Humans are private creatures and we all like to have a safe place like home to retreat to. Thus, when people violate that privacy and show up in our space without invitation, it's unsettling. The Villain Knows Where You Live is an effective intimidation tactic for just this reason. If they're feeling particularly malicious, they'll break in and wait. And wait. As long as it takes for the hero to wake up, get home, walk into the right room, or otherwise realize that someone else is there.
What they talk about could be almost anything. From revealing I Have Your Wife, to An Offer You Can't Refuse, to an offer for a new security system. Affably Evil people who pull this are likely to use a Chair Reveal, but more dangerous people tend to use a Stealth Hi/Bye. It doesn't have to be a home that's broken into, of course. It could be an office, a secure hideout, or anywhere that is considered relatively safe. If it's easily broken into, it may overlap with Swiss Cheese Security or Unsafe Haven.
It's not just villains that do this. A hero, Anti-Hero, Mysterious Informant, Magnificent Bastard, or anybody else might do this if times get desperate enough. It's especially common in Enemy Mine situations, and If I Wanted You Dead... is a good way for the trespasser to gain some trust. On the more sinister side, I Know You Know I Know and Shame If Something Happened can come into play. A common variant of this is for the trespassee to be The Anticipator, and reveal that he knows someone is there.
Keep in mind that this trope is not about attacks, ambushes, or abductions. It requires a great deal of stealth to pull off. If a weapon is involved, it must be a scare tactic or backup plan. However, it is definitely possible that this scenario could lead to a fight.
- Done in Black Lagoon, Chang at the El Baile de la Muerte arc when he waits for the arrival of the Lagoon crew and Fabiola alongside Garcia. This led to a tense standoff before Chang grappled with Fabiola to disarm her.
- Batman frequently does this, and he usually uses a Stealth Hi/Bye to get away when he's done.
- Robin III Tim Drake does this about as often as his mentor. He tries to maintain a more amicable working relationship with the police and doesn't use a Stealth Hi/Bye quite as often in order to keep from leaving people talking to air.
- The Punisher: At the end of the Kriegkopf arc, Castle shows up unannounced at an unnamed Washington politician's office. Frank tells the guy to knock it off ("it" being the nuking of Europe) and leaves a bullet on the desk.
Frank: Nine millimeters. That's how far away I am.
- The ending of Bizarrogirl has a variant in where Lana Lang walks into her office and finds Cat Grant sitting on her couch in the dark and wanting to talk about Lana's connection with Supergirl.
- In Supergirl (Rebirth), Kara Zor-El -Supergirl- returns to her Fortress of Solitude and finds Cyborg Superman waiting for her and claiming he can take her back to Krypton.
- Rorscharch in Watchmen frequently does this, both to his friends and enemies (in one case, leaving a Right Behind You message in the victim's fridge). A Running Gag has him breaking the lock on his friend Dan's door to do so.
- Wonder Woman (2006): Diana wakes up at one point to find Ares sitting in the dark in a chair at the foot of her bed for a conversation in which he threatens her.
- Darkseid has been known to await people in their own homes for private conversations, trying out his best Slouch of Villainy on their couches for when they finally arrive.
- A Crown of Stars: In the first chapter Daniel shows up in the Shinji and Asukas cabin at the night as they are resting in order to make them an offer.
- Evangelion 303: In chapter 7 Kaworu returned to his home late and discovered that his ex-boyfriend had done this. Kaworu's reaction to Saburo saying "You're late" was: "What do you care and what are you doing in my home?"
- The Second Try: In chapter 9, school janitor Hisao Yamaki is coming home after work, only to discover Kaji sitting in the darkness of his living room to inquire about some sensitive data. Said data being the reason why Yamaki has been into hiding for the past fifteen years, this visit is quite the unpleasant surprise for him.
- Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In chapter 8's omake Asuka walks into her apartment and finds Touji, unwelcome and uninvited, waiting for her in the kitchen to blackmail her.
- Alone, Together: When Shego decides to turn herself in, she sneaks into Global Justice HQ and waits in Dr. Director's office until she shows up, then negotiates an arrangement where she's taken into custody without a public announcement so that Kim doesn't try to contact her.
- It happens in Kara of Rokyn when Kara enters a dressing room and finds her rival wrestler has slipped in to seduce her.
Kara entered the dressing room, and found that she was not alone.
Jasmine was there, clad only in a short robe. She was looking straight at Kara.
- Subverted in S Plus D Equals K. It seems like that's what happened, but in actuality Gemini had been there for over a day tormenting and mutating Drew.
- One story in The Days of Reckoning Are Upon Us deconstructs Nick Fury doing this in Iron Man; upon returning home to find a stranger hiding in his house in the dark, Tony Stark, who had recently been attacked in his own home, shoots Fury.
- In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Milo enters his apartment to find Helga inside with a proposal from Mr. Whitmore to lead an expedition to Atlantis.
- Batman pulls one on Andrea Beaumont in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm to talk about her family's connection to Phantasm. Andrea is not impressed by the schtick.
- In The Bad and the Beautiful, Jonathan awaits Georgia in the dark of her room to talk about her past and future. It helped that she left the door unlocked.
- In Cloud Atlas, Luisa Rey returns home only to find someone waiting in the dark of her room. It's not an enemy, though.
- In The Dark Knight, the Joker manages to sneak into a heavily guarded meeting of mob bosses, and makes an offer to kill Batman for them.
- In the original The Dead Zone movie, a journalist comes home at night and finds a local politician sitting at his desk, along with one or two "henchmen". The (crooked) politician wanted to have a chat about an unfavorable editorial about him.
- Get Shorty: Chillie breaks into Karen's house to deliver the shylock message to Harry who's sleeping there -then pitches his movie idea. Karen kicks them both out. The next day she comes home to find Chillie waiting in her house to apologize.
Karen: You broke in to apologize for breaking in before?
- In The Hangover, the trio come back to their hotel room to find Mike Tyson waiting for them and their explanation as to why they have his tiger.
- In Jackie Brown, Ordell lurks in Jackie's apartment for one of these conversations.
- James Bond:
Zukovsky: Who are you, and how did you get in? I'll call security and congratulate them. Drink?
- Daniel Craig-era has made a habit of breaking into M's house/flat/whatever in order to talk with her. Various other films, especially earlier ones, also have someone waiting in Bond's room or vice versa.
- Our introduction to Craig-Bond in Casino Royale (2006) involves a corrupt SIS station chief encountering Bond in his office. He's not impressed, assuming Bond is engaging in theatrics to scare him into a confession. He's wrong.
- In one case, the Bond girl was the first thing the apartment's owner saw, letting him snark about calling security to congratulate them... then Bond shows up from behind the door with a gun.
- After their first encounter, Big Daddy and Hit Girl turn up in Dave's bedroom to emphasize that he shouldn't talk about what he's seen... and to point out just how ridiculously easy it was to track him down.
- Deciding to reveal his Secret Identity to his girlfriend, Dave does an Enter Stage Window. Despite being a Kick Ass fan, she reacts the way you'd expect if a masked intruder suddenly appeared in your bedroom, attacking Dave with hair spray and a tennis racket until he's able to take off his mask.
- In the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of Lolita, Humbert comes home to find a man waiting inside; he turns on the lights to reveal Claire Quilty (known to the audience but not Humbert) in the guise of the college psychiatrist, Dr. Zempf. "I sat in ze dark to save you ze expense of ze electricity." Given his general behavior, it's likely this is a deliberate attempt to screw with Humbert's head.
- Major Payne: After his dinner date with Emily, Payne returns to discover Cadet Stone sitting at his desk, beaten and bruised from where the squad had been ambushed by another school's R.O.T.C. squad... to which Payne was actually the one who gave them the tip.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- At the end of the first Iron Man film, Nick Fury breaks into Tony Stark's house to talk to him about the Avengers Initiative.
- The scene was parodied on Robot Chicken where Tony questioned why Nick broke in only to discover that "Nick" was actually a burglar.
- Nick does this again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and makes the implication to Cap that he's skilled at breaking and entering.
- Justified in Ant-Man when Darren Cross surprises Hank Pym at his home. At first it looks like Cross suspects his plans and is trying to scare Hank off or figure out what he's up to, but Cross later admits he was intending to murder Hank but was unwilling to go through with it on realising his daughter was in the house.
- Nick does it yet again in Spider-Man: Far From Home, waiting in Peter's room to recruit him.
- At the end of the first Iron Man film, Nick Fury breaks into Tony Stark's house to talk to him about the Avengers Initiative.
- No Country for Old Men: The protagonist's wife encountering Psycho for Hire Anton Chigurh in her house who was waiting there for her to return. She doesn't survive the encounter.
- At the end of Queen of the Damned, Jesse and Lestat surprise David Talbot in his office to give him Lestat's diary of centuries and a Long Last Look from the fledgling vampire Jesse.
- Brick Top's tactic in Snatch. (though he's not a monster: he asks Turkish to make some tea at least).
- Sneakers: When the team returns to their office after recovering the Black Box, they find a team of NSA agents waiting for them.
- Devil in a Blue Dress. "Easy" Rawlins is furious when DeWitt Albright and his thugs do this, as he's very proud of his house.
- Justice League (2017). Bruce Wayne is going around recruiting for the Justice League. Barry Allen is shown unlocking the padlock on a steel door and entering his secret lair, only to find Bruce sitting inside when he turns on the lights.
Bruce: Barry Allen. (beat) Bruce Wayne.
Barry: You said that like it explains why there's a total stranger sitting in the dark in my second favorite chair!
Bruce: I spent millions on this building's security.Diana: Yeah, it looked expensive.
- Later Wonder Woman casually strolls into the Batcave to have a word with Bruce.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. When Joe (Sky Captain) returns to his dark office, he's surprised by a voice coming from the shadows. He pulls out his pistol and turns a desk light toward the intruder. He's surprised to discover that it's his old girlfriend Polly Perkins. She got in by talking with Dex, one of Sky Captain's subordinates.
- In The Big Sleep, Philip Marlowe gets home to find Femme Fatale Carmen Sternwood naked in his bed.
- In the Dora Wilk Series Baal breaks (supernaturally) into the main character's house twice, and it's implied he's doing it more often. Played for Laughs, as he usually comes to chat (and he made her breakfast once). He's just kind of lonely, but the Prince of Hell can't go around just visiting people.
- In Dragon Bones, Oreg does this a couple of times. Although it is not trespassing, strictly speaking, as he is sort of the Genius Loci of Castle Hurog, so he has a right to be there. It's just that Ward doesn't know about him when they first meet, and he is often unexpectedly present in Ward's room when Ward returns there.
- The Dresden Files:
- In Fool Moon, Harry Dresden returns to his office to find John Marcone sitting at his desk, waiting to make him a job offer.
- In Grave Peril, Dresden manages to pull this off on Mortimer by sheer timing. Mort opens the door to his house to lug a suitcase outside, and Harry sidles in unnoticed while he's coming out. Then he sits in a chair and waits for Mort to come back in.
- In The Hunger Games Catching Fire:
- Katniss finds that President Snow is waiting for her at her own house to confront her. He sits in a chair and doesn't even address her immediately and continues reading a book to show Katniss who's the boss.
- Katniss is later surprised to find Peacekeepers waiting in her living room, forcing her to feign normalcy. Subverted in that they had set a trap for her elsewhere and did not expect her to waltz in alive.
- In The Millennium Trilogy Mikael Blomkvist does this to Lisbeth Salander after he discovers that she was spying on him.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- In Ahsoka, the title character, with R2-D2's help, sneaks onto the Tantive IV while it's in space, and consequently nearly gives Bail Organa a heart attack when he enters his office and switches on the light to find her sitting at his desk.
- Stephanie Plum has this happen to her at least once per book, on average. It's as likely to be an ally (such as Ranger or Diesel) as an enemy.
- In The Vampire Chronicles:
- Lestat sneaks into Talamasca's headquarters in London to talk with the Superior General, David Talbot. He continues visiting David in this manner and soon they develop an Odd Friendship.
- In Memnoch the Devil, Lestat returns to his hotel room to find Memnoch waiting for him in his nondescript human disguise. Since it's dawn, all Lestat can manage is to pull the mattress over himself and hope for the best as he falls into daysleep. Their next meeting is more conducive to conversation.
- In the first novel The Stainless Steel Rat does this to Da Chief of the Special Corps and finds himself looking down the muzzle of a Hand Cannon. As both of them are former criminals turned Special Corp agents, they take it in stride. Later the Rat burglaries the home of a corrupt politician and finds numerous blackmail material, so for Perp Sweating effect he waits till the politician comes home and confronts him with the evidence while dressed as an admiral, pretending he's come to arrest the man.
- In American Horror Story: Asylum, Lana breaks into Thredson's home and casually lounges on an armchair with a gun awaiting his entrance. It becomes a Lightswitch Surprise once he crosses the threshold.
- A major plot point on Breaking Bad, when Walter White confronts Gretchen and Elliot inside their house in "Felina".
- Better Call Saul: In "Expenses," Daniel Wormald enters his darkened house, in which he has installed a very elaborate security system to prevent break-ins in light of his previous dealings with Nacho Varga...only to find Nacho calmly sitting on his living room couch. Nacho demands that Daniel supply him with some empty pill capsules (which he plans to swap with Hector's meds so as to induce a heart attack in Hector). All the while, Daniel expresses disbelief that someone could bypass his deadbolt locks and security system. But after they conclude their business, the camera focuses on Daniel for a moment, and then pans over to Nacho as he leaves the house...by way of the kitchen's unlocked and unprotected sliding glass door. Later, when Daniel wonders how Nacho could have defeated his security system, Mike mentions that all Nacho would have had to do was to disconnect the phone line.
- Boardwalk Empire: In an early season 3 episode, Mickey tries to intimidate one of Nucky's underlings by falsely taking credit for Manny Horvitz's assassination, which was actually the work of Richard Harrow. Richard takes offense at Mickey taking credit for his work, and waits in Mickey's house with a gun in hand, waiting for Mickey to return home with a woman he's just picked up. When Mickey finds Harrow there by turning on the lights, Harrow makes him get dressed and marches him at gunpoint to Nucky's office.
- The Boys (2019)
- Billy Butcher does this when going to see Susan Raynor, his former-lover-turned-Deputy Director of the CIA, turning up in her house at night or inside her security-locked office during the day. This is either because he's running a rogue operation or because he likes getting a rise out of her (probably both).
- Justified when Butcher makes contact with his wife Becca who is confined in a Vought facility. Realising the whole place is covered by cameras, Billy sneaks into her car, leaving the door ajar so she will come out to investigate. He then gets her to drive him somewhere the cameras aren't watching.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In "Angel", Darla waits at Angel's house to threaten/seduce him.
- Whistler, demon agent of the Powers That Be, makes contact with Buffy this way in "Becoming Part 2".
- In "This Year's Girl", Giles comes home and finds the light switch doesn't work. A man then turns on a desk lamp, to reveal the Watcher's Council has sent a wet-work team to deal with rogue slayer Faith.
- "Into the Woods". Riley Finn enters a darkened room and says, "Get Out!". A Reveal Shot shows several military personnel in his house, intent on recruiting him for their covert demon-fighting unit.
- Played for Laughs on Corner Gas. Local cop Davis is trying to get two of his friends to purchase a home security system. One day, they wake up to find him standing over their bed with a tray. He cheerfully informs them that he could've been a burgular bringing them breakfast. They buy the system just so he'll leave.
- Dan for Mayor: A while after Claire breaks up with her fiancé and he moves out, Claire comes home to find him in her kitchen and he gives her keys back.
- In the Decoy episode "The Lost Ones," a teenage girl accused of shooting her abusive father runs away. After a long and fruitless day spent looking for her, Casey comes home and finds the girl asleep on the sofa, ready to turn herself in.
- The Defenders (2017):
- Daredevil (2015):
Elektra Natchios: Would you believe it if I said I missed you?
- At the end of "The Ones We Leave Behind," having been fired from the Bulletin, Ben Urich returns home late at night, to find Wilson Fisk in his apartment and sitting in an armchair. The conversation lasts several minutes (not least because of Fisk's stutter), with Fisk getting increasingly emotional due to having discovered that Ben has spoken with his mothernote , which is one of Fisk's many temper triggers, until he suddenly gets out of the chair and chokes Ben to death with his bare hands.
- In "Kinbaku," picking up from the ending of "Penny and Dime," Matt reenters his apartment, in a love daze after kissing Karen in the rain, to find Elektra in his apartment, having been sent by Stick to recruit Matt in the Chaste's fight against the Hand.
Matt Murdock: No.
Elektra Natchios: I need your help, Matthew. You're the only person I can trust.
Matt Murdock: Well, sweetheart, you don't break into my house and then talk to me about trust.
- "Upstairs/Downstairs" sees Julie end up on the fatal end of this as she enters her apartment and is abruptly killed by some of Fisk's henchmen who are inside posing as painters.
- Jessica Jones (2015): In "AKA 1000 Cuts", Kilgrave breaks into Jessica's apartment to threaten her into giving over his father in exchange for Hope being spared.
- Luke Cage (2016):
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: You really need a security system.
- Mariah Dillard's brownstone is not really well secured. As a result, criminal associates tend to let themselves in uninvited to the point it's a Running Gag. The first instance is in "Manifest," when Shades visits to chide Mariah for letting her family's reputation fall so far. Then it happens twice in "Soliloquy of Chaos": first, Diamondback does it when he visits to provide her with a satchel of seed money for her projects. Later in the episode, Shades lets himself in through the the back door again, having foiled Zip's attempt to kill him on Diamondback's orders.
- By season 2, Shades regularly uses the back door to let himself in when he needs to talk to Mariah. This results in a hilarious moment where he's lurking in the entryway to interrupt Mariah while she's having breakfast with Tilda, and Tilda is the first to take notice. Mariah chides Shades with, "You need to stop showing up like this!"
- In "On and On," Mariah and Tilda are preparing to flee in light of Bushmaster killing Piranha and bankrupting them. They're cut off by Bushmaster and his men barging their way in, tying them to chairs, and Bushmaster deciding to give Mariah the same fate that Mama Mabel gave his mother suffered 30 years ago in Jamaica, and burns down the brownstone, leaving Tilda untied with the challenge of rescuing her mother. They are only rescued thanks to Luke being tipped off about the fire by D.W. and rushing into the flames to grab them before Mariah can pass out.
- The first episode of season 2 sees Nigel Garrison, leader of the Brooklyn-based Yardies, return to his pad to find Bushmaster and his lieutenant waiting for him. Bushmaster is dissatisfied about Nigel making a gun deal with Mariah Dillard- ("STOKES, Mariah Stokes") and proceeds to kill Nigel and wound his bodyguards.
- Iron Fist (2017): After Rand Enterprises board member Lawrence Wilkins orchestrates a boardroom coup to oust Danny Rand, plus Joy and Ward Meachum, Harold decides to do something about it. Harold and his bodyguard Kevin Singleton sit in chairs in Lawrence's office, waiting for Lawrence to come back. Lawrence is surprised since Harold has technically been dead for thirteen years. Harold attempts to blackmail Lawrence into reinstating Joy and Ward to the board of directors by showing him compromising photographs that Joy had hired Jessica Jones to take, showing Lawrence being loaded into a police car as well as documentation of Lawrence's prostitution and embezzling. Harold suggests that Lawrence take his own life in exchange for his reputation being left intact. When that fails, he shoots Lawrence in the head and makes it look like a suicide.
- Daredevil (2015):
- In the episode "Cowboy" Henry - who is in a really bad mood - enters his office to find Hawkeye waiting for him behind his desk, wanting to discuss giving chopper pilot Cowboy a temporary medical discharge. Henry even remarks, "Uh-uh-uh! Don't get up... let me just pretend you're the one in charge of this nuthouse."
- In "Rally 'Round the Flagg, Boys", Potter walks into his office, with Father Mulcahy in tow, to find Colonel Flagg waiting for them, and neither of them (nor Radar, who was in his outer office the whole time) know or can even figure out how Flagg even got in there in the first place.
- In one episode of The Mentalist, Jane returns to his motel room to find his former boss, Madeline Hightower, waiting for him. Then again, given that she's been framed for murder, there's only so many ways she can reach out to a guy who still works with the police without getting caught.
- In the Midnight Caller episode "Play Blotto... And Die," an acquaintance of Jack's picks his lock while he's at work. Jack comes home to find him asleep on the couch.
- MythQuest: Max Asher comes home to find an unknown Chinese businessman sitting in his living room, waiting to talk about their mutual enemy, Gorgos.
- Such an incident, invoking much Fridge Logic, happens in the pilot episode of Robin Hood, wherein Robin sneaks into the Sheriff's castle and wakes him up to deliver a threat. He never makes good on that threat, despite constant and escalating provocation from the Sheriff, and consistent lack of good security in the castle.
- Sherlock: In "The Reichenbach Fall". After Moriarty discredits John and Sherlock, they break into a reporter's flat who was going to report the story. Once inside, they just sit on her couch until she comes home, at which point they confront her about her sources.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Section 31 officer Sloan's preferred method of meeting/recruiting Bashir seems to be waiting in a chair by Bashir's bed, in the dark, until he wakes up. This one predictable trait proves his undoing.
- Garak also has a habit of doing this to Bashir as well.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- During the first season episode "A Taste of Armageddon", Kirk escapes captivity and waits in his captor's office to have a calm (albeit at gunpoint) conversation about the reasons for Kirk's imprisonment.
- The same thing happens in "Errand of Mercy". Unfortunately due to the Big Brother nature of the Klingon military, the commander's own office is under surveillance.
- Star Trek: Voyager. Someone breaks into Harry Kim's room, a sinister shadow appears over his sleeping body... It's Tom Paris, who wants his best buddy to check out his new holodeck program.
- In a season 4 episode, the Winchesters find Castiel and Uriel waiting in their motel room to recruit them for a demon interrogation.
- Crowley enjoys doing this to the Winchesters and Bobby during their Enemy Mine arrangements. As a powerful Demon with teleportation magic, he even makes these unannounced visits in their car — while they're driving on the freeway.
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles : In "Today is The Day Part Two" John is waiting in Jessie's hotel room.
- In Twin Peaks, Cooper returns to his hotel room to find Audrey Horne naked in his bed.
- In City of Angels, private eye Stone finds Mallory Kingsley naked in his bed, in a direct parody of the Big Sleep scene referenced under "Literature".
- In Sakana, we have a character woken by a phone call... only to find the caller (a loan shark) sitting at the foot of their bed.
- Batman pulls this on Amanda Waller in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Doomsday Sanction". Notably, Waller shows no signs of being intimidated by Batman in the least and is able to defend her viewpoints enough that Batman leaves without a Stealth Hi/Bye or trying to get the last word in, while she's stepping out of the shower.
- Lampshaded in an episode of The Fairly OddParents, where Timmy's dad announces "I'm respecting your privacy by knocking first, but asserting my authority as your dad by coming in anyway!" before barging into Timmy's bedroom. With a battering ram.