[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/MenageA3 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/darksecret_ma3_7334.png]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:She's quite nice really, but keeping secrets is hard work.]]-]

->''"My swashbuckling fop cannot take the flaw Dark Secret: Not Gay."''
-->-- #90 of Blog/ThingsMrWelchIsNoLongerAllowedToDoInAnRPG

Some characters have some dark, terrible secret in their pasts that they don't want anyone to know. Sometimes they killed someone close to them. Sometimes they're secretly a double agent. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Sometimes they took the last cookie from the cookie jar]]. It doesn't matter how big or small the secret is, it just matters that the person keeping it thinks that it's vitally important that it stay hidden.

There are two standard reactions to these coming out. Either everyone involved is shocked and horrified and lives are ruined. Or it's almost an anticlimax either because [[EverybodyKnewAlready they've known all along]], or it just wasn't as dark a secret as the keeper thought it was.

When it's a whole town that's doing this it's a TownWithADarkSecret. When you get even bigger in scale you get an EmpireWithADarkSecret. MyGreatestFailure is a particularly common type of Dark Secret, and it is often an element of a DarkAndTroubledPast or a MysteriousPast and revealed in a TroubledBackstoryFlashback. Related to TheyreCalledPersonalIssuesForAReason. See OpenSecret for when your secret is not so secret. When they cause you to be suspected of unrelated crimes, they become the BigSecret.

This being a trope about secrets there will be '''Spoilers''' ahead.




[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* How Tsume got his scar in ''Anime/WolfsRain''. When his old pack was [[spoiler:attacked by humans, he ran away, leaving his friends to die because he was afraid. He was exiled]], and in the process he got his scar.
* ''Anime/{{Kiznaiver}}'': Each Kiznaiver had a dark secret, their first mission as a team is "to get to know each other", with the threat of being destroyed together with the hospital they are locked in if they do not tell the others something that they never told anybody else.
** Katsuhira: [[spoiler:He is actually happy he is in the Kizna project, because he thinks it might bring him close to others]].
** Chidori: [[spoiler:She was in love with Katsuhira when they were younger]].
** Yuta: [[spoiler:Was FormerlyFat]].
** Nico: [[spoiler:Doesn't really believe in fairies, she pretends to do so people will think she is weird and not be cut off by [[TallPoppySyndrome being rich, cute and smart]]]].
** Tenga: [[spoiler:has fear of dogs]]
** Maki: [[spoiler:killed someone, though it's MetaphoricallyTrue]].
* Soubi in ''{{Manga/Loveless}}'' never tells Ritsuka anything about his past, especially the parts of it that involve Seimei. There's a reason for that. A twelve year old kid doesn't need to know that his beloved older brother was a [[spoiler:sociopath who physically and emotionally abused his best friend/mentor/partner.]]
* The dark secret held by Hime in ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' is the main drive of the entire series: [[spoiler:she opened the [[SealedEvilInACan Axia Box]], releasing the Phantom Empire]].
* ''LightNovel/KokoroConnect'': Taichi decides to reveal a dark secret about himself to Inaba, in an attempt to engender some trust between them. His secret? [[spoiler:He's masturbated to her picture.]] Inaba freaks out in a confusing mix of emotions ("I'm disgusted and shocked and... strangely kind of touched?"), but it does help snap her out of her funk. Later she decides to return the favor by telling him a dark secret of her own: [[spoiler:she's masturbated to his picture as well.]] She then grins broadly at Taichi's flustered reaction.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/DeathOfTheFamily'', [[spoiler: Joker claims that Batman has a secret that he has hidden from the entire Batfamily. It remains to be seen if Batman does have one or if it's just a bluff]].
* In ''ComicBook/ElseworldsFinestSupergirlAndBatgirl'', Comicbook/LexLuthor pretends he is a good guy and a philanthropist, backing the Justice Society and treating Comicbook/{{Supergirl}} like a daughter. However, Comicbook/{{Batgirl}} knew that he [[spoiler:murdered baby Kal-El several years before the beginning of the story and got many people murdered, including her own parents]]. And she saw that everyone found out about it.
* In the second story-arc of ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'' Nightmare Moon II claims that [[spoiler:Rarity]] has one, which is part of why she [[spoiler:choose her to be her new vessel.]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Justice League Of America 2013}}'', Amanda Waller knows who Stargirl's biological father is and will have him answer for his actions if Stargirl does not comply.
* The small-town America of ''ComicBook/{{Revival}}'' seems quiet because most of the citizens are silently carrying one of these. At least a dozen citizens are in a love triangle of one kind or another. Thang Vang stole an item of enormous emotional importance from her employer. The sheriff [[spoiler:crashed his bike while drunk, killing his wife]]. The Check brothers [[spoiler:murdered their transgender father]]. These are all from before the Revival sets off the action of the series...
* Promotion within the Mueller organization of ''ComicBook/CleanRoom'' requires confessing these. They are recorded with one's personnel file in a red envelope. In the event of demonic possession the secret will be triggered to cause massive psychological trauma that ejects the demon.
* Comix First's ''The Red Ten'' has the Alliance which is an expy of the ''Franchise/JusticeLeague''. Each member of the Alliance has a dark secret and it all falls apart with the death of Red the World's Greatest Detective and here it is:
** [[spoiler: While interrogating her archfoe Oxymoron, he asks Red some ArmorPiercingQuestion such as "Where does Master Mage get all the blood for is his blood magic". This leads her to investigate and discover the secrets of her comrades and she plans on taking them down. She gets shot in the head for her trouble and Oxymoron is framed as the killer]]
** [[spoiler: Justice America the Ultimate Human is the real killer. He's the brother of an expy of Lex Luthor and was uplifted by alien technology to be little more than a corporate enforcer. Besides Red, he's also murdered his reporter girlfriend and other girls before he was introduced to the world. He gets comeuppance when he's exposed to an engineered virus that removes his invulnerability and he's beaten to death]]
** [[spoiler: Mold is debuted as a friendly alien shapeshifter. He's actually a pedophile in prison, who's also a brilliant inventor. The corporation behind the Alliance free him for one of his invention and he's given the identity of Mold. Was puppeted to be a weapon by the hero killer and was killed by Justice America in self-defense]]
** [[spoiler: Mazu had her aquatic minions drown a love rival in a bathtub. The rival's lover gets the blame for the crime despite being innocent. Mazu gets lured to a dry room and disembowelled by Mold in the form of that rival]]
** [[spoiler: Master Mage fuels magic by murdering prostitutes. He's killed when his magic staff is tampered to open a portal to Hell]]
** [[spoiler: Bellona is the queen of the Amazons and had been trying for centuries to have a daughter. She lures sailors to their island and kills them after sex, if she finds out that she's having a boy she has it killed. Dies in a fight with Justice America when her jaw is blasted through]]
** [[spoiler: Magnitude is a brilliant scientist and serial killer. He keeps going out with women to shrink them down and crush them into microscope slides. When Bellona finds out, she fights him and he swallows her alive, where she guts him from within]]
** [[spoiler: Androika killed her inventors when she's first brought online, she self-destructs when her killer uploads virus in her]]
** [[spoiler: Orion is not supposed to inherit the power belt from the alien cop, it was his identical twin brother. The brother used the belt to save Orion from thugs, later a drunk Orion snatched the belt from his brother and accidentally pushes him off a cliff. In a panic from all the people dying, he flees to outer space where he's caught by space police who punish him by taking his belt while he's still in Earth's gravitational field and he burns on reentry.]]
** [[spoiler: Throttle was a junkie who gained his speed powers when he got doused by chemicals during his attempt to rob a chemical plant. He's still on drugs and accidentally ran into a car while high, killing the family. He's murdered when his drugs have been poisoned.]]
** [[spoiler: Oxymoron is actually in love with his nemesis, Red and is the one to set her on the trail of her comrades. He's been on the prison island the whole time and he helped design the plans to take down the Alliance. He gets his neck snapped as he's too psycho to leave alive and to fulfill a promise]]
** [[spoiler: Red's ex-sidekick Crimson Kid is the killer. He received a post-death message from Red telling him about her investigation. She wants him to take the Alliance down, but leave them alive. But he's opted to kill them instead and he's also executed Oxymoron as he's promised his replacement who got murdered by Oxymoron on her first outing]]

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': [[OriginalCharacter Jessika]] [[spoiler:lusted after [[FieryRedhead Asuka]] in a very creepy way. She memorized every tiny detail of her body and she fantasized about all naughty, perverted things that she wanted to do with and TO Asuka.]] However she never wanted that her friend found out about it.
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': Twelve years before the beginning of the story [[spoiler:Misato was ordered executing Kaji.]] His death was covered up and nobody other than her knows what happened to him.
* ''Fanfic/{{Intercom}}'': The emotions, when they first introduce themselves to Riley, don’t mention any of the events that happened during the film (though Fear almost let it slip when he said that Riley might become "apathetic again" in chapter 5). So this secret of how Joy and Sadness got lost hangs over the emotions while still trying to have Riley like them. It finally comes to light in Chapter 15, thanks to Forgetters Bobby and Paula SayingTooMuch.
* There are more than a few dark secrets in ''Fanfic/TheLionKingAdventures'':
** Hago is [[spoiler: Nala's father. He actually covered this up by altering Sarafina's memory, leading her to believe that a lion called Muerto was her actual father. He doesn't reveal it to his daughter until ''The Return of Hago''.]]
** Zazu reveals that he [[spoiler: inadvertently caused his father's death in ''Darkness Falls''.]]
** Haiba certainly [[spoiler: keeps his murder of Tama quite a secret. He comes clean in ''The Message'', only to be rewarded with permanent scars from Simba.]]
* In MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic fan story "Fanfic/FluttershyIsFree", Fluttershy is [[spoiler:half-Changeling, and has the Changeling powers of [[EmotionEater emotivory]] and [[TheEmpath empathy]].]] She tries to tell Rainbow Dash, but RD doesn't believe her.
* In Creator/AAPessimal's take on the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', Assassin Miss Alice Band has a terrible dark secret known to only a very few. No, it's not [[HideYourGays that she's gay.]] Everybody knows this and only a few think it's an issue. In her childhood, a horrific act of abuse happened to her at school. Against her will, she was forced ''to learn the tuba'' in her school orchestra. She carries the scars - and the tuba - as an adult.
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': Subverted when [[spoiler:the Keeper of Secrets -a daemon of the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' universe- reveals that Shinji finds his guardian Misato attractive]] and Shinji thinks that information is neither secret nor important.
-->“That is the best you can throw at me? Those are the terrible Secrets you Keep? That I’m a horny fourteen year old living with a sexually aggressive and experienced woman and I wouldn’t mind getting in her pants? By the Warp, this shocking revelation changes everything. Quick, call up the Gods; we have to get this critical piece of information to them in time!”
* ''Literature/AmericasStepbrotherAmericasEnemyTwoPointZero'': Doublethink allows the core members of the [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour Inner Party]] to explain to themselves where the stasis chambers came from. [[spoiler:A mysterious alien gave them that tech and gave them pointers on how to better establish their eternal dystopia.]]
* ''Fanfic/DarkSecrets'' [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unsurprisingly]] has one: that [[RonTheDeathEater Ron is a Death Eater]].
* ''[[Fanfic/GuardiansWizardsAndKungFuFighters Guardians, Wizards and Kung-Fu Fighters]]'' has the truth of what happened at the village of Carhaiz years before the start of the story, on the mission where Caleb's father went missing. According to the Rebellion's propaganda, the village was the site of a new weapon Phobos' forces were creating, and they valiantly destroyed it. It's eventually revealed, however, that in truth, [[spoiler: Carhaiz was the nobility's attempt to create a society for the smallfolk free of being controlled by either Phobos or the rebels, who viewed such a hope as a detriment to their goals, so they slaughtered the village.]]
* In ''Fanfic/OldWest'', the serpentine lovers [[DeterminedHomesteader Grace Glossy]] and [[{{Outlaw}} Rattlesnake Jake]] both have a certain secret they want to take to their graves yet are at different points forced to confess to each other.
** Grace had laid ten eggs but has only one child. The other nine were [[spoiler:killed in their eggs by robbers who were then killed [[MamaBear the furious Grace]]]]. After [[spoiler:burying the bodies]], she has presented herself as a law-abiding woman who disdains outlaws like Jake initially. Jake's absolutely disgusted when he learns this, thinking Grace hypocritical for thinking him the same as [[spoiler:the baby-killing robbers]].
** Jake says himself to have come from Hell. Only when he's bedridden does he confess that Hell to have been [[spoiler:a rattlesnake round-up he was caught in by humans right after he lost his mother and tail as a child. He escaped with Reth the Carpenter's help after witnessing other snakes getting killed and skinned. The sadistic human was the first creature Jake killed, and he began his career as a contract killer after that]].
* ''FanFic/ThePiecesLieWhereTheyFell'': Page Turner has been keeping one from the griffon who raised her for her entire life, and from Night Blade for fourteen years, at the time the story starts. The spirit of Balance indicates that the longer she keeps it, the worse off things will be. [[spoiler:He's right, as after it's revealed she's a Changeling/unicorn hybrid, Night Blade sees her in her true form and freaks out, mistaking her for an impostor and nearly beating her to death before he comes to his senses.]]
* ''Fanfic/ForgedDestiny'': [[RPGMechanicsverse In a world where one's class is always displayed above their head,]] Jaune was born a Blacksmith, a member of the Labour Caste, but desired to be a Hero, something that became possible once he obtained a [[MacGuffin magical amulet]] that changed the words above his head to "Knight". What would happen if his secret were ever revealed is unknown, as such an act may have never been done before.

* The movie ''Film/IKnowWhatYouDidLastSummer'' is built on a dark secret shared by a group of friends after they accidentally kill someone with their car.
** A similar secret is kept by the protagonists of ''Film/UrbanLegend'', involving the invocation of an urban legend to scare someone, leading to a fatal car crash.
* In ''Film/TheLastWitchHunter'', people tend to keep dark secrets reveal of which would benefit the plot greatly.
** The Axe and Cross hides one from Kaulder: [[spoiler:the hunter's continued eternal life depends on the life of Witch Queen's heart, meaning the heart was never destroyed and the Queen can come back to life.]]
** Chloe is [[spoiler:a dreamwalker, meaning she can access a memory Kaulder needs to solve the mystery of the plot, but hides it because it's Dark gift and she once accidentally hurt her little brother with it.]]
* ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'''s DarkSecret is the decision by the parents of Elm Street to take the law into their own hands and kill Freddy Krueger, who was known back then as the "Springwood Slasher" and liked to kill children.
* ''Film/OneMissedCall'' has [[MunchausenSyndrome Munchausen's By Proxy]] as the dark secret of one character.
* In the movie ''Film/TheWatcherInTheWoods'', a group of friends have kept the secret of Karen's disappearance since they were children, and are haunted by it.
* ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'': M is so ashamed over how she handled Elektra King's kidnapping that she sealed Elektra's file so that no one else can access it. When Bond requests the classified information as an employee, M flatly refuses with a stern warning ("I will not tolerate insubordination, 007"), so he resorts to using their implicit mother-son relationship (the gentle way he asks, "What happened?") before she willingly discloses a painful part of her past.
* ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'': By 1973, [[Characters/XMenFilmSeriesProfessorCharlesXavier Charles Xavier]] had never revealed to anyone--not even Raven, Erik or Hank--that as a nine-year-old kid, he thought he was going insane after his telepathy became active, and he didn't learn until he was twelve that he could in fact read other people's minds.
* ''Film/TheWorldOfKanako'': Kanako appears to be a nice girl until she disappears. Her father Akikazu finds out that she [[spoiler:was involved into a prostitution ring and blackmails their members, she teamed up with school bully Matsunaga to set up the narrator and was at least indifferent with Ogata's fate, she dealt drugs in school and helped old men get to young school girls.]] In the very end, she makes clear [[spoiler:to her teacher which murders Kanako that she absolutely regrets nothing.]]
* In Japanese film ''Film/ZeroFocus'', Sachiko, now the respected wife of a prosperous businessman, was once a prostitute who serviced American soldiers after the war. [[KeepingSecretsSucks She kills two people]], Kenichi and his brother Sotaro, to keep this secret.

* Zoe from ''[[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Titan's Curse]]'' is [[spoiler:Atlas's daughter]].
* In Daphne du Maurier's ''Literature/{{Rebecca}}'', the heroine's husband has a dark secret. She believes he can't love her because he's still thinking of his first wife Rebecca who was supposedly drowned in a sailing accident. Turns out he had [[spoiler: murdered Rebecca himself -- and she had goaded him into it]].
* In the [[Literature/WizardAndGlass fourth]] ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' novel, Roland's friends must see his dark secret to proceed along the Beam. They find out [[spoiler:he shot and killed his mother, upon seeing Rhea's reflection in the Wizard's Glass]].
* In the first Creator/ElleryQueen novel, "The Roman Hat Mystery", the murder victim is a blackmailer. No one familiar with the rules of Golden Age mystery novels will consider "murderer is being blackmailed" a spoiler. The secret worth killing over? [[spoiler:One of the murderer's ancestors married a black woman. The line is so diluted that there are no visible signs of African descent in the murderer's appearance, but that "drop" of blood would ruin him socially and professionally.]]
* In the both the books, and the 90s TV adaptation of Creator/PGWodehouse's ''Literature/JeevesAndWooster'' stories, Jeeves reveals British fascist leader Sir Roderick Spode's terrible secret to Bertie: [[spoiler:Spode owns a ladies' fashion boutique]]. Should this become widely known it would ruin his reputation.
--> '''Bertie''': You can't be a successful Dictator and [[spoiler:design women's' underclothing]]. One or the other. Not both.
* ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'':
** Piper thinks she'll have to betray her friends.
** Hazel is directly responsible for Gaea bringing back Alcyoneus.
* The reader is every bit as aware of it as she is, but Gara Petothel / Lara Notsil, in the ''Literature/XWingSeries'', is a DeepCoverAgent who's gone through a private HeelFaceTurn, and is unhappily aware that the [[HeroicBSOD badly damaged]] pilot who she's falling in love with is damaged because of her actions.
* In the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series, many cats' forbidden relationships. The parentage of kits born to said forbidden relationships. Visiting the Dark Forest.
* The Missus and John-the-dig in ''Literature/TheThirteenthTale'' can't let anyone know there is [[spoiler: a third girl in Angelfield]], or else Charlie's rapes and incest will become open public knowledge.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', Harry treats his possession of [[spoiler:the coin containing Lasciel as this. When he finally speaks of it to Michael, he already knows.]]
** In ''Ghost Story'', Molly's secret is that [[spoiler:she helped Harry- her mentor and Chicago's main protector against supernatural predators- kill himself]]. Her guilt over this fucks up her psyche and relationships with people, but she can't tell anyone for fear that they'll hate her as much as she does.
* ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'': "China Sorrows, China Sorrows. She's the one, she's the one. [[spoiler:Nefarian Serpine killed Skulduggery Pleasant, but China Sorrows led his family into the trap.]]"
* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': The Knights Radiant were an order of magical knights tasked with protecting humanity from the apocalypse. Thousands of years before the story, they abandoned their oaths, as well as their unspeakably powerful arms and armor, for unknown reasons. The current religion claims that they used tricks to pretend divine powers and a holy calling and fled when the charade was discovered, but we see the event at one point, and it's clearly [[ScrewThisImOutOfHere something else entirely]]. In the second book, ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance'', [[spoiler:Taravangian]]'s Diagram says (in code) "Hold the secret that broke the Knights Radiant. You may need it to destroy the new orders [[OrderReborn when they return]]."
* ''Literature/MurderAtColefaxManor'': [[spoiler:The manor is the base of a cult for an EldritchAbomination and all but one of the manor's staff are in on it.]]
* ''Literature/ShamanBlues'': The reason Konstancja ran off from Witkacy was that [[spoiler:she was pregnant with his child, and was terrified what kind of a parent a depressed junkie would be. She only tells him about it because Wiktoria starts to display the same powers he has.]]
* ''Literature/TheGirlFromTheMiraclesDistrict'': Nikita hides the fact that she's a [[TheBerserker berserk]], which in the world of the story is basically equivalent to a magical SuperSoldier. If her mother was to find out, she's turn Nikita into a virtual slave to be let off the leash whenever someone had to be killed.
* ''Literature/TheTraitorSonCycle'': The abbey of Lissen Carak hides the fact that all of the nuns there are sorceresses, as well as the interdimensional gate in their basement. By the end of the first book, however, the former is pretty much an OpenSecret.
* ''Literature/ChainLetter'': The plotline is similar to ''Literature/IKnowWhatYouDidLastSummer'' in that a group of friends killed a man with their car, and agree to never tell anyone about it. Then, they start getting blackmailed.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/ColdCase'' episode ''The Hen House'' the victim was killed for discovering that her murderer was really [[spoiler: a Nazi pretending to be a Dutch Jew]].
* An episode of ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'' had the Nazi pretending to be a Jew. [[spoiler: Unfortunately for him he married a Jewish woman [[WhatAnIdiot and raised his own son as a devout Jew]] to keep his cover story up]].
* An episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'' has an episode where a school boy with neo-Nazi beliefs is murdered. [[spoiler: He was growing out of racism after making friends with the school's black janitor. The suspects were other neo-Nazis who not only found out, but for some reason concluded he was also in a homosexual relationship with the janitor.]] The boy was murdered because he discovered an even darker secret: [[spoiler:his new friend was actually [[RetiredMonster a leader in the Rwandan genocide]].]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Cersei and Jaime's twincest.
** Ned promises his bastard son Jon Snow upon returning from King's Landing, they'd finally discuss his mother. Ned [[OffWithHisHead never made it back]] for that talk but it was finally revealed that Ned [[spoiler: is actually Jon's uncle and his sister Lyanna birthed him, while his true father is Rhaegar Targaryen. Out of respect for her Lyanna's wishes]], honorable Ned Stark lies not only to his wife and his best friend but the entire world, in order to protect Jon.
* ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'': Trent, the White Dino Ranger, is the son of [[spoiler:Anton Mercer, a.k.a. [[BigBad Mesogog]]]]. When the Rangers find this, they're a bit amused.
* The whole premise of ''Series/{{Dexter}}''. His secret is [[SerialKiller quite dark indeed]]...
* ''Series/BabylonFive'', with Ivanova secretly being [[spoiler: A rogue telepath]]. Sheridan also has a secret, in that he's a member of a military conspiracy to [[spoiler: overthrow [[PresidentEvil President Clark]]]]. Then there's Delenn... you know, with Babylon 5 being a [[CityOfSpies Space Station Of Spies]], it's safe to say that there are many people with [[DarkSecret dark secrets]].
* In Creator/StephenKing's ''Series/StormOfTheCentury'', many of the residents of Little Tall island have [[DarkSecret Dark Secrets]]. The BigBad, being a mind reading demonic sorcerer, lets them know that he knows just to freak them out. He also reveals some of these secrets to the other residents [[ForTheEvulz for kicks]].
* In the ''Series/{{Community}}'' episode "[[Recap/CommunityS2E10MixologyCertification Mixology Certification]]" the group learns that Shirley had been hiding the fact she was a barfly during a more troubled time of her life.
* In ''Series/SwitchedAtBirth'', Regina knew about the switch and had a private investigator keep tabs on Bay for some time.
* Tara's attempts to hide her part-demon-ness in ''Series/{{Buffy|the Vampire Slayer}}'' almost result in her friends being killed. Still, they stand up for her anyway and eventually determine that Tara's family lied to her about her heritage.
* In ''Series/TheMentalist'', J.J. LaRoche has a Tupperware container hidden in a safe, which is later stolen and retrieved, as the contents of the plastic container would ruin his career and reputation. [[spoiler:It's the tongue of his mother's rapist.]]
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Series/DowntonAbbey'', where the butler Mr Carson has a deep dark secret that will lose him Lord Grantham's respect, which turns out to be... [[FelonyMisdemeanor that he used to be a song-and-dance stage performer when he was young]]. When he confesses this in anguish, loudly curses himself for being worthless, and declares that he will resign in disgrace, Lord Grantham merely sighs and says "Oh do stop being so melodramatic, you're not playing [[Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities Sydney Carton]] now, are you?"
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS01E05BloodyMary "Bloody Mary" (S01, Ep5)]], the ghost's victims all have a secret they do not want anyone else to know, a guilt for another person's death. It is revealed that Sam also has a secret he has not shared with Dean during this episode.
* Several characters in ''[[Series/ScreamQueens2015 Scream Queens]]'' have some dark secret that they don't want getting out. Chanel #3 [[spoiler: believes that her father could be Charles Manson]], Chanel #5 [[spoiler: touches herself to ''Dora The Explorer'']] and Chad is extremely ashamed of his [[spoiler: [[OneOfTheseThingsIsNotLikeTheOthers lactose intolerance]].]] Kappa keeps an entire room filled with the evidence of their more disturbing acts, [[NoodleImplements most of which we don't learn the whole story of]], but there is one event that leads to different people's own secrets. [[spoiler: In 1995 members of the sorority allowed a girl to die in a bathtub in order to continue a party being hosted in Kappa House. Dean Munsch, to save her own career, helped cover the incident up.]]
** In episode 8, we learn Wes'. [[spoiler: His wife was the president of Kappa at the time of the Bathtub Baby incident and the guilt caused her to a life of drugs and crime. To protect Grace from the truth he went as far as to burn down their house and created an ideal image of her mother.]]
* Simon Tarses in the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode ''The Drumhead'' had one that he lied about on his Starfleet application because he feared that he would be suspected because of it. The events of the episode [[FantasticRacism validate that fear]] -- [[spoiler: he claimed his grandfather was Vulcan, when actually he was ''Romulan''. This is arguably more politically than genetically relevant, as Romulans and Vulcans are the same species, or at least very closely related, but Vulcan is a key and founding member of the Federation while Romulus is the centre of ''the'' original rival empire to the Federation. Thing is, once this is found out that's the ''only'' thing driving the proceedings against Tarses -- his personal feelings and political leanings about Starfleet and the Federation aren't even looked at.]] While the future of his career is uncertain at the end of the episode (the investigation dramatically fell apart, but he ''did'' still lie on his Starfleet application), ExpandedUniverse materials tended to take pity on the poor fellow, and have it eventually recover.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' has a dark secret in Dr. Julian Bashir's past: [[spoiler:he is an [[{{Transhuman}} Augment]], having been subjected to genetic experimentation as a child, not dissimilar to [[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan Khan Noonien Singh]].]]
* ''Everybody'' in ''Series/{{Quantico}}'' has a dark secret, to the point where it's a frickin' joke.
* ''Series/UnbreakableKimmySchmidt'': Subverted by the blue-eyed, blond Jacqueline's dark secret that she's actually a Native American woman. Only the loathsome people in her aristocratic WASP circles would find that objectionable.
* The dark comedy ''Series/{{Imposters}}'' has con artist Maddie going after a rich mark, marrying them and then leaving with almost all their money. Ezra, Richard and Jules (a woman) all fell victim and in each case, Maddie left behind a video admitting to what she did. She then warns them that if they come after her, she will reveal the secret each one of them has which will just end up destroying not only them but their families. Despite this, the trio decide to still team up to hunt their mutual "ex" down.

* ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj_tReFezkw Flower of the Plateau]]'', in which [[Music/{{vocaloid}} Mikulia]] is actually a prostitute. She even [[spoiler: ''kills'' two people, an ex-suitor/client and ''[[OffingTheOffspring her own son]]'' to protect her secret]]. The imagery really doesn't help.

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' has a Disadvantage called Secret. If it's revealed, the character loses the Secret, but gains Disadvantage(s) (or loses Advantages) worth twice as many points as the Secret.
* The GURPS Disadvantage was inspired by ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' and its system of Disadvantages. The current edition has Social Limitations that include things like Guilty Secret, Dark Secret, Embarrassing Secret, and so on.
* Similar to the ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' example; the TabletopGame/BattleTech RPG ''A Time of War'' has the negative trait "Dark Secret". These can range from things that could harm the character socially up to something that could trigger an interstellar conflict. Should it be discovered the PC can expect to gain Enemy, negative Repuation and [[BountyHunter Bloodmarked]] traits.
* The ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' had a one point flaw called Dark Secret. That it's only worth one point tells a lot about the setting.
* ''TabletopGame/FadingSuns'' has the Dark Secret disadvantage, in three levels depending on the severity of the secret. It also has the Secret advantage, which (among other things) may mean you know someone else's Dark Secret.
* Almost everyone in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has their own dark secret, but the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter ''really'' don't want anyone to know ''half'' their chapter joined the other side during the Literature/HorusHeresy. {{Iron|y}}ically, it's implied in other fluff that not only are the Inquisition fully aware of the Fallen Dark Angels, but they don't really care too much. That means their self-appointed mission to keeping the Chapter "secret" a secret and the numerous atrocities they commit in its name are utterly pointless and simply alienating the rest of the Imperium.

* In ''Theatre/PokemonLive'', Delia keeps her past relationship with Giovanni secret because she's terrified of how Ash will take the news.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* VideoGame/StarcraftII
** [[spoiler: Tychus Findlay]]. The DarkSecret in question is [[spoiler:his deal with Mengsk: he kills Kerrigan, he's free.]] As he says in the end of the game:
--> "I've made a DealWithTheDevil."
** In the secret mission "Piercing The Shroud", it is discovered that [[spoiler:the Dominion is behind the Zerg-Protoss Hybrids, which play a very important part in Zeratul's missions. Yep, that's right: it seems that the Dominion (with some dirty help) wants to bring [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt The End Of The Universe As We Know It]].]]
** Mengsk's ''other'' dark secret is his role in the fall of Confederacy, namely that his hand was on the button that [[ApocalypseHow murdered eight billion humans and toppled their government]], leaving him free to take over what was left. Given the magnitude of the crime, he's understandably kept it under tight wraps since becoming Emperor. Raynor's Raiders, naturally, [[CantStopTheSignal have an opportunity to blow it wide open]].
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' has a number of these. Figuring out what they are is the whole point of the game.
** The sequences with Psyche-Locks involve a person's secrets/lies being locked up with spiritual locks and chains when confronted with a statement or question the person refuses to answer and may go to great lengths to keep that secret hidden. The more locks that appear, the more desperately the person wants to hide their secret. Phoenix can see the locks due to the Magatama item he carries and presenting the right pieces of evidence when questioning the person gets them to "unlock" themselves and reveal the truth. [[spoiler: While a typical Psyche-Lock is colored red and can easily be broken, there's two occasions where the locks are ''black'' and can't be broken by normal means. Phoenix first sees the black locks during ''VisualNovel/ApolloJusticeAceAttorney'' when he asks Kristoph Gavin why he killed Shadi Smith, Kristoph refuses to answer and 5 black Psyche-Locks appear, which Phoenix describes as cold and dark and probably cannot be unlocked. The black locks appear again in ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyDualDestinies'' when Athena is accused of killing her own mother several years ago and the suppressed memory of the event causes her to throw up 5 black Psyche-Locks. Phoenix finds out from Pearl that the black locks mean that someone has a secret buried so deep within their hearts that they are not consciously aware of it and if the Magatama user tries to brute force the locks open (not approaching the topic gently in other words), the person's spirit can become broken beyond repair and they are traumatized for life. Luckily, Phoenix gets past Athena's locks without any damage to her mental state.]]
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars II: Lords of Winter'' reveals that the [[SapientCetaceans Liir]] have been harboring a dark secret: the [[spoiler:Suul'ka]] are really Liir Elders who have refused to die and became DrunkWithPower. The bit about the [[spoiler:Liir killing all Suul'ka with a bio-engineered plague]] is complete bull.
* The DarkSecret of Nathan Drake, the BadassNormal treasure-hunting descendant of Sir Francis Drake, is revealed in ''VideoGame/Uncharted3DrakesDeception'': [[spoiler:he was never an heir of Sir Francis, merely a ward of the state with a history obsession and a ChangelingFantasy. Not even his ParentalSubstitute or his fiance knew, but the desire to prove himself as Sir Francis' heir is Nate's driving motivation for the first and third games.]]
* ''VideoGame/DeadSecret'': Harris Bullard's notes reveal that he has a deep, dark secret that he has been intent on hiding for decades. And that someone calling themselves 'the Woodcutter' has found out said secret and has begun to blackmail him because of it. [[spoiler:Harris' dark secret involves him taking on the identity of a dead squad member of his; with him actually being Josie Herrera's biological father being a mere by-product of said secret.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'', there's Keiichi's [[spoiler: habit of shooting kids with a BB gun]], Rena's [[spoiler: psychotic episode]], Satoko's [[spoiler: unwitting murder of her parents]], the Sonozaki family's [[spoiler: complete lack of a DarkSecret, despite all their posturing]], and the fact that Rika is [[spoiler: stuck in a GroundhogDayLoop]]. The entire series being based on ThePowerOfFriendship, all of these are eventually revealed and EasilyForgiven.
* In ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'', Monokuma threatens to reveal Dark Secrets for every character to the public unless there is a murder. The Dark Secrets that are revealed to the player anyway are:
** Makoto Naegi: [[spoiler:Wet the bed until he was in 5th grade.]]
** Mondo Owada: [[spoiler:Accidentially killed his older brother.]]
** Chihiro Fujisaki: [[spoiler: [[DisguisedInDrag Is actually a boy masquerading as a girl]].]]
** Toko Fukawa: [[spoiler: Has a secret SplitPersonality, namely SerialKiller Genocider Syo/Genocide Jack.]]
* [[Franchise/DragonAge Thedas]] is full of these. Every single organization, race, and country with high repute has at least one dark secret. Others don't even bother keeping their "darkness" secret.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'': The Seekers' initiation is outright horrifying: [[spoiler:first they are lobotomized with a magical process called Tranquility. Then they have an emotional substitute injected into them by a spirit of emotion in the fade]]. That's right, they [[spoiler:''had the cure to Tranquility all along''. It did have major side-effects in mages, but that's kind of expected]].
* This is the main drive of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV''[='s=] ''Heavensward'' expansion: [[spoiler:the heroes learn that Ishgard's 1000-year war with the dragons was actually caused by King Thordon I and his 12 Knights, who murdered a dragon desiring their power then stealing Nidhogg's eyes. The main expansion and the first three major patches afterwards is about revealing the truth and forcing both sides into peace.]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'', Calgar is hiding the secret to Ultramarines' invincibility, and the mere possibility that someone may figure it out makes him panic.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/DeviantUniverse'', while many characters have their own from their [[BackStory backstories]] or side comics, [[spoiler: Christina Rogers being responsible for the Genocide Wave is considered in-universe to be the most notorious one.]]
* In ''Webcomic/DocRat'', Doc pops the question to Danielle before she learns [[spoiler:he's already married.]]
* Characters in ''Webcomic/MenageA3'' and its {{spinoff}} ''Webcomic/StickyDillyBuns'' are mostly pretty open about sex, but there are things that even they prefer to keep quiet...
** Amber doesn't want her parents to know about her past career as a porn star. How well she can keep this from them if her straight acting career takes off remains to be seen. She also obliged her younger sister Ruby to preserve this secret for several years, which has caused the very truthful Ruby a lot of stress.
** Meanwhile, Ruby tries to keep anything faintly embarrassing or just slightly unconventional about herself, such as her brief (and quite creditable) adventure in male disguise, or her liking for {{yaoi|Fangirl}}, secret from Amber. Apparently, her self-image as the serious, respectable one in [[TheGloriousWarOfSisterlyRivalry their relationship]] is vitally important to her, or she assumes for some reason that Amber would taunt her mercilessly given half a chance.
** Tracy, who works as a webcam girl and who let herself almost be drawn into an orgy by her porn star friends at one point, doesn't want these facts know at the games company office where she's working as an intern. When Gary, who knows these secrets, turns up there for a job interview, Tracy's usual niceness slips a little as she persuades him not to say anything.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2012-05-25 when Tangerine tells Seymour to tell the ring his secret, Seymour flashes back to his and reacts strongly.]]