Created By: hcobb on July 9, 2011

A chain of watchers

People spying on people who are themselves spying on somebody else.

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A is going out on date with B. A had to ditch C to go on this date and so C is following A and B. A and B do not notice C because they are so involved with each other. However C is so focused on spying on A and B that C does not notice that D and E are spying on her. All the persons in the chain of watchers know each other and the skulking is so poorly done that it ought to be instantly discovered, but due to Contrived Coincidence this situation drags on for several changes of scene as A and B continue their date.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • July 10, 2011

  • July 10, 2011
    In one chapter of Nagasarete Airantou, several characters are in groups, following each other in order to get the perfect chance to attack. It turns out that they were all following each other around the same enormous tree, in a circle.
  • July 10, 2011
    The introduction to the various people of the Neverland in Peter Pan: The Lost Boys are stalking the Indians, the pirates are stalking the Lost Boys, and the Indians are stalking the pirates.
  • July 10, 2011
    In an episode of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Itoshiki's stalker is revealed to have her own stalker, who has a stalker as well, etc. etc. etc.
  • July 11, 2011
    Leaving aside the "All the persons in the chain of watchers know each other" requirement, Report on Probability A by Brian W. Aldiss consists of people being watched by people in another universe who are themselves being watched by people in another universe who themselves are being watched by other people in another universe. (If I remember correctly, it eventually loops around so that the person in Probability A is herself watching the people who are watching the people who are watching the people who are watching her.)
  • July 11, 2011
    I think the more succinct Spy Chain works better than the current title. And it sounds kind of like Spy Plane.
  • July 11, 2011
    I agree that watchers should be dropped as the trope isn't about standing in one place.

    So Spy Chain or Stalker Chain. (Spy chain suggests months to years of watching.)

    Adverted in Oniichan No Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Ja Nai N Dakara Ne where the text message is coming from inside the chain.
  • July 12, 2011
    ^^ In the Report on Probability A example it's left ambiguous as to who or what the watched person is watching. Her watchers also look at reproductions of a painting, which may be a window into another universe where time is standing still.
  • July 20, 2011
    Watching The Watchers? (duh)
  • July 22, 2011
    One of the many problems plaguing the third Pentagon in Memoirs Found In A Bathtub - the officers spy on other officers to see if they are honest in their search for enemy agents. This means that people who are Soviet spies must occassionally hunt each other to keep appearances the fact that everybody in the building is at least a double agent creates an unbelievable mess that only a chosen few can really navigate and novbody can really understand
  • July 22, 2011
    I feel the "everyone in the chain knows each other" requirement should probably be dropped. With that, I present for your consideration "Watchmen Watching", courtesy of Loading Ready Run.
  • July 23, 2011
    Another vote to drop the "everyone knows each other" requirement.

    Either Spy Chain or Watching The Watchers would be a good title.

    There's an example in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress -- spies sent to infiltrate the resistance are assigned to a "security" detail and told to spy on other resistance members (who are really other infiltrators).