Whether it's for serious reasons
or a silly scenario
, occasionally a character will have to pretend to be someone he isn't. As the story continues (probably as a treat for people who've been watching the show for some time
), he'll use a name that has been mentioned in the past. This is the Go-to Alias: a default pretend name on which the character falls back when he's pretending to be someone else.
A variation on this would be the Go-to Identity, when this name carries a history or personality to which the character sticks whenever he uses it. In more dire circumstances, the character will start associating with that identity more than his own
. If Played for Laughs
, he will be Lost in Character
If the character uses multiple aliases with a common thread, they're Themed Aliases
- Batman: Alfred Pennyworth often uses his middle names (Thaddeus Crane) as an alias when he goes undercover.
- Wolverine uses the identity of "Patch" (wearing an eyepatch), a mercenary, when he acts undercover in the Far East.
- In Knights of the Dinner Table, 'Weird' Pete's go-to alias is John Mephisto; the name of an old HackNoia character of his.
- Daredevil uses "Michael Nelson" (no, not that one), a combination of his father's and best friend's names.
- Nikolai Dante often uses the alias Quentin Durward. Of course, he's never able to maintain the cover for very long.
- Spider-Man foe Mysterio has used the alias of Ludwig Rinehart twice—once when posing as a psychiatrist to try to drive Spidey insane, and again while running a rest-home scam.
- Men in Black. Kay always claims to be working for "Division Six" of any government agency.
- Premium Rush. The villain, Robert Monday, always calls himself "Forrest J. Ackerman" whenever he needs access somewhere.
- In the James Bond novels by James Gardner, Bond often uses the alias of 'James Boldman'.
- The Saint: Simon Templar liked to use the alias "Sebastian Toombs".
- Lord Peter Wimsey generally uses his two middle names (Death Bredon) as a Nom de Guerre.
- In the Company Z novels by J.T. Edson, Alvin Fog uses 'Rapido Clint' as his alias whenever he poses as a criminal. His partner Mark Scrapton would use 'Commanche Blood'. These two verge of being full-blown 'go-to identities'.
- In the Floating Outfit novels, Alvin's grandfather Dusty Fog often used his middle names 'Edward Marsden' as his go-to alias.
- Gentleman Bastard: Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen have had a lot of aliases in their time... but when pressed for an identity on short notice, they can always fall back on Tavrin Callas. This is sort of a prank on their part; the first time Jean used that name, he was infiltrating the cult of the death goddess and faked his own suicide. They figure if anyone traces the name far enough back, the followers of the death goddess can declare it a miracle.
- In the Lucky Starr series, Lucky's go-to alias is William Williams.
- Author Gordon Korman used "G. Gavin Gunhold" as a running alias across multiple books. Gavin takes on a life of his own more than usual in ''The Wizzle War'' (as the world's most perfect, absentee student) and A Semester In The Life Of A Garbage Bag (an obscure Canadian poet) in particular.
- Donald E. Westlake's John Dortmunder character from the Dortmunder is a career criminal. He has occasionally used the alias "John Diddums" (he claims to anyone who asks that it's Welsh), a name he dislikes but uses involuntarily in circumstances that preclude using his real name.
- Vanyel from The Last Herald-Mage has a minstrel named Valdir as go-to undercover identity.
- John Clark's go-to alias when operating in Russia or pretending to be Russian is Ivan Sergeyevich Klerk, which patryomnic aside, is basically his name.
- The Belgariad: Silk has two, the down-on-his-luck spice merchant Ambar of Kotu, and the reasonably successful wholesaler Radek of Boktor.
- Classic Traveller, The Journal of the Traveller's Aid Society #16. Jon "Fast Johnny" McRae is a highly skilled and daring interstellar con artist. One of his favorite aliases is Commodore Laruskaa Korkoran of the Imperial Navy. He has gone to great effort to make it a solid identity that can't be easily exposed.
- The Suikoden series has the recurring alias of Scholtheim Reinbach III/IV. Made much funnier when one of the games actually features the real Scholtheim Reinback III.
- In Planescape: Torment, The Nameless One has the option of using the moniker Adahn when talking to people. And thanks to the nature of the Planes, if you convince enough people that there's a guy named Adahn wandering around out there, you can meet him in a bar.
- On King of the Hill, Dale likes to go by Rusty Shackleford, generally whenever he's doing something sneaky, although he also refuses to sign his real name to any document, being a comical Right-Wing Militia Fanatic. At one point in the series, the actual Rusty Shackleford shows up—Dale knew him as a kid and had thought Rusty had died—it turns out that Rusty had just moved away and wasn't happy being connected with Dale's various acts of stupidity.
- Daria has "Esmerelda". It only makes one appearance in the series proper when she first meets Casanova Wannabe Upchuck, but she uses it more frequently in subsequent tie-in media.
- Sterling Archer frequently employs the first name "Randy" whenever he's on assignment (the last name varies more frequently). Cyril Figgis has had "Chet" as a cover name more than once.
- Batman has his Matches Malone identity that he uses to get information about the criminal underworld.
- And Robin (Tim Drake) has Alvin Draper.
- Miles Vorkosigan spends a lot of time under the alias Admiral Miles Naismith. Part of the series delves into him Becoming the Mask.
- The Stainless Steel Rat, in his criminal days, had a constructed identity complete with false fingerprints, pads that changed the shape of his face, and so on, which he would adopt before beginning any con (and keep up underneath any other alias required for the con), so that the police would spend their time looking for that person instead of the real him.
- By the time The Belgariad starts, Silk has already established the personae "Ambar of Kotu" and "Radek of Boktor". It's indicated that those are his two favorite go-to identities, though he has others.
- Leverage: Sophie Devereaux is the alias by which we know Gina Bellman's con artist.
- Not that the rest of the gang doesn't have standard cover identities. John Rogers says it's to decrease the number of names they have to run by their legal team to keep them from slandering someone. A small selection:
- Nate uses Jimmy Papadokalis every time he's playing a lawyer; he's used Tom Baker and Bob Gibson multiple times as well.
- Eliot has used the name Wes Abernathy at least twice.
- Parker has used Alice White at least twice.
- Hardison has gone by Johnathon Steed at least twice
- On White Collar, Neal Caffrey uses Nick Halden as a regular alias when playing cons. Probably because he knows the FBI already knows about that identity; he's had others, but he'd prefer not to give up all his secrets.