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Secret-Keeper

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Max: How do you save the world and not tell anybody?
Terry: I can tell you. You can tell me. That's why I'm glad you found out, partner.

Your hero has a dirty little secret that is central to the character and the show's main plot. They might be a superhero, or he might have a lab in his bedroom, or she might be a witch. There will sometimes be one regular Joe who knows about the hero's secret, and will also keep it secret. The Secret Keeper can be family, though it's very uncommon for them to be parents. It may require a Secret Relationship, if public knowledge of the relationship is a danger to the secret.

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Often, the existence of a Secret Keeper is only hinted at, rather than explicitly revealed to either the hero or the audience.

The phrase originated in Harry Potter, where the Fidelius Charm hides a secret within a living person's soul (that person would then become the "Secret Keeper"); everyone else in the world other than the chosen person would be unable to learn the secret unless directly told of it by the Secret Keeper. Even if they originally knew the secret, the details would become muddy in their minds unless reminded by the Keeper.

See also Tongue-Tied, for when a character is forced to keep a secret. See also The Confidant, someone who keeps non-heroic secrets. For cases in which the hero doesn't know that someone knows their secret, see Secret Secret-Keeper. Frequently discovers Keeping Secrets Sucks, and is witness to The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life.

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Examples:


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    Film — Animated 
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, Astrid briefly takes on this role after she discovers Toothless and she and Hiccup discover that the Red Death is forcing the dragons to attack Berk.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In About Time, Tim reveals his secret to his sister and actually takes her back time traveling with him. She only knows briefly however; due to other circumstances Tim ends up eradicating this moment from the timeline.
  • In Back to the Future Part II, Jennifer becomes one when Marty tells her about the concept of time travel when they and Doc are in the flying Deloran at the beginning of the film.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Man of Steel: The Kents, obviously. And also some Smallvile citizens like Pete Ross, Lana Lang and Father Daniel Leone. Lois becomes one too later, being the only person at the Daily Planet to see Superman up close and finding out about his human family. She even jokingly welcomes him to the "Planet" when she sees him at the end.
    • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Clark and Bruce quickly figure each other's Secret Identity out and become mutual Secret Keepers. Lex Luthor is revealed to have been a Secret Secret-Keeper all along (along with knowing the identities of Barry Allen, Diana Prince and Arthur Curry) and has been using his knowledge of their real identities to manipulate them.
    • In Zack Snyder's Justice League, the poor Icelandic villagers mock Bruce Wayne for seeking a "magical man from the sea" among them (Arthur Curry/Aquaman). They do so to protect him as he's right among them and has been helping them for quite some time, not knowing Bruce's intents.
    • In Suicide Squad (2016), Bruce and Amanda Waller become mutual Secret Keepers, Bruce knowing about Task Force X and Amanda's involvement in the destruction of Midway City and Amanda knowing Bruce is Batman.
  • In Hangmen Also Die!, Mascha figures out that the man she saw running from the Nazis after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (Dr. Svoboda), and whom she could identify if she saw him again, must have been the killer. Her father, Professor Novotny, insists that she keep the secret all to herself, warning against Loose Lips.
  • Highlander: The Kurgan raped Heather MacLeod in 1542, mistakenly thinking that she was Ramirez's girlfriend. She never told Connor about the rape and took the secret to her grave (it's implied she feared her husband would try to go after the Kurgan for revenge and be easily killed by a deranged barbarian who was ten times the fighter he was at that point). When the Kurgan meets Connor again in the 1980's before their final clash, he gloats about the deed and inadvertently confesses his crime in the process, leading to an epic Tranquil Fury moment for Connor.
  • Parodied in Johnny Dangerously, when Johnny Kelly's mother and brother are the only people who don't know he's the notorious gangster Johnny Dangerously!
  • In Kick-Ass Katie knows Dave is Kick Ass for most of the movie.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, this is made "official" with the position of Dolans, who are a series of Legacy Character Secret Keepers, helping Kaulder fit into advancing society, recording his history and keeping him human.
  • Miss Meadows: The first person to deduce Miss M's double life is Heather, one of her elementary school pupils. Said person is totally okay with it, and never does divulge the secret.
  • In Now You See Me, at the end, after finding out Dylan was the fifth Horseman, Alma locks the secret up and throws away the key.
  • The Quiet: Played straight, inverted, subverted, defied and more. Dot can hear and talk but pretends to be deaf-mute. Conner and Paul confess embarrassing and dark secrets to Dot, thinking she can't hear them. Nina does the same thing knowing that Dot can hear her, but can't let on. Dot does nothing to stop Nina's threat to kill Paul (though Nina doesn't go through with it). After Dot kills Paul to save Nina, Olivia, who witnessed that whole thing, takes the fall.
  • A Shock to the System: Stella realizes that Graham was involved with his boss's death after finding the incriminating lighter he left behind, but is intimidated into keeping silent when he makes clear killing her is something easy for him. Graham is satisfied on seeing she's realized this and lets her go.
  • Patrick and Grace Winslow play this role in The Smurfs regarding their little blue visitors from another time and place, because, hey... who would believe them in a world that seems to regard the Smurfs as a mere legend documented by a Belgian cartoonist?
  • In The Unknown, Cojo the midget knows Alonzo's secrets (that he is a murderer and that he is not really armless) and helps him maintain his cover in the circus.
  • In Without a Clue, Mrs. Hudson and the Baker Street Irregulars know that Sherlock Holmes is just an actor and Dr. Watson is the real detective. Watson also tells his editor eventually, letting the audience hear the background. The only person who's figured it out on their own seems to be Professor Moriarty.
  • In The Wolfman (2010), Singh knows Sir John is the Wolfman and kept him restrained during nights.

    Literature 
  • In the Action Figures series of teen superhero novels, Lightstorm's teammates eventually have to reveal her identity to her mom since the young heroine has left for another planet with space aliens, and there's no other way to explain her long-term absence. The mom in turn enlists another secret keeper, her current boyfriend, who gets drunk two days later and spills the information to everyone nearby.
  • In All Men of Genius, a number of people know or learn that "Ashton" is actually Violet, but the only one permanently at the Academy with her is her friend Jack, who keeps the secret throughout (even when it would be advantageous for him to tell, such as to divert Cecily's attention away from the not-really-male "Ashton" and towards himself).
  • In the final books of Animorphs, the Animorphs end up revealing their powers and ongoing battle to their families as part of hiding them away from the Yeerks. Before that they couldn't, since for all they knew anyone in their families might have been a Controller.
    • The Animorphs are also mutual Secret Keepers: their allies include the Chee, a race of Technical Pacifist ancient alien androids, who provide information and occasionally use their holograms to pose as the Animorphs; the free Hork-Bajir colony in a nearby valley; and a few members of the Yeerk Peace Movement.
    • Visser One is a villainous example, eventually figuring out that they're humans and then the identities of at least Marco and Jake. However, since they mostly annoy her rival Visser Three, she decides to keep mum.
  • In Ascendance of a Bookworm, Myne acquires a bunch of these, thanks to accumulating secrets that only a select number of people know about:
    • When it comes to her Past-Life Memories, which have effectively overwritten the personality of her body's original owner, Lutz is the first to figure out that Myne cannot possibly be said original owner. He however considers that who else gets to know that information is Myne's own business, and keeps it to himself. A later Mistaken for Spies situation results in Ferdinand, Karstedt and the region's Archduke being aware of the situation, as well. Benno is aware something is up, but doesn't really care what it is as long as Myne's Giving Radio to the Romans continues making him money.
    • When Myne is made a blue shrine maiden, which is a job usually given to daughters from noble families who have been taken out of their family's line of succession or Sent Into Hiding, the temple doesn't want too many people among commoners to know. However, between Myne's family, Lutz and the fact that Myne is still doing business with Benno's store all while knowing a couple members of his family, the number of people who are aware of her new job reaches double digits without much effort. Thanks to Myne involving High Priest Ferdinand in a conflict between Lutz and his parents, Lutz's parents end up being aware she's spending time in the temple and are told to pretend they didn't see her there.
    • When Myne acquires her noble identity Rozemyne, absolutely nobody is supposed to know she and Myne the commoner are the same person. Many temple residents and nobles are told that Rozemyne was one of the Sent Into Hiding children all along. The people who not only know both Myne and Rozemyne, but have also met Myne's family, have to keep their mouths shut about it around anyone who doesn't already know.
  • One ongoing example and two plot-specific ones in the Aunt Dimity series:
    • Bill, Emma and Derek know about Dimity's ongoing contact with Lori via the journal (Bill and Emma have actually experienced it for themselves). To date, they have not shared this info with anyone else, not even Dimity's former attorney Willis Sr.
    • Gerald Willis in Aunt Dimity's Good Deed guards the remains of Sybilla Markham Willis and the journal of her brother-in-law's conversations with the dead Sybilla (after he killed her for marrying his younger brother). They were passed from father to eldest son for some three hundred years.
    • A major plot resolution in Aunt Dimity Digs In. Many years earlier, Italian POW Piero Sciaparelli worked for old Mr. Hodge on his farm and found an ancient Roman grave in the floor of the stables. When his daughter Francesca became engaged to young Burt Hodge, her father entrusted her with the location of it so she could protect it from vandals and archaeologists, and he gave her a replica of the bronze phalera to wear as a pendant. Later on, her younger sister Annunzia or "Annie" married Burt and took over the primary role of protector even getting her own phalera. Anxieties over which of the two might reveal the secret (the elder sister dating the archaeologist or the younger trying to save a drought-stricken farm from total ruin) drive the family animosity.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe Tie-In Black Widow, Natasha Romanov is the only Avenger who knows that Agent Coulson is Back from the Dead.
  • Deryni: Stivana deCorwyn and her husband Keryell, Earl of Lendour had twins Alyce and Vera. As a hedge against persecution, they passed Vera off as the daughter of the human Howards. Alyce and Vera only learned of this after their parents were dead. They kept the secret between themselves and their tutor of ars magica Father Pascal until they Named their sons, when Alyce told her husband so he could assist in the ritual, and when King Donal paid a surpise visit to participate in Alaric Morgan's Naming. Alyce blocked Kenneth Morgan's memory at his request, Donal promised Vera that the secret was safe with him, and both Donal and Alyce died in a few months' time. Morgan and Duncan kept the secret between them for many years.
  • Doctor Syn ("The Scarecrow"): Various characters learn of Syn's Secret Identity. Some fortuitously die soon afterwards, but others act as secret keepers. In particular, Mr. Mipps is Syn's devoted sidekick throughout the series.
  • In the Dora Wilk Series, it's actually an official thing — the magicals of Thorn are instructed to contact Dora if any of them gets in potentially-masquerade-breaking trouble with the law.
  • The Dresden Files: In Death Masks Harry learns a secret of antagonist mob boss John Marcone. He knows Marcone from years ago when they met eyes and gazed into the soul of each other. He knew from that moment there was some dark tragic moment that has driven Marcone for years to become the leader of crime in Chicago, keeping things running smoothly and limiting civilian casualties. Harry first learns this is because of a mob hit against Marcone years ago that went south. A young girl named Amanda was killed. It is later revealed Amanda isn't dead. The father of the mobster shooter paid off the coroner to sign the death certificate and placed her in a hospital out of state as a security precaution if his son is ever indicted on the original shooting. Marcone eventually acquired their business, disposed of them, and learned of the girl. He has kept her safe and secure, and even has the Shroud of Turin stolen in hopes of it healing her. When Marcone finds Harry standing out in front of this location, he quietly informs Harry if he ever becomes even a minor threat to this secret, Marcone would kill him personally. Harry later learns Marcone is keeping this secret from Amanda's mother, who was broken already by her daughter's "death" so much it led her to try and kill Marcone with magic. Now they are lovers. Still, Marcone feels if the mother learns of her daughter being alive but trapped in a coma, it would destroy her even more.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries:
    • The entire Thackery family is one regarding Sid's existence, though Madison doesn't find out until the end of the first book.
    • Georgia, and later Fletcher Wildman, are ones for Charles Peyton's lifestyle (rather than maintain a permanent home, he lives in various offices on whatever campus he works at). Book 3 reveals that a few others also know, including Dr. Brownlow "Brownie" Mannix (also known as College Boy), whose family owns the carnival where Sid and Georgia first met.
  • In Amy Stewart's Girl Waits With Gun crime novels, only two living people know that narrator Constance Kopp's sister Fleurette is actually her daughter. Those people are her actual sister, Norma, and brother Francis. Since the series is set in the 1910s, it's definitely justified, but that information puts some of her views and choices in a different light.
  • Harry Potter:
    • As stated above, the trope namer is the Fidelius Charm, a spell that makes one individual a literal Secret Keeper; as long as they keep the secret, it cannot be found out by anybody else. In addition, even if the Secret Keeper does tell someone the secret, that someone is unable to pass on the knowledge unless the original Secret Keeper dies, in which case they become the new Secret Keeper. If the Secret Keeper dies without passing the knowledge to anyone else, then the secret will remain secret forever. This is most often used to conceal locations.
      • The house where Harry and his parents lived was guarded under the Fidelius charm so that Voldemort couldn't ever find them. As pointed out by Professor Flitwick, Voldemort could stumble on the Potters house, but without being told by a Secret Keeper, he would never be able to spot them. They specifically chose Peter Pettigrew as Secret Keeper, because everyone would naturally assume James Potter would select his brother-from-another-mother best friend, Sirius Black. Knowing that, the Potters decided, at Sirius's suggestion, to choose a less obvious Secret Keeper and Pettigrew became it. They just didn't know that Peter was a Death Eater and loyal to Voldemort. During his angry rant in Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius muses that if Peter chose to die without telling Voldemort, then the Potters would have been safe forever.
      • Later, Dumbledore is chosen as the Secret Keeper for the headquarters of the revived Order of the Phoenix, because he is literally the strongest wizard in Britain, even Voldemort is scared of him. Which is why the Order is thrown into disarray and have to resort to guerilla tactics after Dumbledore is killed by Snape in Half-Blood Prince, as this means everyone who knew or had lived in the headquarters becomes the new Secret Keepers. This includes Snape, and though he is ultimately loyal to Dumbledore, he can no longer be trusted.
    • Bill is the Secret Keeper for Shell Cottage, where he and his wife live. Which creates a Plot Hole since, if you can be your own Secret Keeper, one wonders why the Potters didn't just do that.
    • The Ministry of Magic explicitly gives dispensation for Muggle relatives of wizards to learn about the wizarding world, although they must vow not to pass on the knowledge to other Muggles (if they do so, it can be inferred that the Ministry will send Obliviators to the people being told). Harry himself doesn't have a Secret Keeper in this trope's sense, which is a key reason why he's so miserable every summer with the Dursleys (who know what he is, but won't let him speak of it). Hermione's parents, being supportive of her gifts and hence exceptions to the "no parents" rule, are her summertime Secret Keepers, which spares her from feeling as isolated while she's away from school.
    • Alan Rickman became a Real Life Secret Keeper about Severus Snape's motives, when J. K. Rowling told him that Snape loved Lily Potter years before this information was revealed in the books.
  • Discussed in How to Be a Superhero as an inevitable effect of super-heroics, due to the hero's slip-ups:
    1. You park your Crimemobile in the garage.
    2. You put your dirty costume in the laundry basket.
    3. You keep shouting, "Eat disintegrator blast, Crimemaster!" in your sleep.
  • In The Last American Vampire, the sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the narrator spends a few paragraphs talking about "Renfields", humans who are employed by vampires as assistants to help them deal with the time and place they're currently in. He uses the phrase "professional secret keepers" in this description. Turns out Bram Stoker was a Renfield, and made use of that experience when writing Dracula.
  • In The Licanius Trilogy, as The Reliable One, Asha is entrusted with Davian and Erran's most dangerous secrets, as well as the crushing responsibility of powering the Tributary. She never betrays anyone's trust or shirks her responsibility.
  • The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali:
    • Rukhsana's brother Aamir knows about her being a lesbian and keeps her secret, knowing their parents would be displeased about it.
    • Irfan later also discovers it, but also says he'll keep her secret.
    • Rukhsana tells her cousin Shaila in Bangladesh, who also keeps it.
  • Monster of the Month Club: Rilla herself for the fact that the monsters are alive. Rilla's friend Josh also finds out in Book 2 when he comes into her room and meets Burly.
  • In The Mug And Spoon, Count Leedway becomes this after his wife Marie reveals that she is not a princess he woke from an enchanted sleep, but a lowborn girl who only pretended to be bewitched, and that this con has been run in her hometown for years, with many other girls picking eligible husbands this way. He is amazed she chose to marry him, despite knowing he was an Impoverished Patrician twice her age, so he ultimately decides to keep quiet and not to expose the con.
  • Nina Tanleven: In The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed, Jimmy Potter is one for the location of Cornelius Fletcher’s Lost Masterpiece. While his sister and Nine both figure it out, Jimmy still keeps his mouth shut until the ghost of Cornelius himself unveils the painting.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, Claire's mom, a former villain herself, keeps the kids' identities safe.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, Rachel and Kirsty are this for the fairies, as is oneshot character Rebecca.
  • In the Ravenor trilogy, Kara Swole learns that Carl Thonius is the host of the daemon Slyte. She reluctantly agrees to keep this a secret after he cures her cancer with his daemonic powers. When she later starts having second thoughts, he inflicts Laser-Guided Amnesia on her to keep her quiet. The fact that she kept this secret lands her in hot water with the Inquisition after the truth comes out.
  • In Renegades, Ruby and Oscar find out Adrian's secret identity at the end of the second book, but agree to keep it from his dads.
  • Retired Witches Mysteries: Molly's husband learns about her magic in the first book when she confesses the truth to him, but he keeps it secret from everyone else.
  • Safe-Keepers of Sharon Shinn's Safe-Keepers Series can be told any secret, no matter how terrible, no matter how much damage may be caused, and will never reveal it until the secret is found out by someone else, Or they get permission. Yes, they really will not tell. Never. Ever.
    • This doesn't mean that they won't do anything about it, though. Fiona in The Safe-Keeper's Secret goes out of her way to help this one girl who confides in her. However, considering that she doesn't actually have the Safe-Keeping gift, since she's Obliviously Adopted and is in fact a Heroic Bastard this may or may not count.
    • A straighter example is Ayler in The Dream-Maker's Magic. He doesn't let slip that Phillip was switched at birth with Leona's sister Kellen, but he does orchestrate things so that Kellen comes into contact with Leona, rather than allow the switch to be totally unknown for the rest of their lives. He only confirms the secret once they have deduced it for themselves.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, only two people survived the battle at the Tower of Joy before the start of the book: Ned Stark and Howland Reed. There are many clues for the reader as to what Ned's big secret is, but it's clear that Howland Reed is one of the only people in-universe who knows. Knowing the author's Anyone Can Die Shoot the Shaggy Dog tendencies, Howland Reed will probably still wind up dying before anybody else finds out.
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, the psychologist has been the director for most of the Southern Reach's existence and she also hung around Saul, the lighthouse keeper, when she was a kid. She only escaped the formation of Area X by coincidence.
  • Star Wars Legends: The novelization of Revenge of the Sith makes it clear that Palpatine has been acting as Anakin's mentor and confidant for far longer than just the events of the film, slowly turning him into the sort of person susceptible to The Dark Side.
    The Supreme Chancellor has been family to Anakin: always there, always caring, always free with advice and unstinting aid. A sympathetic ear and a kindly, loving, unconditional acceptance of Anakin exactly as he is — the sort of acceptance Anakin could never get from another Jedi. Not even from Obi-Wan. He can tell Palpatine things he could never share with his Master.
    He can tell Palpatine things he can't even tell Padmé.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Teft and Lopen end up acting as Kaladin's Secret Keepers after Kaladin first discovers his magical abilities (though Teft actually knew about them before Kaladin even did). Later the rest of Bridge 4 gets let in on it, though it was kind of necessary seeing as Kaladin demonstrated said abilities fairly spectacularly. Also Shallan and Jasnah act as mutual Secret Keepers of their shared innate soulcasting powers, and Dalinar's sons and Navani keep the secret of Dalinar's visions.
  • Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe: In Song of the Lioness, George, his mother, and Prince Jonathan all find out that Alanna is a girl in disguise, and keep her secret. Her guardian Coram knew from the start and helped her with the masquerade, and Gary finds out near the end of the second book (before it becomes public). Myles of Olau plays Secret Secret-Keeper until Alanna tells him the truth around the same time.
  • The Underland Chronicles:
    • Lizzie is often required to explain why her family members have disappeared for extended periods of time.
    • Mrs. Cormaci becomes this for the family starting in Gregor and the Marks of Secret.
  • In the Village Tales novels, the Duke of Taunton, being a member of the Privy Council and a retired major in the Intelligence Corps, is used to being one. Being left his Remittance Man brother's Compromising Memoirs, though, is specially vexing. And of course the Roman Catholic and C of E (sky-High, Anglo-Catholic) clergy in the District have heard more confessions than the Duke's cook has served hot dinners.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, there's quite a few.
    • Several cats help keep forbidden relationships hidden. Fireheart and Mistyfoot do this for Graystripe and Silverstream's relationship, and Squirrelflight raises Leafpool's kits as her own.
    • In the second series, Leafpaw is the only cat that knows about both prophecies: the one that the traveling cats recieved, and the fire-and-tiger sign.
    • Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Leafpool know that Hollyleaf killed Ashfur, but they decide not to reveal it to the Clan. Apparently keeping secrets just runs in the family.
  • In The Wheel of Time, three people know Perrin can talk to wolves: Egwene, Faile, and Elyas.(Who can also talk to wolves, and helped Perrin discover that he had the ability in the first place.) Also Moiraine knew about it too, but she was out of the picture, and believed dead for 8 books and has only just returned.
  • Zorro's mute butler effectively hides his secret identity, and helps him out on more than one occasion. Zorro and the butler add an extra layer of security by pretending the butler is also deaf, on the assumption most people won't even try to ask him things.
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    Live-Action TV 
  • Another Period has two, both in the servants' quarters at Bellacourt Manor:
    • New maid Celine/Chair. Hamish the outwoodsman knows her as the former prostitute who swindled him; to family patriarch Commodore Bellacourt, she's his mistress and the mother of their illegitimate child-to-be.
    • Head butler Peepers, unbeknownst to the Bellacourts, was adopted by a family of American Indians.
  • Aquila: Mrs. Murray discovers the ship and keeps the secret in the second season.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Barry Allen and Oliver Queen are mutual secret keepers for each other. Both heroes also have a small team of allies who know their true identities. The confusion this sometimes creates is shown when Felicity Smoak (a member of Team Arrow) relays a call from Detective Lance (who is helping the Arrow but doesn't know his Secret Identity) while Oliver is standing right next to him.
    • In Barry's case, some of his enemies also know the truth, including the Rogues, after Cold forces Cisco to tell him the Flash's identity by threatening his brother. Since Cisco's brother was (presumably) in the room, he also must know. Eventually, Barry reveals the truth to his father (who knew anyway) and Eddie (whose help they needed to keep Iris from looking into her colleague's disappearance). The Reverse-Flash knows because he's pretending to be Harrison Wells and is from the future anyway.
    • In the Elseworlds (2018) crossover, Supergirl quickly becomes this for Batwoman. She uses her x-ray vision to look under her mask, but promises not to tell the boys. It's also implied that Kara already knew Bruce Wayne was Batman, since she's from a different universe where he's still active. She spends too much time pointing out the suspicious parallels between Bruce Wayne and Batman for it to be anything but intentional.
  • On Bewitched, Darrin Stephens acts as a Secret Keeper for not only his wife, Samantha, but also for his mother-in-law, Endora, her father, Maurice, as well as Samantha's many aunts, her Uncle Arthur, and Samantha's witch-doctor, Doctor Bombay, all of whom interact with various mortals during the course of the series.
  • On Bosom Buddies, Amy kept the secret that Kip and Henry were pretending to be their own sisters during the first season. In the second season, the remainder of the main were also in on the secret and helped maintain the ruse.
  • The Brady Bunch: In the Season 5 episode "Never Too Young," Cindy goes around the house singing "I've got a secret, I've got a secret!" (after witnessing Bobby being kissed by a girl named Millicent), but when pressed by her (annoyed) older siblings what that secret is, she declares, "There is no secret," much to Bobby's relief. (He was worried that if Greg and Peter found out, they'd laugh at and mercilessly tease him.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Scoobies are Buffy's Secret Keepers, but they all stretch the definition of "normal". Many of the Scoobies start outside the fold as "normals" and eventually get pulled into Scoobiedom (Cordelia, Oz, Tara). Another example would be Buffy's mother Joyce after Season 2.
    • Principal Snyder knew about the existence of the Hellmouth underneath the high school all along — and was even charged to keep it a secret from as many people as possible by the Mayor himself. That said, Snyder was completely oblivious to Buffy's identity or to the existence of the Scooby Gang.
  • Charmed (1998)
    • There's a fairly extensive list of mortals who know that magic is real, and specifically that the Halliwell sisters are actually witches. The most notable examples are Victor Bennett (father to three of the four sisters), Inspector Andy Trudeau (oldest sister Prue's Love Interest)note , Inspector Darryl Morris (Andy's partner), Homeland Security Agent Kyle Brody (another Love Interest, who eventually dropped from this trope when he died and became a Whitelighter), Homeland Security Agent Murphy (who figured out that something was up when the sisters faked their deaths and subsequently helped them "come back from the dead"), and Henry Mitchell (youngest sister Paige's boyfriend, whom she eventually married). In the Season 9 comics, Phoebe's boss Elise Rothman also becomes a Secret Keeper when the sisters save her life (Paige had to heal her, and then they had to magically make her look like she was still injured in order to properly prosecute the man who had attacked her).
    • On a more personal level, the taboo on Witch-Whitelighter relationships meant that when the sisters' mother Patty had an unexpected fourth pregnancy, it had to be kept secret from everyone. The only person Patty and her partner trusted with that knowledge was her own mother.
  • El corazón nunca se equivoca: Ari becomes this to Carlota after finding out about her relationship with Ubaldo. Later on, they tell Temo, so the three of them are keeping the secret, mostly from Diego (Ubaldo's son).
  • Jonathan is this for the ghostly Ainsworth sisters in Dead Gorgeous.
  • In Dexter, Harry, Dexter's foster father, is the typical example. The second is the Ice Truck Killer, Dexter's nemesis, who is appropriately revealed to be Dexter's biological brother.
    • He gets another one in Season 7 when his adopted sister Debra walks in on him killing Season 6's Big Bad and he's forced to confess.
  • In Fate: The Winx Saga, Sky's the only one Stella tells about her abusive mother, and the incident with her previous roommate.
  • First Day: Hannah has Olivia promise to keep her secret as a trans girl after coming out, afraid of other people's reactions. She then gets outed to the whole school anyway however (by someone else).
  • In Free Spirit (1989), Gene and his older siblings, Robb and Jessie, become forbidden from telling anyone about their nanny, Winnie Goodwin, performing witchcraft.
  • On Friends, Chandler and Monica's relationship was initially kept a secret because they didn't want to deal with their friends pestering them, but Joey figured it out on his own and they swore him to secrecy. He was the only friend who knew about it for the next several episodes until the other friends eventually found out. However, when Rachel and eventually Phoebe found out, Joey also had initially to keep their knowledge of the relationship a secret.
  • In Fringe, Agent Lincoln Lee from the Alternate Universe Fringe Division prides himself as this when he is speaking to (Alternate)Olivia. Later, he decides that he "can't keep secrets for shit" and spills it all to (Alternate)Charlie Francis.
  • Future Cop: None of the cops know John Haven is an android except his partner Joe Cleaver.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ned Stark took the secret of his illegitimate son Jon Snow's parentage to the grave. Through Bran Stark's visions, it is revealed to the audience in Season 6 that Jon is Ned's nephew, as Jon is the son of Ned's sister Lyanna Stark by Rhaegar Targaryen. On her deathbed, Lyanna asks Ned for a promise to protect her newborn son (Jon) from Robert Baratheon as Robert wants to kill everyone — even the children — who have Targaryen blood. Out of love for his sister Lyanna and nephew Jon, Ned brings his newborn nephew home with him to Winterfell, claims him as his illegitimate son to keep him safe, loves and raises Jon as his own son alongside his children with Catelyn, and spends the rest of his life keeping this secret to protect Jon.
    • Bran is the only other Stark (living, assuming that Benjen Stark himself doesn't know) aware that his brother Jon is actually his Aunt Lyanna's son with Rhaegar Targaryen, making Jon his blood cousin and the nephew of Ned Stark.
    • Brienne is one of only three people who know the truth about why Jaime murdered Aerys Targaryen.
    • Roose hides the truth about Bran and Rickon being alive, to ensure his rule over the North.
    • Ramsay is also one of the few aware that Bran and Rickon are alive, but keeps the secret for his family's political gain.
    • Howland is the only person living that knows what went down at The Tower of Joy, at least until Bran gets to see it in a vision.
    • Tyrion shares with Daenerys the real reason why Jaime killed her father, Aerys, at the same time revealing that Jaime told him the truth, which did not happen in the books. On the other hand, he declines her request to tell her why he killed his own father, which he says is a secret he might tell someday, if given enough wine.
    • Averted with Stannis Baratheon; the first thing he does with the information about Joffrey's true parentage is to tell it to as many people as possible so no one can claim ignorance, and says that Ned only telling him was a mistake on Ned's part. This is a notable change from the books, where he was the one who brought his suspicions to Jon Arryn in the first place and helped him investigate, but then left court out of fear for his life and resentment Robert didn't make him Hand. It was only Ned Stark and his older brother's death that pushed him into action, and made him take a more decisive stance.
    • Aside from Jaqen, Gendry is the only one who knows that Arya is actually Arya Stark.
  • A bit of Irony considering their later relationship in Gotham where Bruce Wayne and Alfred are so far the only two who Gordon revealed that he intended to bring down the corruption of the police and the city and that he was planning to play along inside the system to do it.
  • In the TV series adaptation of The Green Hornet, Lenore "Casey" Case and District Attorney Frank Scanlon keep the Hornet's and Kato's secret identities (Scanlon parallels the use of Police Commissioner Higgins as a secret keeper and law enforcement contact in the original radio series).
    • Late in the radio show's run, Lenore Case learned about Reid's second career as the Hornet and helped cover for him.
  • Hannah Montana's secret keepers (aside from Robby Ray and Jackson) are Lilly and Oliver. Later, there's Jake Ryan, Rico, Lilly's mother, Oliver's mother, Officer Diaria and his daughter, and Siena. That is until everyone in her hometown (plus one British journalist and his daughters) discovers the fact in the movie... and by the end of the series, everyone in the world knows it.
  • Averted in Henry Danger; Henry has to keep his job as a sidekick a secret from is friends and family. Though his best friend, Charlotte, later becomes one.
    • By the end of Season 2, Henry's best friend, Jasper, becomes one.
    • The Game Shakers Babe, Kenzie, Trip, and Hudson in the Crossover episode "Danger Games" after Hudson unknowingly chews a piece of Henry's gum that transforms him into Kid Danger.
    • Gwen in "Love Muffin" becomes a villainous one for Ray and Henry (as well as knowing Charlotte and Jasper work for Captain Man as well).
    • Piper Hart in "Sister Twister" after she stumbles into the Man-Cave and sees Henry and Ray transform in front of her.
  • In Heroes:
    • Zach is Claire's Secret Keeper for the first half of Season 1.
    • Ando is Hiro's Secret Keeper.
    • Claire herself becomes the Haitian's Secret Keeper for a while ... just not about their powers, which Noah already knows about, but about the Haitian not being mute.
  • Tony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie. Roger Healey also became one of these after the first few episodes.
  • Variation in Knight Rider, combined with Dismantled MacGuffin: KITT's super-strong armor was made from a secret formula that used three ingredients. Three trusted men were each told two parts of the formula. This way, no one man could make more on his own, but any two of them could.
  • A two-way version between Arc and Ciara are this in Knight Squad. Arc knows Ciara is the princess and her father won't allow her to be a knight while Ciara knows Arc is not of noble Dragon Blood, nor is he from Astoria, and thus is ineligible to be a knight.
  • Almost all the major Muggle characters on Kyle XY end up being this, although in this case it's also to help Kyle and Jessi. At one point, it causes Josh to spills all his other secrets. Josh also briefly doubles as one for Andy, before her cancer is made public.
  • Lab Rats: Principal Terry Perry becomes one as of the Season 2 finale "No Going Back".
  • Law & Order: Organized Crime: Elliot is almost killed by Albi Briscu when he discovers that Albi is Closet Gay. However, he then convinces Albi that he would be the perfect keeper of Albi's secret. Elliot's undercover identity is an outsider in the Albanian gang and no one would take his word over Albi's. Since Elliot's well being depends on Albi vouching for him, Elliot would have a strong incentive to keep Albi in a position of power. Albi spares Elliot's life and Elliot quickly proves his worth by covering for the fact that Albi went to a gay night club. A grateful Albi then brings Elliot closer to the gang's inner circle.
  • In The Listener, Mercer, Oz, Marks and later Olivia is this for the mind-reading Toby. In Season 2, Detective McCluskey and Dev Clark join the team.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., May is a Secret Keeper for Coulson, who's got a strange compulsion to carve alien symbols into the wall due to being resurrected with Kree blood.
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • Claire Temple, Foggy Nelson and Father Lantom eventually become this for Matt Murdock about his Daredevil secret identity as Season 1 progresses. Only Father Lantom figured it out himself; Foggy found him beaten up from a fight with Wilson Fisk and Nobu, and Claire after he was lured into a trap by the Russians.
      • In the final episode of Season 2, Karen Page becomes one, and the first person to whom Matt openly admitted the secret of his own volition.
      • While never stated out loud, it is heavily implied that Frank Castle is one as well and figured out Matt's secret identity when he saw him out-of-costume at the hospital.
      • Elektra and Stick are aware of it, though this is a minor example in that they're minimally involved in Matt's day-to-day life.
      • The rest of The Defenders know who Matt is: Jessica figured it out herself with her investigative skills, and Matt introduces himself and who he is to both Luke and Danny. It's also likely that at least some of their allies know this as a result. This is another minor example, however, since these characters knowing that doesn't impact Matt in his own series.
      • Several more people end up learning the secret during Season 3. The first is Sister Maggie (who is his mother). Towards the end of the season, Matt unmasks himself to Ray Nadeem, making Nadeem only the second person (after Karen) he's ever willingly revealed his secret to, and it's to show his gratitude to Nadeem for helping Foggy and Brett rescue Karen from an assassination attempt by Dex ("You saved Karen Page's life tonight, so I owe you"). This unmasking also serves a second purpose of making sure Nadeem knows that he can trust Nelson & Murdock to help him speak out against Wilson Fisk's criminal activitiesnote . Unfortunately, their efforts to put Nadeem before the grand jury fail as Fisk intimidates the jurors. He is subsequently killed at his house by Dex on Vanessa's orders. Matt learns about this from Fisk's fixer Felix Manning. So as a result, in the season finale, after defeating Fisk and Dex in a Mêlée à Trois, Matt unmasks himself in front of Fisk and Vanessa, and blackmails Fisk into being a secret keeper by threatening to go public with his knowledge that Vanessa ordered Nadeem's death if Fisk tries to out Matt or hurt Karen and Foggy.
    • Iron Fist (2017): At the start of the show, Ward Meachum is the only person besides the Hand and Harold's assistant who knows that Harold Meachum is alive. Ward has been keeping the secret for thirteen years and it's implied that the stress brought on by this secret-keeping is part of what has contributed to his drug issues.
    • Luke Cage (2016): Mariah Dillard and Captain Thomas Ridenhour dated for a few years in high school. Ridenhour thus is one of only a few people who know that Mariah's daughter Tilda was actually the product of her being raped by her uncle Pete, and not Mariah's gay husband Jackson Dillard.
  • Gaius from Merlin is the only person (as yet) in town who knows about Merlin's powers, as well as being his mentor.
    • Lancelot knows too, but has agreed to keep it a secret.
    • Likewise, Merlin is Lancelot's Secret Keeper: he's the only one who knows that Lancelot is still in love with Guinevere.
    • On the same show, Gaius, Merlin and Gwen are the only ones that know Morgana has precognitive dreams.
      • Inverted in regards to Morgana in Season 3. For the first half of the season only Merlin and Gaius know the secret that Morgana is evil, but they are unable to tell anyone about it without any proof, despite dearly wanting to warn their friends. The same thing happens with Agravaine in Season 4. They both reveal themselves as traitors.
    • In Season 5, Mordred and Merlin are this for each other, as they're both warlocks.
  • On NCIS, this comes up in Gibbs' Rule #4: "The best way to keep a secret: keep it to yourself. Second best: tell one other person, if you must. There is no third best."
  • New Amsterdam (2008): Omar (and at least one other kid of John's) in regards to their father's immortality.
  • The Outpost: As of "A Narrow Escape" Mary turns into this for Kate in regards to her secret identity as Batwoman.
  • The Power Rangers series in general has a tendency for family members of the rangers to find out their secret identities; in these cases, they only appear in one episode. Some examples include:
    • In Power Rangers Zeo, Red Ranger Tommy's brother David.
    • In Power Rangers Wild Force, White Ranger Alyssa's father.
      • In the preceding episode, "Three's a Crowd", Kendall, a girl Black Ranger Danny is madly in love with, as well as a rich young man trying to win her love, both discover Danny's identity. Neither of them show any desire to reveal his secret, but the would-be lover does tell Danny that he shouldn't date Kendall due to his responsibilities, and while it's somewhat implied that he's just being a Jerkass so that he can have Kendall to himself, Kendall ultimately says the same thing at the episode's end.
    • In Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Red Ranger Shane's brother Porter.
    • In Power Rangers Jungle Fury, Blue Ranger Theo's twin brother Luen.
      • Also, Fran, who discovers the secret identities of her fellow pizza-parlor staff around the time they get their Mid-Season Upgrade.
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: the first people to discover the Rangers' secret identities were Rocky, Adam, and Aisha, and they pledged to keep them secret. They weren't able to play this role for very long however, as Jason, Zack, and Trini were soon "sent to a peace conference", and Rocky, Adam, and Aisha became their replacements as Rangers.
      • Although it never happened on the show, it was originally supposed to be revealed that Ernie from the juice bar had known the secret identities of the Power Rangers all along. This is why he would always give them drinks on the house as a sign of appreciation.
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force has Toby, the Rangers' boss at their civilian jobs, but he doesn't find out until the fourth-to-last episode... though they did use a Sarcastic Confession on him at an earlier point to explain why they continuously ran off during their shifts. Subverted, however, in that he tells the whole town in order to gather enough energy to give the Rangers the final boost in power that they need to destroy the Big Bad.
  • In Psych, the ones who know from the outset that Shawn Spencer is a Phony Psychic are his father, Henry, and his best friend, Gus.
    • Throughout the series, Lassiter claims to not believe him and wants to expose him as a fraud, even hooking him up to a polygraph machine (which Shawn beat due to his father's extensive training). It would seem Da Chief doesn't believe it either, but Shawn is really good at solving crimes, so she doesn't care how he does it.
      • In the finale, Shawn moves away from Santa Barbara and leaves a DVD for Lassiter where he confesses the truth. By this point, however, the two have grown to consider each other friends; Lassiter doesn't allow the recording to progress past "I am not" before he stops it and destroys the disc.
    • As of Season 5, there is also amateur profiler Declan Rand and, oddly enough, Curt Smith from Tears for Fears.
    • And as of Season 7, Juliet finds out, at first reacting in anger but eventually resolving to keep the secret once Shawn proves that he cares more about her than anything else, including his work at the SBPD. She also realizes that the cases he solved might be jeopardized if he told the truth about it.
  • Pushing Daisies: Emerson and Chuck are keeping Ned's secret that he can bring the dead back to life, while Ned, Emerson and Olive are keeping Chuck's secret that she's not dead, but Olive thinks that Chuck faked her death whereas Ned and Emerson know that she did die and was brought back.
    • Also, Olive eventually becomes Lily's secret keeper, hiding the fact that Chuck is actually Lily's daughter, not her niece, conceived during an affair with her sister's fiance. Olive gets so overwhelmed by all the secrets that at one point she runs away to nunnery.
  • RoboCop: The Series sees some cases of this, even outside of some at OCP and his fellow officers being aware of the truth about Alex Murphy being RoboCop
    • Murphy himself doesn't publicize that Diana Powers's brain was used to create OCP's new Neurobrain computer. In the second episode, Murphy is subjected to a smear campaign by a hypocritical televangelist — and was talking to Diana when one of the scientists responsible for his being a cyborg used the prototypes of his gun and helmet to kill the televangelist, with Murphy telling her the reason she didn't tell anyone about her is due to wishing for her to avoid the same crap he was going through.
    • Sgt. Parks does this for Sally Modesto when he learns she was indeed the biological mother of his adopted daughter, Gadget, after Sally was forced to help a gangster in a scheme against Parks.
    • While Madigan tried to keep Murphy's dad, Russell, from learning the truth about what happened to Alex, Russell does eventually find out and is himself sworn to secrecy.
  • The writers of Smallville have had to let so many people in Clark's secret to keep the show fresh that Lois Lane is about the only one who doesn't know by now. Clark told Pete his secret in Season 2 when the latter discovered his spaceship, Alicia revealed Clark's powers to Chloe in Season 4 and Chloe tells him she knows in the Season 5 premiere, Lionel found out in Season 5, Lana started causing trouble around Season 6 and found out in the finale, Lex found out in the Season 7 finale but was then Put on a Bus.
    • Lois seems to know now and is currently a Secret Secret-Keeper as Chloe was before her.
      • As of the episode "Isis", it's official; Clark confessed that he's the Blur to Lois, who responded by jumping into his arms, kissing him and asking, "What took you so long?"
      • Though it did take even longer for her to find out about the Justice League, which led to some particularly funny moments, like when Tess, despite knowing that Lois knows Clark's secret, still plays dumb because Lois doesn't know that Tess knows (and more than she does to boot). The first part of Season 10 gets a bit confusing at times.
    • Tess was a Secret Keeper as well, which was particularly important since she was one of the bad guys, yet she still kept his secret from everyone. She had a Heel–Face Turn, though.
    • The villain Toyman figured out Clark's secret, but agreed not to tell anyone as it's more fun that way.
  • The family (yep, her parents too) of Raven from That's So Raven, is fully aware of her secret Psychic Powers, most likely even before she was. These were later revealed to be a hereditary trait. The ability is treated serenely since the very first episode of the series, despite the sitcom-y mishaps that regularly occur because of them.
    • It's also played straight with Eddie and Chelsea.
  • Mrs. Roper on Three's Company finds out pretty quickly that Jack isn't actually gay, but keeps the knowledge from her husband so Jack can continue sharing an apartment with two women.
  • Cherry becomes one for The Thundermans as of "A Hero is Born".
  • In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, only George Smiley ever knew Control's real name.
  • On Torchwood, Rhys Williams (Gwen Cooper's fiancé), stumbled onto proof of just what it is that Gwen does for Torchwood. Captain Jack Harkness decides to not dose Rhys with Retcon (Torchwood's amnesia pill) after he sees how much good it does Gwen to have someone outside of Torchwood to talk to about work.
  • Warehouse 13:
    • One of the rules for anyone who works for the Warehouse is that they may reveal the true nature of their work to one outsider, but only one. This never became a plot point in the main series, however.
    • It's far from unheard of for an outsider to discover the Warehouse in some way, but anyone who learned enough to be a threat was either recruited or killed; the only known exceptions are Claudia's brother, Mrs. Frederic's grandson, and Monty the Magnificent, an elderly magician who was let in on the secret due to his passion for "real magic".
  • In Wolfblood, Maddy and Rhydian act as secret keepers for each other. At the end of Season 1, Tom and Shannon find out, but agree to keep it a secret.

    Music 
  • "Secret" by The Pierces plays this up for drama. The singer seriously seems like she will kill her friend if she tells her secret.
    "If I show you then I know you won't tell what I said. Cause two can keep a secret if one of them is dead."

    Podcasts 
  • Becoming increasingly common in The Adventure Zone: Amnesty: at first, the Pine Guard are the Secret Keepers for the folks at the Amnesty Lodge, and vice versa for Duck and Aubrey's magic powers. Then they recruit local city worker Pigeon to help out with a case. Then Aubrey accidentally reveals her powers to local gang of adrenaline seekers, the Hornets, who proclaim themselves the new protectors of Kepler.
  • The Voidfish is this in The Adventure Zone: Balance. Any information consumed by a Voidfish becomes unknowable to anyone who hasn't been inoculated with the Voidfish's ichor. Trying to verbally communicate the information replaces it with staticky noises, and The Adventure Zone reveals that information about it in writing is replaced with static as well. There's also a second Voidfish which has consumed all the information about the IPRE's crew and their mission, including the true identities of Davenport, Barry Bluejeans, Lucretia, the Tres Horny Boys, and Taako's sister Lup, as well as the existence of the Hunger.
  • By the end of the Gemini Arc of Sequinox, Ethan has figured out who the Sequinox members are and subtly lets them know he'll keep their alibi.

    Recorded Comedy 
  • Monty Python Live at Drury Lane has a sketch about the Secret Service, where apparently the sole qualification is one's ability to keep a secret. The applicant is hired but suddenly cut when his surname is revealed to be Russian.

    Roleplay 
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Ivy accidentally uses her invention superpower in front of her parents. When she explains to them what's happened to her, they promise to keep it a secret for the sake of her safety.
    • Benjy's mother, owning to her work as a psychiatrist, has clued in on her child's struggle with his identity, but keeps it to herself. When he's with the other characters, he insists that his mother can be trusted with a secret.
    • Jae has confessed her crush on Ivy to her friend Jemimah. That said, her description of Ivy is so overblown that Jem wouldn't be able to put a name to the face even if she wanted to.
  • Dino Attack RPG has the siblings Bart and Carrie Enderson, both bartenders who both kept secrets for a different mercenary. To add a cruel twist of irony, neither knew about the other's activities (at least not until after the war and both mercenaries were dead), and one of their clients was determined to kill the other.

    Theatre 
  • Westeros: An American Musical: Eddard mentions keeping a secret in "Hand-Holding". The only info he gives about the secret is that it involved a promise and that he uses it to explain his part in letting himself and Robert drift apart over the years. Those hints point at it being the one about Jon Snow's parentage he's keeping in the original story, but its a Twice-Told Tale due to the play making no clear allusion to a familial relation between Eddard and Jon Snow despite both characters appearing onstage in the 2019 version.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Crescendo (JP), Nurse Kaori knows about Yuka Otowa being a teen prostitute. She doesn't exactly approve, but doesn't say anything because Yuka is about to graduate and she doesn't want her to be expelled in her last year.
  • In Daughter for Dessert, having to tell someone that she was attracted to her father, Amanda told Kathy.
  • Double Homework:
    • Morgan is good at being this. When she figures out Amy’s real identity, she doesn’t tell anyone, she keeps her silence when she discovers the protagonist’s sexual relationship with Tamara, and she doesn’t spill the beans if he decides to question her about her history with Lauren.
    • The protagonist keeps Morgan’s secret about her love of fantasy books and movies.
    • Mr. Adler figures out the true nature of the protagonist’s relationship with Johanna and Tamara, but vows not to tell anyone.
    • Daniela knows Dr. Mosely’s secret identity as Zeta, the rogue scientist. Justified by their professional relationship.
    • Dennis’s dad promises not to tell anyone about the conversation in which the protagonist spills the beans to him about Dr. Mosely/Zeta.
  • Melody:
    • On her romantic path, Isabella is the only person from the protagonist's old social circle who knows where he’s gone.
    • Amy, on her romantic path, tells the protagonist the full story of a previous abusive relationship, the details of which she’s kept hidden from Melissa, Arnold, and Melody.
    • Invoked by Sophia when she figures out that Melody stole back her guitar. Sophia assures Melody that of course she would keep the secret; she only wonders why Melody didn’t let her in on it in the first place.
  • Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow: Saori is a Sweet Polly Oliver in an all-male Vigilante Man group. Her potential love interests tend to find out early or midway through their respective routes and keep her secret.

    Webcomics 
  • In Avialae, Gannet's neighbour Bailey is initially the only person who knows about Gannet's growing wings and helps keep them a secret from his family and schoolmates.
  • In The Dreamer, Yvette is the only person who knows about Beatrice's time-travel dreams.
  • In Electric Wonderland, Aerynn Arlia's friends and co-workers must make sure that the authorities of Cyberspace never find out about her performing illegal witchcraft.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Outside the "core" cast, Melissa is Noah's secret keeper.
    • Justin is not only the Secret Keeper for the core group, keeping their activities secret from everyone (especially George), he's also keeping Noah's Secret Identity as the Child Left Behind a secret even from his closest friends.
  • Sticky Dilly Buns:
    • Ruby has kept her sister Amber's career as a porn star secret from their parents for years, despite being a very truthful person by nature and despising Amber for her actions.
    • Dillon respects Ruby's desire to keep, first her having spent an evening in male disguise, and second her new-found love of Yaoi, secret from the world in general and Amber in particular. (Presumably, Ruby either wants to preserve a sense of superiority over Amber, or thinks that her sister would tease her mercilessly with such facts.)
  • In Witches Among Humans, while canon!Luz is public knowledge, this version of Luz tries keeping her identity a secret (wearing a beanie to cover her ears in disguise, her hood used to mask her face while performing magic), with Eda, Willow and Gus being the ones to keep her secret.

    Web Original 
  • Lester from Angel of Death is the only human outside of The Men in Black who knows Cody is a lich.
  • Brennus: The main character himself keeps secret the fact that his older sister Amy is also the extremely powerful supervillainess Mindstar, in spite of being himself a superhero. It gets deconstructed, because Basil finds it increasingly difficult to live with the knowledge of what she's done, and continues to do. It's especially difficult because his teammate Hecate wants to kill Mindstar for killing her cousin.
  • Pepper and Sarah accidentally become these to Jake after a Glamour Failure in Magical Border Patrol.
  • In Noob:
    • Gologotha is the only one who knows how Gaea got her avatar back after getting banned permanently from the game for borderline illegal activity until an unexpected third party makes the bargaining chip's existence public.
    • Judge Dead is all but stated to have known of the secret revealed in the Wham Episode all along.
  • In Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, Agent Washington hides the fact that he has all the memories of the Epsilon AI, which is the manifestation of the Alpha AI's memories, which itself was created from the Director's mind. This means that he has knowledge of both the torture used to split the Alpha into separate AIs and all of the access codes used in the Director's lab.
  • In the Whateley Universe, hardly anyone outside of Superhero School Whateley Academy knows Phase is a mutant: just her big sister Gracie and Gracie's spouse, and their two renters.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears: Cavin and, later, Princess Calla know the truth and keep the secret of the Gummi Bears.
  • Trixie and Spud, from American Dragon: Jake Long. In the episode where they find out about Jake's dragon powers, Jake's grandfather gives him a potion that will erase their memories and put everything back the way it was to maintain the Masquerade around the magical world. In a subversion of Status Quo Is God (and possibly as a "screw you" to The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, which had a reset after her friends found out), he pours it out in a potted plant rather than dose their drinks, and they continue to help him in both forms.
  • In the final season in Amphibia, Anne's parents and pet cat Domino are the only ones who know the Plantar family are frog people. In "Fight at the Museum", Dr. Jan joins in, followed by everyone at the Thai Temple in "Temple Frogs".
  • Arthur: In "Brain's Shocking Secret", it's revealed that the Brain was held back in kindergarten; Prunella, and then Binky, are the only other ones who know about it.
  • Pauline from Atomic Puppet is the only one (asides Mookie) who knows that Joey is Atomic Puppet, and thus the only one besides Joey who knows that Captain Atomic has been turned into a talking sock puppet by Mookie. As the series progresses though, a few more characters learn it as well, primarily the show's other superhero characters and more significantly Joey's dad in the first season finale.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Formerly washed-up actor Simon Trent is implied to have become this to Batman after Bruce attended a book signing and repeated something he said as Batman.
    • In the episode, "Over The Edge", Barbara Gordon decides to tell her dad that she's Batgirl. He only shushes her before she can say anything, but not so subtly hinting that he already knows, and is very proud.
  • Batman Beyond:
  • ChalkZone: After Rudy's best friend, Penny, learns about ChalkZone, she swears to keep it a secret.
  • Chip and Potato:
    • In "Bye Bye Dazzles," when the Dazzles move away, Chip reveals to them that Potato is a mouse. They agree to keep the secret.
    • Chip flirts with the idea of revealing the secret to her best friend Nico in "Chip's School Trip" and does tell him "Hospital Trip Chip," allowing Potato to stay overnight with him because he's in the hospital, having broken his arm, and she wants to cheer him up.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • The lab accident six months before the series pilot turned Danny into a half-ghost. His best friends Sam and Tucker witnessed it, and so they knew from the start. Ten episodes in, Danny's sister Jazz finds out but chooses to play Secret Secret-Keeper until Season 3. Before Jazz, we also get multimillionaire supervillain Vlad Masters/Vlad Plasmius; a nearly unspoken agreement has them keeping each other's identities secret.
    • Danny himself plays Secret Secret-Keeper for Valerie Gray being a ghost hunter...up until the end of Season 2, when he exposes her to her father to prevent her from taking his place in piloting an experimental power suit.
  • Darkwing Duck has sidekick Launchpad (who calls him 'DW' even when Darkwing's in civilian garb) and daughter Gosalyn (who occasionally calls him 'Dad' when he's in costume). Somehow neighbour child Honker seems to be in the know as well. There's also an episode where Morgana Macawber meets Honker's family, after complaining that Darkwing never introduces her to any of his friends. She even calls him Drake in front of them.
  • Inverted in The Deep with Nereus. He often kept many details about whatever the Nektons faced in certain episodes secret from them, which would often cause them to distrust him.
  • Dee Dee, from Dexter's Laboratory, is the only main character who knows of Dexter's Lab besides Dexter himself. Others include Dee Dee's friends, Mee Mee and Lee Lee, and Mandark, who has a lab of his own (though not a secret one, since his constructions dwarf his house).
  • In Dragons: Race To The Edge, Astrid does not tell the other dragon riders that Heather, last seen working for dragon hunter Viggo and her psychotic brother Dagur, was actually The Mole in Viggo's camp.
  • Scrooge McDuck and Mrs. Crackshell are the only ones in DuckTales (1987) who know that Fenton is Gizmoduck.
  • The Fairly OddParents: The godchildren that fairies are assigned to are the only ones who know their existence; should they be exposed, they will lose them forever. Chloe also becomes one in the final season when Timmy is forced to share Cosmo and Wanda with her.
  • Freakazoid! had Roddy and Cosgrove, and later Steff and Professor Jones as of "Mission: Freakazoid" when Cosgrove let it slip. He thought Steff already knew since she and Freakazoid were dating.
  • Gargoyles:
    • Eliza Maza and, later, Matt Bluestone work to conceal the existence of Goliath and his clan from humanity, as does David Xanatos when he's not trying to kill them. By the end of the second season, they fail spectacularly. Thank Demona (indirectly) and the Hunters (very directly).
    • Matt Bluestone ends up being a Secret Keeper for the Illuminati too, despite his initial desire to bust their organization wide open.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: Molly and her family members are the only ones who can see Scratch and other ghosts alike, and are aware of his existence.
  • In Hey Arnold!!, Phoebe, Patty, Trish Wittenberg, Grandpa Phil and Brainy all know Helga Pataki's most dark and deep secret: her overwhelming love for Arnold. Helga's shrink Dr. Bliss, a Secret Keeper by way of professional confidentiality, also knows. And Helga admits it to Lila as well, threatening her with violence so she wouldn't tell.
  • Subverted by Gaz on Invader Zim. She discovers early on that Zim is an alien, but doesn't care. When Dib says "Zim's trying to conquer the world," Gaz replies, "But he's so bad at it." Which is true, but...
  • The Holograms (Kimber Benton, Shana Elmsford, Aja Leith, and Carmen 'Raya' Alonso) from Jem and the Holograms count here as well. They can't tell anyone about the supercomputer Jerrica and Kimber's late father made or else she could be used for evil. They also keep the secret that Jerrica and Jem are the same person.
  • Justice League:
    • One episode shows that part of the U.S. Government is this for Batman. Amanda Waller even uses this to intimidate the Dark Knight in Ultimatum:
      Batman: Who are you people?!
      Amanda Waller: That's a national security matter. And if I were you I wouldn't probe the situation too closely... rich boy.
    • Speaking of Batman, if anyone has a secret in the Justice League you can almost count on the Dark Knight knowing it. Best shown when they are considering sharing their secret identities with one another to go incognito as their civilian personas, and some of them have reservations about it; Batman impatiently blows each person's cover:
      Batman: Wally West! Clark Kent! Bruce Wayne! Get dressed!
  • Both averted and played straight in Kim Possible.
    • Averted in that Kim's hero status is publicly known. Shego and her even have an early-series fight in the local Bueno Nacho.
    • Played straight with Ron Stoppable when he attended a ninja school; he promised Yori and Master Sensei that he wouldn't tell anyone about the school, even Kim. Later in the series, Yori allowed Ron to tell Kim (who had already discovered the truth about the school on her own). Presumably Kim then became a Secret Keeper for the school as well.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Lio Oak was well aware that Kipo wasn't fully human. But he was evidently planning to tell her at some point; he just didn't think that her Mute traits would show themselves so soon.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: Ah-Mah and Ray Ray Lee, Juniper's grandma and little brother respectively, and later her older brother, Dennis Lee. (Although they're not quite regular Joes — both can see magical creatures, and Ah-Mah was June's predecessor. One episode reveals Ray Ray's ability as being an accident. For Dennis, he can only see magical creatures when he wears a talisman.)
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012): Youngmee becomes one to Blythe midway through Season 3. Roger is revealed to be a Secret Secret-Keeper in the final season, having known of Blythe's ability all along because his wife had the same power.
  • In the Animated Adaptation of The Mask, Stanley Ipkiss's Intrepid Reporter friend Peggy Brandt is the only person who knows that he and The Mask are one and the same. (Well, her and Stanley's dog Milo, anyway...)
  • Masters of the Universe:
    • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), only a few others know Adam is He-Man: Cringer, Orko, Man-at-Arms, and the Sorceress. Maerlena is hinted to be a Secret Secret-Keeper, but if she knows, she never moves to Secret Keeper.
    • In the spin-off She-Ra: Princess of Power, Adam's twin sister Adora has Kowl, Madame Razz, Light Hope, Spirit, and later, Loo-Kee who know her Secret Identity as She-Ra. The twins are, of course, also secret keepers for each other, so by extension, it is safe to assume those who know He-Man's secret also know She-Ra's, and vice-versa.
    • He-Man also, at the Sorceress's request, keeps the secret that the Sorceress is Teela's mother.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • The Kwamis in general, are the only ones who know who the identities of their guardians are; Master Wu is also the only one who knows the identities of all the welders aside from Hawk Moth.
    • Tikki and Plagg are the only ones who know Ladybug and Cat Noir's identities as Marinette and Adrien. They even share this info with each other.
    • Nathalie is the only one who knows Adrien's dad is Hawk Moth.
    • In season 4, Alya becomes this to Marinette, after Marinette reveals her identity to her.
  • Motorcity: Claire keeps secret that Julie's dad is the Big Bad.
  • On My Pet Monster, Jill and Chuckie are the only ones who know of Max's pet monster and help him hide its existence.
  • Phineas and Ferb has Stacy Hirano becoming this for Perry in "Happy Birthday Isabella" to avoid having her memories erased because she's not part of his host family, and having to sit through a scary movie she watched again.
  • In Pixel Pinkie, Anni is the only besides Nina who knows about the genie Pixel Pinkie, and often has to make up cover stories when Pinkie's magic causes thing to go awry.
  • Polly Pocket: The only ones who know of Polly's Pocket Locket and its shrinking powers are her friends Lila and Shani, her Grandma Penelope, and baby brother Paxton. Nicholas also finds out midway through Season 1 and joins.
  • When Punky Brewster takes Glomer (a creature called a "glomley" who helps leprechauns within a rainbow land) under her wing, she takes it upon herself to keep him a secret. Punky's pals are also entrusted to keep Glomer a secret. Glomer himself has to stay inconspicuous, even at home, so Henry doesn't find out about him.
  • On Ready Jet Go!, Sean, Sydney, and Mindy, Jet's best friends, are the only people who know that Jet and his family are aliens, and keep the secret as best they can.
  • In The Rocketeer , Kit becomes the titular hero, and the only ones who know are her Grandpa Ambrose, her dog Butch, and her best friend Tesh.
  • Chloe Flan, Sabrina's Token Black Friend, who was invented wholecloth for the Animated Adaptation, Sabrina: The Animated Series.
  • Deconstructed in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated where Velma keeping Angel/Cassidy's Identity a secret unknowingly sets off a chain of events that causes the Downer Ending of the first season of the show.
  • The Secret World of Benjamin Bear: The only human in the world who knows that Teddy Bears are alive is Miss Periwinkle, Edgar's owner, after he was forced to reveal his ability to move to save her from being swept out to sea when she was a child.
  • The human friends of The Smurfs act in this role to prevent humans from ever getting their hands on them.
  • Sofia the First: The only ones who know of Sofia's powers from the Amulet of Avalor are her animal friends, Oona and the merfolk of Merroway Cove, and Aunt Tilly, the last of these due to being the bearer before Sofia. Her family eventually learns the truth in Elena and the Secret of Avalor but it's not until the Grand Finale that they learn the full extent of what she can do, though Amber learns the full truth much earlier than the rest.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • In "The Rise of Clovis", Rush Clovis figures out that Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala are in a Secret Relationship, and also gets beaten up by Anakin. Clovis chooses to claim that his injuries were inflicted by an intruder that broke into Padmé's apartment and was chased off by Anakin rather than expose them, and he ends up taking the secret to his death in the next episode.
    • If "A Distant Echo" is any indication, Anakin has been making Captain Rex cover for him when he's holo-calling Padmé often enough that Rex obviously knows something about the true nature of their relationship.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "Twin Suns", Ezra Bridger and Chopper learn Obi-Wan Kenobi is alive on Tatooine, but promise not to tell. In the last scene, Ezra keeps the secret by lying to Kanan, Hera and Zeb about this information. The episode also reveals that Bail Organa lied to the entire Rebellion about the same issue.
  • Star Wars Resistance: When Kaz starts off on his spying mission on the Colossus, the only people who know are BB-8 (who, as a Foregone Conclusion, leaves before the end of the first season and is replaced by CB-23) and Jarek Yeager, Kaz's boss at his cover job as a mechanic. Torra Doza, the daughter of the Colossus' owner, eventually figures out that Kaz is a spy but keeps this to herself. By the end of the season, Kaz's affiliation with the Resistance becomes widely known when the heroes have to drive the First Order off the Colossus. Tam doesn't take it so well...
  • Static Shock:
    • Richie is Static's best friend in the cartoon series, and the one to whom Virgil confides what happened with the gang war, the gas, and the development of his powers.
    • Richie, apparently due to low-level exposure to the gas off Static's clothing, later becomes a superhero himself, making Gear and Static secret keepers for each other.
    • Also, Shaquille O'Neal. He and his team show up and were apparently tech-based superheroes when they weren't working at being the best in basketball
  • Steven Universe: In "A Single Pale Rose", Pearl is revealed to be this, as she was the only one who knew that Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond were the same person, but Pink ordered her never to tell anyone.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, when Lois began dating Bruce Wayne in a three-part crossover, she ends up finding out that he's Batman. The part that ate at her the most was that she was sitting on top of what could possibly be the biggest story of her career, "Batman Unmasked", and there wasn't a thing she could do about it.
  • In Vampirina , the only ones who know that Vee and her family are vampires are her best friends Poppy and Bridget. Edgar himself also finds out in the Season 2 finale "Ghoul Guides Save The Day".
  • Wish Kid: Aside from Nick, only two people know about the glove: his best friend and his little sister, who's still a baby and can't talk yet.
  • WordGirl: The only one who knows of WordGirl's secret identity as Becky Botsford is her sidekick Captain Huggyface, who constantly warns her not to in order to keep her home planet Lexicon from great risk. He is eventually joined by her adoptive brother Bampy, and later on her friend Rose.
  • Young Justice
    • Robin continues the trend when Artemis reveals she's the daughter and sister of Sportsmaster and Cheshire, respectively. Robin admits he knew all along and that it didn't matter to him.
    • Superboy similarly knew Miss Martian's true form was a ghastly, gangly white alien all along and simply didn't care.
    • In a twist on the usual Secret Identity trope, Robin is hiding his civilian identity from his superhero teammates. Word of God (and Free Comic Book Day tie-in) is that while Batman has forbidden him from revealing his real name, he told Wally anyway. It's also likely that Haly, his old circus Ringmaster, knows he is Robin as the man instantly recognized "Dan's" moves to be those of Dick Grayson's and knowingly accepted his I Was Just Passing Through excuse for showing up, saving the day, and moving on without asking a single question.
  • In Zeke's Pad, Zeke trusts only his best friend Jay to keep the pad a secret. In the pilot, his sister Rachel knew as well.

    Real Life 
  • Lawyers (at least in the United States, the United Kingdom, and some other common law jurisdictions). While there are a few exceptions to attorney-client privilege (generally having to do with preventing reasonably certain serious bodily harm), for the most part, an attorney can't reveal anything that their client tells them in confidence (unless, of course, the client says it's okay beforehand). This means that in most, if not all, U.S. jurisdictions, if an attorney find out their client committed a crime for which an innocent person's in jail, their ethical obligations to their client prevent them from saying anything without their client's permission, even if the other person is serving a life sentence.
    • In response to this dilemma, some state bars have added rules that allow for limited disclosures in this situation, arguing that justice demands the innocent go free.
    • Similarly, although doctors are required to report evidence of a crime (gunshot wounds, suspected child abuse, etc.), most details of your medical history are protected by doctor-patient privilege. The exception comes when you threaten to yourself or others or when you are no longer capable of making decisions on your own and someone has to make decisions for you.
  • Catholic priests are bound by The Seal of the Confessional to never divulge what anyone says in confession, even if the person confesses to a crime. A priest violating the seal would risk laicisation (defrocking) and excommunication (which means that he could not receive any sacrament until he would, ironically, confess his violation of the seal).
    • There have been cases in the Papal States wherein the authorities broke the seal of the confessional, at papal direction, to arrest and prosecute murderers.
      • In the United States, the Supreme Court has ruled that gathering information by violating the Seal is a violation of the First Amendment and as such inadmissible in any court.
  • Stephen Fry has claims that Douglas Adams once told him in confidence "exactly why 42." Apparently, "The answer is fascinating, extraordinary and, when you think hard about it, completely obvious." However, he has vowed to take the secret with him to the grave.
  • Other than Carly Simon herself, NBC Sports' Dick Ebersol and Taylor Swift are the only people in the world who know for sure who "You're So Vain" is about — Ebersol won a charity auction to learn the identity in 2003, and ten years later Simon told Swift when they performed the song in concert.
  • J.M. Straczynski was this to Michael O'Hare. O'Hare played the lead character on Babylon 5 but left after the first season. The reason for the departure was that O'Hare was battling bouts of paranoid delusions; this both hurt Straczynski's relationships with his cast members, who weren't privy to this knowledge, and threatened to damage the show. After discussing things with O'Hare, JMS wrote his character off in a way that would allow him to return when he was better, and publicly gave false reports on why the character was written off. Even after the show ended in 1998, JMS continued to not reveal the secret until O'Hare's death in 2012, in keeping with the man's wishes.
  • The word "secretary" literally means "secret keeper". While most modern day secretaries spend more time doing paperwork and the like, the original meaning is preserved in terms like "Secretary Of Defense", a person privy to a lot of secret military information, who advises the President on such things.
  • In U.S. states where capital punishment is still practiced, the identities of executioners are typically kept confidential to all but the prison warden and, perhaps, a few trusted underlings. This protects the person who actually depresses the syringe or otherwise carries out the death sentence from retaliation by vengeful loved ones, harassment by anti-death-penalty activists, or questioning by morbid-minded reporters.


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