Reassigned to Antarctica

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
They must've screwed up big time to deserve this.

Gerard, take a note. This is the third time this month that the busy Lieutenant Vormoncrief has come to my negative attention in matters touching political concerns. Remind Us to find him a post somewhere in the Empire where he may be less busy.

Emperor Gregor Vorbarra, A Civil Campaign

When a character is transferred to a remote and/or unpleasant outpost as punishment for annoying the higher-ups for some reason (bad job performance, personality conflicts, or perhaps good job performance that a superior finds threatening).

If this happens to The Hero, expect Reassignment Backfire.

The others there are often a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits at best, since their Backstory will always include a reason to send them there. Since it is so remote, they may have to face down the danger without assistance.

When The Hero is not sent there, this is often the explanation of why a response to a new danger, which first appeared at a remote outpost, is so feeble, allowing the danger to swell to the proportions it will later assume: the characters there are a rotten lot.

See also: Kicked Upstairs, in which the new job appears not to be a punishment. Closely related to Punishment Detail, where the assigned task is a punishment rather than the location. The Last DJ and other characters that are likely to put Honor Before Reason may be threatened with this sort of reassignment, or have it really done to them. Can overlap with Place Worse Than Death. Compare Locked Away in a Monastery.

Can also be a form of Put on a Bus or The Exile.

If the character in question is reassigned to a likely fatal job, this becomes The Uriah Gambit.

Super-Trope to Exiled to an Island.

(Incidentally, the picture shows actual Royal Marines occupying Rockall, which really is a lump of rock sticking up in the middle of the Atlantic. The UK government claims it because it gives it territorial rights to the sea around it. They didn't have to stay there long though.)

Examples of Reassigned to Antarctica include:

Anime and Manga

  • Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach in From Eroica with Love likes to threaten his men with a transfer to Alaska should they fail in their job. He follows through on this threat at least once. (But they are eventually forgiven and come back, not to mention that they had it quite easy in Alaska - so maybe it's a subversion?)
    • It would be, but for the facts that a) the only reason they were forgiven was that personnel wouldn't give Klaus 25 new men, and b) they hated it there.
    • Misha gets sent to Siberia around the same time.
  • Chor Tempest in Simoun gets assigned to Messis, a mediocre border patrol Airborne Aircraft Carrier, after failing to properly protect their previous base of operations, Arcus Prima.
  • The titular teacher in Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei is relocated far north in one episode. For some reason his students are already waiting at the new school.
  • In the Pokémon anime, Giovanni repeatedly threatens to reassign Team Rocket to Antarctica. At the beginning of Battle Frontier he does. The only reason they're still following Ash is because Giovanni has long since stopped caring about them.
    • Until the final episode of Sinnoh League Victors, when he decides that he has a use for them and reassigns them to Unova. They proceed to actually act competent for much of the beginning of Black & White before reverting to their old selves.
  • Trigger-happy Small Girl, Big Gun Kome Sawaguchi from Blue Seed points to this trope when the team commander asks here to exercise a little self-control. "If I could control myself, I never would have been assigned to this unit!"
  • In Codename: Sailor V Inspector Wakagi ends up being (temporarily) transferred to Siberia (somehow it's within the jurisdiction of the Tokyo Police) by his Superintendent-General for being beaten by Sailor V at solving a case too many times.
  • 20th Century Boys features a chapter about Chouno aptly titled "Officer at the End of the Earth."
  • The crew of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor's ship gets shipped off to the "galactic boonies" in the second quarter of the series. The series averts Reassignment Backfire though, as almost nothing relevant to the war with the Raalgon occurs until they're on their way back.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, it occurs twice: Mustang's team is scattered to different parts of Amestris, and Olivier Armstrong is transferred to Central after it becomes clear they know a bit too much about the military's inner workings. Both result in major Reassignment Backfire.
    • In the 2003 anime version, Roy gets sent to the North between the end of the series and the movie after killing Pride..
  • The Gundam manga Gundam Legacy[1] has Ford Romfellow and Agar (Gundam pilots from original series-era video games for the PlayStation 2) get quite literally reassigned to Antarctica in the last story after they defy their Titans superiors to help stop a Zeon conspiracy. The only consolation is that so did the cute Bridge Bunnies Noel (from Lost War Chronicles) and Miyu (like Ford, from Encounters in Space).
    • In the Universal Century anime works, this trope is nigh synonymous with Bright Noa (and later on, along with his Londo Bell group), despite his reputation and service to the Earth Federation; at start of Zeta Gundam, he's even reduced to VIP shuttle duty despite his war hero credentials. The top brass aren't particularly keen on giving greater publicity or promotions to someone associated with (in)famous Newtype Gundam pilots, which further adds to his moniker as the "Eternal Captain."
  • In Tegami Bachi, Lag is reassigned to the Cold Letter division, being forced to deliver letters that have sat a long time without being delivered, because the new director doesn't like his trying to become Head Bee, the position that he also wants.
  • The main characters in So Ra No Wo To appear to have been assigned to an area with very little going on around them, although no real reason is given as to why they were assigned there.
  • Happens to Anabuki Tomoko in Strike Witches. For some reason, The Ace and the star of the propaganda movie is transferred to the middle of nowhere in Suomus and then having to raise a squadron out of some misfits. Naturally, she's pissed off.

Comic Books

  • In G.I. Joe, assignment to Toxo-Viper duty in Cobra is a punishment for poor performance. Since Toxo-Vipers work in hazardous environments and even the suits can't keep the smell out, it works.
    • Also, dropouts from the normal Viper program are sent to the desert as Desert Scorpions.
    • In Marvel's G.I. Joe comics, washouts from the Joe training program would be transferred to Thule, Greenland or Fez, Morocco. Whether this was to stop them talking about details of the training or to dissuade those who were unsuitable from applying in the first place isn't clear.
  • A few incompetent supervillains who reformed joined the Justice League of America. They were sent to the South Pole as "Justice League Antarctica". The League's leadership decided it would keep them out of the way, as no trouble would happen down there. They were wrong, with hilarious results.
  • In Whiteout, Marshall Carrie Stetko was literally Reassigned to Antarctica after killing a prisoner who assaulted and attempted to rape her.
  • In Adventures In The Rifle Brigade, Gestapo captain Venkschaft is sent to the Russian front with the rank of Cocksucker Third Class after having a massive temper tantrum in front of Hitler himself.
  • In Daredevil, the doctor who authorized the release of the Daredevil impostor hired by the Kingpin from the insane asylum is forced to work in Florida. As a gardener.
  • In Asterix in Corsica it's established that the vast majority of the Romans stationed in the titular island were transferred there as a means of punishment. The only people there who don't fall into this category are the naive, over-eager and aptly named Legionary Courtingdisastus (who volunteered to go to Corsica due to "good chances of promotion", an action which makes the men he's later given command of think he's completely insane), a Corsican that hit his head and joined the Roman Army and (probably), the governor's crack troops.
    • In the very same book it's revealed by the sitting governor that should he fall out of Gaius Julius Caesar's glory, the emperor intends to reassign him to one of the Roman camps occupying a certain little village by Armorica's coast.
    • A Legionary to other: "They give me a choice between being reassigned here and death penalty, but you know the army: you choose a thing and they give you the other".
    • The very first book (Asterix the Gaul) ends with Caesar learning that the centurion of Compendium had plotted to overthrow him after getting the gaul's magical potion. He then decides to send him and his men to "Outer Mongolia, I hear there's a barbarian rebellion there".
    • In Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield, after the heroes beat Caesar to the titular shield, the latter decides to cover up his defeat by sending the troops looking for it to a garrison in Numidia and promotes an uninvolved Centurion and Legionary who just happened to drunkenly stumble by to Tribune and Centurion respectively.
    • In the film Asterix vs Caesar, a recently transferred in junior officer sends out a patrol, in which he captures Panacea, Chief Vitalstatistix's niece, and her fiancé. Said officer thinks that this action will help force the Gauls into capitulation. The commander thinks that it will just provoke them into leveling the camp. He promptly transfers the young officer to a distant outpost in the Sahara, shortly before the Gauls arrive.
  • In a recent issue of Avengers: The Initiative, Villain with Good Publicity Norman Osborn reassigns superhero Gravity to the worst possible place in the America superhero initiative...his home state of Wisconsin, where he will take command of the joke team the Great Lakes Avengers.
  • The title character of Fell finds himself reassigned to the hellhole of Snowtown as a result of, well, something we don't know yet. It's implied that this is actually due to calling in a favor, which suggests that whatever it was he did it should've put him off the force altogether.
  • Happened to several characters in Judge Dredd in the aftermath of the anti-mutant laws being repealed:
    • Chief Judge Hershey came under intense public criticism, and was forced to call an election. Dan Francisco was elected new Chief Judge, and reassigned Hershey to an off-world position
    • Faced with tensions between norms and mutants, Francisco, influenced by Deputy Chief Judge Martin Sinfield, set up four ghettos in the Cursed Earth to provide food for Mega-City One. Dredd himself was assigned to oversee these in order to keep him from causing any more trouble.
    • Sinfield sent Judge Rico to aid Dredd after refusing to approve his (Sinfield's) clone's application to become a Judge.
  • The original trio of ABC Warriors were all assigned to the elite combat unit as a punishment; Happy Shrapnel had finally worn out all the good will he earned as one of the Wolgan War's oldest soldiers by repeatedly looting and brawling, Hammerstein is said to have murdered a human superior, and the details of Joe Pineapples' situation are classified.
  • In The Desert Peach, the regiment Pfirsig Rommel commands consists of the people Nazi Germany cannot just remove from duty (or, in some cases, toss in prison or a concentration camp) for whatever reason, but who are too politically embarrassing, too woefully incompetent, or in some cases, too bugfuck crazy to actually get them involved in the actual war.
  • The Black Panther's State Department ally is reassigned to the arctic, probably because he befriended the man when the USA didn't like him or his country. Being a friend of Wakanda just means you get picked up in a ship when you get in trouble. Hurray!
  • Knights of the Dinner Table: When Hard 8 reinstates Nitro's GM credentials, it is with the provisio that he is only allowed to GM the Pee Wee Hackleague.


  • The Lives of Others: Gerd Wiesler is demoted to Department M since he obstructed a Stasi operation. However, he obstructed the operation since it was motivated by political expediency and Wiesler was horrified at the abuse of power. [1]
  • Happens in The Movie of the graphic novel Whiteout, as mentioned under "comic books" above. Although in this case, it is a self-imposed exile.
  • The first Mission: Impossible movie did this with the CIA technician who worked in the super secret room that Ethan and company hacked into. In this case it's done to stop any word about the hack from getting out, as only he and his two superiors know about it. "I want him manning a radar tower in Alaska by the end of the day. Just mail him his clothes."
  • Happens to Nicholas Angel in Hot Fuzz, though that is for being too good at his job. Also a Kicked Upstairs in that he is promoted to Sergeant, so his superiors can spin the new assignment as a reward.
  • John Laroquette's character was threatened with, and ultimately suffered, this fate in Stripes. But he deserved it, for sending a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits on an Impossible Task.
  • It's mentioned in Hellboy II that Hellboy got John Meyers transferred to Antarctica, explaining his absence from the film.
  • In Good Morning Vietnam, antagonist Sergeant Major Dickerson is transferred to Guam at the end of the film. Something of an inversion in that Guam is a pleasant place, but Dickerson's desire to be near combat action makes him view it as an undesirable transfer.
  • Police officers in the French film franchise Taxi are often threatened with being demoted to traffic police.
  • In a weird inversion, the lying bigoted boss of Nine to Five is actually rewarded with an unwanted reassignment. After he steals credit for his underlings' ideas, his higher-ups are so impressed that they promote him to head their foreign expansion project. In Brazil.
    • And then he's kidnapped by rebels, so...
  • University researcher Harry Walper in Creator is regularly threatened with transfer to Northfield (a research centre for old fogey scientists) for various wacky hijinks.
  • As Osmosis Jones begins, the titular blood cell has been assigned to patrol Frank's mouth after a bad incident. ("I should be out in the veins fighting disease, not up in the mouth on tartar control!") Later, the mayor threatens to demote him further by sending him to the next nosebleed.
    • At the end, the mayor has been ousted and is now working on the rectum.
  • The basis for much comedy, dark and otherwise, in the movie Ravenous. Every character is essentially a misfit or a local in the freezing mountains of far-off 1800s California. The lead character is introduced as a military hero is being disposed of as a result of incurable, dangerous abject cowardice.
  • In the 2009 Star Trek film by J.J. Abrams, Montgomery Scott is reassigned to a Federation outpost on a remote ice world after he uses Admiral Archer's dog as a test subject to prove that interplanetary transportation is possible (everyone having ridiculed Scotty for the idea). The fact that the dog was transported somewhere that even Scott doesn't know only served as more of a reason for Star Fleet to invoke this trope on him/Kick Him Upstairs.
  • Sgt. Bilko's nemesis Major Thorn gets transferred to Greenland. Twice.
  • Happens to the titular reporter in Morgan Pålsson: World Reporter, where he is reassigned to the unimportant middle-eastern country Matóbo. True to the description of the trope, a coup d'état happens shortly after his arrival, turning all the world's eyes on him.
  • Will Arnett's obstructive FBI Agent in G-Force is literally reassigned to Antarctica at the end of the film.
  • In The Great Escape, reassignment to the Eastern Front is portrayed as a potential (and terrifying) punishment for incompetent Wehrmacht guards (which was a case of Truth in Television).
  • In The Poseidon Adventure, Reverend Scott (Gene Hackman) is in the process of being transferred to a Parish so far out of the way "...I had to buy an encyclopedia to find out where it was" because of his somewhat radical philosophies.
  • In the Alternate History film It Happened Here (1966) the protagonist Pauline, a nurse in a fascist organization, is demoted and sent to the countryside for refusing to denounce some friends who were aiding La Résistance. She initially welcomes the move as the country hospital has none of the paramilitary political trappings of the London organization. She then discovers the hospital is being used to euthanize foreign slave workers who have contracted TB. Earlier there's a scene where one of her superiors receives a phone call announcing his reassignment to somewhere unpleasant (presumably the Russian front). At that moment his secretary tries to report Pauline for trying to get hold of morphine for her friends; the distracted superior simply throws her out of his office.
  • In Tron, the Master Control Program expresses its disappointment in Sark; "You've enjoyed all the power you've been given, haven't you? I wonder how you'd take to working in a pocket calculator."
  • In The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, when they find Ringo and get back to the TV studio minutes before their show, the program director is relieved and grateful...the possible consequences for him if the show fell through? "News in Welsh...for life!"
  • Attempted in the Mexican film El Crimen del Padre Amaro, when the bishop uses Amaro as a messenger to notify the Theology of Liberation preaching priest living with the peasants, that he is to be reassigned to a nun's convent, the peasant's priest laughs at this, and then later Amaro delivers him an excommunication notice.
  • The titular Fort Apache is this for Lt. Col. Owen Thursday (Henry Fonda). He incited Cochise into a battle to turn it into a Reassignment Backfire. It sort of worked, but for his former subordinate Lt. Col. York (John Wayne).
  • The Sand Pebbles: Holman is assigned to a small gunboat in a backwater of the Chinese hinterland because he tends to get on his superiors' wrong side. Truth in Television, as the China Station had a reputation as a dumping ground for the Navy's mavericks, misfits, and troublemakers.
  • This is mentioned to have happened to Bryan Mills in Taken for the time he went AWOL for his daughter's birthday. "Actually, it was Alaska."
  • The plot to Alpha and Omega. Well meaning enviormentalists take a breeding pair to a far-off National park, not understanding the female is needed to keep peace between the local wolf packs.
  • In Gung Ho, formerly Tokyo-based Kazuhiro's last chance on Japanese automaker Assan's executive track is supervising their new plant in western Pennsylvania.
  • Clouseau is frequently threatened with this in the Pink Panther movies.

Dreyfus: If she's not in your custody in five minutes, you'll be checking parking meters in Martinique!

  • At the end of G Force, the government agent who constantly denounced and pestered the team is reassigned to Antarctica.


  • Tom Clancy: In The Hunt for Red October; the enlisted are told that if they reveal that the decommissioned submarine, used as a decoy wreck, was scuttled at sea then they would be Reassigned to Antarctica. Specifically, they will be sent to McMurdo Sound, which is an Antarctic research base.
  • A notable literal example appears in Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, in which German immigrant Joe Kavalier joins the army in the hopes of fighting Nazis, only to be reassigned to Antarctica as a radio operator due to his fluency in German.
  • Chigago PD's Special Investigations (SI) department in The Dresden Files. The division is nominally for handling "weird" stuff, some of which is actually magic. However, it also happens to be professional Siberia in CPD-politics-land. Dresden comments on this from time to time, mostly because these are some of the sharpest, and bravest (Loup-garu incident anyone?) agents in the police force, but they either pissed off their previous bosses, or some major politician. Probably both. Or Marcone.
    • To be sure, they don't universally land themselves there by being grossly competent and by contributing to civil order and such terrible things, but the ones who stick around tend to be this. (The rest quit out. Or die.) It also helps that they have an honest-to-goodness Wizard, Harry motherf***ing Dresden.
      • Vince Graver quit when he found out he was voluntold, and has been doing significantly better for himself as a PI than Harry. Or anyone in SI, for the matter.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga young Miles, who has already developed a reputation for treating his superiors as "cattle to be driven" graduates from the Imperial Academy and is assigned as weather officer to a brutal training camp nicknamed "Camp Permafrost" in order to teach him a lesson in subordination. He finds himself under the command of a homicidal psychopath who was also Reassigned to Antarctica for suspected war crimes. Cue Reassignment Backfire.[2]

Miles Vorkosigan: You don't understand. Kyril Island - they call it Camp Permafrost - is the worst military post in the Empire. Winter training base. It's an arctic island five hundred kilometers from anywhere and anyone, including the nearest women. You can't even swim to escape, because the water would freeze you within minutes. The bogs will eat you alive. Blizzards. Freezing fog. Winds that can blow away groundcars. Cold, dark, drunken, deadly...

    • It turns out that this, like so many things about the Vorkosigan family, is genetic. Miles's father Aral explains to Miles that he was once CO of Camp Permafrost for about six months "During the period when my career was, so to speak, in political eclipse." When Miles asked him about his experiences Aral admitted he was drunk most of the time.
      • In an earlier book we learned that Aral's first command after Camp Permafrost, the cruiser General Vorkraft, was nicknamed "Vorkosigan's Leper Colony" because of all of the New Meat, politcal unreliables, screwups and borderline psycho cases that were assigned to his command as punishment for him and for them. Not surprisingly this also resulted in an Reassignment Backfire because Vorkosigan epitomizes A Father to His Men.
    • Lt. Vormoncrief, as mentioned in the page quote, gets sent to the above-mentioned Camp Permafrost in A Civil Campaign. Spreading phony murder accusations about an Imperial Auditor (who happens to be the Emperor's foster brother) because they got the girl you were after? Likely to really tick off the Emperor. Convincing people that the Emperor is too incompetent to keep peace in the capital, two weeks before his wedding? Reassignment to Antarctica, and lucky to be laundry officer when you get there.
    • Subversion. The Emperor's cousin Ivan Vorpatril and his new wife are assigned as military attache to a far off planet because his in-laws' antics were creating bad PR. In this case it is not a hardship post; the Emperor just wants him off planet until things cool down. In the meantime Ivan manages to ingeniously move his office to a tropical luxury spot where he can spend the day zipping through paperwork, and then once finished drink cocktails and loll about beside a swimming pool.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Ruled Britannia, Lieutenant de Vega is constantly threatening his lazy servant with reassignment to Scotland until he gets some better blackmail.
  • Happens to various characters in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
  • Early in Seven Days in May, a Pentagon communications officer blabs to the book's protagonist (a fellow officer) about a seemingly-innocuous bit of gambling by some high-ranking officers, neither of them knowing that it's actually a code related to a looming military coup. In a genre-savvy moment, instead of a heavy-handed punishment detail, the coup-leader has the blabber shipped off to Hawaii.
  • In The Malloreon, Belgarion manages to convince 'Zakath to do this instead of killing the guy. It was pretty easy, given that killing indiscriminately cost 'Zakath his wife and caused his breakdown when he learned she really was innocent.
  • In the legendarily bad Battlefield Earth, head Big Bad Turl is stuck on the backwater mining planet of Earth because he pissed off some of the wrong people back home.
  • In Brave New World, at the end Bernard Marx and his friend Helmholtz Watson are sent to Iceland and the Falkland islands respectively. Helmholtz even looks forward to living on the remote Falkland Islands, where he can become a serious writer.
  • In Away Boarders, a comedic novel by retired Admiral and Real Life Badass Dan Gallery, the crew of a Navy landing craft stationed in the Mediterranean participates in certain events that, while they helped substantially defuse tension in the Middle East during the 1960s, would be extremely embarrassing to several nations if they were made public. All of the crew save one are willing to keep their mouths shut. That last one made the mistake of openly announcing his intention to sell the story to Time magazine before passing out drunk. By the time he sobered up he was 100 miles upriver on a Swift Boat in Vietnam.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Honour Guard, Lugo's glory-seeking actions nearly lost the planet Haiga to Chaos, and as a consequence, he was dumped there as Imperial Governor. Then, that meant, in Sabbat Martyr, he was there for the return of Saint Sabbat. That, however, does not go all his way.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, Ragnar is sent to Terra as a Wolfblade, a bodyguard to the House of Belisarius, chiefly to protect him from other Space Wolves who think he deserves death, but the Wolfblades he meets there admit that most of them were sent because they weren't wanted elsewhere.
  • In Graham McNeill 's Warhammer 40,000 novel Storm of Iron, Major Tedeski is an remote outpost after having been caught drunk on duty.
  • Happens occasionally in the Conqueror books to Chinese diplomats who screw up. Wen Chao was assigned ambassador to the Mongols and Tartars after missing a meeting due to a night with a particularly good prostitute, and everybody at Shizuishan fort is a screw-up in some way.
  • In Phule's Company, Space Legion captain Willard Phule is sent by vindictive superiors to lead Omega Squad, the remote dumping ground for the Legion (which is pretty much a dumping ground itself.) Reassignment Backfire of course occurs almost immediately.
  • The protagonist of Jed Mercurio's Ascent is sent to a remote Soviet air base within the Arctic Circle.
  • In Walter Jon Williams's Dread Empire's Fall, Lady Caroline Sula ends up, after more or less single-handedly defeating the rebels in the Imperial Capital and playing a major part in winning the final space battle, appointed as the Captain of a ring station...on Earth. This is considered a terrible punishment, as Earth is an insignificant backwater far from the interesting parts of the empire. Of course, Sula is a lover of Earth culture and history and couldn't be more pleased.
  • In Diana Wynne Jones' novel Hexwood, the Bannus was placed in an obscure base on the backward planet Earth, once a convict colony, to keep it out of the way. A crooked computer clerk was then assigned to that obscure base after joining the secret organization that rules the galaxy, because he wasn't quite trusted. Which allowed him to wake the Bannus up and set everything off. He isn't a main character at all, by the way.
  • In the first Honor Harrington book, the title character is stationed at Basilisk due to internal Navy politics. Every officer sent to that posting before her meets this trope. She turns it into a Reassignment Backfire by actually trying - and succeeding - to accomplish the Navy's stated mission there.
    • The only reason Pavel Young got this instead of being beached after the first book was due to his political connections.
    • This trope is the reason for the GNS Francis S. Mueller in the Harrington short story A Ship Named Francis. It's crewed with people the Grayson Navy had promoted above their level of competence, but who haven't screwed up sufficiently to justify more competent officers taking the time and paperwork necessary to have them court-martialed and then reduced in rank or dismissed. The crew refer to the ship among themselves as "Siberia".
  • World War Z. The pharmaceutical executive who marketed a fake vaccine for the zombie virus does this to himself, partly because it's too cold for the virus to thrive, but also because no human seeking vengeance can hike out there to kill him.
    • At the end of the novel, it's stated that this is only going to delay things; the U.S. is already negotiating with Russia to make sure the lease on his Antarctic hideaway isn't renewed.
  • In The Magicians, it's revealed that, following a disastrous affair with one of his students, Professor Mayakovsky was reassigned to Brakebill's Antarctic campus, which is deserted except for the occasional round of fourth-year students sent to learn from him.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the Night's Watch, who guard the great Wall in the frozen north, has become this. While it was once considered an honorable task the fact that the Sealed Evils In A Can behind the wall haven't been active for thousands of years means it's now a joke, guarding the world from an imaginary danger. It's used as a dumping ground for criminals, disgraced ex-soldiers and unwanted members of noble houses. Of course, after a few thousand pages numerous epic moments of Reassignment Backfire ensues.
  • The Night Watch in Ankh-Morpork is likewise a repository for the dim, awkward, cowardly or suicidally frankly-spoken recruits who wouldn't look impressive in the Day Watch, though most are assigned there in the first place rather than reassigned. Nonetheless, the backfire duly happens when their formerly-incompetent captain proves himself and is made Commander of a new combined Watch. There's still traffic patrol for Colon and Nobby.
  • In Friday the 13th: Church of the Divine Psychopath a bunch of government agents (all them, more or less, screw-ups) are sent to Crystal Lake to hunt down and kill Jason Voorhees, though a few members of the team realize this is probably nothing but a Snipe Hunt and good publicity stunt. But, this being a Friday the 13th story, things inevitably get worse.
  • In The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, Seerow, who gave Andalite technology to Yeerks, is sent to the Hork-Bajir homeworld because it's out of the way, and the Hork-Bajir don't have the intelligence necessary to use Andalite technology should Seerow screw up again. Of course, the Andalites didn't count on Hork-Bajir being perfect shock troops for the Yeerks...
  • In The First Circle State Security Minister Abakumov threatens to reassign his subordinate to Oymyakon, "the Pole of Cold, where even bears freeze".
  • In the Star Trek novel series Invasion, the alien Furies create a wormhole at "Furies' Point" to invade through, then vanish for about a century so that the authors can skip ahead from Original Series to Next Generation. By the time they return, the station at Furies' Point is a place for this.
  • In the Morgan Kane series by Louis Masterson, when the Wild West has been tamed and there's no more need for an old-fashioned gunslinger, the titular US Marshal is reassigned to Alaska. His superiors make it abundantly clear that they intend to bury him there to get rid of him, as he is described as a "walking anachronism".
  • The House of Life in the Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan has 365 nomes (That is, places that members can be assigned to) the first is Egypt, where it was founded. 365 is literally Antarctica, populated only by "a few cold magicians and some magic penguins."
  • In Pantheocide, the second book of The Salvation War, this is believed to be the case for US Army personnel who run transit and orientation for living citizens visiting Hell.
  • In Pyramid Power, this is referred to as being 'buried alive at Thule Airforce Base'. It was probably done to a few PSA agents who exceeded their authority and offended a lot of people in power. The alternative was being eaten by an angry Sphinx.
  • Rally Round the Flag, Boys! by Max Shulman begins with Guido di Maggio facing reassignment to Alaska, which he manages to avoid at the last moment by offering to conduct a public relations campaign for a Nike missile installation in Putnam's Landing, where he was born and raised and his fiancée is currently living. The civilian-hating Captain Walker Hoxie, however, is revolted at his being assigned to take command of said installation. The public relations campaign ends in disaster, and Guido ends up sent to Alaska anyway.
  • This is how the plot of the The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas is kickstarted when this trope happens to the protagonist Marcellus.
  • The Thieves' World anthologies begin with this. The Emperor has a young, charismatic, and, unfortunately, naive half-brother; he's a constant magnet for plots and conspirators, but the Emperor isn't willing to have him killed when he hasn't done anything. Solution: assign him as governor of the small, out-of-the-way town of Sanctuary...
    • Turns into a sort of Reassignment Backfire when the Empire later collapses; the sole surviving member of the Royal Family is his brother, because he wasn't anywhere near Imperial lands at the time. And while his prospects of ever refounding the Empire are nil, he seems well on a track to become ruler of his own independent successor kingdom.
  • John Hemry's Stark's War trilogy involves U.S. soldiers stationed on the Moon. At one point, Stark, having taken command, warns that if one of his subordinates takes her wheeling-and-dealing ways too far, "I'll post her on sentry duty at the lunar pole for so long she'll think she's a space penguin."
  • In Rick Cook's Limbo System, about a third of the people onboard were sent as punishment or exile of some kind.
  • In Michael Flynn's January Dancer, Fa Li complained too often that the Rift was not watched closely enough and got sent there.

Live-Action TV

  • Colonel Klink in Hogan's Heroes was often threatened with a transfer to the Eastern Front.
    • As was Colonel von Strohm in Allo Allo.
    • Arguably, Stalag 13 itself is a form of this trope, as none of the other senior-level German officers on Hogan's Heroes take Klink (or his assignment) anywhere nearly as seriously as Klink takes himself. In fact, the only reason Klink's general incompetence hasn't been discovered is that Hogan and the rest of the prisoners contrive to keep him around (as a more competent commandant would discover their sabotage/espionage activities). The Eastern Front is more a case of It Got Worse...particularly for any troops who find themselves under Klink's command.
  • Seems to be the point of the Craggy Island parish in Father Ted.
    • But the money was just resting in his account... And Bishop Brennan would've sent them to somewhere even worse after their failed protest in "the Passion of St Tibulus" if they hadn't managed to blackmail their way out of it.
  • In The Middleman, people who have the potential to become Middlemen, but screw up, have a tendency to be reassigned to Greenland.
  • Played with in Kyle XY, when Nicole asks Stephen if he was able to get a creepy security guard reassigned to Alaska.
  • Just Shoot Me: when Finch blows up at Jack, he gets reassigned to the "downtown" office, a dingy, windowless office occasionally rattled by the passing subway, whose supervisor was Jack's previous assistant.
  • Stargate Atlantis could be the trope namer. After disobeying orders in Afghanistan, Major Sheppard is re-assigned to McMurdo as a helicopter taxi driver in Antarctica. Of course, he's The Hero of the show. Reassignment Backfire within the first half of the show's pilot and a one-way ticket to the lost city of Atlantis.
    • And McKay, who later became Atlantis' chief science officer, appeared on SG-1 and was reassigned to Siberia to work on a Naquadah generator they were developing for failing at empathy and tact (and thinking he was better than Sam Carter). He's gotten better (comparatively) at those things since he got to Atlantis.
    • A CIA Agent acquaintance of Colonel Jack O'Neil named Burke ended up being sent to Honduras as a form of exile because he allegedly turned traitor. In actuality, he took the fall to cover up his fellow agent, Woods' true status as a traitor (as well as having to kill Woods for it out of self defense) in order to ensure that Cindy Woods, Woods' wife, got the pension after his death, so in this particular case, the reason is because of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
  • A traffic police officer in Spooks was reassigned to Orkney after trying to impound one of the agents' cars.
  • Commander Sinclair in Babylon 5 referred to once being "transferred to an outpost so far off the star maps you couldn't find it with a hunting dog and a Ouija board" after openly speaking his mind on Earthforce policy in an interview. The episode is “Infection”. [2]
    • There's also Londo Mollari: He got the ambassador job to Babylon 5 because the Centauri considered the job to be a joke at best and a death sentence at worst. Given that he gains a lot of influence and later becomes the Emperor as a direct result of having taken the job, this can be considered a case of Reassignment Backfire.
  • Major Winchester is reassigned to the 4077th M*A*S*H as a punishment for beating his commanding officer at cards.
    • Not like the other examples here, though. Winchester came to the 4077 thinking it was only for one surgery he had expertise in. However, with Frank Burns gone, Potter needed a replacement and managed to convince Winchester's CO to transfer him permanently. If not for Burns not staying and for Potter's persistence, the CO wouldn't have re-assigned Winchester anywhere regardless of being beaten at cards.
  • Law and Order: After Mike Logan punches a politician in the face, he gets transferred to Staten Island, which is as close to Antarctica as the City of New York gets (both literally and figuratively). He eventually comes to refer to his job as "finding stolen lawnmowers", a far cry from his original position with his Manhattan homicide unit.
  • Happens in The Wire to show how messed up internal politics can become in the police force.
    • After Jimmy McNulty steps on too many toes, his boss asks him what detail he does not want to get transferred to. No points for guessing where he ends up.
    • At the start of the show, Lester Freamon had been working in the "pawnshop unit" for thirteen years and four months as a punishment. The job was such a joke that he spent most of his day making doll furniture. He warns McNulty about what to do when someone asks you "Where do you want to go?", knowing that the same thing will inevitably happen to him.
    • Subverted later when both Santangelo and McNulty are demoted to Patrolmen for various reasons, but actually prefer it.
    • The gangsters do this too. As punishment for his reckless shooting prior to the pilot episode, D'Angelo is moved from the high-profile, high-income tower projects to the low rises across town.
  • In Yes Minister, the only threat that will shake Sir Humphrey Appleby, a very slick career civil servant, is that of reassignment to the DMV DVLA.
    • More specifically, the office of the Vehicle Licensing Board in Swansea. Which is both far from London, the centre of power and, well, in Swansea.
    • Other career killing dead ends used to frighten Humphrey, Bernard and other civil servants include Agriculture and Fisheries, the War Graves Commission and the British Embassy in Israel.
    • In The Bishop's Gambit we learn that the Bishopric of Truro is reserved for extremely irritating Anglican priests (by which we mean "priests who actually believe in God"), on the grounds that it is "very remote." (It's in Cornwall).
  • Oz. Father Ray Mukada was assigned to Oswald Maximum Security Prison "to learn humility" (i.e. because he questioned the conservative views of his powerful patron, Cardinal Francis Abgott).
  • In Ashes to Ashes series two when Gene Hunt stands up against Corrupt Cop "Super" Mac, he almost gets transferred to Plymouth because of it.
  • In Due South, Constable Benton Fraser ends up stationed in Chicago because no one in his chain of command wants him.
  • In one episode of NCIS, when Gibbs catches Abby and McGee slacking off in the lab:

Gibbs: "You two finished playing grabass, or do I need to transfer McGee to a weather station in Antarctica?"

  • When contemplating his return to power, Gul Dukat in Deep Space Nine decides to transfer the younger officer who stole his wife to the Cardassian embassy on Breen, even adding "I hear it's bitter cold on Breen."
    • This is also the reason that Garak lives on Deep Space 9.
      • To add extra insult, the head of the Obsidian Order, the intelligence service/SecretPolice force that exiled Garak, was Garak's father.
    • Early episodes of DS9 imply that Major Kira was given her post on the station because she was kind of a pain in the ass.
    • In a downplayed version, Sisko himself was sent here because he was felt to be too shell-shocked to command a starship, and it was not realized that DS9 was to become an important post. No one was really mad at him but he needed a supposedly low-key assignment. Good luck with that.
  • On Scrubs, Dr. Cox was temporarily reassigned to helping at the prison after he interrupted Dr. Kelso's Hannibal Lecture to Elliott (in an attempt by Kelso to Break the Cutie) with an unexpected punch to the face. Although shortlived, it still caused Dr. Cox plenty of grief, especially since it took away from his time with his young son.
  • In Mad Men Englishman Lane Price, just settling into New York, narrowly avoids being reassigned to Bombay.
  • Inverted on Chuck, where a useless, obstreperous person is sent to a distant place to get him out of the way and preserve the Secret Identities - but the place he's sent off to isn't Alaska or Antarctica, it's Hawaii. Harry Tang, assistant manager of the Buy More at the time, stumbles on Team Chuck in the middle of a teleconference with one of the generals. With aplomb rarely seen from this character, Casey convinces him that Casey thinks Tang has always been aware of spies operating out of the store, the CIA is impressed by Tang's analytical skill, and the transfer to Hawaii is a chance for Tang to have his own career as a spy. In reality, Tang stumbled on them by accident, Casey is the sort of person who would gladly kill Tang if he thought it was easiest, and he still doesn't know the really important secret.
    • This incident gets kind of a nasty Call Back in the third season with Harry's even more unlikable replacement, Emmett is written off the show and Casey tells Chuck with a smirk that he was transferred to a Buy More in another state. actually, as seen by the audience, he was killed by a Ring assassin
  • The X-Files:Mulder's office is in the basement because he works on The X-Files, which is "outside the Bureau mainstream". He lacks respect for what he does, being called "Spooky" Mulder, though that nickname was originally given for his uncanny profiling skills. Scully joins him in the basement to debunk his work, but eventually gets just as involved as he is. While she garners a little more respect than Mulder, being a more by-the-book agent and a professor at the Academy, it's not much more. Her colleagues call her "Mrs. Spooky".
  • The basic premise of The Good Guys. Detective Stark is a Cloudcuckoolander Cowboy Cop who can't be fired because of his heroic exploits back in the eighties. Detective Bailey was a young up-and-comer who decided to correct the Lieutenant's grammar. The season pilot had them searching for a broken humidifier, and it's gone downhill from there. This is despite all the important cases they accidentally close, due to a string of bad luck and embarrassments along the way.
  • Inversion in Small Wonder: Vicky's inventor and one of his co-workers are vying for a promotion. Co-worker's daughter secretly makes suggestions to Vicky to make his competitor look bad. Vicky takes the suggestions quite literally, and the co-worker wins the promotion. And then it turns out to be a transfer to Iceland.
  • In an episode of Home Improvement, Tim is dreading a bowling game with a Binford higher-up after being told by the latter's wife that the last guy who beat him was transferred to Pakistan. Eventually, Tim mentions this to him...who explains that said employee was his wife's brother who had been embezzling from the company. Tim is relieved...until the guy insists on staying until he wins...

Bud: [After Tim mentions being "tired"] Did my wife tell you what happened to the vice president who threw the game?
Tim: Wearing a turban?
Bud: Fez.

  • In one episode of Night Court, Assistant DA Dan Fielding- who was in the US Army Reserves - was called into duty, told only that he was being sent into a war zone. Dan was prepared with fake medical records and crutches to prove he was unfit for combat duty. His tune changed when his commanding officer showed up with his orders - said commanding officer being a Hot Amazon and said orders involving going undercover with her, posing as a couple, doing reconnaissance in some tropical paradise turned Banana Republic. When Dan's Bumbling Sidekick Phil shows up pretending to be Dan's boyfriend (Plan B) and Dan's plan to disobey orders is exposed, he is reassigned to the Arctic Circle to help give physicals to polar bears.
  • In the made for TV Burn Notice movie The Fall of Sam Axe, Sam is sent to a crummy operation in Columbia because he slept with the wife of a powerful admiral. Who caught him in the act.
  • Command of the Galactica was Adama's punishment for screwing up a covert mission for the Admiralty: it's an aging bucket assigned to the armpit of space, crewed by a Ragtag Band of Misfits. The irony, of course, is that it's these very facts that spare it when the Colonies fall; it's too old and too far away to be a primary target.
  • Degrassi combined this with Dropped a Bridge on Him when Dan Woods left the show - Raditch was reassigned after the school shooting.

Newspaper Comics

  • Lt. Sonny Fuzz has been reassigned to places in the lines of Antarctica (perhaps literally there, too) a couple of times, though we've never seen him actually end up there.
    • It is sometimes implied that General Halftrack was put in charge of Camp Swampy because he's too incompetent to manage anything more important.


  • In The Men From The Ministry, the main characters' boss frequently threatens to reassign them to the Outer Hebrides.
  • In The Navy Lark, this is pretty much how the crew of HMS Troutbridge was assembled. The Admiralty's apparent thought process was to keep all the screw-ups and schemers in one place—namely one broken-down frigate. Given the mental capacities of some of the admirals, though, this policy has the expected result.

Tabletop Games

  • Planescape: When devils want to do this, the place they have is a Blood War battlefield called the Stinging Sands of Minethys. This place in Carceri used to have strategic value several millennia ago, but since then, both sides of the war have long forgotten why they were fighting over it, and the fighting has degenerated into tedious, grueling trench warfare. The fighting here is pointless, because no progress has been made by either side in over a thousand years, and the devils only persist because pride prevents them from letting the demons have it. Devils send subordinates here as a punishment.


Video Games

  • A Silph Co Scientist mentions that he got transferred to the Tiksi Branch in Pokémon RBY and FRLG, and implies that this is the reason why he was defecting to Team Rocket during their takeover.
  • The backstory for Doom says that the main character was reassigned to Mars for assaulting his superior after the man ordered him to open fire on civilians. Obviously, things didn't go so well.
  • In Half Life 2, Combine soldiers are threatened with "permanent offworld assignment" if they fail to stop Gordon Freeman.
  • During the Villain Protagonist campaign of Star Wars Battlefront II, this happens to the narrator when the prisoners on the death star escape and wreak havoc. This seriously pissed off Vader, who consequently then dragged the 501st across the galaxy (to a variety of pretty dire planets) to hunt for the missing Death Star plans. This, however, eventually turns out to be their "salvation", when the death star is destroyed shortly after they leave.
  • It is hinted in The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion that most or all of the soldiers stationed at Fort Frostmoth are there because of punishment. It's a freezing island filled with werewolves, naked barbarians, tree-women, and undead warriors.
  • In Activision's Battlezone 1998, if you fail a particular mission, you are to be reassigned to Mars' polar region.
  • In Radiant Historia Viola was reassigned to the Sand Fortress for being to popular.
  • In Wing Commander, Christopher Blair gets demoted and Reassigned to Antarctica between the first and second games when nobody believes his claim that Kilrathi stealth fighters destroyed the Tiger's Claw. He's proven right by the end of the second game.
    • In a bad ending after failing at a specific mission, Blair can find himself reassigned there *again* and can only sit in despair as news comes in that the Concordia has been destroyed. The Concordia is destroyed anyway at the beginning of Wing Commander III, meaning that it's doomed either way, if that makes you feel better...
  • In the adventure game KGB (also known as Conspiracy), this can be your ending if you annoy your higher-ups in the KGB.
  • Luminous Arc: It takes a bit of figuring out, but this is apparently what Kingston did to Heath when the latter started to get too suspicious, creating a program to raise war-orphans as child soldiers to get him out of the way for almost a decade. Naturally, he shot himself in the foot by doing this.
  • It is implied in Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker that Coldman, the CIA Director prior to the aftermath of Operation Snake Eater, being made the CIA Station Chief of Central America was a result of this trope, Exile, and Kicked Upstairs due to his involvement in creating the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater.
  • A possible ending for Norman Jayden in Heavy Rain.
  • Happens to Cole Phelps in L.A. Noire after his affair with a German singer is brought to the attention of the public. Of course, being the protagonist, it turns into a Reassignment Backfire of epic proportions.
  • Suikoden III: It's made clear to Thomas that the Zexen Confederacy has sent him to oversee the struggling Budehuc Castle just to get him out of the way. In his case, the only thing he's really done to warrant this treatment is exist, given that he's the illegitimate son of a Zexen council member.
  • Although no one is threatened with reassignment there, Camp Golf is meant to be treated this way in Fallout: New Vegas, as Boone mentions that it's "The only resort in New Vegas that no one wants to get sent to."
  • Lyude, from Baten Kaitos was reassigned to Nashira, because he unfortunately was too much of a decent human being.
  • In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Hazama has Makoto assigned to Ikaruga to keep her from interfering with his plan to Mind Rape Noel and Tsubaki. The fallout of this plot is still in the air, but unlike all his other gambits, pulling off his work with those two is all the good he's getting out of this one. The negative fallout starts from one simple fact - she's alive and reunited with Noel! [3]
  • The Frontier mod expansion for Fallout New Vegas involves a whole regiment of New California Republic soldiers being exiled with their charismatic general to the northernmost fringes of the NCR's frontier, near what had been Portland, Oregon.

Web Comics

Dominik Voss: Reassignment? Pffh, can't be worse than this.
(cut to Dominik trotting on the snow, with glaciers in background)

Web Original

  • In Decades of Darkness, an Alternate History timeline, being transferred to the West African colony of Whydah is considered this for members of the American military. The American State Department's equivalent assignment is Liberia.
  • In Reds A Revolutionary Timeline the United American Socialist Republics became Stalin's go to dumping ground for those too popular to kill.
  • The SCP Foundation files make occasional use of this. For displaying either egregious stupidity or horrific violations of common decency, (i.e. rearranging the furnishings of a young blind girl for a laugh) someone can be reassigned to Keter duty. Keter is the classification used for objects or beings that show an active, intense hostility towards human life, civilization, or existence itself. As they often have to have incredibly difficult and precise means of containment and can cause significant destruction if they breach their containment, this tends to lead to a dangerous, short lived assignment for many of the people assigned to such duties.

Western Animation

  • Garfield and Friends, "The Impractical Joker": Roy has played a practical joke on Orson, who vows revenge but is secretly pulling off a Paranoia Gambit. Shortly thereafter, an inspector, who appears to be Orson in a Paper-Thin Disguise, arrives on the farm. Roy just mocks him and begs to be sent to the South Pole, even trying to throw mud on the "inspector". After the inspector falls into Orson's waller, the real Orson walks up. As Roy contemplates this turn of events, the inspector declares that he really will banish Roy. As Roy runs away in panic, the inspector turns out to be Lanolin in disguise.
  • How Invader Zim came to Earth, and a running theme in the series. Zim doesn't seem to know or care that this isn't a "good" assignment.
    • It's because this reassignment was just a disguised suicide mission. The Tallest sent him there not knowing there was a planet in the vicinity and hoped he would die along the way. They're a little more blunt when it comes to Skoodge, though: "You will be assigned to Blorch, home of the slaughtering rat people."
  • Literally what happens to Military Maverick Yuri Stavrogan in Exo Squad: he gets sent to Antarctica right after he gets promoted to squad commander. Unfortunately for him, the Neosapien breeding facility they are assigned to investigate is, in fact, the highest security Neo installation on the planet at the moment (because it researches Neo Lords), and his entire squad is wiped out.
  • Happens once in Johnny Bravo when Johnny is given to a foster family in Antarctica.
  • About half of the main cast in Transformers Animated. Bumblebee and Bulkhead were assigned space bridge repair detail as punishment for an incident in boot camp (though Bulkhead didn't mind), while Optimus himself was put in as their captain because it was about the highest position he qualified for after the Elita-1 incident.
  • Ranger Smith often threatened to send Yogi Bear to either Siberia or the St. Louis zoo if he didn't behave.
  • Marvin from Martin Mystery was reassigned to a Center base in Antarctica, largely as an excuse to have a Whole-Plot Reference to The Thing.
  • The explanation for why the famed Commodore Tolwyn is babysitting a bunch of space cadets in Wing Commander Academy.
  • An episode of G.I. Joe: Renegades opens with two hapless Cobra guards standing in front of a remote bunker in the middle of a frozen wasteland. A brief conversation between the two reveals that they both ended up there by failing to prevent the Joes from getting into secure areas. Naturally, the Joes show up again. One wonders where they'll get sent next time...
  • In the two-part American Dad episode "Stan of Arabia", Stan is reassigned to a post in Saudi Arabia after screwing up his supervisor's anniversary roast party, and naturally his family goes with him. It doesn't go well.
  • In an episode of the Dilbert cartoon, two teams within Dilbert's company (his team and that of the one-off villain Lena) are pitted against each other to finish a task, with the team that fails being reassigned to Albany, New York (cue an image of a desolate, snowy waste).
    • Lena's newly-decapitated head: "Well, better this than Albany."
  • The trope is subverted in the Private Snafu cartoon, The Oupost, which was intended to teach US soldiers that being assigned to remote locations is not a punishment, but a chance to participate in an important part of the United States' vital worldwide observation network to help win World War II.

Real Life

  • A common threat for police officers who mess up, but not quite enough for a Turn in Your Badge. The threat is usually something like "you'll end up as a crossing guard for this!"
    • Irish politician Seán Doherty, when caught drinking in a pub after hours, once infamously asked a garda (policeman), "Do you want a pint or a transfer?"[4]
  • In the military (of any country, really), there are always stories about highly undesirable posts and bases where people with problems are sent.
  • Camillo Cavour (the Italian Bismarck), when he was in the military, proved such a troublemaker that he was reassigned to a remote post.
  • U.S. President Abraham Lincoln famously quipped that he'd named Simon Cameron ambassador to Russia because "I know of no further place I could send him."
    • Earlier, Andrew Jackson had sent James Buchanan to that post for the same reason, allegedly saying, "If we kept a ministry at the North Pole, I would have sent him there."
  • There is somewhere worse than mainland Alaska in the U.S. Military. An island called Shemya in the Aleutians, a group of islands off the coast of the Alaskan Peninsula. According to legend, the wind never drops below 60 knots, the temperature never rises above -20 C and there's a 10-foot visibility fog 300 days of the year. Primary duty there is clearing the runway of obstructions. Every time someone left, they took a rock with them so someday there would be no more island and no would ever have to go back. Or so that legend goes.
  • For some reason Mongolia was a place where communists who were too unorthodox were sent.
  • A proverb that originated in the Soviet officer ranks conveys the typically Russian philosophical approach to the problem: "They can't send you further than Kushka [a town in Turkmenistan and the Soviet Union's southernmost point] and they can't give you less than a platoon to command."
    • The wartime version goes with the frontline instead of Kushka.
  • The poet Alexander Pushkin was exiled from St. Petersburg to Kishinev (now Chişinău, the capital of Moldova), very far away. Kishinev, which had a large Jewish population, was proverbial in Yiddish slang for "very far away"- if a child was gone for a while, their parents would ask if they had been in Kishinev.
  • In the City of Denver, Colorado, police officers who screw up, but either not badly enough to get fired (yet) or can't be fired for some reason, get sent to Denver Airport to patrol. It's said that an officer who goes to the airport is on their way out.
  • Apparently the people of Coventry hated the military so much that the threat to "send someone to Coventry" has become an idiom in itself.
  • Félix Éboué, a trailblazing Afro-Frenchman who achieved high office in France's 1930s colonial administration, up to the status of governor of the valuable Guadeloupe colony, ultimately pissed off the wrong people and was reassigned to what is now Chad, a sparsely populated French colony that was mostly desert and only effectively governed in the South. This backfired when World War Two started and, it has been suggested at least partially out of spite, Éboué became the first French colonial governor to throw his support behind Chares De Gaulle's Free French government.
  • When French Lt. Colonel Georges Picquart uncovered evidence of the framing of fellow officer Alfred Dreyfus for the crime of high treason in 1896, he was hastily reassigned to Tunisia in order to keep the matter quiet. It didn't work.
  • In Czarist Russia, aristocrats with unfitting opinions were often sent to Siberia permanently. It wasn't all that bad, as they still remained aristocrats and lived in relative comfort (unlike non-aristocrats sent to Siberia, who got to live in prisons), but it did effectively neutralize them politically.
  • Catholic clergy who somehow manage to seriously anger the Vatican enough might be sent away to remote "contemplative monasteries." More or less the same situation as the Father Ted example above.
    • Jacques Gaillot provides a "metaphorical" example, in which he wasn't actually exiled, but the intent was the same. Gaillot's liberal views made him unpopular with the Catholic Church hierarchy, and so he was demoted from Bishop of Évreux, France to Bishop of Partenia. Partenia is a See which used to be a major Algerian city- used to because it was buried under the Sahara in the 5th century. (He didn't actually have to go there—it's called a titular diocese. The point is that he stayed a bishop but didn't get to have a real diocese.)
    • Actually, such inversion is quite common in modern Vatican usage, and isn't always a punishment. Since 1982, Catholic bishops are required to resign from administering their dioceses at age 75 (unless an extension is granted), and they are often "transferred" to a titular see and sometimes are additionally reassigned to administrative responsibilities in Rome. This also happened with Cardinal Bernard Law (former Archbishop of Boston), after he resigned from the archdiocese in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal. He had not yet reached the age limit, so in his specific case, it might actually have been a punishment, though this was never either acknowledged or denied. (As with other over-aged Cardinals, he was permitted to keep his voting rights until age 80... but there was only one election during that time, in 2005.)
  • As punishment for scandalous conduct, the Roman poet Ovid was exiled by Augustus to Tomis, a port in Black Sea (now modern-day Constanţa, Romania).
    • Augustus was nothing if not consistent. Several of his descendants whom he considered to be scandalous or embarrassing found themselves exiled to godforsaken flyspecks in the Mediterranean (which for a Roman was very slightly better than the Black Sea.)
  • General Douglas MacArthur, famous for commanding Allied forces in the South Pacific during WWII and UN forces during the Korean War, was sent to the Philippines as a Brigadier General in 1922 by General Pershing, for becoming involved in a woman that the higher ranking officer had been pursuing. At least, that was the rumor of the time.
    • MacArthur later went back to the Philippines after the notorious "Bonus Army" incident, when he ordered U.S, troops to attack war veterans rallying for benefits, ended his tenure as Army Chief of Staff.
  • This was one of Josef Stalin's methods of dealing with those opponents that were too high-profile to simply execute or send to The Gulag. They were appointed ambassadors, removing them from the political scene in the USSR itself.
    • Georgy Zhukov, the Soviet general who led the Soviet Offensive against Germany in World War II, was reassigned after the war, first to southern Ukraine, then to the Urals, as he was very popular, hence threatening to Stalin.
    • Zhukov was especially prone to this, having been assigned to the Soviet Far East prior to the war for ideological impurity. This led to a Reassignment Backfire, as the units under Zhukov's command 1) were less impacted by Stalin's purges than the Red Army as a whole, resulting in higher morale and a greater degree of military professionalism and 2) gained valuable experience in skirmishes an undeclared war against the Japanese Kwantung Army along the Manchurian/Mongolian border.
    • Zhukov wasn't very politically active while he was on service. In the Far East campaign his role was to organize scattered troops anew and terrorize them into discipline—which he did quite well, even if he shot more than needed. Possible "experience" from the operation, however, wasn't visible when the Germans attacked, nor later on the Stalingrad front, so his boss mostly used him the same way—as a big scary whip-master.
    • The inversion is Apanasenko, who didn't hesitate to shout at Stalin and was kept on Far East... because he was good—so he'd hold the line if the Japanese thought it was their turn to make surprises. An officer working under him later wrote that the Red Army couldn't hope to stop even lesser forces there before Apanasenko came in roaring at everyone and exceeding authority (for which he never suffered more than a rebuke) and got a whole road network built from scratch.
    • Stalin's original intentions towards Leon Trotsky were of this nature; he was originally sent to the back-end of nowhere, far from the action in Moscow, before eventually expelling him from the country entirely. Unfortunately for Stalin, Trotsky subverted this by being a loud, troublesome pain-in-the-arse dedicated to causing as much grief for Stalin as possible regardless of where he was, through various speeches, writings and general trouble-making (which was partly why he was kicked out of the country in the first place). Unfortunately for Trotsky, Stalin eventually got so fed up with him that he decided on a more permanent solution to the problem, meaning that Trotsky eventually ended up with an icepick in his skull.
  • In World War II, of all the fronts on which Japan was engaged, Burma was the most hated: the country was too remote from any worthwhile objective to make a difference, the army there was outnumbered and outgunned by its British opponent, and the jungle made it a torturous process to move supplies and reinforcements through even when these were available. A joke among Japanese staff officers in Tokyo made the rounds: "I've upset Tojo, it's Burma for me."
  • After one too many clashes with Henry Ford II, Lee Iacocca was moved from president of Ford Motor Company to some impressive job title - with a run-down office in a parts warehouse in a rough part of Detroit (mind you, this was in The Seventies, before "rough part of Detroit" became tautological). A job offer from Chrysler moved him from this to being the first modern "celebrity CEO."
  • Turner Broadcasting Network tended to use WCW as Antarctica. That is the backstage, behind the scenes, staff part of WCW. Most of the people that worked in it were either kicked upstairs, put out to pasture, or unsuspecting newbies who had no idea what they were in for. WCW, for reasons that would be too extensive to describe here (although, if you don't feel like looking elsewhere, can be summed up very very loosely as "too many egos, and not enough common sense,") was a horrible place to work.
  • In 1977, a Russian oil tanker ran aground at the Swedish coast. The Swedish Maritime Administration blamed the captain, but an employee discovered that the maps didn't include that particular shallow. He brought it up to his superiors, but when they ignored it, he took the information to the press. End result? He was reassigned from being a cartographer into being a engineer at a relatively remote lighthouse.
  • Alexander Yakovlev, head of the Communist Party's Department of Ideology and Propaganda, published an article criticizing anti-semitism in the USSR and was reassigned to Canada.
    • The Soviets were rather fond of this trope; Nikolai Bulganin was sent to Stavropol when he fell from power, while his colleague and former Premier Georgy Malenkov was appointed manager of a hydro-electric plant in the grim industrial city of Ust-Kamenogorsk. Even the legendary Marshal Zhukov found himself exiled to the Urals for a while.
  • The Nazis originally planned to relocate all the European Jews to Madagascar.
  • Although the he headed the development for the hugely successful Game Boy, Gunpei Yokoi was given a "window job" after its disastrous follow-up, the Virtual Boy. Without any direct influence in the company, he left to develop the Wonderswan with Bandai.
  • Apple did this to Steve Jobs in 1985, moving him to an office that was even nicknamed "Siberia," before he actually quit.
  • A special version of that in the ancient Athenian constitution was Ostracism. Unlike the modern word it did not imply social disgrace but was a utilitarian political tool. A politician who grew so powerful that it was feared he might overbalance the state was ordered by vote to move out for an indefinite amount of time. His possessions in the city were not seized; they were simply kept on hold until such time as he was allowed to return.
    • Themistocles' famous rival Aristides "the Just", suffered this. According to stories, one voter who was illiterate asked him to spell out his name. Aristides proceeded to do so then asked why he was voting thus, to receive the reply,"I don't know him, I just get tired of hearing him called 'the Just' all the time."
  • Deliberately subverted by Dan Gallery (author of one of the works above) during his own real-life US Navy service. When he was a captain commanding an antisubmarine seaplane base in southern Iceland during World War II, he took shameless advantage of the fact that most people in the supply chain didn't know Iceland's actual climate (hint: the name 'Iceland' is an antonym, its actually quite pleasant) and thought that anybody stationed there had been Reassigned To Antarctica. So he quite cheerfully submitted the most absurd requisitions imaginable for furniture, luxuries, and recreational equipment, things that would normally be laughed right out of the office (just try to imagine the usual reaction to a military base putting in a supply request for a commercial-grade ice cream machine in 1942) -- but since the Pentagon bureaucrats thought it was a hardship outpost, he actually got many of them approved. By the end of his tour there Captain Gallery had managed to upgrade the facilities to the point that the only disciplinary measure he needed to keep his men in line was to threaten to transfer them somewhere else.
    • Captain Gallery was quite fond of this tactic. Upon assuming command of his first aircraft carrier (also during World War II), his initial address to the crew concluded with 'Anybody who wants safer duty than here, come to my office and I'll do the best I can to get you a transfer.' Whether because of high morale or because of not wanting to openly admit that they were feeling like chickening out, nobody took him up on the offer... which was the entire reason he'd made it in the first place.
  • The Caribbean was a zig-zag for the British in the eighteenth century. For the army, it was the most sadistic post anyone in the service could think of because the yellow fever made the casualty rate even greater than going on campaign without the fun of having bragging rights and promotions once all was said and done. The Royal Navy meanwhile, instead of sitting in garrison being bored and rotting to death, got to go to sea on plundering expeditions amid the fattest prizes including Spain's famous treasure ships should they be lucky enough to be at war with the Spanish at the moment.
  • Diplomat Loy W. Henderson embarrassed US President Harry Truman by confusing policies on Israeli independence. As a result he ended up Ambassador to India(which apparently was not a particularly prestigious post for Americans at the time)
  • Celtic Saint Columba started his career as a Monk of noble birth. He was exiled from Ireland for embarrassing his superiors by taking part in a clan feud and set up shop on the island of Iona.
  1. which focuses on The Greatest Story Never Told involving characters from various sidestories and Gaiden Games.
  2. in a zig-zagged sort of way. It's really awful for his superior, but not hot for him either. He eventually recovers. The superior does not.
  3. In Slight Hope, Makoto visits the Wheel of Fortune timeline and witnesses some of its events, including a battle with Hazama himself, before Rachel sends her back to the active timeline. The rest of the fallout is likely to be explored in the next game.
  4. Doherty was Minister of Justice at the time, so he was in a position to make good on his promise.