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Death By Irony / Live-Action TV

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  • In the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Your Witness", an Amoral Attorney gets a hit-and-run driver acquitted by introducing misleading medical reports indicating that the sole eyewitness is legally blind and therefore incompetent as a witness. When the attorney is later run down in the courthouse parking lot by his long-suffering wife, the only witness is the same man he had earlier discredited, who gleefully tells the cops, "It's a legal fact that I am incompetent as a witness!"
  • A beautiful example on Angel. Holland has brought Darla back to her old vampire self with Drusilla, talking of her famous brutal ways. He even suggests she enjoy herself and "why settle for a spree when you can have, say, a massacre?" Later, Holland is throwing a big wine party for the Wolfram and Hart board when Dru and Darla stop by. When asked why they're there, Darla smiles "I believe you said something about...a massacre?" Cue Holland's usual arrogance transforming into the most epic Oh, Crap! look imaginable.
    • It gets better (or worse, depending on how you look at it). Earlier in the episode, Holland had mocked Angel on not caring about people dying with "yeah but we don't care." Angel shows up but instead of helping the evil lawyers, just locks the door to let Darla and Dru feast on them.
      Holland: Angel...people are going to die.
  • A particularly cruel case of this turns out to be the motivation for the Big Bad of season one of Arrow: his wife was mugged by thugs in the Glades, Star City's local slum district, who stabbed her and left her to bleed out — she could have survived, and in fact clung to life for several hours, but the Apathetic Citizens ignored her. The cruel part is that she was a wealthy philanthropist who repeatedly worked to try and help the Glades, and in fact, she was returning home from her free clinic for Glades residents when she was murdered. Her death drove her husband mad and convinced him that he had to Kill the Poor to prevent this from ever happening again.
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  • In the Black Mirror episode "Playtest", the protagonist Cooper dies when signal interference from his phone causes the experimental video game he is testing to frazzle his brain. He went on a global trip to get away from home because his father died of Alzheimer's the following year and turned down his mother's calls because he was afraid to talk to her. Her ill-timed phone call to see if he was alright ended up killing him, and worse, he died in horrible fear and pain, screaming out for his mother in his last moments.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the episode where he first appears, Principal Snyder talks about how the previous principal got eaten. Guess what happens to him in the Season 3 finale.
  • One participant on Canada's Worst Driver was sent home early after her brother-in-law was killed in a car accident. While the show's title and premise (Canadians with bad driving habits are sent to a rehabilitation center to break out of those habits) make this ironic enough, the cause of the brother-in-law's accident was that the other driver failed to yield, a habit the other participants all exhibited.
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  • In The Closer, a cheating wife teamed up with her boyfriend to hire a man to kill her husband. The boyfriend got money to pay the hitman so that the wife won't be connected. Unfortunately, the wife gave the hitman the wrong date and the hitman accidentally killed the boyfriend.
  • On the fifth season of Community, Pierce is Killed Offscreen. Several episodes later, a lawyer shows up to give everyone the items he left for them in his will. Each member of the study group gets, in addition to their own personal items, a canister of Pierce's frozen sperm (and in some cases, just the canister of sperm). At the end of the episode, the study group goes out drinking with the lawyer, who is much less serious when he's off the clock. They ask him how Pierce actually died, and he tells them: Dehydration... from filling all those canisters with sperm.
  • Criminal Minds: In "Paradise", the UnSub abducts couples that stay at his motel, steals the women's underwear, then rapes them while their men watch, murders both, and leaves their bodies inside their car parked on a road frequented by trucks at night, to stage road accidents and disguise his murders. He also makes sure that the woman has her legs spread open because he sees the truck's impact as one big final rape. In the end, he's run over by a truck himself while being chased by law enforcement.
  • CSI:
    • "Fur and Loathing": A member of the Furry Fandom is poisoned and abandoned, while wearing an animal costume, far away from town. All of this would merely be embarrassing and inconvenient (the poisoning wasn't lethal), but while he's on all four, throwing up, a local farmer mistakes him for a coyote and shoots him.
    • "Unleashed": A woman with a Human Pet fetish wishes to live as a Cat Girl in a house, walking on all fours and refusing to talk even when a Good Samaritan tries to "rescue" her. She jumps off a moving car, loses her speech in the impact, and crawls into the face of a real cougar, who promptly mauls her.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Lazarus Experiment", Immortality Seeker Richard Lazarus has this happen to him twice. First, he's killed when the Doctor weaponizes the device Lazarus built to achieve eternal youth against him, but it doesn't take. He's killed for real via the sound of the organ in the cathedral where he sought shelter from the Blitz as a child.
  • ER: Dr. Romano loses an arm when it catches in the tail rotor of a helicopter. After having it re-attached and struggling to deal with a barely functioning arm for a couple of years, he finally has it amputated in favor of a prosthetic. Then he dies when the same helicopter falls on him.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ramsay Bolton regularly feeds victims to his hunting dogs, giving them a taste for human meat. But after he is defeated in battle, his ex-wife Sansa puts him inside the kennel where dogs tear Ramsay to pieces since he has starved them, deliberately keeping them hungry as he intended to feed Jon to them. ANOTHER layer of irony is that he tormented Sansa a lot.
    • Viserys Targaryen should have been more specific when he demanded his crown. Khal Drogo obliges Viserys and pours molten gold over his head.
    • Ned Stark hates the idea of harming children and doesn't want to see history repeat itself, so he twice passes on a chance to win the Gambit Pileup. In the end, he is killed by the order of one of the very children he spared.
    • Matthos Seaworth's fanatical devotion to the Lord of Light nets him death by (wild)fire.
    • Joffrey dies in a very similar way to a rival whose death he mocked so thoroughly: painfully murdered at a wedding before his mother's eyes. For additional irony, "The Rains of Castamere" is being played shortly before his death.
    • Oberyn dies by the same individual he promised to kill brutally (the individual killed his sister and her children brutally), and by a really graphic way of death.
    • Meryn Trant dies by a young girl he meant to abuse.
    • Roose Bolton dies the same way he killed Robb, a knife to his heart. That also by a 'trusted' man, his own son. His last look on his face even Lampshades it.
    • Walder Frey is killed by The Remnant of the family he helped destroy, and his manner of death is also the same as the one suffered by his killer's mother.
    • Rodrik Cassel is botchedly killed by Theon, a pupil turned to evil, in a clumsy way that demonstrates how he hadn't assimilated many of his lessons.
    • Locke's crippling of Jaime ends up being avenged by the boy whom Jaime crippled.
    • Tywin goes by the motto of "a Lannister always pays his debts"... then gets killed by a Lannister who is most certainly paying his debt.
    • Tywin threatens Shae by proxy with hanging if he catches her in bed with Tyrion. Tyrion catches her in bed with Tywin and strangles her to death for it.
    • Arya kills Polliver in exactly the same way he kills Lommy.
    • Stannis' bid for the throne was driven by his sense of duty as he was the legitimate heir. In the end, he's killed by Brienne in the name of her duty to Renly. Lampshaded by his Famous Last Words.
  • In Gavin & Stacey, Ness mentions a former lover who died while faking his own death.
  • The Haunting of Hill House: The House attempts to do this with Luke. After years of injecting himself with "poison" aka his drugs, the house forced him to inject himself with actual rat poison.
  • The final season of House has Dr. James Wilson, head of the oncology department, being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
  • Every Rider in Kamen Rider Ryuki:
    • Shinji got killed after he finally found his desire to win the Rider War, after spending most of the story without an ambition to win (he simply wants to stop the War) and outlived a lot of Riders in the process.
    • Ren's final fate before Kanzaki resets the timeline one last time is ambiguous. He might have survived but if he died in the finale, he did tell Tezuka that fighting is the only reason why he lived on the world. Thus, after becoming the sole winner of the Rider War, he had no more reason to fight, dying right beside Eri, the person that Ren fought for her life throughout the series.
    • Sudo's victims were fed to his Contract Monster (Volcancer) to make Volcancer more powerful. He died by getting eaten alive by Volcancer.
    • Kitaoka only joined the War in order to cure his cancer and become immortal. Said cancer is what eventually made him stop becoming a Rider, dying peacefully in his home because of it.
    • Goro pretended to be Zolda and faked his death in an attempt to drive Shinji out of the Rider War. Once Goro took the Zolda mantle for real after Kitaoka passes away, he would die in the hands of Asakura.
    • Jun loves to manipulate people just for fun. Said manipulation attempt on the Riders is what led to his death, due to him not expecting Asakura to manipulate him for Asakura's own safety by using him as a Human Shield against Zolda's Final Vent.
    • Tezuka, a fortune-teller who made correct predictions every time, predicted that Shinji would die next, but he lied and said to Shinji that he would be the next to die. He would sacrifice himself to save Shinji from Asakura's Final Vent, thus making his wrong prediction correct. He didn't mind at all.
    • Asakura killed the most Riders at 4 (Gai, Raia, Imperer, and Goro!Zolda), but he failed to kill the ones that he wanted to kill the most (Kitaoka, Shinji, Tojo). His dissatisfaction after finding out that the Zolda that he killed is Goro (Kitaoka's servant, Kitaoka had died earlier that day) is what led him to suicidally charging to his death.
    • Tojo thinks that he can become a hero by sacrificing others, which led to his constant backstabbing of his allies. He only became a hero after sacrificing himself to save a family from getting hit by a truck.
    • Sano actually had his wish granted in the war, becoming happy after he managed to take over his father's company after the death of his father. Unfortunately, because the War is not over, he had to keep fighting, which led to his death on Asakura's hands after Tojo betrayed him.
    • Miho fell in love to Shinji after being saved by Ryuga and then mistakenly thinking that Shinji is Dark Shinji/Ryuga. Then Ryuga dealt the killing blow on her, and she was saved by the REAL Shinji... but it's too late for Shinji to save her.
    • Dark Shinji's wish is to become a real person (he's a Mirror World being) by fusing himself with Shinji. Oh, and he also declares himself to be the strongest Rider of them all. He died because he didn't expect the real Shinji to be stronger than him.
    • Takamizawa wanted to kill Shinji because he thought that Shinji is a hindrance to his master plan during the War. Going for Shinji is what would lead to his death after Ren killed him with Ren's Final Vent after attempting to kill Ren with his own Final Vent.
    • Odin is specifically made to win the war, having powers that allow him (and by extent, Kanzaki) to manipulate the results of the War. He died after Kanzaki realizes that the War is useless, thus destroying him and allowing Ren to become the final victor of the War.
  • In one episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, a judge participating in a reenactment of the Hamilton-Burr duel was wearing a bulletproof vest because he'd been receiving death threats, which ended up requiring the participants to switch roles last-minute because the judge's costume didn't fit over the vest. This results in the judge being killed by a sniper's bullet meant for the other guy, as the sniper was relying on costumes to identify his target.
  • Lost
    • A character whose name is a reference to Bram Stoker is killed by a piece of wood through the heart by a supernatural monster.
    • Also, a character is killed in a dynamite explosion while giving a lecture on the dangers of dynamite.
    • And then there's the guy who complained about how the survivors couldn't even make a fire. Cue flaming arrow hitting him in the chest.
    • And Locke is murdered by Ben, who had just talked him out of suicide.
    • Daniel goes back in time to 1977 only to get killed by his own mother, who had just conceived him.
  • Toro Calican, the young wannabe gunslinger in The Mandalorian was desperate to make a name for themselves throughout the galaxy, mentioning a few times that money "means nothing", as becoming famous was their only goal. How does their story end? Robbed, stripped, and dumped in Beggar's Canyon, becoming nameless and anonymous in a mass grave on a planet that is the "furthest from the brightest spot in the galaxy."
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show sees Chuckles the Clown die from a rogue elephant attack... while wearing a peanut costume.
  • In the Metal Hurlant Chronicles episode "Three on a Match", three survivors of a destroyed ship try to ride to safety in an Escape Pod, only to discover that they were hit by debris from the ship and have a leak. The two Space Marines throw the maintenance guy out the airlock first note , then fight each other, only to have the survivor asphyxiate as the rescue ship comes into sight. Ironically the maintenance guy survives because the thing that hit the Escape Pod was an oxygen canister.
  • In Midsomer Murders:
    • One episode revolves around the death of a stage actor in a production of Amadeus. He's the actor who plays Salieri and dies when he slits his throat open with a razor that's been switched out for the prop he was supposed to use. The irony is that Salieri survives after having his throat slit in the play.
    • After three murders, brushing off an oblique death threat with "Nobody is killing anyone!" is more than Tempting Fate. For bonus points, the irony is delivered by falling liquor cabinet when he goes to pour his (quite sensibly) spooked wife a drink to shut her up.
  • On The Originals, Sophie Devereaux spends the first half of the first season trying to resurrect her niece Monique. The first thing that Monique does after being resurrected is to kill Sophie.
  • Power Rangers Samurai: Serrator wanted to split open the world. Instead, he was split open. He lampshades the irony with his last words.
  • On QI, Rob Brydon suggests killing a bee by drowning it in honey.
  • On Reno 911!, the Reno PD responds to calls about Klansmen performing a cross burning in a neighborhood. At the conclusion of the incident, one of the Klansman's robes catches fire, and he screams around while on fire. It provides both the image and accompanying quote on Karmic Death.
  • Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger: Every Monster of the Week so far has been defeated in a way that is either Laser-Guided Karma or in a way that reflects how they torment people to gather darkness.
  • Hilariously subverted in the Seinfeld episode "The Face Painter", with a Call-Back to a major character from the previous episode "The Scofflaw":
    Jerry: Remember the guy who pretended he had cancer so I would buy him the toupée?
    George: He actually had it!?
    Jerry: No, car accident. He was adjusting his toupee while he was driving and he lost control of the car.
    • However, in a very twisted way, this could be considered a sort of Karmic Death.
  • Smallville:
    • In "Supergirl", an anti-vigilante crowd almost got crushed by the anti-vigilante billboard. For added irony, they were saved by the titular character.
    • In "Finale", Clark came very, very close to one. Over three years ago, Zor-El tricked him into wearing a blue kryptonite ring that removes his powers temporarily. Chloe stops him from trying to saw it off and tells him to refrain from wearing any rings till his wedding day (which in itself is a reference to the times when he wore a red kryptonite ring, over three years ago). Oliver, possessed by Darkseid, presented him with a gold kryptonite ring at the altar which would permanently remove his powers. And it is Chloe, as a bridesmaid, who spotted the switch and stopped it from being worn Just in Time.
  • The Sopranos ends with an infamous Ambiguous Ending, but it's very strongly implied that Tony suffered this in the final scene of the series. In "Johnny Cakes", AJ mentions that Tony's favorite movie scene of all time is the famous scene in The Godfather where Michael Corleone shoots Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey in a restaurant after retrieving a hidden gun from the bathroom. In "Made in America", it's very possible that Tony is murdered in exactly the same way; while having dinner with his family in a diner, he gets several suspicious glances from a mysterious fellow in a Members Only jacket, who is last seen walking into the bathroom. Of course, the screen abruptly cuts to black before we actually learn whether he lives or dies.
  • Supernatural
    • There's a certain ironic beauty to how crazy vampire hunter Gordon Walker is turned into a vampire himself, and subsequently killed by Sam... the same Sam that Gordon had been ruthlessly hunting for like a season.
    • Half the Title Sequence Victims of the Week get killed in some ghoulishly ironic way, the camera inevitably lingering for a few gruesome seconds on the instrument of their demise before showing the title card.
  • Season 6 of The Vampire Diaries introduced Tripp, a man who liked to capture vampires and kill them by taking them over into Mystic Falls' new anti-magic border. He ends up being killed by being turned into a vampire and being forced into Mystic Falls.


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