0 Days Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Trespassing to Talk

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 to 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.

Femme Fatales may occasionally combine this with Ready for Lovemaking.

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.

Comic Books
  • 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.

Fan Works
  • A Crown Of Stars: In the first chapter Daniel shows up in the Shinji and Asuka’s cabin at the night as they are resting in order to make them an offer.
  • Evangelion 303: In chapter 7 Kaworu returned to his home late and discovered that his ex-boyfriend had done this. Kaworu's reaction to Saburo saying "You're late" was: "What do you care and what are you doing in my home?"
  • The Second Try: In chapter 9, school janitor Hisao Yamaki is coming home after work, only to discover Kaji sitting in the darkness of his living room to inquire about some sensitive data. Said data being the reason why Yamaki has been into hiding for the past fifteen years, this visit is quite the unpleasant surprise for him.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In chapter 8's omake Asuka walks into her apartment and finds Touji, unwelcome and uninvited, waiting for her in the kitchen to blackmail her.

  • Sneakers: When the team returns to their office after recovering the Black Box, they find a team of NSA agents waiting for them.
  • In Jackie Brown, Ordell lurks in Jackie's apartment for one of these conversations.
  • Get Shorty: Chillie breaks into Karen's house to deliver the shylock message to Harry who's sleeping there -then pitches his movie idea. Karen kicks them both out. The next day she comes home to find Chillie waiting in her house to apologize.
    Karen: "You broke in to apologize for breaking in before?"
  • In Cloud Atlas, Luisa Rey returns home only to find someone waiting in the dark of her room. It's not an enemy though.
  • At the end of the first Iron Man film, Nick Fury breaks into Tony Stark's house to talk to him about the Avengers Initiative.
    • The scene was parodied on Robot Chicken where Tony questioned why Nick broke in only to discover that "Nick" was actually a burglar.
    • Nick does this again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and makes the implication to Cap that he's skilled at breaking and entering.
  • In The Dark Knight, the Joker manages to sneak into a heavily guarded meeting of mob bosses, and makes an offer to kill Batman for them.
  • Daniel Craig-era James Bond has made a habit of breaking into M's house/flat/whatever in order to talk with her. Various other films, especially earlier ones, also have someone waiting in Bond's room or vice versa.
  • Major Payne: After his dinner date with Emily, Payne returns to discover Cadet Stone sitting at his desk, beaten and bruised from where the squad had been ambushed by another school's R.O.T.C. squad... to which Payne was actually the one who gave them the tip.
  • In the original The Dead Zone movie, a journalist comes home at night and finds a local politician sitting at his desk, along with one or two "henchmen". The (crooked) politician wanted to have a chat about an unfavorable editorial about him.
  • In The Hangover, the trio come back to their hotel room to find Mike Tyson waiting for them and their explanation as to why they have his tiger.
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Milo enters his apartment to find Helga inside with a proposal from Mr. Whitmore to lead an expedition to Atlantis.
  • Brick Top's tactic in Snatch. (though he's not a monster: he asks Turkish to make some tea at least).
  • In the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of Lolita, Humbert comes home to find a man waiting inside; he turns on the lights to reveal Claire Quilty (known to the audience but not Humbert) in the guise of the college psychiatrist, Dr. Zempf. "I sat in ze dark to save you ze expense of ze electricity." Given his general behavior, it's likely this is a deliberate attempt to screw with Humbert's head.
  • In Ant-Man, Darren Cross does this to Hank Pym.
  • No Country for Old Men: The protagonist's wife encountering Psycho for Hire Anton Chigurh in her house who was waiting there for her to return. She doesn't survive the encounter.
  • At the end of Queen of the Damned, Jesse and Lestat surprise David Talbot in his office to give him Lestat's diary of centuries and a Long Last Look from the fledgling vampire Jesse.
  • In The Bad and the Beautiful, Jonathan awaits Georgia in the dark of her room to talk about her past and future. It helped that she left the door unlocked.

  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg does this a couple of times. Although it is not trespassing, strictly speaking, as he is sort of the Genius Loci of Castle Hurog, so he has a right to be there. It's just that Ward doesn't know about him when they first meet, and he is often unexpectedly present in Ward's room when Ward returns there.
  • 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 Big Sleep, Philip Marlowe gets home to find Femme Fatale Carmen Sternwood naked in his bed.
  • Stephanie Plum has this happen to her at least once per book, on average. It's as likely to be an ally (such as Ranger or Diesel) as an enemy.
  • In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire:
    • Katniss finds that President Snow is waiting for her at her own house to confront her. He sits in a chair and doesn't even address her immediately and continues reading a book to show Katniss who's the boss.
    • Katniss is later surprised to find Peacekeepers waiting in her living room, forcing her to feign normalcy. Subverted in that they had set a trap for her elsewhere and did not expect her to waltz in alive.

Live Action TV
  • M*A*S*H:
    • 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 time) know or can even figure out how Flagg even got in there in the first place.
  • Star Trek: 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.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Someone breaks into Harry Kim's room, a sinister shadow appears over his sleeping body... It's Tom Paris, who wants his best buddy to check out his new holodeck program.
  • 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.
    • Whistler, demon agent of the Powers That Be, makes contact with Buffy this way in "Becoming".
    • In "This Year's Girl", Giles comes home and finds the light switch doesn't work. A man then turns on a desk lamp, to reveal the Watcher's Council has sent a wet-work team to deal with rogue slayer Faith.
    • "Into the Woods". Riley Finn enters a darkened room and says, "Get Out". A Reveal Shot shows several military personnel in his house, intent on recruiting him for their covert demon-fighting unit.
  • 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 "The Reichenbach Fall": 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.
  • In Twin Peaks, Cooper returns to his hotel room to find Audrey Horne naked in his bed.
  • Daredevil: In episode twelve, Wilson Fisk breaks into Ben Urich's apartment, late at night to confront him. The conversation lasts several minutes (not least because of Fisk's Verbal Tic), with Fisk getting increasingly emotional. This is because Urich came into contact with Fisk's mother, which is the big man's Berserk Button. For which Fisk kills Urich.

  • In City of Angels, private eye Stone finds Mallory Kingsley naked in his bed, in a direct parody of the Big Sleep scene referenced under "Literature".