Our heroine has talked her way past a security checkpoint on her way to uncovering the government's dirty secrets... almost. Just as she's about to round the corner, though, the guard cries, "Hey, wait!" Our hearts pound she's been caught!
But no the guard just wanted to tell her she left her keys on his desk. Or she's to report to Drill Sergeant Nasty for a potato-peeling Mini-Game. Or it's past time for her shift guarding the Easily Rescued Prisoner's cell. A Cat Scare for The Infiltration, if you will.
- Subverted in Cyborg 009: In Albert's Backstory, he was trying to pass the Berlin Wall. Everything checks out, but as he starts driving through, the guard realizes he still has Albert's wallet and calls out "Hey, wait!" Albert panics and floors it; it didn't end well.
- In Digimon Adventure, this is played with. Wizardmon successfully lies that he is going to relieve Bakemon, and talks him into handing over the key to Myotismon's coffin.
- One Piece: Happens to Usopp in the G8 arc, just after he's disguised himself as a marine. The soldier stopping the pirate just scold him for his uniform being in disarray.
- Done again in another anime filler during Water 7 in which Zoro has helped a mother and her foster kids get out of trouble with a debt collector. Zoro, who's been trying to escape from her, is finally let go and heads off to re-join with his crew. Until the mother tries to call out to him for something. He starts running, assuming she wants him to do something for her. Turns out she was trying to return his shirt that she had washed for him earlier.
- Early on in Yu-Gi-Oh!, two of Yugi's non-duelist friends stow away on the ship carrying Yugi and Jonouchi to Duelist Kingdom, where official rules state that those who have no Star Chips are to be ejected from the island. On the way off the boat Honda walks stiffly past the guards, who notice him... only to tell him to loosen up a bit. The non-duelists' presence on the island is not questioned at any point, even through the several periods in which they are in the presence of tournament officials who are throwing people off the island for having no Star Chips.
- Happens later when Keith attempts to sneak off with Jou's tournament finalist card while the latter is sleeping in the anime. Jou screams this, only to mumble "That's my pizza!" Turns out he's just sleep talking.
- In the Star Wars (Marvel 1977) story "The Stenax Shuffle!", Han and the others are trying to sneak past an Imperial Governor. They're almost out of range when he shouts at them to halt. Turns out he was yelling at Han for dropping his shovel.
- The aforementioned scene of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and this trope in general, is parodied in the fourth episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.
Tristan: I sure hope nobody notices we're trespassing.
Guard: Hey you...
Tristan: The irony.
Guard: Quit drawing attention to yourself. You barely qualify as a sidekick.
- Monsters, Inc..:
- When Sully is gathering up Mike's paperwork, finds the door that's left behind, and hides to see who's working after hours against the rules, Randall emerges and begins carting his scream canisters out, but suddenly pauses as if he saw Sully out of the corner of his eye. Turns out he just had to sneeze.
- Sulley has just snuck a human child into the scare factory, which is currently under thorough inspection for any sign of human children. Suddenly, a pair of Child Detection Agents run up to him. It turns out they just recognized Sulley from the company commercial and wanted an autograph.
- Toy Story 3:
- When Woody is trying to escape through the restroom window, the camera pans to the janitor looking at the mirror — in which Woody is plainly visible — and commenting in surprise. Woody gasps. Then a Rack Focus reveals a patch of scum on the mirror just big enough to obscure him, as the janitor reaches up to wipe it off. By the time his hand comes down, Woody is already out the window.
- Hilariously subverted when Barbie goes to the Bookworm wearing Ken's spacesuit to get back Buzz's instruction manual, he notices her high heels when she walks away... then just rolls his eyes and sighs.
- In Austin Powers in Goldmember:
Henchman: You didn't really think you'd get away with this, did you?
Austin: I did, actually, yes.
Henchman: It's time for your physical.
- Cry Freedom: When crossing the boarder to Lesotho, a South-African custom officer stops Woods to give him back the bag he forgot during customs check. The bag actually contains his book denouncing Apartheid and the murder of Biko. Woods averts it by stating it only contains a few travel stuff and a bible. The officer give it back to him, saying he indeed felt some papers inside.
- Detour: After dumping Charlie's body in a gully, Al returns to Charlie's car and is putting the hood up when a motorcycle cop pulls up alongside him and asks him if it is his car. A nervous Al thinks the jig is up, but the cop gives him a warning for parking with the car partially parked on the road and rides off.
- Inverted in Equilibrium: the sweepers' commander demanded Preston's ID, which was in the trunk of his car (with a puppy, which he was hiding), in a hostile tone. The scene escalates the sense of an impending shootout, just when the commander recognizes Preston, makes an excuse and turns around. And then it ends in a shootout anyway.
- The Fugitive: A cop stops Richard in the hallway of the hospital where he changed into a doctor's clothes, but he just wanted to tell Richard that his fly is down.
- In The Grifters, the male protagonist is stopped by a cop right after getting sucker-punched in a bar when one of his cons was exposed. The cop had seen him staggering, and thought he was drunk or ill and wanted to make sure if he was alright.
- In The Hoodlum, the crooks use a funeral procession to smuggle the stolen cash out of the city. The hearse is stopped at a roadblock, and while one of the cops radios in to see if it has permission to proceed, another wanders over to inspect the two limousines following it. Johnny hides on the floor (he is not wearing a jacket and so stands out from the other 'mourners'). The cop peers through the window but fails to spot him. He starts to walk back to the police car, then gets a suspicious look on his face and starts to walk back to the second limo. The crooks get nervous and grip weapons and the cop reaches the front of the car. And then re-affixes the "FUNERAL" sticker on the windscreen that had started to peel off.
- Indiana Jones
- In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy gets stopped by a sergeant and told off for having an ill-fitting guard outfit. Indy, being Indy, gets a much better fitting uniform from the sergeant. What makes it especially funny is that this is itself a subversion of a trope — Indy's first uniform didn't fit because he got it from a random guy and there's no reason a random guy would be the same size as the hero, decades of film to the contrary.
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy comes face-to-face with Der Führer himself. We are certain something bad is about to happen to our hero, or the book he's carrying (given that this is at a book burning and the book has Hebrew in it)... but no, instead he gets Hitler's (inaccurately portrayed) autograph.
- Iron Man features an extended scene that is one big Hey Wait! between Obadiah Stane (the villain) and Pepper Potts (the sidekick) after she has downloaded the files involving his conspiracy. Unusually for this trope, though, Stane does realize what happened... just after Potts gets out of his reach, and starts talking with the guy from S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Early in Layer Cake, the protagonist is stopped by a police officer under very unfortunate circumstances, this being a rare occasion in which he was carrying around his "business supplies" (tools for making cocaine ready to sell). Luckily for him, the officer just wanted to know if he had seen a prowler sighted in the area.
- Slight twist on this in Mission: Impossible (1996). Luther leaves his seat on the TGV and a train attendant walks over to him to return his cell phone. The problem is, the cell phone was rigged up to block a transmission of the MacGuffin's information, and by taking it away, Luther risked letting the info into the open.
- Ocean's Eleven: Livingston is stopped after bugging the casino's camera system...because the other employee noticed that he dropped his portable TV (which, unbeknownst to the employee, is what he's using to view the camera feeds).
- In Peeping Tom, Mark (along with the rest of the crew) is interviewed by the police. When Mark's interview finishes, he gets up and goes to the door. Just as he is about to leave, Chief Inspector Gregg calls out for him stop. Mark freezes, thinking that something he said has given him away as the murderer, only for Gregg to ask him for directions on how to get back to the studio.
- Happens in Psycho, as Marion is pulling away from California Charlie's (with the scary sunglasses-wearing cop watching) in the car she's just bought. (She forgot to get her suitcase from her old car.)
- The Red Violin: When Samuel L. Jackson's character, Moritz, enters the auction house, he tells the valet, "Don't let me forget this" (his overcoat). Later, just after he leaves the auction house, crossing the street, having stolen the Red Violin, someone calls out to him, and, in shock, he almost gets hit by a car, but it's just the valet — he forgot his overcoat.
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Peter Guillam has just stolen a file from the Circus when he's detained and grilled about his connection to Ricky Tarr (all the time the file is in his briefcase). It's not surprising he flips out and assaults Tarr afterwards.
- A View to a Kill. James Bond and Stacey Sutton are using a stolen truck to enter Zorin's mine, when they're pulled up by a security guard. Not because there's a beautiful woman in the cab with Bond, but because he's not wearing a hard hat as required.
- Who Dares Wins (1982) aka The Final Option. Terrorists in disguise as a military band are walking into the front entrance of the US Embassy, when a security officer stops them...to say they're supposed to enter through the servants entrance.
- A Deleted Scene from Star Wars The Last Jedi features Finn, Rose, and DJ, who are disguised as First Order officers to infiltrate a Star Destroyer, sharing an elevator with a stormtrooper squad. One of the troopers recognizes Finn by his old First Order numerical designation, and very seriously apologizes to him... For making small talk with an officer. He goes on to congratulate Finn (a former stormtrooper) on his promotion. Perhaps an example of Fridge Brilliance: the First Order might have tried to prevent stories of FN-2187's defection from spreading in order to suppress similar dissent from the other troopers.
- Inverted in Medalon, in which one of the heroes calls the guards back to make another innocent remark to make their situation seem more plausible.
- In the third Noob novel, the protagonists are masquerading as players from the Coalition, their enemy faction, to better investigate strange things happening in a forest near the enemy capital. The phenomenon they are investigating attracts the attention of Non-Player Character city guards. When they get interrogated by the guards, the team Manchild spins a coverup tale so irrealistic by the setting's standards that it's almost an accidental Refuge in Audacity. When the quest finally gives the protagonists the opportunity to ditch the guards, one of the guards calls them out: it turns out the guards came on flying mounts that can carry double, and they were just asking the protagonists if they wanted a ride into town.
- In Tea with the Black Dragon, Mayland Long infiltrates a building to investigate one of the villains. As he exits an elevator, he hears someone shout "Hold it!" ... but she just wants him to hold the elevator for her.
- Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River: The bomber is surprised by a security guard while he's arranging the bomb at Glen Canyon Dam, but the guard is merely asking if everything is OK, not having realized what the bomber is actually aiming for.
- In an episode of Angel, Fred has to dress as a showgirl, complete with green body paint, to get past security in order to rescue Lorne the empath demon from captivity as a Vegas act. She manages to evade uncomfortably lascivious conversation with the guards, and slips by, only to be stopped...because she missed a spot of paint on the back of her neck, and really ought to fix it before she goes out on stage.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 5 episode "Spiral", two of the Knights of Byzantium get one of their order released from the mental hospital by signing some papers. As they walk away, the nurse yells "hey!" and one of the knights gets his dagger ready, but it turns out all they did was forget to give back her pen.
- Friends: In "The One That Could Have Been", Joey hires Chandler as his assistant and keeps ordering him around asking for her juice without pulp. Chandler impulsively writes his first Archie collums that "Archie hired James as his assistant/butler and keeps ordering him to bring milshakes that don't have lump in them". When he hesitantly tells Joey these exact words, Joey says that something sounds familiar about the book. Chandler believes that Joey found out that Chandler wrote the book about the way Joey treats him. However, Joey only finds it familiar because he thinks he read a story like this before.
- In an episode of Good Luck Charlie, PJ and Gabe accidentally spill grapejuice on their yellow couch and replace it with a green one that looks identical to the one they used to have hoping their parents would be fooled. Amy at first suspects that something looks different, but claims that it's only because a nearby living room ornament is out of place and moves it. However, she quickly subverts this trope by exclaiming "Lucky for you guys, I always hated that yellow couch!" as she is walking up the stairs. Bob only suspects "the new old couch" because he keeps losing his phone in it.
- In Jonas, Kevin and Nick sneak into detention to rescue Joe so their band could record its final deadline. Mr. Spencer, the teacher monitoring the students at detention, enters the room. Nick and Kevin narrowly hide their faces with a vase and a makeshift skeleton respectly. Mr. Spencer yells out "AHA!!!" and walks over to Nick worrying Joe that his brothers have been caught and that he would be in even more trouble. Fortunately, Mr. Spencer was actually walking over to straighten up a science fair banner on the wall next to Nick. Later, when the brothers are performing a small concert in the school hallway, Mr. Spencer walks in on them straightens up a bake sale banner and leaves completely ignoring their performance.
- In Merlin, 1x04, when Gwen goes to deliver the meal to the jailed Arthur to find out if he successfully retrieved the Mortius Flower, this occurs just as she's leaving, with the flower on her tray, but it turns out that the guard just wanted a bite from the food Arthur rejected.
- Often used for the Commercial Break Cliffhanger on Mission: Impossible.
- In Robin Hood Djaq disguises herself as a serving girl and walks past Guy of Gisborne. Hey Wait... he just wants to remind her to keep the Sheriff's cup full.
- In the 1984 miniseries of V (1983), La Résistance is infiltrating a press conference using a forged security pass. Even though the pass has just been checked electronically, one of the Visitors insists on looking at it closely for no apparent reason.
- On one episode of Better Call Saul, Mike sneaks into the Madrigal warehouse. He goes past the breakroom and an employee yells out to him—to come sign another employee's birthday card.
- Towards the end of Detroit: Become Human, this happens at a military checkpoint where Kara, Alice and optionally Luther have just managed to pass for humans and are allowed through, only for the (heavily armed) guard to call out to them after walking a short distance away. At this point, you can either play it cool and calmly turn around to ask what's wrong, or trust Kara's/Luther's instincts (that you've been found out), to spin around, pull a hidden gun and shoot the guard in the face before he has time to react. If you play it cool, you find out that Alice dropped her glove at the checkpoint, and he just wanted to give it back. Even if you shoot the guard, you still escape the area, although Alice will not be as happy with the outcome.
- At the beginning of Fahrenheit, the main character has just killed a man in the bathroom of a diner. If you try to leave through the front door, the cashier calls for you to stop. You can either stop and listen, or bolt out the door anyways; in either case, she was only trying to remind you to pay your bill. Paying your bill or bolting changes the cashier's testimony when the detectives (your other Player Characters) question her.
- In Fallout 2, if you infiltrate a base in old-fashioned power armor, a sergeant notices, and then sends you to get some spangly new power armor from the Armory. Note that he's absolutely furious, because he naturally assumes that you've lost it and are trying to play off like you never had any. Sergeant Dornan is probably the best character in the game simply for the dialogue you get if you talk to him while not wearing the Mark II Power Armor. Even better: he stops you for wearing the second-best armor in the game to order you to go equip the best armor.
- In Final Fantasy IX, Steiner is trying to smuggle Princess Garnet across the border to Treno, by posing as a travelling labourer while Garnet hides in a sack of pickles he's carrying. As he's about to walk out of the other side of the border control point, a guard yells after him to stop... because all the necessary paperwork has been completed and Steiner's new passport is ready.
- In Final Fantasy VI, the guard in Celes' room seems to wake up when Locke rescues her. He's actually just sleepwalking.
- In Final Fantasy VII, this happens when Cloud sneaks into Junon, and he has to go march in a parade.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, while infiltrating a missile base, the first guard you encounter inside the facility will stop you and, depending on the option you chose beforehand, will warn you not to run on the catwalks, compliment you on your marching formation, or chastise you for walking strangely (when you're very obviously trying to hide your faces from him).
- One part in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has you needing to sneak inside a building and don a scientist's uniform. However, one easy way to get into the building is don the uniform outside and let a guard see you. Rather than shooting or raising an alert, they'll mistake you for an escaping scientist and escort you back inside! Unless you're in an unreachable position, of course, which instead it's easier to just shoot you.
- Grand Theft Auto V has a mission where Franklin is trailing an architect at a construction site (Long Story) and gets told off by a worker at the entrance. It is not for the fact he is someone who more than likely has no business there, but he needs to wear a hard hat.
- Even funnier is that it is possible this mission takes place not long after Franklin was in a massive shootout at that same construction site.
- The Dentist Trailer for PAYDAY 2 has Dallas in the waiting room of a dentist office when he leaves for his appointment. He is stopped by a cop who is tries to give Dallas his wallet back (Dallas insists it is not his). Of course given what happens during the appointment, his jumpiness is well justified.
- The Order of the Stick: Used in "Oddly, He Can Still Get Dressed in Under a Minute". Roy, disguised as (and gender-changed into) a woman thinks s/he's been caught by "Kaboom" Redaxe... but the perverted dwarf just want to give "her" his room number.
- In San: Three Kingdoms Comic, Dong Zhuo caught Lu Bu making out with Diao Chan and gave chase. When cornered, Dong Zhuo just revealed that Lu Bu that the latter left his wallet on the former's room.
- In the Adventure Time episode Death in Bloom, as Finn and Jake are sneaking around in the Land of the Dead, a skeleton yells Halt! He was talking to his friend, Halt.
- Variation in American Dad!: While Stan is away, Steve and his friends go into his study and accidentally flies and crashes a Predator drone. When Stan returns, he calls Steve to the study, noting that the Predator computer shifted while he was gone (and repeatedly, just to build the tension). Then he announces he is wrong and it is where Steve had left it, and tells him to forget about it. Double Subverted when moments later Stan can't connect and finds it missing from its hangar.
- Also happens with one of the gold poop subplots.
- Turlington might as well be this trope incarnate.
- Happens quite a bit on Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- For example, when entering Omashu with Aang dressed as an old man, the guard lets them through, pauses, then makes Sokka carry the old man's pack.
- And again, when trying to lay low in to the Fire Nation, the guards notice he's acting highly suspicious, and force him to attend the school whose uniform he stole off a clothesline.
- Then, just a few minutes later, as the guards are dropping him off in class, the teacher declares that something is wrong! He didn't bow to her, so he must be... from the colonies.
- The Batman: Detective Yin tells Bruce Wayne, "I know your secret." It turns out that the "secret" she's figured out is that he's actually an intelligent and caring person rather than the shallow playboy he pretends to be.
- The Beatles: John says "Hey, wait!" when two Pauls turn up in "No Reply". One of the Pauls is a master of disguise.
- In an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn meets Bruce Wayne after she's been set free for having served her sentence at Arkam and covers the top half of his face, saying she recognizes that chin. Bruce thinks that his secret identity has been blown, but it turns out that she was recognizing him as Bruce Wayne- the man who's gala she and the Joker had crashed during a heist.
- Superman: The Animated Series; a janitor working at a prison is about to enter a wing where electronic devices aren't allowed. Being an idiot who doesn't want to relinquish his headphone set to the checkpoint guy, he stuffs it in his pocket. The guard at the checkpoint seems to notice this, and stops him; but it's actually because of the janitor's watch. (And as expected, there's a reason for this rule - Live Wire's cell is in the wing - which the careless janitor soon discovers.)
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Infernal Slumber" where Mac spends the whole night trying to keep his friends' voices down when they invite themselves over for a sleepover, he spends the morning trying to distract his mom so she doesn't catch them sneaking out. We hear her call his name, he panics because he thinks she caught them. It just turns out she saw how clean their apartment is (that Wilt did) and thanks him for doing that. After she leaves, the friends break a hole in their roof to take back their photos. This trope happens again when she opens the door and appears to notice the hole in the roof. Turns out she just forgot her purse.
- Regular Show: Happens in J.G. Quintel's student animation "2 in the AM PM" when a cop visits the gas station while Quintel's and Sam Marin's characters are hallucinating on LSD.
- In the The Simpsons episode "The Springfield Files", Burns comments that Smithers will be spending the weekend doing "something gay, no doubt''. Smithers sputters a bit until it becomes clear that Burns means "light-hearted, fancy-free".
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: "Heroes on Both Sides" has a villainous example. General Grievous sends a group of droids designed for infiltration and suicide bombing to destroy a Coruscant power plant. The droids are built to look like sweeper-droids in their disguised forms, and have fake permits to enter the secured zone. After a clone sentry examines the permits, and has let the droids pass, he stops them again as they're about to turn around the corner... because they almost turned the wrong corner!
Commander Fox: Stupid droids...
- Star Wars: Rebels: "An Inside Man" has an inversion. A disguised Kanan and Ezra are attempting to get out of the Imperial complex while the Imperials are checking everyone's IDs, searching for the infiltrators. An elevator opens and Agent Kallus orders them inside. They get in, assuming their cover is still intact, only for Kallus to reveal he knows who they are because he's turned The Mole.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "A Pal For Gary", SpongeBob cries out, "Fluffy! Fluffy, waiiiit!" as Puffy Fluffy runs away before he punishes Gary for sending away his "friend", even though Gary literally saved him from getting eaten.
- An interesting example happened during World War 2: A German spy in the United States was attempting to get close to a military base in order to take photographs, but, while casing the area, someone tried to stop him. Thinking he'd been found out, he panicked and took his issued cyanide pill so that he would die before being captured and interrogated. Turns out, however, he wasn't being stopped for espionage... he had left his hat at a nearby café.