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Reassigned To Antarctica: Live-Action TV

  • 'Allo 'Allo!: Colonel von Strohm was often threatened with a transfer to the Eastern Front. Of course, that's more of a Suicide Mission than a remote posting...
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Coulson uses one of these as a threat, the position in question being guarding The Abomination's holding cell in Alaska.
  • Angel: Lampshaded by Kate after her superiors take exception to her growing interest in the macabre. She's later bounced off to the filing room, or something.
  • Ashes to Ashes: In series two, when Gene Hunt stands up against Ace cop "Super" Mac, he almost gets transferred to Plymouth because of it.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Commander Sinclair referred to once being "transferred to an outpost so far off the star maps you couldn't find it with a hunting dog and a Ouija board" after openly speaking his mind on Earthforce policy in an interview. The episode is “Infection”. [1]
    • There's also Londo Mollari: He got the ambassador job to Babylon 5 because the Centauri considered the job to be a joke at best and a death sentence at worst. Given that he gains a lot of influence and later becomes the Emperor as a direct result of having taken the job, this can be considered a case of Reassignment Backfire.
  • At the end of Band of Brothers' first episode just before the protagonists preprare for the D-Day airborne invasion, First Lieutenant Sobel is reassigned to command a jump school for essential non-combat personnel after his inadequacies as a leader in the field leads to his NC Os attempting to resign en masse and a dispute with his executive officer Winters escalates higher than expected.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): Command of the Battlestar Galactica was Adama's punishment for screwing up a covert mission for the Admiralty: it's an aging bucket assigned to the armpit of space, crewed by a Ragtag Band of Misfits. The irony, of course, is that it's these very facts that spare it when the Colonies fall; it's too old and too far away to be a primary target.
  • Burn Notice:
    • The overarching plot for the series is Michael being exiled to Miami to prevent him from being able to travel freely.
    • In the made-for-TV movie Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, Sam is sent to a crummy operation in Columbia because he slept with the wife of a powerful admiral. Who caught him in the act.
    • After exposing herself during an unsanctioned op, Agent Pearce is reassigned to Mumbai with an anti-counterfeit unit. As Michael notes, she's most likely going to be reading fake prescription labels for the rest of her career.
  • Chuck:
    • Inverted Trope, where a useless, obstreperous person is sent to a distant place to get him out of the way and preserve the Secret Identities - but the place he's sent off to isn't Alaska or Antarctica, it's Hawaii. Harry Tang, assistant manager of the Buy More at the time, stumbles on Team Chuck in the middle of a teleconference with one of the generals. With aplomb rarely seen from this character, Casey convinces him that Casey thinks Tang has always been aware of spies operating out of the store, the CIA is impressed by Tang's analytical skill, and the transfer to Hawaii is a chance for Tang to have his own career as a spy. In reality, Tang stumbled on them by accident, Casey is the sort of person who would gladly kill Tang if he thought it was easiest, and he still doesn't know the really important secret.
    • This incident gets kind of a nasty Call Back in the third season with Harry's even more unlikable replacement, Emmett is written off the show and Casey tells Chuck with a smirk that he was transferred to a Buy More in another state. Actually, as seen by the audience, he was killed by a Ring assassin.
  • John Curtis, A.K.A. The Replicator, of Season 8 of Criminal Minds turns out to be a FBI agent who took the fall for the failings of the Amerithrax case of 2001 along with Alex Blake for Erin Strauss. It's revealed that part of his punishment was a reassignment to the field office in Kansas.
  • Degrassi: Combined this with Dropped a Bridge on Him when Dan Woods left the show - Raditch was reassigned after the school shooting.
  • Due South: Constable Benton Fraser ends up stationed in Chicago because no one in his chain of command wants him.
  • Enlightened: Cogentiva, the sub-basement where Amy Jellicoe is reassigned.
  • Fargo: The two FBI agents who allowed the Fargo massacre to happen right under their noses are reassigned to work in the file room. A year later, they're still there.
  • Father Ted:
    • Seems to be the point of the Craggy Island parish.
    • But the money was just resting in his account...and Bishop Brennan would've sent them to somewhere even worse after their failed protest in "the Passion of St Tibulus" if they hadn't managed to blackmail their way out of it.
  • The Good Guys: The basic premise. Detective Stark is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander Cowboy Cop who can't be fired because of his heroic exploits back in the eighties. Detective Bailey was a young up-and-comer who decided to correct the Lieutenant's grammar. The season pilot had them searching for a broken humidifier, and it's gone downhill from there. This is despite all the important cases they accidentally close, due to a string of bad luck and embarrassments along the way.
  • Hogan's Heroes:
    • Colonel Klink was often threatened with a transfer to the Eastern Front.
    • Stalag 13 itself is a form of this trope, as none of the other senior-level German officers on Hogan's Heroes take Klink (or his assignment) anywhere nearly as seriously as Klink takes himself. Klink, Schultz, and presumably most of the other guards are WWI veterans too old for frontline assignments. In fact, the only reason Klink's general incompetence hasn't been discovered is that Hogan and the rest of the prisoners contrive to keep him around (as a more competent commandant would discover their sabotage/espionage activities). The Eastern Front is more a case of From Bad to Worse...particularly for any troops who find themselves under Klink's command.
  • Home Improvement: In one episode, Tim is dreading a bowling game with a Binford higher-up after being told by the latter's wife that the last guy who beat him was transferred to Pakistan. Eventually, Tim mentions this to him...who explains that said employee was his wife's brother who had been embezzling from the company. Tim is relieved...until the guy insists on staying until he wins...
    Bud: [After Tim mentions being "tired"] Did my wife tell you what happened to the vice president who threw the game?
    Tim: Wearing a turban?
    Bud: Fez.
  • It Ain't Half Hot Mum: Sgt Major Williams's constant threats to have the Concert Party "posted up the jungle"
  • JAG: Admiral Chegwidden hints at the possibility in "We the People":
    Lieutenant JGs don't joke with admirals, son, it could get him transferred to a supply ship in the Aleutians. Joking is strictly an admiral's privilege only.
  • Justified:
    • In the pilot, US Marshal Raylan Givens kills a vicious cartel thug in broad daylight in a busy Miami restaurant. The shooting is publicly deemed justified since the criminal drew his gun first but Raylan's bosses are aware that previous to the shooting he gave the thug 24 hours to leave town or be shot. If the press got hold of this information, it would look extremely bad for the US Marshal Service so Raylan is transferred to the Lexington, Kentucky office. While this is not really a bad posting, Raylan was born in Harlan County, Kentucky and would rather not go back home and have to once again have to deal with the messed up family situation he left behind. In season 4 he is warned that if he tries to pull the same stunt with Detroit mobster Nicky Augustine, there will be no more transfers and he will be kicked out of the Marshals.
    • In season 3 Detroit mobster Robert Quarles preemptively volunteers to get reassigned to Kentucky. He has a nasty habit of beating up and torturing male prostitutes and his adopted father and mob boss Theo Tonin is no longer willing to tolerate this behaviour. Before he gets involuntarily reassigned or maybe even killed, he hatches a plan to use Kentucky as a new source of illegal prescription drugs and convinces Theo of its merits. However, when Quarles' plans go awry and he becomes increasingly unstable, Theo permanently exiles him from Detroit and puts a bounty on his head.
  • Just Shoot Me!: when Finch blows up at Jack, he gets reassigned to the "downtown" office, a dingy, windowless office occasionally rattled by the passing subway, whose supervisor was Jack's previous assistant.
  • Kyle XY: Played with. When Nicole asks Stephen if he was able to get a creepy security guard reassigned to Alaska.
  • Law & Order: After Mike Logan punches a politician in the face, he gets transferred to Staten Island, which is as close to Antarctica as the City of New York gets (both literally and figuratively). He eventually comes to refer to his job as "finding stolen lawnmowers", a far cry from his original position with his Manhattan homicide unit.
  • Lois and Clark: Lois and Clark hesitate to publish a boxing scandal, out of fear that Dr. Sam Lane will be targeted for reprisal. Perry isn't amused; he assigns Lois to cover the Metropolis Auto Show. As for Clark...
    Clark: Police Academy graduation.
    Lois: Nice.
  • Mad Men:
    • Englishman Lane Price, just settling into New York, narrowly avoids being reassigned to Bombay.
    • Inverted in season 6 where a number of the characters want to be reassigned to satellite offices in Detroit and Los Angeles rather than keeping their key positions in the New York main office. Their personal lives are a mess and they want a fresh start. These are partners and senior executives who would lose a lot of power by being reassigned but would gain a lot of independence in return.
  • Mash:
    • Major Winchester is reassigned to the 4077th M* A* S* H as a punishment for beating his commanding officer at cards.
    • Not like the other examples here, though. Winchester came to the 4077 thinking it was only for one surgery he had expertise in. However, with Frank Burns gone, Potter needed a replacement and managed to convince Winchester's CO to transfer him permanently. If not for Burns not staying and for Potter's persistence, the CO wouldn't have re-assigned Winchester anywhere regardless of being beaten at cards.
      • No, but acting like a smirking bastard after he beat his CO at cards didn't help his case any. It wasn't the cards but the arrogance that tipped the balance.
    • An early episode had Hawkeye and Trapper raising a fuss after discovering that a South Korean village was destroyed by American artillery fire. A general comes to the 4077th and tells them that he could easily transfer them to a front line aid station if they don't stop.
  • The Middleman: People who have the potential to become Middlemen, but screw up, have a tendency to be reassigned to Greenland.
  • Midsomer Murders: After the conclusion of the case in "Secrets and Spies", one of the characters, an Obstructive Bureaucrat, is sent to the Arctic to monitor shipping traffic in the Northwest Passage.
  • NCIS: In one episode, when Gibbs catches Abby and McGee slacking off in the lab:
    Gibbs: "You two finished playing grabass, or do I need to transfer McGee to a weather station in Antarctica?"
  • Night Court:
    • In one episode, Assistant DA Dan Fielding- who was in the US Army Reserves - was called into duty, told only that he was being sent into a war zone. Dan was prepared with fake medical records and crutches to prove he was unfit for combat duty. His tune changed when his commanding officer showed up with his orders - said commanding officer being an Action Girl and said orders involving going undercover with her, posing as a couple, doing reconnaissance in some tropical paradise turned Banana Republic. When Dan's Bumbling Sidekick Phil shows up pretending to be Dan's boyfriend (Plan B) and Dan's plan to disobey orders is exposed, he is reassigned to the Arctic Circle to help give physicals to polar bears.
    • This is probably an Actor Allusion to Laroquette's previous role as Captain Stillman in Stripes.
  • Nowhere Man: Nowhere Man's only ally was transferred from his FBI post in Washington to Alaska.
  • Oz: Father Ray Mukada was assigned to Oswald Maximum Security Prison "to learn humility" (i.e. because he questioned the conservative views of his powerful patron, Cardinal Francis Abgott).
  • Person of Interest: Cal Beecher got dangerously close to discovering his godfather's role as head of HR. The first suggestion on how to deal with him was a promotion to a quiet post in upstate New York. His godfather didn't hesitate to simply kill Cal instead.
  • Revolution: Defied Trope in episode 8. Seems when Monroe wants to punish someone without outright killing them, he sends them on expeditions to California — Tom Neville comments on how "those heathens" tend to send their people back "in a box". Then again, Neville shows signs of being The Fundamentalist, so likely anyone who doesn't think exactly as he does would be regarded as a heathen. More than likely California is sending back Monroe's people dead to send a message to Monroe not to get any ideas. Jason Neville was going to be sent to California, but Tom Neville used embarrassing information on Colonel John Faber and a promise to keep a better eye on his son to convince Monroe to let Jason stay.
  • Scrubs: Dr. Cox was temporarily reassigned to helping at the prison after he interrupted Dr. Kelso's Breaking Speech to Elliott (in an attempt by Kelso to Break the Cutie) with an unexpected punch to the face. Although shortlived, it still caused Dr. Cox plenty of grief, especially since it took away from his time with his young son.
  • Small Wonder: Inverted Trope. Vicky's inventor and one of his co-workers are vying for a promotion. Co-worker's daughter secretly makes suggestions to Vicky to make his competitor look bad. Vicky takes the suggestions quite literally, and the co-worker wins the promotion. And then it turns out to be a transfer to Iceland.
  • Spooks: A traffic police officer was reassigned to Orkney after trying to impound one of the agents' cars.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • Could be the Trope Namer. After disobeying orders in Afghanistan, Major Sheppard is literally reassigned to Antarctica: sent to McMurdo as a helicopter taxi driver. Of course, he's The Hero of the show. Reassignment Backfire within the first half of the show's pilot and a one-way ticket to the lost city of Atlantis.
    • And McKay, who later became Atlantis' chief science officer, appeared on SG-1 and was reassigned to Siberia to work on a Naquadah generator they were developing for failing at empathy and tact (and thinking he was better than Sam Carter). He's gotten better (comparatively) at those things since he got to Atlantis.
    • A CIA Agent acquaintance of Colonel Jack O'Neill named Burke ended up being sent to Honduras as a form of exile because he allegedly turned traitor. In actuality, he took the fall to cover up his fellow agent, Woods' true status as a traitor (as well as having to kill Woods for it out of self defense) in order to ensure that Cindy Woods, Woods' wife, got the pension after his death, so in this particular case, the reason is because of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Once O'Neill learns the full truth, he promises to get Burke transferred to a better place.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • When contemplating his return to power, Gul Dukat decides to transfer the younger officer who stole his wife to the Cardassian embassy on Breen, even adding "I hear it's bitter cold on Breen."
    • Dukat himself fell victim to this after he rescued his half-Bajoran daughter Ziyal - he went from a high-ranking military advisor to the Cardassian government to the commander of an insignificant cargo hauler due to the political scandal.
    • This is also the reason that Garak lives on Deep Space 9.
      • To add extra insult, the head of the Obsidian Order, the intelligence service/Secret Police force that exiled Garak, was Garak's father.
    • Early episodes of DS9 imply that Major Kira was given her post on the station because she was kind of a pain in the ass for the provisional government.
  • The Tonight Show: On Jay Leno's last show, Barack Obama says in a taped message that he has no grudge over all the jokes Leno made about him — and on an unrelated note, Obama makes him the U.S. ambassador to Antarctica.
  • The West Wing: When Charlie takes a little too much amusement from President Bartlet's transparent attempts to get some afternoon delight from his wife, Bartlet suggests that he should wipe that smirk off his face or he'll send him on special assignment to the Yukon.
  • White Collar: This show does this with Burke, who after rescuing Neal at the beginning of Season 4 is investigated by the higher-ups and assigned to the evidence locker—a.k.a "the Cave"—pending the results.
  • The Wire:
    • Happens in order to show how messed up internal politics can become in the police force.
    • The Major Crimes Unit itself is something of a subversion — it's widely seen as a waste of time, and a lot of departments see it as a way to get rid of dead weight, hence the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits main cast. But several of the detectives absolutely love having the chance to follow an in-depth case with minimal supervision, and fight to remain in the unit when their superiors try to recall them.
    • At the start of the show, Lester Freamon had been working in the pawnshop unit (a monotonous, no-progression desk job) for thirteen years and four months as a punishment for exposing corruption. The job was such a joke that he spent most of his day making doll furniture. He warns McNulty about what to do when someone asks you "Where do you want to go?", knowing that the same thing will inevitably happen to him.
    • After Jimmy McNulty steps on too many toes, his boss asks him what detail he does not want to get transferred to. His attempt at Reverse Psychology is seen through effortlessly, and he's stuck where he least wants to be — on a boat, on harbour detail.
    • Subverted Trope later when both Santangelo and McNulty are demoted to Patrolmen for various reasons, but actually prefer it.
    • The gangsters do this too. As punishment for his reckless shooting prior to the pilot episode, D'Angelo is moved from the high-profile, high-income tower projects to the low rises across town.
  • The X-Files:
    • Mulder and Scully's assignment on the X-files is "outside the Bureau mainstream", and there are the many times when somebody tries to undermine their efforts.
    • Mulder's office is in the basement and has no windows and no heat. He lacks respect for what he does and is the Bureau's laughing stock, being called "Spooky" Mulder, though that nickname was originally given for his uncanny profiling skills. However, he is there by his own choice, happy that he can do as much and feeling angsty only because he thinks the threats he’s investigating (things like genetically changed mutant serial killers and upcoming alien invasion) should be taken a little more seriously.
    • Scully is assigned to the X-Files division to debunk Mulder's work, but she eventually gets just as involved as he is. While she garners a little more respect than Mulder, being a more by-the-book agent and a professor at the Academy, it's not much more. Her colleagues call her "Mrs. Spooky".
    • In the season 1 finale, the X-Files division is shut down and the season 2 opener has Mulder put on a regular, tedious assignment, transcribing surveillance tapes, while Scully returned to teach at the Quantico Academy. AD Skinner managed to assign him on a weird case in "Host" (s02e02) involving a fluke man. Mulder thought working in a sewer was meant to be even more humiliating and more of a punishment, but Skinner later admitted that “it should have been an X-File”.
    • At the beginning of The X-Files: Fight the Future which follows season 5 in the Myth Arc, the X-Files are closed and the FBI even tries to split Mulder and Scully up as partners. Scully is transferred to Utah and she actually resigns the Bureau but re-joins it at the end of the movie.
    • In the first half of season 6, the X-Files are lead by Agent Spender who doesn't care a bit about the cases and by Agent Fowley who is a rat collaborating with the conspiracy. Mulder and Scully investigate domestic terrorism and do routine background checks which they both view as humiliation. Good that Mulder gets them to freelance with several off-side projects.
      Mulder: Running down people that buy fertilizer? This is scut work, bozo work. The FBI equivalent of being made to wear an orange jumpsuit and pick up trash by the side of the highway.
    • When Mulder is found after his abduction in season 8, nobody is too keen on having him back on the X-Files or at the Bureau. In "Vienen", he's kicked out of the FBI for good.
  • Yes, Minister:
    • The only threat that will shake Sir Humphrey Appleby, a very slick career civil servant, is that of reassignment to the Vehicle Licensing Board in Swansea. Which is both far from London, the centre of power and, well, in Swansea.
    • Other career killing dead ends used to frighten Humphrey, Bernard and other civil servants include Agriculture and Fisheries, the War Graves Commission and the British Embassy in Israel.
    • Another episode has senior military and civil service types terrified of the prospect of military postings and units being moved Oop North, because while a lot of the actual military stuff is based and happens in the north, all the nice cushy things that they and their wives enjoy like Harrods and Wimbledon are down in the south.
    • In The Bishop's Gambit we learn that the Bishopric of Truro is reserved for extremely irritating Anglican priests (by which we mean "priests who actually believe in God"), on the grounds that it is "very remote." (It's in Cornwall).

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