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Laser Guided Amnesia / Live-Action TV

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Laser-Guided Amnesia in live-action TV.


  • Used in the series finale of 3rd Rock from the Sun — with permission, Dick conks Mary over the head with an alien device that somehow selectively erases her memory of their relationship, so that she can go on without him on Earth.
  • On the first season of 24, Teri Bauer escapes from the terrorists, only to get into a car accident and become an amnesiac for a few episodes. This is brought on by shock, as she believes her daughter died in the car wreck.
  • Liz Lemon's brother on 30 Rock averts part three, having suffered a head injury on a skiing trip that stops him from remembering what happened during and after it. His family is careful to pretend that he'll be leaving for it soon. At the end of the episode Liz exasperatedly shouts at him that he's forty, at which point he appears to snap out of it.
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    • However, given the nature of his injury, it's likely that he would soon forget what she told him.
  • 666 Park Avenue: Danielle seems to have her memory wiped regularly for the last sixty years or so, especially after all the times she's been manipulated into killing someone for Gavin.
  • The 4400: In "White Light", after the messenger from the future leaves his body, Kyle has no memory of anything that happened before Shawn was abducted. He thinks that it is still the night of April 22, 2001. Unaware that he was in a coma for three years, he asks where Shawn is and tries to explain to Tom why he was drinking beer.
  • Angel:
    • In the episode "Spin the Bottle", a spell mentally regresses several characters back to their teens, leaving them with no memories of each other. Angel, upon reverting to his mortal identity as Liam, even forgets that he's a vampire! While the others are upset about waking up in a strange place and being inexplicably aged into adults, centuries-old Angel is more freaked out by automobiles and his sudden lack of Irish accent.
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    • At the end of the fourth season, Angel strikes a deal to magically erase all events related to his son Connor from the minds of his friends and Connor himself. Connor's new, implanted memories are of a suburban human childhood with a Muggle foster family (who also had their memories altered), rather than one spent in a hell dimension as the mortal son of two vampires. It's even implied that the spell retroactively alters reality to support this new history.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Sinclair's memories of what happened to him during the Battle of the Line were erased by the Minbari after they captured and interrogated him.
    • Artificially induced amnesia is also used on criminals (called the "Death of Personality", the closest thing EarthGov has to the death penalty), wiping their mind and reprogramming them to be upstanding, law-abiding citizens. First referenced in the episode "The Quality of Mercy", and features in the later episode "Passing Through Gethsemane".
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  • Discussed on The Big Bang Theory after Sheldon tries to teach a lecture. Amy suggests destroying the part of the brain containing that memory with a laser. Sheldon declines.
    Sheldon: No, one small slip of the hand and I'll wind up in Engineering making doodads with Wolowitz.
  • On Bones, Dr. Brennan suffers from amnesia about the events of a single night. It may have been caused either by drugs or a voodoo curse.
    • Then there’s the series finale where she is caught in an explosion and left unable to process complex job related information. While the condition does exist in real life, Brennan still manages an instant recovery when Booth’s hand is injured and she snaps the bones back in place.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Tabula Rasa". After a memory spell goes wild, everyone gets amnesia and promptly forgets that they believe in vampires, including monster guru Giles. Moreover Spike, a 19th-century vampire, starts acting like a 21st-century human.
    • Subverted in the episode "The Pack". Xander, under the influence of a hyena spirit, alienates his friends, devours a pig alive, and tries, ineffectually, to rape Buffy. Afterward, he claims selective amnesia, convincing his friends that he won't have any lasting trauma. When they've gone, however, Giles points out that none of his possession lore mentioned anything about amnesia. Turns out Xander's been fibbing.
    • For a show whose protagonist has a Secret Identity and which involves a Masquerade, Buffy the Vampire Slayer uses this trope admirably rarely. This may be because maintaining the pretense of normalcy through shaky excuses and the willful delusion of Sunnydale residents is funnier.
    • In the post-series comics, we learn that during his time in London, Giles cast a spell to bind a demon, but it required him to lose the memory of one of the happiest days in his life. That day was the day he fell in love with Jenny Calendar, leaving him with a heartache that he felt would never go away, even though he had no idea what the memory was about.
    • Regular humans instantly forget that Glory and Ben have a shared existence, though over time the spell weakened, and even from the beginning, it didn't work on non-humans such as Spike.
  • In the Korean Drama Can You Hear My Heart?, Dong Joo loses all his memories prior to a fall from a window when he was 13 years old.
  • Castle:
    • The show features this with Beckett after she is shot, though she is lying. She remembered everything about what Castle said.
    • It is then featured again more conventionally when Castle is kidnapped and turns up again two months later with no memory of where he was.
  • Charmed has several memory-altering and memory-erasing entities in order to maintain the Masquerade (i.e., the Cleaners and memory dust).
  • Happens in the second episode of Chinese Paladin: the hero is mindwiped into forgetting his Call to Adventure—and his vow to protect his new wife. Although he falls in love with said wife again, he doesn't actually recover his memories until near the end of the series.
  • At the end of the zombie episode of Community, the government wipes the memories of everyone involved. In one of the rare instances of The Tag being plot-relevant, Troy listens to a voicemail from Chang sent during the amnesiac period, bragging about how he slept with Shirley. This raises many questions about the events of the night; for instance, why did he call Troy?
  • On the original CSI, Catherine has a drug-induced incident where she wakes up in a motel without recalling exactly how.
  • On CSI NY, Mac has a realistic version where he cannot recall the events immediately preceding his being shot. His inability to recall random words and names of places, objects, etc., is a real condition called aphasia, and is laser guided in a sense, but averts most of the usual tropes.
  • In Dans une galaxie près de chez vous it happens to the ship's crew a few times, but gets taken to extremes when an alien device gradually strips away Bob, Flavien and the Captain's memories until they're reduced into mindless vegetables. Good thing the process is reversible...
  • Happens on Dead Like Me if a reaper tries to prove their identity with stories from their past.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The War Games", Jamie and Zoe are returned to their respective times and have their memories altered so that they don't remember the Doctor as part of his punishment from the Time Lords.
    • In the following season, during the beginning of the Jon Pertwee era, the Doctor is exiled on Earth by the Time Lords with his knowledge of time travel wiped from his memory to prevent him from repairing his TARDIS and escaping.
    • "Dalek": Henry van Statten did this to employees he fired, having their memories erased before they were dumped in a city starting with the same letter as their last name. At the end, his subordinates revolt and do the same to him.
      "And by tonight, Henry van Statten will be a homeless, brainless junkie living on the streets of San Diego, Seattle, Sacramento... someplace beginning with 'S'."
    • In "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", Captain Jack cites this as being the reason he left the Time Agents: two years of his life mysteriously deleted.
    • "Gridlock": "Forget" is one of the emotion drugs available in New New York, with variable amounts of amnesia depending on how much the buyer wants to forget. The Doctor and Martha meet a young woman buying some because her parents have gone to the motorway, and are unable to stop her from taking the patch.
    • "Journey's End" features a particularly depressing example of this — after becoming overwhelmed by a Time Lord's knowledge, Donna Noble's mind is scrubbed of every single memory of her adventures with the Doctor, undoing all of her character development and restoring her initial self-centered nature and lack of intellectual curiosity. Moreover, the Doctor explains that she must NEVER remember him, or she will die. Or rather, as shown in "The End of Time", have her head go asplody with an energy discharge that protects her, but knocks everyone else out in a half-mile radius. However, it's pointed out that this is a security feature, and she'll still die if she gets her memories back.
    • Series 6 introduces the Silence, who have the power to make people forget about them as soon as they look away. Which means they could be anywhere and everywhere... and they are. They also leave you with a post-hypnotic suggestion. In "Day of the Moon", the Doctor manages to use their own ability to foil some of their plans by recording a video of one of the Silence saying "you should kill us on sight" and then broadcasting it during the Apollo 11 landing; everybody then starts to unconsciously kill the Silence and then forgets about it.
      • On his quest to be alone, the Doctor picks up this trick and uses it to make all of his data in the Inforarium and in all databases that copy from it essentially useless, since it's forgotten as soon as the reader looks away.
    • In "Asylum of the Daleks", the entire Dalek species lose their memories of the Doctor.
    • In "The Snowmen", the Doctor possesses a worm which erases memory. Just touching it will erase an hour; if it bites you it can erase a lifetime.
    • "Time Heist":
      • The memory worms return, used by the group to wipe their minds and thus hide their guilt from the Teller.
      • Psi's implants allow him to do this at will. Unfortunately for him, there's no easy restore function, which cost him the memories of his family during an interrogation in order to protect them. He agreed to the heist because the bank holds a device which can restore his memory.
    • In "Face the Raven", Rigsy is dosed with Retcon (see the Torchwood entry below) so he'll forget his being lured to — and framed for murder on — the trap street.
    • In Series 9 finale "Hell Bent", the climax has the Doctor (who is, at the time, a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds) preparing to erase someone's memories of him again, this time Clara Oswald's so he can drop her Only Mostly Dead self on Earth rather than return her to Gallifrey and the moment of her death, which happened two episodes ago. The intended victim calls him out on this and he has a Heel Realization. In the end, he loses his memories of her instead, and while able to reconstruct many of them, he can't recognize her or recall why he went so far for her.
    • "The Lie of the Land": At the end, after the Monks are forced to retreat from Earth, they make everyone but the main characters, who are immune, forget their six-month rule of the planet, using their Reality Warper powers to erase most physical traces of their reign.
  • Laser guided amnesia is basically the entire premise of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. They have the technology to erase memories and then give a person Fake Memories, and the show proceeds to demonstrate most of the conceivable ways of abusing it.
    • Controlled amnesia is the driving plot force in the episode "Needs" (1x08), in which the Dollhouse temporarily erase the memories — but not the identities — of Echo (formerly Caroline), Victor (Anthony), Sierra (Priya) and November (Madeline).
    • Later, in "Getting Closer" (2x11), Paul rescues November from another Dollhouse in Washington, D.C. and takes her back to Los Angeles, but is allowed to keep her there only on condition of restoring her to her imprint of "Mellie" - the woman Paul fell in love with but deserted after learning she was a doll programmed to spy on him. "Mellie" is restored, but all memory of the breakup is excised to make her trust Paul totally.
  • Averted in an episode of Drake & Josh, where the titular duo try to enlist an anterograde amnesiac in their scheme. However, the amnesiac can barely remember things that happened a few seconds ago, prompting exchanges of "And you are? And you are? And I am? Who are you?" At the end of the episode, a tackle knocks all the lost decades of memory back into the amnesiac's head.
  • Emerald City:
    • Lucas can't remember who he is, or anything before his attempted crucifixion. "Beautiful Wickedness" reveals that his amnesia was deliberately magically induced.
    • In "No Place Like Home", Tip punishes Eamonn for the murder of Tip's parents, by erasing the memory of Eamonn from his wife and daughter.
  • Eureka, two episodes: A device that (at first) can erase 20 minutes at a time (hilarity ensues when Carter accidentally shoots Henry and can't remember what happened), and later can erase all memory of an alternate universe.
  • In The Flash, after discovering that Savitar is Barry's future time remnant with all his memories, Cisco suggests zapping Barry with a device that will temporarily prevent him from forming new memories, thus preventing Savitar from learning their plans. Unfortunately, Barry's speedster physiology affects him deeper than intended, and he loses all his memories. While everyone is disturbed, Iris finds that she has missed this carefree and cheerful Barry, without the weight of the world on his shoulders. Savitar also forgets who he is, causing Killer Frost to return to STAR Labs and work with the team to restore Barry's memories. Because of that, Wally is no longer a speedster, until Barry's memories are restored.
  • Similarly, Nick has this after getting shot in the head on Forever Knight. He doesn't even know he's a vampire for a while.
  • On Grimm Juliet loses all memories of Nick. She remembers everything else that happened to her but Nick and all things directly related to him have been edited out of all those memories.
  • The Haitian from Heroes has the power to erase temporary memories, and at one point someone's entire life history. There's also a subversion as one character suffers major head injuries as a result of his erasures.
    • Also, in the Season 3 finale, Sylar basically gets his mind rewritten to make him think he's really Nathan Petrelli, after the real Nathan is killed. This being Heroes, there is pretty much no way that this doesn't go south.
  • In Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, a memory reliving device causes Diane to forget everything after she was 16, when a power-outage shuts it down.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • The first instance of this comes in Kamen Rider Agito, where the protagonist was found washed ashore with no memory of his identity; because he was clutching a letter addressed to Shoichi Tsugami in his hand, it was assumed that that was his name.
    • Averted in Kamen Rider Kiva, in which Wataru finds himself taking care of an Amnesia victim who can't remember his life, but also can't remember basic stuff like how to use chopsticks, what is and isn't edible, or even that fish survive in the water (when we first see him, he's taking carp out of a river to "save them from drowning.") Aside from speaking normally, he's basically regressed back to an infant. This is mostly played for laughs, though.
    • Kamen Rider Decade: Tsukasa starts off like this, knowing his own name, the fact that he is from another world, and recognizing specific people and places in detail.
    • Kamen Rider Zeronos has the power to invoke this on others by simply transforming. The Zeronos Cards that power his transformation work by using up the memories people have of his older self, Sakurai, which explains why nobody seems to remember him. Later in the series Sakurai gives him red cards that let him access his Super Mode, Zero Form, but these use up memories of the younger Yuto (Zeronos himself). During the Grand Finale, Yuto is given the last of the original green cards and uses it during the Final Battle, which seemingly causes Sakurai to disappear completely.
      • Played straight with Ryotaro's sister Airi, who seemingly has absolutely no memory of her fiancé Sakurai. It ultimately turns out that she and Sakurai were in on it together, erasing her memories to protect their future daughter, who would become the Junction Point and the Imagins' primary target.
    • Phillip from Kamen Rider Double doesn't have any knowledge of his own past, to the point where when he tries to look up "Family" in the all-knowing Gaia Library, all he finds is a blank book. Later on, it's revealed to be an Invoked Trope by the Big Bad.
    • Kamen Rider Build uses a similar plot to Agito, with protagonist Sento Kiryu being discovered in an alleyway with no memory of his identitynote , but still possessing incredible scientific knowledge and engineering skill. His real identity is eventually revealed as Takumi Katsuragi, the less-than-scrupulous scientist who invented Build's Transformation Trinket in the first place. His example is also invoked since his memory was deliberately erased by the villain Blood Stalk, who still needed Katsuragi's knowledge and skill for his own goals. Stalk also altered his face to make it harder for him to be identified.
      • Build has another example with the fact that the process of turning humans into Smash often causes memory loss. The villains invoke this once in order to keep a turncoat from ratting them out to Build. However, the amnesia is also temporary; one such victim does regain his memories several episodes later and calls up Sento because he knows Blood Stalk's true identity.
  • Lois & Clark:
    • Averted in one episode, where a woman uses Jimmy to power her age-reducing machine, and after he manages to run away says that it disrupts short-term memory — so the boy will come home and will wonder how he got there. That's precisely what happens; the next day, Jimmy has no clear memories of a couple hours both sides of the incident.
    • In another episode, Supes is asked to destroy an asteroid heading for Earth. He slams into it, gets knocked unconscious, and falls back down. The impact causes him to forget who he is. He ends up going back to his day job at the Daily Planet and, like everyone, wonders where this Superman guy is, as another asteroid is on its way. When he tells his parents that, they sigh and try to explain that he is Superman. They try their best to cause him to use his powers (which he doesn't, since he doesn't know he has them), and his dad demonstrates his Made of Iron power by hitting him with a baseball bat, which shatters into pieces (which might imply that Jonathan is much stronger than a mere old man). Finally, at the end of the episode, he remembers everything and diverts the second asteroid with minutes to spare.
  • In the first season of Lost, Claire returns from her kidnapping with no memories of anything after the season-starting plane crash. (Which was a month or so according to "in-show" time.) The memories came trickling back, and she finally remembered what the Others did to her (which included pumping her full of drugs, making the amnesia a little more realistic).
  • In The Magicians, students who fail to enter Brakebills get their memories wiped. In Julia's case, this fails and she remembers enough to become obsessed with doing magic.
  • In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, a Monster of the Week puts a spell on The Chick, causing her to forget not only the plot she'd stumbled upon, but everything to happen since she became a Ranger. Every hour, all new memories are erased, too. Thanks to the broad amnesia, nobody suspects that the intent was to erase one specific memory. Still this trope, since the cutoff point for her memories seems pretty precise.
  • In The Master's Sun after a traumatic accident late in the series Joo Joong Won regains a previously lost skill but no longer remembers anything that happened after that dark and stormy night.
  • In the eighth season premiere of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Crow (who has a new voice) left his 'pure energy' form years before the others, and lived alone on the satellite for, like, 500 years. When everyone else shows up, he at first remembers none of them — but after jogging his memory, it turns out he actually just doesn't remember Mike. And he doesn't remember the concept of the experiment, either; he's excited when they go into the theater.
  • NCIS:
    • One episode dealt with a woman who woke up beside a road in a shallow grave and suffered from amnesia. She knew what she liked and didn't like, but that was about it (other than she thought there was an impending attack on a US Navy warship, which caught the attention of NCIS). However, it was later revealed that not only did she make the bombs herself, but she was a member of an agency who built them to test bomb-sniffers and bomb-disposal robots. She blew herself up because, at the end, she finally remembered that the CEO tried to rape her, so she decided to take him down. Literally.
    • It is heavily implied in the episode "Restless" that this was the reason why the adopted daughter was able to pull off doing a runaway daughter scam thrice (when confronted with the evidence, her reaction indicated that she really didn't know she was doing this until after being brought into questioning by the NCIS). Her uncle, one of the cooks at the second chance shelter, was also in on it, or rather, he was the one pulling the strings.
  • In season 3 of Nikita, it is revealed that Amanda, in order to turn Owen into a viable Division agent, had not only made him incapable of accessing his memories, but had also locked away the parts of his personality having to do with leadership and initiative.
  • Painkiller Jane: Episode 3, "Piece of Mind", focuses on a neuro who can remove specific memories from people, simply by touching them. Other people can gain the memories the same way-a homeless man gets a surgeon's memories simply by brushing against the neuro's arm.
  • Power Rangers Turbo: Divatox gets amnesia and starts acting like an ordinary, if uncouth, human — and she isn't even human, nor has she ever lived like one. Her amnesia was the side-effect of a laser beam.
    • Power Rangers RPM has Dillon, whose memory was wiped as one of the Big Bad's unwilling test subjects prior to the series.
    • Power Rangers Wild Force: Cole gets amnesia in one episode. He forgets who he is and that he's a Ranger but nothing else.
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: In one episode, Lord Zedd turned a kaleidoscope into a monster with memory-erasing powers to make the Rangers forget who they are and how to use their powers. They were saved by Bulk and Skull, who tricked the monster into making the monster hit two prisms with his memory-erasing beam, (by passing a prism, it becomes a memory-restoring beam) and restoring the Rangers' memories. The monster made Bulk and Skull forget their recently-acquired knowledge of the Rangers' identities.
  • Initially played straight then subverted in an episode of Private Practice. A depressed girl asks to undergo electroshock therapy. She is warned that some temporary memory loss is a possible side effect. After the procedure, she wakes up happy. Then walks in her fiancé, and she doesn't know who he is. The doctors are confused, as they don't believe in this trope, and Violet (the shrink) asks the girl a series of questions about her past and determines that she remembers everything else but her fiancé. In the end, though, the girl admits that she was faking the memory loss in order to stay happy, as being with the Dogged Nice Guy is making her depressed. The doctors decide to lie to the fiancé, so that both of them can move on.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • In the episode "Thanks for the memories" the crew lose their memory of the past four days and try to figure out what happened. It turns out that Lister's "deathday present" to Rimmer of the memory of one of his past relationships didn't work out well, and they all voluntarily erased their memories.
    • In another episode Holly asked Lister to erase the works of Agatha Christie from his memory banks so he could read them again. Hilarity Ensues when immediately afterward Holly is confused as to why Lister just erased his memories of someone he's never heard of.
  • In Republic of Doyle, a client loses all of her memories, but can recall names from her past that she used as a con artist.
  • In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, mortals who are exposed to magic will often be forced to lose all memories of the magic. Sabrina's early season love interest, Harvey, had his memory erased for this reason so many times that he eventually became immune to the memory-erasing spell, forcing Sabrina and her aunts to bring him in on The Masquerade.
    • In one episode revolving around Friday the 13th, Sabrina discovers there's an exception allowing her to tell a mortal she's a witch, though her aunts never bothered to tell her about it since any mortal told will be subject to an automatic memory wipe at midnight. That, and they themselves have had some bad experiences about revealing themselves to mortals.
  • In Shadowhunters, Jocelyn hired Magnus to erase Clary's memories of being attacked by a monster when she was a child.
  • In The Shadow Line, Jonah Gabriel getting shot in the head caused him to lose his memories of the operation that got him shot, and only these memories. A few characters even note that this sounds suspiciously convenient.
  • Sleepy Hollow: When they were teens, Abbie Mills and her sister Jenny saw Moloch in the woods, then blacked out with no memory of anything until being found by a search party days later. As part of the big reveal in the first season finale, we find out what exactly happened — Moloch was there raising Ichabod Crane's warlock son, Jeremy, from his imprisonment in order to make him serve as the Horseman of War, and stole the sisters' memories of what they saw in order to conceal this.
  • Smallville erases the memories of anyone who finds out about Clark's real identity. Really. It doesn't matter how you found out, what you saw, or what he did under the influence of this week's phlebotinum. Your memory will be wiped, often without explanation. Amnesia is the Smallville Flu.
    • In the very first episode, Jeremy forgets everything after electrocuting himself.
    • Lana, Jonathan and Pete forget everything after they are cured of the nicodemus flower's toxin.
    • Chloe forget all about Clark's secret after the parasite inside her is removed.
    • Judging by what happened to Lois's memory after her love potion wore off, the writers seem to think that all drugs erase your memory. Really, a love potion does that? You wake up next to someone with no clue as to what happened? Popping paracetamol must be a risky business in Smallville.
    • We've lost count of the number of times a bump on the head has wiped Lana's memory of seeing some super heroics.
    • However, one notable exception to all this is Javier Ramirez in Subterranean, who does find out and does not get amnesia by the end of the episode.
    • This was used often in the first and second season to allow the advertisers to imply that the final conflict between Lex and Clark was at hand. It never was.
    • In more recent seasons, nearly every important cast member but Lex is in the know, so there's less need for this. The superhero cameos learn quickly, but keep the secret since they're on the same side.
    • In a rare example of plot-central, rather than "convenient", amnesia, Season 3 has Lex undergo a mind-wipe disguised as electroshock therapy for his supposed schizophrenia. The writers apparently didn't know that electroshock therapy is an extreme treatment for depression, not schizophrenia, and that it only removes minutes of memory, not months.
    • Lois and Sheriff Adams see Clark use his powers in "Blank". Luckily, the metahuman he just met can erase the last few moments of someone's memory and he owes Clark a favor.
    • In Freak, Daniel and later Chloe has their memory of Lex's secret lab wiped after being experimented on. After the viewers see the trauma Chloe goes through as Lex's lab rat, it's possibly best for her to forget.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Stargate SG-1:
      • Vala loses her memory when a memory-enhancing device malfunctions. Despite the fact that it's mentioned pretty directly at the beginning of the episode that she has very little experience with "normal" Earth-bound human life, her memory loss isn't so severe that she "forgets" how to pass for an earth-born human, or that she ought to have a hard time believing the actual circumstances of her life.
      • The same series also gave us "Fallen" in which Daniel, having descended from his higher plane of existence, has no idea who he is. This was quite intentional on the part of the Ascended. Even after Daniel regains memory of his mortal life, his time as an ascended being is very much forgotten, apart from a few glimpses.
      • There is also an episode where the entire team get their real memories erased and replaced by Fake Memories so that aliens can make them work in a mine.
      • And "Fire and Water" from the first season, though in this case the guy in charge overdid it, which the team spotted soon enough.
    • Stargate Atlantis also has a hand at this trope in "Tabula Rasa" (not to be confused with the Buffy episode, though Joss Whedon probably named them both). After contracting an alien virus, the entire Atlantis expedition (save Teyla and Ronon) contracts amnesia, leaving a bunch of bewildered scientists trying to escape soldiers who have forgotten why they're rounding everyone up. The characters also suffered from anterograde amnesia, having some difficulty remembering what they were doing.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • Episode "Requiem for Methuselah". Spock uses the Vulcan Mind Meld to remove Kirk's memories of Rayna Kapek to relieve his grief over her death. Perhaps because it's one of the rare instances when Kirk seems truly and deeply affected by the loss (and you get the feeling Spock — at best — has the ability to ease Kirk's pain somewhat, rather than perform a truly Laser Guided procedure). As for other interpretations of the scene: well, those are inevitable...
    • See also the episode "The Paradise Syndrome", where Kirk's memory is zapped by an alien device, to later be restored by a mind meld with Spock.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Episode "Conundrum". The entire crew suffers from Laser-Guided Amnesia, forgetting who they are, but not their skills. Only the audience knows that the first officer is out of place. This effect is intentional, though, as part of an alien plot.
    • In a similar episode, "Clues", the entire crew realizes after an unexplained wormhole jump that they are missing one day of memory. Subtle hints suggest that Data knows more about what was going on, but all of the clues lead to a real conspiracy theory. The Enterprise had encountered extremely xenophobic aliens who did not want their existence known. To end hostilities, Picard allowed their memories of that day to be wiped. Data, the only one unaffected by the process, was commanded never to reveal what happened.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • A two-part episode, "Workforce", was based on this. Almost the entire crew was captured by aliens and put to work on some planet after having their memories scrambled.
      Doc Oho If you were going to wipe Seven’s mind and give her a job, then an Efficiency Monitor is just about the perfect fit! Tuvok is a riotous sort of fellow who belly laughs when he spots the logic in jokes! Can’t we just stay on this planet? These are genuinely more likable versions of all of the regular characters!
    • In another episode, some Hirogen capture the ship, suppress almost everyone's memories, implant false memories, and hunt the crew through a variety of holodeck simulations.
    • A justified example with the Doctor, who, being a hologram, is a computer program. When an experience ends up nearly causing a cascade failure (i.e. total collapse of AI personality), Janeway has his memories of the experience wiped, as well as all the logs. All crewmembers are ordered never to mention it to the Doctor. However, he later starts finding clues, such as a stitch of his own invention that he applied to Harry Kim during this event, or a picture of a crewmember he doesn't recognize. This nearly leads to another cascade failure.
    • "Unforgettable". The humanoid Ramura race give off a pheromone that has an odd effect on other beings. A few hours after the Ramura leaves their presence, the other being completely forgets ever having met them.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise did a good episode about anterograde amnesia caused by alien parasites. T'Pol had to tell Archer the whole story again each day for years. Good thing for Vulcan patience.
  • Supernatural:
    • After Dean nearly gets Ben and Lisa killed one last time, he asks Castiel to do him a favor by wipe any memory they ever had of him.
    • It's revealed in season eight that upper-level angels have been coercing other angels for centuries and then violently removing any memory of the coercion ever happening. In fact, they remove any memory that the upper-level angels even exist.
    • In season six, Sam has a wall in his head separating him from all the bad things that happened in the eighteen months after his body was saved from Hell while his soul spent quality time with The Devil. The main symptom of this wall is that he neither remembers the horrors he committed while soulless nor the ones he endured while in Hell.
    • In season seven, Castiel reappears with complete retrograde amnesia from the trauma of Leviathans taking over his vessel. Interestingly, he appears to have assumed he's human even though he obviously still has healing powers and doesn't eat or sleep like a normal person. On the other hand, his caretaker/wife clearly recognizes that he's something special, but since him being an angel would be rather unbelievable, she seems to have decided that he's human but with "special gifts" and he's just following her lead.
  • Torchwood: Retcon, a drug that not only induces specific partial amnesia but encourages the recipient's mind to "fill in the blanks", which usually prevents the victim from realizing they've been "retconned". A single image, say an alien murder weapon, can trip the amnesia if you're clever.
    • Gwen ends up admitting her affair with Owen to Rhys and after clearing her conscience, gives him a drink with Retcon in it, so he doesn't remember.
    • In an aversion of #4, it's revealed late in the first series that Suzie Costello, before she died, had been going to a support group and gushing to one man about everything she needed to get off her chest from her job, then retconning him every week, for years. Given that retcon isn't generally applied more than once to anyone for fear of unknown overdose effects, and the guy is pretty nuts by the time they find him, this is horrifying.
  • Played straight on Tracker. Cole is shocked by his collector device due to an instability, and loses all memory of who and what he is, until Mel helps him restore it.
  • True Blood:
    • Vampire glamour can excise specific memories, and is performed often. Sookie's telepathy seems to be able to revert this, and she can bring back any memories glamoured away with varying amounts of success.
    • Antonia's spell on Eric wipes him of almost all his memories; however, he seems to not only know that he's a vampire, but about vampiric feudalism - he is basically an obedient little puppy to Bill once he is informed that Bill had assumed the mantle of King of Louisiana.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Valley of the Shadow", Dorn, the mayor of Peaceful Valley, New Mexico, studies the town's laws and discovers that there is an alternative to executing Philip Redfield or forcing him to remain in Peaceful Valley. His memory of everything that happened to him during his visit is wiped. He is left with nothing more than a sense of deja vu.
  • The amnesia pills used in the British TV series UFO.
    • Used with a twist in one episode, in which a woman who wants to kill her husband gets the amnesia treatment after killing a UFO pilot instead - but the amnesia doesn't affect her desire to kill her husband, and SHADO can't interfere without revealing their secrets.
  • Warehouse 13:
    • The Tesla has a side effect of wiping short-term memory, which usually means the stunned person wakes up not remembering the last few minutes before being knocked out, helping Warehouse agents remain anonymous.
    • In another episode, Pete and Myka end up becoming buzzed by an artifact and bronze Jinks. Realizing they'll lose their memories of the past several hours after the effects wear off, they leave clues for themselves and get into bed together naked, knowing they'd have to investigate to find out if they did it or not.
  • Happens a few times on The X-Files:
    • In "One Breath" when Scully first returns after her abduction, she doesn't remember anything that happened while she was gone.
    • In "Demons" Mulder wakes up in a hotel room with blood on his clothes and no memory of how he got there.
    • Averted in "Deadalive" when Mulder wakes up from his coma. He slowly asks Scully, "...Who are you?" sufficiently freaking her out, until she realizes he's just messing with her.
      • Later played straight in that he says he has forgotten what happened to him while he was taken, but he seems to remember, partially at least, by the next episode.


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