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Kidnapping (and its variant Observing) is a twist that has been used in multiple seasons of Survivor. The winning tribe of a Reward Challenge will choose a member of the losing tribe to join them at their camp for a time.

The original twist was used in Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: All-Stars, Survivor: Cook Islands, and Survivor: China, and was rehashed in Survivor: Samoa under a new format, whereupon the winning tribe will select one of their own to observe the opposing tribe back at their camp.

On occasion, the kidnapped contestant may be abstained from their tribe's Tribal Council.


Pearl Islands

Rupert Boneham was kidnapped by the Morgan tribe after Morgan won Immunity during the events of "Pick a Castaway... Any Castaway". Because of this, Rupert was exempt from Drake's Tribal Council, and even participated in a Reward Challenge as part of the Morgan Tribe. After winning reward, Rupert was given the choice of staying with the Morgan tribe to enjoy the reward and returning to the Drake tribe after, or immediately rejoining the Drake tribe. Rupert chose to rejoin the Drake tribe immediately.


Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien was kidnapped by the Chapera tribe in "Sorry... I Blew It" and abstained from Mogo Mogo's Tribal Council. After the Immunity Challenge, she enjoyed a similar situation to that of Rupert Boneham from the previous season.

Cook Islands

Nate Gonzalez was kidnapped by the Aitutaki tribe, as a part of a reward which Aitu had won. He had a similar situation to Kathy and Rupert's from the previous seasons, in that he would be abstained from Tribal Council.


The winning tribe of the Reward Challenge would select one member from the losing tribe to join them back at camp. The chosen castaway would be given a scroll, which they must give to a member of the winning tribe of his choosing to open in private, which would contain a clue to the location of the winning tribe's Hidden Immunity Idol. The kidnapped contestant would return to their original tribe at the next Immunity Challenge.


The winning tribe of the Reward Challenge would have their leader choose one member to go to the other tribe as opposed to taking part in the reward. Known as "Observing," they would then be given the opportunity to observe their camp life and relay any information back upon their return.



Episode Kidnapped by Kidnapped
Pearl Islands
"Pick a Castaway... Any Castaway"
Morgan S7 rupert t.png
Rupert Boneham
"Sorry... I Blew It"
Chapera S8 kathy t.png
Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien
Cook Islands
"Plan Voodoo"
Aitutaki S13 nate t.png
Nate Gonzalez
"My Mom Is Going to Kill Me!"
Fei Long S15 jaime t.png
Jaime Dugan
"I Lost Two Hands and Possibly a Shoulder"
Zhan Hu S15 leslie t.png
Leslie Nease
"Ride the Workhorse Till the Tail Falls Off"
Fei Long S15 dave t.png
Dave Cruser
"That's Love, Baby! It Makes You Strong!"
Fei Long S15 james t.png
James Clement


Episode Observed
"Taking Candy from a Baby"
Foa Foa S19 yasmin t.png
Yasmin Giles
"It's Called a Russell Seed"
S19 shambo t.png
Shambo Waters
"Walking on Thin Ice"
"Houdini Magic"
S19 laura t.png
Laura Morett


  • Rupert Boneham was the first castaway to be kidnapped in the history of Survivor, as well as the only castaway to compete in multiple seasons featuring kidnappings.
  • Shambo Waters is the only castaway to be selected for this twist multiple times.
Survivor Gameplay
Challenge Advantage · Do-It-Yourself Challenge · Duel · Family Visit · Immunity Challenge (Final Immunity Challenge) · Immunity Idol · Immunity Necklace · Medallion of Power · Reward Challenge · Survivor Auction
Edge of Extinction · Ejection · Evacuation · Final Tribal Council · Jury · Quit · Redemption Island · Snuffer · Sole Survivor · Tiebreaker · Torch · Tribal Council · Urn
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Final Two · Final Three · Merge · Tribe

Battle of the Sexes · Blood vs. Water · Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty · Old vs. Young · Returning Players · Schoolyard Pick · Tribes Divided by Ethnicity

Tribal Council-Related

Advantage Amulet · Do or Die · Double Elimination · Double Tribal Council · Extra Vote · Hidden Immunity Idol (History) · Idol Nullifier · Joint Tribal Council · Juror Removal · Legacy Advantage · Knowledge is Power · Shot in the Dark · Vote Blocker · Vote Steal


Advantage Menu · Buried Treasure · Day Zero · Exile Island · Fake Merge · Fire Token · First Impressions · Ghost Island · Haves vs. Have Nots · Hourglass · Island of the Idols · Kidnapping · Looting · Mutiny · One World · Reward Steal · Summit · The Outcasts · Tribe Leader · Tribe Switch

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Buff · Confessional · Luxury Item · Rites of Passage · Survivor Rulebook · Ulonging