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Ah ha ha, I put broken glass in your dinner dearIt's only getting worse from here
—King Diamond, "More Than Pain"
The act of sneaking inedible or dangerous objects, such as glass, poison, drugs, etc. into an item of food or drink, with the hope that it kills/harms whomever has the misfortune to consume it.
The non-lethal version of food tampering would be putting a love potion, sleeping potion/drug, etc. in food or more commonly, drinks; also known as Slipping a Mickey.
If the perpetrator is unlucky, his plans may be thwarted by a Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo.
Razor Apples overlaps with this trope.
Anime & Manga
- At one point in Sakura Gari Sakurako feeds Masataka a piece of sushi; he quickly spits it out, revealing that Sakurako had snuck in a piece of glass. She later subverts it via tying up Masataka and Force Feeding him... food that is actually not tampered with, just so she can bully and troll him.
- Played with in the Onikakushi-ken arc of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Rena and Mion visit Keiichi and give him a box of ohagi as part of a club activity; however, upon biting into one of them Keiichi discovers a needle, convincing him that Rena and Mion are out to get him. It's later revealed that Keiichi was delusional and hallucinated that there was a needle in the ohagi when Mion had actually put tabasco sauce in the ohagi as a prank.
- In another scene, Keiichi talks with Dr. Irie who becomes convinced that Keiichi is mentally disturbed and leaves the room to “make some black tea”. Keiichi starts to head towards the restroom, when he overhears Irie speaking to one of his employees, requesting he mix “isomytal and brovarin” (sedatives) into the black tea, hiding it under the taste of milk and sugar.
- Kodachi Kuno of Ranma ½ is a good cook who prepares elaborate meals, and she often uses culinary expertise to her advantage by placing poisons, toxins, serums, and other strange substances in her victims' food to attain something she wants from them.
- A magical mushroom called Kairaishi has the power to make anyone that eats it follow any command. Shampoo mixes it into pork buns and feeds them to Ranma. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Gankutsuou Heloise receives a ring that contains poison from the Count. She uses it to poison some water she tried to give to Valentine but Albert ends up drinking it instead. She also poisoned some lemonade which one of the household staff ends up drinking. She later mentions that she wanted to poison more people this way as well.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Bianchi, known as "Poison Scorpion Bianchi" in the Mafia underground, specializes in poison cooking; food items that contain poison and have a nasty color to them.
- Her food also has a tendency to melt its surroundings.
- Zero no Tsukaima: Montmorency slips a love potion in Guiche's drink, but before she can give it to him a frustrated Louise comes by and drinks it. Hilarity Ensues, naturally.
- Also, when Princess Charlotte de Orleans aka Tabitha was younger, she was at a party with her family where a strange man gave her a glass of wine. Tabitha's mother, meanwhile, saw the man smirk as he walked away. She immediately recognized a potion in the wine and took the glass Tabitha held; she drank the potion in order to save Tabitha, and she became mentally ill. She regained sanity at the end thanks to a cure, though.
- An example where this trope is used to actually save someone and not harm him/her includes Saito slipping sleeping potion into Louise's wine at their supposed "marriage ceremony" to make her run away and not face the danger of 7,000 Zombie soldiers. He had his own Moment of Awesome that day, when he faced them himslef.
- In Monster Director Heinemann, Dr. Oppenheim, and Dr. Boyer are found dead when the three of them were mysteriously poisoned by candy left by Johan Liebert... candy that was not only wrapped, but in a SEALED BAG...
- Sukisho sees this done to Sora and Nao, with Soushi drugging their tea and taking them in for a vaguely described medical exam.
- In Saiunkoku Monogatari, Shuurei is the subject of repeated poisoning attempts during her time as Imperial Concubine. In the most notable instance she's presented with a cup of poisoned sake during a banquet; immediately suspicious but aware that refusing the offer would be a grave insult, Ryuuki drinks it in her place, counting on his better constitution and Acquired Poison Immunity to get him through it. It still makes him quite sick for a while, and when Shuurei finally finds out, she's torn between being impressed that he basically took the bullet for her, and being angry at him for taking such a risk. (Not because she's got feelings for him, or anything - it's just that the civil war that would result from his death would be really bad for the people. That's all, really!)
- In Pumpkin Scissors, one episode features a visiting princess from a neighboring country, with a particularly draconian rule of succession: Whichever royal child survives, takes the throne. Poison is a favored means of sibling rivalry, and she reveals that on her 10th birthday, the cake was poisoned, causing the death of her favorite maid. The fear of poison is so in-grown in her, that even when eating a hot-dog at a street-stand, where nobody knows who or what she is, she can't take a bite until somebody has tasted it for her first.
- The sociopathic protagonist in Suehiro Maruo's short Poison Strawberry puts thumb tacks in her classmate's milk. What happens next is horrific.
- Case Closed features poisoning as a somewhat common method to kill people:
- A Filler Valentine's Day episode had a mother try to collect insurance money by poisoning her Jerkass-ish adopted son's coffee. The antidote was in the cake's icing--the lad, being on his high school's track team and professing hate for all kind of sweets, didn't eat the cake.
- Additionally, she also poisoned a half-eaten bar of chocolate and switched it with one that was given to the victim as Valentines gift by his girlfriend, in an attempt to frame the girlfriend since the lady knew the victim would take a bite of his chocolatey "enemy" to please her. And even more: a "friend" of the victim tried to tamper with the guy's cigarettes via poisoning the filters, but he just cut said filters off in a whim and thus he failed.
- Another case has Ran falling victim to poisoned coffee and then almost being drowned to death by the killer of the week. In a subversion, the guy didn't want to kill her, only knock out whoever drank the poisoned coffee to give himself an alibi.
- Subverted in Tantei Gakuen Q, where a food critic is found dead in front of his almost untouched dinner. There was no poison in the food; the victim actually was strangled by the assistant he just fired in very humiliating circumstances. The meals were made with out-of-due ingredients to cover up details about the time of death.
- In Naruto, Tsunade poisons Jiraiya's drink, leaving him unable to fight at full strength against Orochimaru. It is implied that she was leaning toward accepting Orochimaru's offer at the time, then changed her mind later.
- Subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist. When Roy Mustang gets offered tea by Fuhrer Bradley, who knows that he knows that he's a homunculus and tried to tell Central Command about it, he wonders if it's poisoned, but is told that it is not.
- Hellblazer: During the Hard Time arc, one of the prisoners grinds up glass in the workshop, then his brother slips it into Constantine's oatmeal. John, in his wiley, unexplained way ( probably magic!), switches the glass to the grinder's oatmeal, resulting in a rather grisly breakfast after a week's worth of dosing...
- Asterix in Switzerland opens with with the Roman governor varius Flavus poisoning the food of Quaestor Vexatius Sinusitus in an attempt to dispose of him before Sinusistus can uncover Flavus' embezzlement.
Films -- Animated
- In Shrek 2 the Fairy Godmother orders the King to slip Fiona a love potion so that she'll fall in love with her son, Prince Charming. The King places the potion in Fiona's tea but finds that he can't go through with it, and gives his daughter a cup of tea that wasn't laced with the love potion instead.
- The Emperors New Groove: During the dinner scene Yzma has Kronk slip some poison into Kuzco's wine. However, Kronk forgets which cup he put the poison in and mixes all three drinks together. As Kuzco is drinking his wine, Kronk and Yzma don't drink theirs. Kuzco falls unconscious for a moment before waking back up again and turning into a llama, making Yzma and Kronk realize that Kronk had accidentally given Kuzco 'extract of llama' instead of poison.
Films -- Live-Action
- In the early Peter Falk flick The Bloody Brood, Falk plays a psychotic beatnik who feeds some poor kid a hamburger filled with broken glass to watch him die...just for kicks.
- In Raiders of the Lost Ark an Arab working for the Nazis pours poison on dates in Sallah's house in the hope that Sallah and/or Indy will eat them. (The monkey steals the poisoned dates instead.)
- The Court Jester combines this with Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo.
The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.
No! The Flagon with the Dragon holds the pellet with the poison, the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.
- In Kill Bill Volume II, Elle Driver reveals that she murdered Pai Mei by poisoning his fish heads.
- In The Sixth Sense one of the dead people the kid sees was a small girl poisoned by her stepmother putting cleaning fluid in her soup.
- John Carpenter's The Thing has the characters being Properly Paranoid about this- one single cell could be enough to turn anyone into a Thing. "I think everyone had better prepare their own food from now on..."
- In Blind Date, Walter uses a tiny syringe to put alcohol in chocolates he has delivered to Nadia because she has an extreme allergic reaction to alcohol.
- Wedding Crashers: At dinner in one scene John proceeds to spike Zach's water with eye-drops, which makes him sick, thereby letting John connect with Claire, Zach's fiance.
- Done twice in Disney's The Haunted Mansion with poison being put into goblets of wine.
- In Ghost Ship there's a flashback comprised of a montage of images of what occurred on the ocean liner. During this there's a scene in the kitchen where cooks are putting rat poison in food. We then see passengers eating the food and one person vomits as a result.
- The horror movie Night of the Demons features a mean old man who puts razor blades in apples on Halloween to do terrible things to children. At the end of the movie, his wife makes an apple pie out of the leftover apples, which he eats. The blades slash through his throat and leave him dead.
- Murder By Death. Lionel Twain arranges for one of the cups of wine served to the guests to have a tasteless, odorless acidic poison in it. It turns out to be a subversion: Twain made sure the cup with the poisoned wine was served to the one guest who could identify it.
- The Four Musketeers (1974). D'Artagnan receives a case of wine along with a note that indicates it's from his fellow musketeers. Before he can drink any of it, an enemy Mook drinks some and dies...it was poisoned wine sent by Milady to kill him.
- In The Three Stooges short "Who Done It?", the villainess prepares two drinks and slips poison in Shemp's drink. The two distract each other while they switch the goblets. Finally, Shemp drinks down the poison and goes through some hysterical death throes. Naturally, he recovered.
- In The Assassination Bureau, Eleanora first poisons her husband Cesare, the Italian assassin, then prepares drinks for herself and Dragomiloff, slipping poison in his drink. Dragomiloff spins the table until it stops, picks up the goblet in front of him, drinks down the contents, and falls to the floor. Of course, he was faking it.
- Jyugon starts his transformation process to a vampire in Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl when he eats a chocolate which has been infused with Monami's blood.
- Parodied and averted in Lemonade Joe, a relentless parody of The Western. Hogo Fogo has kidnapped Winnifred and plans to subject her to a fate worse than death, but is eating dinner in the saloon first. His brother, the less evil saloon owner, says he thinks Hogo's disgusting. Hogo opens his ring, puts some powder into a glass of water, and mixes it in. It looks like he'll try to make his brother drink it; however, he then drinks it himself, and burps. It was antacid. He keeps eating his dinner, glutton that he is.
- In the new Casino Royale, James Bond gets an absolutely fatal dose of digitalis in his drink. It's subverted with the defibrillator/first aid kit in his car, and that in turn is subverted when he doesn't have it connected properly! Vesper Lynd's arrival was just dumb luck.
- Double Subverted in Wild Things. When he and Suzie are on the sailboat at the end, Sam Lombardo is Genre Savvy enough to expect the drink to be poisoned, but is dissuaded when Suzie assures him that she would be an idiot to try something like that, since she can't pilot the boat, and they're all out in the middle of nowhere. It is in fact poisoned, and Suzie is perfectly capable of piloting it by herself. Still, this is not what kills Lombardo - Suzie then releases one of the booms to knock him into the water to drown.
- Will Loomis in A Little Piece of Heaven puts tranquilizer pills into brownies, which he leaves for two children to eat so he can kidnap them and convince them they're dead.
- Willard Price's African Adventure. While they're on safari in Uganda, someone tries to kill Hal and Roger Hunt by putting ground-up leopard whiskers in their food.
- Dune had terms for poisons used this way: chaumas (in food) and chaumurky (in drink).
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ron Weasley swallows a poisoned drink that was actually meant for Dumbledore, and almost dies. (And this was just after Ron ate a love-potion hidden in candy that was meant for Harry; don't side-kicks ever learn they're just fall-guys?)
- In the first book of A Series of Unfortunate Events Violet believes Count Olaf poisoned the oatmeal he serves to her and her siblings one morning because he's frankly a horrible guardian who was never nice to them in the entire time they've known him. He quickly proves them wrong by eating one of the raspberries on top of the oatmeal convincing the siblings that it's safe to eat.
- Earlier Violet was thinking miserably that she should've poisoned the sauce she's serving with the pasta for Count Olaf and his troupe considering how they are acting rude and refuse to eat the food the siblings made for them because they wanted roast beef instead.
- In the Discworld novel Interesting Times an Agatean courtier tries this on Cohen The Barbarian. It doesn't work and the courtier finds himself having a terminal case of indigestion when the tables are turned.
- A similar thing happens in Mort. The Grand Vizier tries to poison the Emperor, but he tries to do it in a very elaborate way: he claims he found the poisonous object in his own food, but that only the Emperor is worthy of it. They go back and forth on who should eat it for quite some time (Mort, because he can't leave until someone dies, even says "Would someone just eat it?"), but finally the Grand Vizier has to eat it, then tries to leave, leading to this:
Grand Vizier: Urgent matters of state, my lord.
Emperor: Would these be the urgent matters of state in a little bottle marked "Antidote" on your dresser?
- Tampering with food and drink was also a popular tactic of the wizards in the early books (before they mellowed out and became a satire of modern academia). There was even a saying: When a wizard is tired of looking for broken glass in his dinner, he is tired of life.
- In Adventures of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom book 1, Kate slips holy water into normal goblets of water when she tries to catch a suspected demon-occupied person in mixed company.
- This trope is the reason members of the Nyissan court take poison antidotes daily. Sadi appears to be as good as any full-time assassin at it -- he muses once about having poisoned the soup course in front of his victims without being caught, and in the Malloreon he slips knockout drugs to an entire army.
- In Summers At Castle Auburn, the Crown Prince is poisoned at his wedding feast, despite his using a taste tester and without anyone else at the feast dying. Only two people figured out who did it, and only one of them figured out how: The poisoner put the poison in the main course, which the prince was certain to have a large helping. The poisoner then put the antidote for the poison in the water pitchers. Since the prince never drank water (due to a paranoid belief that someone had tried to poison the well years previous, despite considerable evidence to the contrary), he was the only person at the feast who took the poison but did not take the antidote as well.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Shadows in Zamboula," Zabibi slips her lover something. It drives him into a frenzy, which is not the effect she intended. (What, exactly, she did intend -- well, the stories thrown about are numerous.)
- In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Strong Poison the victim died of arsenic poisoning. It was put into the cracked egg that was made into an omelette, which he shared with his cousin (the murderer, who had built up an immunity to it over time so he could vouch that the poison wasn't in that particular meal).
- In Agatha Christie was so incredibly fond of poisons; it was the most common way for victims to die.
- Crooked House, one of the two murder victims is poisoned by spiking a cup of cocoa with digitalis.
- The victim of Five Little Pigs had poison put in his drink.
- In Mysterious Affair At The Styles it's subverted. One of the characters believes poison was put into the first victim's drink and tries to cover up any clues that would led Poirot to this conclusion.
- In The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin, Lily accidentally killed her sister by putting cleaning solvent in a glass of water. It was supposed to have been a prank, as she didn't think her sister would really drink it.
- In Oz Nino Schibetta ate grounded glass that Ryan and Adebisi secretly put into his food for months until he dies from internal hemorrhaging, suddenly realizing one day that he's bleeding from the ears, nose, mouth...
- Also done to Supreme Allah in a more organic fashion. Once it's discovered that he's fatally allergic to eggs and must have his food cooked separately... Yeah, no more Supreme Allah.
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Conscience of the King". Someone tries to murder Kevin Riley by putting tetralubisol (a shipboard lubricant) in his milk.
- In Babylon 5, Londo makes a request of Lord Refa:
Londo: Because I have asked you; because your sense of duty to our people should override any personal ambition; and because I have poisoned your drink.
- In the end, it's left unclear if it was truly poisoned, or if Londo was bluffing, as Refa dies from other means.
- Both played straight and faked in Persons Unknown. Erika gets Joe to confess this way; later Joe helps Janet fake her death by pretending to do this to a liquor bottle
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp," the Tenth Doctor drinks "sparkling cyanide." He survives it in a true Crowning Moment of Funny.
- Pops up a few times in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In "Foul Play In the Sky", Rita learns that Kimberly will be going for a plane ride with her uncle Steve. Seeing an opportunity to be rid of a Ranger, Rita sends Squatt and Baboo to spike Steve's soda with a delayed-action sleeping potion so that he'll fall asleep while the plane is in the air and it'll crash. In "Power Ranger Punks", Baboo spikes the Rangers' after-game fruit juice with a personality-altering potion that turns Billy and Kimberly (who drink first) into slacker punks with no interest in attending to their Ranger duties. In "Rita's Pita", Rita observes Tommy advise a kid he's teaching martial arts to to eat healthier foods and not binge eat. She puts a shrunken monster in Tommy's pita that will make him start binging on junk food, banking on the Rangers bringing Tommy to the command center ASAP to find out what caused the sudden 180 and unwittingly taking the monster with them.
- Merlin had an attempt on Arthur's life via a poisoned chalice
- CSI did it at least once, as did CSI: NY. The CSI one was a juror wanting to induce an allergic reaction in another juror but she decided not to at the last minute. The NY one was also an allergic reaction kind of thing.
- In Justified, Mags Bennett kills one of her henchmen by giving him poisoned moonshine to drink.
- King Diamond's album Abigail II: The Revenge has Abigail tricking Jonathan to eat food with glass shards on it after he rapes her in the songs "Broken Glass" and "More Than Pain".
- Dungeons and Dragons once had "ingestive" (swallowed) poisons that could be added to food or drink. One article in Dragon magazine #59 had several dozen examples, and a Dragon #69 article extensively described 7 such poisons.
- The video that accompanies the Clue VCR Mystery Game (and forms part of the game play) includes a dinner scene in Boddy mansion where almost all of the guests end up poisoning something that is served at dinner.
- In the play Holy Ghosts one character talks about his prizewinning dog, who was killed by jealous rival dog-owners by putting glass in his food.
- In the U.S. many people believe stories about psychopaths deliberately putting poison, razor blades and so on in candy given to children on Halloween.
- Let's just say this trope is prevalent in Adventure Games.
- Ace Attorney uses this in Trials and Tribulations. Furio Tigre poisons Glen Elg by slipping poison into his coffee, inadvertently duplicating the actions of Dahlia Hawthorne's near-murder of Diego Armando several years earlier.
- One of the many methods of killing in the Hitman series is to inject poison into food that gets delivered to the victim. (In one of the missions you can also put aphrodisiacs into a martini to make your mark move into a more remote location.)
- In The Curse of Monkey Island you are required to drug yourself by mixing hangover medicine with alcohol.
Guybrush: This makes the drink oh so much more appealing.
- In Mitsumete Knight, Raizze Haimer tries to kill Princess Priscilla by giving her a poisoned drink at the Princess' Birthday Party : depending on your choices as the main Protagonist, the Asian, it ends with either : Priscilla's near-death, the Asian's near-death (as Raizze will give him the antidote), or Raizze spilling the drink to avoid the Asian being accidentally poisoned.
- In Final Fantasy IX, Princess Garnet spiked a banquet with sleeping potion in order to knock Zidane, Vivi, Freya and Cid unconscious so they wouldn't try to stop her and Steiner from traveling alone.
- In Baldur's Gate, your party gets poisoned around the time you get into the eponymous city, and you have to do a quest to get an antidote. In the sequel, when you reach the Asylum, you find out that Yoshimo, or Saemon if you don't have Yoshimo poisoned your food, enabling Irenicus to capture you.
- In Heroes Of Might And Magic III, this is how King Gryphonheart was killed.
- At the end of the Soviet campaign in Command and Conquer Red Alert, Nadia successfully kills Joseph Stalin by tricking him into drinking a poisoned cup of tea.
- In the Whateley Universe Jobe does this to three guys who just beat the snot out of him (because he won a sparring match against one of them). He puts a bio-weapon in their food and blinds them for several days. This Disproportionate Retribution cycle just gets worse.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: The Nasty Patty.
- In Asterix and Cleopatra, Edifice frames the Gauls by sending a poisoned cake to Cleopatra in the Gaul's name, which is quickly detected as being poisoned. Strangely, the cake was made without eggs or flour - the only non-toxic ingredient in the entire recipe was orange juice (for flavoring).
- Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Yumi's opponent in an Eating Contest sneaks into the arena the night before and dumps a bunch of iron horseshoes into her food to guarantee his victory. It almost works too, until Ami realizes that watching a baseball game makes Yumi eat anything you put in front of her out of sheer boredom.
- Often referred to colloquially as "slipping a Mickey" (or Mickey Finn) into a drink. In theory, Mickey Finn is supposed to be one specific poison (chloral hydrate, an anaesthetic drug that leaves the victim with the mother of all hangovers if they survive), but the expression is often more loosely applied to any poison in a drink.
- People and especially women are warned often to not leave their drinks unattended, due to fear of date rape drugs being placed into them.
- These are also a good reason not to pick up an unattended drink at the kind of place this might happen (e.g. a frat party). More than a few (often male) revelers have accidentally found themselves taking a drink intended for someone else.
- Also, some delinquents of both genders often slip sleeping meds in the drinks of their dates not to rape them, but to steal whatever they have on. (Though some may also try to rape the victims)
- The Roman Emperor Nero had a particularly devious twist on this: When he wanted to kill his brother Brittanicus, he didn't poison the wine, as he knew that the food tasters would detect it first. Instead, he served hot wine at the banquet, then poisoned the cooling water instead...
- During World War I, the British on the Middle East front would airdrop cigarette packages wrapped in British propaganda to the Turks. While the Turks laughed off the "surrender now" flyers, they really appreciated the cigarettes. On one occasion, a cigarette drop was made the day before the Brits were to attack a Turkish position. The cigarettes had been laced with opium, and the Turkish soldiers were too stoned to fight.
- In 1990, an employee at the Point Lepreau nuclear plant in New Brunswick with tritiated water/ Apparently he was trying to play a practical joke, by forcing people to give daily urine samples for an extended period. The joke didn't go over too well.
- In World War II, food shortages in Germany meant that food waste was universally recycled as pigswill, including the leftovers from POW camps holding allied prisoners of war. Naturally as soon as the inmates at Colditz Castle discovered this... they took to liberally seasoning their table scraps with shards of broken razor blades, despite the German authorities loudly threatening death to anyone they caught in the act.
- The modus operandi of Black Widow and Serial Killer Anjette Lyles. She killed two husbands, a mother-in-law, and her eldest child via first giving them food with high doses of arsenic-based poison, then slipping them more poison while taking care of them. And would've almost surely pulled the same on her still-living youngest daughter, had she not been caught.
- Antifreeze is one of the most commonly used chemicals to poison people. Not only is it easy to obtain, it has a sweet, syrupy flavor (due to the ethylene glycol in it) that doesn't raise suspicion if mixed in with someone's coffee- until they drop dead from heart failure.
- There are two variants of antifreeze, the other based on propylene glycol, which is almost exactly similar, but non-toxic. It's somewhat more expensive and trickier to use (it oxidizes into mildly corrosive lactic acid on contact with air, and tends to foul up quicker), but can sometimes be more frequently encountered nowadays, specifically because it's so much safer than ethylene glycol. So the enterprising poisoner might find their plans unexpectedly failing.
- What's more, ethylene glycol-based antifreezes now include a bittering agent to prevent deliberate and accidental poisonings, so all those wannabe Black Widows out there will just have to find some other way to cash in on their husbands' life insurance policy.
- ↑ You need to drink it by the liter to experience even a mildly adverse symptoms