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Ronnie Kray, one of the two Kray Twins who basically run organized crime in London, commits the murder he'll finally be sent away for when he walks into the Blind Beggar pub and shoots George Cornell in the head... Kray would manage to get away with this for three years by virtue of the fact that nobody was actually stupid enough to testify against a man who walked into pubs and shot people dead, this being a sort of tautological behavior.

So there's the Evil Overlord sitting on his throne, when a figure in black suddenly appears looking like Death himself. He strikes a fatal blow and the crowd is so shocked (and/or the victim so unpopular) that no one makes much effort to stop the assassin. As was noted by the titular assassin of Day of the Jackal, assassination is relatively easy; getting away is the hard part. However, this is the opposite, a Refuge in Audacity on the assassin's part, which no one minds because it is just that cool or they're simply dumbstruck.

If the Target employs Swiss Cheese Security, they deserve it.

There is some Truth in Television here, as oftentimes the assassin is intended to be caught or killed. This is called a "lost" assassination and is popular among terrorist groups, the insane, and groups manipulating the insane for plausible deniability.

Examples of Conspicuously Public Assassination include:


  • Used in the final episode of Code Geass, in which Suzaku dressed as Zero kills Emperor Lelouch. In this case, it makes a lot of sense why everything occurs so neatly, as Genre Savvy Lelouch planned his death to ensure a better world, and deliberately made himself the most stereotypical, over the top Evil Overlord he could be, just so he could unite the world in their hatred of him.
  • Some of the hits the ladies make in Noir are like this. One example was at a party; Kirika hurls a fork across the room into the neck (and apparently the spine) of a military target. They do use stealth in the sense of "nobody suspects the flower girls", but... really. Another hit involved taking out the target while they were still in police custody, but Chloe got to them first. Actually, it seems the most dangerous hits tended to be the ones where they tried to be sneaky, because this allowed for the would-be ambushees to ambush them.
    • At one point Mireille gets the drop on one of the leading members of the Ancient Conspiracy simply by waltzing into his office and shooting the guards.
      • Ofcourse he wanted her to find him. It probably wouldn't have been that easy otherwise.
    • Spiritual Successor Madlax gets away with assassinating the head of the military during a speech by sniping him from farther away than his security thought possible. (Apparently they'd never heard of Carlos Hathcock.) The elite Cold Sniper assisting with the security arrangements immediately figures out what happened, but she isn't able to stop Madlax before she gets away.
  • In Naruto, assassinations seem to be composed mostly of grand, elaborate battles with huge elemental attacks that shred the landscape and are visible from several kilometers away. Appropriate for the show that practically defines Highly-Visible Ninja.
    • In hindsight, this explains why a attack described as sounding like a thousand birds and is a glowing ball of lightning was developed as an assassination attack. In part one, it seemed silly. Compared to part two? Subtle.
    • Justified, in part, in that a lot of the victims will be Glass Cannon types, or more durable than that, who are perfectly capable of wielding that much destrutive power themselves, and employ all sorts of deceptive security measures and can even sense killing intent. In other words, if you try the subtle method, you'll probably fail, and either way you better be ready for an epic, uber-violent and highly destructive battle if you truly want this person dead.
    • To be fair, very few actual assassination attempts happen on-screen, and practically all the successful ones happen off. Zabuza has to defeat Kakashi and co. to kill the relatively harmless bridge builder; Orochimaru assassinated the Third Hokage in the middle of a massive invasion, but the invasion was the real plan anyway, and he wanted to humiliate his old mentor in battle; Sai was going to kill Sasuke in his sleep but decided to spare him (and Sasuke was awake anyway); Sasuke tries to kill Orochimaru and succeeds when he is seriously ill and nearly on his death bed, and still has a dangerous fight on his hands; Jiraiya has no idea what Pain looks like and is intercepted by him first....and so on. On the dlip-side, Sai is carrying around a handbook of a whole list of people he has managed to kill, and is implied to have been subtle about it (at the very least, nobody knew he was the killer).
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, an assassin knows about the Jackal quote, so he simply decides not to worry about escaping. He smuggles a rifle into the country as a decoy, and his actual plan is to infiltrate the crowd and run up to his target with a combat knife and flower bouquet full of explosives. Fortunately, the heroes are Badass enough to figure it out Just in Time and stop him.


  • In Fables, Boy Blue assassinates The Adversary in front of hundreds of witnesses. The fact that memory altering charms exist and that the Adversary is a giant, easily fixed puppet make this a slightly less than successful murder.
  • Frank Castle aka The Punisher
  • Averted in Preacher (Comic Book): Starr's right-hand man suggests killing Allfather D'Aronique, claiming that other Allfathers did the same. Starr points out that the previous Allfathers "quietly had each other garroted" instead of sudden public attacks, and that they'll be shot down by the guards if they try it. When Starr does make his move, he does so at a point where there will be no witnesses (save one he later throws into a propeller).


  • Although the general setup is a The Manchurian Candidate-style sniping, Colonel West's attempt in Star Trek VI counts due to using a phaser with a bright blue beam. Possibly justified because he is disguised as a Klingon in order to incite war, and therefore must be seen for the plan to work.
  • Road to Perdition. The man Tom Hanks is after is under the protection of the Chicago mob, so he steals a pile of their money, agreeing to return it if they let him have his revenge. We then see Tom Hanks entering a Chicago hotel, walking past mob guards on all floors who make no attempt to stop him, entering a room where he casually shoots dead his target, then walking out again.
  • Subverted in The Terminator. The T-800 Model 101 decimates a local police station and in the sequel, the local police get some pictures of the T-800 and immediately recognize that this is the same suspect that destroyed the police station in The Terminator.

 "That was a different T-101."

"What, do you come off an assembly line?"


  • Gangs of New York Vallon attempts one of these on Bill the Butcher. Some of his exposition monologue earlier in the film even hangs a lampshade on it, saying "When you kill a king, you don't use a knife in the dark... you do it where the whole court can watch him die." It doesn't go so well...
    • Bill himself kills Monk (a newly elected politician) in broad daylight in front of a crowd of his constituents.
  • The Presidents Analyst opens with a US spy knifing an Albanian double agent and dumping the body into a garment cart on a busy sidewalk on New York's 7th Avenue - note this is filmed on location and nobody gives it a second glance!
  • Narrowly averted in the climactic scene of The Emperor and the Assassin. The eponymous assassin chases the eponymous emperor Qin up and down his throne room, dagger in hand, in front of hundreds of courtiers. Emperor Qin finally fights off and kills the assassin all by himself after minutes of this, and then turns on his courtiers, supposedly his loyal supporters, and says "None of you did anything." It was one of the most brutally effective DespairEventHorizons ever filmed, as he realizes that he is now the sole ruler of all China, but that everyone hates him and is afraid of him, and no one cares for him at all.


  • Mario Greymist's assassination of The Emperor in Steven Brust's Dragaera book Five Hundred Years After. That character definitely has a link with death- grey is the in-universe color of death. (It is also associated with the Greymist Valley, which is located just above Deathgate Falls.) Justified in that Mario was allied with the prospective claimant to the throne and would have been rewarded if all went according to plan.
  • In Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate, the assassination of the presidential nominee was planned not only to occur on live television during the convention, but at a specific point in the nominee's acceptance speech.
  • In the Discworld book Night Watch, which is a sort of prequel, Lord Vetinari, then a student assassin kills one of the previous Patricians at a party. There is an explicit comparison with Death (a la Masque of the Red Death) as effort had been made to spook the Patrician beforehand, so in a Crowning Moment of Awesome, when Vetinari appeared, the Patrician died of a heart attack before he struck the fatal blow.
  • Done at multiple levels in Crown Of Slaves by David Weber. During the coronation at the end of the book, Lieutenant Governor Cassetti is killed in front of thousands of people and dozens of notables from the various political groups around Torch. Averted at one level, because Scrags are instantly found with the murder weapon, but played absolutely straight at another level because Thandi Palane planted the evidence of their guilt and had her guards kill them so they couldn't be questioned, such that she was standing in full view of everyone while she executed him.
  • The Executioner. One-Man Army Mack Bolan often starts his 'blitz' on a local Mafia family this way. He turns up at several mob joints, calmly states the name of his target, whom he then kills along with their bodyguards in an impressive display of shooting. This quickly gets the Mafia 'mobbed up' in a 'hardsite' where Bolan can destroy them with overwhelming firepower without worrying about innocents getting in the way.
  • In The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsythe, the Jackal plans to assassinate Charles DeGaulle at a public event -- notably the award ceremony on Liberation Day, the one occasion he can be certain the President of France will turn up, no matter what threats have been made against his life.

Live Action TV

  • The Master does this to the President of Gallifrey in the Doctor Who serial The Deadly Assassin, having first lured the Doctor into a position where he can take the fall for the assassination.
  • The neo-Nazis who shoot at the president's entourage in The West Wing are easily shot by the Secret Service through the window of the office building they're in. Later we find out that they had no ID on them, implying they expected to die.

Tabletop Games

  • In the official setting for the science fiction game Traveller, Arch-Duke Dulinor attempted to claim the Imperial Throne by shooting Emperor Strephon while the monarch sat on his throne. It didn't work out to well for him in the end.

Video Games

  • In the Hitman games, you can play it two ways. Go in there guns blazing and kill everyone you see just for shits and gigs or carefully infiltrate and strike at your target unnoticed; Mass Murderer and Silent Assassin, respectively.
  • Although not having to do with assassination except storyline-wise, it's possible for the player in Metal Gear Solid 4 to on lower difficulties go in guns blazing on the way to their next objective, so long as the character is tactically sensible; on Solid Normal and higher difficulties the damage taken tends to make combat (or at least use of unsuppressed weapons) out of boss fights a bad idea.
  • Assassin's Creed is a game where you play as a hashashin, almost all the assassinations here are like this, including the one in the opening credits.
    • A failed attempt at one of these in the beginning of the game gets your character busted down to novice, mostly for being an overconfident and arrogant idiot.
      • In the second game, the protagonist finds notes from the first game's protagonist, after he killed the traitorous hashashins' leader and took over, saying that they need to abandon flashy public assassinations (as well as their reluctance to use poison and other moral rules) in order to survive.
      • Ironically, 3/4 of the assassinations that you carry out in Assassin's Creed II are still perfect examples of this trope. Heck, one of them was even carried out in broad daylight, at a social event of sorts. Ezio has the time to stab his target's corpse repeatedly and scream his own name to the heavens (with all the gusto of a man on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge) while onlookers gasp/scream and the guards began to catch on. So much for stealth...
      • At this point, however, Ezio is not an assassin yet, just a guy with a blade and a grudge. He becomes much subtler after learning of his heritage (apparently, in Assassin's Creed, being an Assassin is a genetic condition).
        • It's possible for anyone to become an Assassin, but only a few people possess the gift of Eagle Vision, the difference between being an Assassin and being an Assassin.
    • If the trailer of the game is to be a trusted example of a typical assassination in-game (and prior trailers generally have), Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood will bring Ezio back more in line with his ancestor Altair - that is, in the aspect of jumping into a large crowd of onlookers, dicing guards right left and centre, and charging straight into his prospective target. Only this time, he has backup. Of the (hopefully) competent variety.
      • And not just any old crowd. A crowd of gathered cardinals at the Vatican.
        • The difference this time is that Ezio is actively searching for potential Assassins. Nothing quite like drumming up recruits like slaughtering the men who've been actively oppressing you for over a decade.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII Edea kills President Deling during her New Era Speech, while the entire city cheers at her wildly. Visiting the city later will reveal that she mind-controlled everyone during the act, though it isn't told why the heroes weren't affected.
  • Many of the Dark Brotherhood quests in Skyrim expects you to do this (one of your Brothers actually recommend this as a tactic), particularily if you want the bonus. Executing the Emperor's cousin during her wedding is best done while she's adressing the crowd, and can be done in a number of ways that will ensure you're seen, including stabbing, fireballs, sniping her from across the yard, or dropping a stone gargoyle on her.

Western Animation

  • Futurama - A Pharaoh to Remember: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Pharaoh suddenly died" - new Pharaoh Bender tells the slaves to redo the pyramid, and this time "don't embarrass yourselves".

Real Life

  • Truth in Television: The word assassin comes from hashashin, which may mean either "hashish user" or "follower of Hassan (ibn Sabbah)". Either way, these Islamic assassins would kill in broad daylight, anticipating that if killed, they would be rewarded in Paradise as martyrs.
    • Saladin besieged their chief Syrian stronghold of Masyaf during his reconquest of Outremer in 1176. He later lifted the siege after an assassin Rashid ad-Din Sinan snuck into Saladin's tent in the heart of his camp, and left a poisoned cake and a note on Saladin's chest as he slept saying "You are in our grip" and then snuck back out of the camp unharmed.
  • In Roman-occupied Judea, a group known as the Sicarii would assassinate their targets (Romans or Roman sympathizers) in public places and slip away by pretending to be one of the panicking crowd.
  • U.S. Presidents for 400, Alex:
    • President Andrew Jackson's would-be assassin ambushed ol' Hickory while he was walking with his entourage in DC. Unfortunately for him, both of his prepared pistols misfired. What followed was an attempt by Jackson to beat the man into a paste with his cane. He had to be physically restrained to keep him from killing the man. One can only assume that Jackson was not amused by the assassin's audacity.
    • Used to great effect by John Wilkes Booth when he assassinated Abraham Lincoln at a crowded theater. There were soldiers present in the audience, with sidearms. Booth managed to shoot Lincoln, jump down from the President's box onto the stage, break his leg while landing, give a Bond One-Liner, run offstage, leave the theater, get his horse, and gallop away. Nobody stopped him. From later witness interviews, reactions when it happened varied from "wait, is there a gunshot in this play? I don't think there is" to "oh, it's John Wilkes Booth, popular actor, I know that guy. Why's he jumping on stage in a play he's not in?" The act was so brazen that by the time anyone wrapped their head around what had just happened, Booth was long gone.
    • James Garfield was shot in a train station. There weren't a ton of people around, but the assassin, Charles Guiteau, was a nutjob who reportedly yelled, "I did it and I want to be arrested!" afterwards, which is always helpful.
    • Next was William McKinley, who was shot while gladhanding the crowd at the Pan-American Exposition. One of his Secret Service bodyguards admitted at the trial that he may not have seen the assassin, Polish-American anarchist Leon Czogolsz, because he was distracted by the Scary Black Man standing behind him. (The crowd, including said Scary Black Man, did attack Czogolsz, and McKinley, who knew he was dying, asked the Secret Service to stop them.)
    • In the category of "attempted assassinations," Theodore Roosevelt was shot as he was about to make a speech -- which he went on to give. (See Pocket Protector.) The speech -- the vast bulk of which is just ordinary campaigning -- is now often identified as "I Have Just Been Shot."
    • John F Kennedy was sort of shot in the middle of a parade. And Lee Harvey Oswald was sort of shot on national television.
    • Finally, like McKinley, Ronald Reagan was shot by an apparent admirer among the crowd he was greeting. Again, the crowd and Secret Service attacked Hinckley (reacting very quickly in this case).
  • Kawakami Gensai (the basis for Himura Kenshin) assassinated Sakuma Shōzan in broad daylight.
  • Ali Agca tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in the dense crowd that usually accompanies ceremonies in Vatican.
  • There really was a conspicuously public assassination attempt on Qinshihuangdi (the same emperor of Qin as depicted in the above film); Qin law prevented anyone in the court from carrying weapons in the throne room, and the emperor was, at first, in too much of a panic to draw his own sword or to call for the armed guards waiting outside.
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