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Playing With / Diplomatic Impunity

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Basic Trope: The bad guy is protected from the law because he's a diplomat.

  • Straight: Bob is the Troperian ambassador to Wikitopia. When he murders Alice, he can't be arrested for the crime because he has diplomatic immunity.
  • Exaggerated:
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  • Downplayed: Bob speeds through town, parks illegally, and is generally a Jerkass but no one can make him pay the fines he owes because he's a diplomat.
  • Justified: The country in question really does take diplomatic immunity seriously, believing that the potential problems emerging from it are less important than maintaining peaceful relations with its neighbours.
  • Inverted: The hero is the one being protected by diplomatic immunity.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...but it turns out under the relevant local laws, everything he did before his immunity was revoked is still covered, so he's in the clear.
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    • Bob is in contact with the "Ass" in Ambassador to be framed and they cotton on to the plan in time to prevent the situation. For bonus points, Bob sets it up so that the host country will be revealed if they try again, and that perhaps there'll be consequences if they attempt to revoke his diplomatic immunity...
  • Parodied:
    • Diplomats are responsible for most of the crime in town, and have all the mannerisms of stereotypical Mafia bosses.
    • Bob' diplomatic impunity allows him to defy the laws of physics!
  • Zig Zagged: Bob is protected by his diplomatic immunity... but then it turns out that his accreditation is fake... because he's really a diplomat for a different country... so the hero gets appointed a diplomat too... and then someone points out that the country they're in doesn't even recognise the concept of diplomatic immunity at all.
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  • Averted: Bob may be a diplomat, but diplomatic immunity doesn't matter much in a Disaster Movie.
  • Enforced: The writers are determined to have an action-packed showdown, and so they need to come up with an excuse like this one to explain why Bob can't just be arrested quietly.
  • Lampshaded: "I knew you'd turn out to be a diplomat. I mean, it'd be too easy if I could just arrest you, wouldn't it?"
  • Invoked: The hero guesses that Bob is the culprit mainly because Bob, as a diplomat, is the most likely to think he can get away with it.
    • Bob gets himself appointed diplomat solely because he wants to commit crimes without consequence.
  • Exploited: Darthwikia wants to turn Wikitopia against Troperia, so they make sure that the news catches wind of Bob's actions, and how Wikitopia hasn't stopped him because he's the Troperian diplomat.
  • Defied:
    • Dan knows that Bob is going to abuse his diplomatic immunity, so he gets Bob fired as an ambassador before he can even set foot on Wikitopian soil, or at least exposes his previous crimes so there's no way Troperia would dare send him anywhere they don't hate already.
    • An Anti-Hero circumvents international law by simply killing Bob.
    • It is easier to get someone declared persona non grata and thrown out of the country or withdrawn as a diplomat than it is to arrest him for his suspected/planned misdeeds. Unfortunately, Bob doesn't think of this.
    • Wikitopia says "Screw it" and has Bob arrested and prosecuted. When Troperia protests, Wikitopia tells them to shove it. If their ambassadors were acting this poorly and running unchecked, war was probably inevitable anyway.
  • Discussed: "Oh, you think your diplomatic immunity will get you out of this, just like the bad guys on TV? Well, I have humble pie for you to munch on..."
  • Conversed: "Of course the ambassador will turn out be the murderer. There's no reason they'd make that character a diplomat unless they're planning to have him use diplomatic immunity."
  • Deconstructed:
    • The work shows the reasons why diplomatic immunity was created in the first place, pointing out that diplomats in hostile countries could be harassed or even killed if diplomatic immunity is not treated as sacrosanct.
    • Eventually Wikitopia's government grows tired of Bob's cruelty, seeing it as an insult against their whole country. Bob's severed head is sent back to Troperia in a basket with a list of Bob's crimes and a formal declaration of war attached. In the resulting war Troperia is left bankrupt, ravaged, and defeated. This suffering would have been avoided had Wikitopia been allowed to arrest Bob at first.
  • Reconstructed: The work shows that even if diplomatic immunity does have some justification sometimes, that's no comfort to victims of a villainous diplomat. Which is why there's also rules in place for a country to kick out a misbehaving diplomat, or their own country to hang them out to dry.

Back to Diplomatic Impunity

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