Jeff: Annie, no. I can't let you fall on that sword because... I farted.
Pierce: No, I farted.
Shirley: I farted.
Jeff: Guys, I wasn't doing the Spartacus thing.
The Messianic Archetype, his True Companions, and even several members of the Redshirt Army have been defeated and captured by The Empire. The Big Bad or The Dragon shows up, demanding to know who led this rebellion, presumably to drag them away for some horrific punishment. If he is given up, the rest are free to continue living.
One by one, the entire Redshirt Army stands up. They would all rather suffer his fate than turn him over to the enemy. At this point, events usually play out in one of two ways:
The villain simply decides to kill everyone, including the hero. Sure, it's more bloodshed than planned, but at least the villain's point is made.
The ploy ends up distracting the villain, allowing the hero to get the upper hand or escape.
Variations on (and parodies of) this theme have led to it becoming a trope of its own: someone else claims to be The Hero to protect the real one. There's also sometimes the inspiring subtext that "we are all The Hero; kill one and the rest still stand." Because of this wide spread, villians and their minions have learned to invoke this trope as well.
The Trope Namer is a famous scene in Spartacus which involves several Roman soldiers asking the slaves to identify Spartacus so they can crucify him. Spartacus is about to speak, when suddenly slaves left and right begin claiming to be Spartacus. Scenario 1 plays out.
Compare with Lost in a Crowd. See also/compare Decoy Leader. Also Undying Loyalty. When all of them routinely take on the identity of Spartacus, see Collective Identity, When all of them really are Spartacus, see Me's a Crowd, Doppelgänger Spin and Hivemind.
- Parodied in a Coca-Cola ad. A teacher asks his class who emptied a Coke dispenser. One student slowly stands up and says: "I did it." After that, another student also stands up and says: He did it. Guess what the others do next.
- Not to be outdone, a Pepsi commercial took the "I'm Spartacus" scene from Spartacus, but replaced the beginning with a bit where a Roman soldier finds Spartacus's bag lunch and asks who it belongs to. Because it includes a Pepsi, everyone starts claiming it's theirs. The soldier then decides that he is Spartacus and drinks the Pepsi.
- A Southwest Airlines advertisement also had a humorous take on the trope. In Medieval Europe, a defeated army lays down its arms. Then the general of the victorious army says "Who amongst you goes by the name "Fenwick?" Tell me, and the rest of you will be spared." Before Fenwick surrenders himself, a warrior claims to be him. And then, much like the famous scene in Spartacus, the entire army one by one says "I am Fenwick!" But unlike Spartacus, one soldier screws it up by approaching the real Fenwick and asking him a stupid question, revealing him to the other army. He thinks he misplaced his shield because the one he is carrying has vertical stripes and the one he owns has horizontal stripes (most likely, it was his shield the whole time, rotated 90 degrees). The commercial's narrator then says "Wanna get away?", revealing that it's part of Southwest Airline's "Wanna get away?" advertising campaign, which is known for characters making embarrassing mistakes and needing to "get away".
- In Code Geass the Brittanians announce that they intend to exile Zero, who wants to create a new area for the Japanese to live in. So he says he'll go along with it, but during the meeting he gets them to say that Zero's real identity isn't important and that anyone who shares his ideals is "Zero". Then, during the ceremony, after the announcement a cloud of smoke is released and when it clears, everyone—including a DOG—is wearing a Zero costume! And then a ship made out of an iceberg comes in to escort them! Reluctantly, the Brittanians allow them all to leave (primarily because the alternative would have been starting a massacre).
- In the Death Note manga, Mello demands to know the identity of the one acting as L so that he can kill him if the trade for the notebook goes south, threatening to kill the hostage if they don't comply. Matsuda saves Light and his dad from that dilemma by hijacking the keyboard and telling Mello that he's the one acting as L.
- At the climax of season one of Durarara!! Ryugamine outplays the people who come after fake Celty by using his position as leader of the Dollars to gather a massive crowd of Dollars at that spot and stop his pursuers in their tracks. Up until this point in the anime, people that weren't important to the plot were literally faceless and gray. When Ryugamine sent the message to everyone, the sea of gray suddenly became colored.
- In Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor, when Yumiko is put on trial for tampering with Maya's pilot data, most of the main cast confess to the crime... with the final confessor being the human computer that controls the entire island - and has data to prove that all the confessions are true. Everyone has a reasonable explaination for why they supposedly did it. Soushi wanted her off the roster because he was afraid her pluckiness would cause problems, Sakura wanted to remove a rival for top pilot, Mamoru was just screwing around in the lab and accidentally changed the data, Kenji changed the data because he made a mistake trying to change his own data to get out of piloting, Kazuki didn't want her to fight, Mizoguchi was trying to look up her measurements on the computer and accidentally messed with the data etc.
- In a Filler arc of Fairy Tail, a group of villains comes to Fairy Tail's doorstep demanding Lucy. She's willing to turn herself over since she can just as easily fight back, but her cousin Michelle offers herself as Lucy instead. Soon all the girls in Fairy Tail start calling themselves Lucy to disorient the villains; even Elfman joins in. It's all for naught in the end, though, since the villains are not there for Lucy herself, but rather the part to a Doomsday Device in her possession.
- A villainous example in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Over a dozen people attempted in some way to try and assassinate the Chairman, all of them claiming (and legitimately believing) to be The Laughing Man. It's later explained that they were all copycats inspired by a threat from the real Laughing Man.
- Happens in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: The Yomi assassin "Spark" tries to destroy the Shinpaku HQ and demands to fight Kenichi. Since he's not there, several other members claim to be Kenichi, presumably to buy him time. Spark is not fooled.
- A variant shows up in the finale of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, when Kyouka is threatening Ouka to kill her since she's the true child of Enka, the rest of the family stands up and declares that they are, establishing their family bonds. Even Chika tries to get in on it, even though it was known from the start that she really isn't.
- Zig-zagged in an early chapter of Ooku. Shogun Yoshimune stumbles over her new robes during her first formal inspection of her new harem and hears laughter from the lines of men kneeling with their faces on the floor. When she demands to know who found her clumsiness so funny a young man in a comparatively simple outfit (falsely) confesses, which so impresses Yoshimune that she selects him to be her first bedmate from the harem... thus unknowingly sentencing him to be executed.
- Awesomely subverted in Ressentiment. Halfway through the series we're introduced to the Big Bad Ehara — an MMO player who has assembled a huge military guild and is using it to threaten both the game and the real world. All members of the guild are required to have avatars identical to his. In the final chapter it's revealed that Ehara is a monkey in a zoo who inexplicably has internet access in his cage and who has copied the face and name of the guy who usually brings him food.
- Space Pirate Mito combines this with : when the Galactic Patrol demands that Aoi, currently at school, give himself up. His classmates don Aoi masks and rush out of the building. Most of them end up captured, but they were able to buy Aoi the time he needed to get away.
- A variation occurs in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. Honda/Tristan wants to tell a girl in his class that he loves her, but he's too shy to do it himself. So he gets a blank jigsaw puzzle and gets Yugi to write the message for him. Then, Jonouchi/Joey leaves the message in the girl's desk. Unfortunately, it's against the school rules, and when the teacher (who's incredibly strict, not to mention in a bad mood and looking for a student to punish) finds out, she wants to know whose puzzle it is. Yugi, Jonouchi/Joey, and Honda/Tristan all stand up and admit it, and of course, in this case, all of their statements are true.
Yugi: "I wrote the message!"
Jonouchi/Joey: "No teach, I'm the one who put the puzzle in her desk."
Honda/Tristan: "Thanks guys, but no. The message was from me." note
- In the opening of the 2000 Academy Awards, Billy Crystal inserts himself into the original Spartacus scene, with the rather pragmatic "I am totally not Spartacus!"
- Parodied twice in the first MTV episode of The College Humor Show. First a rival company, having won Patrick in a bet, come to take him a way. When asked which is Patrick, Dan steps up, claiming to be him. He then nudges Sam to do the same, who refuses. Later, Rick asks who urinated in the ball pit (it was Amir), claiming that if no one comes forward, everyone is fired. Dan claims it was him and once again no one else steps up, resulting in Dan getting fired.
- Bill Hicks used it to explain how Australia was colonized by British convicts.
(English accent) "Let me get this straight: You keep the shitty food and the shitty weather, and we get the Great Barrier Reef and lobsters the size of canoes? ...I'm Jack the Ripper." "No, I'm Jack the Ripper!" "I'm Jack the Ripper!"
- A variation appears in Batman: Gotham Adventures #35. After a jury that includes Bruce Wayne finds a man guilty of kidnapping, he grabs a gun and holds it on his defense attorney, blaming her for the verdict. Bruce intercedes, saying that he should take the blame since he persuaded the rest of the jury of the man's guilt. Then the elderly witness says that no, she should take the blame, since she was the only one to come forward and testify against him. Then the forewoman says it's her fault, since she didn't tell the judge they had a hung jury. Then other members of the jury start coming forward and claiming responsibility. The man, confounded, decides to start off by shooting Bruce. Enter Robin.
- Bio a.k.a. Orlando of theLeague of Extraordinary Gentlemen was one of the slaves present at the trope namer. S/he recalls with bemusement how the Romans let him/her go just for standing up and saying his/her name, "everybody else apparently being named Spartacus".
- In one issue of Simpsons Comics, Grampa becomes a vigilante (El Grampo) and when Chief Wiggum tries to arrest him, the other members of the Springfield Retirement Castle claim to be the real El Grampo. They dont do this because they care about Grampa but because they think that pretending to be El Grampo will result in their families paying attention to them. Wiggums response is to shoot them all, but when he is told the amount of paperwork that would entail, makes them fight each other like gladiators. The whole thing turns out to be one of Grampas nonsensical stories.
- Played straight in an issue that took place just before Civil War, wherein Spider-Man agrees to reveal his identity in front of the Daily Bugle so long as Jonah gives him the opportunity to address New York in his paper. He wrote a long article about what he does and why he does it and shows up the next day to unmask. Gathered in front of the Bugle are hundreds of people, ostensibly there to see Spider-Man unmask, and then — someone yells "I'm Spider-Man!" Dozens of people in costumes of varying quality (including Aunt May!) take off claim to be Spider-Man, so that when Peter does do it, Jonah just yells at him to stop making jokes and take some pictures.
- Following the Civil War storyline, Parker is a fugitive who gains some help from a group called Scarlet Spiders, who cast doubt on Parker's claim of being Spidey by claiming that he was a fired member of their organization, all of which claimed to work as Spider-Man.
- The Phantom: In "Hooded Justice", the fifth Phantom is transported back in time to 12th century Nottingham where he takes on the role of Robin Hood. The Sheriff captures Maraian and declares she will be executed if Robin Hood does not present himself. The Phantom steps forward and declares he is Robin Hood. Then each of the Merry Men planted throughout the crowd claims that he is Robin Hood. The Sheriff's men attempt to arrest everyone and the confusion allows the Phantom to rescue Marian.
- Played with in Emrys Revealed. Morgana threatens to kill Arthur unless Emrys shows himself, which Merlin quickly does. Then everyone else also claims to be Emrys, while almost all of them believe Merlin is lying.
- The Pony POV Series provides an example early on in the Dark World arc — Traitor Dash is dispatched by Discord to Cloudsdale to locate and kill a Rebel Leader, or else Discord will destroy the whole city (he was bluffing, but she didn't know that). The entire crowd present when she shows up claim to be the target, but TD is able to Sherlock Scan the leader out of the crowd, and after a brief fight kills her. However, it's one of the things Twilight's Memory Spell reminds Dash of that shows her the Dark World is worth saving, allowing her HeelFace Turn.
- Averted in A Scotsman in Egypt: An Inquisitor is asking for a man named Spartacus, and they all claim to be him. When the Inquisitor reveals what he has in store, however, they all point to the real one.
- Played with in The Terrible Secret of Animal Crossing. Penny demands Billy to tell her who took her papers, or else someone from a crowd of kids gets it each time he lies. A boy in the crowd named Phillip claims it was himself. Penny takes him to the back of the house, and he gives her a gut wound with his sharpened crutch before she kills him.
- In Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Peabody is about to be taken away by animal control when Sherman asks to be taken in his place because "I'm a dog!" Soon, everyone in the crowd (including some historical characters brought over from the past) stand up and declare that they too are dogs. Except for Spartacus, who says... well, you know.
- Hilariously subverted in the opening scene of the French-Canadian film 1981. The scene is the father's recollection of a WWII incident in which a radio was stolen from the Nazis occupying his Italian town. The guard threatens to shoot an old woman unless the thief, named Benito, reveals himself. One by one, every young boy in the line steps forward. Turns out that the Italian government had given a $1 check to every family who named their son after their leader, and the community was poor enough that every boy born in the last 10 years or so was named Benito.
- Used in Cop and a Half when the gangsters round up all the kids at recess searching for Devon.
- The Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers does this, in a very confusing way. Someone at the party stole the painting, and everybody has a different idea who did it. People who know they didn't start taking credit to save their loved ones, or, in Groucho's case, just to be confusing, while the real culprits remain inconspicuously silent. Harpo ends up taking the rap, and then uses sleeping gas on everyone, including, for some reason, himself.
- From Bad Girls: "I killed Fenner!" "No, I killed Fenner!" "Actually, I killed Fenner!"
- In Abbott and Costello's service comedy Buck Privates Come Home, a six-year-old orphan named Evey is discovered hiding out in an Army troop ship. She's discovered by the hated Sgt. Collins who intends to turn her over to the authorities. Behind his back, one of the soldiers makes a rude comment about Collins...
Sgt. Collins: [angrily] Who said that?
All the Soldiers: I did.
Evey: I did.
- It happens in The Commuter. The film revolves around a search for a mysterious train passenger known as Prynne. Near the end, when someone demands to know once and for all who Prynne is, the real Prynne stands up and confesses, but then the other passengers do the same thing.
- A variation occurs in the film Dangerous Beauty. When poet/courtesan, Veronica Franco, is brought before the Holy Inquisition for her "role" in spreading The Plague that is afflicting Venice at the time, she is sentenced to death for her crime. Just then, her lover/favorite client, Marco, points out the hypocrisy of the ruling, since she was not alone in bringing God's wrath to the city state, and that her clients, and any other john who had procured a courtesan, was guilty in engaging in sinful activities, but were not prosecuted because the Church refused to go after the rich and powerful. After calling on all the other men in the court to stand and admit their guilt, the Judge is about to have him arrested when Veronica's other clients, and all the other men in attendance, stand to admit their guilt of having at one point or another acquiring the services of a prostitute.
- In The Dark Knight, when Bruce Wayne is about to turn himself over as Batman to appease the Joker, Harvey Dent announces that he is the Batman, and that he wishes to be taken into custody.
- Dead Poets Society: Deconstructed in the end scene. "One more outburst from you, or anybody else, and you're out of this school! Leave, Mr. Keating. I said leave, Mr. Keating." Keating opens the door, begins to walk out. "Oh Captain, my captain!" "Sit down, Mr. Anderson. You hear me? Sit down. Sit down! This is your final warning, Anderson! Again... How dare you?" "Oh Captain, my captain!" "Mr. Overstreet, I warn you! Sit down! Sit down! Sit down. All of you. I want you seated. Sit down. Leave, Mr. Keating. All of you, down. I want you seated. Do you hear me? Sit down!"
- In & Out: "I'm (x) and I'm gay!" (one gets the reply: "You can't be gay! You're a tramp!")
- In the Turkish cult Kara Murat Film Series, the enemy soldiers ask which one of the prisoners is Kara Murat at least once per movie. Every time, everyone claims to be him.
- The Eddie Murphy / Martin Lawrence prison film Life. The Warden's daughter gives birth to a Chocolate Baby, so he lines up all of his inmates and demands to know who the father is. When the inmates eventually all step forward and claim paternity, it has the added bonus of implying that the Warden's daughter has been rather busy. Not only does no one get punished, but the Warden is never seen again in the movie, presumably resigning out of shame.
- Little Annie Rooney: When Annie finally confesses to flinging the brick that spooked the horse, all her friends each say that no, they did it.
- Parodied in Lolita, when Humbert Humbert asks Clare Quilty, "Are you Quilty?"
- The Mask of Zorro, played for laughs. ("I'm Zorro!"). It's possible that the prisoners were all desperately clamoring that they were Zorro on the assumption that they would be getting out of there. It's not too much of a stretch to assume this, given the conditions of that prison. Either that or like the Spartacus example above, they knew who the real Zorro was and were trying to cover for him.
- From Meet Dave: After the Captain regains control of Dave from the mutinous Number Two, he asks the crew for their input regarding the decision of whether or not they should save Earth.
Number Three: I say we save Earth. I no longer feel like Number Three. My life began on this planet. I am Dave Ming Cheng!
Chief Engineer: I have 443 new friends on MySpace, and a J-date next week with Sheila Moscowicz. I am Dave Ming Cheng!
[one by one, other crew members from all over the ship declare proudly, "I am Dave Ming Cheng!"... except for Number Four, the security officer]
Number Four: I am Johnny Dazzles, and I am fabulous! [beat] What? Not everybody has to be Dave Ming Cheng.
- Monty Python's Life of Brian, intentionally parodies this trope by inverting it, as the "Spartacus" that they're looking for is the person whom they're going to set free. ("I'm Brian, and so's my wife!")
- In Mrs. Winterbourne, upon a police detective informing them about a recent murder, all three main characters as well as the butler each insist that they committed the murder, giving incorrect details in the process. The bewildered detective tells them that they already have the (real) confessed murderer in back of the police car parked at the curb; she just wondered about a check with the Winterbourne name on it found at the murder scene.
- Used in one of the final scenes of Radio Rebel: The principal announces that she'll expel Tara for her antics as Radio Rebel and the whole student body stands up and claims to be Radio Rebel, including, eventually, the Alpha Bitch who had mistreated Tara for most of the movie.
- In the British Made-for-TV Movie Self-Catering John Gordon-Sinclair recounts a dream he had in which he was Spartacus, and decided to keep quiet. And suddenly everyone was pointing at him and saying "He's Spartacus!"
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers twists the trope. When the townsfolk arrive to rescue the kidnapped girls and hear a baby crying, the six unwed girls claim in unison to be the baby's mother, leading to a sixfold Shotgun Wedding (exactly what the girls and their kidnappers/suitors wanted). (The baby actually belonged to the one wed couple.)
- The trope name comes from the famous (and genuinely moving) scene in Spartacus. The scene involves several Roman soldiers asking the slaves to identify Spartacus so they can crucify him, promising amnesty so long as they identify the rebel leader. Spartacus is about to speak, when suddenly slaves left and right begin claiming to be Spartacus. Eventually, they all say they're Spartacus, so the Romans just crucify all of them except Spartacus and Antoninus, who they force to fight to the death (''then'' they crucify Spartacus after he wins).
- Played straight in Stalag 17, when one of the POWs throws an ocarina and it splashes mud on the Commandant of the camp.
- Superman II: The Vice President attempts to fool General Zod by standing (er, ''kneeling'') in for the actual President. Naturally, Zod sees right through it: "No one who leads so many could possibly kneel so quickly..."
- That Thing You Do!. A repeated theme in the film, shouted by Guy. At first, it's him as a leader. Finally, when he's the last member of the band not to quit, it's a quiet irony - and the name of his drum solo with Del Paxton.
- To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar with the people of the small town all claiming to be drag queens.
- In Utilities, during the climactic courtroom hearing about a gas and electricity price hike the hero needs to stall for time and confesses that he is the wanted criminal known as "The Finger".note Then a lot of people both in the courtroom and on the streets start saying "No! I am the Finger!"
- At the end of V for Vendetta, everyone in London dons the Guy Fawkes mask and becomes "the terrorist".
- In Wild Rose, when Xiao is confessing to having picked up the drunk guy's wallet, all three of her male companions say that no, they did it. Eventually Jiang and Li are arrested.
- Subverted in A World Gone Mad, where the heroes offer up The Mole, claiming (falsely) that he's their real leader. The bad guys buy it, because only the Big Bad even knows there is a Mole. The grunts just think the Mole's protests that he's on their side are just cowardly last words. Further subverted later on; the grunts let the heroes go, but they realize the Mole was carrying all their food (and they're stuck in the middle of the desert).
- Inverted in Zodiac, where reporters afraid of being targeted by Zodiac, who has threatened reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), begin to wear buttons that say "I'm Not Paul Avery." The only one showed prominently is on Paul Avery.
- The Chinese folktale The Five Brothers features identical quintuplets who each have some kind of superpower. After one of them accidentally kills a boy (in a situation that's completely the dead boy's fault) another of the brothers is immune to the execution method he is sentenced to and stands in for him. The executioners try again the next day with a different method that another of the brothers is immune to, and so on. After they all take their turn and the trick is revealed, the judge declares that this prolonged failure of executions must indicate that the first brother is innocent, freeing them.
- There was a Caribbean folk tale about a little girl named Anna who found out her stepmother was going to sell her to a man. When Anna told her friends what was going on, they all agreed to dress like her and claim to be named Anna.
- In a Haitian variant of the story recorded in Kathleen Ragan's anthology Fearless Girls, Wise Women and Beloved Sisters the girl's name who was supposed to be sold was Tipingee, and all claimed to be her.
- A joke that's usually told like an urban legend: An airplane employee named John Gay is taking a flight using one of the free tickets he gets from his job. Not liking his assigned seat, he switches with someone else. Unfortunately, the plane is overbooked, so the flight attendant has to go and ask people to give up their seats, starting with holders of free tickets. She asks the man who took Mr. Gay's seat "Are you Gay?" He says "Well, yes, miss, I am." She says, "You'll have to give up your seat." Realizing what happened, the actual John Gay stands up and says "no, no, I'm Gay." A third man stands up and says "Hell, I'm gay too. They can't throw all of us off the plane."
- Myth Adventures: In Class Dis-Mythed, when Skeeve sneaks back to Perv, a dimension from which he's been banished, to support his students' efforts to win a reality-show contest. When he's spotted by police and about to be arrested, his students first claim he's a Skeeve impersonator from the program cast; when that fails to convince the cops, they use illusions to assume their teacher's likeness and distract them as he escapes.
- In one of the Phule's Company books, the new CO sent to replace Phule demands to know who made a wisecrack about him while hidden in the crowd of Legionnaires. Several of them step up and take the blame, including one of the two Sinthians (sluglike aliens)—whose name really is Spatacus.
- Shannon Hale's Princess Academy. The girls who were candidates to marry the prince are captured by bandits, who demand to know which is the future princess so they can hold her for ransom. (The prince actually left without making a decision, but the bandits don't believe it.) One girl speaks up and claims the prince secretly proposed to her. When another girl who hadn't even met the prince makes the same claim, the rest catch on and claim he proposed to all of them. This confuses the bandits enough that they don't dare kill anyone until they know which girl is the princess.
- Pulled off by an entire colonial New England town in the novel The Raider by Jude Deveraux. Masked vigilante and local hero Raider gets caught by the British authorities and is on trial when an impostor dressed as the Raider bursts into the room. And another. And yet another one still. Eventually, it is revealed that the entire town had come together and all dressed up as the Raider (even the cow was painted black) in order to stand by their hero and acquit the actual Raider - and it works.
- Featured twice and played with in the Star Trek novel Crossover, where Spock and his students are once again rounded up. One of the group claims to be the leader and is promptly shot. Later, the Romulans work out one of the people they're holding is Spock and demand he step forward, and everyone claims to be Spock. They ask a spy who had infiltrated the prisoners which one is Spock but he refuses to say, having been won over by Spock's teachings, and is slated to die with the others. Spock knew he was the traitor all along and was trying hard to teach him in order for at least one student to survive. (In the end, most of them escape, including the traitor.)
- This trope is perhaps the reason why all of the La Résistance members are code-named "Jacques" in A Tale of Two Cities (an early version of Anonymous, perhaps, as "Jacques" was the most common male name at the time); in private meetings, they refer to each other as "Jacques [Number Whatever]" to tell each other apart.
- The Talmud in tractate Sanhedrin brings a couple of I Am Spartacus stories.
- It's kicked off by a story in which Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel brought together seven judges to declare a leap year but eight showed up and he demanded to know which one wasn't invited. This one isn't an example because one person simply took the fall for the real culprit, but it's followed by two examples.
- Rebbe was teaching and smelled garlic. He hated the smell of garlic (and everybody knew it, so there were no excuses), so he announced "Whoever ate garlic, leave." Rabbi Chiyya got up and left, but he was Rebbe's prized student and was obviously not the culprit - so one by one everyone else got up and left too, to save the real one from embarrassment.
- A woman came to the school run by Rabbi Meir, and stated that she had had relations (of a type equivalent to a binding marriage contract) with one of the students but didn't know which one. Rabbi Meir himself wrote her a bill of divorce, followed by every single one of his students, thus ensuring the divorce took place without embarrassing the student in question.
- The short story "The Three Lime Trees", by Hermann Hesse. When a young man is wrongfully accused of murder, his older brother claims to be the murderer to save him and he's released. Soon, their eldest brother comes to town to do exactly the same... and the younger brother (who didn't know his siblings were taking up the blame for the "crime") returns to the courtroom and says that he was the killer, so his siblings must be released. The judge decides to leave it to God's judgement and makes the siblings plant three lime trees by their crowns, thinking that the one that withers sooner will signal who is the true culprit... so when none of the trees wither and dry, but start growing healthy and normal, the three brothers are released.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- In William King's novel Space Wolf, when a brawl breaks out among the aspirants, their teacher demands to know who is responsible. The ones who started the fight admit it, and the rest pile in, to admit to joining. When asked if they all deserve punishment, they agree.
- In Legion, all the Alpha Legion are Alpharius, at least to outsiders. Magnificent Bastardry is their hat, and having the entire legion appear virtually alike is important to much of their scheming.
- A story in 1992 Wayne's World tie-in book Extreme Close-Up by Mike Myers and Robin Ruzan. Wayne, Garth, and friends are throwing snowballs at cars; a police car pulls up and they all run away, but Garth drops his notebook with his name in it. The next day, a police officer comes to school and asks, "Which one of you is Garth Algar?" Everyone in the classroom, in turn, stands up and says "I am Garth Algar!" all except Garth, who stands up and says "I am Spartacus!"
- In Wayside School is Falling Down, the students are pulling various pranks on the substitute teacher, Ms. Franklin. One of the boys in the class was hoping to use that day to reveal that his name is Benjamin, not Mark like everyone thinks. When Ms. Franklin asks him his name, he tells her it's Benjamin. The other kids think he's in on their pranks and when she asks the other students' names, they each say "Benjamin" which she either believes or goes along with. At the end, she claims her name is also "Benjamin."
- In Herman Wouk's The Winds of War, Leslie Slote, a diplomatic secretary from the American embassy in Warsaw during the German invasion who is timid and considers himself a coward. While traveling through German territory with other neutral diplomats an SS officer tries to separate the Jews. Slote berates the officer with an imperious lecture on national sovereignity rights and announces that either all of the party or none are to be treated as Jews.
- A villainous variation occurs in Worm, when the heroic duo Dragon and Defiant go after the supervillain Skitter in her civilian identity, a sixteen-year-old high school student. Skitter, a Villain with Good Publicity, convinces half of her fellow students to side with her, and they walk out of the school in a peaceful manner, the heroes being unwilling to potentially harm civilians to get her.
- This happens in The 4400 The 4400: when NTAC agents try to arrest teenaged Cult leader Grahamnote in "The Wrath of Graham". As his followers, who are all wearing identical hoodies, each step forward claiming to be him, the agents are so overwhelmed sorting through them that Graham manages to sneak up and use his power on them.
- One episode of Andromeda featured patients of a doctor/war criminal who were all brainwashed into claiming they were the doctor so the real one couldn't be identified.
- A variation appears in Bad Girls. Larkhall is in the midst of a police investigation after the murder of Fenner, the sadistic wing governor. His killer, Julie J, can't cope with the guilt any longer and confesses to the crime. Her friend, wanting to protect her, claims that Julie J is lying, and that she is the real killer. Seeing this, another prisoner stands up and claims to be the real killer, followed by another, then another, until almost the entire wing is claiming to be the killer, due to their shared hatred of the tyrannical governor.
- In the Swiss series Best Friends, the school administration demands to know who was behind the vandalism campaign at school. Similar to Spartacus, two students stand up simultaneously, followed by the rest of the class standing up one by one.
- Subverted in the memorable episode of The Brady Bunch in which Peter breaks a vase. The gambit fails when all the kids except Peter confess.
- One storyline of Casualty had Obstructive Bureaucrat Nathan Spence pricking himself on a syringe left in a normal waste bin. It had actually been put there by a visitor to the hospital but he is determined to find a staffmember to blame and tries to get a health care assistant with mental health issues to admit he might have done it and forgotten. Team Dad Charlie, determined to put an end to the witch hunt, announces he did it. Nathan looks smug...but then a doctor says she did it. And then a nurse does the same. And the consultant.
- Used in The City Hunter: the hero arranges for fans of the City Hunter to gather outside the prosecutor's office at a certain time, all wearing black masks. The deception doesn't last long, but does provide him cover to sneak in and out (almost) unnoticed.
- In the Cheers episode "And God Created Woodman", Woody and Sam each take a turn confessing to breaking a vase that was actually broken by Rebecca.
- Spoofed on Community, where the study group is doing well in the Model UN competition Annie's roped them into, until they fall apart due to a smelly fart that no one will admit to. After melting down a bit, Annie tries to fix things by saying she did it, but then Jeff admits it. He's telling the truth, but the others assume he's trying to invoke the trope and all proudly say that they farted too. Annoyed, Jeff comments that he "wasn't doing the Spartacus thing."
- CSI: In S12, Ep2, "Tell Tale Hearts" The team run afoul of this trope when 3 different individuals confess to a multiple homicide.
- In "The New Principal" Season 4 episode of Dennis the Menace, Johnny Brady draws a picture of the principal and forges Dennis's name, which frames Dennis for detention, with John Wilson, Mr. Finch the pharmacist, and Mr. Quigley the grocer claiming to be Henry Mitchell in order to convince the principal of Dennis's innocence; when Henry Mitchell actually shows up, the principal dismisses Dennis and his neighbors in time for the baseball game.
- Doctor Who: In "The Fires of Pompeii", when Donna and the Doctor visit Pompeii, the Doctor claims that he is Spartacus when a local asks him who he is. Donna follows suit. As this is Ancient Rome, where no-one would get the reference, they're taken completely seriously.
- Lampshaded in Dog with a Blog, they had Avery explain the "truth" about what happened to their mother's car. It doesn't help that their talking dog did it, but they try to claim this trope (to protect said dog) until Chloe says, "I... am Asparagus," and the parents figure it out.
- The Fugitive: "Nightmare at Northoak" ends with a variation of this: Inspector Javert Gerard accuses a small-town sheriff of having helped Kimble (who'd rescued several of the town's children from a burning school bus) to escape from the local jail while awaiting extradition, and threatens to bring him before a grand jury for aiding and abetting a fugitive. The sheriff's wife then steps forward to confess to it, and Gerard tells her she'll have to be arrested...leading to a whole roomful of townspeople standing up one by one and "confessing" to him. Gerard, knowing when to fold them, only leaves silently with all the dignity he has left.
- Played With in an episode of Get Smart. Kaos agents stop a bus and make everyone get off and line up in the road. Then they ask if the Control agent traveling undercover will please step forward. He will be set free, and the others will be killed horribly. Naturally, everyone steps forward to save their own skin... except the Control agent, since no undercover agent will willingly reveal his identity. The Kaos agents let everyone who stepped forward leave and capture the Control agent.
- Gilligan's Island. In the episode "Slave Girl", Gilligan saves a native girl from drowning and she becomes his slave due to I Owe You My Life. Later on a male native threatens to kill the girl's master so he can take control of her. In order to protect Gilligan, first The Professor and then the Skipper say that they are actually her master.
- Done on Grey's Anatomy when the interns are questioned over the situation that forced Denny Duquette's heart transplant. Izzie, Cristina, Meredith and George all confess to cutting his wire, one at a time. Alex says. "I'm totally innocent." The others turn on him but he points out that he wasn't even in the building at the time.
- Happy Days had a variant where a local law enforcement official (reflecting Executive Meddling concerns) goes after Fonzie because of his black leather jacket, which makes him look like a thug. By the end of the episode, everyone is wearing one in solidarity.
- Heartbeat did an episode involving some Chinese travellers poaching Lord Ashfordley's trout stream, and also teaching Peggy and David how to go about it. When the bobbies demanded to know who was responsible, everybody confessed.
- The fourth season of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys had a slight variation. In the episode "Hercules on Trial" a prosecutor declares that Hercules is a criminal, whereupon numerous people claim "I am Hercules punish me." In this case the judge knows perfectly well who the real Hercules is, but is so impressed by the show of support that he says "Case dismissed I am Hercules too".
- Happens in House of Anubis where everyone decided to claim they were the ones who took the key to the attic in order to protect Nina (Who did actually confess after everyone else honestly said it wasn't them, leading for Fabian to jump up and claim he had lied and she was actually just covering for him.) In the end Victor simply punished everyone, including someone who wasn't even involved in the scene to pretend they took the key in the first place.
- In the first part of the How I Met Your Mother season 7 finale "Magician's Code: Part 1", Marshall and Barney are riding a bus full of elderly citizens trying to reach the hospital where Lily is in labor. The bus drives by the hospital, but the driver says he can only stop the bus in case of medical emergency. Fortunately, all the seniors on the bus start proclaiming that they have a heart attack forcing the driver to pull over so that Marshall can see the birth of his child.
- Played straight in The Invaders, when aliens disguised as military demand to know which of the intruders on their base is David Vincent. Fortunately Vincent has at least managed to convince the others that the soldiers are fakes.
- JAG: Lampshaded in "Desert Son". Harm and Reed get into a fist fight. Later, General Butler demands to know who started it. In unison, both men declare "I did!" General Butler is not impressed, and demands that someone explain to him what happened.
- Justified, at the end of the first season:
Gunman: We just want Raylan Givens!
Raylan: I'm Raylan Givens!
Boyd: No, I'm Raylan Givens!
Raylan: Are you tryin' to be funny?
Boyd: Little bit.
- In the Law & Order: SVU episode "Pop", the detectives know that either the titular (and Asshole Victim) dad was killed by his son or his wife. The evidence points to both equally. Both of them confess to it, ensuring the detectives can't charge either one.
- In the third episode of the Legend of the Seeker, the mother of the Seeker speaks up during an inquiry and rouses her village to defy the D'Hara. Afterward, she reveals her identity to them, thus condemning herself to punishment, which inspires the rest of the women of the village also speak up and claim to be the Seeker's mother as well. Though, it turns out she's not either.
- Spoofed in the Lexx parody of A Midsummer Night's Dream. To get Stanley out of marrying Oberon, Puck transforms himself, Xev, and Kai into identical Stanley clones. At Oberon's demands, all of them claim to be the real Puck and to be the real Stan. (Their wording and delivery makes it clear who's whom, but Oberon reasons that Stan is disguised as the least desirable prospect and winds up sealing a 1500-year vow with Titania the bearded dwarf wench.)
- In the first episode of Life on a Stick, Mr. Hut demands to know who was misusing the deep fryer. Laz confesses, but then so does everyone else in the stall.
- Luke Cage (2016): Luke, on the run due to being framed as a cop killer, ends up saving Method Man from a convenience store robbery by two inept crooks. Out of gratitude, Method Man trades his hoodie with Luke to help him hide from the cops. After that, he freestyles on the radio about his encounter, during which we see a montage of black men around Harlem donning bullet-ridden hoodies to confuse the police and show solidarity with Luke.
- Done in Madan Senki Ryukendo. The people of Akebono pretend to be Ryukendo while Kenji, the actual Ryukendo, is figuring out how to break down the dome covering the city. Dr. Worm and the Mooks are confused by the Spartacus act, as evidenced by the number of question marks that appear above their heads.
- The Man in the High Castle: In season 3, a bounty hunter tracks down a small community of Jewish refugees posing as Catholics somewhere in the Neutral territories. After he holds one of them at gunpoint, Frank Fink, who is still alive, stands up and tells him to take him instead, since he's also a Jew. One by one, everyone else also stands up and tells him to take them too, before he's shot from a distance by a gun-toting resident.
- A variation appeared in the episode "Operation Noselift". A plastic surgeon visits the 4077th to perform a nose job on a soldier. When Major Burns gets wind of this unauthorized 'elective surgery', he tries to find out who's had a nose job. Unfortunately for Frank, everyone in the camp chooses to wear bandages on their noses, even the camp mascot, thus foiling Frank yet again.
- Another variation occurred in "Officers Only" when the camp got a new Officer's Club as a thank you for saving a general's son. The club was creating tension between the officers and enlisted men, who were not allowed in the club. When said son, a sergeant, came into the club, Hawkeyes pointed out it was officers only, but suggested an exception for relatives. When the general agreed, Hawkeye proceeded to bring in everyone in camp, claiming a convoluted family tree that made everyone related to him.
- Alex in Modern Family proposes this as a way for she and her siblings to get out of being collectively punished for burning the couchnote , but it's actually a trick to get Luke, the dumbest of the three, to take the blame.
- Monk: In "Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger", Willie Nelson is the prime suspect of a murder. Captain Stottlemeyer arrives at the radio station to arrest him after a performance of his song "Georgia on My Mind". His three bandmates all step forth and say, in sequence, "I'm Willie Nelson." Given who Willie Nelson is, it doesn't work so well.
Willie Nelson: Don't think they're going for it, boys.
- Naturally, Sadie: In "Unusual Suspects", Sadie and Dr. Finch both confess to being the one who broke into Finch's store, each trying to protect the other. Ultimately the police decide no crime has been committed and let them go.
- NCIS: In S10 Ep11, a reporter, whose story might have falsely implicated some sailors in a crime, is found dead which results in them being called in. They all confess to killing the reporter. Tony later lampshades the four sailors.
- Used in an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide about embarrassment. Suzie "blasted the pants cannon" and Ned claims that he was the one responsible but that he is not embarrassed. He then says "I am Fartacus!", causing the rest of the class to stand up one by one and make this claim. The Alpha Bitch declares that she is totally not Fartacus...only for her to pass gas a few seconds after saying so. She reluctantly stands with the rest of the students.
- A variant occurs in "The Quad-Plex" episode of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn. The quads spend most of the episode trying to hide the fact that they are at the movies with their parents from the popular guy in their class, Moses. After finally being found out, other friends of theirs stand up in the theater to announce they are also with their parents.
- On the Soap Opera Port Charles, a sleazy reporter has come to the hospital having somehow found out that one of the staff members is HIV-positive. As he begins harassing the employees, including, unbeknown to him, the very nurse in question, one staff member after another begins to identify themself as the one with HIV.
- Final episode of Power Rangers in Space "Countdown to Destruction" played straight, which had the entire city of Angel Grove, starting with Bulk and Skull, telling the villains that they were Power Rangers. Made all the more epic, in that many of them were shown doubting the Power Rangers the night before. It's also played parallel to the Ur-Example when Astronema, who was the recipient, orders her monsters to just destroy everyone in Angel Grove. (Fortunately, the actual Power Rangers showed up in the nick of time.)
- Played straight in an episode of Radio Free Roscoe when Principal Waller insists that Question Mark identify himself. Robbie stands up, but before he speaks another character jumps up and says 'I am Question Mark'. Cue the entire assembly standing up and identifying itself as Question Mark.
- Salute Your Shorts: In one episode, after Michael and Sponge sneak out of the bunk to make an illicit phone call, hanging up on Ug's girlfriend in the process, Ug storms into the mess hall the next morning and demands to know who was sneaking out. Everyone stands up, except Sponge, who is nearly asleep. Ug sarcastically notes that Sponge was the only one who wasn't sneaking around.
- In the episode "Vow of Silence" of The Sentinel, one of the monks had before he joined the community been a labor organizer who had turned State's Evidence on the mob. A group of hit men had tracked him down and had the monks corralled. When they asked who was "Jackie Kozinski", all of the monks claimed to be him.
- The Sesame Street "Monsterpiece Theater" sketch "Me, Claudius" is a parody of this: it consists entirely of a bunch of Muppets arguing over which one of them is Claudius.
- In opening the Grand Finale of Spartacus War of the Damned, Spartacus has his men attack multiple Roman cities. At each one, soldiers declare "I am Spartacus" in the hope of confusing Marcus Crassus. It doesn't work. And then at the very end, the last scene in the credits is the late Andy Whitfield reminding us all that he is Spartacus.
- Lampshade Hanging in Stargate SG-1 episode "Insiders" where all the Ba'als claim to be the real Ba'al, and Mitchell refers to them as "Spartacus" (somewhere in the midst of the hurricane of baseball puns prompted by the name "Ba'al" and the word "ball").
- In a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Spock is on Romulus, secretly teaching Vulcan philosophy to a group of young Romulans. When they're caught and the authorities demand they identify Spock, they all claim to be Spock. Considering the authorities' entire goal was to get the students to give up Spock—one of those "recant or die" ultimatums—and this was more of a gesture of defiance than anything else... which is typically Romulan, not Vulcan, so one assumes the students still had much to learn.
- The basic premise of To Tell the Truth, where contestants 1, 2, and 3 start off by claiming "My name is John Doe, and I (do unusual activity)." The real claimant to the unusual activity stands up at the end, and the impostors reveal their real names and occupations.
- A villainous variation occurs in The Walking Dead. After interrogating a Saviour about the whereabouts of his boss, Negan, the man replies, "I'm Negan." Later, when the real Negan is trying to break Daryl, he points to each of his men and asks them who they are. Every one of them replies with "Negan".
- Negan: I am everywhere.
- Done in Season Eight of Waterloo Road. Barry Barry begins to sexually harass Miss Diamond, even breaking into her house and stealing her underwear. When he reveals this during a sexual health class, she slaps him without thinking. Barry, in an effort to get her fired, tries to make everyone in the class publicly admit they saw it happen. They respond by each coming forward and saying they were the one who slapped Barry. Miss Diamond still ends up resigning though.
- The Wonder Years episode "Day One" has Kevin being picked on by a tyrannical political science teacher. At one point he absentmindedly tears a sheet of paper from his notebook, violating one of the teacher's study-hall rules; the teacher whips around, demanding, "Who did that?", sees Kevin with the sheet in his hand, and begins to assign him a week's detention...when the rest of the class begin tearing sheets out of their notebooks, one by one.
- The first season of Xena: Warrior Princess did this, in the episode "The Black Wolf". An entire village stands up claiming to be the vigilante ninja who protects them from the local warlord, and the warlord takes them all hostage against the reveal of the real thing.
- The boys intentionally set this up during "Prank Week" in Zoey 101 to save Zoey from getting expelled.
- Forgotten Realms lore has one of these, too. Such is the mystery of Phlambror's death. "He was murdered by an enraged husband, and no one was ever punished for the crime despite the garthraun arresting a man red-handed (literally bloody-handed, over the body). As it turns out, no less than four hundred men came forward to claim that they'd slain Phlambror."
- The Warhammer army book for the Skaven relates a tale that's a direct parody of the Trope Namer. In it, a Skavenslave named Scabbicus launches a slave revolt against his Skaven rulers. When the rebellion is put down, the slaves are promised amnesty if they give up Scabbicus. Ten thousand slaves immediately point Scabbicus out - after which they're all executed anyway, of course.
- The Alpha Legion of Warhammer 40,000 do this all the time. Even to their allies. Perhaps especially to their allies, since no one even knows who their allies are. "I am Alpharius." "I am Alpharius." "I am Alpharius." "We are legion, and we are one." This is turned Up to Eleven in the Horus Heresy novel "Deliverance Lost" where it is revealed that they use this trope on themselves. No one, not even in the Legion itself knows who the real Alpharius is.
- Given the fact that at least some of the Alpha Legion does serve Chaos, and many rumors point to it being Alpharius's half (the same rumors claim his twin Omegon is disguising his half as a group of loyalist chapters), it's possible that they all actually BELIEVE they're Alpharius.
- In the 7E Chaos Space Marines codex supplement which adds rules for playing as the original traitor legions, the Alpha Legion's unique rule lets them pick another character in their army and designate them as a Warlord whenever the current Warlord dies, making it almost impossible for your opponent to score Slay the Warlord unless they kill every character in your force.
- Aida has one of the other Nubian slaves claim to be Aida to prevent the real Aida's capture.
- This trope is known in Spanish as "Fuente Ovejuna", after a famous play of that name and the real history behind it by Baroque Spanish play-writer Lope de Vega. After the mob murder of a villainous aristocrat who oppressed the town of Fuente Ovejuna way too much (with his last act being the sexual harrassment of a bunch of local girls, including the female lead), all the inhabitants of the titular town (men, women, kids, old people, etc.) stand up to King Ferdinand of Aragón and Queen Isabella of Castilla in that way note Not even being subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture disuades them from keeping their secret, so the Ruling Couple ultimately decides to pardon them all while praising their Undying Loyalty to each other.
- A variation occurs in The Music Man. At the end of the play, Harold Hill has been exposed as a con man, and the people of River City are ready to tar and feather him. Marion Paroo then jumps up before the crowd and reminds them of all the joy and excitement he's brought with his schemes, and how the town's transformed for the better for it. Mayor Shinn interrupts and offers to let anyone who thinks Harold shouldn't be tarred and feathered stand. There's a momentary pause...and then Mrs. Paroo, Marion's mother, stands up. The rest of the townsfolk gradually follow her lead, with even the Mayor's wife Eulalie joining the group that wants to spare the salesman.
- In Roger Waters' The Wall concert tour, which blurs the lines between musical performance and theatrical production, the show opens with an audio recording of the actual scene from Spartacus playing over the loudspeakers. When it asks for the people to identify Spartacus and the crowd of slaves begin claiming the name, the audience at the show stands up and remains standing.
- This is attempted by both Erusea and ISAF in the last mission of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. While you as Mobius 1 have already defeated the best of Yellow Squadron, the remaining pilots and others slap their emblem on their planes. Not to be outdone, ISAF assigns a new Mobius Squadron to support you, all of their planes bearing blue ribbons and making the enemy collectively shit their pants.
- In Homare Midorikawa's route of Class Trip Crush, several of the students get caught sneaking out at night thanks to a sudden rainstorm that stranded Homare and the protagonist in a mountain cabin for several hours, prompting the other guys to go looking for them. Homare claims responsbility when they're caught by their teacher, but when the teacher says that he'll have to punish Homare by sending him home, the protagonist and each of the other guys pipes in to explain how they, not Homare, really started the trouble. Homare promptly deflates the effort by pointing out the holes in the others' stories, but their teacher is impressed enough by the unanimous gesture of solidarity that he lets Homare off with a slap on the wrist.
- In Persona 3, this happens twice between a member of S.E.E.S. and one from Strega. Junpei claims to be the leader of his group, which causes Chidori to kidnap him (though this seems to be a case of him trying to impress her). Then during October 4, Ken claims himself to be the Mission Control, and he would have been shot by Takaya if not for Shinjiro's sacrifice.
- Toward the end of the first trial day in case 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, Robin Newman confesses to being the murderer in order to protect Juniper, the defendant who otherwise would have been convicted. Then, to protect Robin, Juniper admits to the murder as well. Shortly after, Hugh O'Connor also confesses, and the trial has to be suspended for the day. Interestingly enough, the main characters later become suspicious of Hugh, and when his taking part in this is brought up, they also remember that Hugh only did so after the other two had, possibly to deflect suspicion from himself. It turns out that Hugh is, in fact, innocent, but due to his circumstances, would have been willing to take the fall for Juniper.
- Inverted in Tears to Tiara 2. The pirates call for the woman on board to come forth. Daphnis offers himself up, only to have Elissa interrupt, and one by one the actual females on board stands up. And they straight up beat the pirates and takes over the ship, no distraction needed.
- In Way of the Samurai 3, this occurs near the end of one of the endings, after you take Osei Suzuku's place to save Takatane Village. Before being executed at Lord Shuzen's hand, though, Osei shows up, claiming her (correct) place as an heir to the Sakurai clan. Then Munechika Umemiya shows up, claiming to be another heir (he's the former chief vassal). Then, one by one, each of the other villagers and Ouka clan members there claims to be an heir to the Sakurai clan. At the end of the whole thing, Shinnosuke Umemiya, a Sakurai loyalist biding his time in Shuzen's service, laughs and claims he is one more heir. The expression on Kirie Masatsugu's face when hearing this is priceless. True to the original, Shuzen orders everyone killed, even after it is pointed out he will have no one left to rule over if he did.
- In Darths & Droids, Boba Fett is desperate to find Obi-Wan and kill him in revenge. When he asks Han where Obi-Wan is, Han claims to be Obi-Wan, followed quickly by Chewbacca, and then Leia also claiming to be Obi-Wan
C-3P0: I'm not! note
- Parodied in El Goonish Shive when Elliot is dreaming about all the uncomfortable sexual tension he has with his female friends.
- A non-parody variation is when Edward Verres sees two transformed versions of Elliot (one in semi-cat form and one female), knowing that one was created by the Dewitchery Diamond (while the other was just transformed with his own son's shapeshifting technology), and asks which is the original and which is the clone. Cat Elliot (who is actually the original), fearing that the innocent Ellen is about to become a lab experiment, says that they doesn't know which is the original at all, and tries to pretend that Ellen's confession is her trying to protect him. (However, Edward had no intention of imprisoning either of them. He just needed to know which of the two needed a cover story fabricated.)
- The Order of the Stick: Parodied in the strip "Under the Arena".
Slavemaster: OK, you existentially adrift sons of werebitches, listen up! When he calls your name, say "Here," and come forward.
Gladiator: He's in the loo.
- Robin goes looking for Greg Killmaster at ILM in Shortpacked!, and a bunch of guys claim to be him when she yells that she wants to have "five million of his babies." The real one, of course, is nowhere to be found.
- HowToBasic's face reveal. It starts simple enough, with Mr. Basic revealing himself to be... Michael Stevens from Vsauce. But then later it is revealed that he is actually hired by Max Moe Foe to pose as HowToBasic, which is actually Max himself... except that's not right either, as another YouTuber immediately claims that he's the real HowToBasic. And then another YouTuber claims to be HowToBasic, and then another one, and then another one... until the video devolves into pretty much every single YouTuber under the sun claiming to be HowToBasic.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- In "The Headband", Aang hosts a secret dance party for a bunch of fire nation students, they are discovered and the teacher orders the guards to capture "the one with the headband". This feat soon becomes impossible as everyone attending soon ends up wearing a headband.
- In a flashback in "The Southern Raiders", it's revealed that Katara's mother, Kya, claimed to be the waterbender the Fire Nation was looking for in order to protect Katara. She ends up dying for it.
- Parodied on ChalkZone when a futuristic villain, Craniac 3, discovers the magic chalk and wants it for himself. He takes it from Rudy, but upon learning he can't use it, he demands which of the trio is "The Great Artist". When Rudy is incapacitated at the moment, Penny claims she is the Great Artist, only for Snap to claim afterwards that he is the Great Artist. Craniac 3 just decides to take all three of them.
- In the "Officer Moody" episode of Clarence, Belson has just pulled the fire alarm and is about to be arrested by Mr. Reese's Cowboy Cop ex-partner Moody, when Reese stands up and claimed that he pulled the fire alarm, followed by Clarence, Camden, Chelsea, and Percy claiming that they did it, with Jeff mentioning that he saw Mavis pull the alarm. Just as Moody is about to arrest the class, she is called away to another emergency, and all of the students, including Belson, have more respect for Mr. Reese.
- In The Dragon Prince, Callum is attacked by Rayna, a Moonshadow Elf assassin. Upon learning that she's after not only his step-father, King Harrow, but also his younger stepbrother, Prince Ezran, Callum claims to be the latter. Fortunately a combination of Rayna's own nerves and Ezran's actual arrival saves him. (Incidentally, Ezran is five years younger and a different race than Callum, so Rayna was clearly not given a very good description of her targets.)
- From an episode of The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy starts a radio show under the name "Double T". Vicky then steals his identity to badmouth the parents of Dimmsdale. When an angry mob of parents show up at the radio studio, a bunch of other kids all claim to be Double T, and the parents reason that they cannot ground them all.
- Spoofed in a Family Guy cutaway. During the climactic scene, after two people claim to be Spartacus, Peter ruins it by casually ratting out the real Spartacus.
- In the Futurama episode "A Tale of Two Santas", Bender attempts Subbing for Santa (who is a psychotic robot) and is going to be executed for all of the real Robot Santa's crimes. During the execution, Fry, Leela, Amy and Hermes all come in claiming to be the real Santa. Zoidberg goes even further (and completely misses the point) by claiming to be Jesus.
Mayor Poopenmeyer: None of you are Santa! You're not even robots! How dare you lie in front of Jesus?!
- Grojband: In "Ahead of Their Tone", all of the members of Grojband claim to be Nick Mallory in order to distract Cyborg Trina.
- Spoofed in Johnny Bravo when the titular character was hurled back to Ancient Rome he questioned a guy and that guys says "I'm Spartacus" prompting people who are behind him to shout the same thing, just for publicity.
- In Kappa Mikey, there is a character named Spartacus where if a group of people start doing this ("I'm Mikey!"), he pops out of nowhere to exclaim " I Am Spartacus!!"
- In Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Po and Monkey enter a village where they meet Cheng, a goat teaching the village children that he is the Dragon Warrior. He reveals that since he was the youngest of many siblings and wanted to be successful, he became an Accidental Hero when he accidentally stopped a bandit, who was part of an acting troupe. When the bandits are dismissed and vow revenge, Po swallows his pride and reminds them that in spite of Cheng's past, anyone can be a Dragon Warrior. His students passionately stand up for him, each one claiming "I am the Dragon Warrior!" to defend the honor of their mentor.
- "The Pink Candidate", an episode of Pinky and the Brain. President Pinky had volunteered to come before Congress to testify during the impeachment of his chief of staff, the Brain. Rather than leave his friend to a horrible fate (and over Brain's objection), Pinky breaks down and admits that he was the world conquest mastermind, not Brain. Including wailing 'I'm Spartacus!'. (One Congressman is heard after asking 'Who's Spartacus?'.)
- Subverted in Canadian show Radio Active, when Ms. Atoll demands to know the identity of the mysterious "DJ X". The plan backfires when DJ X himself fails to claim that he is DJ X, thus singling him out as DJ X.
- When Spinelli accidentally calls the teacher mama, her friends all do the same thing in order to alleviate the humiliation, eventually leading to the whole class calling her mama.
- In one episode Mikey rips his pants and his friends do too in order to save him from being the only one embarrassed.
- When Spinelli's first name is revealed to be Ashley, the other Ashleys force her to join them. To save Spinelli, the others all claim their names are Ashley too, and demand membership.
- She-Ra: Princess of Power: In "Book Burning", the Horde set Tung Lasher teach lies to kids at school. When one of the kids denounced his speech as lies and Lasher demanded to know who did it, all kids (minus the one spying for the Horde) claimed to be the one.
- In The Simpsons: Bart hears the tale of an old west fort (In Springfield?) where the soldiers, surrounded by hostile natives, are told they'll be left alone if they hand over the base's commander. This being The Simpsons of course, they give him up to a horrible death, and the base is renamed "Fort Sensible".
- South Park:
- The episode "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow", Stan's attempts to confess "I broke the dam" cause the other townspeople to falsely confess the same; misinterpreting this as symbolic (as in they are all responsible) instead of literal (he took a joyride in a boat and crashed into it). Cartman, who was his partner in crime, takes advantage of it to make his own Sarcastic Confession. They continue this into the credits as Stan is getting increasingly specific (and profane) about what he meant and still be ignored until he closes the episode with "Aw, fuck it!"
- Played with in "Lice Capades"; after Kenny is subjected to a "sock bath" after being found to have had lice, Kyle admits that he was the one with lice, then Stan and Cartman do the same — then Mr(s). Garrison shows up and tells them they all had lice, and everyone gives Kenny a sock bath anyway. (After all, he really did lie about having lice.)
- Invoked in "Bass to Mouth". One kid craps his pants in school, and is so humiliated he tries to kill himself. Since Cartman is usually the one who leads the bullying, the teachers instead hire him to prevent it. His initial response is to slip a different girl laxatives so that she craps herself and takes the humiliation off the first kid. When he finally understands that no kid is supposed to be so embarrassed that they attempt suicide, his plan is to get everyone in school to crap their pants, because then nobody will be able to make fun of anybody else.
- Parodied in Spongebob Squarepants "Opposite Day", when Squidward makes up the "opposite day" holiday, with Spongebob and Patrick pretending to be Squidward, who is trying to sell his house so he can move out of the neighborhood. When the realtor gets to Squidward's house, Spongebob jokes about what a dump Squidward's house is and shows her Squidward's gallery room, when Patrick pops out from behind one of Squidward's paintings:
Realtor: Oh, my, this painting is very nice.
Patrick: Thank you!
Realtor: Who is that?
Spongebob [impersonating Squidward]: I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Squidward.
Realtor [skeptically surprised]: You're both Squidward?
Spongebob: I'm Squidward, he's Squidward...
Spongebob, Patrick: We're both Squidward!
- Later on, after the real Squidward has finished fixing up Spongebob's house and meets the realtor:
Squidward: Stop! Get away from her! Ooh, ooh, I'm so sorry, ma'am, I hope these two BARNACLEHEADS haven't harmed you in any way.
Realtor [confused]: Who are you?
Squidward: Why, I'm Squidward.
Realtor [pointing at Patrick, Spongebob, and Squidward in turn]: What kind of fool do you take me for? He's Squidward, he's Squidward, you're Squidward? ''I'm'' Squidward! Are there any other Squidwards I should know about?
Gary [with a pickle for a nose enters the room]: Meow.
- Later on, after the real Squidward has finished fixing up Spongebob's house and meets the realtor:
- Toonsylvania: In one episode of the "Night of the Living Fred" segment, the principal of the school Fred and his sister attend found out Fred is dead and expelled him for that. Later, during a debate championship Fred's sister was a part of, she admits to also being dead and several other people did the same. Some guy claimed to be Spartacus and got stared for that.
- Parodied in Undergrads: Gimpy sets up a string of pranks against his tyrannical RA, under the guise of G-Prime. When his RA threatens punishment on the entire dorm unless the real G-Prime confesses, the trope is played out. The subversion comes when Gimpy doesn't understand that they were doing it as an act of solidarity, and assumes they are trying to steal the credit and glory. One student even claims to be Spartacus.
- A variation of this happened on a flight when the crew ejected a blind passenger because his guide-dog wouldn't fit under the seat ahead of him. All the passengers walked off the plane in solidarity with the blind passenger. The airline cancelled the flight and chartered buses to drive all the passengers to the destination.
- Occurred in Vietnam in the case of a legendary US Marine sniper named Carlos Hathcock, who had a trademark in the form of a white feather he wore in his bush cap. The Vietcong hated him so much, they eventually started sending entire squads just to hunt him down. Knowing the devastating effect losing Hathcock would have on morale, marines in the area took to wearing white feathers of their own to deceive the enemy soldiers.
- In the (possibly apocryphal, but usually treated as fact) story of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in the Major League, his Dodgers teammates responded to threats on Robinson's life during a game by all wearing his jersey — number 42, which has since been retired out of respect. Whether this story is true or not, one day out of the year, every player on every team wears 42 in tribute to Robinson.
- There's an apocryphal, but widely believed I Am Spartacus from World War II. In Nazi Germany and its occupied areas, Jews were forced to wear gold stars for identification. The story has it that when the Nazis attempted to impose this measure on occupied Denmark, King Christian X began to wear a gold star in solidarity with his nation's Jews, and so many Danes began following his example that it became impossible to tell the Jews apart. While this isn't true in fact, it's true in spirit—there was a widespread movement among ordinary Danes to defend the Jews, and for the first few years of occupation, the Danish government refused to impose or enforce any discriminatory measure against the Jews. When the Nazis decided to get tougher, the Danes were so successful at hiding and evacuating them that of around 8,000 Danish Jews, the Nazis only managed to capture about 450, of whom 400 were eventually rescued.
- It's said that when some Nazis asked a mayor and a priest in a town in Greece to turn over a list of all the Jews in town, they turned in a list bearing only their own names.
- When Allied soldiers were captured by Nazis, Jewish servicemen would be taken from the group and sent to death or slave labor camps. However, when a commandant ordered Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds to gather the Jews from his group of POWs, Edmonds ordered all his men to come out. He refused to back down even when the commandant threatened to shoot him, and eventually became the first U.S. serviceman awarded Righteous Among the Nations status.
- When Prince Harry announced his intention to serve in Iraq, there was understandable concern about him making his unit a prime target. In response to this, many soldiers started wearing T shirts that said 'I'm Harry".
- The Trope Namer is very often parodied at motorbike rallies, generally after dark. Depending on the general mood at the time (and exactly how late it is), the initial "I'm Spartacus!" can be met with various obscenities, or enthusiastically taken up, generally morphing into "I'm Spartacus, and so is my wife!", and even "I'm Spartacus' wife!"
- In the military, it's not unusual for everyone in a unit to do this if someone is going to get in trouble for a minor infraction, in order to protect their buddy. Conversely, everyone knows who did it, but no one says anything when the Captain Rough or Sergeant Smooth demands to know that person's name. It for this reason that the US Armed Forces, as well as most others, have outlawed mass punishment (you can't punish the whole unit for one person's mistake). Please note that this does not hold true in all militaries, particularly those in non-democratic countries.
- There is a Medieval subversion. When the French king invaded Italy he met an Italian prince, and both had Swiss mercenaries. As it was not considered appropriate for Swiss to slay Swiss, the "Italian" army gave way and the prince was smuggled away dressed as a soldier. The French general found what they were up to and paraded them offering gold to whoever would reveal "who was Spartacus". At first none of them revealed who it was, but finally one tattle-tale stepped forward and revealed the prince. This man, whose greed apparently was greater then his wits, later returned home to Switzerland where he was executed by the government for bringing disgrace on his comrades.
- Eric Douglas, son of Kirk (star of "Spartacus") Douglas, tried his hand at stand up. It did not go particularly well, and he was being heckled rather nastily. Finally he snapped and shouted at the heckler "You can't heckle me! I am Kirk Douglas' son!". The heckler got to his feet, and shouted back "No! I am Kirk Douglas' son!" Pretty soon the whole audience is on its feet joining in.
- Escort ships (the naval kind, not the Bodyguard Crush kind) often carry blip enhancers so that on radar they appear to be the ship they're escorting. In practical terms, that means that enemy ships that are aiming by radar will shoot at them instead of the ship they're protecting.
- On a flight to Canada, two members of Monty Python almost simultaneously stood up and shouted "I'm passenger Johnson" in response to a request to see said passenger. This started a chain reaction. Then they arrived and rode the luggage carousel. The flight crew was glad to see them leave.
- During an incident in the Polish-Soviet War some Polish prisoners all stripped to their undershorts so that the Russians couldn't tell officers from enlisted.
- In one subversion, Genghis Khan had just won a clan war in which a horse had been shot out from under him. Ghenghis lined up the captives and asked "Which one of you shot my horse?" One man boldly said "I did." Then Genghis rewarded him. To elaborate, Khan was raised in a world of unending cycles of revenge. His revolution in part consisted of uniting the Mongol people by having a genius for finding people of talent, putting them in high position, and making them loyal to the Khan and law rather than their clan. Conquered clans were embraced into the fold, the men divided and dispersed into multi-clan bands, and the whole lot loyal to the Khan and the idea of a unified people. Soon afterwards, the world learned to be terrified of a people who, one generation earlier, had considered a coat of animal furs to be a sign of great wealth.
- The Twitter joke trial. After a guy was arrested for posting a joke about blowing up an airport on Twitter, thousands of people reposted the joke verbatim with the hashtag #iamspartacus.
- Comedian Lee Evans once did a brilliant joke about just saying "I am Spartacus" in response to every question asked by the people on those annoying phone calls you get when people try to sell you shit you don't want or need.
- This is why privacy advocates encourage everyone to use encryption whenever possible. If only a few people use it, crypto draws unwanted attention from the authorities.
- British author Terry Pratchett recounts being at a convention after having read a newspaper article that claimed his entire readership was pimply, fourteen-year-old boys named Kevin. When he told his audience, several members re-enacted the Life of Brian scene all the way to "I'm Kevin, and so's my wife!"
- A bit of a variation in the sense that the "Spartacus" was never even there: At the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic convention Canterlot Gardens, one panel was for brony musicians. Before the con started, every musician apparently agreed to introduce themselves as Alex S (a brony musician who couldn't make it to the con). Cue the first words spoken to be "Welcome to the brony musician panel; we are all Alex S" and everyone jumping in to agree, saying things like "And I'm Alex S" or "Are you sure? Because I'm pretty sure I'm Alex S".
- Not Always Right spinoff site Not Always Learning has this moment of solidarity against a bigoted Bible class teacher who hates Methodists. After one student reveals that they actually are Methodist and gets kicked out of the class, all the other students start claiming to be Methodists, too.
Soon, the entire class is in the hall, and only the teacher is left in the room.
- Following the controversial shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, some protesters took to the streets to defend Officer Wilson. Many of Wilson's fellow officers also did this, but also covered their badges, resulting in even more controversy. When asked for their identities, the officers would only say, "I am Darren Wilson."
- Trolling Creator Hidekaz Himaruya used this trope to show his face and still keep it secret on Comiket 2014, by having several staff members claim that they too were Himaruya.
- The Satanic Verses fatwa called for the death of all publishers along with the author. The German translations has two pages of publishers, more than two hundred individuals and some eighty publishing houses.
- During the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, there were reports that police were using social media to find out who was going to show up. Over one million people responded by doing a virtual check-in in Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Even though police said they were not looking at who "checks in," it is nevertheless a show of solidarity.
- When police in Durham, North Carolina attempted to arrest protestors who tore down a Confederate memorial, over 100 people showed up at the station to turn themselves in.
- When trolls threatened to out the creator of the "S**tty Men in Media" List, an anonymous, private list of men in Hollywood who women might need to watch out for (whether it's stealing work, just being unpleasant, or sexual misconduct), several women immediately took to Twitter to confess that they created it so that if the original creator did get outed, you'd never know who it was.
- The 2008 Drum Corps International Champions — Phantom Regiment — did a "Spartacus" show. Close to the end, one of the drum majors shouted "I am Spartacus," and was followed by the color guard...and then by the entire stadium crowd, as seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDd5Pu_TVNk . Possibly the greatest audience participation in drum corps history.