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Emergency Impersonation

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Generally it works better when only one person is doing the impersonating.

A secondary character of some importance in the world at large has disappeared or been rendered incapable of performing his usual duties: they've might have been kidnapped, fallen seriously ill, suffering from an injury, or have run away, or they might have even died. Alternatively, they might need to be in two places at once to satisfy conflicting commitments. Someone else (usually one of the program's leads) finds themself dragooned into service; they must impersonate the missing person during some critical event or meeting... or for much longer.

While sometimes the impostor receives sufficient briefing and/or real-time aid to bring off the deception seamlessly, it's more common for time or other constraints to prevent this seemingly necessary step. In more dramatic locales, the results can be anything from painfully embarrassing to potentially fatal.

Eventually the missing person (if they aren't deceased) is recovered, but often only after they learn An Aesop about some aspect of the world which was hidden from them in their usual role.

Compare with Prince and Pauper and Decoy Leader. Closely related to El Cid Ploy and You Will Be Beethoven.

Usually — but not always — involves an Identical Stranger. Depending on whether the impersonated individual's identity is known, it may overlap with Masquerading As the Unseen. See also The Beard, Body Double, Costume Copycat and Mock Millionaire.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Case Closed, Conan frequently has to recruit others to play his 17-year-old self, Shinichi, to avoid suspicion by Ran. Likewise, he's had Ai Haibara pretend to be Conan a couple times, and once asked Kid to pretend to be Ai's own 17 year old self. Kid also likes to pretend to be Shinichi(or quite literally ANYONE ELSE) to avoid capture on multiple occasions.
  • In Death Note, this is played with - all the relevant major characters know about the deception, and it's all in all a pretty twisted case of the trope.
    • Specifically, Light takes on the guise of L, after killing the real L. Near, however, knows L is dead and figures out who the new L is pretty easily. After the grand finale, Near himself takes up the mantle of L.
  • In The First President Of Japan, the Communist Big Bad has a Chinese diplomat killed. He finds a very suitable replacement in some average Joe off the street—in fact, it's pointed out how uncanny the resemblance is. The villain just about got away with it, but an analyst lined up a still from the impostor's conference with an older still, thereby figuring out what had happened.
  • In El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, Makoto Mizuhara is forced to impersonate the missing Princess Fatora until she is rescued. He pulls this off with surprising ease.
  • In Lupin III vs. Detective Conan, a Crossover Made-for-TV Movie, Ran turns out to be a near ringer for the princess of a small European country. She ends up involuntarily impersonating the girl for a while, to help draw out a murderer.. The princess, meanwhile, got a chance to enjoy the way the other half lives.
  • This is the entire plot of the manga Magical × Miracle.
  • In episode 12 of My-Otome, Mashiro runs away rather than meet a foreign prince, and Arika is forced to impersonate her. However, in a double invocation of the trope, the prince is himself an impostor, Akira, the female bodyguard of the true prince who himself is missing (which is a call back to the previous series My-HiME where that version of Akira was pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver at school). Naturally, the real Mashiro and Prince Takumi meet, neither knowing who the other is. Pleasantly enough, this is not played for laughs, despite the strong tendency of anime using this trope to do so. What is played for laughs is Nina claiming to be Arika just for the hell of it — and to further perpetrate the joke, Mashiro introduces herself as Nina, completing the circle.
  • Naruto: On the very day Naruto was to take up the mantle as Hokage, he was knocked out cold by his daughter hitting him with a Gentle Fist (aimed at her brother for ripping apart her teddy bear). Konohamaru was forced to use the Transformation Jutsu to pose as him, since Naruto didn't wake up for the rest of the day.
  • Subverted in the anime Pani Poni Dash!. Form teacher Rebecca Miyamoto disappeared just as the PTA are about to sit in during her class and her loyal students all but press gang Serizawa Akane to be her replacement or as Akane herself thinks, a "kagemusha". The subversion is that Rebecca had been present all along, using her disguise skills to appear as various other members of the cast. This is revealed in a sequence that pays homage to Cutey Honey. She did this because she hated such visits from the PTA.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • A Torchic, Treecko and Mudkip are being prepared as choices for the starter Pokémon of a new Hoenn Trainer. Ash and his friends are tasked with watching over them before the new Trainer comes, but the Torchic accidentally evolves into Combusken, forcing them to use May's Torchic as a temporary replacement and try to convince the new Trainer to pick Mudkip or Treecko.
    • Serena has to dress up and pose as Ash to keep a loud rocker from waking Ash (recuperating from a fever) up.
  • Utilized in the manga Princess Prince, where Half-Identical Twins trade places after one gets pregnant. The twist is that not only is the "replacement Princess" a boy, but his "fiancée" is well aware of this.
  • Inverted in an episode of Sailor Moon, where Usagi is kidnapped by Kaolinite because she suspects Usagi has the Talisman in her Heart Crystal and has some leads that about Usagi being Sailor Moon. Since her Transformation Trinket has been taken away, Usagi can't transform... and then, Minako must pretend to be Sailor Moon. Everyone else is fooled, but Usagi is less than impressed.
  • In Tentai Senshi Sunred, Sunred receives the outfit of Sakyun, a fellow toku hero, back from the laundromat. He decides to beat up Florsheim, the local villain group, for the hell of it. It's only when ink is sprayed on the suit that Sunred realizes he has to return it to its rightful owner. This is the closest Sunred ever gets to acting like an actual toku hero.
  • In The World God Only Knows, Elsea has to fill in for the idol Kanon as Kanon is the host of Apollo. She gets stabbed and enters a dormant state to save herself.

    Comic Books 
  • Daredevil: One arc has Matt Murdoch imprisoned. Fortunately Iron Fist puts on his costume and keeps fighting crime so "is Matt Murdoch really Daredevil" remains unanswered.
  • Jon Sable, Freelance #49 is an Homage/Whole-Plot Reference to The Prisoner of Zenda with Jon standing in for a kidnapped European monarch.
  • Superior: Simon Pooni is given the powers and film appearance of his favourite comic book character, Superman expy Superior. When his bully is given the powers of Superior's foe Abraxas and Simon is depowered, the bully begins to destroy the city to lure out Superior. With Superior no where to be seen the actor who played him, Tad Scott, appears and tries to pretend to be Superior to lure the bully away from the city.
  • The Warlord (DC): Happens accidentally to Shakira in an issue. Shakira discovers she is a dead ringer for a kidnapped princess. She takes the princess's place, leading the kidnappers to believe the princess has escaped.

    Comic Strips 
  • Prickly City: Senator Kevin refuses to go see his constituents. So Winslow goes in disguise.

    Films — Animation 
  • The plot of Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper is actually this more than it is the Prince and Pauper. The girls don't choose to switch places, but after Annaliese is kidnapped, Julian thinks that having Erika impersonate her would be a good way to throw his suspect off guard to solve the disappearance. However, it works too well—when Annaliese escapes and tries to go back to the castle, the guards think she is the imposter.
  • This is basically the plot of The Jungle King. When the king Maximilien is kidnapped, General Glump uses the king's twin brother, Irwin, to impersonate his brother, teaching him to behave properly as a King.
  • This is basically the Inciting Incident of The Man Called Flintstone: secret agent Rock Slag has been badly injured while on the hunt for the infamous criminal known as the Green Goose and won't be able meet his contact to continue the mission. Fred Flintstone just so happens to be completely identical to Slag and just so happens to be in the same hospital as Slag for a much less serious injury and is roped in to help save the world in Slag's place.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The premise of the movie Bad Company (2002), in which a dead CIA agent posing as a nuclear arms dealer has to be impersonated by his Separated at Birth identical twin brother.
  • The cult favorite Bubba Ho Tep relies on the premise that in the early '70s, Elvis Presley traded places with an Elvis impersonator; the impersonator died in 1977, and the real Elvis lived to a ripe old age in a retirement home. Either that or an Elvis impersonator started suffering from delusions in his dotage; even the character himself isn't quite sure.
  • The plot of the movie Dave, where the title character takes the place of the President of the United States after the latter unexpectedly suffers a stroke while having sex with an intern. Dave has to fool not only the country but the late president's wife, for Rom Com reasons. At the end, Dave-as-President is giving a speech, fakes having a stroke and fainting, and they replace him with the real comatose President so Dave can go back to his normal life. By which we mean he goes to run for his city council as himself.
  • In the Bollywood movie Don, the protagonist, Vijay, has to go undercover to impersonate the dead eponymous character, a leader of an underworld gang in Mumbai, in order to help the police arrest the rest of the gang. In The Remake, this trope is subverted as Don kills Vijay and ends up acting as Vijay acting as himself to fool both his gang and the police.
  • Happens in The Great Race (as part of The Prisoner of Zenda parody) with Fate being a dead ringer for the king of Pottsdorf.
  • Happens in Hair (the movie): George Berger impersonates Claude Hooper Bukowski to extract Claude from the base for a last meeting with Sheila, taking his place, but while Claude is away, the unit flies out to Vietnam, taking Berger with them. The film ends with the main cast singing at Berger's grave. Damn you, Miloš Forman!
  • Mel Brooks' film History of the World Part I uses this trope near the end, when the urinal boy replaces Louis XVI (both played by Brooks). Origin of the phrase, "It's good to be the king." Or, at least, origin of its entrance into pop culture.
  • The Soviet classic Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession involves a minor Soviet official and a well-known thief ending up in Ivan the Terrible's court. By chance, the official (also named Ivan) looks exactly like the Tsar (who has been sent to 70s Moscow), so the thief forces him to wear the royal robes and pretend to be the Tsar, while the thief pretends to be a knyaz (minor noble) named Mikoslavsky (his name). Immediately, the problem with the knyaz arises, as the real Knyaz Miloslavsky was recently Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by order of the Tsar. The thief, naturally, claims that it was the other Knyaz Miloslavsky. The official is reluctant to pretend to be someone else, especially since he has to deal with state business, such as receiving a foreign ambassador.
  • This is the basic premise for Akira Kurosawa's movie Kagemusha, where the thief disguises himself as the warlord.
  • This was a staple of several Danny Kaye movies. In On the Double his character impersonates a British army officer, while in On the Riviera he plays both the impersonator and the missing person.
  • Premise of the 1988 movie Moon over Parador. An actor who has just finished filming a movie on location in the fictional Latin American Banana Republic of Parador gets coerced into pretending to be that country's dictator (whom he resembles and was already good at impersonating) when the latter unexpectedly dies.
  • Thanks to her resemblance to late Princess Ananka, John's wife Isobel in The Mummy (1959) stops the mummy Kharis (who loved Ananka in the past) from strangling her husband by making herself look even more like her.
  • Played for Laughs in Naked Gun 2½ when Drebin's team sneaks into a concert hall disguised as a mariachi band set to play. Accidentally stumbling on stage and facing an audience, they perfectly improvise "Bésame Mucho" to stay hidden.
  • In The Passenger (1975) Jack Nicholson's character assumes the identity of an acquaintance for reasons that remain difficult to fathom, even keeping meetings with men who turn out to be quite dangerous and who expect him to provide things he cannot.
  • In Up the Chastity Belt, King Richard decides to stay behind in Germany with his latest piece of fluff, Lurkalot adopts Richard's identity and returns to England in an attempt to sort out the mess there. This does not go in any way according to plan.
  • Most of the plot complications in A Very Long Engagement are caused when the identities of two young WW1 soldiers are switched. The character involved, Manech, has lost his mind and isn't really able to clear things up - it's the people around him who, for their own reasons, practice the deception.
  • This is the premise of the Wayans Bros. movie White Chicks.

  • The main plot of the first book of the Ascendance Series by Jennifer A. Nielson. A young man taken from an orphanage is trained, along with two other candidates, to impersonate a missing prince (by a nobleman with dubious motives) and take the throne, which will otherwise be a source of civil war, after the king dies. The young man actually is the prince, who was living in hiding.
  • There's a rather strange, but sad, example on Catch-22 — while in hospital, main character Yossarian is roped in to play a dying soldier visited by his family, because the real soldier is already dead and the doctor doesn't want to disappoint them. Made especially weird by the fact that Yossarian insists they call him by his real name, rather than the dead soldier's name, and manages to convince the family (except the mother) that the soldier's name was Yossarian all along.
  • In the second Codex Alera novel Max winds up having to impersonate the First Lord using watercrafting after he collapses from exhaustion so the First Lord's enemies won't realize he's incapacitated. Which becomes absolutely hilarious when Max has to seduce the First Lady to keep the masquerade up.
  • Conan the Barbarian: In the only Conan novel written by the character's original creator, The Hour of the Dragon, Conan is incapacitated on the eve of battle by a wizard's servant. In order to keep his army from being demoralized and consequently losing his kingdom, he has one of his most promising commanders don his armor and lead his men in his place—only for the commander to have a cliff face dropped on him, making the world at large believe that King Conan is dead. The rest of the novel revolves around Conan trying to win back his throne and overthrow his usurper.
  • In The Empress Game, Kayla is supposed to impersonate Princess Isonde in combat during the Empress Games, but Isonde gets sent into a coma by means of a toxin; as such, Kayla has to take over full-time, including the political and social games which Isonde would normally handle.
  • In Elise Title's The Face in the Mirror a model who greatly resembled a missing research scientist was pressed into impersonating her. It was eventually revealed that they were twins separated at birth.
  • Forest Kingdom: In book 2 (Blood and Honor), Jordan, an actor and stage magician, is secretly hired to impersonate Prince Viktor of Redhart, who's been poisoned by one of his brothers and rivals for the throne. A transformation spell lets Jordan look just like Viktor, and another grants him insight into the Prince's background, habits and motives. Which, together with Viktor's private ranting about how he's going to unleash a vindictive bloodbath once he's King, spurs Jordan to murder Viktor and assume his identity permanently.
  • In the book Hit or Myth, Skeeve has to disguise himself as King Roderick for a day so the king can take a vacation. Then the king does a bunk, leaving Skeeve to carry on the charade... which includes marrying the king's fiancée...
  • The Discworld novel Hogfather does this, with Death impersonating the Hogfather (the local equivalent of Santa Claus). It's also the plot of Mort, with Mort impersonating Death.
  • Older Than Feudalism: In The Iliad, when Achilles refuses to fight, his friend (and possible lover) Patroclus dons his armor and fights the Trojans and their many allies in his stead. Until he's killed, then Achilles is mega-pissed. However, Achilles is the protagonist while Patroclus is a side character.
  • In Mary Stewart's The Ivy Tree, a young woman just come to town is recruited to impersonate the long-missing heir of a local estate, so as to convince the missing woman's grandfather to change his will. Subverted in that it's eventually revealed she is the heir, going along with the scheme for her own reasons. The deception is particularly startling because the whole book is in her first-person perspective.
  • In The Lies of Locke Lamora, the titular thief is hired by The Gray King to impersonate him at a meeting with the local crime lord. He assures Locke that no harm will come to him. It does.
  • The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs is very similar to The Prisoner of Zenda except that at the end the hero gets to marry the princess and remain as king after the real king is murdered.
  • In one book in the Magic Attic Club series, Heather Goes to Hollywood, the eponymous protagonist is recruited out of an audition to stand in at an award ceremony for a child actress who's run away from home. She eventually reveals the ruse, feeling that the real actress deserves to be heard and that can't happen if no one knows anything's out of the ordinary.
  • Near the end of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, the heroic army is Storming the Castle of the villains, but Prince Josua and Sir Camaris unexpectedly end up sneaking in via the tunnels — in Camaris' case because he is compelled by the Great Sword he is carrying and Josua because he wants to try to persuade Camaris to return (and another, more personal reason). This leaves the army without its two main leaders, so the remaining ones quickly grab two lookalikes, dress them appropriately, and send them off to lead instead.
  • This trope is central to the story of The Prisoner of Zenda, where Rudolph Rassendyl has to impersonate his royal cousin who has been kidnapped the day before his coronation.
  • Relativity:
    • In the story "Caffeine Headache," the Black Torrent is out of town. His father dons the superhero costume and goes out in his place. Since he was the original Black Torrent, this is a combination of this trope plus Mandatory Unretirement.
    • Later, it gets cranked up even further when two of the heroes retire and two of the other heroes need to take their places. Then two new heroes need to be recruited to impersonate those two... It gets a bit confusing after that.
  • In Saint Camber, Alister Cullen dies in arcane combat with Ariella. Camber finds his body and takes his identity because King Cinhil trusts Alister above any other Deryni. With the aid of his son Joram, Camber alters the appearance of the corpse and himself to make the world think he is dead and Alister lives; his later efforts to make sense of the scraps of memory left in the corpse endanger the deception and fuel the demands for his sainthood.
  • In Keith Laumer's Worlds of the Imperium, the protagonist is dragooned by agents from the Imperium's Alternate History to replace a dictator (the version of himself from a third Alternate History). The dictator lost both legs to war wounds, a fact kept secret from the public. The impersonation thus fails immediately when the protagonist is seen by someone who has actually met the dictator.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an Airwolf episode, the pilot was recruited to fly a plane during an air show while the look-alike Soviet pilot was debriefed by the Firm to see if he actually wanted to defect. Unfortunately the Soviets got wind of it, brought his wife to threaten him, the pilot and the wife got kidnapped.
  • The Angel episode "Guise Will Be Guise", in which Wesley is forced to play the part of the missing Angel. (Considering that this story kicks off Wesley's years-long transformation from comic relief to tragic hero, this might be be the most successful impersonation in history.)
  • Played for laughs in Blackadder, when a woman comes to see her condemned husband but Blackadder has already has him executed ahead of schedule, and so Blackadder himself has to impersonate him. With the aid of a bag over his head.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow impersonates the captured alternate universe Willow to get her mooks to go outside.
    • The Buffybot takes this role at the beginning of Season 6, impersonating the dead Buffy on patrols and Parent-Teacher Days.
  • Doctor Who:
    • A subplot of "The Crusade" involves knight William des Préaux pretending to be King Richard during an Arab ambush to save the real Richard from capture. Truth in Television, because this incident actually happened.
    • "The Enemy of the World" is centered around the Doctor impersonating wannabe world dictator Salamander in order to uncover information that would discredit him.
  • The Flash (2014): Barry is framed for the murder of the Thinker, by the Thinker who used his body-surfing ability to move to another body. Ralph Dibley, The Elongated Man, impersonates the victim and shows up in court, allowing Barry to be set free.
  • The Get Smart episode "The King Lives?", in which Max poses as the King of Coronia, a person whom he strongly physically resembles, in order to uncover the party behind an assassination attempt made against the King shortly before his coronation. It's a parody of The Prisoner of Zenda naturally.
  • The Goodies. After their Zany Scheme lands the Royal Family in hospital, the Goodies have to impersonate them (Tim as the Queen, Bill as Prince Charles, Graeme as Princess Anne, and a store mannequin as the Duke of Edinburgh) for a remount of the Coronation being put on for tourism purposes. The Royals are enjoying the chance to lie in bed watching it this time, until they suddenly realise that Tim being crowned will make the Goodies the next Royal Family. Cue the Royal Bandage Mummies tearing out of hospital to steal back the Coronation Crown before it's placed on Tim's head. They fail after the usual comic shenanigans, and the episode ends with the Goodies in Buckingham Palace watching their favorite TV show: The Royals.
  • In the Third Season Finale of The Good Place, Michael creates a fake Good Place neighborhood as part of an experiment, but he suffers a nervous breakdown seconds before he's supposed to introduce people into it, so Eleanor has to pretend to be the architect instead.
  • In two episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Iolaus is required to step in for his lookalike cousin, Prince (later King) Orestes.
  • Hogan's Heroes does this three times. The first is when Kinch impersonates an African prince, the second when Crittendon impersonates an English traitor, and the third in reverse where the heroes help a German defector, who looks exactly like Schultz, escape by dressing him up in Schultz' uniform.
  • JAG: In "Sightings", after Meg is captured, she is made to announce over a loudspeaker that Lt. Rabb should hand himself over or she will be killed. Since they don't know J.D. is there as well, and haven't seen Harm yet, J.D. and Harm change clothes, allowing J.D. to serve as a distraction while Harm sneaks in to do his hero thing.
  • An episode of The Jamie Kennedy Experiment had the mark told he bore a striking resemblance to a foreign prince who was too hung over to appear at a press conference, and was asked to take his place.
  • Done by Klinger over the phone in one episode of M*A*S*H. An officer he's trying to get information from insists on speaking to Colonel Potter, but Potter is in surgery, so Klinger pretends to hand the phone off and then does a voice impersonation of Potter. It's apparently good enough to fool his contact; he not only gets the information he needs, but manages to pull off a trade to the unit's benefit.
  • In NCIS, Ducky impersonates the deceased arms dealer to try to capture La Grenouille.
    • Tony and Ziva impersonate two dead, married assassins to foil an assassination plot.
  • The clones of Orphan Black frequently need to impersonate each other. Since they're clones, this is easier for them than a number of other examples, but it doesn't mean there aren't still hilarious complications.
    • The one that best fits this trope is Cosima standing for Allison giving her speech as a candidate for the school board.
  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • In "Two Way Stretch Snodgrass", Walter Denton is drafted to impersonate Stretch Snodgrass, while Mr. Conklin and Miss Brooks impersonate his parents.
    • In "Head of the State Board of Education", Miss Brooks asks a bum to impersonate the head of the state board (unaware that said bum is the head of the state board), Mr. Boynton impersonates Mr. Conklin, Mr. Conklin imitates Walter Denton, and Walter Denton claims to be Stretch Snodgrass. It all Makes Sense In Context.
  • This is basically the premise of Quantum Leap. Sam leaps into another person and has to live as them until he leaps out. Very often, when he first leaps in it's during a dramatic moment such as performing on stage.
  • In the Simon & Simon episode "Walk a Mile in My Hat", a potential client shows up looking for A.J. while he's out of town, and Rick decides to impersonate A.J.—clothing and behavior included—to get her business. A.J. comes back after the case has gotten complicated and winds up taking on Rick's persona just to shake up the opposition.
  • Happened occasionally on Sliders, when one or another character had to fill in for alternate-world versions of themselves.
  • Played straight only with time travel in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "Past Tense", where Sisko's presence in the past causes the premature death of an important historical figure a few days before he was supposed to die heroically. Sisko then has to impersonate him.
    • In a later season, Nog was studying Earth's history, and when he encountered an entry about the historical figure, passed comment about how closely Sisko resembled a picture of him (the picture, of course, being that of Sisko). Quark shrugs it off, saying "All hew-mons look alike".
    • Sisko also, at one point, gets kidnapped by Miles 'Smiley' O'Brien from the Mirror Universe, because Mirror-Sisko was killed-in-action and they need someone to convince Sisko's Mirror-wife to join the rebel cause. Subverted when at the end of the episode Mirror Jennifer asks what happened to her real husband revealing she knew all along who he was.
  • Probably one of the weirdest versions of this trope is in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Host", which is the introductory episode of the Trill. The Trill ambassador is killed in an attack, but his symbiote is still alive. However, no other Trill is able to make it before it dies, so Commander Riker has the symbiote implanted in him. Thus, Riker is forced to carry out the ambassador's mission, which is a slight problem when the factions that requested the ambassador see him.
  • Done a few times on Xena: Warrior Princess, where Xena has at least two Identical Strangers who she either impersonates or impersonate her.

  • Norse Mythology: A frost giant steals Thor's hammer, and will only return it if the gods hand over their Love Goddess Freya in marriage. After Freya voiced her objections, the giants got Thor in drag. An unshaved, very much unhappy Thor in drag (with Loki as bridesmaid)... and yet the giants didn't notice anything until they brought the hammer out to bless the wedding. Cue Kicking Ass in All Her Finery.

  • The play Lend Me a Tenor features a stage manager's assistant stepping in for a famous opera star who has supposedly committed suicide just before a performance.
  • In The Taming of the Shrew, a servant, Tranio, switches clothes with and fills in for his master, Lucentio, as part of a classic Zany Scheme. Later, he pushes the scheme further by getting another character to impersonate Lucentio's father.
  • In A. A. Milne's play The Ugly Duckling, the prince and princess who are supposed to marry are both so plain that they have better-looking servants stand in for them at the betrothal. (At the actual wedding they plan to be wearing full armor and a face-obscuring veil, respectively.)
  • In the Sera Myu musical Un Nouveau Voyage, when Usagi is taken hostage, the Sailor Senshi come to her rescue - with Sailor Venus dressing up as Sailor Moon in an attempt to convince the villains that they’ve grabbed a random girl. (Sailor Chibi Moon took Venus’ place instead.) It was halfway convincing until one of Venus’ hair buns fell off and rolled across the stage.

    Video Games 
  • In Final Fantasy VI, Celes is asked to stand in for opera singer Maria, who happens to look exactly like her, because Setzer is planning to kidnap Maria. Amazingly, this resemblance also includes the ability to competently sing opera.
  • This is the premise of Rondo of Swords. A prince is killed during an invasion, and asks his body double to stand in for him permanently. Since the double has been doing this for years already, he does a fairly convincing job, though "Serdic's" memory turn out to have some rather conspicuous holes.
  • Most of the first part of Wild AR Ms XF revolves around Clarissa impersonating Princess Alexia.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, when King Marcus is kidnapped on the eve of the Grand Alliance's march to Maar Sul, the heroes who know about the king's disappearance quickly come up with a plan to make one person impersonate Marcus and thus keep the budding Alliance together until the real Marcus has been located. The candidate for "fake" Marcus ends up being Ronove who quickly goes drunk on power as soon as he gets the crown on his head.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Action League NOW! episode, "Danger For a Dignitary", The Flesh accidentally injures an ambassador who is sent to sign a peace treaty, and looks nearly identical to him in appearance. When the surgery to save the ambassador does not meet the deadline to sign the peace treaty, The Flesh is forced to take The Ambassador's place, and is dressed in his clothes.
  • In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Night of the Batmen," Green Arrow, Aquaman, Captain Marvel and Plastic Man all independently decide to fill in for an injured Batman. In this case, it's the impersonators that learn the Aesop, that Batman doesn't need anyone's help, because he's Batman. Even working together, they end up being captured, and Batman has to build a robotic suit and rescue them while he's still recovering.
  • In the Classic Disney Short Knight for a Day, Dogface squire Cedric accidentally knocks out his master Sir Loinsteak right before a jousting match and has to take his place.
  • Danger Mouse: In "The Spy Who Stayed In With A Cold," Danger Mouse is captured by the motorbiking Mongols. Agent 57, whose head cold makes him randomly change identities when he sneezes, takes on DM's form and completely flummoxes the Mongols into retreating.
  • In a Danny Phantom episode, Tucker and Sam took turns dressing as Danny Fenton to ensure his parents of his whereabouts since the real Danny is currently stuck in ghost mode. They had to keep running away, declaring "a ghost took their face" since...well, his parents would probably notice that they're respectively a different race and gender than their actual son.
  • DuckTales (1987): In "Blue Collar Scrooge", Fenton Crackshell impersonates Scrooge Mcduck so his deal with Mr. Trumpcard won't fall through.
  • The Flintstones had Fred fill in for a prominent billionaire who ran off to play hooky for a day. Let's just say it didn't end well for either of them.
  • In a Phineas and Ferb episode, their dad accidentally gets into Perry's secret base and has his memory wiped. Perry has to stand in for him at Candace's Father/Daughter Competition in a robot version of him that Carl had made "just for this type of situation."
  • The Superman: The Animated Series episode "Knight Time" uses this plot, with Batman disappearing, and Superman putting on his costume. Bane sure picked the wrong episode to return in...
    • "I'm twice as strong as before!" [Tries to beat up Superman.]
    • Also includes a hilarious scene where Superman mimics Batman's voice flawlessly, surprising Robin. When asked how, Supes replies with "Precise muscle control." It beats "Super Ventriloquism", at least. He also says "I have a really good ear"... in Robin's voice, freaking him out.
    • Well, you didn't really think it was all down to the glasses, did you?
  • In an episode of Time Squad, Otto and Larry impersonate the spirit of one of Sitting Bull's ancestors in order to convince him that his visions meant for him to fight and protect his people from General Custer's army in the Battle of Little Big Horn, and certainly not act like a 20-year-old bachelor and goof off.

    Real Life 
  • Canadian Member of Parliament Rahim Jaffer was impersonated on a radio phone-in show by an aide in March 2001. He was apparently double-booked. And the aide sounds nothing like him.
  • Zeppo Marx supposedly once impersonated his brother Groucho and went on stage in his place when he was in the hospital for appendicitis. Years later, Groucho indignantly claimed that the newspaper wrote that "Groucho" gave the funniest performance of his career that night.

Alternative Title(s): Guise Will Be Guise