A person doesn't talk. You need to get a secret from him. So, you simulate conditions under which he does talk. You may convince him he is among allies, who depend on him telling the secret. You may convince him [[FakedRipVanWinkle enough time passed that the secret is irrelevant now]]. You may convince him the need for secret keeping is AllJustADream (The latter case may contain a healthy dose of LotusEaterMachine). In short, he speaks.

And then it turns out this was indeed AllJustADream. Created by you.

Warning, this [[SpoileredRotten trope is spoiler-iffic]].



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* This is the plot of an episode of ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman / Anime/BattleOfThePlanets''.
* "[[Recap/LupinIIIS2E3 To Be or Nazi Be]]": An episode of the ''Anime/LupinIIIRedJacket'' series had the gang capture an old German soldier and convince him he was back in the war, with Hitler himself wanting to know where he had hidden the treasures he had been entrusted with. As soon as he squeals, "Hitler" turns out to be Lupin [[LatexPerfection in disguise]], and the whole base is a movie set.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/ThePunisher2099'', Jake has captured Multi-Fractor, the underboss of his archnemesis Fearmaster. He puts him under a nasty look contraption with various blades in an attempt to pump him for more information on Fearmaster. After Jake gets what he wants, the machine disappears. It turns out that Jake was using his virtual reality room to interrogate Multi-Fractor.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4472109/1/CyberTech_War_of_the_Worlds CyberTech: War of the Worlds]]'', [[RonTheDeathEater Dumbledore]] is captured by the good guys, manages to escape the prison, and, once he gets into Hogwarts, tells Snape to recover some prisoners from the Headquarters. Snape replies he can't get them all by himself, so Albus is forced to give Flitwick the location as well. Cue the illusion dissolving...

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The 1965 film ''[[Film/ThirtySixHours 36 Hours]]'', in which German agents use a FakedRipVanWinkle on an American officer in an attempt to learn the details of the upcoming D-Day operation.
* In ''Film/{{Virtuosity}}'', the final battle between Sid 6.7 and Parker ends with Parker thrown off a building and dead...except that it's then revealed that they were able to trap Sid back in his VR computer and create a set of circumstances in which he would think he'd won. Though he still manages to almost actually kill Parker, when the hero finally escapes they're able to determine where Sid hid his last two captives from the events of the VR simulation.
* Not done with technology, but in a combination of this idea and TwoPlusTortureEqualsFive, the British spy protagonist of ''Film/TheIpcressFile'' is captured and held by enemy spies in a secret location in London. As part of an attempt to break him mentally and physically, his captors try to convince him that he's a criminal and traitor being held in an Eastern European prison. This includes having him visited by a spy pretending to be a representative of the Foreign Office, and thus a friendly face.
* Most of the protagonists of ''Film/{{Inception}}'' are professional Virtual Reality Interrogators. The method they use allows them to snoop through the subject's subconscious mind, usually by pretending they are on the subject's side in some way. Sometimes it works, but being too bold with this tactic can easily arouse too much suspicion and expose them.
* At the end of ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', Cap thinks that this is happening when he realizes that the baseball game supposedly playing on the radio is one he'd already watched. He breaks out and discovers the truth -- it's an inverted FakedRipVanWinkle intended to protect him from the shock of [[FishOutOfTemporalWater finding himself in the twenty-first century]].

* In ''Literature/TheStarsMyDestination'', there is an attempt to get information from the protagonist by simulating for him [[LotusEaterMachine a reality where he is rich and happy]], and his adventures are AllJustADream. He spots AGlitchInTheMatrix (his own reflection) right before talking.
* In ''Literature/TheCityAndTheStars'', the heroes are questioning a robot which must keep silent until the end of time. The MasterComputer simulates just that.
* In ''Literature/TheIcewindDaleTrilogy'', Bruenor is given a potion to drive him back into his childhood, and make him remember the location of his lost homeland. When he cannot tell it because it is secret, Drizzt enhances the illusion by pretending to be an ally coming with an army to help Bruenor. Unlike most examples, the whole thing was actually ''Bruenor's'' idea rather than an enemy's.
* Subverted in the TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}} novel ''Shadowplay'', where the virtual reality used against the female protagonist just simulates plain old physical torture and rape. But when rescued, she initially ''fears'' it may be this trope (though she only expects it to be a HopeSpot and then back to torture, rather than a sneaky interrogation).
* The Sobornost in ''Literature/TheQuantumThief'' have turned this trope into an art form. Whenever they need to extract information from a gogol (an uploaded mind), they simply make a backup and then subject it to wide variety of painful and pleasurable experiences in the matter of microseconds, and if it breaks down they make another copy and try again with new variation until they get the desired results. It's the most sophisticated form of MindRape imaginable.
* In ''Literature/AlteredCarbon'' Takeshi Kovacs is subjected to a virtual reality where he is sleeved in a female body and raped violently and repeatedly numerous times, however he recognizes the simulation from his time putting down a rebellion on an Islamic planet. And later he shows one of his interrogators the program they used on the insurrectionists, it cuts out after several doppelgangers materialize.
** Inverted in the follow-up novel, ''Broken Angels'', where Takeshi makes it perfectly clear that the man is in a virtual software room. He then informs him that, if the man doesnt tell him what he wants to know, he will just leave him there with his stack plugged into the self-powered VR device. In a construct designed as little more than a very short term holding area, i.e. nothing happened, no other people are programmed in. Alone. For the relative centuries that the battery would keep the simulation running for. Worse than any other interrogation technique, really.
** It becomes clear this is endemic to the setting; a more innocuous example involves job interviews being carried out in cyberspace to save time and travel expense - and save interviewer attention by using software doubles of the interviewers to do most of the actual work and make it unclear to the candidates how many of them there are.
* In ''Literature/{{MARZENA}}'', Dr. Lauren connects Dr. Sam to a virtual reality created via the bio-feedback of his dreams, and then send a virtual avatar controlled by Kristen to steal his banking information. Crazy Dream Sequence full of NightmareFuel follows.
* In the ''Franchise/StarTrekExpandedUniverse'' short story "Shakedown", Captain Harriman of the ''Enterprise''-B has been captured by the Romulans and is being questioned by their finest interrogator. Eventually, the interrogator lets slip the names of Romulan agents in Starfleet, in order to encourage Harriman to talk, and Harriman immediately says "End program", and reveals they're on the ''Enterprise'''s experimental holochamber.
* ''Literature/JudgeDee'' once had a prisoner who refused to talk even after torture, so he had his henchmen put on [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ox-Head_and_Horse-Face bull and horse masks,]] making the suspect think she was facing the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yama_(East_Asia) judge of the dead]] (the Judge's resemblance to the Yama is repeatedly noted throughout the series), finally getting her to confess.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* "In the ''Series/BlackMirror'' episode "[[Recap/BlackMirrorWhiteChristmas White Christmas]]," an electronic copy of a suspected murderer's mind is created and placed in a stimulation of an isolated winter cabin, where time is accelerated to give the appearance that he'd been there for five years. Then, an interrogator inserts himself into the stimulation and convinces the copy to confess.
* In one episode of ''Series/{{VIP}}'', Val and Tasha are kidnapped and drugged after they hide a witness in a safehouse. In order to make them reveal the secret, the villain attempts to convince them they've been comatose for 40 years.
* There was an episode of ''Series/{{Galidor}}'' where one of Gorm's minions created a virtual reality simulation of Allegra's bedroom to convince her it was AllJustADream, and get her to talk about her adventures. Nick managed to break the illusion before she revealed any dangerous information.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' episode "Stratagem". Captain Archer tries to get information out of an alien by convincing him that they are now friends and that years have gone by. The alien ship they have supposedly stolen is [[FauxtasticVoyage actually set up inside a small shuttle in the ''Enterprise'' landing bay]]. The small touches making the simulation seem real include tattooing both their arms with prison barcodes.
* Subverted in another ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode, where Riker thinks he is a victim of one (he is supposedly a couple of decades in the future, and suffering from amnesia, but his supposed wife is a woman of his dreams, that he knows never existed outside the holodeck). The hostile aliens reveal themselves when he calls them out on it. However, as it turns out [[spoiler:the aliens aren't real either - there is just one alien, highly psychic and very lonely, keeping Riker in a LotusEaterMachine to have some company and conjuring things from his mind - the whole espionage plot was the device's attempt to respond to Riker's realisation that the first reality was fictitious, based on his own assumptions about what might really be going on.]]
* In the ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "Inquisition", Section 31 tries to probe Doctor Bashir for possible disloyal behavior by secretly slipping him in a holodeck simulation in which prominent members of the Dominion try to convince him that he's a ManchurianAgent and actually unsuspectingly working for them. It doesn't work and Doctor Bashir remains loyal to the Federation, despite all the mounting "evidence" to suggest otherwise, and in doing so impresses Section 31 so much that they later turn to him for some of their own covert ops.
* ''Series/TheHardyBoysNancyDrewMysteries'': "Sole Survivor", where Joe wakes up in a hospital room with no clue where he is or how he got there, only to be told that he's not only been in a coma for a year, but that his father and brother are dead. Cue fake newspapers, fake newscasts, and forged letters from all his surviving relatives and friends. Of course, Frank and Fenton are very much alive, and the whole thing is a MindScrew to get Joe to reveal information on a defection attempt.
* ''Series/{{Alias}}'': Sidney's father suffered from a TapOnTheHead and now thinks he's back in the 1970s with his wife and young daughter. So Sidney has to pretend to be her own mother, married to her father, in order to get her father to give up some secret codes. To make it extra-uncomfortable, her father, thinking she's his wife, tries to make out with her.
* ''Series/ThePrisoner'':
** In the episode "The Chimes of Big Ben", Number 6 escapes the Village and is transported to London, where he meets a former superior. As he's about to explain why he resigned, he realizes that the situation has been faked to trick him and discovers he's still in the Village.
** In "A, B and C". Number Six is drugged and hooked up to a machine that controls his dreams. He meets several characters who try to get him to confess why he resigned. Eventually he figures out what's going on and manages to seize control of the dream.
* ''Series/LegendOfTheSeeker'': Season 1, Episode 12 "Home" is driven by this plot device. Darken Rahl has his pet wizard trap Richard in a dream about his home. Inside the dream, Rahl takes on several different characters to try and convince Richard that the goings-on of the series so far was [[AllJustADream all just a dream]] to learn the location of one of the boxes of Orden from him. Ultimately, [[ThePowerOfLove the power of love]] combined with Rahl pushing too hard breaks the spell at the last moment.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' features season 2, episode 22, a ClipShow where the framing device is that O'Neill, Carter and Daniel awaken from stasis in what appears to be the SGC, almost 79 years in the future, and they need information for their incomplete records. They discover it is actually a Goa'uld hoax by Hathor.
* In ''Series/TheAvengers'', Tara King was victim of such a ploy by villains trying to locate John Steed and whoever he was protecting.
** Another had a fake "training seminar" orchestrated by enemy agents. British agents would not crack during the "interrogation simulations", but would later casually discuss the subject matter at the bar...
* In the ''Series/RedDwarf'' three-parter "Back in the Red" the Dwarfers are subjected to this by the newly resurrected crew to verify their story that it's three million years in the future and most of them had been killed by a radiation leak then reconstructed by nanites. Lister, Cat, Kryten, and Kochansky are subjected to two layers of simulation, so they could catch Rimmer attempting to erase their memories of him stealing the crew's confidential files.
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003''. Starbuck suspects this trope when she's shot and wakes up in a Resistance hospital. [[spoiler:Turns out it's a Cylon BabyFactory.]]
* In an episode of ''Series/MetalHurlantChronicles'' the guy giving people virtual reality fantasies that become real turns out to be a prisoner being subjected to a virtual parole hearing. He fails.
* Done to John Crichton at least twice in ''Series/{{Farscape}}''.
** The first time, he appears to find a wormhole back to Earth and his friends follow, only to be held by the government and Rygel gets dissected, [[spoiler: except it was made by the Ancients to determine if Earth would welcome alien immigrants.]]
** The second, he wakes up from a coma and is told he dreamed the whole thing after the Farscape project crashed, except that all the aliens he knew are on Earth as well, with different names but still the same species, and no one seems to care. So he's pretty sure it's fake too, especially since there's two Scorpius, one is a drummer at a club, the other is trying to convince him that he's hallucinating but John thinks he's the one doing it so he doesn't listen. Then Scorpius explains that he's a neural clone implanted during John's interrogation, and a Scarran is making him hallucinate. [[spoiler: It's actually a subversion - the point is not to trick him into divulging information, but just to psychologically torture him until he breaks - at this point things get really weird.]]
%%* Much loved by ''Series/MissionImpossible''.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'':
** This is commonly employed by various governments and covert entities. In a setting where one's consciousness can be [[BrainUploading virtualized]], [[BodyBackupDrive backed up]], and [[MesACrowd forked]], it is a relatively simple matter to capture a backup of an individual's mind and interrogate them in a simulspace... [[FridgeHorror possibly repeatedly]], resetting them to their [[LaserGuidedAmnesia original state]] each time.
** It's also commonly used as a form of incarceration. No risk of escape, considerable savings on housing them, and TimeDilation allows a prisoner to serve a six-year sentence in one year. The more benevolent-leaning factions use it to rehabilitate criminals instead.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* There's a scene in ''VideoGame/VagrantStory'' where Guildenstern is interrogating Hardin about the nature of the Gran Grimoire, when suddenly the room turns monochrome, everyone in the room except Hardin vanishes, and Hardin's mentor, Sydney, is standing in front of him. Convinced that his mentor has somehow teleported him to safety, Hardin freely tells Sydney everything he knows... only to realise too late that he's still talking to Guildenstern, who has disguised himself with an illusion.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', a [[AbusivePrecursors Gatekeeper]] officer who is refusing to tell the Fleetmind anything about the dark matter entities is captured for [[MindProbe Mind-ripping]]. As he's being brought in he escapes, and while shooting his way out he starts to wonder if it's really worth it to protect those ungrateful younger races from the [[EldritchAbomination Paan'uri]]...
-->'''Petey:'' Well, the simulation has him thinking along the righ track.
* In ''Webcomic/GeneralProtectionFault'', Nick gets kidnapped by Ki's counterpart from the "Nega-verse", who tricks him into getting into the [=MuTEX=] virtual reality machine on the night before his wedding to Ki, but instead transports him back to her dimension, where he is sedated on arrival and places him into her [=MuTEX=] in order to trick him, while sleep-deprived, into telling her how to make Project Velociraptor. Unfortunately, Nega-Ki makes a few mistakes, and Nick sees through her.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the 11th episode of ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries'', the heroes need to get a code for an ancient CoolGate from a prisoner. First, he gives them a code. Then, the bad guys capture them, and he gives them another code. Then, he is released, flies away, gets to the gate, and uses a ''third'' code (that one works). Then, the ProperlyParanoid heroes remove his VR helmet.
* A variation is present in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim''. Zim puts Dib in a virtual reality where he gains ultimate power and uses it to defeat the Irken and become a major celebrity just so he could get Dib to confess [[DisproportionateRetribution that he threw a muffin at him during lunch]].
* In the second season of ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'', after a prolonged period of torturing ([[GoryDiscretionShot off-screen]]) for information without success, Captain America's Skrull captors have his next interrogation "interrupted" by a rescue by the other Avengers (actually shapeshifted Skrull). It doesn't work though, as Captain America sees through it immediately.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' MOM wanted to get Fry's bank information. Since his PIN was related to his old job in the twentieth century, her sons set up an elaborate hoax to convince him that coming to the future was AllJustADream and he was back in his old life.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'' uses the FakedRipVanWinkle variant; he's convinced a NegativeSpaceWedgie transported him into the future and destroyed Zerg. In reality, the "museum pieces" are his actual armour, the kids he's telling stories (and weaknesses) to are robots and Zerg is alive, well and showing Buzz's captive crew the whole setup to taunt them.
* ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'' has subjected Rick to this a couple of times. It tends to [[HoistByHisOwnPetard go poorly for the perpetrators]].
** The first time, aliens trap him in a [[DreamWithinADream multi-layer simulation]] and try to make him reveal his recipe for "concentrated dark matter" once he thinks he's escaped; but he figures it out and gives them a different formula that blows up their entire ship.
** He gets locked up by the Federation for his [[VillainProtagonist many crimes]] at the end of season 2. The next season opens with another attempt at this trope, but he doesn't fall for it, so it turns into a normal interrogation... though still in the virtual dreamworld. He pretends to give up and offer the dimension-hopping equations they wanted, but instead he gives them a virus that takes over the simulation and lets him body-swap into the interrogator.