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A type of reveal where misdeeds depicted in the work were in fact committed by two agents (man or beast), either separately or working together.

A less crowded version of Everybody Did It. As this is a Plot Twist trope, this page will contain lots of unmarked Spoilers.

Compare Lotsa People Try to Dun It, where multiple characters make separate attempts on the life of the victim.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Death Note manga (and anime), it's revealed that a second Death Note made its way to Earth. Light eventually takes advantage of this and works with accomplices more than once.
  • In Sword Art Online, the perpetrator of the "Death Gun" killings in Gun Gale Online is revealed to be two people: someone controlling the in-game avatar, and a real-world accomplice who murders the player at the same time the avatar is killed to simulate the effect of a "magic gun that kills you in real life." But the real twist is that the government investigation afterward reveals there was a third partner in the loop who managed to evade authorities.

    Comic Books 
  • Rather confusingly done in The Long Halloween. When the Holiday Killer is apprehended and revealed to be Alberto Falcone, he tells the police that there was another Holiday Killer, but he refuses to elaborate. Batman interprets this as a reference to Harvey Dent aka Two-Face, who had killed Carmine Falcone on Halloween and thus (metaphorically) inherited Holiday's mantle. But in the very last scene, Harvey's wife, Gilda, monologues that she was actually the one responsible for Holiday's first victims. Whether they were telling the truth, or had simply lost touch with reality due to grief, is not entirely clear.

    Film 
  • After the killer Santa Claus's identity is revealed in To All a Goodnight, it is shown to the audience that there is also a second one.
  • When the killer crocodile is captured in Lake Placid, another one immediately appears. The second one gets shot, but it later turns out that the second, smaller crocodile was male...
  • In the first Scream (1996), it turns out that there were two Ghostface killers working in tandem to terrorize the town of Woodsboro. This was also true in Scream 2, but by then it was expected. (However, Scream 3 had only one killer. But Scream 4 returned with the duo of Ghostfaces.)
  • Subverted in the first Scary Movie. There are three separate killers all adopting the Ghostface persona. The first two are two gay teenagers (although one of them is in denial about it) working together, while the "real" killer is a cop Obfuscating Stupidity who kills the former two for trying to upstage him.
  • Played with in Psycho II, wherein Lila Loomis and (initially) her daughter Mary are trying to drive Norman Bates back into insanity and murder by impersonating his seemingly long-dead mother (i.e. the source of his troubled mental state), while Emma Spool simultaneously commits a series of murders and claims to be Norman's actual mother. Ultimately, Mrs. Spool kills Lila, Mary tries to kill Norman based on the mistaken assumption that he was actually responsible for the murders (and becomes the main police suspect for them herself as a result), and Norman finally rejoins the fun by killing Mrs. Spool and resuming his life as a slasher.
  • Used in Hell Night. A bit of an odd example as the legend that surrounds the setting tells about one "deformed guy hiding in the house", and doesn't explain who the second deformed guy is.
  • In the sex comedy Video Vixens, a film-within-the-film, an X-rated Dragnet parody, involves a serial rapist who is actually identical twins; one would go out and rape someone while the other is seen in public doing something mundane as an alibi. The next night they'd switch places. (Yes, despite the description, it's a comedy.)
  • It is revealed two thirds into Just Before Dawn that the fat redneck psycho killing the cast has an equally fat psycho twin, and they work together in getting rid of people trespassing their family's territory.
  • In the BBC television film Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Silk Stocking, the murderer turns out to be a pair of identical twins, which enables them to always have an alibi when they kill.
  • In the 2014 meta-sequel to the 1976 movie The Town That Dreaded Sundown, the "new" Phantom killer turns out to be two men working together: the first victim who faked his death with the help of the second one, the sheriff deputy.
  • Murder Mystery:
    • Nick's original theory has Charles and Suzi conspiring (which they are, but unsuccessfully).
    • Then he theorizes it's Grace and Tobias, which is half right.
    • The actual killers are Juan and Grace.
  • Subverted in Hot Fuzz. At first Nicholas Angel suspects the Obviously Evil local supermarket manager Simon Skinner of being behind the string of mysterious deaths, but he has a waterproof alibi. Just when Angel realizes that there must be more than one killer, he's attacked by Skinner's brutish thug, who tells him to rendezvous at a castle after believing Nicholas to be disposed of. Once Nicholas gets there, it turns out that in fact almost the entire town is in on it.

    Humour 
  • A Russian joke goes: the Chinese army desperately tries to cross a mountain pass guarded by one Russian soldier. 100,000 Chinese try to storm the pass, no one returns. 200,000 Chinese try to storm the pass, no one returns. 500,000 Chinese try to storm the pass, one badly wounded soldier returns and yells: "Ambush! There are TWO of them there!"

    Literature 
  • This is one of the theories floated in the Jesse Stone novel and TV movie Stone Cold, based on the fact that the bullets recovered from the victims came from two different guns. Turns out there's "one shooter, two guns," but she was helped by her husband.
  • In The Illuminatus! Trilogy universe, John F. Kennedy was shot by five snipers simultaneously.
  • In Maskerade, the major break in the case happens when Granny realizes there are two Opera Ghosts. One Opera Ghost is the hapless but good Walter Plinge, who used the Ghost to hide out under the opera house and do some other mysterious but not evil things. The other is Salzella and actually killed the dead opera members.
  • Judge Dee: After a retired general is found dead the day after his birthday, with clues pointing at a local painter (whose father claimed the general was a traitor and a coward, and was kicked out of the army for it), the Judge investigates and discovers a tiny arrowhead embedded in the general's throat, along with a poisoned fruit. It turns out the general was wanted dead by two people: a (now-dead) former governor who knew the general was a traitornote , and the general's son, who was having an affair with one of his father's concubines, a major no-no in Tang society (it's outright referred to as incest). The son gave his father a box of poisoned fruit, hoping to blame the murder on the painter, while the governor had given the general a booby-trapped quill, to be used on the day he wrote his memoirs. The quill killed the general, but the Judge orders the general's son to commit suicide (see major no-no above).
  • This was one of Agatha Christie's favorite twists. Many of her novels and short stories had the murderer turn out to be a man and a woman in a Secret Relationship who either pretended to dislike each other or not know each other, and then use that to create alibis and opportunities for each other.
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    Live-Action Television 
  • American Vandal: The main characters wonder about the possibility in season one that more than one person was responsible for vandalizing the teachers' cars. Near the ending, they come to the conclusion that the most likely culprit, Christa, worked together with her boyfriend to do it, since she had her leg broken at the time. While she deleted the footage of the crime, her boyfriend did it.
    • Season 2 plays with this. It turns out that the pranks were the work of many people, the actual criminal blackmailed all of them to force them into playing the pranks for him.
  • The Blue Paint killer in CSI. The first ep has the believed killer escaping execution due to more bodies being found, then he dies at the end. In the later ep, more cases popped up, and the group realized the executed man was just the apprentice. The guy captured in that episode was the real main killer. Both men did the crimes, though.
  • Psych: In season 3, Shawn captured serial killer Mr. Yang. It isn't until a year later that it was revealed that she had a partner, Mr. Yin (Mary was killed after figuring this out). A year after that, it was revealed that Yin was Yang's father, and, though they worked together, he was actually the one who committed the murders.
  • An episode of Supernatural had the Winchesters investigate murders they assumed had been committed by a ghost or some other supernatural creature due to its apparent ability to teleport, but turned out to be the actions of two normal guys pretending to be some kind of ghost.
  • This trope is rare in Midsomer Murders, but it does happen in "The Creeper", where the killers turn out to be a mother and daughter-in-law killing to protect a family secret.
  • In Death in Paradise, this turns out to be the key to Murder in the Polls — one murderer, and one accomplice to arrange a fake alibi.
  • One episode of Castle has Castle competing with Beckett's Romantic False Lead over who can solve the murder first, with each man focusing on one particular suspect. Beckett's the one who realizes that both suspects did it. They weren't working together, and had no idea the other one had done anything, they just both wanted the guy dead. Esposito tells Beckett it was generous of her to let both the guys win.
  • Many episodes of Criminal Minds contain the reveal that the unsub is working with a partner, sometimes only near the end of the episode. It's also inverted in some episodes, where acts that are "clearly" performed by groups or partnerships turn out to be committed by a single person (either with a split personality or some other psychosis that makes them believe someone else is involved).
  • Like the movie it's based on, the killer in the first season of Scream turns out to have been been two people. This is first suspected by the characters when the killer of the first season is revealed, as they were seemingly attacked by the killer in a previous episode. The surviving killer then becomes the new Big Bad of the next season, their motive being revenge for the death of their accomplice.

    Video Games 
  • In Persona 4, there are actually three. One copycat, one pawn who thought he was defeating the killer (while actually creating new victims) and then the original killer that orchestrated the whole scheme. There's also a Man Behind the Man, who had nothing to do with the killings but caused them indirectly by empowering the original killer.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the Jedi council asks you to investigate a murder with two suspects, each accusing the other. Turns out they both did it, but not intentionally, they just happened to act on their separate plans simultaneously. Then it turns out to have been a Secret Test of Character — the Jedi master "assisting" your investigation had already solved it on his own.
  • In the This War of Mine DLC Father's Promise, the burglary in the Pharmacy was committed by two separate parties. The perpetrator who left the only trail is not the perpetrator who left the clues to your Driving Question; it is sheer coincidence that following the first perpetrator's trail allows you to pick up the trail of the second.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the True Ending of the game reveals that the mastermind behind the Nonary Game, Zero, is actually two of the game's participants. Though Santa is actually The Dragon to Zero/Akane. Also, Ace masterminded the first Nonary Game and is the reason Akane did this one.
  • Danganronpa does this a lot; aside from the fact that Monokuma is the Big Bad responsible for every murder as the host of the Mutual Killing Games, nearly every case has at least two culprits, though usually with one being the central planner and murderer.
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • Chapter 1: Leon was the one who killed Sayaka, but she tried to kill him first, only for him to fight back and kill her instead. The manga also has it be an Accidental Murder on Leon's part.
      • Chapter 2: Mondo murdered Chihiro, but Byakuya tampered with the evidence to blame it on and draw out Genocide Jack, the Serial Killer hiding among them.
      • Chapter 3: Celeste trucked Hifumi into killing Kiyotaka, then killed Hifumi herself to keep him from talking.
      • Chapter 4: Sakura was Driven to Suicide, but Aoi was manipulated by a fake suicide note written by Monokuma into trying to get everyone else killed as well.
      • Chapter 5 and 6: Eventually, it's revealed that there are two masterminds behind Monokuma, collectively known as the Ultimate Despair. However the mastermind who was manually controlling the bear, Junko Enoshima, murdered her accomplice Mukuro Ikusaba early in the story by baiting her into breaking the rules. This was done to hide the fact that they had swapped identities.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
      • Chapter 1: Teruteru killed the Ultimate Imposter, but Nagito goaded him into it in the first place. Teruteru was actually aiming for Nagito.
      • Chapter 2: Subverted. Peko killed Mahiru, but it seems that Fuyuhiko ordered her to do it. Turns out Peko did it of her own accord, assuming Fuyuhiko would order her to do it.
      • Chapter 3: Also subverted. It seems that Hiyoko may have been an accomplice to the murder of Ibuki, but she was not; Mikan killed both of them on her own.
      • Chapter 4: Gundham killed Nekomaru, but they fought in a Duel to the Death. Had Nekomaru won, he would have killed Gundham.
      • Chapter 5: Chiaki was the direct killer of Nagito, but Nagito himself set things up so she would accidentally kill him.
      • Chapter 6: There are in fact two-to-three masterminds: Nagito, who manipulated the other students and set up much of the conflict; Monokuma/Junko, the host of the killing game; and Izuru Kamukura, Hajime Hinata's Superpowered Evil Side who put the Junko AI into the Neo World Program.
    • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls: The was between kids and adults in Towa City was set up by Monaca Towa and AI Junko Enoshima, the latter disguised as Shirokuma and Kurokuma.
    • Danganronpa 3 Side:Future: The mastermind of the Final Killing Game is Kazuo Tengan, head of the Future Foundation, whose goal was to eradicate despair for good by tormenting Ryota Mitarai until he snapped and decided to use his talent to brainwash the entire world into feeling nothing but hope. The "spy" that was supposedly going around killing everyone does not exist, all of the "murders" were actually brainwashing-induced suicides. Monaca Towa also killed Miaya Gekkogahara at some point before the events of the killing game and replaced her with a remote-controlled robotic duplicate that she was using to spy on the Future Foundation, but she was ultimately a Red Herring who had nothing to do with the Final Killing Game.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Chapter 1: Kaede set up a trap to kill the mastermind, but ended up accidentally killing Rantaro with it instead. Except she didn't, the trap missed. The mastermind, Tsumugi, then killed Rantaro herself and arranged the scene to make it look like the trap worked to keep the killing game on-script.
      • Chapter 2: Actually averted; Kirumi is the sole culprit behind Ryoma's murder this time. Although Ryoma did let himself get killed because he discovered he genuinely had nothing to live for and no one waiting for him on the outside.
      • Chapter 3: Subverted; while it seems like Angie and Tenko may have been killed by two different people, Korekiyo murdered both of them. Of course, Korekiyo is two different people, or at least he thinks he is.
      • Chapter 4: Miu, the victim, was trying to kill Kokichi, only for him to manipulate Gonta into killing her.
      • Chapter 5: Kaito killed Kokichi, but at his request as part of a Thanatos Gambit.
      • Chapter 6: Tsumugi is the mastermind of the current killing game, but she's just one of many employees of Team Danganronpa, the true mastermind who makes the Danganronpa-themed reality show. And of course, the only reason they keep making the show is because the fans keep watching it and demanding more.
  • A possible theory about the truth of the Rokkenjima Mansion massacre in Umineko: When They Cry is that the events are caused by two teams working independent of each other, one planning and one opportunistic. It eventually turns out that this is indeed the case- Beatrice/Yasu was the one who planned the Deadly Game, but when everyone won and lived, it was Kyrie and Rudolf Ushiromiya who shot and killed everyone (except Eva, who killed back in self-defense) so they could get the Rokkenjima treasure.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations has between one and four antagonists for the final case of the original trilogy depending on how you count.
  • In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, a contradiction arises from initially missing this in case one.
  • Ace Attorney Investigations 2 has multiple "killers" in case one. The problem is figuring out (and proving) who did what and why.

    Webcomics 
  • xkcd has a cartoon proposing a parodic compromise with the 9/11 "truthers": One of the twin towers was destroyed by a secret US government conspiracy and made to look like an Islamic terrorist attack... and the other tower actually was destroyed by Islamic terrorists. Both attacks happened on the same day by complete coincidence.

    Real Life 
  • The Hillside Strangler turned out to be the Hillside Stranglers, Angelo Buono and his cousin Kenneth Bianchi. The police in that case had actually guessed beforehand that they might be dealing with two killers, thinking that two men would have an easier time carrying and dumping bodies around Los Angeles suburbs.
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