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* ''Series/FargoSeasonThree'': V.M. Varga, seeking to assert his control over Emmit Stussey following the death of Emmit's brother Ray, has Meemo kill two men named Stussy in St. Cloud and Eden Valley in ways that mimic the deaths of Ennis and Ray. He does this to make it seem like all four were killed by a serial killer and, in doing so, voids Emmit's confession to his brother's death. He even hires a willing patsy who "confesses" to the whole thing.

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* ''Series/FargoSeasonThree'': V.M. Varga, seeking to assert his control over Emmit Stussey following the death of Emmit's brother Ray, has Meemo kill two men named Stussy in St. Cloud and Eden Valley in ways that mimic the deaths of Ennis and Ray. He does this to make it seem like all four were killed by a very unusual serial killer and, in doing so, voids Emmit's confession to his brother's death. He even hires a willing patsy who "confesses" to the whole thing.


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* ''Series/Daredevil2015'':
**In "Condemned", Wilson Fisk needs to have Detective Christian Blake eliminated because he leaked secrets to Matt Murdock under duress. He has an ESU sniper take a position on a rooftop overlooking a scene where Blake and Hoffman are overseeing a hostage standoff caused by Matt overpowering a rookie police officer who caught him holed up with Vladimir. If just Blake gets shot, the police will comb through every aspect of his life and career to find a potential motive for why someone would want to kill him, and will eventually find his connection. So the sniper also shoots two uniformed cops nearby, making it look like Blake was randomly targeted, and heads off deeper inquiries.
**Dex's attack on the ''Bulletin'' on Fisk's orders in "The Devil You Know" has a bit of this happening. He's dressed up in a Daredevil costume so that Matt's reputation is destroyed, as is Karen's credibility. During the attack, while he kills a bunch of Karen's coworkers, as well as wound Matt, Foggy, and her boss, the main target is Jasper Evans, who Fisk wants eliminated so he can't tell the public how [[FalseFlagOperation Fisk hired him to shank him]].

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* ''Series/{{Marcella}}'': The series 1 killer is this. [[spoiler:Henry Gibson only intended to kill Grace]] but covers it up by killing others to impersonate the plastic bag killer.

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* ''Series/ForensicFiles'': "Postal Mortem" and "Something's Fishy" both feature killers diverting attention from their main targets by killing additional people.


* In the ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' fic ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/3282027/1/Does-One-Kiss-Change-Everything Does One Kiss Change Everything?]]'', Lois and Chloe explicitly use ''The ABC Murders'' as an example when investigating murders committed by Wallace Echolls, a meteor freak with the ability to phase through solid objects who killed multiple victims to ensure he wouldn't be suspected of murdering his parents for the inheritance. When he tries to kill Lois after she identifies him as the guilty party, Clark captures Wallace and traps him in the Phantom Zone.



* In ''Film/HollowMan2'', the direct-to-video sequel to ''Film/HollowMan'', a politician used the fruits of the research from the first movie to turn a SociopathicSoldier into an invisible assassin. The assassin killed off the politician's political rivals, then killed random civilians to make it seem like the work of a serial killer. This is only relevant in the backstory; the main plot revolves around the invisible man becoming even crazier and out of control because of the lethal side effects of the invisibility serum.

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* In ''Film/HollowMan2'', the direct-to-video sequel to ''Film/HollowMan'', a politician used the fruits of the research from the first movie to turn a SociopathicSoldier into an invisible assassin. The assassin killed off the politician's political rivals, then killed random civilians to make it seem like the work of a serial killer. This is only relevant in the backstory; the main plot revolves around the invisible man becoming even crazier and out of control because of the psychologically lethal side effects of the invisibility serum.



* ''Film/MissCongeniality'': This is the BigBad's plan to get away with murdering the winner of the "Miss United States" beauty pageant: they set the whole thing up to look like it was committed by a notorious serial killer calling themselves "The Citizen". Backfires when "The Citizen" is captured by the FBI partway through the film, leaving the villains with nobody to pin their crime on.

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* ''Film/MissCongeniality'': This is the BigBad's plan to get away with murdering the winner of the "Miss United States" beauty pageant: they set the whole thing up to look like it was committed by a notorious serial killer calling themselves "The Citizen". Backfires when "The Citizen" is captured by the FBI partway through the film, leaving the villains with nobody to pin their crime on.improvise a new set of possible notes that would 'frame' other criminals for the attack.



* Played with in ''Film/SilenceOfTheLambs''. The villain ''is'' a SerialKiller, but what he's trying to cover up is the death of his first victim, who is connected to him. He hid her body more thoroughly than his later victims, so it was only discovered after the police had established that a random pattern serial killer was at work.

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* Played with in ''Film/SilenceOfTheLambs''.''Film/TheSilenceOfTheLambs''. The villain ''is'' a SerialKiller, but what he's trying to cover up is the death of his first victim, who is connected to him. He hid her body more thoroughly than his later victims, so it was only discovered after the police had established that a random pattern serial killer was at work.work, thus preventing them realising the relevance of that crime until much later.


* Variation: in ''ComicBook/{{Preacher}}'', Herr Starr is given the task of murdering a man in an insane asylum in such a way that the authorities do not investigate his death too deeply. Being a pragmatic man, Starr simply blows up the entire asylum, so that investigators will have several hundred potential targets to sort through. Rather than a serial killing, it's a mass murder, but the intent is the same.

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* Variation: in ''ComicBook/{{Preacher}}'', Herr Starr is given the task of murdering a man two journalists in an insane asylum in such a way that the authorities do not investigate his death too deeply. Being a pragmatic man, Starr simply blows up the entire asylum, so that investigators will have several hundred potential targets to sort through.through (and to avoid posthumously vindicating the journalists, who were sent to the asylum before they could reveal too much about the Grail). Rather than a serial killing, it's a mass murder, but the intent is the same.

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** A variation in the KGB Beast's first story. The Beast is out to eliminate those involves in a U.S. defense program. Batman and the police are ready for the Beast to strike at one scientist at a dinner party. What they never expect is for the Beast to poison ''the entire party of 80 people'' just to ensure he gets the scientist.

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* Played with in ''Film/SilenceOfTheLambs''. The villain ''is'' a SerialKiller, but what he's trying to cover up is the death of his first victim, who is connected to him. He hid her body more thoroughly than his later victims, so it was only discovered after the police had established that a random pattern serial killer was at work.


* Played with in ''Film/HappyDeathDay''; the killer is trying to eliminate the main protagonist, a college student, and not only does she have no qualms about murdering anyone in her path, but she willingly releases a known serial killer notorious for targeting co-eds from custody to create a fall guy should she succeed and/or to [[BatmanGambit have a backup plan]] should the she fail.

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* Played with in ''Film/HappyDeathDay''; the killer is trying to eliminate the main protagonist, a college student, and not only does she have no qualms about murdering anyone in her path, but she willingly releases a known serial killer notorious for targeting co-eds from custody to create a fall guy should she succeed and/or to [[BatmanGambit have a backup plan]] should the she fail.


* Played with in ''Film/HappyDeathDay''; the killer is trying to eliminate the main protagonist, a college student, and not only does she have no qualms about murdering anyone in her path, but she willingly releases a known serial killer notorious for targeting co-eds from custody to create a fall guy and/or to [[BatmanGambit have a backup plan]] should the she herself fail.

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* Played with in ''Film/HappyDeathDay''; the killer is trying to eliminate the main protagonist, a college student, and not only does she have no qualms about murdering anyone in her path, but she willingly releases a known serial killer notorious for targeting co-eds from custody to create a fall guy should she succeed and/or to [[BatmanGambit have a backup plan]] should the she herself fail. fail.


* Played with, somewhat, in ''Film/HappyDeathDay''; the killer is trying to eliminate the main protagonist, a college student, and in willingly releases a known serial killer from custody to create a fall guy and/or to [[BatmanGambit have a backup plan]] should the killer fail.

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* Played with, somewhat, with in ''Film/HappyDeathDay''; the killer is trying to eliminate the main protagonist, a college student, and not only does she have no qualms about murdering anyone in her path, but she willingly releases a known serial killer notorious for targeting co-eds from custody to create a fall guy and/or to [[BatmanGambit have a backup plan]] should the killer fail.she herself fail.

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* Played with, somewhat, in ''Film/HappyDeathDay''; the killer is trying to eliminate the main protagonist, a college student, and in willingly releases a known serial killer from custody to create a fall guy and/or to [[BatmanGambit have a backup plan]] should the killer fail.


This trope is distinct from the situation of killers having to commit additional murders (e.g. [[HeKnowsTooMuch witnesses and/or blackmailers]]) to get away with the first one after the fact; here, the murderer plans ''right from the start'' to kill the extra victims simply to create a smokescreen. This is a particularly heinous tactic, and is likely to constitute a MoralEventHorizon crossing.

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This trope is distinct from the situation of killers [[CrimeAfterCrime having to commit additional murders murders]] (e.g. [[HeKnowsTooMuch witnesses and/or blackmailers]]) to get away with the first one after the fact; here, the murderer plans ''right from the start'' to kill the extra victims simply to create a smokescreen. This is a particularly heinous tactic, and is likely to constitute a MoralEventHorizon crossing.


* The short story collection ''The Further Adventures of the Joker'' has a tale where, with Batman out of town, Jim Gordon starts seeing a pattern in murders. A singing group called "The Four Aces", a "king of comedy," a "queen of cosmetics," etc. At first, he seems paranoid but as more victims pile up, others realize all these victims are somehow connected to playing cards and thus it has to be the Joker. The final victim is to be the king of a small European nation visiting Gotham but Batman returns in time to stop it. The Joker is seen running off to a helicopter only for it to crash. Talking to Gordon later, Batman delivers the startling news that this was never the Joker at all. Rather, the king's cousin, Gustavo, wanted the throne himself but knew just killing the king would be too suspicious. By making it look like the king was the victim of a wild Joker spree, Gustavo could take the crown without suspicion. Gordon is rocked that 51 innocent people were killed to cover up a regicide but Batman then reveals that the helicopter crashed because it was sabotaged.
-->'''Batman''': Gustavo forgot one important thing: Every deck has ''two'' Jokers.

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* The short story collection ''The Further Adventures of the Joker'' has a tale where, with Batman out of town, Jim Gordon starts seeing a pattern in murders. A singing group called "The Four Aces", a "king of comedy," a "queen of cosmetics," etc. At first, he seems paranoid but as more victims pile up, others realize all these victims are somehow connected to playing cards and thus it has to be the Joker. The final victim is to be the king of a small European nation visiting Gotham but Batman returns in time to stop it. The Joker is seen running off to a helicopter only for it to crash. Talking to Gordon later, Batman delivers the startling news that this was never the Joker at all. Rather, the king's cousin, Gustavo, Herbert, wanted the throne himself but knew just killing the king would be too suspicious. By making it look like the king was the victim of a wild Joker spree, Gustavo Herbert could take the crown without suspicion. Gordon is rocked that 51 innocent people were killed to cover up a regicide but Batman then reveals that the helicopter crashed because it was sabotaged.
-->'''Batman''': Gustavo Herbert was trying to kill the entire deck of cards. But he forgot one important thing: Every deck has ''two'' Jokers.


* In ''Series/{{Fargo}}'' episode "Aporia", Varga has Meemo kill two men named Stussy in St. Cloud and Eden Valley in ways that mimic the deaths of Ennis and Ray. He does this to make it seem like all four were killed by a serial killer and does so to neutralize Emmit's confession of Ray's death. He goes as far as securing a willing patsy who confesses to the whole thing.

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* In ''Series/{{Fargo}}'' episode "Aporia", Varga ''Series/FargoSeasonThree'': V.M. Varga, seeking to assert his control over Emmit Stussey following the death of Emmit's brother Ray, has Meemo kill two men named Stussy in St. Cloud and Eden Valley in ways that mimic the deaths of Ennis and Ray. He does this to make it seem like all four were killed by a serial killer and does so to neutralize and, in doing so, voids Emmit's confession of Ray's to his brother's death. He goes as far as securing even hires a willing patsy who confesses "confesses" to the whole thing.thing.
* ''Series/ThePunisher2017'': It was hinted in ''Series/Daredevil2015'' season 2 that Frank Castle had been specifically targeted by the people that killed his family. Here, when he catches up to Carson Wolf, the Special Agent in Charge of the DHS office for New York City, he tortures then tricks Wolf into revealing that the whole three-way gang shootout and the death of Frank's family were all staged to cover up the true motive.
-->'''Frank Castle:''' What are you saying? You killed my family to get to me?
-->'''Carson Wolf:''' Misdirection. A good player hides his hand, Frank. We figured if there were enough dead bodies, nobody would really care to look close enough at any given one of them. It was a calculated risk. You understand, right?

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