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Living a Double Life

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"New friends I have made are fascinated with the international intrigue associated with my father's line of work. However, I let them know that life with a spy was as normal as theirs except that their fathers planned corporate strategies while mine planned embassy break-ins, assisted defectors and their families seeking asylum, and created counterintelligence strategies. Pretty normal stuff as I saw it."
Spies Wives: Stories of CIA Families Abroad by Karen L. Chiao and Mariellen B. O'Brien

Any character secretly living another life (or even more than that) can be a very powerful plot device in fiction, allowing for any number of stories. What kind of life is being led normally? What kind of life is being led secretly? Will the secret life be revealed? If not, how will it be avoided? If it is revealed, how soon in the story, and what are the repercussions?

And this is Truth in Television, where reveals of such lives make up quite a number of scandalous tales.

Compare Double Consciousness.




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     Anime and Manga 
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, some Ghouls choose to establish human identities and live as humans. The staff of Anteiku balance running a Coffee Shop by day with being the peacekeepers of the 20th Ward by night, while several characters struggle to balance an active school life with their night-time activities of protecting their territories and satisfying their Horror Hunger for human flesh. Then there's a major Chekhov's Gunman of the series, author Takatsuki Sen, who balances her life as a famous novelist with being the leader of Aogiri Tree.
  • Don't Become an Otaku, Shinozaki-san! feels like she's in this situation. On the one hand, she befriends otaku Kaede and Micchy with the intent of "saving" them from Otaku life. On the other, she was previously a Lovable Alpha Bitch in middle school. She tries to keep her growing otaku side hidden from everyone who isn't Kaede, Micchy, and their own friends. Akina "feels like" this because she eventually realizes, to her horror, that the only person in her class who thought Akina wasn't an otaku was Akina herself.
  • In Tamagotchi, when Lovelitchi is initially introduced, she keeps her job as the Idol Singer Lovelin a secret from her new classmates. Then Mametchi considers her one of his Tama-Friends, and she starts to have a bit of a crisis when she realizes Tama-Friends aren't supposed to keep secrets from each other, leading to her revealing her identity as Lovelin to Mametchi and his gang in episode 6b, and later to some Tamagotchi School students besides them in episode 47.
  • Code Geass:
    • Main character Lelouch balances being a Brilliant, but Lazy Ordinary High-School Student by day, and the flamboyant, masked revolutionary/terrorist (depending on how you view him) "Zero" by night. It's implied the only reason he even bothers keeping up the school-boy persona, instead of just embracing being Zero full time, is because someone needs to be there to look after his sickly little sister, Nunnally.
    • Kallen Statdfeld is likewise one of Zero's subordinates, but still continues pretending to be a frail school girl when she's not with the Black Knights - she also has no idea that her irritating classmate Lelouch is also her boss, Zero.

  • Angel in Angel. Schoolgirl by day, hooker by night.
  • Platt & Matix in In the Line of Duty: The FBI Murders are regular businessmen and churchgoers on top of bank robbers.
  • Neo from The Matrix leads a double life as a regular white collar worker Thomas Anderson and an infamous hacker of international renown.
    Agent Smith: As you can see, we've had our eyes on you for quite some time now, Mr. Anderson. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a social security number, you pay your taxes, and you … help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias "Neo" and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future … and one of them does not.
  • Theodora, in Theodora Goes Wild is a kinky novel writer, but don't tell her aunts—-or anyone else in her small, prudish town.

Raffles is a famous athlete by day and a Gentleman Thief by night.

  • The narrator of the song "Junk Food Junkie"
    "In the daytime, I'm Mr. Natural
    Just as healthy as I can be
    But at night I'm a Junk Food Junkie
    Good Lord, have pity on me"
  • The Styx song "Double Life" from Kilroy Was Here is a Villainous Breakdown song where the antagonist, Dr. Righteous, realizes just how full of shit he and his anti-music crusade are, but is in too deep to abandon it.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • Paulo Thiago is a UFC welterweight fighter who initially was noticed for an underdog victory by knockout in his UFC debut against perennial contender Josh Koscheck... however, his legend took off in the US when it was revealed that his day job is being a member of the Brazilian capital's military police special operations battalion — aka BOPE.
    • He's a member of the unit in Brasilia, not the unit in Rio de Janeiro on which the book and movie were based, but the distinction is usually lost in the US, which the UFC has never tried to correct — in fact, at UFC 134: Rio his entrance music was the Elite Squad theme song, complete with the (Brazilian) crowd singing it.

     Video Games 
  • Sharon from the Street Fighter EX series works as a nun by day, dutifully and painstakingly making it her mission to take care of orphans living at the monastery where she was raised. At night, however, she moonlights as a cool and collected highly-ranked secret agent usually employed by an unknown intelligence group to carry out assassinations.

     Western Animation 
  • American Dad! had many forms of this.
    • Roger became a master of this when he took up frequent disguising, to the point where the show found many ways to play with this.
    • As on the picture, Hayley turned out to be an award-winning cook, dressing up like a 1950s housewife despite her far left-wing views.
  • Action Pet Perry the Platypus in Phineas and Ferb acts like a normal pet around his family, but is actually a badass secret agent.
    • Also, apparently Ferb.
      Phineas: Anyone else here living a double life? Put your hand down Ferb.
  • The Steven Universe episode "A Single Pale Rose" reveals that Rose Quartz was truly Pink Diamond all along, and she was Running Both Sides for the entirety of the Gem War, even for her "assassination".
  • The Winx Club in World of Winx pose as talent scouts for a reality tv show, hiding their identity as fairies while in pursuit of an abductor of talented youngsters.

    Web Comics 
  • I Fell in Love, so I Tried Livestreaming: The main cast of the series are all students, with many involved in school club activities and Hakua being an Ojou with high expectations place on her. They're also livestreamers who want to keep their streaming a secret from their peers. The protagonist, Yuu, is a former livestreamer, but wants to hide his past from others.

     Web Original 
  • In TOME, Zetto and Kirbopher are really the same character using different accounts. While Kirbopher is a main character and a friend to the other members of the main cast who cares about nothing more than having fun, Zetto is the co-leader of the hackers, and is obsessed with finding and wiping out the Forbidden Power.
  • hololive: Mori Calliope describes the experience of being both a V-Tuber and living her normal "life" out in Underworldian Japan as such, specifically in "The Grim Reaper Is A Live-Streamer".
    "I never had a life to begin with
    And now, I got two
    Double the power to sin with"


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