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Playing With / Femme Fatale

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Basic Trope: A sexy, sultry, but morally ambiguous woman, common in detective novels.

  • Straight: Hardboiled Detective Bob is solving a case, and one of the suspects is Alice, who is a flirty, sultry beauty, and who may or may not be a Honey Trap, working for the Big Bad. No one knows for sure.
  • Exaggerated: All of the suspects are this... Even the men!
  • Downplayed: Alice is a beautiful—but not paticularly sexy—woman. Where her loyalties lie is unknown.
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  • Justified: Alice is a Double Agent, or even The Mole. It's best that she keeps herself mysterious, but that doesn't mean she can't use her… er… assets to get her way.
  • Inverted:
  • Gender Inverted: Alice is solving a case, and one of suspects is Tall, Dark, and Handsome Bob.
  • Subverted:
    • It turns out that Alice is The Vampliterally! The beauty was a disguise. She's not as attractive as she seems…
    • Alice is seductive and dresses in sultry garb but she makes it clear from the get-go that anything horizontal with her is out of the question.
    • Alice is seductive and dresses to appeal… but she's soon shown to be anything but morally questionable, and presents Bob with evidence he needs for his case.
  • Double Subverted:
    • …she's even hotter.
    • …except for Bob of course!
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    • …but she turns out to be The Mole, and the evidence is completely false.
  • Parodied:
    • Alice thinks she's this, but she's a Gonk, and Bob reacts to her attempts at seducing him with great horror and/or revulsion.
    • Alice uses her whole arsenal of feminine wiles even when it makes absolutely zero sense to do so, like getting directions to the nearest bathroom or returning a video.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice is sultry and seductive, but is the detective investigating a murder case, all the suspects are morally questionable and of both genders, but Alice is the actual murderer covering her tracks as the detective.
  • Averted: Alice isn't particularly sexy or morally ambiguous.
  • Enforced: "All good detective novels have a mysterious, sexy woman, so let's add one."
  • Lampshaded:
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  • Invoked: Alice is working for the Big Bad. He hired her specifically because she's hot.
  • Exploited: Alice is actually guilty and is relying on her charms to distract Bob.
  • Defied: Everyone expects Alice to use her wiles to dodge an accusation but she makes herself unattractive on purpose to defy expectations.
  • Discussed:
    Claire: Be careful. Remember Diana? She was just as gorgeous as Alice and—
    Bob: Don't remind me.
  • Conversed: "There's always a Femme Fatale character in these detective shows… yep, here's one now."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Alice's seductive demeanor and advances on the main character are more off-putting than effective, and they're the first thing that makes him suspect she's not as innocent as she's letting on.
    • She has the looks, but not the smarts (and she seriously thinks she can do without). The moment anybody stops thinking with his groin long enough around her, she is at best stuck with Implausible Deniability, and at worst with a bad case of (maybe literally) Too Dumb to Live.
    • Because of her sultry, mysterious, dark demeanor, everyone assumes she's on the wrong side. Any warnings to the hero are brushed off, leading to his being beaten down or killed.
    • Alice thinks she is a master seductress. She is not. Whether it's because she lacks the looks or some other issue is Depending on the Writer. Some may even go as far as showing that the men she "seduced" were providing pity sex.
    • Seduction as a weapon is as awful a thing as any other dirty tactic, or even worse. It's just as mentally scarring to kill a man as it is to allow him to do to you whatever makes him feel sexually satisfied. Not surprisingly, this is one of the mayor reasons Alice is a Broken Bird.
  • Reconstructed: Alice has tactics other than seduction that keep suspicion off of her.
  • Implied: Bob eliminates most of the suspects, but doesn't find the killer. The astute readers notices he never investigated the Ms. Fanservice Alice.

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