Tampering with Food and Drink
Ah ha ha, I put broken glass in your dinner, dear
It's only getting worse from hereThe act of sneaking inedible or dangerous objects, such as glass, poison, drugs, etc. into an item of food or drink, with the hope that it kills/harms whomever has the misfortune to consume it. The non-lethal version of food tampering would be putting a love potion, sleeping potion/drug, etc. in food or more commonly, drinks; also known as Slipping a Mickey. Another less fatal prank is switching the victim's usual drink with Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce or Gargle Blaster. A Laxative Prank is also fairly common. Well-intentioned tampering can also administer a remedy to a patient either unaware of their ailment or unwilling to take the cure. Attempting to do this to several different people at once can overlap with One Dose Fits All. A variant of this trope is tampering with the target's medication. If the perpetrator is unlucky, his plans may be thwarted by a Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo. A character who suspects that the trope is going to be played on him might react with a Discreet Drink Disposal or Discreet Dining Disposal. Compare the larger scale Water Source Tampering, usually perpetrated by conspiracies and such. Razor Apples and Slipping a Mickey overlap with this trope.
— King Diamond, "More Than Pain"
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- At one point in Sakura Gari Sakurako feeds Masataka a piece of sushi. He quickly spits it out, revealing that Sakurako had snuck in a piece of glass.
- Later, Katsuragi invites Masataka over to his home and gives him a cup of tea laced with a sleeping drug.
- Played with in the Onikakushi-ken arc of Higurashi: When They Cry. Rena and Mion visit Keiichi and give him a box of ohagi as part of a club activity; however, upon biting into one of them Keiichi discovers a needle, convincing him that Rena and Mion are out to get him. It's later revealed that Keiichi was delusional and hallucinated that there was a needle in the ohagi when Mion had actually put tabasco sauce in the ohagi as a prank.
- In another scene, Keiichi talks with Dr. Irie who becomes convinced that Keiichi is mentally disturbed and leaves the room to “make some black tea”. Keiichi starts to head towards the restroom, when he overhears Irie speaking to one of his employees, requesting he mix “isomytal and brovarin” (sedatives) into the black tea, hiding it under the taste of milk and sugar.
- Kodachi Kuno of Ranma ½ is a good cook who prepares elaborate meals, and she often uses culinary expertise to her advantage by placing poisons, toxins, serums, and other strange substances in her victims' food to attain something she wants from them.
- A magical mushroom called Kairaishi has the power to make anyone that eats it follow any command. Shampoo mixes it into pork buns and feeds them to Ranma. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Gankutsuou Heloise receives a ring that contains poison from the Count. She uses it to poison some water she tried to give to Valentine but Albert ends up drinking it instead. She also poisoned some lemonade which one of the household staff ends up drinking. She later mentions that she wanted to poison more people this way as well.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!: Bianchi, known as "Poison Scorpion Bianchi" in the Mafia underground, specializes in poison cooking; food items that contain poison and have a nasty color to them. Her food also has a tendency to melt its surroundings.
- Tiger & Bunny: Mr. Maverick was able to use his NEXT powers on practically the entire cast by drugging either their coffee or the drinks he offered them at a party.
- The Familiar of Zero: Montmorency slips a love potion in Guiche's drink, but before she can give it to him a frustrated Louise comes by and drinks it. Hilarity Ensues, naturally.
- Also, when Princess Charlotte de Orleans aka Tabitha was younger, she was at a party with her family where a strange man gave her a glass of wine. Tabitha's mother, meanwhile, saw the man smirk as he walked away. She immediately recognized a potion in the wine and took the glass Tabitha held; she drank the potion in order to save Tabitha, and she became mentally ill. She regained sanity at the end, though.
- An example where this trope is used to actually save someone and not harm him/her includes Saito slipping sleeping potion into Louise's wine at their supposed "marriage ceremony" to make her run away and not face the danger of 7,000 Zombie soldiers. He had his own Moment of Awesome that day, when he faced them himself.
- In Monster Director Heinemann, Dr. Oppenheim, and Dr. Boyer are found dead when the three of them were mysteriously poisoned by candy left by Johan Liebert.
- Candy that was not only wrapped, but in a SEALED BAG.
- Sukisho sees this done to Sora and Nao, with Soushi drugging their tea and taking them in for a vaguely described medical exam.
- In Saiunkoku Monogatari, Shuurei is the subject of repeated poisoning attempts during her time as Imperial Concubine. In the most notable instance she's presented with a cup of poisoned sake during a banquet; immediately suspicious but aware that refusing the offer would be a grave insult, Ryuuki drinks it in her place, counting on his better constitution and Acquired Poison Immunity to get him through it. It still makes him quite sick for a while, and when Shuurei finally finds out, she's torn between being impressed that he basically took the bullet for her, and being angry at him for taking such a risk. (Not because she's got feelings for him, or anything - it's just that the civil war that would result from his death would be really bad for the people. That's all, really!)
- In Pumpkin Scissors, one episode features a visiting princess from a neighboring country, with a particularly draconian rule of succession: Whichever royal child survives, takes the throne. Poison is a favored means of sibling rivalry, and she reveals that on her 10th birthday, the cake was poisoned, causing the death of her favorite maid. The fear of poison is so in-grown in her, that even when eating a hot-dog at a street-stand, where nobody knows who or what she is, she can't take a bite until somebody has tasted it for her first.
- The sociopathic protagonist in Suehiro Maruo's short Poison Strawberry puts thumb tacks in her classmate's milk. What happens next is horrific.
- This a rather common killing method in Detective Conan. In example...:
- A filler Valentine's Day episode had a mother try to collect insurance money by poisoning her Jerkass-ish adopted son's coffee. The antidote was in the cake's icing—the lad, being on his uni's tennis team and professing hate for all kind of sweets, didn't eat the cake. Additionally, she also poisoned a half-eaten bar of chocolate and switched it with one that was given to the victim as Valentines gift by his crush, in an attempt to frame the girl since the lady knew the victim would take a bite of his chocolatey "enemy" to please her. And even more: a "friend" of the victim tried to tamper with the guy's cigarettes via poisoning the filters, but he just cut said filters off in a whim and thus he failed.
- Another case has Ran falling victim to poisoned coffee and then almost being drowned to death by the killer of the week. In a subversion, the guy didn't want to kill her, only knock out whoever drank the poisoned coffee to give himself an alibi.
- Subverted when a Jerk Ass Idol Singer fell dead after eating some rice balls... but the poison was not originally in said snacks. It was placed in a specific spot of his jacket: the killer knew that the guy liked to melodramatically take off said jacket before singing, so they put it in that spot so he'd touch the venom and 'transfer' it to the rice balls when he grabbed them to eat them.
- Subverted in Detective School Q, where a food critic is found dead in front of his almost untouched dinner. There was 'zero poison in the food; the victim actually was strangled by the assistant he just fired in very humiliating circumstances. The meals were made with out-of-due ingredients to cover up details about the time of death.
- In Naruto, Tsunade poisons Jiraiya's drink, leaving him unable to fight at full strength against Orochimaru. It is implied that she was leaning toward accepting Orochimaru's offer at the time, then changed her mind later.
- Subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist. When Roy Mustang gets offered tea by Fuhrer Bradley, who knows that he knows that he's a homunculus and tried to tell Central Command about it, he wonders if it's poisoned, but is told that it is not.
- Sakura no Ichiban!: In chapter seven, the third year girls of the Sakura Blossom Club have their tea poisoned by the other members of the club so that they can become closer to Tsukiko and her wealth. Sanae is framed for the incident due to being from a poor family and generally disliked by most of the girls in the club.
- In Gintama, putting tabasco sauce in some pastries is one of the myriad ways that Okita has chosen to annoy people.
- In Honoo No Alpen Rose, Mathilda tries to do this to Jeudi by contaminating her food and tea during breakfast. Luckily, Printemps sees this and attacks her, saving his owner. It turns out this is how she routinely drugs Jeudi's mother Helene, slipping tiiiiny quantities of poison in her tea to keep her permanently ill and vulnerable..
- Hellblazer: During the Hard Time arc, one of the prisoners grinds up glass in the workshop, then his brother slips it into Constantine's oatmeal. John, in his wily, unexplained way ( probably magic!), switches the glass to the grinder's oatmeal, resulting in a rather grisly breakfast after a week's worth of dosing...
- In the Astérix series:
- Asterix and Cleopatra has one villain singing the formula for creating a poisonous cake, as an attempt to frame Astérix. Even though the cake was poisoned, Obelix Cut a slice and took the rest.
- Astérix in Switzerland opens with with the Roman governor varius Flavus poisoning the food of Quaestor Vexatius Sinusitus in an attempt to dispose of him before Sinusistus can uncover Flavus' embezzlement.
- In Secret Six Jeanette reveals that this was how she eventually killed Elizabeth Bathory, who was imprisoned for life in her tower and Jeanette offered to "serve" her by putting crushed glass into her food for years. According to her Bathory died in agony.
- In The Smurfs comic book story "The Fake Smurf", Gargamel (and Hogatha in the Animated Adaptation) attempted to poison the Smurfs by slipping something into a boiling pot that he thought was their meal of the day. However, when he saw that the Smurfs weren't being affected, he went to check the pot that he put the poison into, and it turned out to be full of dirty laundry!
- "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs": The Wicked Queen uses a poison-laced apple to try to kill off our heroine. It almost works.
- In "The King Who Would Be Stronger Than Fate", the king tries to poison the young man after impossible missions have failed to kill him. Fortunately, a dog tries to eat it first.
Films — Animated
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Wicked Queen uses a poison-laced apple to try to kill off our heroine. It almost works.
- In Shrek 2 the Fairy Godmother orders the King to slip Fiona a love potion so that she'll fall in love with her son, Prince Charming. The King places the potion in Fiona's tea but finds that he can't go through with it, and gives his daughter a cup of tea that wasn't laced with the love potion instead.
- The Emperor's New Groove: During the dinner scene Yzma has Kronk slip some poison into Kuzco's wine. However, Kronk forgets which cup he put the poison in and mixes all three drinks together. As Kuzco is drinking his wine, Kronk and Yzma don't drink theirs. Kuzco falls unconscious for a moment before waking back up again and turning into a llama, making Yzma and Kronk realize that Kronk had accidentally given Kuzco 'extract of llama' instead of poison.
Films — Live-Action
- In the early Peter Falk flick The Bloody Brood, Falk plays a psychotic beatnik who feeds some poor kid a hamburger filled with broken glass to watch him die...just for kicks.
- In Raiders of the Lost Ark an Arab working for the Nazis pours poison on dates in Sallah's house in the hope that Sallah and/or Indy will eat them. (The monkey steals the poisoned dates instead.)
- The Court Jester combines this with Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo.
The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.No! The Flagon with the Dragon holds the pellet with the poison, the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.
- In Kill Bill Volume II, Elle Driver reveals that she murdered Pai Mei by poisoning his fish heads.
- In The Sixth Sense one of the dead people the kid sees was a small girl poisoned by her stepmother putting cleaning fluid in her soup.
- John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) has the characters being Properly Paranoid about this- one single cell could be enough to turn anyone into a Thing. "I think everyone had better prepare their own food from now on..."
- In Blind Date, Walter uses a tiny syringe to put alcohol in chocolates he has delivered to Nadia because she has an extreme allergic reaction to alcohol.
- Wedding Crashers: At dinner in one scene John proceeds to spike Zach's water with eye-drops, which makes him sick, thereby letting John connect with Claire, Zach's fiance.
- Done twice in Disney's The Haunted Mansion with poison being put into goblets of wine.
- In Ghost Ship there's a flashback comprised of a montage of images of what occurred on the ocean liner. During this there's a scene in the kitchen where cooks are putting rat poison in food. We then see passengers eating the food and one person vomits as a result.
- The horror movie Night of the Demons (1988) features a mean old man who puts razor blades in apples on Halloween to do terrible things to children. At the end of the movie, his wife makes an apple pie out of the leftover apples, which he eats. The blades slash through his throat and leave him dead.
- Murder by Death. Lionel Twain arranges for one of the cups of wine served to the guests to have a tasteless, odorless acidic poison in it. It turns out to be a subversion: Twain made sure the cup with the poisoned wine was served to the one guest who could identify it.
- The Four Musketeers (1974). D'Artagnan receives a case of wine along with a note that indicates it's from his fellow musketeers. Before he can drink any of it, an enemy mook drinks some and dies...it was poisoned wine sent by Milady to kill him.
- In the Three Stooges short "Who Done It?", the villainess prepares two drinks and slips poison in Shemp's drink. The two distract each other while they switch the goblets. Finally, Shemp drinks down the poison and goes through some hysterical death throes. Naturally, he recovered.
- In The Assassination Bureau, Eleanora first poisons her husband Cesare, the Italian assassin, then prepares drinks for herself and Dragomiloff, slipping poison in his drink. Dragomiloff spins the table until it stops, picks up the goblet in front of him, drinks down the contents, and falls to the floor. He was faking it.
- Jyugon starts his transformation process to a vampire in Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl when he eats a chocolate which has been infused with Monami's blood.
- Parodied and averted in Lemonade Joe, a relentless parody of The Western. Hogo Fogo has kidnapped Winnifred and plans to subject her to a fate worse than death, but is eating dinner in the saloon first. His brother, the less evil saloon owner, says he thinks Hogo's disgusting. Hogo opens his ring, puts some powder into a glass of water, and mixes it in. It looks like he'll try to make his brother drink it; however, he then drinks it himself, and burps. It was antacid. He keeps eating his dinner, glutton that he is.
- In the new Casino Royale, James Bond gets an absolutely fatal dose of digitalis in his drink. It's subverted with the defibrillator/first aid kit in his car, and that in turn is subverted when he doesn't have it connected properly! Vesper Lynd's arrival was just dumb luck.
- Double Subverted in Wild Things. When he and Suzie are on the sailboat at the end, Sam Lombardo is Genre Savvy enough to expect the drink to be poisoned, but is dissuaded when Suzie assures him that she would be an idiot to try something like that, since she can't pilot the boat, and they're all out in the middle of nowhere. It is in fact poisoned, and Suzie is perfectly capable of piloting it by herself. Still, this is not what kills Lombardo - Suzie then releases one of the booms to knock him into the water to drown.
- Mrs. Doubtfire. Daniel Hillard spikes his ex-wife's new paramour's meal with pepper after overhearing him stress to the waiter to NOT put pepper on it, as he's allergic. Even though the whole sequence is played for laughs, they come pretty close to the possibly fatal consequences of such a prank—upon tasting the pepper, the man almost immediately begins choking, prompting Daniel to say, "Oh no, I killed the bastard!"
- Being Genre Savvy about this doesn't prevent it, as seen in Sherlock Holmes. Irene Adler pulls a clever one on Holmes in using an unopened bottle of wine. A flashback reveals she used a syringe to inject a knockout drug through the cork, and a match to re-melt the wax and conceal the hole. At the beginning of the next movie, Irene is Genre Savvy enough to ask for a fresh pot of tea when meeting with Professor Moriarty, rather than drinking from the one already on the table. Unfortunately Moriarty has bought out the entire restaurant. All the potential witnesses get up and leave at his signal, and the new pot turns out to be poisoned. Cue Sound-Only Death.
- The massacre of adults of Gatlin in Children of the Corn (1984) starts when some diner patrons start choking from their poisoned coffee.
- Willard Price's African Adventure. While they're on safari in Uganda, someone tries to kill Hal and Roger Hunt by putting ground-up leopard whiskers in their food.
- Dune had terms for poisons used this way: chaumas (in food) and chaumurky (in drink).
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ron Weasley swallows a poisoned drink that was actually meant for Dumbledore, and almost dies. (And this was just after Ron ate a love-potion hidden in candy that was meant for Harry; don't side-kicks ever learn they're just fall-guys?)
- On a more positive note, Harry exploited this trope to make Hermione and Ron think he'd added his good luck potion to Ron's drink. Thinking he had good luck on his side gave Ron the confidence boost he needed to win the Quidditch match.
- At the climactic Elstyn family meeting in Aunt Dimity Takes a Holiday, only Simon, the recipient of the threatening notes, takes a cup of tea offered by the maid. That maid is revealed to be Derek's insane former nanny, who targeted Simon in the belief that he was trying to take Derek's inheritance. She says of Simon: "I tried to warn him, but he wouldn't listen. Won't listen must be made to listen." Then she audibly whispers to Derek: "Make him drink his tea...." After she leaves the room, an Inspector from Scotland Yard asks everyone to avoid touching the teacup, since the police intend to have it analysed.
- In the first book of A Series of Unfortunate Events Violet believes Count Olaf poisoned the oatmeal he serves to her and her siblings one morning because he's frankly a horrible guardian who was never nice to them in the entire time they've known him. He quickly proves them wrong by eating one of the raspberries on top of the oatmeal convincing the siblings that it's safe to eat.
- Earlier Violet was thinking miserably that she should've poisoned the sauce she's serving with the pasta for Count Olaf and his troupe considering how they are acting rude and refuse to eat the food the siblings made for them because they wanted roast beef instead.
- In Battle Royale, Yuko Sakai, mistakenly believing Shuya Nanahara killed another classmate in an altercation (the death was actually accidental), attempts to poison Shuya's meal with potassium chloride while he's recovering at a lighthouse where she and her friends are holed up. Another friend eats the meal instead, her subsequent death causing a chain reaction that lead to all of Yuko's friends shooting and killing each other and Yuko, herself, to be Driven to Suicide.
- In the Discworld novel Interesting Times an Agatean courtier tries this on Cohen The Barbarian. It doesn't work and the courtier finds himself having a terminal case of indigestion when the tables are turned.
- A similar thing happens in Mort. The Grand Vizier tries to poison the Emperor, but he tries to do it in a very elaborate way: he claims he found the poisonous object in his own food, but that only the Emperor is worthy of it. They go back and forth on who should eat it for quite some time (Mort, because he can't leave until someone dies, even says "Would someone just eat it?"), but finally the Grand Vizier has to eat it, then tries to leave, leading to this:
Grand Vizier: Urgent matters of state, my lord.Emperor: Would these be the urgent matters of state in a little bottle marked "Antidote" on your dresser?
- Tampering with food and drink was also a popular tactic of the wizards in the early books (before they mellowed out and became a satire of modern academia). There was even a saying: When a wizard is tired of looking for broken glass in his dinner, he is tired of life.
- Also worth noting that Cohen is strongly averse to this sort of thing. He'll happily kill dozens at a meal, usually by getting them drunk first and then killing them in their sleep... but you don't poison the food.
"Barbarians didn't poison food. You never knew when you might be short of a mouthful yourself."
- A similar thing happens in Mort. The Grand Vizier tries to poison the Emperor, but he tries to do it in a very elaborate way: he claims he found the poisonous object in his own food, but that only the Emperor is worthy of it. They go back and forth on who should eat it for quite some time (Mort, because he can't leave until someone dies, even says "Would someone just eat it?"), but finally the Grand Vizier has to eat it, then tries to leave, leading to this:
- In Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom book 1, Kate slips holy water into normal goblets of water when she tries to catch a suspected demon-occupied person in mixed company.
- The Belgariad: This trope is the reason members of the Nyissan court take poison antidotes daily. Sadi appears to be as good as any full-time assassin at it — he muses once about having poisoned the soup course in front of his victims without being caught, and in the Malloreon he slips knockout drugs to an entire army.
- In Summers at Castle Auburn, the Crown Prince is poisoned at his wedding feast, despite his using a taste tester and without anyone else at the feast dying. Only two people figured out who did it, and only one of them figured out how: The poisoner put the poison in the main course, which the prince was certain to have a large helping. The poisoner then put the antidote for the poison in the water pitchers. Since the prince never drank water (due to a paranoid belief that someone had tried to poison the well years previous, despite considerable evidence to the contrary), he was the only person at the feast who took the poison but did not take the antidote as well.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Shadows In Zamboula", Zabibi slips her lover something. It drives him into a frenzy, which is not the effect she intended. (What, exactly, she did intend — well, the stories thrown about are numerous.)
- In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Strong Poison the victim died of arsenic poisoning. It was put into the cracked egg that was made into an omelette, which he shared with his cousin (the murderer, who had built up an immunity to it over time so he could vouch that the poison wasn't in that particular meal).
- Agatha Christie was so incredibly fond of poisons; it was the most common way for victims to die.
- In Crooked House, one of the two murder victims is poisoned by spiking a cup of cocoa with digitalis.
- The victim of Five Little Pigs had poison put in his drink.
- In The Mysterious Affair at Styles it's subverted. One of the characters believes poison was put into the first victim's drink and tries to cover up any clues that would led Poirot to this conclusion.
- In The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin, Lily accidentally killed her sister by putting cleaning solvent in a glass of water. It was supposed to have been a prank, as she didn't think her sister would really drink it.
- The Prince Consort, husband of the queens and father of the princesses, of A Brother's Price was killed via poisoning while on a picnic. A Personal Effects Reveal later reveals that his son-in-law Keifer did it.
- The romance novel Whisper To Me Of Love has a young woman's maid placing poison in her milk. Poison that she thinks is an antidote to a drug supposedly being given to her by her lover to trick her into a relationship with him (she has been told all this by the novel's villain, who wants to kill the heroine in order to claim her inheritance). What saves her life is the arrival of the hero, just after she's poured some milk out into a saucer for the cat. As the two sit and chat, he is horrified to see that the cat has died after drinking the tainted milk.
- In Grave Peril, the Red Court vampires spike the drinks at Bianca's party with vampire saliva, so that any human who imbibes will become subject to its narcotic effects. Naturally, Harry isn't warned about this until after he's knocked back a glassful.
- James Bond
- SPECTRE's big plan to take over NORAD in For Special Services hinges on its workforce ingesting ice cream that has a mixture on it that makes its eater susceptible to commands from a person with authority. And the one with authority in this plan is the Brainwashed Bond.
- Bond is saved from being eaten by wolves in Brokenclaw thanks to his ally Rushia, who threw steaks dosed with Chloral to their cage beforehand.
- Staying at a hotel in Death Is Forever, Bond and and his partner Easy order sandwiches. When they are about to eat them, they find out that someone has planted eggs of poisonous spiders on them, which were supposed to hatch and kill them after ingestion.
- The bad guys in The Facts of Death attempt to kill thousands of northern Cypriots by spraying anthrax inside a ship full of food cargo.
- The rations of a Chinese mountaineering expedition in High Time to Kill is sabotaged with piss and fire.
- One victim in A Night Too Dark is killed when her cookie is spiked with peanut oil to induce a fatal allergic reaction.
- In one of The Great Merlini short stories, the poison is added to the sugar packet the victim adds to his coffee.
- In Dragon Bones, Oreg recalls how he returned to his biologicial father, was given a bowl of soup the man had prepared himself, fell asleep, and when Oreg woke up, he was castle Hurog. As he can't remember anything inbetween, the soup could have been anything, from something that caused him to sleep to a magical substance that caused his turning into a Genius Loci of some sort.
- Murder to Go had poison added to the seasoning mix for a spicy fast-food chicken dish. (It wasn't supposed to be a lethal dose, but that's not the most precise method of faking a mass foodborn-illness situation. The mastermind should consider himself lucky only one person died.)
- Used as an important plot point in Chelmsford 123 when Grasientus attempts to poison an entourage from the local British tribe.
- In Oz Nino Schibetta ate grounded glass that Ryan and Adebisi secretly put into his food for months until he dies from internal hemorrhaging, suddenly realizing one day that he's bleeding from the ears, nose, mouth...
- Also done to Supreme Allah in a more organic fashion. Once it's discovered that he's fatally allergic to eggs and must have his food cooked separately... Yeah, no more Supreme Allah.
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Conscience of the King". Someone tries to murder Kevin Riley by putting tetralubisol (a shipboard lubricant) in his milk. Tetralubisol is a milky white substance, so Make It Look Like an Accident also applies.
- Babylon 5:
- After one of G'kar's schemes endangers the eponymous station, Commander Sinclair tells G'kar that the latter had a tracker slipped into a drink given by the former, and that if anything were to happen to Sinclair or the station, friends of Sinclair would use the tracker to hunt G'kar down for revenge. It's revealed in the next scene Sinclair lied, there was no tracker.
- Londo makes a request of Lord Refa to break the association with the Shadows, and explains why he believes Refa will cooperate:
Londo: Because I have asked you; because your sense of duty to our people should override any personal ambition; and because I have poisoned your drink.
- Londo falls victim to himself when a Beautiful Slave Girl he's fallen for puts a sedative in his drink so she can access some files he has.
- Both played straight and faked in Persons Unknown. Erika gets Joe to confess this way; later Joe helps Janet fake her death by pretending to do this to a liquor bottle
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp," the Tenth Doctor drinks "sparkling cyanide." He survives it in a true Funny Moment.
- In "The Moonbase", the Cyberman contaminate the base's sugar supply as a means of spreading their virus.
- Pops up a few times in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. In "Foul Play In the Sky", Rita learns that Kimberly will be going for a plane ride with her uncle Steve. Seeing an opportunity to be rid of a Ranger, Rita sends Squatt and Baboo to spike Steve's soda with a delayed-action sleeping potion so that he'll fall asleep while the plane is in the air and it'll crash. In "Power Ranger Punks", Baboo spikes the Rangers' after-game fruit juice with a personality-altering potion that turns Billy and Kimberly (who drink first) into slacker punks with no interest in attending to their Ranger duties. In "Rita's Pita", Rita observes Tommy advise a kid he's teaching martial arts to to eat healthier foods and not binge eat. She puts a shrunken monster in Tommy's pita that will make him start binging on junk food, banking on the Rangers bringing Tommy to the command center ASAP to find out what caused the sudden 180 and unwittingly taking the monster with them.
- Merlin had an attempt on Arthur's life via a poisoned chalice
- CSI did it at least once, as did CSI NY. The CSI one was a juror wanting to induce an allergic reaction in another juror but she decided not to at the last minute. The NY one was also an allergic reaction kind of thing.
- ''CSI: NY: In "Blood Actually", a woman murders her diabetic husband by giving him a 2 lb box of chocolates with a sugar-free label on it. Actually, they are normal chocolates. She also replaces his insulin with a sugar syrup, so when he injects himself, he just shoots up more sugar.
- In Justified, Mags Bennett kills one of her henchmen by giving him poisoned moonshine to drink.
- In the Warehouse 13 episode "The Ones You Love," Tracy tries to kill her sister Myka under the influence of an artifact by giving her coffee spiked with a drain cleaner. Instead, it ends up spilled on the floor, where it burns right through the carpet.
- In MythQuest, Seth poisons Osiris's dates and feeds them to him at a ceremony, in order to kill him and gain his kingdom.
- Major Crimes: The Victim of the Week in "Cheaters Never Prosper" is an out-of-town cop who is killed when his drink is spiked with antifreeze.
- JAG: The murder victims in "Déjà Vu" are drugged before they are murdered, so they can't put up a fight. Harm avoids drinking the champagne when he thinks he's Alone with the Psycho. But he did eat the chocolate she gave him.
- Breaking Bad: This is part of Walter's endgame plan in the Grand Finale. Knowing she's a Creature of Habit, he takes out Lydia by spiking the Stevia at the table she always sits at with ricin, dooming her to a slow death.
- In the second episode of The Borgias, there's some poisoned wine at a banquet; it's intended for Pope Alexander, but Cesare brought a monkey to test it and when the monkey dies, Cesare and his father avoid the wine and storm out.
- In The Glades episode "Marriage Is Murder", the Victim of the Week is an Amoral Attorney who had his drink spiked with antifreeze. However, someone else stabbed him before the poison could take effect.
- Poisoning was one of the more common methods of murder used in Whodunnit? (UK), probably because it allows for the broadest possible suspect pool.
- The first crime in the Midsomer Murders episode "A Vintage Murder" involves the wine being served at a wine tasting at a winery being poisoned.
- In the Frontier Circus episode "The Shaggy Kings", a renegade Indian poisons the circus' meat supply in order to force them to divert to Adobe Walls.
- Murdoch Mysteries: In "Victor, Victorian", Victor is murdered by the killer smearing crushed peanuts inside the skull cup he has to drink from as part of the Masonic initiation, which triggers a fatal allergic reaction.
- King Diamond's album Abigail II: The Revenge has Abigail tricking Jonathan to eat food with glass shards on it after he rapes her in the songs "Broken Glass" and "More Than Pain".
- An old radio mystery involved a subversion of this: A man was found locked in a room full of food, yet somehow dead of starvation. The solution: His murderer locked him in the room and lied to him about the food being poisoned. He believed the killer and refused to eat the food, so he eventually starved to death.
- Dungeons & Dragons once had "ingestive" (swallowed) poisons that could be added to food or drink. One article in Dragon magazine #59 had several dozen examples, and a Dragon #69 article extensively described 7 such poisons.
- The video that accompanies the Clue VCR Mystery Game (and forms part of the game play) includes a dinner scene in Boddy mansion where almost all of the guests end up poisoning something that is served at dinner.
- In the play Holy Ghosts one character talks about his prizewinning dog, who was killed by jealous rival dog-owners by putting glass in his food.
- In the U.S. many people believe stories about psychopaths deliberately putting poison, razor blades and so on in candy given to children on Halloween.
- Let's just say this trope is prevalent in Adventure Games.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney uses this in Trials and Tribulations. Furio Tigre poisons Glen Elg by slipping poison into his coffee, inadvertently duplicating the actions of Dahlia Hawthorne's near-murder of Diego Armando several years earlier.
- One of the many methods of killing in the Hitman series is to inject poison into food that gets delivered to the victim. (In one of the missions you can also put aphrodisiacs into a martini to make your mark move into a more remote location.)
- In The Curse of Monkey Island you are required to drug yourself by mixing hangover medicine with alcohol.
Guybrush: This makes the drink oh so much more appealing.
- In Mitsumete Knight, Raizze Haimer tries to kill Princess Priscilla by giving her a poisoned drink at the Princess' Birthday Party : depending on your choices as the main Protagonist, the Asian, it ends with either : Priscilla's near-death, the Asian's near-death (as Raizze will give him the antidote), or Raizze spilling the drink to avoid the Asian being accidentally poisoned.
- In Harvest Moon DS, you can do this at the Harvest Festival by adding a poisonous toadstool to the town's stew. Usually, doing this will result in the whole town falling ill (as well as making it taste like crap), but if you cultivate a level 99+ toadstool and add it to the stew, the game ends with your character eating the stew, choking, collapsing, and dying, with the same fate suggested to befall the rest of the town.
- In Final Fantasy IX, Princess Garnet spiked a banquet with sleeping potion in order to knock Zidane, Vivi, Freya and Cid unconscious so they wouldn't try to stop her and Steiner from traveling alone.
- In Baldur's Gate, your party gets poisoned around the time you get into the eponymous city, and you have to do a quest to get an antidote. In the sequel, when you reach the Asylum, you find out that Yoshimo, or Saemon if you don't have Yoshimo poisoned your food, enabling Irenicus to capture you.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic III, this is how King Gryphonheart was killed.
- At the end of the Soviet campaign in Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Nadia successfully kills Joseph Stalin by tricking him into drinking a poisoned cup of tea.
- At an earlier point in the campaign, Marshal Gradenko is killed by the same person in the same way. It even features the same dialogue.
- In Assassin's Creed I, Abu'l Nuqoud poisons the guests at his party with a wine fountain, which he reveals during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to them before he has his guards starting slaughtering them.
- The protagonist of Kiss Of Revenge favors poisoning as her method of taking revenge on the surgeon whose error killed her mother.
- In Issei's route, she gets her hands on some of his sleeping pills and replaces the contents of the capsules with poison; after missing a chance to slip the laced capsule back into his pill case, she tries to empty it into a glass of wine instead.
- In Junpei's route, she attempts to switch the director's diabetes medication for an antihypertensive that could cause a fatal reaction.
- In Irie's route, she tries lacing an insulin injection with poison, but gives up on the idea after Irie nearly catches her at it, making it too risky to try again.
- And in Kyosuke's route, she poisons a glass of champagne. This attempt almost works, but Kyosuke, guessing what she's up to, first contrives to make her spill some of the poison and then intercepts and drinks the doctored champagne himself.
- Magicka: Although this game is usually rather comedic, the Dungeons and Gargoyles DLC plays this trope for horror with the cultists of Old Aldrheim.
- In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, you can do this to a boss. Specifically, Horkos periodically summons a Katakirauwa and then eats it a few turns later to recover his HP. However, if you inflict status ailments on the Katakirauwa, and then Horkos eats the afflicted demon, Horkos will contract that same status ailment.
- Ether One has this as having happened to a mine warden (he apparently survived, but his incapacitation had severe consequences) when arsenic tablets were substituted for coffee filter cleaning tablets in a coffee machine. Whether or not this was intentional or accidental is unclear (evidence exists for either possibility).
- In King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human, you defeat Manannan by hiding a crumbled magical cookie in his porridge. When the unsuspecting wizard eats the porridge, the cookie turns him into a cat.
- Final Cut: Death on the Silver Screen: The PC discovers early in the game that her father's death was caused by medication tampering. (The game is set in the 1950s, which might justify the coroner not catching this before her.)
- Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies:
- "The Fair-Haired Hare": The objective of Yosemite Sam slipping poison into Bugs Bunny's carrot juice, so he – upset with a court order demanding they share the property – can own the jointly owned property outright. Of course, Bugs is wise to this attempt and in the end, it's Sam who blasts off like a rocket.
- Spongebob Squarepants: The Nasty Patty.
- In Asterix and Cleopatra, Edifice frames the Gauls by sending a poisoned cake to Cleopatra in the Gaul's name, which is quickly detected as being poisoned. Strangely, the cake was made without eggs or flour - the only non-toxic ingredient in the entire recipe was orange juice (for flavoring).
- Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Yumi's opponent in an Eating Contest sneaks into the arena the night before and dumps a bunch of iron horseshoes into her food to guarantee his victory. It almost works too, until Ami realizes that watching a baseball game makes Yumi eat anything you put in front of her out of sheer boredom.
- In one episode of Futurama, Nibbler starts annoying Bender. When asked to make a cake, he says menacingly "I'll make a cake you'll never forget...". He's shown grabbing rat poison...before putting it in front of a rat hole, stating "That'll get rid of all those damn rats."
- Invoked in the House of Mouse short "Mickey's Cabin", where Mickey is tied up by Pete and his cousin Zeka, who had just robbed an ATM. To get himself a hearty dinner, Mickey makes the two paranoid by telling each of them that the other poisoned their food to get the money and he becomes their poison tester. He further plays on their paranoia by faking his death after eating the food.
- In The Smurfs episode "The Blue Plague", Brainy slips a concoction made by Gargamel into his fellow Smurfs' meal, thinking it would be a cure-all for all their problems, but it ended up making them act like chickens when they ate it.
- Often referred to colloquially as "slipping a Mickey" (or Mickey Finn) into a drink. In theory, Mickey Finn is supposed to be one specific poison (chloral hydrate, an anaesthetic drug that leaves the victim with the mother of all hangovers if they survive), but the expression is often more loosely applied to any poison in a drink.
- Women are warned often to not leave their drinks unattended, due to fear of date rape drugs being placed into them.
- These are also a good reason not to pick up an unattended drink at the kind of place this might happen (e.g. a frat party). More than a few male revelers have accidentally found themselves taking a drink intended for someone else.
- Also, some delinquents of both genders often slip sleeping meds in the drinks of their dates not to rape them, but to steal whatever they have on them.
- The Roman Emperor Nero had a particularly devious twist on this: When he wanted to kill his stepbrother Brittanicus, he didn't poison the wine, as he knew that the food tasters would detect it first. Instead, he served hot wine at the banquet, then poisoned the cooling water instead...
- During World War I, the British on the Middle East front would airdrop cigarette packs wrapped in British propaganda to the Turks. While the Turks laughed off the "surrender now" flyers, they really appreciated the cigarettes. On one occasion, a cigarette drop was made the day before the Brits were to attack a Turkish position. The cigarettes had been laced with opium, and the Turkish soldiers were too stoned to fight.
- In 1990, an employee at the Point Lepreau nuclear plant in New Brunswicknote poured some tritiated waternote in the staff's drinking water. Apparently he was trying to play a practical joke, by forcing people to give daily urine samples for an extended period. The joke didn't go over too well. In 2009, a "disgruntled employee" pulled the same stunt in the Kaiga nuclear plant in India. Must be something in the waternote .
- In World War II, food shortages in Germany meant that food waste was universally recycled as pigswill, including the leftovers from POW camps holding allied prisoners of war. Naturally, as soon as the inmates at Colditz Castle discovered this, they took to liberally seasoning their table scraps with shards of broken razor blades, despite the German authorities loudly threatening death to anyone they caught in the act.
- The modus operandi of Black Widow and Serial Killer Anjette Lyles. She killed two husbands, a mother-in-law, and her eldest child via first giving them food with high doses of arsenic-based poison, then slipping them more poison while taking care of them.
- Antifreeze is one of the most commonly used chemicals to poison people. Not only is it easy to obtain, it has a sweet, syrupy flavor (due to the ethylene glycol in it) that doesn't raise suspicion if mixed in with someone's coffee...until they drop dead from heart failure.
- There are two variants of antifreeze, the other based on propylene glycol, which is almost exactly similar, but non-toxic. It's somewhat more expensive and trickier to use (it oxidizes into mildly corrosive lactic acid on contact with air, and tends to foul up quicker), but can sometimes be more frequently encountered nowadays, specifically because it's so much safer than ethylene glycolnote . So the enterprising poisoner might find their plans unexpectedly failing.
- What's more, ethylene glycol-based antifreezes now include a bittering agent to prevent deliberate and accidental poisonings, so all those wannabe Black Widows out there will just have to find some other way to cash in on their husbands' life insurance policy.
- Oh, and antifreeze ending up mixed with food or drink is a dead giveaway of criminal intentions. It is also very easy to detect, and there is no possible innocent explanation of how it got there for the presumption of innocence to kick in, so using this method of poisoning is impractical anyway: cops will crack the case very easily, and the stupid poisoner will be imprisoned or even executed.
- "Aunt Thally" Caroline Grills went undected in her poisoning tea with Thalium of four family members until she tried to get another. She was part of a rash of women poisoners in 50s Sydney.
- Poisonous mushrooms of the Amanita genus (the most famous of which is Amanita phalloides or the Death Cap mushroom) are known for their good taste and innocent appearance concealing a deadly poison that will destroy your liver in a matter of hours. Thing is, it affects only the liver- that nausea and diarrhea you get six hours later isn't your GI tract trying to purge itself of the poison, but rather the first symptoms of acute liver failure. They've been used in assassinations for centuries, because they'll fool a food taster and the six hour latent period between administering the poison and the first symptoms appearing give the assassin plenty of time to slip out unnoticed. By the way, you can live for several days without a functioning liver, in great agony, until you finally succumb to ammonia poisoning.
This dish of mushrooms changed the destiny of Europe.—Voltaire, remarking on the death of Charles VI by mushroom poisoning.
- People who were (accidentally or deliberately) killed by Death Caps include the Roman Emperor Claudius, Charles VI of the Holy Roman Empire, Pope Clement VII, etc.
- In European courts in the Medieval and Early Modern periods, it was common to offer guests/hostages (the dividing line is often rather slim, Deadly Decadent Courts being what they are) boiled eggs and bone marrow, along with any other dishes, the idea being that since eggs and marrow are cooked in the shell/bone, they would be impossible to tamper with. Of course, eating the eggs and marrow is a grave insult, since it is an outright accusation that your host/captor is trying to poison you.
- In 1984 the Rajneesh cult attempted to take over the government of Wasco County, Oregon with a bioterror attack on its largest city, to make non-Rajneeshee voters get sick and stay home on election day, so the votes from Rajneeshpuram could carry the election. They sprayed Salmonella cultures onto the food in salad bars in 10 restaurants. The bioterrorists also spiked the water glasses of two county commissioners with Salmonella. Seven hundred fifty-one people were afflicted with gastroenteritis, and 45 of them were hospitalized. The plot failed when non-Rajneeshee voters rallied to the polls on election day.