Kill Him Already

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The battle is over. The Hero stands victorious over the very clearly defeated but still very-much-alive villain, their weapon, be it a sword or a gun, held threateningly over his head. There's the Dramatic Pause.

This trope is a Stock Phrase, usually spoken by one (or more) of the hero's teammates when they believe that he is going to let the villain go—they burst out in cries of, "What are you waiting for? Shoot him! Finish him off! Kill Him Already!" This is especially likely if the villain has taken advantage of such hesitation in the past or has used Hannibal Lecture as a means to defeat enemies who have weapons drawn on them.

It doesn't even have to be bystanders telling the hero to Kill Him Already. It could be a particularly noble hostage telling him to Go Through Me if he has to but not let the bad guy get away with it. It could be the villain himself, realizing that if this is the end, at least he can get a satisfying Not So Different moment out of it. It's usually the speaker that determines whether the point of the situation is about the courage to do the right thing under pressure or the courage to do something unpleasant but absolutely necessary.

When The Hero objects to the situation, it's Get It Over With. Sometimes the villain will attempt to goad him into it by daring him to Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred.

Compare Finish Him!, where a superior orders it without its being necessary, or unpleasant to the superior at least, Kill Us Both, where one good guy is just barely restraining the villain and tells his teammates to kill them both rather than let the villain escape, and Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?, where it's the villains that don't take the direct approach in offing the hero when the opportunity arises. Opposite of If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Kill Him Already include:

Anime and Manga

  • This is Legato's ultimate goal in Trigun, and in the end he succeeds in getting Vash to pull the trigger. He really, really deserved it by that point, though.
    • There are MANY examples of this trope over the course of the show, due to Vash's strict humanitarian pacifism compared to the morally questionable natures of most of the side characters.
  • When Soichiro Yagami finally catches Mello in Death Note, he threatens to write his name in the Death Note because he knows his real name is Mihael Keehl through the Shinigami Eyes. Mello then asks him if he's ever killed a person, causing him to hesitate to kill him, and he already wrote his first name. Light Yagami proceeds to tell him to kill him already, but it's no use. He even tells his dad to write down the last name on his death bed.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Seto Kaiba threatens to commit suicide if Yugi Mutou wins their duel, and Yami Yugi presses Yugi to go through with his move. (The English dub attempts to make this less clear.)
  • Son Goku from Dragon Ball is always shown as willing to spare his enemies, even against all reason and the pleas of his friends to finish them off. For example, he convinced Kuririn not to kill Vegeta when he was defeated.
    • On the other hand he pulled a Kill Him Already when Gohan went mad and started toying with Perfect Cell.
    • Oddly enough, Goku had no such reluctance to kill when he was a child. He killed Demon King Piccolo without hesitation (and in, by Dragonball standards, relatively gruesome fashion at that), and pretty much single-handedly wiped out the Red Ribbon Army. But for whatever reason he changed his ways as an adult, Goku benefitted from letting his enemies live, because several of them became his allies afterward.
  • In Sailor Moon R, Berthier, one of the creepiest and most sadistic villains in the series, told the heroes to "Just finish her off" after she had been defeated. When they didn't, she reformed.
  • Monster has a rather interesting example: Johan is actively trying to get Tenma to shoot him, and to really warm him up to the idea, he points his gun at a small boy to demonstrate what will happen if he is not shot.
    • This is actually very much like the Trigun example above, since both are cases of the villain trying to push our hero to commit an act that shatters their pacifistic idealism. Except Tenma doesn't shoot Johan. The boy's drunk, loser father does and Tenma repudiates Johan's philosophy by saving Johan's life again.
  • A variant of this appears in Legend of Galactic Heroes. At the battle of Vermillion, Yang finally manages to break through Reinhart's defenses and scatter his fleet, bringing Reinhart's flagship within range of his guns. The battle looks won... And at that moment, orders come from The Federation's government for Yang to stand down and lay down arms. While Yang considers what to do with these orders, Schenkopf utters that they should just Kill Him Already. Yang does not listen.
  • A meta example: Some fans really wanted Naruto to give Pain the ass-beating he deserves and even wanted him to kill Pain despite the theme the fight was trying to convey.
    • It does not help that before and during the fight, Pain crossed the line a few times by killing or injuring several Ensemble Darkhorses and blowing up Konoha.
    • Every character aside from Naruto says this about Sasuke at this point.
  • You will often feel this way reading Gantz. Even characters from the hero team like Kouki Inaba are fitted into this trope.


  • When Invincible gets the villain that caused global invasion of his Alternate Universe Evil Twins, that destroyed most of World's cities and killed many people his younger brother started yell to kill the guy, saying that if Mark did it before, nothing of this would ever happen.
    • Mark soon decides that his brother is right, though the most important of the villains that he thought he killed turned out to still be alive.
  • In Astro City, during the "Dark Ages" story arc, a mortally wounded Black Velvet is uncontrollably releasing a Hate Plague across the city. She begs the Silver Agent to stop it by killing her.

Silver Agent: "I can ease your pain. Take it away. Do you want me to do that?"
Black Velvet: "W-will I... live through it?"
Silver Agent: "I'm sorry. That, I can't do."
Black Velvet: "G-good... Do it. Please. Now."


  • The Film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has Voldemort do this during Harry's confrontation with Bellatrix after she kills Sirius, to up the Not So Different drama.
  • In Full Metal Jacket, the female Viet Cong sniper has killed three members of the protagonists squad when they finally manage to mortally wound her. The general consensus headed by the 'tough guy' and second in command of the squad is to leave her for the rats. The protagonist insists on finishing her off.
  • The Italian dud Ator The Blade Master ("Cave Dwellers" on Mystery Science Theater 3000) featured this at the end of the climactic duel, complete with long preening speech about not being "barbarians". Of course, the kicker is that the hero almost gets knifed in the back as soon as he turns it.
  • John Ryder, the villain from the film The Hitcher bases all of his gruesome actions in the film on getting the protagonist to kill him.
    • To be fair; Ryder is a bitch to kill.
  • Jon Doe of Se7en incites one of the cops to kill him and thus complete his scheme: "Become vengeance, David. Become Wrath."
  • Played both ways in Rush Hour 2 (in the same scene, no less), with Inspector Lee holding Ricky Tan at gunpoint, with Inspector Carter looking on.

Ricky Tan: Would you like me to tell you how your father died?
Lee cocks gun
Carter: Whoa, now, Lee. He ain't worth it, man. He tryin' to mess with you. Don't do it.
Ricky Tan: He never begged for his life, or tried to make a deal.
Carter: Put the gun down, Lee.
Ricky Tan: All he asked for, seconds before I pulled the trigger, was that I promised not to kill you. Oh, it was so pathetic.
Carter: Aw, hell no, he done gone too far. You better shoot his ass, Lee, shoot his ass!

  • In Transformers: The Movie (the animated film from the '80s, not the mostly live-action film from 2007), when Optimus Prime appears to have Megatron at his mercy, Kup shouts "Finish him off, Prime! Do it now!" Of course, Prime doesn't. Though not because he doesn't want to...
  • Parodied in Loaded Weapon 1 when Mr. Jigsaw takes Wes Luger hostage. With Luger screaming "Shoot him!", Colt suddenly starts to convulse. The scene then flashes back several years when Colt is frozen with terror while his old partner screams "Shoot him!" while being held hostage by...a mime pointing his fingers like a gun.
  • Played straight in the first Darkman movie, when Darkman was holding Strack (the evil exec) over the edge of the building, looking like he would drop him to his death, the following exchange occurs. Made even better because Strack was acting all genre savvy, assuming the hero will never do something as straightforward as this:

Strack: Go ahead. Do it. Do it, Westlake.
But think of this... you let me die, and you become as bad as
me. Worse. You can't. I know you too well. Dropping me
is not really an option for you. It's not something you could
live with.
Westlake (Darkman):(drops him and looks down as Strack
falls) I'm learning to live with a lot of things.

Folk Lore

  • This is Older Than Dirt, dating back to The Epic of Gilgamesh: After Gilgamesh defeats the cedar forest guardian Humbaba and has him at the proverbial knife-point, Humbaba begs for mercy. Gilgamesh seems ready to grant it, but his best friend and Worthy Opponent Enkidu convinces him (eventually) to finish what he started.

Live Action TV

  • On Farscape, after they enact a daring rescue of the bad guy to make sure he hasn't told the even-worse-guys wormhole secrets, Crichton tells Aeryn to kill him so they can go. She reacts badly. "Oh, you want me to kill him?!" "Well, I'm not the assassin, am I?" Scorpius watches with interest as they quarrel completely pointlessly.
  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit uses the Hostage Situation scenario in the episode "Fault," when the perp uses Elliot as a Human Shield in a stand-off against Olivia. Having realized earlier this episode that he and Olivia care more about each other than their duty, Elliot repeatedly tells Olivia, "Shoot him! Don't make the same mistake I made. Pull the trigger. Olivia, pull it!"
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark??: In The Tale of Cutter's Treasure, after Russ Keegan saves his little brother from the ghost of pirate Jonas Cutter, Dr. Vink instructs to complete the prophecy and stab Cutter with the magic dagger. Cutter encourages the hesitant Russ to do the same. At the last minute, he remembers the riddle from the ghost of his grandfather and realizes this is all an Evil Plan because if he completes the prophecy, Cutter's spirit will be released from an eternity of guarding his now-useless treasure.
  • Plenty of duels in Highlander the Series end with the defeated Immortal telling Duncan "Just do it, Highlander." And Duncan does it.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, Teyla herself delivers almost this exact line to the clone of Carson Beckett trying to convince him to shoot Michael. Unfortunately, as Michael had created this clone, he had made sure he was capable of controlling his creation, and Beckett couldn't actually shoot him.
  • Michael got a lot of this during season 3 of Burn Notice, mostly with regards to Larry and Gilroy.
    • This is Fiona's suggested solution to basically everything. Ironically, she and Sam are both genuinely surprised when Michael agrees they should do this to Gilroy's boss once he shows himself.

Sam: It's that kinda thing?
Michael:'s definitely that kinda thing.

  • Boardwalk Empire: Eli says this about his brother Nucky—he doesn't mean literally at that moment, though; he is impatient about the others' squabbling over what to do about him (politically speaking) and exasperatedly exclaims "Just kill him!" It's ice-cold.


  • Hamlet. Hamlet talks about killing Claudius to avenge his father but never goes through with it until the end, which leads the audience to shout this sometimes.
    • Justified when he actually does catch Claudius and is preparing to backstab him: Claudius just finished praying for forgiveness, which would mean that his soul would go to Heaven and make the revenge more of a reward. Hamlet decides to back off and wait for him to sin again so that he has no escape.
  • Gratiano does this in The Merchant of Venice after the tables are turned and Antonio has Shylock at his mercy: "A halter gratis! Nothing else, for God's sake!"

Video Games

  • Subverted in Mass Effect, in a mission where you defeat the leader of a gang in his own saloon. If your party includes the Krogan mercenary Wrex, he will insist on just killing the leader, before interrogation. You will interrogate him, but if you choose to spare his life, Wrex will just go ahead and shoot him anyway (though it's more of a "BOOMSHOTGUNNED" than a single shot to the head), explaining he doesn't leave his jobs unfinished (he was hired by another to kill the leader).
    • Garrus is also an advocate of killing enemies rather than giving them a chance to escape justice; the game's Dialogue Trees and Karma Meter allow the player to either agree with him or gradually talk him around to a different point of view.
      • Mass Effect gives the player quite a few opportunities to dispense with the talk and gun down defeated enemies. The best was the (renegade) end of Bring Down the Sky.
    • Shepard can invoke this trope on Peak 15. If you agreed to make a cure for Dr. Cohen and were allowed to enter the quaratined lab, you will be confronted by Alestia Ialis (the asari scientist you met earlier) who is actually an asari commando working for Benezia. Choosing the bottom dialogue option will cause the Commander to shout: "She's pointing a gun at us and surrounded by Geth; Shoot her!".
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4 Otacon wants Snake to bring Vamp down and will insist almost every time you call him during their boss fight... but Vamp's already survived 'perfectly' aimed headshots.
  • Played straight in Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, where Delta offers this recommendation to Agent Washington as the best way of dealing with chronic backstabber Agent South. Wash agrees.
  • Played with in House of the Dead: Overkill where Isaac urges G to put Jasper out of his misery, until he decides to do it himself...and is interrupted by G, who intended to do the same in the first place, and eventually finally kills him after Isaac invokes this trope again.
  • Played pretty much straight in Dragon Age Origins. After you (or any of your allies save Alistair, if you decided to pick a champion) beat Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir in a duel at the landsmeet, you have him at your mercy and need to decide if you're going to kill him for his crimes against Ferelden or let him live to potentially redeem himself as a Grey Warden. Alistair demands his head, for somewhat understandable reasons. If you choose to disregard his advice and keep Loghain as a party member, Alistair will leave the party, either to be executed by Queen Anora, to become a drunken hobo, or to become king, depending on how you handled things.
    • And in the sequel, after Anders blows up the Chantry, Sebastian demands that he be killed - though in this case, the Anti-Villain has surrendered without a fight, accepting death as deserved and expected.
  • Delivered several times in Star Wars: Jedi Knight, always by villains. The first Dark Jedi that Kyle defeats, Yun, demands this, but Kyle realizes he doesn't want to become like him and lets him go. The second time, Maw taunts Kyle and placing his father's head on a spike, and Kyle cuts him down in a fit of rage. The third time, Jerec tries the same thing, but Kyle has chosen his path as a Jedi and gives Jerec the opportunity to surrender.


Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: During Zuko's Sword Over Head moment with Zhao in the third episode, Zhao tells Zuko to, "Do it!" and then calls him a coward when he doesn't.
    • And then makes a Hypocrite out of himself when Zuko turns away after telling him that he won't kill him yet. Zhao tries to attack him and is stopped (and insulted) by Iroh.
    • A taunt repeated by his father after Zuko refuses to use the perfect opportunity of the eclipse to kill him (he respects the Avatar's right as The Only One Allowed to Defeat You). Naturally, because of Ozai's voice actor... well, Does This Remind You of Anything??
    • In between those two examples, there was a fanatical Earth Kingdom general who tried to convince Aang to just go into the Avatar State and lead an invasion of the Fire Nation already instead of taking the time to learn all four elements. Aang points out that he doesn't even know how to get into the Avatar State, and can't even control his actions once he's there. When the general forces him into it by threatening Katara, he utterly devastates the fortress out of rage. Roku comes along and explains that the Avatar State is a defense mechanism that combines the power and experience of all his past incarnations. Because of this, if he is killed in the Avatar State, the reincarnation cycle will be broken, and the Avatar entity itself will cease to exist. Aang decides at the end of the episode that it's too big of a risk to try and use the Avatar State, and resolves to stick to their original plan.
  • Batman pulls off his version in Justice League when Superman holds President Lex Luthor by the throat, and Batman quite calmly states that he's not going to stop him. In fact, he has several ideas of how to dispose of the body.
    • It's a wonderfully ambiguous scene. On the one hand, in the other world, Batman was quite quick to say " had to be done"; on the other, he does have quite a bit of faith in Superman's better nature. The question is how much of that faith remains after everything that happened that season.

Superman: Come on, Bruce, you know me.
Batman: Yeah...I do.

    • Depending on how you view the scene, this is also an example of Batman using His Gambit. He does know Superman and knows that he would regret this action, but might go too far in the heat of the moment. Batman's words make Superman think through the decision very carefully, whereupon Superman decides to back off.
  • In Transformers: Beast Wars, the ultra-pragmatic Rattrap gets impatient when Optimus Primal is giving Megatron attitude:

Rattrap: Oh, for bootin' up cold, will you just shoot him?