Follow TV Tropes


The Mark

Go To

"While a sucker is born with each tick of the clock, a cheater is born with each tock betwixt."

Time for The Con! This is the sucker who's supposed to fall for The Con and wind up much shorter on money and/or pride if the hucksters succeed. The Mark is sometimes called "the pigeon".

In media, the Mark can be a sympathetic protagonist, a Jerkass who got what he deserved, or anywhere in between. He is rarely entirely innocent, however; a Con inevitably works by appealing to a character's greed or a desire to get something for nothing. As always, A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted.


This character acts as a Foil to the Con Man.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 


  • The Discworld novel Going Postal is essentially a battle between two conmen. To the villain, Reacher Gilt, The Mark is the entire city of Ankh-Morpork, and the other members of the board of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company. To the hero, (mostly) reformed conman Moist von Lipwig, the mark is Reacher Gilt. In his next appearance, Making Money, Moist has moved up to making the city his mark — with the trick being that the "con" is moving them from the gold standard to paper money. He's not entirely certain if this is because is is a con, or if he just thinks that way, or if a con believed by enough people for long enough becomes something else entirely.
  • There's an interesting short story by Andrew Vachss in which The Mark turns out to be the New York City judiciary system. The Con Man appears to have stolen a bag from someone in an airport, but the person who entered with the bag and the witness both vanish, he produces the receipt, sues the state for false arrest, and gets a substantial amount of money.
  • In the Beka Cooper novels, these people are called 'coneys'. And being a series about police officers, there's a lot of them, from victims of pickpockets to people caught up in an elaborate scheme to trick them into spending counterfeit money and being arrested.

    Live-Action TV 
  • For the most part, The Mark in Mission: Impossible episodes using The Con was a villain being duped into admitting his guilt. This would put the Con Man of that episode into The Trickster category.
  • There was one of these on every episode of Hustle, but it wasn't always who you thought it was. However, they always made great play of the fact that The Mark was always thoroughly deserving of being fleeced. Just in case anyone thought that conning people might be bad, m'kay?
  • There was a double subversion in the flashbacks of the Lost episode "The Long Con"; The Mark, a woman named Cassidy, sees through Sawyer's con game and demands that she become his partner. However, in the end, she still ends up being duped out of 600,000 dollars; it just takes significantly longer to do it.
  • Usually the antagonist of the week in Leverage.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In professional wrestling, a "mark" refers to anyone who watches pro wrestling but does not have a job in the business of it. They were called as such because the goal of the "smarts", the people who did work in the business, was to make the marks believe the pro wrestling bouts were not cooperative. After kayfabe was exposed, the term "smart mark" developed among some who now thought they knew what was going on, even though they still did not actually work in the business. Some find "smart mark" pretentious and mark a Grand Father Clause but some have embraced the term, Smart Mark Video being a good source for fans who want to see matches and interviews, for instance.
  • While Sting is not a mark in the professional wrestling sense, his Fan Nickname, "The Dumbest Man In Professional Wrestling", is in reference to him being a mark in the broader sense of the word. While in WCW he put his trust in The Four Horsemen, twice!
  • Alexis Laree had no idea just how much Lexie Fyfe did not like her but the PGWA officials who listed her on the poll and the fans who voted her number one contender to the PGWA title held by Fyfe? They knew.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: