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Ditch the Bodyguards

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Clark Kent: Granted, Lois, Luthor does a lot of strange things. But what reason could he possibly have for trying to fool his own bodyguard?
Lois Lane: Maybe he just needed some space. Haven't you ever noticed how she hovers over him, everywhere he goes?
Clark Kent: But Lois, that's her job.
Lois Lane: It's no wonder why you're still single, Kent.

Witness Protection under the close watch of bodyguards is boring. If it's done right, there's no opportunity for adventure, romance, or getting your favorite snacks at 2 am.

So when the protagonist, a witness in a mob trial, is told to hole up in a cheap motel with a police car in front until he can testify, odds are he won't comply. Perhaps he needs to save someone else in danger. Maybe he needs the freedom to catch the real bad guy. Or maybe he just doesn't believe he's in as much danger as the police say he is and wants a night of freedom. Whatever the reason, he'll take the first opportunity to lose his bodyguards and strike out on his own, leaving the police to try to track him down before The Mafia assassins do.

Compare Unsafe Haven, where the protected person stays put in the safe place (i.e. with the bodyguards) but is in danger regardless. They have the same reason; being safe is not exciting. This is an all-too-common source of headaches for anyone on a Live-Action Escort Mission, or any Secret Service agents trying to protect the President's teenage daughter.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach anime episode 173. Rurichiyo evades her guardians Kenryu and Enryu to go to a tea party with other noble children, one of whom is about to go into an Arranged Marriage, after which she will be unlikely to see Lurichiyo or her other friends again.
  • Not long after the Laboratory 5 incident in Fullmetal Alchemist, Fuhrer Bradley shows up in Edward Elric's hospital room. Having learned that Edward, Major Armstrong and Lt. Colonel Hughes have uncovered evidence of a conspiracy within the military, Bradley listens to their findings then sternly orders them not to tell anyone or investigate the matter further, ostensibly so they can fight the conspiracy together when the time comes. The scene concludes with Bradley hearing that his bodyguards are looking for him, at which point Bradley climbs out the window of the hospital room on the first floor.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Mimi Machiavelli, daughter of a witness who's testifying in a mob trial, handcuffs Hilshire and Triela together and nicks out the door to see her boyfriend, only to get immediately nabbed by mafiosi. However Hilshire just radios the other Agency cyborgs on site who immediately snatch her back. Naturally the event gets used for a Shipping moment.
    Hilshire: Say, what did she mean by we should "Talk about love"?
    Triela: (picking the lock on their handcuffs) I think she's got the wrong idea about us.
    Hilshire: We're fratello. We don't need to talk about love.
  • Mamotte! Lollipop, early on Nina gets really fed up with her male protectors and slips away more than once. One time was into the girls' room, only to have the antagonists waiting for her there. (This backfired on them when one admitted he was actually a boy in drag—in front of the female audience.)
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, Miorine never has any trouble evading her bodyguards and is often seen alone without their absence ever being addressed. It's established early that her father doesn't bother to vet them and they are extremely lazy, inattentive, and useless as far as guarding her, leaving it ambiguous in some cases if she ditched them on purpose or if they just carelessly lost track of her.
  • Naruto has done this before. First time was in the Land of Iron, where he manages to sneak away from Yamato to go confront Sasuke. The second time is during the 4th Ninja War, where he and fellow demon-container Killer Bee blast through the defenses guarding them to take part in the war.
  • In Snow White with the Red Hair Zen will occasionally try to avoid his aides while walking the castle grounds or shirking his official duties and leaving the castle to roam the countryside though he fully expects them to catch up to him eventually and does it to practice. A flashback reveals he used to take this much more seriously before learning to trust Mitsuhide who was brought in by Izana in response to a young Zen proving more than capable of avoiding his previous bodyguards.

    Comic Books 
  • Played With in the Tintin album Tintin: The Calculus Affair: while staying in Borduria as supposed "guests" of the state, Tintin and Haddock get their "bodyguards" drunk so that they can escape.
  • In the Batman storyline, "Bruce Wayne: The Road Home", Vicki Vale does this in every early chapter, thinking she isn't in too much danger just because she wants to reveal the secret identities of the entire Bat-Family. It isn't until a disguised Bruce Wayne Batman is able to snatch her away and tell her the severity of the situation is she able to settle down slightly.
  • Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: Wonder World: Diana ditched her guards Techne and Epistime first thing, in order to go out on her adventure in the wider world.

    Fan Works 
  • Somewhat of a Running Gag in this Star Trek (2009) fanfiction.
  • Also a common trope in TinMan fanfic. Then again, it's perfectly in character for DG to really hate being confined, and too much of a troublemaking farmgirl to really take any pleasure in being a Princess Classic. However, Cain is always going to be the exception - no matter how hard she tries, she can't seem to ditch him.
  • In Memento Vivere, a Final Fantasy X fanfiction, Braska does this to his guardians in Guadosalam.
  • In the Death Note AU Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything Light easily and routinely ditches his security detail. L lampshades how stupid that is:
    L: You don't need to drive anymore. Why do you insist on driving? It's a security hazard. Big fucking security hazard! 'Hello, I'm the person who's taxing you to death. Shoot me.' That's what you're saying when you're driving around the way you do. You're asking to get killed.
  • A Brighter Dark: Early in the story, Corrin would sneak away from her retainers and go into the dungeons alone. Not because she didn't like them, far from it, but she figured the only way to get real practice was by fighting people that actually wanted to kill her and bodyguards would get in the way of that.
  • Triptych Continuum: The Diarchs have a habit of doing this, to the mixed frustration and terror of the Royal Guard. The Diarchs sympathize with their protectors' worries, but being kept under lock and key permanently would end with them going completely stir-crazy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Romeo Must Die: Trish rather easily evades her bodyguard Maurice when he's distracted chatting up a female at the record store.
  • Wicked City (1987). Giuseppi Mayart escapes from his bodyguards Taki and Makie at the hotel they're staying at.
  • The whole plot of Chasing Liberty proceeds from the President's daughter ditching her Secret Service detail to get some personal space.
  • Operation Daybreak (1975). On the day of his assassination Reinhard Heydrich is running late, so he orders his driver to speed up, leaving their escort of an armoured car and two truckloads of troops behind.

  • Artemis often does this in Artemis Fowl to Butler.
  • In The Belgariad, spoiled brat Princess Ce'Nedra of Tolnedra is bored and wants to go shopping. Her father, Emperor Ran Borune, won't let her leave the Imperial Palace because it's too dangerous. She cons her rather gullible and egotistical tutor into believing that her father wants him to escort her while she visits relatives in another city. (For her own safety, naturally.) On the road, they meet Belgarath and company. Of course, none of them — even Garion — believe her story. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In several of his books, Harry Potter is being threatened by someone (usually Voldemort), and everybody tries to keep him safe. It never works — somehow, for some reason, he always finds his way to the source of the problem to face it himself. This habit comes back to haunt him in the last few books.
    • Sirius also makes a few attempts at this. Fortunately, Dumbledore and Lupin are too smart to let him get away. Usually.
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities:
    • In Exile, it's mentioned that Sophie has tried many times to ditch her bodyguard Sandor, to no avail.
    • In the Keefe short story set during Nightfall, Keefe tries to sneak out to join Sophie but is stopped by his bodyguard Ro.
    • Biana often uses her invisibility to sneak away from her bodyguard Woltzer.
  • In Monster Hunter Vendetta, Owen is instructed by the Monster Control Bureau to stay at MHI's compound as bait for the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition. However he's a pro-active kind of guy, and prefers to take the fight to them.
  • The finale of the first Twilight novel involves Bella having to sneak away from her vampire bodyguards to meet the bad guy vamp.
  • Prince Roger MacClintock's habit of doing this (and the bodyguards' refusal to admit that Roger, the bratty clotheshorse, manages to slip them) on big game hunting trips means that it takes them a while to realise he actually is a badass dead-eye shot with a rifle. They just try and reconcile his "Great White Hunter" reputation with the brat by believing his guides and bodyguards are the ones who kill the trophies... until the trip to Marduk rather impressively underscores how much they've been underestimating him.
  • "Devo" ditches most of his bodyguards in Guilty Wives. That sets the drama in motion.
  • In Red, White and Blood by Christopher Farnsworth, President Curtis sends the Secret Service out of the room so he can confront his vice president about the latter having committed treason without telling anyone else. Predictably, this doesn't end well.
  • Downplayed by Han and Leia Solo in the Star Wars Expanded Universe — Leia's Noghri bodyguards have been a standing order since The Thrawn Trilogy, so it's not surprising that they sometimes want a little time alone. In particular, Han takes a minor but persistent delight in ordering them to fetch something from off the ship, and then taking off without them (they must see through it by now, but have to do it anyway). Of course, both Han and Leia are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, but they still usually have cause to regret leaving the Noghri behind.
  • Myth Adventures:
    • Lampshaded at the beginning of Mything Persons. Skeeve mischievously decides to duck his bodyguards to go out for breakfast alone, and claims it doesn't matter because nothing happened to him. Unfortunately, the chaos caused by his unexplained disappearance allowed intruders to slip out the Portal Door in his house, setting off the events of the book.
    • Showing that he's learned absolutely nothing, Skeeve is again bodyguard-free when he sits in on a Dragon Poker game run by his Friendly Enemy the Geek in the very next novel, Little Myth Marker. Especially rich because the game was rigged with marked cards, and Skeeve's bodyguards are mobsters with direct relevant experience that would have kept him out of trouble completely.
    • Finally, in Mythnomers and Impervections, Skeeve orders his bodyguards to go on an unrelated mission while he travels to a notoriously dangerous dimension. This time, Skeeve plans to rely on a Magick device, then return home with the glory of completing the mission solo. The plan fails, Skeeve is stranded, and he's left having to hire another bodyguard just to survive the place.
  • Rand does this frequently in The Wheel of Time. This is because his bodyguard is a specialized Amazon Brigade, and he himself has a strong hangup about getting women into danger. Thus, whenever danger rears its head he has a tendency to slip away. Not only does this often result in him being injured, his guards consider it insulting to their integrity as warriors.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the first few episodes of Arrow, Oliver Queen does this constantly to John Diggle (and to his replacement until the latter resigns in exasperation). However it becomes unnecessary after Oliver reveals the truth about his vigilantism to Diggle and he becomes the first recruit to Team Arrow. It gets an amusing Call-Back in Season 8 when Oliver—in an alternate Earth where he's reliving the events of the pilot episode—tries to slip out of Diggle's car like when they first met, only to find Diggle has locked the car door in advance.
  • The Bill had a light version in an episode where a detective is doing some illicit moonlighting as a bodyguard, guarding the son of a Muslim businessman. The kid slips his bodyguard and goes partying instead, only returning at the last minute with a smug expression. The detective gets his revenge by giving a photograph he found of the kid drinking alcohol to his younger brother, so his elder brother can't afford to boss him around any more.
  • On an episode of Bones, a man who was to testify slipped away from his bodyguards in the safe house after his wife was killed and son kidnapped to keep him from testifying.
  • Played straight on an episode of Burn Notice when one of the protectees sneaks out of the safe house (read: "Michael's mother's garage") so she can go to prom. Reality ensues, but fortunately Michael is able to get there in time to rescue her.
    • And again when Sam's friend Virgil, an ex-Navy SEAL, sneaks out with Michael's mom (mutual attraction), then one of the two sets of Villains of the Week shows up at the club and kidnaps him.
  • Dark Angel, when Max has to protect Bruno.
  • On Dexter, after the FBI suspect that Doakes is the Bay Harbor Butcher, Dexter is given a protective detail since they assume the Butcher will come after him. He slips away from them by climbing out the window of his apartment.
  • Due South had a Canadian diplomat's daughter ditching Fraser, who was assigned as her escort while in Chicago, in the two parter Chicago Holiday. Trouble is she has also inadvertently gotten herself on a mobster's hitlist, so we have the old 'can they find her before the mobster does.'
  • The Equalizer. Robert McCall is not impressed when a little old lady does this to one of his operatives by locking them in the bathroom.
  • Finn and Dana attempt this in Homeland. It ends badly.
  • Frequent element of In Plain Sight, a show about the Witness Protection Program.
  • In a season ten episode of Murdoch Mysteries, Roger Newsome is put under police protection when he becomes the only living witness to a murder. He escapes his guard to get a haircut. This ends badly for Roger.
  • On one episode of NCIS, somebody puts out a hit on a Navy lieutenant commander that, naturally, he does not believe is genuine. But the trope is subverted twice: when he ditches Ziva halfway through the episode, absolutely nothing untoward happens. Then it turns out he ditched Ziva so he could go kill the person who put out the hit.
  • In the last episode of Special Ops Mission, the assassination target is covered very well by his protectors, who show him around the large and sprawling compound while, unknown to them, the sniper, Will, is trying desperately to get a shot when the target is unprotected. All seems lost, as the bodyguards know what they're doing, until the target decides he needs to get some fresh air, away from them. The focus rapidly shifts from assassination to evasion after that.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, one of the early missions is to help Zelda escape her own castle and bodyguards.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Zelda, having gotten fed up with Link following her everywhere in large part out of jealousy over the greater ease he had in fulfilling his role as a Champion compared to her difficulty awakening her sealing power, tells him to get lost despite him being her assigned bodyguard. She soon afterward exploits Gerudo Town's prohibition against men entering to force him to stay away. She nearly gets killed by the Yiga Clan because of this.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Princess Peach ditches Toadsworth (more of an elderly advisor than a bodyguard, technically) in the intro because he was irritating; this leads to her being captured by the Big Bad and his minions later.
  • The occasional quest in World of Warcraft involves killing key NPCs that are usually accompanied by Elite mobs, requiring the player to figure a way to separate the two before attacking. One notable example is in Shadowmoon Valley, with the NPC in question being a Blood Elf who's basically a fantasy version of a drug addict and trying to hide it; the player lures him away from his bodyguard with a package of the drug in question.
  • In Shuyan Saga, Shuyan's determination to learn kung fu despite her parents' disapproval means that she sometimes ends up running from her own guards. The game opens with such a chase.

    Visual Novels 
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Mei Ling ditches her bodyguards early in Soryu's route, dragging the protagonist along with her and nearly getting both of them assaulted by a pair of thugs.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, either Seiji or Kaoru (depending on which you saved in the Kubitarou case) will be put under house arrest after narrowly escaping hospitalization. In the Demon Tsukuyomi case, they finally break through the security assigned to them in order to meet up with Akira and the rescued Ami, leading to a unique scene between them and the protagonist.

    Web Comics 
  • In the print-only prequel book The Order of the Stick: On the Origin of PCs, The Paladin Sir François ditches Elan after the latter screws up one time too many (namely, by getting them robbed of all their valuables and magic items in the aptly named "Rob-U-While-U-Sleep Inn"). However, he at least has the decency to leave Elan behind in a safe town, even if said town has been shown to be somewhat seedy, instead of leaving him behind somewhere in the wilderness.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Inverted, then played with. After Sigrun and Emil leave for book-scavenging in Chapter 10, Mikkel ends up being the only The Immune person capable of fighting in tank that otherwise contains two non-immune non-combatants and a currently Deep Sleep-ridden fellow immune combatant. Mikkel also happens to really, really want to check out a building within walking distance that may contain clues to a cure for the Rash, the story's Plague Zombie inducing disease. He suddenly decides that he's technically not leaving Tuuri and Reynir without protection because the sleeping Lalli is with them and heads out. Soon after that, Tuuri and Reynir find a very, very flimsy excuse to go after Mikkel (he wanted to take the Cute Kitten with him, but she jumped out of his pocket before he actually left, so obviously they need to bring her to Mikkel), effectively ditching Lalli in the process. In this case, the "bodyguard" is basically in coma, so he's actually the most helpless person in the vehicle.

    Web Original 
  • In Receiver of Many Persephone sneaks away from Artemis and Athena, who supposed to be guarding her, to investigate if she really heard the voice of the strange man from her dream (unknowingly to her at this time – Hades) from a sacred grove. What she doesn’t know is that Artemis and Athena are aware of this, but were ordered by Zeus not to interfere.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The United States Secret Service bemoans the number of times protectees attempt to give their watchdogs the slip or change the itinerary to stop some place more fun. While it might seem like teenaged kids are more likely to do this than adults, the reverse is in fact true. Adults generally aren't used to having a team of people plan their every move and watch them like a five-year-old.