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Chronic Backstabbing Disorder

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"I have just one question: When are we betraying?"
"Wait... do you mean, we're not planning any betrayal? Uh... that's new! I've never tried this before..."
King Loth, Kaamelott

Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is when a specific character constantly and successfully betrays their apparent allegiances, only to move on to a new group and repeat the pattern. The character may be doing it for a higher purpose (making them The Chessmaster) or their own selfish betterment (making them a Wild Card), or they could just be Ax-Crazy. Different from the Heel–Face Revolving Door in that it's not always a hero/villain swap, and in fact is usually switching between different groups of antagonists.


Named for Revolver Ocelot's "condition" in The Last Days of FOXHOUND, which is his proclivity for this deliberately flanderized into a physical compulsion for comedic reasons.

Frequently happens when a Magnificent Bastard plays the Enigmatic Minion. Related to The Starscream, except that character type doesn't succeed (most of the time, anyways, and when they do, they usually don't get to revel in it for long). These characters are also commonly Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil, Chaotic Stupid, Stupid Evil, or Stupid Neutral. (Lawful and/or good characters tend to see betrayal as a big no-no, and Neutral Evil characters (probably) won't betray their current allies just for the hell of it.) Often a characteristic of The Starscream who has his own ruling plans but just as often an Opportunistic Bastard who doesn't mind being a follower and living in the shadow of the strongest side.


As a betrayal trope, this is probably going to be spoilicious.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • It's hard to find a single chapter in Bloody Cross without betrayal or shifting alliances of any kind. Everyone betrays everyone else at such a rate that trying to keep track of who's on what side at any given time is likely to give you a headache.
  • Gundam has a lot of them in there such as:
    • Char Aznable of Mobile Suit Gundam shows all the symptoms. Bonus points in the first series for being rehired by the very government he betrayed and deserted; yet, Char states at the end of Zeta Gundam that he'll leave his ambitions of escorting mankind to space to the AEUG. In the years that follow, however, he gets tired of waiting around, culminating in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack. He was forced into leaving AEUG, after faking his death after losing to Haman. He was never really comfortable in the AEUG anyway, and being presumed dead helped him get out of his obligations; it's not really treason so much as not renewing his contract for another term.
      • However, a PlayStation-era Zeta Gundam game offered a bit more elaboration in Quattro's storyline: Kamille's getting mind raped was the tipping point since he wanted to entrust the future to Kamille's generation.
    • Zechs Merquise aka Milliardo Peacecraft in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing leads a life of it. His life, in fact, very closely mirrors Char's, though the sequence is a bit different.
      • First abandons his family and country to join The Alliance, which destroyed it.
      • Betrays the Alliance in a coup to join Treize and OZ.
      • Leaves OZ after Treize is deposed and goes crazy for a while. (Including assuming a role as a "peace ambassador" that went around blowing things up for no good reason.)
      • Joins White Fang against OZ (now without Treize)
      • Leads White Fang against all of Earth (now with Treize)
      • Stops Earth's destruction and commits suicide...
      • ....only to return in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz to fight the Big Bad for the woman he loves and his (kidnapped) younger sister.
    • Paptimus Scirocco from Zeta gives Char and his various expies a run for their money. He swears his loyalty to Jamitov, Bosque, and Haman, only to betray them all in turn. He kills Jamitov directly and orders the deaths of Bosque and Jamaican via his followers. Through his double-dealing, he climbs the ladder from a nobody from Jupiter to the unquestioned master of the Titans.
    • Gundam 00 - Ribbons!. Alejandro Corner, Wang Liu Mei, and Regene Regetta are also not very trustworthy people. Their betrayals are often of each other.
    • After War Gundam X - The Frost Brothers betray from their initial debut up until the final episode, killing basically everyone who either employed them or worked for them.
  • Code Geass:
    • Suzaku Kururugi appears to be this. Bismark, the Knight of One, even lampshades the trope by openly stating that he betrays everyone and everything, and they expected him to do that. However, if you look past the surface, it's a lot more complicated.
    • There's also Diethard Reid, who first worked for the Britannian empire, then became a Black Knight, and then joined Schneizel. He follows whoever he thinks will cause the most upheaval and destruction in the near future, and he wants to be right there to "document" it.
  • Seth of Dinosaur King. He first betrays the Alpha Gang at the end of first season, leading them to pull an Enemy Mine with the D-Team in order to defeat him. Come season 2, he's working with the resident villains, the Spectral Space Pirates, only to betray them too, whilst continuing to mess with the D-Team/Alpha Gang, betraying their trust after tricking them twice.
  • Gauron of Full Metal Panic!. Mainly For the Evulz. He switches sides countless times (many times without the side he was originally on even knowing), without much reason other than that another side is offering more possibilities for destruction and meeting Kashim.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico:
    • Nergal as a whole and especially their chairperson Nagare Akatsuki have no trouble whatsoever constantly backstabbing The Government and their employees, only to come sidling back to either or both when things don't go their way. One suspects said "chairman may just be doing it for laughs".
    • By the same token, the leader of the Alien Invasion has no qualms about having his underlings covertly assassinated, or with starting a new faction and backstabbing everybody when his invasion plans don't work out.
  • Discussed and defied in Mission: Yozakura Family. Despite living in a world steeped in betrayal and intrigue, Tsukiyo notes that the legitimacy of the Spy Foundation as an institution is founded on tradition and trust. If a spy is Only in It for the Money, their clients will lose all trust in them. This is why Taiyo is the only one to pass that year's exam: he's the only one who went back to help Tsukiyo despite being given a clear shot to the spy license.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has a few examples. End of Evangelion kicks off with Gendo and the SEELE committee simultaneously betraying each other and every single other faction in the series. On the other hand, Ryoji Kaji is simultaneously double-crossing SEELE, NERV, and the Japanese government all in a personal quest to figure out what the fuck is going on, and he turns out to be one of the more unambiguously heroic characters on the show. He doesn't get away with it, though.
  • Slayers - Xellos is a pretty good example of this trope, as his loyalties can (And will) change at the drop of a hat (except for Zelas Metallium, the mazoku lord he serves). In the books, the sheer awesomeness of this is turned up to eleven. Mazoku are bound, absolutely, to follow the orders of their superiors. He still manages to betray them. In the anime, it comes off as Xellos just having fun with humans by frustrating them.
    • Zelgadis also suffered from a minor case of CBD very early on in the series, although it was to a much lesser extent.
  • Big Bad Vicious from Cowboy Bebop was willing to (and did) backstab and murder anyone for the purpose of rising to the top of The Syndicate.
  • The Tower of Druaga: Neeba, the older half-brother to protagonist Jil, has a bad case of this. This guy betrayed Jil and his own adventuring party twice and also betrayed the party who took him in and trained him in his Magic Bowman class.
  • In Weiß Kreuz, Schwarz inevitably turn on every single one of their employers over the course of the multi-part series.
  • One Piece:
    • During the Davy Back Fight arc, there is a scene where the Straw Hats are told not to trust one of their True Companions, Nico Robin, as every organization she has ever joined was destroyed before her departure. Unlike Usopp's "Chronic I-Must-Not-Travel-To-This-Island Disease," her disorder is presumed cured. When her backstory is revealed, we learn that she actually suffered from Chronic Getting-Backstabbed Disorder, since the age of 8 no less.
    • Blackbeard, on the other hand, plays this straight. He betrayed Whitebeard, killed one of his own crewmates, and later captured Ace to deliver him to the World Government so that he could join the Seven Warlords of the Sea. When the Warlords are later recalled to Marine Headquarters to defend it from Whitebeard's expected attack in retaliation for Ace's capture, Blackbeard then betrays them by heading for Impel Down instead in order to free some of the world's most notorious criminals and recruit them into his crew. His motivation for these betrayals, and indeed for everything he does, is to fulfill his dream of becoming the Pirate King.
    • Nami at the beginning of the series when she betrayed Luffy to Buggy, then she betrays Buggy himself to join up with Luffy again. Then just before Sanji joins the crew she steals their ship and their treasure for Arlong (though she had a good reason for that one and wasn't happy at all). Then she betrays Arlong and goes back to Luffy again. They even lampshade these betrayals in the sixth movie when Nami accuses Usopp of betraying her and he says that that's her thing...though that lampshading is not at all Played for Laughs.
  • Naruto:
    • Sasuke changes allegiances/betrays people so often and for so little reason that it's a wonder anyone trusts him anymore. In order, he betrayed the Leaf Village (along with a personal betrayal of both his teammates); Orochimaru; Itachi's beliefs; Akatsuki; Jugo and Suigetsu; Karin; Sakura (again); White Zetsu; and, near the end of the series, the entire Shinobi world. Some of his betrayals are reasonable, but most go along the lines of "if I stay loyal, I don't get anything out of it". Tobi seems to have noticed this trend and beat him to the punch by promising to hand him over to Kabuto.
    • Kabuto is a chronic backstabber himself, having betrayed Konoha and Akatsuki, although he subverted the trope with Orochimaru. Unsurprisingly, Tobi doesn't trust him. And with good reason, as Kabuto is planning on getting the powers of Rikudo Sennin himself and is more concerned with making the Alliance and Tobi's forces destroy each other.
      • While Kabuto did remain completely loyal to Orochimaru, at one point Orochimaru was uncertain whether this was the case. He didn't mind, though. Instead, he just thought it'd be amusing to watch and see whether Kabuto betrayed him like he does everyone else. (Given Kabuto's history, this may have been the right way to handle the situation—Konoha (in the form of Danzo) betrayed him first.)
  • From Macross/Robotech, there's Kvamzin/Khyron Kravshera, known by his own people as "Kamjin the Ally-Killer" ("Khyron the Backstabber" in Robotech). It's not a reference to his battle tactics: it is a reference to the fact that he'll murder his own men, and other people's men, to advance his own objectives or if they displease him in some way. It's only the fact that Britai and Laplamiz/Azonia have vastly superior firepower and numbers to Kamjin that prevents him from launching a full-on mutiny.
  • Sora in .hack//SIGN, who is very clearly not to be trusted. However, he's one of the strongest characters in The World and has a good ear for rumors. By the end, he's killed BT three times, switched to and from her side about as many times, worked with the Crimson Knights and finally ends up accidentally buying time for Tsukasa and Subaru to escape. He wasn't expecting to get caught, but eh, at least he tried at the end. He stops his backstabbing ways after he loses his memory and returns as Haseo.
  • In Outlaw Star, Professor Gwen Khan has a bad habit of using people to achieve his ultimate goal and acquire the power of the Galactic Leyline and then ditching them once they've gotten him as far as they can. In the course of the series, he has ridden on the coattails of the Kei Pirates, Gene Starwind and his crew, and finally the McDougall brothers, always skipping off when they've done all they can for him (although Gene manages to pull a premature backstab on him first). He also manipulates the android Melfina, who he created himself, as a bargaining chip, but unlike most examples of this trope doesn't seem sinister for it, mainly because he seems more True Neutral then Neutral Evil.
  • Clone Syaoran in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- starts out as the main character, and then tries to kill Fai by eating his eye, and towards the last world he appeared to still serve for the Big Bad only for him to betray Fei Wang due to being enraged at Sakura's death.
  • RG Veda:
    • Shashi — better known as Ashura's mother. After the Ashura clan grants her a god's lifespan as their priestess, she promptly swears off those lowly, miserable humans (that she used to be one of). Then, she seduces Lord Ashura so that she can rise in status as his wife. Still not satisfied, she gets pregnant with another, more ambitious god's child at the same time as Ashura's child (twin half-brothers), and betrays the entire Ashura clan (including her husband) to their deaths when Taishakuten (her other baby daddy) revolts to become the new Emperor.
    • And when Ashura was born, she tried to kill her as well, because a child of Lord Ashura was no longer advantageous to her. After three hundred years as the wife of the iron-fisted emperor of the gods, is she through digging for more power? No! She plans to supplant him with her son and rule through him. Oh, Shashi, you backstabbing little minx, you!
  • Dragon Ball Z: Vegeta is practically defined by his tendency to betray his own comrades throughout the series. In this order, he kills Nappa in cold blood for losing to Goku while Nappa is begging him for help, betrays the Frieza Force to take the Dragon Balls for himself, makes it clear on Namek that he will kill Gohan and Krillin once Frieza is out of the picture, abandons Goku to fight Captain Ginyu alone while hoping the two will kill each other, actively attacks Future Trunks in order to help Cell absorb Android 18 and ascend to his perfect form purely so he can get a better fight out of him, sells out the Z-Fighters and the entire world to Babidi solely so he can finally get the power to surpass Goku, and then turns on Babidi and refuses to follow any order that doesn't involve fighting Goku.
  • Fujiko Mine in Lupin III betrays Lupin in every aspect of the Franchise. Some argue that she doesn't betray him in The Castle of Cagliostro because they weren't exactly on the same side there. In most stories, if it looks like the villain (and/or Inspector Zenigata) isn't going to keep their end of the deal, she'll betray them as well. Or if she can get a better deal with Lupin. Or if she can keep all of it. Pretty much expect her to betray at least one, possibly a dozen people. Despite this, Lupin continues to blindly trust her until the next betrayal. In one instance, he even comments that he is expecting her to betray him, but Lupin's weakness for Fujiko certainly does prevent him from becoming a boring Invincible Hero.
  • Death Note's very own Light Yagami qualifies. Over the course of the series, he betrays the trust of L, whom he considered, at least at one point, to be a friend (saying at one point, "Ryuuzaki is Light Yagami's friend, but L is Kira's enemy"). He also betrays his father and his co-workers, especially Matsuda, who genuinely looked up to him, by murdering or conspiring to murder them all. He betrays his fiancee Misa Amane by starting a relationship with Kiyomi Takada — besides, you know, considering murdering her as well. He continues on to betray this girlfriend as well, killing her when she outlives her usefulness to him. He ALSO betrays his devoted heir Teru Mikami at the Warehouse by denying that he knew him. Considering his betrayal of Naomi Misora's trust and his betrayal of his mother's and sister's trust (he considers killing them both at various points in the story), and the list only goes on. All in the name of a New World. Though in his defense, he did all he could to make the situation so that it would be impossible for him to kill his family.
  • Michio Yuki from Osamu Tezuka's manga, MW, has betrayed everyone over the course of the manga. He killed a man who happens to be his client at that time. Afterwards, he starts a relationship with Miho, his corrupt boss's daughter, only to have her killed. Later on, he betrays his own boss, whom he trusted with his life, when it turns out that he's part of the MW cover up. He betrays Sumiko, whom she keeps falls in love despite how evil he is, by starting a relationship and marrying Mr. Nakata's daughter, only to betray her later on when she is told by Detective Meguro of his evil actions. Prior to that, he betrayed Father Garai, the man whom he formed a homosexual relationship with, by sending him to a nightclub to take a picture of him with a customer. He did all that to achieve his goal: obtaining the MW, the same gas that loses his morality, and use it to end the world when he dies.
  • In Digimon Xros Wars, DarkKnightmon revels in this trope, backstabbing everyone he allies with, even his brother. Of course, his brother Bugramon, fully expected his betrayal. In fact, Bugramon was disappointed that when the time came, DarkKnightmon was not powerful enough to successfully defeat him.
  • Seemingly every last Drule/Galveston commander subordinate to Teles/Hazar in Vehicle Voltron/Dairugger XV basically waits for him to go off the viewscreen, sighs/laughs and orders the attack anyway, mocking his efforts for peace in the process. They all either die or 'barely get away in an escape pod', depending on the edit.
  • Delphinium in the Blue Dragon anime fits this rather well. She betrayed Salinas for no particular reason, even though he succeeded in completing his objective, turned on General Logi after he revolted against Gran Kingdom, betrayed the White Guardians by leaking information to Logi, and wasn't loyal to him either. Not to mention that Deathroy, the source of half her power, and the only ally that she never demonstrates any outright disloyalty to, orders her to kill all the members of the Legion of Elite Species. Guess what she doesn't do to Noi, Rotarus, and Hildegard (literally HALF the members of the legion) after the final battle. Not only that, but none of her reasons for doing any of this are ever revealed. Her true motives and loyalties, if she even has any, are left completely unknown at the end of the series. AND it gets so bad that the White Guardians even expect her to betray them when it comes to that, even formulating a plan assuming that it would happen, and using it to their advantage.
  • The Witches 5 from Sailor Moon. In so many ways. With the exception of perhaps the final member of the group (who we don't meet until the others are dead, so who knows how they interacted), Sailor Moon and the team pretty much were in no way involved in the actual deaths of them - aside from the monsters of the week, they probably could have sat on the sidelines and waited for the Witches 5 to implode for all the effect they had in stopping them.
  • Arba/Gyokuen Ren in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic led Solomon to his death, killed her husband and two oldest sons and then possibly murdered her second husband (who was involved with the murder of the first husband) so she could become the Empress of the Kou Empire.
  • In the series finale of Space Dandy, Bea is revealed to be a spy for the Jaicro empire, but turns traitor on them as well so he can hijack Dandy's power for himself.
  • Yosuzume, the silent black-winged yokai from Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, joins and betrays three different yokai clans, including the clan she supposedly worked for when she betrayed the other two. The ending reveals that she was a shikigami under the orders of an evil onmyoji, the true mastermind behind her actions.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, Malty habitually betrays everyone who trusts her, usually for personal gain but often simply for amusement. She begins by betraying Naofumi and by the end of the light novel had betrayed all of the Heroes, her sister, her mother, her father, her treasonous co-conspirators, her kingdom, and her first lover. At one point she tried pleading with an entire room of people for just one to speak in her defense, but none did because she had already betrayed every one of them.
    • Medea's mortal fragments all have this type of behavior for similar reasons.
  • In the Mega Man Star Force anime, Gemini Spark suffers from this. Towards the end, he literally backstabs all his fellow FM-ians to recharge the Andromeda Key. In the end, Gemini Spark White even kills off Gemini Spark Black.
  • Thorkell the Tall from Vinland Saga is a big Blood Knight and hates Curb Stomp Battles. Therefore, if joining the 'losing' side makes a war last longer because the sides are now fairer, Thorkell (and his army) will switch sides. During the course of the manga, he has switched sides at least four times because of this, and people who hire or ally him should be aware they're only on the same side until he decides they're not. Interestingly Thorkell's moral code also prizes loyalty; he hates traitors and deserters, and when he switches sides he's completely open about it in advance.
  • In Pandora Hearts, Jack Vessalius makes friends and alliances all over the place. He ends up ruining and betraying all of them one way or another, as he's simply manipulating them.
  • In Record of Grancrest War, Siluca is loyal to her Lord, Theo. But aside from that, she has no loyalty to either the Union or the Alliance and picks her "allies" (and thus Theo's - she's the one actually making decisions for him) based on whichever side her current target is not a part of. This comes back to bite her when the Union turns down one of her requests to defect to them, their leader noting that a backstabber like her can't be trusted and the other Union lords won't accept her.
  • Zeke Yeager from Attack on Titan: betrayed his parents and all their La Résistance friends (which may or may not have been part of a masterplan), then betrayed his country by siding with Eren and the other people of Paradis Island... and looks to have betrayed Paradis itself. The only group he hasn't yet betrayed is his followers, the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers.
  • In Fairy Tail, before her Heel–Face Turn and subsequent self-loathing, Ultear was never a part of a group she wasn't scheming around for her "bosses'" (and subsequently her own personal) agendas. She disguises herself as Zalty to aid Lyon in freeing the frozen demon Deliora, simply using the crisis to take the heat off her boss Jellal's plans. Then she pretends to be a blind devotee of Jellal, only to leave him for dead after his plans for the Tower of Heaven fall apart (and bonus points, he never once realized she was the one manipulating him as Zeref's "voice" from day one). Then he plots to betray Grimoire Heart (her actual boss), hoping to find Zeref and keep him all to herself and attempts to dupe Gray into killing Hades for her. Her Heel Realization ends up shooting her over to The Atoner side, starting by taking Merudy with her away from Grimoire Heart and freeing the now-unbrainwashed-but-amnesiac Jellal from his imprisonment.
  • In Danganronpa 3, Chisa is on at least three mutually exclusive sides over the course of the story. To begin with, she was spying on the school Hope's Peak for Munakata. Then she became the mask and decided to prioritize protecting her students over everything else. Then she got brainwashed and betrayed both of these sides for Junko. note  Then death cleansed her soul, and she went back to the side of good...though whose side of good is unclear.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Snively once they entered Cerebus Syndrome territory. He even had a monologue about all the people he's betrayed over the course of the comics. Interestingly, in an early and abandoned draft of the comic Snively's Heel–Face Turn was to have been genuine. Not only that, but he was to sacrifice his life to help Sonic.
    • There's also Lien-Da. Let's see: first, she and her brother Kragok kill their father so that they can take over the Dark Legion (though Kragok then cut her out; guess this trope runs in the family). Years later, after the Legion's been reorganized into the Dark Egg Legion and being led by Lien-Da's distant ancestor Dimitri, she eventually destroys his life support system and leaves him for dead so that she can take over. And then, a few issues after that, she tries to betray the current Big Bad, the Iron Queen, and become the Dragon Ascendant... it doesn't go well for her.
    • Nack the Weasel also qualifies: He often sells out his comrades to either save his own skin or because they are a hindrance towards his mission. Usually, Sonic and his friends often get him to help them by hinting that they'll put him in jail with his friends (who from what is shown of them, most likely intend to exact revenge on Nack).
  • X-Men:
    • Gambit has switched sides so many times that it's a wonder that any team, let alone the X-Men, take him— although the fact that he's pretty consistent in choosing the side with Rogue on it probably allows whoever his current employers are some degree of peace of mind, if not exactly a high degree of long-term trust.
    • Mystique. In one issue, Cable (time traveling dude from the future) even mentioned that in his time, "Mystique" was used in much the same way that "Judas" is used now.
    • Mister Sinister betrayed Apocalypse immediately after being empowered by him, has betrayed him again in several alternate timelines, and knifed the High Evolutionary and Malice in the back as well.
    • Daken, Wolverine's son. In one issue, he faces Cyber (whom he was allied with in the past) and chooses to be on Wolverine's side. Then betrays W. and sides with C. because "C. has a better plan". Then comes out that there is no freakin' plan! Then betrays C. again and says he planned it all with W. from the start... and then he betrays W. too. And the X-Men, for good measure.
    • Prior to AXIS, Victor Creed, alias Sabretooth, was another shining example. One of the least trusted individuals in the Marvel Universe, he viewed people as one of two things: potential kills and potential marks. If you were one of the latter, it's because you fit into one of his many schemes, and he WOULD get you to play your part without even realizing it. Oh, and once you served your purpose, you'd consider yourself lucky if he completely screwed you over, as his pawns very frequently found themselves dead if he thought that leaving them alive would come back to bite him in the ass later. If he wound up on a team, it's almost always because he either tricked someone into letting him in or because there were no better options for one reason or another, and he would always make sure to cause as much damage as possible when he did depart.
  • Every Asterix villain. The Romans at least, parodying the politics of the Roman Empire.
  • In Empowered Thugboy's former group, the Witless Minions' MO was this (mostly by swiping their stuff for money), though they're not above mind screwing an employer until they suffer a nervous breakdown. This ends BADLY when they made the mistake of trying to dupe Willy Pete.
  • In ABC Warriors, Blackblood's weapon of choice is listed as "treachery".
  • Taranto from Groo the Wanderer is a serial betrayer, aided by the fact that the person he's betraying is Groo.
    Groo: Taranto, am I not mad at you for trying to have me killed? Twelve times?
    Taranto: Groo! I have been a true friend to you, with only rare exceptions.
    Groo: What about those twelve times?
    Taranto: Those were the exceptions.
  • New Gods: Darkseid. Whenever they have to work together with him for the greater good, it's not a question of whether or not he's going to betray them... just when. Darkseid's right-hand-man Desaad is even worse. While most residents of Apokolips revere Darkseid fearfully, the sadistic Desaad dreams of betraying him and becoming ruler. He's smart enough to not try it until the opportune moment, but he still slips up enough for Darkseid to murder him repeatedly. Over and over and over.
  • Marvel's Loki does this at any given moment, and why his brother The Mighty Thor still gives him the time of day is anyone's guess. He knows it, too, and isn't always happy about it: Kid!Loki was created because his previous incarnation realised that his treacherous nature had made him too predictable - an unacceptable state for a God of Chaos. But he also set up a scheme to betray Kid!Loki from the grave, having a copy of himself kill the child and taking over his form in order to pass as the boy, though this didn't work out as expected: In Young Avengers this new Loki realized that they are having trouble being properly evil (and in Loki: Agent of Asgard that they aren't that much of a he either), what with Kid!Loki taunting them for their weakness from the spirit world and all.
    • He gets a taste of his own medicine whenever he teams up with Dormammu. Or Malekith the Accursed, for that matter.
  • Marvel's Thanos isn't the most reliable guy to have on your side either. It's a given considering he's known affectionately as the Mad Titan.
  • Cheshire, a former member of the Secret Six is very much this, but unfortunately for her The Society catch on and are not idiots.
  • Suffice it to say that bringing The Joker along on your evil plan du jour is not a sensible career move.
    • Played with in Infinite Crisis - Alex Luthor is smart enough to leave the Joker out of his grand scheme but does it ever come back to bite him in the end, especially when he's been defeated and the Joker's got him cornered in a dark alley...
    • Lex Luthor is smart enough to bring Joker into his villain team-ups without actually trusting him (or anyone else really). Lex knows it's better to let the Joker have his fun while pointing him in the general direction of his enemies. That and Lex actually likes Joker's sick sense of humor, finding him "strangely compelling company". Lex, on the other hand, doesn't fit this trope. He does occasionally honor his bargains, which makes the times he doesn't that much harder to expect.
  • Lulu Romanov in Nikolai Dante has a case of this. Unusually, when all is done, she ends up as one of the good guys.
  • Enrico La Talpa from Lupo Alberto. He lives in the Mc Kenzie farm, but that doesn't prevent him from trying to deceive his neighbours with some scam to get their money. The strange thing is that the same Enrico, in other many stories, actually HELPS the McKenzies, and without claim any reward! Then again, in other stories the help is given with the expectation of some personal gain.
  • Doubledealer, especially in The Transformers (IDW) is a (Power)master of constant, shameless treachery. Sell out his teammates and lead them to their deaths? Scam other Autobots, including Optimus Prime? Short-change the Decepticons by holding off giving up really important pieces of info as well as the all-knowing MacGuffin they're all after? Doubledealer's only loyalty is to himself and he has no qualms about cheating either side of the war. In the IDW run, Hot Rod is finally smart enough to figure out that 'Dealer' isn't all he's cracked up to be and repays Doubledealer's treachery by shooting him off the mountain they're on, just moments before Doubledealer was going to literally shoot him in the back. Doubledealer falls down the entire height of the mountain and explodes when he hits the bottom.
    • In the same continuity, Starscream actually remained uncharacteristically loyal to Megatron early on, only assuming command once Megs was incapacitated and ceding it back with minimal violence. Once the war ended though, Starscream reverted to type, running a series of power grabs and quiet murders to make himself the elected ruler of Cybertron. Eventually, Starscream's absolute rule got nerfed somewhat when a multi-planet council of Cybertronians was formed with lost Transformer colonies. The result is a government where everyone expects Starscream to be treacherous and self-serving and works around it with their own plots. It functions surprisingly well.
    • Galvatron has also proven treacherous in this continuity, although his betrayals have been retconned so much that they're hard to keep straight. He's also prone to fits of insanity that skew his loyalties.
  • In The Multiversity, the alternate versions of Dr. Sivana keep betraying each other. In Thunderworld #1, they skimped on Suspendium and left the Earth-5 Sivana to rot. After that, the Earth-42 Sivana is eaten by the Earth-26 Sivana, the Earth-43 is disposed of by the Ax-Crazy Sivana, and when he tries to kill the Earth-26 Sivana he ends up dying as well upon meeting the Justice Riders of Earth-18.
  • In Violine, Violine reveals through mind-reading that several of the president's ministers are plotting against him, resulting in a chain reaction of ministers declaring their own revolution, plunging the room into chaos as all ministers call on the same soldiers to support them.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW) story arc called "Reflections", Mirror!Celestia possesses this trait. Mirror!Sombra knows that if he takes her up on her "deal" so he and Main!Celestia can be together in his version of Equestria, she won't hold up her end of the deal, and will try and control both worlds. She later betrays and attacks Mirror!Luna in order to lure Main!Celestia to her world.
  • In Justice Society of America: Classified, the original Ragdoll is portrayed as the kind of guy who will betray anyone for the slightest reason. Thus, nobody in Wizard's gang feels too broken up when Ragdoll is killed after stealing the Cosmic Key and trying to use it for himself, which has the added bonus of releasing Johnny Sorrow.
  • Clumsy Foulup — Lord, Clumsy Foulup. The seemingly dimwitted thug made a career of this during the Kree-Skrull War arc of Silver Surfer. He betrays Reptyl to Nenora, betrays Nenora to the pink Kree, betrays the pink Kree to the Contemplator, betrays the Contemplator to the Chitori, and betrays the Chitori in a bid to take over the Kree homeworld. The jury's still out on whether he was a genius or just plain lucky.
  • JumpStart in Wildstar constantly flip-flops between aiding Deadstar in trying to kill Wildstar, and helping Wildstar out of hairy situations in the "Sky Zero" Four-Parter.
  • The Ultimates: Hank Pym betray the Ultimates and ally himself with the Liberators. Pym tries selling the Liberators out to the Ultimates and pretending to be a Double Agent when it becomes clear that he's on the losing side, but no one buys it.
  • Wonder Woman: Ares' alliances tend not to last long regardless of his initial intentions, though given conflict is his major portfolio piece this makes sense. There is a reason Diana calls him "Deceiver".
    • Wonder Woman (1987): When Diana makes Ares see the error of his initial genocidal plan he makes a truce with her and returns to the Dodekatheon ostensibly making peace with Zeus. He then helps Athena overthrow Zeus, pretends to ally with Zeus and Hades and murders Hades by literally stabbing him in the back, and betrays Athena to invade Themyscira to get his daughter who has been taken there to be raised. He continues the trend in Wonder Woman (2006) by trying to kill all the Olympians, and in general the only people he will never outright attack and tries to protect regardless of their wishes are his children.
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth) makes it clear that he can't fully help himself in this regard due to his nature as his attempt become a genuinely good guy turns him into a horrific Knight Templar. Meaning he's at his best when acting like a Smug Snake and lying backstabber.

    Fan Works 
  • During the Grazton arc of The Tainted Grimoire, Barley commits a series of betrayals. First was betraying a good guy to the bad guys, then betraying the bad guys to get help from other good guys to save the good guy he himself betrayed and finally, in a misguided attempt to make sure everyone comes out alive, betrayed the other good guys to the bad guys.
  • In Pages of Harmony, Twilight Sparkle betrays her friends by kidnapping, torturing, and murdering them to extract the Elements of Harmony from them, one by one.
  • In Legionnaire, the Khans seem to be unable to maintain honesty for any longer than it becomes convenient to betray someone, even if it would be a retarded idea, like trying to murder an Equestrian princess in their own quarters in a fort full of troops.
  • Eggman and Rouge in Sonic X: Dark Chaos:
    • Eggman saves Sonic's life, then he betrays Sonic, then he teams up with and betrays Sonic again, then he saves several of Sonic's friends from Beelzebub, he briefly joins with Maledict, and then he attempts to betray Maledict and gets himself captured in the process before once more teaming up with Sonic in the final episodes
    • Rouge originally helps Eggman, then she betrays him to serve Maledict for jewel payments, then she helps Sonic and friends before betraying them and giving the Chaos Emeralds to Maledict, then she betrays Maledict and joins with Eggman again, before finally teaming up with Sonic. Rouge flat out says she doesn't care what side she's on, as long as she gets something out of it
  • In Game of Touhou, Ser Tewi Inaba has betrayed Ichirin Kumoi, Unzan, Eiki Shiki, Miko Shotoku, Komachi Onozuka, Seiga Kaku, Yuyuko Saigyouji, Marisa Kirisame, and Yorihime Luna. And everything to save the realm.
  • The Sith all suffer from this in Shinobi of the Old Republic. This is consistent with the source material. Naruto, however, manages to out-backstab any of them who try it on him.
  • In Fist of the Moon this appears to be a trait of having negative energy, and the more you have the worse it gets. Rubeus to the Four Sisters, who also do it to each other, and Esmeraude to Rubeus...the only exceptions are Saphir and Dimande to each other.
  • In The Stars Ascendant, Luna is not surprised that Discord betrayed Equestria, merely that he betrayed Equestria to someone even less trustworthy than himself who then immediately (to the surprise of absolutely no one other than Discord) stabbed Discord in the back.
  • In the Avengers of the Ring story Return of the Avengers, when Thor and Aragorn learn that their enemies are Saruman’s spirit — now 'living' in the palantir network — and the still-living Malekith, Thor ‘warns’ the two that they will inevitably betray each other, which proves true when Malekith ‘sacrifices’ Saruman to turn the palantir hosting his spirit into a weapon against the Avengers.
  • The main "aesop" of the Fallout fan video "Friendship!"
  • Tech Infantry has Andrea Treschi, who starts out as a Federation officer, retires and joins a criminal gang, kills the leader of the criminal gang and takes over, gets drafted back into military service, and promptly assassinates his former commanding officer. Then he contacts the biggest group of rebels currently fighting the Federation and agrees to find and retrieve a disgraced former politician and bring him back to launch a political coup. He succeeds, but the politician gets assassinated by a rival faction and the coup fizzles. So Treschi flees to a neighboring star nation and offers his services, and helps them set up The Plan that leads to their conquest of the Federation after a civil war followed by alien invasion severely weakens it. Treschi becomes the right-hand man of the new Emperor, then orchestrates some elaborate court intrigue to ensure his puppet prince takes over when the Emperor dies, and Treschi becomes the true power behind the throne.
  • Barry in Resident Evil Abridged. His backstabbing gets so bad, that when Jill runs into him just before the climax, she would rather walk back the opposite direction rather than escape to freedom.
  • Prince Jewelius in Loved and Lost. He first convinces Queen Chrysalis to take over Equestria with him on Shining Armor and Princess Cadance's wedding day. However, after meeting Twilight Sparkle, he breaks his alliance with the Changelings and helps Twilight in saving the day, immediately afterwards pinning the blame for the invasion on the other heroes, banishing them and making himself Equestria's king. He afterwards continues lying to Twilight and Canterlot's citizens about the dishonored heroes, betraying his promises of a better era by gradually letting his true monstrous nature show and doing nothing for the escaped Changeling army. He convinces Twilight to agree to marry him so that she'd bear him powerful continuers of legacy, but he confesses that if he'd happen to meet a more powerful unicorn mare, he might get rid of Twilight before marrying the other mare. As Jewelius himself admits to the imprisoned heroes, there's a reason his cutie mark is a gold-hilted dagger. Like with Scar below, his double-crossing of Chrysalis pays him dearly in the end.
  • Raven Branwen in the Ruby and Nora series has a bad case of it. "Never trust bandits" is kind of her Catchphrase whenever she makes a deal with someone. She always manages to turn her back on someone when she can get away with it. Deconstructed since it comes back to bite her in the ass when asking Summer for undeserved mercy after betraying her for the last time. It appears that even Summer has her limits to what she'll put up with from her.
  • In So We'd Both Be Free, Azula's brother Zuko and her former best friend Mai are both due to be executed for treason. One night, Azula has a random desire to free them so she helps them escape. The next morning, she reveals their location to her father and has them captured again.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. Used for an Overly Long Gag in "Chapter IX: The Muppet Masters" when Mad Scientist Dr. Zarkendorf and alien invader D'Ork of the Thorkoth are trying to murder each other, only to keep failing because the other has anticipated their treachery in advance.
    "But fortunately I anticipated your anticipation of my anticipation of your anticipation of my anticipation of your anticipation of my treachery!" cried Zarkendorf.
  • According to Natasha Romanov in If They Haven't Learned Your Name, this is SOP for the particular circles she moved in between escaping from the Red Room and Clint Barton recruiting her for SHIELD- betray or hurt someone if it's convenient for you, because they'll do it to you eventually. Even years later, post-Insight, it's still her first instinct to hoard secrets in case she needs them later for leverage, even when it would be expedient to not keep them. Early on, she withholds intel from Steve Rogers that would have aided in an op, and it rightfully pisses him off. That, combined with how much she liked the feeling of having someone's trust and being trusted in return that ultimately got her to defect to SHIELD in the first place, are what convince her that she needs to stop and make a change.
  • The Masks We Wear (Teen Titans) John Grayson is backstabbed by Samantha Vanaver who reneged on his deal to take his son's place as an assassin, causing him to betray her and escape The Court of Owls and take the identity of Slade, bringing him into conflict with the Teen Titans.

    Films — Animation 
  • Rourke from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Towards the end, while he's trying to get away with the Heart of Atlantis, his zeppelin isn't going very high, so he decides to throw Helga, the only specialist still supporting him by this point, off. After hitting the ground, she uses her flare gun to shoot the main balloon, making it sink and helping Milo stop him.
  • Scar from The Lion King is a classic case of this. He has his own brother killed, tricks his own trusting nephew into blaming himself, tries to have that nephew killed, drives the hyenas (who helped him kill his brother) nearly to starvation, and then when confronted by his previously self-blaming nephew, (who finally saw Scar for the backstabber he is) Scar tries to blame everything on the hyenas to save his own hide. Even though all this lying and backstabbing is what got him into the situation he is in, to begin with. The last backstab proves to be the final straw for the now enraged and starving hyenas.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Eric Qualen of Cliffhanger might have actually pulled off his elaborate scheme if he had assembled a team of henchmen that actually liked and trusted each other.
  • Spy Kids - The real Big Bad, Mr. Alexander Minion, made a business out of this. He was a Dragon for hire that always ended up betraying his master and hijacking their Evil Plans for his own purposes.
  • The Largo siblings from Repo! The Genetic Opera are vying for a place as their father's heir, and are pretty damn vicious about it.
  • Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean; and his case is contagious, too. Jack and his more-or-less friends betray each other constantly, yet always end up on the same side again in the end.
    Elizabeth: Whose side is Jack on?
    Will: At the moment?
  • Star Wars:
    • The Sith use betrayal and treachery as their modus operandi. If you're able to keep what you take, you deserved it. If the Master can't keep his subordinates in line, then he shouldn't be the Master. If an apprentice manages to kill his master and take his place, the apprentice deserved to take it by virtue of being strong enough. Palpatine gets Anakin to kill off Dooku, then later tries to get Luke to kill off Vader and become his newest apprentice. While at the same time, Vader tries to get Luke to kill off Palpatine so they can "rule the galaxy as father and son."
    • In the Expanded Universe, it is common among Sith to backstab anyone and everyone in order to better themselves. The final test of a Sith apprentice is killing his own master. At the same time, it's a test to see if the master still has it to deserve his title. So why do Sith Masters take apprentices? So he can sit around plotting, while someone else runs around and fights.
      Palpatine, as the gatekeeper of the Telos Holocron: "Choose someone as successor and you will inevitably be succeeded. Choose someone hungrier and you will be devoured. Choose someone quicker and you won't dodge the blade at your back. Choose someone with more patience and you won't block the blade at your throat. Choose someone more devious and you'll hold the blade that kills you. Choose someone more clever and you'll never know your end. Despite these cautions, an apprentice is essential. A Master without an apprentice is a Master of nothing."
      • The Sith had it so bad that they were almost destroyed by the Jedi simply because they couldn't stop backstabbing each other while the more unified Jedi picked them off one by one. Darth Bane eventually had to create the Rule of Two (only two Sith- one master and one apprentice- can exist at the same time) just to make sure the Sith wouldn't backstab themselves into oblivion.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic gives us a glimpse of Sith motivations, since it has two Sith class storylines. Both the Warrior and the Inquisitor are eventually forced to supplant their former masters, though in their case their masters struck first. Both cases get somewhat out of hand even by Sith standards since masters and apprentices alike have powerful allies; the result is two Sith civil wars right in the middle of a major battle with the Republic.
      • Even by Sith standards, the Warrior's master, Darth Baras, seems to have a very big problem with this. Baras betrays an entire fleet of ships to the Jedi when it suited his needs, and Baras sends his apprentice to kill his own spies, contacts, underlinings, and then a member of the Dark council all before the Baras eventually turns on his apprentice.
    • Ironically, Darth Sidious's own master, Darth Plagueis, attempted to avert the trope by having himself and Palpatine/Darth Sidious form a genuine bond. Unfortunately for him, Sidious still managed to do it onto him anyway.
    • Lampshaded, overlapping with Foreshadowing in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed when Shaak Ti talks to Starkiller.
      Shaak Ti: Poor boy... The Sith always betray one another. But I'm sure you'll learn that soon enough.
      • Darth Vader does, in fact, betray Starkiller shortly later. Despite the fact that it would've been very much in Vader's best interest not to.
  • The Departed has this as a pervasive ambiance as opposed to a single character.
  • In Big Game, Morris ends up betraying both - or all three, depending on how you look at it - sides.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - At the end, Blondie backstabs Tuco by not backstabbing him.
  • Zombieland - Wichita and Little Rock. First, they fake a zombie bite on Little Rock as part of a scheme to steal Columbus and Tallahassee's weapons and vehicle. Then when the guys catch up to them, they hijack their new vehicle, holding them up with their own weapons. At least they let them come along this time, and eventually, the group builds a grudging rapport. Next morning, however, they steal the truck again. Finally, after the guys they've repeatedly betrayed rescue them from certain, messy doom, they drive off again. They were joking this time, knowing that the guys would be all too willing to take them seriously.
  • The Dark Knight: The opening sequence has a long chain of henchmen backstabbing each other, with the Joker killing the final henchman. At least the last one sees it coming. The Joker manages to avert the Mexican Standoff. The Joker later reveals that he doesn't care one bit about money, and goes to show just how much he truly doesn't care about it by setting the half of the Mob's money that he earned by retrieving Lau on fire, meaning that the backstab was most likely instigated by the Joker solely for the laughs.
  • Indiana Jones:
    • Mac in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. First, he's Indy's friend, then he betrays him to the Russians, then he pretends to betray the Russians to get back on Indy's side, and then betrays Indy again.
      Indy: Wait, so you're a triple agent?
      Mac: No, I was just lying about being a double.
    • Also applies to Dr. Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. First, she worked for Indiana's father to help him find the grail and then helped Indiana once his father disappeared. However, she turns out to be a spy working with the Nazis and betrays Indiana to steal the all-important grail diary, which contains vital intel on the grail's location. Later on, in the grail's temple, Donovan needs to choose the real grail from a variety of fake ones. Elsa purposely selects a grail unlikely to be the real thing. Donovan drinks from it and ages to death. Finally, once Indiana's father has been healed, Elsa tries to take the grail from the temple with catastrophic consequences. Despite Indiana’s attempt to save her, she’s punished with a long plunge down a chasm when she reaches for the grail instead of taking his hand.
  • Ward Abbott from The Bourne Series is a fine example — he first betrayed his superiors to form a black ops squad with Conklin, then betrayed his black ops squad to use it for personal gain and finally betrayed Conklin as well.
  • Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance (played by Jeremy Irons, who voiced Scar, another backstabber). He betrays his Middle Eastern clients by stealing the gold they hired him to destroy and then screws over some of his accomplices to make sure he gets as large a share as possible. In the alternate ending, which takes place a few months after a successful heist, he has even eliminated his girlfriend to rob her.
  • Dr. Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Besides eliminating many of his henchmen after they serve his purpose (Doctor Hoffmanstahl, Claude Ravache, Rene Heron) or show signs of decreasing utility (Irene Adler), he also means to betray the prime ministers and ambassadors, who had trusted his advice on the increasingly foreboding political climate, by instigating war.
  • Nixon:
    E. Howard Hunt: ''John, sooner or later, sooner, I think, you're gonna learn a lesson that's been learned by everyone who's ever gotten close to Richard Nixon. That he's the darkness reaching out for the darkness. And eventually, it's either you or him. Your grave's already been dug, John.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man: Stane plotted from the beginning of the movie to eliminate Tony so he could seize the company and engage in any sort of weapon deals he wanted. However, he also turns his back on the terrorists who he was paying later in the film to get his hands on the Mk. 1 suit they recovered from the desert. They had mildly backstabbed him also when they learned their captive was Tony Stark, causing them to keep him alive so he could build them a missile instead of killing him like they'd been ordered to.
    • Like the comic book character he is based upon, Loki from Thor is prone to this sort of behavior. In the first film in which he appears, he lets enemies into his family's weapons' vault, attempts to kill his adoptive brother, and tricks an enemy king (who is also his biological father) into trying to kill his adoptive father, only to kill him in order to prove his loyalty to said adoptive father. Ironically, in that first movie, he seemed to be motivated, at least in part, by loyalty towards Asgard, and desperation to prove that he was a good son. In The Dark World, Thor takes it as a given that Loki will eventually betray him and so do Lady Sif and the Warriors Three. He doesn't (unless you count a Fake Defector trick) but he does fake his own death in order to usurp and impersonate Odin. By Ragnarok, he's become so predictable that Thor is able to turn his latest betrayal against him effortlessly. In Infinity War Loki has still not learned his lesson, and pays for it with his life because Thanos can see right through his ruse.
    • Black Widow has this (or the appearance of it) as one of her preferred MO's. She's pretty consistently on Nick Fury's side but otherwise, she has no problem not doing what her allies want, even if she genuinely likes them. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve gets angry at her for going off mission to get the Lemurian Star data, which we later learn counts as backstabbing SHIELD and in Civil War, Tony accuses her of being this on a fundamental level after she switches sides during the airport fight and lets Steve and Bucky get away, though after the events of Winter Soldier it comes across more sympathetically to the audience.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness:
    • Admiral Marcus and Section 31, who betray both the Enterprise and their own ruthless superhuman agent to try and start a war with the Klingons.
    • Khan, too. The Enterprise was incapable of threatening him, he had the most powerful ship in Starfleet, and theoretically, his crew returned. He doesn't even bother to check on that last bit before deciding to blow up the Enterprise, even though he'd have been untrackable if he'd simply left.
  • A theme of the entirety of Wild Things. After the "false rape accusation" scam is revealed, every character resorts to backstabbing their partners to get the money after more people are shown to have been in on it, then turn on them as well. Most of the cast end up murdering each other, while Suzie ends up betraying everyone else and getting away rich.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, '70s Magneto turns on both Xavier and Mystique the second it's convenient, trying to kill Mystique, his former lover and Number Two, for her part in setting up the Bad Future. He then tries to use the Sentinels to kill Nixon, making a potentially worse future until he's stopped.
  • In The Great White Hype, Mitchell Kane performs a Face–Heel Turn and betrays his documentary team. Even though his new boss, The Sultan is very happy with him, Mitchell can't help but try to plunge the knife in again. Sultan is not bothered in the least, even before Kane's betrayal backfires.
  • War: Rogue Assassin is betraying everyone he works with. That must be how he got the name. Subverted as it turns out he is not actually Rogue.
  • Interstellar: Dr. Mann is so desperate to save himself that he steadily backstabs every single one of his friends and allies. First, he manipulates his loyal Robot Buddy KIPP into falsifying data before killing him and rigging his body to explode to cover it up. Then he betrays the Endurance crew and tries to abandon them to die on the ice planet. And on top of it all, his obsession with staying alive no matter what is a direct betrayal of his own mission and beliefs, especially given that literally everyone else was willing to make the necessary sacrifices for the mission.
  • In Superman II, Superman's plan to ultimately defeat Zod depends on Lex Luthor's undependability. When it seems Lex is about to become the victim of Zod's own CBD, Superman pretends to confide in Lex a way to take away the evil Kryptonians' powers. Lex, of course, betrays Superman in one last bid to get on Zod's nonexistent good side, only to have Superman reveal that he was counting on Luthor betraying him in order for his plan to work.

  • Lone Wolf: The Darklords, full stop. Although it's only implied in the gamebooks, the novelizations expand on how the Darklords spend more energy plotting against each other, in the hope of becoming the new Archlord of the Darklands, than against the rest of the world (which they were explicitly created by their dark god to conquer in the first place). Only when an iron-fisted Archlord emerges and keeps the others in check do they focus their efforts on conquering Magnamund — and even though this does generally set the Darklords in place to curbstomp all opposition, the backstabbing doesn't stop, it just gets more discreet. Every time the current Archlord is offed by Lone Wolf, it always results in a civil war between the various Darkland factions. Best demonstrating this is the fact that most Darklords' personal weapons are Weapons of Darklord-Slaying. Being otherwise Nigh Invulnerable, they are more worried about facing their rivals than any hypothetical hero reaching them and turning their own weapons against them.


By Author:

  • Many characters in Jack Vance's books, most notably Cugel the Clever, who for most of his two books will steal from, exploit, murder, or in some other way take advantage of anyone who has something he wants, or, really, even those who do not. Cugel is squarely the protagonist and Vance is a master of neutral treatment — Cugel's un-judged behaviour can be quite breathtaking.

By Work:

  • In the Age of Fire series, Infamia takes the cake. She's betrayed her mate, abandoned her other mate, defecting from her new employers after leaving in exile, then betraying her new king, and then betraying her mate again (who was the first one she betrayed). Subverted in that, except for the first two incidents, she was possessed by the Red Queen.
  • Vissers 3 and 1 in Animorphs. Probably other officers of the Yeerk army as well, but these two are most prominent, constantly working to undermine each other's position, even if it harms the greater cause and helps the Animorphs.
  • This seems to be a deep cultural practice of the entire Psychlo race in L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth. They spend so much time blackmailing and backstabbing each other it's amazing their species manages to run an inter-galactic empire. Terl, the Earth franchise's security chief is a toxic example even amongst this crew: he needs to betray so badly it at some level it surpasses rationality. It turns out that Psychlos have bad wiring in their heads.
  • The eunuch Narses as depicted in the Belisarius Series has a genuinely pathological form of this. For his first (and by no means last) betrayal he, Grand Chamberlain of the Roman Empire and the only high official the Ruling Couple completely trusts, commits to a conspiracy that would cost the life of the closest thing he will ever have to a daughternote  in the hopes of becoming The Man Behind the Man for Justinian's replacement. He hates himself for it and is convinced he will be dead of old age (and damned to Hell) in a few years no matter what, but he just... can't... stop.
    • At the end of the series, he ends up betraying the Big Bad. His master immediately sends him to China to take up new opportunities, coincidentally giving him an entirely new scope for his intriguing abilities. The other option, they both know, was just to kill him; he's that dangerous.
  • Uwe in The Black Swan toes the line between this and Manipulative Bastard. He allows Queen Clothilde to believe he is helping her set up her son for a tragic 'accident' which will let her keep the throne for life — in reality he is setting her up for Baron von Rothbart to destroy her. Unfortunately for Uwe, the Baron rewards him as a traitor deserves.
  • In the Chung Kuo novels there are many betrayals - the upper levels of society run on Machiavellian scheming - but the supreme Wei Chi Master Howard DeVore outdoes them all. At first his betrayals seem to follow the logic of power, and he gets away with them all - he's slippery - but in the end, he betrays everyone, that is, the human race.
  • This isn't even a spoiler in The Clique series of YA novels, over the course of 13 (14 if you count the prequel) books the middle school girls, including Claire, backstab each other at least thrice. Prize goes to Massie and Alicia, who backstab each other so much it's not hard to lose count.
  • Codex Alera: Aquitainus Invidia will betray anyone and everyone in order to secure greater power for herself and, later, survival. Any character who has dealings with her not already possessing it quickly develops enough savvy to try to take Invidia's sudden but inevitable betrayal into account. In the last book, The Vord Queen doesn't even have any emotional reaction at all when it's her turn to be backstabbed. She explains that Invidia IS this trope and doing anything else simply would not be Invidia.
  • Conan the Barbarian: How does Conan justify himself in Robert E. Howard's "The Vale of Lost Women"? Everyone does it here:
    "Truces in this land are made to be broken," he answered grimly. "He would break his truce with Jihiji. And after we'd looted the town together, he'd wipe me out the first time he caught me off guard. What would be blackest treachery in another land, is wisdom here.
  • Fernand Mondego of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo achieves success through this. First, he participates in setting up Dantes so he can have Mercedes for himself. Then, during the Napoleonic Wars, he and his superior officer both desert Napoleon at the right moment, earning promotions from the new Royalist Regime afterward. Then, as a sort of mercenary in the Greek Wars of Independence, he is a well-paid commanding officer under Ali Pasha who he betrays to the Turks. Not only does he gain a fortune for this treason, but back in France everyone thinks he's a war hero and he ends up a general.
  • Discworld series:
    • The way to get ahead at Unseen University is "by way of dead men's pointy shoes." In other words, kill the guy above you and steal his shoes and hat. Rinse, lather, repeat. Since the elevation of Mustrum Ridcully as Archchancellor, this process has been halted, by virtue of him being virtually unkillable, resulting in a lot more permanency among the other senior wizards as well as backstabbing decreases.
    • Played straight in The Last Hero with Evil Harry Dread, who has a(n im)moral obligation to betray the heroes. This is not only not frowned upon, but actually applauded by them.
    • Lord Hong in Interesting Times. He helped along the revolution himself just so he could start a counter-revolution, he more-or-less cooperates with the other feudal lords while maneuvering for the crown, he has his minions killed after explicitly promising them to not give any orders to that point, he has no problem telling his soldiers lies which run exactly contrary to what they were told a few hours ago (and expects them to believe him!) and last but not least, is very clear on it that it's fine for a few hundred or thousand of them to die, because that's what they are for. Oh, and he had the emperor killed (stabbed!), but that's part of the power routine.
  • Dragonlance:
    • Raistlin Majere's scoreboard:
      • He betrays his brother, as well as Tanis, Goldmoon, and Riverwind when he saves himself with the dragon orb when they are trapped in the Maelstrom.
      • He betrays the conclave of wizards by switching from Red robes to Black without consulting them.
      • He betrays Ariakas by aiding Tanis in assassinating him.
      • He betrays Takhisis by allowing Berem to seal her away in the abyss by impaling himself on the stone column.
      • He betrays Fistandantilus when he was under his apprenticeship in Istar by turning the tables on him and using the bloodstone to consume his soul.
      • He betrays Tasslehoff by making him break the magical time traveling device as the fiery mountain is about to fall on Istar, sending him to the Abyss.
      • He betrays Caramon again by promising the Dewar his head in exchange for their help in taking over Pax Tharkas.
      • He betrays Crysania when she has outlived her usefulness to him.
      • Finally you have his (arguable) betrayal of himself when he undoes everything he's been working towards in order to save himself from eternal loneliness.
    • Raistlin's half-sister Kitiara steps up to the plate:
      • She betrays Tanis by seducing his best friend Sturm.
      • She betrays all of the Companions by not honoring her oath to them and by joining the Dragonarmies.
      • She betrays Laurana by luring her to a false parley and kidnapping her.
      • She betrays Raistlin and Iolanthe by trying to kill all wizards.
      • She betrays Tanis again by offering to spare Laurana when she has already decided to give the elfmaid a Fate Worse than Death.
      • She betrays Ariakas by plotting to overthrow him.
      • She betrays Lord Soth by letting Tanis take Laurana.
      • She betrays Raistlin again by having Lord Soth try to kill Crysania.
      • And she betrays Dalamar by stabbing him.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • The Order of the Blackened Denarius is a collection of no more than thirty individuals who possess a coin that holds one of thirty Fallen Angels who were involved in Lucifer's war against Heaven and banished along with Lucifer. They tend to betray each other every so often, working to undermine or outright sabotage the greater goal of corrupting and destroying humanity. It is when they can put their issues aside for a short time that things get bad for humanity. The last time two faction leaders actually got together for a time led to the Black Plague in Europe.
    • One member of this collective is Lasciel. She is known by her monikers of Webweaver and the Seducer. She wasn't banished from Heaven just for siding with Lucifer, but rather because she tried playing both sides against each other to come out on top no matter what. When things settled, God did not take favorably to this action and kicked her out too.
    • Their lack of unity and backstabbing nature is the reason Lucifer chose these thirty Fallen to be placed in these coins. He had convinced each one of them they were better off fighting God and lost big time. It was only a matter of time before some of them rebelled against him to take him down. So, he sent into the coins the most dangerous of the Fallen to keep them away from his position in Hell.
  • An entire society (at least, the ruling class) runs on a combination of this and Klingon Promotion in Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen, with everybody stabbing everybody as soon as there is an advantage. Exemplifying this is Lady Charmian, whose backstab against her newlywed husband (for the offense of leering at a chambermaid) ends up costing her father his life, through a long series of circumstances. She then arranges for her disgraced husband's rescue from the rebels, arranges for him to duel with her current lover (expecting him to lose), sets him up to be killed by a demon when that fails, backstabs numerous rivals for power, and eventually betrays her husband again after his Heel–Face Turn to the rebel side. But somehow she never quite goes through with killing him when she has the chance to do it herself.
  • The First Law:
    • Mercenaries, particularly the leaders of the Thousand Swords, and particularly Nicomo Cosca, are known to switch their allegiance or simply abandon their employers when it is profitable or expedient to do so.
    • In Best Served Cold, Duke Rogont has purposefully sabotaged the battle plans of his own allies in the League of Eight to diminish their power and ensure his supremacy once they defeat their mutual enemy Duke Orso. However, he diminished his allies so much that by the time Rogont is ready to fight for real, Orso is much more powerful than the remaining members of the League.
  • Flashman inevitably gets to see any conflict from both sides due to getting captured and/or turning his coat.
  • According to Pottermore, the Ravenclaw house of Harry Potter has a problem with this at times. Though since the information came from the Slytherin Prefect, it must be taken with a grain of salt.
  • His Dark Materials: Marisa Coulter. Spends an awful lot of time trying to capture her daughter, Lyra. Then it turns out that she was trying to protect her. Then she finds out about the prophecy. Then she starts trying to capture her again, with the help of some old guy. Then she poisons him and kidnaps Lyra to protect her from the Church, who want to kill her. Then Lyra escapes and Marisa goes over to Lord Asriel's side (the people who want to destroy the Church). Then she betrays him and defects back to the Church. Then she stops the Church from destroying Lyra and it turns out that her only intention was to stab them in the back. Then she helps kill the angel who has taken God's place, overthrowing the Authority in all worlds forever. Then she dies.
  • Journey to Chaos: Dengel is known for switching sides when advantageous. In his own words, "Unlike my brethren, I know when to make deals.” This is why the Big Bad knew that his We Can Rule Together attempt would succeed in the climax.
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space, Pak Protectors were in a perpetual state of war, because everyone was biologically hardwired to serve the short-term interest of its own clan. Even when clans tried to be allies, the protectors would instantly, involuntarily backstab each other as soon as an opening appeared. In The Ringworld Engineers, a protector is friends with the main characters and needs them to save its whole world, but finds itself trying to kill them anyway because they are a threat to some of its own relatives.
  • In Doc Smith's Lensman novels, the Boskonian culture, spread through two major galaxies, runs on this trope. Everyone moves up through assassination and/or betrayal of their superiors. And they get away with it, as long as they protect themselves from others assassinating/betraying them because that's how you legitimately advance in their culture. Kim Kinnison goes undercover and works his way up to supreme dictator of an important planet and all its dependencies by a series of betrayals and assassinations, and he's widely admired and respected for this.
  • Ludovico in Leonardo's Swans. He does this both to his wife and his political allies.
  • The society in Cyril Kornbluth's classic dystopia The Luckiest Man in Denv operates this way. In particular, the generals appear to spend more time intriguing against each other than prosecuting the war against Ellay. The protagonist, Reuben, is also no slouch when it comes to backstabbing his own superior officer.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen, backstabbing is part and parcel of being an Eleint or a Soletaken Eleint. The reason given is that draconic blood is chaotic by its nature and cannot abide its own proximity. As Silchas Ruin explains it, to the Eleint "any notion of community is anathema" and they see any world as a feeding ground which exists to sate their innate megalomania. To drink draconic blood and become a Soletaken Eleint means gaining a taste for betrayal and a lust for power for their own sakes and only a handful of people are said to have ever overcome this urge, most of whom were several generations removed from their draconic ancestors.
  • While Redwall foxes have this as a species hat, Mokkan of the Marlfoxes is the most notable. How? Well, you could probably count the allies he DIDN'T betray, abandon or just mess up on one paw, up to and including his own family. Seriously, pushing your sister into a lake full of pike... Yeesh.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms:
    • Lu Bu manages this in truly appalling fashion. The Reader's Digest version would go: murdered his adoptive father for a horse, murdered his next adoptive father for a 16-year-old girl, became a rebellious warlord, betrayed his friend Liu Bei, and finally tried to sell his services to his sworn enemy Cao Cao. Cao, being a Magnificent Bastard, said simply, "Strangle and expose."
      • Cao Cao did it after asking Liu Bei (who was working under him at that time, see below) what to do with Lu Bu. Liu Bei lampshaded this trope for him: "Don't you remember what happened to Ding Yuan and Dong Zhuo?" (Lu Bu's two previous adoptive fathers, both killed by him)
    • Liu Bei himself is an ambiguous case. He's talked up as a great hero, but everyone he ever works for (except Cao Cao, who suffered a series of humiliating defeats) dies, normally after willing their entire empire to him. You start to wonder just how reliable the narrator is.
    • Wei Yan was portrayed as one, lampshaded by Zhuge Liang: He killed his previous master and surrendered the city to Liu Bei (A while ago he betrayed another master when said master was fighting against, guess what, Liu Bei). Zhuge Liang urged Liu Bei to killed him, citing "The bones of treachery grows in his brain". Liu Bei didn't kill him, and he remained under Shu service as an important general for a couple of decades. He committed treason again after Zhuge Liang died, though.
  • Safehold: Everyone who had dealings with Grand Duke Zebediah was fully aware that the question wasn't whether Zebediah would betray them, but when. When it's Cayleb's turn to be the one Zebediah is swearing fealty to, he promptly puts Zebediah under SNARC observation ... and sure enough, collects enough evidence of treason to justify executing Zebediah and putting someone honest in his place.
  • The villain, Achilles, in Orson Scott Card's Shadow Puppets trilogy. By the end, he's betrayed Russia, India, Thailand, China, and the Hegemon. Also, he kills anyone who's ever seen him vulnerable, including people who help him out of said situation.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, the resident Magnificent Bastard. He's actually pretty jokingly upfront about being a chronic backstabber, but no one takes him seriously until a bit too late. He allies himself with Eddard Stark, causing him to believe that he had the resources to move against the Lannisters. But then when it comes time to act, Baelish betrays Stark to the Lannisters. He then frames Tyrion Lannister for the murder of his nephew Joffrey, causing House Lannister to tear itself apart - and making way for his new allies, the Tyrells, to take control of Westeros. With each successive betrayal, Baelish's own personal standing is increased, going from an unappreciated civil servant to the ruler of two of the Seven Kingdoms, and with Stark's eldest daughter, Sansa, as his proteg&eacute. And then we learn that the murder that made Stark want to get revenge on the Lannisters (Jon Arryn's) was committed by Baelish all along, having manipulated his wife Lysa into doing it.. That said a lot of his betrayals have relied on being very lucky, his plans could easily have gone wrong and when Ned first met Petyr his initial reaction was to not trust him, trusting him because his wife told her husband her foster-brother could be trusted.
    • Everyone assumes this of Jaime Lannister "the Kingslayer", ever since he killed King Aerys II while serving as part of his Kingsguard. Aerys was planning on burning down the entire capital city and the entire population thereof rather than allow his enemies to conquer it; Jamie only killed him to prevent this from happening. When he gets a POV chapter later in the series, we see that he's completely aware of his reputation and enjoys utilising it to his advantage.
    • Generally the norm amongst sellswords, many of whom will take anyone's money and fight for them. Until someone else turns up who offers them more money or looks like they might win. Brown Ben Plumm, captain of a free company, is a notable example, having betrayed his former employers to defect to Dany's side, and then defected right back when things stopped looking so rosy.
    • House Bolton has the motto of "Our Blades Are Sharp" ostensibly about their traditional family practice of skinning condemned prisoners. However, sharp daggers work just as well on so-called friends and allies — as the family has demonstrated for centuries. And... occasionally.. family, too. Note, there are currently only two acknowledged male Boltons, and one is a bastard who luckily inherited when his legitimate half-brother ever so suddenly died. Yeah.
  • Lily, of Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible. In her backstory, before the events of the book, she was sent back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, did so, then decided to attempt to undo her changes so that she could go home. (This backstory is revealed to be false. She was originally Lois Lane to the Superman-like CoreFire before getting empowered and dumping him.) She became a supervillain, eventually hooking up with villainous Dr. Impossible, then left him for his Arch-Enemy, the superhero CoreFire; as the story opens, she is just being recognized as an official member of CoreFire's team, the New Champions. She then provides Dr. Impossible with the last Plot Coupon necessary for his latest Doomsday Device. Doing so is what saves the world from the disaster described in her backstory, and lets Dr. Impossible beat the snot out of CoreFire. Then she backstabs Dr. Impossible again to save the world yet another time, before chewing out both him and CoreFire and leaving them tied up to the same post. Even at the end of the series, it's clear the only side she's on is her own, and quite effective at it. Ironically, she's transparent.
  • Star Wars Legends: The X-Wing Series' Ysanne Isard. Nominally always working for the Empire, but after the Emperor died, she was just working for herself. Despite constantly insisting she had no desire to replace the Emperor, her actions made it clear that she was egotistical enough to consider working for herself and working for the Empire to be the same thing. Later in the series, Baron Soontir Fel and Gara Petothel are both accused of this. It's untrue on both counts.
  • The Stanleys in The Sunne in Splendour. They keep betraying people even when it doesn't actually improve their situation. Since this is a historical novel, that was Truth in Television. The Stanleys were known as being turncoats.
  • In Villains by Necessity, by Eve Forward, the neutral druids had to betray whichever side was strongest and help the underdog because if the forces of light or the forces of darkness became completely dominant, the world would be subsumed into the raw metaphysical force of good or evil because of it (depending on which one they fell into). When they stopped helping the good guys because good was becoming too dominant, they faced the fact that evil wouldn't trust them and they'd just stuck the knife in the back of good, meaning the druids got wiped out between the two.
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • A Civil Campaign: Byerly Vorrutyer, the man-about-town and general political stirrer. He has motives so indiscernible that it's very hard to tell exactly who he's actually betraying, and whether he's a double agent, triple agent... or what, really. Actually working for the government. We think.
      Ivan: You've lied and you're lying, but I can't tell about what. You make my head hurt. I'm about to share the sensation.
    • In The Vor Game we meet a more pathological version in Commander Cavilo. Having already vamped her way into command of a mercenary warfleet, she gets hired by a planet during a staredown with a rival, sells them out to the Cetagandan Empire, then backstabs both the Cetagandans and her own fleet for a chance at seducing the Barrayaran Emperor Gregor (who had slipped out of The Chains of Commanding after a drunken, halfhearted suicide attempt) into making her his consort. It is mentioned (though not by name) as being her downfall. If she had stuck with one plan, any plan, she could have probably pulled it off. But she's unwilling to follow through when she thinks something better comes along.
    • Miles (the series' protagonist) himself seems to suffer from a variant of this disorder (which is lampshaded in the series, especially The Vor Game and Memory). Rather than intentionally betraying allies and neutrals, he makes commitments (implicit or explicit) which he later can't fulfill without breaking another one. (He doesn't want to betray people, and he generally manages to juggle responsibilities and deceive people until he finds a solution. However, his skill at avoiding having to follow through with the final outright backstab doesn't prevent the lead-up from being its own form of betrayal.) The pattern is most clearly (and avoidably) showcased in the first book featuring him, The Warrior's Apprentice.
  • The Warlord Chronicles, a highly realistic retelling of the Arthurian legend, features a couple of examples:
    • First we have Gundleus from the first book. Already King of Siluria, Gundleus is set to marry Uther's daughter in the wake of Uther's death and be the regent for Uther's infant grandson, who will be the future High King. Instead, Gundleus gets greedy and decides to shoot at becoming High King himself, murdering his wife to be and attempting to kill the baby as well. After Arthur captures him alive and treats him well, Gundleus promptly sides against Arthur in the next round of warfare among the British kingdoms when it looks like Arthur is going to lose. Oh, and in addition to killing his wife and attempting infanticide, Gundleus also rapes another character and rips out her eye. Fun guy, and particularly notable because even without doing any backstabbing he would in a position to wield enormous power.
    • Bishop Sansum is a Corrupt Churchman who operates on a single rule when it comes to the endless wars and political squabbles between the British kingdoms: be on the winning side. As soon as one faction gets the upper hand, Sansum is sure to make himself just useful enough to them that he'll survive and prosper regardless of who actually wins.
    • Also, in a very different take on the legend than usual, there's also Lancelot.
  • Affects several people and organizations in Worm, but none more so than Coil. Over the course of the seria (plus flashbacks), he's manipulated just about every major faction and even individual characters before stabbing them in the back, whether they know it or not. After the Undersiders and the Travelers take over Brockton Bay for him, he tries to kill our lovely protagonist multiple times, and plays all the others like a fiddle until they've outlived their usefulness. Hell, the man got his start by killing his commanding officer on the Nilbog mission, literally shooting him in the back for taking too long to climb a ladder.
  • Lord Gro from E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros had a bad case of this, due to his desire to be fair and support the underdog. Eventually, it did cost him his life when he started killing soldiers on both sides in the middle of a battle to show there were no hard feelings.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tony Almeida in the seventh season of 24. He betrays Emerson's group, which he claims he had actually been loyal to at one point for serving as a deep cover agent for Bill Buchanan, then betrays the FBI by killing Larry Moss after thwarting Juma and Hodges' plans in favor of the masterminds behind the conspiracy, all so that he can meet their leader face-to-face and kill him.
  • In Alias, Mr. Sark was known for his "flexible loyalty".
  • Angel:
  • Malcolm Merlyn from Arrow is the poster boy for this trope. Lampshaded in one episode with Felicity claiming "He is a mass murderer who has lied to us so many times it should be a drinking game."
  • Baltar from the classic Battlestar Galactica. He betrays his own people to the Cylons, then turns around and betrays them in the last episode ''The Hand of God’’.
  • In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Fuzzy Boots Corollary", the character Sheldon plays in World of Warcraft is a Chronic Backstabber because Sheldon considers this the only appropriate way to play a Night Elf Rogue.
  • The Grant clan from Big Love are all like this. By this point, you need one flow chart just to figure out who's related how to whom (living on a xenophobic polygamist compound where wives get swapped around at the whim of the Big Boss can do that to you) and at least three more to keep track of who's currently trying to have how many of said relatives jailed, killed, or terrorized into submission (and who's just in it for the book deals).
  • Breaking Bad has Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, a Nervous Wreck and Dirty Coward who believes that everything is out to get her. Once someone has outlived their usefulness, she will take steps to have them taken off to protect her own skin.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • This is Spike's role, at least until he falls in love with Buffy.
      Xander: Spike's working for Adam!? After all, we've done — nah, I can't even act surprised.
    • Warren sold out his robot, his girlfriend and both his best friends.
  • In the second-season paintball game on Community, Chang continually teams up with and betrays almost every pack of combatants who will take him, even if they're winning.
    • In the fifth season, Chang joins the "Save Greendale" committee, only to betray it in the final episode. Absolutely no one is surprised, to the point where Chang's betrayal was apparently on their to-do list.
  • Continuum gives us Matthew Kellog, who over the course of four seasons manages to not only betray every faction multiple times, but also, thanks to the magic of time travel, backstabs himself, with a plan to travel back in time and steal his own kidneys.
  • Omen on Dark Oracle suffered from this as part of his Heel–Face Revolving Door. Somewhere in the backstory he betrayed Doyle and was turned into a frog as a result. When he reappears, he romances Cally, only to betray her and use her as a pawn against Doyle and Lance. He later promises Cally that he will rid her of Blaze and Violet if she returns his humanity. She does so, but Omen's attempt at killing them only makes them stronger and results in his imprisonment. After being freed by Vern he offers Vern a chance at revenge on Lance, only to betray Vern by taking it too far and trapping Lance in the mirror world. When Cally comes to him for help he betrays her by swapping out Lance for Blaze who he was really working for and helping them set up a curse that will eliminate Cally as well and let Violet escape. Finally, he betrays Blaze & Violet, helping Cally free Lance and dying in the process. Phew.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Daleks frequently betray any and all individuals/species that think the Daleks are working for them, almost always with a cry to "Exterminate!" the betrayee.
      • Pretty much lampshaded in "Victory of the Daleks", where a group of impure Dalek refugees manage to activate a device which makes shiny new model "pure" Daleks, which then proceed to immediately exterminate the old Daleks, who die willingly, accepting they are inferior.
      • "Genesis of the Daleks" makes it plain where they got it from: their creator, Davros, also proves to be a good example of this trope. The fact that he does not see their betrayal of him coming adds a nice layer of irony to the episode and the fact that they have proceeded to repeat this betrayal multiple times, and that each time he has failed to see it coming, just adds to the deliciousness of it.
      • "The Daleks' Master Plan" is an extreme example, where the inevitability of the Daleks' betrayal of Mavic Chen — the Daleks announce it to the audience and to each other every couple of episodes and even Chen seems to know they're going to do it — leads to much of the tension being "how long can Chen keep them convinced he's still useful?" Mavic Chen is already a traitor, being the most powerful man in the Solar System already but planning to gain more power by betraying humanity to the Daleks. This is pointed out by one of the Daleks' other allies, as none of them (the Daleks end up betraying them as well) sold out their own people.
      • "The Power of the Daleks" uses Plot Parallels to make this just as extreme — the Daleks are obviously going to stab the resistance and Lesterson in the back, but the resistance is itself backstabbing the current Vulcan government, while all of the members are simultaneously trying to backstab each other.
      • The Doctor knows about it in "Death to the Daleks", where he explains to the supporting characters that even though they're working with the Daleks, the Daleks are definitely going to try to stab them in the back at some point because that's all they ever do.
    • The Sontarans. They backstab Irongron, the Vardans, the Androgums, and Luke Rattigan.
    • Fifth Doctor companion/would-be assassin Turlough originally met the Doctor after the Black Guardian offered the exiled alien schoolboy a lift off planet Earth in return for killing the Doctor. He abandoned and betrayed the Doctor pretty much anytime things got too dangerous, even after Fivey forgave him for the whole, you know, attempted murder thing. However, he always seemed to redeem himself by doing something heroic, especially in his last episode, Planet of Fire.
    • Whenever the Cybermen make a bargain, they never hold up their end of it. Eleven ruefully lampshades this in "Nightmare in Silver" when he's engaged with a game of chess with the Cyberplanner who's hijacking his mind. If the Cyberplanner wins, he'll hijack the rest of the Doctor's mind and with it gain the secrets of Time Travel. If the Doctor wins, they'll just try to do it anyway. Thus, the game is more of a stalling tactic until the Doctor comes up with an idea.
    • The Master is also a fan of the tactic, but gets backstabbed almost as many times as they're the one doing the backstabbing. Reaches its zenith in "The Doctor Falls"; Saxon-Master and Missy appear to be working together until she Back Stabs him on the way to his TARDIS and he shoots her In the Back in turn. Both of them realize that they just double-crossed themselves and go to their respective deaths Laughing Mad.
  • ER's Kerry Weaver, whose modus operandi was basically to pretend to be someone's friend/ally, only to screw them over in order to advance or maintain her career. Mark Greene as well, though in his case, he was usually just too weak and spineless to stand up for someone, rather than actively trying to trip them up.
  • Farscape:
    • Sikozu was an embodiment of this trope, her only consistent trait (besides total arrogance) being her capacity for 'sudden and inevitable betrayal'. Close to the end of the fourth season, however, she looked to be outgrowing this character flaw- only for the Scarrans to employ her as a spy during The Movie. Her comeuppance finally came at the hands of her current boyfriend Scorpius, who beat her to a bloody pulp and left her to die.
    • Grunchlk in the episodes "Die Me Dichotomy" and "Season of Death" qualifies: while overcharging the crew of Moya for various medical services, he quietly betrays them to Scorpius. However, when Scorpius arrives with a squad of heavily-armed Peacekeeper commandos, Grunchlk panics and releases a Scarran warrior from stasis in an attempt to hold the attackers off. And it turns out that the Scarran was also double-crossed by Grunchlk...
    • During season 4, Crichton believes that Scorpius suffers from this disorder after he joins the crew. Crichton has good reason to be suspicious of Scorpy, but seems to believe that Scorpius is going to try and backstab him at the most idiotic times: for example, in "I Shrink Therefore I Am" he gives Scorpius an empty rifle just in case any treachery occurs- while they're both stuck on Moya, with all their escape ships disabled, and being hunted by bounty hunters with no interest in negotiations. Lo and behold, Scorpius isn't that dumb. Eventually, Crichton decides that Scorpius can at least be trusted to a certain extent after several incidents where not only remains loyal but even puts his own life on the line to save the day at least twice. Unfortunately, after being used as bait for Talikaa, Scorpius decides he's had enough of his role as Sixth Ranger and backstabs Crichton so masterfully that it takes him two episodes to figure out who was really behind Aeryn's kidnapping.
    • Rygel. Backstabbing was his default setting. Circumstances seem like Rygel might be somewhat inconvenienced? Time to throw everyone else to the wolves.
      • He actually uses this trait to his advantage on a couple of occasions, by pretending to backstab the crew when he's actually helping them. And he's such a natural backstabber that even his own allies don't realize what he's up to until afterwards.
  • Firefly:
    • Saffron. In "Trash", when she called upon Serenity's crew to help her steal the Lassiter, the heroes cooked up a Batman Gambit to take her down, which took advantage of Saffron's "sudden, but inevitable, betrayal".
    • Jayne - who repeatedly try to sell out his own crew for money or to become the captain. Naturally, Mal repeatedly thwarts these plans and generally beats Jayne up or threatens to kill him... but he's a slow learner.
      • He also betrayed his original crew in order to join Serenity. Why? Well, they were robbing Serenity, and Jayne's share was 7%. Mal offered him 11% and his own bunk. Several shots to the back later, Jayne was Serenity's newest crewmember.
      • In The Movie, Jayne tries to go behind everyone's back and throw River off the ship once he realizes how much a threat she represents. River advises Jayne of his fallacious reasoning via ceiling-launched cranial trauma.
  • Game of Thrones: This is the entire point of the series. (It's all in the name.) Just about everyone wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and is prepared to lie, cheat, and murder their family members and supposed allies to do so. The few (sane) people who don't want to rule have to suffer the consequences.
    • Littlefinger, who has betrayed his patron Jon Arryn (who made him Master of Coin), Ned Stark to the Lannisters, the Lannisters to the Tyrells and Lysa Arryn - literally everyone he's ever allied with the moment it became more convenient for him. And yet still somehow keeps convincing people to work with him.
    • The City Watch of King's Landing will always support whoever pays them the most.
    • House Frey is infamously unreliable because of their passive self-interest: they avoid taking sides unless they have something significant to gain. Most houses are smart enough to assume the Freys will sell them out the moment they receive a better offer.
    • In-universe House Greyjoy has this reputation due to attempts to rebel whenever they think they have the slightest chance of winning (and even when they really don't).
      • Balon Greyjoy led a failed rebellion against Robert in the backstory, causing his son Theon to be taken hostage by Ned Stark. He rebels again the moment his son returns because turmoil engulfs the realm.
    • Cersei politely insinuates that Brienne has this, seeing how she swore to serve Renly, then Catelyn, then Jaime. Brienne replies that she does not serve Jaime.
    • The Stark family seems to be an inversion of this as multiple members are victims of betrayals which lead to their deaths.
      • Ned Stark was betrayed by Littlefinger and Janos Slynt to the service of Cersei and King Joffrey, ultimately leading to his beheading.
      • Rob and Catelyn were betrayed by the Freys and Boltons leading to their deaths well as that of Robb's wife, unborn child, and bannermen in the infamous Red Wedding.
      • Jon Snow was tricked and betrayed by Olly and Allister Thorn along with other members of the Night's watch, all of whom took turns stabbing him then left him to bleed out. He got better.
    • Ramsay murders several of his own men to gain Theon's trust, then turns on him. He also habitually breaks promises of safe conduct to enemies who surrender to him - and instead horrifically tortures them by flaying men alive by the dozen and leaving their mutilated corpses on public display. His father has become increasingly frustrated at him for his sheer lack of future planning. In season six, it reaches its head when he murders his father, his stepmother, and his newborn brother, all to seize power for himself.
    • Zigzagged trope with Jaime. This is his reputation. In reality, his killing of King Aerys is far more complex: Aerys told him to kill his own father and was also planning on burning down and killing everyone in King's Landing. Unfortunately, Jaime's pride and pessimism discouraged him from revealing that true reason for killing Aerys. On the other hand, if word were to ever get out that Jaime had brutally killed his younger cousin, Alton Lannister, then he would be known as a kinslayer, the only thing worse than being a kingslayer in Westeros, as well.
    • Varys is a rare benevolent example. He worked for several regimes over the course of his life and has secretly worked to undermine them whenever they saw they were too oppressive or ineffective and in Season 7, he declares to Daenerys that he is is not loyal to her, or any ruler, but loyal to the people and the realm and the reason why he backs her is because he believes she is the best ruler who looks after the people's wellbeing.
  • Season one of Gotham recounts the Penguin's rise to the top of Gotham City's criminal underworld, almost entirely by means of this trope. In later seasons, this trope defines his relationship with most of the other villains, notably the Riddler and Jerome. Ironically, the more sympathetic villains on Gotham seem to be more prone to stabbing each other in the back during various villain teamups than the more unhinged villains who just want to destroy everything or cause chaos for the fun of it. For example, while Jerome Valeska is prone to killing his mooks for being annoying or even just for a laugh, he's not motivated by money or power and so doesn't have a reason to backstab any of the major villains he teams up with, unless they betray him first. His alliance with Tetch and Scarecrow doesn't fall apart due to betrayal, even though Tetch outright lampshades the fact that they will all probably end up betraying each other eventually. Jeremiah later allies with Scarecrow, Tetch, and Ra's Al Ghul without having any problems, either, most likely for the same reasons: because they have the same goals and are not actually competing with each other. Oswald, on the other hand, who has quite a few pet the dog moments in the series despite being a ruthless mob boss with a hair trigger temper, continually betrays people for power, money, and even love. So does Barbara Kean, despite generally being a lighter shade of black when compared to people like the Valeska brothers and Scarecrow. Edward Nygma/The Riddler also frequently betrays people over things like love and revenge despite generally having more standards than other villains. While this is counterintuitive, it actually makes sense, as the saner villains are actually capable of forming genuine friendships with each other and therefore more vulnerable to being betrayed.
  • Halt and Catch Fire: Joe MacMillan is an excellent example. At various points, he betrays Gordon Clark, Cameron Howe, John Bosworth, IBM, Cardiff Electric, his father Joe Sr., Simon Church, and an unnamed IBM employee. Gordon and his father call him out on this. It is a wonder Joe can convince anyone to work with him. Joe is also depicted as being a mentally unstable, egotistical, power-hungry snake in the grass. Yet somehow his charm keeps convincing people to believe in him, even once people realize his MO.
  • Heroes:
    • Mohinder Suresh seems to be doing a lot of this, although it's mostly due to him being an atrociously Horrible Judge of Character than any sort of malicious master plan on his part.
    • HRG, Mama Petrelli, Nathan Petrelli, and Sylar. More backstabbingness than you can shake a knife at.
  • King Loth of Kaamelott provides the quote on top of the page. Let's see; Season 3: he explains during the end of said season to Sir Dagonet how he associated with Lancelot when he seceded, and how he is the one financing him while trying to recruit Dagonet for a coup against Arthur. Season 4: After openly backing Lancelot's rebellion up during the whole season, he betrays him in a dastardly way in the end (taking back his men; removing every evidence of his involvement) after Arthur rescued Guenièvre, when it is obvious that Lancelot will fail. Season 5: Starts the season by coming all the way to Kaamelott to plead his cause to Arthur. Follows up by trying to unsheath Excalibur from the stone. Finishes the season by trying to zap Arthur with his magic lightning ring. Even Season 6, in addition to the page quote, showed he started plotting against Arthur during the latter's wedding and even went as far as trying to backstab his fellow britton kings while they were fighting the Romans. No wonder he is hated by everyone.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In Kamen Rider Ryuki, Satoru Toujou/Kamen Rider Tiger has this so badly, he's far more dangerous to people he considers allies than his enemies. His reasoning behind this trait is that he wishes to become a hero and, according to his mentor, heroes are people who sacrifice what's important to themselves for the greater good. In Toujou's mind, this translates to killing off everyone important to him to achieve hero status.
    • In Kamen Rider OOO, according to Ankh, the Greeed as a species suffer from this, though he's an exception because he'll let you know up front he'll betray you if you're no longer of use.
    • From Kamen Rider Gaim, let's just say that Yggdrasil HRD has some... weird ideas about what quality is needed for its employees. Almost all of their New Generation Riders do some backstabbing at least once. Ryoma Sengoku is probably the biggest offender.
  • On Lost, being the Manipulative Bastard that he is, Ben has a tendency to do this.
  • Dr. Smith from Lost in Space, Once per Episode. Although his attempts at betraying the Robinsons were never successful for very long.
  • Dr. Smith on Lost in Space (2018) appears to have a compulsion to betray people, as she will risk herself to double-cross someone even when there's little to no benefit for herself by doing so.
  • Grace's childhood friend/ex-boyfriend Franco on The Mob Doctor, seemingly a double-agent actually working for Moretti against Constantine... until he turns out to be working for the FBI all along.
  • Oz. Ryan O'Reilly is an excellent example, as he changes allegiances purely on his need to survive.
    • Chris Keller aligns himself with Beecher, Schillinger or neither at any given time depending on his whims. At one point he gets a literal, almost fatal stab in the back in return.
  • Person of Interest features this with the organization of Dirty Cops HR. This is in sharp contrast to mafia boss Elias who has extreme loyalty to and from his people. His largest problem with them is that they are "oath breakers." Even when HR is plotting to kill him, he isn't bothered by the fact that they are plotting to kill him, only by the fact that they betrayed others to do it.
    • "Matsya Nyaya"note  features this concept quite heavily, with virtually everyone in the episode backstabbing someone else. It all starts when an armored car courier tries to rob his own vehicle before running afoul of HR.
  • Power Rangers, over the years, has had a number of these guys:
    • Darkonda from Power Rangers in Space actually got himself killed (more than once) because he just couldn't resist screwing over his "allies".
      • There was also Psycho Yellow, who teamed up with Psycho Pink to horde the Rangers' energy (and, it was implied, overthrow their creator Astronema), left Pink to die as soon as their plan backfired, and in general had a habit of leaving the battlefield when things went south.
    • The White Ranger, or rather the White Dino Gem from Power Rangers Dino Thunder fluctuated wildly in terms of alignment before he got his head together and joined the good guys for real.
    • Super Sentai, too. From Tensou Sentai Goseiger: Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, work with Buredoran. He WILL royally screw you over in the end after You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Even when someone decided to give him amnesia so he wouldn't do so, he later got his memories back and took that group down.
    • Basco Ta Jolokia from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger will betray anyone he works with. Whether it's the Red Pirates, the Zangyack or his own Morality Pet. Suffice to say, he's one of the most dangerous and despicable villains in the series.
  • Psych: Shawn's uncle Jack offered fifty percent of a fortune in Spanish gold to his nephew. And his partners. And his other partners. And the guy at the muffler shop. And the guy at the Chinese restaurant. Yes, that's three hundred percent.
    • Shawn and Gus frequently betray one another. In fact, there's a moment of selling out between one or both of them in almost every episode.
  • In Queen of the South, Guero D'Avila has betrayed nearly every outfit to which he's ever been attached. Naturally, when he joins Camila's group, Camila gives John a standing order to shoot Guero if it looks like he's going to switch teams again.
  • This happens a few times in Resurrection Ertugrul, but some notable examples include:
    • Titus, who sees himself fit as the master of the Templars because he’s well aware that his superior Petruchio doesn’t have the guts to actually lead his soldiers into battle or fight his foes face-to-face.
    • Kurdoglu, Suleyman Shah’s younger brother, who intends on forcefully snatching the chieftain’s position with support from Karatoygar and Petruchio. He does manage to take over the clan near the end of the season, but since his elder sibling isn’t dead yet, he only gets to remain the Bey for a short time.
    • Vasilius displays this attitude toward the Tekfur of Karacahisar, intending on murdering the official and using that power to launch a campaign to massacre the Kayis and other Muslim societies in the area once he gets the opportunity.
    • Aydogmus Bey sports a variation of this toward Gunalp Bey, fully intending on storming into the Kayi tribe while Gunalp isn’t around, though whether or not he truly intends on overthrowing his supervisor is never made clear.
    • In season 5, Dragos holds this attitude toward Tekfur Yannis. Tragically, the latter only begins to realize how vulnerable he is to Dragos once Lais (One of Dragos’ minions, posing as Yannis’ top official) proceeds to mortally strangle him, permitting Dragos to take ahold of the former Tekfur’s stronghold.
  • Smallville:
    • Brainiac. Unless you are Zod, working with him will end up with you getting backstabbed.
    • During season eight, Chloe successfully manages to stab Clark, Jimmy (her fiance and then husband), and villain Davis in the back almost simultaneously. Then in Season 9, she implements Orwellian measures against Clark's will, ostensibly to "protect Metropolis." This includes putting up cameras in Clark's house and casually mentioning that she spends large chunks of the day surfing through everyone in Metropolis's cell phone conversations.
    • Tess Mercer. By season nine, there's really no reason for anyone on any side to believe anything she says.
      Chloe: At this rate, you're gonna run out of people to betray.
      • She manages to go the entirety of Season 10 on the Face side of things without actively betraying anyone. The other characters are aware that she is this trope, though, because whenever something bad happens, they accuse her of turning on them.
    • Here's a fun game. Watch Smallville and have a drink every time someone is or is revealed to be lying to, manipulating, or downright betraying another character. Two drinks if their last name is "Luthor", "Teague", or "Lang".
  • Stargate, the Goa'uld in our galaxy, the Wraith in Pegasus.
    • For the Goa'uld, diplomacy between System Lords consists mostly of both sides trying to figure out how the other plans on betraying them. Any alliance lasts exactly as long as it's convenient, with each member waiting for the other to show a moment of weakness they can exploit. This is actually a side-effect of the sarcophagus technology they use to make their human hosts immortal. The Tok'Ra, who avoid using the tech, and act more like symbiotes than parasites to their hosts, get along with each other (and others) much better. They still seem to be secretive and paranoid by nature, though that might be due to being La Résistance.
    • The Wraith aren't quite as bad since they focus most of their attention on hunting and eating humans. But any time they try to work together, or with others, the hidden blades start coming out.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek's Mirror Universe is a living example of this trope. Officers assassinate their superiors to get ahead in the ranks. In The Original Series, the Mirror Universe's Pavel Chekov tries to do in Captain Kirk. Enterprise's two-parter Mirror Universe episode had plenty of this too, with Commander Archer betraying Captain Forrest and several of Archer's crew betraying him and each other in turn. Part of what's most amazing about the crew is that they still manage to work together even with some of the people who very cruelly betrayed them. The hideously scarred mirror Tucker, for instance, was still loyal to mirror Archer even after spending four hours in the Agony Booth for a crime he didn't commit and only being released when crew members loyal to Forrest retook the ship from Archer.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. There's a bunch of them on the station.
    • Garak (whom Dr. Bashir is constantly trying to decipher) and Quark, whose alliances change based on his own benefit. Quark's family often have to play the same games - which Quark approves. Dukat is another good example, as he is even trusted by his allies even after a third betrayal.
    • Most Cardassians that appear in the show are either in some kind involved with the Obsidian Order, or on the run from them, which makes Chronic Backstabbing appear like the Cardassians' hat.
  • Supernatural:
    • Every character that has ever interacted with Crowley has been subsequently backstabbed by him. It's a running trend no one seems to pick up on.
      Dean: See, here's the thing when dealing with Crowley – he will always find a way to bone you.
    • Castiel, of all characters, comes off as having a severe case of this. It's partly due to him being repeatedly brainwashed and partly due to him having a hard time with the 'free will' and 'doing the right thing' part of decision-making. Meta-wise, making Castiel an enemy or antagonist is a good reason for him to be unable to help the Winchesters.
    • Rowena, Crowley's mother, betrays and manipulates everyone just like her son. Including her son.
    • Metatron betrayed Castiel (after specifically getting chummy with him only in order to use him), and arguably betrayed the Winchesters beforehand by deliberately failing to inform them that their current project would kill one of them. He then proceeded to amass followers and betrayed a bunch of them by telling them he had a special, important job for them, which turned out to be going kamikaze by exploding themselves and claiming that Castiel told them to do it. He also arranged for Kevin's death, despite having healed him in a previous episode. He screwed Castiel over again the next season, and although it was blatantly obvious that he wasn't on Castiel's side at that point, the screwing over came right on the heels of repeatedly trying to convince Castiel that they could put the past behind them and be buddies.
    • Although a case of this ultimately working out in the good guys' favor: the angel Gadreel legitimately helps the Winchesters, then betrays them after becoming The Dragon to a new Big Bad, then gets uncomfortable with what the Big Bad's doing and betrays him, going back to helping the good guys.
  • The Thick of It is a satirical British Government Procedural, featuring government and opposition politicians, spin doctors, policy advisors, and civil servants all jockeying for position in Whitehall. It's rather like Game of Thrones but with much, much less honour.
  • Done when funny in Top Gear - the three presenters take it in turns to team up two-against-one, before someone invariably switches allegiance and starts making fun of their former ally.
  • Charles Brandon of The Tudors may count as this. Season One he allies with the Boleyn faction against Wolsey, Season Two with Cromwell, Chapuys, and the Seymours against the Boleyns, and in Season Three with the Seymours (and Francis Bryan, whose motive never was explained) against Cromwell. Season Four he's finally sick of plotting, but he really doesn't like the Seymours. Cromwell also could count as this. He owed his career to Wolsey but still refused to help him in his time of need. He also owed much of his later rise to Anne Boleyn but still frames her for adultery and treason. But, actually, the only one he's truly loyal to is Henry, who he never betrays. This does not save him.
  • Vintergatan: In At the End of the Milky Way, the Terrible Trio is seen with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, most egregiously Lennartsson, who badmouths The Professor to The Count behind the Professor's back, then does the same thing with The Count, causing them to mistrust one another and causing the two most prevalent of the Trio to fight amongst themselves.
  • Both Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and George Plantagenet, Duke of York, in the BBC/Starz series The White Queen. First, they join with George's brother Edward to overthrow King Henry VI and place Edward on the throne as Edward the IV. Then they betray Edward in an effort to place George on the throne in his place. Then, when that fails, they ally with Henry's wife, Queen Margaret, to put Henry back on the throne. Of course, George ends up siding with his brother Edward again, against Warwick and Margaret. Needless to say, George betrays his brother again later. All of this is Truth in Television, mind you.
  • The Wire:
    • Stringer Bell betrays three people, all of the main characters, and all of them considering him trustworthy. They are, in order, Wallace, D'Angelo (coming and going), and his blood brother Avon Motherfucking Barksdale. On top of that, Stringer frequently tries to cheat or set up the people he's bargaining with, regardless of whether they're enemies or people who supposed to be on his side.
    • Jimmy McNulty also tends to backstab his superiors constantly. Regardless of whether those superiors are Obstructive Bureaucrats like Rawls and Landsman or a genuine Reasonable Authority Figure like Daniels. As soon as they get in the way of what McNulty tries to do or thinks is the priority, he will work against and backstab them, regardless of how many good turns they've done him in the past.
  • Alex Krycek from The X-Files, easily. Good luck figuring out whose side he's on, and if (you think) he's on your side? Well, just don't turn your back to him.

  • In the Headstones Tiny Teddy the eponymous character is described as willing to sell out everyone, and he proves it by strapping timed explosives to his follower and sending him into the mansion belonging to the guy whose money he gambled and snorted away in an attempt to escape the debt.
  • Pink Floyd's song "Dogs", from Animals: "You have to be trusted/By the people that you lie to/So that, when they turn their backs on you/You'll get the chance to put the knife in."

  • This is a gameplay mechanic in Williams Electronics' Joust pinball; each time you completed a set of targets, you'd receive a set of points and reset your opponent's efforts to do the same.
  • HAL Laboratory's Roller Ball for the Nintendo Entertainment System features "Match Game", where two players compete on a symmetrical playfield. Hitting targets would transfer points from one player to another, and the game ends when one player's score is eliminated.
  • Tony from WHO dunnit has a recurring tendency to betray his business partners. At the start of the game, he's already eliminated Walter and Tex and is living comfortably on the high life as a result.

  • In The Adventure Zone, the party cuts a deal with a hostile goblin to murder his Bad Boss in exchange for a hostage. As soon as they're out of the goblin's earshot, they resolve to see if they can cut a better deal with his boss. Magnus and Taako also aren't above surreptitiously looting the corpses of Merle's family members behind his back.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • On a national and international promotional level, the NWA suffered from this to the point of ruination, with any member whose popularity had grown ending up leaving and competing against them. The major organizations that defected - there were many more minor ones - were the AWA, the WWWF, JCP, WCW, ECW, and TNA. Ironically, its international members who defect tend to be the ones who ended up being the most amicable about it, CMLL, All Japan and New Japan maintaining working relationships while Pro Wrestling Zero 1 came back.
  • Unlike his baby face predecessors, masked Dominican wrestler Astroman III was known for constantly changing sides, earning him the nickname "Betrayer".
  • Thanks to Shawn Michaels, its rare to find a successful tag team in the continental United States that doesn't break up for petty reasons and in fact has become more common for long-lasting tag teams to be formed out of rivals who have feuded with each other so long it has gotten old or have put aside their differences to show how much these particular tag team title belts are really worth.
  • Let's count the number of people Triple H had betrayed over the last 20 years. X-Pac, Billy Gunn, his own wife, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, Batista (attempted), Ric Flair, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins.
  • Bret Hart had this during his entire tenure with World Championship Wrestling, but especially in the first couple of years or so, where it seemed sometimes even the writers were confused as to whether he was a good guy or a bad guy at any given time. In late 1999, he got the biggest push of his WCW career, winning the World Heavyweight Title as a face— only to, within a month or so, turn on former partner and friend Goldberg and re-form the New World Order.
  • Carlito Colón has betrayed his own family multiple times, starting when he left WWC for OVW and claimed he had no brother, Ray González when they teamed up against La Artilleria Pesada (though Ray had betrayed Carly first), Ric Flair who he was seemingly becoming friends with after a spat, Torrie Wilson who he started seeing after Trish Stratus's retirement, Chris Masters in the Royal Rumble, "The Manager Of Champions" Rico Casanova for inadvertently costing him Ecuadoran War title belt and probably many more. Jim Ross started calling his finishing move, a lung blower/back cracker, "the backstabber".
  • Shawn Michaels was teaming up with John Cena to become a championship tag team. Given that they were slated to compete at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship, the team seemed shaky but HBK was determined to keep Cena at 100% for WrestleMania. Cena was consistently worried that HBK would turn on him as he had done with every single person and team he had ever worked with. Inevitably, yes, HBK turned on Cena. Shawn even lampshaded it during the 2013 Slammy Awards when he won the Double-Cross of the Year award, finding it strange that despite the number of times he's betrayed someone over his storied career, only three years after retirement does he actually win an award for it.
  • Starting with Kane's debut, Paul Bearer switched allegiances between him and The Undertaker for the rest of Bearer's time in WWE. It actually started when Bearer abandoned Undertaker for Mankind after six years of managing The Undertaker.
    • Much like his father Paul Bearer, Kane has his share of betrayals as well. The Undertaker is his prime victim as Taker puts up with him & always accepts him back more than anyone else. In 97, Kane is under command of Paul Bearer and wants revenge on Taker for killing their parents. They do everything to provoke him into a fight, and nothing works until Kane literally sets Taker on fire. They feud afterwards but iron out their differences until Taker betrays Kane at Judgement Day 98 during his Ministry period. This is the only time Taker betrayed Kane. All of their subsequent feuds were started by Kane.
      • During his Ministry period, Taker wanted Kane to join him but Kane was unwavering. Eventually Kane started gravitating toward Taker which caused friction with X-Pac, with whom he'd formed a bond. X-Pac demanded Kane chose between them and Taker said he'd never make Kane chose. With that, Kane joined Taker but eventually betrayed him with a chokeslam when he attacked X-Pac.
      • When Taker returned as The American Badass in 2000, he & Kane had a strained relationship, especially with both going after the WWF title. However, Taker did offer Kane advice before matches & watched out for him a bit. It came to an end when Kane chokeslamed him through the ring, injuring his ribs. Taker returned the following night to confront Kane who refused to give him an explanation. Kane went to leave the ring as Taker yelled at him and relented in frustration, but as soon as Taker's back was turned, Kane ambushed & brutalized him. They feud into Summerslam where Taker unmasked Kane causing him to run from the arena.
      • Eventually all is forgiven and they form a tag-team as The Brothers of Destruction in 2001 with their bond being stronger than ever. Though the brand split separated them, a small scene in 2002 showed they were still on good terms despite being on different brands. This ended in 2003 when Kane attacked Taker at Survivor Series and helped Vince bury him alive. Kane later says Taker had become too human & was a shell of his former self, a fake. This leads to their feud in 2004 when Taker returned as The Deadman once again and defeated Kane at Wrestlemania.
      • Once again by 2006, all was forgiven with Taker and Kane occasionally teaming up and helping each other until 2009 when Taker is put in a vegetated state from an unknown attacker that is revealed to be Kane. Once again, Kane says Taker is still weak and a shell of his old self whom he'd put out of his misery. It lead to another feud between the two when Taker returned in 2010. However, this would be their last feud before Taker's feud with HHH in 2011. Taker didn't interact with Kane until he showed on the 1000th episode of RAW in 2012 to help Kane fight off numerous attackers. Again, Taker has apparently forgiven Kane and the latter has not betrayed him since then.
  • Christian turned on every partner he's ever had, until AJ Styles & Tomko turned on him to join the Angle Alliance and Christian underwent a Heel–Face Turn, which carried over to his second WWE run. Lampshaded early in his TNA run, as Jeff Jarrett pointed out to Sting that Christian couldn't be trusted, and Christian retorted that Edge & Chris Jericho would vouch for his loyalty; before immediately remembering that he did betray them and remarking that calling them wouldn't be a good idea. Subverted at WrestleMania XXVII in a Meta Twist: everyone and their mother was expecting Christian to turn on Edge (who had been Those Two Guys all their careers) during the match with Alberto Del Rio and yet amazingly, this wasn't even hinted at during the match. Christian never turned and everyone was rather surprised and happy. When Edge retired days later to a legit injury, it meant that instead of having Edge's last match be a loss due to the betrayal of his best friend, it meant he went out and retired as the champ.
  • Paul Heyman, thanks to his I Fight for the Strongest Side mentality. To the point that CM Punk, the "best friend" he betrayed, started beating himself up for grabbing the Idiot Ball and not seeing it coming. Paul E. would sell out his own mother if he saw the writing on the wall, won't even deny it and will in fact gleefully scream it out for all to hear.
  • The Miz. He was tag team partners with John Morrison and then became one of his biggest rivals. He had Alex Riley as an apprentice but made another enemy after berating him too often. He formed a team with R-Truth in the latter part of 2011 only to turn on him before the year was over. Did the same thing with Kofi Kingston in 2013 after constant frustration due to losing his matches. If you want to join up with him, expect a Skull Crushing Finale in your future. Ironically, it was Big Show who turned on Miz to end their run as a tag team.
  • Matt Morgan in TNA, for a while. He turned on Abyss, he turned on Hernandez, he turned on Immortal... it took until 2012 for Crimson to turn on him. It seems only a matter of when he and Joey Ryan will break up.
  • In Puerto Rico's EWO, Sweet Nancy's red baron is "La Traidora". She openly admits to preferring to wrestle as a tecnica but states betrayal is the nature of pro wrestling and that she has no allies because of it (except perhaps Sensacional Carlitos, on account of marriage and all).
  • Paige has turned on every ally she's ever had. It was lampshaded on RAW when she asked the other Divas for help on taking on the Bella Twins. They rejected her on the grounds that she'd eventually turn on them. So she calls on NXT Divas Charlotte and Becky Lynch. She ended up turning on them when the former won the Divas Championship, apologized a few weeks later, then turned on them again the next night. Bottom line, if Paige asks you for help, run!

  • On many Internet roleplay sites, especially forum roleplaying, characters and even players can become infamous for being untrustworthy due precisely to this trope. Whether due to difficulty determining their characterization, or simply a desire to side with the strongest, this behavior is especially common among new role-players.
  • World of Dragonball: Souls, a longrunning DBZ Forum Roleplay, was home to a Saiyan character named Arias who became infamous for betraying quite literally every character she encountered save one after less than two months of existing. This eventually came back to bite her after a fourth heel-face-turn was rejected by numerous people on both sides, leading to conflict over who got to deal with the backstabbing Sayianess.
  • Darth Apparatus in The Gungan Council has betrayed every faction he's been a part of at least once in some way. Bonus points for people still wanting to be his ally at times.
  • Red from What Happened In Edmonton and What Happened In Oregon is a yandere who gets around, often by killing her previous love interests. Born and raised in Miami, she's backstabbed her way across America before making her way to Canada. Her level of involvement in the deaths of numerous High Epics has varied from watching potentially deadly encounters go down, such as in the case of Nighthound to using her powers to choke Crimson and Gem from inside their stomach when she feels they've disappointed her.
  • Cale from Darwin's Soldiers has played for more factions than any other character. At different times, he's sided with the Psi-Experiments, Terrorists, Counter-terrorists, Anti-Dragonstorm, Dragonstorm, and Dragonstorm Experiments. In the end, he abandons all factions and runs away to become a civilian.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Expected in the game for adventuring parties that aren't that experienced. It often takes new players some time to realize that betraying their comrades is not a good idea. Thieves, in particular, are always expected to back-stab or steal from the rest of their party.
    • This is one of the reasons why good and evil characters don't play well together. At least, if the evil character is the type to murder the other characters in their sleep at the first opportunity.
    • True Neutral people in the old AD&D were described as switching sides to whichever one was weakest, to preserve the "balance" between good and evil. This was dropped in later editions, due to being insane.
    • Like the Skaven, the drow live underground, keep slaves, and betray anyone whose death would provide the slightest benefit. Their goddess, Lolth, encourages this behavior. It's gotten to the point where in some of the Forgotten Realms novels, the Running Gag is that a drow found dead with a knife in her back is considered to have died of natural causes. Some portrayals tone this down, pointing out that just because they're Always Chaotic Evil doesn't mean that they're always Chaotic Stupid.
    • Felix from the Ravenloft adventure "Neither Man Nor Beast" betrays his creator, the feline beast-man rebels, the loyalist beast-men, and the player characters, some of them repeatedly.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
  • Diplomacy can be a bit of a subversion. The player who stabs at every chance quickly finds himself friendless and doomed. Skilled players know that a long-term alliance is one of the most valuable things you can have, and only stab when doing so is necessary for survival or likely to win the game.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • While all the Chaos Gods from Warhammer, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 habitually engage in betrayal and backstabbing of their brothers, Tzeentch is the most prolific of the four being the god of byzantine plots and intrigue. The followers of the Changer of the Ways follow their master’s lead, spending as much time and effort conspiring against each other almost as much as they do against their enemies so that they can rise through the ranks and secure the favour of Tzeentch. All of which is part of Tzeentch’s greater plan.
    • Warhammer specific examples:
      • The Skaven consider Chronic Backstabbing Disorder to be a desirable way of life and those who know of their existence believe this is the only reason they haven't taken over the whole Warhammer world.
      • Hobgoblins backstab everyone they interact with, to such a degree that they are evolving a bony plate in their most stabbable area. Even Goblins, who will cheerfully rob, swindle, betray and even eat each other in a pinch, consider the Hobgoblins to be despicable backstabbers and refuse to associate with them even on the battlefield.
      • The Dark Elves are also big fans of this. The only reason Malekith is still in charge is because he's strong enough to make any traitors dearly regret their decision.
    • Warhammer 40,000 specific examples:
      • The Dark Eldar are quite fond of betraying each other and are probably a greater threat to each other as they are to their actual enemies.
      • Kharn the Betrayer got his nickname from an incident where even his fellow World Eaters thought it was too cold to fight. Enraged at this lack of moral fibre, he grabbed a flamer and started setting fire to friend and foe alike. Due to being a servant of the Blood God Khorne (who cares not whence the blood flows, so long as it flows free) he has a rule where missing in close combat hits someone on his side. What a swell guy.
      • The C'tan known as the Deceiver is another master of this - he constantly switched sides during the war between the C'tan and the Old Ones, and when neither side would trust him, he started using disguises. According to the Necron Codex, the mistrust sown between the various races serving the Old Ones by the Deceiver's machinations probably did more for the C'tan war effort than the efforts of the other three remaining C'tan combined.
  • Paranoia: Backstabbing your fellow players is the point of the game, to the point that the sourcebook implies that if the game doesn't devolve into a volley of laserfire, the GM and players are doing it wrong.
  • Munchkin is based on the trope, so much so that the phrase is part of the tagline. You'll help them with one difficult fight, then do everything in your power to see that they lose the next one. Gets particularly nasty towards the end of a game, when players will frequently form alliances to stop someone from winning, then immediately side with that person against their former allies. It's all Rule of Fun and Rule of Funny, though, so hopefully, it won't be played by anyone who holds grudges. The name comes from the Player Archetype The Munchkin which is often prone to this due to their goal of trying to win games that aren't supposed to be competitive.
  • In Nomine:
    • Malphas (Demon Prince of Factions) is assigned with creating divisions in society, from mere distrust to full Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Not surprisingly, he instigates so much backstabbing in Hell (both by himself and by making others paranoid enough to do it) that it's amazing that he hasn't betrayed Lucifer (yet).
    • A supplement to the French game In Nomine was based on introduces the secret A.P.H.T.E. organisation, Malphas' pet project. Truly amoral, this organisation can be hired by anyone, including humans, to ruin anyone else's life. The canon operative? Monica Lewinsky.
  • The Ebon Dragon, in Exalted, is essentially the cosmic principle of selfishness, deception, betrayal, and general jackassery. He doesn't even need a reason to betray one of his "allies"; he'll do it just to spite them. He is the reason you can't have nice things. He doesn't just betray his allies, he betrays himself. He's only crafted one jouten (physical body — most Yozi have multiple different bodies, often operating simultaneously) because he knows that if he crafts any more, they'll try to turn on him. Even then, he still manages to screw himself by constructing plots that screw 'the Yozi' as a group without constructing any exemptions for himself into them. Sometimes. He's actually rather inconsistent about it, which the writers tend to describe as him 'keeping himself guessing'. The Ebon Dragon has plans to break out of Hell. He's aligned with his fellow kings of Hell to get out but plans to close the gate on them once he's out if he can help it. However, it's said that, should he pull this off, his own component souls will fight to keep some part of him trapped in Hell, because he can't help but betray himself on the most fundamental level.
  • Steve Jackson tends to love this in various games, especially:
  • Kindred of the East who follow the Dharma of the Thousand Whispers, which upholds the principle of balance through diversity, are known for this, since to maintain their Dharma they have to see life from different perspectives, for example by changing identities at the drop of a hat. Those who do not understand the Dharma are generally under the impression that there should be some kind of continuity of self from identity to identity, but more experienced Kuei-Jin point out that such continuity would be missing the point of the Dharma.
    • Vampires in general seem to have this as their species-wide hat. After all, the happiest vampire in the world is the last one.
  • Mage: The Ascension: The Nephandi don't really have it much easier, though it's kind of justified, given that they're an order of total dicks and Evil Sorcerers.
  • The Seers of the Throne have institutionalized CBD. Every member of the order is looking to usurp and replace their superior, the guys at the top (the Ministers and tetrarchs) are looking to Ascend and join the Exarchs, and the Exarchs are looking to outmaneuver and gain power over each other. It honestly is a wonder they manage to get anything done.
  • Anyone who forms a pact with the demon lord of betrayal is kind of obligated to act this way in The Dark Eye. Even if they don't want to...
  • Though the stories paint them as justified (in a sort of "We're backstabbing you because you backstabbed us" counter-betrayal way), BattleTech's Gray Death Legion eventually gains a reputation with the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission as this, having a long, demonstrated history of attacking their employer's forces, even when they do so to stop rebellions and bring down rogue generals. In short, they have a history of doing the morally right things by doing legally wrong things.
    • Duke Michael Hasek Davion, also from the same setting, is this. He has in some form or another repeatedly betrayed his liege lord Prince Hanse Davion by collaborating with the leader of an enemy Successor State. He also betrays Chancellor Maximilian Liao, the aforementioned enemy leader, by feeding him false information about his own strength so as to take advantage of Liao's trust when the opportunity presents itself. This proves to be his undoing when Hanse plays his Magnificent Bastard card and manages to triple-cross both Michael and Maximilian in one fell swoop, whereupon Michael is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves by the displeased Chancellor after his double-treachery is discovered.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG:
    • Some of the Archfiends have effects that destroy other Archfiends when summoned. This is usually a good thing since they have effects that activate when they get destroyed, but it still means your monsters will keep killing each other before turning their attention to the opponent.
    • There's also the Mark of the Rose card, which forces the equipping monster to switch sides every turn so that it serves whoever's turn it is at the moment.
  • The Systems Malfunction universe practically runs on this trope, along with a heaping helping of Gambit Pileup. Naturally, the tabletop setting guide to this universe encourages this amongst players.
  • Shadowrun: Putting aside the number of times the Player Characters are liable to end up on both sides of this trope, lorewise Richard Villiers, former CEO of Fuchi Industrial, Novatech and NeoNET, is renowned for his ability and tendency to pull the plug and move on. He was instrumental in placing a Reverse Mole inside Fuchi's major competitor Renraku, and later successfully destroyed Fuchi in order to put Novatech in its place on the Corporate Court.


  • From BIONICLE:
    Vezon:It's all a trick, you see. They want me to pretend to betray them. They want you to concentrate your forces here against an attack that won't come. But I decided: Why pretend to betray them when actually doing it would be so much more fun?
    • The Piraka, since they double-crossed each other several times in the 2006 storyline.
    • Roodaka, especially because she betrayed BOTH SIDES in the Makuta/Dark Hunters war. Her name has actually become Matoran slang for betrayal.
    • The Makuta. Teridax and his followers betrayed Miserix and took over, Icarax teamed up with Krika to do the same against old Terry, (arguably, Icarax was probably going to kill Krika, or vice versa, seeing as they had different views), and then Teridax betrayed his remaining followers upon taking over Mata Nui's body to prevent any of them from getting ideas about betraying him.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed III Benjamin Church to the point where Shaun, in his database entry he even said that he wouldn't be surprised if Church betrayed himself. By the time we get to go after him, he's betrayed and left the Templars (whom saved him from being butchered early in the game) and betrayed the Patriots twice. The first betrayal in that list was so bad that Haytham personally searched for Church, decided to enter an Enemy Mine situation with Connor, and when he finally catches him, he beats the living shit out of him. When Connor steps in and tries to interrogate him, Church just grins and says "Go to hell" before getting stabbed.
    • The street gang bruisers in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate come down with this when the DLC is included. First, many of them belonged to the Templar's gang, the Blighters. Then Jacob Frye recruited them for his Assassin-based gang, the Rooks. In the Jack the Ripper story, they start working for Jack himself who, in fairness, was also an Assassin and one of Jacob's initiates so they were more of a Renegade Splinter Faction then a true turn. Then in the second Syndicate extra story they are back to the orthodox Assassins Brotherhood by working under Jacob's granddaughter, Lydia Frye.
  • Baldur's Gate II:
    • The player character himself can do this: A silver dragon asks you to retrieve her eggs from a drow city. The drow want to feed the eggs to a lesser demon lord. The daughter of the Evil Matriarch wants to betray her mother, so she asks you to switch the eggs for fake ones. Her Defector from Decadence lieutenant offers another double-cross, by providing a SECOND set of fake eggs. So you can now give the Evil Matriarch the fake eggs (making the demon lord kill her for a double-cross), give the daughter the other fake eggs (making the demon lord kill her too for a triple-cross), and then finally as a Moment of Awesome you can betray the dragon and hand the real eggs over to the demon lord yourself for a quadruple-cross. Or you can give the eggs to the dragon, then kill the dragon and take its blood for use in a later side-quest. Kill the lieutenant too and nobody gets what they want except for you!
    • Saemon Havarian first appears as a captain hired to take you to Spellhold, where it turns out he was actually in the employ of Irenicus all along and had doped your meals on board for an easy capture. He then betrays Irenicus, helps you to boot him out of Spellhold, and offers you a ride back to the mainland. As it turns out, his ship has 'tragically' been stolen in the meantime without his knowledge, so he obtains your services to steal him a new one and rewards you with a Githyanki Silver Sword... Then, when the Gith show up to claim it, he abandons you to them! You also encounter him in ToB, where as soon as he sees you he tricks some local thugs into attacking you to get himself off the hook. Finally, he shows up to offer to show you a hidden backdoor into the Big Bad's lair... Which has an ambush outside of it, ready to take you prisoner. Unfortunately for the ambushers they had instructed him to dope you again so they can take you without a fight and he didn't, making it a double-cross of both ambusher and ambushee at the same time.
  • Elibian Nights has Erik. In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, he had attempted to betray Eliwood and Hector in order to kill them and unify Lycia under his father's rule. Come Hector becoming the ruler of Lycia, Erik joins with Dawson and Yorick's rebellion against him... only to switch sides mid-fight, because he realizes staying with the rebellion will cause him to lose whatever chance he had left to rule Lycia himself. Of course, nothing is stopping Hector from just killing him.
  • Kain Highwind of Final Fantasy IV. It was at least partially mind control, though.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, Chronic Backstabbing Disorder has apparently become a pandemic. One character in particular (Delita Hyral) is arguably the reigning king of this trope. As the game goes on it becomes practically expected of him to stab whoever he appears with. And he is one of the good guys. Well, for a certain value of good guy at least.
  • In the Fire Emblem games Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, Naesala betrays everyone several times over, to the point that the habit is hilariously lampshaded when another character exclaims "Naesala betrayed us? Again?" He did have an excuse, though, as we learn in Radiant Dawn.
  • Alex of Golden Sun (2001) suffers from a severe case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, which is made all the more confusing because of the ambiguity over which side is "good" and which is "evil."
  • Guns, Gore & Cannoli has Frankie. Vinnie, the mob bosses, the scientist who created the zombie plague, the Nazis in the sequel...nobody is safe from this guy!
  • Metal Gear:
    • Revolver Ocelot is the master of this trope, and — via a parody series — the Trope Namer. In almost every game, he's pulling a Fake Defector from one nefarious organization to another, sometimes through multiple fronts. The only man he is unquestionably loyal to is Big Boss.
      • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots reveals Ocelot was, in a weird sort of way, on Solid Snake's side the whole time, though his role in forming the Patriots in the first place classifies him firmly as Anti-Hero rather than Hero.
      • In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, despite not appearing, the backstory revealed he'd pulled the hitherto unprecedented feat of backstabbing his own mother before he was born.
    • The only other person who backstabs as much as Ocelot and gets away with it is Naomi Hunter. She pulls several in Metal Gear Solid, and in Metal Gear Solid 4 she betrays the good guys and the bad guys multiple times, confusing everyone. Her eventual goals were mostly good, but man. Did the ends really justify the crazy roundabout means?
    • The Patriots as an organization qualify as well, since they usually manipulate people into acting in accordance to their will (even feeding some people ambitions to betray them in order to carry out exactly what was intended all along). They even out-backstabbed Ocelot, as they deliberately kept some information about the S3 Plan from him. Given his role in founding the group, he may have deduced their true intentions anyway.
    • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Technical Pacifist engineer "Huey" Emmerich goes from a Generation Xerox of his Nice Guy son Hal/"Otacon" to securing himself a place in XOF by helping them destroy the MSF base. When Huey learns that the Diamond Dogs are out to avenge that betrayal and Skull Face is questioning his relevance, he defects to Mother Base, only to eventually lash out against their (understandable) disdain for him and recapture XOF's support by mutating a strain of vocal cord parasites. The Diamond Dogs try Huey in a Kangaroo Court (albeit one where it wasn't that hard for them to prove he really is guilty) and exile him from Mother Base for planning to use his young son as a pilot for his battle mech...then murdering his wife when she refused to comply. Years later, Huey's suicide nearly becomes one final horrible backstab, as he attempts to drag his stepdaughter into the pool to drown with him.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • All the Player Character in the games have this as an organizing principle, the usual storyline has a formula of infiltrating a criminal organization or group, starting a series of mission chains which ends with killing the person who gave you that mission, and later, rinse, repeat until eventually you are on top. Of course there's a set of True Companions you are not invited to betray and can't hurt but by and large you don't progress by being loyal.
    • Grand Theft Auto 2: In order to complete all missions, you will have to eventually start killing members of a previously friendly gang to get their rival to offer you jobs. Once all missions from all gangs in an area are completed, the gangs catch on and all their leaders will be out to get you. Note that the other way is to simply accumulate enough money where you'll be shown the way to escape the city.
    • Grand Theft Auto III: Claude is prepared and often encouraged to assassinate his allies if another client pays more. Examples include the mostly-justified killing of Salvatore Leone, the Yardie-sponsored shooting of former allies among the Diablos, the drive-by shooting of Kenji Kasen. All of this is all in the name of tracking down Catalina, who has a few backstabbing issues of her own.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Frank Tenpenny has a raging case of the syndrome. The only character he doesn't screw over (often fatally) by the end of the game is Big Smoke, and then probably only because he hadn't yet outlived his usefulness.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV: Dimitri Rascalov backstabs every alliance he makes throughout the course of the game, regardless of what outcomes are chosen. At the start of the game he sells Niko Bellic out to a debt collector after convincing Niko to kill his boss Faustin. He is behind the diamond theft from the Chasid Mafia, and he doesn't change at the end of the game, without revealing any spoilers.
    • Grand Theft Auto V: Michael who would do anything to fulfill whatever selfish desire he had at the time. He betrays his friends to be with his family by faking his death. Years afterwards, he cheats on his wife and altogether ignores his entire family, even though he later attempts to patch things up in his own way... which gets complicated. If Ending A is chosen, he helps Franklin kill Trevor. If Ending B is chosen, Michael gets betrayed by Franklin and gets killed by him. And in Ending C, Michael can shake off this tendency and join the other protagonists for a truly epic showdown with their enemies once and for all.
  • Sly Cooper:
    • In Sly 2: Band of Thieves, Constable Neyla betrays every side in the game, from the Cooper gang to the previous Big Bad (even lampshading it afterwards), before merging with Clockwerk. She meets her end when Carmelita, whom she framed and stole her job from earlier, destroys the hate chip that's fueled Clockwerk for thousands of years.
    • Penelope in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a more shocking case, being that she sells the Cooper Gang out to LeParadox because she thinks Bentley is being held back from his full potential by Sly and Murray, and Penelope wants his skills to become rich, but also intends to backstab LeParadox when she's done using him, being too stupid to realize she's actually his puppet who can be disposed of in a heartbeat. Both sides abandon her when she's caught or outlived her usefulness, and unlike Neyla, Penelope remains alive somewhere, now a disgraced lowlife with no friends.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • It's standard for any villainous character's ending to involve them killing the Big Bad and taking his place. In Deadly Alliance there are two big bads; both having displayed CBD for the entirety of their appearances. Guess what happens in their endings.
    • Tanya is a known sufferer, who's known to either betray or intending to betray every master she works for. Tanya is a bit more committed in Mortal Kombat X and seems to be on good terms with her boss, Mileena (who is promising that once crowned empress again, she will allow Edenia to return to being a separate realm instead of being tied to Outworld). However her usual tendencies still exist as in her Arcade Tower ending she turns Rain over to Kotal Kahn in order to gain mercy and be spared, which she then uses to plot her next move whilst serving Kotal Kahn.
    • Rain himself is pretty bad about it too, stabbing his allies in the back in order to gain recognition and power. Even after the Reset Button he's still up to his old antics. His Arcade Ladder ending in Mortal Kombat 9 has him betray Shao Kahn for not giving him an army but then turn around and used the army he took from Shao Kahn to overthrow Earthrealm, where Raiden was grateful for his suppression of Outworld. In Mortal Kombat X he gave Mileena the idea to steal Shinnok's amulet but is only doing it because he knows that whenever she uses it, it will drain her of life. Once the amulet completely kills her, he will step in and finish the job, making himself the emperor of Outworld in the process.
    • D'Vorah is no stranger to this in Mortal Kombat X, as she was initially The Lancer to Outworld's new ruler, Kotal Kahn, who took over the realm after overthrowing Mileena. She was actually The Mole and Evil Genius for Quan Chi, who entrusted her to get Shinnok's prized amulet, thus making her a Dragon with an Agenda. And her arcade ending reveals that she even kills Shinnok and steals his power for her own gain by using his corpse as a living incubator for her larvae (turning them into Kytinn-God hybrids loyal to her) and elevate herself as the true queen of Kytinn, obliterating other realms in doing so. This shows that her loyalties lies to no one but herself.
    • However, none compare to the original Big Bad of the first game, Shang Tsung. To sum up how treacherous he is, in the Mortal Kombat 11 DLC Aftermath, literally everyone's first reaction to hearing that Shang Tsung is aiding the fight against Kronika is disbelief and mistrust. It's so bad, that Kronika even calls him out on it when he backstabs Sheeva, Kitana, Raiden, Fujin, Shao Kahn, and Sindel in rapid succession. And then it turns out that Liu Kang was so cock sure that Shang Tsung that he'd fall into this that he actually anticipated this without fault and actually lied to him about being trapped at the beginning of time before he challenges him to one last fight. Needless to say, only a complete idiot would legitimately trust Shang Tsung. Oh, and by the way, he was one of said Big Bads in Deadly Alliance.
  • In StarCraft: Brood War, Kerrigan or her lieutenant, Duran successfully betrays every major organization in the game. She gets away with it because her later targets are out of contact with her earlier targets. There isn't a single moment in the entire expansion campaign when the player isn't somehow furthering her goals. Duran was never even working for Kerrigan, either.
  • In Shiren the Wanderer for the Wii, people are betraying each other all the time. The character named Sensei is supposedly your uncle/mentor, then joins a hulking bandit leader and tries to kill you. He later rejoins you casually. Asuka rescues you, later fights you for like five seconds (still having access to the Bag of Sharing) because she worries you will accidentally destroy the world. She joins you again when you defeat her.
  • The plot of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is Nate and brother Sam finding Libertalia, the legendary "pirate utopia" founded by Henry Avery and a set of major pirate captains. It was intended to share their loot and rule without the rules of society. When Nate and Sam find it, the place is a total ruin with obvious signs of some massive battle. It turns out that a society led by pirates, people whose sole goal in life is robbery and hoarding wealth, was doomed from the start. It didn't take long for the pirate kings to fight for the treasure so Avery and Thomas Tew got them all together to make peace over a dinner...and poisioned the entire bunch so they could have the treasure for themselves. Then, when the populace rises up in revolt, Tews stabs Avery in the back to try and get the treasure himself only for Avery to end up killing him and the entire "pirate utopia" became a mass graveyard.
  • Final Fantasy XII, oh my! Among various other political machinations, House Solidor (the Archadean Emperor's family) all seem to have this. The implied background is that the eldest two sons, possibly on separate occasions, plotted against Emperor Gramis, who had the third son, Vayne, kill them. During the game, Gramis plots against Vayne, correctly predicting that Larsa, the youngest son, would make for a better and more stable Emperor. At the same time, The Senate is trying to seize power from House Solidor, particularly fearful that Vayne will take the throne. At the same time, Vayne plots against Gramis, The Senate, and Larsa, framing the Senate for Gramis' murder, so that he can take the throne before Larsa can. As the plot goes on, Larsa plots against the Archadian war, making contacts with rival and conquered countries to make peace. In the climax, the brothers actively raise their swords against one another.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Kratos and Yuan go from helping you to backstabbing you to helping you to backstabbing you, back and forth constantly. There's also Zelos, who is playing several of the factions of the game up against each other so he can join whoever's the winning side, but does so considerably more subtly.
    • Tales of Xillia has Alvin, who repeatedly betrays both the party and the antagonists. The party always lets him come back, but the trust between them has some serious dents left in it. He, of course, has his reasons, but by the fifth or sixth betrayal, it all gets kinda silly.
  • Axel in the Kingdom Hearts series has this problem. He is part of an alliance with Marluxia and Larxene to take over the Organization... but he betrays them because he's actually The Mole. Zexion and Vexen oppose Marluxia and Larxene's plan, so Axel should be aligned with them, right? Nope, kills them both. Turns out Axel's working with Saix and the two of them want to take over the group themselves, killing other traitor factions and loyalists that would get in their way. But then Axel becomes friends with Roxas and Xion, and leaves Saix behind. And then he (semi-accidentally) betrays them too!
    • Organization XIII in general has this problem. Almost all of them has had some scheme going at one point or another. In fact, it's the reason they ended up The Soulless to begin with. Exceptions are Demyx, who just wants to play his sitar; Luxord, who just wants to play poker with Marluxia; and Roxas, who just wants to eat ice cream with Axel and Xion— (apparently enough to try to take down Riku and the entire Organization just to have a chance to revive Xion).
    • Topped by the reveal in 3D that Xemnas, their LEADER, and Xigbar and Saix (the second in command) betrayed the entire organization by lying to them from the BEGINNING about the Organization's goals. As Saix gave Axel the orders to kill the Co M Crew, that means that Saix betrayed HIM.
  • Knights of the Old Republic features this in both games, this being attributed to how easily enticing the Darkside is.
    • In the first Bastila falls to the darkside after being captured by Malak, despite the fact you could have easily defeated him at the point of capture, and in the second Kreia reveals herself as Darth Traya, who has been manipulating you from the start.
      • Kreia actually has a philosophy on betrayals, seeing such things as necessary!
      • In both, you get the chance to betray everyone, from small families on Dantooine to your True Companions.
    • In the first game, the "GenoHaradan" missions. Hulas, the Rodian who gives you all the missions, gives you a final four missions to kill 'criminals', later revealed to be other "Genoharadan" leaders he has hired you to kill so he can assume sole power. Then he betrays you, but has the pleasant gentlemanly nature to set a time and place on Tatooine, although he tells you to come alone while he brings a small gang.
    • Also in the first game, while infiltrating a Sith training academy, the academy master's apprentice knows that her master is planning to kill her, and asks you to help her when the time comes. You can then tell the master, who will tell you to play along but turn on the apprentice when the time comes. You can tell the apprentice about this, and she will ask you to play along but, again, support her when the time comes. Whichever one you choose at the showdown will naturally try to kill you immediately afterwards.
      • You can thwart the apprentice from killing you by appealing to the bit of lightside still in her: You can later find her at the Dantooine academy if you do.
      • Even better, when the time comes to do the betraying, you can betray them both and kill them. Honestly you could say the entire planet of Korriban is this trope.
  • Deconstructed in Star Wars: The Old Republic where the Empire (with all the infrastructure and political stability of a third-world Banana Republic crossed with 1600's Italy) stockpiled and invaded the Republic (who were caught with their pants down because Revan and Exile were idiots charging into an obvious trap and made no provision to warn the Republic these guys still existed). As long as they had the Republic to fight, they were fine. Once the Treaty of Coruscant was signed, the Sith predictably started passing the time backstabbing each other with everyone else from the military, the intelligence service, and even low-level officials trying to undermine each other while individual Sith occasionally splinter off into their own fiefs. Out of the four Imperial player classes, only the Bounty Hunter is actually fighting a Republic target for their Final Boss, and the Hunter can actually choose to make a Heel–Face Turn and kill the Darth hiring them instead! Even Darth Malgus and the Dread Masters that Imperial players free on Belsalvis decide to start their own empires and wage war on both factions. The Republic, inefficient as it can be, stands united. By the time the Makeb storyline rolls around, Darth Marr is telling Imperial players that the lack of experienced Sith, officers, and officials, along with their military losses and lack of infrastructure, have pretty much left the Empire screwed.
  • In one of the Dynasty Warriors games where one is allowed to create a custom character, the player can do quite a bit of this. Often one of the other two kingdoms' strategists will send you a letter asking you to defect to their side. Notably, this can happen repeatedly, and you can keep defecting as many times as you receive offers. Do this enough, and your character will gain the title of "The Hidden Blade," with a well deserved reputation for being reliably untrustworthy.
    • Also, see the section on Lu Bu in the Literature examples.
    • Similar to main games, Dynasty Warriors Online allows you to do this, but it's never called betrayal even by the game. You have a faction that you are part of for the game, you are assigned a general who gives you your pay and rank missions. If you go to a specific general each day and collect 2 months worth of stamps, you can get one stamp per day on a character, you can "reincarnate" and go to a different faction mid-war. You are treated as a new warrior to them rather than as a traitor to your old faction. if you made a habit of this you could probably go 4 different times per scenario. You don't get anything for doing this, though.
  • The Betrayal game mode from Unreal Tournament III's Titan Pack is basically CBD: The Game. It's an Instagib-based gametype where your only weapon is a Shock Rifle whose two modes kill enemies and teammates respectively. Since the fraglimits tend to be high and the two most effective methods of garnering points is through backstabbing your teammates and gunning down said backstabbers repeatedly, playing Betrayal is looking over your shoulder for teammates as well as enemies. Successful betrayals are also tallied up against your name on the scoreboard, and next to your name on the team roster, so everyone can see how much of a bastard you've been.
  • In Mass Effect, the krogan are a species whose homeworld bred them to be brutal, vicious, and straightforward, to the point that not only is treachery the norm, it's expected and understood. Having a "krannt" - a team of warriors who are loyal enough to you that they won't shoot you in the back - is a sign of a great leader.
    • Shepard can become one of the kings/queens of this by the events of Mass Effect 3. You can backstab Samara, replacing her with her psycho daughter Morinth. Later, you can backstab/defy Cerberus and the Illusive Man by destroying the Collector base. Then you can backstab the entire krogan species by sabotaging the genophage cure, which also involves backstabbing and killing both Wrex and Mordin, if they're both alive at this point. Then you can (and perhaps will be forced to) backstab either the geth or the quarians. Yes, Mass Effect 3 lets Shepard potentially betray and kill a species.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • It is quite possible to have this general in the series, depending on how you choose to play. Whenever it may tickle your fancy, you can sneak up behind the guy giving you your quest and backstab him. To death.
    • Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots (encompassing Deceit, Conspiracy, Murder, Assassination, Treason, Unlawful Overthrow of Authority, Betrayal...) is essentially the embodiment of this trope. He (sometimes "she") exists to cause and exacerbate this condition in mortals, and he is not above pulling this himself the moment his followers outlive their usefulness or simply because he is bored. Most of his quests throughout the series involve pulling this in one way or another. In Skyrim, Boethiah requires that you bring and sacrifice a follower (someone who trusts you) at her shrine in order to even summon her to receive her quest. (And that quest has you killing her other followers and then hunting down her "unworthy" former champion.)
    • Xivilai are a massive and powerful form of lesser Daedra. Xivilai are noted for their strong tendency toward betrayal in addition to their strong hatred of subordination.
    • Morrowind features the Dunmeri Great House Hlaalu. Being focused on mercantilism and trade, Corrupt Corporate Executive types thrive as members. You can even join in on this if you become a member. One quest in particular has you tasked with killing the Kwama Queen of an egg mine belonging to the rival of the quest giver, who is another member of House Hlaalu. You can extort the rival out of thousands of gold with the promise not to kill the queen...then kill it anyway for the maximum reward. Even among the Councilor ranks, murder and assassination are perfectly acceptable methods of improving your standing.
    • Within the plot of Oblivion, there's a lot of backstabbing going on (literal and figurative). It gets downright ridiculous after a while, to the point that you can almost guarantee someone is going to backstab someone else or turn out to be a double agent before any given mission is over.
    • In Skyrim, the Daedric quest of Mephala (a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals" but who is associated manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets) is to recover and recharge her artifact: the Ebony Blade. In order to restore it to its full power, you need to use it to kill people who trust you, which primarily means you'll be backstabbing people you've completed quests for.
  • Benny in Fallout: New Vegas betrays everyone he can. First (that we know of) he betrayed Emily Ortel by not giving her anything like she promised for programming Yes Man, who is in turn just an instrument to complete his betrayal of Mr.House. Then he betrayed the Great Khans he had hired to help him kill the Courier, by slinking off just before they got cornered in an ambush. When you meat him at The Tops you have the option of talking to him in his room, and depending on how you handle things will either not show up in the room and sick some goons on you, or will make a very reasonable deal with you to give you a cut of the profits from his scheme to take over New Vegas, so long as you become his errand boy slash girl. However, when you report to work to do some fetch quests, you find he has run off. Dummied Out dialogue reveals he would have tried to kill you again after you saved him at the Legion camp.
    • The Courier can also engage in chronic backstabbing; helping the Powder Gangers wipe out Goodsprings, then betraying them to the NCR, then switching sides to the Legion in the second act, bombing the Monorail and wiping out Camp Forlorn Hope, followed by upgrading the Securitrons and having the Khans break their alliance with the Legion, killing Caesar, and finally offing Mr. House and installing Yes Man in the Lucky 38, proceeding to a chaotic independent Vegas.
    • Every deal made by Caesar's Legion is done in bad faith. The Legion doesn't have allies, just prospective slaves and enemies. Nipton falls to this, Ulysses' Tribe fell victim to this, the White Legs fell victim to this, and potentially the Great Khans can fall to this unless you find some way to cancel their alliance with the Legion. Allying with the NCR in the end-game and setting up alliances with all the minor factions of the Mojave creates a beautiful Aesop: no matter how powerful, numerous or ruthless you are, you can't win if you alienate everyone else to the point where they gang up on you.
    • Similarly, Fallout 3 has multiple backstabbing opportunities, such as helping Mr. Burke nuke Megaton, then turning Roy Philips and his fellow feral ghouls loose on Tenpenny Tower; rescuing the Big Town captives from the Super Mutants only to sell Red into slavery immediately after; rescuing the Little Lamplight residents from Paradise Falls followed by enslaving Bumble; self-destructing President Eden and Raven Rock but infecting Project Purity with the Modified FEV anyway; and finally, capturing Adams Air Force Base from the Enclave followed by calling an orbital strike on the Brotherhood of Steel's Citadel.
  • You get plenty of opportunities to be a backstabbing bastard in Dragon Age: Origins. You can betray Wynne in the "Broken Circle" Quest by agreeing with Cullen to purge the Tower, you can betray Kolghrim either by refusing to poison Andraste's Ashes with dragon blood or by poisoning the ashes to get the "Reaver" specialization then kill him afterwards, you can betray Zathrien or Witherfang at the climax of the "Nature of the Beast" Quest, you can betray Ignatio by deciding to kill him after completing the assassination's a long list. All of these pale in comparison to the "A Paragon of Her Kind" Quest. If you play it a certain way both candidates for the throne will be confident that you will support him. You're free to choose whoever you want. If you've been performing tasks for one candidate there's nothing stopping you from picking his rival in the end.
    • Queen Anora can also do this to you twice! Once when you rescue her in Arl Howe's estate when you tell Sir Caulthren that you're here to rescue her and twice in the Landsmeet if you don't agree to get her to the throne. You can also backstab her if you're a female Human Noble who's romancing Alister by promising to support Queen Anora for the throne to gain her support, then turning around and pushing the idea of making Alister king with YOU as queen instead of Anora at the Landsmeet.
  • This is essentially the goal of DEFCON, especially on the diplomacy game mode. Six players control shares of the world's supply of nuclear weapons, an on-screen timer lets you know when you can use them, you all start on the same team, and only one person can come first. You can be almost certain that at some point in the game every player will try to court every other player for an alliance, and every player will at some point attack every other player regardless of their past usefulness and / or loyalty.
  • Not an installment of the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series without someone trying to betray either the Nod player or Kane. Its become tradition to expect at least one Starscream to rear their head during the Nod campaigns.
  • The Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series' Soviet Union seems to live off of this. Indeed, it was originally planned that in the Soviet campaign of RA1 that a fight would break out between Stalin and Zelenkov, and that a gun would get knocked to you - allowing you to decide who you were to betray. Instead, Zelenkov kills Stalin, and then is killed by the nameless guy who has been in the background of all the Soviet cutscenes... Kane. That's right, Nod is so afflicted with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder that their members betray people in games they're not even canonically in!
  • The Resident Evil series gives us Albert Wesker, a man who seems to have betrayed every superior, subordinate, and partner he has ever worked with. Considering Resident Evil 5's revelation of Wesker being an Unwitting Pawn in Ozwell E. Spencer's plan to make himself a god, it's very likely that Spencer himself also qualifies under this, arguably even more so than Wesker.
    • Ada Wong has also at some point or another turned on just about everyone she's worked with: Leon, Umbrella, Krauser, Wesker himself, and possibly her bosses at the Agency, as well as cutting ties with Simmons's organization. However, she is ultimately more sympathetic because she rarely kills those she's suckered, and aside from Leon, who she genuinely cares for even if she sometimes uses him, every person she's turned on would have done the same to her in a heartbeat.
  • The Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi What-if Saga The Plan to Conquer Earth's ending implied that the main villains (Broly, Mecha-Frieza, Bojack, Cooler, Baby Vegeta, and Super 17) intended to utilize this trope on each other.
  • In the first two games of the Geneforge series this is a viable option for the player due to the number of factions. It also makes an Omnicidal Neutral playthrough much easier if you can join a faction, loot their treasury, and simply walk into their leader's chambers before turning against them. Sadly, this is almost impossible in the later games.
  • Anyone with the Rebellious trait in Crusader Kings. Even if you can keep their loyalty going up, even if you support them with constant gifts, they will suffer random drops in loyalty to you, gain prestige gradually till they can claim your lands or even throne, and will eventually enforce those claims. And the worst part? If you put them back in their place, they'll probably revolt again, and give you the Realm Duress trait, making all your vassals like this. And if you do crush the rebel and take his titles, it upsets your other vassals... and you'll probably end up with them up in arms anyway.
    • In Crusader Kings II This is replaced with the Ambitious trait. It gives a character a nice stat bonus, a desire for more power for themselves and -50 relationship with their liege if they're a vassal. Combine with Envy for someone who will stop at nothing to get what they believes should be theirs.
  • In Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe The Joker turns on Deathstroke while on a mission for Luthor. He was infected with "RAGE" but unlike the Flash and other characters, stayed in character, even going after Batman with his newfound strength. Batman understandably knocks him out after the fight and informs Lex he shouldn't have trusted the clown.
  • In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Letho the Kingslayer and the Lodge of Sorceresses share this trait.
  • in the BioShock series, Atlas has a bad case of this. He pointlessly betrays both Jack in the original and Elizabeth in Burial at Sea. In both cases, he sacrificed a valuable, high-caliber solider for no apparent reason when their appointed task was done, but when they would still be useful in the immediate future. Nor did he have any reason to expect them to turn on him (neither having anyone else to turn to, as far as he knew), and he didn't gain anything from killing them.
  • Subverted in BioShock 2, where every hint given throughout the game (and experience with the original) leads the player to believe that Sinclair, your Voice with an Internet Connection, will betray you. And then...he doesn't. He even gets a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Saints Row 2: Dane Vogel. When he makes a deal with the Brotherhood to release their gang members from jail, he hijacks their weapon shipment after the gang members are killed by You. He had a partnership with the Ronin that he betrayed when they couldn't protect his company, and teamed with the Saints to let them take them out. And in the Ultor missions, he sends his personal hit squad to wipe out the Saints. Then he blames it on the Board of Directors, allowing you to take them all out so he may take full command of Ultor. Then you kill him.
    • In Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, Dane betrays the Devil. However, he never betrays Gat and Kinzie.
    • Tanya Winters in the first game. She betrays Tony Green for Warren Williams, Benjamin King for the both of them to rule the Vice Kings, and Warren himself so that she can take over by herself.
  • Bat betrays every person he works for in Digital Devil Saga, except for Varin but that's only because he dies before he gets a chance to even try. Not surprisingly, his demonic form is Camazotz, a demon of treachery from Mesoamerican myth.
  • Terry Higgins in True Crime: New York City betrays the entire NYPD by faking his death, the four crime syndicates by having Marcus apprehend the leaders, pins the blame on Victor Navarro, his own boss, for the entire mess, and leaves Marcus when he refuses to join with him.
  • In Civilization IV, almost all leaders will never declare war against civilizations that they are on good terms with, and you can't even suggest it in negotiation. Almost all. Catherine the Great of Russia is unique — if you bribe her sufficiently, she will attack her allies.
    • In V, Catherine has reasonably good Loyalty. And then you've got Enrico, Nobunaga, Napoleon, and Wu Zetian, who have the lowest Loyalty ratings in the game and will betray you because it's Tuesday.
  • Xana in Dark Messiah encourages Sareth to be a backstabbing bastard at every opportunity. She even encourages him to betray her supposed master and Sareth's father the Demon Sovereign by suggesting that Sareth should claim the Skull of Shadow's power for himself and leave his father to rot in Sheogh. Ironically enough, Sareth can betray Xana by purifying himself, an act that will render her Deader Than Dead.
  • "Trusty" Patches The Hyena from Demon's Souls. The guy acts all buddy-buddy with you only to try and outright murder you mere moments later so he can take your stuff. He does this to you again in Dark Souls and again, 7 years after his first appearance in Bloodborne. There's some people you just can't trust - - even if they're a vendor you might need. In Dark Souls III, after you've already spared his life for trying to feed you to a giant, he then tries to lock you in the tower behind the shrine to starve just because he's Patches and that's what he does. And in the Ringed City DLC, when he recovers his memory at the Purging Monument after spending most of it as Amnesiac Lapp, he immediately kicks you down a cliff...although he does at least leave his armour and help you out as a summon.
  • Captain Scarlett in the Borderlands 2 DLC Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty shamelessly betrays just about everyone she meets, and she's pretty cavalier about admitting it. Her intro even outright says "Will absolutely stab you in the back." The question is never if she's going to turn on you, but when. That said, she does make sure to reassure you that she won't betray you until after you've finished helping her retrieve Captain Blade's treasure, since a Vault Hunter has a much better chance of success at dealing with whatever traps there may be. Which makes the fact that she backstabs you before you both get the treasure all the more surprising.
  • Inverted in the Dead Space series. Over the course of 3 games, Isaac is backstabbed by no less than 5 different characters.
  • Silske the Mahjarrat from RuneScape makes a living off this trope. In the backstory, he betrayed the Barrows Brothers and turned them into wights, and if he is to be believed, he betrayed his god Zaros by not warning him of Zamorak's plan to kill him. In the game proper, he betrays the player in the quest Ritual of the Majarrat by trying to turn them into a wight (they're saved by an NPC Taking the Bullet), betrays his fellow Mahjarrat in The World Wakes by killing Guthix instead of merely awakening him (which sets the whole Sixth Age into motion), and betrays Linza by turning her into a wight. Ironically, the player finds out that he himself is being manipulated by Jas.
    Wahisietel: Sliske is not only mischievous; he's also dangerous. I'm not even sure he trusts himself.
  • The Vizier of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Betrays the Indian King, gets miffed when King Sharahman doesn't give him the Sands, tricks the Prince into unlocking the Hourglass.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Bethany studied under various mages to learn all she could from them and then dropped them as soon as they were no longer useful. She finally met her end when Keisinger betrayed her before she got the chance.
  • Eric Sparrow in Tony Hawk's Underground is this in a nutshell. First, during your trip to the skating contest at Tampa Am, he "forgets" to sign the player's name along with him, which forces the protagonist to impress the other competitors outside the contest to gain admission. Then, right after the protagonist does a McTwist over the hovering chopper between the buildings in Hawaii, Eric edits the tape to make it look as if HE was the one who nailed the trick and shows it at the premiere at the Slam City Jam of Vancouver, which allows only Eric himself to become pro. And finally, in Moscow, Russia, Eric, in a drunken stage, causes a tank to crash into a building and runs away, leaving the protagonist to take the blame for his actions and kicked off the team. It gets to a point where Eric becomes your former friend turned enemy in the end.
  • In Lords of the Realm 2, all of the nobles will eventually do this to you if you ally with them.
  • World of Warcraft: Galen Trollbane, son of one of the most powerful human kings in history, ended up killing his legend of a father out of jealousy. He then dies (violently). Then he's raised as a Forsaken, and betrays THEM so he can finally claim his father's kingdom. Then as a Death Knight in Legion, he has you clear out some trolls under the condition that he relinquishes his father's body for raising as a Death Knight. He then betrays YOU in a bought of Suicidal Overconfidence and ends up using his father's sword to defend himself (poorly), resulting in his second death.
  • Masayoshi Shido in Persona 5 kills several of his associates to further his own goals and to prevent others from disclosing any information regarding his rise to power. He kills the Shujin principal for failing to deal with the Phantom Thieves, Okumura in order to frame the Phantom Thieves for causing the mental shutdowns, the SIU Director for his connection to the conspiracy, and even Akechi for his participation in the murders (although Shido's own cognitive version of Akechi was the one who did the job).
    • There is also the Traitor, Goro Akechi. Not only did the Traitor betray the Phantom Thieves, they later revealed they were waiting for an opportunity to betray their boss, Masayoshi Shido who also happens to be Akechi's father, and did all of this under the nose of the police, who they seemed to be betraying when they joined the Phantom Thieves in the first place. While the Traitor's true allegiances never change, it takes a bold person to betray three separate groups at once.
  • In The Legend of Zelda game Hyrule Warriors, if Ghirahim is helping you fight large bosses in Adventure Mode, don't expect him to be helping you for very long. He even has the gall to suggest that you're the one getting in his way afterwards (although he gets extremely frustrated if you take your attention off the bosses and beat him down as a result).

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night, Unlimited Blade Works route, Archer switches sides and then betrays his new allies. Everyone naturally expects him to be a Fake Defector, but he then attacks his original side. It's all part of his plan to cause a Temporal Paradox... but only sort of, since he actually exists outside of time, apparently as a plot device specifically meant to prevent such a paradox. It's also kinda inverted to, as we discover from Archer's memories that he had been betrayed by everything while pursuing his ideal, by the people he saved, etc, etc, to the point where he was betrayed by his own ideal.
  • This actually costs Matt Engarde his case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All. Having arranged for an assassin to kill his rival and frame his own manager for it, Engarde just can't resist trying to blackmail the assassin. Problem: the assassin has a very strong sense of honor. When informed he's being betrayed, he vows to get his revenge on Engarde — who pleads guilty in the hopes that prison will save him.
    • And, in Investigations, this costs Manny Coachen his life. If he'd never tried to usurp the ringleader he was working for, Alba would probably have left him to his affairs.
    • Also in Investigations, there is Calisto Yew. She herself acknowledges this in her own words, "I was destined to betray everyone from the very beginning." She betrays her own Yatagarasu members because she was a mole, Shi-Long Lang by revealing that she is a mole in Interpol as Shih-na, and while being taken away to be arrested she drops a valuable clue to betray her OWN BOSS.
    • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Dahlia Hawthorne steals a two million dollar gem from her father, frames her first boyfriend for murder twice before getting him to kill himself, kills her stepsister, puts her cousin's boyfriend in a coma by trying to kill him, kills her second boyfriend, tries to kill her third boyfriend, puts her half-sister in danger, tries to kill her other cousin, inadvertently causes the death of her aunt in the process, and locks her twin sister in a freezing and unstable cave to steal her identity and commit perjury in her name against her cousin. After admitting to all that, she claims that her mother is more evil than her.
    • She almost qualifies solely through the sheer number of times she betrayed Terry Fawles. The ways she betrayed him consisted of: convincing him to commit extortion and then letting him get arrested for it, possibly lying to him about who was in on the plot, probably pretending to love him back, being involved in getting him shot, letting him get blamed for kidnapping when it was consensual, framing him for murder twice and hiding the information that could get his death sentence cancelled, letting him mourn her when she was still alive, cheating him out of his cut of what they stole (or intending to), perjuring against him, (presumably) falsely accusing him of trying to kill her, giving him poison and instructions to drink it if a likely situation occurred (possibly without him knowing it was poison), and watching him drink it.

    Web Animation 
  • In The History of Europe, thinking the nation that just helped you in the last war is your true friend is a sure recipe for an untimely death, especially notable is Persia for invading Thrace after the latter asked him for help.
  • The Blue Falcon in The Damn Few. His very name is military slang for "betrayer of friends" (or something like that).
  • Agent South of Red vs. Blue is revealed to suffer from this. It's apparently a survival reflex. Agent Washington suffers from an inversion: Almost everyone he's ever worked with, including South, have betrayed him at some point, the sole exception being the Reds and the Blues.
  • Apparently a problem in Puffin Forest. His players suffered 8 back-to-back betrayals.
  • James Ironwood of RWBY. While he demands loyalty, he has none for anyone other than himself. If he feels someone is an obstacle or no longer relevant to his plans, he will turn on or abandon them. At the end of Volume 7, upon learning that Salem is coming to attack Atlas personally, he decides to abandon the city of Mantle to the Grimm to raise the floating city further up. When Ruby tries to warn the people of his plans, he disables her scroll and has her group placed under arrest.
    Ironwood: We are saving who we can...and right now, you're standing in our way.

    Web Comics 
  • As mentioned above, the trope namer is from The Last Days of FOXHOUND, a Metal Gear Solid-based webcomic. In it, Ocelot's betrayal habit is played for laughs, explaining that he has an actual disease called Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and needs an inhaler-like device to suppress it temporarily. In the meantime, woe betide anyone who bends down to pick up a penny in his presence (as Liquid Snake found out).
    • It appears that the Defense Secretary, Jim Houseman suffers it too.
      "Is there a federal hiring quota for you people or what?"
  • Tarvek from Girl Genius, in his attempts to play Chessmaster, though he eventually settled into a very rapid Heel–Face Revolving Door equilibrium.
    Gil: You're up to something.
    Tarvek: What makes you think I'm—
    Gil: You're breathing.
    • In fact this seems to be the hat of the entire Stormvoraus family. And their cousins the Blitzengards. And possibly all of the other interrelated families that make up the Knights of Jove as well.
    • And "iz-no-longer-a-Jäger" Vole, who tried to kill one of his old masters and changed teams later.
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Black Mage, an Ax-Crazy Sociopathic Hero and member of the Light Warriors, suffers from both metaphorical and literal Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Or rather, everyone around him suffers. Usually from a knife to the head. He betrays his allies whenever a chance opens up, usually only to enjoy making them suffer. It usually backfires on him soon afterwards as it did when he sucked up to the dragon Muffin. Black Mage is not minion material and will object violently to the suggestion.
      Drizz'l: [self-proclaimed new leader of the New Dark Warriors] What do you think you're doing?
      Black Mage: I'd say I was joining the winning team, but that'd imply there existed a time when I wasn't on Team Evil.
    • Thief is screwing his teammates over even more regularly than Black Mage is, he just rarely joins another team in the process. When he and D'rizzl form an alliance of convenience to eliminate both of their own teams, he's only prevented from backstabbing D'rizzl because D'rizzl backstabs him first.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Dr. Schlock switches between helping the main characters, helping Hereti Corp, and just looking out for himself over half a dozen times. It gets to the point where Riff insists that Schlock roleplay betraying the gang, just to get it out of his system.
    • Also Dr. Marcus Chen, which is again lampshaded in the comic.
  • Dr. Ginny Smith, from Irregular Webcomic!'s Cliffhangers storyline. A secret agent from Russia who works for both the Nazis and the heroes depending on what suits her, and plays on the affections of both Indiana Jones stand-in Montana Jones and Nazi lackey Erwin. Although she usually comes through for the heroes, she has handed over incredibly powerful artifacts to all three sides, or at least tried, in the past. In the words of Monty himself, "She's a Russian triple agent working for the Nazis. You expect her to be consistent?"
  • Wrecking Paul from Everyday Heroes always works with female sidekicks since he's a serial killer who prefers women as his victims. If for some reason his preferred target doesn't show up, he'll turn on his teammate. This eventually leads to Iron Jane's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Smug Snake supreme Vriska Serket of Homestuck has a pretty severe case of this. The other trolls have wisely learned to stay well away from her schemes. To put it in perspective; trolls are a species of violent jerks with an Evil Empire and still she's considered their Token Evil Teammate.
  • Anthem, from The Water Phoenix King, in the Torture Lord's temple, having lost her sword again, uses Vish! as a weapon against the monsters and proclaims herself this:
    Anthem: Never let it be said cowardice and betrayal ever led me wrong.
  • Quite common in Survivor: Fan Characters, being based off Survivor. Baxter from Season 3 is the most prominent example of this trope, having gone mad with power and then backstabbed approximately five people, some in direct succession, in order to get to the finals. Unfortunately, four of the people he backstabbed happen to have been on the jury, and three of them vote for someone else who didn't backstab them, Montana, ultimately losing him the game.
  • It's starting to look like Nale of The Order of the Stick has a case of backstabbing disorder. The jury's still out on whether he works for the fiends, Xykon, his father, or himself.
    • Oh, he definitely works for himself. He only works for Xykon and Tarquin when it's convenient (and when it keeps him alive), and as for the Fiends, he doesn't even know about them — he's being manipulated by them, via Sabine and Qarr.
    • Tarquin is definitely this. Be the power behind the throne, when people hate the power, start a revolution, aided by other kingdoms secretly run by his buddies, become the power behind the new throne, rinse and repeat for all three involved kingdoms! All that matters is Tarquin is in charge, even if it's just as The Man Behind the Man.
  • Angel Moxie: Tsutsumu tries to recruit the girls as allies to defeat Yzin, then tries to turn on them once he's exploited them, and finally, after they defeat him, arranges for them to inherit control of his company.

    Web Original 
  • Sahar, of the Whateley Universe. She started out backstabbing as an orphan in Beirut, and then got superpowers and was recruited by the CIA as a trainee. While her main ability was mentally impressing a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Doom on an opponent, she also had a talent for copying the psi powers of those she was intimate with. At Whateley Academy she went from clique to clique, picking a target, seducing them, getting a copy of said target's powers, backstabbing them, and then moving on. Even the Alphas fear her. She doesn't betray a target to join with the new one. She just betrays a target so she can start over, finding a new power to copy! Best one was when she pulled this trick to a guy and his girlfriend! Ironically, she pulled a heel face turn before the series started, and attempts to redeem herself.
  • Javelin Whitetail on M3, having defected from numerous factions over the years. It took a while for some characters to clue in on the notion that she should not be trusted. Repeated betrayals is a staple of the MUSH.

    Web Videos 
  • Wario's loyalty in There Will Be Brawl is to money, power, and survival, and he is willing to backstab and use anyone to get and/or keep it. This is a guy that used his mentally challenged brother to kill a kid because said kid was a Pokémon trainer.
  • Ryan in Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V series, especially in the Heist videos.
  • Mahu: In "Second Chance" the Yaanari are the living, breathing representation of this trope. It is one of the many reasons why they are one of the most loathed races in the galaxy.

    Western Animation 
  • ReBoot's Megabyte suffered from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and was brave enough to admit it. "I double-cross whomever I please." Good for you, Megabyte. You know, the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem.
  • The Hobgoblin in Spider-Man: The Animated Series would often enter into an alliance with another character, then betray them in short order. In his first appearance he was hired by Norman Osborn to kill the Kingpin, but failed to do so and was fired, though he kept his glider and other equipment. He then started to work for Kingpin, who ordered that Harry be kidnapped and used to blackmail Norman. Hobgoblin then made a deal with Osborn to get rid of Kingpin and rescue Harry. Hobgoblin ousted Kingpin from his command center and briefly took command of the New York underworld, inheriting the kidnapped Harry in the process. He then went back on his deal with Osborn, saying he will return Harry in exchange for control of Oscorp. Odds are he would have double-crossed Norman again, but Spider-Man rescued Harry and defeated the Hobgoblin, forcing him to abandon his new command center.
  • A very common issue with the Decepticon/Predacon faction over the Transformers mythos. Since the faction is founded on Social Darwinism principles, leaders a constantly facing down ambitious underlings looking to gain a foothold for themselves. The 'Cons prefer it this way because they consider successful betrayals to show cunning and strength and see any leader unable to keep their followers in line with power and fear to be unworthy of respect. Certain 'Cons take this further than others:
    • Starscream of Transformers: Generation 1 was so treacherous that his name is synonymous with scheming betrayal. Megatron, the Decepiticons as a whole, the Autobots, even Unicron himself all ended up on the wrong side of his power plays. Not even death stopped his backstabbing as his disembodied spark managed to end up scamming the Predacons of the sequel series. It's hard to say what's more impressive: his determination or the fact that he somehow manages to convince Megatron to spare his life every time.
    • The Predacons of Beast Wars were treacherous to an impressive degree despite being such a small crew. Almost all of them made moves to betray Megatron for their own power at some point, especially Trantulas and Blackarachnia. Megatron outright states that he tolerates treachery as long as it's done competently. Mostly because he's brilliant enough to use betrayals to his advantage.
      Lil' Formers Megatron: I managed to keep two of my troops from betraying me! Two! Pretty good I'd say!
    • Starscream in Animated tried. Unfortunately, Megatron is more than strong and skilled enough to handle his schemes.
    • Prime provides an interesting twist: 'Scream only gets stabby if he thinks he can get away with it — if he thinks Megaton won't ever find out. The rest of the time ...
    • Airrachnid, on the other hand, is a bit more brazen in her betrayals. Her arrogance costs her dearly.
  • Xiaolin Showdown:
    • Wuya was once demoted to minion; her Chessmaster boss considered her so reliably untrustworthy he incorporated her inevitable betrayal into his plans. In fact the entire reason Chase Young resurrected her with only a fraction of her true power was because he fully expected her to instantly backstab him if he didn't. Wuya acknowledges it was probably a good idea on his part.
    • Raimundo. Due to being constantly ignored, belittled, and unappreciated, he eventually betrayed the Xiaolin monks to help Wuya (who, ironically enough, fully kept up her side of the bargain). He eventually turns on Wuya to save his former comrades and reduces Wuya back to a spirit. Then in a much later episode, Raimundo pretends to betray the monks again to side with Hannibal Bean as part of a Batman Gambit so he could bet Bean's Shen Gong Wu, raise the ante, then backstab Bean by throwing the match so the Xiaolin monks would get what was best.
  • Bender from Futurama will switch sides whenever he feels like it if there is something in it for him, that is. In the DVD movie Into the Wild Green Yonder, he helps Zapp Brannigan capture Leela because her eco-terrorism is threatening to overtake his crime track record. After helping to send her to prison, he busts her out, committing 15 felonies in the process thus retaining his title.
  • Darkseid is just as untrustworthy in the DC Animated Universe as he is in the comics, which he demonstrates in one episode. First, he convinces the Justice League to help him fight off Brainiac's invasion of Apokolips. Then he betrays Superman to Brainiac in exchange for Apokolips' safety. Then Darkseid betrays Brainiac by using a Mother Box to take control of him in a bid to discover the Anti-Life Equation and rewrite the universe. This left an impression on Brainiac — in a later episode, Brainiac was reluctant to make a mutually beneficial deal with Luthor because his experiences with Darkseid taught him that organic beings couldn't be trusted.
    Brainiac: You deceived me, Darkseid. Used me.
    Darkseid: It's What I Do.
  • On Wacky Races, Muttley was known to bite the hand that feeds him (a.k.a. Dick Dastardly), but in "Race To Racine" he pulls a doozy. In a sabotage attempt, Dastardly plants him among the Ant Hill Mob, who take him as one of their own (Smiley O'Toole). Clyde instructs him to take Dastardly out, of which Muttley first surprised says "Who, me??" But then he gets a shit-eating grin on his face, snickers, runs atop the Mob car and fires a hand grenade at the Mean Machine.
    Dastardly: (emerging from the smoldering wreckage) And after giving him the worst years of my life...where did I go wrong??
  • Shendu in Jackie Chan Adventures. Where to begin? His siblings, Valmont, his siblings again, and Daolan Wong.
  • Vilgax in the Ben 10 franchise. Practically every time he's formed an alliance with someone, he betrays them.
  • Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender is considered this. Her father is no exception either. He was willing to do whatever he had to when he wanted something, including disposing of his own family by either killing them, banishing them or setting their own needs aside and replacing them with his own. What's there to say? Ruthlessness and steadfast ambition run in the family.
  • In the sequel series The Legend of Korra, Unalaq is revealed to be this. He betrays his brother to become Chief of the Water Tribes, he betrays his niece Korra after she refuses to open the other spirit portal, especially after screwing over his brother a second time, and he betrays his kids by treating them as mere stooges and destroying the world they inhabit. In Season 3 it is also revealed that he was a member of the Red Lotus and orchestrated a plan to kidnap a young Korra when he found out she was the Avatar, but when the Red Lotus was foiled, he betrayed them and even helped construct one of their prisons in order to continue his goal in becoming the Dark Avatar. Of course, the only being he doesn't betray is Vaatu.
    • Varrick is a repeat offender of this trope. Varrick allied with Team Avatar against Unalaq, but he went behind their backs and endangered a peace march by Southern Water Tribe sympathizers, bankrupted Asami's company and seized control of it, then framed Mako. He backed Raiko during the first election, only for him to attack him months later. All that was part of his plan to start a war and make money off of it. Varrick later betrays Suyin Beifong by joining Kuvira, who went against the latter's wishes. After Varrick finds out how evil Kuvira really is, he's done betraying others altogether and pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Suyin herself has this problem with abusing and betraying the trust of those she claims to care for, even as she herself complains about people abusing her trust. She betrayed the trust of her older half-sister Lin by letting Korra go out to investigate the Zaheer against Lin's orders and proceeded to laugh off Lin's criticisms as if it were no big deal. However, Suyin has disobeyed her sister a lot in the past, so it's no surprise she'd do it again. In season four she betrays Korra's trust by only pretending to agree to let her go hammer out a peace treaty with Kuvira but then goes behind Korra's back to assassinate Kuvira while she's distracted. This results in Korra suffering a humiliating No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Kuvira and lands Suyin in jail with most of her family and results in her city being conquered.
  • Roger from American Dad!, mostly For The Lulz, but also due to his Bizarre Alien Biology, he has a biological need to be a total asshole, otherwise it will build up and kill him.
  • Deuce from the second season of Loonatics Unleashed. There isn't a single alliance he makes that isn't simply one of convenience and broken as soon as he has what he wants from it.
  • All three of The Eds are this to each other in some degree.
    • Ed is more downplayed, as episodes have shown him joining the other kids to laugh at either Edd or Eddy's humiliation, and more often than not has he helped Eddy play cruel pranks on Edd ("My Fair Ed" being the most blatant example as the two deliberately got Edd in trouble with the other kids while shrugging it off as a joke). Of course, this is just more out of Ed being an idiot and/or Eddy's parrot than deliberate disloyalty.
    • Edd also has his moments of this, particularly in the season where they go to school. He was willing to betray his friends through following school regulations, such as hand-delivering his friends' report cards to their parents (sure Eddy deserved it for not doing his work, but Edd failed to take notice on how dim Ed is to function in school and therefore needs counseling since his parents are no help). Of course, it's mostly when he is either blinded by authority or when Eddy really pushes him over the limit, thus causing Edd to teach him a lesson the hard way.
    • Eddy is easily the biggest backstabber of the three, as more often than not he is willing to succeed at the expense of his friends (with "Pick an Ed" being the most egregious example of them all).
  • Total Drama:
    • While not as bad as Heather, Courtney too has her fair share of betrayals throughout the series, ranging from friends, enemies and even love interests:
      • In the special for Island, Courtney briefly teams with Duncan but after she manages to retrieve the money and Duncan is injured, she instantly abandons him without missing a beat.
      • Near the end of All-Stars, Courtney plans to betray Gwen some way along the way despite their promise to go the finale together. Instead, she plans to bring her new boyfriend, Scott, with her, believing that he will throw the match for her. Unfortunately for her, Mal reveals her plan to the others before she could carry it out. What makes her horrible is that after giving all sorts of crap to Gwen for her own betrayal two seasons ago, Courtney was all too happy to do the same.
    • This was the only way Heather got to the final rounds more than once. However, it's also been known to backfire on her and has done so twice. Lindsay and Beth, two victims of Heather's abuse still won't associate with her after Island. She also failed this in World Tour, having her hands on the money for all of three seconds before losing it and ending up with nothing.
    • In Revenge of the Island, Scott constantly sabotages his team, so he can eliminate any possible threats and lull the other team into a false sense of security. Halfway through the season, Chris, who is the host puts him on the other team... and he starts sabotaging his new team's efforts instead.
  • Turns into a running gag in The Proud Family with Penny's so-called friends ditching her whenever she's really in a pickle (yes, including Zoey). The worst of them all, however, is easily Dijonay, who was once even willing to sell out Penny to the Gross Sisters.
  • Dodie Bishop in As Told by Ginger may as well be considered the Caucasian version of the aforementioned Dijonay Jones up above. Whenever she wants to gain popularity of some sort, she'll see it as an opportunity to stab Ginger and Macie in the back each and every time. You know you're considered a bad friend when even arguably the most popular girl in school treats your friend much better than you do.
  • Apocalypse from the X-Men animated series has a habit of making promises to people and then breaking them at the worst possible moment. He promised Deathbird he would kill her sister, only to kidnap one of Lilandra's telepaths instead; when Deathbird reminded Apocalypse he said he would destroy Lilandra, he simply replied "I Lied". He tricked the Friends of Humanity into helping and dispersing a plague for him, then planned to discard them as soon their usefulness had ended. He lied to Magneto about his intentions in regards to creating a reality where mutants ruled over humans, instead planning to destroy all of reality and remaking it in his image, though Magneto saw this betrayal coming.
  • Trevor from Sidekick, because he prefers to be evil rather than a hero. To be fair, his friends aren't so much better than him...
  • Aku from Samurai Jack loves to spread misery and pain, and what better way than to betray a close ally at an inopportune moment? A standout example is "Jack and the Ultra-Robots"; Aku forces a scientist to build a new line of killbots in exchange for the safety of his village, but as soon as they are finished he orders the Ultra-Robots to destroy the village as a "test run". This comes back to screw him over when said scientist helps Jack defeat the Ultra-Robots.
  • Croc from Dofus: The Treasures of Kerubim has this as a literal disorder. He is incapable of not betraying anyone he works with even when it harms him too. He does not mean it, and apologizes afterwards, which is probably why Croc's friends do not hold it against him. Also, his betrayals often end up helping his friends inadvertently in the end.
  • This is Monstroso's M.O. on The Venture Bros. He, being a supervillain lawyer, is also known as the "king of the doublecross." This doublecrossing is actually encouraged by the Guild of Calamitous Intent. In his debut episode, he works with The Monarch to torment Dr. Venture by using litigation and paperwork to seize Dr. Venture's estate, fully planning to backstab the Monarch and seize his estate as well.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender:
    • Lotor has thus far betrayed his father, by going behind his back to proceed with his secret plans and later killing him, and his generals by straight-up murdering one of them.
    • His generals aren't much better. First they basically betray the empire by helping Lotor, then they betray Lotor due to the abovementioned straight-up murder, then they betray Haggar to help Lotor again, then they betray Lotor, AGAIN, when he turns psycho, and when the empire is scattered and they are sovereign warlords Acxa betrays the other two for good measure.
  • King of the Hill: Dale Gribble is a paranoid, gun-toting idiot who only trusts a handful of people, and even those people get the shit-end of the stick from his behavior quite often. It's difficult to count the number of times he has sold out his friends for personal gain or even threatened/attempted (horribly) to kill them at various points. How anyone puts up with him is a mystery.


Video Example(s):



There isn't a single ally Neyla doesn't betray at some point.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ChronicBackstabbingDisorder

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Main / ChronicBackstabbingDisorder