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In movies, innocent characters often find themselves looking guilty for heinous murders because the actual perpetrator made it appear that that way by planting evidence, lying to authorities, and using other sinister strategies.
“Framed By The Killer,” Oxygen’s new series premiering January 15 at 9/8c on Oxygen, provides compelling evidence that these sort of criminal set-ups actually do happen. Upcoming episodes of the series, executive-produced by “Law and Order” star Ice-T, chronicle how individuals were framed by killers in real-life dramas involving affairs, fake evidence, and a death wish that’s so bizarre you’d swear it’s reel life, not real life.
While awaiting the debut of Oxygen’s twisty new show, check out five movies about innocent individuals who get framed for murder. Spoiler alert: Plot points are revealed, so treat this story like a crime scene and proceed with caution.
Film Frame Job: “Gone Girl”
Sinister Set-Up: Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) becomes the prime suspect in the disappearance and presumed murder of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), in this 2014 thriller. Evidence in the couple’s home, including bloodstains, points to Nick’s guilt. But that evidence has been staged by Amy, whose plan to punish her husband for his failures includes framing him for her death, despite Amy being very much alive. Eventually, she kills and frames another victim for her kidnapping so she can get her twisted happily-ever-after with her husband.
Telltale Dialogue: “Meticulously stage your crime scene with just enough mistakes to raise the specter of doubt,” says Amy. “You need to bleed. A lot. A lot, a lot. The head wound kind of bleed. A crime scene kind of bleed.”
But In The End: Nick and Amy, who know everything about each other, are stuck with each other. And she’s pregnant. Pity that poor kid.
Film Frame Job: “Double Jeopardy”
Sinister Set-Up: Libby (Ashley Judd) is caught red-handed for the apparent murder of her husband, Nick (Bruce Greenwood), in this 1999 drama. She’s holding a bloody knife when authorities arrive at the couple’s boat, and Nick’s missing body is assumed to be fish food. Libby lands behind bars — but Nick staged his death, allowed Libby be framed, and collected life insurance. (Legally speaking, the plot isn’t exactly airtight.)
Telltale Line: “Why aren’t you listening to me? I am innocent!” cries Libby.
But In The End: Libby gets out of prison, gets a gun, and then gets revenge. But first, she tells Nick that she plans to set him up and make it look like he murdered her: “Your wife, whom you had framed, tracks you down, and to keep her from exposing you, you kill her.”
Film Frame Job: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”
Sinister Set-Up: Roger, the cartoon title character of this 1988 movie that mixes live action and animation, is set up to take the fall for the murder of powerful Marvin Acme. Private investigator Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) works to clear Roger in this story that unfolds in a vintage version of Hollywood where cartoon characters and people interact in ways that are good, bad, and homicidal.
Telltale Dialogue: “I didn’t kill anybody,” says Roger. “I swear! The whole thing’s a set-up. A scam, a frame job.”
But In The End: Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd), who really killed Acme in his lust for power and real estate, gets his just desserts.
Film Frame Job: “Invisible Man”
Sinister Set-Up: Elisabeth Moss plays Cecelia, whose abusive scientist boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) presumably committed suicide. In fact, he terrorizes her using an invisibility suit he’s created in this 2020 movie version of H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi story. When Cecilia meets her sister, Emily, in a restaurant, an invisible figure slits Emily’s throat, effectively framing Cecilia for the murder.
Telltale Dialogue: “If you fight me, I won’t ever hurt you. I’ll find someone you love and hurt them instead. Now you’ve only got yourself to blame for that innocent young girl’s death,” Adrian says.
But In The End: Cecilia fights fire with fire, or, in this case, invisibility with invisibility. She slips into an invisibility suit to make it look like he’s killed himself — just like what happened to Emily. Imitation is the sincerest form of payback.
Film Frame Job: “Tango & Cash”
Sinister Set-Up: Rival narcotics detectives Raymond Tango (Sylvester Stallone) and Gabriel Cash (Kurt Russell) are made to look responsible for a murder in this 1989 action-comedy-crime caper. Crime boss Yves Perret (Jack Palance) hatches the frame-up to discredit the cops before eventually killing them.
Telltale Dialogue: “Ah, the infamous Cash and Tango,” says Perret, who framed the clean but unconventional cops. “Dishonored. Imprisoned. Such a shameful fall from glory.”
But In The End: Tango and Cash turn the tables in fatal fashion.
For more on criminals who tried to implicate innocent people, watch “Framed By The Killer,” premiering Friday, January 15 at 9/8c on Oxygen.
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