Takedowns are optional actions that the player can use to perform an elaborate kill animation on enemies in the Campaign modes of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Call of Duty: WWII, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered, and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
In every game before Call of Duty: WWII, as well as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered, takedowns could only be performed on specific enemies within specific contexts. All available takedowns in these games are used as a way to dispatch an enemy without breaking stealth. Available takedowns include using the SOG Knife to eliminate several NVA soldiers in the Call of Duty: Black Ops mission Victor Charlie, as well as performing detailed melee attacks on Federation forces in the Call of Duty: Ghosts mission End of the Line.
Takedowns were given more depth with the release of Call of Duty: WWII and following main games. They are only usable in Call of Duty: WWII and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare if the player is undetected and executes the takedown from behind an enemy. Like before, takedowns can be used to silently kill hostiles.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, takedowns can be performed at almost any point if the player is facing a hostile during combat. Depending on the context they are used in, takedowns can be either completely non-lethal, stealthy and using a knife, or more loud and utilizing a 1911. The animations for takedowns vary based on where the enemy is targeted; if a takedown is executed from the front of the enemy, respective animations will be used.