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Done something unspeakable with something edible? Then there's only one way to destroy the evidence: eat it, or at least make someone else do it.
Often played for laughs, especially if the evidence is something that no-one would normally consider edible.
May induce I Ate What? afterward.
- In Ranma One Half, when Kodachi gets a photo of a Not What It Looks Like scene between her and Ranma, she makes hundreds of copies and scatters them everywhere. Ranma proceeds to catch and eat them all.
- But the ultimate example is the "Ukyo's Secret Sauce" story where, when confessing that he (accidentally) ruined Ukyo's personal sauce that she has been aging for ten years failed to cause the whole mess to subside (Ukyo jumped to the conclusion that Akane forced Ranma to claim it, so it made things worse), Ranma gulps down the whole cask, and almost dies from it. Note that this was less to hide how terrible it tasted from her (she was the first person to find out), but more from desperation to return things to the way they were, so that he wouldn't have to reveal whether he loved Akane or Ukyo better. Before that, he devoured every okonomiyaki that Ukyo made with it, but that was to protect her from eating them out of pride, and potentially making herself terribly sick.
- In the manga of Death Note it's explained that Light eats the killer scrap of paper he used to kill Higuchi with.
- One chapter of Franken Fran had a man attempt to serve his murdered daughter to the guests at her birthday dinner. Unfortunately, Fran instantly recognized the human meat for what it was, being a surgeon.
- In Kara no Kyoukai, when Araya Souren asks how Lio Shirazumi will hide the body of his first murder, he responds by EATING THE BODY IN THREE HOURS.
- Used in K-On! when the club is allowed to sell their teacher's guitar, Ritsu attempts to keep most of the money for the girls by telling her it sold for much less than what was paid. The teacher then asks for the receipt, which has the real amount on it. Ritsu tries to eat the receipt before finally handing it over.
- As seen here.
- In Watchmen, when a kidnapper realizes he abducted the wrong little girl and her parents won't be able to pay the ransom, he kills her and feeds her remains to his German shepherds to get rid of the evidence. When Rorschach realizes this, he snaps and burns the kidnapper alive. It was a defining moment in his life, and he never recovered from the psychological trauma.
- The EC Comics story "Cold Cuts" uses a variant of this trope.
- In Jeff Smith's Bone, Phoney Bone eats a slice from the pie set aside for Gran'ma Ben. When Thorn approaches, he stuffs the entire rest of the pie into Fone Bone's mouth.
- In the new Alvin and The Chipmunks movie, one of the Chipmunks is accused of defecating on a chair, but another eats the... evidence, claiming it's just a raisin, while muttering "You owe me!". Squick.
- I wonder how John Waters felt, realizing that a coprophagy gag was now mainstream enough for what was ostensibly a children's movie?
- Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun 33 1/3 eats the plans for a prison break- as a sandwich and then shredded with spaghetti sauce.
Rocko: That was a good plan.
Drebin: I've had better!
- The excellent German short film Schwarzfahrer has an extremely racist old lady sitting next to a black guy on a tram. She goes on and on about how horrible blacks and others are ("...They should at least have their names changed when they come over here, or else you can't tell them apart at all. What's more, they smell awful. But there is no law against that!"). When the conductor comes to check tickets, the black man reaches over and eats hers. She's hysterical when the conductor arrives ("That nigger just ate my tickets"), and he naturally doesn't believe her obviously racist story ("That's the stupidest excuse I have ever heard!"), so he takes her off the tram. None of the other passengers, who were silently listening to her antics, intervene.
- Fried Green Tomatoes: "The secret's in the sauce."
- Inverted in Cats and Dogs where the Russian Blue coughs up all sorts of previously swallowed stuff, including some fake evidence to plant.
- In The Big Easy, when he realizes he's been caught accepting bribe money, Detective Remy McSwain tosses the cash to the crowd in the bar and eats the envelope it was given to him in.
- And then there's the 1980s movie (and the subsequent musical adaptation) Eating Raoul, which really needs no explanation beyond what's offered by the title.
- Not exactly eating the evidence, but in a variation on the theme, the title creature's Self-Destruct Mechanism (from all appearances a portable or remote activated micro-nuke) in the movie Predator not only prevents his being taken alive but presumably vaporizes him entirely, leaving behind no evidence for his clueless human prey to find (see also There Is No Kill Like Overkill).
- In fact, the game Concrete Jungle explored what would happen if he didn't get rid of the evidence. It wasn't pretty.
- When a car full of college kids gets pulled over in Super Troopers, one of them is forced to eat a bag of pot before the cops get close enough to see it. And then a bag of shrooms... The one tasked with eating it all was very reluctant, but the guy the drugs belonged to still insisted the eater pay him back after the fact.
- In the Spielberg/Zemeckis movie 1941, the lost Japanese sailors capture an American merchant. When they discover a small compass among his merchandise, and when he notices they are very much interested in that compass, he eats it immediately. The Japanese then force-feed him a laxative.
- In Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune, Glenn Close's character eats "Cookie"'s suicide note to make her suicide look like murder.
- In Danish film The Green Butchers (De grønne slagtere) by Anders Thomas Jensen, two butchers accidentally kill a man and sell the meat to hide the evidence. It ends up being very popular...
- In the film version of The Name of the Rose, the antagonist eats the pages of a rare book, denying the protagonist it, and both committing suicide and eliminating the evidence of the poisoned pages. .
- At the beginning of The Eiger Sanction a courier eats the film he's carrying when he realises he's being followed. The opposition murder him so they can cut his stomach open to get it back.
- James Bond accidentally swallows The Man with the Golden Gun's bullet (in the belly button of a belly dancer) thanks to a heavy-handed thug. Later Bond quips: "You've no idea what that went through to get here."
- In The Hot Rock (and also the novel the film is based on), Greenberg is trapped in the museum with the diamond the gang was attempting to steal. He swallows the diamond before the police arrive.
- In American Wedding, Stiffler suspects the dog has eaten the wedding ring he's supposed to have custody of, which leads him to pick through the dog's droppings in an attempt to find it. When he's caught, he claims the droppings are chocolate truffles in order to hide the fact that he lost the ring, and then is forced to eat them to keep someone else from eating them.
- In some versions of "Snow White", the wicked queen eats (what she thinks is) Snow White's heart.
- In the famous Roald Dahl story Lamb to the Slaughter (filmed as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents), a woman beats her husband to death with a frozen leg of lamb, and feeds it to the detectives who investigate.
- Played with in the Discworld novel Monstrous Regiment: The regiments encounters some spies, one of whom tries to eat the codebook to destroy it. It turns out the codebook was poisoned, so that by eating it not only would the code book be kept out of enemy hands, but so would the spy.
- Parodied in Feet of Clay: Vimes claims he'll have to "eat the evidence", when a group of civic leaders find a packet of "arsenic" in his desk, and does so. Of course, he's actually making the point that it isn't arsenic; it's sugar.
- In the short story Two Bottles of Relish by Lord Dunsany, a man uses the title items to help dispose of the corpse of the person he murdered. He also cuts down ten trees and chops them into logs, solely (as the last line of the story informs us), "in order to get an appetite."
- Thieves' World short story Blood Brothers. After One-Thumb paralyzes a drug dealer, he slices him up and feeds him to his dogs.
- In his book Marked Cards and Loaded Dice, Frank Garcia told the story of a gambler who cheated by slipping an extra card into his hand. An angry victim insisted on searching him. If he was caught with the extra card, he would be killed. He did the only thing he could: he palmed the card into a sandwich, then ate it.
- In the short story Seventeen Oranges by Bill Naughton, a boy caught stealing seventeen oranges eats all seventeen, including the peels and pips, while the policeman is off fetching his parents. He also never eats another orange in his life.
- In The Three Musketeers, Athos forces his servent Grimaud to eat an incriminating letter, to make sure the Cardinal won't ever find it.
- In the book You Don't Know Me by David Klass, the protagonist sends a love note to the girl he's after. She eats it, and he spends a chapter trying to work out what the gesture means until she explains to him that she saw the teacher coming and didn't want him reading the note out in class.
- Near the end of the book version of The Name of the Rose (by Umberto Eco), the villain tries to eat a unique book rather than let the protagonists have it. Bonus points because he had already poisoned the book.
- In the Silence of the Lambs' predecessor, Red Dragon, serial killer and Hannibal Lecter otaku Francis "The Tooth Fairy" Dolarhyde sends Lecter a fan letter (of sorts) written on toilet paper because, he says, "it will dissolve very quickly if you have to swallow it."
- In the story Eight Skilled Gentlemen by Barry Hughart, the heroes have killed a henchman of their enemy, but cannot get out of his castle to hide the body. They can get into the kitchen, however, so they cook every single part of him and put the food among that prepared for a banquet. Number Ten Ox is squicked by it all, but Master Li Kao gets really enthusiastic about making the food good (so the lord of the castle won't start asking questions to the kitchen staff), and we get a really good description of how to cook a man.
- In Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "boys vs. girls" series (is there an official name for this series?), the Hatford boys pick apart a pumpkin pie brought over by the Malloy girls because they're sure it's been tainted or booby-trapped somehow. When it becomes clear nothing's wrong with it, they're forced to eat the entire thing to keep their mother from realizing there was ever a pie there.
- In Peep Show, Jez runs over the dog which belongs to a woman who has expressed an interest in Mark. Rather than admit it, which would ruin Mark's chances of getting a job with her father, they try to burn it, only to find dog doesn't burn well. When caught by the love interest, they claim it's barbecued turkey, and eat it to prove it. Unfortunately, they can't eat the metal dog tag, which gives it away.
- Blackadder Series 4 episode 2: Blackadder shoots a carrier pigeon to avoid receiving orders to attack from his Commander. Unfortunately it turns out the message the pigeon was carrying was that it is now a capital offence to kill a carrier pigeon, so Blackadder decides to eat the evidence for lunch.
- Vyvyan of The Young Ones ate the TV on one occasion, in order to avoid paying the compulsory British television licence fee.
- "It's a toaster."
- And apparently he's not the first, as the TV licensing inspector called it "The old trick, eh?"
- Drake and Josh tried to eat sushi instead of putting it in boxes because the conveyor belt was going too fast.
- Which was pretty much a perfect homage to the Chocolate Factory episode of I Love Lucy.
- In a mystery-style sketch on The Muppet Show, Fielding the Butler, played by Gorgon Heap, ate the evidence that he killed Lord Bottomley - including the detectives investigating the murder.
- In Jekyll, Jackman forces his best friend (working for the Government Conspiracy) into eating a key when he feels his transformation starting. Hyde is almost fooled, but then sees that his friend's mouth is a little wet, and puts two and two together. ("Did my daddy make you dribble...?")
- Dharma eats a court deposition in an episode of Dharma and Greg, but ends up in jail for destroying evidence.
- In an episode of Green Wing, Martin steals his girlfriend's phone out of her bag in order to erase a voice mail message. So that she doesn't see the phone, he decides to hide it...in his mouth. Somehow she fails to notice this and starts kissing him, causing him to swallow the phone whole. It's probably worth mentioning that the phone was not unusually small, and occupied most of the inside of his mouth.
- In another episode, Dr Statham steals a patient's gallbladder on the operating table and ends up trying to eat it. This, of course, is normal behaviour for Dr Statham.
- Alan Partridge does a bit about this in one episode of I'm Alan Partridge.
- The last episode of Jonathan Creek features the theft of a porcelain idol in front of about twenty people - it turns out that it had previously been switched with an edible duplicate and scoffed. Unfortunately for the thieves, the one who ate it happened to be allergic to one of the food colourings used on it.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In Doublemeat Palace Buffy suspects that the fast food chain's burgers are made from people. Unfortunately she doesn't tell Xander the reason she left a hamburger on the table--she wanted Willow to analyse it--in time to stop him from eating it. (He left enough crumbs behind for Willow to determine that that the big secret behind the Doublemeat Palace is that all of their "meat" is cellulose based--they're selling veggie burgers, with a little real meat flavouring.
- In the episode "Dead Things," Warren kills Katrina, then suggests the Trio summon a demon large enough to devour her corpse. (Andrew points out that the only thing he can think of that could do that, would go for them too.)
- Not quite evidence, but in an old episode of Police Story, a patrol officer, dealing with a motorist he pulled over ranting that he played golf with the Lt. Mayor and would have his job, walked over to his patrol car, pulled out his lunch box's jar of peanut butter, spread some on the motorist's (then just paper) licence, and ate it, challenging the motorist to tell the Lt. Mayor that. At the end of the episode, his sergeant is laughingly telling the officer about this call he got from the Lt. Mayor's office.
- In an episode of Frasier, after getting themselves involved with a black market dealer in caviar, Frasier and his brother Niles find themselves forced to eat five pounds of the fish eggs in order to avoid arrest by U.S. Customs.
- Subverted in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, when Garak is leaving the station for a prolonged period of time, and he decides to toy with his friend, Doctor Bashir :
Garak: "If you go into my quarters and examine the bulkhead next to the replicator, you'll notice there's a false panel. Behind that panel is a compartment containing an isolinear rod. If I'm not back within 78 hours, I want you to take that rod... and eat it."
Bashir: "...You're joking."
Garak: "Yes doctor, I am."
- Richard Hammond (aka "Hamster") has eaten things to keep Jeremy Clarkson from getting his hands on them in Top Gear, including a cardboard picture of a car (intended for the Cool Wall) and a piece of paper with the points for that week's challenge (which would prove Jeremy won).
Jeremy Clarkson: [waving the chewed card] Look what he's done. He's eaten it.
James May: [calmly] Hamsters eat cardboard.
- In Saved by the Bell, Screech had tampered with the girls' oven to help Zack win a cooking contest by replacing a knob with a fake knob. Screech switched back the knobs after the contest and kept the fake knob. When the girls confronted Zack and Screech...
Screech: Don't worry, I ate the evidence. (burp)
- In one episode of CSI, a suicide victim is found with a loan voucher from a casino in his stomach.
- Another episode had the owner of a barbecue restaurant murdered by his wife and cook. They disposed of the body by cutting it up, cooking it and serving it to the customers.
- Another episode had a woman chopping up her victims' organs in a blender and eating them
- As mentioned above, the "Lamb to the Slaughter" episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
- One episode of Cops showed a suspect trying to eat a stash of marijuana he was hiding in his car. However, the police caught him before he could finish his impromptu meal.
- An episode of Red Dwarf involves Lister and Rimmer having to finish off two huge jugs of moonshine in 10 minutes.
- One episode of MASH had a wounded quartermaster official thank the doctors who saved his life by swapping the canned food the unit was supposed to get with the side of beef that was to be shipped to the headquarters of the general whose orders got the man wounded. When the general sends out MPs to track down the missing beef, they arrive at the camp just as the Colonel is about to start carving the roast. He deals with the MPs by inviting them to join the unit for dinner, after which they can honestly report back that there was no beef in the camp.
- In Community episode "Cooperative Calligraphy", Troy suggests this is the reason the pen disappeared. The others are incredulous to this theory.
Troy: Maybe nobody took it. Sometimes I think I lost something really important to me, and it turns out I already ate it.
- A 1994 sequence in For Better or For Worse involved some friends of Elizabeth trying to get her hooked up with Anthony (who liked her but was too shy to say so) by writing a fake note that claimed to be from Elizabeth to Anthony. When the note was discovered by a teacher, taken away and then returned to Anthony at the end of the class (still unread), one of the friends, Dawn, grabbed the note and ate it to avoid embarrassment for everybody involved. Elizabeth and Anthony still ended up getting together, and many years later (after various intervening twists and turns) got married.
- In a series of Peanuts strips, Snoopy imagines himself to be a spy, and steals Sally's report which he thinks to be a secret document. When Sally catches him, he eats the paper, much to her anger. Yes, a dog really did eat her homework.
- In one Dilbert strip, Mordack the Denier eats Wally's requisition form for a new computer (in front of him) and says "We lost the paperwork." Wally responds by holding up a giant stack and saying "Good thing I made 75 more copies."
- GURPS suggests using Universal Digestion for this purpose.
- A common usage of the Matter Eater mutation in Paranoia.
- In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Todd and Mrs. Lovett are wondering how they'll dispose of their first victim. Then she gets an idea: she could use a source of fresh, inexpensive meat for her pie-making business.
- In the first case of "Trials and Tribulations" Phoenix Wright, a suspect eats a small glass bottle with poison that his girlfriend used to poison an attorney. He also ate the large gold necklace it was attached to. It was too big to swallow, so he chewed it up into pieces first.
- The bottle was empty. It had been used for carrying poison previously, but there wasn't enough to hurt him. Also the shards of glass were apparently not a problem.
- This is Feeny we're talking about, of course it's not a problem
- The bottle was empty. It had been used for carrying poison previously, but there wasn't enough to hurt him. Also the shards of glass were apparently not a problem.
- Parodied in Kingdom of Loathing, upon decoding the Cobb's Knob map:
You memorize the location of the door, then eat both the map and the encryption key. For no particular reason, really, it just seemed like a cool spy thing to do.
- In the Nancy Drew game Resorting To Danger, Mr. Mingles eats one hard-sought piece of evidence, and Nancy has to chase the little dog around a mazelike garden to retrieve some documents before he swallows them, too.
- On Homestar Runner, at the end of Episode 10 of Teen Girl Squad, Strong Bad is caught trying to make out with a drawing of the "new hotness" version of The Ugly One, and tries to save face by claiming the picture is a piece of pizza and eating it. Strong Sad isn't fooled for a moment: "Uh, Strong Bad, were you just first-basin' it with that piece of loose-leaf?"
- Also, in episode 2 of Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People, the King of Town eats Strong Bad's map from the first game to keep him from using it to escape house arrest.
- In one episode of American Dad, Stan gets a secret order. He promptly eats the file - then he's informed that it will self-destruct in ten seconds.
- An episode of The Simpsons has the kids being read various historical stories. When they gets to the end of the tale of Joan of Arc, Marge interrupts just before the burning, makes up a Happily Ever After ending, then tears out the last page and eats it, remarking "It's easier to swallow than that Bambi tape."
- Fritz has the hilariously stupid idea of eating a peace treaty that he doesn't want to happen in Princess Sissi.
- In a variant, Scooby Doo and Shaggy start out the feature-length Scooby Doo on Zombie Island having just been fired from their jobs as a contraband-sniffing dog and handler at an airport. That's because they ate an entire storage room full of contraband foodstuffs that Scooby had detected in people's luggage, not realizing it was needed as evidence against the culprits.
- Lo attempts to do this in an episode of Stoked!, but spits out the piece of paper she tried to eat because she didn't like the taste.
- The British Special Operations Executive during World War Two made code books out of rice paper so they could be eaten if necessary.
- Parodied in a Michael Bentine sketch where a spy has to eat the secret plans of a rocket - and then a large model of the rocket.
- The paper was thought up by Jasper Maskenlyne, a famous magician who would create dozens of gadgets for the British, including a special boot issued to commandos that contained a compass, a little map, and a garrote wire. Apparently bedrolls made of similar paper were also used; they were soaked in vegetable oil to make them waterproof, and as an added bonus it made them taste better if you had to eat them.
- In Real Life, a man named Antonio Vasquez beat two men up with a sausage, and a dog ate it, destroying the evidence. He was caught when he left his wallet at the scene. And his pants.
- Watch this man cleverly snatch and eat what may or may not have been a note implicating him in a bank robbery.
- In a sad but amusing incident of a man attempting this, the mortally-wounded captain of a French ship captured during the Napoleonic Wars attempted to do this to his code papers. Unfortunately he picked the wrong set of papers and instead chewed up his own commission.
- Sun Tsu in Ancient Art of War tells of a spy who's given battle plans written in silk that's enclosed in a ball of wax. The spy is instructed to swallow the ball and proceed to a location, sneaking past the enemy; once there, the ball will pass through his digestive system and out the other end. The spy doesn't know it, but the plans are phony and his whereabouts are leaked to the enemy so they will capture him and think the phony plans are real.
- At various South African diamond mines there used to be (and probably still is) an X-ray machine through which all workers have to pass on leaving to ensure that they did not seek an unofficial bonus to their paycheck.
- Before X-ray machines were invented, a daily cavity search was a part of black miners' routine - the white miners just had to empty their pockets and boots.
- Played for Laughs with this t-shirt design.
- A related example, a man once tried to beat a DUI by eating his own underwear in the hopes that it would absorb the alcohol and defeat the Breathalyzer.
- Steve Brill, a man famous for foraging on plants that grow in natural parks and other public places in New York and encouraging such activity, was once arrested for such activity back in 1986 due to violating "nature preservation laws", but the charges were dropped when he (naturally) ate the evidence (i.e. the plants he picked), creating a public relations debacle for the authorities. He's become the official spokesperson for natural foraging ever since, and is tolerated by officals.
- A hang glider instructor whose passenger died apparently swallowed the flash memory card from an onboard video camera documenting the incident.