Follow TV Tropes


Wounded Gazelle Gambit / Live-Action TV

Go To

Wounded Gazelle Gambits in live-action TV.

  • 30 Rock: In a Shout-Out to The Silence of the Lambs and Real Life examples mentioned, Liz Lemon warns her naïve cousin not to help anyone move a couch into a van, "because that's definitely a serial killer."
  • In the Airwolf episode, "The Truth About Holly" it turns out that Dominic's niece was pulling this scheme, trying to set up the so-abusive boyfriend gets the blame.
  • Advertisement:
  • Tristan from All Creatures Great and Small isn't above playing up his injuries to gain sympathy from a young lady, or to score a free drink. He exaggerates the difficulties of his work so that the crusty farmers will coddle him and, yes, give him a beer or other alcoholic beverage afterwards. The first time we see this, he's leaning exhausted against the sympathetic farmer, looking completely drained. Then, when the farmer's not looking, he smiles and winks at James.note 
  • Alta Mar: How Sofia convinces Eva and Carolina to help her stowaway onto the ship.
  • Bad to the Bone (often mistaken for a Lifetime Movie of the Week, since it has all the earmarks): Kristy Swanson plays Frankie Wells, a seriously messed-up high-school graduate who falls back on this trope again and again, along with employing a bit of the Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful! ploy. First she kills her mother so that she and her younger brother Danny can get their hands on their inheritance early; she then cries upon seeing her mother's corpse so that everyone will think she has just found out about the killing. Following the murder (which officially goes unsolved), Frankie and Danny move in with Frankie's latest boyfriend, who owns an upscale nightclub downtown. Frankie wants that nightclub, and she wants it now, so she decides to kill the boyfriend - but wouldn't it be convenient to have a fall guy? She sets into motion a scheme to turn Danny into someone just as ruthless as she is. While Danny is out of the room, Frankie starts up a trivial argument with the boyfriend and baits him into getting physical by giving him a shove. The guy shoves back - just as Danny is entering the room. Now, it's important to understand that Danny remembers seeing his sister get abused when they were little note , but he had never intervened for fear of being abused himself. So when he sees the altercation, a combination of longstanding guilt and the old-fashioned Big Brother Instinct (he's actually a little brother, but no matter) gives him the nerve to attack the boyfriend. Frankie then quickly breaks up the fight - but she has now poisoned her brother against the rich man, and it will only take a little more prodding to persuade Danny to shoot him, which he does. Later, after Frankie and Danny are arrested for the murder of the rich boyfriend and Frankie jumps bail and assumes a false identity, she cries again when she tells one of her male companions that she saw her brother fall to his death when they were kids - and when the man tries to comfort her, she immediately stops crying and admits that she made the story up just to mess with him. In the very last scene, Frankie is finally caught by the police and pretends to be The Ditz in the hope that the arresting officer will take pity on her and let her go. It doesn't work.
  • Advertisement:
  • Battlestar Galactica. Baltar's lawyer Romo Lampkin is nearly killed by a bomb blast in "The Son Also Rises". In the following episode we see him limping around with the aid of a cane during Baltar's trial. After the trial is over, Romo leaves the cane with Lee and walks off normally.
  • In Being Human, Kirby uses this to turn Annie against Hal (who is the only one who suspects his murderous nature). Kirby baits Hal, and then teleports into baby Eve's bedroom. Hal panics and breaks into the room. Annie arrives at this point, to find Hal in full-on vampire mode, with Kirby protectively cradling Eve and screaming for help.
  • Done with Annie's cousin Emily on Beverly Hills, 90210. Emily tells Annie's friends that she said a bunch of mean things about them (which wasn't true). When Annie calls her on this, Emily pretends to cry in front Annie's friends (who of course, side with Emily). Emily also trashes her own dressing room at the internship Annie works at and makes it look like Annie did it. The result? Emily is believed to be the victim and Annie is fired. Annie eventually gets her back by tricking Emily into bragging about what she did with Annie's friends in earshot.
  • Advertisement:
  • On Blade: The Series, Blade and vampire ally Krista conspire to get Krista to win the trust of vampire lord Marcus by delivering a rare artifact. When Blade says there's no way Marcus will believe a newbie vampire like Krista got away from a ruthless vampire hunter without a scratch, she sighs "I know." When Marcus arrives at his office, he finds Krista with the artifact...and minus both her right hand and one eye (as a vampire, she does grow each back). Considering this is Blade, Marcus just thinks she got off lucky.
  • On Boy Meets World, when Eric becomes suspicious that Jack's girlfriend Millie has evil intentions, she pretends he forcibly tried to kiss her in order to turn Jack against him.
  • Burn Notice:
    • The show talks about a variant of this, calling it "Double Blackmail," where the blackmailer will make it look like they are being blackmailed as well, so that the mark is more trusting. It is referred to as being "Older than the Pyramids".
    • In Season 3, Michael comments that injuries can help with cover stories, and hurts himself a few times. Playing on her knowledge of Michael's childhood,Evelyn pretends to be a battered wife in Season 1 so that Michael will help her track down the man she has been hired to kill.
  • Cannon: In "Pilot", a woman fakes being attacked and raped by Cannon to drive her jealous husband - who is a police lieutenant - into a murderous rage so he will kill Cannon.
  • Cheers:
    • Coach used to use this as a way to score dates, getting himself injured (either on the baseball field or by just throwing himself down stairs) so women would take him out from pity.
    • Used by Diane in "Chambers Vs. Malone". After she emotionally strong-arms Sam into proposing to her, then refuses yet again, he gets enraged and she flees. Then Sam is taken to court for allegedly assaulting her, bad enough she needs a neck-brace and cane (actually, Diane had just tripped and fallen over. Sam had given up chasing her almost immediately after she'd got out the bar). Diane manages to get it so that Sam is spared being sent to jail if he proposes to her in the way she wants. Once Sam does so, Diane reveals she was playing up her injuries tremendously.
  • Cloak & Dagger (2018): Invoked by Tandy when Tyrone complains that as a black teenager he cannot just walk into the police station and observe what the cops are doing. Tandy suggests that he pretend to be a victim of a crime and thus have a valid reason to be in the police station. Tyrone makes it look like his bike was stolen so he is seated in the middle of the station and has plenty of time to observe things before a police officer has time to take his statement.
  • Cold Case: A Serial Killer the team has arrested reveals that he lured his latest victim in with this. First by claiming to have car trouble, then by saying that he's in a hurry to get home and bring his pregnant wife the food she's craving, and that his phone won't work. Then he pretends to recognize her from work and subtly manages to make her feel guilty for not doing the same, citing the disparity in their positions (she's a lawyer while he claims to be a paralegal) and their looks (she's pretty, he's average). Thoroughly roped in, she not only loans him her phone so that he can call a car service, she gets into the car-at his request, but of her own volition-to try and start it. She's taken prisoner within seconds.
  • Rosie Webster attempted to pull this off in Coronation Street against John Stape. The man once kept her prisoner in an attic for a few weeks but at this point he was trying to make amends while she was trying to force money out of him. When he wouldn't give her the money, she ran out of the cafe screaming that he tried to attack her. However she's easily caught out when she says the cafe door had been locked when it can't be locked from the inside.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • One unsub disguised herself as a battered wife when she was actually the dominant spouse who got her husband to commit the rapes and murders.
    • A particularly bitchy UnSub tries this in one episode. She is actually the leader of a sex trafficking operation, but posed as a victim. She tries to convince Rossi that the men were in charge of the operation and she was just your average run-of-the-mill victim. As soon as the charade falls through, she tries to kill him, and is immediately killed for her trouble.
    • There was also the case of a teenaged girl who murdered her mother then a year later murdered her sister and tried to blame the whole thing on her father, who was a drunk with multiple personalities. The girl set it up so that it appeared that she was an abuse victim who was almost killed and was traumatized by her sister's murder. She actually tries to convince the team that she was a victim when trying to shoot JJ.
    • George Foyet, The Reaper, calls 911 and then stabs himself nearly to death knowing full well how to injure himself in such a way that the medical care that's already on it's way will save him. Looking like a victim of the unsub, he stays off the suspect radar for a long time.note 
    • This is frequently used by unsubs in order to lure victims. Highlights include a genuinely mentally handicapped man who played up his disability to get women to lower their guard, a man who used fake blood to convince a victim he'd been attacked and to let him into the house, and a woman who asked a man to walk her to her car because she felt she was being stalked.
    • The very first episode featured a variation of this ploy. A woman tells her neighbor that her door was open when she got home, she's probably paranoid, but could someone come with her to check it out, just in case? This is the Establishing Character Moment for Elle, who used it to get the suspect alone, because she didn't want to risk sending SWAT into his house because there were kids inside.
  • In the first episode of NBC's Crisis, Mr. Gibson allows the kidnappers to cut off one of his fingers in front of his daughter so that she won't suspect that he's in on the kidnapping.
  • CSI: In "Frame By Frame", a thief murders her partner during a break-in. When the homeowner returns, trapping her in the house, she binds and gags herself and locks herself in the vault, so she can claim the homeowner abducted her.
  • On CSI: Miami, a suspect dislocates his own shoulder in order to accuse Horatio of police brutality. Eventually the evidence proves that the injuries were indeed self-inflicted.
    • During a stop at a bar, Delko sees a man harassing his girlfriend and steps in, leading to a brief fight. The man then sues Delko for the injury and harassment. The man ends up killed and Delko meets the girlfriend, assuming the suit is over. Instead, she tells him that it's not only continuing but she's suing for more money, smirking she can insinuate this played into the man's death. At which point, Delko realizes the two were scamming him the entire time and she's just picking up where her "boyfriend" left off.
  • CSI: NY:
    • A suspect tries this by bashing his head on the interrogation room table. Mac happily points out that they can prove it was self-inflicted. Suspect sulks and asks for an aspirin...which he doesn't get.
    • One episode focuses on a double murder and the wife of the male victim shows up with glasses to cover a black eye. The killer was her brother who was seeking revenge on the man beating his sister and the other victim was just a bystander picking the wrong time to enter the cable car. However, when Lindsey takes a look at the woman's "injury," she hands over a towel, coldly telling the woman that the bruise should have faded rather than look exactly the same for a couple of days. The woman slowly rubs off the makeup, revealing she had set the entire thing up to trick her brother into killing her husband for the life insurance.
  • An episode of Deception (2018) has a woman revealing she's a spy, shooting one of her co-workers. Questioned in the hospital, he admits he and the woman were lovers but she was using him to get access to a vault. The woman turns out to be a very trained agent who nearly kills Cameron with a long-distance shot (Cameron is only saved by being in front of a special plastic screen). The woman is captured but when the man suddenly checks out of the hospital, Cameron realizes they were working together and the shooting was a distraction. As he points out, there's no way a trained sniper capable of hitting a target at 400 yards could fail to kill someone standing two feet in front of her.
  • Designated Survivor has Hannah among a group of Congressional members taken captive by rebels in Cuba. While trying to escape, she hears one captive, Cross, is secretly in league with the rebels as part of a deal for land rights. To cover, the rebel leader seems to break Cross' hand. When Hannah tells partner Aaron Shore, he's dubious at first. But when the rebels give the captives some fruit, Shore tosses an apple to Cross who easily catches it with his "broken" hand.
  • Desperate Housewives:
    • Katherine took this a step farther and actually stabbed herself in order to frame Susan because she wanted Mike back.
    • Kayla intentionally burns herself with a hair straightener, after provoking Lynette into publicly slapping her, in a bid to frame Lynette for child abuse and drive her out of Tom's life.
  • Dexter:
    • Lila has rough sex with Angel Batista and then takes a date rape drug to accuse him of rape. Earlier in the season, she torched her apartment to get sympathy from Dexter.
    • In the same season, Dexter himself uses this tactic by headbutting Doakes and walking out of a conversation held in private; successfully provoking Doakes into attacking him in front of everyone else, which leads to Doakes's suspension from the police department and definitely makes Dexter out to be an innocent victim of Doakes's animosity:
      Dexter: I own you. [BAM]
  • Doctor Who: In "Dalek", the title character does this to trick Rose into touching it, as it needs the DNA of a time traveller to restore itself. It is imprisoned in a cage and has been tortured by Henry van Statten's goons, but it's also a Dalek and is clearly exaggerating its pain to entrap her. The fact that Rose doesn't know what a Dalek is also helps.
  • Megan in Drake & Josh pulls many of these on the titular characters. Predictably, their parents automatically believe her, even when their is overtly opaque evidence that neither of the two have even laid a finger on her. Conversely, they never believe either of the two brothers when they tell them about Megan's schemes.
  • This happened on Early Edition when Chuck's bride-to-be Jade is actually an international criminal. When she and Gary are alone, he confronts her and they get into a tussle. When Chuck walks in, Jade instantly tells Chuck that Gary hit on her and she was trying to fend him off.
  • There's an episode of Everybody Hates Chris where Tonya discovered she could push Drew around by screaming, "MOM! Drew hit me!" and letting him be carried away for punishment. Of course, this backfires when her Mom catches her.
    Tonya: MOM! Drew hit me!
    Rochelle: (standing right behind her) No, he didn't.
  • The Family: Hank beats himself up to frame John for it and gain revenge on him.
  • Father Brown: A hastily improvised one occurs in "The Blood of the Anarachists". Angus, the murderer, is attempting to climb across the wall to bedroom of his intended final victim Magdalena when he falls and is badly injured. When found, he says that Magdalena pushed him; hoping to get her convicted of the other murders and hanged.
  • Played to extremely dramatic levels in the Full House Very Special Episode "Just Say No Way" when DJ openly mocks a couple of boys for their earlier comments about how supposedly "cool" alcohol is, only for them to witness Jesse enter the room right behind her at that exact moment and trick him into thinking that she's trying to manipulate them into drinking beer, not vice versa. Viewer discretion has been given.
  • Game of Thrones: In "No One", Arya pretends to be considerably more severely wounded than she actually is to catch her opponent off guard.
  • Goosebumps: In "The Haunted House Game" episode, a little girl lures older kids to the abandoned house by claiming that she lost her cat there so that they'll find and play the deadly board game. At the end of the episode she performs the same trick with another set of victims.
  • In Season 1 of Graceland, an FBI Agent's attempts to infiltrate and bring down a Russian mob in Los Angeles have hit a wall and the investigation is about to be ended because of the danger involved. She's furious about the fact because another agent she knew was almost killed investigating the Russians and she wants to bring them down hard. Then she shows up with a ton of bruises on her face and claims that the Russian boss got suspicious about her questions and beat the crap out of her. This pushes her boss' Big Brother Instinct hard, and he agrees to arrest the Russians based on the limited information they have. However, he catches on after the arrest when he sees that the Russian boss doesn't have the bruising or swelling on his hands that he should from giving her such a beating.
  • In a Grey's Anatomy episode, after Avery brings up Christina's recent burnout:
    Christina: [bent over, face in hands] I want Owen.
    Meredith: Go find him!
    [Avery runs off, Christina promptly drops the act]
    Meredith: What the hell—
    Christina: He's gonna be running around for the next hour while I sew grafts on a triple bypass. Owen's at the dentist— he'll be hard to find.
  • On Guiding Light: Driven mad by husband Josh leaving her for his ex wife Reva and further distraught over miscarrying their baby (she'd gotten pregnant in a last-ditch attempt to hang on to him) Annie kept the dead baby in her womb, lured Reva to the top of a staircase, and in full view of dozens of party guests, provoked Reva into an argument that culminated in it appearing as though Reva had pushed Annie down a flight of stairs, when in fact, Annie had thrown herself. When Annie supposedly miscarried after this, Reva was charged with manslaughter.
  • Guilt: To protect herself in jail, Grace uses a shank to stab herself so it will look like the women bullying her did it and she'll be sent to the hospital.
  • On Hawaii Five-0 a teenager is kidnapped and her father murdered. Videos indicate the killer/kidnapper is her boyfriend and that she's been showing him the abuse her father has been giving her. But looking over the tapes with a doctor, the team figure out that the girl has been faking the abuse and tricking the boy into killing her father so she could collect his million dollar life insurance policy. When they're surrounded by cops, the girl gives him a kiss and smirks before running out, screaming that the guy is going to kill her. Not realizing he's been set up, the poor sap runs after her with his gun out and is shot dead by police. The girl tries to pretend to be the victim but the team know better and arrest her. They then drop the bomb: Her father had allowed that policy to lapse so her scheme wouldn't have gotten her anything.
  • Highlander has several examples:
    • One case mixes this with a classic Batman Gambit. Suspected in a series of beheadings committed by another Immortal, MacLeod comes to this Immortal... unarmed, followed by police, and pretending not to know what the other Immortal is talking about. When the other immortal takes his sword out, the police move in. The Enemy Of The Week gets away, but MacLeod is cleared anyway.
    • Amanda isn't a stranger to pulling this.
    • Kenny uses this as his modus operandi. Being an Immortal in a 10 year old's body makes participating in the Game pretty rough. So he plays on his apparent weakness to sucker in other Immortals either for protection or to kill them while he has them off guard. Or both. He's so good at it he was even able to fool Amanda of all people.
    • Another Immortal, played by Joan Jett, used this as her Hat as well. Specifically, pretending to be a new Immortal with no knowledge of the Game to fool experienced Immortals into taking her under their protection and teaching her their fighting styles so she can later use the knowledge against them to take their heads.
  • At the beginning of season 3 of Homeland, Carrie Mathison has a major falling out with Saul Berenson after he publicly reveals that she is bipolar and had an affair with Brody, who is believed to be responsible for the bombing at Langley. She tries to go to the press to tell her side of the story, so Saul has her committed to a psych ward and has her bank accounts frozen. A lobbyist law firm then tries to recruit her, revealing in the process that their client is Javadi, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officer really responsible for the bombing. Carrie accepts their offer, insisting, however, on a face-to-face meeting with Javadi. The fourth episode ends with the revelation that this whole thing was a plot between Carrie and Saul to lure Javadi into a trap.
  • On an episode of The Inside Rebecca cornered an Enfant Terrible in her tree house and was questioning/intimidating her about the murder she had committed. When the little girl's mother called for her, she fell backwards out of the tree house, breaking her arm, and she claimed the FBI agent pushed her. No one in the agency blamed her but Melody did seem impressed that Rebecca had pulled her gun on a 10-year-old.
  • Jessie: In "Lizard Scales and Wrestling Tales", Zuri exploits this to help Ravi win the election for President of the Reptile Club. She shoves dirt in Ravi's face and rips his sleeve, then frames Ravi's competitor for tying him up and nearly feeding him to her snake. It works, although Ravi can't go through it and confesses the truth.
  • Jon & Kate Plus Eight: If you believe Jon, Kate pulled one of these when her temper flared and Jon locked her out of the house to try to get her to cool down.
  • Just Shoot Me!: Finch gets into a struggle with Kyle, his wife's friend, who's attempting to subtly woo her away from him. At one point Kyle hits himself with the lid of the toilet tank to frame Finch.
  • An episode of Law & Order investigates a case where a woman may have purposely put herself into a coma in order to frame a man who she believes got away with murdering her sister. To make matters worse, by the end of the episode, it's implied that she killed her sister or at the very least was involved in the crime, meaning this woman may have been going all out to frame a man she knew was innocent. The episode ends with the woman still in the coma, with it completely up in the air as to who was responsible for what.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has several cases, often giving horrific spins to the trope.
    • A rich woman is going through a horrible divorce from her sports star husband, then at some point she has sex with her handsome divorce lawyer and uses this to falsely accuse her husband of raping and beating her, getting everyone's sympathies and effectively ruining her ex-husband's reputation. (The only one who is suspicious is Stabler, who's going through a divorce himself.) The ex-husband snaps so violently at the fake accusation that he sets his abusive ex-wife on fire. And then, it gets worse. Even on her deathbed, confronted by Olivia with the truth, she still accuses her ex-husband of a crime he didn't commit, effectively ruining the lives of herself, the ex-husband, and most tragically, their daughter... All so she could "win" a divorce settlement. (Olivia only learns the truth when she speaks to the lawyer by fluke, and then is horrified at how far the woman went.)
    • Another episode involved a young woman enticing the least creepy guy on the sex offenders' online registry (he was 19, his girlfriend was 17, and her parents did not approve) into a hotel room for sex during a convention and had her friends beat her up, faking evidence of a brutal rape complete with perp, so her family could sue the hotel for allowing some random rapist into the premises. She plea bargained herself out of a jail sentence, but was hauled off for felony murder after the guy she framed was raped and killed in prison before he could be exonerated.
    • On two separate occasions this has been done to Det. Stabler. One has it where the wife of an abusive husband beats up said husband to blame it on Stabler; it is quickly cleared up by her son, who was fed up with how his mother kept covering up for his actions. The second has a teenage rapist shouting out in holding for Stabler to "stop touching his junk" only to calmly wave it off as a joke; it is later revealed he did so to set up Stabler on a sexual charge.
    • In another episode Olivia is again tricked by someone pulling this. A woman claims to be "stalked" and "burned" by her ex-husband, and after a confrontation with the cops he gets killed... but it turns out she burned herself and did it because she was resentful of him leaving her. Olivia fought for her the whole way, and was rewarded with the woman looking right in her eyes and saying "I sure showed him!" as she lay dying after revealing her scheme. In short, Olivia's own prejudices helped a woman kill her husband by proxy.
  • In one episode of Lie to Me, there are two interesting twists on this trope. A soldier claimed she was raped by her commanding officer. She was lying, but he did rape another soldier under his command. Eventually, the team says she was telling the truth in order to put him behind bars.
    • At another point, Lightman goes to the house of a man who he suspects is hiding his granddaughter, who is needed for this case. She's nowhere in sight, so Lightman steals the old man's cane, throws it against a table, and yells "Ow! Ow! Stop hurting me!" The woman instinctively rushes into the room, thinking her grandfather is in danger, before realizing she's been caught.
    • In "The Royal We" Megan accuses a guy of molesting her. Turns out she was doing it because she took delight in the guy going through hell. When Dr. Lightman confronts Megan, she threatens to accuse him of sexual assault if he gets in her way.
  • Used in a Little Britain sketch where Andy is jealous of Lou paying more attention to his new girlfriend than to Andy. They are in a pub and when Lou goes to the bar, Andy climbs out of his wheelchair and sprawls on the floor. As the girl stares in shock (because she didn't know he can walk) Lou returns and Andy shouts "She pushed me!"
  • A similar "fake rape" plot on the Soap Opera Loving. Determined to make the man responsible for her husband's death pay, a woman seduced him, then trashed her living room (where the sex had taken place) and banged her face against the wall to make it look as thought she'd been hit. Then, she called 911 and claimed she'd been raped.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Reese and Dewey were fighting over control of the TV. As Reese threatens to use his physical superiority to win the fight, Dewey starts screaming "Ow! Stop! It hurts! Mom, help me!" Reese, who hasn't laid a finger on him, goes wide-eyed with terror as he realizes what's going on. He doesn't have time to react though, as Lois storms into the room and drags him out by the back of his neck screaming at him. Dewey is left happily alone with the TV. Malcolm, meanwhile had been watching, and proudly states that he taught him that one.
    • Reese resorted to the ploy himself (twice!) in an episode where eldest brother Francis is visiting the Wilkerson house (spending most of his time at military school) and announces to Malcolm and Reese that he has two tickets to a Professional Wrestling event entitled "Rage In The Cage." Malcolm and Reese then spend most of the episode trying to outdo each other in currying favor with Francis so that he will be the brother given the other ticket. When this doesn't work, Reese decides to punch himself in the face repeatedly (drawing a lot of blood) and tell their mother that Malcolm beat him up so that Malcolm will be punished and prevented from going to the show; that doesn't work, either. The two younger brothers eventually realize that they've been scheming against each other for nothing when Francis decides to take a girl he likes to the wrestling event instead. At the end of the episode, Malcolm and Reese get their revenge by pulling the gambit for the second time in the episode: they steal away inside the trunk of Francis's car with ropes around their bodies and tape on their mouths, making it appear as if Francis is kidnapping them when a cop pulls him over.
    • Also done in the first episode, when a bully just grazes Stevie while he was trying to punch Malcolm. When he realizes what just happened, Stevie immediately knocks his wheel chair over, causing all the children watching to turn on the bully.
  • Melrose Place:
    • Taylor is arguing with her husband Kyle's friend Nick, who has never liked her and has just discovered that she's having an affair. When he threatens to tell her husband, Taylor, knowing her husband will soon be home, rips her blouse open and begins screaming and flailing her arms at him. Kyle runs in to see Nick apparently attacking his wife.
    • Also, when Kimberly was seeking revenge on Michael, she broke into his home while he went out for his run, trashed the place, ripped her clothes, then placed a hysterical call to 911 begging for help. When Michael returned home and found her collapsed on the floor, he leaned over to check on her, only to have the cops burst in at that moment and instantly assume that he had harmed her.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Faithful unto Death", a woman uses make-up to fake bruises and persuade her lesbian lover that her husband has been abusing her, and uses this to incite the lover into killing the husband.
  • On Misfits, Curtis's season 4 girlfriend Lola turns out to be pulling this on every man she meets for undisclosed reasons. She was an actress, and the Storm made her into a femme fatale character she was auditioning for. Eventually her arc leads to Curtis's having to kill her, another man and himself.
  • Monk:
    • In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival", a small-time hood beat himself up with a battery-stuffed sock, then meets with a detective under the guise of turning state's evidence on a drug deal in order to accuse him of brutality, thus discrediting his testimony against an old friend awaiting trial. What he wasn't told was, the mastermind behind this little plot had an extra surprise in store; another accomplice stabbed him, so it'd look like the detective was a murderer.
    • Subverted in "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend", where Captain Stottlemeyer's girlfriend Linda tries to discredit Monk and Natalie, who believe that Linda shot and killed her business partner, by telling him that Monk threatened her that he would have her arrested if she didn't sleep with him. Stottlemeyer, who has known Monk longer than Linda, immediately realizes that something is up. If anything this could be a Villain Ball moment as well, since before that, Linda stated that Stottlemeyer was completely on her side and wouldn't even hear Monk out on the theory. Once Stottlemeyer heard this story, Stottlemeyer starts to realize that Monk might be correct about Linda being a killer.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Moving Violation", a suspect is punched in the face by his father while he is in jail, and then accuses Sheriff Metzger of police brutality.
  • NCIS: New Orleans' Sebastian is abducted when a woman rushes up to him, claiming to need help for her injured husband. He leans over the guy to check on him and is promptly stun-gunned into unconsciousness.
  • In Noah's Arc, Guy tries one on Trey, cutting himself with a knife and attempting to blame it on Alex. Initially, it works.
  • In Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson's evil ex-wife Tammy Two provides a particularly and hilariously shameless attempt at the trope. After Tom shows up to expose her latest scheme to manipulate Ron with her feminine wiles, Tammy leaps up and smacks him twice. When Tom grabs her arm to stop a third hit from landing, she whines "He's attacking me Ron! Kill him!" It naturally fails to work.
  • Person of Interest: The hitman in "M.I.A." bashes his own face into a table when Fusco arresting him, to make it look he's a victim of excessive force and let go (which likely would not happen-the complaint just gets investigated by IA).
  • In a Korean drama called Plucky Woman, Se-bin pretended to be pregnant to keep up a ruse but found that the lie was too difficult to maintain. So she arranges a meeting with her ex-sister-in-law, Soon-young, on some stairs then purposely falls down, faking a miscarriage and blaming Soon-young to boot. Ooh boy Se-bin's husband blows up when he thinks Soon-young just killed his unborn child...
  • In the Power Rangers Zeo episode "The Lore of Auric", Prince Sprocket tells Auric that the Zeo Rangers are evil and have hurt him, with judicious use of Crocodile Tears to help things along, in order to dupe Auric into attacking them. Auric realizes he's been had when the Rangers protest that they serve under Zordon.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon:
    • Alpha Bitch Mio is injured when a youma attacks and is able to blame Usagi for it. The clever thing is that she actually tells the truth (sort of). Usagi helps her to safety but leaves her there (to transform into Sailor Moon), which Mio is able to paint as Usagi running off and leaving her. Of course Usagi can't tell the truth because of the masquerade.
    • Mio pulls this off again in the next episode when Minako gets suspicious of her. After a question about where she previously went to school, Mio dramatically bursts into tears and people come running making it seem as though Minako was attacking her.
  • In Quantum Leap, Sam discovers that the wife of his "brother" is another leaper. Carried away by the moment of finding a fellow leaper, when the brother/husband comes home unexpectedly they need to pretend that nothing was happening. Instead she horrifically scratches her face to claim Sam attacked her.
  • Bev Harris seems to pull one in a later episode of Roseanne: while she and David are discussing wedding plans and he shoots her ideas down she seems genuinely crushed, but when Darlene comes in to comfort her she claims "we were talking so nicely and all of a sudden he just attacked me!" Keep in mind this is David we're talking about here.
  • On Salem Mary pulls an impressive one on Cotton, prompting him to mortally wound his father.
  • In Japanese drama Shōkōjo Seira (based on A Little Princess), Dean Bitterman Mimura Chieko told a wealthy man that she was victimized by heroine Seira, claiming that Seira lies and treated her horribly when she was kind to Seira in order to gain his sympathies. Subverted in that the man knew the truth of how Seira was treated at the school and didn't fall for it one bit.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, Kirk's New Old Flame Helen Noel is discovered by a Mook while attempting to rescue him from a brainwashing device. The mook throws her to the ground, where she adopts the classic swooning-damsel pose (hand to forehead and all). When he gets closer, she kicks out with both legs and sends him into live wires, electrocuting him.
    • Kirk almost makes a career out of making the Enterprise appear to be in worse shape than it is. One notable example is in "Journey to Babel", where the ship is under attack from the Orions. Kirk orders Engineering to cut all power to engines, leaving the ship drifting. When the Orions move in for the kill, the Enterprise fires phasers and disable their ship, prompting them to self-destruct.
  • There's an episode of This Is Wonderland where Eliot has to defend a man accused of rape. It turns out that "victim" is pulling one of these, as she keeps changing her story, which is credibility-stretching enough by the start.
  • In The Umbrella Academy (2019) Harold does this, paying a group of men to hassle and attack him so Vanya will use her powers to defend him. It doesn't go quite to plan, because they get drunk beforehand and end up beating him more badly than intended, costing him an eye.
  • In V (2009), Anna invokes this trope by having her daughter and Tyler's love interest, Lisa, severely injured in order to claim that she was attacked by the Fifth Column, thereby getting Tyler to want to be near her as protection.
  • Victorious: In the episode "Stage Fighting", Jade makes it look like Tori smacked her in the face during an acting exercise, causing Tori to get detention for hitting another student.
  • Rachael Leahcar, a finalist during the first season of the Australian version of The Voice, has openly admitted to making the most out of the fact that she is blind to tug on people's heartstrings and get the Australian audience to vote for her because of her disability as much as her ability to sing. To date, no one has ever called her out for using her disability in such a cynical fashion.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: