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Suddenly they're attacked by an underwater camera, which lunges at them in an unconvincing imitation of an offscreen threat.
Roger Ebert's review of Lake Placid

The start of many a Detective Drama.

We see the murder from the murderer's point of view.

Leads to a Reverse Whodunnit, unless the Murderer POV is composed in such a way as to keep the killer's identity a secret (for example, via an Over the Shoulder shot or an actual POV Cam shot).

The most common variety, mostly exlusive to murder mysteries, is when the victim casually greets their killer before realising their purpose. Genre Blind victims may even be relieved, and respond with "Oh, it's just you" or similar comments.

See also Jaws First Person Perspective.

Tropes used in Murderer POV include:


Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Used for the death of Edward Blake in the first chapter of Watchmen.
  • A rare Anti-Hero example happened in the very first Sin City story where we get Marv's POV as he tortures a man for information.

Film

  • The first scene of John Carpenter's Halloween.
    • Used in much of the original Halloween and Halloween II.
  • Used in much of the original Black Christmas.
  • Quite a few scenes in Profondo Rosso and Friday the 13 th.
  • In Strange Days, this trope is put to highly disturbing effect, as the killer wears a 'rig' that captures his sensory input during a murder/rape, and then sends a copy of it to the protagonist; in order to see what's on the disc, the protaganist puts it on, and experiences the killer's arousal as well.
    • It's worse. While raping the victim, the rapist forces her to wear the viewing device--so she'll feel the rape from the other side, up to and including his enjoyment of her terror and pain.
    • Similiar devices (dramatic and mechanical) are used in the short lived science fiction legal drama Century City and a few episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
  • Used in Chevy Chase's death in "Oh Heavenly Dog," after which Chevy comes back to life in Benji's body to solve his own murder. Roger Ebert rightfully tore this movie to pieces.
  • Even though the "murderer" in question is an animal and not a human, used frequently in Jaws.
  • The Dead Talk Back (as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000) opens with a rather poorly framed Murderer POV.

Literature

Live Action TV

  • In one episode of Stargate SG-1, Mitchell believes he's guilty of a murder with all evidence leading toward him. A mind-reading device shows the murder from his perspective to investigators, needless to say, the mind-reading device is also a mind editing device which was used by the real killer to wipe his own mind of the vile deed and implant the memory into Mitchell's mind. This entire premise is a complete rip-off of an earlier (by 7 years no less) episode of Star Trek: Voyager (See below)
    • Also happens in "Smoke & Mirrors", an earlier Stargate SG-1 episode -- we see the murderer loading the gun in slow motion, aiming at Senator Kinsey, and firing, without actually seeing the murderer's face. Monents later, Jack O'Neill (actually the murderer using Imported Alien Phlebotinum to disguise himself) exits the building and casually walks away. Of course, O'Neill is framed, and the rest of the episode is spent on the SGC's attempts to free him.
  • Used in the Doctor Who episode The Unicorn and the Wasp, which is a gentle pastiche of works of Agatha Christie.
  • A calling card of Monk.
  • Star Trek: Voyager featured an episode where one of the main characters was convicted of a crime he didn't commit based on evidence supposedly taken from his mind showing the murder from his perspective. Naturally it is discovered that this memory was planted by the real killer.
    • Actually, this was inverted, and the evidence is supposedly from the victim's perspective. And Paris is forced to relive the murder from this perspective every 20 minutes for the rest of his life as punishment (a punishment Deep Space Nine writers wouldn't inflict on O'Brien)...until the charade comes to light.
  • Almost every episode of Columbo started out from the villain's point-of-view as he or she committed a supposedly perfect murder. Then Columbo came onto the scene and proved that it wasn't.
  • The Pretty Little Liars TV series frequently ends episodes from A's point of view.
  • The CSI episode "Killer" was mostly told from the killer's POV.

Western Animation

  • The Family Guy episode "And Then There Were Fewer" lampshades the way this trick is used to maintain the anonymity of the one whodunit. "Why, it's you!" says the murderer's next victim to the camera. "The man or woman who's been killing everyone!"
  • In the American Dad episode "Tears Of A Clooney", Stan finds his and Francine's apartment completely trashed and realizes that Francine knows about Stan's friendship with her enemy George Clooney and went berserk. The lights suddenly go off and a we get a "night vision" look from Francine's P.O.V. Stan backs away as she brandishes a knife toward him and aparently murders him. Turns out she cut his sideburn.

Video Games

  • Used at the climax of The Suffering, in the neutral and evil endings.
  • Many, many of the intros to the cases of the Ace Attorney games.
    • Just as frequently subverted by presenting the case intro in the exact same manner... but from the point of view of a bystander, or even the eventual victim.
  • Used to brutal effect in the 3rd God of War game, which basically forces you to murder the entire Greek Pantheon in order to advance the game. They have it coming though, so it's okay.
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