Page Type: trope
Sometimes, the worst thing about being The Mole is not the life-threatening lifestyle, the risk of getting caught by the enemy, being outed as a spy and being executed before you can complete your mission. No, sometimes, the worst part is the chance of coming under-fire by your own allies. That one loose cannon who wasn't informed of your mission, believes you've turned traitor, feels there's only one way to deal with scum like you, and in an impulsive act of what they think is patriotism, shoots you on the spot, believing they just performed Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
In other words, the ultimate case of Poor Communication Kills.
Unlike Heel–Face Door-Slam, the character was Good All Along, and ends up getting attacked for a misunderstanding. The attacker is likely to undergo My God, What Have I Done? after learning that the guy was a Fake Defector. For extra irony, the mole was probably bringing in big enemy secrets and the attacker got to him before he could give the intel.
If there is Dramatic Irony involved and the audience knows that the victim is a mole, it can make the misguided patriot look unreasonable and monstrous. To make the situation worse, the mole might try to explain the situation, only for the attacker to refuse to listen/believe him until it is too late.
Please note that the attack doesn't have to be fatal. The mole can be put into a coma, badly incapacitated, or even end up having his cover being blown because of the attacker, anything that puts a serious crimp in his mission, perhaps even render it All for Nothing.
A subtrope of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! and Right Hand vs. Left Hand. Similar to Acquitted Too Late where an innocent person dies in prison before their exoneration. Compare and contrast Flock of Wolves and Friend or Foe where one didn't know that the mole was on their side in the first place. Can go hand in hand with Vigilante Execution, especially if the executioner isn't popular with the rest of your side. If the rest of the mole's allies arrive in time to save him, that leads into He's a Friend. The attacker is likely to get You Fool! and What the Hell, Hero? for his actions, or inversely the attacker will dish it out to the people that didn't tell him the guy was a mole. If the mole went undercover by orchestrating his own death, see Mistaken for Own Murderer. If the guy seeking to off the mole is obsessed with it and won't stop pursuing until he's dead, see Determinator and Super-Persistent Predator. Another example of why being Locked Out of the Loop is a bad thing.
Anime & Manga
- In Episode 10 of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, the cast is shown to have been captured by the villains, with one of the characters having performed a Heel–Face Turn. Most of the cast believed the betrayal was genuine, due to his previous status as the Aloof Ally. So when the prisoners finally retaliate, the "traitor" is also attacked. It's up to the main character to intervene and explain that the "traitor" had spent the entire time passing him information about the villain's lair.
- Blake and Mortimer: A young Henry Blake unknowingly participates in the removal of his childhood hero Colonel Lawrence (better known as Lawrence Of Arabia) after he's seen talking with known fascists. It's made to look like an accidental crash under the guidance of the senior MI-6 agent Lawless who decided Murder Is the Best Solution for dealing with traitors (and with considerable relish, because he'd always resented Lawrence). It turns out Lawrence was infiltrating them on orders from MI-6. Oops.
- Subverted in Hard Boiled, where Inspector Yuen tries to kill a high profile mob hitman, Alan, but runs out of bullets, and only later learns from his superiors that Alan is actually an undercover cop himself.
- In the climax of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Professor Mc Gonagall and the rest of the teachers are done putting up with Snape and join forces to drive him out of the castle. It's shortly after he dies does Harry learn he had been Dumbledore's inside man even Snape's supposed murder of him had been arranged between the two, and that he had actually used his position as Hogwarts' headmaster to protect everyone from the Death Eaters. As such, by driving him out, there is no one to shield them from Voldemort, who decides to launch an all-out war against the castle.
Live Action TV
- Nearly happens retrospectively to Felix Gaeta in Battlestar Galactica (2003), when a semi-tolerated vigilante group who have been executing Cylon collaborators following the humans' escape from New Caprica nearly kill him because of his role as chief assistant to President Baltar under the occupation. In fact he was a mole for the resistance, which hardly anyone knew. Until he's rescued, Gaeta makes no attempt to defend himself, seemingly because he himself either believes that he deserves to die for the horrors that he had to be complicit in, or simply doesn't care about living any more.
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