Jon Spiro: "If I go down, so do you!"
Artemis Fowl: "Incorrect. I was never here. The tapes will prove it."You did not read this entry. It was never written. You never got here, you dreamed it or were too tired/high/medicated and started to hallucinate. This phrase is not associated with The Men in Black, and No Such Agency would ever use it. There are no large number of variants. You don't need to compare with You Didn't See That. P.S. That Didn't Happen.
— Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code
These aren't examples
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Anime and Manga
- The Men in Black who stalk around the titular protagonist's house in Serial Experiments Lain answer like this when threatened with police by her older sister.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. In Solid State Society the Japanese Prime Minister orders Aramaki not to raid the home of a radical politician because of the political problems this will cause. He orders in Section 9 anyway, but they find the man has been dead for months. After downloading his database for clues, Aramaki orders they leave everything as it was and not inform the authorities. Aramaki doesn't like it, but says they have no choice as Section 9 were never officially there in the first place.
- In Transmetropolitan, Gary Callahan arranges for a meeting with Spider that leads to him threatening Spider, practically admitting he had one of his own staff murdered and revealing he only wants to be President to mess with people. He then reveals he had all of Spider's recording gear remotely deactivated and that Spider can't prove he said anything, or that he was even there at the meeting. Callahan finishes with this line.
- Secret Six: Spy Smasher is trying to draw Amanda Waller into a trap with a fake nuclear attack, only to find The Wall sitting in her office with a gun.
Spy Smasher: How did you get in my office?Amanda Waller: Katrina, I'm surprised you think I'm even in your office. I couldn't be. Fifty excellent witnesses can place me on a boat in Jamaica right now. And this isn't my gun, it's yours.
Films — Animated
- In the third chapter of The Glass Kingdom, the Zaldian State Sec march into a crowded restaurant and arrest Trixie and Lyra (who are both protected by Diplomatic Immunity). The next paragraph explains why they were willing to do that in full view of everypony.
The remaining Guarsai officer turned and looked at the other ponies in the restaurant. He didn’t say anything – and he didn’t need to. This matter was not to be discussed. The arrest of two foreign nationals was not to be mentioned. There had been no abrogation of the Treaty of Valet d’Écurie. The two Equestrians and three Guarsai members had never been here. These things were simply understood by the remaining ponies – loyal Zaldians all. Actions such as these ensured that.
Films — Live-Action
- The Hunt for Red October: the Trope Namer.
- The 1998 Godzilla (1998).
- Men in Black II: J and K are watching an episode of an old show that is describing something that happened to K years before. At the end of the episode, they see "You saw nothing" on the recording.
This is a story that "never happened", from one of their files that "doesn't exist".
- The Matrix: When Neo sells the bootleg disc to a client. The dialogue is heavy on Foreshadowing, for bonus points.
- In House of Games, Margarete makes this clear to the con artist, Mike, before she kills him.
- The Guild Navigator from the Dune movie, after telling the Emperor to kill Paul Atreides. "I did not say this, I am not here."
- Used in the film version of Get Shorty when Ray Barbone threatens Harry Zimm (and coerces him into shooting the dead Ronnie to frame him for the crime) in order to keep Chili from finding out that he's in LA.
- No Country for Old Men: Anton: "You didn't see me. I was already gone."
- Also, "That depends... Can you see me?"
- Sneakers: "What's really important is that none of this ever happened. This box doesn't exist." Bonus points for the line being spoken by the same man who gave us the trope naming line.
- Hitman: "We aren't here, which means when we open up on you and shred your bodies with automatic fire then this will never have happened."
- In Goldeneye, James Bond asks CIA agent Jack Wade why he chose to meet him in the Caribbean before he entered Cuba to track down Janus. Wade answers, "I am not here. The CIA has no knowledge, no involvement, nothing to do with your insertion into Cuba, if you catch my drift."
- In Air America:
Gene Ryack : Well the problem is, Rob, if you and I weren't here, this conversation never happened, so I can't remember what the fuck you didn't tell me.
- Also, at the end, when they steal the plane, Gene points that they can't possibly be stealing the plane, since the plane belongs to the US government, but the plane is in Laos, and "the US government doesn't exist in Laos, and neither does this plane."
- In Babe, Babe the pig and Ferdinand the duck have a conversation before they remember they aren't supposed to be having a conversation and end by telling each other they weren't there.
- Conspiracy. Throughout the movie Eichmann is shown taking extensive steps to ensure there is no evidence of the Wansee Conference (fortunately for history, one of the attendees failed to destroy his copy of the minutes).
- In the first of the Transformers Film Series, Agent Simmons (who you're going to like a lot better in following installments) is part of a we-do-not-exist M.I.B. organization. However, we find the folly of such organizations: Lennox tells him "I don't take orders from people who don't exist." at a climactic moment. You need to exist a bit more than Simmons does to be able to bring official pressure on members of lower organizations to obey you if you intend to be an Obstructive Bureaucrat.
- In Bridge of Spies, subverted in the following conversation:
Hoffman: Has your guy talked?Donovan: Excuse me?Hoffman: You met him. Has he talked? Has he said anything yet?Donovan: We're not having this conversation.Hoffman: Of course not.Donovan: No, I mean we are really not having it. You're asking me to violate attorney-client privilege.
- Repeatedly spoofed in Discworld:
- In Interesting Times, Mustrum Ridcully has trouble wrapping his mind around the idea that he is not talking to Vetinari and they are not looking at a mysterious albatross, who has not come with an important message.
- In Thud!, Mustrum Ridcully has gotten slightly more used to the bendy thinking of Ankh Morpork politics and regretfully informs Commander Vimes that there is no way in which he can help Vimes to get where he needs to be fast. Especially not if he leaves the coaches in the alley next to the University at eight P.M. sharp tonight.
- In Nineteen Eighty-Four, O'Brien shows Winston the picture of the old Party leaders (who are now unpersons), then throws it into a memory hole and says that it never existed and he does not remember its existence. The clear implication is that the Party can do this with any inconvenient object or person.
- Artemis Fowl, the source of the page quote. Artemis's master plan finally becomes clear to Jon Spiro just as the boy vanishes along with any evidence he had been in the room with Spiro at all. Cue Villainous Breakdown.
- The Lies of Locke Lamora: after a certain cask is delivered to the Gentlemen Bastards' hideout, Galdo pays the messenger eleven silvers: "Ten for the cask, and one more for forgetting all about this." The man replies, "Holy hell, my memory must be cacked out, because I can't remember what you're paying me for."
- In Komarr, Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan holds a truth-serum interrogation of someone he suspects is holding out on him about what she knows of a terrorist plot. After the interrogation, which establishes that she'd deduced the plot from the outside but wasn't personally involved, she asks how much trouble she's in, and he tells her none: in the final analysis, she's given the investigation more help than hindrance, and making an issue of her reluctance to come forward will do more harm than good. Outside of his confidential report to the Emperor, there won't even be any official record that she was a suspect. "When two Imperial Auditors say they didn't see something, it can become remarkably invisible."
- In the Warhammer 40,000 novel Innocence Proves Nothing, Inquisition agent Danuld Drake says this to a starship security detachment he has instructed to dispose of two dead rogue psykers.
- In Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe novel The Little Sister, a telephone conversation ends with this trope.
Gonzalez: One moment, you have not told me what happened.
Marlowe: I haven't even telephoned you.
- A Song of Ice and Fire. Davos Seaworth, sent as an emissary by the rebel Stannis Baratheon, is captured by the Lord of Sweetsister, who ponders whether he should hand Davos over to the ruling King for execution. He knows however that doing so could bring the wrath of King Stannis down on his head if the rebellion succeeds. He lets Davos go on his way with the promise that "If you are caught, you were never here."
- Seven Days in May: The military did not try to take over the United States. Also true in The Film of the Book.
- Big Trouble: After a nuclear bomb gets lost in the city and found by two lowlifes:
"What I mean," said Greer, "is that as far as the federal government is concerned — and I am talking about way, way, way the fuck high up in the federal government — none of this happened. There was no nuclear bomb in Miami. There never have been any nuclear bombs going around loose in suitcases anywhere in this great land of ours. Because if people start thinking there are, we are gonna have panic like you cannot imagine — people leaving for Montana, hoarding food, taking all their money outta the banks, lynching every guy with a beard, you get the picture. The economy goes into the toilet, civilization collapses, end of story. So this did not happen. Understand? Whatever happens, it did not happen."
- Even better, it's implied it's not the first time, or even the second time, this has happened.
- In the X-Wing Series novels; Wraith Squadron, Iron Fist and Solo Command Warlord Zsinj concocted a plan to brainwash dozens of New Republic citizens into unwittingly carrying out terrorist attacks throughout the galaxy. Fortunately the New Republic acquired a complete list of the sleeper agents and their targets and the plots were thwarted. At each incident a New Republic Intelligence agent assisted in halting the attacks but officially there were never any intelligence agents present at any of the events and every sleeper agent was foiled by ordinary citizens.
Live Action Television
- Knight Rider: "A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist."
- A recurring character in The Fast Show.
- "You ain't seen me, right?"
- In one case, going into a police station, impatiently awaiting the attention of the officer on duty, before delivering the catchphrase and walking out.
- Fawlty Towers: "You know nothing about the horse."
- Doctor Who:
- In Frontios, the Doctor and his companions visit a human colony that's so far in the future that the Time Lords (the Doctor's race) would disapprove. At the end, the colony thanks him for saving them, and he tells them, "Don't mention it." His companion Turlough clarifies, "He means it. Literally." I.e. the Doctor doesn't want the colonists to let the Time Lords find out about it.
- In Series 4, Episode 2, "The Fires of Pompeii", when Metella asks the Doctor who he is, with his way with words, and his "temple containing such size within", he answers, "Oh, I was never here. Don't tell anyone."
- Used directly in Torchwood episode "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," when John Hart drops a mugger off the roof of a parking garage. His only words to the victim are "I was never here. Go." Notable in that he actually murdered the guy to draw attention to himself, but only wanted Jack's attention instead of the police.
- The X-Files characters were practically joined at the hip to this trope. Most notably with Mulder's informants (Deep Throat and Mister X). The former was kinder about letting everyone know the danger he placed himself in by giving up such information. The latter was downright violent about it.
- During the "reality show" style competition to be part of House's new team, Amber pulls this on Wilson and a patient when using the connected balcony between House and Wilson's office to sneak out of House's office.
- On Season 3 of 24...
Sherry: If anyone suspects that I was here, there will be an investigation, and both of us will go to prison. I was never here. You understand?
- On Supernatural, this is what the Winchester brothers usually say when the police need to be called and the problem has been dealt with, because they're wanted for a number of serious crimes.
- Dwight's assistant says this to Pam on The Office (US) when he gives her the evidence she needs to defeat Dwight's evil landlord schemes...except it kind of backfires because she doesn't get it, and Dwight sent him to plant the evidence anyway because he felt bad for her after witnessing her confess to Jim that she was once again failing at her job.
Henry: Don't tell me. I don't want to know about it. You guys have my full permission, and I never said that. I mean, I'm not even here, so how could I?
- Sgt. Schultz on Hogan's Heroes has "I know NUSSINK! I see NUSSINK!" as a Catch Phrase - he's Genre Savvy enough to realize that investigating would just make things worse for him. Sometimes he goes further and tells the heroes, "I know nothing! I see nothing! I was not here! I didn't even get out of bed this morning!"
- In an episode of Scrubs, Dr. Cox punched out Bob Kelso for chewing out Elliott, deliberately trying to reduce her to tears. In the following episode, Kelso revealed that he tried to press charges, but even though it happened in a lobby full of people, no one saw a thing.
- On Breaking Bad, Mike the Cleaner says this to Jesse after helping him cover up Jane's not-really-accidental drug-related death, after making him repeat "I woke up, I found her, that's all I know."
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after learning that Willow is illegally hacking a coroner's files to learn more about suspicious deaths, Giles gives the line:
Giles: Right... Wasn't here, didn't see you, couldn't have stopped you.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
Bashir: "In time of war, the law falls silent." Cicero. So is that what we have become; a 24th century Rome, driven by nothing other than the certainty that Caesar can do no wrong?!Admiral Ross: This conversation never happened. (puts combadge back on) You're dismissed.
- In the episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges":
- In "In the Pale Moonlight", the entire episode is framed in flashback, as Sisko's private confession into his personal log. At the very end of the episode, following Sisko's chilling admission that he can live with everything he felt he had to do, he deletes the entire log so that the truth will never be revealed.
- Star Trek: Voyager did a variation that doubled as a serious Mind Screw. At the end of an episode, as Janeway is questioning an alien who nearly took down her entire crew with his telepathic powers, he tells her he'd love to accommodate them...
Alien:...but you see, I'm not really here. (Vanishes without a trace)
- JAG: In "Tribunal":
Rabb: Webb, I didn't know you were here.Webb: I'm not.
- In an episode of NUMB3RS, Charlie has his security clearance taken away and is unable to officially work on FBI cases. Instead, Amita and Larry are asked to help. However, they don't have Charlie's level of genius, so he has to occasionally help out without the FBI finding out. After one such session, he leaves by quoting this trope.
- A Running Gag in 'Allo 'Allo! involves La Résistance leader Michelle giving Rene orders, then telling him to forget everything she just said for security reasons.
- Invoked by Teresa Lisbon in the Season 3 finale of The Mentalist. Upon realizing at a crime scene that their rather bizarre case is connected to the case of Madeline Hightower, which only she and Jane know the truth about, she instructs her people to put everything back and make it look like they were never there.
- On Walker, Texas Ranger, after Alex and Sydney are kidnapped by a Mexican drug lord, the incompetent DEA agent insists that they only thing they can do is negotiate. An incensed Walker grabs him by the throat and snarls, "Negotiate this!" before storming out. When the agent turns to Trivette and Gage, demanding that they back him up, "You saw that! He assaulted me!", the other two deny seeing anything.
- Person of Interest.
- An Intrepid Reporter is talking to Zoe Morgan, who concludes their conversation with: "It's been a pleasure meeting you. But it's a shame we never met."
- And John Reese while saying Think Nothing of It. "Don't mention it. In fact, I'd rather you didn't."
- His Distaff Counterpart Sameen Shaw cites this trope when stopping to dig out the bullets she just put in a terrorist. "We were never here, remember?"
- His superior in MI6 tells a young Greer while sending him to kill a KGB mole, that "This operation doesn't exist." Greer responds dryly, "They never do." Subverted when he finds this isn't due to Plausible Deniability, but because his superior is covering for his own treachery.
- Practically Archie's Catch Phrase in Absolute Power. He has never met the partners of Prentiss McCabe Media Relations, they don't have a lucrative government contract, and there isn't a large check in this unmarked envelope.
- An ad for one office supplies company repeatedly mentioned that even the CIA used their products. After each such reference, another voice would break in to say something along the lines of, "The CIA can neither confirm nor deny that we use this company's products in our offices. If we have offices."
- French-Canadian series Les 2 Minutes du Peuple has a man addressing the landlady of the guy he just murdered:
Killer: I was never here.Landlady: Whaaaaat?Killer: (wallet) I (bill) was (bill) never (bill) here (bill).
- In Exalted, Sidereals have a Charm called Avoidance Kata which retcons reality so that they were, indeed, never there.
- The Parable epic destiny from the fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons supplement Arcane Power is about this — since the whole concept of that destiny is based on the character's attempt to lay bare the illusion underlying reality and physically become an in-universe Ascended Meme, the specific powers granted by it all have the common theme of them "not really being there" (which at the highest level culminates in cancelling their death once per day because it turned out that what 'died' was just an illusory doppelganger after all).
- The VCR game of Clue- "I was never in Sumatra".
- One of the random messages from the pirates in Privateer, when pirates are friendly to you (as in the Tayla mission series): "I didn't see you, and you're blind."
- At the end of the Starcraft demo (which is also the prequel to the main game), you are told that you did not just kill a bunch of Xenomorphs ... and the SpecOps unit was never here.
- In Splinter Cell: Conviction, at the end of the White House level, and thus the game, when Army troops see Sam in the Oval Office preparing to deal with Reed, President Caldwell tells the Captain present that she was the only one he saw there. The soldier gets the hint.
- A variation is used in this strip of El Goonish Shive. "I never called you."
- Exterminatus Now had Steve giving the Inquisition a lot of free alcohol with express purpose to make the memory of his bar's location fuzzy.
Harold: (sizing up the case) What's a Cesspool?
- Girl Genius:
Gilgamesh: And of course, my father always says it's best if we're the only ones to find out.Moloch: Aaah— Find out what?!Gilgamesh: Good man.
- Schlock Mercenary has a few, including Ellie U.N.S. deputy who was never aboard and never talked to Gen. Xinchub.
- In The Wretched Ones, Jack says this to Nicholas after Jack saves his life using his power of teleportation.
- In VG Cats, when the Wind Waker potions maker denies looking in Link/Leo's bag and seeing a bottled fairy in there, Link/Leo catches on immediately and threatens:
Link/Leo: That's right, you didn't if you know what's good for you.
- The Hire. In "Ticker" a country's military leader tries to stop a mysterious suitcase containing a heart transplant from getting to his dying president. When the suitcase gets there regardless, there's a shoving match between his Elite Mooks and the president's security detail, which ends when one of the latter says, "You were not here. This never happened. Tell your men to stand down."
- Of course, The Simpsons spoofed it.
- In "Lost Our Lisa", Lisa somehow ends up right outside Area 51a. A map next to an information kiosk has a dot on it labeled "You are here. We are not."
- In "My Sister, My Sitter", Lisa has to babysit Bart, who makes her life a living hell by calling up random services. Lisa opens the door to find a military man who asks to see Lisa Simpson, who was reported to have seen a UFO. Lisa screams that she didn't see a UFO. The military man leans in threateningly and says, "That's right, you didn't." He then waves off a doctor with a syringe and leaves.
- The possum from "Podunk Possum", from the What A Cartoon series, absolutely did not see any mysterious UFOs this evening, especially after being confronted with the MIBs' very shiny badge.
- The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, with Frank Gusenberg.
"Nobody shot me." (There were fourteen bullet holes in him at the time.)
- The damnatio memoriae or "damnation of memory." In Rome, if The Emperor is mad enough at you, you will cease to exist.
- One of Yogi Berra's (many, many) memorable phrases was "Nobody did nothin' to nobody."