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Disposable Woman
aka: Disposable Women

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"Needless violence against a woman character who is only significant as an object of a male character's desire? Hot damn, I'm a real comic writer now!"

This character has a familial or romantic relationship with a protagonist, which allows creators to derive heart-wrenching sorrow from her death. Thanks to "woman" being a unique character trait, character development is not strictly necessary to get the audience mourning as well... so she typically gets little or none. Losing her is often an Inciting Incident (in both stand-alone and serial works), giving the protagonist a pretext for Revenge against her murderers. In a series, she is easily forgotten by the characters, forgotten by the writers or even summarily replaced. When this happens frequently in a series, the protagonist is suffering from the Cartwright Curse.


Men can and have been treated this way in various stories, though such cases are rare. More often, Men Are the Expendable Gender, allowing for dozens of comrades-in-arms to die before equating to the same level of personal investment as a single female love interest, not to mention their mother/sister. Expendable characters of any gender are freely used to let a villain show off how evil they are without damaging any of the more important characters. The "disposable" character remains defined by her relationship to the protagonist, rather than by her gender.

For that matter, not all dead female characters are "disposable". Writers can have the characters continue to mourn her long past a revenge arc, or develop the character in Flashbacks and Dream Sequences. Such characters are The Lost Lenore. Lenore continues to have a recognised impact on the characters and story after her demise rather than conveniently vanishing from the minds of characters, audience, and creators after having served her function as catalyst. A "disposable" character, on the other hand, had almost zero characterization before she stopped appearing in the work.


Contrast Disposable Love Interest, where "disposable" means that the character disappeared with no explanation or left off-screen with minimal explaination so creators can introduce a new Love Interest. Contrast Disposable Sex Worker and Disposable Vagrant, where characters are considered disposable because they are "unclean" and "forgotten" by society as a whole.

Compare Temporary Love Interest, where a character has a serious relationship with a character who is quickly written out of the story to preserve the status quo, and Her Heart Will Go On, where a Love Interest is killed off to showcase the protagonist specifically dealing with the Emotional Torque of losing a loved one.



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     Anime & Manga 
  • AKIRA: Kaori dies from Tetsuo's enlarged form in the anime, and is shot to death by The Captain in the manga.
  • Sys, Guts's adopted mother from Berserk, was the only other person who truly loved Guts, aside from Casca. However, her only real purpose in the story was to show how much Guts's adopted father, Gambino, despised Guts for supposedly being the cause of her death, and so she is only presented for a few panels until she died of the plague when Guts is three, and is only mentioned thereafter by Gambino right before Guts killed him in self defense.
  • Black Cat's Saya, who, being Train's first real friend, gives Train the reason to want to kill Creed.
    • It is implied that she was also the reason he left Chronos in the first place.
  • Code Geass
    • Subverted with Lelouch's mother Marianne. It looks like her death will be nothing more than a pretext for Lelouch to get revenge on his father, but really she's using another character as her Soul Jar and has been cooperating with his father from the start!
    • Played straight with Shirley's death and Lelouch massacring the entire Geass Order as revenge.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, Annie and Julia die, motivating Spike to kill Vicious and his henchmen.
  • Death Note: Once Sayu is done serving as a motivation for Light and Soichirou, she gets all of one panel of credit for the rest of the series. She doesn't die, though she does suffer from a crippling case of PTSD.
    • Kiyomi Takada is an even more blatant example. Light gets her to do some of his dirty work, and she does succeed in killing Mello, but Light kills her anyway in order to cover his tracks.
  • Demon Beast Invasion begins with a demon having sex with a woman until she explodes.
  • Golgo 13: Queen Bee: Duke Togo gives a woman the best sex of her life, and kills her.
  • Early in the Gunsmith Cats manga, one of Rally's bounties takes a girl hostage. The next time we see her, she has just been raped and is then unceremoniously murdered. After taking the bounty down, nothing more is said.
  • Freezing: Genetically modified women trained at military academies can be killed for points in combat ranking competitions called carnivals. In the prequel spinoff Freezing: First Chronicle, Chiffon Fairchild massacres over forty genetically modified women at her first carnival, and goes on to be ranked #1.
  • Azami from Lone Wolf and Cub, the hero's wife and Daigoro's mother. The flashback chapter where we see her death is her sole appearance in the entire manga.
  • Gundam SEED did this rather (in)famously with the "Astray Girls".
  • Mazinger Z: Rumi. She was a maid Dr. Kabuto hired to take care of his orphaned grandsons while he was building Mazinger Z. She was cold-bloodly murdered by Baron Ashura less than five minutes after her first appearance in the first episode. Kouji and Shiro cried when they found the corpse, but she was not mentioned again. A number of adaptations (like Super Robot Wars or Shin Mazinger) remove the character, flat out.
  • Urotsukidōji: Legend Of The Overfiend: In the school hallway, a group of schoolgirls are brutally Killed Offscreen.
  • Yuki, Akane's friend in Psycho-Pass, whose sole purpose is to be first captured and later killed by Makishima at the halfway point in the series just to reinforce that he can commit horrific atrocities but not have it affect his psycho-pass level.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kisara's character boils down to 'quiet, mysterious girl who's powerful, but is killed to motivate Seto'. In the manga, she's randomly attacked in the middle of a conversation and dies, enraging Seto and allowing him to be possessed until the end of the arc. The anime has her sacrifice herself to protect Seto and then free him from the darkness before the end of the arc. In the original plan for the arc, her death would have served to motivate an un-brainwashed Seto to rebel against the Pharaoh, fighting a three-way war to avenge her death.

     Comic Books  
  • The Avengers:
    • Ant-Man: Henry Pym's first wife, a Hungarian émigrée who was kidnapped and murdered by Soviet agents.
    • In Avengers 1959, four former Nazi agents, Axis Annie, Fraulein Fatale, Madame Mauser and Penny Panzer are taken hostage, no longer engaged in combat, and slaughtered off-panel by Sabretooth on the order of Nick Fury, to reassure the audience that Sabretooth is a murderous psychopath.
    • Victoria Bentley, an associate of Doctor Strange, dies in Avengers #366 when Deadpool is fighting Bloodwraith.
  • In Batman: The Widening Gyre, Silver St. Cloud, established as a love interest of Bruce Wayne, has her throat slit by Onomatopoeia.
  • In Captain Britain and MI13, a woman trying to join Dracula's cult to be turned to a vampire instead gets her neck snapped so she won't be able to.
  • In Crimson, Alex Elder's girlfriend Julie is murdered in the third issue by the vampires that turned him in order to provoke into seeking revenge against him.
  • In Frank Miller's run on Daredevil, after establishing a friendship with Matt Murdock, Elektra dies at the hands of Bullseye.
  • Taiyan, in the Doctor Who Magazine back-up series Abslom Daak: Dalek Killer.
  • In Excalibur, Courtney Ross is killed in Excalibur #5. Captain Britain swears revenge in Excalibur #56.
  • One of the most infamous examples is the death of Alexandra DeWitt, the then-girlfriend of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner; she was killed by Major Force and stuffed into her refrigerator for Kyle to find. Backlash was so intense that it led to the formation of the Women in Refrigerators group to protest specifically against the preponderance of the Disposable Woman trope in superhero comics. Green Lantern writer Ron Marz wrote a letter to the Women In Refrigerators website, attempting to justify the event he wrote that gave WIR its name. He actually tried to use the fact that Kyle Rayner's girlfriend was meant to be the Disposable Woman from the beginning as an excuse!
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Lois Lane is Stuffed into the Fridge, upsetting Superman into creating a Bad Future. Huntress and Renee Montoya are Stuffed into the Fridge, upsetting Batwoman.
  • In Our Worlds at War, "Strange Visitor" Sharon Vance is introduced to make a Heroic Sacrifice and stop Imperiex.
  • Pandora, who appears in Flashpoint, is killed by Dr. Manhattan in DC Rebirth.
  • In Runaways, the Pride's empire was built upon the yearly sacrifice of young women. And then there's Marianela Mancha, who is horrifically burned to death by Ultron in order to force Victor Mancha to join the Runaways.
  • In Semantic Lace, a happy go lucky girl is shot in the head.
  • In a storyline of She-Hulk volume two, a normal couple gets caught up in matters involving a hostile space alien far from civilisation. The wife gets killed so that after being rescued the husband can get falsely accused of murdering her (because "space aliens killed my wife, and She-Hulk saved me" didn't convince people).
  • Goldie in Sin City: The Hard Goodbye exists to be murdered and start Marv's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Spider-Man:
    • A male example from the 1960s: Bennett Brant, Betty's lawyer brother, was introduced and killed in Amazing Spider-Man #11 so that Betty could blame Spider-Man for his death and thus throw a spanner in the works of her romance with Spidey's alter ego Peter Parker. Bennett practically never was mentioned or made an appearance again after that subplot ended, and if it was it was to work out the Continuity Snarl that developed when Marvel decided that Betty must be around Peter's age. If Bennett behaved as if he was Betty's younger brother, how could he be an attorney when Peter was still in high school?
    • NYPD police captain Jean DeWolff is killed by Stan Carter.
    • Charlemagne, an intel agent and friend of Wolverine, is introduced in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1. Spider-Man accidentally kills her, leaving him deeply upset.
    • Mary Jane appeared to die in an exploding airplane in Amazing Spider-Man vol 2 #13.
  • "Spoiler" Stephanie Brown was tortured by the Black Mask and died from a lack of treatment, but her death was retconned into her being smuggled out of the country for her own safety.
  • Wolverine:
    • Itsu is killed so Logan can have sad memories of her and to introduce her son Daken.
    • Mariko Yashida was poisoned and killed so Logan could remain guilty and depressed over her death.
  • X-Men:
    • Magneto's wife Magda died in the wilderness, Magda's mother Anya died in a concentration camp during World War II, and Magna's daughter Anya died in a mob fire.
    • Birdy, partner of Sabretooth, was killed by Graydon Creed.
    • Moira MacTaggert dies from an attack by Mystique, and returns in Chaos War.
    • Aliya "Jenskot" Dayspring dies in Cable #1, motivating Cable to look after their son, Tyler.
    • Shard makes a Heroic Sacrifice in Bishop the Last X-Man #14, in order to defeat Fitzroy.
    • Siena Blaze was killed at the Weapon X facility in Weapon X Vol 2 #5. She becomes a zombie in Necrosha, then dies again.
    • Peter Rasputin (i.e. X-Men's Colossus) broke up with Kitty Pryde because of Zsaji, a Disposable Woman he met in the Secret Wars planet and fell hopelessly in love with despite not even speaking her language. Karma then came and kicked his ass in the form of the Juggernaut. Afterwards, Wolverine lectured him on not letting Kitty Pryde down gently.
    • In "End of Greys", Elaine Grey, mother of Jean Grey, Phyliss Dennefer, sister of Elaine Grey, Julia Grey and Sara Grey-Bailey, sisters of Jean Grey, Derry Campbell, Mary-Margaret Grey, and Kindra Grey, cousins on Jean's side, and Bekka Wallis, a teacher, are all killed by the Shi'ar Death Commandos.
    • Dazzler has died in Eve of Destruction, New Excalibur, and A-Force.
    • Holly "Holo" Bright is introduced in First X-Men #1, and dies in First X-Men #5.
  • In Ultimatum, in issue #2, Wasp is killed by the Blob.
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian shoots and kills the Vietnamese woman, pregnant with his child, and blames Dr. Manhattan for not interfering. She only exists to show us how much of a Jerkass the Comedian is and how much Dr. Manhattan is detached from other people.
  • In Paul Cornell's Wisdom mini-series, Maureen Raven is killed to prevent a Bad Future.

    Fan Fiction 

  • In The Addams Family Values, Lurch bakes a giant cake while a stripper was still inside the cake.
  • In the second Austin Powers movie, the disposable women in James Bond movies are parodied. Austin's former love-interest explodes within the first five minutes, inspiring less than a minute of grief before Austin takes off to enjoy single life again.
  • In Avengers: Infinity War, Gamora is sacrificed in exchange for the Soul Stone. In Avengers: Endgame Gamora is replaced with a past version of herself, and Black Widow sacrifices herself for the Soul Stone. Margaret "Peggy" Carter's death is mentioned in Captain America: Civil War, though Steve Rogers spends time with an alternate past timeline version of her.
  • Judy Davis' character in Barton Fink shows up to sleep with the main character and is then murdered in his bed. Barton is able to dispose of the body without anyone noticing, and Davis is never mentioned again in the movie.
  • In Brotherhood of the Wolf, the monster pulls a woman off screen and kills her.
  • Marian fills this role in Dante's Peak. Harry's fiancee is a psychotically involved geologist. She's so gonzo for volcanoes Harry has to practically drag her kicking and screaming to leave the site of the eruption because the readings are so incredible. As they're driving frantically from the area, volcanic rock is falling from the sky. One punches through the roof and hits Marian in her head. Harry has to look on in horror as she convulses. He reaches for her and she dies in his arms.
  • The family, friends and love-interests of Charles Bronson's character in the Death Wish series of movies serve this purpose, and this purpose alone. It starts relatively realistic, showing him to become physically ill after killing his first man. By the later movies, however, he seems to positively delight in finding creative ways to rid the world of scumbags. This review of the 2018 remake starring Bruce Willis mentions the trope, stating that as in the original film, "women are only in this movie to be harmed so a man can go on an emotional journey."
  • In Deep Rising, Finnegan's XO Leila is the first of the protagonists to be killed by the creatures. Despite her brief screen time setting her up as one of the most sympathetic cast members, her fate gets barely any mention by her crew mates, least of all the mercs. Finnegan's reaction boils down to one gloomy "I don't think she made it" to her boyfriend Joey, who in turn sheds a tear for her during his following repair job but goes back to his usual snarky self immediately afterwards, effectively forgetting about her from that moment forth.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: While talking to General Hawk, Cover Girl is stabbed through the back by Zartan, the knife penetrating her ribcage, and less importantly damaging the electronic tablet she held and had asked the General to sign.
  • Highlander:
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Katniss' sister Prim dies, saddening Katniss greatly.
  • An ongoing trend in James Bond films. Beautiful women would appear for two scenes at least, three at most, before dying, usually after being ploughed by Bond and doing something vague. Often the actresses playing these women would receive star billing in the credits (i.e. "And Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole"). Examples include Jill and Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger (Stuffed into the Fridge?), Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds Are Forever, Rosie Carver in Live and Let Die and Corinne Dufour in Moonraker.
    • Della Churchill, loving wife of Felix Leiter, is killed less than twenty minutes into Licence to Kill and Leiter himself fed to a shark. Bond decides It's Personal. Leiter survives and doesn't seem too fazed by the death of wife.
    • When Roald Dahl was hired to write the screenplay for You Only Live Twice, he was told that every Bond movie needs three Bond girls: one is pro-Bond and dies; another is anti-Bond but is won over by his charms; and the third, pro-Bond woman is the one he gets to bed at the end of the film. Not every Bond movie has used these exact rules, but Dahl followed the template with Aki, Helga and Kissy (unnamed in the movie) respectively.
    • The "New" Bond films have continued this trend. Witness Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace.
  • The first victim in Jaws. She exists to get torn apart by the shark and provide conflict between Brody and the Mayor over whether or not to close the beach after her body is discovered.
  • Another Gender Flip in Kill Bill- The Bride's fiance Tommy exists only for the titular villain to murder.
  • In The Last Boy Scout Halle Berry's character Cory is cut down by machine-gun fire in the first third of the film. While her boyfriend, played by Damon Wayans, teams up with Bruce Willis's character to solve her murder, he never seems all that broken up about her death and the snarky, bantering tone of the rest of the film seems incongruous at best in that light.
  • Psycho: Marion Crane is killed so the movie can focus on her killer, Norman Bates.
  • Irene Adler tragically becomes this in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, being killed off in the first few minutes with poison that produces tuberculosis-like symptoms. This one stings because she spends most of the first film (and five minutes of the second) being smarter than everyone else in the room, only to walk into such a obvious trap.
  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The handmaiden Cordé is introduced and dies with six others after the explosion of a Naboo cruiser set by the bounty hunter Zam Wesell. Shmi Skywalker dies from being tortured by Tusken Raiders, motivating Anakin's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • In Return of the Jedi, Oola - Jabba's slave dancer - is fed to the rancor when she resists something unspecified but unsavoury, just to show us that he's evil.
    • In Rogue One, in the opening moments of the film, Galen's wife Lyra Erso is killed by one of Director Krennic's death troopers. Her death is only implicitly motivational to him, as he was already a Rebel sympathizer.
    • In Solo, Val dies in an explosion shortly after being introduced, only briefly upsetting Beckett.
  • Taken: The whole reason Amanda exists is to be killed to show that the bad guys are monsters and thus how important it is for Bryan to find Kimmy ASAP.
  • Gender flipped in Tank Girl, when her boyfriend dies in bullet-riddled convulsions during Water & Power's attack. As shocked as she appeared at the time, he just as suddenly becomes a Forgotten Fallen Friend.
  • In Troll 2, after Joshua saves his family, he walks up the stairs to find his mom has been turned to jelly by the Goblins.
  • In Van Helsing, after Van Helsing's epic battle, Anna Valerious dies due to Van Helsing being exceedingly clumsy at that moment, and Van Helsing feels a deep regret.
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian shoots the Vietnamese woman, pregnant with his child, and blames Dr. Manhattan for not interfering.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • In Logan, Gabriela Lopez finds Logan and promptly dies when he leaves for a couple hours to get ready for the drive. She successfully got Laura to him and left behind her smartphone with an inexplicably well edited video for exposition, but she isn't mentioned again by Logan, Laura, or the kids she had already led to safety - she just dies once her job of kickstarting the plot is complete.

  • Back in the '20s, the author 'Sapper' admitted that he'd let Bulldog Drummond marry his girlfriend because he thought she'd make a good kidnapping victim for future adventures.
  • Audra, Bill Denbrough's wife, in It has no real importance to the plot except for being kidnapped.
  • This trope is Older Than Print. In the Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae, or "Lives of the Saints of Britain", which predates the 9th century, warfare breaks out when a lovely maiden is kidnapped by King Maelgwn's soldiers. St. Cadog approaches the king and convinces him to repent and recall his army, but never asks for the maiden back, despite her father being an offical in Cadog's church. She is never mentioned again.
  • In the Chinese epic Outlaws of the Marsh, aka The Water Margin, the Outlaws want a Worthy Opponent to stay with them. They kill a whole lot of innocent civilians and make it look like he did it. His wife is executed for being married to the presumed criminal. The husband is outraged and prepares to kill the outlaws, who explain that they only did it so he would be outlawed and have to join them. At this he is touched and agrees. They basically say, "Sorry about your missus, but we know lots of women, we'll give you a new one." He accepts.
    • They get theirs; the TV version notwithstanding, the heroes win major battles, are invited to the capital; meet the Emperor's court, have all the demands met... and are murdered in their beds.
  • Harry's apprentice in Fool Moon. She's killed by a super-powered werewolf at the beginning of the novel, was never mentioned prior to the novel, and never gets mentioned or thought of by Harry ever again. When he gets Molly Carpenter as an apprentice several novels later, she's treated like he never had an apprentice before.
  • In the first book of the Thousand Cultures series, Betsy Lovelock is raped and murdered in order to spur a rebellion.

     Live-Action TV  
  • Bonanza:
    • Seemingly every episode that introduced a female love interest for the Cartwrights worked like this. The girl would invariably harbor a sinister secret or have someone stalking her, with the villain of the week succeeding in his mission to kill the girl.
    • Season 14's two-part episode Forever: Little Joe makes it to the altar with Alice Harper for all of half an hour's screentime before she and their unborn child are murdered to start Joe's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the man who ordered their deaths. That episode is pretty much the last we ever hear of either Alice or the baby.
  • Male example: Jesse served this purpose for Willow and Xander in the first episode/s of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and was promptly forgotten.
    • The potentials in season seven: a collection of young females with limited character development, a good number of whom are killed off in brutal ways so that Buffy has something else to angst over. They eventually Take a Level in Badass.
  • In Game of Thrones, One of Ramsay Snow's many partners, Tansy, is hunted through the forest and killed by Ramsay's hounds in "The Lion and the Rose" to show the extent of Ramsay's sadism and that of his lover, Myranda. As such, Tansy lacks characterization: that was her first and only appearance. Two of Ramsay's other lovers had been depicted as sharing in his cruelty and psychosis until Ramsay grew bored of them, suggesting that Tansy may have been in a similar position.
  • The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries: while the series as a whole tended to avoid this, three episodes stand out & play it straight:
    • Last Kiss of Summer: We're introduced to Jamie, the love of Joe's life who he's willing to marry & throw over his entire life for — a woman who hasn't been mentioned throughout the entire series to this point — and 10 minutes into the episode, right after the wedding rehearsal where Joe & Jamie pledge vows, Jamie's killed by a random drunk driver, followed by Joe weeping over her bloody body and vowing a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Jamie is never mentioned again in the series.
    • Dangerous Waters: Ria Thomas exists only to be kidnapped and rescued twice by the Hardy Boys.
    • Arson & Old Lace: Nancy Drew became this. We never see her actually working on the case. She exists only as the helpless victim to be rescued by her love interest, Frank Hardy. And after this episode, she disappeared from the series for good, save for a one-line mention in Campus Terror.
  • In Kamen Rider, a recurring feature of the Kamen Rider franchise is that women who become Riders are doomed to die, usually for cheap drama. Examples (and aversions):
    • Stronger: Yuriko/Tackle, the original Disposable Rider Woman. Not considered a Kamen Rider, which remains something of a sticking point among the fandom.
    • Agito: The first Agito was Shouichi's sister, who died pre-series.
    • Ryuki: Miho/Femme only appears in the movie Episode Final, where she dies quietly after a battle and is subsequently forgotten.
    • Faiz: Several women borrow a Rider Gear (only to be immediately knocked out of morph) but the only woman to have one long-term, the original Delta, operated mostly offscreen, only to die just before what would have been her first onscreen battle. Harsh.
    • Blade: Natsumi/Larc only appears in the movie Missing Ace and is killed, but in fairness so are her teammates.
    • Hibiki: Shuki is a Manipulative Bitch and Anti-Hero who is sought her revenge against the Makamou for killing her parents in the first place, so naturally she dies. (Mind you, this was part of the heavy Retool to make the series - based on a Shotaro Ishinomori Toku story that wasn't intended to be a KR series - in line with what The Powers That Be thought a KR series should be like. Neither this nor any of the other changes went over well.) Akira doesn't become a full Oni, but transforms once (we don't see her Rider form well) and survives the series.
    • Kiva: Yuri, who uses Ixa a time or three in 1986, dies off-camera but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with being a Rider. Her daughter Megumi, who uses Ixa on two brief occasions in 2008, survives the series and moves on to get married in the ending. Neither is the long-term owner of the Ixa armor; like Faiz, borrowing it from its true male owners is often a bad idea, but this time, there's exceptions: The Movie (Megumi still just gets beaten up, but Yuri gets to use it well), and the time the male users defeated Rook but allowed the girls to have the final blow.
    • Decade: Natsumi becomes a Rider in the Grand Finale movie and survives the whole seriesnote . The series also gives better treatment to some past Riders, allowing Larc (renamed Haruka) to live and upgrading Akira to a full-fledged Rider, Kamen Rider Amaki. Tackle's back, and is still dead (it's complicated) but she's a much more effective fighter than the original Faux Action Girl.
  • NCIS Ellie Bishop's Season 14 boyfriend Qasim fits this to a T, getting only three episodes spaced several weeks apart—one to establish that they're dating, one to kill him off, and one where she seeks revenge on his behalf, interspersed with flashbacks to tell their story. True to form, he hasn't been mentioned since, and she seems completely over it already, despite the final flashback telling the viewer she would have accepted his proposal had he not died.
  • No Ordinary Family took all of two episodes to give viewers the death of Detective Cho, just after said character should've entered an interesting plotline.
  • In the BBC's retelling of Robin Hood, it is Maid Marian - yes Maid Marian herself who is turned into this after she is stabbed to death by Guy of Gisborne. True to the trope, after a brief Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Robin more or less moves on and acquires two new love interests in the course of the third season. They try for an Author's Saving Throw at the end of the season in which Robin ultimately dies and gets a Together in Death scene with Marian.
  • In the film Stargate, Daniel Jackson ends up with a gorgeous human from another planet for a wife. She's also intelligent and feisty, and affects the plot by rallying her people to drive off the alien overlords. However, in the first episode of the series Stargate SG-1, she gets captured as a host for the Big Bad aliens, setting Daniel's motivation as finding a way to rescue her. But over the course of the series he attracts flocks of alien babes, and in the midst of not refusing their attentions he never seems to remember his wedding vows. To make it worse, when the writers finally remember that he has a wife waiting for him, they spend one whole episode detailing how he finds her and she dies. Now that his motivation is gone, does Daniel quit the team? For about five minutes.
    • To be fair, who in their right mind would want to give up an amazing career studying living offshoots of ancient cultures on other planets, just to go back to a job where EVERY SINGLE PERSON in academia thinks the character is a two-bit hack?
  • In the Lifetime Movie of the Week Stalked By My Neighbor, the heroine's husband is killed in a car accident within the first five minutes, freeing her to be pursued by the neighbor in question, as well as a new love interest.
  • In Star Trek: Discovery, Captain Philippa Georgiou is killed early on by T'Kuvma.
  • This befalls several characters in the 24 universe, especially women who have been married to/dated Jack Bauer:
    • Claudia, Jack's ex-girlfriend who lives in Mexico working for the Salazar brothers. As soon as she, her father and Chase Edmunds make plans to escape the Salazar ranch, her life expectancy is measured in minutes, not episodes. She ends up dying off-screen during their escape.
    • Audrey Raines: kidnapped in the first episode she appears in. Rescued several times from perilous situations by Jack until she gets captured and tortured by the Chinese for a year in the sixth season. She's now in an unresponsive coma. And then she recovers by Live Another Day only to be shot dead in the finale.



     Tabletop Games  

     Video Games  
  • Phoenix Wright: The victim in the very first case of the series, Larry's girlfriend, is an example of this trope: Larry moves on from her very quickly.
  • Women in the Castlevania series frequently fall into this trope. The most blatant example is probably Hector's fiancee Rosaly from Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, who doesn't even appear onscreen. Her death is purely motivation for his revenge. This would qualify for The Lost Lenore, but his hooking up with Julia - the sister of his wife's murderer - qualifies her for this trope. You'd think that sort of thing would dredge up unpleasant memories every now and then.
    • Every bit as bad as Rosaly is Elisabetha, whose death gets all of one mention in the intro to ''Castlevania: Lament of Innocence'.
    • In Eric Lecarde's bio for Castlevania: Bloodlines states that his lover was turned into a vampire, serving as his motivation to kick ass. However, like Elisabetha and Rosaly, we don't actually see her and we only know about her because she was mentioned in the manual.
  • The maids in Clive Barker's Undying pretty much exist to get killed by Howlers. The male servants seem a bit better at living. The butler survives as well as you do.
  • Deus Ex:
    • Tiffany Savage (Gary Savage's daughter). She is introduced via Bob Page stating that she was captured by Majestic 12 during an operation to retrieve components for a Universal Constructor, and the next mission has JC attempting to rescue her at a gas station. It's very easy for her to die during this, and it has no real bearing for the rest of the story beyond a couple alternate lines by Savage (and a potential reward) two missions later. He doesn't even seem too broken up over her death.
  • Duke Nukem 3D: Duke can find women undergoing a bizarre alien torture process, like the scene in Aliens, and choose to kill them or leave them there.
  • Duke Nukem Forever: Two girls who had previously given Duke oral stimulation are impregnated by aliens, and can be shot and killed or left to die by pregnancy.
  • In Fallout 4, Nate's wife Nora is killed by Conrad Kellogg scarcely minutes into the game, unless the player selects Nora as the Player Character, in which case Nate is killed instead. In either case, their death has a very minimal impact on the overall plot.
  • Setzer's dead girlfriend Darryl only exists in the story to give him some literal last minute Character Development. This is a similar deal with Locke's girlfriend, the mothers of at least five characters, and Cyan's wife and kid.
  • Gears of War 2: Maria Santiago is killed by her husband Dominic Santiago, who finds her in a prison camp and does not want her to be tortured further.
  • CJ's mom in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Her death results in CJ returning to Los Santos for the first time since his brother Brian's death, kicking off the story.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us: Lois Lane is Stuffed into the Fridge, upsetting Superman into creating a Bad Future.
  • Averted in King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human. Rosella would have been the last of the maidens to be sacrificed to a three headed dragon if Alexander had not shown up to rescue her. As for the other maidens... one maiden was to be sacrificed each year.
  • Trask in Knights of the Old Republic serves as nothing more than a voice for the tutorial at the start of the game. He heroically sacrifices himself and aside from one mentioning of his name when facing his killer, is promptly never thought of again.
  • Max Payne: In the third game, Distressed Damsel Fabiana suffers from this, being rescued in the first chapter only to be recaptured in the second and eventually killed halfway through the game. To add insult to injury, it's barely even considered a karmic strike against her murderer, who Max secretly hopes became a Karma Houdini in the end.
  • This happens to many of the female characters in Red Dead Redemption. For instance, Bonnie MacFarlane's quest chain ends with her getting kidnapped, abused and hanged (before she's rescued by lead character John Marston). Luisa dies in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment after you've finished her quest chain (and rescued her from kidnappers/saved her life many times before), several Mexican peasant girls are implied to have been captured/raped/killed during the course of the story, and one poor bank patron in Blackwater is caught solely for the purpose of getting a bullet between the eyes, courtesy of the game's Big Bad. Of course, this is partly because the game is a Deconstruction of Wild West myths (the hero doesn't always save the damsel-in-distress).
  • Madeline Taylor in Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix is an only slightly important accomplice who you never really get to know before she gets a bridge dropped on her head.
  • World of Warcraft plays this straight at times - the most recent example is Thassarian's mother, who was introduced and killed in the same comic and did little more than beg for her life and provide angst for her son.

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Alternative Title(s): Disposable Women


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