->''"When will the authorities of Tamriel learn? If you keep locking people up for minor adventure-related crimes, they'll just be surrounded by other adventurers and be more likely to adventure again when they get out."''
-->-- '''[[Creator/BenCroshaw Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw]]''', ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'' on ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim''

This is kind of like YouAllMeetInAnInn, except instead of the players beginning in an inn, they start off in some form of captivity for no apparent reason. The characters must then escape imprisonment, and find out why they were imprisoned in the first place.

The theme in {{RPG}}s and writing is that imprisonment is instant motivation ("get out of here"), and that they can work out the details of why later. It also gives reason why [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits people who wouldn't normally like each other]] are [[TeethClenchedTeamwork pulling together]]. Similar to a ClosedCircle, and a common way to [[JustForFun/HowToGatherCharacters Gather Characters]].

Can lead to the GreatEscape, BoxedCrook, or CondemnedContestant. May be used to justify a NoGearLevel. In TabletopGames, YouAllMeetInACell usually goes poorly, as the characters have no reason to stick together once they escape their confinement, and often don't. At least when YouAllMeetInAnInn, any character who isn't inclined to join up with the group will leave ''immediately'', instead of one or two sessions in.


[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* In ''Roleplay/RecordOfLodossWar'', the team meets Woodchuck the thief in prison after they're arrested.
* ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' begins with YouAllMeetInAnInn and quickly switches to this, as two of the main characters begin quite the brawl.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Sonic the Comic}}'', Captain Plunder escapes from prison only to discover that his whole pirate crew are now locked in after attempting to break the captain out by a different route. He starts building a new crew from then, starting by recruiting his former cellmate Simpson the Cat.

* ''Film/DownByLaw'' starts with Tom Waits' character being arrested. The other main characters soon end up in the same cell.
* The main characters of ''Film/OBrotherWhereArtThou'' meet in a [[WorkingOnTheChainGang chain]] [[UsefulNotes/AmericanPrisons gang]].
* ''Film/TheUsualSuspects'' has the five main characters meet during a line-up and plot a job together while waiting in a cell. Verbal notes how artificial this situation is, since line-ups always feature a single suspect and a few decoys. Later they learn that Keyzer Soze engineered the situation specifically so that they would become a criminal unit and do a job for him.
* The original ''Film/TheIngloriousBastards'' has the heroes meeting as U.S. Army prisoners who escape and try to make their way to Switzerland.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', the soon-to-be Howling Commandos all meet in a HYDRA cell.
* ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'' are all in prison for various crimes. That's why they are picked for the suicide mission, since it's their only hope to avoid a long prison term or death sentence. They don't meet each other there, but we are introduced to them there, as the commander offers each one the mission.
* The ''Film/{{Cube}}'' series has characters meeting after being mysteriously imprisoned [[OntologicalMystery for no known reason]] in a [[MalevolentArchitecture shifting death trap]].
* Many times in the ''Franchise/{{SAW}}''-verse
* ''Film/TheBreakfastClub'' has a high school variant where a group of students meeting in a detention and becoming friends who otherwise would never have come together. It's practically lampshaded when one character confronts the two "popular" kids about how they will probably go back to treating the others like social outcasts again if they were to meet in the halls with their other friends around.
* ''Film/{{Tron}}'': Tron, Ram, and Flynn are thrown into adjacent cells on the Game Grid.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' provides a partial example: four of the five members of the titular group encounter each other when two of the group (Rocket and Groot) try to kidnap the third (Peter Quill) for a bounty on his head, while he in turn was fighting with the fourth (Gamora) over the Maguffin of the movie. Subsequently, all four are sent to the same prison, where they encounter their fifth member (Drax) and realize they need to work together to escape and accomplish their various objectives

* The protagonists of ''Literature/TheQuantumThief'' meet in the Archon Prison.
* Martin and Gonff meet this way in Brian Jacques' ''[[{{Literature/Redwall}} Mossflower]]''.
* Alec and Seregil in ''Literature/{{Nightrunner}}''.
* Five characters wake up in the title building of Creator/WilliamSleator's ''Literature/HouseOfStairs'', which appears to have no way out.
* The protagonists of Raymond E. Feist's ''[[Literature/RiftWarCycle Shadow of a Dark Queen]]'' meet just before they're all sent to the gallows.
* In ''Finder's Bane'' Joel and Holly (who already knew each other) met Walinda and Jasmine after being captured by clergy of Iyachtu Xvim and had to escape together.
* The heroes of ''Literature/TheHourBeforeMorning'' are cellmates on a starship taking them to execution.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* 'The premise of ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'' episode "Five Characters in Search of an Exit": An Army major wakes up to find himself trapped inside in a large metal cylinder, along with a hobo, a ballet dancer, a bagpiper, and a clown. None of them have any memory of who they are or how they got there.
* The original cast of ''Series/BlakesSeven'' (with one exception, introduced later) were all prisoners being transported to a penal colony on Cygnus Alpha. Blake meets Vila and Jenna in the cell awaiting transport, and Avon and Gan on the prison spaceship [[DebutQueue in the following episode]].
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': the main characters all meet on a prison ship. Specifically, John Crichton meets D'Argo, Zhaan, and Rygel when they've liberated Pilot from Peacekeeper control, with Crichton warping in between the pitched battle between Moya and the Peacekeeper ships trying to re-take it. Peacekeeper Aeryn Sun's ship is accidentally caught up with Moya when it warps away. They eventually decide to work together to avoid re-capture by the Peacekeepers.
* ''Series/TheLoneGunmen'': While Langly and Frohike were business rivals (they sold bootleg cable), the Gunmen only solidified into a unit once they found themselves in the custody of Baltimore PD for their failed attempt to expose a conspiracy to test a mind-control drug on the unsuspecting public.
* ''Series/RobinOfSherwood'': Robin's initial band of Merry Men is made up of the prisoners who happened to be in Robin's cell when he and Much were arrested for poaching, who escaped with him (one elderly prisoner refused to leave his pet rat behind, and stayed behind)
* ''Series/TheDefenders2017'':
** [[Series/Daredevil2015 Matt Murdock]] and Series/JessicaJones2015 meet when Jessica is arrested by Misty Knight and is under interrogation.
** If a police precinct is considered a cell, the Hand's recent activities lead to a meeting at the 29th Precinct comprised of Matt Murdock, Karen Page, Foggy Nelson, Trish Walker, Colleen Wing, Claire Temple, Luke Cage, and Misty Knight.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** Module A4 ''In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords'', which starts out in, well, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Somewhat justified in that the previous module ended with the PC party being captured by the Slave Lords.
** Module ''Escape from Zanzer's Dungeon'' starts with the characters in jail, kidnapped to be slave workers in an underground salt mine. The module is designed for new players and avoids the standard YouAllMeetInAnInn opening.
** Module C2 ''The Ghost Tower of Inverness''. The pregenerated {{PC}}s meet as they're being taken before the Duke of Urnst. Four of them are convicted criminals and are [[BoxedCrook offered their freedom if they participate in a mission]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' example: In the ''Devil's Canyon'' adventure, the posse wakes up alone in a cabin in the back country, with no memory of how they got there. Doesn't seem like much of an example, until most of the way through the adventure. Turns out [[spoiler:they're all dead. Their "dark half" was in control when they were captured, explaining the amnesia...and how this example fits being held against your will.]]
* ''TabletopGame/BlackCrusade'' has the introductory adventure ''Broken Chains''. It's a fairly standard You All Meet In A Cell, except that a) The cell is part of a huge dilapidated space ship and b) the {{PC}}s entirely ''deserve'' being in a cell, as the sample characters include an extreme BloodKnight, a scheming SpaceMarine [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder that was exiled from his own legion]], a former Rogue Trader who tried to kill her brother through a daemonic assassin for the inheritance and a MadScientist experimenting with fusing daemonic flesh to mortals.
* The 3rd party TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}} adventure "Way of the Wicked" starts this way. The [=PCs=] are all convicted felons, usually sentenced to die. (It's an evil-aligned adventure.)
* Variation: one of the adventures in the Main/TabletopGame ''TabletopGame/HeroQuest'' involves the player characters waking up inside a cell with all their equipment and items (and somehow, the spellcasters' spells) stolen from them. With the flavor text saying the characters managed to pick the lock with a rat bone, the goal is to find their stolen paraphernalia, then the exit. Played with in that by this point the characters had already been traveling together for several adventures, and that the capture which put them there took place [[YouCantFightFate as an unavoidable fate]] [[DownerEnding at the end of the previous quest]]. Another adventure involves breaking ''into'' a prison to free a valiant knight who is one of the emperor's most trusted and powerful followers, then escape with him.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/TwelveThirteen'', a freeware platformer by ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'' creator Creator/BenCroshaw, opens with an amnesiac character being allowed to escape his cell.
* ''VideoGame/ArxFatalis'' starts the player off in a cell in a goblin fortress with no knowledge of who you are or why you're there.
* In ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'', finding out why you were imprisoned and experimented upon by the BigBad is actually a major part of the plot.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'': Most games in the series start off this way. The PlayerCharacter is a FeaturelessProtagonist (with you getting to choose your appearance, race, and gender) whose actions and personality are entirely up to you. Given the series' WideOpenSandbox nature, your character's origins need to be pretty wide-open as well. Your character might be a thieving murdering bastard who got caught, or they might be a paragon of righteousness who was wrongfully imprisoned, or they might not even know themselves. It also serves a symbolic function: once you're released/escaped from the prison [[OpeningTheSandbox you are free to do as you please]], both in-character and in gameplay, as being released/escaping from your imprisonment typically serves as the game's tutorial. To note specific examples throughout the series:
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'', your character is in prison because you had incurred the displeasure of the BigBad.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', your character suffered a shipwreck and found him/herself washed up in a cave that connected to a dungeon. Not technically a prisoner, but it essentially amounts to the same thing. ''Daggerfall'' also provides a biography that explains exactly ''why'' the Emperor trusted you with the mission that led to the shipwreck. To not be ''overly'' determinative, it has many, many variations depending on class and other choices during character creation.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'' you start as a prisoner aboard an Imperial ship, you are about to be released. The first spoken words in the game are the daedra Azura speaking to you in a dream, saying: "They have taken you from the Imperial City's prison".
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', it seems that ''no-one'' actually knows how the protagonist ended up in that cell. The guards comment that the cell is ''always'' supposed to be empty (as it contains a secret escape route into the Imperial City sewers), while the protagonist actually has to ask how they got there. Given the Emperor having visions of your arrival, it's heavily implied [[TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive that some divine interference is the cause.]]
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'':
*** Continuing the trend, to the surprise of no one, your character is once again a prisoner. And this time, you're on your way to be executed after being mistaken for a rebel. [[spoiler: But don't worry about that, as you get saved by the BigBad showing up and [[NiceJobFixingItVillain trying to kill you.]] ]]
*** The popular "Live Another Life" GameMod for ''Skyrim'' also starts you off in another cell, where you can choose to start the game as any number of roles and in a number of places... or you can just opt to break out of the cell with no real explanation as to why you're locked up in an abandoned, ghost-filled ruin in the first place, with the whole thing placing a huge lampshade on the situation.
** ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline'' starts off, once again, in a cell. This time, however, the cell is not in the mortal realm, but in the [[BloodyBowelsofHell torture realm]] of [[EldritchLocation Coldharbor]], the domain of [[TheCorrupter Molag Bal]], [[DimensionLord Daedric Prince]] of domination and enslavement. [[spoiler:Oh, and did we mention that, technically, you're [[YourSoulIsMine dead]]?]]
* ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland'' began with Guybrush tied to the mast of his ''own'' ship, while Elaine and the others repelled a pirate attack.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'': As a change from the previous two games (and the eventual third), which all begin with striking out from your DoomedHometown, Black Isle's [[VideoGame/FalloutVanBuren canceled game]] was going to start out with you in a prison cell, until something makes a hole in the wall.
** The expansion ''Mothership Zeta'' starts off like this, and you have to team up with various other abductees who otherwise have nothing in common with you, or each other. One [[{{Samurai}} doesn't even speak the same language]] as the rest of you.
* ''VideoGame/CityOfVillains'' starts with the player's character being freed from a CardboardPrison by a BigBad's FacelessGoons.
* ''VideoGame/{{Rayman 2}}: The Great Escape'' begins with Globox freeing Rayman from a prison cell.
* ''VideoGame/SeikenDensetsu3''. You get your final party member while in a cell in Castle City Jad unless you chose Carlie to be third (in which case the fourth would-be party member will act as an NPC). Different in that you've already played long enough to beat the first boss before you end up in a cell.
** Interestingly, this trope gets mixed with YouAllMeetInAnInn within the same town, as every playable character except Carlie appears in that town for their own reasons at the start of the game, just in time for the beastmen to put the whole city on lockdown.
** The trope gets [[ParodiedTrope parodied]] as well since the cell doesn't actually hold the party up; a dimwitted beastman comes in and immediately gets pulled into freeing the party. Best variant being Angela who flaunts her... [[MaleGaze female assets]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Unreal}}'' begins with the player's character regaining consciousness after the ship, which was transporting him/her to a prison planet, crashes on Na Pali, killing (almost) every other passenger and conveniently enabling the player's escape.
* ''VideoGame/{{Exile}}''/''VideoGame/{{Avernum}}'' begins with the group being thrown into a gigantic underground prison complex together. In later games, the group apparently got together deliberately.
** You meet everyone in prison. The entire game takes place in that gigantic underground prison complex. Your party, however, was thrown in at the same time, although not necessarily because they were arrested at the same time, in the same place, or for the same reasons.
** In the second game, the [[PlayerCharacter PCs]] are part of the Avernite armed forces - whether they banded up themselves, or were assigned to each other by the military is left to imagination. In the third game, the situation is similar - only this time, they're the back-up surface explorers acting on behalf of the Avernite government.
* ''[[http://roguelikefiction.com/ Legerdemain]]''. You start the game in "The Jails of the Doobah Boogadah II", and the beginning of the game involves breaking out.
* In ''VideoGame/SagaFrontier'', Emelia begins her story in Despair, a supermax prison, wrongfully accused of her fiance's murder. She breaks out accompanied by Anne and Lisa. (Ironically, in anyone else's story, Anne would help you break ''into'' Despair during the Rune Quest.)
* Early on in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' the main character, Yuri, is placed in the Imperial City's prison. The person in the cell next to him is a man named Raven, [[spoiler: later revealed to be Schwann, a captain of the Imperial Knights]]. He helps Yuri escape, and several hours of gameplay later he becomes a party member.
** Similarly, in ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'' Kyle and Loni first meet Judas after he jumps down from the roof of the prison cell they're in and helps them escape.
* ''VideoGame/TheSuffering'' opens with the main character being checked into his cell on death row at Abbot Penitentiary. Then an earthquake hits, and hideous monsters emerge from the woodwork and start killing people.
* The eponymous protagonist of the ''VideoGame/{{Sonny}}'' games wakes up aboard a research vessel out in the middle of nowhere with no memory of what happened prior to that point in time. Escaping the research ship is the first zone of the first game. The second game somewhat inverts this by having the player character and his partner break into a prison after a biker steals a cassette tape from the pair and enter the prison to escape them.
* ''Videogame/DarkSouls'' has you start off locked away in the Northern Undead Asylum, where Undead such as yourself are locked away from the world, until a mysterious knight drops a corpse with a key on it into your cell.
* The whole point of the ActionRPG ''VideoGame/LegendOfGrimrock''. Your four characters are literally tossed into the eponymous dungeon for unspecified crimes. If you can get out of the dungeon (in both meanings of the word) you are free to go. Too bad no one has done so yet...
* In ''VideoGame/{{Pirate 101}}'' the player starts off in a cell aboard an Armada ship for one of five crimes which is used to determine the player's [[CharacterClassSystem character class]]. They meet and rescue their first companion here.
* ''Videogame/{{Gothic}}'' starts with the hero being thrown into a penal mining colony. The first game takes place entirely in that colony, the second and third have many [=NPCs=] you've first met in the colony.
* The intro to the first TabletopGame/DarkSun game, ''Dark Sun: Shattered Lands'' states that the sorcerer-king of Draj [[AllCrimesAreEqual ordered all prisoners to fight as gladiators]], and this is how the heroes ended in the arena together. It is [[ProtagonistWithoutAPast never explained]] what their crimes were and if they knew each other before.
* The Batman Arkham series begins this way:
** In ''Videogame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'', Batman is escorting the Joker into Arkham Asylum.
** For ''Videogame/BatmanArkhamCity'', you first get control of Batman when he is in his Bruce Wayne persona in Hugo Strange's custody at the base of Wonder Tower. However, this was all a ruse orchestrated by Batman so that he could get into Arkham City while keeping people from wondering about Wayne's whereabouts during that time; once the Penguin has brought him into the middle of the place, he [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass stops holding back against his attackers]] and gets to a place where he can have his Batsuit airdropped.
** The prequel, ''Videogame/BatmanArkhamOrigins'', begins with a riot at Blackgate Prison.
* ''Videogame/GearsOfWar'' has Marcus Fenix freed from his jail cell in the beginning of the game by his friend Dom, who also arms him for the incoming Locust.
* Cleverly used in ''Franchise/TheChroniclesOfRiddick: Videogame/EscapeFromButcherBay''. The tutorial consists of Riddick arriving at the titular prison and promptly making his escape - only to reveal that his escape plan was AllJustADream, upon which the game begins proper.
* ''Videogame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon'' begins the third game with Point Man being interrogated in prison.
* ''Videogame/TheWitcher2AssassinsOfKings'' has the tutorial as Geralt explaining to his captor how he got there.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' is an unusual case where you start a ''level'' in prison, rather than the game itself. Just like the [[Film/{{Tron}} film it's referencing]], the "Space Paranoids" section starts with Sora, Donald, and Goofy digitized into a computer and put in its prison after an accident involving "[[{{Disney/LiloAndStitch}} a small, fluffy alien"]]. And just like the film, the title character is already in jail for opposing Master Control and teams up with the gang to break out.
* Del Cottonwood is captured by outlaws and thrown into the dungeon of Castle VideoGame/{{Shadowgate}}; the magician Agaar is his nearest cellmate and was similarly imprisoned for no good reason.
* ''VideoGame/MysticArk'' plays with this. Every characters are trapped in some sort of wooden figurines inside an abanddoned mansion. Characters never interact with each other up until you free and put them into your team. [[HeroicMime Even then...]]

[[folder:Web Comic]]
* ''Webcomic/GoblinHollow'', at the beginning of the D&D game storyline:
-->"YouAllMeetInAnInn -"
-->"Okay, smart guy. You all meet in an inn ... and wake up the next morning in the county jail."
* ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt'' -- it's about a bunch of criminals (and a few volunteers) on a reality show. Of course it's held in a prison!
* ''{{Webcomic/Jailbreak}}'' starts off this way, not surprisingly. ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'' does, too, though it's not obvious at first.
* Seems to be a trend for ''Webcomic/DubiousCompany'''s pirates. [[TheLeader Walter]] and [[TheBigGirl Tiren]] meet when she wakes up in his brig. They meet [[TheHeart Elly]] while breaking out of [[UnknownRival Barry]]'s brig. [[TheSmartGirl Sal]] introduces herself to Tiren in [[TheDragon Izor]]'s bastille. [[TheLancer Leeroy]] is introduced when he mistakes the pirates for Sal's captors, instead of her rescuers. They even meet the [[FiveBadBand Sues and Stus]] while breaking out of the bastille.
* A variation of this is played out in the first half of chapter 2 of ''Webcomic/MonsterSoup''. It starts with [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-1/ Bo the zombie sitting alone with Chickpea the (zombie) squirrel]] near a pier. Eventually, [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-2-taxicab-confession/ Amanita the gypsy/medium]], [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-6-boo/ Jacklynn the ghost]], [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-9-the-stagecoach-has-arrive/ Luke the vampire]], and [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-14-welcome/ Pepper the werewolf]] show up. They actually meet where they will embark on the boat that will take them to the prison, not in a cell, but they are clearly [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-17-hello-sol/ not]] [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-18-one-rule/ really]] [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-19-wtf/ free]] [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-21-a-challenge/ to]] [[http://monstersoupcomic.com/page/chapter-2-page-22-whoosh/ leave]].


[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Roleplay/RubyQuest'' starts with the protagonist waking up in a box in a mysterious facility, where she shortly meets Tom, who ''is'' in a cell.
* ''Roleplay/AGameOfGods'' starts off with the heroes trapped in a hotel.
* In ''WebVideo/TheMrMenMovie'', Mr. Nervous meets Mr. Impossible after Mr. Mean puts him in the same cell as Mr. Impossible. [[spoiler:Mr. Impossible, being Mr. Impossible, helps Mr. Nervous escape by walking through the wall with him.]]
* A number of characters meet up within a prison in ''Literature/VoidDomain''. Unlike most cases of this trope, it does not happen in the introductory chapters, but all the way down in book four.

* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', Rita and Runt first meet in the city pound.
* Two episodes of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' begin this way:
** "Return to the Nightosphere": Finn and Jake are in a cage in [[FireAndBrimstoneHell the Nightosphere]], and spend the rest of the episode trying to get back home.
** "Mystery Dungeon": Ice King, Tree Trunks, Lemongrab, NEPTR and Shelby wake up in a dungeon and try to get to the center room. It turns out [[spoiler:Ice King was using them to get to a wizard trapped in the center of the dungeon, so he would bring his FanFic to life.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/MuzzyInGondoland'', Muzzy and Bob meet in a prison cell.
* Recap/JusticeLeagueUnlimitedS2E4TaskForceX Lawton and Flag meet in Death Row. Then they met the rest of the Suicide Squad at an Abandoned Warehouse. Lawton can believe he could do the job and leave. He is a BoxedCrook and for five years, anywhere he is, he would be in a cell.