Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Playing With: Taking the Bullet
Basic Trope: Shielding someone else with your own body. Usually fatal.
  • Straight: Charlie shoots Alice but her friend Bob jumps between them and is shot instead.
  • Exaggerated: Bob stops a laser beam with his body after making a ten-meter leap. In slow motion. Accompanied by the biggest Big "NO!" ever.
  • Downplayed: Charlie shoots Alice, but Bob, standing nearby in armor, moves in front of her and is not seriously wounded.
  • Justified:
    • Charlie shoots Alice in the back and Bob is the only one who sees him aim. Also, Bob is wearing a bulletproof vest.
    • And/or Alice is a MacGuffin, or Bob is her bodyguard, so he has to protect her.
  • Inverted:
    • Bob shoots Charlie first.
    • Charlie attempts to body slam Alice and is shot (shielding someone from a body with your own bullet).
    • Also, the rather unlikely scenario where one character tries to shove another into the path of a bullet. A reverse Taking the Bullet, if you will.
  • Subverted:
    • Bob is too slow to intercept the bullet.
    • A fourth character Danielle interrupts Charlie while Bob takes a dive, making the bullet completely miss.
    • Bob pushes Alice out the way and neither of them get hit.
    • The bullet over penetrates Bob and hits Alice anyway.
  • Double Subverted: ...but Charlie is distracted enough to only wound Alice.
  • Parodied:
    • Alice is the only one in the packed room to not see Charlie. Everyone in the room jumps in front of the gun, creating a massive struggling huddle between them.
    • Charlie shoots Alice five times, with Bob only jumping in front of the sixth bullet.
    • Charlie is about to shoot Alice with a paint-ball gun, which Bob catches and acts as though he's actually going to die. Everybody just looks at him, confused.
    • Charlie shoots Alice, Bob jumps in front of Alice to catch the bullet, but then Danielle jumps in front of Bob and catches the bullet instead.
  • Zig Zagged: Various characters attempt Taking the Bullet throughout the show. Some succeed and die, some survive, others don't succeed at all. There's no system in that.
  • Averted: Charlie shoots Alice, then Bob shoots him.
  • Enforced: Redemption Equals Death, period.
  • Lampshaded: (with Blood from the Mouth) "Taking the bullet for someone... always works."
  • Invoked:
    • "I'm wearing a bulletproof vest and can jump quite far, you know. Now, put your gun down."
    • Alice predicts an assassination attempt and hires bodyguards who are trained to intercept any bullets headed his way.
  • Exploited: Charlie was trying to hit Bob to begin with; shooting at Alice was just a way to get Bob to stop dodging shots like he was before.
  • Defied: Charlie's gun shoots armor-piercing ammo, so it can go right through any unexpected obstacles.
  • Discussed: "He's about to be shot, so why do I feel the urge to jump in front of him?"
  • Conversed: Damn, he's about to shoot me, and in every movie I've seen, the closest friend takes the bullet instead! "Mara, step back! Charlie, get over here!"
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob takes the bullet, goes down, then Charlie calmly shoots again, killing Alice, as well.
    • The bullet goes through both of them.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Impressed and inspired by Bob's Heroic Sacrifice, the Innocent Bystanders throw themselves at Charlie, quickly overwhelming him. Both wounded are rushed to the hospital and resuscitated.
    • Bob takes the bullet for Alice and survives due to heavy armor being worn.

Back to Taking the Bullet

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy