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Murder Is the Best Solution

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Hear me out... what about manslaughter?

Crazy Mage 1: We cannot trust anyone.
Crazy Mage 2: Especially each other.
Crazy Mage 3: Oh, the solution is so simple. We KILL. KILL everyone.
Crazy Mage 1: How delightful.
[everyone attacks each other]

There is some sort of problem that the characters are facing. Immediately, someone suggests murdering someone else as the solution to their problem, despite there being better, more rational, and more legal solutions.

Often done to heighten the drama. Sometimes done to show that the villain really is evil, or at least Ax-Crazy. Most often it's Played for Laughs. Bonus laugh points if killing makes the problems even bigger than other solutions. Either way, a clear product of the Rule of Drama... or Rule of Funny. Common with Trigger-Happy characters and Token Evil Teammates, and when Played for Laughs, by the Heroic Comedic Sociopath. Usually only a suggestion or threat, only rarely carried out. May involve someone assuming that the Godzilla Threshold has been crossed, even when it hasn't. (Actually, make that "especially when it hasn't.")

What will always subvert this trope is traveling back in time to kill Hitler.

In contrast with Violence is the Only Option, where other options aren't reasonable; when murder is the best solution, there are plenty of other options, but murder and mayhem are chosen anyway. Compare with Cutting the Knot, which is essentially violence being used as an answer — though the success varies.

Related to Always Murder, which states that murder is the most commonly investigated crime in fiction. Can be the starting point for Crime After Crime. Compare Stating the Simple Solution or Kill Him Already!, when someone else suggests murder as a more sensible alternative to, say, a Death Trap. Characters who believe this will insist that it is Better to Kill Than Frighten and will constantly surprise/annoy/frighten the others who only wanted a scared obstacle. If the target is sent on a suicide mission, or if his death is arranged to occur by the hand of a mutual enemy, it's the Uriah Gambit. May require The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much in order for the perpetrator to get away with it (though probably not for long). And of course, a murder attempt can backfire by giving the target an even stronger reason to seek vengeance — Nice Job Breaking It, Herod. Contrast with Thou Shalt Not Kill (where a character is adamant against killing) and Can't Default to Murder (where a character is forced into a situation where murder is not the best solution). Not to be confused with Death Is the Only Option, or Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?, where the murder has already been decided, but the exact mechanism remains in dispute.


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Serious Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Valvrave the Liberator, this is usually L-Elf's plan in most situations. Haruto calls him out on it by saying that violence is always the answer with him. In the episode where this is really shown when L-Elf shoots Marie in the head for trying to get the secret of the Valvraves from Haruto and distracting him from a battle he was late for, it's also justified, as we see his backstory being trained as a Child Soldier from a very young age. He mentions they were taught to be pragmatically cold and violent. "We were told to kill anyone suspicious. Kill any informants. Kill any deserters. Kill any witnesses. Kill. Kill."
  • Bleach:
    • "Will they go back to normal if we kill Tsukishima?" Ichigo says without any hesitation. He doesn't even bother trying to find out what the man's motive is. Ichigo's suggestion is especially shocking because he'd previously hesitated to kill creatures who were far less human. To be fair to him, what Tsukishima has done to him was... rough.
    • Part of the backstory is that the Quincy were threatening the balance between life and afterlife because their actions destroyed the souls of Hollows, instead of purifying them like Shinigami do. The Shinigami explained this to them, but the Quincy, having lost so many friends and family to Hollows, felt that Hollows deserved to have their souls destroyed. Since they failed to convince the Quincy to stop, the Shinigami immediately proceeded to Plan B: Genocide. (Ultimately, they let one Quincy live, who had agreed to their terms at the start.) Too bad for the Shinigami, a bunch of other Quincy managed to escape too. And they've spent a long time developing powerful new techniques to return the favor.
  • In Code Geass, the Black Knights' resident propagandist Diethard Reid and scientist Rakshata suggest assassinating Suzaku once they learn that he's the pilot of the Lancelot (Ha ha, good luck with that). Most of the other Knights, including Lelouch, disagree and outvote them. To get Kallen to attempt to take Suzaku's life, Diethard lies to Kallen that Zero wanted Suzaku dead. Thankfully, Lelouch manages to stop her and later has a word with Diethard as Zero after learning he was behind it.
    • And Rolo really liked this mindset, both when working for Villetta and after defecting to Lelouch.
  • Kira (Light Yagami), of Death Note. Admittedly, it was the only hammer the man had, but everything from mass murderers to interfering police officers were treated like nails.
  • Elfen Lied. Especially at the end, when they go through with it without actually trying to think up any better plans.
  • Done on a massive scale in Gravion's backstory: In a land dispute between two planets, the rulers of one side reject Sandman's plan to use his Super Robot to build a new habitable world (or fix their old one) out of hand, and go with Hugi's plans to send an army of Robeasts and Mecha-Mooks to exterminate the people of the other planet.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry's Tatarigoroshi-hen:
    • Keiichi's plan to kill Satoko's uncle to protect her. Unfortunately, it really just ends up making things worse.
    • This seems to be a recurring theme for the show, as Rena kills Rina and Teppei in Tsumihoroboshi-hen to protect her dad from their scam and later on threatens to murder all the kids in her school with a bomb if she doesn't get the police to do what she wants, Shion kills all the people she thought put Satoshi away (and tries to stab Keiichi, and no, she was never at the hospital) in Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen, and the overall theme of the show itself, since Takano wants Rika dead by her own hands so she can enact her plan to raze the village, before 'everybody goes crazy'. When you consider that all of these people have Hinamizawa syndrome, a disease that causes people to go Ax-Crazy, it makes more sense.
    • Shion also really wants to kill Teppei in Minagoroshi, but is stopped by Keiichi. In a sound novel-only arc, Shion, Rena, and Keiichi team up to kill Teppei. It doesn't go so well.
    • The cast doesn't learn until Kai that No, Murder IS NOT the best solution.
  • Future Diary:
    • Yuno subscribes to this trope. In her own words, "Everyone who comes between me and Yukki can just die!"
    • Unsurprisingly, Yukiteru eventually comes to think this way on the basis of "I can just bring them back to life when I'm God." Unfortunately for him, it turns out that bringing the dead back to life is one of the few things God can't do.
  • Char Aznable in Mobile Suit Gundam, but more so during Char's Counterattack. Having become a Well-Intentioned Extremist, he justifies a Colony Drop as a way to accelerate humanity's evolution into Newtypes by forcing all of them to leave Earth.
  • In One Piece, Admiral Akainu's Establishing Character Moment is to kill a ship full of innocent people because there may be an archaeologist aboard. Technically correct, as the whole reason he and other Marines were there was to ensure a secret guarded for centuries didn't get out, or it could destabilize the world.
  • Asakura Ryoko of Haruhi Suzumiya is convinced that killing Kyon is the best solution to find out more about Haruhi. The boss of both her and Yuki is an alien-entity who only wishes to observe passively. The problem is, nothing "interesting" ever happens, so Asakura wants to force change. By killing Kyon, "change" is pretty much guaranteed. But not in the good way.
  • This trope sets off the plot of Puella Magi Oriko Magica. When the titular Oriko sees a vision of Kreimhild Gretchen, she decides to prevent said Witch's birth by killing Madoka.
  • In episode 12 of Tokyo Mew Mew, Ichigo's crush Masaya almost found out her identity and she became depressed. In the preview for the next episode, Quiche decides to 'Erase' Masaya. His method of 'Erasing' includes tearing Masaya limb from limb slowly with a Monster of the Week, so it's lucky Ichigo saved Masaya in time.
    Quiche: I know! I'll just erase him for you! Then you won't have to worry anymore, my honey!
  • In Day Break Illusion, we have what happened if Magical Girl series didn't have purification power. And it was played for heart-wrenching drama.
  • The villains of the 4th and 5th arcs of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure have absolutely no compunctions about murder being their Plans A, B, and C when it comes to protecting their identity. In both cases, this is what attracts the protagonists. Although Bruno was gunning for Diavolo beforehand anyway, he wouldn't have had a chance of finding him had Diavolo not had them bring Trish to him to kill her.
  • Black Lagoon is a series about killers for hire, mob bosses, and other criminal elements — essentially Action Movies played both straight and serious. The shock value lies in when a character makes the call not to automatically remove a living obstruction, though the obstruction probably dies anyway. The everyday protagonist has slowly come to terms with this.
  • In Inazuma Eleven with antagonist Kageyama: Best way to make sure the team you coach doesn't lose in their middle school soccer regional final match? Crush the opposing team of middle school kids to death, of course. Fortunately, the captain of Kageyama's team, Kidou, works out his plan ahead of time and warns protagonist Endou about it.
    • Again with Kageyama: Best way to make sure your team wins the middle school soccer tournament finals? Run over the opposing team captain's little sister with a truck so he runs away from the match. Fortunately, she doesn't die from it, but there was every logical chance that she would have.
    • Once again with Kageyama, although more indirectly this time. Before trying to crush them, Kageyama orders one of his spies sent to Raimon to tamper with the bus that Raimon would take to the regional finals match so that it would crash on the way there. Which happens to be the exact same thing he did to the legendary Inazuma Eleven, with said accident being the thing that seemingly killed Endou's grandfather. Natsumi finds out about it and forces the spy to confess before the plan to go ahead.
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers:
    • The Reverend Kasuga believes that the grave is the safest place to keep secrets. This includes prostitutes used to tempt a monk to break his vows (after other murders to force his hand), the mother of Chie, who would become the female Shogun Iemitsu, and the doctor who witnessed the original Iemitsu's death from Redface Pox.
    • Deconstructed with Harusada. While she does resort to murdering rivals and even her own grandkids, it's less because it's the best solution and more because it's the one with the most entertainment value, as she flat-out stated that she murdered her sister because she was bored.
    • Reconstructed with Ienari's concubines, though, who saw what Harusada had done and concluded that it was indeed the best solution to get rid of rivals, with the result that only half of Ienari's numerous children made it to adulthood.
  • Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet: Ledo's personal philosophy. It's a given where he hails from, but on Earth, it brings about serious consequences. As a result of Ledo using this option, he causes problems for the Gargantia fleet; first against human pirates, and later when he kills a whale squid, which Chamber identifies as Hideauze, a large swarm of them pass by Gargantia, and Ledo is held at gunpoint to make sure he doesn't bring about any further hostilities from the whale squids by Ridget.
  • Sword Art Online: After being defeated in ALO, Sugou attacks Kirito in real life with full intent to kill, stating outright that he won't accept anything less than Kirito's death for interfering with his plans. Kirito beats him down and leaves him a broken wreck in the parking lot for the cops.
    Sugou: You think a piece of trash like you can get in my way? Did you think I'd let you slow me down?! Wanna know what the punishment is? Death. I won't accept anything less!
  • During the Dark Tournament arc of YuYu Hakusho this is Hiei's suggestion. Tired of being jerked around by the ever-changing rulings by the corrupt committee, he suggests their entire team dispense with formalities and kill everyone that gets in their way; opponents, spectators, and council members equally.
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School: There are two big standouts in in Side: Future:
    • Kyousuke Munakata is so paranoid of Despair agents ruining the Future Foundation's progress, his solution is to preemptively kill anyone who even associates with the faction.
    • Turns out to be the Mastermind's motive. The Future Foundation was becoming more corrupt, so the organization's leader, Kazuo Tengan, thought the best way to fix it was to burn it all down. He starts his plan by locking all the organization's branch heads, including himself, in a Deadly Game. Granted, there was a non-violent solution where the branch heads work together to escape, but he was counting on them hating and distrusting each other's guts enough to slaughter themselves, and set up brainwashing programs for everyone else.
    • Its spinoff Killer Killer has an even more extreme version: Shuuji Fujigawa wants to eliminate despair from the hearts of the people by killing everyone off. After all, nobody can succumb to the horrors if nobody's around to feel it.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: In “Crusade for the Blade”, a warrior girl named Sirica arrives on Pop Star, intending on killing Meta Knight because she holds him responsible for the death of her mother. But despite her lack of knowledge regarding the context of the tragedy, instead of trying to explain to Meta Knight that she thought Meta Knight had stolen Galaxia (his sword) from her mother, she fully believes that Meta Knight abandoned her and aims to murder him out of sheer vengeance. Not only that, but she also tries to incinerate King Dedede and Escargoon with her flamethrower just minutes after her ship crashes, prompting them to launch an offensive on her that would not have happened had she dealt with everything in a more peaceful manner.

    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • Councilor Gala-Na of Albion displayed this way of thinking on multiple occasions:
      • First, by ordering the High Sheriff, Robotnik's Mercia Sub-Boss, dismantled, uncaring that he's Antoine's roboticized father and refusing to risk letting the Freedom Fighters take him back to Knothole in order to restore his free will even after Antoine literally begged her to let them do so.
      • Then, when Dr. Finitevus began falling off the deep end after his failed attempt to depower Chaos Knuckles, Gala-Na voted to have him euthanized and put him in custody. This bit her in the ass when Finitevus escaped, informing Eggman of Albion's location and sabotaging their defenses to ensure they'd be unable to fend off his forces.
    • When Knuckles becomes the latest Enerjak, Locke takes Sonic and Julie-Su to retrieve an anti-Enerjak weapon; while Sonic and Julie believed it would simply return Knuckles to normal, Locke later reveals to them that he in fact plans to use it to kill Knuckles, not once considering trying to save his son or bring him back to his senses. Julie gives him a major What the Hell, Hero? in response, and Sonic ultimately smashes the weapon himself.
  • Watchmen:
    • For Rorschach, deadly force is more or less his first line of defense, and then there's all the people he kills because he thinks they deserve it.
    • The Comedian certainly isn't above deadly force, but he really crosses the Moral Event Horizon when he murders a Vietnamese woman who is pregnant with his child. The confrontation starts with him callously telling her he's leaving and not taking her back to America with him; in fact, he intends to forget all about her and her country. So, to make sure he remembers forever, she slashes his face with a broken bottle, but he didn't shoot her while she was coming at him. He shot her after he'd been slashed, and after she'd put the bottle down in response to him pulling a gun. She was practically begging him not to shoot for a solid 15 seconds before he pulled the trigger. It wasn't an instinctive, defensive response; it was murder. Afterwards, he points out to a shocked Doctor Manhattan (who was standing there the whole time), that he's just as responsible for the outcome, really; with his Reality Warper powers, Manhattan could have created any number of solutions by doing literally anything to prevent one or both acts of violence, but he just stood there and let it all happen.
    • Ozymandias seems to solve all problems with murder. Unlike Rorschach and The Comedian, each kill is a premeditated one in cold blood intended to solve a specific problem to which there exist other solutions. It is debatable whether murder really is the best solution, but he believes in each case it is the best way to achieve his overall goal (or at least maintain the necessary secrecy). Usually, he justifies it as "one life to save many".
  • Played for Drama in The Wicked + The Divine, when Minerva questions why, if Woden could build a cage capable of housing a god on a rampage, did Ananke feel the need to kill Lucifer?
  • X-Men:
    • Wolverine is known for suggesting this during X-Men strategy meetings.
      • If anything, this is becoming even more pronounced. In Avengers vs. X-Men, teenager Hope Summers is acting as a lure for a cosmic entity destroying everything in its path. The Avengers' solution: get her off Earth. Wolverine's solution: kill her (though he doesn't go through with it). The big story after that, Age of Ultron, has Wolverine trying to undo evil robot Ultron's taking over the world by going back in time and murdering Hank Pym, the Avenger who built it. When this fails to make things any better, he fixes this by going back again and murdering his own past self.
      • In Avengers: The Children's Crusade, this is his opinion of the best way to deal with Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and her sixteen-year-old reincarnated son, Billy Kaplan (Wiccan). While wanting to kill Wanda is at least justifiable to an extent, Wolverine is outright gleeful about the idea of killing Billy as well — and not only has Billy done nothing wrong, no one's even sure if he has his mother's powers or strength. At that point, the biggest display of his power was accidentally putting a bunch of terrorists into temporary magical comas, which stopped a nuke from going off in the middle of New York. And while that display made the Avengers nervous, it wasn't proof of Billy being able to warp reality at all, let alone to Wanda's level. Wolverine is determined to murder Billy regardless, just in case. He outright tries to kill Billy twice, nearly running Billy through with his claws on both occasions, but is luckily stopped first by Magneto and then by Iron Lad. On the Avengers side of things, no one outright agrees with Wolverine's plan to "murder Wanda and her innocent son", but no one says anything against it, either.
    • As is Deadpool, during the few X-Men strategy meetings he's been allowed into. Also, during most romantic comedies.
      Deadpool: I don't get it, if he loves her, but she loves him, why doesn't he just shoot him in the %^&*#ing face and settle the debate?
    • Psylocke has been known to take her cue from Wolverine. For example, when the supposedly dead X-Men were discovered by former member Havok...
      Psylocke: I dare not attempt another mindwipe but, as well, we dare not leave him loose where the Marauders can get at him.
      Storm: Have we any other option?
      Psylocke: Wolverine's. We kill him.
  • Sabretooth chooses this for Weapon H in the Weapon X series. The team face Weapon H and are soundly defeated. Old Man Logan senses that he still has a moral compass, and wants to try talking to him. Creed feels that Weapon H is too dangerous not to kill, and they'd have many deaths on their conscience letting something like him live and possibly rampage through a city of innocents. Many don't take Creed seriously, given his less than good history. Warpath even points it out.
    Sabretooth: You know I'm right, Jimmy.
    Warpath: Maybe. But if I bought every argument you just made, I'd have killed you the day we met.
  • The current version of Blue Beetle's power-granting scarab usually suggests solutions involving murder, mass murder, and occasionally deicide. It was created to conquer planets, and it's not supposed to have non-lethal options. Luckily for just about everyone, Jaime influenced the scarab to create non-lethal options.
  • 1950s EC Comics were filled with this trope played dead straight; the setup for many, many stories was the protagonist meeting a new love and deciding they have to murder their existing spouse. Sometimes it would be justified by them still wanting the spouse's money, but usually not. Do keep in mind that divorce laws in 1950s America were far stricter.
    • The worst example is from one of their sci-fi stories, where a scientist murders his annoying neighbor because he keeps coming inside and bugging him while he's working. Instead of just, you know, locking the door.
  • Moon Knight:
    • Issue #9: Moon Knight drops in on the Punisher mowing down half a dozen thugs:
      Moon Knight: You know, we could easily go down there and stop them.
      Punisher: I am stopping them.
    • This trope is pretty much the reason Frank doesn't have much of a recurring Rogues Gallery (except for Jigsaw and The Kingpin). It takes a severe implementation of Joker Immunity (normally through interfering superheroes) for a villain to walk away from Frank alive.
  • Turned Up to 11 by Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy Secret Invasion tie-in. Since the only surefire way to detect Skrulls is that they revert to their true form when killed, his solution to the threat of Skrull infiltrators is to kill every single person in Knowhere. Oh, and then resuscitate them all. And it works.
  • Squadron Supreme: Nighthawk's first reaction to his long-time friend and coworker Hyperion announcing the Squadron's Utopia Program is to immediately go to his vault, grab that piece of argonite he'd been saving, and plan to shoot Hyperion dead in public, where everyone can see him. He never bothers explaining his not unwarranted fears about the program until his actions have led to a super-powered brawl and several people dying, and it's far too late to stop.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Some of the anxious public at first think Monarch should attempt killing Monster X due to its resemblance to Ghidorah, ignoring how Ghidorah proved impossible to kill with manmade means when the military previously tried that.
  • In Spectacular Seven, Moondancer is shocked to hear that Sunset Shimmer has woken up from a coma in the hospital. This is because Moondancer knows that Sunset had her soul ripped out by Tempest Shadow and stored in the Soul Lock, which should be inescapable. Sunset's soul escaped anyway, and Sunset also knows that Moondancer is The Dragon for Tempest, which means that Sunset could easily undo all of their plans. After that, Moondancer comes to the conclusion that the best course of action is for her to kill Sunset. It doesn't help that Moondancer was becoming a full-blown Yandere before this happened because of Sunset's love for Twilight Sparkle, and that Moondancer was Drunk on the Dark Side as a result of the Archon Amulet.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • Upon their resurrection in Act III, upon finding out that Kokoa was the one who turned Tsukune into a ghoul and thus indirectly responsible for their deaths, Astreal is quick to hold a grudge against Kokoa to the extent that she outright tries to shoot Kokoa dead right in front of everybody on multiple occasions; in Act III chapter 10 alone, she tries to do so three times in rapid succession and is admonished by it by both Ruby and Apoch each time. In Act III chapter 12, when Apoch tries to talk the ghoul-infected Kokoa down, Astreal promptly jumps right to the notion of killing her; fortunately, it doesn't come to that.
    • In Act III chapter 12, when the ghoul-infected Kokoa is about to tear off Tsukune's Holy Lock, Felucia instantly insists that they have to kill Kokoa before it's too late, not once considering simply bringing Kokoa back to her senses; Mizore stops her by pointing out that Dark is trying to stop Kokoa non-lethally, and if it really came down to that, Dark would have already killed either Kokoa or Tsukune.
  • In Savior of Demons, Piccolo seems to think killing a currently defenseless Frieza is a better idea than waiting for him to regain his strength and kill Gohan and the others.
  • This is Gilda's first solution to get out of an Arranged Marriage in Diaries of a Madman, though she's dissuaded from this course. Nav's daughter Taya can also be a little quick to resort to lethal force in combat, over less lethal spells.
  • In the X Com Enemy Unknown / Brynhildr in the Darkness crossover X-Com Into Darkness, this is The Conspiracy's main problem solver when it looks like a Magic User will get away. Problem is that they are now trying this on an internationally-funded, well-trained Black Ops team charged with protecting humanity. Now X-Com is wondering why a bunch of people are trying to kill anyone who talks with these girls.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, this causes some What the Hell, Hero? moments between the Trans-Galactic Republic and the (supposedly) heroic Vault Hunters/members of their galaxy. Jakobs' tech is causing rips in the universe? Nuke planets filled with civilians. And laugh while doing it. People like Torgue think this is hilarious and well-deserved, Admiral Nimitz is less-enamored. However, it ends up being treated as an Informed Flaw, partially justified due to the stakes.
  • The example in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is remade to be a reconstruction of this trope in Bad Alert: The Extreme. In this canon, murder is the only solution for stopping Lady Tremaine, her two daughters, and Courtney Gears from spreading their evil across the multiverse.
  • In The Games We Play, this is used to demonstrate the growing detachment of the Archangels from baseline humanity. When they received news that agitators were kicking up a fuss while they were trying to conduct a groundbreaking experiment, one of them, Gevurah, declared that he could resolve it in five minutes. He did so by slaughtering everyone rather than trying for a more diplomatic solution.
  • In I'm Here to Help, Emerald's first plan to stop Crystal Tokyo is murdering Neo-Queen Serenity. The plan that involves simply neutralizing her power is a last resort, and he admits that he hoped he could have ended things by killing Serenity before turning to it.
  • In One Eye Full Of Wisdom, Team 7 decide the best way to protect Tazuna is to kill Gatou who's hiring ninja to kill him since said ninja are Only in It for the Money.
  • Clint in Sam Councils Communication suggests simply killing the Winter Core, citing that the JCTC is already securing them so if Steve is so insistent Ross not get his hands on the Super Serum, killing them is the only real option as they have no prison to contain five Super Soldiers. Bucky doesn't bother discussing it and simply starts sniping the still-frozen soldiers, causing Clint to fire an explosive arrow at three of them.
  • In The Demon Who Lived, Kallen Stadtfeld, reincarnated into Hermione Granger, decides that she only has one shot to rescue Lelouch (reincarnated as Harry Potter) so the best method is to kill the Dursleys rather than waste the element of surprise on something that has a larger chance of failure.
  • Ambition of the Red Princess: Firo has a nasty habit of kicking anyone she dislikes, something that can be fatal if their level is too low. Several different characters have suggested that Naofumi have her put down, citing how dangerous an uncontrollable high-level filorial is.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Sabrina's goal is to make a world where the people at the top earned their position based on merit rather than on things like lineage. While that goal isn't so bad by itself, her way of achieving that world involves doing horrible things to them to motivate them to do something remarkable, or failing that, killing those she considers unremarkable or a waste of space.
  • Alya and the Harem Reality: Tomoe dismisses the claim that Ladybug is doing her best to stop the Akumas, saying that it would be faster and more efficient to kill the Akuma, purify the butterfly, then use Miraculous Ladybug to get them back.
  • The Moon Rises at Dawn: While her council dithers about how to solve Suna's financial crisis with the Daimyo sending ever more missions to Konoha, Temari suggests (read: orders) that they simply kill him and replace him with a Daimyo more "friendly" towards Suna. One councilor tries to insist such a thing is the worst form of treason, but she doesn't care, stating that the Daimyo has proven himself an enemy of the village and literally anyone else would already be dead for how badly he's sabotaged them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the HAL 9000 computer, faced with an irreconcilable programming conflict, decides that the only way to ensure the mission's success is to kill the crew of the Discovery and complete the mission by himself. This one makes slightly more sense, in that the programming conflict is from two equal and opposite commands to "tell crew vital information" and "keep vital information secret until reaching orbit". If there is no crew, the problem goes away... On top of this, he was actually trying to find a less lethal solution, but after incorrectly equating temporary shutdown with death, as HAL was unable to grasp the concept of sleep, decided he had no choice but to take the simple solution of killing the crew and cutting off communications with Earth if he's going to survive.
  • In Ben and Arthur, antagonist Victor believes he must kill his gay brother Arthur in order for his church to readmit him after his expulsion. Far from dissuading Victor, the priest (who kicked him out on account that Arthur being gay will somehow send the rest of the congregants to Hell) gives Victor a phone number for an assassin that can do the job. The assassin succeeds in killing Ben... except that he actually doesn't kill him, but missed out on killing Arthur, who ran out to buy groceries. On the second attempt, Victor takes the assassin with him, only to dispense with his services when both of them are already in the building. Victor then enters Ben and Arthur's apartment alone to (permanently) kill Ben and, later, baptize and kill Arthur.
  • In Clue, this trope is invoked by Mr. Boddy at the beginning, when he tells the party guests to kill his butler, Wadsworth. It doesn't quite work out for him.
  • Nearly every movie by The Coen Brothers begins with people of limited intelligence having a plan that ends with someone dead. And then the fun begins.
  • In Conspiracy (2001), the Wannsee Conference where the Final Solution phase of the Holocaust was devised has the Nazis discussing with cold-blooded earnestness why killing the Third Reich's "undesirables" is the best means of dealing with them. At one point, sterilization is suggested as a practical alternative, given the chronic shortage of manpower. The suggestion is bluntly overruled by Heydrich, who makes it clear that the decision has already been made by Adolf Hitler. Only one of the men has any genuine moral problems with the mass murder — the rest are simply discussing how best to organize it.
  • In The Flesh and the Fiends, Burke and Hare quickly decide that the best way to ensure a steady supply of cadavers for Dr. Knox is to murder Disposable Vagrants rather than waiting for people to die naturally and then digging up their graves. And they then decide that the best way to deal with anyone who discovers their scheme is to murder; in one case even selling the body of their victim to Dr. Knox.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): At the start of the film, the government and most of the public are advocating that the military take over Monarch and try to kill all the Titans, instead of following Monarch's arguments that the Titans are ecologically essential and that seeking coexistence with them is a better option. The world gets extra points for all the Fridge Horror that attempting to off the Titans indiscriminately would entail. The military seems to think the Godzilla Threshold has been crossed when Ghidorah and Rodan are released, but they have no idea.
  • GoodFellas has this trope in the whole movie. Tommy is the kind of Hair-Trigger Temper maniac that would resort to this trope just because someone laughed at him, but his boss Jimmy Conway is the coldly malignant sort who will opt for this because it's his way of saving money (no need to split the take from a heist if everyone else is dead and Jimmy can keep it all) or to get rid of a member of his crew who's drawing too much attention, and no amount of loyalty, friendship, or past history will save you. In the first 10-15 seconds of this clip, you can see the exact moment that he decides that he's had enough of his fellow thieves from the infamous Lufthansa heist engaging in Suspicious Spending or demanding more money after the heist turned out to be far more lucrative than planned. A cold stare turns into the slightest of raised eyebrows and a momentary smirk, and just like that the decision to kill around a dozen of his associates has been made. From that moment on all of them are dead, they just don't know it yet.
  • Comes up twice in The Guns of Navarone. Early in the mission, Franklin gets a broken leg, and the team must consider executing him to keep him from slowing them down or being captured and interrogated by the Germans (Franklin even attempts to shoot himself to save them the trouble). Mallory takes a third option. Later, when Anna is revealed as a mole, the gang has a lengthy debate about whether to kill her to complete the mission. They do.
  • Lawrence of Arabia has a similar scene, where Lawrence has to execute an Arab who murdered a member of another tribe, in order to avoid an all-out war among the Arabs.
  • Martin Donnelly, from The Reckless Moment, knows that the only way to stop his blackmailing partner from threatening Lucia is by killing him.
  • Works out well for everyone but the murderers in The Ladykillers — namely because their attempt at using this Trope ends up in an Epic Fail conga that kills them off one by one.
  • Very Bad Things is "This Trope: The Movie". A bachelor party with an accidental death ends with the massacre of an awful lot of potential witnesses (and perpetrators backstabbing each other) because by the end the protagonists can't think of anything else.
  • Bad Boys (1995): The Big Bad Fouchet can't really seem to think of how to deal with anything that pisses him off in any way, shape, or form other than drawing his gun and blowing it away. At the climax, he even kills the man that he spent the whole film preparing a multi-million-dollar shipment of drugs (that he stole from the MDPD's evidence storage) for no good apparent reason other than the man just standing in front of him while there is a shootout going on.
  • In The Talented Mr. Ripley Tom murders his lover Peter because either Peter or Meredith has to die to prevent Tom from being exposed as a murderer and Tom can't get to Meredith.
  • This is generally the advice the ghosts of Britain's most famous murderers offer Jodie for any problem she faces in Deadly Advice. Only Major Armstrong suggests that she stop at one murder, as attempting a second was his undoing.
  • In The Muppet Movie, Doc Hopper tries to convince Kermit the Frog to be the mascot for his frog leg restaurants. Kermit refuses, so Hopper resolves to kill and stuff Kermit unless he caves to his demands. Near the end of the film, Hopper decides that if he cannot have Kermit, then nobody can. He orders his hired gunmen to kill not only Kermit but all of his friends for getting in the way but is foiled at the last second by Animal.
  • This is Liza's outlook on life in 68 Kill. Once the crime spree starts, she tries to kill anyone who presents an obstacle. Violet later urges him to murder the cashier at the gas station because she's seen his face, but this is actually a Secret Test of Character.
  • A Shock to the System: Graham decides it is after accidentally killing a homeless man and going unnoticed. He resolves to kill the people in his life causing him problems and make their deaths look accidental.
  • In Stag, Pete arrives at this conclusion as the night drags on, and decides that if Serena and Dan will not go along with the plan to cover up Kelly's death, then Dan and Serena will have to die as well. He tries to convince the other guests, and a disturbing number of them seem willing to go along with him.
  • Stiletto: A philosophy drummed into Virgil by Gus is that if you have been betrayed, kill everyone. Virgil lets his feelings for Raina get in the way after she tries to kill him. When things are spiraling out of control, he asks Gus—now The Consigliere—where he went wrong, Gus replies:
    "When you got out of the hospital, you should have killed everyone."
  • In War of the Worlds (2005) Ray decides to kill Ogilvy after he doesn't listen to his warnings that his screaming is putting them in danger.
  • In Body, after the girls think they have killed Arthur, Cali proposes framing Arthur for attempted rape and claiming they killed him in self-defence. When Arthur turns out to be Not Quite Dead, she proposes waiting for him to die and then continuing with the original. And when he continues to linger, she decides to murder him over Holly and Mel's objections: arguing that all three actions are morally equivalent.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thanos (the Mad Titan) takes this to its most extreme form. His planet was wiped out by overpopulation, and he felt the best solution was mass murder. After Titan's eradication, he came to the conclusion the solution to everyone's problems was to wipe out half of all life in the universe and formed an army travelling world to world culling exactly half of their populations, refusing to ever consider there was an alternative, even when he finally assembled all the Infinity Stones. In Thanos' mind, he is legitimately doing his victims a favor, and they should be grateful.
  • It's a Wonderful Knife (2023):
    • Bernie bluntly states that to reset the timeline, killing Waters is the best way. This turns out to be true, though in truth it's self defense when he's killed, not murder.
    • Waters resorts to this in order to get what he wants. In the alternate timeline, he kills the teenage children of the adults that run any business in town, causing the businesses to close down and letting him take over. When Buck puts in for a transfer, Waters kills him in front of a whole crowd rather than let him leave.

  • Clue:
    • Downplayed in the first book series. The guests prefer theft and threats in most stories, but they try to kill each other or Mr. Boddy over minor things like getting written out of wills or just being annoyed by each other's presence a lot of the time.
    • Zigzagged in the second series. People constantly kill Mr. Boddy for petty reasons, such as because they can't take the time to talk through innocent misunderstandings, stomach a drawn-out but winnable lawsuit (in one story, Mrs. Peacock notes that "rather than fight John in court, it seemed easier to push him down the stairs") or use deception to keep him from finding something out, but often there are other characters in the same story who defy this.
      • In one story, Mustard is sore at Mr. Boddy for supposedly cheating him in a smuggling racket (actually, Mrs. White is unknowingly intercepting the goods and so Boddy doesn't think Mustard is really sending as much as he claims), but merely sends letters insulting his honor and demanding payment rather than retaliate violently.
      • On one occasion, three different characters try to prevent Mr. Boddy and Ms. Scarlet from going to America (two to protect Dark Secrets and Mrs. White just due to a feeling of personal inconvenience) and two try to stop the trip in non-lethal ways, but the third kills Boddy. Rather humorously, Colonel Mustard speculates that Boddy himself was about to indulge in this trope when he died by planning to kill Ms. Scarlet out of outrage at her effort to make him take a ridiculous acting role rather than just telling her no.
      • In the final story, Mustard notes that most of the guests (including himself) wouldn't have killed Boddy over his plan to stop their allowances, but merely would have stayed around all summer trying to talk him into changing his mind.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward is the heir of Hurog. Only he's been declared unfit to rule and his uncle holds the title. More or less anyone who knows about this suggests killing the uncle, or at least implies that this would be the best solution. Ward's younger brother Tosten, who would be the rightful heir after Ward, thinks Ward wants to kill him. Ward is understandably upset by the fact that even his own brother (whom he saved from an attempted suicide) thinks he's a murderer. And then there is king Jakoven, who really thinks that murder is the best solution if confronted with anyone who might be plotting against him. This doesn't work out well for him.
  • The Queen of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. As the solution for every problem, no matter how minor, she instructs "off with his head". This rarely ever actually happens, though.
  • Used in World War Z. The Ukrainian army is trying to process a mass of refugees who are fleeing from a zombie swarm behind them into Kiev. Since it's impossible to examine everybody and sort out the infected in time, the commanders opt to drop nerve gas on the lot of them. The infected are the only ones who stand up afterward.
  • Played straight in Spider Robinson's Variable Star, based upon an outline by Robert A. Heinlein. The hero protagonist, explicitly stated to be trained in avoiding combat, decides on a plan to stop the villain by getting his own friend killed to distract a (likely innocent) bodyguard long enough to kill her as well. This despite controlling the villain's FTL ship (the only remaining valuable asset of a man obsessed with greed), the man who knows how to build new ones and is the pilot, the ship itself, both of the man's daughters, and the only possible escape route for the villain, and being able to escape with all of the above simply by climbing on board the ship and taking off.
  • In Bridge of Birds, the first of Barry Hughart's novels of ancient China, Li Kao (a scholar with a "slight flaw in his character") decides that the easiest way to find the Great Root of Power in an Imperial household is to have a funeral — and that, since the need for the Great Root is rather urgent, it's best not to just wait for the occasion to arise. He does express a hope that he'll be able to find somebody who deserves to die, and the person he settles on is indeed a thoroughly nasty piece of work, but it certainly demonstrates the flaw in Li Kao's character.
  • Milla of The Seventh Tower seems a little too eager to kill Tal during their first meeting.
  • In Warrior Cats, this is generally what the majority of the characters seem to think is the best solution to everything. Oddly enough, the fans tend to agree with them. Notable in that this is never played for laughs.
  • The students in The Secret History opt to kill the one most likely to rat out their previous (accidental) murder.
  • Discworld:
    • This is Mr. Teatime's main flaw in Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Granted, he's an assassin and killing people is his job. The main problem the Assassins Guild has with him is that his idea of an assassination is "kill the target, kill the target's family, kill the maids, kill the dog"...
    • In Making Money, Cosmo Lavish's habit of defaulting to this when someone has Outlived Their Usefulness leads to a classic Revealing Cover Up as Vetinari just follows the trail of bodies.
    • Lacrimosa's default response to everything in Carpe Jugulum is "Let's kill it!"
  • The Alex Rider book series has Well-Intentioned Extremist and Big Bad of the fourth book, Damian Cray, who, after petitioning and protesting against a laboratory testing its products on animals, came to realize that murder is the best solution. It all went downhill.
    • Most, if not all, of the other villains in the series are kill-happy maniacs, in that pretty peculiar Complexity Addiction way typical of Bond villains. The very first Big Bad Alex faces off against in "Stormbreaker" establishes this: how to get back at your high school bully (who has grown up to become Prime Minister of England)? Kill him? No, not humiliating enough. Kill all of England's children so he'll have a national crisis on his hands? Yes.
  • The Saxon Stories: Uhtred's usual proposed solution to whatever thorny problem he - or whoever he is advising - is faced with is to kill someone. Granted, he usually suggests it in contexts where it would probably work and be more pragmatic than sparing the person in question to remain a threat, but sometimes it's just because he's annoyed and can't be bothered to think of something less violent. It's not that he can't figure out a peaceful solution, and is actually a cunning political operator, rather than the brutish thug he's assumed to be (by everyone other than his friends and Alfred). He just operates on the principle that dead enemies can't come back to haunt you. However, it is sometimes Played for Laughs, as in the second book when Alfred - who figures this out very quickly and ends up treating it as a somewhat exasperating but useful quirk of Uhtred's personality - wonders why Uhtred is so cheerful that morning.
    Alfred: Does that mean you've just killed somebody? note 
  • Fire & Blood: During the Faith Militant uprising, Queen Visenya offers Aenys I two options on how to deal with it; 1) Dissolve the marriage of his son and daughter, their primary point of contention, or 2: Kill all of the Faith Militant. He does neither, and the situation gets worse. When Aenys dies, his brother Maegor the Cruel becomes king, and this becomes his method of response to everything.
  • Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter:
    • He falls afoul of this trope in Deathly Hallows. Despite knowing full well that the Elder Wand can be taken without killing its previous owner — in fact, he's met and interrogated two people who lost it and lived — he thinks the sensible solution is to kill his trusted lieutenant.
    • He was specifically asked not to kill Lily Potter and had any number of ways to neutralize her harmlessly. His decision to kill her regardless (after half-heartedly asking her to step aside), directly leads to his defeat on several different occasions, in several different ways.
  • In Death series: Hoo, boy. Since the main character is a Homicide detective, this trope comes up more often than not. For example, in Born In Death, two people named Natalie and Bick apparently discovered something big, because the villain first attempted bribery and then murdered them. Eve and Roarke point out that whoever did this made a bad move because there are ways to handle snoopers without getting the attention of the police by murdering them.
  • David's big mistake in My Soul to Keep. He killed a woman who might have recognized him in spite of the fact that she was dying anyhow and there was essentially no chance she'd say anything that would reveal his secret. The investigation into her mysterious death caused him big, big problems. And then he tried to manipulate his wife by killing a friend of hers, and she didn't react as he expected. These were signs of just how morally and emotionally warped he'd become over his long life. The series shows his growth and improvement.
  • Peril at End House: Nick kills her cousin Maggie for the Sefton fortune to save End House instead of just asking her for a gift or a loan of the money, even though the two of them are close and Maggie might have agreed to help Nick out financially.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Played with. The book Sweet Revenge has Rosemary Hershey seriously thinking about murdering Isabelle Flanders, only to decide against it, because she has the deaths of three people preying on her mind, and she doesn't want to have more people on her mind. The book Lethal Justice has Arden Gillespie seriously consider murdering both her partner Roland Sullivan and the woman she framed Sara Whittler or Alexis Thorne, only for both her and Roland to get drugged, incapacitated, and arrested by Alexis before she can even attempt it.
  • Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess. She punishes all criminals, and even minor nuisances, in the exact same way.
  • Corsus, general of the Witchland in E. R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, will opt for murder in a tight spot: Thus, he poisons King Rezedor of Goblinland, stabs his second-in-command Gallandus for fear of mutiny, and, finally, poisons the whole remaining elite of Witchland in an effort to save his skin. Each time, it backfires on him and leaves him off worse than before.
  • Sometimes comedic, sometimes serious example — Nightblood the living sword from Warbreaker, created with the imperative to slay evil. Problem is, swords aren't very good at telling what's evil and what's not, so it's a bit of a Psychopathic Manchild whose default plan is always "kill everyone just to be on the safe side." It gets pouty whenever Vasher doesn't agree.
  • This trope is deconstructed in the climax of War and Democide Never Again. The mission of the two main characters is to travel back in time to kill dictators before they end up in power, and for the most part, they succeed without too much trouble. However, after they have killed most of the dictators, Joy snaps and tries to kill a certain politician she doesn't like, even though he has shown no dictatorial ambitions. John has no choice but to kill her before she can kill her new target. Thus leading to the somewhat-Clueless Aesop that you really shouldn't kill anybody, even if they deserve it, lest you come to think that murder is the best solution and try to kill everyone you disagree with.
  • Played straight in the The House of Night, since most of Kalona's problems wouldn't exist if, say, he had just wiped Heath's memory instead of killing him.
  • In Scott Sigler's Ancestor, one of the two brothers in control of the Genada corporation has murder as a go-to solution. He kills a woman trying to blow the whistle on the corporation, a government saboteur, suggests murdering an Army colonel investigating the company, and eventually tries to kill everyone involved with the project and blame it on a subordinate.
  • Joe Goldberg from You (Kepnes) uses murder to keep Beck with him.
  • The Hunger Games: President Coriolanus Snow needs a compelling reason not to have someone killed.
  • Defied in Honor Harrington novel Crown Of the Slaves. After Lt. Palane hands Admiral Roszak her resignation, Roszak discusses the situation with his staff. One member points out that She Knows Too Much, and then the other points out all the reasons why this would be an impractical idea: that their best assassin was Palane herself and she just resigned, that they'd be trying to kill a One-Man Army Super-Soldier, that nobody would believe that her being assassinated right after she resigned was a coincidence, and that she's close to three of the most dangerous people in the galaxy, each of which could kill them himself, not to mention her own Badass Crew. In other words, they'd have to be Too Dumb to Live to even try.
  • Lampshaded in The Dark Defiles where Archeth tells the two main male characters: "This is civilization, Gil. You know, the thing we were fighting to save? You—you and Egar both—you can’t just stalk about, steel in hand, murdering your grievances."
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: After learning that the newest students at an evil Wizarding School will have to complete a Death Course, and that only students who win their heats are guaranteed to actually become full students, one of the rookies asks if she can just kill everyone else in her heat and thus be the winner by default. The answer, given the setting, is of course 'yes.'

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alias claims that a variation is or was apparently used on psych tests in real life for those who want to work for certain parts of the US government:note 
    Given no other choice, would you kill:
    a) Your mother
    b) Your father
    c) Yourself
  • Angel:
    • In "Supersymmetry", the minute Fred finds out that Oliver Seidel, her former physics professor, was the one responsible for banishing her to a hell dimension for five years, she goes full Girl with Psycho Weapon and is out for blood. Gunn argues against Fred killing him, believing that such a brutal act would ultimately destroy her. In the end, Gunn does it himself, snapping Seidel's neck before dropping him into a portal to a hell dimension Fred had opened up as poetic justice. She doesn't take it well, and it's one of the big steps that make her ditch him for Wesley.
      Angel: We're gonna get this guy.
      Gunn: Count on it. He's gonna pay.
      Fred: No. He's gonna die.
    • In season 4, after the Angel Investigations team is forced to unleash Angelus to defeat the Beast, Connor repeatedly supports just killing Angelus rather than re-ensouling him to the extent that, when Willow is called in from Sunnydale to curse him again, Connor tries to stake him before Willow can finish; fortunately, Faith steps in and physically fights him to buy Willow time.
  • One of the stories during an episode of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction had an elderly couple who ran a diner murder homeless people that they periodically brought in so the couple could "relieve them" of their suffering.
  • Seems to be the policy of Manny Horvitz from Boardwalk Empire. It doesn't matter how much of a likable Alter Kocker he comes off as, you do not want to get him angry. The cold-blooded and ruthless Jimmy has to restrain him because, as Jimmy puts it, "You can't kill everyone, Manny. It's not good business."
  • Breaking Bad:
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • Although Fiona from Burn Notice often suggests that murder is the best solution, with her it is almost always played for laughs. (See the comedic examples below.) Broken Pedestal Larry, on the other hand, plays this trope far more seriously and is perfectly willing to kill anyone, usually for no more reason than because it's easier and quicker that way.
  • In Charmed (1998), there were several examples. Cole was forced to kill a landlord who knows Phoebe's secret and wanted to sell it for money. Phoebe hated him for that. But then, in a later season, Phoebe was held at gunpoint by Rick, a mortal; she hinted to Paige to cast a spell to make Rick look like a target of a bunch of demons. The demons killed him. You could argue that lethal force against someone accosting you with a deadly weapon is a good bit more justified than using lethal force against a mere blackmailer, but Paige was perfectly capable of taking the guy out non-lethally...
  • This is the MO of a lot of the killers in Criminal Minds. Considering the gimmick of the show is trying to figure out the psychology of a Serial Killer or Spree Killer in almost every single episode, it's just a given.
  • Really, most killers in the CSI-verse franchise qualify. Some notable examples:
    • In CSI: NY, even preventing someone from stepping on a cockroach (the doer was a Friend to Bugs) merits an impulsive kill.
    • Or catching a groom being a two-timer at his bachelor party (result: tie him down and dump him on a raft far away from the coast, with a good chance of him dying of thirst).
    • An eleven-year-old kid being denied one cat from the local Crazy Cat Lady (who doesn't want to part with it, even after the kid points out she has a dozen and it's not as if the cat will be taken far away because they live on the same block) drives the kid to stab the woman to death in and be completely unapologetic about it.
    • A funeral home's malfunctioning crematorium leads to the home's owner swindling people who want to cremate their loved ones (which actually happened in Real Life) and killing the couple of people who think something isn't kosher (which didn't).
    • A man who doesn't believe his father committed suicide decides to become a Theme Serial Killer (the "theme" being replicate the father's suicide scene to a "t").
    • A man had a childhood accident regarding false advertisement of a toy leading to his friend dying — so he decides, once he's grown and sees how the trauma has made him screwed up his family's life, to give the toy maker an Exploding Cigar capable of tearing his head clean off.
    • Some rich inventor guy in The '30s doesn't like that a rival of his is going to outlive him so he spends his final days turning his lavish apartment into a death-trap-laden monstrosity worthy of a Resident Evil entry and releases a rumor that he left some treasure behind in the hopes that the rival will eventually enter it and get skewered or boiled or drowned by one of the traps (the man never does — the Victim of the Week, in 2009, isn't so lucky).
    • Some guy gets pissed off that some Jerkass keeps cheating him out of winning at Scrabble with deliberately bad moves for the lulz and forces the man to literally swallow the pieces.
    • A Papa Wolf gets angry about his daughter's killer being let Off on a Technicality and he decides to ruin the lawyer that did it, so he hires men to raid the man's yacht during his marriage party and steal his laptop with case files (hiring an additional goon aside from the thief to kill the lawyer's wife who had done absolutely nothing to him and wasn't even part of the other man's life at the moment the killer was set free was explicitly just for the sake of delivering a "how does it feels to lose what you love?" message).
    • In an episode of CSI: Miami, a groom-to-be is worried that the stripper he's been seeing will blackmail him and tells his best man to talk to her. The best man's response is to put a remote-controlled gun to the bottom of the groom's limo and shoot her. Sadly, his Murder the Hypotenuse plot murders the wrong hypotenuse.
  • In Dead Set, the survivors argue about killing (or permanently crippling) one survivor who could possibly endanger them all with his crazy escape plan.
  • Elementary:
    • An architect discovers that he made a crucial error in his designs for a skyscraper. Unless the building is at least 40 feet lower, it will collapse in a strong wind. Admitting the mistake would ruin his career, so he instead murders an old woman who lives near the site where the skyscraper is to be built. Her death prevents the building's developer from buying "air rights" that he needs to obtain in order to build the skyscraper as designed and requires a redesign that will make the building shorter by the needed 40 feet. If the safe height was a few feet lower, the architect would have murdered the woman's neighbors instead to stop them from selling their "air rights".
    • The final season is a take on (and maybe Take That!) to the below Person of Interest example through the character of tech mogul of Oden Reichenbach, who creates a data-mining application that provides him with information about potential murderers, and he decides to become a secret Judge, Jury, and Executioner rather than, say, provide this information to the police. Sherlock even points out that people saying they are going to commit crimes in Facebook is more often than not them just venting or being jerks rather than, you know, planning murder (not that it hasn't happened, but statistics are on Sherlock's side), but Reichenbach is too crazy to care.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • After Joffrey's death, Cersei is fully convinced that Tyrion is responsible for killing her son, and wants Jaime to kill his own brother because she believes Tyrion will escape justice due to his cunning.
    • Daario suggests that Dany just kill all the masters of Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen that come for the reopening of Daznak's Pit, but she's horrified by the suggestion.
    • By the seventh season, Arya seems to be unable to even understand the concept of any other solution; Sansa's use of diplomacy is taken as evidence of treason.
  • Get Shorty: Miles and Louis are enforcers for a Las Vegas cartel outfit. When they go to Hollywood to launder money through a movie, Louis's first instinct is to kill anyone who becomes a problem. Miles has to tell him that their circumstances are touchier now. That doesn't stop them from blackmailing and intimidating their way through the Hollywood machine, and occasionally killing people when there's no other alternative.
  • Hightown: Frankie orders someone murdered for solving most of his problems.
  • House's hallucination of Amber in House swings this way occasionally.
    House: How do we get him into the stress lab without Foreman's sign-off?
    Amber: We could kill Foreman.
    House: The lab simulates stress. What if it's not simulated?
    Amber: We could tell him his girlfriend dumped him.
    House: That's a tough sell. She never leaves the room for more than five minutes.
    Amber: We could kill her.
  • Imposters: Maddie decides to kill the Doctor rather than just turn him over to the FBI, as even from prison she thinks he can get to them. She's foiled by the others in trying to kill him. Later though Sally does kill him in concert with her.
  • Law & Order pretty much wouldn't exist without this trope. In any given episode, the killer could have just gotten a divorce, stolen money rather than speeding up the inheritance, reported the blackmail to the cops, or any number of other ways to resolve their grudge with the victim of the week.
  • Many of the killers in Monk have this mindset:
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Airplane", one of the murderers in a duo is impersonating her victim in a flight on the way to France where they hope to avoid extradition to the US in the event that they get tied to murder. During the flight, they meet one of the victim's acquaintances, who becomes confused when the murderer impersonating the victim is unable to speak French. They decide he is too suspicious of them, and tie up the loose end by poisoning his wine on the flight.
    • In "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan", [[spoiler:Steven Leight has killed his wife (we never really learn whynote ) and stolen her jewels to make it look like a mugging. Then, thanks to a coat-check mix-up, another man (a Latvian ambassador) accidentally walks away wearing Leight's coat, with the stolen jewels in the pocket. Leight chases the ambassador back to his hotel, but instead of simply asking for his coat back, he shoots down the ambassador and his three bodyguards. Thanks to this brilliant dose of planning, Leight is now likely going to be facing some international court on top of his wife's murder, so he is an extra level of screwed all because of a damn coat.
    • Monk doesn't like it at all when he finds out that his wife had been a victim of this trope in the Grand Finale "Mr. Monk and the End", courtesy of a Sleazy Politician. It's "sleazy" instead of "corrupt" because the reason for the murder — covering up an affair she had with him when she was his student — isn't even that serious in hindsight. Of course, it does become more "corrupt" when it's revealed he murdered the midwife who had delivered Trudy's baby...
  • Nirvana in Fire: The emperor is pretty sure he doesn't believe Xia Jiang's claims about Mei Changsu's real identity, but his solution is to attempt to poison him anyway just to make certain there's no future threat.
  • In Once Upon a Time, this is how Rumplestiltskin/Gold convinces Snow/Mary Margaret to deal with Cora. However, committing the deed results in a serious case of guilt and remorse for Snow.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Donor", Dr. Peter Halstead, who has terminal cancer, is to be the first recipient of a full-body transplant. However, he has rare blood and tissue types which makes it difficult to find a compatible donor. Peter's colleague Dr. Renee Stuyvescent, who is madly in love with him, discovers that a man named Timothy Laird is compatible and murders him so that Peter can have his body. After Peter becomes close to Timothy's widow Deirdre, Renee plans to kill Deirdre to remove the threat that she poses to her warped idea of living happily ever after with Peter but she is less successful this time.
    • In "Simon Says", Gideon Banks hits his boss Ron Hikida over the head with a fireplace poker, killing him instantly, when he tries to take the robot with his son Simon's memories away from him on the grounds that he was built using equipment stolen from Concorde Robotics and therefore belongs to the company.
  • Person of Interest:
    • Northern Lights, the organization in charge of the Machine, kills anyone who finds out about it, talks to someone who found out about it, or asks too many questions in the general direction of it. They also always kill the terrorists the Machine sends them after, but that's a bit more justified.
    • Samaritan, in contrast to the Machine, comes up with long lists of "deviants" to be executed at a moment's notice. Their crimes range from actual terrorism to merely holding anti-government views.
  • Primeval: Becker is a strong advocate of this approach when it comes to the creatures.
  • In the S2 finale of Robin Hood, Marian learns that the Sheriff is planning to kill King Richard. Her solution? Kill him first. Never mind that: a) up until this moment, Marian has been the voice of reason; b) it has already been established that if the Sheriff dies, Prince John will destroy Nottingham; and c) the general theme of the show has been to rely on non-violent solutions to problems.
  • In an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane has gone missing and another woman, Andrea, has taken her place. Turns out she was childhood friends with Sarah Jane, up until her death. After a Deal with the Devil, she switches places with Sarah Jane and Sarah Jane instead dies. When Maria figures it out, Andrea makes another deal that rewrites Maria out of history. Then she tried to do it to Maria's father.
  • Cassie in The Secret Circle seems to think this in the latest episodes, but before killing someone, a Morality Pet stops her.
  • On the BBC series Sherlock...
  • Supernatural:
    • In early seasons, Sam and Dean are shown not wanting to kill humans unless absolutely necessary. Then, in Season 3, when faced with a coven of murderous witches, Sam shocks Dean by suggesting they straight-up kill the witches even though they are human.
    • In Season 5, Castiel is shown trying to kill an innocent little boy because he is The Antichrist and has unspeakable power, even if he doesn't appear to be evil. Later, when Kelly Kline becomes pregnant with Lucifer's child, Castiel is also willing to kill the mother and child to prevent a super-powerful Nephilim from existing. He offers to do this so Sam and Dean can be spared having to kill innocents.
    • In Season 12, the British Men of Letters come to the US to help the American hunters get their monster problem under control. Despite the Men of Letters' purpose of helping guard and protect humanity, the British chapter have shown repeatedly that they are not above murdering children as a test of loyalty, civilians who accidentally get in their way, hunters who won't follow orders, any human that seems to have a supernatural bent, like psychics, or any member they deem as getting too soft or breaking the code. When the American hunters refuse to do what the Brits say, the Men of Letters decide the best solution is to murder all the hunters.
  • Taboo: Deconstructed and averted:
    • After bribery fails, the EIC try to deal with James by killing him. When this fails repeatedly, Strange is incredulous that his employees can't seem to come up with another solution to the Delaney business other than to just keep on trying.
    • He then makes out a will leaving Nootka Sound to the Americans if he dies, making murder the worst solution for both EIC and the Crown.
    • The Americans (through Dumbarton and Carlsbad) offer to kill Thorne so that James and Zilpha can be together. James seems fine with this plan. However, when Zilpha murders her husband to free herself from his abuse, James is not fine, and believes that the act was a sin.
    • James then refuses Atticus' suggestion to kill Helga, when it becomes obvious Helga will betray them due to the death of Winter.
  • Taken:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Owen Crawford beats his former lover Sue to death to prevent her from telling anyone about the artifact that she found at the Roswell crash site.
    • In "High Hopes", Owen murders his wife Anne and Major Howard Bowen: Anne because her drunken, erratic behavior is at risk of exposing the existence of the artifact and Bowen because he tried to betray him by using Jacob Clarke against him. The next morning, Owen tells his sons Eric and Sam that Anne was having an affair with Bowen and that Bowen killed her and then himself when she changed her mind about running away with him.
    • In "Acid Tests", Sheriff Kerby killed the Half-Human Hybrid Larry in order to eliminate the perceived threat that he posed to the people of Hyder, Alaska. He buried his body under a tree but it was exhumed by his brother Lester and placed in a burial chamber. When Dr. Powell's archaeological team discovered the body in the chamber, Kerby told them to get out of town by sundown in an attempt to keep his crime a secret.
    • In the final episode "Taken", Mary Crawford murders Dr. Wakeman, her lover of nine years, in order to prevent him from alerting Tom that she has tracked him, Charlie, Lisa, and Allie down to Sally Clarke's old house in Lubbock, Texas.
  • Like the comics that inspired it, Tales from the Crypt was loaded to the ghouls with characters who responded to even the tiniest setback or inconvenience by gruesomely killing whoever was causing it. It helped to efficiently establish why they deserved whatever horrible shit was just about to happen to them.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:
    • Cameron commonly advocates murdering witnesses or other threats, which is usually objected to by Sarah and John. And often enough, Cameron's recommendations turn out to be right.
    • Derek Reese is almost as bad. At one point, the family is dealing with a possible Skynet program based in the Los Angeles City Hall, and Derek advises that they just blow it up. Given what they're up against, though...
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Song of the Younger World", Mordecai Hawkline threatens to arrange for Tanner Smith to be found dead if his daughter Amy ever sees him again. He later tries to shoot him in cold blood. Although he is unsuccessful, he kills Hoakie, who had tried to stop him, without a second thought.
    • In "Love is Blind", Jack Haines overheard his wife Elaine talking to a man over the phone and arranging to meet him at the Mustang bar. Assuming that she is cheating on him, Jack drives to the Mustang and intends to shoot the man as soon as he sees him. It turns out that Elaine was meeting Jack's best friend Taylor so that they could pick out new tires for his truck as an anniversary surprise.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Damon's normal reaction to anyone (besides Stefan and Elena) causing a problem is to try and kill them. Unsurprisingly, this creates a lot more problems than it solves, especially because of his habit of overlooking factors like whether he's actually capable of killing them, whether anyone besides him wants them dead, whether they are actually the source of the problem, or whether they have friends who'll come looking for revenge.
  • The Cigarette Smoking Man in The X-Files resorts to murder as his first option more often than not. Other members of the Syndicate occasionally chew him out for this tendency. In return, he points out that they would prefer to sit around and do nothing.

  • "Dogs" by Pink Floyd. The song is from their allegorical "Animals" album, and the dogs are metaphors for ruthless businessmen, and to drive home the inhumanity the band (and particularly frontman Roger Waters) saw in business, the dogs are constantly waiting to murder their rivals and in fear of being murdered themselves (as in "dog eats dog").

    Myths & Religion 
  • A tale from Norse Mythology told of a man foolish enough to gamble with a giant, to the point of offering up his own son as part of the betting stakes, only to lose to the giant. Being kind of merciful, the giant gives the man one day to forfeit his son, lest the giant slaughter the man's entire family. The father then begs Odin, lord of the Aesir, for assistance. Odin transformed the man's son into a herring's egg, hidden in a female herring. The giant promptly caught the herring, but, as he searched the fish's eggsac, the boy escaped. The father then sought the help of Tyr, who transformed the boy into a swan's feather, hidden on the head of the swan. The giant then easily catches the swan, but, as the giant wrung the hapless bird's neck searching for the feather, the boy escaped once more. The father then approached Loki, beseeching the trickster for aid, too. Rather than employ ridiculous metamorphoses, Loki simply offered the boy to the giant in a taunt. When the triply enraged giant accepted Loki's offer, however, the giant promptly fell into Loki's boobytrap as he approached the trickster and was horribly killed.

  • Sick Sad World:
    • Sarcastically stated during "Fathers Who Kill".
      Dev: So his solution to his disappointing family and financial woes? Murder.
      Jasmine: That's clearly the solution. Clearly.
      Dev: The only way to handle anything is to just murder your way out of it.
      Jasmine: 'cause that always works out properly.
    • Comes up during "The Dangers Of Being Disabled". When talking about the murder of Tracy Latimer by her father Robert, guest host Andrew Gurza lists multiple routes the father could have taken that didn't require killing one's child.
  • The Last Podcast on the Left: Towards the end of their first episode on killer John List, the hosts dissect the thought process that made List come to the conclusion that, in the face of financial ruin, the best thing for him to do was murder his mother, wife, and three children. List was a religious man, which ruled out divorce and suicide; despite his plans and eventual deeds, List further feared for his family's immortal souls. This is why simply leaving was not an option, as he felt his family wouldn't keep up with the faith without him. List further considered poverty or accepting help, such as welfare, to be so shameful as to be a Fate Worse than Death. List's solution was to kill everyone but himself which, to his mind, covered all the angles. By killing his family, he would be sending them to Heaven and sparing them the ignominy of poverty and welfare. List himself, meanwhile, would be able to pray for forgiveness for his sins of murder, something he couldn't do if he committed suicide.
    Ben Kissel: You can just see him on a whiteboard putting all of this list— putting all of these on a list and then just the equal sign: "Murder". Like everything just circles back to murder.
  • In The Magnus Archives, at least two of the Greater-Scope Villain Eldritch Abominations feed on fears related to murder, so their servitors are likely to have this mindset; The Hunt's servant Daisy craves the thrill of the, well, hunt, but once she catches her prey she tends to kill them immediately. The Slaughter's unwilling servant Melanie repeatedly offers up the suggestion that they just kill the Manipulative Bastard they all hate, even taking the initiative a few times.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In most printed adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, the player characters are expected to solve their problems by killing the guy causing them, or at least defeating him in combat. In practice, this will obviously depend on your DM.
  • Played with in regards to Pathfinder. On one hand, this tends to be the go-to solution when monsters all get combat statistics but not a detailed description of their motives and mentality. On the other, it's usually up to the DM to set them up in the story and offer non-violent solutions, while most official adventures tend to award experience even if characters sneak by or talk down enemies.
  • Promethean: The Created:
    • The only way to cure the fourth, most deleterious stage of Disquiet is to kill the Promethean that caused it.
    • Likewise, it's a part of every Promethean's Pilgrimage that they must create at least one new Promethean, and the only way a Galateid can do so is to use the body of a beautiful youth unmarred by injury. It's noted in text that there are only so many beautiful youths who die of accidental drownings or barbiturate overdoses or gas leaks, and sometimes a Galateid has to take an active hand...
  • In Changeling: The Lost, many Changelings, especially those drawn to the Court of Summer, feel this way when dealing with the existence of their Fetch — an Artificial Human created to hide the fact they were kidnapped by The Fair Folk, who thusly prevents the Changeling from returning to their old life.
  • Some of the Garou in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, especially the Red Talons, have this kind of mentality about humans.
  • The Bloodlust disadvantage in GURPS is this in a nutshell.
  • Adorjan and Malfeas in Exalted are really not good about this. Malfeas tends to solve problems with force and domination and radioactive magical fire, with predictable and often gruesome results, and a significant chunk of Adorjan's being is tied up in how much she likes to help people by killing them. Abyssal Exalts can also have this issue since their power comes from death... especially with the alternate Resonance rules in Shards of the Exalted Dream, which gives them Limit Breaks in which, for example, they attempt to ease suffering with Mercy Kills.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Standard procedure for absolutely anything. Xenos sympathisers? Send in the Arbites. Preacher deviating from the canon? Vindicare bullet. Cowardice on the battlefield? Execution by Commissar. Ork boy looking to become the next warboss in your stead? Krump da git. And so on and so forth. Even worse with Chaos troops.
    • Strangely averted in one case: The Tyranid Hive Mind sending its forces against an Imperial world was meeting stiff resistance thanks to the Cardinal stationed there. Knowing that merely killing him would turn him into a martyr and galvanize the defenders, it sent the Deathleaper (think Xenomorph Ninja) to kill off the cardinal's bodyguards, subordinates, etc. right in front of him. New versions of these were assigned, but the Deathleaper came back almost immediately and did the same thing. Obviously, this drove him mad. Once the cardinal had lost the will to fight, the planet fell quickly.
    • Averted by the Eldar and Tau, the only races who don't wantonly murder their own kind. In the Eldar's case, they don't think this rule applies to anyone else.
  • Part of Malekith's problem in Warhammer is that he does this a lot. Trying to associate with the dwarves, but someone else met them first? Exploit his knowledge, then have him murdered. Want the crown? Undermine the King, then murder him. Then attempt to murder the assembled lords whose job it is to appoint a new king. Then, when the Flame of Asuryan spits you out, barely able to breathe, lead a civil war, complete with an attempt to unleash armies of daemons on your enemies. Then, when you have your own kingdom, rule it with an iron fist and execute anyone who poses a threat.

  • From Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing:
    Benedick: Come, bid me do anything for thee.
    Beatrice: Kill Claudio.
    Benedick: Ha! Not for the wide world.

    Video Games 
  • Somewhat ironically, in the Assassin's Creed games, it's the Templars who seem to immediately default to this when faced with any problem, whereas the Assassins (who are defined by the fact their purpose is to murder people) appear at times to be at least to some degree to be willing to pursue alternative solutions, including diplomacy or guile. For example, Altaïr and Al Mualim have a couple conversations in which it's suggested they only resort to assassination against people who are simply too stubborn or fanatical to be talked out of their harmful course of action.
    • However, as demonstrated by Connor in Assassin's Creed III and in some of the Project Legacy memories, Assassins of later centuries weren't above a "kill first, question later" tendency either, on the basis of the belief that their targets were Always Chaotic Evil, and unwilling to concede that the Jerkass Has a Point. Also, as shown with Connor again and even Ezio, they sometimes seemed to ignore or dismiss any collateral damage of their actions, such as Ezio setting Cappadocia in a panic by blowing up the arsenal, killing hundreds by fire and smoke inhalation, and later letting a tyrant on the throne of Constantinople because the alternative, his brother, is a Templar. As both Haytham and Rebecca Crane bemoan, their war with the Templars ended up taking priority over their previous progressive and peace-making mindset from Altaïr's time.
    • In the modern plot ending for Assassin's Creed Syndicate, the Assassins arrive too late to recover the Shroud of Eden. A brief question of what to do pops up and, despite better options supposedly existing, Shaun's first suggestion (and the suggestion the Assassins go with) is to kill everyone. The solution is ultimately unsuccessful as both Otso Berg and Violet de Costa escape with the Shroud, and Rebecca suffers a serious gunshot wound.
      Shaun: Killing really is the least productive way to achieve our goals. (Beat) Kill them all.
    • Assassin's Creed Origins has Aya, who generally tends to default to killing as a solution to any and all problems. Subverted at one point while in Memphis, where she's talking to two priestesses and on hearing their suggestion of who might be responsible for poisoning the Apis Bull says she'll go kill them. After all, they're priestesses and their word is beyond reproach, right? She's screwing with their heads - they're responsible, but they're being blackmailed. That said, several years and a few levels in jerkass later, Aya plays it dead straight when she and the Roman branch of the Hidden Ones decide the best solution to Julius Caesar is to stab him. If you know your history, you can guess how that one works out, both for Brutus and Rome as a whole.
  • One of your bosses in Grand Theft Auto (Classic), a corrupt narcotics detective, is ironically the most homicidal of all of them. In a fit of pique, he orders you to kill (in no particular order) his partner, his wife, his ex-wife, six trunkloads of people he's murdered while you were busy, and the First Lady (she didn't answer his fan mail).
    • The notorious C.R.A.S.H. unit in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is exaggerated for effect — but not by much. Frank Tenpenny's jobs revolve entirely around rubbing out witnesses who can implicate him. He also killed his original partner, Pendelberry, before the game began, and plots to ice his two remaining partners as well.
      • Grand Theft Auto IV takes it to new heights, with everyone who contacts Niko wanting him to be their personal hitman. Justified as that's Niko's job. The Deputy Commissioner takes this to new heights when, if you finish a mission to kill a single witness that (normally) requires you to kill a bunch of gangbangers, you'll get chewed out if you succeed in making it largely bloodless.
  • Pretty much any Final Fantasy game eventually.
    • Selphie in Final Fantasy VIII is quick to suggest very violent solutions, such as blowing up President Deling's train with explosives instead of just hijacking it, skinning Moomba and use his skin as a disguise to escape from prison, and so on.
    • Seymour in Final Fantasy X wants to kill everyone in the world to end global suffering (or maybe just because he's a psychopath).
  • Devil Survivor 2 has one of Daichi's route involve choosing to kill Polaris, to free the world from continuing to be devoured by the Void. The game treats the resulting ending as a happy one, but killing Polaris has stopped the Void, yes, but the Void is changed into an endless ocean that may not be drinkable, and only a tiny piece of land is the only thing remaining of Earth's original landmasses. Humanity is free from being the toy of evil supernatural deities but also receives no help from any benevolent ones. They are holding together in their survived crisis, but it's likely they are bound to slowly starve when resources deplete.
  • In Persona 4, a pivotal moment such as this comes when some members of the team become Blinded by Rage and consider throwing Namatame into the TV world after he indirectly caused the Disney Death of one of their closest friends. Leaving it to the player to convince them that there is more to the suspect's motives that will help them understand the truth of the murder case.
  • BlazBlue:
    • Jin Kisaragi honestly thought that if he killed his brother, Ragna, he would pay attention to him instead of his sister though he happened to be Brainwashed and Crazy at the time. It's unknown as of yet whether Jin had planned to kill Saya as well though most likely not, as the guy who brainwashed him in the first place did it so he could get Saya without trouble. That, and make Ragna's life miserable for kicks.
    • Nu-13 doesn't understand how to do anything else. Her categories for people are 'Ragna' and 'People who need to die for stopping me getting at Ragna'. Even then, she wants to kill Ragna too - so that in the process of dying, they can become something much greater.
  • In Mitadake High, players often come to this conclusion. The killer obviously reached this conclusion long before the game started. Sometimes this is played straight, other times it's played for laughs.
  • Subverted in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Though in most of the game Violence is the Only Option, there are several chapters where not fighting certain enemies will earn you a reward. In one chapter in particular, the force comes upon a building of priests that is under the grip of the enemy, which forces them to fight you. You can kill the priests, but if you get through the chapter without killing a single one, you get one of the best staves in the game.
    • Played terrifyingly straight in other games, especially by the villains. In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, for instance, not only do Marquess Laus and his son Erik decide murdering the heroes is their best option, they do so without a hint of regret, despite Erik having known the heroes since childhood. Also a common reaction in fandom to certain gameplay issues like neutral units getting in the way or stealing kills (and thus experience points).
  • In Team Fortress 2, because friendly fire is turned off, the most effective way of determining if an apparent teammate is actually a spy in disguise is to use lethal force. Setting them on fire is particularly effective. Of course, since the game is a first-person shooter where all the characters are psychopaths, violence is always the answer for everything else too.
  • In The Suffering, Doctor Killjoy theorises that Torque's insanity form was born from a subconscious belief in this trope.
    Doctor Killjoy: Severe dementia, is it? Or perhaps chronic melancholia? Or is it an uncontrollable urge to regress back to a form unseen in modern society, one that will allow you to set matters right in the most direct way possible? Yes, I think that's it. When all else fails, go for the easy way out, the obvious answer, the brute force solution!
  • Totally a workable playstyle in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Every MacGuffin or bit of information — bar one — can be retrieved by simply killing the person holding it (or knocking them out, but this trope is about murder) and taking it off their body. And in the single exception's case, you can pay the man for information, then kill him and get your money back.
  • Mass Effect 2 has Jack and Zaeed, both vastly preferring the "kill people" solution when presented with problems. Mordin and Samara play surprisingly heroic examples to a Paragon Shepard, such as if Shepard lets the batarians threatening Daniels leave calmly, or if Samara sees the problem that is Tuchanka or Omega.
    • The "Destruction Ending" of Mass Effect 3. Depending on how you take the last 15 minutes of the game, complete annihilation may be regarded as the only option that saves the galaxy.
    • Wrex and Javik both have a standard solution to personnel difficulties. Wrex's is to suggest eating them; Javik's involves an airlock.
    • The Reapers might be one of the largest application of this trope imaginable. Organics and synthetics keep killing each other? Every fifty thousand years, turn organics into Reapers, murderise the living daylights out of any who try fighting back. There are several worlds they've utterly ruined from this approach, and their creator admits that they're just the best option it had to work with.
  • The Hitman series has the eponymous contract killer, Agent 47, who has built his entire career and reputation around enforcing this trope. Although he charges a ridiculously high price for the job, he still receives plenty of work, because his clients have already decided that his targets absolutely must go away forever, no matter how much it will cost them.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network Bass.Exe/Forte.Exe has this approach towards almost every "problem" he comes across.
  • Yuri in Tales of Vesperia. At least when it comes to bad guys, anyway.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In general in the series (at least from Morrowind onward), it is possible for an indiscriminate player to complete most quests that would otherwise require faction relations, persuasion checks, and/or specialized skills (like picking locks or pockets) by prying the quest MacGuffin out of someone's cold, dead hands. Justified as it prevents the game from being Unintentionally Unwinnable if you manage to kill or bug out a vital quest chain NPC. In many of these cases (especially for factions like the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood), you generally don't receive as great of a reward if you veer off the quest rails and take the full-blown murder path.
    • Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes, always holds up his end of whatever deal is struck, but usually does so in a way that the deal-maker will regret. When he is at his most malevolent, usually because he has been separated from his external conscience, Barbas, he enters this territory, believing that most wishes can be granted by killing the wish-maker. Vampires asking for a cure for vampirism? Have a hero come in and slaughter them all. A man whose daughter has been turned into a werewolf? Give him an axe to put her down. Asking for peace in Skyrim? Do nothing and let the Dragons kill everyone. A village asking for immunity from the Knahaten Flu? Turn them undead.
  • Also fully observed in Fallout 3. Doing so in Fallout: New Vegas, though, may eventually lock you out of all but one available ending.
    • 1, 2, and the aforementioned New Vegas are all notable for the myriad ways that a player can complete a quest, making any and all possible playstyles viable for the smart player. Typically, there is either a violent, diplomatic, or sneaky way to solve problems, often utilizing various skills to accomplish these. New Vegas even allowed groups that were hostile to each other put aside their differences to face a bigger threat, and most final bosses can be talked down. (The only ones that can't are Frank Horrigan and Father Elijah. You can sneak past the latter and let him lock himself in a bank vault, but you must fight the former.) Fallout 3 gives the player the option to talk down the final boss of the base game, Colonel Autumn, though doing so requires the player to keep the modified FEV rather than giving it to Elder Lyons, but of the four DLC campaigns aside from Broken Steel, only one and a half have final bosses that can be talked down (General Jingwei from Operation: Anchorage can be talked into killing himself, and in The Pitt, Wernher can be talked down if you side with Ashur, but Ashur cannot be talked down if you side with Wernher). In Fallout 4, however, enemy factions must be destroyed in order to progress and bosses have to be killed.
  • Dragon Age:
    • As noted in the page quote, there comes a time in Dragon Age: Origins when The Warden runs across a group of mages who've been driven mad by the trauma of watching demons rampage through their home and kill their friends. However, there is a slight hint of Black Comedy to it: not only do they discuss the idea as though it was some academic theorem, but if you stay hidden, they actually succeed in all killing each other, allowing you to bypass the fight with them you'd otherwise have to deal with.
    • In Dragon Age II, many people are hopeful that Grand Cleric Elthina will be able to calm the mage-templar conflict, perhaps by taking a side. A massive exception is Hawke's companion and possible love interest Anders. His solution is a dramatically overblown case of this trope; he believes the only option is an all-out mage-templar war, so he provokes one by bombing the Chantry and thus killing the Grand Cleric and everyone else inside. Even worse because while both mages and templars are dangerous, he's slaughtering innocent priests. In his case, mass murder is the only option. And indeed, it provokes the war he wants. Goddamnit, Anders.
    • Leliana, by the time Dragon Age: Inquisition begins, is firmly entrenched in this, proposing murder for The Mole, her friend's rival, the Empress when you are trying to save her, threats to The Inquisition, and Alexis' son, plus a number of War Table missions have her suggest this as the best course of action.
      • If you allow Leliana to kill a spying Sister during her advisor quest, she manages to become even more ruthless, and it shows if she becomes Divine.
  • Dishonored seems like it plays this straight, with its tagline being "Revenge solves everything," but it's ultimately deconstructed. Killing everyone you come across only increases the amount of chaos in your game, makes the plague spread faster, drains the city of its remaining security detail (as corrupt as it is), and causes more anarchy to erupt, and darkens the mind of a young girl that looks up to Corvo and is heir to the throne. Furthermore, people see Corvo as a merciless killer, which makes things tougher down the line, and leads to the game's bad endings.
  • Since the series is centered around Always Murder, this tends to be the mindset of the criminals of the Ace Attorney series. Someone just got a penalty on your perfect trial record? Kill him. Your stepsister and ex might expose your crime to the police? Kill 'em. A defense attorney is on your trail because of your last murder? Poison him. You ordered forged evidence and are worried the artist who made it will talk? Kill her (especially creepy in that case, as the intended victim was a child!). Someone's blackmailing you? Standing in the way of you getting something you want? Threatening to reveal a secret of yours? Yep, just kill them!
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe: On more than one occasion during the story mode, the Mortal Kombat characters, including the heroes, suggest to the DC superheroes that they just kill their opponents, unable to understand why they won't.
  • In Hakuouki, it doesn't matter what the problem is, Souji Okita's suggested solution to it is almost guaranteed to be killing someone. Initially, he comes off as more of a comedic example (if by way of Black Comedy) as he constantly assures Chizuru that he will kill her for any number of minor offenses. As the story goes on, however, it becomes clear that Souji considers himself only good for killing people and nothing else, and that murder is his solution to all problems because it's the only thing he's any good at. Part of the point of his route in the visual novel is convincing him that this doesn't have to be the case.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Aqua concludes that the only way to protect the Castle of Dreams is to assassinate Lady Tremaine and her two daughters, because of Master Eraqus' teachings that darkness must be destroyed. The Fairy Godmother stops her from committing the triple murder and suggests that she instead help Cinderella. The evil stepfamily are eventually killed from crossing the Moral Event Horizon, anyway.
  • In Rabi-Ribi, nearly every major character is introduced this way; they mistake Erina for someone hostile for some stupid reason and, despite Erina's and Ribbon's (once she's joined Erina) attempts to explain themselves, the character in question forces them to fight. Most of them make friends with Erina upon being defeated.
  • Borderlands generally plays murder for comedy, with people snarking about how much their enemies suck, flirting with the loot, and so on. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, meanwhile, is about how Handsome Jack, the Big Bad of Borderlands 2, came to this conclusion, and that part is not intended to be funny at all.
  • The setup for Party Hard is that the protagonist can't sleep because of a noisy party and responds by going on a killing spree.
  • In Crusader Kings II, a handy way to get rid of a troublesome vassal or deal with an inconvenient succession claim is to simply have the problem person assassinated. The game encourages this, as you can use murder to unite realms under your rule, take territories out of the hands of rival dynasties, and collapse budding rebellions before they get off the ground. However, this can backfire horribly if your complicity in a murder plot is discovered.

    Web Animation 

  • Gort in Darken; his preferred method is to Kill It with Fire.
  • When Blaine O'Malley makes his moves in Book 10 of Dumbing of Age, he's Ax-Crazy (and confident that the mob will bail him out) enough to default to murder whenever anything inconveniences him. He plans to kill Mike, and later actually kills Ross with a hammer.
  • K'seliss in Goblins holds this general philosophy. Of course, every now and then, it works.
  • In Freefall, Florence usually does not follow this trope, on account of being an organic A.I. and having something similar to the Three Laws of Robotics. This doesn't technically apply to robots, but Florence happens to believe (with lots of very good evidence on her side) that Androids Are People, Too. But when it comes up that Mr. Kornada's plan to lobotomize every robot on Jean for the sole purpose of stealing their money was to be carried out entirely by his robot Clippy, she is unable to ignore the "distressingly easy and horrible solution" this scenario presents. She manages to compromise by disabling and disassembling him, but leaving the parts intact so he can be brought back when the plan has been thoroughly stopped.
  • The mythology of Kill Six Billion Demons regularly glorifies ignorance, selfishness, and violence, though the ultimate example is probably Pree Aesma, who once slaughtered her way through a city-sized monastery because she was bored.
  • The Order of the Stick: Vaarsuvius prevents Kubota from weaseling out of karma by killing him and scattering the ashes. Elan is mad at V due to their disregard for another human's life. Their subsequent argument is what sets V over the edge and eventually they end up leaving Elan and Durkon behind on the boat. They go even further into this when they not only kill the dragon threatening their family, but cast a spell that effectively murders everyone related to the dragon, and anyone related to anyone related to the dragon.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The Foundation is an organization that takes absolutely no chances; silencing witnesses and regularly executing D-Class personnel is routine for them. Literally, in the case of D-class personnel: all non-vital D-class personnel are slaughtered en masse at the end of each month to prevent them living long enough to escape, then replacing them with more life-term prisoners to make up the numbers (assuming they last that long). Demotion of other personnel to D-class is not uncommon, either, should they mess up enough.
    • The Foundation also has an aversion-to-subversion in that they generally avoid at any cost the deaths of living SCP's, the only exceptions being those that are so exceptionally dangerous, such as uncontrolled reality warpers, that killing them is the only safe option. The Foundation's rival organization, the Global Occult Coalition, on the other hand, do believe that destroying anomalous objects is the best way to contain them. Objects like SCP-1522 and SCP-1609 show that this policy is not necessarily the best solution.
    • One particularly nasty exception the Foundation is making is SCP-1237, a brainwave that appears in random people that gives them Reality Warper abilities in their dreams. The Foundation's method of containment includes the words "involuntary abortion", "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing".
  • There's a "test" that's passed around on the Internet, which goes something like this: "A girl is at her mother's funeral and meets a guy. They hit it off and then he has to leave. A week later, the girl kills her sister. Why?" The answer? She was hoping that the guy would appear at the funeral. Supposedly, if you get the right answer, it proves you are a sociopath. Like most Internet tests, it does not really prove much of anything.

    Web Videos 
  • The Call of Warr: Prince certainly believes this. He outright begs to kill the prisoner, reasoning that keeping them alive is wasting time, energy, and resources, and they aren't getting any information otherwise. Despite this, Gravesite denies the request.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender plays with the trope. In the series finale, every character other than Aang is adamant that killing Fire Lord Ozai is the only way to stop him since he's too powerful, evil, and dangerous to be left alive. Even Aang's past lives agree, and tell him he needs to be decisive. However, Aang himself is conflicted since, despite him being the Avatar, he's still a twelve-year-old kid who was brought up in a pacifist community, being told he must basically commit murder to save the world. It's eventually subverted when he meets a lion-turtle who teaches him energybending, and Aang manages to remove Ozai's firebending without killing him.
  • The Question decides that he must kill Lex Luthor to prevent an Armageddon-level war from breaking out between the Justice League and the United States government, reasoning that the League's reputation could survive the actions of a crackpot like him, but would be crushed if Superman were the one to kill Luthor (since the Superman of another timeline did so and the Question believes the same thing will happen here if he doesn't do it first). Unfortunately for him, Luthor had recently got super powers.
  • The Scarab in Young Justice (2010) lies somewhere between here and comedy (albeit, for a very dark type of humor). Whether Blue Beetle is faced with abusive jerks, locked doors, or an old man drinking water, he'll suggest "plasma cannon" to deal with it. Sometimes it's funny, but mostly it's scary to see Jamie barely keeping the Scarab in check. Especially considering that in at least one dark future, he basically takes over the world.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q.", Quagmire decides that the best solution to save his sister from her abusive boyfriend is to kill the bastard. Joe is initially against it but ends up deciding to "waste this dick" after seeing for himself just how severe the problem really is.
  • Philip Wittebane/Emperor Belos from The Owl House seems to operate under this principle. In "Elsewhere and Elsewhen", he leaves Luz and Lilith to get eaten by a Slitherbeast so he can get the Collector's tablet, and when the two of them survive, he offers to give them information in exchange for them performing another sacrifice. He murdered his own brother for falling in love with a witch, cloned him dozens of times in an attempt to make a better version of him, then killed each of those clones once they stepped out of line. His ultimate plan for the Boiling Isles is to commit genocide using the Draining Spell, and once he realizes he can't convince Luz — the only other human on the Isles — to see things from his perspective, he tries to petrify her.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Demolition Doofus", when Mrs. Puff loses her puff thanks to SpongeBob failing one test too many and insulting her condition, she goes Ax-Crazy and attempts to kill SpongeBob by entering him in a demolition derby; too bad for her, however, as SpongeBob manages to survive every attack and obliterate most of the competition with his bad driving (and also because he's an invertebrate). Even she fails when she decides to take matters into her own hands.
  • Static Shock: In "Jimmy", after the titular boy has been pushed over the edge by Nick's constant bullying, he decides to take his father's handgun and use it to kill him so that the bullying can stop.
  • In Steven Universe, during the Great Offscreen War six thousand years ago, Bismuth kept proposing this to Rose Quartz, even going as far as making a perfect assassination weapon to be used to murder the Great Diamond Authority. Rose Quartz, being a Martial Pacifist, was utterly opposed to the idea, and their disagreements later resulted in Bismuth's imprisonment. A later episode deconstructed this when Rose's son, the titular Steven Universe, learned that Rose went through with the plan anyway after Bismuth's imprisonment by assassinating Pink Diamond to end the war. Not only did this backfire horribly, but learning about his mother's blatant hypocrisy contributed to her becoming a Broken Pedestal to Steven, and his resulting lack of trust in her caused him problems later in the show. However it's later revealed that Rose and Pink Diamond were one and the same, and Rose symbolically killed her true identity so as to be her alter ego permanently.

    Real Life 
  • In a real-life subversion of this trope, the FBI engaged in a program called COINTELPRO, a counter-intelligence program aimed at people like Martin Luther King Junior and The Black Panthers. Their methods, among others, included Legal Harassment: The FBI and police abused the legal system to harass dissidents and make them appear to be criminals. When these methods failed (they often did), they would then employ illegal force: The FBI conspired with local police departments to threaten dissidents; to conduct illegal break-ins in order to search dissident homes; and to commit vandalism, assaults, beatings, and assassinations. One such assassination was the death of Fred Hampton, leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. You can read all about it on the Other Wiki.
  • Multiple times in the Second Wave of Black Metal. Faust was hit on by a homosexual in a park. He "rejected" the man by stabbing him to death and leaving him to die. Later, Euronymous, guitarist for Mayhem, fell out of favor in the scene, and he blamed this on Varg Vikerenes of Burzum. The solution to this was to kill Varg, who, rather than go to the police or anything, went into Euronymous' house and stabbed him twenty-seven times "In Self-Defense". Jon Nödtveidt of Dissection also engaged in this, in a manner very similar to Faust's (and, like the others, was imprisoned for it).
  • According to George Orwell's essay Decline of the English Murder, this was the motivation behind some of the most famous English murderers of his day: "[murder] seems to him less disgraceful, and less damaging to his career, than being detected in adultery."
  • There's a Zen parable of a fictional Zen master asking Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu what they'd each do if a cuckoo didn't sing. Nobunaga's answer? Kill it.
  • A quote, usually attributed to Joseph Stalin:
    A gun solves any problem. If there is no man, there is no problem.
  • Sadly, this was the Modus Operadi of Nazi Germany, especially in regards to The Holocaust. As far as the Nazis were concerned, exterminating the Jews of Europe was not only the “best solution” to their mere presence and status as ”undesirables”, but it was the only solution.

Comedic Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Carnival Phantasm, Grail-kun is always happy to help out someone in need by providing them a useful tool. Examples include the Hero Creation Kit (a knife, because "He'll become a hero after killing a million people."), the Friendmaker (a knife, so Shinji can "Show [Gilgamesh] who's boss"), and the Servant Strengthening Device (a knife, so Kotomine can kill Lancer and summon a better Servant).
  • When Negi has a fight with Asuna in Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Chachazero says that Negi should probably apologize to Asuna... but since that's too much of a pain, he should just kill her instead. It comes up again later on, as Negi is a Clueless Chick-Magnet, and is going to be a total Bishōnen when he hits puberty. Chisame points out that "He's going to make a lot of girls cry in the future", and that it might be better for all involved if they just kill him now.
  • In Heaven's Lost Property, Mikako is asked during a game quiz what she would do if she saw litter on the street. Her answer? Kill everyone.
  • In Samon the Summoner, while going bowling, Samon tries to cheat in order to win, but when Neberios won't let him, he arrives at the conclusion that murder is the ONLY solution.
    Samon: That's right... the main problem is Neberios... as long as he's here I can't win!
  • In the very first episode of Pani Poni Dash!, Ichijou repeatedly tries to poison Becky, insisting that this will solve everything. Rei, being Rei, picks up on this immediately and decides to have Ichijou taken out of the episode. She ends up killing Becky's rabbit, Mesousa at the end of the first episode instead. In another episode, it's also implied that she killed Hibiki when the latter was spying on Becky.
  • In The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Mashiro suggests "annihilating her" as a means for dealing with Nanami, and insists her plan is Plan C.
  • SPY×FAMILY: Played for laughs with Yor. Terrorist cell has to be dealt with? Kill everyone. Need to steal documents of illegal dealings? Kill everyone guarding them. Don't want to be at a party anymore? Maybe I should kill all the guests? The subversion is that Yor is not an evil character and would Never Hurt an Innocent, but given her profession as an assassin, it's still the first place her brain goes in every situation (a mental version of muscle memory), and it shows how much of a Cloudcuckoolander she is at times.

    Fan Works 
  • Shirou in The Hill of Swords has a habit of responding to every problem Louise has by offering to kill someone.
  • In The Wizard in the Shadows, Harry is somewhat prone to this. Since he's been fighting a vicious war for the last four/five years, he's not particularly prone to mercy. Threatening his enemies with obscene violence tends to be his preferred method of getting people to do what he wants.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: This comes up when Hermione has some problems with the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, not helped by the fact that Harry thinks Quidditch is the stupidest thing he's ever heard of.
    Harry: We should kill them.
    Hermione: Who, the Quidditch team?
    Harry: I was thinking of everyone involved in any way with Quidditch anywhere, but the Ravenclaw team would be a start, yes.
    Hermione: You do know that killing people is wrong, Harry?
    Harry: Yes.
    Hermione: Okay, just checking. Let's get the Seeker first. I've read some Agatha Christie mysteries, do you know how we can get her onto a train?
  • Texts from Superheroes: Spider-Man asks the Punisher for some advice on how to deal with a villain. He suggests to just kill him and get it over with.
    Spider-Man: No, I can't do that. He's my best friend's dad.
    The Punisher: Murder's my best friend.
  • In White Sheep (RWBY), while everyone's trying to figure out what question Jaune should ask Jinn, Cinder answers every hypothetical question with some variation of "murder". While the others are annoyed, they do acknowledge her point that killing someone/everyone is a valid answer to their suggestions and thus a possible answer Jinn would give.
  • Although not exactly involving intentional murder, in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Piccolo can be heard to say "Once again, wanton violence has solved all my problems with absolutely no negative repercussions." Cut to a news report on how the effects of Piccolo blowing up the moon killed millions.
  • In Berserk Abridged, this is Corkus's suggestion for every single problem, as well as his favorite hobby.
  • In Code MENT, well, let's quote Suzaku Kururugi directly.
    Suzaku: I'll stop this violence the only way I know how: WITH MORE VIOLENCE!
  • Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv): Light Yagami, naturally:
    Light: Oh well, time to get a new girlfriend.
  • My Little Pony: Totally Legit Recap: Human Fluttershy in the Rainbow Rocks videos is really itching to start a school shooting as the solution to all their problems.
  • In Kill the Lights, this seems to be the case with Plagg, as Adrien has to tell him murder is off the table when dealing with another class that Lila had manipulated to bully her former classmates. Later, Tikki initially shuts down a plan from Plagg thinking this trope is in effect, only for Plagg to actually have a non-murder solution on hand.
    Adrien: ...I’m gonna go ahead and veto murder as an option, then.
    Plagg: No promises!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied in The Cat in the Hat. When Conrad and Sally debate about what to do about Nevins getting out and the crate spewing all over the house, the Cat suggests murder as an option, but then reveals that he only said that because he wanted to pitch in as well.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: When Quill is uncertain about going with his dad, he and Gamora have a heart-to-heart talk which ends with her reassuring him that if his dad turns out to be evil "we'll just kill him." He does turn out to be evil, and they do have to kill him.
  • Hot Fuzz: The whole conspiracy behind the town. Any person in town that's considered a threat to its perfect standing is murdered.
  • Hudson Hawk. Two of Darwin and Minerva Mayflower's minions failed to keep track of Hudson Hawk.
    Darwin: You two! There's nothing I hate more than failure! All you had to do was follow the Hawk. I suppose we'll just have to kill them.
    [Minerva shoots them]
    Darwin: God, Minerva, I was just joking!
    [they dance together]
  • In A Jolly Bad Fellow, Professor Bowles-Ottery is a Social Darwinist who, upon accidentally discovering a Perfect Poison, decides to deal with anyone he finds a nuisance or who stands in way by killing them.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, John Connor orders the Terminator to deal with two jerks, whereupon the T-800 sets out to kill them. Perfectly justified, as this is exactly what the Terminator was made to do.
    John: Jesus, you were gonna kill that guy!
    Terminator: Of course. I'm a Terminator.
    John: Listen to me very carefully, OK? You're not a Terminator anymore. All right? You got that? You just can't go around killing people!
    Terminator: Why?
    John: Whattaya mean, why? 'Cause you can't!
    Terminator: Why?
    John: Because you just can't, OK? Trust me on this.

  • In The Belgariad and The Malloreon, this trope is constantly lampshaded and made fun of in the tendencies of a number of cultures to solve their problems with extreme violence. It gets to the point where certain characters among the True Companions have to be actively restrained from killing anyone who gets in their way — or even mildly annoys them. For additional hilarity, which particular characters are advocating for and against killing tends to rotate among the cast, and their choice of methods is often a source of debate. For example, Silk favors assassination, Hettar and Barak are for brutal slaughter, Mandorallen will gleefully take on entire armies by himself, and Sadi (in The Malloreon) prefers poison.
    • The Church Knights in The Elenium and The Tamuli frequently suggest "constructive Elenishism". This tends to involve swords, axes, crossbows, and so forth.
  • In the third book in the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981) series, Life, the Universe and Everything, the Krikkit people, up until recently living on a planet entirely separated from the universe through a thick layer of Space Clouds, send a small ship to discover where a recently-crashed spaceship comes from. When they break through the barrier and gaze out at the wonders of the infinite universe, they immediately matter-of-factly decide they have to destroy it all. Thus did the devastating Krikkit Wars begin, causing the destruction of much of the universe (and birthing on a mostly harmless Insignificant Little Blue Planet inhabited by among the stupidest species in the universe a game most civilized species find incredibly offensive).
    "It'll have to go," the men of Krikkit said as they headed back for home.
  • Lockwood & Co.: Casual murder seems to be the Whispering Skull's standard go-to suggestion for any sort of problem, even a small one. When Lucy is annoyed by her coworker, the Skull's suggests she should just kill her.
    Skull: Here's my tip: lure her down to Kitchenware and brain her with a skillet. ... Holly. It's a golden opportunity. There are lots of pointy things there too, if you prefer. But basically a simple smack with a rolling pin would do fine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fiona from Burn Notice often suggests shooting people as a solution to practically anything. Sometimes she suggests blowing stuff up instead.
  • When Blackadder found himself attracted to his manservant Bob (actually a woman in disguise), he goes to see the Wise Woman, who suggests three ways to solve the problem:
    1) Kill Bob
    2) Kill Yourself
    3) Make sure nobody ever finds out — kill everybody in the entire world! AHAHAHAHA!!
  • Used in the first episode of My Name Is Earl, when Joy tried to kill Earl to claim his lottery winnings because he hadn't changed his will by then.
  • One The Kids in the Hall sketch had an alien spy who was so nervous that he would continually blow his own cover and then order the destruction of the planet that he was on.
  • 30 Rock: After Pete mentions that Jenna's dilemma reminds of the "psychopath test" above, she not only immediately gets the answer "right" but takes it as a piece of advice — and poisons Kenneth. She does meet the guy, but dumps him after finding out he's got a kid.
  • A humorous variant on The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Cameron discovers that James Ellison lied to the Connors about Cromartie's corpse. She immediately decides to kill him, at which point Sarah tells her she can't kill him. Cameron's response?
    Cameron: But he's the only one I want to kill.
  • Seems to work for Mal in Firefly. Whenever there is an enemy threatening his crew and there seems to be no way out, he'll just shoot the guy, or kick him into the ship's engine. Also, while she was only a child at the time and it was just a game, cannibalism was River's first thought on how to survive being cut off from home in a war...
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure: A commotion ensues when Ondina accidentally transforms in front of Erik. While Ondina hides in the reef to cry, the other mermaids and Zac brainstorm a solution. Mimmi instantly brings up what mermaids would do in the old days, namely luring men to the ocean and drowning them. Neither Evie nor Sirena is amused.
    Mimmi: As they say: Dead men don't tell tales.
  • Community has an aborted attempt. Jeff looks longingly at some hedge clippers when Pierce learns of the secret trampoline and starts to go for them when Troy stops him.
  • Ripping Yarns: This is Charles' general attitude in "Murder at Moorstones Manor".
  • In the "Intervention" sketch from Mr. Show, after his friends are fed up with Bob's interventions (which are more about making fun of said person with problem than solving said problem), they decide to murder him. Bob sees his fate through a Flash Forward, so he tells them how to dispose of the body.
  • In an episode of Two and a Half Men, Allen's ventriloquist dummy gives him this idea when he gets a bit upset that Charlie's using his friendship with Chelsea so he can avoid spending time with her at places he doesn't like.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • A Running Gag with the cast in regards to dealing with Sheldon. In fact, that's usually the first option/answer given whenever Sheldon becomes a problem, short of telling him to go away.
    • Sheldon has also mentioned poisoning Barry Kripke's tea to get rid of him.
    • In one of the earlier episodes, this is suggested on how to deal with the new university arrival Dennis Kim when he upstages Sheldon so Sheldon would leave them alone and get back to his research.
      Raj: What if something were to happen to this boy so he would no longer be a threat?
      Howard: Then all our problems would be solved...
      Leonard: Hold on — You're not suggesting we murder Dennis Kim, are you?
      Raj & Howard: ...
      Leonard: I'm not saying no.
  • Charmed: In one episode, each of the sisters loses a single sense after being cursed by a monkey; they try and formulate a plan of action thusly:
    Mute Paige: [holds up a sign that reads "KILL MONKEY"]
  • Stiles of Teen Wolf sure does suggest this a lot. Even against main characters. Sometimes other pessimistic characters get in on it. Come season five, this example gets a lot less comedic.
  • Babylon 5 recurring antagonist Bester is such a thorn in the heroes' sides, that when asked for options on how to deal with him, Ivanova (possibly seriously) suggests shooting him. Dr. Franklin states that killing him is not an option. However, after a meeting with Bester, where he reminds everyone what a Jerkass he is, Franklin decides that shooting him may be a viable alternative.
  • Cheers: When Sam gets into a bet with Rebecca that it looks like he might lose, Carla suggests killing her. But not cheating. Cheating is wrong. (Please disregard incidents before and after where Carla's been shown as perfectly okay with cheating to win.)

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Fesxis, the otherworldly creature that has come to possess Sebastian, frequently offers murder as the first and 'most ideal' solution to his problems, even when there's more reasonable, less illegal solutions to consider. Sebastian is less than amused by her assistance.
    • When the government agent Sarah Travers blackmails Daigo's gang into working for her, Daigo's girlfriend Melissa suggests running her over the moment her back is turned. Daigo has to assuage her bloodlust by convincing her that Travers could be useful to them later on.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played for Laughs as a group control tactic in Pokéthulhu. It explicitly states that if you break the rules, the one who owns the game is permitted to kill you. (It cautions that this may be illegal, and urges you to never kill someone outside a gaming context.)
  • The Computer in Paranoia executes first. The Computer does not then "ask questions", it "debriefs" ...and executes again. In case the players aren't as naturally homicidal as RPG players are expected to be, they're usually assigned troubleshooting duty, which is summed up as: "find trouble and shoot it."

  • Arsenic and Old Lace: Two nice old ladies advertise a boarding house for elderly men. Unfortunately, their solution for relieving these men of their loneliness is to serve them homemade elderberry wine laced with arsenic. It's one of their "charities". Johnny's first solution is often murder or violence too... maybe it runs in the family (or rather gallops).
  • Jack Stone in the musical Reefer Madness: The Musical seems to subscribe to this school of thought.
    Perhaps it's time he disappeared
    He would never be missed
    I could murder him, murder him, murder him!

    Video Games 
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath Henry from Fire Emblem: Awakening threatens to murder you if you ever give him "stupid" orders like "Don't kill the enemy". In his S support with Tharja, he also offers to destroy your entire army just to show how much he loves her.
  • The obligatory Bioware games' Heroic Comedic Sociopath.
    • Lilarcor in Baldur's Gate II. To be fair, he is a talking sword. How else is he going to solve problems?
    • In Mass Effect, while on Noveria, Shepard gets entangled in a power struggle between Corrupt Corporate Executives. If Wrex is in the party, he suggests a quick way out of the whole mess: "Just eat them." He frequently suggests you just kill everyone in your way or chides you for not taking the murderous option.
      • And if you replace "eat" with "airlock", you get Javik of Mass Effect 3.
      • Renegade!Shepard gets a few of these too, such as the "I should just kill both you idiots" line during Chorban and Jahleed's dispute about the results of your scans of the Keepers in the first game.
      • While not a sociopath, comedic or otherwise, Nakmor Drack of Mass Effect: Andromeda can suggest doing this to a salarian at the end of one quest, after he tries to bargain for freedom with strategic information. Another salarian in the room (well, cave) seems to be thinking along the same lines.
    • HK-47 in Knights of the Old Republic ("I would much rather this get bloody, master!"). And his suggestion for gaining prestige at the Sith Academy ("Suggestion: We could start by slaughtering the occupants of this building, Master. Would that be impressive?").
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, this role is filled by Shale, whose stated solution to pretty much everything is 'crush it'. Sten and Morrigan also espouse the more violent or 'evil' solutions, usually losing you influence by being selfless unless you persuade them otherwise, but their examples are less Played for Laughs.
    • In Jade Empire, it's Black Whirlwind. He can be persuaded to tell a number of stories about his past adventures, and listening to them makes it clear that his solution to any problem is inevitably to kill someone... usually leading to having to kill everyone.
  • In Disgaea 3, Princess Sapphire is usually the first person to offer up a solution to the current dilemma — the solution being to murder the obstacle, of course. Even the demons are a bit unsettled by this tendency.
  • The Portal universe's backstory reveals that this was the conclusion that Master Computer GLaDOS came to literally picoseconds after being switched on. Prior to the events of the first game, she had already killed all the scientists in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center with a deadly neurotoxin, and now amuses herself by parading an endless stream of Human Popsicle test subjects through a Death Course of test chambers. Those who succeed... she murders anyway. For Science!.
    • And in the second game, she subverts it. Killing Chell is actually pretty hard, so she ends up letting her go.
  • In Sacrifice, this is played for laughs by the God of Death, Charnel.
    Charnel: Kill the blasphemer!
    Persephone: Charnel! Death is not the answer to everything.
    Charnel: Yes... Torture also has its merits...
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The Dragonborn ends up teaching this lesson to a bunch of orphans after killing Grelod the Kind. One little girl is fascinated by the idea of one murder solving so many problems. And the boy who tried to contact the Dark Brotherhood in the first place tells the Dragonborn that he wants to become an assassin when he grows up so he can help people too.
    • For context, Grelod is an abusive orphanage manager who hates the job and the children but refuses to let go of the position despite that. With her out of the way, her assistant who actually cares about the children can take over and things will improve for everyone, but the only way to get her out of the way is to kill her — which ends up sending the wrong message to the children about how to solve their problems (especially since killing Grelod leads to absolutely no negative consequences the children could notice whatsoever — she is so hated that even if you kill her right in front of a guard, you get no bounty).
  • Common in Borderlands 2, especially in the Campaign of Carnage DLC. Is often lampshaded in dialogue or mission briefings. A prime example: "Mister Torgue has informed you that much of the beer in Pyro Pete's Bar has been poisoned. He needs you to kill some of the bandits and take their beer so they won't die of poison. As you will be killing the bandits anyway, this plan makes approximately zero sense."

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: "Ordinarily I would just drown my sorrows in video games, but for this, maybe I should drown them in... drowning them." — Strong Bad
  • Magical Fun Time Now has the Magical Girl protagonists killing a prison guard who overheard their plan to escape.
  • This becomes a running gag in Overly Sarcastic Productions' portrayal of Medea—which is, it must be said, not an inaccurate summary of the myths surrounding her.
    Red: It's murder. The plan is murder.

  • The most extreme example would probably be the entire cast of 8-Bit Theater, for whom murder or genocide is everyone's solution to everything.
    • Especially Black Mage, whose approach to everything is exemplified by the flowchart.
      Muffin: You don't want to kill me.
      Black Mage: Not specifically, no.
      But I enjoy killing in the academic sense.
      Also in the murder sense.
    • Also this.
      Black Mage: That's not exactly what I was thinking. Necessarily.
      Thief: It's your standard solution to everything, so yes it was.
    • And this, from a doppelganger of Black Mage personifying all of his sins.
      Doppelganger: I can't help but think that indiscriminate murder is the only viable solution here.
  • Similarly, the 8BT-inspired Ansem Retort. If Axel has a problem that needs solving, you can bet it will involve fire. Or spiked wheels. Or mind bullets. Or, on one occasion, organising a musical number, but that was kind of the exception.
  • Nodwick: One strip is a parody of the classic D&D module "Castle Ravenloft''. When the heroes finally encounter Count Straud, Piffany insists that violence is never the solution and gives him a lecture on his wicked ways. This winds up causing him to become suicidal, at which point he lets Artax and Yeagar staking him. Yeagar then declares that once again, violence has solved the problem.
  • The Order of the Stick. Lampshaded by Celia in this strip.
    • Belkar Bitterleaf, who apparently works on the definition "Enemy combatant: anyone worth XP."
      Belkar: When in doubt, set something on fire!
    • And another example:
      Belkar: I have an idea. It starts with "s" and ends with "litting their throats."
    • Also Vaarsuvius, in one strip:
      Vaarsuvius: As the size of an explosion increases, the number of social situations it is incapable of solving approaches zero.
      Blackwing: *whisper whisper whisper*
      Vaarsuvius: ...And That Would Be Wrong.
    • Miko Miyazaki, for a paladin, is always prompt to decide that any evildoer is better off killed by her own hand rather than brought to justice. It takes very specific orders from her liege to dissuade her to apply violence first. Orders she'd obey, but reluctantly. It comes to the point where she murders said liege rather than risk putting him through trial for his deceptions.
  • Girl Genius:
    • The Jägers tend toward this solution. An example being when their plan of action escalated until it became one of "dose plans... hyu know — de kind vere ve keel everybody dot notices dot ve's killin' people", and were dissuaded from it by realizing this would lead to them losing their hats. It's quite likely that in the old days they would have stuck with it anyway.
    • Not just the Jägers. Both clanks and Sparks default to killing things whenever confronted with too complicated a problem, regardless of whether there are better or easier solutions.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del: here and here.
  • Used in a Penny Arcade strip with Porkfry, Gabe complains that he always wants to resort to murder. Of course, Gabe himself is usually pretty quick to resort to murder.
  • A Darken guest comic has the immortal line: "Ah, murder. Is there any problem you can't solve?"
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    Rule 6: "If violence wasn't your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it."
  • Hannelore of Questionable Content, as seen here. Possibly due to having a Mad Scientist father and a Bond Villain mother.
  • Used by Dominic (in the earlier strips) and Kamahl (later on), the resident Sociopathic Heroes, in UG Madness. It gets to the point where, when everyone else is vowing to come in first and take home a prize at an FNM, Kamahl's vow is "I'll just kill the winner and take theirs."
  • Pibgorn: Being trapped in a Film Noir scenario will do it to you.
  • In Exiern, Tiffany doesn't want to go to the dance with an escort, but she can't not go, and doesn't want to look silly by not having one. The solution, some sort of compromise surely?
    Tiffany: ...mass murder would solve the problem, right?
  • Unsounded: While Knock, Emil and Elka are held prisoner by Bell's troops Elka reveals that she read Emil's mail and knows his wife cheated on him, was in the process of divorcing him and had assumed full possession of their daughter. Knock offers her services as an assassin at a discount rate to Emil since his ex is such a bitch, somehow not realizing she herself is a much worse person.

    Web Original 
  • Technically speaking, the only thing that needs to be done to a Mary Sue in the Protectors of the Plot Continuum is removing her from the fiction she's contaminated. In practice, the Mary Sues are so irritating that Agents will not only default to killing but find or invent particularly painful ways of killing. This is more for Rule of Funny, though, and some of the less problematic Sues are simply recruited. There have been some Sue-killing methods that actually got the Agents reprimanded. The Redneck Trees in particular.
  • Cracked article "6 Attempts at Damage Control That Caused Way Bigger Problems" opens with the line:
    Mistakes are an inevitable part of human nature, but there's a system for dealing with them the right way — The Four A's: Assess the damage, Acknowledge your role, Apologize sincerely, and Assassinate all accusers.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In the episode "Four Little Words," Bullock accidentally kills Francine's friend Melinda, who Stan and Francine had set him up on a blind date with. Stan and Bullock hide it from Francine, Stan largely because he just doesn't want Francine to say "I told you so," because she knew said blind date would end badly. When Francine starts getting suspicious, Bullock immediately resorts to trying to assassinate her to throw her off the trail, specifically telling Stan that either Francine can be dead, or she can be right. Stan decides to Take a Third Option... by tricking Francine into thinking she killed Melinda.
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Super Trivia", this Shake's idea to win a trivia game by suggesting they kill their opponent Wayne.
  • In the Big City Greens episode "Chipocalypse Now" Chip Whistler, after being revealed as a Corrupt Corporate Executive to everyone in Big City and being told that he’s no longer welcome in said town, attempts to rip Cricket to shreds with his helicopter blade out of fury, but Cricket quickly jumped off the roof and Bill safely caught him; Chip then tries to take the entire Green clan in a kamikaze attack. This backfires hard, as Cricket immediately sees a Fatal Flaw; the helicopter gets caught in a telephone pole, stopping just inches away from Cricket's face, and thanks to accidentally letting go of the yoke, Chip is then slingshotted out of town and into space (and possibly his death).
  • Bob's Burgers: In the episode Easy Commercial, Easy Gommercial, Bob tries to come up with a plan to drum up customers and beat his rival Jimmy Pesto. Using a zucchini he bought, he suggests that he could just kill Jimmy Pesto. He seems to actually consider the option until finding out he could make a Super Bowl commercial.
  • This exchange in Darkwing Duck when J. Gander and Dr. Bellum are confronted by two Darkwing Ducks (one is Negaduck posing as Darkwing).
    Dr. Sarah Bellum: Well, guess we'll have to kill them both!
    J. Gander Hooter: Dr. Bellum!!
    Dr. Sarah Bellum: Just kidding.
  • It is implied that this is what Coco says in an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, judging by Mac's reaction of "But then we'd go to jail". It even sounds like she says "We could kill him" if you listen closely.
  • Futurama:
    • Spoofed: "Damn! Murder isn't working and that's all we're good at!" (especially hilarious given that it's Al Gore, Lt. Uhura, and Stephen Hawking).
    • Also, this seems to be Leela's solution to everything when she decides to be more impulsive in "Anthology of Interest", implying this is the solution that first occurs to her all the time and is only kept in check by her being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud.
    • This quote from Zoidberg from "Fry Am the Egg Man" shows this trope.
      Zoidberg: I say kill it.
      Fry: But I love it and it loves me.
      Zoidberg: Kill them both!
  • The 8-year-old children on Home Movies recommend murder to solve far too many problems.
  • In a milder example in The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, Rico immediately suggests "Kaboom!" as a solution to every problem the penguins face. His wish is eventually granted.
  • This is generally what Vendetta wants to do to Charlotte on Making Fiends, though she never verbally says so.
    Then there came another girl who wanted to be friends; Vendetta cannot stand her, so she plots her end.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Meeseeks and Destroy", the Meeseeks go insane from the pain of existence after days of failing to accomplish the nigh-impossible task of taking two strokes off of Jerry's golf game. After trying and failing to kill each other, the Meeseeks Jerry originally created decides the best way to take off two strokes is to take off all strokes — by murdering Jerry so that he will never play golf again.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer the Great", this is how nearly all of the members of the Stonecutters react to Homer being their leader.
      Moe: We've got to kill him!
      Number One: Take it easy, Moe. Let's hear from the Stonecutter world council before we act too rashly.
      Orville Redenbacher: Kill him.
      Jack Nicholson: Kill him.
      Mr. T: Kill the fool!
      George H. W. Bush: I'm afraid I have to disagree with Orville, Jack, and Mr. Can't we just do something to his voice box?
    • In "Bart Carny", after carnies scam the Simpsons out of their house.
      Marge: We can't just give up on our house. There's got to be a way to get these guys out of there.
      Bart: I say we set fire to the house — kill them that way.
      Marge: We don't want to kill them, Bart. We just want our home back.
      Lisa: Well... if we did set fire to the house…
      Marge: No fires!
      Homer: I've got it!
      Marge: No fires!!
  • South Park:
    • "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut", wherein some people are temporarily trapped in a building during a storm and, after a few hours, decide to resort to cannibalism to survive, although they really could've just waited a little while. Keep in mind that they opted to eat the annoying celebrity guests first...
    • Instances where Cartman states they have to kill Kyle include "South Park Is Gay" when he points out being associated with him is ruining their metrosexual reputation and "Toilet Paper" when he believes Kyle will expose the truth. In the latter episode, he actually goes through with his plan... using a wiffle bat.
    • In "Pinewood Derby", representatives from countries around the world decide the best way to deal with Finland is to Nuke 'em.
    • In "Good Times With Weapons", Cartman suggests killing Butters, fearing that the incident of the boys injuring him with a ninja star will get them in trouble. Kyle is so scared, he agrees to go along with it.
  • In the non-canon crossover episode between Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa "Say Uncle", the Gems are so freaked out by Uncle Grandpa's reality-warping antics that they decide they must kill him. They sadly fail to pull it off, though.
  • The Venture Bros. does this a lot. In one episode, Dr. Venture orders Brock to kill people so he can create more Venturesteins. Brock refuses. In another episode, Brock goes to the Moppets to get them to hurt a kid who disrespected him, but they only seem interested in killing the kid (with a knife!). Brock earlier admitted that he usually kills people who disrespect him, but the kid was underage so he couldn't touch him. And when told to downsize his command staff, the Monarch executes his minions rather than transferring them. Another episode had Hank (who accidentally injected a hallucinogenic drug into himself) convinced that the only way to be with Brock's Russian ex-girlfriend is to kill his father.


Video Example(s):


Killing for Admission

Upon learning that Anya is on the Eden College waitlist, Yor immediately considers killing an enrolled student's father to secure for her an opening. (She quickly changes her mind, but still).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (43 votes)

Example of:

Main / MurderIsTheBestSolution

Media sources: