[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lt/prisoner.jpg]]

->'''Prisoner:''' Where am I?\\
'''No.2:''' In the Village.\\
'''Prisoner:''' What do you want?\\
'''No.2:''' Information.\\
'''Prisoner:''' Whose side are you on?\\
'''No.2:''' That would be telling. We want information... information... information!\\
'''Prisoner:''' You won't get it!\\
'''No.2:''' By hook or by crook... we will.\\
'''Prisoner:''' Who are you?\\
'''No.2:''' The new Number Two.\\
'''Prisoner:''' [[DrivingQuestion Who is Number One?]]\\
'''Number Two''': [[YouAreNumberSix You are Number Six.]]\\
'''Prisoner:''' I am not a number, I am a free man!\\
'''No. 2:''' [EvilLaugh]

'''''The Prisoner''''' is a celebrated 1967 British ScienceFiction drama with SpyDrama elements, filmed in [[UsefulNotes/{{Portmeirion}} Portmeirion]], produced by and starring Patrick [=McGoohan=], and co-created by George Markstein.

The series deals with the conflict between individuality and authority, told through an unnamed man's attempts to escape from a surreal {{Dystopia}}n penal colony. Although that goal is continually frustrated, the Village's warders are almost as frustrated as they deal with a man who will not bend, will not break and ''never'' gives up the fight until he becomes dangerous to them. Almost uniquely (for a series of that era not based upon a novel), it had a distinct StoryArc. The episodes had no clear progression, but the series did have a distinct beginning, middle and end, capped off by the GrandFinale "Fall Out".

The show is known for its obscure, confusing, yet intricate subtexts and plot twists, which culminated in the most notorious (and most beloved) GainaxEnding in British television history. Patrick [=McGoohan=] had almost complete creative control, a budget 40% larger than that of most other series, and ''no idea'' where the show was going from episode to episode. After what was broadcast as episode 11, the script editor, George Markstein, quit the series and was not replaced. Scripts and story ideas from that point on came from random people and places: a Western-themed episode was suggested by a video editor, and the infamous episode "The Girl Who Was Death" was an unused script from ''Series/DangerMan'' (featuring characters, props and locations from said series). Finally, the series' infamous ending (reportedly written over the course of a weekend after ITC head Lew Grade abruptly cancelled the series) takes a turn for the surreal, fueled by [=McGoohan=]'s wish to have "controversy, arguments, fights, discussions, people in anger waving fists in my face saying, ''how dare you?''". Let's just say the GainaxEnding could easily have been called the "Prisoner Ending" and leave it at that.

The characters:

* '''Number 6''': A nameless former spy who has resigned as "a matter of conscience". The only character to appear in each of the 17 episodes.
* '''Number 2''': A succession of leaders who live in the Green Dome. They all try in their turn to break Number 6. In general, each episode has a unique Number 2; a couple episodes have more than one, and a couple of Number 2s (played by Leo [=McKern=] and Colin Gordon) appeared in more than one episode.
* '''The Butler''': A silent dwarf played by Angelo Muscat who serves Number 2. He appears in most of the episodes.
* '''The Supervisor / Number 26''': A nearly-emotionless balding gentleman with thick square glasses who runs the security room. He appears in many but not all episodes (and in a few of them his appearances are StockFootage).

To keep things focused on the story's development, [=McGoohan=] often censored any hint of romance between his character and female prisoners/collaborators in submitted scripts, keeping the characters' attraction to Number 6 strictly one-sided. Instead of romance, the story deals with the battles between Number 6 and his surroundings: his struggles are often physical, but in the end, always come down to his mental resilience. More than once, Number 6 breaks his opponents down by utterly crushing their sanity; indeed, towards the end of the series Number 6 is more often shown fighting the Village from within rather than trying to escape.

The series is believed by many to be a sequel of sorts to [=McGoohan=]'s previous series, ''Series/DangerMan'', with "Number Six" actually being ''Danger Man'''s John Drake. There is at least one [[CrossOver shared character]] (or possibly just a character with the same name and actor), Number Six's "civilian" clothes are the distinctive outfit usually worn by Drake, and a publicity photo of [=McGoohan=] as Drake is X'ed out during the opening credits. Official ''Prisoner'' continuation novels flat out name the Prisoner as Drake. For many years, [=McGoohan=] publicly maintained that the Prisoner was ''not'' Drake, but it is suspected that he was just being contrary. It has also been speculated that, if Number Six was actually said to be John Drake, then [=McGoohan=] would've owed royalties to Ralph Smart, the creator of ''Series/DangerMan''.

Some have even theorized that both characters are also the same person as the secret agent [=McGoohan=] played in the film ''Ice Station Zebra''. Certain small differences in behavior between the three characters (for example, Drake does not drink, the Prisoner drinks occasionally, and the ''Ice Station Zebra'' character is a borderline alcoholic) have been taken as hints toward the reason Number Six resigned his job (his refusal to divulge this reason is the {{MacGuffin}} for the series; his antagonists figure that if they can break him enough to get that information out of him, the rest will follow).

Another one of the primary topics of fan debate is ''what order the episodes are meant to be in.'' There are five principal orders out there, and to be honest the original broadcast order is the one that makes the least sense. The only episodes that everyone agrees on is the introductory episode "Arrival" and the two-part finale, "Once Upon a Time"/"Fall Out". Everything in-between is up for debate.

[[{{Recap/ThePrisoner}} Recap pages]] are under construction.

A {{remake}}, in the form of a six-hour miniseries with Jim "The Passionate Christ" Caviezel as 6 and Sir Ian "The White Wizard" [=McKellen=] as 2 (no "Number" in this version), ran in November 2009. This was not a direct remake, as characterization, atmosphere, and ending were almost entirely different. YMMV as to whether the miniseries worked taken on its own terms, and on whether it deserved to keep the name. [=McGoohan=] died before the series aired, but had been invited to make a cameo appearance, which he declined; played now by another actor, the cameo in episode 1 involved 6 coming across an old man dressed in Number 6's outfit from the original series.

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!!This show is the trope namer for:
* YouAreNumberSix

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!!This show provides examples of:

* ActorSharedBackground: One of the only pieces of information Number Six voluntarily gives the Village is his date and exact time of birth (19 March 1928, 3:15 a.m.) -- which coincides exactly with [=McGoohan's=].
* AbsenteeActor: "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" was filmed while [=McGoohan=] was off shooting ''Ice Station Zebra'', so a [[FreakyFridayFlip mind swap]] plotline was devised that allowed another actor to play No. 6 for the episode.
* AffablyEvil: Most of the No. 2s
* AllJustADream
** The resolution of two of the later episodes, where the majority of the episode is revealed to be a simulated dream or a fictional story being improvised by a character. And then there's the episode where Number Two decides to invade Number Six's dreams...
** Possibly the final episode... or the entire series.
* AnachronicOrder
** "Arrival" is definitely ThePilot and "Fall Out" is definitely the GrandFinale (with "Once Upon A Time" directly preceding its events, making it the second half of a two parter of sorts). Other than that, no one can really say beyond a reasonable doubt what order the episodes should be watched in.[[note]]some fans will even argue that since every episode except "Fall Out" begins with Number Six being abducted and confronting that episode's Number Two for the first time, every individual episode is actually in a different AlternateUniverse[[/note]]
** The DVD boxset features episode descriptions that include full details on why each episode is placed in their chosen order. And even that makes a clear mistake: "A, B, & C" is placed before "The General" despite featuring No. 2 saying "I am No. 2" in the credits rather than the usual "The new No. 2," and appearing far more nervous and erratic than in "The General," indicating he's been given a rare second chance to try to break No. 6 and faces particularly dire consequences if he fails again.
* AppliedPhlebotinum: That wonderful [[SilverAge sixties]] version of the trope, involving giant talking computers with big knobs, all-purpose mind-altering chemicals, and multicolored electronic beams of light.
* ArcWords
** While the series didn't last long enough to form full story arcs, the General is name-dropped well in advance of appearing.
** The finale also reveals [[spoiler: that the phrase "You are Number 6", heard during the opening credits, actually should be seen with a comma: "You are, Number 6".]]
* ArmedWithCanon: Co-creators Patrick Mc Goohan and George Markstein disagreed over if The Prisoner was an [[CaptainErsatz ersatz John Drake]] from DangerMan or a completely new and independent character with each creator bringing their own interpretations to their respective efforts. [[WordOfGod The record]] finds evidence supporting both sides, but George Markstein did quit after the 11th episode as a result of that and other tensions within the production.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Nadia Rakowski in "The Chimes of Big Ben" is Estonian in name only - and not even that, neither the first name nor the last name are plausibly Estonian (and members of non-Estonian ethnicities living in Estonia during the 60s would have been highly unlikely to self-identify as Estonians).
* BackwardsFiringGun: In "The Girl Who Was Death", Number 6 modifies some rifles so they'll fire backwards before some guards arrive and attempt to shoot him with them.
* BadassBoast
** In "The Chimes of Big Ben," Number Six claims he can do even better than escape the Village: he'll come back, wipe it off the face of the earth, obliterate it, and Number Two with it.
** In "Dance of the Dead," Number Two coldly and confidently asserts to him that ''"This'' is your world now. ''I'' am your world now."
** "I am not a number, I am a free man!"
* BadBoss: While the various Numbers 2 are like this, apparently not caring if their underlings die, it's apparent that Number One is this to them. When some Numbers 2 fail, it's clear they're in utter dread of his wrath.
* BatmanGrabsAGun: The Prisoner consistently avoids using firearms, to the extent that in the Western episode he plays the part of a sheriff who refuses to carry a gun. As things come to a head in the final episode, this line is crossed.
* BavarianFireDrill: In "Checkmate," Number Six impersonates a guard simply by acting imperious. The other prisoners, who have been conditioned to be subservient, buy it without question.
* Music/TheBeatles
** Use of "All You Need Is Love" in the finale is a rare example of an original Beatles recording (as opposed to a cover) used in a soundtrack. Also very creepy.
** [[http://www.wired.com/underwire/2009/11/the-prisoner-an-all-star-appreciation/ The band loved the series]] (which is why they authorized the use of their recording), and were going to make a film before ''Film/MagicalMysteryTour'', directed by [=McGoohan=], based on ''The Prisoner''- it never happened.
** There's another story that claims the Beatles also considered [=McGoohan=] as a potential director for their planned adaptation of TheLordoftheRings.
* BecomingTheMask
** The real threat represented by the Village. Yes, the people running it might torture or brainwash you, but eventually, they may not need to: the prisoners and jailers appear interchangeable, and the setting idyllic, with some prisoners eventually liking the place and choosing to serve it. [[spoiler: Leo [=McKern's=] No. 2 is eventually revealed to be a former inmate.]]
** Leo [=McKern=] apparently got very, very into the role as No. 2 in "Once Upon a Time", to the point where the on-screen stress No. 2 was enduring caused either a real heart attack or nervous breakdown for the actor (the accounts differ).
** This is probably why "Checkmate" represents Six's darkest hour. Not only did he fail utterly at his plan, [[spoiler: he did so because he proved he would be an incredibly effective jailer in his own right, having inadvertently convinced the other prisoners he already is one.]]
* BondOneLiner
** Subverted. On the surface, Six is a DeadpanSnarker like Bond, but his "jokes" are always deadly serious.
** But PlayedForLaughs in "The Girl who was Death".
* BoxedCrook
** Number Six is unknowingly used as one in "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling."
** It has been said that if the show had been given a second season, it would have been given a new format based on this where Number Six would be sent out on missions, but always pulled back in.
*** This, however, seems unlikely, since Patrick McGoohan has stated for the record that he never intended to do a second season, and in fact that he had to be talked into making ten more episodes than he originally planned (It was originally only going to be seven episodes) so that it could be syndicated.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: At the end of "Fall Out", actor Alexis Kanner smiles at the camera as his credit appears.
* TheButlerDidIt: As good a guess as any. (No, really. The show's production assistant literally said this. It's as good a guess as any.)
* ButYouWereThereAndYouAndYou
** One episode turns out to be a story Number Six is telling to a group of children, and the two villains in the story are played by the same actors as Number Two and his assistant.
** Another episode plays out as a Western with the same [[TheReveal Reveal]], but in this case it was AllJustADream.
* {{Calvinball}}: Kosho, a game involving trampolines, padding, martial arts, and a pool of water that Number Six apparently plays twice a week. The rules can be guessed at somewhat, but it's mainly there to contribute to the general MindScrew of the series.
* CatchPhrase: Several. "Be seeing you!", "Why did you resign?", "I am not a number, I am a free man!", "Who is Number One?", etc.
* CelibateHero: Number Six is [[spoiler: engaged]].
* ColdWar: Subverted. See GovernmentConspiracy below.
* ComicBookAdaptation: A sequel miniseries (later collected into a [=TPB=]) called ''Shattered Visage''. Among other things, it provided an explanation for the show's infamous GainaxEnding. It also comes close to performing a GenderFlip by featuring a new No. 6 who, this time, is a woman ([[spoiler: in this story, the original No. 6, apparently driven mad, takes on the role of No. 2 - at least, until one of the original No. 2's returns to the Village]]). As for whether it's canon, well...the most [=McGoohan=] ever said about it was that he "didn't hate it".
* CoolCar: The Lotus Seven, even though it's rarely used outside the intro.
* CouchGag: A rare serious example. Most episodes' introductions feature the back-and-forth quotation at the top of this page, but have redubbed No. 2's lines with the voice of the new No. 2 from the current episode, often featuring a brief shot of them.
* {{Costumer}} / CowboyEpisode: "Living in Harmony" takes place in a Wild West setting. Number Six is a sheriff who turns in his badge and gun and tries to leave town.
* CrapsaccharineWorld
* CurbStompBattle: Number 6 vs. Number 2 in "Hammer Into Anvil". Made all the more awesome in that he doesn't even touch him. It's sort of a Curb Stomp BatmanGambit.
* DaddysLittleVillain: "The Girl Who Was Death".
* DancePartyEnding: The final episode.
* DeadpanSnarker: With The Village being an overpowering, Orwellian superpower, Number 6 does most of his fighting with words. Needless to say, he's very, very good at it. But so are most of the Number Twos.
* DeathTrap: Number Six is put through a gauntlet of them in "The Girl Who Was Death."
* DependingOnTheWriter: How independent and self-aware the other villagers are is determined by the needs of each episode's plot. In some, they're little more than lemmings, jumping to act ''en masse'' in whatever way their captors tell them. In others, they seem to be free-thinking individuals capable of resistance of against Number Two and his/her goons.
* {{Determinator}}: Number 6. He ''does not give up''. In "A. B. and C.," it's revealed that his dreams are an endless loop of his resignation...and nothing else. He doesn't even quit when he's asleep.
* DifferentInEveryEpisode: A subtle aural example: the section of the opening theme tune accompanying the scene where the future Number 6 confronts his boss is remixed to emphasize different instruments in each episode.
* DramaticUnmask: Inverted in the final episode. [[spoiler:Twice]].
* TheDragon: The multiple Number Twos.
* DrivingADesk
** Used in "The Girl Who Was Death", one of the few episodes with much car-driving in -- and lampshaded when something surreal happens that's very easy to achieve with back-projection but would have been much more difficult with live driving.
** Also done in "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" when the characters are supposedly driving through the mountains of Austria.
* DrivingQuestion: There are a set of them. Number Six wants to know:
** "Where am I?"
** "Who are you?"
** "Who is Number One?"
** "Whose side are you on?"
*** Meanwhile, his mysterious tormetors want to know "Why did you resign?" And most likely, quite a raft of other things that we aren't privy to.
* {{Dystopia}}: The Village, a more subtle example than most.
* {{Elseworld}}: "Living In Harmony" turns the show into a Western, down to the [[SpecialEditionTitle credits sequence]]. [[spoiler:It turns out to be a hallucination induced by the Village staff.]]
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: For Number Six - escape the Village. For Number Twos - to break Number Six. The finale elaborates on this. [[spoiler: Number Six gets home, and doesn't notice when a door in his old flat opens exactly the same way as the ones in the village. [=McGoohan=] later confirmed this was intentional.]]
* FakeUltimateMook: Number 2 in "Hammer Into Anvil". At the start of the episode, he seems to be the most dangerous, sadistic, tenacious, calm, hands-on Number 2 in the series so far. Number 6 easily and ''utterly'' [[BatmanGambit destroys him.]]
* {{Fauxreigner}}: Number 58 in "Free For All".
* FictionalSport: Characters are often seen playing ''kosho'', a sort of trampoline-based wrestling game over a swimming pool.
* {{Filler}}: [=McGoohan=] has gone on record stating that only seven episodes in the series are essential to the main story arc: "Arrival", "Free for All", "Dance of the Dead", "'Checkmate", "'The Chimes of Big Ben", "Once Upon A Time", and "Fall Out". The rest were only filmed to satisfy the required episode count.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Although given the haphazard way the series finale was devised suggests this was not intentional, many have noted that if read with a different inflection than that heard on screen, one exchange between No. 6 and No. 2 in the opening sequence [[spoiler: "Who is Number One"; "You are Number Six"]] can be seen as foreshadowing one of the [[spoiler: big reveals in "Fall Out"]].
* FranchiseZombie: [=McGoohan=] wanted to make ''The Prisoner'' a seven episode miniseries, but [[ExecutiveMeddling ITV executives]] wanted it to last two 13-episode seasons (for a total of 26). In the end, they compromised on a single 17 episode season. [=McGoohan=] eventually got what he wanted; he claimed later on that only seven episodes were canonical.
* FreakyFridayFlip: "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling".
* GainaxEnding: After footsying around with metaphor and allegory for the entire series, the GrandFinale goes so allegorical that there's a fairly good case for calling this trope the Fall Out Ending or the Prisoner Ending instead.
* GambitRoulette: Many of the ploys designed by the Number Twos involve ''very'' convoluted chains of events to work. "It's Your Funeral" stands out for the circular logic required to justify Number 6 being involved in the story (a group planning to assassinate Number 2 wants 6 to learn about them, so he can warn Number 2 and not be believed, rather than just staying secret in the first place).
%%* GenreBuster
* GildedCage: The Village, especially when the big white orb appears on the beach.
* GirlOfTheWeek: Usually one per episode, although they're all very different from each other. (Two of them are Number 2, some are evil scientists or moles, some die, some are hallucinations.) Number 6 has no romantic interest in them whatsoever, though. [[spoiler: As it turns out, he's already engaged.]] That doesn't stop several of them from expressing "interest" in No. 6, however (that said, in a case of creator-driven ExecutiveMeddling, [=McGoohan=] continually removed any hint of romance between females and No. 6 from the scripts, allowing only a couple of story-related exceptions to slip through).
* GovernmentConspiracy: Exactly who the conspiracy ''is'' is a complete mystery, and No. 6 is frustrated in early efforts to determine which side of the ColdWar is running the Village. One No. 2 suggests that it really doesn't matter, as the two sides of the ColdWar are becoming increasingly similar. However, one of No. 6's superiors is shown to be in league with the Village.
* GrandFinale: Where the Prisoner escapes, [[TheEndOrIsIt or does he]]?
* HappinessIsMandatory: "There will be joy, laughter, happiness, all at the carnival, by order."
* HeelFaceTurn
** [[spoiler:Leo [=McKern=]'s No. 2 and the Butler]] in the GrandFinale. At least, it appears that way.
** In the episode "The General" [[spoiler:Number 12 - who controls Security that episode - immediately aids Number Six's efforts to stop the Instant-Learning program. No explanation for 12's turn is ever given.]]
* HeroBall [=/=] WhatAnIdiot: Although No. 6 is the show's OnlySaneMan ''most'' of the time, it's hard not to FacePalm while watching "Many Happy Returns" when he [[spoiler: ends up at Beachy Head with its famous lighthouse and ''doesn't recognise it'', falls asleep on a truck without even bothering to hide himself, and subsequently goes straight back to his own home, even though he already ''knows'' from previous episodes that his former friends are after him.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard
** Number Six's method of looking for potential allies in "Checkmate" is the very thing that thwarts that episode's escape attempt.
** In "A Change of Mind," Number Six turns the villagers against Number Two with the same tactics Number Two used on him throughout the rest of the episode.
* HumanChess: "Checkmate"
* HumanMail: In one episode, part of Number Six's escape plan includes being shipped in a wooden box from Poland to London.
* IdenticalStranger: Curtis in "The Schizoid Man".
* ImplicitPrison: The Village is this, partly because it is a village (with separate bungalows and other buildings), and partly because of the MindScrew (which avoids identifying the Village and its authority figures with any real-world nation or organization while making repeated demands for "information"). Once the big white orbs appear to thwart Number 6's escape attempts, it elides more clearly into a GildedCage.
* IndividualityIsIllegal: See "A Change of Mind" in particular.
* InstantSedation: The KnockoutGas in the first episode (and opening title) and a doctor's hypodermic in "A Change of Mind", both used on Number 6.
* IronicNurseryTune
** 'Pop Goes the Weasel' shows up with creepy frequency in both the soundtrack and in the story, but there's also 'Humpty Dumpty', 'Jack and Jill', 'The Duke of York', and several more. The show seems to fairly empty Mother Goose of her rhymes.
** Also, there's the tune of 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow', if you want to count it.
* KlingonPromotion: One No. 2 attempts this on his predecessor.
* LargeHam
** Leo [=McKern=] as No. 2.
** [=McGoohan=] in the unbroadcast (but later released on DVD) early edit of the first episode, which shows him giving a somewhat more "animated" reaction to seeing the Village out his window for the first time.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: In "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling", Number 6's memory of the Village is wiped completely. He gets it back by the end of the episode without much explanation.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: Happens a few times. In "Fall Out", No. 2 appears to say "Be seeing you" to the camera - or is he talking to a guard? At the end of "The Girl who was Death", No. 6 turns to the camera and says "Goodnight children, everywhere." He's talking to No. 2 who is monitoring him, but he could be speaking to the audience as well.
* LeftHandedMirror: PlayedWith in the episode "The Schizoid Man". Number 2 creates an exact double of Number Six and uses him to confuse Number Six into thinking that he's the double. The Villagers use aversion therapy on Number Six to turn him from right-handed to left-handed. The double is right handed, which he uses to claim that he's the real Number Six.
* {{Leitmotif}}
** In "Hammer Into Anvil" and "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling".
** "Pop Goes the Weasel" is used throughout the series. The episode "Once Upon a Time" establishes "POP" as an acronym for [[spoiler: protect other people]] and originally "POP" was to be a featured element of the show's closing credits, but this was never broadcast (you still see it in the early edit versions of some episodes that have been released on DVD).
** The Village's brass band plays Johann Strauss's ''Radetzky March'' almost every time they appear -- even in a funeral procession.
* LifeImitatesArt: The official Prisoner fanclub's leadership dissolved in a heady mix of paranoia, backstabbing, and accusations of people spying on each other in real life. Several tertiary members mentioned this trope when they heard of what happened.
* LighthousePoint: "The Girl Who Was Death."
* LittlePeopleAreSurreal: The Butler.
* {{Lobotomy}}
** Used for mind games. Number 6 is made to believe he's been lobotomized in the episode "A Change of Mind".
** In "Dance of the Dead", Number 6's former colleague Dutton ends up lobotomized for real.
* LockedInARoom
* LogicBomb: How the Prisoner defeats the General. [[spoiler: It turns out that the General is a room-sized computer which can answer any question. The Prisoner asks it "Why?". The General overheats and explodes trying to come up with an answer. This is probably the TropeCodifier for the "ask the AI an open-ended philosophical question" version of the trope.]]
* LonersAreFreaks: Subverted since in the Village, the fact that Number 6 is a stubborn loner is his greatest strength. Doubly subverted in the episode "Checkmate".
* {{MacGuffin}}: The real reason for Number 6's resignation, in two ways.
** Many of the Village minders don't actually give a flying fuck about the answer -- what's important is that Number 6 surrenders by telling them. In the very first episode the first No. 2 encountered states outright that they know why he resigned, and proceeds to characterize the interrogation of No. 6 as "a double check". No. 6 also [[spoiler: outright states why he resigned, at least in broad strokes,]] in "Once Upon a Time". ([[spoiler: "For peace of mind ... Too many people know too much."]] Which is actually a reasonable reason for resigning.)
** Others, like the Number 2 in "A, B and C", set off the plot of the episode in question because they think they'll learn the true reason Number 6 resigned. They never do.
* MindProbe: There are ''several'' different machines that can at least partially tap into Number Six's mind and tell what he's thinking (or force him to think what they want him to think), but they can't seem to dig out the one specific response they need of him.
* MindRape: Lots of episodes, probably most notably "The Schizoid Man," in which Number Six is brainwashed into believing that he is merely someone impersonating Number Six, and "Once Upon a Time," in which he is brainwashed into mentally regressing to childhood.
* MindScrew: The series as a whole, individual episodes in particular and the GrandFinale, of course, most of all.
* MindScrewdriver - The ''Shattered Visage'' comic. As stated before, however, its canonicity is uncertain.
* TheMole: A lot of the [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption drama]] that arises is because either No. 6 believes someone to be this trope, or someone else believes No. 6 to be this.
* NapoleonDelusion: Professor Schnipps in "The Girl Who Was Death".
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Happens to The Prisoner in "Free For All"
* NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine
** He's often invited to dinner or breakfast or lunch with Number Two, but he seldom accepts outright. Naturally, since they know nearly every detail about Number Six's life, it's always YourFavorite.
** In "The Schizoid Man", they subconsciously change his favourite food to aid in attempting to make him think he's someone else.
* NoNameGiven: The Prisoner's real name (although many fans assume he's John Drake, the character [=McGoohan=] played in his previous series, ''Series/DangerMan'' (aka ''Secret Agent''); in fact, he's not even called "Number Six" in the scripts, except by other characters, only "P" or "Prisoner".
** In the episode "Many Happy Returns", [[spoiler:Number 6 called himself "Peter Smith", but this could be an assumed/false name. It's also an obvious variation on his German code name, "Schmidt".]]
** In "The Girl Who Was Death", a line of dialogue by a boxing referee is often misheard as announcing [=McGoohan=]'s character by the name "Mr. Drake". However, officially published scripts and closed captioning reveal the scripted line is "Mr. X."
** "Once Upon a Time" includes a line of dialogue (confirmed by examination of the script) in which No. 2 (pretending to be a teacher) says to 6 "Meet me in the morning break." A common mishearing of the line is "Meet me in the morning Drake."
** Confusing things further, in the late 1960s three original novels were published based upon the series. The first two of these: "The Prisoner" by Thomas Disch and "Number Two" by David [=McDaniel=], explicitly refer to No. 6 by the name Drake. It is unknown whether the novels were ever considered "canon" with the TV series.
* OntologicalMystery: Where exactly ''is'' the Village? Who runs it? Does it matter?
* ParanoiaGambit: Number Six does this to Number Two in "Hammer Into Anvil."
* PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny: The Village's administration insists -- loudly and repeatedly -- that its government is democratically elected. In "Free for All," we see such an election: the voting is rigged and the results are overturned almost immediately anyway.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Loads of them during the extended spy movie parody in "The Girl Who Was Death" (mostly from the eponymous antagonist, since Number 6 isn't really the type).
* PurelyAestheticGender: Outside of "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" (produced when [=McGoohan=] largely wasn't there), "Dance of the Dead" (wherein a female character falls in love with No. 6), and "The Chimes of Big Ben" (where it is hoped No. 6 would fall for a female prisoner with similar desire to escape), the characters' genders make no real difference to the plot.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot
** [=McGoohan=] was a staunch Catholic, and Six never resorts to a fight unless forced, never womanizes, and refuses to compromise his beliefs.
** "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" came about because [=McGoohan=] needed time off to make ''Ice Station Zebra''.
** "The Girl Who Was Death" was adapted from an unproduced ''Danger Man'' episode in order to fill the quota of extra episodes beyond [=McGoohan=]'s desired seven.
** According to several books on the series, [=McGoohan=] was given only a few days to come up with the WhamEpisode finale, "Fall Out." In order to complete the script on time, Kenneth Griffiths, cast as the Judge, was asked to write his own dialogue. On a related note, episode guest stars Griffiths and Alexis Kanner were recruited to appear despite having both played key roles in episodes only a few weeks previously.
* ARealManIsAKiller: Invoked in "Once Upon a Time."
* RecycledINSPACE: You can see this show as ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' with an indomitable hero to give it some hope.
* RecycledScript: "The Girl Who Was Death" is adapted from an unused ''Series/DangerMan'' script, which is why it feels so much like a ''Danger Man'' episode, at least at first. This fact is also used as ammunition by those who believe No. 6 and John Drake are the same character.
* ResignationsNotAccepted: Pretty much the ultimate expression of this trope.
* {{Retool}}: According to various histories of the series, had a second season been commissioned, No. 6 would have found himself acting as an unwitting agent of The Village and being sent on missions, a major retool of the format. The episode "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" is in some ways a backdoor pilot for the new format, complete with pre-credits teaser. It could be argued that [=McGoohan's=] opinion of the idea is evident in that he chose this episode to be the one shot while he was filming IceStationZebra, requiring another actor to play No. 6!
* TheReveal
** ''Many'' in "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling". We get to see 6's boss, daily life, code names, friends, and ''fiancee''. But they still manage to avoid revealing his real name, even when 6 meets his fiancee.
** It's been suggested that the answer to the big question was given within the first few minutes of each show if you [[spoiler:add one comma..."Who is Number 1?" "You are, Number 6."]]
** Also, take a look at the number on Number 6's door when he finally arrives home at the end of "Fall Out". That's right... it's [[spoiler:No. 1. (To be specific, 1 ''Buckingham'' Place, if you please!)]]
* SalvagePirates: "Many Happy Returns". Number 6 escapes the Village on a raft and encounters a [[strike:fishing]] gun-running boat whose crew steals his belongings. He ends up fighting them and eventually captures them.
* SaunaOfDeath: With Number 6 trapped inside. In "The Girl Who Was Death".
* SceneryPorn: The Village. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portmeirion You can always swing by for a stay]]...
* ScriptReadingDoors: Number Six's front door seems to know when he's entering or leaving his home. Of course, he is living in a panopticon...
* SharpDressedMan: What ever the evils of the Village, the men's black jacket with its white piping combined with the turtlenecked sweater is the sharpest prison uniform in all of fiction.
* ShoutOut
** In "The Girl Who Was Death," Number Six receives his orders in a manner mimicking that of Jim Phelps in ''Series/MissionImpossible''. The episode also includes more than a few nods to ''Series/DangerMan'' since it was adapted from an unused script for the series.
** The ''ShatteredVisage'' comic series is just loaded with these, with the references running from ''Series/DangerMan'' to the short-lived, little known medical series ''{{Rafferty}}'', which starred [=McGoohan=].
* SinisterSurveillance: Number Six is ''always'' under surveillance...especially when he thinks he's not.
* SleepLearning: A major focus of "The General," though of course, the Village always attempts to subvert "learning" with "re-education"
* SmallSecludedWorld: The Village is virtually the archetype for this trope (although, technically, it's only secluded as far as Villagers are concerned).
* SoundtrackDissonance
** Some truly masterful MindScrew examples in the GrandFinale ranging from Carmen Miranda to "Dem Bones" to Music/TheBeatles' "All You Need Is Love".
** The fucking weasel. It doesn't pop. WHY DOESN'T IT POP?!
* SpecialEditionTitle: "Living In Harmony" has a Western-genre variation on the usual opening-sequence, with Number Six riding into a town and turning in his sheriff's badge. "Fall Out" replaces the usual opening with credits played over a helicopter sequence of the Village, accompanied by the rarely-used second half of the theme tune.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Even if the Prisoner isn't John Drake, the show is at least a spiritual successor to ''Series/DangerMan'', which actually featured a Village-like facility in an episode entitled "Colony Three" (and included scenes filmed in Portmeirion in its very first episode "View from the Villa").
* SpottingTheThread
** In "The Chimes of Big Ben," Number Six is tipped that he hasn't really escaped when he notices that [[spoiler:the eponymous chimes sync with the time on a watch he was given in what was supposedly Poland, even though the two are in different time zones]].
** Then, in "The Schizoid Man," Number Two turns the table on him: [[spoiler:if he were really Number Twelve, he'd have known that Number Twelve's wife had died a year before]].
* SpyDrama: An actually ''dramatic'' drama, not just "will he kill the bad guy and get the girl"; indeed this trope is subverted at every turn.
* StockShoutOut: The initial interview with No. 2 is frequently referenced. "Be seeing you" and the accompanying hand gesture are often used as hints in other media that the person giving them isn't to be trusted (most notably Bester and other [=PsiCorp=] characters in ''Series/BabylonFive'').
* StoryArc: Number 6's struggle to escape the Village and his growing strength inside it.
* StorybookEpisode: "The Girl Who Was Death".
* StuntDouble: Patrick [=McGoohan's=] stunt double was Frank Maher who, as well as doing the physically demanding stuff, would also stand in for Patrick [=McGoohan=] in long shots where the character was just running (this was also to allow [=McGoohan=] to concentrate on his other duties as writer/producer/director). He was also featured prominently in the episode 'The Schizoid Man' which featured No. 6's Doppleganger.
* TakeThat
** Many of the elements of the show (as well as [=McGoohan=]'s previous show, ''Danger Man'') were deliberately designed as counterpoints to the growing popularity of the Franchise/JamesBond franchise: Bond's an expert gunsman (Six has moments of being a TechnicalPacifist), Bond is a walking example of AManIsNotAVirgin (Six is a CelibateHero), and Bond and Six are deeply, deeply divided over PatrioticFervor. Both characters are also superspies with pithy humor, and both feature over the top gadgets that suffered heavily from {{Zeerust}}. To hammer it home, [=McGoohan=] was one of the original picks to play Bond, but turned it down because he disagreed with the philosophy behind the character. Though it would have made him far richer, he reportedly never regretted the decision.
** One episode, "Free For All", is a clear TakeThat to voter apathy and political machinery sabotaging democracy. Number 2 promises great gains if Six is elected, but the exact same people respond to his speeches as Six's with equal enthusiasm (prodded on by the Butler). Six's "supporters" even have party posters of him made up before he's even aware of the election, and to add to the insult, they use the same picture from his resignation photo in the opening montage. [[spoiler: At the end of the episode, Six has fought off party brainwashing, but is no more free than before. Only his jailer's face has changed. Subtly, this is also the only episode he willingly wears a number pin, to show his support for his own campaign.]]
* TapOnTheHead
** "The Girl Who Was Death": Number 6 knocks out two {{Mook}}s with a bop on the top of the head, one with his fist and one with a grenade used as a club.
** "Once Upon A Time": The Butler knocks Number 6 unconscious with a club to the back of the head to stop him from strangling Number 2. The precise definition is lampshaded in this case as 6 doesn't immediately go down but rather spasms a bit as one might do if they've received a sudden shock like a club to the head.
* TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat: The phonograph record that gives Number Six his assignment in "The Girl Who Was Death" seems to hear his smart aleck aside.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: Much of the technology, especially in "The General," have obviously become outdated. The big exception is the bulbous sentry robot, Rover, which still looks as believably advanced as a machine and scary as hell; not bad for a last minute improvisation when the intended prop sank.
* ThrowItIn: Leo [=McKern=] was easily the most popular No. 2 among cast and crew, so they wrote new episodes just to bring him back. When the show was canceled, they rushed the final episode and added an on-camera haircut to "explain" his trimmed beard and shorter hair.
* ThrowTheDogABone: Although Number Six's attempts to escape inevitably ended in failure, he would occasionally be permitted a moral victory or a chance to outwit his captors in discovering his secret or one of their other plans.
* ThrowThePin: There's a variation in "The Girl Who Was Death" where Number Six tampers with the bad guys' old-timey WWI-era grenades (the ones with a baton-like handle used to hurl a can-shaped charge) so the explosives ended up in the handles.
* TrippyFinaleSyndrome: Good Lord.
* TrollingCreator: [=McGoohan=] definitely qualifies.
* UncannyVillage: Gotta watch out for those idyllic seaside resorts!
* TheUnreveal: The GrandFinale is so steeped in symbolism that it's effectively this.
* VirtualRealityInterrogation: In the episode "The Chimes of Big Ben". Number 6 escapes the Village and is transported to London, where he meets a former superior. As he's about to explain why he resigned, he realizes that the situation has been faked to trick him and discovers he's still in the Village.
* TheVoiceless: The Butler.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Rover was initially meant to be a single entity, and had what was intended to be an on-camera "death". Though they'd already filmed a scene with him in "Once Upon a Time", the intent was always to reshoot it. When the show got canceled, they no longer had the budget to do so, and so it lends the appearance of Rover being a type of weapon that inexplicably disappeared for several episodes.
* WriteWhoYouKnow: Number Six is to an extent a stand-in for [=McGoohan=], unsurprising given that the series is all about his own views on individuality and authority. A prime example of how TropesAreNotBad.
* YankTheDogsChain: Any episode in which Number Six apparently escapes the Village will see him being recaptured and/or the whole escape being revealed as a fake-out.
* YouAreNumberSix: TropeNamer
* YouLookFamiliar
** Alexis Kanner played Number 48, "The Kid", and an unnamed photographer in different episodes.
** Patrick Cargill, who played a British government official in "Many Happy Returns", and Number 2 in "Hammer into Anvil". Given the show's themes, it's difficult to tell if we're supposed to notice and account for it in the story.
** Christopher Benjamin appears as different characters in "Arrival" and "The Girl Who Was Death", and in the latter actually reprises a character named Potter that he played in an episode of ''Series/DangerMan''.
** Colin Gordon appears as No. 2 in the episodes "A, B and C" and "The General", being the only actor besides [=McKern=] to play No. 2 more than once. However, given the nature of the series, there is actually a case to be made that Gordon is playing two ''different'' No. 2's, if one compares elements such as characterization. The one-off appearance of Village workers in "Arrival" who look exactly the same (possibly twins, possibly clones) is cited as possible evidence in support.\\
\\
The Colin Gordon question may depend on which order you watch the episodes. If "A, B and C" is seen before "The General", as it was during the show's original run, they may be different. If that order is reversed, they appear to be the same character who goes from highly confident to desperate to avoid punishment for failure.\\
\\
It should also be noted that "A, B,and C" is unique as the title sequence contains the line "I am No. 2" rather than "The new No. 2", suggesting that episode was meant as the 2nd episode featuring that No. 2, as there'd be no need to reintroduce himself then or indicate anything had changed. This correlates with the above reasoning for the change in his behavior.\\
\\
It's worth noting that Colin Gordon's two episodes were filmed consecutively, with "The General" being filmed first and "A,B and C" second.
* YourFavorite: Happens quite often in The Prisoner, since the overlords at The Village know nearly everything about the Prisoner and can accommodate him almost immediately. They know how he takes his tea, what foods he likes, and so on, and regularly give him exactly that. In one episode, they change his favourite food to mess with his mind. (And in another, he takes his tea differently to mess with Number Two.)

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!!The 2009 remake provides examples that were not seen in the original series of:

* AllJustADream - [[spoiler:It turns out the Village is actually a sort of shared dreamspace on a level deeper than the subconscious. Which makes it all a dream, but not ''just'' a dream.]]
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever - Rover returns, but this time as a ''giant'' weather balloon bigger than a building.
* BottomlessPits
* BuryYourGays - [[spoiler: 909's death]], arguably [[spoiler: 11-12's]] as well.
* CatchPhrase: discounting "Be seeing you", apparently avoided during production; when the series was first announced, much of the publicity involved the phrase "Seek the Six" being connected to the show in some way, but once the show was actually made and prepared for broadcast, this catch phrase vanished from all publicity and is never heard within the show itself (if it was ever intended to be).
* EnemyWithout - Schizoid
* EvilOverLordList - 2's last gambit is remarkably similar to #143
* FlorenceNightingaleEffect
* HeroesWantRedHeads
* HospitalHottie - 313
* InfantImmortality - [[spoiler: Subverted with 147's daughter, 832. It looks like she's about to fall into a BottomlessPit, but she doesn't--until a few minutes later]]
* LotusEaterMachine - [[spoiler:explanation for the existence of The Village]]
* MythologyGag: At the final episode, all the villagers chant: ''Number Six is TheOne''.
* ReallyGetsAround: Well, in reality 6 only has relationships with two women so this might be overstating things a bit, however in comparison to the enforced CelibateHero status of No. 6 in the original series, and the fact [[spoiler: the two love affairs are part of the plot]], this is quite a contrast.
* ShoutOut - In addition to elements actually carried over from the original series, there are passing references, like the penny-farthing bicycle hanging from the ceiling of the nightclub. The opening credits also follow the same general pattern as the original.
* ThirstyDesert - Surrounding the Village, instead of the ocean in the original.
* TomatoSurprise - Those flashbacks to Six's life before The Village? [[spoiler: They aren't flashbacks, they're happening simultaneously.]]
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: we never learn the location of The Village.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Kenneth Griffith wanted his character in "The Girl Who Was Death" to be based on [[ThoseWackyNazis Hitler]]. Thankfully, Patrick [=McGoohan=] [[DudeNotFunny didn't think this was funny,]] and made him change it to [[NapoleonBonaparte Napoleon]].

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''"Be seeing you."''