It works. Lando finds and leaves the first bug on the planet, but the second one remains undetected and helps Ferrier get a lead on the Katana Fleet
(1975). The police plant a magnetically-attached bug on the vehicle of the mob lawyer used to make the ransom exchange, but he finds it and plants it on another vehicle while stopped in traffic. UnfortunatelyJohn Waynehas planted a second bug inside one of the bundles of ransom money.
, Lord Vetinari uses these in the Palace so that people will hush up around the obvious bugs and he can observe their behavior, or get them to be talkative in places with
. Grand Admiral Thrawn manages to bug the New Republics main government building on Coruscant. They do constant sweeps with the best droids they have, but to no avail. Turns out the bugs were
, when he places a large can-like object under the rear bumper of a van. To his credit, it doesnt beep or blink, but its pretty large and obvious to anyone that walks up from behind the van….
has it planted under diguise of a stab wound.
will ruin them. But somehow the government knows
(also by Zahn), where ship-thief Niles Ferrier plants an obvious bug on the hull of Landos ship while his invisible associate sneaks into the ship itself to plant a second one.
has a malfunctioning bug begin repeatedly beeping, causing a mission to fail.
And when shes trying to bug someone with a little bit of savvyness, shell sometimes plant
Another Allston example, though this ones justified: In
You wouldnt mind if I read this top secret document with my beard, would you?
, Felicity Shagwell is charged with planting a homing beacon on Fat Bastard. The beacon is roughly the size of a small egg and a good third of it is a flashing red light with a beeping sound attached. She successfully plants it on him by seducing him, sleeping with him and then when he rolls over to look over the side of the bed (for food) sheshoves it up his backside. He just thinks shes frisky and jumps back on top of her. This turns out to be a stupid idea as he just craps it out.
Its intended to be found to unnerve/annoy analready suspicious or paranoid person.
Hitler:(exasperated) So get rid of it!
Whilst prominently large and anyone would know the device contained a microphone, it does not look out of place on Colonel von Stroms desk:
not involved). Figuring that the real spy likely has a second listener of their own, they choose to leave the microphone in place for aFeed the Moleploy.
, one of the agents threatened Jerry with implanting a miniature tracking device into his body. It was about the size of a cellphone.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
, which centres around the life of lonely bugging expert Harry Caul, played by Gene Hackman. As a prank, his rival Bernie Moran gives him an ordinary ballpoint pen with a microphone hidden inside, and it is so well concealed that Harry, the expert, doesnt clue in at all. Later,
, not only are the cameras large enough to be seen easily, but they even make a noise when operating. Despite this, the assistant bad guy never notices them, even though he has viewed other people through them before. But then the movie is so awful anyway….
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
, Batman tracks the truck LexCorp is using to transport Kryptonite with a bug thats not only the size of an adult mans thumb, but also equipped with a blinking red light. They completely fail to notice it even after the vehicle is checked for damage when they arrive on-site.
Played straight in the pilot, though. Once again, justified by Michael being low on cash. Effectively, it includes a cheap cell phone (i.e. has a microphone without any noise filters) jury-rigged with two batteries from better cell phones. Sam did put it under the car seat, where most people dont look, though.
The target actually finding the bug, then either destroying it orusing it to mislead the person listening in.
The obviousness of it was increased by the person driving the cockroach leaving the cockroach on the Presidents desk in plain view… where the President sees it and squashes it flat.
in the area, both indoors and out, into rather effective bugs by means of nigh undetectable wires threaded through their very cells and leading out through the roots
, Wallander finds that the Lithuanian mafia has hidden a microphone inside his hotel room landline phones receiver. He only discovers it though when he hears it glitching out whenever he receives a call on his mobile (based on a real phenomenon of radio transmissions getting interrupted by cell connections).
Baltar notices the device and figures its Cylon in design but cant very well come out and say it, as they might suspect him of being a Cylon. Instead, he frames a recently-arrived crewmember, who is left behind on a space station. The kicker?That guy really was a Cylon.
sign of incompetence, as the microphone would only be useful if water were not running through the pipe. The corresponding listener is found in the quarters of Tycho Celchu (who everyone knows was
The guards will have to be bribed. Well need money.
scene quoted above. The current point-of-view character is asked not to kill them because he is in a temple. (He does anyway.)
: Spider-Man has spider-tracers, red peanut-sized spider-shaped devices he used to track people down. Usually, they are fired from the top of his web-shooter at fleeing villains who are none the wiser. One of the reasons why Spider-Man doesnt use the spider-tracers anymore may be due to the fact the bad guys he attached them to frequently found them and used them against him. Especially bad since theyre designed to set off his spider sense, meaning they can be used to trigger false positives in that sense, turning one of his greatest edges into a weakness asIron Manhas demonstrated.
The reason this trope is used isfor the audiences benefit. Bugs in television are big and obvious so the director can point the camera at the bug to tell the audience that a bug has been planted on that person without wasting dialog telling the audience.
and knows all of her tricks, forcing Shada at gunpoint to turn it off so that she cant call for backup.
In the episode iSpy a Mean Teacher on
Unless they thought that they might not want anything integral that the enemy could use to track these guys.
: A large bucket of water sat outside Hogans barracks with a
(pulls down the boom mike and speaks directly into it)
No, you found the transmitter with the blinking light.
steps further: The cameras in the eyes have blinking lights, and the
, which is several kinds of stupid. One would think that
That big gorgeous globe of Zarathustra with the electrical display, smack in the middle of his office, that he got as a present? Its got a full-scale audio-visual-transmission set-up in it.
where after the final battle whereDirty Communistsused one to track the Wolverines to their lair.
duology (also by Zahn), mercenary/bodyguard Shada Dukal wears incredibly obvious ornamental needles in her hair…except theyre not actually ornamental at all; most are highly lethal throwing darts and at least one is a recording device/transmitter. But the first person she goes up against in the story is another mercenary who was
Most of the time, however, CHERUB averts this trope.
subverts this trope hilariously.Victor Gregohas plans, and having the Fuzzies
, a listening device the size of a yoyo with a huge green light on it is affixed to the seat of the woman in charge of the corporation behind the tournament that is the center of the series. This powerful, hypercompetent woman never notices.
Speaking of Hallis Saper (anIntrepid Reportertype with aPaparazzibackground), she has numerous ingenious ways to hide her recording equipment. One of her more obvious methods involves placing it in a 3PO droid head and mounting it on her shoulder, but this is an invocation ofIconic Outfitthat allows her to be more covert when she wishes; after shes forced to abandon the 3PO droid head, she hides her recording devices inside anintricate hairstyle with gems; it works here because shes at a major diplomatic function with several others sporting similarly fancy looks.
. The trackee of course noticed it.
: Kremlin gives Mitchell a tie pin in the shape of a gear to reflect his roots as an engineer and a former machine-based superhero. The pin is engineered so that Mitchell cant hear it, so it goes unnoticed, but it is featured rather prominently in the first arc.
. A bug is made to blend in with a plate of hourderves. Unfortunately, it is rather plastic and fake-looking. Even worse, it moves around on the plate. A nervous guest still manages to eat it.
: one of Zorgs agents spies on a top secret government meeting by strapping a microphone to a cockroach. The cockroach is huge and the microphone is half as big as the cockroach.
has statues with cameras in the eyes. This in itself would be rather obvious, butThe Villagetakes it
Subverted (or possibly played straight) with Tachikomas, which are twice the size of a normal person, and are used to spy frequently. However, they have stealth technology, making them invisible to the naked eye, and canWall Crawl.
ItsPlayed for Laughs. The bug is so
. The hero engages in conversation with the woman hes there to rescue while she points out the bugs in his room, starting with a visible but not-so-obvious one in a bouquet of flowers and moving on to really obvious (but not totally ridiculous) one on the lamp, progressing to studio microphones on the side of pictures, a boom mike overhead, a technician in the corner waving a big listening device around, and finally an annex to his room holding an entire audio studio with technicians wearing headphones.
. The standard bugs used by the team were metal disks no more than an inch across (tiny for the period) with no lights or beeping, and were generally hidden under tables or in other inconspicuous places.
. The exceptions invariably come with ajustification; for example, in one case, the person planting it was the buggeesfriendbeing coerced into it, and all but signed my name on the damn thing specifically to tip him off.
. A stolen assault robot releases hundreds of tracking devices that appear no bigger than a grain of sand.
One story arc has a villain with a penchant for paying attention framing Spider-Man for a slew of murders, by leaving found spider-tracers on all of the victims bodies.
, Wedge Antilles has Tycho Celchu do a sweep of the quarters for listening devices. He finds a couple, but is savvy enough to realize there might be more he
Frank uses a baby monitor as a bug. He comments that people buy baby monitors because everybody is suspicious of babies.
, where the bug is fired from a gun as one of a number of standard bullets and is unobtrusive after attaching.
Double Subversion: Its the first thing the General checks when he commandeers von Stroms office.
Heinrich Mller:Its a latest Soviet audio-recording bug, possibly put here by Stierlitz.
Averted inThe Ribos Operation. A discrete listening device about the size of a thumbnail was hidden on the inside of an architectural folly, out of sight for anyone not thoroughly searching the room or who was phenomenally lucky. It still got found.
the Yuuzhan Vong cause, he was much relieved.
(which is quite a bit better than the movie, has somewhat more explanation, and a rather more complex plot) there is a setup with several cameras which are intended to be found, complemented by several more which are considerably smaller, with lead-coated covers that flick closed when a bug detector is used in their vicinity. Needless to say, these
. The protagonists plant a bug thats found by the mark. Realizing the plan, he intends to trap the protagonists by informing the FBI of the plan, not knowing that hes running headlong into the protagonistsKansas City Shuffle.
, where tracers and listening devices are
Fungo drops off a huge collar with an obvious lens in it so that Bucky and his roommates can be recorded for a Reality TV Series. Satchel acknowledged that it was heavy but that he found the beeping noises soothing.
It works; the New Republic Intelligence officer has no idea how much theyve guessed about the situation, until Wedge has a rather heated discussion with him later.
. The tracking device is large and obvious (although not blinking or beeping), but it is planted on the back bumper of the car after the hero has gotten in, thusjustifyingthem not noticing it.
found. They do determine to their own satisfaction that their fighters and clothes are bug-free, however, and documentarian Hallis Saper later reveals the balcony is also clear of listening devices, giving them a few options for private conversation that they use.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
, when the protagonist 5 wanders off, its creator turns on its homing beacon so that his corporation can track it down. When 5 notices the beacon, its about the size of an apple, with a prominent blinking light, easily detached and tossed into the back of some hapless bypassers pickup truck. In this case, 5 was never intended to become self-aware enough to decide that the homing device should be gotten rid of, which may excuse its obviousness, but there is no reason a robotics company spending a fortune on a self-operating war machine wouldnt take care to integrate its homing beacon more effectively into the device. Even a prototype would have the homing beacon properly secured to prevent it from being knocked off during exercises and a final production version wouldve been even
small, easy to miss and well hidden. Even then, Diabolik and Ginko can often find them, sometimes by luck (one of Diaboliks bugs was found because it was hit by sunlight and shone, allowing a passing Ginko to notice and check), sometimes becausethey suspect theres one and check in every place they would hide it and some places it should be impossible(Diabolik makes a point to check everything he steals, and checks even more since that time Ginko still slipped one under his nose). And given he and Ginko can still slip bugs under each others noses,Diabolik often undresses people he kidnaps and throws their clothes into acid just in case he missed a bugin at least one occasion, the kidnapped guy was an undercover cop and his clothes had a bug that Diabolik had missed).
Still played straight on occasion, just as often its subverted or parodied. Such variants include:
books used this. The audio bugs were meant to be discovered easily, leading to the heroes speaking through notes. They didnt see the hidden cameras, though….
When the rooms occupants look around suspiciously, then find and remove the only not immediately obvious bug, and continue reassured.
, Emmet is tagged on his leg with a tracking device by Bad Cop. It hits him hard enough for him to cry out in pain, but he doesnt notice the device. Its huge (bigger than their claw hands) and blinking, but Batman doesnt notice it when they meet up with him. Emmet then stands in the middle of a stadium, the focus of attention of 100 people, who completely surround him, and none of them notice it.
, the device used to listen in on Oarais radio communications is fairly conspicuous. This is probably a function of where it needs to be in order to operate properly, and all the normal aspects of combat are going on on the ground, so whos going to be looking up in the sky? Miho, apparently, and she used Alisas surveillance against Saunders bygiving false orders over the radio and having Saori text the real orders to the other teams.
one of Zsinjs plots involves putting smallish, flat box-shaped clinging droids on the hulls of New Republic starships, so they can report on where the ships go. Big ships might never notice – these are space ships, after all – and when one is spotted on a factory-new X-Wing its assumed to be just another one of the stupid unauthorized things added on by the manufacturers. The Wraiths really only discovered it on accident, because of another Zsinj plot. These bugs dont blink, beep, or move (at least when anyones present; they do sometimes switch from one ship to another, which is how it was eventually discovered), and they try to blend in with the color scheme of the ship theyre attached to, but theyre still a good twenty centimeters to a side.
bug, which Dwight had hidden inside a ballpoint pen.
. In order to bug a mob boss, an undercover detective gives him a ship in a bottle. But instead of building the bug into the ship he attached the huge obvious thing to the outside. The kicker? He doesnt attach in it advance, but instead stands right outside the guys office sticking it on.
spy who planted it wasnt doing so willingly, and while he was trained in journalism, those skills did not translate well to spying in this case. He was later freed from his programming. When he finally figured out that the info hed gathered had only
Tracking devicesare even worse for this, not only having a red light, but
, with CONTROL spending thousands of dollars to create a literal bug a tiny, perfectly lifelike, robotic fly with listening devices and radar built in. At the rollout, Max is so fooled by the disguise that he swats the fly.
advises that if you find such a bug, dont stop looking, because a savvy spy may have planted a less obvious bug elsewhere and counted on you to assume this trope.
has a teddy bear with a rather obvious camera on it. Subverted since near the end, the nanny is ranting into it for the housewife to see.
We can raise the money, thats no problem.
statues themselves rotate to track people.
Hitler walks into the war room and sees a large, heavy grey box in the middle of the table
in an episode where Dwight gives Jim a wooden mallard with a listening device planted in the bottom. Jim quickly discovers the conspicuous walkie-talkie underneath it; however,the true purpose of the mallard was to distract attention away fromthe
Though the devices themselves are not incredibly conspicuous in design or form, merely the fact that Veronica Mars has given you a teddy bear, stapler, iPod, novelty pencil, gift basket, paperweight, school spirit button, etc. should be a red flag not to divulge your deepest secrets directly into it. Chances are that it not only captures perfect audio, but also captures video that can beblown up into high resolution stillswhen appropriate.
The tracers were easy to find, since they were red, shaped like the spider-insignia on his back, and they looked like the kind of trinkets one would find in a Cracker Jack box. His clone, theScarlet Spider, was much smarter about this: he created Minidot Tracers, which were still red, but were also circular and MUCH smaller.
. Spock put a tracking device on Captain Kirks shoulder before he beamed to Chancellor Gorkons ship. It was a different color from the rest of the uniform and visible to anyone looking closely, but otherwise just looked like a bit of cloth. Evidently the Klingons dont bother searching prisoners or confiscating their clothing. Probably saves on the prison budget at Rura Penthe.
A:Theres a new cabinet in it and a generator running outside.East German joke
, Jen worries about how visible Roys hidden camera set up is, and he assures her modern technology is very discreet.Cutto a highly visible full-size camera lens sticking out of a hole in a box… which turns out to be
In one episode (dont have the name on me), theyinvoke a subversion of this tropeto make aCon Manvery paranoid about people being after him.
. About an inch across, blue, with little silver legs to cling to the target, a blinking red light, and at least one was left in an
The large, blinking tracking bug that is concealed inside the Masters recall device inThe Five Doctors. The High Council smash it once they find it, but by then it has done its job and led the Cybermen to the Master.
You need tologinto do this.Get Knownif you dont have an account
Theres a pretty straight instance in Clash of the Tritons: Veronica plants a tracking device under Duncan Kanes car. With a big, convenient red LED to show you that its active. Its still hard to see above the tire, granted, but in a dark garage…
. A bug the size of an ashtray with a blinking red light is placed under a table. The two children who find it dont hesitate at all to destroy it. The evil corporation hunting them down wonder how it got found.
uses the obvious bug to draw attention away from the other one variant. The less obvious bug was pretty much undetectable, and the more obvious bug (obvious only by comparison, it is indistinguishable from a shirt button) was only there because the villain wouldve been suspicious if he hadnt found anything at all.
Allston also averts the trope when it suits the story. In
storyline the Parkers visiting Aprils weapons dealer father in his jungle hideout have an incredibly obvious bug placed on their jeep … which turns out to be there to distract them from the
, where a listening device in the Colonels office is disguised as a vase of daffodils. When it is activated, one of the daffodils rises a few inches and rotates to point at whoevers talking. In a later episode, this incident is referred to, and everyone agrees that they wont be fooled again… and we notice that the desk lamp is rotating to point at whoevers talking.
Parodied and takenUp to Elevenin A Fistful of Yen, the
hasThe Moleswallow the homing device, and
. The delegation of the planet Camelot (coordinates unknown to outsiders at this time) moves into their new embassy on Arkon and discovers… no detectable bugs at all. Its this very fact that arouses their suspicions enough to launch a ploy to confirm that their embassy is in fact bugged after all, and the discovery that their hosts have found a way to
when he learns that his own apartment is bugged, he frantically rips apart his room butisnt able to find anything.
An Incredibly Obvious Bug being used todistractattention from another far less obtrusive bug.
: all the boys rooms in the Sunlight Home are bugged. A subversion, as the bug is in plain sight because Sunlight Gardener
Police Academy2: Their First Assignment
An attempt at making a truly unobtrusive listening device was made on
and tries to narc on the gang by wearing a full-sized microphone attached to an 1980s-era tape deck as a bug. The gang comment that its clearly visible.
usedLiteral Surveillance Bugsto monitor several character for years without being detected. Once pointed out, one was clearly visible even at a distance and also made a beeping sound.
film. They had to keep tabs on the only analyst in the building allowed to use the ultra-secure computer vault they were trying to access. The act of planting the tracker required one of their agents to brush his jacket with the tip of her finger, and it otherwise looked like a millimeter sized patch of cloth. The close-up on the bug to show what, exactly, she did let you see the fibers of the jacket.
the trees that had been planted by the Emperor some time ago as a means of spying on politicians. They would convert the vibrations from sound waves into electronic signals that could then be played back as audio and give the Imperial technicians a perfect link to their plans
the novel. Yes, the novel. Daniel Carrington uses a bug in the flowers to steal info from a rival. It might have worked…if one of Daniels people hadnt been caught out doing the SAME THING earlier to one of the rivals employees.
Listening devices andhidden camerasthat are large and obvious, often with a big red or green light on them, that go unnoticed. Sometimes they get hidden in ventilation grates in such a way that the light they emit can be seen by anyone walking by. And sometimes theyre right out in the open, apparently unnoticed by people who really ought to know better.
obvious place. Just below the window of the back door of a car. On the drivers side.
large or obvious that it should be utterly impossible to miss, yet no one notices. (e.g., one the size of a bowling ball stuck to the back of someones head, beeping with the volume of a truck horn). If someone points it out, theyre dismissed as being paranoid.
. When the Paris police sneak into assassin Jef Costellos apartment to plant a listening device, the one they initially choose is a huge black box with a big antenna and a red light. The officer puts it in the hiding place, scrutinizes it briefly, and then decides to go with a smaller model. Even the small one is pretty big, though considering the film was made in 1967, its hard to judge whether that really would have been the best they had available.
where a group of spies leave a number of incredibly obvious recording devices in a hotel room,including replacing a wall lamp with a full-size microphone hanging from a cord.
periscope that popped up and looked around. (The eyepieces were in the two-tap faucet in the barracks sink.) There is also the picture of Hitler in Col. Klinks office. It shows Hitler giving a speech with a microphone.Of all obvious places to stick a hidden microphone….
, the Buff Clan plant a tracker on the escaping Solo space ship. Said bug later gets picked up by the crew, inspected, tossed around, and ran over by the Ideon itself, and still continues working. Justified by the space ship being lost technology and the crew not knowing what belongs and what doesnt… but you would think someone would eventually catch on. Especially considering that one of the members of the Solo Ship crew (Karala) is a former Buff Clan soldier, and up until halfway into the series (when prototypes fresh off the drawing board were launched at the Solo Ship), knew every piece of Buff Clan military technology down to the last detail. Of course, if they threw away the tracker, the Buff Clan would probably never find them after a few DS Drives, and the series would end early.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
, Iella Wessiri finds a relatively obvious microphone on a water pipe in the Skywalkers bathrooma
, Lucius leaves a bugged cell phone behind. It beeps aloud and scrolls text in the display while bugging.
Although the vegetative makeup in said stool sample does allow them to find Dr. Evils lair.
was counting on them being spotted, so it would make sense for them to be conspicuous.
Done to a truly awful degree inJohn Woos
, Freddie gets a giant plastic piece of pie wit
: your typical flashing bug is planted in the terrorists hangout, but its put there to allow Sayid to find and disable it, thus winning favor with the terrorists and beginning his infiltration.
bugs: One incredibly obvious one for her target to find, and a less obvious one for them not to find.
of all people would realize that perhaps its not a good idea to stick a beeping, light-equipped device onto somebodys car and expect them not to notice.
triple-agent Mac drops several devices with big, flashing red lights and loud beeps to lead Spalko to the City of Gold.
; Frank Drebin is captured by the bad guys and gets patted down. The mook patting him says hes wired!, and shows us the device: it takes up all of Franks chest, complete with flashing lights and whirring tape.
, a large and obvious Cylon device is located in a prominent place in the center of the bridge. To their credit, technicians did apparently notice it, but they thought it had been installed properly as part of the battlestars transformation into a museum and didnt report it; Colonel Tigh had words to say to them on the topic.
; when CTU hands Behrooz Araz over to the terrorists with the intention of finding their base, they plant two bugs on him – an incredibly obvious one they intend for the terrorists to find, and a second subdermal implant which they expect that the terrorists wont think to look for after finding the first one. Unfortunately, they find both, and Behrooz isnever heard from again.
, complete with a lifesize photograph of it.
Theres a well-knownRussian jokeinvolving the fictional Soviet spy Stierlitz in Nazi Germany, from
. The battery pack for theHidden Wireworn by Elliot drops down into his underpants, and he keeps trying to push it back up again. Fortunately no-one notices.
byAaron Allstonhas a spider-shaped, mobile bug planted on a spy-trained Jedi by folks who know he is trained to spot bugs. Somewhat quickly discovered and neutralized. The Jedi also detects the aerial surveillance by pure Force skill. Not quite sure what the bug was supposed to accomplish…
Unsurprisingly averted several times in
(1985). Mahoney is sent undercover to infiltrate Zeds gang, but the best wire his incompetent fellow recruits can come up with is a huge microphone taped to his chest. Which has a tendency to broadcast nearby radio stations.
Act Zero has Sailor V and Artemis attaching (offscreen) a rather noticeable blinking tracking device to the suitcase the villains of this episode carried around. Of course, they only notice it after she finds them and points this fact out; then again, this entire episode was never meant to be taken seriously….