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Kansas City Shuffle

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Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_content_3'); })The Kansas City Shuffle is an old established name for a con game that depends on the mark believing (correctly) that the conman is trying to con him, but being incorrect about how it's going to be done. Another way to say it is that it relies on the mark being "too smart for their own good".
All con-games rely on misdirection to some degree. In most, the conman wants the victim to believe that it's not a con at all. But in a Kansas City Shuffle, the conman
Needs the victim to suspect that they are involved in a con-game.
Needs the victim to think that they've figured out how to beat the con.
Needs the victim to be wrong about what the con is.
All three elements must be present. If the victim doesn't suspect that they're being conned, it's not a Kansas City Shuffle. If the victim doesn't set themselves up for the real con by doing something to beat the con they think they've spotted, it's not a Kansas City Shuffle. If the victim is right about what the real con is, it's not a Kansas City Shuffle (though it might have been a failed attempt at one).
Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_content_2'); })A con can be complicated without being a Kansas City Shuffle, and not all Kansas City Shuffles are complicated. It's also not a Kansas City Shuffle just because the mark goes into the situation aware that something dishonest is going on: most cons are built around convincing the mark that he has an opportunity to benefit from something a bit under the table. To qualify as a Kansas City Shuffle, the mark has to think they've figured out how the con works and — by attempting to outmaneuver or outsmart it — walk right into the real trap.
The audience may or may not be in on the secret themselves. If they are then it can lead to a buildup of Dramatic Irony but often the truth can be saved to The Reveal after the audience has been immersed in the intricacies of the apparent plot so that the shock to the character and the audience match.
Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_content_1'); })The Trope Namer is the song "The Kansas City Shuffle", which is explained in detail in the movie Lucky Number Slevin. In The United States, Kansas City is one of the largest cities in the State of... Missouri. There is a Kansas City, Kansas literally right across the street, but it's much smaller and usually not what people are talking about when they mention a Kansas City. Thus, it's a near-perfect physical metaphor: "when they look on one side of the river, you're on the other".
Related (but distinct) cons include the very common The Con Within a Con (where the grifter convinces the mark that they can be partners in conning a third party), and Violin Scam (where the grifter tricks the mark into trying to con him). A mark who is Too Clever by Half is likely to take the bait and be conned, while another who is Too Dumb to Fool may unwittingly evade the trap.
Compare Infraction Distraction, where a similar ploy is used with offenses, and Two Rights Make a Wrong and Massive Multiplayer Scam. Feed the Mole may be a tactic done as part of this strategy. May involve Reverse Psychology. Typically a Batman Gambit, insofar the plotter relies on the pawn's predicted reaction to a piece of misinformation, but may be part of a Xanatos Gambit instead if all reasonable outcomes are beneficial to the con-man, regardless of whether or not the attempt at a Kansas City Shuffle itself succeeds. May be employed by means of a Revealing Cover-Up. A key element of (most) Shell Games.
Warning: Be wary of spoilers. On this page, titles alone can (and will) be Walking Spoilers.
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Film: The Bourne Ultimatum
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Literature: Bridge in the Menagerie
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A pulls one on Pretty Little Liars. The girls go to a magic show and deduce that the mime running the show is A and Aria agrees to be part of the show, but what A wanted was to distract the girls, so they could kidnap Emily while the other two were focused on the show, while the mime was just a magician.
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Towards the end of The Bourne Identity, he phones in Conklin to come alone. Conklin brings backup disguised as bystanders but Jason knows he's not alone. He was just using this ploy so he could put a bug on one of their vans to track them to their hideout
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Happens in Goldeneye. Xenia massacres the programmers at Severnaya, and hears Natalya in the kitchen. She goes in, sees the ceiling vent half-open, and shoots it up without checking for a body. After she and General Ouromov leave, it turns out Natalya was hiding in the cupboard the whole time. Natalya's fast-thinking becomes a recurring character trait, and she is perhaps the cleverest Bond Girl in the entire film series.
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Chzo's plans in the Chzo Mythos go off without a hitch because everyone thought it wanted to invade our world when all it really wanted was a new servant.
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Slayers Xellos has relied on Lina distrusting him to betray her, letting her concerns with how he'll double-cross her cover up how he'll double-cross her.
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All of season 5 of Angel, but by the bad guys. Get the good guys so tangled up trying to deal with Wolfram & Hart that they don't notice they're being corrupted.
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Castle: Castle and Jackson Hunt pull one off in "Hunt" to rescue Alexis: Hunt sends Castle to sneak into the bad guy's compound through the sewers; he's easily caught, and the bad guy stows him with Alexis and calls Hunt (his archnemesis) over Castle's radio, and warns them that he'll shoot both of them if he doesn't come out... all of which Hunt wanted him to do, so he could blow him up through the radio and let Alexis and Castle escape.
Castle does it himself when he tracks down Jerry "3XK" Tyson, who is holding Beckett, by getting information out of Tyson's former cellmate and using it to find an isolated house Tyson had mentioned which would be ideal for hiding her. Tyson, well aware of Castle's ability to ferret out information, assumed Castle would do something like that and would try to catch him by surprise to rescue Beckett, and so had Beckett in another location with his co-conspirator with a video feed from that location. He successfully ambushed Castle with the intent to force him to watch Beckett being killed before being killed himself. When he makes the call to his partner to tell her he had captured Castle, Castle reveals the truth: he anticipated Tyson would be waiting, would have Beckett somewhere else, and would somehow arrange things to make him witness her death first, so he had walked into the ambush for the sole purpose of getting Tyson to make the call, allowing the police to trace it and identify where Beckett was being held. And to get Tyson in front of a window so Esposito could snipe him.
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In "The Acquisitive Chuckle" (the first of Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers mysteries), the protagonist had been bankrupted by his crooked business partner, who was also an inveterate collector with more stuff than he could keep track of. The protagonist was seen leaving the ex-partner's house with a briefcase, while chuckling in the exact same way the ex-partner always did after acquiring something in a not-entirely-honest way. For years, the ex-partner went nuts trying to figure out just what had been stolen. What did the protagonist take? Only the ex-partner's peace of mind. The briefcase was empty.
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In The Girl from the Miracles District, the Big Bad's plan hinges on Nikita realizing that someone close to her is in danger, but thinking that it's one of her friends rather than her mother.
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In Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, this forms the core element of the Big Bad Storm King's Evil Plan, which is to trick the heroes into delivering the Three Swords to him that contain the power necessary to summon him back into Osten Ard, thinking that they are actually the key to defeating him. He and his allies liberally employ harassment, Prophetic Fallacy, and false dreams in service of this notion.
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The Simpsons:
In the episode "The Book Job", Bart and Homer form a gang to make big bucks in the field of YA lit. They con the publisher, who one-ups them by recruiting Lisa. Who actually takes their side. But none of them should have trusted team Butt-Monkey Neil Gaiman. Bart and Homer even refer to a Noodle Incident known only as Kansas City.
Sideshow Bob does one in Funeral for a Fiend; he sets up a fake restaurant and pretends that that's his plan to kill The Simpson's once and for all. It turns out it's all a fake to get to court again to make everyone think Bart killed him by throwing away his heart medicine.
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Taurau pulls one on Sabrina in Birthright (2017) during a game of Catur. He fools her into thinking he's using a beginner's strategy. Being a more advanced player, Sabrina immediately starts playing the counter-strategy—which Taurau's real strategy is designed to counter. The game is used to foreshadow Ko-Kraham pulling a similar strategy.
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Hustle. All the time. If it's obvious how the scam works ten minutes in, you can bet your life that's just what The Mark is supposed to think he's supposed to think.
Hustle had one involving a roulette table and a Sheriff from The Wild West. The original roulette wheel from the 1800's was mechanised and could be controlled with a sheriff's badge in a slot on the top. Of course the team couldn't let the mark know this, so they went to the trouble of constructing (and auctioning off) a fake table just so that their mark could get it. However it was more of "We have to make him think that we are up to something when we aren't".
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Frequently used in Naruto:
During the Land of Waves arc, Sasuke uses the shadow shuriken technique, which involves aiming a shuriken at the enemy, with another shuriken hiding in its shadow. His enemy, Zabuza, sees through this and dodges both shuriken. It turns out he used the shadow shuriken just to distract Zabuza from the actual plan, which was Naruto had transformed into the shadow shuriken.
During the Chunnin Exam arc, during his fight against Temari, Shikamaru throws his kunai-laden jacket into the air. Temari (and Shikamaru's teacher Asuma) assumes this is to draw her attention away from the ground so that he can trap her with the Shadow Imitation technique. His actual goal was to force her into a position from where he can make use of a hole in the ground dug earlier by Naruto to increase the range of his technique.
During the Pain's Invasion of Konoha arc, Naruto uses smoke bombs and then sends a Rasenshuriken at Pain's Preta Path through the smoke. The Preta Path, which has the ability to absorb any ninjutsu, absorbs the Rasenshuriken. However, the Rasenshuriken was actually Naruto's transformation jutsu. Since the transformation jutsu gets absorbed, Naruto returns to his original form, and physically holds down the Preta Path. It turns out that this trick was not his actual target, it was a distraction to prevent Pain from noticing a couple of Naruto shadow clones flying with a giant Rasengan each aiming for the Naraka Path.
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In Mad Men, Don Draper executes a magnificent one against his self-proclaimed rival Ted Chaough in "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword". During the competition over the Honda Motorcycles account, the Honda execs make certain rules to ensure a level playing field: each agency is given $3000 to make boards and copy—no finished work allowed. After Roger Sterling makes a point of displaying what he thinks of the Japanese (not very much) to the visiting Honda executives, Don decides that by way of damage control, he needs to make sure Chaough doesn't use this to sail to victory. Don thus goes to great lengths to hint that SCDP is going to make a big, expensive spec commercial for Honda (which is finished work and therefore not allowed) convincing Chaough that his firm should do the same. But SCDP isn't making a commercial at all (leading to a pretty hilarious scene with Peggy riding around an empty set on a Honda motorcycle◊) Draper's intention was to severely damage Chaough's firm's budget by fooling them into making the big, expensive commercial. Don resigns the Honda account, returning the $3000, on the grounds that Honda had broken its own rules and he could not honorably do business with them. Chaough's firm is now a mess, and while Honda doesn't end up giving anyone their main motorcycle account, SCDP gets a shot at the advertising for their new automotive division.
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Locke Lamora attempts this one when he cons a nobleman into giving him money for a business venture. Two members of the Duke's secret police contact Locke's mark to alert him that his new business partner is actually a con man. The mark won't investigate Locke or their joint business venture any more since he knows it's all a scam, but at the same time Locke keeps receiving money because the mark is told that the police is about to make an arrest and if the money stops Locke will flee with all the money he already has. Obviously there will be no arrest, because the "secret police" is actually Locke and his accomplice.
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Most of the goings on in the Night Watch series involve the good and evil chessmasters Geser and Zabulon (respectively) using the protagonist Anton as an Unwitting Pawn to pull off one of these. Typically, Geser tells Anton to do "w" and Zabulon will have a scheme trying to force Anton to do "x". Anton takes a third option and does "y", which is what Zabulon actually wanted him to choose. However, when things go well, Geser is able to pull off "z" which was his plan all along and which wouldn't have worked had he not instructed Anton to do "w".
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The entire plot of Wild Things revolves around Suzie convincing the other conspirators into thinking they know what the con is. Kelly thinks she and Sam will get rid of Suzie and run off together with the money. Ray thinks he and Sam will get rid of both girls, implicate Kelly in Suzie's murder, and split the money two-ways before parting. Sam thinks he and Suzie will frame Kelly for Suzie's "murder", kill Ray, and run off together with the money. Turns out the real plan was for Suzie to fake her own death with Sam's assistance, implicate Kelly, kill both Ray and Sam, and take all the money.
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In an early episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Jack Spicer of all people pulls this off. He sends in a robot clone of Kimiko to thwart the Xiaolin Dragons and steal their Shen Gong Wu. Omi identifies and destroys the clone, but it's too late - while the Dragons were distracted, Jack snuck in and out of the vault with the Wu, leaving them at a sudden and major disadvantage. A rare moment of sheer triumph for Jack.
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In The Dark Knight Rises, the police discover Bane uses the sewers as an intricate network for his base of operations, as to remain undetected; when the police suspect this is his trick to hiding, they counter it by swarming the sewers with every available cop. Right as almost every officer available is underground, it turns out Bane set everything up so he could cause several explosions, revealing his true intent was to trap them all underground and leave Gotham undefended.
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Assassination Classroom: During Class 3-E's island assassination attempt, Koro-sensei uses his keen sense of smell to deduce that Chiba and Hayami, the class' best snipers, plan to deliver the killing blow from a nearby mountain. What he detected were dummies set up by the students to lure his attention away from the snipers' true hiding spot underneath the ocean.
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In Freefall, the ninja waiters operate on this basis. By making sure that the customers spot that the screen slides up, they ensure that the customers will be watching it trying to spot them, and not looking in any other direction. Later, after the customers are convinced that the screen is just a ruse, they can actually use it to deliver food.
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In The Bourne Supremacy, he uses a crowd from a protest to mask his movements while extracting Nicky to a subway station, and out of sight, to get answers.
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In Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Zhuge Liang's "Empty Fortress Strategy", which relied on Sima Yi thinking that Zhuge Liang was not willing to take such a risk as revealing an actual weakness. (Sima Yi's son Zhao saw through it but was overruled, and in any case Zhuge Liang admitted that he would have been completely screwed had Sima Yi drawn the same conclusion.)
Used as part of Cao Cao's Humiliation Conga. Cao Cao, while fleeing from ambush after ambush, comes to a fork in the road. On one fork, is a quantity of smoke, as if from an army's cooking fires. That is the fork that Cao Cao takes, as he knows that his opponent is too smart to really allow his position to be given away like that. Of course, his opponents knew that Cao Cao would head towards the smoke, so the path Cao Cao took had an ambush waiting.
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Red vs. Blue:
Tex pulls this off against Wash and the Meta by setting up a textbook trap in Sidewinder. Wash, of course, recognized it from his military training, and didn't enter... which left him vulnerable to the proximity mines she'd set up right where he parked his vehicle. Doc noticed, but Wash brushed it off.
A couple in a row get pulled off in season 12- first, it looks like the Reds and Blues' big plan is for Carolina to infiltrate Locus' soldiers, like she did earlier in the season. Then, when that plan is revealed, it looks like the plan was really for Wash to sneak in and hold Felix at gunpoint while he's distracted by Carolina. In reality, all of this was just setup for the Reds and Blues to take out Felix and Locus' minions while they're distracted by the Freelancers... which in turn is all just setup to get Felix to rant about their evil plans while facing off with Tucker, who is secretly recording the whole thing!
They later pull it off again in season 13, when they launch an assault on the Communication Temple (to send an SOS to the rest of the galaxy) and get Wash and Carolina to protect the Purge Temple. They were actually trying to draw the pirates' forces to the Communication Temple, and sneak over to the now-undefended tractor beam at Crash Site Alpha to crash the pirates' ship into the Purge Temple, while Wash and Carolina stalled for time.
And even later, Grif's laughable attempt at infiltrating the Blues and Reds' base fails miserably and gets him thrown into jail with the rest of the group... while Locus breaks in unimpeded.
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In Baten Kaitos, the Six Man Band suspect that there is a mole amongst them for quite some time. The player will probably assume it to be either Lyude (who is susceptible to brainwashing), Savyna (who is the Mysterious Stranger to a T) or Mizuti (for dressing uncannily similarly to the Big Bad, except with a Cool Mask on). As it turns out, The Mole was Kalas, whom the player (and the party!) would never suspect due to him being The Hero. When the other heroes find this out, they're completely out of cards to play.
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A fairly regular occurrence in Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files.
In White Night, Lara Raith suggested to a member of another family in the White Court that they should kill off weak female magical practitioners. She did this so that she could rope the other White Court family into the scheme because she knew that eventually Harry Dresden would get involved and generally smash everyone in sight before he realized she came up with the whole thing. He didn't realize until he'd already played straight into the plot because what this amounted to was a ruler of a vampire court deliberately getting their minions to try to supplant the ruler and then having them destroyed without having to lift a finger herself. And nearly dying in the process due to interference by Cowl's Outsider ghouls, but hey, no plan is perfect, right?
In Small Favor, the Order of the Blackened Denarius kidnap a freeholding lord, a recent signatory to the Unseelie Accords, simultaneously threatening that lord, disrupting his power base, and placing the Order in violation of the Accords (thus challenging the weakened White Council to choose risking a multi-front war if they enforce the Accords, and offending the Unseelie Court if they don't). Harry manipulates the White Council into acting, selecting a particular character as arbiter which is what the Order wanted, as it made her vulnerable to a kidnap attempt.
There's a less visible example (because it doesn't involve the protagonists) going on at the same time. There's an ongoing power struggle which resumes any time most of the Order get together, and while this plot stands to benefit the entire Order at each stage Nicodemus is clearly either increasing his own influence or setting up potential future problems for rivals. This is obvious to the rest of the Order, as is that they're all being given rope to oppose or betray his "side" without really ruining the plot, implying he's in some way preparing a personal "traitor sweep". What's not obvious is that the situation's set up to look for a member of the Order sabotaging the entire plot to do irreparable damage to their mutual goals - he suspects Outsider infiltration, and the situation is designed to spur such an infiltrator to act; nobody will be willing to get together afterwards to honestly compare who did what when if the damage looks like the fallout of "normal" betrayals. While it's unclear how much good it does him, Nicodemus walks away from the affair with confirmation of this and the identity of their puppet.
In Skin Game, Mab charges Harry with repaying a debt to Nicodemus Archleone by helping him steal the Holy Grail from Hades' vault in the Underworld, along with a crew of other people Nicodemus hired for the job. After setting it up, Mab tells Harry that it's a setup: she only intends for Harry to help him get the Grail; she never said anything about what Harry would do after he got his hands on it. Both Harry and Nicodemus figure that the other is going to betray him as soon as Nicodemus obtains the Grail, so Harry asks for a second person to watch his back, while Nicodemus has secretly given Coins to Hannah Ascher and the Genoskwa (Lasciel and Ursiel, respectively, and hired Goodman Grey for the secondary reason of helping him kill Harry when it comes time. However, it is later revealed that Harry figured out that Grey was the only person Nicodemus could hire to get access to the location where the Way to Hades' vault could be opened, and secretly hired him first, with the purpose of turning on Nicodemus after he got the Grail. The resulting brouhaha leaves Nicodemus defeated and alone, with Deirdre dead by his hand (to get through the Gate of Blood), his power broken, and his reputation destroyed. Sure, he got the Grail, but he lost the item he really wanted: the knife that Christ was stabbed with while he was on the Cross, along with three other artifacts. It turns out the whole plot was a scheme by Mab and John Marcone, with Uriel and Hades' help, to get back at Nicodemus for the events of Small Favor.
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Whateley Universe: The supervillain Mephisto the Mystic says that most of his more public capers were set up primarily to distract the heroes from more mundane crimes done by his Mob associates.
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Tower of God
Koon's plan to beat the physically immensely superior Quant in the Hide and Seek test depends on several layers of this: first, Quant thinks he's figured out they've set up a bait to lure him away from their tag, then that they actually did that to ambush him, and so on, until finally comes the one he can't anticipate: Koon tells him that the tag has jumped down from the bridge — something that the tag, Koon and Quant all might be Nigh Invulnerable enough to survive without getting injured — and taunts Quant that he can't follow. Quant infers that Koon just wants him to jump down and that the tag is really hiding on one of Koon's floating "Lighthouses" under the bridge. He elects to jump down and take Koon with him, which should cause all three of them to fall down, since Koon wouldn't be able to maintain control of the Lighthouse. Except Koon and the tag are both suspended in a different way that keeps them from falling, while Quant does fall.
In "The Room That Cannot Be Trusted", Prince is approached by a couple of suspicious guys who say they can help him beat Jue Viole Grace. They give him a drink that they say can prevent Viole from using his ability to freeze the drinker. Prince suspects the drink has something funny in it and lets Yihwa drink it first. That's just what they wanted; it enables them to take control of her mind, and she's a much more valuable prize than Prince. (And besides, their boss wants to do some Evil Gloating to Prince.)
In "The Wool's Knot", Koon makes a bet with Edin Dann that he can't get out of the café, even with his Super Speed, before Koon can catch him. After they've made the deal, Koon first claims to have hired everyone in the café to stop him (though that's not the Kansas City Shuffle yet). But Dann notices there's an exit right behind Koon that he seems to have missed and makes a run for it. That way is blocked, and Koon makes Dann believe that was his real scheme and he didn't hire anyone in the café. Dann thinks he beat the scam when he runs out of the dead end too fast for Koon to catch him, only to be shot with a tranquiliser dart by the bartender, because Koon lied about not hiring anyone.
In "The Last Station", the main characters make Zahard's army think they were trying to create a distraction in order to sneak off in one of the Hell Train's cars, but the car that gets all the attention is actually one that only contains a bunch of minor villains who were on the train with them. Since the army commander doesn't know who exactly is to be arrested other than the Regulars on the train, it looks to her like she got "them".
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In King of the Hill, Peggy (and several other Arlenites) get scammed by a con man and work together to craft a counter-con in order to make their money back. They set up a fairly transparent off-track betting scam, but the con man cashes out before he can suffer the inevitable "lose everything" step. Hank shows up and sees Peggy sobbing over her failure and goes to confront the con man in his hotel room, prompting him to stash his winnings in the hotel safe. After Hank leaves, the con man discovers the safe is now empty. He complains to the staff, who are just confused by his complaint, since this hotel doesn't provide safes. It turns out Peggy anticipated all of this, including Hank's interference, and snuck the money out through a false back wall. Hank asks what she'd done if things hadn't gone as planned; Peggy responds that they also faked valet parking and would have taken his car.
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The seventh volume of The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign is essentially an extended example of this. Kyousuke meets and contracts with Aoi, to use her to summon a being capable of defeating the White Queen. However, it turns out that the Queen disguised herself as Aoi, and she launches a surprise attack that rips off Kyousuke's right arm. But it then turns out that Kyousuke realized the deception, and hid a fake arm in his sleeve, anticipating this attack. He's able to complete his summoning and seemingly destroy the Queen. And then it's revealed that the Queen didn't just manage to survive, but this was her plan all along. She deliberately allowed Kyousuke to create and summon something capable of defeating her, because that being would inevitably become an even greater threat to the world than she was. This leaves Kyousuke with no choice but to work with her to defeat what he's unleashed. Not only that, but the real reason she disguised herself as Aoi was to test if she and Kyousuke could work together effectively... which also succeeds.
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In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Captain Holt and Detective Peralta make a bet that Peralta can't steal Holt's Medal of Valor from his office, where Holt has placed it inside a safe within a locked cabinet. Holt proceeds to catch Peralta out in a series of lame attempts to break into the office and steal the medal using what seem to be feeble disguises and distractions, until he ends up being locked in an interrogation room and handcuffed to a table... whereupon Peralta explains to Holt the real plan; while Peralta was distracting Holt with his increasingly feeble attempts to break into Holt's office, the other detectives in the squad — whom Peralta had bribed with an offer to do their paperwork for them — were subtly breaking through Holt's defences and stealing the medal for him. Since he lost the bet, Holt now has to do all of Peralta's paperwork, which now includes the entire squad's.
Come Halloween next year, Jake once again makes a bet with Captain Holt, with the challenge this time being that Jake will steal Captain Holt's watch right off of his wrist. Once again Jake convinces the other detectives to help him, as well as conscripting a previously arrested pickpocket to actually steal the watch and replace it with a perfect replica. This time around, however, everyone except Jake (and Charles) is working with Holt, including the pickpocket, and so the plan fails. Holt has apparently been planning his revenge for last year from the moment he sat down to do everyone's paperwork, going so far as to subtly convince Jake that an ordinary watch was somehow his most prized personal possession.
The fourth Halloween has Holt, Jake, and Amy all competing. The winner is Gina, who went out of their way to fake an injury to remove them from the team they were on and then come back and hide in the background while completing the rest of their plan. They also use Terry as an obvious Red Herring since he's trying to work instead of participate, which makes people think he's pulling his own shuffle. Gina manipulated everyone simply because the winner is the ultimate "detective"-slash-genius which she felt was rude and left her out and made sure everything went as planned.
And on a much grander scale, the reason Captain Holt agrees to Jake's zany challenges in the first place; Jake is an Insufferable Ditzy Genius who fancies himself a maverick Cowboy Cop, and his ability to work together with others as part of a team is sorely lacking as a result. Every time he attempts one of these grandiose bets, Peralta has to get help from the other detectives, and the exercise ultimately contributes to team building, something Holt has been trying to encourage from the beginning.
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Reindeer Games has a big one. Rudy is posing as his late cellmate Nick (killed in a fight) to be with Nick's girlfriend, Ashley. Ashley's brother, Gabriel, forces "Nick" to help his gang rob the casino Nick used to work at. Rudy goes along with it as he realizes that if they don't need "Nick," Gabriel will kill him and Ashley. Here's where the Shuffle begins...
During an escape, Nick overhears Gabriel and Ashley talking as it turns out they're not siblings but lovers who are using "Nick" and planning to kill him anyway when this is done. Rudy plays that he's still in the dark and Ashley loves him so he can figure out a way to sabotage the robbery.
The robbery turns into a mess with only Rudy (having his identity exposed), Gabriel and Ashley getting away. At which point, Ashley shoots Gabriel and a very much alive Nick shows up. Ashley is his real girlfriend who was using Gabriel and his gang to rob the casino and Rudy/fake-Nick suckered to take the fall while the two run off with the money.
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The Spanish Prisoner is all about this. It includes a detailed explanation of the Spanish Prisoner con, which is designed to distract the mark (and the audience) from the fact that this is not actually the con being performed.
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In The Usual Suspects, Agent Kujan strongly suspects that Verbal Kint is hiding something and is covering for ex-cop Dean Keaton, who is Kujan's real target. He's right about the first part, but he doesn't realize how badly off he is about the second until after he lets Verbal — aka Keyser Söze — walk out of his office.
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The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin is essentially a massive sequence of these, mostly revolving around the destruction of the wall of Yath, where the resident Eldritch Abominations try and bait each other into making fatal decisions.
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The Order of the Stick:
Haley runs a textbook example of a Shuffle on the rest of the party while dividing up the treasure in this comic. If they hadn't assumed she was trying to cheat them and tried to counter it, she would have wound up with five worthless rocks as her share of the booty.
During the battle of Azure City, the heroes see three people who look like Xykon—two lead separate charges against the city's defenses, and the third one hang back with Redcloak. As they try to figure out which one is real and should be their main target, Haley works out the con—if Redcloak can make two duplicates, why not three? (She's right; Redcloak conjured a death knight, a huecuva, and an Eye of Fear and Flame. As Xykon is just a humanoid skeleton, all he had to do to perfectly disguise them was put blue robes and red capes on them and call it a night. Heck, he had to put colored pendants on them just to tell them apart enough to give them specific orders. The real Xykon tries to sneak invisibly into the city on zombie-dragonback while they're distracted.)
Girard's Pyramid allegedly contains his Gate, and is heavily fortified to prevent you from getting to the center chamber... but it turns out, all that's there is a big pillar saying "Sorry, your Gate is in another pyramid". Scanning it with magic confirms this. Ha ha, wasted your time! Really, it's to be expected, given that he lied about the Pyramid's location, obviously he also lied about its purpose. Except, of course, he didn't. The Gate is inside the pillar. The pillar is lead-lined to block magic that would give away the trick. On top of being Genre Savvy enough to expect a triple-bluff at this point, Roy's cross-class skill ranks in Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) let him notice that the pillar isn't load-bearing.
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This is pretty much how any round of Liar Game works.
Round 1, Akiyama makes the teacher believe that they are trying to get him away from the safe. In reality he is trying to get the teacher away from receiving info on when the money would be checked.
Round 2, Akiyama makes Fukunaga think that he is trying to get the three guys to fight over the money prize, and they think that they can beat him by tying the round and continuing negotiations later on. In reality, Akiyama had recruited the third guy and was getting them to think of tying.
Round 3, Yokoya knows that Akiyama has infiltrated several moles in his country and thinks he can beat the con by reconverting them. He is wrong about the number of moles that have infiltrated. In the same round, Akiyama believes that Yokoya is trying to get their team to lose at a profit. In reality, Yokoya was just trying to run as much funds as he could through his account.
Round 4, both Yokoya and Harimoto think that Akiyama is trying to dominate the chairs game, when in fact he was trying to lay his hands on the winning medals.
Revival Round 3, Harimoto and his followers think Nao is trying to trick them into thinking Kimura is a spy. Her actual goal was to confirm Akiyama's hypothesis that Kimura is the real cult leader.
Final Round, Yokoya thinks Akiyama is trying to get Wei to win, then use Yokoya's obsession with defeating Akiyama to force him to save the other players. Instead, Akiyama allows Yokoya to remove Wo and Wei from the game, then manipulates Wu and Shu into a deadlock that forces the dealers to end the Liar Game altogether.
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In Batman Eternal, the true Evil Plan revolves around one of these. Cluemaster, aware that C-List Fodder like himself were Beneath Suspicion, brought on the likes of others in similar situations such as Lock-Up, Ratcatcher, Prankster, and Signalman to cause relatively low level chaos around Gotham to increase distress, while sending out invitations to A-list villains like Hush, The Riddler, and Ra's Al-Ghul, knowing that everyone, even Batman, would see those as the more likely causes of the issues over looking at the C-listers right in front of him. It actually works up until Lincoln March gives Cluemaster a Slashed Throat for trying to become more than a "nobody."
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Gold has a caper where they lead the mark to believe that the crew, minus Zoro and plus Guest-Star Party Member Carina, are trying to steal the Heavenly Tribute for the Celestial Dragons so they can buy Zoro's freedom. In reality, it's all a ruse to get Franky to connect the pipe system to seawater to wash away the gold controlled by Tesoro's Devil Fruit powers.
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The first season finale of Sneaky Pete has Marius pulling off a brilliant one on crime boss Vince. He organizes a big poker game with a known Indian tech millionaire. Vince becomes convinced the guy is a ringer and the game is rigged and calls Marius on it with guns pointed. The millionaire's bodyguard pulls out his phone and announces the man is a protected informant, he's an FBI agent and has just called reinforcements. Vince openly laughs on how "this guy is dedicated to the act" and shoots him in the chest. At which point, the man reveals he has a Bulletproof Vest on as he shoots Vince. As he falls, Vince hears police sirens and then agents pouring in. Too late, Vince realizes he just shot an actual federal agent which means a minimum of 20 years in prison.
Marius' brother is thrown as he thought the guy was a fake too. Marius tells him that the millionaire was totally for real but he knew Vince would be expecting a con. And as it happens, his team took advantage of the chaos of the raid to rob Vince's safe of millions while he heads to jail.
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Exalted has Avoiding the Truth Technique. The goal is to get the target to see through your "lies". Then if you really want to screw them, tell them an actual lie afterwards so they'll believe it.
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In Ringworld's Children, protector-stage Louis Wu intentionally reveals the existence of his son Wembleth to Tunesmith just before escaping, thus leading Tunesmith to believe that Louis is going to try to smuggle Wembleth off the Ringworld and leaving Tunesmith with no way to control Louis (since Wembleth's life is the leverage Tunesmith has over Louis, or so Tunesmith thinks). Louis's actual plan is to smuggle himself and the Hindmost off the Ringworld and out of Tunesmith's control, since he (Louis) believes that hiding amongst the Ringworld's billions of inhabitants is actually the safest place for Wembleth to be.
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In one episode of American Dad!, Steve pulls an Ocean's Eleven-style heist to rob a rich boy's Bar Mitzvah for revenge for stealing his girlfriend. This trope came into affect when he made the boy think he was going to steal his presents, but was actually after his Bar Mitzvah money.
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In Episode 8 of The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Narsus pulls off a textbook example. He sends a peasant to Kharlan's camp, claiming that he was attacked by the heroes and saw them head south. Kharlan tells his troops to head north, into unfavorable terrain, believing that he has seen through Narsus' plot to lure him south. As it turns out, this is part of Narsus' plan to capture Kharlan.
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In Superman II, Superman, at the Fortress of Solitude, uses a rare heroic instance to render Zod, Ursa and Non powerless:
Superman goes into a chamber, which actually shields him from the effects of the red solar rays, which unbeknownst to Zod, Ursa, and Non, deprives them of their Kryptonian super powers. As soon as General Zod demands that Superman pledge his loyalty to him, the Man of Steel crushes Zod's now-mortal body, and his partners-in-crime meet their demise soon afterwards.
Nevertheless, Superman remains unimpressed by Lex Luthor's devious attempts when the Man of Steel calls Luthor's bluff:
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How Lenni is screwed with in Watch_Dogs 2. Marcus needs to get at her arm's internal devicenote Lenni's a Biohacker to scan the RFID chip inside to locate and break into her Hacker Cave, so he tries to scan it with his cell phone... only for Lenni to angrily push his phone away and taunt him over thinking that "a simple trick" could fool her. She's unaware that Wrench, a friend of Marcus, is atop a nearby building with a long-range scanner.
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In House of Games, the affluent heroine realizes that she's being conned and exposes the conman. Impressed, the conman shows her a little bit of his lifestyle, and she quickly gets wrapped up in his exotic world of shadows. In the end, the whole thing was one bigger con to get even more money out of her.
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In one Duck story ("As Good As Old"), Scrooge McDuck needs to get a load of money out of a small country in large part controlled by the local bandit lord, who has spies everywhere and knows about the money. Scrooge lets a spy see him hide the money inside carpets he takes with him, while he sends the safe he had with him ahead by a train. The bandits figure the safe must be a ruse, especially when the railways are hardly reliable, and attack him on the way back and open up the carpet rolls — which are empty, of course, and Scrooge asks whether the bandit lord hadn't noticed his sending the safe along before. The bandits rush ahead to stop the train, only to find the safe empty when they finally get it open. Meanwhile, Donald, whom no-one was paying attention to at this point, has made his way back to the border alone, with the money hidden inside some jugs. So, the trope is actually applied doubly; even once they know it was a Kansas City Shuffle, they're still wrong about how the con works, and trying to beat it still only gets them out of the way.
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In White Night, Lara Raith suggested to a member of another family in the White Court that they should kill off weak female magical practitioners. She did this so that she could rope the other White Court family into the scheme because she knew that eventually Harry Dresden would get involved and generally smash everyone in sight before he realized she came up with the whole thing. He didn't realize until he'd already played straight into the plot because what this amounted to was a ruler of a vampire court deliberately getting their minions to try to supplant the ruler and then having them destroyed without having to lift a finger herself. And nearly dying in the process due to interference by Cowl's Outsider ghouls, but hey, no plan is perfect, right?
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The book version of The Princess Bride has a Zoo of Death instead of the Pit of Despair. It has multiple levels of basement, and as you go down the enemies get scarier. One level has absolutely nothing in it. Just a long, black tunnel with the exit door at the other end. For Inigo and Fezzik, this is goddamn disturbing. Something should be happening! This is the level of the Enemies of Fear. The idea is that you panic, run for the opposite door, and let the venomous spider under the handle kill you. It ends up working too well; Fezzik just kept on running without bothering with the handle, and the spider was trampled without either of them ever noticing it.
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The Walking Dead: The main cast is in their RV on a desperate mission to get the ailing Maggie to Hilltop Colony for medical aid (their own medic has recently been slain, and Hilltop's medic is an obstrenician and thus the only one who can treat her anyway). En-route they're confronted by the villainous Saviors, who demand they surrender themselves. The group backs up and tries another route to Hilltop, only to find a larger group of Saviors waiting for them. Several more attempts fail as the group is harassed by progressively larger groups of enemies. As night is falling, Eugene posits that the Saviors don't know how many people are actually in their RV, and suggests that while the others take Maggie to Hilltop on foot, he will drive the RV to distract the Saviors. The others flee into the woods, only for them to end up captured less than an hour later, as this was exactly what the Saviors were hoping for. The group runs right into about a hundred assembled Saviors and see Eugene has already been captured as well. They're forced to their knees and ordered to submit to Negan, who follows up by killing two of their group and torturing them into submission.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: ex-spymaster Garak pulls off a classic in the episode "In the Pale Moonlight".
The Federation is failing in their war with The Dominion, so Sisko has Garak make a fake recording of the Dominion planning a surprise attack on the neutral Romulans, and then invites a prominent Romulan Senator on a diplomatic mission in Dominion space to secretly visit Deep Space Nine and see the forgery. The senator correctly realizes that "It's a fake!!!" and departs to expose the fraud. However, on route the Senator's ship explodes. Garak suspected the fake wouldn't hold up to scrutiny, and planted a bomb on the politician's ship. When the recording is found by Romulan salvage teams, its imperfections are presumed to be damage from the explosion. Further, the Romulans conclude that the Senator was killed by the Dominion to prevent the leak, as no one else knew he visited DS9. The Romulans promptly join the war against the Dominion.
Doubles as a Batman Gambit, as Garak's plan is based on the Romulans assuming the Dominion would kill someone to prevent a leak, as the Romulans would readily do the same, and the Federation themselves are too goody-two-shoes to be involved in an assassination of a person they'd invited into their space (unlike Garak himself).
A more minor case in "Sacrifice of Angels". Quark and Ziyal are there to deliver a hasperat souffle to a set of prisoners. The guard suspects a Jail Bake combined with Endangered Soufflé, but as he suspiciously pokes at it, Ziyal slips behind him unnoticed and injects him with a hypospray, knocking him out.
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B.A Baracus in The A-Team becomes Genre Savvy in one episode when he gets very suspicious about being handed a burger shortly after hearing about the option of flying. He forces Murdock to give him his burger, the latter biting into B.A's burger and falling asleep because of all the drugs they put in it. B.A is satisfied of this outcome... only to then fall asleep after eating Murdock's burger since that one was drugged in the first place and Murdock was actually faking it.
B.A later goes through a complex version when he repeatedly swaps burgers with his teammates like in the previous example. He does impressively well... only for him to fall asleep again along with Hannibal implying that he flopped at the last swap since he deducted that the last burger expected to be drugged was the one he had in the first place.
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In Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Snake rescues Paz only to find she has a huge abdominal scar, as XOF tricked him into saving her while she had a bomb inside of her. Extracting the bomb without killing her, she awakens a scene later to explain she has a second bomb inside of her, as XOF knew Snake wouldn't expect it.
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Frank Fontaine references the general concept in BioShock. Quoth Fontaine, "I'm gonna miss this place. Rapture was a candy store for a guy like me. Guys who thought they knew it all. Dames who thought they'd SEEN it all. Give me a smart mark over a dumb one every time."
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In the American version of The Office (US), Dwight plants an obvious bug in Jim's office in the form of a huge wooden duck (er, mallard). Jim quickly finds it and has some fun at Dwight's expense, eventually telling Dwight to stop trying these tricks. In the tag, however, we find out that Dwight actually planted a second, much less conspicuous bug (in the form of a pen) and that the duck (mallard) was just a decoy.
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In Goblin Hollow, during the bank robbery arc (more or less starting HERE, Ben and Lily get entangled in a bank heist which is only part of the guest villain's double and possibly triple-fakeout plot which involves multiple simultaneous armed robberies, a mysterious pearl necklace, a jade box full of Boggarts and an army of mooks in clown suits...
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In the 30 Rock episode "Game Over", Jack plans to expose Kaylee Hooper, the granddaughter of Kabletown CEO Hank Hooper, as ineligible to inherit because Kaylee might not be related to Hank after all. Kaylee figures out his plan and avoids it by planting Jenna's DNA for Jack to find and test, instead of her own (thus making Jack look like a conniving traitor for trying to mail Hank an unauthorized paternity test that doesn't prove anything). However, the only thing Hank Hooper loves more than his family is his birthday. The DNA was a distraction to prevent Kaylee from doing anything to celebrate Hank's birthday, whereas the envelope of DNA results actually contained a birthday card from Jack.
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In the Death Note fic Fever Dreams: 1) L knows Light is planning something to derail his investigation and it's clearly all going according to plan 2) Light is counting on L to make this assumption in order to stay close to him. 3) L is now wrong about what Light's ultimate goal is: L is waiting for Light to murder him or try to murder him. L thinks he can can defeat Light either by finding the evidence before Light can kill him or if he does kill him that can be used as evidence against him. Light is no longer trying to kill him...
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In Weregeek, Murdoch finds himself hanging from the edge of a building with four geeks hanging off of him. Joel is waiting on the roof, offering a hand up, but Murdoch guesses that he'll only be captured if he accepts the offer. Instead, he opts to fall to his death and take the four geeks with him. Instead, he falls into the net Joel set up and realizes this was what was intended the whole time.
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In M*A*S*H, BJ convinces Hawkeye that he's pranking everyone in the camp, and is saving the best one for Hawkeye. He puts a snake in Charles' bed, puts shaving cream in Colonel Potter's toothpaste, cuts the back off of Margret's bathrobe, poisons Father Mulcahy and sets off a bomb in Klinger's filing cabinet, each one making Hawkeye increasingly paranoid. After the last two, he sets up a cot outside in a barb-wire enclosure, resulting in him getting no sleep from all the background noise. At the end everyone reveals they were in on it and either did everything themselves or simply lied to Hawkeye, and that Hawkeye was the actual victim.
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Lost:
In Season Six, a character explains to the surviving castaways that he wants them to leave the Island with him in the Ajira plane, but when the good guys ditch him and lock themselves inside Widmore's submarine in "The Candidate," it looks like they've outsmarted him...that is, until he grins and says to survivor Claire, "You don't want to be anywhere on that sub." 'Cause the Magnificent Bastard snuck a bomb onboard. Cue the cruelest twenty minutes of the show's history, as Sayid, Jin, and Sun all perish, Lapidus is left for dead, and the four survivors barely escape and are left to sob on a beach at night. Then there is the second layer to that con. He cannot kill the castaways himself so he lets them think that he conned them into locking themselves in the submarine with a bomb. They discover the bomb before the timer runs down so they figure that they can just disarm the bomb to neutralize the trap. However, 'disarming' the bomb actually arms it so the castaways are causing their own deaths which is the Loophole Abuse he needed. Ironically Jack figured it out ahead of time but the experienced conman Sawyer insisted on pulling the wires on the bomb.
In the season two episode "The Long Con", Sawyer plays this straight as can be in his flashback, making a woman think she has caught him trying to con her while that is actually the setup for a much longer and more profitable con.
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This has happened more than once on Monk, where other crimes or happenings are being perpetrated to distract the police from the real problem. In one episode Monk is forced to work with FBI agents who are investigating the possible start of a serial killer, who has killed one man with six different methods and threatened to do so again in 36 hours. After Monk gets over his feelings of inadequacy over not being tech-savvy (not helped by the FBI agents being arrogant jerks), Monk reasons out in fairly short order that the "Six-Way Killer" murder was a distraction from the original murder he had been investigating at the start of the episode, and that he was forced by the FBI agents to ignore because they thought the second one was more important. Turns out, the original murder victim had been killed by her date after he tried to rape her, and he needed to keep the police occupied for 36 hours so the special dessert they had ordered would deteriorate in her system and be useless as evidence implicate him. He committed the Six-Way murder to start the serial killer scare necessary to distract the police. How did Monk figure this out? Because he was bothered by the fact that the Six-Way Killer had set such an arbitrary time limit instead of 24 hours or naming a specific date and time.
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Ferris Bueller's plan to get his girlfriend Sloane out of school works like this: he has his friend Cameron pose as her father and call Dean Ed Rooney, asking to excuse her since her grandmother just died. Rooney doesn't buy it, but thinks the fake Mr. Peterson is Ferris himself and prepares to set a trap, while in the process repeatedly saying a lot of extremely rude, insulting things that it would be really bad to say to the real Mr. Peterson. Then Ferris calls on the other line...
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In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi pulls one off in his fight against Rakan. He blitzes him with superspeed and while Rakan can't keep up with Negi hitting him from every angle at the speed of lightning, he can't get through Rakan's defenses. However, at this time he also sets up a spell circle around the two of them by using his attacks as a disguise since Rakan can't actually keep track of what he's doing anyway. After that he challenges Rakan to a show of strength and while Rakan assumes Negi will either throw a lightning spear at him or nullify Rakan's attack with Asuna's sword, he actually does nothing but activate the spell circle he'd set up beforehand so he could absorb the attack and increase his offenses enough to actually hurt Rakan.
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Diplomacy is a game which consists of seven players guiding European powers through maneuver and negotiation to power. Gameplay consists of rounds of secret negotiations, then writing down one's moves and resolving any conflicts. Since the only mechanic for resolving combat is building alliances, and there is only one winner, every player is always suspecting a con. How you use this atmosphere of suspicion and distrust is up to you. One example: Alice could try to convince Bob to support an action in exchange for mutual support, but Bob refuses, believing he's being suckered. When it's time to write down moves, Alice supports Bob anyway, then acts betrayed when Bob doesn't support her. Bob is now seen as unreliable by Charlie, David, Eve, Trent, and Walter. Alice looks reliable. The reality is, of course, backwards.
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On The Blacklist, Tom pretends to be a conman who goes to underground casinos and cheats at craps by distracting the casino employees and other players with an elaborate story of how he once went on vacation and found a watch worth thousands of dollars. A rich playboy quickly realizes that the story is bogus, since he knows the area where the story supposedly took place and the story does not fully match reality. The playboy also spots Tom's cheating, but rather than report him to the casino, he befriends Tom. This was Tom's plan all along. He deliberately added flaws to his story that only the mark would spot. The mark has a habit of befriending conmen, and Tom needed a way to get into his confidence quickly. Tom is actually looking for a quick way to get close to some Russian criminals who are blackmailing the mark.
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One Piece;
In Alabasta, the Baroque Works Officer Agents need to keep Vivi away from the Rebels so she can't warn them about their organization's plot to use the rebellion to take over the kingdom. They seem a group of cloaked figures all riding Supersonic Ducks like Vivi's Team Pet Karoo. The agents split up to pursue each figure, and only learn too late that it's just the Straw Hats, and the real Vivi was waiting for the Agents to leave their post.
As part of their scheme to kill Big Mom, Luffy uses a captured Devil Fruit user to create an army of copies- and then reveals himself amid the chaos. With everyone focused on Luffy, no one is paying much attention to his doubles, allowing Brook, wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise, to sneak around and complete the first step of the assassination.
Gold has a caper where they lead the mark to believe that the crew, minus Zoro and plus Guest-Star Party Member Carina, are trying to steal the Heavenly Tribute for the Celestial Dragons so they can buy Zoro's freedom. In reality, it's all a ruse to get Franky to connect the pipe system to seawater to wash away the gold controlled by Tesoro's Devil Fruit powers.
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In the Touhou print work, Silent Sinner in Blue, Yukari pulls off a spectacular Kansas City Shuffle to stump Eirin and the Watatsukis. Specifically, She manipulates Remilia into invading the moon with a highly visible rocket. Eirin warns the Watatsukis about this, while also warning them that Yukari herself was going to try to infiltrate the moon using that as a cover, believing that was Yukari's plan. Eirin is correct in figuring out Yukari's actions- but it turns out that Yukari herself was a decoy for the real thief, Yuyuko, to infiltrate the moon and steal a treasure.
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The Futurama episode "Law and Oracle" has one when Fry is told of a future crime he has to solve; an oracle robot called "Pickles" gives Fry the prediction that one of the following will happen: 1. He will shoot Bender, causing him to destroy the Maltese Liquor and die; 2. He won't shoot Bender, but Bender will share the priceless alcohol with Planet Express, killing everyone due to its lethality. Fry attempts to pick neither, but Pickles appears at the crime and reveals it wasn't a prediction, but a set up. After Fry accidentally shoots Bender, Pickles shoots Fry and drinks the real liquor to kill his human brain, thus removing his psychic abilities (being unable to stand seeing the future); however, it is then revealed that the prediction came true simply because Fry figured out Pickles was the mastermind (due to the inconsistency of Bender sharing) and thus set up Pickles' con, causing Pickles to lose his oracle powers and allowing them to arrest him.
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Early in Code Geass season 2, Lelouch pulls one on Rolo starting off as a Scheherezade Gambit after Rolo has cornered him with a gun to the head. Lelouch offers to bring Rolo CC. Rolo of course assumes that Lelouch is just trying to con Rolo into letting Lelouch escape, but given that Rolo has the power to stop time he plays along, figuring he can kill CC and Lelouch when they try to double-cross him. Lelouch instead engineers a situation (as part of Xanatos Gambit) in which he saves Rolo's life and then to top it off gives CC to him, knowing that Rolo's desire for family will cause him to have a Heel–Face Turn if he believes Lelouch actually cares about him.
It actually becomes a major plot point later, because the con was SO effective, that even when Lelouch explicitly told Rolo everything he said was lies, Rolo doesn't actually believe him and winds up sacrificing himself to allow Lelouch to escape.
His father does the same. As far as everyone knows, he's ruling The Empire and setting up to Take Over the World. No one knows about the Ragnarok Connection he's cooking up behind the scene as no one has any idea that's his true goal. Lelouch had five minutes to come up with a counter to it.
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In Small Favor, the Order of the Blackened Denarius kidnap a freeholding lord, a recent signatory to the Unseelie Accords, simultaneously threatening that lord, disrupting his power base, and placing the Order in violation of the Accords (thus challenging the weakened White Council to choose risking a multi-front war if they enforce the Accords, and offending the Unseelie Court if they don't). Harry manipulates the White Council into acting, selecting a particular character as arbiter which is what the Order wanted, as it made her vulnerable to a kidnap attempt.
There's a less visible example (because it doesn't involve the protagonists) going on at the same time. There's an ongoing power struggle which resumes any time most of the Order get together, and while this plot stands to benefit the entire Order at each stage Nicodemus is clearly either increasing his own influence or setting up potential future problems for rivals. This is obvious to the rest of the Order, as is that they're all being given rope to oppose or betray his "side" without really ruining the plot, implying he's in some way preparing a personal "traitor sweep". What's not obvious is that the situation's set up to look for a member of the Order sabotaging the entire plot to do irreparable damage to their mutual goals - he suspects Outsider infiltration, and the situation is designed to spur such an infiltrator to act; nobody will be willing to get together afterwards to honestly compare who did what when if the damage looks like the fallout of "normal" betrayals. While it's unclear how much good it does him, Nicodemus walks away from the affair with confirmation of this and the identity of their puppet.
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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: Ethan Hunt requires the British Prime Minister's fingerprint, retinal scan, and voice pattern to decrypt a virtual redbox. Brandt sells him out to Hunley, who informs MI6 chairman Attley, who ushers the Prime Minister to safety, because Hunt going after the Prime Minister would cause an international incident. Once safely in a room, Brandt manages to manipulate the Prime Minister and Attley into revealing the existence of the Syndicate. With this knowledge in hand, Hunley and Brandt, knowing Hunt's previous track record of anticipating his opponent's every move (conversation included), decide the best course of action is to stay put. Turns out, that was the action Ethan planned for, and that Brandt was in on it all along.
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A significant amount of the difference between a good Magic: The Gathering player and a pro is not in their deck, but in their ability to play mind games like this. For example, an attacking player may bluff having combat tricks (spells playable during the game's combat phase that make your creatures stronger or better) to try to trick the opponent into an unfavorable block, or to convince a player to play around a counterspell he doesn't have.
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Duplicity - The whole movie is about a pair of ex-spies hired by industrialist Dick Garsik to infiltrate his archrival Howard Tully's company and steal his mysterious new product. The spies, meanwhile, are plotting to betray Garsik (and perhaps each other) and take the product for themselves. The shuffle: Tully has no product. He knew all about the spies, and set up an elaborate hoax to waste their time and make Garsik look foolish. At the end, Garsik is announcing the miraculous new cure for baldness he just "developed" to the world, while the spies' buyer tells them that their "cure" is a worthless formula for skin lotion...
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In Deltora Quest Endon's wife does this against his treacherous adviser. While they're on the top floor of a tall tower, she glances out the window and reacts as if she'd seen something, and then very unconvincingly claims she saw nothing. When the advisor moves over to the window to check, she shoves him out of the window and to his death. She really did see nothing, but she knew that he wouldn't accept that.
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The Jackass guys like to do this to each other; they'll set the victim up to do a stunt or prank skit, only to switch everything on him mid-skit. Here's an example.
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Averted and lampshaded in Kiss Me Deadly. After Hammer and his mechanic inspect a car delivered to Hammer by someone unknown early in the film, they quickly find a bomb. Hammer says it was the one they were meant to find, and looking further they find the real bomb, set to go off only when the car reaches high speed, i.e. after its recipient was at ease having found the first bomb.
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The Unusuals, in the episode "The Dentist", features a couple of con artists stealing evidence from the precinct. They make a big production of making off with a backpack, indicating that the evidence was in it when they made their getaway. Turns out, the money didn't leave the precinct when they did. They boxed it up and left it with the outgoing mail.
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A minor version exists in Heat — Neil McCauley, Chris Shiherlis and Michael Cheritto discuss their possible escape routes from their next heist right in plain sight where the cops can overhear them (despite being a group of professional thieves). Cue Lt. Vincent Hanna and his team heading down to the scene for additional clues, only for Hanna to realize that it was probably misinformation they were fed, and that the entire meeting was to get the detectives in the open, allowing Neil to counterspy on them and learn their identities. Indeed, we see Neil taking pictures of them from the same vantage point Hanna was using earlier.
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In the 2009 movie Push, Nick Grant has a grand one. Now, given how seeing the future works in this, knowing what you're doing lets people see your plan. So with a little memory manipulation, he plays out his plan like he intends to get and use the deadly phlebotinum... twice, to cover the fact that his friends already had it.
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In the Star Wars Tales story Routine, Han Solo gets repeatedly stopped by an Imperial Customs officer who is convinced that Han is smuggling contraband in his starship but detailed inspections always say the ship is completely empty. It's only after Han escapes that the officer finally realizes that he was smuggling starships.
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In The Princess Bride, the man in black convinces Vizzini that he has placed poison in one of two cups of wine and asks him to choose. Vizzini quickly deduces that he cannot choose either cup with any degree of certainty, but also assumes that the man in black will surely not drink the wine that he knows is poisoned even if Vizzini chooses correctly. Vizzini distracts him for a moment and switches the cups, assuming the man in black will not hesitate to drink from the cup he thinks is unpoisoned. Vizzini thinks his gambit has succeeded when he makes his choice and the man in black starts drinking first. It turns out both cups were poisoned and the man in black is simply immune to it.
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This is common on Leverage; for example, it was the key of the Pilot Episode:
"The Three-Card Monte Job" shows that Nate learned it from his father and The Mark of the episode, Jimmy Ford. As a child, Jimmy would keep challenging Nate to find the queen in the titular game in order to teach him this concept. In the present day Jimmy is working with the Russian mob to stage three bank robberies so that while the police are scrambling to respond the robberies, the Russians can retrieve their seized goods from te evidence locker, and Jimmy can retrieve the ledger of the Irish mob he used to work for. Nate pulls one back on him when it turns out that instead of killing him or letting him go free, he called up the mob in advance and told them Jimmy was planning to blackmail them, forcing Jimmy out of town in order to escape the mob now out for his blood.
"The Boiler Room Job" is one huge Shuffle, though it's called something else (see this link). The team couldn't con The Mark, because he knew every con and every con man in the country...so they distracted him with an elaborate Big Store con, knowing he'd see right through it, and forget that Hardison was waiting with a trace on his bank account. They even called it the Moonwalking Bear. The guy can't believe they'd just steal from him and even as he's dragged out by the Feds, is convinced they have to be part of the con.
"The Gold Job" has Hardison taking the lead on a job and boasting of a brand-new style of con, a ridiculously complex series of moves that basically is just a land deal. However, it falls apart because the marks get tired of jumping through all the convoluted hoops Hardison has set up and just quit. Luckily, Nate has already set up a (far simpler) backup plan to get them. Nate tells Hardison that the problem with such ultra-complex plans is because you can never predict how a mark will react, so Nate always starts with the simple ones and then works his way into slightly more complex if need be. He also schools a geek on the concept of Rage Quit (since Hardison styled his con like a videogame).
The series finale takes this Up to Eleven. Sterling finally catches on by the end, but decides to let Nate go and gives him a card saying, "Now we're even. Tell Sophie to drive carefully."
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In One Eye Full Of Wisdom, a large part of nearly every fight is trying (and often failing) to figure out what an opponent's bluff is.
Since Zabuza isn't sure whether the Tazuna at the bridge or at his house is the real one, he goes after one and sends Haku after the other. Turns out the real Tazuna was back at Konoha.
Tenten is too afraid to go into melee with Sakura because that's Sakura's specialty but also afraid to stay at ranged because the girl looks so confident. She learns too late that "Sakura" is actually a summons under henge and the real Sakura is laying a trap beneath her feet.
Sasuke engages Kankuro in taijutsu until he hears a wooden creak from him, causing Sasuke to realize he's fighting Kankuro's puppet. Sasuke holds a knife to the bundle hiding Kankuro, only for it to launch several kunai at him as Kankuro had hidden pieces of wood in his outfit to make Sasuke think he was a puppet.
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Niels Lykke, the adversary of Lady Inger at Austraat, manages to use a Kansas City Shuffle on Inger, after developing a Xanatos Speed Chess during the play. He cons her into ordering the death of her own son, believing said son to be someone else. Niels exploits the situation by misdirecting both Inger, her son, and her faithful friend, Norwegian nobleman Olaf Skaktavl (who executed the son). Thus, the trope was used before anything significant ever happened in Kansas.
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Young Justice:
The Big Bad group "The Light" regularly uses the superheroes' attempts to "stop the evil plan" to further their real machinations. In "Usual Suspects" for instance, The Light stages an attack on the heroes so the good guys will bring dangerous devices the Light's agents are carrying at the time to their secret base to stop the Light from getting to them. The Light promptly uses the devices to take the heroes' secret base over.
The good guys manage this too in the second season. While all their minor attempts to thwart The Light fail, they've had a mole (and later upped to two moles) on the Light for the whole season who have been recording everything and waiting for the right moment to publicly broadcast that footage while also sowing discord within The Light with the shuffle's only flaw being the members of the team who didn't know about the plan almost causing it to go Off the Rails a few times. It still all finally comes together in "Summit" and it's a thing of beauty.
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In one episode of Pokémon, Ash and the gang discover a plate of delicious-looking fruit sitting in the middle of the road. Ash starts for it, but Misty points out that it's clearly a trap by Team Rocket, and besides, there are perfectly safe fruit trees to the side of the road anyway. They go to the trees, laughing at how dumb Team Rocket was to try to trick them that way... only to fall into the trap Team Rocket set in front of the trees.
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Exit Fate has several characters who love to construct plans that involve deliberately leaking information to the enemy. When two of them team up, they ensure that their ruse will be believed despite their known history of using that tactic by leaking two reports- the enemy commander assumes that the one which was obtained more easily was misdirection, and that therefore the other information, which required far more effort to obtain, is trustworthy.
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Escape Plan: Breslin's titular plan involves one of these — he makes Hobbs think that he's going to start a riot in Block C, making Hobbs move most of his guards there... at which point, Breslin starts a riot in the now vastly understaffed Block A, creating a diversion so that he, Rottmayer, and Javen can make a run for it.
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In Would You Rather, one of the characters (Peter) is a gambler who thinks he has outsmarted the rich sadist leading him and others through the titular game: given the choice between having your head held underwater for two minutes or chancing what's in a sealed envelope, he explains why the envelope is the safe bet. In fact, the envelope choice is to have a firecracker explode in your hand. Unfortunately for Peter, the "firecracker" in question is a massive M-80 duct-taped to his hand - most of which he loses in the explosion.
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Black Sails: Flint pulls one early in season 2 to regain his command after Dufresne's mutiny. He approaches Dufresne privately and warns him not to take a popular and quick trade route home, as they are likely to run into merchant vessels and the crew will want to raid them, which, with their numbers depleted from previous battles, they are in no in condition for. However, Dufresne decides that with their newly captured Spanish warship, they have nothing to fear from a merchant vessel, and Flint is merely trying to trick him into avoiding an easy and profitable victory that will win him popularity with the crew and cement him as the new Captain. He takes the trade route, and sure enough, they come across a vessel to plunder. But the battle goes poorly, largely due to Dufresne's lack of experience in command, and humiliates him while allowing Flint the perfect opportunity to step in and play the hero, earning the trust of the crew back. After the crew votes for Flint to return as Captain, Dufresne muses that this was what Flint had intended all along, and wonders whether they would have even considered taking the trade route home in the first place had Flint not advised against it.
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The second season premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has this pulled by Discord. He tells the Mane Six that the Elements of Harmony are hidden "back where it all began". The group assume that he means the hedge maze where his prison statue was kept, setting off a trap that turns the ponies against each other. It's only after five of them have already been "discorded" that Twilight realizes they were really hidden back where the series began — her reference book on the Elements.
Happens again in the Season 6 episode "Viva Las Pegasus". Applejack, Fluttershy, Flim, and Flam, who are currently in an Enemy Mine situation, attempt to trick the con-artist owner of a resort into confessing that he sabotages his employees' relationships to keep them under his hoof. He easily dodges the initial attempt and mocks them for their feeble hustle... only to later pull a real Engineered Public Confession when he gets cocky and decides to gloat, Just as Planned.
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Doctor Who:
"The Pandorica Opens": At first, the Doctor thinks that the Pandorica is just a fairy tale... until River Song brings him face to face with it. According to the legend, it contains a horrible evil that couldn't be defeated, only contained... and now it is starting to open. The Doctor is standing by with River, Amy, and a bunch of Roman Legionnaires to combat the monster that is to emerge, and manages to drive off a collection of his greatest enemies with a deliciously-hammy Badass Boast. Unfortunately for him, the enemy retreat was a ruse to lure him into a false sense of security, the legionnaires are a bunch of Autons working with them, and there is no monster in the Pandorica; it was built by them specifically to contain the Doctor. After all, to the collected villains of the show, he is the monster they could never defeat.
"A Good Man Goes to War": The Doctor dresses as a Headless Monk in order to apparently turn them and the marines against each other. When Colonel Manton calms the situation down by having everyone disarm and having them chant "we are not fools" the Doctor reveals his true plan, warping in his own army and capturing his now defenseless enemies in one fell swoop. Unfortunately for the Doctor, his enemies are also pulling the Kansas City Shuffle in this episode — there is another armed force on its way and it kills off several of his allies, and the baby he's there to rescue is a fake. In fact the whole point of this seems to have been to humiliate him; they knew he would show up, so all the dupes were sacrificed while the people in the actual conspiracy ran off with the baby.
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Blake's 7. In "Gold", our heroes take part in The Caper to rob a spaceship shipping gold from the planet Zerok. The gold has been atomically altered to prevent theft, but the inside man claims he has a contact that can convert the gold back to normal. However the Seven discover that Servalan is behind the whole scheme, so the Seven force her to exchange 10 billion in Zerok currency for the useless black gold. Then they discover that Zerok has just joined the Federation — Servalan can now get her gold converted legally, while all Zerok currency has been declared invalid, leaving our heroes with worthless paper.
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In the Hercule Poirot novel "Cards on the Table", Poirot asks one of the murder suspects a leading question, trying to get her to admit that she knew where the murder weapon was before the crime was committed. She deftly claims not to have noticed the weapon, whereupon Poirot nods and smiles and asks her to help him pick out some appropriate presents for his nieces back in Belgium. Poirot has no nieces back in Belgium; by asking the suspect to help choose presents - some of which have disappeared by the time she's done - he tricks her into demonstrating she's a compulsive thief, and thus reveals her motive for committing a previous murder.
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CSI has the aptly titled episode "Suckers", one of the few cases where there's no murder involved whatsoever. The bad guys set up no less than three fake crimes to distract from the real one (insurance fraud) that they're trying to pull off.
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In an episode of V.I.P., Val and the crew get away from an apartment that the villains are staking out by making them think they've sent decoys for them to follow. In fact they've escaped already by disguising themselves with variations of their own clothing and hairstyles while the oblivious villains ignore them and continue to stake out the now empty apartment.
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In Hunter × Hunter, a minor villain challenges Gon to a "simple" contest: he presents two candles, a long one and a short one, and allows Gon to pick one. Whoever's candle burns out first is the loser, and as other characters point out, it's obvious that there's a trick, but impossible to tell whether the longer candle has been tampered with, or if the lopsided choice is meant to trick Gon into falsely suspecting that it has. It turns out that the villain just has a second pair of candles down the back of his shirt and switches them out so he gives Gon an oil-soaked candle whichever he picks.
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Reid on Criminal Minds used this tactic to retaliate for a prank Morgan had pulled on him, adding a taunting message to Morgan's iPod in place of his favorite tune. This message ended with Reid's voice screaming in Morgan's ear, but warned him what was coming so he wasn't that surprised. Poo-pooing the lameness of Reid's effort, Morgan gets a call on his smartphone, ID-stamped as coming from Garcia ... but that's Reid screaming in his ear too.
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Ocean's Eleven and both sequels depend heavily on this to pull off their heists.
Ocean's Twelve less so, as they had won against Toulour before they'd even begun the real heist, they were really just doing it For The Lulz for him and actually to reunite Lemarc with his lost daughter Detective Lahiri.
Ocean's Thirteen more so, as they knew Benedict would double-cross them once they brought him in and he made an outrageous demand for seemingly petty reasons and no want of the reward, and had already prepared for it long before Toulour even showed up.
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President Snow pulls off a version of this in Mockingjay. He is holding Peeta captured and shows him off on TV, letting Katniss understand that anything she does to help the rebellion will result in torture for Peeta, thereby attempting - and succeeding - to make it impossible for her to be the Mockingjay. Once District 13's leader Alma Coin realizes that Katniss is useless to their cause so long as she's worried sick about Peeta she sends in a team to retrieve him and take that ace out of Snow's deck. Turns out this is what Snow wanted them to do all along, as the torture he inflicted on Peeta included hijacking, a method of brainwashing that essentially turned Peeta into a human terminator focused only on killing Katniss.
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In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Scott tries to defeat Todd Ingram's vegan-based psychic powers by offering him a cup of coffee, putting soy milk in one cup of coffee and half-n-half in the other. Todd correctly assumes Scott is trying to trick him and reads Scott's mind, "discovering" that he put half-n-half in the cup he's offering. However, Scott in fact put half-n-half in the cup he's not offering to Todd, and "thought real hard" about putting half-n-half in the cup he originally offered. This wouldn't have worked, though, had Todd not already had two strikes against him for eating gelato ("It's milk and eggs, bitch") and chicken ("Chicken's not vegan?"). The half-n-half makes it a third strike.
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The Golden Girls episode "The Case of the Libertine Belle" features this. The girls participate in a murder mystery weekend with the staff of Blanche's museum, and Dorothy, who loves crime novels, proves to be quite adept at solving the phony cases. Later, Blanche's boss is found dead in her room, making her the main suspect in an actual crime. Dorothy insists it's just another mock-murder for the guests to figure out, until she puts a mirror under the man's nose and sees that it's not fogging up, which convinces her that he's dead for real. The actual cops are called in, and just as Blanche is about to be taken away, Dorothy notices a flaw in Blanche's rival Posey's testimony and exposes her as the true culprit. The cops put the cuffs on Posey...and then Blanche's boss comes downstairs, revealing that it was all another staged crime. As for the mirror: it turns out that Rose, of all people, secretly sprayed it with defogger (at the request of the mystery club's staff) to make the corpse appear dead. Why? To get back at Blanche for lying about borrowing a pair of her earrings, of course. Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
Dorothy and Sophia inadvertently create one in another episode. Rose has trouble sleeping, so Sophia offers to make her a "Sicilian sleeping potion." Dorothy figures out the real cause of Rose's insomnia (she's confused caffeine with calcium and has been downing it every night), but Sophia still whips up the potion, and Dorothy takes a sip—then immediately falls over on the bed. Sophia is thrilled, as it was apparently a fake ("I gotta remember what I put in this thing!") and runs out of the room, at which points Dorothy gets up—she was faking. Then, as the episode ends, Dorothy actually keels over, fast asleep. It's not clear if Sophia's comment was part of the con, or if she genuinely didn't know that the potion would work.
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In the 2003 movie Johnny English, Pascal Sauvage toys around with the the idea of having a fake Archbishop of Canterbury to preside at his coronation; however, once English is caught trespassing at Sauvage's office building, and later tries to unmask the Archbishop, he finds out that Sauvage had scrapped the fake Archbishop plot when Johnny attempts to unmask the fake Archbishop and reveal the impostor's tattoo, only to discover that the Archbishop at Sauvage's coronation ceremony is the genuine one.
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In Kaiji 2, Kaiji defeats Ohtsuki in Underground Chinchirorin by engaging him in a psychological duel, where the crucial component is making Ohtsuki believe he has seen through Kaiji's ploy.
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Cartman pulls this off in the South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die". Cartman is scammed out of some money by Scott, and after several failed attempts to counter Scott's initial con, Cartman brags to Stan and Kyle about his ultimate plan to train a pony to bite Scott's penis off in front of his favorite band, Radiohead, whom he has invited to a local Chili Cookoff. Cartman actually counts on Stan and Kyle to "sabotage" him by informing Scott of the plan, and counts on Scott to try to get rid of the pony (but not to risk getting his penis bit off by going himself). Scott tells his parents a pony is being abused and has them try to "rescue" it. However, Cartman has already tipped off the farmer who owns the pony that there are two sickos going around at night killing ponies for kicks, and the farmer resolves to shoot anyone who tries it with his pony. After Scott's parents are shot and killed, Cartman steals their bodies and grinds them into mincemeat, cooks them into chili, and feeds them to Scott. After the plan succeeds, he gloats about it to Scott (who is further humiliated when Radiohead shows up and mock his emotional breakdown without knowing the full story behind it), and the rest of the cast vow not to mess with Cartman in the future.
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Veronica Mars: Veronica once pulled this kind of trick on sleazy private detective Vinnie Van Lowe, giving him a bugged pen that he immediately identified and mocked her for—but he didn't realize that the pin she'd given to his secretary was also a bug.
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A little-known boardgame called "Lie, Cheat, and Steal" is essentially a Kansas City Shuffle variant of Monopoly. The only restriction that the rules place on dishonest play is that no-one may directly steal from the bank. When you draw the equivalent of a "Chance" or "Community Chest" card, you don't have to tell the truth about what it says. Other players can challenge your claim, but if they're wrong and you were telling the truth about what it said, they are penalized. As with other games of this nature, the skill lies in convincing the other players that you're lying when you're really telling the truth, to the point that they become wary of challenging you at all, even when they should.
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Toddy uses this to set up the titular act in Victor/Victoria, disguising Victoria as a man so she can become a drag queen. The cover story is that "he" is Count Victor Krazinski, a Polish aristocrat thrown out by his family for being gay. Once everyone sees through that story, they won't look for any other deception. Later, Toddy eavesdrops on a couple of dancers commenting that the Count is clearly not a count, but he is still gorgeous.
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That time Angel pretended to go evil in season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to get information out of the current Big Bad.
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Lightly done in Phoenix Nights, in which club owner Brian Potter seemingly backs a team he picks himself, to enter in a pub quiz for a year's supply of lager. His rival then sabotages them so they lose, however Brian has selected another team to win, behind his rival's back. Of course, this backfires when it's non-alcoholic lager...
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In Skin Game, Mab charges Harry with repaying a debt to Nicodemus Archleone by helping him steal the Holy Grail from Hades' vault in the Underworld, along with a crew of other people Nicodemus hired for the job. After setting it up, Mab tells Harry that it's a setup: she only intends for Harry to help him get the Grail; she never said anything about what Harry would do after he got his hands on it. Both Harry and Nicodemus figure that the other is going to betray him as soon as Nicodemus obtains the Grail, so Harry asks for a second person to watch his back, while Nicodemus has secretly given Coins to Hannah Ascher and the Genoskwa (Lasciel and Ursiel, respectively, and hired Goodman Grey for the secondary reason of helping him kill Harry when it comes time. However, it is later revealed that Harry figured out that Grey was the only person Nicodemus could hire to get access to the location where the Way to Hades' vault could be opened, and secretly hired him first, with the purpose of turning on Nicodemus after he got the Grail. The resulting brouhaha leaves Nicodemus defeated and alone, with Deirdre dead by his hand (to get through the Gate of Blood), his power broken, and his reputation destroyed. Sure, he got the Grail, but he lost the item he really wanted: the knife that Christ was stabbed with while he was on the Cross, along with three other artifacts. It turns out the whole plot was a scheme by Mab and John Marcone, with Uriel and Hades' help, to get back at Nicodemus for the events of Small Favor.
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In Loom, Bishop Mandible traps Bobbin in a cage, but doesn't take the magical distaff Bobbin carries. Big mistake, right? Not quite — Mandible is actually after the Draft of Opening. He watches Bobbin cast the spell to unlock the cage and then takes the distaff.
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Poker lends itself naturally to these. One example is for a player who is holding a strong hand to pull players into the pot. Since (smart) players should pull out from a pot if they know their opponent is strong, a player holding "the nuts" (an unbeatable hand) has to look like he isn't. A player who's bluffing is trying to scare everyone out of the pot and is lying. A player with a strong hand or the nuts could try to look like he's pulling one con (bluffing) while really hoping people "call his bluff." If that player has read books of tells, for example, he could purposefully try to act like a player with "normal" tells to look like he's bluffing. It works best against the half-smart. Really good players may have it figured out, and poker players know "bluffing a monkey," or pretending to bluff a monkey, is a waste of time.
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Diggstown uses this heavily with both sides trying to cheat/outcon the other. The end hinges on a Exact Words clause in the initial bet that the villain/mark believes he's using to his advantage, but the protagonist has actually been ready for it since before the movie actually began.
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In Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, the President of the United States invents a convoluted device that would be used to kill flies. It is basically a walkway mounted on two miniature ladders on each side, with a cube of sugar hanging from the center of the walkway. As the President explains, the fly would climb up the first ladder and would be traversing the walkway when it would catch sight of the sugar cube and become tempted by it; just before it decided to make its way down the hanging string to eat the sugar, however, it would realize that there is a bowl of water directly beneath the hanging cube, meaning that the fly would drown if it fell. As a result, the fly would continue walking over to the second ladder, feeling smug that it had avoided the water trap - until it started to descend the second ladder and fell to its death because the President had left off one of the ladder's rungs near the top. (Also counts as Awesome, but Impractical.) It's parodious, too, since flies obviously aren't smart enough for such an overelaborate trick to work, and they can't fall to their deaths because they can, y'know, fly.
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The Family Guy episode "Peter-assment" has Peter's boss, Angela, sexually harassing him until Peter snaps at her, pushing her to attempt suicide; after rescuing her, Peter realizes he must have sex with her to stop her feeling so lonely, which he finds disgusting. Donning a disguise, he then takes her on a date as "Peter's friend," but refuses to have sex with her due to a weak excuse; soon buckling under pressure, he finally agrees to have sex with her, after which Angela confides she knew it was Peter, much to his horror. It turns out Peter counted on her seeing through his disguise and pushing him into sex, as he prepared by paying Mort to hide in the front of his clothes; by thus making Mort have sex with her, Angela's confidence would be repaired, and Peter would be spared the trauma.
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The 1959 House on Haunted Hill is essentially a whole load of characters going around trying to trap and falling into the traps of others. We can particularly point out the trope use in the use of the characters who are playing dead. In Annabelle's case it is a simple misdirection as part of the plot in which she is involved. However when Vincent Price's character reveals himself to have not only been playing dead but also been playing along with his wife's entire plot to just switch out key elements so that it turns back on her, that takes the biscuit.
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How I Met Your Mother. After Barney goads Lily and Marshall into betting that he can't perform several fancy hibachi cooking tricks (with the right to touch Lily's breasts being his prize if he can), Barney starts dropping hints that the bet is a hustle and he's actually a professionally trained hibachi chef. When Lily freaks out about possibly losing, Barney says that if he can just see her breasts they can call the bet off. However, just before Lily bares her chest, Marshall stops her, having deduced that it's a Kansas City Shuffle: Barney was only acting like he could easily win the bet to trick Lily into exposing herself. Marshall and Lily share a laugh at their own cleverness ... then stare dumbfounded when Barney shows off his hibachi cooking skills for real. Thus actually making it a Xanatos Gambit: no matter what they did, Barney would either see Lily's tracts of land (partial victory), or touch them (complete victory).
"The Playbook" was an elaborate con to get Lily to think she was sabotaging all of Barney's usual cons to get women, only to have it been a ploy to get her to set him up with one.
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Buffyverse:
That time Angel pretended to go evil in season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to get information out of the current Big Bad.
All of season 5 of Angel, but by the bad guys. Get the good guys so tangled up trying to deal with Wolfram & Hart that they don't notice they're being corrupted.
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The Joker's plot in The LEGO Batman Movie revolves around him being sent to the Phantom Zone, an extradimensional prison where the most evil villains are kept. To do this, he willingly surrenders himself to the Gotham City Police in order to be thrown into Arkham Asylum. Batman assumes that his easy capture must mean that Joker is plotting something bigger, and sends him to the Phantom Zone, which Joker promptly escapes from, along with the rest of its occupants.
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Mission: Impossible does this in a number of episodes.
The Mind of Stefan Miklos had the IMF team fooling a brilliant intelligence officer with a photographic memory, from whom it would be impossible to hide the fact that they were scamming him; the scam they actually pulled was very carefully staged so that he would draw the wrong conclusions about what he saw and what they wanted him to believe.
In another case, they conned the warden and second-in-command of a prison with an escape-proof cell into believing that a political prisoner in the cell had been switched with a double during the distraction caused by another pair of prisoners attempting escape (when, in fact, the prisoner never left his cell). The "double" and the two "escapees" are then taken away for interrogation by some helpful state security agents who "coincidentally" happened to be present.
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In one episode of Frasier, the titular psychiatrist gets involved in a prank war with Bulldog, the sports commentator for the radio station where they work. Frasier naturally concocts overly-complicated, psychologically-based schemes, such as creating subconscious pathological fear in Bulldog via a red balloon appearing randomly. Frasier's dad Martin and producer Roz endlessly mock him for his ideas, and decide to team up with Bulldog to scare Frasier with a prank involving zombies. The joke goes off without a hitch, and Frasier is terrified... until one of the actors they hired actually drops dead. Martin and Roz panic, while Frasier grabs a walkie-talkie to call for help... or rather, announce the greatest prank ever. He figured out that Martin and Roz secretly joined forces with Bulldog, and the two created their own alliance to get back at them.
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Babylon 5 had one of the more amusing examples of this as Sheridan suckers the entire League of Non-Aligned Worlds into allowing White Stars to patrol their borders and protect them by fueling their paranoia with such acts such as planting a true but very Suspiciously Specific Denial on the Voice of the Resistance broadcast, refusing any explanation for his erratic actions, and letting the League convince themselves that Sheridan was hiding some dire threat, thus making them demand the very thing Sheridan was trying to get them to do.
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Only Fools and Horses had Granddad tell a story similar to the joke example above. He used to work as a security guard for a fancy company, and there was one suspicious employee who would always leave the building with a fancy briefcase. For an entire year, Granddad would check his briefcase, only to find nothing in there. When the employee quit the company, it turned out over three-hundred and sixty-five fancy briefcases had gone missing.
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The Bourne Series: Jason Bourne is arguably a master at this. Particularly any time Jason asks to meet someone and the CIA knows about it.
Towards the end of The Bourne Identity, he phones in Conklin to come alone. Conklin brings backup disguised as bystanders but Jason knows he's not alone. He was just using this ploy so he could put a bug on one of their vans to track them to their hideout
In The Bourne Supremacy, he uses a crowd from a protest to mask his movements while extracting Nicky to a subway station, and out of sight, to get answers.
In The Bourne Ultimatum, he asks to meet Pamela Landy at a particular location. Noah Vosen, the antagonist after Bourne, follows Landy and despite that he knows the location is a wide open space, he follows her anyway to get Bourne. He later gets a call from Bourne and tries to set up a meeting with him and claims he's at his office. Except Bourne already sneaked into the CRI headquarters into his office.
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 Kansas City Shuffle / int_fbf33963
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Kansas City Shuffle / int_fbf33963
comment
The Mr. Charles con in Inception, where the mark is made aware that thieves are secretly trying to get into their subconscious in order to con the mark into attempting to stop it, thereby letting the thieves deeper into their subconscious. It is noted to be akin to a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, because if the thief slips for even a moment, the target will realize the trick. And then every person in the dream attacks the thief. Cobb had even tried and failed it once before.
 Kansas City Shuffle / int_fbf33963
featureApplicability
1.0
 Kansas City Shuffle / int_fbf33963
featureConfidence
1.0
 Inception
hasFeature
Kansas City Shuffle / int_fbf33963

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 Kansas City Shuffle
processingCategory2
Ignored Index
 Kansas City Shuffle
processingCategory2
Social Engineering
 Kansas City Shuffle
processingCategory2
The Tale
 Legend of Galactic Heroes / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 One Piece Film: Gold / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Psycho-Pass / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise (Comic Book) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Paper Girls (Comic Book) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Comic Book: Star Wars Tales / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Comicbook: Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Fan Fic: Aeon Entelechy Evangelion / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Aeon Natum Engel / Fan Fic / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Fan Fic: Brave New World / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Fan Fic: Fever Dreams / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Fan Fic: Of The Dragon Of The Stars / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Professor Arc / Fan Fic / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Fan Fic: Stray / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan / Fan Fic / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Fanfic: Aeon Natum Engel / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Fanfic: Equal And Opposite Attraction
seeAlso
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 Princess of the Blacks (Fanfic) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Film: Big Jake / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Ferris Bueller's Day Off / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 GoldenEye / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Heat / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Inception / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Lucky Number Slevin / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Film: Sherlock Holmes / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Sherlock Holmes (2009) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Baker Street Dozen / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Dark Knight / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Great Escape / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Princess Bride / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Franchise: BIONICLE / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 A Certain Magical Index / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Literature: Bridge in the Menagerie
seeAlso
Kansas City Shuffle
 Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Codex Alera / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Dragaera / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Grandmaster of Theft / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Memory, Sorrow and Thorn / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Second Apocalypse / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Literature: 7th Son / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Shadowmarch / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 1632 / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Skin Game / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Art of War (Sun Tzu) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Literature: The Dark Triad / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Devotion of Suspect X / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Emperor's Soul / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Girl from the Miracles District / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Great Brain / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Hunt for Red October / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Prince / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Quantum Thief / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Saint / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Thrawn Trilogy / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Additional Evil Overlord List Cellblock C
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Kansas City Shuffle
 Al Fondo Hay Sitio / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Contributor's Page make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Alliterator
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Kansas City Shuffle
 Doc Scratch / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Doll House / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Guest from the Future / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Intolerable Cruelty / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Legacyof Kain / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist The Adventures of Dr. McNinja / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Reactionary Fantasy
seeAlso
Kansas City Shuffle
 make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Revealing Cover Up
seeAlso
Kansas City Shuffle
 Shadowmarch / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsene Lupin
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Kansas City Shuffle
 Taking Lives / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Infernal Affairs Trilogy / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Inside / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist The Odessa File / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Recruit / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Thrawn Trilogy / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Would I Lie to You? / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Assassination Classroom (Manga) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Death Note (Manga) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Kaiji (Manga) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Kakegurui (Manga) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Manga: Level E / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Touhou Bougetsushou (Manga) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Joe Jackson (Music) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Insane Quest of Unfathomable Randomness (Roleplay) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Series: Al Fondo Hay Sitio / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 All in the Family / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Series: Almost Human / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Boardwalk Empire / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Cheers / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Series: Crossbones / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Dollhouse / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Frasier / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Hawaii Five-0 / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Jackass / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Lie to Me / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Mad Men / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Mama's Family / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 M*A*S*H / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Mr. Robot / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 QI / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Series: Queen Seondeok / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Return of Ultraman / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Survivor / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Series: Terriers / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The A-Team / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Series: The Inside / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Series: The Unusuals / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Series: Tiger Cubs / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 White Collar / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Would I Lie to You? / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 X Company / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Poker (Tabletop Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Betrayal at Krondor (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Dead Space 3 (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Dishonored (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Final Fantasy II (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 First Encounter Assault Recon (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 LOOM (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Legacy of Kain (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Orwell (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Persona 3 (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Sengoku Basara (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Shantae (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Fall / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Watch_Dogs 2 (Video Game) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Cause of Death (Visual Novel) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Visual Novel: Ribbon of Green / int_6fe7f19
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Crown & the Flame (Visual Novel) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Umineko: When They Cry (Visual Novel) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Adventures of Dr. McNinja (Webcomic) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Tower of God (Webcomic) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 TwoKinds (Webcomic) / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Aladdin: The Series / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Gargoyles / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Holidays Unwrapped / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 SWAT Kats / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 The Spectacular Spider-Man / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle
 Unikitty! / int_4bfcfa7c
type
Kansas City Shuffle