Outlaw Couple

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Bonnieclyde.jpg

Two lovers who team up to do crime, usually violent crime and especially robbery, and are usually on the run from the law. Who is the brains of the outfit tends to vary from couple to couple. Sometimes she's a Femme Fatale who leads him into the life of crime, but other times, he's the brains of the crew while she tends more toward a "loose cannon" style of persona. It is common for many "Bonnie and Clyde" stories to end in tragedy, as the story of the original Bonnie and Clyde did.

This one is Truth in Television, though it should be noted that most fiction tends to romanticize the life of crime that such characters tend to lead.

Compare/contrast Minion Shipping. See Unholy Matrimony for a more over-the-top, super powered version of this team-up.

Expect some Back-to-Back Badasses moments, as well as a selfish suicide if one partner dies. May result in sympathetic villains.

Examples of Outlaw Couple include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Light and Misa from Death Note - in something of a subversion, Light tricks Misa into believing they are in a Bonnie and Clyde relationship, when in fact he has no feelings for her and would kill her without a second thought if she Outlived Her Usefulness.
    • Misa at least claims to be aware of this from the start, outright stating that she won't mind being used and cast aside, if it helps Light's ultimate goal. Emotionally, however, it doesn't seem that she ever accepts that possibility, always trying to get Light to respond to her feelings.
      • There's also the line from her when they first meet, the wording of which boils down to 'If you even think about betraying me I'll sick my pet grim reaper on you'. Her 'feelings' are really more just precisely focused crazy towards the man she sees as God, than any real romantic love. But YMMV on this one.
  • The two teenage vampires at the beginning of Hellsing - they even make reference to themselves as "Bonny and Clyde on the highway" in the bloody graffiti they leave on the walls.
  • In an episode of Tenchi Universe, two teens steal Kiyone's ship in an attempt to become this. Too bad for them, the ship's rightful owners are on the galaxy's Most Wanted List...
  • Hansel and Gretel from Black Lagoon
  • The robbers and thieves Isaac and Miria from Baccano!. Isaac is the brains of the group solely because he is slightly less of a The Ditz more likely to (wrongly) think he has the answer to something than Miria.
  • Some say Jessie and James of Pokémon. There have been many hints, some of which have been pointed out by Meowth, but they haven't gotten into a true relationship yet because they're both trapped in the mentality of immature schoolchildren. It's pretty clear from the aforementioned hints that there's attraction there, but neither is ready to admit it.
    • In one of the manga, Ash does describe the pair as "sort of Bonnie and Clyde," but in this case it's coming with some other descriptors, meant to illustrate that Jessie and James are incompetent at best, rather than any remark on their actual relationship.
    • At the end of one manga, Jessie and James are shown to have retired from crime (along with Meowth) and have a kid on the way.
  • Daiko and Akakabu from New Cutey Honey are a weird case in that they are introduced trying (and failing) to rob a bank, but we then find out they are actually married and have a teenaged son.
  • Lupin III: Lupin and Fujiko seem to have this type of relation in the anime, although its really an on-and-off romance between them because Fujiko has Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. (In the manga, they're a definite Bonnie/Clyde couple who are often seen having very intense sex.)
  • A young couple in an early episode of Gun X Sword tries... and fails extravagantly... to be this. They seem to be a direct reference to Pumpkin and Honey Bunny, referenced somewhere below.
    • At least in the dub, their real names are Bunny and Klatt, which suggest that they may also be a shout out to the original Bonny and Clyde.
  • Charles and Ray from Eureka Seven.
  • Dead Leaves - Retro and Pandy wake up together naked and without any memories. The first thing they do is go on a city-wide robbery spree, with extra violence thrown in For the Evulz, culminating in a high-speed chase and shootout with cops, and their subsequent incarceration on the moon. That's just within the first 10 minutes of the OVA.
  • Clyde Barrow himself shows up in Me and the Devil Blues as the Axe Crazy Lancer to legendary blues musician Robert Johnson. Bonnie shows up in a Flash Forward and serves to show Clyde's Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • There's a Bonnie and Clyde in the first volume of Gunsmith Cats, but they're not in a relationship because they happen to be brother and sister. One wonders if their parents would be proud or horrified of the fact that they indeed went on to be violent criminals.
  • In the final episode of the first season of Tenchi Universe, Ryoko tries to become this with Tenchi. She kidnaps him in an effort to get him to be a bank robber with her.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In The DCU, the parents of the super villain Prometheus were like this.
  • In Ultimate X-Men, Gambit and Rogue do this for a while...at least until the Juggernaut, Rogue's former teammate, comes after them in one of his Unstoppable Rages because he was apparently in love with Rogue too. Poor, poor Gambit ends up crushed under a building...and to add insult to injury, his last request is for Rogue to absorb his powers (and his life) with a kiss, since she is literally Blessed with Suck.
  • Fiona Fox and Scourge/Anti-Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog Archie comic book.
  • Punch and Jewelee, two Silver Age Captain Atom villains who later became recurring members of the Suicide Squad.
  • The protagonists of Grant Morrison's graphic novella Kill Your Boyfriend. That said, theirs was the most aimless crime spree imaginable.
  • In Superman, two recently introduced super-villains act like this. Did I mention they had Kryptonian Powers?
  • One Pre Crisis World's Finest story had Batman and Superman visit an Alternate Universe where Ma and Pa Kent were criminals, raising Clark to be the world's greatest villain.
  • The Catwoman "Legends of the Dead Earth" annual had a Future Imperfect account of Selina's story in which she and Bruce were an Outlaw Couple.
  • The enemies of Spider-Man Aura and Override are super powered version of this.
  • Bonnie and Clyde from Last Man Standing, although they're not really bad guys. And yes, that's their actual names. Who would have ever suspected this to happen?
  • Bride and Groom from Nightwing.

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Leo and Sienna from CSI: Miami.
  • The Klinefelds from the original CSI.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has Spike and Drusilla, Angel (or Angelus) and Darla, Spike and Harmony and - in an alternate universe - Xander and Willow
  • Moll Flanders and her lesbian lover Lucy.
  • Nicole Wallace from Law & Order: Criminal Intent has had several lovers that were also her partners in crime.
  • An episode of Cracker had a boyfriend and girlfriend who committed crimes together and the girlfriend compared them to Bonnie and Clyde.
  • Another lesbian example. Shell and Denny in Bad Girls.
  • Numb3rs had Crystal Hoyle and Buck Winters. Crystal was the one in charge; she was almost twice Buck's age and his former teacher.
  • Shown in flashbacks in Highlander the Series, with Amanda and another immortal playing the main roles, with Duncan following along behind and digging them up after the inevitable shootout with the cops. Apparently there are several of these...
  • Henricksen refers to Supernatural's Sam and Dean Winchester like this, despite that they are not lovers (and yes, I'm ignoring those Wincest shippers), though they do have an unusually strong brotherly bond.

Henricksen: And yes, I know about Sam too, Bonnie to your Clyde.
Dean: Well, that part's true...

  • Reaper had a pair of escaped souls in a Outlaw Couple relationship.
  • In the second season of Carnivale a thrill-seeking Bonnie & Clyde team rob a gas station, only to be killed in seconds by professional criminal Varlyn Stroud who is using the men's room. Stroud then shoots dead the attendant (because he's a witness) as he's in the midst of praising Stroud for saving his life.
  • In the Outer Limits episode "The Zanti Misfits," Ben Garth and Lisa Lawrence are "a runaway wife and a three time loser" who flee into the desert—right into the middle of a First Contact situation featuring insect-like aliens who are also criminals.
  • In the episode of Angel Heartthrob the titular hero faces the revenge of a vampire acquaintance after he kills his Bonny.
    • You could also count Darla and Drusilla although the lesbian aspect of their relationship is only implied
  • Dollhouse: Apparently just before Alpha went crazy, he and Whiskey were imprinted as a Bonnie and Clyde couple.
  • Stick-up kid Omar from The Wire works with his boyfriends. First Brandon until said boyfriend is tortured to death and later Dante, then Renaldo. Omar and Dante also ally with a lesbian robber couple for a few heists.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger had an episode with a guy obsessed with Bonnie and Clyde kidnapped a girl to act as his Bonnie.
  • Dexter
    • Dexter targets a Colombian people-smuggler who has been killing his customers and dumping them in the sea if their families couldn't pay an extra fee on arrival. He's also happily married to a pretty young blonde, and Dexter initially figures that, like him, the smuggler is putting on a mask, never letting her see who she's really married to. At the end, however, it turns out that she's actually his partner in the business, so she winds up on Dexter's table next to her hubby. Their anguished declarations of love as they face death at the hands of a glorious madman makes even Dexter pause, briefly... so he can pick up some pointers on how better to fake a relationship with his girlfriend, whom he needs in order to 'blend in'. THEN he gets down to the dismemberment...
    • A B-story through Season 4 involves the vacation murderers, who turn out to be a couple. Things don't end well for them.
    • In season 5 we have Dexter and Lumen. Masuka even references Bonnie and Clyde when referring to the vigilantes. Considering how they ended up, Dexter finds the analogy worrisome.
  • Kate and Sawyer on Lost, pretty much. Also Sawyer and Cassidy.
  • The fugitive couple in the Flashpoint episode "Last Dance" appear to be this at first. The truth is decidedly more complicated.
  • A few have happened in Criminal Minds. Most recent was the episode "The Thirteenth Step" where the couple attempted to go through the steps of recovering from alcoholism but show no remorse as they repeatedly shot and kill dozens of innocent civilians who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • In the Firefly episode "Trash," Saphron tries to trick Mal into this type of relationship with her. She was working the same angle on an old buddy of his until Mal showed up and blew her cover. Of course, her Chronic Backstabbing Disorder complicates the whole thing.
  • In Heroes when Sylar and Elle become a couple and decide to use their powers to "take what we want". Noah Bennette even calls them "Bonnie and Clyde".

Music[edit | hide]

  • The Tupac Shakur song "Me And My Girlfriend" sounds like a case of this, but is actually about the protagonist of the song and his gun. Freud Ahoy!
  • Contrast with the Steve Miller song "Take the Money & Run," which is about a couple like this.
  • Brutally subverted by Richard Thompson's "Shane and Dixie" - the titular couple are a wannabe Bonnie and Clyde, but when their petty crimes fail to gain them the fame he craves, Shane decides that they can be famous in death and decides to stage a murder/suicide at the scene of their latest crime. He dies and is soon forgotten, she survives and marries the newspaperman who comes to cover the incident.
  • Most male/female hip hop duets come across this way, though directly referencing Bonnie and Clyde is quickly becoming cliche.
  • Averted by Chris Thomas King's "Bonnie And Clyde in D Minor." The singer repeatedly tells a woman named Bonnie that he is not interested in becoming a gunfighter in order to impress her, all the while stressing that his name is not Clyde. There's also a good chance that her "gun" - which is "long and made of steel" - may be a vibrator.
  • Tom Waits' song "Lucinda" is from the perspective of the Clyde ("William the Pleaser") about to be hanged, lamenting that he let the titular Femme Fatale drag him into a life of crime.
  • The song "Bonny und Clyde" by the german Punkband Die Toten Hosen directly references the infamous duo. It is also a love song in which the guy entices the girl to live a life like Bonny and Clyde.
  • Bittersweet's "Dirty Laundry."
  • "The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde" by English R&B singer Georgie Fame came out shortly after the 1967 movie. It reached #1 in the UK, and #7 in the USA.
  • The song "Demolition Lovers" by My Chemical Romance.
    • Hand in mine, into your icy blues And then I'd say to you we could take to the highway With this trunk of ammunition too I'd end my days with you in a hail of bullets
  • "A Southern Thing" by Better Than Ezra.
  • "Lay Me Down" by the Dirty Heads.
  • "Bonnie And Clyde" by Serge Gainsbourg.
  • "All the Stars in Texas" by Ludo
  • Eminem has a rap song called "'97 Bonnie and Clyde". Surprisingly it's an imagined fantasy about Eminem and his daughter Hailie carrying her "sleeping" mother Kim to the beach and dumping the body into the ocean.
  • "The Ballad of Grim and Lily" by Bree Sharp, about a couple pulling one last big heist before they go straight.
  • "Me and You Versus The World" by Space about a deeply unsuccessful version of this.
  • Marilyn Manson's "Running to the Edge of the World"

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Baldur's Gate II has a short encounter with a young couple upstairs in an inn, where they say goodbye to each other due to pressures of family. However, the player character can encourage them to stick it to their families, stay true to their love and live life as they want to. If the character pays attention to dialogue from some NPCs later in the game, it turns out they weren't, in fact, just a Romeo and Juliet, but a Bonnie And Clyde. ...oops?
  • Happens through the Grand Theft Auto series: in San Andreas, Catalina and CJ have a short affair of this kind, after which she dumps CJ and ends up with Claude; later, during the intro cut scene in GTA III, she betrays Claude and shoots him in an alley.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, there is a casino that inexplicably immortalizes Vikki and Vance, a pair of petty crooks who went on a "crime spree" of shoplifting and credit card fraud. They died in a hail of gunfire, but only because they stumbled into the crossfire of an unrelated shootout. The casino seems to believe that the pair were quite infamous, and they're quick to point out that Vikki and Vance got started two months before Bonnie and Clyde. Another duo, Sammy and Pauline Wins, has stolen Vance's gun and are about to set off on being this trope. If you convince them that it's a stupid idea, they'll give you the gun, which is in perfect condition because Vance never used it.
  • Final Fantasy XII fans call Fran and Balthier "Bunny and Clyde," due to Fran's race, the Viera, who are basically people with bunny ears. They're both Sky Pirates, thieving around and not really caring for anything of a higher moral value.
  • Ghost Trick has Beauty and Dandy, a "couple" from a gang of Evil Foreigners, if you ask Dandy.
  • In Dragon Age II, you and your love interest (if you have one) will go on the run together in the Mage ending. The trope is particularly strong if you romance pirate queen Isabella or bomb-happy Anders.
  • Vyse and Aika in Skies of Arcadia are air pirates who have been working together since childhood, but Aika has some "implied" feelings has for him. They're supposedly honorable pirates who only steal from the Evil Empire's military, but Vyse responds to seeing a train for the first time by remarking that it would be hard to steal. Clara may want to initiate this trope with Guilder.
  • In the ending of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, it is implied that Ron and Desiree may have become this.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Fairly OddParents had an episode featuring the 'Souvineer Bandits,' two dimwitted boobs who look exactly like Timmy's parents, who are trying to steal a sacred pencil sharpener.
  • The Joker and Harley Quinn from Batman the Animated Series.
    • Likewise in The Batman, where they even have a crime-spree montage with the two of them performing a cover of Hank Williams' "Setting the Woods on Fire"!
    • Another episode of Batman the Animated Series featured Baby Dahl teaming up with Killer Croc. The two are even compared to Bonny and Clyde at one point. (It didn't last long.)
  • The Metallikats from Swat Kats are a unique combination of Outlaw Couple, Funny Animal and Killer Robot.
  • David and Fox Xanatos of Gargoyles, although they ease up on the illegal stuff after becoming parents.
    • Elisa also did a minor Shout-Out in the Hunter's Moon trilogy when she playfully told her new partner "nice shooting, Clyde." to which he responded something like "Back at you, Bonnie." Considering who he turned out to be in reality, it's Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • Marge and Homer appears as Bonnie and Clyde in The Simpsons epsiode "Love, Springfieldian Style."
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series had a male and female duo of Experiments designed to steal just about everything. Lilo went so far as to name them after the Trope Namer.
  • Bunny and Claude, another Funny Animal version of the trope, appeared in two late (1968) Looney Tunes shorts: Bunny and Claude: We Rob Carrot Patches and The Great Carrot Train Robbery.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The original Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow of historical and cinematic fame (as shown in the page image), though Hollywood tends to romanticize them a bit. For those unfamiliar with the real life Bonnie and Clyde: the public did not like them because they tended to kill people (police and civilians) just For the Evulz. The final showdown was a Curb Stomp Battle against them, due to the authorities becoming Combat Pragmatists and deciding to ambush them with automatic weapons.
    • To be fair, Bonnie and Clyde had killed nine police officers in several states. Given that kind of motivation, law enforcement types do not fool around.
  • A similar couple, Benny and Stella Dickson, were active at about the same time (late 1930s).
  • Anne Bonny and Calico Jack Rackham were a pair of pirates who started their careers this way. The presence of Mary Reade, who joined the crew disguised as a man and developed a close relationship with Anne Bonny, adds another interesting wrinkle to their story.
  • Surely Canadian tropers remember Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka?
    • Much as we'd rather forget them.
  • And for the Brits: Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
  • And Fred and Rosemary West.
  • Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate (mentioned above)
  • Roy Hall and Michael Kitto
  • Lee Whitely and Deborah Taylor
  • Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez (also mentioned above)
  • Gerald and Charlene Gallego
  • In the Czech Republic, the criminal duo Pavel Tauchen and his wife Dagmar were referred to as "Czech Bonnie and Clyde." Notably, Dagmar managed to liberate her husband from a prison escort. Their escape ended similarly to the real Bonnie and Clyde: with a shoot-out with the police during which Pavel committed a suicide and Dagmar was wounded and arrested.
    • A year after the end of the Pavel and Dagmar's career, another couple of Czech bank robbers (and "Gentleman Gangsters") made the news. Even more similarly to the real Bonnie and Clyde, they were both killed in a shoot-out during their last robbery: he was shot by the police, she committed a suicide.
  • Much less romantic are Mr. and Mrs. Stodola, a couple of robbers and serial murderers. After they were both sentenced to life in jail, they got divorced.
  • Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme
  • Infamous French gangster Jacques Mesrine, whose criminal exploits involved going on a crime spree with his mistress Jeanne Schneider in Canada and America.
  • The whole point of the show Wicked Attraction on Investigation Discovery is to profile real life cases. An interesting example was a lesbian couple who murdered one of their husbands.
  • Thrill killers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb.