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Kick The SOB / Live-Action TV

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Examples of Kick the Son of a Bitch in live-action TV.


  • This is a go-to trope for a lot of Villain Protagonist type shows (The Shield, Sons of Anarchy and Dexter among others) that will often have the main characters facing off against worse criminals and usually employing brutal tactics to defeat them and the reason the audience doesn't lose sympathy is because most of the Big Bads tend to be pretty vile types.
    • A lot of Dexter's actions are just typical anti-hero stuff, but a notable example of this trope appears in the Season 5 premiere. When a redneck calls the recently murdered Rita a cunt, the audience are unlikely to blink at a grieving Dexter breaking his personal code of ethics and killing the guy.

  • In Arrow, Slade has a Face–Heel Turn. Bad. His first action is to lop off Ivo's hand. Not bad.
  • Breaking Bad:
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    • The soft-spoken Affably Evil Magnificent Bastard Gustavo "Gus" Fring pulls one of these off in a manner most awesome: after Jesse produces some of Walt's ridiculously pure blue meth at The Cartel's lab in Mexico, Gus presents the head of the cartel, Don Elario (with whom he has a nasty history stretching back to at least the late 80s) with a rare bottle of tequila. Elario passes the contents of the bottle to all his main subordinates. Little does the Don know, the bottle is poisoned, and Fring (after drinking the poisoned tequila and vomiting it out) kills the entire leadership of the cartel in one fell swoop.
    • There is also his taunting former Cartel big-shot Hector Salamanca, who is paralyzed and inarticulate due to a stroke and confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home, with news of his conquests over the Cartel, particularly the deaths of his family members. It's difficult to feel sorry for Hector, though, considering he shot Gus's best friend and taunted him, along with the Don, by forcing him to stare into the eyes of his dead blood brother.
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    • One of the things that keeps Walt a sympathetic Villain Protagonist for so long is that many (though not all) of his actions that directly harm others fall into this category; early on, everyone he kills is significantly more villainous than he is, and most of them are either planning or actively trying to kill him. When he sends Jesse to murder Gale, it's the first time he deliberately targets someone who is relatively innocent.
  • Buffyverse:
    • The Buffy spinoff Angel had one its first season with a man implied to be a pimp that tries to seduce Faith. She stabs him, leaving him hospitalized, then steals the keys to his house and moves in while he's hospitalized. Similarly, a season 2 episode had a telekinetic woman who had trouble controlling her powers accidentally cause a dumpster to squash two men to death, but since those men had been planning to rape her, Cordelia says the men are "better off squashed".
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    • Simone's killing of the General. Kinda hard to feel sympathetic for a guy who just spent the series trying to wipe out the Slayer army.
    • Vampire Willow from the Wishverse is clearly evil and loving it, but the very first person she attacks is the Jerk Jock that had been forcing Willow's human counterpart to do his homework. While Vampire Willow clearly just wants someone to kill, the choice of victim makes it tremendously satisfying. Had it been anyone else, she likely would not have turned out nearly as sympathetically as she did.
    • And Willow's first action when having her magic relapse is to flay Warren alive. Warren, who had killed her lover Tara the previous episode.
  • Doctor Who:
    • At the end of "Dalek", Corrupt Corporate Executive Henry van Statten is overthrown by his new second-in-command Diana Goddard, who promptly orders van Statten subjected to the same punishment he'd previously inflicted on subordinates he didn't like: getting memory-wiped and being dumped in a city starting with the same letter as his last name.
    • "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways" has Rodrick, a greedy Smug Snake who is perfectly okay with getting his fellow Weakest Link contestants killed, takes advantage of Rose's "stupidity" in order to win, whinges about not getting his supposed prize money and convinces the other contestants to side against the Doctor when he recruits them to fight the Daleks. When the Daleks take over Satellite 5 and exterminate everyone on Floor 0, including Rodrick, it's hard to feel any degree of sympathy towards him.
      "You can't! You don't exist! It's not fair! I won the game! I should be rich! I'm a winner! You can't do this to me!"
  • In Fargo, Dodd uses his dead brother's belt buckle to kick start a conflict with Kansas City. Sure maybe Rye deserved to die or at the very least apprehended for his crimes, but using your own brother's death to further your own goals is cold even for Dodd. The reason why this falls under KTSOAB instead of pay evil unto evil is because Dodd simply doesn't care about whoever actually killed his brother.
  • In Game of Thrones, there are some more examples which aren't in the books as the television series goes into the unpublished books:
    • After Theon spends the first few seasons kicking the dog, his torture begins this way but as this torture grows more excruciating and pointlessly cruel at the hands of Ramsay Bolton, it becomes harder to feel this way. In fact, by the end of the season, this trope can apply to the Ironborn men who sold Theon out to be tortured, as Robb Stark offered Balon that if the Greyjoys joined his side against the Lannisters, he'd support them becoming their own independent kingdom too...and that Balon's response was to have the Greyjoys stab the Starks in the back and invade the North, out of just a wounded sense of pride, and then simply hope that the Lannisters (and now the Lannisters' Bolton allies) would "reward" them with independence for turning on the Starks (which is what they should have done had they stayed loyal to the Iron Throne anyway!) These Ironborn who betrayed him end up getting flayed alive by Ramsay who, nonetheless, continues torturing Theon until Theon and Sansa manage to escape him.
    • It's a hard sell to make the murder of a daughter-raping, child-sacrificing Jerkass like Craster come across as an unforgivable sin to a contemporary audience, even if the guy who killed him is a vicious former assassin who soon takes up his mantle.
    • Ramsay fatally stabbing his father in cold blood in "Home" is a terrible act, one that's intended to advance himself while also eliminating the chance of him being replaced by his half-brother, but considering that the victim was a terrible person in his own right, it's hard to feel sorry for him.
    • Ramsay orders his men to throw Myranda's body to the dogs and Myranda is an Ax-Crazy Clingy Jealous Girl.
    • And of course, watching Joffrey Baratheon slowly suffocate at his wedding feast from a poison that mimics choking. Good riddance. Too bad he managed to frame Tyrion for it as he died.
    • Tywin chooses to give a lecture to Tommen (a full-on Pet the Dog moment by itself) right next to Joffrey's body (albeit a dead body that ordered Ned Stark's death and started an expensive, bloody war) as Cersei is grieving for her son. He even mentions what a terrible king Joffrey was and coldly ignores Cersei's "this is not the time or place" feeble complaint. Although it's insensitive, it doesn't change the fact Joffrey was a terrible king and Cersei did do a poor job at raising him.
    • In Season 6's finale, Cersei finally gets back at Septa Unella, by throwing several goblets of wine at her face, chanting 'Confess! Confess!', calling her out for her "hypocrisy," and gloating about the truth of the crimes Cersei herself has been accused of. It quickly morphs into Disproportionate Retribution though, as she subjects the septa to death by torture in hands of Ser Gregor.
    • Euron Greyjoy's first scene features him effortlessly killing Balon, who had this fate coming one way or another. And nothing of value was lost.
    • In season 7, the demise of Ellaria and the Sand Snakes (two of them being killed by using their own weapons against them) at the hands of new villain on the block Euron and Mad Queen Cersei is brutal and doesn't make either person more sympathetic, but in light of their targets' past actions with kinslaying (their victim in question being their own innocent cousin who didn't deserve to die) and Revenge by Proxy it just comes across as karmic. In fact, Euron and Cersei are guilty of the same crimes themselves, though at least Euron's victim deserved to die (see above).
  • Heroes: The fifth season's Big Bad, Samuel, destroys a police station, crumbling it to the ground. But since the officers there killed a boy with powers by dragging the kid to death behind a squad car, the kid was exonerated on trial since no one could prove he hurt anyone, and he only ever hurt people because he didn't know how to control his powers, Samuel's actions feel pretty cathartic to watch.
  • To Home and Away fans, Sam Tolhurst was already pretty unsympathetic, but her murder of armed robber, murderer and possible rapist Johnny Cooper definitely qualifies.
  • Featured in House when Chase indirectly kills a dictator in the hospital's care. Everybody in the audience agrees with him that Dibala should have died and the media coverage of the event is entirely positive, noting the hope that that would bring to the country, but Foreman and a priest tell him that he did a horrible, horrible thing and Cameron divorces him over it.
    • Occasionally a patient or patient's family member will hit House, which is usually fairly satisfying to the audience.
    • More rarely, House will hit a patient or family member, which is usually more satisfying for the medically-relevant Lecture he is delivering during or immediately after said strike.
  • Lost almost ran into this trope when Michael shot Ana Lucia. The writers realized this, though, and had him shoot the much more sympathetic Libby too. It also caused an Alas, Poor Scrappy effect in regards to Ana Lucia herself. Not to mention, we had just learned her Dark and Troubled Past. Meeeeeep.
  • In Smallville, "Sacrifice" when Zod throws Amanda Waller into a windshield, although that is more like "Kick The Bitch".
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • When former Colonel Simmons was eventually killed by being blown out of an airlock by the heroes, just after becoming the host to a particularly nasty Goa'uld who had been giving the team much grief. The reason no one mourned Simmons? He'd been an even BIGGER asshole to the team for much longer.
    • In the "Reckoning" two-parter, Repli-Carter opens her assault on the Milky Way Galaxy by infiltrating a Goa'uld diplomatic summit and slaughtering all present. This would otherwise be brutal, but considering her targets were a bunch of despicable megalomaniac tyrants (Repli-Carter doesn't care either way), they had it coming.
  • Katherine of The Vampire Diaries is almost certainly the evilest and dangerous character on the show. At least until Klaus arrived — and don't get us started on Silas. But since her first on-screen act of villainy was to stab "Uncle" John Gilbert, well...
  • Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead often submits his enemies to a Karmic Death:
    • Joe and the Claimers are a gang of bullies who continuously stalked Rick and his group just because he killed one of their men in self-defense. They capture him, try to rape his son, and submit his best friend to torture. Rick bites out Joe's throat, frees his friends, and guts his son's rapist slowly.
    • Gareth ends up hacked into pieces after he tortured and ate people by luring them into a false safe zone. Rick and his friends were almost on his menu before they escaped and got revenge.
    • Pete is threatened by Carol for beating his family and is shot dead by Rick when he attempts to kill him while on a drunk, Axe-Crazy rampage.
  • On Warehouse 13, James MacPherson is one evil son of a bitch. He arranged for numerous people to be burned alive. He caused Claudia's brother Joshua to be stranded out of phase for years. He took Mika's parents hostage. He released Artifacts of Doom into the world for fun and profit. He repeatedly tried to kill Artie. He Mind Raped Leena. For her part, Helena G. Wells doesn't give a damn about any of that. She kills him because he intends to rat her out to the authorities.
  • At one point in The Wire, Chris Partlow, the top enforcer for the vicious Stanfield drug empire, brutally beats one of his victims to death with nothing more than the butt of his gun and his bare hands. Even fellow enforcer Snoop, who kills without feeling or remorse, was taken aback at the sight. That's bad, right? Take into consideration that the victim in question is a pedophile who in the past had sexually abused his stepson Michael, and Michael asked Chris to do it out of fear that the guy would do the same to Michael's little brother, and how you evaluate the situation changes a bit...


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