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Sheep in Sheep's Clothing

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"Mr. Rogers projected an air of genuine, unwavering, almost saintly pure-hearted decency. But when you look deeper, at the person behind the image ... that's exactly what you find there, too. He's exactly what he appears to be."

This trope happens when you meet her. In any kind of fiction, she is likely to be your rival (professional or otherwise). In family pictures, she's most often a would-be stepmother. In thrillers, she's testifying in a murder case and may even be suspected. Whatever incarnation of this demon you encounter, it doesn't matter, really, because when you see her, you'll just know. From the moment you'll meet, you'll start feeling something is off. She's not jealous of you, even if you try to take the attention from her. She's never angry, even when you try setting her perfect hair on fire. She's always kind to you and she never takes off that radiant smile.


But you've been on TV Tropes. You know what it means. She's a Stepford Smiler, and certainly not a type A. She's obviously a Femme Fatale Gold Digger Starfish Alien who wants to take over the world, take your job and dad and friends away from you and humiliate you at prom... And Your Little Dog, Too!... because of... reasons...

Except no. As everyone could have told you, and as you should have known, she is really nice, and you, dear Conspiracy Theorist Know-Nothing Know-It-All, should take a deep breath and a step back right now. Otherwise, you're being a Clingy Jealous Girl or this is your Ambition Is Evil Start of Darkness story.

This trope happens when the story sets up suspicions of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and subverts it, either by making the character be the nice person they appear to be, or by revealing that they played another kind of nice than the usual one, but are ultimately just as decent as they appeared, if they weren't better.


It often delivers a lesson about how Evil Cannot Comprehend Good when the villain tries a Breaking Speech and thinks that he has found something evil in the hero, but there isn't anything evil to find and the hero proves them wrong. Sometimes used as an Aesop to the Audience Surrogate against believing certain stereotypes, causing shared audience guilt, as in children films nowadays, in which this happens to stepparents to the extent that they can do no wrong.

Related to The Un-Twist. Compare Good All Along, for when the character who looks evil and/or does bad things is revealed to have good intentions. Compare/contrast Jerk with a Heart of Jerk, when suspicions of kindness about an usually Jerkass-like character are wrong. Also contrast Subverted Suspicion Aesop, where suspicions seem unfounded, but turn out to be right.


Compare The So-Called Coward, which is when a character is suspected of being a Dirty Coward, but turns out to be an exceptionally courageous character.

Note that this character type is often a Red Herring to divert suspicion from the real villain, so examples are likely to contain spoilers.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Throughout the first arc, both Cerberus and Syaoran are distrustful of Kaho Mizuki, the magical newcomer to the neighborhood. Sakura, of course, doesn't understand their suspicion and proceeds to befriend her. Both boys then engage in a certain amount of investigating on Mizuki—Cerberus most noticeably—and for a while, it looks like Mizuki is going to end up being the Big Bad. But in the end, it turns out she's on Sakura's side and it's really Yukito Tsukishiro they should really have been watching out for.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Tonio Trussardi/Trendy from Diamond Is Unbreakable is a seemingly kind Supreme Chef Stand User who can create food that heals his customer's ailments. All throughout the episode, Josuke, along with the audience, is repeatedly lead to believe that Tonio's food is either deadly, made from parts of other customers, made from dogs that he feeds it to, or something equally horrific. However, despite everything pointing to him being secretly evil, he ends up being entirely genuine in his desire to serve his customers healthy and delicious food, and he wasn't even aware that there were other Stand Users.
  • Kaguya from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War was raised with the belief that there was no such thing as true altruism, so when she first met Shirogane, she was convinced that he must be hiding a hidden dark side. But no matter how hard she looked, she couldn't find any evidence that he was any different from how he presented himself and was forced to admit that her world view was wrong. This not only caused her to fall in love with him, but it also made her realize just how much of a horrible person she was and led to her eventual defrosting.
  • Minami-ke: In her middle school days, Haruka became the school's first banchou as a result of exaggerating rumors tainting her reputation from a sweet honor student to a vandalizing delinquent.
  • Kasumi Tendo from Ranma ½ is a sweet, motherly Yamato Nadeshiko who has the patience of a saint. One day, Ranma managed to somehow tick her off, and the group finds several household items damaged afterwards. The others quickly assume that Kasumi is a Stepford Smiler who has been suppressing her grudge, and that her dormant anger would now be unleashed, and they spend the rest of the chapter fearing her wrath. When she finally confronted Ranma, she punished him with... a flick on the forehead (and even then she worries that she was being too harsh).
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, after Naofumi and his group are framed for the (fake) kidnapping of Princess Melty, they arrive to the lands of a noble named Van Reichnott, who offers them to stay in his mansion so they can eat and rest. While Melty trusts him, Naofumi is initially suspicious because he suddenly appeared before them without making a noise and his overall appearance (white clothing, glasses, perpetual smile and Eyes Always Shut) does seem to yell out loud that he's up to something. However, after he's taken hostage by the neighboring noble Idol Rabiett, he readily defends Naofumi when they call him the "Shield Demon", referring to him as a hero and refrains from ratting him out. The fact that the residents of his lands quickly get into an uprising and demand that they let him go speaks volumes of how much he's loved by them.

    Fan Works 
  • Shows up in the crossover fanfic Stardust, where a great deal of the plot focuses on Twilight Sparkle earning the trust of the XCOM staff, and proving that she's not spying on or manipulating them — she just wants to make friends and get home, and is every bit as nice as she seems.
  • In With This Ring Paragon!Orange Lantern to the Justice League. According to Wonder Woman, Orange Lantern had super-villain written all over him: no one is able to verify where he came from, he is literally powered by his own greed, refuses to tell anyone his name and tried to buy Alan Scott's lantern off Scott. Through a deal to get the lantern, OL works for them for a year and what she and the League finds out about him? That he's very compassionate, very diplomatic and proactive. Even when given the power of a Physical God and turned crazy, all he does is help the League and try to make his friends happy.
  • In the Ever After High fic Dear Diary, Raven reads Princess Classic Apple's diary, which reveals her to be exactly as kind and appreciative of her friends as she is publicly.
  • Brainbent: Unlike the original Homestuck character, Gamzee is an unmitigated Nice Guy and Friend to All Living Things — albeit one who can land a Megaton Punch when threatened — who's in long-term psychiatric care to treat the damage done by a violently unstable childhood home. When a Fourth-Wall Mail Slot contributor implies that Gamzee's Dark and Troubled Past involved some heinous crime on his part, Jade launches into a rant in his defense.
    GG: why the hell would you want him to be secretly horrible???
    GG: thats one thing i will never get, i dont think
    GG: how some people want to see monstrosity in everything good
  • In Karma in Retrograde, the heroes are skeptical of Touya's Laser-Guided Amnesia and interrogate him to determine if it's just an act. Even after his breakdown over what his future self does, several heroes, including Present Mic and Hawks, are unconvinced. After being taken under U.A.'s wing, Touya is confronted by Endeavor, who also makes it clear that he thinks Touya is putting up a front to escape punishment. Yet, time and time again, Touya is proven to be a genuinely innocent kid who just wants to be a hero like everyone else.
  • A Rabbit Among Wolves combines this with Dramatic Irony. After Jaune inadvertently kills Adam Taurus, and takes control of the White Fang, he gains the reputation of a cold-blooded terrorist. Most people who interact with him see his Adorkable and shy demeanor as a front meant to manipulate the public.

    Films — Animated 
  • Winston Deaver from Incredibles 2. At first glance, a businessman with a childlike admiration for superheroes, and an adult plan to get superheroism made legal again. When we get a deeper look at his character, we find that he's an Action Survivor willing to throw away guaranteed safety in order to protect the politicians signing his initiative. The real Bitch in Sheep's Clothing is his sister Evelyn, who tried to kill everyone on Winston's ship for the signing ceremony in order to permanently kill any chance that supers would be legal again.
  • Hugo Strange in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight has a creepy vibe about him and is obviously a version of a notorious Batman villain who hides behind a mask of respectability. However, he's just what he appears to be, a doctor trying to treat the insane as best he can given the knowledge and methods of his time.
  • Gabby Gabby in Toy Story 4. She at first gives off the vibe of being Faux Affably Evil due to acting sweet while talking about wanting Woody's voicebox, but it later turns out that she really is sweet and friendly. She's just driven out of desperation of wanting to be loved by a child.
  • Quenn Watevera Wanabi from The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. She constantly states that she's the least evil person you'll ever meet but Wyldstyle is convinced she's got something nefarious planned. Turns out she was telling the truth but both she and the other residents of the Sistar system are bad at communicating.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Crush has a spoiler which it is certainly better not to highlight since this makes up for the entire resolution, and a few others, all quite unexpected:
    • Scott's dad is actually sweet and understanding and he is really not controling or smothering as his son thinks he secretly is. He lets him play again.
    • Jules is a Good Bad Girl Cloud Cuckoo Lander and leaves it at that, though her methods make you wonder if she's not hiding a psycho side early on.
    • Jeffrey is actually just a bit Creepy Good and genuinely in love with Bess.
    • Now, for the real spoiler: Bess herself is just a romantic girl who lives next to the male lead, reads his Facebook posts and sometimes picks up the wonderful drawings he throws away and tries to encourage him to reveal his true nature. She's aware that her behavior is obsessive, has a My God, What Have I Done? when she thinks he actually is angry for the few things she did, and gets over him pretty quickly.
  • In The Dark Knight (and given further detail in its novelization), Harvey Dent is presented as an awesome and incorruptible crusader for justice, and is a romantic rival to Bruce Wayne. Especially since everyone knows he becomes Two Face, the obvious assumption would be that he's hiding a dark, corrupt side to his character. Turns out... he isn't. He really was the great guy he seemed to be (at least until he was Driven to Villainy). Okay, he does psychologically torture one of the Joker's mentally unfit lackeys, but that was only because he was desperate to save his girlfriend's life.
  • In My Best Friend's Wedding, Julianne falls in love with her best friend only to learn to her dismay that he's planning to marry a wealthy girl named Kimberly who he's only known for a short amount of time. Kimberly comes across as a sweet if somewhat ditzy girl, but it's obvious that she's going to be eventually exposed as the Romantic False Lead who either has a hidden mean streak or doesn't really love Michael the way Julianne loves him because that's the way it works in all romantic comedies... except that she isn't. She really is every bit as sweet and as deeply in love with Michael as she appears to be and loses her temper only when Julianne goes way too far with her petty determination to find or make up something about her that she can use to make her look bad to Michael, and Julianne concedes defeat to her in the end.
  • In Black Swan, Lily at first comes off as a wild, reckless, and hard-drinking, but still nice and social girl who wants to be Nina's friend. However, she then has more and more moments that make her come off as a conniving Manipulative Bitch instead... except that's all in Nina's head, her paranoia and insecurities being projected onto Lily. Outside of Nina's delusions, Lily seems like a genuinely sweet, friendly person. She's also amazingly supportive towards Nina, congratulating her on her beautiful performance, and is genuinely panicked when she sees Nina's bleeding at the end of the film. Too bad Nina's insanity won't let her see that Lily's not a threat.
  • In the film Ten: Murder Island, the main character Meg, played by China Anne McClain, fits this to a T. There are points in the movie where you wonder if she's the killer... but she isn't. She's a genuinely kind, genuinely good person.
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Leta Lestrange is a nice person and very courteous to the heroes. Her Dark and Troubled Past, however, alerts the audience that she would somehow turn evil later, not the least because the main Harry Potter series has taught us that someone who is a Slytherin, or worse, a Lestrange, can't be trusted. And she seems to do a Face–Heel Turn at the end, accepting Grindelwald's offer to defect, despite the Scamander brothers' plea. Then she lets her hand go and points a wand at him, showing exactly whom she sides with. In the aftermath, she dies a hero's death.
  • The Interpreter Kuman Kuman is introduced as a genial, humble-living opposition leader against a dictator, but later scenes emphasize his ties to banks and other big businesses while briefly suspected as having killed Xola, another, more popular opposition leader, and possibly being behind the assassination plot of the president. Ultimately, he turns out to simply be a political savvy man who is innocent of both crimes, and says that he would have been willing to form a coalition government with Xola to oust President Zuwanie and rebuild their country's livelihood.
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999) has Ichabod starting to suspect that Katrina van Tassell may be the Wicked Witch who is summoning the Headless Horseman to murder every one of her relatives and get her inheritance. Going meta, she's played by Christina Ricci and this is a Tim Burton film - so it wouldn't be surprising for her to be playing a dark role. It turns out Ichabod was Right for the Wrong Reasons and the Horseman is being used for an inheritance scheme - by Lady Van Tassell, the next person in line after Katrina. The latter was in fact a good witch, and the various spells she was attempting to cast were all done to protect people from the Horseman.
  • Blow Out: Charming, supportive talk-show Host Frank Donahue is the only objective person in the story to believe the main character's claims that the car crash which killed a presidential candidate was no accident and offers to help with his investigation. While many films of the genre might have a character like that be an enemy spy, or a glory hound looking to steal all of the credit for the investigation while letting someone else take the risks, Donahue is apparently sincerer.

  • In A Brother's Price, Princess Trini suspects that Jerin Whistler (guest at the palace as reward for saving the life of her sister), is a jerk in disguise, as her late husband Keifer, who, too, was very handsome, was a jerk. She thinks Jerin is merely putting on an act, patiently playing with the children and so on, in the hopes to be considered as potential husband. At that point, the reader knows that Jerin really is a Friend to All Children, has no evil intentions whatsoever, and saved Odelia while mistaking her for a common soldier.
  • Discworld has a few examples.
    • Commander Vimes. Nobles assume (or just like to think) he's a jumped up copper who married his wife for money. Since he's a perspective character in several books, it's very clear that he loves his wife and hates the money.
    • Vimes's subordinate Captain Carrot also has people wonder if his Incorruptible Pure Pureness isn't just a front. It isn't, to the point where it's actually quite annoying to some characters. That said, he's also a walking example of Good Is Not Soft and can even slide into Good Is Not Nice on occasion (although he usually strives to be kind); his girlfriend suspects that at least some element of Genre Savvy is involved.
    • Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of the city, often frustrates the ruling classes by honestly having no vices they can use to exploit him (although unlike Carrot, he's much more of a Magnificent Bastard, just not a selfish one).
  • Jane Fairfax from Emma is an Older Than Radio example. She's just a Shrinking Violet, well-known as a sweet and innocent person, who is secretly trying to keep her secret engagement, well, secret. Too bad a nosy, charming, and manipulative heroine comes and almost ruins it all by beginning to flirt with her fiancé and asking him what he thinks Jane is hiding, because of her Inferiority Superiority Complex. Said fiancé feels "forced" to play along to keep the engagement a secret, so he begins to give her whatever "leads" come to his mind, then to flirt back, then to toy with Jane's feelings. Guilty and disgusted, Jane makes the very classy decision to try to break up with him and to resign herself to a life as a poor governess, but he finally goes back to her.
  • Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O'Hara spends the entirety of the book trying to hate sweet, gentle Melanie, after Melanie becomes engaged to Scarlett's beau Ashley. No matter how hard Scarlett tries to find fault with Melanie, and no matter how many times she tries to steal Ashley away, Melanie remains devoted to Scarlett. Scarlett finally realizes that Melanie was her only true friend and repents for her horrible treatment of Melanie after Melanie dies following a miscarriage.
  • Mansfield Park has Fanny Price, in-universe. She refuses to marry the young, rich and charming Henry Crawford, causing him a heartbreak and robbing Sir Thomas Bertram, the baronet who brought her up since she was ten, from a lot of connections and honors, something she was expected to do as a thank you. Fanny (whose thoughts are conveyed by the narrator without comment) starts wondering if she is mean, willful, and self-involved... but when reading what follows, it is very clear that she is just sane. Henry Crawford is a flirt who started a relationship with her married cousin, and she doesn't feel she should marry him to please him.
  • John Cheever's short story "The Worm in the Apple" describes in great detail a family who is so sickeningly perfect that their jealous neighbors are utterly convinced that they have to be hiding some dark and horrible secret or that they will inevitably experience some terrible misfortune down the line. They never do.
  • Elene from the Night Angel Trilogy is this trope personified. She is repeatedly shown to be a truly kindhearted soul, which is even more apparent when you consider the corruption and cruelty she grew up surrounded by.
  • Aziraphale of Good Omens is so scrupulously honest on his tax return he's been audited five times in the belief that he's got to be hiding something.
  • Maria de Alva in Victoria. With the way the attractive and ever kind Maria is introduced, and her more than somewhat exotic backstory, it is easy to suspect that something is off, and that she must really be some sort of spy or agent of influence—for the Aztecs, or maybe even the Azanians, as this is where they really begin to gather momentum as a major threat. Actually, she is exactly what she presents herself as: a Spanish noblewoman who was enslaved by pirates after jealous underlings betrayed and killed her family, with no ulterior agenda but escaping her tormentors.
  • The Lost Fleet: General Charban, while well-mannered and reasonable most of the time, is a stranger, with political aspirations, who is assigned to the Fleet at a time when everyone is suspicious that headquarters is trying to sabotage them. Nonetheless, he turns out to be on the level and an asset to the cast.
  • Red Storm Rising: The Minister of Agriculture is one of the main opponents of war on the portulbio and later begins to approach and support the primary voice of opposition, Petroleum Minister Sergetov. Sergetov is grateful for the support, but does hold some concern that the man might be a False Friend and a spy until he takes a stand in joining him in protesting the deployment of nuclear weapons right before a coup which ends up with the two of them as among the only ones left in power.
  • The Sorcerer's Daughter: Odile is gentle, friendly and kind, and many at Odette's court suspect her of being a scheming witch behind this façade, especially since her father is a known wizard who previously turned Odette into a swan. Even Siegfried, after he falls in love with her, thinks she might have magical powers. She doesn't, she loathes the thought of sorcery, and she is really a kind girl absolutely devoted to Odette.
  • In the interlude of Angels of Music Irene Adler, now Mrs Geoffrey Norton, returns to the Agency, worried that her husband is hiding something from her. The Angels' investigation fails to turn up anything suspicious about him at all, which just makes Irene and the Persian more convinced that what he's hiding must be really bad, because why would someone work so hard to appear blameless unless they were guilty of something terrible? Eventually Irene goes under hypnosis so the Phantom can learn what triggered her suspicions. It turns out she has no reason to suspect him of anything; she's just bored with her new life and misses the days when she knew everyone she met had a terrible secret. Realising she'll never accept the truth, the Phantom tells her she must flee immediately.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why introduces Chloe Rice. She is the head cheerleader at the high school, and is Bryce Walker's current girlfriend. Throughout the season it seems like she is wants to get close to Jessica and make friends with her, despite hearing about the accusation of Bryce raping her, and deciding to side with his version of the story that nothing happened. Jessica even comforts her suspecting that she is scheming against her. Then we find out that Chloe really was trying to befriend and work with Jessica, despite her being Bryce's girlfriend and even realizes that Bryce isn't the nice guy she thought he was. Eventually, this leads to Chloe, herself, finding out she was a victim of Bryce when he raped her while she was knocked out on drugs and booze at the boys club house. Even still, it seems like Jessica was right about Chloe when she promises to testify against Bryce, but doesn't show up on her court date, making Jessica and others feel betrayed. Then the season finale reveals that she doesn't do so, because she finds out she is pregnant with Bryce's child and is conflicted on what to do. This is resolved in Season 3, but that's another story.
  • In an episode of Angel, Fred's parents come looking for her (Fred had been lost in another dimension for five years). They seem like the nicest, sweetest people you've ever seen, barring a couple moments when they whisper ominously to each other, and Fred freaks out and runs when she sees them. Turns out they really are that sweet. Fred panicked because she didn't want them to see her after she'd been traumatized, and their whispers were because they thought Angel and company were suspect — which is a very fair point.
  • Charmed (1998):
    • The Season 4 finale has the sisters being sent after a dangerous witch hunter who seems to be posing as an innocent teenage girl. It turns out the girl is a witch and the federal agent who sent them after her is the witch hunter.
    • In Season 8 Paige encounters a Plucky Girl called Billie who is quite powerful and shows up fighting demons conveniently whenever the sisters are near. Piper entertains the possibility that Billie is just exceptionally smart and figured out everything by herself, or the more likely scenario that she's working with the demons. It turns out Billie is good after all. And although she does turn out to be the Greater-Scope Villain (a powerful witch destined to bring about the final battle), it's her sister who is the corrupting influence driving her to evil - and Billie is quickly redeemed with a Heel–Face Turn.
  • On Castle, Beckett's future Romantic False Lead Detective Demming was introduced as a Nice Guy, then came under suspicion by the team that he was a Dirty Cop and the Killer of the Week. Turned out that not only did he have an alibi, it consisted of coaching an underprivileged youth basketball league.
  • The people of the Alexandria Safe-Zone in The Walking Dead are this in the sense of being generally sane and nice to other people. Their story becomes a case of Break the Haughty, as it's revealed the only reason they haven't had to deal with any walkers is because a humongous basin was drawing in all the surrounding walkers, into one enormous mega-herd.
  • Sefa from Merlin. Gwen imagines her to be a traitor bent on revenge who wants to destroy Camelot and hides it behind a sweet composure, like her old friend Morgana. It is quickly made painfully clear that she just innocently gave information to her father, not imagining to which extent he would want to harm Camelot. Her motivation was simply to help her beloved father get the respect he deserves, as she thinks everyone should, from a ruler who attacked their pacifistic people by mistake in the past. Even before knowing her father's plan, she feels sorry because the Queen (who, as far as she knows, would condemn her to death if she knew where she was born) was kind to her, encouraged her to pursue her crush, and allowed her to eat and sit at the Queen's table.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • After they began watching, many viewers expected the poor Kathryn Nolan to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing version of the Royal Brat Abigail, the person she was before being under the curse. Actually, Abigail was just a Hate Sink (she simply wasn't thrilled at the idea of an arranged marriage to Prince Charming and chastized him for taking their carriage over a bumpy road) Jerk with a Heart of Gold Broken Bird trying to cope with her at-the-time probable case of The Lost Lenore and Kathryn was just another version of her, made even nicer and a bit more unstable by the curse who ended up pulling I Want My Beloved to Be Happy hours after discovering that her husband may have cheated on her.
    • Snow White was expected to be a Princess Classic. Here, she is a snarky and blunt Robin Hood-esque character who robs a girl and punches her fiancé in her second appearance. She is just bitter because of her prejudice against politicians like them got her in exile and so poor and defenseless that she needs to steal to survive. Later, she owns that the queen never lied about her crime : she did cause her great harm. Unintentionally. When she was ten. She ends up becoming the Big Good anyway.
    • The sea goddess Ursula is referenced as a benevolent deity who grants mermaids the ability to walk on land for the day of her festival. Disney savvy viewers expect this to result in a twist the same way as The Little Mermaid - but it's Regina who pretends to be Ursula and offers Ariel the deal. And the goddess is revealed to be genuine at the end, threatening Regina to never impersonate her again. Ursula shows up again as a villain in Season 4, but this one turns out to be a different person entirely who is only named after the goddess. So in short, any time you expect Ursula to turn out to be evil, she doesn't.
  • Justified has Billy St. Cyr, a silver-tongue preacher who arrives in Harlan and charms the local population with his preaching and snake handling. It is easy to suspect him of being a Sinister Minister who cons the poor out of their money and whose true motives might be even more evil. However, he truly believes in what he preaches and only accepts enough money in donations to keep his ministry going. He helps drug addicts stop using drugs and helps a prostitute regain her self-respect and quit her former life. His only flaw is that he is a tad too fanatical in his beliefs and believes that God will never let any harm come to him. This leads to Boyd being able to talk him into handling a wild snake which kills him with its poison. Even then, Boyd actually seems to hold some personal regret about it (despite Billy's actions cutting into his drug sales) and gives him several chances for an out, even encouraging Billy's sister to try and talk him out of it.
  • Arrow has Tommy Merlyn. His last name, Always Second Best status and involvement in the Oliver-Laurel-Tommy love triangle led many fans to believe that he would either pull a Face–Heel Turn into or secretly be Merlyn the Archer, Green Arrow's archenemy. Then the Dark Archer appears and turns out to be Tommy's father Malcolm Merlyn. Tommy, meanwhile, remains a genuinely nice guy (one of the few in the series), even pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save Laurel during the Season One Finale. His memory serves as Oliver's Morality Chain and path to Thou Shalt Not Kill.
  • Monk has one episode where an old lady befriends Monk. Eventually, evidence in the latest case Monk's working on suggests that she could be the killer, and Monk recalls several times in the past where it looked like someone was trying to befriend or help him, only to turn out they were using him all along to try and commit some crime, leading him to think that history is going to repeat. As it turns out, nope, this time around she actually is unrelated to the crime and really was just being nice to him to be nice.
  • Agent Carter Season 2 pairs Peggy's new love interest up with a nurse called Violet. She seems to be a friendly and understanding sort - who knows all about Sousa's work in the SSR. But as Peggy encountered two characters who seemed friendly and benevolent (but were revealed to be deadly spies) in the previous season, suspicion is on her. Turns out she's neither a spy nor an enemy; but she does realise Sousa's unresolved feelings for Peggy and calls off their relationship.
  • The Society: Most of the girls in the show are this, but most notably Helena Wu and Kelly Aldrich.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In The Old World of Darkness, the vampire clan Salubri are generally considered the "good" vampires. And they are. Their disciplines center on healing, they embrace few progeny, and their clan weakness limits them to feeding only from willing hosts. They were so openly virtuous that in the past, it was very easy for the up-in-coming clan Tremere to paint them as soul-stealing monsters in need of systematic extermination; most vampires were already suspicious of them to begin with. Surely no vampires could really be that good, right? Ironically, this ended up creating exactly the sort of vampires the Tremere painted them as, in the form of the Salubri antitribu - a group of violent extremists led by Adonai, one of the survivors, their clan weakness warped so they can only feed on the unwilling. (One of the themes of Clan Tremere is that everything they do blows up in their faces somehow.)

    Video Games 
  • Spider-Man (PS4): Played with. Martin Li runs a homeless shelter and is well known throughout New York as a humanitarian, and turns out to be the supervillain/crime boss Mr. Negative, causing a lot of damage throughout the city for the sake of getting back at Norman Osborn as it was Osborn's experiments that gave him his powers and led to the deaths of his parents. However, Martin genuinely enjoyed being the head of the F.E.A.S.T. foundation, and he makes it clear that his desire to help those less fortunate than himself was sincere; Peter even finds a journal entry where Li openly questions going through with his plans on the grounds that if he succeeds, all of the good he's done will be ruined.
  • In Undertale, Toriel is a seemingly benign and motherly figure who saves you from being killed by the first monster you encounter. From that point on she dotes on you, literally holding your hand through puzzles and even baking you a pie, though she hastily changes the subject if you ask her to show you the way out. It's easy for players to assume this is a facade masking underlying evil... but in the end, she's completely sincere. Her reluctance to let you leave is born out of a genuine concern that you'll die, but she ultimately decides to let you go.
    • And then there's King Asgore Dreemurr. Toriel states that he will kill you if you if you leave the Ruins. Other monsters speak of him as a great king and a bit of a fuzzy pushover who can't name anything well. Papyrus even thinks he'll let you out of the Barrier if you just ask him nicely. While he will try to kill you (he's the second-to-last-boss), he is every bit the "King Fluffybuns" his subjects know him as. He's only fighting you because of a rash promise he made while grieving his child Asriel (killed by humans; it's a long and spoilery story), and he's long since gotten over his desire to kill humans, but he feels forced to go on by general anti-human sentiment amongst monsters. He can't even bring himself to look you in the eyes during his boss battle, and it's implied that he's committing Suicide by Cop.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, we have the Lex Luthor of the Injustice universe. Players familiar with the original Lex Luthor would expect this Lex Luthor to be an evil schemer who's fighting with La Résistance for his own selfish reasons, and he does look suspicious at several points in the story... but as it turns out, this incarnation of Lex Luthor is a Nice Guy sincere about doing good, even performing a Heroic Sacrifice in an attempt to kill the Injustice universe's Superman.
  • From Mass Effect, Shepard meets Liara T'Soni, an intelligent scientist and Matriarch Benezia's daughter. After recruiting her, everyone expects her to be a spy working for her mother to sabotage Shepard's attempts to stop her Evil Plan. She acts like a shy, nerdy loner who is trying to make friends, but...she really is an awkward girl who wants to befriend everybody. She actually provides help against her mother and proves to be Good All Along. Overall, she becomes one of Shepard's best and most consistently loyal friends in the series.
  • Pony Island: The Hopeless Soul may be an example; there are moments where he acts suspiciously (he does a brief, unsettling laugh during your second chat with him, after beating Azazel),and the daemons lead you to believe that he's manipulating you. In a hidden scene, Lucifer will even imply that he is the Hopeless Soul. But even when the Soul turns out to be the True Final Boss, he's just trying to satisfy the player's completionist urges, and never really does anything incriminating or malevolent.
  • Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past has Father Donovan, a kindly Irish priest who takes Irish immigrants under his wing and helps settle in Concordia by finding jobs for them. Then, the Concordian Flying Squad discover an exploitation scheme where those immigrants are pretty much sold into slavery, and it's all but assumed that Donovan is behind this. However, he turns out to be innocent, and he was eventually murdered when he tried to confront the true mastermind.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has Claude. Given his open love for scheming and his self-description as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, it's easy to think he may be hiding his own dark side under a facade of optimism, especially considering Edelgard and Dimitri's turn towards murkier territory after the Time Skip. It ultimately turns out he's the most squeaky clean of the three Lords, and the skeletons in his closet aren't nearly as disturbing as those of his fellow leaders.
    • Ferdinand from the same game also qualifies. It's very easy to assume that he has something sinister underneath his pleasant facade, given that most of his fellow Black Eagles cannot stand him initally (especially Dorothea, who is pleasant to almost everyone else), and his father is a corrupt noble. However, his supports show that he really is the kind, thoughtful person he portrays himself as, and is only Innocently Insensitive at worst.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The character Colias Paeleno from the final case of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth cooperates in nearly every way that they can with your investigation of crime scenes, a behavior which the franchise generally uses for guilty parties. Additionally, they have animations which lend themselves really well to a Villainous Breakdown. In the end, it turns out that it was a Red Herring: the developers were using expectations from the player, and the person really is just that helpful, which may be a first for the franchise.
    • Iris from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations surely seems nice, polite and innocent. She also has a secret connected with Phoenix's past and generally looks like textbook example of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Nope! Nice Girl all along. In a double whammy she's also this in Phoenix's backstory. The reason Phoenix insisted that Dahlia Hawthorne cannot be possibly evil was because the girl he was dating at the time was Iris, not Dahlia. And while Dahlia hated his guts and tried to kill him, Iris really loved him just like he insisted.
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney introduces Klavier Gavin as the new prosecutor. Given that every single previous prosecutor in this series has started out as an arrogant Amoral Attorney at best and turned out to be murderous at worst, you'll naturally expect him to be hiding something rotten underneath his charming and friendly exterior, especially considering that you've just seen his older brother be exposed as a murderous Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. This appears to be confirmed when you learn that he had a hand in stripping Phoenix of his badge. However, it turns out that Klavier really is a genuinely kind and decent person who initially didn't know of his brother's true nature, suffered from massive guilt about his role in Phoenix's disbarment, and is willing to turn against his own bandmates and brother to see justice done.
  • After Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors revealed its most outwardly kind and innocent character (June/Akane) to be the cold, calculating mastermind Zero, many players expected its sequel Virtue's Last Reward to do a similar reveal with Luna, who seems too sweet and unfailingly loyal to the protagonist to be true. It turned out that, while Luna does have several big secrets of her own, she really is every bit as nice as she seems to be, and the only character who never betrays any of her AB game opponents.
  • Usami/Monomi from Super Danganronpa 2 acts very kindhearted and gentle and appears to just want everyone to get along. It turns out that this wasn't an act, though the characters spend most of the game being openly suspicious of her to the point where they don't give her the time of day, since they're so sure that she's going to betray them and is working with Monokuma. Many players most likely shared this feeling.
  • In Re Alistair, Merui mentions that even nice guys can act like jerks online in regards to Shiro being one of the three boys who could potentially be Alistair. Additionally, playing Shiro's route has you see him acting uncharacteristically hostile towards Derek in one scene when Merui isn't around. Of course, since he's listed on this page, you know he's not actually Alistair and has a completely understandable reason to not be friendly towards Derek. In fact, he's Merui's online friend FionaWings who rightly suspects Derek of being Alistair.

    Web Comics 
  • xkcd presents Fred Rogers as a Sheep in Sheep's Clothing. It announces that a recording was found of him arguing with his wife. He acknowledges that he is sometimes angry at her, then tells her he is glad to have her!
  • Princess Marie from Season 15 of Survivor: Fan Characters. Many characters and readers suspected her of being another Bonnie, especially after some comments from her that seemed just a bit too shady to fit with her seeming sweet girl nature, but her dubious explanation that she's just under a curse that causes her statements to sound more passive-aggressive than they should be turns out to be completely true.
  • Ashley of El Goonish Shive was introduced as a total goodie two shoes type character, even to the point of ignoring her curiosity and not asking Ellen and Nanase any questions about magic on the grounds that, "I'm not going to pry. We've only just met. And I trust you'll volunteer anything I might need to know." This makes Nanase suspicious, but nothing comes of it as Ashley is exactly as nice as she presents herself.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Will's would-be stepmother is not Nerissa in disguise. She's just a genuinely nice person who fell in love with Will's father after he and her mother divorced. Granted, her name sounded a lot like Nerissa's, but she puts up with her stepdaughter's accusations of being an evil witch and lying about her name very well.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the first "Treehouse of Horror" episode, mankind is visited by aliens in a deliberate parody of the classic The Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man". Like in the original story, the aliens are suspiciously nice, but only Lisa is skeptical. Later, when the family is brought aboard the alien ship, Lisa discovers horrifying evidence that the aliens plan to eat her family (like in the original story). Except... they weren't. It was all a huge misunderstanding on Lisa's part, and the aliens are so angry at being accused that they leave the family.
    • "Summer of 4-Feet-2" has the Simpson family go on summer vacation up the coast, staying in a seaside town where all the kids dress as Generation-X neo-hippies. Lisa becomes friends with them by mimicking their fashion and attitude. When they're told about her nerdy personality and hobbies, she assumes that they'd turn against her, but they really don't care about that, and were friends with her because they genuinely like her.
    • "Take My Life, Please" gives us Vance Connor, whom Homer believes to be a Stepford Smiler. In the end, the latter is proven dead wrong.
    Homer: "Guys that popular and confident are never truly happy."
    Bart: "He looks happy."
    Homer: "The tears of a clown."
    Lisa: "He's not crying and he's not known for clowning."
    Homer: "Exception that proves a rule. If losers like me know one thing it's deep down, winners like him are miserable. Watch, I'll prove it. (Walks towards Vance) Angry nut coming through."
    Chief Wiggum: "Let him through boys."
    Vance: "Homer Simpson! How've you been?"
    Homer: "Great, thanks. Listen, settle a bet, behind that smile you're dying, right?"
    Vance: "Behind this smile is a bigger smile trying to get out. Uh, here it comes." (Makes a bigger smile than before) "Oh yeah!"
    Homer: "Please! You've gotta have some secret agony! I bet those fancy shoes hurt your feet!"
    Vance: "Actually, they're like two leather clouds."
  • Asami Sato in The Legend of Korra seems too good to be true in her first appearance, as after a Crash-Into Hello Meet Cute with one of the male protagonists, she immediately offers to sponsor him and his brother with her father's vast wealth. Many fans immediately suspected she would turn out to be a Rich Bitch, and it was also quickly theorized that she was really an Equalist spy. While this was how her character was originally envisioned, in the actual show Asami turns out to be sweet unaffiliated with the Equalists and just as good of a person as she appears (and, in fact, becomes Korra's endgame love interest). There's also a Red Herring in her appearance, as she looks like a Femme Fatale with heavy makeup and wears red and black, but she's really just a case of Raven Hair, Ivory Skin wearing the favored colors of her father's culture.
  • In Fish Hooks, Angela, in her debut episode, begins dating Oscar. Thing is, they're also debate team rivals, and Oscar soon begins suspecting that she is going behind his back and trying to sabotage his debate when he notices her sneaking around and taking photographs. It turns out that she is an avid scrapbooker and really does enjoy their time together. They leave the debate as a couple.
  • Transformers: Prime: Many of Team Prime suspected that the arrival of Smokescreen was too good to be true, mostly due having problems with spies like Makeshift in the past. Not until he faces down Starscream in his Apex Armor with the Phase Shifter do they realize that he's not a Decepticon spy.
  • Dan Vs.: In "The Neighbors", Dan starts to get suspicious because his new neighbors are too nice. Even when he's mean to them. He suspects they're cannibals trying to eat him. They're not. They're really that nice... until Dan tells them about his preemptive revenge schemes against them (after bonding with them over similarities) and they decide to move to somewhere else.
  • Taken Up to Eleven by Mr. Dinkleberg in The Fairly Oddparents, who is not only a sheep in sheep's clothing, but will actually pretend to be a wolf just to satisfy his neighbor's rampant paranoia.
  • In the South Park episode "All About the Mormons," Stan accuses the Harrison family of just acting ridiculously nice to trick people like his dad into thinking that their religion makes people happy. However, once they get kicked out of Stan's house it becomes apparent that they really are this happy and functional, unlike every other family in town. This ties into the moral Gary gives at the end, that a religion can have good values even if it's actual founding or mythology are ridiculous.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life, given its very Black Comedy focus, the character Dr. Hutchison is immediately suspicious; she's a constantly upbeat and cheerful doctor with a taste for morbid humor whose seemingly permanent smile is so wide it's kind of creepy. Add in the long, Slasher Movie style Hook Hand she has, and her combination Catchphrase & Character Tic where she sharply says "Kay?" whilst tilting her head to the side and making a noise that is either her neckbones grating or her teeth grinding, and she gives off the air of someone who is either going to undergo a violent psychotic break or who is secretly a Serial Killer. Nope! She's genuinely as sweet, kind, happy, and friendly as she acts; she's just a bit weird.
  • DuckTales (2017): Season 2 episode "Friendship Hates Magic!" deals with Webby meeting a dark-colored female bird named Violet Sabrewing. She's a bit creepy, speaks in a monotone voice and is interested in dark magic, even carrying an amulet that used to belong to Magica DeSpell. Lena is extremely jealous of Violet and suspects her of trying to summon spirits from the Shadow Realm to attack. Turns out, Lena was unconsciously summoning the spirits due to her jealousy of Webby having a new friend while she was trapped in the Shadow Realm, and Violet turns out to be a former Agent Scully who became interested in magic following the Shadow War, and not only genuinely wanted to befriend Webby, but even accepts Lena as a friend following the whole ordeal.
  • In The Loud House episode "Future Tense", we're introduced to the Yates family, who are very successful at many things. The parents are seemingly pushing their kids to succeed and are hiding it behind a happy facade, but as the ending shows, they're legitimately friendly people.

    Real Life 
  • The Falaise castle in Normandy has an interactive tour guide where images of historical characters who owned the castle are projected on a wall to tell you the museum's version of their story. Almost all of them try to justify what they did (but they ultimately fail), from the last ones, like Alienor of Aquitaine (who here tries to claim that she believes everything that she caused happened Because Destiny Says So and because her family was money-crazy, but later gives up on the pretense and relishes in being The Vamp and an Evil Matriarch) and Empress Matilda (this incarnation introduces herself as the only competent and sane member of the family but shows a terrifying Lack of Empathy because she is an Evil Overlord) to the first ones, William the Cute and Psycho Boisterous Bruiser and William's son The Resenter with No Sympathy. Then comes the matriarch of the family, Matilda of Flanders, who quietly explains how she ruled in the place of her husband in Normandy. She tells you how she disliked war, preferred to help the Church, and how guilty she felt when her marriage was declared invalid. And just when you expect a delicious, terrifying twist, this last comment comes :
    Matilda: And the Archbishop of Canterbury came on my burial ground, and he spoke to the crowd. And he said this, that William had defeated his enemies through war, whereas I defeated them with peace. He was wrong (looks up and really smiles for the first time) for I never had enemies.
  • Mister Rogers is quite possibly the most fondly beloved example of this trope. He is considered such a pure and beloved childhood icon that even 4Chan will shoot you down in a maelstrom of fire if you so much as insult him, and not even the widely believed (though very false) rumor that he was a US Marine with 150 confirmed kills had any effect on his popularity or image at all.
  • Stated verbatim by Winston Churchill about Clement Attlee. Possible Trope Namer (or at least Trope Codifier). In this case, it was less that Atlee was a complete sweetie and more that he was, to put it bluntly, a bit of a dullard and Churchill didn't respect him that much (although he later went on to become considered one of the most successful British Prime Ministers of the twentieth century, if not the most successful, in several polls).


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