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You tell him, MJ!

Static: Mr. Hawkins, I'm glad to see you're okay.
Mr. Hawkins: You can drop the act, Virgil.
Static: You know?
Mr. Hawkins: Wasn't hard to figure out. Why else kidnap me to get to Static? And maybe, maybe in the back of my mind, I've always known.
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We all know about Secret Keepers: One or two people that The Hero trusts enough to tell about his superpowers. However, there are also "secret" Secret Keepers who figured out the character's secret on their own, and instead of confronting the hero about the secret, decide to keep things quiet. They then almost always take it upon themselves to help the hero secretly from the sidelines by creating distractions to allow the character to slip away to change unnoticed, letting the hero know about dangers or problems that need the hero's attention, and so on.

There's usually a given reason for this character to not just tell the hero what they know, from the reasonable to the flimsy. These include them having learnt the information in a questionable way that could force them to reveal their own secrets, circumstances being that revealing their knowledge could actually make things harder for the good guys, they've decided to wait for the hero to eventually tell them themselves, they're aware that the hero specifically doesn't want them to know the info, self-denial that this information is true, there being no good time to bring it up, or even admitting that they have no reason beyond "You Didn't Ask". Regardless, this serves as a good source of drama and comedy, as the hero and those in the loop desperately try to hide the truth from someone who is already perfectly aware of what's going on and is just playing along until the narrative decides to drop an Internal Reveal.

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As for how they learnt the secret in the first place, they tend to fall into one of three camps:

  • Purely Accidental: They happened to stumble across it, were unintentionally told, or enough coincidences happened that they connected the dots.
  • Ignored or overlooked third party: They know because they were there from the beginning, and may have even played a role, but no one noticed.
  • Deliberate pursuit of knowledge: They've been actively trying to figure it out and have succeeded.

Sub-Trope of Secret Keeper. See Also: I Know You Know I Know and Keeping Secrets Sucks. Everybody Knew Already is when everyone is this. Locked Out of the Loop is what those who are openly (so to speak) in on the secret assume of this character, which may lead to a twist, depending on whether the audience knows they know.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Daisuke Suwa, the male lead of Bitter Virgin, knows of the traumatic events in Hinako's past. However, Hinako, who told it to a "priest", whom she couldn't see, has no idea of his knowledge.
  • Bleach:
    • Isshin knew Ichigo was a Soul Reaper the whole time because he's the Soul Reaper Ichigo inherited that power from.
    • Ichigo found out from Mayuri that Ikkaku possesses Bankai. Ikkaku has no idea that Ichigo knows.
  • In Bloom Into You, Sayaka is this when it comes to Touko's more vulnerable side. She's fully aware that Touko isn't as confident as she lets on, as well as more specific details about Touko, like her quest to emulate her late sister, but doesn't let on. Touko appreciates that Sayaka's willing to let her seem perfect, just like how she appreciates how she can trust Yuu with her true self. Eventually, after Touko learns the truth about her sister, Sayaka openly reveals how much she knows about Touko.
  • Loki of Boku Girl knows about Mizuki's Gender Bender, but that's because she's the cause of it. As far as Mizuki knows, Loki is a classmate who's seen he's physically female but does not know he started out male.
  • In the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA, Leon McNichol, the Cowboy Cop crossing paths with the Knight Sabers when he's not playing Casanova Wannabe for Priss, becomes her Secret Secret Keeper in the sixth episode when it's revealed he saw her face when the visor of her hardsuit broke during the climactic battle of the previous episode. He never directly reveals his knowledge, but does give Priss a cryptic warning after they both survive an encounter with the Big Bad of the arc.
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • In the original anime, Sanae accidentally overheard how Yayoi begs Tsubasa to let Misugi's team win since he's an Ill Boy who is about to be operated on and may not be able to play ever after that. Sanae never reveals this knowledge - and it's not needed since it comes out that same day.
    • In both the Shin OAV's and the manga, Hyuuga keeps to himself how he walked into Wakabayashi telling Tsubasa that his recent jerk ass behavior to the Japanese National Team is fake. When Wakabayashi explains his reasons to the team, Hyuga steps in and reveals that he knew it but said nothing out of respect for him and because it fired him up to try his hardest.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Touya eventually determines that Sakura is having magical adventures (due to his ability to sense human souls) and, unlike Tomoyo who confronts her about it in the first episode, he keeps the knowledge entirely to himself, reasoning that Sakura must not want others to know if she is going to such effort to keep it a secret. For her part, Sakura assumes he can’t possibly know despite Kero’s suspicions, since she thinks he’d tease her relentlessly over it.
  • In Classi9, Bach and Tchaikovsky either discovered Ren's biological sex or guessed her gender, but kept it to themselves for different reasons. Bach couldn't spit it out, whereas Tchaiko decided to stick with Rentarou because Ren made it clear she referred to herself as a man in front of him. He tried to drop subtle hints that he knew with his use of honorifics, but so far it hasn't worked.
  • Code Geass
    • At least, for a little while, Euphemia qualifies. She's the first person to figure out Zero's true identity, but keeps this to herself until the two are able to meet privately. She takes the secret to the grave after Lelouch accidentally geasses her into becoming Ax-Crazy and then mercy kills her.
    • Shirley is briefly this after she finds a note she had written from before Lelouch erased her memory, and then again when Jeremiah inadvertently deactivates Charles' Geass on her. Again, she takes the secret to the grave after she runs afoul of Rolo.
    • This is downplayed in the Compilation Movie series, where she at least suspects Lelouch might be part of the Black Knights, and only Charles erases her memory. When Jeremiah cancels it this time, he immediately shows up afterwards to warn her not to look into it any further for her own safety, resulting in her encouter with Rolo being avoided. Some time after that should have happened, she encounters C.C instead, and ultimately helps her set up the events of the sequel film without Lelouch originally knowing it.
  • Dengeki Daisy is an interesting case, due to the fact that the Secret Secret Keeper is the exact person that the secret is supposed to be kept from in the first place.
  • During the Desperate Revival arc of Detective Conan, Ran had figured out Conan was Shinichi, but didn't confront him about it because she was waiting for him to tell her. Since Status Quo Is God, she's thrown off once again by the end of the arc and no longer has this role.
  • Digimon:
    • The parents of Izzy Izumi from Digimon Adventure thought that he didn't know he was adopted. In truth, Izzy found out years prior to the story due to overhearing them talk about it. He eventually reveals to them that he already knew he was adopted.
    • Suzie Wong of Digimon Tamers is one. As soon as Henry shows that Terriermon is alive, she admits that she knew it all along.
  • In Fairy Tail, it's revealed that Bickslow knew all along that Loke was really a Celestial Spirit, thanks to his Aura Vision.
  • Honoka's grandmother, Sanae, in Futari wa Pretty Cure. It's unclear just how much of the secret she knows, though. She seems to enjoy being mysterious about it.
  • Sugi of Girl Friends is the first, and probably only, one to figure out Mari and Akko's Secret Relationship. She occasionally teases them subtly about it, making them worry about how much she knows, and in the last chapter helps the two have some alone time together, after being surprised that she's still the only one amongst their circle of friends who figured out that the two are a couple.
  • In Goddess Creation System after Xiaxi leaves the Wang Pu house she happens to be picked up by the crown prince, where she goes by a new name. They've met before, but he doesn't recognize her and instead tries to find out who she is: No mere commoner could possibly be as well educated as she is. Before long, he figures out that she's the servant of the Wang Pu family, but keeps quiet about it and doesn't even tell her he knows.
  • In Hana-Kimi, earlier on, Sano found out that Mizuki was a girl but didn't tell her and helped her to cover her tracks.
  • Both Ishigami and Kashiwagi from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War find out about Kaguya and Shirogane's Secret Relationship in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War without the relevant parties knowing (though it's only ever implied that Ishigami knows). Kashiwagi is upgraded to being proper Secret Keeper a few chapters after finding out.
  • In Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Miyako kept her knowledge of Maron's secret until she is ready to tell her.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi trains with Kaede in the mountains for the day. He departs the next morning, thinking that Kaede is still asleep, unaware that she's watching (in his defense, though, with Kaede it can be hard to tell). She shrugs it off and later shows up in Kyoto when Yue calls for help. After the incident is resolved, Negi explains things to her and the others. We never find out if Kaede mentioned that she already knew.
  • In O-Inari JK Tamamo-chan!, fox spirit and divine messenger Tamamo uses magic to take human form and attend high school. However, except for adults, her disguise is less "human form" and more "Little Bit Beastly". Because her ability to continue attending school is dependent on her identity not being found out, the classmates who know, which is all of them, don't let on that they know. Tamamo is oblivious even as people leave offerings to her in her shoe locker or pray to her.
  • One Piece
    • In the Arlong arc, it turns out that Genzo and the rest of the village knew about Nami's quest to buy back their village. Despite being angry with Nami for allying with Arlong, Genzo refused to believe that Nami had betrayed her hometown for her mother's murderer, and got Nojiko, the only one who knew to spill the beans. Afterward, he decided to ask everyone else who knew to keep quiet about it, so that Nami would be able to give up and flee if her quest got too difficult. Genzo only reveals the truth when Nezumi arrives to confiscate Nami's stash, and he yells that she's using the money to save her village.
    • Only three other members of the Straw Hat pirates know of Zoro's attempted Heroic Sacrifice during the Thriller Bark storyline: Brook, who witnessed it; Sanji, who knew he was planning it but heard the details later from witnesses; and Robin, who used her powers to eavesdrop when Sanji got the details. Zoro himself only knows Brook is aware. The other two have kept quiet (and sworn the other witnesses to secrecy) because they all know Luffy would be devastated that Zoro would come so close to giving up his life for his sake.
    • In the Dressrosa arc, the citizens knew all along that the "fairies" of their country are actually dwarves, and that Kyros and Scarlett got together and had Rebecca. They nonetheless pretend not to know, out of respect for them. When it seems Luffy has kidnapped Rebecca, he was actually taking her to her father, the citizens weren't fooled and used the opportunity to pretend to go after Luffy, thus preventing Fujitora from dropping the rubble he kept afloat on top of Luffy.
  • In Pretty Sammy, it turns out her whole class knew Sasami was Pretty Sammy and were just being polite about not letting on.
  • Near the end of Sailor Moon R, it is heavily implied that Usagi's friend Naru had figured out Sailor Moon's secret identity on her own when she tells Usagi to be careful before confronting the season's Big Bad. However, they never actually confirm this directly, and then appear to retcon this bit of character development in future seasons. A couple of other single episode only characters figure it out: Asai Tsutomu, an old friend of Minako's who figured out she was Sailor Venus when he saw Venus use Minako's special volleyball move and did hint at least he knew to her, and Saori who had a crush on Mamoru till she overheard him call Sailor Moon "Usako" and gave up on him without explaining why.
  • There are several of those in Sakura Gari, and they all guard extremely creepy secrets:
    • Sakurako, as a child, witnessed Katsuragi and Souma killed her mother, whom everyone thought she committed suicide
    • Souma found out that Sakurako killed his ex-lover Terashima
    • The old maid and Katsuragi know that Sakurako's mother abused Souma.
  • For the first few episodes of Sonic X, Chris and his grandfather were this for the Sonic characters. Then the butler reveals he worked it out ages ago, from which point they try to at least let the other people in the house in on the secret: Chris tries to tell his mother but she reminds oblivious, though telling the cleaner does work out, with her ending up fussing enormously over Cream and playing a substitute mother figure role.
  • Touka Aizuki of Suki × Suki can turn invisible to everyone except her crush Ryoutaro. Despite the fact that Touka's main use of her power is hovering close to him and embracing invisibility's Power Perversion Potential, Ryoutaro's kept quiet to spare her the embarrassment of knowing he's witnessed everything she's done or said while invisible.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Vigilante Man Lunatic/Justice Yuri Petrov knows Wild Tiger/Kotetsu T. Kaburagi's secret identity and decides to keep it to himself. Despite the antagonistic relationship between them, this actually works out for Kotetsu, as Maverick doesn't mindwipe Yuri like he does most of Kotetsu's other Secret Keepers when he Unpersons the hero. It isn't made clear as to whether or not he is able to discover Kotetsu's identity himself, or if he simply has access to the information due to his aforementioned position.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki's best friend Hide. In the anime it's explained that he overheard the truth while Playing Possum.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Ichigo worries on a regular basis about people discovering her secret, and on many an occasion, her worry works her up enough to almost let it slip. However, Aoyama Masaya, the one person that she wanted never to find out because she was sure he'd reject her, figured out her identity on his own and is perfectly fine with it. This is the point where they become without a doubt an Official Couple. Unknown to the both of them, he has some not-quite-normal qualities himself.
  • Uchi no Musuko wa Tabun Gay: The premise of the series is a mother who suspects her teenage son, Hiroki, is probably gay. She's perfectly fine with it, but realizes Hiroki would rather hide it, so has opted to keep quiet and let him come out to her when he's ready.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle: Fugil is surprised to find out that the emperor of Arcadia knew about his secret identity as the hero who defeated the prior Holy Arcadia Empire and saved the family branch that they both belong to. This is deconstructed because the emperor took his loyalty to the family for granted and kept his identity a secret to make him a trump card, leaving him blindsided when Fugil turns against him for his crimes against humanity.
  • An occult otaku character in the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series is an asymmetric Secret Keeper. However, at the end of the first episode, he confronts Miyu, and she frightens and deceives him into walking off a roof to his death, because he asked her to make him a vampire and started going on about being above the normal people — Miyu found this an offensive misunderstanding of the role of vampires in the setting — both making him Sacrificial Lamb to further establish the series' dark tone, and helping to establish Miyu's role as a Dark Magical Girl in the early series.
  • In the 'Season 0' Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, Anzu manages to figure out that her mysterious rescuer was Dark Yugi (due to noticing an injury on his hand that the regular Yugi shared, and later seeing him in action), but didn't tell Yugi about it.

    Comic Books 
  • In pre-Crisis Superboy, Pete Ross is one for Clark Kent. Later, his son discovers Superman's secret identity and, not knowing his father knows, doesn't discuss it with him.
  • In Fawcett Comics' rules for Captain Marvel writers, it comments that Billy's boss, Sterling Morris, may actually know that Billy is Captain Marvel, but if so, he never mentions it or else convinces himself it can't be true.
  • Iris West, the wife of the second Flash, for a year after they got married (it turned out he talked in his sleep...); she didn't mention it because it seemed so important to him that it be a secret.
    • Ashley Zolomon becomes this for Wally West, the third Flash, after a Cosmic Retcon that caused everyone to forget his secret identity (previously it had been openly known, before that knowledge caused his wife Linda to be attacked). This gains special significance because Ashley's estranged husband-turned-supervillain was the one who attacked Linda in the first place.
      • What makes the above example interesting is that the character doesn't put two and two together on their own. To whit: during the Rogue War storyline, Zoom (Ashley's ex-hubby) speeds her to Wally's house, the one place he knows she'll be safe during the titular citywide clash, while declaring to her that Linda (who's there at the time) is the Flash's wife. Later, at the end of the story, Ashley's writing up a profile on the Flash, pauses when she gets to the section about the hero's real name, then deliberately writes "Unknown." Hence, she knows Wally is the Flash, and Linda knows that Ashley knows—but neither of them tells Wally himself.
    • After said Cosmic Retcon, Hunter Zolomon was the sole person to remember Wally was the Flash, likely because of his weird relationship with the timestream. He never told anyone besides Ashley.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Mary Jane Watson. During Tom DeFalco's initial run on the book, it was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #257 that Mary Jane was this for years. Parallel Lives elaborated she's known since pretty much the beginning, having seen Peter leave his bedroom window as Spider-Man on the night of Uncle Ben's death.
    MJ: You don't have to make up another one of your phony excuses, Peter! Not now—! I know the truth! The REAL truth!
    Peter: What are you talking about?
    MJ: I've known your secret for years! Up until today, I always thought I could cope with it if I ever had to experience it firsthand — but I can't! I can't—! I just can't cope with the fact that Peter Parker is secretly Spider-Man!
    • Aunt May is eventually revealed to have been one for years, though she was in denial. Aunt May let Peter know the truth shortly before she died during The Clone Saga ("Peter, what is it like to fly?"). Then it turned out that was a "genetically-altered actress"...
    • It's occasionally implied that Robbie Robertson figured out Spider-Man's identity a long time ago. If he acknowledged it, then he would be obligated to tell J. Jonah Jameson that Peter Parker was selling pictures of himself. Robbie vehemently denied that he had known when Peter unmasked in the Civil War arc.
    • Captain George Stacy was this for Spidey as well. When he was mortally wounded during a fight between the web-slinger and Dr. Octopus, he revealed his knowledge of Peter's dual identity before he died in the hero's arms.
    • Max Modell of Horizon Labs once teased Peter during a supervillain attack by asking if he was rushing off to take pictures for the Bugle. Pete said yes, then remembered he didn't do that any more, so Max suggested he was going to contact Parker Industries employee Spider-Man. As he went off to change, Peter reflected that maybe working with a genius in both identities was a bad idea...
      • Max pulls this unambiguously in Superior Spider-Man, telling Otto that he's received an anonymous email containing proof that "Professor Elliot Tolliver" was Doctor Octopus, but that he'd figured out ages ago that "Tolliver" was San Francisco's Spider-Man and used a surreptitious DNA test to discover that he was really Otto Octavius, but as a strong believer in second chances had kept quiet to see whether Otto earned one (he did).
    • This is parodied in Spider-Girl, where one of May Parker's classmates thinks he's a secret keeper for Spider-Girl, but came to the conclusion that May's best friend Courtney was the superhero.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, bully and Flash Thompson's friend Kenny "Kong" McFarlane was convinced Peter Parker was Spider-Man when his personality change occurred after he was bitten by a genetically-altered spider (Kenny stepped on the spider after that). He was "proven wrong" when Kenny kicked Peter to demonstrate his reflexes, but Peter caught on and took the hit, even forcing tears. Despite that, he still believed Peter was Spider-Man and kept it to himself until their classmate Liz Allan's mutant powers manifested, at which point he let Peter know that he knew. He implies that he assumed everybody knew and it was just one of those things you aren't supposed to discuss directly.
    "What do you want me to say? Should we have a code? Should I just throw up my hands and say 'Oh, if only Spider-Man were here...'!?"
    • In Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, Emma Frost and one of her friends find out that Peter's Spider-Man due to Emma's psychic powers. She later decides not to blab once they find out that the reason Peter's Spider-Man is because of his tragic past.
  • In a classic Frank Miller Daredevil arc, Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich discovered Daredevil's secret identity of Matt Murdock, and considered reporting it. He ultimately decided that New York needed Daredevil more than he needed a Pulitzer. This subplot was also featured in the movie. The Netflix show has Ben's role filled by Karen Page, but Matt tells her the secret of his own volition and despite the fact that she could easily have gone public, she doesn't.
    • Later, in Brian Michael Bendis' Pulse, Urich revealed to Peter Parker that he had deduced his secret identity of Spider-Man.
  • It is sometimes suggested (but never outright stated) that DC Comics' two most prominent heroes have supporting characters who know, or strongly suspect, the hero's secret identity, and that the heroes know they know, but that no good would come from any of them actually speaking about it openly:
    • Commissioner Gordon, a skilled veteran detective, for Batman.
      • At the end of Batman: No Man's Land, Bruce takes off his mask in front of Gordon to regain his trust. Gordon refuses to look at him and says "If I wanted to know, I could have discovered it ten years ago. And for all you know, I did. But that's not the point."
      • At the end of Batman: Year One, an (unmasked) figure who Gordon realizes is the mysterious Batman out of costume, has just saved his infant son and hands him to Gordon. Gordon makes a comment about not being able to see anything without his (at the time knocked-off) glasses. No one who can be a street cop has eyesight that bad. In this case justified because Batman is wanted by the authorities, so both of them know it's better for Gordon to have an excuse not to recognize Bruce Wayne.
      • Previously in the story, Gordon and his partner, Sarah Essen questioned Bruce about his possibly being Batman. Clearly, the super wealthy guy who watched his parents get murdered and recently returned to town at the same time as the rise of a new vigilante might be on any detective's short list.
      • In an early issue of "DC Rebirth," Batman goes to Kate Kane (Batwoman) to ask for her help in training a new generation of heroes. When she asks why her, Batman unmasks to reveal he's her cousin, Bruce Wayne. To his shock, Kate just laughs that she's been waiting a year and a half for Bruce to finally say it.
      • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Gordon goes to see Barbara and asks where Batman is. When she tries to play dumb, he snap at her.
        Barbara: When did you...
        Gordon: The first night you went out in the costume with Dick Grayson.
        Barbara: How...
        Gordon: Because I'm a detective, dammit!
    • Batman himself heavily suspects that Perry White, a crack investigative reporter before leading the Daily Planet, is too observant to have not noticed Clark Kent was Superman. White just appreciates the good work and opts never to bring it up. Likewise Clark's best friend Jimmy Olsen in some versions is aware of his coworker's superhero work.
      • When Superman reveals himself as Clark Kent in 2020, Jimmy claims he'd known for some time.
        Jimmy: I used to think there were only two people in the world who called me "Jim." Then I realized it was only one.
      • At least in Pre-Crisis continuity, Lois figured it out ages ago but could never prove it (not that she was ever shy about voicing her suspicions, mind you), and for years it was practically a full-time job for Clark/Superman to convince her she was wrong. Years later, in All-Star Superman, we find that he did the job a little too well, so that when he finally reveals his identity to her, she assumes he's just pulling a stupid prank and refuses to believe him.
      • Ditto for Pre-Crisis Lana.
      • Also, the first reaction of Booster Gold is to yell out Clark's name in public, relating that being from the 25th century, he's known all along the secret identities of every major hero and keeping quiet.
    • In the New 52, Two-Face reveals that he knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but never outed him, and has actually been convincing himself not to kill Bruce.
    • In Milk Wars, it's revealed that Rebecca Paige, mother of Violet Paige (Mother Panic) also knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman. It's not explained how she knows (she has weird knowledge often), but she also ends up telling Violet herself.
    • Pre-Flashpoint reboot, the Riddler also had figured out Batman’s secret after taking a dip in a Lazarus Pit. Batman ultimately convinced him to repress it because if Ra’s al Ghul found out that he knew and that he was using the Pit, he’d kill him. Ra’s is the father of one of Batman’s main love interests and his son’s grandfather so he has a personal stake in no one finding out who Batman is as it wouldn’t be hard to connect the dots back to him.
  • Tim Drake, the third Robin, was the secretest secret keeper ever, due to not existing until the point where he revealed what he knew. He figured Batman and Robin out at age eight or nine by recognizing Dick Grayson's acrobatics (he saw the Graysons' last show), and said nothing to anyone for several years, until he grew concerned with Batman's self-destructive behavior in the wake of Jason Todd's death, which he knew meant Robin's death.
  • Supergirl: In the Pre-Crisis universe, Linda Lee Danvers' childhood crush Dick Malverne knew she was Supergirl all along. In Young Love he confessed on his deathbed he always loved her and he knew of her secret identity.
    Supergirl: Mr. Malverne? You asked to see me...?
    Dick: Hey-Hey... Linda Lee... I wanted to see you one more time... You sure look pretty.
    Supergirl: You... You know —?
    Dick: I always knew, Linda.
  • In Birds of Prey, Barbara Gordon reveals to her father, Commissioner Gordon, that she used to be Batgirl and is now Oracle. It turned out that he had already known about the former, but not the latter.
    • Taken a step further in the Injustice comic, where he tells her that he knows both her and Bruce Wayne's activities.
  • Booster Gold's entire thing is playing up that he's a fool so that he can correct anomalies in the time stream. The fact that most people see him as an idiotic Glory Hound is what keeps him from being killed in his crib by evil time travellers. However, it is later revealed that Batman has known for quite some time that Booster is more important than he lets on, as the pictures the Joker took of Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke show Booster trying to save Barbara Gordon. Batman doesn't tell Booster that he knows until Booster is as old as he is in the pictures. After he reveals to Booster that he knows, he offers Booster his friendship and becomes a normal Secret Keeper.
  • The Disney Mouse and Duck Comics have two for Paperinik (Donald Duck's superhero/antihero secret identity). The first is Mickey, who has known Paperinik's identity for a while (and never fell for his many ruses to throw off whoever else deduced it) and never told anyone until some particular circumstances made him finally fall for them (unless he made that quip to throw off everyone else). The other is Gyro, who in Paperinik New Adventures is implied to have deduced Paperinik's secret identity... And, not trusting himself, wiped out his own memory every time it happened, without telling to anyone.note 
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has Ratchet know Ultra Magnus is Minimus Ambus, and likewise the identities of the previous Magnus armor wearers. Despite devices designed to hide the truth even from a medical examination, they'd hardly fool an old hand like Ratchet, but he kept it a secret from their benefit.
  • In Astro City story "Pastoral" Cammie merely resolves to keep secret the Secret Identity, without telling anyone. Then, the entire Close-Knit Community is keeping it, and part of the reason she's keeping it is that she accidentially realized that he's her cousin's boyfriend by seeing them kissing behind the barn, and wants to hide that.
  • The Unbelievable Gwenpool deconstructs this as Gwen, a girl from the real world who is a big comic fan, knows the identity of just about everyone. However, when trying to save Batroc the Leaper's team from the female Thor, she blurts out her real name and is forced to Verbal Backspace before she got her head smashed in. It gets worse later when Gwen's evil future version gleefully explains how this knowledge could (and in her opinion should) be exploited for personal gain and horrify her with the implications.
  • In Top 10: The Forty Niners, Captain Zaran Orval assigns Steelgauntlet to lead a major vampire mob arrest because he knows Steelgauntlet is secretly a robot. It's clear Steelgauntlet didn't know he'd been figured out when the conversation started; he kept up the charade while they were speaking privately.

    Fan Works 
  • There are a number of Detective Conan fanfics where Ran guessed the titular character is Shinichi without letting him know about. Examples include The right words and Bittersweet Deduction.
  • Advice and Trust: Rei figured out that Shinji and Asuka were engaged in a Secret Relationship, but she kept it to herself for a while since she understood their motives to hide it from everyone.
  • The Child of Love: After getting together Shinji and Asuka spent a while pretending they were still fighting. Misato knew what they were really doing but she pretended she was clueless.
    Asuka: I...I don't know why I'm telling you all this...you don't know anything...
    Misato: Do you think I'm blind, Asuka?
    Asuka: [sobbing a little] Huh?
    Misato: Wait a minute here. My two roommates acting like lovers from one month to another... I'd have to be deaf and blind to not notice that. And I saw you two kissing in the car last week, remember? I bet that you forgot about the rear-view mirror. And what about the many times when I surprised you two? You were so embarrassed... and I also know that sometimes you've slept together in your bed. I'm not stupid, you know.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Ritsuko has figured out what Shinji –and maybe Asuka and Rei- are time-travellers but she has kept it to herself.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Kaji knew about Shinji being Superman long before meeting him.
  • Chrom in Fire Emblem Awakening fanfic Pretender knows Robin's true origins, that he's Plegian and Validar's son, long before Robin himself finds out in the hopes that keeping him out of the loop will help him stay away from the darkness of his past.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: During the Parasite arc both Rei Ayanami and Misato Katsuragi figured out Asuka was Supergirl. Misato because the Parasite barged into his apartment demanding to know where Asuka was and later he was defeated and fought by Supergirl, and Rei because she fought the Parasite alongside Supergirl and noticed their similar appearances.
  • In Don't Poke The Golden Goose,, Jimmy Olsen learns Superman's identity. Then he discovers that Perry White knows, as do most of the other reporters (except Lois). White insists that everyone take on this role because Clark Kent is a good reporter, having a superhero in town allows for steady news stories, and he respects Clark's need to have a break from crime-fighting.
  • Ernie, owner of the first Local Hangout in Power Rangers (Morphin' through Zeo), is often portrayed like this. The way all his best customers wear colour-coded outfits and constantly vanish and reappear without explanation, you'd hope he suspected something...
  • The Miraculous Ladybug fic Powers of Invisibility puts Juleka in this role, after she sees Marinette and Adrien transforming during the Evillustrator attack in Chapter 5, with it stated that she was already 90% sure it was them anyway. The following few chapters have numerous moments where Juleka privately snarks about just how bad the two's inexplicably successful attempts to hide their identities are, including from each other. She becomes a regular Secret Keeper to Adrien in Chapter 11, and to Marinette in Chapter 15, and both times Juleka is greatly amused to tell them she figured them out months ago. On a side note, the two of them don't actually connect the dots regarding each other until Juleka forces the issue in Chapter 23, despite knowing about their mutual friendship with her.
  • Happens several times in Back To Us. Alya figures out Nino and Marinette's identities due to Something Only They Would Say, and it is revealed that Felix has known Adrien and Camille's identities all along and that Gabriel Agreste and Daniel Trace knew Adrien's identity all along. All of them decide to keep quiet for various personal reasons.
  • In Teaching Lessons, Gabriel Agreste figured out that Adrien was Chat Noir the instant he saw his ring, but has kept quiet to avoid alienating him and taking away something he truly enjoys. He internally snarks about how obvious Adrien is to anyone who knows what to look for and gives him subtle advice towards wooing Ladybug. Once Adrien brings Marinette home for a date, Gabriel instantly recognizes her earrings and deduces she is Ladybug and that they unmasked to each other offscreen.
  • In The Seven Misfortunes of Lady Fortune, Madame Zhou states that she knew Marinette's identity since the day she was rescued, because she was wearing her costume at the time.
  • In Subtlety, the entire town of Amity Park (barring Danny's parents) know Danny Phantom is Danny Fenton and except for Danny and his friends, and everyone knows that everyone knows. They just let him pretend and act like they don't see him use his powers or transform, even when he does things like turning intangible in the middle of the cafeteria.
    • Another similar story Social Networking has the popular kids discover Danny's secret and refuse to allow Paulina to use the information as blackmail, as well as coming to a Heel Realization that they have all been terrible to the person they consider a hero.
  • In the fic Shattered Ikuko Tsukino becomes this for her daughter Sailor Moon.
  • In the Marvel fic The New Teacher, Peter Parker starts working at the Xavier Institute, and until chapter 40 (after Peter is forced to use his powers during the Brotherhood’s latest attack on the school) only a few X-Men know that he’s Spider-Man; Wolverine knew already, Shadowcat learns when she walks in on Peter changing out of his costume after Spider-Man helped stop a riot, Rogue suddenly recalls some of the personal information she absorbed from Spider-Man in the second Contest of Champions after spending time with Peter, and Wind Dancer’s awareness of wind overhears the Green Goblin refer to Spider-Man by name when the Sinister Six take some of the students hostage.
  • A somewhat complicated version in Guardian Angels. Laurel (as the Black Canary) learns that Oliver is the Hood and Diggle is his partner (which they know), but they don't know that she's the Black Canary. As such, whenever she's the Black Canary she can act like she knows who they are; but as Laurel she has to act as if she doesn't know.
  • In The Bridge, Monster X was completely unaware of his Super-Powered Evil Side, Kaizer Ghidorah, as he mentally blacked out whenever the change happened. His old war buddy, Gigan, however has known for over a century, having witnessed one of Kaizer's rampages, and has been keeping an eye out to try and ensure Kaizer doesn't return again.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Xvital admits that she left her intended husband because his mother had discovered she was a thief, and persuaded her into running off and leaving him before the wedding because he'd hate her if he found out. When Xvital and Tizoc reunite, Tizoc reveals he'd known about her being a thief practically from the beginning and didn't care, he still loved her and wanted to marry her. Then he proposes again, and she says yes.
  • Personality Conflicts: During Final Frontier, Trevor Park (and possibly Ernie Townsend, who was also there) figure out that Detective Jerome Stone had figured out the identities of the Power Rangers some time back (which he confirms), but none of the Rangers know (yet) that he knows.
  • Becoming Lífþrasir: Apparently Fishlegs figured out that Hiccup and Cattongue were the same person at some point and kept it to himself, telling Astrid to not say anything until he is ready just as he did.
  • Agent Gregg from A Certain Mythic Archmage has figured out that Taylor is Solomon, but keeps the secret because he knows that she is a true hero and figures that she needs all the help she can get - and, even if he were to reveal the truth, he has no actual proof.
  • Several of them in Kara of Rokyn:
    • Kara is certain that Van-Zee and Ak-Var are the heroes Nightwing and Flamebird, but she keeps her suspicions to herself:
      "Kids," said Van, and both subsided for the moment. Kara studied his jaw for a second. She was pretty sure that he was Nightwing, the Batman of Kandor, and that his friend Ak-Var, who was married to Van's niece, was Flamebird. Both of them had helped bring down the Zoners in her last adventure. But she'd had a secret identity, too, and there was one cardinal rule among super-heroes: don't pry.
    • Both Lois and Jimmy figured out Superman's secret identity at some point, but they chose to not let on.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: Even to the ones who DON'T realize that he knows, he still keeps quiet.
  • Their Bond: The fact that Queen Zelda was sexually abused by Ganondorf for several years is supposed to be a closely guarded secret of Zelda and Link's. When her court puts Zelda on trial for treason after finding a deceased soldier's account of the abuse in his diary, Zelda realizes that her "secret" is not so secret after all. In fact, at least ten people, including of Zelda's closest companions and several guards, know of it. Everyone just keeps mum about it.
  • A Man of Iron: Late into the second book, A Crack of Thunder, it's revealed that the entire population of Iron Pointe has known that Tony is Iron Man and Jon is Centurion pretty much the entire time. They've all just kept quiet about it due to their loyalty to the Starks.
  • A Dovahkiin Spreads His Wings: Ned Stark was paranoid about anyone learning Jon Snow actually was his half-Targaryen nephew by his sister Lyanna and claimed the boy as his bastard son. It managed the whole Seven Kingdoms except for the spymaster Varys (who's interested in a Targaryen restoration with Jon as claimant to the throne) and ser Barristan Selmy (who's keeping quiet out of fondness towards Jon's birth father Rhaegar).

    Film — Animated 
  • In the direct-to-video Superman: Doomsday, Superman's refusal to reveal his civilian identity to Lois is putting a strain in their relationship. After his "death", she pays a visit to Martha Kent and reveals that, despite Clark's cover story of being out of the country, she already figured it out. He finally does tell her in the end.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Amazing Spider-Man implied that Aunt May knew Peter was Spider-Man but didn't tell him. By the time of The Amazing Spider Man 2, it's pretty obvious that she knows, though he doesn't seem to think she does.
  • In Amen, Nazi Protagonist Kurt Gerstein and his wife might be an example of this, as they believe their maid Mrs Hinze may be Jewish, but do not relay their suspicions to the authorities or to Hinze herself.
  • Captain America: Civil War introduced the MCU's version of Spider-Man by showing that Tony Stark had already learned his secret identity.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • In Batman Begins Lucius Fox puts together Batman's identity due to the suspicious parallels between Batman's equipment and the devices Bruce Wayne has ordered up for his own amusement. Downplayed, as he very quickly shifts to simply Secret Keeper by telling Bruce that he's smart enough to figure out what Bruce is up to and is okay with supplying him if Bruce doesn't outright tell him what he's doing, because that way he wouldn't have to lie.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises, GCPD Officer John Blake deduced the identity of Batman many years ago, and never let on that he knew until Commissioner Gordon was hospitalised by Bane, at which point he took it upon himself to convince Bruce Wayne to come out of retirement.
  • In Gattaca, the hero Vincent Freeman steals the identity of another man in order to avoid the inevitable genetic discrimination that would bar him from his dream mission of flying to Saturn's moon, Titan. He forges urine samples, blood tests, and physical exams for years when a surprise exam reveals that the resident doctor has known he was a "borrowed ladder" all along, merely by the fact that he holds his wang with the wrong hand! but he looks the other way because he himself has an "inferior," natural-born child.
  • In Inglorious Basterds it's heavily implied that Colonel Landa knows that "Emmanuelle" is really a Jewish woman named Shoshana whose family he'd killed a few years previously posing as a gentile cinema owner. He doesn't rat her out to any of the other Nazis around him nor to any of his superiors.
  • Towards the end of Jojo Rabbit, Captain Klezendorf more or less tells Jojo that he knew all along that his mother was a member of the German Resistance against the Nazis but he never ratted her out and it doesn't seem that she knew either.
  • Man of Steel seems to feature this, as Clark spends a good amount of time demonstrating his feats of strength during his youth in Smallville (at one point lifting a bus full of kids out of a lake to save some of his classmates). One could only assume that the citizens (or at the very least Pete Ross, his childhood friend) were able to connect the dots that he is, in fact, the alien that goes on to confront Zod.
    • Additionally, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Lex Luthor has known about Superman and Batman's real identities for some time, which allows him to stir up trouble for both without either suspecting it. When he reveals this knowledge to one and then the other, he's openly gloating about it.
  • Jason Scott's father in Power Rangers (2017). One of Zordon's rules is that the rangers can never reveal their identities. After Jason rescues his dad (who has spent most of the movie being disappointed in Jason), Mr. Scott takes a clipping of the Rangers saving the day and places it on the fridge where he used to keep clippings about Jason's football career, smiling to himself before walking away.
  • Spider-Man 2:
    • It's implied Aunt May realized Peter was Spider-Man after he saved her from Doc Ock during their fight at the bank. She never directly confronts him about it, but later in the film she talks him out of his 10-Minute Retirement, and in the third film she advises him not to seek vengeance against Sandman, claiming that "Spider-Man" doesn't kill people.
    • Likewise, when Mary Jane learns his secret, her reaction is not, "Jesus Christ you mean that was you I had that upside-down kiss with?!" but a low-key, "You finally told me," implying that at the very least she had strong suspicions.
  • Star Dust: The entire crew knew:
    Old Pirate: It's alright, Captain. We always knew you were a whoopsy.
  • Star Wars:
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan rather nonchalantly reveals his knowledge of Anakin and Padmé's secret marriage when he correctly guesses that Anakin is the father of her unborn child. In the novelization, Obi-Wan has a line about how he and Anakin "...Pretend I don't know."
    • The Prequel Trilogy reveals that R2-D2 has been one, being the only hero by the time of the Sequel Trilogy that remembers the events from the first two trilogies. C-3PO remembered until getting his memory erased at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
  • In What a Girl Wants, Harry is a lord running for political office when he discovers Daphne, the daughter he never knew of. He had been under the impression Daphne's mother, Libby, had left on her own and never told him about the child. Libby responds that it was Harry's disapproving family that drove her to never tell him about Daphne. In the film's climax, Harry tells the press that he's turning down office as he wants to be with his daughter. Alistair, the father of Harry's fiancee, is outraged and during an argument, reveals that he knew all along Libby was pregnant and kept it quiet so Harry wouldn't "throw his life away for her." Outraged that he was denied the chance to be a good father, Harry punches Alistair in the face and dumps his fiancee (who was also working to keep Daphne away) before flying to America.

    Literature 
  • The Black Witch Chronicles: Commander Kam Vin is aware that Elloren has a great deal of magical power from the moment of her sabotaged wandtesting, but doesn't tell anyone else about this, let alone the Locked Out of the Loop Ren herself.
  • The final Captive Prince book has The Reveal that Laurent himself always knew that Damen, the foreign slave who's become Laurent's trusted friend and lover, is the enemy Prince Damianos, who killed Laurent's older brother in battle years ago.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma loses his memories at the end of the first book and keeps it a secret from everyone. Misaki, Seria and (by implication) Motoharu all figure it out on their own but don't reveal this to him.
  • The City Of Brass: Ali's friends Lubayd and Aqisa keep the secret of his marid-inflicted Making a Splash powers for five years, unknown to him. When he's shocked to realize they know, Lubayd points out that they've seen him summon an oasis in his sleep and stay underwater for hours.
  • The Deryni Duncan McLain continued the secret begun by his grandparents: his mother Vera was the fraternal twin sister of Alaric Morgan's mother Alyce deCorwyn. In 1121 he thinks only himself, Alaric and King Kelson know this, so he's shocked when a stranger who looks like Saint Camber greets him on the road to Coroth with the words, "Hail, Duncan of Corwyn."
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Ebenezar McCoy is Harry's second teacher and mentor in Wizarding magic. Harry came to him after Harry had to kill his first teacher in self-defence. Ebenezar is also Harry's maternal grandfather, who didn't know about Harry until the trial and took him in to avoid a death sentence.
    • Donnar Vadderung is CEO of MonOc Securities, a mercenary group and spymaster, who helps protect people from magical threats if they have enough money. He is also an alias for a being much older. He is Odin and Santa Claus. He knows hundreds if not thousands of details people would rather not be known. For instance, that above secret with Ebenezar McCoy is known to Donnar, as is Harry having a daughter by an old romantic partner before Harry even knew of the secret child. He also knows where the kidnapped child is likely located.
    • Thomas Raith is an incubus vampire, an emotion eater who feeds on lust, who starts off as a friendly enemy to Harry. He pops up and helps Harry or asks Harry for help out despite the fact wizards and vampires are at war. This is because Thomas knows they are half-siblings by Harry's mother.
  • Forbidden: Kit is revealed towards the end to have known about his older siblings’ relationship, but kept quiet for the sake of keeping the family together. This is foreshadowed a couple times earlier in the book.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Prisoner Of Azkaban, Hermione manages to figure out Lupin was a werewolf, but kept it to herself, until she came to the belief that Lupin was an accomplice to Sirius Black. The person is impressed with her because another person set the students up to see if they would figure out this as well.
    • Two years later, in Order of the Phoenix, Harry learns that his neighbor, the Crazy Cat Lady Mrs. Figg, has known all along that he's a wizard — in fact, she's actually a Squib herself, who's been assigned to help keep watch over him his entire life.
    • Harry knew for about a year that Neville’s parents were in an asylum before any of his friends found out. Neville didn’t know he knew either. He accidentally found out in Dumbledore’s office who then swore him to secrecy.
  • In Loyal Enemies, half-elf Hraik is the only person to figure out that Shelena's a werewolf without witnessing her abilities or even hearing about them. He keeps it to himself, as he likes her and doesn't want to see her lynched. She doesn't realize that until he alludes to it in one of his songs.
  • The Parasol Protectorate: In Heartless, Alexia decides to reveal her status as a preternatural to Ivy Tunstell, only to be surprised when Ivy reveals that she had figured it out some time ago but felt no need to mention it.
  • In Relativity, Police Captain (later Superintendent) Aaron Brooks works very closely with Sara Wolff, because she runs a group home and any runaway or abused children tend to end up in her facility. He also works closely with the Dark Flame, because she's a superhero who specializes in rescuing children. It doesn't take him long to figure out that they are the same person.
  • Safehold: Not until book 2, By Schism Rent Asunder, does Ridiculously Human Robot Merlin find out that the late King Haahrahld, as well as Archbishop Maikel, are both aware of the true history of Safehold as a Lost Colony under the thumb of a Path of Inspiration, and that they correctly suspect him of being the second of two known gambits to overthrow the Church of God Awaiting.
  • In The Shattered Kingdoms, Jachid and his mother have been keeping the source of Meiran's illness secret from her, but in reality, she has known it for a long time. She understood why they didn't want to tell her, but still expected them to eventually trust her enough to do so. They didn't, and she left. When they meet again, Meiran is unwilling to clue Jachid in on her plan, which confuses and upsets him — he doesn't realise that its because she knows about his own lack of openness.
  • Tortall Universe: In the first half of the Song of the Lioness quartet, a notable number of people keep Alanna's true gender a secret. The only one who she doesn't know about is Myles, who figures it out after she finds Lightning and saves Jonathan from the Sweating Sickness in the first book.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: It is revealed in his parting words to Miles, after announcing his retirement in Brothers in Arms, that Ky Tung has figured out who Admiral Naismith really is. Bel Thorne also reveals in Mirror Dance that it's known for some time too.
  • In Worm, in Extermination 8.8, Tattletale confesses to Taylor that she's known that Taylor was an undercover hero since before they met, and never told anyone.
  • Early on in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo assumes that only Sam and Gandalf know about the Ring, but Merry reveals that he'd already known about it for a long time, and that he, Sam and Pippin had been keeping the secret safe among themselves. As a result, the journey to Bree includes Merry and Pippin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy's friend from Los Angeles Billy figured out that she was the Slayer but didn't tell her until they meet again in Sunnydale. Unfortunately he was also a traitor who was about to hand her over to Spike.
  • On Drop Dead Diva, model Deb is reborn into the body of husky lawyer Jane. Deb finds herself bonding to Jane's quirky mother Elaine and doing her best to become a better daughter than the one Elaine knows. In the fifth season while dying of cancer, Elaine reveals she always somehow knew Deb wasn't really Jane but still loves her like a true daughter.
  • On Dynasty (2017), Fallon has been having a years-long on/off affair with the family's driver, Michael. She keeps it quiet, convinced her father Blake won't approve of her dating "below her station." But when Fallon is kidnapped, Blake reveals to Michael that he's known about the two of them for years but doesn't mind as he knows Michael is a better man than most Fallon has been with and made her happy.
  • A variation in the series finale of Elementary. Watson had helped Holmes fake his own murder to put corrupt CEO Reichenbach in prison. Two years later, Holmes returns to New York to aid Watson on a case. She suggests they go to their old friend, Detective (now Captain) Marcus Bell. When Holmes says Bell thinks he's dead, Watson sighs "about that..." It turns out Watson just couldn't stand watching Bell and Captain Gregson both blaming themselves for Holmes' murder so, without his knowledge, told them both Holmes was alive. Upon meeting him again, Bell punches Holmes for putting them through all that with "I've been waiting two years to do that."
  • On the fifth season finale of The Flash (2014), Captain Singh surprises Barry and Joe by announcing he's being promoted to Chief of Police and makes Joe his replacement.
    Singh: And if things get dicey, you'll have plenty of help. (to Barry) Isn't that right, Flash?
    Barry: I...I'm not...
    Singh: Oh, come on, Barry. I'm a detective too.
  • On Good Trouble, Alice spends the entire first season afraid to come out to her strictly religious parents. She's finally pushed in the season finale to call them up as her ex (who they know as just a friend) has gotten married to another woman. They ask if she's okay about it as "you loved her." Alice is stunned but happy to realize her parents have known all along she was gay and are fine with it as they knew she had to come to terms with it on her own.
  • On Grimm, it takes about a season and a half for Nick to find out Captain Renard knows he's a Grimm.
  • On Knight Squad, Ciara is the Princess of Astoria whose father refuses to let her become a knight. Ciara uses a magical ring to disguise herself to be a knight in training. At first, only friend Arc knows but eventually teammates Prudence and Warwick find out. In the series finale, Ciara finally reveals herself to the entire kingdom and dares her father to punish her. To her shock, the king replies "how can I punish you when I've known the entire time?" He kept quiet because he was secretly proud of his daughter doing this and didn't want to spoil it. He also reveals he knew all along Arc wasn't really from a noble family but ignored it because he was helping Ciara.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • In the season 1 finale, Foggy finds Matt venting off steam on a punching bag at Fogwell's Gym. Matt is surprised that Foggy found him here because he's never told Foggy about the gym, prompting Foggy to reveal that he'd known about it from the beginning but didn't say anything out of respect because he was under the impression that Matt's trips to Fogwell's were about the connection the place had with his father and nothing to do with Matt's nighttime outings as the Devil of Hell's Kitchen.
      • Father Lantom easily figures out that Matt was "the Devil of Hell's Kitchen" from their confessionals, but doesn't say anything until Matt is about to reveal the secret.
      • There's plenty of scenes throughout season 2 where it's strongly implied that Karen Page had suspicions that Matt was Daredevil, but she didn't put together two and two owing to Matt being blind.
      • While he never says it out loud, it's pretty clear that Frank Castle figures out Matt's secret identity as Daredevil during their interactions at the hospital and during the trial, but he doesn't say a word about it because he just doesn't care about Matt's secret identity. Even if he didn't figure it out then, he definitely would've figured it out by seeing Matt sans-helmet through his rifle scope during the season 2 finale.
    • In The Defenders (2017), it's heavily implied that Misty Knight figures out Matt is Daredevil on her own. Given that when Matt tries to provide evasive answers in her attempt to question him following Stick's death, she says "That's cute, but, cut the shit. Because we both know you're not just a lawyer in all this, you're something more."
    • Iron Fist (2017): Joy Meachum reveals that she knew about Ward's drug addiction for a long time, but didn't say anything about it because it didn't seem to impact Ward's ability to work.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Once or twice, Commander Stanton and Terra Venture's ruling council are hinted to know who the Lost Galaxy Rangers are. At the very least, High Councilor Renier pointedly cut off any questioning of where Mike had been when he suddenly reappeared after having been gone since the second episode, and had been treated as KIA. Keep in mind that he is among the senior crew, along with two others who often, in their eyes, frequently disappear from their stations far too comfortably for any other military setting.
    • On Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Word of God is that Ernie knows who the Rangers are and keeps quiet out of appreciation for how much they've helped the world.
  • In the finale of The Secret World of Alex Mack, Alex learns that the truck driver who doused her all those years ago actually knew who she was, but never said a word. note 
    Alex Mack: You knew, didn't you? You knew this whole time that it was me, but you didn't say anything because you knew I didn't want you to.
    Dave Watt: Yeah.
    Alex: Thanks.
    Dave: You're welcome. [Alex gives Dave a hug in gratitude]
  • In Smallville Chloe plays this for the second half of the fourth season.
    • Lois is one of these from the season nine finale until episode five of season 10. During a good portion of season ten (even after he finds out that she knows) there's a hilarious level of Lois trying to hide Clark's identity from characters who already know it, like Chloe and Tess. (Which becomes particularly funny in Patriot where, as below, it becomes pretty clear that the others are just screwing with her. Just look at the smirk on Tess's face when Lois covers for Clark's absence to her... his Mission Control. It is possible that either Tess didn't know that Lois was in on the joke, or she was protecting her own secret, but given that this is Tess, it's quite likely that she's just enjoying Lois's attempts.)
    • Lois does this earlier with when she finds out Oliver Queen is Green Arrow and tries to keep his secret...from Clark and Chloe. At some points it looks like all three are just screwing with her.
    • Lionel Luthor was one also, having the knowledge both of Clark's abilities and his birth name due to exposure to a Kryptonian artifact. In one episode, he goes out of his way to acquire surveillance footage showing Clark using his abilities (and his watching it without a hint of surprise and with a promise to keep Clark's secret safe serves to inform the audience of his knowledge). He only becomes a standard Secret Keeper after he is trapped in an elevator with Clark's mother, and Clark is forced to rather blatantly use his abilities to save them both.
  • A key part of Suits is Mike hiding the fact he's not really a lawyer from others. Harvey and Donna know from the start and over the course of the series Jessica, Rachel and Louis all find out (as do a couple brief characters). When Mike is finally exposed, Benjamin, the low-level researcher and IT tech at the firm, surprises him by revealing he'd always known for a unique reason: Mike was the only "Harvard grad" who never talked down to Benjamin or rubbed having a law degree in the guy's face.
  • On Supergirl, Kara learns in the first episode that the DEO has known since she was a kid that she's a Kryptonian and Superman's cousin. She also learns that James Olsen has known for some time, as Clark had confided him and even told him to watch after her.
    • An episode has Alex kidnapped and Kara getting a message saying she's Supergirl. It turns out to be a former high school classmate who once saw Kara use her powers to save a bus and figured out the truth. He's now using it to try and force Kara to free his father from prison.
    • In the final scene of the season 2 finale, as Kara races out of a room, Cat Grant smirks "go get 'em, Supergirl," revealing she's known for some time.
    • In a flashback episode, a teenaged Kara and Alex investigate the death of a mutual high school friend. After his killer is caught, they go over the photographs the guy made and find out taken months earlier of Kara flying at night. They realize the boy knew about Kara's identity but kept it quiet because he liked her.
    • Tracking a fugitive Lex Luthor, Kara finds a secret room of photos of her and realizes Lex has known for some time who she is.
    • In the season 4 finale, after being shot, Lex shows Lena evidence of Kara being Supergirl and mocks her on how just about everyone else in Kara's inner circle knew but her. Lena meets the group later, acting like she doesn't know but clearly angered at how she was kept out of the loop on this.
  • Super Sentai:
    • In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, Yuka Yamazaki, the love interest of red ranger Kai, starts the series as his crush before getting her own crush on Magired a few episodes in. During The Movie that takes place a little more than halfway through the series, she figures out that Kai and Magired are one and the same, but never admits it to him over the course of the rest of the show. She simply makes occasional vague jokes, turns on the flirting a bit more, and quietly prays for his safety in the more dangerous battles.
    • Tensou Sentai Goseiger has Nozomu Amachi as the team's official Secret Keeper, with his father, Professor Amachi, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Alata and his friends are Gosei Angels. Towards the end of the series, however, when Eri must use her Magic Music to heal Nozomu's injuries, Amachi reveals that he has known for some time who the Goseigers really are.
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has Yuko and Rika Fukui, sister and niece respectively of Nobuharu Udo, aka Kyoryu Blue. Rika figured it out in an early episode where she got caught in a Monster of the Week's trap, while Yuko was kept oblivious for a short time until she hears Kyoryu Blue make the same speech Nobuharu had earlier. While Rika openly accepts her uncle's role as a superhero, Yuko decides to keep the information to herself, instead insisting on calling him "That Blue Guy".
    • Yuko takes it a step further, as all the Kyoryugers except Nobuharu know that she knows (making them Secret Secret Secret Keepers). Near the end of the series when she's been recruited to become the new Kyoryu Cyan, Nobuharu quickly tries to come up with an explanation, Yuko interrupts by finally revealing that she knew...and then Nobuharu sees the embarrassed looks on the other Rangers' faces and realizes he was the only one who didn't know.
  • From Teen Wolf, it's revealed in the third season finale that Danny knows that Ethan's a werewolf.
  • In one episode of Disney's Zorro, Diego is waylaid by a Zorro impersonator. When he defeats and unmasks the impostor, he discovers it's his father, Alejandro, who admits he's known the truth about his son's secret identity for a long time - and just stopped him from making a terrible mistake.

    Video Games 
  • Avencast: Rise of the Mage has Gorlin, who knows the backstories of the player, the Arch-Enemy, the Big Bad, and all the conflicts between. He sees no reason to divulge anything until the absolute last minute.
  • Archmagus Rubus, in Queen at Arms, figures out early in their acquaintance that Marcus is female. However, he only tells her he's known all along if his romance path is pursued; otherwise, he doesn't mention having made the discovery.
  • Near the end of Octodad: Dadliest Catch, it's revealed that Stacy has always been aware that her father is really an octopus masquerading as a human. Played with in that Stacy didn't even know this was a secret; she just never mentioned it because it was so blatantly obvious that this was the case that she assumed Everybody Knew Already.
  • In Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow, some characters will find out on their own that the Player Character Saori is a girl playing a Sweet Polly Oliver role and keep that to themselves, but the amount of characters who figure it out before Saori reveals the secret depends on the route:
    • Eduard will always realize Saori's secret and keep mum, thinking that she has good reasons to pretend that she's a guy. (She does) He'll only spill it out towards the very end.
    • Makoto finds out in his own route and some others ( i.e., Kagura's and Yuzuki's), depending on the circumstances, and doesn't reveal it unless confronted.
    • Hijikata realizes this fairly early in his route but keeps his trap shut because not only he thinks she's doing it for really important reasons, but he wants her to trust him enough to tell him herself. Later Hijikata's best friend Okita explains that he also put two and two together, and finally the deal's upgraded to "Everybody Knew Already" levels since all the guys (save for Shintaro) came to similar conclusions, and aren't surprised at all when she officially explains it.
  • There's a journal entry in Red Dead Redemption II in which Arthur says he knows fellow gang member Bill is living with some sort of secret about himself. He doesn't know what exactly the secret is but he respects Bill's privacy and doesn't believe it's his place to prod. The game itself heavily implies said secret is that he's gay but there are other people in the gang who have their suspicions as well.
  • If you choose to play as a girl/other in South Park: The Fractured but Whole, Wendy reveals to your character that she knew the entire time during South Park: The Stick of Truth, but kept quiet about it because she believed you wanted to be mysterious, and wanted to respect that.
  • In Spider-Man (PS4), Aunt May reveals at the very end that she's known Peter was Spider-Man for quite some time by telling him "I want to see my nephew". Unlike the comics she isn't in denial about it and is proud of Peter helping people, and kept it a secret so he wouldn't worry about it (which makes many earlier scenes in the game much more heartwarming). It's a cold comfort for Peter however, as she's on her deathbed.
    • As well, Otto reveals this during the final boss by addressing Peter by name during their fight. This sends Peter over the edge and crushes all hope he had in his former mentor.

    Webcomics 
  • From El Goonish Shive, Nanase's mother knows quite a bit about Nanase's magical ability, but doesn't want this knowledge to become known, even going so far as to have a government agent convince Nanase to continue keeping magic a secret from her family.
    • Also related to Nanase is how many people knew of her lesbianism before she properly came out. Of her seven friends, she goes a long time thinking only two know she's gay. Susan was with her when she realized she was gay, and her reaction to that (activating her fairy doll spell to speak to Elliot and, far as Susan was aware, dropping unconscious) scared Susan, she blabbed it to the two other friends present (Justin & Ellen). Sarah and Grace happened to overhear a conversation during Grace's birthday party. Ultimately, only Tedd remained completely oblivious until Nanase was actually out.
    • Similarly quite a few people figure out that Rhoda and Catalina are a couple, largely due to them both doing an awful job at concealing it. Rhoda actually gets somewhat upset when Diane and Lucy both tell her that they knew about it since the main reason she'd been hiding it was out of concern for how they'd react.
  • In Khaos Komix, Charlie dates Jamie despite concerns from Tom about how he'll react if he finds out her secret. As it turns out, when Charlie finally breaks down and confesses, Jamie reveals that he learned the truth from her mother (who was under the impression that Jamie knew), and he actually suspected something was up from the moment they met.
  • Non-Supers example: Haley and Roy from The Order of the Stick have both caught on that Belkar is only faking his alignment shift away from Chaotic Evil, but have agreed not to call him out for it, preferring how he acts now.
    • Which becomes an inversion at times, when he really shows signs of character development, but is promptly ignored because everyone thinks he's faking.
  • In Schwarz Kreuz Nigel has figured Nick's secret "ages ago", but pretended not to, since Nick didn't want him to know.
  • At the end of Issue 14 of Spinnerette, it's made fairly clear from Buzz's expression as he's made to wait outside Sahira's apartment (until her Power Copying wears off) that he knows she was the six-armed woman who had shown up to a fire a few minutes before. A comment at the beginning of the same chapter may also have been testing the waters as to Heather's superheroing, but this is far less clear.

    Web Original 
  • Red Panda Adventures:
    • There are signs as early as his first appearance that the Red Panda's butler, Weston, knows more about the double life his boss leads than he lets on. Weston does things like make sure the Red Panda and Kit have newspapers with the latest superhero or murder related headlines, justifying it by saying he's simply noticed his master's and Kit's preferences. However, when Kit collapses from exhaustion in the manor while still in full Flying Squirrel costume, Weston is not only unsurprised but covers for her with the rest of the staff. From that moment on he's an open and invaluable ally.
    • In the chronological Grand Finale, "The Final Problem", the Mad Monkey reveals he's known the secret identities of the Red Panda and Flying Squirrel for years. The reason he never acted on that knowledge was he simply didn't care about their secret identities. He's the Red Panda's self proclaimed arch-nemesis, not the arch-nemesis of one of the city's wealthiest men.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Bruce figured out Batgirl was Barbara Gordon at an indeterminate point, but didn't tell her until revealing his own identity. That he also kept this a secret from Dick was the last straw that convinced Dick to leave Batman and become Nightwing.
    • Barbara also later attempts to come out to her father as Batgirl. Before she can state it outright, he heavily implies that he already knows, is proud of her, and doesn't want to "officially" know.
  • Implied in an episode of Batman Beyond. When Terry unmasks himself to reassure a kid he's rescuing, Cobra later tracks the kid down and checks his memories for Batman's true identity. The resulting image is Batman with the head of the kid's action figure, which Terry takes to mean that the kid didn't see his face well and subconsciously replaced the image. As proof, he walks over to the kid's soccer game and mentions to Maxine that he sees the kid everyday, and he hasn't figured it out. The last shot, however, is the kid looking back and giving a knowing smile, implying that he does know but kept it secret.
    • It's been revealed in the comic adaptation that Dana Tan knew about Terry being Batman before he revealed it.
    • And Word of God indicated that Bruce knew for a long time that Terry is his genetic son long before Terry figured it out for himself.
    • In the early episodes, it was implied that Barbara Gordon already knew that Terry was the new Batman before finally acknowledging it by meeting with Bruce in the Batcave.
  • Danny Phantom: Danny's sister Jazz found out his secret halfway into the first season, and decided not to confront him about it because she believed that Danny would tell her when he was ready. This led to such lines as "You go... somewhere I can't see you and get help!" Danny eventually finds out about her knowing in season two, when she sends him a message through time via the Ghost Zone. She becomes a Sixth Ranger from that point forwards, albeit to the initial annoyance of the others.
  • Glitch Techs: Miko's younger sister Lexi serves as this, having witnessed their parents get system restored in the first episode and keeping records some of her sister's Glitch Tech activity since then. Miko regularly allowing Ally to wander their shared bedroom and Miko being a terrible liar who keeps alluding to her real job probably didn't help. Becomes a regular Secret Keeper in episode nine.
  • Several episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) hint at He-Man's mother, Queen Marlena, knowing Prince Adam is He-Man but she never quite comes out and says it. On at least two occasions she has deliberately put her son in a position where he can help people as He-Man.
    Prince Adam: I was wondering, when Skeletor had us all chained up, why did you free me instead of one of the others?
    Queen Marlena: Because you are my son, Adam. I didn't have time to free everyone. And I had a... feeling you would know what to do.
    Prince Adam: Mother, ah...
    Queen Marlena: Adam, a mother always knows her own son. And what he is capable of doing.
  • In Hey Arnold!, Brainy stalks Helga whenever she goes, and thus knows all of her secrets. However, Helga doesn't seem to realize it, despite talking openly about her secret love in front of him. Nevertheless, Helga keeps punching him in the face. Running Gag much? It's been implied once or twice that he may or may not think she's actually talking about him.
  • Justice League
    • Events transpire which require the members of the League who have civilian identities to reveal them to one another. The Flash hems and haws about whether to do this, until Batman sighs and rattles off everyone's supposedly secret civilian names like it ain't no thang.
      Flash: Hold on, what about the whole "secret identity" thing? I mean, I trust you guys, but I'm not sure I'm ready to...
      Batman: [jabs a finger in Flash's chest] Wally West... [jerks a thumb at Superman] Clark Kent... [pulls off his own mask] Bruce Wayne.
    • In a later episode, Amanda Waller reveals that she's always known Batman's identity, when she angrily calls him "Rich Boy".
  • Greta, Zick's mother, is this in Monster Allergy. It's less that she stumbled across his secret and more that his ability to talk to monsters is hereditary and she knew he'd eventually get it from her. She simply doesn't tell Zick this until she is ready to.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Moon Circus”, Carrot overhears from the kitchen that Jet is planning a surprise party for him. Carrot then has to keep the secret that he knows about the surprise party, but ends up telling Jet anyway.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, it's become increasingly obvious over the second season that Captain George Stacy knows that Peter is Spider-Man and is covering for both identities when necessary. A borderline case as Peter has by now been given more hints than he needed to figure that out for himself, but neither of them have gone so far as to say it outright.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala's Secret Relationship is the worst-kept secret in the galaxy. The only other people who are supposed to know are R2-D2, C-3PO, some of Padmé's handmaidens and guards, and implicitly Captain Rex. The people who are implied or outright stated to know, but aren't technically supposed to, include Obi-Wan Kenobi ("I hope you at least told Padmé I said hello."), Ahsoka Tano, Yoda, Bail Organa, and Palpatine.
  • Virgil's dad in Static Shock offers the page quote, though he only consciously invokes the trope in the interim between his capture by the villains and his first conversation with Static, as it's then that he reveals that he knows the truth.
  • Transformers: Prime: Covenant of Primus reveals that Alpha Trion was aware that Orion Pax was the reincarnation of "Thirteen", the last of the thirteen original Primes, long before he regained his memories and retook his original name: Optimus Prime. That being said, after regaining his Past-Life Memories there is no indication that Optimus was aware that Alpha Trion knew who he was, though considering that in this continuity, Alpha Trion is also a member of the Thirteen (which is why he knew who Orion Pax was), it's entirely possible he suspected as much.
  • In TRON: Uprising, Able (the boss at Beck's garage) seems to be awfully tolerant of Beck's frequent absences and strange explanations for those absences, as well as quick to scold Zed when he expresses frustration with "The Renegade's" antics.
    • In "Grounded", he finally lets Beck know he knows.
      Able: What I have to say, I hoped I'd never have to say. So here goes. How did you become the Renegade?
  • In X-Men: Evolution, Amanda Sefton briefly sees Kurt with his image inducer turned off and using his teleporting powers once. This increases her interest in him and she tries to pursue him romantically. Later, during an emergency where Kurt is reluctant to use his powers because Amanda would figure out the truth, she reveals she knows about him, and then just becomes a regular Secret Keeper for the existence of the mutants until The Masquerade is broken.
  • Played With in Young Justice. Instead of a civilian keeping the superhero's secret, Robin knows Artemis' civilian identity (specifically, that she's from a family of supervillains) but doesn't let her know. He did almost bring it up when she was suspected of being The Mole, however. Also, since she doesn't know his identity, he Trolled her a bit when she transferred to his school.
    Dick Grayson: [taking a selfie with her in their school uniforms] We'll laugh about this someday.
    [camera flash blinds Artemis; when she blinks, he's gone]
    Artemis: Who was that?
    • Superboy to Miss Martian. He knew she was a white Martian before they even became a couple, but he decided to let her tell him when she was ready.
    • During a Justice League meeting, Wonder Woman comments that nobody knew about Captain Marvel's real age, only for Batman to calmly announce that he did. Cap is visibly surprised by this. (Word of God says Batman knew everybody in the League's identity, even if they didn't volunteer the information.)
    • Dick is supposed to keep his identity a secret from his friends, at Batman's insistence, but shared the truth with his best friend, Wally; as a result, Wally knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, and playfully teases the information in "Image".


 
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My Brother's Keeper

Jazz understands her brother more than he realizes

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