Mugged for Disguise

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Loadstone, Shatterfist, Man-Ape, Constrictor, and Joystick learn the hard way why underwear selection is important for supervillains.

Guard 1: HEY! Those are the guys that stole our uniforms!
Guard 2: And beat the shit out of us, too!


The heroes or villains need to get access to the enemy stronghold. But how? By Dressing as the Enemy, of course. That still leaves the question of how to get enemy (or otherwise deceptive) uniforms. The solution to this is a time-honored technique:

  1. Get the attention of the enemy mooks or some innocent victims.
  2. Lure the mooks offscreen.
  3. Add fight sound effects to the audio track.
  4. Wipe to a scene of the muggers dressed in the mooks' uniforms, which are always just the right size.

This specific setup is optimized for comedy, and is usually Played for Laughs. If it is Played for Drama, one or more of the steps may be altered.

If the trope is subverted, the fourth step will be the mooks returning in their uniforms, having beaten up the heroes.

In either situation, the victims will be subject to one or more of three things:

  1. Die.
  2. Be Bound and Gagged and left in their Goofy Print Underwear.
  3. Never be seen or mentioned again.

Sometimes leads to Not My Driver, Janitor Impersonation Infiltration, Delivery Guy Infiltration.

Examples of Mugged for Disguise include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and the Robotech adaptation), Max pulls a random Zentraedi into a bathroom and knocks him out to steal his uniform while trapped onboard an enemy ship. This example is notable for being done while Max is piloting a Humongous Mecha.
  • Pokémon
    • In the RGB arc of Pokémon Special, Red knocks out a Team Rocket Grunt and steals his uniform to get into their base.
    • Diamond does this as well in his own arc.
    • The original series episode "The Punchy Pokemon" has a scene where Jessie and James steal the outfit and Pokemon of a man who was entering a tournament. The real competitor is shown bound and gagged in his underwear before being locked away in a bathroom stall by the villains.
  • In Bleach's Soul Society arc, Ishida and Orihime do this to two 12th Division officers.
  • In the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episode "Angel's Share", the Major does this to a special forces police officer in London, getting his attention by showing some leg (and cleavage) before knocking him out and stealing his uniform.
  • In the Dragonball Z "World Tournament" Arc, Trunks and Goten beat up one of the Muggle competitors and steal his costume so they can use it to sneak into the adult division fights.
  • The Read or Die manga has a scene where a female villain plans to kidnap a young author by posing as the child's female bodyguard. After the villainess reveals her true identity, the real bodyguard is briefly shown bound and gagged in a bathroom, stripped of the pant suit she had been wearing prior to being replaced.
  • FLCL episode #1. When Naota goes to the hospital to have the growth on his head looked at, the nurse turns out to be Haruko. During the scene we see a nurse Bound and Gagged in her underwear. Haruko overpowered the nurse and stole her uniform. She wears it again in episode 5 "Brittle Bullet" when she's acting as a barber for Commander Amarao.
  • Master of Disguise Kanako does this to Shinobu and Kaolla in chapter 92 of Love Hina
  • The final story arc of Soul Eater features Kilik, Kim and Ox using the robes of some defeated Arachnophobia grunts to infiltrate one of the madness relay stations.
  • Happens in the pilot episode of The Woman Named Fujiko Mine. Fujiko subdues a cultist and swaps clothes with him, leaving him bound and gagged in her dress. The poor thugs ends up getting executed while Fujiko escapes in his uniform.
  • In the anime Agent Aika (or Aika), episode #4, her partner Rion Aida, was trapped in the ship of Hagen, when she was taken to her room (like a prison) by a blue delmo. Rion is very clever and daring - she leverages that when she is alone with the blonde delmo. When the two come into the room, Rion knocks her with some punches (off-camera; only the knocks are heard and the cry of the blue delmo). Moments after, Rion appears at the door wearing blue uniform of the blonde delmo, Rion runs in one direction. The anime then shows the scene of the blond henchwoman on the floor, tied hands and feet, unconscious and only in underwear, the room door closes; Rion escapes from her cleanly and very easily.

Comic Books

  • One Mickey Mouse comic has Mickey get knocked out for his costume by a crook looking to get away. Unfortunately for Mickey, he got Easy Amnesia from the blow and is wearing the crook's old outfit, so the other criminals mistake Mickey for him.
  • When the Thuggee cultist Ravan joins the Suicide Squad, he practically brags that he didn't get any blood on the uniforms he had just acquired for the team, leaving Bronze Tiger to remember just what kind of person Ravan was.
  • In Thunderbolts 25, Crimson Cowl decided to take revenge against the Thunderbolts by creating her own Masters of Evil (the group that the bolts were originally part of) with 25 super-villains. After she captured Moonstone, five bolts decided to infiltrate the group by knocking out five members and stealing their costumes. Charcoal puts on M'Baku the Man-Ape's suit. Songbird is dressed as Lodestone. Jolt is dressed as Joystick. Atlas is Shatterfist, and Hawkeye pulls up the Constrictor's mask. You can see a picture of the fallen masters of evil at the top of the page, revealing that Man-Ape wears Goofy Print Underwear and that Joystick was Going Commando.
  • During an issue of Deadpool, Wade and his team of mercenaries are hired to sabotage a satellite by hijacking a space shuttle. At one point, one of Wade's teammates complains about her suit being too bulky. The scene shifts to the cargo hold, where the real astronauts are shown tied up with their mouths taped shut.
  • The Punisher does this in "Round Robin, the Sidekick's Revenge", a six-part story in Spider-Man's comic, ambushing Number III (probably killing him, seeing as this is the Punisher) and taking his robes and cowl to infiltrate the Secret Empire's HQ. He even comments to himself how fortunate it is that the leaders' cowls have synthesizers to disguise their voices when he has to speak to the other leaders of the group.
  • Batman
    • Gotham City Sirens features a scene where the gals take out some henchwomen and jack their gear.
    • In the Batman: Harley and Ivy collection, there is an issue where the girls try to sneak into a museum opening by posing as members of an entourage. After someone jokes about the entourage being too large for anyone to keep track of the real members, two young women (presumably the groupies Harley and Ivy replaced) are shown bound and gagged in a dark room.
    • The comic book prequel to Batman: Arkham City has Harley Quinn murdering a female security guard and stealing her outfit. How she managed this isn't clear, as the mugging happens entirely offscreen.
    • The very first issue of the 2011 Catwoman series has the title character posing as a bartender as part of a heist. The real bartender is quickly discovered taped up and gagged in a closet, blowing Catwoman's cover.
    • An issue of the 90's Catwoman series had the title character tying up and gagging a maintenance worker so that she could steal the worker's uniform and infiltrate the building where they were employed.
  • In Black Widow (vol. 1) #1, the title heroine's rival, Yelena Belova, tapes up and gags a young flight attendant in an airport restroom in order to steal her uniform. She then stashes the unconscious attendant in an empty stall and scrawls "Out of Order" on the door with lipstick. After wishing the woman "Sweet dreams", Yelena takes her place on a flight so she can spy on the real Widow.
  • An issue of Birds of Prey features a scene where Black Canary finds a nurse tied up and stripped of her uniform. Turns out that the "nurse" that her partner passed in the hallway was an escaped lunatic wearing the stolen uniform.
  • The Brave and the Bold #166 has a female mercenary being hired to impersonate Black Canary. The real Black Canary is held bound and gagged in her undies while the impostor dons the heroine's trademark fishnet outfit in order to fool Batman.
  • Femforce
    • Issue #43 contains a scene where Tara steals an Amazon uniform in order to infiltrate their base. The woman she ties up appears to have been following Joysick's lead.
    • Issue #48 features a scene where Lady Luger yanks a passing woman into an alley so she can appropriate her clothing in order to flee the city undetected.
  • Danger Girl
    • An early issue has feisty heroine Abbey mugging a waitress for this purpose. The disguise works, though she does find the uniform a bit too small.
    • The "Army of Darkness" series employs this twice in one issue. Sydney Savage infiltrates a psychiatric hospital by subduing a doctor and stealing her uniform. Meanwhile, the patient she is attempting to rescue knocks out a security guard and steals his uniform.
  • X-Men #207: Phoenix sneaks into the Hellfire Club and uses her mind-controlling abilities to put a waitress to sleep. She then steals her uniform so as not to be recognized upon entering the main section of the Club.
  • The first Black Orchid employed this trope quite often. Nearly every one of her adventures had her infiltrating a gang by tying up the leader's girlfriend/secretary/any random bystander and taking her place. Often, her deception would not be revealed until the end of the story, when the real, replaced woman was discovered.
  • Asterix and Obélix do this twice in an album: First with Roman legionaries, then with some Goths (not these ones).
  • Happens in the "Femizon" storyline in Captain America (comics). Black Mamba and Asp mug two female security guards working for Superia, and escape in their outfits. Humorously, the ladies only needed new clothes in the first place because they had opted to give their own costumes to Captain America and Paladin, who needed to disguise themselves as women for a complicated escape plan.
  • In one G.I. Joe comic, a female Cobra agent ties up and gags a restaurant hostess and steals her uniform so she can plant a microphone in the General's hat.
  • An old issue of G.I. Joe: Yearbook has Scarlett defeating the Baroness and her mooks offscreen, and then leaving them all bound and gagged in a closet. She strips Baroness of her catsuit and uses it as a disguise in order to rescue her friends.
  • A hallmark of the Diabolik series. One story published in an Italian fashion magazine even has Eva knocking out and stealing the clothes of several models. The real models are found bound and gagged in a closet at the end of the story.
  • A Wolverine one-shot has a scene where X-23 steals the uniform of a waitress as part of an undercover operation. She tapes the real server's mouth shut and locks her in a closet.

Fan Works

  • In With Strings Attached, George has to become Bayanis so he and Paul can infiltrate the warehouse. Except that Paul had already wrapped her up in her own robes (well, she tried to order him to kill the others), so all they have to do is strip her, and John immobilizes her in warm ice.


  • Braveheart: Near the beginning of the film, Wallace steals the uniform off an English soldier in order to escape the village.
  • Occurs in The Wizard of Oz. The witch's guards tackle the heroes and they fall behind some rocks. After some scuffling, the heroes pop up wearing the uniforms. The uniforms do indeed fit perfectly, but the lion has a hard time hiding his tail.
  • In Star Wars, TK-421 and TK-422 are lured onto the Millennium Falcon, where Han stuns them in order to steal their uniforms. They are however, NOT the right size.

Luke: I can't see a thing in this helmet.

  • Spaceballs does the same when Lone Starr and Barf infiltrate Spaceball City. Made especially funny when you realize that neither of the mooks are anywhere near John Candy's size.
  • In Blazing Saddles, Bart gets two KKK hoods for this purpose. Unfortunately they don't cover his hands.
  • KKK costumes are also stolen as disguises in O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
  • More KKK costumes are stolen as disguises in Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.
  • Indiana Jones
    • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones drags a Nazi guard offscreen and steals his uniform, but it's too small, so when another guard berates him for his slovenly appearance, he beats that guard up and steals his (better fitting) uniform.
    • In The Last Crusade, Indy knocks out a Nazi officer and steals his uniform at the book burning rally and follows a zeppelin attendant to an off-screen area to get his uniform as Nazi agents approach him and his dad.
  • Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey: "Dude, we're in heaven and we just mugged three people!"
  • In the Conan the Barbarian movie:
    • Conan acquires the robes of a priest to get close to Thulsa Doom.
    • Earlier in the film, Valeria is seen sneaking up on a female cultist attending a human sacrifice. The movie cuts to Conan for a bit and when it cuts back to Valeria she's standing where the unfortunate cultist was standing, dressed in her robes.
  • In Die Hard 2, a deleted scene shows two of Stuart's Mooks shooting and killing two Dulles Airport painters, then stealing their van and uniforms. The scene, which would have happened in the beginning if left in the final film, would have explained where the henchmen acquired the disguises they use when they ambush and kill the airport's SWAT team.
  • The Day Watch film features an occult variant—Anton is attacked by an assassin of the Day Watch; once the assassin's knocked out, Anton takes his clothes—and, using an indentation his face left in the snow, his appearance—to infiltrate a function.
  • In the first Austin Powers film, Austin and Vanessa pull this off to infiltrate Dr. Evil's lair. Of course, since this is Austin Powers, there's a twist: the guy Austin mugs is about 6'10", and the woman Vanessa takes down is around 300 pounds—yet the uniforms fit Austin and Vanessa perfectly.
  • Near the climax of Honeymoon in Vegas, Sarah Jessica Parker mugs a random showgirl and appropriates her dress in order to sneak past some casino guards.
  • The Roger Corman B-movie Big Bad Mama features the mostly-female gang of criminals (lead by the titular "Mama") impersonating a group of singers and musicians in order to infiltrate a fancy party. The real singers are left in the parking lot, bound and gagged in their long johns. Another scene has the women robbing a building using a stolen truck and caterer uniforms, but what they did with the real caterers isn't shown.
  • Played for dark drama in the climax of Midnight Express.
  • Subverted in Scary Movie 4: Two female characters try to do this to two "village" girls only to be beaten up by them instead.
  • Variant occurs in Rat Race: Cuba Gooding Jr. tricks a bus driver into giving him his uniform (so he take the bus and get ahead on his treasure hunt), by saying the clothes are to help his birthing wife.
  • In The Lion Roars, while at a celebration, Cecilia Cheung pulls an unsuspecting chorus dancer behind a nearby curtain and later shows up dressed in her clothes and veil. This is less a reason to sneak into any enemy bases than it is to spy on her husband, whom she suspects of cheating.
  • James Bond
    • Diamonds Are Forever. During the opening sequence several doctors leave a building and another doctor enters. We then see a man lying behind some bushes wearing underclothes. After the other doctor gets inside he pulls off his mask and cap to reveal himself as James Bond. Bond took out the doctor and stole his medical clothing so he could investigate inside.
    • Dr. No. Bond knocks out one of Dr. No's workers and steals his radiation suit so he can infiltrate the nuclear reactor room.
    • Moonraker. While in Drax's Elaborate Underground Base, Bond and Dr. Goodhead knock out two of Drax's employees and put on their yellow jumpsuits.
    • You Only Live Twice. James Bond and some imprisoned astronauts take out several SPECTRE guards and steal their uniforms.
    • In The Living Daylights, the Russian assassin strangles (with his earphones' cable) a milkman to steal his uniform and get into the MI-5 safehouse. The milkman isn't the enemy; he just had the right outfit.
  • In The Borrowers,[please verify] a sex offender, wounded and captured by the Police, escapes from hospital by knocking out a female police officer, leaving her bound and gagged on his hospital bed, and walking out of the hospital wearing her uniform. Her entire uniform, including her underwear.
  • Geena Davis did this to a nurse in Earth Girls Are Easy, because she needed the nurse's uniform.
  • In The Dark Knight, the Joker and his goons do it to an entire police honor guard, then do a spot-on impression of the honor guard-thus smuggling seven loaded rifles right past every cop in the city and directly up to the Mayor's stage.
  • Super 8: Joe's father does this to escape the air force base.
  • The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult has Frank and Jane mugging "Weird Al" Yankovic and Vanna White, who are on their way to the Academy Awards. After being stripped of their clothing and invitations, the two celebs are left bound and gagged behind some bushes.
  • Done numerous times by The Three Stooges, though often with the clothes not fitting properly.
  • Judge Dredd. While on the run from the law Dredd knocks out a Judge and steals his uniform so he can masquerade as a Judge.
  • During Casey Jones' infiltration of the Foot headquarters in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Casey does this to a Foot Soldier in order to steal his uniform to blend in with the others and find Danny, who he followed there. The two eventually end up rescuing Splinter, who the Shredder has just ordered killed.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. After the fight in Dorian Gray's mansion Secret Service agent Sawyer explains how he came to be Dressing as the Enemy among the Fantom's mooks.

Sawyer: I followed you, and knocked out a straggler, and I took his place.

  • In Night Train to Munich, they steal uniforms from some Nazis to get away
  • In Get the Gringo, the heroes escape from a Mexican prison at the end by posing as a group of surgeons. The real surgeons are left bound and gagged in the operating room, some stripped of their scrubs.


  • It is not rare for Lone Wolf to kill some Evil Minions for clothes before sneaking into enemy strongholds. This can happen in Book 5 to a Vassagonian messenger, in Book 12 to a Drakkar horseman, in Book 13 to a Cener Druid or in Book 16 with a Disciple of Vashna. It helps that most enemies Mooks are either Faceless Goons or In the Hood.


  • In the Discworld novel Jingo, Nobby and Colon try to pull this on a couple of guys in Al Khali and in the usual subversion, get mugged themselves and have their clothes stolen.

Nobby: Well, we could always lure some more people into this alley and try it again.
Colon: Nobby, we're alone in a foreign port, and you're dressed only in your, and I use this word with feeling, unmentionables. This is not the time to start talking about luring people into alleys. There could be talk.

    • Done more successfully in Witches Abroad, when Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg need gowns in order to go to the ball. They specifically look for women their sizes so that they don't need to knock out too many people.
  • Harry Potter
    • Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets: Ron and Harry sneak Crabbe and Goyle a sleeping potion, stuff them in a broom closet, and steal their shoes and several hairs to complete a Polyjuice Potion disguise. The film makes this a straighter example as they also steal Crabbe and Goyle's uniforms, since Slytherin uniforms are different from Gryffindor uniforms in the movies. (The stated reason was because Crabbe and Goyle are freaking tanks, but that works too. In the book, of course, Hermione planned ahead and nabbed some spare ones.)
    • Harry, Ron and Hermione use the same technique to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic in Deathly Hallows.
  • In the fifth book of David Edding's Belgariad, Silk knifes some mooks for their robes. One drawback of the technique is highlighted when they then have to find a way to arrange the robes so that the tears and bloodstains aren't evident.
  • The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge. Jim diGriz and his wife Angelina mug two police officers for their uniforms in order to escape a dragnet, only to find that they're wearing ladies' underwear. After knocking out two more policeman Angelina suggests taking a peek at their underwear too, but Jim prefers that some illusions should remain untarnished.
  • A complicated variation in X-Wing: Iron Fist. The Wraiths already have a disguise, but they need to get into the local enemy base, so they have two members start a Bar Brawl and get a batch of Imperial pilots caught up in it. Then they show up to arrest everyone involved, knock out or stun the Imperials, disguise themselves as stormtroopers, and are able to get a ride on a speeder that's going out to fetch Imps who'd been out on the town, claiming that the guys they're lugging around lost a fight. It works, and they get in.
  • Nynaeve, from The Wheel of Time, occasionally mugs people for clothes to sneak herself and her friends into enemy strongholds. The trope is played more realistically than usual, since the clothes fit badly more often than not. Sometimes going so far that the members and their roles in the group are determined by the acquired clothes. Whoever was designated for a specific task beforehand due to their skills might get assigned a different task or even not take part at all because the disguise they'd need doesn't fit.
  • Used in the fourth Codex Alera book to impersonate guards long enough to sneak into the Grey Tower.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga novel Shards of Honor, some members of Cordelia's crew ambush a Barrayaran patrol and steal their uniforms, as part of their plan to rescue her.
  • Mad Magazine Super Special Fall 1980. In The Moronic Woman (a Bionic Woman parody), Jammy Summons (Jaime Sommers) and Oscular (Oscar Goldman) have infiltrated the enemy palace. In order to get a guard's uniform for Oscar to wear, Jammy walks around knocking out guards until they find one who is Oscular's size. Oscular puts on the uniform and they go to the office of the dictator.

Live-Action TV

  • Subverted in Babylon 5 when Garibaldi goes to rescue Sheridan on Mars; he brings his own disguise, but gets injured while attacking the mooks and his bleeding later shows through the uniform, tipping off the prison guards.
  • Sunset Beach has an episode where Annie disguised herself as an airline stewardess so she could sneak aboard a flight. When she is asked what happened to the regular stewardess, Annie replies with a knowing smile that she "got a little tied up". We then cut to a woman, minus her uniform, bound and gagged inside a dark closet.
  • Occurs on Adam Adamant Lives, when Georgina shadows Adam to Japan in hopes of helping him with a case. At one point in the episode, a geisha is pulled off-screen, and Georgina appears shortly after, dressed in her clothes.
  • Alias
    • Sydney employs this tactic when the need for a waitress uniform arises in the penultimate episode. Unfortunately, her cover is blown rather quickly when the real waitress' unconscious body is found.
    • As well as an earlier episode, where Sydney is on the run from some enemies and mugs a Goth girl for her clothes and wig.
  • The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne features a time-travelling episode where Rebecca, fearing she may look out of place in a 17th-century crowd, ducks into an alleyway. Not long after, an appropriately-dressed woman happens by said alleyway and is forcefully pulled off-screen. Rebecca is soon seen stepping out into the open, dressed in her "borrowed" clothes.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series plays this one straight all the time. Kirk and Spock have stolen clothes from Nazi officers, Romulan centurions, mobsters, and many other mooks. They once averted the trope by stealing civvies off a clothesline.
  • Subverted in an episode of Farscape. John tries to do this, but the uniforms are too small and they have to come up with a different plan.
  • The Dark Angel episode "Freak Nation" has the heroes defeating a group of agents in a big struggle, and then escaping in their uniforms. When the cops show up on the scene, they find the replaced men and women tied to a pillar with their mouths duct-taped shut.
  • Leverage: "The Mile High Job" has a variant where the victim doesn't end up naked. Operating from the knowledge that flight attendants bring two uniforms with them when they fly, the team tricks a stewardess into thinking there's a medical emergency with her cat; while she panics, Parker switches out her suitcase with another one so that she can take the spare and infiltrate the flight.
  • An episode of the BBC series Luther features a serial killer who attacks a motorcycle courier and steals the man's helmet and uniform. Using the disguise, the murderer infiltrates an office building and goes on a killing spree. He then tries to escape by stealing the business suit of a man he killed, but is caught by the titular detective before he can flee the building.
  • A variation occurs in an episode of VIP A male and female assassin duo waylay the Johnsons, a married couple on their way to a trendy spa, and assume their identities. They don't steal their clothing, just their wallets and spa passes. They then leave the Johnsons taped up and gagged in a car trunk.
  • The Torchwood: Miracle Day episode "The Gathering" has villain Oswald Danes sneaking into Gwen's house by disguising himself as a delivery man. The real delivery man is shown tied up and gagged in the back of his van, mumbling under the tape on his mouth before Danes slams the door on him.
  • A pivotal scene in the second season finale of Community has Pierce faking a heart attack to fool one of the City College goons into letting his guard down. The next time we see Pierce, he has donned the goon's disguise and uses it to save the day.
    • Playfully subverted in “The First Chang Dynasty.” Jeff and Britta need to pose as a magician and his female assistant in order to infiltrate Chang’s party, with the implication that Jeff has an elaborate plan to dispose of the real entertainers and take their place. Instead, he simply calls them up on the phone and politely tells them the gig has been cancelled.
  • Parodied in the pilot for The Lonely Island's series, Awesometown (which didn't get off the ground). Andy is taking suggestions for a new name from the audience, and then a guy in boxers stands up and says, "Uh, yeah, how about 'Outfit Stealer'?" It's subverted when it turns out that Andy didn't steal his outfit, and the guy just showed up in his underwear.
  • One episode of Monk, "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing," has a scene where a killer bludgeons one fireman with a shovel, blinds Monk with a container of cleaning solvent, and steals a firefighter's coat and helmet, which he uses to get into a working house fire a few blocks away to remove an incriminating pair of keys that would prove that said fire was not an accident.
    • Another episode, "Mr. Monk Gets Stuck in Traffic," had a killer who realized he left his cell phone on the victim's body. He can't get to it because the police have locked down the scene. To get the phone back without raising suspicion, he lures a paramedic into a secluded spot away from any possible witnesses. He then strangles and kills the paramedic and steals his uniform. Monk, however, can see through the killer's Paper-Thin Disguise, but the highway patrol cops do not believe him and detain him until the paramedic's body is discovered under debris.
    • A third case, "Mr. Monk and the Very, Very Old Man," has a mayor who poses as a guard to kill the oldest man in the world without being noticed. Of course, to gain access to the man, he had to kill one of the nursing center's real guards and steal his security pass, and possibly his uniform.
  • Alcatraz: In "Garrett Stillman", Stillman hijacks an armoured car and steals the guards' uniforms, leaving them in an alleyway in their underwear.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: When Eugene escapes from the hospital in "Death Do Us Part", he strangles the constable assigned to guard him and steals his uniform.

Video Games

  • One of the missions in Grand Theft Auto Vice City has Tommy and Lance do this to a pair of police officers for their outfits.
  • In one portion of Final Fantasy VI, Locke has to steal soldiers' and merchants' uniforms in order to get around a town once The Empire takes over. Rather than knock them out, though, he just uses the "Steal" command to snatch the clothes right off their bodies.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has a small portion of the game where Selphie and the team she is given are required to dress up as enemy soldiers in order to sneak into a missile base. Somewhat subverted in that they first steal a car, which had the uniforms in the back, rendering the need to knock out guards moot... They do it at the base anyway.
  • Played straight in the Hitman games. Oftentimes, Agent 47 will need to mug several people for their uniforms in order to get to his target. Becomes one of the biggest complaints/sources of jokes about the game. When the Chinese limo driver steps into an alley to take a leak and comes back white, bald, and half a foot taller... no-one bats an eye.
  • The Assassin's Creed series has Ezio Auditore stealing armor from guards on occasion, usually so he can carry a box of valuables around without being attacked.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Poor, poor Johnny Sasaki. He doesn't even get Goofy Print Underwear.
  • Oblivion. Once imprisoned, you can kill the Jailor and don the full guard attire, to be able to leave both the prison and town without guard confrontation. But with few exceptions, the NPCs in Oblivion don't react differently to you no matter what clothes you're wearing. The Guards wouldn't react any differently to you if you were wearing Guard armor or going around stark naked.
  • Prototype takes this to a gruesome extreme: the ones "mugged" for Alex's disguise don't survive the consumption of their DNA.
  • Present in the Commandos games.
    • The Spy can evade German patrols by dressing as a German soldier, and one of his options for procuring a uniform is to KO a soldier with ether and steal his uniform, leaving him Bound and Gagged; he can't mug the dead for obvious reasons. On the other hand, the disguise only works on enemies who are of lower or equal rank to the uniform's original wielder, ie. a random private's uniform will hide you from other privates but not from a lieutenant.
    • In Commandos 3, anyone can mug enemy soldiers for uniforms. However, it only works for a limited time except for the Spy who can stay disguised indefinitely. Oh, and only the Spy can use officer uniforms but if he happens to wear one, he can order lower-ranked enemies around.

Web Comics


Ian: ... and I'm mugging another old man... I really need to stop making a habit of this. At least it's not a priest this time.

  • Bob and George: Bass needs a disguise.
  • Parodied in Intragalactic chapter 9, where the two security officers were in the middle of a strip game of I Spy when the alarm was sounded, resulting in the heroes trading (NSFW) their Spy Catsuits for... the female guard's "security" headband. They also take the time to dress the guards as themselves (safe).
  • Played with in Pv P. Brent, wearing a suit, sneaks up on a janitor, intending to take his work clothes. An offscreen fight later... the janitor walks back out as if nothing happened, wearing Brent's clothes.
  • Doctor McNinja knocks out a regular doctor at the hospital and steals his coat and nametag in order to get in, even though he still wears his regular outfit, including his prominent mask. The receptionist is obviously not fooled but can't convince him to stop the charade. Apparently he's done this several times before.

Western Animation

  • One episode of The Fairly OddParents had the Bronze Kneecap mug the director of the Crimson Chin movie and take his place to ruin the film and discredit his arch-enemy.
  • Shego of Kim Possible once yanked a male waiter off-screen and came back with the uniform somehow fitting perfectly.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Peter does this, and is then told they don't need disguises. So he does it again to a random passerby who was wearing the same clothing he normally wears.
    • Another when Brian, Stewie and Mort beat up the Nazi guards and steal their uniforms. The uniforms happened to fit Brian and Stewie perfectly.
  • Hey Arnold!: Helga needs a way into Arnold's house without being noticed. A Camp Fire Lass comes to the door. Helga lures her into the alley, stock sound effects occur as said Camp Fire Lass gasps, "Unhand me!" and the doorbell rings to reveal Helga on the threshold with the girl's uniform and cookies. Then in the end of the episode, after Helga leaves the house, she gets chased through town by the Camp Fire Lass in her underwear and the army of Girl Scouts.
  • Stan on American Dad refers to this tactic as "playing Identity Theft".
  • Subverted in The Simpsons. Homer and Ned attempt to disguise themselves as janitors in this fashion.... but their puny suburban muscles prove no match.
  • A handful of these occur on G.I. Joe. One episode has Lady Jaye sneaking into a Cobra sub-base and mugging a random worker for her outfit. Cobra Commander, though, isn't fooled for an instant.
  • Occurs in the Young Justice episode "Downtime". After trouncing two of Black Manta's henchmen, Kaldur'ahm and Garth don their uniforms in order to get close enough to Manta to take him down. This almost works, but Manta notices the Atlantean weaponry on Kaldur'ahm's belt, and immediately opens fire on the two boys.
    • Cheshire seemingly does this TWICE in the episode "Targets", first to a gift shop employee and then to a female server at an Asian tea ceremony. Both take place offscreen.
  • False Face does this in the Batman Beyond episode "Plague", where he steals the uniform of an airline employee. The real worker is later found bound and gagged in his undies.
    • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker has one of the Dee Dee twins briefly posing as Jordan Pryce's girlfriend Amy as part of an attempted assassination. The real Amy is left bound and gagged at the docks.
  • A major example takes place near the end of the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai ambush Suki and the Kyoshi warriors, and the next time Azula and her friends are shown, they are clad in the stolen Kyoshi outfits. The fates of Suki and her teammates wouldn't be revealed until the third season, where we find out they were taken captive and placed in a Fire Nation prison after being mugged.
  • In the Batman/Superman crossover, Harley Quinn knocks out Lex Luthor's female limo driver and takes her place. She doesn't steal the whole outfit though, just the woman's hat.
  • The RoboCop animated series episode "H-2-Uh-Oh" features a villianess who can turn herself into water. While infiltrating a military base, her powers wear off, and she reverts to her (completely unclothed) human form. She spots a guard exiting the ladies' room and tackles her back inside. Punching sounds are heard, and the villainess walks out of the restroom in her newly appropriated clothes.
  • The Herculoids episode "The Crystalites". Several Crystalite guards are knocked out and their uniforms stolen so Gloop, Gleep and Zandor can infiltrate the enemy compound to rescue Tarra and Dorno.
  • Robin from Teen Titans does a variation of this in Trouble in Tokyo. After being falsely accused of a crime, he's being hunted by the police, and he needs a disguise. He ducks into an alleyway... and comes across a guy with a gun who demands that Robin hand over his money. Cue Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Parodied in episode 11 of Harley Quinn (the clothes do not fit the muggers). Also one of the muggers is in a wheel chair and they try to stuff the wheel chair into the disguise.
  • In Samurai Jack, the protagonist does this a lot:
    • In "Jack is Naked", he does it twice. After his clothes are stolen, he first steals a burglar's clothes, then a train engineer's.
    • In "Jack and the Rave" he steals the clothes of one of the brainwashed dancers.
    • In "Jack and the Winged Children", he kills one of Aku's demon soldiers and takes its clothes. After rescuing the fairy princess, her reaction is a clear Shout-Out to Leia's reaction to Luke in A New Hope; in fact, that whole episode was loaded with Star Wars references, something the series itself is often loaded with.

Real Life

  • While it usually doesn't involve mugging, spy agencies often counterfeit or steal identity documents of random people as cover for their operatives.[context?]
  • A group of inmates called the "Texas 7" escaped from a Karnes County prison by doing this. They ambushed a group of civillian maintenance workers, tied and gagged them, stole their clothing, and then left them locked away in an electrical room.