Playing With / I Never Said It Was Poison

Basic Trope: A character admits or is coerced into admitting information that only a guilty person could know.
  • Straight: Murder Suspect Alice is questioned by Detective Bob about the death of Charlie. Alice pleads innocent, saying she didn't even know how to make poison- but wait, nobody ever told her how Charlie died...
  • Exaggerated: Alice tearfully denies having murdered Charlie by slipping ten ounces of strychnine into his tomato-and-cilantro soup during his 10:39 brunch while he went off to the bathroom down the hall. Detective Bob hadn't even been on that case, and was questioning her about something entirely different.
  • Downplayed: Alice doesn't reveal anything not released to the public about the murder case, but she does say something that raises Detective Bob's suspicions (e.g. "I was sorry to see him dead"- the killer was known to have murdered the victim personally, and so could have been said to have "see[n the victim] dead"). It's not evidence, but it does point Bob in the right direction, and later investigation turns up evidence of Alice's guilt.
  • Justified: Detective Bob thinks Alice is the killer, but he doesn't have enough proof. He therefore pressures Alice into slipping up and revealing something that would link her to the murder, which would give him the evidence he needed.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice goes out of her way to only make vague statements that prove nothing. This makes Detective Bob suspicious- why is she being so vague if she has nothing to hide?
    • Alice confesses to poisoning Charlie- who was actually shot to death. This incorrect fact makes Detective Bob realize that her confession was false.
    • Detective Bob accidentally lets slip that he framed Alice for Charlie's murder.
  • Subverted: "I didn't poison Charlie." "How did you know it was poison?" "It was in the newspaper, numbskull."
  • Double Subverted: Detective Bob realizes that Alice didn't kill Charlie... but the reporter who wrote the newspaper article that Alice read did, as the method of death had never been officially released to the public.
  • Parodied: "In fact, I poisoned Charlie by slipping ten ounces of strychnine into his tomato-and-cilantro soup. But I'll never tell you that!
    • "You just told me it was poison 15 seconds ago!"
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Alice makes a statement that Detective Bob uses as evidence in her trial for murdering Charlie- but Defense Lawyer Dana argues that the statement was just a lucky guess made under pressure to say anything. This creates enough reasonable doubt that she cannot be convicted of murder. Then Alice, during a break in court, has a chat with a witness- in the process revealing personal information about the victim that she couldn't possibly have known if her alibi was true.
    • Alice tells Detective Bob that she was only guessing that the victim was shot, since it's a pretty common murder method. In fact, she only said it so that Bob would confirm it to her. Also, Bob still has to figure out if Alice is either trying to cover her own tracks, or it really was a lucky guess.
  • Averted: Alice invokes her right to remain silent and says nothing.
  • Enforced: Being as there's only five minutes left in the show, the creators use this trope to quickly wrap up the case.
  • Lampshaded: "Hey, I Never Said It Was Poison." "...Oops, I said too much."
  • Invoked:
    • Alice confesses to a crime, and uses details only the culprit could know to prove that she isn't a serial confessor trying to mislead the police.
  • Exploited: Alice "lets slip" important information, allowing Detective Bob to prosecute her- and her partners-in-crime, who committed the bulk of the crime and who Alice wants in jail. Alice herself eventually walks free in exchange for testifying against them.
  • Defied: "I plead the Fifth."
  • Discussed: "He's a tough nut to crack. I'm going to try to trick him into admitting something only the killer would know."
  • Conversed: "I've seen this on TV. This is the part where the detective tricks the killer into showing he knows too much."


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/PlayingWith/INeverSaidItWasPoison