Playing With / Femme Fatale

Basic Trope: A sexy, sultry, but morally ambiguous woman, common in detective novels.
  • Straight: Hardboiled Detective Bob is solving a case, and one of the suspects is Alice, who is a flirty, sultry beauty, and who may or may not be a Honey Trap, working for the Big Bad. No one knows for sure.
  • Exaggerated: All of the suspects are this.
  • Downplayed: Alice is a beautiful—but not paticularly sexy—woman. Where her loyalties lie is unknown.
  • Justified: Alice is a Double Agent, or even The Mole. It's best that she keeps herself mysterious, but that doesn't mean she can't use her… er… assets to get her way.
  • Inverted:
  • Gender Inverted: Alice is solving a case, and one of suspects is Tall, Dark and Handsome Bob.
  • Subverted:
    • It turns out that Alice is The Vampliterally! The beauty was a disguise. She's not as attractive as she seems…
    • Alice is seductive and dresses in sultry garb but she makes it clear from the get-go that anything horizontal with her is out of the question.
    • Alice is seductive and dresses to appeal… but she's soon shown to be anything but morally questionable, and presents Bob with evidence he needs for his case.
  • Double Subverted:
    • …she's even hotter.
    • …except for Bob of course!
    • …but she turns out to be The Mole, and the evidence is completely false.
  • Parodied: Alice thinks she's this, but she's a Gonk.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice is sultry and seductive, but is the detective investigating a murder case, all the suspects are morally questionable and of both genders, but Alice is the actual murderer covering her tracks as the detective.
  • Averted: Alice isn't particularly sexy or morally ambiguous.
  • Enforced: "All good detective novels have a mysterious, sexy woman, so let's add one."
  • Lampshaded:
  • Invoked: Alice is working for the Big Bad. He hired her specifically because she's hot.
  • Exploited: Alice is actually guilty and is relying on her charms to distract Bob.
  • Defied: Everyone expects Alice to use her wiles to dodge an accusation but she makes herself unattractive on purpose to defy expectations.
  • Discussed:
    Claire: Be careful. Remember Diana? She was just as gorgeous as Alice and—
    Bob: Don't remind me.
  • Conversed: "There's always a Femme Fatale character in these detective shows… yep, here's one now."
  • Deconstructed: The femme fatale's seductive demeanor and advances on the main character are more off-putting than effective, and they're the first thing that makes him suspect she's not as innocent as she's letting on.

Back to Femme Fatale