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Conveniently Cellmates

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"Look who it is! What are the odds you and I'd end up in the same summer camp?"
Mac Gargan meeting up with Adrian Toomes in prison, Spider-Man: Homecoming

So, after a long struggle, the Big Bad has been defeated. He has been sent to a jury, found guilty of his evil deeds, finally sent to prison, and good riddance. Unless it's a Cardboard Prison, we'll never meet him again.

However, that was not the grand finale. The story continued, and a new big bad emerged. At some point, either the new big bad or the hero himself is sent to prison as well. This time, we can see in full detail how they get into prison, how he walks to his cell with the other prisoners insulting from the nearby cells, and finally, his cell. Guess what, you'll have to share it. Meet your new cellmate! Oh, wait, you already knew each other?

If it's the hero, being in a cell with his former enemy will simply makes things even worse than simply being in prison would be. And if it's another villain, the old villain may work as a mentor of villainy, or how to do things inside of prison, or even plan a escape ploy together (which may be followed by a Villain Team-Up).

This may happen in Real Life but it is extremely unlikely, as it is a giant Contrived Coincidence. But even if it did happen, your lawyer can simply explain the situation and ask the prison to assign you another cell. Which is likely to be accepted, as running as prison is complex enough as is, and they may prefer to avoid unneeded drama.

This trope is a specific form of The Bus Came Back. Compare You All Meet in a Cell.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: This was how The Joker and The Penguin began their first team-up, all the way back in The Golden Age of Comic Books. At the end of the story, Batman and Robin make sure they'll never be put in the same cellblock again.
  • The Beagle Boys (Disney) in various incarnations usually also get a cell together.
  • In Lucky Luke, the four Dalton Brothers will always get a cell together. Add to that the fact that it is a Cardboard Prison and they are all Tunnel Kings, and they will also very easily escape together (each digging their own tunnel no less).
  • Anytime The Punisher ends up in prison, he runs into a hierarchy of prisoners who more or less run the place. In "The Cell", a Mafia family get huge, almost customized cells, with all the luxuries that can be brought in there, including TV sets, porno mags and blowjobs (from other inmates). And whenever the Punisher does end up in prison, he's there because he wants to be, by going to the nearest police station and turning himself in (usually to get at an otherwise-untouchable criminal). Usually gets the full "we're gonna get you, Frank!" montage from fellow prisoners followed by the efficient dispatching of said prisoners. On one occasion he did it to give an imprisoned Matt Murdock a way out by taking him "hostage" during a riot. And in "The Trial of the Punisher", the target was a judge, a former mafia gone into witness protection.
  • A sequel comic to Superman Returns has Lex Luthor pull strings to get a less-than-bright cellmate, specifically so he can have an audience for his genius plans.
  • In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, both heroes defeat Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus, who are sent to prison. They escape together, and make a Villain Team-Up against the heroes.
  • Ultimate X Men: When they are not in a mission, the X-Men are held by Weapon X in a cell... right in front of Rogue and Juggernaut, the mutants that helped to capture them, and with Nightcrawler in their same cell.
  • Spider-Men II: Many years ago, the adult Miles Morales was in prison, covering up his cousin. Kingpin, enforcer of the Rigoletto family, was jailed and placed in his cell. He had a message for him from the don: that he is grateful, and will help him out.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman & Robin: At the end, former partners Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze are put in the same cell. Presumably there was some bribery involved, considering that Gotham City prisons are unlikely to be co-ed. Mr. Freeze promises to get revenge on Poison Ivy for trying to kill his wife.
    Mr. Freeze: Surprise. I'm your new cellmate. And I've come to make your life a living hell. Prepare for a bitter harvest.
  • In The Elite Squad 2, the inmates of the prison complex are sorted according to their gang affiliation.
  • In Goodfellas, Henry Hill shares the same prison accommodation as his gangster pals (besides Jimmy Conway, who was in Atlanta). Truth in Television for them and many other organized crime figures at the time, usually achieved through corrupt prison staff.
  • In I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, the hero returns to prison after several years. He ends up in the same quarter with the old prisoner who helped him escape back then. Guess what the two are planning next.
  • In My Cousin Vinny, Stan and Bill share a prison cell throughout the film.
  • At the end of No Man's Land 4: Hot Rocks, the members of the all-female gang of jewel thieves are all locked up in the same cell; allowing them one last all-girl orgy.
  • Superman II: Lex Luthor and his henchman, Otis, are shown sharing the same cell in Metropolis Prison. They also work together in the prison laundry.
  • The Usual Suspects, the five main characters first meet in a jail cell after being rounded up for a lineup. They (particularly the one who used to be a cop) lampshade this as being improbable, noting how lineups usually consist of one actual suspect and four volunteers the police hired to fill out the lineup. The same ex-cop character also notes that police would never leave five notable felons being held for the same crime together in the same holding cell and thinks the whole thing is suspicious. He's right, although they won't find out until a good chunk of the movie later that a powerful and mysterious mobster had arranged for the NYPD to arrest and hold the five of them at once.

  • When imprisoned in Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry and Ron are put in the same room as Luna. It does help that the "prison" is basically the basement of Malfoy Manor.
  • Downplayed in the first book of Heralds Of Rhimn. Navaeli and Crislie are coincidentally placed in a cell with Meparik, the same pickpocket that stole Crislie’s wallet a week back.
  • In Interesting Times, Rincewind is thrown in prison by the Emperor. He quickly finds his old travel companion, Twoflower, is in the adjacent cell.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Lampshaded and subverted in Thrill Me: Nathan tells Richard that they'll be cellmates, and Richard points out how ridiculous an idea that is. It's not ridiculous—Nathan's had the guards bribed.

    Web Original 
  • Defied by the Evil Overlord List:
    36. I will not imprison members of the same party in the same cell block, let alone the same cell. If they are important prisoners, I will keep the only key to the cell door on my person instead of handing out copies to every bottom-rung guard in the prison.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Following a coup at MAVO, the deposed Quellor soon finds himself in one of his own prison cells. An episode later finds him joined by Teddy of all people, and the two even get to sing a duet about how little either of them likes being jailed (this does not lead to bonding between the two).
  • In Futurama, Bender and Fry get implicated in a bank robbery with Roberto, a maniacal robot. Once they are imprisoned in the robot insane asylum, Fry's cellmate turns out to be... Roberto!
    Roberto: I'm just practicing my stabbing motions!
  • Gargoyles:
    • When the pack are in prison, Fox and Hyena are sharing a cell, as are Wolf and Jackal.
    • When Tony Dracon loses his private cell privileges, his new cellmate is Thomas Brod. While no reasonable jailer would pair up criminals who've worked together, neither would they pair up known enemies like Dracon and Brod. The ensuing fist fight they get into should explain why.
  • ''The Powerpuff Girls:
    • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Powerpuff Bluff" after being framed, the girls are all put in the same cell, which they easily break out of.
    • The Powerpuff Girls (2016): In "Tiara Trouble", Mojo Jojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins and the Gangrene Gang all share the same cell.
  • The Simpsons: Sideshow Bob has been seen with his family in jail.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Montana of the Enforcers, aka Shocker, and Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio share a cell in the Vault.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Deception", Moralo Eval, who is incarcerated by the Republic, plans on breaking out along with his cellmate, Cad Bane. The reason why Moralo wants to break out is because he was hired to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine.
  • In the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, the four turtles get a cell together, when they get captured by the Triceratons. When Raphael wins a fight under the dinner, he is however in another cell alone, so the others have to free him when they escape.