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Death Faked for You

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FBI Director Womack: Goodspeed, where's Mason? Where's his body? I wanna see that son of a bitch!
Agent Goodspeed: Vaporized, sir.
Womack: What, vaporized? A body can vaporize?
Goodspeed: Oh, yeah. Absolutely, sir.

A Sub-Trope of Faking the Dead, where you don't have to do it yourself — someone else does it for you.

Reasons and methods can (of course) vary. One way is if two people are alone, and one is hunted. The other person befriends the hunted person, and then claims that person is dead when other people finally arrive. Maybe someone thinks they took out the character in question, but their victim was actually a random look-a-like and real person is still in hiding. Or an ally or some service pulls off a similar act in a case of extreme Witness Protection. Yet another way could be involuntary (give these people what they want, or it won't be fake anymore). The involuntary version can also be used to facilitate kidnapping, "disappearances" by the government, imprisonment at a Black Site, Cold-Blooded Torture, or any sort of forced servitude; after all, if everyone thinks you're dead, no one is going to come rescue you, and a dead person has no human rights.

Doesn't always work, though, and can especially be prone to failure when one of the parties who should be aware of the person's actual status isn't in on the plan... which can sometimes include the "deceased" themselves.

Compare Merciful Minion and Make It Look Like a Struggle.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mahmut did this in Altair: A Record of Battles for Sultan Fatma at the end of the Turkiye Civil War, as she was just a puppet regent for her young son. Had she been killed, a Cycle of Revenge would have started between her children.
  • In The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, Hattori Hanzo and Zenki do this for Sagara Yoshiharu during the Retreat at Kanegasaki Arc, as two separate armies were intent of killing Yoshiharu. Thus faking his death took away the reason they was being persued, allowing them to escape. Although, it was complicated when Matsudaira Motoyasu showed up. This plan worked because Hanzo set of an explosion while Zenki disguised himself as Yoshiharu.
  • In Baccano!, during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge aboard the Flying Pussyfoot, Claire Stanfield kills a man with a similar build, hair color, and conductor's uniform by grinding his face off on the tracks. He is later amused to find that the FBI mistook the defaced victim for him — so amused that he allowed himself to be interviewed for his own obituary.
  • Conan's plan in the Mystery Train arc in Case Closed is to fake Haibara's death so the Black Organization will no longer hunt her. Haibara herself is Locked Out of the Loop until the plan is well underway, partly due to Conan suspecting they were under observation and partly because the plan depended on Haibara behaving in a particular manner.
  • Chang Ge, the protagonist of Choukakou, had her family killed by the current emperor of China. Some high ranking officials sympathetic to her family, however, pretend she fell off a cliff and died. When she starts causing some trouble in the capital said officials burn down a whole building with all the people inside to erase the evidence and also to send her a warning.
  • In Claymore, After an attack on The Organization is defeated, several handlers find their warriors hacking the body of the renegade named Phantom Miria into a bloody mass of meat with their swords. Of course considering her Healing Factor this turned out to be the best way the warriors could protect from their superiors the woman that had taken such pains not to do them harm.
  • The Ashford family did this for the banished and dishonored royal siblings Lelouch and Nunnally when they were children in Code Geass.
  • Done by accident in Detective School Q. A businesswoman learned that the meeting she had hoped would save her company was a lost cause so she didn't bother going on the flight to the meeting site, giving her ticket to someone on the reserve list. The plane crashed, and the authorities assumed she died on the flight. Because her life insurance policy would yield enough to save the family business, she allowed the report of her death to stand. Unfortunately, she commited a huge mistake: attempting to visit her remaining family under the disguise of a Phony Psychic, so she could watch over her two sons and the heir apparent alias her youngest daughter. The sons, who believe their mother's dead and think that this "psychic" is a con artist employed by a greedy aunt who hopes to seize the company, murder her in a desperate attempt to protect their little sister.
  • D.Gray-Man: Cross Marian is shot and his body disappears. This is made clear by the other generals that considering the head wound and the blood loss there is no way he could have disappeared by himself. Still, it is revealed by Road that he is still alive. The person who faked his death is still unknown
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Roy Mustang does this to Maria Ross after she is set up to take the fall for Hughes' murder. It was pretty convincing, too — he created a phony corpse with alchemy and burned it beyond all recognition, then faked the dental evidence to remove any doubt that the body was real. And, in case that didn't work, he asked the coroner (an old friend of his) to overlook the possible mistakes.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Happens in Matsuribayashi-hen, when the True Companions decide to fake Rika's death so as to make Takano think that her research was wrong and give up on it, thereby saving Rika.
  • In Naruto, this is one of Kabuto's special talents; he keeps a storage scroll filled with preserved corpses that he can transform into the appearances of others to fake their deaths, which he does to cover for Sai when he pretends to defect to Orochimaru. However Sai's team (Yamato, Naruto and Sakura) see through it.
  • In the Backstory of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Ala Rubra faked High Queen Arika's execution. It's unknown whether or not she's still alive when the main story begins, though.
  • One Piece:
    • Usopp tries to escape from the Arlong Pirates with a smoke bomb. Nami fears that Usopp would still be unable to escape and her loyalty to the Arlong Pirates was questioned earlier. To save Usopp's life, she fakes his death. From the smoke it looks like Nami stabbed Usopp and threw his bloody corpse into the pool. But in reality the blood came from Nami, as she stabbed her own hand to make Usopp look bloody.
    • Turns out this also happened to Sanji. He was raised by a family of assassins but turned out to be a failure. So his father decided to fake his death and keep him in a dungeon. Luckily, he escaped thanks to his sister.
  • The third chapter of Ōoku: The Inner Chambers ends with Mizuno Yunoshin, under sentence of death for being the first to sleep with the unmarried new Shogun; being escorted to a quiet corner of the palace grounds, made to kneel by an open grave, blindfolded, and getting his bonds cut off by the headsman. Shogun Yoshimune (who found the law ridiculous and would have rescinded it had she known before picking her bed-toy) showed up in person to give him a new identity and update him on his Unlucky Childhood Friend's situationnote  before having him shown out a side door.
  • Happens in Rurouni Kenshin, where Enishi is forced to kidnap Kaoru and fake her death, because Enishi can't bring himself to harm or kill any young woman, due to being traumatized by his beloved sister Tomoe's death. Enishi hatched a plan in base to this... and it worked horrifyingly well on Kenshin. By making his Mad Artist henchman build a flesh mannequin looking exactly like Kaoru beforehand, kidnapping her, replacing her with said doll *and* impaling the mannequin to a wall with Enishi's sword before he leaves it for Kenshin to find, he pretty much destroys Kenshin's will to live for quite a while.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, this happens more than once.
    • In the opening chapter, Rize Kamishiro is crushed by steel beams and dies......or so it seems. In reality, she was kidnapped and imprisoned by resident Mad Scientist Dr. Kanou. The news of her death simply kept anyone from looking for her during those months.
    • At the conclusion of the original series, official records state no prisoners were taken during the battle in the 20th Ward. Everyone believes Kaneki to have been killed in the battle, with the CCG making him an Un-person and using his Trauma-Induced Amnesia to recruit him under a new identity.
    • After taking leadership of the CCG, Big Bad Furuta uses his formal introduction to the organization's members to publicly execute a fake "Haise Sasaki". His reasons for this ruse are unknown, and Kaneki is left trying to figure out how to take advantage of his "death".
  • At the end of Witch Hunter Robin, Robin and Amon are declared dead after an enemy base they were inside self-destructed. Doujima informs her superiors that No One Could Survive That!, even though both she, and the rest of the team, knows very well that the both of them almost certainly made it out unscathed. By declaring them dead, they'll be relatively safe from Solomon pursuit.

    Comic Books 
  • 2000 AD:
  • In Drowntown, Alexandra Bastet seems to have had this done to her (voluntarily or otherwise), with the added feature that she doesn't even remember her past life herself. She used to be Gina Cassel, and when Leo discovers this, he's jumped by goons who want the faked death to stick: "Gina Cassel's dead. Leave her that way."
    • Judge Dredd: After Chief Judge Fargo's failed suicide, his aides Solomon and Goodman covered up the incident and instead convinced the public that Fargo had heroically died in the line of duty. He continues to advise his successors from behind the scenes after that.
    • A Strontium Dog story ended with Johnny discovering his target was innocent, but faced with the knowledge that if he didn't claim the bounty, someone else would. He shot the perp with a stun beam, thus recording him as dying and allowing him to live free from fear of other hunters.
  • Issue 799 of The Flash (Infinite Frontier) reveals that Granny Goodness did this to Donna Troy's son, Robbie Long; Tempest's son, Cerdian; and even the thought-unborn son of the second Mr. Terrific to use them as weapons against the heroes.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Red Hulk faked his daughter's death and put her on ice until somebody found a cure for her condition.
  • In The Mighty, Cole's wife, Janet, was thought of to be dead but was really kidnapped and experimented on by Alpha One.
  • At the end of The Punisher books' The Punisher: Suicide Run event, the sheriff of Laastekist claims that Castle died in an explosion after letting him go.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Cable came from the future to kill him, and he did... or so it seemed. He staged a scene that would look as if he killed him, so he could take him to the future without being followed. There, he trained him to be able to resist Apocalypse when he was awoken.

    Fan Works 
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs
    • In "What if Jake was stuck in morph?", Rachel fakes Jake's death by pretending that they were both drunk-joyriding, crashed into the ocean, and his body drifted out to sea. In reality, she stole Cassie's dad's truck and drove it off a cliff, morphed into a dolphin before it hit the water, then Tobias gave her some of his uncle's alcohol to make her look drunk.
    • In "What if Tom's yeerk got the morphing cube from David first?", Rachel and Tobias burn Jake's house down, and the Chee project holograms of his family's corpses, so they can escape to the Hork-Bajir valley.
    • In "What if Rachel's mom was a controller?", the Chee help Rachel fake her and her family's deaths so they can go into hiding and starve the Yeerk out of Naomi.
  • In Alternate History, Iroh is assumed dead. Zhao even killed him himself, or so he thinks. He just killed some poor fellow who looks like Iroh. Iroh himself is in hiding. Thus, Zhao accidentally faked Iroh's death.
  • Black Bond: To prevent Acquila from being raised by her father's dark relatives, Dumbledore fakes her death.
  • In By His Own Hand Dumbledore and Snape fake a suicidal Harry's death to prevent the ministry from prosecuting him for killing his abusive relatives and Barty Crouch Jr.
  • The Animorphs and the Chee fake Tom's death in Dæmorphing: Abel and Cain by making it look like he drowned, so they can take him to the Hork-Bajir valley and free him from his Yeerk.
  • In The Death of Princess Luna, the eponymous Alicorn princess is kidnapped and some unnamed mare's corpse is magically disguised as hers, fooling the entire Equestria into believing that she was killed by some forest creature while she was flying alone. Twilight discovers the hoax a month after Luna's "death" and sets out with her friends to discover her true whereabouts.
  • In Eleutherophobia: How I Live Now, the Animorphs figure out that the Rachel whose body was jettisoned into space wasn't Rachel at all, but rather someone forced to morph into her while another Yeerk infested the real Rachel.
  • In Fade, L fakes Kiyomi's death to get Light to confess to being Kira. It doesn't take. He uses the same tactic with Light on Misa, with more successful results.
  • For the Glory of Irk has a plot crucial example. After the Tallest discover the Control Brains' secret plans and are forced on the run when the Brains try to silence them, the Brains falsely announce their deaths so that they can be replaced with more compliant Irkens.
  • In The Guardian Snape and Lucius fake Harry's death so he and his aunt and cousin can escape from his abusive uncle.
  • In Gold Poisons, Jin Guangyao faked A-Yuan’s death at the end of the Sunshot Campaign and smuggled him out of Nightless City, as in this A-Yuan was Wen Xu’s son and thus part of Wen Ruohan’s family. A-Yuan likely would've been killed when the Wens were defeated if he hadn't been smuggled out.
  • In the Law & Order: UK story "Happy New Year", this is done for Matt Devlin after he's shot to protect him from his would-be killers. Unfortunately, his partner Ronnie and would-be lover Alesha are kept in the dark, leaving them genuinely grieving for him and getting the shock of their lives upon learning that he's alive after all. Matt himself was unaware of this until he awakened from surgery and only when told it was being done for his and his loved ones safety did his anger relent.
  • In Misaligned Gemini, a Transformers fanfic, Nominus Prime, Sentinel, Perceptor, and Termagax tell Sunstreaker that his ailing twin's spark extinguished in the Pyramid before they could finally be forged. Sunstreaker, who had been planning to mentor his twin since they could not be forged together, is left heartbroken and alone. Sideswipe is forged megacycles later by Sentinel's government and given to a scientist named Drench to raise. He grows up, unaware of the twin that mourns for him to the present day until Ratchet finds out the truth and reveals his twin's existence to Sideswipe. Sunstreaker is shocked to discover his twin's death was faked and angry enough about their lies that it's one of the reasons he joins the Decepticons.
  • In Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja, Kabuto (see above) uses one of his fake corpses to fake the death of Hinata to cover up the fact that she was taken alive when Konoha was destroyed. Kiba sees (or smells) through it. Disturbingly, Kabuto mentions to Orochimaru that he needs a replacement corpse of the same type in order to keep his collection stocked, and later briefly seems to be considering using Sakura.
  • In NUMB3RS story Missing, Presumed Dead, Colby's death was faked when he was kidnapped by Ian Edgerton and everyone thought he was dead for a month before he made contact.
  • To help hide the then infant Leia from Palpatine in Precipice, Padme fakes her daughter's death by having her birth be reported as miscarried, even creating a false grave visible from her home on Naboo so as to keep anyone from discovering her daughter's existence.
  • Sixes and Sevens starts with Michael Carter being shot down and crashing off the French coast. After making his way back to British Intelligence, they take advantage of his reported demise to bring him onto Operation Meridian, their own attempt to make a Super Soldier.
  • Done by accident in Twice Chosen; when the six Tributes found the power coins and went through the pool to the ship, Alpha simply disabled the trackers, not realizing this means the Games managers would assume the Tributes died somehow. They realize if they try to go back, it'll be only a matter of time before the Capitol finds the ship, and none of them want that tech falling into Snow's hands.
  • In Weight of the World Qrow tells RNJR that Alfred, Matthew, Pyrrha, and the others died in the exploding building. He chooses not to inform RNJR they're alive to keep those that would hunt Alfred/America/Vale in the dark about his location and survival.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Rescuers Down Under, McLeach kidnaps Cody to interrogate him in regards to where Marahute is, and fakes his death by throwing his backpack to a pack of crocodiles to keep the authorities from tailing them should a child be reported missing.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Andhadhun, Akash kidnaps Simi and makes it look like she killed herself.
  • The two action survivors in the 1945 film version of And Then There Were None use this trope to dupe the villain.
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): Far as the public knows, Callum died during his execution, allowing Abstergo to use him for their Animus research.
  • This happens in Assault on Precinct 13 (2005). The cop lets Bishop, a murderer and gangster, go because the man earned his trust and respect. He then implies to his fellow officers that Bishop was killed in the deadly raid on their precinct.
  • Dr. Li from the spy film, The Brain Stealers was seemingly killed by an assassin halfway into the film. But as his daughter, the protagonist Li Chiu-Lan, prepares to mourn over him, she uncovers the cloth covering his corpse and realize that isn't her father underneath. Turns out Li was merely tranquilized and was taken to Tokyo by the villains.
  • Sam Lowry does this to Jill in Brazil, adding a false death record to her file. Later, when she's killed for real, someone notes that she somehow managed to die twice.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane fakes Dr. Pavel's death in a plane crash in order to retrieve him. However, Bane plans on killing him later on at a more advantageous time.
  • This is how Edward Scissorhands got saved at the end of his movie, as Kim reports that Edward and Jim killed each other.
  • The film Eraser has the main character go around faking deaths for witness protection. The opener shows him saving a witness and his girlfriend from a group of mobsters, taking pictures of their "deceased" bodies, dumping two dead bodies he'd stolen from the morgue that sort of look like them, then blowing up the house. Afterwards, he swaps the fingerprints records on the dead bodies with the ones of the witnesses.
  • Extreme Prejudice (1987). The movie opens with the Black Ops unit assembling, stating how every one is listed as having been 'killed' while on military service, in order to aid Plausible Deniabilityeven though it would be a lot more plausible to have them be thrown out of the military on fake charges. When a Texas Ranger realises he's caught several people officially listed as dead, it's obvious that there's some official funny business going on.
  • In Knife for the Ladies, Elizabeth and Orville fake Travis' death and stage a fake funeral for him, allowing Elizabeth to secrete him away in the Mescal mansion.
  • In Lady Ninja Kaede, Tadesuke has Kaede arrested and sent to her execution for killing a samurai. He later releases a public proclamation of her beheading. However, she is still alive and he secretly sends her to Yumeama to be trained as a ninja.
  • In Maleficent, Stefan doesn't kill Maleficent but hacks off her wings to make it look like she is dead in order to claim the throne.
  • Miller's Crossing (1990). Bernie Bernbaum begs Tom Reagan to "Look into your heart" before pulling a classic dick move.
  • In My Name Is Nobody Nobody organizes Jack Beauregard's fake death.
  • In Now You See Me, Jack Wilder's death is faked with the assistance of the other Horsemen, as part of their overall plan.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard needs to get Syrena to shed a tear. After torture doesn't work, he seemingly kills Philip, the only man who's been kind to her, in front of her. It doesn't work. He orders the body disposed of. Then Philip wakes up later, goes back to rescue her - and then she sheds tears of joy, which is what Blackbeard had planned for all along.
  • This happened in Pitch Black, with Riddick asking that the others say he died on the planet/moon/hell-forsaken rock. As we see at the beginning of The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), that didn't discourage the mercenaries from hunting him down anyway. Of course, they were clued in by one of the people he rescued. In the novelization, it's made clear people were still looking for him anyway. They just couldn't find him without help.
  • The Rock: By the end of the movie, Stanley Goodspeed has come to trust James Bond Expy John Mason, and Goodspeed knows Womack, his superior at the FBI, would throw Mason back in prison despite the promise of a pardon. So Goodspeed tells his superiors that Mason was "vaporized" in the explosions The Cavalry set off. Womack is convinced, but another FBI agent seems to sense the lie, and go along with it.
  • At the end of Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, Minister Ito declares that the notorious assassin known as Hitokiri Battousai died fighting Shishio on the Rengoku - while Kenshin is standing right in front of him. This makes Kenshin officially just a man who resembles the face on the wanted posters, allowing him to shed his past notoriety and retire in peace.
  • The six titular heroes from Six Assassins are assumed dead after the first act, but as it turns out, their deaths are faked by their benefactors, who wants their services on an assassination mission, which is made easier because they're assumed to be dead.
  • Star Wars:
    • Done for the infant Luke and Leia in Revenge of the Sith, to protect them from Palpatine. Padmé's body is made to still look pregnant at her funeral, so that no one knows she gave birth before dying.
    • In A New Hope, stormtrooper officer Daine Jir warns Darth Vader that arresting Leia, an Imperial senator, is politically dangerous because the Imperial Senate in theory still has some power. Vader orders him to cover it up by faking a Distress Signal and then a report that Leia's ship was destroyed with all hands (ancillary materials state they then ejected the Tantive IV and blew it up in case somebody came looking for the debris), though this is all rendered moot less than a week later when Emperor Palpatine dissolves the Senate entirely.
  • In Tell No One, Jacques fakes Margot's death after she kills the son of the Big Bad in self defense, to keep him from coming after her.
  • In the first Underworld (2003) movie, Kraven did this for Lucian centuries ago.
  • WarGames: While trying to hack into the NORAD Master Computer WOPR/Joshua (wrongly thinking it's the computer system of a video game company), David Lightman researches Dr. Stephen Falken, the computer scientist who developed the system, and comes across a newspaper clipping stating he passed away about a decade prior to the events of the movie. Later, when he's taken to NORAD, he meets with John McKittrick, a colleague of Falken's, and asks about him, to which McKittrick says "He's a brilliant man...", talking about him in the present tense, subtly revealing that Falken had faked his death. Afterwards, David accesses Joshua, who divulges that Falken has a classified address, where he's living under the alias "Dr. Robert Hume". After escaping NORAD, David travels to the address with his friend Jennifer and they meet Falken, who explains that "for security reasons, they graciously arranged my death".

  • Camp X: After the Nazi spies get the info they want out of George, they order Mr. Krum to kill them so they don't tell anyone. Mr. Krum complies, and once the spies are gone, he fires several rounds into the wall, making them think that he went through with it.
  • Moist von Lipwig, in the Discworld novel Going Postal, had his execution faked for him, as the involuntary subtype: Become Vetinari's Boxed Crook, or... well, to everyone else you're already dead, aren't you?
  • Empire from the Ashes: Early in the first book, after Sapient Ship Dahak abducts Commander Colin MacIntyre and brings him on board, he stages a crash, complete with a fake transmission, of the ship Colin was flying so that the mutineers who have secretly manipulated Earth's society for millennia won't suspect that he is fully operational. Colin is not happy when Dahak informs him of this.
  • In the fairy tale "The Gold Mountain" a wealthy merchant sells his son to a dwarf, but the son is wise in fairy-lore and disputes the deal. Finally, they compromise by sending him away in a boat, so neither father or dwarf will have him, and the boy's fairy friends fake up a squall that capsizes and apparently sinks the boat.
  • Dumbledore offered to do this for Draco in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but didn't get the chance. Averted with Dumbledore himself, despite what many fans (and Harry) believed.
    • Narcissa Malfoy with Harry at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Voldemort sent her to check whether Harry had been killed. When she did, she realized he was alive and, without the others seeing, asked him if her son Draco was alive. Harry told her "yes", so she told Voldemort that Harry was dead, thereby keeping Harry alive and giving Narcissa a chance to return to the castle as part of the victory party and search for her son.
  • In Maximum Ride Forever, multiple characters die, but it is eventually revealed to be a ploy by Dylan and Angel.
  • In One For Sorrow Two For Joy, at the beginning, two Magpie Mooks failed to find the protagonist Kirrick, the last of the robins and, afraid to go back empty-handed, pretended to have been successful in their mission by getting their beaks bloody eating a rabbit who had fallen into a trap nearby, telling the story of how they cornered Kirrick as he begged for mercy before mercilessly tearing him to pieces. Traska, however, made his entrance immediately seeing through the lie, and had the pair disemboweled to confirm that wasn't robin meat in their stomachs.
  • As part of their escape plan in Room, Joy makes Old Nick believe that her son died from the untreated illness so he would take the body outside.
  • In Richard Sharpe's second court-martial, he's falsely accused of murdering a Spanish aristocrat. He's convicted and sentenced to hang for political reasons, but another convict is hanged in his place, leaving him free to clear his name.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • In the fourth book Cersei gets news that Davos is dead. That is all we hear about it until the fifth book, when we see his side of the story. Davos is locked in one of Manderly's nicer cells until he finds out that Manderly has killed someone in his place. Manderly's goal was to gain the trust of the Lannisters while simultaneously forcing Davos to secretly go fetch the Stark heir in exchange for Manderly's allegiance to Stannis.
    • May or may not be the case with Aegon VI Targaryen, son of Rhaegar and Elia Martell.
  • In The Space Merchants, the protagonist collapses unconscious on Starrzelius Glacier and wakes up in the hold of a cargo freighter bound for Costa Rica to find that he has been reassigned the identity of William George Groby, Class B laborer. Even the Social Security number tattooed on the inside of his elbow has been altered. When he protests that he is Mitchell Courtenay, star-class copysmith for Fowler Schocken Associates, the flight lieutenant shows him Courtenay's obituary on the front page of the New York Times.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Lost Stars: After Thane Kyrell deserts from the Empire, his friend and lover Ciena Ree, who remains in Imperial service and knows he deserted, claims that he committed suicide out of grief over the destruction of the first Death Star, and did so in a way ensuring his body would be eaten by scavengers. Thus, any attempt by the ISB to prove she's lying would be unsuccessful, as long as Thane had enough sense to get off their homeworld — which he did.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Isard's Revenge, Rogue Squadron is ambushed by an Imperial warlord's forces; the new Red Shirts get killed, everyone gets damaged to some extent, and two others eject. The damaged but still flying Rogues, fighting against numerically superior foes, get a dramatic rescue from another Imperial sect which politely tells them to go with them before more of the warlord's people show up. They do so. Very soon after the Errant Venture hyperjumps onto the scene, sees the mingled Imperial and New Republic debris, and assumes that the two forces annihilated each other. They recover the two survivors, allow one to pretend to still be dead, and retreat back out of Imperial territory with the horrible news. Meanwhile, the Rogues are in Isard's hands, and she wants them to kill her clone.
    • Zak Arranda is 'killed' twice in Galaxy of Fear. The first time, a Mad Scientist puts him into a deep coma, and he actually sits immobile through his own funeral and is Buried Alive, the intent being to make a zombie, but he's dug out in time. The second time, his Life Energy gets siphoned away and stored, though his sister believes he's just been killed.
  • In the Star Trek novel "Cast No Shadow" it's revealed that the Romulan Nanclus was a Tal-Shiar agent who was using the name Nanclus as a cover identity. After the events of The Undiscovered Country the Tal-Shiar faked his death by having him tried and convicted of treason then sentenced to death. Nanclus was then beleived to have been shot by a disruptor set to vaporize him but he was spirted away in the process. After his "execution" this agent abandoned his Nanclus idenity, underwent cosmetic surgery to alter his appearance, and went back to work as a Tal-Shiar section chief before a Klingon intelligence agent showed up to kill him for real.
  • In The Story of Valentine and His Brother, Myra raises her twin sons Val and Dick as vagabonds. When they're seven, she gives Val up to be raised by his grandparents and tells Dick that he has died.
  • In one of the early Sword of Truth books, Zedd fakes Kahlan's execution in a way that requires her to think she's been executed. The way the magic works, everyone involved except the caster must think the execution is genuine when the spell is cast. The result is a reality warping spell that makes everyone think you're dead.
  • In True Talents, Trash's death is faked to cover up his kidnapping. Because he'd already had a (wrongful) reputation as a vandal and minor felon, not even his best friends or parents disbelieved the lie that he'd stolen a car and crashed it while joyriding.
  • Truth or Dare (2000): A few weeks after Patrick was sent to an insane asylum, his father told everyone, including his siblings, that he had died of pneumonia. In fact he lived for decades in an institution, misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and pumped full of unnecessary drugs, until a doctor finally realised he was autistic, weaned him off the drugs, and taught him enough self-care skills to live independently. He turns out to be the designer of Josh's favourite video game series.
  • Two Little Girls in Blue: Angie fakes Kathy's death so she can keep the girl as her own daughter, shooting Lucas and leaving behind a note in which 'Lucas' confesses to accidentally smothering Kathy with a gag and killing himself from guilt. Lucas had earlier been seen going out flying with a large box and not returning with it, so it's naturally assumed he was disposing of Kathy's body in the ocean (he was actually getting rid of some evidence tying him and his accomplices to the abduction).
  • In the first Warrior Cats book, Firepaw realizes that Tigerclaw is trying to kill Ravenpaw for witnessing something he shouldn't have. To protect his friend, he sends Ravenpaw to live far away on a farm at the distant edge of Clan territory, and returns to the camp telling everyone that Ravenpaw was killed by an enemy patrol.
  • In Connie Willis's Winter's Tale, "William Shakespeare" is coming home, except that Anne knows he's not her husband. She learns that her husband was lured to a tavern and murdered to pass off the body as Christopher Marlowe, while Marlowe got to pass himself off as Shakespeare. Considering that prior to that, she had thought her self-centered husband had sold his identity, she is able to live with it.
  • Young Sherlock Holmes: In Red Leech, John Wilkes Booth had an unknown confederate with him in the barn who died in the fusillade of Union shots and whose body was burned beyond recognition in the subsequent fire. It was assumed that his body was Booth's.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA had faked the death of Carl "Crusher" Creel, so they could recruit him as a superhuman asset.
  • Arrow does this a few times:
    • Yao Fei pretends to kill Oliver in a manner that makes it look as if he's asphyxiated him to death when in fact he's put him in a sort of hibernative state in which his vital signs are greatly slowed down. He teaches the technique to Oliver, who we first see use it on a Russian mook in order to ingratiate himself with the local Bratva. In a Lian Yu flashback, he uses it on Taiana so that Conklin and Reiter think she's dead.
    • Andrew Diggle was supposedly killed by H.I.V.E. because the organization wanted to expand into Afghanistan, where he was running his criminal enterprise. They actually recruited him and staged his assassination so that nobody would wonder what happened to him.
    • Team Arrow faked Roy Harper's death (Harper being the Arrow as far as the general public was concerned) with the help of A.R.G.U.S. in order to break him out of prison and set him up with a new life.
  • Babylon 5: When Vir Cotto becomes ambassador to the Minbari, he fakes the deaths of thousands of Narn refugees in order to get them safely to other worlds. Unfortunately, this comes back to bite him in the ass, when a vengeful Narn arrives to Babylon 5 to kill Vir, thinking that his relatives are dead because of him. Except the Narn may not have been there for Vir, but for his bethrothed, Lyndisty. It's not completely clear.
  • The doctors of Chicago Med do this for an abused wife to get her away from her husband.
  • Colonel March of Scotland Yard: In "Present Tense", Ernest boards a plane, but changes his mind and leaves before the plane takes off. After the plane ctashes, he sees his name on the passenger list and realises the world believes him dead. He decides to take advantage of his supposed demise to trick his wife into committing suicide, and the reappear and claim her estate.
  • The Coroner: In "The Salcombe Selkie", a girl turns up seven months after being declared dead and buried. In the end, it turns out that the person who felt guilty for her disappearance bribed the medical examiner to deliberately misidentify a body that washed on the beach as hers.
  • Criminal Minds: Emily, by JJ and Hotch. What's rough is that the two of them are forced to keep the truth from the rest of the team, and it's obvious that they hate it.
  • CSI: Cyber has a weaponized version of this trope with "digital murders". The hacker of the week files fake death certificates and related documentation for her targets, resulting in the government officially declaring them dead which is difficult to reverse. Aside from the financial and legal difficulties, it also discredits witnesses and police.
  • Death in Paradise: In the episode "Unlike Father, Unlike Son", a court house prison guard provides this trope as part of an escape plan for one of his prisoners. Before the escape, the guard handed the prisoner a bag of fake blood to simulate a gun shot wound. The guard subsequently set off the fire alarm, as a que for the prisoner to fake his death. The remainder of the plan was that the prisoner would then "overpower" the guard and escape by getaway car, but this never came to fruition, because the guard killed the prisoner for real shortly afterwards (as vengeance for murdering his lover).
  • In the second episode of Doctor Syn ("The Scarecrow"), the Scarecrow hangs a traitor in front of his entire gang to make sure nobody else even considers it. After the "court" disperses, he lets the man down and revives him from having fainted with terror. Then the Scarecrow says to flee the county, because if he's seen alive he'll surely be killed. (After all, the vicar isn't going to lynch someone in cold blood.)
    "You're dead, Ransley. Run for your life!"
  • Doctor Who: In "Day of the Moon", Canton Everett Delaware III hunts down and pretends to kill Amy and Rory, when in reality he is helping them get back to the Doctor.
  • Game of Thrones: Bran and Rickon after they escape Theon with Osha's help. They flee as far as a nearby farm. Theon tracks them with hounds but loses their scent at the farm. He returns to Winterfell with two charred corpses, displaying them publicly and claiming that they are Bran and Rickon. The escapees actually doubled back, using a stream to mask their scent and are hiding under Theon's nose in the crypts of Winterfell. Bran overhears Luwin telling Osha that the bodies must be Jack and Billy, the two orphan boys that he had previously assigned to assist a shepherd.
  • General and I: Sima Hong pretends to execute Bai Ping Ting so he can hand her over to the King of Yan.
  • The Glamorous Imperial Concubine: Qi You drinks what he thinks is poison. It's actually a sleeping drug, and while he's unconscious Fu Ya arranges to get him out of the palace.
  • In the pilot episode of Gotham, Jim Gordon is ordered to take Oswald Cobblepot out to the end of the pier and execute him to show his loyalty to the part of the GCPD that's controlled by Carmine Falcone. He refuses to do so, instead whispering to Cobblepot to never come back to Gotham and then shooting just close enough to graze him (so there would be blood in the water) as he shoved Cobblepot into the river.
  • An episode Hawaii Five-0 features a hitman who had been on retainer for a crime family for years, but at some point had undergone a Heel–Face Turn and started faking his would-be victims' deaths and giving them new lives in a remote community he set up for them.
  • Healer: Kim Moon-ho learning Oh Ji-an's grave was empty was the reason he hired Healer to track down the now 27 year old woman who was once like a little sister to him that he's just realized was abandoned when she was five when his brother faked the young girl's death to get her mother to stop looking for her.
  • In iZombie, Major is blackmailed into going around and killing suspected zombies. He is shown grabbing them, injecting them with something, putting them in huge garbage bags then shooting them in the head, and dumping the bodies in the river. Except it later turns out it was all for show. He did knock them out and kidnap them, but he actually stuffed them in big freezers he kept in a storage unit.
  • John Locke tells some mobsters that his father is dead in the Lost episode "Lockdown" In return, the mobsters don't get either of them, but John's girlfriend leaves him.
  • Mad Men: Dick Whitman assumes Don Draper's name to build a new life for himself when an accident in Korea kills Draper leaving only identifiable by his dog tags which Whitman swaps out for his own.
  • The Mandalorian: In Season 2, Mayfeld helps Mando infiltrate an Imperial base, and when they get out, Cara Dune informs Mando that it's too bad Mayfeld was killed in the operation, right in front of the very-much-alive Mayfeld.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Earl was in a relationship with a clingy Extreme Doormat girl and wanted to get out of it, but didn't want to hurt her feelings. He had Randy give her a soaking wet AC/DC T-shirt and tell her that he'd been lost at sea and that they Never Found the Body.
  • Nikita : The whole plot is based on Nikita's death being faked. Division fills its ranks primarily by recruiting young people with troubled backgrounds, often directly from prison. Division fakes the recruits' deaths, erases all evidence of their past lives, and moulds them into efficient spies and assassins. Nikita was recruited by Division when she was a deeply troubled teenager, on death row. Division rescued her, faked her death, and told her she was getting a second chance to start a new life and serve her country.
  • Orphan Black: Sarah uses Beth's suicide to fake her own death to start a new life for herself. It doesn't go well.
  • Person of Interest. In the episode "Relevance", Hersh leaves Shaw dying on the street, but Team Machine is on hand to revive her. Finch then points out to Shaw that she's now officially dead, so can hide more effectively.
    • The flashback episode "RAM" shows Reese during his days as a CIA assassin being ordered to kill a computer programmer accused of selling US government secrets to the Chinese. Reese realizes that the guy is no traitor and is targeted because he knows too much about a secret government project (the Machine). Instead of going through with the assassination Reese has the guy rip out some of his teeth and then uses them to convince his superiors that the target is dead and Reese has destroyed the body. The programmer then flees the country under a new identity. All of this is witnessed by Finch and leads to Finch recruiting Reese a year later.
  • Princess Agents: Yuwen Yue pretends to kill Chu Qiao and gets a doctor to confirm her "death". It's actually a ploy to get her away from Yuwen Huai. Unfortunately the people not in on the plan think Chu Qiao is really dead and take her body to be cremated.
  • Princess Mu Sha from Princess Returning Pearl fakes Er Kang's death on the battlefield by switching his body with another soldier's, because she fancies him and wants to marry him. (In her defense, he was also dying at the time and she wanted to save his life as well.) The army then goes on to really believe that he's dead, until The Reveal.
  • In The Princess Wei Young, Tuoba Yu fakes Chang Ru's death.
  • The Prisoner (1967): In the episode "Dance of the Dead", the Village alters a body to look like Number Six, to mess with anyone who might be searching for him.
  • Psychopath Diary: Dong-sik pretends to kill Ji-hoon as a ploy to make In-woo let both of them go. He stabs himself to cover the knife with blood then tells Ji-hoon to play dead.
  • At the end of Rome, Titus does this with Caesar's son. This is because he was actually Titus's own son.
  • According to the Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse short "Journey To The Disney Vault", this was apparently what Disney did to Jim Henson after he refused to sell them his company in 1990.
  • Stargate SG-1: The cause of some of Daniel Jackson's "deaths". Just as often, it's a Left for Dead situation or All Just a Dream from the start, but there have been a few times, like the Season One episode "Fire and Water", where his death was deliberately faked by someone else because they needed a translator and couldn't wait around to ask politely.
  • Star Trek:
  • This was Agent Henricksen's plan in "Jus in Bello", in Season 3 of Supernatural: to say that Sam and Dean were dead. Sadly, he was killed himself before he could carry this plan out. But everyone assumed Sam and Dean had died with him.
  • Tyrant (2014): Zig-Zagged. Jamal hesitates for months to execute Bassam for his attempted coup because he values family more than anything. There's eventually a public hanging for Bassam, but it's shown that Jamal had him replaced with another hooded prisoner with a death sentence. He instead resorts to leaving Bassam stranded in the middle of the desert.
  • In Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter, when the Polish resistance group decides they want to kill Viktor for being German and/or Jewish, the leader, who doesn't agree, takes Victor off into the forest, fires a shot into the ground, and tells him to get lost.
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive: In "The Martin Poster", Andy Martin digs a fake grave for his brother Carl, who was wounded during their escape, so that anyone following them will assume he died.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "Young at Heart", Doctor Ridley signed a false death certificate for Barnett, Serial Killer and Monster of the Week who enthusiastically returned to play Criminal Mind Games with Mulder.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • In the Book of Genesis, Joseph's ten older brothers attack him, sell him into slavery and then make it seem like he was killed by a lion. Their father, Jacob, spends the next twenty-two years mourning before the brothers rediscover Joseph (as second-in-command of Egypt) and finally reveal the truth. Actually, Joseph reveals the truth to them first; in addition to it having been twenty-two years since they'd seen him, they weren't expecting to see someone they sold into slavery in a prestigious position in the Egyptian government, and so didn't recognize him.

  • Tragic example in Aida: When the Egyptian soldiers come looking for Aida, Nehebka sacrifices herself, claiming to be the princess, while the other Nubians restrain and hide the real Aida.
  • In Oedipus Rex, the man ordered to kill the infant Oedipus instead secretly gave him to a shepherd, who gave him to the childless king and queen of another kingdom. This didn't end well — he'd have been better off dead. As a monarch he was most unfit, but still and all, you have to admit that he loved his mother.
  • A simpler version of the tragic type: Rigoletto, in which Rigoletto discovers too late that the body in the sack isn't the Duke he hired an assassin to kill to protect his daughter... but his daughter herself, having decided on the Heroic Sacrifice approach to love.
  • A possible example in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale: Queen Hermione allegedly dies of grief after being Mistaken for Cheating by her husband Leontes and losing both her children. But in the final scene, a statue of Hermione "magically" comes to life and reunites with her husband and daughter. It's never made clear if the queen really is brought back to life by magic, or if her lady-in-waiting Paulina lied that she had died and secretly hid her for sixteen years until her daughter was found.
  • Subverted with in The Yeomen of the Guard: The plot's something of a Gambit Pileup, but, very briefly, Point claiming Fairfax was dead actually forced the disguised Fairfax to set up Point's Tear Jerker ending. A little less briefly *deep breath*:
    • The play's set in the Tudor era. Fairfax's relative wants him dead so he can inherit some entailed property, so had him condemned. Fairfax realises that under the terms of the entail, if he marries, he can keep the relative from inheriting, so arranges with a friendly guard to marry... anyone willing. Point and Elsie work as entertainers, and have come to the Tower of London looking to get money to help Elsie's dying mother. Elsie agrees to the marriage. Then the plot to break Fairfax out of jail by some other characters happens, and Fairfax gets disguised as the son of one of the guards.
    • This is set in the Tudor era, so marriage is pretty much unbreakable, morally and legally. Point decides the only way to rescue Elsie from the criminal is to fake Fairfax's death, and sets it up with the guard who took the blame for Fairfax's escape. The shot being fired interrupts Fairfax right at the brink of telling Elsie what's going on, and he's then forced to deal with Point trying to convince his wife that he's dead, and basically trying to trick her into committing bigamy. Fairfax is morally outraged about this, but it's been a few days, and Elsie likes "Leonard", so, when Point asks Fairfax to teach him how to woo Elsie, he agrees. The demonstration is completely successful, and Elsie agrees to marry him — that him being Fairfax.
    • So, basically, Point's attempt to invoke this trope changes what would likely have been a gentle letdown into a series of horrible shocks for him, and, well, after one last, desperate attempt to win Elsie back, on her wedding day to Leonard, and just after it's revealed Leonard and Fairfax are the same person — well, he basically ruins what Elsie was calling one of the happiest days of her life. His fatal, selfish flaw of making everything about him pretty much ruins any chance he had to even be friends with her, though she is still sorry for him, and, as she and Fairfax leave, he either dies or is just left a completely broken man (depending on production).
    • And that's the simplified version. What's so great about Yeomen is it manages to have a plot that complex, but keeps it all understandable, natural, manages to invoke tragedy without having any actual villains — everyone acts out of sensible, human motivations, and noone is all that unsympathetic (even if modern productions tend to play up Fairfax's flaws a bit more, thanks to the Values Dissonance of the Tudor attitudes about marriage). Oh, and it has all sorts of Awesome Music — it's considered by many to be Gilbert and Sullivan's best work.

    Video Games 
  • In Back to the Future: The Game, Marty needs to convince Trixie that Arthur has been killed by Kid Tannen... but, for fear of the Grandfather Paradox, can't actually let Arthur get killed. How convenient that Kid Tannen keeps caricatures of all the people he's killed on his wall.
  • A heart-wrenching example occurs in Dragon Quest IV: When the forces of evil show up at the hero's Doomed Hometown, their best friend Elisa takes their form and is killed in their stead, fooling the invaders into thinking they just slew The Chosen One.
  • In Final Fantasy XII, King Raminas is killed in the prologue. To secure their control of Dalmasca, the empire reports that Basch has been executed for the murder of the king, and that Princess Ashe has committed suicide after the loss of her husband and her father. In reality, Basch spends the next two years imprisoned by the empire, and Ashe lives in hiding as the leader of a small anti-imperial resistance.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Sultana of Ul'dah is targeted for assassination by the Monetarists. One of them, Lolorito, decides that this person's death conflicts with his personal interests, and arranges to have the deadly poison secretly replaced with a Forced Sleep potion.
  • Early in the game of Final Fantasy XV, the empire invades Insomnia in Chapter 3, killing King Regis, obtaining the Crystal, and cementing their control over Lucis. Once again, the news reports that the Prince and his bride-to-be were also killed in the attack, which was probably the plan to begin with. However, Noctis had left the city days earlier due to his father's foresight, and Lunafreya escapes the destruction with the help of a member of the Kingsglaive.
  • Jeanne d'Arc: Jeanne's friend Leanne takes over when Jeanne falls off a cliff. Unfortunately, this includes Leanne eventually getting herself captured and burned at the stake. The original Jeanne survives the rest of the game and saves Britain from a demonic invasion, but history only remembers Joan of Arc executed and burned at the stake.
  • In Mass Effect 2, after you recruit Archangel, the 3 mercenary groups, who teamed up just to kill him, all decide to spread the rumor that he's dead. The fact that the mercs managed to hit Archangel the face with a gunship rocket lends credibility to the story, and as nobody knows Archangel's real identity, no one questions it when they see him in your party.
  • Planescape: Torment has this as means of sneaking into a heavily-guarded mortuary, it happens so often that the protagonist has a deal going on with (at least) one undertaker to sneak him in whenever he wants (getting extra money for the extra "corpse").
  • One of the twists near the end of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney revealed that magic doesn't actually exist, and all magic seem and/or discussed during the game was faked using elaborate methods. This in turn also meant that every death in game was fake (apart from a suicide and the legendary fire, but just counting the standard conventional murders), with every supposed victim actually having been turned into a "Shade", the group responsible for faking magic.
  • At the end of Resident Evil 0 Rebecca says this of Billy, since he was sentenced to death for the murder of civilians while serving in the Marines (and almost certainly framed by the rest of his unit to protect his CO).
  • Resident Evil 6:
    • Hunnigan has Leon and Helena declared dead so they can get to China without any hassle, as she's Mission Control it only takes her a few seconds. Why two officially dead people getting on a plane would cause less of a problem than two wanted fugitives is never explained.
    • Incidentally, Ada has her death faked for her when Carla dies in front of Chris and Piers, as they believe her to be Ada. They end up reporting her death to their superiors and Ada destroys all evidence of Carla and her identity theft so that it sticks, as being presumed dead is beneficial to her career as a mercenary/spy. Only her employer, Leon, and Helena know Ada is still alive.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Knights of the Old Republic:
      • When you are running around looking for bounties on Taris you may run into Matrix, a guy who ratted out on the interstellar crime syndicate because of a guilty conscience. There is, of course, a bounty on his head, but if you refrain from attacking him he may mention that he wouldn't be holed up hiding if he could fake his death. You can then go out and buy plot-exclusive explosives too complex for your party to use, allowing Matrix to rig his room with them. Believed dead, he disappears, and if you go to the bounty office the Hutt there tells you that his people saw you buy the explosives and next time he'd prefer you didn't do it like that. But you still get the bounty.
      • Revan would have died had Bastila and the Jedi not saved him; they let the galaxy at large — including the amnesiac Revan himself — believe he did die.
    • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, a Light-sided Imperial character will be pulling these all over the place.
  • In Tekken Tag Tournament 2, it's strongly implied that Emma Kliesen, after being relocated by her superiors, arranged for the six-year-old Steve Fox's death to be faked, and for Steve himself to be relocated to an orphanage, so he could finally have a chance at a proper human life.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: It is revealed that after Azura Summers, the animal trainer of Shipshape Aquarium, died of a heart attack due to her condition, and her death was blamed on one of the two orcas (Ora Shipley the First), her owners were pressured into euthanizing Ora. However, they had a better idea: they secretly drugged her to sleep and then relocated her to Supermarine Aquarium in exchange for payment while claiming that she was now dead. Ora would remain there until the case about her sister Orla was brought to light.
    • The Great Ace Attorney: Kazuma Asogi has one, as his altercation with Nikolina Pavlova ended with him beling knocked out rather than killed. Herlock Sholmes, in a bid to stop him from going on the exchange program, claimed that Kazuma had died and had his unconscious body smuggled off the ship to Hong Kong.
  • In Steins;Gate, after Suzuha/John Titor goes back in time with Okabe to the beginning of the VN when Kurisu was stabbed, Okabe does this after saving her life and still needs to fake her death so Past!Okabe thinks she's dead and continues on the same route Present!Okabe took.

  • In Demon Fist, after the Ocean's Scar battle, Duncan's report to his superiors said that Rory, along with his subordinate Aki who had decided to quit the service, had been killed by the collapsing Moses Field and that the bodies were unrecoverable on the seafloor.
  • In the Erma prequel comic "Spirit's Bloom", Emiko's father does this against her will, making Sam and his family believe she died (complete with a fake corpse to bury). She escapes with help from her sister and returns to Sam.
  • In Girl Genius it's revealed that the Wulfenbach Jägers have spread the news that the detached Jäger Maxim is dead. The rumor was spread to hide his mission of searching for a Heterodyne so it is possible the other detached Jägers have had such news spread about them as well. It is unknown how much effort was put into Maxim's faked death though Maxim himself doesn't seem to have been involved and it is unknown if his old cavalry mates are aware that he's one of those searching for a Heterodyne and are involved in the subterfuge complicitly or if they themselves have been led to believe him dead and are just spreading the word to old friends.
  • In order to forward his plans, Yu Hansung, The Chessmaster of Tower of God, had to make Bam climb the Tower in secret so he had it seem as if he got killed during the test. It was so convincing that even the assailant thought he died. Unfortunately, Bam wasn't let in on this.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: A guilty Marcus chooses to secretly arrest Vi and throw her in prison rather than kill her. He assures Silco that she's dead, with nobody else the wiser.
  • Iroh of Avatar: The Last Airbender claims to have killed off the last dragon to his community that makes a sport of it, but this is a lie to protect the last two in existence from extinction.
  • In the Donald Duck short "Soup's On", Donald's nephews eventually convince their uncle he died in a rock slide, as retaliation for sending them to bed without dinner.
  • In Family Guy, Quagmire fakes his death to get out of a marriage. Joe covers for him.
    Joe: Yep, he's dead. I can tell, I'm a cop.
  • In the Futurama episode "The Silence of the Clamps," Bender goes into Witness Protection after testifying against the mafia. He's able to go back to normal when an Identical Stranger is mistaken for him and killed.
  • In the premiere episodes of Justice League, J'onn J'onnz masks Batman's thoughts and claims him to have been shot dead in the line of duty. This allows Batman the time needed to prepare a device to "reverse the ion charge" of the Big Bad's evil cloud-making machine.
  • In the Looney Tunes cartoon "The Hypocondri-cat", Hubie and Bertie not only convince Claude the Cat that he's deathly ill, they eventually convince him he died, and use some helium balloons to send him on his way to "Cat Heaven".
  • Stunt Dawgs: When the Stunt Sawgs tie up Fungus and Airball and leave them in a cargo ship to be free of them, Airball escapes but leaves Fungus behind so he can become the Stunt Scabs' new leader by tricking them into thinking he's dead.

    Real Life 
  • Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa assisted Aleister Crowley in faking his own suicide near Lisbon.
  • Emperor Nero's mother was going to be killed, but a friend of hers pretended to be her. Since it was nighttime, it worked. Some versions state that she told said friend to pretend to be her in order to make sure she'd be rescued however. Not that it helped when she went to him for help, given he ordered the assassination...


Video Example(s):


"Jones is Dead"

Katanga convinces the Nazis that he killed Indiana Jones to help Indy get away.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeathFakedForYou

Media sources: