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Crime and Punishment Tropes

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"Justice is justly represented Blind, because she sees no Difference in the Parties concerned. She has but one Scale and Weight, for Rich and Poor, Great and Small."
William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude in Reflections and Maxims

Tropes regarding the depiction of law, crime, and justice in works of fiction.


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General/miscellaneous trope indexes
  • Authority Tropes: Tropes about people who hold the power to make new laws or rules, along with anyone who enforces these rules by punishing any violators.
  • Civil Unrest Tropes: Tropes about sociopolitical disorder caused by common citizens (il)legally defying the governmental authorities; ranging from peaceful protests and civil disobedience, to violent riots and armed rebellions, which can often be responded with harsh crackdowns by law enforcement and the judicial system.
  • Espionage Tropes: Tropes about the act of spying. This includes domestic espionage by law enforcement agencies infiltrating or surveilling criminal groups for police investigations; along with international espionage by various (civilian/military) intelligence agencies, which is extremely illegal if one is caught engaging in such activities on behalf of a foreign government (especially an enemy power in times of conflict).
  • Help! Help! This Index Is Being Repressed!: Tropes about when human rights are violated by oppressive authority figures, who may decide that everyone they don't like are just criminals who deserve to be treated as harshly as they can get away with.
  • Human Rights Issues: Tropes about civil/human rights, freedoms and liberties, which may be legally protected or restricted as the government deems fit.
  • Morality Tropes: Tropes about how morally right (or wrong) it is to obey (or disobey) the laws and rules of society.
  • A Restrained Index: Tropes about restraints and physically restraining people, which often constitutes either a crime or a punishment for one.
  • Rebel Tropes: Tropes about people who defy the authorities and their laws or rules, including but not limited to outright illegal or criminal acts.
  • Revenge Tropes: Tropes about vengeance, which can often be a motive for anyone who feels they have been somehow wronged to engage in (il)legal retaliation against their enemies.
  • Screw This Index, I Have Tropes: For one reason or another, these people act like laws and rules don't actually apply to them, perhaps because they may hold special privileges.
  • Violence Tropes: Tropes about (il)legal violence in general; whether done by the authorities, criminals, or their victims defending themselves.

Law enforcement, judicial and penal systems
  • Artistic License – Law: Tropes about inaccurate depictions of the law and judicial system.
  • Banishment Tropes: Tropes about whenever someone has been denied permission to enter, kicked out and expelled, or banned from returning to a specific location; often as punishment for violating that place's laws or rules (or because the local authorities just really dislike that person and never wanted their presence).
  • Censorship Tropes: Tropes about official restrictions placed on the media or the personal expression of one's opinions, which may sometimes be legally enforced and prosecuted through the government's laws or policies.
  • Cops and Detectives: Tropes about law enforcement / police officers, and other people whose job is to apprehend suspected criminals and/or to investigate crime cases.
  • The Courtroom Index: Tropes about judges, lawyers, defendants, plaintiffs, jurors, and witnesses interacting in any sort of trial in a court of law.
  • Forensic Phlebotinum: Tropes about various tools that can be used to help solve crimes.
  • Mystery Tropes: Tropes about the investigation of unsolved crimes or other confusing matters.
  • Perp Sweating: Tropes about how the authorities interrogate suspects accused of crimes (whether nonviolently or otherwise).
  • Prison Tropes: Tropes about detention facilities that are designed to hold people who have been accused and/or convicted of crimes in captivity.

Criminal activities, perpetrators and victims
  • Betrayal Tropes: Tropes about backstabbing and treachery, which are rather common behaviors amongst dishonest criminals. This index may also cover treason, which is the crime of betraying one's allegiance to their country or government.
  • The Con: Tropes about confidence tricks, frauds and scams, and the people who commit them.
  • Criminals: Tropes about all kinds of people who violate the law.
  • Gambling Tropes: Tropes about activities which involve recreationally betting and risking money, which are illegal (or at least heavily regulated) in most places around the world.
  • Hired Guns: Tropes about mercenaries and guns-for-hire, who often engage in criminal activity, especially murder, in exchange for payment.
  • The Oldest Profession: Tropes about pimping, prostitution, and the exchange of sexual acts for profit, which are illegal (or at least heavily regulated) in most places around the world.
  • Organized Crime Tropes: Tropes about gangsters and mobsters, or any career criminals who are members of a larger group or organization, which engage in illegal activities mostly for monetary profit.
  • Pirate Tropes: Tropes about outlaws who engage in piracy, which are any crimes committed on water instead of land.
  • Smuggling Index: Tropes about the crimes of smuggling and trafficking, or the secret transportation of illegal goods.
  • Steal This Index: Tropes about the crime of property theft and the thieves who do it.
  • This Is Your Index on Drugs: Tropes about the production, trafficking, sale, and usage of various recreational substances that are illegal (or at least heavily regulated) in most places around the world.
  • Vandalism Tropes: Tropes about damaging or destroying any property that doesn't belong to you.
  • Victimhood Tropes: Tropes about people who are at the receiving end of crimes.

Violence (both legal and illegal)
  • Abuse Tropes: Tropes about various forms of mental and/or physical torment (especially, but not limited to, domestic violence among families).
  • Child Abuse Tropes: Tropes about abuse against children by their parents or other adults.
  • Disposing of a Body: Tropes about hiding the bodies of murder victims to avoid getting in trouble for their deaths.
  • Genocide Tropes: Tropes about the systematic, targeted mass murder of large groups of people, which in modern times is considered to be a very serious war crime / crime against humanity.
  • I Have Your Index: Tropes about the crime of abduction, kidnapping people, and holding them hostage (often for ransom or other demands).
  • Murder Tropes: Tropes about the crime of homicide, or the unlawful killing of another person.
  • Murder in the Family: Tropes about the act of killing one's own kin, which is the most extreme form of domestic violence.
  • Public Execution: Tropes about capital punishment or the death penalty, which means killing prisoners convicted of capital crimes. Note that this practice has been legally abolished in many countries, but other jurisdictions may still sentence criminals to death.
  • Sexual Harassment and Rape Tropes: Tropes about various forms of sexual abuse and assault.
  • Terrorism Tropes: Tropes about violent crimes that are primarily motivated by political ideology.
  • Threatening Tropes: Tropes about the use of threats of violence to intimidate and coerce others.
  • A Tortured Index: Tropes about painfully harming people as a method of interrogation, punishment, or just plain sadism. The legality of (state-sanctioned) torture committed by authority figures varies by jurisdiction, but torture done by legally unprotected criminals is obviously always illegal.

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