Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Psycho for Hire

Go To

Basic Trope: An assassin who kills because they enjoy it. The money is secondary.

  • Straight:
    • Bob loves killing people, and becomes a hitman to make money off it.
    • Alternatively, Bob is a Consummate Professional. Whatever the contract he will take his time to plan the most efficient way to do so. He still loves killing people though, money be damned.
  • Exaggerated: Bob works for free as long as he's allowed to kill people however he wants and whenever he wants. In fact he's willing to pay you for just for the opportunity!
  • Advertisement:
  • Downplayed: ???
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
  • Advertisement:
  • Implied: Every character talks about Bob as if he was some kind of rabid dog before he even appears on screen.
  • Subverted:
    • Carl the mob boss hires Bob on the recommendation that he is completely insane. Only to find out that Bob is barely coherent and unable to carry out an assassination with any dependability.
    • Unfortunately for Carl, Bob is also suicidal.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Then Bob stabs Carl in the neck, and tells him he was the target all along while grinning.
    • Unfortunately for Carl, Bob takes Carl with him.
    • Fortunately for Carl, Bob takes Bill with him.
  • Parodied: Bob puts an ad in the paper reading "Murderous Lunatic Will Throw Chainsaws At Whoever You Want For Only $79.99 Each. 50% Off If You Let Him Skin Them Alive."
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Bob likes both the money and the violence equally. Hence, he may accept the job for any of both depending on the situation.
    • Advertisement:
    • Altenatively, for exaggerated version : He'd work for free if he gets to kill lots of people, but needs to take payed jobs from time to time because he has expenses like everyone else.
    • Bob accepts money up front for hits, but currently hasn't killed anyone in a good month, so the current one is on the house. He still requires coverage for bullets and other expenses though. On an impulse he shoots his potential client dead though, then takes all his money.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: This story is about a shadowy organization often has to use violent convicts. As expected, this trope tends to come up.
  • Lampshaded: "Where'd you find this new guy? Serial Killers R Us?"
  • Invoked: Carl wants an assassin who isn't just in it for the money, and who was crazy enough that any testimony he gave about who hired him wouldn't hold up in court.
  • Exploited: Carl is facing some budget cuts, so he stops paying Bob first, since Bob will just keep working for the hell of it.
  • Defied:
  • Discussed: "Perhaps we can buy Bob off when he comes after us?" "Not likely; he's in it because he likes it, and he hates missing out on his fun."
  • Conversed: "You'd think that character would be too dangerous to be worth it."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob owed more money to the mob than he could possibly pay back. Because of his formidable appearance, they put him to work collecting money for them. Over time, it was clear that he had a reluctant talent for hurting people. Eventually, he becomes a full-time assassin, but he can't live with himself after seeing what he has become. Eventually, Bob begins losing his mind, and accepting his role as a killer with manic glee. This addiction to violence prompts him to take on freelance jobs long after his debt to the mob has been repaid, and he can only vaguely remember the compassionate man he once was.
    • Alternatively: Bob's over-enthusiastic sadism and bloodlust mean that he gets himself and his employers killed or captured when a saner enforcer would have succeeded.
  • Reconstructed: Bob is completely nuts and needlessly sadistic, but he's also competent, and has his niche. For simply killing someone, other agents are used, but Bob is the go-to guy when you want to Make an Example of Them.
    • Bob is just way too powerful to be kept in check. In fact, Carl never even officially hired him: Bob 'hired' himself and effortlessly slaughtered anyone Carl asked to get rid of him. Nowadays Carl tries to make the most of it: giving Bob the most dangerous missions he can, praying that Bob ends up getting killed on one of them and that Bob doesn't decide to turn on him before that happens because there will be nothing he could do to stop him.
    • Bob keeps his urges in check and is a Consummate Professional he plans the most efficient way to kill people without over enthusiastic sadism
  • Played For Laughs: "Machete Bob" is hired. Carl's instructions are "I need you to kill...", before he can finish, Bob yells "Okay!" and decapitates everyone in the room. Then congratulates himself on a job well done, and asks the Carl's headless body for his fee.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Bob slowly comes to realize that channeling his homicidal impulses towards specific, often deserving targets might be the only way to keep from killing everyone in sight. But it's not easy.
    • Carl starts seeing a lot of drawbacks from having Bob around—Mook Depletion (because Bob keeps killing them), the heroes declaring The Gloves Are Off, etc. The worst part is that he has no clue if Bob will turn on him sooner or later and kill him For the Evulz. And this all adds up to his inevitable Villainous Breakdown.
  • Played For Horror: Bob is essentially a slasher film villain killing for money (and even then he's okay with doing stuff for free if he's bored), with all of the messy mass murder that this creates.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: Bob is showcased as the muscle of the evil Five-Man Band early on, and his Blood Knight tendencies foreshadow that the rest of the band will struggle keeping him in line. Then he dies first, probably executed when he outlives his usefulness, to showcase that the evil Five-Man Band is more professional than that.

Back to Psycho for Hire

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: