Sometimes the viewers are morons, but sometimes the characters are even worse. In a story where a potential victim ends up Alone with the Psycho, they will, upon working it out, stand there and bark questions at them instead of running away. Because obviously, cross-questioning a potential murderer about how they knew the victim was missing her wedding ring is a much more productive use of your time than clubbing them over the head with a brick and taking to the hills.
Usually this happens just after the police/hero and most of the audience have worked out that something is not right about the character, to help the slower viewers catch up. Alternatively, it allows the villain to explain some element of the plot that would otherwise only be mentioned during their interrogation by the police.
- Grimble from the Fables series figures out some holes in Werien Holt's story of being an ordinary fencer enslaved by Mr. Dark, and pulls a gun on him. Too bad Holt wasn't lying about his fencing skills.
- Subverted in the Ruse storyline where Emma investigates the Dollymop Murders; she apparently falls prey to this error, but it turns out she knows exactly what she's doing and has pre-arranged backup.
- The Spongebob Squarepants Movie: Squidward quickly deduces Plankton's Frame-Up scheme and threatens to tell King Neptune about it... in the middle of Plankton's restaurant.
Plankton: We'll see about that, Inspector Loose-Lips! (Presses the doomsday button)
- Knives Out: It turns out that when Fran was dying she wasn't saying "You did this", she was saying "Hugh did this", as he murdered her after she confronted him alone and isolated telling him that she had proof that he was behind the first murder.
- Happened off-screen in Sin City when Serial Killer Kevin kidnaps Marv's parole officer.
- Space Mutiny features one officer who yells "This is treason! Which I must report!" When he realizes the villain's traitorous plans. To said traitor and 4 of his hand-picked men. He doesn't make it out of the room.
- In the Angel pilot episode "City Of...", Cordelia notices that the house she's in has no reflective surfaces at all. Out loud, she realizes that she's in a vampire's house and challenges the owner — until her Sunnydale instincts catch up with her mouth and she tries to pretend that she was joking.
- Semi-averted in the new Battlestar Galactica. When the Cylon detector reveals that Boomer is a sleeper agent, Baltar realizes that it would probably be a bad idea to confront her with this while there is no one else around. He fakes the test result to say she is human. Then he promptly decides never to tell anyone ever rather than go immediately report her after she leaves and to thereafter just fake doing the test and say everyone came back human.
- Doctor Who:
- The Doctor does a really stupid version of this in the story "The Rescue". (Note that the First Doctor is sufficiently un-uber that a human murderer could pose a threat to him.) The only reason he isn't killed is because two other characters turn up in a way that could have been prearranged, but isn't played that way.
- He does this all the time. Lampshaded in "The Vampires of Venice", when he pauses in fleeing the gang of fanged alien fish-women to turn back and say, "Tell me the whole plan!" They just hiss menacingly, and he mutters, "One day that'll work," and turns to run again. (This is quite early in the episode; otherwise it would have worked.)
- And in "Forest of the Dead" he almost gets captured by a sentient alien virus when he tries to parley with one of their hosts to figure out why they're in a space museum in the first place, and by the time he realizes they survived their tree hosts being pulped into books, he's completely forgotten that the virus can quickly execute anyone in the shadows and take over their body in less than ten seconds, and can even mimic their voice so anyone who hasn't seen them turn will keep hearing the last thing they said. Which includes his escort, who is now flanking his position.
The Doctor: And that's my problem! Yap, yap, yap, never know when to stop talking! You want to know how I've survived this long? Always stand right next to the door. (Uses his sonic screwdriver to activate a trapdoor)
- Dollhouse: In the second season, Sierra is made to return to the evil, evil man who forced her into the Dollhouse, permanently imprinted to love him this time. Topher finds a heart and gives her her original personality. So what does she do? Instead of bashing the guy on the head at the first opportunity, she sits there and smirks and is super-smug about how she never, ever, really loved him, and how she's in love with another man - what did she think was going to happen? Of course he starts beating the crap out of her and attempts to rape her.
- In the second season of Forbrydelsen, Lund does this quite deliberately to the killer to bait him into giving himself away. He gives himself away by shooting her, but she's wearing a Bulletproof Vest. She also tries it in the third season, but the killer doesn't fall for it and she blows his brains all over his car instead.
- Forever's Henry has a bad habit of confronting killers as soon as he's figured out their crime, instead of waiting for backup or even telling anyone else what he's realized. It sometimes gets him killed.
- Taggart: In "Forbidden Fruit", the first victim's daughter notices that the killer knows something about the victim's house that he shouldn't proving that he is the killer. Instead of accepting his feeble explanation and going off to call the police, she continued to badger him with questions. Strangulation ensues.
- Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Happened during the second murder, when one student confronts another over the information they obtained by playing Twilight Syndrome. This sparks an argument where each calls out the other on the details — one is furious that the other tried to help their friend cover up a murder that happened long before they arrived on the island, while the other's outraged at the notion that said cover-up didn't work and the first had her friend killed. Suffice to say, this doesn't end well.
- Cyanide and Happiness: The World's Greatest Detective is not the world's greatest planner, because the usual "expose the victim in front of a crowd of suspects and tackle them with numbers" method doesn't work when they expose all of the suspects as part of a murder conspiracy. Then the detective has the gall to order the conspiracy to respectfully turn themselves in. note