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Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, horrified by the terrible slight that Blomberg had committed against the dignity of the military by defending his wife, sent Blomberg's old assistant to follow him around on his honeymoon and demand that he get a divorce. The ludicrously overzealous adjunct instead repeatedly demanded that Blomberg commit suicide, at one point even trying to force a pistol into his hands while telling him to "do the honorable thing." So the onetime commander-in-chief of the Nazi war machine was reduced to having some doofus assistant to the regional Nazi telling him to kill himself while he was trying to enjoy his honeymoon.
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Alice gives her underling Bob an order, which is then carried out far beyond what Alice asked for or intended.

If punished, the underling may feel it's a Bewildering Punishment. May be pulled off by the Psycho for Hire, Blood Knight, Obstructive Bureaucrat, or Psycho Supporter. Shoot the Dangerous Minion is a possible outcome. The Beleaguered Boss may find himself in charge of one or more of these.

Compare Poisonous Friend, Tragically Misguided Favor, Just Following Orders (what the underling thinks they're doing), Your Approval Fills Me with Shame (if the underling thought this was the best way to carry out the boss' wishes), Rhetorical Request Blunder (when the order was stated but was never intended to be carried out in the first place), Underling with an F in PR (where the underling doesn't care about the repercussions of their actions) and Gone Horribly Right.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gate: After Pina has negotiated an incredibly generous (compared to her society's usual reparation demands) settlement with the JSDF (they mostly want hostages back instead of punitive damages from the attack on Tokyo), her knights (unaware of the treaty, since messages can't go faster than horses) run into Itami, who they think is still an enemy and violently torment all the way back to the castle. Pina lashes out at Bozes and orders her to sleep with Itami to salvage the situation (which, as a daughter of aristocrats, she's more or less expected to do in diplomatic situations). Unfortunately, Bozes finds Itami in the middle of a tea party with his squad and some maids and slaps him. Pina then decides to go along with the JSDF to Japan in order to prevent any more screwups from her troops.
  • Sixshot is portrayed as such in Transformers Energon: due to his own vendetta against Optimus Prime, he frequently goes against Galvatron's orders to target the Autobots. Repeated disobeying of orders, almost killing his own side in the process or just butting into Galvatron's own obsessive rivalry with Prime made him the constant target of violent lambastings and tantrums from his Control Freak Bad Boss. Sure enough, this pattern slowly embittered Sixshot into The Starscream, sabotaging and blackmailing Galvatron with Cybertron's artillery to force him to deal with things his way, and eventually attacking and almost killing him, deeming the commander an interference to his own troops. Galvatron escaped and underwent an Emergency Transformation, making sure to crush Sixshot first thing before dealing with the Autobots.
  • Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders has tons of fanatical followers, but among the most outstanding ones is his right-hand man Vanilla Ice, who chops his own head off when all Dio asked for was a bit of his blood. Fortunately for him, Dio brings him back by turning him into a vampire.
  • Overlord (2012):
    • The driving force behind most of the series is the fact that Nazarick's guardians (originally player-created NPCs with customized abilities and appearances with pages of backstory with no in-game effect, now sentient beings acting in accordance to those backstories who consider their creators as gods) have thrown all the devotion they held for their disappeared creators onto Ainz, and thus act on everything he says based on their perception of him as a unfathomably powerful force of evil. Thus when Ainz unthinkingly says conquering the world sounds interesting to Demiurge, the latter relays it to the other guardians as Ainz commanding they assist him in taking over the world (since most of the guardians are evil-inclined, it wasn't much of a stretch).
    • Albedo has to be restrained from getting violent when anyone does anything to insult the name of Nazarick, such as covering the walls with earth to disguise it (despite Ainz asking for suggestions and approving that one) or two little girls refusing a potion from Ainz (who appeared to them as a giant walking skeleton, murdered the knight threatening them, and turned him into an undead minion). Of course, her case is special because she was accidentally reprogrammed to be in Mad Love with Ainz. She's also hinted to start making plans to murder Ainz' guildmates if they're ever found for the crime of "abandoning" him, despite Ainz' dearest wish being to reunite with his friends).
    • After Shalltear is incompletely mind-controlled into rebelling against Ainz, the guardians consider each other's motives with heightened suspicion. Even Shalltear demands to be punished for it, despite Ainz's repeated insistence that he doesn't hold her responsible, and eventually settles for turning her into human furniture... which, it turns out, is a fetish for her.
    • Sebas rescues Tsuare from a horrible brothel, but is reported by a fellow guardian as he'd been ordered not to attract attention (since the brothel owners come looking for compensation and are dealt with in a gloriously cathartic manner). This leads to Ainz ordering Sebas to kill Tsuare to Leave No Witnesses and prove he is in fact still loyal to Ainz. Tsuare is so grateful to her rescuer she puts his well-being ahead of her own life, smiling and making no attempt to defend hersef. As ordered, Cocytus blocks the attack and determines that Sebas had every intention of obeying Ainz's order. With the guardians reassured as to Sebas's loyalty, Tsuare is allowed to live at Nazarick.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the Indigo League series, Ash makes the mistake of showing antipathy towards the gym leader Erika's perfume. Her assistants lambast him furiously and kick him out the store. Later he finds the same aggression at her gym, with the guards banning him from entry for hating perfume. He manages to reach Erika through disguise and, despite her earlier annoyance with Ash, she still gladly battles.
    • During the Battle Frontier series, when trying to meet up Frontier Brain Lucy, Ash is interrogated by her assistant. Lucy however appears in time, scolding her sister for being rude to yet another competitor.
  • During the Baltic Sea War arc in Vinland Saga, Floki orders his Ax-Crazy minion Garm to kill Thorfinn. While in the area to do this, Garm decides to take it on his own initiative to assassinate Vagn, Floki's main political enemy. Except... the assassination royally infuriates Thorkell, who Floki had previously recruited, and Thorkell (a much deadlier opponent than Vagn) promptly turns against Floki, consolidating both his own forces and Vagn's Decapitated Army to go after Floki. Oh, and Garm let Thorfinn escape in all the commotion, so he's also coming after Floki. Oops.
  • Shonan Jun'ai Gumi!: Katsuyuki starts fights in Onizuka's name, always talking about "conquering the nation", and even started leading his "elite guard" in the last few chapters, none of which Onizuka wanted.

    Comic Books 
  • Blake and Mortimer: In "The Oath of the Five Lords", an MI 5 agent is certain T. E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) is betraying his country, having seen him in the company of foreign operatives. The agent (who's also jealous and resentful of Lawrence) inducts a young Henry Blake (who idolizes Lawrence) to unwittingly help him murder Lawrence for his betrayal... who it turns out was infiltrating on his superiors' orders. Oops.
  • Les Innommables: Colonel Lychee and the Dog-Man take a few of the latter's crewmen to dig up buried treasure. Lychee shoots them dead once they're done, telling the angry Dog-Man that they won't have to worry about them blabbing. The Dog-Man then says that's not the reason he's angry: they could just as easily have killed them onboard the ship, now Lychee will have to row the two of them back.
  • The Punisher: "When Frank Sleeps" has Frank go back in time to Prohibition, where he beats the crap out of Al Capone's goons before offering his services as a hitman. Capone uses Frank to exterminate rival gangs, then holds a victory banquet where the guests (members of Capone's gang who'd failed or betrayed him in some way) are all tied up so Capone can beat them to death with a baseball bat, citing his fear of Frank becoming this trope during the Motive Rant. Frank breaks free and kills Capone, destroying organized crime in America before it could become too powerful, saving his family from the mob shootout in Central Park in the future... and then he wakes up.
  • In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) #109, the Crimson Twins botch an order from Cobra Commander and order several captive Joes executed. An overzealous SAW Viper steps forward and immediately shoots; actually killing several of the prisoners. As this was not what Cobra Commander intended, this cause problems for everyone involved.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: In "World's Strongest", Dr . Wheelo is a giant Brain in a Jar who depends on his Dragon Kochin to get a body. Unfortunately, Kochin's determination that this new body have a functional penis leads him to kidnap (then reject) Bulma, Piccolo, and Master Roshi (getting Goku and Gohan involved). He also invested a fortune in a trap that lasted less than a minute against Goku and re-engineered some of Wheelo's creations into evil monsters. Dr. Wheelo is a complete Anti-Villain in this movie, who grows ever more horrified at Kochin's actions while completely powerless to stop him because, well...
    Dr. Wheelo: I am a brain! In a jar!
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Advance to the Rear: The trouble is started by Heath ignoring Brackenbury's truce with the enemy and instead following proper military protocol to capture a group of enemy soldiers.
  • In The Quick and the Dead, when the Quick Draw tournament is down to Herod and Cort, the night before the final match Herod has his follower Ratsy work Cort over, since Cort attempted to attack Herod earlier in the day. During the course of this, Ratsy breaks Cort's right hand in revenge for Cort breaking his nose. Herod, who claims that he's wanted to have a proper gunfight with Cort even back when the two were bandits together so they can find out who really is the Fastest Gun in the West, is pissed when he sees what Ratsy did.

    Jokes 
  • A knight returns from a campaign and reports to his king:
    Knight: Sire, I have defeated your enemies to the north, to the west, to the east and to the south!
    King: South? We don't have any enemies to the south!
    Knight: Oh. Well, you do now.

    Literature 
  • Sherlock Holmes:
    • The Sign Of Four: Small's accomplice is an Andaman native who thought he was carrying out Small's orders by killing Sholto (all Small wanted was to find the treasure Sholto's father had stolen from him), and is entirely surprised when Small lashes out at him.
    • "The Priory School": What was supposed to be a simple kidnapping turns into a murder by the mastermind's accomplice, which so horrifies said mastermind (James Wilder, the Duke's secretary and bastard son) that he immediately makes a full confession to the Duke and arranges to flee the country. Holmes agrees not to pursue Wilder due to not being legally guilty of his henchman's crime.
  • 20 Years After: Grimaud takes his job as Beaufort's prison guard comically seriously, removing the duke's comb and a glass shard in accordance with the rule that the prisoner may not have any pointy or sharp objects on him. It's an act so no one will suspect he's actually there to help with Beaufort's escape.
  • Ciaphas Cain:
    • In "The Traitor's Hand", the Imperial Guard finds evidence of a daemon summoning ritual, though too late to find anything useful. Another site is discovered, but the overly puritanical Tallarn soldiers and their commissar Beije completely destroy the site before the psykers can examine it. Because Beije believes Cain to be acting traitorously (along with a big helping of decades-old resentment), he attempts to arrest Cain with a Tallarn squad as he investigates the final site, inadvertently providing Cain with reinforcements to defeat the daemon princess as she's summoned and character witnesses for his heroic behavior (to the point where years later there's a Tallarn sect that believes Cain was the Emperor's will embodied).
    • In "Duty Calls", a squad of Sororitas gets so caught up in burning Tyranids that they leave their position, leaving a gap in the line they're supposed to be defending and leaving the temple/refugee camp wide open. Cain gets them back in by pointing out that their noble sacrifices mean certain death for the civilians depending on them for protection.
  • Harry Potter: After Fudge orders the Daily Prophet to libel Harry as a delusional attention-seeker for claiming that Voldemort returned, Umbridge takes it on herself to ensure his silence by siccing Dementors on him. As she puts it, what he (Fudge) doesn't know won't hurt him, which means that he cares about the result and doesn't have to deal with any kind of qualm that he may have had. While Fudge is forced to admit that Voldemort is back, having seen him with his own eyes, she isn't punished for this as it is never officially proven, staying with the Ministry until she is finally sent off to Azkaban after Voldemort's defeat.
  • This is a recurring problem for many sides in both A Song of Ice and Fire and its TV adaption Game of Thrones.
    • Tywin Lannister loves the terror inspired by his brute Gregor Clegane. Mostly Tywin sends Gregor out to add onto that reputation by doing all the thug work for the Lannisters, meaning a whole lot of Rape, Pillage, and Burn. Gregor is so enthusiastic in these tasks that it sometimes backfires: multiple characters note that Gregor is too bloodthirsty and sadistic to take highborn captives, often killing them just because when he could get rich ransoms for them or use them strategically as hostages. And Gregor's needless rape and murder of Princess Elia years before the start of the story drove one of Elia's brothers to carefully plot to overthrow and destroy the Lannisters and everything they care about, while the other brother would eventually give Gregor a poisoned spear in the gut that caused him to die slowly and in horrific agony.
    • In the book, Robb Stark's uncle Edmure disobeys orders to stay put (orders which are admittedly vague) and decides to move his army to block Tywin Lannister's army from crossing a river, repelling the large force with minimal losses in a series of minor skirmishes. Edmure believes he's doing the right thing by his nephew and that it was the only reasonable course based on what he knew, but this prevents Tywin from crossing the river and being caught in an ambush where Robb might have been able to crush the entire army. In the TV adaption he acts on his own initiative and wins a Pyrrhic Victory against Gregor Clegane instead, but Clegane and most of his force escape and it ruins a trap Robb had planned for Clegane.
  • In The Wheel of Time, personal tragedy spurs Aram to abandon his Actual Pacifist people, take up a sword, and join Perrin's forces. Things go downhill from there: he has to be ordered not to kill prisoners of war, gets jealous of anyone spending time with Perrin, meets the Obliviously Evil zealot Prophet Masema, and assists the Prophet's forces with Cold-Blooded Torture. Ultimately, he switches sides to the Prophet, who is his equal for insane zeal, and dies trying to murder Perrin.
  • The villain of the third book of the Sword of Truth series, Tobias Brogan, preached throughout his life how every magic user is a servant of evil and must be destroyed. However, he did keep his sorceress sister around to fight other magic users. Then, a block is removed which had been keeping his own magical gift locked, and the revelation drives him into an A God Am I delusion within a couple of minutes. As soon as the sister sees that, she blasts Tobias right in the heart as per his lessons.
  • Robert Thomas Jones from The Newest Plutarch was the creator of a Death Seeker sect who insisted one must die as soon as possible. When he started approaching sixty, however, his best student had noticed others are accusing Jones of hypocrisy, so he came over with a few implements for committing suicide. The teacher attempted to flee the overly zealous follower, and was hit by a car.
  • A pet example in the thirdHenry Huggins book, Henry and Ribsy. Henry tries to train his dog to fetch the morning newspaper, and almost gets into trouble when Ribsy goes on to fetch not just his newspaper, but every other paper in the neighborhood—effectively stealing them. Henry then has to "untrain" Ribsy so that he'd stop stealing his neighbors' newspaper.
  • In Saturnalia, the fifth volume of John Maddox Roberts's SPQR series, Lucius Calpurnius Bestia admits to poisoning Decius' uncle, Metellus Celer, because of Celer's political opposition to Pompey the Great. When Decius asks whether Pompey actually ordered Celer killed, Bestia responds, "you known how one serves great men, Decius: Try to do what they want, especially the less savory tasks, without waiting for them to tell you to. That way their hands stay clean, but they are aware of how much they owe you."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kaamelott: Grüdü (Arthur's Viking bodyguard) has a surefire method of ensuring no assassins can reach the king: murder anyone who passes near the king's bedroom (be it a servant who's just coming to light the candles or a knight of the Round Table) or gets near the king (such as, say, the king's current bedmate). Arthur tries to pull a Logic Bomb on him by holding a dagger to his own throat, but quickly stops as he sees Grüdü about to go berserk.
  • Luke Cage (2016): Tone is the right-hand man of Cottonmouth (who demands to referred to as "Mr. Stokes"). He is so aggressively loyal to his boss that when Shades shows up (speaking on behalf of a much more powerful criminal) and doesn't show Cottonmouth the proper respect, Tone makes things difficult by threatening Shades. Later, when the traitor Chico is found, Cottonmouth learns that he's hiding in the barber shop where Luke Cage and his friend/mentor, Pop, work. Cottonmouth is an old friend of Pop and respects his rules that the barber shop is neutral ground; Tone thinks that this makes his boss look weak, so he goes against orders and shoots up the entire shop, accidentally killing Pop while still failing to kill the target they were after. This move is so poorly thought-out that not only does Cottonmouth become enraged by his friend's death, but this act is the Inciting Incident that leads to Luke Cage rising up against crime in Harlem. For this and an accidental show of disrespect by calling Stokes "Cottonmouth" to his face, Tone gets thrown off the roof of Harlem's Paradise.
  • Mahabharata: In the 1988 television adaptation of the old epic, Duryodhan is shown to be prone to this as a youngster. In one instance, Duryodhan’s evil uncle Shakuni orders him to feed Bhim poisoned porridge. Duryodhan does feed Bhim the poisoned food, but he then proceeds to dump Bhim into a snake infested river, just to make sure, but without explicit instructions to do so. When Bhim survives the poison due to snake venom being the antidote, Shakuni berates Duryodhan for exceeding his instructions. A few years later, when Duryodhan has just graduated from his required military training by the guru Dronacharya, the guru demands that a rival king Drupad be defeated, captured and brought before him as “payment” for knowledge imparted. Duryodhan declares that he will kill Drupad and bring his head to Dronacharya as payment, but Dronacharya scolds Duryodhan that exceeding orders is as bad as disobeying them.
  • In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Charisma", cult leader and pedophile Abraham Ophion meets his end when, in a fit of madness, he declares that he is greater than God. One of his young followers shoots him dead, as he'd previously told her that he was only God's messenger, and thus clearly he was committing blasphemy by claiming to be God's superior.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • A frequent problem when Space Marines (or Sororitas) and Imperial Guard are working together, as the former have a tendency to forget the Guardsmen don't have their superhuman physiology/insane devotion to sniffing out and purging heresy, preferably with fire, resulting in entirely avoidable losses because they didn't wait for the Guard to catch up.
    • Exploited by the Space Wolves chapter of Space Marines, whose newest recruits are taken from their Viking Age-level societies convinced they're now in Warrior Heaven. They use them as land and airborne assault troops, reasoning that if they're going to rush into battle instead of using proper tactics, they may as well do so with the appropriate equipment. Once they've gotten it out of their system after a few battles, they can be trusted to hold different roles such as line troops or heavy weaponry.
      If they are so eager to die, and they will not heed the advice of their superiors, then let them rush headlong into the jaws of the lion. We can only hope some of them get caught in its throat.
  • In Monster of the Week, this is the point of the "Helper"-type bystanders: they are NPCs whose motivation is to assist the player-controlled monster hunters, but are mechanically treated as threats by the game, since in their zeal, they routinely cause more trouble than benefit.

    Video Games 
  • You can be given the chance to do this in Neverwinter Nights 2, depending on whether you side with the City Watch or the Shadow Thieves in the first chapter. If you side with the Watch, Marshal Cormick will order you to root out members of the Watch who are taking bribes; if you do so by killing them, Captain Brelaina will chew you out for your "foul" and "unrelenting" approach to justice. If you side with the Thieves, your handler Moire will command you to burn down the Watch post... after which her boss, Axle, will complain that your recklessness has started a war between the Watch and the Thieves which he didn't need.
  • In Far Cry 4, The Generalissimo Pagan Min's Establishing Character Moment has him nonchalantly kill a soldier who gets overenthusiastic and opens fire on a busful of people he was supposed to detain.
    Pagan: I distinctly remember staying stop the bus. Yes, stop the bus. Not shoot the bus. I'm very particular with my words. Stop. Shoot. STOP. Shoot. Do those words sound the same?
    Soldier: But it got out of control.
    Pagan: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. What did you say?
    Soldier: It got out of control...
    Pagan: Out of control... I hate when things get out of control. [stabs him in the throat] You had one fucking job and you couldn't fucking do that!
  • Liam Kosta, your Crisis Specialist in Mass Effect: Andromeda becomes one of these just prior to his loyalty mission. Liam freaks out that diplomatic relations with the Angaara, an alien race native to the Heleus cluster, aren’t proceeding fast enough for his liking, takes “initiative” and does things that cause you a lot of trouble. First he tries to get you to surreptitiously scan agricultural products from a “gouging hardliner” who is actually just really protective of Angaara farming techniques as they are vital to the survival of a race fighting a brutal occupation by the Kett. Your attempt to scan almost creates a diplomatic incident. Liam then tries to trade something for those farming techniques - except he trades vital codes used by the Andromeda colonization Initiative, that in the wrong hands pose a serious security risk to the Initiative’s Nexus space station. And when pirates kidnap Liam’s Angaara contact and have the codes, Liam co-opts a group of settlers (instead of trained Strike Teams from the Nexus militia) to launch a rescue mission that literally goes sideways.
  • Pretty much starts the whole plot in The Wolf Among Us. Georgie found out that some of the hookers in his employ were planning to steal from his gang to get out from under his thumb. He informed the Crooked Man and was simply told to "take care of it", which Georgie misinterpreted as a Deadly Euphemism ordering him to kill one of the hookers as an example to the others. Thus he killed Faith, with her vengeful friend Nerissa deliberately sabotaging his subsequent attempts to disappear her body, all leading to Bigby's investigation of Faith's death and exposure of the Crooked Man's whole operation.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, Lord Shojo orders Miko to arrest the title band of adventurers supposedly for a great offense they inadvertently committed, but really because Shojo wants to recruit them for a secret, vitally important mission he can't assign to his own forces. Miko, not knowing this and being a Knight Templar with a big dose of Black-and-White Insanity, decides midway through tracking them that, considering their offense, she will act as Judge, Jury, and Executioner should they not surrender immediately, even without her giving them an explanation. By the time Durkon gets her to see reason, she could have easily killed several members of the group.

    Web Original 
  • For Offline TV and Friends, this is what caused the semi-infamous "Babushka Incident" during a game of Among Us. A group of OTV's streamers and YouTubers (this particular group consisting of Valkyrae, Sykkuno, Corpse Husband, Jacksepticeye, Fuslie, BrookeAB, Quarter Jade, TinaKitten, Masayoshi and Disguised Toast), were playing Among Us with proximity chat, and in one round, Sykkuno reveals to Rae that he's an imposter and offers to kill other players at her command, with the two working out the code word of "babushka" as Rae's Trigger Phrase to get Sykkuno to kill.note 
    • Things go off the rails next round: both Rae and Sykkuno are imposters, and the round begins with Sykkuno going away from his keyboard for a bathroom break while a group of players surround him to protect him from being killed by an imposter while he's not at the controls. While waiting, Rae explains how she and Sykkuno formed the earlier alliance and Sykkuno was supposed to kill for her upon hearing "babushka". Sykkuno returns at exactly that moment, and upon hearing Rae say "babushka", immediately kills Tina, despite the fact that Among Us is supposed to be about getting away with murder in secret if you're playing as an imposter; all told, Sykkuno was surrounded by five people when he killed Tina. Unusually for this trope, rather than causing a disaster, it all actually works out: due to a series of improbable circumstance and perfect coincidence,note  Rae and Sykkuno win the round, although the whole thing does leave Rae a Nervous Wreck and apparently on the edge of a Villainous Breakdown. Watch the round here, or in animatic form here.
      Sykkuno: (panicking in the chaos after the first killings) I heard the code word! I heard the code word!
      Valkyrae: You heard the code word, yeah that was very... you acted very quickly, but there were five people here! So we, you know, we gotta be a little bit more- (trails off)

    Western Animation 
  • In Thunderbirds Are Go episode "Clean Sweep", a jobsworth employee creates the danger of the week by refusing to let a cleaning crew into an anti-pollution weather device a few minutes early because they are ahead of schedule, citing the employee rule book. When the International Rescue team arrive, he creates further rule bothering because he hasn't received official clearances and that is against the rules too. He genuinely thinks he is doing what his employer wants by doing all that. At the end of the episode he's reminded of Rule Zero saying that all rules can be waived if there is an actual reason to do so, and then fired.

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