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Double Agent

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The whole cult is like this...
"The thing about doubling anyone is that the more they do for you, the deeper they get. The deeper they get, the more you can make them do. Great if you're running them, but hard on the source. The suicide rate is... above average."
Burn Notice, "Hard Bargain"

The guy who's The Mole on both sides of a conflict. He works for both sides and plays them off against each other. Although often shown as a villain, he can also be a likeable rogue who just happens to have flexible loyalties, or who has problems with both sides and enjoys setting them on each other. He can even be loyal to one side, and willing to engage in the Dirty Business of faking being an agent for the other; The Mole who engages in Becoming the Mask may turn into this.

Although it's possible to find a Double Agent in a crime drama, usually as an inside man in the Mob, he's more often seen in spy dramas. The Double Agent is often The Chessmaster. Becomes the Double Reverse Quadruple Agent when taken to the extreme.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Death Note: Halle works for Near, but passes information to Mello. Near begins using her to feed Mello select information, since most of his deductions to that point are based on information generated by Mello's actions, and he assumes he'll find a way to take advantage of it if Mello works the same leads from different angles.
  • My Hero Academia: Hawks, the #2 hero, was secretly converted into the League of Villains by Dabi... except he's actually a Double Agent trying to infiltrate the League and gain information on them.
  • Ryouji Kaji of Neon Genesis Evangelion is employed by NERV, SEELE, and the Japanese government to spy on and steal information from one another, while at same time pursuing his own goal: discovering the truth about The Conspiracy for himself. While none of the organisations are aware of his personal quest, NERV knows he's a double agent, SEELE suspects it, and the National Security Agency is relatively clueless. Eventually, one of the factions (either SEELE or NERV, per Word of Anno) gets sick of his backstabbing and calls in a hit on him. He knew that they would do it, so he just greets the killer and asks them what took them so long before he's shot dead.
  • Sideways, from Transformers: Armada, masqueraded as an Autobot, then did a Face–Heel Turn and "revealed" he was "really" a Decepticon... only to later betray them as well. Turned out he was trying to escalate the war for his Boss. He made a return appearance in Cybertron.
  • Itachi from Naruto is a double agent for Konoha while pretending to be the Uchiha clan's mole in the ANBU.
  • One Piece: During the Wano Arx, X Drake turns out to be a Double Agent, spying on the Beasts Pirates, and reports to Koby about Luffy's imprisonment and Big Mom and Kaido teaming up, revealing he's actually part of the Marine and a member of a group in the organization known as "SWORD".
  • In Bleach, Gin was working with Aizen to kill him— Gin wanted to avenge the way Aizen had abused his Only Friend Rangiku. It took him a century to obtain both the information needed, and the actual opportunity itself, to make the assassination attempt.
  • Gajeel of Fairy Tail used to be one between Fairy Tail and Raven Tail, though loyal to Fairy Tail. The information he gets from Raven Tail never really comes to use, as before Fairy Tail can find Raven Tail and stop them in their tracks, fate has them meet in the Grand Magic Games. Laxus defeats them, and they realize that Gajeel was really loyal to Fairy Tail all along, making his agent status obsolete. However, they only make a blink-and-you-miss-it comment about it, and what Gajeel did and found out as a double agent is never expanded on.
  • Taizou Kirihara in Code Geass, the head of one of the "Six Houses of Kyoto", a group of Japanese noble families that still retain power after Japan has been conquered, by supporting Britannian rule. However, Lelouch figures out that he's secretly the head of the Kyoto Group, which gives funds and supplies to resistance groups and offers to help the Black Knights. "A double agent... how cliche." Kirihara also was behind the coverup of Prime Minister Genbu Kururugi's death at the hands of his 10-year-old son Suzaku, helping make everyone believe Genbu had commited seppuku.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean's Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Elizabeth: Whose side is Jack on?
    Will: ...At the moment?
  • In the film Edge of Darkness, Jedburgh is a british national and "consultant" for the CIA who serves to clean-up politically damaging messes. Throughout the film, however, a seeming crisis of conscience and a liking for the protagonist makes it hard to pin down just where his loyalties truly lie.
  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in Cypher. Almost every character is a double agent, to the extent you'll be sure that even the cleaners had a hidden agenda. And the protagonist is.. well, let's see.. He starts as a spy for Digicorp, they brainwash him into a double agent to be planted at Sunways, but Sunways had the brainwashing sabotaged so he could be a triple spy, then he contacts Foster to become a spy for Rooks, then gets tempted into betraying Rooks for Digicorp as Rooks mole in Digicorp had planned all along, and then turns out to be Rooks himself playing all the others. So that's 6 times, a Sextuple spy. Yeah.
  • Operation: Dumbo Drop: Goddard, a Frenchman who keeps portraits of Lyndon Johnson and Ho Chi Minh in a double-sided pictureframe.
    Goddard: What can I say? I love everybody.
  • Triple Threat (2019): Jaka pretends to align himself with Collins and his mercenary crew in order to gain their trust and destroy them, while assisting the defectors Payu and Long Fei.
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore: Kama tells Grindelwald that he was sent to spy on him for Dumbledore, but that he wants to return the favor and spy on Dumbledore for Grindelwald. Even with a mind reader reassuring him, Grindelwald is wisely untrusting and only agrees to allow Kama into his fold after meddling with his memory.
  • How To Blow Up A Pipeline: Rowan is feeding information to the FBI but she's actually helping Xochitl by giving the feds only the information she wants them to know.

  • Harry Potter: Severus Snape. His true allegiance is one of the Big Mysteries of the first six books, and, after frantic Epileptic Trees regarding the sixth book's ending, in the seventh it at last turns out that he was Good All Along, and that he helped Dumbledore because he was in love with Lily and felt guilty that she died because he was a Death Eater and was the one who related the prophecy to Voldemort.
  • Taken to truly brain-melting levels in the book and film Where Eagles Dare, although everyone's loyalties are eventually revealed to have been constant throughout, the loyalties they claim ping-pong back and forth like crazy. Check under Batman Gambit for details.
  • Assassin Fantastic - On My Honor: The main character is a double agent working as The Mole in one kingdom as well as one of its ruler's most trusted assassins. Then he's assigned to murder the king of his home country, an unpopular new ruler. Obviously this makes things complicated.
  • In Mara, Daughter of the Nile, the title character finds herself going from unimportant slave girl to one of these in a battle for the crown in about a day's time. It takes her most of the book to figure out who's side she's really one. Then, it's revealed that Sahure is one as well.
  • All over the Cold War works of John le Carré.
  • In The Dresden Files, Martin is this, playing the Red Court and the Fellowship of Saint Giles for fools. He was originally loyal to the Court but gradually grew disgusted with them and wanted them gone. He's ultimately able to pull off a scheme that results in the entire Court being wiped out, but not before he sold out the Fellowship as part of the scheme.
  • In The Machineries of Empire:
    • Vahenz, one of the rebellion's bigwigs, is eventually revealed to be a freelance agent who works for the Hafn as well as the Liozh.
    • In Extracurricular Activities, it turns out that Meng has been a Gwa agent even before they joined the Shuos academy and started spying on the Gwa.
  • In The Last Days Of New Paris The female journalist, Sam turns out to be secretly working for Hell, although this isn't as bad as it seems, since Hell isn't getting along with the Nazis so well any more.
  • The premise of Renegades is that the villain Nightmare infiltrates a team of superheroes in order to spy on them for her group.
  • Star Wars:
  • In the second book of Watchers of the Throne, Fadix pretends to side with the enemy only to double-cross them at the last minute. Interestingly, he's ideologically aligned with Imperium Eterna; he simply thinks that given time, the Lord Regent whom Reform Council supports will come to share his views, so no Civil War is needed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Le Bureau des Légendes: Not suprisingly in an espionage thriller, there are several who qualify:
    • Malotru
      • First, becomes a mole for the American CIA while working for the French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE).
      • Then, works for the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), eventually becoming a mole for the DGSE.
      • Finally, returns to the FSB but is coaxed into forcing his handler to work for the DGSE.
    • Dr. Laurene Balmes, hired by the DGSE, is already working for the CIA.
    • Cochise, informed for the DGSE while an Iraqi official, after becoming an ISIS officer, he reaches out to the DGSE and is eventually exfiltrated and debriefed after rescuing Malotru.
    • Marina Loiseau, quits the DGSE, is recruited by a Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency) agent pretending to be from the DGSE, and works for Mossad while reporting back to the DGSE.
    • Pacemaker, infiltrates the FSB as a DGSE mole
  • Doctor Who: This comes up twice in "Spyfall":
    • Corrupt Corporate Executive Daniel Barton used to work for MI6, but eventually stopped cooperating with them, and the agency came to suspect he'd become a double agent. It turns out he now works for/with the Master.
    • Later, the Doctor engineers her escape from 1943 Paris by framing the Master's German officer disguise for being a double agent, leaving him in a sticky situation being held at gunpoint while she, Ada Lovelace and Noor Inayat Khan steal his TARDIS, forcing him to take The Slow Path back to 2020.
  • In Earth: Final Conflict, William Boone does this in season 1, becoming Protector to Da'an, whose loyalty is supposedly ensured by his brain implant. Except the implant was modified by La Résistance to remove that functionality. But while Boone works with the Resistance, he does not follow Jonathan Doors's orders blindly and he also enjoys a close relationship with Da'an, trying to understand Taelon culture. In seasons 2-4, the same role is taken by his Replacement Goldfish Liam Kincaid, even more because Liam eventually becomes the Rebel Leader.
  • JAG: Sina Kazzari in "The Black Jet", who at first is assumed to work for the Americans, but later turns out to be working for the Iranians as well.
  • Ari in NCIS was like this. He was manipulating all sides for personal reasons.
    • Ironically, the heads of both sides thought Ziva was spying on them. As it happens, both Director Vance and her father were completely wrong, but it allowed them to spend several episodes being a Jerkass to the conflicted Ziva.
  • Ryan O'Reily in the HBO series Oz, who worked rival gang leaders against each other by frequently pledging loyalty to each of them and suggesting opposing plans of attack in order to get them to murder each other. He's rather a self-interested manipulator, using one faction against another to survive.
  • Piggy in Power Rangers S.P.D., who was supplying Emperor Gruumm, Broodwing and the Rangers all with the same information, and much too terrified to try crossing any of them.
  • Alex Krycek of The X-Files is this trope to a T. He's introduced as the Mole, but eventually just works for whatever side gives him the most advantage.

  • The instruction card for Data East's Secret Service pinball implies the player is one of these, possibly to justify why he's shooting (pinballs) at the White House and the Capitol Building.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The roleplaying game Paranoia involves so many conflicting goals that the PCs are basically forced into this. If they aren't, you're doing it wrong. Unless they're triple or quadruple agents instead, in which case you're doing it very right. The premise of Paranoia is that mutants and members of secret societies are by definition traitors who must be executed by the Troubleshooters (they find trouble, and then they shoot it). Your character is a Troubleshooter. Your character is also a mutant. And a member of a secret society. Won't this be fun?

  • Westeros: An American Musical: Sam calls Jon the Night Watch's double agent during "Sword in the Darkness", and goes on to mention that the Watch is wary of him because he spent a year on a Fake Defector stint among the wildlings.

    Video Games 
  • Agent Intercept:
    • Fulton Torpere. After his failure to outrun the Sceptre in act 1, he works with Eris as Dr. Torpedo... but sends the Aerial Mode data to HQ, calls off LOKI, and comes back to assist HQ in rearming for the final battle - including the Aegis, a key item in defeating Eris' Evil Knockoff Specters and disarming her Terrain Sculpting "Harmony" project.
    • Penny Black, the Agency's dedicated double agent in CLAW's ranks. After refusing an immoral order, HQ reached out to Penny and slowly earned her trust. She is HQ's most trusted agent, and some of her best memories are of their rare social outings.
  • Metal Gear Solid
    • Revolver Ocelot is the definition of this; the end of each game has him talking with some puppetmaster or another over the phone, making known his double, triple, and quadruple crosses but never quite explaining what they are when all is said and done. It seems Ocelot worked for the American CIA before transferring his allegiance to Big Boss. Everything else was him playing multiple sides for Big Boss's sake. Of course, it still fits as being out for himself, because he really respects Big Boss.
    • Loads of them show up in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. In addition to Ocelot himself we also have The Boss and EVA.
  • Kratos in Tales of Symphonia: he starts out good, then turns out to be part of Cruxis, so you fight him, then he helps out the good guys anyway for his own inscrutable purposes. There's also Zelos who is working all three sides at once and depending on game choices will either completely join your side after faking a betrayal or actually betray you, fight against you, and die. Not to mention Yuan, who starts out trying to kill you (and already acting as a double agent for two sides), then agrees to an alliance, then betrays you, and then finally decides to help you after all when the double agent act collapses. And then there's Mithos' mid-game Helpful NPC stint...
  • Pretty much the entire point of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, although the player can ultimately determine just who Sam is ultimately working for.
  • The Spy in Team Fortress 2. His entire play style is based around convincing the enemy that you're one of them before backstabbing them. Described in his trading card as a "double reverse quadruple agent."
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Axel, firstly in Kingdom Hearts II. And especially him in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, it's shown that Axel wasn't actually a double agent — he was a quintuple agent. At one point, he pretended to join in with Marluxia's conspiracy, in order to get close enough to eliminate him as a traitor on Xemnas' orders, while really working with Saix so they can overthrow Xemnas themselves. At the same time, he helped both Sora and Namine, only partially because they would destroy Marluxia for him, and wiped out two Organization members who were still loyal to Xemnas to avoid anyone else using the knowledge of the Replica Project. In the end, of course, Axel's only real loyalty is to himself (though he tends to include his friends in that, whether they like it or not).
  • Harley Filben of Deus Ex works for the NSF as a mole for UNATCO, but is actually working for the NSF as part of his duties for the Illuminati. It should also be noted that every time Harley Filben reveals that he's working as a double agent for whatever organization at the time, JC Denton himself is currently allied with that faction.
  • In Star Trek Online, the Romulan Playable Character tries to be this towards the Tal Shiar and it works... until you hop through an Iconian Gateway and land into the clutches of General Hakeev, who instantly recognizes you. He proceeds to brainwash you until you're rescued by another double agent who hasn't been caught yet.
  • In Infernal, there's some uncertainty for a while as to whose side Barbara Mitchell is on. She's part of EtherLight, but friends with Lennox (who's now working for the opposition), and gives both of them the impression that she's on their side. She appears to be feeding Lennox information, but then is (unsuccessfully) insistent that Lennox should hand an electronic whatsit over to her without waiting for questions, and when Lennox is later captured, she is congratulated for tricking him. Then she helps him escape... but declines to join him, claiming that she can be of more use pretending to be loyal to EtherLight. It's only when a soldier catches her transmitting to Lennox, and Lennox subsequently rescues her, that she makes her allegiance (with Lennox) clear to everyone.
  • Ada Wong in the Resident Evil games plays both sides so many times that nobody's even sure what side she is on. Starting in Resident Evil 2 (which is her debut appearance), she pretends to be a civilian looking for her boyfriend in the Zombie Apocalypse, only to be revealed as a spy sent to recover the G-Virus. Because Leon kept going out of his way to protect her and even taking a bullet for her, she warms up to him a bit and tosses him a rocket launcher at the end of the game to take out the recurring monster that's been stalking him the whole game (Claire gets the same help if she's the player character in the "B" scenario). Resident Evil 4 has her working for Wesker to obtain a sample of the Las Plagas and is ordered to kill Leon. She still does her job, but she discreetly helps Leon out without him knowing and in the end, she tosses down a rocket launcher to him so he can finally take out the cult's leader. Ada forces Leon to give him the sample at gunpoint, but she gives him keys to a jet ski so that he can escape the island. By Resident Evil 6, she appears again working for a new organization involving the C-Virus and helps Leon and the other main characters out when she can. Her cloudy alliance gets lampshaded when Helena asks if Ada can be trusted, only for Leon to respond that it's not an easy question to answer.

    Web Original 
  • In How It Should Have Ended, Snape explains that he's actually a double agent who helped Voldemort until he was at an opportunity to be killed, then goes back in time stop Voldemort from ever existing.
  • Gaea from the Noob franchise, while a self-serving Manipulative Bastard, is still nominally part of the Empire and the Noob guild thanks to game mechanics. She also works with the hacker who wants to drive players out of the game for in-game currency and other perks. Then, thanks to a Frame-Up, a bunch of Coalition players get convinced that she's a double agent loyal to the Coalition. Gaea never sets them right because extra players that can take the bullet for her are always a good thing from her point a view. This situation gets an extra level of complexity when Gaea eventually joins the Coalition, but her second gaming avatar remains an Empire and Noob guild member, but the closest she ever gets to actual spying is getting paid to give the Empire top guild information about the hacker.

    Western Animation 
  • Carmen Sandiego: Near the end of Season 2, we're introduced to Roundabout, a V.I.L.E. operative planted high-up in British intelligence, a position he uses to keep V.I.L.E. one step ahead of law enforcement. He proves efficient enough at his job that he's chosen to fill the empty seat on the V.I.L.E. Faculty.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, KND operatives are sent for decommissioning once they reach thirteen. In one episode, Number 5's former teammate Maurice, explains that the best and trusted operatives are exempt from decommissioning, allowing them to continue helping the KND from opposing sides.
  • In My Little Pony: Make Your Mark Chapter 5, Misty occasionally sneaks into Opaline's castle after the former's Heel–Face Turn to gather intel about the alicorn's Evil Plan for her new friends.
  • In an alternate reality as depicted in the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Temple of Juatchadoon", Isabella is revealed to be a "Dirty Double Crosser" as literally described on her business card. She has to trick Phineas and Ferb because Doofenshmirtz is holding her mother hostage.
  • In the last 3 special episodes of season 3 of Totally Spies!, Dean, a fellow WOOHP agent and one of the few hot guys that all of the three girls fall for is revealed in the second episode to be a double agent working for Terrence, Jerry's twin brother who changed his face in resentment of him, to revenge on Jerry and destroy WOOHP, only to be revealed to be a "quadruple agent" (as said by Alex) in the third episode. He says he had to switch side to keep the girls safe, which makes no sense whatsoever (other than being a ridiculous plot twist) because he literally left them to die earlier, not to mention that he backpedals immediately and says "I knew you'd find a way out somehow," not to mention again even Terrence himself also somehow manages to get a Jerry mask under his face mask and over his real face, which fools a guard to let him out of custody at the end of the episode. Not as absurd as a Double Reverse Quadruple Agent, but still absurd.

    Real Life 
  • In one of the greatest intelligence success stories of all time, the British managed to turn literally every German spy in Britain to their service early in World War II, then used the German intelligence network in England as a massive puppet show to deceive Germany about Allied strength, strategy, and goals. And since they had all the current German infiltrators turned, they always knew when new ones would be snuck in, and captured them immediately. The captured spies would be given the option to join in the sending of false info, or be executed. Some would be kept out of circulation anyway, because the Germans obviously would have gotten suspicious if none of their spies were ever caught. Admittedly, at least in the case of the Abwehr agents, a lot of them probably switched sides willingly with the hope of bringing down the Nazis.
    • One in particular, Juan Pujol Garcia, a.k.a. "GARBO," set out very early on to become a Double agent; he conned his way into Nazi Intelligence, and used that to get into British Intelligence (his real goal). He played a critical role in ensuring that D-Day was a success. He fed the Germans such a wealth of false information that they actually awarded him the Iron Cross for his efforts, and four months later King George VI awarded him an MBE, meaning he may be the only person to have received honors from both the Axis and Allied sides of World War II.
    • The MI5 group that ran the German agents, the Twenty Committee (XX in Roman Numerals, or "Double Cross"), itself contained a double agent - Anthony Blunt, the personal assistant to Guy Lidell (Director of B Division, which was responsible for counter-espionage), was spying for the Soviets. Indeed, Lidell himself was later accused of being a double agent — he was close friends with Guy Burgess and was a known associate of Kim Philby, giving him close ties to three of the Cambridge Five, which really didn't help his case. He is still considered by some to have been the most successful mole of all, although the consensus opinion is that he just had really terrible judgement when it came to his friends.
  • Germany staged a less comprehensive show for the British in turn in Holland and other areas of occupied Europe by seizing resistance cells and their British advisers, making the British waste resources and time.
  • David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American who helped mastermind the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, is considered this by many in India. Headley was both an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and a spy for Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), which allegedly fights proxy wars against India through Islamic terrorist groups.
  • Oleg Gordievsky, A (former) Colonel in the KGB and Bureau Chief in London, who - disillusioned with his government after the building of the Berlin Wall - volunteered as a double agent for the Secret Intelligence Service of the United Kingdom and served as such for eleven years, from 1974 to 1985. Notably, when he was recalled to Moscow, MI6 opted to stop using him as an agent, believing they would be better off to not risk him being discovered, and prepared an extraction plan, expecting it would never actually be used. They did not know that Aldrich Ames, a double agent for the KGB within the CIA, had seen the CIA's finding that Gordievsky was a double (MI6 had steadfastly refused to identify their agent to the CIA or any other agency because of fears of exactly this situation arising, but the CIA had conducted an investigation and realised that it could only be Gordievsky) and had tipped off the KGB. Gordievksy was drugged and interrogated, but then - uncharacteristically - released and placed under close surveillance. The impromptu extraction plan was activated despite grave fears that it would not work, and - astonishingly enough - succeeded, being the only known case of a double agent being successfully extracted from Moscow during the Cold War; Gordievsky currently lives in a safe house, apparently somewhere in London. Ames was caught and sentenced to life imprisonment for Espionage in 1994; Gordievsky is technically still under sentence of death despite the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists, and may have been the victim of an attempted poisoning in 2007. The story is told in much more detail in Ben MacIntyre's "The Spy And The Traitor".


Video Example(s):


Wan Jun Po Pt. 2

Wan Jun Po genuinely cares about the well-being of Xi You. He joined the Order of the Divine Swarm because he felt that it was the best option to save Xi You from ruin. His reputation and loyalty to his nation inspire both his men in the Order of the Divine Swarm and the Xi-You Imperial Army to put aside their differences and rally together to take a stand against Zhao Jun Lin.

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