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"Not only have you refused to kill the boy, you even stopped the boy from killing himself, which would've solved my problem, which would've solved your problem, which sounds like it would've solved the boy's problem."
Harry, In Bruges

A character is about to commit suicide and is stopped by somebody else Just in Time, sometimes thanks to the suicide note. Especially with bridges and building ledges. You can expect the Interrupter to be Talking Down the Suicidal, but not always.

Regularly subverted: Any character standing on a ledge is mistaken for a jumper. Another subversion, rather more cruel, is when somebody else shows up Just in Time... but fails to prevent the suicide, and has to witness it instead.

Compare Bungled Suicide, where the suicidee succeeds in carrying out the deed... but doesn't die. Compare Happily-Failed Suicide, where the suicidee is happy that they failed or were interrupted.

Examples of Interrupted Suicide include:

Anime & Manga

  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei, of course. Kafuka tries to stop him every time, but does something to make it worse (i.e. trying to pull him down as he hangs himself, or accidentally pushing him over as he tries to jump in front of a train). Nozomu quickly recovers and screams "What if I died!?"
    • At the end of episode 11, Nozomu takes out a noose to attempt to hang himself, but is hit by a runaway trolley before he can do so. This is never mentioned again.
    • Also in the third episode, Nozomu saves Kaede from jumping off the roof just in the nick of time. Not because he's particularly worried for her safety, but because he's already pinned the roof for his suicide spot and doesn't want anyone stealing his thunder.
  • Now and Then Here and There: Main character Shu attempts to stop depressed Sarah from drowning herself, but he only makes her hurry up, forcing him to dive in and save her himself.
  • After killing Winry's parents in the first anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, Colonel Mustang, in shock, put his gun under his chin. Tim Marcoh talked him down from it.
    • In the manga and second anime, an injured Lan Fan tries to kill herself when Ling is trying to escape from Wrath carrying her on his shoulder. We don't see it happen so we'll never know whose idea it was, but she ends up severing her injured arm instead, so they can use it to lure Wrath away and save both their lives. Ling still feels guilty about it.
  • In Naruto, Gaara attempted to slash his own wrists as a child, but was blocked by his own sand barrier. This is after a classic example of a Dark and Troubled Past, since while he had never actually been injured due to said sand barrier and was was only half-halfheartedly trying out of curiosity, the fact that a child would casually try something like that is still rather indicative of Gaara's state of mind.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, naturally, does this in an extreme way, with Simon and Kinon becoming the first humans to jump through hyperspace to arrive in the nick of time to stop Rossiu from committing suicide (with a flying punch to the face).
  • The final episode of Gravitation the anime Shuichi arrives just in time to keep Yuki from committing suicide. Keeping up with the spirit of Mood Whiplash of the series, Shuichi is wearing a dog suit as he bursts through the wall just as Yuki is about to shoot himself
  • Flame of Recca has a flashback in which an orphaned Kaoru tries to off himself, but is stopped by Kurei, which explains why he's a member of the Uruha.
  • Uigher has been stopped from suicide in Haré+Guu. It is played for laughs, partly due to his Attention Whore nature.
  • Nanette in the second season of Victorian Romance Emma: after being discovered to have stolen a fan from the mistress of the house and being fired as a result, she dashes out to drink something lethal and is stopped by Emma. Later in the same season there is a slight subversion, Emma is contemplating the sea and walking toward it leading Hans to assume that she is about to kill herself which was not the case.
  • Subverted in Hasoda's The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, where the main character tries to jump out of her bedroom window, but is stopped by her concerned little sister. The thing is, she wasn't trying to kill herself; she was trying to time-leap, and hadn't quite figured out how to do it properly.
  • Played for some combination of laughs and drama in Welcome to The NHK twice: first, Misaki tries jumping off a cliff where her mom killed herself years ago but Satou catches her in rather humiliating way. Then, he jumps off the same cliff himself, realizing how pathetic his life is, only to fall onto a protective grid below that was installed because Misaki's mom died there. Can it get any more humiliating than that?
    • An earlier episode also has Satou get caught up in an online suicide pact with his upperclassman, Hitomi. Her boyfriend, Misaki and Yamazaki all rush into the meeting place to save him.
  • Used in Tokyo Godfathers. As two characters are walking over a bridge, and one is actually contemplating suicide — dramatically opining about how he'll "take off my shoes, climb onto the railing, and be at peace"... we see a woman taking off her shoes and clambering onto the railing. Fortunately, Hana and Miyuki do a rapid-fire double-take and stop her in time. And the plot thickens!
  • Reina Ryuuguu tried to commit suicide by slitting her wrists in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. She was interrupted by "Oyashiro-sama" which was really Hanyuu in ghost form. This is a part of her back story, so it happens in all worlds.
    • In the manga, and presumably sound novels, she slits open her neck.
  • Misa Amane in Death Note. Tries to bite her tongue off because Rem won't kill her, but Watari gags her just before she can do it.
    • She eventually kills herself - in the anime, via throwing herself off a building.
  • Unknown to the people who only watch the anime of Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Yamamoto, Mr. Nice Guy, almost commits suicide. This was due to some bad advise that he broke his arm over, and he in suit thought that his career as a baseball player was over. So he moseyed on over to the edge of the school rooftop and prepared to jump, and he was dead serious about it. With an audience of students trying to cajole him out of it, the only voice he listened to was Tsuna's. He ended up falling due to bad construction of a gate. Don't worry, Tsuna Saved Him.
  • At one point during Monster, Tenma desperately tries to talk Nina out of shooting herself.
    • There was another time when Dieter found out that the local children had been talked by Johan into playing a certain game. The "game" involves two children walking toward each other along the edge of a roof until one of them falls. The boy challenging Dieter had already lost at least once, but keeps playing after surviving the fall.
  • In King of Thorn, twin sisters Kasumi and Shizuku contracted the deadly disease Medusa. Kasumi was selected by lottery to be turned into a Human Popsicle until a cure was found; Shizuku was not. Kasumi attempted to kill herself so that Shizuku could take her place, but Shizuku interrupted her and demanded that she live on.
  • The Breaker. Protagonist Shiwoon goes to the school roof to jump off, which is also where two of his teachers have decided to-- ahem.
  • This happens several times in Rurouni Kenshin. Most notably, when Megumi is first introduced and wants to kill herself to make up for all the lives she took with her opium of death.
  • This happens on more than a few occasions in Code Geass with Suzaku. Especially when Lelouch uses Geass to command him to live, thus eternally preventing Suzaku from allowing himself to die. Which is something he desperately wants to do.
    • Following the Black Knights' betrayal, Lelouch tries to off himself by sealing himself with his father inside the Sword of Akasha. Said attempt is interrupted when C. C. and Marianne show up, prompting the activation of the Ragnarok connection. This, being too much for him to stomach, compels Lelouch to disrupt said plan and have his parents erased from existence. The aftermath leaves everyone, Lelouch included, back outside the now inactive Sword of Akasha, and forcing Lelouch to continue on for the time being.
  • In Jiraishin, the protagonist interrupted a girl named Azusa as she was about to jump off a roof and told her that if she was going to commit suicide, jumping was rude and she should starve herself. She was going to jump anyway, but he grabbed her stopped her. Later, she went to prison and starved herself to death.
  • Happens in episode 2 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, where Mami saves a woman brainwashed by a Witch from jumping off the building. Additionally, in episode 4 Madoka stops an also brainwashed Hitomi and others to go through a Suicide Pact, only to be caught by the Witch that brainwashed them into doing so.
  • The protagonist of Life has to jump in front of a train to save her friend from killing herself after her boyfriend tried to kill himself. However since later that "friend" is shown to be an extremely Manipulative Bitch Jerkass who loves to toy with her and hates her boyfriend, it's possible she was toying with her... Though it's implied she didn't become that way until she started hanging around with the wrong crowd.
  • Afterschool Charisma: Mr. Kuroe states that the reason Mozart survived is because Shiro and Hitler showed up on time.
  • Happens to Nanaka in Myself Yourself. There's no suicide note or any other message, but Sana figures out what's going on just in time because he tried to do the same thing several years earlier.
  • In Oniisama e..., Aya Misaki does this after her Break the Haughty process in the anime. Until then, she was the Alpha Bitch who tormented Mariko and Nanako because she didn't get her place at the Sorority. But then Nanako and Tomoko stopped it via not letting her down herself in the sea, then Mariko puts the cherry on top by giving her a You Are Not Alone speech, and this culminates in Aya's Heel Face Turn.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: In episode 37 Anthy tries to kill herself by jumping off of a building but Utena saves her.
  • You're Under Arrest: the team use their unique skills to talk down a jumper, then to save both her and their team-mate as the rescue equipment fails... all while under the eyes of an inspector who was on the verge of giving the entire station a dreadful write-up for inefficiency and sloppy behaviour...
  • Subverted in Igano Kabamaru, when a child Kabamaru and a just as young Hayate keep interferring with the suicide of a teenager named Hoshiko Wakabayashi without realizing that she's about to kill herself. Heck, at some point Kabamaru almost dies retrieving the pills Hoshiko intends to poison herself with and she ends up saving him! Later Kabamaru's grandfather Saizo talks to Hoshiko, lets her vent about her huge problems that led her to be suicidal, and succeeds to convince her to live.
  • In the second part of Shin Kyojin no Hoshi, the radio host Yoko Sakisaka is about to interview the main character Hyuuma Hoshi for her show, but then she gets a letter from a suicidal boy who lives in Kamakura. So Hyuuma and Yoko must go there and team up to find him before it's too late. They find the boy when he's about to throw himself into the sea; Yoko slaps him, then gives him a Cooldown Hug and convinces him to keep on living and return home. As a bonus, Hyuuma had been rather cold to Yoko but the incident helped him warm up to her.


  • The Sin City story Hell and Back kicks off with hero Wallace coming across a woman named Esther about to commit suicide and saving her just in time. Not that he stops her attempt, she does go off the cliff, but he manages to pull her out of the water and revive her. When Esther is kidnapped, Wallace goes through hell and high water to get her back. In what was possibly the greatest heartwrending moment in a surprisingly deep and touching series ("Sin" City or no, these stories each have an Aesop to put any Edutainment show to shame), when he asks her why she jumped, she replies that "I was lonely."
  • In an issue of Batgirl, Cassandra Cain is contemplating her own depression and death wish from on top of a building when she encounters a man who is also looking depressedly out at the city. Apropos of seemingly nothing, Cass declares "Don't do it. Not worth it." Not being aware of her near-superhuman ability to read body language, he is startled enough to leave the rooftop without attempting to jump.
  • Bruce Banner has attempted suicide on occasion. The Hulk will have none of it, however.
  • In All Fall Down, Portia's short walk off a skyscraper is successfully averted.
  • In a very early Golden Age Superman comic, Superman saved the life of a man who jumped off a bridge. He turned out to be a former champion boxer whose career had fallen apart when his crooked agent drugged him so that he would lose a title bout. Superman then spent the rest of the issue helping the man win back his title (And getting Clark Kent a promotion for his articles predicting the boxer's comeback).
    • In a much later issue, Supes's enchanced hearing lets him overhear a talk between a suicidal girl named Regan, who's about to throw herself off a building, and her therapist who's been held up and now tries to reach for her before she kills herself. He goes to Regan, gently tells her that her therapist truly was held up and that she's stronger than she believes 'self to be, and then gives her a Cooldown Hug.

Fan Fiction

  • In My Immortal, Ebony is in the process of slitting her wrists over Draco's death when "Snap" and "Loopin" peep on her.
  • In Cori Falls's fic "To Extend Our Reach to the Stars Above", Jessie is about to throw herself off a cliff in a fit of despair when Wobbuffet stops her. She comes to her senses and backs away upon realizing she couldn't abandon her Pokémon like that.
  • This is how the Fire Emblem Awakening fic "The Pretender" begins, with male Robin attempting suicide via hanging and Frederick cutting him down before he succeeds.
  • This is a favorite plot of shipping fics in general, where one half will confront the suicidal half by confessing their love. May or may not include a kiss or Intimate Psychotherapy.

Films — Animation

  • In The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible saves someone — and in gratitude the suicidal man unleashes a storm of legal suits.

 "You didn't save my life, you ruined my death!"

    • In Real Life, such a lawsuit would be disallowed. Nobody's permitted to sue someone for preventing the commission of an illegal act (which suicide is) and in addition, "Good Samaritan" laws protect people from being sued for acts while saving a life, or attempting to, but this universe doesn't seem to have those laws.

Films — Live Action

  • One classic example is It's a Wonderful Life. George contemplates suicide by jumping off a bridge, but is interrupted when his guardian angel, Clarence, jumps in first. George, reverting to his true nature, jumps into the river not to kill himself, but instead to save Clarence's life.
  • The End, a 1978 film starring Burt Reynolds as a self-centered man named Sonny who, after learning he is terminally ill, is determined to end his life, especially after getting little sympathy from others. Sonny's attempts to kill himself, however, all fail ... including in the climatic scene, where he attempts to drown himself in the middle of the ocean, only to change his mind at the last moment and bargain with God to let him live. Of course ... there's also some comic attempts by Sonny's deranged friend to kill him off, which also fail.
  • This kicks off the film Apres-Vous.
  • In Lethal Weapon, Sergeant Riggs pretends to be sympathetic in order to get close to a possible suicidee. However, instead of grabbing the man and pulling him to safety, Riggs handcuffs himself to the guy and jumps off the building with him... into a large airbag on the ground below, which was apparently deployed by firefighters without the jumper noticing.
  • In The Artist, George Valentin returns to his burnt-out house in order to put a pistol in his mouth. Cue the title card, "BANG!" The BANG! turns out to be Peppy driving her car into a tree outside, which sufficiently distracts him from following through.
  • In Catwoman, the title character chases her cat on a ledge and is mistaken for a jumper, almost falling to her death in the process.
  • In Dirty Harry, Harry Callahan disgusts a jumper by saying how much blood and guts are going to be on the floor and how he doesn't want to go down with him, eventually Harry tricks him onto a fire truck.
  • When Jack meets Rose in Titanic, he talks her out of jumping off the ship.
    • Spoofed on The Adam and Joe Show: "You won't jump, you're the narrator!" "What if I slip off and dangle a bit?"
  • Rather brutally used in Serenity, where the scientist narrating the creation of the Reavers is attempting to commit suicide in favor of being tortured to death, but the Reavers get to her before she can pull the trigger.
  • In Shortbus, James' suicide in a public pool is interrupted by his and his boyfriend's stalker.
  • In the first Fantastic Four film, the newly transformed Ben Grimm stops a man from jumping off a bridge:

 Ben: Hey! You think you got problems, you take a good look, pal.

  • Subverted and played for comedy in In Bruges when Ken shows up to murder Raymond on Harry's orders, only to see Raymond put a gun to his own temple. As Ken confronts him, Raymond sees Ken's gun, which Ken stows guiltily behind his back. Cue the comedy. Then it moves rapidly to a fantastic dramatic exchange. Also, refer to the quote at the top of the page.
  • Even the title of the 1985 movie Better Off Dead gives you an idea of what the protagonist is thinking. He tries to commit suicide on several different occasions, but is generally interrupted in a comedic way.
  • A comedic version appears in Airplane!!; Ted Striker drives two people to suicide with his stories about his ex-girlfriend, and a third is only saved at the last second when Striker gets called away mid-story.
  • In Elizabethtown, the protagonist's suicide is interrupted by a phone call... telling him that his father has just died.
  • In Identity, John Cusack's character describes how he failed to stop a suicide, and it caused him to crack up and leave the LAPD. As he describes it, the man planning to kill himself gave Cusack's character the perfect opportunity to save him: He asked him for something worth living for. Cusack's character froze for just a moment, unable to think of anything, and the man jumped.
  • Another bridge jumper is found in Pay It Forward, where the drug addict that the little boy helped out walks over the Golden Gate Bridge to see a woman about to commit suicide. He talks her out of it, offering to get a cup of coffee, anything. He asks her, "Save my life."
  • Unbelievably, The Love Bug Herbie the Volkswagen tries to leap off the Golden Gate Bridge in despair and is hampered by the fact that his wheels just don't let him climb up very well.
  • The entire film The Slender Thread is about a crisis phone volunteer keeping a woman talking who took an overdose of pills while others try to trace her. That was 1965, so that took some time.
  • Played for laughs in The Full Monty: Lomper is trying to gas himself in his car, Dave comes along and pulls him out. Lomper calls him a bastard and Dave throws him back into the fume-filled car.
  • Girl on the Bridge, if you couldn't tell from the title, uses this trope to launch the protagonists' friendship.
  • In the 1993 Norwegian film The Last Lieutenant (a.k.a. Second Lieutenant), the Nazis have threatened to bomb the town unless the local military surrenders. Their commanding officer agrees to do so, then locks himself in a toilet booth with the intention of shooting himself. Suddenly the protagonist enters the room, so the embarrassed officer quickly puts away his pistol and flushes the toilet as if he'd been using the booth for its normal purpose.
  • Used in Yes Man, where Jim Carrey's character plays the song "Jumper" to a guy on a ledge to stop him from killing himself.
  • With his ability to hear women's thoughts, the protagonist of What Women Want discovers that an employee is suicidal. When she doesn't show up to work one day he races to track her down, finding her home and a suicide note inside. He thinks he's too late until she walks in, very confused as to why an executive broke into her home to offer her a promotion.
  • James Bond meets his wife Tracy Di Vincenzo like this in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, by stopping her from walking into the sea and drowning after the death of her child.
  • In Office Space, the recently-laid-off Tom Smikowski tries to kill himself by sitting in a running car in his garage. But his wife walks in, and he "finds the will to live" (as explained by another character; I've always thought he was just too embarrassed at being caught), so he pretends he was on his way to the store and backs out onto the street. Where he is promptly T-boned by a fast-moving car, which lands him with multiple broken bones and with a "huge settlement," which makes him far happier than he ever was before.
  • The events of Kill Me Later are started by one of these.
  • Happens in Magnolia. Jimmy Gator attempts to shoot himself, only to be stopped by the plague of frogs. One lands on his gun, making him misfire.
  • Robin Williams' character in Father's Day almost Ate His Gun before he got a call about the boy who could be his son.
  • In The Shop Around the Corner, Mr. Matuaschek tries to shoot himself after discovering his wife's infidelity, but is stopped by Pepe.
  • In The Apartment, the protagonist, C.C. "Bud" Baxter, is an office worker who lets his superiors use his apartment for their extramarital affairs in exchange for promotions. When one of them breaks up with his mistress in Bud's apartment, she tries to kill herself with sleeping pills. Bud arrives home just in time to save her life, with the help of one of his neighbors, a doctor.
  • In Sabrina, the title character turns on all the cars in her father's garage and attempts to asphyxiate herself after being rejected yet again by the man she loves, but his brother interrupts her. She gets with him in the end.
  • The French film The Closet starts like this: the main character is divorced, estranged from his wife and son, picked on and ignored at work...and has just learned that he's about to be laid off. He contemplates jumping out of his appartment window, but the guy next door spots him. He first talks him down by saying that his car is directly below them, then comes over to discuss it for real.
  • In Don Juan Demarco, this is John and Dr. Mickler's way of 'meeting cute'.
  • There's a version of this in the film The Dreamers, although it's it's more of an accidentally interrupted murder/suicide. The film is set during the 1968 Paris student riots, though the lead characters, Isabelle, Theo and Michael are more interested in experimenting with free love than protesting. When Isabelle discovers to her shame that her parents have found out about their threesome, she attempts suicide by connecting a rubber hose from the gas pipe to the bedroom, hoping to take the sleeping Michael and Theo with her. Just as they are about to succumb a brick crashes through the window from a riot outside, waking them up and letting air into the room. Isabelle pretends that the smell is tear gas, and surreptitiously puts away the hose and turns the gas off.
  • At the beginning of Bedazzled, perpetual failure Stanley tries to hang himself in his apartment - and fails at it. A moment later George Spiggot (aka the devil) enters, cheerfully saying "Good evening, I couldn't help noticing you were making an unsuccessful suicide bid!" then proceeds to offer seven wishes for Stanley's soul.
  • In Cube 2: Hypercube, Colonel Maguire tries to kill himself by hanging himself with his own belt, but is saved when the others run into him and get him down. He succeeds in killing himself through other means not much later.
  • In The Wolverine, Wolvie is a POW held in a camp across the Nagasaki bay... which is decimated by the atomic bomb. He notices a young Japanese guard about to slash his throat and pulls the guy with him into a covered well (one that he was locked up into, and the guy had let him out from it at the start), saving the two of them via covering the guard with his body and letting his Healing Factor do the rest. The soldier is Ichiro Yashida, the grandfather of his Love Interest Mariko.


  • There's an Urban Legend about a pastor at the Almighty God Tabernacle who dials a wrong number from the church. Later he discovers the number belonged to a man who was about to kill himself when the phone rang, with the caller ID reading "ALMIGHTY GOD".
  • Another urban legend (one that's ridiculous since it's the type that no one could possibly know about if it really had happened): A man's business is about to go under, or something, and his last hope is a phone call that's supposed to come by five o'clock and will tell him he's not bankrupt after all. Five o'clock comes and goes, and no phone call, so he goes up to the roof and jumps off... and as he passes his own window, the phone is ringing.


  • The protagonist of Piers Anthony's first Incarnations of Immortality book On a Pale Horse is about to commit suicide when he's interrupted by The Grim Reaper, showing up in time to collect his soul. Face to face with mortality, he turns the gun upon and shoots Death, and then Fate shows up and tells him "Congratulations, you're the new Death."
  • The Princess Bride includes a scene in which the heroine, Princess Buttercup, believing her love interest Wesley to be dead, is about to plunge a dagger into her heart... until said love interest appears and rebukes her for trying to ruin a perfectly good pair of breasts.

 "There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a shame to ruin yours."

  • Subverted in a Gothic novel titled The Sorrows of Satan (1894), in which one character comes out as a villain by coming across another clearly about to commit suicide, and responding "Pardon me! I had no idea you were busy! I will go away. I wouldn't disturb you for the world!"
  • One of Ed McBain's ~87th Precinct~ crime novels begins with Detective Carella trying to convince a woman from committing suicide by jumping off a building. Unfortunately, he fails and she jumps anyway.
  • The short story The Horsedealer's Daughter has a doctor save the titular character from drowning herself and ends up more or less trapped into marrying her due to the circumstances — It Makes Sense in Context.
    • No, it doesn't.
  • In the book Innocent in Death, the au pair walks in to find that her employer has consumed sleeping pills. Her daughter was the one that slipped her the pills and framed it to look like suicide.
  • Played extremely darkly in I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: every time the characters try to commit suicide, AM forcefully intervenes. Because he wants to keep torturing them for eternity.
  • The main characters of Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down meet when they all plan to jump from the same building on the same night.
  • Parodied in Terry Pratchett's The Truth; the main character climbs up to talk down a man who, as it turns out, is "really more into the 'cry for help' aspect" and ends up having to save him when he faints from vertigo.
    • Also subverted in The Science of Discworld, when Rincewind finds a fish crawling onto the beach. Not realizing it's another evolutionary breakthrough in progress, he assumes it's committing suicide and repeatedly puts it back in the water.
  • In The Great Brain, Andy Anderson decides he's useless after losing his leg and, with John's help, decides to kill himself. Tom walks in on their unsuccessful attempt at hanging and assumes at first that they're only playing. Tom ends up offering to teach Andy how to play and do his chores with his peg leg. For a price, of course.
  • Bouvard and Pecuchet by Flaubert sees the title characters attempt to commit suicide, only to interrupt each other when they realise that they haven't yet written their wills. Overlaps slightly with Bungled Suicide.
  • Happens twice (to different characters) in the Agatha Christie novel Towards Zero.
  • Edward Cullen of Twilight attempts this on New Moon when he thinks his beloved Bella Swan is dead. He is saved by Bella herself.
  • The third Night Huntress book has a straight example, during the scene where Cat thinks Bones is dead and is considering jumping off a cliff, only to have Vlad show up to talk her down and resolve her continuing identity crisis all in one.
  • Goethe's Faust attempts suicide by poison in the very beginning of the book but is interrupted by the bells ringing outside, celebrating Easter.
  • A couple of instances from the Vorkosigan Saga:
    • In Barrayar, Cordelia interrupts Kou, when he is about to slit his throat with the sword she had acquired for him. He tries to pretend that he wasn't serious about it.
    • Part of Miles' backstory is an attempted suicide when he was fifteen, that was interrupted by Sergeant Bothari.
  • In Havana Bay, one of the sequels to Gorky Park, Inspector Arkady Renko decides to commit suicide with a stolen syringe in Cuba after confirming that a body found in the harbor was an old friend of his[1]. However, it seems that his arrival in Cuba led some conspirators to believe that he was onto them, so they sent an assassin after him. Who he reflexively kills with the stolen syringe, distracting him from his death wish as he tries to find out why someone wanted to kill him.

 All you had to do was wait.

  • Arto Paasilinna's novel Hurmaava joukkoitsemurha ("The Amazing Group Suicide", more or less) starts with one of the protagonists about to hang himself in an out-of-the-way abandoned barn when he's interrupted by the other main character... who's come there to shoot himself. While telling each other their stories, they come up with the idea of starting a society for people who want to kill themselves, hiring a bus and going on a road trip first. Hilarity Ensues, literally: it's one of the funniest works in Finnish literature. (Ending spoiler: Everybody Lives
  • A lot of the stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series deal with this. Given what the series is like overall, these tend to be of the happily interrupted sort.
  • Buy Mitsui, in Jennifer Government. He calls the titular character for help because he does not know how to load the gun.
  • In Enchantress From the Stars, Elana, the main protagonist, is captured by imperials should be subjected to mind-probing. Not wanting to divulge anything, she runs toward the imperial rock-chewer, intent to be crushed by the debris. However, Georyn rescues her by stopping the whole load of rocks in mid.air using telekinesis. This also scares oimperials into running.

Live Action TV

  • Daniel Jackson did this to someone in Stargate SG-1, and ended up addicted to the sarcophagus.
    • And in "The Light", Daniel is the character trying to jump after becoming addicted to an alien light show. Jack O'Neill talks him off the apartment balcony, in a touching scene in an otherwise one-off episode.
  • Psych: Shawn's father stops a woman from jumping out a window to her death. However, Shawn and Gus (who don't actually see what happened) think she succeeded in killing herself, and end up starting an urban legend that persists for the next twenty years.
  • The Torchwood episode "A Day in the Death" features Dr. Owen Harper telling the story of the past few days to a young woman while trying to talk her out of killing herself. "The past few days" happens to include Owen coming to terms with his undeath.
  • Subverted in Battlestar Galactica Reimagined. Boomer is about to shoot herself because she suspects she's a Cylon. She's interrupted by Baltar, who knows she's a Cylon, and subtly encourages her suicide.
    • Subverted again in the fourth season. Callie discovers that her husband, Tyrol, is a Cylon, and is so distraught that she takes her baby son and is about to space herself. She is then interrupted by Tory, who talks her down, takes her baby, and then beats her unconscious before spacing Callie herself.
  • An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Worf attempting to perform a ritualistic form of assisted suicide on his disgraced brother to restore his honor, only to be stopped just after the dagger is plunged into his brother's heart by Dax, who learned he had accosted Quark for trying to sell him replicated versions of an incense necessary for the ritual.
    • Back when Worf was still chief of security on the Next Gen Enterprise, he tried to commit ritual suicide with a Klingon dagger in his quarters, as he was afraid he was losing his mind and preferred death to dishonor. Luckily, Troi had noticed Worf suddenly leaving the Bridge and followed him to his quarters where she talked him out of it. (Episode s4e17, Night Terrors.)
    • Yet another time on Star Trek: The Next Generation Worf (AGAIN!) has been injured in an accident that leaves him paralyzed, and wants Riker's help in committing ritual suicide as Klingons consider it dishonorable to live crippled. Riker refuses to help, reminding Worf of his responsibilities to Alexander, who'd be orphaned. Worf agrees to try a risky surgery instead. He got better.
  • In one episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, O'Brien nearly kills himself after being given false memories of a twenty-year prison sentence in which he killed his imaginary cellmate. Bashir intervenes, convincing him that he is still a good man.
  • In the Lost episode "Through the Looking Glass" Jack is stopped from jumping off a bridge when a car crashes, forcing him to come to the rescue. The events of season 4 strongly suggest that the island itself has arranged this, as Michael's suicide attempts in "Meet Kevin Johnson" are repeatedly thwarted.
    • In a much darker twist in season 5, Locke attempts to hang himself but is interrupted by Ben, who talks him out of it. This is all fine and good until something Locke says causes Ben to snap, and he suddenly strangles Locke to death and makes it look like suicide.
    • Also, in season three, Desmond, alone in the Swan station and stranded on the island for six years, was shown to have been about to commit suicide when he was interrupted by Locke banging on the hatch. The scene is a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for both Desmond and Locke.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy arrives just in time to stop Jonathan from killing himself, even though that wasn't exactly why she was there.
    • In "Doomed", Spike is about to fling himself onto a stake in Xander's basement when Xander and Willow stop him, leading to some very pithy Whedon dialogue. Specifically, Spike was wearing a shirt he borrowed from Xander, and Xander didn't want Spike to ruin it by dusting himself.
    • Also happens in "Amends", where Buffy talks Angel out of killing himself (with some help from a Deus Ex Machina)
    • And in Angel. After coming out of his own fit of depression (due to trying to lose his soul and failing), Angel stops Kate from killing herself with pills.
    • At the end of series four, Connor proves that he hasn't completely snapped by talking a cop suffering from Jasmine-withdrawal out of shooting himself. Then he learns that the cop has a wife and kids, and "didn't think" about what his death would do to them. That does the trick - Connor beats him to a pulp and has a complete breakdown.
  • Desperate Housewives: Edie tries to set this up, waiting until right as Carlos got back to the house to hang herself so that he'd be able to save her. Then the "Just in Time" arrival gets interrupted, and she has to scramble to get herself to safety, as she never really intended to die.
  • It's a recurring gag in Scrubs, where depressed hospital attorney Ted is constantly seen attempting suicide. While times he lacks the will to carry through, there are occasions where he is interrupted by outside interference. Subverted in the times where Dr. Kelso (aware of Ted's weakness) openly mocks Ted by explicitly encouraging Ted to kill himself.
    • In one instance, he manages to slip over the edge. His joy is squashed when he lands in soft, soft trash.

 Ted: Is this heaven?

Janitor: No, it's garbage.

  • Burn Notice, "Do No Harm": Michael stops a man from throwing himself into traffic. It turns out the man wanted the insurance money for his terminally ill son.
  • In a flashback in the Heroes episode "Villains", Elle arrives just in time to keep Gabriel from hanging himself out of guilt.
    • And in a later episode, Hiro spends the better part of the episode going back in time to prevent a fired co-worker from making the mistake that sends his life downhill, thus driving him to suicide. After 47 attempts in which the man still repeats the mistake (getting drunk and photocopying his butt) every time, Hiro just talks him out of it.
  • Subverted in a highly emotional scene in Cracker when Panhandle talks to Jimmy Beck when he's on the roof. Given that he raped her, the whole confrontation is rather shocking. He goes through with it.

  Beck: I raped you. I'm so sorry. (Beat, then he jumps)

  • This has happened a few times in House. In the third season episode "Informed Consent", the suicidal elderly patient falls out of bed with his nasal cannula wrapped around his neck but is saved by an unsuspecting nurse.
  • In the new show Flash Forward, Bryce was about to commit suicide when he (and the rest of the world) blacked out. He considers the visions of the future he got a gift that stops him from trying again.
  • CSI: Miami has a tearful episode where a boy is stopped from hanging himself after being horribly bullied at school.
  • In the Remington Steele episode "Steele in Circulation", Steele starts the episode pulling a guy down off a bridge... and then has to spend most of the rest of it averting his attempts to walk into traffic and fling himself off roofs, until an attempt on the man's life gets him indignant enough to stop.
  • In the season 1 finale of Veronica Mars, Logan is standing on a bridge, obviously considering jumping, when Weevil and his gang show up. Since he is in the later seasons, the interruption seems to have saved him.
  • This was done in Supernatural season 5. In the episode "Point of No Return," he had already made the decision to say yes to Michael, which was essentially suicide. He wrote a note and put it in a box with his jacket and his car keys to send to Bobby, but before he could call down Michael, Sam and Castiel showed up and stopped him.
    • Later in the same episode, Dean told Zachariah to call down Michael because he was ready to say yes, but while Michael was on his way, Dean glanced over at Sam. Something changed in his eyes, and he smiled and winked at Sam. Then he killed Zachariah and dragged Sam away, leaving Adam trapped. Later on, Dean told Sam that he changed his mind at the last minute because he didn't want to let Sam down.
  • The Wire Guilt-ridden over the death of Sherrod, Bubbles tries to hang himself in the BPD Homocide interrogation room. Norris and Landsman return in time to cut him down.
  • On an episode of NCIS, Gibbs has just managed to talk a would-be jumper into coming off the roof he was on... when he's shot and killed by a sniper. Of course, this was in the opening scene, they needed the guy to die for the sake of having a story.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Coupling: Jane announces to Susan and Sally that she's taken an overdose of painkillers, and they desperately try to get her to vomit. Then it turns out that she only took two painkillers. And then it turns out they probably weren't painkillers...

 Susan: That's not an overdose. That's a dose!

Jane: It says you should only take two every eight hours. I don't know how people have the time to commit suicide.

  • Happened on the first episode of the (original) Life On Mars. In despair over finding himself stuck in 1973 Manchester and wanting desperately to return to the present day (2006), Sam Tyler climbs onto the roof of the police headquarters, fully intending to jump. Annie Cartwright, the WPC with a degree in psychology, tries to talk him down and her words do reach him, but what ultimately convinces him to quit is noticing some grains of sand on Annie's hand (from when she was climbing up to save him). Thinking that amount of detail could never be conceived in his own mind, he takes her words to heart and climbs down with her.
  • Happened in Beverly Hills, 90210 Episode 1.18: "April Is the Cruelest Month". Roger Azarian writes a screenplay which leads Brandon Walsh to believe he wants to kill his father. As Roger points the gun to his face, this is clearly not the case and he talks him out of it. In hindsight, one two occasions Roger had mentioned "Not being there anymore". The episode ends with Brandon visiting Roger in the Psych ward and incredibly cheesy friendship music playing.
  • Subversion on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; a half-naked Will and Carlton find themselves standing on a window ledge on one of the top floors of an apartment building (it's a long story) and almost immediately after, someone on the street below calls attention to them. Soon there's a huge crowd gathered below, including police, and a man in a cherry-picker who tells them not to jump because they have so much to live for. Will irritably tries to explain they're not jumpers, but his explanation falls on deaf ears.
  • Glee had Dave Karofsky's father interrupt his suicide, right between he hanged himself and he effectively died. There was a very devastating scene of him cradling his son in tears after getting him down. He ultimately survived.
  • Boys Over Flowers (the K-Drama version of Hana Yori Dango) has Jan Di (Tsukushi) being given a scholarship at a very exclusive private school after she saves a student from there from killing himself over the bullying he was a victim of.
  • On Welcome Back, Kotter, new girl Mary Johnson gets tired of feeling lonely and overlooked and attempts to jump off a ledge. The Sweathogs and Julie each try and fail to talk her down...and then Arnold goes out onto the ledge with her. He tells her he likes her and wants to be her friend, and this is enough to make her want to live. The episode ends with them safely inside the classroom and sharing a warm hug.
  • The Chilean Soap Opera Sucupira had the morbid Running Gag where the local pharmacist, Don Segundo, would attempt suicide and end up stopped by his friends.


  • Brutally inverted in Rammstein's "Spring", which tells the story of a man who climbs onto a bridge to admire the view, and is mistaken for a suicide jumper. A crowd forms and starts demanding that he jump from the bridge, until at the climax the singer sneaks up behind the man and kicks him off the bridge, "redeeming" him from the shame of losing his courage to jump.
    • Subverted in their video for "Benzin". In it, the keyboardist, Flake, plays a jumper, and the other band members, who are playing firemen, pull out a trampoline to catch Flake and stop him from killing himself. Except just as the video was ending, the trampoline tarp tore apart. And Flake had already jumped.
  • Subverted in the video for John Waite's "Change", in which a reporter tries to talk a woman down off the ledge of a high building. He fails, and she jumps, but the last shots reveal that she's fine: they're just filming a movie scene.
  • They Might Be Giants' "Memo To Human Resources" takes place after one of these, from the point-of-view of the interrupted.
  • The video for Collective Soul's The World I Know has a depressed and tearful businessman intending to jump off a building's roof. As he extends his arms, a pigeon lands on his forearm and he changes his mind.

Stand-up Comedy

  • A parody in a classic Emo Philips joke: he talks a guy off a ledge by saying how much they have in common, going to the same church, and having the same beliefs, until they diverge on such a miniscule religious belief... at which point Emo pushes him off the ledge yelling "Die, Heretic!"
    • Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1896 vs Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912, AIR.
    • Father Maxwell doesn't get it.
  • Subverted by Improv Everywhere as seen in this youtube video where the jumper is about two feet off of the ground but treated as a classic jumper.


  • An unnamed Avenue Q character is stopped from jumping by the main characters shouting "Don't do it!"
  • The climax of the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music has seminary student/EmoTeen Henrick almost hanging himself before being interrupted by his stepmother Anne... who is so moved by his desperation that she starts making out with him and they run off together. This isn't as Squick-y as it sounds: Anne is eighteen years old (Henrick is twenty), still a virgin, and married to a fortysomething man who clearly has feelings for someone else. Okay, it's squicky, but not for the usual reasons.
  • Subverted in Spring Awakening when Ilse unknowingly interrupts Moritz's suicide attempt — only to have him go ahead with it as soon as she leaves
  • This is Older Than Radio: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Die Zauberflöte actually uses it twice, with Pamina and then Papageno on the verge of killing themselves.
  • Played for Comedy in Georg Buchner's play Leonce And Lena - with a direct Shout-Out and/or Take That to The Sorrows of Young Werther.
  • Taken to it's extreme in the Morris Panych play 7 Stories, where the nameless protagonist is consistently interrupted by the residents of the 7th story building he is about to jump from. The entire play revolves his attempts to jump before being interrupted by yet another resident, too caught up in their own lives to question his being there.
  • In Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular, Eva spends the entirety of the second act attempting to kill herself in various ways, only to get interrupted each time. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado, the protagonist Nanki-Poo is persuaded not to commit suicide by instead volunteering to be executed in a month.
  • In Madame Butterfly, the titular character's nanny Suzuki sent little Sorrow into the suicidal Butterfly's room hoping she'd have second thoughts and relent. In the original short story, it worked and the three ran away from Pinkerton; in the play and the opera, it failed.

Video Games

  • Happens twice on the same character in Super Robot Wars. Lamia Loveless, after completing her role in Original Generation 2 and Advance, is prompted to blow herself up because she thinks that beings like her should not exist... of course the heroes makes it just in time before she blow herself up. The next time, she is Brainwashed and Crazy, and the manipulator says that if she fails her mission, she should blow herself up. She is about to, until Axel Almar overrides the order to self-detonate and bails her out completely.
    • And speaking of Axel, he was about to do the same in his scenario in Advance. No blowing up, just trying to let himself run out of air while floating in space.
  • Happens in the Good Ending of the first Disgaea game, when Vyers/Mid-Boss stops Laharl from trading up his life to revive Flonne.
    • Likewise, Fenrich was about to self-terminate for reasons unknown when Valvatorez came across him. Believing the werewolf to be a powerful potential ally, Valvatorez chose to enslave him instead of letting him go through with his death wish as a means of putting that power to use.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, where Big Boss comes back from the dead for the sole purpose of explaining the plot and convincing Solid Snake not to shoot himself. Then he dies again.
    • Kind of a subversion, though. Snake chickened out and decided not to shoot himself before Big Boss reveals he was there.
  • It's implied that Angela was going to do this in Silent Hill 2, but James talks her into giving him the knife. She later asks for it back.
  • In the Gingerbread House-chapter of Rule of Rose Jennifer walks in on Gregory with a gun on his temple. Considering all that happens later on, it might have been a good idea to leave him be, though whether he would have gone through with it anyway is hard to say.
  • In one mission of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, you have to save Mad Dogg from suicide.
  • In Corpse Party: Blood Covered, Naomi finds Seiko hanging from a rafter; the player chooses how they try and save them. Regardless of your choice, it fails. Given the setting, it's unclear at first whether this was an honest suicide attempt, or something else is to blame... And the truth, when it comes out, is simply horrible.
  • At the very beginning of Baldur's Gate, you encounter a man about to jump into a gorge. He decides not to jump no matter what you say to him.
  • In Dead or Alive Dimensions, Ayane is about to kill herself by plunging a kunai into her throat, when her mother Ayame walks in on her.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard can stop Samara from shooting herself in the head when her code compels her to kill her last living non-evil daughter for being an Ardat-Yakshi outside of the temple. Doing so will allow both Shepard and Falere to convince her to agree to another option.
    • If Tali is Driven to Suicide by the extinction of just about her entire species in combat with the geth, Shepard can pull a Paragon interrupt to try to catch her. It fails.
  • Xiaoyu's ending in Tekken 6 has her talking Jin out from throwing himself off a skyscraper, then giving him a Cooldown Hug. It's a dream.

Visual Novels

  • An unfortunate example in Kara no Shoujo occurs during a bad end when Reiji successfully stops Orihime from killing herself, but then they're both attacked by the serial killer and killed. The suicidal person is killed quite gruesomely and one can't help but feel it probably would have been better if she had succeeded.
  • In Tsukihime, Kohaku attempts to kill herself in the end of Hisui's route. While she succeeds in the True Ending, in the Good Ending, Shiki manages to use his Evil Eye to kill the poison inside her body, saving her life.

Web Comics

  • Happens twice in Dominic Deegan. Luna, the first attempted suicide, later becomes the one to stop someone else from jumping off a bridge.
  • The now-defunct NSFW webcomic Sexy Losers has a recurring suicide girl character, that has her attempts at suicide fail when Shiunji reminds her of his intentions to do stuff to her corpse. She decides to kill him first, but accidentally kills herself before she has a chance. He does said stuff. And teachs himself taxidermy.
  • Done accidentally in this Sluggy Freelance strip.
  • In Honeydew Syndrome, Josh mistakes Metis's effort to retrieve a Frisbee for a suicide attempt in a scene that starts here. May plays along with it for the lulz.

 Josh: Don't do it, Metis! Don't do anything you'll regret! I mean, won't regret! Or, won't live to forget! I know you're emo, and you probably have no friends, except for maybe your creepy friend Charles... And you probably write shitty, I mean dark poetry, but you shouldn't try to commit suicide over it! Don't do it! Don't do something stupid!

Metis: Lies! All lies! Nobody understands me! I shall go join the Dark Lord and his legion of death-eaters in the underworld! Goodbye, cruel world!

  • In Wapsi Square, after Jin regains her mortality, she attempts suicide by means of flintlock pistol in the mouth. Bud stops her just in time.
  • In Think Before You Think, starting here, Brian (the mind-reader) overhears a girl's thought of intending to kill herself, and then intervenes to dissuade her. The girl later calls Brian at the time when she is preparing to do it, and he comes to talk her out of it. Whether she would have gone through with it is uncertain.
  • Happens in Bridges, starting here.
  • In General Protection Fault, Akhilesh finds Trudy attempting to slit her wrists, having suffered from guilt-induced nightmares. However, the way she made the cuts indicates she mainly wasn't able to bring herself to do it.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Happens to Moe in The Simpsons more than once, and it is often that his suicide attempts are accidentally interrupted.
    • In a treehouse of Horror episode, he does manage to successfully do it, but Since Homer killed the Grim Reaper, no one can die.
    • There's also a background character in one episode who throws himself off a building with obligatory "Goodbye, Cruel World". At that exact moment, the entire town rolls past, he gets caught up in the ball of bodies, and says "Hello ironic twist!"
    • Happens to Homer himself in the first season.
    • And please, let's not forget, "Why did they cancel Futurama?" Then jump, then land on top of a spooning couple in a car, only to be threatened by the buxom lass, "You crushed my boyfriend! You'd better be good at making out!"
    • In a segment of "Treehouse of Horror XIV" (parodying The Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of a Stopwatch"), Bart uses a watch that stops and restarts time to play pranks, including making each one of Homer's doughnuts seemingly vanish just as he's about to take the first bite. Homer bursts into tears and tries to stab himself in the chest, only to find the knife replaced with a peeled banana mushed against his suddenly naked body.
  • In South Park episode "Cartman Sucks", Camper Bradley is ready to throw himself off a bridge when Butters shows up. Rather than begging him not to jump, Butters confronts the Councillors, telling them he's sick of being told he's confused, because it's only making him feel more confused, that he thinks they might be confused too, and that if God made him bi-curious, then it must be okay to be bi-curious. These confident words encourage Bradley to come down.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Cotton attempts suicide because he feels he can no longer provide for his family, just as he's pointed the barrel at his temple and is about to pull the trigger his wife Didi interrupts him by telling him he needs to take care of their baby too, he sets the gun on the floor and realizes that G.H. needs him so he can provide for him, we then see him pick up the gun at this point Hank arrives and tries to talk him out of it and hears a shot he bursts through the door and finds Cotton slumped over seemingly dead but as it turns out he put the gun in G.H.'s hands and pulled the trigger to shoot a mattress.
  • Bender in Futurama is seen trying to use a suicide booth in the first episode and the second movie. The first time Fry ends up in there with him (and Fry isn't quite ready to die), the second it turns out that it's actually a secret entrance to a robot society.
    • He also tried to use a suicide booth in the first movie. But he was time-travelling, so he really stepped into a phone booth.
      • "Street corner telephone parlour"
    • In the more recent episode, he dated a suicide booth and dumped her off screen, so when he attempts to suicide, it turns out he walks into her. So instead of suicide, she decided to MURDER HIM!!!
  • Aelita is stopped from making her Driven to Suicide Heroic Sacrifice by Jérémie in Code Lyoko, Season 2 finale "The Key". You know, for kids!
  • A 1940s Popeye cartoon "Happy Birthdaze" has Popeye meeting Shorty, a friendless nebbish who is about to shoot himself - in a Paramount Pictures in-joke, Popeye tries to compliment him by saying he looks like Bob Hope, and a horrified Shorty puts a bigger gun to his head! By the end of the cartoon Shorty has messed things up for Popeye so bad that Popeye shoots the little shnook!
  • Another kid's show example. On Adventure Time, Finn thinks that his best friend-slash-adoptive brother Jake and his adoptive father Joshua are betraying him. This results in him wanting to eat a cursed apple, knowing that it's cursed. At the last second Jake knocks the apple out of Finn's hand and feeds it to a witch, who begins to have vines grow out of her mouth and eye-sockets, and then turns into an apple to be eaten by two other witches (with blood and bones, of course). While Finn and Jake watch this, Jake knocks another apple that Finn had picked up out of his hand.

Real Life

  • A somewhat chilling subversion. A man who attempted suicide by jumping off a bridge but survived was talking about the things that drove him to commit the act. Towards the end of the interview, he mentions that of all the spectators at the bridge, none of them intervened. He then admits that just before he jumped off, he wished one of them would intervene.
  • Cracked: 8 Tiny Things That Stopped Suicides Of those eight, this guy deserves special mention. He lives in Australia's hottest suicide spot, and he has intimate experience with people who want to end it all. And what does he do when they try to jump? He offers them a cup of tea and a smile.
  1. This being basically the end of a string of particularly tragic misfortune for him