Series / The Mole

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A spy-themed Reality Show that first aired in Belgium (on VRT) in 1999, hosted by Michiel Devlieger, and premiered on ABC in 2001. Nicknamed "the smartest reality show ever," it's considered to its fans as unique for its emphasis on brain rather than brawn, beauty, or sociability, as well as its audience interaction through hidden clues to The Mole's identity. The premise was simple: the contestants worked together to complete various tasks to earn a cash prize—usually up to $1,000,000—that only one of them would win. One of the contestants, however, was The Mole, a double agent hired by the producers themselves to sabotage the group's missions and keep money from the pot. (That's where the spy drama part got fridgy. It's like the CIA hired a spy to take out its own agents. Let that sink in for a moment...okay.) The winner was the player who survived all elimination rounds and figured out who The Mole was.

Originally a Belgian show, the USA version had five seasons and three hosts, the first and probably most popular one being eventual CNN reporter Anderson Cooper. It has quite a dedicated fan base that made two attempts to revive it: one by sending "lemon heads" (a season five reference) to ABC, much like what was done with the CBS show Jericho, and also by posting "Save The Mole" videos on YouTube to help advertise the show. Some former contestants and season five host Jon Kelley also got involved; a compilation of their videos can be found here.

By far the most successful version of The Mole, however, has been the Dutch series Wie is de Mol? that started in 1999 and is still going strong with the 17th season airing in 2017. The series is also notable for casting only Dutch celebrities after 4 civilian seasons, many of them Big Name Fans of the show.

The Mole provides examples of the following:

  • Adventure Towns: The players are always on the move, traveling from town to town (and occasionally country to country) to complete their various tasks.
    • Averted with at least one Australian season, which stuck to the Gold Coast for its entire run.
  • Arc Number: The number 7 showed up a lot in season 4 of the US series and 8 in season 8 of the Dutch series. They were both clues to the Mole's identity: the former pointed towards Angie who had a tattoo of 7 and the latter was a play on the 8th month of the Mayan calendar (in a season that took place in Mexico) being "mol", the Dutch word for mole, and made multiple appearances around Dennis.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: One game in Yucatan had Ahmad Rashad asking the players a series of questions taken from elementary school textbooks. During one question, Rashad had this exchange with Dennis Rodman :
    Rashad: On what continent would you find the South Pole?
    Rodman: We have to name it?
    Rashad: (Sarcastically) No, you just have to think it and I'll read your mind!
    • Later, Rashad asked, "What is 1/4 of 60?" and Rodman asked, "Do we write the name or the number?" making Rashad shake his head in disbelief.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Dorothy. Very much so, as she demolished the mental challenges, but gasped and wheezed at anything involving physical prowess.
  • Back to Front: Seasons 11 and 15 of the Dutch version used this to reveal who the Mole was in their final episodes with the scene of the three finalists standing before the host being "rewound" to the very beginning of the season to reveal the Mole's face.
  • Beneath Suspicion: Invoking this is a favorite tactic of the best moles.
  • Big Bad Friend: The Dutch series has had several instances of the Mole becoming best friends with a contestant and thoroughly convincing them that they couldn't possibly be the Mole until their reveal in the finale, including Kees to Zarayda in season 13 and Thomas to Diederik in season 17.
  • Born Lucky: Four of the five US winners can ascribe a very, very large part of their reason for victory to plain old dumb luck:
    • Season 2: Dorothy had the lowest score on the quiz in episode seven and stood to be eliminated had the episode not featured an atypical ending; fellow contestant Elavia accepted a $50,000 "bribe" to leave the game instead, nullifying the elimination ceremony altogether. Later, Dorothy began to suspect Heather as the Mole, and the two later made the finals together. Heather herself caused Dorothy to suspect Bill as the Mole — meaning that if she hadn't, Dorothy probably would have taken the final quiz believing she (Heather) was the Mole, and would thus have lost.
    • First celebrity season: Kathy Griffin was convinced that Michael Boatman was the Mole. She likewise convinced her alliance partner Erik von Detten of the same. The two targeted Boatman in the penultimate elimination quiz, and Von Detten would have been eliminated had he not held a free pass that round — instead, Boatman was eliminated. If Von Detten had indeed been eliminated and Boatman remained, Griffin surely would have continued to believe Boatman was the Mole, and would thus have stood almost no chance of winning.
    • Second celebrity season: Dennis Rodman was in a similar situation. He was sure that Tracey Gold was the Mole, up until Gold was eliminated in the last episode prior to the final round. Rodman would have been eliminated that round if not for a free pass — that he received from Gold herself as part of the last challenge.
    • Season 5: Mark tied for the lowest score on the quiz on three separate occasions. This includes one where Victoria, who was eliminated, got a question wrong only because she inadvertently clicked incorrectly on the computer quiz. Had she chosen the answer she intended to, she'd have stayed and Mark would have gone home.
    • Jochem from season 17 of the Dutch series may not have won his season but he definitely had the goddess of luck beaming down on him, being clearly out of his element multiple times in the game and not once suspecting the actual Mole but being saved no less than four times by an exemption, joker, or being faster on the test than someone else. In the words of the man himself at the finale:
      Jochem: I dragged two alliances into the wrong hands, I think I lost 6,000 euros from the pot, I've lost my molebook, I lost my joker, and I put four questions in total on [name of the season's Mole]. Four questions out of all of them! It's by the hands and feet of God that I'm here.
  • The Cameo: The Mole from the first season makes a brief appearance towards the end of the second season.
    • The Dutch series typically has cameos from previous Moles about once per season, usually as part of a challenge.
  • Carried by the Host: The Anderson Cooper seasons are by far more beloved by the fanbase than the Ahmad Rashad/Jon Kelley seasons, and a large part of that has to do with Cooper.
    • Same for The Mole Australia. The Grant Bowler seasons are considered to be much better (with the exception of Season 4) than the ones with Tom Williams (5) or Shura Taft (6).
  • Celebrity Edition: Has had two, both hosted by Ahmad Rashad.
    • The Dutch version became this with every season after the fourth one casting Dutch celebrities only. Strangely, unlike with the US celebrity seasons which all but killed the show, the Dutch celebrity seasons haven't had nearly as much of a negative impact on the show considering that the show has remained popular enough to go on for at least ten celebrity-only seasons.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: In a challenge in Season 10, episode 2 of the Dutch version, the players could give jokers to their 'friends' or keep them for themselves. Sanne tells Tim she can only give him one joker (a lie) whilst displaying an enormous smirk. This may even have caused Tim's elimination that episode.
    • This trope also gave away who won season 11 earlier than the producers planned. They tried to build up the suspense about who the winner and Mole could be at the end of the 9th episode for the official reveal in the final episode, but the winner's inability to conceal a huge grin after the host revealed that another finalist was the runner-up completely ruined the suspense.
  • The Chessmaster: Stephen and Jim from the first season could both be seen as this.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Tiny Bubbles room from season 2 of the US series. To put this in context, it was part of a challenge where Dorothy, Heather, and Al all had to endure a frightening situation for a certain amount of time; Dorothy had to stay in a small box with cockroaches periodically dropping on her, Heather had to stay in the same room as a gigantic python where the lights eventually went out, and Al... had to stay all night on a metal bed in a brightly-lit room where the song "Tiny Bubbles" kept on playing over and over. Al said after the challenge was over that he never wanted to hear "Tiny Bubbles" ever again.
  • Confession Cam
    • The Australian version had the Mole recording their own Confession Cams on occasion which were shown at the end of the series.
    • Australia's Season 5 actually used the Confession Cam as one of their clues for who the Mole was at home.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: In US season 5, one of Bobby's perceived "gives" to the Mole's identity was the fact that host Jon Kelley had earlier greeted the players while eating an apple: Bobby interpreted this as signifying "The Big Apple", thus pointing toward Yonkers resident Paul. In fact, Paul was not the Mole, and Bobby paid for his error by getting executed in fairly short order. The punchline, though, is that the host's eating an apple was used as a clue back in season 2: it indicated true Mole Bill, a resident of Washington, whose state fruit is the apple. Bobby, a professed fanatic of the show, might very well have remembered that old clue and thought it was being recycled here, to his downfall. (However, the apple-eating incident wasn't mentioned in the season finale, leaving it unclear whether that was a mere coincidence or a deliberate Red Herring.)
  • Double Unlock: Very often when a player wins an exemption in a challenge, they have to play a second challenge to keep it.
  • Eliminated From The Race: At the end of each episode, the contestants take a quiz on The Mole's identity. The player with the lowest score is "executed."
  • Engineered Public Confession: Done in season 17, episode 1 of the Dutch series when four contestants who got exemptions and then lied to the other contestants that they didn't get them were asked by Art if they would be willing to give up their exemptions to ensure that no one would go home that episode. Unbeknownst to them, they were being filmed and the other contestants could see them, exposing their attempt to hide their exemptions (though admittedly, Roos hadn't been the most convincing liar earlier).
  • Epic Fail: Petrina, the Mole from S4 of the Australian version, wound up being one of the worst Moles the series had. On at least two occasions, she had vital parts that would've given the game away (a blank memory chip that she used to sabotage a challenge involving contestants taking footage of things and later on, a bunch of instructions from the show's producers) had someone discovered them, while the producers proceeded to make things worse by eliminating her and then "bringing her back" (which cost them MORE of the kitty) and she proceeded to attempt a blatant sabotage to the point where the winner actually caught her.
    • Season 15 of the Dutch series saw the contestants make less money than any other cast in the series, including casts in seasons where the pot was completely or almost completely emptied by a midseason challenge. The contestants couldn't even blame the Mole for many of the screw-ups that cost them money, the most egregious being two contestants walking right past an envelope in full sight which cost them the money at the very end of an otherwise flawlessly-played challenge.
  • Eureka Moment: Sanne from Season 17 of the Dutch series had one in episode 8 when she realized that if Jochem was telling her the truth about not being the Mole, the only way she and Jochem could have lasted so long while believing completely different contestants to be the Mole was if they were both wrong and the Mole was Thomas. She described it during the final episode as suddenly seeing the Mole's true identity in full color.
  • Executive Meddling: Invoked; the game's "plot" is that production is deliberately trying to sabotage the players in order to minimize how much money they'd have to pay the winner. To be clear, the Mole is someone hired by the show - they are not part of the production crew. Sometimes they'll be put through the same screening process as the legitimate contestants to make it seem like the Mole is an actual contestant.
  • Fair Play Whodunit: The series always gave clues as to the identity of The Mole. Some were ridiculously obscure (such as the "dummy text" during S5 of the Australian version), but some were legitimate hints. For example, Jon Kelley never called the name of Season 5's Mole during the execution ceremonies.
  • Final Exam Finale: The last quiz covered The Mole's activity from the entire season.
  • Four Is Death: Four was often used as a secret number in clues because of there being four letters in the word "Mole." For example, season one Mole Kathryn Price was the fourth player to arrive at the starting location in episode one
  • Friend or Idol Decision: A common Sadistic Choice for contestants is whether to cooperate with their fellow players to add money to the pot or sabotage them to gain an exemption or some other individual advantage.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Charlie from Season 1.
  • Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: Occurred in season 13 of the Dutch series when each contestant stood in the same (dark) room as the (completely cloaked) Mole and asked them three yes/no questions that the Mole answered by hitting certain keys at a piano; the Mole was naturally one of the contestants that was conveniently never shown in the same shot as the hooded figure at the piano and the final shot of the season even showed them talking to an empty piano bench. A very similar stunt was done in the Dutch season 8, with two candles instead of piano keys. Also occurred in another Dutch season when Patrick entered his name in a lottery for the opportunity to contact the Mole in spite of being the Mole himself and actually won the lottery, leading to some creative Manipulative Editing to show him "talking" to the Mole.
  • Hollywood Atlas: Thankfully, this is mostly averted.
  • How We Got Here: Many foreign versions of the show open this way, with the host/announcer saying that the finalists just took their final quiz now, but the results won't be known until you, the viewer, have watched the entire season.
  • Incessant Music Madness: "Tiny Bubbles" in a task near the end of the second season.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Played completely straight in season 5 of the the American series. One of the other contestants realized that Craig's charmingly dopey demeanor would be the perfect cover for the mole. Even better, it was both uwittingly lampshaded and combined with Tempting Fate when said contestant joked that Craig could make a Sarcastic Confession and everyone would think it was hilarious. Craig was the mole.
    • Also played straight in season 8 of the Dutch series, where it became a Running Gag in the final episode for Patrick to repeatedly admit that he had witnessed suspicious behavior from the Mole but did absolutely nothing to act on these suspicions.
    • Initially played straight in season 11 of the Dutch series when Art muses during a Confession Cam if his ally Patrick freely giving him multiple jokers meant that Patrick could be the Mole because the Mole would obviously have no need for jokers, then laughs it off as impossible. Art did eventually wise up about Patrick, however; hence the "initially" modifier.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Invoked by the players when, at the outset, their bags of personal effects were thrown into an incinerator. The players were right, of course— the bags had been switched for fakes prior to destruction.
    • Averted in season five, when the players (sans Craig, who was ill from the last challenge) were instructed to find a volunteer to have his journal destroyed. When Alex reluctantly came forward, it was revealed that the whole exercise was a Secret Test of Character and that his journal would be spared while everyone else's journals would be burned. Mark was not amused.
    • In the first Celebrity Mole, the mole was supermodel Frederique Van Der Wal. When Stephen Baldwin and Corbin Bernsen returned for the second season, they had a conversation when they wondered if the producers would have a second supermodel (Angie Everhart, who had been acting pretty suspicious) be the mole again, or if that would be too obvious. She was, but Steven and Corbin apparently talked themselves out of it, and both were eliminated. AGAIN.
    • In season 14 of the Dutch series, the first episode opened with the contestants being told right after they arrived that they were going to have the test and execution on the spot. Any genre-savvy viewer will know that there's no way in hell that they'd actually send someone home before doing even a single challenge. Especially obvious, since the Dutch Mole pulled the same stunt all the way back in Season 5.
    • In Season 3 of the Australian version, one contestant was shown hooked up to a machine that would shock them if their colleagues answered a question incorrectly. Whenever they got a question wrong, the host would call to the person with the machine to increase the voltage. The contestants didn't find out until afterwards that the contestant hooked up to the machine wasn't actually being shocked at all - he was given a lesson by the person with the machine [actually an acting coach] on how to convincingly fake pain.
  • Loners Are Freaks: One major giveaway to the identities of the Moles in the Dutch series' 12th and 16th seasons for both contestants and viewers was their reluctance/inability to form alliances with others which caused them to become the suspicious lone wolf of the cast.
  • Man Child: During The Mole 2's Three Questions Game, Dorothy describes herself as one of these in relation to the question of who would be a worse babysitter (between her and Heather) to Bill's kids.
  • Meaningful Name: In season 17 of the Dutch series, the Mole's first name — Thomas — meant "twin" and pairs/doubles of items were continually shown throughout the season, including a reflection of Thomas's face in the opening credits, to hint at Thomas's dual nature as contestant and Mole.
  • Metagame: Due to the elimination quizzes, there are three key elements to being a good Mole contestant.
    • Gathering as much information as possible about the players and their activities, whether by copious note-taking or by establishing an alliance with another player to share info (although this information is not always reliable);
    • Making the other contestants falsely suspect you by performing sabotage of your own;
    • Tracking who's suspicious of whom, so that when a player gets executed, you know the player they were suspecting is less likely to be the Mole.
    • The Dutch series has gone on for long enough that it's become an established practice for contestants to spread out their answers for multiple Mole candidates on early tests and then gradually narrow down their answers to just one person on later tests.
  • Mistaken for Evidence: The first episode of The Mole 2 had a brief view of the players' bags, one of which had the name "Michael" printed on it. Since there were apparently no players with that name, many viewers believed that this had to be a clue, and speculated on what it could mean. As it turned out, however, "Michael" actually was the name of one of the players, Michael "Bribs" Bribiesca, who preferred to go by his nickname only. Later, his bag had his preferred name Bribs written in marker on a strip of masking tape that covered up the 'Michael.' People also thought that was a clue.
    • Social media discussions around Season 6 of The Mole Australia also had many ridiculous ideas for "evidence", such as the camera zooming in on a contestant's bag during a challenge and the barcode on said bag had the last four numbers translating to "Mole." Aside from the contestant in question getting eliminated a couple of episodes later, it was later shown that the barcode was on ALL of the contestants bags and the numbers were identical.
    • During U.S. Season 1, some viewers insisted that Steven had to be the Mole, reasoning that a real undercover police officer would never appear on national television. They were wrong. Why exactly Steven did appear on the show, thereby making it impossible for him to ever do undercover work again, was never explained. But he was not, in fact, the Mole.
    • A similar event occurred during U.S. Season 2. Some viewers argued that it was impossible to be a skiing instructor in Texas, and therefore, Bribs had to be the Mole. This argument was largely shut down once the viewers learned that skiing - on artificial turf, not on snow-covered mountains - actually is a popular sport in Texas.
    • The Dutch series has a devoted fanbase who can interpret anything and everything as evidence about the Mole's identity. One example was many fans believing that Hind constantly wearing red clothing in season 10 was a clue to her being the Mole (which had been an actual clue in an earlier season) but it was just her really liking the color red.
  • The Mole: Duh!
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Season 12 of the Dutch series had the contestants play a high-stakes game for an exemption to the finals. The game? Go Fish.
    • Happened in the sixth Aussie season, too (though in that case it wasn't a free pass, but rather the opportunity to reduce your time on the quiz by 30 seconds).
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Stephen Baldwin and Corbin Bernsen in Celebrity Mole: Yucatan after having competed in Celebrity Mole: Hawaii. Neither star did much better — in fact, they both did worse with each of them going out one round sooner than they had the last time.
    • The fourth Aussie season played with this a bit, with two contestants leaving and then returning later on. One of those happened to be the mole.
    • The Dutch series also had some seasons where a contestant executed earlier in the season returned, usually because another contestant had to drop out due to health problems. Most of them didn't last for much longer, but the contestant brought back in season 7 became the winner.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Hilariously subverted when a challenge involved mashing grapes for wine. Anderson Cooper got plastered with the players.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Contestants screwing up on purpose, to make other contestants think they're the Mole and thus do worse on the elimination quizzes. Yes, it decreased the winner's take, but it increased their chance of being the winner.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: In the Dutch series, Roeland from season 5 and Manuel from season 10 (both became too ill to continue) and Janine from season 13 (got injured after she jumped the wrong way during a challenge). Just barely averted by Gloria in the second episode of UK season 1; she was too ill to actually participate in or observe the events of the episode, but decided to take the quiz anyway. Quite predictably, she scored lowest.
    • A minor example of this occurred during Season 3 of The Mole Australia, where one contestant was exempt from a challenge due to health reasons.
  • Novelization: The Mole from the second season wrote a book about their experiences on the show, appropriately titled Reflections Of The Mole. It can be found here (link contains obvious spoilers).
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A tactic sometimes used by contestants, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. Dennis Rodman stands out as an example— seemed like nobody could figure out if he was stupid, The Mole, or actually really brilliant. Turned out to be brilliant— he won the game! When they did the journal swap thing, it was discovered that he'd taken no notes, which led some to believe he was The Mole. He actually just had an amazing memory for details.
    • Other excellent examples are the Moles from Seasons 3 and 8 of the Dutch series who regularly rank at the top of "best Mole" fan polls because they were so good at painting themselves as too lovably goofy to possibly be the Mole.
    • And another example from the Dutch version is Rik from Season 15 who appeared to constantly fail spot checks and be duped or sweet-talked by other contestants into giving them jokers without getting anything in return. When he made the finals, many viewers thought that all of this behavior had to be a "playing dumb" act by the Mole. It wasn't, but it did help him become the winner.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Ignoring the celebrity seasons, season two is the biggest oddball — The Mole 2: The Next Betrayal. The other civilian seasons were simply called The Mole, although the fifth season is referred to on TV.com as The Mole 3.0 because of its being the third civilian season.
  • Off the Rails: In the Season 5 mission "Travelers", Craig was chosen to pick out modes of transportation for the rest of the group to reach a monument within a set amount of time, and was told he would be given an exemption if none of them made it. Going for the exemption, he chose modes of transportation that were... unhelpful, including stilts, scuba gear and a two-person llama costume (Bonus: He assigned the head and rear of the llama costume to arch-rivals Nicole and Paul, respectively.) Rather than participate in the game, the remaining contestants unanimously decided not to play this game right at the start and simply drove to the monument in the vans, forfeiting the money and netting Craig the exemption. This was Craig's most blatant sabotage of the game. Doubles as a CMOA for Craig, as despite single-handedly ruining that mission, not one person took it as evidence of him being The Mole.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Bribs," a.k.a. Michael Bribiesca. He even wrote it on a piece of tape and stuck it over his real name on his bag.
    • Season 6 had "Mozzie" a.k.a. Jayden Irving. Unlike Bribs, everyone including the host addressed him by his nickname.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Non-videogame example with Art Rooijakkers on the Dutch series. After participating in Season 11 as a contestant, Art was hired to replace the retiring Pieter-Jan Hagens as the host of the show, and has hosted every season since.
  • Previously On
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: This was an element of gameplay. It was better for contestants to work together and give maximum effort in challenges, because that increased the pot that they were playing for. However, since The Mole was sabotaging the game, and players who incorrectly guessed the identity of The Mole faced risk of elimination in the quiz at the end of the episode, contestants would sometimes sabotage challenges in order to draw false suspicion on themselves.
  • Public Secret Message: Cleverly done in season 8 of the Dutch series as a clue to the Mole's identity; during a challenge in which the contestants could each ask the hidden Mole one question, Dennis asked what sounded like "Is Edo (another contestant who had been behaving suspiciously) the Mole?" but was actually "Is ego the Mole?", i.e. "Am I the Mole?", to which a "yes" answer was shown. Almost no viewers caught this.
  • Punny Name: In a late episode of season 2, host Anderson Cooper and the players are all eating McDonald's food as a reward. Anderson states "that all of this is compliments of Mickey D's". Aside from the fact that McDonald's was a sponsor of the show, guess who else involved with the show has that nickname? Hint: they're in the title.
  • Put on a Bus: The entire show after Season 4. Four years went by before the 2008-09 WGA strike led ABC to revive "The Mole" due to a lack of new material to fill its schedule. The show was finally officially cancelled after Season 5.
    • The Belgian series was discontinued after 3 seasons in spite of its popularity, but came back in 2016 after a thirteen-year gap.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Besides the mystery of The Mole's identity, the other big part of this show's watchability is the sheer fun of watching the contestants try to complete the various tasks.
    • Deliberately invoked in Season 6 of The Mole Australia - the show was marketed as casting people from various backgrounds and beliefs.
  • Reality Show
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Lampshaded by host Anderson Cooper in season two. When the team was instructed to split up into people who wanted to cook and people who didn't want to cook, Anderson later informed them that the people who didn't want to cook would end up having to cook for their challenge, and the team that wanted to cook would be doing something else. He chided them by saying, "This is, like, Basic Mole!"
  • Red Herring Mole: Produced by Manipulative Editing, lies, or simply following the wrong clues. It's amazing the elaborate theories some fans cooked up, only to have them smashed at the big reveal.
    • Granted, part of the Metagame involves being a Red Herring Mole so that everyone erroneously suspects you.
    • This is especially prevalent in the Dutch series where every season has at least one contestant who comes across as incredibly suspicious and blatantly sabotaging and makes it all the way to the finals only for someone else to be revealed as the Mole instead. The winner of the 13th season even said during the reunion episode that EVERYBODY in the Netherlands, including their own family, was convinced that they were the Mole to the point that they received a ton of mail from viewers all saying, "I know you're the Mole!" Similarly, the winner of the 15th season received more votes than the other two finalists combined from the viewing audience on who they believed was the Mole.
    • This was also a tactic by the Mole themselves in season 11 of the Dutch series: Patrick gave Art jokers and kept on encouraging him to act suspicious because he knew that many contestants thought Art was the Mole and thus wanted to keep him around as a decoy Mole he could hide behind.
    • This was also particularly prevalent in fan conversations for the 6th season of the Australian series. Everybody else (apart from the final 3 contestants) thought that Hillal was The Mole, based on a bunch of clues that seemed to point to him (such as him doing badly on challenges or in one such case, a 4-digit number was given as a "clue" because it was his postcode. They were partially on the right track: it was a postcode, but not his). It was eventually revealed to be someone else and half of the clues that pointed to Hillal actually pointed towards the REAL Mole.
  • Reunion Show: All five seasons had one. Season one was the only season where The Mole and The Winner were revealed through episode footage shown to the players at the reunion show.
  • Scenery Porn: Almost all the time, as the players are always moving.
  • Secret Test of Character: Every US civilian season has had this in one fashion or another. Most famously was the second season, when the team travelling by bus were stopped first by a pair of pretty ladies, then later by an older woman, to fix a flat tire. They fixed both cars, and were rewarded. Had they just fixed the pretty ladies' car, they would've lost money.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Season 5's Paul and Nicole were this to each other.
  • The Show Must Go On: During Season 13 of the Dutch version, one of the contestants suffers an accident during a jump from a cliff, crushing one of her vertebrae. The show wasn't cancelled, and the contestant actually says during a 'confession' moment that she's happy the show wasn't cancelled.
  • Spoiler Title: The Dutch series' episode titles frequently serve as hidden clues about the Mole. For example, the title "Mirror Image" for a season 13 episode was a reference to the Mole's reflection being briefly shown during that episode.
  • The Stoic: Dorothy from Season 2 acted like this throughout the game, with not even losing the opportunity to reunite with her mother (apparently) fazing her that much. Naturally, that made her a prime suspect amongst the other players. Also, Michael from Season 2 of the Australian version. His lack of reaction to, among other things, tasks won and getting "shot" by a fellow contestant were stated as a clue to him being the Mole in the finale.
  • Straight Gay: Jim from Season 1.
    • Bobby from Season 5 as well. The only way you could tell he was gay was when he explicitly mentioned it in an early behind-the-scenes interview, stating that his "Gaydar" senses will help him get a feel of people's intentions. Otherwise, it isn't telling.
    • From the Dutch series: Frits from Season 12 and Freek (there is one gratuitous scene in which he talks about ogling a hot man at the beach, but other than that you'd probably never guess that he's gay) from Season 14.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Jokers in the Dutch series, which can be used to negate incorrect answers on a test and can be hoarded for use on future tests. Many contestants have been eliminated with a joker or two (or even three!) in their pockets because they either thought that they were safe and didn't need them, or wanted to save them for later rounds.
    • Mostly averted in Australia's sixth season, which had a similar concept (they were called "freebies"). Players seldom saved more than one. Sam had four on him when they were decided by the group's treasurer Hillal to be exchanged for money, but this is because he hadn't had to sit the last three quizzes.
  • Un-Canceled:
    • Season 5 of the US series premiered 4 years after the previous season.
    • Season 6 of the Australian series aired 8 years after the previous season.
    • Season 4 of the Belgian series aired 13 years after the previous season.
  • Unreadably Fast Text: A few clues were quickly flashed during the opening sequences.
    • Season 5 of the Australian version had the contestants confession cam moments brought up as part of a "profile". During that time, numbers, text and braille would flash across the screen way too fast for someone to actively be looking for it. (Turns out that the numbers were a code, which translated to "The Mole is not_____" while the Braille gradually spelt out "The Mole is going to reveal himself tonight."
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Corbin Bernsen and Stephen Baldwin in Yucatan were constantly looking for clues that weren't there.
    • Indeed, Corbin actually caught on to one of the clues (seven candles on the dining room table indicating that Journal #7 was held by the Mole), but he was such a scatterbrain that he didn't act on it.
    • Darwin from the second season fits this trope big time. While a smart player, he ultimately got all of his coalition partners as well as himself executed for targeting every single person on the quiz EXCEPT The Mole.
    • Daniel from season 13 of the Dutch series admitted in the final episode that he didn't really pay attention to other contestants' behavior because he was so focused on being an Action Hero during the challenges...on a show in which paying careful attention to other contestants' possible Mole-like behavior is absolutely essential to win. Fortunately for him, he happened to be on a season where almost everyone had a hard time figuring out who the Mole was, which enabled him to survive longer than he would have otherwise.
    • Mal actually weaponised this in season 2 of The Mole Australia. The challenge had him going to Sovereign Hill [[note: A re-creation of a 1800's goldmining town in Ballarat, Australia]] and being told to dress up in a disguise to avoid being spotted, being given the entire prop and costume wardrobe from the town. Everyone else had to try and spot him from a crowd. The remaining contestants picked someone who they THOUGHT was their man, except it turned out to be a lookalike. Mal had in fact dressed up as the cameraman filming him!
  • Wire Dilemma: Done in the season five challenge "Tick, Tock, Boom!"
    • Also done in a challenge during The Mole Australia-the Mole managed to successfully sabotage the contestants by stopping the person with him from looking at the case which held the wires (which had the clue).
    • It showed up too as part of a challenge in season 8 of the Dutch series - a contestant managed to solve it through sheer luck by randomly picking a wire to cut.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The best Moles are capable of quickly improvising a new plan whenever their initial plan of sabotage hits a snag or something unexpected comes up. One example from season 2 of the US series is Bill learning that each contestant would have to swap notebooks with another contestant, realizing that his complete lack of notes would look suspicious and that he didn't have enough time to write them, and improvising by writing a sentimental letter to his wife about how he hoped he could do well in the game in his notebook. His letter moved the contestant who read his notebook so much that she ruled him out as the Mole and was executed soon after.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/TheMole