Mr. Hawkins, I'm glad to see you're okay. Mr. Hawkins:
You can drop the act, Virgil. Static:
You know? Mr. Hawkins:
Wasn't hard to figure out. Why else kidnap me to get to Static? And maybe, maybe in the back of my mind, I've always known.
We all know about Secret Keepers
: One or two people that The Hero
trusts enough to tell about his superpowers. However, there are also "secret" Secret Keepers who figured out the character's secret on their own, and instead of confronting the hero about the secret, decide to keep things quiet. They then almost always take it upon themselves to help the hero secretly from the sidelines by creating distractions to allow the character to slip away to change unnoticed, letting the hero know about dangers or problems that need the hero's attention, and so on.
If a reason why they don't just tell the hero, "I know," is given, it's usually pretty flimsy.
of Secret Keeper
. See Also: I Know You Know I Know
and Keeping Secrets Sucks
. Everybody Knew Already
is when everyone
is this. Locked Out of the Loop
is what those who are openly (so to speak) in on the secret assume of this character, which may lead to a twist, depending on whether the audience knows they know.
open/close all folders
- An occult otaku character in the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series is an asymmetric Secret Keeper. However, at the end of the first episode, he confronts Miyu, and she frightens and deceives him into walking off a roof to his death, because he asked her to make him a vampire and started going on about being above the normal people — Miyu found this an offensive misunderstanding of the role of vampires in the setting — both making him Sacrificial Lamb to further establish the series' dark tone, and helping to establish Miyu's role as a Dark Magical Girl in the early series.
- In Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Miyako kept her knowledge of Maron's secret until she is ready to tell her.
- In Tokyo Mew Mew, Ichigo worries on a regular basis about people discovering her secret, and on many an occasion, her worry works her up enough to almost let it slip. However, Aoyama Masaya, the one person that she wanted never to find out because she was sure he'd reject her, figured out her identity on his own and is perfectly fine with it. This is the point where they become without a doubt an Official Couple. Unknown to the both of them, he has some not-quite-normal qualities himself.
- Honoka's grandmother, Sanae, in Futari wa Pretty Cure. It's unclear just how much of the secret she knows, though. She seems to enjoy being mysterious about it.
- Daisuke Suwa, the male lead of Bitter Virgin, knows of the traumatic events in Hinako's past. However, Hinako, who told it to a "priest", whom she couldn't see, has no idea of his knowledge.
- Euphemia for Lelouch in Code Geass; at least, for a little while. She's the first person to figure out Zero's true identity, but keeps this to herself until the two are able to meet privately.
- Shirley is briefly this after she finds her note to herself from before Lelouch erased her memory, and then again when Jeremiah inadvertently deactivates Charles' Geass on her.
- There are several of those in Sakura Gari, and they all guard extremely creepy secrets:
- Sakurako, as a child, witnessed Katsuragi and Souma killed her mother, whom everyone thought she committed suicide
- Souma found out that Sakurako killed his ex-lover Terashima
- The old maid and Katsuragi know that Sakurako's mother abused Souma.
- Near the end of Sailor Moon R, it is heavily implied that Usagi's friend Naru had figured out Sailor Moon's secret identity on her own when she tells Usagi to be careful before confronting the season's Big Bad. However, they never actually confirm this directly, and then appear to retcon this bit of character development in future seasons. A couple of other single episode only characters figure it out: Asai Tsutomu, an old friend of Minako's who figured out she was Sailor Venus when he saw Venus use Minako's special volleyball move and did hint at least he knew to her, and Saori who had a crush on Mamoru till she overheard him call Sailor Moon "Usako" and gave up on him without explaining why.
- During the Desperate Revival arc of Detective Conan, Ran had figured out Conan was Shinichi, but didn't confront him about it because she was waiting for him to tell her. As you would expect, she's thrown off once again by the end of the arc and no longer has this role.
- In Tiger & Bunny, Vigilante Man Lunatic/Justice Yuri Petrov knows Wild Tiger/Kotetsu T. Kaburagi's secret identity and decides to keep it to himself. Despite the antagonistic relationship between them, this actually works out for Kotetsu, as Maverick doesn't mindwipe Yuri like he does most of Kotetsu's other Secret Keepers when he Unpersons the hero. It isn't made clear as to whether or not he is able to discover Kotetsu's identity himself, or if he simply has access to the information due to his aforementioned position.
- For the first few episodes of Sonic X, Chris and his Grandfather were this for the Sonic characters. Then came just one subversion after another as Tanaka the butler reveals he worked it out ages ago, Chris TRIED to tell his mother but she is quite frankly being mind numbingly clueless about it and they realize that they're upsetting the cleaner so much by trying to keep it quiet that they let her in on the secret - and she ends up fussing enormously over Cream and playing a substitute mother figure.
- In Pretty Sammy, it turns out her whole class knew Sasami was Pretty Sammy and were just being polite about not letting on.
- Sugi of Girl Friends is the first, and probably only, one to figure out Mari and Akko's Secret Relationship. She occasionally teases them subtly about it, making them worry about how much she knows, and in the last chapter helps the two have some alone time together, after being surprised that she's still the only one amongst their circle of friends who figured out that the two are a couple.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi trains with Kaede in the mountains for the day. He departs the next morning, thinking that Kaede is still asleep, unaware that she's watching (in his defense, though, with Kaede it can be hard to tell). She shrugs it off and later shows up in Kyoto when Yue calls for help. After the incident is resolved, Negi explains things to her and the others. We never find out if Kaede mentioned that she already knew.
- Suzie Wong of Digimon Tamers is one. As soon as Henry shows that Terriermon is alive, she admits that she knew it all along.
- In Bleach, it turns out that Isshin knew Ichigo was a Soul Reaper the whole time because he's actually a former Soul Reaper himself.
- Dengeki Daisy is an interesting case, due to the fact that the Secret Secret Keeper is the exact person that the secret is supposed to be kept from in the first place.
- In Fairy Tail, it's revealed that Bickslow knew all along that Loke was really a Celestial Spirit, thanks to his Aura Vision.
- In Hana-Kimi, earlier on, Sano found out that Mizuki was a girl but didn't tell her and helped her to cover her tracks.
- There are a number of Detective Conan fanfics where Ran guessed the titular character is Shinichi without letting him know about. Examples include The right words and Bittersweet Deduction.
- Chrom in Fire Emblem Awakening fanfic Pretender knows Robin's true origins, that he's Plegian and Validar's son, long before Robin himself finds out in the hopes that keeping him out of the loop will help him stay away from the darkness of his past.
- In Don't Poke The Golden Goose, Jimmy Olsen learns Superman's identity. Then he discovers that Perry White knows, as do a a lot of other reporters (except Lois), but they keep it a secret since A) Clark Kent is a good reporter and B) having a superhero in town keeps is safe and allows for steady news stories. If Clark were found out, he would quit the Daily Bugle and Metropolis all together.
- Ernie, owner of the first Local Hangout in Power Rangers (Morphin' through Zeo), is often portrayed like this. The way all his best customers wear colour-coded outfits and constantly vanish and reappear without explanation, you'd hope he suspected something...
- In Gattaca, the hero Vincent Freeman steals the identity of another man in order to avoid the inevitable genetic discrimination that would bar him from his dream mission of flying to Saturn's moon, Titan. He forges urine samples, blood tests, and physical exams for years when a surprise exam reveals that the resident doctor has known he was a "borrowed ladder" all along, merely by the fact that he holds his wang with the wrong hand! but he looks the other way because he himself has an "inferior," natural-born child.
- The Dark Knight Trilogy
- In Batman Begins Lucius Fox puts together Batman's identity due to the suspicious parallels between Batman's equipment and the devices Bruce Wayne has ordered up for his own amusement.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, GCPD Officer John Blake deduced the identity of Batman many years ago, and never let on that he knew until Commissioner Gordon was hospitalised by Bane, at which point he took it upon himself to convince Bruce Wayne to come out of retirement.
- In Amen, Nazi Protagonist Kurt Gerstein and his wife might be an example of this, as they believe their maid Mrs Hinze may be Jewish, but do not relay their suspicions to the authorities or to Hinze herself.
- Man of Steel seems to feature this, as Clark spends a good amount of time demonstrating his feats of strength during his youth in Smallville (at one point lifting a bus full of kids out of a lake to save some of his classmates). One could only assume that the citizens (or at the very least Pete Ross, his childhood friend) were able to connect the dots that he is, in fact, the alien that goes on to confront Zod.
- Spider-Man 2:
- It's implied Aunt May realized Peter was Spider-Man after he saved her from Doc Ock during their fight at the bank. She never directly confronts him about it, but some of her conversations with Peter later in the movie and in the third film hint that she knows.
- Likewise, when Mary Jane learns his secret, her reaction is not, "Jesus Christ you mean that was you I had that upside-down kiss with?!" but a low-key, "You finally told me," implying that at the very least she had strong suspicions.
- The Amazing Spider-Man implied that Aunt May knew Peter was Spider-Man but didn't tell him. By the time of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it's pretty obvious that she knows, though he doesn't seem to think she does.
- The Deryni Duncan McLain continued the secret begun by his grandparents: his mother Vera was the fraternal twin sister of Alaric Morgan's mother Alyce deCorwyn. In 1121 he thinks only himself, Alaric and King Kelson know this, so he's shocked when a stranger who looks like Saint Camber greets him on the road to Coroth with the words, "Hail, Duncan of Corwyn."
- Vorkosigan Saga: It is revealed in his parting words to Miles, after announcing his retirement in Brothers in Arms, that Ky Tung has figured out who Admiral Naismith really is. Bel Thorne also reveals in Mirror Dance that it's known for some time too.
- In Loyal Enemies, half-elf Hraik is the only person to figure out that Shelena's a werewolf without witnessing her abilities or even hearing about them. He keeps it to himself, as he likes her and doesn't want to see her lynched. She doesn't realize that until he alludes to it in one of his songs.
- Harry Potter:
- In Prisoner Of Azkaban, Hermione manages to figure out Lupin was a werewolf, but kept it to herself, until she came to the belief that Lupin was an accomplice to Sirius Black.
- Two years later, in Order of the Phoenix, Harry learns that his neighbor, the Crazy Cat Lady Mrs. Figg, has known all along that he's a wizard — in fact, she's actually a Squib herself, who's been assigned to help keep watch over him his entire life.
- In Blood's Pride, Jachid and his mother have been keeping the source of Meiran's illness secret from her, but in reality, she has known it for a long time. She understood why they didn't want to tell her, but still expected them to eventually trust her enough to do so. They didn't, and she left without ever telling them that their secrecy was both a) pointless; and b) the cause of the rift between them. Later, the tables are turned and it's Jachid being kept in the dark - he only understands why when he realises that Meiran knows about his own lack of honesty. Why should she trust him, she asks, when she waited in vain for him to trust her?
- In "The Song of the Lioness Quartet, Myles is this with Alanna. He figures out she is a girl after she finds Lightning and saves Jonathan from the Sweating Sickness.
Live Action TV
- In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, Yuka Yamazaki, the love interest of red ranger Kai, starts the series as his crush before getting her own crush on Magired a few episodes in. During The Movie that takes place a little more than halfway through the series, she figures out that Kai and Magired are one and the same, but never admits it to him over the course of the rest of the show. She simply makes occasional vague jokes, turns on the flirting a bit more, and quietly prays for his safety in the more dangerous battles.
- Tensou Sentai Goseiger has Nozomu Amachi as the team's official Secret Keeper, with his father, Professor Amachi, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Alata and his friends are Gosei Angels. Towards the end of the series, however, when Eri must use her Magic Music to heal Nozomu's injuries, Amachi reveals that he has known for some time who the Goseigers really are.
- Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has Yuko and Rika Fukui, sister and niece respectively of Nobuharu Udo, aka Kyoryu Blue. Rika was the first to learn of her uncle's secret identity, while Yuko was kept oblivious for a short time until a determination speech Nobuharu says as Kyoryu Blue secretly tips her off. While Rika openly accepts her uncle's role as a superhero, Yuko decides to keep the information to herself, instead insisting on calling him "That Blue Guy".
- In the finale of The Secret World of Alex Mack, Alex learns that the truck driver who doused her all those years ago actually knew who she was, but never said a word.
Alex Mack: You knew, didn't you? You knew this whole time that it was me, but you didn't say anything because you knew I didn't want you to.
Dave Watt: Yeah.
Dave: You're welcome. (Alex gives Dave a hug in gratitude)
- In Smallville Chloe plays this for the second half of the fourth season.
- Lois is one of these from the season nine finale until episode five of season 10. During a good portion of season ten (even after he finds out that she knows) there's a hilarious level of Lois trying to hide Clark's identity from characters who already know it, like Chloe and Tess. (Which becomes particularly funny in Patriot where, as below, it becomes pretty clear that the others are just screwing with her. Just look at the smirk on Tess's face when Lois covers for Clark's absence to her... his Mission Control. It is possible that either Tess didn't know that Lois was in on the joke, or she was protecting her own secret, but given that this is Tess, it's quite likely that she's just enjoying Lois's attempts.)
- Lois does this earlier with when she finds out Oliver Queen is Green Arrow and tries to keep his secret...from Clark and Chloe. At some points it looks like all three are just screwing with her.
- Lionel Luther was one also, having the knowledge both of Clark's abilities and his birth name due to exposure to a Kryptonian artifact. In one episode, he goes out of his way to acquire surveillance footage showing Clark using his abilities (and his watching it without a hint of surprise and with a promise to keep Clark's secret safe serves to inform the audience of his knowledge). He only becomes a standard Secret Keeper after he is trapped in an elevator with Clark's mother, and Clark is forced to rather blatantly use his abilities to save them both.
- In one episode of Disney's Zorro, Diego is waylaid by a Zorro impersonator. When he defeats and unmasks the impostor, he discovers it's his father, Alejandro, who admits he's known the truth about his son's secret identity for a long time - and just stopped him from making a terrible mistake.
- On Grimm, it takes about a season and a half for Nick to find out Captain Renard knows he's a Grimm.
- Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Once or twice, Commander Stanton and Terra Venture's ruling council are hinted to know who the Rangers are. At the very least, High Councilor Renier pointedly cut off any questioning of where Mike had been when he suddenly reappeared after having been gone since the second episode.
- From Teen Wolf, it's revealed in the third season finale that Danny knows that Ethan's a werewolf.
- From El Goonish Shive, Nanase's mother knows quite a bit about Nanase's magical ability, but doesn't want this knowledge to become known, even going so far as to have a government agent convince Nanase to continue keeping magic a secret from her family.
- Also related to Nanase is how many people knew of her lesbianism before she properly came out. Of her seven friends, she goes a long time thinking only two know she's gay. Susan was with her when she realized she was gay, and her reaction to that (activating her fairy doll spell to speak to Elliot and, far as Susan was aware, dropping unconscious) scared Susan, she blabbed it to the two other friends present (Justin & Ellen). Sarah and Grace happened to overhear a conversation during Grace's birthday party. Ultimately, only Tedd remained completely oblivious until Nanase was actually out.
- Non-Supers example: Haley and Roy from The Order of the Stick have both caught on that Belkar is only faking his alignment shift away from Chaotic Evil, but have agreed not to call him out for it, preferring how he acts now.
- Which becomes an inversion at times, when he really shows signs of character development, but is promptly ignored because everyone thinks he's faking.
- At the end of Issue 14 of Spinnerette, it's made fairly clear from Buzz's expression as he's made to wait outside Sahira's apartment (until her Power Copying wears off) that he knows she was the six-armed woman who had shown up to a fire a few minutes before. A comment at the beginning of the same chapter may also have been testing the waters as to Heather's superheroing, but this is far less clear.