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Implausible Deniability

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It just went off while she was cleaning it!
Image by Vincent Grisanti. Used with permission.

Mrs. Teasdale: I saw you leave with my own eyes!
Chicolini: Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

People have trouble admitting to unpleasant things, even when the proof is right in front of their face. Whatever the situation, and for whatever reason, they will adamantly refuse to admit a situation is what it is.

It could be being caught red-handed in a theft (even if caught clearly on the security cameras). It could be losing a battle (not that the losing side might make a comeback; this would be denying that one was even at a disadvantage at all). It could be one's lie proven false. It could be getting caught cheating. This person will deny all of them, despite the most blatant and clear evidence, through Blatant Lies, Insane Troll Logic or both, perhaps hoping to bluster through by sheer brazenness.

As for why, this person may be delusional, desperate, playing coy, or would rather swallow poison than pride. Or someone might be forced to by another, for whatever reason (often politics or blackmail). In cases of a corrupt organization, the character may be aware that what they're saying is obviously untrue, but they're so insulated by the system that their words and connections are enough to invalidate any opposition.

Sometimes, this can be a whole group of people denying something due to fear of change.

A Sister Trope to I Reject Your Reality.

Compare Suspiciously Specific Denial, Blatant Lies, Never My Fault, I Was Never Here, You Didn't See That, Bad Liar, Everybody Knew Already, The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much, Obviously Not Fine, Transparent Closet, I Never Said It Was Poison, Insistent Terminology, and Photo Identification Denial.

Contrast Sarcastic Confession, Plausible Deniability, and Not What It Looks Like.

See also Clue, Evidence, and a Smoking Gun.

In-Universe Examples Only

    open/close all folders 

  • A Starburst commercial features Ernie the Klepto. Ernie claims to have reformed from his thieving ways. A kid points out that Ernie stole his Starbursts. Ernie replies, "No, I didn't," while actually eating the candy. The kid accepts Ernie's denial, while Ernie steals the kid's helmet, his bike, his Starburst, his dog, and his shirt.
  • In the first of Troy Polamalu's Head and Shoulders commercials, one of his teammates asks if he's been using his shampoo, because it's for guys who want "thicker and fuller hair"; Troy's already impressive mane gets thicker and fuller each time the camera cuts to him when he denies it, until he sheepishly admits the obvious.
    • A follow-up commercial has Troy asking his teammates who took his shampoo, one of whom has a beard as big as Troy's hair. The bearded one says it was the guy next to him, who is bald.
    • The in-commercial version of Geico claims they didn't know the cavemen were still around, even though the original commercial had the one offended be part of the film crew.
    • The pirate captain in the parrot commercial swears up-and-down that he never said any of the mean things about his crew that the parrot is saying, even though it's fairly obvious the parrot got it from him.
  • A Cheetos Super Bowl Special featured a girl getting caught eating her friend's cheese puffs and repeatedly denying it despite having cheese dust all over her fingers, fittingly set to a parody of "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In a scene in Beast Tamer, Kanade and Tania are told to go easy on a couple of thieves so that Rein can interrogate them later but end up knocking them out. Tania's excuse is, "It's their fault! They just decided to run into my fist as hard as they could!"
  • Karin of Bleach has the ability to see ghosts, but doesn't believe in them. When Yuzu points this out, Karin casually states she's in permanent denial.
  • A delusional example occurs in the manga version of Chrono Crusade. When Rosette confronts Joshua about his dependency on Chrono's horns, he responds "You're not Rosette. My sister was nice." After seeing a flashback of her half-strangling him when he (correctly) tells Chrono that her cooking is horrible, as well as eight volumes of watching her do things like damage private property, abuse Chrono (at one point until he's lying in a pool of his own blood!), and calling her superior an "old hag", it's a tragic (and somewhat hilarious) illustration of how much of his memories he's lost.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note after irrefutable evidence to him being Kira was presented, his first answer was "I've been framed! This is all a set-up!". Aizawa told him to give up the act. Understandably, given that this evidence consisted of Light shouting "I win!", and his name being the only one of the people besides Mikami's not being in the notebook.
  • Expecting to Fall into Ruin, I Aim to Become a Blacksmith: Eliza, due to being high class, and potatoes being peasant food, is horribly embarrassed for liking them, at one point insisting she was eating chiffon cake while potato crums are still on her face.
  • Full Metal Panic!: No, Kaname, Sousuke is not following you. He decided to stop at the same cafe, take the same train and — when accidentally missing his stop that he just now decided to get off on (which is, coincidentally, the same as yours) — jump out the window of a moving train for entirely non Kaname-related reasons. Really, it's entirely coincidence!
    • He maintains an equal measure of implausible deniability when pretending to be Mizuki's boyfriend, still insisting the case even after everyone has just watched him chase off her real one with a loaded gun.
      Sousuke: Anyways, it's me, Satoru Shirai! Back with drinks!
      Kaname: Everyone already figured it out, Sousuke.
      Sousuke: Seriously!?
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga Basque Grand shot his racist General Ripper superior at point-blank range to stop him killing the surrendering Ishbalan leader. The surrounding Amestrians calmly note it must have been a stray bullet.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Mako gets a phone call about her grandmother collapsing, and then claims that she's all right. She drops the phone immediately afterward.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Japan is seen at the end of a strip (Frequency), in bed, naked, with Greece lying next to him. He's trying to deny that they had sex, ("I'm so glad that "it was All Just a Dream"!"), but the fact that Greece is also naked makes that sound like Blatant Lies.
    • In another strip, a young Romano blames his chronic bedwetting on a rogue squirrel.
    • Iceland constantly insists that he's not lonely, despite the fact that it's obvious to both his companion and friend Mr. Puffin and the older Nordics.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: After being told by Ishigami and Kaguya (Ice) that the things she's eating are actually high on carbs and sugar, Fujiwara tries to come up with excuses how wrong they are, despite clear evidence that she's gaining weight. For instance, her argument why drinking bubble tea is fine is because calories are a unit to measure heat, so anything that she perceives is cool must have zero calories. She also thinks eating ramen is fine, so long as it's spicy and she's sweating enough due to sweat being a sign of exercise. The fact that on top of the noodles, she countered the spicyness by eating fatty ice cream afterwards went right past her head.
  • In Monster, after Doctor Tenma saves the inhabitants of a Turkish enclave from a neo-Nazi attack, the police try to question them about his whereabouts. They notice rather quickly that when the Turks see a photo of Tenma, they happily identify him, but whenever the topic shifts to him being wanted as a suspect for murder, they then promptly shift gears to claiming they've never met him in their lives.
  • In Nagasarete Airantou, Ikuto refuses to believe in magic, no matter what he has seen. He assumes summoned spirits are just "creatures". One chapter has him partially transformed into an animal, which doesn't wipe his memory (unlike everyone who was fully transformed). Despite seeing friends look completely different and the changes to his own body, when he finally recovers, he believes it was just a dream. (Pitying friends try not to remind him of this.)
    • It is later explained in the manga that Ikuto was put under a magic spell to keep him from believing in mystical creatures by his sister who is half snow fairy.
  • Onani Master Kurosawa: Sugawa asks for help with a math problem which Kurosawa helps her with, before she says how she would never want the help of someone like him, which makes him point out how he’s the only other person in the room so that can’t be true.
  • One Piece :
    • As thanks for saving the country, King Nefertari allows the Straw Hats to recuperate in the royal palace, sheltering them from the Marines. The Marines want to search the palace, but the guards adamantly refuse to let them in and say there are absolutely no pirates in the palace. As they're saying this, Usopp and Sanji are walking right by them.
    • Iceberg walks up to a government official who is looking for him and greets him with "As you can see, I'm not here."
  • Towards the end of Red River (1995), Queen Nakia bluntly refuses to acknowledge the charges of treason brought against her, despite the fact that the heroes have gathered damning physical evidence (such as state secrets sent to the Egyptian royal family with her personal seal), or the testimony of her own son, who she'd drugged as part of an attempt to frame the murder of the last emperor on the female lead. Having spent the rest of the series basically untouchable due to her skills at political manipulation, it's the first sign of her encroaching Villainous Breakdown from being backed into a corner.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: After Queen Mirellia marks her daughter Malty with a magic seal that electrocutes her when she lies, the sociopathic princess still continues to repeatedly deny her crimes, including her attempt to murder her younger sister to become heir to the throne and frame Naofumi for it. For added bonus, Motoyasu and the King also refuse to believe that she was capable of that, despite the seal's effect giving her away.
  • In the case of School Days, Kotonoha Katsura denies that she's been wronged, and frequently tells people that she's Makoto's girlfriend and that he wouldn't cheat on her. After he tells her in person that he doesn't like her any more, it goes from implausible deniability to psychosis. She leaves several voice messages for him to a recording saying her call could not be connected, detailing plans for their dates together. In the end she says "Finally... It's just the two of us..." as she clutches his severed head as she sails off into the sunset, although partially she is speaking the truth.
  • In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, the main trait of Mitama Mayo is this. No matter what she did to anyone, everyone is just pulling a Double Standard even though most of the time she obviously did it. One of the time, she even burns an entire house, holding a gasoline, an igniter, and showing it in front of everyone. No one knows.
  • A Running Gag in The Story of Saiunkoku has Ri Kouyuu coming up with ridiculously implausible explanations whenever he got lost.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions, despite his attempts to tell Kaiba that bringing Atem would yield nothing, Yugi decides to show Kaiba by reassembling the Millennium Puzzle. Atem does not return, as Yugi points out to Kaiba that Atem no longer has any connection to the puzzle and is gone forever. Kaiba becomes visibly shocked and starts shaking with anger, going to claims Yugi is lying and that the pharaoh is refusing to face Kaiba, and decides to make him come out forcefully by beating Yugi.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Flying Island: The Sky Adventure episode 11, Wolffy has Weslie and Paddi captured. Paddi pretends to sleep so that he doesn't catch Wolffy's attention and tries to wake up Weslie, who is legitimately sleeping. Wolffy catches Paddi awake, and the goat tries to convince him he's still asleep. Not that it does much to divert Wolffy's attention from him.

  • One Adam Sandler sketch has his character, a radio host, asking random people on the street to guess if the sounds he plays for them are made by people having sex or working out. He'll then play a recording of an over-the-top porn soundtrack, with people saying things like, "You're fucking the shit out of me!" When the person tells him they were having sex, he'll respond with something like, "Nope, they were doing leg squats!" then mock them for having dirty minds. (The punchline in the skit is, all the people he asks initially are men; the last person he asks is a woman, whom he then has sex with, records the act, and when he plays it back she says, "That was you having sex with me." He agrees with her, then produces his findings: that women have less dirty minds than men.)
  • In one of Bill Cosby's routines, he tells a story illustrating why "Children are so honest" is bullshit. He tells his toddler daughter she can't have a cookie, then catches her with her hand in the cookie jar. When he asks her what she's doing, she says, "I was getting a cookie for you, Daddy!"
    Cosby: [as himself] I don't want a cookie! [as his daughter] Well then, can I have it?!
  • Chris Rock has a bit about the hypocrisy of women in clubs dancing to songs that are sexist, and that if you point it out to them, they'll go to impossible lengths to justify it. Pointing out the artist's use of words like "bitch" or "ho" elicits the response "He ain't talkin' ‘bout me!" He continues saying that even if it were bizarrely specific, they'd still deny it:
    He just said your name.
    ...No he didn't! [continues dancing]
  • In Live on the Sunset Strip Richard Pryor dispenses some relationship advice to married men, to always deny having sex with another woman — even if you are caught in the act:
    "I don't care what you think you saw, I was not fucking her. Now you going to believe me, or your lying eyes?"

    Comic Books 
  • Oliver Queen's attempt to deny being Green Arrow to Mia despite being a blond guy with an identical beard who sounds exactly like Green Arrow. Maybe running for mayor and trying to keep a Secret Identity in the same town was a mistake.
  • Power Girl tried to maintain a secret identity as owner/president of a small cutting-edge tech firm in her 2010-2011 series. Unfortunately for her, that's a pretty highly visible profession, and there just weren't enough twenty-year-old, six-foot-two blondes (aside from, well... you know) in the public eye for her to maintain it for very long. It worked a lot better in her New 52 series, since she operated as Power Girl largely under the radar and across the globe, rather than publicly acting as a hero in one location.
  • Ares' appearances in the first issues of The Incredible Hercules are full of this in a very Does This Remind You of Anything? fashion. What a genius mastermind he is.
    Wonder Man/Hercules: No, I'm/He's not.
    (later, as he hits Wonder Man over the head with a cinder block)
    Ares: NO!! Blows from an unseen assailant have felled Wonder Man!! On my honor, I will not rest until I have tracked down those responsible!! (gets in a car and runs away, leaving Wonder Man lying on the pavement)
  • In The Powerpuff Girls story "Monkey Business" (DC run), Mojo Jojo has done a Heel–Face Turn and opened a restaurant. Some misunderstandings prompt the girls to think Mojo is up to something but they are proven wrong. In the last act, the people (along with Bubbles and Buttercup) are enjoying some chili at the restaurant, but everyone's farting prompts Blossom to mistake it for a gas leak. Bubbles and Buttercup claim they can't smell anything, and at the ending panel with the pulsating hearts, Bubbles still doesn't admit it was her.
  • Star Wars: Legacy: After a major battle, Joker Squad informs Imperial high command that Darth Maleval was tragically killed by enemy fire in the midst of combat. Maleval, for the record, was shot in the back by his own troops after the battle was over. There's no real attempt at a cover-up, and Trask (who pulled the trigger) admits that it probably wasn't believed... but it doesn't matter because Maleval was evidently so hated, even by his fellow Sith, that nobody is overly concerned he's gone.
  • Annihilation: A Running Gag in Nova's miniseries is people meeting Drax and asking if he's Drax the Destroyer, only for Drax to immediately reply "no."

    Comic Strips 

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Grimm Brothers' story "Our Lady's Child" (sometimes called "The Virgin Mary's Child" or "Fairy Tell-True") is built around this trope. The titular child, a foster-daughter of the Virgin Mary, denies disobeying Our Lady six times in total, even though it's clear that Mary had caught the child red-handed (or rather, gold-handed).

    Fan Works 
  • Invoked in the crossover The Man with No Name, when Inara and the Doctor are escaping from the enemy base:
    The Doctor: You must be mistaken, Leftenant. The lady and I were just out for a stroll. You must have mistaken us for someone else.
    Security Mook: Then how do you explain the blood all over you?
    The Doctor: Um...I got mugged? Really, you should do something about that, streets aren't even safe... You're not buying that for a minute, are you?
    Security Mook: Not so much.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku bakes two cakes for Pyrrha's birthday and they turn out wonderfully. Katsuki has a Sweet Tooth and quickly starts stuffing slices of cake in his mouth while insisting that he didn't come to the party for "Deku's shitty cake". Lampshaded by Weiss.
    Weiss: [speaking to Izuku] The parties in Atlas, especially at the social rank my family occupies, are less about dancing or eating a fourth slice of cake like Katsuki Bakugou over there-
    Katsuki: OVER MY DEAD BODY!
  • Several Buffy the Vampire Slayer stories have someone (usually from outside Sunnydale) point out that if the claims of "Gang members on PCP" were true, Sunnydale would not only be the PCP capital of the world, they'd have more gang violence per capita most other cities in the United States combined.
  • In Walking in the Shadows, Xander tries to play off the vampires behind the club he works at as being "really big rats" to the new girl (who's later revealed to be Tara). When she points out the blood on his neck, ash on his shirt, and new leather jacket, he makes up increasingly ridiculous claims, eventually claiming they're "really, really big, high jumping rats who smoke and have bad fashion sense."
  • A Certain Droll Hivemind: The Network's cover story for why they have the same power, the same name, and the same face as the Railgun is just "it's a coincidence."
    He then attempted to enquire as to how I was related to Misaka Mikoto. He does that frequently. However, I repeated our cover story. We are certain that he does not know the truth. After all, there are many Electromasters in Academy City, many girls who look somewhat like us and the Original, and many people with the family name 'Misaka'. It would be irrational for him to conclude that there is a link between the Sisters and the Original just because those things happen to coincide.
    The existence of such a link does not make his conclusions any less irrational.
  • Blackened Skies:
    • Celeste berates Kaede and her allies with a series of Breaking Speeches during the first trial, accusing them of trying to ignore all the circumstantial evidence piling up against Kirumi simply because they don't want them to be the culprit.
    • Later, once the first culprit has been exposed, they continue arguing against the evidence well past the point of this, much to everyone's annoyance.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Denial: The second culprit falls into this during their Villainous Breakdown. It's unclear whether they actually believe what they're claiming or not, since their plan hinged on a trap that would trigger when somebody else opened a door, making them the culprit via Accidental Murder. However, the trap went off early, yet the culprit continues to insist upon their innocence and blame their would-be scapegoat.
  • During chapter two of Point of Divergence, Pekoyama continues to claim that she and Kuzuryuu didn't know each other, even though she's spent the entire investigation in a Heroic BSoD since his death. Everyone quickly realizes she's grieving.
  • In the AU Alternative Gods when the SPK show up at the NPA's Cybercrimes division:
    Halle: We have reasons to believe Kira is an exceptionally talented and highly skilled genius member of the Japanese NPA's Cybercrimes division.
    (everyone stares at Light)
    Light: Clearly, you must be talking about Matsuda.
    (At that precise moment, Matsuda's printer viciously ate ten sheets of paper at once, choked on them, and died)
  • In Broken Facades, Misa discovers her best friend Light is Kira after she makes the eye deal so to her he might as well have a neon sign on his head. Light however has no idea just how futile his denials are:
    Misa: Kira.
    Light: What about him? Do you want stats or something?
    Misa: You're Kira. I can't believe it.
    Light: Don't be ridiculous Misa. Whatever are you on about?
    Misa: You're Kira because this notebook fell on the Earth for you as well.
  • In Boys und Sensha-dō!, an injured Miho claims she can manage with everyday tasks by herself. It merely takes Akio lightly poking her in the ribs, causing her to grimace in pain, to show that she can't.
  • When Pacifica runs away from her parents in Anywhere but Home, she ends up at the Mystery Shack with Stan wanting to know why she was traveling through the forest. She claims she was on her way to see Dipper.
    Stan: At four in the morning?
    Pacifica: ...Yes.
  • In Mistakes, China does not want to talk about his drug habit:
    "Are those trackmarks?"
  • In this Crosses the Line Twice piece of fanart, Germany calls Japan to ask that he stop committing war crimes while Germany's trying to do business with China. Japan denies that he's doing anything of the sort, whereupon Germany points out that he can see him just out the window with assorted corpses.
    Japan: (looking at Germany, phone in hand) That's not me.
  • In Stupor Heroics, Lynn ended up destroying a very important historical bridge during a mission before the start of the story. The resulting PR nightmare from that has her legal team not only telling her to lay low (which she uses to take the chance to make contact with her long-estranged brother Lincoln), but for the duration of the mess she has to deny the very existence of bridges themselves.
  • From Tangled Up In You, in response to Adrien's latest bad joke:
    Marinette: That's horrible.
    Adrien: Your smile tells a different story.
    Marinette: I'm not smiling. (she is totally smiling)
    Adrien: (smirks) She says while smiling.
    Marinette: Shut up.
  • Phoenix's Tear: Reignition: Reminiscence has Melonbo attempt to hide behind Golem by hanging off of him, tail wrapped around his neck for stability. When Ray asks him and Serenity whether they've seen the other oculothorax, Serenity glances nervously at Golem before offering a meek "" Ray subsequently notes that they're both Bad Liars.
  • In By Royal Command, Trixie refuses to accept that Twilight Sparkle is now a princess. Even though a profiling analysis of the incredibly lewd letter (with illegible signature) that kicks off the plot reveals roughly half a dozen clues marking her as the writer. And Equestria's other three princesses each confirm that they didn't write it. And Celestia insists on bringing Trixie to Ponyville to settle the issue. And Pinkie Pie says "Twilight became a princess". Even when Trixie sees Twilight's new appearance, wings and all, she's holding on to the hope that it might all be a crazy dream.
  • In My Dream Is Yours, Otis asks Olympia how she knew that Owen was having Oona's recurring dream of being in Italy on a gondola while being serenaded by Danny T from Soundcheck. Olympia responds aptly by exposing Oona's Precocious Crush to everyone.
    Olympia: Oona...kinda has a major thing for Danny T.
    Oona: IT'S NOT MAJOR! IT'S NOT A MAJOR THING! [blushes] Okay, I admit it, he's really cute...
  • In Professor Arc, Ironwood asks Jaune to return the battleship that was crashed into Beacon, the one big enough to be converted into a new school building, and still possessing functional weaponry.
    Jaune: Battleship? What Battleship?
  • White Sheep: When Penny arrives at the dance with her date, Weiss asks about the men following her. The two adult men, both wearing full Atlesian soldier equipment, claim that they are here as a couple for the student dance. Weiss only lets them in because Penny doesn't mind (they're her bodyguards), but she has no idea what's going on.
  • In Saki: After Story, Teru keeps denying that Saki is her sister, even to Sumire, who has proof from both of Teru's parents that they're sisters. Eventually, however, Sumire gets through to Teru, but not before Teru has viciously beaten up Saki, leading to a My God, What Have I Done? moment before Teru is arrested.
  • In Dead Man Walking, Wendy insists she's not all broken up about Kenny having to spend a couple weeks in juvie. Despite taking to sleeping in his bed while he's away... while listening to the song they listened to on their first date, smoking his weed, and even wearing his parka both in bed and to school.
  • In Coincidence and Misunderstandings, Raven confronts Jinx after the latter robs a jewelry store and has this trope go both ways.
    Raven: And what, exactly, is your purpose here? Well?
    Jinx: (with bags of stolen jewelry in hand) I? I was just taking a midnight stroll. And what are you doing here, Ms. Titan, hmm?
    Raven: And the bags, Ms. Thief?
    Jinx: Well, how else would I window shop?
    Raven: (while laughing) I do not believe that is how that particular practice is performed.
    Jinx: Fine, just cuff me and let's go.
    (Raven teleports the bags several feet away)
    Raven: I see no evidence of any crime, so I suppose I will have to accept that you are, indeed, partaking in an innocuous walk. I would advise you, however, that your record is against you and grounds for suspicion. I really should escort you to your residence. However, I am now 'off-duty', so I trust you can make your own way home.
  • The Unfantastic Adventures of Bizarro No. 1: Parodied. When Bizarro is caught watching a porno movie by his son, who asks why he is watching porno movies, he quickly smashes the VCR and asks "What porno movies?". Junior calmly answers "The porno movie which you were watching on the VCR which you have just busted", and Bizarro demands to know if his son is going to believe his dad or his own eyes.
  • Happens with Leonardo in the last chapter of a very short Drabble-Fanfic titled Under The Influence.
  • Shatterheart: Kurogane and Fai confront Syaoran's kidnapper who immediately denies his involvement. Even though he is literally standing over Syaoran's injured body and about to pour bleach in the boy's eyes.
  • In Just One Word, this is how the main characters meet. Mettaton, hoping to go unnoticed by his hordes of adoring fans, goes to a café in "his best disguise". This apparently involves wearing his own merchandise. His love interest doesn't initially recognize him (or recall who he is), but naturally assumes that the guy who's wearing a scarf which has both his own face and bright pink text saying "METTATON" on it must be Mettaton. He denies it anyway.
    "No, I'm not Mettaton." he snaps. "Trust me, get it all the time, but—"
    You point at the scarf, and—oh, gods, he's picked the MTT-brand scarf with his face on it and the neon pink letters spelling out "METTATON", hasn't he. Crap. Why does he even have this, again?
  • In part four of What Would You Think?, Danny Hebert is very insistent that he and his crew don't know anything about why dozens of members of the Empire died in a horrible explosion originating at his office. He and his coworkers had been having a barbecue when his office exploded and Danny, having drank far too much water, urgently relieved himself without realizing he was urinating on Kaiser's remains. Everyone except Armsmaster is fully aware that Kaiser threatened the wrong person (Danny's daughter Taylor) and paid the price for it. The end result is that every police department's holding cells are filled with Empire members begging for protection and Piggot swearing that no consequences will befall Danny and his crew for the "unfortunate industrial accident" that killed so many members of the Empire.

    Films — Animated 
  • At the end of An American Tail, when Warren T. Rat's disguise is shot off and it becomes obvious he's a cat, he still tries to maintain the charade, with the line "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" They got that line from Chico Marx as seen in the page quote.
  • Subverted in The Incredibles when Dash puts a tack (drawing pin) on the teacher's chair, is caught on videotape and still gets away with it due to being too fast to see. All they catch on tape is a moment where he vanishes from his chair for a second. Before they zoom in on his chair though, watch the area between Dash and the teacher's table. The blur is much less implausible.
  • In Madagascar, Alex the lion reverts to his primal instincts and attacks his zebra friend Marty, then realises what he's doing just as he bites. Awkward pause:
    Marty: Excuse me? You're biting my butt!
    Alex: [with his teeth still sunk in Marty's butt], I'm not.
  • In Hoodwinked!, Red comes across Japeth, a goat who claims he can only sing everything he says:
    Red Puckett: Could you stop singing for one moment?
    Japeth the Goat: [singing] No I can't, wish I could, but a mountain witch done put a spell on me, 37 years agoooooooo, and now I gotta sing every thing I saaaaaaaaayyyyyy...
    Red Puckett: Everything?
    Japeth the Goat: [speaks] That's right.
    Red Puckett: You just talked! Just now!
    Japeth the Goat: Oh, did I? [singing] Did I? Dididididodadidididoooo...
  • Beauty and the Beast
    • Belle comments on the enchanted castle, and Cogsworth tries to deny it.
      Cogsworth: Enchanted? Who said anything about the castle being enchanted? [laughs weakly, then in an angry whisper to Lumiere] It was you, wasn't it?
      [Cogsworth and Lumiere start to scuffle]
      [watching a talking clock and a talking candelabrum wrestle each other]'' ...I figured it out for myself.
    • Whenever Cogsworth wants to avoid something (like the fact that Belle's not coming down for dinner or the West Wing), he pretends he doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
      Belle: [literally on the steps to the West Wing] What's up there?
      Cogsworth: Where? There? Oh, nothing.
  • "Frozen Fever":
    • When Elsa catches Olaf taking a bite out of Anna's birthday cake:
      Elsa: Olaf, what are you doing?
      Olaf: [talking through a mouthful of cake] I'm not eating cake.
    • Elsa herself falls victim to this, insisting she's not too sick to help Anna celebrate her birthday even as Elsa becomes increasingly delirious with fever.
  • In Maya the Bee: The Movie, this is combined with Never My Fault. Maya insists that Buzzlina is hiding the royal jelly under her crown, but nobody believes her. Then, Buzzlina's crown gets knocked off, with the vial of jelly inside it, and when it lands on the ground, one of the bees goes to pick it up, which reveals the jelly to the shocked crowd.
  • In Zootopia, Benjamin Clawhauser bursts in on Chief Bogo playing with a Gazelle app. Chief Bogo tries desperately to pretend he is not doing that, hiding it from view and blatantly denying that it was Gazelle that Clawhauser just heard even as the app's audio plays "I'm Gazelle and you are one hot dancer.", so this does absolutely nothing to convince Clawhauser. He eventually says that he's working on the missing mammal cases in an attempt to change the subject.
  • In The Boss Baby, when Tim catches the Boss Baby talking on the phone and calls him out on it, the Boss Baby's one attempt at denial is weak and perfunctory.
    Boss Baby: [speaking in the same deep voice he always uses] Uh, goo-goo ga-ga?
  • Used as a Running Gag in the Hotel Transylvania movies where an old gremlin woman will eat something in one bite and then quickly deny having done it.
  • In Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, Zim attempts to have a Thunderous Confrontation with Dib... by setting up special effects and a sprinkler system. When Dib awkwardly points all this out, Zim promptly throws all the machines off-screen and feeds the strobe lights to GIR.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; Miles is trying to get back to his room after an embarrassing day at school (and right after his powers start manifesting) when he's stopped by a security guard.
    Security Guard: I know you snuck out last night, Morales!
    Miles: [thinking] Play dumb. [out loud] Who's Morales? [thinking] Not that dumb!
  • In Mulan, a rocket in Mulan's cart suddenly goes off. She looks back and sees her sidekicks Mushu (a small fire-breathing dragon) and Cri-Kee (an ordinary cricket). Mushu's mouth is still smoking, but he points at Cri-Kee, as though he was somehow responsible.
  • Pocahontas: Ratcliffe denies to himself that there is no gold, just to reassure himself he won't have to return to England having failed his last assignment.
  • Brave:
    • The witch, who continually insists her shop is a normal store, that her carvings do not have magic spells enchanted in them and that she is most certainly not a witch.
      Merida: [gleefully] You're a witch!
      Witch: [furiously grinding on a lathe] Wood-carver!
    • Merida has a few Implausible Deniability moments of the Never My Fault variety. She keeps saying it's not her fault that Elinor became a bear, but she finally takes the blame during the Holding the Floor scene.
  • In Turning Red, Mei denies that the red panda fur that her grandma found belongs to her despite there being no other possible source for it besides Mei's panda form.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Air Bud: After Mrs. Framm, Josh, and the principal walk in on him pelting Tom with basketballs and yelling at him not to drop any, Coach Barker claims that he was just running Tom through some drills. They are not convinced, and in the next scene, Barker is no longer the basketball coach.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
    • The Black Knight scene. "It's just a flesh wound." Even more so the line before it:
      King Arthur: Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left!
      Black Knight: Yes, I have.
    • The man who insists that the loudly protesting "corpse" he's trying to offload onto the body collector is, in fact, quite dead.
    • Echoed later by the King of Swamp Castle and the father of the bride in the scene with Sir Launcelot and Prince Herbert.
  • In A Guide for the Married Man, the main character's friend teaches him all the tricks of cheating, including denying it even if the wife walks in. However, when the friend is caught, all his teachings fail him.
  • In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin collects his personal effects from a clerk. When the clerk produces a Swedish-made penis enlarger, Austin denies it being his. The clerk then proceeds to hand him his credit card receipt for the purchase of the Swedish-made penis enlarger, signed by Austin Powers. And a warranty card for a Swedish-made penis enlarger pump, filled out by Austin Powers. All of this prompts a "I don't even know what this is. This sort of thing isn't my bag, baby!", which naturally segues into the final article of his personal effects - a copy of the book Swedish-Made Penis Enlarger Pumps and Me (This Sort of Thing Is My Bag, Baby)... by Austin Powers.
  • In Back to the Future Part II, Griff and his gang crash into the Hill Valley Courthouse Mall while trying to kill Marty in broad daylight in the middle of the town square. In front of hundreds of witnesses. When the cops are dragging Griff away, he responds with:
    Griff: I was fraaamed!
  • In Cabin Fever, Marcy blames Paul, her recent sex partner, for making sore red marks on her back during their coital frenzy, when she knows full well that skin sores are a symptom of the disease going around. She even seems to suspect what they truly are when she first discovers them. Especially galling when you remember that she had just infected him with the disease by sleeping with him, and once again, was probably perfectly aware of this.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming:
    • Peter Parker tries to deny to Ned that he's Spider-Man. After he was just on the ceiling. While wearing the suit. Needless to say, the conversation doesn't end with the secret identity intact.
    • When Peter and Ned attend Liz's party, despite knowing they'll look like dweebs, Michelle pops up to tell them they are losers for attending. Ned points out she's there to.
    Michelle: Am I?
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Renfield eats bugs in front of Dr. Seward, and pretends he's not doing anything.
  • In Shattered Glass, Stephen Glass's fabricated articles fall apart with just the tiniest bit of scrutiny. The conference hall where he says he attended a conference on a Sunday isn't open on Sundays, and well below the capacity it would have needed to hold the conference besides. The restaurant where he claims his interviewees had dinner is only open during lunch. Even after these revelations he maintains that his story is accurate ("All I know is that I was there."), and then when the stories fall apart completely and place the reputation of the New Republic in serious jeopardy, he insists that he's not to blame ("It's not my fault!").
  • Shoot to Kill: A diamond fence claims a call the villain made to him was a wrong number even though the call lasted nineteen minutes.
  • In Star Wars: A New Hope, Leia insists that she is on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan, a fact which even when the film was released in 1977 seemed to be difficult to believe. When Rogue One came out we discover this trope was in full play, since the ship had escaped a battle, and just barely avoided being boarded by Vader a few hours earlier.
  • Played for laughs in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. When Sparrow first sees Barbossa, he assumes he's hallucinating. Barbossa mentions that, last time they met, Sparrow shot him. Sparrow just looks at him for a moment, says, "No I didn't." and keeps walking.
  • In the 1997 Harland Williams comedy RocketMan, astronaut Fred Randall's oxygen tank springs a leak, so he is connected to his superior via a breathing hose, in order that they might share air on the surface of the planet Mars. Randall then has an... ahem, "attack of indigestion", the effects of which cross over to Commander Overbeck's suit, prompting the above memorable exchange (which is no doubt familiar to most people from Real Life). Randall finally relents and admits to it, but not for long:
    Fred Randall: It wasn't me!
    Bill Overbeck: What do you mean, "it wasn't you"? We're 35 million miles from the nearest person!
    Fred Randall: Maybe it was Julie!
    [Julie, for the record, is miles away, on a different part of the planet's surface]
    Bill Overbeck: You dog!
    Fred Randall: Hey, miracles can happen!
    Bill Overbeck: Blaming this on Julie...
    Fred Randall: Okay, I admit it, it was me.
    Bill Overbeck: Thank you.
    [Fred has more "indigestion"]
    Fred Randall: Now that was Julie!
  • In Role Models there is a funny minor scene with the lawyer Beth defending a thief. He's taped on security camera (identifying himself by name and admitting that he is currently committing theft) and he still insists he didn't do it.
  • Close to the end of In the Loop, Malcolm Tucker discovers that Toby (Simon Foster's assistant) was the one leaking information to the press, and confronts him; Toby makes a rather half-hearted attempt at denying it...
    Malcolm: I know it was you who leaked Linton's war committee.
    Toby: Oh... right... erm, it wasn't?
    Malcolm: "It wasn't?" That's what you're gonna say when they come and slip a hood over your head and fly you to Diego Garcia and carry out a cavity search?
    Toby: I don't actually recall... it was a very busy time...
    Malcolm: That's better.
  • In Billy Roses Jumbo, a 1962 musical comedy set in a circus, Jimmy Durante plays an elephant trainer who tries to sneak his beloved elephant off the circus grounds and is caught red-handed.
    Sheriff: Where are you going with that elephant?
    Durante: [standing in front of the elephant] Elephant? What elephant?
  • Subverted in Amityville: The Evil Escapes. The evil, possessed lamp (yes, really) makes the chainsaw turn on and flail around randomly while the son is holding it and covers the daughter's room in crayon graffiti, but while the mother doesn't believe an evil spirit is behind it yet, she still denies the logical explanation that the kids did it.
  • Played for Drama in the Tom Cruise film Valkyrie. His character keeps saying that Hitler is dead, which is the only way operation Valkyrie will fly. This becomes more implausible as evidence keeps piling up, up to and including Hitler himself speaking on the radio.
  • There is an independent short film called Eating Out where a man and woman spot a lesbian couple in a bar and have an argument over whether or not they are lesbians. The woman believes they are and the man stubbornly hangs on to his belief that they're not, even when he sees them making out, because "they don't dress like lesbians" and "a lesbian couple can't both be femmes."
  • Subverted in The Shawshank Redemption. Andy's defense is that, on the night that he found out his wife was cheating on him, he got drunk, loaded his gun, drove to the house of his wife's lover (leaving tire tracks and fibers at the scene)... then thought better of it and threw the gun in the river. Then, on the same night, someone else broke into the house and killed them both, using the same caliber gun that he had. Turns out that he was telling the truth, but the jury naturally doesn't buy it.
  • In Duck Soup, Sylvanian spies Chicolini and Pinky are snooping around, both disguised as President Firefly. They're not very good at it.
    Mrs. Teasdale: Your Excellency, I thought you'd left!
    Chicolini: Oh no, I no leave.
    Mrs. Teasdale: But I saw you with my own eyes!
    Chicolini: Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?
  • Much like with the Video Games example below, the movie Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has several instances of this.
    • During Maya Fey's trial, Redd White insists that just because Phoenix had placed him in Mia's office at the exact time as her murder and saw the whole thing, there was no evidence at all that he actually committed the killing. No one in the gallery believes it, but the Judge does have to concede that it's true. Fortunately, he still declares Maya Not Guilty.
    • Near the end of the movie, Manfred von Karma was proven to have been right outside the Evidence Room, at the exact time Gregory Edgeworth was murdered. Von Karma insists that without a motive, there's no support at all for the claim that he had anything to do with the crime. Fortunately Phoenix does find a motive, and von Karma is convicted.
  • Almost Famous: Penny and the other groupies claim they aren't groupies, just fans of the band, despite all evidence to the contrary.
  • Erik the Viking: The island of Hy-Brasil is sinking, and the people of the island insist that it is not. The king continues his denial even as the waters rise over his head and reduce his speech to bubbles.
  • Jackass Number Two: In one skit, Dunn is about to be launched out of a garage and into a dumpster in a shopping cart, but Bam instead closes the door, causing Dunn to get slammed into it at high speed. Even though everyone saw him close the door, Bam adamantly insists that he didn't do it.
  • Deadpool: The main character denies having anything to do with a dead guy, who falls from an overpass sign at the site of the bloodbath Deadpool just finished causing.
    Deadpool: That guy was up there when I got here.
  • Denial: Irving claims he's not racist even as his own diaries and recorded speeches show him saying blatantly racist things. For example, after a section of his diary is read aloud where he admits to teaching his daughter a dirty about never marrying outside the white race:
    Rampton: You sued because you said that we had called you a racist and an extremist.
    Irving: Yes, but I'm not a racist.
    Rampton: Mr. Irving, look at the words on the page.
  • In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Mildred claims not to have been to the dentist, while talking through a mouthful of Novocaine.
  • In Sky Bandits, Barney and Luke are caught about to dynamite open the vault of a bank in the middle of the night. They claim they just came in to make a deposit.
  • In The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming a Soviet sub has run aground near a small island near New England. A landing party from the sub needs to steal a boat to get back to the sub. So, in order to clear the streets near the dock, two of the Russians are sent out to tell people, "Emergency. Everybody to get from street", speaking with heavy Russian accents. (It turns out the streets were clear, anyway. Only a couple of kids hear the warning; they shrug and go along with it.)
  • Early in Sonic the Hedgehog, Green Hills' local nutcase, Crazy Carl, is the only person in town to have claimed to have seen Sonic zooming around town for the past 10 years since he arrived on Earth, and the only evidence he has is a poorly drawn picture that cleverly resembles a classic piece of "bad" Sonic fanart. An early scene in the movie has him attempting to capture Sonic in a field of bear traps, but Sonic just trips them all without being caught.
    Sonic: [in the distance] NO, I'M NOT!
  • Tales from the Hood 2: In "The Sacrifice", Councilman Bradley insists that he's merely trying to disenfranchise Democratic voters, not black ones - his family points out that in this situation, it's a Distinction Without a Difference.
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm:
    • When Tutar is caught having snuck into Johnny the Monkey's crate, she claims that he ate himself when Borat sees his corpse.
    • When people recognize Borat on the streets, he claims that they're mistaken while making no attempt whatsoever to disguise his appearance or voice.
      Borat: [to random passerby] My name-a Borat, what do you say?
      Passerby: [excitedly] Borat?!
      Borat: No, it's not me!
  • During the climax of The Faculty, Marybeth has been exposed as the Hive Queen controlling the Puppeteer Parasites that have taken over the school. Zeke, who doesn't yet know this, shows up and has to play Spot the Impostor between Marybeth and Stokely, with Marybeth claiming that Stokely is not only the real Hive Queen but also a Psycho Lesbian who tried to rape her. One problem: Marybeth is completely naked, having just shapeshifted back into her human form but having left her clothes behind, and she's extremely nonchalant about it. Zeke takes one look and asks the obvious question.
    Zeke: Answer me something, Marybeth... why are you naked?
  • The Wizard of Oz: After the Wizard realizes that Toto has pulled back the curtain and exposed his trickery, he tries a last desperate "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" bluff.
  • Angels with Dirty Faces: On the same day the newspapers report Rocky illegally came into possession of one hundred grand, his old friend Jerry suddenly finds a massive envelop of cash in the mail. When Jerry goes to give the money back to Rocky, he claims to have no idea where it came from. Jerry just compliments his friend's poker face and moves on.

  • There is a story told about the possibly fictional, possibly real Mulla Nasreddin (the Muslim World's trickster archetype):
    • A neighbour came to the gate of Mulla Nasreddin's yard. The Mulla went to meet him outside. "Would you mind, Mulla," the neighbour asked, "lending me your donkey today? I have some goods to transport to the next town." Having heard that that particular man was occasionally rather harsh with his own donkeys, the Mulla didn't feel inclined to lend out the animal to that him, however. So, not to seem rude, he answered: "I'm sorry, but I've already lent him to somebody else." All of a sudden the donkey could be heard braying loudly behind the wall of the yard. "But Mulla," the neighbour exclaimed. "I can hear it behind that wall!" "Who do you believe," the Mulla replied indignantly. "The donkey or your Mulla?"

  • A man visits The Shrink.
    Man: Doctor, you've got to help me. I think I am actually dead!
    Shrink: Come on, it should be obvious that's impossible.
    Man: No, really, I'm positive I'm dead.
    Shrink: I see. A question: Do you think that dead people can bleed?
    Man: No, they can't.
    [Shrink pricks man with a needle, causing him to bleed]
    Shrink: And, do you still think you are right?
    Man: No, doctor, I was wrong! Dead people can bleed!
  • A girl is brought to the doctor:
    Doctor: What season is it?
    Girl: Summer.
    Doctor: Are you sure? Look out the window.
    Girl: It's summer.
    Doctor: But look, it's cold, snowing.
    Girl: Summer.
    Doctor: Look carefully, it's cold, snowing, everyone is dressed warm, the lake is frozen...
    Girl: Yeah...a shitty summer.
  • An Ur-Example from the Philogelos, a 4th century Roman text that's the world's oldest known surviving jokebook:
    A visitor arrives at a Deadpan Snarker's house, to which he replies "I'm not home!"
    The visitor laughs and says, "Stop lying, I know that's your voice!"
    "You bastard!" he replies. "If my slave said I wasn't home, you'd believe him—are you saying he's more credible than me?"

    Let's Play 
  • During this episode of Sips' Trouble in Terrorist Town series, Ross from Hat Films tries to deny that he is the traitor, even when his efforts to shoot at the rest and his killing of Trott make it blatantly obvious. Now with fanart.
    Ross: IT'S NOT ME! IT'S NOT ME!
    Smiffy: Why did you start shooting at us, then?
    Ross: Honestly, it's not me! There's someone behind you! RUUUN!
    Smiffy: Nah, it's Ross.
    [Ross kills Trott, and then shouts over the chatter from the others]
    Ross: It's not me!
    Smiffy: You were fucking shooting at us!
    Ross: No, it's not me!
    [Ross and Smiffy run into each other, and Ross starts shooting at him, continuing to deny that he is responsible all the while. Observing the antics from beyond the grave, Sips is degenerating into helpless laughter]
    Smiffy: FUCK OFF!
    [Smiffy goes on to win the round anyway, bringing up the "Innocents Win" message]
    Turps: You RDMing son of a bitch, he said it wasn't him!
    Ross: It wasn't me!
  • When playing Garry's Mod Murder with the rest of the Yogscast, InTheLittleWood, due to his being new to the game mode, gives away the fact that he's the murderer by mentioning he can see footprints. His attempts to backpedal do not work at all, with his claiming that he can't be the murderer twice in a row (which is less likely but has happened to many players before) and that he was talking about last round.
  • During this episode of Sips' Garry's Mod Murder, Sips finds that he is the murderer and finally bumps into Hat Films' Smiffy, saying that he is innocent. This doesn't work, because Sips' evil presence is showing. Much like Ross, he continues to deny it over and over again, with the same results. He eventually gives up when he gets his knife back.
  • True to form, on Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane's fourth series of TTT note , Ross does it again, shooting Sips, Duncan Jones (after telling them "poop into mouth", a euphemism for the "Eat Shit" meme that Ross started) and then Lewis. After the alarm is raised due to Ross missing, he continues to deny it, again while firing on the innocents.
    Ross: [after having killed Duncan] Poop into mouth.
    [Ross then wanders out, as Lewis enters to discover there's blood everywhere]
    Lewis: Ross? [promptly gets shot at] Ross is shooting at me!
    Ross: No I'm not! I'm not trying to make you eat shit at all! [keeps firing]
    Lewis: It's definitely Ross, he's shooting me!
    Ross: It's not me! It's not me! It's not me! Who is it?
    [this continues for another few seconds]
    Lewis: It's Ross!
    Ross: It's not me!
    Lewis: It really is!
    He eventually admits it after the round ends and he and Hannah Rutherford emerge victorious.
  • This happens to the Yogscast in Garry's Mod again, when Smiffy gets trapped in a cupboard, admits to Trott that he's the murderer, then freaks out when Sjin comes in with the gun and tries framing Trott, despite the fact that Smiffy's evil presence is showing.
  • Chuggaaconroy always denies watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic when he brings it up on The Runaway Guys and ProtonJon calls him in on it. After all, nobody would bring up the show so much unless they were a brony. (As an insult, after Chugga tells Jon that he doesn't watch what Chugga watches, Jon flat out tells Chugga that "you watch My Little Pony!")
    Jon: There's a law with you: there's like three or four things you always reference. And by default I assume horses.
  • In Outside Xbox's Dark Souls run, a joke about Luke doing New Game Plus as a no-damage run kept going for a while no matter how much damage he actually took. At one point Luke and Johnny Chiodini of Eurogamer were talking about how he was succeeding on the no-damage thing while an arrow was still clearly stuck in his character.

  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's The Norby Chronicles: Norby is easily embarrassed and inclined to outrageous claims to defend himself against accusations. The fact that he ends up in unbelievable situations means that his honesty is often called into question, even when he isn't making up stories about winning walking contests and dignity being upside-down dancing. "I didn't intend to bring a lion from a Roman coliseum" is not a good excuse when the Admiral had to sacrifice his dinner to tame it.
  • In the BattleTech Expanded Universe novel Black Dragon, a full blown Humongous Mecha fight breaks out between two rival yakuza families at a warehouse district on the capital world of the Draconis Combine during the Coordinator's birthday. Said fight involved at least four Mechs and two vehicles, with almost all of them destroyed and several buildings crushed and somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred casualties. The next day, when police begin investigating, no one in the area claims to have seen anything. This is despite the fact the Coordinator himself could see/hear the fighting.
  • Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World: Tokinada loves doing this. At several points he actually goes as far as confessing his evil intentions to various character, only to then say "Come now, that was just a jest! You didn't actually take it seriously, did you?" knowing that the characters cannot do anything against him without proof, even if he's being as transparently and Obviously Evil as possible. Frustrating them in this manner amuses him greatly.
  • In Dave Barry Slept Here, the mystery of the missing oil in the Teapot Dome Scandal is solved when Albert Fall is caught trying to board an ocean liner with a suitcase filled with 3.256 trillion barrels of petroleum products. Fall claimed that this was a "gift" from a "friend".
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: In Hard Luck, Greg mentions that a kid named Aric Holbert got suspended for breaking into the school and spray painting "Aric Holbert is cool" on the lockers. He tried to deny it was him, but as Greg points out, "it was pretty pointless".
  • Several examples from the Discworld series:
    • Carcer in Night Watch would deny he had done anything, even if caught (literally) red-handed.
    • Trolls also tend to repeat "I never done nuffin" (they have learned that denying specific things doesn't work as well) when they suspect they may be in trouble. Coalface is quite emphatic in this regard.
    • Detritus is the king of this. No of course he didn't nail that troll up by the ears for being the kind of scumbag that sells drugs to kids. Now, if you'll excuse him, he needs to go hide that hammer in his locker.
    • And then there's the inversion of "Done It" Duncan, who confesses to every single crime ever committednote , even if it's completely impossible for him to have committed it. The Watch humours him, because his confessions tend to include information about who absolutely did not commit the crime in question.
    • In Unseen Academicals, the giant ever-burning candle known as the Emperor did not go out. Smeems says so, and is quick to correct Nutt when his assistant's vision shamelessly deceives him to make him believe it did. Smeems does at least trust Nutt enough to confide that this makes the third time the Emperor has "not gone out" in his long tenure as Keeper of the Candles. (Though of course it is also possible that this statement is literally true, and that out of every night that Smeems has been round to check on the candle, there have only been three when it was still burning.)
    • In Jingo Vetinari denies that he can speak Klatchian right after he's translated everything the Klatchians on the ship are saying. Since he's talking to Colon and Nobby, it works. (He also later claims to not be able to juggle or do street magic after performing a masterful piece of street theatre, though he also claims that merely managing Ankh-Morpork is more of a balancing act than any juggling.)
    • This is the stance the wizards are taking on the events of Sourcery; namely, each wizard is insisting that while the other wizards were causing The End of the World as We Know It, he was holed up in his room, studying, while humming very loudly. Or were out of town visiting relatives living in a country that wasn't destroyed in the chaos. So far, the only wizard not to do this is Mustrum Ridcully, who really was visiting relatives at the time.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: Georgia's older sister Deborah begins ignoring Sid around the time she graduated high school, after deciding his existence was impossible and therefore not worth acknowledging. Despite the fact that he's lived with their family for eight or nine years by that point. She begins to acknowledge him again after he saves Georgia's life near the end of book 1.
  • Heavy Object: Talent traffickers from the Capitalist Enterprise abduct young children with high grades and sell them to corporations interested in cultivating future employees. Parents looking to recover their children are forced into court where they're expected to prove the child is theirs. Unfortunately, those courts are owned by the corporations buying the children. Family resemblance is dismissed as coincidence, the child's testimony is not allowed, and DNA tests require a 100% match despite variation in testing preventing this.
  • Honor Harrington, in the first novel of her series, ends up destroying the Havenite merchantman Sirius in the Basilisk system after discovering it is actually a disguised warship there as part of a False Flag Operation to take political control of the system away from Manticore. Haven unequivocally denies all of this, insisting that Manticore's copious evidence is all fabricated. (Sensor data can be faked, of course, but it is rather more difficult to explain how Fearless ended up half-wrecked by missiles if Sirius was indeed the unarmed victim it was pretending to be.) They go so far as to try and convict Harrington in absentia for murder. But Haven pretty much has to do this, preposterous as it is, as doing anything else would be tacitly admitting to the rest of the galaxy that they were caught committing an act of war.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones, there is a variant where a relative of the murder victim does this, apparently to not have to accuse a high-ranking person of murder: "He clearly stumbled and slit his own throat on a rose thorn in that hedge there. A tragic accident." Everyone knows who is to blame, of course, but the fact that he doesn't outright accuse the murderer enables everyone to save face.
  • Matthew Swift: In the first book, A Madness of Angels, Matthew's one-time mentor Robert Bakker refuses to acknowledge that his shadow comes alive and not only killed Matthew before the series began, has been hunting down Matthew and the angels since he came back from the dead — even after being presented with evidence and directly confronted.
  • Happens all the time in Nineteen Eighty-Four as the Party simply claims that since it can control records and memory, it can control anything that has happened. If everyone believes that something did or did not happen, than by all means it did or did not happen.
  • In Robert Arthur's short story "Obstinate Uncle Otis", the main character is described as having "a lack of faith that can un-move [mountains]", including denying that a barn obstructing his view exists... and it instantly doesn't.
  • The Freys verge on this crossed with Insane Troll Logic in A Song of Ice and Fire after their Moral Event Horizon; No, no! Robb Stark and all his retainers weren't led into a trap and savagely murdered while protected by guest right! At all! Robb really turned into a werewolf! A very big one! And, then started murdering HIS OWN BANNERMEN and the shocked Freys he'd come to make amends with, all of his actions simply being For the Evulz! No, really: wargs, ammirite? A few characters suspect that, since everyone already knows what really happened, they're doing it this way just to dare someone to openly disagree. So, they warrant at least a couple of style points for the scale of the attempted over-the-top-lies, then... despite the shoddy execution, yes? General opinion is a resounding "no" on that.
  • There Is No Epic Loot Here, Only Puns: Mrs Dabberghast's garden has somehow sprouted a Terror Root that requires very specific conditions to grow; two cups of blood, a pinch of sulphur, and two bedtime stories a month.
    Mrs Dabberghast: I just kept cutting myself on my gardening tools and I use sulphur perfume and you know how I love telling stories that last an hour to myself in the middle of my garden where no one can see me.
  • Natalia in The Tiger's Wife refuses point-blank to admit that she knew in advance that her grandfather was terminally ill, even though her grandmother knows perfectly well that Natalia knew, and is begging her to admit it.
  • Dodged in Wolf Hall when Francis Weston relates a funny story about how Thomas Cromwell got Thomas More convicted of treason: by locking the jury into a room and saying they couldn't have supper until they gave him a guilty verdict. Cromwell's son and ward don't appreciate Weston cheeking him, but Cromwell doesn't say anything to contradict it and is happy the conversation moves on because that's close enough to what he actually did.
  • Robert Zubrin's The Holy Land: The President and his advocates do this all the time; none of the significant characters actually BELIEVE them, but plenty of them find accepting the lie more profitable and useful than calling them on it. Back to that first entry under Truth in Television, below...
  • In Lord of the Rings with his army defeated, his machines wrecked, his tower besieged, and the Rohirrim at his doorstep to hold him accountable for his many misdeeds, Saruman comes out and pretends this was all a misunderstanding which was probably their fault, but he will forgive and help them. Played seriously, as due to the power of his voice had Theoden been weaker willed, and had Gandalf not warned them and been present to split Saruman's focus, they could easily have come out of the conversation thinking about Saruman's wisdom and graciousness and how in future they should be more wary of any who speak ill of him.
  • In Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series, pages are told they may never tell on another page. Incidents of fighting are addressed as "I fell", sometimes with 8-10 people apparently having fallen at the same time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock: "The roof is leaking!" "No, it isn't. There was a study."
  • On All That whenever a customer would point out a visible mistake Ed made at Good Burger, he would reply, "Ah... no."
  • Many American Idol contestants hideously fail their audition and immediately claim they were really "punking the judges."
  • After a magician's trick goes horribly wrong in America's Got Talent, he claims it was all part of the illusion—making the audience think about what they're seeing. Apparently seeing the hidden third assistant (he "only had two" assistants) and dropping a cloth, revealing the middle section of an assistant that had been "removed" is all part of the show.
  • Bait Car has this all the time. The hidden camera footage will show the car thief hollering to his friends "Hey man, check out this car I just stole! THIS IS TOTALLY A STOLEN CAR!", but as soon as the cops show up they put on their best innocent faces and claim "This is my friend's car, he asked me to move it for him." Adding to the hilarity, a rare few will continue trying to act innocent even after the police reveal that they have video evidence.
  • On Better Call Saul, the Kettlemans continue to profess their innocence of embezzlement charges, despite the fact that they made no effort to cover their tracks, they made out checks to themselves, and Jimmy actually caught them in possession of a giant bag of stolen money. Eventually Jimmy starts begging them to admit the obvious for the sake of his own sanity.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Leonard finds out that Penny had been quietly moving around some of his collectibles and putting in her own stuff, doing so little at a time Leonard never noticed. When he tried confronting her she denied it outright, while he says he got confirmation from Bernadette and Howard, plus he can physically see his stuff is missing, leading to this quote:
    Penny: So you believe your friend, your friend's wife and your own eyes over me. Wow.
  • Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Corporal Punishment"
    • Spoofed. As his Bumbling Sidekick Baldrick is being called to the stand to testify in Captain Blackadder's trial, Blackadder tells him to "deny everything." First question, from George (as Blackadder’s attorney)?
      George: You are Private Baldrick?
      Baldrick: No!
      George: ...Oh. Um... But you are Captain Blackadder's batman?
      Baldrick: No!
      [Blackadder headdesks]
      George: Come on, Baldrick, can't you be a bit more helpful? It's me!
      Baldrick: No, it isn't!
    • Also from the same episode is Blackadder's description of his lawyer's most famous case. "I remember Massingbird's most famous case, the case of the bloody knife. A man was found next to a murdered body, he had the knife in his hand, thirteen witnesses that seen him stab the victim, when the police arrived he said, "I'm glad I killed the bastard." Massingbird not only got him off, but he got him knighted in the New Year's Honors list, and the relatives of the victim had to pay to have the blood washed out of his jacket."
    • Blackadder II had the episode "Beer", where Blackadder has a drunken party at the same time his insanely Puritanical aunt and uncle are having dinner, and tries to keep the two separate. However, at one point one of his party guests lurches into the dining room, vomits into the fireplace, and declares "Great booze-up, Edmund!" before leaving again. His aunt demands an explanation, and after a minute of muttering to himself he actually comes up with one: the man was a missionary (recovering from a stomach bug) who recently brought a tribal leader named Great Boo to England. However, he'd contracted sleeping sickness and had been laid up until just now, at which point the missionary came to tell him "Great Boo's up, Edmund." Amazingly enough, they actually buy it.
  • The Borgias features one episode where Rodrigo Borgia is attempting to NOT tell his ex-lover Vanozza that their son murdered a rival nobleman while on a diplomatic mission. Even Rodrigo, normally an adroit liar, seems to be aware while he's telling it that this one is not going to fly.
    Rodrigo: Giovanni Sforza... fell... on a knife... which... Cesare happened to be holding.
  • The Catherine Tate Show: Part of Lauren Cooper's shtick is denying embarrassing situations (like being blown off by the guy she likes, or being left at the altar by the same) moments after they happened, in front of the people who witnessed them.
    Liese: But you were excited!
    Lauren: But I wasn't though.
    Liese: But you got up and did a dance, mate!
    Lauren: Yeah, I was gonna do that anyway.
  • TruTv's short-lived Caught Red Handed involves this trope as its main theme. The show consists of re-enactments of shoplifting crimes where it shows the daily life of Loss Prevention Agents capturing shoplifters, in which most times the shoplifters give the most ridiculous excuses in the show. Notable mentions are:
    • A repeat offender eats and drinks inside a supermarket and leaves without paying. When Loss Prevention Agents catch him, he denies it... even the fact that his face was viewed very clearly on camera, claiming it's a blurry spot. The repeat offender even threatens to sue the agents, deluding himself that all of his crimes will be dissolved due to their "false accusations".
    • One shoplifter tries to get away with 20 packs of jeans, exit through the fire escape door and out through the fence. His excuse? He forgot to buy them and never saw the sign that says "fire escape door."
    • A thief intends to use refund fraud by picking up the 'selected' items based on the receipt he just picked up in the trash and ask the cashier to return "his money" in the shop. However what he doesn't know is that two agents were already at the cashier counter, knowing his intentions. When confronted, not only could he not come up with any good excuses, he also tries to pick a fight with them saying "People give receipts every day," claiming that it's his receipt. Fortunately, the agents manage to kick him out of the shop before things get ugly. If this wasn't a reenactment show, he might get arrested for his violent outburst.
    • Two shoplifters who pose as a handicapped man in a wheelchair and a nurse pushing it for him try to steal merchandise. However Loss Prevention Agents catch on and only manage to capture the fake handicap while the 'nurse' manages to escape. The 'handicap' keeps insisting to be let go since he's handicapped and claims that the reason he runs away by foot is because he was chased by them.
      Agent: Either Jesus managed to heal you or you're not disabled.
    • One of the most ridiculous excuses is a shoplifter by the name John who steals a huge hardware item, rushes out through the front door and tries to enter the cab without paying. Luckily, Loss Prevention Agents manage to catch him in time. John's first excuse is that he's late for his flight at JFK Airport so he decides to put the stolen item in the cab and pay for it later. However once the agents don't buy his excuse, John's excuses becomes more ridiculous even mentioning that he's late for his train at JFK Airport. But the best part is his last excuse:
      John: Okay guys! Here's the truth! I'm actually from the Loss Prevention and I was here to catch you guys. Trying to catch you napping!
      Agent: I can't stand his BS anymore...
  • Cheers: By the finale, Carla's hatred of Diane has gotten so intense that when she sees her on the TV, she'd rather believe she was hallucinating on her deathbed. She asks Woody to confirm that Diane was on the screen, and at the frantic, panicked gestures of everyone else in the bar Woody claims the TV isn't on. Carla accepts this.
  • A sort of inversion happened on an episode of Danger Man when John Drake was pretending to be a member of a certain organization in order to infiltrate their headquarters. (I don't remember the name of the guy he was pretending to be so I'll say it's "Roger Smith.") In the middle of the episode he's about to be introduced to a man (another name I don't remember, so I'll call him "Peter Jones") who is Roger Smith's oldest friend. Knowing his cover's about to be blown, upon meeting him Drake immediately insists "You're not Peter Jones!"
  • Dead Man's Gun: The eponymous character in "The Good Chef" is starting to unbutton the dress of a woman he drugged in order to rape her when her boyfriend walks in and he claims he was just trying to give her more air after she passed out.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Flesh and Stone": Regarding the Doctor:
      Octavian: Do you trust this man?
      River: I absolutely trust him.
      Octavian: He's not some kind of madman, then?
      River: ...I absolutely trust him.
    • "Cold War": The Doctor and Clara accidentally wind up in a Russian submarine during the Cold War, and are quick to be suspected of being Western spies. Clara comments that they'd be pretty rubbish spies, seeing as she doesn't even speak Russian... only for all the Russians to look at her, bewildered, because the TARDIS's Translator Microbes automatically translate everything anyone says, so from their perspective she just said she didn't speak Russian in fluent Russian.
    • In "The Star Beast", Sylvia Noble's Bad Liar tendencies mean she's this anyway, but the situation gets worse when Donna storms into the house screaming about the alien clinging to her leg and yelling about the mysterious skinny man she met earlier standing in the hallway, and she insists he isn't really there even after she's already hit him in the face.
  • This is how Father Ted worked up the courage to kick Bishop Brennan up the backside. It actually works, until Bishop Brennan discovers this gigantic photo of Ted doing it that Dougal had been told to have commissioned.
  • Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers did it quite a bit. At one point, Manuel was semi-conscious in a laundry hamper with one arm sticking out and this exchange occurs:
    Bystander: There's someone in there!
    Basil: No, there isn't.
    Bystander: Yes, there is, I just saw him moving!
    Basil: No, you didn't.
    • Manuel does it too: "I know nothing!"
  • Frasier: When Frasier and Martin see Niles driving a hatchback, they call Niles, who swears up and down he isn't - even though they're right behind him, and Frasier can hear his own car's horn going off in the background.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, In one episode, Will masquerades as Ashley's father for a parent teacher conference (as she neglected to tell her real father that she switched to a public school rather than a private one). It goes over well at first but Will get attracted to the teacher and tries to flirt with her. The teacher then notices Will's mustache.
    Teacher: That's a fake mustache!
    Will: No, it's not.
    Teacher: [rips it off] Yes, it is!
    Will: N-No, it's not!
    Teacher: [to Ashley] I don't know what's going on, but I'm calling your real father right now!
    Ashley: Will!
    Will: No, it's not!
  • In an episode of Friends, Phoebe tries to sneak a dog out of Monica's apartment in her handbag, but someone asks why her bag is moving. First she denies that it's moving, then says it's just her knitting. When the dog pokes its head out of the bag, she says, "Yes, I knit this. I'm very good."
  • In Game of Thrones, Ramsay Bolton stabs his father through the heart, then calls the Maester in and tells him to send ravens to all their bannermen announcing that Roose was poisoned by his enemies. While standing over the still-warm body and holding the bloody knife. Although in this case it's less that Ramsay expects the Maester to believe him, and more a case of "Tell the bannermen what I just told you, or you're next".
    • It's later made clear that literally nobody is buying it, but everyone is either too scared of him to say otherwise, or are just happy to see Roose dead and don't realise how much worse than him Ramsay is.
  • Glee, or specifically Sue Sylvester, did this with her leaking of the New Directions set list to the opposing glee clubs.
    Principal Figgins: Sue, the directors, both from the Jane Addams Academy and Haverbrook School for the Deaf, have informed me that you gave them the New Directions' set list.
    Sue: You have no proof.
    Figgins: The set lists were on Cheerios' letterhead.
    Sue: I didn't do it.
    Figgins: They say, "From the desk of Sue Sylvester."
    Sue: Circumstantial evidence.
    Figgins: They're written in your handwriting!
    Sue: Forgeries.
    Figgins: Sue, there is an Orgy of Evidence stacked against you!
    Sue: Well, you've clearly made up your mind not to be impartial in this case.
  • The Goodies: In "Scoutrageous", Graeme and Bill have been terrorising the country as 'the Lone Scout, Plus One'. When they are finally cornered by Tim and the Salvation Army, Tim orders them to take off their masks. Upon seeing their faces, Tim lets out a shocked "It was you all along!" Graeme and Bill look sheepish and Bill mutters "No". Tim then says "Oh well, that's alright then" and starts to leave, although he does look back in shocked realisation at the very last second.
  • Green Wing: This is a rather large part of Dr Alan Statham's character, especially when it comes to his "secret" relationship with Joanna. No, dove, there is no method of checking for broken bones which involves sucking on people's toes.
  • In the first episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, a man accused of killing a woman with his car just starts repeating "I was drinking" over and over, to the point where it becomes creepy in itself.
  • Barney of How I Met Your Mother does this regularly.
    • Barney will alternatively be the only one to tell the truth while everyone else uses one blatant lie after another. This instance, discussing Robin's TV show, later turns out to be a subversion, because he's the only one that had actually seen it, and watches it regularly.
      Robin: Plus the show's not half bad, right?
      Marshal: Totally!
      Barney: Never seen it.
      Robin: Have you guys ever watched it?
      Lilly: Of course!
      Barney: Never seen it.
      Robin: Really? What is your favorite segment?
      Ted: Weather.
      Barney: Never seen it.
      Robin: You guys have never seen my show.
      All: Sorry.
      Barney: It's what I've been saying.
      • The brilliant part is that Barney never uses the word "I". He could be merely commenting on the statement made by the previous person. Therefore, he never lies at all.
    • A straighter example occurs when Barney tells Ted that GNB plans to get the residents of the Arcadian Hotel to move out by filling the place with snakes... then immediately saying "I don't recall saying 'snakes'." when questioned. He keeps mentioning or alluding to them and then denying it. Ted then does the same thing while talking to Zoey when he switches sides on the issue.
  • A widespread Memetic Mutation example from I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, where someone crashed a hot dog-shaped car into a Brooks Brothers, while a man wearing a hot dog costume tries to look like an innocent bystander.
    Guy in hot dog suit: We're all trying to find the guy who did this!!
  • On Malcolm in the Middle, Lois pulls out of the Lucky Aide parking lot and immediately gets pulled over for cutting someone off. Having just had an unpleasant encounter with the same officer in the store, she thinks he's simply out to get her, and plans on fighting the ticket she gets. Malcolm later uncovers a security tape showing that Lois did indeed cut someone off. Her response? "The tape is wrong." Of course it turned out later that the guy she cut off had just finished making an illegal U-turn, making it his fault, but Lois didn't know that at the time.
  • The titular character of Merlin (2008) actually manages to get away with this through a combination of this trope and Refuge in Audacity. Having just broken out of the cells in disguise, he's accosted by two guards. He then yells at them for forgetting that they let him in five minutes ago and spends so much time insulting their lack of intelligence that eventually they just go with it.
  • Mindhunter: Jerry Brudos and William Pierce both deny they had anything to do with the women they murdered, Brudos even when presented with a photo showing his reflection in a mirror under a dead body, and Pierce even after he showed the police where he had hid a victim's body. Although, oddly enough when Pierce is asked about three men he killed, he just casually admits them without challenge.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus
    • A Running Gag in the dentist/spy sketch: "There is something going on here!" "No, there isn't!"
    • And, of course, no one should forget the Dead Pining For the Fjords Parrot Sketch.
      • Which was once beautifully subverted in a stage version that took full advantage of the sketch's over-familiarity: after building up to the lengthy implausible deniability that forms the sketch's core, the shopkeeper amiably agrees with the customer, and gives him a full refund and a few holiday coupons to compensate.
      • John Cleese has mentioned, as an early memory of recognizing something as absurd, a teacher who told his class a story about an ancient Greek wrestler who "won" a match by not letting go of his opponent even after he himself had died. The idea being that if you just never give up, you can't possibly lose.
      • The Dead Parrot sketch is loosely based on a Car Salesman sketch that Michael Palin had previously done with Graham Chapman in How to Irritate People. And that was based on a Real Life encounter Palin had with a car salesman who "had an excuse for everything" and refused to admit that there was anything wrong with a car, even as it fell apart in front of him.
    • There's also a sketch in which Graham Chapman insists he can fly while hanging from a very visible wire, and if someone points it out just tries to insult their social class. And the Argument Clinic sketch dips in and out of this (No it doesn't!).
    • The smuggler sketch. The smuggler continues to dig himself deeper with his continued denials of having done anything. The joke being the customs officer continues to question the smuggler only to instantly believe he's not the smuggler, even as he shows what he's smuggling.
    • And of course their "Politicians - An Apology":
      "We would like to apologise for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme. It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are concerned more with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government, [...] Nor indeed do we intend that viewers should consider them as crabby ulcerous little self-seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive. We are sorry if this impression has come across."
  • In the NCIS episode "Grounded", Tony gets suspicious of a sloppily dressed passenger who doesn't want to go through security again and snatches his hat to search through it. When he finds a stash of marijuana, the man has the nerve to declare, "That's not mine".
  • Nuremberg:
    • Gestapo chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner's entire strategy of legal defense is to deny everything he's done and denounce everyone who claims that he engaged in war crimes as a liar, even when the prosecution presents him with incontrovertible evidence and multiple witness testimonies to prove it.
    • There's a moment where Hermann Goering is presented with the document which he sent to SS General Reinhard Heydrich to organize the Holocaust, but he still claims that this doesn't mean that the SS had anything to do with it. The entire courtroom does a double take from the blatant untruth of this statement, and even Goering himself has an Oh, Crap! expression when he realizes what he just said.
  • Odd Squad:
    • In "The Odd Antidote", a sick Oprah enters the Medical Bay with all sorts of afflictions, including angel wings that are as as big as her body on her back. Olive, Otto, and Dr. O all scream in terror, and Oprah asks about their odd behavior before spotting the mirrors situated behind Olive and Otto and asking if one of them is hers. They respond with a series of rapid-fire "no's" as they scramble to hide the mirrors behind them.
    • In "Odd Outbreak", an agent who has just come down the tubes asks O'Callaghan if he's wearing a wig. O'Callaghan responds with an accusatory "No!" not even a second before adjusting his wig.
    • A Brick Joke in "Puppet Show" involves someone remarking on how the Puppet Master's gadget looks like a dog bone, only for her to say that it doesn't look like a dog bone at all. When Whoops, Oprah's dog, runs past the Puppet Master with the gadget in its mouth, she admits that perhaps it does look like a dog bone after all.
    • The beginning of "No Ifs, Ands, or Robots" has Otto trying to pull two fast ones on Olive regarding his broken badge and failing horrifically.
    Olive: Partner, what happened to your badge?
    Otto: Oh, nothing.
    [Olive shoots him a dubious look]
    Otto: Okay, fine. I may have dropped it, and it may have broken in half, and I may have tried to fix it, and it may have dropped while I was trying to fix it.
    Olive: You should get it repaired.
    Otto: Eh, no need. See? [he takes the badge off and lightly grips it in his hand, where it promptly crumbles to pieces]
    [Olive gives him a "told you so" look]
    Otto: Yeah, okay, I'll get it replaced.
    • In the Cold Open of "Disorder in the Court", a client named Nicole makes up odd situations on the fly in plain view of Olive and Otto, such as making sandwiches with her hands as filling and hiding her hands in her coat sleeves to make them invisible. Naturally, they don't buy any of it.
    • In "Failure to Lunch", Olympia comes out of the kitchen with two bowls of soup for her and Otis and manages to run into him on the way to their table. She asks him why he's standing, to which he responds with the equally-apt question of why she's their waiter. Her answer? Tell him she's just a helpful customer while also remarking that everything is normal and nothing is weird and giving a nervous laugh.
    • In "Dr. O: Party Time, Excellent", Olympia passes out masks of Dr. O's face for guests to wear at the Odd Squad Doctor's goodbye party and tells everyone that the masks aren't creepy in any way whatsoever. Oona's reaction is to look at her mask and declare that it's creepy...just before she puts it on.
  • Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation denies liking breakfast foods, not wanting to have breakfast with Garry and his family. Even if Leslie wasn't already famous for her love of breakfast foods, Garry notices the waffle decorations on her handbag.
  • Paul Merton: The Series: In one comedic monologue, the character explains how he's been falsely accused of murder, but the evidence is so against him that he never stood a chance: "Sure, the cops found me standing over the guy with a smoking pistol in my hand — sure, sure. Sure, I had the motive. I had the opportunity. I even remember killing him! But you must believe me, I didn't do it."
  • The Phil Silvers Show: In one episode, Colonel Hall realizes that the reason the gambling-obsessed Bilko is so happy about the upcoming desert maneuvers is that the are near Las Vegas. Bilko and his men plan to abandon the maneuvers to hit the casinos. Usually, Bilko is a very good liar, but when Hall makes this accusation, Bilko is caught off guard, and his nervous denial is pretty weak.
    Bilko: Las Vegas? What is a Las Vegas?
  • Pixelface: When Claireparker asks Rex if he's tearing out pictures of apples from a book and eating them again, Rex answers "No!" through a mouthful of paper.
  • Played for laughs in Red Dwarf, in the episode "Me^2". Lister breaks into the Rimmers' room to steal Rimmer's diary, whereupon the Cat emerges from a closet, wearing a suitably gaudy and over-the-top outfit, and turning towards the camera and shielding his face from Lister, says:
    Cat: Did you see him clearly? Could you spot him in a parade? I don't think so. I could've been anybody.
  • Saturday Night Live: Martin Short's Amoral Attorney character Nathan Thurm does an alternate version of this: instead of sticking to his guns in the face of insurmountable wrongness, he just switches positions and expects to get away with it ("I know that! Don't you think I know that?").
  • On Seinfeld, Elaine is pretending to live in a building so that she can get Chinese food delivered. To that end, she hides out in the janitor's closet to eat her meal. On one occasion, when she comes out of the room, she runs into the superintendent, who demands to know why she was in there. After a few seconds of incoherent babbling while she tries to come up with a decent excuse, Elaine proceeds to look her straight in the eye and declare, "I wasn't in there".
    • In "The Chicken Roaster", when George meets up with Heather to trade her clock, which he stole from her, for his hat, which he thinks she stole from him. He learns that she doesn't have his hat and just wanted to meet up with him. George tries to save face by claiming that his bag has his lunch in it, only for it to ring, which he says is the salami. When Heather opens the bag and confirms that he has her clock, George blames the deli for messing up his order.
  • South of Nowhere opened one time with Ashley trying to sneak out of her girlfriend Spencer's room only to run into Spencer's mother at the bottom of the stairs. Spencer, thinking on her feet, belted out: "Ashley, when did you get here?!"... while standing at the top of said stairs
  • On The Smothers Brothers Pat Paulsen was running a joke campaign for President, but was constantly denying it on the show. He was presented with a clip showing him in front of a "Pat Paulsen For President" banner, in front of cheering crowds, speaking about all the policies he would implement when he was elected. He responded "I was misquoted."|
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • It's obvious from the first episode he's in that Garak has government connections, knowledge of terrorist operations and experience with covert activities, but he insists on denying that he's a spy. Even after Dr Bashir has met the person who recruited him into the Obsidian Ordernote  at the highest level, Garak continues to deny he was ever a member. After the first three years of the show, he does eventually drop the pretense... at which point he becomes a Properly Paranoid ex-spy.
      Garak: My dear doctor, I am no more a spy than you are a...
      Bashir: Doctor?
    • One memorable example happened in "Second Skin", where Garak is tagging along with Sisko and the crew of the Defiant to rescue Kira from Cardassia Prime. When they're intercepted by a Cardassian ship and about to get busted, Garak hails the Gul captaining it, rattles off a complex military code, orders the Gul to turn back, erase his records and not mention this to anyone...and he does. When Sisko mentions he's impressed, what does Garak say?
      Garak: Oh, that's just something I heard while hemming some trousers.
    • Invoked by Gul Dukat in "Ties of Blood and Water." Sisko pours him a drink from a bottle of kanar that Dukat knows is poisoned, because Dukat delivered it to an enemy who was under Sisko's protection. Dukat protests that he's not thirsty... while holding a glass in his hand.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. For most of the series the Vulcans repeatedly stick to their assertion that because the Vulcan Science Directorate decreed the concept of time travel as illogical, it's not possible, even when confronted with the rather frankly astonishing amount of evidence that it is! It was best demonstrated in "Future Tense", where T'Pol repeats this assertion when confronted with a human corpse that possesses DNA that indicates that their ancestors was a Vulcan, something impossible both medically and because both species have only been in contact with each for the past 90 years. Furthermore, he was found in a pod with no apparent engines, emits radiation that causes time to loop in the vicinity and is Bigger on the Inside. Despite this, she maintains it's definitely not from the future!
  • Happens in various episodes of Strangers with Candy, but most notably in the last one, when contractors deny that the school is being closed and replaced with a strip mall even as they tear down classrooms and build stores, a Cinnabon, etc. Of course, they get away with it since Principal Blackman and the teachers are powerless to do anything.
  • Supernatural, "Swan Song". In plain view of everyone, Castiel hits Michael with flaming sacred oil.
    Lucifer: [incredulous] Did you just molotov my brother with holy fire?
    Castiel: Um... no.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: Utilized in an awkward meeting between a man, his ex, and his ex's new boyfriend. Except...
    Woman: It's complicated.
    Man: Your mother told me you died!
    Woman: I didn't want to hurt you...
  • Willow: Kit tries to deny twice that she's in love with Jade as Boorman and then Dove take note of it, with not even momentary plausibility with how she reacts.
  • World's Dumbest...:
    • One segment had a tipsy Russian soldier who went to a liquor store in a tank, which he later crashed into the house of... an ex-soldier. After an investigation, the committee resolved that "the driver was absolutely sober because he was going to military exercises", something the panelists call them out on:
      Roger Lodge: How can you possibly, with a straight face mind you, claim that this idiot was sober?
      Loni Love: Even Stevie Wonder could see he was drunk!
    • The "Duct Tape Bandit", who wrapped his face in duct tape as a makeshift mask. Even after having all of the duct tape pulled off his face (which must've hurt like hell), his line to the camera is, "Do I look like a duct tape bandit?" Yes, sir, you do.
    • A more adorable version is a little boy who denies eating a container of sprinkles, despite his face being covered with sprinkles.

  • The back cover of MAD #166 depicts a retelling of the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, with Washington swapped for Richard Nixon blatantly trying to hide an axe behind his back.
    Nixon: I cannot tell a lie! I DIDN'T DO IT!!

  • "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy featuring RikRok is probably the best-known example of this trope in music. The evidence against RikRok’s cheating character in the song includes marks the other woman left on his shoulder, videotape showing the two in the act of cheating, hearing them having sex, and then walking in on them having sex in three separate rooms of the house, but Shaggy’s character keeps insisting he should deny it was him. In the bridge before the last chorus, RikRok decides to just admit he cheated and apologize, even calling out Shaggy's excuses as ridiculous ("I've been listening to your reasonin’ / It makes no sense at all!").
    • Interestingly, this has resulted in the concept of the "Shaggy Defense", which goes "It wasn't me", no matter how implausible that statement is. (Originated from press coverage of the 2008 trial of R. Kelly, and has since spread to legal circles because there wasn't a simple term for such a defensenote .)
  • "That's My Story" by Collin Raye. Similar to the Shaggy song, the singer sticks to his story of spending the night in his hammock, even in the face of his wife pointing out that she took it down a week earlier, then breaks down and apologizes... for having spent the night playing poker with his friends, with no women around, nuh-uh.
  • Apparently a chronic habit of the girl from verse three of C+C Music Factory's "Things That Make You Go Hmmmm". Either that, or she honestly doesn't know the definition of "virgin".
  • "Not About You" by Jonathan Coulton. The entire song is a very contradictory attempt to claim that "this one is not about you!" Kind of like an inverse "You're So Vain".
  • The traditional folk song "Seven Drunken Nights" (Child Ballad #274) concerns a man who stumbles home every night from the pub to find evidence of his wife's infidelities. His wife keeps coming up with even more implausible explanations ('that's not someone's horse, it's a clothes rail'), finally culminating with 'that's not someone else's head on a pillow, it's a baby'. In some versions there are two more after that, including a man's naked butt hanging out of a sheet being a pumpkin and a naked lover fleeing after 3 AM being English. There are quite a few versions where the seventh verse is about implausible explanations of a penis.
  • The Lonely Island
    • Used at the end of "Like A Boss"
      Interviewer: So that's an... average day for you, then?
      Boss: No doubt.
      Interviewer: You chop your balls off and die?
      Boss: Hell yeah.
      Interviewer: And I think you said something about sucking your own dick?
      Boss: Nope.
      Interviewer: Actually, I'm pretty sure you did.
      Boss: Naw, that ain't me.
    • "No Homo", where the things the dudes say get more and more blatantly homosexual as the song continues. They insist they're straight throughout, despite lyrics like...
      Jorma: No homo, but I wanna dress up like Dorothy, and buttfuck a dude while he 69s Morrissey!
  • "Passive Vengeance" by Psychostick "How can you prove it was me?!"
  • Fillmore East, June 1971 by Frank Zappa has two tracks, "What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?" and "Do You Like My New Car?", where some groupies deny being groupies, despite all evidence to the contrary.
    Mark: H-HEY! Listen! Hey, listen to me tellin' ya: We are not groupies!
    Howard: Naw, I never— I never said—
    Mark: We are not groupies! You better understand that! I told Robert Plant, I told Elton John, I told all those big guys...
    Howard: Robert Plant?!
    Mark: We are not groupies!
    Howie: No, I never—
    Mark: Roger Daltrey never laid a hand on me!
    Howard: Yaw... It's obvious to see why... Listen, I never—
    Jim: Howard...
    Mark: Tell him! Tell him right now!
    Second girl: We only like musicians for f-friends, you know?
    FZ: Real straight arrow, Howie.
    Mark: Really... just for friends, Howie...
    Jim: But we still like you
    FZ: Yeah, we wouldn't mind coming in your bus, but...
  • Daniel Amos's "I Didn't Build It for Me" (from Doppelgänger), in which a televangelist uses his followers' donations to fund an obscenely lavish headquarters for his ministry. When others call him out on it, he claims that God told him to build it, and that it's really for the whole church to use. And this was based on a Real Life incident.
    There's a plaque in the hall
    My name's on the wall
    And a statue of my family
    It wasn't my decision
    It was all in a vision
    I didn't build it
    I never would have built it
    I really didn't build it for me...
  • "No Hablo Ingles" by Bowling for Soup is about using the titular phrase as an excuse to get out of trouble and includes using it on the singer's own mother for forgetting to call his father on his birthday.
  • A Finnish traditional call and response is about a mother questioning her son about worse and worse things about his appearance, and the son waving off the mud and the blood as a result of watering the horses. She has to press him on his bloodied sword before he admits he's killed his brother.
  • In Les Luthiers's "Vote a Ortega", the titular character mentions he had been accused by a political opponent that he had been engaged in pharaonic project. Ortega, thus, asks what is so pharaonic in the three pyramids he had built.
  • Irving Berlin wrote a duet called "Do You Believe Your Eyes, Or Do You Believe Your Baby?" where one singer accuses their romantic partner of cheating, saying "I saw you myself with my own eyes," and the other singer responds with the title.
  • German pop duo SDP released a song in 2022 called "Ich wars nicht" ("It Wasn't Me"), about ways to get out of being blatantly caught committing various crimes. Among the strategies used is saying the women hiding in the closet are "burglars" and claiming the blood on your hands from an obvious murder is "tomato sauce."

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A staple of American professional wrestling companies is to have the heel color commentator blatantly pretend to miss obvious cheating by the heels and even justify their most atrocious behaviour, much to the chagrin of the face play by play announcer. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were perhaps the greatest combo in history and this trope was a large part of it. At Fully Loaded 2000, Shane Mcmahon interfered constantly on behalf of Chris Benoit as the latter challenged The Rock for the WWF Title. After Lawler continually lied and made excuses for what was happening, Ross finally had enough when Lawler claimed Shane pulling down the ropes to send the Rock onto the floor was an accident, and that Shane was trying to help Rocky out of the ring.
    Jim Ross: How can you continue to say ridiculous things you know aren't true?!
  • Rarely, the face announcer will do this to justify less than honorable tactics by the face wrestlers. Jesse Ventura would often rage at how Gorilla Monsoon would justify anything Hulk Hogan would do, no matter how dishonarable. At the innagural Survivor Series in 1987, André the Giant was the sole survivor, his team winning fairly, with Hogan being counted out. Hogan returned to the ring before Andre had much time to celebrate, struck him with his WWF Title belt, knocked him out the ring and posed for the fans. Jesse was aghast, especially as Gorilla made excuse after excuse for Hogan's poor sportmanship. Over two decades later, CM Punk would call out John Cena on commentary when Cena would take shortcuts despite being the top face in WWE. Punk would also be met with resistance from the face announcers.
    • Subverted and played straight during the 1989 Royal Rumble. After Hogan eliminated both Bad News Brown and Randy Savage (who was his tag team partner at the time) Ventura complains leading to Monsoon justifying it by stating it was "everyman for himself" (before trying to blame Savage, in the middle of a slow burn heal turn, for allowing himself to be eliminated). Hogan is then eliminated himself by the Twin Towers before illegally eliminating Big Boss Man. Monsoon tries to justify this by claiming it was karma, but Ventura points out that if the reverse had happened, Monsoon would be totally irrate about it. The WWF also tried to claim it was because the Towers had illegally manipulated the "random" draw with the help of Ted DiBiase, so that they entered one after the other. The problem was this same rumble saw two other teams also randomly enter one after the other with nothing of the sort mentioned.
  • Very common in the WWE, and TNA. What makes it worse, is that their websites tend to side with the Rudo's lies and exaggerations, so a fan who didn't actually watch the event may believe them.
  • At the first WrestleMania, Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik won the tag titles after Sheik hit one of their opponents in the head with their manager Freddie Blassie's trademark cane behind the referee's back. When questioned about it after the match, not only did Blassie deny that it happened that way, he also denied owning a cane to begin with.
  • A complicated example: the night after the 2008 Unforgiven (WWE), Chris Jericho said that the Unsanctioned Match between himself and Shawn Michaels "never happened", and that therefore Michaels did not defeat him - even as he stood in front of the entire world with his shirt off, baring the various red welts all over his torso that Michaels had whipped onto him with a strap at the conclusion of the match. Of course, what Jericho meant in this context was that, because WWE had (kayfabe) refused to recognize the aforementioned match due to its extreme violence, the Unsanctioned Match had never officially happened.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the call "Hits a Deer" from Crank Yankers, Bobby Fletcher calls up his electrical company to talk about a problem with his bill on his cell phone while driving. He then crashes the car and claims to the representative on the other end of the line that he hit a deer, continuing to calmly talk about his electric bill even as the guy he actually hit moans in pain and shouts.
    Man: You hit me! My leg!
    Representative: Who's that?
    Bobby: It's the deer.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible
    • Book of Genesis:
    • In The Four Gospels, after Jesus' resurrection, the Pharisees bribed the guards at the tomb to say that they were asleep and the disciples stole His body. Quite talented of them to know what was going on while they were sleeping.

  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Taking the Rap for Mr. Boynton", Miss Brooks tries to frame Mr. Boynton by drawing a cartoon with Mr. Conklin as a mouse in with Mr. Boynton's reports. Mr. Boynton catches her redhanded, and Miss Brooks tries to deny it.
    Miss Brooks: Eek, a mouse.

  • Played with (albeit in hypothetical situations) in "Picture This" in The Pajama Game where the secretary paints increasingly explicit scenes implying that the supervisor's wife is cheating on him, but after each, telling him that despite all indications to the contrary, he should trust her.
  • Also played with in the second act of Richard Wagner's Siegfried, where after tasting a few drops of Fafner's blood the titular hero not only can understand the bird's singing, but also hears what Mime thinks instead of what he says, thus immediately seeing through his lies. Thus the audience hears Mime telling Siegfried: "I only want to chop off your head a little."
  • Chicago
    • The denial is made by a cheating boyfriend while he's still in bed with two other women: "Who you gonna believe, your own eyes or me?"
    • Roxie is packed off to the women's block in Cook County Jail, inhabited by Velma and other murderesses ("Cell Block Tango") ...not that they would admit it. Such highlights include:
    "I fired two warning shots into his head."
    "Y'know, some guys just can't hold their arsenic"
    "He ran into my knife ten times."
    "I completely blacked out, I can't remember a thing. It wasn't until later when I was washing the blood off my hands I even knew they were dead."

    Video Games 
  • This is a favorite tactic among witnesses in Ace Attorney. Somehow it always works two or three times. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies gives us an inversion. That is to say, Hugh O'Conner is trying to affirm an allegation against him in a ludicrous and unbelievable way, claiming that his alibi is false because he had a body double.
  • In Baldur's Gate, you can undertake a burglary for the thieves' guild. The house's owner wakes up when you tamper with his treasure box (in his bedroom) but since he's half asleep, you convince him that you're "just the cat" and he goes back to sleep. Tamper with it again, and he'll wake up again and realize that he doesn't have a cat - so you tell him you're actually a stray that got in. At no point do you actually act like a cat, and he buys your escalating lies for an absurd amount of time- it takes five conversations until he finally catches on.
  • During Jin's story in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Hazama shows up and tries to knife Makoto bald-faced; when Jin asks Hazama what he thought he was doing, Hazama said he was "educating a subordinate, like any commanding officer should do". Jin refuses to buy it.
    "Educating? That blow was clearly made with the intent to kill. In the Intelligence Division, executions are now considered educational?!"
    • During Makoto's story, Hazama finds Makoto and Tsubaki and talks to the latter about Jin, eventually bringing up that Major Kisaragi's here because Ragna the Bloodedge is. He advises that Tsubaki go down before the boys meet, and that since combat wasn't his forte, he'd sit this one out. Makoto refused to buy that last bit, and told Tsubaki to go ahead while she settles personal business.
      Tsubaki: So be it. Makoto, do you want to come with me? I'll feel a lot safer knowing you're by my side.
      Makoto: Hell yeah! But there's something I need to ask Hazama first. You go on; I'll be right behind you.
  • Bugsnax: Shelda doesn't eat "the Toxin", as she calls Bugsnax. It would be wicked to do so. The Snax you put in the box are purified. Purified, not eaten by her. She is surviving entirely on sauces. The fact that she's gradually developing the same Bugsnax transformations as everyone else is just a coincidence.
  • Miu Iruma from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony does this in her fourth Free Time Event with Shuichi. Here, she tries to insist that Shuichi is in love with her... but in reality, Miu is clearly lovesick for Shuichi, stripping herself and trying to get Shuichi to do the same and confessing to him in the middle of heartache.
  • The Darkside Detective:
    • When Detective McQueen pays a return visit to the shady shop owner Mr Wang, he denies being Mr Wang, and when challenged to say who he is instead, claims to be Detective McQueen.
    • After accidentally setting the Don's mansion on fire, McQueen not only denies that he did, but that it's happened at all, even while he's standing immediately outside the burning building trying to persuade someone that it would be a good idea to leave before they catch fire too.
    • In The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark, Dooley finds a gnome in a garden, and asks if it's a real gnome or just a decorative garden statue. It tells him that it's just a decorative garden statue.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The Qunari engage in this occasionally, being experts in willful ignorance. If a mage somehow gains the Qunari's respect/friendship, the Qunari will deny that the mage is a mage, even if said mage is shooting lightning from their hands at that moment. Admitting that the person is a mage would mean trying to kill them/chain them up like animals since all mages are considered dangerous chaotic things according to the Qun. Fortunately, their new buddy is most certainly not a mage, fireballs and lightning bolts notwithstanding.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition: One of Bull's Chargers is an elven apostate called Dalish who insists she's an archer, since apostates are hunted down and taken to a Circle (or killed). Never mind that the Inquisition already has multiple apostates, possibly an entire organization of them if player recruited the mages, and may well be led by an apostate if the player chose to be a mage, and really every mage is technically an apostate since the vote to dissolve the Circles.
      Bull: You carry a staff, Dalish.
      Dalish: It's a bow.
      Krem: A bow with a giant glowing crystal at the tip?
      Dalish: Yes. It's for aiming. Old elven trick; you wouldn't understand.
      Krem: We've got archers for range, Cutter for flanking, Dalish for ma—more archers...
  • In Dwarf Fortress, vampires attempting to evade Dwarven Justice will accuse other citizens at random of their own crimes. The game doesn't really have a way to check for how plausible the accusation is, occasionally resulting in vampires unwittingly outing themselves to oblivious players by accusing a dwarf who couldn't possibly be a vampire, such as one of the starting seven. This is still better than older versions, where they'd often accuse babies and livestock.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, the bandit leader Gerad repeatedly denies being your old teammate Edgar, despite that he talks like Edgar, looks like Edgar (with dyed hair), and his name is "Edgar" with the letters jumbled up. And your party likely contains Sabin, who would probably recognize his twin brother even with a proper disguise. On the other hand, the moment he's regained the castle and the bandits have left, he'll act like he never tried to disguise himself to begin with. Turns out he was just trying to fool the bandits, who are apparently just that gullible.
    • In the Rom Hack Pony Fantasy VI, the scenes are replayed with Trixie taking Celes' place and Princess Celestia as Edgar. Trixie is not fooled at all, between Celestia's constant use of "my dear" to refer to people and the fact that she doesn't even bother hiding the fact that she's an Alicorn, which Trixie points out
      Trixie: Just how many alicorns do you think there are?
  • Odin tries his hand at this in God of War Ragnarök. As befitting the Consummate Liar he's been established to be all throughout the game, the finale has him try to deny responsibility for Thor's death to his daughter Thrud, even attempting to blame Kratos and Atreus for it instead. While still holding Gungnir as the spear is sticking out of Thor's disappearing body. Unsurprisingly, Thrud doesn't buy it for a second, so Odin sends her flying with Mjolnir the second she tries attacking him, kicking off the Final Boss battle against him in the process.
  • One possible path of story events in King of the Castle opens with a Grandee of the South killing another noble in a duel, with the dead noble's successor insisting that this amounts to murder. If the Council decides that this is simply a risk of fighting a duel, a later event may involve the Grandee getting a knife in their back from the outraged noble's successor. The latter claims that this was not murder but another duel, and they did find it odd from a strategic standpoint that the Grandee decided to turn their back on their opponent.
  • During the summer of 2014, this happened all over the forums for League of Legends. The Tribunal, the usual player-run system of banning, had to be taken down for extended maintenance. In its place, the Player Behavior team rolled out a series of new disciplinary systems that could escalate particularly toxic players to high-level bans very quickly, instead of the several months that the old Tribunal would take to permanently ban a seriously toxic player. The old Tribunal included Reform Cards, logs of the toxic behavior that got a person banned, but since the Tribunal was down, they weren't available. In the interest of transparency, Lyte, the head of the Player Behavior team, offered to provide chat logs to any banned player who requested them, publicly on the game's forums if so desired. This resulted in dozens of cases where complete psychopaths would claim that they were banned in error and that they were victims of a system gone haywire, only for Lyte to post chat logs that would make Marshall Mathers circa 2003 blush. Immortalized in this Penny Arcade strip.
  • During the prologue of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Second Chapter, Estelle struggles with Joshua's disappearance after learning his past as a former member of Ouroboros. She immediately convinces herself that he simply went back to their home, even as Kevin takes noticed she's acting in denial. Estelle accepts the truth once she sees it for herself.
  • In one scene in Little Busters!, Kyousuke says something that seems to indicate he has feelings for Riki right after Riki admitted mentally that he likes Kyousuke but denied it outwardly. Riki slowly grows bright red, as Masato points out with glee. Riki claims that he just probably has a cold or something.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 2, the typical Council response to Shepard's warnings about the Reapers during the first two games, which continues even after Sovereign's attack on the Citadel at the end of the first.
      "Councillor Sparatus": Ah yes, "Reapers!" The immortal race of sentient starships allegedly waiting in Dark Space. We have dismissed that claim.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: At one point in a sidequest on Kadara, Ryder comes across two criminals who swear to Ryder that their "friend" they're standing over is just taking a nap. In the highly toxic water that can eat through armor in seconds. And while Ryder's omnitool shows he is in fact very definitely dead.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Huey Emmerich suffers this to an extreme in this game. Even when faced with indisputable evidence that he sold Big Boss and his men out to Skull Face and locked Strangelove up in the Mammal Pod to suffocate, Huey continues to adamantly insist that he thought the nuclear inspection was real and that Strangelove was Driven to Suicide. Quite a few of his lies outright contradict his earlier lies, as well: for instance, he claims both that he couldn't save Strangelove because the door to the pod only opened from the inside, and also that he found Strangelove's body inside the pod when he opened it from the outside.
  • If you join the thieves' guild in Neverwinter Nights 2, you'll eventually be given a quest to burn down a watch post, and shortly afterwards a member of the city watch will attempt to arrest you for arson. It's perfectly possible that this will happen as you're stood next to a burning haycart, carrying a torch in your hand, and the Dialogue Tree still lets you respond to the accusation with a bluff check: "Who, me? I'm not even carrying a torch." The watchman, understandably, doesn't buy it.
  • In the fluff of Outpost 2, an university student meets his professor with a hearty greeting and a smile, ignoring the fact that the professor's office is filled with aerogel. And that the student is embedded in the stuff up to his waist and is hanging horizontally in the doorway.
  • In Paper Mario, when Mario examines a closet in the final area (Peach's Castle, being held up by Bowser's floating fortress), a Toad that was hiding there will jump out and say "Nothing here but us clothes."
  • In Rakuen, it's revealed that the mother believes that her son will get better. Yami and the boy reveal that they overheard the doctors saying that he's not getting better, even as Mom protests that it's not true. It's justified since the boy has cancer, she just lost her husband to a nuclear accident, and she is trying to be strong for her family. The final stage of the game is about the mother reassuring the boy that she can still be strong if he dies, that he doesn't need to try to protect her by fighting to live, and that she can let him go.
  • In Simon the Sorcerer the white haired old men with robes, pointy hats and mystical staves come up with increasingly ridiculous excuses to try to pass themselves off as simple country bumpkins. The only way to get them to admit that they are wizards is to point out to them that the player's cursor identifies them as such.
  • Marisa Kirisame from Touhou Project lies. Like, a lot. Despite her being a broomstick-flying, pointy hat-wearing witch, a running gag of sorts is her introducing herself as anything but a witch. (Examples include claiming she's a Shrine Maiden, a Meido and a Burglar, though that last one was, for all intents and purposes, true.) Her crowning moment however was when the local Judge of the Dead confronted her about her habitual lying, warning her that her lies may up getting her sentenced to Hell.
    Shiki: Yes, you are a little too comfortable with lying.
    Marisa: That isn't true. I haven't told a single lie since I was born.
  • Unleash the Light has the description for the Peri-Alien, which is clearly modeled after Peridot:
    Despite what Lapis claims about this custom alien plushie, Peridot doesn't see any resemblance.
  • According to the police officer in the intro to The Walking Dead: Season One, every criminal he's driven to prison pleads their innocence. One man in particularnote , despite having been caught in the act of murdering his wife, was so emphatic that he was practically throwing a tantrum.
    Old Cop: They caught the fucker red-handed, stabbin' his wife, cuttin' her up as the boys came through the door. He sits in my car screaming bloody murder that it wasn't him. I think he actually believed it himself. It goes to show, people'll up and go mad when they believe their life is over.
  • Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey: While on the ship near the island of the Cyclopes, Wishbone asks Eurylochus to come ashore with him, but Eurylochus makes the excuse that he lost both his sandals in the Trojan War... the sandals that Wishbone points out are on his feet. Eurylochus promptly claims it's a miracle and thanks Wishbone for finding them.

    Web Comics 
  • Evil bear from Bear Nuts does this a lot.
    • Most notable, I think, being when Evil bear is turning a kid around on a spit, and Prozac exclaims, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?". Evil bear says, "....nothing", and then proceeds to keep turning the handle.
  • Black Mage is willing to deny doing anything wrong in 8-Bit Theater. Even if caught stuffing a child's unconscious body into a garbage can.
  • Jupiter-Men:
    • In Episode 22, Nathan goes upstairs to get some air and locks Quintin and Jackie in the training room so they'll keep training without his supervision. Quintin follows Nathan and asks if he locked them down there on purpose. Nathan has a Beat Panel before saying "No." Quintin replies that it wouldn't have worked anyways because he memorized the passcodes with his Photographic Memory.
    • In Episode 49, Jackie presses Nathan on how to start up the video games in his living room. She adds that she saw him playing so he can't deny it. He tries to change the subject by saying that if she saw him playing, then she wasn't training. Jackie fires back by asking why wasn't he training.
      Nathan: I'll let that one slide. I'm in a good mood.
      Arrio: I let things slide when I don't have a comeback too.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • This is one of Haley's character traits. As usual, it's all justified by the universal handwave of RPG Mechanics 'Verse. As any D&D player will tell you, get your Bluff skill high enough and you can make anything stick.
      • In one strip she denies having stolen a healing potion from Belkar, even though she is standing there holding the empty bottle. He falls for it.
      • Shortly afterward she is sent to scout a room alone. When the others arrive they find that a statue is missing the gems it had for eyes, two goblins have been killed (with Haley's trademark green arrows), the lock of a treasure chest has been picked (and has one of her hairs snagged on it), and Haley now possesses a huge sack of treasure labeled "Haley's Loot". Needless to say, she claims everything was this way when she got here, and that the bag contains "Feminine products."
      • In one of the prequel books she awakens a guard while stealing a large diamond. She is able to convince him that he is still asleep and that she is just a rather Freudian dream.
      • One strip emphasizes this by having Haley take a potion that gives her a large bonus to her bluff skill. She manages to convince a series of guards that "you don't see or hear us", "you don't work here anymore", and "you're actually a yellow-footed rock wallaby". She even convinces Elan that Roy respects his opinions!
    • And then there's the Knights and Knaves puzzle, where one guy cannot speak the truth. So when Haley solves the problem by shooting one of them (who happens to be the truthful one), the liar says "She did not just shoot you, and I totally expected it!".
  • A dumpster full of Jeremy's stuff in Platinum Grit was pushed into the lake by ghosts. That's Nils' story and she's sticking by it.
  • The main shtick of the Man In Black from Irregular Webcomic! is applying this to his job of covering up the existence of aliens. His first appearance had him claiming aliens do not a group of Martians. Believe it or not, his later attempts have gotten more ludicrous.
  • Gary from Ménage à 3 is not exactly an accomplished liar.
    • As this example shows.
      Gary: [to Yuki)] YOUR DAD IS TAKERU "TENTACLE KING" OYAMA?! THE PREMIER TENTACLE HENTAI ARTIST OF THE DOUJIN WORLD?! [catches Yuki's look] I... I mean... I have no idea who that is.
    • In a later strip, when Zii nibbles Gary's earlobe:
      Zii: D'you just cream your—?
      Gary: No, but on an unrelated topic, I need to go shower right away.
  • The current story arc in David Reddick and Jason Williams' Barwench Tales deals with psychotic barwench Sarah, a girl whose attitude to customer service generally involves letting them live afterwards, attempting to deny responsibility for a corpse with a great big wound in his back - while she is holding the bloody knife. The story is currently stalled, but may be picked up here.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Susan tries to claim her hair just spontaneously changed color. Nanase calls her out on it but Susan stands by her claim while acknowledging its ridiculousness. Ironically, while Susan was lying, Nanase's own hair does spontaneously change color at a later date as a side-effect of her magic burnout.
    • We find out from the Mulder and Scully expies that as part of the cover-up of magic, "Spontaneous Hair Color Change" is a recognized medical condition. Apparently, it's one of the more common side effects of magic use.
    • Talk about vampires causes Susan to reflexively use her weapon-summoning spell; when Ellen and Nanase react, Susan flatly denies having summoned the glowing meter-long sword in her hands.
    • Lavender denies she's an alien. Despite the tail, antennae, large black eyes, lack of nose and ears... ironically, she could be telling the truth, at least technically — while she's clearly an extraterrestrial species, it had long ago been established that many Uryuoms are now being born and raised on Earth.
  • Seiyuu CRUSH!: Upon his stash of porn being discovered, Kaji loudly declares "These aren't mine!" despite the fact that he'd referred to the box as "my things" just a minute earlier.
  • In a Breaking Cat News strip, Lupin repeatedly denies breaking open a pen even though he's covered in blue ink.
    • In another strip, Elvis speaks from inside a paper bag to deny that he is in the bag.
  • In DM of the Rings during the scene from The Two Towers where the guard at Theoden's hall is telling everyone to leave their weapons, after Gandalf gets to carry in his staff, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli try to justify their own weapons as "walking sticks". Including the bow and arrows.
  • In Questionable Content, when Dora and Marten take an extra-long lunch break and come back in different clothes, they insist that the delay was from getting caught up in a kung fu monk showdown rather than anything sexy. Subverted when the monks walk in.
  • Oglaf presents a variation on the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" story in which the boy obnoxiously gloats about repeatedly fooling the villagers, making one of them angry enough to shoot him dead with a crossbow. The shooter declares, "You all saw that — a wolf got him." Everyone else seems inclined to pretend to believe it.
  • The Last Days of FOXHOUND: Glitch gets bothered by a dead body walking into his office, stealing his coffee, and then exploding. Que Glitch (covered in the corpse's gore) angrily confronting Psycho Mantis, who has spent the last four pages trying to reanimate corpses with telekinesis only for them to explode when he concentrates too much on them (and has a trio of them walking around in the background).
    Psycho Mantis: ...And you think I had something to do with it?
  • Unsounded: "I'm always nice," says Elka, immediately after OHKOing a random guard. A few pages earlier she was gleefully terrorizing several other unruly guards.
  • Kevin & Kell: In a 2015 strip, it's revealed that young boar Hockley has been posting online, asking for money to pay off people who'd otherwise tattle on him for bullying. When Rachel Einhorn asks outright if he's been trying to raise money for his bullying, he denies it... whereupon she shows him she's found the site where he's been doing so. And is not amused by it.

    Web Original 
  • Stupid Kids: Tony Macflane asks Boti if he stole his garland. Boti denies it besides the garland is being right in his hands in Boldogat és még boldogabbat (Merry and even more).
  • In A Very Potter Musical, Fudge refuses to believe that Voldemort is back even as Voldemort is killing him.
  • The Nostalgia Critic went through this when reviewing Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, after Optimus Prime dies.
    Critic: And I'm just like, "He's not dead, he's not dead, no no no, he's not dead!" [rocks back and forth, crying and/or screaming] "PRIME!"
  • Mitadake High. The video tapes. They're not 100% accurate: one is correct, the other is just a random possible color, and there's no knowing which is which. But when there's only one person in game with a hair color mentioned on either tape and they still deny it. Of course, some people only look at one tape, and go after one person with that hair color because they haven't seen anybody else with that color hair. That person is very likely NOT the killer.
  • In the Web Serial Novel Thalia's Musings, Thalia tries this with Apollo when he asks for an explanation of the noise from a Wild Teen Party. She claims her sisters are just singing each other to sleep - with a parody of ''Tik Tok''.
  • In Marik Plays Bloodlines part 6, while freaked out by Mel Gibson attacking him, Marik admits that he's gay. After calming down, the first thing he says is that Bakura couldn't possibly have heard any of that yelling he was just doing. When it becomes obvious he did, Marik claims it was the ghost. Somehow. Bakura doesn't push it much, but probably only because he knows it's a lost cause.
  • Ultra Fast Pony:
    • In "Fillin' Them Plot Holes, Bro!", Twilight insists that they haven't arrived at the castle yet, even though they're standing inside it.
    • In "The Butts Family", Applejack insists that her new tree is not, in fact, Rarity's tree which was recently stolen. The name "Rarity" carved into the new tree's trunk? Anyone named Rarity could have carved that.
    • In "Faith to Faith":
      Twilight: Maybe because Rainbow Dash peed in the water supply!
      Rainbow: Hey, you can't prove that was me!
      Twilight: You admitted doing it five minutes ago!
      Rainbow: Yeah, but maybe I can't prove that was me?
      Twilight: We saw you do it six minutes ago!
      Rainbow: Fluttershy told me to do it!
    • In "Pirate Shipping":
      Sweetie Belle: You know, the recipe for this [love potion] looks a lot like the same one they use to make alcohol.
      Scootaloo: <Are you sure this is a good idea?>
      Apple Bloom: Of course! Why wouldn't it be?
      Sweetie Belle: You know, you could almost say it's exactly the same as what they use to make alcohol.
      Scootaloo: <I'm still not sure...>
      Apple Bloom: Trust me, it will be fine!
      Sweetie Belle: It even has "alcohol" written in brackets next to it.
  • In PONY.MOV: When the cops bust in on Fluttershy killing Rainbow Dash with a chainsaw Fluttershy says "this....isn't what it looks like?" At which point the corpse falls in two.
  • Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv)
  • In Welcome to Night Vale, Night Vale city officials are prone to this.
    • Trish Hidge of the mayor's office once held a press conference in front of a brightly painted truck for the purpose of denying said truck existed. Most questions involved pointing at the truck. She later admitted that the conference was held for the purpose of practicing her denial skills. Then denied having any denial skills.
    • The City Council declared that the waterfront pier they decided to build in the middle of a barren desert had not been built, and that they would not, of course, have been stupid enough to waste colossal amounts of money on any such thing. The entire town had simply had a mass hallucination that caused them to believe that a waterfront pier was being built, and any citizen who can still see the pier standing uselessly should dismiss it as evidence that they aren't over their hallucination yet. Of course, this is Night Vale, and frankly less believable things have happened.
    • After Old Woman Josie's death, her daughter finds a poorly-written note supposedly leaving everything to the so-called "angels" that had been taking care of Josie before she died. When asked about it, the angels deny doing so while wiping their brows with hands coated in magic marker.
  • In Reds!: A Revolutionary Timeline, Henry Ford flees the UASR (the USA turned socialist after a revolution in 1932) and joins the Third Reich as Hitler's armament minister. His arrogance and belief the Nazis will win the war leads him to place his marque on everything, including weapons produced by slave labour. When Germany is defeated, Ford tries to deny his role in Nazi atrocities; this goes down about as well as you'd expect, and he receives no mercy from the victorious UASR.
  • This Spider-Man spoof.
  • Inanimate Insanity Invitational: When MePhone sees that the New Thinkers's mile high pie is actually two half mile high pies stacked on top of each other, and calls the team out on it, Nickel gives him a Blunt "No". MePhone buys it—he trusts Nickel, after all.
  • In ARaskin500's video Ganondorf's Kingdom, Ganondorf, fed up with Link always foiling his plans for world conquest, decides to pursue his other dream of opening a chicken and waffle house. When some of his minions ask if this means that he's giving up on his destiny, he tries to paint his restaurant as being evil, and that it represents another way to take over Hyrule. Nobody believes him, though Link still bursts in to kill him anyway.
    Moblin A: So you're just giving up on world domination? What about your destiny? What about the Triforce of Power?
    Ganondorf: [sighing] I... have a confession. You see, the Triforce is not made up of 'courage', 'wisdom', and 'power'. It's really made of 'chicken', 'waffles', and 'prices you just can't beat'. That's why I opened up this restaurant: to obtain the Triforce and finally rule Hyrule! ...and its restaurant establishment.
    Moblin B: That's the worst premise for a Legend of Zelda that I ever heard.
    Ganondorf: Yeah, well, suck it. Do you want some chicken and waffles or not?

    Web Video 
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on Twitch and YouTube.
    • In "When Scammers Lose $100,000," Kitboga convinces the scammers that his character, Ethel Goodglove (Granny Edna) is also working with a woman named Dr. Linda and her assistant, Igor, to resurrect her deceased husband Richard via a magic potion. About halfway through the call, Kit manipulates one of the scammers into pretending to be Igor, except that the scammer continues speaking using his own voice, even though Kit previous depicted Igor as having a heavy Russian accent. Kit plays along, but then asks "Igor" to turn the phone over to Dr. Linda. When the scammer then claims to be Dr. Linda, still using his regular voice, Kit can no longer deal and calls out the scammer in character for obviously not being Dr. Linda.
    • In "Giving Scammers Empty Gift Cards," about a half hour in, the scammer wants the last six digits of Granny Edna's debit card. Granny Edna suggests that they call Bank of America, so the scammer starts pretending to be "Tina from Bank of America," using a terrible fake female voice. Kitboga goes into a paroxysm of silent giggles and just rolls with it, even though the scammer obviously isn't trying and, of course, "Tina from Bank of America" has the exact same behavior and speech patterns as the scammer.
  • Mike from the Wizards with Guns video "The Mysterious Case of Who Sh*t My Pants" claims that he was "framed" when he shits his pants and spends the whole video trying to "find out" who really shit his pants in the guise of a Hardboiled Detective. It doesn't help that he had yet to change his pants as he interrogates people.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Harley Quinn really was trying to go straight, but after her first day out of Arkham ended with her taking a hostage she pointed out that, with her history, even she would not believe the story that it was all a big misunderstanding.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Hiro spends the entirety of "Fan Friction" loathing the fact that Karmi has decided to ship herself with his alter ego in a Real-Person Fic story everyone at his school is reading. So he suits up and tries to meet her as she leaves school to get her to stop writing them, but she doesn't show. After he notes this is unusual because Karmi always leaves school at 7 PM, Fred (rightly) asks just how he came upon this information.
  • Family Guy:
    • Played for Laughs (naturally) in "The Fat Guy Strangler". Lois absolutely refuses to admit that her long-lost brother Patrick could possibly be a Serial Killer. Even when Brian shows her Patrick's room, which is covered with pictures of him strangling fat people and a dead fat guy on the floor. When she tries to explain away the half-dead fat guy who outright says "Patrick tried to kill me", Brian yells at her and she finally admits it.
    • When Lois wanted Peter to take out the garbage, he explained on the phone that work kept him late. When she told him that the caller ID said he was calling from the house and she could even see him, Peter moved out of view. He then said "Can you see me now? Now I'm at the office."
    • When Brian tells Peter that he is a terrible liar, there is a cutaway to Peter in an elevator. Peter farts and then tells the only other person in the elevator "It was you."
    • Inverted in "Sibling Rivalry" when Peter is caught with his pants down, embracing a bag of fat from Lois' liposuction:
      Peter Griffin: It's exactly what it looks like.
    • In "Tea Peter", Quagmire, taking advantage of the abolishment of the Quahog city government, marries a giraffe, which he impregnates. Even though the resulting Half-Human Hybrid has Quagmire's face and says a variant of his catchphrase ("Giraffity!"), Quagmire promptly denies that the baby is his.
    • In one episode, Peter sneaks out of the house and tries to pull The Tape Knew You Would Say That with Lois to avoid her finding out that he's gone. Eventually, the tape says "If you haven't figured out this is a recording yet, please flip the tape over to Side 2".
  • Futurama:
    • Bender tries this a lot. When he gets caught by mall security trying to sneak stuff out under his sweater (also stolen):
      [cans of oil spill onto the floor; every security camera focuses on him and the police arrive]
      Bender: Now officers...
      [more cans hit the floor]
      Bender: I know this looks bad...
      [more cans]
      Bender: I'm sure there's a very...
      [even more cans]
      Bender: I said...
      [still more cans]
      Bender: There's a very...
      [and more cans]
      [one final clatter]
      Bender: ...explanation.
    • In "Love and Rocket", Bender is out on a date with the Planet Express ship when he turns to look at a sexy fembot. The ship calls him out on it and Bender immediately says he's not, while his eyes are fully extended.
    • In "The Thirty Per Cent Iron Chef", Dr. Zoidberg makes a public apology for destroying a ship in a bottle and blaming it on Fry, causing him to pay the cost of repairs (ten dollars). In repentance, he attempts to kill himself on a nearby man's katana... only for it to break on his chest.
      Zoidberg: Fry did it!
  • Infinity Train: In Book 3, when the truth about Amelia and One-One is revealed in "The Hey Whoa Car", Simon is in complete denial, the same with both Amelia and The Cat telling him that the whole purpose of numbers is to make them go down so the passenger can leave the Train.
  • King of the Hill: "Dia-Bill-Ic Shock" has Bill diagnosed with diabetes, then gorge on junk food and collapse from a blood sugar spike less than a week later. He is seen by the jerkass Dr. Weissman who writes him off as a lost cause and tells him outright that he may as well get a wheelchair now because he'll inevitably lose his legs. Towards the end, Bill angrily confronts Weissman over his grossly unprofessional behavior, who he tries to claim that he only told Bill that he could possibly lose his legs if he didn't get his diabetes under control. Naturally, Bill is not convinced.
    Doctor Weissman: I never said anything that could constitute malpractice... under its current definition.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Bart Gets Famous": When Bart accidentally destroys Krusty the Clown's set in front of a live audience, his attempt to deny it spawns the catchphrase "I didn't do it".
    • In "Bart the Lover", Bart blurts out "I didn't do it" after he accidentally destroys the class aquarium trying to do a yo-yo trick... with the string still tied to his finger.
    • Plus the time in "Principal Charming" he uses a grass-killing chemical to write his name in the school lawn in giant letters.
      Bart: Maybe it was one of the other Barts.
    • In "Whacking Day", after Bart gets expelled from Springfield Elementary and is subsequently kicked out of some alternative schools, Marge decides to home-school him. As she's setting up a classroom in the garage, Bart throws a paper airplane that gets lodged in her trademark beehive hairdo. His response to Marge's Disapproving Look is to say "I didn't do it" even though he's the only other person there.
    • One of the recurring mafia characters is Johnny Tightlips, who denies pretty much everything; at one point he's shot and even resists his fellow mafioso's attempt to get him medical aid (which may have been inspired by Frank Gusenberg).
      Fat Tony: Did you have a nice flight, Johnny Tightlips?
      Johnny Tightlips: I ain't sayin' nothin'.
      Fat Tony: I understand. So how is your mother?
      Johnny Tightlips: Ooey, who says I have a mother?
    • Lampshaded in "Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish". Homer tells Bart that one of the three most important sentences in life is "It was like that when I got here." When Bart accidentally breaks a glass of aftershave and makes Homer angry, Bart says "It was like that when I got here!" making Homer proud.
    • In "Bart's Girlfriend", Jessica Lovejoy steals money from the church collection plate and manipulates Bart into taking the fall. Lisa gets frustrated at this and rats her out, leading to the entire church congregation going to Jessica's room and finding the stolen money under her mattress. Reverend Lovejoy still tries to blame Bart, claiming that he somehow transplanted his bedroom into the Lovejoy household, at which point Jessica finally confesses (while admitting that it was just a stunt to get her father's attention).
    • "22 Short Films About Springfield" has the infamous "Steamed Hams" scene where, at the end of an entire scene of similarly ridiculous lies, Principal Skinner tries to claim his kitchen burning down is simply the northern lights. The strange part is that Superintendent Chalmers, normally the Only Sane Man, somehow buys every single lie.
      Superintendent Chalmers: Aurora Borealis? At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within your kitchen?!
      Skinner: Yes!
      Chalmers: ...may I see it?
      Skinner: <Beat>
      <Skinner shows Chalmers to the door>
      Agnes Skinner: <shouting from upstairs> SEYMOUR! THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!
      Skinner: No, Mother, it's just the Northern Lights.
    • In "Simpson Safari", Joan Bushwell tells Lisa her diamond-covered pen and clipboard were a graduation present after it's revealed she's been using the chimps to run a diamond mine.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force
    • Master Shake is powered by this. Caught red-handed, caught on tape, he will deny it all. Poorly. If he does admit it, he will lie about his motivation and totally change his story. He will frame other people ahead of time, convincing others that they did something he has not even done yet. Usually Meatwad.
    • Frylock in "Super Birthday Snake." Shake, Meatwad, and Carl all return as zombies after Frylock killed them. When they call him out on it, he repeatedly insists that he didn't kill them, even though they all know he did and they are standing right in front of him as zombies. The "Yes, you did," "No, I didn't," argument goes on for about a minute solid, with everyone's tones changing from scared denial/undead moaning to mild annoyance. For your amusement, seen here.
  • South Park
    • Randy Marsh has had a few of these. Probably the most ridiculous was in "My Future Self 'n' Me" when trying to convince Stan that his "future self" (an actor he and Sharon had hired to ward Stan off of drugs) is real:
      Stan: [holds up a meat cleaver] I'm going to cut off my hand. If he is my future self, his hand will disappear.
      Sharon: St-Stanley, you don't have do to that! H-he is your future self!
      Stan: But I have to know for sure.
      Randy: D-d-don't be silly, Stan! You don't want to go through life without one of your hands!
      Stan: Maybe it's the hand I smoked that first joint with! Here I go! [dramatic pause] I'm gonna do it!
      Randy: Stan!
      Stan: Yes...? [clearly awaiting Randy's confession]
      Randy: Uh... Nothing. Go ahead.
      Sharon: RANDY!?
      Stan: [looks at Randy with an annoyed expression; then *chop*] AAAAAAAHHH!
      Randy: Oh, my god! [points behind Stan] Look! [grabs Stan's discarded meat cleaver and chops off the “future self"'s hand] Look! His hand did disappear! He is you from the future!
      Stan's "future self": (hold his bloody stump) AGH! OH, GOD!!! OH, JESUS CHRIST! HELP ME!!! (screams in incoherent panic)
      Stan: [taken a bit aback] That's weird. Because I didn't really cut off my hand. [takes his hand out of his sheelve] It was fake!
      Randy: Uh... [picks up severed hand and holds it up to the "future self"] Look! It was fake in the future too!
      [Stan's "future self" passes out from shock]
    • In "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", Cartman fervently denies that he was abducted and experimented on by aliens, up to this point:
      Stan: Cartman, there's an 80-foot satellite dish sticking out of your ass!
      Cartman: [with an 80-foot satellite dish sticking out of his ass] Sure you guys, whatever!
    • Mr. Garrison in the early seasons was a closet homosexual, but when he was questioned about it, he would always deny it. Even when Mr. Garrison went on to write a romance novel, he wound up making it a homoerotic book while claiming it was something all women wanted to see. It wasn't until Mr. Garrison confronted his fears that he finally came out of the closet and admitted he was gay... after a bit more denying, such as insisting when he was watching the men's swim teams, he was only beating off to the chicks, which Garrison's Gay Self reminded him were not there.
    • In "200" the class takes a visit to a fudge factory, and they find Tom Cruise packing fudge into boxes.
      Butters: Hey Stan! Isn't that Tom Cruise!?
      Stan: Huh?...Oh wow, it is! Hey guys, check it out! Tom Cruise is a fudge packer!
      Tom Cruise: What did you call me!?
      Cartman: Hey, that is Tom Cruise!
      Butters: How come you're packing fudge, Mr. Cruise?
      Tom Cruise: I'm not a fudge packer!
      Kyle: Dude, you don't have to be ashamed or anything.
      Tom Cruise: But I'm not a fudge packer!
      Stan: Then why are you packing fudge?
      Tom Cruise: I'm not! I'm a very busy actor! I'm just here trying to get away for the weekend and do some fly-fishing!
      Stan: Dude, you are in fudge factory packing fudge.
      Tom Cruise: Oh that's it, I will sue you!
      Stan: For what!?
      Tom Cruise: You can't just call someone a fudge packer and get away with it!
      Mr. Garrison: Hey, is that fudge packer Tom Cruise!?
    • "Trapped in the Closet": Tom Cruise locks himself in Stan's closet and won't come out. He also won't admit that he's in the closet. He even says he's "not in here" (emphasis added).
  • Used all the time on El Tigre. In one episode, when his father asks what he's up to, Manny replies "Nothing! Uh, helping the poor!", which satisfies his dad until he actually talks to "the poor," who haven't seen Manny today.
    Frida: Aliens!
    Manny: Mind control!
    Frida: Cold and flu season!
    Manny: Yooou're dreeeeaming thiiis!
  • Squidbillies: Early's father lives and breathes this trope. Faced with the fact that he robbed the same bank 17 times in one day, he will interject "Allegedly!" and launch into a pointless rant. Then he will say something that confirms his action start the same process again. Sometimes he will not even wait for someone to call him out on his "confession" before throwing out "Allegedly!" again.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Much Ado About Boimler", Boimler is so desperate to score some points with Captain Ramsey that he rushes to the bridge and pretends that he isn't glowing blue and making an obnoxious noise. He lasts about thirty seconds before Ramsey loses her patience and sends him to sickbay.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Candace-2 initially tries this in The Movie when she sees Phineas and Ferb with Phineas-2 and Ferb-2.
    Candace-2: Are there four of you in here? I see nothing. I have Plausible Deniability!
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • When Francis is busted for shoplifting, he tries to use Timmy's usual excuse of "I got it from the Internet." Note that he had been caught, on tape, shoplifting just moments ago.
    • After Timmy steps on a crack and his mother's back breaks, Mr. Turner demands to know who did it. Timmy, still standing on the large and visible crack, claims Mr. Turner did it. He buys it.
    • When Timmy creates a new radio persona known as "Double-T in the Morning", Vicky starts looking for him without knowing it's Timmy. When she finds Timmy in the radio station, Timmy says he's not Double-T, despite the flashing neon sign right above his head.
      • Specifically, the denial takes the form of Timmy saying "No, I'm not" right into the magical voice-changing microphone that makes him sound exactly like Double-T.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Sweet and Elite", Rarity is caught alternating between Twilight Sparkle's birthday party and a fancy Canterlot garden party held by an influential unicorn when she accidentally brings a croquet mallet from the garden party to Twilight's party and tries to pull this:
      Rainbow Dash: Uh, what's with the croquet mallet?
      Rarity: [with the mallet in her mouth] What croquet mallet?
    • In "Somepony to Watch Over Me", Applejack finds Scootaloo hiding in Apple Bloom's wardrobe. Scootaloo tries to deny it even though Applejack is looking right at her.
      Applejack: Scootaloo?!
      Scootaloo: Ah, um... n-no.
  • At his trial for a bank robbery, Darkwing Duck villain Tuskernini claims his innocence. Confronted by Darkwing with security footage, five hundred eyewitnesses positively identifying him and his own signed confession, he claims the evidence is flimsy. Then he shifts gears and claims Darkwing framed him for the crime.
  • In the first episode of House of Mouse, all the video reels go missing. Who's responsible? Certainly not Pete, because...
    Pete: [placing his hands over his own handprints] My fingerprints here mean nothing. [indicates Horace, who is tied up in a rope that is labeled "Property of Pete"] This isn't my rope, and I don't even know Horace Horsecollar!
    Horace: Hey, Pete!
    Pete: Oh, hi, Horace.
  • In Moral Orel, not realizing that Principal Fakey is cheating on his wife, Orel tells Principal Fakey he's an authority figure, so he must never be wrong. This cures Fakey of his guilt and allows him to blissfully continue to cheat on his wife. He discovers he has gonorrhea, which he got from Nurse Bendy (she confirms she has it too). He says "I've been as faithful as ever, she must be cheating on me!" . . . as he's having sex with Bendy.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In "Gossamer is Awesomer", Daffy Duck drives through a papier-mâché statue of Gossamer in his parade float, then immediately announces "Winnie Yang did that!".
  • Kaeloo:
    • In one episode, Mr. Cat says he would never hurt Quack Quack... while chasing him with a giant mallet.
    • In another episode, Kaeloo and Stumpy both set up market stalls. Kaeloo's is full of fresh apples, and Stumpy's is full of rotten ones. Later, Kaeloo finds all her apples stolen. Stumpy says he swears he didn't steal them, even though the fresh apples are in plain view at his stand.
    • Then there's this line from Kaeloo: "I don't talk with a lithp, Mithter Cat!"
    • When asked about the chance of a romantic relationship between him and Kaeloo, Mr. Cat tells the audience that Kaeloo constantly texts him, and it is implied that the texts are somewhat flirty in nature. Before he can reveal what exactly the messages said, Kaeloo yanks the phone out of his hands, launches him offstage, and yells that she "never texts him at all", despite the fact that Mr. Cat obviously had her texts on his phone screen and was about to show them to the audience. Even better, she tries to convince Mr. Cat himself that she never sent him any texts.
  • The Loud House: In "Tricked!", Lincoln and Clyde find Franklin Avenue vandalized on Halloween, and Lincoln's sisters tell them that everyone's candy was stolen by two bullies wearing baby-faced masks — the very same bullies they misdirected to Franklin to keep them from finding out their ideal trick-or-treating spot. A variation here in that it's only between Lincoln and Clyde.
    Clyde: Two big stinkers? You don't think it was the guys that we told to come here, do you?
    Lincoln: No way, Clyde. There's plenty of big stinkers in our neighborhood.
    Clyde: True.
    Lana: I'll never shake the sound of their big, dumb laughs!
    Clyde: Wait, didn't those guys have big, dumb laughs?
    Lincoln: Clyde, plenty of people have big dumb, laughs.
    Clyde: True.
    Lola: And I'll never forget those creepy, baby-faced masks!
    Clyde: Wait, didn't those guys—?
    Lincoln: Okay, Clyde, it was them!
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In "Runaway Pants", Billy tries to run, but becomes exhausted in under a second and collapses to the ground.
    Billy: My legs! [cringes] My lungs.
    Mandy: Face it, dweeb, you're out of shape.
    Billy: It isn't true!
    Mandy: Whatever.
  • Skylanders Academy: In "Split Decision", Kaos claims that Chompy Mage's perfect impression of him through Chompy Puppet (with Kaos' VA) sounded nothing like him.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "Car Broke, Phone Yes", a visitor asks to use the phone. Eustace is not willing to help:
    Eustace: We ain't got a phone.
    [phone starts ringing]
    Eustace: [shakes irritably, then answers the phone] We ain't got a phone! [hangs up)]
  • We Bare Bears: In "Bear Flu", the Bears get sick from swimming in a polluted lake, but Grizzly insists that he's fine, even as his condition deteriorates to the point he can't stand up straight.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In one episode, Sheriff Stone reaches staggering levels of this when he arrests people who say they've known him since they were children. In each case, he swears blind he's never seen them before, including with the second victim who's a TV chef, and he's holding a box of her food in his hand.
    Sheriff Stone: What box? What hand?!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Scaredy Pants", when everyone realizes the "ghost" is SpongeBob due to his pants sticking out upside down, Patrick says "I am not SpongeBob! Those are my street clothes!".
    • In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III", SpongeBob's first goodness lesson for Man Ray revolves around him roleplaying returning Patrick's misplaced wallet. Patrick repeatedly denies that it's his despite the fact that A: Patrick got out and dropped the wallet at SpongeBob's request, B: SpongeBob explicitly called it "your [Patrick's] wallet" while this was happening, C: Man Ray saw and heard these events occur right in front of him, and D: Patrick left his photo ID in the wallet. Eventually, Man Ray gets fed up with Patrick's logic and nearly attacks him.


"It's a soap ad."

Sure it is, Ja Rahr. Sure it is.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / ImplausibleDeniability

Media sources: