Engineered Public Confession
#189. I will never tell the hero, "Yes, I was the one who did it, but you'll never be able to prove it to that incompetent old fool." Chances are, that incompetent old fool is standing behind the curtain.It's a Just Between You and Me moment: the villain, secure in his superior planning or intellect, is monologuing in exquisite detail how his Evil Plan is going to profit him by screwing over all the people who trust or depend on him — completely and blissfully unaware that the hero or an associate has arranged a Hidden Wire, PA microphone or other relay of the villain's words, which are heard with perfect clarity by a figure of authority and/or the villain's dupes. They, of course, realize just how they've been deceived and turn on him (or line up to get their crack at him). Alternatively, the hero may be concealing a tape recorder, and will replay the villain's words in front of authorities just when it seems as if he'll get away with it all. Turns out that the hero has recorded the whole thing, and the proof of the villain's evilness is Caught on Tape. Often accompanied by a priceless Oh, Crap from the exposed villain when he realizes what's happening, and he usually suffers from a Villainous Breakdown afterward. Regardless, he usually gets fired from his job and/or sent to the slammer. Variation of Right Behind Me, but done intentionally, and usually with more people listening. Also similar to Bluffing the Murderer, but it relies on overconfidence rather than panic on the part of the villain. Usually the moment of demise for the Straw Hypocrite and the Villain with Good Publicity. Has also been the bane of the Chess Master and the downfall of the Manipulative Bastard on many occasions. Compare Did I Just Say That Out Loud?, Is This Thing Still On?, Endangering News Broadcast and Spanner in the Works. Contrast Made Out to Be a Jerkass when a hero stands up to a villain results in this.
— The Evil Overlord List
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- Metal Armor Dragonar: Big Bad Dorchenov reveals he his the murderer of Marshall Guiltorre thanks to Min's strategy.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: At the very start of the series, when Edward and Alphonse are battling the fake priest Cornello, Edward is trapped but has a huge microphone hidden as Cornello explains how he is manipulating the populace and so on.
- And then it's rendered moot by the Homunculi.
- The Abridged series made this incredibly amusing.
Edward: Then tell me all the bad things you've done...
Cornello: I once kicked a small child and stole candy from a puppy.
Edward: That's right... keep em coming...
Cornello: I'm also making these worthless townfolk believe in a fake god so I can turn them into my fearless army and take over the country with the Philosopher's Stone!
Edward: Ha Ha! You've just been caught! This whole conversation was live on the radio.
Cornello: Not only that, but I once took part in a devil's three way with a nun. A nun!
Edward: Uh, you can stop...
Cornello: I also wear a monocle! And a top hat!
Edward: I see you're gonna keep going...
Cornello: I was once even the CEO of Fox Entertainment, and it was I who canceled such great shows as Arrested Development and Futurama! * evil laugh* Ah ha... I'm evil...
- Patlabor: One of the people behind the terrorist attacks, Shigeki Arakawa, refuses to confess anything. Shigeki Arakawa is also Affably Evil. He went to Kiichi Goto when Yukihito Tsuge decided to alter the plan and start a limited war that would topple the Japanese government. Shigeki Arakawa’s original plan was a harsh political protest that used limited and controlled violence. Goto also agrees with Arakawa’s observations on the reality of peace, war, and political leaders exploit chaos instead of using a measured response.
- Done in the last episode of Gunsmith Cats when Haints finds Radinov in his office and launches into a rant about her failures, only to discover that she's really Kate with a wig and a microphone.
- In Code Geass R2, Lelouch pulls a massive Gambit Roulette just to get one of these, all in order to secure China as an ally in the fight against The Empire.
- This happens twice in Martian Successor Nadesico, transmitting some things Nergal would rather have remained hidden to the entire ship. The second time, in fact, Mr. Prospector seems to have some sort of "reveal bad guys' secret" button (designed to look like Ruri's face for some reason) on his shirt that he casually brushes as their captor gets rolling.
- Infinite Ryvius: Captain Airs Blue at one point considers betraying and abandoning the crew of the Ryvius, unaware that a treacherous subordinate has turned on the ship's intercom. Needless to say, he isn't Captain for much longer.
- A non-villainous (sorta-kinda) happened in Get Backers. Makubex finally explains that stealing the implosion lens wasn't just a plot to ransom the gods of Mugenjou and return things to how they before Ginji left; it was all prophesied in the Archive, and he was just doing his best to play his part and see if he could find a way to break the gods' control. He even revealed that his public persona as the "demon king" was largely a product of his virtual reality systems. Ren runs in after he finishes talking, reveals that she used his computer to broadcast it all over Lower Town, and that they're all waiting outside, cheering wildly and yelling things like "Long live Makubex!"
- One Piece had one during the Enies Lobby arc where Spandam, after accidentally activating the Buster Call, is gloating to Nico Robin about his future plans and how all the Marines under him are sheep. The kicker to this is that HE was the one who left the radio on for all to hear. Then he weakly tries to cover it up by trying to imitate Luffy when he finally notices this. No one is fooled, of course. This is an odd case, though, in that Spandam's speech serves no purpose to the plot, except perhaps to make the readers (or watchers) dislike him even more; when the transmission is finally cut, the only thing that matters to the ones who heard it is that the Buster Call is coming.
- Sket Dance plays this completely straight when a teacher caught framing a pupil for his own misdeeds confesses all with the immortal lines: 'No matter what you say, nobody will believe you!' Unfortunately for him, he was being broadcast over the school intercom system at that very moment, and the Sket-dan had fiddled with their classroom's speaker so that he wouldn't notice it.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, during his fight with Yusei, Divine reveals that he was the one who murdered Misty's brother (Misty was under the impression that Aki had, and had become a Dark Signer to seek revenge - acquiring the use of Jibakushin (Earthbound God/Immortal) Ccarayhua).He discovers too late that Yusei's Duel Disk had a microphone in it, which he had activated beforehand, and becomes Ccarayhua's dinner. Though it certainly doesn't help that when Misty angrily speaks to him a few moments after Yusei reveals his trick, he responds with Evil Gloating.
- Peach Girl evil mastermind Sae is tricked by Kairi into expounding on her patented Wounded Gazelle Gambit routine, and how she has repeatedly made Momo look like a monster before the class. Unknown to her Touji is right around the corner, and hearing her bragging finally wakes him up, and he in turn makes damn sure the class knows who and what Sae really is. The worst part was, they kind of already did, but admitted falling for an act they themselves had been victimized by before—and sadly, would again before all was done.
- In Ouran High School Host Club, the school's newspaper editor tries to engineer the downfall of the Host Club, only to have his plans thwarted by a recording machine disguised as a first aid kit which Kyouya placed into the newspaper room.
- 20th Century Boys: An incredible inversion. For the entire series, Friend's Villain with Good Publicity status was his greatest advantage over the heroes. And just before the endgame, he throws it away willingly, casually telling the entire world the atrocities he's done on live television. At that point, he's so crazy and his plan so close to fruition that it doesn't really matter anymore.
- Largely how Near manages to expose Light as Kira in Death Note, sans the tech equipment but Light's god complex ego is more then enough.
- In an episode of Busou Renkin, homunculi were attacking the protagonists' high school, and the main heroes were fighting them off. One student was a collaborator with the villains, and so used the intercom to convince the other students that the heroes were also enemies so they would attack them. The hero's friends call-out the student over the intercom and get him to reveal his treachery.
- Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions has Grings Kodai's plan curving for a meteoric downward spiral after Zorua nicked his forearm. This had the side effect of breaking his illusion canceller, but he was too absorbed in both his own ego - as he gloats to Ash about his Dark Secret - and Zoroark's illusion to tell the difference as he drew power from a fake Time Ripple projected a few feet closer to Kodai than the real one, allowing Ash's friends to record his gloating on video. Then time rewinds in front of him, revealing the truth; he loses full functionality for his device shortly thereafter frying Zoroark, who fries it back, and stumbles into another illusion, whereupon he falls unconscious after falling off a podium in the Boccer arena, believing the railing for his "airship" was a few feet further ahead. This trope kicks in the next morning, where he wakes up to hear aforementioned gloating broadcast to everyone in Crown City via his own TV network. That roar from Zoroark? A rough translation is "enjoy your ride on the Party Van, asshole!"
- In Tiger & Bunny, Agnes and her crew combine this with Hoist by His Own Petard when they expose Maverick by broadcasting his monologue live on Hero TV, a program of his own media company which he was using up to that point to further his schemes.
- One memorable episode of Detective Conan had Conan cornering the killer-of-the-week in a parking lot and spouting off the details of the crime. The killer is at first taken aback at being found out, but calmly confesses to the murder when he realizes the police would never believe anything a little kid like Conan says. Conan admits this to be true — which is why he taped the whole conversation.
- Muteki Kanban Musume: Miki tries this at episode 7 A, Peel Off the Fake Smile, when she becomes a client of Megumi’s bakery and acts like The Thing That Would Not Leave to make Megumi drop his façade of The Fake Cutie in front of her clients denouncing her as the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
- Josie and the Pussycats:
- The girls are singing for an animal preservation charity. After the rival boy band's leader sets them up by way of a fur coat, the girls pretend to be groupie journalists to get the guys back. They do, of course, and the boy band is thrown out and the Cats welcomed back with open arms.
- Valerie, where she pretends to be helping a con man so she can get him to tell her about the scam and what suckers people are — she is wearing a wire and broadcasting this to the entire school.
- Done at least twice in Archie Comics with Archie and his friends.
- In one story, Archie's rival, Reggie, convinces almost everyone that Archie is going insane but then Jughead leads Reggie into a store room by getting him curious about why Jughead is carrying and uncoiling a wire and gets Reggie to brag about his scheme seemingly in private, after which Jughead reveals that the wire is connected to a microphone leading to the school's public address system. Reggie is the one who ends up in therapy.
- In another story, Archie wants to make sure a sweet old lady who is moving house gets good prices on her antiques, so he gets help from a man who is knowledgeable enough to set fair prices but has a reputation as a shyster. Then Archie tricks him into confessing that he's intending to keep 80% of the sales for himself and records it on tape as leverage to force the shyster into giving the old lady all the profits.
- The post-Zero Hour incarnation of the Legion of Super-Heroes spent an entire arc building up to one of these, complete with the Legion's leader becoming Not Himself to ingratiate himself to the target, several Legionnaires faking their deaths, and one of the presumed-dead Legionnaires then impersonating a third party to take credit for the villain's schemes in order to prompt the Just Between You and Me moment, which was of course broadcast on live TV - all without cluing the reader in until The Reveal.
- For a while Lex Luthor was President of the US (really!), and genuinely tried to protect the country (and Earth) from several of the cataclysms that occurred during his term. Then his hatred of Superman got the better of him and he tried, through a heavily convoluted and highly illegal scheme, to frame Superman for attempting to destroy the Earth by drawing an asteroid to Earth. It almost worked, until he ranted to Superman that he truly thought he was guilty, repeatedly admitting to playing the public like a flute and that he intended to teleport off planet (using Illegal Alien Technology from Darkseid) before the asteroid hit, leaving everyone else to die. Luckily, he didn't know Batman was taping the whole thing (in addition to, as Bruce Wayne, buying up all his assets so that he couldn't start over, or at least for a while).
- Lex may be completely crazy, but he's not completely wrong The asteroid IS headed for Earth because of Superman; it contains his cousin, Supergirl. Supergirl's escape ship was following Superman's journey, but unfortunately came with a giant chunk of the planet Krypton attached. Luthor's crime here wasn't framing Superman, but leading a manhunt for the hero instead of simply asking for his help in destroying it.
- Lex gets this a lot. In an Elseworld story, he gives the villain speech in front of Supergirl while Batgirl was broadcasting it live on network TV, destroying his reputation.
- Mysterio starts out as a Villain with Good Publicity, but is foiled when he confesses everything to Spider-Man, who is holding a tape recorder.
- The first arc of Scott McCloud's Zot! ends with the titular hero interrupting the Evil Chancellor as he gives a live planet-wide broadcast about how their world's Holy War against Earth is going. The villain makes sure to turn off all the cameras before admitting to Zot that, yes, he killed the king, the queen, and his rivals, and engineered the war as a way of consolidating power—but then Zot reveals the tiny robot that's been following him around, which has video cameras for eyes and a built-in broadcast antenna. Guess what the robot's been doing?
- Spider Jerusalem uses this against the President in Transmetropolitan. He purposely gets seen using a real gun (something that's out of character for him) earlier in the day, so that the increasingly unstable President will make very sure he's not armed, instead of making a cursory check guns and then checking for bugs.
- This Marvel Adventures comic has Captain America doing this to Loki over a live broadcast. It's really just admitting to jealousy, but this does result in Loki leaving in a huff.
- Subverted in Y: The Last Man, when ex-cop turned brothel owner You confronts Epiphany, a Canadian pop star who's using her influence among teenage Japanese girls to recreate the Yakuza, and broadcasts her comment ("Those retarded Japanese fangirls worship me like a god!") to the guards outside. When informed of this Epiphany simply retorts: "Oh please! Those groupies already know I couldn't give two shits about them!"
- In the Donald Duck comic "Outlanders" Donald, Scrooge, Huey-Dewey-Louie are teleported to a steampunk world, where Beagle Boys got the Money Bin, and sent alternate Scrooge to work in coal mine. He then takes his revenge by tricking them to confess how they did it, which was in fact broadcasted on a giant sheet.
- The 'Crazy Eights' storyline in the Marvel Comics "Wonder Man" book. Eight newly superpowered friends of Wonder Man manage to record L.A's top security firm as really being a bunch of murderous thugs for hire. A violent chase ensues all over town, ending with a Hail Mary pass to a reporter acquaintance. Ironically, the reporter's view of costumed people tussling with the security firm just increases her curiosity to view the tape.
- Raana Tey from Knights of the Old Republic falls victim to this when she gloats about the murder she participated in and framed the protagonist for in front of the sister of one her victims (who Raana had been manipulating). It doesn't end well for her. Subverted in that Zayne didn't really plan it to happen.
- Used in an issue of Doctor Strange, with Clea activating the crystal that Umar the Unrelenting used to make announcements to the public. It might have gone better if Umar hadn't drained the barrier that prevented the Mindless Ones from rampaging across the Dark Dimension; part of her power was drawn from popular support.
- The heroine of Les Nombrils pulls a pretty clever version of this to expose the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who's been ruining her life.
- Action Comics #556: Vandal Savage, then an immigrant from Earth-2, decided that being a Villain with Good Publicity wasn't enough, and began videotaping all his meetings with Superman as part of his plan to make Supes a Hero with Bad Publicity. Superman secretly places a transmitter on Savage's recording device which then feeds to local TV station WGBS, then goads the villain into revealing his plan and sneering at the "sheep" of Metropolis. Superman consulted Batman beforehand to make sure the plan was viable.
- In the last issue of Six Gun Gorilla, Blue manages to trick one of the people involved in a plot to prolong the civil war in the Blister so Bluetech can make a fortune broadcasting it to the masses into admitting the whole conspiracy when they think the transmitter in Blue's head is being jammed by psi-blockers.
Blue: Them psi-blockers? They been down since you pulled the trigger.
- Blackjack engineers a public confession in Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons in order to expose Ahuizotl as a traitor to the rest of Meatlocker. Ahuizotl, however, is Genre Savvy enough to realize what's going on, and activates the rooms's hidden booby traps.
Ahuizotl: What? You don't seriously think I'd believe you'd want to do business with me? You're the saint of the Wasteland. I'm sure you're just here to chat up some evidence to take back to those morons. Probably got that PipBuck recording this whole conversation, don't you?
Blackjack: Darn. You figured me out. Well, except for one thing. My PipBuck? It's a broadcaster.
[Cue Meatlocker's citizens opening the door.]
- Combined with Cassandra Truth in The Boy Who Cried Yuri: Shinji overhears something he shouldn't have. When he tells Misato about it, she naturally dismisses him in the "eww, don't fantasize about your coworkers" way. Cue Shinji hiding in the locker room with a tape recorder... and getting The Take when Misato gets turned on and joins the action instead.
- In Time Enough, Harry makes a man confess his crimes to him in a pub. The guy gloats that "No one will ever believe you. You've got a room full of drunks as witnesses." Alas, Harry was prepared for such an occasion... That is, an Auror and a reporter (Ron and Luna) were sitting nearby, both perfectly sober.
- Getting Back on Your Hooves: The Mane Six set up a Batman Gambit to get Checker Monarch to confess to trying to (illegally) ruin the lives of Trixie and her friends out of pettiness, spite, and jealousy during her public address to Ponyville. It's then subverted when Checker anticipates this and destroys their planted microphones when Trixie confronts her... and then it's double subverted when Checker's butler Helping Hoof plants another microphone on himself and exposes her.
- In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv), when Near is talking to Light with the taskforce listening in, Near thanks Kira for killing the guy who molested him:
- May the Best Friend Win, the first sequel to Rainbooms and Royalty, has this pop up during the climax: Twilight casts a spell that swaps one of her eyes with Rainbow Dash's, allowing her to see Twilight confront Trixie and Trixie admitting to acting like a total Jerkass to all of Dash's friends behind her back.
- In What Everyone Didn't Know Harry uses Veritaserum-dosed Skittles to trick Dumbledore into admitting his less-than-savory plans for Harry and wizarding Britain in front of a concealed dozen aurors and Madame Bones - who happens to have a quill in operation which sends copies of everything it writes to each and every current edition of the Quibbler.
- In Antitrust, Milo is able to set up an elaborate satellite feed of Gary's company killing programmers and intending to create a monopoly.
- Forrest Gump: Inverted: During Forrest's stump speech during an anti-Vietnam rally that he somehow got convinced to go to, a large percentage of the speech involving things he was going to admit to the people about his experiences in Vietnam during the speech actually ended up missed because a Pro-Vietnam police officer pulled the plug on the mike, and the mike's sound output was only restored right when Forrest finishes up the statements. Of course, that didn't stop Abby Hoffman (who apparently heard the whole thing) from expressing sympathy about what happened in his experiences.
- Hollywood Homicide: K. C. Calden gets Wasley to confess to murder, then reveals that he has recorded it.
- The Saint: used in reverse. Simon Templar convinces the Russian president to confess to a fraudulent cold fusion project. After the president confesses in response to Ivan Tretiak’s accusations, the cold fusion machine works and destroy’s Tretiak’s credibility. 
- The definitive example is in A Face in the Crowd. Political demagogue Andy Griffith has an official agenda for his adoring public but a more sinister agenda in private. When he starts to rave about this during a private conversation, Patricia Neal switches on the microphone so that Griffith's ravings are broadcasted.
- Batman Returns had Batman pull one of these on a Villain with Good Publicity, the Penguin (I played this stinkin' city like a harp from Hell!).
- Similarly, in Batman & Robin, Batman shows Mr Freeze that he didn't kill his wife by playing-back a video of Poison Ivy mouthing off about "As I said to Lady Freeze when I pulled her plug, this is a one-woman show!!" Hilarity Ensues (unfortunately off-screen) when Mr. Freeze later becomes Poison Ivy's cellmate at Arkham Asylum, as he (presumably) beats the living hell out of her.
- In Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Kevin recorded the "Sticky Bandits"' confessions with his toy tape recorder.
- 16 Blocks uses the tape recorder variety, in which the protagonist plays back the words of a corrupt cop. Also, in the alternate ending, the tape recorder is found and played by the DA after the protagonist is shot.
- Colin Farrell's character in The Recruit uses his "Spartacus" program to transmit the gloating revelation Al Pacino's corrupt CIA agent to his superiors. Al Pacino emerges to find dozens of agents surrounding the building. However, in a subversion it turns out that Farrell was just bluffing, as the program wasn't able to get a signal. The agents still thought that he was the mole, and had arrived to capture him, not Pacino. However, Pacino believing they were here for him, delivers a rousing You Can't Handle the Truth speech and as a result is Hoist by His Own Petard. As the dozens of laser sights move from Farrell to him, he is given a moment to realize his error before committing Suicide by Cop.
- One of the greatest examples of the Alpha Bitch, Courtney from Jawbreaker, spent the entire movie covering up her responsibility for a prank that got her friend killed. While holding a recordable greeting card, she says, "I killed the teen dream. Deal with it." Forgetting she had a finger on the recording button. One of her former pals discovers the card as she prepares to turn in for the night. Off she goes to deliver the goods. In the end, Courtney's recorded confession was spliced into the microphone as she gave her prom queen acceptance speech. And the Humiliation Conga begins.
- In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, during Kirk's trial, an excerpt of his log entry saying "I have never trusted Klingons, and I never will. I've never been able to forgive them for the death of my boy." is shown as apparent proof of his motive behind Chancellor Gorkon's assassination. This fact is used later to implicate Lt. Valeris as a conspirator trying to sabotage Federation/Klingon peace talks.
- Used to take down the villain in Big Fat Liar.
- Brilliant subversion (or perhaps Double Subversion) in the Eddie Murphy political comedy The Distinguished Gentleman. Murphy's conman-turned-congressman is secretly trying to prove that a more senior congressman is taking kickbacks from a lobbyist in return for blocking an investigation into the relationship between power lines and cancer. He claims in a committee hearing to have videotaped a meeting between himself, the senior member, and the lobbyist. When they grab him and pull him into the meeting and demand to watch the tape, they discover its a bluff- it was just an ad for the phone sex business he used to own. Secure that they've dodged the bullet, they launch into discussing their Evil Plan-as he surreptitiously tapes the whole thing and then plays it for the media as soon as they go back into the hearing.
- In the Norm MacDonald film Dirty Work, Norm's character uses his Note to Self tape recorder to nab a confession out of the bad guy at the end.
- In the "Weird Al" Yankovic film UHF, an evil network executive goes on a tirade about how little the community means to him and how stupid he thinks its inhabitants are. Eventually this gets broadcast to the entire community in question in place of the important message that the executive intended to make. Odd in that the opening line of the confession that we see earlier in the film (the rest is saved to be revealed later) and the full confession that we see later on are obviously from two different takes, since the line is delivered differently, the character is seated instead of standing, etc.
- Done to the Man Behind the Man in Monsters, Inc.
Waternoose: I'll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die!
- In Enemy of the State (1998), after the protagonists (Will Smith, Gene Hackman) have lost the original video record of a congressman's assassination ordered and overseen by the corrupt politician named Thomas Reynolds, senior advisor to the National Security Agency, they decide to bluff and try to trick him into incriminating himself during a meeting. Unfortunately, their plan of catching it on tape via a hidden mic fails, and they are captured by his goons. However, thinking he has won Reynolds then launches into a villain speech, confessing to the murder. Unbeknownst to Reynolds, one of his own NSA technical people gets cold feet and records the whole speech in their surveillance van, which is later used by the FBI as proof for the conspiracy to murder the congressman. Not that Reynolds cares anymore, because he's already dead at that point.
- Subverted in Four Brothers; the adopted brothers, in their quest to avenge their murdered adopted mother, have to take down a dirty cop. The brother assigned to take down the cop goes to the cop's house and gets him to confess and pretends to be wired. Meanwhile, the girlfriends go to the police station and say that they're afraid that he's going to kill a cop. Cop cars show up at the dirty cop's house, he starts sweating and takes the brother hostage. The cops end up shooting him.
- Pulled off by Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey in The Negotiator.
- In The October Man, Mr. Peachy does one of these saying he is the murderer. No one is around to hear it, but it gives the hero enough incentive to prove it to the cops.
- Played pretty much straight in PCU, except that the unintentional broadcast didn't reveal past wrongdoing so much as current bigotry.
- Happens at the end of the French film District B 13. The villain, however, only does it when threatened with a Karmic Death.
- In the 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo, Dantes meets Villefort in a bath house and turns up the steam, obscuring much of the room. He then gets Villefort to confess to his crimes, at which point the steam clears away revealing the authorities who have been standing there the whole time.
- Played straight in RoboCop (1987), when Corrupt Corporate Executive, Dick Jones, boasts of his many crimes in front of the eponymous hero. Of course, being part robot, Robocop visually records Jones' confession and plays it back for his bosses. Oops.
- The Well-Intentioned Extremist and Villain with Good Publicity Big Bad in Minority Report fell victim to this.
- Jason Bourne pulled one on Ward Abbott in The Bourne Supremacy instead of killing him, which led to his suicide.
- Parodied in Johnny English, where the protagonist accidentally switches the vital confession recording with candid footage of himself lipsynching to Abba in front of the bathroom mirror. In his underwear.
- Happens in the finale of Gamer, right before he gets knifed in the gut.
- In Max Keeble's Big Move, Max is called into the principal's office. The guy rants about he doesn't care about the school because he's using 97 percent of the money to build a big football stadium and about 1 percent for the school (2 percent is on breath spray). Max turns on the camera that the principal uses to make the morning announcements and the entire school is shown just how much of a slimeball their principal is. Needless to say, he gets fired.
- Conventionally executed at the end of the Neill Marshall film Doomsday. The villain Canaris believes he's gotten away with everything, and explains his plan to heroine Eden Sinclair, and then returns to the control center and discovers that Sinclair recorded his confession and is having it broadcast to the world. We even see her setting her wrist device as she approaches the conversation with him.
- In A Simple Plan, Jacob is forced to kill a man to protect the secret of the money he, his brother Hank, and his friend Lou found. When Lou starts to come between Hank and Jacob over the money, Hank secretly records Lou pretending to confess to the murder in order to maintain a hold on Lou, threatening to take it to the sheriff if Lou steps out of line.
- Safety Patrol had the main characters expose that Scout Bozell was framed, and that it was the entire Safety Patrol and the lunchlady who were the true instigators of the fire by arranging for Weird Al Yankovic to sing the revelation with the tape being played throughout his concert. As soon as this was exposed, pretty much the entire Safety Patrol was fired, and Scout was reinstated with a new safety patrol team, and the Lunchlady was arrested partially for this reason.
- In Mission: Impossible II, Vlad infects John McCloy with the Chimera virus, and will only give him the antidote if he confesses to leaking it. However, it's all a trick, and Vlad was really Ethan in disguise with a tape recorder hidden under his coat
- Used to in the live action Yogi Bear movie when the corrupt Mayor Brown's attempt to dispose of an endangered turtle that's existence would stop his attempts to close Jellystone park. Turns out Boo Boo's bowtie camera (which previously in the film had been put on him for a nature documentary about him and Yogi) recorded Brown stating both this and how he doesn't care about Jellystone at all. The heroes then play it during his election promo, revealing what a slime ball he is to the entire city. To make matters worse, said turtle gets on stage at that very moment, confirming the confession. He and his Chief of Staff are arrested on the spot.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane reads out Gordon's speech where he reveals the conspiracy to protect Harvey Dent's good name. (Inverted, as here it's the villain enforcing the hero's confession than the other way round.)
- In Wall Street Gordon Gekko is furious at Bud Fox for sabotaging a business deal. He goes into a rant and then punches him in the face. All caught on an audio recording; even after he realizes Fox went behind his back he still isn't watching his step.
- In the 2007 film of Hairspray, after Amber loses the Miss Teenage Hairspray Competition, Velma then admits to Amber that she rigged the votes. Edna then informs Velma that her confession was broadcasted on camera, which causes Velma to lose her job.
- At the end of Vipers, the Corrupt Corporate Executive's self-incriminating and callous parting words to the herpetologist he'd left to die, along with other witnesses to his role in the titular snakes' escape, start playing over the loudspeakers as he's giving a presentation to potential investors. His demands that the playback be stopped are stymied when the scientist herself arrives with the police. Subverted in a sense, as the film is a formulaic direct-to-video horror flick, so can't resist the obligatory Hoist by His Own Petard ending for the villain: he's bitten by one of the lethal vipers in the last scene, rendering any legal or career damage from the confession moot.
- In Animorphs it was an engineered public demonstration. In Book #35, after spending days harassing a particular famous-but-psychologically unstable Controller, Marco (as a poodle) provokes the Controller into attempting to strangle him to death on national TV.
- In Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident Briar Cugeon gloats about his plan to kill Opal Koboi as Foaly records the conversation on Artemis' computer. Notable in that the whole thing doesn't get played at once. Select snippets of it are sent to the various people involved, one at a time, in various ways.
- Sherlock Holmes:
- "The Dying Detective", in which a concealed Watson overhears the gloating of a villain who thinks he's given Holmes a fatal disease.
- "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone", with a minor twist: Holmes didn't need the thieves to confess to stealing the missing diamond, as he had collected all the evidence he needed to convict before the story started. What he needed was to trick the thieves into saying where they had hidden it.
- During Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Princess Leia gets to do this to Smug Snake Borsk Fey'lya - the ship they were in went to arrest Han, Luke, and Rogue Squadron, and when an Imperial Star Destroyer showed up and the Rogues started flying cover, Fey'lya's ship and escorts started to abandon them and flee, nominally to get back and warn the Republic. Leia goaded him into admitting that the only use soldiers could have to a politician was political power, and his political enemies were his enemies in truth - the people on his ship and flying as his escort were his most ardent supporters, fleeing and letting his 'enemies' die could only benefit him. His supporters promptly mutiny and turn back to save the others.
- In The Sea of Monsters, the second book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Percy tricks Luke into confessing his crime of poisoning Thalia's tree to the entirety of Camp Half-Blood through an Iris-message, also proving Chiron's innocence.
- In "Gone Too Far", a Transformers: TransTech text story, our heroes manage to use this to their advantage. It's unwise to admit you framed someone for murder when they're a communications 'bot who records everything they hear.
- And in the Transformers: Shattered Glass story "Blitzwing Bop", Soundwave tricks Blaster into confessing a crime in front of a Cybertronian officer.
- At the end of the Alina Adams mystery Death Drop, the heroine engineers a situation for the murderer to make a confession to a certain acquaintance of his with a reality TV show in a storeroom full of cameras; he didn't check to make sure none of them were on. Thanks to a waiver he'd signed earlier, it was not only an on-camera confession, but a court admissible one.
- Averted in Seven Days in May — even with insurmountable evidence laid out before him, the antagonist never makes any explicit admission of guilt.
- In the Andrew Vachss Burke book Dead and Gone, Burke manages to get the Big Bad to admit his planned duplicity while a gadget is transmitting his words to the mercenaries supposed to be guarding him.
- In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel The Dying Days the Doctor pulls off one of these on the alien warlord who has taken over Britain and declared himself King. After tricking him into breathing in helium the Doctor then displays the whole conversation as a giant hologram in the sky with the villain's (squeaky) rant broadcast all over the world.
The Doctor: I think you've just made your abdication speech Your Majesty.'
- At the end of Embedded, Lex Falk is able to talk Tedders into admitting everything about the alien artifact on the colony planet Eighty-Six, which is what the Bloc and SOMD armies are fighting over. Tedders admits this because Falk is in control of the body of Nestor Bloom, a SOMD soldier, and she feels that "Bloom" needs the whole story, even while the SOMD is trying to cover up the whole thing. She doesn't realize that Falk is there until he openly admits that everything that Bloom is seeing and hearing is being transmitted live to the various news agencies.
- In one Star Trek: New Frontier novel, Captain Mackenzie Calhoun defeats an evil alien leader this way. In response to her attempt to extort him with the lives of Federation refugee hostages, he launched torpedoes at her world's capital city. Then he begs her to stand down and asks if she cares one bit about her people. She sneers "no". At the last second Calhoun aborts the attack. Calhoun promptly broadcasted a recording of the last few minutes across the planet — particularly the part with the villainess willing to gamble with the lives of her people. Almost immediately an angry mob tears her and her accomplices apart.
- In The Golden Oecumene, Phaethon does this to himself during his trial, angrily replying to a rival on the private channel, and realizing a moment too late he's actually switched over to the public channel.
- In Joan Hess's Pride V. Prejudice, Claire Malloy tracks down a murderer to clear the name of the victim's widow, as well as a fugitive whom the real killer had also implicated. The culprit admits she's right when she presents her accusation, not realizing that Claire, whom the FBI have been looking for since she was seen with the fugitive, had switched on her cell phone: a device she knew the feds must be tapping in their efforts to locate her.
- Anger Management: The episode "Charlie Has a Threesome" has Charlie, his girlfriend and her friend doing just that. Afterward, she begins sabotaging their relationship as she wants the friend for herself. Charlie gets her to openly confess, but she does so knowing the girlfriend won't take it seriously. Eventually though, he gets her to confess to him again in confidence not knowing that his girlfriend is in the other room and knows now that she's wasn't kidding before and that she really meant what she said.
- Most episodes of The Pretender ended with the Monster of the Week bad guy forced to confess under the same circumstances that he hurt or killed another person.
- In the Dawson's Creek episode "Election", Pacey turns the school's PA on while Abby tells him, in a moment of private smugness, that the school is filled with idiots. She then loses the election.
- The fourth-season The Dead Zone episode "Heroes & Demons" ends with an Engineered Public Confession in which the crooked cop's superiors are hiding just within earshot.
- In the the penultimate episode of Season 3 of Revenge, Emily enacts her long-awaited eponymous revenge against Conrad Grayson via this. She kidnaps his daughter Charlotte and blackmails him into a public confession (for funding terrorism and framing Emily's father)- however, knowing that such a confession would be thrown out for being made under duress, Emily instead reveals the truth to Charlotte about her father's crimes, plants a hidden camera on her jacket and releases her (all while concealing her identity). Charlotte then returns home and immediately confronts Conrad about framing her biological father. Conrad flips out, declares Charlotte an ungrateful bastard and threatens her to remain silent, confessing to everything in the process. As a final gesture, Nolan turns on the TV at Grayson manor just in time for Conrad to see that his confession has been broadcast on live TV for everyone to see- clearing David Clarke's name and sending Conrad to prison.
- Done with Jesse's con man cousin in Full House.
- Though not a villain, Liz Lemon on the 30 Rock episode "The Aftermath" twice accidentally confesses her true opinion of other characters while being broadcasted, first on a microphone over the entire studio and then again over a closed-circuit television monitor. See Is This Thing Still On?.
- In Season 1 Keith Palmer gets in Carl's face and the latter threatens him. Later on it's revealed that Keith put the exchange on tape.
- In Season 5, President Charles Logan, responsible for the day's various murders and terrorist attacks, is taken hostage by Jack Bauer, who attempts to scare a confession out of him by threatening him with a gun. When that fails, Bauer is arrested, and President Logan returns to give a press conference. When his wife Martha goes hysterical with anger, the president takes her aside and threatens her, confessing to his involvement in the day's events while doing so. A few minutes later, much to Logan's surprise, it is revealed that Jack had placed a secret recording device on him while threatening him earlier, and his entire confession was recorded on it. Martha and Jack had planned this the entire time.
- Emmerdale: Subversion: Has an episode where Adam holds Steph hostage after she gets him to admit to killing Terrence. Steph manages to convince Adam that she loves him and they should run away together. When Adam unties her, she makes a break for it and runs to the police to show them the secret recording she made of Adam's confession. But all that's on the tape is Adam's doctor's notes.
- Coronation Street: Subversion: Roy and Haley are trying to adopt an unhappy child but his abusive father won't let them take him without lots of cash exchanging hands. They try to trick him into confessing, but don't quite manage it. They hide the recorder under a newspaper and sit him next to it, then try to get him to remind them what the plot of the arc is. After a few hours he's fairly pissed off and wants them to get to the point of why they asked him to come over. Roy tries to pay him a meager sum in exchange for his signature on the papers. The guy freaks out, barking at them that he wants lots more money or they'll never see the kid, and how he'll get violent if they ever waste his time like this again. It's at this point that the recorder runs out of tape and makes a whirring noise. He finds it, smashes it, threatens them some more, and demands yet more money.
- Happens a lot on Leverage:
- Considering the Five-Man Band are Robin Hoods for hire. A prime example is the episode with the Iraq War vet: A congressman and the head of a Blackwater-style security company are basically using the Iraq war as a giant money laundering operation. The crew sends earlier proof of their collaboration the news outlets, and when reporters catch the two together they try to play it off as a secret plan to expose corruption. Cue the really incriminating conversation they had minutes earlier being sent to the reporters.
- One episode combines this tactic hilariously with Gaslighting: the team engineer the villain of the episode to break down and admit to her boss (and, unknowingly, also through her store's speaker system) that she's been covering up a toxic waste spill (which never actually existed) - after which she goes on to detail the various other evil things she's also done.
- A team member tries to prod the villain into a confession while they're in a nightclub's A/V room. The villain punches him and bends over to whisper "Do you think I'd confess to a murder in a room full of microphones?" into the team member's ear...which has an earbud in it. Ooops.
- The second season of Phoenix Nights ends with the main character's Evil Counterpart Den Perry being subjected to an Engineered Public Confession, having attempted to sabotage the titular club on numerous occasions including burning it down.
- A variation of this occurs on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Sisko is ordered not to tell the Cardassians of the Klingon plan to invade them. To get around this, he has himself measured for a suit by the resident Cardassian spy/tailor whilst discussing the invasion plan with his senior staff.
- In Primeval, when Christine has taken over the ARC, she's exposed when her rude remarks about the Minister are taped, and sent to him by Beckett, saving everyone's bacon, although earlier, Beckett had seemed to be Christine's loyal minion. It's hilarious!
- In an episode of Just Shoot Me!, Maya tries to expose Elliot's brother's fraud. She fails miserably. He's eventually done in by one part this trope, one part Exasperated Perp, by the completely oblivious Pointy-Haired Boss.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Episode "Enemies," when Faith believes Buffy is tied up and Angel is his evil alter ego Angelus, she tells them about the Mayor's plans — only, Buffy isn't tied and Angel is still his soulful self.
- In "Intervention" Spike tells his Buffy Sex Bot that he'd die before giving up Dawn to Glory, unaware that it's actually Buffy pretending to be the bot. Realising that Spike's Heel-Face Turn is genuine earns him a kiss and Buffy's trust from then on.
- Babylon 5:
- In the season 4 finale, Michael Garibaldi (and the other main characters) are recreated as illusions 500 years in the future to blacken their characters. Garibaldi's illusion then proceeds to hack into the system, broadcasting the discussion between him and the scientist who created the illusions into the aether, while convincing the scientist to explain their side's plans on the virtue of being an illusion. It was awesome.
- Much earlier, in the season 1 episode "Eyes", Sinclair executes the psychic version of this trope by taunting EarthForce agent Ari ben-Zayn until his hatred and resentment of Sinclair (that was the motivation behind his investigation and attempted coup) was revealed to the telepath he brought with him, who then helped Sinclair, Ivanova and Garibaldi to take him down.
- Inverted in Clarissa Explains It All, while doing a science report on weekend of TV, her annoying brother, Ferguson, attempts to make her go insane. Clarissa and her pals find out about it, and she pays him back—by faking insane, but after removing batteries from Ferguson's tape recording.
- A non-villain version was seen in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide when Crubbs revealed the school's policy of replacing (only) broken property, leading to a cacophony of teachers smashing old, obsolete equipment.
- The pilot of Remington Steele has the heroes move a body from one room to another in a hotel. When the villain exclaims, "We left him in her room!" a door is opened to reveal a roomful of cops next door.
- Burn Notice: in "Bad Blood", a guy embezzling from a rap mogul shows up to kill someone who knows too much, but not before bragging about how clever his scheme was. Then it turns out the gun, which Michael gave him, was full of blanks, and the rap mogul is in the next room.
- Veronica Mars does this in the episode "Like a Virgin." Veronica gets the culprit to confess near her locker, then opens the locker to reveal a video camera; she then has the tape played during a television program broadcast to the entire school.
- In The Bold and the Beautiful, Rick rubs in his brother Ridge's face how his marriage to his daughter (Steffy) was a revenge plot against Ridge. And all the while, Ridge is recording the conversation and later plays it to Steffy who then breaks up with Rick.
- How To Rock: The episode "How to Rock a Good Deed" has Kasey receving a minor foot injury, which she plays up as even bigger after it has healed so she doesn't have to do any of the volunteer work, but still get to take the credit. Nelson discovers the truth and tells the rest of Gravity 5 and Molly and Grace. Molly leaves boots behind and seems to leave while Kasey switches off the charade and tries on both boots and walks fine with them. It's not until she's made herself abundantly clear that she discovers the other six members of the gang all hiding behind a structure and watching her.
- Happens frequently on Law & Order. David Cross famously got in hot water for badmouthing his own guest role on L&O and the somewhat lazy writing — leading to severely constrained opportunities for acting — of having the villain just break down and confess everything to the cops after a few prods.
- A subverted and reverted example came in the Season 16 epsiode "Acid" when they get the current girlfriend of an abuser (who drove his last girlfriend, the daughter of one of Van Buren's friends, to hang herself by throwing a burning drain cleaner in her face) to wear a wire and get him to confess to the things he did. He doesn't take the bait and it seems to be all for not. But then the dead girlfriend's sister shows up and throws a suspicious liquid in his face and begins hitting him. He confesses as the police break it up and the liquid is revealed to be vinegar, which never was intended to do any harm and just illicit him to reveal what he did. The police's didn't work, but the sister's did.
- Mission: Impossible: The IMF's other most commonly used operandi. If it isn't getting the villain killing themselves one way or another, it's getting the villain to confess to a higher power. This trope is usually used against villains with good publicity.
- Mocked hilariously on Saturday Night Live during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Linda Tripp (Played by John Goodman!) is wearing an Incredibly Obvious Bug and trying desperately to get Monica to confess to sex with Bill Clinton, but she keeps changing the subject.
Tripp: "Speak into the flower, dear."
- Vanessa does this to Blair on Gossip Girl in Enough About Eve. In season 6 Chuck attempts to do this to his father, unfortunately Bart sees right through it.
- In Torchwood: Children of Earth, Torchwood record a meeting of the British cabinet in which they decide to give the 456 ten percent of the children and agree on the way to select the ten percent. They then blackmail the government using this: either the government let Torchwood deal with the 456, or the information will be released to the public. The government do as they're told, but later yet, it is implied that further damning information will indeed be made public.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Day of the Moon", the Doctor and friends pull a variety of this on the Silence. "You tend to my wounds. You are foolish. You should kill us all on sight!" rants a wounded Silent. The last sentence is later replayed as one of these during the live footage of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon, all around the world, reinterpreted as a hypnotic command. The humans do as they're told. Even better, since the confession was spliced into one of humanity's biggest historical milestones, the Doctor ensured that humans will continue to see the message for a looooong time.
- A variation takes place in The Twilight Zone episode "The Obsolete Man". When Romney Wordsworth (Burgess Meredith) was sentenced to death by the totalitarian State for "obsolescence" (i.e. collecting books and professing his belief in God in a world where both books and religion are outlawed), he requested that his death be administered by a time bomb and that his death be televised. When the judge who sentenced him visited him before his execution to gloat, Wordsworth secretly locked him inside with him, so the judge would be executed with him. Seconds before the bomb went off, the judge cracked:
Judge: In God's name, let me out!
Wordsworth: Yes. In God's name, I will let you out. (The judge survived, but was now brought up on charges of obsolescence for begging for his life "in God's Name")
- Parodied in The Thin Blue Line, where the chief admits to Raymond Fowler that he faked some evidence. Raymond the triumphantly pulls out a rather large tape recorder from his pocket. But when he tries to play the confession, the tape just runs the workout-training that used to be on the tape. Another policeman then shows that you have to press both record and play at the same time to start recording, "I don't know why either". As an added bonus, the recorder is turned on during that demonstration, resulting in it recording some fierce Innocent Innuendo between Raymond and his ex-girlfriend. And the tape belonged to Raymond's wife, and she uses it for her workout at the end of the episode....
- On Desperate Housewives, Tom's evil love child Kayla gets Lynette arrested by burning herself and calling Children's Protective Services, saying that Lynette did it. Kayla confesses to Tom about it, but says that she's going to keep lying to everyone else. Tom then reveals that his cell phone has been on the whole time, and the family's psychiatrist has heard the whole thing.
- Mama does this on Mamas Family to Naomi's boss who was sexually harassing her. While he's bragging to Mama in his office about how he "bagged every good-looking checker in the Tri-State Area," Mama turns on the store's PA system, letting his confession be heard by all the employees and customers. (And when he lunges at her/the microphone, beats him up with her purse while screaming into the mic.)
- On Chuck, Magnificent Bastard Daniel Shaw is a good way toward taking over the CIA and has already made all the heroes look insane or murderous. Chuck sneaks into his private office during a meeting of agencies from all over the world, and makes Shaw think his big plan was tricking Shaw into alerting the leaders of the evil organization The Ring, getting them to leave the conference and thus reveal themselves. Shaw points out that they're still considered outlaws who no one will listen to, and Chuck goads him into gloating about being a Ring agent, plus murdering Chuck's father. Then Chuck reveals that their whole conversation has been broadcast to everyone at the conference.
- Drake & Josh: In "Believe Me Brother," one of Megan's pranks by secretly recording Drake and Josh and putting it into their project footage backfires and helps them instead when it reveals that Drake's girlfriend Susan was the one who flirted with and kissed Josh and that Josh was telling Drake the truth the whole time.
- On NCIS, Ziva gets a suspect to confess that she is Iranian intelligence by letting her think she is beating Ziva up. Ziva was wearing a mic and got the confession on tape.
- Tony gets one out of Eli David, the Director of Mossad regarding the motivations of Michael Rivkin. Bonus points because Tony was the one being interrogated for killing him.
- In the Season 9 finale of Smallville, Clark manages to turn Zod's followers on him by tricking him into confessing that he killed his lover Faora and their unborn child, an act he had previously blamed on Clark and the humans. Apparently, Zod forgot that his followers all had super hearing.
- Subverted in the episode "Mr. Monk Meets the Godfather", where Monk attempted to extract a confession out of the killer (a man who stole five double headed pennies from the U.S. Mint) for the FBI to hear (he was wearing a tie that contained a bug), but the confession did not come through due to the bug being damaged (Monk had the tie drycleaned due to a stain he accidentally got on the tie during an attempted sting on the Mafiosos for attempting to attack a gang earlier).
- A Double Subversion occurs during the episode "Mr. Monk Is On the Run Part 2". Natalie attempts to record Dale the Whale's confession on tape, but he knew long before she attempted to do so that she was going to try that, and did not confirm that he was attempting to frame Monk. However, he did tell her to record his message to Monk about switching places with him... and invoked the trope on himself anyways by having her record while his computer was on a weather map on Riverton, causing Monk to deduce exactly what Dale was planning.
- In an episode of Andromeda, Dylan Hunt is accused of murder. He finds out he was framed by people he has never met before. He then tracks down the last one, who laments losing his friends but brags about framing Hunt. Hunt, of course, is keeping his Comm Links channel open for Rommie to record and broadcast to the authorities.
- Magnum, P.I.:
- Episode "The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club", Thomas Magnum does this to an unscrupulous TV reporter with her video camera.
- "The Kona Winds" has a particularly dramatic variation—a Femme Fatale tries to manipulate Magnum into murdering her husband, but he catches on and convinces the husband to pretend to play dead. Magnum then draws the woman into confessing her entire plan, right over her husband's "dead body".
- Starsky and Hutch force two FBI agents to confess that they've been trying to unofficially intimidate S&H into backing off of a case. When the door swings open to reveal their boss has been listening in, he is not best pleased.
- Episode "Demons" plays this entirely straight: Castle and Beckett confront the Murderer of the Week by themselves in a spooky old mansion, the murderer gets the upper hand, tells them everything because he's going to kill them anyway, and then they tell him they set up a recording device in the room and cops were waiting right outside the whole time.
- This is (at least) the second time Castle has employed this trope. The previous was only two episodes prior. Ryan wired up the youngest kid in a crime family and had him try to get a confession out of his brother for killing his tutor. He gets it, with his brother pointing a gun at him. Cops bust in, and the kid gets shot. He's not quite dead. The shooting was a ruse to get the kid into protective custody.
- The episode "Undead Again": There is no tangible proof that a suspect drugged the guy who dressed up as a zombie to think he was a zombie so that he'd kill the victim. The guy, once again dressed up as the zombie incapacitates Esposito and angrily confronts him about it and the suspect confesses. It turns out Esposito was fine and as Beckett comes out to arrest the suspect, the guy dressed as the zombie is revealed to be Castle in disguise.
- Henry Danger: Somewhat subverted. Henry and Bianca kiss after he saves her. As Kid Danger. Realizing Bianca doesn't know that, Henry realizes she willingly kissed another guy and cheated on him. To find out if she'll do it again, he stages another incident in which Kid Danger saves her and then tries to kiss her, but she turns him down and says the earlier kiss was wrong and she'd rather be with Henry instead. Since she still doesn't know the two are one in the same, Henry knows she's being genuine.
- Used by Patrick Jane in The Mentalist against another 'psychic' to get him to leave a woman alone.
- JAG: In "Killer Instinct" (season 6), the defendant is a petty officer on an Aircraft Carrier suspected of murdering a subordinate (by throwing overboard at night), because they were incompetent at their jobs. One crucial piece of evidence is not admissible in court because the ship's CO did not have probable cause for issuing a search warrant, and this necessitates a different strategy from the prosecution. Harm does the standard Perry Mason Method, knowing beforehand that the defendant will not fall into the trap and make him overconfident. And when Bud later has his turn to question him, he begins by asking the defendant several questions that Harm had asked earlier, then proceeds to make several other basic errors before dropping his notes in mid-question, and finally drives the pedantic defendant into a rage, before revealing that he was Obfuscating Stupidity and it was all part of a plan.
Petty Officer Duell: Some people don’t belong in the United States Navy.
Lieutenant Roberts: No, but the Navy won’t kill them.
Petty Officer Duell: No, but somebody has to.
Lieutenant Roberts: Somebody has to, sir.
- In The City Hunter, this is the hero's default method of dealing with the villains, destroying their credibility. In one case he allows himself to be filmed being beaten bloody by a presidential candidate's supposedly-disabled son in order to prove said disability was false.
- Elementary: This is how Moriarty is brought down in the final episode of season one. The scheme that foils her is a Batman Gambit engineered by Joan Watson, who correctly deduced that Moriarty was in love with Sherlock and would come to his side and discuss her crimes if he faked an overdose.
- Pretty Little Liars features this in season 2. Hanna and Mona go riding with Kate(Hanna's quasi step sister)and two of Kate's friends. Neither Hanna or Mona are very good so they decide to go rest in the lodge/main office. Hanna,who is not very happy about her father's up coming nuptials, takes this oppertunity to complain to Mona about how she hates Kate and Kate's mother Isobel. Unfortunately Hanna doesn't realize until it's too late that "someone"(Mona acting as "A") had turned on the intercom so Kate,Kate's friends,and everyone else outside hear every word she said.
- In the Season 2 finale "unmAsked," Spencer is captured by A and while they're in a car, video calls the others discreetly to show them that she's not only been captured by A, but to reveal to them that A is Mona.
- Kamen Rider Fourze presents an inverted version of the trope, in which a Monster of the Week is the one who exposes a good guy to the public. For more context, the Monster in question is the Chamaeleon Zodiarts, and as its name implies, is able to use camouflage. It uses this ability to film the school's Alpha Bitch, Miu, ripping the gifts that the students at the school made for her and showing just how much she doesn't care for them in the slightest. The Zodiarts then proceeds to show this film to everyone during a contest to see who would be the queen of their school. It's because of this that causes Miu to take a Heel-Face Turn.
- Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: In "Dead Air", Phryne confronts a murderer in a radio studio. She switches on the microphone so that the killer's confession is broadcast live.
- Supernatural: In Season 9's finale, "Do You Believe in Miracles", Castiel tricks Metatron into gloating about his evil master plan to turn the angels and humanity into his blind worshipers in sound range of the angel-radio mic.
- Revolution: This is how the heroes finally take down the Patriots at the end of Season 2: after kidnapping President Davis, they're ambushed by Patriot soldiers. When Davis gets free, he flies into a rant about how he represents the true America, and how he's going to get Texas and California to wipe each other out for him. However, when he gives the order to have the heroes shot, it turns out that the "Patriots" are Texas Rangers, and the de facto leader of Texas is in the other room — this whole scenario was a setup to provide Texas with undeniable proof that the Patriots were playing them, and results in Davis' arrest and Texas declaring war on the outnumbered Patriots.
- In the finale of Old Harry's Game Season 6, Satan engineers Rosemary's confession to Edith's murder ... live on Radio 4's Today programme.
- The Infocom Interactive Fiction Adventure Game A Mind Forever Voyaging ends this way.
- Appears in Full Throttle, in a variation: you're not getting the Big Bad to admit to killing Malcolm Corley, but rather showing pictures of him doing just that. For additional hilarity, these pictures are shown while the Big Bad is trying to tell people just how much he loved Malcolm.
- The end of Wing Commander IV is an interactive fiction segment where you must trick the Big Bad into forgetting about the crowd in front of him and doing this.
- Policenauts. Full stop.
- Pecker managed to do this to Mizo at the end of Jak X Combat Racing, using one of the floating cameras that came with his job as race commentator.
- Ace Attorney - In the final case of Apollo Justice you put all of the clues together and they point to Kristoph Gavin. That person gloats because they don't believe the evidence to be strong enough to convict them, and they believes that's the only way you'll be able to save the defendant... then they're reminded that the trial is the first one in which a jury gets to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant, and the defence believes that they've given the jury enough reasonable doubt. This cues the start of a Villainous Breakdown as the guilty party rants, raves, and insults the members of the jury...who are all watching, live.
- Fallout: should you want to help Killian Darkwater in Junktown to gather evidences on Gizmo, you could offer your services to Gizmo as an assassin to kill Killian. While wearing a hidden tape recorder on you of course! And coming back with the evidence.
- This Engineered Public Confession was brought to you by Raynor's Raiders.
"...these shocking revelations..." "...veritable firestorm of anti-Mengsk sentiment..."
Donny Vermillion: The Emperor held a press conference earlier today.
"Emperor, how do you respond to these allegations of genocide?! Of using aliens to-"
Arcturus: I assure you these slanderous attacks against the throne are baseless and irresponsible!
Kate Lockwell: Emperor, do you still stand by the sentiment that selfless devotion to the people is the basis of your rule?
Arcturus: But of course. I was called upon to serve the greater interests of humanity! Personal power was never my goal.
Kate Lockwell: Then how would you characterize this statement? *click*
Recording: "I will not be stopped. Not by you or the Confederates or the protoss or anyone! I will rule this sector or see it burnt to ashes around me!"
* multiple camera flashes almost blind Arcturus Mengsk*
Arcturus: I-I won't stand for this... do you jackals think you can come in here and question me?! THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER! *pushes interview booth, walks away*
- Subverted in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's in-game novel: In the Darkness of Shadow Moses: The Unofficial Truth. Nastasha Romanenko and Richard Ames kept Snake's Codec on at all times for them to observe the mission, as well as recording various Codec conversations, including Master Miller/Liquid Snake's conversations with Snake. However, Liquid later reveals to them that he actually knew all along that they were recording everything he and the others stated, yet allowed it to happen anyways.
- Dishonored has this as an option to deal with Lord Regent Hiram Burrows non-lethally. Corvo can find and steal a recording of the Lord Regent, wherein he confesses that he intentionally brought the plague to Dunwall in an attempt to Kill the Poor. The guards promptly find the confessor and arrest him.
- In Telltale's Back to the Future, Marty does this to Edna Strickland to expose her as the speakeasy arsonist.
- Rumsiel reveals one in Misfile.
- Mulberry tried this once to expose CW writer Bratt Ratbreath as a Jerk Ass. However, the teenage girls watching actually praise him for his confession.
- In Season 9 of Survivor: Fan Characters, Cherman staged one with Bitch in Sheep's Clothing extraordinaire Prescilla by giving his recorder to her visitor Barbie and then playing her Evil Gloating about how much she had sadistically hurt people throughout the game at the Final Tribal Council for everyone to hear. Cue an epic Villainous Breakdown from Prescilla and her going from a Villain with Good Publicity to a humiliated villain with zero chance of winning.
- A variant in Commander Kitty: MOUSE sets up Freeda to snap Ace out of his funk and take action against Mittens. All it took was one missing word and Ace got completely the wrong idea...
- "Fairest Of Them All", the third episode of Star Trek Continues and a direct sequel to "Mirror Mirror" and set entirely in the Mirror Universe, ends with this gambit. Kirk, enraged at Spock's mutiny against him, rants that his crew are nothing but pawns to be used and sacrificed for his own enrichment. Spock simply steps away from the wall, revealing that the communications panel was turned on and that the entire crew heard his rant.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- In the Batman: The Animated Series:
- Episode, "Almost Got Him," Batman finally reveals himself to the supervillains he has been listening to in a bar as Croc in disguise. They aim their weapons and note he's never getting out of the bar alive. However, seemingly every other patron and staff of the bar produces a weapon; they were actually all cops in disguise, including Commissioner Gordon and Det. Harvey Bullock, and were waiting for Batman to give the signal to arrest them once Joker blabbed about where he was keep Catwoman hostage.
- In "Riddler's Reform", Batman had just escaped a death trap set by Riddler, who's desperate to learn how he escaped. Desperate enough to offer to confess his crimes. Rather than accepting the deal, Batman revealed that he had tricked Riddler into broadcasting the confession. Batman gets bonus points for using the same trick Riddler had previously used to humiliate him and a device Riddler invented.
- An episode of Codename: Kids Next Door had the Delightful Children becoming the class president for an Evil Plan. They say this plan out loud when it nears fruition, and as they finish, look out the balcony to see the students looking angrily at them. The Delightful Children then turn around to see that Numbah One had the PA button held down the whole time.
- The Fairly OddParents:
- An episode has Timmy proving to the authorities that assign fairy godparents that Vicky (who had taken Cosmo and Wanda from him) was happy (and thus no longer needed the two) with a tape recorder. A manipulated tape recorder, at that. One side is her talking, the other is a faked voice. When she protests the fake voice, he reveals he recorded her protest. Probably counts as Karmic Death, as Vicky used the same trick earlier.
- That's not exactly how it went. The two times Vicky did it to Timmy involved her using two separate recordings and then Timmy did it to her with two recordings after turning her into a child pertaining to her stealing from her mom's purse. When Timmy plays the recording of Vicky saying she's happy and doesn't need the fairies anymore, this time, it's one full recording all the way through.
- Another episode has Vicky and Timmy trying to frame each other over the use of a special voice-changing microphone and a pirate radio station. Timmy had been using the microphone to manipulate the town's parents into spending more time with their kids. When pissed-off FCC agents show up, Timmy simply raises the microphone to Vicky while she rants, causing the agents to believe she ran the illegal radio station. Jail time!
- In the Futurama episode "A Head in the Polls", Richard Nixon rants about his plans for Earth after he is elected — in front of Bender, a robot with a tape recorder in his head. Subverted when he gives Nixon the tape in exchange for his old body, allowing him to win the election.
- The Galaxy Trio episode "The Battle of the Aquatrons" had the self-proclaimed emperor Lotar being taken down this way. Lotar had overthrown his brother Neptar, the rightful ruler of the planet Aqueous, and taken over. The Galaxy Trio freed Neptar, who then turned on the video communicator in Lotar's throne room. The Galaxy Trio talked Lotar into admitting that the welfare of the people of Aqueous was of no concern to him and and that he thought they would follow him blindly. When the public heard that they turned against Notar and he fled.
- Hey Arnold! The Movie: After Scheck burns the document that declares the neighborhood, the location of the "Tomato Incident," as a national landmark, Arnold gets around not having the document by using Scheck's own security camera footage of him burning the document to reveal the truth to everyone about both the neighborhood and Scheck himself.
- In a variation, an episode of Superman: The Animated Series had Lois tricking a crooked cop to confess to framing a man on death row for his murder... with Superman right outside, using his super-hearing to get every detail. Subverted in that the detective didn't actually confess to the murder at that point. He did throw nosy Lois over the stair railing -several stories up.
- The New Adventures of Superman episode "The Prankster". Superman knows that the Prankster has committed two counts of disturbing the peace but can't legally prove it (no witnesses or other evidence). He pulls multiple pranks on the Prankster and gets him so angry that he confesses to the crimes, after which Superman pulls out a microphone and tape recorder that he used to get the confession Caught on Tape.
- Teamo Supremo: The team exposes a pop singer's anti-individuality stance as being created by her producer at her concert, by showing the concert-goers the producer saying so to the singer.
- In Mona the Vampire, the blond, villainous girl goes over the heroes with a metal detector (finding two tape recorders) before telling them all about the Evil Plan. Unfortunately for her, she forgot to check the cat.
- An episode of Justice League began with a triumphant Kryptonite-wielding Lex Luthor standing over the fallen Superman. Lex confesses to smuggling weapons and selling them to terrorists. Turns out it wasn't really Superman, but J'onn J'onzz in disguise, and Batman and Green Lantern have been listening the whole time. Whoops.
- In the thirteenth season premiere of South Park, Kyle turns on the microphone backstage at a Jonas Brothers concert, causing a live world-broadcast of the confession of a long-term plan to exploit the purported myopia of devout Christians by secretly selling sex to girls under the guise of good, clean, family-friendly entertainment. And just for that extra South Park kick, the person he engineers this confession from is Mickey Mouse. Didn't quite work, as Mickey was so powerfully homicidal that the world just knuckled under to him, waiting until his rage was spent and he went back to sleep.
- Spoofed in Drawn Together. Spanky Ham and Captain Hero were abusing a superhero-versus-villain gambling book, with Spanky Ham betting thousands of dollars for the monster and Captain Hero deliberately failing very miserably, when Captain Hero was overcome by greed and decided to do it himself. Spanky Ham then retaliates by recording Captain Hero confessing his actions... with an incredibly obvious recorder hanging from his neck and asking the most revealing questions he could think of.
- Buzz Lightyear does this to Guzelian, who revealed that he tricked everyone into making peace with each other so that he could attack them both.
- Done in Fillmore! to the corrupt chief commissioner in "South of Friendship, North of Honor."
- Also done twice before that in "A Forgotten Yesterday." The first time has Fillmore getting Rudy to reveal where he hid the stolen ledger with the term paper discs just by simply asking him...in his sleep.
- The second time has Fillmore making Sonny think he stole the ledger from Rudy and will now go down for it if caught or going to the Safety Patrol to finger Sonny for coming after him and then setting him up with the fake hall passes and taking the ledger for him to then take as his own. It turns out Fillmore discovered that Sonny used the phone he gave him to call the Student Council and turn him in for the hall passes (which he hadn't done in the first place) and not only got a warrant for the ledger from Student Council, but is wearing a wire that has recorded Sonny revealing his involvement in everything.
- In one episode of Gargoyles, Elisa tries this on Fox in order to prove to her brother Derek that Xanatos is up to no good as usual. Fox gloats about Xanatos having trapped Derek, and that there was nothing Elisa could do about it. Elisa had the whole thing recorded and had intended to play it all for Derek, but then decided to just give him the recording and let him play it on his own. He didn't.
- Variation in Transformers Animated. Starscream tells the Autobots that it was him, not them, that offlined Megatron... not knowing that he was being filmed by news drones. When Megatron came back online, he saw the news broadcast of Starscream's gloating. Needless to say, he was less than thrilled upon learning the truth.
- Garfield and Friends did a variation: When Jon was questioning the head of the monstromarket store about the expensive prices for eggs, the boss admits that he deliberately made the items more expensive as a means of making himself filthy rich. Unbeknownst to him, Garfield, who he had earlier chased in the episode, used one of his store microphones to broadcast everything he said to Jon throughout the whole store. The customers immediately leave the store, and it is implied that his store is going to go out of business.
- This is how Spyke gets Quicksilver in jail in their introductory episode of X-Men: Evolution.
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: Terry gives the police the sound byte of Jordan Pryce telling the Jokerz that he gave them the security codes in exchange for hiring them to kill/ice Bruce Wayne.
Pryce: ...I want my lawyer.
- A variation occurred in the Batman Beyond episode "Ascension", Derek Powers intended to "retire" and place his son as his replacement so he could act behind the scenes. Unfortunately for him, his son had other plans. His son engineered a media circus with complaints about his polluting his stationed country's water supply, getting his father angry enough to disintegrate the skin grafts used to contain his mutated form, Blight, on live TV, which meant they now know who the radioactive guy who was committing various crimes was, including Terry McGinnis.
- In Rugrats,
- In one of the earlier episodes, when Tommy's clown lamp mysteriously breaks, the Rugrats hold a faux court trial to see who was the one who broke the lamp, with Angelica as the prosecutor. As the episode culminates, it's revealed that Angelica was the culprit after the babies realize that Angelica was suppose to be taking a nap when the Lamp broke in the first place and SOMEHOW knew what all the babies were doing at the same time. In her usual demeanor, Angelica gloats about the whole thing being her doing and that the babies couldn't do anything about since they're babies. Unfortunately for her, Didi and Betty were in the other room, listening the whole time...
- Angelica Pickles, due to not liking Chinese food and wanting other things, used a prototype voice changer that her uncle invented to get several things, such as sweets, a Cynthia dollhouse (that her father promised to get if she was well behaved), and a faux surprise party for her. When Tommy's parents came home, they were about to take away the grampa's teeth (as they threatened to do so if he didn't supervise the kids), Angelica attempts to quell it, with Tommy activating the voice changer and placing it right near her mouth while she is speaking, causing them to realize just how Angelica managed to trick them big time. Needless to say, she has to eat the stuff she ordered as her punishment, and her uncle puts away the voice changer in a dark cupboard, stating that some things were better off not being invented.
- In another episode, Angelica, while backstage at her favorite kids show, was nominated as one of the new on-stage kids, and she and the other nominees listened in on the show host's conversation with her second-in-command, about her audience, and she overheard her say the secret word, and was the only one who actually heard it. She then won, and she also thought she won due to hearing the secret word (which is implied to be a very, very dirty cussword, due to various placements of cutoffs with a person honking his horn or someone jackhammering, or in the case of her repeating the word to her mom, a very loud anguished scream being heard in the distance), her parents, after initially grounding her, eventually allow her to go to the backstage showing of the show, under the condition that she not say the word. In her usual manners, she manages to trick the show hostess by making her lose control of her temper to utter that exact swear word on the air, to the shock of all watching, and Angelica then states that she proved that she did actually say it. The show hostess was later fired, and replaced with her second in command.
- Family Guy in the episode "One If By Clam, Two If By Sea". Lois tries to uncover insurance fraud by hiding her friends in the room and getting the villain to confess. He does and the friends aren't there. 'Sandord and Son' actor Demond Wilson is, but apparently he didn't count. Fortunately the insurance agent was hiding in the closet... with Demond.
- In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Frightful", Reed tricks his Evil Counterpart, the Wizard, into confessing that he never really cared about protecting the city.
- Spoofed in an episode of American Dad!, where school announcement readers getting Drunk with Power, tricked into making an Engineered Public Confession, and losing their position is apparently a regular occurrence. Each one lasts even less time than his predecessor: Steve goes through this in a few days, then his friend Snot goes through it in one day, then their friend Barry snaps the second he sits down at the desk. And then the principal talks about his time as a cocaine dealer who had sex with little girls mere moments after kicking Barry out.
- The Mask had an episode where Peggy tricked a southern Colonel into confessing illegal toxic waste dumping without knowing the confession was being displayed.
- Sylvester And Tweety Mysteries: Tweety engineers one in "Double Take", hovering over the bad guy's head with a microphone as he blabs his plan to Sylvester.
- Street Sharks: The Street Sharks finally manage to put a dent in Dr. Paradigm's credibility by forcing him to assume his Pirahnoid form on national television.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987: In the ninth season finale "Doomquest", April finally convinces the public of New York that Lord Dregg, not the Turtles, is the bad guy by showing a video of Dregg boasting to the Turtles that the world will be his and there's nothing they can do to stop him.
- Done twice in Tiny Toon Adventures:
- First at the end of "Citizen Max" where Babs makes Max confess on camera (that's simultaneously being broadcast in front of the audience he's about to speak to) that he framed Buster to make it look like he stole the test answers.
- Again in "Son of the Wacko World of Sports" where Buster films Bicycle Bob reading cue cards to make him admit his products are a ripoff. After he orders Buster to destroy the film, Buster responds it's live.
- In Sabrina: The Animated Series the villain is Genre Savvy enough to make sure none of Sabrina's first attempt to do this works, only to find out she had Salem jack into their signal to broadcast the confession on a separate camera.
- NASCAR Racers: Stunts tricks Rexton into giving one at the end of the second season by hiding a camera in his helmet.
- Often, whenever a public figure or celebrity decides to confess to committing an action, it is only because someone else has discovered it and is about to release the details. A prime example is Tom MacMaster, who decided to reveal that his blog A Gay Girl in Damascus was a fraud only after his identity was uncovered by Electronic Intifada.
- Roger Clemens tried to do this by secretly taping a phone conversation between former trainer Brian Mcnamee so that he would admit that Clemens did not take HGH; all it proved was that Mcnamee was either telling the truth, or not a complete idiot.
- Former Hungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány held a private speech telling his own colleagues that they had lied to the people about the state of the country in order to win the elections, and how they "fucked up" and needed to get themselves together to make things work again. The speech was recorded, leaked, and hell pretty much broke loose, followed very quickly by his resignation after being defeated in a vote of no confidence.
Gyurcsány: I believe there will be conflicts, kids. Yes; there will be. There will be protests; there will be. They can protest in front of the Parliament; they'll get bored sooner or later and go home.
- A recording of (former) Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was leaked. In it, he discussed his plan to sell the Senate seat vacated by newly-elected President Obama to the highest bidder. Later, he would apologize for swearing so violently in the tape. He would eventually be convicted of (among many other things) misuse of power and corruption.
- Note that of Illinois' ten governors between World War II and Blagojevich's term, five were tried for corruption and four were convicted. Of them, Blagojevich was the only one to be impeached and removed from office (the others had all resigned before things got that far).
- Linda Tripp, as stated above, taped Lewinsky's confession. Though she caught a lot of flack for it, it should be noted that a previous Clinton mistress had confided in Tripp and when Tripp had to go public with it, she was smeared in the press, and poked fun at with regard to her weight as in the later example because it was her word against the president's. Call it Crazy-Prepared, but it's not that crazy under the circumstances.
- Hugh Grant helped bring down the News of the World by secretly recording a meeting with one of their former paparazzos, who spilt the beans about the phone hacking affair. Doubles as a Take That and a Crowning Moment of Awesome for all the stick the British tabloids have given him.
- WikiLeaks and Anonymous seek to be the Internet version of this. In fact, the HB Gary Federal leak is a fitting example. Edward Snowden has also ventured into this territory.
- The "Teapot Tapes" in New Zealand. Ironically the politicians at the centre of it have accused the media of "News of the World"-style tactics. Initially it wasn't completely played straight - the tapes are in the hands of the police after the initial controversy, and the cameraman who made the original recording is fighting for his reputation and bank balance in the courts. In early 2012, however, it was subsequently inverted when the recording was leaked onto the Internet.
- Still in New Zealand, investigative journalist Nicky Hager's 2014 book, Dirty Politics, was sourced from secret correspondence of a controversial blogger given to him by a suspected hacker. To Hager's supporters, he's blown the whistle on corruption and dirty tricks; to his detractors, he's a recipient of stolen property. Subverted twice however, firstly when the hacker who supplied the documents to Hager leaked further dirt on Twitter, only to go into hiding after legal threats from the controversial blogger loomed; secondly, Dirty Politics came right before a general election and was intended to influence the outcome, which didn't happen. Hager, however, insists in a post-election essay that it's only the beginning, given the pending investigations that are to be carried out.
- Emma West.
- Also, Tennessee radio talk show host Thaddeus Matthews made racist as well as rude comments towards one of his guests, all caught on tape.
- The British Holocaust denier David Irving holds the unusual achievement of self-Engineering his confession. When the Jewish-American historian Deborah Lipstadt wrote in her book Denying the Holocaust that he was a Holocaust denier and had deliberately falsified historical evidence, he sued her for libel. Unfortunately, Lipstadt's lawyers asked Richard J. Evans, one of the finest historians in Britain (if not the whole world) and a team of experts to go through Irving's work with a fine-tooth comb and found that it was patently obvious that he had lied and cheated in order to show Nazism in a better light. At the end of a humiliating trial (ironic, because Irving had hoped to humiliate and financially ruin Lipstadt by suing her in the first place), he accidentally addressed the judge as "Mein Führer." Hilarity, and a well-deserved comeuppance, ensued.
- United States of America v. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm.
- Former British Prime-Minister Gordon Brown, after having a discussion with a Labour supporter named Gillian Duffy got into his limo, smiling and waving and then drove off, telling his driver in private: "That was a disaster. You should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? Ridiculous. She was just a bigoted sort of woman. What's that noise?" Turns out, his microphone was still on the lapel of his jacket.
- The infamous video of Mitt Romney saying 47 percent of US citizens don't pay taxes and he wouldn't bother trying to sway them to his side.
- Attempted Defied by the Illinois Eavesdropping Act. Attempting to catch on recording corrupt officers is made a felony. Courts have responded in various ways to challenges to the law, ultimately resulting in the law being declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.
- The "Mister Big" sting used by Canadian law enforcement (where it is legal, unlike in the US) creates this situation. If the police are confident they are know who the murderer is, but don't have enough evidence to be confident of a conviction, they set up an elaborate operation where an undercover officer will befriend the suspect and gradually convince the suspect that the undercover is a member of some organized crime group, eventually leading to the suspect witnessing supposed crimes and sometimes becoming a participant in them, all faked and staged by the authorities. If it works, they reach a point where the suspect wants in on the operation and is taken to meet the boss ("Mr. Big"). The suspect is told that the only way into the organization is to prove they won't lie to the Boss, and the way they can prove that is to reveal details about the murder, with the Boss insinuating that he already knows all about it and won't tolerate being lied to. Ideally, the suspect then confesses to the crime (while being secretly recorded) and reveals things only the real killer could know, and sometimes more evidence the police didn't know about.
- The greatest of them all is now accepted to be apocryphal - Children's radio host "Uncle Don" who supposedly signed off (on a still live microphone) with "Well, that should hold the little bastards.".