Murder Is the Best Solution

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Muderis3 8175.png

Crazy Mage 1: "We cannot trust anyone."
Crazy Mage 2: "Especially each other."
Crazy Mage 3: "Oh, the solution is so simple. We KILL. KILL everyone."

Crazy Mage 1: "How delightful." (everyone attacks each other)

Essentially, there is some sort of problem, and immediately someone suggests killing as the solution, despite there being multiple other, better, and more rational solutions.

Sometimes done to show that the villain really is evil, or at least Ax Crazy. Most often it's Played for Laughs. Bonus laugh points if killing makes the problems even bigger than other solutions. Either way, a clear product of the Rule of Drama... or Rule of Funny. Common with Trigger Happy characters, and when Played for Laughs by the Heroic Comedic Sociopath. Usually only a suggestion or threat, only rarely carried out. In its most extreme form, it can become a Kill'Em All solution.

What will pretty much always subvert this trope is traveling back in time to kill Hitler.

In contrast with Violence Is the Only Option, where other options aren't reasonable, when Murder Is the Best Solution there are plenty of other options, but murder and mayhem are chosen anyway. Compare with Cutting the Knot, which is essentially violence being used as an answer - though the success varies.

Compare Stating the Simple Solution or Kill Him Already, when someone else suggests murder as a more sensible alternative to, say, a Death Trap. If the target is sent on a suicide mission, or if his death is arranged to occur by the hand of a mutual enemy, it's The Uriah Gambit. May require The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much in order for the perpetrator to get away with it (though probably not for long.)

Examples of Murder Is the Best Solution include:


Serious Examples[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Millardo Peacecraft in Gundam Wing.
  • Char Aznable in Mobile Suit Gundam, and more so during Char's Counterattack.
  • Kira (Light Yagami), of Death Note. Admittedly, it was the only hammer the man had, but everything from mass murderers to interfering politicians were treated like nails.
  • In Code Geass, the Black Knights' resident propagandist Diethard Reid and Hot Scientist Rakshata suggest assassinating Suzaku once they learn that he's the pilot of the Lancelot. Most of the other Knights, including Lelouch, disagree and outvote them. This does not stop Kallen from trying to stab him next time she is at school (luckily Lelouch was able to stop her).
    • Kallen attempted to assassinate Suzaku only because Diethard lied to her that Zero wanted Suzaku dead. Needless to say, Zero had a word with Diethard after learning of this.
    • And Rolo really liked this mindset, both when working for Villetta and after defecting to Lelouch.
  • Asakura Ryoko of Suzumiya Haruhi is convinced that killing Kyon is the best solution to find out more about Haruhi. The boss of both her and Yuki is a alien-entity who only wishes to observe passively. The problem is, nothing "interesting" ever happens, so Asakura wants to force change. By killing Kyon, "change" is pretty much guaranteed. But not in the good way.
  • Elfen Lied. Especially at the end, when they go through with it without actually trying to think up any better plans..
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni's Tatarigoroshi-hen:
    • Keiichi's plan to kill Satoko's uncle to protect her.
    • This seems to be a recurring theme for the show, as Rena kills Rina and Teppei in Tsumihoroboshi-hen to protect her dad from their scam, Shion kills all the people she thought put Satoshi away (and tries to stab Keiichi, and no, she was never at the hospital) in Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen, and the overall theme of the show itself, since Takano wants Rika dead by her own hands so she can enact her plan to raze the village, before 'everybody goes crazy'. When you consider that all of these people have Hinamizawa syndrome, a disease that causes people to go Ax Crazy, it makes more sense.
    • Shion also really wants to kill Teppei in Minagoroshi, but is stopped by Keiichi. In a sound novel only arc, Shion, Rena and Keiichi team up to kill Teppei. It doesn't go so well.
    • The cast doesn't learn until Kai that No, Murder IS NOT the best solution.
  • Done on a massive scale in Gravion's backstory: In a land dispute between two planets, the rulers of one side reject Sandman's plan to use his Super Robot to build a new habitable world (or fix their old one) out of hand, and go with Hugi's plans to send an army of Robeasts and Mecha-Mooks to exterminate the people of the other planet
  • Yuno of Mirai Nikki subscribes to this trope. In her own words, "Everyone who comes between me and Yukki can just die!"
  • In One Piece, Admiral Akainu's Establishing Character Moment is to kill a ship full of innocent people because there may be an archaeologist aboard. Technically correct, as the whole reason he and other Marines were there was to ensure a secret guarded for centuries didn't get out, or it could destabilize the world.
  • Naruto: Uchiha Sasuke seems to have started working under the idea that "murdering enough people will make all my problems disappear and my desires a reality" is a viable solution.
    • To be fair, no less than three manipulative bastards have spent years of his life drilling this trope into his head. He actually killed one (though he was Not Quite Dead) and devoted his life to killing the other two, though that said all three of them really had it coming Itachi arguably didn't, but he intentionally made it look like he did. And since that was via murdering his whole family For the Greater Good, even he thought he did. It also (with a couple of hiccups) took him years to develop this mindset despite all that, as he refused to kill anyone apart from his mass murdering older brother (and, of course, Orochimaru). It took a bombshell about the "truth" of the death of his family and further manipulation from the most dangerous of those bastards to turn him out this way, and even then its still possible that he's really just Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Recently, in Bleach, Ichigo said without any evidence of second-guessing himself, "Will they go back to normal if we kill Tsukishima?" He doesn't even bother trying to find out what the man's motive is. Ginjo reluctantly agrees, even though he doesn't have a clue what Tsukishima wants either because he had Tsukishima cut him so he'd be able to get Ichigo to trust him. Ichigo's suggestion is especially shocking, because killing is something he'd previously hesitated to do with Shinigami, Arrancar, and even Hollows alike (even SOSUKE AIZEN HIMSELF). To be fair to him, what Tsukishima has done to him is... rough.
    • Byakuya's victory over Tsukishima DID return them back to normal.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Watchmen
    • For Rorschach, deadly force is more or less his first line of defense, and then there's all the people he kills because he thinks they deserve it. Mind you, he has a black and white view of morality...
    • The Comedian certainly isn't above deadly force, but he really crosses the Moral Event Horizon when he murders a Vietnamese woman after she tells him she's pregnant. She also slashes his face with a broken bottle, but he didn't shoot her while she was coming at him. He shot her after he'd been slashed, and after she'd put the bottle down in response to him pulling a gun. She was practically begging him not to shoot for a solid 15 seconds before he pulled the trigger. It wasn't an instinctive, defensive response, it was murder.
    • Ozymandias seems to solve all problems with murder. Unlike Rorschach and The Comedian, each kill is a premeditated one in cold blood intended to solve a specific problem to which there exist other solutions. It is debatable whether murder really is the best solution, but still, the list is long.
  • X-Men
    • Wolverine is known for suggesting this during X-Men strategy meetings.
    • As is Deadpool, during the few X-men strategy meetings he's been allowed into. Also, during most romantic comedies.

Deadpool: I don't get it, if he loves her, but she loves him, why doesn't he just shoot him in the %^&* #ing face and settle the debate?

    • Psylocke has been known to take her cue from Wolverine. For example, when the supposedly dead X-Men were discovered by former member Havok...

Psylocke: I dare not attempt another mindwipe but, as well, we dare not leave him loose where the Marauders can get at him.
Storm: Have we any other option?
Psylocke: Wolverine's. We kill him.

  • The current version of Blue Beetle's scarab. Without Jaime's influence, it skips straight to the homicidal, genocidal, and occasionally deicidal options.
  • 1950s EC Comics were filled with this trope played dead straight; the setup for many, many stories was the protagonist meeting a new love and deciding they have to murder their existing spouse. Sometimes it would be justified by them still wanting the spouse's money, but usually not. Divorce was more difficult in those days, because no-fault divorce didn't exist prior to 1953, so you had to show cause (usually mental illness, cruelty, or adultery) -- and if the suing spouse was thought to be condoning the cause (ie they knew and didn't file right away) or recriminating (by having their own affair, say) the divorce was barred.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the HAL 9000 computer, faced with an irreconcilable programming conflict, decides that the only way to ensure the mission's success is to kill the crew of the Discovery and complete the mission by himself.
    • This one makes slightly more sense, in that the programming conflict is from two equal and opposite commands to "tell crew vital information" and "keep vital information secret until reaching orbit". If there is no crew, the problem goes away...
  • Goodfellas has this trope in the whole movie.
  • Nearly every Coen Brothers movie begins with people of limited intelligence having a plan that ends with someone dead. And then the fun begins.
  • Works out well for everyone but the murderers in The Lady Killers.
  • Very Bad Things is "This Trope: The Movie".


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Queen of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. As the solution of every problem, no matter how minor, she instructs "off with his head". This rarely ever actually happens, though.
  • Used in World War Z. The Ukranian army is trying to process a mass of refugees who are fleeing from a zombie swarm behind them into Kiev. Since it's impossible to examine everybody and sort out the infected in time, the commanders opt to drop nerve gas on the lot of them. The infected are the only ones who stand up afterward.
  • Played straight in Spider Robinson's Variable Star, based upon an outline by Robert Heinlein. The hero protagonist, explicitly stated to be trained in avoiding combat, decides on a plan to stop the villain by getting his own friend killed to distract a (likely innocent) bodyguard long enough to kill her as well. This despite controlling the villain's FTL ship (the only remaining valuable asset of a man obsessed with greed), the man who knows how to build new ones and is the pilot, the ship itself, both of the man's daughters, and the only possible escape route for the villain, and being able to escape with all of the above simply by climbing on board the ship and taking off.
  • In Bridge of Birds, the first of Barry Hughart's novels of ancient China, Li Kao (a scholar with a "slight flaw in his character") decides that the easiest way to find the Great Root of Power in an Imperial household is to have a funeral—and that, since the need for the Great Root is rather urgent, it's best not to just wait for the occasion to arise. He does express a hope that he'll be able to find somebody who deserves to die, and the person he settles on is indeed a thoroughly nasty piece of work, but it certainly demonstrates the flaw in Li Kao's character.
  • Milla of The Seventh Tower seems a little too eager to kill Tal during their first meeting.
  • In Warrior Cats, this is generally what the majority of the characters seem to think is the best solution to everything. Oddly enough, the fans tend to agree with them. Notable in that this is never played for laughs.
  • The students in The Secret History opt to kill the one most likely to rat out their previous (accidental) murder.
  • Discworld
    • This is the preferred way of solving problems of Mr. Teatime from Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Granted, he's an assassin, but even his boss recognizes the existence of a more subtle approach.
    • In Making Money Cosmo Lavish's habit of defaulting to this when someone has Outlived Their Usefulness leads to a classic Revealing Coverup as Vetinari just follows the trail of bodies.
    • Mostly averted by the tyrannical Patrician, Lord Vetinari, who despite his reputation is more than happy to offer condemned criminals a job rather than a death. Of course, if they turn down the job....
  • The Alex Rider book series has Well-Intentioned Extremist and Big Bad of the fourth book Damian Cray, who, after petitioning and protesting against a laboratory testing its products on animals, came to realize that Murder Is the Best Solution. And it all went downhill.
  • Lord Voldemort falls afoul of this trope in Deathly Hallows. Despite knowing full well that the Elder Wand can be taken without killing its previous owner - in fact, he's met and interrogated two people who lost it and lived - he thinks the sensible solution is to kill his trusted lieutenant. Because he's evil (seriously, by DH it was like Avada Kedavra was the only spell he knew any more).
  • In Death: Hoo, boy. Since the main character is a Homicide detective, this trope comes up more often than not. For example, in Born In Death, two people named Natalie and Bick apparently discovered something big, because the villain first attempted bribery and then murdered them. Eve and Roarke point out that whoever did this made a bad move, because there are ways to handle snoopers without getting the attention of the police by murdering them.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Played with. The book Sweet Revenge has Rosemary Hershey seriously think about murdering Isabelle Flanders, only to decide against it, because she has the deaths of three people preying on her mind, and she doesn't want to have more people on her mind. The book Lethal Justice has Arden Gillespie seriously consider murdering both her partner Roland Sullivan and the woman she framed Sara Whittler or Alexis Thorne, only for both her and Roland to get drugged, incapacitated, and arrested by Alexis before she can even attempt it.
  • Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess. She punishes all criminals, and even minor nuisances, in the exact same way.
  • Corsus, general of the Witchland in E. R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, will opt for murder in a tight spot: Thus, he poisons King Rezedor of Goblinland, stabs his second-in-command Gallandus for fear of mutiny, and, finally, poisons the whole remaining elite of Witchland in an effort to save his skin. Each time, it backfires on him and leaves him off worse than before.

Music[edit | hide]

New Media[edit | hide]

  • There's a "test" that's passed around on the internet, which goes something like this:

A girl is at her mother's funeral and meets a guy. They hit it off and then he has to leave. A week later the girl kills her sister. Why?

    • The answer? She was hoping that the guy would appear at the funeral. Supposedly if you get the right answer it proves you are a sociopath. Like most Internet tests, it does not really prove much of anything.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In an episode of CSI: Miami, a groom-to-be is worried that the stripper he's been seeing will blackmail him and tells his best man to talk to her. The best man's response is to put a remote-controlled gun to the bottom of the groom's limo and shoot her. Sadly his Murder the Hypotenuse plot murdered the wrong hypotenuse...
    • Really, most of any CSI franchise would qualify.
  • A variation is or was apparently used (or so Alias claims) on psych tests in real life for those who want to work for certain parts of the US government:

Given no other choice, would you kill:
a) Your mother
b) Your father
c) Yourself

    • It's meant to gauge the applicant's attitude towards authority. It is a valid test question, but only if a proctor is giving the questions and can gauge the reaction. The answer given would most likely be ignored in a written test, which it is implied the character who took the test did.
  • In Dead Set, the survivors argue about killing (or permanently crippling) one survivor who could possibly endanger them all with his crazy escape plan.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cameron commonly advocates murdering witnesses or other threats, which is usually objected to by Sarah and John. And often enough, Cameron's recommendations turn out to be right.
    • Derek Reese is almost as bad. At one point, the family is dealing with a possible Skynet program based in the Los Angeles City Hall, and Derek advises that they just blow it up.
  • The Cigarette Smoking Man in The X-Files resorts to murder as his first option more often than not. Other members of the Syndicate occasionally chew him out for this tendency. In return he points out that they would prefer to sit around and do nothing.
  • In Charmed, there were several examples. Cole was forced to kill a landlord who knows Phoebe's secret and wanted to sell it for money. Phoebe hated him for that. But then, in a later season, Phoebe was held at gun point by Rick, a mortal, she hinted to Paige to cast a spell to make Rick look like a target of a bunch of demons. The demons killed him. Of course Paige could have orbed the gun but that was besides the point.
  • In the TV film, Conspiracy, the Wannsee Conference where the Final Solution phase of the Holocaust was devised has the Nazi discussing with coldblooded earnestness why killing the Third Reich's "undesirables" is the best means of dealing with them.
  • In the S2 finale of Robin Hood, Marian learns that the Sheriff is planning to kill King Richard. Her solution? Kill him first. Never mind that: a) up until this moment Marian has been the voice of reason; b) it has already been established that if the Sheriff dies, Prince John will destroy Nottingham; and c) the general theme of the show has been to rely on non-violent solutions to problems.
  • Law and Order pretty much wouldn't exist without this trope. In any given episode, the killer could have just gotten a divorce, stolen money rather than speeding up the inheritance, reported the blackmail to the cops, or any number of other ways to resolve their grudge with the victim of the week.
  • In an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane has gone missing and another woman, Andrea, has taken her place. Turns out she was childhood friends with Sarah Jane, up until her death. After a Deal with the Devil she switches places with Sarah Jane and Sarah Jane instead dies. When Maria figures it out Andrea makes another deal that rewrites Maria out of history. Then she tried to do it to Maria's father.
  • Although Fiona from Burn Notice often suggests that murder is the best solution, with her it is almost always played for laughs. (See the comedic examples below). Broken Pedestal Larry, on the other hand, plays this trope far more seriously and is perfectly willing to kill anyone, usually for no more reason than because it's it's easier and quicker that way.
  • One of the stories during an episode of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction? had an elderly couple who ran a diner murder homeless people that they periodically brought in so the couple could "relieve them" of their suffering.
  • In The Vampire Diaries Damon's normal reaction to anyone (besides Stefan and Elena) causing a problem is to try and kill them. Unsurprisingly this creates a lot more problems than it solves, especially because of his habit of overlooking factors like whether he's actually capable of killing them, whether anyone besides him wants them dead, whether they are actually the source of the problem, or whether they have friends who'll come looking for revenge.
  • This is the MO of a lot of the killers in Criminal Minds.
  • Seems to be the policy of Manny Horvitz from Boardwalk Empire. It doesn't matter how much of a likable Alter Kocker he comes off as, you do not want to get him angry. The cold-blooded and ruthless Jimmy has to restrain him because, as Jimmy puts it "You can't kill everyone, Manny. It's not good business."
  • Head!Amber in House swings this way occasionally.

House: How do we get him into the stress lab without Foreman's sign-off?
Amber: We could kill Foreman.
House: The lab simulates stress. What if it's not simulated?
Amber: We could tell him his girlfriend dumped him.
House: That's a tough sell. She never leaves the room for more than five minutes.
Amber: We could kill her.

  • On the BBC series Sherlock, people who consult Jim Moriarty tend to get this kind of solution. It takes a very special mind to solve a terminally ill man's inability to provide for his estranged family after he is gone by paying the man to commit random murders.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In most printed adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, the player characters are expected to solve their problems by killing the guy causing them, or at least defeating him in combat. In practice this will obviously depend on your DM.
  • The only way to cure the fourth, most deleterious stage of Disquiet in Promethean: The Created is to kill the Promethean that caused it.
    • Likewise, it's a part of every Promethean's Pilgrimage that they must create at least one new Promethean, and the only way a Galateid can do so is to use the body of a beautiful youth unmarred by injury. It's noted in text that there are only so many beautiful youths who die of accidental drownings or barbituate overdoses or gas leaks, and sometimes a Galateid has to take an active hand...
  • The Bloodlust disadvantage in GURPS is this in a nutshell.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • See also: RPGs Equal Combat.
  • Pretty much any Final Fantasy game eventually.
  • Jin Kisaragi of BlazBlue honestly thought that if he killed his brother, Ragna would pay attention to him instead of his sister. It's unknown as of yet whether Jin had planned to kill Saya as well.
  • In Mitadake High, players often come to this conclusion. The killer obviously has reached this conclusion long before the game started. Sometimes this is played straight, other times it's played for laughs.
  • Subverted in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Though in most of the game Violence Is the Only Option, there are several chapters where not fighting certain enemies will earn you a reward. In one chapter in particular, the force comes upon a building of priests that is under the grip of the enemy, which forces them to fight you. You can kill the priests, but if you get through the chapter without killing a single one, you get one of the best staves in the game. =
  • In Team Fortress 2, because friendly fire is turned off the most effective way of determining if an apparent teammate is actually a spy in disguise is to use lethal force. Particularly effective is setting them on fire. Of course, since the game is a first-person shooter where all the characters are psychopaths, violence is always the answer for everything else too.
  • In The Suffering, Doctor Killjoy theorises that Torque's insanity form was born from a subconscious belief in this trope.

Doctor Killjoy: Severe dementia is it? Or perhaps chronic melancholia? Or is it an uncontrollable urge to regress back to a form unseen in modern society, one that will allow you to set matters right in the most direct way possible? Yes, I think that's it. When all else fails, go for the easy way out, the obvious answer, the brute force solution!

  • Mass Effect 2 has Jack and Zaeed, both vastly preferring the "kill people" solution when presented with problems. Mordin and Samara play surprisingly heroic examples to a Paragon Shepard, such as if Shepard lets the batarians threatening Daniels leave calmly, or if Samara sees the problem that is Tuchanka or Omega.
  • Yuri in Tales of Vesperia. At least when it comes to bad guys, anyway.
  • The Elder Scrolls series, starting from Morrowind onwards, allows the indiscriminate player to complete most quests that would otherwise require faction relations, persuade checks, or specialized skills like picking pockets by prying the McGuffin out of someone's cold, dead hands. Justified as it prevents the game from being Unwinnable By Mistake if you manage to kill or bug out a vital quest chain NPC, but in many cases creates a massive plot shortcut. In Morrowind specifically, killing Vivec right off the bat allows you to skip forward to the final part of the plot.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The SCP Foundation is an organization that takes absolutely no chances; silencing witnesses and regularly executing D-Class personnel is routine for them. Literally, in the case of D-class personnel: all non-vital D-class personnel are slaughtered en masse at the end of each month to prevent them living long enough to escape, then replacing them with more life-term prisoners to make up the numbers (assuming they last that long). Demotion of other personnel to D-class is not uncommon either, should they mess up enough.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Question decides that he must kill Lex Luthor to prevent an Armageddon-level war from breaking out between the Justice League and the United States government, reasoning that the League's reputation could survive the actions of a crackpot like him, but would be crushed if Superman were the one to kill Luthor (since the Superman of another timeline did so and the Question believes the same thing will happen here if he doesn't do it first).

Comedic Examples[edit | hide]

Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • When Negi has a fight with Asuna in Mahou Sensei Negima, Chachazero says that Negi should probably apologize to Asuna... but since that's too much of a pain, he should just kill her instead. It comes up again later on, as Negi is a Clueless Chick Magnet, and is going to be a total Bishounen when he hits puberty. Chisame points out that "He's going to make a lot of girls cry in the future", and that it might be better for all involved if they just kill him now.
  • In Carnival Phantasm, Grail-kun is always happy to help out someone in need by providing them a useful tool. Examples include the Hero Creation Kit (a knife, so Shirou can kill the few to save the many), the Friendmaker (a knife, so Shinji can "Show [Gilgamesh] who's boss") and the Servant Strengthening Device (a knife, so Kotomine can kill Lancer and summon a better Servant).

Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Although not exactly involving intentional murder, in Team Four Star's Dragonball Z Abridged, Piccolo can be heard to say "Once again, wanton violence has solved all my problems with absolutely no negative repercussions." Cut to a news report on how the effects of Piccolo blowing up the moon will kill millions.
  • In "Berserk Abridged", this is Corkus's suggestion to every single problem, as well as his favorite hobby.
  • Shirou in The Hill of Swords has a habit of responding to every problem Louise has by offering to kill someone. Mostly played for laughs, but births some Fridge Horror when you realize that early on, he would have no problem killing anyone she asked him to, regardless of any other considerations.

Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

John: Jesus, you were gonna kill that guy!
Terminator: Of course. I'm a Terminator.
John: Listen to me very carefully, OK? You're not a Terminator anymore. All right? You got that? You just can't go around killing people!
Terminator: Why?
John: Whattaya mean, why? 'Cause you can't!
Terminator: Why?
John: Because you just can't, OK? Trust me on this.

  • Hudson Hawk. Two of Darwin and Minerva Mayflower's minions failed to keep track of Hudson Hawk.

Darwin: You two! There's nothing I hate more than failure! All you had to do was follow the Hawk. I suppose we'll just have to kill them.
Minerva: (shoots them)
Darwin: God, Minerva, I Was Just Joking!
(they dance together)

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In The Belgariad and The Malloreon, this trope is constantly Lampshaded and made fun of in the tendencies of a number of cultures to solve their problems with extreme violence. It gets to the point where certain characters among the True Companions have to be actively restrained from killing anyone who gets in their way—or even mildly annoys them. For additional hilarity, which particular characters are advocating for and against killing tends to rotate among the cast, and their choice of methods is often a source of debate. For example, Silk favors assassination, Hettar and Barak are for brutal slaughter, Mandorallen will gleefully take on entire armies by himself, and Sadi (in The Malloreon) prefers poison.
    • The Church Knights in The Elenium and The Tamuli frequently suggest "constructive Elenishism". This tends to involve swords, axes, crossbows and so forth.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Fiona from Burn Notice often suggests shooting people as a solution to practically anything. Sometimes she suggests blowing stuff up instead.
  • When Blackadder found himself attracted to his manservant Bob (actually a woman in disguise) he went to see the Wise Woman who suggested three ways to solve the problem:

1) Kill Bob
2) Kill Yourself
3) Make sure nobody ever finds out -- kill everybody in the entire world! AHAHAHAHA!!

    • Of course, if he chooses options 1 or 3, she'd be the first to go.
  • Used in the first episode of My Name Is Earl, when Joy tried to kill Earl to claim his lottery winnings, because he hadn't changed his will by then.
  • One The Kids in The Hall sketch had an alien spy who was so nervous that he would continually blow his own cover and then order the destruction of the planet that he was on.
  • Thirty Rock: After Frank offers Jenna the "psychopath test" above, she not only gets the answer right, but takes it as a piece of advice—and poisons Kenneth. She does meet the guy, but dumps him after finding out he's got a kid.
  • A humorous variant on the previously mentioned The Sarah Connor Chronicles example: Cameron discovers that James Ellison lied to the Connors about Cromartie's corpse. She immediately decides to kill him, at which point Sarah tells her she can't kill him. Cameron's response?

Cameron: But he's the only one I want to kill.

  • Seems to work for Mal in Firefly. Whenever there is an enemy threatening his crew and there seems to be no way out, he'll just shoot the guy, or kick him into the ship's engine. Also, while she was only a child at the time and it was just a game, cannibalism was River's first thought on how to survive being cut off from home in a war....
  • Community has an aborted attempt. Jeff looks longingly at some hedge clippers when Pierce learns of the secret trampoline, and starts to go for them when Troy stops him.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Played for Laughs as a group control tactic in Pokethulhu. It explicitly states that if you break the rules, the one who owns the game is permitted to kill you. (It cautions that this may be illegal, and urges you to never kill someone outside a gaming context).
  • The Computer in Paranoia executes first. The Computer does not "ask questions", it "debriefs"...and executes after. If the players aren't as naturally homicidal as RPG players are expected to be, they're usually assigned troubleshooting duty, which is summed up as: "find trouble and shoot it."

Theater[edit | hide]

  • Arsenic and Old Lace: Two nice old ladies advertise a boarding house for elderly men. Unfortunately, their solution for relieving these men of their loneliness is to serve them homemade elderberry wine laced with arsenic. It's one of their "charities". Johnny's first solution is often murder or violence too... maybe it runs in the family (or rather gallops).
  • Jack Stone in the musical Reefer Madness seems to subscribe to this school of thought.

Perhaps it's time he disappeared
He would never be missed
I could murder him, murder him, murder him!

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The obligatory Bioware games' Heroic Comedic Sociopath.
    • Lilarcor in Baldur's Gate 2.
    • In Mass Effect, while on Noveria, Shepard gets entangled in a power struggle between Corrupt Corporate Executives. If Wrex is in the party, he suggests a quick way out of the whole mess: "Just eat them." He frequently suggests you just kill everyone in your way or chides you for not taking the murderous option.
      • Renegade!Shepard gets a few of these too, such as the "I should just kill both you idiots" line during Chorban and Jahleed's dispute about the results of your scans of the Keepers in the first game.
    • HK-47 in Knights of the Old Republic ("I would much rather this get bloody, master!"). And his suggestion for gaining prestige at the Sith Academy ("Suggestion: We could start by slaughtering the occupants of this building, Master. Would that be impressive?").
    • In Dragon Age Origins this role is filled by Shale, whose stated solution to pretty much everything is 'crush it'. Sten and Morrigan also espouse the more violent or 'evil' solutions, usually losing you influence by being selfless unless you Persuade them otherwise, but their examples are less Played for Laughs.
  • In Nanashi no Game, this plays a key role in why the cursed RPG is cursed.
  • In Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, Princess Sapphire is usually the first person to offer up a solution to the current dilemma—the solution being to murder the obstacle, of course. Even the demons are a bit unsettled by this tendency.
  • The Portal universe's backstory reveals that this was the conclusion that Master Computer GLaDOS came to literally picoseconds after being switched on. Prior to the events of the first game, she had already killed all the scientists in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center with a deadly neurotoxin, and now amuses herelf by parading an endless stream of Human Popsicle test subjects through a Death Course of test chambers. Those who succeed... she murders anyway. For Science!.
    • And in the second game she subverts it. Killing Chell is actually pretty hard, so she ends up letting her go.
  • In the game Sacrifice, this is played for laughs by the God of Death, Charnel.

Charnel: Kill the blasphemer!
Persephone: Charnel! Death is not the answer to everything.
Charnel: Yes... Torture also has its merits...

  • The Dragonborn ends up teaching this lesson to a bunch of orphans after killing Grelod the Kind. One little girl is fascinated by the idea of one murder solving so many problems. And the boy who tried to contact the Dark Brotherhood in the first place tells the Dragonborn that he wants to become an assassin when he grows up so he can help people too.

Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • "Ordinarily I would just drown my sorrows in video games, but for this, maybe I should drown them in... drowning them." -- Strong Bad
    • Uh, maybe let's not kill anybody. We should just try and ruin their date.
      • Explain to me how drowning them wouldn't ruin their date.

Web Original[edit | hide]

Mistakes are an inevitable part of human nature, but there's a system for dealing with them the right way -- The Four A's: Assess the damage, Acknowledge your role, Apologize sincerely and Assassinate all accusers.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, everyone dies!

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • The most extreme example would probably be the entire cast of Eight Bit Theater, for whom murder or genocide is everyone's solution to everything. Especially Black Mage, whose approach to everything is exemplified by the flowchart.

Black Mage: That's not exactly what I was thinking. Necessarily.
Thief: It's your standard solution to everything, so yes it was.

  • Similarly, the 8BT-inspired Ansem Retort. If Axel has a problem that needs solving, you can bet it will involve fire. Or spiked wheels. Or mind bullets. Or, on one occasion, organising a musical number, but that was kind of the exception.
  • Order of the Stick. Lampshaded by Celia in this strip.
    • Belkar Bitterleaf, who apparently works on the definition "Enemy combatant: anyone worth XP."

Belkar: When in doubt, set something on fire!

Vaarsuvius: As the size of an explosion increases, the number of social situations it is incapable of solving approaches zero.
Blackwing: *whisper whisper whisper*
Vaarsuvius: And That Would Be Wrong.

    • Miko Miyazaki, for a paladin, is always prompt to decide that any evildoer is better off killed by her own hand rather than brought to justice. It takes very specific orders from her liege to dissuade her to apply violence first. Orders she'd obey, but reluctantly. It comes to the point where she murders said liege rather than risking putting him through trial for his deceptions.
  • The Jägers from Girl Genius tend toword this solution. An example being when their plan of action escalated until it became one of "dose plans... hyu know -- de kind vere ve keel everybody dot notices dot ve's killin' people", and were dissuaded from it by realizing this would lead to them losing their hats. It's quite likely that in the old days they would have stuck with it anyway.
    • Not just the Jägers. Both clanks and Sparks default to killing things whenever confronted with too complicated a problem, regardless of whether there are better or easier solutions.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del: here and here
  • Used in a Penny Arcade strip with Porkfry, Gabe complains that he always wants to resort to murder. Of course, Gabe himself is usually pretty quick to resort to murder.
  • A Darken guest comic has the immortal line: "Ah, murder. Is there any problem you can't solve?"
  • Schlock Mercenary:

Rule 6: "If violence wasn't your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it."

Hannelore: I MUST ELIMINATE ALL WITNESSES OF MY CRIME.

Tiffany:"...mass murder would solve the problem, right?"


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Venture Brothers does this a lot. In one episode, Dr. Venture orders his bodyguard to kill people so he can create more Venturesteins. He refuses. In another episode, Brock goes to a pair of dwarfs to get them to hurt a kid who disrespected him, but they only seem interested in killing him (with a knife!). Brock earlier admitted that he usually kills people who disrespect him, but the kid was underage so he couldn't touch him. And when told to downsize his command staff, the Monarch executes his minions rather than transferring them.
  • It is implied that this is what Coco says in an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends judging by Mac's reaction of then we'd go to jail. It even sounds like she says we could kill him if you listen closely.
  • Spoofed on Futurama. "Damn! Murder isn't working and that's all we're good at!"
    • Also, this seems to be Leela's solution to everything when she decides to be more impulsive in Anthology Of Interest.
  • South Park
    • Episode "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut", wherein some people are temporarily trapped in a building during a storm and, after a few hours, decide to resort to cannibalism to survive, although they really could've just waited a little while. Keep in mind that they opted to eat the annoying celebrity guests first...
    • Instances where Cartman states they have to kill Kyle include "South Park Is Gay" when he points out being associated with him is ruining their metrosexual reputation and "Toilet Paper" when he believes Kyle will expose the truth.
      • While it's no doubt funny, Cartman was entirely serious and later attempts to kill him - with a wiffle bat.
    • In "Pinewood Derby", representatives from countries around the world decide the best way to deal with Finland is Nuke'Em.
    • In "Good Times With Weapons", Cartman suggests killing Butters fearing that the incident of the boys injuring him with a shruiken will gte them in trouble. Kyle is so scared, he agrees to go along with it.
  • The 8-year-old children on Home Movies recommend murder to solve far too many problems.