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Identical Stranger

They say that everybody has a double somewhere. After all, the Earth has a human population of 7 billion, it would be actually stranger if no two people were at least vaguely similar. On the other hand, it's not as common in Real Life as it seems to be in media.

On television this is often utilized for comedy, by making them very different people.

As far as tropes go, this is one of the more ludicrously implausible ones. Take the probability of an Identical Grandson, ramp it Up to Eleven, and we're sort of in the right ballpark. This trope has stuck around mainly because it's a fun Plot Device. Meeting your own grandfather requires you to be in a Time Travel scenario, whereas a stranger can be, well, anyone more or less. Still, expect groans from the audience if this trope forces both identical strangers onto the screen at the same time a little too often. It gets past our Willing Suspension of Disbelief largely because it seems less improbable in the abstract than when we're directly confronted with it.

In works with Only Six Faces, Identical Strangers often turn up as well (occasionally to lampshade the Only Six Faces trope, but frequently just as a byproduct of it.)

When combined with Swapped Roles it results in Emergency Impersonation. Add both Swapped Roles and Fish out of Water and you have Prince and Pauper. If one gets put out of action, the other might be called upon to pull an El Cid Ploy.

If this happens in a Live Action scenario, the doppelganger is almost always played by the same actor or actress in an alternate role. (And oftentimes, in an animated scenario, by the same VA.)

Compare: Criminal Doppelgänger (when an Identical Stranger is also an evil duplicate of a character), Similar Squad, Twin Switch (regular series with identical twins), Celebrity Resemblance, and Inexplicably Identical Individuals.


In-Universe Examples Only.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Love Hina: Kaolla's brother happens to look exactly like a tanned, not-clumsy version of Keitaro.
    • Meanwhile, the manga and the Spring Special introduced Nyamo, who looked and acted like a darker-skinned (and somewhat more athletic) version of Shinobu (complete with crush of Keitaro). Given that they did not share a language they did not fool anyone, but the effect was still creepy.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Mashio from the PS2 game and Aoyamada from a filler episode are Identical Strangers to Aoyama Masaya, with similar personalities as well. He's never around when this happens, as both instances of Ichigo meeting them are in remote areas where practically nobody but them lives. Given that they're scattered across the continent and have the same personality traits that are explicitly stated to have been implanted in Masaya by Deep Blue, it's possible that said alien overlord actually thought ahead and left a few spare host bodies lying around.
  • Spoofed in a filler episode of Naruto (one of the infamous two-years worth of fillers) where Ino is asked to substitute for a princess that "looks just like her," which she does...if you don't count the fact that said princess probably weighs two to three times more than Ino. That was because she used to look a lot (though not exactly) like Ino, but when she was nervous about meeting the guy she was arranged to marry she started eating a lot and got fat.
  • Queen Diana Soleil and Kihel Heim from ∀ Gundam are almost identical, except for small details (Diana has straight hair while Kihel has Princess Curls, Kihel's skin is a bit tanned from working her family's farm, and their eyes are drawn slightly differently). So after meeting, they pull a Twin Switch. It was just supposed to be a one-time joke, then the Plot happens. In the end Diana stays on Earth and lives happily with The Hero Loran, while Kihel leaves our planet and becomes the Queen of the Moon.
  • After having a discussion about identity, Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell notices a person that look exactly like her.
    • Kusanagi's prosthetic body has a stock appearance - other people can buy one that looks the same (the Major's has a whole heap of high performance, military grade equipment beneath the skin).
  • In CLAMP's short manga series Wish, the strong resemblance between demon prince Kokuyo and stoic human Shuichiro Kudo is repeatedly commented on by other characters. It being CLAMP, this is never given any vague hint of an explanation.
  • In the twincest manga Everyday Every Night, protagonist Nohara Minato has no idea he has a twin until one suddenly shows up and starts following him around and professing his love to him all the time. Minato doesn't believe that the stranger is his twin (even though they're identical) until he shows him a cut in the same place that Minato has one. Nevermind that twins do not work that way.
  • Cromartie High School: Hokuto's Butler looks like he could be the grandfather of Kamiyama. When they meet for the first time, there is a moment of stunned silence until they declare they don't know each other at all. Then again, Kamiyama wears a wig, while the butler's hair is all natural.
  • One episode of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou has the main cast meeting a girl who looks exactly like Akane (minus the hair length) and has the same name. Ironically, when they are trying to help said girl and her boyfriend, and come up with some plan that involves impersonating them, the idea of Akane performing the role of her "twin" gets rejected immediately on the grounds of being too dangerous.
  • Cross Game ups the drama stakes by introducing Akane, a girl who looks identical to Kou's love interest and dead older sister of Aoba, Wakaba Tsukushima.
  • Izumi Isoyama from Ga-Rei looks almost exactly like the long-dead Big Bad Yomi Isayama. Then it's revealed that since Kagura resurrected Yomi, Yomi and Izumi now share the same body. Their souls have even fused together.
  • Detective Conan: Several:
    • Shinichi Kudou and Kaitou Kid. Understandable, Kaitou was created first and then Shinichi was created as a sort-of expy. It's vital in a case where Kaitou loses a part of his Kid uniform after parachuting into some trees, then finds the Detective Boys and has to pretend that he actually is Shinichi.
    • In Lupin III vs. Detective Conan, Ran Mouri and Crown Princess Mira of Vespania look enough alike that Mira makes Ran her unwilling royal double for a while. And then poor Ran is drugged and taken back to Vespania to continue the role.
    • The Detective Boys' schoolteacher Sumiko Kobayashi has an uncanny resemblance to Officer Satou plus glasses. In later issues, Shiratori realizes that his affection for Satou was misplaced because he had met a police-obsessed and glasses-less Kobayashi at a bookstore when they were both children, and had subsequently mistaken the adult Satou for her. Kobayashi herself resents this a little, mistakenly thinking that he's using her to forget Satou.
    • The three Osaka kids in the OVA, "Conan and Heiji and the Vanished Boy" strongly resemble the Detective Boys. Even their names sound very alike: Mayumi, Mikihiko, and Kenta.
    • In movie 9 Akiyoshi Minako strongly resembles Ran's mother Eri, so much that Kogoro attempts to prove her innocence... and then he finds out that she is the true murderer.
    • In one of the OAV's, it turns out Ai is a dead-ringer for child actress Grace Aihara.
  • Gundam: The Origin, an alternate retelling-slash-prequel to Mobile Suit Gundam, introduces a real Char Aznable, who looks exactly like Casval Deikun (the Char fans know and love) except for eye color (Casval has blue, Char has brown). When Casval learns that the Zabis are out to get him, he pulls a rather... cold-blooded Twin Switch, getting poor Char killed and assuming his identity. This actually briefly lead to an Epileptic Tree that Full Frontal from Gundam Unicorn was Real!Char who had somehow survived.
  • One Piece features Kuina, Zoro's childhood friend from flashbacks who died in a home accident, and Tashigi, a young woman in the Marines, who both look very similar. Given that Word of God has confirmed these two share the same year of birth and the fact that Oda is the undisputed master of Chekhov's Gun, this has led many people to assume they're one and the same, or at least related, but that has been proven wrong by Word of God and Chapter/Episode 0.
  • In Eyeshield 21, during the "Death March" arc Sena accidentally gets roped into a round of NFL tryouts where he meets Jimmy Simard, who looks very much like his teammate Ishimaru back home. The joke is that "Jimmy Simard" sounds like "jimi ishimaru" when said with a Japanese accent. "Jimi Ishimaru" means "plain Ishimaru," one of the running gags of the series.
    • In the anime, on the plane ride that kicked off the America arc the characters mix up Cerberus and an identical looking stuffed animal.
  • Full Metal Panic! has two examples. One is anime-only, and the other is found only in the original novels: In the anime, Kaname gets one in TSR, in the form of a Chinese prostitute who fancied Sousuke (who paid her just to talk because he was having huge psychological problems at the time). In the novels, there's a side story where Sousuke is revealed to be almost identical to a young teen heartthrob idol named Kousuke; when he got getting tired and wanting a vacation, switches places with Sousuke. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Nagasarete Airantou, protagonist Ikuto just happens to resemble Takatora, Disappeared Dad of Suzu, his best friend on the island. Anyone who had known Takatora has even noted the similarities between the two.
  • Baccano!'s Huey Laforet not only has identical kids and grandchildren, but also an Identical Stranger by way of Kasuka Heiwajima, who is noted to look quite like his identical great-great-grandson Charon Walken in the eighth volume of Durarara!!. How a Japanese model and actor ends up with such an uncanny resemblance to an immortal French terrorist and his offspring is anyone's guess, but fans have theories.
  • Spritle and Prince Jam from one episode of Speed Racer.
  • Ichigo Kurosaki and Kaien Shiba in Bleach, though were never close to meeting each other or alive at the same time. Aside from Kaien having black hair and Ichigo having orange hair, they look so much alike that Ukitake, Kaien's captain, briefly wonders if Ichigo could somehow be Kaien, despite having personally witnessed Kaien's death. This lead to some people theorizing Ichigo was Kaien's reincarnation, but this was Jossed when we saw Kaien's soul was consumed by the Hollow which became part of Aaroniero.
    • It's later confirmed that Ichigo's dad was formerly Isshin Shiba, meaning that Kaien and Ichigo are related.
    • While it could be coincidence, Ichigo's second Hollow form bears marked resemblance to a powerful Hollow that once attacked his parents. Turns out it's not a coincidence; White's Hollowfication virus infected Masaki and was later passed on to Ichigo. The Hollowfication acted like a parasitic version of the Shinigamis' Asauchi, merging with Ichigo's natural Soul Reaper powers and created Ichigo's Zanpakuto Zangetsu. Ichigo's "Inner Hollow" is actually his true Zapakuto spirit.
  • Makoto and Princess Fatora in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World - even worse, it's a gender-swapped identical stranger.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, Faye Valentine first met Spike Spiegel when she mistook him for a similar-looking but identically dressed contact.
  • Gundam 00 has a version thanks to Cloning Blues; Flashbacks will occasionally feature people who are the genetic source material for modern clones. Gundam 00 A Wakening Of The Trail Blazer introduced Hot Scientist Meena Carmine, whose ancestor's DNA was used to make Nena Trinity, and a flashback shows that Aeolia Schenberg was friends with a man named E.A. Ray, whose DNA would be used to make Ribbons Almark, the TV series' Big Bad as well as the lookalike who menaces Setsuna during the events of the movie.
  • In Hekikai No Aion, Sheila and Tatsuya's mother, Umi. The reasons of this have not being revelated yet.
  • Oribe and Kotoha from Arata Kangatari, though they have yet to meet.
  • Legend of the Blue Wolves gives us Jonathan Tyberius and Leonard's dead younger brother. This turns out to be pretty plot-important, as Leonard's attraction to Jonathan starts as a Big Brother Instinct of sorts, whch is based on how much Jonathan looks like the brother he couldn't protect.
  • Pokémon: Late in the DPP arc, the group meets Dawn's doppelganger, Princess Salvia. Salvia uses the resemblance to switch places with Dawn, allowing her to get out of her house and participate in a contest, which she and her Togekiss always wanted to do.
    • James's fiancee Jessiebelle looks exactly the same as Jessie, except with a different hairstyle and earrings.
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys: In High School Boys and the Literary Girl (2), Motoharu wanted to find his sister Mino on the Artificial Riverbank... and mistook a similarly long-haired, Sailor Fuku-wearing girl as her. She's actually the Literature Girl.
  • In The Heart Of Thomas, New Transfer Student Eric looks exactly like Thomas, a student of the school who died just a week prior to his arrival. He is not happy when people comment on that.
  • Kyoumen No Silhouette runs out of this trope. In that world, aristrocrats normally have a "shadow", an Identical Stranger to serve them as Body Double but also as closest friend and support.
  • As Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT is an Alternate Universe of the Lyrical Nanoha in a normal setting, the Material doppelgangers of the three Aces have been turned into this, complete with Nanoha making a quick Lampshade Hanging of Levi's uncanny physical resemblance to Fate when she meets the former for the first time and Hayate making a quick Hand Wave when Nanoha mistakes her and Dearche for sisters.
    Hayate: She's a total stranger! We are not related at all! There are three doppelgangers in the world... or something like that.
  • The Gundam Wing sequel novel Frozen Teardrop, which is set 30 years after the show but has extensive flashbacks to the generation before, uses this trope and Identical Grandson extensively. Trowa Barton's successor Trowa Phobos looks exactly like him, while the younger version of Doktor S (creator of Gundam Heavyarms) looks like Trowa with different hair. The biggest stand-out is that both Heero Yuys — the legendary colonial leader and the Gundam Pilot for whom he's named — look almost identical, despite the fact that the original Heero was shown in at least one episode and looked completely different. Just to make things weirder, Original!Heero was in a Love Triangle with Katrina and Sabrina Peacecraft, the mother and aunt (respectively) of Wing's female lead and Pilot!Heero's own Love Interest Relena... and they happen to be twin sisters as well, meaning that they look exactly like Relena only with slightly different hairstyles.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Asuna is noted to have a very similar face to Negi's cousin Nekane, causing him to be drawn to her. He's initially shocked because their personalities couldn't be anymore different.
  • In Attack on Titan, side character Ilse of the Survey Corps is noted by an Aberrant Titan to resemble Ymir which confuses the latter greatly.
  • In Saki, Nodoka's old friend Ako looked like her friend from Kiyosumi, Yuuki, when Ako was younger (in the years since Nodoka moved away, Ako grew her hair out and no longer has Yuuki's hairstyle). As such, when Nishida the reporter is shown a picture of Nodoka with her friends, she asks if Yuuki is in the picture, but is told that it's Ako, not Yuuki.
  • Black God features this as a major plot point (also based on the traditional belief that seeing your doppleganger is a bad omen.) Everyone on Earth has two dopplegangers (called 'doppeliners'), and if two of them ever meet, they both die, giving the surviving third extraordinary luck.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, The Dark Duelist has the same face (but different hair) as Yuya Sakaki. Even Yuya's childhood friend Yuzu has trouble telling them apart, and Yuya ends up accused of the stranger's crimes. Yuzu herself looks like somebody named Ruri; Shun mistakes her for Ruri, and The Dark Duelist corrects him and says she is not.
  • In Sengoku Otome, ordinary school girl Yoshino "Hideyoshi" Hide finds herself in an alternate world that resembles Feudal Japan, except everybody is female. Akechi Mitsuhide and Tokugawa Ieyasu look and sound exactly like Hideyoshi's classmates Akerin and Tokunyan. Although they are clearly not the same people, Hideyoshi continues to address them by the names of her classmates, and tries to treat them as her old friends. Subverted with Date Masamune. Hideyoshi notes that she looks and sounds like her teacher... then she turns out to actually be her teacher, who traveled to this world as well.
  • Used as a plot point in Fullmetal Alchemist. Everyone has an Identical Stranger on the other side of the Gate, which is "our" world. Some are exactly identical (like Hughes and Edward) down to the name while others (like Alfons and Noah) are more individual but still parallel their counterparts.

    Comic Books 
  • Garfield has had this happen several times in the many different media he's been in, and Jon has had it happen at least once, he even quotes the "everybody has a double somewhere" line when it happens.
  • Archie Meets the Punisher featured the Punisher following a criminal identical to Archie to Riverdale. In a subversion, they didn't look completely alike; only similar enough to cause some confusion. Even Moose could tell they were not the same once he got a closer look.
  • Wonder Woman — Originally, she met her injured love interest's nurse, who conveniently looked exactly like her, was also named Diana, and needed Wonder Woman's help to join her boyfriend in another country as well. Wonder Woman bought the Diana Prince identity from this nurse.
  • And Wonder Woman probably borrowed this set-up from pulp icon The Shadow, who had a similar relationship with his alter ego, playboy Lamont Cranston (for the record, the Shadow began life as flying ace Kent Allard. One could do a lot worse than latching onto a layabout millionaire).
  • The Golden Age The Flash story "Anything Can Happen!" shows four Flashes on the cover. The story delivers, though they're never all in one place. Jay Garrick is the first; a banker who happens to look just like him is the second; a substitute who wears a mask to impersonate this banker at boring functions is the third; and a mannequin wearing that same mask to fool the bad guys is the fourth.
  • The white-haired Warlord, Travis Morgan, ends up in Seattle, home of blonde Green Arrow. Morgan is mistaken for the persona-non-grata Arrow and is consequently attacked by half of Seattle's criminal population, leading to a confrontation with his double to find out why everyone in town hates him.
    Morgan: Whatever you've been doing to piss these people off...cut it out!!
    • And in Morgan's own series, Morgan had a double who was used by his foes to attempt to take over the kingdom.
    • And Shakira turned out to be a dead ringer for a kidnapped princess, leading to an Emergency Impersonation scenario.
  • In a Why Not? crossover from Dynamite Comics featuring Ash Williams and Xena. Bruce Campbell's likeness played a triple role, Ash, a mini Ash called Ash-It, and Autolycus. The two "full size" Bruces being mistaken for each other is a plot point. (And very Xena-appropriate; see below.)
    • Ash also met an identical stranger in the Evil Dead/Marvel Zombies crossover...but it was actually Ashley G. Williams, a supermarket employee who happened to be the Marvel Universe version of Ash.
  • In the Western Shōjo (Demographic) manga Miriam, a lawman uses his uncanny resemblance to wanted killer Silver King (they both have long, blond hair, blue eyes, and a diagonal scar on their face) to infiltrate a criminal organization from the inside.
  • In Marvel Comics, Flatman, aka Dr. Val Ventura, looks exactly like and has roughly the same exact powers as Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. The only difference is that Flatman is, well, flat, his entire body being less than an inch thick. This is never ever commented on, no matter how obvious it is. Later became a Running Gag in Great Lakes Avengers.
  • This is how The Wasp entered into Hank Pym's life - she looked identical to his dead wife.
  • In X-Men, after Jean Grey kills herself to prevent herself from becoming Dark Phoenix again, Cyclops eventually meets Madelyne Pryor, who's a dead ringer for the departed Jean. They fall in love, get married, and have a son, and Scott retires from the X-Men. And then the trope is subverted, when it turns out Maddie is actually a clone of Jean created by Mister Sinister to get Scott and Jean to reproduce and create a genetically perfect being, and Maddie Goes Mad From The Revelation (and demonic influence) and becomes the villainous Goblin Queen. And then she dies. And then it turns out that, not only was Jean not dead (just in a cocoon at the bottom of the Hudson river), she was never actually Phoenix in the first place (maybe; that last part gets retconned constantly).
  • In a What If? story, Wolverine is hurled through a time warp to Conan the Barbarian's time period, and quickly comes face-to-face with Red Sonja, who he at first mistakes for Jean Grey. When she challenges him, he realizes it isn't Jean, but she "sure has Jeanie's spunk though", as he notes. (To make this even weirder, at the conclusion of the story, Conan is thrown through the same warp to the modern time, is confronted by the other X-Men, and mistakes Jean for Sonja. Clearly, the two heroines are examples of the Trope in every possible way.)
  • An extremely common trope in Silver Age Superman comics.
    • Not only do Superman, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and other supporting characters encounter their own randomly-occurring identical duplicates on Earth, they even have duplicates on Krypton (and a single Kryptonian city, at that - the Bottle City of Kandor!)
    • One of the very few occasions on which this was even vaguely justified: Van-Zee, who adopted the identity of Kandorian superhero Nightwing from Superman, looks exactly like the Man of Steel. The explanation? They're cousins.
    • Some astute readers pointed out how often this plot device was used. In response, a DC editor actually explained that it's not overused... because it's SCIENCE!: "According to Professor Warren Dow, authority on genetics, heredity and twins, 'Every human being on Earth has at least 20 doubles who look like him or her.'" (It may or may not surprise you to learn that Professor Dow's existence cannot be confirmed, at least by cursory Internet research.)
  • The Trigger Twins, a pair of low-rent Batman villains. They first met while trying to rob the same bank, and were dumbstruck at their identical appearances. When they get to talking about it, they conclude that they have to be twins who were separated at birth.
  • In Paperinik New Adventures issue #28 we have a Coolflame identical to Xari, Xadhoom's lost fiancee who had fallen into Evronian hands. For most of the story, the Coolflame is thought to be Xari, and is only at the end that Uno discover and reveals that the Coolflame was not Xari, just a near-identical member of a different alien species whose resemblance to Xari had been increased by the Coolflamization process.
  • In an early issue of Fantastic Four, by simply putting on a wig and a spare FF uniform, blind sculptress Alicia Masters looked exactly like Sue Stormnote  — enough that she could successfully infiltrate the FF! This hasn't really been mentioned since, but logically means that not only were Reed Richards and Ben Grimm in love with identical women, so was Johnny Storm, in one storyline... and the woman looked exactly like his sister!
  • Similarly, there was Sharon Carter and the Red Skull's spy Irma Kruhl. After leaving Irma Bound and Gagged in a closet, Carter was able to flawlessly pass herself off as her with nothing more than a hat and a pair of glasses.
  • In one Golden Age Batman story, Robin turned out to be a dead ringer for a boy prince from a Ruritania. When Robin is knocked out defending the prince, the prince decides to have some fun by swapping clothes with Robin and taking his place.
  • Iznogoud: One of Iznogoud's many schemes involved using a merchant, who looked just like Caliph. In the end of the story, we see the partner of the merchant, and he looked exactly like Iznogoud.
  • The Martian Manhunter once found his secret identity had a doppelganger, a prince in some minuscule European country. He is, of course, a shape shifter, though in this instance he had created his appearance at random instead of copying it, so it's as close as he can get to playing it straight.

    Fan Works 
  • Socrates, of Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, is identical to Hobbes save for red stripes on his tail.
  • During the Cult of Bya no Kuei Arc in One Piece: Parallel Works, Wolfgang is mistaken for Prince Bya no Kuei, the royal prince of the island that Capricorns are visiting. However, this becomes Played for Drama when Heathcliffe witnesses the suicide of Prince Bya no Kuei and the Capricorns mistake it for Wolfgang's suicide. Fortunately, the Capricorns manage to clear everything up by the end of the arc.
  • Turnabout Storm's Sonata is uncannily similar to Phoenix's mentor, Mia Fey, in both voice and looks; Phoenix even manages to mix her up with Mia after first hearing her. To make things weirder, she's also an unicorn from Canterlot.
  • Ukuthe Lorain, one of the Big Bad couple's victims in Hivefled, was chosen because apart from her horns she bore a striking resemblance to the Grand Highblood's dead matesprit; then again, the Grand Highblood is certifiably insane with a heavy dash of Yandere, so she may not have looked all that similar.
  • In Necessary To win Teru notices the similarity between Komaki and a younger Saki's hairstyle, although Komaki has darker hair and much larger breasts. It's implied that Teru also momentarily mistook Awai for someone else when they first met, although Awai's boasting seemed to convince Teru that she wasn't who she was thinking of.
  • Though they have yet to meet onscreen, in Child Of The Storm Harry and Clark Kent look exactly alike. This one is actually justified, however. When Thor was incarnated as James, Odin went out of his way to give the House of El a nod by moulding James!Thor's appearance to mimic the 'El look'.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Olsen Twins movie It Takes Two was a ripoff of The Parent Trap, only replacing Identical Twins with Identical Strangers.
  • Hugh Jackman's drunken doppelganger plays a key role in The Prestige.
  • This plays a huge part in Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha, which is about a warlord's double.
  • Francis is the Navy is centred around this with Francis's owner Lt. Peter Stirling (Donald O'Connor) being a dead ringer for Bosun's Mate Slicker Donovan.
  • The Great Dictator: Unnamed Barber and Adenoid Hynkel.
  • Charlie Chaplin plays two roles as The Tramp and a look-alike millionaire in The Idle Class.
  • In The Great Race, Professor Fate looks exactly like the prince of a Ruritania-like small country. This leads to a subplot, parodying The Prisoner of Zenda.
  • One episode of The Little Rascals, "Alfalfa's Double", features the titular boy meeting up with his identical upper-class double; naturally they decide to switch places for the day. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Dave, Kevin Kline plays both the President of the United States and Regular Guy Dave, who resembles and winds up impersonating the POTUS.
  • The Leslie Nielsen movie Wrongfully Accused has a scene where the main character defaces his wanted poster so no one will make the connection that it's him. Another character played by Nielsen inexplicably appears with the same features he drew on the picture, and is promptly arrested. This same gag was used in The Simpsons Movie.
  • In History of the World Part I, during the segment on the French Revolution, Mel Brooks plays King Louis XVI, and the "piss boy" who works at the palace. When a double for the king is needed, the piss boy is given the part.
  • In Adventures in Babysitting, there is the Playboy Playmate who is a dead ringer for babysitter Chris.
  • This trope is one of the plot points in Johnny Stecchino.
  • The comedy Start the Revolution Without Me has an interesting example: two different sets of twins (one from a peasant family, one from an aristocrat one) happen to look exactly identical to the other pair. The peasant and noble mothers each give birth to a set of identical twins at the same doctor, and the babies are mixed up so each family gets one from each pair of twins.
    • The 1988 comedy Big Business has the same explanation concerning twins played by Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin.
  • The 1935 comedy The Whole Town's Talking has Edward G. Robinson as a vicious gangster and a meek accounting clerk who looks just like him.
  • The hero and love interest of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang enjoy playing Spot The Celebrity Doppelganger. In one bar they see Punk Rock Steven Seagal, Native American Joe Pesci, and Brazilian Billy Bob Thornton ("Oh, that's a bit of a stretch..."). The casting people must have had a ball finding them...
  • In Angel on My Shoulder, a gangster looks exactly like Judge Frederick Parker and, aided by the Devil, attempts to ruin the Judge's reputation.
  • In The Majestic, the entire plot is based around an amnesiac Jim Carrey being mistaken for his Identical Stranger twin, who was a soldier in WWII. Who sounds like Matt Damon.
  • The Disney Channel movie Model Behaviour has Alex Burrows as your average American teen who looks identical to teen supermodel, Janine Adams, with exceptin that she wears glasses. They're both played by Maggie Lawson.
  • In Monte Carlo, small town girl Grace Bennett is a dead ringer for the infamous British socialite Cordelia Winthrop Scott. Despite her friends claiming they can tell the difference, she manages to fool Cordelia's aunt for awhile.
  • In the Soviet comedy Ivan Vasilievich, two characters named this way are a Soviet bureaucrat Ivan Bunsha and Tsar Ivan the Terrible (naturally, both played by the same actor). An inventor's attempt at building a Time Machine results in both Ivans swapping places. Bunsha ends up having to impersonate the tsar until the inventor can fix the time machine. The play, on which the film is based, instead goes with the Identical Grandson trope.
  • Unlike most of the other musical stars in A Song Is Born playing themselves, Benny Goodman plays one of the cloistered professors, Prof. Magenbruch. At one point in the film, the musicians lament the lack of a clarinet player among them and wish that Benny Goodman could be there with them. Frisbee notes that they have a very good clarinet player among his fellow academicians that might be able to stand in... and brings in Magenbruch. (Nobody notices the resemblance, but the audience is in on the gag.)
  • In the Swedish movie Immediate Boarding, two 11-year olds - a boy and a girl - run into each other at an airport, realize that they're practically identical, and decide to swap places. Both characters are played by the same girl.
  • In Bullseye!, Roger Moore and Michael Caine play dual roles as a pair of small time con-men and a pair of inept nuclear physicists who believe they have invented a limitless supply of energy. The con men use their resemblance to the scientists to con their way into the scientists' safe deposit boxes and steal the formula, but in so doing, they become entangled in a shady world of spies and international intrigue.
  • Many of the shows on Nickelodeon share the same universe, and several of the actors star in more than just one of these shows.
  • The Assignment (1997). While holidaying in Israel, a Cuban-American naval officer is mistaken for notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal and arrested. The matter is quickly resolved, but the Mossad and CIA realise they have an opportunity to kill off the real Carlos and recruit the officer into a scheme to make the KGB think Carlos has become a CIA informant.

    Literature 
  • In Phantom, the expansion novel to The Phantom of the Opera, Christine Daae looks identical to Erik's mother, adding an extra layer of wrong to their relationship.
  • The Roman author Plautus' Menaechmi, circa 200 BC, has two identically-named people of identical appearance from different cities, thus making it Older Than Feudalism. William Shakespeare's adaptation of this The Comedy of Errors did it out the wazoo, with two sets of identically named identical twins from different cities in the same master/servant relationship. In either case, since no one knows of the other's existence when they first arrive in the same city, Hilarity Ensues.
  • A Tale of Two Cities has this as the central plot point.
  • Lord Vetinari gets one in the Discworld novel The Truth.
    • Another Discworld example is in Wyrd Sisters, where the hidden heir to the throne looks almost exactly like the Fool. Seemingly subverted when we find out that the Fool is the bastard son of the former King and a peasant woman. Then re-subverted in a different way when we find out that it's the other way round: the Fool's parents were correct, but the supposed heir is actually the son of the former Queen and the former Fool, meaning they still share the same father.
  • The Flashman novel Royal Flash relies on this trope, as the title character's uncanny resemblance to a Danish prince is the reason he gets dragged into his adventures in said story in the first place.
  • The actor in Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star isn't perfectly identical to the politician he is assigned to impersonate, but he is close enough to fake it.
  • Spoofed in the Daniel Pinkwater novel Slaves of Spiegel. The three (supposed) greatest chefs in the universe are Identical Strangers of each other...except for the minor aspect that they're from three entirely different species that don't resemble each other at all. Their names are also Significant Anagrams.
  • The Prince and the Pauper, a story written by Mark Twain. A beggar boy and a prince have a chance encounter and decide to switch places for a short while.
  • Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey features one where the eponymous Brat bears an uncanny resemblance to the missing Patrick Ashby. As it turns out, he's actually a lost relative and the real Patrick had been murdered - the deception serves to uncover the murderer of the real Patrick.
  • Already mentioned above, The Prisoner of Zenda is a classic example of the trope.
  • In the sixth Geronimo Stilton book, an actor is hired by Geronimo's Arch Rival, Sally Ratmousen, to impersonate him as a ploy to get her hands on his newspaper. The actor looks (and acts) so much like him that even his closest family is fooled. Later, he pulls the same trick on Sally by making up his male cousin to look just like her and get the newspaper back.
  • José Saramago's The Double: a man finds an exact double of him on TV and starts stalking him. Tragedy ensues.
  • Les Misérables has Champmathieu, who gets arrested in Jean Valjean's place because he just happens to look exactly like him.
  • Played several times in the Sweet Valley High series—surfer Bill Chase becomes infatuated with the twins due to their resemblance to his deceased girlfriend, Elizabeth eyes a guy who resembles her departed boyfriend Todd, but dumps him when she realizes he's a jerk, and older brother Steve dumps his girlfriend Cara at least twice to pursue girls who resemble his dead girlfriend Tricia. Adding insult to injury, despite acknowledging the physical similarity, he refuses to see either girl as her own separate person and instead continues to insist, "She's just like Tricia!", despite all evidence to the contrary. It's not until one girl tells him she deserves better than being used as a substitute and dumps him that he realizes how unhealthy his behavior is.
  • Seen in the original Nancy Drew series and the later Nancy Drew Files, with a nearly identical plotline—a young woman impersonates Nancy while she goes about committing various crimes, getting the real Nancy into serious trouble.
  • The Koriani entchantresses in Janny Wurts' War of Light and Shadow series find a random baby with green eyes, who looks as though he might grow up to look sort of like Arithon...and cast a spell on him as he grows up so that he looks exactly like Arithon. As Arithon is considered rather like the Antichrist...things do not work out well for that kid.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Mad King, Barney Custer of Beatrice, Nebraska, U.S.A, is taken for the title king. In their defense, the king had been imprisoned for ten years, while a boy, and so they were going by the description. Still...
    "But there are the scum of the low country in the army these days, who would do anything for money, and it is these that the king must guard against. I could not help but note that mein Herr spoke too perfect German for a foreigner. Were I in mein Herr's place, I should speak mostly the English, and, too, I should shave off the 'full, reddish-brown beard.'"
    Whereupon the storekeeper turned hastily back into his shop, leaving Barney Custer of Beatrice, Nebraska, U.S.A., to wonder if all the inhabitants of Lutha were afflicted with a mental disorder similar to that of the unfortunate ruler.
  • In Gaunt's Ghosts novel Only in Death, an allied regiment's Major Berenson bears a startling resemblance to the now-dead Caffran.
  • In Wise Blood, when a huckster turns Hazel Motes' Church Without Christ into a moneymaking scheme, Hazel cuts off ties with it. Said huckster then goes and finds a guy who looks a lot like Hazel—and drives a similar car—to continue serving as the church's prophet.
  • In the last two Time Scout books, Skeeter Jackson and Noah Armstrong look very similar. It's the coloring and the bone structure, and a complete coincidence.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover universe has a principle that everything except the psychic matrix stones has one exact duplicate somewhere in the universe; a couple of the novels have people locating their doubles for plot purposes. In another book, a Terran who simply happens to look extremely similar to a Darkovan nobleman is kidnapped by mistake.
  • Tashir in Magic's Promise has an uncanny resemblance to Vanyel's dead lover, and the same goes for his Evil Uncle.
  • Dragon And Phoenix by Joanne Bertin doesn't follow this trope precisely, but there are two different unrelated men who bear close enough resemblances to the Emperor, helped by the fact that they're of similarly mixed ethnicity, to be mistaken for his brothers. They each have sex with a different one of his concubines, so that these women will produce children who look like they could be the Emperor's. He's sterile, himself.
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe short story collection "Short Trips: Past Tense" does it twice in a very meta way. The story "Thief Of Sherwood" is a metafictional Scrapbook Story, told via Radio Times and Doctor Who Magazine articles about an entirely fictional six-part First Doctor serial in which Robin Hood turns out to look exactly like Ian Chesterton, and the cast list credits "Ian Chesterton/Robin Hood - William Russell". The cast list also notes that Maid Marion is played by Anette Wilkes, who would go on to play Polly the year after "Thief of Sherwood" was suposedly broadcast. The final story, "That Time I Almost Destroyed The World While Looking For A Dress" had Polly wander through the previous stories in the collection, and sure enough, she looks exactly like Maid Marion.
  • King Rudolf and Rudolf Rassendyll in The Prisoner of Zenda although, in this case, they are distant cousins who have never met.
  • In Tarzan and the Lion-Man, cowardly actor Stanley Obroski is a dead ringer for Tarzan.
  • In one of the Expanded Universe side-novels for Stargate Atlantis, John Sheppard turns out to have had an Ancient ancestor who looked almost completely identical to him; someone even remarks that it's no wonder he has such a powerful ATA gene.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch: The fifth-season episode, "Two Petes in a Pod," saw Peter meet his exact double, Arthur Owens, in school. Wacky hijinx ensue, and be sure to watch for a scene when Arthur-as-Peter helps Jan with her homework ... and cozies up to her very closely (without Mike, Carol or Alice even so much as batting an eye; Jan doesn't even say anything).
  • An Only Fools and Horses special featured an American Mafia boss who looked exactly like Del.
  • At least four Doctor Who stories, most notably The Androids of Tara, where Mary Tamm ended up playing four roles: Romana, Princess Strella and android versions of each.
    • In The Enemy of the World, the Second Doctor was a dead ringer for Villain with Good Publicity Ramón Salamander.
    • In The Massacre, the First Doctor was a dead ringer for the Abbot of Ambroise.
    • In the Fifth Doctor story Black Orchid, Nyssa was a dead ringer for Ann Talbot.
      • And these are all cases of a Human Alien being a dead ringer for a human.
    • In the course of the seventh series of the new series, the Doctor encounters Clara Oswald three times in three completely different times and places, and witnesses her death twice. This spurs into trying to figure out how he can keep encountering the same person. Ultimately, however, this is a subversion, as the other Claras are all "echoes" of the original scattered across space-and-time.
  • In Mexican telenovela La Ursupadora, villainess Paola is thrilled to meet Identical Stranger Paolina at a beach resort, and quickly forces her to switch places. They are later revealed to have been twins separated at birth.
  • On an episode of V.I.P., a terrorist organization spent months searching for a Valerie Irons lookalike so that they could frame the real one for their rather far-reaching crime against humanity. (Not only did they find one, they found one who was surprisingly willing to join up with them and do it; clearly the writers were depending on serious Suspension of Disbelief by viewers.)
  • Xena: Warrior Princess had Meg (a harlot), Diana (a princess) and Leah (a priestess) who all happened to look like Xena. In addition to all of them having being confused for Xena at some point, there were also stories in which they were being confused for each other before Xena arrived on the scene!
  • In Beakman's World, all of the Famous Dead Guys (and girls!) looked like Beakman, or Lester, or Josie/Liza/Phoebe. Except Beakmom. She looked like Edith Bunker.
  • Featured in, believe it or not, Green Acres, when a criminal who looks exactly like Oliver Douglas comes to town.
  • Used in an episode of Up Pompeii where the plot revolved around a visit from Caesar who looked identical to Frankie Howerd's roman slave Lurcio. As with everything in this show, the fact that Frankie Howerd was playing two separate characters was heavily lampshaded, with constant references by Howerd to the audience about his versatility in playing two characters and many occasions where Howerd would come in the wrong costume and have to change rapidly.
  • Gilligan's Island. "Gilligan vs. Gilligan" sees the arrival of a Russian spy who looks identical to Gilligan, thanks to plastic surgery.
    • As did the identical-to-Ginger but Hollywood Homely woman who ended up on the island, got a makeover, and stole Ginger's identity when returning alone to the 'States.
    • And we also see the impostor who was living as Thurston Howell III before falling off of a yacht and washing up on the Isle.
  • Scrubs: after Laverne dies, Nurse Shirley takes her job. She looks exactly the same as Laverne, but only JD notices this. (The names are a Shout-Out to Laverne and Shirley.)
    • Downplayed in one episode where another doctor looks like JD, though not exactly like him, and other people think he's JD.
    "He looks nothing like me! ... What are you, Egyptian?"
  • Friends, "The One With Russ": Before going out with Ross, Rachel goes out for one episode with the aforementioned Russ, who looks, acts, and talks just like Ross. Amazingly, the only other character not to notice the similarity is Ross. Russ was actually portrayed by David Schwimmer himself
    • It also gets parodied twice, both times involving Joey. One episode has him flip out over meeting a guy whose hands look exactly like his own, while another has him recruit an actor to try and play his identical twin brother so they can join a group study that pays $1,000, only to fail to realize the actor doesn't look a thing like him until the very last minute.
  • Similarly to the Friends example, on an episode of Frasier, Daphne goes out with essentially a clone of Niles. Like Rachel, Daphne doesn't notice; unlike Ross, Niles does and is very pissed.
    • Actually, Niles doesn't notice for some time and goes around noting what a pretentious fop the clone is - it takes Martin and Frasier to point out the obvious to him before he gets it. Even then, it takes a time. THEN he's pissed.
    Frasier (to Niles): Whatever you do, don't engage him in a fistfight. It would all just look too weird!
    • Likewise, Frasier himself once goes out with a woman who very strongly resembles his late mother, in both the way she looks and the way she acts. He is the only one who doesn't notice: when he finally does, he breaks it off because it's all just too damn awkward.
  • In Primeval the character of Claudia Brown has a bridge dropped on her by the Timey-Wimey Ball and the identical looking, but very different, character of Jenny Lewis replaces her. A rare case where it isn't undone by the Reset Button by the end of the episode and Claudia is for all intents and purposes Killed Off for Real.
    • However, Jenny, while at first a much different person, slowly starts to become more and more like Claudia. She ditches fancy dresses and starts dressing more businesslike and starts developing feelings for Nick, just like Claudia. In the episode where Jenny decides to leave for good, she finds a picture that Nick has always kept in his pocket and doesn't recognize posing for it. She realizes that Nick was telling the truth about the altered timeline.
  • There is an episode of The Monkees in which Micky gets in a bit of trouble due to looking absolutely identical to a dangerous gangster wanted by the police.
  • The Nanny loves this. In one episode, Maxwell dates a woman who looks and acts just like Fran. And neither Fran nor Maxwell ever realize the similarity. Then on another occasion, C.C. dates a man who looks and acts just like Niles, which makes Niles hopelessly jealous.
  • This trope is the pilot episode of Sister Sister. Tia and Tamera meet each other in the mall. Hilarity Ensues. They end up being twin sisters Separated at Birth and Tia and her mom go to live with Tamara and her dad for the series.
  • Orphan Black starts with Sarah assuming she has found one of these with Beth, stealing her belongings and impersonating her. By the end of the first episode, it's quickly turned into Cloning Blues, and it only gets worse from there.
  • In The Colbert Report, Stephen's Doppelganger takes over during one of his Better Know A District Segments.
    • He seems to have quite a few of these.
    • Esteban Colberto.
  • Jack from 30 Rock has a doppleganger who seems to differ only in being Mexican and apparently extremely gay. He plays the Generalissimo, the villain of a soap opera.
    • As does the Hulu alien...
  • How I Met Your Mother featured references to multiple Doppelgangers, something the gang is always on the lookout for, in Series 5. They've seen Lesbian Robin, Mustache Marshall, Stripper Lily, and Mexican Wrestler Ted. Lily has promised Marshall that as soon as they see a Barney doppelganger, she'll see that as a sign it's time to have children. It Makes Sense in Context.
    • They finally saw Barney's doppelganger. It turned out to be Lily's fertility expert.
  • In a gag for Conan-era The Tonight Show, the back-seat rows (the ones you never see from the cameras) are decided to not get any love - so they have huge bodybuilders march out and flex for the back row. One looked exactly like one of the cast members. Down to the glasses.
  • One episode of Get Smart involved the discovery that KAOS had launched a campaign to find the doppleganger of everyone in CONTROL. Get Smart was the king of doppelganger shows - there were at least three doubles of Max, and 99 and the Chief had at least one apiece.
  • JAG: Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie, Harm's new partner, is trying to figure out why Harm is being so awkward around her.
    Harm: I keep forgetting I don't know you.
    Mac: Deja vu again?
    Harm: Only whenever I see your face. Or hear you talk. I wouldn't know about your smile, I haven't seen one yet.
    Mac: There's not much to smile about.
    Harm: I guess not.
    Mac: Sounds like I have a twin out there. {cue Flash Back of a woman, identical to Mac, being placed in a bodybag}
    • Mac resembling a murdered acquaintance of Harm's was the result of Catherine Bell having previously played the murder victim in "Skeleton Crew", a Lost Episode from the first season before the show hopped networks and was retooled.
    • This ends up as a (dead-serious) Brick Joke two and a half seasons later in "Death Watch", when Mac confronts her doppelganger's killer, who is startled by what looks like the murdered woman's ghost, causing them to stumble backwards off of the pier to their death.
  • NCIS. In "Doppelganger" Team Gibbs is dumbfounded to find a Metro PD squad whose members are identical in personality to their own. A Perp Sweating leader who Dope Slaps and drinks Starbucks coffee, a probie geek who fetches said coffee, a Handsome Lech Italian-American whose attempts to flirt with Kate are crushed with sarcasm and a Deadpan Snarker female cop who does the same thing to DiNozzo.
  • The X-Files. Done as one of the many He Is Not My Boyfriend gags in "The Rain King." Scully and Mulder arrive at a TV station and are at first assumed to be the married couple about to appear on the program. When the real couple arrive they look like country hick versions of the two FBI agents.
    • The Cold Open of Season 7's "Fight Club" has a pair of FBI agents investigating the mysterious events, and it takes a couple minutes of dialogue before the camera shows their faces and reveals that they are two strangers who just happen to look and sound a lot like Mulder and Scully. The episode also has this trope as its central plot, as the actual Mulder and Scully take over the case and discover it revolves around a pair of Identical Strangers who cause destruction and mayhem whenever they're both in the same place at the same time.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk is Someone Else," Adrian Monk and a contract killer look almost identical.
  • Janet from Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Michelle from Grownups in the Two Pints... Comic Relief special.
  • Ultra Seven: Miner and mountain climber Jiro Satsuma to Dan Moroboshi.
  • There's an episode of The Phil Silvers Show where Bilko turns out to have a double. They never meet until the final scene but they keep getting mistaken for each other and much Hilarity Ensues.
    • Another episode involved Bilko promising a Bing Crosby concert to the troops. Unfortunately Bing was late to arrive so Bilko tried to placate the troops by passing off as Bing a soldier who happened to be a lookalike. The double couldn't sing, however, with his only talent being able to recite Longfellow's poem The Wreck of the Hesperus. Bing saved the day by arriving at the end of the episode—and proceeded to entertain the troops by reciting The Wreck of the Hesperus.
  • The Incredible Hulk: It had one episode in which David Banner ran into someone who looked almost like him with the exception that his doppelganger was and looked a little bit older. The doppelganger, unfortunately, was a crook. Both parts were played by Bill Bixby.
  • On Perfect Strangers, following his break-up with Mary Ann, Balki happily declared to Larry and Jennifer that he was over her because he had met the woman of his dreams...and then promptly introduced them to a woman who looked exactly like Mary Ann. The trope is then played twice when the foursome go out to dinner and encounter Mary Ann, who's dating someone who looks just like Balki. Interestingly, they both immediately notice the similarities in each others partners, although they don't see the similarities in their own—although Balki realizes it after slipping up and calling the new woman "Mary Ann".
  • A strange case cropped up on All My Children. Tad got Easy Amnesia and ended up in California, where he met Nola Orsini, who instantly recognized him as her long-lost son Ted. Ted had disappeared as a child, but Nola saw Tad and knew this was what Ted would grow up to look like. After a few years, Tad returned to Pine Valley and got his memory back. The following year, it turned out Nola was right. The real Ted showed up, and he looked exactly like Tad.
  • In-universe example - Eric Szmanda from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation & Jonathan Togo from CSI: Miami - (picture). Szmanda is even in the backdoor pilot for the Miami spin-off as well. It would be.....interesting to say the least were they to ever meet.
  • On Community, Abed is coerced into approaching a girl he's attracted to because one of her old textbooks has a sketch of him in it - which turns out to be a sketch of her boyfriend, a caucasian Abed-lookalike.
    • On a season one ending credit gag, Troy and Abed are playing ridiculous messages over the PA system... only to be stopped by security guards who are identical older versions of themselves. Everybody involved is seriously weirded out.
  • When Diana Rigg left The Avengers, it was stated that Emma Peel's husband had finally turned up alive. He looked exactly like Steed, leaving viewers to wonder how she dealt with that emotionally all the time they worked together.
  • The Prisoner episode "The Schizoid Man" screws with Number Six's sense of identity by secretly conditioning him to alter his reactions, then introducing an Identical Stranger who's been trained to react the way Six is supposed to.
  • Denzi Blue, Battle Kenya and Space Sheriff Gavan (all played by Kenji Ohba) are treated as this when they are brought together in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie. Except here, it turns out that the three have been friends for a long time.
  • In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, one episode features an actress named Carolyn who is identical to Kendrix Morgan, the Pink Ranger. Kendrix ends up swapping places with the actress to give her a break. Over the course of the episode, the actress learns to not be so bitchy, and Kendrix for her part gains a bit of confidence from filling in for the actress at her job. Towards the end, the actress takes advantage of the resemblance to confuse the Monster of the Week.
  • On Days of Our Lives, when Kristen Blake DiMera miscarried John Black's baby, she feared John would leave her for his true love Marlena Evans. So Kristen's father, Supervillain Stefano DiMera, located an Identical Stranger, Susan Banks, whom he seduced and impregnated by dressing up as her idol, Elvis Presley. Susan then impersonated Kristen for doctor's appointments, using a mouthpiece to hide her terrible buck teeth. Later, after the ruse was uncovered, Kristen tried to kill Marlena and then used a mouthpiece to impersonate Susan in hopes of taking over the latter's life and escaping prosecution. Meanwhile, Susan turned out to be one of a set of quadruplets, and her siblings Sister Mary Moira Banks, Thomas Banks, and Penelope Kent all arrived in Salem. Actress Eileen Davidson played all five roles, and received a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1998 for her efforts.
  • On All in the Family, the local butcher solved his ongoing affections for Edith by finding a girlfriend who looked quite a bit like her (and was also played by Jean Stapleton). At this point, having both on-screen simultaneously was possible, as the show no longer had a studio audience - the laughter heard was from the One Day At A Time audience, who were shown completed AITF episodes. This allowed for a fun reaction when the audience finally got to see the two characters together in the last scene.

    Radio 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio The Church And The Crown, Peri is a dead ringer for Queen Anne of France, and is accidentally kidnapped in place of the Queen, driving much of the plot.

    Theater 
  • Martin and Arnaud from Martin Guerre must be identical strangers. Granted, seven years have passed between Martin leaving Artigat and Arnaud returning, but they must look A LOT alike for there to be acutal doubt as to who is who.
  • Played with in Miss Saigon towards the end of its Broadway run, when an Asian actress (instead of the usual white one) was cast as Ellen, the wife of the title character's lover Chris. Suddenly, instead of moving on with his life, as he insisted that he had, it now appeared that Chris only married Ellen because she reminded him of Kim.
  • In A Flea in Her Ear, faithful husband Victor and drunken porter Poche are absolutely identical.
  • In Avenue Q, Nicky searches for a boyfriend for his friend Rod (who secretly has a crush on him), and finds Ricky, who is almost identical to Nicky, right down to having the exact same voice, except that he's gay. Rod is overjoyed.

    Video Games 
  • Spoofed in WarioWare: Smooth Moves. Not only is Jimmy P. an Identical Stranger for Jimmy T., they have nearly the same storyline in their stages. Jimmy P. has a tan, though, causing an anonymous flyer on the town message board to say that Jimmy T. "Must have gotten some sun" and "Looks like a different person!"
  • You take this role in Infinite Undiscovery as Capell, who is mistaken for the hero of the land, Sigmund. It forms a major part of the plot.
  • In the opening dialogue of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Marin is at first mistaken for Princess Zelda.
  • In Star Ocean: The Second Story, Claude and Prince Chris look exactly alike. Interestingly, this isn't used for a Prince and Pauper bit; at most, Claude can meet Chris during a Private Action and go hit the local bar with him.
  • Final Fantasy VI has Celes being nearly identical in appearance to Maria, the famous opera singer, and ends up having to substitute for her as part a Zany Scheme to get the party onboard Setzer's airship. Some theorize that, as Celes is a Designer Baby, she may well either be a clone or close genetic relative of Maria (she certainly seems to share Maria's talent for opera, after all, being able to perform well enough to fool the obsessed fan Setzer despite never having sung before in her life). This has not been officially endorsed by the source material. We never actually see Maria in the game, so we have to take the other characters' word for it about their resemblance.
  • Final Fantasy X makes Tidus an Identical Stranger to two unrelated characters. In FFX, he's a coincidental doppleganger of Wakka's dead brother and Lulu's lover Chappu, opening the door for Wakka's Big Brother Instinct and Lulu snark. In Final Fantasy X-2 we learn that Tidus was actually a dream simulation loosely based on some real person named Shuyin. Wait, so why did he look like Chappu?
  • Happens in Tales of the Abyss with Luke and Asch. Later subverted when it's revealed that Luke is actually a replica of Asch, and Asch is the "true" Luke.
  • This leads to most of the plot in Leisure Suit Larry II when Larry mistakenly obtaining a microfiche when someone identical to him was suppose to and spending most of the game avoiding the KGB.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep introduces Ventus, who is physically identical to Roxas. Ventus has been sleeping in Sora's heart for the past ten years, so the two of them do have some of a connection.
    • Also Vanitas, who's Sora with a dye job and a much cooler outfit, and Terra, who looks like a younger, dark-haired Xehanort. Vanitas is Ven's Enemy Without, and Ven only survived their separation by linking with Sora's heart, connecting the three of them. However the bizarre part that isn't explained is why Sora and Ventus are identical barring their hairstyle.
  • Another Star Ocean example: Ameena in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time looks exactly like Sophia. Despite being from another planet entirely. Although, finding a twin is probably easier when your candidate pool is twice as large. They are both characters in an MMORPG, with, presumably, more limited character models/editing options than in the real world.
  • In Heart No Kuni No Alice, Blood Dupree has the same face as Alice's ex-boyfriend who broke her heart. This causes her to be initially cold to him, though she eventually starts to see that he's not the same guy. Subverted when it turns out that Nightmare gave her Fake Memories to make her think Blood looked like her ex.

    Webcomics 
  • In Sluggy Freelance, the medieval warlord Lord Torgamous looks exactly like modern day Torg (except for the beard).
    "Wait a minute! You just taped a picture of Riff's head to this painting."
    "Makes the story more dramatic, don't it?"
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Diane is physically identical to Susan. The two are distinguishable only by hair colornote  and fashion sense (and, since Susan got a magic-powered growth spurt, height). Despite this it appears that they have never met. Considering the amount of lampshade hanging around this one, as well as the fact that we know of at least one way for this to be perfectly possible (not counting identical twins separated at birth), this is probably going to become important later.
    • In the "Death Sentence" arc, Raven casts a disguise spell on Grace so he can pass her off as his niece. The disguise looks just like Susan.
    Grace: Are you sure you don't have any children?
    Raven: Positive. Why?
    Grace: No reason.
    • After Diane becomes interested in Elliot, she starts watching the online review show he's doing with Susan. She doesn't notice the similarity, and just refers to Susan as "lanky bitch."
    Rhoda: Listen to her voice! She sounds just like you!
    Diane: Pfft. I don't sound like that.
    • It is now almost entirely confirmed that Susan and Diane are identical twins seperated at birth. They were born twenty minutes apart, Diane is adopted, and Jerry the immortal refers to Diane as "Susan's long-lost sister".
  • Nedroid: Over the course of the ongoing Harrison Stories arc Harrison comes across two creatures underground who look exactly like his friends Beartato and Reginald only to find out that they're Buttfranklin Buttwhistle and...His friend Reginald who's a little insulted Harrison didn't recognize him
  • Brawl in the Family has Kingsonnn Dededoo, who looks exactly like King Dedede with a mustache. And he's here to clean your clock.
  • Nintendo Acres has Link from Zelda and Lionk, Link's part-time door-opening stunt double and full-time employee of all the town's restaurants
  • Akuma TH has the "Superhero" Mathman, who looks like the title character in a cape and a not particularly concealing mask. Everybody who sees Mathman assumes that he's actually Akuma, and neither of them is particularly convincing when denying it. However, the third annual World Spriter's Tournament showed that they were, in fact, separate people.
  • Off-White: A wolf pelt that looks like Iki except with orange eyes instead of blue.
  • Satan And Me: Michael Panagakos and the Archangel Michael both look incredibly similar (excepting their eyes) and even share the same name. As characters, however, they're completely different.

    Web Original 
  • In Deadly Space Action!, Gregarion the Sea Barbarian is either this or an Identical Grandfather to Lemarion the Space Barbarian, though they never meet.
  • During the Sethan arc in Vaguely Recalling JoJo, Jotaro doesn't think that the child Polnareff is Polnareff at all and mistakes Benimaru for Polnareff.
  • In the Mata Nui Online Game, the developers accidentally mixed up the masks of several characters, thereby making Hafu look like Taipu and vice versa. In MNOG II, they were given the correct masks finally, but this leads to the player character confusing them, which makes Taipu quite mad. The developers were basically poking fun at their own goof-up.
  • Played with in May Xnocens. January and April look similar and someone does manage to confuse the two at one point, but April is a child while January is an adult.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of The Fairly OddParents, Timmy Turner's parents are arrested because they resemble a pair of criminals, the Souvenir Bandits (whose surname happens to be Turnbaum).
  • In The Simpsons episode "Fear of Flying", Homer is temporarily banned from Moe's due to rampant douchebaggery (for Moe, at least). Soon after, a man who looks exactly like Homer with a mustache, in a top hat and suit goes to Moe's. He introduces himself as "Guy Incognito" and is promptly beaten up and thrown out. The real Homer, passing by, is shocked to find his exact double unconscious but is suddenly distracted by a dog with a puffy tail.
    • In The Movie, Bart doodles on a wanted poster with his family on it to prevent the owner of the store it was in from noticing it and calling the police and getting them arrested. A family resembling the modified picture ends up getting arrested after the store owner notices the poster.
    • "Double, Double, Boy in Trouble" has Bart do a Prince and Pauper plot with a rich kid who looks just like him. At the same time Bart and his rich doppelganger meet, they also meet a guy who looks like a 30-year-old version of them; that guy has a wife who looks like a 30-year-old, female version of Milhouse.
    • "Brother From the Same Planet" has Bart waiting to be picked up from his soccer game by Homer, when it starts to rain. Bart thinks he sees Homer driving by in his car, but it turns out to be a woman that looks like Homer wearing a blond wig and wearing a dress, inexplicably singing "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" as she drives past.
  • In the Donald Duck cartoon Donald's Double Trouble, Donald meets another duck who looks just like him, only he speaks clearly (with a British accent, no less) and has impeccable manners. Donald convinces his double to take Daisy out on a date to win her back, as she had dumped him for his bad manners. Donald soon regrets it, as he finds his doppleganger enjoying the date a little too much.
  • In the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Gadget Goes Hawaiian" Gadget switches places with Luwhinie (spelling uncertain), who is her exact duplicate (aside from being voiced by Gidget actress Deborah Walley).
  • The Flintstones had an episode featuring a rich exact double of Fred who gets fed up with his stressful life and runs away. His employers then encounter Fred who ask him to take the double's place, until Fred himself also gets fed up and leaves. All the while, the double has been going around encountering Fred's friends and family and acting like a jerk to them, only for Fred to arrive home and everyone start treating him like dirt and him not understanding why. Kind of sad, really.
    • The plot is recycled in another episode (with an emperor, this time). Fortunately, the confusion gets cleared up at the end.
    • Also used in the finale movie The Man Called Flintstone: Fred is called in to take over the role of the secret agent Rock Slag, who just happens to look exactly like him.
      • The Recycled IN SPACE! version of the Flintstones, The Jetsons had the exact same plot, with a random secret agent looking exactly like George Jetson.
    • A similar plot to that first example is used in an episode where an alien sends androids down to Earth that not only happen to look exactly like Fred, but also "Yabba dabba" just happens to be all they can say. This episode has a happier ending where "Fred's" strange behavior is blamed on the diet he was on and he's taken off it, much to his delight.
  • In one episode of Family Guy, Peter and three Identical Strangers (except for facial hair and glasses) all get free samples of sausage at the grocery store, one after the other, then all show up at the same time for seconds.
    • In the B-plot of one episode, Chris starts going out with a girl who looks extremely similar to Lois.
  • In Code Lyoko Season 1 episode "The Girl of the Dreams," a New Transfer Student, Taelia, is believed to be a materialized Aelita. But besides similar looks and Significant Anagram names, they have nothing in common (unless you choose to believe some Wild Mass Guessing).
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants, "No Weenies Allowed": a sponge identical to Spongebob only with dark hair and the real deal (wearing a Rainbow Clown Wig) both appear at the Salty Spittoon at the same time.
    • The writers used the exact joke again in season 6's "Slumber Party". Mr. Krabs sends SpongeBob to his house to spy on Pearl and her sleepover, and then someone named "Girlie Teengirl" from "Farawayville" shows up at the door, looking exactly like SpongeBob in drag. Pearl and her friends aren't fooled and send Girlie running away crying. After that, Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob show up for real, scratching their heads over who the lookalike was.
  • Kim Possible, "Chasing Rufus": There is a couple exactly identical to Kim and Ron only with a pair of glasses and shaggy mustache respectively.
  • Class of 3000, "Westley Side Story": The kids from Eastley school like exactly like our protagonists from Westley.
  • A trio of characters who look a lot like Catdog's nemesis appears as policemen in one episode of Catdog.
  • Flexo in Futurama.
    • Flexo and Bender are both bending units, AKA the same model of robots. They were made to look identical on purpose by Mom's factories. While they are strangers yes, they're technically related.
    • One way to tell them apart: Flexo has a goatee.
    • One time, Bender had to go into the Witness Protection Program to stay safe from the Robot Mafia. While making a delivery on the moon, the crew sees a robot farmer that looks like Bender but acts like he doesn't know them. At first they think Bender is doing a pretty good acting job until Professor sees the robot's memory circuit and thinks Bender has been reprogrammed. Despite Zoidberg protecting the robot from Clamps, he is killed by the Donbot's daughter who Bender abandoned. The crew then grieves over Bender's apparent death at a pizza parlor, where it's revealed that's where Bender was actually hiding. Upon realizing that an innocent bot was killed...they celebrate the fact that with the Robot Mafia thinking Bender was dead, he can come out of hiding.
  • In the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, April O'Neil is revealed to look identical to Mallory, princess from the fictional country of Malicuria. Hilarity ensues when Shredder decides to capture Mallory in order to ransom her for the MacGuffin of the week.
  • One episode of The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo has the actor Mr. Magoo asked by the police to impersonate an identical gangster in order to catch the whole gang.
  • King Arthur & the Knights of Justice had Arthur King, Lance and to a lesser extent, the other ten as replacements for King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and the rest of the true knights of the round table.
  • Colonel Chicken in Chowder (who looks exactly like Chowder but dressed like Colonel Sanders) was mistaken by Mung as a ploy to get him to bake schmeanut blutter flookies. Then Chowder comes in with his actual ploy while Colonel Chicken is confused at their resemblance.
    • Another episode features Porridge, who looks exactly like Chowder except that he wears glasses and his fur is in a different shade of purple.
  • American Dad!: Stan has a CIA double named Bill who he has do all the stuff Stan doesn't want to do. In one creepy development, Bill ends up dating Stan's daughter Hayley!
  • In one episode of Storm Hawks, Piper meets her double: Princess Peregrine of Klockstoppia, or Perry, as she prefers to be called. A Prince and Pauper-type plot ensues, albeit not with total consent on Piper's part...
  • In The Weekenders, Tony Tortallero looks almost identical to main character Tino Tonitini and says "Sure!" in almost the same voice. However, in neither of Tony's appearances does he ever say anything except "Sure!"
  • An episode of Pepper Ann featured a girl and her family moving into town who happen to look just like Pepper Ann and her family, with a few differences (and slightly different names).
  • On Rugrats Angelica is mistaken for the daughter of an Italian restaurant owner. As a Spoiled Brat, she takes advantage of the situation.
  • One episode of Josie and the Pussycats involces a princess who looks just like Valerie.
  • In Yogi's Great Escapenote , in the "western ghost town" scene, Quick Draw McGraw mistakes Yogi and Boo-Boo for an identical pair of outlaws who were wanted for cattle rustling.
  • Similarly to the Josie example, this happens to Kimber in an episode of Jem when she meets (you guessed it) a princess who looks just like her.
  • An episode of Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats involves Henry, a lost cat with orange fur, thin black stripes, a round head, and a round black nose...note 
  • The Top Cat episode "The Missing Heir".
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes gives us TCFM, who looks exactly like Beezy only green, and uses this to get the people of Miseryville to do what he wants.
  • Eric Cartman looks a lot like Marlon Brando...and a bit like Dakota Fanning.
  • The animated Punky Brewster episode "Double Your Punky" had Glomer creating a clone of Punky from a photograph to keep him company at home while the real Punky was at a school picnic. The clone, however, was obnoxious, and in his confusion, Glomer zaps the sweet Punky back into the photograph and throws it away. Having retrieved it and getting her back, Glomer is unable to tell who the real Punky is. It's up to Brandon (Punky's dog), who recognizes her scent.
  • The human girl Alice in The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland looks just like the kidnapped Princess of Heart, so she's brought into the kingdom and impersonates her while the Care Bears go rescue the princess.
  • Gargoyles: Preston Vogel looks so much like Owen Burnett, you could swear that they just reused the character models with a Palette Swap. Petros Xanatos meets them and asks if they're related, which they deny. Owen is really Puck, who used his powers to imitate the most wooden and uptight man he could find, which happened to be Preston.
  • In one episode of My Gym Partner's a Monkey, Adam thinks that Jake disguised himself as a girl in order to join the cheer squad and goes to great lengths to expose him. He's quite embarrassed when he discovers it wasn't Jake.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Daring Do looks just like a Palette Swap of Rainbow Dash. As it turns out, "Daring Don't" reveals that this really is the case.


Grass Is GreenerIn Another Man's ShoesJust The Introduction To The Opposites
Identical GrandsonActing for TwoCriminal Doppelgänger
Guilty PleasureAdministrivia/In-Universe Examples OnlyIf I Wanted X, I Would Y
Holographic DisguiseDisguise TropesIdentity Impersonator
Identical GrandsonDoppelgängerJekyll & Hyde
Western AnimationImageSource/Western AnimationIndian Burial Ground
HypocriteAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Impossibly Delicious Food
I Will Wait for YouOlder Than FeudalismIdiot Plot

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