Why were you sitting on my couch in the dark?
Humans are private creatures and we all like to have a safe place like home to retreat to. Thus, when people violate that privacy and show up in our space without invitation, it's unsettling. The Villain Knows Where You Live
is an effective intimidation tactic for just this reason. If they're feeling particularly malicious, they'll break in and wait. And wait. As long as it takes for the hero to wake up, get home, walk into the right room, or otherwise realize that someone else is there.
What they talk about could be almost anything. From revealing I Have Your Wife
, to An Offer You Can't Refuse
, to an offer for a new security system
. Affably Evil
people who pull this are likely use a Chair Reveal
, but more dangerous people tend to use a Stealth Hi/Bye
. It doesn't have to be a home that's broken into, of course. It could be an office, a secure hideout, or anywhere that is considered relatively safe. If it's easily broken into, it may overlap with Swiss Cheese Security
or Unsafe Haven
It's not just villains that do this. A hero, Anti-Hero
, Mysterious Informant
, Magnificent Bastard
, or anybody else might do this if times get desperate enough. It's especially common in Enemy Mine
situations, and If I Wanted You Dead...
is a good way for the trespasser to gain some trust. On the more sinister side, I Know You Know I Know
and Shame If Something Happened
can come into play. A common variant of this is for the trespassee to be The Anticipator
, and reveal that he knows someone is there.
Keep in mind that this trope is not about attacks, ambushes, or abductions. It requires a great deal of stealth to pull off. If a weapon is involved, it must be a scare tactic or backup plan. However, it is definitely possible that this scenario could lead to a fight.
Compare Break-In Threat
, Ominously Open Door
, Villain over for Dinner
Anime & Manga
- Done in Black Lagoon, Chang at the El Baile de la Muerte arc when he waits for the arrival of the Lagoon crew and Fabiola alongside Garcia. This led to a tense standoff before Chang grappled with Fabiola to disarm her.
- Rorscharch in Watchmen frequently does this, both to his friends and enemies. In one case, leaving a Right Behind You message in the victim's fridge.
- Batman frequently does this, and he usually uses a Stealth Hi/Bye to get away when he's done.
Live Action TV
- The Dresden Files:
- In Fool Moon, Harry Dresden returns to his office to find John Marcone sitting at his desk, waiting to make him a job offer.
- In Grave Peril, Dresden manages to pull this off on Mortimer by sheer timing. Mort opens the door to his house to lug a suitcase outside, and Harry sidles in unnoticed while he's coming out. Then he sits in a chair and waits for Mort to come back in.
- In The Millennium Trilogy Mikael Blomkvist does this to Lisbeth Salander after he discovers that she was spying on him.
- In Dora Wilk Series Baal breaks (supernaturally) into main character's house twice, and it's implied he's doing it more often. Played for Laughs, as he usually comes to chat (and he made her breakfast once). He's just kind of lonely, but Prince of Hell can't go around just visiting people.
- In the episode, "Cowboy", Henry - who is in a really bad mood - enters his office to find Hawkeye waiting for him behind his desk, wanting to discuss giving chopper pilot Cowboy a temporary medical discharge. Henry even remarks, "Uh-uh-uh! Don't get up... let me just pretend ''you're'' the one in charge of this nuthouse."
- In, "Rally 'Round the Flagg, Boy", Potter walks into his office, with Father Mulcahy in tow, to find Colonel Flagg waiting for them, and neither of them (nor Radar, who was in his outer office the whole) know or can even figure out how Flagg even got in there in the first place.
- Deep Space Nine: Section 31 officer Sloan's preferred method of meeting/recruiting Bashir seems to be waiting in a chair by Bashir's bed, in the dark, until he wakes up. This one predictable trait proves his undoing.
- Star Trek: The Original Series. During the first season episode "A Taste of Armageddon", Kirk escapes captivity and waits in his captor's office to have a calm, albeit at gunpoint, conversation about the reasons for Kirk's imprisonment.
- MythQuest: Max Asher comes home to find an unknown Chinese businessman sitting in his living room, waiting to talk about their mutual enemy, Gorgos.
- Dan For Mayor: A while after Claire breaks up with her fiance and he moves out, Claire comes home to find him in her kitchen and he givers her keys back.
- Played for Laughs on Corner Gas. Local cop Davis is trying to get two of his friends to purchase a home security system. One day, they wake up to find him standing over their bed with a tray. He cheerfully informs them that he could've been a burgular bringing them breakfast. They buy the system just so he'll leave.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the first season, Darla waits at Angel's house to threaten/seduce him.
- Very common on The X-Files.
- A major plot point on Breaking Bad, when Walter White confronts Gretchen and Elliot inside their house.
- Such an incident, invoking much Fridge Logic, happens in the pilot episode of Robin Hood, wherein Robin sneaks into the Sheriff's castle and wakes him up to deliver a threat. He never makes good on that threat, despite constant and escalating provocation from the Sheriff, and consistent lack of good security in the castle.
- Sherlock: After Moriarty discredits John and Sherlock, they break into a reporter's flat who was going to report the story. Once inside, they just sit on her couch until she comes home, at which point they confront her about her sources.
- Supernatural: In a season 4 episode, the Winchesters find Castiel and Uriel waiting in their motel room to recruit them for a demon interrogation.
- In American Horror Story: Asylum Lana breaks into Thredson's home and casually lounges on an armchair with a gun awaiting his entrance. It becomes a Lightswitch Surprise once he crosses the threshold.