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Summation Gathering

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"And that's how I know that it was you who stole my favorite teddy bear!"
Image courtesy of Brent Otey.
Used with permission.

"I've called you all here to the parlor to watch as I gradually solve the crime. One of the people in this room... IS A BIG MURDERER!"
Dr. Zoidberg, Futurama, "Anthology of Interest I"

A Subtrope of The Summation, this commonly occurs at the end of a murder mystery or investigation into a heist or burglary. The Great Detective, who has brilliant powers of observation and deduction, gathers all suspects together in a room, so that the detective can tell them who the murderer is. The detective goes down the list of suspects one by one, explaining why they are innocent — although some of them may be guilty of other crimes, such as disposal of evidence. Eventually he will get to the guilty party, and explain how—and why—the murder (or theft of a precious object) was committed.

Expect at least one embarrassing secret about a character's Dark and Troubled Past or current scandalous behavior to be unearthed during this scene.

Common stock phrases in these scenes:

  • "I suppose you're all wondering why I've gathered you here..."
  • "Someone in this room... is a murderer!" May be followed by a Scare Chord.
  • J'accuse!

Fridge Logic kicks in when you realize that, if the detective already knows who the killer is, they should just have that individual arrested. And it's probably best to do that by surprise, rather than by giving a long speech in which the list of suspects is gradually shortened, and the killer might be tempted to run away before anyone can handcuff them, or worse, hurt someone while resisting.

Additionally, any testimony or statement given by those present at the summation might be inadmissible in court, as they have been led to believe speculation presented as fact. But this is an Acceptable Break from Reality, and the trope still works well from a storytelling perspective, since it both builds suspense and explains all the loose ends, tying up the story.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Subverted in an arc of Black Butler, where three murders occur over the case of a single night: the unexpected arrival of Vicar Jeremy, who has an alibi for all three, explains to the guests who was responsible. After doing so, however, one particular guest, an aspiring novelist named Arthur, realizes that the murderer convicted had been framed as part of a plan on the behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, and returns for a private discussion on that front.
  • Case Closed. Played with a lot since Conan, as a child, has to use Kogorou as a sort of mask in order to reveal the truth, by knocking him out, slumping him over something for a generic "deep thought" pose, and using a voice-changer to talk like him. Not always the best idea, since, sometimes, these suspects aren't very willing to just stand and watch the man reveal everything.
    • While it's clear he developed the habit out of a need for recognition and adulation, he does learn to try to lead the police - or Kogorou - instead and resort to summation by proxy when that simply isn't working... which just happens to be "almost always". (Although whenever there's a way he can do it as himself and get the credit he falls right back into this.)
  • Case File nº221: Kabukicho: Sherlock usually delivers his summation in the form of rakugo, complete with a stage and costume.
  • The Kindaichi Case Files ends every story arc with one of these, although they rarely happen in a parlor, instead usually occurring in the same place where one of the victims was killed. The summation is usually accompanied by a dramatic explanation of exactly how the killer carried out his crimes. Kindaichi will explain everything — motive, method, all the secrets behind the case — without revealing the killer's identity, leaving that for the very end.
  • For a series featuring Sherlock Holmes, Moriarty the Patriot is surprisingly light on gatherings to explain mysteries, but there is one at the end of The Two Detectives when Sherlock and William come together to identify the murderer.
  • The Tsukiuta anime's mystery parody episode, over the murder of Haru's glasses, had to include one of these - or two, as it turns out, since Koi bungles the first one by accusing the managers. The managers have been away from the cabin all day, and didn't even know there was a "case". And there's a second one, when all the characters go looking for Hajime, who has the answer... it was the pet rabbit.

    Audio Plays 
  • The Doctor arranges one in the Big Finish Doctor Who play Bang-Bang-a-Boom, in which he proceeds to reveal the secret motives of nearly every speaking character who isn't dead in the best tradition of Hercule Poirot, before finally revealing the actual murderer. Except Nicky Newman, who doesn't have any secrets. The Doctor just thinks being scared by a baseless accusation might do the boy some good.
    The Doctor: Well, now. I suppose you're all wondering why I called you all here.
    Mel: To unmask the murderer, surely.
    The Doctor: Well ... yes. Yes, right then. Well, I've pressure-locked the doors and there are guards posted outside, so nobody can leave this drawing room.
    Mel: Ready room.
  • Parodied in Cheech & Chong's comedy sketch "Pedro and Man at the Drive-In". Pedro is settling in to watch a Charlie Chan movie. From the car speaker, he hears the end of the movie:
    Chan: Everybody in this room have motive for killing Mr. Taylor. But Mr. Taylor only have one killer. And the name of that killer is...
    Drive-in employee: Ladies and Gentlemen, snack bar will remain open another fifteen minutes. After that it's closed for the evening. Thank you.
    (Static, fanfare plays) note 
    Announcer: And now, a preview of our coming attractions!

    Comic Books 
  • In Fables, this takes place around a rooftop pool, but Bigby Wolf calls it specifically because it's something he's always wanted to do as a Cop/Detective.
  • Done by Inspector LeBrock at the end of several volumes of Grandville. In the final volume, which had the final scene sealed, crime writer Bryon Turbot helpfully explains that this is called the "unravelling". (Everyone in Grandville is speaking French translated into English for the reader, and this includes words that were borrowed by English in our timeline, like "denouement".)
  • Despite having an entire space station the size of a city to work from, Detective Werner of Jannah Station always insists on gathering the suspects, witnesses, and other persons of interest into an actual parlor.
  • Jon Sable, Freelance: Jon does this at the end of "The Hard Way" (the only traditional murder mystery in the series) in #45; gathering all the suspects into the lounge of the yacht where the murder occurred, and exposing the murderer and explaining how the Locked Room Mystery was committed. Jon has a weakness for indulging in classic genre 'bits'.
  • Most issues of The Maze Agency feature one.
  • Ruse:
    • The first issue opens with a summation gathering; the great detective is finding the whole thing so tedious that he skips The Summation entirely and goes straight to pointing and saying "Him."
    • There's a proper summation gathering in a later storyline, following the murder of Lionel Oxford-Collins.
  • In Trial of the Amazons: Wonder Girl #2, Cassie addresses the queens of the three Amazon tribes and their bodyguards.
    Cassie: Well, buckle up! Because I'm going to not only reveal who Hippolyta's murderer is, but I will take you step by step to absolve those who I suspected of killing her. So as to remove any doubt that only one of you could have done it!
    Nubia: Go on.
    Potira: [sotto voce] What's happening?
    Faruka: [sotto voce] I think she is playacting as detective now.
    Potira: [sotto voce] Oh, gods!

    Comic Strips 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 8 Women has a variation in that it's the culprit who does the summation. Catherine is the culprit, but not the murderer because Marcel, the "victim", was never dead; she helped him fake it. The summation consists of her unveiling the whole plot she and Marcel concocted to get the other women to reveal their secrets, and accusing them of bringing Marcel nothing but misery.
  • Inspector Elliot gathers all of the circus folk in the centre ring for The Summation at the climax of Circus of Fear.
  • Like in the Thin Man movies, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford has Brad (played by William Powell, no less) gather all the suspects in a room to show his Show Within a Show evidence of the true murderer.
  • Happens in each of the Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov Hercule Poirot movies. This includes Death on the Nile, even though the book just had Poirot explain his conclusion to the killers and a couple of others, not the whole boat. Lampshaded in the 2022 movie where Kenneth Branagh's Poirot admits this trope is just so he can show off to everyone how clever he is. By this stage however he's not playing games; he has the crew lock everyone in the room and stands guard over the only exit with a .45 automatic in his hand.
  • Daniel Craig's Benoit Blanc gives an impromptu one in Knives Out.
  • Parodied in Neil Simon's Murder by Death. Lionel Twain calls together the world's five greatest detectives and issues them a challenge: to solve a murder that hasn't yet occurred. At the end of the movie, they go through this trope five separate times, as each detective claims to have solved the murder and tries to prove that they're right. The various explanations completely contradict each other, and all of them turn out to be wrong anyway.
  • The Pink Panther
  • In The Thin Man and The Thin Man Returns, Nick Charles solves the mystery by this method. In the first movie, by his own admission, he hadn't quite sussed who the murderer was; he'd ruled out most of them, so he laid out the facts until one of the remaining suspects fit, and made an accusation.
    • Lampshaded in one movie by Nora - "First you have the Gathering, followed by the Summation, followed by the Payoff!" (in bullets)



  • Agatha Christie novels are known for this: Hercule Poirot almost always does it (although he usually explains to the cops what's happened before the actual summation); so does Miss Marple. However, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford rarely do and Parker Pyne almost never does; Tommy and Tuppence's investigations tend to be usually messier and more convoluted, and Parker Pyne, when his job of "making people happy" involves investigating a crime, prefers to be subtle about it. Christie's Summation Gatherings frequently also mark the beginning of a romance, and sometimes the end of one.
    • In The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Christie plays with this. Poirot gathers together all the principals and walks them through his investigation in standard Summation Gathering style, explaining the various plot twists and Red Herrings. Then he sends them home, without revealing who the killer is—except for the killer, whom Poirot holds back for a private chat in which he drops the bomb.
    • Ironically, Christie did this in her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, only due to invokedExecutive Meddling. In her first draft, Hercule Poirot explains the solution and identifies the killer in open court, after he's called as a witness in a murder trial. After her publisher objected to this as being nonsense, Christie came up with a new ending where Poirot summed up everything and exposed the murder in a gathering with most of the characters—and in the process may have invented a trope.
    • Lord Edgware Dies has a Bait-and-Switch version where Poirot only invites a couple of characters. He immediately starts accusing one of them of being the murderer, which they deny until they're almost to the point of tears and start to confess to other lies they made... and Poirot agrees. He then reveals that the murderer is someone who was not invited, and he only arranged the gathering because he realised that the suspect had disrupted the investigation by feeding him lies and wanted to punish them.

Individual works:

  • Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr does this in every book, lampshading every time.
  • From the Erast Fandorin novel series:
    • An accidental one in The Turkish Gambit. The bad guy, a spy for Turkey, has lured the principals into the Constantinople suburb of San Stefano. He has almost gotten them to go into Constantinople itself, which unbeknownst to the others is a trap, when Fandorin shows up Just in Time to stop them. He then identifies the bad guy and explains his intricate espionage plot.
  • Used in the Forgotten Realms novel Murder in Cormyr, when retired wizard Benelaius uses this setup, which his servant Jasper notes as coming from a series of detective novels Benelaius claims to despise, to expose a man guilty of espionage, attempted mass murder, and (of course) murder. Subverted in that Benelaius arranged for the murderer to sit somewhere where he could make an easy escape and flee into exile rather than face death as Benelaius was a pacifist. Also subverted in that while the first two accusations were true Benelaius knowingly framed the accused for the actual murders so as to cover up the real murderer's guilt.
  • A non-murder-oriented mystery is "solved" in this fashion at the end of the first trilogy of the Foundation Series. Each Foundation scientist takes turns arguing for their theory as to Second Foundation's identity, until after all other theories have been discounted, the final speaker identifies a Second Foundation mole in the very room.
  • In Glen Cook's Nero Wolfe-inspired Garrett, P.I. series, this happens at Garrett's house in Cold Copper Tears, and at the brewery in Faded Steel Heat. In a variant, the gatherings aren't just an opportunity for the sleuth to explain his deductions, but also for the Dead Man to use his mind-reading powers on the culprits and any accomplices.
  • Johannes Cabal the Detective: Invoked by Johannes to explain not only a double murder but also the circumstances that led him to be there — no small feat, since he distracts one audience member from trying to shoot him dead on the spot. Justified because he's stalling for time for a bomb to go off.
  • In Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy homage to "Too Many Cooks", Too Many Magicians, the Summation Gathering takes place in the Nero Wolfe-analogue's office, but it's conducted by Lord Darcy. However, the Summation Gathering is actually an elaborate misdirection to get the real murderer to give them his sword to reenact the murder, so he'll be unarmed when they arrest him.
  • In Vernor Vinge's Marooned in Realtime, the detective Wil Brierson calls most of the (decimated) world's population into a meeting hall to accuse the suspect of murder. The character is not only aware of the trope whilst doing it but is worried about a horrible variant he read about: detective gathers the suspects into a room then applies a definitive test to all the suspects: all suspects are guilty. Unmarked grave for detective, happy end for the suspects.
  • The Naked Sun: Personal contact is a taboo on Solaris, so Detective Baley has to gather the suspects via a holographic conference call and send his robot assistant to arrest the murderer. Baley uses the trope to force a confession from Leebig and thereby frame him for the murder, having realized that Leebig had manipulated the real killer and was plotting far worse crimes.
  • Nero Wolfe virtually always does something like this. It's not in the parlor, though, it's almost always in his office instead. In the few stories where he's had to leave his house, and resolve the case before he can return to it, the Summation Gathering takes place in whatever place is appropriate:
    • In Too Many Cooks, it is held at the banquet table at the Kanawha Spa, following the final feast of Les Quinze Maîtres.
    • In Some Buried Caesar, it takes place at Thomas Pratt's home in upstate New York.
    • In "Immune To Murder", it takes place at O. V. Bragan's fishing lodge in the Adirondacks, where he has gone to make trout Montbarry for a foreign ambassador at the special request of the US Secretary of State.
    • In "Too Many Detectives", it takes place in a hotel room in Albany, where he has been summoned to submit to questioning in a state investigation of illegal wiretapping.
    • In "The Impolite Corpse" (from the third radio series), it takes place at the murder scene because his client told him over the phone that Archie was in danger. Wolfe suspects (correctly) that this was a lie intended to get him over there, but had found the case so annoying that he was willing to just solve it right there and be done with it. Incidentally, the fact that his client went to such lengths to make him leave his office is the pivotal clue that breaks the case.
    • In this series the trope's also well justified: Wolfe charges high fees (and occasionally is depending entirely upon the potential gratitude of non-clients for compensation), often seems to be doing nothing at all to earn them, and it's established in the setting that the local police and district attorney's office are very eager to take complete credit for anything he turns up and are at the same time looking for an excuse to bring him in for obstruction of justice. He has multiple reasons for wanting all interested parties in one place to report his activities to. (Not always truthfully.)
  • Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma does this in every single novel, often drawing together bitter enemies who otherwise wouldn't be caught dead in the same room. She seems to be constitutionally unable to explain herself without every single character present, even if she has to browbeat a king into gathering these characters for her.
  • Played with in The Human Division:
  • Invoked and discussed in Josh Lanyon's Somebody Killed His Editor, in which the protagonist, mystery writer Christopher Holmes, reluctantly gathers everyone in a central location to talk through the murders and reveal his deductions as to the most likely suspect. Since the novel is set at a mystery writers' workshop (at which several dozen writers, publishers, and staff are trapped by weather in a remote California location), people quickly catch on ("He's going for the drawing room summary!") and there's much excited discussion and interruptions regarding his reasoning and methods. As Holmes is mostly playing for time anyway, as he wants to keep the killer and the potential victims in plain sight until help arrives, he doesn't mind too much. In the grand tradition of summation gatherings, he briefly pursues the Red Herring before focusing on the real culprit.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Liz spends one 30 Rock episode watching Murder on the Orient Express and having a post-breakup one-night stand. At the end of the episode, she calls the entire cast into Jack's office and accuses them all of orchestrating the one-night stand. The scene is a direct parody of the similar scene in Murder on the Orient Express, with Liz presenting a "simple explanation and a complex explanation" for the one-night stand, with the simple explanation being that it just happened and the complex explanation being a conspiracy among everyone in the room to make her feel better, and eventually deciding to believe in the simple explanation even though the complex explanation is obviously correct.
  • The Afterparty spends the season following a complex (if comedic) murder mystery, and the season finale naturally has the eccentric detective gather all the suspects in the living room to explain who the killer is and how they did it. Also lampshaded as being unnecessary:note 
    Danner: Good news, everyone. No more waiting. I know who the killer is.
    Brett: I'm sorry. Are you just gonna tell us all as a group? As a first responder, that is highly unusual.
  • An Invoked Trope in Altered Carbon. Takeshi Kovacs is coerced by the Big Bad into framing someone else for the attempted murder of Laurens Bancroft, so he uses this trope to manipulate everyone. Kovacs surrounds Bancroft with a group of people who all have motive for harming him and stand to lose everything if they lose Bancroft's favor. When Kovacs accuses one of them, the others are relieved that the spotlight is off them and are greatly motivated not to question the evidence. They then try their best to convince Bancroft that Kovacs is right.
  • In the Angel episode "Happy Anniversary" Wesley does this to determine which of the family members summoned a demon. Notable because the entire rest of this B plot happens off-screen, although it sounds absolutely fascinating. After it's over, Gunn comments that summation was really cool... and Wesley admits he was saying the evidence out loud to work it out and didn't know who the guilty party was until he named her.
  • At the end of every episode of Banacek, Banacek would gather all of the suspects together at the scene of the crime to explain how the crime was committed and expose the guilty party.
  • Parodied in Lessons for a Perfect Detective Story as Tenkaichi demands a dramatic enough summation at the end of each episode to keep the audience happy. Fujii felt that calling people who were clearly not the murderer and not involved to the summation, so there's only two people at the end of the first episode. Tenkaichi refuses to explain who did it until enough people are gathered (including a girl walking her puppy) and even then he didn't get a chance to reveal who was the murderer. Afterwards everybody leaves before he can explain how the Locked Room Mystery occurred except an old woman who didn't understand why anybody should care.
  • Death in Paradise: Detective Poole makes a habit of gathering all the people involved in the murderer of the week to identify the killer. In Season 3, his replacement Detective Goodman is startled at being prodded to do a summation gathering in Poole's style, but decides to keep the tradition going in later episodes. The third detective, Mooney, just does it without any explanation how he fell into the habit, while the fourth, Parker, is directly told to do it be the Police Commissioner, because by that point it's just how things are done on Saint Marie.
    Goodman: Camille, would you do that thing where you gather everyone together? I rather liked that last time...
  • Doctor Who: "The Unicorn and the Wasp" has Agatha Christie herself solving the mystery, but it's Played for Laughs thanks to Donna, who hasn't quite caught on and keeps accusing the wrong person.
  • Every episode of Ellery Queen.
  • Parodied on an episode of Frasier when Frasier Crane calls together Niles, Daphne and Martin to reveal who is guilty of replacing a tape cassette of one of his radio shows. He exonerates Daphne and Martin and is about to accuse Niles when Daphne suddenly confesses. When Frasier shouts out, "A-ha!" Niles snarks back, "You don't get to say 'a-ha,' you thought it was me."
  • The It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Who pooped the bed" features one of these. It turns out that the detective way overthought things.
  • In Kamen Rider Double Akiko attempts one, but in addition to guessing the wrong person to be the Monster of the Week, she misses the fact that all of the season's Big Bads are also in the room.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Palimpsest", Nichols stages one of these; gathering all of the suspects into the attic (It Makes Sense in Context) to expose the murderer. This is probably the only time in the series this trope is used, but as it involves a murder in an old, book-filled mansion it seems to fit.
  • Likely Suspects and the remake of Burke's Law had this regularly, of the type where the detective deals with the innocent people by accusing them, and then revealing the "accusation" to be a Bait-and-Switch Comment.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. A variation in "The Mad Mad Tea Party Affair" - our heroes suspect a Thrush mole has planted a bomb in a conference room, but can't find it. So they gather all the suspects in that room and wait to see who panics first.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • The early episode "I Hate a Mystery" combines this with Bluffing the Murderer, although the crime in question is theft rather than murder.
    • In another episode, Hawkeye jokingly invokes this while watching a home movie of Frank Burns' wedding, as several of Burns' relatives are shown standing together onscreen.
  • Married... with Children: Parodied, as with many other detective tropes, in the Noir Episode "Al Bundy, Shoe Dick". After Al has been framed for the murder of an old rich man, he gathers the man's family and ends up accusing all of them of being the real murderer. His reasoning is either non-existent or hilariously faulty (like accusing a man with two hook hands of holding the murder weapon, or a mentally disabled man of being a criminal mastermind), until he does prove himself with a bit of deductive logic that the Femme Fatale did it.
  • Los misterios de Laura. Since Laura is a 20 years younger Miss Marple working at the police, she does that every time. Even in the couple of episodes when she quits the force.
    Suspect: Why do we have to listen to a random person telling us we are all a bunch of murderers?
    Chief Detective: Because I allow her to say whatever she wants.
  • Occurred occasionally in Murder, She Wrote, although Jessica generally preferred an Engineered Public Confession.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Murdoch has Crabtree summon the family and staff of the Jenkins household for one of these at the end of "Downstairs, Upstairs".
  • A subversion appears in NCIS, during the sting operation that identified Agent Lee as The Mole. Having summoned every potential culprit together, the Director has their hands tested for evidence, and identifies the innocent Abby as the guilty party, allowing the team to follow the actual suspect once the fake one is in custody and the Mole thinks the internal investigation is over.
  • ITV's Poirot and Marple not only adapts the Summation Gatherings from Agatha Christie's novels, but often adds them to stories that did not originally have them (such as Dumb Witness and Murder is Easy) and sometimes expands upon them so that all the suspects are present, instead of just a few like in the novels (Taken at the Flood, Lord Edgware Dies).
  • Standard way Shawn and Gus close a Psych investigation.
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, George plots an elaborate setup to prove a mechanic stole his Twix bar. It's ruined when he leaves the room...
    Saleswoman: Hey Willy, check it out! Free candy!
    George: That's my candy lineup! Where are all my cards? They're all on the floor! And you! How many Twix does that make for you today? Like eight Twix?
    Mechanic: No.
    Man: Hey, this Clark bar is good!
    George: It's a Twix! They're all Twix! It was a setup! A setup, I tell ya! And you've robbed it! You've all screwed me again! Now, gimme one! Gimme a Twix!
    Mechanic: They're all gone.
    George: TWIX!!!
  • Sherlock: Sherlock arranges a Summation Gathering to solve the mystery and identify the culprit in the first episode of series 4. Subverted when the cornered guilty party responds by shooting and killing Watson's wife Mary.
  • President Bush pulls this in one episode of That's My Bush! to figure out who has been trying to murder him. After going through everyone present, he eventually arrives at the conclusion that it was no one.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: The Poirot example is spoofed in one sketch where a detective gathers everyone to reveal that after a whole week, he's got no clues ("It's been a hell of a week, to be honest with you.") He only knows he's caught the perp when they start doing "The Evil Voice".
  • Lampshaded in Tropical Heat, when the detective, Nick asks that the suspects be gathered in one room, and his friend Spider asks derisively if he's going to do "that whole Agatha Christie summation thing".
  • A variant in the Veronica Mars episode "An Echolls Family Christmas": She figured out who stole the game pot from the poker game, and suggests that they all show up for another game, and whoever is revealed to have stolen it will be kicked out and will have effectively bought her into the game.

  • Bleak Expectations' series five opener, featuring a country house soiree at which guests keep dropping like flies. By the time he's done doing his summation, everyone else but his family is dead.
    Sir Phillip Bin: I gathered the guests in the denouementarium...
  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: One storyteller sketch, which skips over all the plot in favour of getting to the bit where the culprit is found, gets to this bit, starting with the inspector "who makes an obviously wrong deduction for [the narrator] to pour scorn on". It soon turns out everyone is someone else in disguise. The Storyteller is the actual thief everyone's looking for.

  • Inspector Goole does this to everybody all the time in An Inspector Calls. Pretty much the entire plot is one.

    Video Games 
  • In an early quest of Baten Kaitos Origins, the characters are investigating a series of terrorist attacks from a neighboring town, and hold several of these as new information comes to light.
  • In the freeware game Disorient on the Murder Express, the detective gathers everyone to the fireplace at the rear of the train to explain how they all tried to murder the victim for their own reasons, contributing to his death. Then they all shoot him.
  • In Chapter Three of Limbo of the Lost Briggs calls everybody to the Town Hall to reveal who's been killing everybody.
  • Professor Layton (chiefly the games, though there's a spectacular one in the movie) have these, though they never really bring closure to the mystery, since the Big Bad always runs off before they can be apprehended.
  • In the 1983 DOS game Sleuth, you have to hold one of these to accuse your suspect. To win the game, the gathering must be held at the scene of the crime, you must be carrying the murder weapon, and you must accuse the right person; if one of these details is wrong, the killer will confess to the crime while chastising you for your mistake.
  • The final page in The Smelly Mystery (a combination interactive storybook and detective game for kids) features this, with Little Monster Private Eye and Detective Kerploppus gathering all five suspects into the living room at Yalapappus Manor so they can reveal which one has been going around as the Evil Smell Switcher.

    Visual Novels 
  • Subverted in Episode 5 or Umineko: When They Cry. All the elements of the trope are in action, including the revealing of the culprit's shameful secrets. Except a tiny, insignificant detail: the "obvious culprit" is actually innocent. Not that the Episode's detective has the slightest concern for such trivialities.
  • Zero Escape:
    • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has one in the "Safe" ending, Junpei attempting to prove who killed Guy X.
    • Virtue's Last Reward has one in Luna's ending. Unusually for this trope it's just two people, Sigma and Luna, since Phi left with Quark and everyone else was already dead. And it's even inverted in that Sigma actually points out all evidence that Luna DIDN'T commit the murders.


    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs's Hercule Yakko has fun with this: Yakko dramatically whispers he knows the location of Marita's missing diamond and orders the ship's passengers to be assembled in the State Room: but not to reveal the thief, but because he didn't have enough people to play charades, and also to say none of them took the diamond, but he will turn the room upside down to prove the diamond is there; once everyone has fallen to the ceiling the diamond appears; Marita was sitting on it the whole time
  • A teaser to Batman: The Brave and the Bold was in set in one of these to discover who stole a gold skull. Turns out almost everyone was lying about something anyway. It was False Face who took the skull.
  • Dallas & Robo: "Murder on the Georgia Overdrive" has Dallas Moonshiner holding one. It turns into a massive Infodump on the suspect passengers but is subverted when she utterly fails to solve the case. The one she accuses is not even there because they've been murdered off-screen.
    Dallas: What do you want from me, I'm drunk. I've had a dozen martinis.
  • The current page quote appears in the Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest I". The room it takes place in appears again in "The 30% Iron Chef", where it is referred to as "the accusing parlor".
  • Daffy tries this on his neighbors in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Newsapaper Thief." His failure to plan ahead means that he has to constantly intervene to correct errors in his planning.
  • When Moomintroll solves the supposed murder of Mrs Fillyjonk in the Moominvalley episode "The Strange Case of Mrs Fillyjonk", he gathers everyone in her parlour and then says "I suppose you're wondering why I've gathered you here today." The Hemulen Jailer points out that he told them why he gathered them there when he gathered them.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Near the end of the episode "MMMystery on the Friendship Express", Twilight Sparkle calls for one of these after finding clues to who sabotaged the cake Pinkie Pie was guarding.
      Mulia: Erm, why are we all here again?
      Twilight: (entering the room) I bet you're wondering why you're all here again.
      Joe: She's good.
    • Done again in "Too Many Pinkie Pies" after the Pinkie clones have been rounded up in the town hall.