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Lima Syndrome

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"Now, more than ever before, my dear hostages need me!"

Lima Syndrome is the phenomenon in which abductors develop sympathy for their captives, named after the abduction of the Japanese Ambassador's Residence in Lima, Peru in 1996 by members of a terrorist group. Within a few days, the hostage-takers set free most of the captives, including the most valuable ones, due to sympathy; and the ones who were supposed to kill the hostages in the event of an assault could not bring themselves to do it. It is essentially the inverse of Stockholm Syndrome.

There are a number of reasons why this would happen. Maybe one or more of the kidnappers don't agree with the plan, or they just don't feel up to hurting innocents. Maybe the villain has decided that he doesn't have the heart to keep his prisoner locked up. Or maybe he's just doing what's necessary, and generally feels bad about it. He probably has nothing against his captive, and thus holds no negative opinion of them. Perhaps the hostage's family and associates turned out to be so indifferent that the kidnapper was disgusted and changed sides.

This person is also likely to be the one in charge of tending to the captives, bringing them food or healing their wounds, and thus has a greater chance of developing an attachment and growing to actually care about their well-being. Alternatively, the captor could simply be a Minion with an F in Evil or an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.

Or it may be that one of the prisoners is particularly prone to inspiring sympathy. See Pregnant Hostage for a specific example of this type of character.

In many stories, this type of behavior will often foreshadow a Heel–Face Turn. A captive trying to artificially induce this might use a Kirk Summation.

See Stockholm Syndrome for the reverse situation. The two may often go hand in hand if the feelings are mutual between the abductor and their captive. Related is Predator Turned Protector: they, for some reason, choose to protect their prey rather than, well, preying on them, similarly to this trope's caring towards their captive. Any plot featuring The Svengali (for whom Lima Syndrome is effectively an occupational hazard) tends to have some of both. Compare and contrast Pity the Kidnapper, in which the kidnapper lets the captive go because they're just too annoying.

Keep in mind that these two syndromes depend on who falls in love first - if the captor is kind to their captive with no manipulative intent, and releases them, it is Lima Syndrome even if they fall in love afterwards.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the AKIRA manga, mutant overlord of Neo-Tokyo Tetsuo develops the nasty habit of taking young and pretty girls as sex slaves and psychically killing them, but when one of them survives unexpectedly, he ends up growing attached to her and their physical interaction devolves mostly into Tetsuo crying in her lap and begging her to stay with him every few days. She shows some hints of feeling the same since she does stick around to listen to him whine and occasionally fall asleep on top of him. After her death, he Bridal Carries her body around until he's also killed.
  • In Attack on Titan, the off-kilter Hanji Zoe becomes super attached to two captive Titans she dubs "Sawney" and "Bean". Even breaking into bizarre hysterics when testing to see if they could feel pain. She has a massive freak out and sobs when the two get murdered later.
  • Bleach: Quite possibly Ulquiorra's gradual softening up towards humanity thanks to his interactions with the captive Orihime, who might have also had Stockholm Syndrome.
  • In Code Geass, it was this trope that helped make Ougi fall in love with Villetta.
  • Averted in D.Gray-Man in the twisted obsession that Road has with Allen.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Piccolo eventually came to care for Gohan (the kid he abducted and put through Training from Hell to prepare for an alien invasion), leading up to his Heel–Face Turn, which was more surprising because "Redemption Through Helpfulness" hadn't become the signature trope of the series yet. All the more notable given that Piccolo's role in the previous story arc was roughly analogous to Satan.
    • While he doesn't really understand that he is really keeping Mr. Satan prisoner (though Hercule is trying to kill him and volunteered to be his servant to get that chance) and is a threat to all life Buu becomes genuinely attached to Satan and sees him as his friend, and later comes to care for all life thanks to Hercule's help. Once Buu decides to adopt Bee, even Hercule begins to feel a friendship towards his 'captor', which ultimately culminates in Buu defending Satan and Bee multiple times before finally losing all control when Van Zant attempts to murder Hercule.
  • One episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Aramaki is part of a group that's taken hostage by some minor criminals but realizes that the police are corrupt planning to kill everyone, criminals and hostages alike, to cover up some dirty things that had been happening in the area. He quickly convinces the criminals to assist him as he comes up with a means of getting everyone out alive. They come to genuinely respect him pretty quickly and are very willing to follow his orders.
  • GUN×SWORD: After Michael Garret develops Stockholm Syndrome to The Claw, he is assigned on training observed by his second-in-command Fasalina. She was an ex-prostitute, but eventually she genuinely fell in love with Michael and even had sex with him.
  • Sweden from Hetalia: Axis Powers has this for his "partner" Finland. He might have started thinking of Finland as a mere companion for his journey, then became genuinely fond and protective of him. He'll do almost anything for his "wife". To parallel, Finland may have a case of Stockholm Syndrome, though not to the same degree.
  • Koga from Inuyasha kidnaps Kagome for her ability to see the Shikon jewel shards, but ends up falling in love with her because of her kindness and loyalty. Kagome also develops very slight Stockholm Syndrome (or at least that's what it looks like to Inuyasha).
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, YAMI kidnaps Shigure Kosaka to force her to use her blacksmith skills to make them weapons. Eventually, several of YAMI's researchers become her apprentices, even working on the forge while the restrained Shigure gives instructions, and agreeing with her views that a weapon should not be used as a tool for bloodshed. The head researcher realizes what is going on and complains about his men being corrupted.
  • The Kindaichi Case Files: The man who kidnapped Reika Hayami developed empathy for his victim and raised the child as his own.
  • Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms: Leillia was captured and forced into marriage into the Mezarte royal family with the sole purpose of producing an immortal heir. Her in-laws otherwise don't care much for her, resulting in one of the soldiers who helped with her capture being among the very few people who do care about her in the royal palace.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: Natasha was simply supposed to be Argo Gulskii's jailer, but ends up sympathizing with him to the point that she frees Argo and his Space Pirate crew, and joins them while abandoning her government position.
  • In Naruto, the eponymous character is the person that the resident Evil Sealed in a Person-Shaped Can resides in. He sympathizes with said evil, leading to it doing a Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Project ARMS, Keith Green falls in love with Katsumi and eventually tries to rescue her from the Egrigori, dying in the process. Possibly justified, in that she was the first human he really got to know, along with the fact that she was genuinely kind to him (seeing him as a rescuer and not a jailer).
  • Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle: One of the means by which the manga turns the "captured princess waiting for the hero to rescue her" plot on its head is having the demons grow genuinely attached to the Princess. The situation eventually reaches a point where some of the demons are fighting the hero in part because they've realized that he's the Abhorrent Admirer childhood friend the Princess keeps complaining about and/or they don't want the Princess to leave.
  • Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Sky-Byte accidentally takes a tower full of humans hostage, and goes to great lengths to protect them. "My hostages need me!"
  • In The Vision of Escaflowne, Jajuka is tasked with looking after Celina Shezar, when she is kidnapped by the Zaibach Empire. He is very sympathetic towards her and does what he can to comfort her, knowing full well that The Empire is going to use her for horrific experiments. He displays loyalty towards Dilandau, mainly because he used to be Celina. Dilandau has an absolute breakdown when Jajuka is killed off, and this is why.
  • The plot of Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun begins with an oddly sympathetic version of this: Sullivan illegally bought Iruma from his rotten parents, but all he wanted was a grandson. Iruma finds himself living a much happier life with Sullivan and the demon world than he did back on Earth.
  • In Zoids: Chaotic Century, Rosso and Viola develop a bond with their captive Prince Rudolph, which he reciprocates to the point of considering them his "parents".

    Comic Books 
  • Carl Barks realized to his horror that he'd implied this accidentally in Back to the Klondike: "Scrooge picked her up and carried her out to his claim and made her go to work. It didn't look like kidnapping, yet it was. He was taking the law into his own hands and that is not lawful. And what did he do with her at night?" Don Rosa intentionally milked this for all it was worth in The Prisoner Of White Agony Creek.
  • In Grendel, Susan Veraghen falls in love with Crystal Kennedy while acting as her main guard. However, this was in such a Gilded Cage that Susan herself may not have realised that she was meant to be keeping Crystal a prisoner rather than acting as her bodyguard.
  • Harley Quinn from DC comics seems to have fallen under this during her time as Joker's psychiatrist in Arkham.
  • A Marvel Strange Tale's story depicts the advent of gargoyles as part of an alien invasion plot; from the planet Stonus these winged creatures were posted in their current places on Earth, watching to see how far humanity would advance before deciding to make their move. Their leader decided to give the signal when he was discovered by an intrepid scholar seeking the origin of gargoyles. Yet instead of enslaving humans, the gargoyles chose to destroy the leader (to his immense surprise). The gargoyles explained to the human witness that back on their home planet they were no more than slaves but, having watched humans for centuries, had learned love and charity and grew to identify with their presumed role as defenders from evil.

    Fan Works 
  • Amor Delirus: This Star Trek (2009) fic has a rare male example of this with Nero. Warning: This fic is dark.
  • The Bridge: The Dark Hunters and the Sirens gradually become very warm and friendly toward Princess Twilight, who is their captive. Granted the only reason they kidnapped her was that they mistakenly assumed she was the one who crippled Sonata and stole her necklace. The only reason they kept her captive once they learned the truth is because they want to deter retaliation from Twilight's kaiju allies. Twilight herself wins them over with her honest sympathy toward Sonata's plight, and her desire to help them find her human self. After a week, several of the group are nothing but jovial to her.
  • Captive: In this One Piece fanfic, Eustass Kidd falls very deeply in love with the female Marine Lieutenant and sniper that he captures after a battle. To the point where he allows her to go back to Marine Ford when the mental stress gets too much for her. She also develops Stockholm Syndrome toward him.
  • Captive (AbyssCronica): Kid ends up falling in love with his captive, who falls in love with him right back.
  • Children of the Grimmlands: Salem initially plans to use her kidnapped children for her own demented ends, but seeing how adorable they are, she realizes she just can't go through with it and instead decides to become their mother.
  • A Deceptive Game Of Chess: Blake feels sympathy towards Weiss and feels guilty for kidnapping her. Her sympathy for Weiss only grows as Weiss' captivity continues.
  • In the Harry Potter fanfic Heir the Tom Riddle Horcrux possessing Harry becomes very protective of his host and eventually comes to be Harry's first friend (and for a time his Only Friend) and father figure.
  • In Hope for the Heartless (which takes place after The Black Cauldron), the Horned King imprisons a teenaged peasant girl named Avalina in order to prevent her from revealing his return to Prydain. He initially treats her coldly (even nearly killing her), but during the slow months they get to know each other, he starts to genuinely care for her.
  • In the Death Note fic I Won't Say [1] (another male example) when Light holds the lives of L and his family of orphans hostage without anyone but him and L knowing about it. Of course Light is threatening L instead of just killing him because he has a huge crush on him; otherwise he would have just killed him. Light becomes very protective of L and the kids and gets really insulted when L suggests he would ever kill the children (even though L is his enemy and the kids are being trained to be his enemies.
  • This is combined with Stockholm Syndrome in a series of The Order of the Stick fanfics, the Oneiroi Series, with Redcloak and his captive, Vaarsuvius. It has an interesting outcome.
  • The Dark Knight fanfic A Piece Of Glass plays with this - the Joker finds himself increasingly attached to his OC prisoner/partner, fellow Arkham freak Breech Loader. However, she remains afraid that he's going to kill her throughout.
  • In Princess Celestia Gets Mugged, Celestia's "kidnappers" (who are unaware of who she really is, as she's in disguise as a regular pony) develop this in regards to her.
  • In the Knights of the Old Republic fanfic Second Chances, Revan begins to develop this towards his captive Bastila Shan. It is implied that he genuinely falls in love with her, and even allows her to escape at the end.
  • In Still on My String, an Equalist Kai develops feelings for the airbender Jinora, whom he's keeping watch over. He ultimately helps her escape captivity.
  • In Tangled In Time Ganondorf deliberately invoked Stockholm Syndrome by kidnapping and raising a young Link, successfully having the child think of him as his father. Since he raised Link from infancy, he developed paternal feelings for Link and does think of him as a son.
  • In the Cars fanfic Three Days, Deborah eventually forms this for Lightning McQueen and the King. She never really meant to hurt them, and thought that she was doing the wrong thing for the right reason. However, once she realizes that she's separated two innocent cars from their loved ones and put them in danger, she has a change of heart.
  • The Naruto fanfic Time and Again features this when Orochimaru is deliberately aiming to invoke Stockholm Syndrome in a captive Naruto by making Karin befriend him. While it almost works, Karin begins to really care about Naruto as well, which was NOT part of the plan.
  • In What Is Written In Blood, Daisuke begins empathizing with Nana, his captive. This leads him to release her and defect from SAT.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Belle agrees to be the Beast's prisoner in exchange for letting her father go. When he puts her happiness ahead of his own, he eventually lets her go too. She returns to him later to help him, but this is because HE has made the greater change. By the film's own admission it was he who first fell in love with her, and so Lima Syndrome is more prevalent than the Stockholm Syndrome some believe is at work. It is worth noting that the animated movie takes place over several months, and that the Beast was only abusive the first night Belle was there, as he goes through Character Development shortly afterwards.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Airheads: At first, the staff of KPPX "Rebel Radio", isn't thrilled to being taken hostage, especially the lead DJ Ian. But as he talks with Chazz about rock music, it re-ignites his passion for rock music, he bonds with the band and starts to give them advice on how to proceed. By the time Ian finds out the station manager Milo is firing the staff and switching the station to Easy Listening, he and almost all the staff are firmly in the band's corner.
  • In All the Money in the World, one of J.P. "Paul" Getty III's kidnappers, Cinquanta, develops sympathy for him. Cinquanta persuades the other kidnappers to cut off Paul’s ear (rather than a foot) and, at the climax, prevents a co-conspirator from re-capturing Paul.
  • Anazapta (aka Black Plague). The protagonist Lady Matilda Mellerby is hoping to ransom a French knight her men have captured in exchange for her husband. Her (much older) husband has been away fighting for years and it's implied he hasn't been sleeping with her even when he's home. It doesn't help their UST that she keeps having to save his life from locals who want to kill him for various reasons.
  • The Big Hit has the kidnapper played by Marky Wahlberg falling in love with his schoolgirl captive.
  • This is most of the plot of Cadillac Man. A car salesman played by Robin Williams gets caught in a hostage situation and uses his knowledge of how people work to get the hostage-taker to calm down and empathize with the hostages, including and especially himself.
  • The Book of Revelation: Daniel attempts to bond with the woman among his kidnappers who anally raped him, asking her name and that she show him her face. She almost does before one of the others comes in. It's pretty clearly in hopes of identifying her, as Daniel had seen she has a large crimson birthmark on her right buttock prior to this.
  • In The Conqueror, Stockholm Syndrome starts setting in for Bortai after Temujin (the future Genghis Khan) kidnaps her and says she will be his bride. But she doesn't admit her feelings or tell him that she loves him until after she escapes, and he is captured and tortured by her father's clan.
  • In Cry Blood, Apache, Pitcalin falls in love with Jemme, the Apache woman his gang kidnapped in the belief that she can lead them to gold.
  • The first part of The Crying Game is all about Fergus developing sympathy towards the hostage he's supposed to be guarding (this later extends to him looking up the hostage's girlfriend, at his request).
  • Faked by Hans Gruber in Die Hard: He takes the time to listen to Holly when she acts as liaison for the rest of the hostages, and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, providing a sofa for a pregnant woman and so forth. Since he's planning on blowing them all up, this is apparently just an attempt to keep them quiet and obedient, and maybe trigger some Stockholm Syndrome, if possible.
  • In Dog Day Afternoon, Sonny is a decent guy who takes hostages in a bank and treats them very well. He even lets one of the hostages hold his gun (though he had unloaded it at the time) during a memorable look inside.
  • Draw!: Almost unintentionally, Harry takes Bess hostage because he knows that the town thinking her life is in danger is the only thing keeping him from being lynched. Over the several days they are holed up in her hotel room, they fall in love and she winds up conspiring with him to find away to avoid mob justice.
  • In Horrible Bosses II, the characters discuss the concept that, as kidnappers, they may develop a tendency to be too friendly with their hostage. They almost get to the point of naming the trope; only no character present had heard of a name like "Lima syndrome," so they called it call it "reverse Stockholm Syndrome."
  • Stupid Crooks comedy Kidnapping Granny K starts off with three bumbling small-time crooks kidnapping a rich lady. In fairly short order, the rich lady has taken charge of all the crooks and has proceeded to run her own kidnapping, for a much bigger ransom.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Yondu abducts Peter Quill as a boy in order to deliver him to Ego for a ransom, but backs out from the deal because he starts to treat Peter as a son.
    • Avengers: Infinity War:
      • Thanos shows a startling amount of affection for Gamora, his adoptive daughter whom he raised and trained to be one of the deadliest warriors alive. Gamora is understandably not appreciative since Thanos was the one who slaughtered half the people of her homeworld including her parents and her upbringing was Training from Hell that pitted her against her fellow adoptive sibling Nebula. Despite this, she still weeps when she thinks she has slain him, indicating a Stockholm Syndrome on her part. Thanos' love for Gamora, even though it's abusive and possessive in nature, is real enough that he sheds tears when he realizes that sacrificing her is the only way he can obtain the Soul Stone.
      • This is very much not the case with the aforementioned Nebula. Thanos has no qualms about torturing her to get Gamora to talk, and the only reason he doesn't kill her afterwards is that he thought it would be a "waste of parts". The reason she has so many cybernetics is that Thanos took away her body parts every time she lost to Gamora during their training sessions.
    • Captain Marvel: Though Yon-Rogg is responsible for abducting Carol and gaslighting her for six years to fight for the Kree Empire, he's developed some affection for her. He donated his blood to save her life, and he lies to Ronan and prevents him from bombing Earth while she's on it.
  • In The Negotiator, Danny honestly cares about the people he's taken hostage. When it's coming to the end of their captivity, he apologizes for everything he had to put them through to prove his innocence.
  • In Pain & Gain, Paul shows fairly early on that he's less bad than Daniel and Adrian due to his interactions with their victim Victor. While Daniel and Adrian proceed to torture the guy during their guard shifts to extort him, Paul instead gives him stuff to eat, reads to him, and tries to convert him to Christianity in a misguided attempt to "help" the half-Jewish Victor. When Victor tries to make a break for it Paul beats him to the ground however, as he has no delusions that it's not a genuine kidnapping.
  • In Panic Room, a pair of housebreakers accidentally end up taking hostages when the supposedly empty house was occupied earlier than expected, and then find themselves locked in the panic room with a girl about to slip into a diabetic coma. One of them is an Ax-Crazy murderer who talks about needing to kill her since she's seen his face, but the other one does everything he can to prevent her from getting hurt. In the end, he gives up his opportunity to escape with the loot so that he can pull a Big Damn Heroes and rescue the girl and her mother (who had come pretty close to killing him a couple of times) from his deranged accomplice.
  • In Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach, the diamond thief started to feel sorry for commandant Lassard. (Lassard thinks that the whole kidnapping is being staged, and plays along with it, being nice to the man and telling him stories about his past that the kidnapper can't help but find entertaining. He's even nice to the guy when he finds out it's real, even before he punches him out. Then again, Lassard is a pretty nice guy overall.)
  • Happens in Ransom, where one of the kidnappers (the one played by Donnie Wahlberg) is a mere Punch-Clock Villain who feels sorry for their little captive (Mel Gibson's character's son) and even tells his brother and fellow criminal that he wants the kid to be free as soon as they have the ransom. He's shot to death by a sniper, though.
  • Ruthless People: Ken and Sandy try to get back at the man who ruined their life, Sam Stone (Danny Devito) by kidnapping his wife Barbara (Bette Midler) and demand a ransom, but since he's been planning to off her anyway, he refuses (hoping that they'll do the job for him). As they try to figure out what to do instead, and Barbara realizes her husband's true colors, they become friends.
  • Bronek Korchinsky from Tiger Bay kidnaps the 11-year-old who witnesses him killing his former lover, and quickly discovers that he can't bring himself to harm her. He ends up letting her go, and at the end of the film he saves her life, despite knowing this will allow the police to catch him.
  • The main plot thread of The Town is about Ben Affleck's character developing feelings for a hostage and then trying to conceal that ensuing relationship from his buddies in crime.
  • The World Is Not Enough combines this with Stockholm Syndrome in the case of Elektra King, and then in reality the hostage was a Manipulative Bastard and seduced their captor, then allied with them to plan and carry out their schemes of revenge and nuclear terrorism. It stands out from most other examples because the Lima Syndrome doesn't make the captor more sympathetic, it reveals the captive was evil and the hostage-taker ends up getting enrolled in even more evil stuff (though, as the captor was already a psychopathic terrorist, that's not really saying much).

    Jokes and Parodies 
  • The rescued hostages of the Lima embassy siege are being interviewed, or in some versions, the captors are being interrogated. In the latter case, the police are asking the captured hostage-takers why they gave up. Looking haggard and with his hands visibly shaking, one man moans:
    Oh, God, it was terrible. Terrible. The Ambassador was such a nice guy, so concerned for my welfare. But if I ever have to eat another fucking Ferrero Rocher again, in my life. There's only so many of those sickly god-Awful chocolates a man can stand! note 

  • In Ai no Kusabi, Iason Mink's What Is This Thing You Call "Love"? thoughts make him develop this towards his "pet" Riki.
  • In Piers Anthony's novel And Eternity, the three main characters have to save a spaceship full of people, by building the start of true love between a hostage and one of her captors, invoking this trope.
  • In Beauty and the Beast Belle comes to befriend the Beast, then falls in love with him thanks to a little Lima Syndrome on his part. This is true in ALL versions of the story, right back to the original 1740 story.
  • Some of the terrorists in Bel Canto develop this, most notably Carmen. In fact, the plot of the book is based on the real-life incident that named this trope.
  • In Stephen King's Blaze, a mentally challenged con man kidnaps a millionaire's infant for ransom but eventually finds himself bonding with the child.
  • In The Bleeding Man, the doctor begins to see The Bleeding Man as his patient instead of his captive.
  • In The Confessions of Arsène Lupin, Lupin is captured by a mother-and-son team seeking revenge. The son, who was tending his wounds, ends up setting him free, because he was actually a woman in disguise, and had fallen in love with Lupin.
  • Implied to have happened along with Stockholm Syndrome in the backstory to A Brother's Price. The Whistlers didn't let Prince Alannon go - since the rest of his family was executed and he was reported missing, he decided to be philosophical about it - but they did "run themselves ragged" doing what they could to make him happy.
  • In The Crown Jewels, Tvi, one of the pair who kidnapped Drake's client, Amalia Jensen, discovers that she likes Amalia a whole lot more than she likes her own violent, brutish partner. They develop an actual friendship, and, when the inevitable rescue attempt happens, Tvi finds herself quite conflicted, while Amalia shows a surprising amount of concern for what happens to Tvi (while being absolutely fine with whatever the rescuers might want to do to the other kidnapper, Khotvinn).
  • The Detachment by Barry Eisler. Dox and Rain are betrayed by their employer Colonel Horton, so they kidnap his daughter for ransom. Dox releases the woman early because he's worried a Token Evil Teammate will kill her regardless, and Dox and the hostage have a discussion over Stockholm Syndrome, pointing out that "it works both ways". At the end of the novel, Dox persuades Rain not to take vengeance on Horton like they planned, saying his daughter has suffered enough from their acts.
  • An Invoked Trope in Friday, which opens with the title character being gang-raped as an interrogation technique. As an Artificial Human she's been brought up not to have any sexual hang-ups and has even been trained to pretend to enjoy it to create disruption and sympathy among her captors.
  • In Island of the Aunts, the titular aunts become quite fond of the children they have kidnapped. Of course, the aunts didn't view it as kidnapping, they just needed help with their work, and kidnapping some kids that were neglected by the parents, anyway, seemed like an easy solution. They eventually come to realize that they should let the children go.
  • In the book series Kidnapped, 11-year-old Meg tries to invoke this in one of her captors, partly in the hopes of eventually turning him against the other two captors. It works.
  • Red Fox by Gerald Seymour. A hard-headed British businessman is kidnapped by a teenage terrorist, and after his initial attempts to escape fail, starts putting into practice the methods he'd been taught in a hostage seminar (which he'd walked out of thinking it was all rubbish). He's therefore able to postpone his death until the authorities find him and is quite distraught when the terrorist is shot by a sniper.
  • In The Secret of Platform 13, a woman kidnaps a baby boy with the intent to raise him as her own but then becomes pregnant. She doesn't care about the boy anymore at that point, but her old nanny, who still works for her, takes care of the boy and comes to regard him as her own son.
  • In The Silmarillion, Maedhros and Maglor take captive Elrond and Elros, who are only children, but Maglor (or Maedhros in some versions) ends up fostering them. Maedhros and Maglor are reluctant villains. Maedhros in particular deeply regrets the murder of the boys' uncles when they too were children. Maglor is more of a tortured artist who just doesn't like all the killing.
    "...Maglor took pity upon Elros and Elrond, and he cherished them, and love grew after between them, as little might be thought." The Silmarillion, J. R. R. Tolkien.
    • May be an invoked trope since Elrond and Elros inherited Lúthien's magical manipulation powers.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Starks treated their "ward" (read: hostage) Theon Grejoy almost as if he were one of the family. Robb in particular thought of Theon as a sworn brother. They and Theon seemed to have forgotten that Ned is supposed to chop his head off if Theon's father Balon steps out of line. Robb then makes the fatal mistake of letting Theon go back to the Iron Islands to propose an alliance between the Starks and the Greyjoys, despite their well-deserved reputation as backstabbers. By letting Theon go, he just lost the insurance that was supposed to keep Balon in check. Even worse, being separated from the Starks allowed Theon to see the reality of his situation as a glorified prisoner whose life was always implicitly being threatened. The sudden yet inevitable betrayal ultimately leads to Robb's death.
  • In The Thief Lord, the street children keep Victor Getz, a private detective searching for Prosper and Bo, as their prisoner. Initially they are very hostile to him as they believe he will drive them out of their home, but they quickly warm to him as he proves to be both useful and empathetic to their plight. Eventually he becomes something of a Team Dad as the book goes on.
  • In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo and his family genuinely come to love the village's hostage Ikemefuna who lives under their roof. Ikemefuna in turn calls Okonkwo "father". Then the village leaders decide Ikemefuna has outlived his usefulness. The proud Okonkwo joins the group that will kill Ikemefuna because he doesn't want to appear weak, even after one of his friends warns him that killing someone who was like a son to him would damn him. When the other warriors start attacking Ikemefuna, he runs to Okonkwo for help. Okonkwo panics and cuts him down to avoid looking weak. Okonkwo spends most of the next few days drunk. It's implied that this murder caused the bad luck that eventually dooms Okonkwo, just as his friend said it would.
  • Lampshaded and averted in Wild Justice by Wilbur Smith. When the first deadline passes without their demands being met, the terrorists balk at shooting their first hostage and suggest waiting to see if the authorities will blink first. Their leader points out that the longer they put it off, the more difficult it will be to shoot the hostages as they will know more about them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This is the backstory to the Jim Henson sitcom Aliens in the Family. Cookie was an alien scientist who abducted Doug Brody to experiment on, but ended up falling in love with him instead.
  • Breaking Bad: After Walt and Jesse realise Krazy-8 (Domingo) is still alive, they decide to keep him captive in Jesse's basement. They realise that his being alive could risk them both jail, so they flip a coin and it's decided Walt will kill him. A few days pass and Walt still can't bring himself to do it. Walt talks with him and they reminisce about Domingo's family furniture shop. Walt makes him sandwiches and brings him water, and gradually feels more empathetic for Domingo. However, Walt eventually faces his fears and chokes Domingo to death.
  • CSI: The corrupt cop who abducted Russell's granddaughter in revenge for the undersheriff's arrest didn't have the heart to harm the little girl, who was the same age as his own youngest daughter. He kept her hidden rather than kill her as he'd been ordered, and fought to protect her when the undersheriff's other accomplice came after him to tie up loose ends on their scheme.
  • The First Doctor to his (kidnapped) schoolteacher companions Ian and Barbara early in Doctor Who. It becomes apparent at the end of The Edge of Destruction when he apologizes to Barbara for how he treated her and Ian: "As we learn about each other, so we learn a bit about ourselves." By the time they part ways with him in The Chase, he's genuinely sad to see them go.
  • In Farscape, Wild Card Crais steals Talyn (a newborn Living Sapient Ship) simply as a means of getting away from two different groups of people who want to do painful things to him. However, after he forms a technopathic connection with Talyn, he soon comes to genuinely care for him. Despite their continued distrust of Crais in general, the sympathetic characters quickly accept and respect the attachment between the two of them.
  • Happens relatively often in Flashpoint:
    • In "Just A Man", a prisoner puts himself in harm's way to protect two civilians caught in the middle of a prison riot, despite the fact that their entire reason for being there had been to prevent him from getting parole.
    • Both this and Stockholm Syndrome come into play in "Who's George". The hostage-taker begins to feel for his captive (the woman he had initially blamed for the loss of his job), and she in turn tries to talk him out of his plan to commit suicide for an insurance payout.
  • The Good Place has demon Michael keeping four humans in an experimental version of Hell designed to psychologically torture them without their knowledge. After three hundred years, he begrudgingly allies with them and soon bonds with them to the point he's willing to sacrifice himself to get them to the 'real' Good Place.
  • In Game of Thrones, Sandor Clegane is repeatedly an example of this syndrome. First, with Sansa Stark, the ward of his liege family's. This is especially notable because of the circumstances: Sansa's father was killed for charges of treason by King Joffrey, and she is practically a prisoner in the Red Keep. As he increasingly begins to fall out with the Lannister family, Sandor shows a desire to protect Sansa. Keep in mind that she is just a 12-year-old. The second example is when Sandor leaves the Lannisters for good, and kidnaps Arya Stark, Sansa's younger sister, for ransom. As they are trekking across the lands of Westeros, ravaged by war, Sandor again shows a willingness to protect the girl, and even bond with her, even if it is in his own world-weary way. It looks like Arya is starting to bond with him in return, but that turns out not to be the case — though she does start to sympathise with him, her hatred for him due to Mycah's death and her contempt for his more petty actions (such as robbing the poor farmer) mean that she is not quite able to truly make peace with him. Ultimately, she grants him Cruel Mercy because he wants to be given a Mercy Kill, and Arya doesn't want him going out on his own terms given all the things he'd done up until then. Him being an example of this syndrome is at odds with the way his character was initially presented, as a big, hulking, merciless brute.
  • The Kill Point: Most of the hostage-takers show a great deal of care for the hostages, and do whatever they can to make their situation more comfortable under the circumstances. The only one to routinely avoid it is Mr. Rabbit, the more violent member of the team. Mr. Wolf is also still prepared to execute one of them to make good on his threat to the police, however.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • In "Blast", a hostage-taker accidentally shoots his father, seriously injuring him. Immediately, he goes from being callous and uncaring to worrying about his father's condition, eventually leading him to attempt Suicide by Cop out of guilt.
    • In "Hell", Elijah, a Ugandan refugee takes hostages when he learns his asylum claim has been denied and he's going to be deported. Elijah was forced into military service and because of his desperation not to hurt anyone else, Elliot barely has to do any convincing before he agrees to release the hostages. In fact, he gets upset when one of the hostages (a priest) insists on staying behind to ensure Elijah gets out safely.
  • Combined with Stockholm Syndrome in an episode of New Tricks: Hannah Taylor was kidnapped by a young man with a grudge against her mother, a then-alcoholic doctor whom he blamed for his mother's death. After Paul talked with Hannah for a while, he came to his senses and decided to release her and go on the run, not even bothering to collect the ransom he'd asked for. But Hannah, who hated her mother as much as Paul did, chose to come with him. 13 years later they're Happily Married with a child.
  • In Once Upon a Time, this is Rumplestiltskin's feelings toward Belle, in a variation of the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): When Olaf and his henchmen hold Sunny hostage in the third season premiere, the Hook-Handed Man (who already showed a bit of a soft spot for her in previous episodes) develops this for her. He makes sure she has warm clothes to wear, helps her with the chores Olaf forces her to do, and in general tries to run interference when Olaf and Esme attempt to abuse her. In-universe, this trope is called Mount Fraught Syndrome after the location where Sunny is held.
  • In True Blood, Jason begins to feel sorry for a vampire that he and Amy have kidnapped for the purpose of harvesting his blood, and begins sneaking him bottles of synthetic blood to keep him alive. This is a case of Jason still being a good person and feeling guilty about his actions.
  • Without a Trace: In one episode, a ransom drop goes wrong, and the kidnapper winds up taking a bookstore full of hostages. He only holds any animosity to one of them (the woman who did the drop, who took his late wife's job after her death on 9/11), but he doesn't even actually know her and is more angry at her boss (the initial kidnapping victim). He's just a grieving, frustrated man who's made bad choices and gotten in over his head, so he quickly bonds with the hostages and is easily convinced to release most of them without concession.

  • There's an implication of this in the lyrics of the Nirvana song Polly.
  • The song La cautiva (The captive woman) by Argentinian singer Jorge Cafrune describes how a Native chieftain develops this towards the titular "cautiva", a beautiful Spanish woman abducted in a raid against the conquistadores.

    Video Games 
  • In Disgaea 2, Adell's mother accidentally summons Overlord Zenon's daughter Rozalin, and the summoning forces her to follow him "until Adell meets the real Overlord Zenon". Adell promises to take her back to her father because he needs to defeat Zenon. A mutual Stockholm/Lima Syndrome ensues, followed by lots and lots of Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light games, General Camus has this towards Princess Nyna. While he kept her captive to save her life after the slaughter of her family, he did put his knighthood on the line to take her to an allied kingdom before she could be executed. This causes him to lose a lot of influence in his kingdom, but he stubbornly refused to abandon his king, even when Nyna begs him to side with the League. It doesn't end well.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • The Avatar was kidnapped as a young child from the Hoshido royal family and raised (kept in a fortress) by the Nohrian royal family. The Nohrian royal siblings, who have grown up in a cruel Decadent Court, grow very fond (a little too fond in Camilla's case) of the Avatar and come to see them as a fellow sibling. They actually expect the Avatar to side with them in a war against their birth family (actually stepfamily) from Hoshido, and it depends on the player whether it happens or not.
      • It can be said that the aforementioned Hoshido siblings developed a similar bond with Azura, a princess from the Nohrian royal family by adoption who was abducted from their side and raised by the Hoshidan royal family. They consider her their sibling just like the kidnapped Avatar (the closest to an exception would be Prince Takumi, and even he couldn't fully resist it), and while Azura also loves them greatly, she sees herself as a Replacement Goldfish of the Avatar; in the Birthright path, she openly wonders about it and they tell her that she's a part of the family.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has Felix, erstwhile Minion of the previous game's main villains and brother of one of his own kidnapping Victims. It is implied he slowly develops feelings for another kidnapped girl in his care, Sheba. Thankfully, Felix is the protagonist of the second game and his ultimate goal is noble, so Sheba comes along quite willingly from the start of Lost Age and is a playable character.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, Trevor ends up falling for Patricia Madrazo, the 56-year-old wife of Martín Madrazo, a cartel boss and Patricia's abusive husband. Trevor kidnaps her and cuts Martín's ear off, and he eventually removes her bindings and lets her roam around his trailer. She cleans the trailer and works on his garden, but never tries to escape, and Trevor eventually admits he loves her. Trevor is eventually forced to return Patricia to Martín in order to pacify Martín, but not before threatening him with further injury if he is still mean to Patricia. A number of emails and calls sent to Trevor by Patricia (as well as some steamy photos of them mentioned in the Cayo Perico heist) indicate it wasn't one-sided.
  • Sniper Wolf's affection towards Otacon in Metal Gear Solid was specifically stated to be Lima Syndrome by Word of God, though they had already become friends before Foxhound took over and made the facilities personnel their hostages.
  • TEC the computer developing feelings for Princess Peach—whom he's technically supposed to be guarding—in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. At first his loyalty is more to Grodus and he refuses to let her escape, but he is willing to bend the rules a little and let her send emails. However, when he discovers Grodus' true intentions for her, he tries to help her escape, only to be discovered by Grodus before he can.
  • The players should develop a lesser form of this in both PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2. Killing civilians gains the group nothing, costs a large amount of money, and causes the police to hold you longer if you get captured (no civilian kills means the police will trade you after 5 seconds, just one civilian kill makes them hold you for 30 seconds more). Some fans have already developed sympathy for "Bobblehead Bob", the civilian in the Big Bank trailer who falls off the roof trying to catch a stack of money Dallas throws him.
  • In Suikoden V, Lucretia Merces is locked away for political reasons. By the time the hero gets to her, the guards outside her cell have all become fanatically loyal to her (and in the case of the woman guard, more than loyal), and no longer have any loyalty at all to their actual employer.

    Web Animation 
  • The Stockholms: Played for laughs, the way bank robber Jasper ends up in a family like relationship with his hostages. This is referred to by the characters as Jasper being "Stockholmed" by the hostages.

  • Binary Stars: Despite technically being kidnapped for ransom, Anastasia very quickly ends up with free roam of the ship. Lampshaded by Oliver.
    Oliver: Are you even allowed to be running around the ship? Didn’t we kidnap you or something?
    Anastasia:… Snitches get stitches?
  • In Marilith, while Stockholm Syndrome is clearly not the main influence on Kimiko (who Jumped at the Call to be a hostage and wants to be an assassin herself), its counterpart Lima Syndrome definitely seems to be in play on her 'captor' Marilith. Over the course of Krakow 2.0 she goes from unceasingly annoyed by her hostage Kimiko to willing to sign on with Valentino if she'll wait long enough for Marilith to get Kimiko's arm fixed, giving up on her dream of retirement. And then when Valentino explains she's just going to kill Kimiko, Marilith flings herself back into the fight despite being down a toe, gushing blood, and armed only with the two halves of baby Jesus (It Makes Sense in Context).

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Grand Alliance imprisons Glaurung Losstarot's son Hannibal during the battle of Vanna and tries to figure out what's the best way of using his hostage status against his mother and the Crimson Coalition as a whole even when Hannibal calmly reminds them that using him against Glaurung will only enrage her and sign a death warrant for the Alliance. One of the heroes, Jono, ends up befriending Hannibal and starts seeing him as a woobie and an unfortunate, innocent victim of the Alliance's power play, and this eventually makes him confront the other heroes about the issue and when his arguments fail, he breaks Hannibal out of the dungeon and flees with him to Glaurung's headquarters.
    Jono Renfield: And I thought I was surrounded by black-hearted demons in the heart of Yamato. But here I find myself in Vanna, among ye honored personages of the Alliance and the Sultanate, shoulder to shoulder with simpering monsters willing to compromise morality for any edge in their damn war. The Vulfsatz, they're a death squad, soldiers. This sort of thing comes with the job. But in spite of his heritage, and your pants-wetting frights over him turning into the next Sydney or Arawn one day, Hannibal is a child. Separated from his mother. And you're willing to hand him to her enemy, have his life threatened in some cowardly attempt to cow her assault...and then what when she doesn't give in? Slit his throat? Move on to Plan B? If this is what the Grand Alliance has turned itself into in these many years...I'd rather go deal with the demons again. At least they don't fancy themselves heroes while bathing in the entrails of their enemies.
  • In SMPLive, Connor kidnaps Gold's bird, Rye, and gets attached to her.
    Connor: We stole his son and then it died, and now I'm really pissed at him!

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventure Time episode "What Have You Done?" may count as an example, because Finn and Jake let the captured Ice King go and go into his prison themselves. The Ice King had been truthfully claiming not to have committed any crimes recently, but Finn and Jake thinking that they deserve the imprisonment more than he does is a little drastic.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, when Iroh is imprisoned, the female guard Ming shows sympathy towards him, even sneaking in his favorite tea for him. It even has its own ship! And when Iroh escapes, he tells Ming to not be there, and Ming clearly understands why, but says nothing and isn't present when he breaks out.
    • In The Legend of Korra, Ikki is captured by two Earth Empire soldiers, who originally plan to find her siblings and deliver all three to Kuvira. However, Ikki is both sneaky and legitimately friendly enough that, as she talks to them more, they seem to forget their previous idea and actually give her information that helps her on her mission to find Korra. When her siblings bust her out, she feels so bad about them getting knocked around that she leaves them a couple of buns in thanks.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn's origin is Lima Syndrome/ Florence Nightingale Effect turned Mad Love.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life, the Wolfe family originally adopted Heffer in an attempt to fatten him up and eat him, but after growing to love him they ended up not going through with those plans.
  • The Simpsons: In "Blame It On Lisa", when Homer is kidnapped in Brazil, Homer's captors develop a friendly rapport with Homer while lampshading Homer's Stockholm Syndrome. They even follow his suggestion for the location of the ransom exchange and compile a scrapbook as well.
    Kidnapper 2: We should make these transfers in a safer place.
    Kidnapper 1: It was Homer's idea. [opens scrapbook] You say "no" to that face.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Buff Frog captures a rat... and immediately lets it go. When the other monsters capture it again, he's tasked with interrogating it - he tries to but ends up showing it photos of his babies, then letting it go again.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, former Separatist lieutenant-turned-bounty hunter Asajj Ventress develops sympathy for a young female captive she is transporting to an awaiting licentious warlord, and subsequently has a Heel–Face Turn and releases her, though not before exchanging the girl for Boba Fett to trick the warlord and get paid.
    • Later on, part of what compels Ventress to help her bounty and long-time enemy Ahsoka is the similarity of their situations...
  • The Venture Brothers:
    • In "Dia de los Dangerous," the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend end up acting downright parental to the captive Hank and Dean after Dr. Venture doesn't respond to their (numerous) ransom demands.
    • During a flashback in the episode "Spanakopita!," a young Rusty Venture is accidentally kidnapped by Greek pirates. When his father, Jonas Venture Sr., doesn't respond to their ransom demands, the pirates throw the distraught Rusty (who they felt bad for due to his neglectful father) a festival complete with games.
  • In Wander over Yonder, this is how Wander and Sylvia's friendship began. She was a bounty hunter who captured Wander, but became a better person thanks to his Positive Friend Influence and has been traveling with him ever since.

    Real Life 
  • The original Bolsheviks guards of Nicholas II of Russia are noted to have developed sympathies for the tsar and his family to the point leadership felt they had to replace them with more extreme anti-royalists. The original watchmen occasionally smuggled in treats for the children. After the fact some of the guards have claimed they secretly wanted the tsar to escape, but this might have been an attempt to distance themselves from the grisly fate of the tsar and his family.