The Villain Must Be Punished

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Under most circumstances, the heroes are perfectly content with thwarting a villain's Evil Plan. This is not one of those circumstances; the villain has harmed innocent people, performed all manner of horrible deeds, kicked every dog out there.

Simply stopping his plans isn't enough anymore; whether by humiliation, death, or worse, the Big Bad has to actually pay for what he's done. In some cases, the heroes may disagree on what is fair, or isn't.

Compare It's Personal, a common reason why the heroes come to feel this way; and Laser-Guided Karma, where the universe itself does the punishing. Contrast with Karma Houdini. Can sometimes trigger (or just be another point in) a Cycle of Revenge or Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, especially if the heroes tried to make the villain suffer instead of quickly getting it over with. Can sometimes overlap with Disproportionate Restitution, depending on just how villainous the villain actually is, and how extreme the punishment is.

Examples of The Villain Must Be Punished include:


  • Some PSAs emphasize that if you drive drunk, cops must arrest you. They emphasize it's better to be alive and in jail before a bad accident happens.
  • The Trix rabbit and new Cookie Crisp wolf mascot run into this when they try to get their hand on Trix cereal or Cookie Crisps. While sometimes the kids just steal back their cereal, other times they deliberately ensure that the mascots suffer a mild Humiliation Conga. Because after all, "Trix are for kids!"

Anime and Manga

  • Dragonball Z:
    • During the Frieza Saga, even as Namek is about to explode, Goku makes it his mission to finish the fight with Frieza against his friends' objections. It isn't enough that he's thwarted Frieza's attempt to use the Dragon Balls for gain immortality; Frieza has to pay for everything he's done, and Goku has to ensure he does so, beating him to a pulp and ripping his pride to shreds before deeming him Not Worth Killing.
    • Brutally Deconstructed during the Cell Saga. After reaching Super Saiyan 2, a rip-roaringly pissed Gohan beats Cell to a pulp, but when given the chance, opts to stand back and let Cell regenerate just so he can continue the beatdown, feeling Cell deserved to suffer as much as possible before he's done. This backfires when Cell, driven to a Villainous Breakdown, attempts to self-destruct and take the Earth with him, forcing Goku to sacrifice himself to stop it.
  • Pokémon: Ash and his friends generally defeat the Team Rocket trio rather easily and let them flee, but there are times where their antics push them past their Rage Breaking Point, after which Ash makes sure that they're not leaving unless he sends them blasting off again.

Ash: I'm not done with you yet...


  • "Twa Sisters" has a random harpist and one of the titular sisters doing this in death. Basically, two princesses fought over the same guy, and the eldest Helen pushed her sister into a raging river, letting her drown so she could marry William. A miller found the dead girl's body after his daughter alerted him about the corpse in the water. He dragged her out, suspecting foul play. Then a harpist comes along, sees the body, and decides to carve it into a magical harp. The harp sings, naming the princess's murderer on loop. As a result, the harpist brings the harp to court, insisting that the king and queen must hear it.

Comic Books

  • The Killing Joke: The Joker invests a lot of time in tormenting Commissioner Gordon, intending to break him and prove that "one bad day" would drive anyone crazy just as it did him. Batman saves him, after which Gordon insists that Batman go after Joker and bring him in without stooping to the Clown's level.
  • The Punisher's entire schtick revolves around this. He doesn't want to just lock crooks up; he wants to make them pay for their crimes with their lives.
  • Gotham Central: Harvey Dent in one arc frames Renee Montoya for murder and kidnaps her just as Bruce Wayne pays for her legal defense. He thinks this means she will have to date him as his prisoner. Renee has to point out that he outed her as a gay woman; she respects his virtues as a villain and the good man he used to be, but they're incompatible. Then he threatens her girlfriend, unable to face this logical flaw in his plan; Renee ends up in a gun struggle with him that Batman interrupts. She asks Batman how many times Two-Face will try and murder the ones that she loves as long as he's alive. Batman says the important thing is that Renee didn't become the criminal that Two-Face wanted her to be. Unable to deal with the trauma, Renee resigns from the force and becomes the second Question.

Fan Works

  • In Harry Potter and the Lack of Lamb Sauce, Gordon Ramsay hates teachers or any adult that bullies children. He hates Dumbledore for this reason, thinking he's endangering the students by not reining in the magical chaos. But then Neville and Harry tell him about Snape nearly poisoning Trevor back in third year. Gordon marches off to confront Snape, telling him off for a power play, and demanding accountability. They nearly come to blows, with Minerva breaking them up, but Gordon warns Snape to knock it off.
  • In The Eliza Trilogy, Heel Face Turn Draco in an OOC Is Serious Business mode talks to Fudge in Book Two after Harry curb-stomps Diawna and rescues the school hostages from her. For the crime of impersonating her dead twin sister Eliza, poisoning her father Snape, killing a student for recognizing her, blowing up Gryffindor Tower, handing over an underage Wyren to Voldemort, and kidnapping more than half of Hogwarts, Draco demands that she receive the Dementor's Kiss. Everyone is aghast at this, including Minerva and a heartbroken Severus but Fudge agrees because she's too much of a threat to leave alive. Granted, later Draco admits that he was mad that Diawna gave him false hope that Eliza was alive, and kissed him while pretending to be her sister.


  • In Disney's animated adaptation of Peter Pan, normally Peter is cheerful about facing Hook. He sees their confrontations as a game, something that disturbs Wendy when he pretends to help the crocodile taste some "codfish" as Hook is dangling from a cliff over the water in Skull Rock. Then he finds out that Hook smuggled a bomb into his hideout that nearly killed Tinkerbell, and kidnapped the Darlings as well as the Lost Boys when they were planning to fly to London. After Peter saves Wendy from the plank, he seriously tells Hook, "You're next! This time you've gone too far!" Going after Peter is one thing; nearly killing his friends is another issue altogether.


  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry and Dumbledore discuss this. Dumbledore notices that Harry is feeling despondent about his destiny, that either he or Voldemort will kill each other. Harry feels like he has no choice, and there is a chance he will die instead. He asks Harry, "Suppose there was no prophecy," that Harry was an ordinary boy wizard." What would he do with Voldemort? Harry thinks about it. He remembers his parents, Cedric Diggory, Sirius, and Neville's own parents, the lives that were ruined. He says, with new determination, he would want Voldemort dead, and would want to do it to avenge the innocent.
  • In J.M. Barrie's novelization of Peter Pan, normally the selfish and heartless Peter sees fighting Hook as a game. Then Hook nearly kills Tinkerbell with a poison meant for Peter, and kidnaps the Lost Boys as well as the Darlings. Peter, in his coldest voice, whispers, "Hook or me this time" and goes for one final showdown.
  • Deconstructed in the short story "Cruel Sisters", a retelling of the "Twa Sisters" ballad. Here we have three sisters instead of two, with the middle child being the Only Sane Woman. As the narrator Margaret puts it, eldest sister Anne and youngest Eleanor would get into bitter quarrels, with Eleanor making up lies to get her big sister in trouble and Anne ruining Eleanor's things to "make the lies true". When they fight over the same guy, Margaret suggests they talk it out when William chooses Eleanor, on an evening stroll. Everyone believes Anne when she comes home, stricken, and says Eleanor slipped into the river by accident. When the harpist comes and plays the harp made of Eleanor's bones months later, Anne smashes the harp after it accuses her of murdering Eleanor and stealing William, saying she "made the words true". Margaret lays into the harpist who thought he was bringing a killer to justice; he carved up a dead body rather than return it to the royals for a proper funeral, and didn't consider that Eleanor might have lied in death, as she was a liar in life and William was not faithful. The harpist is horrified when he actually considers this. As it is, the king confines Anne to a convent where she dies several months later, they have a funeral for Eleanor with a tiny coffin that makes everyone feels worse because of the thought that Eleanor's bones were carved for this spell, and Margaret is left as the last child standing. She regrets surviving, for understandable reasons.

Live-Action TV

  • Angel:
    • In the crossover two-parter "Five-by-Five" and "Sanctuary", different parties host this attitude about Faith, the fugitive Slayer that pulled a Face Heel Turn and helped the Mayor nearly eat the high school graduates in Buffy season three. Wesley, who was her watcher, feels guilty that he was too incompetent to help Faith; he changes his tune after she kidnaps him and beats up Cordelia, pointing out to Angel that Cordelia was an innocent party and Faith can't be trusted. Buffy in the meantime comes to Los Angeles to hunt down Faith after the latter slept with her boyfriend Riley in Buffy's body, raping them both by proxy, saying she needs justice. Angel is put in the impossible position of fighting off his ex and at least keeping Faith alive long enough to decide what the right decision would be to do with someone who tried murdering him, tortured his friends, killed a human deputy, and has an arrest warrant. When Kate has to arrest Angel for harboring a fugitive, in the case of Reality Ensues, Faith solves the dilemma by turning herself in and surrendering to LAPD.
    • Sweet Fred finds out that her graduate school mentor, Professor Seidel, is the one who sent her to another dimension, a traumatic experience that broke her. He did the same to several of his students out of jealousy that they would surpass him. Fred becomes uncharacteristically sadistic, asking the group on if it's better to torture the professor slowly or quickly. Angel says slowly, but he can't let her do that; Wesley is more willing to assist out of guilt that he allowed a demon to kidnap Angel's son. Fred wants to do to Seidel what he did to her: condemn him to another hell dimension for the rest of his life. Gunn ends up doing it, and snaps the professor's neck before exiling him because he can handle killing a human and keeping his morals intact; he worries about what will happen if Fred were to do such a thing, and how it would traumatize her further.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Xander's hatred of Angel first spurs from jealousy; he nurses a crush on Buffy, but Angel becomes Buffy's boyfriend in season two. Things get complicated when Buffy causes Angel to lose his soul and revert to the soulless serial killer vampire he used to be, but she still can't kill him. Xander is not the only one who calls out Buffy for this; Giles wants a piece of Angelus for what he does to Jenny Calendar. When Angelus kidnaps Giles in the season two finale and prepares to cause the apocalypse using his intel under interrogation, even though it will kill him as well, Willow prepares to restore Angel's soul before that happens and asks Xander to relay a message that Buffy should stall Angelus for as long as possible. Xander instead relays this message to Buffy: "Kick his ass." It takes several years for Buffy to learn the truth, and she's furious with Xander long after she and Angel have broken up and he moved to another city. With that said, Buffy also acknowledges that she hesitated in killing Angelus and that she bears some blame.
    • Warren Mears, the Big Bad of Season 6, quickly shows himself to be a vile excuse for a human being, using a Mind Control Device to turn his ex-girlfriend into a Sex Slave, killing her when she snaps out of it and tries to escape, and using magic and time-distorting demons to dupe Buffy into thinking she killed Katrina so she'll take the fall, which nearly succeeds. By the final episodes of the season, he's shot Buffy, nearly killing her, and killed Tara, the latter of which unleashes Dark Willow, who fully intends to kill Warren for it. Dawn and Xander are so disgusted and furious with him that they openly support Willow's intentions; Buffy, meanwhile, preaches Thou Shalt Not Kill, but only because she doesn't want Willow to become a murderer.

Newspaper Comics

  • In an early arc of The Boondocks, Riley gets an idea to spray-paint the cutesy street names with those from rappers. The adults are annoyed by this; in addition to the vandalism, it's messing up their ability to navigate around the neighborhood. In a rare moment of insight, Riley decides to lie low as the cops investigate, because he knows they'll go hard on a black kid. Then Cindy decides to ask him to rename her street, even offering that she'll do it if he lends her the art supplies. Riley realizes she can be a perfect patsy, and dials in an anonymous tip after giving her the supplies. He gets away with it because while Cindy names him as an accomplice, she's holding the proof: the spray bottles. Cindy is grounded by her parents but faces no criminal charges.
  • FoxTrot: Downplayed since they're all children.
    • If the kids get in trouble, their siblings will egg on their mom to punish them. Jason will happily tattle on Peter for going over the speed limit or arriving late after curfew.
    • If Paige is writing a story where Jason is the villain, she will ensure that his fictional counterpart has a Cruel and Unusual Death. Jason will do the same, but only because he enjoys trolling his sister.
    • Jason actually hates this trope in Star Wars. He says that the villains are much cooler than the heroes. This belief motivates him to write a fix-it-fic where he is Luke's brother and switches to the Dark Side during the trilogy, making a great escape.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • In Hindu Mythology, asuras and rakshasas have a habit of asking for boons from the gods that would allow them to conquer the humans. Sometimes they then go for the devas in an attempt to conquer heaven and rule all three realms. They forgot one thing: the same gods that granted them the boons always put in a loophole. They then either reincarnate as the avatar that can defeat them, or create a warrior to do the job for them. While the usurper may be given a fair chance to back down, they're too prideful or arrogant to consider that surrendering may save their lives.
    • Prahlad's father Hiranyakashipu made this mistake by saying he wanted to be slain by "Neither man nor beast, with or without a weapon, indoors or outdoors, at neither day nor night, and not on the Earth or the sky" as told to Brahma. Then he proceeded to conquer the heavens. The devas went to Vishnu, asking him to stop the king. Vishnu said he was on it. When Hiyanyakashipu threatened his son for being a Vishnu devotee, complete with a few murder attempts, Vishnu reincarnated as Narasimha, a man with a lion's head. Narasimha beat Hiranyakashipu with his clawed fists, dragged him to the palace threshold at twilight, placed him on his lap, and tore him apart.
    • Another Vishnu incarnation was made for vengeance. Parashurama was a Brahman "blessed" with a warrior's temperament, and he received an axe that would help him do the job. He killed a king named Arjuna for stealing sacred cows from the ashram, which Arjuna did to bait Parashurama into a fight. The problem is the princes sought vengeance by killing Parashurama's father, who was not nice but also not part of this. After Parashurama found his mother wailing and cremated the body, he swore to wipe out kshatriya royalty to avenge his father. The gods had to step in after he wiped out the bad kshatriyas and started going after the good ones.

Puppet Shows

  • Normally in The Muppet Show, Miss Piggy's attacking guests or Kermit for insulting her, or trying to manipulate him in wanting to be more than friends, leads to her getting off scot-free. There was one time that she went too far, by planting a story that he and Miss Piggy got secretly married in Las Vegas, and tricked him into posing for a cover photo of Tongue magazine. Kermit became so mad at this "bald-faced" lie that he fired her on the spot.

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

  • Discussed by Hasan Minhaj in "Homecoming King". As a first-generation immigrant, he always felt that racism had to be called out and the perpetrators punished, especially after 9/11. His parents always went for Turn the Other Cheek, that being in America was worth the indignities that they suffered from white people.
    • Hasan especially felt this when his prom date Bethany Reed stood him up, with her white family saying that a Muslim-Indian boy wouldn't be a "good fit" for their photos, not even giving the courtesy of calling him before he showed up in a tux, on his bike. He didn't tell anyone what happened, especially since he wasn't supposed to be dating as a teen, let alone white girls. For the next few years, he only dated Indian women and remained cold with Bethany whenever she reached out to him and acted like they were cool. (You can't blame him; she reached out to ask for tickets to Gotham Comedy Club after he posted an offer to give them to friends on Facebook. In what he calls turning lemons into "revenge lemonade", he replied that she wouldn't be a "good fit" for the photos that they would be taking at the event. The audience cheered when he announced that he sent that.) It was his father, recovering from a heart attack, that convinced Hasan to hear her out; while Hasan thought his father was disappointed that he had kissed a girl and lied to him, his father was disappointed that Hasan didn't at least try to understand her perspective as a teenage girl with scared parents only doing what they thought was right. Hasan split the difference; he called out Bethany on Twitter, in public, for claiming they went to prom after he appeared on a Pizza Hut commercial. He agreed to meet Bethany after she asked if they could catch up, especially after finding out she was dating another dark-skinned Indian guy, one darker than him, with a longer name. After they met for a meal, Hasan confronted her when she tried to talk about rent control, asking why she let her parents humiliate him, never confessed to the student body what happened, and violated his trust in white girls. Bethany admits that she owes him an apology, lots of them, for giving in to pressure from her parents, and says that she understood if he never wanted to speak to him again. She also stood up for her serious boyfriend, said Indian guy, when her parents refused to lend money for them to move into a shared apartment; she said she wasn't giving up another dark-skinned guy to please them. Hasan found the compassion to forgive Bethany, wishing her and her new partner well.


  • In Romeo and Juliet, Prince Escalus has warned the Montagues and Capulets that any more fighting between them, and he will start executing the perpetrators. It seems the elders are willing to let bygones be bygones to save their children's lives; Tybalt, however, isn't as reasonable. He challenges Romeo to a duel for crashing the Capulet party but ends up fighting the prince's nephew Mercutio instead, who is scrapping for a fight. Romeo tries to break it up, reminding Tybalt of the edict, but Tybalt takes the opportunity to stab Mercutio fatally. In revenge for his best friend, Romeo kills Tybalt before fleeing to the church for sanctuary. The adults come too late to break up the aftermath; Lady Capulet demands justice for Tybalt when Benvolio, for once not causing the fight, reports what happened. The prince isn't amused with Lady Capulet's Selective Obliviousness; he points out that a Capulet murdered his beloved nephew, who was an outsider to the feud and royalty. Since he knows that Romeo was only defending his friend and according to Benvolio tried to stop the fight, he remits the sentence to exile for Romeo and fines the Capulets to compensate for the loss of his kin.

Video Games

  • Banjo-Kazooie: After saving Tooty by completing Grunty's sadistic Game Show, Banjo and Kazooie go back home and have a cookout with Bottles and Mumbo Jumbo to celebrate their victory... until Tooty reminds them Grunty escaped and demands they go back and take her out. Only once Grunty is knocked off her tower and trapped under a boulder is Banjo allowed to kick back and relax.

Visual Novels

  • In Cooking Companions, Nightmare Mode is about the other characters doing this to you. Why? Because you have been luring refugees to your cabin, starve them out, and eat their flesh when getting the opportunity. The ghosts of your former "friends" taunt you and call you out for betraying them. They were refugees, vulnerable and hungry. They torment you as best as they can..

Web Comics

  • Van Von Hunter, before its Tokyopop incarnation, had the title character mow down anything that seemed remotely evil. Even the vampire lawyer defending him and Sidekick when they were tried for Van Helsing Hate Crimes. He insists it's because it's what he swore to do, to wipe out "evil stuff". Ari was the exception, but that's because Van Von Hunter will not hurt a little girl, especially one that saved him and Sidekick.
  • Real Life (webcomic)
    • One time the gang for lulz tried to hack into Jack-in-the-Box's server to change the prize on an item. Unlike with the FBI, whose password is "12345", the counterattack does more than block the hackers. It utterly deletes their computer. Jack-in-the-box takes its pricing seriously.
    • It's mentioned a few times that Tony is an evil genius in Real Life and he basically spares the main cast because they're friends. After a stint, however, the FBI arrested Tony and the gang, to interrogate them about Tony's plans. Later, they used a parallel version of Tony, and a clone, to infiltrate his space base. They insisted on taking him down for sheer dickery and being a threat to American life. While they don't succeed, you can see their point.

Western Animation

  • Comes up at a few points in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    • "The Southern Raiders": After Zuko has switched sides and proven it's for real this time, Katara still hates him. When he asks her why, she reminds him about his betrayal of her Ba Sing Se that led to Aang dying temporarily. She says sarcastically says that if he wants to make up for that, he can either recapture Ba Sing Se in the name of the Earth King or bring her mother back to life. Zuko realizes that Katara is mad at herself for opening up about her mother with him back in Ba Sing Se, and decides to help track down the man who killed Kya. This puts him and Katara at odds with Aang and Sokka; Sokka because while he has been grieving his mother, assassinating a Fire Nation general in enemy territory is a bad idea; Aang, because he's worried what murdering someone will do to Katara's soul, and tries to dissuade her. When Katara says she's going anyway, Aang replies he won't stop her but hopes that she'll find it in her heart to not seek vengeance. Sure enough, Katara doesn't forgive the man that killed her mother in cold blood, a pathetic veteran named Yon Rha, but she spares his life because she realizes that his death would give her no satisfaction.
    • "Sozin's Comet": Zuko emphasizes to Aang that there is no reasoning with Ozai or imprisoning him, and they need to kill his father before he uses the titular comet to burn the Earth Kingdom to the ground. Pacifist Aang protests about this; he points out to Zuko that, familial ties and physical abuse aside, Ozai is a person, who was once an innocent baby, that had a life. He asks why not try other solutions like coating him in glue so he can't firebend. Zuko says even if they captured Ozai, as long as he can firebend, he is still dangerous. Granted, Zuko is remembering he was Aang's age when that fateful Agni Kai happened and doesn't want his friend to suffer the same fate. Team Avatar suggests an alternate plan: if they gang up on Ozai and Zerg Rush him, it will at least give Aang an opening to decide what he wants to do. Toph especially seems keen on the idea. They have to abandon that plan and split up when a vision spirits Aang and Momo off to a mysterious island: while Zuko and Katara go to confront Azula, the rest of the Gaang goes to stop the airships and have no choice but to let Aang fight Ozai alone. When Ozai reactivates Aang's avatar state, the past reincarnations swiftly kick the man's butt, speaking through Aang about his crimes. Aang opts not to kill Ozai but agrees he must be punished. So he removes Ozai's firebending instead and has him imprisoned. Ozai finds this much worse.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, this happens a few times. Usually Batman is all about saving criminals and rehabilitating them after the beatdown, which makes it serious when he goes for the beatdown.
    • "The Man Who Killed Batman". Batman fakes his death and makes it seem that a low-time crook named Sid the Squid offed him, figuring that an apologetic, horrified Sid would lead him to Rupert Thorne since the man offers protection to those who join his mob. When Thorne is about to kill Squid believing he must be a criminal mastermind for killing Batman and surviving a murder attempt from the Joker, Batman takes his time beating up the guy, saying this is for multiple crimes. He thanks Sid for helping bust the operation, revealing that he broke Sid out of the Joker's acid vat that nearly killed him. Sid still has to go to jail for his criminal activities, but he's happy to be alive and has a reputation as the guy who almost killed Batman and "outsmarted the Joker" which earns him the respect he sought all episode.
    • Unlike in the comics where Batman and Robin arrested Tony Zucco after the latter murdered the Graysons in cold blood, Zucco gets away when Dick is a boy, owing to Dick being stupid enough to hunt down the man alone at night, in the city slums, and Batman having to save his ward when Zucco tosses him off a bridge. A decade later, Batman gets a lead on Zucco and says he will bring in the man alone, saying that it's personal. When Robin finds out who Batman is hunting, he is furious and demands to come along and confront Zucco. Robin's arrival ends up timely as Zucco managed to sprain Batman's leg and corner him, and he scares the tar out of his parents' murderer. He ends up not killing Zucco but admits that it was tempting in the heat of the moment. Batman says that's not why he wanted to arrest Zucco solo; it's that he was terrified when he saw Zucco about to murder a young Dick, and the memory still haunts him. He can't bear anyone wanting to hurt his only child.
  • In Dick Grayson's debut in The Batman, he and Bruce Wayne agree on one thing: Tony Zucco must be brought to justice after he kills the Flying Graysons; Dick was only spared by sheer luck of hearing the unscrewed trapeze bolts just as he was about to go onstage. Bruce says that he never found his parents' killer, and wants to give Dick the closure he never received. This of course leads to Dick finding out that his new adopted father is Batman while wandering around Wayne Manor and insists that he needs to come along to make sure Zucco is caught. Bruce refuses because Dick is a kid, it's past the boy's bedtime, and Tony Zucco is too dangerous for a child to confront. Dick of course tracks down Batman just as Zucco is having some fun tossing knives at a captive Bat, and manages to rescue Zucco from a deadly fall while disguised with a mask and his trapeze uniform. When Batman asks why Dick did that, Dick said that he wanted Zucco to receive justice, as the man is led away in handcuffs. Batman says Dick can become his sidekick; he just needs a name.
  • Deconstructed in BoJack Horseman during seasons 5 and 6.
    • Diane finds out that BoJack may have slept with an underage girl according to a cassette recording that BoJack's former PR agent gave her, and tries to set boundaries with him while being a screenwriter consultant on Philbert where he's the star. In response, BoJack starts having "lunch dates" with her therapist, making Diane too uncomfortable to continue sessions with Dr. Indira Daddyshue. She tries to encourage BoJack to get therapy when he reveals that they were lunch dates and he stopped seeing Dr. Daddyshue after she wanted to take him on as a real client; he then says neither of them need therapy and are the same, enraging Diane so much that she transcibes the tape cassette into the overdue script, forcing BoJack to act out what he almost did to Penny, and she knows it. A few episodes later, however, Diane realizes that what she did was not justified in anyway; she may have reawakened an unknown teenager's trauma, far from being punished BoJack is falling further into drug abuse and justifying his actions, and Philbert is possibly being used to justify toxic men's behavior.
    • In "A Quick One While He's Away," Paige Sinclair and Maximilian Banks uncover evidence that BoJack Horseman may have been involved in celebrity Sarah Lynn Himmelfarb's fatal drug overdose. They spend a few months gathering the proof, planning to break it in a big news story. When Princess Carolyn gets ahead of their game by staging an interview with Biscuits Braxby that makes BoJack come off as a troubled horse that made mistakes and he's sorry, Paige storms into Biscuits's office. She tells Biscuits that she has proof that BoJack was ethically and criminally culpable in Sarah Lynn's death, and has sources. Biscuits hears out her source, and becomes furious on learning that BoJack left Sarah Lynn unconscious for seventeen minutes to cover his ass, because there was a real chance to save her. Her second interview with him is more brutal, as a result, to reveal the horse's real character.
  • Teen Titans: Normally, Robin is the one who can't stand Slade and wants to bring him down by any means necessary. When Slade returns in season 4, however, he's gunning for Raven, to Mind Rape and taunts her that her destiny is coming. Raven ends up in uncharacteristic Heroic BSOD as her friends do research about how Slade came back from being burned alive in lava. Then when fleeing to Azarath, Raven finds out that Trigon had ravaged the city and killed her mother, who could only leave a piece of herself behind to say goodbye to Raven and apologize for not protecting her better. Stricken with grief and horror, Raven returns to Earth and finds Slade torturing her friends. She slams a door into him and demands that he fight her instead, to set her on fire. Slade reveals he can't, because Trigon ordered him to keep Raven physically intact, and begins to retreat. Raven says, "I'm not finished with you!" and proceeds to unleash a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that scares her friends, as Raven is angry but in complete control of her powers. She only lets Slade go after he points out how worried the other Titans are and she promises she's not going to be Trigon's pawn.

Real Life

  • This is the basis behind "punitive" damages, that when someone causes harm and is sued, they may be liable for such emotional or physical harm. For example, a drunk driver may be sued by the family of a victim they hit, and have to pay compensation in addition to receiving a DUI.
  • The #MeToo movement sometimes sparked this reaction when stories came out about serial abusers in media, literature, and so forth. Supporters would call for the predators to be removed from their prominent positions, and sometimes even face criminal charges. This is the best-case scenario; there have been instances where the victims have been harassed.