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Eat the Evidence

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He could at least have taken it out of the bag first.

Archdeacon Robert: Someone's coming. Quick! It might be the area Dean. Eat it!
Adam: What? Come on.
Robert: Eat it in the name of Church unity. Eat it. Eat it all!

Done something unspeakable with something edible? Then there's only one way to destroy the evidence: eat it, or at least make someone else do it. Eating Solves Everything after all.

Often played for laughs, especially if the evidence is something that no-one would normally consider edible.

If the evidence is a human body, things become rather more morally awkward, and may result in the body being Fed to Pigs instead.

Sister-trope to Swallow the Key. May induce I Ate WHAT?! afterward.

Not to be confused with Feed the Mole.


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  • A Brazilian TV ad features a guy ordering a beer at a bar. Not having any beer of the ordered brand, the waiter brings a bottle of another beer brand and eats the cap and the label to keep the customer from finding out. Not believing the excuses presented to explain away the lack of those items, the customer dares the waiter to drink the beer. In spite of having no qualms about eating the label and the cap, the waiter finds himself unable to drink the beer.
  • Used in a Golden Pie advertisement that riffed on Fifties cop show Naked City.
    Narrator: When police arrived on the scene, the suspects were eating the evidence.
    Policeman: It's a Golden Pie, Sarge. And it's hot!
  • An Australian advert riffing on "Waltzing Matilda" by Banjo Paterson had the events taking place in the present day, and the swagman escaping justice for stealing a sheep by inviting the three police officers to join him in his meal. "It's...lamb casserole."

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the manga of Death Note it's explained that Light eats the killer scrap of paper he used to kill Higuchi with.
  • One chapter of Franken Fran had a man attempt to serve his murdered daughter to the guests at her birthday dinner. Unfortunately, Fran instantly recognized the human meat for what it was, being a surgeon.
  • In The Garden of Sinners, when Araya Souren asks how Lio Shirazumi will hide the body of his first murder, he responds by EATING THE BODY IN THREE HOURS.
  • Used in K-On! when the club is allowed to sell their teacher's guitar, Ritsu attempts to keep most of the money from the girls by telling her it sold for much less than what was paid. The teacher then asks for the receipt, which has the real amount on it. Ritsu tries to eat the receipt before finally handing it over.
  • Happens in at least one instance during the second Lupin III series. A small time thief actually managed to steal a rare diamond, but was caught. Just before his capture, he swallowed the diamond so it couldn't be found. While the authorities searched for it, he... retrieved it and hid it in the cistern of the toilet in his prison cell, but never got a chance to take it with him from the high security prison before he was released. The elaborate scheme for the episode revolves around Lupin and company breaking into the prison to retrieve the gem themselves.
  • Ranma ½:
    • When Kodachi gets a photo of a Not What It Looks Like scene between her and Ranma, she makes hundreds of copies and scatters them everywhere. Ranma proceeds to catch and eat them all.
    • But the ultimate example is the "Ukyo's Secret Sauce" story where, when confessing that he (accidentally) ruined Ukyo's personal sauce that she has been aging for ten years failed to cause the whole mess to subside (Ukyo jumped to the conclusion that Akane forced Ranma to claim it, so it made things worse), Ranma gulps down the whole cask, and almost dies from it. Note that this was less to hide how terrible it tasted from her (she was the first person to find out), but more from desperation to return things to the way they were, so that he wouldn't have to reveal whether he loved Akane or Ukyo better. Before that, he devoured every okonomiyaki that Ukyo made with it, but that was to protect her from eating them out of pride, and potentially making herself terribly sick.

    Comic Books 
  • In Jeff Smith's Bone, Phoney Bone eats a slice from the pie set aside for Gran'ma Ben. When Thorn approaches, he stuffs the entire rest of the pie into Fone Bone's mouth.
  • The EC Comics story "Cold Cuts" uses a variant of this trope. A man who carves up his wife's body and stores it in a frozen food locker is forced by a business emergency to leave it all in a friend's hands. When he gets back, he finds his friend is throwing an impromptu dinner party. "The butcher was closed..."
  • In Journey into Mystery (Gillen), Big Eater Volstagg facetiously suggests that he could eat kid Loki. "There would be no evidence. A perfect crime!"
  • Squad: The pack disposes of most of the evidence by well, eating it, though it remains unseen how they dispose of clothes.
  • A less lethal example in Tintin. A message is smuggled to the boy reporter in his prison cell, so in case of a search, Tintin scrunches it up in a tiny ball and has his faithful dog Snowy swallow it.
  • This is word for word what a washed-up Hollywood movie director commands the demonic servants he's recently acquired to do with the body of their latest victim in an old issue of Vampirella.
  • In Watchmen, when a kidnapper realizes he abducted the wrong little girl and her parents won't be able to pay the ransom, he kills her and feeds her remains to his German shepherds to get rid of the evidence. When Rorschach realizes this, he snaps and burns the kidnapper alive. It was a defining moment in his life, and he never recovered from the psychological trauma.
  • In Invader Zim, Issue 13. As Dib escapes from Zim's base with the Humongoserum, he is abducted by aliens who want to steal it for their own purposes. As Dib is being lifted up, he swallows the Humongoserum vial. This later comes back to bite him as the vial breaks in his stomach, infusing him with a megadose of the serum, turning him into a hulking monster.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin occasionally likes to pretend he is a forcibly detained space captain while at school. Upon being sent to the principal's office in one strip, he eats his hall pass since it is considered "evidence" in his imaginary world.
  • A 1994 sequence in For Better or for Worse involved some friends of Elizabeth trying to get her hooked up with Anthony (who liked her but was too shy to say so) by writing a fake note that claimed to be from Elizabeth to Anthony. When the note was discovered by a teacher, taken away and then returned to Anthony at the end of the class (still unread), one of the friends, Dawn, grabbed the note and ate it to avoid embarrassment for everybody involved. Elizabeth and Anthony still ended up getting together, and many years later (after various intervening twists and turns) got married.
  • In a series of Peanuts strips, Snoopy imagines himself to be a spy and steals Sally's report which he thinks to be a secret document. When Sally catches him, he eats the paper, much to her anger. Yes, a dog really did eat her homework.
    • In another Peanuts story arc, Charlie Brown sent Linus to scout another baseball team and told him to make notes on a square of bubble gum so he could destroy them easily if necessary.
  • In one Dilbert strip, Mordack the Denier eats Wally's requisition form for a new computer (in front of him) and says "We lost the paperwork." Wally responds by holding up a giant stack and saying "Good thing I made 75 more copies."

    Fan Works 
  • In Black Queen, Red King, the Earth Changelings eat their kin's dead bodies and those of the humans they kill in order to keep the police and other humans from finding them. The main character also eats his own severed arm to keep it from being foundnote .
  • In Dahlia Hawthorne Escaps From Pirson, there is a scene where Wario decides not to directly eat the evidence against him, but instead, he somehow eats the fingerprints that are on it. This actually gets him acquitted.
  • Defragmentation: In "Your credit rating is delicious", Pink catches Spamton riffling through their wallet. Spamton's response is to freeze up for a moment, then toss the wallet and credit card he was holding into his mouth.
  • Family Guy Fanon has - while Lois gives the family a Long List of chores in "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" - Chris show the rest of the family a picture he drew of Lois while she's talking that portrays her as a naggy bitch. The family laughs at this until Lois gets suspicious and Chris does the trope to avoid getting in trouble.

    Films — Animated 
  • In a variant, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy start out the feature-length Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island having just been dismissed from their jobs contraband-sniffing dog and handler at a local airport. That's because they ate an entire storage room full of contraband food items that Scooby had detected in people's luggage, not realizing it was needed as evidence against the criminals.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 13 Tzameti. Having won a fortune playing the Deadly Game, the protagonist sends it off to his family by parcel post, then eats the receipt when he sees the police approaching him so it won't be tracked down and confiscated as evidence. In the 2010 American remake, he eats the receipts as he's dying after being shot.
  • In the Spielberg/Zemeckis movie 1941 (1979), the lost Japanese sailors capture an American merchant. When they discover a toy compass among his merchandise, and when he notices they are very much interested in that compass (because their own is broken), he eats it immediately. The Japanese then force-feed him a laxative.
  • In the first Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, one of the Chipmunks is accused of defecating on a chair, but another eats the... evidence, claiming it's just a raisin while muttering "You owe me!". Squick. One wonders how John Waters felt, realizing that a coprophagy gag was now mainstream enough for what was ostensibly a children's movie.
  • In American Wedding, Stiffler suspects the dog has eaten the wedding ring he's supposed to have custody of, which leads him to pick through the dog's droppings in an attempt to find it. When he's caught, he claims the droppings are chocolate truffles in order to hide the fact that he lost the ring, and then is forced to eat them to keep someone else from eating them.
  • In The Big Easy, when he realizes he's been caught accepting bribe money, Detective Remy McSwain tosses the cash to the crowd in the bar and eats the envelope it was given to him in.
  • Birds of Prey (2020): After being arrested, Cassandra swallows the diamond she stole off Victor Zsasz while she is in the back of the patrol car.
  • In The Body (2012), when the toilet doesn't flush to dispose the torn pieces of a compromising dinner card Álex is forced to fish them out from the bowl and stuff them into his mouth.
  • The Captain. When he realizes that he is about to be arrested by the German authorities, Willi Herold jumps out of bed and begins hastily chewing his soldier ID. The real Herold did tear his ID into pieces and secretly ate it during his confinement. Apparently, it tasted like white bread without butter.
  • Inverted in Cats & Dogs where the Russian Blue coughs up all sorts of previously swallowed stuff, including some fake evidence to plant.
  • In Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune, Glenn Close's character eats "Cookie"'s suicide note to make her suicide look like murder.
  • In Death Screams, Sheriff Avery runs into a bunch of youths smoking dope, and one of them eats the stuff so they won't get busted.
  • In the film, The Devil and Miss Jones two employees eat a list naming 400 employees who want to unionize since their mean store manager was going to use it against them to fire all those people.
  • And then there's the 1980s movie (and the subsequent musical adaptation) Eating Raoul, which really needs no explanation beyond what's offered by the title.
  • At the beginning of The Eiger Sanction a courier eats the microfilm he's carrying when he realises he's being followed. The opposition murders him so they can cut his stomach open to get it back.
  • In Fort Apache, The Bronx (1981) a policeman does this trick and doesn't get away with it.
    "I ate his driver's license. And right after that, I ate his registration. The registration tasted better than the driver's license. Well, he said, "My lawyer's gonna make one call and you're finished." I said, "Finished?" So I laughed in his face. The lawyer made the call...and they took away the shield and put me back in a monkey suit."
  • When the protagonists of Friday the 13th Part III spot two police cars with blaring sirens and all behind them, they promptly start eating their drug stash. After pulling over, the police just keep driving onward, much to their dismay.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes: "The secret's in the sauce."
  • In Danish film The Green Butchers (De grønne slagtere) by Anders Thomas Jensen, two butchers accidentally kill a man and sell the meat to hide the evidence. It ends up being very popular...
  • In The Hot Rock (and also the novel the film is based on), Greenberg is trapped in the museum with the diamond the gang was attempting to steal. He swallows the diamond before the police arrive. Leads to this brilliant exchange later (when Amusa learns that Greenberg has hidden the gem in the police station):
    Dr. Amusa: Couldn't you have just... kept swallowing it?
    Greenberg: [queasily]
  • House of Traps is a kung-fu film about a group of kung-fu fighters trying to bypass the titular house's various traps to find a scroll on it's top. Towards the end of the film, two bands of fighters, one on the side of good and one on the opposing side, both managed to reach the top, only for the last good fighter obtaining the scroll to uncover an Awful Truth that will spell doom to the entire nation, where the then rips the paper apart and swallow it whole, right before he succumbs. The film just ends without further elaboration at that point.
  • In The Incredible Hulk (2008), Bruce swallows the flash drive containing information he needs, not because he needs to conceal it, but because he knows he'll be Hulking Out in a matter of minutes and he needs to make sure he doesn't lose the drive. He throws it up later, good as new.
  • The Man with the Golden Gun: James Bond accidentally swallows Francisco Scaramanga's bullet (in the belly button of a belly dancer) thanks to a heavy-handed thug. Later Bond quips: "You've no idea what that went through to get here."
  • Max Manus. While in hospital with guards outside his door, the title character gets a message from La Résistance indicating his escape is planned for that night. After reading the message he eats it at once.
  • Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun 33⅓ eats the plans for a prison break, as a sandwich and then shredded with spaghetti sauce (it didn't help that a large stack of paper got dropped in front of him while he was doing so, forcing Drebin to eat all of it to make sure he got the sheets that contained the plan).
    Rocko: That was a good plan.
    Drebin: I've had better!
  • In the film version of The Name of the Rose, the antagonist eats the pages of a rare book, denying the protagonist it, and both committing suicide and eliminating the evidence of the poisoned pages. .
  • In Napoléon, the accusations against Napoléon Bonaparte and Joséphine are eaten by a couple of clerks who don't want to see them executed.
  • In The President's Barber, Han-mo scrapes the paint off of a portrait of President Park as a cure for his son's paralysis and stores it in a small container. Unfortunately, he is pursued by the former President's men so he eats the container so nobody would ask questions. This causes him a lot of pain afterwards as he has to excrete the container and wash it so he can get the paint out.
  • The excellent German short film Schwarzfahrer has an extremely racist old lady sitting next to a black guy on a tram. She goes on and on about how horrible blacks and others are ("...They should at least have their names changed when they come over here, or else you can't tell them apart at all. What's more, they smell awful. But there is no law against that!"). When the conductor comes to check tickets, the black man reaches over and eats hers. She's hysterical when the conductor arrives ("That nigger just ate my tickets"), and he naturally doesn't believe her obviously racist story ("That's the stupidest excuse I have ever heard!"), so he takes her off the tram. None of the other passengers, who were silently listening to her antics, intervene.
  • When Daphne finds Shaggy doodling his name and Velma's on a napkin in Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, he immediately eats the napkin.
  • In Skins (2017), when nearly caught stealing Laura's gems, Itziar sticks them in her mouth, only to swallow them, requiring her to wait until time passes enough for the evidence to do so.
  • When a car full of college kids gets pulled over in Super Troopers, one of them is forced to eat a bag of pot before the cops get close enough to see it. And then a bag of shrooms.
  • In White Sands, the coroner finds a scrap of paper in Spencer's stomach with a phone number written on it. The paper is so tough and waxy that the numbers are still legible.

    Folk Tales 
  • There is a tale of a wily courtier who offends a noble in a culture where the punishment for doing so is death. The noble purports to offer him a fair chance to live by proffering him two folded pieces of paper, supposedly with one saying "Live" and one saying "Die". The courtier is sure that both say "Die" and the noble is just trying to save face. He takes one piece and eats it without looking at it. When the other piece is opened and says "Die" he lives to tell the tale as the other piece he chose (and ate) must have said "Live" and it's impossible for the noble to claim otherwise without revealing that he'd rigged the offer and losing face before the court.

  • In Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Boys vs. Girls series, the Hatford boys pick apart a pumpkin pie brought over by the Malloy girls because they're sure it's been tainted or booby-trapped somehow. When it becomes clear nothing's wrong with it, they're forced to eat the entire thing to keep their mother from realizing there was ever a pie there.
  • Discworld:
    • Parodied in Feet of Clay: Vimes claims he'll have to "eat the evidence" when a group of civic leaders find a packet of "arsenic" in his desk and does so. Of course, he's actually making the point that it isn't arsenic; it's sugar.
    • Played with in Monstrous Regiment: The regiment encounters some spies, one of whom tries to eat the codebook to destroy it. It turns out the codebook was poisoned, so that by eating it not only would the codebook be kept out of enemy hands, but so would the spy.
  • In the story Eight Skilled Gentlemen by Barry Hughart, the heroes have killed a henchman of their enemy, but cannot get out of his castle to hide the body. They can get into the kitchen, however, so they cook every single part of him and put the food among that prepared for a banquet. Number Ten Ox is squicked by it all, but Master Li Kao gets really enthusiastic about making the food good (so the lord of the castle won't start asking questions to the kitchen staff), and we get a really good description of how to cook a man.
  • The Great Greene Heist: In To Catch a Cheat, two kids who write test answers on their hands in invisible ink unsuccessfully try to lick it off their hands to destroy the evidence when Jackson installs infrared bulbs which let the teacher see the invisible ink.
  • If This Goes On—. John Lyle, the rather naïve protagonist, receives a note from a Virgin sister being held incommunicado. Unfortunately his reaction to receiving the note is an Out-of-Character Alert that will have tipped off his superiors, as his worldly-wise friend Zeb points out. Lyle promises to eat the note, but Zeb makes sure to give him an identical piece of paper, this one with a gambling system written on it, as the complete disappearance of the note would have been doubly suspicious.
  • In the Roald Dahl story "Lamb to the Slaughter" (filmed as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and later as an episode of Tales of the Unexpected), a woman clubs her husband to death with a frozen leg of lamb, and then puts it in the oven to roast as if nothing had happened. She later offers dinner to the detectives who come round to investigate the murder, and they sit around discussing the mystery of what happened to the murder weapon as they eat it.
    • This becomes a Running Gag in How NOT to Write a Novel.
    • Dorothy Sayers did a similar plot thirty years earlier with Lord Peter Wimsey in "The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps That Ran", but in the Sayers' work, the weapon is a skewer for roasting chicken which would not be eaten but rather would have the blood evidence on it be destroyed while the chicken cooked.
  • In his book Marked Cards and Loaded Dice, Frank Garcia told the story of a gambler who cheated by slipping an extra card into his hand. An angry victim insisted on searching him. If he was caught with the extra card, he would be killed. He did the only thing he could: he palmed the card into a sandwich, then ate it.
  • Near the end of the book version of The Name of the Rose (by Umberto Eco), the villain tries to eat a unique book rather than let the protagonists have it. Bonus points because he had already poisoned the book.
  • In a Bill Pronzini short story, a man shoots the lawyer who embezzled from his late father. He's caught in the lawyer's locked high rise office, and there's no trace of the gun anywhere in the office or nearby. The police are baffled. They only find out two key facts when it's too late: one, the murder weapon was a homemade zip gun, easily disassembled into small component parts. Two, the killer for a time worked for a circus: as the Man With the Iron Stomach...
  • In the short story "Seventeen Oranges" by Bill Naughton, a boy caught stealing seventeen oranges eats all seventeen, including the peels and pips, while the policeman is off fetching his parents. He also never eats another orange in his life.
  • In the predecessor of The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, serial killer and Hannibal Lecter Loony Fan Francis "The Tooth Fairy" Dolarhyde sends Lecter a fan letter (of sorts) written on toilet paper because, he says, "it will dissolve very quickly if you have to swallow it."
  • Star Wars:
    • In one story in Star Wars: The Han Solo Adventures, a skiptracer shows Chewbacca a thick warrant he has to repossess the Millennium Falcon. Chewie responds by eating it, only to be told that there are multiple copies of the warrant.
    • X-Wing Series: When Mirax Terrik and Corran Horn share a Corellian ryshcate made by Mirax as a peace offering, she asks whether he's bothered by the fact that it was made from smuggled ingredients. He replies that that's all the more reason to eat all the evidence.
  • Thieves' World short story "Blood Brothers". After One-Thumb paralyzes a drug dealer, he slices him up and feeds him to his dogs.
  • In The Three Musketeers, Athos forces his servant Grimaud to eat an incriminating letter, to make sure the Cardinal won't ever find it.
  • In the short story Two Bottles of Relish by Lord Dunsany, a man uses the title items to help dispose of the corpse of the person he murdered. He also cuts down ten trees and chops them into logs, solely (as the last line of the story informs us), "in order to get an appetite."
  • In the book You Don't Know Me by David Klass, the protagonist sends a love note to the girl he's after. She eats it, and he spends a chapter trying to work out what the gesture means until she explains to him that she saw the teacher coming and didn't want him reading the note out in class.
  • The Art of War (Sun Tzu) has an anecdote about a spy who's given battle plans written in silk that's enclosed in a ball of wax. The spy is instructed to swallow the ball and proceed to a location, sneaking past the enemy; once there, the ball will pass through his digestive system and out the other end. The spy doesn't know it, but the plans are phony and his whereabouts are leaked to the enemy so they will capture him and think the phony plans are real.

    Live-Action TV 


  • There's a Michael Bentine BBC sketch, which he performed on TV and radio, about a spy who is ordered to memorize his orders and then destroy them. When he tries to burn them his contact warns him not to use a flame in case the enemy sees them, so he has no choice but to eat the document. He is then shown the plan of the enemy's rocket and has to eat the plan. Finally, he is shown a model of the rocket, which he is then ordered to destroy... (In the TV version the rocket was actually a rocket-shaped cake.) Finally, he is ordered to "Repeat!" and emits a huge belch.


  • In series 12 episode 6 of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Susie Dent helped Jonathan Ross by giving him a piece of paper with a high-scoring word ("Sureties") written on it. When Jon Richardson pointed out what had happened, Johnny Vegas (Jonathan's teammate) tried to eat the paper.
  • In Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, Doris a woman with OCD finds a Cream Cracker under which she plans to use to expose her helper's failure to do what is needed, however, in confusion she eats the cracker and realises it afterwards.
  • As mentioned above, the "Lamb to the Slaughter" episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
  • The Army Game: In "The Take-Over Bid", Dooley is typing up a letter from Hut 29's fake company offering to buy the camp for 3 million pounds (It Makes Sense in Context) when Snudge enters. Dooley hurriedly rips the paper from the typewriter and stuffs it in his mouth. Although he doesn't manage to swallow it, the fact it is now slobbered on, combined with Dooley's explanation that it was a racy love letter to his girlfriend, persuades Snudge he doesn't want to read it.
  • In season three of Arrested Development, Michael’s new girlfriend Rita (who the viewer is lead to believe is involved with some shady people) receives a note from a mysterious man. As soon as Michael arrives she shoves the note into her mouth and eats it. It’s actually foreshadowing the fact that Rita is not a spy; she is just mentally challenged.
  • In one episode of Barney Miller, recurring petty thief Marty tries to do this with a small bag of marijuana but fails. Then he tries to claim that he was hungry.
  • In the Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Corporal Punishment", Blackadder shoots a carrier pigeon to avoid receiving orders to attack from his Commander. Unfortunately, it turns out the message the pigeon was carrying was that it is now a capital offence to kill a carrier pigeon, so Blackadder decides to eat the evidence for lunch.
  • In an episode of Border Security, a man seeking entry into Canada is found with a baggie containing a white substance. He swallows the bag and goes into cardiac arrest, forcing CBSA officers to frantically search his car for any clues to what the substance was so he can be treated properly.
  • Discussed for laughs on the Christmas Episode of The Brady Bunch, the boys are plotting where to hide the presents they bought for the girls. Bobby asks "if I get caught, do I have to eat the present?", to which his brothers reply that he's been watching too many spy movies.
  • The Brokenwood Mysteries: In one episode, recipients of a letter (former patients of a Bedlam House with a tenuous grip on reality) are told to do this. They readily comply, much to the chagrin of the detectives who are left without physical evidence.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Played for very dark laughs with Caleb. He's a cannibal serial killer who is responsible for a bunch more crimes that the cops can't pin on him since he ate all the evidence. Which is to say, the people. Oh, and they were all children.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Doublemeat Palace", Buffy suspects that the fast-food chain's burgers are made from people. Unfortunately, she doesn't tell Xander the reason she left a hamburger on the table — she wanted Willow to analyze it — in time to stop him from eating it. Fortunately, he left enough crumbs behind for Willow to determine that the big secret behind the Doublemeat Palace is that all of their "meat" is cellulose-based — they're selling veggie burgers, with a little real meat flavouring.
    • In "Dead Things", Warren kills a woman by accident, then suggests the Trio summon a demon large enough to devour her corpse. Andrew points out that the only thing he can think of that could do that would be uncontrollable, and go for them first.
  • In Community episode "Cooperative Calligraphy", Troy suggests this is the reason the pen disappeared. The others are incredulous to this theory.
    Troy: Maybe nobody took it. Sometimes I think I lost something really important to me, and it turns out I already ate it.
  • One episode of COPS (1989) shows a suspect trying to eat a stash of marijuana he's hiding in his car. However, the police catch him before he can finish his impromptu meal.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode “Lucky”, a young girl named Tracey goes missing after another girl is found brutally murdered, and nearly the entire town shows up to help search for her. Towards the end, more victims have been discovered and the killer is apprehended, but Tracey still hasn’t been found. The questioning of the unsub as to where she is leads to one of the biggest wham lines in any episode of the show: upon being told by a priest “God is in all of us”, the unsub responds “So is Tracey Lambert.” Turns out, the guy runs a barbecue restaurant and supplied food for the search party. The people searching for her had unknowingly eaten her, including her family.
    • In the same episode, the killer feeds previous victims’ fingers to new victims before killing them and continuing the cycle. He himself has a cookbook full of human meat recipes such as “Kobe girl steak”, as well.
  • In one episode of CSI, a suicide victim is found with a loan voucher from a casino in his stomach.
    • Another episode had the owner of a barbecue restaurant murdered by his wife and cook. They disposed of the body by cutting it up, cooking it and serving it to the customers.
    • Another episode had a woman chopping up her victims' organs in a blender and eating them.
    • Yet another episode had a killer feed his victim to piranhas.
    • The 300th episode had a burglar swallow a roll of film she and her accomplice were sent to steal. Unfortunately, her stomach acid reacts lethally with the chemicals of the film.
  • Dharma eats a court deposition in an episode of Dharma & Greg, but ends up in jail for destroying evidence.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "The Call of the Void", a chef uses a frozen leg of lamb to murder the Victim of the Week, then cooks the lamb and serves it as that night's special.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Time Warrior": According to Bloodaxe, Sir Edward's squire attempted to eat the scroll he was carrying when he was captured. Given the size of the scroll, this was quite the heroic act on his part.
    • In "Spyfall", an MI6 agent on an airplane, after photographing a piece of paper with a secret message she was just passed, eats the message... just before she is attacked by an alien entity.
  • Drake & Josh tried to eat sushi instead of putting it in boxes because the conveyor belt was going too fast.
    • Which was pretty much a perfect homage to the Chocolate Factory episode of I Love Lucy.
  • There's one episode of The Dukes of Hazzard where the secondary antagonist has made Boss Hogg sign a contract that he's having second thoughts about. Boss tries to eat it, and the guy smugly asks if he'd like seconds. Naturally, he made copies.
  • An episode of Elementary had a pickpocket who ate a bag of white powder he had stolen when the police picked him up. Unfortunately for him, it wasn't cocaine, but anthrax.
  • Foyle's War. In "Bleak Midwinter", Sergeant Milner has to crack down on his own police officers when he catches them helping themselves to a table of Black Market food after arresting the suspects. There's also a Running Gag of Sam pining after a turkey in the evidence room. Eventually, Foyle talks a magistrate into allowing a photograph of the turkey to be accepted as evidence, so the turkey can be donated to a charity dinner for orphans... and Sam is welcome to help herself to a piece at the dinner table.
  • In an episode of Frasier, after getting themselves involved with a black market dealer in caviar, Frasier and his brother Niles find themselves forced to eat five pounds of the fish eggs in order to avoid arrest by U.S. Customs. Turns out they don't actually care about the caviar, but about the pirate DVDs the mob is also smuggling.
  • Girls in Love: When the girls are caught passing notes in Mr. Green's art class, Nadine eats the note rather than have to read it out to the class.
  • The Good Place: In a flashback in "Flying", Eleanor cheats at a draw for designated driver by not putting a chit with her own name in the hat. When one of her coworkers asks her to prove the draw is not rigged by showing them the chit with her name on it, Eleanor responds by swallowing all of the chits.
  • In the Russian sketch show Gorodok (The Little City), one sketch was about a policeman shows a suspect a stack of documents and says it's the evidence against him. Then he leaves the suspect alone with the documents. The guy is quick to follow the trope... only to be informed that the police merely needed to dispose of some old papers.
  • In an episode of Green Wing, Martin steals his girlfriend's phone out of her bag in order to erase a voice mail message. So that she doesn't see the phone, he decides to hide his mouth. Somehow she fails to notice this and starts kissing him, causing him to swallow the phone whole. It's probably worth mentioning that the phone was not unusually small, and occupied most of the inside of his mouth.
    • In another episode, Dr. Statham steals a patient's gallbladder on the operating table and ends up trying to eat it. This, of course, is normal behaviour for Dr. Statham.
  • Used or mentioned repeatedly for laughs, in Hogan's Heroes. If they need to dispose of a document, they'll usually just burn it, but occasionally someone will mention eating some secret papers to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. One even involves a planted secret document that they wanted the Germans to find.
    Col. Hogan: [to the man he's just planted the fake evidence on] Do you realize that before I was captured, I swallowed the entire Air Force survival manual?
  • Alan Partridge does a bit about this in one episode of I'm Alan Partridge when talking about why an onion would make a very good murder weapon.
  • The InBESTigators: After damaging Esther's painting with a thrown cookie in "The Case of the Perplexing Painting", Caitlin joins the search for the missile, picks up the cookie and then eats under a chair while pretending to continue to search.
  • The point of the "Cheat Sheet Tacos" sketch in Incredible Crew.
  • In one episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mac eats Dee's contract certifying that she owns all proceeds from sales of Paddy's Pub merchandise, allowing him and the other members of the Gang to make money from Paddy's Pub products. At the end of the episode, after the Gang gets tricked by the Lawyer into signing a restraining order, Mac eats the order, but the Lawyer is wise to his tricks and has made hundreds of copies of the document.
  • In Jekyll, Jackman forces his best friend (working for the Government Conspiracy) into eating a key when he feels his transformation starting. Hyde is almost fooled but then sees that his friend's mouth is a little wet, and puts two and two together. ("Did my daddy make you dribble...?")
  • One episode of Jonathan Creek features the theft of a porcelain idol in front of about twenty people - it turns out that it had previously been switched with an edible duplicate and scoffed. Unfortunately for the thieves, the one who ate it happened to be allergic to one of the food colourings used on it.
  • A suspect in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "The Unblinking Eye" stole the engagement ring of a shooting victim's boyfriend and swallowed it offscreen. When the detectives located him, he admitted to consuming it, but ultimately was proven not to be guilty of the murder. The boyfriend was the real killer and the ring he bought on a loan plan so he could return it.
  • Leverage: In "The Hot Potato Job", the team is stealing a "super-tuber" from a Big Ag company, but security in and out is tight and there's no way to sneak the full potato past inspections. Thus, the team instead just cuts off enough of the potato to regrow it and has a kid hide it in their cell phone case (since kids aren't searched), while the rest of the potato is tossed into the kitchen for the company cafeteria, where it's promptly made into fries and disposed of by the lunch crowd.
  • The Longest Day in Chang'an: Liu Lang ate a document containing important information before he was killed. Xiao Jing has to cut his corpse open to retrieve it.
  • The Magician: In "Lady in the Trap", the Girl of the Week grabs the piece of paper containing the location of the body and eats it as the Villain of the Week is trying to read it.
  • One episode of M*A*S*H had a wounded quartermaster official thank the doctors who saved his life by swapping the canned food the unit was supposed to get with the side of beef that was to be shipped to the headquarters of the general whose orders got the man wounded. When the general sends out MPs to track down the missing beef, they arrive at the camp just as the Colonel is about to start carving the roast. He deals with the MPs by inviting them to join the unit for dinner, after which they can honestly report back that there was no beef in the camp.
    • In the episode "That Darn Kid", Klinger bought a goat, with the intention of making money by selling the goat's milk. During an OR session, the goat chewed through the rope it was tied to and ate the payroll money, for which Hawkeye (as that month's paymaster) was responsible. An investigator comes to look into the problem and refuses to believe their story - until he goes back to his tent to find the goat eating a report he was working on.
    • In the first episode he appeared in, Col. Flagg revealed to Col. Blake that he doesn't know the phone number of his headquarters. The phone number is in a capsule he swallowed and he must regurgitate it in order to make the call.
  • Mouse (2021): Done accidentally when a police officer prepares coffee, unaware the coffee stick is evidence found at one of the murder scenes.
  • In a mystery-style sketch on The Muppet Show, Fielding the Butler, played by Gorgon Heap, ate the evidence that he killed Lord Bottomley — including the detectives investigating the murder.
  • In an episode of Murder, She Wrote, the murder weapon was a frozen fish. The killer had grabbed the closest thing to defend herself in a restaurant kitchen, then left it there to be inevitably cooked and served.
  • Subverted and played for laughs on NCIS. Tony and Ziva act as Director Shepard's protection detail during a reception at a hotel, and Tony is hungry, but Ziva won't let him touch the food since they're there to protect the Director and not to eat. When a dead body shows up and the rest of Team Gibbs arrives to investigate, Tony takes the opportunity to sneak some bacon from the buffet table, leading to this exchange:
    Gibbs: DiNozzo.
    Tony: Boss?
    Gibbs: Stop eating the evidence.
  • In the episode "Field Trip" of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Ned forges a signature on Cookie's parent permission slip so he can go on the school field trip. But when the vice principal tries to compare it to the real signature of Cookie's mother, Cookie quickly eats the permission slip.
  • In Peep Show, Jez runs over the dog which belongs to a woman who has expressed an interest in Mark. Rather than admit it, which would ruin Mark's chances of getting a job with her father, they try to burn it, only to find dog doesn't burn well. When caught by the love interest, they claim it's barbecued turkey, and eat it to prove it. Unfortunately, they can't eat the metal dog tag, which gives it away.
  • Not quite evidence, but in an old episode of Police Story (1973), a patrol officer, dealing with a motorist he pulled over ranting that he played golf with the Lt. Mayor and would have his job, walked over to his patrol car, pulled out his lunch box's jar of peanut butter, spread some on the motorist's (then just paper) licence, and ate it, challenging the motorist to tell the Lt. Mayor that. At the end of the episode, his sergeant is laughingly telling the officer about this call he got from the Lt. Mayor's office.
  • An episode of Red Dwarf involves Lister and Rimmer having to finish off two huge jugs of moonshine in 10 minutes.
  • In an episode of Rev., Archdeacon Robert persuades a panicked Adam to eat a compromising document in case it's discovered by the Dean. It's just a prank to humiliate Adam and punish him for screwing up, though.
  • In Saved by the Bell, Screech had tampered with the girls' oven to help Zack win a cooking contest by replacing a knob with a fake knob. Screech switched back the knobs after the contest and kept the fake knob. When the girls confronted Zack and Screech...
    Screech: Don't worry, I ate the evidence. (burp)
  • Subverted in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Improbable Cause", when Garak is leaving the station for a prolonged period of time, and he decides to toy with his friend, Doctor Bashir:
    Garak: If you go into my quarters and examine the bulkhead next to the replicator, you'll notice there's a false panel. Behind that panel is a compartment containing an isolinear rod. If I'm not back within 78 hours, I want you to take that rod... and eat it.
    Bashir: ...You're joking.
    Garak: Yes, doctor, I am.
  • Strangers From Hell: Ms. Eom cuts up part of a victim's body and puts it in the fridge. Moon-jo eats it and gets Jong-woo to eat it too.
  • Supernatural: This is apparently a favored tactic of Bobby's old friend Rufus.
    Rufus: [police sirens in the background] Good news is, I snagged the ring, Bobby.
    Bobby: Tell me that ain't...
    Rufus: Yeah, yeah, you have three guesses, and one of them it ain't the paramedics...
    Bobby: [rolls eyes]
    Rufus: I gotta stash this ring.
    Bobby: Well, don't swallow it.
    Rufus: Right. [Beat] I'm swallowing it, Bobby!
  • Top Gear: Richard Hammond (aka "Hamster") has eaten things to keep Jeremy Clarkson from getting his hands on them, including a cardboard picture of a car (intended for the Cool Wall) and a piece of paper with the points for that week's challenge (which would prove Richard won by more than just one point).
    Jeremy Clarkson: [waving the chewed card] Look what he's done. He's eaten it.
    James May: [calmly] Hamsters eat cardboard.
  • In an episode of Ugly Betty, Wilhelmina finds panicked employees printing resumes, since they're uncertain about the future of Mode. When they notice she's there, Amanda starts eating her resume.
  • Upstart Crow: In "The Play's the Thing", Shakespeare and Bottom, fearing James VI of Scotland is about to ascend the English throne, hurriedly eat the manuscript of Shakespeare's stridently anti-Stuart play.
  • Utopia (2014): In "Tunnel Vision", Jim, who is currently paranoid about Chinese eavesdropping, writes a message to Tony on a Post-It note, shows it to him, and then immediately eats it. A bewildered Tony then asks "Did you just eat a Post-It note?"
  • Vyvyan of The Young Ones ate the TV on one occasion, in order to avoid paying the compulsory British television licence fee.
    • "It's a toaster."
    • And apparently he's not the first, as the TV licensing inspector called it "The old trick, eh?"

  • At the end of an episode of The Men from the Ministry Mr. Lamb quickly eats the note for Ministry's library that Sir Gregory mistook for a death threat, and was going to take it to Scotland Yard for handwriting analysis.

    Tabletop Games 


    Video Games 
  • Parodied in Kingdom of Loathing, upon decoding the Cobb's Knob map:
    You memorize the location of the door, then eat both the map and the encryption key. For no particular reason, really, it just seemed like a cool spy thing to do.
  • In the Nancy Drew game Resorting To Danger, Mr. Mingles eats one hard-sought piece of evidence, and Nancy has to chase the little dog around a mazelike garden to retrieve some documents before he swallows them, too.
  • Paper Chase: If you give the dean your transcript when he demands it, he crumples it up and eats it.
  • In the first case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, unable to accept the fact that his girlfriend is a serial killer, a suspect eats a small glass bottle that had been used for carrying poison that is the evidence implicating her. He also ate the large gold necklace it was attached to. It was too big to swallow, so he chewed it up into pieces first. Thankfully, he survives, because this is Feeny we're talking about.
  • This is a Running Gag in SPY Fox. Every time Professor Quack shows Spy Fox a blueprint to a spy gadget, Quack promptly eats the blueprint when he's done and can do this with infinite copies of the same blueprint; according to him, it's the best way to keep a secret. Quack's comments about this practice get more extreme with every game; in the first he declares blueprints a good source of dietary fiber, in the second he writes blueprints on flavored paper as preparation to be eaten, and in the third, he claims to be on a "blueprint-only diet".

    Web Animation 
  • On Homestar Runner, at the end of Episode 10 of Teen Girl Squad, Strong Bad is caught trying to make out with a drawing of the "new hotness" version of The Ugly One, and tries to save face by claiming the picture is a piece of pizza and eating it. Strong Sad isn't fooled for a moment: "Uh, Strong Bad, were you just first-basin' it with that piece of loose-leaf?"

  • In Dumbing of Age Walky gets a bout of Laser-Guided Karma when, after spending most of the strip cruising through with his Brilliant, but Lazy methodology while his twin sister Sal struggles, he gets an abysmal grade on a test and immediately does this.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Sergeant Schlock's preferred method of dealing with dead enemies is to eat them. While this isn't always done to hide evidence (sometimes he's just hungry) he's not opposed to it. Examples here and here.
  • A weird example that could only come from Kevin & Kell: the carnivore supremacy terrorist group N.O.P.E. hired termites to carve a warning message to the Interspecies Relationship support group, then sent the termites to Kevin and Kell's house, knowing that a pregnant insectivore would be babysitting. So yes, they tried to get someone else to Eat the Evidence for them. Unfortunately, Lindesfarne didn't eat all the evidence, meaning the sole remaining termite was able to expose N.O.P.E.

    Web Original 
  • Kiwami Japan often makes knives out of food materials, so this sometimes comes up:
    • The video on the knife made out of pasta quite literally ends on this trope: he cooks the knife and eats it.
    • While we don't actually see it happen, the ending of the rice knife video implies this due to it ending on Kiwami putting it into a steamer.
    • The Fake Egg knife video mentions at several points that you can eat the ingredients (a gel made from sodium alginate, beta carotene and food colouring, amongst others) at any point during the process, even once the knife is finished!
    • The gelatin knife video ends with him melting down the knife and returning the gelatin to its single-serving pouches.

    Western Animation 
  • All Hail King Julien: When Clover points out the berries that led her to LALA headquarters in "Viva Mort", Abner starts trying to eat all of the fruit in the HQ. Clover watches in disbelief and points out all the other evidence, like the posters, which Abner immediately tries to eat.
  • In one episode of American Dad!, Stan gets a secret order. He promptly eats the file - then he's informed that it will self-destruct in ten seconds.
  • The prisoner in the MGM Tex Avery cartoon Cellbound is trying to escape from his cell by digging his way out, spoonful-by-spoonful. When he hears the warden approaching, he eats the spoonful of dirt present at the time.
  • Chowder does this in "The Prank", eating the giant pie that squashed Mung. Endive then spends much of the episode trying to stop Chowder throwing the evidence up again.
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "World Wide Wabbit", the gang tries to keep Mr. Herriman from knowing of his status as an Internet celebrity. At one point, he tries to fetch the newspaper, but because it has his picture on the front page, the gang takes it and plays Keep Away with it until it lands in Eduardo's hands; when Herriman demands that Ed gives him the paper, he swallows it.
  • In the Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest I", Leela caps off her non-canon killing spree by taking out Zoidberg just before he can (finally) reveal her as the culprit. In the next scene, we see her enjoying a very familiar-looking lobster dinner.
  • In an episode of Gasp!, Gasp and the other pets have to dispose of the enormous number of disgusting cupcakes (somewhere over 300) that Gasp had baked before the family gets home. They do this by eating them.
  • The Looney Tunes cartoon "Bunny and Claude: We Rob Carrot Patches" provides an accidental example. The sheriff lectures the titular Rascally Rabbits instead of arresting them immediately — which gives his horse time to eat the stolen carrots he'd planned to use as evidence.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: In "Candy Colleague", Flapjack disposes of the eponymous colleague by eating him while Doctor Barber is out of the room.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Inspiration Manifestation", Spike does this when he finally gets a hold of the book that's been corrupting Rarity, hoping it'll break the spell. It doesn't.
  • In an episode of Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, the mayor helps Jay and Nya escape then eats the map just before Nadakhan and his crew enter the room.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Knock It Off", when the girls confront Dick Hardly about using Chemical X to make knockoff Powerpuff Girls for profit, he tries to hide the bottle in his hand by swallowing it whole. And then...
  • Zottornick has the hilariously stupid idea of eating a peace treaty that he doesn't want to happen in Princess Sissi. It turns out that it wasn't even the peace treaty, but a party guest list.
  • Rated "A" for Awesome: In "ET Phone Noam", when Noam decides to leave with the aliens, Thera writes him a love letter confessing her feelings for him, telling him not to read it until he gets to his new home planet. When the aliens turn out to be evil and the group rescues Noam, he goes to read the letter, but Thera snatches it from him and gulps it down.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart attempts this in the short "Shoplifting" when he's caught trying to steal a literal pantsload of candy bars and the security guard leaves him alone with the goods. When the guard returns, Bart claims he can't be held accountable without evidence — then sees himself in a mirror and realizes there's chocolate smeared over his face and hands.
      Bart: Uh, is it too late to make a full confession?
    • The episode "Tales from the Public Domain" has the kids being read various historical stories. When they get to the end of the tale of Joan of Arc, Marge interrupts just before the burning, makes up a Happily Ever After ending, then tears out the last page and eats it, remarking "It's easier to swallow than that Bambi tape."
    • In "Bart Vs Australia", a diplomat accidentally shows the Simpsons a slide about the US government's plan B for Cuba. Realizing his mistake, the diplomat eats the slide.
  • Given a curious inversion in Steven Universe, where evidence is eaten so that it will be discovered. Fake evidence, to boot; Pink Diamond swallows some artificial diamond shards just before Faking the Dead, in order to make it look like she was shattered, rather than poofed.
  • Lo attempts to do this in an episode of Stōked, but spits out the piece of paper she tried to eat because she didn't like the taste.
  • Teen Titans Go!: In "Laundry Day", Robin disposes of the roster that proves it is his turn to do the laundry by putting it into a blender, turning it into a smoothie and drinking it. He later burps it back up.

     Real Life 
  • During the Second World War, spies had codes or messages printed on edible rice paper to make it easier to do this.
  • In 2000, Derwin Brown was assassinated on the orders of corrupt Georgia sheriff Sidney Dorsey, who he had beaten in a runoff election. Dorsey summoned his deputy Patrick Cuffy to his home and showed him a note that read "Kill Derwin Brown," which he then ate and swallowed to destroy the evidence. Cuffy then met with a group of co-conspirators and showed them a similar note, which he then tore up, and the conspirators then ate the pieces in a similar manner.


Video Example(s):


"The only way!"

Apparently the "only way" Conrad could get away with murder is to subsist on his victim's body in smoothy form for weeks before he tries leaving to Cuba.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / EatTheEvidence

Media sources: