargoyle, who are sworn to protect, Goliath is driven into a rage over something this.
In the South Park epiosde "Le Petit Tourette" has Taylor Hansen telling Cartman that if he doesn't appear on his show, he will be killed, citing about how a pedophile "shot himself" to get out of being on To Catch a Predator.
In April 2006, the Motion Picture Association of America actually used this in a letter to Swedish State Secretary Dan Eliasson, with thinly-veiled threats of trade reprisals and/or a smear campaign against Sweden.