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Consummate Liar

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"Lying is a skill like any other, and if you want to maintain a level of excellence, you have to practice constantly."
Elim Garak, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "In Purgatory's Shadow"

This character is not your ordinary everyday lying jerk. This is the liar so good you never, ever want to play poker with them because you'd go home without your underwear and short next week's paycheck.

Obviously, this is a handy talent for a villain to have if the hero group has a Living Lie Detector, although it can also come in quite handy for a hero who needs to fool the villain for a change. For obvious reasons, it is particularly useful if the Living Lie Detector believes that their ability is working, when in fact it is not. Conversely, a more audacious Consummate Liar might make blatantly false or contradictory statements to the Living Lie Detector just to show off. Will also use Self-Serving Memory if it will suit their needs. Particularly skilled liars can sometimes even become a Living Lie Detector due to all their experiences with lies, and are thus quick to notice when others attempt to lie to them.

Two common variations on Consummate Liar are:

  • Just Too Alien: An entire race of people (usually aliens) just happen to be immune to whatever the Living Lie Detector's ability is. Often not quite as disastrous as the lone exceptional Consummate Liar, because once you figure out that the Ferengi are immune to your telepathy, you quit trying to use it on them to gather information. Note that being immune to one type of truth-telling might not make a race immune to ALL types (just because you can resist telepathy doesn't mean you can necessarily resist some kind of Applied Phlebotinum Truth Serum).
  • Truth Twister: A group of beings with the unusual reputation of being "unable to tell a lie." This is usually interpreted by the group as "unable to tell a LITERAL lie" — violating the spirit of the rule is just fine if you can get away with it. This usually renders them immune to most Living Lie Detector abilities or even become a lie detector themselves due to experience, but it doesn't help them for long, as they quickly develop a reputation for being able to lie without lying, resulting in no one believing ANYTHING they say. (However, the really tricky ones can exploit even that.) Examples include the Aes Sedai, and the ability of Earthsea dragons to lie in the True Speech (which is supposed to be impossible, but they manage). Vulcans are often thought to fall into this category, but in fact, they can lie; they just strongly prefer not to. When confronted with evidence of having told an untruth, the typical Vulcan response is, "I exaggerated." Liar!

This trope does not apply to tricks such as the Memory Gambit or Note to Self when they are used as a defense against lie detection. In those tropes, the would-be liar must convince themselves that they are telling the truth. The Consummate Liar knows perfectly well that they are lying. May or may not actually admit, later, that I Lied.

Any character who gives a Bastardly Speech has no business being anything else.

Compare The Power of Acting. Contrast Bad Liar. A key trait of the Magnificent Bastard. Their diametric opposite is The Cassandra, someone who always tells the truth but is never believed.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akudama Drive: For some odd reason, Swindler, despite being a Ridiculously Average Girl, has an almost unnatural knack for lying and deception. She's somehow able to trick the other Akudama that she's also a dangerous criminal like them, and in Episode 3 when posing as a delivery woman, she's able to easily lie to the guard about the usual girl being sick despite her clear signs of nervousness.
  • Bleach has Sosuke Aizen, a guy who's so much of a liar that his Zanpakuto (a sword shaped by your own traits) centers around illusion. He'll lie about what sort of person he is; he spent at least a century posing as a kind, mild-mannered Captain when he was pretty much the exact opposite. He'll lie about the nature of his Zanpakuto's illusions, spending a century claiming it uses water to create mirages and trick enemies into attacking each other when it actually grants him total control over all 5 senses of anybody who's [ever looked at it. He'll lie about how much he knows; he claims that he'd lost track of the Hogyoku because it was hidden in Rukia, but it was BECAUSE she had the Hogyoku that he arranged that whole Ichigo and Fishbone D with her. He'll lie about what he needs certain assets for; he made it seem like he kidnapped Orihime for the sake of awakening the Hogyoku, when the significance of her power was really just bait to divide his enemy's forces AND lead Ichigo into some more leveling-up. He'll even lie to his own dang self; when Ichigo showed up with super strength but no perceivable reiatsu, he deluded himself into thinking he'd somehow traded reiatsu for physical strength... even though this makes absolutely no sense because reiatsu and physical strength are the SAME THING for spirits (and sadly, even many readers bought this one). Presumably he was desperately trying to explain away a power he found incomprehensible, and convinced himself that even a nonsensical explanation is more plausible than Ichigo simply having completely surpassed him. It's when he starts this last type of lying that he reaches his downfall.
  • Bungou Stray Dogs has Dazai Osamu, whose first instinct in nearly every situation is to lie. When discovered by an enemy combatant in Fifteen, Dazai immediately pretends to be a scared kid in order to get information. In Stormbringer, Dazai is shown to be so good at lying that Adam, an android, can't discern his vital signs from that of a sleeping person. He also spends two years hiding his past as a mafioso from his work partner.
  • Code Geass:
    • Lelouch Lamperouge/Vi Britannia. While a lot of his lies and secrets do eventually get found out, he still manages to be incredibly convincing. By the end of the series, he's lying to the entire world. There is only ONE person who he never lies to (C.C.) in the entire anime.
    • Schneizel is a consummate Truth Twister, which becomes brutally evident when he turns the Black Knights against Lelouch.
  • Darker than Black:
    • Although it isn't emphasized, Hei is a really good liar. Watching the first two episodes in particular when you already know what he's like is a little awe-inspiring; Huang chalks it up to characteristic Contractor Lack of Empathy. ("You people don't give a shit about what you're doing.") And later, as part of a security check, he was questioned while rigged up to a lie detector; one of the questions was, "Do you know any Contractors?" "No." He passed.
    • All Contractors seem good at this. In the finale Hei is implied to have had normal human emotions the whole time, and the "contractor" persona was the lie.
  • Death Note: With Light Yagami's track record, the only way to keep this entry to a reasonable length would be to list only the characters he failed to fool completely. You can count them on one hand: L, Rem, Mello, and Near. Additionally, Aizawa, Ide, and Mogi too become suspicious of Light, but only after Near has manipulated them and revealed the secret of the fake Death Note rules.
  • In Doraemon, lying is second nature to Suneo. He literally cannot go a day without lying about something, which bites him in the ass when he is given a device from Doraemon's fourth-dimensional pocket of futuristic gadgets that makes all his lies true.
  • Dr. STONE: This is Gen's defining trait; he's a self-described "mentalist" (more of a showman/magician as Senku puts it) with a good understanding of human nature, and so he's easily able to trick people and sway things to his favor with his words. He's not called the "silver-tongued man" for nothing, after all. In chapter 151, it is shown that not even a polygraph machine can detect his lies, although Dr. Xeno still becomes suspicious because of how honest he's being.
  • A general rule of thumb when dealing with Durarara!!'s resident Knowledge Broker, Izaya Orihara, is that any information he gives you for free is liable to be a big fat lie. He even lies about his background to his own personal secretary simply because he can.
  • Gundam:
    • Paptimus Scirocco from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is perhaps the best example in the entire franchise. A suave and smooth operator with a knack for telling people exactly what they want to hear and for backstabbing his superiors as soon as he's got no more use for them, Scirocco successfully deceives countless people as he aggressively climbs ranks in the Titans.
    • Gilbert Durandal from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny is a politician so that's a strike against him already. It soon becomes obvious that the only time this guy comes close to telling the truth is when he's talking about the Destiny Plan ad even then it's iffy.
    • Loran Cehack, the protagonist from ∀ Gundam, is a low-key version of this. Guin speculates that Loran is so conscientiously kind and accommodating because he's trying to make up for all the white lies and evasions he employs to keep secret that he's really a Moonrace scout who is trying to defend his Earth friends from the Moon's military forces while simultaneously trying to help the Moonrace achieve its goals of recolonizing Earth.
  • Itsuwaribito gives us Utsuho, whose fighting style combines bombs, poison, knives, and lots and lots of lies. He usually wins by tricking his opponents into a situation where they have no choice but to believe him. And once they do, they play into his hands. If this doesn't work, he complicates things by lying about lying. All of the eponymous Itsuwaribito aspire to be this, but many claim the title but have few skills to back it up.
  • Kagerou Daze: Kano, whose eye power is a form of shape-shifting, making lying much easier. It stems from the fact that he used to hide and lie about the bruises and cuts on his body, to protect his mother's reputation. He lied superfluously for the ensuing decade and seems to have no intention of stopping any time soon.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Ai Hayasaka juggles multiple personalities in and outside of school, and it's specifically noted that she lies as naturally as she breathes. Kaguya is the only person who knows what Hayasaka is really like. Hayasaka even deceived Kaguya (reluctantly) from the beginning, being forced to spy for Kaguya's eldest brother since she was employed as Kaguya's personal assistant, ten years before the start of the story.
  • Kaiji pulls off the "lucky liar" feat at a crucial moment or two during his game of E-Card with Tonegawa.
  • Karakuri Circus: Dean was completely able to hide his true feelings at finding Angelina Happily Married to someone else and pregnant with her husband's child.
  • Akiyama from Liar Game does this so well that he can bring down entire corporations. Sure, he got tossed in jail, but still...
  • There is a manga by Iruma Hiruma called Lying Mii-kun And Broken Maa-chan: Precious Lies which tells the gruesome tale of a young boy and girl who get kidnapped 8 years before the main storyline. The title refers to these children, who end up clinging to one another emotionally to survive their horrible ordeal. "Maa-chan" (Mayu Misono) ends up as a mostly Empty Shell because of the incident, whereas the narrator who's only known as "Mii-kun" becomes such a compulsive liar that his catchphrase is "That's a lie." He even ends up pointing out that he's lying right after the fact. To the person he just lied to. Apparently there are a couple of people who can sometimes see through his deception, but for the most part, everyone is left unsure if what Mii-kun said is anything close to the truth (even his "wife" Maa-chan can't tell, though she claims she can).
  • Seijirou from March Comes in Like a Lion is a great liar who's spent much of his known life getting by on falsehood and manipulations designed to force people to sympathize with him no matter what he's done. As Akari mentions to him, he becomes so good at obfuscating the truth for his own benefit that he's managed to convince himself of a number of his own lies.
  • Tobi of Naruto manages to mix truths and lies to such a degree that nobody is entirely sure what is true and what is not about his many revelations. Most of the time, he claimed that he is Madara Uchiha, but after the real Madara Uchiha is revived as a zombie it becomes clear that he been lying about his identity for two hundred chapters and that he is really someone else.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi's Kurt Gödel. Pretty much everything he says is either an outright lie or a rather twisted version of the truth. The only reason that the protagonists bother to listen to him is because he really does have important information and because one of them is a mind reader who can confirm his statements.
  • One Piece:
    • Usopp, when he wants to. He tricked his enemy into thinking he was wielding a five-ton hammer by knocking another enemy out with it when really it was just the weight of your everyday frying pan and the person he knocked out was horribly stupid. He later pulls the same trick successfully using a "ten-ton" hammer. Combined with sudden bursts of strength and sneakiness beforehand, Usopp succeeds in scaring his opponent unconscious.
    • Charlotte Pudding proves to be an absolutely masterful liar. After learning the truth about her, Sanji asks if one of the people Pudding has been lying to is herself. Pudding's inability to form a coherent response implies this is indeed the case.
  • Sai from Peach Girl. Oh lord. No matter how many times she's exposed, she still manages to get some people to take her side...
  • Deconstructed at Ramen Fighter Miki, a Genre Deconstruction of the Fighting Series Played for Laughs: Megumi is so affected by this trope, she cannot tell the Awful Truth to a child that believes Megumi is the real Hell Bunny, even when she had the intention to do so.
  • Rebuild World: Yajima, who was serving as The Mole as part of The Caper by criminals to steal relics from the Underground City ruins Akira is assigned to protect for the Corporate Government, has Cyborg enhancements that control his facial expressions to make them look like pre-recorded honest ones. This allows him to even fool the Living Lie Detector Alpha, resulting in him pulling a Quick Draw on Akira. He later uses this for a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • Xelloss of Slayers is a master Truth Twister. The closest he ever comes to telling a direct lie is to deliberately mispronounce the name Bibble.
  • Snow White with the Red Hair's Obi lies constantly in a joking manner, to the point that even after serving Zen and Shirayuki for years Shirayuki still thinks "Obi" is his name and when he mentions things about his past no one considers that they might be true. He does not lie to Zen when the situation is serious, however.
  • After a warlock soldier puts grey paints on Arusu and Sheila, Sigma in Tweeny Witches manages to fool the heroes into believing the two will die of "disease" in 24 hours without a "counterspell" to heal it. It took Arusu and Sheila washing their bodies by falling into the water for everyone to realize that the "disease" wasn't real in the first place.
  • From World Embryo, Amamiya Riku. He didn't start like this though, but thanks to some certain events and such, he becomes an expert at this, so he can live normally.
  • For Keima in The World God Only Knows, it's not just what he says but also what he does during a capture. He seems to invoke Loving a Shadow to get the job done as quickly as possible yet what he does seems natural and in character enough apart from a few tweaks. The end result is that even the audience isn't quite sure how much he really cares about the capture targets or how much of what he was doing was acting.
  • In the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, Jonouchi isn't actually a good liar, but at bluffing he's an expert. Some examples:
    • In Duelist Kingdom he pulls a reverse bluff against Keith, a guy who pretty much based his whole career on seeing through a poker face. (As in, he sets a Trap Card, tells Keith it's a trap, and hopes he thinks this is an ordinary bluff.) Despite Keith saying it's the "lamest bluff I've ever heard" he still falls for it.
    • Much later, he's able to fool Amoral Attorney Johnson of the Big Five this way, a man who claims he was once able to convict a defendant of stealing a boat, despite said defendant being "terrified of water". Jonouchi's bluff involves him holding up two cards and telling Johnson to guess which is the Monster card, and reminding him the outcome rests on him getting it right. At first, Johnson does get it right, and actually sees through Jonouchi's "Are you sure?" bluff (commenting that it's one of The Oldest Tricks in the Book) at the last second, however, Jonouchi's confidence makes him panic and change his mind; he guesses wrong and loses.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Simple Samosa, one of Samosa's defining character traits is the fabricated tales he tells about himself. Almost none of his friends believe his stories for a second, with Jalebi in particular wasting no time calling him out for being a "bluff master"... almost all of his friends, that is, except for Vada, who is The Baby of the Bunch and implied to be too young to tell fiction from reality. Even when Samosa claims to have defeated two Sumo Momos when it's firmly established in the show's reality that there's one Sumo Momo (Sumo Momo is the name of a professional wrestler Samosa idolizes, by the way), Vada still takes it seriously.

    Comic Books 
  • The alter-ego of Daredevil is lawyer Matt Murdock. Matt can usually tell when someone is lying by listening to their heartbeat. He agrees to defend an accused man because the man's heartbeat does not change when he claims to be innocent of the crime. After Matt successfully defends the man, he thanks Matt for helping him get away with a crime for which he was actually guilty. It turns out that he had a pacemaker, so his heartbeat didn't change when Matt questioned him prior to taking him on. This twist was also done in the movie but with a witness rather than the defendant. For some reason, Matt openly reveals his super-hearing when he ambushes the guy to requestion him and figure out why his heart rate isn't changing. In Daredevil Noir, Matt's senses never detect dishonesty from Eliza, and even when he's spying on her, she reads as being uniquely devoid of internal conflict, which turns out to be because as this continuity's version of Bullseye, she's a sociopath.
  • A crossover between Daredevil and Batman noted that Batman's heartbeat never changes based on his thoughts or intentions, leaving Daredevil unable to tell if he's bluffing or what he's thinking. On the other hand, it also makes it really easy for Daredevil to identify Batman's secret identity, as his heartbeat is described as "wardrum" and slightly slower than it should be.
  • Being a spy series, Double Duck is filled with these. The best one, however, is the title character, alias Donald Duck, who can quickly spin extremely convincing lies or make people believe rather convoluted ones. His best one, however, is his ability to keep the Agency (that he works for) ignorant of the fact he's also Paperinik. Justified thanks to his experience at dealing with his creditors (that know he's penniless and yet still buy it when he says he's going to pay them soon) and at hiding the fact he's Paperinik (something that required him to fool literally the entire city of Duckburg).
  • Hellblazer: John Constantine is a con artist and Occult Detective who, even though being a sorcerer, uses his cunning to scam the most powerful being in the universe. The guy outwitted both Satan and God, and even trumped Batman as well. In one story arc of Justice League Dark when all of the members lost their supernatural powers, Constantine lost his ability to lie. Proving that his true powers is his ability to scam people.
  • The Mighty Thor: Loki is literally the God of Lies (well, occasionally he'll also deny it just for the heck of it). He also manages to play with it — people know they can't trust him, so he simply factors in the not being trusted into what he says. He's literally so good that he can manipulate a person when they know who he is, that he's evil, and that he's probably manipulating them and shouldn't be trusted. In Loki: Agent of Asgard, they even befriend a Living Lie Detector (Verity Willis, who is pretty much Blessed with Suck, both because of her power and the friendship) and then successfully lie to her. She sarcastically congratulates them for the feat later.
  • Nnewts: The Lizzarks are brazen liars, but are able to convince most of the Nnewts into believing their twisted philosophies. For example:
    • Wizzark claims that Orion divided Herk's family, and the Lizzarks brought them back together. Herk and Sissy believe this, forgetting that the Lizzarks killed the rest of their family. Although Herk and Sissy may or may not know this, their parents are now Together in Death under Orion's protection. Orion was the one who really brought them back together.
    • In Book 3, the Snake Lord claims that Orion doesn't care about his people and that he (Orion) caused Launa and Herk to be cripples. However, he also revealed in Book 1 that he was the one who made Herk a cripple, and let's not forget that later in Book 1, Orion directly interfered to save Herk from the Snake Lord.
  • Two versions of this shows up in the Outsiders comic. When trying to figure out which of the members is a traitor, Arsenal hooks them up to lie detectors. Nightwing points out that he's more than capable of beating a lie detector (to which Arsenal replies, "Not this one.") and alien member Starfire is completely immune. Arsenal uses his massive connections to procure an alien torture device that he modifies to work as a lie detector. Two other members of the team aren't even questioned because one is a robot and the other doesn't have a bloodstream. The robot turns out to be a Manchurian Agent whose "Indigo" personality was a mask; her true self is actually Brainiac version 5.0 from the future.
  • Spider-Man: In The Amazing Spider-Man (1963), Spider-Man once dealt with an elderly Gentleman Thief called the Black Fox who, several times, convinced the hero to let him go, promising to go straight if he spared him (usually by saying he was too old to survive incarceration). He never kept this promise, and Spidey fell for it several times. The Fox was a pretty convincing liar in other ways too, able to convince the landlord owners of fancy penthouses that he was a relative of the tenants, letting him stay there when the actual tenants were out of town. Eventually, it took a sort of vision involving his Uncle Ben (hard to explain) for him to realize he was seeing the Fox as a phony "father figure" and was subconsciously afraid of his disapproval. After a dangerous situation where the Fox had stolen a gemstone belonging to Doctor Doom's mother (with the furious Doom coming to get it back), Spidey finally stopped believing his lies and did turn him in.
  • Venom: In The Trial of Venom, a crossover between Daredevil and Spider-Man, Eddie Brock's symbiote seems to have died, and Eddie convinces everyone — psychologists, polygraph operators, and even Matt (who is acting as his lawyer) — that it's dead and that he's no longer a threat. Matt even manages to get him acquitted and released on an Insanity Defense. (Hollywood Law applies here.) In truth, the symbiote is inside his body, keeping him calm and controlling his vital signs to fool the polygraph and even Matt's super-sensitive hearing, without even knowing that Matt is Daredevil. He might never have been found out unless a still-suspicious Spidey decided "just to make sure", and provoked a heated argument with Eddie, making him angry until the symbiote emerged and he gave himself away.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: Dogbert is such an excellent liar he was once able to fool a polygraph... while claiming to be Abraham Lincoln.
    Dogbert: Lie detectors never make mistakes, do they?
    Dilbert: Uh... no, Mister President.
  • Peanuts: No matter how many times Lucy tricked Charlie Brown into trying to kick the football (only to pull it away), he'd always fall for it again the next year.

    Fan Works 
  • Absolute Trust: Alec guards the secret of his origin carefully, always ensuring he has an explainable excuse for his knowledge. Even when he says too much, he's so good at thinking of excuses that sometimes he doesn't even have to lie.
    • In Chapter 2, he accidentally tells Sokka that he's sure Aang will be leaving the South Pole soon. He covers his tracks by saying he heard Air Nomads are vegetarian, and Sokka is quick to agree that he'd leave as soon as he could, too, if he had to live on nothing but sea prunes.
    • In Chapter 8, when Iroh asks Alec about how he knows so much—this being the chapter after Alec shows his knowledge of how Zuko got his scar and how Zuko defeated Zhao in an Agni Ki—Alec says that it was from eavesdropping in taverns where soldiers on shore leave are gossiping. Iroh seems to buy it, and Zuko definitely does:
      Zuko: (pinching the bridge of his nose) I don't need to deal with drunken sailors running their mouths. I have enough problems already.
    • In Chapter 10, when he gapes at Ty Lee after meeting her far, far sooner than expected, he blurts out that she's beautiful. And...well, that wasn't a lie at all; it was, in fact, the main reason he was gawking for so long. Shortly afterward, he explains away his guess that she's an acrobat by noting how she moved while they ran from the storm, avoiding rocks and trees with exceptional grace.
    • In Chapter 15, Aang, Katara, and Sokka join Alec in making Chief Arnook believe that if Hahn becomes chief after what he did to Alec, the Southern Water Tribe will declare war and the Avatar will take their side. They do this to manipulate Arnook into terminating the arranged marriage between Hahn and Yue, the latter of which is very unwilling and in love with someone who just did Alec a favor.
    • In Chapter 35, when he calls in Jeong Jeong's favor, Pakku asks how he knew he was a member of the Order of the White Lotus, and Alec seamlessly claims he learned it from Iroh.
  • Child of the Storm has a couple of variants.
    • Clint, Natasha, Loki, Odin, and Bucky are also examples of the classic Consummate Liar version. Additionally, the Fae, being physically unable to lie, are masters of the Truth Twister variant - but Doctor Strange, also famous for never lying, leaves them all in the dust. As is repeatedly pointed out, being truthful is not, by any means, the same as being honest.
    • Harry becomes one in the sequel, primarily thanks to exposure to Natasha, Loki, and Strange, and a need to maintain what he later terms "operation security". He's a mixture of the classic version, being capable of coming up with entirely plausible lies on reflex (which unnerves him when a surprised Hermione points it out, indicating he's not totally aware of it), with increasing elements of the Truth Twister variant thanks to exposure to Doctor Strange. The latter is best shown in chapter 45, where he effortlessly runs verbal rings around Ron, deftly leading him away from the truth he'd confronted Harry with (the Winter Soldier, who'd pulled a Mercy Kill on Arthur Weasley, was still alive) without one word of a lie... and while outright stating that he is "the best liar you'll ever meet." He's distinctly and increasingly unhappy about it, and his "operational security" explanation is indicated to be at least partly a justification to keep Ron and Hermione Locked Out of the Loop and thus - supposedly - safe.
  • In The Darkness Series Harry Potter becomes one with practice. His lies are not always consistent but so far he has always been able to think up new lies to explain why he lied in the first place.
  • Fade: Considering this is a Death Note Fan Fic, L and Light. Light, however, is nowhere near as bad as in canon, especially after he and L get together. L, on the other hand, has no issues lying to Light — he kills Misa even though he promised he wouldn't, and bribes the prison that was holding her to keep quiet about it.
  • Isshin lies effortlessly throughout A Minor Miscalculation to keep Ryuko and Nudist Beach unaware of his true identity and history. Whenever someone tries to Pull the Thread, he can quickly conjure up a believable explanation to keep the ruse going.
  • Mindy in Pokéumans uses this to infiltrate Pokeuman bases, find all their crucial files, and then pin the blame on somebody else.
  • The Pony POV Series has Liarjack from Dark World, who has gotten so good at lying after being the Element of Deceit for 1000 years, most of the characters can't tell if she's telling the truth or lying, often by telling the truth like she's lying. She keeps this after her Heel–Face Turn, though she primarily uses her Master of Illusion ability.

    Films — Animation 
  • Steele, the Big Bad of Balto, is able to lie effectively enough that the entire town is sold and considers him the town hero. The only one who's able to see through his lies is Jenna, and that's likely because she knows he's a selfish Glory Hound and has no interest in him, and Balto, because Steele lets him see what's Beneath the Mask by tormenting him all the time. Naturally, neither of them is believed when they tell others Steele is a liar.
  • Exaggerated and deconstructed in Frozen (2013) with Prince Hans to the point where it's unclear whether his real motives come off as clever or contrived. Described by Word of God as a "chameleon", he consciously mirrors people so they do his bidding, even successfully convincing the people of Arendelle and the visiting diplomats to accept him as their king when he falsely told that Elsa deliberately killed her sister Anna with the freezing-heart curse so Arendelle will remain plunged in an eternal winter (when in reality, Elsa accidentally struck Anna's heart with ice and Hans left her to die). It's no wonder that by the time he reveals his true plan of seizing control of Arendelle to Anna, he's just inches away from winning. However, once Anna sees through his lies, she states that he is the only person with a "frozen heart."
  • The Lion King (1994) and the [[The Lion King (2019) 2019 remake]]: Scar lies constantly to get what he wants. He successfully murders his own brother, tricks Simba into thinking that he is responsible, as well as leading the pride to believe that he is sad for having lost his brother. At the climax, Scar is cornered by his enraged nephew. Scar desperately pins the blame on his own hyenas, but Simba won't have any of it. Unfortunately for Scar, the hyenas overhear and are LIVID at his betrayal. Scar's treachery is what ultimately does him in when after his defeat at Simba's paws, he finds himself surrounded by the enraged hyenas who attack their traitorous boss and literally rip him apart.
  • Odd example in Shrek the Third: Pinocchio has to become an incredibly skilled Truth Twister to avoid being given away by his own lie-revealing "ability".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Basic Instinct, Kate manages to deceive everyone and is even able to fool a polygraph.
  • The Dark Crystal: Word of God says the Skeksis have told so many lies to themselves and to each other for so long that the truth was lost centuries ago.
  • The Joker in The Dark Knight, to the point where many viewers still believe that he really didn't have a plan despite all the evidence to the contrary.
  • Tracy in Eat (2014) is mentioned to be a pathological liar, a trait that seems to mesh well with her acting aspirations. It is unclear how accurate this is, considering that the alternative is her being a gigantic bitch to Novella for no reason other than to cut down the competition for roles.
  • While never mentioned in Face/Off, the script suggests that Pollux Troy might be one of these as the script has him pass a polygraph test even though Sean Archer can clearly see he's lying about what his bomb schematics are for.
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta's strongest quality is his ability to win over the audience, and even his fellow tributes, with his magnetic personality and lies.
  • Lampshaded to an extent in Lawrence of Arabia; where Dryden (Claude Rains) responds to T.E. Lawrence's (Peter O'Toole) outburst that "There may be honour among thieves, but there is none among politicians!" by noting, "If we've told lies, you've told half-lies. And the man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But the man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it."
  • The film Little Sweetheart is a particularly insane example of this. The little girl who has blackmailed you with photos of you and your mistress having sex, and then over the fact you're bank robbers, followed by framing you for the murder of her only friend (which she committed) and has been shown to lie pretty much at the drop of the hat is the last person who your only hope of living should be put on. After all, what the hell made you think she wouldn't stab you in the back?
  • There is an entire film based around this concept, 2006's "Lying", which is about a group of women who spend the weekend together in the country. The host, Megan, is revealed to be a pathological liar at the end of the film, having spent pretty much the entire weekend lying about everything to her friends. The other women promptly leave, upset and weirded out by her behavior.
  • Mars Attacks!: The Martians are this at least to the humans in the film, who are incredibly stupid.
  • In Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Benji has become this, lying weekly to the CIA's polygraph that he is not helping Ethan and that he isn't his friend.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Pretty much all the hardcore Pirates are consummate liars who try to con one another, so much so that if a character were notoriously honest, the honest character would have the potential to become the consummate liar. Captain Jack Sparrow puts it best in this quote:
      Sparrow: Me? I'm dishonest. And a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly, it's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly... stupid.
    • On the other hand, it's pointed out that everyone assumes pirates to be this trope anyway. And while Jack is good at it, what truly makes him so effective a liar is the fact that he's telling the truth half the time, and will sometimes admit a big truth so casually that people assume he's lying. He lampshades this in the second movie.
    • The villains, of course, get in on the half-truths, too. Beckett only gives part of the picture to Will, Elizabeth, Norrington, Swann, and even Davy Jones to get what he wants. The usually straightforward Jones strings his crew along with promises of only a hundred years before the mast, neglecting to mention that said crewmen will eventually lose their humanity and memories by the end of their sentence and they end up becoming part of the ship for all eternity. In the first film, Barbossa never actually lies, preferring instead to dance around the truth, like swearing Elizabeth would go free when he intended to maroon her. Or, less obviously, when Elizabeth guesses Barbossa needs the medallion, rather than deny it, he simply says, "Why?"
  • Shattered Glass depicts Stephen Glass, the writer for The New Republic, as something like this; he faked at least 27 of his 41 articles for the magazine in part or in total and got away with it for two years, and went to the extent of faking business cards, websites, email addresses and such for his sources. It's played with, however, in that his stories as published are immensely convincing; however, when his editor Charles Lane starts pulling the thread and confronting him about his stories face to face he immediately turns into something of a Bad Liar, acting sweaty, whining and unconvincing, relying on lame excuses and playing the victim to convince people to believe him. Stephen Glass was a real reporter who actually worked for The New Republic and actually did the things attributed to him in the surprisingly accurate film.
  • Star Wars has Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine. It isn't shown in the original trilogy where he's the stereotypical cackling Evil Overlord, but the prequel trilogy has him convincing the Jedi and the whole galaxy that he's a man of courage and integrity holding the Republic together, when he's the Sith Lord Running Both Sides of the Clone Wars to further his own power. This is especially apparent in Revenge of the Sith, where every single conversation he has with Anakin is one pack of lies after another.
  • Stargate: Continuum: Lampshaded. Ba'al's clone is about to be executed by the Tok'ra, and during his last words, he gloats to SG-1 about the plan his originator has set in motion to undo everything they have done. Because he's known for being a liar, they're not convinced and think he's just stalling for time, but it turns out that he was telling the truth after all.
    Teal'c: He lies.
    O'Neill: He does that, you know.
  • Loki in Thor lies effectively throughout the film, with the only person he is unable to fool being Heimdall, who can see and hear everything happening throughout the universe. Loki's still able to hide things from him, though.
  • Valentine: Jeremy Melton reinvented himself as Adam Carr and concocted an entire life story, including fake parents in Seattle, to win his Love Interest over and infiltrate her group of friends.
  • Wonder Woman: As a spy, Steve is expected to be this. In his words, "lying is what I do". Having the Lasso of Truth compel him to speak honestly is an unpleasant experience for him and even when he puts it on himself to convince Diana he's not lying he's visibly uncomfortable.

  • There's a short story where a young boy signs a contract with the Devil to become the greatest liar in the world. The boy then manages to invalidate the contract on the grounds that he is illiterate. The Devil leaves, defeated, and the boy casually demonstrates his ability to write.
  • Caine of The Acts of Caine is immune to the truthsense of Khryl's holy knights for reasons he doesn't quite understand. Though it might have something to do with the fact that he would rather kill a man than lie to him. Maybe that kind of "honor" just confuses the poor god trying to read him.
  • Jim from After the Revolution has been cybernetically enhanced to make his body language and voice completely unreadable as long as he concentrates on doing so. Even Roland, an even more modified post-human who can taste people's emotional state from their pheromones and read the dilation of their eyes in real-time, finds it near impossible to tell what Jim is thinking.
  • Sara-Kate from Afternoon of the Elves is a pint-sized iteration of this trope. Her social skills may be lacking with her peers, but she knows her way around the adult world and can lie to grownups so smoothly that she prevents anyone from finding out that her mother is a complete invalid and Sara-Kate has been keeping the Connolly household going on their meager child-support checks for almost a year. It's left more ambiguous whether her tales of the elves in the backyard were also a pack of lies.
  • The Alice Network:
    • Eve can lie flawlessly — she needs to, being a spy. She also uses it to her own ends in civilian life, however.
    • Lili, Eve's mentor and also a spy, is also an excellent liar, but her talents aren’t showcased as much, given that she isn’t the main character.
  • All for the Game has Neil Josten, who has been on the run for years and lies constantly to survive. He's very good at it.
  • The title character from Artemis Fowl pulls a particularly clever version of this at the end of Eternity Code (Book 3). The faeries use mind control to "convince" Fowl to spill the beans on where his various Notes To Self are before they memory wipe him. Fowl, however, uses mirrored contacts to avoid this and plays along, sending them after dummy notes while keeping the real Note to Self hidden (in the literal hands of a kleptomaniac dwarf).
  • In Below, Brenish is an absolute master. When he's not taking Refuge in Audacity or using Metaphorically True or Cassandra Truths, sometimes he just goes with a Seamless Spontaneous Lie. He's so good he can outfox people who expect him to lie.
  • In Randall Garrett's story The Best Policy, the human protagonist is interrogated under a lie detector by aliens gathering intelligence for an invasion. He realizes that he can exploit their ignorance with true but misleading statements (e.g. he says that human minds are capable of channeling certain physical energies to travel from place to place — a literal description of walking that gives the impression that humans have the power of psychic teleportation). By the end of the questioning, he has them believing that humans are incredibly powerful beings and that he's only humoring them to be polite.
  • Captive Prince: Years spent maneuvering the Decadent Court of Vere have left Laurent an incredibly good liar. Similarly, the Regent, from whom Laurent apparently learned all his tricks.
  • Michelangelo Kusanagi-Jones from Carnival by Elizabeth Bear has this ability; it causes tension with his lover, who is a Living Lie Detector.
  • The Catcher in the Rye: Holden Caulfield, who may not actually be as good as he thinks he is. Which is ironic considering his hatred of "phonies".
  • P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath: The Kencyr consider lying to be extremely dishonorable and thus are known for their honesty; this rigid code of honor forces the protagonist to be very creative in her speech and in interpreting the orders of her superiors.
  • City of Bones by Martha Wells: Khat stocks this skill as necessary in his career as a Black Market art trader who has no civil rights in Charisat's Fantastic Caste System. He's helped in this by an innate Psychic Block Defense, but his own talents are enough that he helps Elen get over being a Bad Liar.
  • In the Codex Alera books, watercrafting can be used to detect truth, but some people have sufficient skill to get away with telling blatant lies anyway. At least two characters (Tavi and Fidelias) have been noted as belonging to this category. It seems to come through simple practice and control - Tavi, for example, grew up in the care of a skilled watercrafter (one so good at being a Living Lie Detector that she could see through the normally impervious First Lord, Gaius Sextus), and so has been practising against one of the best since he was quite young, while Fidelias became this due to his duties as a Cursor, although he's incredibly skilled at doing so, more than most.
  • Confessions: Late into his boyhood, St. Augustine began to regularly lie to his family and friends to avoid his responsibilities and play games with his friends. In adulthood, this habitual fraud led Augustine to become a rhetorician and say whatever he needed to advance his political stance.
  • In Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man, a murderer is able to confound the telepathic police by memorizing a super-catchy jingle ("Tenser Said the Tensor: Tension, Apprehension, and Dissension Have Begun") and letting it play endlessly through his mind when there's a cop in the room. The telepaths can't get through this induced Psychic Static to read the truth.
  • The Demon's Lexicon: Alan Ryves is a lying liar who lies, but that's exactly what we love about him. He's fooled every single member of the main cast, including his brother, his possible love interest, the Big Bad, various demons, and the reader. Constantly. It's always for good reasons, though. His brother suggests that his near-superhuman ability to make anyone believe anything is because he had to learn to lie to people rather than be one.
  • Discworld:
    • It is noted that it is very hard to tell when Nanny Ogg is lying because she feels that conversational lying is fine when the truth is inconvenient or boring. In a twist, it's not that she never sounds like she's lying; it's that her regard for the truth is so loose, she always sounds like she's lying.
    • Casanunda (The Casanova dwarf), who lists Outrageous Liar as one of his talents. When some wizards ask him if it's true, he says "No."
  • The Dresden Files
    • All of The Fair Folk are unable to tell a direct lie but are nonetheless famous for their duplicity because they will only honor the Exact Words and more than willing to entertain Metaphorically True with their answers. Pretty much every sane character in the series advises against making deals with them, especially Harry Dresden himself, who, in his youth, managed to get saddled with a Fairy Godmother (And no, this is not a good thing, though to Lea's credit, she's trying to be helpful). Winter Maiden Maeve eventually does gain the ability to straight-up lie from The Corruption, and takes full advantage of this by lying her ass off and getting away with it because while people are used to considering tricky and misleading statements when dealing with faeries, but a faerie telling an outright '2+2=5' lie is an Outside-Context Problem.
    • In Grave Peril, Thomas Raith, an incubus vampire, admits to Harry that he shouldn't be believed, because "I'm a good liar. One of the best." What he suggests Harry believe instead is the situation, as presented by Thomas, natch. Turns out that despite Harry's doubts, Thomas is telling the truth. But he's not wrong about being a good liar; the only reason he managed to survive the White Court (and more importantly, his father was to pretend to be a harmless rich idiot his entire life, despite being one of the smartest members of his family.
  • In Frank Herbert's Dune, Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers are unable to utter direct falsehoods, due to the effects of the "Water of Life" spice-drug that gives them their power. However, they are masters of manipulation; and by use of partial truths, combined with shifts of context and emphasis, are able to mislead more effectively than a straight lie could.
  • In The End of the Affair Maurice tries to convince another character that Sarah is a "consummate liar".
  • In Everworld, Senna gains her Manipulative Bitch status through Mind Control, More than Mind Control, and a good deal of just being ruthlessly smart. At one point April (her sister) notes that Senna can never be trusted, because even when she's telling the truth she twists it so much that it's just another lie.
  • The Gap Cycle series by Stephen R. Donaldson uses this trope. One character's cybernetically enhanced vision lets him see physiological changes associated with lying. That character has an underling who is completely unreadable. He has no physiological reaction to lying because he makes no _psychological_ distinction between speaking a true statement or speaking a false statement; to him, it's all just words, and the concept of honesty basically doesn't exist.
  • In The Ghost Writer, the protagonist's pen-girlfriend Alice Jessell claimed in one of her letters that there isn't any kind of scar or wound on her face. In the climax, her face is revealed to be horribly deformed.
  • Graceling Realm: King Leck of Monsea is Graced with the ability to get people to believe anything he says absolutely, no matter how absurd or obviously false it may be. Worse, it's contagious: The effect is almost as strong when someone else is repeating a lie that they heard from Leck, though it does eventually get weaker the further you get from the source. By the time of the book, he has been abusing his power to the fullest for decades, and Bitterblue is almost entirely concerned with trying to clear up the lingering effects of his powers.
  • Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby. Interestingly, her boyfriend Nick Carraway Will Not Tell a Lie. Of course, he's the First-Person Peripheral Narrator telling the story, so we can't be sure that he isn't an Unreliable Narrator.
  • Harry Potter
    • Severus Snape is so good with the magical skill of Occlumency (hiding his thoughts) that he is able to play Double Agent against Big Bad Voldemort, despite Voldemort's fondness for Mind Probes. When he eventually kills Dumbledore, even the Order is unable to tell which side he is on. He has effectively fooled both sides of the war, making his true allegiance impossible to discern because anything he's said could have been a lie and they don't trust themselves to know it.
    • Voldemort himself, though mostly the Faux Affably Evil teenage version of him from before he became Obviously Evil. While it probably doesn't take too much to manipulate an eleven-year-old girl, it must count for something that he feigned interest in her (for a year, while actually being bored out of his mind) so well that she was thoroughly convinced that he was her best friend. Also, after Harry's Heroic Sacrifice in Deathly Hallows, Voldemort oh-so-casually lies that "He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives for him." And this trope probably also figured into his manipulation of Quirrell.
  • His Dark Materials:
    • Lyra Silvertongue gained the name "Silvertongue" by being such a good liar that she easily tricks Iofur Raknison, king of the bears, despite the fact that it is impossible to lie to a bear. However, even she cannot lie to the Harpies, who call her out immediately.
    • Mrs. Coulter (Lyra's mother) is also extremely good at lying. So good that she managed to lie to Metatron, who is very nearly a Living Lie Detector. In fact, she lies to Metatron by using her history of lying, to convince him that she will betray Asriel.
  • From the Honor Harrington novels comes Eloise Pritchart, who had no choice but to become this. She is such an accomplished liar that she actually managed to convince the Committee of Public Safety that she had truly renounced the Aprilist movement and was loyal only to them. In fact, she was truly loyal to the Constitution that had lain in ashes for two centuries, and used her position as a People's Commissioner to become absolutely instrumental in the Theisman coup that ended up restoring that Constitution. Oh, and she was in love with the admiral she was supposed to be reporting on. Either she lied very, very well, or she and the man she loved faced certain execution.
  • The narrator implies that the Grinch is this in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! when he was potentially busted by Cindy-Lou Who for trying to steal the tree. It's less clear in the animated version, where the Grinch is caught off guard for a moment before coming up with a cover story.
  • The Hunger Games is filled with this trope: Haymitch, Coin, Johanna Mason, and even nice-guy Peeta are all VERY good liars.
  • Nate Gray from The Infernal Devices. The guy is really good at improvising tall tales, you have to give him that.
  • In the Inheritance Cycle, the Ancient Language carries the caveat that one cannot tell a lie while speaking it (because anything you say becomes true; this is how magic is performed, though it draws on your life force so the more outrageous, the more likely it will kill you trying to come true). The Elves speak it fluently, and so have the reputation of never telling a lie. Brom warns Eragon in the first book that this means that most of them have mastered the art of being Truth Twisters. Eragon tries his hand at this in the second book; when someone who broke his heart asks him (in the Language) how he is now, he tells her that he is "better than [he] was", referring to his healed back.
  • One could certainly argue that Jeeves of Jeeves and Wooster Jeeves is this; with a little Verbal Judo, he can convince anyone of anything.
  • The title character of Stephen Fry's The Liar (novel). (Who's an Author Avatar of the teenage Fry. He got better.)
  • Ivy Gamble of Magic for Liars is a private investigator who needs to lie on an everyday basis to do her job well. She does it so constantly that she's even lying to the reader.
  • All the fae in the Mercy Thompson series are the truth-twister variant. While completely and totally unable to lie, they're more than capable of fooling experienced policemen or even those experts at knowing who tells the truth, nevermind the reader. There is, after all, a distinction between the statements "I've heard he hates you" and "he hates you", or "this artifact is a mere echo of its previous power" as compared to "this artifact is not dangerous".
  • The Naturals: Lia, recruited by the FBI for her skills as a Living Lie Detector, lies about everything, including her name. It's somewhere between a survival mechanism and a game.
  • Many times in The Odyssey has Odysseus told a lie, or a story of lies, in order to conceal his identity or intentions, and rarely do people see through them until much later, if at all. This is in keeping with his status as a Guile Hero.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, Claire's mother Misty "the Minx" Lutra is one of the few people who can tell a bald-faced lie to the Audit and get away with it.
    Penny: Always sounding like you were lying was almost as good a poker face as always sounding sincere.
  • Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space Series: Rashmika Els from Absolution Gap manages to be both a Consummate Liar and a Living Lie Detector, by being instinctively aware of how subconscious facial tics correlate with truth-telling.
  • The eponymous Reynard from The Reynard Cycle is a natural, which serves him well as a Master of Disguise. He often resorts to lying via omission when he can't tell a bald-faced lie.
  • Shannara: Rimmer Dall, Big Bad of The Heritage of Shannara, is such an effective liar that it takes the Sword of Shannara to help the characters penetrate the web of falsehoods he has fed them. And even that almost doesn't work because, prior to letting Par get his hands on the Sword, Dall managed to convince Par that he couldn't use it.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire consists of several Doorstoppers' worth of Gambit Pileups, so unsurprisingly there are several. The absolute masters, however, have got to be Varys and Littlefinger, who have between them set pretty much every single one of the numerous plot threads into action through their machinations, and regularly outmanoeuvre and gain the support of people who are fully-fledged Manipulative Bastards and Chessmasters in their own right.
  • In Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat for President, Jim is trying to topple a corrupt president of a tourist planet. He walks into a police station full of Dirty Cops and offers to make a deal (a ploy, obviously). Da Chief takes him to the interrogation room, where he sits him down. Jim starts talking a bunch of BS and offers to take a Lie Detector test to prove it. He is calmly informed that the chair he's sitting on is a lie detector. Jim immediately changes his tactic and starts telling partial truths. Before, he was simply lying through his teeth without feeling nervous. After all, he is a professional thief and con man.
  • Star Trek: New Frontier: Mackenzie Calhoun can use his considerable military training (especially his ability to remain calm) to fool Morgan in the computer, who can read his bio-signs as a way to tell if he's lying.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Those who can use the Force are better able to discern the truth—but they have trouble with species they've never encountered before. Further, Bothans seem to be natural Consummate Liars, still able to hide the truth from Leia Organa Solo, a Force-sensitive politician who's worked with Bothans for over fifteen years by the end of the war with the Empire in the Hand of Thrawn duology.
    • Apparently there's an old joke about how you can tell when someone from a deceptive species is lying. It's "whenever they open their mouth", and the species mentioned in that joke are Bothans, Hutts, and Humans.
    • Then there's Vergere, who remarks, "Everything I tell you is the truth, and everything I tell you is a lie."
    • In Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine has the audacity to tell the truth about the Clone Wars—they were an enormous scheme to play the Republic and the Separatists off against each other by Running Both Sides, in order to amass greater power. But he plausibly accuses the Jedi of doing this (Wasn't Count Dooku a former Jedi? And wasn't the clone army commissioned by a Jedi?) when in fact he did it himself.
  • Robert A. Heinlein wrote a few characters like this, perhaps most notably Lazarus Long. In Time Enough for Love, Long notes that a straight lie is bereft of artistry, and that there are only two ways to lie artfully: to tell the truth, but not all of it, or to tell the whole truth in a way that won't be believed. That having been said, he doesn't hesitate to layer on the bovine fecal matter when the situation calls for it.
  • Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird lies effortlessly, but usually also thoughtlessly, resulting in ridiculous tall tales that he seems to nearly believe. When he does put his mind to it, he can weasel out of trouble this way.
  • Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe: In the Trickster's Duet, Aly can fool a magical truth potion by retreating into what she calls her "liar's palace", the part of her mind where she's constructed a whole character and backstory for her assumed identity.
  • Both main characters of The Vipers Scheme are gifted and prolific liars, and for good reason: one is a spy/assassin and the other is planning a murder.
  • As mentioned above, the Aes Sedai from The Wheel of Time. They're magically oathbound to speak no word that is untrue, but they've gotten so good at telling half-truths, exploiting Exact Words, and lying by omission that nobody trusts them.
  • The protagonist of The Pyat Quartet lies like other people breathe, shedding names and identities like suits of clothing to always be whomever it is most convenient for him to be at any given time. He also lies to the reader, and to himself most of all.
  • In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien Sauron is one of the Truth Twister variety. Everything he says is technically true and verifiable, but he's leaving out very important details and putting things in entirely the wrong context. In particular, he's a master of manipulating juxtaposition in order to imply something that isn't true while never actually saying anything untrue. For an illustration of how good he is at lying through this method: he manages to convince someone who grew up in Valinor that he was from there, despite never having been there. It's nearly impossible for most people to call him on his lies unless they are either extremely wise, have magical powers, or both. In the earlier stories, he's also an inveterate shapeshifter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • Charles Logan
      Logan: How'd I do?
      Jack Bauer: You're a world-class liar. I would have expected nothing less.
    • Tony winds up turning into this in the 7th season, managing to successfully fool nearly everyone with his repeated lies.
  • Arrested Development:
    • Most of the members of the Bluth family fall into this category, though to what extent may vary. GOB, Lucille, George Sr., and Maeby are the most prominent, while Michael, Lindsay, and even Buster (though only rarely) show shades of this.
    • Season four shows George-Michael enter this category, with the narrator essentially saying that Lying is something that runs in the family.
  • An episode of Barney Miller features a lie-detector specialist who thinks the machine is infallible, causing problems for one of the detectives, who flubbed the test due to being too nervous. The problem is solved by Detective Dietrich, who is such a Consummate Liar he's able to convince the specialist he's an alien from a distant galaxy and winds up scaring him away.
  • In Better Off Ted, Ted demonstrates a black box that's supposed to buzz whenever anyone in the room lies. It works fine on most people, but Veronica is able to reel off a story about Hunting the Most Dangerous Game with Sean Connery without getting a reaction out of it. They eventually fix it so it works on her too, though.
  • From the second series on, the title character of Blackadder takes pride in his ability to lie. While this is mostly demonstrated by his claims to be incredibly wealthy to enhance his standing at court, on one occasion he tells Percy that "An enormous hummingbird is about to eat your hat and cloak!" Not only does Percy believe it, when he returns, he simply decides that it must have got away. He's so good that even a drunken monk lurching into the room, puking in the fire and shouting "Great booze-up, Edmund!" in front of his deeply religious aunt can be explained rationallynote 
  • Nucky Thompson, city treasurer / part-time-gangster from Boardwalk Empire. It comes with the job description, he is a master of the Bastardly Speech who can be defending the black community and demonizing it in the next phrase thanks to the montage.
  • Many characters on Breaking Bad, but special mention should go to Saul Goodman:
    "If you're committed enough, you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it." .
  • Better Call Saul: The Breaking Bad prequel establishes that Jimmy McGill had a serious talent for lying long before he adopted the Saul Goodman persona. Even before he became a lawyer he enjoyed a misspent youth as an incredibly effective conman. As a lawyer, he is really just applying his skills in more lucrative endeavours.
  • Michael in Burn Notice is one of these, because as a spy, he kind of had to get good at it, because people who do what he does without getting good at lying very quickly tend to find a new role, such as "being buried face down in a shallow grave". Nate isn't too bad either, although his skills were learned in slightly less...patriotic ways.
  • On an episode of Chuck, the main characters got exposed to an Applied Phlebotinum poison that acted like a truth-babbling drug. Attempting to take advantage of this, Chuck tried to get Sarah to say they might be able to have a relationship. Sarah denied it, and thanks to the Truth Serum, Chuck believed her and (temporarily) gave up hope. At the end of the episode, Sarah reveals to Casey that she has been trained to resist truth serum, strongly hinting that she was lying about having real feelings for Chuck.
  • As a sociopath well-practiced at fitting in, Dexter's a decent liar himself, but his victim in "An Inconvenient Lie"(2x03), a car salesman/murderer, lies so effortlessly that even Dexter is amazed and impressed.
  • Doctor Who:
    • As River Song put it, "Rule One: the Doctor lies." Indeed, the Doctor has a constant habit of withholding the truth from others if it means keeping them safe or furthering a goal. This is especially pronounced with certain incarnations. In the earliest stories, the First Doctor regularly lied to others out of a mix of paranoia and egotism. Later, the Seventh Doctor regularly lied as part of his characterization as The Chessmaster, actively manipulating even his companion, Ace, if it meant protecting the greater good, while the Eleventh Doctor regularly lies as a way of running away from his constant guilt and self-loathing.
    • Clara Oswald once explicitly describes herself as a "brilliant" liar.
  • Elementary: Cassie Lenue is such a good liar that even Sherlock Holmes has trouble working out if she's lying. In her second appearance, he notes that her ability to lie actually makes her extremely good at picking out when other people are lying.
  • Farscape
    • Crichton manages to temporarily fool Scorpius' lie-detecting abilities with the help of Scorpius' neural clone. He's also able to lie (or half-lie, at least) when facing the Scarran heat probe on several occasions (this may simply be because humans have better heat tolerance than the Human Aliens of the setting). Emperor Staleek comments that he is immune to the probing in The Peacekeeper Wars.
    • Chiana often thinks this of herself but is seldom successful.
      Chiana: How could you tell if they were lying? You can't even tell when I'm lying.
      Sikozu: Yes I can, Chiana. We all can.
      Chiana: Oh yeah? How do you know?
      Sikozu: You open your mouth, and words come out.
    • Scorpius himself is probably the best liar in the series. In addition to being the resident magnificent bastard. This is largely because he's always speaking in an obviously affected manner, so most of the usual tells simply don't apply.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Tyrion notes that making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of Cersei's many gifts.
    • Margaery Tyrell's manipulative ability is mostly based on this. Her scene with Joffrey describing her marriage to Renly is a prime example of her brilliant blending of truth and lie.
    • Arya is skilled enough to fool Tywin, up to a point. He figures out she's a highborn northern girl, but almost certainly doesn't realize she's actually Arya Stark (he would hardly scruple to take a child hostage. And just about the one thing that everyone agrees upon, Stark and Lannister alike, is that Robb and Tyrion should try trading Sansa & Arya for Jaime).
    • Locke's deception of Jon Snow proves he is an excellent liar.
  • In Gotham, several of the villains could qualify as this:
    • When he's still climbing the power structure of Gotham's mob, Oswald Cobblepot spends some time as a double reverse quadruple agent, and only stays alive via this talent and his ability to talk his way out of sticky situations.
    • Jerome Valeska is able to convince two seasoned detectives that he is genuinely mourning his mother, even though he was the one who killed her, and she had abused him for years before that.
    • Jeremiah Valeska, Jerome's twin, was able to convince their mother that Jerome tried to kill him, according to Jerome. It may have helped that Jeremiah seemed to be genuinely convinced that he wanted to kill him when they were children. As an adult, he is able to convince a young Bruce Wayne that he is freaking out due to being exposed to Jerome's insanity gas, the show's version of Joker Venom. While he was exposed to the toxin, it actually turned him into an eerily calm sociopath, so he's just combining lies with the truth and acting distressed to manipulate Bruce.
  • Heroes:
    • Adam Monroe has only the power of regeneration, yet is such a skilled liar he can fool the telepathic Peter Petrelli into blindly falling in step with his plans to unleash a deadly virus on the world - and all the while Peter believes Adam's goal is the opposite. As the man who gathered the twelve founders of the Company, Adam can also claim to have hoodwinked such luminaries as Kaito Nakamura and Daniel Linderman.
    • Sylar, when he feels like it, can lie for years on end without the slightest flaw. And now he has the power to shapeshift...
    • Angela Petrelli, who managed to keep such major secrets such as superpowers, ancient conspiracies, unknown family members, and multiple homicides from her sons for years even after one of them acquired powers like mind reading. She also totally crushes Danko when he questions her trying to get dirt on her other son / his boss.
  • Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother is a self-described "master of manipulation" who takes the art of lying to seduce women to whole new levels. At one point he got a woman into bed by dressing up as an old man, telling her he was from the future, and warning her that, if she didn't sleep with present-day Barney, the world would come to an end. And it worked. This isn't even getting into all the Batman Gambits he's pulled on his friends, in episodes like "Game Night", "Little Boys", and "The Scuba Diver". At one point, a psychologist Robin dates describes Barney as a pathological liar when psychoanalyzing the main cast.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O: Urataros: A thousand falsehoods, ten thousand lies...
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • A heroic example in Nick Amaro, who tends to emotionally manipulate suspects into confessing (rather than the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique frequently used by his predecessor Stabler) and is quite perfectly willing and able to lie his face off in order to do so. Prior to joining SVU, Amaro also worked undercover as a narcotics detective, meaning he's basically had years of practice.
    • Sex offender Victor Paul Gitano is directly described as such by his former therapist.
    Dr. Paula Greenfield: He was a consummate liar. He was molested by his mother, or his mother was an angel. He moved around because his father was in the military, or he never knew his father.
  • Ruxin from The League has stated several times that he is just flat out more comfortable lying than telling the truth.
  • Lie to Me:
  • Maid: Alex becomes quite good at lying about her job and professional experience in order to qualify for better-paying jobs or specific housing so that she finds a good place for her and her daughter to live. Although that's not to say she won't do her best in order to make up for it.
  • While Supes in Lois & Clark lies daily to cover up his identity, he's not very good at it (remember all the I Need to Go Iron My Dog excuses?). When hooked up to a polygraph to find out the identity of Superman, he uses his powers to make true answers appear to be lies (e.g. blowing on the needles or levitating and dropping his chair). It gets a little hairy when the interrogator asks baseline questions, and one of them is "Are you Superman?" Clark answers "Yes" as he's supposed to, causing the interrogator to examine his equipment for malfunctions when the needles don't move.
  • On Lost, Ben likes to lie. A lot. Given that he sometimes seems to throw the truth in, sorting out the true from the false gets pretty frustrating. The other characters really shouldn't trust anything he says, unfortunately, they're often in a situation where they pretty much have no other choice but to listen to him. Turns out he even lies in JOKES: When he's reading in an airplane he knows will crash, Jack asks him how he can read in this situation. Ben replies with the joke that he assumes Jack literally asks how he can read, and says "My mother taught me". That isn't even true since his mother died giving birth to him. Later, he sarcastically gives out his star sign (Pisces) in response to a question, something that fans deduced to also be false.
  • Merlin:
    • Morgana does quite a good job of playing the loving ward to Uther while plotting behind his back (psychotic smirks notwithstanding.)
    • Agravaine can lie to Arthur's face about betraying him, even swearing on his dead sister's life.
    • Season Five Gwen has them both beat. She comes up with perfectly logical explanations for her disappearances, manages to misdirect and manipulate everyone around her on a dime, and can conjure up tears at a moment's notice. She also manages to avoid Morgana's trademark smirk and Agravaine's Obviously Evil demeanor.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the TV Star", Brad Terry fools a polygraph early in the episode, forcing Monk to concede that he may have been wrong in accusing him. Later, however, Monk witnesses Brad lying to a girl while on an exercise bike and sees that his heart rate doesn't change.
  • Kirk Devane was one of these in the first season of Newhart.
  • Once Upon a Time: Regina/The Evil Queen. She lies to and manipulates absolutely everyone she comes into contact with. She even manages to pull it off on Rumplestiltskin when she tells him that Belle killed herself and he believes her when he has absolutely no reason to.
  • The title character on Profit manages to beat a lie detector by putting a thumbtack in his own foot and stepping on it at strategic moments.
  • Shawn Spencer from Psych, as part of his Training from Hell, was taught how to fool a lie detector if he ever had to.
  • In RoboCop: The Series, Robocop comes equipped with an almost foolproof lie detector that can analyze facial tics that occur in less than a second, among other things. In one episode, the cops try to get a statement out of a career politician, who is so good at his job that an identical lie detector says his odds of being truthful are always precisely 50%, even when the politician says he's Abraham Lincoln.
  • George Costanza from Seinfeld is the embodiment of this trope, to the point that Jerry immediately seeks him out for help when he needs to pass a lie detector test.
    George: I'm sorry, Jerry. I can't help you.
    Jerry: Come on, you got the gift. You're the only one that could help me!
    George: Jerry, I can't! It's like saying to Pavarotti, "Teach me to sing like you."
    Jerry: All right, well, I gotta go take this test. I can't believe I'm doin' this.
    George: ...Jerry? Just remember: It's not a lie... if you believe it.
  • In Smallville, Sr. and Jr. Lionel and Lex Luthor are like this, of course. Ironically, when Chloe received the power to force anyone to tell the truth, the Bad Liar Clark is the only one who is immune to it.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • Garak has a natural gift for obfuscation, views it as a skill that requires constant practice, and once claimed "the truth is often an excuse for a lack of imagination". He may or may not be an exiled spy and, while he was definitely exiled by his boss, the reason may or may not have been for killing a Gul's daughter, or letting Bajoran prisoners escape, or tax evasion, or something else. When Bashir tells him the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Garak interprets the moral as being "never tell the same lie twice". The only person capable of seeing through Garak is Odo; he works out that when Garak answers a question simply and without embellishment, he's telling the truth. After that, his instinct for knowing when Garak is lying or telling the truth becomes quite sharp.
      Garak: I'll go along on your fool's errand. But I want one thing to be perfectly clear: I have no intention of sacrificing my life to save yours. If it looks like we're in danger of being captured, if there's any sign of trouble at all, you're on your own.
      Sisko: Mr. Garak, I believe this is the first completely honest thing you ever said to me.
      Garak: How perceptive of you, Commander! (Given Garak's later actions, it turns out Sisko's belief was wrong.)
    • Enabran Tain, Garak's old mentor and boss and father is always impressed by Garak's skill at lying.
      Enabran Tain: I can see that Garak hasn't changed a bit. Never tell the truth when a lie will do. That man has a rare gift for obfuscation.
    • In another episode, Odo realizes that Garak is telling the truth when he says he doesn't know who would try to kill him because if he was lying, he'd make up a much more intricate story.
    • Q could give Garak a run for his money. The only thing we know for certain about Q is that his goals are never what he tells you they are. He's even, on several occasions, managed to deceive his fellow Q, who are, of course, just as omnipotent as he is.
  • In Supernatural when Sam loses his soul, it allows him to lie to Veritas, the Goddess of Truth, to whom no human can lie. She is understandably upset.
  • The title character of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is able to spin a convincing cover story at the drop of a hat — a skill honed by years on the run. At one point she spends an entire episode being treated for a bullet wound while holding conversations with a hallucination of Kyle Reese; in her lucid periods, she's able to spin the true things she has let slip about her past into a domestic violence narrative, convincing the doctor to treat her without calling the police.
  • Titans (2018): The protagonist, Dick Grayson, due to having been trained by Batman in how to properly deceive for over a decade in his youth. Even Rachel comments on it in the show's second episode.
  • Veronica Mars: Veronica's standby method for investigating a mystery is to lie through her teeth for about three-quarters of an episode. The only people who see through it are the ones who know about her beforehand. Ironically, her skill at deception sometimes leads her to screw up, overconfident in her ability to wing it. She once put on a very convincing "concerned friend" act (complete with "And the Emmy goes to..." music), but pushed it too far by claiming to be the sister of the victim... who was Hawaiian. note 
  • Neal Caffrey from White Collar, as a highly successful conman, is one of these, though he has a little bit more trouble telling direct lies to his handler, Peter Burke.
  • Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister: While he is capable of telling bald-faced lies with a straight face, his favored tactic is not to make them believable but simply incomprehensible through his copious use of doublespeak and political jargon in his often lengthy responses to simple questions. He is, as a result, extremely adverse to answering with a simple yes or no, or if he does deign to give a straight answer, he often says, "Yes... and no," followed by his usual verbose rhetoric when asked for clarification. This usually leaves the questioner more confused than before, which is precisely his intent.

  • The Protomen paint Dr. Wily as this, framing Dr. Light for a murder that he committed, and even using his acquittal to convince the populace that the justice system has failed them, eventually leading to them handing over more and more power to him until he becomes an unstoppable tyrannical dictator.
    Dr. Wily: When I say he was a monster, when I set fire to his name/Doesn't matter where you hear it from, whether truth or lies, it gets said all the same!
  • Fictional Example: Gentaro Yumeno from Hypnosis Mic.
  • The Guster song Demons is about a man who seemingly tells exquisite lies to everyone for no reason except that it makes him feel safer and to see if people will actually believe him. And they do.


  • Cody Jenson in Survival of the Fittest v1 (at least pre-psychotic) was a devilish liar, stringing along Adam Dodd for quite some considerable time before the latter even started to get suspicious. (Jenson pretended he was another kid, leading to Adam talking to him about how much he wanted to kill... him). When he finds out later who Jenson really is, Adam is needless to say, not pleased.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In 3rd and 3.5 Edition:
      • The Skill Scores and Perks system allows the Bluff skill to be boosted to absurd extremes through character features and Status Buffs, more than enough to offset the -20 modifier for an outlandish lie like "By the way, your Majesty, I'm actually your trueborn son and heir, hidden from you at birth by your treacherous advisor".
      • The Bard class has access to the spell Glibness at level 7, granting a massive +30 bonus on Bluff skill checks and causing even magical lie detection to register their words as truthful.
    • In 5th Edition:
      • Glibness returns as a Bard and Warlock spell with a substantial Nerf: aside from requiring Level 15 to access, it allows you to replace rolls on Charisma checks less than 15 with a 15 (making you borderline unable to flub a social situation as opposed to allowing for impossible rolls), and magical lie detection always reads you as telling the truth.
      • The Mastermind Rogue's Level 17 subclass feature "Soul of Deceit" prevents you from being magically compelled to tell the truth, causes lie detection magic to always suggest you're telling the truth (if you choose to), and even lets you present false thoughts to mind readers if you roll a successful Deception check against their Insight.
    • In the Planescape setting, aasimar are descendants of half-celestials, children born from unions of celestial beings and mortals. Most are benign, but those that aren't tend to be excellent liars and con artists. Their Upper Planar ancestry leads most other people to trust them over other people, so they can get away with a lot. (In other words, many aasimar use the reputation of their family to manipulate them. The best way to describe this sort of aasimar is a Spoiled Brat, but one who takes far more initiative on his or her own than most.)
  • The Yozis in Exalted include the Ebon Dragon. He's essentially the cosmic principle of betrayal and self-interest given form, and is incapable of taking actions that help others more than they help him. He's also managed to persuade the other Yozis to put him in charge of their attempt to escape their prison.
  • GURPS has Mind Shield to make one immune to telepathic lie detection. People with enough levels of the Fast-Talk skill are so good that they get a bonus on reaction rolls in any situation that they can speak. Also, those with the Compulsive Lying Disadvantage can more easily deceive electronic lie detectors.
  • In Nomine has the Balseraphs, demons who are so committed to their own lies that they can make almost anyone believe almost anything through sheer force of will. However, it weakens them significantly if their lies are visibly contradicted by hard evidence. Somewhat unusual in that although they can fool their opposite numbers, the Seraphim, they are at a significant disadvantage when trying to do so. Also, Malakim can recognize them if they're perceptive enough, but are otherwise just as vulnerable as anyone else to their lies.
  • Nobilis has Deceivers, a subset of Excrucians whose MO is to employ deception above all else. Their powers vary and GMs are actively encouraged to invent more, but standard ones include impenetrable disguises, the ability to convince a crowd of mundane humans of anything at all, and the ability to tell someone a lie which, whether they believe it or not, renders them incapable of seeing any evidence to the contrary. One canonical Excrucian named Iolithae Septimian, through the wanton abuse of Persona 5 and pseudo-Estate of "The Lies of Iolithae Septimian", is quite literally able to fool reality itself by saying something, then performing a Lesser Sacrifice to remove the quality that makes it a lie. Canonically, she made the ocean salty by telling it that it was; in the Excrucian-centric webcomic Chibi-Ex, written by the creator of Nobilis, she uses it to retroactively cancel Firefly.
  • Genius: The Transgression: Phenomenologists qualify, being able to get away with just about any bald-faced lie by dint of their particular brand of madness; since they casually reinvent their entire worldview whenever the heck they want to, and cold, hard facts mean absolutely nothing to them, it's fairly easy for them to simply take up a worldview where whatever they're telling you is true, and then tell you. For example, if they want to tell you that they didn't murder somebody, then they could decide that everyone else is a figment of their imagination, so they couldn't have committed murder because murder requires you to kill someone real. The fact that they actually killed the guy because they believed he was their mortal enemy from a past life is irrelevant, since it's not real to them anymore.
  • The Unchained from Demon: The Descent has a mind that is completely detached from their physical Cover body. As a result, their physical form has none of those subtle, nonverbal cues people show when they do something that's dissonant with what they think. Unless the Demon wants you to notice, the only way to know whether they're lying or not is to check the facts yourself. They're also immune against even supernatural lie detectors such as Auspex, although via different mechanism: any statements said by demons existed in Schrödinger's Cat-like state due to their paradoxical nature until the demon decides if the statement's true or not, regardless of its actual trueness. A demon can say "The sky is purple", decides it's true, and any and all supernatural truth detection (except for a Fractal's ability) cannot see through the lies, period.
  • In Ars Magica, demons lie like they breathe, and no mundane or magical means can detect whether or not they're telling the truth. This isn't so much because you can't detect their lies as you can't detect their truths- because none exist. Truth is a virtue, and demons, as beings of pure evil, don't possess it and can't comprehend it. Even if a demon's words line up with outside reality, it's still no more true to them than the statements that don't. This lack of understanding of truth also makes it quite easy to lie to demons.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: This is basically Apostate's job. He's a spirit of deception, so lying convincingly is as easy for him as breathing is for a human. Played for Laughs in that most of his lies are blatantly obvious solely because he's trying to troll Fanatic for his own amusement. However, believing his lies is behind the origins of literally everyone else in Fanatic's Rogues Gallery.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • This is the hat of the Chaos god Tzeentch, the literal god of manipulation who exists purely to string along his fellow gods as part of his schemes and prolong "the great game" between them. This also extends to the daemons under his command, most of which not even being aware of what their creator is using them for. The only reason he hasn't won the Great Game already is because doing so would result in having no one left to manipulate, which would ultimately destroy him.
    • The C'tan known as Mephet'ran (aka, the Deceiver) is also no slouch. Not only did he successfully trick the entire Necrotyr race into making him and his fellow star gods bodies. He then followed that up by tricking most of them into eating each other and make him the most powerful among them. Unfortunately for Mephet'ran though, this came back to bite him when the Necrotyr turned on him and shattered him into millions of pieces, most of which then managed to convince themselves that they are the one true Deceiver and started fighting amongst each other.
    • The Eldar laughing god Cegorach would be a god example of this, if it weren't for the fact that he and his Harlequin followers rarely actually lie in order to further their agendas, preferring instead to wrap the truth inside riddles and engage in Double Speak.
    • The Primarch(s) Alpharius and Omegon are known for embodying their father's deceitful nature. Just about every word from either of their mouths is a lie, but they go out of their way to make it impossible to verify one way or another. Even their fellow Primarch's don't know if anything they see or hear of Alpharius is true.
    • The Emperor of Mankind himself is one of the biggest liars in the setting. He always chooses his words and actions carefully so that whoever he's talking to only knows or believes what he wants them to. Nobody has any idea what his real thoughts or goals are on anything thanks to this. Not even his closest confidants like the also deceitful Malcador could be said to really understand him.
    • Speaking of Malcador, the Sigillite himself is only slightly below his liege himself in deceit. While he's perfectly upfront with the Emperor, anyone else is fair game for manipulation. Despite being (mostly) human, he's able to string along nearly anyone, including the various transhuman demigods around him, as needed. All while hiding just about any details about himself. There's a reason he ended up founding three of the deadliest and secretive factions in the Imperium: the Grey Knights, the Inquisition, and the Assassin Orders.
  • Pathfinder and Spycraft:
    • The Skill Scores and Perks system is inherited from Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, including the ability to boost the Bluff skill to absurd heights. However, unlike their predecessor, a successful Bluff convinces the target of the speaker's sincerity, not of the absolute truth of their words.
    • The Mesmerist class ability "Consummate Liar" adds half your level to Bluff checks and allows you to take the Improved Feint combat feat chain without the necessary prerequisites.

    Video Games 
  • In BioShock, Atlas' lies practically play the game for you. Indeed nearly everything about Frank Fontaine can be summed up as this. The prequel novel Bioshock Rapture reveals that he started as a conman from New York, lying and manipulating his way up the gangster food chain every way he could, using disguises and aliases when it served him. Eventually, he ended up killing a man named Frank Fontaine who had been invited by Andrew Ryan to Rapture and stole his name and business to get into the city and establish himself as Ryan's biggest problem. While his first name really is Frank, we never learn his real last name, and he says that very few people in the world know it at all.
  • In Disco Elysium, Klaasje is so good at deception that she can even make the protagonists' internal voices lie for her. It takes a skill check from Volition, the skill of saying "No", to even notice. Klaasje also engineers an elaborate cover-up in minutes when someone is murdered in front of her to deflect blame, only broken by her own desire to find the true killer. When cornered, she admits she has training as a corporate spy (or worse, if that's a lie too) and several fake identification documents can be found in a cache she left.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series' backstory, Rajhin, the legendary Khajiiti Impossible Thief, was also known to be exceptionally duplicitous and deceitful. Very befitting traits for a thief who, for example, stole from the Daedric Princes, stole a tattoo from the sleeping Empress, and even stole an entire city (which remained missing for several years until it mysteriously returned on its own).
  • Fallout 4 has Deacon, an agent of the Railroad who pretty much lies every time he opens his mouth, making it hard to believe whenever he tells the truth of the Sole Survivor's exploits to his leaders. Since the Railroad relies heavily on secrecy for its survival, his ability to lie like a champion is actually invaluable.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII's Big Bad Sephiroth lies like a rug throughout the entire story to manipulate Cloud. It works because Cloud's own memories are faulty due to various traumatic circumstances. After Tifa helps Cloud recover his true memories, Sephiroth is no longer able to manipulate Cloud as easily anymore, meaning it's actually possible to beat him.
    • Delita Heiral from Final Fantasy Tactics has become this post-timeskip. He shamelessly betrays every single side he joins, playing everybody in his quest to become the king of Ivalice. He's so good at it that he manages to get Ramza to steamroll the thousand years old demons who were threatening to unleash the Ivalice equivalent of Satan upon the world for him, with the former none the wiser. The only person he might possibly have told the truth to is Ovelia. Maybe. Not that it made much of difference in the end.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • Claude gladly proclaims that he's shiftiness incarnate compared to the other two House Leaders and can constantly lie with a straight face without a problem. This makes it hard to tell when he's being candid and when he's being a Manipulative Bastard, which works to his detriment when trying to get close to others. It also ties into Edelgard's distrust for him, which helps to motivate her to invade the Leicester Alliance because she can't trust him to support her.
    • Rhea. While a lot of people uphold the Archbishop as an embodiment of the Church of Serios' values, others point out that being above suspicion and surrounded by yes-men make it very easy for her to enhance the truth into a form that suits her. It helps that she's been manipulating the historical record since the church's founding, meaning she can effectively decide what the truth is.
  • Xigbar of Kingdom Hearts is a master at deception akin to Revolver Ocelot above, deceiving everybody for the sake of his own plans. He even managed to pull the wool over the eyes of somebody possessing his body.
  • God of War Ragnarök portrays Odin as this. As Mimir warns Kratos, "if he says snow is white, he's lying." And while that metaphor might seem ridiculous, if anything it understates how much Odin lies. He convinces Atreus he's reasonable, all the main characters that he's Tyr, and the audience that he might not be as bad as presented. If anything, he's actually worse. An optional conversation has Mimir comment that Odin doesn't lie because it serves a purpose, he lies because he wants to control subjective reality, so even offhand comments by him can't be trusted.
  • Fain of Lusternia. It's hard for real-life readers of the Back Story to determine when - if ever — he Jumped Off The Slippery Slope.
  • Mass Effect: The Illusive Man lies as easily as he breathes, making it next to impossible to say whether or not he's actually telling the truth. It's so good that even people who know not to trust him have to admit that what he's saying is too plausible to entirely write off. He's able to lie to Aria, a woman who has held power on Omega, a space station full of Starscreams for centuries, partly by being able to tell exactly what one is planning and thinking or when they might try to move against her. The book Mass Effect: Retribution has a bit from Aria's POV where it says that she is able to read body language and tiny subconscious clues, but the Illusive Man is still unreadable because he is actually sending out a confusing mishmash of contradictory signals so that even she can't read him. The best part? Even though she realises that he is capable of lying to her, and so devotes all her considerable cunning to work out if he is being truthful, he still manages to tell her several direct lies without her realising.
  • Metal Gear's Revolver Ocelot. The only thing that he stated that is very likely to be the truth (aside from possibly his real name in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater) is that he planned to allow war to run rampant across the world so people's true emotions, feelings, and nature can be brought out, and that's only because of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and even that is debatable, since not once did Big Boss ever mention anything about Ocelot actually intending for mayhem to spread.
  • Planescape: Torment:
    • Trias the Betrayer. Angels aren't supposed to be able to lie...but he can. And oh, boy, can he.
    • The Practical Incarnation was a good enough liar to fool an oracle, repeatedly.
    • Yourself. With high enough charisma, you may charm your way through many conversations and make people go really out of their way to help you, such as when you convince Stale Mary of the Dead Nations to reveal the secret of the Silent King, or most notably convince Ravel Puzzlewell, a genius, twisted evil hag, that you love her. On an occasion, your lies are so strong that they actually come to reality – when you falsely introduce yourself as Adahn often enough, you'll actually physically meet the person in the inn.
  • While GLaDOS of Portal isn't necessarily a good liar (like repeatedly insisting that Chell is fat or saying her Morality Core made shoes for orphans), it's usually impossible to know when she's lying because she lies about everything. This is most apparent at the end of Portal 2, where her reason for letting Chell escape and whether or not Caroline was deleted are given different contradictory answers, depending on whether you believe her words or the ending songs.
  • Radiant Historia: Stocke is an incredible liar, perhaps something that should be expected from a spy, though it says something that he actually manages to fool his spymaster and said spymaster has a long list of reasons why simple acting skills shouldn't fool him. He's also a very good actor, at one point acting up the role of a flamboyant ponce to such a degree that a hostile border guard fails to match him to his own physical description - they were looking for a soldier, not a campy performer. The latter incident also gets a fair bit of Lampshade Hanging; Raynie and Marco are both totally shocked that the quiet, stoic badass is even capable of acting so obsequiously polite, and Raynie bursts out laughing the moment they're out of earshot of the guards.
  • Every single Shin Megami Tensei protagonist. All of them. You have to negotiate with demons to get them on your side, which generally consists of telling them what they want to hear and repeatedly bribing them. But "telling them what they want to hear" often means "lying like a dog," resulting in things like the Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey protagonist tricking demons into joining him by telling them that under his Power Armor he's actually a beautiful woman.
  • StarCraft:
    • Arcturus Mengsk is so skillful that he gets away with lying to a telepath. In the novelization, Kerrigan thought he was the only person who always told her the truth, and was horribly shocked to learn that he was capable of deceiving her. Of course, by then, it was too late...
    • Infested Kerrigan is also not bad at lying... oh, and Duran, who also manages to fool Kerrigan. After her infestation.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has Cliff able to spin a good line of BS whenever the situation calls for it. Part of this is that Cliff adheres to a non-interference clause with regards to planets that don't have space travel yet, so he's learned how to Hand Wave things in-universe. This is shown early in the game when Cliff and Fayt crash-land on a medieval planet, and Cliff claims they're engineers from a technologically-advanced country on that same world. On top of that, Cliff truthfully says that they were on their way to rescue Fayt's dad, who had been captured by an enemy country. He just lies by omission that it's an enemy that sails the stars. Fayt notes to himself that Cliff's ability to spin a lie out of thin air is quite impressive, considering Fayt had struggled to do the same thing earlier on another planet.
  • Kreia from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. She's so good, that by your fifth time through the game, you may realize something she's telling you isn't right. Bonus points for being the main source of exposition throughout the story.
  • Kaliyo Djannis in Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Imperial Agent's Rattataki companion, Token Evil Teammate (even by The Empire's very low standards), and potential Love Interest. Virtually everything she says to you is a lie, but she decided to shack up with one of the few people in the galaxy better than her at it.
  • The king of this trope is Aim Liard from Super Robot Wars Z. Since the guy owns the Lying Black Sheep he is physically incapable of saying the truth. When he is killed by Asakim in Hakai-hen, he uses his sphere to essentially tell a lie to the universe so that he is not killed off. AND IT WORKS. His name is pronounced "I'm A Liar", and his Leitmotif is the song Untrue Crystal which sounds heroic. Because the song itself is just another lie.
  • Both David and the camgirl in Telling Lies lie for a living, with the former a particularly egregious example; his wife bitterly notes that he has a real knack for it.
  • Touhou's Marisa Kirisame. To the point the local Chief Judge of Hell has warned her that she's destined to hell due to her chronic lying. Marisa responded she has never said a single lie in her life.
  • In Unavowed, a Player Character with the actor background is a very good liar and tends to lie or spin stories when using options labelled [actor]. Mandana, a Living Lie Detector, claims that their lies feel almost like truth because the player character almost seems to believe they are true.
  • One that may not be immediately obvious: Joshua from The World Ends with You can be scanned as he's playing from the Real Ground (aka the living world), but you're always somehow blocked out of his memory of what really happened until The Reveal.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Matt Engarde from Justice For All. Phoenix asks him if he committed murder. He didn't, so the Magatama didn't show any Psyche-Locks. However, he is guilty of hiring an assassin to do the job- he got past the lie detector because he genuinely believed it wasn't murder if you didn't do it yourself.
    • There's one instance where breaking a Psyche-Lock with the Magatama yields Phoenix information which turns out to be completely wrong. It's hard to say, though, whether this is an example of this trope or whether it's a mistake from the Magatama.
    • In note to the two examples above, on both occasions the "lies" managed to slip past the Magatama due to a flaw in the Magatama's system. The Magatama isn't a pure lie detector but rather tells its user when a person "is holding a secret in their heart". To this effect, a person can themselves believe a lie to be true and the Magatama wouldn't react to it. This is what happened in the first example; he believed his statement of "I never killed anyone" to be true because he's an evil sociopath who genuinely thought that hiring an assassin meant he never killed anyone. It's implied that had he himself believed hiring a murder meant he was a killer then the Magatama would have picked up the statement as a lie. In the second example, the person lying had become so attached to his lie that he, once again, believed it to be true, thus the Magatama didn't pick up that the info gained was all lies. It's not until court where Phoenix "reveals" said person's made-up identity that he starts to snap out of believing that he really was this identity.
    • In Dual Destinies, the "Mood Matrix" used by Athena Cykes can detect a person's emotional stability when giving testimony and allow her to read into their real emotions to pick apart lies. During the final case, she uses this against rival prosecutor Simon Blackquill, whose testimony is the only time that the Mood Matrix picks up an increase in emotional disturbance over the course of the testimony (normally it drops the more you probe the witness's testimony for emotional inconsistency). Simon doesn't shake his facial expression during this period and his lies are perfectly believable, so the only way you know that his lies are just getting stronger as he testifies is by the Mood Matrix.
  • Kaito in Akatsuki no Goei can tell absurd lies without showing the slightest hint. At one point, he actually has to lie to some animals using phlebotinum that allows them to talk. Despite being living lie detectors, he still fools them. That said, some of the lies he tells are so ridiculous that it doesn't really matter how perfect his poker face is.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Celestia Ludenberg from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is this, as a Super High School Level Gambler with the nickname "Queen of Liars". This leads to her managing to manipulate Yamada into killing Ishimaru before killing him herself. It was only a small verbal slip picked up by Naegi that turned the case against her.
    • Depending on how the player wants to play, the main character can be this in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. In addition, The Rival character of this game (Kokichi Oma) is also a huge liar himself. To the point where his Thanatos Gambit is referred to as his "last lie", and it's a big one: it deceives even the nigh-omniscient Monokuma, and none of the students initially have any idea whether his Final Speech (that he hates the Killing Game and wants it to end at any cost) were truth or a lie either. The protagonist says he might as well be the Anthropomorphic Personification of lying.
  • In Melody, Bethany almost manages to convince the protagonist that the best thing for him is to get back together with her, and she manages to trick Hank into giving her two backstage passes to Melody’s concert.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Zero, a.k.a. Akane Kurashiki (June), can feign concern for the man who not only tried to kill her, but who she is trying to kill (or at least ruin) herself. This facade is absolutely flawless, and doesn't break once during the story.

  • Thief of 8-Bit Theater has claimed that Red Mage is "not actually a cross dresser and he has no daddy issues. I've just been messing with his head."
  • Destania of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures is such a talented liar that she convinced her children for decades that she wasn't a power-hungry killer out to wipe out all dragons no matter the cost in creature lives. She even convinced a group of adventurers that she was an oracle by disguising herself as the phoenix she had just murdered to make sure no one could use magic to call out her lies. It helped her disguise a lot that she was able to set her head on fire for real and withstand the pain with no signs of discomfort.
    • Biggs is also a talented manipulator whose true goals are known to no one, not even to the aforementioned Destania who is his ally and possibly his lover. He even introduces the more trusting Jyrras to the concept of lying.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Anevka Sturmvoraus says that her brother Tarvek could probably charm Baron Wulfenbach himself, and he indeed does a pretty good job at playing all sides up the middle until he's forced to reveal a hand in an effort to keep Lucrezia from ordering a city full of revenants to attack incoming soldiers and gets shot for it. Later events reveal that Tarvek has been able to keep some major lies running for years.
    • Anevka does a pretty good job herself, convincing almost everybody she meets for an entire arc that they're really on her side, whether they are or not. She is eventually defeated by Tarvek's hidden ace, though.
  • Daniel in The Guide to a Healthy Relationship lies constantly about his partner and their relationship to cover up (but also to further) his Domestic Abuse of the latter. None of his friends ever seem to notice that some things he says don't really line up.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Coyote earned the title of "The American Trickster" for a reason. He's set up a Restraining Bolt that is set to destroy him via paradox if he ever tells an actual falsehood (long story short, his faith-pie hole is set to starve if he ever lies). As a result, he can get away with keeping some horrifying secrets such as brainwashing Ysengrin by eating his memories and uses contextual narrative to lead his archrivals into thinking he's their funny little mayor friend, even after centuries of infamy as an insane tyrant. Also, he's insane enough to recognize Medium Awareness and can outright keep the secret by simply talking to thin air like a madman.
  • The Atru religion in Kill Six Billion Demons names this trope in its first scripture. In the teachings of Atru, The Creator YISUN is the greatest liar of them all, by having convinced nothing that something ought to exist even though it by all rights shouldn't. In other words, existence itself is a fiction, a story told by God, with the rules made up on the fly. Anyone who engages in Reality Warping is said to be using the art of 'Lying to the Face of God', i.e. telling a story about the universe (or at least the small part you want to affect) that's so good that it temporarily overrides God's opinion on the matter.
    Let there be no genesis, for beginnings are false and I am a consummate liar
  • The Last Days of Foxhound deliberately Flanderizes Revolver Ocelot to be such a good liar that not only is he completely immune to telepathy, but he managed to string along Psycho Mantis for most of the comic's run.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Smug Snake Kubota claims to be capable of fooling magical lie detection, which is pretty much a prerequisite to scheming for the throne of a city that has no compunctions about using such magic.
    • Keeping with good Dungeons & Dragons traditions, Haley, who is already good at bluffing, downs a potion that greatly increases her bluff which means she can make any bluff check no matter the penalty. In practice, she uses this to convince guards that they can't really see them, or that they are fired, or that the guard himself doesn't exist, or that she didn't mean it when she said her father ruined her life. She is, however, unable to convince her father that Elan is a good guy because Bluff only works on things that aren't actually true. That would take a Diplomacy check. As such, any D&D player can be better at convincing people of lies than truths.
  • Subverted in Schlock Mercenary when General Xinchub, who is suspected to be this trope after telling a rather outrageous story to Ennesby and Schlock, reveals that he isn't an example when he establishes a baseline by telling an obvious lie and is caught red-handed by TAG (an AI skilled at lie detection). Double-subverted, when it turns out telling the truth, was a Batman Gambit to make Ennesby trigger a query trap when he tried to confirm the story using the Hypernet, and nobody was able to catch on to that.

    Web Original 
  • SCP-2284, aka Mr. Lie. A truth twister variant who's unable to tell the truth but can get around it through rhetorical questions and sarcasm. Anyone who reads his writing or hears him speak becomes convinced that everything he says is absolutely true, and he can use this to inflict Logic Bombs on people by continually feeding them contradictory information. Despite having an easy-to-understand property, he manages to worm his way into the deepest levels of the Foundation and manipulate everyone in contact with him.
    Mr. Lie: Did you know I don't always know exactly what's going to come out of my mouth? Do I operate on some kind of universal truth rather than what I understand to be the right answer?
  • While many of the scammers that the scam-baiter Kitboga encounters are lame at best, every once in a while Kit encounters one who is actually good, seeming to lie as easily as they breathe air. Even if what they're saying makes no sense, they still say it with perfect ease, even as Kit tries to put them through increasingly convoluted scenarios and questioning. One good example is the scammer from "The Craziest Scammer I've Ever Called," who spins an increasingly elaborate story about being a billionaire, yet somehow being in jail, having every single of one of his assets seized, and nobody actually knowing about him being a billionaire.
  • In Red Versus Blue, Gamma is this. He lies in pretty much all of his scenes, manipulating the UNSC's operatives to fulfill his plans. He acts as a False Friend to Church while psychologically torturing him, inflames Carolina's ego to turn her against her teammates, and even successfully manipulates the religion of an entire alien race to control them. The only people he might be telling the truth to are Wyoming and Sigma, and even then it's ambiguous.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has Azula, who lies to everyone about everything, and is good enough to say she's "a four-hundred-foot-tall purple platypus bear with pink horns and silver wings" and not set off Toph's Living Lie Detector abilities. The most spectacular is when she managed to infiltrate Ba Sing Se and conquer the city in a few days (something which the Fire Nation had been trying and failing to do for 100 years) using nothing but lies and manipulations. Unfortunately, she couldn't successfully lie to herself, which resulted in her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Vlad Masters from Danny Phantom who managed to convince everyone he's just a normal billionaire and later benevolent mayor unless he felt the need to reveal his true intentions. Played the best in "D-Stabilized" where Vlad continuously succeeds in convincing Valerie with little hesitation. Goes hand-in-hand with Manipulative Bastard, as Vlad maintains an anti-ghost attitude when dealing with Valerie and other citizens of Amity, who are generally anti-ghost themselves. This works because the only people who know about Vlad's half-ghost status are unable to reveal it without risking Danny's secret in turn.
  • Pete on Goof Troop lies a lot. He lies for a living. He lies to trick his neighbor and manipulate his son. He lies to get credit for things other people did or pass the blame for things he did to someone else. Despite the fact that both PJ, his son, and Max, his neighbor's son, are well-aware that Pete is a Jerkass and a Manipulative Bastard, they don't typically think about this when he's tricking them, usually because he either engages in reverse psychology or fabricates "evidence"... or both. However, by the end of most episodes his lies are found out and he gets punished for them.
  • On Justice League, Thannagarians (like Hawkgirl) are revealed to be immune to telepathy, and thus J'onn cannot read any of their thoughts. There's also the events of the Justice League meeting their Alternate Universe equivalents in "A Better World", who use the alternate J'onn to make first contact.
    Batman: Have you read his mind yet?
    J'onn: Martians don't do that to one another.
    Batman: Can't... or won't?
    J'onn: Both.
  • In Kaeloo, about half of the words that come out of the mouth of the Villain Protagonist Mr. Cat are Blatant Lies, such as (to name just two examples) trying to pass off a mallet he wants to use to hurt Quack Quack as a wart and convincing Quack Quack that her girlfriend Eugly is cheating on him. The fact that the other characters are not as smart as Mr. Cat may have something to do with it.
  • Lila from Miraculous Ladybug is one of these. In her first appearance alone, she successfully manages to convince the class that she's traveled around the world and met various celebrities, and is able to convince Adrien that she's descended from a fox-themed heroine (aided by a necklace that looks very similar to the actual Fox Miraculous). After said first episode, she becomes an Arch-Enemy to Marinette (in both forms) and swears she will destroy all of her relationships and everything she loves in revenge. Then season 5 reveals that she has had multiple fake identities this whole time, "Lila Rossi" being one of them.
  • Angelica Pickles on Rugrats frequently makes stuff up to her cousins to manipulate them into doing bad things and usually requires the entire episode to uncover the lie. A notable example being when she convinced Tommy that her friend's sister disappeared as a result of her parents giving away toys she outgrew.
  • "That No-Good, Lying" Toucan Dan of Disney's Timon & Pumbaa show was an evil and impossibly hypnotic liar, being able to convince anyone of anything, merely by stating it as fact. In one episode, after being imprisoned, he tricks Timon into switching places with him by gently insisting that he (Toucan Dan) was actually on the outside of the cell, and Timon was on the inside.
  • Transformers
    • Megatron of Beast Wars and Beast Machines is adept at manipulating enemy and "ally" by telling them exactly what they want to hear while keeping his true plans and motives hidden until the last moment. All but the most simple-minded of his underlings are aware of his deceptive nature, but no one is able to completely guess what goes on in his mind.
    • A weird case is from Transformers: AnimatedStarscream clones himself, and all the clones end up embodying elements of his personality; naturally, this means one (later named Ramjet) ends up constantly spewing Blatant Lies, although it verges into Bad Liar territory because of the frequent denials he'll start saying instead.

"YISUN said: let there not be a genesis, for beginnings are false and I am a consummate liar"
YISUN, Kill Six Billion Demons, "The Book of Psalms"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Truth Twister



On top of being a pest, Karen tends to shoplift and pretend that it was already hers.

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Main / ConsummateLiar

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