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Confronting Your Imposter

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Barmy: [answering phone] Mr. Wooster's residence. [pause] Where is Mr. Wooster? He's not at home, sir. I'm Jeeves. [pause] What do you mean 'you think not?' [pause] Oh! [He hangs up.]
Bertie: Who was it?
Barmy: Jeeves!

When an imposter is spotted because the person he's impersonating is in the group/room with, or is himself, the person they're trying to deceive.

If you have a good enough disguise, you might still be able to get away with bumping into the person you're impersonating if you convince them that you are actually their reflection in a mirror, or if you are really lucky, find out that your disguise is a uniform within regulation. A particularly audacious infiltrator might respond by accusing the person they're disguised as of being the imposter. Those liable to Poser Hating are also generally vulnerable to this. This is the key risk run by anyone executing a Janitor Impersonation Infiltration.

A variation that occasionally appears in superhero stories is for the hero to encounter someone impersonating his Secret Identity.

Compare I Am One of Those, Too, I Am Spartacus, Legendary Impostor, and Fright Beside Them.

Not to be confused with Actually, I Am Him.


    open/close all folders 

  • When Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out, Pizza Hut ran an ad starring a young girl who dressed like, and called herself, Queen Amidala. Toward the end of the commercial, her mother chided her, "You're not Queen Amidala." When the girl demanded why, the woman replied, "Because I'm Queen Amidala," and digitally "morphed" into the character.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Luffy does this accidentally in One Piece. After the Time Skip, a common criminal is going around impersonating Luffy, using his name to intimidate people into giving him what he wants. When Luffy (in a Paper-Thin Disguise) doesn't get recognized by the impostor, Luffy promptly uses Haki and knocks him out. Luffy didn't even figure out the guy was impersonating him; to him, he was just being a jerk.
  • Subverted in the 8th Case Closed movie, where Kaitou KID shows up disguised as Shinichi. Conan, who is standing right there, immediately blurts out "That isn't Shinichi!", but has no evidence to back it up without giving away his secret identity. He can't use the usual proof of tearing off Kid's mask because Shinichi and Kid share the same face.
  • Eyeshield 21:
    • A major plot point is when the eponymous running back comes across the "real" Eyeshield 21. Averted, in that Sena uses that game to take off his mask and play as himself, not the false hero of Notre Dame.
    • Later, Sena not only faces off against another real Eyeshield 21, he eventually becomes the real deal himself.
  • In Anatolia Story, Yuri attempts to do this when she goes to confront a woman that claims to be Ishtar and Kail's concubine. However, when Yuri blurts out that she is Ishtar nobody believes her because she's not the typical image of beauty that 'Ishtar' is described as. It's not until later, when Kail himself appears and confronts her that her scheme fails because he points out that he has no idea who she is and demands to be brought to the real Ishtar, Yuri.
  • This happens quite often in Fist of the North Star, but most memorably when Kenshiro (the title character) faces Jagi. Generally, punk X would have his henchmen kicking around peasants in the name of the Fist of the North Star. Then Kenshiro walks into town, and the henchmen make the mistake of asking him to bow to the Fist. Kenshiro makes a rude comment about how it's a terrible likeness, or asks a rhetorical question about the technique that he is supposedly about to be punished with ("you mean THIS hundred crack fist... WATATATATA!"). Henchmen try to punish Kenshiro like they do the peasants, and of course a righteous ass-kicking ensues. By the end of the confrontation, it's pretty obvious who the true Fist is.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: In the light novel "The Land of Sand", Ed and Al visit the town of Xenotime and discover there are already two boys there claiming to be the Elric brothers; the pair, whose real names are Russell and Fletcher Tringham, are trying to continue their father's work in creating a Philosopher's Stone and impersonated the Elric brothers to gain access to resources and locations reserved for State Alchemists. Unlike a lot of cases, the real Elrics are understanding (Al more than Ed) and forgive them for it once they find out exactly what's going on. The events of the novel were later adapted into episodes 11 and 12 of the 2003 anime version.
  • The first episode of Naruto has Mizuki in Iruka's form run into Iruka in Naruto's form, whereupon the fake Naruto attacks the fake Iruka.
  • In the first episode of Rurouni Kenshin, a small-time bad guy is killing people, claiming to be the infamous Hitokiri Battousai, and loudly proclaims he uses the style of the Kamiya Kasshin school, which the bad guys are trying to take away from its owner Kaoru. When Kenshin, the true Battousai, shows up, not only does he kick the fake Battousai's ass, but he reveals the true style of the Battousai — Hiten Mitsurugi, a style developed during the notoriously turbulent Sengoku Era, unlike Kaoru's style, which was developed during the more recent years of peace.
  • This happens in both the anime filler and the manga in Saiyuki. In the anime the Sanzo party were made to confront a group of men who dressed up and pretended to be them in order to reap the benefits of being the Sanzo Party. Sadly enough the village actually believed that they were the real Sanzo group because of how unbelievably the originals had behaved for a group of "holy warriors". And in the manga, the Sanzo group were made to face off against Shikigami doppelgangers of themselves and used it as a chance to beat people who looked like their comrades as stress relief.
  • Happens frequently early on in Trigun almost exactly like in Fist of the North Star above, some goon is using Vash's name to cow a town into submission, Vash shows up, disarms the goon, and is regaled as a hero. Unlike Fist (and most other examples) it's rarely revealed that Vash IS The Humanoid Typhoon (to the townsfolk anyway) but he still makes it fairly obvious the goons aren't the real deal.
  • Lupin III has made this mistake several times, thanks to Lupin's favorite disguise being his own archnemesis, Inspector Zenigata. Though there have been cases where either Lupin or one of his allies manage to convince the rest of the police that the real Zenigata is actually an imposter.
  • The major plot point of the very first issue of Fairy Tail. Long story short, the real Natsu confronts an imposter using illegal magic in his name.
  • This trope is what does in Master of Disguise Saemon from Basilisk, as his disguise as Tenzen is exposed by the actual Tenzen in some rather unfair circumstances. namely, Saemon thought that Tenzen was dead and didn't know about his ability to come back from the dead after being killed. Three guesses what Tenzen did to expose Saemon. The first two don't count.
  • This nearly happens in Bokura no Kiseki, when Hiroki claims to be the Reincarnation of Princess Veronica in front of the protagonist, Harusumi (who is Veronica's actual reincarnation). However, Midou convinces him not to say anything until they can figure out Hiroki's motives.
  • The titular character of Howl's Moving Castle impersonates the kingdom's Majesty in order to save Sophie from Madame Suliman's castle. The charade breaks down when the real Majesty enters the room, though the latter doesn't realize what's going on and congratulates Madame Suliman for her excellent work on his double. It's implied that Suliman already figured it out before that, as her spy had told her that Howl would be in disguise and she was getting rather snarky at His Majesty's out-of-character behavior as The Good King, knowing the real Majesty to be a pompous fool.
  • In Ashita no Nadja, Nadja herself has to do this twice to the same person, her Body Double and former best friend Rosemary:
    • The first attempt takes place when she finds out that Rosemary is posing around as her, which is troublesome since Nadja is actually from the very noble Preminger family and Rosemary's presence blocks her from meeting up with her mother, the heiress of said family. It fails spectacularly: Rosemary claims that she's being forced into the role by The Unfavorite and local Smug Snake when confronted, but when given the chance, she gives Nadja a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech, destroys one of Nadja's favorite keepsakes (and proof of her heritage) and kicks her out.
    • Later, a Nadja with a much stronger support web (including her love interest Francis and her own love rival Marianne) returns and asks for a reunion with the Premingers, where she confronts Rosemary in front of the clan leader and reveals the scheme. It almost works - until some policemen burst in and arrest Francis, who has been mistaken by them as a local Gentleman Thief (Francis' twin brother, actually).

    Audio Drama 

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix album Asterix and the Actress: After Latraviata has spent the entire story impersonating Panacea, the real Panacea comes face to face with her towards the end, and manages to remove her blonde wig in the subsequent Cat Fight.
  • Batman:
    • From the 1940s newspaper comics, Batman disguised himself as a mob boss... whose henchmen had just decided to get rid of him. After being held at gunpoint, the real mob boss comes through the door. Hilarity Ensues.
    • In the "Where Were You on the Night Batman Was Killed?" arc in Batman #291-294, The Riddler disguises himself as Bruce Wayne to crash a party his gang was robbing. This naturally surprises Batman when he arrives to stop the gang. He later claims that he received a phone call from Bruce Wayne in Florida earlier in the evening and thus knew that the Riddler wasn't the real Wayne.
    • In Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, after one of his time jumps, Bruce is captured by Blackbeard, who believes him to be a rival pirate of his. The issue is narrated by another character, who reveals Bruce could not possibly be the Black Pirate... because he is.
    • In Batman: Orphans the last and only surviving of the Venom-fueled Robin impersonators gets talked down from his attack on Batman by the real Robin, Tim Drake.
  • A regular occurrence in Diabolik, thanks to the title character being a thief and a Master of Disguise.
  • In the Doctor Who (Titan) Ninth Doctor story "Doctormania", the TARDIS lands on a planet where the Ninth Doctor is adored as a very showy hero. It turns out to be a Slitheen - by this time period they have artificial skinsuits with improved compression technology, so they don't need the original to be dead and fat.
  • In the Freedom Fighters mini-series, SHADE deploys a fake version of Miss America to de-power and demoralize the Freedom Fighters, and she almost succeeds before an old woman shows up and declares that she can't possibly be Miss America... because she is Miss America. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle...
  • In one issue of Marvel Comics G.I. Joe series, Master of Disguise Zartan infiltrates the Pit, and moves about shifting his appearance from one Joe to another as he goes. However, he shifts into looking like Gung Ho just as the real Gung Ho enters the room; alerting the Joes to the fact that one of them is an imposter.
  • There is a comic by the Finnish comic artist Petri Hiltunen where a man brings a supply of weaponry to a group of outlaws who turn out to be the immortal revenants of various historical villains. Their leader plans to kill the man instead of paying, but the man tells him that's not going to work because he is Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus, and thus also immortal. As the man is leaving, one of the revenants runs up to his leader to inform him that the man was lying. How does he know? Because he is Judas Iscariot.
  • Spider-Man:
    • It happens in the first appearance of the Chameleon, though he has to make up another excuse as to how he spotted the impostor pretending to be Peter Parker to avoid revealing his secret identity.
    • Another exchange:
      "Lay off the kid, he's not Venom!"
      "How do you know, Clark?"
      "Because I'm Venom."
    • Untold Tales of Spider-Man: Averted. A Spider-Man imposter runs around vandalizing Forest Hill to make Spidey look bad, but Peter was too preoccupied with the mutated child Batwing to bother with him. Flash Thompson ended up being the one to take down the imposter.
  • Suicide Squad:
    • Captain Boomerang poses as Australian arms dealer Billy Tidewater. His ruse is uncovered because the group he tries to deal with is already holding the real Billy Tidewater hostage. Boomerang makes a valiant attempt to claim that he and Tidewater are cousins, and their fathers thought it would be funny to give their sons the same name.
    • Master of Disguise Nemesis would occasionally pose as members of the Squad staff just to remind them he could.
      Nemesis (As Murph): Hiya, Murph.
      Murph: {beat} Mrs. Waller, Nemesis is back.
  • Superman:
    • In a Bronze Age story, Superman is captured and, while escaping, encounters his friends Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White who claim to being held prisoner as well. He realises that these are actually robot doubles planted by his captor when he sees the remaining two prisoners: Morgan Edge and Clark Kent.
    • The Life Story of Superman: Superman is abducted and swapped with a clone grown by Lex Luthor. After escaping from Luthor's death trap, Superman confronts his doppelganger as he is speaking to Lois and Lana.
    • The Superman Adventures: Superman spots "Multi-Face" when he disguises himself as Clark.
      Superman: [smirking] Talk about the wrong face at the wrong time.
  • At the climax of the first issue of the Vertigo Human Target, Christopher Chance's masked benefactor reveals himself to be... the real Christopher Chance, who wants his life back. Uniquely, the impostor in this scenario doesn't know he's a fake — it's Chance's apprentice Tom MacFadden, who had disappeared completely into his mentor's identity. Tom doesn't take being shocked back into his original persona well, because he can't remember anything about it; the finale arc of the ongoing series is about his plot to steal Chance's life once and for all by killing and replacing him.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: While Psycho is using an ectoplasmic disguise of Steve Trevor he runs into the man himself. Steve fails to catch him though he does try.
  • A Charlton issue of Scooby-Doo had a gang of thieves who are the spitting images of Scooby and the gang robbing a bank. Things take a turn when stopping at said bank Velma and her doppelganger each board the wrong vehicle. The kid gloves come off when the two gangs meet.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Death Note fic Forty Seconds Tsen, a crook posing as Kira attempts to mug Mikami. Mikami invites him to meet the REAL Kira...
    Mikami: He wishes to speak with you... Follow me.
    Tsen: Who wishes to speak with me?
    Mikami: Why, Kira of course.
    Tsen: Kira! [hyperventilating]
  • A variation occurs in A Black Heart when Ichigo impersonates a member of the Onmitsukido and informs one of the captains that he thinks one of the intruders is impersonating the Onmitsukido. Unfortunately, said captain is Sui-Feng, aka head of the Onmitsukido.
    • Earlier Uryu poses as a new member of fourth squad who reports to the seventh seat but doesn't remember his superior's name. Sadly for him, the seventh seat is standing right in front of him.
  • The Star Wars fic Will The Real Luke Skywalker Please Stand Up has a guy trying to pick up chicks by pretending to be Luke Skywalker. When he's trying it on a redhead at a gym, the real Luke happens to be there and comes over to set the guy straight. It's then revealed that the redhead the guy was hitting on was Luke's wife Mara. Oops.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug fic Sting, one of habitual liar Lila's most audacious lies is that she designed the cover of Jagged Stone's latest album, to the point of claiming that the credited "M. Dupain-Cheng" is her pseudonym. At any other school she might have got away with it, but when Marinette and her classmates hear it, she loses what little credibility she still had. Played with in that Lila had no idea who she was impersonating, and the impersonation only came to Marinette's attention because Chloe intervened in an unrelated confrontation initiated by Lila.
  • A Fandom-Specific Plot that crops up fairly often with Miraculous Ladybug fanfic is Lila claiming to be Rena Rouge. Naturally, she's unaware that the real Rena Rouge is one of her classmates.
  • Robb Returns has a variation of this, as when a mob led by a hedge septon tries to assault Raventree Hall (House Blackwood's keep) to burn the weirwood kept within, the septon attempts to claim Lord Bracken sent him. Unfortunately for him, Lord Bracken (along with a good lot of his men) is there to help defend the weirwood, and he is most certainly not happy to see someone falsely acting on his name.
  • The Ouroboros sets out to answer the question of whatever happened to the TMNT, April and Casey that were native to the new timeline created when the heroes Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Namely, they realize that counterparts tricked them into leaving so they could take over their lives, and return to confront them over it.
  • Everything's Relative: In which a stranger arrives on Tatooine claiming to be Anakin Skywalker. Vader quickly shows up to confront the impostor, who turns out to be another Jedi named Jax Pavan (who had no idea the real Anakin had become Vader and had used his name to try and catch Obi-Wan Kenobi's attention).
  • Marc Being In A Gang Rights: It is when Lila tries explaining that she was the kidnap victim in a recent ransoming in front of Nathaniel, the actual kidnapping victim, does he realize that Lila is the fraud that Marinette claims her to be. While he doesn't out himself as the actual victim right away, he does point out that she has a bad habit of making every conversation about herself, a fact that seems to resonate with the others.
  • Played with in the second book of Coby's Choice. Most of the real Straw Hats are fine with the fakes using their names, even Luffy. Some think it'd take the heat of them when they set sail, while Luffy himself just doesn't care. However, Luffy specifically finds the fake Nami an insult to his wife and goes with them to ruin their plans in retaliation.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation Fifi Le Fume tries to sneak into matinee idol Johnny Pew's hotel room by claiming to be his agent. The hotel manager leads her over to an old woman who also says she's Johnny's agent. Fifi keeps up the ruse for a little while before bolting.
  • Shrek 2: Shrek enters the castle when Prince Charming, who was posing as him, was about to kiss Fiona.
  • Toy Story 2: During the Al's Toy Barn sequence, Buzz Lightyear is captured and stuffed into a box by a newer-model Buzz that still thinks he's the fictional one, much as Our!Buzz had in the previous film. Our!Buzz breaks free and catches up with the other toys in Al's apartment, and proves he's the real one by first opening New!Buzz's helmet visor, which makes him pretend to choke to death (like Our!Buzz before it dawned on him he was a toy), then shows them Andy's name in permanent marker on the bottom of his foot.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The Assignment (1997). Annibal Ramirez is a Doppelgänger of terrorist Carlos the Jackal, who is recruited to frame Carlos as a CIA informant so the real guy will be murdered by his KGB sponsors. The plan works but Carlos shoots his way past the KGB, so Ramirez pursues determined to kill Carlos himself. The terrorist is naturally surprised to find himself in a Mirror Match.
    • There's a variation earlier when Annibal encounters a terrorist at Heathrow Airport who has been personally sent on a mission by Carlos. He quickly becomes suspicious and asks for a Trust Password that Annibal doesn't know.
  • In Jackie Chan's Drunken Master, the protagonist Wong Fei-Hung tries to trick a middle-aged man he sees eating alone at a inn into paying for his overly-large meal. When he tries to leave however, he runs into the manager, who inquires as to who will be paying the bill. Wong says the middle-aged man will, at which point the manager asks Fei-Hung what his relation to the man is. Fei-Hung states that the man is his father, at which point the manager informs him that the middle-aged man is really the inn's owner, that he is his son, and that he's never seen him before.
  • Parodied in Hot Shots! Part Deux when Topper Harley meets President Bensen. He says "President Bensen" as a greeting and Bensen tells him that he's President Bensen, and that Topper shouldn't go around impersonating the President, it's just not credible.
  • In the 1939 The Hound of the Baskervilles, Watson tries to intimidate a mysterious peddler into talking by claiming, dramatically, "I'm Sherlock Holmes!" The peddler straightens to Holmes' full height and replies, laughing, "Then my name must be Watson!"
  • James Bond:
  • The Man Who Would be King. Peachy Carnehan talks to Rudyard Kipling about his plan to blackmail a raja while posing as a journalist of the local newspaper, Unfortunately Kipling is a journalist for that same paper, and turns him in (though mainly because he thinks Peachy will get killed pulling this scam).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Nick Fury realizes something is wrong because files on a project he's wondering about are being blocked and are only allowed to be viewed, per the computer, by "Director Fury" (actually Alexander Pierce).
    • During the grand heist of Ant-Man, Luis tries to excuse himself for being in a restricted room to a guard by saying the boss ordered him to. The guard who he's talking to is the boss.
    • Captain Marvel (2019): Coulson accidentally blows the cover of the Skrull who's impersonating him by calling Fury to find out where he and all the other SHIELD agents (who took off in pursuit of Carol and another Skrull from Talos's landing party), while Fury's driving with the imposter.
    • Avengers: Endgame: During the 2012 part of the Time Heist, Steve ends up encountering his past self while retrieving the Mind Stone and has to fight him. 2012!Steve thinks this trope is what's happening, due to Loki escaping from their captivity due to the time-travel changes. The fight ends with 2023!Steve telling his past self "Bucky is alive!" to get him to let go of him.
  • Played with in Man on the Moon. Andy Kaufman initially claims that he used to impersonate Lounge Lizard Tony Clifton in his stage act until this trope happened, whereupon Andy agreed to help Tony further his career instead. It's subsequently revealed that Tony doesn't actually exist; he's an Alter-Ego Acting persona of Andy's. Some time later, with this duality becoming public knowledge, Tony is booked to perform at a casino resort in Lake Tahoe. The performance is going swimmingly until midway through his performance, Andy crashes it as himself and ends up run off the stage by Tony, much to the disgust of the audience as they realize they weren't watching Andy all along, but....well, it doesn't matter who but it wasn't Andy. It's actually Andy's friend/co-conspirator Bob Zmuda in the elaborate costume and makeup; Andy arranged this because he wants to both maintain the fiction that Tony is an actual person and retain an element of surprise in the act.
  • Yet another slight variation. In The Naked Gun. Detective Drebin arrives at the hospital and notices that Nordberg's police guard was absent. When he asks the nurse where the guard was she explains that "Detective Drebin" phoned and sent him home.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Jack learns in England that someone impersonating him is rallying a crew on the Queen Anne's Revenge to set sail for the Fountain of Youth. After a brief duel, Jack recognizes the imposter as his New Old Flame, Angelica.
  • In Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, the cops finally confront the Big Bad (the Mayor), who is using Latex Perfection to impersonate Commandant Lassard, except Lassard is one of the arresting cops. Each of them tries to claim the other is the criminal, until Lassard's nephew performs the Pinocchio test by pulling on the nose, which pulls the Big Bad's mask off.
  • In the 1995 The Quick and the Dead, John Herod is hosting, as well as competing in, a gunfighting tournament. One of his opponents is Ace Hanlon, a man with a few tricks, but whose guns aren't quite as quick as his mouth. As their fight is about to begin, they have the following exchange:
    Herod: Mr. Hanlon, I want to ask you about Indian Wells. Did that fight really take place? You really killed four men?
    Hanlon: (smiles) Two with my right hand, two with my left. Truth be told, I'm equally good with either.
    Herod: You must be the fastest gun in the west. (Beat) That, or the biggest liar.
    Hanlon: (his smile suddenly fades) A pity you weren't there to find out.
    Herod: Oh, but I was, Ace. See, I was the one who really killed the Terence brothers, and I doubt a lying little chicken-shit like you was even in the same state!
    Hanlon: (is now visibly worried)
  • In Ride Along, Ben pretends to be Omar, the villains' boss, to rescue James. His disguise works since none of them have met Omar before, until the real Omar shows up.
  • In Taking Care of Business, Jimmy Dworski escapes from jail, finds the Filofax of Spencer Barnes, then impersonates Barnes until the real Spencer Barnes shows up.
  • In the WW2 movie Under Ten Flags (1960), a spy who looks like a German naval officer is sent into their headquarters to steal their naval codes (the movie was made before anyone knew about ULTRA codebreaking). However the real officer returns as the imposter is leaving the building. Overcoming his surprise, the German chases after the imposter only to get 'accidentally' run over by the spy's back-up team.
  • In X2: X-Men United, Mystique does something similar to this with Lady Deathstrike and an office janitor though she doesn't say anything to the real janitor when she passes him. She later tries posing as Wolverine to infiltrate Stryker's base. But if there's one thing Stryker knows, it's his own work, and he isn't fooled.
  • In CAM Alice finally confronts the doppelganger that has taken over her cam girl identity in the movie's last act via video chat only to realize "Lola" doesn't seem to realize they share the same face. This makes her realize the doppelganger is never aware of what it actually looks like.

  • In the short story Animal Rescue by Dennis Lehane, a small-time thug had a scary reputation based on the rumor that he'd killed a fellow named Richie Whelan a few years back. The police never pinned it on him, but he used this to intimidate people ... until he tried to push around the main character, one of the guys who really murdered Richie Whelan. Oops.
  • In The Bad Bunch by J.T. Edson, Belle Boyd poses as Belle Starr in order to infiltrate an all-female outlaw gang. Unfortunately for her, the real Belle Starr had the same idea.
  • Subverted in the third Captive Prince book: to get past some guards at an inn, Laurent and Damen pretend to be a cloth merchant they once met and his assistant. It just so happens that Charls, the real merchant, is staying at the inn, and has his friend the innkeeper to confirm his identity. However, Charls recognizes his prince and pretends that Laurent is his a cousin who shares a family name.
  • Codex Alera has a close variant: Aldrick ex Gladius, regarded as one of the greatest swordsmen in the world, is famed partially because of his legendary duel with Araris Valerian, which is still being talked about fifteen years later. At multiple points throughout the series he crosses swords with other famed warriors, calmly informing each of them "The only man who has ever matched me in battle was Araris Valerian himself, and you aren't Araris." At the climax of Furies of Calderon, it turns out his opponent is Araris. Aldrick practically collapses when he realizes this.
  • In East Of Desolation by Jack Higgins, narrator Joe Martin is hired to help with the investigation of a small plane that crashed. The pilot's widow, Sarah Kelso, comes along ... only she isn't, because Joe flew that plane under a false name, since he'd suspected (correctly) there was something dodgy about the job.note  And he'd never in his life seen "his widow" before she turned up along with the investigators.
  • The Executioner. During his war against The Mafia, Mack Bolan likes to pose as one of the elite Black Ace killers to infiltrate their ranks. He uses this cover while speaking to a (supposedly) retired Mafioso, only to find out afterwards that he's the secret boss of the Black Aces and knows full well that Bolan isn't one of his own.
  • In the Hercule Poirot novel One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, one of the suspects is a Mrs Albert Chapman, whose husband turns out to have been a spy. There's also a character named Mr Barnes, a retired Secret Service agent who discusses the case with Poirot. At the end of the book Barnes tells Poirot that "Albert Chapman" had been his alias, and he knew there wasn't a wife.
  • Jennifer Government has a subplot with Billy infiltrating the NRA when they mistake him for Bill. Unfortunately for Billy, he is really not cut out for the secret agent game, and when he runs into the real Bill doesn't realize that this is the man he's impersonating. When Bill finally figures out that Billy is an infiltrator he calls the guards, but Billy is able to save himself by fingering Bill as the infiltrator, and the guards shoot him before he can say anything in his defense.
  • In the short Lord Peter Wimsey story "The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste", several men all claim to be the aristocratic sleuth and wine expert Lord Peter Wimsey. A wine tasting is held in order to determine the real Wimsey. Their host can't figure out who the real one is until it is revealed that they're all fakes - Wimsey is the one visitor not calling himself Lord Peter Wimsey.
  • In the last short story in the Agatha Christie collection Parker Pyne Investigates, a woman whose son has been kidnapped is offered the services of professional problem-solver Parker Pyne. He arranges for a paste copy of a diamond necklace to be paid as ransom to fool the kidnappers. However, the man is not actually Parker Pyne, but the villain, whose aim was to steal the diamond necklace. Unfortunately for him, another guest at the hotel, a Mr. Thompson, is actually Parker Pyne traveling incognito in an attempt to have a proper holiday without getting dragged into other peoples' problems. The real Parker Pyne stops the villain and retrieves the real necklace.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • X-Wing: The Bacta War: While visiting Mos Eisley spaceport with his lover Mirax, Corran Horn sees a friendly bartender use the fact that Mirax is the beloved daughter of notorious smuggler Booster Terrik to get a creep to back off. Later, when Corran and Mirax are confronted with a grizzled, one-eyed space pirate, Corran tries to pull the same trick—only for the pirate to bust out laughing and Mirax to sheepishly tell him that is her father.
    • Hand of Thrawn: As part of Garm Bel Iblis's attempt to capture an intact copy of the Caamas Document, he has the Errant Venture, an Imperial II-class star destroyer owned by Booster Terrik, masquerade as the Imperial star destroyer Tyrannic fleeing Republic attack, as New Republic Intelligence lists the actual ISD Tyrannic as missing in action. Moff Disra doesn't fall for it because he's using the Tyrannic as part of his own Batman Gambit against the Republic and knows exactly where it is.
  • Goosebumps: Book #15, "You Can't Scare Me!", has the main characters call their classmate Courtney to get her into the woods, at the tree house. The girl calling claims to be Courtney's friend Denise. Courtney's response:
    "That's weird. How can you be Denise when Denise is standing here right next to me?"
  • The novel Fifty Eight Minutes (which helped inspire Die Hard 2) has a terrorist posing as a priest meeting another priest in the men's room. When the other priest asks where he's from, the terrorist says he's a bishop of "Portland" then adds "Maine" as he figures that's less cliche that "Oregon." The other priest is confused...because he's the bishop for Portland, Maine. The terrorist quickly kills him while lampshading the one-in-a-million coincidence they just had to run into each other.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Buffy calls out Kendra when the latter claims to be the Slayer... only to discover that Kendra became a Slayer when Buffy was temporarily dead.
  • Burn Notice: In "Center of the Storm", Michael Westen pretends to be a hit man named Matt Reese to work with another hired gun in order to save the victim. Things go south when the real Matt Reese shows up.
  • Cheers: In the b-plot of "What is... Cliff Clavin?", someone is going through Sam's missing Little Black Book and getting women to come to a local roller rink, dressed in "a black leather mini-skirt and French-cut panties", then no-showing. When the impostor gets to Rebecca's name, she gets him to come to Cheers. The impostor turns out to be a 12 year-old boy. Sam thought he was trying to emulate "Sam Malone, ex-Big Leaguer". He was trying to be like "Sam Malone, Babe Hound".
  • Daredevil (2015): In season 3, Wilson Fisk has Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter dress up in a Daredevil suit to commit murders to discredit Matt Murdock, the real Daredevil, and all three of Matt's fights with Dex happen while Dex is in costume (first while Dex is carrying out an attack on the New York Bulletin to eliminate a witness against Fisk, then when Dex attacks Matt's church to kill Karen to avenge her murder of James Wesley, and in the finale when Matt manipulates him into going after Fisk to avenge Fisk's murder of Dex's friend Julie Barnes).
  • In an episode of Earth: Final Conflict, Liam is captured and confronted by the real Liam Kincaid, whose identity he has taken. Apparently, the real Liam is in black ops, which is why he hasn't been seen. At the end of the episode, he tells his impostor to do right by his name.
  • In Elementary, Sherlock's identity is stolen and Sherlock tracks down the imposter. The guy turns out to be a poor immigrant who needed Sherlock's identity to get a work permit. Sherlock is rather sympathetic and agrees to not report the immigrant if the guy tells him who sold him the identity in the first place. Before leaving, Sherlock warns the guy to quickly get a new identity since there are quite a number of people with grudges against Sherlock or his family and some might mistake the imposter for the real thing.
  • Friends:
    • Monica tracks down the "Fake Monica" who stole her credit card with the intention of confronting her. On meeting "Monica" she's so taken by the woman's free-wheeling nature that she lies about her own identity so they can hang out. When someone else turns the imposter in Monica goes to the jail to admit she's the real Monica Geller and make it clear she wasn't the one that turned Fake Monica in.
    • In one episode, Phoebe found a lost police badge, which she then starts flashing around to intimidate people. Eventually she tries to pull it on a real cop and tries to bluff her way through his questions, like which precinct she works at. After a while he seems to believe her, then he asks "So where did you find my badge?"
  • In General Hospital, boozy, floozy Rhonda crashes the wealthy Quartermaine family's christening party for its newest member and promptly makes an ass out of herself, getting drunk and flirting with all the men. When an irritated woman asks why she's there, she haughtily claims to have been invited. (She's actually riding the coattails of her daughter Karen's legitimate invitation.) The equally haughty woman informs her that she most certainly was NOT invited, and she knows this because she, the child's mother, sent out the invitations.
  • In the Highlander episode 'The Messenger', an Immortal appears who claims to be Methos, the legendary oldest Immortal, and preaches that Immortals should live in peace and give up fighting each other. The real Methos decides to pay him a visit and ask a few questions, although it never goes beyond that and the real Methos doesn't reveal his identity.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Ted receives an invitation to a high society party meant for someone else (the woman had lived in the apartment before Ted moved in). The gang goes to the party, and just as Lily is about to pose as Marissa, the real Marissa shows up. Ted talks to her, and she agrees to let the gang attend as her guests.
  • In Jeeves and Wooster season 1 episode 5, "Brinkley Manor", Jeeves is away and Bertie is forced to take care of himself. While he is struggling to make tea, Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps arrives for a visit. When the phone rings, Bertie asks Barmy to answer it and pretend he is Jeeves.
    Barmy: Mr. Wooster's residence. [pause] Where is Mr. Wooster? He's not at home, sir. I'm Jeeves. [pause] What do you mean 'you think not?' [pause] Oh! [He hangs up.]
    Bertie: Who was it?
    Barmy: Jeeves!
  • In an episode of Lucifer (2016), the titular character learns that someone has been going around pretending to be him. He finally has Maze track the guy down and drag him to the club. The guy nearly pisses his pants when Lucifer starts threatening him and admits to having pretended to be him to score chicks. Lucifer decides to let him go.
  • In one serial of Mathnet, mathematician George Frankly is being framed for a crime. At trial, a self-representing George tearily admits to the crime. Cue the real George, bursting into the courtroom in a wifebeater and boxers, looking disheveled. He accuses the impostor himself of being the man framing him, which he proves by tugging on his face until a latex mask comes off.
  • In an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, Callen poses as the backup for a member of a team of hired assassins, whom the rest of the team would not have met, telling the others that his partner missed his check-in call, only to find that, despite the captured assassin supposedly calling his backup to check in, said backup is already there. It turns out to be a subversion—the other person claiming the same identity was lying in order to test the new guy, and thanks to the rest of the team not busting in and Callen keeping his cool, he passed.
  • Odd Squad: In "Flawed Squad", Shapeshifter changes into Agent Olympia in an attempt to throw off the Odd Squad agents who waiting outside the craft room door for the villains. When she opens the door, she finds herself facing Agents Otis and Olympia. She mutters "Should've chosen a different agent".
  • One Piece (2023): In "Romance Dawn", Nami knocks out a Marine officer at a bar to use his uniform and steal a map from the Marine base. That same officer reappears in the map room just as she's about to leave, forcing Nami to kick his weapon out of his hand and incapacitate him and the other officer there.
    Marine officer: Hey, you're that girl from the bar. The one who stole my uniform.
  • Royal Canadian Air Farce: In season 11, one sketch had "Pamela Wallin" (Luba Goy) interviewing "Jean Chrétien" (Roger Abbott), which was interrupted by the real Pamela Wallin, who continued the interview, only for the real Jean Chretien to interrupt and continue the interview with the real Wallin.
  • Saturday Night Live: In several sketches, an SNL performer playing a celebrity or noted person will find themselves facing the actual person. For example, Will Ferrell impersonated US Attorney General Janet Reno during the recurring "Janet Reno's Dance Party" sketches. In the January 20, 2001 episode, airing the same day as the end of the Bill Clinton presidency, the real Reno showed up during that show's sketch, shouting "It's Reno time!", and after a humorously awkward meeting, they decide to dance together.
  • Schitt's Creek has David discover his old boss Wendy has gone into business with a man named Antonio, who dresses like a less-elegant David and is mistaken for David during the episode. Their business is a knockoff of Rose Apothecary, selling cheaper products that are supposedly locally sourced but are just re-labeled drugstore items. David doesn't confront Antonio directly, but he reveals the fraud to Wendy who feels scammed herself.
  • Star Trek:
  • Whiplash: A variant in "The Other Side of the Swan". Cobb arrives in Melbourne looking for a missing man: knowing only that he has been using the alias of Padgett. Locating Padgett's post office box, he meets a man named Swan who is delivering maill to that box. Hoping Swan can lead him to Padgett, Cobb introduces himself as Padgett's son. Unfortunately, Swan is actually Padgett under yet another alias.
  • A variation in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess has a cocky wannabe bandit try to intimidate Xena by telling her that he has killed the dread warlord somebody, which earns him only a passing nod. Later on, he repeats the boast, and Xena tells him that he's a liar, and he didn't kill that guy. "How do you know?" "Because I did."
  • One episode of Zorro (1990) has an imposter step into the Alcalde's identity while the real Alcalde is away. When the real one gets back, there is much confusion when people try to follow one man's decrees and then are punished because said decrees contradict the other one's decrees, until the real one manages to confront the impostor. Even then, the matter still isn't resolved until Zorro appears and offers an objective means of telling the two apart — the real Alcalde has a scar on his arm from a previous fight with Zorro. After slicing open both men's sleeves, the guards have proof as to which is the fake, and the impostor is arrested.

  • In Dee D. Jackson's disco Concept Album Cosmic Curves, the heroine has an A God Am I moment and takes on the persona of Venus, the goddess of love. When she is later put on trial, the real Venus turns up to denounce her as an impostor.

    New Media 
  • Not Always Right:
    • A man comes up to a cashier and orders a drink. When asked to pay up, he claims to be a close friend of the manager, who said the barista could hook him up with a free drink. While he's trying to swing his story, another guy comes in, to whom the barista cheerily hands a drink, free of charge. "Oh, so I can't get a free drink, but that jerkoff can?" "Sir, it's not polite to call your close friend a jerkoff."
    • This is arguably the straightest example. Bonus points for using an ID they didn't bother to check. (The customer is using the cashier's wallet and ID, which had been stolen about a week before.)
    • And invoked here. (The scammer claims to know the owner. The cashier's response: "Really? How do you know me?" And no, they weren't actually the owner.)
    • And here. (The customer claims to be a lawyer who'll sue if they don't take his expired coupons. The person behind them actually is a lawyer and asks him enough questions to prove he's lying, then tells him just how much trouble he'll be in if they make it official and arrest him for impersonating an agent of the state.)
    • Phone scammers still haven't realized that it's time to try another tactic. (The caller claims to be the daughter of the man they're trying to reach. The person answering responds by pretending to turn away from the phone before yelling, "Hey, Dad! It's me from the future on line one. Do you want the spoilers or not?")
    • And another variant. (The shop offers a discount to employees, and employees can loan their discount card to family members. The customer claims to be the cashier's father. The cashier, naturally, knows they're lying.)
    • This one goes above and beyond. After an attempt to hit on a married woman failed and ended up with the woman flooring him with one punch, a man tries to lobby the (female) bartender to have the woman and her husband thrown out and claims to be the owner's brother. Whereupon the bartender (who is of course also the owner) turns to the woman he'd been unsuccessfully hitting on and asks since when they've had a brother.
    • A couple scammers try and fail to buy about $1000 worth of electronic goods with a stolen credit card, and are caught in part because they tried to use said card when its rightful holder was the cashier.
    • A couple walking in at a reservation-only restaurant insist to the hostess they have special permission from the owner as a personal friend to come in whenever they want without reservations, only for the apparent hostess to snap that she and her father are the co-owners of the restaurant, and throw them out on their rears.
  • When CaptainSparklez joins SMPLive, Altrive dresses up as him, using his Minecraft skin. The two stare each other down as the other server members gather around.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Forgotten Realms had a wizard and Harper agent Nleera Tarannath playing one of Tesper family ghosts, quietly observing or contacting people on each party for seven years. Until the smiling real ghost appeared right next to her before the lord Tesper. In this case, she was allowed to continue the game. Though after a year of this she took to visit the place with her own face, as his fiancee. Ghosts blew her cover on purpose, to push them together a little — once they were sure she's fit for their descendant, that is.
  • WARMACHINE and HORDES use this to explain Mirror Matches. If the same character appears in both armies, than one of them is an imposter, and the one that survives or is on the winning side is automatically the real one. Subverted in the event that both characters die, in which case they are both declared to have been imposters.
  • This can happen in Coup. There are only three of each role card in the deck, so if you have an Assassin card and there are two other Assassins face-up on the field, you know that any other player claiming to be an Assassin is lying.
  • Changeling: The Lost: After escaping the Land of Faerie, some Changelings try to confront the Fetches that The Fair Folk left in their place. As the Fetch has all the Changeling's human memories, the Fetch can sense the Changeling's presence in advance and prepare, and Arcadia usually leaves the Changeling physically and mentally altered from the person their loved ones remember, few Changelings succeed in reclaiming their old life.

    Video Games 
  • Among Us: The Shapeshifter role is an Impostor with the capability to shapeshift into any live (or recently killed) Crewmate for a limited while, which can be an effective tactic to frame an innocent Crewmate. However, if a Crewmate spots and reports another player who has taken on their looks, it'll not only reveal the presence of the Shapeshifter, but also (previously) deem the Crewmate as innocent, as at first, Shapeshifters could only shapeshift into Crewmates, not other Impostors. A later update allows Shapeshifter Impostors to shift into their teammate/s as long as they're alive as well, turning the "confirmed innocence" part of this false.
  • In Arcanum, the player's character is touted by many to be the reincarnation of Nasrudin. He may choose to either run with it or not; however, those who do are in for a rude awakening near the end of the game, when they encounter the real Nasrudin who was alive all along.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, in Amaranthine there is a Knowledge Broker calling himself "the Dark Wolf", who has information about the growing conspiracy against the Warden. Depending on whether Slim Couldry's thievery missions were completed in Origins, the Warden can call him out on being an imposter, as they are the real Dark Wolf!
  • Oddly averted in Fallout 4. There's a guy pretending to be Preston Garvey (one of your companions) walking around, and it's possible to have the real Preston right there when you confront him... but Preston has no available dialogue for this.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates: When Alhanalem enters the castle, he finally confronts the female Yuke who was impersonating him.
  • In one of the missions in Hitman: Contracts, you have to disguise yourself as a waiter to infiltrate a party. However, it would be a very good idea to knock out the real waiter first, or else the security guards will easily catch on when they see too many waiters running around.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, Impa and Sheik visit Lake Hylia and the Water Temple and are confronted by an apparently Face Heel Turned Princess Zelda. After defeating her, Impa uses the Lens of Truth to reveal it was the shapeshifter Wizzro in disguise. When he asks how they saw through his ruse, Sheik steps up and tells him that he couldn't possibly have been Zelda, because she is Zelda.
  • In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Lady Urbosa is introduced confronting her imposter... by way of calling down the lightning on him.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The 7th Stand User, there's a chance that Rubber Soul will impersonate the player instead of Kakyoin in Chaos Mode. Should the player arrive to the gondola in time, they can confront him alongside Jotaro and Kakyoin.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, one of the memories you can unlock is of Queen Sonia meeting 'Zelda' privately to talk. It turns out that 'Zelda' is actually Ganon taking Zelda's form, and he tries to assasinate the Queen- only to be stopped by the real zelda with the recall power. Unfortunately, Ganon had one more trick up his sleeve...
    Zelda: Did you really think we hadn't realized your deceit?
  • In Medal of Honor: Frontline, you steal the identity of a German officer to enter the train station. However, the German officer himself runs to the station in his undergarments to alert the German forces to your presence.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Pliskin knows that the person claiming to be Solid Snake is, in fact, an imposter. Wonder why? Ah, it's the voice. He doesn't have the sexy manliness of David Hayter. They do share a voice in Japanese, but the point still stands - Pliskin knows the imposter is not Solid Snake because he himself is actually Solid Snake. No, that's not a spoiler.
  • Mirror Matches are actually lampshaded in Mortal Kombat X, where one will call out the other as a "cheap imitation" or a creation of one of the various Big Bad Wannabes, and Kano implies a ton of them were made:
    Kano 1: Believe it, mate...
    Kano 2: Shang Tsung did this?
    Kano 1: He made plenty of us.
  • At one point in Skies of Arcadia: Legends, Vyse's title changes to "The Fallen"; it turns out that there's a trio of actors posing as the party and causing mischief. If he confronts and defeats them, he can even claim the bounty on himself.
  • In Solar Winds, you're given a display filter so that aliens you talk to over video communications will see you as being one of them, and thus won't attack you on sight. Unless, of course, you run into the specific alien the display filter was recorded off of, who recognizes your treachery and tries to blast you out of the sky.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • The Imperial Agent's storyline begins on Nal Hutta where they impersonate a space pirate called the Red Blade whose real gender and species is conveniently unknown. But as the player goes to leave Hutta, they're alerted that the real Red Blade has learned of their deception and has just arrived on the planet to confront them, forcing the player to rush to the spaceport and intercept him before he can expose the truth.
    • The Ilum storyline has Darth Malgus state that he was sent to assist Imperial forces on Ilum by the Dark Council. The Sith Inquisitor PC by this point is on the Dark Council, and can comment that they would have remembered that. Malgus then says that two of the other Councilors sent him. It's unclear whether he's telling the truth about this, but he attempts a Military Coup against the Council in the second half of the storyline.
  • In Suikoden II (and V) the Hero catches someone pretending to be him. In Suikoden V, the disguise is near-perfectnote , so it's natural that this would be what thwarts it. In Suikoden II... not so much.
  • Spies in Team Fortress 2 are easily rooted out by the people on the other team whose names the game has randomly given them for their disguise.
    • Or, in a much easier sense, if a player knows he's the only person on his team with his class (in which case the Spy will inevitably have that player's name).
    • The Halloween update had a "Costume Contest" achievement for killing Spies disguised as your class. Spies themselves have an achievement (Identity Theft) for killing the guy they're disguised as.
  • In Thief: Deadly Shadows, you overhear a conversation in which a guy is obtaining a lucrative contract by pretending to be you. True to the game's minimal-violence style, you also hear where he will stash the loot, so you let him do the work and then steal it.
  • In Ultima VII, an imposter is pretending to be the Avatar, using your heroic reputation to scam people and causing you trouble when they meet you. Eventually you catch up with him. Exceptionally hilarious if you're playing a female Avatar, since the impostor isn't bothering to disguise his face. Those people had it coming.
  • In Yakuza 2, two impostors pretending to be Kazuma Kiryu (but overweight) and his associate Shinji go around Kamurocho using Kiryu's reputation as the Dragon of Dojima to walk out of tabs. Then they try to intimidate the real Kiryu, and it goes about as well as anyone would expect. The real Kiryu doesn't even flinch when the fake Kiryu punches him in the face.

  • Happens in anti-HEROES #67. Kaal is impersonating "Dave" when he runs into the real "Dave", and manages to stay in sync with him for a while before his own stupidity does him in.
  • In the NSFW Oglaf strip titled Prince Rodgar, a shapeshifter "steals" the shape of Prince Rodgar during a tryst in the woods, and arrives at court pretending to be the Prince. Unfortunately for the shapeshifter, the real prince is at court: the shapeshifter stole the shape of an impostor, and gets tarred and feathered.
    • In a less NSFW strip called Imposture, a Master of Disguise attempts the Refuge in Audacity route by confronting their impostee and attempting to convince a third party that they are actually the imposter. Unfortunately the imposter is a Master of Slutty Disguise and is promptly discredited by being dressed only in lingerie.
  • In Terror Island, one of the main characters tries to sneak into a college reunion under the obviously made-up name "Ned Q. Sorceror, D.D.S.". Turns out the school actually has an alumnus by that name.
  • In Star Trip, the shapeshifting alien Khut changes into the form of a pop star Abrak Yuun, at the urging of their companion, Jas, to make quick money off of autographs. Moments later, the real Yuun arrives and puts an end to the scam.
  • In xkcd strip #1607 "Supreme Court", a stranger sneaks into the supreme court pretending to be one of the justices, despite all 9 justices present and accounted for. The stranger goes as far as to claim he's either Justice Alito or Ginsburg.

    Western Animation 
  • The Beatles episode "No Reply" had a master of disguise named Anyface who has impersonated Paul. The chief of police has the boys perform before his niece, whom he says can pick out the real Paul easily. She can't. What gives Anyface away is that he doesn't run when confronted with hysterical female Beatles fans.
  • Parodied in the Family Guy episode "Road to Germany:" "Two priests?! That's impossible!" Later in the same episode it's played straight, complete with Mirror Routine. Also played straight in "A Picture is Worth 1, 000 Bucks" when Peter tries to impress a high school classmate by claiming he grew up to be "Neptune, God of the Sea" only to find out that the real Neptune is playing at the same miniature golf course and doesn't appreciate Peter sullying his good name.
  • Hong Kong Phooey: Doctor Disguise impersonates several people while trying to escape from Hong Kong Phooey. Phooey is confused when Disguise impersonates Penrod Pooch because he is Penrod Pooch. Phooey decides to let the villain become Penrod while he becomes Hong Kong Phooey full time but Spot uses the villain's device to revert him to his real form with prison clothes instead of the regular outfit he's seen wearing while not disguised. Phooey just thinks the villain decided to surrender once hearing his name.
  • In the Popeye cartoon Hello, How Am I?, Wimpy impersonates Popeye in hope of getting some hamburgers from Olive, and has an argument with the real Popeye over which of them is genuine. Amusingly enough Popeye believes it, and walks off trying to figure out his 'real' identity.
  • The animated Punky Brewster had "Double Your Punky", where Glomer creates an obnoxious clone of her from a photograph to keep him company while the real Punky is on a class picnic. After lots of confusion, the two Punkys meet and nobody can tell who is who except her dog Brandon, who recognizes her scent.
  • Spider-Man (1967): The "Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man" meme image is from the episode "Double Identity", in which Spidey confronts a criminal who is impersonating him.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • In "The Spider Slayer", Flash Thompson disguises himself as Spider-Man to pull a prank on Peter Parker. Being the real Spider-Man, Peter doesn't fall for it but plays along because he doesn't know how to expose the other as a fraud without revealing himself.
    • In another episode, Spidey spots the Chameleon in a crowd because he was impersonating Peter Parker.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "In the Name of the Rebellion", Ezra tries to get an Imperial cruiser to leave by impersonating an Imperial control tower officer and claiming the cruiser isn't supposed to be there. When the cruiser's captain demands his identity, Ezra claims to be "Commander Brom Titus". Unfortunately for him, the captain just happens to be Commander Brom Titus.
  • In Bizarro's first appearance of Superman: The Animated Series, he looked and acted just like the Man of Steel (except for being really corny). The real Superman was tipped off that something was wrong when Bizarro rescued Clark Kent from falling off a cliff.
  • Jem herself does this to Clash in "One Jem Too Many." Clash's horrible vocals (done here by Jem's voice actress) instantly out her.
  • In Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, the Legion Ex Machina build a replica of Big Guy in order to infiltrate his base. They just didn't realize that the real Big Guy is not a robot but a guy in a mech. Eventually, there is a fight between the real Big Guy and the fake (who also has a chest cannon, while the real one has a pilot cabin in that location). Naturally, the good guy wins.
  • In the season 2 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight dramatically stops the wedding between Shining Armor and Princess Cadance so that the real Princess Cadance can expose the one at the altar for the imposter she is: the changeling Queen Chrysalis.

    Real Life 
  • There is a verified case of a forger in California who attempted to pass a forged check written on a checkbook he had stolen from a mailbox. The teller was the actual person who owned the checks.
  • In another real life example, a police officer pulled over a possible drunk driver, who pulled into the driveway of a nearby home and claimed it was his home. The problem? You guessed it, it was the cop's house.
  • This can also happen when something other than a person is disguised. During World War I, the British and Germans both employed armed merchant ships (the Germans used them to attack British shipping, the British to hunt down German raiders), and often used fake markings, false smokestacks, and other elements to disguise them as the other side's ship. In the 1914 Battle of Trindade, the German SMS Cap Trafalgar, disguised as the British RMS Carmania, encountered the Carmania. At that early point in the war, neither side actually knew which merchant ships the other had converted into auxiliary cruisers, so captains commonly made poor choices of disguise.note  It is often claimed that Carmania was also disguised as Cap Trafalgar. This is not the case, but it should have been.
  • An amusing variation: Jim Lovell is traveling to a hotel in Houston under the name of Max Peck, to receive his new assignment as a NASA astronaut. Shortly after he settles in to his room, he gets a call from another guest, who also claims to be Max Peck. Lovell, at this point, realizes there is probably more than one ersatz Max Peck here, because he had picked up another bit of info on the way to the room: "If you have a problem, take it up with the manager. I understand his name is Max Peck!" The other ersatz Max Peck turns out to be another new astronaut, Ed White. In fact, all the astronauts in that group were assigned rooms at that hotel under the name "Max Peck". White had called his room in an attempt to draw Lovell out; he was waiting in the lobby with a couple of other new astronauts when Jim came and looked.

    (This is described in Jim Lovell's autobiographical book Apollo 13 (originally Lost Moon). The scene is repeated in the television miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, including a very puzzled check-in lady who is NOT in on the fiction. And yes, Lovell was right—the real hotel manager's name was indeed Max Peck, hence the clerk who was not aware of the situation being bewildered by "Mr. Peck's" attempt to check in.)


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Because Im Jonesy, Youre Disguised As Me, Confronting Your Impostor


RoA 2 - William Wallace

While attempting to drum up support from the Scottish peasants, Braveheart William Wallace got confronted by The Real William Wallace and got killed by the latter.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ConfrontingYourImposter

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