"When you're a spy playing the role of spy hunter, the trail of evidence can lead wherever you say it does."
So you're a scheming villain out to inflict some suffering on a poor Unwitting Pawn
. You have the gadgets, the Mooks
and most importantly, the Evil Plan
itself. But wait! Your unsuspecting victim may not be so unsuspecting! Quickly! What do you do?
Why, you employ the Investigator Impersonation! Almost a villanous form of Lampshade Hanging
, you do this by doing the last thing the victim would expect you to do: Outlining your entire plan straight to his face! By posing as a helping party, the villain convinces the victim that his plan is currently being implemented by somebody else. This allows the villain to simultaneously shift the suspicion away from him and get his victim to follow his every command to the letter.
A favorite of the Manipulative Bastard
and The Chessmaster
who may use any variety of plan
to make this work; very often, this is part of a Bavarian Fire Drill
Compare Detective Mole
Anime and Manga
- Lupin III's favorite disguise is Inspector Zenigata. He goes up to his victim, explains that they're being targeted by Lupin, and asks them to allow him to increase the security. Everything that the real Zenigata would do, too.
- This is a favorite tactic of Michael Westen on Burn Notice. In the episode that provides the page quote, he persuades a mark to give him access to his stolen painting by telling him that he's trying to protect it from a spy. (Accompanied by frequent Sarcastic Confessions, no less.) This is a rare non-villanous example. Westen will often go to extremes in these efforts by faking "attacks" by the invisible enemies.
- This was once played for comedy with Sam impersonating a CSI, with all the Lampshade Hanging necessary.
- In a recent Chuck episode, a mercenary hired to rob a CIA warehouse told a guard she was an agent sent there to assist him as they'd received word someone was going to try to rob the warehouse. Of course, her success here may have been due in large part to his fascination with her cleavage.
- This is also frequently done on Leverage as well, usually by Hardion, Parker and Eliot. In one interesting variation, during a mystery dinner theater, they have to claim to be putting on the show while solving the real murder.
- In Heavy Rain, one of the investigators on the Origami Killer case turns out to be the Killer himself. Namely, Scott Shelby, who poses as a PI to collect evidence he left behind as the killer.