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Doomed Appointment

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One person promises to meet someone else (usually the protagonist) somewhere at a specific time, there to give them some information or object. Of course, this nearly guarantees that the messenger will be unable to make the meeting. A standard way to prevent the meeting is to simply kill off the messenger before the meeting is to take place, although abduction is another option.

Sometimes the person who was supposed to be at the Doomed Appointment was going to give the hero information that the writers don't want the viewer to have until later in the series, but they want the viewer to know that the information is out there.

The character who sets up the appointment may be a Turn Coat of whatever group is opposing the protagonist(s), in which case that group will probably be responsible for preventing the meeting.

Subtrope to Impeded Messenger. Supertrope to Disconnected by Death. Compare Deadly Deferred Conversation. Pretty much the opposite of the Almost Dead Guy and Overt Rendezvous.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Death Note Naomi Misora has a meeting with the police to tell them about her deductions in the case of Kira. All of which would point to Light Yagami would the taskforce know about them. However, as this happens in volume 2 of 12 she is killed by Light before she can talk to the police.
    • Considering the more or less Contrived Coincidence of her meeting with Light, the official book states her luck as lower than abysmal.
  • Hughes from Fullmetal Alchemist. Though technically the information he had to relay and the appointment he was due for (His daughter's birthday) were two entirely separate things, but it still counts.
  • This happens to guys who ask Madlax out on dates. Regularly.
  • In Monster, Eva's life has gotten progressively more miserable since her father's death, but after ten years' worth of becoming a bitter shell she finally starts to find some measure of happiness again in a relationship with her divorced gardener. The gardener invites her to meet his daughter, but his wife comes back just a few minutes before Eva arrives. This finally proves to be the breaking point for her sanity, and she burns her house to the ground along with the garden.
    • And then the series decides to do it to her again, this time with Martin, a bodyguard that ends up developing a thing for her. When the organization employing him decides that Eva has outlived her usefulness and orders him to kill her, he instead arranges for her escape and promises to meet her at the train station at a specified time. Martin, of course, is fatally wounded while fighting the assassins. So Tenma informs her about Martin's death.
  • The Soldats member from Noir who was going to give Kirika and Mireille a copy of the book regarding Noir that they were looking for.
  • In a specially angsty version of this trope, Jim in Outlaw Star asks a girl out, neither knowing that each of them pilot opposing spaceships. Jim destroys the enemy vessel, but doesn't find out the reason she never showed up for their date is because he killed her.
  • Rumbling Hearts; The ENTIRE series and game hangs on one. As a matter of fact, in the game, you can choose not to let Mitsuki detain you, and be on time for your date with Haruka...which results in a Non Standard Game Over.
  • Joe Buttataki in the Soul Eater manga, who is killed on his way to an appointment with Marie after he noticed the presence of the insanity consuming the city, and then one of Death City's tainted souls (Justin Law) found him. Though in the chapter itself, the nature of his death was not clear.
  • A teacher at Narumi Ayumu's school in Spiral who intended to give Ayumu information on the Blade Children after school ended.

    Comic Books 
  • A familiar setup for Tintin stories. In "The Seven Crystal Balls", for instance, Professor Falconer takes a taxi to meet our heroes. When he arrives, he's in a coma and there's broken glass on the taxi floor.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Zootopia, Otterton found out about the Night Howlers and informed Mr. Big that he had something important to discuss. The latter sent his car but Otterton never arrived because of the ambush. Had Otterton told Mr. Big about his discovery over the phone, much of the plot could have been avoided.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Blow, the "protagonist" (for lack of a better word) wants to pull One Last Job before running away with his daughter. He is betrayed by former colleagues, who are working for law enforcement, and is unable to meet his daughter at the appointed time. The film attempts to make the audience sympathetic to the main character, who is one of the top cocaine smugglers, potentially responsible for many deaths and destroyed lives.
  • Don't Look Now: Several times, mostly overlapping at the climax. John arranges to meet with Laura at their hotel. However, when Laura gets to the consulate, she discovers that John actually went with the sisters, so Laura goes there instead...and just misses John again, but arrives in time to hear the sisters' warning. But she never catches up with John and he is murdered.
  • Happens to Tim Messenger in Hot Fuzz. Amusingly while he is still killed seconds before he can deliver his message, he was killed for entirely unrelated reasons. Made especially ironic due to the fact that his information about the suspected Evil Plan wouldn't have helped anyway, because it was wrong.
  • In The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond is scheduled to meet with Bond Girl Andrea Anders at a boxing venue so she can give him the Solex Agitator. When he gets there he finds her dead - murdered by Scaramanga.
  • In The Net, Sandra Bullock's character is to meet a male friend at the airport; he is flying a small plane by himself, coming to discuss a secret file in person, when his navigational equipment is tampered with, and he crashes into a factory smokestack. This, as stated above, would have let loose far too much information, for the scriptwriters liking.
  • For some reason, the Devil lets the priest warn Robert Thorn in The Omen (1976) about his Antichrist son before killing him, even though the entire setup to that point is textbook Doomed Appointment.
  • The film and the book One Day has one of the protagonists agree to meet for a dinner date after work. The woman doesn't drive and takes her bicycle to the event but forgets to Look Both Ways and is killed by a truck. As her husband is waiting in the restaurant, he has no idea that his wife won't be making the appointment. The rest of the film is him trying to come to terms with her death.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Governer Swann tries to meet with a friend of his who is a captain. Just as he arrives, his friend is killed by the villain's right hand man.
  • In Rosemary's Baby, a former mentor of Rosemary arranges a meeting with her to warn her about something, but he ends up dead before the meeting can take place.
  • The villain in Space Mutiny (Mystery Science Theater 3000) tosses the would-be Turn Coat off of a high catwalk. The reason he was up there in the first place... ???
    • He was calling to check on his gender!

  • The "Canary" Murder Case: When Tony Skeel fails to show up, Philo says he's probably already dead. Tony was actually hoping to blackmail the killer rather than help the detective, though.
  • In the City Watch books of the Discworld series, this happens a lot with Commander Vimes, although he usually tries to make it happen (e.g. someone dies but instead of sending another person, he goes and ends up missing appointments.)
  • Joe Pickett: In Blood Trail, Joe arranges a meeting with an FBI informer inside the Animal Wrongs Group. However, he is delayed getting to the meet by a Meddlesome Patrolman and by the time he eventually makes it, the informer is dead.
  • Seven Days in May: Presidential aide Paul Girard gets vital evidence about a looming military coup, but then dies in a plane crash. Fortunately, the evidence survives the crash hidden inside Girard's cigarette case and is brought to its intended recipient belatedly, but still in time to help.
  • Happens twice in John le Carré's novel Smiley's People, although considering the high stakes involved blackmailing one of the key members of Soviet Intelligence it's very much justified.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Angel episode "Tomorrow", our eponymous vampire is supposed to meet Cordelia to discuss their relationship. It would be spoilery to say how, but neither of them make the appointment.
  • Setting up a meeting with Steed and Mrs. Peel to tell them some bit of vital information was a surefire way to die in The Avengers (1960s).
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Passion", Jenny is working on the spell to restore Angel's soul and tells Giles she wants to see him later, but doesn't tell him what she's working on. Naturally, Angel kills her moments after she completes her work. Therefore we know the spell exists, but Buffy and the Scoobies don't.
  • Inverted in Castle during the first season. The victim didn't make the appointment because his wife told him that the blackmailer changed the location. When he went to the new rendezvous, he was murdered by his campaign manager.
  • In a CSI: Miami, a suspect's lawyer, walking through a park, called Caine about information she would only relay in person, as soon as she could get to him. The very next second, a mysterious man slit her throat while she was still on the phone with Caine. It may have set the record for quickest time from Doomed Appointment to doom.
  • In Dollhouse, one of Echo's "clients" wants to relive the moment he showed his wife what he had accomplished... but in his fantasy, his wife doesn't miss the appointment due to a fatal car accident.
  • The F.B.I.: "The Assassin" opens with a Filipino police lieutenant on his way to deliver important information an FBI Agent at the American embassy being machine-gunned from a passing car as he crosses the street.
  • A Fringe episode has a scientist develop Time Travel (by weaving metal into his own body to turn himself into a Faraday cage) in order to go back and save his wife, who was coming to meet him and was killed in a car accident. The events of the episode convince him that time travel is dangerous and he resolves instead to spend a few seconds with her in the car, as they both die.
  • In the first season of HBO's Game of Thrones, Eddard Stark tells his bastard son Jon that he will tell him who his mother is when he returns from King's Landing. He never makes it out of King's Landing.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Three for the Road", Mac is supposed to be meeting a smuggler at a motel in the middle of nowhere. However, The Mob catch up with Mac's friend just as he arrives at the motel, giving him just enough time to hide the MacGuffin before being shot dead.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "The Noble Art", one of the suspects finds her flat broken in to and ransacked. She calls Barnaby and tells him she will tell everything about what is going on, but that she is too scared to stay in her flat, and arranges to meet Barnaby at the statue of a local boxer. As she hangs up, she hears someone entering the flat. Barnaby and Jones wait at the statue and, when she doesn't show up, go to her flat and find her dead.
  • Occurs in the pilot episode of Monk. It's dramatic but ultimately pointless, as Monk knows the messenger kept the information written on a scrap of paper in his hat. The ambush itself - the victim is at a stop sign when an individual disguised as a squeegee man comes up, cleans part of his windshield, then opens the door and smashes the victim's head against the steering wheel. The killer gets in, drives the car to a cliff without any guardrails, and pushes the car over the edge, intending to pass it off as an accident. Monk proves otherwise since the windshield is half-cleaned, he knows the route the victim was going to take, and there are no tire tracks on the road.
  • Near the end of season four of Supernatural, Castiel visits Dean's dream and makes an appointment to meet him in a secluded place, saying he has something he needs to tell him and even Dean's dream isn't completely safe because someone could be watching. Naturally, somebody was watching, and when Sam and Dean show up at the meeting they find Castiel gone, leaving only his clueless vessel Jimmy Novak, who has no idea what Cas wanted to tell them. And by the time Cas comes back (from Heaven), he's been persuaded to leave it alone.
  • The first episode of Women's Murder Club begins with the protagonist standing by her car waiting impatiently for a reporter who's supposed to meet her there. The reporter actually does soon show up... crashing into the roof of the protagonist's car, her corpse having been thrown from a nearby roof.

  • Romeo and Juliet: Hours after his secret wedding to Juliet, Romeo is banished from Verona for killing Juliet's cousin Tybalt in revenge for the death of Romeo's friend Mercutio. To make matters worse, Juliet is being forced to marry Paris, whom she does not love. Their friend and confidant Friar Laurence devises a plan whereby Juliet will use a potion that mimics the symptoms of death, and once her family and fiancé have assumed her dead and left her in the family crypt, Romeo can wake her up and they can run away and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, the messenger the Friar dispatches to explain the plan to Romeo is held up, and Romeo, believing Juliet is truly dead, kills himself, and Juliet, upon waking up to her dead lover, does the same.

    Video Games 
  • In Broken Sword:
    • In The Shadow of the Templars, Plantard was supposed to meet Nico at the cafe to talk about a certain dead French politician. However, he dies before he can slip any information when the cafe is blown up by a terrorist.
    • In The Serpent's Curse, Father Simeon tells George that he has more to say about the Gnostics and Lucifer later at the gallery. Guess who turns up dead before the meeting?
  • In Everything or Nothing, NSA Agent Mya Starling does this during the first New Orleans mission. Bond goes to meet her at the park, and she calls a pay-phone at the park explaining that she can't get away. It's his job to prevent her death when he finds out that her cover's been blown.
  • In Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, the hero is just about to learn a vital piece of information, when the professor who sits on the information is killed at his office before Gabriel gets a chance to talk to him.
  • One level in Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy revolves entirely around a Doomed Appointment.
  • Kicks off the plot of Max Payne.
  • Ditto for the first level of Oni.
  • The death of Luis Sera in Resident Evil 4. Though his does live long enough after the fact to hand over some medication which slows the effect of The Virus, give a little exposition and admit what he was doing there.
  • In the World of Warcraft Deathknight starting area, you get the quest to intercept a messenger (dooming his appointment), kill him, take his information and clothing and later pose as him. Actually, now that I think about it, you do that quite a lot in this game...

    Visual Novels 
  • In Shikkoku no Sharnoth Henrietta intended to meet with Bram Stoker to confess her love after a conversation she had that made her finally pluck up the nerve, but he never showed up because he died almost immediately after hearing she wanted to meet up with him.

    Web Comics 
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: In Chapter 14, Tuuri choses to wait for Onni to come out of a coma to tell him that she may have been infected with a deadly disease. The nature of the eventual news resulted in the meeting not happening as Tuuri had planned it.
  • Unsounded: Bastion is summoned to a meeting by Ballenstern's apprentice, but it seems his killers started their work as soon as the apprentice left and when Bastion arrives the Master is slumped dead in his seat with his throat slit.