Suicide pacts are when two or more people all decide to kill themselves at the same time, based upon a pre-determined plan that determines how, where, and when. They're different from mass suicides (such as when 960 Jews killed themselves rather than submit to being captured by the Romans at Masada back in 73 AD) because generally only a handful of people are involved; similarly, they differ from cult suicides because there's no dogmatic reason for the suicide itself. Suicide pacts, rather, usually involve small groups of people (such as married or romantic partners, family members, or friends) whose motivations are intensely personal and individual.
This is a Death Trope, so expect UNMARKED SPOILERS!
If you and someone you know are planning a suicide pact, both of you should consider talking to someone.
- Welcome to the N.H.K. featured a group that went to a remote island to throw themselves off a cliff to their death, but eventually one of them hesitated at last second, resulting everyone reconsidering their reasons, and finally giving up on the thought, after their loved ones also show up.
- There's also an interesting variation at the end where Satou and Misaki make each other promise they will not commit suicide without each other, so that neither will end up doing so. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Paranoia Agent: "Happy Family Planning."
- The second episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei.
- The first chapter of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service has the main characters find the corpse of a man who killed himself as part of one of these. His wish is to be reunited with his lover, the other member of the pact. Turns out she was an Idol Singer who killed herself along with him when her father forced them to break up, and daddy's pulling a Mummies at the Dinner Table.
- The second episode of Durarara!! features one of these made over the internet, though unbeknownst to poor Rio Kamichika it's really Izaya setting her up For the Lulz. Yeah, Izaya is an asshole.
- In the manga he does the same, except he meets two girls at a karaoke bar — And then drugs their drinks and insinuates that he's going to murder them and stuff their corpses into suitcases as they're succumbing to the effects of the drug. He wasn't actually planning to kill them (he had Celty deliver the unconscious girls to their homes afterwards), but it was an incredibly dick move nonetheless.
- In Future Diary Yuno and Yuki, being the last two contestants left in the game, decide on a suicide pact as neither wants to become God and live in a world without the other, although this will mean the destruction of the universe. However, before they can go through with it, Yuki discovers that Yuno is actually Yuno from a parallel universe; as in this universe, she and her world's Yuki were the last two left in the game and decided on a suicide pact. Things went wrong and Yuno survived, leaving her as winner of the game and the new God of Time and Space; since she couldn't resurrect her world's Yuki, she instead used her powers to create this universe, killed this world's version of herself and took her place in the game, in order to be with Yuki once again. She then plans to murder Yuki and do the whole thing all over again just to be with him some more.
- Akira Otobe of Yoigoshi-hen of Higurashi: When They Cry made one of these. He chickened out. The other members of the group didn't.
- Used in MPD Psycho, with the mass suicide of Lucy Monostone and his fanatical followers in a church.
- Rei and Fukiko from Oniisama e... create one as children to end their lives before the world can corrupt them, which fails and creates the rift between them through the rest of the series. At some point, Rei is very feverish and overloaded with drugs... and tries to kill herself and Nanako, the girl who's in love with her, under the belief that Nanako is Fukiko; Nanako manages to stop her, and Rei collapses in tears.
- A variation occurs in Gunslinger Girl when the fratello of Jose and Henrietta vow to, instead of killing themselves to keep from falling into enemy hands, to kill each other. They eventually do, after a berserk Henrietta accidentally shoots Jose.
- A few different variations pop up in Lone Wolf and Cub, most especially with members of the Kurokuwa ninja clan. After Ogami manages to kill his way through the entire active duty list of the Kurokuwa, Retsudo bullies a group of retired Kurokuwa into going after him. They each individually assess him in disguise, sizing him up more accurately than any assassin before them had bothered to do. They discuss it, and conclude that they had a chance at succeeding despite Ogami's prowess and multitude of hidden weapons. But they can't shake one nagging thought: that Ogami and Daigoro are around the age of the children and grandchildren that the ninja life had denied them. In the end they link hands and walk into the sea as a group, never to be seen again.
- The whole point of Jisatsu Circle (Suicide Circle), which is based on the movie of the same name.
- Between Amamiya Yuuhi and Asahina Samidare at the end of The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer. It's a suicide pact, but made to save each other's lives - Yuuhi promises his beloved Sami that she will never be alone, even in death, because he "lives for" her - as in, he will kill himself if she dies before him. This draws Samidare back from the brink.
- In South Park Monogatari, Stan and Kyle try to abide by this by jumping off of the bridge where Kenny drowned in the episode "The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000" when Stan's parents argued too often and when Kyle's pushed him too hard to study. It's thwarted because A. new student Hiromi (known from then on as Nekagi) saves Kyle, and B. the water was too shallow when Stan fell in.
- After Mikuo tries unsuccessfully to commit suicide alone in this Vocaloid fanfic, he and Akaito form one. They never go through with it though, as it's implied by the end that they no longer want to die.
- The Korean horror movie A Blood Pledge revolves around a four-person suicide pact in which two people are still alive.
- In the film Suicide Club, 54 schoolgirls leap in front of a subway train all at once. The rest of the film is figuring out why.
- Invoked in Heathers. What looks like a suicide pact between two gay lovers who were also the stars of the high school's football team is actually a case of murder. Later, J.D. tries to blow up the whole school and frame it as a mass suicide pact.
- Aliens. Ripley and Corporal Hicks agree to kill each other rather than be used for hosts by the aliens. Which doesn't happen, though two other soldiers blow themselves up rather than be taken.
- In All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Mandy and Emmet enter one of these, killing a number of their classmates and intending to kill each other in order to get themselves immortalized in pop culture. However, Mandy backs out at the last minute.
- In Sightseers, Outlaw Couple Chris and Tina decide to go out on a high by jumping from a scenic railway bridge. However, Tina backs out at the last second.
- Operation Daybreak (1975). The last two remaining members of the SOE group that assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, pinned down in a church basement that's being flooded with water, shoot each other rather than face capture and torture by the Nazi occupation forces.
- The main characters of Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil come to believe that the college kids that keep dying around them must have some sort of murder-suicide pact going on. In actuality, it's simply stupidity and bad luck on their part.
- In The Seventh Continent, both parents decide to end their lives. Their little girl consents to the triple suicide, not realizing what she got herself into.
- Since there's no way of stopping the elimination process, it's suggested that people volunteer to sacrifice themselves. At least one person suggests that they all do it simultaneously, but since most of them do want to survive, this never transpires.
- The black man and woman who had an affair decide to step off the platform at the same time.
- The Jodi Picoult novel The Pact (and the Lifetime Movie of the Week adaptation) is built around a suicide pact that apparently goes wrong. The girl ends up dead. The guy survives, only to be put on trial for contributing to the girl's death. The guy is actually put on trial for murder because he doesn't remember what happened right before her death and is suspected to be the one who killed her, especially when it's discovered that she was pregnant.
- In Arto Paasilinna's book Hurmaava joukkoitsemurha ("A Charming Mass Suicide") two men who by coincidence run into each other when both are about to commit suicide instead organize a mass suicide for people who don't want to live longer - they will drive a bus off North Cape. They reason a carefully organized and planned suicide will make everyone involved look better in retrospect. The authorities disagree, and the people gathered take a long way to North Cape. Hilarity Ensues - really, but with Paasilinna's usual macabre wit.
- In a novelization of the original Doom series two people became fused together at the skull deep in enemy territory, apparently the result of some gruesome experiment. Left to suffer, the two carried out a suicide pact.
- At the end of Double Indemnity, the main couple apparently does this after they are found out.
- The Lisbon sisters in The Virgin Suicides.
- In the back of each book of the Tough Magic trilogy there are outtakes, with two of them playing the concept of a suicide pact for laughs, having the main characters killing each other for spurious reasons.
- In House of Sand and Fog, Behrani and his wife agree to commit suicide together.
- In The Shattered Kingdoms, the Shadari priesthood all commit suicide by jumping of the roof of their temple as the Norlanders invade. People tend to assume that the suicide had something to do with the invasion, but it was actually a response to a vision of the future the priests were trying to remove their knowledge from the world to avert a future in which someone using their powers would cause massive harm.
- The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern is set in a post-World War III United States. In "The Web", the title character John Rourke comes across a peaceful town in the mountains where no-one even mentions the war. It turns out that everyone made an agreement to use up all available resources to keep things going as before, but when the supplies run out they plan to commit mass suicide by blowing up the town. Unfortunately by the time Rourke finds out the truth, the lonely woman he's staying with has drugged and tied him up so she won't die alone.
- At least one episode of
CSIevery forensic investigation drama series ever has revolved around the plot of a suicide pact gone wrong.
- One episode of Cold Case had two high school students decide to do this. One of the guys backs out, as his life starts to get better, while the other gets upset and ends up accidentally pushing his friend off of a bridge and gets charged with manslaughter.
- An episode of CSI: NY has a group of terminally ill patients all giving themselves their ideal death. One of them doesn't go through with it.
- There was also an episode where two teenage circus performers who were Star-Crossed Lovers make one. The boy, who was a contortionist, stuffed himself in a box just like in his act, but in a way that made him suffocate. The girl, who was a trapeze artist, was about to jump off a swinging bar and not let her dad catch her...but she changed her mind, realising that she had a lot more to live for. The whole case was investigated after the girl discovers her boyfriends body and buries the box at the beach.
- On one episode of Law & Order: SVU, it turns out a victim wasn't a victim at all, she was attempting suicide when the maids came in early. She later manages to kill herself for real, and the team seems desperate to arrest someone for it. It turns out she frequented a site that encouraged suicidal people to take the plunge, run by a true believer played by Marlee Matlin. Matlin's character got the woman to commit suicide by telling her they'd do it together, which she had no intention of fulfilling, leading the team to prosecute her under "Murder by fake suicide pact."
- Battlestar Galactica. In "Lay Down Your Burdens" when the Cylons have them pinned down, Kara and Anders agree to kill each other rather than be captured, and be sent to the Cylon breeding farms (which Kara had already experienced). Athena unfortunately doesn't have this option; as she'd simply be resurrected as a Cylon. Fortunately the Cylon forces withdraw instead.
- The Stargate Atlantis episode, "Childhood's End" has the team find a village of kids and young adults who have agreed to kill themselves upon hitting age 25 in a perceived effort to keep The Wraith from "harvesting" the community. The team learns this is needless as the Wraith were kept because of a powering dampening field which was running out of power soon and the sacrifices were thought necessary in the beginning to accommodate the field's limits and they eventually convince the villagers to stop this practice.
- In an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, a man is lured into a car that he thinks will take him to some party when all the others know they are going to park on railroad tracks and go together.
- A suicide pact (rather, a murder/suicide pact) is what drives the season 6 Christmas episode of The X-Files. Two ghosts who were victims of a murder/suicide pact try to get Mulder and Scully to re-enact it in a Haunted House on Christmas Eve. It almost works.
- In the Supernatural episode "Croatoan" (Season 2) Dean enters this with Sam when he refuses to kill or abandon his brother despite the fact that Sam has been exposed to the Croatoan virus. Defused by the fact that Sam turns out to be immune to the demonic virus.
- Murdoch Mysteries: The solution to "Love and Human Remains" ultimately hinges on a decades old suicide pact.
- CSI: In "Forever", a pair of formally dressed teens are found dead in the middle of the desert. This turns out to have been a suicide pact, although a third party was involved with strong motivation to see both of them dead.
- Blake's 7. In "Volcano", a race of Actual Pacifists have set up a Doomsday Device which they threaten to use to destroy their planet if any hostile force attempts a landing. Unfortunately Servalan decides to call their bluff and launches an attack. It's not a bluff.
- Midsomer Murders: "Dance with the Dead" begins with what appears to be a suicide pact gone wrong. Of course, being Midsomer, it is Never Suicide.
- The song "Here in Heaven" by Sparks features a suicide pact:
Juliet, you broke our little pactJuliet, I'm never coming backUp here in Heaven without youIt is Hell knowing that your healthWill keep you out of here for many, many years
- Parenthetical Girls has "The Four Platitudes"
"resigned to take our lives by the age of twenty-five"
- The Therapy? song Little Tongues First plays with this (as well as naming the album) with the line "Suicide pact - you first".
- Though the deeper meaning is anyone's guess, the lyrics of the song "Lie, Lie, Lie" by System of a Down's Serj Tankian paint a picture of the narrator feigning a suicide pact with his girlfriend but then letting go of her at the last second and happily watching her plummet off the cliff on her own.
- BIGMAMA's "Swan Song" is about one; though it skirts around saying so outright, the Romeo and Juliet reference gives it away (translated from partial Japanese below):
Romeo and Juliet, take or leaveIf even being alive is too painfulThen instead, with our hands joined for eternity...Fly high and fall into a sleepFalling down too deep
- A popular live version of The Tragically Hip's song "Highway Girl" includes Gord Downie telling a (presumably fictional) account of how he and his girlfriend Colleen decided kill themselves, using a shotgun aimed at both of their heads, to be triggered by the next person to enter their apartment. Eventually, after waiting a while, they decide the idea was silly, only for a passing train to rattle the door open, killing her. The monologue ends with Downie declaring "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."
- This is the shtick of the lemmings from Pearls Before Swine, who gather at the edge of a cliff so they can all jump to their deaths. Whether or not they actually go through with it, on the other hand... (After Stephan Pastis started doing the lemming strips, he started receiving mail saying that the whole "suicidal lemmings" idea is a myth perpetuated by Disney. He then acknowledged this in one strip in which one of the lemmings pointed out that they didn't have to commit suicide. It didn't really change anything.)
- The two lovers in the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet by Frederick Delius sink themselves in a boat.
- The Cantonese opera Princess Chang-Ping (Dai Nui Fa). Chang-Ping, the exiled daughter of the last Ming-dynasty Emperor, drinks poison with her new husband after settling the political negotiation with the new Munchauian Emperor.
- The two lovers in Sutton Vane's Outward Bound turn out to be this ... at about the same time the audience (and the passengers) realize that everyone else on the ship is dead too.
- Rosmersholm: The romantic couple decide to throw themselves in the waterfalls together. Although there is a clear subtext here, it seems they did it on very short notice.
- In Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, a flashback showed that five girls made a promise to all die together and proceeded to drown themselves in a lake in Mt. Hikami, a haunted suicide hot-spot. Two of them, Fuyuhi and Haruka, survived it, however, and suffered from Survivor's Guilt as a result, believing that they failed to uphold their part of the deal — until the malevolent spirits of Mt. Hikami made sure they would die for real later on.
- The Caligula Effect had one between Shogo Satake and Posthumous Character Ichika Saotome; thirteen years prior to the game, they made a pact to jump off a building together. Shogo backed out at the last second, leaving Ichika to die alone.
- In Stellaris, this was basically the fate of the Vultaum. The vast majority of them eventually became convinced that reality was nothing more than a super-advanced virtual simulation that they were trapped in against their will for the amusement of a higher power, and that a mass suicide of billions of their race would disrupt the system and let them free. At an agreed upon hour, Vultaum everywhere killed themselves with any means available nearby. The few who refused to take part weren't enough to repopulate the species, and they faded into extinction.
- This was abused by Dahlia Hawthorne in the third Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game, by tricking Terry Fawles into many things... one of them being committing suicide if he doubted her. And he did, unaware that she wouldn't "follow" him in death.
- While it's not outright stated by the parties involved, this is heavily implied (and theorized by at least two of the other characters) to be the truth behind the fourth case in Super Danganronpa 2. With the students being trapped in a funhouse and being deprived of food until someone commits murder, Gundham Tanaka comes to the realization that everyone seems to be willing to die rather than kill another student. In order to save their lives and avert a Kill Em All scenario, he engineers circumstances that allow him and Nekomaru Nedai to meet in private while the other students are (supposed to be) sleeping, where the two engage in a Duel to the Death. This is where things are left open to interpretation, but it's implied that Gundham and Nekomaru both came to the conclusion that the only way to save the other students' lives was for one of them to kill the other (which is supposedly the reason that Nekomaru stayed despite being capable of fleeing the fight), ensuring that the winner of the duel (who turned out to be Gundham) would be executed by Monokuma but ensuring that the other students would be freed, turning the case into a murder-suicide that both the killer and victim consented to.
- Sonichu does this in issue 10. When the Author Avatar pulls a The Power of Rock to destroy a building, two trolls left behind (due to making fun of said person and being homosexual) decide leaping down an elevator shaft is a whole lot better than letting him kill them and hold hands on the way down.
- The two men investigating Murphy and Sparks's deaths at the end of the Sealab 2021 episode "The Policy" believe they had come across one of these after finding out about Murphy's massive credit card debt. In reality, Sparks had tried to kill Murphy to commit Insurance Fraud, and Murphy pulled a Taking You with Me.
Frank: From all the champagne bottles, I'm thinking they were getting their courage up. A final embrace, then they chuck in the battery.
- Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun made a pact to take cyanide together in a locked room as the Allies were marching into Berlin. Supposedly as a final act of cowardice, Hitler shot himself in the temple after taking the cyanide in order to spare himself the rather painful and grotesque death cyanide poisoning brings. With the only bullet on hand. Sorry Eva.
- Joseph Goebbels had a dentist inject his six children with cyanide, and then he and his wife went to the garden and killed themselves.
- Inseparable East Village artists Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake killed themselves because they believed they were being persecuted.
- House star Hugh Laurie has admitted that he and a friend made a suicide pact when they were 18 to kill themselves shortly before their 40th birthdays. Neither went through with it.
- Subversion: Japanese serial killer Hiroshi Maeue lured victims by forging bogus suicide pacts with them, suggesting burning charcoal in a sealed car as a method of exit, only to suffocate his victims with his hands instead.
- When Australia was a penal colony, conditions were so poor that some prisoners would enter a variation on the pact: One prisoner would kill the other, and then allow himself to be executed for the murder.
- Fairly early in the Jewish War of 66-70 AD, the Jewish commander Josephus and forty men escaped the siege of Jotapata and hid in a cave. Once discovered, they formed a suicide pact, drawing (presumably numbered) lots and having each man kill the third one down the list from himself. According to his own account of the incident, Josephus survived by luck, talking the second to last man out of killing him and then defecting to the Romans. The Josephus Problem in mathematics is derived from the cynical presumption that he rigged the contest.
- One of the theories about the Mayerling Incident, with Imperial Crown Prince Rudolf of Habsburg and his mistress Mary Vetsera. Historians and descendants of the Prince haven't reached a consensus, but in 2015 letters from Mary declaring their intention to commit suicide ("For love," wrote she) have been found. For his part, Rudolf wrote farewell letters to his entire family except his father.
- In the last days of World War II, the German Generals Wilhelm Burgdorf and Hans Krebs committed suicide together.