A {{Manchild}} who imagines himself as a [[TuxedoAndMartini movie super agent]] or a [[ArmedFarces military Special Ops guy]] on a top-secret mission and acts accordingly. Usually PlayedForLaughs.

Distinct from "TuxedoAndMartini PlayedForLaughs" in that TuxedoAndMartini is more about Film/JamesBond and the notion of the spy as the suave, evening-dressed, martini-ordering playboy. This trope is about a character who pretends to be a secret agent to assuage the tedium of their day-to-day existence and gets into no end of trouble when they encounter or blunder into the real thing (when combined with AndYouThoughtItWasAGame and MistakenForBadass). The character can actually work for an espionage agency, but as a paper-pusher, informant or some other unimportant thing rather than any kind of "superspy".

In a way, a Wannabe Secret Agent is similar to a ConspiracyTheorist in that both imagine themselves privy to secret knowledge that they believe puts them above the dreary everyday (though the former likes to play out his fantasy more than to discuss it). Both character types are portrayed as common amongst TheMentallyDisturbed, and as a result both often feature in plots revolving around TheSchizophreniaConspiracy.

May have some overlap with MilesGloriosus. Contrast TeenSuperspy, who is an actual child ''and'' an actual super agent.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* The [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Donald Duck comic]] "Secret Agent 006 1/2" has Donald working as a janitor at a special operations agency. He likes to fantasize about being an actual secret agent, and claims to be one before his girlfriend Daisy. Of course, they both end up on an actual mission.

[[folder: Film -- Animated ]]
* The Penguin quartet in ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'' are a paranoid bunch who act like they are advance recon scouts deep in the enemy territory, a trait that carried over and taken more seriously in ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar''.
* WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck has this role in ''Film/LooneyTunesBackInAction'' where he helps a stuntman played by Brendan Fraser rescue his father Creator/TimothyDalton (who actually ''is'' a secret agent).

[[folder: Film -- Live-Action ]]
* ''Film/BurnAfterReading'': Two bumbling gym rats, one played by Brad Pitt, discover a manuscript for the written memoir of a former intelligence agency employee, and, falsely believing it to contain classified information, try to sell it to the Russian government. A whole ton of CringeComedy ensues.
* ''Film/TrueLies'': Bill Paxton plays Simon, a used-car salesman who pretends he works for the CIA and tries to hit on Arnie's character's wife. Extra bonus irony points since Arnie's character is a real spy who pretends he's a computer salesman.
* ''Film/{{Ronin}}'': Creator/SeanBean plays Spence, a Englishman who claims to be ex-SAS but is outed as utterly incompetent and nearly gets the team killed in the process.
* In ''Film/TheManWhoKnewTooLittle'', the protagonist believes he is only ''playing'' a secret agent, but due to a mix-up everything he encounters is very real (though he doesn't realize that).

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/TheBeverlyHillbillies'': Jethro Bodine opens up a [[Franchise/JamesBond "double-naught"]] spy branch-office. HilarityEnsues.
* The Lone Gunmen trio of ''Series/TheXFiles'' have their moments, such as when they discover that the Cigarette-Smoking Man apparently kidnapped Scully in episode "En Ami" and visit Mulder disguised as... themselves. As in, they wear each other's usual outfits to blend in with the crowd.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Bones}}'' the VictimOfTheWeek was a paper-pusher for the CIA who wanted to be Film/JamesBond and discovered a diamond-smuggling operation. He carried a Walther PPK, drove an Aston Martin painted in a color called "Casino Royale," and used Universal Exports as his cover.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] in ''Series/{{Castle}}'': a company sells spy-themed fantasy vacations where normal people get to pretend that they are real spies performing secret missions. When one of the clients ends up as the VictimOfTheWeek, Beckett and Castle are initially fooled into thinking that they are dealing with real spies. They arrest one of the pretend spies and he stays completely in character until he realized that he is in a real jail cell. At that point he starts crying.

[[folder: Machinima]]
* In season two of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', Griff and Donut are send to do recon on the Blue base to try and retrieve Lopez. Donut thinks of it like spy work and acts like this to the point of annoying Griff into sending him away.

[[folder: Video Game ]]
* Conrad Verner throughout the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' trilogy pretends to be a Spectre (essentially a government-sanctioned JudgeJuryAndExecutioner), inspired by [[PlayerCharacter Commander Shepard]]. His blunders, however, are PlayedForDrama or BlackComedy at best.
* Possibly Steven Heck from ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol''. He claims to work for a top-secret branch of the CIA but there's no evidence that he's ever worked for them at all. One character suggests that Heck has somehow deluded himself into thinking he's a CIA agent. Either way, he's [[BewareTheSillyOnes very]], ''[[LethalJokeCharacter very]]'' effective, contrasting with the usual portrayals of this trope.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* In a rather bizarre case, 23-year-old [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kampiles William Kampiles]] swiped a top-secret satellite manual, sold it to the Soviet Union for 3,000 dollars, and then confessed what he had done to the CIA in the mistaken belief that they would employ him as a double agent. He spent 18 years in prison.