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The World's Expert (on Getting Killed)

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"I thought you said I was 'too boring' to be the killer? Maybe I was the twist. What do you think, huh? You're the expert. You know what eventually happens to the expert?" [does a throat-cut motion]
Liv McKenzie, Scream (2022)

They know more about the threat than anyone. Can tell the hero/heroine everything they want to know. They're a cop who's been hunting the Serial Killer for their entire career or the Great White Hunter who knows more about dangerous animals than anyone. Perhaps they're an expert on ancient curses, or are schooled in the ways of killer robots. Whoever they are, they're the good guy's best and most reliable source of information regarding The Threat, its plans, its motivations, its patterns, its strengths, and its weaknesses.

Unfortunately for them, they're not the hero of the story and hence cannot rely on Plot Armor. Even more unfortunately, they're just useful enough to the hero that their death will make our heroes even more vulnerable, and their plight more dramatic. Worse still, since they're the expert on The Threat, their death by The Threat will augment the advantage the villain has over the heroes — after all, if this Expert couldn't win against them, what shot do our non-Expert main heroes have?

Compare/contrast The Mentor, who is also wise to the threat and often killed by it nonetheless, but The Mentor's death, if and when it comes, is often a Moment of Awesome, Obi-Wan Moment, or at least dramatic. Compare also The Worf Effect, which is where an enemy dispatches a more generally established badass with ease, rather than one specialized against them. Finally, consider Mentor Occupational Hazard, which is the tendency of mentors to the hero to die. This is one of The Perils of Being the Best. See also Negated Moment of Awesome if a lot of build-up is put into introducing them. If the person who dies was the heroes' best hope and now they need to come up with a new idea, see Plan B Resolution.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the first season finale of Blood+, Saya, Haji, and Eric team up with a squad of professional chiropteran (vampire) hunters. They die to a man fighting baby chiropterans, which come in waves by the dozens as opposed to the usually singular appearances of their larger brethren.
  • Attack on Titan: The Survey Corps are essentially an entire army of this trope. Notable examples include: Dita Ness, Armin's squad leader during the 57th expedition and the Female Titan's first victim; the entire Spec Ops squad; Mike Zacharius, the in-universe World's SECOND Strongest Man who's totally unprepared for the Beast Titan; and his squad, killed while protecting the unarmed 104th at Castle Utgard.
  • The Anti-BM unit in Bio-Meat: Nectar gets eaten mere moments after reaching the infested building. Would it hurt them to put those fancy suits on BEFORE leaving the chopper?
  • Dosu in Naruto, who was able to completely deduce Orochimaru's plan to attack the village and steal Sasuke (helps that he was one of Orochimaru's subordinate and had the necessary inside info to connect the dots). Rather than going to talk about the authorities about it, he decides that the right thing to do would be to kill Sasuke instead... which leads to him trying to kill Gaara to raise his chances of fighting Sasuke in the actual tournament out of a desire to show up his master for viewing him and his teammates as disposable pawns.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami Tomoe is a veteran Magical Girl who introduces Madoka and Sayaka to the risks and rewards involved so they can decide if they want to make the contract with Kyubey. She gets eaten by episode three's Monster of the Week.
  • Happens a lot during the Hunter exam in Hunter × Hunter. Placed on the roof of a large tower? The world-class mountain climber knows he can scale the tower with ease... only to be eaten by a watchful bird.
  • FAITH-elite Heine Westenfluss in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny: a ZAFT special forces pilot who even Athrun looks up to for his skill and test-pilot of the latest specialist mobile suit ZAFT has to offer. Killed in his very first sortie by failing to check his surroundings before rushing in to engage the Freedom.
  • Gantz: Hachiro Oka, who was considered the most powerful fighter in Osaka, is killed by Nurarihyon.
  • Ga-Rei -Zero- begins with an elite squad of anti-paranormal fighters being sent out to deal with the latest threat. At the end of the first episode, every one of them is killed. Then the real story begins in episode 2.
  • In Digimon Frontier episode 13, the Warriors release Seraphimon, who had been healing since losing to Cherubimon during his coup. Having regained his strength, he tells the Warriors to return to their world while he handles the battle ahead. Then the evil Warriors arrive, and in the ensuing battle, Mercurymon defeats Seraphimon and steals his data, reducing him to a digi-egg. As such, it falls to the Warriors to save the Digital World.
  • Azur Lane: San Diego, the most capable Anti-Air character, is prominently shown downed by the Sakura Empire's carrier attack.
  • Heavy Object: Qwenthur and Havia's mission with Background Unit begins with an experienced, hardass female officer lecturing the soldiers on their objectives and how half of them are likely to die. She's killed in the first enemy salvo.
    Qwenthur: She died that easily!? I thought she was going to be the final boss!

    Comic Books 
  • In general, a comic book Crisis Crossover will frequently start off by killing or otherwise incapacitating some powerful mystical or cosmic entity (like Uatu the Watcher or the Spectre). Aside from showing off the villain's threat level and removing a character who might otherwise handle the crisis on their own, the character thus removed is likely to have been someone who could have contributed expert knowledge on the villain or his plans.
  • The first couple pages of the first issue of the Batman series Legends of the Dark Knight combines this with Mentor Occupational Hazard. A Distant Prologue features a young Bruce Wayne climbing a mountain in Alaska with a man named Will Doggett, talking about how Will has such a good reputation as a bounty hunter and tracker and he's appreciating learning from him. Will is then killed in an ambush by the fugitive their chasing without having a chance to fight back, or even knowing the man was there.
  • Crossed +100: MIMIC zigzags this with the Crossed hunters who form about eighty years after the end of civilization. In the third issue, the character of Bloom comes across as the most experienced of the hunters (although the others are nearly as savvy and tough), and in fact received a decent amount of focus in the previous issue (set six years earlier during a different hunt). Bloom proceeds to get a Surprisingly Sudden Death in the middle of a battle though (not to mention a cruel and unusual one) and it's the other surviving members of his group who manage to defeat the infected themselves a couple panels afterwards.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Spoofed in Alligator when the arrogant, sexist, self-proclaimed "Great White Hunter" is killed by the alligator when he tries to get a random kid he dragged along with him to snap a photo of him with the beast before he's even killed the damn thing. The same thing happens to an entire family of such characters in the sequel.
  • The entomologist who knows all about the killer spiders of Arachnophobia goes down like a Red Shirt. Perhaps a little more acceptable than most examples because he's a scientist, not a hunter or exterminator, but he still wasn't very careful despite knowing how dangerous the spiders were.
  • In Chernobyl Diaries, Uri, the extreme tour guide and grizzled veteran, is the first person killed after going out of the car alone at night.
  • Played for Laughs in Club Dread when the battle-toughened security chief gets offed mid-speech.
  • Played for Laughs in Coneheads. As Beldar is about to be executed by being forced to fight a Rancor-like creature, the prisoner before him says that he's used his years of imprisonment to study footage of the creature, determine a weak spot where he can strike, and trained until he's positive he can slay the beast. When it's his turn, he goes off confidently to victory and immediately gets his head ripped off.
  • In Cube, the group of people trapped in the death maze is quickly joined by Rennes aka "The Wren", a notorious escape artist who has gotten out of six different prisons around the world. He introduces the idea of checking trapped rooms by throwing their boots in, advises the others to focus only on getting out lest they turn on each other, and promises to get them all out of there if they can keep up. He dies minutes after being introduced due to a molecular-chemical sensor he didn't notice.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, after Bane takes over Gotham City, some Special Forces operatives who are experts on terrorist and hostage situations are brought in to stop him. They are killed off a couple of scenes later with ease.
  • Deep Blue Sea:
    • Russell Franklin. The movie is about a team of scientists and assorted staff members trying to survive a flooded science station infested with killer mind-enhanced sharks. Fortunately, Russell Franklin is well prepared for this situation, as he has survived a similar dire life-threatening incident before when he was stranded on top of a mountain range. Unfortunately, he is ripped apart by sharks right as he's giving a big speech telling everyone how to handle their predicament.
    • Averted by Carter Blake, the Action Hero lead and animal handler who literally swims with these sharks on a daily basis and survives to the end of the film, in no small part because of said expertise.
  • Enemy at the Gates: Kulikov is brought in as a new partner for Vasily to help take down Konig as he was actually trained by Konig himself and knows how he operates. Konig instinctively realizes that he's being lured into a trap and kills Kulikov during his first mission with Vasily.
  • In Escape Room (2019), Danny, one of the nerds of the group, brags about being a puzzle room expert who cleared over 90 live puzzles, including all the popular ones. During the movie, he refuses to believe him, and the other members of the group are in danger, despite growing evidence that they are, until he falls through a sheet of ice during the second puzzle room and becomes the group's first casualty.
  • Despite getting top billing in Executive Decision, special forces operative Steven Seagal makes a Sacrificial Lion play at the very beginning of his team's mission to make sure it succeeds, making civilian specialist Kurt Russell carry the rest of the narrative.
  • Played for (dark) laughs in Feast when "Hero", the badass-looking character who bursts onto the scene and actually seems to know what's going on, gets eaten by the creatures within seconds of his first appearance. Then his wife, Heroine, shows up and dies halfway through the film.
  • Flag of Iron has a legion of expert killers and assassins, with awesome nicknames like "The Butcher", "Iron Abacus", "Crimson Eagle" and the like, sent to challenge the protagonist, Iron Monkey. They all die in their first battle against him.
  • Freaks of Nature: When vampires and zombies are rampaging across the town of Dillford, Dag and his girlfriend Lorelei are rescued by a college teacher who is revealed to be a badass fighter and quickly dispatches vampires in his introduction. He proceeds to get devoured by zombies since he doesn't know how to fight them.
  • In Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, an older brother of one of Jason's victims has been tracking him since his sister's death, seeming to set him up as the big hero who will finally put an end to Jason's rampage. In a Negated Moment of Awesome combined with a bit of Narm, Jason kills him in an anti-climatic fashion while he screams "He's killing me! He's killing me!".
  • The Ghost and the Darkness:
    • Mahina, a physically powerful man who once killed a lion with his bare hands, is the first victim of the Tsavo maneaters.
    • Charles Remington is the world's authority on man-eating lions, and how to make them dead. After slaying one of them he gets drunk celebrating with the others, then is later dragged from his tent and killed by the other lion.
  • Invoked/justified in the case of Luca Brasi, the Corleones' top hitman in The Godfather. He doesn't survive his first onscreen encounter with armed opponents and ends up sleeping with the fishes. This was because his killers knew his reputation and didn't even try to take him in a straight-up fight. Instead, they opted to get him In the Back with a garrote while pinning his hand to a bar with a knife to keep him immobilized. The book takes this a step further by emphasizing that the murder took place in what was considered a Truce Zone:
    Tom Hagen: By the way, we got the confirmation on Luca. They killed him the night before they shot your father. In Bruno's nightclub. Imagine that?
    Michael Corleone: No wonder they caught him off guard.
  • In The Goonies, the kids discover the bones of treasure hunter Chester Copperpot, who was apparently killed by the very first pirate booby trap he encountered. Rather than be horrified and turn back, the kids manage to use it as inspiration that they've made it farther than the expert.
  • Into the Forest: The family father has all of the practical skills and knowledge, but he gets killed in the first act, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves during the Big Blackout.
  • Major Valentina Koslova from The Jackal is assigned to help Preston and Mulqueen track down the title assassin, bringing with her all her useful knowledge about the villain. Still, her confrontation with him doesn't last long.
  • Jaws:
    • Quint from the first Jaws movie talked a good game but didn't last very long once he actually met the shark. However, both he and Hooper imply that they had never seen a shark like this before. Also, in all fairness, they'd been waiting and drinking for hours, so it's also clear that Quint is pretty hammered by the time the shark shows up.
    • Phillip Fitzroyce, from the Jaws 3D, is described as a skilled hunter and naturalist who has every confidence he can take down the killer shark that is threatening the movie's fictionalized Sea World park. He lasts about five minutes against the beast.
  • Jurassic Park:
    • Robert Muldoon from Jurassic Park (1993) "knows more about Raptors than anyone" ... but is pretty quickly and easily dispatched by the raptors once they're loose when they use their standard attack pattern. In the book, it's Hammond instead, and Muldoon survives the experience after shooting the T-Rex with a giant tranquilizer dart, blowing at least one raptor in half with a rocket launcher and still continuing to be an untouchable badass even after he finally gets so drunk he can barely stand.
    • The Lost World: Jurassic Park with Dr. Sarah Harding. She's supposedly an animal behavior expert yet makes mistakes that endanger her life and get others around her killed. Most egregious is when she walks through the jungle wearing a jacket stained with blood from the injured baby T-rex she helped mend. Not only does this lead the parents right to her group, but she only realizes her error when she sees the jacket hanging in her tent... right before one of the rexes pokes it head in. The fact that the rex lifts its head up toward the jacket with the tent covering its eyes is the only reason she isn't instantly killed, and this leads to the hunters with her being killed instead.note  Also, there's the paleontologist of Ludlow's team, who gets scared by a harmless little snake behind the waterfall and flees in a panic, only to get eaten by the adult T-rex.
  • In King Cobra (1999), the herpetologist brought in to catch the titular giant snake injects himself with snake venom to make himself immune to the snake’s bite. It works the first time, but he dies after being bitten multiple times by the snake and fighting it in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Surprisingly subverted in Killer Crocodile when the resident Quint Expy survives his apparent death and shows up at the climax to help the protagonists kill the mutant crocodile.
  • This happens in Nighthawks when the heroes' trainer is ambushed by the villain's sidekick.
  • Carson Wells from No Country for Old Men is a professional hitman of some sort who is the most familiar with the crazed killer Anton Chigurh. Chigurh doesn't even break a sweat in catching up with him. The military veteran, though un-initiated Llewelyn, is much more problematic for Chigurh.
  • Pacific Rim:
    • Hannibal Chau, a man who deals in Kaiju organs, is killed by a baby Kaiju moments after confidently declaring that it was dead. Subverted, however, in that he turns out to be alive in The Stinger.
    • The Chinese and Russian Jaegers and their crew also count. For all their Informed Ability as highly skilled, their on-screen performance is abysmal. They're tasked with defending against two Kaiju, but the Chinese are killed and the Russian's crippled by just one Kaiju, the second one only needed to squash their Hope Spot. In their defense, they put up a decent fight, and these are the biggest kaiju seen to date. It's also implied that the human scientist attempting to drift with the kaiju in the previous scene allowed the kaiju Hive Mind to see how the Jaegers work and how to counter them.
  • Predator:
    • Predator 2 has an elite alien-hunting squad tracking and studying the Predator, but they get slaughtered when they try to capture it. Their study didn't cover the multiple filter Predators have when they hunt cold-blooded game.note 
    • Predators: the survivor Nolan has defeated several Predators off-screen and has endured ten "seasons" of hunting on the alien planet but still goes out like a punk the second they show up on-screen. That said, the Predator that kills him dispenses with any sense of "fair play" and just shoots him with his shoulder cannon at full power in contrast to the "sporting" attitude they have with the other survivors, so maybe they were just that pissed at him.
  • The Rage: Carrie 2 combines this with Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome in killing off Sue Snell, a Zen Survivor turned guidance counselor who tried to prevent the slaughter this time around.
  • Four Jedi Knights set out to arrest Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith. They're led by Jedi Master Mace Windu, who had just then been warned by Anakin that Palpatine was a Sith Lord, so there's no excuse for being taken by surprise. And yet Sidious takes them by surprise. Two Jedi don't even parry a single slash from Sidious's lightsaber before immediately dying, and one more gets in a few blocks before being felled. Only Mace Windu survives long enough to offer a decent lightsaber battle, and might even have won if Anakin hadn't intervened.
  • Happens towards the end in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over when a teen comes in who calls himself "The Guy". He enters the last level before the others do. You'd think a video game expert would last long, but one hit and all 100 hit points he has are gone.
  • Tremors 4: The Legend Begins has "Black Hand" Kelly, noted to be one of the greatest gunfighters in the land, who gets hired by the people of Rejection to clear out the "dirt dragons" infesting the silver mine. Unfortunately, by the time he actually arrives to do the deed, the "dirt dragons" have since evolved into much more dangerous graboids, and he gets killed easily.
  • Vlad had a group of students being tormented by Count Dracula. Their teacher and guide is revealed to be an Order of the Dragon member and is at least familiar with action. When he tries confronting Dracula, he gets killed effortlessly via Neck Snap.
  • At the beginning of World War Z, a young scientist fresh out of college believes he knows what's responsible for the zombie outbreak. During the first zombie attack, the scientist panics and falls on top of his gun, killing himself. This leaves Gerry to find the solution.

  • 87th Precinct: In Tricks, a liquor store owner the squad warns about a group of murderous thieves brags about how he's gunned down many such robbers in the past. A few pages later, the current gang of robbers kill him before he can get a shot off.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In The Deathless, newly turned vampire Katherine heavily researched Slayers during the years she spent as a Vampire Vannabe, and is actually happy to be fighting two Slayers at once due to arrogantly thinking that she can win and establish good Villain Cred. She is clever about removing the evidence of her rise from the grave and she has some good fighting moves, but she ends up desperately running for her life before the Slayers catch and stake her.
  • Harry Potter:
  • Invoked by the monsters in The Dresden Files. Senior Council Member Simon Petrovich is the world's foremost expert on vampires. When the Red Court of vampires and the Wizard Council end up going to war, the Red Court assassinate him off-screen as the opening shot.
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn
    • One of the first priorities of the villains in securing control of Osten Ard to enact their plan to return the Storm King to life is the elimination of anyone who knows enough about their plans to be a threat, which includes the League of the Scroll, a group of scholars who've spent their entire lives studying the lore surrounding him.
    • Amerasu, the oldest Sithi and second oldest thinking being in Osten Ard, is the only character with enough knowledge and power to fully understand the plans of the Storm King and the Norn Queen, Utuk'ku, who is aiding him. As Utuk'ku is the oldest thinking being, however, and has spent centuries building her power, she is able to silence Amerasu right before she can reveal her knowledge to the protagonists, seemingly without effort. The job is then completed by her huntsman, who kills Amerasu's body.
  • Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. As a man of Gondor, he's been fighting orcs his whole life. Throughout the first stage of the journey, he and Aragorn are the strong warriors of the Company whose role is to protect the hobbits from harm. Then the Company are ambushed by Uruk-hai, an elite band of magically enhanced orcs led by a particularly nasty individual named Lurtz, and Boromir goes down in a flurry of arrows.
  • The Two Georges: Felix Crooke is introduced as the RAMP's expert on the Sons of Liberty but proves to be stunningly unprepared for a face-to-face encounter with the people he's spent years studying. After a few chapters of accompanying Bushnell and Stanley, he's unceremoniously gunned down when he breaks cover to order several dangerous terrorists to surrender without even bothering to point a gun at them. He's even wearing a Red Shirt at the time.
  • In The Locked Tomb everyone is warned that Canaan House is incredibly haunted and its ghosts pose a serious risk to their lives. Abigail Pent is the first casualty, despite her reputation as a highly capable necromancer whose house specializes in spirit calling. Subverted in that she was targeted first by a non-ghost murderer because she posed the biggest risk of identifying them. In the second book her spirit gets to demonstrate her true skill when dealing with her area of expertise.
  • The Wheel of Time: The Chosen One Rand frequently consults Herid Fel, a historian and philosopher, for advice on how he might win his prophesied confrontation with the Dark One. Fel's research into the question gets him dismembered by the Dark One's assassin, though he leaves behind enough clues for another scholar to find the answer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bones: The foremost expert on the serial kidnapper/killer "the Gravedigger" is killed by the Gravedigger.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer examples:
    • Kendra, the new Slayer, is introduced as a key ally of Buffy with skills comparable to hers. Then she doesn't show up again until the end of the season when she's dispatched by Drusilla with very little effort.
    • Jenny Calendar's people had handled Angelus before and she was the only person who had the curse that would restore Angel's soul, thus ending the threat. He knew this; she knew he knew this. (He'd already killed the other member of her clan in town.) Yet when Angelus came for her, she was completely unprepared.
  • Chuck: Played for Laughs: An expy of James Bond infiltrates a meeting of various arms dealers, who has been tracking Volkoff Industries and the Norseman device for some time. He stops to monologue. Oops.
  • Dexter: Detectives Doakes and Lundy both serve this role, to a degree, although they are both killed by women obsessed with their respective serial killers, not the killers themselves.
  • Lost: Most of Arzt's spoken lines in his last episode are about how dangerous and volatile the aged dynamite is, so naturally, he dies doing exactly what he told the others not to do with the explosives.
  • Psych: Similar to the Bones example, this show has Mary (short for Marion) get killed. This was after he theorized that Mr. Yang, a female serial killer who he was an expert on, may have had a partner. He is right, and it's Mr. Yin who kills him.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: Crewman Daniels turns out to be a temporal agent of 31st-century Starfleet, sent back to counter enemy agents — specifically Silik, a bad guy Daniels suspects is also aboard. He is. He kills Daniels easily. (Daniels does show up later, having apparently only been killed "in a manner of speaking" — probably meaning that he did die, but a chronologically younger version of himself could still meet Archer — but it took him out of the action and left Archer to fend for himself.)
  • Whoniverse:
    • In the Doctor Who episode "Aliens of London", during an alien crash landing in public, the world's greatest experts on aliens were called together — only for it to turn out to be a trap to kill them all. Subverted, since the Doctor was one of them, and survived thanks to his Bizarre Alien Biology.
    • The Torchwood Institute, which is supposed to be Earth's best defense against aliens, keeps getting completely wiped out by them. Torchwood: Children of Earth has a particularly nasty example: after much fuss from Torchwood and its allies about letting the alien experts do their job, Jack and Ianto charge in and threaten the aliens... with no plan at all. It goes exactly how you'd expect.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "First-Person Shooter", the owner of the VR game brings in "world-renowned hacker" Daryl Musashi that even the Lone Gunman drool over like fanboys. The game AI murders him by cutting off his hands and head before he fires his first shot.

  • In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio goes on a lengthy diatribe about Master Swordsman Tybalt's prowess with a blade—half a scene before he challenges him to a duel and gets killed, resulting in Romeo swiftly killing Tybalt in vengeance.

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, one Borgia Captain claims, in Enemy Chatter you can eavesdrop on, to know how Assassins operate and thus how to deal with them, but other than being on horseback (and thus being able to flee faster), he's no harder to kill for all his bluster than any other Borgia Captains. As a result, players have been known to time their kills of him to maximize the dramatic irony. For example...
    Tomasso di Viterbo: The assassin will not appear in front of you. The assassin will come out of the shadows and
    [Ezio rushes on foot right up to Viterbo's side, pulls him leg first off of the saddle and stabs him through the throat with the Hidden Blade as he lands]
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has Rantaro Amami, who earned the title of Ultimate Survivor for surviving a past Killing Game, only to be the first person murdered in the current Killing Game. In a twist, it's only revealed that he was the World's Expert on Getting Killed long after his death.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: The entire order of Grey Wardens in Ferelden, many of them with decades of experience of fighting darkspawn, goes to Ostagar to stop the Blight. They are all killed off in the prologue, among them the mentor, leaving just the two newest recruits to succeed where they failed. Though to be fair, the Wardens were betrayed by an ally, who took it on himself to withdraw his forces from the battle rather than uphold his part in it, leading to the annihilation of the entire army (including the King, who was also his son-in-law) that was fighting alongside them.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Vigilants of Stendarr are specialized in hunting down Daedra worshipers and Daedric creatures. However, when the vampires (who were warped into their state by the Daedric Prince Molag Bal) start going on the offensive, they're slaughtered and their main base of operations, the Hall of the Vigilant, is razed. Oftentimes, you will find groups of vampires posing as Vigilants after having murdered the actual Vigilants and taken their clothes. However, the foremost expert on vampires among them, who left the Vigilants to reform the Dawnguard, does much better. He can get killed, but only if The Dragonborn joins the Volkihar vampires, and not at the very start of the quest chain.
  • In Exile/Avernum 3, the first expedition to the surface is composed of hand-picked and trained members of the underworld's military and equipped with items personally made by a brilliant (if profoundly weird) archmage, and end up dead in various corners of The Empire within a few months. Your band of adventurers, with standard military equipment and limited support, saves the world.
  • Far Cry: New Dawn begins with a group of beleaguered survivors of the nuclear apocalypse calling in a guy named Thomas Rush, a former soldier who's made a name for himself wiping out bandits and rebuilding civilization across the US. Rush agrees to help and brings his army with him to Hope County, but his arrival is so pompous that the Highwaymen he's supposed to defeat immediately ambush his train, kill almost everyone and take him hostage. Once the Captain frees him, Rush briefly leads the defense of the survivors' home base (which also gets a lot of people killed), then leaves for some scouting and... gets himself captured. Again. Then he gets unceremoniously killed via Boom, Headshot! with a shotgun, and the Captain's attempt to rescue him again almost gets them killed, too. The only actually helpful thing he does in the whole game is pulling the Captain (his Number Two, mind) from the wreckage of his train, and that's literally the very first thing he does, in the very first cutscene, which also makes this a very weird example of Cutscene Power to the Max.
  • Inverted in Final Fantasy X, as Auron, the party's leading expert on Sin, knows so much about it because he was killed by Sin's emissary Yunalesca several years ago.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: In F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Snake Fist/Terry Halford is your best chance of bringing down Alma. Which results in an Assassin ripping his head off seconds after you meet him.
  • In the Half-Life chapter "We've Got Hostiles!", a friendly NPC scientist you meet shouts, "Follow me! I'm the one person who knows what's going on!" He is then immediately gunned down by hostile soldiers.
  • In the first mission of Mass Effect, Shepard is supervised by an elite Spectre named Nihlus. He's killed by Saren when he had his back turned halfway through the mission. Justified in that Saren is Nihlus's old friend and former mentor (thus, someone that Nihlus implicitly trusts) who, unbeknownst to Nihlus, has recently made an off-screen Face–Heel Turn.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the Metal Gear RAY, which was specifically built as a counter to the Metal Gear REX models being built by the other countries, is destroyed by none other than the (half-demolished but operational) original Metal Gear REX.
  • Neverwinter Nights has an entire academy slaughtered in the tutorial level, including all of the NPCs that gave you your training exercises.
  • Phantasy Star IV has Alys, a female bounty hunter who is famous worldwide for being a great warrior and always getting her target. Along with her young partner Chaz, who is still a rookie and inexperienced, Alys is made aware of a great evil threat and sets out to stop it. This eventually leads them to their first encounter with dark sorcerer Zio, in which he fires a dark wave attack fatally wounding Alys who dies from it days later, leaving Chaz to get revenge and stop the evil threat.
  • In Tomb Raider (2013), Dr. James Whitman is the leading archeologist on the Endurance expedition to Yamatai, and boasts that he has two PhDs, one of them in East Asian mythology, while Lara herself is basically an inexperienced student. However, it's made pretty clear through the game that Lara's the one who actually knows what she's doing. Whitman eventually gets himself stupidly killed trying to strike up a conversation with two undead samurai guardians, in English — the only Japanese word he knows is the one for "queen", which triggers the fanatical guards, and they chop him to pieces.
  • Until Dawn has the Stranger, also known as Flamethrower Guy. Despite having hunted the Wendigos for decades and actually having managed to largely defeat them, after one cutscene explaining Wendigos to most of the cast and a conversation with Chris explaining a bit more about them, he gets killed in his very next fight with them (likely due to keeping his eye more on Chris’s safety than on his immediate surroundings, as he’s always hunted by himself). The cast finds out anything else they need to know from a book found in his belongings at the lodge. Another reason he goes down might be that the Wendigo that killed him acts in ways that contradicts his explanations for how they hunt.note 
  • The Witcher:
    • Raymond Maarloeve, a private eye motivated by the death of his family at the hands of the organization known as Salamandra, had amassed information on the group and its head, Azar Javed, with the hopes of bringing them down. Raymond decides to aid the protagonist, Geralt, in dismantling Salamandra. The endeavor doesn't end well for him, despite Geralt successfully defending him from Salamandra's initial backlash.
    • Azar Javed himself kills Maarloeve and begins impersonating him using magic, which Geralt may or may not discover early on, depending on the player's actions.

  • Lampshaded in Nip and Tuck when their Movie Within A Movie Man On The Border introduces the lead character's partner:
    Tuck: Lessee, trained, experienced, competent — I say he's dead in five minutes.
  • Sluggy Freelance: The paramilitary "Arny" guys in "KITTEN II" are dedicated to safeguarding the world from the Satanic kittens and have special plans and tools to use against them, but they get torn apart by them. It's not surprising considering that the kittens are completely invincible; as soon as you have to resort to fighting them, it's all over.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • Parodied in "All About Steve", where the helicopter carrying the CIA's top code-breaker crashes as he's arriving at the scene. Any remaining hope then falls on Scott, who's "pretty good at the jumble". Scott promptly gets hit with falling debris from the crashed helicopter.
    • Then parodied again in "In Country... Club", where Stan takes Steve to a reenactment of The Vietnam War. After the "Vietcong" attack the base and kidnap Stan, Principal Lewis comes out of the bushes, says he's been in two war re-enactments and that the "surviving" men will be safe as long as they stick with him. He's promptly "gunned down" seconds after.
  • Gravity Falls: In the Season 2 premiere, when zombies attack the Mystery Shack, Soos says he's been preparing for this moment all his life... only to immediately get bitten. He gets turned back at the end. He turns the trope on its head as a zombie, however, knowing every trick in the book to keep zombies out and using tools to defeat the defenses of the Mystery Shack, significantly increasing the pressure on Stan and the twins.
  • The Simpsons: Parodied in "Treehouse of Horror VII", when dolphins were plotting to recapture the land. The Sea Captain monologues about how he's the only one who knows how to stop them and is Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: "Mugato, Gumato": Played with: Patingi only thinks that he's an expert, and so it makes more sense than usual that he's quickly slaughtered by a monster.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • In the Season 3 finale, Ahsoka is kidnapped by Trandoshan sporthunters and is released on an island on a jungle moon, as prey. There she encounters three Jedi younglings, led by a girl named Kalifa. It's stated that Kalifa has been held there for the longest time, and has out-lived other Padawans, despite being only a youngling herself. She even told the older and better-trained Ahsoka, to her face, that she had the experience in surviving the hunt. Naturally, Kalifa is killed soon after Ahsoka's arrival. Subverted in that, she was an expert in hiding from and avoiding the Trandoshans as much as possible. She only died after Ahsoka convinced them to go on the offensive, and they were ambushed while scouting the Trandoshan's base.
    • To a lesser extent, the Trandoshan leader himself. He has several Wookiee pelts as trophies but doesn't last long once the Wookiees show up in the episode.

Alternative Title(s): Worlds Expert On Getting Killed