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Related to Playing Possum and Trojan Horse, this is when a character hides in a bodybag and is wheeled into a hospital or other facility, then gets out and does his/her mission.

If used as a means of escape, may end with the character being Buried Alive-- but not for long. A subtrope - and a subversion - of Zipping Up the Bodybag.

Examples of Bodybag Trick include:

Comic Books


  • Joker pulls a similar trick in The Dark Knight; hiding in a body bag and faking his own death so he could get at his target once henchmen pretending to be bounty hunters dragged the "body" into the target's office-the target having offered a reward for the death of the Joker after the Joker insulted him earlier in the film.
  • In the Hellboy film, Karl Ruprect Kroenen really was dead, but revives himself inside BPRD headquarters.
  • This is how Herbert West gets into the morgue in the first Re-Animator film.
  • James Bond pulls this off in Octopussy to sneak out of Kamal Khan's palace. He scares the crap out of the people carting the supposed corpse off.
  • In Judge Dredd, Rico uses this ploy to escape from Aspen prison.
  • Not exactly this trope, but Guile hides in a bodybag while pretending to be dead in the Street Fighter movie.
  • Happens in The Mask of Zorro, as the way Zorro escapes from prison. Bonus Buried Alive!
  • The last part of Rollie's revenge plan in FX depends on this as his escape plan; unfortunately, Leo sussed out his plan and was waiting for him outside the window.
  • In Saw 3D, Hoffman hides in a body bag so he can sneak into the police station and kill Jill Tuck.
  • Used in The First Great Train Roberry to smuggle one of the thieves aboard the baggage car.


  • The Count of Monte Cristo.
    • And (partly) averted: Dantes expects to merely be buried, at which point he can dig himself free and escape. However, he learns the hard way that the Chateau d'If buries its dead at sea - and still manages to escape, even though it's much harder going.
  • This is how Matthew Hawkwood and Lassuer are smuggled off the prison hulk in Rapscallion.
  • In the Star Trek novel Traitor Winds, Uhura uses this to get out of a hospital without being spotted by a conspiracy that has it in for former Enterprise crew; Christine Chapel is conveniently on hand to provide the bodybag.

Live Action TV

  • Sydney Bristow once sneaked into a Uzbek military base this way.
  • A variation occurs in Scrubs when JD attempts to escape the hospital so he can go home and have his day off. It goes alright, until he begins talking to the person who wheeled him into the elevator, who panics and hits him with a fire extinguisher.

 JD: (in bodybag) Can you press "lobby", please? (Doug starts attacking him) OW! OW! OW! (unzips) Doug! Why are you hitting me?!

Doug: 'Cause I thought you were a dead guy coming back to life!

JD: ...Then why were you hitting me?!

Doug: Dead people should be dead.

  • Simon and River of Firefly use this technique to beat the security and get into a mega-hospital in the episode "Ariel." Bonus points for actually making their hearts stop to get in.
  • The Carver in Nip Tuck gets away using this.
  • Ari does this to sneak into the morgue in NCIS.
    • A variation: in the very first episode, "Yankee White", DiNozzo hides in a body bag as a decoy, while the rest of the gang spirit the real corpse away. Hilarity and severe bruising ensues.
  • Another variation occurs in an episode of MacGyver. Mac is trying to sneak out of Commie Land in a wooden coffin, but he ends up being discovered and his allies carrying the coffin throw it off the border bridge. Mac blows out the sides and it becomes a jet ski, he makes his escape and then the real plot starts after he gets back to the States.
  • Doctor Who, "Day of the Moon".

 Rory: These things could really do with airholes!

Canton: Never had a complaint before.

  • CSI: Catherine and D.B. use this trick to get themselves smuggled back into the lab when a hit team is looking for them in "Willows in the Wind".

Video Games

  • You do this with a fake death drug to get CIA agent Smith out of a clinic in Hitman: Blood Money.

Web Original

  • Dr. Griffin does this in Kate Modern to escape from an Order facility.
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