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A Deadly Affair

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Your Cheating Heart leads to murder.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
randomtroper89 on Oct 9th 2017 at 8:20:45 PM
Last Edited By:
JohnBenccsonn on Apr 12th 2018 at 11:58:50 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

When people have affairs, emotions run hot especially when someone involved is a little to obsessed or possesive of their partner. Sometimes it leads someone dying. This trope can happen in a few ways:

  1. Killing your lover: Perhaps the lover wants out. Maybe they are threatening to expose the affair, even asking for some hush money. Either way, the cheater gets rid of them for good.
  2. Killing your spouse's lover: Finding out you are being cheated on can be humiliating. Sometimes the cheated on spouse will seek revenge. If this happens when the spouse is caught in the act, this can overlap with Til Murder Do Us Part.
  3. Killing your lover's spouse: Sometimes the lover is sick of just being the sidepiece. They want to be their lover's number one girl/guy. So they get rid of the spouse and try to take their place. Also can overlap Til Murder Do Us Part if both lovers are involved in the spouse's murder.
  4. Killing yourself: This is the option taken when Love Hurts. Either there's no way to get their lover, their lover's betrayal cut way too deep, or there's no possible way to repair the damage done to the relationship. Either way, one or more parties decides that they can't live with the pain. A darker possibility is the person wants to make other people feel responsible for their death, or even frame them.
  5. Eliminating the baggage: Probably the most disturbing variety, when someone concludes their object of affection doesn't reciprocate their feelings because they have children. This can drive them to kill their own children, just to free themselves of parental obligation.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Film 
  • Boogie Nights: Little Bill has twice caught his wife in flagrante delicto with another man. Both times, she's unperturbed about it, actually shooing Bill away to continue the tryst. At a New Years' party, Bill again discovers his wife bumping uglies with another man, pulls out a snubnose pistol, and shoots his wife and her lover dead. He then glumly ambles away, and as the revelers count down the seconds to the New Year, puts his gun barrel in his mouth and blows his brains out.
  • In The Conversation, Harry pieces together bits of audio he recorded from a young couple to find out that they're worried about the woman's rich husband killing them before they can run away together. Except that Harry was mistaken, and they were actually talking about their own plot to kill the husband. They end up succeeding.
  • Double Indemnity: Phyllis Dietrichson arranges her husbands death with the help of her lover and insurance salesman Walter Neff, to cash in on the policy they filled behind his back.
  • Minority Report: In the opening scene, John Anderton foils an attempted murder by a man who forgot his glasses on his way to work and returned home to get them, caught his wife in the middle of an affair with another man, and tried to stab them both with a pair of scissors.
  • A Perfect Murder: Steven's fist plans to murder his wife Emily, who's cheating on him with David, involves blackmailing his wife's lover to execute this murder. It doesn't go according to plan, as Emily accidentally kills David instead of the other way around. At the end, Steven outright tries to murder Emily himself, but it also turns out that, even more than for her affair, he's murdering her for her (rich family's) money.
  • The Shawshank Redemption: Andy is sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover. He maintains that he is innocent, and that he threw his gun into the river instead of shooting anyone with it. Later, it's revealed that Andy really is innocent. The murders were committed by a burglar who was there to rob the lover's house.
  • Unfaithful: Loving wife Connie starts having an affair with a handsome young hunk named Paul. Her husband Edward learns about the affair and confronts Paul, leading to the latter's murder. While in Paul's apartment, Edward overhears a voicemail that Connie leaves breaking off their affair, and when Connie finds out about the murder, she decides to help her husband cover it up. The film ends with them sitting in their car crying, near a police station; they know that for the rest of their lives, they'll be living in fear of being caught.
  • What Lies Beneath: The reason that Madison haunts the Spencers is that Norman was cheating on Claire with her. He killed her when she threatened to go to university authorities about their relationship, which would have likely gotten him fired and ruined his reputation.

     Jokes 
  • A Dumb Blonde joke has the blonde come home from work early to find her husband in bed with another woman. She yells "I knew you were cheating on me!", takes a gun out of her purse, and puts it to her head. The husband begs her not to shoot herself and she replies "Shut up. You're next."
  • A joke:
    Judge: Tell me, why did you, when you caught your wife in bed with a lover, kill her instead of him?
    Husband: Your honor, I decided it would be better to kill a wife once than a lover every week.

    Literature 
  • In Alex Cross novel Cross the Line one of the plots involves the murder of police captain Tom McGrath and his girlfriend Edita. The culprit was Alexander Gordon, the lover of McGrath's estranged wife Vivian, who kept their relationship secret because he was her divorce attorney. Due to losing money to a bad investment, Gordon planned to set up a memorial charity with Tom McGrath's life insurance policy, and steal from a it. When exposed Gordon kills Vivian, holds Dectective Bree Stone hostage, and is shot by the her partner Mueller.
  • Francesca and Paolo from The Divine Comedy were two nobles who had an affair that was ended when Francesca's husband killed both of them, sending the two of them to Hell for lust.
  • In 'Salem's Lot, it's mentioned that one of the town's residents murdered his wife when he found out she was having an affair with a travelling salesman. Everybody else thought she had left with the salesman.
  • The Screwtape Letters: Discussed by Screwtape, as he gives Wormwood advice about how to incite a type of human lust that can lead to adulteries that, in his own words, end, "if all goes well, in murders and suicides".
  • Nicholas Meyer's The Seven-Per-Cent Solution from the Sherlock Holmes chronicles has a case based around this. Holmes is brought to Vienna, Austria to meet budding psychologist Sigmund Freud, in an effort to treat Holmes for a cocaine addiction. There, Freud discovers that Holmes's mother was caught with a lover by his father, who murdered the pair for their infidelity. It was young Holmes's mathematics tutor, Professor Moriarty that delivered the horrible news to him. Thus, concludes Freud, Holmes developed his dogged justice-must-prevail ethic, and his vilifying Moriarty is a Shoot the Messenger coping mechanism.

    Live Action TV 
  • Castle:
    • "Hell Hath No Fury": The murder of a city councilman running for reelection ultimately traces back to his wife, who killed him when she discovered he was having an affair.
      Beckett: Why is it always the family values guys who get caught with their trousers down?
      Castle: Because the universe loves irony. And because most people are hypocrites.
    • "Overkill":
      • Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a man taking part in a spy LARP vacation, using it as a cover for meeting up with his mistress. The killer turns out to be her husband, whereas the victim's business partner ironically alibis out on grounds of he was in bed with the victim's wife at the time of the murder.
      • Also discussed in the same episode by the Genre Savvy guests at Castle's crime novelist poker game.
        James Patterson: If I was writing this, the murder would have nothing to do with the spy game, except that it gave the killer an opportunity to act.
        Michael Connelly: Knowing that the trappings of the game would cover his tracks.
        Stephen J. Cannell: Which is pretty much what's happened. Look, Rick, as much trouble as we go to with these novels, there's only three reasons to commit a murder: love, money, and to cover up a crime.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Season six episode "Compromising Positions": The first victim of the killer's career was the man that impregnated his wife. When talking to the wife Reid shows her pictures of male murder victims and, despite Rossi and Hotch's skepticism, she turns on her husband when she sees the photo of the man who fathered her child.
    • Season ten episode "The Witness" has Charlie Senarak go after the man his wife was sleeping with. When he confronts the man, a struggle ensues, and Senarak kills the man. The man's half brother, anti government terrorist Mitchell Crossford, blackmails Senarak with this knowledge and tries to frame him for a sarin gas attack.
    • During season twelve Reid is sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. There he meets Calvin Shaw, a former FBI Agent who murdered his confidential informant. He claims that she was blackmailing him, but he actually was having an affair with her and killed her to prevent her from speaking and to destroy evidence of her pregnancy.
  • Diagnosis: Murder: In one episode a woman kills her lover in a fit of rage after learning he's been unfaithful.
  • Elementary:
    • Season two episode "The Grand Experiment" has Sherlock and Holmes hunting down a mole in the MI-6. He notes that all of the communications between the mole and his contact, Julian Afkhami, caused political consequences except for one of them. Sherlock realizes that it instead had local consequences, the mole let the Afkhami know his wife was cheating on him, resulting in Afkhami hunting down and stoning the lover to death. This backfires when Afkhami's wife saves his bloody undershirt from the fire, resulting in his conviction.
    • During the backstory of the season four episode "For All You Know", a city councilman kills a woman who he was having an affair with. A cleaning lady sees him disposing of bloody clothes, and tries to get Sherlock to help. Since Sherlock is addicted to drugs he is unable to help and the woman is murdered too. In the present Sherlock himself is accused of committing the crime.
  • Indict And Convict: The made-for-TV drama opens with discarded clothes on the carpet leading to the bedroom, where the lovers are flagrante delicto. Gunshots are fired, and the ensuing double homicide investigation focuses on the cuckolded husband: he's the leading assistant prosecutor for the District Attorney's office.
  • The programming on the Oxygen almost completely consists of shows such Snapped, Scorned, and Martinis & Murder about murders committed by scorned lovers or the more possessive leg of a love triangle.
  • IZombie:
    • A complicated case in season 3. A girl was sleeping with her step-father, who was married to her mom. When the girl's friend's father found out, they decided to take it to the authorities, since she was underage. Thanks to a spy app, the girl's mother found out about it and killed her daughter's friend and her father, and then attempted to frame her husband for the murder.
    • Season 3 has the murder of a womanizing kindergarten teacher, who had affair with several of the mothers of the children in his class, being killed in the night all of them found out about each other. It was the husband of one of them, that had contracted a private eye to find out who was sleeping with his wife and then went to his house and killed him.
    • In "Eat A Knievel", the motive of the murder of a stunt artist that played a lot of pranks was that he seduced, slept and impregnated the fiance of a member of his crew.
  • Monk: In Christmas Episode "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa" the perp killed her lover, a fellow officer at Stottlemeyer's precinct, when he decided to reconcile with his wife. Her plan involved sending Stottlemeyer a bottle of poisoned wine she knew he didn't like, knowing that Stottlemeyer would give it to her lover, who did like that type of wine.
  • Person of Interest: A time delayed version where Gianna Moretti has a henchman kill his lover Marlene Elias. He later tries to kill her son Carl, who meet him and tried to work for him, not aware that he had his mother killed. This is what drove Carl Elias' to becoming a powerful crime boss, and killing Gianna Moretti, his son, and the other Mafia Dons.
  • Small Sacrifices: The made-for-TV movie recounts the investigation of a triple homicide in Oregon. Diane Downs is a divorcee, seeking to hook up with a married coworker. Though interested, the man won't break off with his current wife just for Diane. Diane concludes that her three children are impeding her progress, and takes them on a car ride along a lonely farm road, where she shoots them. It's a Dramatization of an actual crime from May 1983.
  • The X-Files episode "Familiar" has a woman discover her husband has been having an affair with another married woman. So, she turns to witchcraft to kill him. It works, but not before their daughter and the son of the other woman are also killed by the dark forces. The ensuing chaos also leads to her husband killing the other woman's husband and the other woman dying in a car accident. Then, she spontaneously combusts for good measure.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: In the 9 December 1985 strip, Calvin gets sick and stays home from school. He watches a daytime soap opera where this trope pops up:
    "Darling": I've got to have you! Let's murder our spouses!
    Mary: Murder?!—You sick animal! I love it when you talk that way! Come here!
    Calvin: [smiling] Sometimes I think I learn more when I stay home from school.

    Theatre 
  • Chicago:
    • Roxie kills her lover when she finds out he was not going to help her become a singer.
    • Velma kills her sister and husband when she finds them in bed together.
    • A rich heiress kills her husband and the two women he was having a threesome with.

     Video Games 
  • As Far Cry 4 progresses, it's revealed that Ajay's mother had an affair with Big Bad Pagan Min. As a result, they had a daughter together who was killed by Ajay's father. His mother killed him in revenge and fled the country with Ajay.
  • In Metropolis Lux Obscura: Reuniting with Goldie results in Goldie shooting Lockhart point-blank in the head for all the times that he cheated on her.

     Western Animation 

Feedback: 45 replies

Oct 9th 2017 at 8:36:12 PM

Replaced level-1 headings for "Examples" and its subcategories with level-2 headings and AC: , since that is more standard formatting. Fixed spelling of "Til Murder Do Us Part".

Oct 9th 2017 at 9:13:45 PM

Film

  • A Perfect Murder: Zigzagged. First Steven plans to murder his wife Emily, who's cheating on him with David. He even hires David, his wife's lover, to execute this murder. It doesn't go according to plan, as Emily accidently kills David instead of the other way around. At the end, Steven outright tries to murder Emily himself, but it also turns out that, even more than for her affair, he's murdering her for her (rich family's) money.

Oct 10th 2017 at 1:35:05 AM

But wait, isn't this almost the same as Murder The Hypotenuse? Or is it intended as a sub-trope or sister-trope of that?

Oct 10th 2017 at 4:33:52 AM

  • The Screwtape Letters: Invoked by Screwtape, as he gives Wormwood advice about how to incite a type of human lust that can lead to adulteries that, in his own words, end, "if all goes well, in murders and suicides"

Oct 10th 2017 at 5:28:08 AM

So Murder The Hypotenuse is a sub-trope of this, specifically the 3rd variant, and Death By A Woman Scorned is a sub-trope of this, the 2nd variant...

Oct 10th 2017 at 7:14:33 AM

  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
    • Corrected spelling (get rid off them -> gets rid of them, they're lover -> their lover's, accidently).

Oct 10th 2017 at 9:00:09 AM

@LB 7979: Yes, and the first variant is one for If I Cant Have You.

Oct 10th 2017 at 10:18:14 AM

  • Narrowly averted in the opening scenes of Minority Report, when John Anderton foils an attempted murder by a man who forgot his glasses on his way to work and returned home to get them, caught his wife in the middle of an affair with another man, and tried to stab them both with a pair of scissors.

Oct 10th 2017 at 11:03:51 AM

Unfaithful: Loving wife Connie starts having an affair with a handsome young hunk named Paul. Her husband Edward learns about the affair and confronts Paul, leading to the latter's murder. While in Paul's apartment, Edward overhears a voicemail that Connie leaves breaking off their affair, and when Connie finds out about the murder, she decides to help her husband cover it up. The film ends with the sitting in their car crying, near a police station; they know that for the rest of their lives, they'll be living in fear of being caught.

Oct 10th 2017 at 11:05:14 AM

"she turns of her husband"...

What?

Oct 10th 2017 at 12:52:21 PM

^^ This example could use some spoiler tags, as it gives away some plot twists and the ending.

Oct 10th 2017 at 1:08:46 PM

^^ Oops, meant to say "turns on" as in betrays.

Oct 10th 2017 at 5:53:31 PM

  • Andy from The Shawshank Redemption is sent to jail for murdering his wife and her lover. He maintains that he is innocent, and that he threw his gun into the river instead of shooting anyone with it. Later, it's revealed that Andy really is innocent. The murders were committed by a burglar who was there to rob the lover's house.

Oct 10th 2017 at 7:55:46 PM

  • Calvin And Hobbes: In the 9 December 1985 strip, Calvin gets sick and stays home from school. He watches a daytime soap opera where this trope pops up:
    "Darling": I've got to have you! Let's murder our spouses!
    Mary: Murder?!—You sick animal! I love it when you talk that way! Come here!
    Calvin: [smiling] Sometimes I think I learn more when I stay home from school.

Oct 11th 2017 at 11:53:51 AM

If I Cant Have You may be a motivation for the "Killing your lover" variant.

Oct 11th 2017 at 6:32:11 PM

Live Action TV

  • The made-for-TV drama Indict And Convict opens with discarded clothes on the carpet leading to the bedroom, where the lovers are delicto flagrante. Gunshots are fired, and the ensuing double homicide investigation focuses on the cuckolded husband: the leading assistant prosecutor for the District Attorney's office.

Oct 12th 2017 at 7:18:37 PM

Uh-oh, I think I discovered a fourth category: eliminating the baggage:

Live Action TV

  • The made-for-TV movie Small Sacrifices recounts the investigation of a triple homicide in Oregon. Diane Downs is a divorcee, seeking to hook up with a married coworker. Though interested, the man won't break off with his current wife just for Diane. Diane concludes that her three children are impeding her progress, and takes them on a car ride along a lonely farm road, where ... bang bang bang. It's a Dramatization of an actual crime from May 1983.

Oct 14th 2017 at 7:24:29 AM

Live Action Television

  • Monk once took a case that ended up being an example of the "other woman" killing her lover when her lover decided to reconcile with his wife. Her plan: She and her lover were both officers at Stottlemeyer's precinct and she sent Stottlemeyer a bottle of poisoned wine she knew he didn't like, claiming it was from a secret Santa. (This was a Christmas Episode.) However, her lover did like that type of wine, so she knew that Stottlemeyer would give it to him instead.

Oct 14th 2017 at 8:51:51 AM

How about this as another version of the trope:

Killing Yourself

This is the option taken when Love Hurts. Either there's no way to get their lover, their lover's betrayal cut way too deep, or there's no possible way to repair the damage done to the relationship. Either way, one or more parties decides that they can't live with the pain.

Oct 14th 2017 at 12:40:33 PM

Literature

  • One story in the Sherlock Holmes chronicles is The Seven Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer. Holmes is brought to Vienna, Austria to meet budding psychologist Sigmund Freud, in an effort to treat Holmes for a cocaine addiction. There, Freud discovers that Holmes's mother was caught with a lover by his father, who murdered the pair for their infidelity. It was young Holmes's mathematics tutor, Professor Moriarty that delivered the horrible news to him. Thus, concludes Freud, Holmes developed his dogged justice-must-prevail ethic, and his vilifying Moriarty is a Shoot The Messenger coping mechanism.

Oct 15th 2017 at 4:52:32 PM

And one more Kill Yourself variety:

Film

  • Little Bill from Boogie Nights has twice caught his wife in flagrante delicto with another man. Both times, she's unperturbed about it, actually shooing Bill away to continue the tryst. At a New Years' party, Bill again discovers his wife bumping uglies with another man. Bill glumly ambles away, and as the revelers count down to seconds to the New Year, Bill puts a snubnose pistol in his mouth and blows his brains out. Way to poop a party, Little Bill.

Oct 15th 2017 at 6:09:32 PM

^ But first he shot his wife and her lover dead.

Oct 15th 2017 at 9:18:05 PM

^ Oh yes, that's right. So, that'd make the Film.Boogie Nights example a Clean Sweep: the lover, the feckless spouse, and the cuckold himself. Sorry, Bill, that makes you 3-for-3.

Nov 4th 2017 at 7:08:15 PM

Literature

  • In Salems Lot, it's mentioned that one of the town's residents murdered his wife when he found out she was having an affair with a travelling salesman. Everybody else thought she had left with the salesman.

Jokes

  • A Dumb Blonde joke has the blonde come home from work early to find her husband in bed with another woman. She yells "I knew you were cheating on me!", takes a gun out of her purse, and puts it to her head. The husband begs her not to shoot herself and she replies "Shut up. You're next."

Nov 26th 2017 at 1:39:39 PM

Unlaunched as it was rogue-launched without proper discussion. Culprit called in.

Nov 26th 2017 at 6:09:29 PM

I removed the examples of this trope I added to the wiki.

Nov 26th 2017 at 10:58:54 PM

Video Games

  • In Metropolis Lux Obscura, reuniting with Goldie results in Goldie shooting Lockhart point-blank in the head for all the times that he cheated on her.

Nov 27th 2017 at 1:08:44 AM

The main reason Justice League The Flashpoint Paradox is such a Crapsack World is that Aquaman's wife caught him in bed with Wonder Woman. The wife was killed in the ensuing confrontation, and Aquaman declared war on the Amazons.

Nov 27th 2017 at 9:15:04 AM

  • Francesca and Paulo are remembered as characters from The Divine Comedy damned to an eternal tornado for their lust, but they were also real people. They were two nobles murdered who had an affair that was ended when Francesca's husband killed both of them, leading to his own eventual residence in Hell.

Nov 28th 2017 at 7:40:50 PM

^I'm not sure if that is supposed to be real life or not.

Nov 28th 2017 at 7:55:01 PM

  • IZombie:
    • A complicated case in season 3. A girl was sleeping with her step-father, who was maried to her mom. When the girl's friend's father found out, they decided to take it to the authorities, since she was underage. Thanks to a spy app, the girl's mother found out about it and killed her daughter's friend and her father, and then attempted to frame her husband for the murder.
    • Season 3 has the murder of a womanizing kindergarten teacher, who had affair with several of the mothers of the children in his class, being killed in the night all of them found out about each other. It was the husband of one of them, that had contracted a private eye to find out who was sleeping with his wife and then went to his house and killed him.
    • In "Eat A Knievel", the motive of the murder of a stunt artist that played a lot of pranks was that he seduced, slept and impregnated the fianceĆ© of a member of his crew.

Nov 28th 2017 at 9:54:07 PM

"Killing your spouse" seems to be the absent subtype. Do we already have a trope for that?

Nov 30th 2017 at 8:27:07 PM

^ that link leads nowhere...

Nov 30th 2017 at 11:34:30 PM

^ ^^ That's because it's actually Til Murder Do Us Part.

Dec 1st 2017 at 12:39:04 AM

A joke:

Judge: Tell me, why did you, when you caught your wife in bed with a lover, kill her instead of him?
Husband: Your honor, I decided it would be better to kill a wife once than a lover every week.

Dec 2nd 2017 at 4:32:36 AM

Could someone make it back into folders?

Dec 23rd 2017 at 9:07:28 AM

TV:

  • Castle:
    • "Hell Hath No Fury": The murder of a city councilman running for reelection ultimately traces back to his wife, who killed him when she discovered he was having an affair.
      Beckett: Why is it always the family values guys who get caught with their trousers down? Castle: Because the universe loves irony. And because most people are hypocrites.
    • "Overkill":
      • Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a man taking part in a spy LARP vacation, using it as a cover for meeting up with his mistress. The killer turns out to be her husband, whereas the victim's business partner ironically alibis out on grounds of he was in bed with the victim's wife at the time of the murder.
      • Also discussed in the same episode by the Genre Savvy guests at Castle's crime novelist poker game.
      James Patterson: If I was writing this, the murder would have nothing to do with the spy game, except that it gave the killer an opportunity to act. Michael Connelly: Knowing that the trappings of the game would cover his tracks. Stephen J Cannell: Which is pretty much what's happened. Look, Rick, as much trouble as we go to with these novels, there's only three reasons to commit a murder: love, money, and to cover up a crime.

Jan 17th 2018 at 9:41:23 PM

Death By Woman Scorned isn't in the description yet.

Also related is Cuckold and Yandere

Feb 21st 2018 at 8:41:31 PM

Re-writing an old entry

  • Francesca and Paolo from The Divine Comedy were two nobles who had an affair that was ended when Francesca's husband killed both of them, sending the two of them to Hell for lust.

Mar 25th 2018 at 7:50:32 AM

Live Action Television

  • The X Files episode "Familiar" has a woman discover her husband has been having an affair with another married woman. So, she turns to witchcraft to kill him. It works, but not before their daughter and the son of the other woman are also killed by the dark forces. The ensuing chaos also leads to her husband killing the other woman's husband and the other woman dying in a car accident. Then, she spontaneously combusts for good measure.

Mar 25th 2018 at 6:20:42 PM

Video Games

  • As Far Cry 4 progresses, it's revealed that Ajay's mother had an affair with Big Bad Pagan Min. As a result, they had a daughter together who was killed by Ajay's father. His mother killed him in revenge and fled the country with Ajay.

Mar 25th 2018 at 11:54:42 PM

  • In The Conversation, Harry pieces together bits of audio he recorded from a young couple to find out that they're worried about the woman's rich husband killing them before they can run away together. Except that Harry was mistaken, and they were actually talking about their own plot to kill the husband. They end up succeeding.

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