[[quoteright:350:[[Film/ANewHope http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Motleycrew.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"Prisoner transfer from Block [[Film/THX1138 one-one-three-eight]]."]]

->The ultimate Trojan horse is a shackled prisoner.
-->--'''Michael Westen''', ''Series/BurnNotice''

Perhaps you need to smuggle some recognizable people into a base, or smuggle some friends out of a hostile situation. Perhaps the two of you have just been caught by your enemies, and are trying a bluff. Time for the Trojan Prisoner trick.

In the simple version, some of the protagonists [[DressingAsTheEnemy pretend to be enemy mooks]], with the others posing as their prisoners or slaves. Quite often, the main hero gets to play the captive, being the most recognisable, but if the mooks have [[FacelessGoons face-concealing outfits]], it's the least recognisable member of the group who gets tied up.

In the other version, the fake guard is someone the enemy thinks is on their side, e.g TheMole, [[HeelFaceTurn a reformed]] [[ReverseMole villain]], or a LoveableRogue. They swagger into the enemy camp, show off their captive, then surreptitiously help them escape, while doing a little espionage on the side. The fake guard doesn't always bother telling the hero the plan in advance either; the act is much more convincing [[EnforcedMethodActing if the hero thinks it's real.]]

This can be used to play up the relationship between the characters, allowing the captor to temporarily treat the captives like dirt, or to express cruel opinions that hit a bit too close to the truth. If the disguise relies upon actually restricting the captives significantly, this can play off characters' mistrust of the fake captor, especially one who is very close to the enemy. However, it's pretty rare for the fake captivity to become real.

Occasionally, this trick is [[UnspokenPlanGuarantee proposed offscreen]], leading the viewer to think that a major character pulled a FaceHeelTurn (who is, in truth, a FaceHeelMole).

If they are physically bound, this can lead to a ChainedHeat or fighting WithMyHandsTied. Compare ISurrenderSuckers, CapturedOnPurpose, where the heroes surrender openly or let themselves be legitimately captured, and cases where anyone should be able to see through it overlap with TheGuardsMustBeCrazy. The PlayAlongPrisoner may allow themselves to be [[ColdBloodedTorture tortured]] before breaking loose. Compare SheepInWolfsClothing, where this applies to TheVirus, and with TrojanHorse, which also gets the hero into an enemy base, but without them knowing anyone has crossed their lines. Compare BavarianFireDrill, which relies on bluffing rather than a convincing disguise. Contrast DisguisedHostageGambit, where real villains with real hostages dress the hostages up as villains to fool TheCavalry.

[[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with the similar, but distinct, AloneWithPrisonerPloy. That's when a [[HeelFaceTurn reformed]] bad guy or good guy on the [[TheInfiltration inside]] asks to be alone with an actual prisoner in order to help him/her.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In the ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia Dark Dragon and Sword of Light]]'' manga adaptation by Maki Hakoda, this is one of Marth's favourite tactics to outsmart stronger armies, with himself as the captive.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', during the Impel Down riot, Mr.2 does this with Buggy and Mr. 3. They get past Magellan and then manage to reach Level 5 (in order to save a captured and poisoned Luffy) thanks to Mr. 2's ability to change his aspect. He disguises as Hannyabal and then takes the other two with him as his prisoners.
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', Mirajane, Natsu, Wendy and the Exceed pull this trick with Mirajane transforming into a guard, hiding the Exceed in the big uniform and pretending that she wants to deliver the two Dragon Slayers to the king.
* Winry pretends to be Scar's hostage in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' in order to get away from Kimblee and his military attachment.
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWingEndlessWaltz'' Duo pulls this gambit to protect [[TheMole Trowa]].
* While the series ''Anime/KaitouJoker'' has been prone to DistressBall, some of the instances have been to invoke this. Joker will often use this to get closer to the treasure he's trying to steal

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Dynamo5}}'', a government agent pulls this on the main characters, without telling them, leading them to believe he's turned evil.
* In the Franchise/DCUniverse, Franchise/{{Batman}} once infiltrated Belle Reve prison, home of the the Comicbook/SuicideSquad, by posing as criminal 'Matches' Malone and arranging for Commissioner Gordon to have Malone held there while being transferred.
** When Lockup first started becoming a problem in Gotham Bats couldn't afford to be sidelined by being captured but needed someone to figure out where Lockup was taking everyone so the current [[ComicBook/RobinSeries Robin]] got himself picked up by Lockup by posing as petty criminal Alvin Draper.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' comic "The Futurists" in ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'' (from the collection ''The Betrothal of Sontar'') this is used to infiltrate an ancient Roman military camp. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] when the Doctor remarks that it's a tired old trick, but there had to be a time when it was new enough to work.
* ''ComicBook/LeScorpion'': In ''The Angel's Shadow'', Armando and Mejai pull this stunt (with Armando dressed as a Warrior Monk) to gain access to the Vatican dungeons to rescue Hussar.
* One issue of ''ComicBook/ThePunisher'' has Frank allow himself be captured by a gang to lure out a reclusive gang boss so he can take him out.
* In ''ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW'', Megatron allows himself to be taken prisoner in hopes that the Autobots would take him to Cybertron where he could use space bridge technology within himself to ambush them with the sudden appearance of his entire army. Galvatron and the Deceptigod completely ruin this plan.
* Done in a ''ComicBook/TeenTitansGo'' issue (the one based on the '03 series) that introduced Wonder Girl to infiltrate Blackfire's base of operations. They have Beast Boy disguise himself as a Gordanian and sneak the uncaptured Titans in to rescue the others. Blackfire even lampshades it herself as she berates herself for not realizing it sooner.
* One that follows the VillainProtagonist in a four part story of ''[[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog Sonic Universe]]'', in which Fiona Fox and what's left of the Destructix get themselves sent to the No Zone, a prison dimension, to bust out Scourge, Sonic's evil dimensional counterpart (long story). Getting in was easy enough, but they run into trouble as Scourge has lost any drive after being in the prison for so long and they need to convince him to get back in the game.
* ''[[Franchise/StarWarsLegends Star Wars]] ComicBook/{{Legacy}}'': When Princess Marisiah Fel is captured by the Sith and taken to their temple on Korriban to be interrogated, Imperial Knights Antares Draco, Ganner Krieg, and Jedi Master Shado Vao try to rescue her by having Draco disguise himself as a Sith Lord while Krieg and Vao act as his prisoners.
* A variation in ''[[Comicbook/{{X 23}} X-23: Target X]]'': Comicbook/TheKingpin is engaged in a MobWar with a rival gangster named Fade, and hires the Facility to deal with him when his own men can't. In order to get an assassin close enough, Fisk feeds information via a mole in his organization about his beloved niece, "Samantha," whom Fade then abducts. However "Samantha" is actually X-23. And Fade was planted with a trigger scent-laced letter...

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* As an homage to ''Film/ANewHope'''s use below, this was used in Allronix's KnightsOfTheOldRepublic FanFic ''Destiny's Pawn,'' as Carth attempts to bluff his way through a Sith base with Zaalbar as a "prisoner." Subverted, as the receptionist on duty doesn't buy it for a second.
* Two examples of this in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'':
** In the Goblin Valley, Ringo has to pretend to be a human slave being led by George, who's become a goblin.
** At the climax, Paul has shaken off mind control but pretends to still be under the influence to gain entry into the warehouse where the Vasyn is being kept. George is DressingAsTheEnemy (he becomes the woman Bayanis, who is in charge of Paul) and goes in with him. John and Ringo have to think of another way in.
* In ''FanFic/ShadowchasersTorment'', Edgar discovers that the lizard king village has been taken over by a tyrant named Scath. Because the former shaman Sslinth hates Scath too, Edgar convinces Sslinth to try this to infiltrate the temple, with Edgar and Maddie posing as prisoners. (Unfortunately, Scath is onto them, but [[TimeForPlanB Edgar has a plan-B.]])
* In ''FanFic/NarutoTheSecretSongsOfTheNinja,'' Team 7 infiltrate [[spoiler:Orochimaru's base]] this way, by disguising themselves as [[KillAndReplace some mooks they disposed of]] with henge and having Sakura play the prisoner.

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanAssaultOnArkham'': Combined with GetIntoJailFree when Harley commits a robbery and allows herself to be arrested so she will be returned to Arkham. Deadshot then disposes of the cop taking her there, and accompanies her as her escort.
* ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe2'': In order to get into El Macho's lair to rescue Lucy, Gru has two of his remaining minions disguise themselves as [[spoiler:the BrainwashedAndCrazy purple minions (that El Macho kidnapped earlier)]], and make them pretend they captured him.
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'' Po and the Furious Five do this to infiltrate Shen's compound and try and destroy his cannon weapon. It works but Po's past trauma causes him to freeze up at a critical moment and end the operation in failure.
* Done in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersVsAliens'', with the other monsters wearing the clone outfits and escorting Ginormica.
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'' when Stith and Preed try to infiltrate a colony with this trope. This entire bit was brought to you by Creator/JossWhedon.
-->'''Guard:''' (''Raises his weapon, pointing it at Preed'') You're lying! He's not a slave and you're not traders. He doesn't carry himself like a slave! Look at the way he stands... probably ex-military. Akrennian traders always threaten before they ask a favor, it's tradition. (''to Stith'') And YOUR robes are made out of bedspreads!\\
'''Preed:''' Just out of curiosity, did we have a [[TimeForPlanB plan "B"?]] ''(Stith charges the guard and proceeds to [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown beat the crap out of him]])'' An intelligent guard. [[DidNotSeeThatComing Didn't see]] ''[[{{Lampshading}} that]]'' [[DidNotSeeThatComing one coming]]. (''tasers the guard'')

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TheATeam'', Murdock is disguised as the General by wearing a bag over his head, and [[spoiler: when Pike shoots him, it appears that he has died. Actually, it was ketchup packets and explosive squibs.]]
* ''Film/BloodDiamond'', although it lasts about twenty seconds, (just long enough for the soldiers to lower their guard and the "prisoner" [[JustShootHim to shoot them]]) and is done to cross a bridge.
* In ''Film/BringMeTheHeadOfTheMachineGunWoman'', Santiago brings the Machine Gun Woman to Longara tied up as his prisoner, intending to then turn her loose so she can kill Longara. The plan fails because he forgot to tell her that Longara was holding his mother hostage.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnightTrilogy''
** Done in the ''Film/TheDarkKnight''. After a surprisingly elaborate chase, the Joker is captured and sent to the cooler to be transported to Blackgate. However not only does he have a Plan B that results in Harvey and Rachel getting kidnapped and put in death traps. He implants a bomb in one of his henchmen, likewise has him arrested and taken to the G.C.P.D. After Batman and Gordon are busy trying to save Harvey and Rachel, he coaxes a fight with the guard looking over him, wins, holds the guard hostage then detonates the bomb. With the building in disarray, he's free and clear to capture Lau, his intended target, and escape.
*** The one snag in this plan? He had to call a cell phone to activate the bomb. They didn't give him his one phone call.
** In ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'', Bane and two of his mercenaries let themselves get captured so he can find out exactly who Dr. Pavel made a deal with instead of him. That soldier who informs the CIA agent that the hooded prisoners worked for Bane? It might take a second viewing of the film to realize that he is Bane's right-hand sniper, Barsad, posing as a Uzbekistan militant.
*** Later, when Bruce returns to Gotham, this is the method through which he gets to Fox, who can help him reach his backup Batsuit. First, he enlists Selina Kyle by appealing to her better nature and offering her the Clean Slate program (it is hinted that a Trojan Prisoner ploy will be used when Bruce tells her "I need you to find out where they're holding him [Fox], then take me in"). The steps after that are simple: Bruce lets himself get captured by Bane's men, who put a bag over his head and take him to the holding tank where Lucius Fox and Miranda Tate are being held. After he is deposited, Selina comes down and tells the mercenaries that Bane wants Bruce and Fox isolated from the others. They are led upstairs with a few mercenaries, and once out of sight from anyone else, she uses her CombatStilettos to knock out the mercenaries and unlocks Fox's handcuffs:
--->'''Lucius Fox:''' I like your new girlfriend, Mr. Wayne! \\
'''Selina Kyle:''' He should be so lucky.
* In ''Film/FaceOff'', this kicks off the plot, when Archer takes Castor Troy's face as part of a black bag operation to infiltrate [[BackwardsName Erewhon Prison]] and get information on Castor's bomb from Pollux Troy. This would have worked out if Castor hadn't woken from his coma and taken Archer's face in reply.
* In ''Film/ForceTenFromNavarone'', Mallory and Barnsby get back into the Chetnik camp they had just escaped from by getting two partisans to disguise themselves as guards (The guards in question being two with allegedly burned faces covered with bandages, so facial recognition isn't an issue) and take them back in through the front gate as recaptured prisoners. They then rescue their still-captured medic and explosives expert (And the explosives expert's suitcase full of explosives).
* In ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation'', Storm Shadow disguises himself as Snake-Eyes and allows himself to be captured so he will be transported to the prison where Cobra Commander and Destro are being held.
* Hercules/Maciste (Ma-CHEE-Stay) may or may not pull this in ''Hercules Against The Moon Men''/''Maciste And The Queen of Samar'' when, during a botched rescue, he is seemingly subdued when the enemy soldiers do little more than throw a net over him, which he should have been able to easily break out of given that he can bend steel and kill monsters with his bare hands (as was pointed out in the ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' episode that riffed the film). It is possible that once he realized he'd been duped he let the bad guys capture him so that he could play TheMole and learn the evil queen's true plans.
* In ''Film/TheMask'', Jim Carrey's character gets a police officer to do this for him, at gunpoint.
* ''Film/{{Mercenaries}}'' has the strike team use this as the method to get into Ulrika's prison.
* Both ''Film/OceansTwelve'' and ''Film/OceansThirteen'' featured one of Linus Caldwell's parents stepping in to pull this off -- his mom in Twelve, his dad in Thirteen. Poor Linus. How can you be an effective high-stakes thief when your parents won't stop looking over your shoulder?
** Rusty does the same to Basher in ''Ocean's Eleven'', posing as an FBI agent to take him into custody before the LAPD can take him.
* In the 2010 French thriller ''Point Blank'', a fugitive pretends to be a cop and leads his ally (also a fugitive) into a police station in handcuffs. This is the only way for them to enter the police station and retrieve a piece of [[CaughtOnTape exculpatory evidence]] without attracting notice.
* In ''Film/TheProposition'', The Burns Gang infiltrates the police station by having Two-Bob put on full traditional Aboriginal dress and war paint while Sam and Arthur steal police uniforms and drag him into town as their prisoner.
* In ''Film/{{RIPD}}'' the BigBad does this to [[spoiler:steal the confiscated pieces of the Staff of Jericho from R.I.P.D. headquarters]].
* Played with in ''Film/RioBravo''. The bad guys capture Creator/JohnWayne and threaten to kill a hostage if he doesn't cooperate, then walk into the jail with him posing as federal marshals. The man left on guard isn't fooled however.
* In Disney's ''The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh'', the Scarecrow and his men [[DressingAsTheEnemy dress as a British Navy press gang]] in order to get a man out of prison.
%%* In ''Film/SecondhandLions'', one of the stories told by the uncles featured this.
* In ''Film/StarTrekNemesis'', Data uses this trick to get Picard onto the Reman warship ''Scimitar'' while pretending to be his own EvilTwin.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** ''Film/ANewHope'' provides the page image, as Han and Luke pretend to be Stormtroopers transporting their Wookiee "prisoner", Chewbacca, in the cells of the first Death Star to rescue Princess Leia Organa. It's also a subversion, though, as the senior officer manning the detention center has some suspicion about not being notified about the transfer beforehand (due to the Empire being obvious sticklers for protocol and efficiency), forcing them to abandon the trick and orchestrate a "one-man prison revolt" to get rid of the guards and the security footage. [[FromBadToWorse The officer also managed to send out an emergency alert before being shot, leading to them facing an entire squad of Stormtroopers]].
** The heroes repeat the trick in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''. First R2-D2 and C-3P0 are given to Jabba the Hutt as "gifts" of good faith (hilariously enough, Threepio was not told this beforehand and thought they were just delivering a normal message). Then Leia arrives posing as a bounty hunter with Chewbacca as her "prisoner," makes her own attempt to free Han, but gets captured instead - but don't worry, they have several backup plans. ''Then'' Luke arrives to demand the release of his friends, but his JediMindTrick fails, he gets into a fight, and winds up captured too. But the end result has all the heroes - including Lando, who did a more conventional infiltration as a [[{{Mook}} hired guard]] - [[BatmanGambit assembled when Jabba tries to execute them]], so when R2 tosses Luke his lightsaber, we get the Big Damn Jailbreak.
** Han and Chewie (canonically) first used such a trick in the {{prequel}} ''[[Film/{{Solo}} Solo: A Star Wars Story]]'' to get into the mines of Kessel and steal unrefined coaxium there, passing as slaves. It doubles as a CallForward to ''A New Hope''.
** Subverted in ''[[Franchise/StarWarsLegends Legends]]''[='=] ''ComicBook/DarkEmpire'', where Palpatine abducts Luke, Luke hatches a plan to pretend to be Palpatine's apprentice and then kill him, but in the end, Luke himself goes over to the DarkSide only to be saved by Leia. In the end, Han kills Palpatine.
** This is parodied in ''ComicStrip/TwistedToyfareTheatre'', where ''every'' plan the group has seems to involve putting Chewbacca in binders for some reason.
* In ''Film/TopSecret'', Resistance members Chocolate Mousse and Deja Vu wear German army uniforms and march Nick Rivers ahead of them at gunpoint in order to infiltrate Fleurgendorf prison. There are two jokes: Chocolate Mousse is black (and all of the German soldiers are white), and as they're goosestepping, their boots fly off.
* In ''Film/TropicThunder'' the FiveManBand (sans leader) almost pull this off, but Lazarus is caught in a contradiction. MoreDakka ensues.
* Played straight in ''Film/{{Windtalkers}}'' when [[spoiler: Ben Yahzee dresses up as a Japanese soldier and takes his "captive" Joe Enders into a Japanese camp in order to gain access to a working radio.]]

* Ur-Example: Sinon in ''Literature/TheAeneid'' pulls this on (you guessed it) the Trojans to try to get them to bring the [[TrojanHorse horse]] into the city. You know that thing about "beware Greeks bearing gifts?" That was, in context, about him specifically.
* ''Literature/AmericanGods'': Czernobog and Mr. Nancy dress as police officers to get Shadow out of prison.
* A large-scale example in the ''Literature/BelisariusSeries'': In order to capture a major enemy stronghold, Belisarius and most of his army are "taken prisoner" after being "defeated in a battle". They are escorted into the stronghold by a group of a couple thousand soldiers who used to be on the enemy's side, before defecting en masse in a prior novel.
** In the second novel, Belisarius has had Prince Eon assume the role of ridiculously oversexed ladies man who has to have a harem of prostitutes/slaves in his presence to satisfy his urges. The Malwa they are traveling with thus never notice when there's an extra one that's appeared out of nowhere: the escaped Princess Shakuntala.
* The ''Literature/BlackJewels'' series uses this to great effect in the third novel, when [[spoiler:Daemon]] pretends to betray and capture [[spoiler:Surreal]].
* Magnificently subverted in Terry Pratchett's very first novel, ''Literature/TheCarpetPeople''.
-->'''Hero:''' I am just taking the prisoners, harharhar.\\
'''Guard:''' Where are you taking them?\\
'''Hero:''' ...Enough of this talking, harharhar. [Beats up guard] I runs out of ideas after a while.
* ''Franchise/DocSavage'': In ''Devil on the Moon'', Lurgent and his men pull this trick to gain access to Doc's HQ and capture Renny, Long Tom and Pat.
* In the first trilogy of the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}} Saga'' the good guys try to do this and fail miserably when [[spoiler:''they are captured because they lack the proper paperwork'']]. This rather original subversion is somewhat {{lampshaded}} when the hero is frantically trying to think of a way out of the mess and realizes that of all the things that could have gone wrong with their plan, no one considered the idea that they would [[spoiler: be suspected of being deserters]].
* Alvin Fog and Mark Scrapton do this in order to get access to the prison where 'Handsome Phil' Foote is being held in ''The Justice of Company Z'' by Creator/JTEdson.
* At the end of ''Literature/PaladinOfSouls'', Ista has become a god-touched saint capable of devouring demons, but she still needs to get within range of the mistress of demons whose army is besieging her gates. So she surrenders, and is taken directly to her.
%%* Done with mixed success in Creator/DanWells' ''Literature/{{Partials}}''.
* ''Literature/TheScarletPimpernel'' and the French Aristocracy whom he was trying to rescue often wore disguises to get past revolutionary-held borders and checkpoints. In one particularly brilliant scheme, he dressed himself and a group of rescuees as revolutionary guardsmen, who approached a border checkpoint, claiming to be after a suspicious cart that had just gone through it. The Pimpernel and his group were let through, and the scheme remained undiscovered -- until a few minutes later when the ''real'' guards showed up.
* ''Franchise/StarWarsLegends''
** In the ''Literature/XWingSeries'' novels, part of the plan to retake Coruscant from the Empire is to [[BoxedCrook take dangerous criminals]], a significant part of the intergalactic crime syndicate Black Sun, from the prison world Kessel, then smuggle them to Coruscant where they will cause havoc and distract Imperial forces. Unfortunately, some of those criminals still have Imperial ties.
** In the comics, very soon after he has defected to the Rebellion Soontir Fel darkly hints that he's a FakeDefector to get intel out of a reluctant Imperial captive.
** "Side Trip", a novella written by both Creator/TimothyZahn and Creator/MichaelStackpole, has Thrawn-in-Mandalorian-armor pull a blaster on Corran and his father after guiding them into a mutual enemy's clutches. Thrawn, assumed to be a bounty hunter going with the money, exchanges threats with Corran, telling him that he'll "[[MultitaskedConversation seek you out and take care of you personally]]" and that ''he'' would be the only thing between Corran and freedom, even grabbing the cell bars and shaking them after Corran and his father are imprisoned. After Thrawn and the mutual enemy have left, Corran's father shows his son that the bar-shaking move was a cover, letting Thrawn stick a molecular stiletto -- think tiny lightsaber with a ''very'' fragile blade -- on the bar. "Taking care of you personally" meant that when they escaped and got back to him, Thrawn would be in a better tactical position to start shooting, and they'd be on the same side.
** The [[Literature/XWingSeries Wraiths]] once pull a weird version with actual prisoners. The plan goes like this: Wraiths start a [[BarBrawl bar fight]] with Imperial pilots; more Wraiths show up dressed as military police and arrest all the fighters; Imperials get knocked out on the way back to the stockade, and the Wraiths from the bar change into police uniform too; all Wraiths infiltrate the base [[DressingAsTheEnemy as fake guards]] with real (unconscious) prisoners. Mind, they got the idea because, earlier in the book, agents of Warlord Zsinj tried to do this to them...and failed when one of the Wraiths saw through it.
* Chase, of the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' series, does this using his adopted daughter as the captive, in order to make a rescue attempt. Coincidentally, two other groups of characters use similar disguises to perform the exact same rescue, each of their own volition. After they meet up with each other, they make their way out with the rescuees playing the captives.
* In ''Literature/TwentyYearsAfter'', Porthos and D'Artagnan pretend to take prisoners Athos and Aramis.
* ''Literature/TreasureIsland'': Long John Silver pulls this with Jim, who'd been genuinely captured by Silver and the other pirates earlier. Silver's practical reason for keeping Jim alive is that he's his best chance to escape the gallows if things go south, as Silver suspects they might, ''and'' an extra gun hand against the pirates who'll inevitably turn on them once that happens. However, it's never entirely clear whether Silver would have kept his word to keep Jim alive if things had gone according to plan...
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'' a group of [=ShadowClan=] elders agree to help the [=ThunderClan=] warriors recover the kits [=ShadowClan=] had stolen. They drag former [=ShadowClan=] outcast Yellowfang into the camp and present her to their leader as their prisoner as they sneak the [=ThunderClan=] warriors into the camp.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{The 100}}'': The plan to get Bellamy into Mount Weather is for him to pose as a captured Grounder, and for Lincoln to pose as a Reaper who's captured him; when Mount Weather opens their doors to take Bellamy, Lincoln will kill the people who come out and Bellamy will slip inside. Backfires when Lincoln can't resist being given another dose of [[FantasticDrug the Red]], and lets Bellamy get captured for real.
* Londo attempts this with G'Kar against Cartagia in ''Series/BabylonFive''. Starts to be subverted when Cartagia replaces G'Kar's rigged-to-break chains with real ones on a whim, but G'Kar [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome breaks them anyway]].
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** In Spike's introductory episode, Angel tries this with Xander as the prisoner, using EnforcedMethodActing to coax realistic prisoner behavior out of him. It doesn't work, as Spike knows Angel too well and thus knows he's faking it.
** This Trope appears in a Season 3 episode in which [[spoiler: Angel's soul is apparently removed by a sorcerer, thus allowing Angel and Faith to kidnap Buffy and in reality allowing Angel and Buffy to learn of the Mayor's plans for the ascension.]] Since this is quite drawn out, it might actually count as a reverse interrogation instead.
* This is how Michael Weston gets to a fugitive on the lam in the ''Series/BurnNotice'' episode "Friendly Fire." Michael plays the prisoner.
** The voiceover even came close to calling the trope by name: "The ultimate Trojan horse is a shackled prisoner."
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS2E2TheDalekInvasionOfEarth "The Dalek Invasion of Earth"]] has an attempt at this. The Daleks are ''not'' amused.
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS10E4PlanetOfTheDaleks "Planet of the Daleks"]] has a more successful use of the trope.
** The Doctor and Romana allow Count Scarlioni to take them and Duggan prisoner (much to Duggan's chagrin) in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS17E2CityOfDeath "City of Death"]], so the Doctor can learn more about Scarlioni's plan. [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] as Scarlioni was smarter than the average ''Series/DoctorWho'' villain.
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS18E4StateOfDecay "State of Decay"]]: Romana poses as Tarak's prisoner so they can sneak into the tower to rescue Adric.
* ''Series/{{Dominion}}'': In the first season finale, [[BigBad Gabriel]] walks right up to the walls of Vega and hands himself in to the military, letting himself get locked in a maximum security cell with an ExplosiveLeash, counting on his [[LesCollaborateurs Acolytes]] freeing him a few hours later. And this is all done just to prove a point to [[TheChosenOne Alex]] about how easily he could destroy the city if he chose to.
* An exceptionally brief version appears in ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', where D'argo and Sikozu, in the midst of a riot between her species and the Charrans, progress by going up to a guard pretending that he captured her, and immediately punching him in the face. Then going to the next guard and doing the exact same thing, word for word.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', "The Train Job", Inara gets Mal and Zoe out of holding by pretending they're escaped indentured servants.
** Slightly subverted in that the sheriff is obviously suspicious of this but not enough to stop them. He also believes he has judged Mal correctly when he sets an ambush, expecting him to return the stolen loot (which turns out to be [[spoiler:desperately-needed medical supplies]]). He lets Mal go after getting the loot back.
* Used to get Byers and Bond out of prison in ''Series/TheLoneGunmen'' after they went in trying to prove a prisoner's innocence [[spoiler: only to find out that the guy's actually guilty, but that another prisoner has been framed]], and freeing him.
* Used by Alex in ''Series/{{Lost}}'', and {{lampshaded}} by Sawyer: "Don't get mad at me because you fell for the Wookiee Prisoner gag."
* In an episode of [[Series/{{MASH}} M*A*S*H]], BJ and Hawkeye accidentally captured a Chinese soldier who ''really'' didn't want to fight any more. Suddenly, their prisoner, who they had nicknamed Ralph, pointed his rifle at them and shouted orders (in Chinese, of course), just as a Chinese patrol came around a corner. After the patrol was satisfied that his "prisoners" were in good hands and left, Ralph lowered his rifle and surrendered again.
* ''Series/MissionImpossible'' has done this several times, often to get a member of their team into a prison, such as in "Old Man Out", "Trial By Fury" and "The Test Case".
* Variant from ''Series/MyNameIsEarl''. Earl's car has been impounded, but he needs it to complete a list item. So his friend Kenny offers him help: he will allow Earl to [[PunkInTheTrunk get in his car's trunk]], then get his car deliberately impounded so Earl can sneak his own car out. Trouble is, Kenny drives [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_5 a very small car]]. So Kenny ends up being the one to go in the trunk, and being the UnluckyEverydude he is, the plan does not go well.
* ''Series/TheNewAvengers'': Steed and Purdey pull this trick to inflitrate Soo Choy's base in "Trap".
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest''. Showing extraordinary confidence in the ability of Shaw and the Machine to protect her, Root lets herself be [[BlindfoldedTrip black-hooded]] and dragged off to a CIA BlackSite for interrogation, [[GetIntoJailFree in order to free another prisoner there]].
* TheDragon Astronema does this in ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'' to help them get them on the planet the BigBad has Zordon imprisoned.
* In ''Series/RedDwarf'', the Cat and Kochanski dress up as Gelfs (with Lister as himself) in order to get into a Simulant's ship.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': In the Season 9 finale, Castiel has [[spoiler: Gadreel]], fresh off a HeelFaceTurn, pretend to take him prisoner so that they can sneak past Metatron's followers and get into Heaven. [[spoiler: The angels don't fall for it, however.]]
* In ''Series/TheWire'', gangster-robbing Omar is framed for murder and gets arrested. He knows well that this is probably a ploy by his enemies to get him shanked in lock-up. Sure enough, even though he starts out in a private cell, soon a guard lets in two menacing figures, and one of them produces a makeshift blade. As Omar prepares to make his last stand, they smile and reveal that they were sent by his dear friend Butchie, quickly getting themselves arrested so they could arm, armor, and stand with him. Note that in this example, there is no fake guard, that we know of. There may have been some [[DirtyCop bribery]] involved.
* In an episode of ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'', Xena and Gabrielle let themselves get arrested on purpose by a corrupt ruler as part of a plan, but not at the same time. Xena does so first, in order to contact a rebel leader who was already in prison. Later in the episode, Gabrielle lets herself be caught too, in order to smuggle Xena's chakram into the prison (which was disguised as the brim of the bowler-like hat she was wearing), along with her whip (which she wore around her waist like a belt).

* Used in Chapter 15 of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'': Reconstruction, where Church poses as Agent Washington's prisoner so they can get past they at the A.I storage facility. It fails when one guard gets suspicious and decides to report it to his superiors, leading to a shoot-out instead.

* Used in "Bee in the City", a Transformers convention script-reading starring the cast of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated''. Flareup has to sneak [[KidAppealCharacter Bumblebee]] and ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' Megatro - uh, [[MostDefinitelyNotAVillain I mean]], "Joe" into Shockwave's lab to rescue Sari and Optimus. She does so by claiming they're Primes, who aren't allowed in Axiom Nexus. There's even a "cell-block one-one-three-eight" reference (which the guard doesn't get).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed''
** Used in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'', by faking the capture and delivery of Bartolomeo d'Alviano to the French, in order for Ezio to get close and assassinate the Baron de Valois. Bartolomeo's captors are all his own troops (and Ezio) wearing stolen French uniforms.
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' has this as a gameplay mechanic. Connor can summon Assassins disguised as Redcoats to take him "prisoner" and march him into heavily fortified locations.
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries''
** A villainous example: The intro of ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' has Batman dragging SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker off to Arkham after thwarting a hostage situation that involved the Mayor that was instigated by the latter, noting that it was suspiciously easy this time around. Turns out, he's right and it was all part of the Joker's plan to take over the madhouse. Turns out that when you take an insane person to the asylum, you're just taking him home.
** In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'', Deadshot is smuggled into the city by pretending to be an ordinary Blackgate prisoner. He was part of Hugo Strange's plan to exterminate the city.
* A variant is used in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' during Isabela's personal quest in act 3. Hawke turns her over to one of Castillon's agents, then tracks the agent back to Castillon's base.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', Shepard pretends to be held prisoner by Narl in order to negotiate the Blood Pack joining the mercenary army that Aria T'Loak is building. Shepard also acts as a distraction to allow TheStarscream to launch their planned coup.
* A rather convoluted example in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty''. Snake and Olga teamed up and then apparently betrayed Raiden near the entrance to Arsenal Gear, and subdued him, captured and delivered him to Solidus's men. The betrayal was actually faked in order to lessen security onboard Arsenal Gear, although they never told Raiden before doing it, presumably in order to sell the act. This understandably left Raiden really ticked off at Snake when he met up with him later.
* One mission in ''VideoGame/GuildWars: Nightfall'' involves DressingAsTheEnemy to infiltrate Varesh Ossa's base. If you bring your centaur companion, who can't ("You may be able to dress as Kournans, two-legs, but what am I supposed to be, your mascot?"), guess what you do with him. (Complete with dialogue straight out of ''Franchise/StarWars''!)
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', the party does this to infiltrate the Asgard Ranch. And again in [[spoiler:Welgaia]]
** And once again in the sequel to infiltrate the Vanguard. Subverted in that [[spoiler: though the {{mooks}} fall for it, Alice isn't fooled and throws all of them in prison.]] Except they still get it to work,[[spoiler: shutting off the power and escaping in under a minute]]
* ''Tears to Tiara''
** Happens in ''VisualNovel/TearsToTiara'' with [[LadyOfWar Octavia]], a former imperial officer, with Morgan as the fake prisoner. It would have worked, if it weren't for the fact that the unit that Octavia associated herself with was known to have been destroyed a long time ago.
** Happens again in the sequel ''[[VideoGame/TearstoTiara2 Tears to Tiara 2]]'', where [[TheHero Hamil]] orders the assault force to take the main characters prisoner before the bridge at Eburon in order to infiltrate the imperial base. With a small dose of WoundedGazelleGambit.
* In ''VideoGame/TransformersWarForCybertron'', Optimus, Bumblebee, and Sideswipe allow themselves to be taken captive in an attempt to rescue Sentinel Prime from a Decepticon prison. Sentinel did not survive, but Optimus was able to liberate the rest of the incarcerated Autobots.
* In ''VideoGame/YuGiOhBAM'', Joey's plan to get Yugi out of jail is to pose as a guard and pretend he captured you.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto''
** ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto2'': The "Alma Mater Return" mission revolves around intentionally going to prison, stealing a guard uniform, and sparking a riot.
** This is the focus of one of the online heists in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV''. Two of the heist crew members are brought into a penitentiary as a "guard" and "prisoner", in order to bust out a prisoner needed for the next heist.
* The ground portion of the ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' mission, ''Brushfire'', starts off with this trope with the player and their bridge officers as the "prisoners" and Rodek as the "guard."

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Done in an arc of ''Webcomic/GeneralProtectionFault'' involving an alternate dimension populated with EvilTwin (or sometimes Good Twin) counterparts of the cast. Fooker explains the plan to his teammates as "[[Franchise/StarWars Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?]]"
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', Agatha uses this method to get into Castle Heterodyne.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0356.html Sabine polymorphing into a CPPD officer]] to help Pompey escape right after being captured.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0387.html Elan disguising as a CPPD officer]] to escape with Thog from Prison (this one relies hard on [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy the guards being crazy]], which they indeed are).
* Done in ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/d/20050528.html here]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* When [[Literature/TheLayOfPaulTwister Paul Twister]] rescues a woman who a renegade mage was holding in a dungeon under [[ColdBloodedTorture horrifying conditions,]] she turns out to be a Celestial warrior who's [[UnwantedRescue quite annoyed at him,]] claiming she got herself captured on purpose so she could find out who the mage was working for.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'' episode "A Sultan Worth His Salt", Aladdin allows himself to be captured by the [[AmazonBrigade Galafems]] during a rescue mission to save Jasmine. While the Galafem queen and her troops interrogate Aladdin, Genie and the Sultan infiltrate the island, [[BoundAndGagged tie up and gag]] the queen's sentries, and ultimately save the day.
* Played with repeatedly during the Boiling Rock episodes of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''.
** And in the Season 1 episode ''Imprisoned'', they visit an Earth village that was taken over by the Fire Nation. Katara pretends to be an Earthbender in order to be taken to the prison ship in which the Fire Nation put all of the other Earthbenders, in order to free one of their friends who was captured.
** And in "The Runaway" episode: Katara pretends to turn Toph in to the authorities to collect the sizable reward money, with the intention that Toph will simply metalbend her way out of jail. [[spoiler:It doesn't exactly go as planned.]]
* Combined with ISurrenderSuckers in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''; In order to combat the return of the [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers G1 Starscream]] (it's complicated), the Maximals pretend to surrender themselves to the Decepticon, in exchange for allowing one of their (exaggeratedly) injured comrades to use the repair bay inside their commandeered base. Starscream buys it, and locks the Maximal and their leader Optimus in the brig as leverage while ordering the rest to attack the Predacons. Turns out, though, that's exactly what the Maximals wanted, as it puts the two "prisoners" in a perfect position to retake the base.
** Similarly, Rattrap's defection. It was a ploy to find out how the Predacons were intercepting Maximal communications so easily. Turns out they had stolen a Maximal decoder chip, which Rattrap was now in a perfect position to recover.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10 Omniverse}}'': In "The Frogs of War: Part 2", Ben gains a new transformation named Bulfrag which he uses to pose as an Incursean guard and "captures" Gwen Kevin Max and Blukic so they can infiltrate Plumbers [=HQ=] after it was taken over by the Incurseans.
* ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'' almost goes through with it, with the Commander disguised as a bounty hunter leading Buzz's captured squad away. Unfortunately, the Mole they're secretly rescuing pops out from stowaway too early.
--> Brain: Oh yeah? Sweet freedom! Emperor Zurg can kiss my big, fat cerebellum. Oh... we're not at Star Command yet... are we?
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' "A Clone of My Own", Fry is brought into the "Near Death Star" as an escaped prisoner.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' episode "Two To Tutor", the "police helicopter" that picks up Shego and Señor Senior Junior turns out to be a fake piloted by Señor Senior Senior.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'': When [=SpongeBob=] is transported to Ye Olde Bikini Bottom, the group infiltrates the evil wizard's castle with the recently-befriended Black Knight (Sandy) pretending to have captured Spongebob, Patrick, and Squidly (Squidward's jester ancestor). Despite knowing that this is a trick, Spongebob reacts with genuine fear when Sandy relates all the various horrible ways she plans to have them tortured.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'': In [[Recap/StarWarsRebelsS3E15ThroughImperialEyes "Through Imperial Eyes"]], as part of a plan to rescue the ReverseMole, whose cover the rebels believe has been compromised, Ezra disguises himself as a bounty hunter and lets himself get captured attempting to steal a ship, knowing he'll be taken to the cruiser where the ReverseMole is, and he can arrange a rescue from there. Things don't go quite as planned.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSuperHeroSquadShow'': In "Days, Nights, and Weekends of Future Past!", H.E.R.B.I.E. sneaks Falcon and Magneto into prison by pretending to be a Sentinel and marching them up to the doors of the prison.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode "Titans Together", Jericho takes possession of Cinderblock and pretends that Pantha, Mas and Herald are his captives. [[spoiler: He botches it when he speaks through Cinderblock, who up to this point would only grunt and roar]].
* Wolverine and Beast do this in ''WesternAnimation/WolverineAndTheXMen'', Logan even referring to Beast as "Chewie".
* Used heavily in the ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' episode "Terrors", where Superboy and Miss Martian disguise themselves as supervillains and allow themselves to be "arrested" by the [[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]]. While in Belle Reve prison, they foil an attempted breakout and save the day.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Jerzy Bielecki managed to escape from Auschwitz with a friend [[http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/flickers_of_light/jerzy_bielecki.asp using this trope.]]
* A similar escape happened at [[TheAlcatraz Colditz POW camp]]. The Allied prisoners were quite adept at making convincing fake guard uniforms, but the process was slow. It was noticed that a storeroom in the outer courtyard of the castle was occasionally visited by work details from another camp under heavy guard. After digging a quick tunnel to the storeroom and acquiring some Polish NCO uniforms eight prisoners were able to walk straight out of the camp following a shift change, while using up only two of the precious Guard disguises.
* The Dutch resistance freed 44 prisoners from Leeuwarden prison during the German occupation in 1944 by sending five men into the prison using this trope.