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Offing the Offspring in live-action TV.


  • In The 10th Kingdom, the Queen was originally a woman from our world with severe mental issues who tried to kill her daughter. Specifically, she tried to drown her daughter in the bathtub, but she stopped and ran away in horror when she realized what she was doing. When the two encounter each other again, the Queen, who long ago got a sort of a magical case of Laser-Guided Amnesia, doesn't know the daughter and has no qualms about attempting to strangle her.
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  • 24: In season four, Behrooz's father tried to kill him. Also, Philip Bauer tries to kill his son Jack on a rooftop but ultimately backs down, successfully kills his other son Graem, and severely endangers the life of his grandson Josh. He is truly the Anti-Family Man.
  • On The 100, Chancellor Jaha ordered all of The Ark's juvenile criminals sent down to Earth That Was. In theory, they're meant to test whether the planet's become habitable again. In reality, they're all expected to die, freeing up more oxygen for the rest of the Ark. When Jaha's son, Wells, gets himself arrested, he's not given any special treatment and is sent down to die with the rest of them.
  • Played with in The 4400 third season finale when Richard stabs Isabelle with the syringe he (and everyone else, the audience included) thinks is the only thing that can kill her, but she just loses her powers instead.)
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  • American Horror Story: Asylum: Lana Winters is confronted by Johnny, her Child by Rape. After she talks him down from pointing his gun at her head, she apologizes to him, takes the gun, and fires it into his head.
  • Angel:
    • "Guise Will Be Guise", a man wanted to sacrifice his virgin daughter to a demon for continued power. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for her) he wasn't sufficiently protective and she'd long since escaped his scrutiny and lost her "purity." Many, many times.
    • Cordelia's "roommate," a ghost named Dennis, was killed by his mother for dating a girl she didn't approve of. She trapped him in a brick wall of their house so he wouldn't leave her.
    • When Angelus and Darla murdered Holtz's wife and infant son, they turned his young daughter into a vampire specifically so he would be forced to kill her himself.
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    • Connor wound up killing Jasmine, his daughter. (Well, a Physical God who manifested in this world as his daughter, anyway.) Angel seems to like this trope.
    • There's also a prophecy that Angel will do this to his son Connor. Whether the prophecy is accurate and the steps certain characters take to try to prevent or cause it to mark a major turning point in the show's over-arching plot. The prophecy is fake. However, in the episode "Home" Angel fulfills it anyway - he kills Connor both literally and figuratively - he makes a deal with Wolfram and Hart to wipe Connor's memories and Give Him a Normal Life. However, Connor's gone insane and Angel is forced to kill him, just as Wolfram and Hart re-write reality, saving Connor's life.
  • Arrowverse:
    • In Arrow, Tommy Merlyn dies from injuries caused by his father's earthquake machine, making Malcolm directly (albeit unintentionally) responsible for his son's death. Malcolm's Doomworld reality has Tommy alive again, so he probably does care more then he chooses to show. He is still not a good person.
    • In Crisis on Earth-X, Quentin Lance's Nazi doppelganger had his own daughter (Sara's doppelganger) put to death for being bisexual. It's not clear how his other daughter reacted to it, but she seems to have fully embraced the Nazi ideology and become Siren-X.
  • Breakout Kings:
    • Season finale, the drug lord Carmen Vega reveals she ordered the hit to kill her son, believing him to be ruining her empire while she was in prison.
    • In reverse, the criminal Mars kills his mother when escaping from prison.
  • On The Closer the LAPD are investigating the disappearance of an adopted Russian boy; they later discovered that he was killed by his parents. However, the parents revealed that he was a budding sociopath who manipulates his friend, and kills animals as a hobby, and were afraid of what else he might do so they decided to off him.
  • CSI:
    • Catherine Willows had to deal with a couple of these. One was a borderline insane woman who murdered her 13-year old daughter because she thought the daughter was hitting on her adult boyfriend. The other woman was much more cold-blooded, simply murdering her 7-year old daughter so she wouldn't have to deal with the responsibility, and would be free to run off with her boyfriend.
    • Catherine also dealt with the case of a couple who killed their infant son because he was exhibiting signs of Tay-Sachs disease, a disease which previously took the life of their older son. However, their second son didn't have Tay-Sachs and was exhibiting symptoms due to incidental and accidental gardening chemicals poisoning. His parents killed him because they didn't want to go through another experience like that of their first child.
  • CSI: Miami: A guy hires two carjackers, a surveillance photographer, and buys a new (sabotaged) car in order to cause a Convenient Miscarriage and possibly (or accidentally; it's not clear) frame his son for it because he didn't want "another parasite" screwing up a perfectly good childless marriage as the first one did.
  • CSI: NY: A tragic case in Season Three's "And Here's To You, Mrs. Azrael" involves the murder of a teenage girl who was in a car accident with her friend. It was ultimately revealed that a volunteer nurse, who was the mother of one of the girls, killed her in an act of revenge, as she blamed her victim for the loss of her daughter in the crash. In a shocking twist, however, the girls were misidentified due to their similar looks and their faces being unrecognizable, meaning that the vengeful villainess actually (and unknowingly) murdered her own daughter.
  • Pippa is killed and infected by her mother off screen in Dead Set.
  • The Investigation Discovery documentary series Deadly Women has devoted several episodes to mothers who murdered their children, with episode titles such as "Bury Their Babies", "Sacrifice Their Blood", and "Mothers Who Kill". Several of the real-life women mentioned in the Real Life section below, including Susan Smith, Penny Boudreau, and Andrea Yates, have been profiled on that series. (Note that it is included under the Live-Action segment rather than Real Life since it features dramatic re-enactments.)
  • Doctor Who: It's never explicitly stated whether the Doctor killed his children and grandchildren along with the other Time Lords during the Time War, or if they were already dead when he genocided the species into extinction, but the former possibility is never debunked and is entirely possible.
  • Invoked in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Will needed to take a children's music course in order to graduate. When Miss Basson told him he mightn't be able to graduate he told her "Miss Basson, this is my mother - the woman who gave me life - and if I don't graduate, she's gonna take it back!"
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Stannis is pressured to sacrifice his daughter by Melisandre, a Red Priestess whose God demands human sacrifices in the form of fire, with Shireen's king's blood containing more power. With his army stuck in the snow miles from his enemy and the situation getting desperate, he eventually agrees, allowing his own daughter to be burned alive in front the entire army. The snow does thaw, but half his men desert with all the horses, leading him to be defeated in ensuing battle.
    • Old Nan tells a story about women smothering their babies rather than see them starve during a winter that lasted a generation.
    • Tywin would never outright do it to Tyrion but he dreams about it and if he sees a chance to make it happen with a clean hand and guilt-free conscience, he'll make it happen.
      • Tyrion suspects his father is putting him in the vanguard of a battle to invoke this in a Make It Look Like an Accident kind of way, and Tywin is not particularly excited to see him alive afterward.
      • Tyrion remarks to Jon Snow that if he had been born a peasant he might have been left in the woods to die. In "Mhysa," Tywin confesses he considered it, but changed his mind because Tyrion was still a Lannister.
      • In Season 4, Tywin tells Jaime that he intends to declare Tyrion guilty in his trial for regicide, normally an instant death sentence, but provide Tyrion the chance to go to the Wall to join the Night's Watch, which itself puts his odds on surviving, what with the taint of regicide and the bitter cold of the North, at great risk. There's also the Wildling army that's approaching the Wall, as he admitted to Oberyn Martell.
      • After the Trial by Combat, Tywin finally has the legal mandate to officially sentence Tyrion to death and he does it without a second thought. When Tyrion confronts him after the prison escape, Tywin says that he wasn't going to do it but it's impossible to know if he was telling the truth.
    • Craster sacrifices his baby sons to the White Walkers. Subverted in that the Walkers don't kill them, they turn the babies into White Walkers as well.
  • A Bad Seed example occurs in the pilot episode of Hamish Macbeth of all series. Not quite a straight example, however, in that the parent didn't seem to attack him with intent to kill; her son had just taken a swing for his pregnant wife, she pushed him away from her and he overbalanced, the back of his head meeting the corner of a packing case.
  • Harrow: In "Pia mater" ("Gentle Mother"), a mother deliberately crashes her car, killing both herself and her adult son. Harrow's job is to find out why. It turns out the mother was dying of cancer and knew her son was a murderer and believed he was becoming a Serial Killer.
  • Hemlock Grove: Olivia Godfrey seems to make a habit out of this. She's murdered numerous infants that she herself bore because they lacked the sign that marked them as future vampires. She devours a clone of her own daughter to revitalize herself and tries to pull a Grand Theft Me on all three of her living children.
  • Heroes:
    • A lot of the Heroes have Parental Issues, but Evil Matriarch Angela Petrelli takes things to a whole new level. She is perfectly willing to sacrifice her youngest son Peter for "the greater good" by letting him blow up in Season One; in Season Two she gives another Hero explicit instructions to "put a bullet in his brain" in order to stop him taking a course of action he has been tricked into by the Big Bad when there were plenty of non-lethal options available. Also, according to her husband, she tried to kill her infant son, who grew up to become Sylar, because she had a dream about his future. Not a lot of positive maternal feeling going on there. On the other hand, when that same husband threatened to kill Nathan, Angela tried to kill her husband. I guess we know which kid she likes best.
    • Third season's main villain, Arthur Petrelli, isn't much better; Arthur was disappointed his first son Nathan did not share Arthur's genetic evolution, so he had Nathan subjected to an experimental process when he was an infant, and Nathan later developed the ability to fly. But when Nathan became district attorney and began investigating Linderman, Arthur was concerned Nathan would interfere with his long-range plans, so immediately decided to have him killed. Same with his younger son Peter, when he got in his way. Arthur didn't seem to have any remorse about any of these decisions, but actor Robert Forster played Arthur so stolidly, it was hard to see any feeling or motivation behind anything Arthur did.
  • The I-Land: K.C. killed her own sons, then tried to kill herself after her abusive husband threatened to divorce her for cheating on him. Her nickname around the prison is "Kills Children".
  • Law & Order:
    • "Smoke" has a variation: The parents have one son who is deathly ill and no money to cure him, while an older son is singled out by a famous comedian/pedophile as a likely prospect. Knowing full well what will happen to the older son, the mother agrees to let the comedian do whatever he wants to the boy — in exchange for money. Worse, this is not discovered until years later, in the wake of the death of the comedian's adopted son when he's dropped from a hotel window during a fire...supposedly because he was trying to save the infant from the smoke and he lost his grip.
    • "Born Again" featured a woman who adopted a little girl whose emotional issues were too much for her to handle. Her solution was to exploit an allergy of the child so that her death appeared to be an accident during therapy. She tried to justify this by stating that she was in her thirties and deserved a life of her own; Jack McCoy shot back with "Your daughter was nine years old, what did she deserve?"
    • Then there was "Mother's Day", where an example similar to the Waking the Dead one above, a mother kills her full-grown son after finding out he's a rapist and a murderer. She ends up going on trial and pleading for a reduced sentence based on the fact that she couldn't bear to see what her child had become.
    • In another episode, "Mother's Love", a woman named Virginia shoots her college-aged daughter to death... but as an I Cannot Self-Terminate scenario since said daughter was drug-addicted and completely broken, and she asked her mother to release her from her suffer.
      "I looked at her, it was so hard. Those little lines of blood in her eyes, her hands full of holes. My baby... It was so pitiful. She gave me the gun. She begged me, 'Mama...put me out of my misery. Do it for me...please.' I...I gave up. I gave her what she wanted. I killed my baby."
    • It's safe to say Law & Order has two major variations of this plot - "Mommy/Daddy Has Issues" ("Precious", with several cases of Munchausen By Proxy; "Angel", with a woman who kills her baby girl because she doesn't want the daughter to grow up in so ugly a world) and "I'm Putting Them Out of Our Misery" ("Mother's Love", "Mother's Day", and "Choice of Evils", where a mother kills her son because she's afraid he's inherited the violent tendencies of his biological father).
  • On Law & Order: Criminal Intent it is revealed that Goren's Arch-Enemy Australian serial killer Nicole Wallace's first victim was her own 3-year-old daughter.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • "Raw", in which a rich white couple adopts a black young boy... and then set him up to be killed by white supremacists to collect the insurance money.
    • Another episode has the squad investigate a young girl left comatose after being abused by her mother. While the girl is still alive when the episode ends, Munch recalls a time one of his neighbors was killed as a child by her own abusive mother. Munch is rather disturbed that the mother in question was only concerned about the window she broke when she killed her daughter.
    • In yet another episode, a mother is determined to have shaken her toddler, causing brain damage that ultimately leads to the child's death. This is a somewhat unusual case in that she wasn't trying to kill or even hurt the baby, just to make her stop crying. She's horrified when she realizes the extent of what she'd done.
    • "Taboo" features a mother who leaves her baby in a garbage can to die. While this baby is saved, there was an earlier case where a baby's body matching her DNA was found in a similar situation; they could never prove murder (she claimed it was stillborn), but they all suspected.
    • In "Denial", a woman claims her mother murdered her baby sister. Detectives then find out that the mother had a third child who supposedly died of SIDS. They're immediately suspicious. They turn out to be right.
    • "Caretaker" dealt with the murder of a woman's husband and two children. The woman, a lawyer, voiced her belief that their nanny may have killed them, but as it turned out, the woman herself killed her entire family, as she was facing jail time due to running a Ponzi scheme, and she felt that they would be better off dead than suffering with her in jail. She is only convicted of her husband's murder, and she later committed suicide in jail.
  • Lost:
    • To keep him from exposing a con, Locke's father Anthony tries to kill him by pushing him through an 8th-story window. Locke survives but is paralyzed.
    • In "Maternity Leave", Rousseau suggests to Claire that, if Aaron has "the sickness", Claire ought to kill him.
    • A particularly tragic example: In 1977, pregnant Eloise Hawking shoots Daniel Faraday when he enters the Others' camp, brandishing a gun, unaware that he is her son from the future. He tells her this with his dying breath, and after an attempt to reset the past fails, she leaves the Island to raise him, the whole time being burdened with the knowledge that when he is an adult, he will go to the Island, travel back in time, and die at her younger self's hands. Being a big believer in fate and how destiny cannot be avoided, she reluctantly pushes him towards his fate, hating every second of it.
  • Luther: A former Royal Marine Commando given life in prison for the manslaughter of a police officer orders his son (also a former commando) to go on a killing spree of police officers, saying he'll order his son to stop if he's given a reduced sentence. He's got no problem with the fact that his son will likely be killed by anti-terrorist police in doing so.
  • In Magnificent Century, which is about Suleiman the Magnificent and both his Royal Harem and his Big, Screwed-Up Family, there's certainly a rendition of the infamous incident where Suleiman orders the death of his eldest son and heir Sehzade Mustafa .
  • In one of the most memorable-and most tragic-examples of this trope, the finale of M*A*S*H had a woman smother her child because its crying could give away the location of the bus they were on. All because a panicked Hawkeye demanded silence. Witnessing that caused Hawkeye to have a mental breakdown.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Imprint", the disfigured prostitute's mother repeatedly threw her own infants away to drown in the river because they're inbred children — her husband is also her own brother.
  • In Season 8 of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Pearl Forrester, having botched her second attempt to raise Clayton up right, ended up smothering with to death with a pillow. This is a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as issues during the filming of The Movie caused Clayton's actor, who also voiced Crow, to quit working on the show, so this was used to explain why Clayton didn't return.
  • Ziva's father in NCIS may or may not have actively been trying to get her killed, but it sure seems that way. Plus, he should be included either way since he ordered her to kill his son, her half-brother Ari, though he was a terrorist and deserved it.
  • In The Originals Mikael begins to haunt his sons' dreams, tries to kill the mother of his grandchild (who is still pregnant), burns down New Orleans and tries to get himself resurrected in order to murder his step-son. Esther doesn't hesitate to cause her children pain, hurt and manipulate them, and doesn't mind killing them in the process.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): An accidental example in "The Hunt". George Nichols wants revenge against the androids who captured his son Eric during the hunt and, having spotted one of their distinctive uniforms in the forest, shoots the wearer in the back. It turns out that the wearer was, in fact, Eric, who had been released by the androids because he had not actively participated in the hunt and therefore never did anything to harm them.
  • Preacher (2016): Cassidy ends up killing Dennis when he can't control his vampiric impulses.
  • Played with in Princess Returning Pearl. Provoked to anger enough and Emperor Qian Long would order the execution of Zi Wei and Xiao Yan Zi. Zi Wei is actually his daughter and Xiao Yan Zi is as good as.
    • He never really intends to kill them and would have found ways to withdraw the orders at the last minutes, though they don't know that.
    • Averted with Yong Qi, who, being a son, Qian Long would never kill, even without the Empress Dowager's protests.
  • Psych: in the very first episode, the kidnap victim Shawn was supposed to find turned out to have been killed by his own father. The victim had faked his own kidnapping, and when the father found out, it led to a violent argument where the father shoved the son, and the son hit his head on a table and was killed.
  • A Bad Seed example appears in the Quantum Leap episode "So Help Me God". The mother killed her son with a shotgun while he was strangling his black girlfriend whom the mother adored. She became unhinged with guilt afterward. The black girlfriend willingly took the rap for her and tried to plead guilty to murder at her trial. That's when Sam leaped into her lawyer and mucked things up by pleading "Not Guilty". The truth isn't revealed until Sam calls the mother as a witness to the stand, though it's just as much of a shock to him as it is to the rest of the courtroom (he only called her to the stand thinking she could confirm that the shooting was an accident or self-defense). Disturbingly, she is so far gone that she still believes her son is alive.
  • Reaper: Sam's parents traded the soul of their firstborn (Sam) to the Devil to save his father from a fatal illness. They tried to get out of it by simply deciding not to have kids, but...get real.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Psirens", the psirens' illusion of Kochanski gives Lister the impression that she is planning to do this to her and Lister's offspring and then herself to save their "child" from an invasion by monsters who would torture them brutally one captured.
  • On Shameless (US), Terry Milkovich, a violently abusive Heteronormative Crusader, first threatens his son Mickey and Mickey's boyfriend Ian with death when he catches them having sex, and then orders a female prostitute to come over to the home and forces Mickey to have sex with her in order to "fuck the queer out of him". When Mickey finally has enough of living a lie and proudly comes out in public, Terry actually does try to kill him right then and there.
  • Smallville:
    • In Season 10 Earth-2 Lionel Luthor takes this trope and runs with it. He allowed his adopted son, Clark Luthor to murder Earth-2 Lex. He later tries to beat Clark Luthor (actually our Clark in disguise) to death with a belt and may have had Earth-2 Tess executed, when they betray him. After making his way to Earth-1, and failing to gain control of Earth-1 Tess or Lex's clone, Alexander, he has Tess kidnapped and tries to cut out her heart to power Lx-0, his perfect clone of Lex. This last stunt results in his death at Tess' hands; with his last breath he allows Darkseid to highjack his body in exchange for bringing the real Lex back to life.
    • During the Season 3 finale, the real Lionel may have had the real Lex poisoned. It's never confirmed either way, as the culprit could just as easily have been Season 4 Big Bad (and Lionel's Distaff Counterpart), Genevieve Teague.
    • In Season 3, it's revealed via a flashback to Lex's repressed memories that his mother murdered his younger brother Julian. It's stated to be the horrifying result of her suffering through clinical depression and insanity, and believing that she is "saving" him from Lionel. Naturally, Lex is extremely traumatized when he learns this.
  • The Sopranos: Tony Soprano's mother Livia and his uncle Junior put out a contract on his life.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Possibly the case when Lucretia gets stabbed in the belly by Crixus since she thinks the baby is his, but it may be her husband's.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: An assassination plot against Garak is foiled by Garak himself, who was able to spot and counter the assassin before he could be killed. He was still shocked to find out the man that had contracted the assassin in the first place was his own father, however. Tain was planning to come back from retirement and wanted to kill off the six men that possessed information that could be used against him. It didn't matter to him that one of those six men was his own son.
  • The Woman in White in Supernatural's pilot episode murdered her two children.
  • Teen Wolf: Gerard Argent was willing to kill his son and granddaughter to become a werewolf and cure his terminal cancer.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth has two: John Frobisher kills his daughters in a Senseless Sacrifice, and Jack Harkness sacrifices his own grandson (not his own child but still his offspring) in order to defeat the 456.
  • Troy: Fall of a City: Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia to appease Artemis, though he's distraught at doing so.
  • Twin Peaks: Laura Palmer, killed by her father Leland while Leland was possessed by the demon spirit BOB.
  • In The Vampire Diaries Klaus' father, Mikael, had been hunting him for 1000 years to make up for turning him into a vampire and also for being not his son but a result of his wife's adultery. Klaus' mother Esther plots to kill all of her children because they didn't turn out the way she wanted them to, and also her favorite son ripped her heart out about 1000 years ago.
  • Waking the Dead had a "bad seed" example in an episode that was grim even by the show's standards. The killer was a psychopath who enjoyed drowning women. He didn't opportunistically kill them either — he captured one of the victims, put swimmer's nose clips on her and drowned her by pouring water into her mouth. He delighted in the fact that the police couldn't catch him despite knowing that he was responsible...and that they were powerless to stop him from killing again. However, his mild-mannered father finds one of his trophies: a necklace belonging to his last victim. Realizing his son is a monster, and that the police are helpless, he drowns his adult offspring in the bath (apparently, dad wasn't immune to a bit of poetic justice) to stop him killing again. Then he waits for the police to turn up and arrest him for murdering his son.


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