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Starts with a Suicide

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A story starts off with someone attempting or committing suicide. And the rest of the story goes from there. If it's the main character, expect a Dead to Begin With story, often with an Ironic Hell or Mundane Afterlife. If it's a mystery story, such opener often implies the character was Driven to Suicide. Another possibility is a How We Got Here story.

In comedies, an Interrupted Suicide is often used to set up a Meet Cute between the suicidal character and their rescuer.

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    Anime and Manga 
  • 20th Century Boys. Sort of. We don't actually see the suicide in question but the plot begins when the protagonist is informed of it.
  • The The Animatrix short "Kid's Story" bookends with the same (apparent) suicide, from there it's a How We Got Here story.
  • Arisa begins with the titular character inviting her twin sister Tsubasa to her house (their parents are divorced), having Tsubasa play her for a day and attend school in her place, and then falling backwards out the window after mysteriously alluding to her "secret." She doesn't die, but she doesn't wake up from her coma for a long time.
  • The anime of Beyond the Boundary even starts with the word "suicide" and begins with Mirai standing at the edge of the school roof and Akihito trying to talk her out of suicide. Subverted when it turns out a minute later that that weren't her actual plans.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs starts with Atsushi saving someone from drowning himself.
  • Case Closed:
  • The first The Garden of Sinners movie starts with the latest of several suicides.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
    • One episode starts with a montage of gynoids killing themselves.
    • The 'Complex' part of the Second Season begins proper with the mass suicide of an Individual Eleven cell, who mutually decapitate each other on the roof of a skyscraper. Hideo Kuze, the initial protagonist, doesn't go through with it.
  • Half & Half begins when Yuuki commits suicide by jumping off a roof and landing on Shinichi. A later chapter reveals that she was pushed.
  • The Heart of Thomas opens with the titular character jumping from a bridge, after leaving a single letter at the post office for the boy he loves.
  • One case in The Kindaichi Case Files shows someone found dead hanging, presumably from suicide (said victim's fate is not elaborated further) to establish the setting as a cursed place where people are driven to suicide by being there, the serial murder's gimmick in the case.
  • The Kiri no Mori Hotel manga begins with Shouko Shimura attempting suicide, before being interrupted by a cat that brings her to the titular hotel.
  • One of the Patlabor movies begins with a scientist committing suicide, which is eventually revealed to be the final step to set his plans in motion.
  • In Psychometrer Eiji, there is a case beginning with a girl jumping into a moving train. Said girl is a victim of gang rape committed by 5 teenagers who become the case's list of potential victims.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. At least, he tries to. Until one of his students saves him.
  • Pictured above: Serial Experiments Lain kicks off when middle schooler Chisa Yomoda jumps off a building. It then follows up with an email conversation a few days later.
    "How does it feel to die?"
    "It really hurts :-)"
  • Subverted in Spiral: Suiri no Kizuna. It's a murder staged as a suicide—or, in the anime, attempted murder staged as attempted suicide.
  • Avesta of Black and White opens on a bleak note with a woman jumping to her death as she knows she is carrying an Evil child in her womb as this is a world where Black-and-White Insanity is the norm. And in the end it didn't matter as moments before she hits the ground, the fetus thanks her for being its first murder and would then go on to devour her from inside the womb and become one of the seven Archdemons.

    Comic Books 
  • Hell and Back (A Sin City Love Story) starts with an attempted suicide.
  • Played with in The Loners: The first issue opens with Julie Power's friends begging her not to jump, but it turns out that their worry isn't that she'll kill herself, but that she'll use her powers to fly; Julie and her friends are all members of a Tropaholics Anonymous for former teen superheroes who've all made a vow not to use their powers anymore.
  • In the third issue of The Multiversity, The Just, the daughter of Metamorpho kills herself due to falling prey to the cursed comicbook of the previous issues.
  • X-Factor opens up with Rictor on the roof about to jump. Madrox sends one of his dupes to convince him not to, with a little help from Wolfsbane yelling from the street, but the dupe pushes him off anyway. At this point in the series, the dupes took on different facets of Madrox's personality, and that one was the "asshole" facet. Don't worry. He's saved by Monet St. Croix.
  • One of the first X-Men stories after the end of John Byrne's run on the book involved the father of a supporting character. Bonus points in this case for being driven to it by "D'Spayre," the Anthropomorphic Personification of...well...take a wild guess.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: The story starts with a video of dying aliens, so horrible that it causes mass suicides.
  • Mister Miracle (2017) begins with a cartoon showing Scott Free's origins and the New Gods' origins as well. Immediately after, we see Scott having slit his wrists in his bathroom. He ends up surviving, and later during an interview claims that it was part of his latest super-Escape Artist stunt of "escaping death", but as the series goes on, it becomes clear that there's way more to it than what he's willing to admit.

    Fan Works 
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening fanfic Pretender opens with Robin attempting suicide over failing to stop Emmeryn's Heroic Suicide. Frederick intervenes by cutting the noose and revives him before he succeeds.
  • Time Out of Mind is set off by John Laurens' attempted suicide.
  • (Un)Natural is a fanfic of The Children's Hour where Karen stops Martha from killing herself. She grabs a knife and breaks the rope before Martha dies.
  • Thanks to Bakugou's iconic Suicide Dare of Izuku in the first episode/chapter of My Hero Academia, it's a Fandom-Specific Plot with Izuku taking Bakugou's advice:
    • My Hero Academia fic Nutricula starts with Izuku taking Katsuki's 'advice' to 'take a swan dive off the roof', triggering his Death-Activated Superpower for the first time.
    • In A Sky Of A Million Stars also starts with Izuku attempting suicide, though the actual attempt isn't shown, just the direct aftermath. The actual story is about how it affects his friends and family (mostly Katsuki, his mother, and All Might) and how they try to help him recover from it.
    • The story of The Vigilante Boss and His Failed Retirement Plan begins with Izuku listening to Bakugou's Suicide Dare and attempting a fake suicide out of spite only accidentally fall off the roof.
    • #14 (MHA) begins after Izuku commits suicide, traumatising Bakugou as a result.
  • moral of the story (Nyame): The story begins with Laurel's suicide via fatal and deliberate overdose. Thanks to the Lazarus Pit, the death doesn't stick, but the act in itself is enough to cause shockwaves throughout the plot.

    Film — Animated 
  • Justice League: The New Frontier opens with the writer of a children's book, whose sensitivity picks up on the emergence of the Centre. He tries to put everything down in a story, then, overwhelmed by despair at the coming catastrophe, picks up a gun and aims it straight at the viewer, since we see everything from his perspective. He then pulls the trigger, and the opening credits start to roll.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 13 Assassins begins with a seppuku.
  • 2:37 begins with the suicide of an unidentified character in the school lavatory at 2:37 p.m., and then shows How We Got Here from the perspectives of six different troubled students.
  • AboutAlex starts off like this. Alex dresses, sits in his bathtub, and slits his wrists in the opening scene. He survives.
  • In the film inspired by Cirque du Soleil's Alegría, the story starts with street performer Frac attempting suicide by lying down on train tracks. He's only stopped from going through with it when his abused urchin friend Momo lies down beside him with the same intent.
  • Ariel (1988) begins with Taisto's father shooting himself after the mine where they both worked is closed.
  • Begotten begins with God disembowelling himself, upon which Mother Earth emerges from his body.
  • The first shot of The Big Heat is Tom Duncan putting a bullet in his head. The plot unspools from there.
  • Constantine (2005) starts with the apparent suicide of Angela's twin sister.
  • Devil invokes this right off the bat with the opening narration. As the below quote is being delivered, a man graphically crashes down onto the ground, seemingly from the top of the building where people end up trapped in and slowly killed off for the duration of the film.
    Ramirez: My mother's story would always begin the same way, with a suicide paving the way for the Devil's arrival.
  • Devil In Miss Jones — An otherwise saintly woman commits suicide and is therefore damned, but gets one last wish before she goes to hell for all eternity. It's a porno movie, so guess what that wish is.
  • The documentary, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, begins by recounting the death of Cliff Baxter after he shoots himself in his car shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy.
  • The First Wives Club opens with Cynthia Swan suiciding after her husband leaves her for a woman several decades younger than she is. When three of her college friends meet at her funeral and find that they're all in similar situations, they form the titular club.
  • Girl On The Bridge starts with a woman about to jump off said bridge. A knife thrower looking for an assistant stops her...
  • Harold and Maude opens with death enthusiast Harold fake-hanging himself.
  • Head starts off (and ENDS) with The Monkees' Micky Dolenz jumping off a bridge...which makes the whole film arguably his near-death hallucination.
  • The Hours begins this way.
  • In The Housemaid (2010), Eun-yi is inspired to leave her job at a restaurant and become a housemaid when she and her friend witness a suicide.
  • The Hudsucker Proxy: Mr. Hudsucker leaves the building through an upper-storey window just as Tim Robbins's character is walking in.
  • The plot to I, Robot is kicked off by the apparent suicide of Docotor Lanning, the world's foremost expert on robotics, which the main character Detective Spooner, a friend of Lanning, believes was a murder committed by a robot. It turns out he was half-right. Lanning's robotic "son" Sonny did kill him, but only because the doctor asked him to do it in the hopes that Spooner would investigate and discover the plans of the Big Bad, making it an Assisted Suicide, and this example an Invoked Trope.
  • Ken Park begins with the suicide of Ken Park.
  • The Last Emperor begins with Pu-Yi attempting to cut open his wrists, triggering the flashback to his childhood.
  • The Thai film The Last Life In The Universe begins with a suicide attempt by Tadanobu Asano's character.
  • The first Lethal Weapon opens with a woman on cocaine jumping from a high-rise suite. The plot begins when heroes Riggs and Murtaugh are assigned to investigate the circumstances of her death.
  • 1988's Permanent Record is about a young man who commits suicide at the biggest party of the year. Keanu Reeves plays his best friend, who's left to pick up the pieces.
  • Jackie Chan's Police Story 2013 opens with his character shooting himself in the head with a gun, and the movie shows the events that lead up to it. In the scene where he does it, however, the gun jams.
  • The plot of the Japanese mystery film School Day Of The Dead kicks off when a high school girl commits suicide.
  • Suicide Club opens with 54 schoolgirls committing mass suicide by jumping in front of an oncoming subway train. As you may have guessed from the movie's title, other people soon follow suit.
  • Suspect: The Supreme Court Justice kills himself with a shotgun at the end of the very first scene, setting the plot in motion after he gave a file clerk mysterious messages to deliver.
  • The horror movie They begins with the public suicide of the protagonist's childhood friend.
  • Unfriended opens with Blaire watching a LiveLeak video of Laura Barnes killing herself.
  • The Virgin Suicides: A big family full of sisters commit mass suicide, starting with the youngest, and a group of boys become obsessed with them.
  • Wristcutters: A Love Story
  • The World of Kanako: After about ten minutes in we see the suicide of Ogata (Kanako's first boyfriend), who jumps from the roof after he has been bullied for a long time by the Matsunaga Gang. Nobody seems to take much notice of this.

  • The Princess Wei Yang starts with Wei Yang being forced to commit suicide.
  • Agatha Christie
    • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd starts off with Mrs. Ferrars' suspicious Veronal overdose. It is eventually confirmed to be a suicide.
    • In Towards Zero, the second chapter revolves around the aftermath of the attempted suicide of Angus MacWhirter. He doesn't have a proper role in the story until the final act, where he interrupts a despairing Audrey from jumping off the same cliff. He then solves the mystery she was accused of, and shortly afterwards they get married.
  • Angel Station opens with Pasco, the father figure of Ubu Roy and Beautiful Maria, committing suicide, having realized that his kids don't really need him anymore. This leaves the kids forced to contend with the considerable debt he's left behind, setting off the events of the novel.
  • Stephen King's IT: The first chapter features the suicide of one character who was too terrified to face the titular monster a second time.
  • Dick Francis does this several times.
    • Nerve opens with a blackballed jockey who was Wrongfully Accused of incompetence shooting himself in front of the man he blames for ruining his career.
    • Forfeit has a Guilt-Ridden Accomplice to the race-fixing conspiracy giving a cryptic warning to the narrator (his coworker) not to make the same mistakes, then walking out a window to his death.
    • The Edge starts with one potential witness dying of natural causes, but a little bit later it's mentioned that a second one killed himself due to having to give away his livelihood as a result of blackmail.
    • In Come to Grief the mother of the villain kills herself out of disgrace in the first chapter.
  • On a Pale Horse begins with the protagonist having a bad day that's the final straw driving him to attempt suicide. Just as his finger tightens on the trigger, The Grim Reaper arrives to collect him, and he instinctively turns the gun toward the perceived threat. Result: a dead Death, and a living protagonist whose troubles are just beginning.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower begins with the protagonist's best friend having killed himself.
  • Skippy Dies begins with a boy named Skippy dying suddenly on the floor of a doughnut shop. The rest of the book is a How We Got Here plot exploring why he died. He turns out to have overdosed on drugs in what is widely assumed in-universe to be a suicide.
  • Tunnel Vision, a YA problem novel by Fran Arrick.
  • The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin. Although the young man who shoots himself in the first chapter did in fact shoot himself, detective Erast Fandorin still discovers a criminal conspiracy perpetrated by a secret society that wanted the young man's vast fortune.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica has, near the beginning of "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I," Gaius Baltar persuading Boomer to kill herself. She doesn't succeed, but it's the beginning of Break the Cutie for Boomer.
  • The plot of Caprica is set off by a suicide bombing in the first few minutes that starts off the entire plot.
  • Chernobyl starts with Valery Legasov completing his audio memoir of the events at Chernobyl and then hanging himself at 1:23:45 in the morning. The series then jumps back to the same time two years earlier, just after the explosion, and unfolds why it would drive Legasov to take his own life.
  • Dark (2017) begins with Michael Kahnwald committing suicide by hanging.
  • The narrator of Desperate Housewives commits suicide at the start of the series.
  • Doctor Who: "Extremis" starts off with many suicides, thanks to someone leaking the translation of a book called The Veritas online, a book that makes anyone who reads it kill themselves.
  • An episode in Season 5 of House starts out with Kutner doing this for no apparent reason; Thirteen and Foreman go to his apartment because he didn't show up to work and find that he's shot himself in the head; they try to revive him to no avail. In all the time that we knew him he never showed any signs of mental illness, let alone suicidality, and several members of the team spend the episode trying to figure out why he did it and if they could have done anything to help. His death haunts House just as much as Amber's does. (It was actually because his actor decided to quit the show and the writers needed a way to explain away his sudden departure — why not with his death?)
  • Elementary has an episode that starts with a woman walking on a bridge and then shooting herself in the head in an elaborate posthumous revenge plot.
  • Glee opens with Blaine singing "Cough Syrup" over Karofsky preparing to hang himself. He survives.
  • Heroes seems to open this way, with a person later revealed to be Peter Petrelli letting himself fall from a roof (all while Mohinder Suresh's voice waxes philosophical the entire time). Subverted, as he was doing it because he believed he could fly. He couldn't. His brother, who could, had to rescue him.
  • JAG: "The Martin Baker Fan Club" starts with a former naval aviator jumping out of a window at a VA hospital.
  • Law & Order:
    • An early episode has a cop's suicide start an investigation that eventually leads to uncovering the cop and many of his childhood friends had been sexually abused by the neighborhood priest. One of the victims was Detective Mike Logan.
    • The 2009 episode "Illegitimate" begins with the perplexing case of a cop committing Suicide by Cop. The rest of the episode deals with the detectives tracing down why he did it.
  • A Million Little Things focuses on a group of friends’ personal lives and relationships with each other after one of their friends, and the person who brought them all together, commits suicide off his office balcony.
  • The NCIS episode "Leap of Faith" starts with a naval officer about to commit suicide, which Gibbs steps in to prevent—and then the officer is sniped.
  • The NCIS: Los Angeles episode "Chinatown" starts with a naval officer killing himself so he can't be used to commit treason.
  • Orphan Black starts with Beth Childs jumping in front of a subway train - right before the eyes of her clone, Sarah Manning.
  • In Please Like Me, the main character's mother attempts suicide in the first episode, leading him to move in with her.
  • Sense8: Angelica's suicide occurs at the beginning of the first episode, which sets off the plot.
  • The fourth season of Skins begins this way. We see the main characters partying in a club through the eyes of a new character, Sophia, as she climbs the floors of the club. She then proceeds to jump off the top one.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Eye of the Beholder" starts with a Starfleet lieutenant jumping into a plasma stream.
  • The entire premise of Then Came Bronson is the title character riding around the country on the motorcycle purchased from the widow of his friend who killed himself.
  • The first episode of Trust opens at a lavish party in LA where George Getty kills himself as a group of horrified partygoers look on helplessly through a locked door.
  • Wilfred begins with the main character attempting to kill himself. After he fails, things start getting a little weird...

  • Save Face: Another Kill for the Highlight Reel opens with "The Funeral You've Been Asking For," in which the singer addresses a woman who had killed herself. Some of the lines imply she did it on purpose ("is it everything you wanted and more?", "did it turn out the way you planned?"). While there's a layer of sarcasm to the song, with him pointing out the pain she caused him, he's also partially distressed because he didn't think she would go that far.

  • Cactus Flower begins with Toni trying and failing to kill herself by leaving the gas on overnight in her apartment. The Film of the Play takes the opportunity to run the opening credits over shots of Toni lying in bed waiting to die.

    Video Games 
  • Black Knight Sword begins with the protagonist preparing to hang himself before getting dragged into the strange adventure as Hellebore's Black Knight. It ends with him finishing the attempt after the adventure is over.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth begins and ends with the protagonist in an asylum attempting to hang himself in his cell. While it's not completely confirmed, apparently he succeeds.
  • The eponymous protagonist of The Cat Lady starts the game off by swallowing "a whole bunch of pills" – thirty-four, to be exact.
  • God of War starts off with Kratos stepping off of a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea... which for some reason is also "the highest mountain in all of Greece." In fact, this is a scene of the end of the game, after Kratos has defeated Ares. The gods will not let him die, though.
  • The Last Door begins with Anthony hanging himself in his house. The mysterious letter he sent beforehand to his childhood friend, Jeremiah Devitt, leads him to investigate what happened... And sets the plot in motion.
  • Persona 3 apparently begins with Yukari attempting to commit suicide with a gun... but it doesn't take long for it to become clear that she's only trying to gather the courage needed to summon her Persona. The gun isn't even an actual firearm, but a summoning tool known as an Evoker.
  • In Majotori the story of Tsubasa begins with her wanting to jump off the rooftop, then Lariat helps her giving her wings to fly towards a free and immense sky with no more sadness (In the best case)

    Web Comics 
  • Demon: Jimmy hangs himself on the very first page. The fact that it doesn't stick kick-starts the entire plot.
  • At the beginning of Get Schooled, a student named Daeseok jumps off the school roof after being relentlessly bullied. When his death is investigated, everyone claims the stress of studying got to him. Before Kyeongmin, another bully victim, can follow suit in despair, Warden Hwajin Na intervenes and sets the bullies straight.