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Necro Cam

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Commonly used in crime dramas.

Once the detective has done The Summation and revealed the guilty party, we will get a Flashback of the crime being committed with the perpetrator completely visible, showing how they did it. This is particularly helpful if the murder method was fairly complicated, as a picture is of course worth a thousand words.

Sometimes there will be more than one flashback during the investigation as the detectives think out a theory; in this case, the theories and therefore the flashback may not even turn out to be correct. Sometimes it will be blurred with distorted sound and washed-out colors.


Compare Once More, with Clarity! which repeats an earlier scene but adds new information which changes our perception of what went on in that moment, and Flashback-Montage Realization which shows a series of flashbacks that may include new footage. Nothing to do with Necromancy.


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  • Willem Dafoe's character in The Boondock Saints not only does this, but he also walks around in the scene Dead Zone style.
  • The Necro Cam shot in The Case of the Curious Bride, in which the murderer explains how victim Gregory Moxley really died, is notable for being the American film debut of Errol Flynn. Flynn's onscreen for about 2 minutes as Moxley and has no dialogue.
  • In Clue, the various murders are seen being committed, when the solutions are explained.
  • Fog Over Frisco: Possibly the Ur-Example, being from 1934. After being freed from imprisonment on Burchard's yacht, Val relates what she learned about Arlene's murder, with her narration being shown on-screen in Necro Cam style.
  • Most of the Wuxia film Hero (2002) is in Necro Cam- the main difference being that it repeats several times, each iteration being one version of the events leading up to the conversation between the Emperor and Nameless and recounted in said conversation. Also Colour-Coded for Your Convenience- each version of events gets its own dominant colour, used in the clothes the characters wear and much of the set (for example, in the "Red" sequence, the characters wear red, hang round in a building full of red drapes and have an enormous fight in an Autumn forest).
  • Used in The Last of Sheila as Phillip explains the extremely complicated murder solution to Tom.

     Live-Action TV  

  • Most of the film/television adaptations of Agatha Christie's works include at least one 'true' (and usually several 'false') versions of this as the detective crosses off potential theories in the finale.
  • Cold Case also does this at the end of every episode.
  • Criminal Minds occasionally does this when the FBI experts try to explain the unsub's behavior in terms the local police (and also the audience) can understand. Usually done via greenscreen, with the agent speaking either physically watching the unsub, or taking his/her place in the crime.
  • Crossing Jordan was notable for frequently superimposing lead characters reenacting a crime over Necro Cam footage of the crime actually occurring.
  • CSI and its spinoffs do this multiple times in every episode. CSI is also notable for its gory body-dives, in which the camera flies around inside somebody's body (often tracing the path of a murder weapon), accompanied by all sorts of icky Foley noises.
  • Hannibal uses this frequently - Once an Episode in season 1 when the show is more episodic, and less often later.
  • While not in the traditional sense, House uses a form of the Necro Cam by often zooming inside the patient's body and showing what was going on inside that caused their illness in the first place. Television Without Pity refers to it as the Magic Schoolbus Cam.
  • Jonathan Creek does this, probably because the show is a howdunnit more than it is a whodunnit and the complex solutions would be tricky to get across in words alone. Subverted in the original pilot The Wrestler's Tomb, in which we get this to accompany Creek describing a mere hypothetical of how the crime could have been permitted by one suspect, which turns out not to be the actual solution.
  • The main gimmick of the short-lived show Justice was that, at the beginning of each episode, you'd see what the jury believed had happened, with what really happened at the end. In at least one case, it was shown that the wrong person went to jail.
  • Monk also uses this device often, on one occasion subverting it by showing a fake flashback implicating Alice Cooper as the murderer, while a sleep-deprived, hallucinating Monk explained the rock star's intricate plot to secure the victim's antique chair. Like in Jonathan Creek, it's often more a howdunnit or a whydunnit because the identity of the murderer is often shown in the Teaser. In Monk, the Necro Cam is always done in black and white.
  • Murder, She Wrote does this.
  • Happens frequently in Murdoch Mysteries whenever Murdoch figures out how the Victim of the Week was killed. Murdoch frequently inserts himself into these flashbacks (implied to be his mental image of what happened) as a bystander to the event, and he often simultaneously narrates his explanation of the murder to someone else (and for the convenience of the audience).
  • Whilst it does sometimes appear, the Necro Cam is surprisingly absent from New Tricks, especially when considering that most of the cases that the squad investigate occurred over twenty years ago.
  • NUMB3RS has its own take on this: when Charlie (or in later seasons, Larry or Amita) delivers a Phlebotinum Analogy, often several times an episode, their surroundings fade out and the discussion is overlaid with chalkboard-drawn equations and visual effect sequences representative of the analogy.
  • Similarly, Psych did it (especially in earlier episodes), with fuzzy, washed-out, oversaturated shots. This changed in later seasons: instead of showing original footage, often it would repeat key lines that would give a clue to what happened.
  • Parodied in the penultimate episode of Stargate Atlantis, a Shout-Out to CSI. The lighting, filter and camera effects that CSI uses are copied almost perfectly—except it's someone being murdered by a life-sucking alien.
  • Stranger: In episode 1-2 Si-mok, a prosecutor, gets back into murder victim Moo-sung's house. The murder is shown onscreen in various different necro cam scenarios as Si-mok runs through how it might have gone down. Disturbingly, he pictures himself as the killer each time. This is lampshaded when Yeo-jin, the detective accompanying Si-mok, comes into the room and stares wide-eyed as Si-mok, knife in hand, mimes stabbing someone.
  • Veronica Mars gets one of these sequences at the end of season one, where she finally pieces together what actually happened. She presumably explains her theory to Duncan while the audience sees the footage of her idea being performed.


     Video Games  

  • Implemented in many FPSes under the moniker "Kill Cam".
  • Many, many times in the Ace Attorney series.
  • This is the "premonition" part of Deadly Premonition. It starts off full of static and then gets gradually filled in as you find clues around the areas you investigate.
  • Max Payne 3 shows the kill shot on Max from three angles.
  • The Forensics segments of Trauma Team have some of this, although it's also somewhat of a straight recap.
  • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, with the latter using the slow-mo kill cam for enemies as well as the player.