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Bad Samaritan

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"And take extra care of strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers,
And though scary is exciting,
Nice is different than good"

Beware of the kindness of strangers.

A Good Samaritan provides help to anyone in need, even a complete stranger. They will come across the wounded hero and take him in, feed him and tend to his injuries without asking for anything in return. Sometimes these people are punished for their goodness because they were a Horrible Judge of Character and chose to help someone who would only repay them with evil.

And then there are these guys.

The Bad Samaritan is someone who takes in the hero and seems (at first) to be helping, only to do the hero harm in the end.. He doesn't act out of the kindness of his own heart, but by some villainous motivation. He will keep his intention hidden from his victim, gaining their trust, until he has the hero helpless. This is the inverse of the Biblical parable about the Good Samaritan, teaching the audience that relying on the kindness of strangers is not always a good thing.

This is when a villain wears a mask of altruism and kindness and pretends that their goal is to help unfortunate, needy characters. They will befriend and offer them their assistance to win them over, secretly using them as pawns in their scheme. The good guys usually don't catch on until it is way, way too late to do anything about it and the villain has just put the final touches on the scheme, revealing that the "help" was merely part of their evil plan all along.

This sort of ploy usually comes up when the hero wants something and is desperate enough to do anything to get it, even if it takes a complex scheme and extensive deception. The villain has just what the doctor ordered, and is willing to give it to the hero... for a price. And the price is always exactly what the villain needs to achieve his goals. The hero might have to give up something important to the villain (a valuable MacGuffin), or may have to retrieve a Plot Coupon. Other times, the villain will maintain a cover of respectability and generosity in order to attract good guys who later unwittingly act as mooks for the villain's cause. And sometimes the villain is simply a cruel bastard and likes corrupting the thought of kindness by turning it into villainy.

Either way, in the end, it turns out that by accepting their assistance, the protagonist has been unwittingly playing right into the villain's hands. The end result of this flavor of the trope is usually You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, with the villain killing or otherwise betraying their cronies once they've served their purpose. Where this gets confusing is when the Bad Samaritan means no physical or emotional harm, but uses their "kindness" to provoke a "Leave Your Quest" Test to get the hero to leave the Big Bad alone.

Related to Beware the Nice Ones, Lending a Backhand and The Farmer and the Viper. Compare with Salvage Pirates, in which the hero expects help from people who turn out to be evil and who don't even pretend to help. See also All Take and No Give. See also Hostile Hitchhiker, specifically the "Harmful to Hitchers" type. Supertrope to Wise Old Folk Façade, where an evil elderly acts wise and helpful to others to hide their true nature.

As this is a Betrayal Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Ali Al-Saachez is asked by Kinue Crossroad for a ride so she can interview him (she has no clue who he is) for a story. Cue him driving a few kilometers behind the Moral Event Horizon he crossed already done because she knew too much (but only because the sociopathic Ali told her the information he then killed her for knowing, all For the Evulz), followed by a brutal Tearjerker.
  • In Naruto, Orochimaru likes to pick orphans up off the street with promises of power. In reality, he plans to use them for experiments, as soldiers or for potential containers.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Fullmetal Alchemist:
      • Father, upon meeting the two, heals Ed and Al. He quickly admits he just does this because they're valuable sacrifices. Yeah...
      • Father Cornello uses a partial Philosophers Stone to fake miracles to earn the town's trust. What they don't realize is that he intends to incite an uprising that will get most of them killed.
    • Played very straight by most Homunculi in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): they're sent to towns to find alchemists, drive them to desperation, give them fake stones and fake reassurances, wait until the stones' power dissipates, make things worse, then make them think the only way to save everyone is by making Philosopher Stones, whatever the cost.
  • In Monster, this is Johan's reason for living. Almost all who meet him come to think of him as a kind, thoughtful young man. Most of those same people end up dead.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note was oh so helpful with Naomi Misora, comparing notes on the Kira case with her and offering to let her use his cellphone because she knew too much and he needed to learn her true name.
  • Code Geass
    • Schneizel el Britannia who often makes deals with enemies or would-be pawns under the guise of mutual benefit.
    • Lelouch can be interpreted as this, though it would be more accurate to call him, well, complicated. He has very noble intentions, but often displays a lack of concern for his subordinates. The aforementioned Schneizel, of all people, gets the Black Knights to betray Lelouch by leading them to believe their leader is one of these, partly owing to the latter.
  • Xelloss of Slayers does seemingly help out the heroes quite a lot more than what he expects in return. Some of that help is probably even is helpful. But most likely it all plays a part in his plan. And even when they find out who he really is, he still gets away with it to some extent.
  • In the backstory of Full Metal Panic!, Gauron first encountered Sousuke back in his Child Soldier "Kashim" days. Gauron was immediately taken by the sight of the boy and offered him a ride back to Gauron's camp, promising him food, ammo, and AS parts. Sousuke immediately realized Gauron's intentions weren't good and refused. Gauron spent the rest of his life obsessed with Sousuke.
  • Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica goes to teenage girls and offers them a wish in exchange for becoming a magical girl to fight witches. Despite the risk of death, the deal doesn't seem all that bad for those who have a wish. Then it's revealed that not only are magical girls' souls separated from their bodies, but they themselves are doomed to become witches themselves, which Kyubey wants to happen.
  • In Akame ga Kill!, a rich family regularly takes in homeless people and travelers. Eventually, the guests are knocked out, thrown into a Torture Cellar, and tortured to death.
  • Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy: While Goku Jr. goes on his cross-country quest, a trucker offers to give him a lift. He seems friendly enough, but when Goku Jr. stops to pee, the trucker empties out his backpack, throws the backpack at him, and drives off. Later, Goku Jr. and Puck are rescued from wolves and given shelter by a woman named Mamba, but she turns out to be a Youkai who plans to eat them.
  • Tales of Wedding Rings: When Krystal is struggling to learn light magic at the Sorcerer's Spire, a mysterious woman approaches her and gives her some guidance which helps her to master it. This woman turns out to be a minion of the Abyss King, and her help is meant to gain Krystal's trust so she can convince her to embrace her inner darkness and turn on her friends.
  • Fabricant 100: No 33 raises orphan kids from the streets, only to harvest their eyes once they're healthy and disposes of them. Some of them have figured it out and didn't mind due to their miserable background, but he was unable to figure out why are they thanking him.
  • One Piece: The town of Whiskey Peak offers hospitality to pirates, but once their guests are drunk and fall asleep, they rob and kill them.

    Comic Books 
  • In The DCU, Granny Goodness runs an "orphanage" for poor and downtrodden children on Apokolips that is really nothing more than a boot camp for Darkseid's demon-dogs.
  • "Mournin' Mess" in Tales from the Crypt #38 featured a charitable society supposed devoted to providing dignified burials for the homeless. A reporter assigned to investigate the organization discovered that it was actually a group of ghouls interested in providing low-effort meals for themselves.
  • In Green Arrow: Quiver, the resurrected Oliver Queen is taken in by a wealthy old man whom he saves from muggers, and who provides him with funds and equipment to get back on his feet as a hero. He also takes in Mia, a teenage girl who was forced to become a prostitute. Turns out he's not as charitable as he seems; he's actually a satanic killer who intends to Body Surf into Queen and rape Mia.
  • Thanos during the Magus saga helps Adam Warlock in his battle against the Magus just because he sees the Magus as an obstacle to his goal of universal genocide.
    • Later, he assists the In-Betweener (a cosmic entity created to balance Master Order and Lord Chaos, as Galactus balances Death and Eternity) in escaping from imprisonment. Thanos did so knowing that the prison was the only thing keeping the In-Betweener's powers active (an act of mercy from his parents/captors), stole the Infinity Gem from his brow, then left him to take the blame for the escape when Order and Chaos arrived to investigate.
  • When Lady Shiva ran into the newly christened Robin Tim Drake in Paris she helped him fight off gangsters, save a rogue DEA agent, prevent a criminal from gaining a biological weapon, helped him train and fully intended to take him from Batman as her own protege by having him kill the individual behind everything they're working to stop which she makes clear after Tim kicks Dorrance out the window of his executive suite and Dorrance is hanging on fifty stories up, calling Tim "her weapon".
  • Oddly enough, the Outsiders villain NAMED the Bad Samaritan isn't an example of this trope, being outwardly villainous to the heroes from the beginning.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Soul Eater fic Lost Boys, Medusa (a la Orochimaru) tells a starving homeless boy that if he comes with her, she'll take him to a place where he'll never be cold or hungry again, and she'll also make him a stronger weapon. He agrees, and she brings him to her house and gives him plenty of food. Then it turns out that the food was drugged, so he'll be unable to resist when she takes him down to her lab to experiment on him. He wakes up later with a new form, Crona's blood and weapon; a new name, Ragnarok; and no memories of his former life.
  • BURN THE WITCH: Lila convinces most of her classmates that she does charity work, and Rose eagerly contributes to the cause as much as possible, taking extra jobs and convincing others to donate as well. All that money goes towards expanding Lila's wardrobe with the latest fashion trends.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Coraline, the seemingly altruistic and kind Other Mother spies on unhappy children and leads them into another fantasy world, where they get everything they desire. It's all a front to her real scheme: she's actually a Wicked Witch who sews buttons onto the eyes of her victims, just before she eats them. She's done this to three kids prior to the events of the movie, and wants to make Coraline her fourth victim.
  • In Kronk's New Groove, Yzma tells Kronk that she wants to help the elderly people of the kingdom by selling them her youth potion. It turns out it's just a scam for her to get rich quick.
  • In Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), wherein the sea-witch Ursula pretends to help the mermaid Princess Ariel by making her human, on condition that Ariel gives up her voice. If Ariel fails to woo the human Prince Eric, Ariel will revert to being a mermaid and her soul will belong to Ursula forever. Naturally, Ursula cheats.
    • Ursula previously mentioned that some of her customers couldn't pay the price for their spells so she had to "rake them across the coals," but does it in a way that puts the blame on the buyer and not her. Though it's quite clear she does this deliberately to add to her collection of lost souls.
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: Something similar happens in the direct-to-video sequel with Ursula's sister Morganna and Ariel's daughter Melody, but in reverse. Morganna turns Melody into a mermaid but doesn't tell her about the time limit or her maternal heritage.
  • Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe: Super Super Big Doctor, the leader of the aliens who abduct Candace and Vanessa, seems to be a kind and benevolent ruler who bonds with Candace and praises her as "The Chosen One". She's actually a tyrant who's exploiting the fact humans exhale carbon dioxide to revitalize the mind-controlling plant she uses to maintain her grip on most of her subjects. She even tries to conquer Earth so she'll have both more servants and plenty of carbon dioxide for her plant.
  • The Princess and the Frog
    • Similarly, Dr. Facilier is one (it's telling that this movie has the same directors as TLM). He promises people to "give them what they want", but doesn't tell them they will "lose what they had". Thus when a prince in financial trouble comes to him, he says the prince needs "the green" and "wants freedom", then makes a deal with him... turning him into a frog.
    • He reads the dreams of Naveen's servant Lawrence, sees Lawrence wants to take Naveen's place and become a prince and then tells Lawrence "in your the future, the you I see... / is exactly the man you always wanted to be." He then uses Lawrence as a pawn and physically transforms him into Naveen, enabling his scheme and fulfilling his promise. Lawrence was the man he always wanted to be.
  • Fairy Godmother in Shrek 2 is somewhat like this, offering to help Fiona get (Fairy Godmother's definition of) a happy ending, which coincidentally puts Fairy Godmother's son in line for the throne, while ignoring Shrek because Ogres. Don't. Live. Happily. Ever. After!
  • In Zootopia, Bellwether continually presents a false persona of being a clumsy, shy, passive Beleaguered Assistant who "bonds" with Judy over being "little guys" and specifically tells her "Just call me if you ever need anything, okay?" She even gives Judy access to the city's surveillance cameras while offering encouragement on her investigation. However, once you know she's actually behind it all and why, certain early events that seemed innocent on first viewing take on more sinister and premeditated tones. Her happening by at just the right time to force Chief Bogo into putting Judy on the Otterton case, and her setting up the surveillance system to exactly the time that Manchas is being captured, no longer seem like Contrived Coincidences in retrospect. It culminates when Bellwether needs to silence Judy and she is perfectly willing to use Judy's painful death by a savage Nick to further her own plans

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Slumdog Millionaire, this combines with Yank the Dog's Chain when both brothers, once orphans and on the run, are taken in by a "kind" man to a rural house that is functionally an Orphanage of Love. This was in the first third of the movie, and it turns out that he manufactures beggar children with a high pity factor by blinding them. They got out of Delhi.
  • Early in Conan the Barbarian (1982), a woman offers Conan shelter for the night and a romp in the furs. Turns out she's an inhuman demon (or maybe a shapeshifting witch) who wants to kill him and eat him during the romp in the furs.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Shredder's Foot Clan took in street kids and orphans in order to turn them into soldiers in Shredder's criminal empire.
  • In the Very Loosely Based on a True Story horror film Wolf Creek, two British tourists and a local guy are hiking in Australia when their car breaks down. They are picked up by a man who offers to drive them to his home and fix their car. The man turns out to be a serial killer.
  • The miko in the 1954 Kenji Mizoguchi classic Sansho the Bailiff, who pretends to offer shelter and aid, only to sell Tamaki and her children into slavery. (And their one servant gets drowned.).
  • In Stardust, Lamia does this to Yvaine, seeking to cut out her heart. She takes care of Yvaine in order to make the girl happy, because that will make her heart more useful.
  • In Misery, the author Paul Sheldon is rescued from a car accident by a fanatical admirer by the name of Annie Wilkes, who turns out to be a really, really Bad Samaritan — as in, in order to keep him from running away before he finished the "proper" Grand Finale to the "Misery Chastain" series that she wants (because she hated his attempt to Torch the Franchise and Run), cripples him by smashing his ankles with a sledgehammer (and in the actual book, by cutting one of his feet off with an axe and cauterizing the wound with a blowtorch). And that's before we learn later on that she's a bonafide Serial Killer.
  • Spiders II: Breeding Ground: Alexandra and Jason are rescued from drowning in a storm by a passing ocean tanker. They later discover that the crew has been involved in kidnapping and murder as part of a Mad Scientist's secret project to grow Giant Spiders, and they're next.
  • Surviving the Game gives us Walter Cole, a charity worker who often approaches homeless people and helps them secure a high-paying job offer. He even stops the protagonist from killing himself so he could give him the same offer. Unfortunately, it's all just a pretense to trick those people into being prey for them and their clients' hunting trip.
  • Lion: After being lost and alone for several months, five-year-old Saroo meets a friendly young woman who seems concerned about the fact that he's wandering the streets by himself. She takes him back to her apartment, gives him a bath and some food, and promises to help him get home. Except something doesn't feel quite right, and he realizes she's trying to pass him off to a creepy older man. (He's too young to understand why, but it's very clear to the audience that she's involved in sex trafficking.) Fortunately, he's able to flee the apartment, and spends a couple more months on the streets before meeting a genuine Good Samaritan, who brings him to a police station.
  • In Trading Places, The Duke Brothers insist they're trying to help the homeless Billy Ray Valentine when in reality they're using him for a Nature Versus Nurture experiment. Even after he more than proves capable of succeeding in the business world, they intend to kick him to the curb for no other reason than his race.

    Fairy Tales 

  • Lone Wolf:
    • Fire on the Water: Lone Wolf can get shipwrecked, and there is a chance he can get rescued by a boat full of fishermen. The fishermen appear friendly and even offer him food. However, once they reach shore, they suddenly knock Lone Wolf out and steal all his stuff, then leave him inside a small dinghy in the docks.
    • Shadow on the Sand: A civilian offers Lone Wolf shelter when he's being pursued, but the hero figures out in time that the man is planning to betray him to the villains for a quick buck.

  • Stephen King's novel Misery (as well as the film version) is about a writer who is rescued from a car crash during a blizzard by a woman who claims to be his number one fan. It becomes increasingly clear that she is psychotic and won't let him leave.
  • A milder version appears in Oliver Twist. Fagin takes in homeless street urchins, giving them shelter and food and a sense of family. He also turns them into a band of criminals, and if they don't earn enough money, they are beaten and tossed out.
  • Mr. Charrington, the man who sells Winston his book, pen and ink and later rents out a room without a telescreen to Winston and Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four, ends up turning them in because he's a Thought Police plant specifically waiting for potential dissidents interested in purchasing pre-IngSoc artifacts. And the room in question? Turns out to have a telescreen hidden behind a painting, which Winston and Julia only find out about just before the Thought Police show up and arrest them both.
  • Happens every time a random stranger is kind to the heroes in the Percy Jackson series: Auntie Em/Medusa, The Lotus Hotel, Procrustes (as mentioned below), Circe, Geryon... The fact that the heroes keep falling for it is lampshaded at one point; they know it's stupid, but they're so exhausted and battered from their previous encounters that they can hardly think straight.
    • This eventually leads Percy to be distrustful of Hestia, who was genuinely a Good Samaritan.
  • In Blood Memories, the main character is a vampire who has a subtle, uncontrollable psychic ability that makes other people think she needs to be taken care of. As a result, she often preys on Bad Samaritans.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Barty Crouch Jr. secretly coaches and assists Harry through all of the Triwizard Tournament tasks — just to make sure he gets to the end alive, so he can be delivered into the hands of Voldemort.
  • In The Scarlet Letter Roger Chillingsworth volunteers to live with Dimmsdale so that he can be close to him and help treat his mysterious illness. The two appear to be very close friends, Chillingsworth is always at Dimmsdale's side, tending to him and listening to his woes...too bad he's actually there to psychologically torture Dimmsdale and is actually making him sicker.
  • In Max Brand's Destry Rides Again, Chester Bent does this brilliantly, staking the penniless Harrison Destry to $100 and framing him for robbery in the process. It works so well that when Destry gets out of prison, Bent tries the same trick again, but this time less successfully.
  • Atlas Shrugged is essentially the story of the struggle of Honest Corporate Executives against a government of Bad Samaritans who claim they're helping people and giving everyone what they need while ignoring the price tag.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys was invited to the city of Qarth as a guest. But everyone there were only interested in gaining her dragons-the Undying Ones are the ones who come closest to doing so. They soon learn that when you mess with dragons you get burned.
  • Dr. Henry Goose from the Pacific Journey of Adam Ewing section of Cloud Atlas says he's the only person who can cure Ewing of a parasite he contracted. He's actually poisoning Ewing to steal his money.
  • In The Barbarian and the Sorceress, Barnabus gives Rom food and shelter when he's lost in a wasteland, only to reveal he wants to use Rom as a Human Sacrifice to an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Mrs Skiller, the landlady of the Fiddler's Riddle in Equal Rites, who the text specifically compares to the witch in Hansel and Gretel, and offers Esk a comfortable bed for the night and to help her find Granny in the morning, with the intent of stealing her Magic Staff. If she knew more about magic, she'd have realised that the staff would have an opinion on that...
  • In Keitas Wings book 4, The Spectra Unfurled, Keita finds a girl from the same background who is willing to help her fit in among the royalty of another kingdom... too bad she's the villain in disguise.
  • In The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System: Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong, the Huan Hua Palace Master seems to take Luo Binghe into his sect after he escapes from the Abyss out of the kindness of his heart, but his interest in Luo Binghe actually stems from his obsession with Luo Binghe's mother, Su Xiyan, who used to be his head disciple.
  • De Griezelbus: In one of the stories, a girl who survives a car accident finds herself in a hospital room being cared for by a kind and pretty nurse. When her condition keeps getting worse, she discovers that the nurse is actually some sort of vampiric creature with a syringe-like sucker in her tongue that has been feeding on her while she was asleep. Another victim who is already dying sacrifices herself and uses her last ounce of strength to help her expose the vampire to sunlight, killing it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Prince, one half of the villain duo from the The A-Team episode "Bad Time on the Border." He gets some respect in Mexico as a man who, for a hefty fee, helps down-on-their-luck Mexicans across the border to a better life in America. While aiding illegal immigration is already a crime, the truth about him is far worse. Far from helping them reach a better life, Prince and his thugs take the people they "help" to a camp in the wilderness, where they rob them at gunpoint of all their remaining possessions, then sell them as slaves to whatever border town sweatshop makes the best offer.
  • The plot of the show Bad Samaritans involves a couple of convicts on community service
  • The Kanamits in The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "To Serve Man" are this, insisting they have philanthropic intentions for humans, but when in reality, they have much darker intentions. (Being a Trope Namer for the episode's title).
  • The Visitors from V (1983) have much the same MO and intentions as the Kanamits.
  • In True Blood Bill's back story has him as a wandering soldier trying to make his way home from the battlefield. He is taken in by a woman who comes upon him while he is asleep and turns him into a vampire.
    • Maryann is a maenad, one of the nymphs who worship Bacchus. She pretends to be a "social worker" who helps convicts by giving them a chance to turn their lives around. Her real reason for collecting these kinds of people is less noble.
      • Poor Daphne fell victim to this trope. Even though she was a loyal servant, Maryann cheerfully had her killed when she was through with her.
  • Buffy:
    • In "Anne" there's a street preacher who is "helping" the homeless and runaway kids by sending them to a Hell dimension where time runs much faster than it does on Earth. There, they are worked as slaves until they die of old age.
    • Also, serial killer-preacher Caleb first starts out as this. He "rescues" Shannon, one of the Potential Slayers, from the Bringers, only to then brand her, stab her, and toss her from a moving truck, all as a message to Buffy.
  • In Dollhouse, Boyd is both a Good Samaritan and a Bad Samaritan. He actually cares for the other good guys, and risks his life to protect Echo. But at the same time, he just wants them to fail, and repeatedly thwarts their plans from the inside.
  • In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy there's Captain Mutiny. When Terra Venture becomes trapped in the Lost Galaxy, he claims to be sympathetic to their plight, and offers them a crate that he claims contains device that will help them leave. As you might expect, he's not the philanthropist he claims: his actual goal is to loot the colony and enslave the citizens, and the crate actually contains a monster that attacks the place. (Commander Stanton later admits he was an idiot to trust the guy, but they really didn't have many options at the time.)
  • A mild version of this was the basis of the short lived British comedy series Mr Charity. The Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, Graham Templeton, was the leader of a charity organization, yet utterly unconcerned with helping others, his only goal being to become the next Bob Geldof in terms of fame and possibly a knighthood. It was a rather cynical show.
  • In the Highlander: The Series episode "Reasonable Doubt", it is revealed that the immortal Tarsis finds children who are destined to become immortal, raises them as his own children, then kills them when they are in their early 20s to activate their immortality. He uses them as accomplices to his crimes and, when he finally grows tired of them, he takes their heads.
  • An episode of Criminal Minds featured a woman who insinuates herself into the lives of weaker-willed women by claiming to help them build up their self-esteem. All is fine until the women actually begin showing independence which she sees as rejection, and then their new friend takes them to her house, breaks their legs with a hammer and drowns them.
  • MythQuest involves two teenage Intrepid Fictioneers who jump into myths in search of their father. Gorgos, a trickster god who wants to change the outcome of the myth, occasionally takes advantage of the teens' ignorance of the myth and disguises himself as a character within the myth. Naturally, he uses this to derail the myths.
  • On Cold Case, a Mexican woman was stranded with a flat tire and unable to change it and was thus relieved when a car full of young people pulled up... only for them to be a bunch of white supremacists who were out cruising for a victim. What happened next was pure Nightmare Fuel.
  • Hannibal: Dr. Hannibal Lecter. He becomes a friend and informal psychiatrist to protagonist Will Graham, promising to help him cope with the horrors he's regularly exposed to in his work for the FBI, while at the same time taking a kind of paternal responsibility for Abigail Hobbs, the daughter of the "Minnesota Shrike" whom Hannibal and Graham helped to expose and kill. Eventually, Hannibal starts Gaslighting Graham and hiding a neurological disorder from him, manipulates Abigail into having to kill someone in self-defense before killing her when she learns his secret, and eventually frames Graham as a serial killer and gets him locked up in a hospital for the criminally insane. This is all in addition to being, you know, Hannibal Lecter.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has quite a few instances of this, but probably the one with the greatest impact was a case which forced detective Brian Cassidy to leave the squad; Captain Cragen had gotten worried about a rape victim he knew from a previous case, and asked Cassidy to find out what was wrong. It turned out she'd been gang-raped again, and afterwards she was found by another man, who acted like a Good Samaritan and then raped her himself. From the way his voice breaks, it seems like the betrayal of the Bad Samaritan hit him even harder than the rest of her appalling story, and makes him decide he lacks the stomach to keep working in the sex crime division.
  • Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon a Time, who pops up all through the Enchanted Forest flashbacks offering to help people. He's upfront about wanting a price, but what he doesn't say is that he's actually manipulating the other side of the bargain for his own ends (to create a situation where the Evil Queen will use the Storybrooke curse, and thereby send him to the same world as his son).
    • He got his powers through a strange combination of this and The Farmer and the Viper, as he helps a character who goes on to offer him help that really isn't. Basically, he takes in a beggar, who has "advice" for him about stealing the Dark One's dagger to save his son from being taken to war. Except the beggar was the Dark One all along and wanted Rumplestiltskin to kill him, because being the Dark One is pretty awful.
    • The Wicked Witch of the West, aka Zelena, fills the role of a Bad Samaritan in Storybrooke. Posing as a friendly midwife, she gets close to pregnant Snow and offers help and assistance with her pregnancy. Turns out, she just wants Snow's baby to use in her planned time travel spell.
  • The Sandman, "Playing House": Jed Walker is rescued from his abusive foster parents by a charming man who promises to reunite Jed with his sister Rose. Unbeknownst to Jed, he's the arc villain, who has plans for Rose and wants Jed as a bargaining chip (and has in fact 'rescued' Jed just as Rose was coming to fetch him herself).
  • Strong Medicine: Lu Delgado is offered a ride home by a colleague when her car breaks down, after which he walks her to her door to make sure she gets in safely. After that, it seems perfectly reasonable for her to allow him to come in to use the bathroom. . .and for him to start making advances to her. But when Lu says "no", instead of accepting and respecting this, he rapes her.
  • The Walking Dead: during the second half of season four, after Rick's group loses their home at an abandoned prison and is scattered, the various groups see signs along roads telling of Terminus, a settlement offering "Sanctuary for all. Community for all." and that "Those who arrive survive." When they finally reach Terminus in the last two episodes of the season (in two waves) they are greeted by a friendly atmosphere of cheerful hallelujah-type music and a barbecue. It turns out that the inhabitants of Terminus are cannibals luring people to them with the promise of safety, then killing and eating anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle.
  • Person of Interest lampshades this with the name of its Big Bad, which is actually named Samaritan. It presents a benevolent front to the outside world, and has actually solved some significant problems with which humanity previously struggled, but its intentions are far from benign. In contrast to The Machine, which seeks to serve humanity's best interests, Samaritan seeks to rule it, and it doesn't care how many people it has to hurt to accomplish its goals.
  • At one point in the Mini Series The Deliberate Stranger, we see Ted Bundy picking up a pretty, young hitchhiker and driving off with her. By this point in the film, it's been well established that Bundy is a misogynistic Serial Killer, so it's safe to assume he doesn't have any good intentions.
  • In the Without a Trace episode "Maple Street", the first Victim of the Week disappears after missing her school bus. Footage from a camera she always carried with her shows she was picked up and abducted by one of these (presumably, she turned it on when she realized she was in trouble and threw it out the window in the hopes that it would help the police). The second victim is abducted in much the same way.
  • In an Unsolved Mysteries segment, a Serial Killer/Serial Rapist uses returning a woman's lost wallet (she'd misplaced it when they had a date several days ago) as an excuse to gain entry into her home and rape and kill her.

  • The Rush song "The Wreckers" from Clockwork Angels tells of a group that had a lighthouse set up near an island. During a horrific storm, the ship that the protagonist is on, searching for any kind of port, sees the lighthouse and heads for it, only to run aground on rocks. At that point, they board the ship and steal everything that isn't nailed down.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism: In Greek myths, Procrustes, son of Poseidon, invited travelers into his home, took care of them, let them stay in his bed... and then tortured them with his hammer until they fit his bed (In later versions there were two beds. When someone who might fit one bed came along, Procrustes hid it and pulled out the other bed so he could amputate or stretch them as necessary.) When Procrustes tried this on Theseus, the hero overpowered him and made him Hoist by His Own Petard; while some versions don't say whether Theseus stretched him or cut him down, since Procrustes was in some versions a giant you'd have to be a complete dumbass not to figure it out. (In some versions, Procrustes did this because he was a bandit who robbed his victims, the same motive of some of other sadistic villains that Theseus encountered in that story.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • A whole city of Bad Samaritans is Grenepoli, the City of Diplomacy, first mentioned in the Planescape setting, but also in other settings where the Outer Planes are used. The fact that this city is on Maladomini, in the Seventh Layer of Hell and is openly ruled by devils should make people suspicious of it, but the place seems to be a Truce Zone where violence is not allowed (anyone who commits violence against anyone is executed by the city watch, and devils are not exempt from this law) and everything is given away for free by merchants. The "catch" is subtle; Grenepoli is a haven of pure politics and have classes that provides instruction on ways to destroy an enemy in the cruelest way possible without resorting to violence. Mortal visitors are encouraged to attend, those who show a knack for it and graduate being admitted to Offalon, a far more advanced Academy of Evil run by Baalzebul, the Lord of Maladomini. The plan, long term as it is, is that hopefully more and more Corrupt Politicians will be unleashed onto the mortal world to corrupt entire kingdoms and strengthen the power of Hell.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Fabius Bile (the Mad Scientist among Space Marines) was once taken prisoner by Dark Eldar (who get off and feed on torture and hedonism, and have had ten thousand years to refine their art). He so impressed them with his own cruelty that they tutored him in additional torture methods, though they weren't happy that he tried to pass on this knowledge.


    Theme Parks 
  • The mime who appears prior to Clyde and Seymour Take Pirate Island show at the Sea Lion and Otter Stadium in Sea World, Orlando, has been known to "help" find people seats by leading them right out of the theater, leading them directly to the splash zone, and leading them to seats already occupied. He's also famous for following people closely, making fun of them behind their backs the entire time. Here's a life tip, folks: If you walk into a theater or stadium and see a mime in the aisle with you... walk away, as quietly and drawing as little attention to yourself as you can.

    Video Games 
  • In the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game, Mephiles makes Silver and Blaze think Sonic is responsible for bringing about the end of the world and ruining the future by releasing Iblis, and pretends that he aims to help them save the world. In reality, this is an Evil Plan to get them to kill Sonic so he can merge with Iblis into an immortal sun god or... something... and it should have been obvious that he was up to no good with his demonic appearance and everything.
  • In the Metal Gear series, Big Boss is in the process of this in Outer Heaven (where there is loads of war orphans around to take in and shape to his whim). He also already did this with Gray Fox.
    • Metal Gear Solid implies that he is actually sincere when it comes to caring about his recruits.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and beyond confirm that he's A Father to His Men, but he won't pull any punches when it comes to recruiting Child Soldiers and he won't hesitate to order his soldiers into a meat grinder if it's worth the effort. By Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, he's become much more shell-shocked and apathetic, and as a result, his morals slip: he takes in children with the intent of protecting them, but ends up making them into child soldiers inadvertently. The problem is that he doesn't have a problem with that outcome. He also becomes more vehement and driven to create a world for soldiers, by creating a world of perpetual war. The revelation that Venom Snake is not Naked Snake softens this somewhat, but the trauma that Venom Snake suffers is real and definitely contributes to his Face–Heel Turn.
  • The infamous Westin Phipps from City Of Villains. He is the owner/operator of Haven House, which lies under the shadow of the Rogue Isle's capital city of Grandville. Haven House offers the downtrodden a refuge from the tyranny of Lord Recluse and Arachnos. Except that he is really a spy for Arachnos, and uses his position to gather information on potential threats, which he then sends the player character to take care of. And by "take care of", he means kidnapping schoolteachers, burning books, poisoning food, kicking puppies, and so on. He's possibly the most despised villain in the game, which is an impressive feat when you consider the competition.
  • Dragon Quest V: Shortly before entering a treacherous mountain pass, the hero and his bride can uncover a small staircase leading to an old woman's hole-in-the-ground domicile. Delighted to have guests, she invites them to stay. If they accept, they wake up paralyzed and hear a strange scraping sound... which turns out to be the nice old woman sharpening the hero's weapon for him, giving him a small Strength bonus and Subverting the trope.
  • Flemeth of the Dragon Age series. Early in the first game, she saves the PC and Alistair from death on the condition they take her daughter with them on their adventures. Morrigan later reveals that Flemeth sent her with them to perform a very shady magic ritual that requires a Grey Warden. The sequel shows that, not long after, Flemeth also helped the Hawke family and Aveline cross a darkspawn-filled wasteland in exchange for a favor - bringing her Soul Jar to the Dalish clan near Kirkwall, just in case Morrigan turned on her. We still have no idea what Flemeth's long-term goals are, but she's not doing it out of the kindness of her heart.
    • Turns out it's revenge. Her partner Solas is a straighter example of the trope: he helps you throughout the game with the intent of restoring the standard of living to the Elven Age, only to reveal in the last DLC that he needed your help to regrow his power base and that the only way to bring back the Elven Age is to lift the fade and kill almost everyone.
  • Yet another proof of the immorality of Hazama/Terumi Yuuki of BlazBlue's fame is due to him being this to Litchi. When he learns that she's nearly dying due to the corruption she subjected herself to save the abandoned Arakune, Hazama offers her the cure for both her and Arakune if she joins NOL. While she refused at first, and then Kokonoe rejects her, Hazama just says he knew Kokonoe, thus eventually later on making her finalize the deal, even if he looks extremely shady and suspicious. Unfortunately for her, that was only Metaphorically True: Hazama missed out the fact that Kokonoe utterly hates him and considers him her worst nemesis... and compounded with the fact that the reason why Hazama wants her in NOL was not for her to live longer, but rather for her Boundary knowledge in order to further his Evil Plan to plunge the world into despair, and seemingly ready to dump her if she ever outlives her purpose.
  • Another Bioware example: Henry Lawson of Mass Effect 3, the perfectionist father of Miranda Lawson. During the Reaper's assault to the galaxy, he turns Horizon into a sanctuary/shelter for human refugees so they can hide from the Reapers. However, when Shepard arrives there due to a distress call, you know there's just something bad about it. Turns out Horizon under Henry is nothing more than a secret Cerberus headquarters that he used to turn the refugees... into Husks. And throughout the messages around him, he has stated that he really has no regrets over the experiments. And unlike the rest of Cerberus, he has no care for the overall advancement of humanity, but his own legacy and being idolized by future generations. At that point, indoctrinated or not, lots of players are more than glad to get him offed by either Shepard or Miranda.
    • Not to say that the Sanctuary was free. Oh no, Mr Lawson would fleece them for all their money first, too. Good opportunity to set things up too, because at that point, everyone was freaking out of the Reapers.
  • Played with in Dishonored. The Outsider never helps people out of the kindness of his heart. He seems to give people magical powers simply because it's interesting to see what they do with them.
  • BioShock1 has such an example, one that cannot be elaborated on without giving away pretty much the entire plot: Frank Fontaine, under the guise of Atlas, manipulates Jack into killing Andrew Ryan so that Fontaine can take over.
  • Kirby Super Star: In the Milky Way Wishes campaign, Marx is a seemingly helpful resident of Planet Popstar who asks Kirby to seek out Galactic Nova, a clockwork comet can stop the sun and moon from fighting with just one wish. When Kirby summons Nova at the end of the mode, Marx boots him out of the way so he can make his own wish: to control Popstar!
  • In The Sims 3, Sims with the "Evil" trait can donate money to charity...but of course it's just a ploy to undermine the charity.
  • Undertale:
    • The very first character you encounter in the game is Flowey the Flower, who offers the player some free EXP - turns out the "friendliness pellets" he's shooting aren't so friendly.
    • Subverted with Toriel: You might think there's something shady with Toriel being so nice to you (especially after Flowey played it straight), but she really is that nice. She doesn't want you to leave the Ruins because everyone who does gets killed by Asgore and his forces.
  • Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is... well lets just say an interesting example. Alternative Character Interpretation aplenty about Kreia, but the gist of it is that she was a Jedi, and confesses early on that she was a Sith, but throughout the entire game, her morality meter is set right in the middle. She helps the Player Character regain their connection to the force and of course will fight with you should you take her in your party, but after you find all of the lost Jedi masters, she will take off with all of the stuff you may have equipped her with, turn the former Jedi historian to the dark side, then go on to become the game's final boss, with a plan that basically amounts to her desiring to kill the Force. Yeah.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has Maximillian Gaius von Reginrave. He rescues Selvaria from a life of experimentation at the hands of an abusive research facility, takes her into his estate, and gives her a high-class education with a life of luxury. She, of course, believed he did it out of the goodness of his heart and fell in love with him as a result. However in reality, he did so to use her powers as a Valkyria to conquer Europa and always saw her as nothing but a tool for his conquests. And once he figured out that she developed feelings for him, he proceeded to pretend to love her in return and commit casual acts of emotional manipulation and Domestic Abuse to keep her loyal. To make matters worse, he himself was the biggest sponsor of the research facility she hailed from - making him directly responsible for her abusive upbringing in the first place.

    Visual Novels 
  • Discussed with Dennis in Double Homework. He previous fixed computers for his classmates for no apparent gain on his own part. However, given his pastime of collecting nudes (and creating fake ones) of his schoolmates, the protagonist suspects that he was doing something else as well when he had access to his schoolmates' private computers.
  • Nomura from Higurashi: When They Cry reached out to a despairing Takano and offered acceptance, acknowledgement and revenge. This kickstarts the entire plot, although you don't even know she exists until the final arc. Her true motive is just to destroy Hinamizawa and use the disaster as a way to discredit her political opponents.
  • In a side-story for Umineko: When They Cry, "The Witches' Tanabata", Bernkastel answers the wish of a young, orphaned Ange... by telling her to never accept her aunt Eva's kindness and motherly love, and to never smile ever again, or else her dead parents will never be revived. This, by the way, coupled with mocking the player afterwards, is her Moral Event Horizon
    • In EP2 Beatrice is this, pretending to help the two cousin-servant couples (George/Shannon and Kanon/Jessica) get together only to have their relationships inevitably fall into ruin. But with the later revelation that Beatrice, Shannon and Kanon are all the same person, it turns out that this is just a metaphor for how Sayo Yasuda can never be with any of his/her love interests.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Manfred von Karma adopts Miles Edgeworth after the latter's father dies at von Karma's hands and raises him to be an excellent prosecutor, just so he can complete his revenge against his father and him fifteen years later by framing Edgeworth for murder.

    Web Animation 
  • Prima in Episode 2 of Of Weasels And Chickens. At first, she makes fun of clueless newcomer Marcus, but when she realizes she can use him to her benefit, her attitude changes entirely and she invites him to tag along with her.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "The Puppetmaster" Hama takes in Team Avatar and is seemingly a kind old woman who was abducted from her childhood home. She bonds quickly with Katara being from her home village and similarly traumatized. However Hama has long turned to evil and been obsessed with the universe's equivalent of The Dark Arts. He tragically forces Katara to learn her art in order to save Aang and her brother. Katara fortunately renounces bloodbending going out of her way to make sure it was forever illegal.
  • In the very first episode of Gargoyles, Awakening, David Xanatos undoes the curse put on the Gargoyles, reawakening them after a thousand years, and offers to help them adapt to the modern world. He is revealed to be using the gargoyles, and becomes one of their main enemies.
  • In an infamous scene of Rick and Morty, Morty is dejected when Rick constantly makes fun of the adventure that Morty takes them on. He tells his tale to a Jellybean he meets in a tavern bathroom. Jellybean offers his advice, and cheers Morty up about the whole thing. And then tries to rape him. It's one of the few things in the show absolutely not Played for Laughs - Morty is clearly horrified by the affair, and even Rick picks up on it and treats Morty a little better for the rest of the episode and shoots Jellybean when he returns as King Jellybean at the end of the episode.
  • In South Park, if Eric Cartman ever suggests doing a good deed, it will often be this. Probably most prominent in "Crack Baby Athletic Association" where he tries to get rich under the pretenses of helping abandoned crack babies. He even manages to enlist Kyle to help out.
  • Ravage returns in Beast Wars offering to help the Maximals capture Big Bad Megatron and return to Cybertron. In truth, he only intended to carry out the former as his orders from the Tripredacus Council were to kill everyone on the planet to prevent knowledge of Megatron's findings from reaching others.


Video Example(s):


Margarett Rescues Paige

After Paige gets into a car crash, Margarett rescues her and brings her to her home. When Paige wakes up, she's strapped down into Margarett's bed and she won't let her leave until she adds her character into her book.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / BadSamaritan

Media sources: