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Playing With / Truth Serums

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Basic Trope: Stuff that forces people to tell the truth.

  • Straight: Ronald is accused of a crime. Before his trial, he's injected with a serum that renders him incapable of lying for the next hours.
  • Exaggerated: The serum permanently renders Ronald incapable of saying anything he isn't 100% certain is true and not potentially misleading in any way whatsoever. It also forces him blurt out everything he knows whenever he's asked a question.
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  • Downplayed: The serum dulls Ronald's mind a little, which makes it a bit harder to lie convincingly.
  • Justified: The serum is magical, explaining that it actually works well (unlike real-life attempts at truth serums).
  • Inverted: The serum renders Ronald incapable of telling the truth (cue the Kangaroo Court getting him for perjury).
  • Subverted:
    • The court says it'll force a truth serum on Ronald if he does not confess. However, this turns out to be an empty threat intended to coerce him into confessing.
    • Whoever made the truth serum screwed up. Ronald gets injected with a dud.
  • Double Subverted: After Ronald unexpectedly calls their bluff, they halt the trial until they do find a truth serum.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: The court says it uses a truth serum, but some people remain capable of lying anyway. It's left ambiguous whether (1) the "serum" is a placebo some people don't fall for, (2) the serum works, but can be resisted if your willpower is strong enough, or (3) the court sometimes uses a fake serum instead of the usual real one.
  • Averted: There is no truth serum.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "Don't even think about trying to pull something smart. This drug will leave you completely incapable of lying."
  • Invoked:
  • Exploited: After the trial ends, people make sure to ask Ronald personal questions before the effect of the serum wears off.
  • Defied:
    • The country bans the use of truth serums, citing human rights concerns.
    • Ronald's mind is so well-disciplined that he successfully resists the truth serum.
    • Someone secretly switches the truth serum for a harmless saline solution.
  • Discussed: "If only we had something that could force these scumbags to tell the truth..."
  • Conversed: "How come truth serums on TV are also blurt-out-everything-you-know serums?"
  • Implied: A lawyer slips Ronald a mysterious substance before his trial. He ends up confessing even though he originally intended to fight the charges.
  • Deconstructed:
    • A country legalizes the use of truth serum on suspected terrorists. Its use starts creeping into other areas. In the end, the state subjects all kinds of people to truth serum in order to weed out "undesirables".
    • The truth serum works as well as its real-life counterpart. In other words, it makes people talk without guaranteeing that they're telling the truth. This leads to wrongful convictions.
    • After taking the serum, people only say things that are extremely obvious, making it completely useless for interrogation.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Before the use of truth serum gets out of hand, the country bans its involuntary administration. However, plaintiffs/prosecutors who wish to prove they're telling the truth and defendants who wish to prove their innocence still have the option to testify under the influence of truth serum.
    • The wrongful convictions are overturned, and the country eventually finds a truth serum that does live up to its name.
  • Played For Laughs:
    • It turns out that politicians don't seem to tolerate the serum very well...
    • A country decides that injecting every involved party with truth serum before a trial is a good idea. They give up after the serum ends up killing half of their lawyers.
    • The judge stops caring about the case and starts asking embarrassing questions about Ronald's private life.
    • Someone slips their local Sleazy Politicians truth serum shortly before a debate. Cue an endless stream of "no comment" from all involved parties.
  • Played For Drama: Ronald is a member of La Résistance. The Empire captures him and forcibly injects him with a truth serum to compel him to give up the location of his allies, who are tortured and killed afterwards. He suffers significant emotional trauma from both the serum's hostile mind control and the horrific consequences of his inability to withhold the information.

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