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Plotline Crossover

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A plot point which seems to belong to Plot A belongs to Plot B also/instead. The plotlines aren't actually related, so we're not Working the Same Case, but a point or character introduced as related to one line ends up being important to the other.

Compare to Arc Welding, Hyperlink Story, Two Lines, No Waiting, Working the Same Case, Strange Minds Think Alike. If Plot B is sufficiently minor as to make you wonder "What's it doing here?", then the character is Chekhov's Gunman.

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Examples:

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    Literature 
  • Peter Lovesey's The House Sitter: Peter Diamond investigates the murder of a profiler who was tracking a serial killer called The Mariner. Maybe The Mariner killed her, but maybe it was her jealous boyfriend. Well, she was killed in a somewhat random act, not by The Mariner. And by the way, The Mariner is the boyfriend.
  • Robert Van Gulik's The Lacquer Screen had several separate storylines. The killer in the A plot was a character in the B plot; the character in the B plot was introduced in the C plot, and the killer in the C plot was from the D plot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Friends: In "The One with the Videotape," the B plot involves Monica and Chandler being given fake names by a couple they met. To illustrate that people do this, Joey introduces himself as "Ken Adams." The A plot involves a seductive story Rachel tells Ross, unaware Joey already told him the story. When questioned, Rachel sputters that she heard the story from a friend, who heard it from a guy named Ken Adams.
  • CSI-verse: All of the series beat this trope to death in multiple episodes, such as finding a fingerprint of a suspect in the Plot B crime at the scene of the Plot A events. For example:
    • CSI: NY:
      • In "Help," the DNA of a rape victim from eight years earlier is found on the necklace of a woman who is suspected of killing another woman in a bridal shop. Meanwhile yet another woman is found dead in her own bathtub. A certain type parasite is found in her drain; it contains the DNA of the rapist. Yes, he's back, but he didn't kill the woman in the shop, and neither did the suspectnote ...but *she's* engaged to the guy.
      • "The Ripple Effect" involves one crime leading to another, and another, and another... One perp steals a bike messenger's bicycle, causing him to have to run from someone else on foot, falling down the 89th Street stairs and breaking his neck. Meanwhile, another man is found dead in Central Park with an arrow stuck in him. The arrow part was an accident from a deer hunter sneezing at just the wrong time, but the man had been running from someone who had strangled him enough that his trachea was crushed. He was supposed to have had a bribe delivered by the bike messenger & since the deadline passed, the killer assumed this victim stole the money. If the bike in the other case hadn't been stolen, this guy would still be alive.
  • The How I Met Your Mother episode "The Naked Man" has plot A with Barney and Ted trying out a new tactic called the The Naked Man (no points for guessing what they do) and plot B is Lily writing a list of 50 reasons to have sex, which she completes after trying The Naked Man tactic (2 out of 3 times people!)
  • An episode of Castle has two teams of detectives (Castle and Beckett vs. Ryan and Esposito) competing over (and betting on) who is going to solve their respective case first. They are forced to a draw when it turns out the two cases are related: the primary suspect in each case had committed the other murder.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation frequently uses a trick where an element of the A-plot helps to solve the B-plot. "Deja Q" is one such case: while the Enterprise tries to solve the problem of a deorbiting moon, Q ends up on the ship depowered. Q manages to impress the other Qs into giving him his powers back, whereupon he quickly zaps the moon back into a stable orbit.

    Theater 
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    Video Games 
  • Orwell: As an Old Save Bonus, the Bonton bombings case from the first game and the Raban Vhart case from the second may intersect on April 14th. If Raban's wife goes to The Circle Mall to see Nina, she will either be hurt by the explosion there or be arrested by the law enforcement agents Symes sent to the mall in order to deactivate the bomb.
  • Used on regular basis in Super Robot Wars.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • The episode that showed the same day from three perspectives walks the line between this and Working the Same Case. There are probably many other Simpsons examples, they like to trip up the Two Lines, No Waiting formula from time to time.
    • From the episode "Jazzy and the Pussycats," when the animals Lisa's raising injure Bart's arm:
      Lisa: I feel so terrible. I just wanted to save those animals while Bart became a drummer, but I never thought the two stories would intersect!
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Futurama: Amy loses a present from Kiff when it falls into a whale tank and the whale swallows it. When she mentions it to her co-workers, Leela remarks "As unlikely as it may sound, I have an in with that whale"; earlier in the episode she bought a "Swim with the Whales" pass at that same aquarium.
  • Drawn Together often has its A and B plots intersect before the end of the episode. Amusingly lampshaded by Captain Hero in one episode.
    Captain Hero: Outta the way! A-plot coming through!

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