Follow TV Tropes


Evil All Along

Go To

"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.


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 Mole, Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, The Dog Was the Mastermind, Treacherous Advisor, Broken Pedestal, Love-Interest Traitor, and Bait the Dog. Contrast Good All Along, Big Bad Slippage and Subverted Suspicion Aesop.

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.



    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.
  • 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: Freeza's apparent Good Counterpart Frost turns out to be the very same as Freeza, just less prideful and is a Villain with Good Publicity.
  • Elemental Gelade: Rasati and Lillia's guardian. He broadcasts it from a mile away, but Rasati doesn't seem to notice.
  • Hellsing: Walter, Hellsing's butler and soldier, is revealed to be working for the Millennium Nazis (only in the manga).
  • 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.
  • 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 his 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.
  • 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.)

     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.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: Geoffrey St. John is revealed to have been in league with Ixis Naugus since the days of the Great War.
  • 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.
  • Both more recently and infamously than the aforementioned Terra example is Captain America. During the Captain America: Steve Rogers storyline, he utters the words "Hail Hydra" - Yes, you read that correctly. This caused a large fan backlash, mainly because unlike with Terra, this was the original one. It unsurprisingly didn't stick.

     Fan Works 
  • Vaticus Finch in The Tainted Grimoire was not revealed as evil to Clan Gully until later.
  • Bachiko and Meiko in Perfection is Overrated, being the SUEs responsible for infiltrating Fuuka Academy, playing "matchmaker" for various characters, and posing as Mai's friends to monitor their progress.
  • Friendship Is Aura: Cerberus turns out to be much more intelligent than he let on, and has been scouting out Equestria for Lord Tartarus for ages.
  • In the Pony POV Series Dark World, this is the case with the Nameless Passenger, who turns out to be the true Big Bad, Nightmare Eclipse/Paradox.
  • Kindly Professor Oak in the Pokémon fanfic The Power That's Inside.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Stand:
    • Braig, big time. Numerous side materials released by both Kristen Verne and YamiChaos27 take lengths to show that he was never a particularly nice person, sucked at not being a Jerkass to people, and was a Glory Hound who only joined the guard at Radiant Garden for the thrill of the fight and openly urged Ansem to become a warmongering conqueror just so he could have something to do. All in all, it's made clear that there was already something rotten inside Braig long before Xehanort ever came to Radiant Garden and recruited him, and even if Xehanort hadn't triggered his descent into villainy, he would have made the jump on his own sooner or later.
    • Kingdom Hearts 4: New Light: Pith's Love Interest, Briana. When she finally appears in person late in the fic, revealed to be the princess of Hazy Hamlet, she appears to be a Nice Girl through and through, to the extent that Patria, who freely admits to having trust issues, vouches for her kind and sweet nature. Then, when she's alone with Pith, she shoots him with a crossbow and is revealed to not only be the daughter of Braig, but the leader of the Sovereign Enforcers, who has been spying on Sora's family for years to avenge what they did to her father. To twist the knife even further, Briana tells Pith to his face that she was disgusted having to pretend to be in love with him and has been wanting to kill him from the minute they met.
  • In "Charade" Harry is revealed to have been Evil All Along, having played both the Light, Dark and the Ministry for fools. with Voldemort having been killed a long time ago, and his corpse used as a puppet to make people think he was still alive.
  • In Loved And Lost, an extended retelling of "A Canterlot Wedding", Prince Jewelius is initially portrayed as a humble Nice Guy who's the only one willing to listen to Twilight's concerns regarding "Princess Cadance". However, after he has helped Twilight in stopping Queen Chrysalis and her Changeling army, he takes over Equestria's throne by destroying the reputations of the princesses as well as Twilight's brother and friends, driving them away from Canterlot as hated pariahs as well as manipulating Twilight into losing all trust toward them. He later lures them back to Canterlot and privately tells them that he has secretly hated his more adored aunt Celestia and cousin Cadance for years and allied with the Changelings to take them down, providing Chrysalis information about the caves beneath Canterlot before deciding to use Twilight instead to take the throne for himself.
  • The MLP fic Circus Days has Spike ditching The Mane Six, after realizing just how little the girls appreciate him, to join a troupe of kindly circus ponies... only to realize those kindly circus ponies are actually poachers looking to make our little dragon their latest victim. Luckily, the girls came back to show him they do care.
  • The Awful Truth About The Powerpuff Girls reveals that Professor Utonium and Ms Keane. are not only evil but they're secretly siblings. The Professor created the girls for revenge, not good. This is later subverted as it turns out the entire story is a film the characters are doing.

     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.
      • 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 gives false testimony against Toad.
      • 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.
      • In Tarzan, it turns out Clayton was planning all along to 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.
      • Prince Hans from Frozen, he only pretended to love Anna so he can take over the kingdom.
      • 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.
    • 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 to end the energy crisis.
      • Lotso from Toy Story 3 has a warm-looking 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 song writing talent.
    • 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 spell book 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 do so.
  • 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.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. Not too surprising if you catch a certain Chekhov's Gun, but it's a blink-and-you-miss-it shot and easily overlooked.
  • 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.
  • Similar to how SHIELD was penetrated by HYDRA, in the James Bond film Spectre, 007 and M, the head of MI-6 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.
  • Edwin from Predators seems for most of the movie to be fairly normal compared to the rest of the cast of killers, 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.

  • A Brother's Price has Kij Porter, who Ren considered a close friend.
  • 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 as a rat for 12 years, leaving his friend Sirius Black to receive the blame.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 proven to be in 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • 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 Secret Circle does this with John Blackwell, though this was fairly obvious to some people.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Veronica Mars: Cassidy starts by raping Veronica and then lying about it (which isn't revealed until later on), but he becomes truly evil in Season Two. He kills a bus full of his classmates, a witness could turn him in, and 3 people on a plane. This wasn't revealed until the finale but yes he was evil.
  • Supernatural:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Lost it turns out that : Henry Gale was really the backstabbing, manipulative leader of the Others...
  • 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.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Garrett is revealed to be The Clairvoyant, and Agent Ward is The Dragon to 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.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ramsey Snow/Bolton is a particularly horrific example of this trope. Heis 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Firefly: "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"
  • 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. Likewise, when Wyatt suddenly finds out that his dead wife Jessica is now alive, he doesn't want to believe anything fishy. Until she turns on the team and reveals herself to be Rittenhouse as well.
  • 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.
  • 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 neighbourhood, is actually a demon (although they don't like the term), and the neighbourhood is actually an Ironic Hell intended to force Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason to torment each other forever.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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).

     Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney as a series does this several times, particularly in its more recent games.
    • The first major example would be Matt Engarde, your client for the last case of Justice For All. The nature of the game conditioning you into expecting him to not be a villain really helps.
    • In Dual Destinies, you discover that the "Phantom", an international spy, ruthless assassin and bomber, is none other than Detective Bobby Fulbright, the cheerful detective who's been ever-present in the game since the second case. (Technically, the real "Bobby Fulbright" has been dead since before the game's timeline started, but The Phantom is the only one you've met in the game). One thing that makes Ace Attorney's presentation of The Reveal very unique is that it has you pick the person's name from a list late in the game after providing some final hints.
    • The Japanese-only Ace Attorney Investigations 2 reveals the lovable and frightened circus performer Sōta Sarushiro (known in the fan translation as Simon Keyes), whom you actually DEFEND from an overeager prosecutor in the second case, has been tricking all the other murderers in the game into killing off his old enemies in a complex revenge plot, and is even responsible for both an attempted, and later successful, presidential assassination.
  • Another Code: Ashley's father's old coworker was evil all along, having killed Ashley's mother and stuff.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In II, "Lost Archives" DLC reveals that Lucy had switched to the Templar's side before the first game's beginning. She even allowed Subject 16 to die from the bleeding effect when he discovered her betrayal. Everything she did throughout the games was a ploy she and Vidic devised to use Desmond to obtain the Apple of Eden. It would have worked too, if Juno hadn't programmed the Apple to force Desmond to kill Lucy. She's a particularly unusual example in that she gets killed before getting a chance to reveal her evil side.
    • At the end of III, Juno herself reveals her true nature. Even worse, Desmond has no choice but to do what she wants since the alternative would be letting civilization be destroyed again and having the whole Assassin vs. Templar war repeat itself.
  • Asura's Wrath: The true cause of most of the game's events is revealed to be the Golden Spider, AKA Chakravartin.
  • Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean does a very unusual form of this. You know Kalas, the main character? He's actually been working for The Man Behind the Man this whole time.
    • Origins does a more standard version: Quaestor Verus is far worse than Lord Baelheit could ever be...
  • Batman: Arkham Knight features a subplot in which Batman and Robin are trying to find a cure to an infection caused by the Joker's Titan-tainted blood, which mutates those infected into clones of the Joker, which Joker himself sent to hospitals before his death in Arkham City. One such infectee, Henry Adams, is apparently immune, and Batman believes him to be the key to a cure... but as it turns out, Henry had not only been faking his immunity, but had hacked the Batcomputer right under Batman's nose and alerted Harley Quinn to the existence of the other infected. The end result: there is no cure for the infection, and all of the infected end up killed by Henry. Including Henry, once he sees that Batman is also infected, as he believes Batman will make a much better replacement for Mr. J than himself.
  • BioShock: This is part of the main plot twist that occurs about 2/3rds of the way through the game. Turns out Atlas, your main ally and Mission Control, was criminal mastermind Frank Fontaine all along.
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger: In her story mode, Noel is accompanied by a mild-mannered pacifist intelligence officer named "Hazama." If you've seen trailers for ''Continuum Shift'', you'll recognize him as Terumi, the one behind the events of ''Calamity Trigger''. What did he want from Noel? To Mind Rape her to take Nu-13's place as a living weapon of mass destruction.
  • Bomberman 64: Sirius presents himself as Bomberman's ally and aids him in reaching Altair's fortress and battling its guardians only so that he could steal back his Omni Cube from Altair and use its power to conquer the universe. When his plan succeeds, he thanks Bomberman by putting "Destroy Planet Bomber" first on his list of things to do.
  • Bookworm Adventures: Professor Codex reveals that he was the cloaked individual that kidnapped Cassandra and that he sent you on the long quest because every enemy you defeat is placed under his control. Then you fight him.
  • Child of Light: Norah turns out to be one of the Big Bad's lackeys. This is really annoying because she's one of your best tactical options experts, and you don't get her back until after the final boss is defeated.
  • Dead Island: Colonel Ryder White, the Mission Control that leads you through most of the game, turns out to be secretly evil (although this actually doesn't come as much of a surprise to most of the characters, due to their strong anti-authority attitude). He betrays your group near the end, steals the experimental cure for the zombie virus, and ends up being the final boss of the game. This is complicated even further in the single-player DLC where you actually play as Ryder White, and it's revealed he was never the Mission Control at all, and it was really Kevin (another supposed ally) who was impersonating Ryder the whole time over the radio, and who manipulated Ryder and the original 4 heroes into fighting each other.
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions: Genra is revealed to be a manipulative and power-hungry man, willing to do anything to get revenge for playing second-fiddle to the main branch of the clan, and that his loyalty and honor are just a facade to hide it. On top of it all, DOATEC didn't kidnap him and turn him into Omega; he went right to them and let them do so.
  • Dead Rising 2: Off the Record: In the alternate timeline, it's revealed that Stacey was the Big Bad all along. As soon as the reveal occurs her personality jumps straight from Girl Next Door to a cruel and sadistic Baroness.
  • Dead Space: A regular part of the series : Kendra in Dead Space, Diana and Marker-Nicole in Dead Space 2, Tyler in Dead Space Mobile, and Colonel Bartlett in Dead Space 2: Severed are all revealed to be secretly evil bastards after spending a large amount of time as your primary ally/Mission Control.
  • Diablo: The Witch of Tristram, Adria, was one of your biggest allies in the original game, and come the third game, after her rescue from Belial's Dark Coven, she sends you on a quest to obtain the Black Soulstone and outlines a plan to capture the last two Great Evils, Belial and Azmodan, in it so that she can shatter it and end them, and the rest of the Great Evils, forever. Only it turns out that not only does Adria have a far darker agenda, she was on the side of evil from the very start — after killing her own father and co-leading the Dark Coven with Maghda, she was drawn to Tristram by the dark power of the Lord of Terror, and not only pledged herself to his service, but had a kid with him by way of the possessed Aidan. She would use this kid, a bright young girl by the name of Leah, to bring about the rebirth of her master as the embodiment of all seven Evils in one being, the Prime Evil, in the cruelest betrayal of the entire series.
  • Your first quest in Act 4 of Diablo II is to deliver a Mercy Kill to Izual, a Fallen Angel who Tyrael tells you was a victim of Being Tortured Makes You Evil. When you kill him, he reveals that the Evil Plan you've been spending the whole game undoing was his idea in the first place, suggesting his betrayal runs deeper than Tyrael ever realized.
  • Die Reise ins All: One of many characters from literature appearing here is Sherlock Holmes]While he appears as nice as usual at first, it's later revealed that he was Moriarty in disguise] Counts also as Adaptational Villainy.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: The ending reveals that ally Solas was the one responsible for the rift breach in the first place, by giving the Big Bad the means to start his uprising. Solas only helped the Inquisition so that he can gain possession of the Orb and continue his plans unnoticed.
  • Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter: In the Nintendo DS version, you get a new Raposa to join the gang, named Sock. You find him in a town where he doesn't live, and he goes with you to find his real home. Well, you're supposed to believe that. Near the end of the game Sock asks for a valuable item, gets it from Jowee, and throws it away. He then appears to be Wilfre all along. It also goes for Mari a bit, although she just thought she would help everyone by it (she worked with Wilfre).
  • Eternal Darkness: At the start of Lindsey's chapter, a friendly patron by the name of Paul Augustine leads him to the Cambodian temple where Mantorok is entombed. Then it turns out that Augustine was actually Pious using an illusion spell.
  • The Far Cry franchise has a character like this in nearly every game, usually someone who started as the player character's friend or ally.
    • The first game has Harland Doyle, the very guy you're trying to rescue from the Big Bad. He still wants the rescue, but only because he's stolen the main villain's research and plans to sell it for his own benefit. Changed up in the console version, where the character is completely rewritten.
    • Instincts has Kade, who was working with the rebels the whole time.
    • Far Cry 2 has both of the warlords engaged in the civil war, especially after you learn the nominal Big Bad isn't actually that bad.
    • Citra, Dennis and probably all the Rakyat by association in Far Cry 3. Despite serving as Jason's ally against the pirates throughout the game, they don't plan to let him leave the island.
    • Sabal and Amita in Far Cry 4 become, or maybe just reveal themselves to be, increasingly ruthless the further you go, until you start to wonder if Pagan Min isn't that bad after all.
  • Final Fantasy Adventure: The mysterious wizard who occasionally helps you out is eventually revealed as Julius, who's been using you the entire time to get his hands on the girl and her Mana Pendant. Retconned out in the Sword of Mana remake.
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
    • Everyone knows Prince Lyon is being devoured by the demon king, but that doesn't stop the main characters from believing he's still good. He's an interesting case where he actually invokes this trope to get Ephraim motivated to kill him so that he could die before the Demon King brings about the end of the world. He claims that all of their time they spent together as children he was pumping the siblings for information for the invasion of their kingdom just to make Ephraim angry enough to actually kill him, though it does not work as Ephraim and Eirika still believe in Lyon's inherent goodness. Even as they slay him.
    • Orson appears to be evil all along too, but unlike Lyon, the players can actually play him as a character. Later he appears as a boss and it turns out he used to be sincerely good, but after his beloved wife's death he became a huge case of Love Makes You Evil.
  • Jak II: Renegade: Near the end of the game, Kor is revealed to be none other than the Metal Head leader, the Greater-Scope Villain who had been attempting to destroy Haven City.
  • Kingdom Hearts I: Ansem, the researcher who was studying The Heartless whose reports the player has been running all across the worlds to find. Turns out, he's the Big Bad and The Man Behind the Man. And both directly and indirectly responsible for everything that's been going wrong in the worlds for the past ten years or so! In a subversion, it turns out that the guy we were calling "Ansem" was actually the Heartless of the guy who stole Ansem's name. The real Ansem is more of an Anti-Hero.
  • Kirby:
    • Marx from Kirby Super Star & Ultra. At first he seems to be an innocent jester creature who just wants the Sun and Moon to stop fighting, and tells Kirby to find Nova. He then later reveals that he really wanted Nova awakened so he could wish for world domination.
    • Magolor from Kirby's Return to Dream Land is another example. He asked Kirby and his friends for help repairing his ship and then defeating an evil dragon called Landia, but it ultimately turns out that Landia wasn't evil at all, and Magolor lied to the heroes so he could get his hands on the Master Crown that Landia was guarding and use its power for... yep, world domination. Thankfully, he reformed as of Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition, unlike Marx.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: It turns out that YOU, THE PLAYER are Darth Revan, former Big Bad of the setting, but didn't know it thanks to Laser-Guided Amnesia from the Jedi Council, leading to an Inverse of Criminal Amnesiac if you decide to return to The Dark Side.
    • Of course, you can fully defy this by playing as a Light side Jedi.
  • Legacy of Kain: Moebius the Time-Streamer was the devious manipulator he is waaaay before being driven insane by the corruption of the Pillars.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time: In the part where Princess Peach gets a purple mushroom on her face — it's not Peach. It was Princess Shroob the whole time, trying to take over the future castle.
    • And her big sister does even better - most people won't trust a random NPC who shows up out of nowhere with no foreshadowing whatsoever - but put on a familiar costume (Star Spirit) and they'll trust you just fine.
  • Mass Effect 3: Maya Brooks, the goofy, jovial, friendly Alliance Staff Analyst from the Citadel DLC, as it turns out, was an ex-Cerberus officer who left the group out of disgust because the Illusive Man had started looking to non-humans for help. She also was the one who orchestrated the mercenary ambush in the Wards to intercept Shepard's Spectre code and the one who killed Khan. She was working with Shepard's clone in an attempt to steal Shepard's identity, and, after leading Shepard and their party into a trap, leaves them to suffocate to death in an iridium vault. At the end of the DLC, she shows that she doesn't even have any loyalty to Shepard's clone, as she leaves them to their death as well. She at first appears to be one of the nicest characters in the series, but ends up being one of its most heinous.
  • Massmouth 2: The QBot. When first encountered, he offers to be your guide on the strange planet you've crashed on. As it turns out, the oddly numerous accidents and threats that befall you on the way are not coincidental, as he was working for the Big Bad the entire time and deliberately led you into danger.
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect: Abigail is introduced as a possible friendly spirit that gives Ronan some tips on how to function in the spirit world. She is actually the Big Bad that is responsible for his death, and the deaths of all the teen girls in the game and throughout Salem's history. She possessed different police officers, including Ronan to carry out the murders in the game. Afterwards she killed them off. In the past, during the Salem witch trials, Abigail was one of the main people accusing others of being witches until she was caught lying and executed. Why? Because she has a personal vendetta against witches, even suspected ones. The Stinger? She's a witch herself.
  • OFF: The Batter intended to destroy the world all along.
  • Paladin's Quest:
    • The student who goes with you to the forbidden tower on the academy grounds and goads you into accidentally freeing Dal Gren at the very beginning of the game is revealed at the end of it to be the Big Bad Evil Overlord Zaygos in disguise.
    • A much more shocking example is Gabnid, legendary hero and founder of the Wizarding School where the game started. Unlike the rest of the Power Trio of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, who wanted to help the population of Lennus, Gabnid's goal was always to rule over them as a god.
  • In Video Game/ Persona 3'', Shuji Ikutski is introduced as a Nice Guy with a questionable sense of humor who often serves as the Mission Control and is set up to be the Big Good of the game. He's actually a part of the Big-Bad Ensemble who manipulates the main cast to trigger the apocalypse so that he can "cleanse" humanity and Take Over the World. Though at least his sense of humor was genuine.
  • Persona 4:
    • Firstly, Detective Adachi, the true culprit who murdered the first two victims, framed a copycat killer and was indirectly responsible for the rest of the incidents by manipulating Namatame into kidnapping potential victims and throwing them into the Midnight Channel.
    • Secondly, the True Ending has the gas station attendant from the very start of the game, who is actually the deity Izanami and the mastermind behind the entire plot. Though she's less evil and more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist with Blueand Orange Morality.
  • Persona 5 has you mainly battling people who encompass Villain with Good Publicity, as they're all in positions of authority, and due to a combination of societal corruption and their own guile, maintain a positive public image. Some of such villains, such as Suguru Kamoshida, Masayoshi Shido, and most of the Mementos targets, are clearly shown to be despicable from the outset despite having their reputations protect them. However, there are some villains who do a better job of maintaining a friendly facade before being exposed, such as Ichiryusai Madarame and the traitor, Goro Akechi, who presented himself as a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist before being revealed to be a Serial Killer furthering a devious agenda. The real kicker, however, comes with the True Final Boss, Yaldabaoth, who imprisoned Igor and impersonated him throughout the entire game, pretending to be the Big Good and your guide while being the very embodiment of the authoritarianism you're fighting against.
  • Pokémon
    • In Pokémon Colosseum, the mayor of Phenac City is actually the head of Cipher. In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, the same goes for Mr. Verich, who is actually named Greevil.
    • In Pokémon Ranger an old man you help, named Gordor, is actually the head if the Go-Rock squad. In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, a teacher in the ranger school, Mr. Kincaid, actually works for an evil organisation Team Dim Sun. Also, the Altru corporation and their leader Blake Hall are evil, and you don't know that till the end of the game.
    • Dusknoir from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2. In the Explorers of sky remake, you learn that he's extremely skilled at pulling this off.
    • In the main series, there's Colress in Black and White 2 and Lysandre in X and Y.
    • Most of the Aether Foundation in Pokémon Sun and Moon end up being this, with their leader trying to summon fearsome alternate universe creatures to this world to destroy it, though the series later suggests that they were at least partially under the influence of UB-01, thus making the exact amount of 'evil all along' questionable.
  • Professor Layton: In the first two games, the antagonist Don Paolo disguises himself as other people. He's disguised as Inspector Chelmey in The Curious Village and as Flora in The Diabolical Box, though the real Flora does appear earlier in the game. Jean Descole does the same thing in the prequels.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
  • While the true nature of Dutch van der Linde's Sanity Slippage in Red Dead Redemption II is left open to interpretation, this is one of the conflicting opinions of the members of his gang In-Universe. Arthur and John believe that he was this but managed to keep in under control/hidden for a long time while Charles and Sadie think he truly changed. Notably by the time, the first game takes place twelve years later John believes the latter theory (though it's unclear if that's actually a Nostalgia Filter or just comes from them having built the narrative of his downfall backward).
  • Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure: Jean-Francois. Made worse by him being Marie's guardian in the first place, conspiring against her with Napoleon.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: The Soda Poppers want revenge in season 2 of the game series.
  • The Secret World: during Issue #7, players are introduced to a sexy Russian super-spy apparently acting as the Council of Venice's representative in the field; though she's a little dead-set on you doing all the work, she's still helpful enough to blow up the Orochi forces at the dam for you, and she seems a little bit much of a pastiche of Bond girls to really be threatening... right up until the Russian stabs you in the back with a syringe. Turns out she's not a Council agent at all, and was only tagging along so you could help her find Emma. And the real name of the agent? Lilith.
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji: The Big Bad is revealed to be Fubuki who first appeared as a helpful person, however halfway through the story he orders Tsumuji and Chijimi to stop their journey, as soon they encounter him once the shadow tower appears his true self is revealed.
  • Silent Hill 2: Maria. To add insult to injury, you spend a lot of her "good guy" time trying to keep her alive.
  • Splatterhouse: In the original series, the third game revealed that the Terror Mask had ultimately planned to conquer Hell, and was using Rick to destroy those demons that were in its way. The entire series amounted to its Batman Gambit.
  • Tales of Monkey Island: LeChuck From the moment that Guybrush Threepwood inadvertently turns him into a human who acts like a Harmless Villain and helps out on Guybrush and Elaine from Chapter 2 up to Chapter 4 (all the while wearing his charming belt buckle), then kills Guybrush in a clever ambush as soon as our hero cures everyone of the Pox of LeChuck; Elaine sees that "with or without all that voodoo, [LeChuck is] still nothing but an evil sack of scumm".
  • Tekken: In the original game, Kazuya appears to be The Hero, planning to defeat Heihachi in the tournament and take over the Mishima Zaibatsu. By the time 2 rolls around, he's revealed his true colors and, now in charge of the Zaibatsu, proves to be far more openly brutal and evil than Heihachi ever was.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: Princess of Lorule Hilda sends Link to rescue the seven sages of Hyrule who have been captured by their common enemy, the wizard Yuga. After Link saves all of them and gets the Triforce of Courage, Hilda reveals that she and Yuga have been working together to steal the Triforce in order to restore the fallen kingdom of Lorule to its former glory but doing so by dooming the kingdom of Hyrule. This is downplayed when Yuga betrays Hilda and reveals that he never intended to save Lorule, but rather remake the country in his own image, bringing further destruction. After Link defeats Yuga, Ravio comes just in time to make Hilda realize her actions.
  • The Scooby-Doo video game Scooby-Doo, Who's Watching Who? has a character named Mace Middlemost, who is the producer of the reality show ''Ghost Scene Investigation. At first, he seems harmless, but in the end he turns out to be the true identity of the Ghost Hunter Haunter, having menaced the Ghost Scene Investigation team while disguised as a ghost for the purpose of boosting ratings in an unethical manner.
  • Super Robot Wars Z: Rengoku-hen introduces several new allied characters note . Without exception, EVERY SINGLE ONE of them turns out to be a bad guy by the end of the game, though admittedly Kravia's case is "brainwashed heroine".
  • Xenoblade:
    • Shortly after Big Bad Egil is revealed to be something of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, albeit consumed by vengeance, Dickson—Shulk's surrogate father and Dunban's best friend—is revealed to be one of the Co-Dragons of Zanza. Better example with Zanza himself, the source of Shulk's visions, his power, his life even, who had been guiding the party from the start and helping them against Egil with countless Deus Ex Machinas, is really a Manipulative Bastard who did all of that just so that he could return to power and then harvest all life on Bionis to preserve his immortality.
    • Alvis is something of a subversion. He was also one of the Co-Dragons, but when it gets right down to it, he was never really capable of resisting, being no more than a computer programmed to follow the orders of his users.
  • Yoku's Island Express: Kickback, your helper who had been assisting you throughout the game, is in fact the evil God Slayer. It's possible after defeating him to find and forgive him, in which case he'll being helping you again.
  • Ys Seven: This game plays around with a lot of JRPG tropes. One of the major plot twists is that the Big Bad of the game is actually, of all people, Tia, the flower girl who you meet early on and who seemingly takes the role of potential main love interest. Unlike, say Luna or Lufia, Tia was secretly evil from the start instead of being forced into a Face–Heel Turn midway through the game.

     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 GoAnimate 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.

     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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • In the The Simpsons episode "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.
  • 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.
  • General Pong Krell in Star Wars: The Clone Wars 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.
  • In the Steven Universe episode 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 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.
  • In the second season finale of Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure, Cassandra steals the Moonstone for herself and undergoes a transformation.
  • 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".
  • Pumyra in ThunderCats (2011) was revealed to be The Mole who was working for Mumra the whole time. Unfortunately, the episode in which this revelation occurred was the last one produced .
  • 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 a amoral mercenary who will work for the highest bidder.
  • Throughout The Venture Bros. Dr. Jonas Venture Sr. was slowly revealed to be an abusive parent 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.

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Bad Guy All Along


Frozen - Hans' True Nature

Anna discovers Hans only liked her so he can kill Elsa and seize the throne.

Example of:

Main / EvilAllAlong
Main / EvilAllAlong