Alice is in a difficult situation: perhaps she's chased by the cops, or maybe she has a secret she cannot let out. She thinks she's completely alone against the world, but wait. Bob is there, and he's the only one Alice can rely on.
Discovering that there is only one trustworthy person remaining is a difficult moment. This is typically exploited to emphasize the sense of danger. That, and to build suspense around just whether that trust will be justified.
If the trust is justified, then it's probably directed to the Secret Keeper, The Consigliere, The Lancer (or The Dragon) or the Only Sane Man. When the person you thought you can trust betrays you, it slips into Et Tu, Brute?. See also The Power of Trust.
Warning: Spoilers abound.
- Nabari no Ou:
- Yoite and Miharu have no one else to turn to but each other after betraying Kairoushuu.
Yoite: I can only rely on Miharu-
- Same with Raikou and Gau, to the point that the two camp out in total isolation for two months after running away before accidentally being discovered by Raimei. If she hadn't found them, there's no telling how long they would have stayed there.
- Yoite and Miharu have no one else to turn to but each other after betraying Kairoushuu.
- "Help me, Obi-Wan. You're my only hope." Princess Leia's message to Obi-Wan Kenobi, sent via R2-D2 in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
- Ugarte: "You know, Rick, I have many a friend in Casablanca, but somehow, just because you despise me, you are the only one I trust."
- In Ultraviolet, Garth is the only person Violet can trust, as she's got nowhere else left to go.
- "You're my only hope," said Roger Rabbit to Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- In Shutter Island, Teddy Daniels calls and treats his partner, Chuck Aule, as this, despite the two apparently meeting for the first time on the ferry to the island. Becomes even more poignant after you realize that "Chuck" is actually his longtime psychiatrist.
- In Banlieue 13: Ultimatum, when Damien discovers he's been framed for drug dealing by the police department he works for, he promptly grabs a phone and calls Leito for help.
- A darker than usual example occurs in Reservoir Dogs, in which Mr. Pink declares that Mr. Blonde is the only one of the bank robbers he trusts absolutely not to be an undercover police officer... because Mr. Blonde has already demonstrated himself to be a vicious sociopath willing to murder innocent people for no reason whatsoever.
Mr. Pink: He's too fuckin' homicidal to be working with the cops.
- In Inglourious Basterds, Shoshanna (understandably) trusts no one at all, except her boyfriend Marcel.
- In A Face in the Crowd, Lonesome Rhodes makes it clear over and over again that Marcia is the only person whom he really trusts. Her ultimate betrayal utterly breaks him.
- In the Hurog series, there is Oreg, who is a sort of Genius Loci of castle Hurog, and also magically bound to serve the owner of the castle. It can be assumed that, at times, he was the only one the very paranoid heads of the family trusted, as at least one of them used Klingon Promotion and feared his own offspring would off him. Eventually, he becomes the only person still living in the castle who knows that protagonist Ward is not as stupid as he pretends to be.
- Typical in the Pony Tale genre is that the heroine is The Only One The Horse Can Trust.
- Subverted in Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception, when Artemis tells Holly that he'll only be able to break through the mind-wipe by hearing of fairies and the like from the one person he can trust. That person is himself. Luckily, he prepared a recording at the end of the previous book.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, this is why Jon Arryn and Ned Stark were chosen to be Hands of the King Robert Baratheon, who was surrounded by a Deadly Decadent Court.
- Dumbledore in Harry Potter doesn't trust anybody with the whole truth except Harry - and even then, it takes an immensely torturous You Are Not Ready rigmarole to get there.
- Turns out there IS one person he trusts as much as Harry in book 7: Severus Snape, as revealed after his death.
- In the first Dragonriders of Pern novel, Lessa says this about the watch-wher (a sort of deformed dragon used like a watchdog) of Ruatha Hold; during the murder of her parents and brothers many years earlier, it had sheltered and protected her in its nest, and since then it had been the only creature in the world who knew her true identity.
Lessa: It was the only one I could trust. My only friend.
- Invoked during the final installment of the Chronicles of Prydain, when Prince Gwydion tells Taran that he alone will share in the spoils of their plunder at Arawn's fortress: "I trust no other." It's not Gwydion - it's Arawn, using his Voluntary Shapeshifting powers, trying to trick Taran. Fortunately, Taran catches on fast.
- Night has a darker example: the only person the Jews can trust is Hitler. He's the only one who always keeps his promises to them.
- In Phantom's Reckoning 2, Kaori finds herself saying this to Yuki at least once. While they're also friends with Shoji, Tatsuya and Makoto, who make up the rest of the Five-Man Band, Yuki is clearly the closest to Kaori, and they are shown to have empathy for each other.
- Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) states repeatedly in his memoirs that the only person he trust and he believes he can trust is his aide, Jurgen.
- In The X-Files, this is turned Up to Eleven. One of the taglines for the show is "Trustno 1". Mulder and Scully make it clear often that they only trust each other and unfailingly.
- Played straight and subverted numerous times in 24:
- In an early episode of the fourth season, Jack and Audrey Raines are caught in a building surrounded by Marwan Habib's thugs, who have already murdered all the staff in the offices. Jack pulls out a phone and tells Audrey that he's calling "the only person I can trust" - nine minutes later, Jack and Audrey are saved from certain death when Tony Almeida arrives to rescue them from the building's parking garage.
- Jack references Chloe being his main (and only) tech support throughout the later seasons (especially when he's hiding out after he fakes his death in season 4), and later comments during the season finale that "I never thought you'd have my back all these years."
- Whenever Jack says, "You are our only [hope/evidence], I promise you can trust me," the person to whom he says this invariably dies shortly afterward (sometimes in the same episode).
- In the White Collar episode "Vital Signs", a drugged Neal tells Peter, "You're the only one I trust."
- Regularly said in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. between Phil Coulson and Melinda May.
- When Inspector Lynley's wife Helen is critically injured in a car accident, Lynley asks his partner Barbara Havers to stand watch outside her hospital door - and though he takes his anger out on her when she has to, of all things, use the loo, he tells her later that he's terribly sorry, and that she is the only one he trusts to do the job properly.
- In Due South, Ray Kowalski spends an episode accused of murder. Worse, a concussion clouds his memory, leaving him doubting his own innocence. His partner Fraser refuses to doubt him, meaning that when Ray can't even trust himself, there's always Fraser.
- Dancing on the Edge: When his friends start turning on him after he is framed for murder, Louis goes straight to Stanley. His trust is, thankfully, completely justified.
- Lie to Me: Cal invokes this when one of his oldest friends is being accused of a crime, and asks Cal to risk his firm to help him.
Cal: How many people in the world do you really trust?Ria: I don't know, twelve?[beat]Ria: Six.Cal: Well, when you get to my age, it'll be three. And when one of them asks for twenty-four hours, you give it to them.
- Babylon 5: Londo has three wives, all of whom were from Arranged Marriages and none of whom he likes. When The Emperor allows him to dissolve two of his marriages, he decides to retain his first wife, who openly insults him, because at least she doesn't pretend to like him like the other two. (Although the audience knows that she really does care for him deep down.)
- In the first episode of The Umbrella Academy (2019), Five tells Vanya that she's the only one of their dysfunctional family he can trust about his plan to stop the apocalypse since as The Team Normal, she'll listen. Becomes ironic in light of how she winds up being the cause of it.
- Wheatley was always there for Chell in Portal 2. Until his FaceHeel Turn.
- In Kingdom Hearts, Organization XIII member Lexaeus says this about Zexion, as detailed in his secret journal entry in Days. The two, through their interactions, would seem to be Heterosexual Life-Partners and Lexaeus seems to be loyal enough to Zexion that he could be considered Zexion's Dragon for Riku's portion of Chain of Memories.
- In Soulcalibur V, we see Pyrrha Alexandria say almost this exact phrase to someone after her recently rediscovered brother Patroklos threatened her with his sword and fled after she saved his life from Nightmarenote . Who does she trust in this time of emotional turmoil? Tira.
- In Bravely Default, Tiz is the only person Agnes completely trusts.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Leliana has hardened considerably in the ten years since Dragon Age: Origins, and while she clearly trusts and respects her fellow Inquisition leaders, she has nevertheless developed quite the shell. But if she was befriended (but not romanced) by the Warden during the events of Origins, there is one person in the world in whom she hasn't lost even an ounce of faith.
Leliana: I consider her/him one of my closest friends. S/he is probably the only person I trust completely.
- When describing Ira in The Letters Of The Devil, Cedric says, "There's nobody I trust like him."
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold offers a subversion: in the episode with the Green Lanterns and Despero, the entire corps is missing and Despero has Mind Controlled Mogo the Living Planet into helping him take over the Earth. Batman is "helped" by three free Lanterns: Guy Gardner, who has a huge chip on his shoulder; G'nort, who is The Load and (almost) too dumb to remember the Green Lantern oath; and Sinestro, who is utterly dependable. So much so that Batman tells him outright... right before he decides that killing Mogo is the only way to make sure to stop Despero.
- In the first episode of Gravity Falls, the journal Dipper finds has an entry that says, "Remember, in Gravity Falls, there's no one you can trust." By the end of the episode, he realizes that there is someone he can trust: his twin sister, Mabel.
"...But when you battle a hundred gnomes side-by-side with someone, you realize that they've probably always got your back."
- By the end of the season they decide they can also trust Grunkle Stan enough to tell him about the journal. He immediately takes it to join the two others he's collected.
- In "Not What He Seems", both Stan and Mabel have betrayed Dipper's trust in them - Stan when the twins learn that he may not even be their Great-Uncle and that he's been hiding crucial information from them of possibly apocalyptic proportions, and Mabel when she chooses to trust Stan's judgement over Dipper's in the matter of letting the portal under the Mystery Shack reach its fully active state.
- In the following episode, "A Tale of Two Stans", Dipper regains Stan's trust after learning his entire motivation to opening the portal was rescuing his brother Ford. While he possibly regains Mabel's trust as well, their relationship as siblings gets slightly less closer.
- Family Guy: In "Play It Again, Brian", Peter says to Lois that Brian is the only one he can trust. Lois immediately tells Peter that Brian tried to have sex with her the previous night.