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Secret Secret-Keeper

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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.

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.

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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    Film — Animated 
  • In Encanto, Dolores (who's gift is Super Hearing) reveals at the end of the film during "All Of You" that she had been aware all along that Bruno still lived in the Casita after his disappearance, hiding in the walls. This revelation got subtle foreshadowing beforehand, most notably in "We Don't Talk About Bruno".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Brokeback Mountain: After Jack and Ennis fall in love while spending the summer herding sheep, they part ways for four years. When they meet again after marrying women and having children, they passionately kiss, which is witnessed by Ennis' then-wife Alma, who keeps it to herself even as he and Jack enter a secret long-distance relationship. After Ennis and Alma divorce, she confronts him and gives another example of how she always knew he and Jack were an item: When they went away on their "fishing trips," Ennis would say upon returning that they ate all the fish they caught. Since Alma and their two daughters love fish, one time she left a note in his tacklebox reminding him to bring some back for them. But when he returned, not only did he not have any fish, but the note was exactly where she left it.
  • 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 (or rather, buys) 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.
  • 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.
  • Equilibrium: Preston spends the film trying to prevent anyone from finding out that he's a sense offender, especially his Creepy Child son, who is a true believer in the laws enforcing emotionlessness. In the end, his son reveals that not only has he known about Preston's sense offenses, but both the son and daughter have been sense offenders since their mother died.
  • 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.
    • It's implied Robbie Robertson also knows, given his meaningful look to Peter when he says Spider-Man was on the scene and his sorrow over Spider-Man's mask when the garbageman gives Jameson his costume.
    • 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 the Sequel Trilogy, Leia figured out very quickly that Rey is Emperor Palpatine's granddaughter, but chose not to say anything because it's a burden she knew all too well.
  • 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.

  • In the Bigtime novella "Fandemic", it's mentioned that that superhero fangirl Piper Perez had figured out the secret identities of most of the heroes in town, but never felt the need to talk about it to anyone else. At least until the hero she used to date in civvies got captured by an ubervillain, at which point she starts calling their personal cell numbers and approaching them in their day jobs to get backup for a rescue mission.
  • 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 Daevabad Trilogy: 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 killed 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 save Harry from 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 much older being. 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 of Ebenezar McCoy's is known to Donnar, as is Harry's daughter by Susan, which he knew of even before Harry. He also knows where the kidnapped child is likely located.
    • Thomas Raith is an White Court vampire, a psychic predator that feeds on lust, who starts off as a friendly enemy to Harry. He pops up every so often and helps Harry or asks Harry for help out despite the fact that 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.
  • Kirby (Light Novel) has Kirby accidentally hiding he's from a different world from the rest of Team Kirby, both from fear of their reactions and interruptions whenever he does work up the courage. After finally explaining in the end, it turns out the others had pieced it together from discrepancies in his story, his complete ignorance of the unmissable monster attacks, and the fact that Doctor summoned him with bell that calls heroes from other worlds.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Will in Scarlet: The ending reveals that Mark Brewer, the Sheriff of Nottingham, knows the true identity of Robin Hood's companion Will Scarlet due to a confession from a tortured member of the Merry Men. Will is unaware that Brewer knows about the confession, and wrongfully assumes his identity is safe. However, Brewer doesn't tell anyone due to his former friendship with Will, which also keeps him from posting a reward for Will's death of capture.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Batwoman (2019): Faced with Kate Kane and Luke Fox's Blatant Lies about what their real estate business has to do with the villain of the week, Mary Hamilton-Kane works out that her stepsister is Batwoman at the end of "Drink Me". She's a bit hurt that Kate felt she couldn't be trusted with this, but lets her stepsister know that if she does have any big secrets, Kate can reveal them to her when she's ready. Kate doesn't, so Mary ends up forcing the issue several episodes later.
    • In the fifth season finale of The Flash (2014), Captain Singh surprises Barry and Joe by announcing that 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.
    • In Supergirl (2015), 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.
  • 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.
  • Dead Man's Gun: In "The Imposter", Angela shoots Joe Tate, and Leo asks if she heard their conversation—where he revealed he was an imposter, and she denies it. But later, after Leo leaves town, Angela seeks him out with a wagon for "Sunshine's Emporium" revealing that she did hear and has opened a store for both of them.
  • In 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.
  • In 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."
  • A Running Gag in The Flash (1990) is that whenever Barry reveals his Secret Identity to somebody, they aren't the least bit surprised. They always knew in the back of their minds it was him. He just happened to confirm it.
  • Friends: Partway through the fifth season Rachel accidentally discovers that Chandler and Monica are secretly dating when she ovehears them on the phone. They're unaware that she knows anything until several episodes later in "The One Where Everybody Finds Out".
  • In 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.
  • In Grimm, it takes about a season and a half for Nick to find out Captain Renard knows he's a Grimm.
  • In 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.
    • The first season finale of Ms. Marvel has the gang startled to discover Zoe has known all along about Kamala's powers and kept quiet to return Kamala saving her life in the first episode.
  • Power Rangers:
    • On Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and Power Rangers Zeo, 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. He doesn't always hide it well (using terms like Dragonzord and Dinozord before we ever hear any other civilian use it and over-the-top pretending to believe Jason when the latter states-during episode 1x10 'Happy Birthday Zack' that the rumor he heard was that they were aliens). Also, he often gives the Rangers items-usually food/drinks-on the house as his quiet way of saying 'thanks'. He seemingly doesn't do it often enough to make them suspicious-there's a bit in a Power Rangers Zeo episode where Ernie's shown taking payment from some of the Rangers, or at least, he's at their table, talking to them, with money in his hand. Asking or allowing Jason and the other Rangers to stay at the Youth Center past closing or to watch the place while he does a supply run (or Jason to do the supply run in an episode) was likely explained away by the Rangers as Ernie being able to trust them to do so because he's known them long enough to know what they're like.
    • 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.
  • 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 9 finale until episode five of Season 10. During a good portion of Season 10 (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.
  • In the final season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Odo keeps his life-threatening disease a secret from Kira so that she won't be distracted from their mission against the Dominion. Kira is aware of the disease, but lets Odo believe it's a secret to let him keep his dignity.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the third season finale of Teen Wolf, it's revealed that Danny knows that Ethan's a werewolf.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): When Moiraine masks their Bond, Lan immediately runs up to her room to check on her, only to find her in a nightgown. He disapproves of her masking their Bond for any reason, and they casually argue over it, with her suggesting he should go and use this moment of privacy. He ignores this and tell Moiraine to be back the next morning and give her his love, causing Moiraine to smirk, showing that Lan knows of her clandestine relationship with Siuan.
  • In one episode of Zorro (1957), 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf has numerous roles that can learn someone else's role without that other player finding out. Some have the non-villagers reveal themselves to that role (Minion, Renfield). Others have the role look at someone else's card (Seer, Robber, Witch).

    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.
  • Melody:
    • When the protagonist and Melody finally tell Hank about their relationship, Hank tells them that he already knows, because several musicians and their respective managers have tried concealing their romantic involvements from him before.
    • Tim knows about the protagonist's and Isabella’s relationship as soon as he hears them having sex in his house. However, it isn’t until the High School Sweetheart Ending that he lets on that he knows.
  • 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.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series: John Doe is revealed to have known that Bruce Wayne was Batman for some time, as shown in Episode 4 of The Enemy Within. It's unknown when he figured it out.
  • 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.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, Bowser tricked his son into believing that Princess Peach was his mom so that he'll help kidnap her. In the ending, Bowser Jr. reveals that he knew all along that Peach wasn't his mom and he'll continue scheming with his father so that he'll one day defeat Mario.
  • 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 battle by addressing Peter by name during their fight. This sends Peter over the edge and crushes all hope he had in his former mentor.
  • Kindred Spirits on the Roof
    • Yuna Toomi, the protagonist, acts as a "Yuri Cupid" who clandestinely helps lesbian couples get together for the sake of two ghosts (or "kindred spirits") who want to consummate their relationship; for example, she creates a distraction to allow Seina Maki to place a love letter in her senpai and crush Miki Aihara's bag. That said, Yuna generally doesn't let on that she knows about the couples unless they tell her about it; she doesn't even meet Seina until an extra scene that takes place after the main story ends.
    • The broadcasting club consists of three members- Umi Ichiki, Sasa Futano and Nena Miyama. The former two are in love with each other, and the latter is aware of it, but doesn't say anything outright and lets the relationship take its course.
    • Toward the end of the game, it is revealed that Yuna's friend Fuji Ano knows about the fact that Yuna can see the kindred spirits. Ano can faintly see but not hear the spirits, and was aware that Yuna was conversing with them at a few points.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: Getting close to Cal triggers a Secret Pet Plot in which the pet is eventually discovered by the colony's autorities thanks to Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies applying to its species. During the discovery scene, Flulu, who is both the protagonist's strict mother and Cal's boss, turns out to have known of the pet all along and tolerated it for the time it proved to not be dangerous.

  • In Bob and George, George's two roommates know that he's a superhero because George likes to talk to himself in their thinly-walled apartment. They just don't tell him because they find his excuses entertaining.
  • 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 Wayne 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 Grayson was the last straw that convinced Dick to leave Batman and become Nightwing.
    • Barbara also later attempts to come out as Batgirl to her father, Commissioner Gordon. Before she can state it outright, he heavily implies that he already knows, is proud of her, and doesn't want to "officially" know.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: The finale of Season 1 reveals that Professor Granville was aware of the team's extracurricular activities.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Implied in "Unmasked". 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. (Of course, he's the obvious suspect for anyone who knows that Bruce was the original Batman.)
  • 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 2, 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.
  • DC Super Hero Girls: The episode "#BreakingNews" has Lois Lane set out to discover the identities of the titular hero team, and within the span of a scene transition, she's essentially figured them out already. Jess (aka Green Lantern) tips the rest of the girls off, so they do their best to put her off the trail, only for their Bad "Bad Acting" to serve as confirmation. However, Lois decides not to submit her story to the news after dwelling on the matter and realizing the harm it could cause them, keeping her knowledge to herself. Of course, she doesn't tell our heroines this, so they end the episode believing that she didn't run the story because they successfully tricked her.
  • 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 her Chocobo-expy Ally to wander their shared bedroom and being a terrible liar who keeps alluding to her real job probably didn't help. She becomes a regular Secret-Keeper in episode nine, when she uses her knowledge as blackmail to get Miko's help.
  • 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.
  • In Invincible (2021), towards the end of the first season, Mark reveals that he's Invincible to Amber, hoping that it would fix their rapidly deteriorating relationship, or at least begin fixing things between them. It doesn't work. She figured it out a long time ago and admits that she felt offended by him constantly lying about his activities instead of telling her the truth. Mark using the reveal as a final gambit only serves to annoy Amber even more, so she dumps him regardless. Likewise, in the season finale, they quickly piece together that Omni-Man is his father.
  • 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, until Batman, like it ain't no thang, shows why even in the TV-PG world of JL he's still the gosh-darn Batman:
      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.
      Flash: Show-off.
    • In a later episode, Amanda Waller reveals that she's always known Batman's identity, when she angrily calls him "Rich Boy".
  • In the Grand Finale of Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Blythe's father Roger reveals that he knew of her ability to talk to animals since day one, because her mom had the same power. He was just waiting until she was comfortable with telling him herself.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • In "Cat Blanc", Adrien catches Ladybug leaving his room after dropping off a present from Marinette, and manages to put two and two together. However, as Ladybug forebade the two of them from knowing each other's identities, he can't exactly admit that he knows, so he decides to just pretend that he's suddenly fallen in love with Marinette (which is just fine by her). Of course, this event causes a chain reaction that results in the destruction of Paris and the deaths of everyone in it save Adrien/Cat Blanc himself, and has to be undone with time travel, so by the end of the episode he no longer knows/never finds out in the first place.
    • In Wishmaker, Luka finds out Ladybug and Cat Noir's secret identities thanks to the titular villain's power. However, because he used his Second Chance ability as Viperion to keep them from being revealed to Shadow Moth (and everyone else in Paris), neither Marinette nor Adrien remembers being unmasked. However, his usage of Second Chance causes Ladybug to suspect that one or both of them were unmasked, and asks Luka about it after taking back his Miraculous, but he lies and tells her that neither of them were. In Ephemeral, Ladybug is forced to send Luka a message that would make no sense if Luka did not know Marinette was Ladybug, so she may have picked up on the deception, but most of the events of that episode were time-reversed themselves.
  • Zick's mother Greta is this in Monster Allergy. It's less that she stumbled across his secret at any point, and more that his ability to see and talk to supernatural beings is actually hereditary. She feigned ignorance and never pressed him too hard about any of the odd occurrences around the house. At least until halfway through the first season, when she learns that he used his powers to get into a situation that could have easily killed him, though they don't have an actual talk about her reasoning for another two episodes.
    Zick: You can see them!?
    Greta: Of course, I can see them! They're my parents!
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023): It's implied at the end of the first episode that Mimi instantly figured out Lunella was Moon Girl, and throughout the first season she subtly helps her granddaughter's superhero career. The season one finale episodes reveal Mimi knew from the beginning because she was one of the two scientists who built the portal Devil came from and was the original "Moon Girl" that Lunella named her superhero alter ego after.
  • The Owl House:
    • It's heavily implied that Willow has already realized Amity has a crush on Luz by the end of "Wing it Like Witches".
    • It's implied over the course of "Thanks to Them" (and confirmed in "For the Future") that Gus is aware that Hunter is a Grimwalker as a result of digging into Belos' memories in "King's Tide". He identifies with a character implied to be secretly aware that one of his crewmen is a clone, he specifically introduces the crewman in question as a clone apparently to give Hunter someone to relate to, and he doesn't react when Luz accidentally lets it slip.
  • 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 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. (There aren't many reasons to kidnap a middle-aged counselor and sometimes community leader.) Cue the page quote.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: Lang Lang surprised Superman by revealing that she knew who he was. It helps that in the Origin Story premiere, they are childhood friends and Clark confided in her about the weird things that were happening to him as his powers began activating, and then she saw him save a family from a burning van without getting so much as a blister. Honestly, it would be surprising if she didn't connect the dots between "superpowered childhood friend" to "new superhero in the city said friend just moved to".
  • Total Drama Pahkitew Island: After Sammy impersonates Amy to avoid elimination, she assumes only Jasmine knows about the Twin Switch. Turns out Chris figured them out as soon as it happened, but did nothing other than hint at it repeatedly to Sammy to make her squirm. Scarlett also knew, but assumed everyone else did as well and were just playing dumb.
  • Transformers: Prime: According to the tie-in book, Transformers: The Covenant of Primus, 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?
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: In the final video "The Monster O'McDonaldland Loch", Birdie encounters the titular monster and is implored by him to keep his existence a secret. Near the end of the video, Ronald reveals to Birdie that he knew about her encounter with the monster when he asks her to get his help in combating a robotic version of the monster built by an evil inventor named Stiles.
    Ronald: I know how to keep a secret, too.
  • 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 (2010). 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".


Video Example(s):


Yomi Knows Kuro

Despite having been away from the Other World for many decades, Yomi is able to recognize that Kuro; one of her Grandsons' hired Waitresses just so happens to be The Black Queen, the Dragon Goddess of Death wearing a mortal guise.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SecretSecretKeeper

Media sources: