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Murder by Suicide

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Suicide is a big deal, and killing oneself is not a path most people choose lightly. However, these people here didn't really choose to do so by their own free will. Someone (or something) indirectly killed them by coercing them into killing themselves. Methods of forcing one to kill oneself can range from making their lives a living hell to actual mind control.

Death here should be (one of) the intended outcomes. For cases where the victim kills themselves to defy their attacker, see Dying as Yourself, I Die Free, and Better to Die than Be Killed. Closely related to Accidental Suicide which can overlap. Not to be confused with Mutual Kill, Taking You with Me, Murder-Suicide, or Suicide Attack, which all involve (near-)simultaneously killing both oneself and others on purpose. Not really related to Suicide, Not Murder (a suicide disguised as a murder) or Never Suicide (a murder disguised as a suicide).

This is an inversion of Suicide by Assassin and Suicide by Cop, where the victim wants to die but needs someone else to kill them for them — basically Suicide by Murder. See also Leave Behind a Pistol, when they're allowed to kill themselves to escape punishment or retain their dignity. Stop Hitting Yourself, taken to the logical extreme, would be a very literal version of making someone kill themselves. May be performed by People Puppets.

Sub-tropes and related tropes:

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the "Future Arc" part of Danganronpa 3, it is eventually revealed that this happened to all of the supposed murder victims of the Killing Game. Monokuma made the killing game participants think that one of their number was secretly the killer, who would awaken after everyone was drugged to sleep and murder one victim each cycle. The truth is that each victim was shown a mind-controlling video through one of the building’s numerous TV screens, which manipulated them to commit suicide in such a way that it would look like they were murdered by another participant.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Oyashiro-sama's curse (or whatever it really is) causes many characters to kill themselves throughout the various story arcs, some more than once. Methods include clawing out your own throat.
  • In Ino-Head Gargoyle, the "Blue Rose" drug, when ingested with alcohol, will induce suicidal hallucinations in the victim.
  • Johan in Monster is an absolute master of this, knowing every trick to get his targets to kill themselves. Almost anyone who gets in his way or even so much as stays near him for too long becomes a victim of some scheme of his that will culminate in the victim committing suicide. He seems to prefer this method because it allows him to kill whomever he wants with as little evidence as possible. Dr. Tenma, The Protagonist, spends a significant amount of time in the series coming across Johan's victims and talking them out of suicide.
  • In the Read or Die OVA, one character attempts to broadcast a "Death Symphony" that will cause mass suicide.
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers: After the end of the Boshin War, the victorious side is told by the foreign powers who were backing them that their government will not be taken seriously internationally if they execute their defeated enemies instead of giving them a civilized treatment as prisoners as war. The victors get around this by intentionally imprisoning their high-profile prisoners in hostile clans and taking away their domains, knowing this treatment is all but certain to drive them into committing Seppuku and making it look like it was a conscious choice to die to international observers.

    Comic Books 
  • Several goons in Tintin would try to make Tintin jump off a cliff by holding him at gunpoint to Make It Look Like an Accident. He always managed to get out of it somehow.
  • In Ultimate Marvel, the Eldritch Abomination Gah Lak Tus uses a similar tactic to thin out the populations of the worlds it attacks before it arrives, and sends silver, angel-winged emissaries to mollify the populace into cults that will either commit mass-suicide or embrace their coming destruction when Gah Lak Tus finally arrives.

    Fan Works 
  • In Star Trek TOS fanfic Shadows of the Mind the telepathic villain tries this method to kill Spock before the latter can derail his plan. It works well enough thanks to the Vulcan's guilt complex and complicated past.
    There was no way the Vulcan would allow himself to feel anger, true anger, at another. When it came to anger directed at others, his armor was perfect.However, anger directed at oneself, guilt and shame… There his armor was not so strong. There he wouldn’t be able to shield himself…
  • This is how Brigit Stark kills her husband in My Name Is Cinder. She grew tired of waiting for him to kill himself because of his depression, so she simply told him the truth about her, causing him to hang himself from despair.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Guyana: Crime of the Century: At the end of the movie, following the murder of Lee O'Brien, Johnson orders his people to drink poisoned juice to die. While some of the people drink it willingly, others are forced to do so.
  • In M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, people are committing suicide in vast numbers under mysterious circumstances. The audience never gets to know the actual cause of the mass suicides, but speculation about it is sprinkled throughout the film (radiation fallout, a plague, etc.) and some have even spread their own Wild Mass Guessing entries.
  • Hard Candy has Hayley do this to Jeff, an ephebophile and sexual predator, at the end. She drugs him and puts him through hours of psychological torture in revenge for the death of one of his victims, and then tells him if he kills himself, she'll get rid of the evidence so he can keep his reputation intact. She lied.
  • In The Other Guys after Terry and Allen hand over all the evidence against Ershon to his lawyer, the lawyer is forced to drink a bunch of gin at gunpoint by Wesley, and then pushed onto a ledge for seeing something he wasn't meant to see. When arresting Ershon, they put him on the charge for his murder when they believe he was involved.
  • In Shooter the antagonists employ a device that, when strapped to a victim's arm, uses a series of pulleys to force the victim to put a gun against their head and pull the trigger, literally physically forcing them to kill themselves (see it here).

  • The Andromeda Strain: If the titular strain itself does not kill the victim via coagulation, it can also migrate towards the brain, causing the victim to commit the most bizarre suicides (examples include one boy swallowing glue or another person willingly drowning himself in the sink).
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Furyborn's prologue shows Garver Randell being forced into suicide by Corien shortly after Rielle gives birth to her daughter.
  • The modus operandi of Despair from The Faerie Queene is persuading poor passerbys that they'd be better off dying rather than continuing to live and do more and more evil to merit greater punishments in Hell. He nearly manages to get the Redcrosse Knight to drive a dagger through his chest.
  • Honor Harrington: The Mesan Alignment have nanomachines which control the bodies of anyone they end up in. They're used for multiple instances of this trope, from a potential liability being made to shoot himself, to a trusted lieutenant performing Suicide by Cop after attempting to murder his captain. The worst part is that victims of these nanomachines are completely aware of what's happening and unable to stop it.
  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has Major Amrik Singh, a military officer who has committed multiple crimes and human rights abuses. When his senior officers catch wind of his activities, they give him the option of 'escaping' to the US so they do not have to investigate him and tarnish the army's reputation. However, the relatives of his victims follow him to the US and keep running into him apparently at random. He is slowly driven mad and ends up killing his family and then himself.
  • How the final victim dies in Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians. Distraught and mentally unbalanced by the events of the book, she walks into a room to find a noose prepped and waiting. She uses it.
  • Dreamweaver's Dilemma by Lois McMaster Bujold, part of the Vorkosigan Saga, has an artist specializing in creating custom dream simulations and her retired military friend investigating a custom job the former was hired for, a spectacularly nightmarish piece. Eventually, the friend works out that the customer's intent is to replace his wife's usual dream cartridge with the one he commissioned, targeted to her own traumas and insecurities with the intent of trapping her there long enough that she would be instantly Driven to Suicide the moment she awoke. It would have worked had the mediator not gotten greedy and tried to kill the titular artist to steal her paycheck.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Barrier: The exact variant of the trope is unclear, but a flash-back to the suicide of a character shows him hanging himself while the policeman investigating him is watching him do it, indicating that the suicide was coerced to an extent.
  • In one episode of Death in Paradise, a man with a terminal illness kills himself and makes it look like a robbery gone wrong for an insurance payout, but it's later revealed to be this trope: the man's doctor faked the diagnosis hoping this would happen. (He was a Yandere after the victim's wife)
  • Dexter: In the first season episode "Shrink Wrap", the villain of the week Dr. Emmett Meridian has this as his MO. A Psycho Psychiatrist who is intimidated by his high-powered female clients, he: 1) prescribes them antidepressants they don't need until they become addicted, 2) abruptly takes them off again, plunging them into a dark depression, and then 3) fills their heads with thoughts about how suicide is noble and admirable and brave. He manages to convince at least three of his patients to shoot themselves.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Mentioned by Capt. Deakins, when Detectives Goren and Eames discover a radio shock-jock committed suicide after someone replaced his antidepressants with placebos.
    Capt. Deakins: Murder by suicide.

  • One killer in the first season of Psych tapped into a depression helpline and forced callers to commit suicide at gunpoint.
  • In the first episode of Sherlock "A Study in Pink," a black-cab driver causes the deaths of a series of his passengers, using the two-pill choice (one poison, one not). He is eventually known as a serial suicide murderer. Sherlock first hears the name "Moriarity" as the patron behind the cabbie's actions.

    Video Games 
  • In The Cat Lady, Susan is supernaturally tasked with killing several serial killers. The last one is "The Eye of Adam", who frequents suicide-prevention web forums and uses private messages to subtly push users into giving in to their suicidal urges.
  • In Criminal Case: Supernatural Investigations, Theresa Rosenthal is "killed" by being injected with truth serum then painfully mind raped by a demon until she shoots herself to escape from the agony.
  • In the Dead Space franchise, the presence of the Markers (or the Brethren Moons themselves) tends to brainwash any organic beings into a cult which eventually commits mass-suicide, has their dead flesh converted into Necromorphs, and then proceeds to kill and infect others.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Jensen finds an augmented hacker trying to break in and steal Sarif Industries' latest top-secret military project. When Jensen tries to confront him, the man pulls a gun and puts it to his own head. His terrified expression, though, makes it clear that his body is being controlled remotely by the real hacker; all he can do is whisper "Help me!" to Jensen before he's forced to pull the trigger and end his own life.
  • Hitman (2016): The Patient Zero campaign revolves around Obyek Nabazov, a leader who's been known to start cults and have them all commit ritual suicide while he leaves to found another.
  • In the Mass Effect universe, various forms of Mind Control may force this on a person. Most noticeably, in the first game, you run into what's left of a machine cult that impaled themselves on spikes and converted them into mindless zombie-like bio-mechanical Husks that did the machines' bidding.
  • In Master Detective Archives: Rain Code, it turns out that while Yomi Hellsmile is responsible for sending Yakou Furio to his death by Suicide Attack on Dr. Huesca in Chapter 4, it would not have happened otherwise had Makoto Kagutsuchi not introduced Fink the Slaughter Artist to Yakou in the first place, as it was Fink who gave Yakou the means to cover up his involvement in Dr. Huesca's murder by being hired to kill him to cover up the truth. Since Yakou would not have otherwise followed through with his plan without the means to cover up his involvement, Makoto is ultimately the one responsible for leading Yakou into his Suicide Attack, and not Yomi.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations: This is how Dahlia Hawthorne has Terry Fawles taken care of to cover their tracks. Years before the trial, she persuaded Terry (who was lovestruck and mentally impaired) to join a suicide pact with her; they'd both kill themselves if they could no longer trust each other. She invokes it when Terry is set to testify against her, and he drinks the poison she gave him. Dahlia, of course, doesn't uphold her end.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers works with an implied version (since it's still an E-rated game) of this trope in the post-end plot. Darkrai tries to convince the hero and their partner that after saving the world via time travel, their mere existence is now threatening the space-time continuum. Thus, in order to restore balance, they have to "disappear" and let themselves be willingly assassinated. Needless to say, his plan doesn't work out and he ends up getting defeated by the good guys in the end.

    Real Life 
  • Cults that commit mass suicide might fall under this. The mass suicide of Jim Jones' People's Temple congregation in Guyana would be a Real Life example — aside from the manipulations of a very charismatic cult leader (and his warnings — possibly with some truth, as visiting U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan was recently killed by Jones' men there — that their "enemies" were about to invade the commune), there were some members who did try to sneak away rather than drink the poisoned Kool-Aid (or rather, "Flavor-Aid"), but many of these were caught and killed by Jones' goons. Similarly, survivors have said some victims with cold feet were forced to drink it with the threat of being shot.
  • There have been a few interesting court cases on the subject of encouraging people to take drugs with suicide as a potential side effect. While one isn't too suspect, sometimes people have have pressured others into taking dozens.
  • The death of Conrad Roy was an example of this, in which his girlfriend—Michelle Carter—sent him text messages encouraging or commanding him to kill himself, knowing that he had a history of mental illness. During his (sadly soon-to-be completed) suicide attempt, he called her, looking for reassurance, and she commanded him to go back and finish the attempt; the courts would later find her responsible for his death and she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
  • Cases of people playing Russian Roulette that result in death have been charged as murder even if the person who died was the one pulling the trigger; on the grounds that willingly participating demonstrates a depraved indifference to human life.