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The Villain Knows Where You Live

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"Peter, I swear to you, wherever you go wherever you are: I vow there will always be daggers bearing notes signed James Hook! They will be flung at the doors of your children's children's children. Do you hear me?!"
Captain Hook, Hook

The Big Bad or some other Villain, having made a threat against The Hero and/or someone the Hero loves, produces proof they can actually find the intended victim(s) and carry it out. Recent photographs of the target(s) at home or in other familiar settings are probably the most popular form of evidence; the recipient(s) will recognize background items, clothing, hairstyle and other details as familiar and recent, and the very existence of the photos implies someone got physically close enough to take them. On the other hand, the villain may simply say or write the home address, phone number, school name, or other recent identifying information ("Lovely blue leotard your daughter wore to her dance class today. It matches her eyes."). They may even produce some recognizable item belonging to the target(s), thereby proving they've been there once already and can return.

Since executing this trope involves inspiring feelings of fear and intimidation, it is most often performed by a villain or at their command. If a heroic character does this, chances are that hero already operates outside ordinary rules (think superhero), or is angry or desperate enough to act without the aid of law enforcement. When invoked against someone with a secret identity, the trope I Know You Know I Know will play a part in the threat. Implying or announcing that they know such a secret is another means of making the threat hit close to home, and may even imply that the opponent has some way to deal with the target's special abilities (If the villain knows Clark Kent is really Superman, maybe they know about that kryptonite problem too).

While this may be done in conjunction with an Implied Death Threat, it usually appears with more direct threats (of the Shame If Something Happened variety) or explicit threats, so as to underline both the intent and the ability to follow through. If it is not given in person or via telephone, such proof will likely accompany an anonymous threatening letter. Trespassing to Talk is an excellent way to demonstrate this.

There is often some overlap with Shame If Something Happened, as this trope can serve to bolster the threat and encourage the target's cooperation. In those cases, there's usually something the target can do or some price that can be paid to buy off the threat, if only for a short time. If this trope is used alone, often there is no price that can be paid; the threat is coming and the purpose is more to terrify beforehand rather than trying to get the target to do (or stop doing) something.

Compare and contrast The Call Knows Where You Live. Where this trope is about demonstrating the ability to strike (i.e. the baddies have done their homework and show their work to prove it), The Call Knows Where You Live is about going ahead and actually doing it (possibly without any warning). Either way, the situation demands some kind of response. It's also possible to do this trope first, then go ahead and pull the other one (by carrying out a threat). If the villain just wants to get the drop on the hero, they'll just act (TCKWYL); if the villain wants to play with the hero's head first, they'll do this first (or something like it).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom: As part of his agreement with the Japanese government, Koro-sensei is forbidden from harming the students in Class 3E. But when some bullies bait Nagisa into participating in a dangerous "suicide bomber" attempt, he reveals he's both willing and able to harm someone else, like their family and friends. He quickly proves his point by flying across the city and collecting the nameplates of all their houses within 10 seconds.
  • Bleach:
    • When Grimmjow and his Fracción invade Karakura Town on their own, the first thing they do is use Pesquisa to track down humans with potent Reiatsu. They end up targeting Ichigo and all of his friends while they are still within their own homes, upon which they scatter to kill them all.
    • Aizen implies that he knows where Ichigo lives (and he probably wasn't bluffing) when he states that he intended to draw Ichigo's attention by stringing the corpses of his little sisters outside Karakura Town.
    • At the start of the Thousand Year Blood War arc, Ichigo is visited by an Arrancar, who introduces himself while standing on Ichigo's bed as everyone is still processing the fact that they couldn't feel his presence a second ago. Ichigo promptly kicks him out of his house before they start fighting.
  • GTO: The Early Years: Yagyo Atsuki's "demons" attack Ryuji and Nagisa's bus while Ryuji is out. They don't physically harm Nagisa, but leave a huge "oni" kanji on the inside, to show they could have.
  • Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo: Mameaux skips the threats and simply has Frenchy hit the gang's hideout with napalm to show them that he really means business when he sends hitmen after them for giving him a phony Philosopher's Stone.
  • In Vinland Saga, Floki picks up from Askeladd's reaction during King Sweyn's speech that he has ties to Wales, and lets Sweyn know as much. This gives the Danish king the leverage he needs to force Askeladd to stop aiding his son, prince Canute. Or so he thinks...

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Zero Year: Gordon recalls how after he unsuccessfully tried to break up a dogfighting ring around the time Bruce's parents died, one of the people involved sent his daughter a pitbull puppy for her birthday.
  • This is what drives Drake Mallard into retirement in the Darkwing Duck continuation, as Negaduck figures out who Darkwing is and attacks his home. Fearful for Gosalyn's safety, he just flat out retires to protect her. When she finds out, she gives him the riot act for his selfish act.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • Donald Duck is extremely protective of both his superhero identity and the secret agent one because he's perfectly aware this would eventually happen if one or both got out. Hence why as Paperinik he's extremely brutal to anyone who try and find out or even lies about knowing (as in, "setting a lynching mob on the culprit" brutal, as he did to some guys who were endangering his identity and then to the Beagle Boys for lying they knew) and always carries memory-erasing candies that he'll feed, by force if necessary, to anyone who discovers him. Anyone, as Daisy and his nephews could testify if he hadn't slipped them those candies...
    • Interestingly enough, Paperinik himself provides a heroic counterpart: if he recognizes the technique of a thief he will visit them at home, and out-of-town criminals who plan to move at Duckburg may suddenly receive a visit from Paperinik and be shown a video with what the hero did to their friends that already tried to move in his city.
      • Another example comes from "Brains at Stake": as the Beagle Boys had hostages Paperinik couldn't attack directly, so he tormented them psychologically, with the thing that breaks their ability to fight being discovering that Paperinik had destroyed the bridge to their secret hideout in the mountains.
  • Sin City: The district attorney finally gets Marv to confess to the murders actually committed by Kevin and Cardinal Roark (and their murders, which he was guilty of) by turning off the recorder and showing him a picture of his mother in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. Marv breaks his arm in three places, but signs.
  • In Superman storyline Strangers at the Heart's Core, Supergirl receives a cryptic warning about some group called "The Visitors". Later, she realizes the Visitors know her secret identity when she is attacked in her own office by them while she is cleaning out her desk, and when they turn her mother's car into a car bomb.

    Fan Works 
  • The Dark Lords of Nerima: In the sequel, Ranma opts not to tell the Sailor Senshi, who are convinced he's an interdimensional dark lord bent on taking over the world, that he knows their Secret Identities precisely because he doesn't want them to interpret it as a threat in this fashion.
  • In Lost Reflections, Cascadius makes clear that he knows where the heroes' friends and families live, and that he's trying to determine just which young pony happens to be the Doctor's progeny.
  • Crossed Hearts: Catherine has a Psychic Link with Cooro that allows her to sense where he is at all times, making it practically impossible for him to hide from her.
  • Dirty Sympathy: Kristoph pays the rent for Apollo's apartment, he gives Apollo an unpleasant reminder when he visits that he owns him.
  • Unreasonable Doubt centers around Amanda Rollins being harassed by a former coworker who'd abused her in the past. They come to her apartment building in the middle of the night, ringing her doorbell and speaking to her over the intercom. While she naturally refuses to let them in, she realizes after the fact he wasn't actually expecting that; the whole visit was simply him demonstrating that he knew where she lived. This ends up being the breaking point that finally drives her to seek help.
  • The Law & Order: UK fanfic Safety Catch depicted an escaped criminal stalking the team who demonstrated this in chilling fashion by sending a sympathy card to Alesha and a funeral wreath to Natalie's father's nursing home.
  • Hero Chat: Played With in the Team Miraculous chapter "Sentibubbler", when Shadowmoth invades Alya's home with a Sentimonster Bubbler and holds her family and Nino hostage. While Alya initially fears that he found out she is Rena Rogue, it turns out he wanted to use her status as the Ladyblogger to lure Ladybug into a trap. Alya decides to fight back and knock down Shadowmoth long enough and pull off the Butterfly Miraculous before being captured by Sentimonster, while Nino streams the fight on the Ladyblog to inform the other heroes.
  • Watch Me Burn: After learning her Secret Identity, Adrien starts dating Marinette while simultaneously ramping up his sexual harassment of Ladybug as Chat Noir, wanting to make her as uncomfortable and frustrated with his 'heroic' alter ego as possible before revealing the truth. He plans to use this trope to Blackmail Marinette into staying with him, noting that "It wouldn't be out of character for Chat Noir to stand by, laughing, as the Dupain-Cheng Bakery was reduced to rubble."
  • What Goes Around Comes Around: Shadow Moth discovers Ladybug's Secret Identity and stages an attack on the Dupain-Cheng bakery, aiming a cannon right at her room while demanding she surrender the Miracle Box. This triggers a frantic battle that ends with both unmasked and Gabriel defeated and arrested.
  • In Butterfly, Izuku has to deal with the mysterious villain who's been haunting him following him back to his dorms, as well as tracking him back home.
  • During Conversations with a Cryptid, Shigaraki and Kurogiri pay Izuku a visit by teleporting directly into his apartment, just moments after Inko had left.
  • Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox:
    • When Naruto and Gaara meet for the first time after the year-long rampage, Gaara declares that if he'd seriously considered Naruto to be a threat to his plans, he would've let Temari shoot him at the start.
    • Later on, LOVE repeatedly leaves medallions owned by members of the Council of the Dawn on Naruto's doorstep whenever he or his friends defeat any of their members, as a reminder that they know exactly where he lives.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act IV: Shit hits the fan come chapter 13 when Hokuto makes his move. Not only does he know where Tsukune lives, but he's had his Co-Dragons Jovian and Jacqueline hold his mother and cousin hostage in order to force Moka to come to him.
  • Falling: Frisk's bullies make a regular habit of breaking into their room, trashing the place, and breaking or stealing their things. Since they're afraid of magic, they also like leaving magical traps behind.

  • In After the Sunset, local gangster Moret tries to recruit legendary jewel thief Max into doing a job for him. When Max refuses, claiming that he's retired from that life, Moret seems to accept this, but then casually mentions, "I love the view of the water from your house." Max corrects him, saying, "You mean the view of my house from the water". (although this isn't much better, as it still indicates this trope). Moret assures him that the first statement was correct, effectively warning Max not to cross him.
  • Best Seller. Detective Meechum has his life saved by a Mysterious Protector, and is not happy when his daughter tells him the same man gave her a lift home, convincing her he was a friend of her father with his intimate knowledge of their family. Later on the Big Bad has two policeman detain the daughter and bring her to him — not as a hostage, but to demonstrate his power and influence if Meechum doesn't cooperate.
  • At the end of Billy Bathgate, gangster Lucky Luciano contemplates killing the protagonist, but points out to Billy that it's hardly necessary, as he knows where not only Billy but all his relatives live.
  • Blown Away. Mad Bomber Ryan Gaerity is on the phone to cop Jimmy Dove, then says he has to hang up now because he's calling from Dove's house and his wife and daughter have just come home.
  • Fatal Attraction: Alex follows Dan home and clearly continues stalking the family unseen, as proven by her breaking into the house to kill his daughter's pet rabbit, kidnapping said daughter from her school, and breaking into the house again to try and kill his wife.
  • For Petes Sake: When Henry fails to pay a loan shark on time, he has a thug come at her husband Pete with a car and miss him, then calls her to warn her that the next time she fails to pay up, the car will find its mark.
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Alfrid gives the old "we know where you live" threat to Bard, who calmly responds that it's a small town, so everyone knows where each other lives.
  • The Gift (2015): Gordo leaves his first gift on the Callums' front door, even though neither of them gave him their address, directly. He overheard it while the Callums' were ordering items to be shipped to their new home.
  • In Grosse Pointe Blank, the assassin protagonist tries to convince his psychiatrist to continue seeing him (the psychiatrist freaked out when his patient revealed his profession). The protagonist mentions doctor-patient confidentiality as a reason why their continued visits wouldn't be a problem and then adds, "And besides, I know where you live". Given the protagonist's admitted profession and the fact that he would know the psychiatrist by name, that's not so hard to believe. The assassin meant it as a black joke, but while the psychiatrist realises this he doesn't find it funny at all.
  • In the film Ice Cream Man about a Humanitarian evil ice cream man, the eponymous man uses the exact line: "You little turds are gonna have to realize you can't run from the ice cream man! I know where you live! If you tell anyone, I'll get your mom and dad!"
  • Subverted in Kick-Ass. Right after mob boss Frank D'Amico orders his goons to bring him Kick Ass, our hero is woken in his bedroom by... fellow costumed vigilantes Hit Girl and Big Daddy, who've come to reiterate their request that he not tell anyone about them. "We like you, we just don't trust you." They also point out how ridiculously easy it was to determine his Secret Identity for someone who's likely to draw the hostile attention of both police and criminals.
  • Layer Cake:
    • Subtly done at one point. The protagonist is going to meet his girlfriend at a hotel rendezvous when he gets abducted by a Diabolical Mastermind gangster, and at the end of their "interview", he's casually dropped off at his home, which the other guy wouldn't know unless he'd been keeping close tabs on him.
    • Played for Laughs when the protagonist is being threatened by a Serbian gangster; he acts intimidated and agrees to meet him where he lives, then asks "Do you know where that is?". When the Serbian says no, the protagonist hangs up on him.
  • In The Mad Miss Manton, the unknown murderer stabs a knife onto Melsa Manton’s door with her cloak and a threatening letter attached saying, “Next time you’ll be in it.”
  • The Mechanic (2011): Arthur Bishop stops Steve McKenna from killing a carjacker. However before letting the carjacker go, he takes the driver's license from the man's wallet and informs "Raymond" that if there's any comeback on this, he's going to look him up now that he knows his address.
  • In One Hour Photo, after Robin Williams' character gets fired from his job at the One Hour Photo, he shows up one more time to get a roll of film developed. The pictures are all photos of the manager's daughter, in her front yard. Upon seeing these, the manager immediately calls the police.
  • Patriot Games: Miller calls Jack Ryan at his home to taunt him over the severe injuries Jack's daughter suffered after Miller's failed attempt to kill Jack's family.
  • Jack Rippner from Red Eye gets Lisa to help him assassinate the Secretary for Homeland Security by showing him her father's wallet which he stole from her father's house. If she doesn't help him kill the Secretary by moving him out of one hotel room into the other than her father will be murdered.
  • Spider-Man: After the Green Goblin attacks Aunt May, Peter realizes that the Goblin knows his Secret Identity and is willing to exploit it by going after his loved ones.
  • Triple 9: Criminals wordlessly show a bank manager a photograph of his house, then his wife and daughter, to get his cooperation in opening a safety deposit box.

  • Early in Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea, Bill shows Lori a printout of a threatening email he received earlier that morning, the latest in a series. The note came with recent photos of the cottage, Lori, their nanny Annelise and the twins on their ponies. The text reads:
    You came like a thief in the night to cast me into the abyss. You chained me in darkness, but no earthly chains can hold me anymore. I have risen.
    Behold, I am coming soon to repay you for what you have done. All that you love will perish. I will strike your children dead and give your wife a like measure of torment and mourning. I have the keys to Death and Hades, and I will blot your name from the book of life forever.
    Your nightmare has begun. There is no waking.
  • In The Client, a young witness is cornered in a hospital elevator by a hit man. After warning him to keep his mouth shut about what he knows, the man drives his point home by showing the boy a family picture which he recognizes as the one his mother keeps on her nightstand.
  • Similarly, in the novel Coma, after threatening Susan, the hit man drives home his point by showing her a picture of her little brother and warning her that if she doesn't back off, "I'll have to pay him a visit too."
  • Discworld:
    • Villains tend to try this on Sam Vimes. Always a terrible idea, since he's a Papa Wolf and that acts as a Berserk Button for him.
    • In Night Watch Carcer tells Vimes: "I can see your house from here!" shortly before they're blasted back in time. When they're sent back, Vimes immediately posts extra guards around his house. In the end, Carcer never actually goes near the place; he was just taunting Vimes.
    • Happens several times in Thud!:
      • The dwarves send a suicide squad to assassinate his family... causing him to pursue their sorry asses all the way into Koom Valley, and filling him with so much primal vengeful rage, he almost murders them.
      • Two troll enforcers for The Breccia attempt to intimidate Vimes by saying this...right in the middle of the Watch house while surrounded by officers. With the Breccia's boss having explicitly said that such threats were not to happen. Chrysoprase, the aforementioned boss, later apologizes, assures Vimes the enforcers have been dealt with appropriately, and offers him a new rockery for his troubles (held in a box that couldn't possibly contain an entire troll).
      • The Low King of the Dwarves almost pulls this on Vimes in a moment of anger before catching himself and mentioning diplomatically how nice it would be to meet his family. Vimes isn't fooled, but lets it slide.
    • In Guards! Guards! it's implied that Lord Vetinari got the Thieves' Guild leaders to agree to his plan to lower the crime rate by legitimizing them, by quietly suggesting that he knew where their loved ones lived. Especially since legitimization meant they now had a fixed abode.
    • In Making Money, Moist von Lipwig has just gotten out of a meeting with Cosmo Lavish, and contemplates his rather poor attempt at this trope (which, in Cosmo's mind, was actually done on purpose to make Moist underestimate him).
    Moist: Why didn't you add 'We know where your children will go to school'?
  • The Dresden Files novella "The Warrior" features an antagonist who sends Harry photographs of the Carpenter family and their house: not so much "I know where you live" as "I know where your friends live". The characters discuss whether this means the Carpenters are really in danger, or whether they're being threatened to distract Harry from something else.
  • The Fragility of Bodies:
    • After almost dying in one of the Game of Chicken competitions, El Peque is traumatized and stays home, but Rivero still makes sure to track him down to his house just to intimidate the boy to keep quiet about the competitions.
    • The Cartel thugs warn Lucio they know where he and his family live, as a threat to stop him from helping Verónica.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, after Nikita goes through multiple hoops and secret passages to reach her hideout, she doesn't even finish bathing before the Big Bad drops an Implied Death Threat on her doorstep.
  • Averted in Strega. Burke, an unlicensed private investigator who goes to elaborate steps to hide his identity, is pressured by a would-be client who threatens to turn up at the hotel where he's a permanent resident. This gives Burke pause as only a few people know he lives at that hotel. "Of course, those people are all wrong."
  • The prologue of Halting State is a transcript of a vaguely threatening job offer, which knows an awful lot about the "applicant" considering he's never contacted them. The prologue title is "We Know Where You Live, We Know Where Your Dog Goes To School".
  • Maul: Lockdown: An Evil vs. Evil version appears when Zero reveals frightening in-depth knowledge about the sister of cannibalistic gang leader Vas Nailhead after Vas bullies him.
  • In Pact, Blake Thorburn pays a visit to the fiancee of police officer Duncan Behaim, helps her car out of a snowdrift, and gets invited in for food. Duncan immediately comes running, but cannot attack Blake because of Sacred Hospitality, as his wife had offered Blake shelter and food.
  • A rare heroic instance in The Queen's Thief, where the protagonist is the one saying (or demonstrating) it. When he visits Attolia and Sounis, rulers of Eddis' rival nations, Eugenides moves things around to show he's been there. For Attolia, he sometimes left gifts. In the final book, his threats against the Braeling king include several of the man's personal effects, graphically illustrating that he's been in there too.
  • Late in Lynn Shepherd's 2012 novel The Solitary House, protagonist and investigator Charles Maddox finds his housemaid vomiting in the kitchen, and he learns from another servant that she had been accosted while buying provisions at the markets and a package was added to her basket. The package proves to contain the little finger from Charles' right hand, which had been forcibly amputated in an attack on him several days previously. Charles recognizes the contents ("A second, closer look eradicates all doubt."), and the threat:
    The package left in Molly's basket carried more than one message, and the loudest and clearest of them all is that his unseen adversary is closing in. Closing in on Charles, and closing in, now, on all those around him. He could have killed Molly today, if he chose, just as he could have killed Charles on the City Road.
  • Warrior Cats: In Onestar's Confession, Darktail makes it clear that he knows where Onestar lives by briefly kidnapping one of his grandkits, and Onestar feels the threat, knowing that Darktail and his rogues could attack him and his Clanmates at any time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor: Cassian is trying to sell stolen Imperial tech to Rael, who points out he has no way of knowing that it's genuine. When Cassian says that Rael knows where he lives Rael is not impressed, as it's clear to him that Cassian is planning to skip town.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • One of the first things Angel does when he turns evil is to go into Buffy's room while she's sleeping, draw a detailed picture of her, and leave it for her to find in the morning.
    • And let's not forget Glory, who threatened to kill Buffy's loved ones and make her watch while confronting her in her own living room.
    • On the Wolfram & Hart website, if you go to the page to fill out a job application, it simply reads "We know where to contact you. Expect a visit from our recruiters soon."
  • Burn Notice, Michael and Fiona try this by breaking into a bad guy's home and playing on his pool table as he arrives. Being part of the bad guy/spy game himself he cites the trope, doesn't act intimidated, and makes them get to their point. It works later when they state his daughter's name and overseas school address and imply someone is there about to shoot her.
  • Chief of Staff: Episode 2.2 ends with Seon-yeong, a crusading assemblywoman, driving in to the parking garage under her apartment building only to find evil Corrupt Corporate Executive Lee Cheong-min lying in wait. Lee makes a very thinly veiled Shame If Something Happened threat about how she shouldn't be going around unescorted, a threat that becomes even less veiled when Seon-yeong goes up to her apartment and finds that it's been ransacked.
  • Cracker. In "Men Should Weep", a rapist is assaulting the wives of people he has a grudge against. He threatens a government bureaucrat with this trope, later raping and murdering his wife. When a detective calls in the address to headquarters in the grieving man's presence, he suddenly remembers the threat.
    Detective: You must be threatened a lot in this job.
    Bureaucrat: This one was different.
    Detective: How?
    Bureaucrat: He meant it.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • In "The Perfect Game", Karen Page tries to coerce Felix Manning into giving her information under the threat of public exposure in her newspaper. Felix calmly tells Karen her parents name, the address of the house she grew up in, which room Karen slept in as a child and the fact that she used to be a drug addict which had something to do with the death of her brother. She's suitably freaked out.
    • Used in season 3 of when the grand jury deliberates on whether or not to indict Wilson Fisk. One of the jurors starts reciting the names and addresses of the others, implying that they will be targeted if they choose to indict.
    • Done on Fisk himself in Season One when Madame Gao arranges a meeting by going directly to Fisk's apartment. She points out that its location used to be his most closely guarded secret, and the fact that the secret is out shows Fisk has grown sloppy and needs to get his act together.
  • In Day Break (2006), Detweiler leaves no doubt about this when showing Hopper the footage of Rita being shot and then adding images of his sister's family.
  • On ER, Luka' s vengeful former patient (he was left permanently disabled due to an error Luka made, kicking off a chain of disastrous events—failed business, failed marriage, etc) encounters his wife in the park while she's playing with their son. He's not threatening at all, instead being very friendly and polite while never revealing who he is. But he does steal the kid's stuffed animal. When he returns it in a supposedly friendly gesture, Luka is frightened at the realization both of this trope and the fact that the man could have easily harmed his wife and son had he wanted to. It doesn't help that a few episodes later, as Luka looks out the window of his apartment, he sees the man standing across the street. And a few episodes after that, his wife returns home only to find the man sitting on the couch as comfortably as if he belongs there.
  • All versions of Law & Order:
    • A particularly repugnant SVU criminal very casually asks Stabler, "How are Kathy and the kids?" after spending weeks stalking Olivia, knowing not only where she lives, but where she shops/works out/does her laundry, etc., and terrorizing yet another potential victim the same way.
    • On the original program, a defendant admits to killing the victim after the man threatened his wife by greeting her as she returned home from running errands—"Tell him I was this close.", and years later, a thug threatens ADA Alexandra Borgia with the identical statement (eerily Foreshadowing her fate).
    • Law & Order: UK: James Steele's nemesis practically recites the address of his son's home—"Bradley Street, Edinburgh" in order to intimidate him.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • Late in "Unfinished Business" (Season 7, Episode 12), Julia gets a photo of her and Murdoch kissing in an alley (which she and viewers recognize happened after they attended a recent opera performance), together with a letter apparently from James Gillies. The letter threatens that if she marries Murdoch, he'll die, and if she tells him about the letter (and the threat), they'll both die. This starts a subplot over the next several episodes in which she tries to resolve the problem herself to keep Murdoch safe. She applies Murdoch's methods and finds the room where the photo was taken. In that room, she also finds a second photo of Murdoch taken inside his office with a second note threatening death if she continues her investigation. It later turns out the photos and threats came from her murdered husband's younger brother Leslie Garland.
    • In the two-parter "On the Waterfront", Brackenreid recalls in Flashback a day when his wife Margaret gave directions to two men driving a wagon. The inspector called sharply to his wife from his wheelchair on the front porch, and Margaret didn't seem to understand what he was fussing about. The men were the O'Shea brothers, who had beaten Brackenreid nearly to death (hence his presence at home in the wheelchair). They don't speak to Brackenreid directly, but one of them does tip his hat to the inspector.
  • NCIS: As Ellie Bishop interrogates a terrorist who she's had dealings with in the past:
    Terrorist: "It's been a long time, Eleanor. I thought about you."
    Ellie: "You should have stopped by the office and said hello".
    Terrorist: "That's much too formal. I much prefer your apartment in DC. How is your husband Jake? He should really learn to watch his surroundings."
  • NCIS: New Orleans: When Sebastian is abducted by terrorists, they inform him of this very trope, then show him a picture of Dr. Wade and another of his mother (who is in town for a visit), letting him know that this trope applies to them too.
  • On One Life to Live, after Max Holden runs afoul of a Loan Shark. As he scrambles to come up with the money to pay him back, the guy drops by his home for a "friendly" chat with the man's wife. Later, when she mentions, "a friend of yours stopped by", Max panics as he realizes that the man was not-so-subtly threatening to harm his family if he didn't reimburse him.
  • Person of Interest:
    • Combined with Even Evil Has Loved Ones in "Aletheia", when the Machine makes it clear it's not going to tolerate the government trying to take control of it.
    The Machine: [via Root] I don't belong to anyone anymore. You, however, are mine. I protect you. The only thing you love lives at 254 Wendell Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. I guard it, same as I guard you. Do not question my judgment. Do not pursue me or my agents. Trust in me. I am always watching.
    • In "Prisoners Dilemma", four corporate mercenaries plus John Reese have been captured by the FBI. One of them decides to talk and finger Reese as the Man in the Suit vigilante. Harold Finch calls the mercenary with his true name, the address of his family, his mortgage details...and the fact that Finch has just transferred all the money in his offshore account and won't get it back unless he fingers one of his colleagues as the Man in the Suit instead.
    • And in "C.O.D.", Finch is dealing with an online black marketeer only known as d3mon8. Or so he believes until...
    Finch: The catch, Albert, is that you leave this very second, disappear, and don't show your face for at least a year. Especially not at your mom's house in Queens, where you presently reside.
    • In "Pretenders", a Heroic Wannabe is pretending to be a Hard Boiled Detective called Jack Forge. He gets a call from the villains on a stolen phone he's found, demanding to speak to Detective Forge. After hanging up in a panic, he immediately gets a call from the same villains on his workplace phone, asking for him by his real name.
    • In "Last Call", an unseen villain calls a 911 dispatcher and informs her that he's kidnapped a child who will be killed if she doesn't comply with his instructions. When she expresses skepticism over whether the kidnapping is real, the villain offers to drop a body part over at her address, which he proceeds to give.
  • A subtle one in the Remington Steele episode "Elegy in Steele": Major Descoine comes to the agency's office, promises Laura and Steele he'll kill them both by noon that day, and leads them on a chase around the city. One surreal stop is a richly-furnished Victorian-looking apartment in an otherwise abandoned building. On looking around, the detectives notice that the framed photographs scattered about the living room show them at work on recent cases (in clearly recognizable stills from previous episodes), and the penny drops:
    Steele: He's been following us! The bloody bugger's been spying on us!
    Laura: It gives me the creeps.
    The Minor: (Enters carrying a loaded tea tray) Oh, "cream," did you say? (Stops as Steele and Laura turn on her, Steel pointing his gun at her) It's right here on the tray.
  • The Professionals. A criminal does this when jury tampering in "A Not Very Civil Civil Servant" (he's also smart enough to include subtle blackmail and bribery as well).
    "You've got four kids. I know the roads they cross on their way to school and I know what they look like. And I can be a very dangerous driver. I know the supermarket your wife shops at. So, what I do is, I put a few things in her bag, I call the detective and she's down the road for shop-lifting. You think about it."
  • The Sopranos: When Uncle Junior is on trial, some of June's associates find one of the jurors (buying candy for his son, no less) and casually mention details of the trial and of the juror's family, and how glad they are that the juror is doing his civic duty. In the next episode, the jury is hung with a single holdout, leading to a mistrial—and that poor juror is hated by all the others.
  • The season 2 finale of Stranger Things makes it clear that the Mind Flayer knows full well who the Party are and where they live. And it’s pissed.
  • Strong Medicine. Incensed when Dylan fails to save their leader, several gang members begin threatening him. He doesn't take it seriously—until a picture of his daughter wearing her hospital volunteer uniform is sent to him. To drive the point home, a bulls-eye is drawn across her head.
  • This comes in handy in Treadstone when someone threatens a Manchurian Agent this way, as he's had his memories wiped due to brainwashing and he doesn't know where he lives, so he forces the guy making the threat to give him the address.
  • Wonder Woman: In "Mind Stealers from Outer Space", the Skrill determine that Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are the same person and send two of their alien-possessed humans to Diana's apartment. Diana is shocked to see them there, but she almost manages to fight them off. Then the third Skrill envoy, the seven-foot tall monster called the Zardor, arrives.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • This was one of the openly admitted mind games BJ Whitmer used to get the advantage against Steve Corino during their final feud in Ring of Honor before Corino's departure, filming himself standing over Corino's sleeping spouse.

    Video Games 

  • In Crimson Dark the pirate Abraham Mengsk responds to Vaegyr Ward disabling his ship by ranting about how he knows where to find his and his wife's families. It turns out to be the wrong move.
  • In Dead Winter, after Monday's rebellion, the mob boss sends hitmen to his parents. His mother poisons them.
  • In Joe vs. Elan School, after Joe leaves the titular school, he's tracked down by another former Elan inmate named Peter who had a reputation for being a bully, who Joe had maced in an escape attempt. Peter calls Joe on the phone and says that he's driven 500 miles to Joe's block and really wants to visit. Joe, being Genre Savvy enough to realize that this is highly suspect, makes excuses, ends the phone call, and spends the next several days paranoid that he's going to be attacked.
  • In S.S.D.D. "Chris Reed" calls up crime boss Mr. Sweetwater about a certain item his men stole then gives an address, his mother's. Then responds to attempted threats by telling "Sweetwater" he knows everything about him, including his real name.
  • unOrdinary:
    • Volcan, who has been killing much more powerful and experienced heroes, is shown to have figured out Remi, Isen and Blyke's identities from their one encounter and has printed up sheets including their home addresses, family members and other information. She's still targeting them even though they've quit going out as costumed heroes.
    • Spectre is shown to be gathering information on Remi, Blyke and Arlo and are implied to be interested in John too. They have an agent living as a mole in the same dorms as Blyke, Arlo and John so Sera is understandably horrified at the revelation.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-2835 is a "lost episode" of the No Budget Sam Singer cartoon The Adventures of Paddy the Pelican, which involves Paddy randomly stopping the cartoon to ask the viewers what they think and getting irrationally angry if they aren't enjoying it, going into a rant that involves heavy use of the phrase "Reap what you sow!" Testing on the SCP was discontinued after Paddy seemed to know where the test subject lived and threatened their family.
    Note from Dr. Naismith: We can't take any more chances. Even if he's bluffing, it's specific bluffing, and the implications are, at best, troubling.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Marcus is shocked to come home and find Silco — the undercity boss he's taking bribes from — in his house, helping his daughter built a house of cards. At the end of their subsequent conversation, Silco knocks over the cards, pointing out that accidents happen.
  • The American Dragon: Jake Long episode "Homecoming" reveals that the Huntsman knows where Rose's parents are, and they'll remain unharmed if she does exactly what he says, that being getting the last three crystal skulls to help him slay all magical creatures.
  • The Batman: When Batman and Superman meet, Superman just uses his x-ray vision to see who's beneath the cowl. Batman doesn't like being at the disadvantage, so he tracks Superman's flight patterns, recognizes the two most frequent stops (the Daily Planet building and Clark Kent's apartment), puts two and two together, and shows up at the apartment in person, just to let Supes know that he's not to be underestimated.
  • Justice League:
  • The Owl House:
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In the episode "Meet the Beat-Alls", Mojo Jojo, Him, Princess Morbucks and Fuzzy Lumpkins all converge at the Powerpuffs' home and argue over who is going to destroy them.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "World's Finest", Batman does a tongue-in-cheek version to Superman after uncovering his Secret Identity, by using a Tracking Device to follow him to the apartment of 'Clark Kent'. Bruce Wayne dates Lois Lane in this episode, and when he leaves for Gotham again, he tells Superman that "[Lois] is all yours, if you can handle her. But you better be good to her, 'cause I know where you live."
  • Season 3 of Young Justice (2010) reveals that the Light know the secret identities of the Justice League as well as who their loved ones and associates are, but refuse to target said loved ones and associates because they know that doing so will just get the League on their backs, so they've put this aside as the "nuclear option". We learn this in an episode where it turns out the League's families have play dates with each other at the Allen household and Ocean Master (who was kicked out of the Light) tries to assassinate them on one such day before being stopped by Lady Shiva. Permanently.

    Real Life 
  • During her 1975 trial for attempting to kill US President Gerald Ford, Manson Family member Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme threatened the judge, mentioning the piano in the front room of his house. As noted on the April, 25, 2014 edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, the judge's security detail was increased after that. The incident was also mentioned in a panel discussion involving some of the trial's participants (at about the 50-minute mark).
  • The September 17, 2014 edition of The Rachel Maddow Show opened with a story on an otherwise-slickly produced ISIS video that included some jerky cell phone video of the White House. Maddow hangs the lampshade:

    ''But they're good at trying to scare us, right? They don't just show
    stock footage of the White House or some postcard picture of the White
    House. They instead choose footage of the White House that maybe you might
    take yourself on your cell phone if you were driving past the White House,
    which then makes it extra scary when it comes from ISIS.

    ''This is the footage they show of the White House. It`s like drive-by,
    not very professional footage. It makes you wonder, hmm, how did they
    shoot this? Is ISIS casing the White House? Are they here?

    ''That's the feeling they`re trying to create, right? They`re here,
    they're coming for us. This is a war between the United States of America
    and ISIS.''
  • As detailed in Gerald Posner's 2015 book God's Bankers, Italian businessman Licio Gelli was head of the underground Masonic lodge Propaganda Due. Among the documents and photographs found in the 1981 police search of his office was a photograph of a naked Pope John Paul II sunning himself by a swimming pool. It was later learned that Gelli had shown the photo to others, drawing attention to the lax papal security: "If it's possible to take these pictures of the Pope, imagine how easy it is to shoot him."


Video Example(s):


Villain paying a visit

Marcus is shocked to come home and see Silco playing with his daughter. Silco then makes stealthy threats at the daughter's life. The message gets through to Marcus.

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Example of:

Main / TheVillainKnowsWhereYouLive

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