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Traitor Shot

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"I will employ some manner of surveillance so that when I leave a room and a traitorous comrade gives me the Malicious Scowl or Wicked Leer to my back, I will have ample warning of his impending betrayal."

So, you've got this character, Alice. Seems like a nice enough person, interacts pleasantly with the heroes, maybe offers them some help or advice. And then the heroes leave the room, or just turn their backs. The camera however, hangs around watching Alice for a few seconds. And sure enough, as soon as no one's watching, Alice starts looking shifty, or even downright evil. This is the Traitor Shot, a close-up on a character for no apparent reason, which is practically a guarantee that at some point, that person will betray the heroes in some way.

The Traitor Shot is a way to let the audience know that they should be suspicious of a particular character before that character has done anything to earn this suspicion. Depending on exactly how the character behaves during the few seconds that no one but the audience is watching them, it can either be a subtle clue or a giant, blinking "This Person is Evil" sign.

There are a few common ways to set up a Traitor Shot: changing from a side view of a hug to the front of one person's face. Changing from medium distance group shots to a close up of someone looking at the camera. The camera moving from a group of people in ensemble then moving across landscape and then settling on one person.

This trope is so common that a director can set up a Red Herring Mole just by giving them a few Traitor Shot moments, and then not making them evil. It also appears in Ebert's Bigger Little Movie Glossary under the heading "Unmotivated Close-up".

Revealing Hug is one way of employing this trope. Not to be confused with what happens when a character is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves. For another way to find the guilty party before The Reveal, see Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize.

NOTE: Since this trope deals with betrayals, this page will contain spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk sprinkles the Golden Age arc with a lot of sinister images of Griffith, particularly whenever he successfully pulls off a successful Machiavellian scheme. While he's shown to be a capable and at times even caring leader, they remind you that there's a darkness lurking within him that will lead to him joining the God Hand and becoming Guts' mortal enemy.
  • An extremely subtle one in an episode of Black Lagoon. A minor mob boss, out of his element in the pirate city of Roanapur, is spazzing out that he needs Florida to send him more men after he got all his own men killed by Lagoon Company and other Roanapur denizens. The local expert on Roanapur keeps trying to tell him that things just don't work the same here and that it's not their turf, but the minor boss won't listen to reason. The advisor leaves the room, sighs, and as he leans we see a concealed gun in his coat. Another character strongly implies later that the advisor is probably just going to shoot the minor boss to clean up the mess rather than let him create a bigger one.
  • Bleach anime episode #311: After Michel defeats a hollow and makes Kon (Karakurizer) look weak, Kon walks away in dejection. As he does so, Michel has a nasty smile, because it's all part of his nefarious plot!
  • Tanya from the second season of Darker than Black gets one of the hug variety, though it's pretty predictable.
  • Light of Death Note gets these a lot, even though it's kind of a given that he's a mass murderer who doesn't really care about anything except his own success. His most famous one is when his Memory Gambit succeeds "exactly as planned".
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Gajeel has one during the Fighting Festival Arc when Raven Tail guild leader Ivan Dreyar contacts him through a shikigami, and thanks Gajeel for spying on Fairy Tail guild for him.
    • In the same arc Gajeel gives Makarov a letter detailing the location of his son Ivan, revealing him to be a Double Agent.
  • Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid has several with Vincent Bruno. Not only does he look suspiciously menacing when he's first introduced without the protagonists present, he also offers up a self-satisfied smirk just after they do meet him.
  • In Fushigi Yūgi, just when it looks like all the Suzaku Senshi are gathered and all is right with the world, we see an ominous closeup of Chiriko playing his flute. Anyone who's seen the intro knows he is not Chiriko, but Amiboshi, a Seiryu Senshi.
  • In the manga version of The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengeance a Second Time, Lucia gives a truly creepy one while hiding behind Kyrell after selling out Minaris as a beast-man. Only Minaris sees it, of course.
  • In the manga adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, when Link goes into the Elemental Sanctuary, King Daltus chuckles to reveal that he’s the Big Bad Vaati in disguise.
  • Minor case in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's with Admiral Gil Graham. The close-up of his discomfited expression after a conversation with his protégé Chrono, who mentions investigating the Book of Darkness incident, is the first hint that he's up to something. Later on, it turns out that he is responsible for the actions of the masked men who keep screwing things up for Team Nanoha.
  • In My-HiME, very little seems to be out of the ordinary in how Shiho reacts to news of Takumi going missing from his hospital room, but then Yuuichi mentions that Mai must be worried, and the last shot before the scene transitions is Shiho glaring angrily. Shiho then goes out and destroys Akira's Child, killing Takumi, out of spite toward Mai.
  • In My-Otome, Tomoe is given one of these after everyone finds out about Erstin's snake-bite injury during their "survival exam" expedition. After expressing her concern, Tomoe turns around and gives an evil smirk...while Chie is still looking in her direction, albeit not at her face. Even though she actually confesses to (and brags about) doing it in a later episode, the hairstyle in the silhouette of the person that entered the tent the previous night to sabotage Erstin's emergency signal beacon only makes it more obvious that she was the perpetrator, even before the Traitor Shot.
  • Naruto has a variation early on. It's aimed at another, smaller-time villain as a Death Glare, but this still clues us in that Kabuto is not the Mauve Shirt he sells himself as.
  • Pokémon: The Original Series:
    • In the episode "UnBEARable", the Teddiursa has five separate ones.
    • Iris's Emolga has a healthy supply of her own. Ash's Snivy is quick to catch on, though.
    • Another episode had an evil (or at least very mischievous) Togepi doing this.
  • Anthy Himemiya gets one in the first ending theme of Revolutionary Girl Utena (around :46).
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero's Myne gives us one as Naofumi is heading off to bed, a subtly devious little look that is the last one we see before she proceeds to steal all of Naofumi's stuff and turn most of everyone against him via a False Rape Accusation.
  • Sayaka from Ultra Maniac gets several of these in the manga. She usually gets these after striking up seemingly innocent conversations with other people, but especially with Nina and Ayu. Sayaka was planning on scaring Nina back to the Magic Kingdom by sending her anonymous letters, and when that failed, Sayaka confronted Nina herself, but to no result, since she befriended Nina and her group later on anyway.

    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • In the Sonic Adventure tie-in storyline, Mayor Bullyani, the man in charge of the city, had a malicious Traitor Shot expression in literally every other panel in which he appeared (even when the main characters should have been able to see his villainous expression-not so much on the subtlety there, guy). Strangely, nothing ever came of it and he betrayed no one.
    • Fiona gets one in Issue #160 after the cast fight off Bean and Bark when they attack Sonic's birthday, getting shifty eyed when she holds down Bean at one point when she demands they leave. The fact the duo suddenly retreats also throws in suspicion.
  • Cheshire has one in the Villains United miniseries, while Deadshot and Catman discuss the possibility of a traitor in their team. Given who we're talking about, it wasn't much of a surprise.

    Fan Works 
  • Played With in Mastermind: Rise of Anarchy: After Asui Tsuyu starts to suspect Monoma's true nature, they secretly observe him and note that whenever he gets Kendo to consider the points he's making about how damaging Hero Society has proven to be, he gets a tiny, triumphant little smirk while she's distracted.
  • During the Empress episode in Vaguely Recalling JoJo, Nena is shown doing this, because she plans on killing Joseph.

    Films — Animation 
  • In both Hoodwinked! movies.
    • For a split second in the first movie, when Red falls from the cable car, watch closely when Boingo looks down - he's got an angry expression, not one of concern that you would expect in such a situation.
    • In the sequel, Gretel to Red as the elevator door closes.
  • In The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire, a group of three pterodactyls are after the titular stone, with the Large Ham Pterano in charge. As Pterano sings about how brilliant but misunderstood he is, his partners Rinkus and Sierra have a brief conversation about kicking him out once they have the stone. This culminates in a shot of them shaking hands behind Pterano's back and singing "the very important we" instead of "the very important me" (where me refers to Pterano).
  • In Turning Red, the only scene of the Jade Palace Diaries that is seen is this.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A subversion of this trope would be Bishop in Aliens. You get the traitor shot effect as he stares intently through the microscope at a facehugger. But it turns out later to be false alarm as he proves to be firmly on the heroes' side. Firstly coming back with the second drop ship and secondly saving Newt after getting halved.
  • Andersonville: After Tobias lets slip about the tunnel in front of several other men, who are then sworn to secrecy, the camera lingers on their faces one by one, with the last man having a somewhat shifty look, and then being seen trying to tell the guards about the tunnel.
  • Anthropoid: After Reinhard Heydrich has been assassinated in Prague, the Germans offer a large sum of money and immunity from prosecution to anyone with information. One of the Resistance cell is in the crowd looking at the poster, and the camera zooms in on their face. Guess who talks?
  • The first Count Yorga ends with Micheal warding off his former but now vamprizied friend Erica and her fellow vampire bride with a cross. As he forces them back downstairs with his girlfriend, Donna, behind him. The camera goes into a close up of Erica as she looks ominously on Donna. The camera then lingers on Donna who seems to have a blank expression. Not long after Michael chases the two vampires off, Donna sprouts her fangs and attacks him.
  • In the beginning of Cube, Worth gets a fairly extreme and suspicion-raising closeup. About halfway through the movie, he confesses that he helped design the cube the characters are trapped in.
  • In The Dark Knight, Ramirez gets perhaps the shortest traitor shot in history. Only a small Meaningful Look coupled with a camera push in as Harvey Dent is driven away after the Joker is captured, but she doesn't look as happy as you'd think she'd be, seeing as the good guys have apparently won. Many first-time viewers might not even have noticed it.
  • Roger Ebert labeled this the Mistake of the Unmotivated Close-Up in his one-star review of the Fred Dryer thriller Death Before Dishonor, calling out a scene where a Perfectly Ordinary Day (family breakfast, banal plans discussed) is undercut by a close-up of a previously insignificant servant who is seen to be watching the family with narrowed eyes.
  • Crosses over with Foreshadowing in Full Metal Jacket: There are two scenes in which Sergeant Hartman talks about Marines being killers, and we get a close-up of Private Pyle's face. Pyle hates Hartman, and shooting seems to be the only thing that he's good at.
  • One of the most famous examples was in The Godfather Part II. Fredo comes back to Michael after a falling out. The two hug and for one brief moment it seems like they've reconciled...until Mike makes a gun sign behind his back to his hitman Al.
  • Heavenly Creatures is full of Pauline glaring psychotically at her mother, but it's really only this trope at the end, when she and Juliet have decided to murder her, and are acting pleasant and friendly to her face.
  • The close up on the cook, as they're taking the political officer's body from the wardroom in The Hunt for Red October.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade features a rare example in favor of the hero; when Donovan notes that he isn't a historian and cannot tell the real Holy Grail from the numerous deadly fakes, Elsa says "Let me choose" with Technically a Smile on her lips. She then hands him a beautiful golden cup, but as Donovan walks off with it, looks at Indiana Jones and shakes her head, her smile immediately disappearing. When Donovan starts feeling the effects of the false Grail, the shot goes to Elsa as she allows herself a tight-lipped smile before he turns around.
  • Played with in It Follows. When Jay and Greg are having sex, Jay looks off to the side, toward the camera, with a sad look on her face, since she knows she's passing her impending doom on to her friend. Slightly subverted in that Greg also knows and just doesn't think that it's real.
  • In The Italian Job (2003), Steve was the only member of the team who did not interact with the others face-to-face in the opening heist. And when the others were celebrating and talking about what they wanted to buy, the camera lingers on him staring at the others in silence. Is it any wonder that he betrays the gang later?
  • James Bond:
    • In Die Another Day, after Bond leaves Miranda in bed to investigate, the camera lingers on her as she watches him leave while putting her earrings back on. Although her expression doesn't change much, it's little surprise when she's revealed to have been working with the villain all along and was in fact responsible for Bond's capture in North Korea.
    • Skyfall is a good example of this trope being set up as a Red Herring. Gareth Mallory is repeatedly shown lurking in shadows, or having the camera linger significantly on his face in scenes where he isn't otherwise important. In the end, he isn't a Mole in Charge, but M's replacement after she's shot.
  • The King of Kings establishes Judas Iscariot as the villain (if not necessarily a traitor) by showing him scowling all the time.
  • In the Ingmar Bergman adaptation of Die Zauberflöte/Trollflöjten/The Magic Flute, the Queen of the Night has one of these in her first aria. She's singing about the horrible abduction of her daughter, and in the midst of the supposed mourning throws the hero a glance to check if he's buying it.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: When Loki visits Thor on Earth to inform him that their father has died and that their mother forbids Thor to return home, there is a lingering close-up on Loki's eyes after he turns away from Thor, clueing the viewer in that Loki is lying.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home: In a bar, Peter entrusts the E.D.I.T.H. glasses to Quentin, believing that he has a greater responsibility to control the late Tony Stark's military drone fleet than him. As he leaves, the camera pans back to Beck and lingers for a moment, while the place dissolves to reveal that the entire bar was a hologram, as Beck gives a big Slasher Smile.
  • Mission: Impossible:
  • An example from Alfred Hitchcock's film North By Northwest is actually one of the more complicated uses of this trope. It's true that Eve is working for the villain, but she turns out to be a double agent who is actually working for the US government, and she tries to balance betraying Roger with keeping him safe.
  • In RoboCop (1987), there's an early one where we hear a klaxon blaring on the soundtrack as the camera pushes in on Dick Jones after the Old Man decides to back Bob Morton's proposed RoboCop project, following the disastrous ED-209 demonstration.
  • In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, two of Joe's guides look at each other while standing under Joe's plane and sinister music plays.
  • In Spaceballs, Princess Vespa hears her father, King Roland, coming to take her back to her home planet. After she asks him, "Daddy! Is it really you?", he answers, "Yes, my dear. I guarantee it. Would I lie?" The camera lingers on long enough to show Roland making a suspicious glance to his right. Then, as Vespa runs into his arms, he reveals himself to actually be the evil Dark Helmet in disguise. (Although, this betrayal doesn't surprise many viewers, as the film shows Dark Helmet plotting a trap for Vespa right before this whole scene begins.)
  • Star Wars:
    • The Phantom Menace: During Qui-Gon's funeral, Mace Windu confirms that Darth Maul was a Sith. Yoda states that "Always two there are: a master and an apprentice," and Mace wonders which one Maul was. The camera then cuts and focuses directly on Chancellor Palpatine. Given that this was a prequel for one of the most popular and financially successful movies ever (and also that the actor playing Palpatine was the same actor who'd played him in Return of the Jedi), this was not so much "a reveal the hidden traitor" shot as a "fanservice for everyone on the planet, who already knows exactly who the traitor is" shot.
    • However, in the context of the movie the audience is technically not supposed to know who Palpatine really is. The original 1977-1983 had him referred to simply as "The Emperor" (or occasionally "My Master" by Darth Vader), never as Palpatine or even as his black-robed, Sith Lord alter ego, Darth Sidious. The original Kenner action figure also doesn't list his real name, although George Lucas's screenplay for Return of the Jedi and novelization (ghostwritten by Lucas) certainly do. And of course, younger viewers who watch the films on video in (in-universe) chronological order and have not been exposed to any of The Merch or the Expanded Universe will not have a clue as to Palpatine's true identity until they see Revenge of the Sith.
    • Assuming, of course, that they didn't notice that Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious are played by the same person. Even though Ian McDiarmid is not credited as Sidious, his hood does not cover the lower half of his face and they clearly have the same voice. Nevertheless, there actually were people who were shocked at the reveal that Palpatine was Sidious at the time of the movie's release in 2005.
    • We get a rare traitor shot from someone (ostensibly) on the side of the villains in The Rise of Skywalker. When a furious Kylo Ren informs the First Order council that he knows one of them is a spy for the Resistance, we get a cut to General Hux looking very concerned.
  • In the Disney film The Strongest Man in the World there's a scene in a company boardroom where it is discovered there is a mole. The camera pans across the table of worried board members, past a not-worried Dick Van Patten, then backs up to center on Van Patten and then he gets a close-up.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion has Cary Grant carrying a glass of milk up some stairs that's glowing to tip off the audience it was poisoned, in case the actor's expression was too subtle (It's not).
  • There are two examples in Switchblade Sisters. The first one is when Maggie is saying "Dominic's dead because somebody tipped Crabs off about the roller rink and I'm gonna find out who,"note  watch Patch's face. Another instant is when Maggie, Lace and Patch have a defenseless Crabs cornered, Patch shoots Crabs before he has a chance to squeal.
  • In Les Tontons flingueurs, about any time the camera is on Theo (the Big Bad Gayngster of the movie), he looks as shifty as possible.
  • In the horror movie Vacancy, the hotel manager (who turns out to be the main villain) gets a long, drawn out shot after the main characters check in, which he spends looking both evil and smug.
  • Watchmen has a subtle example. You won't notice it the first time through, but Adrian Veidt looks impatiently at his watch right before his own self-scheduled assassination attempt, as though he's wondering what's keeping the gunman so long.

  • In the end of The Good Earth, a dying Wang Lung asks his sons to continue farming his land, and they seemingly agree, but the final sentence has them looking over his eyes and smiling at one another, indicating they are insincere.
  • Star Wars Legends: Shatterpoint, set during the Clone Wars, features a short scene at the very end where Mace Windu, Yoda, and Chancellor Palpatine are discussing the novel's events. Chief among them is the realization that the nature of galaxy-wide war is having a corrupting influence on the Jedi, causing some of them to fall to the Dark Side and the others to be uncertain and less able to see the future. Mace wonders aloud if anyone could have predicted that kind of reaction and Palpatine pauses for a second before saying "Yes... who indeed?"
  • Warhammer 40,000: In the Space Wolf novel Sons of Fenris, as Ragnor is leaving him, Commander Cadmus whispers that the Space Wolf will serve their purpose.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 24, season 7, FBI analyst Sean Hillinger is set up as a potential bad guy from the very first time the audience is introduced to him. A dozen Traitor Shots, a Kick the Dog moment and a few episodes later, it is revealed that Hillinger is indeed The Mole.
    • Most episodes of Season 1 started with a recap of the season, including "and people that I work with may be involved in both." This is immediately followed by a shot of Nina. And yet it still comes as a shock when she's revealed to be The Mole in the penultimate episode.
    • 24 is made of this trope, to the extent that they would intentionally add shots of just about every character, mole or not, doing it to ratchet up suspicion.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "The Illusion of Truth", a human journalist comes to the station - then in rebellion against Earth - to record a news segment that he swears won't be biased propaganda (hint: he's lying). Every time somebody says or does something that could look bad taken out of context, the reporter's camera gets a Traitor Shot.
  • Cobra Kai has several episodes end on a lingering shot of Kreese, right after he's said or done something that seems innocuous in context but clearly has a more nefarious double meaning. A prime example is when he meekly walks away after Johnny kicks him out of the dojo, only to stop and smirk at the camera when Johnny relents and calls him back.
  • Coronation Street uses this so much with Tracy Barlow's smug smirks whenever no one is looking that it'll make you want to punch the writers.
  • Daredevil (2015). Subverted in "World on Fire". Vladimir Ranskahov is offering a million dollars for the location of Wilson Fisk, having learned that Fisk killed his brother Anatoly. Fisk has bought out an entire restaurant for a date with Vanessa, and left his bodyguards elsewhere, so when there's a shot of the waiter phoning in Fisk's location, it looks like he'll be in trouble. Once assembled however, Vladimir's men are destroyed by a suicide bomber, and Fisk is then shown paying the waiter for making the call.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Satan Pit", the possessed Ood have almost cornered several people in the maintenance ducts, but Rose and Danny have made it out. Toby, who was possessed by the Beast earlier, is still down there with nowhere near enough time to escape... but then his eyes turn red and he puts his finger to his lips, stopping the Ood and showing that the Beast never stopped controlling him.
  • A common staple in BBC soap series EastEnders. A kids' sketch show lampshaded it by having a third character show up and proclaim: "You're doing that thing where you say something you don't mean, and then you look awkward, and the theme music starts playing!", the three argue, and in a second take the music started playing again and the third character caught the first.
    • Taken to a sillier level still by the fact the guy of the scene gets upset that his girl was lying to him and asks the other woman to hug him and be sincere about it. She proceeds to do so... And the theme music starts playing and the woman looks awkwardly from side to side.
  • Subverted in the first episode of Firefly, where Simon is lovingly showered with these in the first half of the episode, but The Mole turns out to be another passenger who came onto the ship at the same time, and spent the episode being inconspicuous and sharing other peoples' shots...including right in front of Simon in his very first traitor shot.
  • Jonathan Creek does this for almost every Red Herring suspect.
  • Overlaps with It Was His Sled in Kaamelott: Lancelot gets an unbelievable amount of smug-looking close-ups when he's talking about the queen and/or anything relating to her being kidnapped.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: After Halbrand gives his Snarking Thanks to Galadriel in a quasi-romantic moment, he makes a dubious face and invades her private space while promising to her that everyone will know what she has done for him. Given her rising suspicions that he's Sauron, she barely can force a grateful smile.
  • From Lost is the Whole Episode Flashback showing how the Tailies are doing on the island; one of them turns out to be an Other, and immediately after The Reveal (to the audience), the camera lingers on him being all shifty-eyed.
  • In the third season of Merlin newly evil Morgana has at least five of these an episode, some of which will be revealing hugs with the characters she's planning on destroying. At first it seems absurd just how obvious she's being, but no-one notices her blatantly inappropriate reactions to good/bad news. Until Gwen sees her smiling about her being sentenced to burn at the stake.
  • Noah's Arc: This is one of the clues that Guy's motivations aren't what they appear. Interestingly, he gets far more of these after he's revealed to be the bad guy.
  • One Tree Hill: In "Don't Dream It's Over", At first, Nathan looks like he's in an Accidental Pervert moment when he stumbles upon his attractive nanny, Carrie, Skinny Dipping at the pool just as she's doing a Sexy Surfacing Shot (The viewer only sees her bare back and Shoulders-Up Nudity). But when the camera moves to her face, we see her smiling knowingly, perfectly aware he's staring, meaning she set up for him to walk on her. This is the first hint the viewer gets about her true character.
  • In the penultimate episode of Power Rangers S.P.D., while Doggie is welcoming back the A-Squad, there's a closeup of Charlie looking to her side as if to signal the others. About a minute later, they hold Doggie at gunpoint and reveal that they were Evil All Along.
  • Used very often to highlight Emily's Signature Move, the Revealing Hug, in Revenge. Though since she IS the main character, calling her a "traitor" seems a little...
  • Sleepy Hollow: Captain Irving, who otherwise shows no signs of being involved in the larger conspiracy and treats Fish out of Temporal Water Ichabod Crane as a madman for most of the pilot, gets one of these while looking over deceased Sheriff Corbin's office. Seems to be Foreshadowing for a future reveal about his complicity.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Happens in "For The Cause", with Commander Eddington, just before he reveals that he's working for the Maquis.
    • After knowing about the betrayal and rewatching episodes where he appears, Commander Eddington was given quite a few of these, possibly the longest-running case of this trope.
    • "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" has Admiral Ross, who is, at the time, working with Section 31. Both of these are fairly subtle, showing the characters looking slightly suspicious just after some event significant to their betrayal.
  • Many, many characters in The Untamed, as putting on a polite face in public no matter how much they despise each other in private is customary. Jin Guangyao is especially good at it, and so is Nie Huaisang.
  • In V (2009), every single scene featuring Anna ends with this. It's been long since established that she's the villain, but just in case anyone forgot...

  • Bruno Mars describes one in song about a manipulative girlfriend in the song Grenade.
    "Should've known you was trouble from the first kiss had your eyes wide open...why were they open?"
  • Michael Jackson's music video of Thriller ends with such a shot of Michael himself.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Bible, there's the incident at the Last Supper where Jesus makes a special point of expressing affection and friendship for Judas Iscariot with a hug and a kiss. This is either a superb example of redemptive forgiveness, or else a subtle way of making Judas feel like an utter heel for what was, inevitably, to come next. There is also a classic Traitor Shot when St. Peter makes the Suspiciously Specific Denial that he would ever betray or deny Jesus.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A huge close up of a Traitor Shot was shown on the August 2, 2013 edition of Smackdown, when Layla gives a Revealing Hug to Kaitlyn in a segment that took place before Kaitlyn's title opportunity against A.J. Lee. Layla praised Kaitlyn as a worthy competitor, after which, she gave a somewhat sinister gleam while hugging Kaitlyn. As expected, the evil Layla betrayed Kaitlyn during the title contest, and left with the victorious AJ.

    Video Games 
  • Castlevania 64 and Legacy of Darkness uses this in Reinhardt's Bad Ending. Malus' eyes turn red after Reinhardt's ending internal monologue concludes. Get Carrie's Bad Ending for more details, or just get the Good Ending with either character by arriving in less than four days to learn why.
  • In the very first cutscene of the Rolling Thunder-esque game Code Name: Viper, your superior officer gets a bizarre sinister facial expression as he says "Good bye, Mister Smith." It turns out he's the Big Bad.
  • Dawn of War: Isador gets these a lot, verging into Obviously Evil. Particularly blatant when he mutters "I will suffer no trespass", is visited by hallucinations of a Chaos Sorcerer, or tells a squad of Marines to follow him up a secret path. "Don't tell anyone. It's a surprise".
  • When Solas leads the Inquisitor to Skyhold in Dragon Age: Inquisition, he is shown to be smiling gently as he watches the Inquisitor take in the sight of the fortress for the first time. However, as soon as the Inquisitor walks past him and can no longer see him, Solas's expression turns hard and calculating, foreshadowing the eventual reveal that he has been manipulating the Inquisition throughout the entire game.
  • Watch this video of Wei strategist Sima Yi smiling while watching his royal couple leave the military parade in Dynasty Warriors.
  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon ends on one of these as a Sequel Hook. After blowing up the missiles, Rex and Doctor Darling hold hands, with Darling looking at the camera, her eyes glowing a deep purple.
  • The last shot of Alyssa in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is one of these. Mog actually notices, but apparently doesn't know what to make of it, and doesn't warn the heroes.
  • Mawile’s sprites in Gen III and Gen IV have definite shades of this (fitting, because it’s the “Deceiver Pokémon”). When faced in battle, its sprite has a cute little smile on its face, but when it’s on the player’s team, the smile is gone. It faces the screen, quietly looking over its shoulder, and can be seen giving its foe some pretty sinister side-eye…
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, after a hearing on whether to accept Doman refugees into Ul'dah, Teledji Adeledji, who vouched for the refugees, is seen alone in the dimly lit meeting hall for the Syndicate with an underling, grinning deviously as he speaks of "revolution".
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • During the story mission in Chapter 9, as Jeralt fights alongside the Player Character against the Demonic Beasts, Monica has a single line of dialogue that consists of a "...". In the aftermath of the battle, Monica stabs Jeralt In the Back, killing him and revealing that she's a spy for Those Who Sither In The Dark.
    • In Chapter 14 of non-Crimson Flower routes, Byleth and their allies make plans to meet reinforcements in Ailell. After the meeting, a soldier mutters Ailell's name. During the mission, it is revealed that a spy leaked the location of the rendezvous, resulting in enemies attacking.
  • Kor from Jak II: Renegade is given a handful of these some time before his status as a villain - and the game's Big Bad — is revealed.
  • Used in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards in its "bad end". If you don't collect every piece of the game's MacGuffin, the fairy Queen will smirk evilly and have her glasses flash as she turns to Ribbon while the rest of her subjects wave Kirby and friends off. She's possessed by Dark Matter; grabbing all the pieces of the aforementioned MacGuffin will exorcise her instead and open up the True Final Boss.
  • Muppy from Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis.
  • In the Mass Effect 2 DLC "Lair of the Shadow Broker," Tela Vasir gets this look before it's revealed that she was the one who tried to kill Liara, and Liara is still alive.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. fangame (Mario) The Music Box, look for anything out of the ordinary to spot the traitor, including Glamour Failure, hidden eyes, psychotic smirks and/or slasher smiles, and Scary Shiny Glasses.
  • In Persona 5, after the game informs the player there's someone who sold them out in the flashbacks, it's revealed who it is after Sae Niijima leaves the interrogation room. Goro Akechi says he's down there to question the Protagonist, but as Sae walks past, he chuckles and says "Foolish woman," with his in-game portrait looking very menacing.
  • In the first chapter of Quintessence - The Blighted Venom, after Reivier supposedly 'saves' his wife Serai from the Aerian soldiers and everyone eats their dinner happily, a Traitor Shot of Serai with Hidden Eyes and a Psychotic Smirk was shown.
  • Jenny at the end of the Splatterhouse remake.
  • Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria has quite a few. Leone and Lezard, once they join the party, seem to get at least one lingering close-up in each cutscene when the topic turns to something related to their real goals. It also plays with their facial expressions: Leone's expression shows growing regret as it goes on, while Lezard's is just quiet satisfaction that things are going as planned.

    Visual Novels 
  • An odd retroactive version happens in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. During the "Closing Argument", a comic book scene narrating how the crime happened, for the third trial, toward the end, Hajime Hinata notes that the culprit (who has been conclusively identified at this point in the trial, but is presented as a gray figure) acted shocked upon finding the bodies, but was actually relieved that the plan had gone well; you can see the culprit with a shocked expression in the panel showing the bodies, but hiding a grin in the next panel.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry uses this very effectively early on.
    • Mion and Rena in the Spirited Away by the Demon Chapter, with Hidden Eyes combined with dangerous smiles to tip off the audience before Keiichi has any reason to suspect them. This turns out to be a subversion, as Mion and Rena really were harmless, and every Traitor Shot they were given was a product of Keiichi's escalating paranoia, which wasn't explicitly revealed until episode 25, a full 24 episodes after the series started treating the two girls suspiciously.
    • In the Cotton Drifting Chapter, closeups are used in the first episode to make identical twins Mion and Shion both look suspicious to the audience, although one of them is completely innocent.
  • Partway through Last Window, Dylan gets one of these while Kyle is busy looking at something else.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Tintin: By the time the Ellipse-Nelvana adaptation of Cigars of the Pharaoh was made, everybody knew Rastapopoulos was the recurring Big Bad, so after "helping" Tintin, he makes a frowny face as Tintin departs and proceeds to send a letter ordering his death.
  • A partly villainous version of this occurs in Avatar: The Last Airbender. When Azula interrupts Mai and Zuko's date, effectively dismissing the former, Mai is shown giving Azula a brief glare as soon as she's in a position where it won't be seen. Sure enough, before the season's end, Mai betrays Azula for Zuko's sake.
  • The Hollow: The second team makes these very often, looking at the main group menacingly and exchanging knowing and smug looks while interacting with the main characters.
  • A villainous version appears in Justice League when Cheetah fires one at the audience during the revelation that the Injustice Gang is going to blow up the Watchtower and kill the Justice League (she appears to have gotten smitten with Batman). It is further compounded by the Justice League receiving an anonymous tip shortly after that saves them. It turns out to be a red herring — there was a traitor in the Injustice Gang, but it was the Ultra-Humanite.
  • Kuvira and Bataar Jr. share a hug in Legend of Korra that ends up focusing on her face. However, her attempting to kill Bataar was a question of circumstance rather than premeditated malice, as she had one shot at taking out all Republic City's defense in a single shot in exchange for his life, and she must force herself to relax after committing the act. It planted the seeds for whether or not she always intended to kill him to become Fanfic Fuel.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: The audience (and the heroes) already know that Chloe Bourgeois and Lila Rossi lie their asses off to manipulate people, but if anybody made a drinking game out of the times in an episode that they do a victorious smirk when someone falls for it (especially if that someone should have noticed them smiling but don't) it would be a serious health hazard.
  • Lampshaded on The Simpsons episode wherein Homer suggests changes to Mel Gibson's upcoming movie. Courtesy of The Simpsons Archive:
    Gibson: You want me to replace the villain with a dog? I mean nobody will know what's going on.
    Homer: They will if you set up that the dog is evil. All you do is have to show him doing this. [lowers eyelids and glances around in shifty-eyed fashion] The people will suspect the dog.
    • And then at the end of the episode they have an evil dog show up. You know it's evil, because of its shifty eyes.
    • Played straighter in both parts of "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" In the first, Burns crashes a town meeting where the citizens have gathered to complain about him. As they all make death threats, Burns fires back: "Oh, you all talk big...but who here has the guts to stop me?" The next shot shows everyone begrudgingly looking away— everyone except for Maggie, who keeps her eyes locked on Mr. Burns the whole time. At the conclusion of the second episode, Marge expresses relief that the shooting was a big misunderstanding, as Maggie obviously didn't mean to hurt anyone—but then the camera zooms in on Maggie's face as she silently sucks her pacifier (with the sound of gunshots echoing behind her), suggesting that it wasn't an accident after all...
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Palpatine, as both the Big Bad and the Mole in Charge, gets these from time to time, as the audience is aware of this, but the heroes aren't.
  • Parodied in one episode of Stroker and Hoop, where the Evil Twin who has taken Hoop's place slips into this mode for a second.. but does it where the other protagonists can easily see him, and they immediately call him out on it and turn around back to the prison just to be sure.
  • Tangled: The Series: Cassandra does this in the penultimate episode of Season 2, while Eugene is worrying about there being a possible traitor among them. Just as it seems to have been a Red Herring, the last episode of Season 2 sees Cassandra grab the moonstone and get promoted to Big Bad of Season 3.
  • Toad Patrol: After supposedly giving directions to the Toad Patrol, Orpheus does this, complete with an Evil Laugh.
  • Total Drama:
    • At the end of "Basic Straining", Courtney gets unexpectedly thrown off the island despite not having done anything to earn getting voted out. The scene then cuts to Harold toasting a marshmallow, and flashes back to him opening the voting box with a screwdriver, removing the votes, and putting in a unanimous vote for Courtney.
    • In "Meet the Victims", Caleb gets voted out with little foreshadowing. As he gets flown off the island, a smirking Bowie emerges from the bushes. Cut to the confessional, where Bowie explains how he convinced the rest of the team that Caleb looked too strong, and they should vote him out as soon as possible.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Unmotivated Close Up


Demanitus' Warning

Eugene gets a last-minute warning from Lord Demanitus that once Rapunzel reaches the Dark Kingdom, one of her partners will betray her; the answer happens to be right in front of him.

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