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Properly Paranoid / Live-Action TV

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Justified paranoia in live-action TV.

  • A downplayed example occurs in the 7 Yüz episode "Eşitlik". Dilek becomes increasingly paranoid after an intimate video goes viral, suspecting any man who looks at her with a sideways glance of watching it; unfortunately, many of her acquaintances (including her own students) turn out to be guilty of viewing or sharing the clip. The situation also deeply affects her fiancée Kaan, who similarly grows suspicious of others as he learns how many people participated in his fiancée's humiliation.
  • Martha Logan from Season 5 of 24, whose conspiracy theories are disbelieved by everyone, even the audience initially. It's not a coincidence that she shares her first name with the below mentioned Martha Mitchell...
    • Omar Hassan in season 8 gets steadily more paranoid after his own brother betrays him. This results in him arresting people on the barest of suspicions, up to and including his own head of security. The head of security turns out to, in fact, be in league with the terrorists.
    • The Russian gangsters are said to be extremely paranoid. An example: they put Renee and Ziya in the trunk of a car and Jack follows them...only to find that the car he's following is a decoy, and the real one left five minutes later.
    • When Jack Bauer and Cole Ortiz take Dana Walsh hostage since she has a file that reveals the true masterminds behind the attack on Hassan, Dana is extremely reluctant to give it to them since she's convinced that Jack, who has recently lost Renee Walker and been betrayed by the President in relation to the attacks, just wants to be judge, jury, and executioner and kill those involved rather than actually bringing about justice, with her being the first target. Inverted that he does want expose the conspirators but she's also right that he primarily wants to murder them. Not that it does her any good, since Jack still kills her.
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  • Angel: Wesley is never entirely at ease with a vampire boss, and is always preparing countermeasures against Angel's heel turn. His background as a former Watcher ensures this kind of thinking.
  • Garibaldi on Babylon 5 is admittedly "paranoid and compulsive. Or compulsively paranoid." An occupation qualification for the chief of Security. And he is usually right.
  • Better Call Saul: In the prequel series to Breaking Bad, Eduardo "Lalo" Salamanca is the only Cartel member to not be completely blinded by money or pride, and does not trust Gustavo Fring an inch. He is firmly convinced that he is up to something that would conflict with the interests of the Cartel and he is absolutely correct, as Gus is having a super meth lab built and plotting the downfall of the entire organization. This causes some problems as the others are so blinded by the amount of money Gus brings in that they order him to stop his inquiries into Gus' activities and he has to find other routes.
  • In the 2nd episode of season 5 of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon becomes freaked out by the fact that Penny picked up a lazyboy from the garbage, and is constantly trying to convince her to remove it, only for her to ignore his statements and drive him away. The ending of the episode has Penny and Amy fleeing from the apartment after discovering that there is something living in the chair, and presumably disposing of the chair...only for Howard and Raj to pick it back up to the apartment, meaning that Sheldon had a very good reason to be paranoid about it being a health hazard.
    • Even before the reveal, he was properly paranoid to distrust a chair that was randomly lying on the street.
  • In Bones, Hodgins is a Conspiracy Theorist and always somewhat paranoid. Being married to him convinced Angela to back up the software she uses at the lab, which came in handy when bombs completely destroyed the lab in the series finale.
  • Breaking Bad
    • When Gus starts having Jesse accompany Mike on his jobs, Walt begins to think that Gus is trying to drive a wedge between them. On the first day Jesse works as Mike's assistant, a pair of assailants came for Jesse, which Jesse managed to evade: Walt claims that the attack was planned by Gus and Mike in order to buoy Jesse's spirits and make him feel important. Jesse writes Walt's rantings off as being self-centered, but Walt wasn't far off: the would-be assailants were on Mike's payroll and if they succeeded and killed Jesse, Mike and Gus would've considered it an equally favorable outcome.
    • Late in the fourth season, when Walt and Jesse's partnership has seemingly ended, Jesse's girlfriend's son ends up in a hospital after developing flu-like symptoms. Jesse soon finds that the cigarette in which he concealed a phial of ricin that had been made to kill Gus was missing. Jesse immediately suspects Walt of having taken it and using it to poison the boy to manipulate him. He would later learn that was precisely what happened. He was even spot-on suspecting Walt had Saul instruct his security guard to take it while patting him down.
    • Lydia refuses to give Walter the information he needs until she finds another way to make herself indispensable to him, for fear that, once he has the info, he'll kill her. Walter scoffs about how he would kill her in a public place in the middle of the day with witnesses everywhere (they're at a coffee shop), but that is, in fact, exactly what he was planning to do, via ricin in her tea, and later did just that.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Detective Adrian Pimento is extremely untrusting, jumpy, and carries concealed weapons at all times. He is prepared for every contingency, with plans that go up to using deadly force and disappearing off the grid. Justified since his introduction, because he was a former deep-cover agent posing as a mob hitman for years that has just recently started adjusting to normal life again. Many of his antics still come off as way too cautious and paranoid. It becomes the focus of an episode, where he hijacks his own bachelor party over fear that someone is out to kill him. Of course, he is totally right, and so fakes his death and goes into hiding.
    • Kevin sabotages his beloved spouse's attempt to win a competition at work because he is absolutely convinced that it's the only way to stop him from displaying its trophy (an ugly, valueless MacGuffin) in their house. And he's right; when he confesses his feelings about the trophy, Holt completely ignores them.
    "What's next, a rusty medical bracelet suspended above our bed?"
  • In season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy goes to college and gets a really annoying roommate: Kathy. Kathy listens to Cher, insists on keeping track of whose milk is whose, and, worst of all, she irons her jeans. Buffy concludes that she's an evil demon from another dimension who's trying to eat Buffy's soul and decides to slay her. Cue all her friends running around trying to stop an obviously-possessed Buffy from killing an ordinary (if annoying) girl. Buffy is 100% right.
    • But Kathy's evil spell WAS making Buffy act really wiggy and stressed, drastically undermining any attempts she made to rationally explain things. It wasn't until Giles noticed that Kathy's toenails did, in fact, keep growing after being cut (just as Buffy had been ranting about) that the gang believed her.
    • An earlier example from the show would also be the episode where her mom dated Ted (played by John Ritter). Giles and her friends all like the charming, handsome, cookie-baking suitor. Buffy doesn't trust him and won't even try his delicious cookies. Eventually, she even gets into a scuffle with him and knocks him down some steps when he grabs her, apparently killing him. Much guilt and blame are thrown about, until Ted shows up again. Turns out, he's a psychotic robot who really does want to take her mom away (and who drugs those cookies to make everyone compliant and happy).
  • Michael Westen on Burn Notice is ex-CIA, so he's trained to be slightly paranoid, and is vindicated repeatedly. Discussed at least once: Mike quotes Golda Meir's famous line that "even paranoids have enemies" (referring to the Villain of the Week). Sam's response?
    Sam: You're living proof of that.
    • Sam also qualifies, at least when all of them are on the run from the authorities after Michael kills his mentor. As soon as he hears from his girlfriend about some road work in the area, he immediately goes for his binoculars and spots one of the workers putting a finger to his ear, indicating he's wearing an earpiece.
  • Delete: Lucifer seems like a paranoid nut at first, but he turns out to be right. His paranoia saved him already, since he wore a bulletproof vest which stopped an assassin's bullets.
  • Dexter: Doakes is this. He becomes obsessed with the idea that Dexter Morgan is hiding a deep dark secret. Of course, he is absolutely right.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Rose", Clive has spent years collecting information about the Doctor and building theories about him, most of which are right. Rose ignores his warning that death is the Doctor's constant companion. Within hours, aliens have attacked Rose and are killing people all over London, including Clive. Which just goes to show that spending too much time In Harm's Way is an good way to be mistaken for the cause of said harm.
    • Steven Moffat's job description is to make you, the viewer, Properly Paranoid.
  • Agent Ballard in Dollhouse; all his colleagues make fun of him for believing that there's some evil underground company called 'the Dollhouse' that's brainwashing people and selling them as perfect prostitutes, assassins, body-guards, etc. Eventually it turns out that he isn't quite paranoid enough.
  • Farscape: In "Twice Shy" from the fourth season, Aeryn and John are taking a break for a number of reasons. To keep his mind off her, Crichton is going through a lot of a drug Noranti made for him which deadens his emotions towards her for short periods of time. Even when she wants to get back together, though, he resists. When she pleads with him to tell her why, he says he's moved on... and in the face of her almost begging for more of an explanation, he has Pilot check the comms, which will result in them going offline for about thirty seconds. Suddenly Crichton goes from drugged-out to sober and desperate seriousness.
    Crichton: Shut up and listen to me. Scorpius is here. Looking for the key to what's inside my head. The neural chip, the Aurora chair, threatening Earth, none of it works because he does not understand me. You're the key. My Achilles. You. If he figures that out, the world and all that's in it is nothing. He will use you, and the baby, and I will not be able to stop him.
    Aeryn: So you think he's been using the comms? Look at what it's done to you. You're completely paranoid.
    Scorpius: [over the comms] Pilot, are we having a problem with the comms?
    [cue Aeryn's expression of dawning terror]
  • Played for laughs in Father Ted where Ted is convinced that his rival Dick Byrne is spying on his plans for the "all-priests over 70 football" tournament. After tearing up every inch of the Parochial house to the dismay of Dougal and Mrs Doyle and not finding any bugs, they suddenly notice an ice cream van outside.
  • The Flash (2014): The Season 2 episode "The Flash of Two Earths" has Barry Allen initially distrustful of Jay Garrick, thanks to last season's debacle where the team's mentor turned out to be the Big Bad. After getting sick of Barry's attitude, Jay rightly points out that he had nothing to do with that, and eventually Barry comes around. As "King Shark" and "Trajectory", later episodes in the season, reveal, Barry was right to not trust him. The "Jay Garrick" they knew was actually convicted Serial Killer Hunter Zolomon of Earth-2, aka Zoom, the Big Bad of Season 2. The Skyward Scream Barry makes after learning this information makes it clear that Barry is very much aware of this fact.
  • A second-season episode of Forever Knight starts out with a teen delivering groceries to the world champion of paranoia: barricaded in a house with the garden constantly lit up like Madison Square Garden, wild-eyed, unshaven, sweaty, clinging to his shotgun, very highly strung but, after the initial shock, almost a nice guy. When Mr. Paranoia steps out of doors in a fit of anger just once, he isn't outside for a minute before something nasty gets him.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The wildlings' insistence that you must burn dead bodies to prevent them coming back as wights under the control of the White Walkers.
    • Roose knows not to trust Littlefinger so he makes sure that he reads Littlefinger's mail.
    • Cersei, in a stark contrast to her book self, towards Margaery. Although Cersei started some of the antagonism herself, she's correct in her assumption that the younger queen is a shrewd politician with her eyes on being the power behind the throne; a goal that requires removing Cersei from her position.
    • Robert Baratheon is one of the few characters to immediately take Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons seriously, rather than brushing it off like almost everyone else at King's Landing does. It does at least partly stem from his own personal feelings of hatred towards the Targaryens, but as the later seasons would soon show, he was absolutely right to see Daenerys as a threat.
    • Much like Robert before him, Joffrey points out during Season 3 that Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons pose a very real threat to Westeros; he's absolutely right about this, but Tywin dismisses him.
    • Rakharo, towards the blood magic that was used on Khal Drogo.
  • In The Good Place Chidi's chronic indecisiveness is a consequence of him constantly worrying about the complete moral and ethical implications involved in his actions, such as worrying about the environmental impact and worker conditions involved in the acquisition of a particular ingredient in a muffin. As it turns out, the "point system" used to determine whether a person goes to the Good Place or the Bad Place really does take all of those implications into account. Unfortunately, as civilization and industry become more interconnected, the moral implications for any given action expanded significantly, to the point that for several centuries no one has been able to get into the Good Place regardless of how they lived. However, a person who obsesses about the moral implications of their actions enough to possibly avoid committing any truly unethical act will invariably make everyone around them miserable, which will also end up sending them to the Bad Place.
  • Heroes: Mr. Bennett has reason to be paranoid, what with working for a top-secret organization disguised as a paper company that captures superhumans and a superhuman daughter he wants to keep out of capture.
  • Highlander: Methos carries a gun, a dagger, and a sword on himself at all times, hightails it in the other direction to avoid meeting other Immortals he hasn’t been formally introduced to, and almost completely changes his personality to convince people he’s just met that he’s harmless. However, considering that he lives in a world where Immortals duel each other to the death to steal life-energy (called a quickening) from each other, and that one’s quickening gets stronger with age, he wouldn’t have survived to be the oldest Immortal if he wasn’t paranoid. Even so, sometimes his ruthless way of dealing with potential threats does rub Duncan the wrong way. For instance, when one of Duncan’s friends had amnesia, he recommended killing him because he thought it was a ruse to get Duncan to drop his guard.
    Methos: Lure him outside and take his head.
    Duncan: ...I can never tell if you’re joking, or not.
  • Homeland: CIA operative Carrie believes that Brody has been brainwashed by terrorists. At first, she may have been wrong, but by the next season she was right all along.
  • How I Met Your Mother: In the episode "Swarley", Marshall gets a date with a girl named Chloe whom Ted and Barney believe to be crazy. Though Marashall ridicules this, it turns out she actually is. When Marshall forgets about her after getting back together with Lily, and the gang celebrates at McLaren's, they come back to find out that Chloe trashed the apartment. She claims to have been looking for her keys, smirks and leaves creepily.
  • On The Invisible Man, Bobby Hobbes' paranoid delusions sometimes (not always) turn out to be right. To quote his partner Darien,
    Darien: When you spend time around a guy who keeps yelling "the sky is falling", it's a real shocker when a piece of it actually hits you on the head.
    • In the pilot, Hobbes notices a couple of Canadian tourists making out and points out to Darien that they're terrorists. Darien finds the idea of a "Canadian terrorist" hilarious ... until they pull out submachineguns and start spraying everywhere.
  • At the start of Jessica Jones season 1, Jessica claims that Kilgrave is back, due to an innocent girl being put through the same things he put Jessica through. Trish dismisses it as Jessica's PTSD talking, as Kilgrave died six months before the start of the series. Except the death certificate was faked. Kilgrave is back, and becomes the Big Bad of the entire season.
  • In one segment Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Oliver notes that people in Yemen and Pakistan are scared of clear days... for the very good reason that under those conditions, drones are almost invisible.
  • On an episode of Law & Order, the Church of Happyology, which surveils and keeps files on its critics, is proven to be right to be so paranoid about at least one of them: he really is out to get them, to the point that he murders his wife in order to frame them for the crime.
  • Tubbs and Edward from The League of Gentlemen are horrified and disgusted at the thought of "strangers" from outside the decent town and local shop. Their fears seem completely out of scale in the first series, but when you consider the likes of Pop, Herr Lipp, and, worst of all, Papa Lazarou...
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Reese once claimed that one of his teachers was out to get him and was deliberately failing his tests. Lois told him to stop making excuses and work harder. She has Malcolm tutor Reese. Eventually, Reese composes a passable paper that is at least "C" level, only for that to get an "F" as well. Ultimately, since it seems that there is no way Reese can get a passing grade on his own, they decide to simply cheat and have Malcolm take one of his tests for him. That test gets an "F", and this clues everybody in to the fact Reese's teacher really is out to get him. Though ironically Reese confesses that he was in fact just making an excuse and didn't actually think his teacher was deliberately failing him.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Pick Me Up", Marie's first thought about Walker and Wheeler is that they are serial killers. She's right. Ironically, both of them decide not to kill her...but leave her tied to a tree with barbed wire in the middle of nowhere instead.
  • In the opening of the Monk episode, "Monk and the Miracle", a homeless man told his friends that he felt someone was after him before dashing off in fright, but his friends only laughed and thought he was being paranoid. The next morning, they find him Stuffed in the Fridge. Their guilt over not believing him drove them to contact Monk.
  • Mr. Bean removes the steering wheel from his iconic mini to stop it from being stolen. He's right to do it.
  • One episode of NCIS subverts this trope. It features an old war buddy of Special Agent Gibbs who seems paranoid that a secret Government Conspiracy group is out to kill him because he stumbled across their deep, dark secret. It starts to appear that he is telling the truth when Gibbs discovers that another war buddy is working with the first one. This war buddy died in Gibbs' arms, but now is supposedly alive and is confirming the first guy's suspicions. The subversion comes at the end, when it is revealed that the dead-then-not-dead war buddy was a figure of the first one's imagination, who is facing schizophrenia due to PTSD, and there really is no government group out to kill him: he concocted the idea as a coping mechanism to take his mind off the death of his friend.
    • He's not entirely wrong. He had uncovered some corruption, but the conspiracy was nowhere near as big as his paranoia made it seem.
    • Fornell also mentions, "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you."
    • A better example would be Gibbs' Rule Forty:
      Gibbs: Rule forty.
      Abby: "If you think someone is out to get you, they are."
  • On Necessary Roughness, a former mascot of the Hawks does not want to leave his house because he believes that people on the street will attack him due to the belief that he is the "curse" that kept the Hawks from the playoffs for five years. When his therapist takes him out for a stroll downtown, he is quickly recognized and verbally assaulted by some fans.
  • One episode of NUMB3RS features an FBI-contracted surveillance professional who is convinced an agent he used to work for is spying on him. They eventually determine that he's right and, what's more, he had evidence. (He had had some fears about being being spied on even before this, but it's pretty clear that this incident is what escalated it from a mild concern to a major case of paranoia.)
    Liz Warner: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that everyone isn't watching.
  • In Orphan Black Alison learns that someone is likely monitoring her behavior, and suspects that it's her husband, which it is. Unfortunately, unlike a lot of Properly Paranoid people, who believe things that sound outlandish but are rarely wrong and often have evidence for them, Alison really is paranoid and just happened to be correct in that one instance. The others convince her that she's wrong because she doesn't have anything to back it up beyond wild suspicions, and the truth doesn't come out until after she's let someone else die out of the similarly insubstantial, but this time incorrect, belief that she was the monitor.
  • Party of Five (2020):
    • Emilio is a DACA recipient whose ability to stay in the United States could be rescinded if he loses the family restaurant or loses custody of his younger siblings. Consequently, he spends a lot of time worrying about his family and trying to keep them out of trouble.
    • Matthew is an undocumented transgender young man who can't apply for DACA status because he'd have to reveal his birth name and risk his estranged parents, who want him to de-transition, finding him again. Consequently, he uses a stolen social security number and jealously guards any information about his identity.
  • Person of Interest:
    • Alicia Corwin knows the Machine is watching her, knows at least some of the ways that it might be performing said monitoring, and may be aware that it can act to protect itself should it figure out that she wants to shut it down.
    • Played with in Shaw's case. After she starts working with Team Machine, she refuses to carry a phone off-mission. Considering that she knows for a fact that there is a government supercomputer spying on her, this is understandable. But she's nowhere near paranoid enough, as the Machine can track her through all the electronic devices in the city surrounding her. When Root (with the Machine whispering in her ear) needs her help on a mission, she finds and kidnaps Shaw with absolutely zero difficulty.
  • Scrubs: Elliot bakes a dozen cookies for J.D, who eats all of them at once. When asked why he claims that Turk would break in and steal them since it is the only time he gets sweets due to his diabetes. Elliot calls J.D. an idiot. Later that night, Turk steals them.
  • The Secret World of Alex Mack: Louie doesn't take it seriously when Ray told him not to discuss Alex's secret at a cell phone. That's how Danielle's spies learn the secret.
  • In Smallville:
    • In season eight, Jimmy thinks Davis wants him out of the picture so he could have his way with Chloe. The attraction is programmed into him by Brainiac for his own schemes. Davis is also the Doomsday.
    • Lex's right-hand man Regan Matthews is suspicious of whether Tess is actually loyal to Lex. His suspicions are proven accurate when she turns on Lex as soon as she finds out that he's betrayed her. He tries to kill Tess for this. Unfortunately for him, she's better than he thought she was.
    • Whitney was an unpleasant jerk about it, but Clark was doing everything he could to steal his girl.
  • In Stargate SG-1, there are numerous examples of this from the protagonists, to the point where this trope is one of the reasons that Humanity has managed to remain standing. A good example of this in action is when something strange occurs within the base, the idea of locking the base down and beginning a systematic floor-by-floor sweep for invisible enemies is not considered outlandish. It's actually become standard procedure.
    • There's also Martin Lloyd, who first contacts the SGC with claims about aliens and the Stargate. When investigated, he's initially assumed to be just another conspiracy nut — to the point where he's so paranoid that he leaves a toothpick by his front door to check if anyone has been to his place while he was out. When asked how he gets in or out, he replies "through the window" with a "duh" expression. Except he says that holding a broken toothpick from when Sam and Daniel broke into his place. Additionally, he claims that people are out to get him for his knowledge, and the only person he can trust is his doctor... who turns out to be the one after him. Except the people after Martin aren't his enemies. All of them are the last survivors (actually, deserters) from a planet attacked by the Goa'uld. The drugs the "doctor" was giving Martin were suppressing his memories for his own good.
      • He also scans Jack for bugs when they first meet, but misses the micro-camera at the counter.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has more than a few characters that fit this trope.
    • Weyoun 6 uses paranoia as a defense mechanism, since he's a defecting high-ranking member of the Dominion.
      Odo: Aren't you being a little paranoid?
      Weyoun 6: Of course I'm paranoid; everyone's trying to kill me!
    • Enabran Tain, head of the intelligence agency the Obsidian Order. When you're the first leader of the organization to live until retirement, then you weren't paranoid, just prepared. In fact, it was letting down his guard just the slightest bit that ultimately led to his downfall.
    • Garak also uses paranoia as a defense mechanism which also makes him Crazy-Prepared. In a light-hearted Series 6 scene, everyone tells him he's being paranoid to think Starfleet Security took advantage of his debrief with them to do something to him (the Obsidian Order did things like that). Series 7 reveals that Starfleet Security (specifically Section 31) did something to Odo when he was with Starfleet Medical to ensure his entire race could potentially be wiped out. So, a Played for Laughs scene suddenly becomes Harsher in Hindsight: Garak may not have been the target, but the instinct that told him the Federation is capable of anything in the name of security was dead right.
      Garak: Paranoid is what you call people who imagine threats against their life. I have threats against my life.
    • When your enemies are a race of shapeshifters, no amount of paranoia is too much. Except, that is, for the paranoia that you get from the one who's replaced your own leader. And it turns out that the Changelings are quite happy with their enemies being paranoid about infiltration, since not only does it distract them from planning for direct military confrontations at the front lines, the Changelings are also quite confident in their ability to defeat even the most paranoid foes' security measures.
    • This is actually a recurring trait for security officers across the franchise; in fact, it's practically a job requirement. Unfortunately, it's also frequently crossed with Ignored Expert, as their warnings tend to go unheeded until everything goes to hell.
  • Season 7 of Supernatural introduces Frank Devereaux, a conspiracy theorist who advises Sam and Dean on hiding from the Leviathans and steadily grows more paranoid with time—moving into an RV because he believed he was being watched, even believing that Gwyneth Paltrow is a Leviathan. Even though he takes every precaution imaginable, the Leviathans capture and kill him anyway.
    • Sam and Dean themselves qualify, as well as their mentor, Bobby. Bobby apparently made copies of pretty much every important text he keeps in his house and stashed them in various other safe houses, which turns out to be handy when an angel steals some of his books and later, his house is burned down. In another episode, Sam and Dean burn the body of a necromancer before they find out that the cremation was necessary to keep the body from regenerating, presumably just to avoid the possibility of a vengeful spirit. They then set about trying to figure out how to disable one of their allies just in case they might need to do so in future.
  • Happens from time to time in episodes of The Twilight Zone. In one episode, an old woman has shut herself into a derelict house and refuses to let anyone in out of the fear that Death is trying to get her. In another episode, an old man makes a valiant effort to keep a grandfather clock working in the belief that if it stops, he will die. Both stories wind up being subverted: Death turns out to be a nice guy just who wants to help the old lady, and the old man decides that his belief about the clock is just a silly superstition that he can discard at will.
  • In Two and a Half Men, Charlie gets sick, and the local stalker Rose ends up taking care of him. After a while, he becomes suspicious that Rose may have convinced him he was sick somehow and was drugging him as some sort of plot to get him together with her. He also kept a cold pill upstairs without consuming it as proof, but it ended up eaten by Bertha (resulting in her being knocked out). Charlie was eventually proven to be right, although it was actually in such a way even he did not anticipate: Apparently the method Rose used to orchestrate his sickness was arranging a friend of hers to work while she had the cold and seduce Charlie so he'd get infected.
    • Actually, anytime he assumes Rose has something to do with what is going on, to which others assume he is only paranoid, he always turns out to be right.
  • On Veep, Selina's staff has a meeting, and immediately after it ends, it reconvenes with everyone except Tom James so they can talk about him behind his back. After that meeting adjourns, Mike doubles back to make sure that they're not having a third meeting about him. Ben, the only person left, deadpans "Not today," but as we find out a few episodes later, Selina did in fact hold a meeting about firing Mike just a few moments later.
  • Stringer Bell, drug lord extraordinaire, on The Wire. By Season 3, he has his men using phones only to set up face to face meetings. These phones are disposable cell phones, which are bought individually from random convenience stores up to 200 miles away from Baltimore and which are thrown away and replaced every two weeks. Stringer himself does not use these phones. He has a different phone, on a different network, which only his Number Two has the number for (and which he never calls him on from one of the other disposables)—and that phone itself changes numbers on a regular basis, as he has a stockpile of hundreds of SIM cards, one of which he keeps for his "clean" legit business ventures and the rest of which he cycles through for his drug affairs. The detectives trying to bust him just have to sit back and marvel at it all.
  • Practically the entire cast and most recurring characters in The X-Files displays this behavior at some point, because yes, the Conspiracy, along with the more malicious aliens, namely the bounty hunters, really are out to get them. What Suzanne Modeski tells the Lone Gunmen could be the series' motto.
    Suzanne Modeski: No matter how paranoid you are, you're not paranoid enough.
  • In Yes, Minister, Hacker is often convinced that the actions of anyone involved in government are part of some political plot. Probably because they almost always are.
    "You'd be paranoid too if everyone was plotting against you."


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