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Vomiting Cop

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Cor blimey!
"Any minute now, the cops'll be here to sort this mess out. I'd appreciate it if somebody could get some barf bags ready."
Overheard at the site of a car crash

A trope specific to murder mysteries, invoked to suggest that the crime is so gruesome (sight and/or smell) that it turns the stomachs of even hardened investigators. Alternately, the Vomiting Cop is a rookie on their first case, or it is used to show how seasoned and jaded the veteran cop is.

There are some variations:

  • Finding the corpse: an unpleasant set of remains is found by the characters. One of them runs around the corner or sticks their head out of shot and throws up.
  • Arrival at the scene: the detectives show up. We see one of the police officers (an extra) throwing up in the bushes.
  • At the morgue, during the autopsy of a murder victim, a less-experienced cop may vomit when the body is cut open.
  • More rarely, the cop has visible (and sometimes audible) nausea but not to the point of vomiting.

While definitely not a Discredited Trope (mainly because it happens a lot in Real Life), it is almost as often used in parody as straight.

Sometimes a Vomit Indiscretion Shot, but usually a Vomit Discretion Shot. Very often used as a variant on Gory Discretion Shot, where the gory stuff has been done but the evidence remains. See also Selective Squeamishness Suppression, Take Our Word for It. Contrast Autopsy Snack Time, Nausea Dissonance. Stress Vomit is the Super-Trope to this one.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ciel Phantomhive of Black Butler fame does this not once, but twice in the manga. First time was in reaction to witnessing the death throes of Mary Jane Kelly, which happens both in the anime and manga. The second one was manga only: he vomits in reaction to his Stalker with a Crush rebuilding a sacrificial chamber, the very one Ciel almost died in pre-series. Combining the mental trauma with the brutal murder of children younger than he is a few chapters before likely did it. Justified since Ciel is only thirteen years old and is not technically a cop, though he does investigate on the Queen's orders.
  • Fate/Zero: Happens to Waver Velvet when he and Rider first come across Ryunnosuke's and Caster's "artwork". Waver's embarrassed by it, but Rider tells him that he has nothing to be sorry for: "If there were any man who could witness this and not react, I would punch him in the face."
  • Happens early in part two of The Garden of Sinners to an unnamed cop who discovered the newest handiwork of the resident Jack the Ripoff.
  • Mentioned but not seen in Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, where Ishikawa oversees a crime scene by himself, explaining that the rookie with him got reacquainted with his lunch, and he sent him to personally take the corpse to the lab as a "learning experience".
  • During the "Jungle Cruise" episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Togusa, the rookie of the team, has to run to the guardrail clutching his mouth after using a direct cyber-link to the investigator on the scene, experiencing everything, including the smell in perfect clarity. He didn't throw up, but came pretty close. The experienced members of the squad just watch the video feed, but most of them could also turn off their sense of smell if they wanted to.
  • Detective Suk in Monster does this at a crime scene and is later made fun of for it.
  • Sorta happens in Neon Genesis Evangelion. While NERV is not exactly a police force, they are tasked with protecting Earth from the Angels; in at least two occasions in the TV series, cute Bridge Bunny Maya Ibuki throws up upon witnessing particularly bloody battles.
  • Akane of Psycho-Pass does this a few times.

    Comic Books 
  • The titular Agent 212 suffers this in a comic where they see a grisly murder scene. It gets worse as his boss demands he draw a Chalk Outline around the corpse.
  • Thunder from the Judd Winick run on Batman and the Outsiders threw up on one of her first crime scenes. It was a crime scene where people had been sealed into a city bus and burned alive.
  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, after the Joker's massacre of the audience at the David Endochrine Show, Commissioner Yindel is told that one of the rookie cops has gotten sick; she says for him to be sent home and told it's all right.
  • The police officers who found The Joker's early experiments in Batman: The Man who Laughs.
  • Albrecht in The Crow, after seeing Gideon's corpse.
  • In the Italian horror comic Dylan Dog, this is a Running Gag: Inspector Bloch, Dylan's former superior from Scotland Yard, is always in need of some anti-emetics and often complains that they don't make them as effective as they used to do.
  • Fell: Somewhat subverted, in that it's not at a crime scene. Fell threw up when the insane Medical Examiner dropped a piece of organic tomato into a victim during the autopsy, took it out and ate it despite Fell's repeated assertions that he would shoot him if he did so. The Coroner just replies that it was organic and he'd have to go out of the city to get another one.
  • George Godly, upon finding the corpse of Jack the Ripper's final victim, who had been subjected to then unheard of levels of mutilation in From Hell. Whether or not the real Godly left his breakfast at Miller's Court or if this was simply an invention for dramatic purposes is one of the few subjects that Alan Moore's lengthy annotations to the book is silent on.
  • Global Frequency: The police officer who arrived on the scene where Grushko "did all those terrible things" still wets himself whenever he sees cutlery.
  • In Johnny the Homicidal Maniac When Johnny dies and visits heaven an angel starts vomiting after reading the list of things Johnny did.
  • Occurs in the Lucifer comic when the cops apprehend Charlie Gilmour for the murder of his wife and child.
  • Averted by Deena Pilgrim of Powers; she's slipped and fallen into blood and brains and the only thing she did was curse out the cop who didn't tape off the crime scene, and even the worst murder scene she's ever been to, all she did was step outside. But anytime that she's been teleported (or even just near someone who's teleporting), she pukes.
  • In the Batman spinoff Streets of Gotham, Robin calls the police for backup after finding that the orphans Humpty Dumpty had taken were actually corpses he'd found and was trying to heal. The boy barely gets half way through the call before handing the communicator over to Batman to go throw up. This is Damian Wayne, the resident stab-happy assassin of the Bat clan we're talking about here.
  • In X-Men Noir, rookie Peter Magnus asks for a mint on the way to the crime scene for his first murder case. His veteran partner Fred Dukes refuses to give him one. When they see the body, Peter pukes; Fred didn't give him the mint because he knew that would happen and he would've just wasted it. This is a case where anyone would have done the same, though - the woman was missing her eyes, her nose, her upper lip...

    Comic Strips 
  • A MAD spoof of Dick Tracy has Tracy tossing his cookies in his hat after confronting the one villain he's truly unable to apprehend: Mucous Face.

    Fan Works 
  • A version appears in the Thor fanfic All Earthly Things Above, in which the stoic, nigh-omniscient Heimdall ends up vomiting for half an hour while seeing what Loki does to his erstwhile captor.
  • In Blue Steel Tonks throws up after she and several other Aurors see Harry kill fifteen Death Eaters with a sword.
  • In Grim Grinning Ghosts a cop throws up after finding seven-year-old Harry's strangled and mutilated body stuffed in the cupboard under the stairs at Privet Drive.
  • The Headhunt: Kate McMillan, a Starfleet Security lieutenant, upchucks upon finding out that the gunk coating the inside of a starship bridge is the crew, post-Inertial Dampening failure.
  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Dark Lord a rookie Auror runs off to throw up after witnessing Harry's severely-abused state.
  • He Will Consume Everything: While a reporter broadcasts the discovery of the Candy Dealer's corpse, John and Jack arrive at the scene, and Jack immediately runs off screen to throw up after seeing the sorry state the body's in. John berates him for it and asks if this is the first time he's ever seen a dead body.
  • In Potter's Protector Harry heals a dying Muggle girl while visiting an Australian hospital - surgical incision and all. This forces a magical policeman with medical training to create a new incision so hospital staff won't be puzzled, sending his younger partner in search of a bucket. Unfortunately said partner forgets that they and Harry are currently invisible and has to memory-charm several Muggles who witness vomit appearing from mid-air.
  • Turnabout Storm has a variation. While Twilight is excited to take part in an investigation, when she and Phoenix come across a body-shaped tape outline and asks what it means, Phoenix's explanation isn't of her liking.
    Twilight: Ugh... I think I'm going to be sick...
    Phoenix: [Inner monologue] And all that eagerness seemed to go away in one fell swoop...
  • In You're My Density a younger Auror throws up after they find ears and fingertips in Walden MacNair's house, some of which are small enough to belong to children.

    Film — Animated 
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham: When the police burst into King Shark's hotel room and find all of the bodies strung up, one of the cops can be seen spinning around about to vomit.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Parodied in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, wherein every cop on the force spits when they learn that Lois Einhorn is a man. Couple that with the facts that Ace himself threw up when he found out, and that he had a...tryst with Einhorn, and you can connect the dots.
  • The movie Another Heaven opens at the scene of a corpse where the brain has apparently been removed and cooked in a stew. When the police figure that out, everyone starts to vomit. Then when one of the detectives claims to have tasted it, one poor cop goes for a second round.
  • In Casino Royale (2006), Villiers, M's male secretary/arm candy, is sickened by the sight of Solange's body after she is murdered by Le Chiffre's men.
  • Gipsky throws up when he and Kim find Legrew's body strung up on a road sign outside of Kehoe in Cold Pursuit.
  • In Cradle of Fear, the traffic cop who arrives at the scene of Nick's accident looks inside the car and sees Nick stabbing himself repeatedly in leg in a frenzy, and then staggers away to throw up.
  • Dead Bang (1989). An alcoholic cop played by Don Johnson runs down an outlaw biker and is immediately sick on him. The biker is so grossed out he agrees to spill the beans as long as the cop doesn't spill his a second time.
    • Even the dolphin does it!
  • In Dead Right, an amateur movie that Edgar Wright made when he was younger that features on the Hot Fuzz DVD, Barry Stern's newbie partner vomits slightly into his hand when they find the body of a woman who had recently been murdered. On the Alternate DVD Commentary (slightly different from the usual examples in that it is included on the DVD itself) with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost essentially lambasting the movie at every step of the way, Pegg mocks the vomit effect as looking as though the actor simply spat out "a chewed up Texan bar".
  • Done in Demolition Man by a cop watching his colleagues (on a screen) getting killed by Simon Phoenix.
  • Dirty Harry:
    • Averted in Sudden Impact, where Harry Callahan's pet peeve isn't eating around dead bodies or crime scenes. It's putting ketchup on the hot dog you're eating around dead bodies or crime scenes.
    • Played straight in The Enforcer when the autopsy surgeon removes the subject's brain. Harry is unaffected but his rookie female partner is clearly looking queasy. A joke by the surgeon sends her over the edge:
      Autopsy Surgeon: Oh, Jesus H. Christ, Harry, come here and look at this! It's the damnedest thing I ever saw.
      Harry Callahan: What's that?
      Autopsy Surgeon: What it says: "Eat at Luigi's!"
    • Also shown in Magnum Force. Harry is called to the scene of a murder with his new partner. One of the cops there comments on how the inside the victim's car is just filled with all kinds of brain parts (the audience doesn't see this) and generally goes into the most gross bodies he's seen. Harry is unaffected but his partner looks at the body and then turns to go puke.
  • The autopsy variant is Played for Laughs in Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Professor Van Helsing performs an autopsy in front of a class of medical students, all of whom either faint or throw up. At the end of the scene, it is revealed that he tries to gross the students out on purpose and gets great satisfaction from making everyone sick.
  • In Dr. Giggles, Officer Reitz throws up when he finds the corpses of Dr. Giggles' victims sitting in the waiting room of his late father's office.
  • Subverted in Fargo, where pregnant Brainerd police chief Marge Gunderson keels over and seems about ready to vomit while looking at the bodies of the two bystanders Gaear Grimsrud shot to eliminate any witnesses to the shooting of the state trooper, but it quickly passes and she dismisses it as morning sickness.
  • Full Metal Jacket has a military-flavored example, the sociopathic door gunner killing civilians and boasting about it induces the rookie Rafterman to nearly vomit.
  • In Mississippi Burning, on finding the buried bodies at the dam one of the agents steps aside and vomits.
  • Resurrection (1999): Basically all the cops in the room have to throw up when they see the grotesque statue the killer has made of Jesus Christ, assembled out of the rotting body parts of his previous victims.
  • In the first A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) film, one of the police officers investigating yet another victim of Freddy's rampage became a Vomiting Cop. This is expanded on in a deleted scene, although part of the scene is in the regular version.
    • Although not shown, dialogue between two on-scene cops reveals that the coroner is also puking in the bathroom.
  • A medieval version occurs in The Name of the Rose, with a novice monk playing the rookie cop role.
  • In Act 2 of River Of Fundament the lead detective/Isis vomits when a tarp is removed from... a wrecked car pulled out of the river. Even if the car is supposed to symbolically represent a human, the police procedural elements inserted in this act into a story which is not at all a police procedural (or a traditional narrative) are not to be taken seriously amidst the ancient Egyptian themed opera, and this reads as parody of the trope.
  • Downplayed in Se7en. When the cops find the Sloth victim's body, Brad Pitt's character is briefly seen holding his mouth in disgust.
  • In Sicario, Kate and her colleagues are seen throwing up onscreen after discovering the corpses hidden behind the drywall of a suburban house.
  • In Sherlock: Case of Evil, Inspector Lestrade pales and gags when he pulls back the sheet and sees that Watson has removed Dr. Cruikshank's brain.
  • Deputy Bradimore, when she finds what's left of Deputy Jordan in Silent Night (2012).
  • Done constantly in Suicide Club, almost every time dead flesh is exposed, often by multiple cops.
  • The boy who throws up repeatedly in Super 8 just happens to be the one who plays the police detective in "The Case".
  • Tales of Halloween: When the cops arrive to find Boris and Dante Impaled with Extreme Prejudice in "This Means War", one of them immediately throws up.
  • One of the cops throws up in The Terminator after seeing what T-800 has done to Sarah's roommate Ginger and her boyfriend Matt.
  • In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the young and incompetent officer Dixon is nauseated by pictures of the burnt body of a murder case. His unfazed superior, chief Willoughby, sarcastically put his reaction down to a hangover.
  • Discussed in Tommy Boy, in one of Tommy's disastrous pitches he uses a toy car and describes a horrific crash scene, adding "New guy's in the corner, puking his guts out."
  • In Ugly, one of the men at the crime scene at the end is shown vomiting by the sidewalk, a visual cue for the horrible stench and sight of the corpse.
  • Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies: When the prison guard finds Talliver's mutilated body after the Djinn has 'slow danced' with him for ten minutes, he starts dry retching.

  • In Animorphs, this is a common occurance and often the outcome of watching the Taxxons eat, though the kids have other reasons to do this. Gets Lampshaded when Jake gets sick from a virus and not a mission sight. While carrying him home, Marco points out that he long ago realized there are a lot of UnusualEuphemisms he used to describe throwing up and now that there was nothing gross from Animorphs work that sparked the vomit session, he could bring this topic up. He, Cassie, and Jake (who is still queasy mind you) begin to list all the various terms they heard in the past and have a good laugh at it until Marco gives us "A yawn in Technocolor" which seems to be the one that causes Jake to vomit again.
  • Anita Blake: At her first crime scene, Anita threw up on the corpse.
  • Arly Hanks: Chief Hanks herself occasionally pukes, particularly in The Merry Wives Of Maggody in which she has morning sickness as well as corpses to deal with.
  • The Dexter novels: Almost every crime scene where Dexter arrives has a vomiting cop nearby. Dexter is so used to the sight that he doesn't see anything out of the ordinary with it. He simply snarks about the mess and noise.
  • Discworld:
    • Making Money had a cop that vomited after Moist managed to remove Cosmo's glove, just to give an idea on how disgustingly, nose-cacklingly decayed Cosmo's hand had become. So many... colors. So many... wiggling things.
    • Cheery Littlebottom puked in Feet of Clay, upon seeing her first murder victim.
  • The Dresden Files: On several occasions, Harry Dresden has surveyed crime scenes, and other cops mention that they had a bucket waiting. It's implied that the reason that the bucket was there in the first place was because the other cops had already used it.
  • Erast Fandorin: Fandorin threw up on his first crime scene. (in his defense, it was an exceptionally gruesome murder)
  • Felse Investigates: In The Knocker on Death's Door, one of the constables vomits at the uncovering of the second corpse.
  • Ghosts of Tomorrow: During his first crèche raid, Griffin finds hundreds of child corpses stacked in 140-degree heat. The stench is so overpowering that he vomits inside his helmet, as does half the squad.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: In Changes, four spies are murdered by their replacements and left to decompose in a sealed room for a couple days in summer. The result makes several of "the most experienced and hardened Guardsmen ... violently ill." The crime scene investigators aren't fazed at all, though.
  • The main character of Rob Grant's Incompetence notes that coroners often try to make detectives sick while inspecting corpses. He also notes that while they have yet to succeed with him, it's not a game he enjoys. This is just before he speaks to a coroner who stitches faces from one corpse to the buttocks of another. As a hobby.
  • In Infinite Jest, Hal says a forensic investigator at the scene of his father's suicide threw up. Understandable, given James Incadenza killed himself by rigging a microwave so he could run it with his head inside.
  • Happens occasionally in Peter Robinson's Inspector Alan Banks novels, usually to a young police officer who isn't used to seeing dead bodies (at the beginning of A Dedicated Man for example). Happens to Banks himself in the short story "Like A Virgin", though this is partly due to a hangover.
  • Inspector Morse: Morse has been sick in the novels, and even on good days he is pretty squeamish about crime scenes.
  • In Jago, one of the cops who find what's left of Danny Keough has to go outside and vomit.
  • In the novel Jaws, upon finding the corpse of Chrissy, Officer Hendricks vomits. When Officer Brody and Cassidy come to investigate, both of them vomit as well.
  • Joe Pickett:
    • In Trophy Hunt, Joe throws up his morning coffee after he sees the mutilated body of the cowhand. A paramedic does the same thing.
    • In Force of Nature, the trainee game warden accompanying Joe throws up after seeing three bodies shot with a high calibre revolver. Later in the same novel, Joe himself throws up after stumbling in three bodies in a remote shack.
  • Jedi Academy Trilogy: In I, Jedi it's shown to take a lot to rattle Corran Horn (a former cop, turned pilot, turned Jedi). Even witnessing the grisly remains of one of Luke's other students doesn't disturb him that much, as he is able to point out a few key facts to Luke about the body. What does it take for Corran to lose his lunch? A vision in the Force of the destruction of Carida—seeing the aftermath of a grisly death is one thing; seeing many such grisly deaths happen before you is another thing entirely. If that sort of thing was what Obi-Wan Kenobi sensed as the Falcon neared Alderaan, he had quite the stomach.
  • Kate Shugak: The new trooper in Niniltna does this when he sees a raven feasting on the soft parts of a corpse in Less Than a Treason. Kate is completely unfazed by it.
  • Very common in Stephen King's works:
    • In The Dark Half, when a body of a brutally murdered man was found by Norris Ridgewick, a deputy of a small-town sheriff, he threw up, but managed to avoid the corpse.
    • In the later novel Gerald's Game, Norris again throws up, when he finds what is in the truck of Raymond Andrew Joubert, a necrophiliac cannibal (for example, a sandwich with a human tongue) but he manages to get out of the truck just in time. A character says that "the State Police would have torn him a new asshole if he'd puked on the evidence. On the other hand, I'd have wanted him removed from his job for psychological reasons if he hadn't thrown up."
    • A cop in King's short story The Mangler throws up on the job for the first time in his fourteen years as a policeman after seeing the remains of one particularly grisly death, where the poor individual had been run through the titular machine and was hardly recognizable as human anymore.
    • The trope also appears in Stephen King's From a Buick 8, but there it's due to the cops meeting Eldritch Abominations from another dimension.
    • A hospital variation occurs in Pet Sematary, with a Candy Striper being the one who vomits after seeing a victim of a car accident who has a head injury so severe that his brain is visible.
  • In The Lady in the Lake, after a month-old corpse is pulled out of the lake, the sheriff takes it in
stride but the sight and smell prompt his deputy to go and throw up behind a tree.
  • In W.E.B. Griffin's Men In Blue series, the first time brand-new police officer Matt Payne sees a murder victim, he not only throws up, he faints as well. What surprises him is the mild and totally sympathetic reactions of all of the senior police officers and detectives on the scene, who tell him of their own similar reactions to their first encounter with a murder victim.
  • Frederick Forsyth's The Negotiator has an example when the President's son blows up due to a bomb set in his person. However, the vomiting was induced to have an excuse to kneel and hide the detonator chip in the nearby mud.
  • Played with in the Rivers of London novel Broken Homes, in which Peter retreats from a body-dump site with his hand clamped over his mouth and other officers nod sympathetically, assuming it's this trope. It's not — he's holding back giggles after resisting the urge to make a tasteless crack about zombies — but he opts to let the other police think it is.
  • In the second Rizzoli/Isles novel, The Apprentice, the titular character prides herself on NOT being this, being loathe to display any form of weakness in front of her male colleagues, to the point where she won't even swipe Vicks Vaporub under her nose to block out the stench of a decomposing body. However, it's neither the sight nor stench that finally makes her lose control, it's when the coroner reveals that the rape/murder victim they're examining was sexually assaulted AFTER she was strangled. In a later book, she blasts another female cop for throwing up at an especially gory crime scene, telling her she's making all female cops look bad — yet she's very sympathetic when her male partner has a similar reaction.
  • In Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, the title gumshoe sometimes throws up — not because of what he sees, but what he does. Specifically, though Spenser's a fan of resolving problems through fisticuffs, he's not a fan of killing. In at least two books (Mortal Stakes and A Catskill Eagle) he loses his lunch after killing someone. In the first case it was arguably self-defense (he knew the victims were trying to set him up to be murdered, and simply acted more quickly than they did); in the second case it was outright murder (done to protect a pair of prostitutes he had put in peril of their lives). By his lights both were morally justified, but he still wasn't easy about it.
  • In The Sword of Truth, there was a serial murderer whose style made a hardened combat general throw up.
  • In Unnatural Issue, a squad from the White Lodge in London is sent to investigate the Yorkshire Manor of a reclusive former member that has gone around the bend. When they find that he had killed all the household servants a couple of days ago (in high summer) Dr. Maya Scott (physician and Earth Master) bolts outside to become violently ill; which is understandable given that the victims were still going about their jobs, she could tell that their souls were locked into their rotting bodies, and the perversion of Earth Magic the renegade Whitestone had gone in for would sicken even a (sane) Earth Master inured to the filth and pain of London's slums. The Air Master in the squad follows her a minute later to do the same.
  • Deconstructed in Simon Hawke's Wizard Of4th St Wizard mystery The Wizard Of Rue Morgue, in which a gendarme ponders how cops who throw up at their first sight of a murder victim are often glad to have done so later on in their careers, when they've become desensitized to such things. Having that memory helps veteran police to reassure themselves that they're still human, however hardened they become; it's the rare officer who doesn't barf, cry, freak out or otherwise react to the sight of their first corpse that other cops find worrisome.
  • X-Wing Series: Not a murder mystery, but Gavin Darklighter throws up when he sees and smells someone in the worst throes of the Krytos Plague. He's not a cop, but an extremely green pilot who, during the crisis, was sent to try and help the sufferers. He'd seen some bad ones before, but this was the worst. Gavin was able to pull himself together and do his job after, and later he told his love interest that he'll be all right, and that scares him.
    "There is a Gammorean in there who has been turned into a mass of jelly. The disease killed him, but it did so in a way that didn't let him die until he could experience every fragment of pain possible. [...] I've seen more death in my time with Rogue Squadron than I have ever seen before, but nothing was so hideous as this. A year ago I would have run screaming. Now I just clean my boots and wait for guys with sterilizer units to show up. I'm changing and I'm not sure I like it."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Connor on Angel vomited at one crime scene where an entire family had been brutally murdered for being unknowing Living MacGuffins. It's not the gore - Connor grew up in a demon dimension and takes his daughter being a rotted, maggot-infested corpse without qualm, but the realization that they were a family, which he has massive unresolved issues with.
  • Parodied like everything else in Angie Tribeca, where a young cop vomits at EVERY crime scene, including that of an art theft.
  • Bones: TV Scientist Dr. Bunsen Jude, "the Science Dude" acts as Brennan's Squintern-of-the-week to convince her to come on his show to talk about how fun science is. After looking at a corpse for a few minutes and giving his expert opinion, he grabs a bucket.
    When science gets icky it's all right to get s—bleh
  • Breaking Bad: Hank is appalled at the sight of Tortuga's decapitated head placed on top of a turtle in Juarez by the local drug cartel and leaves the scene to throw up (he mutters something about getting an evidence bag). The El Paso agents mock him relentlessly, but he survives unscathed when the head explodes, killing several agents and severely wounding others. Deconstructed, as Hank's reaction seems to be a panic attack, and his resulting feelings of weakness and Survivor Guilt plague him for the rest of the series.
  • In the season finale of Broadchurch, Ellie retches and nearly vomits when the murderer is found. Considering the killer murdered a friend's eleven-year-old son, who he'd been in love with, and was her own husband, it was justified that she was so shocked.
  • In the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where she loses her powers (Helpless), Giles, an experienced Watcher, is overcome when he sees the mutilated body of another Watcher. The body was left offscreen, but there's blood all over the walls.
  • A variant on Chuck: In the pilot episode, Chuck disarms a bomb controlled by a computer by using a virus transmitted through internet porn to kill the laptop, effectively defusing the bomb. Chuck is actually quite calm and collected throughout the entire scene...until he realizes what could have happened if he had been wrong. Then Chuck turns green.
    Casey: Don't puke on the C4.
  • In the first season finale of City Homicide, Matt throws up upon learning the corpse they dug up was his mother, who disappeared when he was a teenager.
  • A whole roomful of cops nearly succumbed to this trope on The Closer, when an ice cooler containing a folded-up human corpse was opened in the middle of Brenda's office. Justified even for the most hardened veterans, given how long the body had been decomposing in a tiny airtight space. Hilariously averted by Lieutenant Provenza, who while everyone else is dashing out the door, grumbles about finding someone to clean up the mess.
    • Also done in the episode "Head Over Heels," where Brenda and a colleague are interrupted at a diner when the mutilated body of a victim is discovered in a nearby dumpster. While discussing what they've found, Brenda eventually succumbs to her disgust and turns away to vomit. Justified in that they having breakfast only shortly before.
  • This happens to the cop of the week a few times on Criminal Minds. "No Way Out" has a particularly brutal scene, a where the sheriff remarks that the vomiter had driven sixty miles to get to the crime scene, threw up in the bushes, and was about to be sent home. She's rather scornful, as he isn't even from her department, meaning he drove to another jurisdiction just to see a dead body and promptly threw up.
    • Possibly invoked by Prentiss in one episode. The corpse is an old friend of hers who she sent to the apartment where she was killed in the first place, making it justified that she might lose her lunch. However, she then uses going home to change her pants and shoes as an excuse to grab her insurance policy against Ian Doyle and go rogue, implying that she might have done it on purpose.
  • CSI
    • In the 5th season finale, Nick happily examined the intestines at the scene while the experienced cop threw up.
    • Nick did have to leave a scene in the first season to throw up, though it is implied that this was due to smell of the blood in the air, not the gruesomeness and Nick ignoring Grissom's advice to "Breathe through your mouth".
    • Averted by Sara when she forced herself to smile, thereby suppressing her own gag reflexes at the sight of a boxer's spit bucket. (Saliva is her personal Blow Chunks Button.)
    • In at least two cases of spectacularly disgusting corpses (one had been reduced to mushy soup in a duffel bag, and the other was a saponified corpse in a barrel), everybody looked nauseous and there was at least one on-screen gag reaction.
    • The rookie version is also used in the very first episode, when the newbie throws up while watching an autopsy. (Subverted later when Greg manages not to while watching his first autopsy.)
    • At least once, Catherine deliberately tried to gross out the rookie cop that was supposed to be guarding the crime scene. She excused him to let him get some fresh air (and possibly puke in privacy,) which was a big mistake, since the killer was still in the house and attacked her.
    • The "whilst watching an autopsy" version seems to happen frequently enough to almost be a trope of its own - it's happened (or almost happened) to numerous rookies in CSI and its spinoffs, as well as other shows as seen below.
  • Dexter:
    • Harry, a hardened cop and a legend of his force, walks in on Dexter killing a murderer that kept getting away. He proudly trained him; however, seeing and realizing what he's created, Harry is violently sick.
    • Season 5: Cira Manzon, a young Hispanic officer, vomits after she saw one of the Santa Muerte murders. This is the rookie variant of the trope.
  • Happened in Dragnet when Friday and Gannon find a neglected baby drowned in a bathtub.
    Gannon: After twenty-five years on the job, it's finally happened.
    Friday: What's that, Bill?
    Gannon: I'm going to be sick. [hands evidence to Friday and runs from the room]
  • On Empty Nest, fed up with her sister Barbara's bullying, Carol Weston publicly humiliates her by forcing her to admit that she threw up on the coroner the first time she saw a dead body.
  • Happened to an off-screen investigator in the pilot of Fringe upon inspecting a plane whose passengers fell victim to a flesh-rotting something-or-other.
  • Done on Heroes as the fourth member of a hit squad describes how the other three were killed to Danko. The man a shapeshifter and is actually the killer. Though whether he's vomiting as part of his act or out of guilt is never made clear.
  • Narrowly averted in one episode of Hill Street Blues when the precinct's detectives are confronted with a nun who was raped and brutally beaten when she disturbed a couple of burglars. The normally unflappable Captain Frank Furillo (who was raised Catholic) attends in person, and is clearly badly shaken by what he learns from the detectives on scene.
    Furillo (to Detective Caitano, as they return to their car): "Get me out of here, Ray, I think I'm going to be sick."
  • At a particularly gruesome crime scene on Homicide Hunter, Lt. Joe Kenda notes that several of the cops threw up and that he himself had to struggle to not do this.
  • The rookie variation was once seen on Hunter.
  • Parodied in a sketch of The Kids in the Hall, where a cop vomits at the sight of a corpse and then at an expired parking meter.
  • In a less-messy medical counterpart to this trope, one of the nurses on Kingdom Hospital would faint every time she had to enter the operating room and saw a gruesome surgical procedure in progress.
  • In the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Major Case", Nichols asks his very pregnant partner to sniff a body left in a dumpster to confirm something he thought he smelled. She confirms his suspicions and then promptly throws up.
  • In the first episode of the series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had Benson vomiting in some bushes after interviewing a particularly brutalized rape victim.
    • A few seasons later, a couple cops start throwing up after entering the house full of dead cult children.
    • Elliot spent much of one episode sick as a dog because he's on anti-AIDS medication (after being exposed in the previous episode).
    • In another episode, a beat cop claims, "14 years on the job and it's the first time I threw up", upon discovering an especially butchered victim. Not surprising, since the killer was being compared to Jack the Ripper.
  • A variation is seen in an episode of Law & Order: UK with a vomiting firefighter at a fatal arson scene.
  • Longmire: Happens to Ferg when he discovers the body of a man who has been mauled to death by a bear in "The Worst Kind of Hunter".
  • Happened at least once in M*A*S*H, when a fresh-off-the-plane B.J. Hunicutt barely has time to turn around to throw up after examining a dead soldier in the middle of an active battle.
  • In the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries episode "Death by Miss Adventure", the Clueless Deputy Hugh Collins loses his breakfast at the thoroughly splattered body of a factory worker who'd fallen into the machinery. Unfortunately, this causes him to overlook signs of foul play, like the fact that safety equipment was put in place after the death.
  • Twice subverted on Monk:
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Foreign Man," where the characters are covering their mouth due to the stench of a corpse that has been decaying in a house for two weeks. Except for Randy, who tries to act indifferent to the stench to impress a CSI tech.
    • In "Mr. Monk Is the Best Man," a cop can be seen dry-heaving when facing the sight of a dead man that had been shot once, then burned.
  • The 'Crunchy Frog' sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, where mentions of chocolates such as Cockroach Cluster, Anthrax Ripple, and Rams Bladder Cup causes one of the Hygiene Squad (who actually ate some of the candies in question) to throw up.
    • In the Hollywood Bowl live performance, the unfortunate Hygiene Squad inspector can't rush out of the room but instead eventually vomits into his helmet - to which his superior gives a glare, causing him to put the helmet back on his head. (SFX material: beef stew.)
    • In an audio recording of a live performance, an announcer notes that the constable's reaction is "the longest continuous vomit on stage since John Barrymore puked over the corpse of Laertes during a performance of Hamlet in 1941."
  • DS Dan Twentyman in Moses Jones does this - visibly - upon discovering a mutilated corpse.
  • Cadaver-free, serious variant: On NCIS, an amnesiac Gibbs threw up after his old mentor, bringing him up to speed on events since he'd lost his memory, told him about 9/11.
  • New Tricks: A severely hungover Gerry throws up after the team opens a fridge and discovers a head that has been in there for several years in "Romans Ruined".
  • The Night Of: We see one of the young arresting officers flee the gruesome crime scene and dry heave in the street. Various cops mock him through the next few episodes, and he usually protests that he was only gagging, not puking. The trope is then deliberately exploited by the lead detective: when the cop in question asks to leave the detail out of his report, he's told to leave it in, because it humanises him as a witness and thus helps the prosecution's case.
  • Done on Police Squad! when shown a picture of Alaxander Haig.
  • Gus from Psych usually gets queasy at the sight of dead bodies. He's not a cop, but he and "psychic detective" Shawn work closely with the police to investigate murders.
  • Quincy, M.E.: The opening titles included a variation in which five police observers are watching an (off-screen) autopsy performed by the title character; as the titles progress they turn away from it one by one, each with an obvious need to vomit and/or faint (again, off screen). In "Go Fight City Hall...To the Death!" (the episode from which it comes) it turns out Quincy is doing it to these observers on purpose so he can get out of doing the demonstration and get back to his cases.
  • Used on Rizzoli & Isles, this is a Running Gag where Frost is concerned, as he frequently losses it at many, many crime scenes and autopsies. He even faints once. Jane's brother Frankie also has a weak stomach, but not to the degree of Frost, once being involved in a Vomit Chain Reaction. Jane has it happen to her once, although in that case she was also suffering from morning sickness.
  • Parodied in an infamous Saturday Night Live sketch: the sight of a murder victim provoked a rookie cop to throw up; the sight of the Vomiting Cop churned other characters' stomachs and they threw up, causing everyone who saw that to throw up, making even more witnesses throw up - it was implied at the end of the sketch that all of New York City was vomiting. Notable cock-up: Chris Elliot's vomit tube didn't deploy right away, causing him to ad-lib a line about dry heaving. It then deployed while he was distracted.
    • One of the cops was 8 months pregnant, and at the end Chris Farley, who was running the spinning newspaper gag, started to puke after watching it spin too much.
  • Parodied on Seinfeld, when Jerry's car is stolen and a similar model turns up torn apart in a garage.
  • In an episode of Smallville, Clark impersonates a coroner's assistant and it is assumed he leaves the area to vomit when he goes in search of his own clues.
  • Played dead straight early in Smiley's People after a Russian defector's head is blown to pieces.
  • Stargate SG-1 gets one of these moments in "Enemy Mine." A member of an SG team is doing surveys and disappears, and SG-1 is called in to assist in locating him and finding out what happened. When they find his mutilated body skewered on a frame as a warning to the humans, Major Lorne turns away to puke in the bushes. Teal'c, of course, remains The Stoic.
  • Subverted in one episode of Taggart when on seeing a guy with the back of his head bashed in, experienced detective DCI Burke suddenly gags, but doesn't vomit. DS Reid says he's seen worse. Burke's reply is that it's indigestion from the falafels he ate- he's on a health kick.
  • Spoofed in A Touch of Cloth, where it isn't the horrifically mutilated corpse that makes the detectives gag — it's a framed picture of Piers Morgan.
  • Twin Peaks has Deputy Andy. While he rarely throws up he always cries at murder scenes.
  • Wallander: in the Swedish series, Isabelle vomits at a gruesome murder scene made worse by the ongoing heat wave. She blames it on the stench.
  • The Wire:
    • Everyone's listening to the tape of Kima getting shot. McNulty is distressed enough that he immediately vomits into a garbage can.
    • In a non-crime scene variant, at the start of "Dead Soldiers," Major Colvin goes to the bathroom to wash up prior to a Comstat hearing. When he goes there, Major Taylor is vomiting into a toilet because he's on thin ice with Rawls and knows he's about to be roasted in front of everyone.
  • Several times in Without a Trace:
    • In "Suspect", one agent does this, paired with Vomit Indiscretion Shot after forcing himself to act like he admires a pedophile so that the guy will admit where he stashed the Victim of the Week.
    • In "Bait", the Vomiting Cop (in fact a vomiting Coast Guardsman) was actually involved in the case - as an accessory.
    • In "A Tree Falls", an agent does this upon finding a missing child alive, but horribly mutilated.
    • In yet another episode, the same agent gets ill in another episode, due to being in withdrawal from painkillers, though he tries to play it off as not feeling well.

  • The "Gave Up" portion of Nine Inch Nails' The Broken Movie features an officer turning away to be sick when the rotted remains of the man whose been tortured throughout the rest of the movie are discovered.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In one comic in Manual of Exalted Power: Alchemicals, a box is delivered that turns out to contain a man who had been burned to death. One of the aides present at the scene responds by blowing chunks.

    Video Games 
  • In Deadly Premonition, after you find Becky, Thomas heads over to the toilet and barfs. This same scene is used for the results screen.
  • In Disco Elysium, the Player Character will vomit upon first finding the body of the victim whose murder you're investigating, unless you pass a very difficult test. Unlike most examples it's not because he is a rookie, but because the corpse in question has been decomposing for a week and he is suffering from a truly titanic hangover. Even his normally extremely stoic partner, Kim, barely manages to hold on.
  • Seen in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number during one of the Miami Mutilator investigation scenes.
  • The "rookie cop" variation is used near the beginning of Persona 4. It's more or less his handiwork he is vomiting at. And it was probably just shock due to him not having known until then that his victim would die due to his actions. Although it's just as likely that he was faking it, or at least exaggerating, to throw suspicions off him.
  • In the remake of Resident Evil, Jill vomits in the toilet after stomping on the bathtub zombie's head.
  • Crops up in The Secret World during the mission "Sign Of The Times," in which one of D.I. Shelley's men vomits over the railing after the sight of the newest occult murder - narrowly missing a passer-by below. According the Shelley herself, the murders she and her squad witness on a daily basis are so grisly that most of her officers insist on being transferred away, meaning that she always ends up having to look after a fresh round of queasy recruits.
  • Miller in Still Life is found vomiting upon locating one of the Ripper's victims. It's stated that it isn't the first time he's reacted as such.
  • Appears in The Wolf Among Us at the end of Episode 1; when Bigby returns to the Woodlands and discovers a group of Mundie cops who have found Snow's (actually Lily's) head, one of the cops can be seen dry-heaving as he leaves the scene.

  • Seen in this Order of the Stick strip, titled "C.P.P.D. Blue".
  • The third chapter of Paradigm Shift has a throwaway line about the officers attending the scene being offered counselling. And for good reason; there's dead bodies, and then there's half-eaten dead bodies in several pieces.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Parodied, as part of a larger CSI parody, where one of the investigators vomits at nearly anything.
      Griz: Ryk, forensic science may not be the right field for you.
    • Some characters are immune, though.

    Web Original 
  • Diesel vomits at a dismembered Gundam, and in a flashback Furaya appears to be gagging at a similar sight in the first season finale of Anime Crimes Division.
  • The Cracked feature 8 Bits episode "The Horrifying Crime Behind Every Pokémon Game" has a rookie cop woof his cookies when he opens a dusty Pokeball, presumably with a dead animal inside.
  • Both Sanchez and an unnamed cop become this upon discovering the titular character's crimes in Episode 2 of Waverly Films' Puppet Rapist.
  • Used in the Season One finale of Shadow Unit, in which the ever-impeturbable Nikki Lau vomits outside the old Villette house after Chaz is evacuated. Subverted somewhat as her reaction is not just about the awfulness of what's been done in the house (and the mess it's made), but the fact that it was done to and by a colleague and friend.

    Western Animation 
  • Danny, the Safety Patrol photographer and Plucky Comic Relief in Fillmore!, is often subject to this trope, often after seeing minor acts of vandalism.
  • Rick and Morty spoofs this when Rick brutally fights back against Revolio Clockberg Jr. after the latter turns on the former, replacing his mouth gears with the gears from his groin. When two Gearhead cops burst in and see what Rick had done to Revolio, they vomit oil and cogs.
  • In one Robot Chicken sketch, Brainy throws up after seeing Baker Smurf stuffed with cream and baked. This causes Papa Smurf to throw up too. The police photographer throws up after Baker explodes.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons:
    • In "Worst Episode Ever", a squad of cops breaks in on Comic Book Guy and Mrs. Skinner naked in bed. Eddie promptly throws up, and Lou reassures him, "It's okay. If it doesn't affect you, you're not human."
    • In "Helter Shelter", the Simpsons watch a fictional Law & Order Spin-Off about an elevator inspectors unit. Two cops, guns drawn, enter an empty elevator. One of them discovers the button for the fifth floor doesn't light up. The other says, "I think I'm gonna be sick."
  • Spoofed a couple of times in South Park in one Officer Yates vomits after finding out Michael "Jefferson" isn't black.

    Real Life 
  • Of course this happens. Police officers are people too, and Everyone Has Standards.
  • Supposedly one of the police who discovered Jack the Ripper's mutilated final victim took a moment to vomit in a corner. Unsurprisingly — the photograph of Mary Kelly is horrific enough in black and white.
  • Practically a rite of passage for Real Life homicide investigators. Also for EMTs, hospital interns, mortuary personnel, sanitation engineers, sewer workers, those highway crews who collect and dispose of roadkill...
    • There is a tradition in some police forces (etc.) that if a rookie doesn't have 'the worst' happen to them, they'll take them to a diner and order scrambled eggs & brains with hash browns; and lots of ketsup. That usually does the trick.
    • Note that in one respect, this trope gets it completely wrong about rookies: for the vast majority of law enforcement officers, the first gruesome corpse they encounter in their career is the victim of a car crash, not a murder.
    • Among Reddit users, the infamous story of the Swamps of Dagobah has become legendary. One night, an OR nurse and their team were operating on a morbidly obese, drug-addicted woman with a perirectal abcess. When the surgeon opened her perineum with a scalpel, a gigantic torrent of pus, blood, rotten tissue, and fecal matter exploded out of her nether regions. Both nurses and the anesthesiologist ran vomiting out of the room. The unfortunate OR nurse ran for the bottle of peppermint oil,note  found it completely empty, and had to resort to huffing Mastisol (a liquid adhesive) to keep from throwing up in their mask while they finished the surgery. Afterwards, the surgeon and nurse had to take baths with four or five bottles' worth of 70% isopropyl alcohol just to get the smell out of their skins. ("It's probably the only scenario I can honestly endorse drinking a little of it, too.")
      I laugh now when I hear new recruits to healthcare talk about the worst thing they've seen. You ain't seen shit, kid.
  • Most crime-scene investigators' supply kits, in addition to the tools of the trade, also contain a barf bag or two. Most evidence collection kits naturally have paper bags (anything with blood stains or other biological material on it needs to be packed dry in a breathable bag, or they will get moldy really fast), so there's no appreciable difference.
  • Not cops per-se, but along the same theme. In April 1945 Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton visited the Ohrdruf-Nord concentration camp.note  Despite being a tremendous badass and a hardened war veteran, Patton was still so horrified at what he witnessed that he walked behind the barracks and threw up there.
    • Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Konev got detailed reports of Auschwitz once the Soviet troops liberated it in January 1945. He decided he won't visit the camp and wrote: the strain of command was enough, seeing with his own eyes something worse than gore of the battlefields would impair his military judgment.
  • At autopsy, Vicks Vaporub is standard equipment, especially for 'stinkers'. A little under the nose helps a lot with the gag problem.
  • During the July 2005 child abuse investigation of Michelle Crockett's house, a rookie officer ran out to puke in the weeds upon seeing the building's disgusting state. A Tampa Bay article on Danielle Crockett, her severely-neglected daughter, described her dilapidated room as follows: (Trigger warning: EXTREME child neglect)
    In the back of a run-down house in Plant City, officers found a skeletal child, curled on a moldy mattress, covered with maggots and flies. She had nothing on but a swollen diaper. Feces dribbled down her legs. "What’s your name, honey?" asked Detective Mark Holste, bending over the girl. She didn’t react. Roaches crunched under his feet. Lice crawled in her black hair. It was the worst case of neglect Holste had ever seen.
  • Also occurred during the investigation of Erika Murray's house in Blackstone Massachusetts in 2013, understandable considering the amount of trash found inside in addition to the bodies of three infants and several pets. It's not surprising that the town decided to condemn the building and raze it.
  • EMTs and Paramedics generally keep an emesis bag or two on hand in the back of the ambulance, not necessarily for the patient (though that can certainly happen) but for themselves or any family or other passengers who go with them. When you combine the motion of the ambulance, which often gets compared to the motion of a boat and is the reason "sea legs" are commonly talked about, along with the sorts of things they have to treat it's just something that happens.
    • In one case an EMT was too embarrassed to admit to puking at a crime scene. Since the vomitus wasn't linked to the killer and nobody took responsibility at first the defense tried to argue the it came from the true killer. While the EMT ended up confessing, the puke could have easily resulted in the jury returning a not guilty verdict.

  • Novice slaughterhouse workers are generally directed to the proper waste receptacle in which to barf on their first day, to ensure that when the sights, smells and textures get too much for them they won't contaminate the work area.
  • Astronauts training for zero G often experience vomiting. Unlike most examples it is not due to disgust but because the movement disrupts the inner ear and induces extreme nausea.
  • In the Ossett Murder case, when a man who supposedly believed he was possessed by demons killed his wife with his bare hands, the police constable who apprehended the perpetrator arrived on the scene and saw a senior officer vomiting. The senior officer then warned him, "You don't want to see this one, son. I've seen nothing like it before and I've seen a few."