There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Live-Action TV
- Happens a few times.
- A person witnessing Airwolf's firepower for the first time exclaims "God in Heaven!!!", to which Stringfellow Hawke replies "Yeah..."
- Most notably, in the pilot episode, where String completely empties Airwolf's missile reserves on Moffett.
Dom: "String. It's done."
- The other majorly notable example is when he opens fire on the corrupt sheriff in the episode Sweet Britches.
Kate: "You can't leave! You just blew up half the cowboys in town!"
- Arrow: When Sara is Killed Off for Real in the Season 3 premiere "The Calm", the writers apparently wanted to leave absolutely no doubt that this was the case — three arrows to the chest, followed by falling off a roof onto their head. Plus a Word of God confirmation that yes, Sara really is dead this time.
- The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake from 1990, depicting a major earthquake that destroys Los Angeles and kills millions:
- Chad Spaulding (Joe Spano), a ruthless building official who is trying to disgrace the movie's main protagonist, is electrocuted while attempting to escape from the United States Geological Survey's safety bunker beneath city hall ... after which his body is crushed beneath tons of office furniture, which come crashing down as the ceiling collapses.
- Numerous residents are shown being killed as they are crushed beneath falling walls, and are either electrocuted and/or burned to death as the rubble explodes into flames.
- Boardwalk Empire:
- Frank is gunned down by a small army of men, a couple of whom are using shotguns, all of whom empty their weapons into him. It's like a Roaring Twenties version of Murphy's death from RoboCop (1987).
- In season 3, rival crime boss Gyp Rosetti puts out a hit on Nucky Thompson by blowing up an entire restaurant on the Atlantic City boardwalk in the hopes that Nucky would walk inside in time. It instead claims the lives of everyone who was already dining inside and numerous bystanders, including Nucky's mistress Billie Kent. Rossetti's backer Joe Masseria later chews him out about this pointless massacre.
- The Borgias: There's the delightful murder of Giovanni Sforza. Cesare not only stabs him repeatedly—forcing the point of the knife from his chest to his throat while he's still alive—but proceeds to carve from his waistline back to his chest in attempt to find his heart. Then again, Sforza totally deserved it. And Cesare did promise Lucrezia Sforza's heart on a dinner plate.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Random Translator Guy: Isn't that kind of... overkill?Spike: No, I think it's just enough kill!
- Includes this scene, when Spike suggests sending the Order of Tarraka after Buffy:
- The episode Innocence gives us The Judge, a demon that prophesy said "no weapon forged may kill him." So Buffy's friends sneak into a military base and steal a rocket launcher. Which may not have actually killed him, but it definitely dismembered him again.
- Criminal Minds:
- A common characteristic of the more disturbed unsubs.
- Judging from what Morgan says when he bursts in at the climax of "100," Hotch seems to have done this to Foyet. With his bare hands.
- There was one unsub whose MO was clubbing the victim to death with anything he could get his hands on (up to a half-dozen different things) then stabbing them a ridiculous number of times, increasing the stab count with each subsequent victim. He was a delusional schizophrenic with insomnia. The only way he could sleep and make the voices stop was exhausting himself through the sheer amount of effort it takes to stab someone thirty or forty times.
- One episode involved a guy shot so many times that you could see straight through him. It turned out to be an accident.
- "Ending Happy" had the victim suffer anaphylactic shock, having an arrow shot through his throat, getting his head bashed in with a crowbar, and suffering poisoning from rattlesnake venom. His cause of death? Drowning, when the chair he was sitting in broke and he fell into a pool.
- Deadliest Warrior:
- Tends to make this an Averted Trope, with the weapon demonstrating how much it would take to kill someone, and that's all (generally one or two hits from edged weapons and spears). A few times, the experts went all-out.
- Yakuza vs. Mafia: To test the M1921 Thompson with a 50-round drum against a Sten Mk II with a 32-round magazine, they set up two scenarios: the Mafia shooter would empty the Tommy Gun at five dummies with blood packs and clothing in a mockup of an Italian restaurant, while the Yakuza shooter got a mockup of a Japanese marketplace with four dummies standing around fruit crates. Both targets were gunned down: one dummy took 10 rounds from the Sten, and the Thompson tore the restaurant to shreds. It was a very literal bloodbath. Earlier in the episode, he fired the drum at a standing dummy. The entire front of the dummy fell off.
- Shaolin Monk vs. Maori Warrior: The monk's most powerful weapon, the hook swords, were used in a beautiful demonstration by one of the team's experts on a pig carcass, chopping the pig in half with quick but deadly cuts. When the other expert got his hands on Emei piercers, he took out a gel dummy head with several double stabs to the jaw and temples. He then pulled out the dummy's eyes. Was he done? Nope. He just flipped the piercers to the non-eyed ends and literally turned the head inside-out. The show staff was understandably slightly frightened and disturbed.
- Navy SEAL vs. Israeli Commando: After a fairly vicious demonstration of the commando's knife which was pretty damn impressive in its own right, one of the SEAL experts turned his three-inch blade on the gel dummy and went berserk. In the space of about fifteen seconds, the dummy was disemboweled, disarmed (literally), decapitated, disemboweled some more, and finally stabbed through the heart via its neck-stump. He used a three-inch knife to do to the gel torso what most people would need a sword to do.
- Doctor Who:
- Has had several examples:
- In "A Good Man Goes to War" the Doctor destroys an entire Cyber-fleet simply to make a point. In fact, not even to make a point; he was simply telling them to do what Rory said.
- One of the major backstory points since the series was revived in 2005 is that in order to end the Last Great Time War, the Doctor destroyed not only the entire Dalek Empire, but his race the Time Lords, too.
- Although it later become clear that this is actually an aversion of the trope. The Time Lords had gone completely insane and were fighting the war using Eldritch Abominations, and the complete annihilation of everything within the War's Time Lock was the only way to ensure that they could not escape. When the Master begins to open the Lock, the Doctor tells him that the war is literally Hell, ending with "Hell is descending!" For the first (and probably last) time, we see the Master afraid, and we see his rage directed at someone other than the Doctor. (An Oh, Crap moment for Rassilon as his grand plan completely blows up in his face as the Master is finally able to take revenge on the true author of all his suffering.)
- In "The Doctor Dances" he implicitly takes credit for destroying the weapons factories at Villengard. Apparently the reactor just happened to go critical and vaporised the entire place. And now there's a banana grove where it stood.
- And in "Journey's End" the Daleks plan to destroy the entire multiverse.
- Engine Sentai Go-onger:
- The Humongous Mecha EngineOh G12 has way too much overkill for its finishers. First, it can shoot GoRoader GT at the opponent, then launch energy attacks of its four component robotsnote , then steamroll the enemy which it usually far overshadows. The finale has nearly all of that, plus G12 turning into a phoenix for a flying attack.
- It's a robot combined from twelve sentient cars/trains/aircraft. "Overkill" was about five mecha ago, and is pretty much the raison d'être for all of Power Rangers' Humongous Mecha finishing moves. Even moreso with the annual Ultrazord "all of them together" formation.
- Surpassed in the final episode of Power Rangers RPM, in which the Gold and Silver Rangers take out Venjix by dropping the city's command center on him! And he wasn't even giant sized! Not bad for the last monster defeat of the Disney-owned era.
- Overkill was used in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers to destroy the enemy mecha Cyclopsis: every formation the Zords had was combined and its Finishing Move deployed against it. However, it was also the first of many times the series was intended to end. The fans were getting to see every Megazord formation one last time. In-universe, it had a good reason: Cyclopsis's computer couldn't adapt to new opponents very quickly, and that many changes in rapid succession caused its computer to freeze, allowing the most powerful form, the Ultrazord, to finish it off.
- Kamen Rider Kuuga:
- Kuuga gets this with any Finishing Move at the Rising level and above. The first time he used the Rising Mighty Kick caused a nuclear sized explosion. And when he goes Amazing Mighty, he gets even more so. And then there's what Ultimate Form can do...
- By the last ten episodes, the cops are having to clear huge areas of the city before giving Kuuga the all-clear to use his more powerful attacks. He has to keep the monster busy but not use his best tricks lest he vaporize everybody four or five miles away.
- Kamen Rider Ryuki:
- Good old Kamen Rider Zolda and The End of The World. It's a collision of More Dakka, Beam Spam and a Macross Missile Massacre with no survivors... at least that's the idea. As awesomely destructive as it is, it takes a while to set up and is often dodged, so it never actually takes out any other Rider (unless you count Ojah's Kill Steal against Gai). In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, Torque manages to increase the kill (or in Kamen Rider Dragon Knight terms, "vent") count to one.
- As his American counterpart Kamen Rider Torque puts it, "A little collateral damage, but what the heck?"
- In the first season, Mantrid takes a disliking to humanity and decides that it (and the protagonists in particular) have to go. To that end he uses small self-replicating spaceflight-capable robots called Mantrid Drones to convert over 60% of the entire universe's mass into drones and then has all of them converge on our heroes, dragging the rest of the universe's mass along via the drones' gravitational attraction and setting off a universe-ending Big Crunch. When Kai, in a radio conversation with Mantrid, asks "isn't this overkill?" Mantrid responds: "Overkill? It is my style. I think... big."
- To a lesser extent (and only lesser with something like that for comparison), the Lexx itself often employs overkill. For example:
- When Lexx was first constructed its purpose was to serve as a terror weapon to subdue a large group of Heretic worlds by blowing up a few examples and forcing the rest to fall into line, a la the Death Star. When it came time for His Divine Shadow to select which Heretic worlds to target, however, He declared that the targets would be "all of them." Fortunately the Lexx was stolen before this could be carried out.
- In the miniseries episode "Eating Patterns" the ship has a large alien creature clinging to its hull that it wants to get rid of, so it fired its planet-exploding weapon at a nearby planet (which exploded) simply to generate a convenient asteroid that Lexx could fly past to "scrape" it off.
- The planet-exploding weapon has also been fired at full strength against small spacecraft with crews of less than a dozen. (Lexx was intended to be a specialized ship accompanied by a supporting warfleet and so has no smaller weapons of its own for such situations.)
- In an even more restrained example of extreme overkill, Stanley had Lexx dial down its weapon to its absolute minimum power level to assassinate a single person who was at a known location on a planet's surface. Lexx, unused to such finesse, misses its target by a wide margin and instead blows up an entire unrelated city. Lexx's response was something along the lines of "oops."
- Wasn't he purposely given incorrect coordinates by the Magnificent Bastard he was trying to kill?
- LOST: In the first season, a character is killed by six shots from a man he temporarily killed. On a recent episode, a character empties an entire clip from his pistol into someone who'd done something to him, then stands there and pulls the trigger a couple more times before being told to stop.
- Malcolm in the Middle: During one episode, Hal has been followed by the last living bee of the beehive he took honey from. At the end of the episode, the bee ends up chasing him in the car to which Hal decides to crash his car against a wall to squash the bee.
- Monk: Has a notable episode titled "Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy," in which a killer takes out a victim by hitting him in the back of the head with a crowbar, suffocating him with plastic, poisoning him, stabbing him, shooting him, and then running over his body with a car. It turns out this murder was a massive Red Herring to get the authorities entirely focused off a woman he'd also killed so that way they would not perform an autopsy on her, as doing so before the contents were naturally emptied would lead them to discovering evidence that could eventually point back to him.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus:
Hank: Well, I follow the moth in the helicopter to lure it away from the flowers, and then Roy comes along in the Lockheed Starfighter and attacks it with air-to-air missiles.
- Has a sketch spoofing hunting, involving an egomaniac who hunts "tiny, inoffensive insects" using military hardware:
Roy: A lot of people have asked us why we don't use fly spray. Well, where's the sport in that?
- The two of them had just been shown going "mosquito hunting", which involved firing a bazooka at the mosquito from a distance, then shooting at it using a machine gun, and finally firing several shots at point blank range using a riflenote . They also "skin" it by using a bowie knife to cut off its wings. And the skit closes with the two sitting on top of a tank looking for their next quarry.
- A different skit in that episode had a ratcatcher using a submachine gun.
- The Mantra: "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing". So many a myth gets ramped up to somehow include a test done with explosives. Sometimes hundreds of pounds of it. Or if the myth is about firearms, they go straight to the minigun. Notable ones:
- "Cement Removal," in which they packed a cement mixer they accidentally overfilled with hardened cement with so much explosives that the entire truck essentially disappeared. It had pissed them off. They set up in an abandoned quarry and the FBI had to close a highway that was too close for comfort.
- And yet, in their shopping special they went to a junkyard where the vehicles they use in the myths that are rendered inoperative are sent to, they showed some of the remains of that first cement mixer's drum with the cement still in it. Given that in the same special, they mention using four cement trucks during the course of the episode, and they called the truck they blew up "one last truck", it's almost certain the cement truck they actually blew up wasn't the one they'd overfilled earlier. (That, and they needed room in the truck for 800 pounds of ANFO.)
- Notably, this was their first real example of ramping it up, and was done several months after they had filmed the myth. When editing for airing the producer felt it lacked a good ending so they came up with the idea to film a massive explosion, easily accounting for the discrepancy in which truck was actually destroyed.
- "Shooting Fish in a Barrel," - having proven that the shockwave of a handgun shot was enough to kill the fish, bringing in the aforementioned minigun at that point was superfluous.
- There's an episode where they tested the theory that one could decimate trees with guns. After trying two different guns, they used a combat vehicle mounted minigun. Not only did it topple the tree, it set it on fire. Awesome.
- Technically that wasn't overkill as they had already proven that lesser firearms (namely, a Thompson submachine gun and a .223 high-powered rifle) wouldn't be able to cut down a tree.
- Let's also not forget the "Tree Cannon" myth: Six ounces of black powder and a loosely-fitting marble cannonball don't destroy the cannon? How about five pounds of black powder and a tightly-fitting aluminum plug? (This was probably the most spectacular explosion of the first season.)
- The Rocket Sled used to pancake a subcompact car: A metal plate attached to a two-stage rocket sled going almost the speed of sound impacted with a car propped up against a 5 inch metal plate and a concrete wall, causing the car to vaporizenote .
Jamie: So our goal was to fuse metal and pancake the car. Did we achieve that? ...what car?
- Forget the car. The impact bent the 5 inch thick plate into a twisted mass, cracked the concrete wall, and deposited it about a dozen or more feet from its starting point.
- The episode where they're testing "pouring water on grease fires" and the resulting fireballs. As a finale, and a measure of what amount of water can put out a grease fire, Adam surprises Jamie by introducing a firefighter helicopter flying over the ridge to dump hundreds of gallons of water.
- Parks and Recreation: Deleted Scene from the pilot:
Leslie: Mayor Havlicek was mayor when I was a kid. He was sort of an old-school character. He died in a small plane accident, when he was thrown out in handcuffs at twenty thousand feet. After being shot in the face.
- Revolution: As revealed in a flashback in "Ghosts", Randall Flynn got the DoD to use the nanites to knock the power out for the entire world just to stop the war in Afghanistan - see Well-Intentioned Extremist. It's not indicated whether Randall intended to shut down the whole world, or just Afghanistan, and permanently or not. "The Dark Tower" has Aaron Pittman explaining to the Mathesons that he found out that someone deliberately programmed the nanites to shut down power worldwide, and not just Afghanistan.
- Sledgehammer: This is the everyday philosophy of Cowboy Cop Sledge Hammer!!, who thinks nothing of stopping a sniper by blowing up the building with a rocket launcher.
- Soap: In the first season of this 70s Sitcom, Peter Campbell was shot, stabbed, strangled, suffocated and bludgeoned. So the Chief of Police is certain that it wasn't a suicide and that somebody wanted him dead.
- Stargate Verse
- Stargate Atlantis:
- In one episode, Genii commander Ladon Radim stages a coup d'état against Commander Cowen, who has holed up in a virtual fortress, surrounded by a nigh unopposable force of loyalists. He gets rid of the lot of them by detonating a hidden nuke nearby. He IS the Genii's chief scientific officer, after all; he made it himself.
- Also from SGA: the war against the Asurans. First, the Horizon. Six 280 gigaton nukes. It wasn't enough, given the Asurans' nature. Then they killed them over by turning their planet into an asteroid field. For sake of comparison, that's over 13 million times the yield of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, for each of the Horizon's bombs.
- During the destruction of Asuras, two drones blew an Asuran battlecruiser in half. During the battle of Antarctica in Stargate SG-1, Anubis took a drone to the sort-of face, courtesy of O'Neill.
- He survived, though, being half-ascended. It was only his shell that was destroyed.
- Stargate SG-1:
- The Ancients have built a weapon that can not only wipe out life on an entire planet in a single shot, but do the same for the entire galaxy provided the Stargates are all connected. One of them also built a weapon designed to literally kill gods (or rather ascended beings). It works. Within the confines of a single galaxy, that is.
- Also, Samantha Carter blew up a fleet with a supernova.
- Stargate Atlantis:
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- In order to deal with the Founders, a joint Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar fleet planned to moved in to blow away their home planet's crust and mantle. According to The Other Wiki, on an Earth-like planet, that constitutes 84% of planet's volume, just to get to a bunch of people that would mostly be on the surface.
- Makes sense in context: the people they were trying to kill were a race of shapeless gelatin-like life-forms who could potentially slip into the cracks underneath the surface. However, the combined fleet did negligible damage to them; but that was because they weren't actually there. Then 100-200 Jem'Hadar fighters show up... Really they underkilled that one.
- In the episode Apocalyspe Rising, the crew believes that Gowron is a Changeling impersonator and are sent to his base of operations to expose him. It turns out that it was his second in command, Martok, who was trying to trick Sisko and company into killing Gowron for him so he could seize power and make the Federation think the Changeling threat in the Klingon Empire had been eliminated. In the ensuing struggle Sisko shoots the Changeling with a disruptor, prompting almost every other Klingon in the room to do the same. The barrage of energy weapons causes the Changeling to explode.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode Skin of Evil, to keep Armus from using a crashed shuttlecraft to escape the planet, they drop a photon torpedo on it... whose explosion can be seen from high orbit.
- Walker, Texas Ranger:
- Pulls this on a few occasions.
- In one episode, Walker is fighting a Curbstomp Battle against a genetic superhuman who won't go down. He's survived a full round of bullets to the chest, several beatdowns, and has the might to snap a neck with one punch. How does he die? He's drenched with kerosene, set ablaze, and then falls through a window into an explosives storage bay.
- The Grand Finale, "The Final Show/Down" has Hayes Cooper pitted against Milos Lavocat, an old enemy who survived a Native American scalping. He believes because of this, he can't die. He takes a hit from Cooper's service revolver, shakes it off, and boasts his claim straight to Cooper's face after kidnapping his wife and child. Cooper proceeds to unload the rest of his bullets on Lavocat, killing him on the spot. He asked for it, didn't he?
- Recurs later in the finale, when Ross Dollarhide is closing in on Gage with a fireman's axe. Gage unloads his gun into Dollarhide, but he just won't go down. Out of bullets, Gage screams at the sight of the falling axe- then the criminal topples over, stone cold dead.
- The Wire: after Omar (a gangster who only steals from drug dealers and other gangsters) and his gang rob a stash house of the fearsome Barksdale criminal empire, the Barksdales respond by quickly tracking down two members of the gang and inflicting some serious overkill on them. In the first case, the body of Omar's accomplice is found surrounded by over 40 spent shell casings, (not one of which was fired by him) and Omar's lover Brandon gets horrifically tortured to death. While the full details of the torture are never revealed, at the very least it involved mutilation, being cut to pieces, burned with cigarettes and having an eye ripped out. And then his body is left out in the open to send a message the neighborhood.
Detective McNulty: Jesus, they must have killed this kid 4 or 5 times.
Other Detective: Cut him open in a dozen places, burned him with cigarettes... goddamn torture fest is what it was.
- Supernatural: Lampshaded. The traditional way to kill an okami is to stab it seven times with a bamboo dagger blessed by a Shinto priest. Rufus attempts this when hunting one in one episode, but forgets the number and "only" stabs it 5 times. Later, Bobby kills it for real by shoving it into a woodchopper, leading to this exchange:
Bobby: It's dead.
Rufus: Oh, you just happened to have a bamboo dagger blessed by a Shinto priest lying around?
Rufus: Woodchipper. That pretty much trumps... everything.