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Character Name Alias

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Thornbird: I'm Agent Robert Thornbird, and you are?
O'Neill: Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.
Thornbird: Your dog tags say otherwise.
O'Neill: They're lying.

Fictional characters going undercover need snazzy aliases so that they aren't recognized. Can't think of what to call yourself, and the scenery isn't providing any helpful hints? Just use the name of a character from fiction or the name of a real famous person! No one will ever know who you really are.

Compare with Line-of-Sight Alias, Sdrawkcab Alias, Sue Donym, I'm Mr. [Future Pop Culture Reference] (when the character has traveled back in time and is using a name from the future) and Themed Aliases (when a character makes a habit out of doing this). Subtrope of Lazy Alias. See also Unusual Pop Culture Name, when said obvious pop culture reference is their real name, often to their embarrassment.

Note that there has to be special significance behind a real person using the name of a fictional character before a Real Life entry can be added; if we had to count how many instances people use the names of cultural or pop-cultural icons as gaming aliases, we'd be here until the heat death of the universe.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Case Closed, Shin'ichi Kudo is changed into a little boy by a powerful poison. When he returns to his house after the change, he is surprised by his not-yet-girlfriend Ran Mouri and hastily thinks up the name of Conan, from Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous author of Sherlock Holmes. His fake last name of Edogawa comes from Edogawa Ranpo, a Japanese mystery author, whose pen name in turn is a pun on Edgar Allan Poe (Edogaa Aran Po).
  • In Death Note, the master detective on the trail of a supernatural serial killer introduces himself to the suspect with the name of an internationally famous pop star. This is part of the detective's Batman Gambit as the killer needs only the name and face of a victim to kill; but, if the killer accidentally thinks of the pop star instead, the celebrity's widely reported death would confirm his guilt.
  • In The Five Star Stories by Mamour Nagano, the main character uses the alias Ladios Sopp. In Heavy Metal L-Gaim, which Nagano worked on, the main villain is Oldna Poseidal. Ladios Sopp backwards is (P)possoidal.
  • In The Quintessential Quintuplets, during the Seven Goodbyes arc, Fuutarou meets one of the quintuplets (later revealed to be Itsuki) disguised as a grown-up version of the girl he met in Kyoto five years ago. She calls herself "Rena", which is the name of the quints' late mother.

    Comic Books 
  • The Grey Ghost is a character from an old tv show in the DCU, and a Gotham oddball picked up the name and tried to become Batgirl's sidekick.
  • Batman enemy the Film Freak uses the alias Edison after Thomas Edison, inventor of the motion picturenote .
  • In the One Year Later story arc, Catwoman uses the assumed name of Irena Dubrovna to hide her identity, which in turn provides a Shout-Out to the character in the 1942 film Cat People.
  • While on the run in The Death of Clark Kent, Superman combined the last names of Batman and Green Lantern Hal Jordan to use as an alias, "Wayne Jordan".
  • The trope picture is the Martian Manhunter shapeshifting into an (apparently) Japanese woman named "Hino Rei" in an issue of JLA (1997) guest written by Mark Millar. Seriously. What's more: Batman picked up on the reference. Out-of-universe, this is supposedly due to someone pranking Millar when he asked for a Japanese name connected with Mars.
  • Mega Man: Xander Payne went under the name Mr. Wells to infiltrate the Chronos Institute and attempt to use its time travel technology to stop robot development. He must have been hoping no one noticed he was naming himself after H. G. Wells, author of The Time Machine.
  • In Lori Lovecraft: The Big Comeback, studio executive Benteen is embezzling cash by putting a fake employee named 'Herbert West' on the books and then writing cheques to them.
  • Spyboy's partner Bombshell attended his sleeper personality's high school under the name "Marta Hari."
    • When Young Justice infiltrated said high school, they used even more obvious aliases, including Rob Roy (Robin) and Helena Troy (Wonder Girl). Mercifully the charade didn't last long.
  • Superman: One of the aliases used by immortal villain Mister Z is 'George Bailey': the name of the protagonist of It's a Wonderful Life.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Izuku quickly comes up with the name "Tobey Reilly" for Peter when Inko asks for his tutor's name. It's a combination of Tobey Maguire's and Ben Reilly's, the Scarlet Spider's, names (the latter of whom derived his name from Uncle Ben's first name and Aunt May's maiden name).
  • A Courier For Kivotos: Courier Six introduces himself to the clueless (at least Aru and Haruka were) Problem Solver 68 as 'Texas Red', the outlaw featured in Marty Robbins' hit song, "Big Iron". Later during the bank heist, Shiroko enthusiastically suggests nicknames for herself and the Courier: Vikki & Vance respectively (the outlaws venerated by a casino back in Primm).
  • The Rise of Darth Vulcan: The titular character adopts what would become his supervillain name by quoting a line from Back to the Future, introducing himself as Darth Vader from Vulcan. The 'Vader' part is quickly lost in translation, and 'Darth Vulcan' is the name he adopts for his newfound career as an evil overlord.
  • Sonichu 1984 has the anonymous main character make up the alias "Winston" when meeting another character, who uses the alias "Orwell".
    • This trope was also part of a major trolling scheme against the "original" Sonichu author, who was successfully convinced that his comic was being plagiarized by an Englishman named Jimmy Hill, who is actually a football commentator.
  • The Wanderer of the North: Nikóleva goes by the name 'Wintermail' during her self-imposed exile so that no one will suspect her as an Alicorn.
  • In Where the Truth Lies (Animorphs), Tom comes up with his fake first name, Jordan, on the spot after Michael Jordan, after his interrogator introduces himself as Special Agent Michaels.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns: When Holmes visits the police station, he decides that giving his name as Sherlock Holmes might be a good idea, so he introduces himself as "Holmes, Oliver W.", although it is not clear if he is referring to the physician, poet, and polymath or his son, the jurist and legal scholar; both of whom would have been known to him. Of course, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was both a physician and a writer, so perhaps Holmes was thinking of his original Watson.
  • In American Psycho Patrick Bateman gets out of conversations with the detective by claiming to have a meeting with various characters from '80s sitcoms.
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Marty adopts the name "Clint Eastwood" while stuck in the Old West.
  • In The Big Clock, George Stroud uses the alias 'Jefferson Randolph': the name of a comedy Southern Gentleman his actor friend McKinley used to play on the radio.
  • In The Birdcage, the flamboyantly gay housekeeper is pretending to be a stereotypical butler and introduces himself as Spartacus.
  • All the names The Cable Guy goes by are sitcom characters, starting with Chip Douglas. He never reveals his true name.
  • In Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale Jr. uses the alias Barry Allen, the secret identity of The Flash. Agent Hanratty figures out that the person they're looking for is probably quite young based on this information, after a waiter at a diner asks if he's a comic book collector when he sees he's reading about a Barry Allen.
  • In Copycat, Peter Foley uses the names of lesser-known serial killers as his aliases.
  • The male serial killers in The Devil's Rejects use the names of Groucho Marx characters.
  • All of the aliases used on name tags by the main character in Fight Club are names from films such as Taxi Driver (Travis) and Planet of the Apes (1968) (Cornelius).
  • In Fletch, the title character goes by a number of aliases:
  • Frenzy: The protagonist, Blaney, and his girlfriend Babs check in at a hotel under the name of "Mr and Mrs Oscar Wilde".
  • The otherwise forgettable made-for-TV Generation X movie had Emma Frost pass off herself and Banshee off as Hootie and the Blowfish without the police officer batting an eyelash. Luckily, Emma has also messed with the guard's mindsight.
  • Happens to Iko Uwais again in Headshot when his character wakes up in hospital with no idea of who he is or what his name is. His doctor, who happens to be reading Moby-Dick at the time, starts calling him Ishmael, and he just rolls with it, even after he learns his real name.
  • Real-person name example from In the Line of Fire: Would-be presidential assassin Mitch Leary uses the name Booth (as in John Wilkes) when taunting Agent Frank Horrigan (a former JFK bodyguard) over the phone.
    Leary: Why not call me Booth?
    Horrigan: Why not Oswald?
    Leary: Because Booth had flair, panache — a leap to the stage after he shot Lincoln.
  • Jack Reacher: When Sandy first approaches Jack, he introduces himself as Jimmy Reese, taking the name of a 1930s baseball player. Since she already knew his name (and was told he was a sexual harasser they were trying to set up), this throws her for a loop.
  • In Notting Hill Julia Roberts' character (a famous actress) uses fake aliases taken from cartoon characters to check into hotels.
  • The Odd Angry Shot: During the scene on the range, the range corporal asks the four protagonists for their names as he is reprimanding them. On the spur of the moment, he is given four false names; Grey, Green, Brown & Oakover. As they're leaving, one of them asks if Oakover is a real person, and Harry replies that he is their detachment commander.
  • In Only Lovers Left Alive, Adam uses the aliases Dr. Faust and Dr. Caligari when he visits a clinic to buy blood. His supplier obviously knows that they're aliases and doesn't care, as he sarcastically refers to him as Dr. Strangelove.
  • In The Player, the blackmailer uses the alias 'Joe Gillis' (the narrator from Sunset Boulevard) but this is intentional because he knows the connotations will rattle his target.
  • The Raid 2: Berandal combines this with Actor Allusion when Iko Uwais' character, Rama, goes undercover with the mob under the name "Yuda", which was the name of the character Uwais played in Merantau a few years earlier.
  • In The Saint (1997) with Val Kilmer, all of Simon's aliases are names of Catholic saints.
  • In Scare Campaign, Emma introduces herself as Jennifer Agutter while playing the part of a nurse during the psychiatric hospital prank. Jenny Agutter is a British actress who played a nurse and the main love interest to David Naughton in An American Werewolf in London.
  • In Shakespeare in Love, Lord Wessex brings a knife to William Shakespeare's throat and threatens him to stay away from his future wife Viola de Lesseps. Wessex demands to know Shakespeare's name to deter any future meddling. Will uses the name "Christopher Marlowe", the name of his chief competitor. In real life, Marlowe was murdered in mysterious circumstances.
  • In Shock Treatment, it turns out that Cosmo and Nation McKinley are not real doctors, but character actors who use an assortment of last names — all those of U.S. presidents.
  • In Spectre, James Bond enters a meeting of the title organization claiming to be "Topolino" - Mickey Mouse's Italian name.
  • One of the actors in the trouble Film Within A Film in Tropic Thunder is a rapper going by the name Alpa Chino
  • In The Killer (2023), all of the Killer's fake identities use names of sitcom characters, such as Oscar Wallace and George Jefferson.
  • In Time After Time, H.G. Wells comes to the present [1979] and tries to use the name "Sherlock Holmes", mistakenly thinking that the fictional character would be forgotten in the future. Fortunately, due to not many people knowing what "H.G." stands for, he's nicely able to fit in just by using his real name, Herbert Wells.


  • In The Alice Network, René Boredelon always chooses false names from Baudelaire.
    Charlie: What makes you certain du Malassis is your Bordelon?
    Eve: Malassis is the surname of the publisher who printed Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs Du Mal.
  • Animorphs:
    • In the novel "The Unknown", Marco, Rachel, and Cassie are captured in a military base. They give their names as Fox Mulder, Dana Scully and Cindy Crawford, respectively.
    • In the very last book, they identify themselves to a rogue Yeerk ship as the Starship Enterprise, from the United Federation of Planets. This turns out to be a bad idea, as a human-Controller responds, laughingly asking to speak to Captain Picard.
  • In Catch-22, Yossarian censors letters under the name Washington Irving. This is eventually copied by Major Major, who is delighted by the fact that "Washington Irving" can be flipped around and people will know the difference.
  • A character in "The Dancing Floor" by Cherry Wilder goes by the name "Ben Gunn", after the hermit in Treasure Island. The protagonist spends most of the story trying to figure out why the name seems familiar, at one point looking at metallurgy texts because she's remembered that it's connected to "flint" and "silver".
  • In Colin Fischer, Colin tells a gang member his name is Tommy Westphall.
  • In The Darkest Evening Of The Year by Dean Koontz, one of the villains uses at least two aliases from Kurt Vonnegut novels.
  • Diogenes Club:
  • In Dinner at Deviant's Palace, the protagonist uses the pseudonym "Pogo Possum" at one point, knowing that it won't ring any bells with anyone who doesn't share his rare hobby of reading books from before The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Trix MacMillan is not the real name of the character from the Doctor Who Expanded Universe who's known by that name, and it's very close to Tricia McMillan.
  • Ellery Queen: In The Origin of Evil, there is a character who calls himself Alfred Wallace. He was an orphan who had never had what he regarded as a name of his own, so he selected 'Alfred Wallace' when he reached adulthood. Recognising the connotations of the name (Wallace was a naturalist and contemporary of Darwin who independently proposed a theory of natural selection) is what starts Ellery down the path to the solution of the mystery.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Emperors of Illusions, the protagonists Kay and Tommy introduce themselves as David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, respectively, at the Grail spaceport. The official recognizes that something is strange and asks for their ID. Kay tells him that they are members of the Cult of Anonimists who are against being photographed (hence, no ID) and adds that even their names are taken from literary characters, after seeing that the trick didn't work.
  • In Ender's Game, Ender's brother and sister make "Locke" and "Demosthenes" their online identities.
  • In False Memory, the evil psychologist is named Mark Ahriman. Not only is his last name identical to the name of the chief figure of evil in Zoroastrianism, but when he travels, he uses aliases that have two things in common: very ordinary first names, and last names that are the name of the Devil. One example is "Jim Shaitan", Shaitan being one of the names for the Devil in Islam.
  • In-universe example in The Fifth Elephant, when Watch Commander Sir Samuel Vimes questions a dwarf who'd been involved in a recent street brawl who started it, the dwarf responds with the name "Agi Hammerthief" before Vimes releases him. Captain Carrot (who was raised by dwarfs) explains to Vimes that Agi Hammerthief is a figure out of dwarf folklore, a mischievous trickster spirit.
  • Jack Reacher regularly hides himself by using the names of New York Yankees second basemen as aliases.
  • Joe Pickett
    • In In Plain Sight, psycho J.W. Keeley uses the name Bill Monroe (a famous bluegrass musician) as his Go-to Alias. He even comments to himself that he hopes he doesn't run across someone who is a bluegrass fan.
    • In Endangered, Evil Matriarch Brenda Cates uses the name of country singer Kitty Wells as an alias. Liv knows that she has heard that name before, but cannot place where.
  • The Lady in the Lake: At one point, needing a fake name at a moment's notice, Marlowe claims to be named Philo Vance.
  • In Last Son of Krypton, Lex Luthor uses the name 'Abraham Lincoln' when passing through an alien spaceport.
  • The main character of The Laundry Files identifies himself to the reader as Bob Howard, but acknowledges that it's not his real name.
  • The main character of Little Brother originally goes by "w1n5t0n", as in the protagonist of 1984. When the plot starts heating up, he realized it might be a tad too obvious, and gets a new alias.
  • The titular Murderbot of The Murderbot Diaries picks "Eden", after a character from its favourite entertainment serial, as an alias when passing as a human security consultant. Necessary as its true name is both private and incredibly worrying.
  • In the Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery novel Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A. L. Herbert, Mahalia and her cousin Wavonne tell a security guard they're trying to get illicit information about the murder from that their names are Synclaire and Khadijah. Using this kind of alias helps Mahalia realize that the victim's girlfriend Regine is also using an alias.
  • In Colin Bateman's Mystery Man the narrator, who runs a crime bookshop, goes by a succession of names of crime writers and fictional detectives - unfortunately the people he's talking to are more genned up on their crime fiction than he expects and there are a few "oh, like the writer?" jokes.
  • Roger Zelazny wrote a series of novellas, collected in My Name Is Legion, about a secret agent whose real name even his employer didn't know, whose aliases were always the names of obscure-but-notable historical figures. (In a break from the usual procedure, the historical figure always had nothing whatever to do with the job at hand; for instance, on his first appearance he was undercover as an engineer, but using a name whose original owner was a doctor.)
  • In Neverwhere, the Marquis de Carabas admits to taking that pseudonym from "a lie in a fairy-tale".
  • In Septimus Heap, Merrin hates his name and gives himself a Meaningful Rename to "Daniel Hunter" after the two scariest people he can think of, DomDaniel and The Hunter.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, sorcerers give themselves a new name when they learn magic to protect themselves from certain kinds of mind control. In "Seasons of War," Skulduggery forms a team that includes a sorcerer who has taken the name Luke Skywalker because of his love for Star Wars and his belief that the name inspires hope. Dexter Vex and Tanith Low, who are both a lot older than Star Wars, aren't sure they can take him seriously with a name like that, but Skulduggery tells them to respect his choice.
  • Sweet Valley High had a spin-off series, Elizabeth, in which Elizabeth runs away to London and becomes a servant in an aristocrat's mansion. She decides to use the alias Elizabeth Bennet, and while people do call her out on it, she ultimately gets away with the ruse.
  • In The Vampire Chronicles book Tale of the Body Thief Lestat uses aliases that refer to figures from Gothic literature ("Sheridan Blackwood," "Sebastien Melmoth") and from It's a Wonderful Life ("Clarence Oddbody," "Lionel Potter").
  • In Daniel Pinkwater's Young Adult Novel, the Wild Dada Ducks of Himmler High School, who use their Dada names instead of their real names, include the Honorable Venustiano Carranza (President of Mexico), previously known as Pecos Bill.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played With in Babylon 5: Nobody in the Centauri Republic suspects "Abrahamo Linconi" to be a fraud. The Earth Alliance characters, however, spot the deception immediately.
  • Sam on Burn Notice usually uses "Charles 'Chuck' Finley" as his alias, but in the second episode he and Fiona introduced themselves to a pair of con artists as Detectives Cagney & Lacey. This alludes to the fact that Sharon Gless (Cagney) plays Michael's mother.
  • A blackmailer in one episode of Castle used a cheap motel as the drop point for the money. She rented the room under the name Scarlett O'Hara.
    Castle: (disbelieving) She's a fictional character.
    Clerk: It's that kind of place.
    • In another episode, which turns out to be about heroin smuggling, the man who made the pickups for the drugs at a pizza parlor, no less used the names of characters from noir films.
    • Played with slightly in another episode, in which Castle puts a tracking app on his phone to track Alexis' movements through GPS. When he calls her out on not being where she said she'd be, she asks how he knew. He said a friend saw her, and he said that friend was J. J. Adams, who happened to be Leslie Nielson's character on Forbidden Planet (which Alexis realized almost immediately). Castle got a pretty piercing "The Reason You Suck" Speech for that.
  • Cold Case: In "One Small Step", a witness who hands in a piece of evidence related to a murder that took place on the day of the first moon landing uses the alias "Michael Collins"; the name of the third astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission.
  • In the Corner Gas episode "World's Biggest Thing", Brent adds the names Peter Parker, Marge Simpson and Jean-Luc Picard to a list of people who have bounced checks at the gas station. Oscar doesn't recognize the names, gets very angry about the bounced checks, and tells Brent, "Don't take checks from Marge Simpson or that French guy!" Brent finds this hilarious and a few minutes later he tells Lacey that Oscar is still trying to track down Arthur Fonzarelli.
  • On Criminal Minds one UnSub was a teenager who used Niko Bellic as an alias. Everyone was shocked when Rossi recognized it as GTAIV's main character.
  • One CSI episode featured a serial killer who used the names of slasher villains as aliases.
    • In "Malice in Wonderland", a marriage celebrant who stages Alice in Wonderland themed weddings uses the alias "Charles Dodgson" (the real name of Alice author Lewis Carroll) to hide the fact that he has a criminal record.
  • Dexter orders his tranquilizers as Patrick Bateman. Not a very smart choice for a Serial Killer trying to evade detection while working in a police department...
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "Someone's Son, Someone's Daughter", the killer has been using the name "Giovanni Morgagni" when creating fake prescriptions to feed their morphine habit. When Lucien confronts them, he mentions that using the name of a famous Italian pathologist was not very smart.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Empty Child", Rose introduces the Ninth Doctor as Mr. Spock. In this case, the character she introduces him to is from the 51st century, so his lack of knowledge of 20th-century pop culture is justified.
    • "The Fires of Pompeii" has the Doctor introduce himself as Spartacus. Donna Noble quickly follows with "And so am I."
  • Elementary: In "Terra Pericolosa", a thief who specialises in stealing maps uses the alias René Duchez. Duchez was a member of the French resistance who stole plans that showed the defences of Hitler's Atlantic Wall.
  • Farscape:
    • Butch and Sundance were used as aliases when Crichton and Aeryn were masquerading as bounty hunters.
    • Crichton loves this trope. He's also claimed to be The Wizard of Oz.
      • And the reverse: He referred to himself as "Fred Scarran" during an Earth episode.
  • The Golden Girls
    • In one episode, Sophia gives her name as Melanie Griffith at a self-help group.
    • Another episode has Sophia giving her name as Cher on a radio call-in show.
    • An in-universe example: "72 Hours" has Rose checking into the hospital to get tested for HIV. The nurse, sensing her discomfort, suggests giving a fake name to feel better. Rose chooses..."Dorothy Zbornak."
    • In "Grab That Dough", Blanche tries to bluff a hotel receptionist into giving them a room by claiming that she's actress Angie Dickinson, having "altered her appearance for a movie role." Dorothy can't resist chiming in: "Yeah, it's about a woman who eats her way from behind the Iron Curtain."
  • The Good Place: In "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent", Eleanor preemptively tells Jason he can't take his idol Blake Bortles's name as a secret identity, so Jason settles for Jake Jortles instead.
  • The Gruen Transfer: When Wil submitted his DNA to, he did so under the name 'Victor Gruen'; the architect after whom the show is named.
  • Harrow: In "Ut Biberent Quoniam Esse Nollent" ("Let Them Drink, Since They Won't Eat"), James is pulling a scam involving ordering mobile phones. The name he orders them under is 'Christian Grey'.
  • On Heroes, Christopher Eccleston's character, who can turn invisible, introduces himself as Claude Rains, after the actor who played the title role in The Invisible Man (1933). The line was actually improvised by Eccleston, but they decided to Throw It In!, and eventually, it was decided that this might even be the character's real name.
  • Modified slightly in the Hustle episode "Conned Out of Luck" - Mickey mentions Ash to the mark as "Mr. Bond", after which Ash simply can't resist introducing himself as "Bond... James Bond. *Beat* No relation."
    • In another episode, after Mickey references The Sting, Danny uses the alias "Redford", after that film's star, Robert Redford.
  • Inspector George Gently: The Victim of the Week in "Gently Among Friends" uses the aliases "T. Dan Smith" and "Richard Grainger": two prominent figures in the history of Newcastle who both had the nickname "Mr. Newcastle".
  • In the first episode of iZombie, a body in the morgue had been operating as a prostitute under the alias "Stefani Germanotta". Det. Babineaux starts running background on the victim using this name, unaware it is the real name of Lady Gaga. Needless to say, he catches some ribbing from his fellow detectives.
  • On one episode of Jeeves and Wooster, Bertie, Sir Roderick Glossop, J. Washburn Stoker, and the entire Drones club are all arrested, and all give false names, mostly derived from Communist leaders, although there is one exception...
    Oofy Prosser: I say!
    Judge: Quiet, Dr. Crippen!
  • In the Law & Order episode "Charm City", a fugitive signs into a hotel under R. Reagan. When he is eventually arrested, Lennie Briscoe says, "You're not going anyplace, Mr. President!"
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Identity Crisis", a Con Man turned murderer leaves behind a wallet on the body containing a social security card in the name of Victor Lustig: the con man famous for selling the Eiffel Tower.
  • The aliases used in Leverage generally have some connection to the heist they're pulling. Word of God states that this is because Hardison picks them.
    • And at least once they were names of characters or actors from Doctor Who.
  • In an episode of Life On Mars, Sam Tyler goes undercover as "Tony Blair" with Annie as his wife, "Cherie". When Gene tags along, Sam introduces him as "Gordon Brown".
  • Lost:
    • Ben's passport says "Dean Moriarty", a character from On the Road.
    • Locke's father called himself "Tom Sawyer".
      "The ladies love that one."
    • Ben went by Henry Gale before we found out his real name.
    • And Kate has gone by the names Annie (staying with Ray Mullen), Monica (to marry Kevin the cop), Joan (to receive mail), Maggie (to rob a bank), and Lucy (bonding with Cassidy). These are all the names of saints.
    • And John Locke went by Jeremy Bentham (both the names of English philosophers).
  • On one episode of Pushing Daisies, Ned, Emerson, and Chuck go undercover in a nunnery to solve the murder of a nun. Emerson uses the alias Father Dowling, lifted from a television show called The Father Dowling Mysteries, and Ned goes by Father Mulcahy, from M*A*S*H. Chuck uses the name "Sister Christian", a song from the band Night Ranger. Subverted a bit when they do end up getting caught.
    Mother Superior: Perhaps you'd like to call your associate, M*A*S*H's Father Mulcahy. And Sister Christian is nothing but a heavy petting metal ballad.
  • The Middleman did this in every single episode, not just with the heroes' aliases; in any given episode, virtually every proper name, real or alias, was part of a pop-culture-allusion theme of the week.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "The Curse of the Ninth", the first Victim of the Week (who is a classical violinist) rents a safe deposit box using the name of composer Anton Bruckner.
  • In one episode of Monk, "Mr. Monk on Wheels", Monk uses the name Encyclopedia Brown while knocking on a thief's door.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: In "Marked Twain", while investigating an attempt on the life of Mark Twain, Crabtree goes undercover as bartender at the Empire Club using the alias Samuel Clemens. Samuel Clemens is, of course, Mark Twain's real name, but none the club members seem to notice, indicating they were not fans of Twain.
  • In an episode of NCIS, the name George Kaplan came up during an investigation, but the team discovered that the account under that name was faked. Tony inevitably remembered that "George Kaplan" was the name of the non-existent federal agent from the movie North By Northwest.
  • NCIS: New Orleans: LaSalle's brother used Caulfield and Kimble as aliases while he was on the road.
  • New Tricks: In "A Death in the Family", a witness gives the fake name of 'George Boole'. Brian recognises this as the name of a famous mathematician (the inventor of Boolean logic) and reasons that only another mathematician would have picked that name as a spur-of-the-moment alias.
  • Once Upon a Time has Emma trying to pass herself off as a princess while in the past of the Enchanted Forest, and claiming she's Princess Leia.
  • Psych's Running Gag of Gus (and sometimes Shawn) being introduced with ridiculous aliases has included preexisting names lifted wholesale. These are: Captain Crunch, Blue Ivy Carter, Santonio Holmes, Bud, Deon Richmond, Chaz Bono, Count Chocula, Candyman, Pootie Tang, Jonas Gustavsson, Lil Wayne, King Mongkut, Gigi Van Tranh, William Zane, Patty Simcox, Denzel Diggs "Morris Chestnut" Washington, Emilio Estevez, R.P. McMurphy, and Laika the Space Dog.
  • Reservation Dogs: Jackie and Elora struggle to come up with false names to give to the drivers that pick them up while they're hitchhiking. The first time, they call themselves "Janet" and "Jackson," while the second time they're "Mariah" and "Carrie."
  • The "title character" (sort of) of Remington Steele, a movie buff, has multiple passports, each bearing the name of a character Humphrey Bogart played in the movies. In a later episode, Laura catches him in a lie because a woman calling him uses the alias of an Ingrid Bergman character.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: In "The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith", Sarah Jane and her son Luke, having met Sarah Jane's parents when she was a baby, go by Victoria and David Beckham.
  • Stargate:
  • In Twin Peaks, Dale and Ed infiltrate One-Eyed Jack's Casino posing as dentists named Fred and Barney. The casino staff seem perfectly aware that these are aliases, but they also know that - since the casino doubles as a brothel - it's not at all unusual for customers not to want to give their real names.
    • Around the same time, Audrey tries to infiltrate the brothel itself under the name Hester Prin, but the brothel's madam recognizes the name right away.
  • Supernatural:
    • Sam and Dean almost always use the names of musicians whenever they pose as policemen/agents/reporters to interview people.
    • They've also used Star Wars Shout Outs: "Major Ford and Major Hamill" and "Wedge Antilles." Dean also used "Hilts" and "McQueen" to send Sam a note while they were both in police custody.
    • They've also used "Agent Stark" and "Agent Banner" at one point, as shout outs to the Avengers.
    • Charlie Bradbury's aliases are made up of the first name of a Stephen King character with the last name of a famous science fiction writer. One episode has her use Carrie Heinlein as her alias. A Freeze-Frame Bonus shows some of her fake passports with the names Christine K. Le Guin, Annie Tolkien, and Susan Asimov. Her real name has never been revealed.
    • Bela used the alias Lugosi, though Bela isn't her real name either.
    • In "Captives", it is revealed that Crowley, the de facto king of Hell, rented several storage units under the alias "D. Webster" as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster".
  • Subverted in Titans; Jason Todd tries to get into a nightclub using a fake ID with the name "Robert Plissken", but the bouncer catches the reference immediately and tells him "Not tonight, Snake."
  • Vera: In "Vital Signs", Aiden is investigating a Ransacked Room and speaks to an Irishman who claims to be a neighbour and gives his name as 'David Allen'. When he reports this later, Vera is incredulous about about an Irishman named 'David Allen'—to Aiden's confusion—and it is left to Kenny to point out that Dave Allen was a famous Irish comedian (although, in Aiden's defense, he may be too young to remember him).
  • Veronica Mars: It plays a similar name game with other notable fictional detectives. Keith Mars has memorably introduced himself as "Adrian Monk" and as "Carson Drew, and my daughter Nancy". Veronica, infiltrating a rival school, went by the name Betty, saying she was Horny, the mascot for the Rhinos, the team at her old school...Riverdale. On one occasion, Veronica went to a church group and pretended to be pregnant. Her chosen alias was Hester.
  • The War Next Door's Femme Fatale went by the name Barbara Bush.
  • The X-Files:
    • In "El Mundo Gira", detained Mexican immigrants identify themselves to the INS as Juan Valdez, Cesar Chavez, Jose Feliciano, Placido Domingo, and Erik Estrada.
    • In Season 6's "Arcadia", Mulder and Scully's aliases while undercover as a married couple are Rob and Laura Petrie. Given the age of their neighbors, it's surprising no one made the allusion to The Dick Van Dyke Show. It is used for laughs here, as the two spend parts of the episode correcting the pronunciation of "Petrie". It's pronounced like the dish, thank you very much.
      Scully: Mulder, if we ever go undercover again, I get to choose the names.
    • Early in season 2, Mulder uses the alias "George Hale" to board a flight to Cuba. While not a famous person, he had talked about George Hale with Scully earlier in the episode and was the only way she was able to track him.

  • David Banner, rapper and producer from Jackson, Mississippi named himself after The Incredible Hulk (1977)
  • The band Marilyn Manson does this with the name of the band itself and the stage names of its members, each of them created by taking the first name of a female celebrity or media figure and the last name of a Serial Killer or spree killer. The eponymous frontman (real name Brian Warner) is named for Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson, while other members have included Daisy Berkowitz (Scott Putesky), Olivia Newton Bundy (Brian Tutunick), Madonna Wayne Gacy (Stephen Bier), Sara Lee Lucas (Frederick Streithorst), Zsa Zsa Speck (Perry Pandrea), Gidget Gein (Brad Stewart), Ginger Fish (Kenneth Wilson), and Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie White). These stage names are meant to represent the dichotomy of good and evil, and how both exist in every person.
  • In "Banditos" by The Refreshments, the singer plans to use Jean Luc Picard as an alias while hiding from authorities in Mexico - he figures no one will recognize the name over there "'cause they won't speak English anyway".
  • The members of Wu-Tang Clan love to use pop-culture based monikers. Ghostface Killah and Masta Killa both being characters from Kung-fu movies. Ghostface also often goes by Iron Man and Tony Starks, Method Man sometimes goes by Johnny Blaze

  • Red Panda Adventures: Kit gets spotted using one of these on a hotel register.
    The Grey Fox: If you were really Marianne Dashwood, this would be a Jane Austen novel.
    Kit: As long as most desk clerks are men, it's a pretty safe alias.

  • In the Cabin Pressure episode "Cremona", there's a Shout-Out to Notting Hill (see Film above) where Hester Macauley explains that she uses the names of cartoon characters as aliases while checking into hotels and asks Martin which name she should give this time. Flustered, Martin suggests Jessica Rabbit.


    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • One character in the Japanese version of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors gives himself the alias of "Niels" as both a pun on the number 2 and an allusion to real-life Danish physicist Niels Bohr.
  • In The Heist: Monaco, Lee and Rye are aliases. In chapter 2, Samira discovers the Rye's real name and threatens to expose as they search for a hacker for the crew and in chapter 16, it is revealed that Lee is also a codename even though it is editable. The real names of both are a mystery.
  • Godot (real name Diego Armando) from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • In "Office Spaceman", Roger sells photos of an alien (himself without a disguise) to a newspaper while using the alias Parker Peters.
    • In "Faking Bad", Steve starts selling fake IDs under the alias Guttenberg. Another criminal thinks that he's named himself after the inventor of the printing press (Johannes Gutenberg), so Steve expresses shock that actor Steve Guttenberg (whose name he was actually referencing) invented the printing press.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: Jake Long once came up with the alias Beyoncé Timberlake, but it was okay because he was time traveling at the time.
  • Ben 10: In "The Unnaturals", the robot Little League team all have the names of famous dead MLB players.
  • Family Guy: "I'm Officer T.J. Hooker. Sheriff Officer T.J. Hooker. And this is my partner MacMillan and Wife".
  • On Gargoyles, immortal Anti-Villain MacBeth uses the alias Lennox MacDuff as his modern persona. Both are characters from Shakespeare's Macbeth. The first time he uses it, the person he's talking to (a writer) immediately finds him suspicious.
  • The Simpsons: "Uh... Elvis. Elvis Jagger Abdul-Jabar".
    • In one episode the mafia mistakes Homer for Krusty the Clown (since in this episode he's dressed as Krusty after attending clown school). Homer denies it, but when it turns out the mafia doesn't like Homer either he starts making up several identities, all of which the mafia still would kill him for.
    Homer: But wait! You can't kill me for being Krusty. I'm not him. I'm Homer Simpson!
    Fat Tony: The same Homer Simpson who crashed his car through the wall of our club?
    Homer: Uh, actually, my name is Barney, Yeah. Barney Gumble.
    Legs: The same Barney Gumble who keeps taking pictures of my sister?
    Homer: Uh, actually, my real name is, uh — think, Krusty, think. — Joe Valachi!
    Louie: The same Joe Valachi who squealed to the Senate Committee about organized crime?
    Homer: Benedict Arnold!
    Legs: The same Benedict Arnold who plotted to surrender West Point to the hated British?
    Homer: D'oh!
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: "Deal No Deal" has Ahsoka, hiding her past with the Jedi Order from her new friend Trace, claiming that she learned her skills by attending the "Skywalker Academy" on Coruscant's surface.

    Real Life 
  • A common tactic of 419 baiters. They usually do this for these reasons:
    1. It's more amusing if they manage to fool the scammer.
    2. The scammer may use it as a false name later, making his future scams more obvious.
  • As shown in the documentary film Kanehsetake: 270 Years of Resistance, one of the protesters at the Oka Crisis used the alias "Freddy Krueger".
  • The 2010 Orwell Prize for best political blog was ironically awarded to an anonymous blogger calling himself Winston Smith.
  • The electronic musician Moby is a big fan of The Simpsons, and checks into hotels with names from the show.
  • A few Porn Names, such as Kylee Reese and April O'Neil (who even cosplayed as her inspiration).
  • In June 2014, Scott Fistler, an Arizona candidate for the US House of Representatives, legally changed his name to Cesar Chavez believing it would help him appeal to Latino voters. Needless to say, the real Chavez's family was unamused.
  • It's assumed that the famous hijacker D.B. Cooper was using an alias, and his true identity is one of the classic Stock Unsolved Mysteries. What's not as well-remembered is that he actually introduced himself as "Dan Cooper". It's been speculated that he may have been slyly referencing Dan Cooper, a Franco-Belgian comic series about a fictional Royal Canadian Air Force flying ace, that ran in Tintin Magazine.
  • In the 1980s an arrested teenager claimed his name was Raven Darkholme. It was some time before someone reconized that as the real name of the X-men character Mystique.

O'Neill: "I'll be honest with you Bob, my name's not Kirk. It's Skywalker, Luke Skywalker."


Video Example(s):


Alias Barry Allen

Hanratty is trying to track down a perp going by Barry Allen before he's told that "Barry Allen" is the civilian identity of The Flash. He then realizes they're chasing a minor.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / CharacterNameAlias

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