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Identity Impersonator

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A Secret Identity is one of the most important secrets a costumed superhero can have, and the most carefully guarded. However, no matter how Crazy-Prepared a hero thinks he is for any given contingency, eventually someone — for the purposes of this article, let's call him "Tucker" — will stumble onto his secret. So how can one convince Tucker that he is mistaken, that the superhero and the civilian are not one and the same?

How about seeing the hero and the civilian in the same place, at the same time?

Taking advantage of the fact that most superheroes wear a face-concealing mask, it is easy to slip a third party (usually a close friend or confidante) into the hero's costume, then have the actual hero appear next to the costumed person, in civilian clothing, in the sight of Tucker. Seeing the civilian and the hero standing side by side is usually enough to convince Tucker that he was mistaken, and the Secret Identity is safe.

The ruse can become more convoluted and more convincing if the hero has superhuman powers which the costumed decoy must duplicate, if his disguise doesn't involve a mask, or if the decoy is an unwitting dupe, but a clever hero can usually get around this. One relatively common inversion involves the impersonation of the civilian identity rather than the heroic one.

Of course, if you're an Anti-Hero or a Villain, you could always just kill Tucker.

Compare Dead Person Impersonation and Masquerading As the Unseen, see also Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story. Often paired with Friend of Masked Self.

Not to be confused with Costume Copycat, a person who impersonates the hero without the hero's knowledge or permission.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the anime adaptation of The Caligula Effect, it's revealed that Ritsu is doing this. In Mobius, he's taking on the appearance of his senior coworker Shingo Tachibana, one of Mu's lead developers.
  • Case Closed:
    • As Ran often comes close to discovering Conan's identity, Conan has found a couple of ways to have "Shinichi" on the phone when Conan is in the room. The masterstroke came one time when he was in his original body and Ai disguised herself as Conan.
    • Heiji has both successfully and unsuccessfully disguised himself as Shin'ichi, with the successful attempt then ending in him revealing his guise anyway - Vodka, who remembers 'killing' Shin'ichi, was at the party looking at an apparently undead poisoning victim, so Heiji had to restore the status quo.
    • The third Non-Serial Movie concludes with Conan trapped into revealing his identity to Ran, only for Kudou Shin'ichi to walk through the door. It's Kaitou KID, who pegged onto his identity during the course of the film. The film continuity then has Kaito use this knowledge to dress as Shin'ichi around Conan in almost every other appearance.
  • In Code Geass, C.C. occasionally dons the Zero costume to cover for Lelouch. Fridge Logic kicks in when you realize that Lelouch is half a foot taller than C.C. and has a completely different body type. In the second season, ninja maid Sayoko uses an almost frighteningly Latex Perfection to pose as Lelouch at school while the real Lulu is in China as Zero.
    • Lelouch even did this all by himself once, using only a tape recorder, a phone, and his Geass.
  • In Death Note, Light uses the other users of the titular Artifact of Doom to pose as Kira when he is under suspicion by the Kira Task Force.
  • During the first Tenka'ichi Budokai in Dragon Ball, Master Roshi enters against his pupils under the pseudonym "Jackie Chun", but has to invoke this trope with the aid of a defeated combatant once said pupils start putting two and two together.
  • Kaitou Saint Tail goes through an elaborate plan involving Seira dressing up as Meimi while Saint Tail's exposing plagiarism in a contest entry, and then a Saint Tail-shaped balloon flying off into the distance while Meimi's out on stage. However, despite their best efforts, Rina still continues to believe that Saint Tail and Meimi are one and the same, so they try it again... dressing up a clueless, older, male guard as Saint Tail. This not only works but succeeds in breaking Rina's brain deeply enough that she swears off detective work forever.
  • This was done in an episode of Megaman NT Warrior to convince Lan and his friends that Masa the fishmonger was not Commander Beef. After everyone left the scene, Masa removes the Latex Perfection mask, revealing one of Beef's subordinates, who says that she is not doing that again.
  • In Romeo X Juliet, Dr. Lancelot takes up the mantle of Red Whilwind to let Juliet escape from the guards. He dies for it, but Juliet is safe.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • After Kaolinite discovers Usagi's secret identity, Minako uses Usagi's disguise pen to pose as Sailor Moon. In this form, she uses her own powers (being Sailor Venus), but wisely avoids calling them by name... sort of... Hissatsu Love-Me Moon Chain compared to Venus Love-Me Chain...
    • It gets even weirder in the R season when it's obvious that Moonlight Knight is Endymion/Mamoru .... until the two are seen together. This confused, pretty much everyone until it's revealed that Moonlight Knight is the embodiment of Mamoru's lost memories as Tuxedo Kamen, who somehow managed to get his own body, while the real Mamoru was afflicted with Laser-Guided Amnesia so he could protect Usagi until it was time for Mamoru to recover his memories. When this happened, Moonlight Knight reveals the truth and merges back into Mamoru's body and soul; when he wakes up, he remembers everything.

    Comic Books 


  • Batgirl Year One: Barbara Gordon pulled this when her Batgirl alter ego had to be introduced to her father. Robin (then Dick Grayson) had to wear her costume.
  • Superman:
    • Superman and Supergirl have both done this a million times. In the 60's, they used to have a bevy of robotic lookalikes back then; it got to the point where everyone knew Superman had them, and he'd have to prove that he wasn't using a robot this time.
    • One time, the fake-Clark Kent was actually John F. Kennedy. Unfortunately, the comic showing this was released barely before JFK was assassinated, which created the uncomfortable connotation that Superman knew that the president would take his knowledge of his secret identity to his grave.
    • On another occasion, Superman appeared as himself, and Batman appeared as Clark Kent; they even managed to get their picture taken together.
    • In Superman Family #215-216, a Supergirl form the future had to impersonate Kara's alter ego Linda Danvers.
    • The task also falls to the shapeshifting Martian Manhunter, who can also duplicate Superman's powers if the real version is being Clark.
    • Lampshade Hanging in one comic, where a special appearance isn't required; the mere fact that Superman and Clark Kent have been photographed together so often is enough for the characters to dismiss the idea.
    • In one Silver Age example, Clark fakes out the Daily Planet staff by using a life-sized balloon of Superman and super-ventriloquism.
    • Superman will also take Batman's place from time to time. He has an easier job of it since the cowl is so face-concealing and the two have similar builds. Amusingly, Batman has everyone in Gotham so psyched out that Superman-as-Batman can fly, take bullets without flinching, or move at superspeed, without anybody thinking that maybe Batman is being impersonated because they think Batman does those things all the time.
    • Not a complete example, but it has been mentioned a few times that Alfred can imitate Bruce Wayne's voice perfectly, allowing him to do a phone conference or make an excuse for missing a date while the real Bruce is already beating people up in his underoos. In the old Batman TV series, Alfred put on the bat-suit a couple of times when Batman and Bruce Wayne had to be in the same place at the same time. No one seemed to notice his moustache.
    • Superman appeared on live television as Clark Kent and Superman at the same time, interviewing himself. He did it by switching costumes back and forth many times per second, so he would appear in both places each time the camera shot a frame.
    • Post-The Death of Superman, Supes rescued Clark from his presumably weeks/months of being buried under rubble from the Doomsday fight. "Clark" in this case was the shape-shifter Matrix. A subtler bit of brilliance from this incident was the situation they put Clark in, making sure it was a situation where Superman was the only person likely to find him, to help explain the coincidental return of both Superman and Clark. It also explained why Clark's hair was grown out like Superman's and why he chose to keep it that way.
  • In Superman (Volume 1) #158 (1963), Superman and Jimmy Olsen go to Kandor and are forced to take on the identities of Nightwing and Flamebird. Later the Nightwing identity was adopted by Superman's cousin Van-zee... and then by Dick Grayson.
  • Batman:
    • One strange example came when Batman was briefly dead; Hush, the villain who devoted himself to ruining Bruce Wayne/Batman, gave himself plastic surgery to look like Bruce Wayne and take the reins of Wayne Enterprises, with the intent of ruining Bruce's reputation and everything he'd worked for. The rest of the Bat-Family, however, managed to blackmail him into actually "sticking to the script".
    • World's Finest #155 had Batman become Nightman after Superman tricks him into being hypnotized. Note that the spoilers are deliberate, as the story revolves around the mystery of the hero's identity.
  • The Flash had a great way to handle this. Barry Allen would blur back and forth during a talk with someone, switching from his Flash suit to his regular clothes and back. Because he was moving at speeds far too fast for the human eye to process, to a regular person, it looked like the Flash and Barry Allen were in the same room together.
  • After the death of The Flash rogue Mirror Master in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Captain Boomerang took his costume and equipment to commit crimes while his Suicide Squad partners believed he had reformed. Eventually, they stumbled onto it, pulled a huge prank to teach Boomerang a lesson and the government took the Mirror Master gear to give it to someone else.
  • Martian Manhunter: J'onn J'onnz disguised himself as the President of the United States to protect the real President from a group of would-be assassins in Legends. In the related The Warlord (DC) side story, DeSaad and Y'smalla both masquerade as Travis Morgan.
  • In Red Robin Tim asks his shapeshifting friend Ms. Martian to stand in for Tim Drake at a speech he knows he's going to get shot at in order to publicly take out his shooter as Red Robin and then spend about a year publicly "recovering" from his injuries. He concocted the plan to throw Vicki Vale off the sent of the Batfamily's identities while taking care of the assassin some corrupt cops hired to kill him.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): While Diana is investigating the spy Draska Nishki, she attends a costume party as Diana Prince while her friend Betty attends as a masked Wonder Woman in order to throw off their opponent's suspicions.


  • A plot thread in early Daredevil comics involved Spider-Man assuming Foggy Nelson was Daredevil (because he'd never have guessed it would have been the blind guy next to him), and Foggy consequently trying to keep up the ruse so his friend Karen Page would warm up to him romantically. Things actually managed to continue to get more complicated after that. Matt didn't want Foggy to embarrass himself, but he couldn't stop him without revealing he was really Daredevil.
    • Danny Rand took over as Daredevil for a while when Matt Murdock was in prison. As this happened during the Civil War story arc, it led to a bit of confusion (and parody) as to which Daredevil was supposed to be in the main arc of that storyline.
  • Iron Man had to do this a lot, actually, mainly due to his cover story that Iron Man was Tony Stark's employee and bodyguard.
    • Ultimate Iron Man has Tony and his friend Jim Rhodes pretending to be robots, going so far as to let Tony's arm get cut off by shrapnel so that the people they were trying to trick would believe it even more. Fortunately, in the Ultimate universe (or, as later retconned, the in-universe animated series based loosely on the real Iron Man), Tony Stark has amazing healing powers.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man has done this as well, most notably in a Silver Age story when he had the Prowler dress in his costume to convince his friends that an earlier admission of identity was just a result of feverish delusions. This came back to bite him when George Stacy, one of the friends in the group, was killed during a battle between Spidey and Doc Ock, and the Prowler came to the conclusion that the incident had been a setup.
    • In an earlier story, when Frederick Foswell (under a Latex Perfection alias as "Patch") almost sees Peter changing into Spider-Man, Spidey quickly allays his suspicions by sending a dummy in his Spider-Man costume hurtling into the air while he leaves the alley as Peter.
    • Additionally, Daredevil and Spider-Man have impersonated each other successfully given the similar build and acrobatics.
    • Spidey has also had his clone Kaine dress up in his costume on at least one occasion.
    • Discussed in the Marvel Knights run. When the Bugle offers a reward for Spidey's identity, Peter tries to get the ensuing manhunt called off by convincing Jameson that his son is Spider-Man. When Jonah protests that they've been seen together repeatedly, Peter counters that superheroes pull stunts like that all the time.
    • Another instance had Peter Parker caught removing his Spider-Man mask on camera by Spencer Smythe's Spider-Slayer robot. But Parker is able to later fool Smythe by appearing on camera again as "himself", and then tugging off a latex Peter Parker mask to reveal his Spidey mask underneath, well aware that Smythe is spying on him.
    • Prowler was also asked to impersonate Spider-Man during the Parker Industries period, enabling Peter and his "bodyguard" Spidey to be seen at the same time.
  • The Vision did this for Kate Bishop in Young Avengers: Dark Reign.


  • In the NOW Comics The Green Hornet universe, a supervillain called Johnny Dollar captures and unmasks the Hornet and attempts to auction off his secret identity. Unfortunately for him, in this universe the Hornet is a Legacy Character, and the previous Hornet comes to the rescue, showing up at the auction in the guise of the current Hornet, and claiming that the guy Dollar has is just an innocent bystander. The auction attendees are not amused.
  • Sonic X: Villainous example. In "The Return of El Gran Gordo", Eggman has Bokkun attack the town disguised as him so he can convince people he's not El Gran Gordo.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Different Approach by ShawnaCanon, when Adrien realizes Hawk Moth had noticed his ring and is after him, he commissions a ring identical to his Miraculous, hands the real Miraculous to Nino (along with a wig), and gets into a fight with his father to get himself in the mood to be akumatized. Not only does it throw Hawkmoth off his trail, his akuma powers let him turn Hawkmoth into a statue. Too bad Ladybug wouldn't listen to him before purifying the akuma and launching her World-Healing Wave.
  • In Best of Both Worlds by siderealSandman, when it turns out Chat Noir can split into Chat and Adrien, him (them?) and Marinette briefly consider using that power for this trope... before deciding that it can wait, and proceeding to a more immediate and a lot more enjoyable use making the fic definitely NSFW.
  • Leave for Mendeleiev features an unintentional version of this thanks to mutual Secret Identities. Adrien/Chat Noir suspects that Marinette might be Ladybug, but is thrown off her trail when he witnesses Ladybug checking on her and Ondine during the Timebreaker incident. What he doesn't know is that this iteration of his partner is a time traveler who hitched a ride with the akuma to Set Right What Once Went Wrong... which has nothing to do with his suspicions. Neither version had any clue that he suspected anything about her.
  • In The Secret Return of Alex Mack, the SRI team is able to help out with this several times.
    • Jo Lupo sometimes dons a Terawatt costume to provide cover for Alex.
    • On another occasion Jo adopts Alex's Annie Farrell identity while Terawatt is appearing at a NATO conference to discuss Superhero issues.
    • Willow pretends to be Alex, cosplaying as Kitty Pryde, in the audience when Terawatt makes an appearance at Comic-Con.
    • Alex offers to arrange for one of the SRI soldiers to sub in for Batman, if Bruce needs to be in two places at once.
  • Both Polyjuice (well, an improved version of it) and Tonks' abilities are used in The Awakening of a Magus to provide cases of Harry and the Magus being seen together.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed, when Daphne began to suspect Heather Jasper Howell/Dr. Johnathan Jacobo as the Evil Masked Man bringing all the monsters to life, their accomplice Ned, the cameraman, put on the Masked Man costume and appeared on the roof while Daphne was accusing them.
  • Star Wars: The Phantom Menace: The Queen's handmaidens are chosen in part to act as decoys when the need arises. For portions of the movie, Queen Amidala disguises herself as the simple handmaiden Padmé, while another handmaiden (Sabé) wears the white makeup. (Sabé was one of Keira Knightley's first roles, playing off her facial similarity to Natalie Portman.)
  • Zorro, the Gay Blade is built on a variation(s) of this trope, as it turns out that Don Diego de la Vega (who interited the mantle of el Zorro from his father) has a brother who was also meant to be a potential replacement. When Zorro injures his ankle during a skirmish, the brother must put on the mask and cape. Hilarity Ensues.

  • In the later books of Animorphs, the Chee (androids with millennia of experience imitating humans via hologram) start doing this for the kids when they have to go on long missions.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: In Brothers in Arms, Miles pulls this off with the aid of his clone/brother Mark.
  • Shades of Magic: Overlaps with Masquerade Ball. Prince Rhy helps his brother Kell anonymously join a Wizard Duel competition whose contestants appear in masks, including hiring an actor to fill in for him at a dance where Kell has to appear publicly. Kell is disturbed to learn that Rhy has already slept with the impersonator — though not, Rhy stresses, in-character.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Though not exactly the same thing, in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, Barney is threatened by a local man who says he's going to beat Barney up if he ever sees him out of uniform. Andy convinces Barney's judo instructor to don Barney's suit and walk down a street where the man expects Barney to be walking late at night. The end result is that the man mistakes Barney's judo instructor for Barney, takes a serious beating from the judo instructor, and no longer taunts Barney.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Early in Arrow Oliver Queen arranges to get arrested on suspicion of being The Hood because people will wonder at the coincidence of Oliver coming Back from the Dead shortly before the vigilante appeared, so he wants to discredit the idea early. While he's under house arrest with plenty of witnesses, his bodyguard John Diggle dons the Hood costume and beats up some bad guys. The police have to release Oliver and apologize to him. Oliver was actually taking a big risk with this, given that he had only just recruited Diggle to Team Arrow and would have had no one else to pull this off if Diggle had Refused the Call (which he did at first).
      • In "Darkness on the Edge of Town", Oliver knows his mother is involved in The Undertaking, so he has Diggle dress as the Hood again and kidnap them both, then pretend to beat up Oliver so his mother will talk to protect her son.
      • When Oliver is arrested again in Season 3, Roy Harper appears dressed in his Arrow costume and tells the police they've arrested the wrong man. In a later season, Oliver is on trial for the same reason, and the Human Target does a Dynamic Entry disguised as the deceased Tommy Merlyn, saying he faked his death so he could work as the Arrow unimpeded.
      • In "Dark Waters", John Diggle, Felicity Smoak, and Thea Merlyn are kidnapped by Damien Darhk, and Oliver has to surrender himself in exchange. It's pointed out that Darhk will be suspicious if the Green Arrow didn't try to rescue them, but fortunately supervillain Malcolm Merlyn has no problem donning the Green Arrow costume to rescue his daughter.
      • In "Blind Spot": Laurel has realized that Sebastian Blood is a Villain with Good Publicity and "the Man in the Skull Mask", but no one believes her. She ultimately guns down the Man in the Skull Mask, but when she and the Arrow take off the mask they see one of Blood's minions instead. The end result is that everyone takes it as proof she was wrong (even Oliver and Diggle who pulled this move before), and she's left doubting herself and sent even further into a downward spiral.
    • In The Flash (2014) episode "The Man in the Yellow Suit", Dr. Wells uses a hologram and superspeed so that a group of unimpeachable witnesses can see him risk his life to try to trap the Reverse-Flash. Unfortunately for him, he forgets to remove the hologram program after he's done with it.
    • In Supergirl, Kara's boss Cat Grant becomes convinced (correctly) that she is Supergirl, but is thrown off when Kara's new shapeshifting friend J'onn J'onnz, normally disguised as Hank Henshaw, appears as Supergirl while Kara shows up as herself.
    • In an episode of Batwoman, Julia Pennyworth poses as Batwoman to fool the Crows (and specifically Sophie) into drawing suspicion away from Kate, while Kate appears in the same location as herself. Bonus points for Julia technically having the skills to pull off the ruse, even if she doesn't actually use any of them.
  • In another Batman (1966) example, Adam West's Bruce Wayne would occasionally be seen in public at the same time as his Batman... as played by Alfred in a backup Batsuit.
    • On one occasion, Bruce gave Alfred a device so that when he spoke, it would come out in Batman's voice. Alfred told Gordon from across the street he had a cold and didn't want to contaminate anyone, which Gordon dismissed as "That's Batman for you—always thinking of his fellow man."
  • Dead Man's Gun: Leo dresses up as a dead man whose body he found on the road in order with a letter offering him a job of room, board, and $25.00 a month in "The Imposter." Leo is chagrined to find out that the man he's impersonating is being hired as the town marshal and he's promptly sent off into dangerous situations.
  • Barry Allen used a variation in The Flash (1990) television show; he managed to confuse his assistant Julio, who was just about to clue in, by using his super-speed to make a brief appearance as the Flash and then be right back in place as Barry when Julio looked back. (You wouldn't think this would fool anyone who was already suspicious, but apparently it worked.)
  • In order to find his "missing memory", which he believes is the key to figuring out who the Junction Point is, Ryotaro Nogami a.k.a. Kamen Rider Den-O impersonates himself in the past, deceiving his sister, the one who knows who the Junction Point is, in that time period.
  • In yet another Superman example, an episode of Lois & Clark had Clark's mom suddenly develop an interest in hologram technology, just in time to project an image of Superman while Clark is announcing the claim he's the Man of Steel is ludicrous. A later episode had a Clark from an Alternate Universe covering when Tempus spilled the beans, to his great embarrassment. "Come on! He's obviously from a parallel universe!"
  • Used by George/Thermoman in an episode of My Hero (2000): Thermoman was scheduled to give a public appearance in Northolt and Janet's father threatened to cut off all ties with George if he didn't personally thank Thermoman for having saved Janet's life (his and Janet's first meeting). George made Tyler wear the costume then erased his memory.
  • In an episode of Night Man, a reporter becomes suspicious of Johnny, thinking (correctly) that he is Night Man. She tells Johnny that Night Man promised to give her an interview at a certain time. As Johnny tries to come up with an excuse to leave, she calls him out on this, only for him to point up at a flying figure. The reporter realizes her mistake. The viewers then see that it is Johnny's best friend Raleigh who is wearing the suit, although he is not very adept at using the anti-grav belt.
  • In a variation on the usual Superman formula, one episode of Smallville sees Clark dressed up as the Green Arrow in order to help Oliver Queen 'prove' to Lois that he and Green Arrow are two different people. Lois (who was dating Oliver at the time) plants a kiss on her hero — only to realise her mistake as Oliver appears. Oliver would later repay the favour to Clark when Jimmy Olsen put two-and-two together. However, Jimmy didn't kiss him.
  • Snowpiercer: The First-Episode Twist is that the train's No One Sees the Boss Mr. Wilford and his Mouth of Sauron Melanie are the same person. In a later episode, Melanie is asked to call Mr. Wilford on the spot. Melanie then calls one of the few people who know who she really is, who is prepared to impersonate Mr. Wilford if needed.
  • Voyagers!: In "An Arrow Pointing East", Bogg pretends to be Robin Hood so that he can rescue Maid Marian and bring the Merry Men back together.
  • Zorro: When Capitan Monasterio accuses Diego de la Vega of being Zorro, Diego's assistant Bernardo appears disguised in Zorro's costume to throw him off the track.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In The Bible: Jacob, when he poses as his brother Esau to get the firstborn blessing from his father Isaac when he was near death in Genesis chapter 27. Because Isaac was blind and Jacob was wearing goatskins on his hands and the back of his neck, Isaac could hardly tell the difference between the two sons, except that the voice was different.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WCW did this in the late-'80s as the blow-off for the Midnight Rider angle. The Midnight Rider was Dusty Rhodes' masked alter ego and Dusty was slated to be in the Midnight Rider's corner for a match. That night, the Midnight Rider was portrayed by jobber The Italian Stallion (who didn't look anything like Dusty). This is a regular aspect of Charlie Brown from Outta Town.
  • WCW did it again in the early-'90s when Brian Pillman got a loser-gets-fired match against Barry Windham, but continued wrestling under a mask as the Yellow Dog (a nod to when Barry wrestled under a mask as the Dirty Yellow Dog in the Florida territory years before). The angle ended with Barry defeating the Yellow Dog on TV and unmasking him to be jobber Rip Rogers.

    Video Games 
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations Phoenix clears Ron DeLite of theft charges by showing that he was in a completely different part of town when Mask☆DeMasque was caught by Luke Atmey's security camera. This wasn't Ron's plot, but Luke Atmey's. He dressed as Mask☆DeMasque and had himself recorded well in advance, faking the time stamp on the footage, as part of his plan to be arrested for being Mask☆DeMasque—and thus have an alibi for his real crime.
    • An interesting case, given that Mask☆DeMasque was, in a way, a joint identity between Luke Atmey, the criminal mastermind, and Ron DeLite, a person that Atmey blackmailed into playing the role of the master thief. When the crimes of Atmey were finally brought up to the court, he had Ron ready to take the blame for either. Even if Ron was found guilty for the theft, Atmey would still have an alibi, as he was supposed to be in charge of guarding the place, where the stealing took place, and his testimony was connected with it. Really, Atmey could have gotten away with both theft and murder, as there was no evidence connecting him to the latter, if not for his overblown ego, which led him to make overly long testimony and inevitably slipping up and saying info he wasn't supposed to know.

  • The regular cast of El Goonish Shive includes a shapeshifter, so when another character becomes a costumed vigilante, this is suggested to throw off suspicion. It's rejected for multiple reasons, most of them having to do with the shapeshifter's eccentricity.

    Web Original 
  • In The Star War Gatherings, Moff Jejerrod tells Reaching The West Of Reaches (Darth Vader) that he is "The Lord Vader". It's unclear whether they have the same name or if Jejerrod is impersonating Reaching The West Of Reaches while standing directly in front of him.

    Western Animation 
  • A first season episode of The Batman has Bruce Wayne being interviewed on TV, and Alfred appears on the top of Wayne Manor in the cape and cowl portion of Batman's suit. Luckily it's night, it's raining, and the roof is six stories above the ground.
  • In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Triumvirate of Terror!", Lex Luthor teleports into the Batcave, while Bruce is at the Bat-Computer sans mask. Luthor doesn't get a look at his face, but starts making an analysis based on hair colour and general appearance ... before a costumed Alfred asks "Are you here to fight me, or my caretaker?"
  • Done unintentionally in Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, where Big Guy is in reality not a robot but a Humongous Mecha piloted by Lt. Hunter, a mech pilot who pretends to be his chief mechanic. His sidekick Rusty does not know this. In one episode, Big Guy is infested with runaway nanobots, who proceed to repair the AI systems that were originally installed into Big Guy but replaced with a human when they did not work. Big Guy ejects Lt. Hunter and begins acting on its own with Hunter taking the sidelines and actually performing his undercover job. Unfortunately, the nanobots' constant repairs result in advanced wear-and-tear, causing Big Guy's AI to deteriorate. Which forced Lt. Hunter to move in, take back control, and eventually return to his duties as Big Guy's Pilot.
  • Cow and Chicken: Chicken impersonates Supercow to protect his sister's Secret Identity in one episode.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Batman: The Animated Series. In a situation similar to the Superman/Batman examples listed above, Batman appears as Batman; Robin stands in for Bruce Wayne, utilizing stilts and some good old-fashioned Latex Perfection.
    • Done with an illusion of Static in Static Shock, provided by a reformed villain to throw Virgil's sister off the scent.
    • More Superman!
      • A clone (who later becomes Bizarro) rescues Clark Kent from falling to his death, right in front of Lois.
      • In another instance, Superman goes missing and Supergirl winds up controlling several Superman-robots to hide the disappearance. Lex Luthor sees right through the ruse and builds a remote to assert control over them.
      • "Knight Time" has Superman filling in for Batman in Gotham City (Bruce has gone missing, and Robin can't fight the crime of Gotham alone and look for Wayne.) The culprit is Brainiac, who kidnaps Bruce as the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, not realizing he's Batman. It helps that Bruce and Clark are of the same build and that Superman's "precise muscle control" allows him to modulate his voice to match Batman.
  • Happens a few times on Miraculous Ladybug:
    • In "Timebreaker," the titular akuma-victim's power brings Ladybug back in time a few minutes, allowing Ladybug to appear at the same time and place as Marinette. This one was just a coincidence.
    • In "Gorizilla," Adrien is the akuma-victim's target, so when he manages to get away for a moment, he enlists a similarly-dressed fanboy to put on a helmet and take his place so that he could slip away to become Chat Noir. The fanboy didn't know his secret identity; he just thought he was playing a decoy so Adrien would be safe.
    • In "Kwami Buster," Marinette takes advantage of a miraculous that allows her to duplicate herself and another that lets her cast illusions to make Chat Noir see "Marinette" returning the borrowed miraculous to Ladybug.
  • Happens repeatedly during the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well". Although Mare-Do-Well is actually four different ponies, so there's no actual "impersonation" going on, but they achieve the same effect by passing around the role and appearing out of costume to throw off the scent. Also, they're all different species of pony; Applejack and Pinkie are Earth Ponies, Twilight is a Unicorn, and Fluttershy is a Pegasus. Mare-do-Well shows off flight, Magic, and super strength at various points, implying she's an Alicorn, as her hat and cape cover the lack of needed horn or wings when the pony in question lacks it.
  • Spoofed on The Simpsons, with Homer's secret identity "Pieman". He tells Marge that he is not Pieman, and to prove it, he shows a picture of himself with Santa's Little Helper (a dog) in the Pieman costume.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man has unintentional and intentional examples. The first time, it's Norman Osborn in the Green Goblin suit and the Chameleon dressed up as Osborn (he was stealing company secrets for a competitor). The viewers don't actually learn this for another season - and in the same episode it comes out, Osborn hires Chameleon to do this on purpose.
  • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends: When the Sandman tumbles onto Peter Parker's secret, the team ropes local bully Flash Thompson in by inviting him to a costume party dressed as Spider-Man so Sandman can see Peter and "Spidey" side by side. Spidey even has to do some clever tricks to make Flash "climb" the walls.
  • South Park: At the end of "The Coon", Mysterion shows his face and gets arrested as a vigilante, but due to the simplistic style of South Park, the audience can't tell which character it is. A deleted ending reveals that Kyle was the one who revealed himself and got arrested...then the real Mysterion shows up to talk to Kyle and reveal his actual identity...though the audience still can't tell which character it is. (A later episode would reveal that Mysterion is Kenny.)
  • Steven Universe: In "A Single Pale Rose", it's revealed that Rose Quartz, Steven's Missing Mom and the former leader of the Crystal Gems, was also Pink Diamond, the member of the Diamond Authority she supposedly shattered. In order to fake her own shattering, Pink had Pearl, her personal servant, shapeshift into Rose's form and poof her with Rose's sword, leaving behind fake gem shards.
  • Yogi's Space Race: Somehow, Captain Good/Phantom Phink never needed one to preserve the masquerade despite "Phantom Phink" never showing up at the start line when the races begin.
  • In Zorro: Generation Z, Bernardo also impersonates Zorro. Of course, as the designer of this futuristic Zorro's bag of tricks, he actually doesn't make a half-bad superhero himself. Of course, he had to work around the fact that, as always, he can't talk.

    Real Life 
  • This actually was used in real life by Andy Kaufman when it came to his alter ego Tony Clifton. Andy always insisted that Tony was not him, and at the end of his 1979 Carnegie Hall performance, they performed together on the same stage after Tony had served as the opening act. (Andy played Tony for the opening, then had his brother play Tony at the end.) Andy later handed off the role to friend Bob Zmuda, who did concert engagements and TV appearances as Tony with most people assuming it was Andy under the part because Andy was fond of going to the concert venues and making sure he was seen during the day to further the ruse.
    • Tony's even made a few public appearances after Andy's death. Beat THAT, Superman!
  • Fred Dannay and Manfred Lee co-wrote mystery novels under two different composite pseudonyms: Ellery Queen and Barnaby Ross, whom they pretended were literary rivals. Dannay and Lee went so far as to stage public debates where one of them would play the part of Queen and the other would play Ross.