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Becoming The Mask / Live-Action TV

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People Becoming the Mask on live-action TV.

  • Alias:
    • In Season 2, Allison Georgia Doren, disguised as a replica of Francie Calfo, actually falls in love with Will Tippin and is visibly upset when she is forced to kill him.
    • In a Season 2 episode the wife of an American mathematician (guest star Christian Slater) turns out to be a Russian agent who fell in love with him for real. It also turns out her husband was an NSA agent and knew his wife was all along.
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  • The central conflict between Phillip and Elizabeth in The Americans is that he likes being a normal, middle class American family more than she does. It's not that he's not loyal to the USSR, he just doesn't dislike America and their life. This also applies to their Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage as it's implied he's been in love with her more or less the entire time they've been playing married note  while it's not genuine for her until the time of the show, roughly fifteen years in.
  • Angel: Lilah admits to Angel in season 3 that she became her "game face" long ago.
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • Sharon/Athena is ordered by the Cylons to make Helo fall in love with her and impregnate her. She ends up falling in love with him as well, and defects to the humans. Indeed, she becomes more anti-cylon in her attitudes than many humans.
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    • Later, Boomer, another copy of Number 8 seduces/manipulates Tyrol to get him to help her but she hesitates to go through with it and soon regrets her actions.
    • Another minor example is Kat whose real name was Sasha. In her previous life, she used to be a drug runner and a smuggler which is where her piloting experience came from. When the Colonies were nuked, she took the name and identity of another woman that she knew was dead and worked herself a fake background and all. By the time her previous life caught up with her in Season 3, she was fully immersed in the identity she built herself.
  • Detective Inspector Zain Nadir of The Bill is warned of how this can occur to undercover detectives who stay in a role for too long. This somewhat happens to him too when he becomes romantically involved with a drug dealer.
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  • Played with in Black Lightning. Peter Gambi became a tailor as a cover when he was embedded in Freeland by the ASA. Although still years away from abandoning the ASA, he quickly began to enjoy his cover job. In the present day, he takes offense when someone says he's not really a tailor.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Walt creates the persona Heisenberg when dealing with the criminal underworld. As he gains more and more power, the ruthless, murderous Heisenberg becomes his new personality, and the mild-mannered pushover that was Walter White becomes the mask, to no longer existing by the time season 5 rolls around. However, there are also many interpretations for Beneath the Mask.
    • Jesse has two of his junkie friends infiltrate his 12-step program to sell meth to the other addicts. They don't have much success. Later Jesse learns that his dealers are actually doing the steps for real and taking pride in their recovery.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Faith began her Heel–Face Turn like this. She switched bodies with Buffy. But after living only one day as Buffy, she effectively became Buffy. Or rather, her own semi-warped sense of what Buffy was like. She even attacked Buffy-in-Faith's-Body, screaming that she was evil.
    • Jenny Calendar is revealed to be Janna, a member of the clan of gypsies who cursed Angel with his soul, after he experiences 'true happiness' with Buffy and reverts to the evil Angelus. It's heavily implied that her love for Giles ("I didn't know I would fall in love with you") led to her Becoming The Mask, and after she is killed by Angelus, she's buried under her assumed name of Jenny Calendar.
    • Glory has taken on more and more human traits over the years, much to her annoyance.
  • One episode of Castle deals with this. A con artist dates a rich girl in order to get her money while his partner finds her way in as a servant. The guy falls in love with the rich girl, however, and tries to break off the con. His partner kills him and tries to get away with it, but Castle and Beckett trick her.
  • Cole Turner (Belthazor) in Charmed was sent to kill the Charmed Ones before love redeemed him and he abandoned his demonic power. Subverted in that he eventually found himself in dire need of power to protect his loved ones and snapped back to his demonic conditioning and tried to marry Phoebe in part of a long plot to set her up as queen of Hell and effectively spawn The Antichrist.
  • Chuck:
    • When Chuck Bartowski first became the Intersect, it was an accident, and he was forced to work as a spy and foil terrorists and other bad guys against his will; a fact he complains about constantly. The show focuses on how Chuck slowly but surely begins embracing his saving the world role without coercion. Agent Walker in particular points out that although he denies, he really is a hero. At the end of Season 2, Chuck literally becomes the Intersect, again. And this time completely by choice.
    • Sarah also finds herself actually falling in love with the guy she was supposed to be fake-dating for the sake of their covers. A flashback scene even shows that Sarah initially considered Chuck a dateless chump and that seducing him would be a "piece of cake."
    • An interesting case with a nerdy British young man who became a test subject of an experiment similar to the Intersect project, except this one involves completely replacing the subject's personality with a new one in order to create a perfect mole. Unfortunately, it ends up working a little too well. The man becomes one of the most powerful criminals in the world, being none other than Alexei Volkoff, a Magnificent Bastard.
  • In one episode of Coupling, Jane says that she once invented a "crazy" twin sister who could do all the wild things she wouldn't normally dream of doing. That sister's name was ... Jane. This actually explains a lot; on the other hand, it's Jane, so who knows?
  • This is what happens to Horatio's brother Ray in CSI: Miami, while he's undercover in South America. He ends up going dirty and gets killed because of it.
  • In Dexter, the title character begins the show as an utterly emotionless sociopath who must fake all of his human interactions. However, as the series continues, he finds that he no longer has to pretend in many situations, coming to genuinely care for his family, developing a sense of empathy and feeling emotions beyond bloodlust. In the final season, a psychiatrist is amazed by Dexter's development.
  • In the final episode of Dickensian, Compeyson is forced to confess his deception to Miss Havisham, and it becomes apparent that, while he is annoyed with himself for not getting away with it, what's really upsetting him is that he's disappointed her. Arthur Havisham is amused to realise that the arch-manipulator he hired to con his sister, and quickly lost control of, has genuinely fallen in love with her.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Aztecs", Barbara has been mistaken by the Aztecs as a godlike reincarnated priest and assumes God Guise to play along, in the hope of influencing the culture into abolishing human sacrifice. The Doctor rants at her in a notorious scene — "You cannot change history, Barbara, not one line!" to which Barbara replies, "Not Barbara; Yetaxa". She even refers to herself with the Royal "We" from then on.
    • In "Mawdryn Undead", Vislor Turlough is commissioned by the Black Guardian to destroy the Doctor in exchange for passage to his home planet. Turlough talks his way onto the TARDIS crew, and over the next two episodes he tries and fails to kill the Doctor, all the while struggling with what he's doing to what seems to be a nice guy. He finally has enough and does a Heel–Face Turn, becoming a loyal companion for the rest of his tenure.
    • "Boom Town": Being stranded on Earth, Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen got to know and enjoyed the everyday human rituals she conducted as Margaret Blaine. To the point where the Doctor has to point out that she is pleading for mercy from a dead woman's lips. She also shows signs of getting too into the part earlier, when her escape plan causing destruction on a global scale is discovered by the Doctor & Co. When queried why no human authorities had noticed a nuclear power plant in the middle of the city designed to go apocalyptic?
      Blon: London doesn't care — the southwest coast could fall into the sea and they wouldn't notice! Oh? I sound like a Welshman. God help me, I've gone native!
    • The Doctor himself states that his "real" name doesn't matter in "The Name of the Doctor", stating that your name is a promise you make.
  • Elementary: Moriarty seduces Sherlock into a relationship in order to get close enough to him to study him. She didn't count on actually falling in love with him. This proves her undoing when Watson correctly deduces that it has happened.
  • Father Brown: The man performing the Dead Person Impersonation in "The Truth in the Wine" comes to thoroughly believe in the dream of the late colonel, and does his best to live a life worthy of the dead man.
  • A downplayed example in The Flash (2014) - at the end of season 1, after Harrison Wells has been revealed as the evil Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, he creates a video recording of himself, to be shown to Barry in the event his evil plan is foiled, and confessing to the crime he committed that Barry's father was unjustly convicted of. He stated that during his masquerade, he actually became fond of Barry, and as long as he failed in his goal anyway, he had no reason to prevent Barry from having a happy life.
  • A lighthearted example occurs in Frasier. When the titular psychiatrist begins fighting with his Sitcom Archnemesis Cam Winston over petty issues, Frasier's father Martin and Cam's mother Cora commiserate over their sons' ludicrous behavior. Martin and Cora then hit upon a scheme to pretend to be dating and thus inspire the men to work together. The ploy works, but as Martin says goodbye to Cora, she kisses him for real, as she's actually fallen for him. Martin has similar feelings, and the two date for a few episodes.
  • Fringe:
    • One shapeshifter at least (maybe two) got very attached to their family.
    • Another example occurs with Fauxlivia, who impersonates the real Olivia in order to gain Peter's trust and eventually begins to develop genuine feelings for him.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Originally travelling with Daenerys and Viserys to serve as The Mole for Varys in hopes of a royal pardon, Jorah gradually develops a Bodyguard Crush on Daenerys, defending her life on several occasions and becomes her closest advisor in her mission to retake the Seven Kingdoms and restore the Targaryen dynasty, even after he secured his pardon. This is deconstructed and reconstructed across the later seasons: when Jorah's original allegiance is revealed, Dany has to exile him with the threat of death despite his pleas (and her own wishes). However, Jorah continues to fight on Dany's behalf despite being an exile, trying to win her favor (by capturing Tyrion) and saving her life multiple times. Eventually, after seeing the many tribulations Jorah went through for the sake of his new sovereign, Daenerys decides to give him a royal pardon of her own.
    • Several characters note that Jon shows signs of this after his time as a Fake Defector with the wildlings, especially when he refers to them as Free Folk rather than wildlings. Tormund even goes so far as to suggest Jon will never be a true "kneeler" again. Jon himself becomes very torn about what he truly wants. At the very least, he came to genuinely love Ygritte. Ygritte, however, noticed that he is still at heart loyal to the Night's Watch, and although she tells him she is willing to ignore that, things soon comes to a head between the two.
  • Happens to Quinn in Glee - she first joins the club to spy on it for Sue, hoping Finn would lose interest in Rachel if the club disbanded. She ends up enjoying the club enough that she does a complete Heel–Face Turn, even saving the club when Sue seems successful in disbanding it. (It's debatable, though, how much Quinn would have Become The Mask if her pregnancy hadn't turned her into a Fallen Princess, though.)
    • Also Santana who was also a spy at first but has admitted that Glee club is the best part of her day.
  • In the Grand Finale of The Golden Girls, Blanche's Uncle Lucas (who is close to her in age) comes to town, but since she has other plans, she pawns him off on Dorothy. When they compare notes and realize that Blanche set them up, they decide to get some lighthearted revenge by claiming they've fallen in love. Lucas and Dorothy act like Sickeningly Sweethearts to each other for a while, and even claim that they've become engaged and will remake Blanche's (a true Southern Belle) childhood home to be "more Yankee." Things take a turn for the surprising when the initially-horrified Blanche instead makes peace with the idea and wishes the two luck on their marriage; Lucas, in turn, reveals that he really has fallen for Dorothy and proposes to her "for real this time." The show ends with Dorothy and Lucas marrying and the girls sharing a tearful goodbye as Dorothy heads off to her new life.
  • A constant on The Good Place:
    • Eleanor is in this heavenly neighborhood when she was really a rotten person. She takes lessons on how to "fake" being good only to turn into an actually good person.
    • Michael spends the first season as the friendly guy helping the gang. In the season 1 finale, it turns out he's a demon and the gang are in the Bad Place. But Michael soon falls in with the gang and by season 3, is a true friend to them and learning to be a good person.
    • In season 3, Eleanor discovers her long-thought dead mother, a lifelong con artist, is alive and living with a suburban family. Naturally, Eleanor thinks she's running a con and is thrown her new boyfriend knows all about her past. Finding a pack of hidden money, Eleanor confronts Donna, who at first admits it's a con. However, Eleanor realizes Donna really has fallen in love with the guy and his daughter and this quiet and clean life.
  • In season 2 of Heroes, Mohinder is originally working with HRG to infiltrate the Company, but eventually switches sides and betrays him, joining the Company for good.
    • It's a popular (if not obligatory) concept in Sylar/Mohinder Fan Fiction that the two became infatuated with each other while Sylar pretended to be Zane during their roadtrip to Montana. Angst ensues.
    • Sylar receives an involuntary Nathan mask at the end of season 3.
  • In Highlander, Kronos tells Methos that he's been pretending to be reformed for so long that he's started to believe it himself. When MacLeod learns about Methos' past, the resulting argument causes Methos to go back to Kronos.
  • How I Met Your Mother: In "Life Among The Gorillas", Marshall fakes being a jerk so he can fit in with his new jerk co-workers, but it starts to effect his personality especially when he's around Lily.
  • An episode of Human Target has a man find out that his wife is a deep-cover Russian spy. When Chance exposes her, he finds out that she had gotten married as part of her cover but has actually fallen in love with the guy since then. Unfortunately, her old contacts have come back expecting her to do her job. She non-fatally shoots her husband in front of her accomplices, and Chance (who figured it out) then non-fatally shoots her in front of them. The couple then get new identities, and can live without being pursued by her former partners.
  • In Kamen Rider Kabuto, the Scorpioworm assumed the identity of Kamishiro Tsurugi, but prior to the beginning of the series somehow came to believe himself to be Tsurugi to the point at which even he is shocked when the mask slips.
  • A short-lived series from the 90's called Legend (starring Richard Dean Anderson and John de Lancie) focuses on a writer in the Old West who creates a popular series of pulp novels featuring a dashing cowboy hero known as Nicodemus Legend. With the help of a pesky, but clever, scientist, the author winds up taking on the role and identity of his fictional creation. And apparently, the author, who was pretty much a drunk and a jerk, finds that the selflessness and heroism are less and less of an act as time goes on.
  • Leverage has a humorous non-evil version. Eliot has to play the part of a baseball player as part of a con, but as he tells Hardison before the con, he doesn't like baseball. However, as the con goes on, it turns out that not only is Eliot really good at baseball, but he starts to enjoy it too. He even gets a sandwich named after him. It leads to the following exchange:
    Nate: All right, good news, bad news.
    Tara: Good news?
    Nate: The mayor's hooked. We're in the pinch.
    Tara: Bad news?
    Nate: I think we lost Eliot until the playoffs.
    • This was also the in-show reason for Sophie's absence when Gina Bellman went on maternity leave. Sophie had worked under so many different personas as a grifter that she wasn't sure who she was anymore, and she needed time to really find herself. Sophie isn't even her real name, it is merely the name she had adopted as her primary identity.
  • In the original UK version of Life On Mars, Frank Morgan suggests this as the cause of Sam Tyler's condition. The series also ends on this trope with Sam willingly immersing himself into 1973, though exactly how he does this is never fully revealed.
  • Lost:
    • Sawyer falls in love with the woman he is conning, and confesses to her that she was being taken advantage of. He then proceeds to carry through with the con and steal her money anyway, albeit with some apparent remorse.
    • In season three, Juliet was meant to infiltrate the survivors in order to determine whether any of the survivors were pregnant, but by the end of the season she's firmly on the side of the survivors.
    • Eko was guerrilla who essentially became his priest brother. He temporarily reverted to his former self twice: he killed guerrillas in self-defense in Nigeria, and when he met Ben Linus, he told him about an off screen incident in which he beat two Others to death with a rock.
  • The Man in the High Castle: John Smith. While initially he joined the Reich to provide for his family, participating in Nazi atrocities for many years and burying his conscience, and throughout the series continues to climb the ranks to protect them from new threats, he loses even that excuse by the end. As of the last episode of the series there is literally nothing stopping him from abandoning the Reich. The new führer has made North America completely autonomous, and will not interfere with Smith in any way, even though he continues to provide logistical support. Smith's second-in-command even begs him to break away from the Reich and make America independent again. However, Smith continues to go through with the plans to kill most of the people in the Pacific states with a series of scorched-Earth attacks, and to renew the American Holocaust against those who remain. In their last moments together, Helen tells him that they need to stop pretending to be Nazis, and John says he doesn't know how.
  • Miami Vice:
    • During the four-part Burnett Arc, Crockett develops amnesia while undercover as a drug dealer, leading him to think he is the drug dealer.
    • This is discussed at times as a real danger for undercover cops.
  • In Midnight, Texas, Reverend Emilio Sheehan is a werewolf who's also the moral center of the town. In season 2, he's cured of his curse and vampire Lumel is confused to find him digging a grave with his own name on it. Sheehan reveals that a decade earlier, he was a drifter who mauled the real Father Sheehan during a full moon. The man's dying words were to forgive his attacker. Taking his clothes and truck, the werewolf found his way to Midnight which he quickly realized was a supernatural town that could use his help. He thus spent his time trying to atone for his actions. He's worried it's not enough but Lumel points out that several times, Rev has managed to perform blessings, proving he truly is a man of faith. With his curse gone, Rev wants to travel the world and help others with the town missing him.
    Lumel: By the way...what's your real name?
    Sheehan: Just call me Rev.
  • One Midsomer Murders episode features a mystical lodge originally set up by two crime-partners as a con to separate wealthy people from their money. Ten years later, one of the partners wants to get out as originally planned for then, while the other has come to genuinely believe in the stuff he's spouting (which has also resulted in a massive drop in rates).
  • Monk:
    • In "Mr. Monk Joins a Cult", Monk joins a cult to investigate claims that its leader murdered an ex-member, but he actually starts to get sucked in to its teachings when he finds that they help him overcome his OCD. It's also present to a lesser extent in the episodes where he goes undercover as an office worker and a butler, only to find that those jobs suit someone with his obsessions extremely well.
    • On the other hand, pretending to be a hitman who happens to look identical doesn't work out so well.
  • My Name Is Earl:
    • The entire premise of the series is this: Petty criminal and all-around Jerkass Earl's life sucks. After learning about the concept of karma, he figures that the reason why bad things keep happening to him is because he does bad things to others, so he writes a Long List of all his transgressions and sets off to make up for every single one. Initially this was done with entirely selfish motivations — to get bad things to stop happening to him — but he very quickly finds out that Good Feels Good and becomes a legitimately good person who does good for its own sake.
    • Same with Billie, who at first hides among the Camdenites (radical Amish) while plotting revenge against Earl. However, the simple lifestyle eventually wins her over, and she joins their community, giving Earl all her money.
    • This happened to Glenn too, though in the opposite direction. He was a good-natured boy scout until he was thrown in juvie for something that was Earl's fault. He had to pretend to be a badass to survive in there, but he eventually internalized it. By the time Earl met him again, he was such a psychopathic criminal that everyone else in prison was afraid of him.
  • In season four of NCIS, Tony begins a year-long relationship with Jeanne Benoit as part of an undercover operation against her father, arms dealer La Grenouille. He genuinely falls in love with her in the process, which doesn't stop him from answering her inevitable "Was any of it real?" with a simple "No."
    • The same idea was used in an episode about North Korean sleeper agents, in which one of their number turned against the rest for the sake of her American husband and baby daughter.
    • Ziva also turns out to be someone who was originally sent as a spy, but grows more loyal to NCIS than her father and Mossad; so much so that she became a naturalized US Citizen so she could stay on as an official NCIS agent.
  • In the New Tricks episode "Only The Brave" it turns out the murderer was Knowles, who had gone native in the gang he was sent in to investigate.
  • Orange Is the New Black:
    • Pennsatucky. Prior to her trial, she was a meth-head getting her fifth abortion. When she killed a nurse at an abortion clinic for "disrespecting her", pro-life activists assume she was one of their own and raised money to get her a good lawyer. Pennsatucky played along but eventually became a hardcore, pro-life, right-wing Christian. She eventually toned down a lot in season two and three however.
    • Black Cindy claimed being Jewish in order to get the kosher meals at meal times, which were of higher quality. However, as she studied more and more about it, she found out it was a faith where she felt she truly belonged and at the end of the season, truly wanted to be Jewish.
  • Oz:
    • Undercover cop Desmond Mobay, posing as a Jamaican drug dealer, gets hooked on drugs and murders a corrupt cop turned inmate who threatens to blow his cover. Another prisoner, convicted copkiller Augustus Hill, realises who Mobay is and calls him out over his hypocrisy. Mobay beats Hill unconscious, but then confesses to the murder, realising he's become one of the criminals he's supposed to be fighting.
    • Jazz Hoyt turns out to have been a Harvard law student who went insane and started believing himself to be a biker, which led to him actually becoming one. This meant that technically he was no longer delusional; this and the administrators' lack of interest in his past made them oblivious to any of this for a long time.
    • Shillinger arranges for Chris Keller to be Tobias's new roommate when he's introduced as part of a long ploy to ingratiate him to Tobias and eventually betray him, causing sincere emotional distress. This ultimately backfires when the new roommates fall in love and proceed to cause Shillinger grief for the remainder of the series in a cycle of revenge plots.
  • Person of Interest: "John Reese" is just a cover identity he was given when he became a government assassin. He discarded his life before that and became the new identity.
  • Played out interestingly in Prison Break: T-Bag (who is someone who definitely can't redeem himself, despite being awesome) has this with his fake identity of Cole Pfeiffer, a charming top-salesman. He actually hopes to leave his past as a convict behind, because he really seems to love his role. In the end, it doesn't work.
    T-Bag: You realize what I'm giving up here? I was guaranteed 50 grand!
    Gretchen: You're crying over 50 grand, are you serious?!
    T-Bag: I have a job! I make money, I get mail, people call me sir.
    Gretchen: 12-hour days and eating left-over lo-mein. Something tells me Theodore Bagwell wouldn't last long in this situation.
    T-Bag: Yeah, maybe. But Cole Pfeiffer would.
    • Subverted in a later episode: T-Bag takes a proactive step towards being a Cole Pfeiffer-kind of guy by not killing a man he's holding hostage, who could be either an innocent Bible salesman or an evil Company agent. Turns out he was a Company agent after all. Violence ensues.
  • The 1980s detective series Remington Steele. The Mole (Pierce Brosnan) initially impersonates the fictitious Steele as a place to hide, but eventually settles into the role, even marrying the woman who created the persona in the first place.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • A bittersweet version occurred on a Mother's Day episode. The late Phil Hartman is with his mother, and he cannot get out of character. His mother calls him on it, and he realizes that he's spent so much time as other people he doesn't really know who he is. Mom knows who he is, though, so it'll be okay. sniff
    • That also happened in Hartman's monologue when he first came back to host in season 21, where Hartman does his monologue in different voices and runs crying into his dressing room, realizing that he's been playing so many characters and doing so many celebrity impersonations that he doesn't know who he is anymore.
    • Similarly, when he appeared on The Muppet Show, Peter Sellers informed Kermit that he had had his real self surgically removed. (See his entry under Real Life, below.)
  • Spooks: "Traitor's Gate" has undercover MI 5 agent Peter Salter, who infiltrated a group of violent anarchists and wound up accepting the ideology they advocate due to his disgust with the state of the UK which grew over many years. One of the female anarchists, who he got involved with, also inspired him.
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Taken quite literally in the episode "Masks". Data becomes the embodiment of The Sun, Masaka, wearing her mask. Picard dons her counterpart's mask to "become" Korgano and convince "her" (Data) to sleep and end the ritual.
      • Ro Laren goes undercover to infiltrate the Maquis near the end of the series, but ends up sympathizing with them so much that she sabotages Captain Picard's plan to draw them out in the open and joins them for real.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • In the episode "Soldiers of the Empire", a crew of Klingons are demoralized enough to drop their mask and let us see them as ordinary grousing soldiers just like humans. Then at the end they recover enough to put their mask on again and become a Proud Warrior Race.
      • There's an episode where Miles O'Brien infiltrates a crime syndicate. While doing that, he forms a genuine friendship with Liam Bilby, a local crime boss. Throughout the episode Miles becomes increasingly conflicted, and ultimately attacks his Star Fleet liaison and tries to warn Bilby that he has been compromised.
    • In an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the crew finds out that some con artists are impersonating them. One of them, the fake Tuvok, really gets into the role: he seems to sincerely admire the values of the Federation, and is awestruck when he finally meets his counterpart face-to-face, while they're in a Mexican Standoff. The real Tuvok is not impressed.
      Fake Tuvok: Logic suggests that neither of us has the advantage.
      Tuvok: Your logic is flawed. (blinds him with a flashlight and stuns him)
    • Star Trek: Picard: As a Honey Trap, Narek pretends to have feelings for Soji, but he ends up falling in love with her.
  • In Supergirl, M'gann M'orzz, a White Martian Defector from Decadence, lives on Earth in human form. In the episode "The Darkest Place", when J'onn discovers her identity and tries to kill her, she asks to die in her human form, now seeing it as her true face.
  • A similar thing happens in the Supernatural episode "All Dogs Go To Heaven". A skinwalker disguises himself as a family dog, waiting for the call to attack and turn the family. He eventually grows to love the family, and almost dies to defend them.
  • In the fourth episode of Sweet/Vicious, Ophelia, normally a green-haired, punkish hacker chick, disguises herself as the perky blonde "Fifi" in order to infiltrate a sorority that's hazing its pledges. She actually starts to identify with the sorority, feeling that, for all the horrors of their Initiation Ceremony, it is actually creating genuine bonds of sisterhood among them. (That, and she's also finally winning her mom's approval by pledging to the same sorority she was a member of.) Any sympathy she has goes out the window, however, when the scope of their crimes becomes apparent.
  • An unusual example of this takes place in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Allison from Palmdale". Cameron, suffering a glitch due to damage to her chip, briefly adopts the personality of Allison Young, the resistance fighter whom she was modeled after and whose personality she copied, before going off to assassinate John Connor.
  • Will Traveler in Traveler becomes fond of the two roommates he's setting up, and ends up sparing their lives (at great cost to him later), against the plans of his employers.
  • The 1989 mini-series Twist of Fate has SS Colonel Helmut von Schrader hunted after taking part in a failed plot against Hitler. He hits upon a wild plot to have his face changed and take on the identity of Jewish prisoner Benjamin Grossman. But a clerical error sends him to a brutal concentration camp for the rest of the war. Once freed, he only wants to get to his family and then to Switzerland to collect the account he set up for himself. However, he first learns that his family was killed by the SS and that the account is among many seized by the Allies. Max, a Jew who helped him in the camp, soon talks von Schrader/Grossman into joining him in Palestine. Before he knows it, the former Nazi is an Israel hero and marrying a Jewish lady.
    • 25 years later, when his former SS buddies come along, Grossman sacrifices himself to stop their plan to steal uranium. His grown son (who had discovered the truth) wants to come clean but Max stops him, saying that as far as he's concerned, von Schrader died decades ago and the man they all knew was Ben Grossman, Jewish hero.
  • In Travelers, most of the main characters deal with some form of this. Though their missions and protocols are supposed to come first, many of them develop real feelings for people in their hosts' lives—MacLaren for his wife, Marcy for David, Trevor for Grace, Carly for Jeffrey Jr.
  • In The Umbrella Academy Lila was initially just pretending to be companion of Diego while undercover in the mental institution, in order to get close the Hargreeve siblings. Except Lila develops genuine feelings for Diego, sleeps with him and tries to separate him from the rest of his family and urge him to join the Commission so he doesn't get killed. This gets lampshaded by her surrogate mother The Handler, when she asks Lila if she'd kill Diego if she was ordered to.
  • White Collar:
    • In the episode "Forging Bonds", it's shown that Neal went with the alias Nick Halden to work for Vincent Adler. As Nick Halden he meets Kate, and he has a good life going for him, to the point where Mozzie has to keep reminding him about the con he's trying to run. He even blows off the con for Kate at the con's most pivotal moment. He only came clean when Adler conned him out of every penny he had, and that was only because the old life was the only one he had left and he wanted Kate to stay with him.
    • Another episode has Peter going undercover to the point that he starts to really enjoy his fake job.
  • The White Queen: King Richard III was pretending to be in love with his niece Elizabeth of York as a political strategy to cuckold his opponent Henry Tudor (who is engaged to her), but he genuinely develops feelings for her.
    Elizabeth: Lady Margaret said that you were using me, and laughed at me for loving you. If it is true, then you must tell me and I'll go.
    Richard: It's not true. I did not mean to love you, but I do. I hate myself for it, but I fell in love with you.
  • Although he never forsook his real loyalties, undercover fed Vincent Terranova often formed strong personal connections with the criminals he investigated on Wiseguy. His friendship with Sonny Steelgrave was so genuine, Vinny openly admitted he would have allowed the mob boss to escape, had Sonny not personally beaten a man to death in front of a hidden camera.
  • On Wizards of Waverly Place, Rosie was sent by the Big Bad to seduce Justin and successfully manipulates him into stealing the Moral Compass for the Dark Realm. It wasn't until Gorog tried to destroy Justin for being an outsider that Rosie realizes she has genuinely fallen in love with him.
  • In one episode of Xena: Warrior Princess some random guy shows up wanting to kill Xena to build his reputation as a warrior because he wants to become a great warlord. He claims to have killed other fearsome warriors as well. While he does have the skill to back up his claims, it turns out he has never killed anyone in his life — Xena realized this when she remembers that she actually killed one of the warriors he mentioned. Xena warns him that people eventually truly become what they pretend to be after a while. At the end of the episode, the guy decides to pretend to be something he can live with and try his hand at being a hero.
  • The X-Files: An alien invader, infiltrated as a human baseball player, eventually decided he was a better person that way. When another alien came to execute him and ordered him to show his real face, he answered that it ''was'' his real face. Even his poisonous blood has somehow changed human when he is killed.


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