Evil All Along

"The greatest thing the Devil ever did was make you people believe he didn't exist — and you're looking at him right now. I am the devil himself and all of you stupid, mindless people fell for it. You all believed in the same make-believe superhero that the legendary Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat saw some year ago today. No, you see, you didn't know anything. You followed me, hook, line and sinker — all of you did and I'm not mad at you. I just feel sorry for you."
CM Punk

A character that is thought to be one of the good guys turns out to have always been evil.

For example, the hero is searching for a very special treasure. Too bad he doesn't know his way around. He meets a very nice person who offers to help the hero find the treasure. But wait, wasn't the temple supposed to be toward the south? Then why are you walking north? And why won't his guide answer his questions? And oh drat, there's the Big Bad. That "guide" was his minion, and thus evil all along.

Compare Big Bad Friend and Bait the Dog. Contrast Good All Along and Big Bad Slippage.

See Hidden Evil for subtropes. Not to be confused with Face–Heel Turn, which is a legitimate good guy going evil. This is when the character was always bad and faking good, not a fall to the darkside.

As this trope often involves major Plot Twists, all spoilers are unmarked.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • The series zigzags this all over the place due to its Grey and Gray Morality.
    • Annie Leonhart, Reiner Braun, and Bertolt Hoover are revealed to be enemy spies sent to infiltrate the military and responsible for much of the bloodshed during the first half of the series. Then things become more complicated, with the revelation that while they are enemies....they are also complex, emotionally-damaged Tyke Bombs who express remorse over their actions and don't seem to have any choice but to carry out their mission.
    • The Military Police Brigade are infamously corrupt, but turn out to have a special Branch that operates out of the Capitol. This branch is the Secret Police charged with protecting the Government Conspiracy, primarily through torturing and murdering such dangerous individuals as weapons inventors, Bold Explorers, curious miners, teachers that question official versions of history, and powerful officials' mistresses. When the Survey Corps gets a little too close to the truth, they launch an extermination campaign against them by framing them for murdering civilians, smearing their already-poor reputation through propaganda, destroying their hideouts, arresting any of them that can be found, and sending out specialized units to kill them on sight.
  • Bleach:
    • Aizen was initially introduced as one of the nicer Captains of Soul Society, and even questions the higher-ups decision to execute Rukia. He turns out to be The Man Behind the Man who started the whole conflict to begin with.
    "The Aizen you knew...never even existed."
    • And Ginjou, who, with the help of his accomplice Tsukishima's ability, manages to make it seem as though he and Tsukishima are enemies (because courtesy of Tsukishima's power, he actually believes they're arch-enemies), enabling him to get close to Ichigo and use him in his plan until it involves Tsukishima using his power on him again, reverting him to normal]].
  • Blue Dragon:Zola near the end of the series. Though it appears at first that it's just a simple Face–Heel Turn, the characters try to fool themselves into thinking that. Evidence in the last episodes proves otherwise.
  • Digimon:
    • In Digimon Adventure 02, Ken was the evil Digimon emperor all along. This is made glaringly obvious from his first appearance onwards.
    • In his first official appearance in Digimon Savers, Akihiro Kurata claimed to want to help Data Squad and his old friend Commander Sampson. He showed his true colors soon enough.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Freeza's apparent Good Counterpart Frost turns out to be the very same as Freeza, just less prideful and is a Villain with Good Publicity.
  • Elemental Gelade: Rasati and Lillia's guardian. He broadcasts it from a mile away, but Rasati doesn't seem to notice.
  • Hellsing: Walter, Hellsing's butler and soldier, is revealed to be working for the Millennium Nazis (only in the manga).
  • Future Diary: In Chapter 50, Akise claims that Yuno is the actual villain, and is planning to use Yukiteru to drive him to the brink of despair and kill him in order for her to become God. It seems that Akise was right and wrong at the same time. Yuno wants to kill him, but only so they can be together forever via an endless cycle of Peggy Sues. Maybe.
  • Naruto:
    • Kabuto Yakushi actually did manage to pull off the "helpful, harmless stranger" routine pretty well. From his personality, to his appearance there's very little to tip you off to his being a threat. He was trained from childhood specifically for this, having worked as a spy on behalf of the Hidden Leaf Village from within all of the other major ninja villages.]]
    • Shinnō ofNaruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds spent fifteen years posing as a kind doctor, Cool Old Guy, and even a Parental Substitute to Amaru when in reality he's a callous, heartless Jerkass who was secretly using the nearby villagers' negative emotions to gather dark chakra for the Zero-Tails. Not only that, but it's revealed that he himself taught Orochimaru several of his trademark reincarnation techniques.
    • Sasuke Uchiha is revealed to have been this in Chapter 692. Promptly after Kaguya is sealed away, with Obito and Madara also defeated, he announced his plan to kill the Kages and seal away the Tailed Beasts, revealing that his supposed Heel–Face Turn was really just an Enemy Mine.
  • One Piece:
    • Nami is a minor case of this: she was introduced as a thief who stole only from pirates, but after about three arcs of her being seen as a good person, the fact that she stole their ship and treasure still came as a surprise…but nowhere near as much of one as when she's revealed to be a member of another, much more ruthless pirate crew. What makes this a minor case is that while she had been planning on betraying them the whole time, by the time she finally did, she had already gone too far into Becoming the Mask, and clearly missed them. That's not the full story, of course…but it's enough for this trope.
    • Klahadore from the Syrup Village arc is introduced as a strict but good-natured butler to a sick and kind young rich girl. A short while later, it's revealed that he's Captain Kuro, a cruel and cunning pirate captain who had faked his death three years prior, and since then had been plotting to kill said rich girl and steal her fortune for a quiet retirement.
    • In the Jaya arc, Blackbeard encourages Luffy to continue to pursue his dreams after he is mocked by another pirate crew. This guy would go on to defeat Luffy's elder brother Ace and hand him over to the World Government. When his and Luffy's goals cross over in Impel Down, he gloats about this in his face, provoking a small fight.
    • In the Enies Lobby arc, it turns out that four of the main antagonists had been undercover as good guys for five years: the ventriloquist shipwright Rob Lucci, the flying shipwright Kaku, the dutiful secretary Kalifa, and the kindly bartender Blueno are all revealed to be government-sanctioned assassins.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: In the last minutes of the final episode, we find out that :Stocking is actually a demon.
  • Pokémon:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: Good heavens, Shingetsu. At first, he called himself a "Barian Guardian", and though it was clear he was a native of the Barian World, he seemed to be a decent guy who opposed the evil plans of the others, befriending Yuma and offering to help him. As it turned out, this was cruel deception. His true identity was Vector, who was not only evil, but likely the most evil and sadistic member of the Barians (or any villain of the current series) to date. (To make this worse, it is very likely that he was actually subordinate to an even stronger Barian.)

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Disney's Tarzan, it turns out Clayton was planning all along to capture and sell Tarzan's gorilla family.
  • In the movie Ice Age, Diego is Evil All Along. He makes a Heel–Face Turn, however, and becomes a member of the crew in the sequels.
  • In the Kim Possible movie So The Drama, the boy for whom Kim falls turns out to be working for Drakken.
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Rourke and the other mercenaries (everyone on the expedition but Milo) were Evil All Along. Fortunately a Downer Ending is averted when everyone but Rourke and Helga do a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Stinky Pete from Toy Story 2 seems nice enough at first but is so obsessed with staying in mint condition for exhibition in a museum that he'll stop at nothing to keep Woody from having second thoughts, even if it means manipulation and threats, and especially harbors resentment against space toys such as Buzz Lightyear.
  • Ben Ravencroft from Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost. He claimed that his ancestor, Sarah Ravencroft, was wrongfully accused of being a witch and that he is trying to find a journal that belonged to her so that he can clear her name. But then it turns out that Sarah really was a witch and the journal that Ben was looking for was actually a spell book that he planned on using to bring Sarah back from the dead so that they can rule the world together... only to be shocked when he does so and Sarah reveals that she would rather destroy the world than do so.
  • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island features this as well. Simone, Lena, and Jacques are the real antagonists, who must drain the life force from other humans at the harvest moon to preserve their immortality. The zombies on the island are the restless spirits of their victims, and were only trying to keep the gang from suffering the same fate.
  • Dr. Glickenstein from Igor. After being fed-up with Igor's failure and disapointment, he turned evil.
  • Prince Hans from Frozen, he only pretended to love Anna so he can take over the kingdom.
  • This is shown in TheWildThornberrys as well. in the film, Bree and Sloan are revealed to be the poachers that kidnapped Eliza's cheetah friend, Talley, halfway into the movie. Eliza camps with them on her journey to find Talley and she wakes up in the middle of the night to look for them and as she's looking in their RV, she finds Talley and almost immediately, Bree and Sloan show up and reveal themselves as the poachers.
  • Assistant Mayor Bellwether from Zootopia ends up being the mastermind behind the plot to drug predators into turning savage in order to turn the prey species against the predator population of the city.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones
  • In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine turns out to be Darth Sidious, the head of the Sith. And he's been playing both the Republic and the Separatists, along with the Jedi, for complete schmucks. This was hardly a surprise to the viewers, who had already seen Palpatine as the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.
  • Dragonheart: Though it is initially assumed that Prince Einon being revived by a portion of Draco's heart to have turned him bad, he eventually reveals that he was evil before that, and in fact played Bowen for a fool to learn how to fight.
  • Alien. Ash is revealed to be a robot, working for The Company to bring an alien back, at the expense of the other crew members if necessary.
  • Ferriman in Ghost Ship poses as a meek weather service pilot to lure the crew of the Arctic Warrior to the Graza. He proves himself useful throughout the film and even seemingly saves Epps from an insane Murphy, but it's all an act. He's actually working for Hell and started the massacre on the Graza. It's implied he's done this many times over, with the fresh bodies in the laundry room being from a previous crew he led into the trap.
  • X2: X-Men United: Magneto, who, right after saving the mutants of the world, can't resist seizing the opportunity to use Stryker's technique against humanity.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Admiral Marcus gives off the impression that he's a Reasonable Authority Figure. He's actually an Insane Admiral who worked with and tortured former Evil Overlord Khan Noonien Singh. Marcus also wanted to sacrifice the crew of the Enterprise just so he could jump start a war with the Klingons.
    • Not the only example either. John Harrison, the terrorist that Admiral Marcus sent the Enterprise crew after who seems like he's actually an okay guy being manipulated by Marcus just like the heroes? Turns out that he is Khan Noonien Singh. And he's out for revenge on the entire Federation for what Marcus did to him.
  • Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. Not too surprising if you catch a certain Chekhov's Gun, but it's a blink-and-you-miss-it shot and easily overlooked.
  • On a large scale, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier we learn that SHIELD as an organization was Evil All Along, having been infiltrated by the Nazi organization HYDRA ever since SHIELD's creation at the end of WWII.

  • A Brother's Price has Kij Porter, who Ren considered a close friend.
  • In Dragon Bones, there is Bastilla, the slave, who turns out to have been working for the enemy all along. There's also Landislaw, but that's not as big a surprise, as his morality is portrayed as quite questionable from the beginning, and he never works together with the heroes.
  • ForceFlow, Tash's Internet-friend in Galaxy of Fear. Turns out he was the Big Bad all along and giving lots of people information about the Jedi in the hopes of luring them to touch his Essence Stealer, hoping one of them would be Force Sensitive so he could study their essence and what made it different.
  • In Gone Girl, we spend the first half of the novel believing that Amy is an innocent victim in circumstances beyond her control. As it turns out, Amy is the Diabolical Mastermind behind the whole thing.
  • Harry Potter
    • Subverted: it appears that Snape was evil all along after he kills Dumbledore. But then it turns out that it was all part of Dumbledore's Gambit Roulette and Snape really was good…albeit a Jerk with a Heart of Gold]].
    • A more straight example: Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Ron's pet rat Scabbers, who turns out to be the one who betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort and concealed himself as a rat for 12 years, leaving his friend Sirus Black to receive the blame.
    • There's also the matter of Mad-Eye Moody] in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Even though it's not really Mad-Eye, but Ax-Crazy Barty Crouch Jr. impersonating him]] it's still an Evil All Along situation.
    • Professor Quirrell in the first book seemed to be just an ordinary, shy, teacher who wore a turban just because. Turns out, he's really a minion of Voldemort who wears a turban to hide the fact that Voldemort is on the back of his head.
  • After proven to be in good guys' side by the end of the James Bond novel Nobody Lives for Ever, Sukie Tempesta returns in COLD, only to be revealed to be in cahoots with the book's Big Bad (alongside with her now criminal family), to the point of planning to actually marry him. The hows and whys relating to this revelation is swept aside by having her suddenly be insane.
  • Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind books, though nobody but the Tribulation Force and those who have once been in Nicolae's close circle of friends really know just how evil Nicolae is under the public persona he projected up to the midpoint of the Tribulation. After he is indwelt by Satan, Nicolae's façade slowly cracks and the public gets to see the true person underneath. Strangely, though, Jesus berated Nicolae in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, saying to him that You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good, which became a point of contention for some readers.
  • In Jack Vance's The Gray Prince, the eponymous Prince was a childhood friend to heroine Schaine; and for most of the book she firmly keeps in mind that, whatever his present political views, he once saved her brother's life. And then it turns out he in fact hated their family to the point of deliberately allowing her brother to be horribly injured and only claimed credit for the deed later.
  • The Dresden Files: :Martin in Changes turns out to be a Red Court infiltrator. Subverted in the end, as it turns out he performed a Heel–Face Turn long ago and his apparent betrayal of the heroes was actually part of a Batman Gambit to wipe out the entire freaking Red Court with their own curse. Only Harry knows the truth.
  • Zalasta in The Tamuli is revealed as the Big Bad after he has befriended 90% of the cast, and after he saved their lives in a pitched battle.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • In Vampire Academy, it turns out Natalie was doing Victor Dashkov's dirty work the whole time.
    • In Blood Promise, Avery Lazar acted as a friend to Lissa and Adrian. Was revealed to be manipulating them for her own ends. She had no problem on driving Lissa to suicide.
  • Played with, though not exactly subverted, in Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker, as Denth the mercenary, who has been leading princess Vivenna in her quest to overthrow the government of T'Telir (under the pretense of following her orders), betrays her, murders her best friend, and tries to steal her Breath. She is surprised, but since he had been warning her the entire time that he could not be trusted, she felt kinda stupid, too. Best line: "Do you know what I hate most about being a mercenary, Princess? Fulfilling the stereotypes. Everyone assumes they can't trust you. The thing is, they really can't."]
    • In the same book, Bluefingers, the God King's benevolent, fatherly, somewhat timid chief scribe, is the Big Bad and Denth's employer. He's not terribly evil as Big Bads go- the book casts him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Word of God describes him as a good man who got carried away- but he's still the ultimate mastermind behind the threats facing the protagonists, and the kingdoms of Hallandren and Idris more generally.
    • Brandon Sanderson seems to like this one. In The Stormlight Archive King Taravangian is presented as a kindly, if somewhat scatterbrained, authority figure who is famous for sponsoring hospitals in his city-state. He's actually The Chessmaster behind at least one of the major conspiracies active in Roshar and his hospitals are a cover to allow him to study the prophetic statements people have sometimes started making immediately before death.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Secret Circle does this with John Blackwell, though this was fairly obvious to some people.
  • True Blood tends to do this a lot, especially with their Big Bad of the season. As it turned out, Rene Lenier was just hiding behind his nice exterior while being a bloodthirsty sexist murderer, and in a more extreme example, Maryann Forrester who turned out to be a freaking homicidal Maenad. Season three followed suit with the Faux Affably Evil King Russel Edgington who quickly turns into a genocidal maniac, and season four arguably averts it by giving its Big Bad Marnie a bit of a Face–Heel Turn. Or rather, it shows her Start of Darkness.
    • Played somewhat straight with Rev. Newlin (Jr.); although it was clear from the beginning on he was more than just another bigot, few viewers were expecting him to turn into a full-fledged villain who imprisons the protagonists and wants to burn another character to death. Given, no-one was expecting him to become a vampire!
  • Boyd Langdon in Dollhouse. Turns out he was secretly the Big Bad all along and running a ridiculously complex Evil Plan with Echo and co. at the center. And he seemed like such a nice guy. Although he wasn't completely evil. He was more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist in the end.
  • Veronica Mars: Cassidy starts by raping Veronica and then lying about it (which isn't revealed until later on), but he becomes truly evil in Season 2. He kills a bus full of his classmates, a witness could turn him in, and 3 people on a plane. This wasn't revealed until the finale but yes he was evil.
  • Supernatural:
    • Ruby was the only demon who had so far actually helped the Winchesters, yet the season four finale showed us that she was working for Lucifer all along and she helped Sam specifically for him to kill Lilith, and so bring back Lucifer to the Earth.]
    • In the episode "Repo Man". Back when they were hunting Lilith, Sam and Dean exorcised a demon out of a man named Jeffrey. Now in season seven, women were dying in the same way the demon killed them back then, so the brothers return to town. It turns out : Jeffrey and the demon were working together and had a relationship.
    • In the finale of season eight, it turns out that the angel Metatron, who advised the brothers on the last trial to seal Hell and was guiding Castiel in another set of trials to seal off the now corrupt Heaven, was not as harmless as he appeared — he didn't warn the Winchesters that completing their trials would kill Sam, and the trials he was helping Castiel with were actually components of a spell to banish all angels from Heaven as petty revenge for being cast out himself.
    • The season 4 finale reveals Zachariah was working to start the apocalypse.
    • The episode "Freaks and Geeks" has the reappearance of a hunter from an earlier episode named Victor, who is training a group of children to hunt after their families were killed by vampires in an attempt to ensure that the next generation of hunters doesn't have the problems of the current ones. It turns out that the monsters he was sending them after were actually scapegoats for murders that were committed by a single vampire had committed on his orders.
  • 24 has Nina Meyers in Day 1, Charles Logan in Day 5, and Tony Almeida (sort of, it kind of gets complicated) in Day 7.
    • As well as : Dana Walsh during Day 8.
    • Jack (somewhat) during his Rogue Agent period in Day 8 is debatable. He definitely undergoes a Face–Heel Turn during that point, though it's left unclear if he did so immediately after the double whammy of Renee's death and President Taylor's betrayal of him and his claims that he was just trying to expose the Russian conspiracy were outright lies, which if so would loosely follow this trope, or if he did genuinely mean to follow this out and only abandoned it for the notion of killing everyone involved after murdering Dana. There are some hints that lean toward the former, including a "I was perfectly fine settling with justice, but that was taken from me!," rant near the end of the series.
  • In Lost it turns out that : Henry Gale was really the backstabbing, manipulative leader of the Others...
  • Haven had William, who at first seemed to be a kind, mysterious stranger who helps Audrey recover her memories and get back to her friends. Then he turns out to be a cruel, remorseless man who enjoys giving people out of control powers to cause untold destruction.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Garrett is revealed to be The Clairvoyant, and Agent Ward is The Dragon to him/
  • Sleepy Hollow: Henry Parrish the Sin-Eater, the heroes' supposed ally, is revealed in the first season finale to actually be Jeremy Crane, Ichabod and Katrina's supposedly dead son, who agreed to serve Moloch as the Horseman of War in exchange for escaping being Buried Alive and the chance of revenge on his parents for abandoning him. Everything else he did up to that point in the series was to earn the heroes' trust so he could betray them at the opportune moment.
  • In Game of Thrones, Ramsey Snow/Bolton is a particularly horrific example of this trope. Heis introduced by seemingly rescuing Theon from being tortured, claiming that he was an Ironborn agent sent by his sister, and appears to be Theon's saving grace. However, this was all just part of a twisted game, and Ramsey soon reveals himself as possibly the most evil and sadistic character in the entire show, and tortures Theon himself to the point that he becomes an empty shell of a man.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: The end of season 1 reveals that : Ruby Knowby, previously hinted to be a Jefe like Ash, is actually a Dark One, and the true Big Bad.

  • Several times in Dickensian parody Bleak Expectations, the person helping Pip Bin with his latest scheme, such as the engineer who Pip employed to build a sewage system under London, is blatantly his evil nemesis Mr Gently Benevolent (in that case planning to dig out the capital, float it across the Channel with hot air balloons and sell it to the French).

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney as a series does this several times, particularly in its more recent games.
    • In Dual Destinies, you discover that the "Phantom", an international spy, ruthless assassin and bomber, is none other than Detective Bobby Fulbright, the cheerful detective who's been ever-present in the game since the second case. (Technically, the real "Bobby Fulbright" has been dead since before the game's timeline started, but The Phantom is the only one you've met in the game). One thing that makes Ace Attorney's presentation of The Reveal very unique is that it has you pick the person's name from a list late in the game after providing some final hints.
    • The Japanese-only Ace Attorney Investigations 2 reveals the lovable and frightened circus performer Sōta Sarushiro (known in the fan translation as Simon Keyes), whom you actually DEFEND from an overeager prosecutor in the second case, has been tricking all the other murderers in the game into killing off his old enemies in a complex revenge plot, and is even responsible for both an attempted, and later successful, presidential assassination.
  • Another Code: Ashley's father's old coworker was evil all along, having killed Ashley's mother and stuff.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In II, "Lost Archives" DLC reveals that Lucy had switched to the Templar's side before the first game's beginning. She even allowed Subject 16 to die from the bleeding effect when he discovered her betrayal. Everything she did throughout the games was a ploy she and Vidic devised to use Desmond to obtain the Apple of Eden. It would have worked too, if Juno hadn't programmed the Apple to force Desmond to kill Lucy. She's a particularly unusual example in that she gets killed before getting a chance to reveal her evil side.
    • At the end of III, Juno herself reveals her true nature. Even worse, Desmond has no choice but to do what she wants since the alternative would be letting civilization be destroyed again and having the whole Assassin vs. Templar war repeat itself.]
  • Asura's Wrath: The true cause of most of the game's events is revealed to be the Golden Spider, AKA Chakravartin.
  • Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean does a very unusual form of this. You know Kalas, the main character? He's actually been working for The Man Behind the Man this whole time.
    • Origins does a more standard version: Quaestor Verus is far worse than Lord Baelheit could ever be...
  • BioShock: This is part of the main plot twist that occurs about 2/3rds of the way through the game. Turns out Atlas, your main ally and Mission Control, was criminal mastermind Frank Fontaine all along.
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger: In her story mode, Noel is accompanied by a mild-mannered pacifist intelligence officer named "Hazama." If you've seen trailers for ''Continuum Shift'', you'll recognize him as Terumi, the one behind the events of ''Calamity Trigger''. What did he want from Noel? To Mind Rape her to take Nu-13's place as a living weapon of mass destruction.
  • Bomberman 64: Sirius presents himself as Bomberman's ally and aids him in reaching Altair's fortress and battling its guardians only so that he could steal the Omni Cube from Altair and use its power to conquer the universe. When his plan succeeds, he thanks Bomberman by putting "Destroy Planet Bomber" first on his list of things to do.
  • Bookworm Adventures: Professor Codex reveals that he was the cloaked individual that kidnapped Cassandra and that he sent you on the long quest because every enemy you defeat is placed under his control. Then you fight him.
  • Child of Light: Norah turns out to be one of the Big Bad's lackeys. This is really annoying because she's one of your best tactical options experts, and you don't get her back until after the final boss is defeated.
  • Dead Island: Colonel Ryder White, the Mission Control that leads you through most of the game, turns out to be secretly evil (although this actually doesn't come as much of a surprise to most of the characters, due to their strong anti-authority attitude). He betrays your group near the end, steals the experimental cure for the zombie virus, and ends up being the final boss of the game. This is complicated even further in the single-player DLC where you actually play as Ryder White, and it's revealed he was never the Mission Control at all, and it was really Kevin (another supposed ally) who was impersonating Ryder the whole time over the radio, and who manipulated Ryder and the original 4 heroes into fighting each other.
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions: Genra is revealed to be a manipulative and power-hungry man, willing to do anything to get revenge for playing second-fiddle to the main branch of the clan, and that his loyalty and honor are just a facade to hide it. On top of it all, DOATEC didn't kidnap him and turn him into Omega; he went right to them and let them do so.
  • Dead Rising 2: Off the Record: In the alternate timeline, it's revealed that Stacey was the Big Bad all along. As soon as the reveal occurs her personality jumps straight from Girl Next Door to a cruel and sadistic Baroness.
  • Dead Space: A regular part of the series : Kendra in Dead Space, Diana and Marker-Nicole in Dead Space 2, Tyler in Dead Space Mobile, and Colonel Bartlett in Dead Space 2: Severed are all revealed to be secretly evil bastards after spending a large amount of time as your primary ally/Mission Control.]]
  • Diablo: The Witch of Tristram, Adria, was one of your biggest allies in the original game, and come the third game, after her rescue from Belial's Dark Coven, she sends you on a quest to obtain the Black Soulstone and outlines a plan to capture the last two Great Evils, Belial and Azmodan, in it so that she can shatter it and end them, and the rest of the Great Evils, forever. Only it turns out that not only does Adria have a far darker agenda, she was on the side of evil from the very start — after killing her own father and co-leading the Dark Coven with Maghda, she was drawn to Tristram by the dark power of the Lord of Terror, and not only pledged herself to his service, but had a kid with him by way of the possessed Aidan. She would use this kid, a bright young girl by the name of Leah, to bring about the rebirth of her master as the embodiment of all seven Evils in one being, the Prime Evil, in the cruelest betrayal of the entire series.
  • Die Reise Ins All: One of many characters from literature appearing here is Sherlock Holmes]While he appears as nice as usual at first, it's later revealed that he was Moriarty in disguise] Counts also as Adaptational Villainy.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: The ending reveals that ally Solas was the one responsible for the rift breach in the first place, by giving the Big Bad the means to start his uprising. Solas only helped the Inquisition so that he can gain possession of the Orb and continue his plans unnoticed.
  • Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter: In the Nintendo DS version, you get a new Raposa to join the gang, named Sock. You find him in a town where he doesn't live, and he goes with you to find his real home. Well, you're supposed to believe that. Near the end of the game Sock asks for a valuable item, gets it from Jowee, and throws it away. He then appears to be Wilfre all along. It also goes for Mari a bit, although she just thought she would help everyone by it (she worked with Wilfre).
  • Eternal Darkness: At the start of Lindsey's chapter, a friendly patron by the name of Paul Augustine leads him to the Cambodian temple where Mantorok is entombed. Then it turns out that Augustine was actually Pious using an illusion spell.
  • Final Fantasy Adventure: The mysterious wizard who occasionally helps you out is eventually revealed as Julius, who's been using you the entire time to get his hands on the girl and her Mana Pendant. Retconned out in the Sword of Mana remake.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, this happens to Lyon. Everyone knows he's being devoured by the demon king, but that doesn't stop the main characters from believing he's still good.
    • Lyon is an interesting case where he actually invokes this trope to get Ephraim motivated to kill him so that he could die before the Demon King brings about the end of the world. He claims that all of their time they spent together as children he was pumping the siblings for information for the invasion of their kingdom just to make Ephraim angry enough to actually kill him.
    • Also, Orson appears to be evil all along too, but unlike Lyon, you can actually play him as a character. Later he appears as a boss.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Ansem, the researcher who was studying The Heartless whose reports the player has been running all across the worlds to find. Turns out, he's the Big Bad and The Man Behind the Man. And both directly and indirectly responsible for everything that's been going wrong in the worlds for the past ten years or so! In a subversion, it turns out that the guy we were calling "Ansem" was actually the Heartless of the guy who stole Ansem's name. The real Ansem is more of an Anti-Hero.
  • Kirby:
    • Marx from Kirby Super Star & Ultra. At first he seems to be an innocent jester creature who just wants the Sun and Moon to stop fighting, and tells Kirby to find Nova. He then later reveals that he used
    • Magolor from Kirby's Return to Dream Land is another example.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: It turns out that YOU, THE PLAYER are Darth Revan, former Big Bad of the setting, bud didn't know it thanks to Laser-Guided Amnesia from the Jedi Council, leading to an Inverse of Criminal Amnesiac if you decide to return to The Dark Side.
  • Legacy of Kain: Moebius the Time-Streamer was the devious manipulator he is waaaay before being driven insane by the corruption of the Pillars.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time: In the part where Princess Peach gets a purple mushroom on her face — it's not Peach. It was Princess Shroob the whole time, trying to take over the future castle.
    • And her big sister does even better - most people are Genre Savvy enough not to trust a random NPC who shows up out of nowhere with no foreshadowing whatsoever - but put on a familiar costume (Star Spirit) and they'll trust you just fine.
  • Mass Effect 3: Maya Brooks, the goofy, jovial, friendly Alliance Staff Analyst from the Citadel DLC, as it turns out, was an ex-Cerberus officer who left the group out of disgust because the Illusive Man had started looking to non-humans for help. She also was the one who orchestrated the mercenary ambush in the Wards to intercept Shepard's Spectre code and the one who killed Khan. She was working with Shepard's clone in an attempt to steal Shepard's identity, and, after leading Shepard and their party into a trap, leaves them to suffocate to death in an iridium vault. At the end of the DLC, she shows that she doesn't even have any loyalty to Shepard's clone, as she leaves them to their death as well. She at first appears to be one of the nicest characters in the series, but ends up being one of it's most heinous.
  • Massmouth 2: The QBot. When first encountered, he offers to be your guide on the strange planet you've crashed on. As it turns out, the oddly numerous accidents and threats that befall you on the way are not coincidental, as he was working for the Big Bad the entire time and deliberately led you into danger.
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect: Abigail is introduced as a possible friendly spirit that gives Ronan some tips on how to function in the spirit world. She is actually the Big Bad that is responsible for his death, and the deaths of all the teen girls in the game and throughout Salem's history. She possessed different police officers, including Ronan to carry out the murders in the game. Afterwards she killed them off. In the past, during the Salem witch trials, Abigail was one of the main people accusing others of being witches until she was caught lying and executed. Why? Because she has a personal vendetta against witches, even suspected ones. The Stinger? She's a witch herself.
  • OFF: The Batter intended to destroy the world all along.
  • Paladin's Quest:
    • The student who goes with you to the forbidden tower on the academy grounds and goads you into accidentally freeing Dal Gren at the very beginning of the game is revealed at the end of it to be the Big Bad Evil Overlord Zaygos in disguise.
    • A much more shocking example is Gabnid, legendary hero and founder of the Wizarding School where the game started. Unlike the rest of the Power Trio of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, who wanted to help the population of Lennus, Gabnid's goal was always to rule over them as a god.
  • In Persona 3, Shuji Ikutski is introduced as a Nice Guy with a questionable sense of humor who often serves as the Mission Control and is set up to be the Big Good of the game. He's actually a part of the Big Bad Ensemble who manipulates the main cast to trigger the apocalypse so that he can "cleanse" humanity and Take Over the World. Though at least his sense of humor was genuine.
  • Persona 4:
    • Firstly, Detective Adachi, the true culprit who murdered the first two victims, framed a copycat killer and was indirectly responsible for the rest of the incidents by manipulating Namatame into kidnapping potential victims and throwing them into the Midnight Channel.
    • Secondly, the True Ending has the gas station attendant from the very start of the game, who is actually the deity Izanami and the mastermind behind the entire plot. Though she's less evil and more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist with Blueand Orange Morality.
  • Pokémon
    • In Pokémon Colosseum, the mayor of Phenac City is actually the head of Cipher. In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, the same goes for Mr. Verich, who is actually named Greevil.
    • In Pokémon Ranger an old man you help, named Gordor, is actually the head if the Go-Rock squad. In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, a teacher in the ranger school, Mr. Kincaid, actually works for an evil organisation Team Dim Sun. Also, the Altru corporation and their leader Blake Hall are evil, and you don't know that till the end of the game.
    • Dusknoir from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2. In the Explorers of sky remake, you learn that he's extremely skilled at pulling this off.
    • In the main series, there's Colress in Black and White 2 and Lysandre in X and Y.
  • Professor Layton: In the first two games, the antagonist Don Paolo disguises himself as other people. He's disguised as Inspector Chelmey in The Curious Village and as Flora in The Diabolical Box, though the real Flora does appear earlier in the game. Jean Descole does the same thing in the prequels.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • Captain Qwark is revealed to be The Dragon to Drek in the first game. Of course, at the end of Up Your Arsenal, he finally pulls an official Heel–Face Turn and remains that way since…ish. He's really into the whole "occasionally backstab your partner" thing to keep up his fans.
    • In Up Your Arsenal, there is Courtney Gears, who temporarily joins the Q-Force in their fight with Dr. Nefarious. She is revealed to be an antagonist after she kidnaps Clank and turns Skidd into a robot.
    • And in the non canon game, Size Matters, there is Luna. At first, "she" appears to be an innocent little girl, but it's later revealed that "she" was really a genderless puppet built to lure Ratchet into a trap.
  • Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure: Jean-Francois. Made worse by him being Marie's guardian in the first place, conspiring against her with Napoleon.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: The Soda Poppers want revenge in season 2 of the game series.
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji: The Big Bad is revealed to be Fubuki who first appeared as a helpful person, however halfway through the story he orders Tsumuji and Chijimi to stop their journey, as soon they encounter him once the shadow tower appears his true self is revealed.
  • Silent Hill 2: Maria. To add insult to injury, you spend a lot of her "good guy" time trying to keep her alive.
  • Splatterhouse: In the original series, the third game revealed that the Terror Mask had ultimately planned to conquer Hell, and was using Rick to destroy those demons that were in its way. The entire series amounted to its Batman Gambit.
  • Tales of Monkey Island: LeChuck From the moment that Guybrush Threepwood inadvertently turns him into a human who acts like a Harmless Villain and helps out on Guybrush and Elaine from Chapter 2 up to Chapter 4 (all the while wearing his charming belt buckle), then kills Guybrush in a clever ambush as soon as our hero cures everyone of the Pox of LeChuck; Elaine sees that "with or without all that voodoo, [LeChuck is] still nothing but an evil sack of scumm".
  • Tekken: In the original game, Kazuya appears to be The Hero, planning to defeat Heihachi in the tournament and take over the Mishima Zaibatsu. By the time 2 rolls around, he's revealed his true colors and, now in charge of the Zaibatsu, proves to be far more openly brutal and evil than Heihachi ever was.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: Princess of Lorule Hilda sends Link to rescue the sevent sages of Hyrule who have been catured by their common ennemy the wizard Yuga. After Link save all of them and get the Triforce of Courage, Hilda reveals that she and Yuga have been working toghether to steal the triforce in order to restore the fallen kingdom of Lorule to its former glory but doing so by dooming the kingdom of Hyrule. This is downplayed when Yuga betrays Hilda and reaveals that he never intended to save Lorule but rather remake the country in his own image bringing further destruction. After Link defeats Yuga, Ravio comes just in time to make Hilda realize her actions.
  • Super Robot Wars Z: Rengoku-hen introduces several new allied characters note . Without exception, EVERY SINGLE ONE of them turns out to be a bad guy by the end of the game, though admittedly Kravia's case is "brainwashed heroine".
  • Xenoblade:
    • Shortly after Big Bad Egil is revealed to be something of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, albeit consumed by vengeance, Dickson is revealed to be one of the Co-Dragons of the Bigger Bad. Better example with the Bigger Bad himself: Zanza, the source of Shulk's visions, his power, his life even, who had been guiding the party from the start and helping them against Egil with countless Deus Ex Machinas, is really a Manipulative Bastard who did all of that just so that he could return to power, and then harvest all life on Bionis to preserve his immortality.
    • Alvis is something of a subversion. He was also one of the Co-Dragons, but when it gets right down to it, he was never really capable of resisting, being no more than a computer programmed to follow the orders of his users.
  • Ys Seven: This game plays around with a lot of JRPG tropes. One of the major plot twists is that the Big Bad of the game is actually, of all people, Tia, the flower girl who you meet early on and who seemingly takes the role of potential main love interest. Unlike, say Luna or Lufia, Tia was secretly evil from the start instead of being forced into a Face–Heel Turn midway through the game.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Felix is revealed to be this after spending Season 11 and the first half of Season 12 pretending to be a good guy. When he betrays the others, he goes on an angry rant declaring that pretending to be a good guy and the heroes' friend was sickening, and now they will suffer and die for forcing him to go through that.
    • The Chairman, who had previously been something of a Reasonable Authority Figure and a good counterpart to the Director but with a ruthless streak and hints of some ulterior motive, is officially outed as this at the end of Season 12. As it turns out, he's Control, the one who wants to take over Chorus for its rich supply of lost alien technology, and hired Felix and Locus to manipulate the Civil War of Chorus until everyone is dead, so that he can reap the benefits of the planet once its clear.
  • Tonin: Pai-Meio was just pretending to be good and helpful until Tonin defeated Vilano-san. He reveals his true colors once Vilano-san is seemingly killed and starts taking over the village the defeated villain used to rule.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Totally Spies!, Terrance and Dean first seem like Dean was evil all along. Then Dean turned out to be good all along. The same goes for the episode in which Tim Scam was introduced. It also applies for a lot of "villains of the day".
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • In New Leaf, it appeared that Mr. Krabs and Plankton had finally reconciled and were friends again. Krabs trusts him so much now that he gives him the Krabby Patty formula...but then it turns out that Plankton was faking it all along, saying that he finally won. Yet Krabs revealed that he had outfoxed him first.
  • In season 2 of Winx Club, the new teacher appears to be an evil impostor in the end.
  • Alpha Teens on Machines has an interesting example of this trope. In the first season, industrialist Mr. Lee seems to be the team's mentor. In the second season, The Reveal is that he's been a Corrupt Corporate Executive and a Mad Scientist all along. He uses DNA samples from the Alpha Teens to create the Mu-Team, an evil, superpowered group of Psycho Rangers.).
  • In his first appearance on Kim Possible, Kim doesn't realize that Monkey Fist is a villain.
  • In season 2 of Wakfu, Qilby appears to be a friendly mentor to Yugo. He's actually an insane Omnicidal Maniac scheming to claim the Eliacube so he can go back to draining entire worlds of their wakfu.
  • General Pong Krell in Star Wars: The Clone Wars seems to be a heroic, if jerkish Jedi at first. It turns out that he is secretly planning on becoming Dooku's new apprentice and is willing to sacrifice clones to sabotage the Republic war effort.
  • Every villain from any episode of any Scooby-Doo show, because there's always a mystery for our heroes to solve. The only exceptions are when said characters had no prior introduction.
  • Samurai Jack has this pulled with a mysterious female swordsman who teams up with Jack in an early episode. Turns out she's Aku in disguise the whole time. The twist actually marks a rare The Bad Guy Wins ending for the episode.
  • Several of the characters encountered by the kids in Dungeons & Dragons turned out to be this, usually because they were Venger in disguise. (The very first episode had him posing as Merlin.)
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man Deadpool] turns out to be this. (Or very least, Amoral All Along.) First introduced as a freelance hero who used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D.; he's later revealed to be a amoral mercenary who will work for the highest bidder.
  • The Legend of Korra: In season two, Varrick's true nature is revealed to be that of a Corrupt Corporate Executive, staging thefts of shipments in order to drive Future Industries into bankruptcy so he can buy a controlling interest and taking advantage of the Water Tribe Civil War to expand his business. Seasons three and four show he's basically an opportunist; while he hasn't gone quite so far as to instigate a war (as far as we know) he is doing something sinister that combines spirit vines with advanced Zaofu tech to the benefit of a conquering general.
    • It's also later revealed that Korra's uncle was a member of the anti-authoritarian Red Lotus group who wanted to kidnap her as a child to brainwash her into their anarchist ways (kind of odd for a guy went out of his way to frame Korra's father out of his right to rule the Northern Water Tribe), but even they didn't plan on him fusing with the spirit of Chaos.
  • Many episodes of Archer use this as a last minute reveal. In "Honey Pot," there wasn't even a strategic advantage to the villains pretending to be good guys; they just genuinely liked Woodhouse and wanted to have some fun with him.
    Charles: Oh, we're a hit squad. Forgot to tell you.
  • In the The Simpsons episode "Brick Like Me", Homer retreats into a Lego-themed Happy Place to escape his fear of Lisa leaving him behind. The Lego! Comic Book Guy seems like a Helpful Hallucination...until Homer decides it's time to face reality.
    CBG: All you need to do is open the box back to your so-called reality. But I. Can't. Let. That. Happen. (rotates his Lego head to a menacing expression)
    Homer: Huh? You're the bad guy? I thought you were the rule-explainer-guy!
  • In the Adventure Time episode "The Enchiridion!", Finn saves a group of creatures who are trapped in a pool of lava, not realizing that they're actually Ax-Crazy monsters who love killing old ladies.
  • Throughout the duration of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, Eddy periodically brings up his unseen older brother, usually building him up to be the coolest, toughest guy in Peach Creek. In Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, we finally get to see him face-to-face... and it turns out that he's a sadistic Big Brother Bully who constantly abused Eddy before he went away.

Alternative Title(s): The Bad Guy All Along