Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Witness Protection

Go To

Basic Trope: A character is given a new home and a new identity as protection in exchange for testimony against an individual or an organization.

  • Straight: Alice Jones testifies against The Don, and has her name changed to Anne Smith and is moved out with her husband and children to a small town in farm country.
  • Exaggerated:
    • All of Alice's relatives and friends are put into the program, too.
    • Alternatively, Alice is put into the program, but her husband and children are not allowed to go in with her.
    • Advertisement:
    • The government forces Alice to become the exact opposite of her old self, even making her get an Easy Sex Change.
  • Downplayed: Alice spends a few weeks being shuffled between motels under false names, until the petty crime ring she witnessed against is finally dismantled.
  • Justified: If members of The Mafia have a way of finding Alice and/or members of her immediate family, they could harm or kill her (and her husband and kids, too).
  • Inverted: A criminal organization gives a criminal a new identity after they've committed a crime, to help them hide from the law.
  • Subverted: Alice moves away to the aforementioned small town, but is not part of a government program.
  • Double Subverted: But she has changed her name and her hair color, and her past history is a bit sketchy.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted: Alice is not placed in WP and goes about her normal life.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: ???
  • Invoked: Alice testifies against The Don in a high-profile, federal case.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied:
    • Alice doesn't want to be put into a program that would force her to start all over again from scratch and decides to take her chances.
    • Alice's family members dissuade her from testifying against The Don because they refuse to turn their lives upside-down just to maybe increase the chance of The Don being convicted.
    • Everyone involved in The Mafia is caught, and then executed or jailed for life, so there's no one left to threaten Alice anyway.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Alice misses her family and friends, and worries if they might be in danger, too. And what if someone finds her?
  • Advertisement:
  • Reconstructed: Alice does everything in her power to keep her identity secret and makes new friends, and starts a new life. She knows that contacting old family and friends could put herself and her family in danger.
  • Played For Drama: Alice's husband Bob and their children resent Alice because they were forced to turn their lives upside-down as a result of her decision to testify: Everyone had to cut off all of their old friends, and then abandon their beloved home for good. Bob had to give up a well-paying job he enjoyed to become a farmer, which he despises. Worse, it's All for Nothing, as The Don only got a slap on the wrist (or even got Off on a Technicality) anyway. In the end, Alice has no one from her old life left: Bob has divorced her, and her children left as soon as they turned 18.
  • Played For Horror: Bob is so upset about having to abandon his highly successful career and his entire social life that he cuts a deal with The Mafia to blow Alice's cover in exchange for leaving him alone when he returns to his old life.

Back to Witness Protection

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: