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I Know You're Watching Me

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"Joseph Joestar! You're watching me, aren't you?" *Blows up TV*

When any character is Being Watched on video surveillance and they look at the camera directly as if they know they are being watched. Usually indicates that the person being watched knows more than the audience has been led to believe, or is a threat to the people watching them. More bonus points if the person doesn't want their observers to know that they can tell they're being watched, and quickly looks away when they accidentally make eye contact with the camera.

This trope also applies to the one way windows found in interrogation rooms and other cases where someone being watched behaves in a manner that indicates they know exactly what's going on on the other side.

Compare to Poke in the Third Eye, which involves the more metaphysical forms of surveillance or generally making sure whoever's watching stops watching. Contrast Bluff the Eavesdropper. If the character knows he's being watched by the audience, then this falls underneath Breaking the Fourth Wall. See also Two-Way Tapping, when the eavesdropping people reveal themselves.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Gate: When the group goes to a bathhouse, a team of agents is sent to secretly guard them. One of the agents spies on the bathing girls with binoculars, but Rory Mercury looks in his direction and glares, causing him to get scared and drop the binoculars. His superiors assure that he's over 400 meters away and there's no way he could have been seen, but he decides to stop peeping and do his job.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: In "Solid State Society", Ishikawa is hacking into a security system as a distraction while Section 9 breaks in somewhere else. Several cyborg guards start prowling about, and their leader turns to look at the security camera Ishikawa is using to watch them, causing him to acknowledge the man is a professional like they are.
  • Golgo 13:
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: In Part III, DIO can sense when Joseph uses Hermit Purple's psychography to spy on him. When Joseph tries using a TV to get a fix on him, DIO calls Joseph out on peeping on him before blowing the TV up.
    "Joestar, you bastard, you're watching me? Well, watch this!"
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: While Kaworu is conversing with SEELE, Misato is watching him through binoculars from a distance of several kilometers. When the conversation is finished, Kaworu, smiling, makes direct eye contact with Misato despite the distance between them, startling her. Just one of many hints that Kaworu is not what he seems.
  • An early chapter of Ranma ½ has Gosunkugi offer to sell Kuno "Saotome's weakness", which he will glean by "secretly photographing him". Kuno immediately complains that Ranma is posing in every single one.
  • The first episode of Steins;Gate introduces the main cast with a scene of Okabe talking to what appears to be a hidden camera in his laboratory, taunting the "Organization" and their spies. However, it turns out he's actually interrogating a strange piece of television software featuring an alpaca with a human face.
  • Kurosagi: Kashina and Kurosaki take turns glaring into Katsuragi's two-way mirror.
  • Spriggan. In "The Crystal Skull", Yu Ominae takes down several goons from a neo-Nazi organization. It's shown that a camera drone is recording all of this, and we cut to the neo-Nazi leader reviewing the footage with his Co-Dragons. They're not impressed...until the footage shows Yu suddenly turn and throw his pistol to knock the drone out of the sky. The manga version has Yu take out a high-tech camera with specialized camera lenses that can zoom at long distances.

    Comic Books 
  • Queen and Country: A Honey Trap was cracked because the perpetrator was seen looking at the camera on the blackmail tape.
  • Superman:
    • In Supergirl (2005): Girl Power, the Calculator is monitoring Supergirl under Lex Luthor's orders. At one point, she glares straight in the direction of the camera the Calculator is using to watch her, which is enough for him to freak out in a Spit Take.
      Lex Luthor: "Report in to me, Kuttler. What's going on out there?"
      Calculator: "I...I'm not sure, sir. But for the briefest of moments, I...thought she was aware of me."
      Lex Luthor: "You've told me that's impossible."
      Calculator: "It is. This operation transmits at a continually changing frequency at every end of the spectrum."
    • The Killers of Krypton: After defeating her clones, Kara stares upwards, right at Harry Hokum's flagship hovering out of the atmosphere and snarls his name. Hokum, who was watching the battle, realizes she has somehow seen him, and starts sweating.
      Supergirl: (glaring upwards) "Someone will pay for this atrocity, and that someone is... Hokum."
      Harry Hookum: (sweating) "S-she's looking at me! H-how is that possible?"
    • In a comic, Clark Kent is in a police interrogation room, staring straight ahead with a smile on his face. (He, of course, is looking through the two-way mirror with his X-ray vision and listening to the conversation with his super-hearing...)
      Detective 1: Look at him sitting there, with that smile on his face! It's like he can see us!
      Detective 2: They all look like that...
  • Tintin: In "Tintin and the Picaros", Tintin arrives at the expensive hotel where Captain Haddock is staying and points out the various hidden microphones in his Gilded Cage. He also points at the mirror and says it might be a two-way mirror with a camera on the other side. Cue Colonel Sponsz watching Tintin on a monitor, pointing directly at him. "He's no fool, that boy."
  • In an issue of Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm) one of the heroes freaked out when the villain of the week looked him straight in the eye while being spied upon (he was using long range binoculars rather than the camera but the effect is the same.)

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Sufficiently magically powerful beings can detect scrying, and the specific direction it's coming from, as to be able to look at the viewer.
  • Fate DxD AU: Rias Gremory questions Ritsuka Fujimaru while her Peerage, Sirzechs, and Grayfia are behind a one-way mirror. During the conversation, Ritsuka suddenly turns directly to Sirzechs and makes it clear he knows he is there, scaring Sirzechs.
  • Snippets of Sirin Shariac's life: The chapter Breakout 2: Electric Boogaloo features such a scene. When Tesla and Einstein remotely try to interrogate a captured Mobius, the screen suddenly goes dark and Tesla quickly checks the security camera. She finds Mobius going to her bed before stopping and suddenly turn to make eye contact, causing Tesla to flinch.
  • Star Wars vs Warhammer 40K: In Episode 2, Jedi General Renphi and his clone troopers are searching his flagship for his missing Padawan Gaphin, who had skipped out on his meditation practice due to finding it boring and hidden himself in the ship's ventilation system. While listening in on Renphi's conversation with Captain Kraken from the nearby vents, Gaphin hears his master say that he intends to punish his Padawan by making him meditate in isolation for three days. Renphi suddenly very loudly adds on that if he were to find Gaphin helping out Dr. Shina in the ship's lab, he would be willing to reduce the punishment time to just three hours, revealing that he was aware Gaphin was eavesdropping on their conversation and is offering him a way to lessen his punishment.
  • Ultimate DCU Headverse: In one chapter of "Getting' By", Batwoman is eavesdropping an eyebrow-raising telephone exchange between Linda and Kate's cousin Bruce. Eventually Linda hangs up and Kate is about to swing off Linda's balcony when she hears Linda's voice asking if she enjoyed the "show".
    "Did you enjoy the show?" I stop and slowly turn. Linda has her arms crossed and is leaning on a door.
    "How long did you know I was here?"
    "After I hung up on my cousin Clark."

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Art of War (2000). After being arrested and left alone in an interrogation room, Wesley Snipes character raps suddenly on the glass, startling a female witness who's been called in to identify him, and causing a cop to spill his coffee.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Bruce Wayne has stolen some files on metahumans from Lex Luthor, including one on a woman he's just met called Diana Prince. They include a surveillance photo taken from across the street, except Diana is looking directly at the camera, and a CCTV shot where she looks up at the camera. However it's the one posed photograph that freaks out Bruce Wayne, because it was taken during World War One and Diana hasn't aged a day.
  • In Cabin by the Lake, Mallory watches herself in the two-way mirror that the murderous Stanley installed to observe his victims. Then she punches and nearly breaks the mirror while Stanley looks a bit nonplussed.
  • The interrogation room glass version happens in Dracula 2000. As the detectives behind the glass have just been smirking over Solina's "delusion" that she's a vampire, they're noticeably freaked out when she shouts, "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" She then continues to screw around with their minds, making them more freaked out.
  • Dreamscape. While Alex Gardner is in a room by himself being watched through a one way mirror, he uses a pen to write "Let's get on with it" on the mirror. It isn't clear whether he was using his psychic powers or was just familiar with Dr. Novotny's methods from their past relationship.
    • He effortlessly writes it backwards, to appear the right way around on the other side of the glass. This at least hints he might've gone through this process before.
  • Dredd
    • An Invoked Trope when the Chief Judge wants Cassandra Anderson to demonstrate her Psychic Powers by stating how many people are watching her from the other side of the two way mirror.
    • When Kay is arrested by Dredd and Anderson, he's show glancing upwards as he's led off. We then cut to Clan Techie who notices the trashed state of the drug den on his monitors and replays the video to show what happened to Kay, including a shot of Kay looking directly at the camera because he knows Techie is watching and will inform Ma-Ma.
  • Flight of the Navigator: After David learns that his stay at the base has been extended indefinitely, he reveals that he knows the mirror in his room is a two-way mirror, and he's being constantly observed.
    David: But that's impossible! They promised it would only be 48 hours! *turns and starts bashing angrily on mirror* You guys hear me in there? I want out of here right now! You think I don't watch television? Wake up!
  • Hard Boiled, right before all hell breaks loose, sees Tequila and Alan raiding Big Bad Johnny Wong's armory, knowing fully well that Johnny is watching them via surveillance cameras. As a final "screw you", Tequila then blasts one of Wong's cameras via shotgun as he leaves.
  • Highlander has a lower-tech version. While Brenda is out of the room looking for her earrings, Connor discovers a hidden gun ("I like your place!"), a cop sitting in a car outside on surveillance ("Interesting view!"), and a hidden tape recorder ("What was that?" *directly into mic* "I said interesting view!").
  • Johanna Mason does this in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire like she does in the book, although the dialogue is different.
    Johanna: Hey, how does that sound, Snow? What if we set your backyard on fire? You know, you can't PUT EVERYBODY IN HERE!
  • Inception. Ariadne dives down into Cobb's subconscious, and believes she's watching memories of Cobb talking to his dead wife Mal. Then Mal looks right at Ariadne and the audience to a Scare Chord that can make Marion Cotillard freaky as shit.
  • In The Stinger of Kong: Skull Island two of the survivors find themselves detained by the authorities and do the interrogation room mirror version, snarking or negotiating with their unseen captors (who however quickly make themselves known by entering the room).
  • Clark does the one-way mirror version in Man of Steel. While in an interrogation room with Lois Lane, he turns to the one-way mirror and reveals to Dr. Emil Hamilton and General Stanwick that not only can he see them through the mirror (and what Hamilton has in his pocket), but also through the wall behind them.
  • While studying the files on Morgan, Lee Weathers brings up a live image from one of the cameras in Morgan's room. At that point, Morgan walks over to stare into that particular camera.
  • In the Nicolas Cage movie Next, the precognitive protagonist Cris is cheating at blackjack and several casino security officers are watching him on surveillance, trying to figure out how he's doing it. When someone realizes they recognize him, Cris looks up as though he heard his name being called, stares knowingly at the camera they're watching him through, and casually walks away before any security guards can apprehend him.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Jack sends Will over to a wrecked ship which he thinks is the Flying Dutchman. The real one shows up along with its captain, Davy Jones, and confronts Will who claims Jack sent him. As this is going on, Jack is viewing this from a distance through a telescope, hoping to have stay hidden by blowing out all the candles on his ship. It's then Davy Jones turns direction toward his direction and glares at him, right before he teleports right in front of him.
  • Spectre. When James Bond infiltrates a board meeting of the Nebulous Evil Organisation, their leader's face is hidden in shadow. At first this looks like they're going to do the No One Sees the Boss trope as with the original SPECTRE, until he calls out to "James" and turns his head to look directly at Bond.
  • Terminator Genisys. The detectives are surprised when the Guardian turns and looks directly through the one-way interrogation room window at Detective O'Brien, who's trying to convince them the Guardian really is a cyborg from the future. It turns out the Guardian is actually looking at the female detective behind O'Brien, who quickly reveals herself to be a Terminator.
  • Subverted in The Truman Show. He stares into his bathroom mirror (which has a camera inside), leading two people in the studio to believe that they've been discovered... until he draws a space helmet with soap and acts like an astronaut (in a Call Back to the intro where he pretends to be a mountaineer). Then it gets Double Subverted as he says, "that one's for free", implying that he knows he's being watched. The two men in the studio don't know what to think.

  • Invoked in a joke from behind the Iron Curtain: a traveler comes to a boarding house late at night and there are no free rooms, so he gets put in one that already has a group of loud people in it, telling political jokes and laughing. They keep him awake with their rowdiness, till he can't stand it anymore. He briefly leaves the room, supposedly to use the restroom, but actually heads down to the front desk and asks for five cups of tea to be sent to the room in ten minutes. Returning to the room, he waits a few minutes before reaching for the ashtray and says "Five teas in room five, please, captain."
    The noisy roomies laugh, but five teas quickly show up, which shuts them all up. Our traveler gets a good night's sleep and wakes to find himself alone in the room. Going downstairs, he asks the landlord "Where have my roommates gone?"
    "Oh, they were taken away tonight."
    "And I wasn't?"
    "The captain liked the tea joke."

  • The Curse of the Blue Figurine: In the sequel The Trolley to Yesterday, Professor Childermass and Brewster (actually the Egyptian god Horus) are in his house having a talk. Johnny and Fergie are crouched under the kitchen window trying to listen in, where Brewster easily detects them and asks the Professor, "But hadn't you better ask those other two in?" Professor Childermass is... not thrilled to catch the two eavesdroppers, but ends up inviting them in and explaining what's going on anyway.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel Timewyrm: Exodus, the Doctor is posing as a high official staying in a government hotel. After having a private conversation with his companion covered by the sound of the water taps, he turns the water off and directly addresses — gives orders to — the subordinate he knows is spying on him.
  • Tributes usually refrain from doing this in The Hunger Games (don't want to interrupt the in-universe audience's fun by ruining the Willing Suspension of Disbelief, after all), but there are exceptions. In the first book, Katniss thanks the people of District 11 for their gift of bread. In the second, while suffering the painful after-effects of the Capital's last trap, she yells, "Hey, Haymitch, if you're not too drunk, we could really use something for our skin!" Johanna's the one who really breaks the rules, though, when she loudly taunts the Capital about uprisings. Katniss knows they would have edited that out and no one in the audience saw it, but the Gamemakers and President sure did...
  • Mr Gaunt by John Langan. The title character (who possesses supernatural powers) is seen in the background of a documentary, and stops to deliberately wink at the camera, which his brother will be watching (by pure coincidence) months later and thousands of miles away. His brother is an adversarial rival, so freaks out accordingly.
  • The Murderbot Diaries
    • In "Rogue Protocol", Murderbot has hacked into a security drone to spy on a human expedition and their 'pet robot' Miki whom it's not impressed with...until Miki looks in the drone's direction, then tries to ping whoever it is that's observing them.
    • In "Network Effect", Dr. Mensah is arguing for Murderbot to be brought along as security, conceding that the SecUnit does have its faults...such as how it's listening in on them right now. Murderbot denies doing so and quickly stops hacking her feed. Given that Murderbot is always doing this, Mensah was just playing the odds on that one.
  • In Pay Me, Bug!, The Viceroy pulls this on the heroes, who are hacking into his security cameras, using only his telepathic powers. This might be explained by the fact that the hackers were using their own telepath in the connection.
  • Not Even Bones: When Mirella tells Nita that Kovit (the guard Nita's trying to gain sympathy from to get what she needs to escape) is the one who watches the security cameras, Nita waves at the camera and gestures for him to come back in.
  • In Majestrum, Hapthorn and his alter-ego are watching millennia-old archive footage of the Big Bad. Then Hapthorn's alter-ego whispers the villain's title. The villain's image promptly reacts, his expression resembling that of a predator who's just seen interesting prey cross his path.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in Angel. Having Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, Cordelia is looking down at Angel (back on Earth) from Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
    Angel: I know you're there, watching me.
    Cordelia: Oh my God! Angel, you can hear me? I so love you. You don't know what it's been like—
    Fred: (walking up behind Angel with Gunn) We weren't spying...
    Cordelia: Oh, for crap's sake!
  • In Babylon 5, Lyta Alexander can tell if someone is watching her through a security camera after her psychic upgrade.
    Dr. Trent: She knows she's being watched.
    Sheridan: The security cameras are carefully hidden.
    Dr. Trent: Yes, but she knows where the camera is, and she knows we're watching her. Just look at her. Is there another camera in there?
    Sheridan: Yes, but...
    Dr. Trent: Humor me.
    Sheridan: ...Switch to the alternate view.
    [Lyta's head snaps around to look at the viewer]
    Lochley: Well, that's a neat trick.
  • American Vandal: the boys go to talk to the Football Coach who immediately notices one of them has a phone with the camera lens pointed outward in his chest pocket, impying this isn't the first time someone has tried to catch him talking on video.
  • The Big Comfy Couch. After Loonete yells, "HEY... WHO MADE THIS BIG MESS?!" and then says "" the camera "nods yes" as if the viewer is watching the show through a child's eyes or even their own eyes.
  • Subverted in an episode of Bones. Investigating the murder of a mentally ill young man who believed himself to be the devil, the team is interrogating one of his fellow inmates at the asylum, a girl who believes herself to be an angel. Looking in on the interview room in the asylum, Bones comments that, while she doesn't believe in supernatural phenomena of any stripe, it is unnerving how the girl's eyes seem to follow her perfectly from the other side of a two-way mirror. The asylum's head doctor quickly points out that their interview room isn't equipped with a two-way mirror—it's a perfectly normal window.
  • The Boys (2019)
    • "Proper Preparation And Planning". Furious that Homelander has turned up at her house and is making claims on their son, Rebecca Butcher goes to the guardhouse and demands he be thrown out (given that Homelander has superpowers, no-one is willing to do so). A monitor in the guardhouse shows there are cameras inside her house. Homelander is shown looking directly at one, and later makes it clear that he heard everything she said thanks to his superhearing.
    • Anika and Black Noir spend most of "Nothing Like It In The World" using Facial Recognition Software to track down Billy Butcher. They finally catch him climbing over the wall at a high-security Vought facility, whereupon he turns and defiantly flips the bird at the camera.
  • Chernobyl: After an imported West German drone breaks down in four seconds due to government higher-ups again prioritizing ass-covering over actually containing the disasternote , Shcherbina tears them a new one over the phone:
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021). In "Dog Star Swing", Spike and Jet are watching CCTV footage of the Villain of the Week when they realise he's looking at the camera deliberately to make sure it has a good image of his face. Jet then realises the criminal is wearing technology that can change his appearance.
  • Doctor Who. In "The Impossible Astronaut", Amy and Rory speculate that the Doctor is trying to send them a message through time. They fail to notice the Doctor waving at them from their TV set, where he's working as an extra in a Laurel and Hardy movie.
  • An episode of Fringe sees Olivia explore her subconscious memories of her deceased partner John Scott, including one night at a restaurant. Following Dr. Bishop's guidance that this is all a dreamscape and that she can't be seen by anyone, Olivia sits down at John's table... who immediately looks in Olivia's direction! This, obviously, spooks her, but Dr. Bishop insists that she cannot be seen. Later, when she returns to her home, she checks her e-mail only to find a new message that reads, "I saw you at the restaurant."
  • One of Matt Parkman's more awesome moments in Series 3 of Heroes involved using his mind-control powers to trap some people who were watching him via a camera, and then look directly into said camera and nod smugly.
  • Iron Fist (2017). Danny Rand sneaks into the guarded building where Madame Gao is being held. There's a monitor showing the room she's imprisoned in, and the moment Danny sees it she stands up, walks over to the camera and speaks directly to him. We don't see if there's a similar monitor inside her cell or she's somehow using her powers.
  • In later series of Knightmare, the dungeoneers could find a magic item that let them see what Big Bad Lord Fear was up to. If they carried on watching for too long, he'd become aware of the intrusion and send something nasty to deal with them.
  • NCIS:
    • A subversion appears when Gibbs has Abby's latest stalker in the interrogation room. The obsessed young man starts talking to the one-way glass, pleading for Abby to admit she loves him and can't take her eyes off him. Gibbs gets up to leave, and flips on the lights in the next room as he goes. This negates the glass's one-way properties, revealing that the room behind it is completely vacant.
    • In Swan Song, Mike Franks steps outside for a minute, and when it starts raining, reveals he knows full well he's not alone out there... and that he knows exactly who's watching him: Jonas Cobb, the Port-to-Port Killer. Mike subsequently becomes Cobb's next-to-last victim, but not without wounding him first.
    • In Devil's Trifecta, Gibbs' and Fornell's ex-wife Diane is being interrogated by DiNozzo. She knows her exes are on the other side of the mirror and yells at them.
  • Person of Interest
    • A Justified Trope because the Machine is ALWAYS watching, as it's an AI capable of hacking into every CCTV camera in the country.
    • One of the villains does this at the end of "Risk". Our heroes have just thwarted a massive financial scam, and Detective Carter is told that the corrupt SEC investigator involved has committed suicide. Puzzled because she saw him being arrested, Carter checks CCTV footage of the arrest. It shows a police officer putting the SEC man into his squad car, turning to look directly at the camera, then leaving a mobile phone in a garbage can for her to find. When they dial the only number in the phone's memory, they're connected with Diabolical Mastermind Elias, who it's now revealed is behind the entire scam.
  • Persons Unknown did this a LOT. Not quite Once an Episode, but really often. It's not like the people watching them are really trying to hide what they are doing.
  • The Professionals. Justified in the episode "Slush Fund" which has the interrogation room version, but using a row of mirrored strips which you can see through if you lean up close to it. A hitman that CI5 have picked up does this and blows a mock kiss to Cowley who's on the other side.
  • Number 6 has done this more than a few times on The Prisoner (1967), but in the episode Hammer Into Anvil, he managed to convince the Number 2 of the week of a non-existent conspiracy against him by doing basically nothing but variations on this trope, such as leaving envelopes containing blank pieces of paper in remote locations, knowing they'd be found and mistaken for coded messages, and engaging in meaningless small talk with people in hushed tones, knowing that it would be seen and mistaken for Spy Speak. Every time Number 2's underlings failed to find any hidden message, Number 2 became convinced that they were hiding it from him on account of being part of the conspiracy.
  • There was one episode in Psych where they take Shawn, his father, and Gus into an interrogating room. Half-way through the interrogation, Shawn walks up to the one-way window and stares directly at Lassiter, even following him when he moved.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", a crewman developing godlike ESP powers has this moment while Kirk and Spock are watching him on a monitor from the bridge.
    • In "The Corbomite Maneuver", Spock thinks he can get a peek inside the vast alien vessel that's threatening to destroy them. They do so and are shocked to see a hideous alien who then replies, "Having permitted your primitive efforts to see my form, I trust it has pleased your curiosity." Turns out the alien actually resembles a small humanoid child, and it was letting them see a mock-up in the hope of frightening them.
  • Supernatural. In "Meet the New Boss", Castiel has gained god-like powers that are driving him insane. At one point the Winchesters are watching security camera footage of a massacre he's committed, during which Castiel turns and gives a Slasher Smile directly at them before the Snowy Screen of Death ensues.
  • The Wire:
    • Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell are very Properly Paranoid about being listened to, so they prefer Spy Speak when talking business. When Omar meets with Stringer to supposedly bury the hatchet on their ongoing war while wearing a wire, Bell carefully avoids ever using any language that suggests crime, and when Omar asks him if "Barksdale agrees with this", Bell just says "I don't know anybody named Barksdale".
    • Later, when Bodie goes to talk with Bell about the police telling them about the new Free Zone, Bell's first instinct is to turn 90 degrees to the side and tell Bodie "you shouldn't be selling drugs" to which the frustrated Bodie responds by lifting his shirt and starts to undo his pants before Bell relents.
    • Marlo Stanfield becomes aware that he is being watched, so he takes a phonecall in plain view, saying he's going to "pick up the skinny girl from New York" to see if the police take the bait, which they do, detaining him and an innocent random woman Marlo offers to carry the bags for at the train station.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • MLW executive producer Salina de la Renta illegally installed cameras in the house of interviewer Alicia Atout in order to humiliate her only to hear Atout saying she was going to sue de la Renta for illegally bugging her house, among other things.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Captain Scarlet: Captains Scarlet and Blue and Lieutenant Green are enjoying the hospitality of a Moon base which they suspect has been infiltrated by the Mysterons. While Blue and Green talk quietly about nothing very important, Scarlet carefully moves around the room looking for the hidden microphone he suspects that the base administrator is using to listen in on them. The administrator's Number Two, Orson, is struggling to make anything out in their quarters and turns the volume up as high as it will go... and then Scarlet locates the mic, yells "Goodnight Orson!" into it loud enough to leave the unfortunate Orson's ears ringing for hours afterwards and then rips it out of the wall.

    Video Games 
  • At one point in the original F.E.A.R., you can switch on a security feed to watch Paxton Fettel walk down a hallway... and then Alma slooowly rises into view, staring directly at you through the screen before it cuts off.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • If you find one of the mascots on the security cameras, chances are it will be leering directly into the camera.
    • At the beginning of Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, going through some vents you can eavesdrop on Roxanne Wolf psyching herself up after her performance. Linger too long, and she'll mention that she knows you're there. Luckily, she's too anxious at the moment to go after you. It's justified - she has X-Ray Vision.
  • I'm On Observation Duty: The Intruder anomalies you can spot from the security cameras will ominously begin facing the camera after you've reported them in order to remove them from the scene. They sometimes don't take it well. A few of them will do this automatically over time, and if those Intruder anomalies are left active for too long, they'll end the game by force.
  • At one point in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden is observing Mistral from very far away using his powerful cyborg zoom vision. After he's been watching her for a while, she suddenly looks directly at him and blows him a kiss, resulting in him being massively freaked out.
  • Red Dead Redemption had a cutscene during the Dutch Van der Linde arc, initially from the perspective from a pair of binoculars from an overlooking cliff, where Dutch drags a prisoner into the open and executes him. The camera cuts to John being the viewer, and then cuts back to Dutch looking back up at John aiming his pistol up at him. A single improbable shot at range from a pistol hits the binoculars in John's hands, knocking him to the ground. Dutch simply smiles and continues on his way.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: In "Knights of the Fallen Empire" after the Outlander has been broken out of carbonite freeze, Vaylin comes in investigate, and as the Outlander and Lana watch on a hacked monitor, she looks right up at the camera.
  • Total War: Warhammer III: In the Gifts of Chaos screen for Chaos factions, there are icons around the circle representing the four chaos gods, and Tzeentch is represented by a single eye that follows the player's mouse cursor.

    Visual Novels 
  • Nishijou Takumi from Chaos;Head likes to do this whenever his paranoia delusion flares up while he's alone, along with a rule to not look behind him when he does so. He quickly stops doing it when it shows that he is, indeed, somehow Being Watched by whoever was behind the horrific New Gen cases.
  • In Double Homework, Dennis knows that Dr. Mosely/Zeta is setting him up. He displays his knowledge of her past, and then tells her to cut the recording.

  • Genocide Man: Roger is an Intrepid Reporter with plenty of miniaturized recording equipment and a general disregard for privacy, and the Old Soldier Jacob Doe spends enough time with him not to be offended by it.
    Jacob: Did you think I wouldn't check the watch for bugs, Roger? You put minicameras on everything. When we were travelling together, you bugged my shoes, Roger. Who does that?
  • In The Last Days of FOXHOUND, as FOXHOUND is testing Metal Gear REX, Ocelot receives a phone call from Sergei Gurlukovich. Gurlukovich believes the line to be secure, but Ocelot not only knows that the line is bugged, but also exactly by whom:
    Gurlukovich: I am no fool, Shalashaska. I would not contact you if the line was not secure.
    Ocelot: Secure? There are, at this moment, no less than four United States intelligence agents tapping this line. John Mueller and Robert Brady from the CIA, Lisa Trucco from the NSA, and Richard Ames from the Secret Service.
    Mueller/Brady: Jesus Christ, how does he do it? He probably knows what color shirt I'm wearing today.
    Brady/Mueller: Wait, is the NSA in on this too? What the hell, this is our guy!
    Trucco: Patriot Act Four, numbnuts. Suck on it.
    Brady/Mueller: Why, you...
    Mueller/Brady: ... Aw, balls, they're listening to this.
    Ames: Nicely done, people. No, really, way to go.
  • xkcd recommends trying to pull this all the time, even if you don't know you're being watched. It's just like Pascal's Wager for the paranoid prankster.

    Web Original 
  • The Onion: "Detective Behind Two-Way Mirror Nervously Crosses Arms As Criminal Addresses Him Directly"
  • In many SCP Foundation articles, the described SCP at one point does something that hints that it is aware of the fact that the Foundation is observing and containing it. A particularly spine-chilling example is the last video transcript in the SCP-1981 article.
  • The framing device of The Strange Case of Starship Iris is a tyrannical interstellar regime listening in on the conversations of a crew of seditious smugglers via ancient alien nanomachines in their blood. In the second season, they figure it out and the captain directly tells the regime's agents that she will bring them down. Later on they start actively trolling the surveillance team with false confessions that the regime has to waste resources investigating, and several hours of drunken singing and narrations of alien soap operas.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Daria episode "Malled", Daria and Jane correctly surmise that they're being watched through a two-way mirror while a mall official is asking the class questions about their shopping habits. They turn off the lights to prove it, and everybody gets a $20 coupon to bribe them into not telling the media.
  • Happened in Samurai Jack, after confronting and beating his Enemy Without, he looks up at the skies (where Big Bad Aku is watching his every action) and says out loud: "I know you're watching. These tricks are starting to annoy me." Cue end of episode.
  • Thundercats 1985: The Sword of Omens' Sight Beyond Sight ability allows Lion-O to see anything happening in the present, usually who needs his help and where. Unsurprisingly, there are multiple instances where his Arch-Enemy Mumm-Ra, knowing Lion-O will be using the sword to look for the friends that have just been captured, speak directly to him when he does so, taunting Lion-O to come and get him.
    • Since the other Thundercats know Lion-O can see them when they're in danger, it's unsurprising that Lion-O sees Tygra calling out "Lion-O... Lion-O..." when the latter's locked in a Death Trap in "The Fireballs of Plun-darr."
  • In The Batman and Superman Movie World's Finest, after Superman uses his X-Ray vision to find out that Batman is Bruce Wayne, Batman puts a tracker on Superman. When Superman returns home and finds it on his cape, he looks out the window to see Batman looking at him via binoculars. Batman simply waves to him and leaves having found out Clark's secret identity as payback.
  • Young Justice (2010). In "Targets", Red Arrow has tracked Sportsmaster and Cheshire to their rendezvous with Ra's Al-Ghul, who starts chewing them out because Red Arrow stopped them from killing their target.
    Ra's: So I expect a better outcome, and less interference (looks directly at Binocular Shot) from that boy!
    Red Arrow: (as Cheshire and Sportsmaster also turn to look at him) Perfect...

    Real Life 
  • Thanks to Police Procedurals, people expect surveillance to be part of police interrogation. If there is a mirror in the room, their eyes will be drawn to where they believe someone to be standing, if not they'll look for the camera. Fictional characters who don't expect to be monitored from outside the room are beyond Genre Blind and into "living under a rock".
  • Turned into a meme after the extent of NSA's online surveilance became common knoledge.


Video Example(s):


"You're Watching Me~?"

Joseph attempts to use Hermit Purple to read DIO's mind via television, only to receive a red herring and a taunt from his nemesis.

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / PokeInTheThirdEye

Media sources: