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"So Zoe's a villain now, hmm? I've had bigger twists with my lemon in my rum and coke... with no lemon, but hell, let's just go with it."

A character that is thought to be one of the good guys turns out to have always been evil.

For example, the hero is searching for a very special treasure. Too bad he doesn't know his way around. He meets a very nice person who offers to help the hero find the treasure. But wait, wasn't the temple supposed to be toward the south? Then why are you walking north? And why won't his guide answer his questions? And oh drat, there's the Big Bad. That "guide" was his minion, and thus evil all along.

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Also known as the "Dadolf Scmitler". If the movie is constantly trying to deceive the audience like this, it can be harder for the audience to get to know the villain.

Compare Big Bad Friend (the hero's friend turns out to be the main villain), The Mole (a member of the hero team is really a minion of the villain infiltrating the group), Bitch in Sheep's Clothing (a Nice Guy turns out to really be a Jerkass), The Dog Was the Mastermind (the true identity of the main antagonist is the least likely suspect), The Killer in Me (the main character turns out to be the killer), Treacherous Advisor (the hero's mentor turns out to be the bad guy), Broken Pedestal (someone finds that the hero they looked up to isn't nearly as heroic and noble as they thought they were), Love-Interest Traitor (the love interest turns out to be evil), and Bait the Dog (where a bad guy does something nice, but only so they can then do something vile). Contrast Good All Along, Big Bad Slippage and Subverted Suspicion Aesop.

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See Hidden Evil for subtropes. Not to be confused with Face–Heel Turn, which is a legitimate good guy going evil. This is when the character was always bad and faking good, not a fall to the darkside.

As this trope often involves major Plot Twists, all spoilers are unmarked.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: The series zigzags this all over the place due to its Grey-and-Gray Morality.
    • Annie Leonhart, Reiner Braun, and Bertolt Hoover are revealed to be enemy spies sent to infiltrate the military and responsible for much of the bloodshed during the first half of the series. Then things become more complicated, with the revelation that while they are enemies....they are also complex, emotionally-damaged Tyke Bombs who express remorse over their actions and don't seem to have any choice but to carry out their mission.
    • The Military Police Brigade are infamously corrupt, but turn out to have a special Branch that operates out of the Capitol. This branch is the Secret Police charged with protecting the Government Conspiracy, primarily through torturing and murdering such dangerous individuals as weapons inventors, Bold Explorers, curious miners, teachers that question official versions of history, and powerful officials' mistresses. When the Survey Corps gets a little too close to the truth, they launch an extermination campaign against them by framing them for murdering civilians, smearing their already-poor reputation through propaganda, destroying their hideouts, arresting any of them that can be found, and sending out specialized units to kill them on sight, leading to a large civil war.
  • Bleach:
    • Aizen was initially introduced as one of the nicer Captains of Soul Society, and even questions the higher-ups decision to execute Rukia. He turns out to be The Man Behind the Man who started the whole conflict to begin with.
      "The Aizen you knew...never even existed."
    • And Ginjou, who, with the help of his accomplice Tsukishima's ability, manages to make it seem as though he and Tsukishima are enemies (because courtesy of Tsukishima's power, he actually believes they're arch-enemies), enabling him to get close to Ichigo and use him in his plan until it involves Tsukishima using his power on him again, reverting him to normal.
  • Blue Dragon: Zola near the end of the series. Though it appears at first that it's just a simple Face–Heel Turn, the characters try to fool themselves into thinking that. Evidence in the last episodes proves otherwise.
  • Claymore: The Organization creates Claymores to fight youma but is also secretly creating the youma by transforming humans. They're actually researchers from another continent where their nation is at war with a monstrous race. To develop a counter to their enemy, they've been experimenting on humans using samples of flesh from one of their defeated warriors.
  • Danganronpa 3: Chisa was forced into having a Face–Monster Turn after being brainwashed in Episode 9 of Side: Despair in which they never found a cure for her brainwashing and she secretly pretends to a Nice Girl so that nobody suspects her into a Remnant of Despair.
  • Digimon:
    • In Digimon Adventure 02, Ken was the evil Digimon emperor all along. This is made glaringly obvious from his first appearance onwards.
    • In his first official appearance in Digimon Savers, Akihiro Kurata claimed to want to help Data Squad and his old friend Commander Sampson. He showed his true colors soon enough.
  • Dragon Ball Super:
    • Frieza's apparent Good Counterpart from Universe 6, Frost, turns out to actually be the very same as Frieza, only less prideful and a Villain with Good Publicity. While Frieza simply wiped out the populations of planets and sold them to the highest bidder, Frost instigates wars so he can be seen as a "hero" by stopping them and buys the ruined planets on the cheap so he can fix them and sell them for profit.
    • Zamasu gets this treatment in the manga. While the anime left the question of whether or not he would have fallen into villainy even if Goku hadn't shaken up his views on gods and mortals ambiguous and showed him Slowly Slipping Into Evil, the manga, where Goku and Zamasu never even meet face-to-face in the present before Zamasu becomes Goku Black, makes it clear that Zamasu was always a monster and Bitch in Sheep's Clothing; his genocidal hatred of mortals was present from the start, and finding out about Goku's power and the Super Dragon Balls just gave him the opportunity to act.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Beerus seemed to be subject to Blue-and-Orange Morality due to his duties as God of Destruction being necessary, while in the anime, the Elder Kai outright states that Beerus' acts of destruction are pointless and petty. This is taken further when the anime adds several scenes of him wiping out entire races just for being unable to fulfill his appetite. While initially that could be dismissed as him needing to destroy something, the Universe Survival arc reveals that the Gods of Destruction aren't just supposed to destroy planets randomly; they're supposed to destroy evil people. All along, Beerus has been abusing his power by choosing to destroy good or neutral people for kicks, while letting evil people like Frieza's family run rampant through the cosmos and do as they please. This is rubbed in further when the Grand Priest notes that Universe 7's mortal rating is the second-lowest, meaning Beerus is quite possibly among the worst of the Gods of Destruction.
  • Elemental Gelade: Rasati and Lillia's guardian. He broadcasts it from a mile away, but Rasati doesn't seem to notice.
  • Future Diary: In Chapter 50, Akise claims that Yuno is the actual villain, and is planning to use Yukiteru to drive him to the brink of despair and kill him in order for her to become God. It seems that Akise was right and wrong at the same time. Yuno wants to kill him, but only so they can be together forever via an endless cycle of Peggy Sues. Maybe.
  • Godzilla: The Planet Eater: Metphies' endgame is revealed when he manipulates the survivors loyal to him into forming a cult dedicated to Ghidorah, with the intent of summoning it to destroy Earth and wiping out humanity once and for all.
  • Hellsing: Walter, Hellsing's butler and soldier, is revealed to be working for the Millennium Nazis (only in the manga).
  • Naruto:
    • Kabuto Yakushi actually did manage to pull off the "helpful, harmless stranger" routine pretty well. From his personality, to his appearance, there's very little to tip you off to him being a threat. He was trained from childhood specifically for this, having worked as a spy on behalf of the Hidden Leaf Village from within all of the other major ninja villages.
    • Shinnō of Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds spent fifteen years posing as a kind doctor, Cool Old Guy, and even a Parental Substitute to Amaru when in reality he's a callous, heartless Jerkass who was secretly using the nearby villagers' negative emotions to gather dark chakra for the Zero-Tails. Not only that, but it's revealed that he himself taught Orochimaru several of his trademark reincarnation techniques.
    • Sasuke Uchiha is revealed to have been this near the end of the series. Promptly after Kaguya is sealed away, with Obito and Madara also defeated, he announced his plan to kill the Kages and seal away the Tailed Beasts, revealing that his supposed Heel–Face Turn was really just an Enemy Mine.
      • Somewhat diminished both by Sasuke having genuinely abandoned his original goals and changing sides (it's just that his new plans to do good come from the same fundamental difference in his and Naruto's personalities and he's still not on Naruto's side) and by this mainly being a surprise to the audience (and Sakura): Naruto wasn't that shocked and Sasuke had already made his future intentions known to a number of people present, none of whom said anything because they knew he'd fight it out with Naruto to decide which of their philosophies was superior and they'd given up on any long-term plan beyond "hope that gets settled this go-around".
  • One Piece:
    • Nami is a minor case of this: she was introduced as a thief who stole only from pirates, but after about three arcs of her being seen as a good person, the fact that she stole their ship and treasure still came as a surprise…but nowhere near as much of one as when she's revealed to be a member of another, much more ruthless pirate crew. What makes this a minor case is that while she had been planning on betraying them the whole time, by the time she finally did, she had already gone too far into Becoming the Mask, and clearly missed them. That's not the full story, of course…but it's enough for this trope.
    • Klahadore from the Syrup Village arc is introduced as a strict but good-natured butler to a sick and kind young rich girl. A short while later, it's revealed that he's Captain Kuro, a cruel and cunning pirate captain who had faked his death three years prior, and since then had been plotting to kill said rich girl and steal her fortune for a quiet retirement.
    • In the Jaya arc, Blackbeard encourages Luffy to continue to pursue his dreams after he is mocked by another pirate crew. This guy would go on to defeat Luffy's elder brother Ace and hand him over to the World Government. When his and Luffy's goals cross over in Impel Down, he gloats about this in his face, provoking a small fight.
    • In the Enies Lobby arc, it turns out that four of the main antagonists had been undercover as good guys for five years: the ventriloquist shipwright Rob Lucci, the flying shipwright Kaku, the dutiful secretary Kalifa, and the kindly bartender Blueno are all revealed to be government-sanctioned assassins.
    • From the Totto Land arc we have Pudding. Originally introduced as the White Sheep in Big Mom's family and Sanji's sweet, innocent fiancee. It later turns out that her entire personality is a lie and she's just as evil as her mother.
    • From Big Mom's backstory in the same arc, the beloved Mother Carmel is not as holy and innocent as she seems. The kindly nun is just a front for child trafficking orphans and selling them off to the World Government. Had a young Linlin not eaten her, she would have ended up a Marine or a bodyguard for the Celestial Dragons.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: In the last minutes of the final episode, we find out that Stocking is actually a demon.
  • Pokémon:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: Good heavens, Shingetsu. At first, he called himself a "Barian Guardian", and though it was clear he was a native of the Barian World, he seemed to be a decent guy who opposed the evil plans of the others, befriending Yuma and offering to help him. As it turned out, this was cruel deception. His true identity was Vector, who was not only evil, but likely the most evil and sadistic member of the Barians (or any villain of the current series) to date. (To make this worse, it is very likely that he was actually subordinate to an even stronger Barian.)

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 7 episode 29 of Happy Heroes, the Supermen meet a woman named Jenny who is willing to be their mother (the Supermen don't have an actual mother, and their father Doctor H. isn't even biologically related to them). She has her evil side unveiled later in the episode, when she calls Big M. saying she's gained the Supermen's trust. After seeing how much the Supermen genuinely care about her, however, Jenny does a Heel–Face Turn.
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    Comic Books 
  • Infamously, Terra from The Judas Contract arc of Teen Titans. She's arguably the first character who was The Mole all along, and she didn't even reform.note  Her goal the entire time was to take down the Titans because she hated how goody-goody they were.
  • Deadpool has Shiklah. Word of God, Gerry Duggan says he received complaints about how evil Shiklah sometimes acted to Deadpool, and how he was ruining their relationship. He states that he reminds people that Shiklah is a demon, and that she did try to kill Deadpool when she first met him— he was just spared by his Healing Factor. Editor Jordan White, via social media, also mentions that Shiklah has always been evil. He says Shiklah only seemed more sweet and innocent during The Gauntlet series because she was new to the modern world, thus more naive to how everything worked, thus she had an infant curiosity and excitement to things.
  • Every time Mystique seems like she is going through a Heel–Face Turn, it will end like this. In one alternate future her name becomes the equivalent of Judas. Somehow she's just that good at faking it that people who know her full history still get taken in when she pretends to be reformed.
  • In Avengers vs. X-Men Magik is revealed to be this, and a Magnificent Bitch to boot.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Geoffrey St. John was introduced as a loyal member of King Max's Secret Service and a rebel allied with the Freedom Fighters, and while a smug Jerkass, overall seemed to fall into Good Is Not Nice more than anything else. Then comes issue 220, where after he and Sonic work together to retrieve a Chaos Emerald, he shoots Sonic In the Back, takes the Emerald, and delivers it straight to Ixis Naugus to restore his sanity. When he's tried for treason come issue 233, Geoffrey reveals this wasn't just a random Face–Heel Turn; he's in fact been Naugus' apprentice since the days of the Great War and has been working to make him King for years. That being said, Geoffrey was in fact a Well-Intentioned Extremist who genuinely believed that Naugus could do good and felt that he would make the Acorn Kingdom stronger and would prevent the deaths of many people. By the time he realized Naugus was nothing more than a power-hungry tyrant, it was too late for him to turn back.
  • In The Mice Templar, Pilot the Tall reveals in Issue 6 that he's been in league with Captain Tosk and King Icarus all along, and he was only using Karic as a means for "redemption."note 
  • In the New 52 version of Wonder Woman, the Cheetah was once Barbara Minerva, a scholar who helped Diana out in cases and Diana considering the woman her first true friend in this world. When a mystical dagger turned Barbara into the deadly Cheetah, Diana tried to help her friend be restored and break this curse. Diana is rocked to discover that Barbara had a long record as a thief and con artist who'd been using Diana to get her hands on various rare items. The Cheetah spirit had been meant to protect a tribe but the inner darkness of Barbara turned it into a beast. Diana is stunned to realize Barbara was never her friend, never an innocent and (as Batman puts it), the Cheetah didn't corrupt her, Barbara corrupted the Cheetah.
  • In the first arc of Detective Comics (Rebirth) Jacob Kane (Batwoman's father) is revealed to be the leader of the Colony, the initial antagonists of the series. He had been planning for years for Kate to join the Colony one day, even adapting his expectations to her own independent vigilantism in the wake of her dismissal from the Army. Downplayed in that Jacob isn't portrayed as evil or even a villain, but a man blinded by his personal vendetta against terrorism who completely misread his own daughter's expectations and goals for her own life.
  • In one 2000 AD Space Western short story, a group of cowboys help protect some human townsfolk from alien raiders who's trying to kill them. After the cowboys killed the raiders and their leader confronts the dying boss of the raiders, the raider calls out the cowboys on what have they done as it is revealed that the raiders were hunting down the townsfolk as they're actually alien insects who disguise themselves as humans to eat other humans who come to their town. By the time the cowboys realizes the truth, the towns folks revealed their true forms and kills all of them.
  • Sentinel was revealed in Youngblood: Judgment Day to be the one who was responsible for the vast majority of heroes being so dark, violent, and borderline insane, having rewritten the world with Hermes' book to match his ideas of what superheroes were supposed to be like. To that end, he kills Riptide and frames Knightsabre to get the book back and resume his control.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Numerous Disney movies seem to be very fond of this trope, revealing that an (un)expected character was actually the Big Bad the whole time, to the point that this twist can become predictable after a while. Examples include:
    • Disney Animated Canon:
      • The Ur-Example is in Pinocchio, where Stromboli appears to be kind at first, but then threatens to chop Pinocchio into firewood. Though it's a bit more of a downplayed example, because there were clearly hints that he wasn't all that pleasant, like with his temper outbursts.
      • Mr. Winky the barman from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is brought on by Mr. Toad as his star witness in the stolen motor car case, with Toad hoping that Winky's corroboration of his story that it was a gang of weasels who really stole the car will clear his name - it turns out that Winky is actually the leader of the gang, and he betrays Toad by giving false testimony against him.
      • In-Universe example in Aladdin: While we know from the get-go that Jafar is Obviously Evil, the Sultan doesn't until Aladdin grabs and smashes his cobra staff, which he's been using to hypnotize the Sultan.
      • Big Hero 6: It's revealed upon the Dramatic Unmask of Yokai that he was already cooking up his Evil Plan when we were introduced to his seemingly-benevolent true face.
      • Frozen: You'll be very surprised when you find out Prince Hans is the true villain of the movie, considering how he's first presented as a supporting character and a potential love interest for Anna. Hans is that rare Disney villain whose true nature casts a very dark pallor over all of the supposedly altruistic and benevolent deeds he had done prior to The Reveal, when it becomes apparent that he had been planning to murder our heroes and usurp the kingdom right from the start. "Love is an Open Door"? Hollow lies. His charitable deeds for the people while Anna is gone? Calculated to make his rise to power easier. His drive to keep Anna safe? A mask of concern, casually discarded when he realizes he can no longer use her: it's safe to let her die.
      • Frozen II: Elsa and Anna always thought of their grandfather King Runeard as a great king. Unfortunately, they learn he tricked the Northuldra and attacked them unprovoked out of fear, which left Anna heartbroken and Elsa completely furious, which she expresses to an ice memory of him.
      • In Tarzan, it turns out Clayton was planning all along to double-cross the Porters and capture and sell Tarzan's gorilla family.
      • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Rourke and the other mercenaries (everyone on the expedition but Milo) were Evil All Along. Fortunately a Downer Ending is averted when everyone but Rourke and Helga do a Heel–Face Turn.
      • Wreck-It Ralph has Turbo, the star of the Turbo Time racing game, who is initially King Candy, the ruler of the Sugar Rush game. He urges Ralph to keep Vanellope from winning a race that will eventually lead to the game being shut down, but when she does race, he reveals himself as the same Turbo who abandoned his game and tried to take over another racing game, becoming a glitch in the latter and putting both games out of order for good.
      • Assistant Mayor Bellwether from Zootopia ends up being the sociopathic mastermind behind the plot to drug predators into turning savage in order to turn the prey species against the predator population of the city. She's a literal Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
    • Pixar:
      • Stinky Pete from Toy Story 2 seems nice enough at first but is so obsessed with staying in mint condition for exhibition in a museum that he'll stop at nothing to keep Woody from having second thoughts, even if it means manipulation and threats, and especially harbors resentment against space toys such as Buzz Lightyear.
      • Henry J. Waternoose III, the CEO of Monsters, Inc. who turns out to be willing to kidnap children with Randall to end the energy crisis.
      • Lotso from Toy Story 3 has a seemingly warm personality, but is revealed to run the daycare center out of the other toys' fear, and later on in the garbage dump leaves Andy's toys for dead after his life gets spared.
      • At first, in Incredibles 2, the villain appears to be the Screenslaver, but it turns out to be Winston Deavor's sister, Evelyn, who has had a grudge against superheroes ever since her parents were killed when her father tried to call Gazerbeam to thwart a couple of robbers.
      • Coco has the famed singer Ernesto de la Cruz, who is revealed to be a murderous fraud who lacks real songwriting talent and had, in life, stolen the music of his friend that he had killed.
    • TV Films:
  • In Heavy Metal 2000, Odin at first appears to be an ally helping Julie in beating Tyler to the well of immortality. After Tyler is killed, Odin reveals himself to be an Aracatian who was manipulating Julie so he could use the well of immortality for himself.
  • Scooby-Doo DTV Movies:
    • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island features this as well. Simone, Lena, and Jacques are the real antagonists, who must drain the life force from other humans at the harvest moon to preserve their immortality. The zombies on the island are the restless spirits of their victims, and were only trying to keep the gang from suffering the same fate.
    • Ben Ravencroft from Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost. He claimed that his ancestor, Sarah Ravencroft, was wrongfully accused of being a witch and that he is trying to find a journal that belonged to her so that he can clear her name. But then it turns out that Sarah really was a witch and the journal that Ben was looking for was actually a spellbook that he planned on using to bring Sarah back from the dead so that they can rule the world together...only to be shocked when he does so and Sarah reveals that she would rather destroy the world than rule it.
  • The Swan Princess: In Royally Undercover, Count Antonio is eventually revealed to only be pretending to be affable, he caused the dam's destruction in the first place and that he intended to take all the money that was being raised to repair damages for himself.
  • In the first Ice Age, Diego initialy is this In-Universe. He makes a Heel–Face Turn, however, and becomes a member of the crew in the sequels.
  • This is shown in The Wild Thornberrys as well. in the film, Bree and Sloan are revealed to be the poachers that kidnapped Eliza's cheetah friend, Talley, halfway into the movie. Eliza camps with them on her journey to find Talley and she wakes up in the middle of the night to look for them and as she's looking in their RV, she finds Talley and almost immediately, Bree and Sloan show up and reveal themselves as the poachers.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part hangs a lampshade on the whole thing: Queen Watevra Wana'Bi has an entire song about how she's not a tyrannical dictator, the presents she's handing out are harmless, and how the good guys can totally trust her, totally. And as it turns out, she's being completely honest. It's Rex Dangervest, Emmet's super-cool mentor and galaxy-saving hero, who actually wants the entire universe destroyed.
  • Wonder Woman: Bloodlines: Surprising the few who are not familiar with the comics, businesswoman Veronica Cale is the puppet master of Villainy Inc.
  • In the fourth Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film, the culprit of the Dragon's World's slow destruction is not Tyranno-Rex as one would expect, but Draco, the little blue dragon that followed and helped the goats and wolves on the journey to reassemble the special key and return it to the Dragon's Den. Wolffy was actually right on the money when he suspected him of being a spy and doesn't realize it until this point.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien. Ash is revealed to be a robot, working for The Company to bring an alien back, at the expense of the other crew members if necessary.
  • Aliens reveals that Carter Burke sent the message that caused the colonists to become hosts for the aliens, and was planning to have the rest of the crew impregnated with them too - including Newt, a ten year old child.
  • Damien: Omen II: At the end, Ann Thorn is implied to have been on Satan's side when she "gives" her husband the sacred daggers. Ann Thorn dies immediately afterward, having outlived their usefulness.
    Ann Thorn: I've always belonged to him.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
  • Dragonheart: Though it is initially assumed that Prince Einon being revived by a portion of Draco's heart to have turned him bad, he eventually reveals that he was evil before that, and in fact played Bowen for a fool to learn how to fight.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Emma Russell. Initially, she appears to be a well-meaning scientist who is forced against their will to aid Alan Jonah's Eco-Terrorist goals in forcibly releasing the Titans contained by Monarch. Then when she has a chance to leave Jonah's side, she instead picks up the detonator and frees Ghidorah from its icy prison herself, and from there it's revealed she's been The Mole inside Monarch aiding Jonah's forces for some time, having made a Face–Heel Turn during the recent years since the San Francisco incident.
  • Hot Fuzz: Subverted by Frank Butterman. Later on, it's shown he was part of the NWA, only to be revealed he was just acting so he could get his friend out of there, and later helps to defeat them without hesitation.
  • Indiana Jones:
  • Jurassic World: One of the notes in the Masrani Backdoor website has a note from Dr. Wu mentioning that a hybrid was left on Isla Sorna sometime prior to 2003. This, as it has no pupils, is implied to be the Spinosaurus featured in Jurassic Park III, meaning that Wu has been perfecting the Indominus rex for over a span of at least fourteen years.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Obadiah Stane in Iron Man is first shown to be a mentor and friend to Tony Stark, warmly welcoming Stark back home from Afghanistan, but it's later on shown that he masterminded Stark's kidnapping and was also secretly selling Stark's weapons to terrorists.
    • On a large scale, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier we learn that SHIELD as an organization was Evil All Along, having been infiltrated by the Nazi organization HYDRA ever since SHIELD's creation at the end of WWII. Notable SHIELD operatives appearing in previous films who are revealed to be part of HYDRA include Rumlow/Crossbow and Hollins and the entire Strike Team.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has Ego, who is first shown to be a kind and loving man, playing catch with Peter and sharing their love for 70s and 80s music, but he later reveals that he's responsible for the death of Peter's mother and wants his son to assist him in wiping out the galaxy and replacing it with extensions of himself, and has murdered thousands of his children when they failed to inherit his powers, stashing their bones in his caverns.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home: Surprising few who are familiar with the storyline from Mysterio's debut in the comics, he's not the hero he presents himself as being at all. He's a bad guy playing the part of a hero to reap the perks.
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop: SWAT Commander Kent was a Jerkass but he did seem to be trying to stop the terrorists in the mall, even teaming up with Paul to catch Veck. However, when Paul finally catches Veck, Kent pulls a gun on him and reveals himself to be true leader of the terrorists.
    Kent: Very impressive! Taking down an assailant without a gun. I hope you don't mind if I use one.
  • Edwin from Predators seems for most of the movie to be fairly normal compared to the rest of the cast, in fact Royce points out that he doesn't seem to belong, but near the end he reveals himself to be a Serial Killer back home who wants to stay on the Yautja's hunting planet because he liked it better there.
  • Saw IV: It turns out Mark Hoffman was another Jigsaw apprentice.
  • Scream: In all the films, the killers behind the Ghostface mask were introduced as someone close to Sidney or at least someone indifferent yet harmless to her, until The Reveal that they are anything but.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Admiral Marcus gives off the impression that he's a Reasonable Authority Figure. He's actually an Insane Admiral who worked with and tortured former Evil Overlord Khan Noonien Singh. Marcus also wanted to sacrifice the crew of the Enterprise just so he could jump start a war with the Klingons.
    • Not the only example either. John Harrison, the terrorist that Admiral Marcus sent the Enterprise crew after who seems like he's actually an okay guy being manipulated by Marcus just like the heroes? Turns out that he is Khan Noonien Singh. And he's out for revenge on the entire Federation for what Marcus did to him.
  • In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine turns out to be Darth Sidious, the head of the Sith. And he's been playing both the Republic and the Separatists, along with the Jedi, for complete schmucks. This was hardly a surprise to the viewers, who had already seen Palpatine as the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.
  • In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Jen Yu / Yu Jiaolong had pretty much everyone fooled and feeling sympathetic. After all, in this day and age, who doesn't feel sorry for an aristocrat's daughter who dreams of a warrior's life, being forced into an Arranged Marriage. Then the movie gets deeper, and reveals the lengths she's going to in order to pursue her dream, learning martial arts from the notorious thief Jade Fox using a cursed sword and becoming a cold-blooded killer. Still somewhat sympathetic, but not as much.
  • Ferriman in Ghost Ship poses as a meek weather service pilot to lure the crew of the Arctic Warrior to the Graza. He proves himself useful throughout the film and even seemingly saves Epps from an insane Murphy, but it's all an act. He's actually working for Hell and started the massacre on the Graza. It's implied he's done this many times over, with the fresh bodies in the laundry room being from a previous crew he led into the trap.
  • The Hole reveals that Liz locked all her friends down in the bunker and allowed Frankie to starve to death, and Mike to murder Geoff - all in an attempt to make Mike fall in love with her. After escaping the hole alone, she frames Martyn and kills him to make it look like a suicide.
  • Jagged Edge follows a high-profile defense lawyer trying to prove the innocence of Jack Forrester, a man accused of murdering his wife. While she manages to win the case, she learns in the finale that Jack was in fact guilty the whole time.
  • X2: X-Men United: Magneto, who, right after saving the mutants of the world, can't resist seizing the opportunity to use Stryker's technique against humanity.
  • Similar to how SHIELD was penetrated by HYDRA, in the James Bond film Spectre, 007 and M, the head of MI6 and Bond's superior, learn that the titular Nebulous Evil Organization Bond fought over the years has secretly managed to penetrate the British spy agencies, and that Max Denbigh/C, the head of MI 5 and M's rival, was the Mole in Charge and working for Big Bad Franz Oberhauser/Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
  • Toward the end of The Wailing, Il-Gwang tells Jong-Goo that he made a mistake when identifying who is behind the curse of the village. He thought it was the Japanese hermit, when it was in fact the nameless woman in white who appeared to Jong-Goo at the start. However, the ending reveals that he was lying and 'he' was the secretly evil one.
  • Primal Fear features two variations on this, at first it's revealed that Aaron has a split personality which would mean by proxy he would have committed the movies murder, but at the end it is revealed Aaron never existed and in fact the so called "other personality" was the real one all along thus making him a straight up murderer.

    Literature 
  • A Brother's Price has Kij Porter, who Ren considered a close friend.
  • Robin Jarvis loves this trope. In his Deptford Mice trilogy and its prequels:
    • In The Crystal Prison, the ghost of Jupiter poses as a benevolent spirit of the fields named Nicodemus to gain the trust of Madame Akkikuyu and convince her to perform a ritual to release him from limbo. When she finds out the truth, she is Driven to Suicide to prevent him from coming back to life by taking over her body.
    • The Oaken Throne has Wendel Maculatum, a seemingly kind, ditzy stoat jester who turns out to have been the bloodthirsty priest of Hobb all along.
    • Similar to the above example, in Thomas there is a slow minded mouse called Dimlon who befriends the heroes. But it's later revealed that he's a murderous follower of the Scale whose real name is Dahrem Ruhar.
  • In Dragon Bones, there is Bastilla, the slave, who turns out to have been working for the enemy all along. There's also Landislaw, but that's not as big a surprise, as his morality is portrayed as quite questionable from the beginning, and he never works together with the heroes.
  • ForceFlow, Tash's Internet-friend in Galaxy of Fear. Turns out he was the Big Bad all along and giving lots of people information about the Jedi in the hopes of luring them to touch his Essence Stealer, hoping one of them would be Force Sensitive so he could study their essence and what made it different.
  • In Gone Girl, we spend the first half of the novel believing that Amy is an innocent victim in circumstances beyond her control. As it turns out, Amy is the Diabolical Mastermind behind the whole thing.
  • Harry Potter
    • Subverted. It appears that Snape was evil all along after he kills Dumbledore. But then it turns out that it was all part of Dumbledore's Gambit Roulette and Snape really was good... albeit a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • A more straight example: Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Ron's pet rat Scabbers, who turns out to be the one who betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort and concealed himself in his Animagus form for 12 years, leaving his friend Sirius Black to receive the blame.
    • Professor Quirrell in the first book seemed to be just an ordinary, shy, teacher who wore a turban just because. Turns out, he's really a minion of Voldemort who wears a turban to hide the fact that Voldemort is on the back of his head.
    • There's also the matter of Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Even though it's not really Mad-Eye, but Ax-Crazy Barty Crouch Jr. impersonating him it's still an Evil All Along situation.
    • While "evil" might be a stretch, there are indications that Cornelius Fudge was never really a good guy to begin with, notably when Molly reveals that he's kept Arthur at his low-ranking, low-paying job for years because Fudge thinks Arthur "lacks proper wizarding pride."
    • In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Dephini reveals herself as the true villain of the story by casually murdering an innocent Hogwarts student, and claiming to be the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange.
  • After being proven to be on the good guys' side by the end of the James Bond novel Nobody Lives for Ever, Sukie Tempesta returns in COLD, only to be revealed to be in cahoots with the book's Big Bad (alongside with her now criminal family), to the point of planning to actually marry him. The hows and whys relating to this revelation is swept aside by having her suddenly be insane.
  • Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind books, though nobody but the Tribulation Force and those who have once been in Nicolae's close circle of friends really know just how evil Nicolae is under the public persona he projected up to the midpoint of the Tribulation. After he is indwelt by Satan, Nicolae's façade slowly cracks and the public gets to see the true person underneath. Strangely, though, Jesus berated Nicolae in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, saying to him that You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good, which became a point of contention for some readers.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Bold Jon is introduced as a heroic character who bravely slays the evil Hugh Hammer, only for later books to reveal he took part in the Rape, Pillage, and Burn of Tumbleton much like Hammer did. Then there's his appalling treatment of Lord and Lady Footly.
  • In K. W. Jeter's Infernal Devices Mrs Trabble, the head of the Ladies Union for the Suppression of Carnal Vice (a group dedicated to preserving Christian values and attacking those involved in the vice trade), is actually Molly Maude, an infamous brothel keeper and criminal kingpin who has a kidnapper gang that goes into an isolated village to kidnap the unique inhabitants then con and force them into prostitution.
  • In Jack Vance's The Gray Prince, the eponymous Prince was a childhood friend to heroine Schaine; and for most of the book she firmly keeps in mind that, whatever his present political views, he once saved her brother's life. And then it turns out he in fact hated their family to the point of deliberately allowing her brother to be horribly injured and only claimed credit for the deed later.
  • The Dresden Files: Martin in Changes turns out to be a Red Court infiltrator. Subverted in the end, as it turns out he performed a Heel–Face Turn long ago and his apparent betrayal of the heroes was actually part of a Batman Gambit to wipe out the entire freaking Red Court with their own curse. Only Harry knows the truth.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan:
    • Steve Leopard shows up after several years now as a vampaneeze hunter. Three books later, he reveals himself to be the Vampaneeze Lord himself.
    • Subverted with Kurda Smahlt who first appears to be The Mole for the vampaneeze but later turns out to have been trying to forge an alliance to spare the vampires from an upcoming war. The vampires don't find this out until after they've killed everyone.
  • Zalasta in The Tamuli is revealed as the Big Bad after he has befriended 90% of the cast, and after he saved their lives in a pitched battle.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • In Vampire Academy, it turns out Natalie was doing Victor Dashkov's dirty work the whole time.
    • In Blood Promise, Avery Lazar acted as a friend to Lissa and Adrian. Was revealed to be manipulating them for her own ends. She had no problem on driving Lissa to suicide.
  • Brandon Sanderson:
  • Warbreaker:
    • Played with, though not exactly subverted, as Denth the mercenary, who has been leading princess Vivenna in her quest to overthrow the government of T'Telir (under the pretense of following her orders), betrays her, murders her best friend, and tries to steal her Breath. She is surprised, but since he had been warning her the entire time that he could not be trusted, she felt kinda stupid, too. Best line: "Do you know what I hate most about being a mercenary, Princess? Fulfilling the stereotypes. Everyone assumes they can't trust you. The thing is, they really can't."
    • Bluefingers, the God King's benevolent, fatherly, somewhat timid chief scribe, is the Big Bad and Denth's employer. He's not terribly evil as Big Bads go- the book casts him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Word of God describes him as a good man who got carried away- but he's still the ultimate mastermind behind the threats facing the protagonists, and the kingdoms of Hallandren and Idris more generally.
    • The Stormlight Archive:
      • King Taravangian is presented as a kindly, if somewhat scatterbrained, authority figure who is famous for sponsoring hospitals in his city-state. He's actually The Chessmaster behind at least one of the major conspiracies active in Roshar and his hospitals are a cover to allow him to study the prophetic statements people have sometimes started making immediately before death.
      • Sadeas is a lesser example. While he was always evil, he put on a good show of being a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to protect the king and kingdom in his own way. Then he abandons his oldest friend and thousands of soldiers to die, all so he could be the king's sole adviser. In the second book, he admits to himself that he's going to kill the king himself when the time comes, all for his own personal power and bloodlust. Literal bloodlust, too—his primary motivation is that he only feels alive when killing people.
      • The late King Gavilar is initially presented as The Good King (at least by Alethi standards) who united the highprinces to build a kingdom after centuries of infighting and whose death triggered the Vengeance Pact between them against those responsible. As the series has progressed and more of his actions have been revealed it becomes clear that he was a glory-seeking tyrant actively seeking to trigger a new Desolation as part of a scheme to install himself as a new Shardvessel.
  • Throughout the Skulduggery Pleasant series, Erskine Ravel was shown to be a reserved and trustworthy member of the DeadMen, enough that when the time came, he was given over the role of Grand Mage of Ireland and took it upon himself to ensure the safety of both the human and magic communities that threatened to reveal themselves to the world, well, until it was revealed that he was secretly a member of the Children of Spiders and his true desire was to have sorcerers take over the world. After killing Ghadtly Bespoke and Anton Shudder to attempt to complete his goal, he gets what’s coming to him by Darquesse giving him constant pain for almost every hour of the day for his troubles and is sacrificed to the Accelerator to prevent the world from being destroyed.
  • In the final chapter of the final book in the Sundered Lands series, it's revealed that Percy is in fact Grinder Prickleback, the hedgehog who unintentionally blew up the world and is hellbent on seeking all six crowns so he can Take Over the World. He wastes no time betraying Trundle and Esmeralda once his true intentions are revealed.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, Bogardius and Violette are presented as two of several leaders of benevolent sect called the Garden and become good friends to Melodía, helping her cope. Only later are they revealed as having been working for Raguel - who seeks to wipe out most of human population in the world - all along, and while Bogardius has Heel Realization, Violette goes on to become a Mouth of Sauron for Raguel.
  • Starting with Windmills of the Gods, Sidney Sheldon became fond of this trope; between that and the ten novels that followed, seven of them involve at least one character who turns out to be this, serving as the Big Bad or the Big Bad's accomplice. The Doomsday Conspiracy and The Sky Is Falling have many characters who fall under this trope, though the former also has a Good All Along character to compensate. An eighth book, Tell Me Your Dreams, has the heroine turn out to have an alternate personality that's "stalking" her and gruesomely murdering men, making her a debatable case of this trope.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 has Nina Meyers in Day 1, Charles Logan in Day 5, and Tony Almeida (sort of, it kind of gets complicated) in Day 7, as well as Dana Walsh during Day 8.
    • Jack (somewhat) during his Rogue Agent period in Day 8 is debatable. He definitely undergoes a Face–Heel Turn during that point, though it's left unclear if he did so immediately after the double whammy of Renee's death and President Taylor's betrayal of him and his claims that he was just trying to expose the Russian conspiracy were outright lies, which if so would loosely follow this trope, or if he did genuinely mean to follow this out and only abandoned it for the notion of killing everyone involved after murdering Dana. There are some hints that lean toward the former, including a "I was perfectly fine settling with justice, but that was taken from me!," rant near the end of the series.
  • Arrow:
    • In Season Four, John Diggle's supposedly dead younger brother Andy is revealed to be still alive, and a member of the terrorist organization H.I.V.E. Worse, evidence slowly mounts that he was a villain long before he was "recruited" into H.I.V.E. His arc explores whether or not he was always evil and if he can be redeemed. He demonstrates he is truly evil by betraying the group, directly leading to Laurel's murder by Damien Darhk. He even taunts John about it and threatens to kill the rest of his family before being gunned down by his enraged brother.
    • In Season Five, seeming ally Adrian Chase, the best known Vigilante in the comics, is revealed to actually be Prometheus — and what's more, his real name is Simon Morrison, and his entire arc is a deranged gambit to destroy Oliver. Vigilante is revealed early in the next season to be an unrelated character.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: The end of season 1 reveals that Ruby Knowby, previously hinted to be a Jefe like Ash, is actually a Dark One, and the true Big Bad.
  • Invoked in an episode of Bewitched. A chimp Samantha turns human lands a spot in an ad campaign for cologne and makes an immediate impression on Larry Tate and his client. Samantha, however, intends to take him back to his owner and suggests that, in order to get fired, he show his true colors, which he does by biting one of the crew behind the project among other things.
  • The Boys (2019):
    • Stormfront's appearances during her first two episodes have her being snarky and affable, enough that Starlight and the audience find her likable. It's not until the end of the third episode, when she massacres a housing project full of black people and brutally kills Kenji after calling him a "yellow bastard", that it is shown us that she's a psychotic, superpowered racist.
    • Victoria Neuman positions herself a benevolent critic of Vought, until the finale where she's revealed to be the one causing heads to explode, including ones who were working against Vought.
  • Charmed (1998)'s Christy Jenkins is rescued from years of being locked in a cave by demons. It turns out she's now working with them to corrupt her sister, so they can kill the Halliwells.
  • Dead of Summer has Amy Hughes, who many people think is the stereotypical horror movie final girl until it's revealed in the penultimate episode that she was behind everything.
  • Doctor Who: In "Can You Hear Me?", at first, it appears that the blonde woman is sending a cry for help from the torture Zellin is inflicting. Then it turns out he's actually giving her the fears of humans which keeps her sane while imprisoned.
  • Boyd Langdon in Dollhouse. Turns out he was secretly the Big Bad all along and running a ridiculously complex Evil Plan with Echo and co. at the center. And he seemed like such a nice guy. Although he wasn't completely evil. He was more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist in the end.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • While Harrison Wells in Season One is obviously shady from the start, it's slowly revealed that not only is he the Reverse-Flash, he's actually Eobard Thawne and merely stole the real Wells' identity after murdering him and his wife.
    • Similarly, in Season Two, "Jay Garrick" from Earth-2 turns out to actually be Hunter Zolomon, better known as Zoom, and to have been manipulating the heroes all along by stealing the identity of the real Jay Garrick from Earth-3.
    • The first few episodes of the third season introduce Julian, Barry's co-worker who he doesn't get along with, and Alchemy, a mysterious masked person who's been giving people the powers they had in Flashpoint for unknown reasons. Viewers quickly guessed that they were the same person, to the point where the end of the seventh episode was seen as a Captain Obvious Reveal. Subverted when it turns out Julian had no idea, as he was being possessed by Savitar, the real Big Bad.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Played With by Mirri Mazz Duur. She hates the Dothraki, and had a hand in the catatonia of Khal Drogo and the death of Daenerys' unborn son. Of course, this is a group that just wiped out her community to enslave them.
    • Ramsey Snow/Bolton is a particularly horrific example of this trope. He is introduced by seemingly rescuing Theon from being tortured, claiming that he was an Ironborn agent sent by his sister, and appears to be Theon's saving grace. However, this was all just part of a twisted game, and Ramsey soon reveals himself as possibly the most evil and sadistic character in the entire show, and tortures Theon himself to the point that he becomes an empty shell of a man.
    • Roose Bolton and Walder Frey were rather unpleasant all along, but the Red Wedding cements them as completely irredeemable bastards.
    • It turns out Littlefinger and Lysa Arryn, not the Lannisters, were behind Jon Arryn's murder, and together essentially caused the whole fucking plot. Including but certainly not limited to the deaths of millions in the War of the Five Kings, the near-extinction and exile of House Stark, the fall of House Tully, the ascent of the despicable Houses Frey and Bolton, the burning of Winterfell, Littlefinger's meteoric rise (which is definitely a bad thing), and Joffrey's final victory and then horrific death.
    • After the finale of the series came and went, this has been theorized about concerning Daenerys Targaryen... thus making fan's reaction to her perceived-as-a Face–Heel Turn a case of Misaimed Fandom.
  • This and a few other related elements are the Reveal for season 1 of The Good Place. Michael, the seemingly benevolent architect of the heavenly neighborhood, is actually a demon (although they don't like the term), and the neighborhood is actually an Ironic Hell intended to force Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason to torment each other forever.
  • Goosebumps: Kareen Hawlings. She convinces Mark that she, unlike her father, is on the good side. In reality, she’s almost as bad as he is.
  • Haven had William, who at first seemed to be a kind, mysterious stranger who helps Audrey recover her memories and get back to her friends. Then he turns out to be a cruel, remorseless man who enjoys giving people out of control powers to cause untold destruction.
  • His Dark Materials: Mrs. Coulter goes from warm and friendly, then to cold, and finally to outright abusive. Then it's revealed she is actually the head of the Gobblers and knew where Roger was the whole time.
  • In Lost it turns out that Henry Gale was really the backstabbing, manipulative leader of the Others...
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • Iron Fist: Harold Meachum wasn't exactly a nice guy to begin with, but one could mistake him for simply being extreme but well-meaning early in the season. He's eventually revealed to be a cold-blooded murderer and just as bad as the Hand he serves, having been screwing with Danny's life even before his resurrection.
    • Luke Cage (2016): At first, Mariah seems like a Morality Pet to Cottonmouth early on, albeit one that was in the grey due to benefiting off his corrupt dealings. Ultimately she proves she's no better when she does increasingly awful things, which eventually accumulates in her murdering her cousin, framing his death on Luke Cage, and taking control over his criminal empire. Season 2 shows that she is even more ruthless than Cottonmouth ever could be and she was kind of a Rich Bitch as a kid.
    • WandaVision: Episode 7 reveals that Agnes, really Agatha Harkness, was manipulating Wanda from the very beginning and setting up a number of conflicts across the series. She sings about this at length in "It Was _____ All Along."
  • Once Upon a Time despite being a show where typically Rousseau Was Right and nearly every villain has a sympathetic origin still has a few examples:
    • Cruella's backstory is that she was locked in her attic by her abusive mother, who was also a Black Widow. It turns out Cruella herself was the one murdering her stepfathers, and that she's been wicked ever since she was a child.
    • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde appear in the sixth season, at first showing Jekyll as the good persona and Hyde as the evil one. But when the backstory comes around, we discover that Jekyll once murdered the woman he loved and framed Hyde for it.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Corner of the Eye", a group of aliens who look like demons befriend a priest, heal his cancer, and grant him a Healing Hands ability. They claim to want to help humanity and ask the priest to vouch for them when they eventually reveal themselves as their appearance would frighten humans. Eventually, the priest's friend finds out that the aliens are just as evil as they look. Everything they did for the priest was just to get him to trust them so that they could use him as a pawn in their plans to slowly take over the world.
  • Raising Dion: Pat Rollins, who for the mayority of the series is presented as a lovable nerd, a Parental Substitute to Dion, and Dogged Nice Guy for Nicole, is eventually revealed to be The Crooked Man. He killed Dion's father and several other superpowered people.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: Mr. Smith is exposed as this in the first season's finale. Although the heroes at first suspect a Computer Virus or something else has caused Mr. Smith to go through a Face–Heel Turn, it's revealed that Mr. Smith has always been this and was waiting for the chance to enact his Evil Plan. In a rather interesting play on this trope, Mr. Smith remains a part of the main cast after this episode and everything goes back to normal as a result of the heroes enforcing Amnesiac Villain Joins the Heroes on him.
  • Sleepy Hollow: Henry Parrish the Sin-Eater, the heroes' supposed ally, is revealed in the first season finale to actually be Jeremy Crane, Ichabod and Katrina's supposedly dead son, who agreed to serve Moloch as the Horseman of War in exchange for escaping being Buried Alive and the chance of revenge on his parents for abandoning him. Everything else he did up to that point in the series was to earn the heroes' trust so he could betray them at the opportune moment.
  • Star Trek: Discovery:
    • While he was hardly a paragon of virtue, Captain Gabriel Lorca eventually turns out to be native to the Mirror Universe, manipulating the events in order to get close to Burnham, to whom he's attracted to (he raised and then seduced Mirror!Burnham). His final goal is to use her and, possibly, the Discovery to stage a coup in the Terran Empire and become Emperor himself with Burnham at his side.
    • Lieutenant Ash Tyler turns out to be a Klingon Manchurian Agent named Voq, the same Voq, who was named as T'Kuvma's successor. He does get better, however, after the Voq personality is erased for good, leaving behind just Tyler with two sets of memories.
  • Supergirl (2015): The episode "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" reveals in its twist ending that Eve Teschmacher has been working for Lex Luthor since before actually being introduced on the show, acting as his spy.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "Croatoan", it turns out the reason Duane Tanner knew he didn't have tTheVirus was that he's possessed by a demon.
    • Ruby was the only demon who had so far actually helped the Winchesters, yet the season four finale showed us that she was working for Lucifer all along and she helped Sam specifically for him to kill Lilith, and so bring back Lucifer to the Earth.
    • In the episode "Repo Man". Back when they were hunting Lilith, Sam and Dean exorcised a demon out of a man named Jeffrey. Now in season seven, women were dying in the same way the demon killed them back then, so the brothers return to town. It turns out Jeffrey and the demon were working together and had a relationship.
    • In the finale of season eight, it turns out that the angel Metatron, who advised the brothers on the last trial to seal Hell and was guiding Castiel in another set of trials to seal off the now corrupt Heaven, was not as harmless as he appeared — he didn't warn the Winchesters that completing their trials would kill Sam, and the trials he was helping Castiel with were actually components of a spell to banish all angels from Heaven as petty revenge for being cast out himself.
    • The Season 4 finale reveals Zachariah was working to start the apocalypse. In fact most of the heavenly host is in on it, as they believe Utopia Justifies the Means.
    • The episode "Freaks and Geeks" has the reappearance of a hunter from an earlier episode named Victor, who is training a group of children to hunt after their families were killed by vampires in an attempt to ensure that the next generation of hunters doesn't have the problems of the current ones. It turns out that the monsters he was sending them after were actually scapegoats for murders that were committed by a single vampire had committed on his orders.
    • The Season 14 finale reveals that Lucifer and Amara were right all along — God/Chuck really is an utter sociopath who treats reality (especially the Winchesters' suffering) as his entertainment. When they realize this and refuse to keep following his script, he turns on them.
    • The first few episodes of Season 15 have the Winchesters being aided by a demon named Belphegor, who says he's just a Punch-Clock Villain who wants to help restore the stability of Hell after Chuck unleashed all its souls. In actuality, he's playing them in order to enact a plan where he can absorb all those spells and become a god.
    • In "Last Call", Lee Webb is the culprit for the murder of Angela Sullivan, having sacrificed her alongside countless others to the marid in exchange for health and wealth.
  • Timeless: Lucy's mother Carol turns out to be a high-ranking Rittenhouse member. Also, Emma, who seemingly fled into the past and spent a decade hiding from Rittenhouse, is eventually revealed to be a Rittenhouse sleeper agent.
    • Played with via Timey-Wimey Ball when Wyatt suddenly finds out that his dead wife Jessica is now alive. He doesn't want to believe anything fishy, but she soon turns on the team and reveals herself to be Rittenhouse as well. However, the original Jessica he had known before joining the Time Team probably had nothing to do with Rittenhouse; it was only because Rittenhouse was targeting Wyatt that they went back in time and corrupted this alternate version of her in her childhood.
  • Titans (2018): Rachel's biological mother Arella. Turns out she is in league with Trigon, her literally demonic lover.
  • True Blood tends to do this a lot, especially with their Big Bad of the season. As it turned out, Rene Lenier was just hiding behind his nice exterior while being a bloodthirsty sexist murderer, and in a more extreme example, Maryann Forrester who turned out to be a freaking homicidal Maenad. Season three followed suit with the Faux Affably Evil King Russel Edgington who quickly turns into a genocidal maniac, and season four arguably averts it by giving its Big Bad Marnie a bit of a Face–Heel Turn. Or rather, it shows her Start of Darkness.
    • Played somewhat straight with Rev. Newlin (Jr.); although it was clear from the beginning on he was more than just another bigot, few viewers were expecting him to turn into a full-fledged villain who imprisons the protagonists and wants to burn another character to death. Given, no-one was expecting him to become a vampire!
  • Van Helsing (2016): Midway through the first season, it becomes apparent there's a Serial Killer hiding among the protagonist group of survivors. It's ultimately revealed to be Sam, the deaf man who previously appeared to be a harmless Gentle Giant.
  • Veronica Mars: It's revealed in the season two finale that Cassidy was the one who raped Veronica before the series began, and killed a bus full of his classmates in the season premiere. During the final confrontation he also blows up a plane with three people on board, does something abusive to Mac, and seems to enjoy tasing Veronica before trying to kill her.
  • Warrior Nun: In the Season 1 finale, it's revealed that the angel Adriel, whom the Order believed to be the Big Good who sacrificed himself to begin the line of Warrior Nuns, was actually a Manipulative Bastard who began said line as tools of his own plans of conquest, and was sealed away for it. Also, the current team's mentor, Father Vincent, is a minion of Adriel's who has been stringing them along in order to engineer his master's release.
  • Thomas Cromwell of Wolf Hall. During the first season, Cromwell is presented to the audience in a more heroic light than other works about him. He is shown as loyal, hardworking, caring, a good listener, and respectful even to his enemies. However, during the final episode, his corrupt nature that he's historically known for reveals itself, after he schemes to have Anna Boleyn beheaded. Lampshaded by King Henry VIII who calls him a viper.

    Radio 
  • Several times in Dickensian parody Bleak Expectations, the person helping Pip Bin with his latest scheme, such as the engineer who Pip employed to build a sewage system under London, is blatantly his evil nemesis Mr Gently Benevolent (in that case planning to dig out the capital, float it across the Channel with hot air balloons and sell it to the French). Or is one of his Obviously Evil henchmen who are all members of the same family and have instantly recognisable names.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Felix is revealed to be this after spending Season 11 and the first half of Season 12 pretending to be a good guy. When he betrays the others, he goes on an angry rant declaring that pretending to be a good guy and the heroes' friend was sickening, and now they will suffer and die for forcing him to go through that.
    • The Chairman, who had previously been something of a Reasonable Authority Figure and a good counterpart to the Director but with a ruthless streak and hints of some ulterior motive, is officially outed as this at the end of Season 12. As it turns out, he's Control, the one who wants to take over Chorus for its rich supply of lost alien technology, and hired Felix and Locus to manipulate the Civil War of Chorus until everyone is dead, so that he can reap the benefits of the planet once it's clear.
  • This video by DarkMatter2525 seems to take this stance about Yahweh.
  • Tonin: Pai-Meio was just pretending to be good and helpful until Tonin defeated Vilano-san. He reveals his true colors once Vilano-san is seemingly killed and starts taking over the village the defeated villain used to rule.
  • In this Go Animate video, Caillou befriends a "meme police" officer after being caught using discredited memes by her and they seem ready to set off to find fresher memes when they discover that all of their memes are outdated. Near the end of the video, however, out of nowhere the woman reveals herself to be a spy for Boris and Doris and gets Caillou (and Rosie, who broke her legs with a mallet) grounded.
  • RWBY: The nameless narrator of the first episode seems to be cynical and depressed, with a bitterly pessimistic view of the world's chances against the Creatures of Grimm. Then, in the volume 3 finale she is revealed to be the Big Bad Salem. All her talk about how humanity had no chance was a threat.
    Salem: It's true that a simple spark can ignite hope, breathe fire into the hearts of the weary. The ability to derive strength from hope is undoubtedly mankind's greatest attribute. Which is why I will focus all of my power... to snuff it out.
  • TOME: The Netking named Rubirules seems friendly, (if not slightly egotistical,) but was actually the one leading the hackers, and was generally responsible for the events of the series.
  • Think Like A Coder: Hedge turns out to be this.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, several seemingly heroic characters such as Cain, Desdemona, Mordecai and Vaetris end up having been evil all along during the Godslayer era.
  • In Noob, both the webseries and novel have the Noob guild manage to hire a replacement for Arthéon after he has to start attending Boarding School. Too good to be true for a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that is dragging around the reputation of being the worst guild in a fictional MMORPG? Yes.
  • In Nan Quest, Henry, one of the first secondary characters that Nan meets and one of her two potential Love Interests, is actually a a vicious, Ax-Crazy killer called "The Pilgrim", who plans on sacrificing Nan in a desperate attempt to escape the hotel.
  • Clawing at Glass introduces the sweet, perky wing-sage Zada as Jondi's aide and a major source of emotional support in his life, constantly encouraging Jondi to cling onto the best parts of himself and even getting him to go on a field operation that ends with almost everyone there slaughtered by monsters. As it turns out, Zada orchestrated that event in league with the Big Bad Duumvirate the whole time, as part of her twisted fascination with the goodness inside Jondi—that she can't and never has been able to feel or understand.
  • In the final chapter of Smirvlak's Stone, not only is it revealed that Nickolas Corveel's protective brother, Gnekvizz, is secretly part of a cult and wants to destroy all life on earth, but he also murdered their parents.
  • The sixth chapter of Help Not Wanted reveals that kind ogre Ogrell Syn'Gorrsh is in fact a cannibalistic Serial Killer who was Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Howto Hero discusses the possibility that a reformed villain might secretly be this.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "The Enchiridion!", Finn saves a group of creatures who are trapped in a pool of lava, not realizing that they're actually Ax-Crazy monsters who love killing old ladies.
  • Alpha Teens on Machines has an interesting example of this trope. In the first season, industrialist Mr. Lee seems to be the team's mentor. In the second season, The Reveal is that he's been a Corrupt Corporate Executive and a Mad Scientist all along. He uses DNA samples from the Alpha Teens to create the Mu-Team, an evil, superpowered group of Psycho Rangers.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: "The Vision" reveals that Alan, who has been depicted as a total Nice Guy, is secretly plotting to Take Over the World and create a dystopia where anyone who is unhappy for any reason will be sent to "happy camps" where they will be forcibly brainwashed into not feeling negative emotions.
  • Many episodes of Archer use this as a last minute reveal. In "Honey Pot," there wasn't even a strategic advantage to the villains pretending to be good guys; they just genuinely liked Woodhouse and wanted to have some fun with him.
    Charles: Oh, we're a hit squad. Forgot to tell you.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: When Buzz finds out his dead partner Warp Darkmatter working for Emperor Zurg, he goes through just about every sci-fi cliché (Brainwashed and Crazy, Evil Clone, Robot Double, etc.) to justify why his friend is working for the enemy. Warp insists he's been working for Zurg as long as he's known Buzz. By the end of the series, though, Warp seems to be a Friendly Enemy, at one point pretending not to get Zurg's messages and letting Buzz go.
  • Castlevania (2017): The Judge appears to be a Reasonable Authority Figure. Until it turns out he murders anyone who violates his rules.
  • In Disenchantment, Bean's Missing Mom Dagmar turns out to not only be alive (kind of), but is apparently working with Cloyd and the Enchantress, and uses her family's trust in her to secure them the victory in the first season finale.
  • Several of the characters encountered by the kids in Dungeons & Dragons turned out to be this, usually because they were Venger in disguise. (The very first episode had him posing as Merlin.)
  • Throughout the duration of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy periodically brings up his unseen older brother, usually building him up to be the coolest, toughest guy in Peach Creek. In Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, we finally get to see him face-to-face... and it turns out that he's a sadistic Big Brother Bully who constantly abused Eddy before he went away, and Eddy lied about it in an attempt to gain admiration and social acceptance.
  • Futurama plays this for laughs with Bender. Particularly in "The Lesser of Two Evils", in which Bender's Evil Twin Flexo has apparently stolen their valuable cargo - but was actually trying to inform them that Bender had stolen it.
  • Gravity Falls: The Northwest Family have been this for over a century, and Pacifica learns it the HARD WAY. She may have been a jerk, but even she wasn't in on her father's villainous legacy.
  • Green Eggs and Ham: "Evil" may be a stretch, but it turns out that Sam isn't as innocent as he lets on and broke Mr. Jenkins out of the zoo not to return him to his habitat, but to sell him to an evil animal collector.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: In "Into the Mouth of Evil", Jackie's colleague Jumba, his associate Portia, and dentist Dr. Weber wish to use the Sutras to dry up the Ganges river to collect the valuable artifacts at the bottom and get rich.
  • In his first appearance on Kim Possible, Kim doesn't realize that Monkey Fist is a villain.
  • The Legend of Korra: In season two, Varrick's true nature is revealed to be that of a Corrupt Corporate Executive, staging thefts of shipments in order to drive Future Industries into bankruptcy so he can buy a controlling interest and taking advantage of the Water Tribe Civil War to expand his business.
    • It's also later revealed that Korra's uncle was a member of the anti-authoritarian Red Lotus group who wanted to kidnap her as a child to brainwash her into their anarchist ways (kind of odd for a guy went out of his way to frame Korra's father out of his right to rule the Northern Water Tribe), but even they didn't plan on him fusing with the spirit of Chaos.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: "The Collector" reveals first that Gabriel Agreste is, as many fans predicted, actually Hawk Moth, and that his assistant Nathalie is aware of this and is helping him.
  • Cozy Glow in Season 8 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic turns out to be the true Big Bad of the season.
  • Ninjago: the meek and eccentric Dr. Saunders who debuted in the special episode "Day of the Departed" is actually a villain named Krux who is the main antagonist of Season 7 and has been waiting for his brother's return to enact a revenge plan on Ninjago.
    • And then there's Princess Harumi, who at first appeared to be a Love Interest for Lloyd and a major new supporting character. She is, in fact, The Quiet One, and the Big Bad for the season she appears in (as well as a Manipulative Bitch).
  • Over the Garden Wall: Beatrice spends about half of the miniseries leading Wirt and Greg to "Adelaide of the Pasture, Good Woman of the Woods", implied to be a sort of Fairy Godmother who can send them home. The twist is that Adelaide is a Wicked Witch in service of the Beast, with Beatrice (who, to be fair, wasn't fully aware of Adelaide's true nature) working for her to break the curse on her family.
  • In the second season finale of Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure, Cassandra steals the Moonstone for herself and undergoes a transformation.
  • Samurai Jack has this pulled with a mysterious female swordsman who teams up with Jack in an early episode. Turns out she's Aku in disguise the whole time. The twist actually marks a rare The Bad Guy Wins ending for the episode.
  • It's a common practice for just about every Scooby-Doo show to have at least one episode where the costumed crook's true identity was a person who had earlier pretended to be an ally toward the Mystery, Inc. gang.
  • Sheep in the Big City spoofed this in the season one finale "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream", where the episode's twist ending reveals that Sheep was the real villain all along and that he intended to use the show's narrator Ben Plotz in a narrator-powered ray gun. This is completely disregarded in the second season.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Brick Like Me", Homer retreats into a Lego-themed Happy Place to escape his fear of Lisa leaving him behind. The Lego! Comic Book Guy seems like a Helpful Hallucination... until Homer decides it's time to face reality.
      CBG: All you need to do is open the box back to your so-called reality. But I. Can't. Let. That. Happen. (rotates his Lego head to a menacing expression)
      Homer: Huh? You're the bad guy? I thought you were the rule-explainer-guy!
    • In the much earlier episode "Krusty Gets Busted", Sideshow Bob is a straight example of this trope when it turns out that he framed Krusty out of a malicious attempt at getting back at him for the times he mistreated him.
    • In "The Boys of Bummer", Bart meets up with retired baseball player Joe LaBoot, who appears to be sympathetic towards Bart's problem since he himself had failed at baseball in his youth as well. Unfortunately, as soon as he learns who Bart is, LaBoot reveals his true colors by maliciously driving him to tears.
      LaBoot: Bart? Are you Bart Simpson? The kid who dropped that easy fly ball? You stink like a Dutchman's throw-up! Talking to you is the biggest error of my life!
      (Crowd boos at Bart)
      LaBoot: Boo. Boo, indeed.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "New Leaf", it appeared that Mr. Krabs and Plankton had finally reconciled and were friends again. Krabs trusts him so much now that he gives him the Krabby Patty formula... but then it turns out that Plankton was faking it all along, saying that he finally won. Yet Krabs revealed that he had outfoxed him first.
  • The Magic High Commission from Star vs. the Forces of Evil initially seem to be the flawed but heroic Big Goods... until it’s slowly revealed that they’re actually selfish, controlling, and short-sighted bigots who are responsible for (or exacerbated) many of the terrible things that happen over the course of the series, including Meteora’s descent into villainy and the Mewman kingdom’s discrimination against monsters. By the final season, they gleefully support the Big Bad in a coup against Eclipsa and even create new Solarian Warriors for her, not realizing that she’s not going to stop at just overthrowing Eclipsa and could potentially destroy the world.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In the Umbara arc, General Pong Krell seems to be a heroic, if jerkish Jedi at first. It turns out that he is secretly planning on becoming Dooku's new apprentice and is willing to sacrifice clones to sabotage the Republic war effort.
  • Steven Universe: In "Room for Ruby", Navy, the Ruby Squad member that seemed the nicest and least malicious of the five, turns out to be a lying, manipulative sadist with a sugary personality. She fakes defecting to Earth and gets in the good graces with Steven and Peridot (while Lapis remains suspicious), all so she can steal back her ship, rescue her squadmates, rat the Crystal Gems' continued existence out to the Diamonds, and rub it in Steven's face. Steven did lie to her, trick her and space her, but while Steven did it out of necessity, Navy took a perverse pleasure in her actions.
  • In Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters: Powerful businessman and the Flex Fighters' mentor and benefactor, Jonathan Rook, turns out to be the villainous Stretch Monster, and has been manipulating them and some of the show's other villains for his own ends. Near the end of season two, Malcolm Kane, Rook's seemingly unwitting right-hand man, is revealed to be Number One, the leader of the Tech Men, who has been undermining Rook by pretending to be loyal to him, all while hatching his own evil plan.
  • Teen Titans: Starfire's sister Blackfire seems to be a Cool Big Sis in her debut episode, but turns out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who doesn't care about her younger sister.
  • Pumyra in ThunderCats (2011) was revealed to be The Mole who was working for Mumm-Ra the whole time. Unfortunately, the episode in which this revelation occurred was the last one produced.
  • In Totally Spies!, Terrance and Dean first seem like Dean was evil all along. Then Dean turned out to be good all along. The same goes for the episode in which Tim Scam was introduced. It also applies for a lot of "villains of the day".
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Deadpool turns out to be this. (Or very least, Amoral All Along.) First introduced as a freelance hero who used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D.; he's later revealed to be an amoral mercenary who will work for the highest bidder.
  • Throughout The Venture Bros. Dr. Jonas Venture Sr. was slowly revealed to be an Abusive Dad and habitual womanizer whose negligence and lack of morality led to things like a group of orphans being trapped under his compound for 30 years, but Season 7's "Morphic Trilogy" cemented his status as a villain when it was revealed that he blackmailed his friend the Blue Morpho into doing his dirty work (after possibly sleeping with his wife) and rebuilt him as a cyborg after his death, only to try to betray him again and steal his body after Jonas became a Brain in a Jar.
  • In season 2 of Wakfu, Qilby appears to be a friendly mentor to Yugo. He's actually an insane Omnicidal Maniac scheming to claim the Eliacube so he can go back to draining entire worlds of their wakfu.
  • In season 2 of Winx Club, the new teacher Avalon appears to be an evil impostor in the end.
  • Young Justice opened its revival with a version of Batman and the Outsiders character Helga Jace seeming to be the Token Good Teammate of Baron Bedlam's operations and a Reluctant Mad Scientist, then willing to help the heroes to atone for her role in things. Come "Antisocial Pathologies", and it turns out that much like her comics and Black Lightning counterparts, she's insane, evil, and very much a willing Mad Scientist.

 
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Alternative Title(s): The Bad Guy All Along, Villain All Along, Twist Villain

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Agnes/Agatha Harkness

Agnes is revealed to be Agatha Harkness, a witch who has been manipulating Wanda (and by extension everyone in Westview) the whole time.

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