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Undercover as Lovers

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"Prepare for trouble, and make it a nuptial!"
Mal: Whatever happens, remember that I love you.
Zoe: Sir?
Mal: Because you're my wife.
Zoe: Right, sir. Honey.

Alice and Bob need a disguise. Maybe they're detectives, maybe they're spies, or maybe they're just on the run from the law. For whatever reason, the disguise they decide to adopt requires that they pretend to be a couple. Hilarity Ensues!

This may be a sign of Unresolved Sexual Tension between them; alternately, it can be used to highlight the lack of tension, by showing just how unnatural it feels to have them play the role. Either way, expect a huge amount of bickering and an agreement not to use tongues. Can also end up becoming a Romantic Fake–Real Turn.

Subtrope of Fake Relationship.

Compare the rather briefer Fake-Out Make-Out, which may become necessary at some points.

See also Smithical Marriage, The Beard.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hei and Yin from Darker than Black pose as newlyweds in order to hide out at a resort while on the run in the Gaiden OVA.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Wraith and Lemon do this while they gather information for Tessa in Russia. There were definitely deeper feelings on Lemon's part, though Wraith is harder to read.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a variation. A wealthy businessman being targeted by a thief (actually Section 9) is hosting what amounts to a very high-class Robosexual party. In order to get inside without arousing alarm, Aramaki and the Major attend, with the Major posing as Aramaki's Sexbot, since she has a full-body prosthetic, making her essentially indistinguishable from an android. Aramaki, being a high-level government official with numerous connections, is able to go as himself without arousing suspicion. It is quite clear that the Major does not like this plan.
  • In the Gundam manga Char's Deleted Affair, Char and a young Haman masquerade as newlyweds on vacation when visiting the colonies from Axis, to check up on the situation with other Zeon remnants in the Earth Sphere. This trip is the source of that picture from Zeta Gundam that apparently shows them as a couple. In actuality, Haman had a huge crush on Char when she was younger, but he never reciprocated, which got her a little upset to say it politely. Could also be considered a rare villainous example, as both of them become the Big Bad at different points of the series.
  • Izumo Kusanagi and Seri Awashima, the oft-Ship Tease'd Red and Blue Clan Number Two's in K, check into a party they're infiltrating together as "Mr. and Mrs. [pseudonym]". When she mentions it, he replies, "Yes, my honey~"
  • Downplayed in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. At one point, Shigure takes Kenichi along for one of her trips while searching for one of her father's swords, and they stay together at an inn sharing a room, with Shigure saying they're a couple. In this case it's done so they can save some money, but it flusters Kenichi to no end.
  • Subversion In Pokémon: The Original Series: Upon learning that James was an heir to a large fortune and could come upon that inheritance just by marrying, Jessie initially suggests that she and James falsify a wedding to each other in order to steal the inheritance. But then they learn that James already had a betrothed and really, really did not want to cross paths with her... Ironically this would have made Jessie's plan even easier had they gone through with it, since she looks exactly like James' fiance.
  • A flashback arc in the Rurouni Kenshin manga, and the anime's prequel OVA, revolves around Kenshin in his assassin days posing with a young woman named Tomoe Yukishiro as a married couple (more exactly, a herbalist/medic and his wife recently "arrived" to a tiny mountain village) to avoid Shinsengumi detection. It grows into real love just in time for things to end poorly.
    • The entire premise. <Twilight> is a spy who needs to get himself a fake family to infiltrate his target's social circle. Yor Briar is an assassin who wants to keep a low profile under a government that views single women with suspicion. Naturally, they get married and adopt Anya, a young orphan who they don't realize is a telepath who knows both of their true identities. Interestingly, neither member of the couple is aware of the other's true identity but somehow everything has worked out well so far.
    • In the Campbelldon arc, agent <Nightfall> insists that she and <Twilight> pose as a married couple when participating in the underground tennis tournament. <Nightfall>'s real motivation is for <Twilight> to end up falling in love with her for real and have her take over Yor's role as the mother in Operation Strix.
  • Trigun: Millie Thompson and Nicolas Wolfwood perform this, but in a twist it's not to protect themselves; it's to hide an escaping slave by hiding her under Millie's dress, with her posing as a pregnant woman. Millie and Nicolas then stroll along, pretending to be a happy expecting couple as the slave's pursuers pass them by.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Castlevania fic Bonds of Vanity, Maria and Alucard are stuck needing to get a pendent back from the villain without revealing how powerful it is. So on the fly, Alucard claims it was his engagement gift to Maria. Considering how they were acting during the rest of the story, not only does villain have no trouble buying this, their own ally has to remind himself it's a cover story.
  • In the Love Live! doujin Love Scandal, an unknown photographer gets a picture of Honoka Kosaka entering a limo with fellow school idol Tsubasa Kira. It's also turns out the same photographer has been taking candid photos of Honoka as well. To lure them out, Honoka and Tsubasa go on a fake date while the other members of µ's and A-Rise wait nearby to catch the culprit. Of course, Honoka and Tsubasa end up enjoying their "date" like they were actually dating.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles Mini-sodes: Averted in the Undercover Mission arc. Tsunade gives a mission to Naruto and Hinata where they'll have to gather information and their cover will be as a couple on vacation. She explains that she previously sent fake couples (thus playing this trope straight), but they tend to be spotted easily. As such, for this mission, she decides to send an actual couple and it turns out Naruto and Hinata are the only actual couple to be completely available for this mission.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Allied, Max and Marianne pose as husband and wife in Casablanca.
  • The first Austin Powers movie did this, complete with clueless Austin using the inappropriate pseudonyms Richie Cunningham and Oprah.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: While on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. and doing some hacking in a mall, Cap and Black Widow pretend to be fiances looking up honeymoon sites.
    Apple Employee: Congratulations, where you guys thinking about going?
    Steve: [glances at computer screen] ...New Jersey.
  • The Evil That Men Do. The hitman protagonist insists a woman and child accompany him, as a family draws less attention from the authorities. Unfortunately this backfires when the child is captured by the bad guys.
  • The Fourth Protocol. The KGB agent played by Pierce Brosnan picks up his 'wife' (actually a female military scientist) from the airport, and suggests they share the bed as per their cover story (he's been getting rather frustrated thanks to a flirtatious neighbour). She tells him to get lost, but they end up sleeping together anyway after a sweaty session assembling an atomic bomb. Subverted when he kills her the next day as per his orders.
  • In Get Smart, Max and 99 are supposed to use this as their entry cover into Russia, but they're made by Giant Mook Dalip before they even leave the plane.
  • The Infiltrator (2016). An undercover U.S. Customs agent is married, so he turns down a beautiful prostitute arranged for him by the bad guys. To keep his cover he tells them he's engaged, but then Customs insists on providing a female agent as his fiancee. She turns out to be quite good at her role, though there's is a moment of sexual tension when they almost have Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex after witnessing a murder. There's also an unpleasant scene when a criminal comes across him having an anniversary dinner with his real wife. He has to pretend she's his secretary who he's rewarding for her good work, and then (to the shock of his wife) insults and brutally assaults the waiter for bringing him the 'wrong' cake (marked Happy Anniversary).
  • James Bond has several examples, the first two of which are subversions due to them actually being lovers, and the third just needs a little more time:
    • From Russia with Love: James and Tatiana Romanova attempt to exit Turkey via the Orient Express as a married pair of British vacationers.
    • You Only Live Twice sees James Bond "converted" to Oriental, and ostensibly married to Tanaka's agent Kissy. The couple pose as newlyweds in a nondescript fishing village that happens to be near a dormant volcano. That volcano is guarded by Spectre mooks, which makes it of interest to British Intelligence and the Japanese security ministry.
    • The Spy Who Loved Me: James and Major Amasova, while visiting Stromberg.
    • Casino Royale (2006): Bond and Vesper Lynd were supposed to be this at the poker game, with Bond posing as Mr. Arlington Beech and Vesper pretending to be his lover with the apparent name of Stephanie Broadchest. However, Bond used his own name under the reservation and tossed out the ploy, feeling it wouldn't fool Le Chiffre. In a more heat-of-the-moment incident, they pose as two lovers snogging in an attempt to avoid suspicion when Obanno and his henchman walk by after threatening Le Chiffre, but his henchman sees Bond's earpiece.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005): This is how John and Jane first met and became a (fake) couple — they needed to escape the attention of local authorities who were looking for single people traveling separately. Then they enter into a Smithical Marriage using each other as cover. It's perfect... except for the part where the sham marriage is becoming increasingly strained because (naturally) they don't spend any significant time getting to know each other.
  • In Partners (1982), a straight cop and a gay cop go undercover as a couple in order to solve a series of murders of gay men.
  • In Sunburn (1979), private detective Jake Dekker hires model Ellie Morgan to pose as his wife while he investigates insurance fraud. They rent a house and attend parties together. Before long they start to develop feelings for each other for real.
  • Lois and Clark in Superman II. They pose as a honeymooning couple to expose a corrupt hotelier.
  • Vice (2015): After a makeover, Tedeschi and Kelly infiltrate Vice posing as a married couple.

  • Taken a step further in Alex Rider: Skeleton Key. Alex is loaned to the CIA for a mission into Cuba with a male and female pair of operatives. The CIA reasons that their Cuban counterparts would reason one traveler alone to be an operative, a male and female duo to be this trope, but a male and female with a teenage boy? That's gotta be a family.
  • Bait And Switch: Elsabeth and Husson slip into Auch in the guise of a married couple to case the lord's castle for a later break-in. There's no UST at all; Elsabeth finds Husson repulsive, and it turns out he's just using her to take the fall.
  • In The Dresden Files, that's how Red Court Vampires frequently operate. Pretending to be a married couple makes it easier to deal with law enforcement agencies, your actions are considered less suspicious and people generally trust you more.
  • The setup for Fish and Chips is that FBI partners Zane Garrett and Ty Grady must pose as a married couple on a Caribbean cruise, pretending to be two of the partners in an art smuggling ring. Unknown to everyone else, Zane and Ty are already lovers, but are having trouble with the emotional side of their relationship; being forced into public demonstrations of love and affection wrenches them both in to a new understanding of how they might feel about each other.
  • The Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey:
    • In the Oathbound series, Kethry and Tarma pretend to be lovers on a few occasions. They're actually Heterosexual Life-Partners with Incompatible Orientations, but there's enough Les Yay between them - they're in a Pseudo-Romantic Friendship that goes as far as having matching rings, sharing beds, and always being ready to declare their love and devotion for one another - that they pull it off. Basically the only change they make when passing as lovers is to kiss each other passionately. It's more of a concern to them when they're in homophobic areas where it's actually unsafe to be perceived as lovers.
    • Talia and Kris did the same to fool possible spies during their diplomatic mission to Hardorn in Arrow's Fall. Having once had a just-friends sexual relationship, they were able to be very convincing about it.
  • A variant in Honor Harrington: Kevin Usher creates the (false) perception that his wife Ginny and protege Victor Cachat are having an affair. It allows them to use this trope without anyone thinking they're actually working, but the real reason is to protect Ginny and Victor in case the next Havenite political shakeup results in Kevin facing a firing squad. Victor hates it, partly because it makes him out to be a total scumbag, and partly because Ginny really enjoys teasing him. The ruse is abandoned after Victor gets an actual girlfriend.
  • In Lee Nez: Surrogate Evil, Lee and Diane use this during an operation to catch a particularly vile scumbag named Newton Glover. It's helped along by the fact that by this point in the series the two of them actually are lovers.
  • In Perry Mason, the title character and Della Street disguise as a couple with a baby in the "Case of the Deadly Toy", to hire a babysitter they need to question.
  • Defied and inverted in The Puppet Masters. The Boss makes Sam and Mary go undercover as brother and sister, precisely because he knows that their relationship will have a lot of sexual tension that needs to be kept under control (and he somehow knows this even though Sam and Mary haven't met).
  • In Single & Single by John le Carré, Oliver Single and his bodyguard/minder Aggie travel to Berne using his alias Hawthorne, with Aggie using the name of his ex-wife. When they believe they've been spotted by the bad guys, the switch to another pair of pre-arranged identities—a married couple again—before making an unscheduled and unauthorized escape to Istanbul.
  • Dusty Fog and Belle Boyd pose as husband and wife in The South Will Rise Again by J.T. Edson.
  • Spice and Wolf: During the beginning of their journey, Lawrence will typically tell others that Holo is either his wife or lover when they inquire as to why a woman is partaking in a traveling merchant's route. This brings Holo no end of amusement, often using it as an excuse to tease him.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, Jennsen and Sebastian use this technique while at the People's Palace. Jennsen seems to be fine with Sebastian's suggestions, until he decides that she should pretend to be pregnant, as well.
  • Discussed in The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign, when Kyousuke and the White Queen need to infiltrate a hotel. There's a musical in the local area that features them as the main characters, so Kyousuke pretends that the White Queen is actually the actress playing her, and that he's another staff member dressed as himself (to help the supposed actress rehearse her role). He then considers also pretending that they're secretly lovers, to justify them acting suspiciously.
  • X-Wing Series: When Rogue Squadron infiltrated Imperial Center in various disguises, some of them posed as lovers, most notably Corran and Erisi.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agatha Raisin: In "Agatha and the Walkers of Dembley", Agatha and James go undercover to investigate the walking group. Much to James' consternation, Agatha introduces them as husband and wife.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
  • The Avengers does it in "Death on the Rocks" where Steed and Cathy Gale must pretend to be husband and wife — probably the Ur-Example since it was from 1962 and there just aren't many series prior to that where the woman had enough of an active role to get an undercover mission (and to have UST, since that implies that her main role in the series isn't already to be a love interest).
  • Babylon 5: During the Earth Alliance Civil War arc, Marcus and Franklin adopt false IDs to sneak onto Mars. The Resistance's access to fake IDs is "limited to what [they] can steal", so they end up taking the IDs of newlyweds: Jim Fennerman and Daniel Lane, on Mars for their honeymoon. Not especially sensical, but very funny. Also noteworthy for the fact that no one (even Marcus and Franklin, after the initial "WHAT!?" reaction) finds it unusual, and nobody is concerned that two men posing as newlyweds would attract attention (the last thing they need during a covert operation).
  • Bionic Woman (2007 remake). In "The List" Jaime Sommers and CIA agent Tom Hastings travel to Paris as a married couple. It doesn't help that they had sex in the previous episode and Tom can speak French, but Tom decides they need to focus on the mission — leading to more distracting sexual tension than if they'd just slept together.
  • In one episode of Blood Ties (2007), Vicki infiltrates a fertility clinic by posing as a patient and gets Mike to pose as her husband.
  • Bones:
    • In one episode, Booth and Brennan go undercover as married circus performers.
    • Booth and Brennan go to Las Vegas and pose as a "loosely committed" couple. (Read: Brennan nixed the idea of marriage because she doesn't believe in it — even when it's supposed to be fake for the investigation.)
    • Season 5 has an episode where they go semi-undercover to Bones' high school reunion, with Booth posing as her husband. Made a thousand times more awkward by the fact that this came right after the episode where he confessed his love for her and she said she didn't want to start a relationship.
    • Done a fourth time in the season 6 finale, with a twist: at the end of the episode, Brennan reveals that she's carrying Booth's baby (the previous episode had implied that they'd slept together), and they actually do become a couple thereafter.
    • Season 9 has another awkward one with them going undercover at a couples retreat right after Booth was forced by a villain to reject Brennan's marriage proposal and she was still devastated because he couldn't say why.
    • One episode has Angela and Sweets going undercover as a couple to nab possible murder weapons.
  • In the second season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake and Amy confront their slow-burning UST and try to convince themselves that they're Better as Friends. So, of course, among many other awkward potentially romantic situations the episode throws them into at one point they have to pose as a couple on a date in order to infiltrate a restaurant without their suspect being any the wiser.
    Amy: Freeze! We are police colleagues!
    Jake: You're under arrest! This is a work event!
  • Castle:
    • Kate Beckett (NYPD homicide detective) and Rick Castle (mystery/crime writer who is allowed to tag along) pose as a BDSM-couple to infiltrate an exclusive high-class dungeon. Beckett takes a great deal of pleasure in expressing a desire to make Castle, cast here as her submissive boyfriend, 'squirm'.
    • Castle and Beckett go undercover as newlyweds at an Old West-themed resort to solve a murder. Subverted because they actually married at the end of the previous episode, so they are indeed newlyweds.
  • Chuck:
    • This happens over and over, usually when Chuck and Sarah attend parties that the big baddie is throwing. More important than episode-by-episode missions, it's their overall background story. Chuck maintains his normal pre-spy life. Sarah stays close to him as a guide and guard, and for the first two seasons, their cover story to all his friends and family was that they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
    • In one episode with this premise, in which Chuck and Sarah pose as a just-married couple in order to investigate a suspicious neighbourhood. This actually forms part of the larger plot between Chuck and Sarah, in that both of them realise that it's the life they want to have together but never can.
    • Given that Sarah is the only female on Team Bartowski, she is often paired with male agents for missions like these, generally to play up the Unresolved Sexual Tension between her and Chuck or to wring drama out of the latter's jealousy.
  • Daredevil: After Elliott "Grotto" Grote escapes the Punisher's massacre of the Kitchen Irish, he makes it to Josie's Bar, where he approaches Nelson & Murdock and asks them to help him get witness protection. He then collapses due to an unseen injury he obtained from shrapnel during the shooting. Karen takes him to the hospital, checking him in under an assumed name while claiming to be his wife and claiming to the nurse that he got injured in a bar fight defending her honor. Too bad they don't have much time to set the story up before Frank Castle manages to track them down.
  • Elementary: In "Dirty Laundry" both the victim of the week and her husband are revealed to be Russian spies who were sent to pose as a normal American couple. They started sleeping together as part of the arrangement but stopped after they conceived a daughter. They decided not to tell their daughter who they really were until she started applying for colleges.
  • La Femme Nikita: Nikita and Michael go undercover and are flat out told by their controller that they're to have sex.
  • Firefly:
    • In "The Train Job", Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his second in command Zoe are on a shady job, stealing goods from The Alliance. They're unable to escape cleanly as planned, so they do their best to blend in with the civilian passengers on the train. Just before being questioned by a local sheriff, and Mal reminds Zoe that their backup cover story is that they're a married couple who just arrived on that moon looking for a job.
    • In "Our Mrs. Reynolds", Jayne and Mal pretend to be husband and wife, with Mal wearing a dress and bonnet. Hilarity ensues. Mal later jokes that he likes the "air flow" of the dress.
  • Get Smart: When Max have to go undercover at a hotel on short notice, 99 suggests that they use the "Honeymoon Cover". Max makes a counter-suggestion that they go undercover as the "Travelling Salesman and Farmer's Daughter".
  • On Graceland the main characters are federal undercover agents and have to do this from time to time.
    • Charlie recruits Mike to act as her boyfriend when she has to go to a sleazy bar to make a delivery for Paige. If she went in by herself all the sleazy men would start hitting on her and she would have too many people looking at her. She even tells Mike to "grab her ass" to sell people on the idea that he is her cocky, possessive boyfriend.
    • When Briggs and Charlie go undercover as a junkie couple it is revealed that last time they assumed these roles they actually hooked up for real. Since they had ended the relationship years ago, they now play their undercover identities as a couple who broke up but still remained friends. However, they have to do a Fake-Out Make-Out to avoid blowing their cover and it heats up the sexual tension between them again. They almost end up having sex but stop themselves when they realize that the attraction is purely physical and caused by the danger they are in. They go back to being just friends.
  • In the Inspector George Gently episode 'Peace and Love', Gently very briefly insinuates that he and Bacchus are lovers in order to access a club that the Victim of the Week and one of their suspects met in. Naturally, for his rather bigoted self, Bacchus is horrified once he catches on after a patron compliments Gently on his success.
  • In Jack of All Trades, Jack and Elaine have to pose as lovers when infiltrating Marquis de Sade's BDSM-themed island resort. They also have to adapt a dom/sub relationship.
  • On JAG, Mac and Clayton Webb go undercover as husband and wife on a CIA mission in Paraguay in season 8/9.
  • In Knight Rider 2008, Mike and Zoe pose as a honeymooning couple in the course of an investigation in a Mexican resort.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • In "Wildlife", Elliot Stabler goes off the radar while undercover as an animal smuggler. Olivia Benson sneaks in to check on him, but is caught by the smugglers. She poses as his prostitute, which involves the two of them in their underwear.
    • In "Bombshell", Elliot and Olivia pose as a married couple experimenting with the swinger lifestyle to get into an exclusive swinger's club. Strangely, this one has the least amount of tension between them.
    • In "Ace", Olivia and Elliot pose as an infertile couple looking to pay for a baby to bust a child-smuggling ring.
    • In "Father Dearest", the detectives need information about a particular donor at a sperm bank. Olivia and Amanda Rollins go to the sperm bank posing as a couple "ready to take the next step".
    • Played With in "Video Killed the Radio Star." Rollins offers to be the Honey Trap to go over a radio personality who is a serial rapist. He prefers married women, so Benson suggests she wear a ring. Fin suggests someone pose as her husband. Benson agrees and immediately volunteers Carisi for the position. It's subverted in that Carisi and Rollins are actually lovers, but the only person who knows that on the squad is Benson—meaning for everyone else, they are this trope and that Olivia just trolled her detective.
  • Leverage:
    • In episode "The Mile High Job", Nate and Sophie pretended to be a couple while boarding an airplane, and then got into an argument over their past history while working on their cover story.
    • Hardison and Parker pose as a couple in "The First David Job" and they make out to cover for opening a door.
    • Hardison and Parker pose as a couple in "The Ice Man Job" where she's the girlfriend to his diamond merchant (the titular Ice Man).
    • In "The Fairy God Parents", Hardison and Parker pose as newly-weds when looking at an apartment.
    • Hardison and Eliot pose as a couple to get in and see Nate in "The 12-Step Job". Eliot was less than pleased.
  • Lie to Me has Cal and Gillian go undercover as a kinky couple who want to make a porno to find a missing girl. This includes Gillian talking about liking bondage and the two sharing quite a kiss.
  • Life On Mars. Sam Tyler and WPC Cartwright pose as a married couple to investigate a wife-swapping group. Interestingly the most Unresolved Sexual Tension comes not from this situation, but in the scene where they're making up a Meet Cute cover story.
  • Lois and Clark in Lois & Clark pose as a honeymooning couple to spy on the bad guys across the street from the hotel.
  • Lucifer (2016): In "Til Death Do Us Part", Lucifer and Pierce have to pose as a gay married couple. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the Mann & Machine episode "No Pain, No Gain," Eve and Mann go undercover as a husband and wife trying to buy a testicle from organ thieves so they can have a child.
  • In The Mentalist, Patrick Jane often goes undercover with his supervisor, Teresa Lisbon. He doesn't precisely need to, and is more likely than not doing this to patronize her without fear of backlash. Lots and lots of Ship Tease — Jisbon shippers get taunted. With slow-dancing.
  • Miami Vice: While Tubbs is undercover as a convict in "Walk-Alone," he and Trudy share a "conjugal visit." Tubbs awkwardly leans in to kiss her but can't bring himself to do it, so he yells at her for cheating on him instead.
  • Monk: Monk and Sharona investigate a marriage counseling retreat in the episode "Mr. Monk Gets Married". The counselor's response to finding out that they're not married is "Oh, thank God. Keep it that way."
  • NCIS:
    • "Under Covers": Tony and Ziva pose as a husband and wife team of assassins and fake having sex more times than is really necessary to maintain their cover. The act is apparently so convincing they fool the FBI agents who are secretly monitoring them, who insist, even after being told repeatedly that the entire situation was an act, that they can't be fooled and it was real. Five seasons later, it's implied that the sex was real.
    • McGee and Bishop pose as husband and wife to catch an actually married pair of killers. Rarely, this did not heighten already present UST or result in newfound UST between them. If anything, she ends up confiding in him about her troubled marriage.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles:
    • Kensi and Deeks pose as a pair on a fairly regular basis to the point that it's only notable when they have to maintain it for an extended period of time (such as one episode where they had to live together to infiltrate a gated community).
    • Sam goes undercover as the partner/boyfriend of a female undercover agent pretending to be an assassin. They have no problems convincing people that they are a couple because the female agent is actually Sam's real wife. The awkward parts come when the Big Bad wants her to dump her boyfriend and hook up with him instead.
    • Nell and Eric get a turn to pretend to be a couple in season 8's "Getaway" and share their second on-screen kiss. Which Deeks immediately records on his phone.
  • On New Tricks, Brian is paired up with a young and beautiful professional undercover cop. He explains the situation very cautiously to his wife - only to be discomfited when she bursts out laughing.
  • Person of Interest. In "High Road" the POI lives in the suburbs. Given that The Man In The Suit sticks out somewhat, Finch arranges for Reese to move into the house next door, and in a twisted sense of humor, Reese asks Zoe Morgan to join him by handing her a diamond ring and asking if she'd marry him. Despite Small Town Boredom the partnership actually works quite well, and the end of the episode has Zoe suggesting they stay an extra night before 'divorcing'. Just to finish their game of poker, of course.
  • In the Police Woman episode "Ice", Pepper and Crowley pose as a married couple vacationing in Mexico as part of their assignment to catch a gang of jewel thieves.
  • Assignment 5 of Sapphire and Steel has the titular beings pose as a married couple. Steel is nonplussed by the arrangement, but Sapphire has fun winding him up by asking things like what side of the bed he wants.
  • In one episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Clyde and Rani pretend to be a married couple of journalists. The faked marriage raises fewer eyebrows than the fact that they're supposed to be writers for a magazine aimed at senior citizens.
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators: In "The Chameleon's Dish", Frank and Lou go to silent retreat to keep their surveillance on their client for a weekend, only to find their client has booked them in as newlyweds.
  • This is the framing device for Spaced. Tim and Daisy meet in a cafe, both reading through newspapers looking for housing. They discover an advert for an affordable tenancy but which is "professional couple only", and poses as partners in order to find somewhere to live.
  • Happens on occasion in Spooksnote  whenever two MI-5 officers needed to go undercover. For the most part, however, they act as consummate professionals. Quizzing one another on their fabricated background happens far more often than them letting their personal feelings interfere with their operation. In something of a precedent for this show, the very first time it happened in episode two, it ended with Helen, the "wife", being gruesomely murdered by having her head shoved into a deep-fat friar.
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: La'an and an alternate timeline version of James T. Kirk get trapped in the 21st Century and move through the world pretending to be a couple. They share a hotel suite with one bed, and he refers to her as his wife.
  • Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye had Unresolved Sexual Tension couple Sue and Jack do undercover several times. The first time it was treated as a big deal but later on it became common place.
  • Supernatural:
    • Jo poses as Dean's girlfriend in order for them to investigate an apartment where various girls had gone missing.
    • There is an episode in Season 3 in which Dean and Bela pretend to be a couple at a social event in order to steal a Hand of Glory from the place.
    • In "A Very Supernatural Christmas", Sam and Dean pose as a couple in order to get information on how the Monster of the Week is distributing McGuffins to the victims. As they are siblings who are frequently Mistaken for Gay, this is awkward.
  • Threshold. In order to investigate a small town called Allenville, Caffrey and Cavanaugh pose as newlyweds looking for a home. Far from being uncomfortable with this, they handle it very professionally, even joking about themselves as a married couple throughout the episode. It helped that virtually every episode saw them adopting cover identities of some sort, albeit usually impersonating one federal agency or another.
    Cavanaugh: I'm good at destroying things.
    Caffrey: That's why I married you. (both smile)
  • Timeless:
    • In "The Last Ride of Bonnie and Clyde", Lucy and Wyatt go undercover as a fellow bank-robbing couple, and even kiss to make it believable.
    • In "The Salem Witch Hunt", Lucy and Flynn go undercover as a married couple who oppose the witch trials.
    • In "The Day Reagan Was Shot", Lucy and Jiya pose as a lesbian couple in an effort to convince Agent Christopher to come out to her parents and back out of the arranged marriage she had agreed to as a result of Rittenhouse's assassination attempt on her.
  • Cole and Mel in the Tracker episode "Love Cirronian Style". They're trying to catch a pair of Orsians at a couples retreat. Causes a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension because Cole is falling for Mel but afraid of being distracted from his mission. Him getting captured by the fugitives and going through a rather unpleasant life force extraction so they can attempt a jailbreak on Cole’s fugitive storage device doesn’t help.
  • Transatlantic: Albert and Mary Jayne pretend to be lovers who "just had oysters" in order to quickly get past some Vichy guards. Their makeout session to prove this makes the guard so uncomfortable he lets them through without issue.
  • Subverted in Undercovers, where the lead agents Tish Jones and Luther are actually husband and wife.
  • Veronica Mars did this to Logan at the Neptune Grand once to look for his mother.
  • Wonder Woman: In "I Do, I Do", Diana and Christian Harrison pose as newlyweds because they suspect someone has been manipulating the wives of high government officials to gain information, and Christian works in the White House.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess pairs Xena with Autolycus as The Royal Couple of Thieves, though couple may be overstating it as, to Xena's annoyance, they pose as Lord and concubine. They attempt to recover a priceless chest while maintaining their cover, including a double subversion of Not What It Looks Like while caught attempting to hide the chest in their bed, but must play it off as "what it looks like".
  • The X-Files, "Arcadia": Mulder and Scully pose as a married couple while investigating a Planned Community with a Dark Secret. Given their almost Chaste Hero nature, it was more an opportunity for snarking at each other than Unresolved Sexual Tension, such as Mulder claiming they met at a UFO conference — with Scully being the one more into it. "She's into all that New Age stuff. I don't know why she falls for it." Scully somehow manages to give a shamefaced smile through gritted teeth. Every fan knows Mulder was lucky to escape that assignment with his life. Or other important parts... The funny aspect about that episode is that it wasn't originally classified as an X-File. It was simply a missing persons case in a creepy town. Which means that whoever was running the case though that out of all the male/female partnerships in the FBI qualified for the case, Mulder and Scully would be most believable as a married couple.
  • In the Season 2 finale for Zoe Busiek: Wild Card, "Zoe's Phony Matrimony", detective Leo's sister is murdered. As she was a wedding planner, Zoe and Dan pose as an engaged couple in order to investigate the key suspects. By the episode's end, they're officially married.

  • In The Red Panda Adventures, the eponymous Red Panda and his sidekick pose as a married couple in Episode 8: "Curse of Beaton Hall" to explore the mystery. They do so badly due to Unresolved Sexual Tension and their somewhat snark master-servant relationship. This is given a shoutout in Episode 49: "Nightshade" where after they were married in the prior episode in their civilian identities, an enemy agent comments on how flimsy their disguise as a married couple is, right down to his sidekick still referring to him as "Boss."

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Micah and Shuu go undercover as lovers to infiltrate Enenra's fortress in Hyama. Micah, who's straight, isn't really comfortable with it, and Shuu teases him about it to no end.

  • In the musical Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler disguise themselves as a low Cockney couple, Mr. and Mrs. Brasser Bates of Bethnal Green.

    Video Games 
  • Danger Girl has a mission where Abbey Chase (the current player character) and Johnny Barracuda infiltrates a banquet as a married couple. Barracuda doesn't physically appear in the level however, being relegated to The Voice for Abbey.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Roy Campbell and Rosemary pretend to be wed to one another (much to the disgust of most everyone else, considering Roy is old enough that Rose could pass as his daughter) to protect Rose from being used as a hostage against her actual boyfriend Raiden by the Patriots.
  • Persona:
    • Referenced but averted in Persona 4. When the party is staking out Kanji, after Kanji catches Yosuke and Chie in the act, Yosuke tries to pretend that the two of them are on a date, but Chie is having none of it. It doesn't help that Kanji had already caught them eavesdropping on him the previous day, so he'd have seen right through their ruse anyway.
    • Persona 5:
      • During Makoto's confidant arc, the protagonist and Makoto are initially mistaken for a couple then use it as a cover for a double date investigation. Whether or not they become an actual couple depends on the player's choice.
      • During Ohya's confidant arc, Joker pretends to be her underage boyfriend to her boss as an explanation for why she's been so tight-lipped about her recent activities. She was actually investigating something that he'd already ordered her not to. Like with Makoto, whether or not this leads to them becoming an actual couple depends on the player's choice.
  • It's mentioned in Street Fighter Alpha that Charlie Nash and Chun-Li have done this in the past.
  • Guybrush and Morgan in Tales of Monkey Island: The Lair of the Leviathan have to fake being a married couple for Coronado de Cava so he would help them, as they were all trapped within a giant manatee and Coronado was neurotic and thought that Guybrush wanted something with the Voodoo Lady.

  • In Gaia, the thief Viviana and her reluctant ally Ilias pretend to be engaged in order to avoid arousing suspicion. The sexual tension is only increased since she didn't see a need to tell him beforehand.
  • Leif & Thorn: Thorn needs a ride in an ambulance; friends can't ride along, only family; Leif is obviously not a blood relation. The solution: claim Leif is his husband.
  • Whale Star: The Gyeongseong Mermaid: Freedom fighters Yeongyeong and Haesu pretend to be married (and Haesu the father of her baby) so they can travel together without arousing suspicion.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • In his book The Greatest Battle (on the Battle for Moscow in World War II), Andrew Nagorski interviewed two former members of an NKVD special forces unit who were ordered to go undercover as lovers (in the belief that a married couple would draw less attention) and, despite their initial awkwardness, ended up getting married for real.


Video Example(s):


Newlyweds Rutherford & Tendi

Rutherford and Tendi pretend to be a married couple so they can experience and review the activities for married couples on Ferenginar for the Starfleet visitors guide, as according to Ransom there are no married couples serving together on Cerritos. They initially have fun with the whole play acting, butthen it gets awkward for them later on.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / UndercoverAsLovers

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