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Everybody Did It

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"Hercule Poirot just got off the steamy train. If you want my opinion, I think they all did it."

A famous detective has gathered a group of likely suspects. They analyze the evidence, interview the suspects, and thoroughly investigate the crime scene in order to figure out which of the gathered people is the culprit. The conclusion? Everybody was. As opposed to having one or two people commit a crime out of several potential suspects, all the suspects were in on it to some extent.


Not related to the other kind of "doing it." Usually.

See also Everyone Is a Suspect, Lotsa People Try to Dun It, and Two Dun It (when there's two culprits).

Note: This is a Spoilered Rotten trope, that means that EVERY SINGLE EXAMPLE on this list is a spoiler by default and most of them will be unmarked. This is your last warning, only proceed if you really believe you can handle this list.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A filler episode of the Ranma ½ anime had an investigation of "who stole the takoyaki?" complete with Shout Out to a famous samurai mystery drama series (famous in Japan, that is...)
  • Chapter 30 of Franken Fran is set up as a typical murder mystery, and sure enough, people start getting attacked, although Fran manages to keep them alive. It turns out that they're injuring themselves because they enjoy having Fran operate on them.

    Comic Books 
  • Peter Milligan's Shade, the Changing Man used this to avoid solving the mystery of "Who Shot JFK?", instead Hand Waving with a glancing look at every possible speculation, then concluding that Everybody Did It. Justified in that Shade is a stranger to American culture, and that he was dealing with a madman's obsession covering up for grieving his lost daughter.
  • In the Batman storyline The Long Halloween, Batman is looking for a serial killer targeting mobsters. All three of the suspects end up having done at least some of the murders, though none of them knew who the other killers were.
  • One The Spectre story had him investigate the brutal murder of a hated slumlord who was chained to a boiler pipe in the basement, and beaten burned and stabbed over a period of days. It's eventually revealed that while it was just one tennant who chained him up, most, if not all, of the other tenants heard the man's screaming for help, but either did nothing or went down to inflict further torture upon him themselves.
  • Pretty much the solution to "The Roman Puzzle" (1994), a Mickey Mouse mystery story by writer Bob Langhans. Mickey, as a professional detective, has been hired by a famous film director (and producer) to find out who has been sabotaging the production of his latest film. The director's career depends on this film. While there are early hints that the villain is the Phantom Blot, the film is an unauthorized and unflattering depiction of the Blot's life, Mickey pays attention to how poorly the director treats most of his associates. At the end the Blot is revealed as the mastermind behind the sabotage plan, but the Blot's accomplices include the director's own wife, plus actors, screenwriters, and other people who have been working for and with him for years. They hate him because he has taken credit for their work, verbally abused them for years, derailed their careers to ensure that they keep working for him, and he has kept giving them empty promises about promotions. While the "villains" (except the Blot) are going to prison, the shocked director realizes his isolation. He may complete his film and rescue his career, but he just lost the closest thing he had to friends and family. Not exactly a happy ending.

  • This is how Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 ends... maybe...
  • The third ending of Clue. All but one of the surviving characters end up having killed someone, as does one of the victims. And it even makes sense in context.
  • This turns out to be the reason Owen believed there actually was a killer in Cry_Wolf: It was a combination of an elaborate hoax and a pile of coincidences that more or less involved everyone around him playing pranks. Then you find out Dodger's one hell of a Chessmaster and set the whole thing up to get away with killing Mr. Walker.
  • Half the town tried to kill the eponymous character in Drowning Mona, though most of them were pretty incompetent about it.
  • The Hateful Eight: Everyone who was at Minnie's Haberdashery before John Ruth's stagecoach arrived was in on the plot to free Daisy Domergue, with one of them their accomplice. Furthermore, these people (plus a guy in the cellar) murdered Minnie and all her staff, family, and anyone else staying at the lodge.
  • The murders committed in Hot Fuzz were pulled off by the NWA (Neighbourhood Watch Alliance), which consisted of almost every named character in town. Luckily, most of the cops besides the chief inspector were still on Angel's side.
  • Though not really a detective, Italian giallo Il Profumo Della Signora In Nero provides one of the most extreme examples of the trope: in the ending it is revealed that virtually every living person (and possibly even most of the dead ones) appearing onscreen (including those with just one or two lines) except the protagonist was complicit in the events of the story.
  • The 1974 film version of Murder on the Orient Express is an even better example of this than the book. Ditto goes for the 2017 version, which also expounds upon the back stories of the culprits/victims.
  • Played for Laughs in the climax of The Pink Panther movie A Shot in the Dark. Clouseau's interrogation goes completely out of control as the different suspects start bickering amongst each other and shouting accusations; from this, he is somehow able to deduce that "they were all murderers, except for Maurice, who was a blackmailer!"
  • The Sea Inside: Sort of. It's an I Cannot Self-Terminate drama about Ramon, a quadriplegic who wishes to die by assisted suicide. Unfortunately Ramon loses his legal battle, leaving anyone who assists him in killing himself subject to prosecution. So he deliberately sets it up so that each of friends has a single task relating to his suicide —acquiring the cyanide, mixing it in the water, setting it by his bedside in a glass— and no one can actually be held responsible.
  • A variant in Sherlock Holmes and the House of Fear. The members of The Good Comrades are being picked off in a variety of gruesome ways that leave their bodies unrecognizable. When Holmes investigates, he discovers that the six 'murdered' members are actually faking their deaths and intend to frame the innocent seventh member for the murders, and disappear overseas with insurance money.

  • The former Trope Namer would be the Agatha Christie novel Murder on the Orient Express, where everyone was suspected, and for good reason. Not really a spoiler any more. Also the Trope Maker and Ur-Example. Everyone on the train except the victim and the detectives was part of an elaborate conspiracy to execute the victim, a notorious mobster who victimized all of them in some way. The original idea was to provide themselves with an interlocking net of alibis, such that guilt could never settle on any of them and it would be assumed that someone from outside the train did it. If it hadn't been for a Closed Circle snowdrift cutting off the hypothetical murderer's escape, it might have worked. Moreover, the participation of all the suspects was a clue in itself: the murder took place during "dead season", but there were no vacant seats available in the wagon. Similarly, each of the twelve conspirators stabbed Cassetti once in rapid succession, specifically so that there would be no way to determine which of them had struck the blow that actually killed Cassetti and they would all equally bear the responsibility.
  • Subverted in the Randall Garrett Lord Darcy story, The Napoli Express (whose name is an obvious shout-out to the Christie novel). When the non-hero detective comes up with the "they all did it" theory, the hero has to restrain himself from saying how silly the idea is. The people involved can't even hide that they all know each other, even though they're trying to. Hiding that they conspired together to commit the murder is quite ridiculous.
    • The whole story is a Shout-Out to the Christie original. Garrett's solution even harks back to the one Poirot presents as the alternative to the trope.
  • Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe series parodies this trope in Pictures of Perfection. Virtually every major character commits some sort of crime, except for murder. Much to Dalziel's irritation, nobody wants to file charges against anybody else.
  • Farthing by Jo Walton is set up to appear like a classic interbellum country-house murder mystery. It's not. It's a political conspiracy. The "Farthing Set", a group of fascistically-inclined young upper-class political risers, arrange to kill one of their own members, James Thirkie. As a result, Mark Normanby becomes Prime Minister on a wave of sympathy; and the framing of an English Jew and an Irishman alleged to be an anarchist helps complete the country's slide into fascism. Other members of the Farthing Set also wind up well-placed in the new government. Widowed Angela Thirkie also benefits and takes off with the chauffeur. Anyone who knows anything disproving the conspiracy is Killed to Uphold the Masquerade, including Thirkie's own mother.
  • T*A*C*K: The solution to "The Great Blueberry Pie Robbery." Everyone snuck a "little taste" of the freshly-made pie, to the point where all the "tasting" ruined it.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story The Doctor's Case by Stephen King, only one person technically did it, but once Watson explains how it was done, Holmes and Lestrade immediately work out that it could not have been done without the active assistance of everyone else in the household. Then they consider the fact that this would cause an entire family to be executed or locked away for life, the victim had been emotionally abusing his family for decades and forced them to put up with it or be disinherited, and then, when he learned that he would be dying of natural causes within the year, changed the will so that the entire estate would go to a pet shelter, leaving his kin penniless, out of sheer spite, they choose not to arrest anyone and instead quietly remove the evidence that the deceased had been murdered by his kin so they could destroy the revised will.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock episode "It's Never Too Late For Now" is a Whole-Plot Reference to Murder on the Orient Express — Liz is even watching the 1974 film. The "crime" is that there was a conspiracy to get her laid with a Canadian gigolo. Like Poirot, she rejects the complex (though true) answer that all of her co-workers felt bad for her and got her laid, but the simple explanation that she met a guy, and had a fun night.
  • A variant in Season 2 of American Vandal. All of the main suspects for being the Turd Burglar - Jenna, DeMarcus, and Kevin - did one of the pranks, but all were acting at the behest of the unseen and unknown Grayson, and all did so unwillingly except Kevin.
  • Veronica Mars: a late season 1 episode reveals that basically, all the 09'ers were complicit in Veronica's rape, including her future boyfriend Logan, who supplied the drugs for the party. One review aptly summarized it as 09er culture raped Veronica. While Veronica actually wasn't raped, this was no thanks to the people around her. Then Season 2 retcons this with the revelation that she was raped. Whether or not this takes away from the general point is hotly debated.
  • Comically subverted in the British spoof anthology series Murder Most Horrid starring Dawn French:
    • In the episode "The Case of the Missing", everyone did do it, but the detective assigned to the case (French) is so confused and frustrated by their manipulation of the evidence that she finally snaps and concludes that she must have done it.
    • Subverted again in the episode "Mangez Merveillac". Obnoxious travel writer Verity Hodge (French again) makes the French town of Merveillac a hugely popular tourist destination by forcing the locals to conform to stereotypes. Eventually, the locals grow tired of this, murder Hodge, and serve her up to the tourists at a local festival. However, once the credits roll, we discover that Hodge is actually alive and well, and the "murder" was part of a scheme to draw even more tourists to Merveillac by inspiring a Hollywood blockbuster.
  • In The L Word, at the end, Jenny Schecter could have been killed by anyone.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this is basically how Cardassian mystery novels (or, as they call them, "enigma tales") are said to play out, with all the suspects being guilty; the mystery is figuring out who is guilty of what.
  • Monk:
    • In the episode "Mr. Monk Gets Drunk": Monk meets a guy, but the next day, everybody denies that he existed. The guy stole money from his employers and died of a heart attack. The other guests find out and agree to split the money, but hid the truth from Monk because he's honest, so they erase all traces of the man's existence.
    • Likewise, in the episode "Mr. Monk Goes to the Bank": Monk goes undercover to find out which of the six members of the staff was the bank robber's accomplice. The answer? There was no robber, and the entire staff staged the crime to conceal their robbery of the bank's safe boxes.
  • This was used in an episode of Cold Case—specifically, the one about the virginity club. The victim knew something incriminating about each other member of the club, so they decided to kill her together. By stoning, no less. (Yes, it was a touch Anvilicious.)
  • CSI:
    • One tongue-in-cheek episode concerned a man found dead in a swimming pool. Every time Doc Robbins finds a possible cause of death, it looks like a new suspect is to blame for his injuries, whether for intentional homicide or reckless endangerment. Eventually it turns out that the repeatedly-battered man sat down to recuperate, slipped into the pool when his deck chair collapsed, and accidentally drowned, meaning Everybody Failed To Do It.
    • And played straight in "Unfriendly Skies", when mob rule took over and they all had a hand in killing the guy, who they mistakenly perceived as a threat to their own survival.
    • Also played straight in "Rashomama" in that all the bridesmaids had a hand in the death of the mother of the groom.
    • In "Suckers", pretty much everybody questioned about the casino robbery turns out to have been part of the owner's insurance scam.
  • The Jonathan Creek episode "Satan's Chimney", wherein the second murder victim was killed for inciting the murder of the first victim, by the first victim's friends.
  • Played for Laughs in the Ripping Yarns episode "Murder at Moorstones Manor," which ends with a standoff between the characters claiming credit for the murder.
  • In an episode of Foyle's War, the victim is hit over the head with a rock and then drowned in a trough. It turns out these assaults were committed by two different people, and witnessed by a third would-be assailant who never got his chance to do anything. The rock-wielder is let off, with lampshading to the effect that he's just lucky half the town was out to get the guy that night.
  • Saturday Night Live once had a "Who Shot J.R." parody in which everyone shoots a Texan Jerkass, then discover one person did not have live ammo, and they try to figure out who didn't shoot him.
  • Ellery Queen: Not everybody, but in "The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader", three of the five suspects end up being guilty of the murder.
  • In The Mentalist episode "Red Tide", the CBI investigates a group of teenagers to see who among them killed a mutual friend of theirs. Through their investigation, it is eventually revealed by Jane that since everyone liked to pass the blame, they all committed the crime.
  • Major Crimes: In "There's No Place Like Home", all of the tenants are responsible for the death of the landlord. As Major Crimes can prove conspiracy to commit murder, but not if the death was actually murder, the killers cop to a collective plea of manslaughter.
  • On Dallas, one of the major plot twists was the shooting of J.R. Ewing. To avoid any leaks, the producers, cast, and crew shot scenes of everyone's character individually shooting J.R..... up to and including J.R. himself ambushing himself in his own office and mercilessly gunning himself down.
  • In the Law & Order: SVU arc in which Captain Cragen is accused of murder ("Rhodium Nights" to "Above Suspicion"), it turns out every single guest character in the episodes is involved in the murders in some way, including both of the defendants' attorneys, a rookie cop who initially seemed to just be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and even the prosecutor, who had been bribed by one of the suspects with money for her disabled daughter.
  • Broadchurch: This is apparently what happened with the Sandbrook case. Lee had sex with Lisa, got caught by Ricky, Lisa mouthed off to Ricky, Ricky accidentally killed Lisa, Pippa overheard everything and thought Lee did the killing, Ricky had Claire drug Pippa while they cleaned up the crime scene, Lee smothered Pippa to keep her quiet but told Ricky she died due to him drugging her, and the three of them agreed to keep each other's secrets.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: In "Body Double", the first murder was committed by only one person the leading lady of a theatrical company, but the coverup (which involves a second murder) is arranged by all of the acting company.
  • On an episode of Veep, Selina tasks Amy with finding the White House staffer who called her the C word in an interview. It turns out to have been everyone (including Amy herself) with the sole exception of Gary, who thought that the C word was "crone".
  • Death in Paradise:
    • In "Dishing Up Murder", all of the suspects colluded to stage an elaborate cover-up to make it appear the Victim of the Week was murdered 12 hours later than he actually was. This provided them all with an alibi, except for the one person who didn't have a motive.
    • In "Erupting in Murder", it turns out all of the suspects (bar one) committed the murder: two doing it for the money, and the third being blackmailed into it. The fourth suspect gets arrested on corruption charges.
  • Motive: In "A Bullet for Joey", three brothers shoot the victim at the same time. However, two of the three guns are loaded with blanks; the idea being that will never know which of them fired the fatal shot. But one of the brothers confesses to knowing which gun was loaded with the real bullet, and choosing that gun to ensure the murder happened. He is charged with murder, and his brothers are charged with conspiracy.
  • An episode of Welcome Freshmen sees Erin defending Walter in trial for defacing Vice-Principal Lippman's portrait. She proves piece after piece of vandalism as being done by other suspects, finishing with the entire student body pelting the portrait with cafeteria food.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: In "Who Pooped the Bed," Artemis announces that she's solved the titular mystery with a lengthy, convoluted explanation involving "a turd merger" and "fecal forgery," implicating the entire Gang, as well as Rickety Cricket and the Waitress. Everyone pretty much believes it until Frank confesses to all the poops.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "The Scarecrow Murders", instead of the usual one murderer, there were three working in concert. They had met in an online support group for gamblers and, on discovering they had all had their lives ruined by one particular online gambling company, moved to the village where it was based to extract revenge. Each of them killed one of the principals involved in the company, and teamed up in an attempt to kill the last but were arrested by Barnaby and Winter. They attempted to dress the murders up as the work of serial killer, but the methods of killing were so different that Barnaby was convinced there had to be more than one killer.
  • Chuck: In "Chuck Versus the Suburbs" the team attempts to track down a sleeper agent in the Meadow's Branch suburban cul-de-sac. It turns out every person living on the cul-de-sac is a sleeper agent.

  • The video for Who Spiked the Eggnog? by the group Straight No Chaser had the lead singer as an Unreliable Narrator, and tried to finger his fellow singers as the guilty parties. We see them around the eggnog in question, and a few of them DO seem to perform the deed. The last scene of the video shows the lead singer guilty of the act as well.
  • In the Mercedes Lackey song "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night," it's implied that the Count was the man who murdered the Countess (he was the only person other than the deceased with a key to the locked room she died in), though given how there was at least one servant able to testify as to where he was at any given minute that night, it was obvious that the entire household was in on it. The death was ruled as 'suicide'.
    • "She tried to eat her lute."
  • A non-murder variant: the children's song "Who Stole The Cookies From The Cookie Jar?"

  • The J. B. Priestley play An Inspector Calls features this trope to a degree. Although the girl committed suicide, the entire Birling family drove her to it one way or another, and this drives the acceptance of social guilt that Priestley wrote the play to emphasize.
  • When the YMCA or similar organizations hosts a murder mystery game for kids, they'll use this solution. What's more, there will be evidence pointing to everyone. Presumably, this is so no matter what you guess (unless you guessed suicide), you're never completely wrong, and all the kids go home feeling more or less satisfied.
  • Older Than Steam example: Fuenteovejuna (1613) by Lope de Vega. Based on a True Story of a 15th century Spanish town that confessed (the whole of it) to murdering the mayor, rather than pointing the finger to one inhabitant in particular, and was "pardoned" by royal decree.
  • Invoked, then averted by Claire Boiko's humorous 1980 play Murder on the Orient Express Subway, wherein Hercules Pearot [sic] immediately announces that everyone did it. All the suspects then confess, whereupon it's discovered that the victim died of "apoplexy" before anyone touched him.

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Calisto Yew claims to be the Yatagarasu before escaping custody. However, Kay claims the Yatagarasu was her father Byrne Faraday. Turns out neither is quite true. They were both members of the Yatagarasu--as was Detective Badd.
  • Part of a Jedi test in Knights of the Old Republic. Two people are suspected of killing a man, when it turns out that both of them intended to do so independently of each other, but one of them (non-fatally) shot the other conspirator by mistake when he thought he was the victim, which allows you to find the truth yourself.
  • In the Hidden Object game Madame Fate, all of the suspects are revealed to be plotting against the fortune-teller and/or one another. Subverted; someone else kills Fate — and all the suspects — before they can enact their schemes.
  • The aptly-named "Murder Mystery" quest in RuneScape was initially not an example of this, as it involved narrowing down one suspect out of six, which varies from player to player. When a sequel was released, however, the earlier quest was retconned into a case of this trope by way of Merging the Branches, likely to avoid having to make six different versions of the harder, more complex quest.
  • The Hex begins with six video game character together at an inn, and the bartender being informed that one of them will commit a murder. Turns out that every single character at the inn, including other NPCs and the bartender himself (who is the mastermind), need the player's help to murder their own creator, since each one of them has a reason to be angry with him, e.g. the platform mascot had his franchise sold to a corporation that proceeded to run it into the ground, the cooking game character was forced into a fighting game franchise away from his loving grandmother, the character from a strategy game found himself in a world that had been abandoned and taken over by modders, the bartender had his game deleted from existence, and such.

    Web Animation 
  • In one episode of Bravest Warriors a bunch of cupcakes are stolen and Catbug takes it upon himself to find the culprit. After interviewing all the potential suspects, Catbug concludes that each of them took a cupcake. Then Catbug admits that he himself took a cupcake.
  • In the Cyanide and Happiness episode The World's Greatest Detective, the titular detective found out that everyone on the train was behind the murder of one passenger after finding an object unique to each one. After announcing he found out, they killed him too.
  • In the Something Awful Let's Play of Laura Bow and the Colonel's Bequest, the goons were unsatisfied with the original ending that revealed a mentally unstable Lillian as being responsible for the murders and came up with a theory worthy of Agatha Christie.
  • In Red vs. Blue, there's a variation. Throughout seasons 11 and 12, we get flashbacks to how every single member of the Reds and Blues (Except Caboose, surprisingly enough) did something that could have caused their ship to crash- Tucker flirted with the pilot, Washington knocked a cable out of the wall, Grif spilled soda on an instrument panel, Sarge messed with the engine, and Simmons tried to update the ship's navigation computers midflight. The crash was actually caused by a tractor beam. Said antics just caused the ship to rip itself in half instead of crashing normally.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, all three suspects are Batwoman.
  • Beware the Batman episode "Games" had Humpty Dumpty kidnap five people (Batman, Katana, James Gordon, Tobias Whale, and Marion Grange) and had them participate in sadistic games, while they figured out who was the culprit that "ended" an innocent man's life, and who Humpty is trying to avenge. It turns out the man's life was "ended" by having him be framed and jailed for a crime he didn't commit, and that everyone involved had a hand in his framing and arrest, even though only Whale committed the actual crime while the others were not aware of his innocence. Batman argues that Humpty is the sixth culprit as well, since he knew about the man's innocence, but didn't speak up to save him from prison.
  • In the Big City Greens episode "Barry Cuda", the epynomous fish plaque Cricket got from his first tip gets destroyed and he spends the whole episode accusing his family, trying to find out who did it. It is revealed it was Bill, Gramma, and Tilly all together who were guilty, because they hated Barry to the point it annoyed the heck out of him.
  • Played for Laughs in the All Just a Dream Daria episode "Murder, She Snored", in which Kevin is murdered and Daria is the main suspect. As it turned out, everybody but her did it, all unaware of each other's plots and thinking they were the sole murderers. Even though they all fess up when Daria starts pointing fingers, Daria gets convicted anyway.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode MMMystery on the Friendship Express, the Marzipan Mascarpone Meringue Madness was partially eaten by Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity. The other bakers also ate each others' desserts.
  • Done in an episode of The PJs: Thurgood takes Calvin and Juicy's homemade go-cart for a ride, and wrecks it in the process. He plays innocent while the residents try to get to the bottom of who broke it. To which each one admits they had taken it for a joyride in some form or another.
  • In What's New, Scooby-Doo? the guest stars are chased by an invisible madman and slowly proven that each suspect has an alibi Velma concludes that the "Scooby-Doo" Hoax was a group effort by the suspects, using a technology they were developing for the government.
    • Also in "Mystery of the Samurai Sword", the Scooby-Doo Rule that "the first fully named character did it" is both played straight and subverted - ALL the named characters are in on the plot.
  • In Smiling Friends episode "Who Violently Murdered Simon S. Salty?", Charlie and Pim find the owner of the eponymous fast food establishment, Salty's, dead on his couch during his "iconic 7 PM nap", and the two try to figure out which one of his colorful mascots/employees did it. The entire mystery gets solved thanks to a surveillance tape: everyone tried to kill him in his sleep back-to-back... but no one was actually guilty of murder because unbeknownst to them, Salty died from a heart attack right before his nap.
  • In the end of the South Park episode "Lice Capades", every single student in the class had lice.


Video Example(s):


Who Ordered the Code Red

Ham is put on trial when he's accused of breaking the "Enough Said" DVD even when he was last seen holding the broken DVD in his hands, but it turns out it was also Wolf, Jerry, and Mrs. Tuntley.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / EverybodyDidIt

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