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Max: How do you save the world and not tell anybody?

Terry: I can tell you. You can tell me. That's why I'm glad you found out, partner.
Batman Beyond, "Final Cut"

Your hero has a dirty little secret that is central to the character and the show's main plot. He might be a superhero, or he might have a lab in his bedroom, or that she's a witch. There will sometimes be one regular Joe who knows about the hero's secret, and will also keep it secret. The Secret Keeper can be family, as long as it's not a parent.

Often, the existence of a Secret Keeper is only hinted at, rather than explicitly revealed to either the hero or the audience.

The phrase originated in Harry Potter, where the Fidelius Charm hides a secret within a living person's soul (that person would then become the "Secret Keeper"); everyone else in the world other than the chosen person would be unable to learn the secret unless directly told of it by the Secret Keeper. Even if they originally knew the secret, the details would become muddy in their minds unless reminded by the Keeper.

See also Tongue-Tied, for when a character is forced to keep a secret. See also The Confidant, someone who keeps non-heroic secrets. For cases in which the hero doesn't know that someone knows his secret, see Secret Secret Keeper. Frequently discovers Keeping Secrets Sucks, and is witness to The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life.

Examples of Secret Keeper include:


Anime

  • Sonic X has Chris Thorndyke, his grandfather, and his two servants Mr. Tanaka and Ella right before everyone knows about Sonic and his friends.
  • The whole premise of Fruits Basket is Tohru Honda serving as the Secret Keeper of the Sohma family if she wants to continue living with them, leaving even her two closest friends out of the loop -- even though one of them has Electric Psychic Powers.
  • Melchisedec and Carmichael in Soukou no Strain serve as Sara's Secret Keepers despite not knowing just what her secret is, only that she can synchronize with a discarded Mimic.
  • Hayate was the Wolkenritter's Secret Keeper throughout Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's.
    • At the same season, there's Arisa and Suzaka discovering Nanoha and Fate's secret as Magical Girl Warrior.
  • Despite being in mysterious competition with one another, the members of the SOS-dan in Suzumiya Haruhi, besides Haruhi herself, fiercely guard each other's secret origins.
  • In the classic anime Kimagure Orange Road, blood members of the Kasuga family all had psychic powers and a desire to keep them a secret from the general populace. This necessitates that anyone who marries into the family (such as Kyousuke's father) must become a Secret Keeper. The manga takes this to its logical conclusion that members of the Kasuga clan must reveal their powers to those they intend to marry before they can get hitched. Hopefully, if you love them enough to marry them, they like you enough not to blab your secret to the world.
    • Of course, the other major secret that Kyousuke has - his budding love for Ayukawa Madoka - is kept by his sister Manami.
    • The Master of the local coffee shop, Abcb, knows the feelings that both Kyousuke and Madoka have for each other.
  • Misa, Mikami and Takada all knew Light's secret at some point and helped him in his schemes in Death Note. Ryuk and Rem knew it too, but as invisible shinigami, most of the time they weren't even able to tell anyone if they wanted to.
  • Dr. Agasa, Yusaku and Yukiko Kudo, Phantom Thief, Heiji Hattori, Ai Haibara, Vermouth, and Eisuke Hondo in Detective Conan.
    • Well, actually Ai Haibara and Vermouth are part of the secret. In fact, it could be argued that they are directly responsible for it. I'm not sure they count as secret keepers.
  • Rin Sawamura, Shiro and Nao Makinoha, Shuichi Takamizawa, Kota Shingyoji, Hisashi Sakisaka, and Lucy Winladd in Midori Days.
  • The Tendo family, Ryoga, Shampoo and her grandmother, Mousse, Ukyo, Konatsu, and Nodoka in Ranma ½.
  • Inuyasha: Kagome's mother, brother and grandfather.
  • Misaki in Futaba Kun Change.
  • The characters who know that Kiri is male model, Tatsuki, in Never Give Up are her mother, Tohya, and her best friend, Natsu.
  • Tomoyo Daidouji, Syaoran Li, Meiling Li, Toya Kinomoto, and Yukito Tsukishiro in Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Miyako Todaiji in Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne.
  • Seira Mimori and Asuka Jr. in Kaitou Saint Tail.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure has Kaoru, Miyuki, and later in Episode 45, the trio's parents and friends.
    • Heartcatch Precure has Tsubomi's grandmother, Kaoruko. It also helps that she was a former Cure herself.
    • The Pretty Cure All Stars movies reveal that each of the teams know of each other's identities. Except for the new team, which quickly becomes moot after awhile.
  • Himechan no Ribon has Daichi becomes the secret keeper for Hime-chan about her ability to magically transform after she had to do it in front of him to save somebody.
  • Karin has revealed herself as Buurin to her classmates, Kouichi, Masami, Kashiwagi, Kaoru, Jimmy, Kyoko, and Takuma in Episode 50.
  • Kazumi and Tatsuya in Devilman Lady.
  • Fakir becomes this for Ahiru in Princess Tutu when he discovers she's the titular Magical Girl. She later also tells him that she's really a duck that can transform into a girl.
  • In Bleach, both Ichigo's father Isshin and sister Karin are aware of his activities as a shinigami, but don't let on.
    • His friends from school are also aware that something is happening but tell nobody outside their circle. Eventually, Ichigo admits everything to them.
    • Kon became a reluctant secret keeper for Isshin. He found out hundreds of chapters before Ichigo that Isshin was a shinigami, but Urahara and Isshin both swore him to secrecy.
    • Komamura, Iba, Yumichika, Renji and Keigo are all secret-keepers for Ikkaku's bankai.
    • Hisagi is the sole living person who knows the truth about Yumichika's abilities.
  • Athrun Zala in Gundam Seed Destiny is a Secret Keeper for Meer Campbell, the Body Double standing in for his ex-girlfriend Lacus Clyne.
  • The whole Host Club keeps Haruhi's real gender a secret since she's working as a Host to pay back her debt.
  • Ito and Akane in W Juliet guard the secret of Makoto's real gender though a few other people eventual figure it out they have much more passive rolls.
  • In Genshiken it is implied that Ohno knows about Madarame's crush on Saki, as she tries to covertly give him pictures of Saki in cosplay outfits.
  • Sena's title Eyeshield 21 is kept by Hiruma, Kurita, Panther, Shin, the Ha-Ha Bros.
  • In Code Geass, C.C. is a Secret Keeper (and sometimes Body Double) for Lelouch. Euphemia is a Secret Secret Keeper, since not even Lelouch realizes that she figured out on her own that Lelouch was Zero. Lelouch gains many more Secret Keepers as the second season progresses with the likes of Kallen and his own maid, Sayoko, but after the Grand Finale, only a handful of people in the world know that Zero has been replaced by Suzaku Kururugi.
  • A case shows up in One Piece, where Sanji, Brook, Robin and the Risky Brothers all knew about what really happened between Zoro and Kuma, even keeping it a secret from Zoro himself, knowing that if Luffy found out, it would devastate him and Zoro didn't do it so people would praise him anyways.
  • A handful of one off characters in the Sailor Moon anime find out about one or more of the Sailor Senshi's identities, but they usually only show up in an episode each. The manga has a few more ongoing characters learn of the masquerade (most notably Motoki). It is implied in both during R/the Black Moon arc that Naru does know Usagi is part of something unusual and important but that Usagi doesn't want her to ask about it.
  • In Karin, the character Kenta Usui ends up as one for the Marker/Maaka family when he learns that Karin is a vampire.
  • In Baccano, Ronnie Suchiart serves as Maiza's secret keeper and only constant companion up until just about everyone in the Martillo family winds up immortal, and Maiza catches on that that Ronnie is a lot less human than he originally presented himself as, at which point the roles reverse.


Comic Books

  • Modern age comic book Lois Lane knows that Clark Kent is actually Superman but only Modern age comic book Lois Lane. Golden age Lois was blitheringly ignorant of the fact, Silver Age Lois suspected and kept trying to prove it and Lois of other mediums is nearly uniformly portrayed as not knowing.
    • Bruce Wayne is also one of Clark's Secret Keepers (as is Clark for Bruce).
      • Leading to an amusing sequence when Bruce assumed Lois knew his secret, because he didn't expect Clark to keep secrets from his wife, whereas Clark felt it wasn't his secret to share. By the end of the story Lois has become another of Bruce's Secret Keepers.
    • Lana Lang too (in the most recent comic book continuities (Post-Crisis and Post Infinite Crisis, in fact the first "outsider" Clark told).
    • And, of course, Jonathan and Martha Kent, who have been keeping Clark's secret since before he knew about it himself.
    • Pete Ross discovered Superman's secret ID back when he was just Superboy during a camping trip. A convenient flash of lightning revealed Clark changing clothes, and Pete kept it secret, not even letting Superboy know that he knew. He once even used his knowledge to become an honorary member of the Legion of Super-Heroes by claiming he had telepathy and knew Superboy's secret ID. Writing the identity on a lead tablet so Superboy couldn't see. Superboy assumed Pete was bluffing and that everyone else was just going along with the joke.
  • More people are in on Bruce Wayne's secret than one might expect:
    • Alfred Pennyworth is his primary Secret Keeper. He knows things about Bruce that even Dick Grayson doesn't know.
    • Lucius Fox is sometimes portrayed as most likely knowing that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one and the same, but not telling anyone, not even Bruce, this knowledge. In the recent movies, this was expanded to him explicitly knowing his secret and being in the loop.
    • In "Hush," the Riddler reveals that he deduced Batman's Secret Identity while taking a dip in a Lazarus Pit. However, Batman convinces him to keep it secret for two reasons: first, having such a secret is no fun for an obsessive puzzler like him if every one knows it, and second, it would give the owner of the Lazarus Pits, the Big Bad Ra's Al Ghul, a vital clue that the Riddler used a pit without permission and have his League of Assassins kill him no matter where he is. More recently, the Riddler has developed a mental block preventing him from remembering this.
    • "Hush" actually showed a lot Batman Secret Keepers: two Robins, Superman and Lois Lane, the Huntress, Leslie Thompkins, Zatanna, Batgirl, Catwoman, Ra's and Talia Al Ghul, the Riddler...
    • Jim Gordon is generally portrayed as being a good enough detective to have found Batman's secret, but reserved enough not to tell anyone, even Bruce. In the first of the most recent Batman/Superman series, Batman, while noting the same thing about Superman's Perry White, reveals that he's aware that Gordon most likely knows.
    • In one issue of Birds of Prey, Barbara Gordon revealed her operations as Oracle to her father, who was initially stunned but ultimately proud of his daughter. Barbara then pulled out her old Batgirl costume, saying, "I'm so glad that you're handling this so well, Dad, because there's more to it, I'm afraid." Jim Gordon's response: "Okay, this part I knew."
  • Batwoman has her dad, Colonel Kane, who is also her main source of logistical support. Also, Renee Montoya and Nightwing deduce her identity in Fifty Two (the former knows her quite intimately, while the latter comments that she has been leaving him clues on purpose as a sign of trust).
  • Mary Jane Watson was Spider-Man's Secret Keeper, then Aunt May until that entire "One More Day" thing happened.
    • MJ is still Spider-Man's secret keeper. They're just not romantically involved at this time.
    • Then again in Ultimate Spider-Man, including former bully Kenny McFarlane. Kenny actually figures it out on his own, staying up late at night, thinking about Peter's new awesomeness (ie: he flipped Kenny once, broke Flash's hand, replaced Flash on the basketball team, etc.) and Spidey's apparent availability at Midtown High School. Then he tests it. Cue the subverted Bruce Wayne Held Hostage.

 Peter Parker: (to himself, while he's loading books in his locker) What the-? Oh, come on... My Spider-Sense is going off at school. That can only mean one thing. And the Academy Award for best performance by an amateur super hero trying desperately to hold onto his secret identity goes to...

- Kenny: (kicks him into the locker)

Peter Parker: Ow! Owy ow! Why did you- ow! What is wrong with you!!?? Ow- Owww!!

    • Aunt May seems to play this role in the recent Spider-Man movies, particularly the second movie, where she gives Peter a speech seemingly directed at Spider-Man, which helps him decide to become Spider-Man again.
  • Jaime Reyes, the current Blue Beetle, was thrown a year into the future after Infinite Crisis. His family, naturally enough, freaked out on his return, so Jaime decided to prove his story about what had happened to him by revealing his secret identity. His family and friends know, but keep it a secret outside of that.
    • The second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, had his girlfriend Tracy as a Secret Keeper during his Charlton incarnation.
  • It's pretty much revealed in DC Comics' Identity Crisis, that all the superheroes (the ones whose identities remain a secret) know each other's identities.
    • Whether or not the superheroes' secret keepers are aware of the others are open to debate. Especially considering that Jean Loring knows Tim Drake is Robin, despite Tim having his identity a deep secret even from Bruce's allies.
  • Wesley Dodds' girlfriend Dian Belmont knows he is the Sandman, and even occasionally helps him in his cases.
  • Green Lantern Hal Jordan's first Secret Keeper was his airplane mechanic, Tom Kalmaku. When Tom accidentally learned Hal's identity, he respected GL enough to offer to let him erase the memory from his mind--but the offer convinced Hal that Tom was trustworthy, so he let him keep the knowledge and they became close friends.


Fanfiction

  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Rika and Kyon are this to each other, Miyoko/Miyokichi inadvertently became one, and Kyon's sister wants to become one.
    • So far, quite a few members of the extended SOS Brigade trust Kyon's sister, but Kyon himself doesn't trust her.
  • In the Mass Effect Self Insert Mass Vexations, Tali eventually becomes Art's secret keeper.
    • He gets a lot more secret keepers in the sequel: as of the moment, Garrus, Madison, Thane, Kasumi, and Shala'Raan have all found out.
  • In the Elemental Chess Trilogy, it gets revealed that Maes Hughes was this for Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye, before and during the early part of the Fullmetal Alchemist canon. Hughes, who was Mustang's best friend, was the only one who had absolute confirmation of the actual relationship between the two (though plenty of other people guessed).


Film


Literature

  • The Trope Namer is Peter Pettigrew, the traitorous rat-animagus from the Harry Potter series. He was chosen by Harry's parents to guard the secret of their location from Lord Voldemort. Bad choice on their part.
    • To be fair, Pettigrew was only chosen because everyone would naturally assume James Potter would select his brother-from-another-mother best friend, Sirius Black. Knowing that, the Potters decided to choose a less obvious Secret Keeper and Pettigrew became it. They just didn't know that Pettigrew was a Death-Eater...
    • Later, Dumbledore is the Secret Keeper for the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. This also proves to be problematic in later books.
    • Note that Harry, himself, doesn't have a Secret Keeper in this trope's sense, which is a key reason why he's so miserable every summer with the Dursleys (who know what he is, but won't let him speak of it). Hermione's parents, being supportive of her gifts and hence exceptions to the "no parents" rule, are her summertime Secret Keepers, which spares her from feeling as isolated while she's away from school.
  • Zorro's mute butler effectively hides his secret identity, and even helps him out on more than one occasion.
  • Safe-Keepers of Sharon Shinn's Safe-Keepers Series can be told any secret, no matter how terrible, no matter how much damage may be caused, and will never reveal it until the secret is found out by someone else, Or they get permission. Yes, they really will not tell. Never. Ever.
    • This doesn't mean that they won't do anything about it, though. Fiona in The Safe-Keeper's Secret goes out of her way to help this one girl who confides in her. However, considering that she doesn't actually have the Safe-Keeping gift, since she's Obliviously Adopted and is in fact a Heroic Bastard this may or may not count.
  • Deryni Stivana deCorwyn and her husband Keryell, Earl of Lendour had twins Alyce and Vera. As a hedge against persecution, they passed Vera off as the daughter of the human Howards. Alyce and Vera only learned of this after their parents were dead. They kept the secret between themselves and their tutor of ars magica Father Pascal until they Named their sons, when Alyce told her husband so he could assist in the ritual, and when King Donal paid a surpise visit to participate in Alaric Morgan's Naming. Alyce blocked Kenneth Morgan's memory at his request, Donal promised Vera that the secret was safe with him, and both Donal and Alyce died in a few months' time. Morgan and Duncan kept the secret between them for many years.
  • In the final books of Animorphs, the Animorphs end up revealing their powers and ongoing battle to their families as part of hiding them away from the Yeerks.
    • The Animorphs are also mutual Secret Keepers: their allies include a race of ancient androids who have been posing as normal humans at least since the time of the Great Pyramids, and a colony of alien freedom fighters who escaped from the Yeerks. They also know the identities of two key members of the Yeerk Peace Movement. Later, Visser One figures out that they're human (because "Andalites don't make human pop culture references!"), while they find out that she has two human children--again, they become mutual Secret Keepers for strategic reasons.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, only two people survived the battle at the Tower of Joy before the start of the book: Ned Stark and Howland Reed. There are many clues for the reader as to what Ned's big secret is, but it's clear that Howland Reed is probably the only person in-universe who knows. Knowing the author's Anyone Can Die Shoot the Shaggy Dog tendencies, Howland Reed will probably still wind up dying before anybody else finds out.
  • In The Wheel of Time, three people know Perrin can talk to wolves: Egwene, Faile, and Elyas.(Who can also talk to wolves, and helped Perrin discover that he had the ability in the first place.) Also Moiraine knew about it too, but she was out of the picture, and believed dead for 8 books and has only just returned..
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Teft and Lopen end up acting as Kaladin's Secret Keepers after Kaladin first discovers his magical abilities (though Teft actually knew about them before Kaladin even did) later the rest of Bridge 4 gets let in on it, though it was kind of necessary seeing as Kaladin demonstrated said abilities fairly spectacularly. Also Shallan and Jasnah are currently mutual Secret Keepers of their shared innate soulcasting powers, and Dalinar's sons and Navani are keeping the secret of Dalinar's visions.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, there's quite a few.
    • Several cats help keep forbidden relationships hidden. Fireheart and Mistyfoot do this for Graystripe and Silverstream's relationship, and Squirrelflight raises Leafpool's kits as her own.
    • In the second series, Leafpaw is the only cat that knows about both prophecies: the one that the traveling cats recieved, and the fire-and-tiger sign.
    • Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Leafpool know that Hollyleaf killed Ashfur, but they decide not to reveal it to the Clan. Apparently keeping secrets just runs in the family.


Live Action TV

  • Captain Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie.
  • Janet from My Hero (TV).
    • Tyler technically could count as well, except no one would believe him anyway...
  • Original Cindy, from Dark Angel
  • Chris and Ginge, The Tomorrow People.
  • Harvey Kinkel in the later seasons of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
  • Naru Osaka and Motoki Furuhata in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.
  • The Secret World of Alex Mack: Alex's friend Ray, and her sister Annie.
  • One Hundred Deeds for Eddie Mcdowd: Justin Taylor
    • The last episode has Tori.
  • Keely in Phil of the Future.
  • Harper in Wizards of Waverly Place.
    • Justin's best friend, Zeke, becomes this in season 4.
  • The entire family (yep, her parents too) of Raven from That's So Raven, are fully aware of her secret Psychic Powers, most likely even before she was. These were later revealed to be a hereditary trait. What's notable here is how serenely the ability is treated since the very first episode of the series, despite the sitcom-y mishaps that regularly occur because of them.
    • Of course, it's also played straight with Eddie and Chelsea.
  • On Torchwood, Rhys Williams (Gwen Cooper's fiance), stumbled onto proof of just what it is that Gwen does for Torchwood. Captain Jack Harkness decides to not dose Rhys with Retcon (Torchwood's amnesia pill) after he sees how much good it does Gwen to have someone outside of Torchwood to talk to about work.
  • In Dexter, Harry, Dexter's foster father, is the typical example. The second is the Ice Truck Killer, Dexter's nemesis, who is appropriately revealed to be Dexter's biological brother.
  • Zach was Claire's Secret Keeper on Heroes.
    • Ando is Hiro's Secret Keeper.
    • Claire herself was the Haitian's Secret Keeper for a while ... not about their powers, which Noah already knew about, but about his not being mute.
  • Merton Dingle and Lori Baxter in Big Wolf on Campus.
  • Omar (and at least one other kid of John's), New Amsterdam.
  • On Bewitched, Darrin Stephens acts as a Secret Keeper for not only his wife, Samantha, but also for his mother-in-law, Endora, her father, Maurice, as well as Samantha's many aunts, her Uncle Arthur, and even Samantha's witch-doctor, Doctor Bombay, all of whom interact with various mortals during the course of the series.
  • The writers of Smallville have had to let so many people in Clark's secret to keep the show fresh that Lois Lane is about the only one who DOESN'T know by now. Lana, Chloe, Lionel, Product Placement Pete. And now, as of the Season 7 finale, Lex also knows.
    • Lois seems to know now and is currently a Secret Secret Keeper as Chloe was before her.
      • As of the episode "Isis", it's official; Clark confessed that he's the Blur to Lois, who responded by jumping into his arms, kissing him and asking, "What took you so long?"
  • Pushing Daisies: Emerson and Chuck are keeping Ned's secret that he can bring the dead back to life, while Ned, Emerson and Olive are keeping Chuck's secret that she's not dead, but Olive thinks that Chuck faked her death whereas Ned and Emerson know that she did die and was brought back.
  • Gaius from Merlin is the only person (as yet) in town who knows about Merlin's powers, as well as being his mentor.
    • Lancelot knows too, but has agreed to keep it a secret.
    • Likewise, Merlin is Lancelot's Secret Keeper: he's the only one who knows that Lancelot is still in love with Guinevere.
    • On the same show, Gaius, Merlin and Gwen are the only ones that know Morgana has precognitive dreams.
      • Inverted in regards to Morgana in season 3. For the first half of the season only Merlin and Gaius know the secret that Morgana is evil, but they are unable to tell anyone about it without any proof, despite dearly wanting to warn their friends.
  • The wives of The Unit.
  • In Psych, the only people who know that Shawn Spencer is a Phony Psychic are his father, Henry, and his best friend, Gus.
    • As of season 5, there is also amateur profiler Declan Rand and, oddly enough, Curt Smith from Tears for Fears.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: the first people to discover the Rangers' secret identities were Rocky, Adam, and Aisha, and they pledged to keep them secret. They weren't able to play this role for very long however, as Jason, Zack, and Trini were soon "sent to a peace conference", and Rocky, Adam, and Aisha became their replacements as Rangers.
  • Fran in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, who discovers the secret identities of her fellow pizza-parlor staff around the time they get their Mid-Season Upgrade.
  • The Scoobies are Buffy's Secret Keepers, but this troper is not sure how "normal" any of them actually are. (Many of the Scoobies start outside the fold as "normals" and eventually get pulled in to Scoobiedom -- Cordelia, Oz, Tara.) Another example would be Joyce after Season 2.
  • Hannah Montana's secret keepers (aside from Bobby Ray and Jackson) are Lilly and Oliver. Later, there's Jake Ryan, Lilly's mother, Oliver's mother, Officer Daria and his daughter. That is until everyone discovers the fact in the movie.
  • Almost all the major Muggle characters on Kyle XY end up being this, although in this case it's also to help Kyle and Jessi. At one point, it causes a Crowning Moment of Funny for Josh as he spills all his other secrets. Josh also briefly doubles as one for Andy, before her cancer is made public.
  • Marta from Queen of Swords.
  • Devon (Captain Awesome) on Chuck. He's now been joined by Morgan.
    • And now they have both been joined by Casey's daughter Alex, as well as Ellie.
  • On Bosom Buddies, Amy kept the secret that Kip and Henry were pretending to be their own sisters during the first season. In the second season, the remainder of the main were also in on the secret and helped maintain the ruse.
  • In Fringe, Agent Lincoln Lee from the Alternate Universe Fringe Division prides himself as this when he is speaking to (Alternate)Olivia. Later, he decides that he "can't keep secrets for shit" and spills it all to (Alternate)Charlie Francis.
  • In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, only George Smiley ever knew Control's real name.


Video Games

  • In the second game of the Eagle Eye Mysteries PC Edutainment Game series, protagonists Jake and Jennifer Eagle, as well as your unseen player character, become Secret Keepers in "Case of Blood's Bold Bauble." A distant relative tells you that there's a particular story that has been kept within his immediate family for generations: that three centuries ago, an ancestor found a small but very valuable ruby that was dropped by the titular thief Captain Blood and his gang, who beat a hasty retreat after attempting to break into the Tower of London to steal the Crown Jewels. The ancestor, fearing he would be implicated in the robbery if he tried to return the ruby, kept it for himself and only told its story to his son, who in turn told the tale to his son, and so on. By the time you, Jake and Jennifer have been told the story, the secret's origins are so distant that the ruby's revelation can no longer hurt the family; the only reason the relative tells you the story is because he thinks one of his three children, who are currently the only other people who know the family secret, might have broken the bond of parent-child trust and told the secret to cash in on it--hence, the beginning of your covert investigation to find out who's responsible without tipping off any of the children as to your knowledge. Turns out none of the kids talked--the oldest son is set to star in a film about a very different Captain Blood, and the misunderstanding arose from that.


Web Original

  • In Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, Agent Washington hides the fact that he has all the memories of the Epsilon AI, which is the manifestation of the Alpha AI's memories, which itself was created from the Director's mind. This means that he has knowledge of both the torture used to split the Alpha into separate AIs and all of the access codes used in the Director's lab.


Webcomics

  • Parodied here in Dinosaur Comics; the Alt Text explicitly identifies T-Rex as "the worst Lois Lane ever".
  • In El Goonish Shive, Outside the "core" cast, Melissa is Noah's secret keeper.
  • In The Dreamer, Yvette is the only person who knows about Beatrice's time-travel dreams.


Western Animation

  • Gus, Lola, Dr. Kamikazi, Constanine, Kurt, Special Agent, Bjorn Bjornson, Professor Moshimo, and Miumiu are the only ones to know about Robotboy other than Tommy. However, Donnie has seen him before but does not know about him.
  • Elena Potato and her cousin Lonzo in Monster Allergy.
  • Matt Olsen in WITCH.
  • Chloe Flan, Sabrina's Black Best Friend, who was invented wholecloth for the Animated Adaptation of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
  • Dee-Dee, from Dexter's Laboratory
  • Richie from Static Shock, who later becomes a superhero himself.
  • Sam, Tucker, and later Danny's sister Jazz in Danny Phantom.
  • Scrooge McDuck and Mrs. Crackshell are the only ones in DuckTales who knows that Fenton is Gizmoduck.
  • Debbie Thornberry, in the last five episodes of The Wild Thornberrys.
  • Max, from Batman Beyond.
  • Ah-Mah and Ray Ray Lee Juniper Lee's grandma and little brother respectively, and later her older brother, Dennis Lee. (Although they're not quite regular Joes -- both can see magical creatures, and Ah-Mah was June's predecessor. One episode reveals Ray Ray's ability as being an accident. For Dennis, he can only see magical creatures when he wears a talisman.)
  • In Hey Arnold!, Phoebe, Patty, Trish Wittenberg, Grandpa Phil and Brainy all know Helga Pataki's most dark and deep secret: her overwhelming love for Arnold.
    • As well as Helga's shrink Dr. Bliss, who is a Secret Keeper by way of professional confidentiality.
  • Subverted by Gaz on Invader Zim. She discovers early on that Zim is an alien, but doesn't care. When Dib says "Zim's trying to conquer the world," Gaz replies, "but he's so bad at it." Which is true, but...
  • Trixie and Spud, from American Dragon Jake Long. In the episode where they find out about Jake's dragon powers, Jake's grandfather gives him a potion that will erase their memories and put everything back the way it was to maintain the Masquerade around the magical world. In a subversion of Status Quo Is God (and possibly as a "screw you" to Juniper Lee, which had a reset after her friends found out), he pours it out in a potted plant rather than dose their drinks, and they continue to help him in both forms.
  • The Holograms (Kimber Benton, Shana Elmsford, Aja Leith, and Carmen 'Raya' Alsono) from Jem and The Holograms count here as well.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, only a few others know Adam is He-Man: Cringer, Orko, Man-at-Arms, and the Sorceress. In the spin-off She Ra Princess of Power, his twin sister Adora had Kowl, Madame Razz, Light Hope and Spirit who share her Secret Identity as She-Ra. They're Secret Keepers of each other.
    • He-Man also, at the Sorceress' request, keeps the secret that the Sorceress is Teela's mother.
  • Both averted and played straight in Kim Possible. Averted in that Kim's hero status is publicly known. Played straight with Ron Stoppable when he attended a ninja school; he promised Yori and Master Sensei that he wouldn't tell anyone about the school, even Kim. Later in the series, Yori allowed Ron to tell Kim (who had already discovered the truth about the school on her own). Presumably Kim then became a Secret Keeper for the school as well.
  • Darkwing Duck has sidekick Launchpad (who calls him 'DW' even when Darkwing's in civilian garb) and daughter Gosalyn (who occasionally calls him 'Dad' when he's in costume). Somehow neighbour child Honker seems to be in the know as well. No information's shown on if Morgana MacAwber knows her Darkwing has a life as Drake.
    • She does. There's an episode where she meets Honker's family, after complaining that Darkwing never introduces her to any of her friends. She even calls him Drake in front of them.
  • The human friends of The Smurfs act in this role to prevent humans from ever getting their hands on them.
  • In a twist on the usual Secret Identity trope, Robin from Young Justice is hiding his civilian identity from his superhero teammates. Word of God (and Free Comic Book Day tie-in) is that while Batman has forbidden him from revealing his real name, he told Wally anyway.
  • Cavin and later, Princess Calla from Adventures of the Gummi Bears.

Real Life

  • Lawyers (at least in the United States, the United Kingdom, and some other common law jurisdictions; Your Mileage May Vary). While there are a few exceptions to attorney-client privilege (generally having to do with preventing reasonably certain serious bodily harm), for the most part, an attorney can't reveal anything that their client tells them in confidence. This means that in most, if not all, U.S. jurisdictions that if an attorney find out their client committed a crime that an innocent person's in jail for, their ethical obligations to their client prevent them from saying anything without their client's permission, even if the other person is serving a life sentence. Keeping Secrets Sucks.
    • Similarly, although doctors are required to report evidence of a crime (gunshot wounds, suspected child abuse, etc.), most details of your medical history are protected by doctor-patient privilege.
  • Catholic priests are bound by The Seal of the Confessional to never divulge what anyone says in confession, even if they confess to a crime. A priest violating the seal would risk laicization (defrocking) and excommunication (which that he could not receive any sacrament until he would (ironically) confess his violation of the seal.
    • While it's still a sin to break the seal of confession, if the confession says that the person IS GOING to commit a crime, for example "I'm going to go murder John Doe when I leave", the priest can opt to commit the lesser sin of breaking confidence for the greater good of preventing a mortal sin being committed. (This does not come up nearly as often in Real Life as it does in fiction, though.)
      • That's simply not true : Catholic priests cannot break the seal of confession for any reason, period. And no Catholic can commit evil so that good may come of it (that is a different type of morality called "consequentialism"). In the hypothetical situation described, a priest could (actually, must) refuse to give absolution (since the person who announces he is about to commit a crime is obviously not repentant for this sin).
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