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Category Traitor / Live-Action TV

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Times where somebody is accused of being a Category Traitor in Live-Action TV series.

  • The team in Alphas has been accused of this by other alphas for helping track them down and hand them over to the Department of Defense, where they face indefinite imprisonment. Some members of the team clearly worry about this themselves.
  • Babylon 5 uses this trope over and over again.
    • The evil dictatorship that takes over the Earth argues that anyone who is pro-human should support them, and therefore that anyone who opposes them is anti-human.
    • The Psi Corps does the same for telepaths.
    • The Minbari have a civil war, with the Warrior Caste and the Religious Caste each accusing the other of being category traitors to the Minbari, and anyone who tried to de-escalate the civil war of being a category traitor to their caste. Delenn takes over the religious caste, wins, but then hands power over to the Worker Caste, the ones who actually represent the base of the Minbari people and keep getting caught up in the middle when the Religious and Warrior castes quarrel with each other.
  • Being Human (UK): Milo is a werewolf who's working for the world domination-obsessed and very anti-werewolf Old Ones, and he freely admits that he can be called a "traitor" for selling out the human race and all other werewolves to the Old Ones' plans for world domination and enslavement.
  • The Book of Boba Fett: In "Return of the Mandalorian", Din Djarin is kicked out of the Children of the Watch by the Armorer when he fesses up to having removed his helmet in front of others in the last two episodes of season 2 of The Mandalorian; Paz Vizla calls him "apostate". (He appears to have returned to the cult hoping it wouldn't come up.)
  • Brave New World: The "savage" rebels/terrorists view people who entertain New Londoners as being traitors and ruthlessly gun them down along with the tourists.
  • Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, being a vampire with a soul who feels that he has to atone for all the people he murdered back when he was evil (usually by helping Buffy kill vampires). Darla takes it particularly hard, given that she was the one who turned him into a vampire.
    • Spike as well, after the chip in his brain makes him unable to harm living beings (he can still harm demons, though, so none of them like him anymore).
  • In Chicago P.D.: Atawater, as an African-American police officer, is a frequent target of this. When the Chicago Police Department gets into conflicts with African-Americans (typically over an officer-involved shooting), each side expects him to side with them. He typically follows his heart, which depending on the specifics of the situation can be either supporting his fellow officers, or revealing the police acted incorrectly. Inevitably his choice angers the side he didn't take.
  • Condor: Joubert is a Palestinian Israeli who served in Mossad. As such, she's viewed as a traitor by other Palestinians.
  • Seen in Coupling where Sally accuses a gay man of being a traitor because he supports the Conservatives.
  • In The Expanse, some Belters call Detective Miller "welwala", which means something like "traitor to your people" in their creole, because he works for Earth's Law Enforcement, Inc.. "Wel-" possibly referring to "gravity well."
  • For Life: Veronica Marshall, a Black female defense lawyer, is accused of being this after she defends White police officer Edgar Lindsley for shooting Black man Andy Josiah in the back. She vehemently defends herself in an exchange with Aaron from the charge, but gets hate mail claiming this.
  • A French Village: All collaborators, naturally, are viewed as traitors by French Resistance groups. Many are punished for treason as the war ends, whether after trials or with summary execution.
  • This pops up frequently on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where its shown that many black people consider the Banks family this because of their wealth:
    • In the first episode, Will tries to pull this on Uncle Phil by claiming that since becoming rich, he's forgotten what it's like to live in the hood. This backfires on Will when Phil angrily informs him that growing up, he faced bigotry and challenges far worse than anything Will ever faced in the Post-Civil Rights era, and that it was those memories that drove him to become a successful lawyer in the first place. "You have Malcolm X posters in your room. I heard the brother speak."
    • A later episode has Phil's mother calling him out on the same issue, this time for betraying his roots as a country farm boy by acting as though his youth was an adversity he'd had to overcome, rather than the source of his moral fiber and strong work ethic that informed his success.
    • In another episode, Will and Carlton try to join a black fraternity on campus. The latter is especially treated hard throughout Pledge Week. Top Dog, the leader of the fraternity, eventually reveals that he had no intention of taking Carlton in because of how preppy and rich he is, though they still offer Will a spot (which, obviously, he declines). When Carlton finds out the truth, he calls Top Dog out for his ignorance. After they return home and tell Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian what happened, Phil laments: "You know, this... this really irritates me. I have worked very hard to give my family a good life and suddenly somebody tells me there's a penalty for success? I'm sorry you had to go through this, son. When are we going to stop doing this to each other?"
    • Will isn't the only person who's tried to call Phil out for this. When an old activist friend implies that he's somehow less black because of his comfortable lifestyle, Phil bluntly reminds her that he was there with her when they faced police dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham and when Harlem was burned, that he's repeatedly used his legal practice to fight for civil rights and affirmative action, and that he uses his fortune to help sponsor activist causes for the black community.
    • In another episode, Phil himself thinks that he is this to his old neighborhood after revisiting the small apartment he and his family once lived in back when he was a fiery idealistic young lawyer working for peanuts while offering legal aid. He wonders if becoming a judge who lives in a mansion in Bel-Air made him lose that fire.
  • Michael in The Good Place after he decides to help the humans and betray the Bad Place and the other demons.
  • Guerrilla: Anyone who informs or otherwise cooperates with police is viewed this way by the black radicals.
  • In the third series of Horatio Hornblower, Irish midshipman Orrock gets this from both ends when he overhears (and corrects) the normally reasonable Matthews commenting that Hornblower might rather have a Frenchman in front of him than an Irishman behind him. Then, the Irish rebels who have allied with Napoleon call him a traitor to his own people for sticking with Hornblower rather than joining them.
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, we have disgusting white supremacists whose entire dialogue makes one want to puke. This includes the undercover agent in their ranks; she personally apologizes to Fin and Munch after she's revealed, saying she finds the language repulsive but she needed to keep her cover. When one member of the group cuts a deal to testify against the leader, the leader's son shoots him while he's on the witness stand for being a "Race Traitor" before going on a shooting rampage with another member of the group, killing the judge and a guard and injuring another guard, Munch, and Elliot, the latter of whom would have been killed if the undercover agent didn't intervene.
    • The episode "Limitations" focuses on the detectives trying to identify a Serial Rapist who raped three women three days in a row 5 years ago and trying to arrest him before the statute of limitations runs out. It turns the third woman learned her rapist's identity and forgave him, and now refuses to name him. The other two women tear into her for this, one of them outright calling her "a betrayer of women".
  • Law & Order: UK: The defense attorney for Matt Devlin's killer, a black man, insinuates that he was a bigot and that Crown Prosecutor Alesha Philips, herself a black woman, is this for prosecuting the man, who is also black. Alesha angrily and tearfully declares, "This man was no racist!" and denies she's a sellout for wanting to see his murderer punished.
    • Ironically, in an earlier episode, Alesha was on the other side of this when she implied that a black journalist was this for printing unflattering information about a victim, a Pakistani boy who had supposedly been killed in self-defense after raping a girl, only to receive the same sort of angry rebuttal from the reporter.
  • In the fourth season of The Man in the High Castle, which involves a Nazi-controlled United States, Amy Smith calls her sister Jennifer a "race traitor" for listening to music sung by a black person.
  • Though no one has accused him directly, Merlin from Merlin has come up against several magical-users, both allies and enemies, who have suggested that he is a traitor (or at least hugely misguided) in supporting King Uther's anti-magical regime (he's not, he's just biding his time until Arthur is king). Although once Arthur does become king, things don't actually change for magic users, and Merlin doesn't make much of an effort to change things.
    • Merlin's mentor Gaius is a more straight example; a former sorcerer who renounced magic to get into Uther's good graces and was rewarded with the position of the Court Physician. He did manage to save a few friends from being killed, but for the most part as the Great Dragon and Nimueh pointed out he turned a blind eye to all the witches and wizards who were killed — and that includes scores of innocent children who inherited magic from their parents. Gaius tries to assuage his guilt by claiming that magic was throwing the natural order of things into chaos and that Uther did what was necessary, but it comes off as nothing more than a hollow attempt to justify his cowardice. He becomes Merlin's mentor to atone for his mistakes.
  • Mohawk Girls: Bailey gets this reaction over dating Jack, who's white, due to the Mohawks long history of being mistreated by white people. Caitlin later also fears this too if she's found to be with Leon, who's black, and some Mohawks denounce any of their people in relationships like this.
  • Noughts & Crosses: Callum is viewed as a traitor by many fellow Noughts after he joins the military academy (which only one other Nought cadet attends), feeling he's serving the ruling Crosses in doing so.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "The Camp", Prisoner 98843 is deemed a traitor when she starts working with the camp staff. It doesn't help that she can't tell them why, and also is given one of their uniforms. They also view the staff in general this way, believing they're humans (not androids).
  • In The People v. O. J. Simpson, Chris Darden prosecutes O.J. Simpson for double homicide, despite them both being black. When the defense attorney Johnnie Cochran offers to help Darden "back into the community," Darden is quiet for a few disbelieving moments before saying he never left.
  • The Plot Against America
    • Rabbi Bengelsdorf is an outspoken supporter of Charles Lindbergh, who has a history of antisemitic remarks, sympathy towards Nazism, and strong opposition toward intervening in World War 2. He faces heavy criticism within the Jewish community, but the Lindbergh administration uses him to make gentiles feel better about supporting antisemitic policies.
    • Evelyn joins Bengelsdorf in his campaign and even dances with the Nazi Foreign Minister at a gala.
  • In Brazilian soap-opera A Regra do Jogo when a gold digger's mark learns she's just faking her pregnancy, she simulates an aggression and accuses him of making her lose their unborn child, destroying his reputation. Two women who are his friends are accused by another woman of betraying their gender by believing him.
  • On Seinfeld, little people who wear lifts in their shoes to seem taller are treated this way by other little people, which causes Mickey a great deal of trouble in "The Stand-In" when he is forced to get lifts so that he can keep his job as a stand-in for a child actor who had just hit a growth spurt.
    Mickey: You don't understand. There's an unwritten code about this kind of thing. I could be ostracized. I remember when I was a kid, some guy tried to heighten. He lost his job, lost his friends, everything. Oh, I knew I was crazy to try this kind of thing, but I was so desperate!
  • In an earlier episode of Six Feet Under, Keith accuses the then-closeted David of acting in a way that betrays other gay people, and David retorts that a lot of African Americans would say the same of him for being in the LAPD. Keith responds badly to that comment.
  • In Snowfall, Franklin's mother Cissy is a black woman who collects rent from black tenants at an apartment complex owned by a white man, which means that she's also often required to kick tenants out of their apartments when they fail to pay rent. This has earned her the enmity of a lot of other black women.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The Outcast". Riker falls for a J'naii, who secretly identifies as female. "Secretly" because among the J'naii, identifying as male or female is treated as a perversion that must be stamped out for the good of the race.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • "Second Skin". Major Kira is captured by the all-powerful and much feared Obsidian Order as part of a convoluted plan by top-level agent Entek to destroy the Dissident Movement which is seeking to free Cardassia from the grip of the Order and the military. The only way the crew locate and rescue her is via Garak's help. When Entek realises Garak is helping Starfleet and the Bajoran Government to rescue Kira (and the Dissident leader he was trying to expose), he's absolutely baffled. Even though Garak's in exile for an unspecified crime, Entek still finds it incomprehensible that Garak would betray the Obsidian Order to save a Bajoran and a Dissident and warns Garak the Order will end his exile by killing him for this. It doesn't end well. For Entek, that is.
    • Kira gets some of the same treatment early on in the series for working as the Bajoran liaison with Starfleet. She's there only reluctantly because she wants to make sure Starfleet's assistance to Bajor is on Bajoran terms since the decision to call in Starfleet was made well above her pay grade. Despite this, one of her former comrades in the Resistance openly accuses her of being a traitor and selling out to a new occupying force right after helping kick the previous one off Bajor.
    • Kira gets a lot of this. When the Dominion takes over DS9, Kira stays on to try to limit the damage the occupation can do while waiting for the Federation counterattack to take back the station. This time, nobody accuses her directly of being a traitor; she herself realizes that despite her good intentions, she's become nothing more than a collaborator and secretly founds La Résistance.
  • Star Trek: Picard: By virtue of being a Qowat Milat acolyte (only his gender prevents him from a being a full-fledged member), Elnor is a traitor to his own race in the eyes of the Tal Shiar and the Zhat Vash because this sect of warrior nuns preach the Way of Absolute Candor, a subversive philosophy which is at odds with mainstream Romulan culture. When Elnor is attacked by Narissa (a Zhat Vash operative) and her goons, it's not just because he's allied with Hugh, it's also because he's a Qowat Milat, and therefore he's their Arch-Enemy.
  • Season 4 of Supergirl (2015) is all about this, since it attempts to apply the current state of American politics to the show's setting. Anti-alien hatred is rampant across the nation. Anyone arguing for peaceful coexistence is labeled an "Earth traitor" by the other side. Even aliens are being called traitors, which makes zero sense (then again, hatred doesn't have to). In a few cases, the word "traitor" is also thrown back, such as when Nia Nal defends Brainy, whose true nature is revealed to a pizzeria owner, who immediately grabs his bat. When President Marsden is revealed to be an alien, many are also calling her a traitor, and it can be argued that it's true, since she violated Article 2 of the Constitution the swore to uphold (she's not a natural-born citizen). She does, however, immediately resign in order to avoid a constitutional crisis.
    • A villain in Season 5 is J'onn's brother Malefic. J'onn doesn't immediately recognize him and didn't even know he had a brother. Then he is able to overcome a mental block and learns that Malefic betrayed the Green Martians during the civil war and helped the White Martians kill his own kind. For that, he was cast into the Phantom Zone and all memory of him was erased.
  • Various monsters, demons, angels and some hunters get accused of being this in Supernatural. Lucifer especially is seen as the first Category Traitor by nearly everyone and regards his brothers siding with humans as just the same ("For a girl?").
  • True Blood uses this one a lot as well. Faeries, werewolves, shifters, witches, all have characters who march in, declare what's best for their race, and immediately attack anyone who disagrees as a category traitor. Vampires have it both ways: the Authority insists that anyone who opposes peaceful vampire/human coexistence is a traitor to all vampires, and the Sanguinistas claim the same thing about people who support peaceful co-existence.
  • Underground: Cato is loathed by the other slaves for becoming an overseer, even having a whip like the white men. After he helps seven escape, initially this changed. However, he proves himself willing to betray anybody else for his own benefit.
  • Vida: Emma and Lyn are accused of not being "real" Latinas frequently, using derogatory terms for them like "coconut" or "White-ina", because they left the neighborhood, then came back to do some stuff differently with their mom's bar. Nelson is also accused of this, though with far more justification in his case, as he's actively gentrifying at the cost of the residents plus shows contempt for most Latinas. Marisol also calls a Latino ICE agent one as well, again with more justification as he's rounding up fellow Latinos.