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Raphael: Where's Splinter?

Shredder: Ah, the rat! So it has a name! ...It HAD a name.

Leonardo: YOU LIE!!

Shredder: (smiling evilly) Do I?

Someone important to one of the heroes has died. Sometimes, the dead person has been killed because they're too close to the hero (or perhaps due to a Heroic Sacrifice that benefits the hero in some way). Other times, the dead character was following the hero's orders. And maybe it was just their time.

Whatever the situation, someone else, typically the villain, dismisses the dead person, as if their death was just another Red Shirt death that carried little meaning.

It is at this point that the hero invokes this Stock Phrase: "He had a name!" This shows that the dead character wasn't just a faceless casualty of the story, but was actually important. They mattered. See Nominal Importance, which is very closely related to this trope. See also The Dead Have Names.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of He Had a Name include:

Anime & Manga

  • Yuji says this to Shana about Yukari Hirai in Shakugan no Shana.
    • Yuji also makes a point that he has a name and isn't just an inconsequential, forgettable Torch, and even names Shana just to establish the importance of identity.
  • Invoked in Gundam Wing. One of the protagonists asks an enemy leader how many countless soldiers he'll sacrifice. Said leader responds he has counted, and makes it a point to catalog and remember the name of every soldier he loses in the campaign so that their sacrifices won't be forgotten or in vain.
  • "His name was Tony!"
  • The manga version of Fullmetal Alchemist Disappeared Dad Hohenheim has apparently spent a few hundred years obsessing over this. All his half of the souls of Xerxes that his 'eldest son' stole and split between them he has gotten to know by name and forged an alliance with, and on at least one occasion before he does some major alchemy he does a mantra of them before saying, "I'm going to have to use you." This attitude is what means he's still human, despite his catch phrase.
  • Dragon Ball - Frieza killing Krillin is what pushes Goku into going Super Saiyan, and casually referring to him as "that Earthling" just pisses him off that much more.

  "That little bald guy was my best friend. His NAME WAS KRILLIN!!"

    • Depending on the dub, Krillin could also be referred to as 'the short, bald one" or equally offensive and callous things.

Comic Books

  • In Cosmic Odyssey, a DC Comics Crisis Crossover, the day is saved by Forager, one of the people known as "bugs" from the planet New Genesis who made a Heroic Sacrifice. Orion, one of The New Gods of New Genesis, barely acknowledges this fact, causing Batman to hit him and shout "His name was Forager!!"


 Tembo: The Rex just fed, so he won't be hunting for a while.

Ian Malcolm: Just fed? I assume you're talking about Eddie? You know, you might show a little more respect! The man saved our lives by giving his!

  • Subverted in The Shawshank Redemption, when the prisoners find out that "Fat Ass" died during the night after being beaten to a bloody pulp by Captain Hadley.

 Andy Dufresne: What was his name?

Heywood: What?

Andy Dufresne: I was just wondering if anybody knew his name.

Heywood: Fuck do you care, new fish? Doesn't fuckin' matter what his name was. He's dead.

  • In their first movie, the Shredder uses this trope to try to fool the turtles into thinking their master dead.

 Raphael: Where's Splinter?

Shredder: ...Ah, the rat! So it has a had a name.

Leonardo: YOU LIE!!

Shredder: (slowly smiles sadistically behind his mask) Do I?

  • In Electric Dreams, the computer pulls an I Had A Name variant by identifying himself in his "dying" speech as Edgar.


  • In Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Rand has memorized a list of every woman he has ever killed or caused to die, and once LT shows up he starts adding names from him too.

Live Action TV

  • This happened on Lost.

 Sawyer: So... old Steve drew the short straw.

Hurley: Dude! His name was Scott!

  • Played for Laughs in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where the "dead guy" is an X Box.
    • Gets much naughtier when you realize that Ted was offering Barney his X Box, not knowing that Barney was also chasing after his EX-GIRLFRIEND. One wonders what Barney *thought* he heard Ted saying...
  • In Just Shoot Me, Elliot accidentally breaks one of Dennis' porcelain cats and offers to replace it.

 "It? It had a name! Oh, Skittles!"

  • In Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor had a clearly-labeled Berserk Button for people who made this mistake:
    • In "The Poison Sky", the UNIT commander who refused to order a retreat keeps trying to raise the Last Man Standing on his radio even though he's clearly been shot dead, and the Doctor tells him off:

 "Greyhound Forty, come in! Greyhound Forty!"

"Not Greyhound Forty. Ross. His name was Ross. Now GET THEM OUT OF THERE!"

    • A variation at the end of "The Satan Pit." Humans of the future have enslaved an alien race known as The Ood, which were treated like robots or cattle. When the humans evacuate the station, all the Ood are left to die, which clearly distresses The Doctor. When the surviving captain makes his report, he lists the deceased Ood individually. (By designation number.)
      • The Ood who dies at the beginning of "Planet of the Ood" gave his designation number when they asked for a name, and Donna used it comfortingly. It is unclear whether psychic natural Ood traffic much in names, but whenever the Doctor visits the Oodsphere afterward it seems Ood Sigma is there to meet him.
    • There's a variation in the episode "Midnight". After the stewardess sacrifices herself to kill the monster, the other passengers are ashamed to realize that none of them... not even the Doctor... knew her name.
    • The Eleventh Doctor appears to have retained it. In "The Vampires of Venice":

 "I will tear down the house of Calviera stone by stone and you know why? You didn't know her name."

  • The Professionals has a variation: In "Killer with a Long Arm," a forensics lackey dismisses a murder victim as "nobody," meaning that he was unconnected to their main case. Doyle immediately snaps, "Nobody's nobody," haranguing him about the fact that the victim had a wife and children. Of course, since Doyle was the one who asked who the dead man was, we never do learn his name.
  • Unique variation in Supernatural. The Big Bad of the first two seasons, the yellow-eyed demon, is finally killed in Season 2 yet we still don't know his name. A demon later reveals his name to be Azazel in Season 3, saying "You think his brothers just called him Yellow-Eyes? He had a name."
  • In one episode of Hardcastle and McCormick, Hardcastle has to deal with a police captain who, twenty years ago, shot an unarmed teenager and then covered it up; when the case came before Hardcastle's court, the man was ruled innocent for lack of evidence. Twenty years later, Hardcastle hasn't forgotten:

 Filapiano: Nobody even remembers that dumb kid's name.

Hardcastle: Johnson. His name was Cyler Johnson.

  • NCIS
    • In a first-season episode, Gibbs does this to the murderer of a fellow agent, just before pulling the trigger.

  Gibbs: His name was Special Agent Chris Pacci. And he was a friend.

    • And then again in "Once A Hero", when the head of a human trafficking ring dismisses the Marine he killed as just someone trying to be a hero.

  Gibbs: His name was Brian Wright. Sergeant Brian Wright, United States Marine Corps. Bronze Star, Purple Heart. He was a hero.


 Reporters: What was her name?

Wily: Doesn't matter. Now listen!

  • This refrain from Stockholm Syndrome by Muse:

 And she had a name. Yes she haaad a naaaame.

Video Games

Web Comics

 Junpei: "Is... Is that... HIM!?"

Aigis: "HEY! Show some respect! He had a name!"

Junpei: "...What was it?"

Aigis: "Hell, I don't remember..."

Web Original

  • The Mercury Men: Before killing the sniper that killed Glenn, Yaeger tells him, "His name was Patrick Glenn. Apologize when you see him."
  • Dragon Ball Abridged - Nappa, being a Psychopathic Manchild / Cloudcuckoolander in this universe, believes Chiaotzu to be a Pokemon. After Chiaotzu's unsuccessful self-destruct, Nappa calling him "that Pokemon" again pushes Tien over the edge.

  "You stupid...ugly...son of a bitch. His name...was CHIAOTZU! KIKOHO!"

Western Animation

  • In the penultimate episode of Exo Squad, Nara Burns delivers the Bond One-Liner, "This was for my brother. His name was James!" right after she kills Phaeton. While Phaeton didn't directly kill James, he did start the war in which James died, and did not care at all about the people who died in it.
  • Family Guy: Stewie and Brian are stranded in the desert, night's approaching, and the only shelter option is their camel, cut open Star Wars-style. Poor Stewie had already named him and given him a back-story.
  • Lampshaded in American Dad during Roy Rogers Mc Freeley, after a character dies (of natural causes) and another character is threatened:

 Stan: We've already lost Old Guy, we're not going to lose Speakerphone!

Hayley: Dad, they had names -

Stan: There's no time for names!

 Waldorf: How could that villain off that character like that?! He Had a Name!

Statler: What was it?

Waldorf: I was saying he had a name, not that I knew what it was!

Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!

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