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Bavarian Fire Drill / Live-Action TV

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Bavarian Fire Drills in live-action TV.

  • This is standard operating procedure for both the good and bad guys on 24.
  • 30 Rock:
    • Subverted when Jenna sneaks into a prince's birthday party. She claims that it's about walking proud, but it's really because she flashed the guards.
    • In the season four finale, Tina Fey's character begins to fall in love with an airline pilot named Carol, played by Matt Damon, who manages to enter a wedding reception with no trouble.
      Carol: Yeah, if you walk briskly in a pilot uniform, you can go pretty much anywhere. I was once in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House.
  • Alta Mar: How Sofia and her accomplices ultimately get the suitcase full of gold off the ship.
  • Andor: When Luthen demands to know how Cassian managed to steal heavily guarded Imperial equipment Cassian responds that with a janitorial uniform and some quick talking he can get just about anywhere, since the Imperials aren't looking for him and don't expect anyone like him to be able to manage to steal from them.
  • Angel:
    • Angel has, at least once, gotten into crime scenes and pumped the cop on the scene for information by playing the bossy plainclothes detective, no badge needed. The only thing Angel was holding was a cup of coffee. Which he had just stolen from another cop. File under Rule of Cool for sheer awesomeness (and the ringing sound of clanging steel spheres one might hear when Angel is walking).
    • He also snuck into the offices of Wolfram & Hart by pretending to be a lawyer by wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. Despite the vampire detectors at the doors.
  • Arrested Development:
    • One running subplot involved the character of Maeby (Alia Shawkat) who, despite being only 16 years old, gets a job as a movie producer simply by acting like she already was one. This, in turn, is based on an apocryphal story that Steven Spielberg got his first job at a movie studio by simply occupying an empty office and pretending he was supposed to be there.
    • Her deception was greatly helped by the fact that Tobias had been talking up the name Funke at the water cooler for the whole day at Maeby's recommendation. And the reason she had done that was because she was skipping school by convincing Tobias that it was "Help Your Dad Achieve His Dream Day", which was another instance of this trope (not to mention that they only got into the film studio in the first place because Maeby convinced the security guard that they were meant to be there. Maeby is a master of this).
    • Runs in the family. In another episode, GOB pretended to be a waiter to mess with his mother. He was already wearing a black suit, so he simply grabbed a tray of drinks and walked over to her table. She never looked a waiter in the face, so she didn't notice, and everyone else on staff assumed he was a new guy. At the end of the day, he was given all of his tips, and the narrator explained that GOB had just accidentally worked a day in his life.
  • This happens all the time in The A-Team:
    • Almost always twice (usually three times) an episode in the early seasons. See, before they hire the A-Team, any prospective employers need to be conned by Hannibal using a Bavarian Fire Drill just to make sure that they aren't really military police trying to capture them. Then Face needs to go and Bavarian Fire Drill a mental institution to get Howling Mad Murdock out for him to join the team again. Then they pull another one to get the equipment/location/air tickets they need for this week's mission. This is so routine that the details are usually not shown.
  • In the fourth season of Babylon 5, the rescue of Sheridan from Clark's goons involved Garibaldi donning his old Earth Force uniform and walking into the prison under the pretense of being sent (off the record, of course) to interrogate Sheridan. This only works because Garibaldi was the one who captured Sheridan in the first place, and the guard recognizes him from the news reports. It doesn't work so well on the next set of guards, though, as the guard Garibaldi tries to bluff doesn't watch TV. As a result, Garibaldi and his two partners (Dr. Franklin and Lyta) have to take that pair of guards out using more physical methods.
  • Better Call Saul:
    • When shooting his "Gimme Jimmy" commercial throughout a few late season 2 episodes, Jimmy is shown using this trope to engage in guerilla-style filming. This includes passing off an elderly masturbator as a phony World War II vet to scam their way onto an air force base and get footage of the guy standing in front of the "Fifi" B-29 Bomber, or shooting on a school playground and claiming to be filming a documentary about Rupert Holmes of "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" fame.
    • In his role as a security consultant for Madrigal Electromotive, Mike steals another worker's badge, walks right into the building, has multiple conversations with other employees, and takes advantage of every security weakness he can find. Once he's done, he takes the supervisors to task over everything that he was able to get away with:
      "I waltz through security with someone else's ID. Nobody gives me a second look. When the rightful owner shows up, there's no facility-wide badge check. I find access doors left unlocked or propped open, passwords written on post-it notes. Warehouse workers are using pen and paper instead of electronic inventory devices, which leaves you wide open to pilfering. You got duplicate routing numbers on cargo, surveillance-camera blind spots on the north and the east side of the floor, inventory documents that are going into the trash instead of being shredded, not to mention loading equipment being driven at unsafe speeds and crews disregarding safety protocols."
    • Mike also pretends to be an Albuquerque police detective to smuggle a particular piece of evidence into the station tying a rival gangster to a murder. He badgers an intern to get the documents to the right desk, but never actually identifies himself. It helps that he used to be an actual cop in another state before he moved to New Mexico.
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Howard "borrows" a robot from NASA. When Penny questions him about it, he says that "the trick is to carry it out to your car like you own it".
  • Blake's 7
    • In "Project Avalon", our heroes have infiltrated a maximum security detention centre, and now have to find the prisoner they're looking for. So Blake stands in plain view of a guard.
      Vila: [whispering] What are you doing?
      Blake: Getting us a guided tour. [loudly] You there! What are you doing in this section?
      Guard: I was posted here by the security commander.
      Blake: My orders were that no one should enter this area. What is your security commander's name?
      Guard: [marching up to Blake] Sergeant-Major Garven, may I have your name and authority, sir?
      Vila: His name is Blake, and this is his authority. [sticks gun in soldier's ribs]
    • In "Rumours of Death", a member of the Terran Administration is launching a coup. She rendezvous outside the perimeter of Servalan's palace with La Résistance who've stolen the uniforms of a Security squad. They wait till Servalan grows impatient and demands her underling's presence, so no-one thinks it strange when she comes running in at the double, escorted by a squad of soldiers, until the shooting starts.
    • In "Gold", Avon and Soolin try to brazen their way past a guard with the help of a corrupt Federation official, but the guard pretends to let them past, then tries to shoot them In the Back only for Soolin to demonstrate her Quick Draw.
  • Boston Legal: A client suspected of murder has had candid photos taken of her and posted online by a teenager. Brad gets into the kid's house by telling his mom that he is not allowed to say he's from the FBI, and holding up his wallet without opening it.
    "I'm investigating a potential crime. Now, if I had the authority to reveal I was with the FBI, I would say so. But until certain clearances are satisfied, I'm not officially at liberty to tell you anything. Now, as far as you're concerned, you never heard me say that I'm with the FBI, which, for the record, of course I'm not. I need to speak with your son immediately. I think you would like to arrange that before others speak with him. I'm sure you know what I mean."
  • Chris Morris plays with this trope a lot. One of his shows, Brass Eye, was largely based around convincing B-list celebrities and politicians to star in absurd PSAs by first preying on their egos and self importance and then acting like it's a deadly serious campaign and somehow managing to keep a straight face while they read from an increasingly-bizarre script he hands them.
    "Genetically, pedophiles have more genes in common with crabs than they do with you and me... there's no real evidence for it, but it is scientific fact!"
  • Played hilariously in an episode of Breaking Bad, "Cornered", where Jesse is working with Mike to try and case a group of meth-addicted dealers who acquired a stolen shipment of Blue Meth. He gets turned away when he approaches their door as a buyer, so he goes back to the car and gets out a shovel, he starts digging a hole in the dealers' front yard, and one of the addicts comes out and asks what he's doing, Jesse says that he's digging a hole, which the addict doesn't question. Jesse then asks if the addict can take over digging for him, which the addict does, no question, and then Jesse asks if he can use their bathroom while he waits, and he gains access. Jesse's only explanation for how that worked: "I know meth-heads."
  • Done on Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Rupert Giles, ineptly impersonating an agent of Interpol to get information out of a cop. It worked, but only because the cop was under a spell.
  • Used to Michael's advantage in many episodes of Burn Notice.
    • He also mentions that some marks are just too smart to fall for tricks like this, and therefore he has to use much more inventive methods. In one rather impressive example, he uses "reverse interrogation", setting himself up as a snitch to be interrogated by the bad guy, noting that, while skilled interrogators are good at asking questions without revealing anything, bad interrogators will always tell you more than you tell them.
    • This was also zigzagged to hell and back when he needed the security camera tapes of a simple construction company. A woman there was instantly suspicious of him, asking who he worked for and immediately phoning to check. Aware trying to stop her would blow his cover, Mike encourages her to do so...and then she makes the mistake of handing him the phone. He then acts as if everything is fine and gets the information he needs, all while the man on the phone is screaming at him to stop. Aware he's out of time, he causes a distraction and runs. Played straight with him running, as he notes that people run (or at least jog) out of offices all the time, as long as the look on your face says "I'm in a hurry" (presumably as opposed to a guilty look), you can get out just fine. The man he had been talking to manages to tell the woman he's imposter and she calls for security to stop him just after he gets away. This is one of the show's themes: no matter how good a spy you are, you're just as vulnerable as anyone else.
    • Michael once charged into a kitchen with a clipboard ordering everyone out, with his narration saying how clipboards are like IDs in certain places if you know how to use them.
    • In one episode, he needs a device nicknamed "the Jaws of Life" for a job, but these things are used to save people from crashed cars and so on, so he doesn't want to steal one that might be needed. So he goes to a training center and tells them he needs to inspect theirs. When he finds out they're using it right then, he runs out screaming for them to stop, that there's a glitch in the device that could cause the blade to shoot out and cut someone in half. They hand it over very quickly.
    • At one point, Michael describes that the classic ski-mask to hide your identity is a terrible way to break into someone's home as you'll be instantly recognized as an intruder. Instead, walk in like you own the place, eat some yogurt out of the fridge, etc. If you get caught, act confused, apologize for the yogurt and leave.
  • Call the Midwife: Timothy Turner — all of a second-year medical student at this point — pulls one almost by accident. He arrives at the scene of a train crash carrying his father's medical bag and white coat. A cop sees him, assumes he's a doctor, and tells him he needs to go help. After climbing up to the bridge, he puts on the white coat and uses his apparent authority to get help rescuing his father and Sister Julienne.
  • Candid Camera:
    • One Candid Camera Prank involved having a man dressed as a police officer stand with a flimsy white barrier gate. When somebody came up, he would inform them that Delaware was closed today, but that they could go to New Jersey if they wanted. It worked. One dupe, upon being informed that Delaware was closed, replied, "Good." This prank was repeated with the State of Texas being "closed", and in Great Britain with the "closing" of various counties.
    • Many of the pranks, in fact, featured whoever was pulling the prank pretending to be a public official of some sort, trying to enforce some outrageous law or rule and seeing just how people would react. These have included trying to fine people for walking too fast and telling them that they have to sort their recycling into six different bins.
  • In The City Hunter, the hero's sidekick Shik Jong barges into the conference hall control room and starts ordering the staff around. They follow the orders for quite a while before someone notices his ID is fake.
  • The Closer: "Tapped Out" centered around finding a man who had interfered with a murder investigation by pretending to be the lead detective in charge of collecting evidence and interviewing suspects. Notably, he not only fooled the suspects, he initially fooled the other cops, including the assistant chief. It helped that he believed he was a cop.
  • Jeff Winger on Community uses this frequently. The plot of the series is kicked off when he creates a study group by convincing his classmates that he is a "board-certified Spanish tutor". That's nothing compared to what he was doing before the series began. Namely, successfully pretending to be a board-certified lawyer for years.
  • CSI:
    • One episode had the team brushing up against an FBI team investigating a possible human trafficking ring after one of their agents was murdered in the field. It eventually turns out that the "FBI agents" are actually mental patients united by a shared, Don Quixote-like delusion (but their actions do lead to breaking up a trafficking ring).
    • An earlier episode features a man stealing a memory card from Catherine's camera at a crime scene and selling the crime scene photos to the media. When asked how he did it, he states that he got past the crime scene tape simply by wearing a dark windbreaker and baseball cap and carrying a camera.
  • Zoey Woodbine (Alicia Witt) on Cybill was good at these. In a similar instance to the above Catch Me If You Can example, she once passed as a teacher at her own school, and even received a paycheck.
  • Daredevil (2015). In "Blindsided", Matt Murdock gets out of a prison in Lock Down by having an inmate strip the uniform and riot equipment from a guard and escort him out as a civilian lawyer caught in the Prison Riot. Unlike other examples of this trope this is not presented as easy and they would have never made it without Matt's Super Senses guiding them.
  • In an episode of The District, a rapist working at a shop that repaired Metro Police cars used access to official cars and a police uniform to get close enough to intended victims to capture them for the assault. This didn't do any favors for the real MPD (particularly one officer who bore a superficial resemblance to witness descriptions of their attacker) when news stories about the rapist mentioned his MO. Sergeant Brander even wound up being shot by a panicking motorist stopped for a traffic violation, though he was wearing a bulletproof vest under his uniform shirt at the time, so he wasn't harmed.
  • Happens a lot in Doctor Who, partly because of narrative necessity, partly because the Doctor seems commanding and often knows what to do. In fact, the Doctor can be said to be a grand master of the fire drill.
    • In "The Reign of Terror", the Doctor uses the uniform of a French official to gain access to the jail where his companions are held, order around the jailor and bluff his way into a meeting with Robespierre.
    • Used in "The War Games" to get into a military prison. One of the most impressive uses in the series — the Doctor has been convicted of espionage in wartime and has escaped from prison. He is not in uniform, or even a proper suit, and he has a gaping HOLE in the knee of his trousers, and yet he manages to bluff the prison commander for a solid chunk of time just by knowing what to say and shouting loudly.
    • In "Silver Nemesis", the TARDIS arrives in the present day on the grounds of a castle and the Doctor approaches the little old lady he sees confidently, telling Ace, "Act like we own the place... always works. We own the place." Ace has to point out that the woman they're approaching really does own the place — and the place is Windsor Castle.
    • In "The Curse of Fenric", the Doctor types out his own letter of authorization and forges the signatures of the head of the secret service and the Prime Minister (at the same time, no less, with a pen in each hand) in front of the person he's bluffing, and then hands them to him. They are accepted without question.
    • This trope seems less convincing in the security-paranoid 21st century, so the new series saw the introduction of an Applied Phlebotinum known as psychic paper, which the reader sees as whatever form of credentials they think the Doctor needs... unless the viewer happens to be psychic enough to see through the illusion, like everyone working for Torchwood, or intelligent enough, like William Shakespeare. Also, lies too big will break it, as seen in "A Christmas Carol", when it refuses to say that the Doctor is "widely acknowledged as a mature and responsible adult". Furthermore, it appears it needs the target to have some semblance of imagination, as it failed on the grumpy old work supervisor. You don't want to be Distracted by the Sexy, either.
      Rose: This is psychic paper. It says whatever you want it to.
      Jack: How'd you know?
      Rose: Well, first, I have a friend who uses this all the time. Second, you just handed me a piece of paper that says you're single and work out.
    • In "Aliens of London", he gets out of being held at gunpoint by a room full of armed soldiers by using this — when a scream sounds from another room he yells, "Defence plan Delta! Come on!" and runs out of the room, and they all instinctively follow his orders, even though he's presented no identification at all. Of course, we later learn they're UNIT soldiers, so presumably he learned the correct code during his time working for them.
    • "The Doctor Dances": The Doctor gets the gas-mask zombies to back off by taking advantage of the fact that their leader is a child, and ordering them to "GO! TO! YOUR! ROOM!" It later comes back to bite him when he, Rose and Jack happen to be in the Creepy Child's room when he gets there.
    • "The Idiot's Lantern": The Doctor, in a hurry, accidentally persuades a policeman at Alexandra Palace that he's the King of Belgium — which the officer accepts without question, even calling him "Your Majesty" in a later scene.
    • "The Shakespeare Code":
      • The Doctor tells Martha this to allay her concerns about walking around Elizabethan London: "Just walk around like you own the place, always works for me."
      • When the Master of the Revels is killed, the Doctor quickly informs everyone that its the result of an "imbalance of the humours", fitting in with contemporary medical practice, and asks for the body to be taken away. As he explains to Martha immediately afterwards, this is because the actual cause of death would start a riot.
    • "Partners in Crime": The Doctor and Donna simultaneously bluff their way into Adipose Industries by claiming to work for Health and Safety.
    • Inverted in "Midnight". The Doctor does his usual thing, bluffing his way into the cabin and generally making it clear that he knows what he's doing... which leads the passengers to suspect he has something to do with the alien. The more he tries to take control of the situation, the more suspicious of him everyone becomes.
    • "Planet of the Dead": Lady Christina immediately takes control of the situation after the bus ends up in San Helios, and starts issuing orders to everyone in the initial confusion, tactics that are Emergency Response 101 in real life. She puts the Doctor in charge once everyone else has calmed down.
    • "The Vampires of Venice": The psychic paper is used to get the Doctor, Amy and Rory past an official by claiming that they are, respectively, the Pope, a viscountess, and the viscountess' eunuch. Later, it's used to claim that Amy has references from the King of Sweden, but Rosanna sees through it.
    • "Amy's Choice": The Doctor gets the driver of a camper van to let him take the wheel by saying "It's okay, it's only me" even though they've never met before. Mind you, almost the entire episode is set in a shared dream the Doctor, Amy and Rory are having.
    • Companions on occasion have been known to engage in this, with Clara Oswald bluffing her way through commanding a group of soldiers in "Nightmare in Silver" and later squaring off against several Cybermen by fire-drilling her way through an impersonation of the Doctor himself.
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth": Ordered by the Doctor to get construction workers off their job site and away from the Monster of the Week, Graham and Grace O'Brien grab themselves some reflective vests and pose as supervisors.
    • "Fugitive of the Judoon": The Doctor uses the psychic paper to convince the Judoon she's an "Imperial Adjudicator", buying time by claiming that Earth laws give all fugitives the right to third-party arbitration so she can talk to the couple the rhinos are targeting and help them escape.
  • On Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Chloe takes over the offices of People magazine by barging in, saying she's the new supervising editor, and acting intimidating.
    Chloe: It's easy. You've just gotta walk in, fire the first person who asks you a question, fire the second person who asks you a question, then gaze meaningfully out the window and draw a peen on the board.
  • Firefly:
    • Simon does this twice: once when he "impersonates" a doctor (he really is a doctor, but not at that hospital) in "Ariel" (he even catches a rookie doctor's mistake and intervenes to save the patient's life), and in the movie when he disguises himself as an imperious Obstructive Bureaucrat to get into the Academy.
    • Subverted in the same episode as the rest of the crew prepares to perform a BFD to gain entrance to a hospital: getting paramedic uniforms, ID cards, learning the terminology, etc...only to be let in without so much as a second glance. To make matters even funnier, Jayne, determined to put his effort in learning a script to use, recites a sentence of medical jargon no one asked for. The security guards' expressions are priceless.
    • Earlier, in "Jaynestown", Simon is forced into this role by Mal because he looks like a respectable person with a lot of money to spend at the mud farm. He doesn't do very well, but the foreman isn't bright enough to be suspicious.
      Simon: Savings. Excellent, that's — because as I said before, I'll be needing quite a bit of it... I—I'm a buyer.
      Wash: What happened to Simon? Who is this diabolical master of disguise?
  • Played straight and then subverted in an episode of Frasier. Daphne learns that one of Niles's female patients, Heather, has fallen in love with him, so she and Roz go to Heather's office to see what they can find out about her. Roz fools Heather's assistant by claiming to be from corporate, but then pushes her luck by trying the same tactic on Heather.
    Heather: [suspiciously] How could you have "flown in" from corporate? Corporate's downstairs.
  • In an episode of Friends, Phoebe gets ahold of a police badge and starts flashing it around at people for the lulz (she explains her lack of an uniform to go with the badge as her being an undercover cop). At the end of the episode, the owner of the badge turns up... and they end up going out on a date.
  • In an episode of Get Smart, Max managed to order soldiers about to execute him to turn around just before their boss (who was standing right behind them) orders them to fire. The reason? They were Ruritanian soldiers, and Ruritanian soldiers are always more-or-less brainwashed into "obeying orders" without thinking.
  • On Good Behavior, con artist Letty is a master of this. All it takes is putting on a certain outfit and asserting authority for her to pull off a con nicely.
    • While at a diner, Letty gets a phone call from her mother, who's in jail. Letty heads to the ladies's room, takes off her jacket, puts her hair into a bun, slips on an apron and asks a waitress if she needs help. Assuming Letty is a new hire, the woman lets her and within an hour, Letty has kicked u enough in tips to pay her mother's bail and head out with no one the wiser.
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: Subverted in the third-season episode "Game Plan". Joe pretends to be a hotel maintenance man to get into a room where Frank and the Big Bad are talking. Joe puts on a phony redneck accent, pushes right into the room past Frank and shoves his cap into Frank's hands (the cap containing a note warning Frank of a federal raid) and proceeds to completely confuse the Big Bad with pseudo-technical-babble about the AC being on the fritz (taking the thermostat apart with his screwdriver as he does so)...until Frank blows it out of the water by showing the Big Bad the note, then pulling a gun on Joe. The federal agents eventually find Joe tied up and gagged in the apartment's closet.
  • In Haven, Duke and Nathan are at one point sent back in time, well before either of them have been born. When a man who has important information is arrested, Nathan (a cop in the present) simply makes sure his badge is showing and goes into the station and walks him out. Anyone who saw him assumed he was simply on police business, and didn't question him. Done a again a few seconds later, when Nathan shows the man is guard tattoo (apparently a form of Trust Password) to get his cooperation.
  • Heroes: Sylar (a wanted Serial Killer) in the Volume 3 episode "One of Us, One of Them". He fakes being an FBI agent and gets the cops to (1) pull back their barricades, giving him and Bennet room to work, and (2) get him some coffee. Made even more audacious in that he uses the name "Andrew Hanson" as his cover, a reference to Audrey Hanson, the real FBI agent who was in charge of tracking him down during the first season.
  • Hogan's Heroes ran on this trope, with the heroes dressing up as high ranking German officers or impersonating them over the phone and threatening German personnel with being transferred to the Russian front, court-martialed and shot, or both.
  • Homicide Hunter. When Joe Kenda arrives at the hospital to speak with a victim, the doctor tells him that he can't, as she's resting. As Kenda is leaving, a nurse idly greets him as "Doctor". He realizes that as longs as he acts as if he belongs there, no one will question him. With this, he finds his way to the victim's room. At this point, his tactic backfires spectacularly when the young woman wakes up screaming in pain from her injuries and the responding nurses assume he's done something to her.
  • In the Season 1 finale of House of Cards (US), Lucas Goodwin manages to find out Rachel Posner's location from another D.C. prostitute by convincing her that he's an undercover vice detective. He plays "John" long enough to get her to offer him sex for money, then threatens to arrest her for prostitution if she doesn't tell him what he wants to know. He doesn't even have to show any credentials, as he also convinces her that he can't publicly show his badge unless he's making an arrest; because he shows up with a copy of Rachel's mugshot, though, the woman assumes that he has to be the real deal.
  • How I Met Your Mother: On Marshall and Lily's wedding day Barney attempts to order a drink only to be told he can't be served until the reception. He later goes to the bar again to get a stressed out Lily some wine and once he tells the bartender the drink is "for the Bride", the bartender immediately starts pouring. After adding his earlier drink to the order, Barney realises he can get anyone to do anything he asks by claiming "it's for the Bride" and takes advantage of it through the rest of the episode.
  • The guys on Hustle do so. Usually Ash.
    • Likewise, spin-off The Real Hustle uses this, most notably to steal someone's car--as he's getting into it.
    • This is almost becoming a Discredited Trope in the UK: thanks to that show, and the fact that the real police are also perfectly willing to engage in this sort of activity if they find it useful, most younger British people lack much of a sense of social compliance.
    • No longer a Discredited Trope here in the United Kingdom now; documentaries show it being used too, so Hustle no longer seems to hold any influence for this. Probably because of The Mentalist it's now more popular.
  • iCarly: Spencer pulls this off to get to the vault containing the frozen head of a company's founder.
  • I Love Lucy uses this as Lucy's main schtick. Despite her husband Ricky's attempts to keep her out of his nightclub shows, she always turns up in some costume or another (or intercepts a performer's call to dismiss her) and there are apparently no attempts to verify her identity or prevent her from performing.
  • On The Inside Man, Mark Shepherd cons his way into a job for the company by running a denial of service attack on their network, then showing up as an aspiring candidate for the open IT director position and "stopping" said attack. He also gains a visitor badge by simply stopping a visitor who is exiting and tells them that they can't leave without their badge, causing them to surrender it to him. Additionally, he hacks the boss's calendar to place his job interview onto it.
  • In the 1988 Jack the Ripper mini-series, Michael Caine's character realises the Ripper must be using a horse and carriage to commit his murders. When asked why the carriage isn't stopped and searched by the police who are combing Whitechapel at the time, he says that no-one would stop a Royal coach. This plays into a Government Conspiracy theory before the detectives research reveals it's a Red Herring. The real killers are however putting a fake Royal seal on their own black coach.
  • One episode of The Kicks features the team trying to steal a prized jersey from their rival team at the tail end of an escalating prank war. They infiltrate the rival school by having Mirabelle wear one of the school's uniforms and pretending to be a tour guide. Even though Mirabelle isn't a Pinewood student, no one questions the uniform. In order to keep away witnesses, they put up a couple of "Maintenance in Progress" signs in front of the area, counting on the Pinewood students to obey without question, given that they attend school in a strict, regimented environment. It works... almost. One student ignores the sign and catches them in the act.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Minstrel Vibes manages to sneak Pokum out of the castle, in full view of Pitts' guard Gorf no less, by immediately telling Gorf that Pitts called for him and needs him in the library right away. It works so perfectly that Gorf shows no signs of recognizing that Vibes isn't alone!
  • Ripped from the Headlines for the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Authority".
    • Which ended up being surreal, as the target of the investigation railed against people following orders without question...and then proceeded to order people around without being questioned by those he was ordering. He went from being against the sheep mentality to being the shepherd.
      • That was the point. He wanted to show people how stupid/gullible they were for following orders without question.
    • The episode "Dolls": Two missing girls leads the squad to a man who faked being from Social Services just taking the girls from their guardians. Neither one questioned who he really was. The first was a crackhead mother, so it's plausible that she could be fooled by such a ploy, but the second girl was taken from an experienced foster mom who should have known better.
    • "Criminal": The killer wraps police tape around where he dumps the body. Civilians assume it to be real and avoid the area, and local patrol cops think it's an active crime scene and don't investigate or question it. A local vendor finally complains about how lost business, and he has never seen a cop at it. The patrol officer radios it in, and dispatch has no idea what he's talking about. Only then do the police investigate it, by which point any evidence on her is long gone or tainted.
  • Done all the time in Leverage, but Hardison takes to these like a cat to a fresh pile of laundry.
    • In "The Mile High Job", he pulls off a slew of these right in a row. First, he gets into the company they are targeting by pretending to be a janitor. In the elevator, he pulls off the scrubs to reveal his suit, to look like everyone else. After getting a lay of the land, he befriends a fellow World of Warcraft player, calls the corrupt CEO to a meeting the CEO had no knowledge of, convinces his co-workers it is his birthday, manipulates them into throwing a party, covers his early leave by yelling about being fired, and walking out with the evidence to take down said CEO in his hands.
    • In "The Three Days of the Hunter Job", he is caught on an army base. After staying in character, he gets Eliot to send him data on his interrogator and proceeds to own their next conversation by calling up data that unnerves the skilled interrogator.
    • In "The Hot Potato Job," Nate runs this on a security guard while Hardison explains it to a field-trip kid who's insinuated himself into the con. Nate pretends to be a pissed-off executive who chews out the guard, telling him to let the VIP who's about to come up into the secure vault, or else he's being demote. As Hardison explains, the guard is now too stressed and afraid to pay enough attention to the VIP and her credentials to realize that this is just Parker with a stolen key.
    • In "The Cross My Heart Job", he needs to get a PIN in order to access an air traffic control tower, but the only ID he has on him is for a woman. So when he goes to get a new PIN from and gets some odd looks from security, he pretends to be a trans man and goes off on an offended rant to rattle the guy at the desk thoroughly enough to get what he needs.
  • Leverage: Redemption: In "The Panamanian Monkey Job", to gain access to the necessary office space in a building they're robbing, Harry, Parker, and Eliot march in and start burning documents while claiming that the authorities are on their way. The employees immediately evacuate, as they know they work for a corrupt firm and that this day would come eventually.
  • Penne from Life Support advised viewers wanting to avoid lines for concert tickets to wear fake Ticketek shirts and tell everyone the tour was cancelled.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Susie infiltrates a Borscht Belt resort by wandering around the grounds wearing her typical blue-collar clothing and carrying a plunger. She's accepted so readily by the rest of the staff that she manages to help herself to room and board. She even meets a man who apparently lives at the resort full-time by passing himself off as staff.
  • The Mentalist:
    • This is one of the favorite manipulation methods of Patrick Jane. When trespassing, he easily convinced the police that he was the homeowner and that the homeowner was the trespasser, or at least had them seriously confused.
    • Another example was being trapped in a room with a known killer. He holds his cell phone like a gun and talks just like a law enforcement officer holding a gun, confusing the killer enough that he's able to get the door open and let the people actually holding guns enter.
  • In the old Mission: Impossible, the IMF regularly pretended to be part of the organization they were infiltrating.
  • A skit from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "The Screaming Skull" has Pearl, Bobo, and Observer putting on penguin costumes and using these tactics to try and trick Mike and the bots into dressing in a similar fashion. After laughing at Mike and the bots' pathetic attempts at costumes, Pearl, Bobo, and Observer come to the sad realization that they themselves are even more pathetic thanks to the massive amount of effort they put into their lame joke.
  • In the season 12 episode "Blast From the Past" of NCIS, Gibbs, of all people, has to go undercover as an IT consultant. When he's trying to gain access to a classified computer lab, the guard asks him what he's doing there. McGee, who is coaching him via radio, tells Gibbs to give a technical answer loaded with geekspeak. Gibbs shrugs and tells the guard, "Not a clue. My boss e-mails me in the middle of the night, I shut up and show up." When the guard questions him about that email, Gibbs just hands him the smartphone that he broke earlier in the episode. "Did I mention my boss woke me up?" The guard smiles in commiseration and waves him in; a moment later, Gibbs tells McGee he doesn't need to know computers: "I know people."
  • "Jack of All Trades" from the fifth season of NUMB3RS features a criminal who is basically a master of this. He can fake his way into any job simply by turning up the charm. When he's finally captured for the first time, he escapes from jail by pretending to be an attorney.
  • In the fourth episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Imperial officer and anti-Imperial network member Tala Durith does this to bluff her way into the Fortress Inquisitorius when stopped by a Lieutenant manning a security checkpoint.
  • The Office (US):
    • Pam bluffs her way to getting promoted to office administrator by claiming the paperwork got lost and taking advantage of the fact that most of the office's committees consist of one person each, all of which are good friends with her.
    • Nellie does the same thing in Season Eight, sitting down at Andy's desk and getting his manager job by asserting it is now hers.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Mr. Conklin places himself in charge practically everywhere he goes. This is in spite of the fact that his authority as principal is really only good at Madison High School. The "Thanksgiving Show" is a good example. Mr. Conklin arrives at Mrs. Davis' house and quickly puts himself in command, ordering about the others in the setup of the dining room table.
  • Player: This is one of Ha-ri's most-commonly-used tricks.
    • He dresses as a security guard to get into the room where a group of gangsters have hidden their money.
    • Ha-ri and A-ryeong dress as President Na's security guards, pick up bags full of his money, and walk out amidst the confusion caused by an alarm going off.
    • Ha-ri gets Byeong-min to hack into a computer at Hwa Yang Corporation, then he and A-ryeong pretend they've been sent to fix the computer.
  • Used by Dominic Hargan in his intro scene in Power Rangers Jungle Fury. He comes into the pizza place pretending to be a health inspector and tears through the kitchen, freaking the employees out. His cover is blown by the appearance of an old friend, who happens to run the place. Apparently, he does this a lot, for fun.
  • Inverted on Primeval, when Danny (then just a cop) starts helping the team fight dinosaurs. They all know he's not a member of the team, but he doesn't seem to know it. Eventually, they give up and put him on the roster.
  • Psych:
    • Shawn has a tendency to do this, partly because his "psychic" abilities (read: keen observational skills and theatrical nature) tend to throw people off their guard and result in them buying anything he'll tell them, and partly because he's The Charmer who can twist almost anyone around his little finger. The few times it hasn't worked (it's not foolproof), Shawn has literally been struck dumb.
    • One particularly audacious example had Shawn pretending to be a chief resident doctor doing rounds with interns in order to figure out what was wrong with a comatose patient. When he couldn't understand their medical terminology, he told them to dumb it down for the comatose patients, and they did.
    • Or the time he managed to convince multiple people at a comic convention that he was George Takei's personal assistant. Including George Takei himself.
      "The blueberries are still wrong. I requested North Carolina blueberries but they sent me Michigan blueberries."
    • While less inclined to do this, Gus also has a memorable moment in which he manages to get Shawn enrolled in a children's karate class (don't ask) by pretending to be Shawn's lawyer and making copious plays of the race card. Even Shawn is taken aback by how far down the rabbit hole things go:
      Shawn: Dude, I think he gets it now.
      Gus: [Sotto voce] I know. But the words are coming out of my mouth faster than I can think of them.
  • Resident Alien: Ellen uses her scrubs to look like she needs whatever she's stealing for an emergency situation, as no store wants to be blamed for impeding care.
    Ellen: I'm serious. If you're wearing nurse scrubs and you're running, stores will pretty much let you take anything for free.
  • This is basically the entire plot of The Riches. A family of travelers find a rich couple dying in a car accident (because some of their enemies ran the couple off the road), and decide to steal their identities. The rich husband was a lawyer, while the traveler husband only has experience in the law in avoiding it. But he manages to fool everyone at his new job. In one particularly memorable instance, he gets himself a position as guest speaker at a local law college. He brings in a big bag of mini-cookies, tells them "I know nothing about law," and starts asking them questions, giving them cookies when they give him answers that sound good. He coasts through the rest of the first season on the knowledge gained from that class.
  • Happens more or less Once per Episode in the BBC version of Robin Hood, yet no one ever catches on.
  • In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina turns a classmate invisible to help with his magic act, but then loses track of him. Upon realizing that the first place that an invisible teenage boy would go is the girls' locker room, Sabrina runs into the room and yells to all of the girls to keep their clothes on; there's a gas leak and everyone must evacuate. The girls all leave without question.
  • In one episode of Scrubs, J.D. dons a lab coat to look more "official." The Janitor decides to wear one as well, just to mess with him. When the Janitor sits with J.D. in the cafeteria, a woman comes up to ask a question. The Janitor explains that the janitors at Sacred Heart wear lab coats as well, leading to the woman complimenting both the Janitor and J.D. on the great job they do.
  • Seinfeld:
    • Parodied with Kramer's alter ego, Dr. Von Nostrand.
      Seinfeld: He's not fooling anyone.
    • In "The Bizarro Jerry", Kramer ended up with a "job" at Brandt/Leland, taking meetings and writing reports, even though he didn't get paid. Eventually they had to "fire" him for incompetence.
      Leland: I'm sorry. There's just no way that we could keep you on.
      Kramer: I don't even really work here!
      Leland: That's what makes this so difficult.
    • In another episode, George wasn't sure whether he was hired at a firm or not, so he just went in while the boss was out of town and pretended to work on the Pensky file in an empty office.
    • Happens to Kramer again when he gets a job as a seat filler at the Tony Awards, where he inadvertently ends up getting caught in the crowd heading to the stage to accept an award, resulting in him attending several showbiz parties while brandishing an unearned Tony award. In neither case was he trying to get his own way or manipulate people, he was the one just going with the flow, which is exactly the sort of behavior required by others for the trope to work.
  • Often used by Frank Parker in Seven Days, even when his status as an actual NSA agent could get him whatever he wants.
  • Sherlock:
    • Sherlock is prone to these to get himself into places he isn't supposed to be, but the absolute apex has to be "The Hounds of Baskerville". Sherlock gets himself and John into a top-secret military base using Mycroft's government ID, but it's John who pulls rank on the Corporal and uses his military background to deflect the man's suspicion.
    • Moriarty managed to pass as a taxi driver to drive Sherlock to a location and Sherlock doesn't notice until he gets out of the cab and attempts to pay the fare. "No charge".
    • The funniest example would be in "The Sign of Three", where Sherlock walks into a heavily-guarded location by only wearing the hat to a uniform and marching behind a line of soldiers. That place? Buckingham Palace's guard quarters.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Apparently people don't get any smarter about this in the future. In "Chrysalis", the "Jack Pack", a group of Genius Ditzes, managed to order their way onto the station to see Bashir simply because one was dressed as an admiral. When questioned, the "admiral" would simply act irritable, snap "That's a stupid question!", and the cowed crew member would back off.
    • In "The Search, Part II", a group of Jem'Hadar soldiers ambushes and tries to arrest Sisko and co. as they attempt to close the wormhole. Garak gets them out of it by pretending to be The Mole and then shooting the Jem'Hadar once they let their guard down. Although it ultimately turns out the whole thing was a simulation.
    • However, Garak seems to like this tactic in real life too. In "Tacking into the Wind", he, Odo, Kira, and Damar with some other Cardassian resistance members play the same trick on some other Jem'Hadar. Odo (impersonating the Female Changeling) asks to 'inspect' a plasma rifle and Garak proceeds to 'test' it. It helps when the people you fool revere you as a God.
    • He also pulls it off in "Second Skin" when Sisko and co. get intercepted by a Cardassian patrol while posing as the crew of a civilian freighter. In order to avoid the ship being boarded and the crew identified as Starfleet, Garak contacts the Cardassian officer and pulls rank on him in an irritated tone backed with an Obsidian Order clearance code to make him go away and keep silent about the encounter. Subverted by the fact that said Cardassian immediately checks if the code is valid and it is, even though Garak nonchalantly claims he overheard it while working as a tailor when Sisko questions him about it... but since this is Garak we're talking about, he was probably lying about that as well.
    • In "Paradise Lost", Sisko is investigating a conspiracy within Starfleet, and discovers that Red Squad is in some way connected. He gets the truth by pretending to be in on the conspiracy and grilling the head cadet on his "sloppy" work, causing the cadet to indignantly spell out the whole False Flag Operation as a matter of pride.
    • Averted however in "Sons of Mogh". Worf and his brother Kurn try to bluster their way past a Klingon officer who's caught them breaking into the ship's computer. He appears to back down, then Kurn suddenly draws his weapon and shoots the officer. Turns out he was actually going to stab Worf with a hidden knife.
  • The entire premise of Suits is that Mike, a genius college dropout, has successfully convinced the entirety of the New York business elite that he is a Harvard-educated lawyer with only his boss Harvey's word as a vouchsafe. In addition to this first deception, this is a trademark of Mike's. He gets information from a witness by implying that he works for the Department of Justice, he's gotten onto a booked tour of Harvard by pretending to work for the Dean's office, and he's crashed a party full of Harvard graduates, getting himself into the official Class of 2011 group photo, despite having never gone to the school. Deconstructed later, when, every time someone gets supicious and tries to dig deeper, Mike and the others have to scramble to fake some more evidence or divert attention. This eventually lands Mike in prison and puts the whole firm under review.
  • Almost every episode of Supernatural involves the brothers posing as police, FBI, or even priests to gain access to evidence or question witnesses.
    • Inverted in some of the early episodes where the brothers are unsuccessful at this, usually because people question their covers and it falls apart. For instance, in "Bloody Mary":
      Police Officer: Hold it!
      Dean: Whoa, whoa, whoa, guys. False alarm. I tripped the system.
      Officer: Who are you?
      Dean: I'm the boss's kid.
      Officer: You're Mr. Yamashiro's kid?
    • Played straight in "Hollywood Babylon", where Dean gets mistaken for a PA on a movie set and just goes with it. He originally does it just so he has unlimited access to check for EMF, but finds himself surprisingly good at it and enjoying it.
    • In "Something Wicked", while passing as a CDC agent, Sam is initially worried that they will get caught because his most relevant ID identifies him as a "Bikini Inspector". The hospital receptionist pauses and directs them to their destination, at which point they go to the opposite floor.
    • In "Sex and Violence", while posing as FBI agents, they run into an actual federal agent who starts questioning the validity of the brothers' identities and asks to talk to their superiors. Dean reluctantly hands him a number, the real agent calls it, and the audience assumes that their cover's blown...until we see that the number connects to Bobby, who poses as their boss (he has several phones, each listed as a high-ranking federal agent of various agencies), chews out the agent, and then turns around to finish making breakfast in his kitchen. Dean and Sam's skill at this trope is so ridiculous that it verges into Refuge in Audacity and Crazy-Prepared at times. It worked both ways: The "real fed" was actually the Monster of the Week, and Sam and Dean bought his act. Bobby is quick to call them on how a simple check would have exposed him as a fake.
    • That ploy itself fell apart in one episode where they were working on a case in Bobby's home town, were questioned by the sheriff, gave her the number and she called it...and recognized Bobby's voice over the phone. Fortunately, the town's masquerade broke later that episode anyway.
    • They are shameless. They once convinced a little girl that they were "teddy bear doctors" (her teddy bear had been brought to life by a wish she made at the local wishing-well) by showing her one of their many fake badges and waving it around so that she couldn't read it.
    • Sam has fooled patients several times by posing as a hospital orderly/counselor/whatever simply by dressing the part. One of the reasons the writers favor this con is probably related to how Jared Padalecki looks ridiculously excellent in white scrubs.
    • Apparently, Dean and John relied more on fake IDs. Sam favors "costumes" more (at least in the first season)—Dean complained about the cost of buying worker coveralls and cheap business suits. In later seasons (when Sam looked less like a kid) they're better able to convince people that they are government agents.
    • The opening of the season-two episode "The Usual Suspects" contains a hilarious montage of some of their more brazen claims. And that's only in the first two seasons.
    • The ploy broke down hilariously in the Season 8 episode "LARP and The Real Girl" where Sam and Dean attempt to infiltrate a group of people who were engaging in medieval role-play by impersonating FBI agents. Two players immediately called them out on it... because their IDs were out of date. They then assumed the brothers were members of an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT role-play group which met on a different day and told them what they wanted to know anyway. Later, when Dean really needs info, he admits he isn't a real agent... but he does have a real gun, so they better cooperate.
  • Very second episode of Titus.
    Erin: You guys know you're not allowed in the building anymore; how'd you get past security?
    Titus: You walk in with confidence, nobody bothers you.
    Dave: I wore a hat.
  • In Trigger Happy TV, DomJoly frequently uses this to comic effect, pretending to be a traffic warden, scout, spy and park warden. More than once while standing in front of a ten foot high picture of himself reading "DO NOT TRUST THIS MAN".
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Titus's advice to Kimmy is that the key to making it in New York is to act like you belong. This method (and some French-sounding gibberish) gets the two of them a table at a fancy restaurant and, apparently, allowed Titus to briefly play Gordon on Sesame Street.
  • On Utopia (US), Dr. Stearns tries this to bluff his way into the St. Louis Hotzone, telling a private that he has authorization from the head of the CDC and daring her to challenge it. She decides to do just that and he beats a hasty retreat.
  • Veronica Mars: Keith Mars got in serious trouble for doing this, since impersonating government officers is illegal. His daughter gets away with it on multiple occasions, however.
  • Wallenberg: A Hero's Story: Fodor does this a few times when pretending to be with the Arrow Cross.
  • In a flashback on The West Wing, it's revealed that this is how Donna started working for the Bartlet campaign: she walked into the campaign office and started answering phones. Josh was pretty quick in catching her, but he liked her spunk and so kept her as his assistant.
  • In White Collar, this is Neal's modus operandi to the point that he uses it to walk right out of prison.
  • In The Wire, drug dealer Proposition Joe gets information about the whereabouts of a police officer by calling the police station and asking about him. He changes his name several times during his phone call, all while doing his impersonation of a white person.
  • On The X-Files, Mulder has real authority as an FBI agent. This, however, is a civilian office and cuts no ice at military installations where he wants to poke around. To get into these, he puts on an air of authoritative condescension and psyches out whoever's on guard duty.