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Playing With / The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much

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Basic Trope: A murder is covered up by having the coroner claim some other (implausible) cause of death.

  • Straight: Alice is found lying face down on a mattress with a knife in her back. The coroner's report states that her death was an accident.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alice is found full of holes in a house shot full of holes. The coroner's report states that her death was by natural causes.
    • When someone disputes this, a "respected astronomer" (who just so happens to be the coroner's best friend) states that the evidence points strongly toward an "extremely localized meteor shower". The coroner agrees with this, citing the fact that he knows all about these sorts of things, even going so far as to call himself a "meteor-ologist"
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  • Downplayed: Alice is found dead with a knife in her chest such that it is possible that her death could have been an accident. A few characters actually believe it.
  • Justified:
    • The local government wished to make an example of Alice in a way they could plausibly deny to neighboring states.
    • Alice was such an awful person, no one feels sorry for her.
  • Inverted: Investigators look for Alice murderer, despite no signs of struggle, foreign DNA, or any other evidence of foul play.
  • Subverted: Alice frames Bob for murder by stabbing herself in the back with a knife with Bob's fingerprints on them...
  • Double Subverted: ...except that Bob actually did it, counting on the coroner knowing that Alice wanted to frame Bob.
  • Parodied: In the aftermath of a bank heist, the police conclude that the money committed suicide.
  • Zig Zagged: The coroner originally assigned to the investigation goes missing, and his replacement returns a verdict of suicide. When the original coroner's notes are discovered, however...
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  • Averted: The coroner correctly identifies the cause of death as homicide.
  • Enforced: "We need Charlie to investiage Alice's murder himself. Since coroner in real life would say that Alice was murdered, we need to add drama by having a coroner say that she killed herself."
  • Lampshaded: "Certainly it is impossible that any two reasonable persons would disagree on the cause of the death, then."
  • Invoked: Alice, afraid for the safety of the coroner and knowing of her eventual assassination due to her role in exposing government corruption, tells the coroner to report her death as suicide.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: Beth, the coroner, resists the pressure to cover up the crime and reports her findings honestly.
  • Discussed: "I can see how you might accidentally stab yourself once, maybe twice, but seventeen times?"
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  • Conversed: "Have you noticed how policemen and coroners in this series never admit a death is murder?"

Back to The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much.

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