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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 the key witness in a murder case... or the main suspect. But she's the same no matter what hat she wears. From the moment you 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're Genre Savvy enough to know where this is going. When all comes to light, you'll prove that she's really a Femme Fatale Gold Digger Starfish Alien who wants to Take Over the World, take your job, dad, and friends away from you, and humiliate you at prom, And Your Little Dog, Too!, because...reasons.

Except not. As everyone could have told you, she really is that nice. And you should take a deep breath and a step back because you've just been exposed as Wrong Genre Savvy. Otherwise, you're being a Clingy Jealous Girl, or this is your Start of Darkness.

A Sheep in Sheep's Clothing is a deliberate subversion of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. It's done either by showing the character is exactly as nice as they appeared to be or by revealing that they played another kind of nice than the usual one. Either way, the Sheep is ultimately just as decent as they appeared, if not even 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. In children's shows, it's usually followed with the Aesop that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

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 a usually Jerkass-like character are wrong. Also contrast Subverted Suspicion Aesop, where suspicions seem unfounded, but turn out to be right. Opposite of Too Good To Be True, when the appearance of perfection really is just a facade.

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 & Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: When Masurao turns out to be a jinyo, which are generally incredibly violent and dangerous, it doesn't seem to matter to his position as a high school teacher. Then Suzu and Matsuri come to believe he'd kidnapped Yayo to serve Shadow Mei's plans. In truth, Masurao just set up Yayo as Mei's tutor and didn't want them to be disturbed.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Throughout the first arc, both Cerberus and Xiaolang 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 have been watching out for.
  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Diamond Is Unbreakable: Tonio Trussardi/Trendy is a seemingly kind Supreme Chef whose food makes really gross things happen to the bodies of people who eat it. He seems all set up to be a Villain of the Week, and Josuke is convinced there's some dark secret behind his cooking, especially when he throws knives at Josuke for entering his kitchen. Turns out, he is genuinely a kindhearted Supreme Chef who happens to have a Face of a Thug. His Stand-created food actually heals people (the process looks absolutely disgusting, but it works), and is not long pork, poisonous, or any of the other things Josuke suspected. In fact, it's absolutely delicious and satisfying. He only chased Josuke away because the kid wasn't respecting proper kitchen hygiene, something which Tonio, as a chef, considers to be very Serious Business. A couple of later scenes show that our protagonists have become regular customers after their first meal.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Kaguya 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 worldview 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.
    • Kaguya may be this to herself: Shirogane is in love with her since she saved a girl from drowning. She pretended to do it so someone was indebted to her, but she was probably just keeping the selfish facade as she was raised for.
    • A lot of readers were uncomfortable by how nice the cheer team was to Ishigami and were worried that their plan to have everyone crossdress for the sports festival was an attempt to embarrass him (not helped by the fact that they all have Hidden Eyes). But by the time the sports festival actually came around, it turned out that they really are that nice and their lack of eyes was a visual representation of how Ishigami reflexively shut everyone out (leading to a heartwarming moment when he finally sees their faces after the relay race).
    • During Tsubame's Christmas party — whose guests are mostly the cheer team — an unknown guy hits on Iino. Then, after Iino accidentally gets drunk from eating too many whiskey chocolates, the unknown guy and another propose she move somewhere more comfortable… and lies her on the sofa where everybody can keep an eye on her, and they cover her with a blanket.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: Kuroe Akaishi is a friendless loner with No Social Skills who is derisively known as "Psycho-tan" among her classmates at Ginjuuji High School. So when popular Chick Magnet Arata Minami strikes up a conversation with her while she's Eating Lunch Alone, she initially assumes that he's just a manipulative Casanova seeking to expand his harem. She only reluctantly agrees to go with him on a not-quite-a-date to an invitation-only restaurant the following day because the place serves fancy gourmet pancakes that she had previously been ogling. During their meal, Arata talks about his own insecurities about his popularity and praises Kuroe for being an upstanding person in spite of her ostracism, which convinces Kuroe that perhaps it's worth being "fooled" by him for the time being. As they're walking home afterwards, they're spotted by a Girl Posse from their school who loudly protest about an "ugly chick" like Kuroe "stalking" Arata. Kuroe somberly apologizes for this — only for Arata to hold her hand in response to show that he doesn't care what the girls think.
  • 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.
  • Moriarty the Patriot: MP Adam Whiteley, A.K.A. the White Knight of London, is introduced as an up-and-rising politician who publicly fights for the common people's right. He's basically trying to achieve the same thing as the Villain protagonists, but without the villainy. As his existence would make the protagonists' role redundant, one might reasonably suspect that Whiteley is hiding something that would prove him to be just as bad as Moriarty's previous victims. However, Moriarty soon confirms that his altruism is sincere and that Whiteley is just as he appears to be. Unfortunately, Milverton manipulates one of the officers guarding Adam to kill the entire Whiteley family, and Adam murders the perpetrator in rage. As this scandal would taint the hero's image and shatter the public's support for his ideals, Moriarty decides to take the blame for Adam's crimes by killing the MP in front of a crowd to preserve his legacy.
  • My Hero Academia: In the first Season 4 episode of the anime, a reporter named Taneo Tokuda comes to visit the U.A dorms seeking out to discover All Might's successor for a scoop. While he is a tad manipulative and tends to lead people on with sweet words and his charming smile to get what he wants (Aizawa correctly suspects he has ulterior motives to come and that his reason to be there isn't what he says), he's actually a good, ethical reporter who is a lifelong fan of All Might, who rescued his father when he was a child. Despite correctly deducing that Midoriya is All Might's successor, he decides not to write the story out of respect for Midoriya and admiration for All Might. Adding to this, even though he isn't able to give his fellow reporters the story he promised, he still gives them a story they can run.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: At first, Fuutarou suspects that Yotsuba (the fourth sister) is faking her Chronic Hero Syndrome and purposely takes advantage of the sports clubs asking her for help to skip schoolwork. Later, however, he follows her to the Basketball Club room, where she apologetically turns down their offer to join them full-time, because she has greater responsibilities, making him realize that she's genuine.
  • Kasumi Tendo from Ranma ˝ is a sweet, motherly Yamato Nadeshiko who has the patience of a saint. One day, Ranma manages 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 at 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 
  • 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 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.
  • 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 likeably shy demeanor as a front meant to manipulate the public.
  • 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.
  • Hard Reset (Eakin): In one of the early Loops that Twilight Sparkle finds herself in, she heads down to the Vaults at the urging of Princess Celestia and a contingent of Royal Guards to get The Elements of Harmony and find a way to stop the Changeling Invasion that is happening outside. Twilight manages to slowly unravel that "Celestia" before her is actually Queen Chrysalis and accuses her. Rightfully so, all but one of the Royal Guards following them transform into Changelings; with the single unfortunate Pegasus Guard getting torn to pieces.
  • In A Supe of a Man, most people (particularly those at Vought) see Clark's Nice Guy persona as a fabrication cooked up by his Aunt Mary and that he's just as hedonistic and corrupt as the other Supes. Lois is taken aback to see Clark actually talking respectfully to her.
  • 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 does she and the League find 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.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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. Which aren't great, but it's not like that's Strange's fault.
  • Winston Deavor 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.
  • Queen Watevera Wa'Nabi 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.
  • 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, thus setting her up to follow in the footsteps of Stinky Pete and Lotso from the previous two films, 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, and the apologetic attitude she displays while doing villainous things is totally genuine.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Allison Page from Beverly Hills Ninja. Haru is convinced that Allison is trustworthy. Sensei thinks Haru is a Horrible Judge of Character and that he's just Distracted by the Sexy. Sensei believes that Allison is involved in Martin's criminal schemes. However, it turns out that Allison really is a good person, and she's secretly working against Martin.
  • 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 bleeding at the end of the film. Too bad Nina's insanity won't let her see that Lily's not a threat.
  • 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.
  • 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 controlling 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.
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Leta Lestrange is a nice person and very courteous to the heroes. Her Dark and Troubled Past seems to set her up for a Face–Heel Turn, especially as the Lestrange family seen in the main series is pretty firmly in Lord Voldemort's pocket- there's a "Lestrange" mentioned as a member of Tom Riddle's Gang of Bullies, and brothers Rastaban and Rodolphus Lestrange are Death Eaters. 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.
  • Firewall: Harry is introduced as a knowledgeable and helpful coworker of Jack. Then he's seen taking a call from Cox, the head hostage-taker, and talks about how a deal they have is working out and refers to Jack's role in it. Later, it's revealed that they were talking about a (nonexistent) job offer Cox made Jack for a legitimate business and that Harry is an Unwitting Pawn.
  • 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 politically 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.
  • Last Night in Soho: The film is so steeped in the threat of male violence that both Eloise and the audience are inclined to regard her friendly, helpful classmate John with suspicion at first. He really is just a Nice Guy who wants to keep an eye out for a fellow misfit, though, and ends up as an impressively Understanding Boyfriend.
  • 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.
  • Sky Riders: Jonas Bracken is a rich industrialist, who is married to Lovable Rogue and The Hero Jim's ex-wife (who has a child with each man) and acts like a concerned husband and father when his family is kidnapped. It isn't an act, and in just about every scene where Bracken could act selfishly or obstinately, he doesn't. He sacrifices part of his empire to raise the ransom money, is a good husband, father, and stepfather, and finances Jim's rescue operations while getting along well with him.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Blindfold Michael van Petersen is the Happily Adopted son of Victoria Koman, and her dutiful and earnest heir apparent. Koman seems very interested in knowing if he is a genuinely worthy successor and a good person at heart, and a mind-reader they visit assures her Michael is. It almost seems as if the narrative is setting up some dark reveal about Michael, but ultimately, he is indeed just as noble as he appears to be and while he's a clone of the Big Bad he is unaware of this, he doesn't appear to have inherited his genetic template's worst qualities.
  • 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. Readers, having spent the book following his perspective, know that Jerin really is a Friend to All Children who's as beautiful inside as out, 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 feels that his wife's money and noble title are the only downsides to marrying her.
    • 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).
  • Super Powereds: Vince Reynolds is almost painfully decent, kind, moral, and upstanding, so naturally the government agent tasked with watching him, Ralph Chapman, is convinced he's hiding something. After digging for a while, Chapman finally admits that Vince really is the Nice Guy he appears to be, but still considers him a danger because of how destructive his power can be.
  • 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 the 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.
  • 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.
  • Honor Harrington: Downplayed. Audrey is an Intrepid Reporter with a good reputation who turns out to be part of the evil Mesan Alignment. However, To End in Fire establishes that she doesn't know about most of the conspiracy's worst actions and loathes the perpetrators.
  • Jedi Apprentice: During the New Apsolon trilogy, local business magnate Manex is always unfailingly polite and helpful to the Jedi, even while displaying various acts of hedonism and Enlightened Self-Interest, and indirectly profiting from a series of political assassinations that take place. The Jedi are naturally suspicious of him, but it ultimately turns out that he's innocent and all of the help or information he provided was genuine.
  • John Putnam Thatcher: In Murder Without Icing, Franklin Moore is introduced as an amiable Honest Corporate Executive. Then, an associate of Moore's reveals that his planned acquisition of a hockey team will involve upheaving all of the players and staff's lives by relocating the franchise to his hometown of Nashville. He's also rumored to be planning to try and push out a co-owner who lives on controlling the team. However, once the deal falls through, Moore is quite mellow about it. After his murder, it transpires that no one outside of the hockey franchise has any reason to hate him, as he was Nice to the Waiter and treated his ex-wife and kids decently. It also turns out that Moore wasn't going to relocate the team or push out his co-owner. The person who claimed that was lying to give everyone else motives for wanting Moore dead.
  • 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.
  • Mansfield Park has Fanny Price, in-universe. She refuses to marry the young, rich, and charming Henry Crawford, causing him 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Secret Santa 2004: Alex Sandberg is Erik Bigelow's one-sided rival and main Secret Santa suspect. To quote Erik, "His image was squeaky clean - never gossiped, worked hard, took care of his staff, blah, blah, blah." Sandberg is innocent of sending Erik malicious Secret Santa gifts. The real Secret Santa is trying to get Erik to self-destruct at least partially to make sure that he won't get Sandberg unjustly fired.
  • 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.
  • The Thin Red Line: Gaff in the book. He comes across as a concerned and grave officer who says his men deserve medals, then I think looks as if he forgot about those medals in the face of his own glory before it turns out he did I need fact see to it they'd receive the credit and decorations but was simply delayed by bureaucracy.
  • The Three Investigators: Some friendly suspects who seem Too Good To Be True really are innocent. For example Gracie from The Scar-Faced Beggar is a brightly smiling young woman who is very friendly and informative towards Pete but also possesses the makeup skills, political loyalties, acquaintances, and knowledge about a bank guard's routine that the villain has. Nonetheless, she is innocent and is even nicer and more self-reflective than she seems at first glance.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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 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' clubhouse. 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 about what to do. This is resolved in Season 3, but that's another story.
  • Agent Carter Season 2 pairs Peggy's new love interest 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Castle:
  • 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.
  • Hawkeye: Jacques Duquesne, the fiancee of Kate Bishop's mother Eleanor, who Kate thinks is shady and suspects him of killing her uncle, with it later appearing that he's one of Kingpin's cohorts. Turns out, Kate's a bit biased, and he's a decent person who was framed. By Eleanor.
  • Justified has Billy St. Cyr, a silver-tongued 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 that 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 when 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.
  • 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. But while Abigail appeared to be a Hate Sink (she simply wasn't thrilled at the idea of an arranged marriage to Prince Charming and chastised him for taking their carriage over a bumpy road), she is revealed to be a 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 princess and punches her fiancé in her second appearance. She is just bitter because of her prejudice against royals like them who 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 (1989) - 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.
  • Person of Interest: Happens all the time, with the following being notable exceptions.
    • Dr. Garrett Rossmore from In Extremis. After Dr. Nelson costs him and his company millions by shutting down one of their drug trials, Rossmore shows up at Nelson's with a bottle of wine at his celebration, assuring him that he isn't bitter and recognizes that he didn't have the data to support his theory and understands why Nelson made that call. While the average Genre Savvy viewer might expect him to be the murderer, he is in fact completely sincere, while the real killer is the person who profited off Nelson's ruling against Rossmore via insider trading.
    • Ernie Trask from Super is a genial, fatherly building superintendent whose full of amusing stories and also seems to be stalking one of his tenants and may have killed his wife. Only it turns out that his wife simply left him and moved back to Florida, he's actually trying to protect his tenant from a real stalker.
    • Cal Beecher seems like a capable cop and a caring love interest to Carter before it turns out the FBI sees him as a corruption suspect. It turns out that he's innocent though.
    • Two in Mission Creep. First is Joey Dalloway, who seems like a caring boyfriend and decorated vet who's simply fallen onto hard times before the reveal that he's part of a crew of bank robbers and seemingly has a Secret Other Family. But it turns out that the other family is the family of his dead friend from the service and the robberies are his way of supporting them. The second sheep in sheep's clothing, Detective Molina, is introduced as a reasonable, competent man who quickly allies with Carter, but the fact that Lattimer is taking orders from someone (not to mention robbing a police evidence locker) might make him a bit suspicious. But in fact, Lattimer's boss is an Arc Villain who won't actually be seen for several episodes while Molina is the honest cop he appears to be.
  • Anna on The Vampire Diaries is first presented as a nerdy girl with an obsession with vampires who was later revealed to be a vampire herself. While she does kidnap Elena and Bonnie in an episode, it was only to free her mom from a tomb that she was trapped in. Throughout her run on the show, Anna remains one of the only vampires to never kill anyone and it's clear that all she wants is a happy life with her mom.
  • 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 that a humongous basin was drawing in all the surrounding walkers, into one enormous mega-herd.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, multiple characters suspect that Ciro isn't as squeaky clean as he appears. Given the cast is a Dysfunction Junction where everyone is sorting through the sort of issues you'd expect from teenagers, he stands out as one of the few characters who is unflinchingly nice and polite. Though he does turn out to have some personal issues, he really is just a genuinely pleasant person.

    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-and-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.

    Video Games 
  • Anna's Quest:
    • Ironically, Reynard the Fox is this. Anna first meets him in a dark forest just outside of town, and while he gives her good advice, he seems secretive and maybe a little sinister, so Anna and Ben are a little wary of him. However, it turns out that, no, Reynard isn't working for anyone nor is he planning anything, he genuinely wants to help Anna, as proven when he travels out of his way to help Anna when she is caught by the guards. Even when he overhears Anna wonder out loud if Reynard will just betray her later, he only questions where her mistrust is coming from and then continues happily helping her without promise of a reward simply because he wants to.
    • Jannike is more of a downplayed example, though a much more of a tragic one. When you finally meet her, she is every bit the wonderful queen and mother she has been built up as. Given that Winfriede harbors such hatred for Jannike despite being her sister, one might think Winfriede must have actual good reason for it. However, as the flashback chapter shows, Jannike was a sweet, if a little oblivious, child who loved her sister and was actually the only one to show Winfriede any compassion after she was accused of murder and cursed. Winfriede's hatred of her was born out of a misunderstanding after years of resentment due everyone, even their own mother, liking Jannike better.
  • Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2: The new character Dominique is the Big Bad of Ritual of the Night and proves herself to be extremely sociopathic and selfishly destructive. So she's Promoted to Playable in this Alternate Universe, but people fresh from the memories of Ritual are justifiably aware of her: Her tenure as Ritual's Big Bad showed herself as a faux-Nice Girl actually being a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and she did act nice in her appearance in Curse, and her goal was 'to find a certain demon for reasons' which was very ambiguous. The newcomer Robert also distrusts the Church she's associated with. Advance through the game and... this Dominique is really as nice as she acts, she willingly Takes the Bullet to save the party, and the second episode was dedicated to rescuing her (and it was genuine, she's not letting herself captured so she could claim the boss' power). After she rejoins for later episodes, she sticks with the party to the very end, there is no betrayal. The Adaptational Heroism was genuine.
  • City of Heroes gives us Mother Mayhem the psychic overseer of the games' alternate reality - Praetoria - with Mother being the bizarro version of the heroine Sister Psyche'. Everyone who reports to Mother emerges as smiling happy pseudo-zombies, with barely any trace of their old personalities and completely in-love with their dear, dear mother for fixing them; It's not hard to see why The Resistance added "Mayhem" to her title or how the Crapsaccharine World they live in got to this point, and the Resistance have nothing but horror stories to tell about her... But if you actually work with her, you find out she's completely genuine - she really does want to help spread a joyous mind-set and well being to all the people of Praetoria and the games' main reality as well. Don't relax though, because even if her intent it genuine, her mind is shot, she is completely delusional and legitimately thinks A. she is the actual mother of everyone, and B. that Mind Rape is the same thing as a talk-therapy; And even if she has no idea how messed up she is, her government do and are exploiting and egging on her delusion so she can keep them in power by pacifying the public for them.
  • Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past
    • 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.
    • Also Leopold Rochester, known as one of the few White Sheep among the Rochesters who sponsors numerous struggling inventors to help them improve the city. He is later arrested by the Flying Squad for endorsing a non-existent telephone company, which many people invested into. However, the scam was actually started by Larry, and Leopold endorsed the company to support his son, unaware of the latter's scheme. When the Flying Squad confronted him about the hoax, Leopold took the blame to keep his son from getting into prison.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • Given Claude's 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 façade 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.
  • God of War (PS4) raises questions about the motivations of Kratos's late wife Faye, who was actually the Frost Giant Laufey, and Jotunheim reveals that the giants had prophesized Atreus (who, it turns out, is the game's version of Loki; he's called Atreus because that's the name Kratos wanted for him) would begin Ragnarok and Kratos would die, thus raising the question of if she was using Kratos to father Loki so he could get revenge on Asgard on the Jotnar's behalf. God of War Ragnarök reveals these doubts to be entirely unfounded; Faye genuinely loved her family and sent them on their quest in the original game in hopes they would become better people. She knew of the prophecy about them, but actually opposed it (that's why part of the mural shows her arguing with other giants; they were fine with Kratos and Atreus being sacrificed in the war against Asgard, while she wanted to save them because they were her family) and destroyed the parts of the prophecy about Ragnarok so they wouldn't have it hanging over their heads and could make a better future. One of the game's final scenes shows that the future she saw for Kratos was him rebuilding the realms and becoming a beloved guardian deity.
  • Infernax has Caroline of Katsky. She sends you to kill a skeleton that terrorizes her family, only for him to refuse to attack you, tell you he is harmless, and ask to be spared. Turns out it's Caroline who is telling the truth, the skeleton will kill her if you spare him.
  • 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.
    • Shepard themselves will be this if the player is Paragon the entire time, despite being a Spectre who are legally allowed to do literally anything to get the job done. Especially through Mass Effect 2 where they're working for Cerberus, many characters, including one or two of your own Squad Mates, assume you have ulterior motives for helping them out, and you can prove to them again and again that you're genuinely a nice person who wants the world to be better. This is paid off in Shepard being one of the most reliable people in the galaxy, and in the third game many of your allies come from characters you helped earlier in the story, sometimes going back as far as early missions in the original game.
  • 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 malevolent.
  • Q.U.B.E.: Your Mission Control Commander Nowak claims that you have boarded a mysterious structure to prevent it from impacting the Earth, but anybody who has played similar puzzle games such as Portal has every right to be suspicious considering what usually happens, especially when 919 turns up and accuses her of being a liar. Every word Nowak says turns out to be true: 919, or Jonathan Burns, has long since succumbed to Space Madness, rendering him a distrusting paranoiac.
  • 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.
  • Theia - The Crimson Eclipse: The first person to join Seth, Rudra, comes off as a Nice Guy who saves Seth from an Orihalcon Wolf without a second thought. When Seth learns from Shiva that Rudra slaughtered the Marut Clan, Seth starts doubting Rudra's intentions. However, it turns out Rudra was driven to madness by the Rakshasas Clan, who used Orihalcon on him. In his default state, he really is as nice as he seems.
  • TinkerQuarry: Although Peter is quick to help the player, being the first character to join the player's party, his stoic and cynical attitude is off-putting at times. He is the game's mascot, and in the marketing materials, he is often seen giving the viewer an unsettling stare that almost looks like a Kubrick Stare. But deep down, Peter really is a good person who has every intention of protecting Adeline and the other party members.
  • 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.
    • King Asgore Dreemurr is built up as the Big Bad for most of the game, and Toriel states that he will kill 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. Why is he fighting you? Well, desperation. The monsters need seven human SOULs to release from their imprisonment in the mountain and your player character is number seven. Other human children have fallen and met their end, though unsure if by his hand or the other Monsters they encountered. However, he really does not want to hurt anyone, but the kingdom is undergoing some severe issues that come with living underground, even with magic on their side and it's the best shot they have for a better life. Additionally, you would need his SOUL to leave the barrier since yours isn't enough (most Monster SOULs vanish instantly when killed, the exception being Boss monsters, being him and Toriel, which linger a little.) Hence why when you fight, he damages your MERCY button, because you're both unable to show the Mercy you'd want to do and the grim implications that he's committing Suicide by Cop.
  • Yakuza:
    • Tachibana from Yakuza 0 is designed to make you not trust him for most of the game. He shows up out of nowhere to throw Kiryu a lifeline, but Tachibana's first conversation with Kiryu sounds a lot like an example of No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine, and him washing Kiryu's clothes looks like an excuse so Tachibana can engage in Eating the Eye Candy. Then Tachibana reveals he has a surprisingly large information network and caps it off with a New Era Speech and a display of power by stopping the electricity for a few seconds. Throughout the game, you're left wondering if Tachibana is setting up Kiryu to be a successor or a patsy, which seemingly culminates when the player sees he has the bat tattoo Makoto is looking for. But in the end, it ends up he really is just a really good real estate agent who wants Kamurocho to be better, and most of his actions are based on a genuine desire to be reunited with his long-lost sister.
    • When Kasuga and Nanba go to a Hello Work jobcentre early in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, they're turned away for being homeless (because job applications require a contact address). Immediately afterwards, a mysterious old man tips them off about a grey-market job at a nearby bar that pays suspiciously well, and a savvy viewer will immediately assume they're being set up for something ghastly and exploitative. After they leave, the clerk who rejected them confronts the man for soliciting in the office because he's her boss, and she's annoyed at him for bending the rules for people he likes.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • 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 a 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 that 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.
    • To a lesser extent in Trials and Tribulations, Desiree DeLite is set up to be a Gold Digger, with her husband being afraid she'll leave him if she finds out he's been fired from his job, but expensive tastes aside, she genuinely loves Ron and is a kind and friendly woman overall.
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney introduces Klavier Gavin as the new prosecutor. He was the prosecutor in the case that got Phoenix disbarred. Every other prosecutor has been some combination of jerk, incompetent, and/or downright murderous. The previous case showed that his brother Kristoph was a murderous Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. One of his close friends is a smuggler and murderer. All this adds up to there being something fake about Klavier's friendly teasing and lack of grudge-holding, right? Well, wrong. Klavier is just as horrified by the above persons' actions as the player is and ultimately goes through prosecuting them despite how clearly upset it makes him.
    • Colias Palaeno 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 that 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. His counterpart Quercus Alba, on the other hand...
    • The first day of the second case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice is spent building up Bonny de Famme, a sweet young magician who idolizes Trucy, as duplicitious and even possibly the culprit of the case after the heroes overhear her talking about how much she really hates Trucy. As it turns out, both that and her appearance in court were actually her twin sister, Betty, doing a Twin Switch (which, incidentally, is also the secret to Bonny's signature teleportation magic trick), and Bonny was entirely sincere and exactly as nice as she appears; though she was also party to the prank intended to ruin Trucy's reputation, it's implied that Betty pushed her into it. Even Betty is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and Unwitting Pawn of the real murderer.
  • Usami/Monomi from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair appears as a rabbit Magical Girl who acts as chaperone for the island school trip, which she says is to help the students bond with each other, though she doesn't give any more pertinent information, such as how she got them to Jabberwock Island. The students (and most players) are very suspicious of her, especially after Monokuma shows up and turns her into his "little sister." In reality, these suspicions are baseless; Usami genuinely wants to help the students, but can't because Monokuma stole her powers. She's actually an AI created by Chihiro from the first game, and the survivors of that game co-opted her to administer the trip in order to redeem the students, who were the Remnants of Despair.
  • Lauren from Double Homework is shallow, and as Morgan correctly says, she’d do almost anything for attention. However, at her core, she just wants mutual love and respect from someone.
  • Extra Case: My Girlfriend's Secrets: Sally is portrayed as the main antagonist on the Steam art and title screen, making it seem like her kindness in the previous game was a lie. In reality, she has an evil Split Personality based on her deceased sister, and she never wanted to kill her boyfriends at all. She even goes as far as to break up with Marty in order to protect him from the "curse" that killed her previous boyfriends.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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. Except Marie is just as nice as she seems, and 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.
  • 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!

    Web Original 
  • Lizzie from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries imagines Bing Lee as a sexist Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, because her Stage Mom tries to throw her daughters at him and she thinks he will take advantage of it and his social standing to manipulate her sweet, idealistic sister. He is actually a Nice Guy Sickeningly Sweetheart Knight in Shining Armor with two Token Evil Teammates, one of which isn't so bad. When he leaves, those who read the book know that his actions were motivated only by the impression that Jane didn't reciprocate his feelings.
  • In Noob, Sparadrap is a genuine Kindhearted Simpleton and displays the kindhearted part in front of both allies and enemies. This has led an enemy character appearing in the webseries and comic, who's also a regular trigger of Sparadrap's Invincible Incompetent tendencies, to suspect that his attitude is actually Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Happens often in the WMG section of this very site. When we don't know who is the Big Bad of a movie or series, we suspect nice people. For example, in the WMG page for Zootopia, we suspected Clawhauser to be hiding it behind a Nice Guy facade. We were Jossed - turned out he is as nice as he seems.
  • RWBY: Professor Ozpin is presented in the early seasons as a sort of Dumbledore-Expy, Eccentric Mentor and Cool Old Guy. However, it's made clear from the beginning that he keeps a lot of information secret; combined with the hints of his Mysterious Past and connections with the Big Bad, a lot of fans began to strongly suspect that he wasn't as benevolent as he seemed, or that he was a Manipulative Bastard with secret schemes, all of which was echoed in-universe by characters who questioned his sincerity and encouraged the heroes not to fully trust him. This finally culminates in Volume 6 when Ozpin's history is forcibly revealed... and he turns out to have been largely innocent; rather, he was hiding information that he feared would drive his allies over the Despair Event Horizon — which it very nearly does. It's played with in that he really did keep secrets that he shouldn't have which wound up causing more harm than good, and he gets called out on this.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-6930, or 'Paty', is a friendly V-tuber who caught the Foundation's eye when her streams began alluding to her being a Pattern Screamer, an extremely dangerous class of entity that have, in the Foundation's experience, been universally hostile to all sapient life. During the Foundation's attempts to contain her, the researchers realize that Paty has overcome the issue that led to other Pattern Screamers' hostility; psychologically speaking, she's really not that different from a human teenage girl. After this, the Foundation changes its tactics to contain her by sponsoring her career but making sure that no one knows she's an anomaly.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: At first Mel seems extremely shady in her attempts to win Jayce over to her side, but it eventually turns out that she is completely genuine in her efforts to improve Piltover and Zaun. Her manipulative behavior is not intentionally malicious and her family even exiled her over her pacifism and idealistic visions of future society. Jayce's dreams and ambitions reminded her of her childhood self and she simply wished to be involved in seeing them come true.
  • Zuko's uncle Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender seems to be a relaxed and silly old man who cares more about Pai Sho than being a bad guy, unlike his somewhat obsessive nephew. When we get to see more of him in action, we find that he's a Token Good Teammate for the Fire Nation (having had a Heel Realization years prior) is probably the only family member Zuko has who actually loves the poor kid, and was halfhearted about Zuko's quest to capture the Avatar because he knew it was the wrong path for Zuko to take. At one point in development, he was meant to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Evil Uncle, but the writers abandoned that plotline in favor of giving Iroh much more positive Hidden Depths.
  • 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.
  • 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. Violet really is 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.
    • A Running Gag throughout the show is Scrooge's unexplained hatred of Santa Claus, leading Scrooge's family (and the audience) to think that Santa must have done something horrible in the past to justify it. When Santa finally makes his debut in "How Santa Stole Christmas!", it turns out that he's just as jolly and charitable as everyone thinks he is, and Scrooge was the one that ruined their friendship. Santa wanted Christmas to involve completely selfless gifting, while Scrooge wanted to use the holiday for monetary gain by charging people for presents, and this disagreement led to them going their separate ways.
  • Mr. Dinkleberg in The Fairly Oddparents 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 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.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021), a damaged RK Droid is given a replacement memory cog that contains the history of famed Trollan wizard Orko the Great. This eventually turns the later-christened Ork-0 into a pompous and arrogant character. This, paired with the Eldress saying that Ork-0, after a bit of self-reflection on who he truly is and becoming kinder in the process, has "heart", unlike the original Orko. All of this leads to the perception of Orko the Great as a smug and cruel figure. Ork-0 would eventually meet the actual Orko, who was revealed as a kind, if not cowardly, hero. This misconception came from his bungling of magic, his tendency to run away after a mistake, and years of misremembered memories.
  • 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, for the actual show the writers followed Iroh's example, with Asami being a Red Herring Mole Nice Girl who genuinely wants to help Team Korra, no matter how much she gets put through the wringer for it. Her dad is a real Equalist spy, but Asami wasn't in on it and is devastated when she finds out. 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 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.
  • Late in the first season of The Owl House, it's revealed a doppelganger has been pretending to be Luz back in the human realm and was keeping her mother placated to hide the fact that Luz was Trapped in Another World. The fandom immediately assumed the worst and that she was part of some massive conspiracy. When we actually meet her in “Yesterday’s Lie”, Vee turns out to be a runaway shapeshifter kid who's desperate for a place to belong after being cruelly Raised in a Lab, and took her chance when she saw Luz initially running away. When she’s captured by the Villain of the Week, Vee is willing to go back into captivity, because the only alternative involves telling Luz’s mother about the situation, and she doesn’t want to make the kind woman face the guilt of not realizing what happened to Luz.
  • 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. The fact that Filburt, the most nervous and paranoid character in the whole show, marries and has kids with her says a lot about how truly nice Dr. Hutchison is.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the first "Treehouse of Horror" episode, mankind is visited by aliens in a deliberate parody of the classic The Twilight Zone (1959) 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.
  • 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 its actual founding or mythology is ridiculous.
  • Transformers: Prime: Many of Team Prime suspected that the arrival of Smokescreen was too good to be true, mostly due to 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.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Will's would-be stepmother Serena 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.


Video Example(s):


The One Who's Funding Petra

Mariner starts to suspect that Petra is being funded by some nefarious source and goes digging, only to discover that it's a grant from Admiral Picard and that Petra is completely above board. When confronted, Mariner admits that she may have been looking for an excuse to go back to Starfleet rather than Petra doing anything suspicious.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / SheepInSheepsClothing

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