Is there a name for the trope where a character betrays himself/herself when they say or do something they shouldn't know? For example, somewhere in the series Homeland, Carrie offers Nicholas some tea from his favorite tea brand. This gives away to Nicholas that she has been spying on him.

Some interesting options are given in the comments; however, none of them exactly cover it. The desired term would cover the example I gave and the terms "I never told you my name" and "I never said it was poison," as well as other similar terms/examples.

The terms "saying too much" and "loose lips" are too broad because they do not necessarily entail giving yourself away involuntarily with a detail you shouldn't not know. A drunk babbling away would also be covered by these terms.

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    "Saying Too Much" seems an obvious catch-all. Some variation on the " I Never Told You My Name" subset of the "Saying Too Much" trope? Or are you looking for a more spy-specific trope? Aug 9, 2021 at 1:17
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    @DarthLocke, the fact that Carrie knows what Nicholas favorite brand of tea is gives away that she spied on him. Aug 9, 2021 at 15:01
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    I'm sure there is a TV tRope were a perpetrator gives themselves away by nknownng details of a crime whichhte police hav eno tmade public, or otherwise knowing too much about what happened. "Inever said that the knife that killed him was a steak knife." But I can't remember how to look it up. Aug 9, 2021 at 15:57
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    @M.A.Golding That would be "I Never Said It Was Poison".
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 11, 2021 at 11:11
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    I've voted to close this. You've been offered several seemingly good alternatives in comments but are refusing to consider them
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2023 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


I would say the correct answer to this - which is amongst the examples in the comments (and in the updated question itself!), is I Never Said It Was Poison.

From what the OP is asking, it is that the character accidentally gives away an attempt at deception by revealing information that they wouldn't know had they been honest. (in this case, Brody's favourite brand of tea, which Carrie couldn't know unless she was spying on him)

I Never Told You My Name is a bit different (though they may overlap) as it appears to cover any instance of characters unexpectedly knowing other characters' names - even if it's (for example) to assert dominance ("Yes, we know all about you!"), rather than simply accidentally revealing they know the person's name when they shouldn't.

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    The "I Never Said It Was Poison" page even includes the exact Homeland scene from the question as an example: "In Homeland, when Carrie and Brody are having a romantic getaway at her family's cabin, she tells him that unfortunately she doesn't have any of his favorite tea, Yorkshire Gold. Unfortunately for Carrie, that is, seeing as Brody never told her what his favorite tea was, and he realizes instantly that she must have been spying on him." Jan 4 at 10:54

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