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Taking The Bullet / Live-Action TV

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Taking the Bullet in live-action TV.


  • Ace Lightning. Lady Illusion takes the bullet for Ace. Interesting in that she actually knocked him out and morphed into him prior to the battle.
  • Parodied in Another Period. Beatrice and Fredrick try to take the bullet for each other... but neither get shot. President Roosevelt gets shot.
  • The A-Team: Howlin' Mad Murdock jumps in front of a mook trying to shoot Hannibal in Season 2's "Curtain Call".
  • Babylon 5
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    • "Into the Fire", Season 4 Episode 6: Happens with two coalition ships (one Drazi and the other a full-on Minbari cruiser) taking missiles meant for the White Star (well, really meant for Sheridan, Delenn, and Lorien; not that a missile would do much to Lorien). This immediately after the Vorlons and Shadows bragged about how the other races would fall in line. Oops.
    • Delenn twice surrendered her life to fate to protect Sheridan. Once by asking a Vorlon inquisitor to kill her instead and again walking into a thrown knife.
    • Make that three times — when he temporarily returns to his proper time frame after becoming Unstuck in Time, she gives him her time stabiliser, becoming lost in his place.
  • Bones :
    • Near the end of Season 3, Booth steps in front of a bullet meant for Brennan. We get the tearful pleading to hang on and not leave, but it's worth noting that first, Brennan grabs Booth's gun and shoots the attacker dead, in the throat.
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    • Season 11’s “The Doom in the Boom” has a bomb variant. Aubrey realizes a body has a bomb inside. He yells at everyone to run, then he runs, grabbing Hodgins and throwing him to the ground before jumping on top of him. Hodgins later ends up paralyzed, but Aubrey is riddled with shrapnel and nearly dies.
  • In the Grand Finale of Breaking Bad, Walter White has an M60 in the trunk of his car that he is set to activate to kill off former Neo-Nazi business partners. He also has every intention of killing former protege Jesse Pinkman, until seeing what they had done to him brings a change of heart. He tackles Jesse to the ground to distract the others and then activates the gun while shielding Jesse's body, taking a hit that eventually kills him.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In the Alternate Reality Episode "The Wish", Angel throws himself in the path of Vampire!Xander as he's about to stab Buffy with a crossbow bolt. As Wishverse!Buffy is a cold-blooded killer without loved ones of any kind she just walks through Angel's dust to stake Xander without even changing expression.
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    • When an assassin starts shooting inside Sunnydale High, Oz pushes Willow out of the way and gets shot in the arm himself. Luckily it's just a scrape, and eventually leads to their relationship.
  • In the Korean Drama The City Hunter, Kim Na Na makes a Diving Save to protect Yoon Sung, ending up with the bullet in her shoulder.
  • CSI has Ecklie do this, pushing himself in between his daughter Morgan and a drive-by shooting. However, this could or could not be an example, because it's unclear whether he was the target or her.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Stella's mentor and father figure shields her with his body from a gunfight between his brother and Mac. He's fatally shot, while Stella's uninjured.
    • Also done when the characters are all in a bar that's shot up. Danny was sitting nearest the window, but the other main contributing factor to his being shot in the back was that he threw himself over his wife, Lindsay, to protect her from the flying bullets.
  • Omen of Dark Oracle, a reformed villain, jumped in front of a magical blast that was aimed at Cally in the Grand Finale, getting himself erased from existence for his trouble.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "Hear the Angels Sing", Munro sees a gunman in a car aiming at Lucien and pushes Lucien out of the way; taking the bullet intended for Lucien.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In the Firefly episode "Jaynestown", a character in the town of Canton takes a shotgun blast meant for Jayne, whom the town has idolized as their hero. In a twist, Jayne tells him it was a stupid thing to do, and fully means it. It's interesting that Jayne is so clearly troubled by this, given that he's been shown to be an amoral son of a bitch in previous and subsequent episodes. His distress is evidently because the man died for someone like him. Due to how troubled he was by it, his method of dealing with the one who pulled the trigger (an old partner no less) is especially brutal.
  • In The Flash (1990) episode "Twin Streaks", when the scientist who created Pollux attempted to kill Barry Allen by shooting him, Pollux leaps in front of Barry to take the bullet so that it would kill him instead of Barry.
  • In the pilot episode of Earth: Final Conflict, the wealthy enterpreneur Jonathan Doors jumps in front of a sniper's bullet meant for the Taelon ambassador Da'an. He's pronounced dead at the scene, and the shooter escapes. Halfway through the episode, the season's protagonist William Boone discovers that Doors faked his own death in order to lead La Résistance against the Taelons. The shooter and the doctor who confirmed his death are working for him. Later on, we find out that the Taelons are, in fact, Energy Beings and can't be harmed with bullets.
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "Bullets Over Bel Air", Will takes a bullet for Carlton after the two are caught in an attempted mugging. Will ends up using this to force Carlton to give up the gun he purchased.
  • Played with in Friends, when Joey appears to try to do this for Ross when the boys mistake the sound of a car backfiring for a gunshot. Turns out he was actually trying to save his sandwich, which was right next to Ross.
  • In the third season episode of Glee, "Michael", Blaine shoves his boyfriend, Kurt, out of the way of a slushy being thrown by his Smug Snake Stalker with a Crush to keep him from being humiliated. (Little did he know he was also saving him from taking rock salt to the eye).
  • In the series finale of Hannibal, the titular character knows that Dolarhyde, aka the Red Dragon, is standing right behind him, but he purposely stays in front of the window to shield Will from being shot. Hannibal ends up taking a bullet to the stomach, although that doesn't stop him from charging back into the fight to defend Will.
  • Heroes:
    • DL takes a bullet for Niki. Sort of.
    • Claire does this in the episode "Trust and Blood" when she shields Matt and Daphne from Danko's goons after Daphne is shot. Of course, Claire can regenerate.
  • In the Season 2 finale of Highlander, Richie shields Joe from a drive-by shooting. Being an Immortal, Richie got better.
  • In the first episode of Highlander The Raven, police officer Claudia Hoffman does this for Amanda, not knowing Amanda is Immortal.
  • In the season six finale of Homicide: Life on the Street, during a shoot-out, Bayliss ends up taking a bullet for Pembleton after the latter freezes in the middle of firing at an armed suspect. The heartbreak and guilt he feels from causing his partner/best friend/ only friend's resulting injuries that leaves him in a coma (especially since he spent years rebuffing Bayliss' attempts at friendship) drives Pembleton to quit the force.
  • Joy, in House of Anubis, ends up taking a lightning bolt for Fabian that Nina (possessed by Senkhara) hurled, nearly dying in the process. This one action was a big help in getting her Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • In The Invisible Man, the protagonist's brother pushes him out of the way of a gunman (they're running side by side at the time) and takes a full spray of machine gun bullets in the chest. Obviously, he doesn't make it.
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, this is part of Fin's backstory: his partner took a bullet that was meant for him. The details are eventually explained: Fin was undercover for Narcotics and his cover was apparently blown; the drug dealer was going to execute him, but his partner, Luis, threw his own body on the gun, sustaining two non-fatal but career-ending injuries. The episode in which this is revealed suggests that Fin has never fully forgiven himself for Luis' fate.
  • In the Series 5 finale of Law & Order: UK, "Deal", DS Matt Devlin takes several bullets for friend/colleague Alesha and Kaden (the young man he was about to escort into Witness Protection.) He doesn't execute the purest form of the trope; instead, he pushes both them down/out of the way first, resulting in no time to duck himself. We are told in the beginning of the next episode that he took two bullets directly to the chest, dying of his wounds off-screen. The person giving us this information, his partner Ronnie, expresses regret that he was not able to get to Matt in time to do this for him.
  • Legend of the Seeker:
    • Panis Rahl does it to save Zedd from a thrown Dacra. He's the previous Lord of D'Hara, who has learned the error of his ways. Also, he killed Zedd's father, after the latter plotted to have his infant son Darken killed.
    • In another episode, temporary-replacement Seeker Leo dives in front of a lightning bolt meant for Kahlan and is killed.
  • In the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Compromised", Obsidian teleports in front of Amaya and takes a bullet meant for her. He survives.
  • In the Merlin (2008) episode "The Disir", Mordred jumps in front of Arthur to take a spear that was thrown by one of the Disir.
  • Miami Vice: The OCB's original commander, Lou Rodriguez, dies taking a bullet for Crockett early in the first season.
  • In one episode of Misfits, future Simon jumped down in front of Alisha to save her from being shot by a crazy dude as in his timeline she died.
  • In an episode of Monk, Harold takes a bullet for Dr. Kroger. Slightly subverted in that Harold decides to gloat to Monk about his action by telling him to "beat that", causing distress to Monk.
  • Handled realistically in the last episode of NCIS Season 2. Kate dives in front of Gibbs, but it's not done in slow-mo, and she yells "Shooter!", not "Nooooo!" She is hit in the chest but is unhurt because she's wearing a vest. She stands up, the team congratulates her and then she gets promptly sniped in the head by Ari, the main recurring bad guy for that Season.
    • In the episode "Seek", Dex the bomb-sniffing dog does this for Gibbs, simultaneously avenging his handler who was murdered in the opening sequence. he has a much better outcome than Kate, recovering from his injuries.
  • Oz. Kareem Said's life is saved when one of his Muslim followers throws himself in front of a knife wielded by a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Ironically that same inmate had joined the Muslims to kill Said, but ended up converting to Islam for real. Likewise Augustus Hill takes a blade meant for surrogate father Burr Redding. These acts cause both characters to suffer a Heroic BSoD.
  • During the climax of one episode of Person of Interest, Detective Fusco dives in front of a bullet to save the life of the POI of the Week. But the Heroic Sacrifice part is subverted: the bullet hits him in the rear, and he's basically fine (gets taken to the ER by the paramedics). As they roll him into the ambulance, he says he can already hear the guys back at the station laughing at him for getting Shot in the Ass.
    • Justified in "Prophets" where Root uses God Mode (letting the Machine plot the course of the bullets) to act as a Human Shield for the Victim of the Week against an assassin who's also using God Mode. Root is firing back at the time, rather than the usual Diving Save version.
    • In "The Day the World Went Away", Root is driving a car with Finch in the passenger seat. She spots a sniper taking aim at Finch and swerves the car. Finch is fine but Root takes the bullet meant for him. She dies from her wounds.
  • The paintball version (including a parody of the Pietà Plagiarism scene) also occurs during an MI-5 training exercise in the spy comedy The Piglet Files.
  • Alia, the "Evil Leaper" of Quantum Leap completes her redemption by throwing Sam to the ground before the also-Leaped Zoey can shoot him. She Leaps just as the shotgun blast hits her. It's never explicitly stated that she survives, but most fans assume so.
  • In the Sanctuary episode "Hero II: Broken Arrow", Walter makes the whole diving save to protect Kate (and the living superhero suit she's wearing) from an energy bolt coming from an Ultraviolet Gun.
  • In the "correct" timeline in the Sapphire and Steel story "Assignment Five", Dr. McDee died this way when his adulturous lover tried to shoot his wife.
  • Not as serious as an actual bullet, but the scene itself was very traumatic for Seira in the Japanese drama Shōkōjo Seira. After losing heart and begging down on her knees in front of the Alpha Bitch, Maria decides it would be funny if they started throwing tomatoes at the despairing Seira. She then bullies the rest of the class to do so, including Seira's close friend Masami. When Masami reluctantly was about to do it, Kaito the servant boy runs in and shields Seira, getting hit instead.
  • In an episode of Sliders that first shows that Anyone Can Die in this series, the following season's Big Bad extracts a chemical he needs to survive from Professor Arturo's neck, rendering him half-conscious. He then plans to shoot Quinn, Arturo's brilliant student, only for Arturo to step in front of him. As this Earth is about to be destroyed by pulsars, they end up having to leave Arturo's body behind to be incinerated with everything else. Interestingly, they never encounter any other double of Arturo, presumably because John Rhys-Davies left the show for good.
  • Smallville:
    • Clark Kent, whenever he isn't catching the bullet, instead takes it in the chest or back.
    • An unusual example in "Pariah": Alicia (who is not bulletproof) takes a (normal) bullet for Clark because she promised to always keep his secret.
    • In the episode "Stiletto" Clark takes the bullet for Lois. This is an especially heroic move, since he's surrounded by kryptonite and so the bullet actually hurts and wounds him.
  • Spaced: Mike takes a paintball pellet for Tim, complete with side dive and long "Noooooo". The parody also includes the fact that Mike was a good twenty feet away and loudly announced his presence, making it seem like the shooter was willing to patiently wait while Mike ran in the way of the shot. And Mike starts coughing up paint. (Because he'd been eating paintballs.)
  • In the first season finale of Space Cases, Bova jumps in front of a (harmless to him) Lightning Gun blast meant for the ladies, before retaliating with his own electricity powers.
  • In Spin City, Mike has to deal with endless flack when TV footage shows him running away from the Mayor during a shooting. Subverted in that the shooting was simply balloons popping and Mike was actually rushing to shield Nikki with his own body.
  • Stargate SG-1: In the second episode of Season 7, Jonas Quinn takes a staff weapon blast aimed at Daniel Jackson, expiating for having caused Jackson's death (and ascension) at the end of Season 5. He survives, though.
  • Happens in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the episode "The Siege" when Li Nalas takes a phaser shot aimed at Sisko..
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Apple", Spock pushes Kirk out of the way of some lethally poisonous thorns and takes them in the chest in his stead. Luckily, it turns out that the toxin isn't all that harmful to Vulcans, and Spock claims to be in more distress from the antitoxin McCoy gave him before he woke up.
    • In "The Conscience of the King", Anton Karidian/Kodos's daughter, Lenore, grabs a phaser while revealing that she killed the seven witnesses and later attempted to kill Riley and Kirk in order to protect her father. She then tries to shoot Kirk, but Karidian, wracked with guilt over everything that's happened, takes the phaser shot to save Kirk.
  • In The Strange Calls, Banks and Gregor are trying to escape being held hostage by a guy with a serum to turn people into trees. Banks makes a sudden move and their captor turns the spray on him, but Gregor jumps forward and takes the brunt of it instead, developing a painful rash that threatens to turn him into a tree.
  • The Vampire Diaries, Damon does this for Elena in 02x03 then tries to deny this is because he cares about her. Of course, he's a vampire and has a Healing Factor.
  • This happens in The Wrong Mans after a case of Dragon Their Feet puts Phil in danger. Sam jumps in front of him and takes a bullet to the arm, the police gun down the dying criminal and all appears well... and it turns out Phil had a bulletproof vest, which Sam laments not knowing.
  • The X-Files, "Monday". The girlfriend of a bank robber saves Mulder's life this way. Her death breaks the "Groundhog Day" Loop in which they are all trapped.


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