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Clark Kent: Granted, Lois, Luthor does a lot of strange things. But what reason could he possibly have for trying to fool his own bodyguard?

Lois Lane: Maybe he just needed some space. Haven't you ever noticed how she hovers over him, everywhere he goes?

Clark Kent: But Lois, that's her job.

Lois Lane: It's no wonder why you're still single, Kent.
Superman: The Animated Series, "Ghost in the Machine"

Witness Protection is boring. If it's done right, there's no opportunity for adventure. So when the protagonist is asked to hole up in a cheap motel until he can testify at the trial, odds are he won't comply. Perhaps he needs to save someone else in danger. Maybe he needs the freedom to catch the real bad guy. Or maybe he just doesn't believe he's in as much danger as the police say he is. Whatever the reason, he'll take the first opportunity to lose his bodyguards and strike out on his own, leaving the police to track him down before The Mafia assassins do.

Compare Unsafe Haven. An all-too-common source of headaches for anyone on a Live Action Escort Mission, or any Secret Service agents trying to protect The President's Daughter.

Examples of Ditch the Bodyguards include:


  • Bleach anime episode 173. Lurichiyo evades her guardians Kenryu and Enryu to go to a tea party with other noble children.
  • Bradley does this once in Fullmetal Alchemist. Not that he needs them.
  • Mamotte Lollipop, early on Nina gets really fed up with her male protectors and slips away more than once. One time was into the girls' room, only to have the antagonists waiting for her there. (This backfired on them when one admitted he was actually a boy in drag--in front of the female audience.)
  • Gunslinger Girl. Mimi Machiavelli, daughter of a witness who's testifying in a mob trial, handcuffs Hilshire and Triela together and nicks out the door to see her boyfriend, only to get immediately nabbed by mafiosi. Fortunately the Agency is on the ball and quickly snatches her back. Naturally the event gets used for a Shipping moment.

 Triela: (picking the lock on their handcuffs) Say, what did she mean by we should "Talk about love"? I think she's got the wrong idea about us.

Hilshire: We're fratello. We don't need to talk about love.

Comic Books

  • Played With in the Tintin album The Calculus Affair, while staying in Borduria as supposed "guests" of the state, Tintin and Haddock get their "bodyguards" drunk so that they can escape.
  • In the recent Batman storyline, "Bruce Wayne: The Road Home", Vicki Vale does this in just about every early chapter, thinking she isn't in too much danger just because she wants to reveal the secret identities of the entire Bat-Family. It isn't until a disguised Bruce Wayne Batman is able to snatch her away and tell her the severity of the situation is she able to settle down slightly.

Fan Fiction

  • Somewhat of a Running Gag in this Star Trek fanfiction.
  • Also a common trope in Tin Man fanfic. Then again, it's perfectly in character for DG to really hate being confined, and too much of a troublemaking farmgirl to really take any pleasure in being a Princess Classic. However, Cain is always going to be the exception - no matter how hard she tries, she can't seem to ditch him.


  • Romeo Must Die: Trish rather easily evades her bodyguard Maurice when he's distracted chatting up a female at the record store.
  • Wicked City (1987). Giuseppi Mayart escapes from his bodyguards Taki and Makie at the hotel they're staying at.
  • The whole plot of Chasing Liberty proceeds from The President's Daughter ditching her Secret Service detail to get some personal space.


  • Artemis often does this in Artemis Fowl to Butler.
  • In The Belgariad, spoiled brat Princess Ce'Nedra of Tolnedra is bored and wants to go shopping. Her father, Emperor Ran Borune, won't let her leave the Imperial Palace because it's too dangerous. She cons her rather gullible and egotistical tutor into believing that her father wants him to escort her while she visits relatives in another city. (For her own safety, naturally.) On the road, they meet Belgarath and company. Of course, none of them -- even Garion -- believe her story. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In several of his books, Harry Potter is being threatened by someone (usually Voldemort), and everybody tries to keep him safe. It never works -- somehow, for some reason, he always finds his way to the source of the problem to face it himself. This habit comes back to haunt him in the last few books.
  • In Monster Hunter Vendetta, Owen is instructed by the Monster Control Bureau to stay at MHI's compound as bait for the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition. However he's a pro-active kind of guy, and prefers to take the fight to them.
  • The finale of the first Twilight novel involves Bella having to sneak away from her vampire bodyguards to meet the bad guy vamp.
  • Prince Roger MacClintock's habit of doing this (and the bodyguards' refusal to admit that Roger, the bratty clotheshorse, manages to slip them) on big game hunting trips means that it takes them a while to realise he actually is a badass dead-eye shot with a rifle. They just try and reconcile his "Great White Hunter" reputation with the brat by believing his guides and bodyguards are the ones who kill the trophies... until the trip to Marduk rather impressively underscores how much they've been underestimating him.
  • "Devo" ditches most of his bodyguards in Guilty Wives. That sets the drama in motion.

Live-Action TV

  • On an episode of Bones, a man who was to testify slipped away from his bodyguards in the safe house after his wife was killed and son kidnapped to keep him from testifying.
  • Dark Angel, when Max has to protect Bruno.
  • On Dexter, after the FBI suspect that Doakes is the Bay Harbor Butcher, Dexter is given a protective detail since they assume the Butcher will come after him. He slips away from them by climbing out the window of his apartment.
  • Due South had a Canadian diplomat's daughter ditching Fraser, who was assigned as her escort while in Chicago, in the two parter Chicago Holiday. Trouble is she has also inadvertently gotten herself on a mobster's hitlist, so we have the old 'can they find her before the mobster does.'
  • Frequent element of In Plain Sight, a show about the Witness Protection Program.
  • In the last episode of Special Ops Mission, the assassination target is covered very well by his protectors, who show him around the large and sprawling compound while, unknown to them, the sniper, Will, is trying desperately to get a shot when the target is unprotected. All seems lost, as the bodyguards know what they're doing, until the target decides he needs to get some fresh air, away from them. The focus rapidly shifts from assassination to evasion after that.
  • On one episode of NCIS, somebody puts out a hit on a Navy lieutenant commander that, naturally, he does not believe is genuine. But the trope is subverted twice: when he ditches Ziva halfway through the episode, absolutely nothing untoward happens. Then it turns out he ditched Ziva so he could go kill the person who put out the hit.
  • Played straight on an episode of Burn Notice when one of the protectees sneaks out of the safe house (read: "Michael's mother's garage") so she can go to prom. Reality Ensues, but fortunately Michael is able to get there in time to rescue her.
    • And again when Sam's friend Virgil, an ex-Navy SEAL, sneaks out with Michael's mom (mutual attraction), then one of the two sets of Villains of the Week shows up at the club and kidnaps him.

Video Games

  • In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, one of the early missions is to help Zelda escape her own castle and bodyguards.
  • In Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door Princess Peach ditches Toadsworth in the intro, Because he was Irritating, This leads to her being Captured by The Big Bad and his Minions later.

Western Animation

Truth in Television

  • The United States Secret Service bemoans the number of times certain protectees (usually teen-aged children) attempt to give their watchdogs the slip or change the itinerary to stop some place more fun. This creates headaches for the secret service, who then have to clear new locations, or sometimes can't vet a route ahead of time. Sometimes adult politicians who really are targets do this, too.
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