Death Note will always be remembered as a supernatural crime thriller that pitted Kira against L in a morally ambigious battle of wits. Was Light Yagami justified in ridding the world of crime with the Death Note? Or was he an egomaniac who got out of control? This may be debated for years to come.
But what's for sure is that both Light and L are brilliant men with all sorts of cunning tricks and schemes to outwit the other with. While Light won this battle of wits in the end, the mysterious detective known as L pushed Light to his limits, and nearly captured him as Kira more than once. What are 10 good examples of L using his brilliant mind to get the edge on the world's biggest serial killer?
10 Sending in the FBI
Early in his Kira investigation, L remained remote and alone, and he acted through the American FBI for the most part. He sent some teams of FBI agents across Japan, and used them to investigate the families of NPA officers on the Kira case. Light gave away his link to the NPA on purpose in an attempt to turn L and the Japanese police againste each other, but this plan backfired. L had an easy time narrowing down the list of suspects, and the FBI came close to uncovering Light as the one and only Kira.
9 Building a base of operations
First, L operated from the shadows, then he met a core group of Japanese police officers in person and met them at various hotels. This helped throw Kira off their scent, but it proved tiresome, so L had a skyscraper built just for the Kira investigation. This building boasted airtight security, a helipad with a helicopter, many floors, security cameras everywhere, and computers that could connect to the world. With this HQ in place, L (and a memory-wiped Light) worked together to hunt down Higuchi.
8 He realized that there are two Kiras
Misa Amane got her hands on a second Death Note courtesy of Rem, and she posed as the real Kira in an attemptto get Kira's attention on TV. Right away, though, L realized that he was seeing an imposter, based on this new Kira's odd choice of victims and other factors. From there, it didn't take L long to narrow down the list of suspects to Misa, and he and the detectives found enough evidence to fully apprehend Misa at some point. Light came perilously close to his Kira empire collapsing around him.
7 Bugging Light's room
This trick didn't bring the desired results, but it shows L's determination to find Kira, no matter what. Disregarding Japanese law on the matter, L had tiny cameras and bugs planted in the entire Yagami household and the Kitamura household, tracking everyone's actions there. This would have exposed Light as Kira in a hurry if Light didn't use his door trick to realize that the police had paid a visit. And even though L didn't get the desired evidence, he was doggedly convinced that Light must have been Kira.
6 Using Lind L Tailor
This is, in fact, L's very first trick that he employed against Kira. Just as the Kira murder spree took off, police officers around the world weren't even sure what they were dealing with. Was it a crime family at work? Strange coincidences? Or something else? L correctly believed that it was one person acting remotely, and used a decoy of himself on TV to lure out Kira. The trick worked; that "globally televised" announcement from Lind L Tailor was only broadcast in Japan's Kanto region. Once Light killed the fake L, that exposed his location and the fact that he can kill remotely. From there, the game was on!
5 Connecting the dots with Raye Penber
As mentioned earlier, L made good use of the FBI until Kira murdered them. But even though Raye Penber lost his life, L was quickly able to see a pattern, and he realized that Kira was indeed among the families that Raye Penber was tracking. Light ridded himself of the FBI, but in so doing, gave a hint that he was Kira. In a way, it was a win-win for L, who was determined to not let Raye Penber's sacrifice go to waste.
4 Releasing Light from confinement
Once Misa was captured as the second Kira, Light had no choice but to help her. First, Misa erased her own Death Note memories, then Light gave himself up as a suspect for the original Kira. As per Light's plans, the Death Note murders stopped, then resumed again during confinement. Being the cautious detective he is, L only released Light and Misa after he had Soichiro stage an assassination attempt on them in a car. Since Light and Misa didn't defend themselves with Kira powers, L was satisfied that they were innocent. This was before L knew of the notebooks, though.
3 Cornering Higuchi
With Light's help, L was able to track down Kyosuke Higuchi of Yotsuba Company as the third, and most greedy, Kira yet. L and Light staged a plan where Matsuda appeared on TV with all sorts of secrets to spill about Yotsuba's Kira, thus luring out Higuchi. Not only that, but L ordered Wedy to plant trackers on Higuchi's car and follow him, allowing L to ensure that the plan was on track. L also set a number of traps, and eventually, Higuchi was cornered. Then, L got his hands on the Death Note at last.
2 He exposed himself as L to Kira himself
After the inconclusive effort with the cameras and bugs, L was frustrated that no evidence of Kira had come up. He soon realized that an ideal situation was one where Kira confessed his own identity to L's face, and the world's greatest detective found a possible way to make this happen. He enrolled in the same college (To-Oh University) as Light, and told him "I am L." So, if L were to die, the police would know at once that Light Yagami is indeed Kira! This also put some psychological pressure on Light.
1 He invited Light to join the investigation
This final, brilliant ploy was a continuation of L's "I am L" trick. On the surface, L (going by Hideki Ryuga) made good friends with Light, but they were still enemies under the surface. But L took things one step further. He subjected Light to some detective-based tests, and looked for subtle giveaways about Light being Kira. Finally, L invited Light to join the Kira investigation. If Light was indeed Kira, L hoped that Light/Kira would give himself away at some point. And if Light was innocent, his brilliant mind would certainly help capture the real Kira. As Light reluctantly realized, L had created yet another win-win for himself.