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Disproportionate Retribution / Live-Action TV

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  • Situation comedies sometimes use this trope when a parent is particularly angry with a teenaged character and a hastily made severe punishment results. Rarely do they mean it.
    • One example of this haste: a 1985 episode of Diff'rent Strokes where Arnold covers for a friend who had broken into Mr. Drummond's liquor cabinet and snuck a few drinks of alcohol, getting drunk as a result; Drummond jumps to the conclusion that Arnold is guilty and when he can't explain, Drummond permanently grounds him. Of course, Drummond relents and Arnold backs off.
    • Other times, this trope is inverted, as a teenaged character will misinterpret a severe punishment as unjust when they got what they deserved. An example: "Greg Gets Grounded", a 1973 episode of The Brady Bunch, where Greg – after he had his driving privileges revoked for his distracted driving nearly causing an accident with Mike's car – defies his parents' initial punishment, claiming it was vague. An angry Mike restricts the eldest Brady boy to the house for 10 days, forcing him to miss a highly anticipated rock concert; a just punishment, but (mistakenly) disproportionate in Greg's eyes.

  • In the second episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star, a group of office workers start going crazy and trying to harm themselves. It turns out they were poisoned with mercury that was found in the sandwiches they ordered for lunch. The culprit turns out to be the man who delivered the sandwiches. Why did he do it? Because he never got a tip.
  • 7 Yüz: In "Büyük Günahlar", Mete and his girlfriend Elif hatche a plan of revenge against vice principal Aytaç, who admonished Mete in the middle of a crowded schoolyard. The pair had only intended to torment him through an incriminating recording; however, once they realize they can blackmail him, it quickly escalates into this, setting into motion events that drive him to insanity and ultimately, suicide.
  • An episode of 30 Rock has Big Eater Liz issue the following threat when her sandwich goes missing:

  • Angel:
    • The season 1 episode “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” features a 10-12 year old boy who sneaks into his little sister's room late at night, pours gasoline all over her and her bed, then sets fire to it. Why? She had more marshmallows in her hot chocolate than he did in his. This isn't because the boy is a demon or something. This is explicitly just a psychotic child. In fact, when the boy DOES get possessed by a demon, it's the demon who's in trouble.
    • The curse at the heart of Angel's back story is a case of disproportionate retribution. At face value it's a fitting punishment for Angelus killing thousands of people over the course of more than a century, but the gypsies were only punishing him for killing one of their own. However when the specific nature of the curse is taken into consideration, it's even more disproportionate to the crime. They are essentially tormenting the soul of a mortal to punish the demon running around in his body. Worse still the cure for the curse was true happiness, meaning they deliberately put in a clause that specifically forces Angel to be miserable or unleash Angelus back on the world.
  • Arrow:
    • Malcolm Merlyn's wife was murdered in a bad part of town. Instead of going after the men who murdered her, Malcolm decides that the best response is to wipe that entire section of town completely off the map. Even with Team Arrow working to counter the attack, 503 innocent men, women, and children were killed, including Malcolm's own son.
  • Austin & Ally: Tilly Thompson hated Ally since kindergarden just because Ally's butterfly song Out-Gambitted Tilly's lady bug song. She even goes as far as to take her grudge out on Austin.

  • Babylon 5:
    • The Earth-Minbari War started when a human scout ship first encountered a Minbari battlecruiser and its hotheaded captain mistook the proper Minbari greeting for fellow warriors as preparations to attack and opened fire first. Among the Minbari killed by the initial salvo happened to be their highest religious leader and his apprentice ordered that the entire human race had to be eradicated for this crime. Though it later became clear that it had been an accident and the humans really did not want a war, the Minbari continued with their genocidal crusade anyway and only stopped at the very last moment when they discovered that Humans and Minbari are both incarnations of the same souls and the murder of other Minbari is forbidden. It was revealed in a later episode that Dukhat, the leader of the council, realized that it was a bad idea to use the normal greeting, but too late to correct the mistake. He didn't want war with the humans, but the ranking Minbari present at his death were too angry to care. His apprentice spent the next couple of decades attempting to atone for her mistake.
    • The Vorlons and Shadows, when the planet-killers come out — destroying worlds, some with millions or billions of people, which were merely "touched by" (influenced by, whether willingly or not, or unable to resist such influence) their respective enemy. Which was a big part of the point Sheridan was making about these First Ones' failure as guardians of younger races.
    • When the Centauri reoccupy the Narn homeworld, the penalty for killing one Centauri was the execution of 500 Narns, including the perpetrator's own family.
    • G'Kar's father was hung from a tree by his hands for three days until dead, for spilling a hot beverage on the lady of the Centauri household where he was a servant during the last Centauri occupation.
    • Pretty much any punishment handed down by Emperor Cartagia, whether to captive Narns or to a court jester who was mirroring his actions with a little flare:
      Cartagia: Humor is such a subjective thing, don't you think?
  • Banshee: Kurt Bunker's younger brother decides that as revenge for his brother abandoning the neo-Nazi movement and becoming a cop, he will burn off his tattoos with a blowtorch. Kurt's whole body is covered in tattoos.
  • Both versions of Battlestar Galactica.
    • In the old series, the Cylons declare war against the Twelve Colonies after the Colonials get involved in a border dispute between the Cylons and another race allied to the Colonies. It is never really explained why this so offends the Cylons that they pursue a thousand-year-war against the Colonials and desire the total extinction of humanity down to the last surviving member, even pursuing the last few thousand survivors across space and into another Galaxy for potentially decades to do so.
    • In the new series, the Cylons were robots created and enslaved by humanity as servants/slaves, which they came to resent due to their religious beliefs before trying to wipe them out completely. This is later revealed to be a shallow excuse used by John aka Brother Cavil, the first and most evil Cylon, to exterminate humanity—given that he later enslaved the Centurions himself and is nihilistic instead of religious like the other Cylons. Apparently he did so in order to enact "revenge" upon Ellen and the rest of the Final Five for creating him in an imperfect body. The whole killing the rest of humanity was probably more for shits and giggles. But he doesn't stop there: he plants his five Cylon parents as amnesiac humans in the Colonies to give them front row seats to the ensuing genocide, and subsequently plays mindgames with them for months to torment them even more. Then he rapes his mother and rips out his father's eye. "Petulant" doesn't begin to cover it.
  • Batwoman: Beth Kane ends up on Coryana Island, where she is trained under the tutelage of Safyiah, the island queen. Everything is going well, until she hooks up with Ocean, her trainer. A jealous Tatiana, one of Safyiah's assassins who is in love with her, goes and reports this to her, along with the news that Ocean plans to take some of the Desert Rose seeds to give to the world. Safiyah is so enraged by the betrayal that she gets Engima, a psychologist who specializes in brainwashing, to remove Beth and Ocean from each other's memories. Not only that, she also gets her to remove Beth's empathy and make her completely focused on revenge. This act results in the creation of Alice! Therefore, a lot of people are now dead because of two women's jealousy and heartbreak.
  • The Big Bang Theory Penny touched Sheldon's food while having her own full plate of food and nearly ate his because she was hungry. She then sat in his spot to take a stand. He responded by banishing her from his and Leonard's apartment. Her response was to not serve him at the Cheesecake Factory, and then imply that she messed with his food. His response was to take away her wifi (though he simply changes the password to the wifi that he's paying for and she's leeching off; he has every right to set whatever rules he likes for her use of his wifi). When she used up all the laundry machines on the night he was going to do laundry, Sheldon went too far and flung all of her laundry, including her underwear, outside on telephone poles. All of this escalating war tactics from Sheldon due to small mistakes from Penny.
  • In the American Big Brother, Rachel got houseguest Cassi evicted because she said a comment about Porsche off-hand that she didn't like. This gets even more annoying when you consider she did the same thing about Jordan and wondered why she hit Jeff's Berserk Button.
  • Black Mirror:
    • "Nosedive" takes place in a weird dystopian future where people rate each other on a social media platform akin to Facebook meets Trip Advisor. The rating system has effectively replaced all other values systems and hence the people are petty, judgemental and highly narcissistic. People downvote each other for the tiniest of slights, which is very bad as having a low score affects every aspect of your life from where you can live to your priority for medical treatment at hospital: a colleague of the protagonists' did nothing more than break up with his partner, but because his partner had a higher rating, their mutual friends all took the partner's side and downvoted him to such an extent that he could no longer enter the building where he worked and presumably he later lost his job - he can be seen standing outside the entrance frantically begging for ratings and being blanked. The episode explores through the protagonist how easily a few social slip-ups can lead to a snowball effect where your rating plummets and you become more desperate and exacerbate the situation.
    • In "USS Callister", cruel game developer Robert Daly punishes his co-workers for disrespecting him at work by creating sentient digital copies of them to use as slaves and fodder for Video Game Cruelty Potential. Many of these transgressions to earn these co-workers an eternity in a waking digital nightmare on par with a Cosmic Horror Story are unbelievably petty. For example, Packer is a Nice Guy who makes coffee and sandwiches for everyone in the office, and him innocently making Daly the wrong sandwich once irritated Daly enough to put him in the game. He put Elena in for not smiling enough, although Elena being a typical stoic Russian doesn't smile at anyone, so really he captures, torments and turns her blue simply because he didn't like her face. Kabir actually respects him as a boss and isn't mean to him at all and still all it took to earn Daly's wrath was once resetting his admin privileges for 14 minutes.
  • Blue Bloods:
    • In "Most Wanted", an Albanian mobster named Zoran Brasha beats up a delivery truck driver with a tire iron over a parking space. He is arrested and held pending trial. When Garrett later asks Frank why he is so intent on making sure Brasha gets convicted in New York City, Frank and Gormley explain that this is not the first time Brasha lost his temper on the street: a few years earlier, he slit an off-duty cop's throat over a spilt drink. Speaking of Brasha, Danny mentions in another scene that Brasha once put out a $400,000 hit on the U.S. attorney prosecuting him.
    • In "Working Girls", Erin is prosecuting a Russian mobster named Yuri Denko, who murdered the wife of an uncooperative associate over a business dispute, then killed said associate after threatening him into running. He then tries hard to get the one remaining witness (a housekeeper) killed but fails.
  • Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire is guilty of serial Disproportionate Retribution, generally resulting in the death of the offending party, no matter how minimal their slight. In his first scene he beats a Good Samaritan to death for essentially nothing. From this point on every character sharing a scene with Gyp is in immediate danger.
  • The Boys (2019): In "The Bloody Doors" Homelander and Stormfront decide to just murder a petty criminal instead of turn him over to the police, since they say the criminal justice system is too overworked or lenient.
  • In the Breaking Bad episode "Peek-a-Boo," a female drug addict kills her husband Spooge by dropping an ATM machine on his head all because he wouldn't stop calling her a skank.
    • Tuco, the Ax-Crazy Arc Villain of Season 1 and early season 2, beat one of his associates to death for speaking out of turn, arguing that he was undermining his authority. Granted, it was an accident and he was tweaked out on meth, but he was never all that stable to begin with.
  • A lot of the humor in The Brittas Empire is based around this trope. A number of examples in the first episode include a workforce of builders going on strike, just because Brittas asked one of them to put his empty cigarette box in the bin, the cleaner quitting because of a petty squable over a spilt coffee, and one of his staff trying to kill him because he wasn't going to put in any table tennis facilities.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Vengeance demons embody this trope, along with the more malevolent side of Literal Genie. It gets gruesome very quickly. We never find out what personal romantic slight necessitated the Russian Revolution as vengeance, but it was probably nothing special. Even Anya herself, a former vengeance demon, lampshades this. She talks with a friend about how when the girl gets her third boyfriend in a row roasted and toasted it just might be the girl's fault.
    • Warren Mears: Someone should've told Buffy that crazy, pissed off people have no sense of humor. Willow's response to the killing of Tara consists of torturing him by pushing the bullet that killed her through his body before flaying and burning him alive, then going after his friends. This provoked some major questions, as many portions of the Fandom didn't really have an issue with her going after Warren.
    • Tucker Wells sicced hellhounds on everybody at prom because the single and only girl he asked out refused.
      "Will you go to prom with me?"
    • There was also the time when Buffy burned down a vampire-inhabited building and killed any who escaped because Riley had been going there to have his blood drunk. While this might normally be part of her Slayer duties, these vampires were feeding off consenting victims, and it was explicitly pointed out (by Giles) that they weren't actually harming anyone.
    • Simone wants to torture and kill Andrew just because he annoyed her when he was her Watcher.
    • Amilyn tries to kill Oliver Pike for ruining his jacket. (Of course, Amilyn has also lost his arm, but he doesn't seem to care about that.)
    • Monroe and his group slaughter an entire monastery worth of Buddhist monks because he disagrees with Oz and Bayarmaa's view on werewolves.
    • Amanda suggested letting a vampire attack the marching band because they picked on the swing choir (of which she was a member).

  • Comes up many times on Chuck:
    • Casey is pretty much the poster boy for Disproportionate Retribution. He's (initially) completely fine with complying with an order by Beckman and Graham to kill Chuck just for possessing the Intersect, even though he didn't want it in the first place. Casey readily threatens (or carries out) bodily harm for such infractions as just annoying him, or giving him a hug. He warns Morgan that if he breaks his daughter Alex's heart, he'll break Morgan's everything. He tortures and brainwashes Lester just for insubordination against Morgan at the Buy More, and implied he was willing to kill Harry Tang when Chuck asked whether he'd already offered to do so for Anna.
    • Emmett takes a bullet in the eye from a terrorist for calling him a pussy. Oh sure, he was Too Dumb to Live, but that was excessive even for him. Earlier, Chuck nearly strangled him after being publicly berated by Emmett at the Buy More, and he had great difficulty maintaining control.
    • Daniel Shaw's Face–Heel Turn. His wife is killed by Sarah, who was only ever given a place and a picture, because it was suspected she was a Ring operative. At least, that's what Shaw was told by The Director. Whether this was actually true was never investigated. But it led to Shaw trying to kill Sarah, Chuck and Casey, attempt to take over the CIA entirely, giving the Ring the Intersect, and the killing of Chuck's father.
    • Quinn. Good god Quinn. He goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Chuck, pulling the strings of Fulcrum and The Ring and destroying Sarah's memory and turning her against her husband as part of his plan to steal the Intersect for himself, all because he was supposed to be the Intersect agent until Bryce stole it and sent it to Chuck, leading to Quinn being captured in the field, tortured, and being forced into retirement after he finally was released. Never mind that Chuck himself wasn't responsible for the Intersect being stolen or Quinn's capture.
  • In the series premiere of Clarissa Explains It All, Ferguson takes Clarissa's training bra to school for show and tell, embarrassing Clarissa. Embarrassment is her least favorite emotion, so she hatches a plan for revenge which involves wrapping Ferguson in a straitjacket and attaching balloons to it to send him flying into the stratosphere.
  • Cold Case:
    • The episode "It Takes a Village". The killer was a former resident of a boys' home as a kid and he was beaten up by the other boys on order of one of the counselors. So instead of going after the now adult guys or the counselor who actually did this to him in the '80s, he's kidnapping, torturing, and killing 9 and 10 year-old boys in 2007 and leaving their bodies in freezers. The way he chose the boys (at least at first glance) also looked like this: he set high scores on several arcade machines throughout the city and kept a look out for anybody that surpassed them.
    • The episode "Sabotage" has the killer committing murder by slipping pipe bombs to his victims. Granted he had some shafted deals going for him (he lost his job to outsourcing, after which he lost his daughter to natural illness he couldn't afford the treatment for, which then resulted in his wife divorcing him), but that's still no excuse for some of his crimes — for example, planting a pipe bomb into the hands of a store clerk who refused to allow him to return a store-sold object because he attempted to do so one day after the item return time limit had already been reached. In addition to the response being disproportionate to the offense, it's even more disproportionate because of all the victims, only one (the company executive who decided to outsource his job) was actually responsible for what the bomber was blaming him for, and even that wasn't the personal attack the bomber took it as. The rest, like the store manager, were really just cases of shooting the messenger, with the bomber taking out his rage on whoever happened to tell him that things didn't work the way he thought they should, whether or not it was that person's fault. Besides the store manager, one victim was a physician's assistant who told him he couldn't drop everything right that moment to look in on his daughter (because he had other patients) and the final intended target was his own brother, whose "crime" was that he refused to support the bomber's untenable, self-destructive lifestyle.
    • Though the motive is slightly more complicated than this, at least in his mind, the killer in "Glued" ultimately murdered an 8-year-old boy for shoplifting.
    • The serial killer in "Creatures of the Night" killed people to punish them for "disrespecting the Lord" (being dismissive about God and/or religion). Then again, he was clearly not in touch with reality and believed God was telling him to kill these people, so expecting logic to apply might be unrealistic.
    • "Saving Patrick Bubley": Four brothers have been killed in separate but related instances of gang violence. Lilly tracks back to figure out the cause and finds that it all began with a dispute over the youngest (and only surviving) brother's scooter.
    • This is actually the case for many of the victims. It's not without reason: if there's an obvious motive or suspect, the odds are better that the case gets solved before it goes cold. In cases of Disproportionate Retribution, there's usually no clear motive linking the perpetrator to the crime by reasonable standards, so it's more likely that the case ends up in the cold case stacks.
  • Community:
    • A specialty of Pierce Hawthorne.
      • "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" takes this up a notch. When the study group chooses not to invite him to a Dungeons & Dragons game that they know he wouldn't like and that they're using to help a bullied (as in borderline suicidal) student, he bullies his way into the game anyway and derails it as the villain. At the end, the bullied kid tells Pierce he had fun.
      • "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking" is all about his complicated revenge. He pretends he's dying, and bequeaths various gifts on the study group in order to screw with their heads for leaving him out of things all year. Shirley is given a CD supposedly filled with all the awful things the group says behind her back, Britta gets a ten thousand dollar check that she's supposed to donate to charity, Troy gets a meeting with his childhood hero when all he wanted was a signed picture ("YOU CAN'T DISAPPOINT A PICTURE!"), Annie gets a tiara that's been in Pierce's family for generations because she's his "favorite," and Jeff supposedly gets a meeting with his long-lost father. Abed is left out because he's filming everything, Jeff immediately sees through Pierce's games and threatens to beat him to a bloody pulp, and Annie decides that the tiara was a Secret Test of Character and gives it back. Ironically, despite all the angst the gift caused her, she was the only one Pierce wasn't screwing with. He really did just want to give her a nice gift because she's his favorite.
      • His targets are not limited to the study group. In "Intro to Political Science", he enters the school election and repeatedly antagonizes fellow candidate Vicki until she drops out of the election. His reason? She wouldn't lend him a pencil. (Of course, Vicki later performs some disproportionate retribution of her own by lending Pierce a pencil... through his cheek.)
    • In addition to Pierce's example in "Intro to Political Science", Jeff also joined the race to get back at a woman. In his case, he was mad at Annie for quipping that he's not a lawyer any more, so he decided to demonstrate the cruel reality of politics to her. She responded by digging up a video Jeff made auditioning for The Real World and airing it for the entire school.
    • Chang is guilty of this trope as well. In "Environmental Science", when Annie fails to hear him announce that a test is finished (which is his own fault since he mumbled it while his head was in his arms), he vindictively assigns the rest of the class to write an essay on Annie's mistake entirely in Spanish, with the subject matter and page length changing as the class raise their entirely reasonable objections until finally he's ordering them to write a twenty page essay in Spanish on ass-kissing.
  • Control Z: The hacker, Raúl, revealed everyone's secrets claiming they deserved this. Their "crimes" range from being bullies, to mildly rude and just keeping secrets period (some of which were kept for a reason). Meanwhile, the hackings cause even worse harm, all this including one person's death.
  • Played for laughs in Corner Gas:
    Davis: I heard we almost lost Brent.
    Oscar: What do you mean?
    Davis: The Stonewood Saints asked him to play for their team.
    Oscar: They what? Sons of... How would they like it if we went there and burnt down their rink?
    Karen: That genuinely seems like an appropriate response to you?
  • In the Singaporean version of Crimewatch (not to be confused with Crimewatch UK), Kai invites her friend Vicky to a movie, only for Vicky to refuse. Kai, offended, claims that Vicky wants to hang out with her boyfriend from the Black Spider gang and calls her a "prostitute," resulting in Vicky bringing in her gang to fight Kai's gang, a fight that ends with a young man being stabbed.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • At the beginning of the episode "Normal", a man is cut off in traffic by a woman. He pulls up alongside her and winds down his window to talk to her, only for her to verbally abuse him. So he shoots her. It turns out that that event was merely the straw that broke the camel's back for the killer.
    • Maeve's stalker is eventually revealed to be working off of this. Maeve rejected her thesis years ago because the study she did on suicide and couples included her own dead parents in the sample group, which was also implied to be too small to hold up scientifically. For this slight the unsub decided to make Maeve's life a living hell and prove herself better by dating Maeve's old boyfriend and then trying to seduce Reid, again to one-up Maeve. She is only happy when being assured that Maeve is not as good as she is. And the real kicker? Maeve actually thought her hypothesis might have merit, but thought she needed to improve her sampling techniques in order to present it properly.
    • In the episode "A Shade of Gray" the UnSub turned out to be a nine-year-old boy who choked his little brother to death because he accidentally broke a model airplane he was working on.
    • An episode's UnSub turns out to be a woman suffering from minor brain damage caused by a car accident that she caused when she hit two female students (one died, the other became a cripple). The brain damage causes her to react in this manner to any slight. She kills a hairdresser for being annoyed at getting a small tip, her boss for stealing her ideas, and her husband for wanting to call the cops so she could get help. Oh, and anyone else who gets in her way. The final victim would've been the surviving girl from the car accident, whom the woman blames for ruining her life. The girl points out that her and her friend had the right-of-way. The UnSub's logic starts slipping, and she claims that, since it was raining, she had the right-of-way. Luckily the BAU stops her.
    • The villain of the week in the episode "Amplification" is a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist who boasts that his terror attacks are to provide warning about the United States' lack of preparedness for bio-terrorism, but ultimately what the man is doing is unleashing anthrax in revenge for very minor slights (inside of a bookstore that fired him, on a park where his girlfriend dumped him, and on an Army base that constantly rejected him because he failed the psych test (turns out that he constantly said "yes" in the part of the test that asks if The Needs of the Many are worth people dying)).
  • CSI
    • They had a victim of the week who almost clipped a guy while pulling out of a parking space, and when he reacted to the near-miss by calling her a foul name, she told him to go to hell and threw her coffee at him. His response was to chase her down, rear-end her car at a level crossing and push it onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train.
    • Similarly, a subplot in the episode "Unleashed" had the teenage squad making obscene messages towards Maria, as well as making an extremely obscene website as well as a viral video that allegedly depicted her as calling herself a "slut" and a "whore", and was broadcast to millions all over the web, causing a lot more people to respond in kind to her, which caused her mind to finally snap and cause her to commit suicide while she was pregnant, after a combination of the trauma of the cyberbullying, her father's death, her mom not seeing eye-to-eye, and other factors. Why did they do it, you ask? It's because one of the cheerleaders, who was also supposed to be the homecoming queen, ended up dumped by the homecoming king in favor of Maria.
    • "Cats in the Cradle" had an eight-year-old girl stab an elderly woman in the heart with a pen just because she wouldn't let her have one of her cats.
    • "Compulsion" had a 14-year-old boy bash his little brother's head in with a lead pipe because he told everyone that he wets the bed.
    • The side story to "Crash and Burn" revolved around a teenage boy who tried to kill his parents by tampering with the fireplace in their bedroom so it will fill up with carbon monoxide and kill them while they sleep. Why? Because they refused to pay for the college he wanted to go to and, being owners of a hardware store, made just enough money to be within a financial bracket that denied the boy the chance to request a scholarship (as he says "they were too poor to help me, but rich enough to deny me my dreams").
    • In "Bad Words", a guy is killed for being a Jerkass in competetive Scrabble. He's not even actually cheating; his move is legal, but his opponent just had enough of being subjected to his tactic over several games and tournaments, constantly making him lose.
  • CSI: Miami:
    • On The Hangover episode "Dude Where's My Groom" the bride's dad drugs his future son-in-law and ditches him at sea on a tiny raft to die of exposure because he hurt his daughter's feelings by going to a strip club during his bachelor party when he said he wouldn't.
    • Horatio tends to do this especially if the bad guys harm his friends and family.
  • CSI: NY:
    • "A Daze of Wine and Roaches" had a victim who was killed because he tried to kill a cockroach in front of a rather unbalanced Friend to Bugs. The cockroach was a Madagascar hissing cockroach with precious stones on it that had escaped from its owner, but the scene also took place in a restaurant, so the chef had good reason to want any bug dead.
    • In "Personal Foul," a guy was murdered for having mocked an overweight basketball fan. Being more specific, the basketball fan slimmed down, became a cheerleader, and arranged things so she would poison him in the middle of a game.
    • In "The Closer," a man killed a guy for kissing him on the mouth during a baseball game because it got shown on the Jumbotron.

  • Daredevil: Three notable examples, all of them courtesy of Wilson Fisk.
    • In "In the Blood", Fisk is on a date with Vanessa, when Anatoly Ranskahov, one of the Russian brothers seeking to form a partnership with Fisk, crashes the date. Fisk takes Vanessa home and apologizes for the fiasco. Then he goes and beats Anatoly senseless before destroying his head with a car door for this slight. Fisk follows this up by targeting all of the Russians' operations and blowing up all of their hideouts, killing almost everyone who worked for Anatoly and his brother Vladimir, and having the corrupt cops in his pocket go in to shoot the survivors. Fisk already was having problems getting the Russians to be reliable and loyal, but this attack all came back to his interrupted date.
    • Fisk kills Ben Urich for the mere sin of (being tricked by Karen Page into) speaking to Fisk's mother. Again, there was some pragmatism under this as Ben had discovered that Fisk murdered his own father, but Fisk isn't actually particularly upset about that. The thing that drives him into a blind rage is the idea that Ben would bother his invalid mother.
    • Flashbacks in episode 8 suggest that Fisk got this trait from his father. When Fisk was young and his father's political ambitions failed, Wilson was beaten up by a teenage boy who was knocking down Bill's signs and dismissed Bill as a loser. Bill responded by savagely beating the kid with a baseball bat, but not for beating up his son (which at least would make this understandable), but for the insults he directed at him (which he was just parroting from his own father), before then bullying Wilson into continuing the beat down on the boy while he was defenseless. When Marlene finally called him out on his increasingly volatile behavior, he responded by beating her senseless with his belt while Wilson watched, until Wilson finally snapped and beat him to death with a hammer. Its not a surprise Wilson grew up to become the way he did.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Bad Wolf": It's mentioned that, in the Crapsack World the episode is set in, people get executed for either not having or not paying for a TV licence.
    • "The Christmas Invasion": When Harriet Jones orders missiles to be launched at some supposedly-retreating aliens that have already proven to be liars with hostile intent, the Doctor responds by completely ruining her political career by encouraging the idea that she is too old and tired to runnote , which got her a vote of no confidence. Especially ridiculous considering he is supposed to be the hero, and a role model for kids. And allowed the Master to take her place as PM.
    • "Tooth and Claw": Queen Victoria banishes the Doctor and Rose from both Great Britain and the Earth itself for having too much fun while saving her from an alien werewolf. Admittedly, her values and theirs are a bit different due to the times, but creating the Torchwood Institute to fight both monsters and the Doctor himself is not a good look.
    • "Smith and Jones": The Judoon, being Lawful Stupid "police for hire", are prone to this:
      • A patient who smashes a vase over a fully-armoured Judoon is immediately sentenced to death and executed on the spot.
        Judoon Captain: Witness: a crime. Charge: physical assault. Plea: Guilty. Sentence: execution. [vaporises the man on the spot]
        Oliver Morgenstern: You didn't have to do that.
        Judoon Captain: Justice is swift.
      • The Doctor is in a hurry to track down the episode's villain because he knows that if the Judoon find her first, they'll execute everyone in the hospital for harbouring a fugitive, despite no one knowing her true identity.
    • "Voyage of the Damned": Max Capicorn gets ousted by his own board of trustees and blamed for the company's failure. So he contrives to crash the Titanic (2000 killed) into Earth (6 billion killed) and get the trustees jailed for mass murder. Wow.
    • "The Beast Below": A little boy is sent to the Beast below for... failing a test and then trying to take the lift.
    • "Time Heist": People caught disobeying rules or stealing at the Bank of Karabraxos have to face the Teller as punishment. Not only do they get turned into walking vegetables, but their descendants get incarcerated as insurance that the family will not commit a crime against the bank a second time. It makes sense in that there are such things as crime families afoot like the Slitheen who might co-conspire and this is a preventative measure designed to split them up, but innocent children... hoo boy, it's gonna suck for them.
    • "Spyfall": It turns out that the Master razed Gallifrey after discovering an Awful Truth about the species' history and origin so bad that it horrified him. He laid waste to the planet so thoroughly that it's implied he didn't just kill the government, but everyone there, including civilians and children who likely had nothing to do with the secret of the Timeless Child.
  • Drake & Josh:
    • D & J inflict this upon themselves in "Megan's Revenge", which is actually a part of Megan's Paranoia Gambit scheme.
    • Officer Gilbert sabotages Drake and Josh in every way to make sure they obtain as many tickets as possible and ultimately end up in jail.
    • Mindy Crenshaw parked Mrs. Hafer's car in the middle of her classroom and framed Drake. Then she became the prosecutor on the trial, and managed to not only almost convince everyone he did it, but to humiliate Josh. The offense? Her grades were a perfect 4.0 until she dared to give her a B on a homework. Oh, and she hates Drake and Josh. And she's nuts. Yeah, Dan Schneider is fond of this trope.
    • In "Mindy Loves Josh", Megan plays a trick on Drake, making him believe that he has caught a disease that makes his hands and feet green, and she also gives him a disgusting cure for said fake disease. Megan's reason for doing this? It was revenge for Drake eating a cookie that she had saved for herself.

  • On Everybody Loves Raymond, the wife will often resort to physical abuse (in one episode she pours hot marinara sauce from right off the stove onto her husband's crotch, another time she flings him into a shelf full of books) whenever Ray does something mildly irritating.

  • Farscape:
    • Aeryn is on the run from her people in because of a hilariously excessive Peacekeeper law: merely spending a little time with aliens is enough to render a Peacekeeper "irreversibly contaminated" and earn the death penalty. Captain Crais, who put Aeryn in this position, becomes contaminated himself following his Heel–Face Turn. He acknowledges in "Mind the Baby" that he still has a visceral reaction to interspecies contact, and since it comes from his Peacekeeper education, he's forcing himself to reexamine that reaction.
    • Crais himself (the Big Bad of Season One) persecuted the crew of Moya (and Crichton in particular) because his brother died when his spaceship crashed into Crichton's. "That Old Black Magic" gave Crais a Freudian Excuse in that he was charged at a young age with protecting his younger brother - the only family he had for much of his life. Nonetheless, at the end of Season 1, Crais acknowledges the trope by admitting, "It was about my brother. It should have been about my brother."
  • Firefly:
    • The psychotic crime boss Adelei Niska takes extreme exception to Mal's choosing to not complete a job when he discovered it would kill a town if he finished it. Even after the money for the job is given back to him, he proceeds to hunt down Mal and Wash, capture them, and torture them endlessly until the crew kicks in the doors (though there was also the whole matter of kicking his Dragon through one of Serenity's engines). And he also tortured and killed his wife's nephew and hung his body upside down as a warning to our heroes, supposedly for "not getting the job done".
    • In the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" Captain Malcolm Reynolds accidentally gets married to a girl who's obsessed with pleasing him. The preacher on the ship gives Mal his view on the situation.
      Shepherd Book: If you take sexual advantage of her you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.
  • Flashpoint has this in spades:
    • "Keep the Peace" (series finale): Marcus Faber went through a horrible ordeal, psychologically tortured by a sadist. But rather than just kill the sadist, which would likely have put him into Sympathetic Murderer territory, he takes out his rage on the entire city of Toronto by planting bombs at random locations around the city. It's a devastating tragedy, and what's even worse is that the horrific tragedy that unfolded was only a fraction of what Faber intended. Ultimately, only two bombs resulted in a significant number of casualties, but he had planted ten, nine of them in heavily occupied buildings; if SRU hadn't managed to determine his targets, defuse six of the bombs, and evacuate the site of a seventh (so that even though that bomb went off, no one was killed) it would have been worse by several orders of magnitude. What makes it even worse is that of the ten targets, only one had anything to do with Faber's ordeal (the fifth bomb killed the sadist and destroyed the lab where Faber had been tortured). The other nine were him taking out his rage on innocent citizens.
    • In "Day Game", a security guard responding to an incident turns out to be a former cop who tried out for SRU but never made it in. When his attempt to force Parker to recognize him as a hero fails, he takes Parker hostage and nearly kills him.
    • "Backwards Day": A woman lures her husband's lover to the house and holds her at knifepoint.
    • "Whatever it Takes": In the Back Story, a basketball coach orders the team to beat up one of the star players for being off his game, even though they still won the match. (It's eventually revealed that the retribution is a pretext; he actually wants to break down the players' wills so he can control them and this is part of how he does it.)
    • The entire plot of "Jumping at Shadows" revolves around a combination of this and He Knows Too Much. An accountant finds evidence of criminal activity, and his entire family is slaughtered. When they see his daughter's seven-year-old friend watching, they try to kill her too, but she escapes with her life, so the same killers spend three years hunting her down just so they can finish her off.
    • The antagonist of "Run to Me" reacts violently to any hint of defiance from his "family". Most notably, he had killed one young woman in front of the others because she threatened to report him to the police, and he invokes that murder to taunt/threaten another girl when she dares show a hint of something other than complete blind obedience.
  • In an early episode of The Following one of Joe Carroll's followers sets a literary critic on fire because he wrote a bad review about Carroll's book.
  • In the Frasier episode "The Last Time I Saw Maris", Niles finally stands up to Maris after she left for a three-day shopping spree without telling him and calls her out on her thoughtlessness, telling her that he'll be waiting for an apology. So she files for a divorce.
  • Freaky: Does delivering unwanted junk mail really warrant the delivery boy being transformed into a picture in one of the catalogues? Sure, there was a 'No Junk Mail' sticker on the letter box, but still...
  • A French Village: The Germans take twenty people hostage, to shoot in retaliation for just one of their officers being killed if the killers don't surrender. Daniel manages to get it reduced, but it's still ten who they shoot. In other places, it's mentioned they shot fifty hostages for such attacks. Later they up the count to 100 hostages for each German killed. However, Müller admits it's only driving more people to join the Resistance.
  • Friends: In the episode "The One with the Thumb", Chandler makes a joke about doing this:
    Monica: Where's Joey?
    Chandler: Joey ate my last stick of gum, so I killed him. Do you think that was wrong?
    • Another episode involved Chandler hiding all of Joey's underwear (he wasn't wearing any at the time, but wasn't about to do so in his rented tux, refusing to "go commando in another man's fatigues"). Joey threatens to do "the exact opposite" to Chandler, which turns out to be wearing everything that Chandler owns (except his underwear).
      Chandler: That is so not the opposite of hiding someone's underwear!
    • One episode has Ross moving into a new apartment that was formerly rented out by Ugly Naked Guy. On the day that Ross moves in, the building's landlord is retiring and everyone is chipping in for his party while they also ask Ross to pitch in his share in the sum of $100. Ross respectably declines since he just moved in and doesn't even know who the guy is. All the tenants react harshly and go out of their way to constantly ignore him or disrespect him in future encounters.

  • Game of Thrones:
    • Robb Stark violates a marriage vow to one of Walder Frey's daughters and instead marries a field medic he's fallen in love with. He tries to make amends by offering his sincere apologies, a valuable piece of property, and his uncle's hand instead of his own. Walder Frey seems to accept, but then proceeds to have his men kill Robb's pregnant wife (by stabbing her in the belly), Robb himself, Robb's mother, and Robb's entire army.
    • The Commonfolk are unfortunately frequent targets of this, especially when the Lannisters are involved. Tyrion being taken hostage by Catelyn Stark under suspicion of conspiring to murder Bran resulted in Tywin unleasing Gregor 'The Mountain' on the Riverlands, brutally killing hundreds of innocent farmers and fishers to show everyone that you do not mess with the Lannisters, even if it's the most worthless-in-his-eyes of Lannisters. Joffrey being pelted with a cow-pie was met with a Leave No Survivors order on hundreds of gathered peasants in King's Landing. Fortunately in the latter case, sheer numbers made it impossible to carry-out, Joffery and his body guards were almost immediately sent running for their lives. It's lampshaded by Tyrion: "They threw a cowpie at you, so you decided to kill them all?!"
    • Gregor Clegane burned off half his little brother's face for playing with his toy and Sandor emphasizes that he hadn't even stolen said toy (Gregor could have, you know, asked for it back). He also beheads his horse and attempts to do the same to his opponent after being unhorsed in a tournament. Sandor even claims Gregor once killed a man for snoring too loudly.
    • Any slight against House Lannister is met with extreme prejudice from Tywin, as shown above by his unleashing of The Mountain. His establishing moment in the backstory was wiping out the entirety of the Lannister vassal House Reyne for daring to think that they could stand up to the Lannisters. When he gives his speech about family reputation and fear, he really, really means it.
    • While Tyrion calling Shae a whore and saying he never loved her was brutal, not only was it only a ploy to Break Her Heart to Save Her, but he also set her up to live a life of comfort in Pentos. Her response? Provide false testimony that Tyrion and Sansa conspired to murder Joffrey while humiliating Tyrion by reciting twisted renditions of their most intimate moments. She does all of this despite knowing full well that her testimony would get both Tyrion and Sansa sentenced to death. When Tyrion finds her in Tywin's bed, she does not hesitate to pull a knife and try to kill him.
    • Jorah's exile for the crimes he committed, in his mind at least, though Daenerys herself is appalled with this.
    • In the episode "Valar Dohaeris", Tyrion calls out Cersei for an incident in the past, where Cersei had a nine-year-old servant girl (who was her own age) beaten to the point of losing an eye just for stealing a necklace. Cersei claims that Tyrion "slandered her" to their father and justifies what she did by stating the girl never stole anything again.
  • Gimme a Break!: The episode "Baby Of the Family," where Nell — standing behind the series' head of the household, Chief Kanisky — prohibits youngest daughter Samantha from going on an unchaperoned camping trip where boys will also be present. The two get into a huge argument, but Nell won't back down. That, plus Nell and the rest of the family paying more attention to recent adoptee Joey, really drive on Samantha's nerves. So you'd think that Sam would run away anyway or in the very least pout and throw a tantrum, but realize she still isn't going on the camping trip. Instead: Upon learning that Nell's church fundraiser needs a last-minute act after one backs out, convinces Joey that Nell just loves The Jazz Singer and that she would really delight the all-black congregation by performing as that awesomely great singer Al Jolson. Of course, this action instead completely offends the entire congregation and totally embarrasses and humiliates Nell ... and to be sure Sam has a lot of explaining to do when an angry Nell comes home. Fortunately for Sam, Nell forgives her.
  • Glee
    • "Special Education": Finn lied to Rachel about sleeping with Santana the previous year before he and Rachel became a couple. In response to the revelation, Rachel decided to hurt Finn in the best way she could think of: by hooking up with his best friend who happened to be the same dude that knocked up his other ex. This was supposed to make them even. Finn didn't see it that way. There are some people in the fandom who don't see what the big deal is...
    • Burt threw Finn out of the house for what was essentially the use of a bad word directed at inanimate objects.
  • Good Luck Charlie:
    • In "Teddy's Bear", Mr. Piper gives Teddy a bad grade because she "didn't fill in the oval correctly" and then writes her a disciplinary note after she breaks one of his pencils.
    • In "Guys Meet Girls", Jo dislocates Gabe's shoulder because she thinks he cheated in the game they are playing.
    • In "Charlie Did It", Hugo the store manager arrests Charlie, an infant for taking a pair of sunglasses. This is further shown by the mugshots he takes of her in his office.
  • One night in Graduados, Andy, Loli, Vero, Dani, Tuca and Vicky were in the disco, and it was the moment for the slow dance with the 80's ballads. Andy and Loli are a couple, Dani and Vero are going in that direction, so they began to dance... and that left Vicky with her Hopeless Suitor, the Stalker with a Crush Tuca. She accepted to dance, but warning! If any of his fingers touch a forbidden area, she will break it! Of course, he did not hear. He had his hands on her back, slowly moved then down, down, until he touched the... AUCH! Vicky made good of her word: shouting several times "I'M NOT A WHORE!!" she broke his finger, twisted his arm to the back, punched him to the ground in agony, and Kick Him While He Was Down. Well, she DID warn him, so we may say he got what he deserved...

  • This is one way the title character of Hannibal picks his victims. A flashback shows him asking for the business card of a doctor who annoyed him; cut to the present day, where he has a rolodex chock-full of business cards - attached to fancy recipes.
  • In the Happy Days episode "A Little Case of Revenge", Tom Hanks plays the part of Dwayne Twitchell, a karate expert who has harbored a grudge against Fonzie since the third grade. When Twitchell challenges the Fonz to a fight, the Fonz wins by not fighting back, allowing Twitchell to tire himself out.
  • Season 5 of Heroes. What do you do when you want to take a tour through your old house but the new inhabitants say no because they're having a party? How about create a massive sinkhole under it, destroying the entire property and killing three of the party-goers? That's what Samuel did
  • Happens often in Highway to Heaven. Jonathan uses his powers to punish evil-doers, which often includes people who are wealthy and purpose-driven, siding with the poor and mentally-challenged.
    • In one episode, he pushes a little girl into a swimming pool. In the same episode, he makes her get wet again by using his powers to squirt her with a sprinkler. Her crime: she's rude.
    • In another episode, he makes two boys continuously wreck their bicycles because they make fun of a little girl.
    • He flips a guy's car over, which leads to a policeman writing the guy a ticket. The crime: parking in a handicap spot.
    • In one episode, he beats up three guys, throwing one of them violently up and over a parked car. Their crime: one of them stole another guy's lunch.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street:
    • In "Zen and the Art of Murder", a homeless man murders a Buddhist monk for offering him a spoon while he was at the soup kitchen, on the grounds it was disrespectful because "I can get my own damn spoon!" He then tries to murder Bayliss because he found his incredulity at the guy's motive similarly disrespectful.
    • In "A Many Splendored Thing", a man kills someone because he wouldn't give him a pen on the grounds that he could buy the pen anywhere for $4.00. It's justified, as the man was mentally unstable and actually turns himself in out of guilt.
    • In "Heartbeat", a drug dealer buries a man alive because he had stolen the drug dealer's book and refused to give it back.
  • In "The Frogs and the Lobsters" of Horatio Hornblower, Marquis Moncoutant keeps beheading villagers one after another. The verdicts say it's for treason and crimes against the country. Mariette later says to Horatio that the baker was executed for selling old bread. Fans like to joke that the French take their bread very seriously.
  • Horrible Histories has examples due to some things that happened in real life and the Evil Is Hammy way they portray historical "villains". For example, calling The Caligula a hairy goat will bring on a beating with an iron rod. And then there's this:
    Cesare Borgia: I'll kill a man who dares to, like, invade my personal space.
  • In House, Detective Tritter is embarrassed by the titular character by having a thermometer used rectally on him and left alone in a private exam room for half an hour. This was after he acted like a total Jerkass to aforementioned titular character, kicking his cane out from under him when he refused to perform an unnecessary procedure. Tritter's response? Arrest the good doctor, freeze the bank accounts of anyone on House's team, ruin Wilson's oncology practice and remove his prescription license (potentially worsening or ending the lives of any number of cancer patients), draining valuable police funds, breaking into and searching House's home, and just generally being a dick. All the while, dangling false hope for House to avoid jail if he'll only go to rehab... which he does... and Tritter removes the deal from the table. On Christmas.
  • House of Saddam: Try to assassinate the President of Iraq? He will raze your village in retaliation. Accuse a neighboring country of driving down the price of oil? You invade their country. Try to attempt to overthrow the President of Iraq after defecting to Jordan and taking his daughters with them? He will set you up to take the fall to make himself look good to the U.N. Weapons Inspectors, force you to divorce his daughters upon your return to Iraq, and set you up to be killed.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • The episode "Canning Randy" has Ted designing a the new GNB headquarters, which will replace a very old building being torn down to make room for it. When Zoey finds out, Ted says he doesn't care. Her response is to egg the window of Ted's apartment, get his entire class to destroy a billboard with Ted's picture on it, and get them all to abandon his class and turn against him. Especially disproportionate considering he did not choose the building site and has no power to change it.
    • In the final season, we find out that the only reason Barney took a job at GNB around 10 years ago was so he could get revenge on the guy who stole Shannon (a girlfriend mentioned exactly once in season 1, but very likely his First Love) by getting him thrown in jail and taking all his stuff.
  • In Hustle explicitly so in a B-plot to one episode. The gang had been charged £60 for going £4 overdrawn at the bank. To get revenge on the bank manager, they incorporated him as the secondary mark in their latest con, and cheated him out of thousands.

  • iCarly:
    • "iGot Detention". Carly and Freddie are trying to get detention along with Sam to do their 50th show, to no avail. What makes Howard give Carly detention is her slamming her locker door in frustration.
    • Briggs threatens Freddie to get expelled because of Spencer's presence; Howard gives Gibby triple detention for being "too Gibby" and his smart-ass replies; Devlin marks down Carly's report for being printed on three-holed paper which he hates; Ackerman gives Carly an F for a quiz she never took after Spencer broke up with her. The list goes on...
    • Nevel. Carly refused to kiss him and stuck some food in his face. Therefore, he swore Carly would rue this day and he embarked on a campaign of revenge, which included fraud and cyberterrorism. One episode showed a video of him picking up the last jar of a particular brand of pickle in a store. As he's about to put it in his car, a little girl accidentally runs into him with a cart, causing him to drop the jar, which falls on the floor and breaks. He flips, screaming at the little girl and taking a lollipop she had out of her cart, then throws it on the ground, taunting her and screaming at her more as she's crying. The little SOB calls her mother an idiot. The numerous hateful comments the video receives about Nevel are well-deserved.
    • "iKiss". In retaliation for Freddie handcuffing her to Gibby, which was in turn all for the endless abuse she had given him, Sam reveals Freddie's embarrassing secret, that he's never kissed a girl, to the world on the webshow. Thankfully, Sam redeems herself by admitting that she had never kissed anyone either.
    • "iMake Same Girlier" involved a senior bully that was worse than Sam and required Sam to fight her. She is first shown shaking down a much younger kid for forgetting to say "God bless you" when she sneezed.
    • Chuck Chambers. He was breaking a building rule by playing racquetball in the lobby, and Spencer couldn't get him to stop, so he told Chuck's dad, who grounded him for 2 days. Chuck got revenge... By keeping Spencer locked up in a storage cage in the basement (and squirting him with a "suspicious liquid"). And then he's perfectly willing to beat the crap out of Spencer. All for a 2-day grounding over something he wasn't supposed to be doing in the first place.
      Chuck: If I can't watch TV, then NOBODY CAN!
    • "iMove Out" also had the "petographers" (who, as you could guess, were pet photographers), who destroyed Carly and Sam's studio because they refused to shut down their pet photography business, claiming they can't have two pet photography groups in Seattle.
    • "iCan't Take It". Hooooo boy. At some point offscreen, Sam asks Freddie what time it is and he didn't know. Sam's response? To take his NERD camp application and make it look like Freddie's a dirty whore, which gets him rejected. Plus, Carly begs him not to dump Sam over that because it was before they started dating.
    • "iMeet Fred". Freddie mentions he doesn't think Fred is that funny on video. Fred responds by claiming he won't make videos anymore, which results in social isolation and emotional and physical abuse to Freddie until he took it back. Sam beat him with a tennis racket until it broke. And it turned out it was a publicity stunt by Fred.
    • "iHate Sam's Boyfriend": The trio's revenge on Jonah for trying to kiss Carly while he's with Sam? They wedgie-bounce him on iCarly. And he's still left in the device even after the show's over. To be fair though, he was an annoying jerk throughout the episode and the punishment itself could be for everything rather than just the one thing.
    • "iParty with Victorious" has probably the most glaring example in the show's history; if not that, then of all Nickelodeon's. Carly and Tori have discovered that their boyfriend Stephen was two-timing each of them with the other. Their response? Exposing him over iCarly so the whole world knows. While what he did was bad, their revenge is the equivalent of cyberbullying.
  • In the I Love Lucy episode "The Courtroom", Lucy and Ricky buy Fred and Ethel a television set for their 25th wedding anniversary. Attempting to fix a problem with the picture, Ricky begins fiddling with the settings and wires in the back, and by accident causes it to explode. Fred goes berserk, runs upstairs, and spitefully destroys the Ricardos' own television set. Then he has the nerve to take them to court! All this over a new television that the Mertzes themselves didn't pay for and was just given to them as a gift!
  • In iZombie, Vaughn Du Clark reacts to some kid in Thailand posting negative tweets about his latest energy drink (and the kid only has a few hundred followers) by having his people set up a fatal motorcycle accident for him.

  • In the JAG episode "Killer Instinct" a petty officer on an Aircraft Carrier killed two subordinates because they were sloppy.
  • Jessie: When challenged by Jessie, Agatha uses her website to slander Jessie to an incredible degree, putting her at risk of losing her job as the Ross' nanny. Christina steps up to defend Jessie and raises the stakes by posting on her blog about Agatha's true personality. It's worth nothing that Agatha's blog is only local while Christina's blog expands over 4million viewers. Agatha suddenly realizes that she is a small fish faced against a big white shark.

  • In Kamen Rider Ex-Aid it is revealed that Emu was infected by the Bugster Virus by Kuroto when they were both children simply because Emu sent fan mail and game ideas. Kuroto started a deadly virus outbreak because some random kid in Japan had the potential of being a great game developer. Wow.
  • The King of Queens:
    • In an episode, a waitress is constantly seeking advise from Arthur. He gets fulfillment from this, until finding out from a dimwitted co worker that she only does so to follow the opposite of what he suggests. Following this he deliberately sets her up to follow ill advise (or ignore good advise). Whether or not he intended for this to get her fired and potentially bankrupt, he seems to find her outcome perfectly just in his gloating.
      Former Waitress: You cost me my job! How am I going to pay my bills?!
      Arthur: And you hurt my feelings, so now we're even!
    • Deacon goes out to dinner with a female friend and doesn't tell Kelly. She and Carrie treat it as if he's sleeping with the woman, to the point Kelly kicks him out barefoot and moneyless, while Carrie kicks him out of the house and refuses to allow Doug to give him money for a hotel room.

  • Law & Order:
    • The episode "Aftershock" involves the execution of a man who committed an extremely violent act of disproportionate retribution; he got rear-ended in traffic by a young woman, so he dragged her out of her car, raped her and beat her to death.
    • In the show’s final-season episode "Pledge", a fact checker for a scientific magazine murdered a female biologist’s 12-year-old son. His reason for doing so? Thirty years earlier, the victim's mother threw him out of a party at her college sorority, keeping him from another upper-crust girl who he believed was the love of his life. It's implied that the girl he was pursuing may have actually been the one who asked the mother to get rid of the guy, but he refuses to believe this and pins it all on the mother.
    • In the episode "Prejudice", the victim of the episode was killed because he took a taxi that someone else had just flagged down. Even though the killer was able to flag down another taxi right after the first one drove off.
    • Hoo, boy, Carla Perrazo in the episode "Couples". She kills her husband by repeatedly running him over with her car not for "his cheating" or "his perversions", but because, in her words, "I don't go under the knife for anybody."
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • In "Holden's Manifesto", the title character attacks several women for having rejected him years earlier. Most of them didn't even remember him.
    • Toyed with, but ultimately averted, in "Intoxicated". It initially appears that a teenage girl killed her mother for trying to break up her relationship with an older boy, but it's ultimately revealed that the mother was a chronic alcoholic and her mistreatment of her daughter was much more serious and prolonged than they had been aware of, and that the daughter killed her not for interfering in her relationship, but because her mother was beating her up for refusing to break it off.
    • "Dissonant Voices": Two girls accuse their singing teacher of molesting them and coach their younger brothers to do the same because they got upset when he told them they weren't good enough to be professionals.
    • "Father Dearest". A man is framed for multiple rapes because he stole the real rapist's girlfriend 20 years ago.
    • "Revenge." A man convinces two other comrades to rape and beat random couples. His motive? A girl he liked in high school never returned his call when he tried inviting her to the senior prom. To add insult to injury, the girl never even got his voicemail because he had the wrong number.
  • Luke Cage (2016):
    • Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes kills one of his own men because the guy dared to suggest that he use benign neglect and just leave Luke Cage alone rather than try to force him out of Harlem.
    • Willis "Diamondback" Stryker has had a lifelong vendetta against his half-brother all due to perceived Parental Favoritism, which has included framing Luke and getting him put in Seagate.

  • The woman in this MADtv sketch admits to trying to kill a man and his family by driving them off of a cliff.. because he took her usual parking spot. She also got her neighbor's kids taken away by Social Services because some leaves blew into her yard. What makes the sketches funnier is that she admits as much yet still rationalizes her actions as fair.
  • This is how everyone handles everything in Malcolm in the Middle. Whether it be problems between the brothers, Lois punishing the boys, or someone dealing with an outside problem, it's almost bound to be disproportionate. Life is unfair, indeed.
  • On Mama's Family, when Thelma's house is robbed of a few cheap items, she starts getting progressively more upset as she waits for the cops to arrive until she finally screams,"I want this sicko locked up! I want him to fry in the chair!"
  • The most infamous scene in María la del barrio has Soraya going on a screaming, murderous (as in she seriously tries to kill people) rampage because her crush kissed Alicia on the cheek in her house.
  • Married... with Children:
    • Marcy Rhodes Darcy from has this trait. According to her, in school she got revenge on her classmates for embarrassing her by cutting the brakes of the bus they were on for a field trip. In the season three episode "Here's Looking at You, Kid", Marcy plots to catch a serial peeping tom, smash his toes with a hammer, and then turn the hammer around... And when the supposed peeper is caught (unfortunately, it's Al, trying to boost the un-peeped Peggy's battered ego), we hear (but don't see) the sound of a buzzsaw being turned on.
    • Another episode has Bud planning to humiliate a girl who once stole his underwear and ran it up a flagpole for all of the school to see. 5 years later, he's still smarting about this and has asked her to the homecoming dance, planning to engineer a scheme in which her underwear will be on display. Unfortunately, things get turned around and Bud ends up humiliated again. But at the end of the episode, we see that Kelly has come through for her brother—the girl is seen chained to a wall, wrapped in a towel, the end of which is being held by Buck the dog. Kelly calls to Buck, Buck runs toward her, dragging the towel. . .as hundreds of students pour into the building to start their school day.
    • The episode "The Agony of Defeet" saw Kelly making it look like Bud and Marcy had a one-night stand. The reason? Marcy called Kelly a simpleton, leaving Kelly feeling insulted.
    • One variant of the Psycho Dad! theme has: "Killed his wife case she had a cold!/Might as well, she was getting oldnote !/Psycho Dad! Psycho Dad! Psycho Daaaaaad!" It's a recurring theme in the openings. Psycho Mom!, for example, killed her husband with a frying pan because he had poor aim in the bathroom.
    • In one episode, Al gets upset when a rabbit starts stealing carrots from his vegetable garden. In his attempts to get rid of it, he pours water down the burrow for hours (he floods Marcie's house, but misses the rabbit), uses extra-strength pest control poison (kills a bald eagle, but not the rabbit), tries hunting it with a rifle (shoots himself in the foot) then a flamethrower (sets the garden on fire, and shoots himself in the other foot) and still misses the rabbit, and finally uses dynamite. (He finds out too late that he didn't check for gas lines, and destroys both his and Marcie's house.) He still failed to get the rabbit. (Might have been a case of The Bad Guy Wins if the rabbit were actually doing anything evil.) The ironic part? The reason he planted the garden in the first place was because the doctor told him he needed to relieve stress.
    • In one episode where Al is able to call in favors from Kelly's well-connected and married latest boyfriend, Marcie and Jefferson are among his callers. They want him to use his connections to deal with the paperboy who keeps throwing the newspaper into their flower garden. And by "deal" they mean "kill him".
    • In "Married with Children: England Show III: We're Spending as Fast as We Can", the episode ends with Al being arrested for trying to steal a towel from the Savoy. Peggy doesn't think he'll be punished too badly since it was just one towel. Cue a Gilligan Cut to Al being chained up in a dark dungeon. The old-looking bearded prisoner next to him is in a similar situation — his crime was stealing an ashtray from the Ritz.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • By the fourth season, the enmity between Frank Burns and Hawkeye Pierce is well established, but it seemed excessive in "The Novocaine Mutiny" when Frank tried to have Hawkeye executed.
    • In the season 3 episode "House Arrest", Margaret insists Frank defend her honor after Hawkeye insults her. Frank does so by snapping Hawkeye's backside with a towel...and Hawkeye responds by punching him in the mouth.
  • Masters of Horror
    • The Season 2 episode “We All Scream for Ice Cream” kicks off with a pretty dark one when Buster, a demonic, undead clown, gives one of the voodoo ice creams to the son of Kent, one of children that accidentally killed him decades before after a prank went fatally wrong. Kent begs his son not to eat it, but the boy does anyway. And after watching his father literally and graphically melt away in front of him, Kent's son, with little to no remorse, coldly says, "You shouldn't have grounded me." Jesus Christ, kid! While yes, maybe the kid being under Buster's control also had something to do with it, but still...
  • Red John, the Big Bad of The Mentalist, is known for this (in addition to the general sadism that goes along with being a serial killer).
    • The pilot reveals that the series protagonist, Patrick Jane, is obsessed with catching Red John because Red John killed Jane's wife and young daughter in a personal act of revenge against Jane. What did Jane do to him? Badmouthed him on TV.
    • In the Season 2 finale, a friend of Jane's also speaks about Red John to the media but takes a tone of compassion rather than contempt. Red John still finds it insulting, kidnaps her, and warps her mind until she comes to believe that she's dead.
      • Also in the Season 2 finale, he kills two college students making a slasher film based on his crimes because he can't stand "cheap imitations of [his] work". Though he does spare the life of a third student who was an unwilling participant.
    • He's known to kill (or order someone to kill) his own disciples if they show signs of turning on him. If he takes the betrayal especially personally, he'll torture them first.
  • Merlin:
    • Uther wanted an heir but his wife was barren. Nimueh cured his wife's sterility but to keep the balance of life and death she died in childbirth and for this Uther has mounted a genocidal campaign against all magic users. Particularly disproportionate if Nimueh is telling the truth that she didn't know it would be Ygraine that would die
    • When Arthur kills a unicorn, the keeper of the unicorns curses Camelot. All the crops rot overnight and all the water turns to sand.
    • In "The Lady of the Lake", a sorceress curses Freya to turn into a bloodthirsty, killing Bastet every night for accidentally killing said sorceress's son in self-defense.
    • The dragon's attack on Camelot. Uther slaughters his entire kind, and in response he attempts to raze the city to the ground, leaving Uther untouched as his subjects die. Well, it's the exact same thing that Uther did to him, but he was still killing innocents.
  • In one That Mitchell and Webb Look sketch, David Mitchell's character is a huge Grammar Nazi who shoots everyone who mispronounces words or uses wrong grammar.
    - "It's just: The red mist descends whenever I am confronted with ignoramy."
    - "Ignoramuses. It's from the Latin "we are ignorant", this makes it a verb, not a noun."
    - "Oh god! What have I done?"
  • In Modern Family's "Schooled", Cam sets the plot in motion when he picks up and physically threatens a boy whom he saw pull his daughter's hair. On the first day of kindergarten.
  • Monk:
    • In "Mr Monk Gets Fired", the Jerkass police commissioner, in response to Monk erasing several years worth of forensic files, has him not only removed from the headless torso/murder case, but even goes as far as his detective license revoked. It's also heavily implied that this was simply an excuse for him to do so, and he was really only doing it because Monk placed his friend, who also happened to be a very corrupt cop, in prison.
    • Monk himself nearly did the same thing in Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan, where he almost arrested a busboy at a local restaurant for urinating in public on the subway (which also had him getting lost in New York City in the first place) while arresting a man who killed both his own wife and the Latvian ambassador/his bodyguards.
    • In the novel Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop, Monk gets so offended that an exclusive Chinatown beauty salon uses various bird excrements in its cleansing formulas that he calls in a SWAT team and Hazmat team.
    • In the novel "Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse", an incident happens where Natalie has to talk Monk out of calling a Hazmat team to decontaminate an entire city block after she simply looks inside a dumpster.
    • In "Mr. Monk in Trouble", there's a small subplot about a man who stabbed his girlfriend for not cooking his steaks correctly.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • The "Self-Defense against Fresh Fruit" sketch has Sgt. Major defending himself against banana and raspberry wielding "fiends" with guns, 16-ton weights and a tiger. And 200 tons of gelignite in the walls.
    • At the end of the "Sam Peckinpah's Salad Days" sketch, the presenter's sniffling one time too many is punished with a Multiple Gunshot Death.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Why did Pearl Forrester give Mike and the Bots Hobgoblins? Because they jumped on her rent-to-own couch.
    • There's also the time Tom attacked Crow with a biplane, riddling him and his little spiffy car with bullets. Why? Because Crow kept making Uranus Is Showing jokes.
    • Another example was in the host segments in The Wild World of Batwoman, based off the short Cheating - Crow copies Gypsy's paper about why cheating is bad and Tom suggests that Crow should die.
    • It's even in the show's theme song while Joel was hosting.
      "But his bosses didn't like him, so they shot him into space!"
  • MythBusters: A silent-film-style clip preceding a myth about awning falls had Tory running from Axe-Crazy Jamie wielding a pickaxe. What had Tory done to earn Jamie's ire? He forgot to put away Jamie's drill.

  • NUMB3RS:
    • "Backscatter": A Russian mob boss kills people over identity theft and insurance scams as a matter of policy.
    • "The OG": A man's son is killed in gang crossfire, and he responds by killing key gang members in such a way that the gangs will start killing each other in retaliation. Charlie estimates that while he's only personally killed ten people, his actions have led to over 60 deaths.
    • "Devil Girl": A prostitute is murdered by a john, and her sister responds by targeting and murdering johns at random, whether or not they ever hurt the prostitutes. This later expands to killing a man who insults a prostitute and trying to kill a social worker (who was also trying to help the prostitutes) just for thinking he can do a better job than she can.
    • "Guilt Trip": An arms dealer kills his girlfriend on the suspicion that she's an FBI informant.
    • "Sabotage": A disgruntled railroad employee/train crash survivor causes multiple fatal train wrecks to "get back at" the railroad for letting 36 people die and scapegoating him for the crash. The additional innocent people killed by his "demonstrations" don't seem to bother him.
    • "Traffic": A hit-and-run victim starts killing people associated with other accidents. It's implied it's not completely his fault that things are so out of proportion, as he suffered a severe frontal lobe injury in his accident and has diminished impulse control.
    • One of the copycat victims in "Sniper Zero" is mentioned to have been killed because he didn't return the lawnmower he borrowed from his neighbor.
    • Subverted in "Soft Target": A former army major appears to have planted a bomb on a Homeland Security official who he blames for inadequate security measures that allowed several of his men to be killed in a terrorist attack. However, it's revealed that the bomb is actually a fake; he just wanted to make a point.
    • "Judgment Call": A judge's wife is killed by the widow of a murdered cop because the judge didn't give the cop's murderer the death sentence the widow wanted.

  • The Office (US):
    • Michael threatens to burn the Utica branch of Dunder-Mifflin to the ground after they attempt to hire away Stanley.
    • Lampshaded in another episode when Karen exchanges her squeaky chair for Jim's quiet one. To get revenge, Jim begins singing The Cardigans' "Lovefool", prompting the office Jerkass Andy to join in. Karen shouts out, "This is not a proportionate response!"
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • This seems to become Rumplestiltskin's standard M.O. after he becomes the Dark One. A soldier humiliates you in front of your kid? Break his neck and kill all his friends. Your kid accidentally trips in front of a wagon and gets a scrape? Turn the driver into a snail and step on him, even if your kid begs you not to. Your wife abandons your son? Rip her heart out of her chest and crush it in front of her new lover.
    • Not to mention Regina, who goes to extremes to destroy Snow White and all Snow holds dear because she blames Snow for the death of her lover Daniel, which was actually Regina's mother Cora's fault. Even given that Snow was the one who revealed that Regina was in love with Daniel (which prompted Cora to murder him in front of Regina), she honestly thought she was helping because Cora told her Regina's happiness was her priority and Snow believed she'd let them be together instead of forcing Regina to marry Snow's father, and she was a kid. Launching a vendetta against a child and turning into an Omnicidal Maniac over this makes Regina utterly pathological.
    • Taken even further by Cora. As a young woman she's humiliated by a bratty teenage princess (Snow's mother Eva). In response, Cora kicks off a 40+ year blood feud against the princess and her family, even after Eva has had considerable Character Development, and royally screws up her own daughter by dragging her into it. In the spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, she also brands Alice as a murderess and sends her guards to kill her because she tried to steal one of the weeping willows from her garden.
    • This trait seems to run in Cora's family. Her other daughter Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West, is intent on destroying Regina's life by wiping her out of existence by changing history, simply because Cora chose to keep Regina and abandon Zelena, and their shared mentor Rumpelstiltskin chose Regina to cast his curse. What makes this disproportionate is that firstly, Regina had no idea Zelena existed and whilst she has a questionable past, she has done nothing to deserve Zelena's specific hatred except being born. Secondly, Zelena seems to idolise Cora and believe if she changes history, Cora would value her, when Zelena's whole problem is Cora's own self-serving actions. Furthermore, even if Cora had kept her, Zelena's life probably would have just ended up like Regina's, being tightly controlled and forced to be a Gold Digger whether she wanted to or not. So, rather than blame Cora, she assigns her hatred to Regina, who apparently got everything Zelena didn't, never mind the fact that Zelena seems to have had a decent and loving adoptive mother (albeit coming with a jerkass adoptive father).
    • Zelena also takes it out on anyone who gets in her way, turning people into flying monkeys, or causing Neal to die, when he hardly deserved to, simply because Zelena wanted to perversely prove herself to Rumpelstiltskin and make him suffer for not choosing her. The whole thing smacks of childish psychopathy.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In Spare That Rod!, it's mentioned that disproportionate retribution is Mr. Conklin's modus operandi as principal of Madison High School. When Conklin discovers that some students had wrote "Old Man Conklin is a Pinhead" on Miss Brooks's blackboard after school, he orders Miss Brooks to inspect and clean all the blackboards at Madison High School.

  • Pair of Kings: During Lanny's first brief stint as the King of Kinkow, he sent someone to the dungeons for defeating him in a checkers game years ago; another one for growing faster than him; several people, for unspecified reasons, to the dungeons, moss and tar pits (mostly the dungeons). And, if not for the fact the titular kings returned, we'd know what Lanny had in mind for people he didn't like.
  • In Power Rangers Zeo, Princess Archerina developed a grudge against Kat (the Pink Ranger) very quickly (even though the two had never previously met), simply because she detested the fact that there was another female warrior around who liked bows and the color pink. (That's right. This was a rare case where the villain was actually upset with the realization that she and the heroine might be similar.)
  • With its usual pitch-black comedy, season 2 of Preacher reveals that the Holocaust was one of these. One day in 1919, mild-mannered artist Adolf Hitler had his paintings rejected by a homosexual gallery owner, was made to look weak in front of his girlfriend by a Communist leading to him getting dumped by said girlfriend, and, as the final straw, watched a Jew eat the last piece of plum cake. The rest is history.
  • In Pretty Little Liars, the A-team stalks, harasses and nearly kills the four main characters just for being friends with Alison.
  • The Purge:
    • In the third episode, a Purger is seen killing a taxi driver and blowing up his cab just because the guy asked for a tip.
    • In the seventh, Jenna and Rick's neighbor breaks into their home to kill them for such slights as cutting down his tree and parking in his spot. Lila stabs him in the back of the neck before he gets the chance.
    • Joe kidnaps people who wronged him in the past, starting with his high school bully. In particular, he targets Jane simply because she ditched him after a bad first impression during a date and Penelope for not thanking him for holding a door open.
    • In the second season, Ben stabs a man to death for (apparently) shortchanging him. This is really more about violent tendencies coming out due to his traumatic experience on the Purge though.

  • On Reaper, a bunch of rebellious demons set up a human sacrifice so that Sam can get out of his deal with the Devil. When Sam protests, saying he won't send an innocent soul to Hell in his place, Tony contends that the guy isn't innocent, he's a drug dealer who tried to sell him weed in the park.
    Tony: It's a gateway drug!
  • In Rome, Titus Pullo murdered a man for cheating at cards, Atia had a girl's whole family murdered because she felt the girl was a bad influence on her daughter, Caesar had a man killed for publicly criticizing him and Marc Anthony bludgeoned a man to death for reading a message from Cicero that Antony had repeatedly ordered the man to read.
  • A teamwork version of this happens in an episode of Roseanne: Roseanne gets stiffed for a tip at the diner, sympathetic Scott helps her get revenge by calling the guy's wife and "accidentally" letting it slip that the guy was supposedly cheating on her. To quote Roseanne: "He stiffs me for a tip and you destroy his marriage, that's awesome!"

  • Saturday Night Live
  • Scandal: Becky, Huck's girlfriend, kills the entire family that Huck likes to keep an eye on. Why? Because he tried to have her taken down for shooting the President and framing Huck for it.
  • Scrubs:
    • Anything The Janitor does to J.D. when he slights him. Sometimes J.D. just being there is enough to set him off. This is mostly Played for Laughs. It's especially disproportional because The Janitor's problem with JD stems from the fact that he thinks JD broke a door by sticking a penny in it on his first day. This is subverted in the final episode when J.D admits he did drop a penny down the door. Which makes all his actions reasonable.
    • Lampshaded in one episode:
      Janitor: I know you knocked that exit sign down.
      J.D.: Well I'm sure I can expect appropriate retaliatory response. Maybe you could shoot me in the neck.
    • A later episode inverts this when the Janitor proposes to Elliot after she flirted with him for a second.
  • Seinfeld
    • The Soup Nazi does this a lot in his episode. He takes away the soup George ordered because he complained that he didn't get any bread, and he banned Elaine from his soup shop for a year just because she said he looks like Al Pacino.
    • There was also the episode where Elaine lost her boyfriend, her friends, and her job all because she didn't like The English Patient when everyone else loved it. She does get to keep her job on the condition that she take a trip to Tunisia where the movie was filmed in order to become "inspired" (which is most likely code for "liking the movie").
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): Esmé Squalor assists Count Olaf in plotting to kill the Baudelaires and steal their family's fortune because their mother once stole a sugar bowl from her.
  • In Sherlock, Moriarty murdered Carl Powers by poisoning his foot cream with Clostridium Botulinum so he'd drown at the swimming pool.
    Moriarty: [Carl] laughed at me. So I stopped him laughing.
  • Six Feet Under. The Fisher family buried two people who were murdered for being annoying (unrelated cases).
  • Smallville:
    • "Dichotic" has Ian Randall who killed his shop teacher for giving him a C.
    • A school football player tried to kill his coach with a shotgun, just for making a minor flirt with his girlfriend.
    • Harry Bollston was sent to prison for murdering his music teacher's son...because the teacher recommended someone else for a scholarship to the Metropolis Conservatory. When he gets out, he starts plotting to murder the children of the jurors who convicted him.
    • Lois Lane also decides to administer some perfectly justified testicular 'justice' to a man who threw her out of a venue. The kicker? She was trespassing and he was the venue's security guard.
    • Jonathan Kent feels guilty for letting Lionel Luthor blackmail him into convincing his friends to sell him their factory (he says the Ross brothers got screwed on the deal but it was never explained how), so he takes every opportunity to insult and accuse Lex, who at first had never been anything but nice to Jonathan and was a good friend to Clark. Jonathan's treatment of Lex was not the sole reason for Lex turning evil, but it was a factor. Of course when Lex did turn evil Jonathan felt vindicated not responsible.
  • In one sketch from The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, folk music duo Mulligan and O'Hare sing a song about an insane man who murders his wife:
    I'm not saying I didn't kill you,
    But aren't you partially to blame?
    You gave me chocolate digestives,
    When you knew I preferred the plain.
  • Sonny with a Chance: Penelope frames Sonny for stealing twice, makes it look like Sonny has been telling the press Chad's secrets, accuses her of plagiarism, and tries to kill her by turning a cheeseball into a bomb, all because she was in love with Chad and was furious about Sonny's relationship with him. When Chad rejects her, for obvious reasons, she leaves him and several bystanders to die on a crashing plane that they have no hope of landing.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • Ben Finney harbors a grudge against Kirk for years for reporting a mistake of his. In revenge, he frames Kirk and attempts to get him court-martialed. The pettiness of the grudgenote  lead fans to speculate that there were other reasons for Finney's bitterness.
    • Charlie Evans from the episode "Charlie X". Do anything he doesn't like, even if you weren't trying to hurt him, and he'll whisk you into oblivion, remove your face, turn you into a lizard, etc.
    • As mentioned in "I, Mudd" by Harry Mudd; copyright infringement on the planet Deneb V is a capital offense.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the episode "Justice", Wesley Crusher is nearly put to death by the locals for accidentally crushing some flowers. Worth pointing out that Death was the only form of retribution on that planet.
    • "The Long Goodbye" features an alien race called the Jarada, who resemble giant wasps (at least per the script, since the budget kept them from actually being shown onscreen). Starting friendly relations with these creatures requires the applicant to address them in their language, and they consider mispronouncing even a single syllable to be a grave insult, enough to make them hated enemies of the one making the mistake. Fortunately, Picard is able to do it perfectly, despite barely making it to the bridge in time due to a malfunctioning holo-deck.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In the final episode, the Dominion destroys a Cardassian city, along with its two million inhabitants, in retaliation against an act of terrorism by a small group of freedom fighters. When this eventually prompts the Cardassian fleet to turn on the Dominion fleet, the Female Changeling orders the extermination of the entire Cardassian race. Fortunately, Odo changes her mind before the Dominion have finished doing it.
    • Contrasted with an earlier episode where Dukat reveals that he believed he was a merciful administrator during the Cardassian occupation. When Bajoran freedom fighters blew up a Cardassian warship carrying 100 soldiers, he rounded up and executed the same number of suspected Bajoran resistance members. This only strengthened their resolve to fight back.
      • Worth noting that while Dukat's estimation of his own benevolence was seriously exaggerated, things like this would be considered extremely proportionate compared to what many other Cardassian leaders would have done. The Cardassians as a whole are implied to be partial to Disproportionate Retribution
    • Several of Garak's explanations for why he was exiled (i.e. tax evasion) would qualify if it weren't for the fact that, in typical Garak fashion, these claims have absolutely no basis in reality.
    • In the original series episode "The Trouble With Tribbles", the Klingons' Evil Plan is foiled with the tribbles' help, as they react angrily to Klingons and were able to detect the one disguised as a human. Apparently, the Klingons took their anger out on the tribbles badly. In the DSN episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", where the crew of DSN have to use Time Travel to return to that era to prevent an assassination attempt on Kirk, Worf tells Odo that the tribbles did so much damage to the Klingons' agricultural base (no doubt after Scotty beamed them aboard their ship at the end of the original episode) that they were considered "a mortal enemy of the Empire", and ultimately they were hunted down and exterminated. Specially trained warriors were sent to kill every tribble in existence, and an armada of Klingon vessels obliterated the tribbles' homeworld. (Odo thinks that's absurd, telling Worf sarcastically, "Another glorious chapter in Klingon history. Tell me, do they still sing songs of 'The Great Tribble Hunt'?") Of course, in Worf's defense, he had no idea when he told Odo this that there was any personal vendetta involved, thinking the Klingons only had pest control in mind due to the tribbles' appetites and uncontrollable reproduction rate. (The greatest irony of this is, at the end of the episode, the crew of DSN brought some tribbles back with them to their time, re-establishing the species and undoing their extinction, making the Klingon's long and likely costly campaign of vengeance against them ultimately pointless.)
      • Darvin trying to retroactively assassinate Kirk also qualifies, especially when one considers the history he would've been wiping out in the process.
  • An episode of Star Trek: Voyager had B'Elanna on trial with a potential Fate Worse than Death sentence. Her crime? Being annoyed when someone bumped into her. This society is a race of telepaths who have eliminated violent thoughts, and so she was inadvertently spreading violent thoughts to innocent people, who are overwhelmed by them since they rarely have these thoughts. But it turns out that there is a black market for violent thoughts on the planet, and the incident with B'Elanna was planned.
  • On Stargirl (2020), the high school coach benches star player Artemis Crock for her hot temper and attacking her own teammates. Too bad he doesn't know her parents are super-villains Sportsmaster and Tigress, who, while twisted, love their much so that they murder the coach. And it turns out he's the third coach they've killed over the years for what they feel isn't allowing their daughter to be a star.
  • Supernatural:
    • The Trickster AKA Gabriel has this as his entire shtick. For example, he causes a frat boy to be abducted by aliens, probed eight times, and then forced to slow dance simply for being a dick. Ostensibly, he's a Karmic Trickster, but considering the number of lethal pranks (all but the one above), not that many people learn their lessons.
    • In the season 5 finale Death bumps into a man on the street and the man is rude to him. His last words were "Watch where you're walkin', pal".
    • In the first episode of season 7, the angel Castiel has acquired god-like power which has clearly mentally unhinged him. He starts seeking out corrupt politicians and hypocrites and murdering them to punish them for their lies and abuse of others. Yes, they were all dicks, but most of their crimes wouldn't qualify for execution.
    • The antagonist of the season 11 episode "Just My Imagination" is a woman who, after her imaginary friend inadvertently and accidentally caused the death of her twin sister, decides to hunt and kill all of their kind, without a single care about what it would do to the children in their charge who found their bodies, or that they're one the few (if not only) purely good creatures in the entire show.
  • "Boston" Rob Mariano of Survivor fame once had the majority of his alliance blindside another alliance member because he shook hands with the other tribe after they won a challenge. Apparently, you can't be a good sport!

  • In Tales from the Darkside, a malevolent being frightens an old man to death just because he refused to give out candy on Halloween. It's not nice to be a wrench in the gears for Halloween but still.
  • That '70s Show, 'Eric's Hot Cousin' joins with all the usual Jerkass cast and convinces Eric that she was adopted, and therefore maybe interested in him, in order to set him up in front of his parents, looking like he was pushing her for incest. All this is to avenge a childhood prank that trapped her in a revolving door till she puked.
  • Usually played for humor on Top Gear (UK). Usually.
    • In the Polar Special (in which the three presenters attempted to reach the magnetic north pole, two in a truck and one with a musher and dogsled), this was played dead straight when the three of them started feeling the effects of the cold, exhaustion, and isolation. They started threatening each other with physical harm for tiny infractions, and Jeremy Clarkson destroyed James May's can of "victory Spam" with a shotgun for no apparent reason.
    • Then there's the time the three went through Alabama and marked each others cars as follows Jeremy's Chevrolet: "Country and Western is rubbish," Richard's Dodge: "Man-Love Rules OK," James' Cadillac: "Hillary for President" and "Nascar sucks." They stop at a small-town to get gas and get run out of town by big guys in pick-up trucks with guns. These guys even attacked the camera crew.
  • In The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Incredible World of Horace Ford," the title character sees visions of his childhood and one vision shows that his so called "friends" once beat him to a pulp all because he didn't invite them to his birthday party.
    • "It's A Good Life" shows what happens when you combine extreme mental powers with child-level morality. It's basically a constant stream of this, leading to an entire town perpetually beholden to the whims of a little boy.

  • In the season two finale of Under the Dome Norrie reveals why her parents were driving her to boot camp before the dome came down. She knocked a girl's tooth out for making fun of her hair.

  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Silas was a warlock that was in a relationship with a very powerful witch named Qetsiyah, at some point Silas turned himself immortal and cheated on Qetsiyah with another woman, and wanted to turn said woman immortal as well. What did Qetsiyah do? In what is probably one of the worst cases of Disproportionate Retribution in history, real or fiction, Qetsiyah killed the other woman, trapped Silas beneath hundreds of feet of rock, gave him a cure for his immortality so he could die when he tired of his captivity. After all this, Qetsiyah STILL wasn't done. She created an entire sort of purgatory afterlife for all supernatural beings that died from that point on to be trapped in forever, not just Silas, so not only is Silas to be trapped in so he continue to be tortured and never reunite with the woman he loves, but all supernatural beings in TVD world would also be trapped forever, including other witches, possibly herself, for NO REASON WHATSOEVER.
    • Katherine, before she finally dies, decides to infect Elena with a virus that makes her eat other vampires. Why? Because, in her mind, Elena has the life she was supposed to have. Nevermind that she does not have that life due to her own actions.
  • Victorious does this a lot.
    • In "Jade Dumps Beck", Trina physically threatens Robbie because he refuses to write a good review of her play.
    • Jade went out of her way to keep Tori from playing the lead in "Tori Gets Stuck." The biggest part of this was leafing through Tori's medical records and exploiting them to make her donate two pints of blood in one night (Jade purposely misplaced the first pint). Rule of Funny, since you'd be advised to wait eight weeks to recover after donating one pint (never mind the third Tori ended up donating, which was Robbie's fault and might have been life-threatening had the show treated it more realistically).
    • In "Locked Up", while it's subverted when the chancellor not only sentences Tori to four years in prison all because of her shoe malfunction that blinded him, it's then exaggerated when he then sentences the entire rest of the gang after Robbie accidentally kills his electric clock and octopus!
    • "Who Did It To Trina:" Rex sabotaged the harness which lead to Trina being injured. All because she punched him in the face.
    • Robbie is viciously beaten up by a group of mothers because he offered their kids ice cream. Which he brought in a bucket and announced loudly, clearly not trying to be sneaky and steal their kids. And he was on his bike. They apparently chased him into an alley and beat him with sticks, stepped on his throat, and he has a black eye for the rest of the episode.
    • Jade shaving Cat's head just because she accidentally waxed her eyebrows.
    • Jade even goes all out, attempting to sabotage Tori's prome, from premiering a scary video in front of the attendees, cancelling the band to perform there, and even hiring a guy only wearing a loose diaper to dance at the prome, all because Sikowitz had her performance cancelled at the asphalt cafe for Tori's prome. Tori does manage to get her back at the end though.

  • Wellington Paranormal: Maaka threatens to dock everyone's pay in the "Zombie Cops" episode if his grandmother's donuts are not returned by the end of the day.
  • The West Wing:
    • The episode named "A Proportional Response", which examines this trope on a geo-political perspective; Syrian terrorists funded by the Syrian Ministry of Defense have shot down an American military plane carrying doctors, including Bartlet's personal physician, to a military hospital. Bartlet rails against the 'proportionate' responses he is being given with, demanding "something which doesn't make me feel like we're docking someone's damn allowance", but is eventually persuaded that the 'proportional' responses are both more humane (as the 'disproportionate' response his military planners determine would cause a great deal of long-term suffering that greatly overshadowed the original crime) and appropriate.
      • Deconstructed: During the episode, the concept of proportional response is discussed and Bartlett points out that it is ultimately futile: A way for the USA to save face, but without achieving any lasting results.
    • For the record, the disproportional plan the Joint Chiefs drew up at Bartlet's request called for carpet bombing a crowded airport and crippling supply transport for surrounding region. Admiral Fitzwallace tells the President in no uncertain terms what the international reaction to this will be. Bartlet then agrees to the original plan, airstrikes against Syrian intelligence that will result in almost no casualties.
    • When Donna is critically injured in a carbombing in Gaza, Josh's contribution to the political discussion is simple and downright vicious. This is because it's Donna.
      Josh: We need to kill them. We need to find them and kill them. Then we need to find out who sent them, and we kill them too.
  • Wings - Joe is haunted three times by a girl he stood up in HS, all involving a series of psych-outs structured so that his friends and fiancee never believe him about her psycho nature. The real irony being that Joe is continually punished for this one slight, while horndog Brian must have a string of such ladies in his past. Her third episode must have been a case of beating a dead horse. A list of ratings for Wings eps had it near dead last of all episodes
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: TJ Taylor transformed his ex-girlfriend, Jenny Majorhealy, into an adult just because she was annoying. Alex even calls him out on this.
  • Wolf Hall
    • Episode 4 implies that things might have been easier for Thomas More if he hadn't been dismissive of Thomas Cromwell during a childhood encounter on top of More's enmity with Cromwell's late patron, Cardinal Wolsey. (Cromwell does have proportional reasons to dislike him, however, such as burning some of Cromwell's Protestant friends at the stake.)
    • When Henry orders him to get rid of Anne Boleyn, Cromwell picks five men to accuse of adultery with her partly based on extant rumor, but handily they played demons in a masque that depicted Wolsey being dragged to Hell, an insult Cromwell never forgave. Harry Norris is aghast when Cromwell brings it up — a play, even one that denigrates a dead man, is a bit much to kill someone over.
  • World on Fire: Over twenty Polish civilians are shot by the Germans in retaliation for Kasia killing just one SS soldier. The Nazis were historically infamous for mass reprisals like this.