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Consulting a Convicted Killer

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"So, which one of these psychos is gonna help me catch my killer?"

A Serial Killer (or other dangerous, violent criminal) is on the loose, and the Great Detectives and Profilers running the investigation can't get a break in the case before the perpetrator strikes again. But luckily, the police have another serial killer already behind bars, who, through knowledge of their own malfeasance, may help the investigators to get inside the mind of the suspect being pursued.

Desperate for leads and not willing to "become" the person they are looking for, the detective running the investigation will still seek this insight by making, at least, one visit to the jail cell of this special prisoner who is just as demented and evil and dangerous as the maniac currently on the loose. Such a prisoner is typically so dangerous that special precautions (shackles, straitjackets, etc.) need to be taken either to make sure they can't escape their cell or can't pose a danger to the detective visiting them. Nonetheless, this prisoner is the only person who can understand and figure out what the detective's suspect is thinking.

Receiving this insight will usually come at a price, however. In exchange for any help they give towards catching the killer at large, the prisoner will typically want something in return, including a commuted sentence or greater/extended privileges within captivity. Occasionally, the detective paying the visit(s) may be personally responsible for the prisoner being behind bars in the first place, adding to the tension in their meetings. As such, the prisoner may hold ulterior motives for seeking vengeance or escaping captivity or may otherwise try to deceive the detective. However, one way or another, the prisoner will usually be playing some part in driving the criminal investigation (and plot) forward.

The Trope Maker is Hannibal Lecter and the role the character filled in the novels Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, written by Thomas Harris. Trope occurrences frequently pay direct homage to Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of the character in the film adaptation of Lambs. However, where much of Lecter's insight provided to the FBI in catching serial killers derived from his background as a brilliant yet twisted psychiatrist, most other characters in this role will typically give insight based on the modus operandi of their own crimes in helping to catch a similar perpetrator, if not a flat out copycat killer.

Compare Recruiting the Criminal, in which such a person is elected to carry out specific tasks at hand for which their devious skills are useful, and Expert Consultant, who consults on more mundane things.

See also Alone with the Psycho.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: Mikoto visits her old enemy Therestina Lifeline in her cell for clues on the organization STUDY and for how to save Febri from her life-threatening position. Therestina really didn't want to help, but her advice proved very useful.
  • In Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, Yako often gets help from one of the killers she helped catch, Aya Asia.
  • Pluto: Gesicht is tracking a serial killer who might be a robot, and consults Brau 1589, previously believed to be the only robot who ever killed a human.
  • In StrikerS Sound Stage X, Ginga and Cinque must consult the imprisoned Ex-Big Bad Jail Scaglietti in order to gather some important data on the Mariage serial arsonist case. Scaglietti only asks for enough Belkan wine to honor the dead in exchange for his info.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, the Ghoul Detention Center exists partially for the purpose of storing informants. The Child Eater Donato Porpora is noted as their most valuable informant, offering his advice and insight on investigations. In exchange, the organization allows him to continue living for as long as he can prove useful to them.

    Comic Books 
  • During the "Sub Diego" story arc in Aquaman, at one point, Aquaman goes to Arkham Asylum to ask Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. the Scarecrow, for his insight into a serial killer stalking the city.
  • Batman:
    • In The Long Halloween, Batman visits Calendar Man in his cell at Arkham Asylum to ask him where he might find the killer known as "Holiday". Calendar Man suggests that, the day Batman is paying this visit being a holiday, Holiday is likely looking to commit a murder — specifically, to kill Salvatore Maroni.
    • At least once, Commissioner Gordon has asked Poison Ivy to identify the source of plants and flowers. Specifically, in a case where the killer leaves a lily on the body, she is able to identify that some of the flowers were imported and others were greenhouse-grown, showing that they were bought from different flower shops.
    • The "Return of King Tut" story arc had Batman reluctantly go to the Riddler for assistance when the titular villain began telling ancient Egyptian riddles while committing his crimes.
    • In "The Brightest Star in Heaven", Batgirl forces herself to visit her murderous brother, James, in his cell to ask him how she might identify and catch a copycat killer.
  • In an issue of Black Orchid, Batman provides some assistance to the titular crimefighter, so that she can talk to Poison Ivy at Arkham Asylum.
  • One brief Judge Dredd Story Arc followed Dredd aiming to catch a spree-killer in Mega-City One who disintegrates his victims' bodies, only leaving their right hands. Noting similarities to a past case involving a spree-killer who had a similar motive with left hands, which Dredd had solved, Dredd consults with the perpetrator of the original crimes, now in an iso-cube. The prisoner requests that he get "a cube with a view" for his assistance, but Dredd convinces him to provide insight unconditionally after threatening him. The prisoner then divulges what he could assume about his Copycat Killer, the most important part being that the suspect must come from Brit-Cit because that's the only place the prisoner's original crimes are given any recognition. Part One of this story arc was even titled, "The Silence of the Limbs".
  • A three part story in the New 52 DC Universe Presents had Vandal Savage being consulted about a copycat killer. Complicating things was that the consulting FBI agent was his daughter.
  • Superman:
    • The 2010 storyline Day of the Dollmaker has Supergirl and Catherine Grant visit Toyman in his cell to ask him who might be sending Cat dolls looking like missing children.
    • Similarly, in the Smallville comic books, Lois Lane consults Toyman about the Prankster and his modus operandi.
  • X-23: While Laura was never a convicted killer, the trope is nonetheless in play in issue 7 of her 2018 series. The NYPD brings her on as a consultant in a serial murder case because of her expertise. She quickly puts her skills into play to identify the next victim, and put herself and Gabby in a position to catch the killer.

    Fan Works 
  • Ancienverse: Diantha meets with Travis in prison to obtain information on DARC's plan.
  • Cat Tales: In Amuse Bouche, it's mentioned that federal agents occasionally get the idea to do this, and make the mistake of consulting Joker. He's manipulative enough to make them believe anything, most of which he's making up entirely.
  • In That Epic Plan after L lets slip about Beyond Birthday having some kind of magic eyes Light suggests that they consult this Beyond Birthday for the Kira investigation (so that he as Kira can use him for his Eyes).
  • In the Harry Potter no magic AU by radowan, titled Yours, In Murder, Harry is a psychologist who works with the Mugwumps, an elite police squad that deals with serial killers. Due to a particularly challenging murderer Harry, by the order of his superior officer Albus Dumbledore, has to consult with the convicted serial killer that murdered his own parents, Tom Marvolo Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort. Of course Voldemort wants something in return and has a load of hidden motives.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Austin Powers in Goldmember, after Austin learns that his father, Nigel, has been kidnapped, and the only clue is that the crew of his yacht have had their genitalia painted gold, Austin visits Dr. Evil, who is being held in captivity in a cell much like Hannibal Lecter's, to find out who is responsible. Dr. Evil reveals to Austin that Goldmember is behind the abduction.
  • In Backdraft, Brian McCaffery approaches an imprisoned serial arsonist, Ronald Bartel, when in need of assistance in finding the missing links between a string of recent fires that seem to be connected.
  • The Batman (2022) has a deleted scene (one that has been explicitly confirmed as canon) where Batman goes to the Joker in Arkham to consult him on the Riddler's serial killings. As the film is very heavily influenced by The Long Halloween, this is very much an homage to Batman meeting with the Calendar Man. In the span of five minutes, the Joker is able to effortlessly give what turns out to be a completely accurate profile of the Riddler and his motives.
  • In Copycat, Helen and M.J. consult with convicted serial killer Daryll Lee Callum — the same killer who had previously attempted to kill Helen — in order to gain insight into the copycat killer's mind. It turns out he was in cahoots with the copycat the whole time.
  • Parodied in Loaded Weapon 1, when Colt and Luger consult with Dr. Harold Leacher for help figuring out who is behind the cocaine-laced Wilderness Girl Cookies.
  • As a new threat arises, James Bond visits an imprisoned Blofeld in No Time to Die. In a subversion, Blofeld is assassinated while Bond is talking to him, thanks to Bond inadvertently bringing in the method of murder. He also does not provides much in the way of information about the Big Bad, instead gloating extensively about how he destroyed Bond's attempt at reaching out and love someone again after Vesper for kicks, leading to Bond trying to strangle him and the aforementioned assassination.
  • Parodied in The Silence of the Hams when FBI Agent Jo Dee Fostar consults with Dr. Animal Cannibal Pizza. The doctor is so insane that he sometimes violates the laws of physics.

  • In the Alex Cross series, Cross will often consult with a former nemesis or two.
  • The Carson Ryder novels see Detective Carson Ryder often consult with his brother, convicted serial killer Jeremy, for insight into the serial killers he's tracking. Since Jeremy initially killed their father to protect Carson from his abuse, he does care for his brother, but it's made clear that his warped psyche has issues with women in particular that can compromise his ability to be out in the real world; at least once he deliberately misled Carson because he identified with the killer's motives (although he apologised when that misinterpretation led to a woman Carson cared for being threatened).
  • As stated above, the Trope Maker is Hannibal Lecter, who fills this role in two novels and, later, feature films.
    • Red Dragon sees Hannibal approached by FBI investigator Will Graham, who had originally captured Hannibal, requesting his assistance in capturing a serial killer known as "The Tooth Fairy". This is actually an Unbuilt Trope. Lecter's suggestions had either been thought of already or didn't help them identify the killer, and he sends Graham's home address to the Tooth Fairy, which results in Graham being disfigured and descending into alcoholism. Crawford later admitted that consulting Lecter was a terrible idea.
    • In The Silence of the Lambs, FBI trainee Clarice Starling visits Hannibal in his cell on multiple occasions for help with catching another serial killer called "Buffalo Bill". Hannibal ends up giving Clarice cryptic clues in exchange for information about Clarice's unhappy childhood. Hannibal later uses an agreement to disclose Buffalo Bill's real name in exchange for a transfer to another asylum as an opportunity to escape.
  • I Hunt Killers: Jazz has to do this at least once in every book, usually both about Billy's own victims and whatever case is menacing him.
  • In some versions of King Rhampsinitus and The Thief, the King trying to catch the thief consults an old, imprisoned criminal on how to go about successfully capturing him. Furthermore, some versions of that particular way of telling the story conclude with the older criminal being released from captivity as a reward for his assistance.
  • In Pretty Girls, Sam Carroll visits the serial killer Ben Carver on death row because his missing daughter's police file listed him as having information on Julia. The police initially assumed he was lying because all of his other victims were men and consistent with his sexual orientation. However, he did know something about her disappearance and ended up giving Sam a clue contained in a Dr. Seuss book.
  • A variant appears in Honobu Yonezawa (the author of Hyouka)'s novel The Samurai and the Prisoner. During the Siege of Itami, Araki Murashige took Kuroda Kanbei hostage. The novel tells of a series of incidents and challenges Murashige is faced with during the siege, all of which he can only resolve by asking Kanbei for advice. It's not a perfect example because Kanbei's only "crime" was attempting to talk Murashige out of betraying Oda Nobunaga and he's being consulted for his general intelligence and not any special insights into the criminal mind, but the stylistic language of the trope - the disheveled Kanbei crammed in a tiny cell, acting erratically and creepily giggling because he's long since Gone Mad From The Isolation, and speaking in cryptic riddles even though it's obvious he's already figured everything out - is well on display.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps The Mole Grant Ward in a cell, using Skye (since she's the only one he'll talk to) to get information about HYDRA.
  • The first part of Birds of Prey (2002)'s finale sees Huntress consult Clayface when the latter's son is causing problems and plans to outdo his dad. However, in exchange for his help, Clayface asks Huntress to recall the night her mother, Catwoman, died. As with the SPD example, Clayface is the one who killed Catwoman.
  • Bones: Exploited Trope. Imprisoned Serial Killer Howard Epps works with an accomplice on the outside to commit copycat crimes for the sole purpose of making the FBI (and Dr Brennan, in particular) consult him on the case. He very purposefully leaves a trail of clues for the FBI to follow, most of which can’t be understood without talking to him and listening to the hints he drops into conversation.
  • In an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake and Boyle interview convicted cannibalistic serial killer Caleb, who is coincidentally Jake's good friend from prison. Practically the definition of Affably Evil, Caleb helps them track the killer, not by getting into his head, but by giving them access to an exclusive cannibal Reddit forum that Jacob moderates.
  • In Castle, Rick Castle consults with a retired jewel thief named Powell to find a crew of murderous thieves.
  • Happens frequently on Criminal Minds:
    • Once when Mad Bomber Adrian Bale was called upon to help stop a copycat bomber. Bale was unable to resist the opportunity to try and trick the team into blowing up a potential victim. Gideon caught on to this and stopped it.
    • In another episode, a serial hostage taker was asked to help stop a group of copycats. It turns out the guy hired the copycats so the BAU would have to consult with him, which gave him an opportunity to escape.
    • Third time's the charm in "Outfoxed", where the team has to consult Karl Arnold when a new family annihilator emerges. When they get in contact with Arnold, they find out that it seems as though the new killer has contacted him. Turns out she didn't (although he did accidentally give Prentiss the idea to suspect a female killer) and the note was actually from a much worse source: The Boston Reaper.
    • In "Devil's Backbone," they visit Antonia Slade in prison after someone sends her the bloody clothes of two missing boys. They wind up returning in the next episode, as she's the only inmate willing to discuss a mass-breakout she was aware of.
    • And beyond those specific instances, the team conducts several interviews with various arrested criminals as a means of improving their knowledge of the criminal psyche and therefore their profiling abilities. It happens onscreen (sort of) in "Derailed"note  and "Damaged,"note  and they pepper in references in other episodes. Then there's Dr. Tara Lewis, who does this as her primary job. The reason she joined the BAU is because she wants to apply what she's learned via interviews and make a difference.
  • In the final episode of the short-lived Spin-Off, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, "The Ripper of Riga," Garrett interviews an incarcerated Russian Serial Killer that he helped catch in the past because the unsub appears to be imitating his M.O. and taunting Garrett about it. It turns out the new unsub is acting on the serial killer's orders to help him escape and take revenge on Garrett by targeting his family.
  • In CSI Langston seeks the help of his nemesis, serial killer Nate Haskell, to catch the "Dr. Jekyll Killer". But while he gives Langston a key insight, he mostly just messes around. His actual plan was to goad a guard into shocking him as to fall and break his own glasses... and using the broken arms from said glasses to stab Langston through the bars of his holding cell.
  • The premise of the documentary series Dark Minds pairs a non-fiction crime author and a criminal profiler who revisit unsolved murders believed to be the work of serial killers. They are assisted in their investigations by an anonymous convicted serial killer serving multiple life sentences who offers his own opinion about the potential motivations behind the cases, using his own personal experience to formulate theories.
  • Forever Knight. In "Trophy Girl", Vampire Detective Nick Knight goes to see Christopher Scheer aka "The Mortician" in prison for insight into the Serial Killer of the week. Scheer pegs Nick as a killer and suggests they are Not So Different, and Nick is not inclined to disagree. Scheer also mentions a kindred spirit on the internet called "Rosebud". Instead of being the killer, Rosebud turns out at the end of the episode to be LaCroix, the vampire who sired him. Maybe Nick should have just asked LaCroix for advice and spared himself the trouble of a prison visit.
  • Parodied in Good Eats. In an early episode, Alton gets fed up with the bad products marketed by Cocoa Carl and teaches the viewers how to make their own chocolate brownies, hot cocoa mix, and other chocolatey treats. At the end of the episode, a newspaper claims Cocoa Carl has been put out of business and jailed for embezzlement. Then, in a later episode, when it comes time to tackle energy bars, Alton visits Cocoa Carl in prison to learn what kinds of unhealthy chemical preservatives Captain Power has been loading into his Protein Pucks. The whole scene is a spoof on The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Hannibal:
    • In an elaborate Mythology Gag, the second season has Beverly Katz consult Will Graham on the Muralist case when he's in a hospital for the criminally insane. Subsequently Jack consults Will on Beverly's murder. While Will is innocent of the crimes he's accused of, he has been Convicted by Public Opinion, if not the law.
    • In the third season's arc that directly adapts the novel Red Dragon, the show adapts the Trope Codifier when Will Graham consults Hannibal Lecter while the latter is locked up. As in the source material, the exercise is less about getting a profile from Hannibal and more about Graham "getting the old scent back" after three years in retirement.
  • In the Haven episode "Exposure", Duke consults Mara in order to solve the Trouble which has discorporated Nathan. She has him tell her a story about his unhappy childhood as quid pro quo.
  • Law & Order used this at least twice:
    • After a janitor is murdered in a particularly intelligent way, the detectives talk to the Organized Crime Control Bureau and find the crime matches the M.O. of a retired mob hitman. They talk to the man and find out that there's a book that gives the whole plan for the crime, step by step. They're able to use this to track down the real killer.
    • In a later episode, the detectives consult a mob leader who is in prison for the murder of a man. He points them in the right direction by noting the murder scene was just a drop place for the body and identifies a probable kill spot. All the criminal asks for was for the detectives to ask the feds to back off the man's grandson, who only shared his name but had nothing to do with criminal activity.
  • In an episode of Law & Order: SVU, Casey Novak must get the testimony of a convicted Serial Killer who is serving life in prison. He viewed his crimes as "art," and the new killings are the work of a copycat. Actually the killer's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend. At the trial, he "critiques" the "work," and he gets his wish to be transferred to another prison: a federal supermax prison.
  • In Lie to Me, Cal ends up turning to a serial rapist and torturer for clues about the recent string of copycat crimes.It turns out to be the first victim's boyfriend.
  • Defied and Deconstructed in a Series 1 episode of Luther when Luther tries to pick Alice Morgan's brain for insight into the killer in one of his cases, she points out that she doesn't suddenly gain the ability to understand other people just because one is a killer like her (allegedly) and that, ultimately, this criminal's mindset is as alien to her as it is to Luther or, indeed, as any human's mindset would be to her.
  • Mindhunter is about a new team of FBI agents in the 1970s that interview incarcerated serial killers to get insight in how they work and maybe help catch others in the future. In season 2, as the team starts looking into the BTK murders, they decide to ask David Berkowitz and Edmund Kemper specifically about the case.
  • The Murders: In "Stereo" after some similar murders to ones he committed happen, Kate speaks to Evan Walker, the "audiologist" serial killer from "The Long Black Veil" (the pilot) who's serving a life sentence, hoping he will help them catch the other guy.
  • A situation similar to the above example arises in NCIS, with a serial killer Gibbs put away early in his career.
  • NTSF:SD:SUV:: parodied this when Trent Hauser visits Lundgren, an evil genius dolphin serial killer in prison in order to track down a copycat. He's shackled inside a water tank in the basement. Which he later manages to escape from. Somehow.
  • Only Murders in the Building: Charles consults with Jan in Season 2, who has been convicted of the murders and attempted murders from the first season by then, hoping for insight on the current killer.
  • In Power Rangers S.P.D., Sky consults the imprisoned Mirloc about a copycat criminal. There's a bunch of special precautions involved since Mirloc could travel through mirrors and reflective surfaces, but all Mirloc asks for in exchange is that Sky tell him a sad story, so Sky tells him how his father died in the line of duty... crying a little in the process - which was what Mirloc was counting on, as he then escaped through the reflection in the tears. For bonus points, Sky finds out afterwards that Mirloc was the one who killed his dad.
  • In The Pretender episode "Once in a Blue Moon", Jarod is helping to catch a Copycat Killer, and consults the serial killer who is being copied.
  • Prodigal Son: The series has the protagonist Malcolm Bright, a criminal profiler, doing this with the twist that the killer is his father, who he turned in to the police. His father doesn't appear to hold a grudge, and is just happy to see Malcolm again, while offering him insights. It's Malcolm who's reluctant, understandably.
  • The Sam & Cat episode "#SuperPsycho", a parody of The Silence of the Lambs, has Sam and Cat going to a mental hospital to get help from Sam's old enemy Nevel in helping defeat her other enemy Nora.
  • In Slasher, as a copycat Executioner terrorizes the town of Waterbury, Sarah resorts to consulting the original Executioner, who also happens to be her parents' murderer.
  • In Smallville, someone frames Lex Luthor for the murder of his ex-lover. Lex immediately suspects his father Lionel, who is currently serving a life sentence, arranged it from behind bars, as he'd pulled off similar maneuvers in the past. When Lionel reaches out to Clark offering to help, Clark decides to visit him to try to ascertain the truth. Lionel denies involvement, actually seeming to want to honestly help Lex, and helps Clark deduce the killer's identity, another one of Lex's exes. Turns out, Lex unintentionally copied his father's romantic playbook, but was in such denial that he actually forgot the names and faces of all the women he slept with.
  • One episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had Ezri investigate a series of killings this way. Namely, she consults one of her past hosts, which she's not too thrilled about.
  • Titans (2018). Turns out the Gotham City Police Department has been using Scarecrow for criminal profiling since he was incarcerated in Arkham Asylum. Worse, it was Batman's idea. He gets paid in minor treats like a baggie of quality marijuana. Dick Greyson goes to consult him about the Red Hood. Whom Crane turns out to be in league with.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In Fahrenheit, after Carla discovers similarities between Lucas' case and past murders, she visits Janos, the culprit of those past murders, at Bellevue Asylum in order to find out the link in both cases.
  • Gotham Knights (2022): Implied. It is revealed that, prior to Batman's death at the beginning of the game, he had contacted Harley Quinn while she was locked up at Blackgate to ask for help with one of his investigations. The player must then pay a visit to her cell in order to collect her intel, uncovering evidence of a centuries-long conspiracy where multiple violent criminals were released early from Blackgate after witnesses to their crimes were mysteriously murdered.
  • In a quest in World of Warcraft, the player has to visit Tyrus Blackhorn, an imprisoned satyr. He gives advice to stop a powerful fire elemental and uses this opportunity to escape his prison.

    Web Original 
  • I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC's 's "Happy Hour" story arc sees Spider-Man and Batman visit Lex Luthor in custody to ask questions about how his android Lance works, after the Joker had acquired it and began using it for a nefarious purpose. However, Luthor was brainwashed by Joker before the heroes had arrived and informs Joker when they get to him. Luthor only provides helpful information after Batman acquires Wonder Woman's golden lasso, which he promptly uses on Luthor.
  • There Will Be Brawl re-imagines Kirby as an Expy of Hannibal Lecter, presenting him as an imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer that is consulted in the hope of solving other murders going on.

    Western Animation 
  • Extreme Ghostbusters: In the episode "Grundelesque", Kylie thinks the Monster of the Week is a Grundel but her teammates won't believe her because the only existing Grundel has already been captured in the previous show. To confirm her suspicions, Kylie interrogates the original Grundel, who confirms the existence of another one but demands to be freed if she wants his help. She refuses.
  • In one episode of Family Guy, Joe consults Lois' brother, Patrick 'Fat Guy Strangler' Pewterschmidt, when kids at a fat camp start turning up dead. Patrick initially theorizes that the killer will remain at the fat camp to ensure a good supply of victims but later figures out that the killer has a specific target in mind but keeps picking the wrong person due to mistaken identity. The killer turns out to be a professional eater who Chris humiliated at an eating contest earlier in the episode.
  • The Fillmore! episode "To Mar a Stall" is one big Shout-Out to The Silence of the Lambs. In it, Fillmore consults with Randall the Vandal, who is kept in detention permanently, in order to gain insight into the mind of the mystery vandal 'Stainless'.
  • The Legend of Korra has Korra go to Season 3 Big Bad Zaheer in order to get over her trauma over the events of the season 3 finale. When that doesn't work, Zaheer agrees to help Korra overcome her trauma after learning his actions in the name of true freedom has allowed a worse dicator, Kuvira, to come into power. Unlike other examples on this page, Zaheer only asks Korra to stop Kuvira.
  • Men in Black: The Series: Season 4 episode "The Opening Gambit Syndrome" sees Agents J and K visit fallen agent Alpha in captivity to ask him about a case suspiciously similar to one he had solved, prior to him turning rogue. K gets tired of Alpha's mind games, but J is much more optimistic, especially since all Alpha wants is for the agents to play chess with him while they question him. Alpha's information proves helpful, primarily because Alpha is actually partners with the alien criminals, and J decides to thank Alpha by giving him a children's electronic chess game to pass his time in prison. However, K figures out much too late that this was all a massive ruse and, sure enough, Alpha uses the electronics inside the toy to escape prison.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Great Louse Detective", after a failed murder attempt on Homer, the Simpson family approaches Chief Wiggum in order to get help in finding out who would try and kill Homer. Wiggum declares that their case requires "someone who understands the twisted mind of a murderer". They end up seeking Sideshow Bob's assistance, which Bob agrees to under the condition that he have "around-the-clock access to all Simpsons... especially Bart". Because the Springfield PD are useless, Bob effectively takes a more active role in the task at hand and does the majority of the investigative work throughout the episode. Like Bob, the suspect they are after has a revenge-based motive for killing a member of the Simpsons family.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In "Wrath of the Krampus", Mystery, Inc. visit the prison to consult with the grade-school-age Mary Anne Gleardan, one of their former antagonists.
  • In the South Park episode "Toilet Paper", parodying The Silence of the Lambs, Officer Barbrady consults Josh, locked up for toilet papering houses, to help him with a similar case.

    Real Life 
  • In an attempt to catch the Green River Killer, members of the police task force assigned to the case periodically interviewed convicted serial killer Ted Bundy. Ultimately, many of Bundy's guesses about the real killer turned out to be correct, but were too vague to directly point to any one suspect at the time. This may be considered an Ur-Example, as the Green River Task Force's death row interviews with Bundy inspired Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter novels, and got its own movie adaptation, The Riverman.
  • The most infamous serial killer in the (former) USSR was probably Andrei Chikatilo (popularized in the West by the film Citizen X). Being completely unsuccessful in the attempts to catch him, the chief investigator in the case, Issa Kostoev, turned to one of the very few serial killers captured in the USSR by that time - Anatoly Slivko. Despite Slivko sincerely wishing to help, his guesses turned out to be almost all wrong. What makes it all the more terrifying: Slivko was on death row at the time. Kostoev spoke to Slivko mere hours before his execution. Kostoev knew it. Slivko didn't.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Consulted Killer, Ask A Killer, The Hannibal Lecter


Josh Meyers

Officer Barbrady consults a juvenile TP'er while on the hunt for a similar perpetrator, spoofing "The Silence of the Lambs."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ConsultingAConvictedKiller

Media sources: