When the villain threatens or targets an innocent for the sole purpose of showing how evil he is, and that innocent just happens to be something the hero cares a lot about — which justifies the hero kicking butt over it.
A hero, for the most part, is not supposed to care what happens to themselves. However, once the villain has threatened that one thing that the hero must protect, they will commit to opposing the villain.
Whether it's a typical Friendly Target like the Love Interest, the hero's hometown, or the hero's family, once the villain has found a hero's "weak point", nothing less than his complete destruction will get him to leave the hero's world alone — even when attacking this "weak point" consistently brings the hero down on his head with more than the usual enthusiasm.
Sometimes there's a particular reason for this obsession, such as Blackmail, vengeance or some other Offer The Hero Can't Refuse, but for the most part, it's a plot device used by the writer to get the hero involved.
Typically crosses over with Your Little Dismissive Diminutive. Compare Kick the Dog, for a more proactive villain; and Bad People Abuse Animals, for when it's LITERALLY a dog. Compare and contrast Revenge by Proxy (where the villain is doing this sort of thing for the sake of retaliation). See Even Mooks Have Loved Ones for when it's done to a minion. When used to top off some other unspeakably evil acts, some (arguably heartless) people may view this as a case of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking.
- Lone Wolf and Cub (one of the Western names for this was Shogun Assassin) had the main character (Ogami Ichirou) killing hundreds of the Shogun's troops, very violently. Said Shogun declares that he's willing to leave Ogami alone, but just to be a snit, his dear infant son Daigoro must die. ...so Ogami, as the good Papa Wolf that he is, destroys the rest, resulting in the viewer concluding that Shogun was an idiot for not predicting that.
- In episode 7 of One Piece, when Buggy learns how much Luffy values the straw hat he got from Shanks, he tries to destroy it... which only provokes Luffy further. To be fair, Buggy hates Shanks even more than he hates Luffy.
- Bleach is pretty fond of these; the lead being an All-Loving Hero, he can't actively seek combat, so they use this as a method to make him. For example:
- In the Shinigami Arc, the hollow that killed his mother (for worse, he was a little child back then, and she died protecting him).
- In the Soul Society Arc, he was allowed to fight because they were going to execute his friend Rukia.
- During the Arrancar's attack on the real world, they attacked his friends and family. And then, his dad got to off the hollow (now an Arrancar) that killed his wife and the lead's mom.
- In the Hueco Mundo Arc, they forced his other friend Orihime to go with them via Sadistic Choice — it's even pointed out for that final closure (just in case taking poor Orihime away wasn't enough) that the Big Bad wants to destroy his home town so that he has fuel for his MacGuffin.
- Due to their nearly symbiotic relationship, the weapons and technicians in Soul Eater frequently have each other as their Berserk Button, especially the female characters for the male ones.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Yukishiro Enishi has held a grudge against Kenshin fo years after Kenshin's Accidental Murder of Enishi's elder sister Tomoe, to the extent that he repeatedly targets Kenshin's True Companions, including his Love Interest Kaoru, in order to make Kenshin suffer.
- In My-HiME, at least Mai is provoked this way when the first Monster of the Week targets her ill and weak-willed brother Takumi. Later events, in a subversion of this trope, imply that this is the standard method of "initiation" for most HiMEs, with the monster attacks carefully planned by the Powers That Be specifically to attack their loved ones to draw them into fighting.
- In Weiß Kreuz, to get back at Ran "Aya" Fujimiya for his part in killing their boss, the Schreient girls kidnap his comatose little sister Aya-chan and hold her hostage, intending to kill her in front of him. This results directly in Aya rejoining Weiss to hunt them down and kill them.
- Claymore: Threaten to rape/disfigure/brutalize the mightiest of an order of demonslayers pledged not to take human life? She says "Fine, I don't care," and thinks uncharitable thoughts. Kick around the girl that was following her around? She draws the guy's own sword and makes perfectly clear that, if the order in question has to put her down, he will still be dead. The failure of the bandit in question to keep that hint in mind when he finds said girl in a village the Claymore he threatened just left kicks off a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that was both brief... and total.
- The Team Rocket trio's obsession with Ash's Pikachu in Pokémon since really, aside from a bad attitude about Poke Balls, Pikachu wasn't much different from any other Pokemon. Yet the threat makes them the main villains regardless.
- In Saint Seiya, Dragon Shiryu was almost dead by the hand of Cancer Deathmask, a purely evil Golden Saint who was completely immoral about murder, even killing children for the lulz. Cue to the image of Shiryu's stepsister Shunrei praying far, far away in the Rozan cascade. Cue back to Deathmask being upset about that and using his Psychic Powers to grab the poor girl and throw her down a waterfall in hopes of killing her and projects the image in Shiryu's mind to taunt him with what he just did. See the always calm, cool and collected Shiryu go absolutely batshit on Deathmask in his only ever Unstoppable Rage episode in the series, as Cancer's attempt at murder backfires on him big time.
- In the Ea Cycle Morjin threatens to kill Valashu's family. He later follows on his promise. Brutally.
- In Chrono Crusade, Rosette and Chrono probably would have never gotten into the demon-hunting business at all, much less tried to stop Aion's plans, if it hadn't been for him kidnapping Rosette's brother in the first place.
- Literal non-example, in Black Lagoon; Balalaika reminds the leaders of the other criminal organisations that her organisation will destroy anyone who gets in their way, and their families, and even their pet dog, if necessary.
- In the Read or Die TV series, both groups of The Men in Black choose to repeatedly target a normal writer for their sinister plan, despite it being easy enough to just find someone else. This leads her friends, various heroines who used to work for the groups, to rebel against them.
- Dragon Ball:
- Frieza indulging in this is what triggers Goku's first Super Saiyan transformation, leading to him beating Frieza to a pulp. First he kills Krillin, who was no threat to him whatsoever and had already been revived once, meaning (as far as Goku knew) he couldn't come back again. Then he declares he's going to do the same to Gohan. Goku promptly transforms.
- Cell decides to invoke this in order to bring out Gohan's hidden power. Since Gohan refuses to get angry and unleash his power no matter what Cell does to him, he decides to spawn seven Cell Jrs. and make Gohan watch as he sics them on the Z-Fighters, to see if that will make him angry. The final straw is when he crushes Android 16's head underfoot right in front of Gohan, and Cell gets what he wanted.
- In Dragon Ball Super, Vegeta invokes this by threatening to kill Cabba's family and people, causing Cabba to become so angry he turns into a Super Saiyan for the first time. After Vegeta defeats him, he makes it clear he had no intention of actually doing that and just wanted Cabba to reach his potential.
- After Zamasu wishes to switch bodies with an alternate Goku, becoming "Goku Black", he proceeds to murder him - then, just for the heck of it, callously murders both Chi-Chi and Goten. He even takes the opportunity to reveal this to Goku purely for the sake of being a dick, and Goku promptly flies into an Unstoppable Rage; to note, this is one of the few times in the franchise, especially as an adult, that Goku outright tries to murder someone rather than simply defeat them.
- During the Tournament of Power, Jiren constantly rants to Goku that trust and friendship is meaningless and strength is all that matters. During the final leg, Jiren ends up furious over Goku's constant remarks about The Power of Friendship and outright attempts to murder Goku's friends and loved ones in the stands to prove his point. Goku deflects the blast, and is so outraged at Jiren for doing something that underhanded that he beats him into the ground.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, when straight-up Cold-Blooded Torture fails to break Kaneki, Yamori decides to get creative. He brings in a pair of prisoners Kaneki had sacrificed himself to protect and orders him to decide which of them will die. Then he brutally murders them both, just for good measure. This is the event that throws Kaneki over the Despair Event Horizon and leads him to decide that it's better to Pay Evil unto Evil — the next time Yamori visits his Torture Cellar, Kaneki breaks free and beats his tormentor within an inch of his life, then leaves him crippled for CCG to find and finish off. This event transforms the gentle and kindhearted Kaneki into a ruthless Anti-Hero, willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the people he cares about safe.
- Trigun: How the Gung-Ho Guns (and Knives) keep doing harm to Vash the Stampede: because the goofball is enough of a Martyr Without a Cause that he doesn't mind being hurt himself, they just exterminate everybody that he cares about, everybody that so much as gives him the time of day, and everybody else in the immediate area. One of Vash's greatest showcases of what happens when he reaches the Rage Breaking Point is when Monev the Gale, in his single-minded hunt to kill him, slaughters an entire town with machine gun fire in the hope that Vash will be hit by it.
- My Hero Academia: Dabi's entire career as a supervillain is revealed to be a calculated method of giving his father Endeavor a mix between a Hope Spot and Laser-Guided Karma for the life-threatening training he put him through as a kid: he'll let his father build his life back up again, then when he's on the verge of stability, rip away everything and everyone he cares about the most, even if they're not directly related. When called out on the wanton destruction by the heroes, he says it's Worth It if the casualties hurt Endeavor that much more.
- While Rorschach is being taken back to his cell, one of the prisoners threatening him promises to kill his mother, kids, sister, and... dog.
- Similarly, Rorschach kills the dogs of a child-killer before killing the killer himself. Granted, the killer had fed the bodies of his victim to the dogs, but they're just dogs.
- Hellblazer: If you're ever associated with John Constantine, chances are you're already dead. A perfect example was during the Reasons to be Cheerful arc. John's demonic children attempted to kill everyone that John has ever met and knew. That includes his family, close friends, and those he hasn't seen for a long time. They almost succeeded. They didn't kill any dog, but they did kill a rabbit.
- Squirrel Girl is convinced that she and the other Great Lakes Avengers shouldn't try to fight a villain who is on the verge of destroying the entire universe, and that they should leave it up to more powerful heroes. Until it is pointed out that if the universe goes, all the squirrels go with it. No! Not the squirrels!
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW):
Scootaloo: She was all "I'mma' getchoo Twilight! And your little pony friends too"!
- Parodied in the first issue of Radioactive Man, where Claude manages to thwart the saboteurs while in disguise. He's about to come clean until one of them vows to escape from prison, discover the identity of the man who stopped him, and then kill him, his girlfriend, his parents, and his dog. Claude reconsiders ("I don't have a dog, but Gloria and Pop could be in danger!") and decides to adopt the identity of Radioactive Man as a result.
- In Villains United, Mockingbird keeps Cheshire and Deadshot in line by threatening to kill their respective children.
- In Super Crooks by Mark Millar, the Bastard is considered the most terrifying super-villain on Earth, even in retirement. A story is told of how one guy thought he was over the hill and ripped the Bastard off. A typical villain might kill the guy. Another might kill his family. The Bastard hunts down and murders every single person this guy has ever known. Family, friends, his drug dealer, his pharmacist, his former employers, right down to grade school classmates, a total of over 200 people. Then he kills the guy.
- S.W.O.R.D.: A Knull-possessed Kid Cable is ranting about how he's going to take over Frenzy and make her hunt down and kill all her loved ones after she rips off his robot arm. It has no effect on her, because she comes from an abusive family, and has only ever loved one man, and he didn't love her back. And that man is Cable's dad.
- Ultimate Spider-Man: When Electro gets mad with Spider-Man, he promises him that they'll find out who he is, and then he'll fry every single member of his family.
Spider-Man: You can't be serious.
Electro: (demented grin) Oh, I'm totally serious.
Spider-Man: Wow. Then you totally can't blame me for doing this.
(Spidey kicks open a nearby container full of water, which splashes Electro, knocking him out)
- In Red Daughter of Krypton, Worldkiller-1 states he will take over Kara's cousin's body since he failed to steal hers.
- In Darby Conley's Get Fuzzy, a cat named Whitey threatens Bucky Katt with this when the latter can't pay back the large sum of money he owes. It backfires on Whitey, because unlike other examples of this trope, Bucky happens to be a sociopath:
Whitey: You have one week to pay up, Katt, or your dog buddy meets with an accident, capisce?
Bucky: That's fine, kill the dog. In fact, kill him now, it'll save you a trip next week.
Whitey: OK, I see how it is. Forget the dog, we'll take out your human.
Bucky: You know, that's not a bad idea. He'd probably be easier to take out, yeah.
Whitey: Okay, wait, gimme a minute, I'll think of something.
Bucky: Hey, my neighbor's a total melvin too, any chance for a twofer?
- Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): The Many threatens to go after Vivienne's human loved ones in Chapter 13, declaring it knows where they are. Later, MaNi (the version of Ghidorah's right head's mind using the Many to create a "patchwork body" for itself) tries to rip San's head off of Vivienne and almost eats him in front of her in a particularly Hate Sink act.
- In Transformers Meta, Barricade occasionally falls under this trope whenever he threatens to and/or contemplates harming/killing Bumblebee to get to Hound.
- At one point in Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure, ADMIRAL Awesome announces his plans to kill Enemy Boss Leader's family and all his friends, forgetting that he already killed them years ago, which was in fact Enemy Boss Leader's reason for joining the Enemies in the first place.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
- In Act IV chapter 11, after revealing that her attempts at redemption were all an act, Falla tells Tsukune that when she's finished killing them, she'll visit Tsukune's mom and cousin and show them just "what kind of friend" she really is. Fortunately, she doesn't live long enough to make good on her threat.
- As revealed in Act VI chapter 53, this is Gyokuro's plan for the Blackheart-enhanced clones of Moka, Ruby, Kokoa, Kurumu, Mizore, and Yukari: to have them destroy everyone and everything the originals hold dear before killing the girls themselves.
- Hoodwinked!: The Wolf says "You can't hold on to those recipes forever! I'll get you and your little Granny, too!" after Red tricks him into falling into a river.
- The Incredibles: Syndrome attempts to kidnap Jack-Jack when his master plan fails. When that doesn't succeed, Syndrome flees to his escape jet but continues to rant that he will get Jack-Jack eventually which triggers Bob's Papa Wolf instinct and he throws a car at Syndrome's jet causing his demise.
- Sunset Shimmer makes a reference to this trope in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. It is subverted at the end, though, as if she does have Spike kidnapped by her flunkies, it is mainly to get Twilight where she wants her; she never truly intends to harm the dog (or so she says).
- The Powerpuff Girls Movie: After accidentally helping Mojo Jojo take over Townsville, the girls are too afraid, confused, and angry to return even though they can hear the people's cries for help... until Mojo goes after The Professor, and they return to kick butt and save him.
- Debbie in Addams Family Values uses the line "I'll get you, and your little hand too!" as Fester and Thing drive away from her in a Shout-Out to The Wizard of Oz.
- Aliens: Do not kidnap Newt and turn her into a cocoon. Unless you want to get your nest torched and your ass Thrown Out the Airlock. "Get away from her, you bitch!" indeed.
- Biff A has done this to Lorraine in Back to the Future Part II. When Lorraine A threatens to walk out, Biff A threatens to also cut off her children — leaving Lorraine A with no choice but to stay.
- The Barretts of Wimpole Street: At the end, having been informed that Elizabeth (the target of his Pervert Dad urges) has left home forever, Edward goes into Villainous BSOD for a minute. Then he snaps out of it, saying "Yes...I'll have her dog." He turns to one of his sons and orders for Elizabeth's dog to be destroyed, only for a triumphant Henrietta to tell him that Ba took the dog with her.
- Cyrus "the Virus" Grissom of Con Air just might have lived and escaped if he didn't make the terminally stupid mistake of telling Cameron Poe (the hero) "Before I kill you, I'll let you know that the last thing that little Casey Poe (your daughter) will ever smell will be my stinking breath." Sure enough, cue Heroic Resolve from Cameron, and a hilarious Karmic Death under a rock-crusher (don't ask) no more than five minutes later.
- The Dark Knight. Who else but Maggie Gyllenhaal could be worthy of turning Harvey Dent into Two-Face?
- In Dracula Untold, the other vampires killed EVERYBODY in the battlefield as Vlad fought Mehmet. Only Vlad's son, who was prisoner of Mehmet, remained... with his tasty blood still in his veins.
- In The Drop, Eric Deeds beat his dog Rocco. Not only that, he threatens to get the police to take him away from Bob, who rescued him, since he's still the legal owner, and starve and beat him unless Bob pays $10,000.
- In Fargo, Carl threatens Jerry that he'll kill him, his wife and all his children if he doesn't bring him the money within a half hour.
- In Green Lantern, while Hal Jordan battles Parallax, the villain threatens to kill everybody Hal loves.
- Mrs. Deagle in Gremlins literally threatens the little dog too, in an extended homage to The Wizard of Oz.
- The Hobbit: Smaug takes some pleasure in barbecuing literally everything that opposes him, or vaguely related to those who oppose him — especially if he knows the first group cares about the second group's well-being.
- Hudson Hawk: The titular hero is threatened with this by one of the Big Bad Duumvirate. He isn't fazed in the slightest.
Darwin Mayflower: I'll kill your friends, your family, and the bitch you took to the prom!
Hudson Hawk: Betty Jo Biarski? I can get you an address on that if you want.
- Johnny English: Queen Elizabeth refuses to abdicate, until the (french) villain puts a gun to the head of her beloved corgi. Only then, she gives in.
- Just some advice if you want to live: don't kill John Wick's dog. Otherwise, he will hunt you down, even if he has to take out an entire mafia.
- In Jumper, the villainous Paladins claim that they hunt Jumpers because only God should have that power and mortals will abuse it. Considering David's behavior, they might have a point. Then they try to kill his father for little good reason.
- Averted in Kick-Ass 2. The Motherfucker specifically refuses to kill Col. Stars and Stripes' dog, saying he was "not that evil." In the comics, he actually did have the dog killed.
- Lampshaded in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, in a scene where all the main character's friends die one by one, ending with his dog. They all get better, except The Rival.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe
- In Thor, Thor finally stops trying to reason with a now Ax-Crazy Loki and attacks him when Loki threatens to pay Jane Foster a "visit".
- Loki does this again in The Avengers (2012) while being interrogated by Black Widow. Having brainwashed Clint Barton / Hawkeye, her old friend and comrade, he vows to make Barton kill her in the most sadistic manner possible, then give him his free will back just long enough to see what he's done before killing him, too.
- In Spider-Man: Homecoming once the Vulture figures out Peter is Spider-Man he threatens to kill him and everyone he loves if he keeps interfereing. How It Should Have Ended notices that, taken literally, this means he'll have to kill his own daughter.
- Black Panther (2018) - similar to the Thor example, T'Challa stops trying to reason with Erik / N'Jadaka after he vows to hunt down and kill anyone who even thinks of staying loyal to T'Challa.
- In No Country for Old Men, Llewellyn calmly advises Chigurh not to threaten his wife. And then Chigurh kills her anyway. It's even worse than that; Chigurh has already found the money he was looking for, and Llewellyn is already dead (at someone elses hands). Chigurh has absolutely no reason to kill the wife, other than to make good on his threat.
- In The Patriot, it is Col. Tavington's pathological targeting of Benjamin Martin's family that turns the protagonist from a mild-mannered pacifist to a furious hatchet-wielding 'ghost' who empowers militia forces and inspires his compatriots to victory.
- The mobsters in The Phenix City Story dump the dead body of Zeke Ward's daughter on the Pattersons' lawn with a note attached.
This will happen to your kids too.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
- Moriarty in makes a point of attacking and threatening Watson just because he knows Holmes holds him in high regard. Holmes even goes to Moriarty's office on Watson's wedding day to plead with the professor not to involve him in their ongoing conflict, only to be told that Watson is 'collateral damage' and the professor has already made sure to send his 'regards' to the happy couple (in the form of a squad of assassins who attack Watson and his bride during the train journey to their honeymoon). Although initially he implies that if Holmes backs down, then Moriarty will too, so Pragmatic Villainy is involved.
- The trope occurs again at the end of the movie when Holmes reveals he's bested Moriarty, who again promises revenge against Watson and his wife out of revenge. Holmes is facing certain death at that point, so such revenge would be completely gratuitous.
- Secret Service of the Imperial Court has the villainous Eunuch who threatens the protagonist's father with this line:
"I'm telling you...if you don't hand over your son, I'll cook your families as food for you!"
- Literally done in Shooter when they kill his dog.
- Lampshaded in The Western movie Silverado (1985) when corrupt town sheriff Cobb indicates to Paden that he'll harm Stella, the female bartender, if Paden moves against him, even though Cobb acknowledges she has nothing whatsoever to do with their dispute. He does, however, know Paden (whom he used to work with when they were robbers) got caught while protecting a wounded dog he'd previously claimed to despise, so figures the threat will make Paden back off. It works at first, but the bartender figures out what's happened and talks Paden into fighting Cobb anyway.
- Spider-Man Trilogy:
- The Green Goblin of the first Spider-Man movie surely should have known that telling Peter that "M.J. (your girlfriend) and I... we're gonna have a hell of a time!" while waving a phallic weapon in his face would give Peter the righteous rage to kick his armored-ass to hell and back; and Peter did.
- To top it off, in Spider-Man 2, the one thing that has Peter spring back into action and regain his powers is Dr. Octopus kidnapping Mary Jane.
- In fact, all three movies involved kidnapping Mary Jane at the climax. How very original of them.
- In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader threatens to try and turn Leia to The Dark Side, prompting Luke to attack him with renewed vigor. Possibly an Invoked Trope, as both Vader and the Emperor wanted Luke to be angry so it would be easier to turn him to the Dark Side.
- The corrupt agent Atwood in Timecop won't testify against the Big Bad he's secretly working for because "He'll send somebody back to wipe out my grandparents. It'll be like I never existed. My mother, my father, my wife, my kids, my fucking cat!"
- Unforgiven: "Any sumbitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only gonna kill him, but I'm gonna kill his wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down." — Will Munny
- Subverted in The Usual Suspects. Drug dealers rape Keyser Soze's wife, cut his son's throat in front of his eyes, then threaten to kill the rest of his family unless he hands over his turf. He responds by killing two of the drug dealers, then the rest of his family, then hunting down the drug dealers' families and everyone they've ever known or done business with, while the narrator explains that Soze's real strength is his willingness to do what the other guy wouldn't.
- The Wizard of Oz is the Trope Namer. The Wicked Witch of the West declares, "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!" just to show how evil she is by threatening Dorothy's beloved pet. It's actions like this that prove the Witch is evil, to justify Dorothy's eventual melting of the Witch. It's also because it's All Just a Dream and the witch was based on Miss Gulch, a nasty old woman who tried to have Toto destroyed for biting her, and who Dorothy even called a "wicked old witch".
- In Zoolander, a protester shouts to Mugatu "Screw you, and your little dog too!".
- A literary example: In The Aeneid, Aeneas' rival and counterpart Turnus kills Aeneas' good friend, the innocent youth Pallas; at the end of the epic, Aeneas is about to spare Turnus' life when the sight of a baldric stolen from Pallas reminds him of the murder and drives him into a killing rage.
- Done accidentally in The Iliad: With Achilles sulking in his tent, his very good friend and cousin Patroclus donned Achilles' armor to bolster morale and strike fear in the enemies hearts. Hector wasn't deterred, fought and killed "Achilles". Hector killing Patroclus caused Achilles to come out of his tent, return to battle full of Unstoppable Rage, and whoop Hector's ass. Before maliciously desecrating Hector's corpse.
- In The Dresden Files, the Skinwalker threatens Harry with this.
Skinwalker: I will come for you. I will kill you. I will kill your blood, your friends, your beasts. I will kill the flowers in your home and the trees in your tiny fields. I will visit such death upon whatever is yours that your very name will be remembered only in curses and tales of terror.
- In the third Young Wizards book, High Wizardry, the Lone Power (a.k.a. Satan) tells Dairine that It's going to punish her by instigating a nuclear holocaust on Earth, and, well... It really shouldn't have done that.
- A particularly cruel example in Holes, where after the town had found out about Miss Katherine and Sam's relationship, they also killed Sam's beloved donkey Mary Lou, right after killing Sam himself.
- In the Dale Brown novel Wings of Fire, the Libyans kill Paul McLanahan and abet Pavel Kazakov's henchwoman killing Wendy McLanahan.
- In Air Battle Force, General Gryzlov threatens Patrick McLanahan's friends, bases, crews, aircraft, and son. He tries to make good on this in Plan of Attack, but doesn't completely succeed.
- In the Honor Harrington books, Cordelia Ransom, head of Public Information, planned to kill Nimitz, Honor's treecat companion, purely to break her before the cameras and to enrage her fellow captives so that they would attack and could be stripped of the protections of prisoners of war.
- Played with in the novel White Plume Mountain. One of the villains actually says "I'll get you, and your little dog too!", but the dog in question is neither innocent nor helpless. The "dog" is a sentient, fire-breathing hell-hound skin.
- Dying of the Light: When Jaan's less-than-wise attempt to stop a duel leads to him being challenged, the challenger's teyn starts raving that now they're going to kill Jaan and Garse and Dirk and Gwen and Arkin. Jaan ignores him, and continues with the dueling ritual.
- In the Drenai novel Waylander II, Morak gleefully points out during his final duel with Waylander that he's already shot Waylander's actual dog, and instead relishes aloud the thought of paying a visit to Waylander's daughter after he wins.
- Journey to Chaos: Mr.15 threatens Eric's entire social circle during their battle at Mount Heios. He states that will use Tiza for breeding stock, Nolien as raw materials, and Basilard as a punching bag as well as detailing the "invasive and demeaning experiments he had planned for a certain elf girl". After seeing the horrific things Mr.15 had already done to his protégé, Zettai, Eric resolved to kill him dead. Even after Mr.15 mana mutates, and thus no longer has any idea who he is or what threats he's made, Eric says that he can't risk Mr.15 ever coming back.
- The Algebraist, by Iain Banks. A Galactic Conqueror wants the cooperation of an alien species, so proceeds to space hundreds of men, women and children from the human colony he's just conquered, immobilised yet fully conscious. Unfortunately the aliens have Blue-and-Orange Morality so their response amounts to: "Yes, and what do this have to do with us?"
- The Machineries of Empire: The Hexarchate, a totalitarian police state, threatens to wipe out the rogue general Cheris's entire ethnic group if she doesn't surrender herself. She doesn't, and it does, though a rogue hexarch saves around 5000 out of the original 60 000 Mwennin, and Cheris still has to watch the broadcast of her own parents' execution.
- In Breaking Bad, Gustavo Fring says to Walt in Season 4 episode ''Crawl Space'':
- In Smallville, even Jor-El does this on occasion due to his Adaptational Villainy. Like in Arrival when he freezes Chloe almost to death. There is also the time in Splinter when he infected Martha with a deadly virus which turns out to be a trick by Brainiac, but Clark totally buys it.
- Invoked in the second episode of Frasier.
- The original series of Black Adder has the villainous Witchsmeller Pursuivant burning an innocent old woman as a witch, and her cat on a correspondingly smaller stake. He later sneers in the face of the cat-loving Percy that he burnt "Mistress Scott...and her pussycat!" He gets a spectacular comeuppance, after which Percy wisely comments, "I SAID he shouldn't have burnt that cat..."
- Rita Repulsa in Power Rangers refused to attack any city other than Angel Grove, despite it being the one city that was protected by a force capable of challenging her. She even said the phrase word-for-word in a Halloween Episode, adding that "I Always Wanted to Say That".
- It pretty much becomes the norm for every Power Rangers Big Bad post-In Space.
- This is the one thing that consistently works on Captain Kirk. In one Star Trek: The Original Series episode, Klingons find that torturing Kirk himself is useless, but torturing Chekov snaps him instantly; in another, the Psychopathic Manchild points a gun at Spock to get Kirk to comply. It works. Khan also uses this technique on the entire crew - if he tries to kill all of them together, they will go the heroic way, but he expects better results if he forces the crew to watch Kirk and then Spock get tortured to death.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- In "The Most Toys" when Fajo threatens his minion Varria to force the android Data to comply with his wishes. It works, but that only inspires Varria to turn against Fajo, given that he would kill her over something so trivial. Fajo kills Varria during their escape and threatens to kill more if Data doesn't comply again, but Data reasons perfectly logically that the only way to stop Fajo from doing this is to kill him.
- Invoked by Troi in "Face Of The Enemy", when she impersonates Major Rakal of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan Secret Police. Upon pulling rank against Commander Toreth, she tells the crew that anybody who would disobey her would see their families punished, too.
- In Supernatural, people do this to the Winchesters pretty often (in the form of "I'll kill your brother" or Shame If Something Happened), and it's always a bad idea.
- At one point in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Herc goes into the underworld to visit his family, who were murdered by Hera. With his family is their dog, and on the commentary, Kevin Sorbo notes something like, "You can tell she's evil, she even killed my dog!"
- In the second season premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a rather enraged Sarkissian attempts to get revenge on the Connors by assaulting their house, car bombing Cameron, and beating the Connors senseless. Sarah and John are unable to resist... until Sarkissian tries to rape Sarah. John very quickly drops all pretenses of Thou Shalt Not Kill, and delivers a highly righteous (if offscreen) ass-kicking.
- This is later shown on a flashback.
Buffy: Skip it. I don't have a puppy, so skip it.
- On Angel, Daniel Holtz starts out by getting revenge on Angelus - by harassing the souled Angel. Initially, Angel responds with sympathy and guilt with what his soulless self did to the troubled man — and tries to simply reason with him. When Holtz starts to threaten Angel's (innocent) friends, that's when Angel realizes that more drastic action needs to be taken.
- In the Angel episode "The House Always Wins", a crooked casino owner enslaved Lorne to exploit his empathic abilities. To get Lorne to cooperate, the man casually shot a random girl to death and threatened to kill more.
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angelus makes it clear that he intends to kill everyone Buffy cares about also to get back at her for making him feel human.
- Angelus did this to actual dogs.
Glory: I'll kill your mom, I'll kill your friends and I'll make you watch when I do. Just give me the Key. You either have it or you know where to find it. Obviously, this is a one-time-only deal. Next time we meet, something you love dies bloody. You know you can't take me. You know you can't stop me.
- In Buffy season 5, Glory at one point explicitly threatens to kill Buffy's friends and family while making Buffy watch, while confronting Buffy in her own home, no less.
- Glee subverts this in this threat from Sue Sylvester:
I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat, and then, on some dark, cold night, I will steal away into your home and punch you in the face.
- A recurring tactic of immortals in the Highlander TV series, although there is a practical purpose to it. By destroying the loved ones of their immortal rivals, they hope to cripple their will to live, making them an easier fight (Who Wants to Live Forever?, after all?). Naturally, this can, and has, backfired.
- In Heroes, Sylar gives us this exchange:
Sylar: What was your brother's name again? Larry?Claire: Lyle.Sylar: Right, he's gonna die too.
- Person of Interest: One of the assassins after the Fixer, they stated to kill her and her driver too. Root uses this trope to ensure Harold's cooperation on two occasions. The first time, she threatens innocent bystanders, the second time she threatens to kill his former fiance.
- Scandal: Becky, Huck's girlfriend, murders the entire family he keeps an eye on. Oh, and she literally killed their dog too.
- In the season 1 finale of The Flash (2014), the Reverse-Flash threatens to kill Flash's friends and father.
- Daredevil (2015) proves it really is Darker and Grittier by having the hero do this to the villain. In a desperate attempt to get information out of Wilson Fisk, Matt Murdoch tells Fisk that he can keep his love Vanessa out of the country forever with one letter sent to the right office. Unfortunately, all of the people who could have told Matt how bad of an idea it was to use Vanessa against Fisk are dead. And that is not a coincidence. Fisk basically beats Matt's face in, then delivers his own counter-threat against Matt and his friend Foggy.
- Altered Carbon provides a rare (anti-)heroic example in episode 4 when Takeshi Kovacs poses as a CTAC officer to frighten his torturers into freeing him:
Kovavs: You have any idea what they're gonna do to you? They're gonna hunt you down. All of you. Gonna make what you did to me look like a tropical cruise. They're gonna rip your stacks out and feed them to the shredder. They're gonna kill your families, friends, dogs, cats and fucking goldfish. [...] The one who lets me up lives. The other two... when the Core is through with you, you won't even be a memory.
- Played straight when the Hidden Villain is revealed. It's Kovacs sister Reileen, whom he long thought dead. At first he's glad, but she soon drops her facade when her brother refuses to go along with her Evil Plan, pointing out that she could easily have Kovacs friends tortured in virtual reality until they go insane.
- Alex Rider: Duplicate!Alex wants to kill everyone Alex loves as revenge for ruining Dr Greif's plan.
- One of Breaking Benjamin's songs, "Home", makes a lot of The Wizard of Oz references, including this line, "cause Im gonna get you and your little dog too".
- BJ Whitmer, to get revenge on CM Punk for knocking him out in a match and then making fun of him as a commentator, naturally took revenge by going after CM Punk, but he started by laying out Punk's girlfriend, Lucy.
- During their feuds with John Cena, Edge and Randy Orton both targeted Cena's father. Orton did so, twice.
- The Kings of Wrestling, during their prolonged feud with the Briscoe Brothers, made the mistake of bringing the brothers' father into it by attacking him, making the Briscoes go much further than usual for revenge.
- The rest of TNA's Knockouts decided to unite against Awesome Kong and Raisha Saeed when Saeed had ordered Kong to take out Gail Kim and then decided to send Kong after Gail's sister too, even though she's not even a wrestler.
- During her feud with Taylor Wilde, Daffney targeted TNA's backstage interviewer Lauren because she was Taylor's sorority sister.
- During their campaign to ruin the life of Michael Elgin, Adam Cole, Matt Hardy, Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis forced Elgin to watch them assault his wife.
- Jasmin Areebi attacked already down on her luck Seleziya Sparx during an Alpha 1 Wrestling interview and then ran off with Sparx's dog Peanut. Jasmin would continue to haunt Seleziya in the following weeks, attacking her and taunting her by keeping Peanut just out of her reach, though Sparx ultimately got Peanut back after knocking out Areebi in a ladder match.
- Quite literal in the board game expansion of Kill Doctor Lucky. Aptly named Kill Doctor Lucky and His Little Dog Too.
- The Dungeon Master's Guide lampshades this as a tactic for a DM to develop a campaign setting called "Hitting the PCs Where It Hurts" — having the son of a blacksmith they befriend become kidnapped by slavers, for example, or having a peaceful village they love to visit be in the path of an evil cleric's invading army. It also warns not to overdo the tactic, however, or otherwise the PCs will never grow attached to anything for fear of putting it in danger (the "murderhobo" phenomenon is thought to have originated precisely because of Killer Game Masters doing this too often).
- Compared to the Transformers, humans are tiny, weak, and fragile, but possess heart and guts far beyond their size... which makes the Autobots extremely protective of them. Naturally, the Decepticons just have to pick on the humans instead of quietly sneaking off and conquering a planet the Autobots haven't adopted yet.
- If players in Fable II didn't have sufficient motivation to stop Lucian before, they will once he murders the player's spouse, children, and dog.
- Keep in mind this is after he kills your sister.
- In Fallout 3, Enclave Dragon Autumn shoots a research assistant in the head to 'motivate' the main character's father. This despite the fact that he had total control over the situation, and she couldn't possibly have been a threat.
- The 1997 Blade Runner video game features a rather brutal case of this trope, where a character literally butchers the protagonist's dog off-screen.
- Judgment Six (J6), the grouping of major corporations behind the worldwide tournaments in the Virtua Fighter series, is responsible for assassinations, blackmail, white-collar theft, and illegal, clandestine Super Soldier projects, among others. This matters little to fisherman and wrestler Jeffry McWild... until J6 antagonizes him by kidnapping the great white shark that he has been after for at least a decade. Refusing to let anyone else catch the "Great Satan", Jeffry enters the fifth tournament to retrieve his longtime nemesis from J6's clutches.
- The Big Bad of The Darkness video game (if you don't count the Darkness itself) is a mob boss named Paulie "Kill The Children Too" Franchetti.
- Parodied in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1, when the Marquis De Singe is defeated by Guybrush and leaves, promising to have revenge on him and his little hand too.
- In BioShock, Fontaine threatens to kill all the rescued Little Sisters: "When you're cold and stiff, I'm going over to Mother Goose's house, and I'm going to take it apart, piece-by-piece and brat-by-brat. Consider it your legacy."
Fontaine: Ah, I'm almost through. Last chance, pet. Where's... the ace... in the hole?Elizabeth: [...] Go ahead. You'll be doing me a favor.*Beat*Fontaine: AAARGH! *Reverse Stab* BRING IN THE MONSTER! *Smash* Well, ain't you a regular egghead! Can't risk harming the only part of ya that's worth a damn! Well, there's more than one way to fry an egg! Now, little one-Sally: Ugh, no!Fontaine: Have you ever heard of a trans-orbital lobotomy? It's quite simple, really, I take this needle, and this hammer, and jam it straight into your forehead. BETTER, TO SHOW BY EXAMPLE-Elizabeth: No, please, I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING, PLEASE NO, PLEASE-
- Almost goes through with it in Burial at Sea:
- The rifleman from War Craft III will, if you click enough, say "I shot the sheriff...and the deputy...and your wee doggy too!
- At the climax of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Rafe tells Nate after he kills him and his brother Sam, he'll kill his wife Elena and Parental Substitute Sully too.
- Used in, of all things, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, where the Big Bad kidnaps Layton's adopted daughter in order to make absolutely sure that Layton will pursue him. The irony is that Layton, being Layton, would have gone after him anyway — all this trick did was make him mad.
- In Jade Empire's backstory, the Emperor punished his traitorous brother Sun Li by ordering the Lotus Assassins to kill his family. The assassin ordered to do so rebelled halfway through and spared Sun Li's daughter.
- In the Champion mission of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, you initially have to defend a printer from the eponymous Templar. In the second part, the Champion goes after the printer's father instead.
- While Pit is storming Medusa's castle in Kid Icarus: Uprising, Medusa taunts Palutena by saying that she will have her revenge on her and that she'll start by turning Pit to stone.
- Given that Pit is the one who defeated her the previous time, it also counts as personal revenge.
- The Final Boss of Dragon Age II can sometimes grab one of your party members, with a different dialogue snippet for each of them. If they go after Hawke's Love Interest, the speech is aimed at Hawke rather than the victim.
"How does it feel, Champion, to know I hold the life of one you love in my hand?"
- In the PSP game Gangs of London, the murder of Morris Kane's prized racing pigeon is what drives him to kill off the other gangs and take over all of London.
- Mass Effect 3: in the Citadel DLC, the villain has interrupted Shepard's shore leave, killed people, locked the True Companions in vaults with only an hour of air, and is attempting to steal the Normandy...but it's going after Shepard's hamster that really pisses them off. Assuming you have it, anyway.
- Persona 5:
- Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time: Penelope hates Murray so much, that not only is she planning on killing him and Sly (and taking Bentley as a designs slave), but she also intends to destroy his prized van and convert it into a clown car. This motivates Murray into blowing up her castle bridges in rage, but is nearly decapitated when Penelope slams the gate on him, leaving Sly to fight the frozen-hearted Gold Digger on his own.
- At the end of the third chapter of Doom, Doomguy returns to Earth only to find the cities burning and a rabbit with its head speared on a stake. In the extra chapter, Thy Flesh Consumed, it's revealed that this rabbit was Daisy, Doomguy's pet rabbit.
- RWBY: At the end of Volume 3, Adam specifically swears to make it his mission to destroy everything Blake loves to punish her for abandoning him and the White Fang, a threat he makes good on by slicing off Yang's arm, which forces Blake on the run just as he wanted. Sun follows her home, determined to have her back, and gets injured when they fight Adam's subordinate Ilia, which reinforces Blake's belief that she needs to be alone. After Sun gives Blake a lecture on how her abandonment of her friends actually causes them more pain than their enemies ever could, Blake's parents reveal the content of the intel Blake and Sun managed to recover from Ilia: that Adam plans to overthrow the White Fang leader, Sienna Khan, and then launch a full-scale assault on Haven Academy, destroying it just as he destroyed Beacon. At this point, Blake finally decides to stop running and begins making plans to take back control of the White Fang from Adam.
- Axe Cop advises people how to defy this when they become crime fighters (which he recommends as the ideal career) — "Your family should hide in the bushes outside your house with guns every night. Because bad guys are always trying to kidnap your family if you are a crime fighter."
- In Crimson Dark, Abraham Mensk makes this threat after losing a battle to Vaegyr Ward. Since Mensk is a loose cannon sociopath, Vaegyr calmly orders the destruction of Mensk's ship. Unfortunately, Mensk is part of a really large organization of revenge-minded Space Pirates.
- Exterminatus Now: When Rogue and Lothar finally come to blows, Lothar tells Rogue he'll have his village destroyed after he kills him.
- In Juathuur, Sojueilo kills Rowasu's team-mate. He swears to kill all of Sojueilo's team, finishing with Sojueilo herself.
- MegaTokyo invokes this trope word for word when Piro is playing a Harvest Moon game.
- The Order of the Stick
- Mentioned by name by Haley when she chastised Belkar for killing a prospective recurring villain.
- From page 453:
Hinjo: Nobody invades my city — and absolutely NOBODY HURTS MY DOG!!!
- When a black dragon (the mother of the dragon that was killed earlier on in the comic) attempts to invoke this with Vaarsuvius's family, Vaarsuvius responds by taking it Up to Eleven with Familicide: a spell that kills everyone related by blood to the target, then kills everyone related by blood to those people. So basically, And Your Little Dog's Little Dog Too.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: "We will follow you forever. We will take everyone around you." spoken by a being that only two out of six crew members can actually hear is hard to interpret any other way. The threat actually makes Reynir realize that he may be unable to go home as long as that being exists, as it may target his family.
- Weak Hero:
- Forrest Lee's method of taking down Ben, after Jimmy failed to do so, is to target random students at Ben's school and put the blame at Ben's feet, pressuring him into seeking out a fight with Hyeongshin so that the attacks will stop.
- It's a well-known fact amongst the delinquent population that the easiest way to get to Ben is to target his best buddy Alex. This has lead to him suffering two severe beatdowns from Jimmy Bae and Forrest Lee.
- In Sailor Nothing, Magnificent Kamen/Dark General Radon threatens Dusty. This results in him getting killed.
- This one of several things that consistently provokes the Avatar State in the normally sweet and pacifist Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the first episode of season two, some unnamed Earth Kingdom general tries to provoke Avatar State by sinking Katara in rock, which turns out to be a bad idea. Appa is also a frequent target.
- Likewise, Katara will not stand aside while Aang gets hurt. Azula and later Hama learned this the hard way.
- In an episode of Gargoyles, when Bronx helps Cuchullain in a fight:
Cuchullain: Crom-Cruach, deathworm. You are still no more than that! A WORM!
Crom-Cruach: But more than enough to deal with a noisy young hero and his little dog too!
- Justice League: Do NOT threaten Aquaman's toddler son. Just... don't.
- In the Ben 10 episode Ken 10, Kevin Levin stomps Ken's rock dog-thing, just to provoke the kid into attacking him. It gets better by the end of the episode, naturally.
- In an episode of Cartoon Planet, Zorak is forced by Space Ghost to give Brak lessons on being evil. He does this by telling him to threaten Space Ghost "and your little dog, too". Brak objects to the notion of harming Space Ghost's (non-existent) dog and asks him to blast Zorak, to which Space Ghost happily complies.
Space Ghost: THAT was for Scraps! (Beat) Wait a minute, I don't have a dog.
- On Phineas and Ferb, you should never threaten the lives of Perry the Platypus' owners in front of him, even accidentally. Dr. Doofenshmirtz learns this the hard way.
- In one episode of Batman Beyond, Terry is fighting a mutated Dr. Cuvier, and Ace, Bruce's pet Great Dane, is also present. Now, the two have had a turbulent relationship so far, but when Terry gets hit, Ace rushes in to fight off the monster, only for the monster to wrap its tentacles around Ace and try to do him in. And that's when Terry got pissed.
- In the final episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Superman gives Darkseid an And This Is for... punch for Dan Turpin, whom Darkseid murdered at the end of his foiled invasion of Earth. Darkseid responds by claiming that "Had I known one human's death would pain you so, I would have killed more." When Darkseid gets the upper hand in their fight right after this, he adds "And kill more I shall! Carry that with you to oblivion, Superman!"'
- Used in Young Justice when Desaad threatens Superboy and his dog... er, wolf:
Desaad: "Kill the boy, and his little dog, too."
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears: In the episode "Eye of the Beholder", when the witch who has enchanted herself to look beautiful and put the whole of Dunwyn Castle (including the king) under her spell is finally exposed, she threatens to get princess Calla, "and [her] little pig too" (Sunny is disguised as a pig to avoid being spotted by humans).
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Discord captured all of Twilight's closest friends "and her little dragon, too."
- In the episode Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Twilight Sparkle is on the run from Big Bad Tirek, but steels her resolve and confronts him after he throws a fireball at the Golden Oaks Library, blowing it up with Owlowiscious still inside (she rescues him with a Diving Save). Downplayed because Tirek didn't even know the owl was there.
- Kaeloo: Almost every single episode has Mr. Cat torment Quack Quack in various ways so Kaeloo will get angry.
- The Loud House: In the episode Lincoln Loud: Girl Guru, two girls named Kat and Joy voice their displeasure of Lincoln and his weird little friend, too.
- Often in Scooby-Doo will the defeated Villain of the Week add on to the usual You Meddling Kids line by cursing the titular dog as well.