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Black-Tie Infiltration

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Trust us, the spandex is also part of the attire.

"Maybe one day, I'll wear this to a party I'm actually invited to."

The MacGuffin you need is securely under lock and key in the Trope Co. vault. Lucky for you, they are having a black-tie gala to celebrate the archaeological find of the century. Security will have their hands full dealing with all the guests, so it's time to don your tuxedo/gown, tuck away your tool kit into your Hammerspace Hideaway, and smile pretty for guards checking invitations. You're about to attempt a Black-Tie Infiltration. Hopefully you'll get in Right Under Their Noses.

The defining aspect of this trope is that The Infiltration takes place during a large, formal social event.

Despite the name, the event doesn't need to be a black-tie affair. Any sort of exclusive or "by-invitation-only" event with a sufficiently large number of guests, a dress code, and a need for security would qualify. Often it's an opportunity for the heroes to dress up, which may lead to He Cleans Up Nicely (when the situation does call for formal attire).

This is a Sub-Trope of The Infiltration and incorporates Hidden in Plain Sight on the part of the infiltrators. May be an example of Truth in Television since large social events are usually security nightmares, and they rarely, if ever, go off without a hitch. Compare Janitor Impersonation Infiltration, when the infiltrator instead goes as the hired help. May involve a Spy-Tux Reveal.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
    • In one episode, a teenage assassin tries to target a dignitary who's attending a ceremony at some war graves where his countrymen are buried. At first he appears to be planning to use a rifle to snipe him but at the last minute they find that he's stolen the uniform of one of the students who are presenting the target with bouquets and he's planning a suicidal assassination using a knife (with a bomb for backup).
    • In "Cash Eye", the team do one of these layered in another. Their host thinks they're undercover to prevent his money from being stolen by a mysterious Classy Cat-Burglar, but they're actually staging the theft (with Motoko playing the thief) in order to gain access to his safe and check it for laundered money.
  • In K: Return of Kings, Kusanagi and Awashima (who else?), in episode 9, infiltrate JUNGLE's launch party this way. They end up in an Elevator Action Sequence in their formalwear.
  • In Gundam 00, the Gundam Meisters infiltrate Ribbon's A-Laws party in order to learn more about the Innovators.
  • Twice in Moriarty the Patriot's Adventure of the Empty Hearts arc:
    • The arc opens with Louis attending a reception where MI6 is trying to steal documents off Ronald Adair.
    • After Adair is murdered, MI6 attends another reception, this for an Anglo-French treaty agreement, this time in hopes to intercept Balmoral.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse: In chapter 18, the Kamikaze Pirates' plan to infiltrate and rob the birthday party of a newly promoted Marine Commodore Baron Sukumvit is for Ranma and Kodachi to pretend to be the rulers of a fictitious small island nation unaffiliated with the World Government that have shown up to attend with their immediate staff — the rest of the crew at that point. It's justified that since there are so very, very many distinct nations across the Four Blues and the Grand Line, combined with the World Government caring little for its own constituents and less for non-members, that it's extremely unlikely anyone would be able to prove they're not who they say they are. So the plan works... and then they learn the hard way that Baron Sukumvit is a Badass Normal who earned his title for his combat skills...

    Films — Animation 
  • In Robots, Rodney and Fender infiltrate the Bigweld Ball by pretending to be Count Roderick Von Broken-Zipper (formerly Count Velcro) and his valet, respectively.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The Spider-Gang needs to infiltrate the reception given by Wilson Fisk in order to gain access to the elevators. It turns out to be super-easy, barely an inconvenience because all the waiters are dressed in Spider-Man masks. So, they don't have to hide their costumes, Peter B. just adding a necktie to his. Peni and SP//dr serve as a bus table since they don't have suits; Spider-Ham doesn't appear in the scene, but a deleted scene shows that he was hiding inside the cloche. Said deleted scene also shows Tombstone instantly realized they were real Spider-People and not just waiters in costume, but decided to discretely call it in rather than make a scene, even noting how stupid it would be to actually fall for that.
    Spider-Man Noir: It's in poor taste but... it can't be that easy.
    [Gilligan Cut to them with bowties walking around the party as "staff"]
    Spider-Man Noir: It's that easy...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: Ace attends a high-class party thrown by one of the Miami Dolphins' owners, Ron Camp, who he suspects of having kidnapped the team mascot due to him also being a rare fish collector. While everyone else is enjoying the party, he sneaks off to check Ron's new water tank to see if the mascot is there. (It turns out to contain the Ron's new pet shark.)
  • In The Avengers (2012), Loki takes on the illusion of a tuxedo-wearing partygoer to infiltrate the museum gala and obtain the eye of a museum official to bypass the security system around a meteorite of rare metal.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne infiltrates a party at Lex Luthor’s house to steal data. The data is stolen from him in turn by Wonder Woman, who was there for the same thing. Notably Bruce had legitimately been invited to the event, he just took advantage of the invitation.
  • In The Crime Doctor's Courage, David Lee gets a job as a waiter to infiltrate Gordon and Kathleen Carson's dinner party, where he creates a scene by accusing Gordon of having murdered his first two wives.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • The League of Shadows does this during Bruce's birthday party in Batman Begins. Ra's al Ghul doesn't even attempt to disguise himself; he gives Mrs. Delane his name and asks to see Bruce.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises Selina Kyle infiltrates Wayne Manor (to steal a pearl necklace and Bruce Wayne's fingerprints) by posing as one of the wait staff during a formal memorial dinner for Harvey Dent. Selina gets caught in the act but makes her escape by pulling the apron and white lapels off her outfit—leaving her in a Little Black Dress—and blending in with the guests.
  • In Get Smart, Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 gate-crash a party held at the mansion of a KAOS operative named Ladislav Krstic in order to steal computer records on the attack on CONTROL headquarters. The sequence also features a hilarious tango dance-off scene between 99 and Krstic, and Max and a quite overweight young lady.
  • In Hummingbird, Joey attends a black tie rooftop cocktail party in order to confront Max Forrester.
  • Inglourious Basterds: Three of the surviving soldiers masquerade as cameramen to get into the big movie opening in order to assassinate Hitler. It might have worked, if only they hadn't run into Colonel Landa...
  • In In the Line of Fire, Mitch Leary makes a series of generous campaign contributions to the American president's re-election campaign under a phony name, until he gets invited to a campaign dinner held in a luxury hotel. This campaign dinner provides him with the perfect opportunity to assassinate the president.
  • Done often in James Bond films.
    • In Goldfinger we see a shot of a duck swimming across a pond - but it's not a duck, it's Bond with a duck decoy attached to the top of his wetsuit. Once he gets on land he strips off his wetsuit revealing a perfectly dry, perfectly pressed tuxedo which he uses to blend in to the party going on.
    • In Quantum of Solace Bond sneaks in backstage by swiping a tux from a castmember's locker during a performance of Tosca because a group of Nebulous Evil Organization members are using it as cover for a meeting. He smokes them out by intruding on their radio conversation, letting MI6 identify them.
  • In Jumpin' Jack Flash, Whoopi Goldberg's character breaks into the British Consulate during a party, claiming to be the entertainment (dressed in a spangly gown and lipsyncing to The Supremes). She's really there to hack the computer.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: The villain throws a party with his conspirators to celebrate his solution to over-population: mass-murder. Eggsy infiltrates it to hack into the villain's network and stop his plan.
  • In Major Grom: Plague Doctor, Igor Grom and Yulia Pchelkina infiltrate the opening night party in a casino, concealing their identities as a police detective and a journalist respectively. Amusingly, they do it separately and only bump into each other inside. Grom has to borrow the suit from his criminal friend, along with an expensive car which, he points out, just happens to match the desciption of one stolen the week before.
    Guest: Hey, nice car. I had one like this. It got stolen last week.
    Grom: (handing him the keys) Case closed then.
  • Mission: Impossible Film Series: Often occurs.
    • The first film opens with the team breaking into a social event in Prague to steal intelligence. Turns out the information they were after was bait to smoke out The Mole, who saw it coming and pinned it on Ethan.
    • Mission: Impossible III has Hunt's team infiltrate a secure black-tie event in Vatican City in Rome in order to abduct an arms dealer IMF has been after for a while who killed one of Ethan's proteges.
    • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has Hunt's team pulling off one of these during a party thrown by a telecommunications entrepreneur who owns a satellite capable of firing a missile. While Brandt and Dunn infiltrate the server room to take the satellite offline, Carter attends the party as a Honey Trap to get the entrepreneur to reveal the satellite code.
    • Mission: Impossible – Fallout has Ethan and August Walker infiltrate a nightclub style party at the Grand Palais in Paris in order to find "John Lark", neutralize him and impersonate him. It doesn't go as smoothly as they planned, and that's an understatement...
    • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has Hunt and Benji Dunn infiltrate a high-society performance of the opera Turandot in Vienna to try and foil the Syndicate's assassination of the Chancellor of Austria at the same event. They foil the three snipers by killing one and then shooting the chancellor nonfatally themselves, but the Syndicate plant a bomb in the Chancellor's limo and blow him up on his way to the hospital.
    • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning has Ethan infiltrating a party at the Doge's Palace in Venice in the second act when following the trail of Grace, and once there he finds out several factions (Gabriel, the White Widow etc) are interested in the MacGuffin that can allow to either deactivate or control the rogue AI known as "The Entity", which Gabriel serves. A chase in the city's streets and a dramatic fight on one of its bridges ensues.
  • National Treasure:
    • In the first film, Ben Gates sneaks into the National Archives during a gala event to steal the Declaration of Independence which is believed to contain a treasure map to a lost Templar Treasure. Combined with a Janitor Impersonation Infiltration in this case: Ben dresses up as a custodian (complete with fake name tag) to get in the service entrance with his burglary gear, wearing a tuxedo under his coveralls.
    • In the second film, Book of Secrets, Ben gatecrashes the President's birthday party at Mount Vernon (after the heroes fake renting other venues and calling the White House as a reporter to ask about the current place held Ku Klux Klan meetings to ensure that the party will be held at that venue) so he can get him alone in a secret area of the estate and convince him to let Ben see the President's Book. As he takes off his wetsuit, as he infiltrated by river, he gives the page quote.
  • Marginally involved in Ocean's Eleven since Danny Ocean makes an appearance at the Fight Night event, a professional boxing match held in a Las Vegas casino and being attended by numerous celebrities and wealthy guests, before excusing himself to join the rest of the crew in the heist.
  • In Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, Orson and Sarah take advantage of Greg Simmonds' obsession with movie star Danny Francesco by recruiting Francesco to allow them to infiltrate the black tie charity auction being held aboard Simmonds' luxury yacht in Cannes.
  • In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Holmes, Watson, and Simza have to attend a white-tie ball being held at a peace conference in order to thwart Moriarty's scheme.
  • True Lies uses this trope for bookends.
    • In the Action Prologue Harry Tasker infiltrates a gala hosted by an Arab underworld figure in Switzerland in order to steal Forensic Accounting intelligence from the mark's computer. In homage to the opening of Goldfinger, he sneaks in underwater with a tuxedo under his drysuit.
    • In the epilogue, Harry and Helen are at a similar gala apparently looking to meet up with a contact.
  • In Unknown (2011), the assassins assume secret identities to be part of a biotechnology summit at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin where they manage to steal secret data from a laptop of speaker Professor Bressler.
  • Wild Wild West. U.S. Government agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon infiltrate a post-Civil War Southern costume ball dressed as an armed cowboy and a French mountain man, respectively. Problem: the other attendees are white racist former slave owners, and Jim West is black.
  • Parodied in xXx, where a James Bond-like spy infiltrates a... Rammstein concert. He stands out like a sore thumb in his tux and is spotted and taken out instantly.

  • The Dresden Files: In Grave Peril, Harry Dresden's girlfriend and Intrepid Reporter Susan Rodriguez does this to get into a Red Court gala Harry has been invited too, despite Harry warning her to stay out of it. Because she is not a formal guest, she is not protected by Sacred Hospitality, which means she can be killed or worse happens to her for this intrusion. Her recklessness ends up getting her half-turned into a vampire by the end of the book, starting a chain of events that would have ramifications for all following books.
  • In Grandmaster of Theft, Cassidy's scheme during The Grandmaster's Gala Grift is to convince the mark to host a gala specifically so she can perform an infiltration.
  • Played with in House of Shards by Walter Jon Williams. It's not an actual infiltration, because burglary isn't actually illegal in this 'verse, as long as you do it with sufficient style. So Drake and his rival openly attend the grand opening of the new, ritzy resort hotel. But otherwise, the trope is played straight. They mingle with nobility and celebrities while planning how to steal the incredibly valuable MacGuffin locked in the hotel vault.
  • Journey to Chaos": In the third book, there's a big event at Roalt Castle called the "Mana Mutation Summit". It will be attended by heads of state from all over the world, and preventing an infiltration is one of the reasons that the castle's queen is stressed on before it begins. She makes numerous magical and mundane security measures but unfortunately for her, the infiltrator is not one for subtlety.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In Dark Disciple, Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress go undercover at a posh awards gala in an attempt to assassinate Count Dooku.
  • The criminal in the Father Brown story "The Queer Feet" manages to do this at an event with a small enough guest list that they all know each other by sight. He gets away with it because when he's around the invited guests he acts like a waiter, and when he's around the waitstaff he acts like a guest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • The third episode has Skye infiltrating a party she managed to wrangle her own invitation to(with the intention of dropping a bug that'll disarm the security system momentarily and allow some more combat orientated agents in).
    • In "Face My Enemy", Coulson and May pose as husband and wife to infiltrate a black-tie fundraiser where the star item is a painting with alien writing on the back.
  • Arrow. In "Suicide Squad", John Diggle and his ex-wife Lyla Michaels have to infiltrate a charity event hosted by a former Afghan warlord. Which is just as well as the warlord doesn't recognise Lyla as the female American soldier he encountered in Afghanistan as she's wearing a cocktail dress instead of camouflage.
  • In the short-lived TV series Black Tie Affair the main character markets himself as a suave private investigator who is accomplished in this sort of thing. In truth, the series follows his first case and he runs his PI business out of a used record shop he owns. The only "black tie" infiltration he actually does is when he's in disguise as a waiter.
  • In the Castle episode "The Limey", while investigating arms traffickers, Beckett infiltrates a gala at the British consulate alongside a detective inspector from Scotland Yard. She remarks that it must be easy for him being among his own people, and he comments that "my people are the ones serving the drinks."
  • It's happened on Chuck on several occasions.
  • In the Daredevil (2015) season 2 episode "Regrets Only", Matt and Elektra infiltrate a Yakuza gala to access a vault containing a logbook.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Rise of the Cybermen": The Doctor and Rose discuss performing this trope to get into a party at the Alternate Universe version of the Tyler residence, but instead infiltrate as catering staff. Rose wishes they had used the titles Queen Victoria bestowed on them in "Tooth and Claw", though the Doctor maintains that they'll learn more information from the kitchen end of things.
    • "Spyfall": The Doctor, her companions, and an ally from MI6 infiltrate tech mogul Daniel Barton's birthday party in formal wear, with everyone but Yaz sporting tuxedoes. Notably, Yaz and Ryan had got themselves invited to the party while undercover as reporters trying to interview Barton; the Doctor just hacks the guest list to get them all in.
  • In the Firefly episode "Shindig", Mal and Kaylee infiltrate a ball on Persephone, with Kaylee — correction, Miss Kaywinnit Lee Frye — playing the role of a debutante so that Mal can get in touch with an aristocratic contact for a smuggling job.
    Kaylee: These girls have the most beautiful dresses. (gestures at her dress) And so do I! How about that?
    Mal: Yeah, well, just be careful. We cheated Badger out of good money to buy that frippery, and you're supposed to make me look respectable.
  • A Fringe episode involves a Black Tie Infiltration job by Olivia and a man who, because of experiments performed on him as a child, can read minds, attending such an event in order to snuff out the Villain of the Week before they can commit more assassinations.
  • The Season 5 premiere of Get Smart features the lead Battle Couple and another agent infiltrating a KAOS cocktail party this way — 99 is disguised as a server, Agent Rosa La Costa as a singer, and Max as her pianist. They succeed in rescuing the prisoner they came to free, albeit not in the way they planned.
  • The Good Place: The group of 4 humans hides in a museum on their way through the Bad Place to reach the portal that leads to the Judge... on the night a cocktail party to unveil a new exhibit is being held there. They spend the night trying to blend in and pass themselves off as demons.
  • Harrow: In "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations"), Harrow wants to get a water sample from an aquarium that is holding a formal reception for potential investors. Deciding that it will take the local police too long to obtain a warrant, he learns that two investors are laid up in hospital with food poisoning. Harrow steals their invitations, and he and Grace infiltrate the reception using their identities.
  • Leverage uses this one in many episodes, such as "The First David Job". Basically, if their mark is a high-society figure, it's a good bet that infiltrating a party will be a major part of that episode's con. Usually, Sophie poses as a guest in order to get information from the mark or just distract them, Nathan poses as a guest to keep an eye on events and give orders as necessary, and Eliot poses as a janitor or other staff so he can leap in if the situation becomes violent. Parker, who does most of the breaking-in, may or may not pose as one of the wait staff. Hardison, the Mission Control, is the one team member least likely to show his face at these parties.
  • Investigated on MythBusters, where they see if it's possible for a James Bond-type character to SCUBA dive across a long distance while wearing a tuxedo beneath a drysuit and come out of the water without the tux becoming mussed. Confirmed.
  • Person of Interest. With a hero popularly known as the Man in the Suit, this had to come up, though even John Reese needs some education in the finer points by Harold Finch. The episode "Provenance" is one good example, where Reese and Finch go to a charity event to catch a Classy Cat-Burglar, with Reese wearing the handmade Italian suit that Finch bought him in the previous episode.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Apocalypse Rising", Captain Sisko, Commander Worf, Chief O'Brien, and a temporarily human Odo were cosmetically altered to appear Klingon so they could infiltrate the overnight reverie taking place before the ceremony to induct all the invitees into the Order of the Bat'leth. The goal is to assassinate Gowron, leader of the Klingon High Council who was suspected of being a Changeling. Ultimately, it was revealed the Changeling was impersonating General Martok and was killed at the event.

  • This one's Older Than Steam. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has Romeo and his friends sneaking into a masquerade ball at the Capulets' castle. In this case, the infiltration itself is the point: the Montague-affiliated Romeo et al. think it'll be fun to take advantage of the rival Capulet family. It is here that Romeo meets Juliet for the first time, and as they say, the rest is history.

    Video Games 
  • Beyond: Two Souls: In one of the early levels, CIA agents Jodie and Ryan visit a Middle-Eastern sheik's mansion during a formal dinner in order to spy on him when Jodie excuses herself to use the restroom, then use Aiden (a specteral entity connected to her) to break into his offices without being detected.
  • Dishonored: Lady Boyle's party, ran by a wealthy and elusive target of the protagonist who just so happens to have decided to make it a Masquerade Ball. Very convenient for an assassin who always wears a mask.
  • Several examples from the Hitman franchise:
    • Hitman 2: Silent Assassin: the embassy level in St. Petersburg uses this trope. Agent 47 has to secure a black tie and infiltrate the party to kill a Renegade Russian general, posing as either a waiter or a guest. 47 can go in with his own suit (with a red tie), but guards will be less suspicious with the black tie suit.
    • Hitman: Contracts:
      • "The Meat King's Party", in which a wealthy and morbidly obese meat magnate throws a party in the slaughterhouse he owns to celebrate his recent acquittal. 47 must assassinate both the magnate and his lawyer. Although, in that case 47 infiltrates the party disguised as a slaughterhouse worker, not dressed with a suit and tie.
      • "Beldingford Manor", in which the Beldingford family are hosting numerous guests at their expansive manor for several days, though it takes place at night and not during a party or manhunt of theirs. 47 must assassinate two of the Beldingfords.
    • Hitman: Blood Money:
      • "You Better Watch Out", in which Lorne de Havilland throws a formal Christmas party in a stand-in for the Playboy mansion. 47 must assassinate both de Havilland and a senator's son in attendance.
      • "Til Death Do Us Part", in which 47 must assassinate two guests at a Mississipi wedding.
      • "A Dance with the Devil", in which 47 must assassinate two guests at two simultaneous Heaven/Hell-themed costume parties in Las Vegas.
    • World of Assassination Trilogy:
      • Both Paris and Mendoza; the first and last sandbox levels of the trilogy, have 47 in a black tie and buttoned up suit jacket; the former has him in a black jacket, the latter has 47 wear a white jacket instead. Since these are also unlocks in the game, you can also turn pretty much any mission into this trope by turning up in those suits.
  • In Deceive Inc., Operation: Silver Reef and Operation: Hard Sell are executed in the middle of an underwater hotel's fashion show and a formal house party, respectively.
  • One mission in Sly 2: Band of Thieves has Sly infiltrate a party hosted by an Indian drug lord, which was already being infiltrated by Interpol, including Inspector Carmelita Fox. Of course, Sly first needs a tux, so he has to steal individual pieces of a suit from the rooms to form a Paper-Thin Disguise. Then he has to dance with Carmelita to act as a diversion from the heist.
  • One of the levels in Super Scribblenauts involves one of these. You have to give Maxwell a fancy suit so he can infiltrate a ball, followed by bits of spy gear to steal some intelligence and make his escape.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In the Mass Effect 2 DLC "Kasumi: Stolen Memory", Shepard helps the eponymous thief steal a personal item from a crime lord who's throwing a party.
    • Mass Effect 3's "Citadel" DLC at one point has Shepard, a party member, and Maya Brooks infiltrate a social event at a Citadel casino in order to gather intelligence on the group trying to assassinate Shepard. It turns out to be a mercenary band led by an evil clone of Shepard that was created by Cerberus but discarded when the original was successfully revived. And Maya turns out to be The Mole.
  • In the Dragon Age II DLC "Mark of the Assassin", Hawke is persuaded by a visiting Qunari spy to participate in a major heist at the estate of an Orlesian Duke throwing The Grand Hunt and an accompanying party. Since the Hawke family has reclaimed their noble titles by then, they obtain a formal invitation to the event, then manage to sneak away from the party and into the Duke's vaults while other guests are distracted.
  • In the first Syphon Filter game, Gabriel Logan's group in The Agency infiltrate an exposition to discover more information on the titular series' virus MacGuffin.
  • The main story quest "Diplomatic Immunity" in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim sees you entering the Thalmor embassy during a party the ambassador throws for the local nobles and moneybags. You go there under a fake identity and invitation with a mission to retrieve important documents from the ambassador's quarters, made more difficult by the fact that you can't bring any of your gear with you (at least, until you meet with your liaison inside the embassy who can smuggle in some items for you).
  • The Star Trek Online mission "Empress Sela" has the Starfleet Player Character acting as part of a diplomatic envoy to the Romulan Star Empire, ostensibly to patch up diplomatic relations after the Federation recognizes the political sovereignty of the Romulan Republic splinter state. The player's real objective is to gather intelligence, so they sneak out of the reception gala and downstairs to where Sela is hiding war materiel for a naval attack against Vulcan. Why she's storing her weapons one floor down from where she's hosting Federation military personnel is left unexplained.
  • The spy player in SpyParty infiltrates a high-class cocktail party to complete missions such as planting a bug on the ambassador and contacting a double agent.
  • In Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the Italy chapters have Nate, Sully, and Sam infiltrating a black market auction at a fancy estate so that they can steal an antique cross bearing the image of St. Dismas the penitent thief.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided presents something of a double whammy at its climax - terrorists have infiltrated a high-end gala disguised as security personnel, intent on releasing a biological weapon on the VIP guests, and it's up to the player to stop them. While the player can technically bull rush their way to a final confrontation with the Big Bad, the easiest - if not only - way to save the guests from poisoning is for the player to be similarly covert in their infiltration.
  • Dark Romance Romeo And Juliet: Juliet has to infiltrate the Big Bad's home to find the McGuffin or at least clues to it. After learning there's a masquerade that night at his (small) palace, she finds an invitation and constructs a mask. She runs into the Big Bad almost immediately... and the player is left wondering how the heck he didn't recognize Juliet when he's definitely seen her before. He did recognize her. And set the stage for a very nasty trap.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero, Lloyd and another member of the SSS infiltrate the high-class Schwarze Auction, which is attended by Crossbell's corrupt elite. They originally don't plan on stealing anything—only being there to observe what goes on in Crossbell's underground—but eventually end up pulling an impromptu heist on the auction's most valuable item: rescuing a young girl who was to be sold to the highest bidder under the guise of being a highly-lifelike doll.
  • Invoked in Final Fantasy XII. That fete in honor of the new Consul's arrival to the city? The one Vaan infiltrates to pull a heist? Turns out the Consul set it up to use himself as bait, expecting this trope in the form of an assassination attempt by La Résistance, and concealed a big honkin' war airship nearby to rain down Death from Above on them. He just wasn't expecting a Heist Clash to go down in the palace treasure vault at the same time.

    Web Animation 
  • The RWBY Volume 2 episode "Dance Dance Infiltration" has Cinder use the Beacon Academy dance as a diversion to infiltrate the communications tower. She then escapes Ruby's pursuit by changing clothes and hiding among the dancers.

    Web Original 
  • Arc 2 of Running with Rats features the band of rebels that the main character joined infiltrating a benefit party.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In an attempt to speak with the Earth King about the war with the Fire Nation, the Gaang infiltrate a party the king is holding for his pet bear. Aang and Sokka go as waiters (though when Aang's cover is blown he starts using his airbending to put on a distracting show), while Katara and Toph go as upper-crust guests (Toph is the heir of a very rich Earth Kingdom family, and raised as such, she just has to remember to act like it). It fails completely due to the Dai Li already knowing who they are.
  • Carmen Sandiego:
    • Countess Cleo's training presumably involves this type of heist. This involves teaching her students proper posture, diction, table manners, the ability to absorb talking points about certain matters.
    • In "The Duke of Vermeer Caper" Carmen intends to do this to an auction Cleo is hosting for the stolen Vemeer paintings, however Zack ends up meeting the courier Dash Haber first and must go in Carmen's place. This also involves a Training Montage with Carmen training Zack to look and act like a proper gentleman.
    • In the special "To Steal or Not to Steal":
      • Carmen infiltrates a high-end charity party on orders from Cleo to steal some rare caviar. Carmen dons a stunning red dress.
      • Mime Bomb has also infiltrated the same party to be Carmen's help and observer, but as the entertainment rather than a guest.
  • In Family Guy, Peter, Cleveland, and Quagmire rob the Pewterschmidt mansion by getting in this way during a black-tie party.
  • An episode of Sabrina: The Animated Series has a parody. Harvey's having a dream where he's working with a spy. He and the spy recreate the "pull off a drysuit to reveal a tux" scene, only to discover they're a bit overdressed for the party they infiltrating and put on mascot costumes.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power's "The Perils of Peekablue," the titular character is a reclusive seer who is rumored to have been seen at an exclusive nightclub (think a Bad Guy Bar, but classier). Hoping to recruit him as an ally, Mermista, Perfuma, Scorpia, and Sea Hawk impersonate wealthy criminals to get inside — which provides the writers with a convenient excuse to put them in pretty dresses and dashing suits. Suffice to say, the fanbase was very happy.


Video Example(s):


Formally Count Velcro

In Robots, Rodney and Fender are able to sneak into the Annual Bigweld Ball without an invitation by disguising themselves as the esteemed noble Count Rodrick Von Brokenzipper (formerly Count Velcro) and his servant, respectively, and proceeding to make a show of how they're expected to be at the party. When Tim the Gate Guard initially refuses them entry upon finding out that they aren't on the invite list, Fender, on behalf of Rodney's Silent Bob disguise, fusses up a huge storm before both attempt to leave, while Tim nervously backtracks his statement and allows them entry and even asks if the ''Count'' would like to hit him which Fender obliges on the ''Count's'' behalf by hitting him so hard that he falls out to the ground upside down causing his robes to fall down and a nearby female robot to faint in shock.

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Example of:

Main / BlackTieInfiltration

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