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Series / K.C. Undercover

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Saving the world. No big thing.

K.C. Undercover is a Disney Channel Spy-Comedy starring (Zendaya) as K.C. Cooper, a highly intelligent, but social inept high school student who discovers that her parents are secret agents and gets recruited to join them having proven herself intellectually and practically capable of handling missions. Now with the added responsibility of saving the world from villains and double agents K.C. has to keep her new adventurous life secret from her best friend Marissa and maintain her normal life as an ordinary teenager.

The series premiered on January 18, 2015 and ran until February 2, 2018.

The show also is rated TV-Y7-FV, a first for any Disney Channel original series.

Like her previous series, it ran for three seasons, ending in 2018.

K.C. Undercover provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: Ernie in "Brainwashed" foils the President's assassination by redirecting the assassin's gun while running for a bathroom break. This gets lampshaded.
  • Affectionate Parody: During the "Runaway Robot" special, the scenes where KC and Simone Deveraux infiltrate a building in janitor disguises is a sendup of the crazy antics in That's So Raven, especially when they involve disguises. Of course the latter, being portrayed by Raven Symone herself, lampshades these antics throughout.
  • Agents Dating: Invoked in "The Other Side: Part 2" by Brett. He claims that he wants to take her out on a date to cover for his overheard scolding of KC that if she was caught undercover, The Other Side would take her out. Subverted when their commanding officer points out that this isn't allowed in a well-respected spy organization. Double Subverted when he follows up that this is The Other Side, so carry on.
  • Alliterative Name: Marissa Miller and Craig Cooper. Kira also had one before getting married: Kira King.
  • All There in the Manual: KC's full name (as yet unstated on screen) is Katrina Charlotte Coretta Scott King Cooper.
  • Alone with the Psycho:
    • In "Daddy's Little Princess," K.C. and the prince she's protecting are alone when she has to fend off a would-be assassin. The Prince during the battle notes that she brought night-vision goggles on their date.
    • Downplayed since Ernie and Craig are in the other room, but KC ends up on the losing side of a battle with the rogue spy that framed her mother and kept sending the family on a Wild Goose Chase to Clear My Name in the hallway. Kira barely arrives in time for a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Artificial Family Member: KC refers to Judy as her younger sister, identifying herself as the big sister.
  • Badass Family: The Coopers are a family of spies, so this goes with the territory. It's revealed to go back at least three generations to KC and Ernie's Maternal Grandparents. Even Ernie has his moments.
  • Battle Couple: Kira and Craig. Kira's mother and father also count, for a grandparent equivalent.
  • The B Grade: KC gets one in "Spy-Anoia Will Destroy Ya" and leaves her to believe her English teacher is a spy. However, this just a symptom of her temporary paranoia.
  • Big Bad: The Other Side. A leading agent usually serves as the main antagonist of the special he or she appears in. But the big cheese is Richard Martin, who is their leader. Richard has been captured during the Season 2 Finale, and now Craig's ex-partner Zane has taken up leadership of the Other Side. But wait, there's more! As of Season 3, Zane has been captured again, and a new group of villains called The Alternate are stepping up.
  • Big Sister Instinct: KC allies with Dexter, her canine partner, to save Ernie from smugglers at a warehouse.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Erica and Abby. In fact, KC and Abby had formed a strong friendship, but then Abby reveals she's an agent for The Other Side and reactivates her mother.
    • Also, Amy, the supposedly innocent daughter of a pair of arms dealers working for "the Mask." It turns out she's the Mask and actually a 26-year old ruthless fighter. Subverted when she reveals she's not the Mask.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Kids, don't try this at the home," KC says to the camera during the climax of the first season finale ("this" is going from her and Brett's ride to the one of the Other Side assassin trying to kill them while in transit).
  • Breather Episode: With the final season undergoing major Cerebus Syndrome, "Deleted!" serves as this for the season.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ernie, but in one episode, he's prepared for when something unfortunate happens to him.
  • Cain and Abel: Kira and Erica, when Erica is revealed to be part of The Other Side. To add insult to injury, Erica's husband is Richard Martin, the Other Side's leader!
  • Child Hater: Judy, which is ironic considering the form she takes and the fact that she embodies a lot of negative child character traits herself (some of which she complains about herself).
  • Continuity Snarl: Marisa's surname is Clark - until "Catch Him If You Can," where it's implied that she's actually Marisa Miller.
  • Clear My Name: Kira's, in "Enemy Of The State."
  • Clip Show: "Holly Holly Not So Jolly" is more this than a Christmas Episode, as it's about KC seeing an Organization therapist, and how stressed is with the spy stuff.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Ernie and Marisa; KC gets Ernie hired as a spy because of his spectacular computer skills, and Marisa at times has moments of insight that point out the obvious to KC.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: In "Off the Grid", Monster of the Week Honey plans to auction off a dangerous weapon to a roomful of notable criminals and supervillains, by using Kira and Craig in the demonstration for target practice.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Kira tells KC that her new partner Dexter, who happens to be a black and white Great Dane, is adorable. KC and Dexter exploit this when saving Ernie from some smugglers; Kira pretends that Dexter is her lost, disobedient dog, which allows her to get the edge on the smugglers.
  • Cutting the Knot: In the pilot, KC dances with an enemy spy to steal and resteal a MacGuffin from him. After a few minutes of this, he simply picks her up and carries her away, using the advantage of weight and cover of being her dance partner.
  • Darker and Edgier: Season 3 is much darker and more serious than the first two, given that it's more serialized than the beginning.
  • Dating Catwoman:
    • KC does this in the pilot, albeit she limits it to flirting with the enemy spy her age while stealing the MacGuffin and manipulating her goggles to see him with his clothes off.
    • This also happens with Brett, whom KC eventually developed feelings for.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "The Truth Hurts" is this for Marisa.
  • Death Faked for You: Monrovian Ambassador Rollin, as part of his plan with Not-Very-Well-Intentioned Extremist Jane Keller in "In Too Deep, Part 2."
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Judy is designed to be this and invokes Cuteness Proximity, but due to being a robot she can't pull it off that well in conversation or in actions. In "Runaway Robot" the Other Side finds out the hard way that even a basic Judy is hard to replicate.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Marisa gets this in several episodes, showing how hurt she is when KC shuts her out, or when other people insult her Brainless Beauty qualities. She has notable moments of insight, such as in "Spyanoia Will Destroy You" when she points out to KC that outing Jolie as a spy to Ernie would break his heart and self-esteem.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: During the final episodes, K.C, Marisa, Ernie and Brady keep hearing the show's theme song on their car radios. Ernie lampshades this by mention he's sick of hearing this song, as he's been listening to it for three years, then turns the radio off to not listen to it anymore.
  • Disney Death: KC thinks that she killed Abby and Erica after making their getaway boat explode, and lapses into Heroic BSoD at the end of "Brainwashed". As it turns out, the head of the Other Side, Abby's father and Erica's husband, comes to rescue them from drowning.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Zane, Craig's old spy partner, did a Face–Heel Turn because Kira chose Craig over him. And despite the fact that Craig let Zane live, Zane plots revenge using his son.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In "Brainwashed" after having to guard a Bratty Half-Pint who disrespects him, Ernie finally gets permission to chase the little rotter and kick his butt.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The Coopers work for a spy organization called "The Organization".
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: "Keep It Undercover," performed by...guess who.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: After seeing in the pilot that a hot teenage boy is an enemy spy, KC uses her goggles to see him shirtless.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: KC isn't happy when her boyfriend Brett is a Double Agent for The Other Side and that her cousin Abby follows suit in the next season.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Richard, the head of the Other Side, loves his wife and daughter, Kira's sister Erica and niece Abby. He rescues them from drowning after the assassination attempt on the President fails and gives his wife a Big Damn Kiss, to Abby's disgust.
  • Evil All Along: Agent Johnson, the head of the Organization, turns out to be “The Mask” in the series finale.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: The series finale has K.C. Faced with a choice: continue being a spy or go away to college. After an epic final battle at her graduation, she’s inspired to Take a Third Option and chooses both.
  • Genius Slob: Simone Deveraux, Judy's creator.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: KC's spy glasses come with a variety of features, most notably facial recognition software for identifying enemy agents.
  • The Heart: This is Marisa's role on the show. While established as The Ditz, she serves as KC's best friend and confidante, and occasionally having insights that KC misses.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Happens in "How KC Got Her Swag Back" when KC loses her confidence on the basketball court and in spy
    • Happens more seriously at the end of "Brainwashed" where KC thinks that she killed Abby and Erica, though shooting them was the necessary thing to do with the Coast Guard out of sight.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • K.C. herself admits to holding it in "Debutante Baller" - Kira tricks her into taking part in a debutante contest by saying they're on a mission, and our heroine says she should have known something was going on when they went undercover using their real names.
    • When the elusive leader of the Other Side is trapped in a locked room by Craig's security team, he hides behind a wall hanging, then appears 10 minutes later wearing the same suit as the security team, speaks directly to Craig and tells him the leader escaped. Did nobody notice the extra member of the security detail who wasn't there before?
    • To start off the chain of events that leads to K.C's spy upgrade test, Craig saws off the limb of a tree. After the test completion is announced, K.C. works out that as her father never does any chores, this should have been a clue the test was commencing.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: Actually, a couple of details - Marisa is the first one to figure out K.C.'s been replaced by a double in "Double-Crossed, Part 3" when "K.C." actually likes the idea of going to a party and then being surprised Marisa knows about K.C. being a spy, and in "Double-Crossed, Part 4," the Coopers catch on when they see J.U.D.Y.-recorded surveillance footage of "K.C." eating meatballs (since K.C.'s a vegetarian). Subverted in the latter instalment when the imposter remembers a detail - a story about K.C. in her childhood; she ends up hoist by her own petard because the real K.C. was so embarrassed by it that she would never talk about it, choosing to call it her "number one mistake." And yes, that is a clue as to what the story involves.
    • When Yerk mentions a store that can provide more party snacks, K.C. takes him upstairs to find a menu for the store, then informs him the shop closed down 2 years ago. Yerk then attacks K.C. and after losing the fight, he announces he was her test assessor for the promotion she was due for. In this case, the detail forgetting was intentional, to see if K.C. would notice.
  • Insane Troll Logic: KC at one point believes her English teacher is an enemy spy on the sole basis that a real teacher would have given her an A, rather than believe that she legitimately did bad.
  • Internal Reveal: In "Family Feud," Kira and Craig finally discover that Marisa has known about K.C. being a spy all this time when Marisa rescues them.
  • Irony: In "Spyanoia Will Destroy Ya", KC warns Ernie that his girlfriend is a spy and using him to find the Coopers' weakness, and she ends up being proven correct. In "Double Crossed", very next story arc, she falls victim to the same ploy, although in her case Brett was a Villain with Good Publicity and a double agent. Come the next season she finds out her aunt and cousin also work for The Other Side, with more tragic consequences. And then there's Amy, as of Domino 3: Bugging Out.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Organization changed KC's SAT score as not to put a spotlight on her. Unethical? Yes. However, students with perfect SAT scores do get media coverage which would put her name out in the open, which is never good if you're a spy
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Downplayed with all family members. The Coopers sometimes manipulate each other and hold grudges if they have/think they have been wronged...but at the end of the day, they love each other.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: K.C. notes in the series finale she’s been a spy for three years, referencing how long the series ran.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Although KC willingly decided to become a spy, with all the baggage that would ensue from nearly getting killed, having a so-called boyfriend betray her and replace her with a double, and enduring an undercover mission to enter The Other Side, she acknowledges that she needs a break to recharge. Hence why during "Stakeout Takeout" and "KC and the Vanishing Lady" she REALLY hates it when duty calls or appears randomly.
  • Market-Based Title: For some reason, "Operation: Other Side" is billed in UK listings as "Inside The Other Side."
  • Man Behind the Man: In the five-part "Domino," the Coopers take on the Bishops, a couple who work for arms dealer "The Mask." K.C. and Marisa get close to their teenage daughter, Amy and when the Bishops are busted, they take her away so she doesn't see her family's arrest. But then the Bishops insist that Amy is the Mask. When the Coopers are dubious, they reveal Amy is actually not their daughter but a 26 year old who's been in charge of the cell from the start.
    • And then in the series finale, it turns out the real Mask is Agent Johnson, upset over being replaced as head of the Organization and seeking payback.
  • Master of Disguise: As part of the job, the whole family normally has to temporarily go undercover. K.C. particularly usually dresses up at least Once an Episode.
  • Mission Control: Ernie's main role.
  • The Mole: Jolie (Bella Thorne - and yes, there is an allusion to the last Disney show she and Zendaya were on), Ernie's gorgeous girlfriend in "Spy-Anoia Will Destroy Ya," turns out to be a Russian spy. Cue Designated Girl Fight.
    • Brett too.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Jolie is a Russian spy, and one of the few people in the series who can give K.C. a serious challenge.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: The Other Side, the Organization's archenemy and the most recurring villains in the show. A wide spread organization, involved in multiple terrorist plots, and known to have a habit of recruiting delinquents.
  • No-Sell: When KC delivers several midsection body blows to the assassin targeting the prince, he doesn't even flinch.
  • Overly Long Name: KC's full name is Katrina Charlotte Coretta Scott-King Cooper.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: KC got Brett to safety, escaped the Other Side, but now she and her family are branded traitors until the start of the second season.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted ("K.C. And Brett: The Final Chapter").
  • Power Perversion Potential: KC's not above using the X-ray feature on her spy glasses to take a look at guys shirtless.
  • Robot Girl: Judy...
  • Rushed Inverted Reading: Marisa and KC are waiting in the hall to recover a classified report and hiding their faces behind two physics schoolbooks. After the report holder walks past, KC takes Marisa's book, rotates it to the correct way up and hands it back.
  • Say My Name: Petey's Catchphrase.
    Petey: Juuuudyyyyyyy!!!
  • Secret Identity: K.C. has to keep her spy life a secret from everyone, especially her schoolmates, otherwise she'll get thrown out.
  • Second Episode Introduction: ...who first appears in the second episode.
  • Shoe Phone: A lot of their gadgets look like ordinary appliances, include KC's glasses (See Goggles Do Something Unusual), KC and Kira's bracelets (Acts as a communication device) and Pops' cane (sprays sleeping Gas).
  • Shout-Out: K.C.'s middle names are Coretta Scott, which was Martin Luther King Jr.'s wife's name.
    • In the episode Spy-anoia will Destroy Ya Bella Thorne guest stars as an undercover enemy spy. K.C comments that she's going to the store to pick up lemonade because she wants pink lemonade instead of regular lemonade, to which Bella Thorne's character Jolie responds "I guess it never hurts to Shake it Up
    • When Marissa wakes up in a white room in "Teen Drama", she wonders if she's having dream where she's a fish that spends all her time going to school.
  • Spies In a Van: The family have one; during missions, one member (usually Ernie) stays inside to act as Mission Control.
  • Spy Versus Spy: The Coopers regularly have to foil enemy agents and sometimes crooks.
  • Status Quo Is God: Despite committing treason in the first season finale, the Coopers get Judy and their place in the Organization back.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That:
    Marisa: I can't believe your family opened up their hearts and home to such an adorable little girl. Where did you say you were from again? Wyoming?
    Judy: Sure, let's go with that.

    Marisa: I have to go pick up trash by the highway.
    KC: Oh, you joined an environmental group.
    Marisa: Sure, let's go with that.
  • The Stinger: At the end of "Enemy Of The State," Veronica Dunne, Kamil McFadden and Trinitee Stokes appear out of characternote  to present a humorous PSA about not shipping off one's siblings (because in the episode the Big Bad does such a thing to Judy when she catches on).
  • Swapped Roles: A brief example. In the virtual reality Ernie and K.C. are plugged into in "Virtual Insanity", K.C. is the Girly Girl slacker and Marissa is the one who takes her studies seriously while not caring about looks. This does not last long, as K.C. regains her memory not long after.
  • Teen Genius: Ernie, especially with computers and technology.
  • Teen Super Spy: KC herself.
  • Tickle Torture: Used in "Spy-anoia Will Destroy Ya" as an interrogation tactic. K.C. uses her tickle taser on Ernie's new "girlfriend" Jolie's underarms and neck to get her to reveal that she's a spy. Despite being rather ticklish, she manages to keep up the act until K.C. tricks her later on in the episode.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Subverted in "Brainwashed". When Abby and Erica are getting away on a motorboat, with KC and her mother following, KC takes out a gun and fires shots that make the getaway boat explode. Abby and Erica survive, but KC's parents tell her that she did the right thing.
  • Token White: Marisa is the only member of the main cast who is white.
  • Vacation Episode: "K.C. And The Vanishing Lady."
  • Vigilante Man: KC leads a group of these in one episode when there's a string of neighborhood robberies, much to her dad's frustration, who believes that calling the police is a better solution. This ends up being Deconstructed in that while they are effective in taking one guy down, it turns out that he's completely innocent and that rushing in to enforce justice just leads to more trouble.
  • Was It All a Lie?: KC finds out that Ernie's new girlfriend is an enemy spy using him to infiltrate the Coopers and plans to reveal the truth. Marisa has to point out that doing so would break Ernie's heart and self-esteem, since he thought he was in his first relationship, so KC changes the plans.
  • We Are Not Going Through That Again: Ernie is annoyed when hearing KC has a new partner who is 18, and cute, mentioning what happened with Brett and that KC can't use the Organization for her relationship problems. He snarks with relief about keeping the relationship professional on learning that Dexter, KC's new partner, is a large dog.
  • Wham Shot:
    • At the end of "Double-Crossed," Brett reveals to his father that he's won K.C.'s trust, proving him to be a double agent.
    • In "Enemy of the State," Kira introducing KC to the real Maggie, an Asian woman, as opposed to the blonde Bitch in Sheep's Clothing that's at the house calling herself "Maggie". Lampshaded by KC after she does a Double Take.
  • The Worf Effect: In "Enemy of the State" Kira warns KC that Candace is dangerous and not to be messed with directly. KC learns this when Candace takes her down in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Lampshaded by Marisa when Ernie's girlfriend Jolie is revealed to be spy working against the Coopers. If KC reveals the truth, Ernie's heart will be broken. She decides to Take a Third Option.
  • You Did the Right Thing: After KC suffers Heroic BSoD in "Brainwashed" when she thinks she killed Abby and Erica her parents tell her this and reiterate they would have done the same thing.
  • You Don't Want to Know: Judy to her family at the end of "Enemy of the State" after taking a long trip from where Candace sent her.