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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/RevengeOfTheSith http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/discretion_4165.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Guess what he's [[WouldHurtAChild about to do]]. (And no, he's not about to [[ComicallyMissingThePoint teach them a trick]].)]]

->'''Lister:''' I don't care that you've killed three men...\\
'''Loretta:''' Five.\\
'''Lister:''' ...whatever. It's not your fault, it's the way you're programmed.\\
'''Loretta:''' So you take me for what I am - a psychopathic, schizophrenic, serial killing femme fatale?\\
'''Lister:''' Forgive and forget, that's what I say.
-->-- ''Series/RedDwarf'', "Gunmen of the Apocalypse"

When a character is explicitly known (but not often actually ''shown'') to have committed acts that are considered a MoralEventHorizon moment, but who are either discreetly downplayed or conveniently not discussed. This is both to avoid scaring the audience and, presumably, to allow people to continue to like these characters (in a genuine way, not the "so deranged it's interesting" way) without being seen as a monster.

This is OffstageVillainy, but not a sympathetic type; rather, a variation of the GoryDiscretionShot on a grand scale.

Happens a lot in comedy: nobody cares about or bothers to refer back to all the people SamAndMax have directly or indirectly killed, or have been implied to have killed.

Compare and contrast with BaitTheDog; the only difference between this trope and that one is that we actually get to see the KickTheDog moment, which causes us to reconsider our sympathy for the character.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Played very straight in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs''. Signum, Vita, Shamal, and Zafira are [[ArtificialHuman constructs designed]] to protect the [[ArtifactOfDeath Book of Darkness.]] They've been around for centuries, and it's hinted that they may have killed ''hundreds'' of people prior to joining Nanoha's circle of (very forgiving) friends. Hayate happens to witness the Wolkenritter fighting in the past in a PensieveFlashback, and while she objects to what they're doing, she mainly sees them as victims and sympathizes with them.
** In the next season, they [[DefeatMeansFriendship accept]] several new friends into the fold. Although most of them have not been explicitly shown killing, Cinque did kill Zest, and it can be safely assumed that most, if not all, have some blood on their hands by season's end, considering that they attacked and disabled the Einherjar, and the only people they were not allowed to kill in the last battle were [[spoiler:Subaru, Erio and Fate]].
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' has this when it comes to [[HeroicComedicSociopath Barry]]. He's only ever shown killing one person on screen, the officer who came to investigate his and Alphonse's fight.
* [[BloodKnight Kenpachi]] gets a textbook one in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''. It's stated that instead of going through the normal political channels to become a squad Captain, he challenged and [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority killed an existing captain]] in front of 200 witness. While this is supposed to add to his badass legend, the fact that we don't know anything about the victim or the particulars of the fight could have very well have made this a [[BaitTheDog seriously disturbing]] KickTheDog moment.
** The implication made in the anime is that the captain in question was a justice-loving man who was apparently an idol of Tosen's.
*** [[AllThereInTheManual A databook]] finally reveals that the former captain was a lazy, battle-hungry jerk, so presumably most of the other Shinigami weren't that broken up about it.
*** So really, [[NotSoDifferent nothing changed]]
* It's difficult to tell if this or OffstageVillainy is at play during [[spoiler:Lelouch]]'s time as Emperor in ''Anime/CodeGeass''. A person in a crowd comments that he would kill people and their entire families for speaking against him, but this behavior is never shown. It ''is'' certainly implied he had no trouble using violent methods to eliminate Britannia's system of nobility, but [[AcceptableTargets who likes lazy aristocrats anyway?]] It seems like this technique was used so that those who liked the character would assume his bark was worse than his bite, whereas those who didn't would conclude (as colorfully expressed on this site) that he was "worse than four Hitlers".
* Many characters in ''Manga/OnePiece'' arguably get this treatment. The details of how Kuma came to be known as a "tyrant" are never shown, many {{Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain}}s work for {{Big Bad}}s, and it's implied that [[HarmlessVillain Buggy]] blew up inhabited areas with his cannon before the story began.
* Played straight with (most of) the Noah's Arc Circus performers in ''Manga/BlackButler'', but not in the ''Book of Circus'' anime, which adds a wonderfully [[MoodDissonance creepy]] scene of them kidnapping a little girl - and killing the officers who come to rescue her - that wasn't in the manga.
* Really all of the Apostles in Griffith's new Band of the Hawk in ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' qualify, but especially Irvine and Locus, because both seem to be fairly decent, noble people. You can only become an Apostle by crossing the MoralEventHorizon, so all of them must have done something horrifically evil in the past; the audience just hasn't been shown whatever it was.
** Speaking of Apostles, Rosine gets a fairly straightforward one in a flashback at the end of the Lost Children arc. We see the very moments leading up to her sacrifice of [[spoiler:her parents]] but it ends once the Beherit activates.
* While Daranimaru Goryo of ''Manga/MuhyoAndRoji'' does some [[KickTheDog fairly nasty acts]] when he's shown, such as charging an orphan $50,000 for an exorcism, and laughing about a single mother going insane after her daughter's death, many of the Goryo group's more ruthless business practices are never shown, and they attempt to open a law office in Muhyo's territory by challenging him to a ghost removal contest. [[spoiler:Goryo wins, but returns Muhyo's office to him after Muhyo saves him from Ark]].
* Koga and his pack from ''Manga/InuYasha'' massacred Rin's village with the intent of eating the villagers. Conversations he and his pack have in their first few appearances make it clear that this is a normal occurrence. After Kagura kills most of the pack to trick Koga into trying to kill Inuyasha, this is hardly ever mentioned again, and they stay on fairly good terms with the other heroes. (Yes, they stopped hunting humans for food after that, but it seems Koga only made that decision to impress Kagome.)
* Deconstructed in ''Anime/{{Monster}}''. We've already seen Johann kill people in the flesh. What is so damn frightening about him is his ability to indirectly kill others via sheer charisma.
* In the ''Manga/MaiOtome'' manga, Nagi is said to have started wars in the past over minor slights. He's quite the JerkAss in his panel time, but he seems to be portrayed as the ''least evil'' version of Nagi, particularly when he [[spoiler:sacrifices himself to save Manshiro]].
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', Kyouko deliberately allows familiars to roam around free because killing them won't give Grief Seeds (which are necessary for her to use magic [[spoiler:and avoid becoming a witch herself]]), and only kills them once they are full-fledged witches. While this practice outrages Sayaka, the implications of doing so are never completely explored, especially after Kyouko is portrayed in a more sympathetic light.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* After [[spoiler:Veronica]]'s defeat in ''ComicBook/StrangersInParadise'', we see her duct-taped to a chair while Tambi looms over her, knife in hand. [[spoiler:Veronica is later found distributed across a large part of Long Island. Tambi is still portrayed as mostly sympathetic, and Katchoo still hugs her when they meet.]]
* Happens with some ''ComicBook/ChickTracts'' that involve evil people finding redemption, presumably to avoid having them come off as [[KarmaHoudini Karma Houdinis]]. One tract, in which a prisoner has several other prisoners killed for refusing to smuggle contraband in, has the event happen offscreen.
* ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'': Used with many of the desperadoes Lucky Luke encounters in order to explain their notoriety. If rumours are to be believed Phil de Fer, the original Dalton gang, Joss Jamon and most specifically Pat Poker and Billy the Kid have quite a remarkable body count. In Billy's case it is said that many of his victims were fellow criminals and Luke himself calls him worse than the Daltons (the new ones at least).

[[folder:Fan Works]]

* In [[FanFic/TheCATverse the [=CATverse=]]], Jonathan Crane is a multiple murderer who is prone to extremely DisproportionateRetribution and has experimented on innocent civilians. While the stories make a point not to sugar-coat his personality or his behavior, his more violent actions are generally not dwelled on, and he has both a [[FreudianExcuse truly nasty childhood]] and sympathetic moments with his henchgirls. His henchgirls are more AffablyEvil than anything else and are presented as likeable characters, but are still party to kidnapping, torture, and murder. There is one major exception to this - in ''Small World'', Crane commits a graphic murder and tortures a child multiple times, his mother and sister respectively, even disturbing his henchgirls.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In Disney's ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective'', a lyric in the VillainSong goes "Worse than the widows and orphans you drowned!"
* Shan Yu from ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' is established as a blood thirsty warlord who loves to kill people, but not one of his killings is shown on screen -- just the aftermath of one of his raids on a village and the bodies of Shang's father and his soldiers. He does, however, order his men to kill one of two Imperial scouts just ForTheEvulz, which is very brutal by Disney standards.
-->'''Shan Yu:''' How many men does it take to deliver a message?\\
'''Hun Archer:''' (''draws bow'') One.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/KindHeartsAndCoronets'' makes murder seem like a rather jolly gentleman's pursuit by never dwelling on its impact (except for a few scenes after the death of [[spoiler: Henry showing Edith's grief]]) and by making the murders themselves seem rather funny. The audience can be forgiven for watching this film and either forgetting that Louis is a serial killer or rooting for him in his cull of detached family members.
* Anakin's massacre of the Sand People in ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/AttackOfTheClones'' is disturbingly rarely reflected upon (Palpatine briefly mentions it near the beginning of ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', but that's all). This is particularly troubling as this behavior would seem much more indicative of ties to the Dark Side than the petulant behavior which the film spends more time on. None of the Jedi know, and it turns out not to be very relevant at all. [[spoiler: [[WouldHurtAChild His slaughter of Yoda's younglings, on the other hand...]]]]
** It's discussed in much more detail in the Creator/MattStover {{novelization}}: the point is made that Anakin was totally out of control, killing the Sand People out of blind rage. His murders in Ep III are cold blooded and premeditated.
* In the first ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movie, only minimal attention is actually paid to the ''dozens'' of people Joker has killed.
* In ''Film/SuicideKings'', the film will show you [[TheDragon Lono]] repeatedly hitting an abusive drunk in the face with a toaster, Lono beating a money launderer senseless with a golf club, and Lono shooting a pair of [[EvilDebtCollector Evil Debt Collectors]], but when it comes time for Lono to [[spoiler:kill the StarCrossedLovers Max and Elise]], the camera cuts away just before the shots.
* Justified in ''Film/LayerCake''; the protagonist is a cocaine dealer responsible for getting an awful lot of product out onto the streets; but he himself finds the end result of his work to be distasteful, and deliberately steers clear of cocaine users. A more sympathetic example than most, as he it's implied that because of this he's making plans to leave the business behind him.
* In ''Film/KingOfNewYork'', it's understood that, yes, the VillainProtagonist ''is'' a drug lord and, yes, he does sell nickel backs of coke and smack all over Harlem, but it's a purely intellectual understanding. We never see any of his men hand over any drugs to shaking addicts jonesing for a fix.
* Tuco of ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' has a rapsheet that indicates he's a rapist and mass murderer. He doesn't do anything nearly that bad on camera and is presented as a humorous character- and the LongList of his crimes is itself somewhat PlayedForLaughs. It's possible some of the crimes were made up because he had reason to increase the price on his own head.
* Stans in ''Film/{{Predators}}'' is a death row inmate who admits to having killed 38 people because he could and casually talks about committing rape, yet is portrayed as a [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold loveable jerk]] who is concerned about others and [[spoiler:sacrifices himself to save them]]

* This is somewhat [[DoubleSubversion doubly subverted]] in the ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'' series, on account of the different SympatheticPOV between the ''Taltos'' and ''Khaavren'' entries. In the former, Vlad knows that his powerful friends have slaughtered scores of people in the past, often in horrible ways (they all possess weapons that kill people's souls), with many of their victims being [[FantasticRacism humans like himself]]. As far as he knows them, though, they are loyal friends sharing his DeadpanSnarker sense of humor. On the other hand, the latter series shows or at least tells about some of these actions directly (like Morrolan not only killing a god but also slaughtering an entire village, men, women, and children, of his worshippers). Then again, Vlad himself is a mobster and professional killer [[spoiler:at least for the first half of the series]].
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', Marcone is regarded as a crime lord and general vile scum. The worst thing he definitely does is run a brothel. A clean, safe, honest brothel where the prostitutes are treated well. It's hinted that he does worse, but exactly what is never said. Combined with the frequency that he fights with the good guys, he can come off as something of a DesignatedVillain. Next to ancient vampire armies, fallen angels, and literal forces of nature, the mob boss of Chicago is relatively low on the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil.
** Marcone is a bit of a subversion - part of his characterization is the dichotomy between the sort of bastardy typically associated with his unlawful enterprises, and the fact that Marcone himself is not all that much of a bastard, and has rather high standards.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* From ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', Garak used to be a member of the Obsidian Order, the Cardassians version of secret police. Considering what perfectly normal citizens will cheerfully do in the name of Cardassia (one notable Cardassian torturer had his daughter at 'work', while still behaving like a kind and loving father), the exact details of what a member of the Order gets up to is best left unmentioned. If he wasn't such a MagnificentBastard and on the side of the Federation (and he's only working with the Federation because he detests [[spoiler:what the Dominion has done to his beloved Cardassia]]), he'd be a villain. Noteworthy is the time when Garak responds to a dream of Bashir's where he was the enemy. "Are you saying that after all these lunches we've had together you still don't trust me? There may be hope for you yet."
** Notably ''averted'' in the episode "The Die is Cast", when the audience does get to see Garak interrogate and torture [[spoiler: Odo]]. In this case, the resolution of the torture session involves Garak desperately pleading with the subject to give him something, ''anything'', so he can justify stopping. The look of relief and horror on his face when it finally ends shows he's far less comfortable with cold-blooded torture than he used to be. Later episodes firmly establish he's still the resident dog-kicker (and quite good at it), but only [[IDidWhatIHadToDo when it's absolutely necessary]].
* The amount of people that have been killed one way or another by Lana of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', who has yet to be arrested. Looking back on it, it's pretty impressive.
** Unless it's relevant to the plot of the particular episode, very few people in Smallville seem to pay mind to the fact that just about every other villain of the week that wound up dead somehow by episode's end was last seen in a scuffle with Clark. Only once does Lana acknowledge the subject of her weekly stalkers winding up [[DeadlyDodging impaled]] on something thanks to him over the course of the entire series.
** The new sheriff does mention in passing all the crime scenes Clark has been associated with. But after she gives him the old "I got my eye on you, boy" riff for a few episodes to establish that she's a hard-ass, she becomes just as numb to the recurring coincidences as all the other Smallvillians.
* It's outright stated that Doug from ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' has killed many of his patients due to his complete ineptitude as a doctor. The hospital staff have named a cause of death after him ''("Upstairs, they call that a Doug.")''. Hell, while he was in the middle of reciting a (long) list of people he had killed, ''another'' patient of his flatlined. This is PlayedForLaughs.
** It gets particularly odd when you consider that a patient dying because of a mistake on the part of any other character is something entirely serious. The only episode that treated Doug as a serious character at all was the one where he discovered that his tendency to kill people made him an excellent pathologist... EXCEPT for having trouble taking care of the bodies after analyzing them.
* Hilariously parodied in ''Series/TheCarolBurnettShow'' in a sketch involving a doomed romance between a man on his way to death row and a woman with a terminal disease. The man's guard likes his prisoner and tells him so, adding that, "I'm sure all the people you killed had it coming... all 48 of them." The man replies, "I'm not so sure... Mom and Dad had their good points."
* Another comical example is ''Series/BlackAdder''. Various incarnations of Edmund have definitely committed a fair amount of murders and other unscrupulous deeds on innocent and not so innocent people, but when shown at all, they're generally in a humorous style to downplay his sociopathic tendencies.
* Sayid of ''Series/{{Lost}}'' was in the Iraqi Republican Guard. They show some pretty grim stuff, but that has to be the [[StockPhrases tip of the overused metaphor]]. Have you EVER looked at the reports of the "Al Anfal" campaign, the brief occupation of Kuwait, or their behavior in Iran? Well, it makes ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' look pretty damn tame. And the fact that Sayid is known to have participated in some of the nastier parts (such as the post-Gulf I uprising and suppression) is horror if you know about the subject. At least it terrified Hurley.
* For most of her time on ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Anya from was treated as an entirely comic character, her anecdotes about the various horrific punishments she inflicted during her ''centuries'' as a demon being more likely to cause an a moment of bemused awkwardness in the conversation than any outrage or shock. Eventually somewhat rectified (long, long after her introduction) with the episode "Selfless".
** Harmony, once just an idiot classmate, is killed and turned into a vampire, [[OurVampiresAreDifferent which in the terms of the series]] means it's a demon wearing Harmony's body. The demon, who was literally biting Willow at one point (that doesn't cause a turning) is treated like a big ding dong and laughed at as if it was just Harmony forgetting what the capitol of the United States is. This activity continues to many later episodes, including Xander (who has a serious hate-on for all vampires, much more then Buffy).
* Used to brilliant effect in the earlier seasons of ''Series/{{Dexter}}'', in which the eponymous character is a mass murderer with a body count of, at the ''very least'', three dozen people. It's stated numerous times that he only kills murderers (or in one instance, a child molester who was stalking his girlfriend's daughter), his actions are sometimes shown to prevent further deaths, and it's made abundantly clear that most of his victims are vile, disgusting, irredeemable scumbags far worse than him. All of this assists greatly in portraying Dexter as a SociopathicHero and perpetuating the BlackAndGreyMorality of the series.
** Later seasons gradually avert the trope, as Dexter's grip on his "code" becomes more slippery. This came to a head at the end of Season 7, when he [[spoiler:attempted to murder a police captain in order to keep himself out of prison]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* [[DemonicInvaders The Burning Legion]] in ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}''. They've invaded and destroyed countless worlds, yet the players only see their failures in their campaign against Azeroth.
* Tom Nook from ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing''. He has a virtual stranglehold on the economy and property market of Animal Crossing, and practically enslaves you within the first ten minutes of the game; it doesn't help that he's a tanuki, who are right little bastards when you read up on them.
** Used as the basis for an infamous LetsPlay, ''LetsPlay/TheTerribleSecretOfAnimalCrossing'', in which Nook ''literally'' enslaves the narrator [[spoiler:for [[BodyHorror unspeakable purposes]]]]. Most of the other portrayals of Nook either fall into his MERELY being an autocratic slum lord, mob kingpin, and black marketeer (the rest usually paint him as the nicest landlord you will ever have).
* ''VideoGame/TacticsOgre'' tries to subvert this trope by continually mentioning that Denim/Leonard partook in a massacre where 5000 people were killed - an entire city wiped out. Of course, by Chapter 4 everyone has forgotten about it.
* ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'' and ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997 64'' for the Nintendo 64. Both games, on the lower difficulty levels, let the player get away with a ''few'' murders of civillains. These include running over St. Petersburg citizens with a tank, shooting scientists in the face, machine gunning office workers ("She's here!") and so on. And in possibly a glitch, in ''PD'', they can blast pedestrian vehicles all the live long day. Nothing happens. Conversely, in ''Goldeneye'', if the player plugs the tech nerd that is working on the death laser, their ally refuses to help them anymore.
** In Boris's case, [[FridgeBrilliance he's the only non-combatant the player can kill with Natalya watching]], as she does over the security cameras.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/DanAndMabsFurryAdventures'' does this all the time, with what sometimes seems like half the cast. (More like a third or a fourth - not counting all the unnamed 'cubi milling around on the edges, torturing/killing/eating the souls of random victims.)
* Karl Kroenen in ''Webcomic/AbeKroenen'' is an assassin who worked for ''Hitler'' before he went to serve Rasputin and whose body count numbers in the dozens if not hundreds (and that doesn't even count people he's killed in battle). However, mentions of his brutalities are brushed off or nervously laughed at.
* ''WebComic/EightBitTheater'' is perhaps the purest distillation of this trope, due to a combination of the CrapsackWorld setting and being a deconstruction of the typical sociopathic RPG party, with atrocities committed left, right and centre by protagonists, antagonists and others both onscreen and offscreen, with precisely ''one'' death that wasn't done comedically (and that was for about two pages).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Nobody in ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' ever seems to note that Captain Hero single-handedly caused the destruction of his home planet, killing everything on it, after the episode "Little Orphan Hero". Of course the same could be said for his other obliviously destructive actions, such as maiming or murdering all of the participants of a charity fund raiser to give himself a sense of pride, causing innumerable car crashes to please Clara, and generally wreaking havoc on everybody around him. Being a BlackComedy though, this may just be used to cement him as a HeroicComedicSociopath, and the NegativeContinuity probably doesn't help.
* It's entirely probable that the title character of ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' has a body count in the ''millions'', stretching across numerous solar systems, yet he's mostly treated as an IneffectualSympatheticVillain. While most of his past acts weren't really evil, just incredibly incompetent, it's amazing he isn't treated more seriously.
* In Disney's ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'', of all places, the comedic villain Megavolt is mentioned as having been sent to the electric chair twice. Granted, this is basically a joke about the villain's electrokinetic properties, but it also brings up the UnfortunateImplications that the most HarmlessVillain on the show is either a multiple murderer, or a child rapist.
** In his origin story, the villain Bushroot actually ''kills two people'', and later their ''dead bodies'' are shown ''onscreen'' being examined by the cops (granted, he cocooned them in vines, but the resulting mass is still clearly man-shaped and clearly dead). He gets the same comedic treatment as the rest of the show's characters.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' has Dr Venture's [[ForScience Joy]][[LotusEaterMachine can]], PoweredByAForsakenChild (though it isn't stated whether Venture killed the orphan or merely acquired the heart after he/she died of something else).
-->'''Dr. Venture''': ''[talking about the orphan]'' It's not like I used the whole thing!
* On ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'', Heloise commits all kinds of KickTheDog acts, and it's hinted that she tortures people for fun. Yet all this happens off screen so she can continue being the AntiHero.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLionGuard'' Return Of The Roar, Kion's friends state that Janja and his hyena pack have killed enough of the gazelle they're attacking to feed them for months and they're still attacking, despite this statement there are no dead gazelle anywhere to be seen.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', Anakin begins to strangle a defiant Poggle the Lesser using the Force. The rest of the interrogation is never seen, but when Anakin comes back to the other Jedi with important information, they pointedly wonder just what Anakin did to get their uncooperative prisoner to talk. Keep in mind that so far, the series has distinctly avoided Anakin's dark side.