Follow TV Tropes


Fake Defector

Go To

Garak: I'm glad to see the plan is going as scheduled.
Jem'Hadar Soldier: What plan is that?
Garak: You mean no one told you? You see, I pretend to be their friend... and then I shoot you. [shoots him]

Every so often, a character will pretend to go to switch sides in order to reach the enemy. This is not the same as The Infiltration; in this case, the character keeps his true identity but convinces the enemy that his loyalties have switched. Frequently many of the good guys end up believing it too.

The character will often have to persuade the enemies of his authenticity by attacking one of his 'old' comrades or doing something else evil. Another frequent tactic is for the hero not to contact the enemies, but instead, just arrange for his life to fall apart — get fired from his job, start to drink, and so on — and wait for his enemies to contact him.

The audience is usually told in advance that the character is doing this, but occasionally they are not. Often it is subject to a sort of Unspoken Plan Guarantee: if the audience knows, the enemies are more likely to know as well.

As a betrayal trope, many examples will contain spoilers. Beware.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Chiyuri from Accel World ended up in this for joining Dusk Taker, but it turns out she didn't. She only sticks on his side to become strong enough and see that her ability known as 'Citron Call' can reverse time to give back Haru's wings that Nomi has stolen from him.
  • In Beelzebub Himekawa pretends to desert his True Companions in favor of a stronger guy. Turns out the machine everyone thought was helping his new crew out was actually storing up Baby Beel's energy until it was enough to handle Takamiya and Lucifer. Himekawa proceeds to destroy the million-dollar machine to release the energy the second he has the confirmation that it is enough and dismisses the loss as "pocket change" before revealing he held Beel's third crest all along, all but stating that his loyalty has always been to Oga.
  • Bleach:
  • Hinata from Bloody Cross. At first, it looks like he's a traitor who tried to kill Tsukimiya and sided with Arcana, but it turns out he's a fake defector who's still working for Tsuduki.
  • Rowan Dietrich from Blue Comet SPT Layzner becomes this during the last arc.
  • Digimon Data Squad: Thomas H. Norstein pretends to go over to Kurata's side after Kurata promises to cure Thomas's sickly sister Relena and offer him the intellectual stimulation a genius of his caliber deserves. To sell the deception, he attacks his friends with seemingly lethal intent, nearly killing Keenan and indirectly causing Agumon's temporary death. All the while, Thomas is patiently waiting for an opportunity to sabotage Kurata's plans and free Relena from the bomb strapped to her throat; once it arises, he takes it and goes straight back to his friends, leaving Kurata utterly flatfooted.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In Dragon Ball GT, Gill appears to betray the team to the machine mutants. Only Trunks is in on the plan.
    • In the Garlic Jr. Saga of Dragon Ball Z, Piccolo did a variation of faking defection to Garlic Jr: He ended up being bitten by one of the Black Water Mist-infected characters, and then faked infection himself and fought Gohan and Krillin ruthlessly in order to get close enough to Garlic Jr. and then free Kami and Mr. Popo. He only let Krillin in on the plan when he was "biting" him on the neck, resulting in Krillin faking defection as well.
  • Gajeel was revealed to be one of these for the Fairy Tail guild.
    • Also Gray in a filler arc. Gray does this a second time, along with Levy, in the manga's Avatar mini-arc.
  • Saruhiko Fushimi does this brilliantly in K: Return of Kings. Since he is one of the few Clansman known to have left one Clan to join another, he and his King use that reputation, stage a fight in front of the whole Clan, and have him storm off and reactivate his JUNGLE account, making it look like a regular case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. When his true plan and choices are revealed, it turns everything that has been shown of that character so far on its head. His King even goes to the Clansman of his old Clan who still holds a grudge over his original "betrayal", and tells him that there is one way for the Fake Defector to survive - that is, to actually betray his King and join the Clan he's infiltrating. "You are his friend, and know him well. Do you think that's something he would do?" And even that character knows it isn't.
  • Conrad pulls one of these in Kyo Kara Maoh!.
    • The event reshapes the entire series and leads to huge amounts of character development—you can pretty much divide the series into 'before' and 'after' this arc, with a brief transition period between his disappearance and his reemergence as Belial's new Dragon.
    • The audience is not let in on the arrangement, nor is any other living hero. We are given a blatant foreshadowing of the apparent Face–Heel Turn about three minutes before The Reveal.
      • Conrad wears a similar coat and has a similar scene in the same arena in season three, and you can see Yuuri's stomach turn over as he says half-jokingly 'not this again.' Conrad reassures him. Then he declares his own bid for the Shimaron throne on the strength of an unbroken family line that lost power four hundred years ago. Certainly messes with everyone's plans.
    • The fact that they still have Conrad's severed left arm in its original sleeve, while he's walking around with two working arms, is a big tip-off that something more convoluted happened than just the most loyal person ever deciding to betray his king or even Brainwashed and Crazy. It's basically 'cause God Is Evil. Or..possessed by evil. Basically God is playing Xanatos Speed Chess with himself, without anyone else suspecting there's more than one will nudging the pieces. Yuuri is the culmination of the good and evil plots because there's no way either of them would have succeeded in getting there if they hadn't built on the other's foundations for their own purposes. You Can't Fight Fate and yet he very much has a choice and control.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (2004), Vio pulled this off in order to learn of Shadow Link's plans, even knocking out Green in order to prove his "loyalty".
  • Mega Man:
    • In the manga adaptation of Mega Man X, it turns out Storm Eagle was still loyal. Unfortunately, he had to keep up appearances, and X was too strong. Zero only tells X after Storm Eagle is fatally wounded.
    • In the manga version of Mega Man X4, the Repliforce announces their intention to secede from humanity and launch an independent Reploid nation as part of a coup d'etat against the human governments, resentful over the fact they were accused of being Mavericks and ordered to turn in their weapons. Zero pretends to go along with Repliforce's rebellion in order to find Colonel and goes as far as to slash X with his saber to sell the act.
  • Chie pulls this off in My-Otome by pretending to side with the Valkyries as part of two separate plans:
    1. To wrest them and any other Otomes who may have sided with Nagi from his control, and
    2. To knock Tomoe off her high horse, knowing fully well that she would take the first opportunity to sell them all out. The first part succeeds easily, but the second? Not so much, as Tomoe is too stubborn to be swayed into a Heel–Face Turn, and snaps instead.
  • In Naruto, Itachi Uchiha of the criminal organization Akatsuki is revealed after his death to have been a double agent who was loyal to Konoha the entire time. In fact, the real reason he killed his entire clan]] was to prevent a civil war that would have devastated the village; in exchange, his superiors promised that they would spare his brother Sasuke. Viewing his previous behavior in light of this revelation makes it pretty clear that he was doing best to delay Akatsuki and not kill anyone.
  • In One Piece:
    • In the filler Alternate Universe Detective Memoirs of Chief Straw Hat Luffy, Zoro, a traveling monk, appears to be an Aloof Ally, helping out Vivi when the Buggy Clowns chased her. Buggy decides to hire him to defeat Luffy. But during the fight, Zoro intentionally has Luffy hit all of Buggy's crew. And when Mohji and Cabaji tries to attack Vivi, he stopped them.
    • Brook pretends to enjoy Giolla's "art" in order to trick her into changing his cane and violin back to normal so he can cut her up.
    • X. Drake's backstory had him join the Marines and then quitting to become a pirate, just like his father. However, it turns out he only pretended to quit and is actually a deep-cover spy for a secret division of the Marines with Coby.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • It is implied at the beginning of the Manaphy movie that Jack Walker had to pull off a fake defection in order to get close to Phantom and retrieve Manaphy's egg to prevent him from accessing the Samiyan Sea Temple.
    • In Pokémon the Series: Black & White, there is an arc where Meowth and travels with Ash and co. on their way to Nimbasa City. Naturally, it turns out this was all part of another scheme. Meowth joins Ash's group, after claiming to have been fired from Team Rocket, for several episodes in order to lure them into a trap set by Team Rocket at Nimbasa City. Ash's Pikachu didn't buy it for a second, glaring at him constantly.
    • There are several episodic cases where Meowth tries this again in Pokémon the Series: XY whenever he gets separated from Jessie and James, though by this point Ash and friends are much more skeptical, even preemptively betraying him first in the final instance when it became blindingly obviously what his intentions were.
  • Nancy does this with Yomiko in the Read or Die OAV, while quoting "to deceive your enemy, first you must deceive your friend".
  • In the Grand Finale of Sailor Moon, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune do this, and even kill Pluto and Saturn in order to gain Sailor Galaxia's trust (don't worry, they get better). Of course, as it turns out, they only did it because the Applied Phlebotinum handed out to Galaxia's henchmen was the only weapon that could defeat her. Or so it seemed.
    • This scene often appears in the Sera Myu, or stage musicals, and even has its own song.
    • In an earlier arc, Sailor Moon herself feigned a falling out with the other senshi and attempted to join the Dark Kingdom so she could find the entrance to the Dark Kingdom. Pity, she tried this on the most cunning of the Dark Kingdom's servants...
  • In the Hades saga of Saint Seiya, all of the Gold Saints who died during the events of the 12 Temples arc are resurrected after swearing loyalty to Hades, God of the Underworld. Thus, they lead an invasion of the Sanctuary with the intent of assassinating Athena, eventually succeeding it. We then learn that the reason behind their betrayal was to kill Athena so she can awaken her Eighth Sense and descend into Hades's Underworld without being bound by its rules, and b)shed the Goddess's blood in order to resurrect Athena's Cloth so she can use it to fight the Lord of the Underworld.
  • Soul Eater in the first episode of Soul Eater when he seemingly left Maka to be Blair's weapon. It's hard to tell if Maka was in on it, but if so, she's quite the actor.
  • Mirage pulls one of these in Transformers: Robots in Disguise. After having a genuine fight with his team, he realizes that the Predacons have been listening in and promptly takes advantage of the situation to pretend that he wants to defect.
  • In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, the Decepticon subgroup claims that they want to defect from the Predacons and join the Autobots. (Since the Decepticons, in this continuity, are actually reprogrammed Autobots, this isn't as unlikely as it sounds.) Optimus Prime welcomes them happily, but their leader's acting abilities aren't quite up to the job, and he reveals that it's a scam just before the Decepticons can find out where the Autobots' secret base is.
  • In the X/1999 anime, Arashi joins the Dragons of Earth to save her boyfriend Sorata from sacrificing himself for her. When Fuuma gives her the order to kill him though, she betrays him. Sorata almost manages to take Fuuma down... but he still ends up dying for her sake.
  • In Symphogear G, Chris attempted this in order to obtain the Solomon's Cane from Doctor Ver. However, Ver outfitted her with an Explosive Leash to prevent any treachery, forcing Chris to do some Xanatos Speed Chess to get out of that predicament.
  • Zoids: New Century sees Brad, his Command Wolf trashed, get offered a Shadow Fox by the Backdraft Group's Dr. Layon if he'll fight his allies on the Blitz Team. While Brad does take the Zoid, he registers it under the Blitz Team, completely blindsiding Leon.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Dynamite: Black Dynamite plays along with The Man's offer of joining The Illuminati right up until he gets his hands on a rocket launcher, whereupon he starts blowing up Illuminati soldiers left and right.
  • Junior Braves of the Apocalypse: When the Junior Braves are taken in by the security guard gang, Travis makes an effort to endear himself to them. He takes credit for his friends' achievements, forces Pabir to give up his glasses, and even tases Buddy when the gang encourages him to do so. However, it turns out that he was only doing all of this to earn the gang's trust while he stole supplies and prepared an escape route.
  • Nightwing becomes a fake defector in the year following the Infinite Crisis storyline. This was done to give him additional credibility among several rival gangs. His success is debatable; on one hand, Slade asks him to train his daughter Rose as the new Ravager, but on the other hand, his actions lead to an encounter with Superman. Revealing both Slade's insight and foresight, Slade prepares a gizmo to give Nightwing's heartbeat the sound of a truthful man rather than a liar.
  • Post Badass Decay, Juggernaut (an X-Man at the time) is ordered to fake-defect to gain intel on the New Bastards on the Block. Unfortunately, Juggernaut's kindred-spirit Squid Boy was not in the loop and, getting caught in the crossfire during a battle, tells Juggernaut he'll never forgive him before promptly expiring. Ouch.
  • In Marvel's G.I. Joe, Scarlett, feeling neglected by Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow in favor of the rest of Ninja Force, walks out on them after a heated argument and defects to Cobra. In reality, she's gone undercover under orders from Hawk in order to rescue Dr. Biggles-Jones, a scientist recruited by Cobra to build rail guns for them. Snake-Eyes even stabs Scarlett in a confrontation, which would seem to prove that she's defected, except the Cobras aren't convinced - as a ninja master, Snake-Eyes has perfect control with his swordsmanship, and the stab was surgically precise enough to avoid critical injury. Though Cobra remained suspicious of Scarlett, the arrival of Megatron proved a useful distraction, and as it turned out, Biggles-Jones was a Fake Defector herself, working for an unrevealed agency.
  • The Trickster and the Pied Piper attempted to infiltrate their old friends, The Flash's Rogues Gallery — an apparent reversal of their Heel Face Turns. When they appeared to have been complicit in the murder of Bart Allen, the Flash, they found it impossible to convince people of their sincerity.
  • Star Wars: Dark Empire had Luke Skywalker falling to the Dark Side if only to try to bring it down from within.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Ulic Qel-Droma pretends to be a fallen Jedi in order to take down a cult of darksiders. Unfortunately, he adopted the persona a bit too well.
  • The Squadron Supreme limited series sees the entire team pretending to be brainwashed into joining the Institute of Evil.
  • The first story arc of Ultimate X-Men has Cyclops storming off and joining Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants, in what turns out to be an example of this trope.
  • Quicksilver does this is West Coast Avengers, pretending to join Magneto and a temporarily insane Scarlet Witch. He soon gets discovered, though, because he did everything he could to avoid harming the Avengers.
  • Blake and Mortimer: The Francis Blake Affair involves Francis appearing to have defected, with MI6 and the police looking for him. Naturally, it was a feint to discover the identity of the Mole in Charge, although his nemesis Olrik doesn't buy it for a second.
  • Hunter's Hellcats: Heller does this in her first appearance. When a mission goes awry and the Hellcats are captured by the Nazis, Heller announces that she abandoning them and starts cosying up to the local Nazi bigwig. Although the Hellcats believe she really has jumped ship, her deception only lasts long enough for her to judo toss the head Nazi into the soldiers guarding the Hellcats, giving them an opportunity to escape.
  • Martinez turns out to be a mole for the Governor of Woodbury in The Walking Dead after he helps them escape the town safely. And gets run over for it.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Paula, on at least two separate occasions, uses her old Nazi contacts to Steve Trevor and Diana's benefit by pretending to have "escaped" the Allies to return to her old allegiances (a group she worked for under duress in the first place) and just slip right back in as a Nazi agent. This didn't work too well the second time as the officer suspected something was up and she needed to be rescued, but she was able to lead the good guys to the local Nazi headquarters.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Chong Sheng Trilogy's third installment, Mai does this in a particularly horrifying example. Subverted slightly in that she's also trying to avoid execution with the rest of Zuko's advisors. In order to prove it, she's forced to torture a captured Zuko while Katara is Forced to Watch. Zuko buys the act completely at first, but Mai lets him know her true intentions by the marks she carves into his arms.
  • In Utopia Unmade, Eas pretends to defect from Labyrinth to search for Infinity inside of the Precure Kingdom. Love trusts her, though Tarte is more suspicious.
  • In Winter War, Hisagi apparently defected to Aizen during the Fake Karakura Town battle when it became obvious that he was going to win. He did so at Yamamoto's orders... but with Yamamoto and everyone else who was in on it dead, La Résistance believes he defected for real. Even when he contacts them and offers to help them invade Hueco Mundo, they have no way of knowing if he's genuinely on their side... and neither does the reader, until we get a chapter in his POV a while later.
  • Zecora in Fallout: Equestria. Tragically, her plan to assassinate the Zebra Caesar might have worked if she hadn't ran into Applesnack during her 'escape'. He beat her to death.
  • In Sometimes I Hate the Life I Made, Skye fakes siding with Ultron.
  • In Tales of Bleach: Unreal Society Orihime joins Cruxis as one of its Seraphim, but in reality, she is on Kratos' side. Considering the person involved and a conversation that happens before this incident, the fact that it's this trope and not a true and tried Face–Heel Turn should be obvious.
  • In Lovehammer Inc Angron feigns pledging his Legion's allegiance to Khorne, before turning upon the War God's army and personally attacking Khorne's greatest champion.
  • In The Rehabilitation of Dawn Bellwether, after finding that the new conspiracy is led by her own abusive father, Aster Bellwether, who intends to perform multiple simultaneous terrorist attacks all over Zootopia to make it a prey-only city, and ultimately a sheep-only city, Dawn seems to revert to her old predator-hating ways. However, as soon as the other conspirators are distracted, she sabotages a pump, unleashing the deadly night howler gas upon them and herself, giving her real friends a chance to escape.
  • In Mortal Kombat, Jenny Calendar helps two soldiers escape from Outworld to warn Earth of Xander's impending invasion, but afterwards it's shown that it was simply to allow Xander's forces to easily find the right Earth. Said soldiers had the strongest ties back to their Earth, making them the easiest to send, and with a couple of tracking spells Outworld's forces can follow.
  • In the Naruto fanfic series in dreams you follow (but I dream in the dark), Kiba is ordered by Tsunade to kill Danzo and defect to the Akatsuki to act as a spy, and only Tsunade and Genma know that he's loyal to Konoha - the rest of the village and the Rookie Nine see him as a traitor.
  • Miraculous! Rewrite has Chloe/Chesire pull one of these, exploiting the way that Scorpion has convinced himself he can manipulate her. Unfortunately, since they don't warn their comrades ahead of time about their intentions, this leads to Master Fu erasing his memories, believing that she's going to lead the Old Order straight to him.
  • The climax of Book Three of The Last Son has Superman pretending that he's going to join General Zod on conquering Earth by force, so that he, Power Girl, Supergirl and Krypto can infiltrate Fort Rozz and reprogram its defense systems. What really sells the act is that Superman actually has enough reasons to pull a Then Let Me Be Evil due to the fact that many people have tried to destroy him and his fellow Kryptonians despite all the good they've done, which is enough to convince Zod about it.
  • Obito-Sensei: Sakura is tasked by Minato with being this to Amegakure, on the basis that they'd already reached out to her during the Chunin Exams, and she is legitimately sympathetic to their cause (to an extent). Much to everyone's surprise, however, Sasuke and Naruto join her, because they're unwilling to let her brave that danger all by herself.
  • For the Glory of Irk: During the heroes' infiltration of Irk, CB pretends to revert to the genocidal AI that he was based on in order to get close to and undermine the Control Brains. This is played for serious drama, as he comes up with this plan on the spur of the moment out of desperation, and doesn't have a chance to warn the others of what he's planning, leaving them feeling betrayed.
  • Played for Laughs in If I’m evil, and you’re evil, then who’s stopping Hawkmoth?. Multimouse/Marinette is captured by Hawkmoth and Mayura and pretends to defect to their side so she can act as a triple agent. However, she is spotted by Aspix/Adrien who, knowing her civilian identity and wanting to save her from becoming evil, also becomes a fake defector after using Second Chance. This leads Marinette to continue her fake defector role so she can stop Adrien, who she knows is Aspix, from being evil. So now both of them are pretending to be villains fighting against Ladybug and Chat Noir while trying to persuade the other not to be evil.
  • Komorebi is all about Shinsou pretending to become a villain so he can infiltrate the League of Villains, and figure out who The Mole they have in U.A. is. Given how many people thought his powers made him destined for villainy, it's not a hard act to sell; hence why Nezu chose him for it in the first place.
  • Someone You Trust, a My Hero Academia fic, has this presented as a late-story plot twist. Eraser Head is captured and tortured and both he and the reader have no idea why Present Mic is doing said torture. Turns out, Mic was infiltrating the group, which was trafficking kids with strong quirks, and Aizawa went into a different area than usual patrolling and got caught. Mic is being constantly watched with a hidden camera and has no choice but to cooperate if he wants to save the kids, and making it worse, Class 1-A kids are on the traffickers’ radar. Aizawa understands when it’s explained post-rescue, but Mic is guilt-racked.

    Films — Animated 
  • At the climax of The Bad Guys (2022), it seems that all the titular characters have undergone a Heel–Face Turn except for Mr. Snake, who forms a Big Bad Duumvirate with Marmalade. Once almost all has been said and done, however, Snake reveals that shortly after leaving the gang's hideout, he realized that he still had a conscience after all, and used the Bad Guys' breaking up as an alibi for making a false alliance with Marmalade and sabotaging the latter's scheme from within. It's a clever Batman Gambit on Snake's part since the fact that Marmalade was so caught up in his own sadistic pride over walking over others for his own ends prevented him from even suspecting, until it was much too late, that Snake's offer to join him wasn't genuine.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the film version of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Lincoln's friend Speed pretends to sell Lincoln out to the vampires as part of a Batman Gambit to lure Adam into a trap. Unfortunately, he pays with his life.
  • Across the Pacific: At the beginning of the movie, Rick Leland is dishonorably discharged from the army for embezzling funds, and gets on a Japanese boat on its way to Panama. Among the passengers on the boat is Lorenz, a doctor who is an admirer of the Japanese. When the boat docks in New York, we discover the dishonorable discharge and the embezzling charge were a ruse - Leland is still working for the military to join Lorenz and his group of Japanese spies to find out what they're up to.
  • Bullets or Ballots: Blake is an NYPD cop who joins Kruger's racketeering operation after he's fired by the police chief—except that it's a ruse to allow Blake to infiltrate the gangsters and take them down from the inside.
  • Kyra joins the Necromongers in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), only to help Riddick when he faces the Lord Marshal in the final fight. Of course, when she joined them, she thought that Riddick was dead. It's only when he comes back does she decide to help him.
  • In Counterfeit Traitor, Eric Erickson is this, in the movie dramatization of what he did, as noted in the "Real Life" section below.
  • Twice in Deewaar:
    • Vijay tells Samant when and where Daavar's gold shipment will arrive, so Samant can steal it. He also promises to give Samant more valuable information. It doesn't last long, however; immediately after, Vijay steals the gold right back.
    • Darpan tells Samant where Vijay will be at a given point, so Samant can have him killed. The whole thing was Vijay's plan to get a mole inside Samant's organization.
  • In The Godfather, Don Corleone sends Luca Brasi to infiltrate the Tattaglia family to garner information on Sollozzo, but Sollozzo is wise to the plot and Luca ends up sleeping with the fishes.
  • A long-term example in The Good Shepherd, where a Soviet defector named Valentin Mironov spends years working with Edward Wilson in Wilson's counterintelligence unit. Another Soviet defector later shows up to claim that he's the real Mironov, while the first one is actually Yuri Modin, a KGB agent. They don't believe the second "Mironov" and torture him until he jumps out a window to his death (it doesn't help that he's dosed with LSD at that point). The first "Mironov" offers to take a polygraph test to prove that he is who he says he is, but Wilson refuses. Later, though, Wilson shows up on Mironov's doorstep in the middle of the night and demands that Mironov play his violin. When Mironov agrees and asks why, Wilson replies that he wanted to finally hear something from "Mironov" that was true. Obviously, he figured out that the second "Mironov" was the real deal.
  • In I, Robot, Sonny pretends to be swayed by VIKI's "undeniable" logic, and suddenly holds Dr. Calvin hostage. It's all a ploy to get them safely out of the room with VIKI so they can head towards her positronic brain and shut it down, but it's only when Sonny winks at Spooner (a gesture that Spooner had earlier described to him as a sign of trust) that he and the audience realize what's going on. Poor Dr. Calvin is still out of the loop.
    Dr.Calvin: [as they rush up the staircase] I assume we'll discuss what just happened later?
  • There's an example of a reverse of this trope in The Living Daylights in which Koskov pretends to defect to the West. Turns out he's playing both sides against the middle and used the defection as an opportunity to get his girlfriend offed by James Bond (who doesn't actually do it and ends up taking off her clothes later in the movie).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Loki makes a habit of this.
    • In Thor, Loki was raised believing that the Frost Giants are monsters and the arch enemy of Asgard. After being told by Odin that he actually is one that Odin and his wife adopted centuries ago, he tricks his biological father Laufey into believing that he wants him to kill Odin, only to kill Laufey himself, making it look as if he saved his adoptive father's life and hoping to regain his love this way.
    • In Thor: The Dark World, Loki seemingly betrays Thor as part of their first attempt to destroy the Aether and Malekith.
    • In Thor: Ragnarok, Loki pretends to betray the Grandmaster after falling from his grace. He leads Thor, Bruce Banner and Valkyrie to the Grandmaster's ships only to activate the alarms so as to get the reward for Thor's capture. Thor sees through it early enough to thwart his attempt.
    • In Avengers: Infinity War, backed into a corner by Thanos and his forces, Loki offers Thanos his undying loyalty... and then tries to stab him. Thanos sees it coming.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, Captain America is part of a team time-traveling back to the events of The Avengers to recover Loki's scepter. He ends up in an elevator full of people who he knows are actually HYDRA agents thanks to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and there's a tense moment when they ask for the scepter back and prepare for a fight. Cap puts them at ease by whispering two words: "Hail HYDRA."
  • In Miss Sloane, when the title character, a lobbyist, leaves the lobbying firm she's been working for in order to work for a group trying to get a gun-control bill passed. She assumes Jane, her closest associate at the lobbying firm, would be joining her, but Jane publicly sides with Sloane's old firm and stays on. In fact, we find out at the end Jane has been working with Sloane the entire time as part of her Batman Gambit to help get the gun-control bill passed.
  • In the charmingly goofy family B Movie Mystery Monsters! (Released on DVD and Netflix as Goobers!), protagonist Tommy's plan for freeing the monsters involves convincing Big Bad Queen Mara that Jerkass Jimmy has sold Tommy and Susie out. The audience is not informed in advance, and to try to sell it that he's really betrayed them, Jimmy's Heel–Face Turn beforehand is seemingly transparently phony, with a little more than a Heel Realization that he's a selfish, obnoxious jerk who is both hated by everyone and deserves to be spurring on his desire to be something else.
  • During the climax of The Negotiator, Roman is trying to convince Big Bad Frost to talk, but Sabian notices that it's not working, drags Roman out of hiding, and shoots him, stating that in compensation, he wants half of the money that Frost stole. Frost agrees, destroys the evidence, and walks out of the house to find that his entire agreement with Sabian was broadcast to the police, implicating him quite effectively. Sabian only shot Roman non-fatally.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow briefly fakes a betrayal to Barbossa's side at the end of the movie, only to use it to arm himself and Will in preparation for the final battle.
  • Interestingly done in The Prestige. Angier sends his assistant, Olivia to work for Borden and feed him information. Knowing Borden would be suspicious, he tells her to admit that Angier sent her as a spy, but to claim that she was so mad at Angier for treating her like a pawn that she's willing to feed him information about Angier. In other words, the whole plan is completely transparent, both sides know full well she's working as a double agent, but neither can be sure whether she's a defector or a fake defector.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, Data is seduced by the Borg Queen with the promise of becoming more human by having human skin grafted onto his body and serving as her consort. He pretends to join them by deactivating the Enterprise's self-destruct and firing at the Phoenix... and deliberately missing. He gets to deliver a Badass Boast ("Resistance. Is. Futile.") before killing the Borg Queen and defeating the Borg single-handedly. Data notes that he actually considered the offer for 0.68 seconds — for an android like him that is an eternity.
  • The trope is used as a minor Mind Screw to the audience and a major one to the protagonist in Total Recall (1990), as Hauser tricks Quaid who is Hauser, post memory wipe into thinking he has betrayed Cohagen when in fact it's all an elaborate gambit by Cohagen. Throw in not one, but two moles and you've got one hell of a manipulative conspiracy.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Darwin does this to Sebastian Shaw's group of evil mutants as a ploy to give his teammate Havok a clear shot at Shaw's group (Darwin's own mutant ability will protect him from Havok's attack, and their friend but genuine traitor Angel, who wouldn't be safe otherwise). It doesn't turn out so good for Darwin when Shaw's group survives unscathed due to Shaw's mutant ability allowing him to absorb Havok's attack.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's 1966 movie Torn Curtain has eminent American physicist Michael Armstrong suddenly defect to East Germany while he's in Europe for a conference. While the East Germans view this as a huge coup in the Cold War, Michael is really there to steal plans for an anti-missile system that he can take back to America, and he's collaborating with an underground anti-Communist spy network.
  • In Zeppelin, Geoffrey Richter-Douglas, a Scotsman of German descent, is a lieutenant in the British Army. He meets Stephanie, a German spy to whom he is attracted. She suggests that he escape to Germany, where the other members of his family and his friends are. He reports this contact to his commanding officer, Captain Whitney, who also wants Geoffrey to go to Germany, but on a secret mission to steal the plans of the LZ36, a new type of Zeppelin under development at Friedrichshafen. Geoffrey pretends to be a deserter and travels to Germany, even getting shot in the arm by fellow British agents to sell the Germans the ruse.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The beyond honorable Jon Snow becomes a fake defector in order to spy on the wildling king, Mance Rayder, for the Night's Watch at the orders of his superior officer, Qhorin Halfhand; he is forced to kill Qhorin Halfhand as Qhorin ordered him to do in order to gain the trust of the wildling leaders. And then to have sex with his new wildling girlfriend every night to maintain their trust. How else would he convince them he's forsworn those vows of chastity he honors so much? He does feel very bad about all this. During his role as fake defector — though he comes to see ordinary wildlings as regular men, women and children and feels compassion for them — he learns of the wildling king's plans to attack the Wall and must work to prevent this and warn the Night's Watch. He comes to fall in love with the aforementioned wildling girl but must leave her as he has always been loyal to the Night's Watch and must fulfill his duty.
    • The Westerling family counts as well. The family is of minor nobility and is sworn to the Lannisters. After their daughter Jeyne, likely the only family member who doesn't fit this trope, marries the King in the North, Robb Stark, leader of one of the armies opposed to the Lannisters in the War of Five Kings, the Westerlings pretend to declare loyalty to the Starks. However, Robb's direwolf Grey Wind, an Evil-Detecting Dog, indicates that something is wrong about the family. Later, Jeyne's mother reveals to Jaime Lannister that she has been in contact with his father, Tywin Lannister, the head of the Lannister family, and was aware of the planned betrayal of Robb Stark at the hands of one of his sworn families. She also gave her daughter drugs to prevent conception, thus ensuring the male line of the Stark family died with Robb (or so she thought).
    • Wyman Manderly, ever loyal to the Starks, pretends to defer to the Freys and Boltons after the Red Wedding when it's really all a ruse to dish up some revenge of his own.
  • In one of the earliest Babysitters Club books, the girls are losing clients to the Baby-Sitters Agency (mainly because their members are older than twelve), so Kristy tries to find some new members. The two she gets are Janet and Leslie, who apparently quit the Agency because they didn't like how it was being run. So they're promptly booked for jobs with two new clients who saw the club's advertising for new, older sitters who could stay out later. Imagine the girls' shock at the Monday evening meeting, when their "defectors" don't show up, and the new clients call to complain that they were stood up. Kristy was absolutely devastated when she confronted them and learned that they did it deliberately to sabotage the BSC's reputation.
  • Fiona Samson in the Bernard Samson Series, who was playing this for a seriously long time.
  • John le Carré novels use this a lot - with large amounts of detail on how you go about doing this (slowly dropping out of society, becoming a drunk, etc). Alec Leamas's defection to East Germany in the first half of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is probably his most famous example.
  • Also subverted in Flashman and the Angel of the Lord. Joe Simmons was supposed to sabotage John Brown, but ended up following him for real.
  • Successfully pulled by Sir Horace Harkness in the Honor Harrington series, when their ship was taken by Havenite State Sec. A life of smuggling and bootlegging certainly paid off — he managed to deceive his watchdogs, hack the enemy ship's central computer, free his mates, and blow the entire ship to Kingdom Come after making a clean getaway. He was deservingly knighted for this performance.
  • Professor Severus Snape of the Harry Potter series. Interestingly, he defected to both sides at different points, so we're kept guessing for most of the series about which side he's a fake defector to. (Fans debated it to hell and back.) It all ends with a very unusual twist: his deception is successful but his mission fails. Voldemort believes Snape but kills him anyway, out of expediency. That said, he was able to prevent a whole lot of worse abuse towards the students of Hogwarts using his position as Headmaster and was able to give Harry his all-important memories about Voldemort's extra Horcrux, so in a way, he succeeded.
  • Subverted in Emperor: The Gods of War by Conn Iggulden, where Brutus actually has done a face-heel turn and betrayed Caesar. However Caesar and his generals play it out as a fake defector, and even Brutus himself does so in order to get into Caesar's daughter's bed.
  • In Watership Down Bigwig tells the Efrafans that he's a member of the Owsla who escaped the destruction of his warren by Men, which is true except Bigwig neglects to mention that he's part of a group of similar refugees hoping to spring some of the Efrafan does for their own warren.
  • Lara of the X-Wing series started off as a bad guy playing The Mole in the New Republic. She caused the near-total destruction of an X-wing squadron, then went back to the Imperials, got disgusted by her newest boss's insistence that We Have Reserves, and engineered his death. Then, awaiting another chance, she went undercover among the New Republic again, joined an X-wing squadron, and started Becoming the Mask and finding that Good Feels Good, so she switched sides and started getting close to the only survivor of the X-wing squadron she'd destroyed. Then her true origin was revealed and she was forced to flee and rejoin the bad guys as a fake defector, contributing to a major New Republic victory. It ends on a bittersweet note at first (she has to live the rest of her life under a different identity to avoid being condemned to death for her actions as an Imperial agent), but a later book shows that things went all the better for her, as she started both a family and a successful business with the aforementioned survivor.
  • In Orson Scott Card's novel Shadow Puppets, Suriyawong spends most of his time working his way up to being the Big Bad's second-hand man so that when the time comes he can give the good guys a chance to shoot the Big Bad in the head.
  • In Tim Powers's novel Declare his protagonist Andrew Hale is more or less shoved into making a false defection in order to get close to his nemesis Kim Philby.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Warhammer 40,000 Scourge the Heretic, when they are infiltrating a smuggling operation, Kyrlock claims to have deserted the Imperial Guard and need to escape. Later, when their guide attempts to rape a girl also waiting to be smuggled, and Elyra is unable to get him to back down, Kyrlock tells him that while Elyra doesn't want to share, he would be willing. This lets him get close enough to bring the man down. Though it is over in a couple of minutes, Elyra is nearly convinced that he means it; when he says he knew she would back him up, she is embarrassed and can not admit how close it came.
  • Happens many times in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Especially noteworthy is just before the battle of Chi Bi; after Cao Cao's loyal admiral is executed thanks to a plot of Zhou Yu's, the admiral's brothers use it as a cover story for their supposed defection. However, they are easily discovered, but Zhou Yu just proceeds to play along so as to plant his own Fake Defector to defeat Cao's giant navy.
  • Also common in Kamakura-era retellings of the The Tale of Genji. Many scenes in Genji make it clear that Genji was having an affair with the Emperor's chief wife, and even fathered her child. To avoid the unpatriotic implications, the retellings would have them go through the same conversations... but later reveal they were faking the whole thing to fool their enemies! And then NINJAS ATTACK!
  • As of The Gathering Storm, Verin is revealed to be one of these, having joined the Black Ajah to save herself, then studied it and eventually brought it down from within. Considering how well she fooled her fellow Blacks, and the Loophole Abuse she used to be able to divulge all (which also entailed a Heroic Sacrifice), it's tempting to call her a Magnificent Bitch despite still being one of the Heroes. She's certainly the mistress of The Plan.
  • Briefly done by Ax, of all people Andalites, in Animorphs. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea, and he only stuck with it long enough to get into a better position to fight back.
    • In a more extended version, Ax fakes defecting to, er, his own side, technically—when a small Andalite squad comes to Earth, the Animorphs (rightly) suspect their motives and pretend to break up, freeing Ax to go join up with the Andalites and find out what they're up to.
  • In Tom Clancy's Cardinal of the Kremlin, Jack Ryan pulls this, staging several 'incidents' to trick the Russians into trying to recruit him, including a rather public incident involving a gay senator. He's not actually going undercover, though — he just needs to arrange a one-on-one with the KGB Chief, so he can blackmail HIM into defecting, bringing along the titular mole.
  • In the Star Trek Double Helix novel "Double Or Nothing", Mackenzie Calhoun needs to infiltrate the Big Bad, so he punches out an admiral. (He was supposed to have a loud argument with him, but he decided that he needed to be make the charade more authentic, of course). It is subverted, however, in that the Big Bad sees right through it and keeps it hidden until the big moment.
  • The female lead of the James Bond novel and film From Russia with Love was told that her mission was to become one of these to leak false intelligence to the West. Her mission is actually a set up to lure Bond into a situation where SMERSH/SPECTRE (Depending on the adaptation) can kill both of them in a manner that embarrasses the British government.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Changes, Martin pretends to defect to the Red Court, serving as a Double Agent and setting up their total destruction. The protagonist was incredibly surprised, naturally.
  • Isaac Asimov's The Complete Adventures of Lucky Starr:
    • Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids: Lucky claims to be trying to join the "men of the asteroids" because of the dreariness of life on Earth, Mars, and Venus. He stowed away on a ship he knew was heading towards the asteroids so he could find Space Pirates and join them.
    • Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn: Lucky Starr allows himself to be captured by Earth's enemies, the Sirians, and then gives away one of his fellow Councilmen of Science to the Sirians and testifies about his betrayal for Sirius at an interstellar conference. Of course, it's all an elaborate ploy to get on the stand and present testimony that is devastating to Sirius. The act is especially hard on Lucky's sidekick and best friend Bigman, [[We Would Have Told You, But... who believes Lucky is turning traitor in exchange for his, Bigman's, life.
    "[You] gave me the opportunity to make it look as though I were sincerely swapping Wess's freedom for your life. It took less acting to do that than to give Wess away under any conditions I could have dreamed up in your absence. In fact, as it was, I didn't have to act at all. It was a good swap."Lucky Starr
  • In The Hunger Games it seems like Peeta has teamed up with the careers to kill Katniss. In actuality, he teamed up with them to lure them away from her and help keep her alive.
  • In Christian Nation, the protagonist convincingly fakes being "born again" so that he could escape being executed by the American theocratic government.
  • In The Black Company you have Blade, who "defects" after Croaker suspects him of having an affair with Lady, Croaker's wife. In the months-long con that followed, Croaker repeatedly sent the religious fanatics of his own army against Blade's forces, thinning his pressed army of the malcontents while Blade turned nearly his entire enemy force to the Company side.
  • Seen in the Warrior trilogy of BattleTech novels about the Fourth Succession War, with not a clue whatsoever to an uninitiated reader until The Reveal late in the final novel. Of course, the surprise will likely be lost on most modern readers already familiar with the universe's backstory who'll recognize the name Justin Xiang Allard easily enough; it worked better when the books (some of the first ever written) were still new.
  • In Warrior Cats, it appears that Tigerheart is eagerly following his grandfather Tigerstar's teachings, but he's really spying on Tigerstar and the Dark Forest, unbeknownst to the reader and other characters (even Ivypool, who worked as a spy herself after joining and realizing that they're really hell-bent on destroying the Clans.)
  • In Sharpe's Tiger, Sharpe and Lawford infiltrate the garrison of Seringapatam by pretending to be deserters happy to fight for Tippoo Sultan. They are eventually found out, but not before Sharpe has earned the respect of his new commanding officer — who is actually somewhat relieved to learn that Sharpe is a spy because the kind of man he judges Sharpe to be would never actually desert.
  • In BIONICLE Adventures 9: Web of Shadows, disillusioned Toa leader Vakama joins with the evil Roodaka, Sidorak and their Visorak horde only to find where the captured Matoran citizens are held in stasis and to try rescuing them himself. His plan doesn't last — once Roodaka gets him to touch Sidorak's throne (actually Makuta's), the throne's dark energy corrupts Vakama's mind and turns him evil for real. This is in contrast to the Web of Shadows Direct to Video animated film, in which Vakama never pretends to be evil and gets corrupted without touching the throne.
  • The Dark Forest: Tyler planned to have his Space Fighters seemingly defect to the Trisolarans, only to blow themselves up in a suicide attack and take them out. His Wallbreaker manages to figure out the strategy before it gets very far, though, and later events show that it wouldn't have worked anyway.
  • Strike The Zither: Zephyr pretends to defect to Miasma, but she is actually still loyal to Ren and continues to secretly help Ren from within Miasma's camp.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Wolf of The 10th Kingdom is a particularly well-done version of this trope. It keeps you guessing, even right up to the very end, which side he will truly turn out to be on. It helps that, as a deconstruction of many fairy tale tropes, Happy Ever After was not guaranteed by any means, and the ending still remains rather dark
  • 12 Monkeys: In Season 4, Deacon gets left behind when Team Splinter is forced to evacuate their base and gets captured by the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. He then claims to want revenge on his former friends for abandoning him and offers to help hunt them down. Except it turns out he's really still loyal to them and is working to undermine the Witness's plans from within.
  • 24:
    • Jack Bauer in series 3, breaking out Ramon Salazar from prison was an elaborate sting operation. In order to convince the Salazars that he had gone to the bad side, he had to point an (unloaded) pistol at Chase's head and pull the trigger. He is assisted by Gael Ortega, who goes so deep undercover as a mole that CTU arrests and interrogates him before realizing their mistake. This is in addition to the cocaine habit he starts in the same season to convince Salazar of his defection. Proving once again that Jack Bauer is a badass.
    • Season 6 opens with a terrorist apparently turning traitor on the leader of his organization, offering his location to CTU so he can be assassinated. In fact, the "leader" has forsaken terrorism, and the traitor, the new mastermind of his organization, is trying to have him eliminated to further consolidate his power.
    • Done by both Tony Almeda and Jack in season 7. Also, Greg Seaton fakes a bad-to-good defection.
    • In Season 8, the traitorous Chief of Security to Omar Hassan has his daughter held hostage, but ultimately, his feelings for her turn out to be genuine and he dies saving her life. Or not, since it was all an act to help her escape and deliver a bomb wired with an EMP to the offices of CTU.
  • Jack Bristow in Alias, pretending to leave the CIA to work for SD-6.
  • Angel:
    • In "Hero", Angel Neck Snapped Doyle (who was part demon and able to survive such an attack) to get the Scourge to accept him so he could figure out their plans.
    • In "Not Fade Away", Wesley is selected to kill Cyvus Vail for three reasons: he knows the layout of Vail's place, he's the team's magic expert, and Vail already thought that he'd usurp Angel at some point.
    Wesley: That's not very flattering.
    • Harmony joins, betrays, and rejoins Angel's team, against his strong oppositions. And then she betrays him again. All those resisted urges to stake her, to no good end!
      Gunn: (irritated) Don't we kill 'em anymore?
  • In an episode of Arrested Development, Michael and Gob formulated a plan to get back at George Sr. for his cruel pranks on them as children which drove the two brothers apart. Gob immediately went to George and told him the plan, or so it seemed. Gob's defection was fake and part of the plan from the beginning. It was believable because Gob would have had no qualms about betraying Michael for real.
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • In order to get to her daughter onboard a Cylon Baseship, Athena tells Caprica Six that she thinks that Hera is safer there.
    • Boomer does that too. Ellen thinks that Boomer helped them escape. Boomer only pretended so to get access to Galactica and steal Hera.
  • Gary Best in The Bill, whose undercover assignment involved faking his sacking for assault. Adam Okaro and Lewis Hardy also did this. The latter shot to miss Roger Valentine.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • At the end of season 1, Jake Peralta goes undercover into the mob and pretends as if he was fired from the NYPD and now harbors bad feelings towards them.
    • In the season 6 finale, this is part of Jake's plan to bring down Commissioner Kelly.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Enemies", Angel pretends to have turned into his evil alter ego Angelus. Buffy is in on the plan, but the audience doesn't find out until the moment when Angel reveals himself.
    • Angel used a much shorter version of this in "School Hard". During Spike's attack on Sunnydale High, he strolled right up with Xander in a headlock, claiming to have been playing Buffy. Spike didn't buy it, having known Angelus much better than Faith did.
  • Le Bureau des Légendes: Malotru and Pacemaker are fake defectors to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).
  • In season four of Chuck, Sarah pretends to betray her team in order to infiltrate Volkoff Industries to rescue Chuck's mother.
  • In Crime Story, the lawyer for the Federal task force that is trying to take down Big Bad Ray Luca, pretends to be drunk and gets kicked out of the agency, so that he can become Luca's lawyer, and then inform the task force about everything Luca is doing. However, Luca points out to one of his henchmen who questions whether the lawyer would be loyal to Luca, that even if this lawyer was pretending to go to his side, because of lawyer-client confidentiality rules, nothing he tells the feds can be used against him.
  • During the oft-maligned Leviathan story arc of the cult classic Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, several characters who had managed to resist or overcome the power of the Leviathan cult later pretended to fall back in with said cult in order to help take it down.
  • Bo pretended to be a dirty cop for a while on Days of Our Lives.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Farscape:
    • It is revealed late in season 4 that Scorpius has pulled one of these on the Scarran emperor. For a time, it is unclear if his devotion to the Peacekeepers was the real fake, but when he helps destroy the Scarran's evolutionary edge, it becomes obvious that his loyalties never lay with them.
    • Same season, Braca. He appeared to have switched his loyalties to Grayza following the destruction of Scorpius' Command Carrier at the end of Season 3 - gleefully aiding in torturing him for information and even shooting him. However, it was all part of another of Scorpius' plans. Braca even acted as The Mole for Scorpius while the half-breed was hiding out on Moya.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • After Winterfell is taken by the Ironborn, Osha offers to pledge herself to Theon supposedly to save her own ass. In actuality, she is revealed to be doing it to gain Theon's trust and to allow her to help Bran, Rickon, Hodor and the direwolves escape Winterfell.
    • Jon Snow joins the wildlings in Valar Morghulis and remains with them throughout Season 3, convincing them that he's a bona fide defector. Killing Qhorin Halfhand (under Qhorin Halfhand's orders) in a one-on-one combat, along with his admission that he was unhappy with Mormont's decision to ally with Craster, went some ways toward convincing the wildlings. That being said, subtlety is definitely not Jon's strong suit, since both Orell and Ygritte immediately pick up on the fact that he's working as a Fake Defector.
      Ygritte: You're loyal, Jon Snow.
    • In "The Dragon and the Wolf", while Euron doesn't pretend to go over to the heroes' side when everyone is shown a wight and he learns they can't swim, Euron claims he's abandoning Cersei, pulling back his fleet and planning on waiting out the White Walker attack on the Iron Islands. Cersei later reveals the entire thing was a ruse, and that he's really sailing to Essos to recruit the Golden Company to Cersei's side while Daenerys and Jon wage war against the White Walkers. It's more like an evil asshole pretending to be a neutral asshole.
  • Get Smart:
    • Siegfried attempts to "defect" to CONTROL, going so far as to turn in several KAOS agents, including his own sister. Eventually, he gives them fake data to divert security away from the CONTROL Chief's Banquet so he can use sleeping gas to kidnap all of CONTROL's leadership in one fell swoop, only to be foiled by Max's lapel flower. note 
    • In an episode, Max is "fired" from CONTROL and becomes a drunk, all part of a scheme to get him approached by KAOS so he can learn their latest evil plan. It turns out to be somewhat pointless, as the KAOS unit was long defunct and being run by infiltrators from various government agencies.
  • From Glee: Jesse St. James, who seemingly gave up his UCLA scholarship and position as lead male of Vocal Adrenaline for Rachel. Yeah, we'll give you a second to get over that shocking revelation. Subverted, though, as it's revealed he was never a spy or a saboteur and reuniting Rachel and her mother was definitely not the motive anybody expected.
  • On Haven, Duke does this on more than one occasion with more than one Big Bad. He's usually singled out for Apple of Discord plots because of his seemingly ambiguous morality as a Venturous Smuggler when compared with his Haven PD True Companions Audrey and Nathan. He's no one's fool, however, and an excellent liar, and uses his position to his advantage to gain the upper hand or obtain information.
  • Sgt. Miller pretended to collaborate with a criminal gang in an episode of Heartbeat, though the writers didn't even try to explain why he didn't tell the other police what was going on.
  • Hiro from Heroes pretends to stab Ando with a katana in order to join the other side.
  • In Highlander, Methos rejoins his friends the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and it first appears that he’s gone back to being evil. But, he actually sabotages the group from within, though he won’t confirm to Duncan that he was doing it.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim Final Stage has the Big Bad revive everyone who died in the show as his slaves. But it turns out that Kaito Kumon is Not Brainwashed and he helps free the others once Kouta’s Brought Down to Normal status is fixed.
  • On Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Kamen Rider Lazer/Kiriya Kujo is revived by the series' true Big Bad Masamune Dan and is originally shown to be siding with Masamune's side instead of Emu/Ex-Aid's side. Turns out, all of this is a ploy by him to swipe back the Proto Gashats that Masamune stole earlier in the story, taking full advantage of his tendency to lie to fool Masamune that he has willingly joined his side following his revival.
  • On an episode of Law & Order, a Mafia boss arranges for two of his underlings to turn stoolie and feed false information about a murder he ordered to the police, so his attorney can reveal the deception at trial and get the case thrown out of court. As a result, when the cops find real evidence linking him to the crime, they can't do anything about it because of double jeopardy.
  • Law & Order:
    • On an episode of the original show, a Mafia boss arranges for two of his underlings to turn stoolie and feed false information about a murder he ordered to the police, so his attorney can reveal the deception at trial and get the case thrown out of court. As a result, when the cops find real evidence linking him to the crime, they can't do anything about it because of double jeopardy.
    • Law & Order: Criminal Intent has an episode where Goren is forced on leave and ends up working with some bad cops, and his partner nearly shoots him. Yeah, it was all planned by Goren and the captain.
  • Mason Drake in Lois & Clark. Immediately after Lois and Clark agree to share their information with her (against Lois' judgment), she's sharing it with Intergang's The Dragon. Immediately after that, though, it turns out this is part of Lois' plan to make him incriminate himself on tape.
  • Lost:
    • In the episode "The Economist", we see Hurley questioning Locke's leadership. In his next scene, he tells Sayid and Kate that he has abandoned Locke's group. It turns out to be a ruse, to which the audience was kept in the dark.
    • Benjamin Linus pulls this in "What They Died For", even going as far as to kill Charles Widmore (though that part probably wasn't an act) to convince the Man in Black where his loyalties lie. Oddly enough, he doesn't actually accomplish much, other than to allow Miles and Richard to escape the Man in Black's wrath and eventually get off the island.
  • Jane attempts this in the fourth season finale of The Mentalist, hoping to convince Red John that he'd truly given up and was willing to join him. He even goes so far as to pretend to kill Lisbon and bring her head to Red John as a gift. Needless to say, things didn't go as planned.
  • In the Miami Vice episode "Red Tape", Tubbs pretends to quit the force, then sell information about future busts to a drug dealer so he can discover the source of a leak in the department.
  • Mission: Impossible had at least one such episode, if not more. And then there are the episodes where they have to convince an enemy agent that a real defector is actually a fake defector so that the intelligence they leaked will be disregarded.
  • NUMB3RS: In the season three finale, Colby Granger is exposed as a traitor. The Season Four premiere reveals it was an act to trap the real traitor.
  • In the Pushing Daisies episode "The Norwegians", Olive resents the fact that she is perpetually Locked Out of the Loop and decides to join the Norwegian detective team that is trying to put Emerson out of business and would have exposed Ned in the process. It's revealed that she was faking all along in order to throw them off the track.
  • Resurrection: Ertuğrul: Marya from the fourth season counts as this. While she did hate living with Ares, she only associates herself with Ertugrul in order to gain information that could help Tekfur Kritos gain the upper hand and later reveals she never even liked being around Muslims, period.
  • Kashyk, the charming Devore inspector from Star Trek: Voyager's "Counterpoint", defects from his species and seeks asylum aboard Voyager, romancing Janeway to get her to trust him. She doesn't.
  • Stargate SG-1: The Goa'uld Tanith, who defects to the Tok'ra. They have apparently had the rare Goa'uld defector before, so they accept him, but SG-1, and most especially Teal'c, do not trust him. It soon comes to light that he's a spy for Apophis, but the Tok'ra at the same time reveal that they were well aware of this from the start: they're planning to Feed the Mole.
  • Supernatural
    • Seasons 3 and 4 had Ruby, a demon who appeared to be fighting alongside the Winchesters (or, more specifically, Sam) whilst on the run from her own kind. Except in the S4 season finale, she turned out to have been the linchpin of Lilith's plan to break Lucifer out of Hell, and as she described herself, "the best of [the demons], the most loyal!"
    • The Season 10 episode "About a Boy" has the Winchesters discovering that the witch they're after is the same one from Hansel and Gretel, and the large man who they thought was the witch is Hansel himself. He claims he hates the witch for making him and Gretel her servants, and when they tried to escape, she tortured Hansel and then forced him to eat Gretel's heart. Then he offers to help the Winchesters kill her. It's a trick. He works for the witch willingly. Also, he didn't make up that part about him eating his sister's heart. What he did make up was the part where he was forced to do it.
  • Super Sentai:
    • In Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Pink Turbo winds up joining the bad guys in an attempt to recover an antidote for the poisoned Blue Turbo by fighting alongside the monster of the week and "accidentally" getting poisoned by it as well forcing it to give her the antidote. Oddly enough this didn't seem to be planned in advance at all, she just happened to take a hit to her head during a battle and decided to fake memory loss to join the bad guys. The other guys had no idea what she was doing until the Reveal when Blue was shown to be healed. She even was perfectly willing to shoot a machine gun at them as part of her plan.
    • Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman had an episode by the same writer where thanks to a monster with Reset Button powers, The Bad Guy Wins and The Hero Dies. Five Pink then decides Resistance Is Futile and assists in the slaughter of her other siblings. Then, when the monster decides he shouldn’t use his powers only when ordered to, Pink then takes advantage of this to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
    • Chouriki Sentai Ohranger repeated this plot only this time had it fail. Ohyellow joins the bad guys in an attempt to recover an antidote, however, unlike Pink Turbo faking amnesia, Ohyellow faked cowardice and surrendered instead. Ohyellow also lets herself get hit by the poison darts and tries to get the antidote however she wore a bulletproof vest to protect herself, unlike Pink Turbo who allowed herself to be poisoned. Since Ohyellow doesn't take as many risks the bad guys aren't fooled and give her a fake antidote instead. They then need to use a backup plan instead.
    • A not-so-much copy-paste-from-Turborangers Fake Defector plot is also shown in Choujin Sentai Jetman, the 'fake defector' none other than Red Hawk himself, pretending to join the bad guys so they will return his girlfriend-turned-evil. Turns out he was trying to sneak into their base and destroy their mean to transport themselves into the real world. Plan failed, but in the end, their chief praised him and his teammates for being powerful and cunning enough to break through the enemy's defenses.
    • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger: Episode 40 has Christmas Org, supposedly an Org that's grown tired of the fighting and is relentlessly tormented by the others for his turn to good; not unlike episode 34's Charcoal Grill Org, he even befriends GaoRed and borrows his G-Phone as an act of trust... But that's all an act and the Org turns out to actually be called Chrismisery Org and is in cahoots with Highness Duke Rasetsu to boot; he even goes as far as mocking Red for trusting him.
    • Happens again in Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger; Maharo (who was a dragon for the villains before her Heel–Face Turn) makes a deal with Abarekiller and rejoins the villains with all of her former power restored. The heroes quickly learn that this is all part of her plan to A) free Asuka from the dark armor and B) get close to the Big Bad and wait for a chance to strike. The first half of her plan goes smoothly, but not the second half.
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has Luka attempt this to free herself, Joe, Don and Ahim in episode 16... and it fails right off the bat, because Basco, the one who had kidnapped them, didn't buy it for a second.
  • Power Rangers
    • And in the other hemisphere, Kat tried this in an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers; when Tommy went to search for the Zeo Crystal (a powerful magical item Master Vile wanted, that had been protected from him with a spell that would destroy anything evil that touched it), Kat thought she could buy Tommy time by approaching the Zedd and Rita and saying she wanted to rejoin them. Unfortunately, they showed surprising genre-savvyness (for them) this time, and wouldn't trust Kat unless she first submitted herself to a brainwashing device (not mentioning until she agreed to this that it would be irreversible once complete, also mentioning then that Tommy's past as the Green Ranger would still cause the spell protecting the Crystal to react. (He still managed, even having to struggle through some personal demons to do so, and got back in time to rescue Kat and the Ninja-Falconzord too.)
    • King Mondo had a Monster of the Week, Defector, use this trick in Power Rangers Zeo. (The viewers knew what the plan was, but the heroes didn't, so you honestly can't blame the Rangers for wanting to believe the guy was sincere and it helps that in Ohranger the defector, Bara Revenger, was genuine.)
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive involves a Fake Defector plot when the Rangers need to acquire a Houou statute from a villain faction.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In the episode "Shades of Grey", Colonel O'Neill gets suspended from duty for stealing technology from aliens. This allows him to infiltrate a group of bad guys, but in the process, he alienates his team, who are quite shocked at his behaviour (not being in on the plan). Of course, they're all friends again by the next episode. Interesting thing is that in that episode Daniel appears to have a friendly talk with Jack at the end, and reveals he came because he lost the draw.
    • Teal'c fools Ba'al into believing he was brainwashed in "Stronghold".
    • Teal'c is also brainwashed by Apophis into thinking that he was this trope when he was "really" still loyal to Apophis.
    • Carter also had to pretend to be infected by a Goa'uld symbiote clone among an entire town infected by them to trick them into being arrested by the SGC. In order to sell the deception, she also had to hit one of her allies beforehand. It worked because Carter was once the unwilling host to a Tok'ra symbiote (same species, different ideology), and any host or former host has some naquadah in his or her blood that can be sensed by a symbiote.
  • In the Starsky & Hutch episode "The Committee", Starsky does this, complete with a staged fistfight with Hutch, so he can infiltrate a group of vigilante cops.
  • Spock did this in Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Enterprise Incident" to help Kirk steal a Romulan cloaking device.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In "Gambit", Picard (rather inadvertently) goes undercover with a group of Space Pirates; when Riker shows up, Picard sets him up as the fake defector to keep him alive. Meanwhile, they had to act like they didn't know each other and would happily kill one another.
    • In the appropriately titled "The Defector", a Romulan officer falsely claims to be a middle-ranking clerk of negligible importance who had come across some important information about a secret base which the Romulans planned to launch an attack on the Federation from. His defection was sincere, but he was lying about his identity. He wanted to warn the Federation about the attack so a war could be prevented, but he did not want to further betray his homeworld. He finally admits that he is an Admiral and agrees to hand over any required information to the Federation. Tragically, it turns out that he is the Unwitting Pawn, fed false information by Commander Tomalak to lure the Enterprise into crossing into the Neutral Zone first so they could ambush them and justify an invasion of the Federation. Fortunately, Captain Picard arranged ahead of time for the Klingons to sneak in with them in case they needed rescuing. Both sides retreat without a war starting.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • A subtle variation, over multiple episodes of Season 2. Tom Paris starts showing up late, picking a fight with his superior, and starts the crew gambling. He lines up a new job and is leaving the ship forever. Instead of getting approached by the other side, they decide to kidnap him, exactly according to plan.
    • In "Counterpoint" an officer for an anti-telepath society seeks sanctuary on Voyager, claiming to have never really agreed with the policy and to have worked to stop his subordinates from finding out how Voyager's crew were smuggling refugees. It turns out to be an elaborate sting to find the wormhole the refugees are escaping to and destroying it. Janeway out-gambits him]].
  • The opening quote of this article, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, turned out to be in a holodeck scenario. But the scene was such a perfect fit to Garak's devious personality that most fans forget he didn't really do it.
  • Done in The Unit, which takes it pretty far... Sam McBride, to find Big Bad Leon Drake, "attempts" to rape Bridget Sullivan (who isn't in on this), engages in a shootout and kidnaps Molly Blaine. The result of this is Molly separating from Jonas and Jonas telling Colonel Ryan that he's no longer fit for command, to which Ryan eventually agrees, taking a promotion.
  • Steve Jinks in Warehouse 13 is fired after pulling a gun on Mrs. Frederic when she insisted on torturing a detainee. He's then recruited by The Dragon to work for the Big Bad. The whole thing was planned by Mrs. Frederic and Jinks offscreen, and they were the only ones in on it until Jinks revealed the plan to Claudia late in the game. Unfortunately, Sykes has his Dragon kill Jinks after his usefulness runs out. Fortunately, Claudia manages to revive him with Johann Maelzel's Metronome, and Jinks reconnecting with his estranged mother in a later episode brings him back fully.
  • Mulder of The X-Files does this in season five's "The Pine Bluff Variant". He even had to hide it from Scully, who was not pleased that she was kept out of the loop.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Aeneid and The Odyssey Sinon surrenders to the Trojans, after claiming to have defected from the Greeks, for the express purpose of convincing the Trojans that the Trojan horse was a gift. He also added the detail that they under no circumstances should bring it into the city because then it would make the city invincible. You know the saying "never trust Greeks bearing gifts?" In context that's actually about Sinon in specific. Older Than Feudalism.
  • In the Biblical Book of Judith (considered Apocrypha by Jews and, following them, Protestants), our heroine convinces the Assyrian general Holofernes who is besieging her city that she will betray the Jews to him. Then she waits for him to get drunk and does this.
  • In 1st Samuel, David decides to offer his services to a Philistine lord in order to hide himself from King Saul. It works for a little over a year until the other Philistine lords see him and the other Hebrews with David and suspect that he is this trope working undercover to take down the Philistines from within in order to please his "true master".
  • In 2nd Samuel, Hushai the Archite becomes this to David's son Absalom, when he incited sedition against his own father, just so David could have somebody on the inside to find out what Absalom may be planning.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Done in the BattleTech universe by Justin Allard, whose fall from grace was manufactured to give him credibility with the Capellan Confederation.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Alpha Legion's true allegiance is to the Emperor, in the most twisted way possible.
  • In Wraith: The Oblivion, an entire Guild, the Mnemoi, pretended to become corrupt to hide that they had been entrusted with saving the memories of Charon, ruler of Stygia, until he could come back. Unfortunately, it worked a little too well; the Mnemoi were hunted down fanatically, and by the time Charon did return, many of his memories were missing because those who held them had been destroyed.

  • Westeros: An American Musical: While Jon's period of pretending to join the wildlings happened off-stage, the consequences of having done so are present in "Sword in the Darkness": the Night's Watch is longer certain of Jon's loyalty, while the wildlings coming to attack the Wall know Jon's face and are distrustful of him because he returned to the Night's Watch.

    Video Games 
  • Blade Runner: The protagonist Ray McCoy, as one of several of Multiple Endings, can align with the Replicants he's supposed to hunt down, and just when they're about to all escape, gun them all down.
  • Throughout her story in Freedom Planet 2, Milla is offered a chance to visit her parents again by Serpentine, on the grounds that she swears unwavering loyalty to him and Brevon. While she refuses due to his claims being too absurd to be true from her reckoning, when Bakunawa escapes into orbit above Avalice beyond any planetbound vessel's ability to pursue, she agrees to Serpentine's conditions, up to and including the additional clause of killing her friends "because we're evil and stuff". While newcomers to the series might be forgiven for thinking she might actually take it up, especially given he's holding her trauma over her head like the sword of Damocles, those who know her in-universe and out understand that this is a deal she has no intention of fulfilling.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night: On two occasions, Cynder pretends to have returned to evil and to attack Spyro. The first time is when she is chosen to fight Spyro in the Skavengers' arena, and the second is when she is ordered by Gaul to kill Spyro.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid: In every single game, Revolver Ocelot is a fake defector to whomever the current game's Big Bad is. He always, always double-crosses his apparent boss at the end. Even more than that, he's not even typically working for the people he "defected" from, but is solely loyal to the Pro-Big Boss faction. In fact, he gave such behavior its name. Other than the chronic backstabbing moments, Ocelot's backstory is that he originally worked for the NSA until he and a colleague of his defected to the Soviet Union. However, it was suggested to be a fake defection due to still working for the CIA. Like mother, like son.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater in a deconstruction of the trope, The Boss "defects" to the side of Big Bad Volgin, but after Volgin decides to nuke one of his research facilities with the American-made nuke she provided at the same time Russian radar detects the American plane which dropped off Naked Snake for an apparently-unrelated mission, the U.S. top brass shifts the blame for the incident onto The Boss to cover their own asses (which she willingly went along with to protect her country's interests), and her defection suddenly becomes a one-way street, making it necessary for Snake to kill her in order to prevent World War III from erupting. Tragically, Snake only learns her defection was fake after he's killed her. It gets even worse in Peace Walker, when it is revealed near the end that Not only was the launching of the nuke planned, but the true objective of both the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater was to kill off The Boss from the start by a single deviously cunning strategist. Coldman even admits (with a sickening amount of glee and satisfaction) that he was the one who set The Boss up.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops: Subverted with the FOX Unit. The CIA intended to have the FOX Unit fake defection to the Soviet Union so they could supply the ICBMG to the Soviets and thus have the CIA maintain all the power it gained during the Cold War. However, this plot was undone by the Pentagon (of whom Cunningham was a plant to), where FOX was to launch the ICBMG at Soviet Russia in order to tarnish the CIA's reputation. It's even further subverted when Gene intended to nuke America with the ICBMG. See Gambit Pileup below.
  • Subverted with Saul in Daughter for Dessert. Saul is trying to buy up the protagonist's diner when he is first introduced, and we later find out (after he is fired) that he was instructed to buy out specific businesses. Then, after a temporary stint as a cook at the diner, he reappears alongside Cecilia. However, when the protagonist is put on trial, Saul represents his pro bono and conspires with Mortelli to sabotage the prosecution.
  • Sly 2: Band of Thieves: Constable Neyla is an interesting case. She pretends to be a double-agent who is slipping hints to the Cooper Gang behind Interpol's back, only to betray the Cooper Gang to Interpol. However, she later betrays Interpol, so she's really just looking out for herself.
  • One story option, which will happen most of the time in Tales of Symphonia unless you choose Kratos at the Flanoir doctor scene]], features Zelos doing this, in part to get one of the required elements to create the Eternal Sword. In the other story path, he really does join the villains and you have to kill him.
    • If you piece all the story together, Kratos plays with this trope as well. Ultimately, Kratos doesn't believe in Mithos' vision of the world, but his inherent fatalism — and the knowledge of what happened last time he tried — keeps him from truly abandoning the Cruxis leader. This leads to Kratos playing the two of you up against each other and helping in his own fashion, hoping that ultimately Lloyd will win so Kratos will be able to die. He'll never actively oppose Mithos unless you choose him in the aforementioned scene, however.
  • Subverted in the Unlimited Blade Works route in the Fate/stay night game by Servant Archer, defecting to one side, betraying them, then turning around and attacking his original side, revealing himself to have been acting in his own personal interests all along.
  • Jowy Atreides from Suikoden II is an archetypical example of this trope (and a classic Starscream. Originally the main character's best friend and ally in the oncoming war against the demonic, malevolent and psychopathic Prince Luca Blight (not the Luca above), he betrays said best friend and joins up with Luca, believing that the only way to stop him is from the inside. His plans are successful and at the end of the game, you can choose whether to fight him to the death or not.
    • Sialeeds does this when she betrays the heroes in Suikoden V for the same reasoning as Jowy's: kill the corrupt people of the Senate from the inside so that no one will oppose the Prince and Lym.
  • Axel in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories pretended to help Marluxia for most of the game (even killing Vexen in the process), then turns around and ruins his plans.
  • The "staged breakdown" version of this is the premise of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, except that the death of Sam's daughter was very real; that Myth Arc was continued in Splinter Cell: Conviction... which then revealed that Sam's boss hid his daughter away and faked her death.
  • Megan Kher in the Playdom game Gardens of Time. With help from Alistair and Eleanor, she pulls this on none other than Julius Caesar. Or better said, his younger and face heel turned self. It's a long story.
  • In Lunar: The Silver Star, when the party obtains the Dragon Helmet, Nash betrays them and takes it to Xenobia. He couldn't explain beforehand that he was planning to double-cross the Vile Tribe, and he returns injured but with the Dragon Helmet intact. This is altered in the remakes.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the cloned Rachni queen, assuming you killed the real queen in 1 will pull this on you just to get access to your big emergency superweapon project, then sabotage the project on behalf of the Reapers. The real queen, should she still be alive, is genuinely on your side though, and her brood of worker drones will provide you with more War Assets than some fleets.
  • Ikemen Sengoku:
    • Nobunaga and Hideyoshi's routes have Mitsuhide pretend to betray the Oda forces to get information on their enemies and/or lure them into a trap. This is quite easy for Mitsuhide to pull off, as he's an incredibly shady-looking and acting guy who was already attracting speculation about whether he might be the one who attempted to assassinate Nobunaga at Honno-ji (which was true in the original historical timeline, but not in the alternate one the main character is in).
    • Mitsunari's route has Mitsunari himself act as the fake defector in his Dramatic ending. He pretends to be the one responsible for burning innocent villages so that Kennyo's Ikko Ikki forces will be distracted long enough by trying to hunt him down for the rest of the Oda forces to gather solid evidence that it was actually Kennyo himself who burned these villages and then blamed them on the Oda.
  • In Persona 5, Akechi drops his opposition to the Phantom Thieves in the face of intense public pressure, and when the public turns on them after Kunikazu's death, he joins them in their attempt to change Sae's heart, halt the rigged police investigation, and prove they're being set up by a conspiracy. It turns out Akechi is part of said conspiracy and the protagonists knew that the whole time and have just Out-Gambitted him.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • In Chapter Two of the Imperial Agent storyline, Cipher Nine is ordered to become a Deep Cover Agent in the Republic's Strategic Information Service, with the cover story of having become disillusioned with the Sith Empire due to Darth Jadus's attempted Military Coup in Chapter One. There's an optional path to defect for real in Chapter Three if certain options are taken at the climax of C2.
    • An Imperial sidequest on Voss has the PC briefly pretend to be a defector in order to get information out of a Republic agent.
    • Theron Shan betrays the Alliance and goes over to work with the Commander's enemies, getting a bad haircut to boot. Players were initially kept in the dark about his true motives, although many suspected this trope was in play. The arc's conclusion proved them correct. Notably, you don't have to take him back after the truth is revealed. If you're especially heartless, you can even leave him to die of a critical injury.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon; Yosuke Tendo joins the heroes after the disbanding of the Omi Alliance, fighting alongside them to protect Watase and Daigo. This turns out to be a lie to gain the trust of Matsumi Arakawa (who helped Watase and Daigo engineer the disbanding), whom Tendo murders in order to get in the good graces of Ryo Aoki and take control of the Omi remnant that refused Watase's orders to disband.
  • Wild ARMs 3: The first minor antagonist, Janus Cascade, does this fairly early on in the game by supposedly wanting to help Virginia find the Eternal Sparkle in hopes of redeeming himself for the scuffle on the train, but it turns out he just wanted one of the 3 masks that's the key to getting the Eternal Sparkle for himself. Well, more like the Prophets, but still...
  • The beginning of Wild ARMs: Million Memories suggests Rudy, of all people betrays the entire world and sides with Mother. The final chapter reveals the act of betrayal was part of a deal with Siegfried to take Mother down together and then revive the world using the Memory Maze.


    Web Original 
  • The Gamer's Alliance:
    • Briss betrays the Grand Alliance and escorts one of the heroes' enemies to Trinity Gask where he hopes to meet with Big Bad Glaurung Losstarot and gain her trust. However, it's only an act on Briss's part because he's still secretly loyal to the heroes and see his defection as the only means to appear to genuinely join the villains and gain their trust so that he can proceed with his plan to gather intel. Things get a bit more complicated for him when he is reunited with his old fling Tiyana in the city and learns that she is working for the villains and is pregnant with his child.
    • Ferron defects to the Alliance's side after the Yamatian Invasion because his superiors in the dark clergy betrayed him and he wants revenge. Although he helps the heroes deal with his former colleagues and befriends many people in the Alliance, he has a far more sinister agenda in mind. He almost switches sides for real because of all the friends he has gained, but eventually decides to subvert his character development and betrays the heroes at a crucial moment because his lust for power overshadows his growing friendship with the heroes.
    • Xerathas, Varalia, and the Shadow also join the Alliance's heroes during the Vanna arc and claim they'll help the Alliance so that they can atone for their actions as well as prevent a greater threat from rising. Knowing what they're dealing with, the heroes don't buy the excuse, but decide to let them tag along while keeping an eye on them. To the heroes' surprise, the trio are surprisingly helpful during many encounters, which makes many Alliance members question whether the trio have finally seen the light. Everything changes during the battle of Vanna, however, when the three antagonists reveal the extent of their plan and betray the heroes at the Alliance's most vulnerable moment while the Alliance is busy dealing with another threat.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers episode "Renegade Rangers" was all about this trope, with the heroes pretending to go criminal in order to get to the Black Hole Gang. MaCross (second in charge) never believed it for a second, but Daisy O'Mega, a former Bounty Hunter who went renegade herself, is taken in by the ploy (and Shane's Chick Magnet ability).
  • In the The New Adventures of Superman episode "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?", Luthor convinces Perry White that he's gone straight and is given a laboratory in the Daily Planet building. Jimmy Olson correctly believes that Luthor is lying and tries to catch him committing a crime.
  • In the The New Batman Adventures episode "Mad Love", Harley Quinn sends a message saying that she's turned against the Joker because he's gone too far and plans to kill everyone in Gotham City. It's actually a trap intended to kill Batman so that Mistah J will give up his obsession and start paying attention to her.
  • In Beast Wars, Rattrap pretends to join the Predacons, fooling both the Preds and all of the other Maximals besides Optimus.
  • The titular heroes in Centurions did this in two episodes, "Max Ray... Traitor" and "Cyborg Centurion". A guest star used the same ploy in "Atlantis Adventure".
  • One episode of Class of the Titans saw Odie — inspired by his ancestor Odysseus' famous Trojan Horse tactic — fake a defection to Cronus' side so he could take back Hermes' staff.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • "Operation: M.A.U.R.I.C.E." reveals that the title character, a chicken-pox researcher kidnapped by Cree, was not really decommissioned when he turned thirteen, and instead became a Deep Cover Agent.
    • Chad (Numbah 274) is revealed in "Operation T.R.E.A.T.Y." to have never actually stopped working for the KND, not that it made him any less of a jerk.
  • An episode of Cyberchase features Digit pretending to have gone bad again and being rehired by Hacker, in order to prevent Hacker from finding the secret of invincibility.
  • Detentionaire: Lee needs an in on the Down With Lee Club, so he and Cam stage a fight so Cam can gain entrance. It doesn't end up working, as RadCircles tips off the other club members about the ruse.
  • Done in an episode of Dudley Do-Right so he could infiltrate Snidely Whiplash's fur-smuggling ring. The unspeakable evil act that got him thrown out of the Mounties? Eating peas with a knife.
  • On Exo Squad, Marsala does this once. Oddly, in a much later episode, the Neo Megas sorta pull one on him.
  • Gargoyles:
    • In the episode "Revelations", as an initiation into the Illuminati, Matt Bluestone leads Goliath into a trap set by Mace Malone at the Hotel Cabal, where they intend to break him mentally and then interrogate him. Matt ultimately reveals his true intentions when he saves Goliath from being outright killed by Mace. Viewers learn in the end that Goliath was in on it from the beginning. Additionally, Matt gets into the Illuminati regardless, as the only person who realized his intentions was Mace, who is left trapped in the hotel for his failure and driven insane.
    • In "Protection", Elisa goes undercover as a Corrupt Cop to get evidence on Draco's protection racket. Out of the loop, Goliath and Broadway notice what appears to be strange behavior and are confused by what's gotten into her. However, they pick it up fast enough and even join in the deception to help bring Draco down.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero:
    • In the two-parter "The Traitor", Cobra learns that the Joes have developed an armor treatment that makes their vehicles impervious to their weapons, the Twins approach Dusty and offer to pay his mother's medical bills in exchange for the formula. At first, Dusty only gives them information on the Joes' strategy to stop their next attack, but as the expenses pile up, he eventually steals the formula and turns it over to them, which is followed by Duke being knocked into a coma when a "trap" he and Flint set for Dusty backfires and he's trapped on an oil rig that explodes. Dusty is convicted at court martial and given a life sentence, but Cobra attacks as he's on his way to prison and break him out. Fully indoctrinated with the bad guys, he leads two Cobra raids on chemical plants to acquire materials for their mind control gas and even helps capture an entire squadron of Joes. When Cobra Commander gives Dusty the honor of testing the mind control gas on the captured Joes, Dusty instead releases the gas into the main chamber, where it corrodes the armor-treated Cobra vehicles and Mooks, then frees the Joes and escapes. It turns out that the Joes knew the armor treatment was unstable and wanted Cobra to get it, so Duke and Dusty came up with the plan to get the formula into their hands... but nobody else knew that Dusty's defection was all an act. (Also, the chemical combination that created the mind control gas could also be turned into a compound that neutralized the armor treatment, resulting in the hilarious scenes of both tans and uniforms completely disintegrating.)]]
    • The DiC Entertainment continuation did this in the episode "Shadow of a Doubt", where Storm Shadow (who was established to have defected from Cobra between the events of the Sunbow series and the DiC series) appeared to be returning to Cobra but was actually faking it to help the Joes take down Cobra's secret base.
  • A later episode of Kim Possible refers to this as "Scenario 17", which Kim's Cousin Larry executed against Professor Dementor with remarkable skill and cunning, only because he believed it was a LARP session for his birthday.
  • The episode "Operation Beifong" from The Legend of Korra reveals that Zhu Li only pretended to betray Varrick so she could get close to Kuvira and sabotage the superweapon the Earth Empire is trying to build.
  • Duke from Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series feigned returning to a life of crime after an old member of his mob came to Earth to find out what he was stealing, and why, for Dragaunus.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends:
      • In "The Return of Tambelon, Part 3", the heroes join up with a renegade Mook to infiltrate the Big Bad's city, but are led into an ambush instead. It appears that he lied to the heroes about his intentions and led them into a trap, and they bemoan their mistake in trusting him, but in Part 4 this is subverted when it's revealed that he was entirely sincere, but was himself sold out to Grogar.
      • In "Crunch the Rockdog, Part 2", Wind Whistler pretends to betray the other ponies to Crunch and to sympathize with his ruthlessness and lack of empathy, in order to work up to a pretense of offering him Megan as a victim in order to let the latter get close enough to use the Hearstone on him.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
      • In "The Cutie Map", despite all of the fake smiles that the Equal Ponies put on, Fluttershy finds them genuinely charming. It's this kindness that allows her and the rest of the Mane Six to convince cult leader Starlight Glimmer that Fluttershy is interested in joining them when all Fluttershy really wants to do is find their cutie marks. This later gets exploited again by the Mane Six to expose Starlight Glimmer as a Hypocrite who doesn't follow her own philosophy.
      • In "School Raze", Sandbar looks like he's thrown the non-pony students under the bus when he tells Neighsay he doesn't want anything to do with them, and he didn't tell his friends either. Cut to the next scene and he's run off to get the Crusaders for help and they rescue the others.
  • NASCAR Racers: In "Duck Out of the Way", Fastex Team's chief mechanic leaves Fastex and joins Rexcor to find out how Rexton was sabotaging Fastex cars.
  • The 1960's Secret Squirrel series episode "Not So Idle Idol" had Secret pretend to switch sides in order to locate an idol stolen by Yellow Pinkie.
  • The Simpsons did this one too. In the episode "A Star is Torn" has Homer acting as Lisa's agent in an American Idol-like contest. After a fight, Homer pretends to desert Lisa and team up with Johnny Rainbow. At the end of the episode, Homer is revealed to actually be sabotaging Johnny Rainbow's chances all along.
    Homer: He's about to learn the most important lesson in the music business: don't trust people in the music business.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "A Fool's Hope", Ryder Azadi, on Ezra's suggestion, pretends to sell out the Rebels to Governor Pryce in order to lure her into a trap. Ryder goes so far as to keep up the role during the fight between the Rebels and Imperials at the rebel base, sticking to the rear and not firing at the Imperials, so they buy it until The Cavalry can get there.
  • In Steven Universe, "Navy" Ruby claims to want to join up with the Crystal Gems. It's really just a ruse to steal their spaceship, while also getting to see the looks on their faces as they're betrayed.
  • In the third episode of TaleSpin's pilot series, "Plunder & Lightning", Kit Cloudkicker pretends to betray Baloo, Molly and Rebecca in the Iron Vulture to his former mentor Don Karnage, to allow them to escape. The fake deception is so convincing and surprising that Baloo believes himself betrayed, and angrily leaves Higher For Hire with the Sea Duck to Louie's to party his cares away, until he hears Kit desperately radio for help in the fourth episode.
    • Watching that scene, it seems that the only reason Karnage bought it was because Baloo himself bought it... he seemed fairly skeptical, then looked at the unfeigned rage on Baloo's face and that's what sold him on it.
    • That and Kit actually went so far as to snap at Molly and make her cry.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the episode "The Wrath of Tiger Claw," Karai pretends to believe the Turtles that Splinter is her real father, so she and Tiger Claw can infiltrate the lair. Once she arrives, however, she realizes that it is in fact the truth, and defects for real during the climax of the episode.
  • Both Cyborg and Robin do this in Teen Titans (2003). Robin was less successful, as Slade has already figured out who "Red X" is.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures, of all shows, pulled this off with Plucky Duck. With Acme Looniversity due to play its hated rival, Perfecto Prep, in the championship game, Plucky seems to betray his Looniversity friends and begin giving Perfecto Prep inside knowledge of the Looniversity's game plan, up to and including a copy of their playbook. On game day, Plucky gives Perfecto Prep advanced knowledge of the plays the Looniversity plans to use...and the Prep students suffer a humiliating defeat, with the final play not only being completely different from Plucky's signal but with Plucky himself scoring the game-winning touchdown. In the end, it's revealed that Plucky was made into a fake defector to sabotage Perfecto Prep's attempts to cheat.
  • Rogue does this is Wolverine and the X-Men (2009), but the X-Men actually don't believe her at first and lock her up when she comes to warn them about the Brotherhoods plan until they start doing exactly what she said they would do. This is because it seemed she had done this in an earlier episode only to lure the X-Men into a trap. It's ambiguous as to whether she was pulling a fake defection all along, or legitimately joined the Brotherhood, only to later change her mind and claim she was so the X-Men would take her back.
  • Raimundo pulls this off on one of the Big Bads in Xiaolin Showdown. His efforts were aided by the fact that he once actually did it for real.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • The truth of Kaldur's supposed Face–Heel Turn.
    • Red Tornado was this in the first season. He seemingly defects the Justice League for his evil siblings Red Torpedo and Red Inferno but it turns out he did it in order to locate their creator T.O. Morrow.

    Real Life 
  • Sicinnus: the private tutor of Themistocles' children took a message to King Xerxes at the Battle of Salamis advising him to attack. Whereupon the Persian fleet fell into an ambush.
  • During the Three Kingdoms of China, this sort of trick was sometimes pulled. In 228, for example, Zhou Fang, the commander of Wu's Poyang commandery, offered to surrender the city of Huan to the Wei general Cao Xiu. The whole thing was a plot to draw Cao Xiu out and kill him, as he'd been a major thorn to the Wu empire for years. Some of Cao Xiu's colleagues realised it was most likely a trap and tried to warn the Wei Emperor, but Cao himself realised he'd been had and tried to withdraw before falling into the trap. Wu's forces still demolished his forces and he later died of his wounds, so it was a partial success.
    • One of the most famous examples happened before the Battle of Chibi, where general Huang Gai sent letters to Cao Cao offering to defect. As Cao Cao had been receiving many such letters from various officials over the past few weeks, he had no reason to be particularly suspicious of Huang Gai. However, Huang Gai's ships pulled barges full of flammable material behind them and rammed Cao Cao's fleet, which combined with unseasonal winds sent fire raging through Cao Cao's fleet. Huang Gai himself nearly died during the course of the action but was rescued by his old friend Han Dang.
  • Eric Erickson was an American-born Swedish businessman who pretended to have converted to Nazism in order to visit Germany — and scout German petroleum facilities for targeting by Allied bombers.
  • This was actually a pretty common phenomenon during the Cold War... in order to diminish the effectiveness of REAL defectors, the USSR sent several false defectors to flood US intelligence agencies with conflicting stories. One famous example came during the Golystin-Nosenko controversy, which ultimately led to the CIA shifting completely away from human intelligence to signals intelligence (e.g. wiretapping, satellite photos, cryptography...)
  • One reason that the Germans had such poor intelligence in World War II was that one of the finishing instructors in the spy school was actually an MI6 plant, allowing them to pick up virtually every German spy in the first few weeks. It is said that no German agent sent to spy on the Western allies remained loyal to the Nazis by 1945. And most turned or died in such a short time that it may well have been their intent all along.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Vince Russo was not one, but when he left for WCW he was so bad that Vince Mcmahon and others would ask if Russo was still on their payroll.
  • In 1942, a German battalion housed in a Russian village needed to get into the rear of a Soviet unit. An 83-year-old guy named Matvey Kuzmin volunteered to lead them there for a good sum and a hunting gun. Before they left, Matvey sent his grandson ahead to warn the Soviets. The German commander shot him once the ambush became obvious, but the 50 dead and 20 captured men were enough to make Matvey the oldest ever Hero of the Soviet Union.
  • Similarly, Ivan Susanin is mistakenly attributed the heroic deed of a Cossack named Mykyta Halahan that led to the Battle of Korsuń. Halahan deliberately allowed himself to be captured by the Poles so as to "reveal" the location of the Cossack camp under torture. In fact, he led them into a thick forest, allowing the Cossacks to ambush and slaughter the enemy. Halahan himself was killed by the Poles once they learned of the betrayal. In the public consciousness, Susanin is the one to lead the Poles into a swamp. They killed him but couldn't find their way back and drowned. In fact, Susanin was tortured to death by the Poles because he refused to reveal the location of the Cossacks, and his surviving family was exempt from all taxes as a reward.
  • During the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, a Serbian knight named Miloš Obilić pretended to defect to the Ottomans. He was brought before Murad I, at which point he took out a concealed blade and killed the sultan before the sultan's bodyguards killed him in turn. It didn't really help the Serbs much, though.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Face Heel Mole



The Akuma Clan captain Kappado pretends to be swayed by Gabra's words in order to get his hands on the reversal serum developed to stop his evil plan.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / FakeDefector

Media sources: