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Interrogations are hard.


Torturer: Just give us the answers we want and I'll stop.


Torture Always Works, of course, but there are some cases when that doesn't happen: Normally, because the torturer got a little excited and started torturing before asking any questions.

Note that this isn't about when the torturer has no desire to actually learn any information; that's a subversion of Torture Always Works. This is when the torturer wants information, they think the victim has it, and they want to torture the victim first to soften him up or inflict punishment before getting to the questioning.

Compare Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, which is about interrogating by torture, Gene Hunt Interrogation Technique, which is about being into interrogating by torture.

Examples of Torture First, Ask Questions Later include:

Anime and Manga

  • Happens with the pair of wrestling sisters in Futaba Kun Change. They beat people up for information, but forget to ask the question before beginning the beating, so the poor victim has no idea why he's being beaten.

Comic Books

  • In Kick-Ass (the comic, anyway) KA gets tortured for information by having a car battery attached to his nuts. He immediately folds, letting them know that he'll tell them anything, but is informed that the questioning won't start for another 20 minutes yet.
  • One of the many running gags in Groo the Wanderer. He enjoys slaying and sometimes when he greatly needs information from someone he kills them first. Afterwards, he reminds himself that he should ask questions first next time.
  • In Trolls De Troy, it's once said that past a certain level of pain, the victim can guess the question without help (and if they're wrong, that extra info can always be useful).


  • In Pan's Labyrinth, Vidal does this intentionally to one of the captured guerillas.
    • To elaborate, it's because he claims that he won't believe anything the guerilla says unless it's a result of torture. The rebel does talk a little as a result, but it's pretty much flat-out implied that Vidal doesn't necessarily believe what he says, he just does it anyway, because he can. There's a good reason why Vidal is considered one of the most Complete Monster villians to grace 21st century screens.

Live Action TV

Newspaper Comics

  • The subject of a Far Side cartoon, in which the phrase "shoot first, ask questions later" is taken too literally by a Western gunslinger.

Video Games

  • Silverstar, a psychotic elven rogue added in one Baldur's Gate 2 mod did this during a sub-quest.
  • In the first Assassin's Creed, in order to interrogate someone, you must first beat them into submission. Note that you can't just ask them what you want to know before you start attacking them.
    • In the second one, you usually have to fatally stab them. The conspirators get very generous with their Last Words, apparently.
  • Volgin in Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater winds up actually giving critical information to the interrogated during the torture scene. Fittingly, this is who Ocelot, shown in Metal Gear Solid to be almost as incompetent at torture, learns torture from.
    • Lampshaded, of course, in Hi Im Daisy's Metal Gear comics

 Ocelot: Well, I guess I'm gonna torture you now.

Snake: But I don't have any information.

Ocelot: That's okay. I just need someone to talk to.

  • Played for Laughs in Armed and Dangerous when the Big Bad's new torturer decides to 'soften up' one of the captives before interrogation by pulling out his tongue. For some strange reason, he doesn't say a word during the interrogation. The torturer then picks another prisoner and replaces his head with a large cauliflower, but for some reason he doesn't say a word either.

Web Comics


 Seth: You know, usually, that was where I'd offer you a way out. But to be honest, I don't really expect you to talk no matter what I do to you. So just for you, I think I'll skip the rest of the official routine... avoid wasting my time with more pointless questions... and allow myself a little bit of fun.