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Selective Squeamishness Suppression

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In Crime and Punishment Series, often there will be a detective who is uptight and persnickety, or at least fastidious and tidy in most aspects.

But face this same neat freak with a gory crime scene, and our tidy detective will not bat an eye, while other people on scene will need to cover their noses or rush out to get fresh air or throw up.

The same trait is also commonplace for the top doctor in a medical series. Naturally, it's also a handy trait for a coroner, who may keep his lunch in the same freezer as body organs. Open body cavities or skulls don't bother them.

This ability, to keep one's gorge from rising despite one's otherwise squeamish tendencies, is Selective Squeamishness Suppression. Can be Truth in Television; different things Squick different people.

Contrast with Vomiting Cop.



  • Hercule Poirot is refined and fastidious, and also has no problem with gory crimes.
  • In I, Jedi the ex-CorSec officer Corran Horn is able to look at a man who had been burned to death and calmly point out what's strange about the body, while Luke winces and the other Jedi-in-training are starkly horrified. Corran later is extremely shaken up when he's hit by the 'disturbance in the Force' caused by Kyp destroying Carida, even running outside and throwing up.
  • Hollyleaf from Warrior Cats is squeamish about seeing blood when trying to train as a medicine cat, but is fine with fighting other cats as a warrior.
  • Stan in It; it's noted he can face pain, but can't stand feeling dirty either literally or metaphorically, which contributes to his decision to commit suicide rather than face the Mind Rape monster in the sewer again.

Live-Action TV

  • Bones
    • Brennan, Addy and Hodgins at the Jeffersonian all appear to have this trait — Hodgins even revels in the finding of bugs and insects in the goriest of places. Dr. Saroyan, despite being a Medical Examiner in her own right, is a little put off by the state of a couple of the more interesting bodies they get.
    • One episode has Bones squicked out by a belly button piercing being torn off, when a few minutes before she wore a cadaver hand like a glove to get fingerprints.
  • Gus Fring of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul is obsessively neat and clean, to the point it seems like he might actually have OCD, but doesn't bat an eye about killing someone in an excessively bloody fashion.
  • Sara Sidle of CSI can handle any bodily fluid splattered anywhere - except spit. No spit.
  • Dr. Simon Tam of Firefly keeps himself quite clean and organized throughout the show. However, on one occasion, where the crew discovers scores of mutilated corpses in a drifting ship (the victims of a Reaver attack), Simon and Book are the only two not too Squicked to go clean them up (for a proper burial). Simon even points out that "bodies don't bother me" when volunteering for the task.
  • Dr. Henry Morgan of Forever is a very neat and tidy man, and his co-workers scoff at the very idea of him joining in searching through rubble accumulated at a sewer grate after a storm. However, he does cut up bodies for a living with great enthusiasm, casually holding out a brain in his hand for Jo's inspection, and he frequently uses a hand to waft scents towards his nose (as any good chemist would do) to sniff everything from stomach contents to a stain on a dirty sidewalk.
  • Martin and Daphne often discussed gory murders over breakfast on Frasier.
  • Adrian Monk has a laundry list of neuroses and neatness issues, but is able to set them aside at will upon needing to view a grisly crime scene. Even though he can hardly stand to be in a dusty room (because it's dirty), blood doesn't seem to faze him. There was also the time when he was struggling to investigate normally at a crime scene because there was dog mess there, but the blood wasn't a problem.
  • Ned the pie maker from Pushing Daisies is also rather neurotic. But given his particular ability, he keeps rotting fruit in the back room, and might likely go mad if he didn't develop this as a survival skill/coping method. This got particularly odd when Ned discovered a dead rat in a taffy vat. He commented on it being gross (apparently only because it was a rat in food). This is a man who makes his living touching corpses with his bare finger.

Tabletop Games

  • Unknown Armies does it in an interesting way. There is not one Sanity Meter; there are five, and your ability to deal with one threat to your mental balance does not carry over from one to the other. The five branches are Violence, Isolation, Self, Unnatural, and Helplessness. You can have hardened notches, making you immune to certain stresses at a cost of some of your humanity, or failed notches where you are more likely to go to pieces. A character so hardened to Violence that they don't bat an eyelash seeing people blown to bits might be reduced to a quaking pile of nerves by the sight of disturbing magic.

Web Comics

  • Mordecai Heller from Lackadaisy is an obsessively tidy person to an extreme...who you first see in blood-spattered underwear, having just chopped someone up with a hatchet. He also cleans up the places he robs.
    Zib: Who robs a place, then tidies up and dusts the shelves before leaving?