A sting operation in which the hero tries to infiltrate the villain's organization by passing themselves off as one of the bad guys.

For example, Bob is going to meet Alice to be given an evil plan to carry out. The hero, Charlie, catches up with Bob before he can meet with Alice. Since Alice and Bob have never met face to face, Charlie goes to the meeting point, pretending to be Bob. Charlie is attempting an Impersonation Gambit. If successful, he will take down Alice's organization, [[RuleOfDrama but this gambit doesn't always go as planned]].

A subtrope of TheInfiltration, only in this case, they are impersonating a real person that the villains were expecting to meet. Can result in a YouAreAlreadyCheckedIn if the person they're impersonating shows up. Compare DressingAsTheEnemy which this trope can often overlap with.

Inexperienced in impersonation, the heroes might act according to MostDefinitelyNotAVillain (except that they're trying to pretend that they most definitely ''are'' a villain). They may also face the need to [[IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten prove that they're as evil as the impersonatee is known to be]].
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Happens a few times in Film/JamesBond films.
** ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'' has Bond impersonate a nuclear physicist trying to steal a warhead scheduled for decommissioning.
** ''Film/DiamondsAreForever'': James Bond impersonates Peter Franks in order to infiltrate the diamond smuggling operation.
** Another James Bond example occurs during the opening of ''Film/DieAnotherDay''.
** A villainous example occurs when Red Grant takes the place of Bond's Orient Express contact in ''Film/FromRussiaWithLove.''
* In ''Film/{{Ultraviolet}}'' Violet impersonates a courier in order to get inside the Archminstry's headquarters and steal the weapon that will wipe out the hemophages.
* This is how Connor [=MacManus=] gets the info over the phone for where the Russian mob dudes in ''Film/TheBoondockSaints'' are meeting. It helps that both he and Murphy are fluent in Russian, and could conceivably pass themselves off as members of the Russian mob if they had to.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Done in almost all possible ways (from stolen uniforms to magical transformations) in the ''Literature/BlackCompany'' series. GambitPileup is the typical result.
* ''Literature/TheExecutioner'' series. Mack Bolan would sometimes infiltrate Mafia organizations by masquerading as an elite hitman. He did so by displaying an ace of spades, which they used to identify themselves.
* Done in ''Literature/{{Harald}}'', when [[TheDragon Mord]] hires [[HorseArcher Westkin]] mercenaries as soldiers to assassinate [[spoiler: King James]], [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness who has outlived his usefulness]], [[BadassGrandpa Harald]] gets his own Westkin allies to impersonate them.
* A beautiful inversion occurs in the ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'' story "The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk". The titular client [[spoiler:obtained a job at a bank, but had never met his employer. Another man convinced the clerk to drop the job without a resignation letter; he then turned up in his stead and robbed the bank.]]
* A villainous example occurs in the LordPeterWimsey short story "The Bibulous Business Of a Matter of Taste', where two Lord Peters show up to receive secret information from a person who then holds a wine-tasting to determine which is the real Lord Peter. [[spoiler: Neither are, but the real Lord Peter, there in disguise, is proven anyway.]]


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/MissionImpossible''. This was sometimes used in IMF operations.
* [[Series/TwentyFour Jack Bauer]] attempts this twice throughout the shows run. In both instances, a suspect is killed before Jack can get any info out of them, but Jack [[IndyPloy improvises]] when their phone rings, and gets a meeting location where he continues the guise.
* [[Series/HumanTarget Christopher Chance]] successfully pulls this off in "Taking Ames".
** In another episode, to protect a woman he believed was being targeted, he posed as online date. However, the real date shows up, blowing Chances cover. The "real date" is revealed to be the assassin hired to kill the woman, but luckly, Chance saves her.
* ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' pulls this off in "Chuck vs the Fake Name" by taking an assassins indentity to find out who the ring wants to kill.
** There was a similar plot in ''Series/{{Monk}}''. Even more coincidental since one of the mobsters was played by the same actor who played a mobster in that episode of ''Series/{{Chuck}}''.
* Series/{{Angel}} pulls one of these in the Season 2 episode "The Shroud of Rahmon," impersonating a hip Vegas vampire to infiltrate a group of thieves.
* Villain example in ''Series/{{Heroes}}''. Sylar kills Zane Taylor, steals his power, and passes himself off as him to Mohinder.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' - Tony and Ziva pose as an assassin couple in order to sniff out who they were taking orders from.
* Happened in an episode of the new ''Series/KnightRider''.
* In ''[[Series/{{Jake20}} Jake 2.0]]'', Jake infiltrates a meeting of a group of hackers (who had previously only communicated online) by impersonating a group member who has been arrested by the NSA.
* ''Series/TheCape'': Vince poses as the bomber Razer as a way to spy on Scales.
* On ''Series/{{Charmed}},'' an assassin tries to kill the sisters, only to be killed by Prue. She then impersonates the assassin to meet her client, who had apparently never met the assassin in person before.
* In one episode of ''Series/StarskyAndHutch'', Hutch impersonates a reclusive hitman who has just been taken into custody. This goes wrong when the hitman escapes and shows up at the meeting...
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' uses this when Mitchell goes undercover as Kefflin,a lieutenant in the Lucian Alliance (a group of drug smugglers) who are believed to have captured one of Earth's ships (along with Colonel Carter.) Mitchell uses a chemical compound on the one person who knows Kefflin looks like and counts on no one else having ever seen him since he has a reputation as a recluse.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Radio ]]

* In ''Radio/{{Dragnet}}'', the plot of #72, "The Big Meet", involves Friday impersonating the local contact that a major drug lord plans to use to distribute a batch of his product through.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'', [[spoiler: Eva isn't really your contact]].
** Also in Snake Eater, Snake impersonates Major Raikov in order to get to the west wing of Grozni Grad.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Rather humorously averted in ''Webcomic/DoubleK'' - having just raided a drug dealer's warehouse, [[CowboyCop Kamina]] notices the suspect's portable phone ringing and answers it. When the guy on the other end assumes that he's talking to the dealer as normal, well... in the author's own words, "True to form, [[IdiotHero Kamina]] immediately pisses away any usefulness this development may have brought." [[StuffBlowingUp Explosions]] [[HilarityEnsues ensue]].
* ''WebComic/MagickChicks'': Following the school's takeover, in chapter 16, [[{{Ninja}} The Ninja Club]] are revealed to be that last holdouts, [[LaResistance in terms of opposition.]] They've even managed to capture [[spoiler: [[TheDragon Skye]]]] and replaced her with [[spoiler: [[http://www.magickchicks.com/strips-mc/location_unknown Rain]]]], in order to spy on [[spoiler: Cerise]] and undermine her authority.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Gloriously played in the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Almost Got 'Im", where [[spoiler:Killer Croc]], of all people, turns out to have been Batman the whole time.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Two FBI agents were able to stop a bomb plot in Portland by impersonating the would-be bombers' online contacts.
----