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I had the right to remain silent...but I didn't have the ability.
Ron White

Someone lets something slip that reveals plot-sensitive information to another character. Sometimes this is a pure accident, to move the plot along. Sometimes this is the result of the protagonist pulling an Exasperated Perp.

In a non-crime-related plots, it's used to create dramatic or amusing conflict.

Subtropes:

Related to Spotting the Thread. May lead to a Conviction by Contradiction. Contrast Too Much Information, which is saying too much about other things.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Ookami-san gives us a moment, as well. After her bout with Easy Amnesia, Ryoko is walking home with Ringo. Ryoko informs Ringo that she doesn't remember anything from the time where she had regressed to her younger self. When Ringo asks Ryoko if she's hungry, Ryoko tells her she's still full from the parfait she ate. Except she ate that parfait during the time she claims she can't remember. Ringo quickly realizes that Ryoko does indeed remember, and uses that information to blackmail her into wearing a cute little ribbon in her hair.
  • In the Alabasta arc of One Piece, Igaram says aloud that the royal guard currently fighting Sir Crocodile have used a Deadly Upgrade and will die shortly. Crocodile overhears this, and retreats to a rooftop to watch them die uselessly.
    • CP 9 agent Fukurou, in spite of having a giant zipper over his mouth, tends to blab intel to the enemy. The mission before the Enies Lobby battle was complicated by his jabbering, and the Straw Hats were able to plan their rescue of Robin thanks to his 'hints.'
    • In the Arlong Arc, Nezumi accidentally reveals that he's working for Arlong to prevent Nami from earning enough to fulfill her end of the deal to buy back her village this way. When he and some Marines come to confiscate her treasure stash and they're having trouble finding it, he yells that they're specifically looking for 100 million Berries, the amount that Nami was supposed to give to Arlong (although she is a few million short as of their arrival). Nami immediately realizes that Arlong was the one who informed them.
  • Happens many, MANY times in Detective Conan, whenever the culprit is confronted.
  • In the Ace Attorney manga, Turnabout Showtime features an example in which it is not revealed that the person has made a mistake until very late in the trial. Raymond Spume yells at Julie Henson for "biting her nails during the show just like (she is) now!" when pulling the murdered Flip out of his costume. It turns out that Sparklestar's (the mascot Raymond plays) back was turned to Julie while she was biting her nails, meaning that Raymond could not have seen her doing it unless he was wearing his costume backwards, which would enable him to unzip it and stab Flip, who was also wearing it the same way so that he could perform a backflip the same way he did a front flip.


Comics

  • In Gotham Central, as a result of having been working long hours and being generally tired and depressed, Renee Montoya accidentally lets slip to Maggie Sawyer, captain of the Major Crimes Unit, that Romy Chandler had her weapon taken by Batman after she tried to shoot him.

 Marcus Driver: "What, you figure I should just shoot over to this Tailor's place, get myself a Batman costume? Dress up and try to make Dunning wet himself?"

Josie Mac: "Yeah, on second thought it's probably not such a good idea, Romy might try to bust a cap in your ass."

Renee Montoya: "Yeah, well, he'd have to give her weapon back, first."

Maggie Sawyer: "What was that?"

Renee Montoya: "Oh, Hell."


Film

  • It ends up being a crucial plot point in L.A. Confidential - a corrupt cop reveals that he's actually the murderer of a police sergeant by asking his subordinate Exley to investigate a name the sergeant dropped as his last words. Which happens to be a name made up by Exley for his father's unknown murderer; he'd told the story to the sergeant on the previous day.
  • Moulin Rouge first has a heavily sarcastic version:

 Nini: (to the Duke) I don't like this ending. Why on earth would she go with the penniless writer? Oops! I mean sitar player.

    • The second one comes as a response to this:

 The Duke:' Why shouldn't the courtesan marry the maharajah?

Christian: Because she doesn't love you! ...him. She--she doesn't love him.

The first example is a deliberate leak, while the second is accidental.
  • In Two Days In The Valley, Teri Hatcher has hired killers to murder her husband. One of the police detectives notices that she says, "They killed my husband," implying that there were multiple murderers when the police hadn't established this fact yet. His partner brushes it off as a figure of speech.
  • Several instances in Mystery Team

 "I wish they'd all disappear like the lost colony of Roanoke. But they'd probably go, 'What's Roanoke?' And I'd go, 'Shut up, Caleb. '"

"Following your dreams is never stupid, unless you dream about water and then you pee the bed last Thursday."

"Forensic pathologists study the dead. Goths dress like the dead and date closeted gay guys named Ember."

"We won't tell the police." "Oh man, now you sound like Dad."


Literature

  • In Isaac Asimov's story Galley Slave a professor sues US Robotics, accusing a proofreading robot of altering his work. When the robot testifies, the professor blurts out "Damn you, you were instructed to keep your mouth shut about..." Oops. He had made the changes himself, then brought the case to make a point against automation.
    • The real twist is that the robot wasn't going to tell the truth anyway, since the First Law (manifested as a desire to protect the professor's reputation) trumped the fact that it would be scrapped if it didn't speak out, as well as the order to be quiet. The only reason for US Robotics' lawyer to call the robot to testify was in order to trick the professor, who distrusted robots and was deliberately ignorant of how they worked, into making that slip.
  • Poor Hagrid is prone to this, especially when he's distraught or talking to the Power Trio. He lets slip the means to calm Fluffy the Terrible, the name of a warlock who helps immensely with a search he doesn't want them to succeed in, and several other pieces of relevant information over the course of the books. Often lampshaded by Hagrid himself immediately after 'I shouldn't have said that'.
  • Moist von Lipwig fell into this trope in Making Money when he was attempting to talk his way around Captain Carrot's Exasperated Perp tactic by telling Carrot that he knows what he's trying to do to him. Carrot then promptly thanked him... for informing him that he's quite familiar with that tactic and thus implying his rather shady criminal past. Whoops!
  • In The Diamond Age, Inspector Chang returns Hackworth's top hat, saying that he got it from a suspect. Hackworth thanks Chang for having "arrested him" despite Chang not having mentioned anyone being arrested, inadvertently admitting that the hat was stolen from him. He had wanted to keep the theft a secret, because the thieves had also stolen from him an illegal copy of the Primer that he had made.
  • America (The Book) has a footnote listing countries where the U.S. has carried out secret/illegal military operations, ending with "Cana-... we've said too much."


Live Action Television

  • From Angel 5.15 "Shells":

 Knox: I don't just care about Fred - I practically worship it.

Gunn: You said "it".

Knox: What?

Gunn: "Not "her". You said "'I worship it".

Knox (smirking): Oops.

    • In this context, "it" refers to the goddess Illyria, about to be reborn via the sacrifice of our beloved Fred. Fred is the "her". In this case, Knox believes that only Fred was worthy to be Illyria's host.
  • Whenever Stephen Colbert gets carried away in a rant and forgets he's not supposed to be talking about himself. On how High School Musical could be made more realistic:

 Stephen: If [the main character] went anywhere near the theater department, the football team wouldn't join him in a peppy dance number! They'd string him up on a goalpost by the tights of his home-made Romeo costume, and chuck stale Tater Tots at his head until I wet my pants! - his pants, his pants!

    • Another example, after 'Papa Bear' Bill O'Reilly appeared on his show, Colbert showed a clip of the O'Reilly Factor the next day where Bill says "Colbert blew me right away." Cue rant from Colbert how this was supposed to remain secret, how heartless O'Reilly was and it wasn't right away, they had dinner first. He goes onto his next segment where he uses the same phrase and realizes what Bill meant.

 Stephen: Oh, my. I have misjudged him. And perhaps said too much.

    • This was common when he was on The Daily Show, too. Several installments of "Even Stevphen" ended with him and Steve Carell having turned the topical "debate" of the day into a thinly-veiled or not-at-all-veiled discussion of their personal lives.

 Steve: [on why Elian Gonzalez shouldn't go back to Cuba] Well, isn't it obvious, Stephen? A delicate boy like that shouldn't be with his father. I mean, think about it. If he goes there and lives with his father, you know what he's gonna hear. "No, Elian, Daddy can't go camping this summer, things are just too crazy at work," or, "No son of mine is going to take pottery class," or, "Why aren't you tougher? You get beat up in school, you fight back! You don't go crying to the principal like a wussy little girl! Suck it up! Suck it up! Suck it up, Steve!"

  • ~30 Rock~:

 Jack: Lemon, we have a problem.

Liz: I have this whole Tracy-Josh thing under control!

Jack: What are you talking about?

  • In Red Dwarf, Lister is reading Rimmer's diary to the Cat. Rimmer is outraged by this betrayal of privacy, and Lister tries to mollify him by saying he can read Lister's diary if he wants.

 Rimmer: Why would I want to read your diary? It's full of puerile nonsense about Kochanski.

Lister: Ah, so you have read my diary.

  • Law and Order UK: Durng the prosecution of an accused rapist/murdere, the key witness is a young woman who saw the man lurking around the building where the crime took place (she may very well have been the intended victim had she not evaded him. The man denies it, angrily accusing the girl of lying and referring to her tattoos before covering his mouth in horror as he realizes his mistake. Although the girl's arms were indeed covered with tattoos, she was wearing a jacket while in court. The only way he could have known about her tattoos was if he had seen her previously.
  • Cuddy intentionally says too much to Wilson in an episode of House. She and House kiss, after which Wilson tries to trick her into confessing by asking her if everything's alright in a sort of leading tone of voice. She sees through the ruse and has no intention of denying the incident...

 Cuddy: Everything's fine with my kissing House, oh God, you dragged it out of me, you're a genius.


Video Games

  • Near the end of Persona 4, after guessing out the identity of the killer, the Investigation Team go to the hospital to interrogate him. While he initially tries to give off some basic and non-specific answers, the continued grilling from the team (and Detective Dojima) gets him to blurt out:

 Tohru Adachi: "Namatame was the one who threw them in!"


Webcomics

  • The second variation was seen in Narbonic, when Helen was preparing to tell Dave that he's a latent mad genius.

 Helen: There's something I have to discuss with you... Artie made me promise.

Dave: Uh-oh... is this about the sentient meme that took over the net in Blue Sector and keeps threatening to vaporize us via spy satellite?

Helen: No, this isn't about the sentient meme! I didn't even know there was a sentient meme!

Dave: Oh. Good.

Helen: On second thought, let's make this about the sentient meme.


Western Animation

  • From The Simpsons: "I'm sorry, I can't divulge any information about that customer's secret, illegal account. [hangs up phone] Oh, crap, I shouldn't have said he was a customer. Oh, crap! I shouldn't have said it was a secret. Oh, crap! I certainly shouldn't have said it was illegal! Oh, it's too hot today."
  • Beavis and Butthead had this happen a couple of times. On one occasion, they get a Hot Librarian to write a school report for them, and end up getting detention from David Van Driessen when they let slip that the librarian wrote the paper.
    • Another instance had our heroes being tried in juvenile court for egging Tom Anderson's house. Butt-Head tries to discredit Anderson's testimony by claiming that his vision wasn't strong enough to see exactly who threw the rotten eggs, pointing out that it could as easily have been Stewart Stevenson. The prosecutor then asks how Butt-Head could have known the eggs were rotten, unless he was the one that threw them. Oops.
  • In Batman Beyond, this is how Terry McGinnis almost immediately provesthat Willie Watt is responsible for the strange occurences at their high school.


Real Life

  • OJ Simpson made this mistake while discussing his polygraph test with a reporter. When asked whether he had ever taken a polygraph test, Simpson replies with an emphatic, "No." He then goes on to explain how he did go to the police station, did get hooked up to the machine, and watched the needles jump whenever his victims were mentioned.

 Reporter: It sounds like you took a polygraph.

Simpson: YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT POLYGRAPHS!'

    • Simpson then does on to discuss in great detail how he took a polygraph, and why he doesn't believe it "counts" as a "real" polygraph.
  • A classic riddle has you as a detective trying to determine which of three people pistol-whipped a man to death. They all know the gun used is in custody. Inevitably, the one who did it is the one who says, "You don't think I beat him, did you?"
  • The recent case of "Balloon Boy" and his family being interviewed on the news. "Falcon, why didn't you come when you heard us calling you?" "Because you guys said that, um, we did this for a show." "...Man."
    • The next day the poor kid was brought onto The Today Show to be further questioned about this, and he got so nervous about getting his parents in trouble that he vomited.
  • A man in Florida vanished shortly after winning millions in the state lottery. The prime suspect was a woman whom he hired to manage his funds but was apparently embezzling them. After the man's body was found, she was again questioned by the police. Afterwards, she called a press conference and tearfully proclaimed her innocence, declaring that she "had been falsely accused of shooting another human being." However, the police had not revealed to anyone exactly how the man was killed.
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