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Decoy Getaway

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"You idiots! These are not them! You've captured their stunt doubles!"
Spaceball Officer, Spaceballs

The villains have cornered one of the good guys in his private chamber; there is no escape, and he is promptly killed, preferably in the most anticlimactic way possible. Alternatively, the good guy is seen entering or exiting his preferred kind of transport, and then... boom! Turns out the bad guys planted a bomb, and he goes down, leaving no doubt that No One Could Survive That!

But not so fast! The entire thing is just a distraction, and the real good guy is Not Quite Dead.

Sometimes bad guys leave behind decoys or Body Doubles as well (usually a robot), but usually they don't bother, as they can nearly always pull a Villain: Exit, Stage Left In a hurry, a character might give a distinctive piece of clothing to someone nearby, evading capture as the pursuers take on the lookalike.

A common variant is to have the princess of a kingdom escape during a coup, with her disguised lady-in-waiting (or some other hapless servant who's been dragooned into the job) remaining in her place to be brutally killed by the usurpers. This has occurred in Murder Princess, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress and the Webcomic Legendary.

Can be a variation of Faking the Dead and Fighting a Shadow. Compare Decoy Convoy (using multiple transports to hide someone or something), Ninja Log, Tricked Out Time. Often a benefit of being a King Incognito with a Decoy Leader or Body Double.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Used in Black Lagoon, when the "Vampire Twins" Hansel and Gretel bribe two local orphans into putting on their clothes... and getting themselves killed by their enemies.
  • Lelouch uses this tactic on and off in Code Geass, usually with his accomplice C.C. dressed in the Zero costume (she actually started the practice in the first place without his knowledge). Turns tragic in the final episode when he uses it one last time with his friend Suzaku dressed as Zero... so he can murder Lelouch in front of the world...exactly as Lelouch planned it.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (manga only), Ed Elric makes a decoy getaway of Roy Mustang in the chase scene with Gluttony. Though it's not in a private place, Roy is quickly losing ground and doesn't seem able to hide, and he collapses, unable to keep running. The next we see of him, Gluttony has eaten his head and torso, though that's just a decoy, and of course all of the good guys are unscathed. Yay!
    • Later, Scar fakes the murder of Dr. Marcoh, using his clothes with a horribly mutilated chimera corpse. The bad guys count the chimeras that are supposed to be there and realize one is missing, though, and are not fooled in the slightest.
    • Likewise, predating both of these examples, Mustang faked the death of Maria Ross by creating a puppet, vaguely resembling her, and torching it.
  • Deliberately invoked by Batou in Ghost In The Shell Standalone Complex: takes a wrong turn, gets blown to smithereens by a mech. Then, his severed head looks up, smiles, and says "Oh, right, it looks like I'm dead to you doesn't it? Yep. He hacks the dude's cyberbrain, sneaks up behind him, and shoots him to death.
    • The Major also pulls one when the government decides to "disband" Section 9 and the agents go to ground. Batou watches her get sniped while she's boarding a plane, but it turns out to be a robot double she was operating by remote. After reuniting, the other agents have a good laugh at his reaction.
  • Lupin III combines this with Master of Disguise and Body Double, leaving a fake Lupin to be captured or killed by whomever tried to stop him. May defy the laws of physics to pull it off, adding Stealth Hi/Bye to the mix, as well. If the writers are building a villain up as a challenge to Lupin, they may be able to pull a Decoy Getaway on him.
  • In the Lupin Family All-Stars, Zenigata pulls off an Inverted Trope example. The Zenigata on the boat headed to the island is the fake, the real one was on the island in disguise, the whole time!
  • Megazone 23: Near the end of Part II, protagonist Shogo Yahagi and the bike gang he's joined are being pursued by military forces. At one point, he and his Mini-Mecha come to the rescue of some of his friends being pinned down by the enemy; they escape, but the Garland mecha is overwhelmed and defeated. The Heavy of the military forces pries open the Garland's cockpit to capture Shogo — only to find The Lancer of the gang, who switched places with Shogo to allow him to escape and reach the MacGuffin.
    Lightning: Huh? Yahagi? SOOOOOOO Sorry! WROOOOOONG ASSHOLE!
  • This is how Lucrezia Noin's older brother Dix-Neuf Noinheim died in the Mobile Suit Gundam Wing novel Frozen Teardrop. The dude he was protecting? His brother-in-law/Noin's husband, Milliardo Peacecraft aka Zechs Merquise.
  • One episode of Monster Rancher has Genki and Holly switch clothes so that she and Tiger can escape with the Magic Stone while the others distract the baddies. This nearly results in Genki and his group getting killed... and unfortunately, the villains still catch Holly and get the Stone.
  • Done in the Negima! Magister Negi Magi manga, in grand style: several of the characters are hiding from the (misguided) authorities. Setsuna and Haruna, between them, summon enough decoys to replace the entire group in a matter of minutes. Would be less awesome if it weren't for the fact that Haruna's summoning powers rely on physically sketching an exact likeness of the person.
  • Captain Kuro did this in One Piece, leaving one of his lackeys, hypnotised and in Kuro's clothes to the sole survivor of a marine fleet. Said marine would become one of the first villains.
    • Igaram would also serve as a decoy for Princess Vivi Nefertari from time to time, despite bearing no resemblance to her whatsoever.
  • In the climax of Samurai 7, the emperor attempts to use his fellow clones to escape the samurai.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • In one Heroes graphic novel, Sylar gives his hat and coat to a tramp so that the FBI agents following him would go after the tramp, letting Sylar get away.
  • One of the favorite tactics of Doctor Doom in the Marvel Universe. To the extent where the use of "Doombots" to justify/retcon his defeats at the hands of unworthy characters has become something of a running gag... the thing with Squirrel Girl, though, that really happened.
    • In fact, seeing as each Doombot has been programmed to believe that it is actually Doom (except when in the presence of the real Doom, or another Doombot) it has really been impossible to tell whether or not a hero has been dealing with the real Doom or a Doombot in most of the villain's appearances.
    • In Ultimate Marvel, Doctor Doom, being a very different character, didn't use this until Ultimate Power, which was kind of ridiculous (for other reasons as well). However, his interest in remotely-controlled robotics was always a part of his character, so at least there's that.
  • The LMD (Life Model Decoys) is a mechanical duplicate of a person. The LMD is a favorite of S.H.I.E.L.D., particularly Nick Fury, who rivals Dr. Doom!
    • Maria uses an LMD to distract an arrogant Skrull version of Jarvis. While the Skrull is ranting, Maria tells him to his face that she is using a LMD, knowing he isn't listening to her before sniping several Skrulls and blowing up the Helicarrier.
    • The same thing happened with Thanos, whom we readers needed a Watcher to explain that it wasn't a clone, until the same author explained that it may have been a clone, but later stating in an Internet Forum that is wasn't a clone. Thanos uses a lot of clones. He also tends to modify them quite a bit. One was designed to be more powerful than Galactus.
  • Near the end of the Maximum Carnage crossover, Carnage used something like this to flee when his partners were subdued - and his brain was nearly fried - by the heroes positive emotion weapon. He wrapped part of his symbiote around the body of one of his victims that was nearby and fled, making the heroes think he had been killed. He later tried the same trick in the first Batman/Spider-Man inter-company crossover to make it look like the Joker had killed him, but Spidey was too wary too fall for it a second time. (And this time, he didn't do it to escape, he did it to ambush them.)
  • In Swordquest, Lady Wyla throws the Big Bad off the trail of her infant children by jumping into the ocean with two jars wrapped in swaddling cloths in full view of his guards.
  • This is the retcon used to explain away the first death of Monsieur Mallah and the the Brain when they first (re)appeared in Teen Titans.
  • In Ultimate X-Men, Cable apparently kills Professor X, but actually took him to the future and left a perfect replica corpse behind.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Tomoe's lord is apparently killed while under her and Usagi's protection. Tomoe doesn't seem that cut up about it, then reveals the dead lord was a body double.
  • Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm) from Alan Moore's era. Don't imprison the brainwashing super-genius in the cell next to the shapeshifter. It's not going to end sanely.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Ice Age, the sabers chase Sid with the baby, but when they capture it, it turns out to be a snowman in swaddling clothes; the real baby was hidden away.
  • In The Lorax (2012), Ted's mom pulls this off to distract O'Hare's goons.
  • In Monsters, Inc., the CDA agents corner Mike and Sulley with Boo. Mike comes out with what appears to be Boo in his arms, but it's only her costume, while Sulley escapes with the real Boo. Waternoose takes notice of this, however, it was all part of the duo's plan to trick him into admitting his kidnapping plot.
  • In the film of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, while Ashoka delivers Rotta the Hutt to safety, Anakin distracts Count Dooku by filling his backpack with rocks and pretending Rotta is in there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Captain Marvel (2019), Norex, Talos's "science guy", stays behind on Earth to lure Yon-Rogg away, impersonating Carol so the party can reach Mar-Vell's lab unimpeded.
  • When the police come to capture John at home in To Catch a Thief, they are fooled into following his getaway car driven by his maid while John stayed behind.
  • At the end of The Eagle Has Landed, the last member of the Nazi assassination team succeeds in killing Winston Churchill just before he is killed by the Prime Minister's security. Then it is revealed that the dead man is a Body Double, the real Winston Churchill was actually out of the country meeting with Stalin and FDR in a secret conference.
  • In Godzilla vs. Gigan, after escaping from Godzilla Tower, the heroes get their car to drive away by itself (presumably by putting something heavy on the gas pedal). The car gets destroyed by Godzilla Tower's laser, then the aliens relax, thinking they have been destroyed, allowing them to get away for real.
  • In The Hidden Fortress, a Body Double is used for the princess and gets killed by enemy forces.
  • In the French Revolution segment of History of the World Part I, the King of France takes advantage of the piss boy's resemblance to him by leaving the piss boy in his place to face the wrath of the revolutionaries.
  • At the end of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Max discovers that the tanker that he thought was carrying the precious petrol was really filled with sand. The tanker drew the attention of the bandits while the other people made their getaway, carrying the fuel inside drums hidden on the buses.
  • In Mission Impossible 2, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) affixes a latex mask to The Dragon Hugh Stamp, and escapes as the Big Bad guns down Stamp, mistaking him as Hunt.
  • The Phantom (1943): One of the villains goes to dispose of Rusty, the Phantom's contact in the town on the edge of the jungle. He sneaks up to Rusty's window, sees Rusty seated at a table, and puts three bullets in his head. But it turns out Phantom got to Rusty first, and made a decoy out of Rusty's hat and coat and a stuffed gorilla.
  • In Sabata, Alley Cat dons Sabata's trademark Badass Longcoat and hat and tricks Stengel's men into pursuing him instead of Sabata: leading them into an ambush in a box canyon.
  • In Shoot 'Em Up, Mr. Smith goes on the run with a fake baby while DQ escapes with Oliver.
  • Number Five eluded his captors by constructing a fully functioning decoy of himself in the first Short Circuit movie.
  • Spoofed in Spaceballs where the main cast jump dramatically through a closing door only to be captured by Spaceball guards. But it's not them... it's their stunt doubles.
  • Naturally, the first two Star Wars prequels. Somewhat justified, as Amidala is a politician, and real-life politicians have verifiably employed decoys since at least World War II. In Star Wars: Legacy, a spin-off comic series, Emperor Roan Fel leaves behind a decoy on his throne while fleeing away from the Sith. Likewise, in the Legacy of the Force novels, Admiral Pellaeon brings a decoy to a peace conference. Which promptly gets raided. Pellaeon's opposite number? No decoys.
  • John Travolta in Swordfish.
  • The ending art theft scene in the newer version of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).
  • Van Helsing: Mr. Hyde traps Van Helsing underneath a church bell. He then hears the sound of Van Helsing's buzzsaw weapons cutting through the floor. He lifts the bell and sees that a hole has been cut in the floor, and it looks like Van Helsing has escaped through it. However, Van Helsing is actually performing a Container Cling at the top of the bell, and slices Hyde's arm off.
  • In the 2008 film, Vantage Point, when the president hears rumors of an assassination attempt, he sends a decoy in his place. The decoy is shot. However, the president is still kidnapped in his hotel room and saved later by Joseph Barnes, his bodyguard.

  • At one point in The Bible, one of the prophets, being pursued by his enemies, anoints a stranger and gives him his mantle before fleeing for his life. Unlike most cases, the decoy prophet survives and becomes important in his own right.
  • In one of the Dirty Harry novels, Inspector Callahan quickly realises that a Triad boss he wants to interrogate is the elderly doorman. He's not hiding from the police but from assassins as there's a mob war in progress, and any hit squad would just shove the doorman aside while racing upstairs to kill the boss, only to find a roomful of his well-armed minions.
  • Dungeon Crawler Carl: When Chris, controlled by Maggie, dislodges the Gate of the Feral Gods before the portal opens, it looks like Carl's plan is sunk. Except that what he got was a fake, and the original is already in position.
  • In The Fellowship of the Ring, the hobbits' beds in Bree are stuffed with straw to make it appear they're asleep to fool the black riders.
  • Gesta Danorum: Under the influence of slanderers, King Gorm resolves to have the great seafarer Thorkill murdered in his bed. But Thorkill is forewarned, sneaks out of his bunk and leaves a log in his place. The assassins stab the log before realizing their mistake.
  • Villainous Quinn Dexter from The Night's Dawn Trilogy escapes a trap laid by the good guys by sending in a decoy instead.
  • In Qiang Jin Jiu, Xiao Chiye gets forty of his men to wear outfits exactly like Li Jianheng's. When they all have to run for their lives, the decoys scatter in different directions so their pursuers can't tell where the real Li Jianheng went.
  • In The Quiller Memorandum, Quiller discovers a bomb attached to his car. He sets it off to fool the enemy into thinking he is dead.
    • In Quiller's Run he finds himself hemmed in by an opposition surveillance team, so arranges for a fellow agent to drive off in his car to draw them off. It works better than intended as they've planted a bomb in his car.
  • Happens quite by accident in Redwall. Some of the defenders undertake a secret project to build a ballista capable of reaching the horde's camp from the abbey wall. It works perfectly - they aim it at Cluny's tent, wait until they see his silhouette backlit by the sun, and skewer the rodent. But it just so happens that Cluny is elsewhere for the day, and one of his underlings had taken the opportunity to try on his gear.
  • In The Salvation War, Ehmas (the angel who possessed Jesus) is believed dead after his army is nuked. In reality, he gave his armor to a deputy.
  • Sherlock Holmes:
    • Sherlock Holmes twice used a dummy to fool the bad guys into attacking it instead of him. One dummy was a wax bust, the other was a life-sized full wax model of himself.
    • Also used elsewhere in the same series by accident. In The Hound of the Baskervilles, the eponymous hound is set loose to hunt its intended victim. But the man who ends up dead is actually a completely different character, and the dog chased him because of his scent — he's wearing clothes that used to belong to the man the dog was supposed to kill.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. Ramsey Snow turns out to be Not Quite Dead because he sent his minion Reek to "get help", giving him his horse and personal ring so his men would know the orders came from him. He then impersonated Reek who was taken alive to give testimony as to Ramsey's actions.
  • Echo in Thalia's Musings. Pan creates a doppelganger to help her fake her death.
  • The Way Of Kings (first book of The Stormlight Archive): Inverted. Szeth the assassin is sent to kill the king, and as he approaches the king's chambers he sees the king being hurriedly shoved into a secret passage while a hulking brute in Shardplate blocks the way. Szeth fights defensively, trying to disable him long enough to dash into the passage after the king, but at the last second realizes that the one getting away is the decoy, and the actual king is the warrior he'd been fighting the whole time.
  • In Worm, in one chapter, the Slaughterhouse Nine — a gang of mass-murdering supervillains — confuse attacking heroes and villains by forcing plastic surgery on civilians to make them resemble members of the Nine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • In the third season of his self-titled series, Angel goes on the run with a destined baby, several groups who want it dead or sacrificed in hot pursuit. He gets himself cornered in a mineshaft, surrenders the child, then makes his getaway... and the "baby" is actually a doll with a bomb attached. Meanwhile, the rest of the good guys have used the distraction to get the real kid someplace safe.
    • In another episode, Fred escapes pursuit by giving her jacket to a passerby.
  • Arrested Development: George Bluth's twin brother Oscar was frequently used for this.
    Michael: Too bad we don't have a decoy dad to go with the decoy evidence cooler.
    GOB: Damn, and I used the guy who looks just like him in my last bait and switch.
  • The Master used this technique to escape in several Doctor Who serials, notably in "Terror of the Autons", in which he hypnotized one of his lackeys, dressed the lackey up in his clothing, and sent him out to run away. While the others were distracted, the real Master slipped away.
    • "The Wedding of River Song" - The Doctor has to be shot dead by an astronaut by the lakes of Utah on April 22, 2011, 5.02pm. Who says it can't be a shape-shifting robot disguised as the Doctor?
  • In a sketch on The Fast Show, a king is told by an advisor that barbarians are at the gate, and they'll soon break into the palace to kill the king. The king then points out that his adviser looks rather kingly, gives him his throne and crown, and runs out very quickly.
  • The crew of the Serenity pull off a variation in the pilot of Firefly, when an Alliance cruiser comes upon their illegal salvage operation they get away by activating a drifting "crybaby" mock distress transponder so that the Alliance would break off pursuit in order to save what seemed like a personnel carrier.
    • And in the movie while running from the Operative they launch a half dozen rockets as they're flying off in order to confuse them.
  • On The Flash (2014), H.R. Wells uses his face-disguising technology to allow him to take Iris's place when Savitar kills her.
  • On Kamen Rider Double, the Ice Age dopant somehow created an "ice copy" of itself which the pursuing Kamen Rider Accel was following hotly, believing it to be the real deal. When he whipped out his Maximum Drive against the decoy, he was in for a disappointment.
  • Invoked and Subverted in the first season of Legend of the Seeker. Darken Rahl is on his way to a specific castle. Richard And Kahlan camp along the route he's likely to take there, planning to snipe him with a crossbow as he passes. As Rahl approaches, Richard notes that his hands are tied to his mount, and immediately deduces it was a decoy. The real Darken Rahl was already at the castle. Interestingly, the decoy gets a Day in the Limelight in the season two episode Walter
  • Lost Love in Times: Xiao Ji thinks he killed Yuan Ling, only to discover he killed a decoy.
  • Moon Lovers: Wang Eun puts on Ha-jin's cloak to help her escape Hae Soo's relatives.
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1 that establishes the Goa'uld's ability to brainwash people into sleeper agents, the President sends a decoy to meet with the Tok'ra. Good thing, since one of the Tok'ra is in fact, a sleeper agent (the decoy escapes unharmed).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Third Edition has a class called Outlaw of the Crimson Road that gains the ability to pull a Decoy Getaway at the end of its normal progression. Since a player can reasonably pull the same thing with just the normal skills allotted to a Rogue-type character, this ends up looking slightly moot.
    • Wizards (Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards as usual) are the king of this sort of thing though, with spells ranging from Mislead, which turns the caster invisible and creates an illusory decoy, to Stasis Clone, which creates a copy of the subject's body and places it in suspended animation only to wake up with the subject's soul when he dies.

    Video Games 
  • A major component to the plot of Chrono Trigger is the death of Crono, and then the rest of the party going back and time and swapping him with a life-size doll. Assuming the player doesn't just leave him dead.
  • In Dragon Quest IV, aka Dragon Warrior IV, the Hero escapes an attack on their home village when a childhood friend uses the Morph spell to take their form and then get herself killed. The monsters, satisfied, depart.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's Shivering Isles DLC, if you choose to usurp the ever-paranoid Duchess Syl in the Ritual of Dementia, you'll infiltrate her private bedchamber only to find Syl apparently already dead on the bed. Closer inspection of "Syl's" body, however, reveals that it's really that of a random Bosmer woman wearing Syl's dress, and the real Syl is attempting to escape down a secret tunnel beneath the palace.
  • This tactic is necessary in at least the original Fire Emblem (and subsequently its rerelease). In a game where most players strive to keeps as many units alive as possible, you're forced to sacrifice some of them in a bid to progress the storyline.
  • Every single Pokémon game has the “Poke Doll” item, a small doll of Clefairy. If used, you will instantly escape a wild battle, even if under conditions that would make it impossible.
  • In Suikoden II, it is revealed that Neclord is still alive despite being killed on screen in the first game. With the explanation that he survived as the one you killed was a just a clone he created with his rune powers. This is an obvious retcon, as there are no clues to this before his return, but the characters involved in this subplot are cool enough to get away with it.
  • A Spy holding the Dead Ringer ready in Team Fortress 2 can, when struck with any attack, immediately drop a fake body and turn invisible. If the Spy were disguising as the enemy team at the time, a Spy body is dropped. If he was disguising as a member of his own team, a body of that class drops instead. The Dead Ringer fakes the body, death messages, statistics and even Steam achievements. Additionally, if the Spy gets hit while cloaked with the Dead Ringer, he takes a lot less damage. And we're talking 6-7 critical axe swings to the face here, while on fire. The downsides? It does not allow cloaking at any other time, uncloaks with a loud and distinctive noise that will immediately give you away, and it cannot be used again until it has fully recharged.
  • In the Warcraft universe (especially World of Warcraft), it was recently revealed that both Witch Doctor Zalazane and Mad Scientist Sicco Thermaplugg, low-level villains controlling their respective race's former homeland, faked their own death using Hollywood Voodoo and mechanical doppelgangers, respectively. Worry not, though, the next time they are defeated they will be Killed Off for Real and their domains reclaimed. Probably.
  • Happens in chapter 4 of Yggdra Union, where the Imperial Army leaves a Body Double of Gulcasa behind in Fort Karona to buy time for the real one to make it to Lost Aries with Yggdra and begin the Rite of Soul Unbinding. Gulcasa's decoy is significantly weaker than him, though, which serves as a tip-off to players who are actually paying attention. Once unhelmed, the decoy's portrait also happens to have shorter hair and softer facial features; his armor even fits better than Gulcasa's does.


    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Terry gives his jacket to a homeless man as he leaves the subway in order to distract The Stalker.
    • In another episode, a maker of illegal "pleasure synthoids" sends a synthoid duplicate of himself to attack Batman while he runs for it. It doesn't work.
    • A third episode has him help Zeta. The agents hunting Zeta see Batman leave and storm the building. Inside, they find some janitor, scan him to be human, and leave, puzzled. The janitor is Terry, and the Batman who left was Zeta.
  • In Code Lyoko, Aelita sometimes uses her Creativity power to make clones of herself as decoys; most notably in S2 episode "Franz Hopper" to trick the Scyphozoa (giving it an indigestion), and in S4 episode "Canine Conundrum" to distract William, who threw the clone in the Digital Sea.
  • Vlad Plasmius of Danny Phantom, having the power of Self-Duplication, naturally does this often, such as when he needs to get past the creature guarding a magic key in the Ghost Zone.
  • Used a number of times on The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In the special "Fairy Idol," Norm the Jerkass Genie uses an evil clone of Timmy to goad Cosmo and Wanda into quitting as godparents. Once that part was finished and he left to continue with the rest of his plan, Norm left said evil clone behind, so when Jorgen showed up to erase Timmy's memory of his godparents, Timmy hid in a closet and let Jorgen wipe the mind of the clone. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!
    • In Wishology, Jorgen transforms himself into Timmy and lets the Eliminators, who are bent on capturing Timmy The Chosen One, capture him instead, so they leave the real Timmy behind.
    • In the climax of the first The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour, Jimmy has built a Humongous Mecha he's using to fight Mr. Crocker. He loses the fight, and Crocker prepares to kill him... only to discover the Jimmy operating the machine was a robot. The real Jimmy was back fixing the Big Wand; the fight was just a successful attempt to distract Crocker while he did so.
  • In the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode "The Spy Who Rooked Me", some Joes and a James Bond-esque agent are assigned to deliver a vial of extremely deadly nerve gas to a special facility for proper disposal. Naturally, COBRA sends troops after them to steal the vial. At the end of the episode, Dr. Mindbender takes the vial, but it breaks. Just as Flint prepares to do a Heroic Sacrifice to give the others time to get away, the agent smugly explains that the vial contains soda, and they were a distraction to give another team time to deliver the real vial. As the Joes were not told about this, they were really angry that they went through all that fuss for nothing.
  • Men in Black The Series:
    • In the very first episode, Kay gets kidnapped and cooked by aliens. He then re-appears and says that an old friend changed places with him (we then see his friend escaping from the aliens safe and sound). Jay asks how this was possible, given Kay had not left his sight since the friend was last seen.
      Kay: Minutiae.
    • The crew is happy to use cheap clones as decoys. They are almost perfect, but expire after a little while. They tend to spout nonsense just before they expire.
  • In Phineas and Ferb episode "Cranius Maximus", the main characters use dummies of themselves on jetpacks to distract Baljeet so they can get into his tower and stop him from moving the Earth's atmosphere to the moon. Despite the fact that Baljeet is wearing a brain boosting helmet that makes him exponentially smarter, he falls for it twice.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In the episode "Game of Flags," Star and Marco participate in the game by leaving duplicates behind so that her mother doesn't notice. When she does notice, she is not amused.
    Queen Moon: Star, you're never going to believe this, but I met your twin sister. She was made out of corn. I don't even remember giving birth to her. River, did I ever give birth to a corn baby?
    King River: No, we just have the one daughter, Star...
    Queen Moon: Thank you, dear.
  • In the premiere episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Sul-Van leads the police (who were trying to arrest Jor-El based on Brainiac's accusations) on a wild goose chase to buy time for him to launch Kal-El's rocket before Krypton explodes.
  • A popular MO of Slade's in Teen Titans (2003).

    Real Life 
  • During The French Revolution, the royal family dressed as servants, with the servants in noble clothing. Parodied in Mel Brooks's History of the World: Part I.
    • It was not that efficient. In any case, the revolutionaries learned to counter by often killing both apparent masters and servants.
  • Saddam Hussein was frequently alleged to have doubles.
    • Which sparked a joke after Saddam went into hiding after the 2003 invasion, with one of his generals speaking to the doubles. "I have good news and bad news for you: The good news is that Saddam is still alive! That means all of your jobs are intact!" * Cheers from the doubles* "The bad news is: he lost an arm."
  • In Monroe, WA in 2008, an armored car robber used Craigslist and an inner tube to make his getaway. The man pepper-sprayed an armored car guard as he was making a drop at the Monroe Washington Bank of America. He took a “large sum of money”, according to police, and floated down the river on an inner tube. So where does Craigslist come into play here? At approximately 11 AM, the suspect showed up at the bank wearing a blue shirt, goggles and dust mask. It's pretty obvious that he was trying to look like a bug sprayer and was carrying a pump spraying to complete the ruse. Apparently the disguise worked as none of the employees or patrons paid him any attention. He sprays the guard and then rides an inner tube down the Skykomish river where police say an accomplice picked him up afterwards. The suspect covered his tracks by hiring several people who looked exactly like him. A few days before, someone placed a Craigslist ad requesting day laborers for a road maintenance project. The workers were expected to meet in front of the Bank of America at, you guessed it, Sept 30 at 11 AM and were instructed to wear yellow safety vests, safety goggles, respirator masks and blue shirts.
  • Some lizards can do a low-level variation on this, separating their tail from their body. The tail often twitches on its own, attracting the predator's attention long enough for a getaway. A new one is grown over a period of time.
    • Some insects and arachnids like crane flies and harvestmen easily drop a leg or two for the same reason.
  • A common enough tactic with squids. The stages are: 1) Become dark to draw a predator's attention. 2) Make a dark ink blot shaped like yourself. 3) Turn pale. 4) Flee a couple meters. 5) Laugh your ass off as the predator grabs the ink blot and gets a faceful of ink.
  • During WW2 a British headquarters unit in the Western Desert was overrun by the Afrika Korps, so the British general removed his badges of rank and posed as the batman of a lower-ranking officer.


Video Example(s):


Bob Luring the Cop Away

In order to save the party, Bob dresses up as the Bleaken and lures the cops away.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DecoyGetaway

Media sources: