Movie tropes that kill me: People discussing secret things in a restaurant

The Tea Tape Scandal.

And meeting in a private home is very conspicious and dangerous, and also easier to bug. Meeting in lone public places like empty parks is more conspicious, as already said. So not much remains, and I agree that the background noise makes at least bugging hard.

What really surprises me is that the conspirators don’t have a ready excuse handy: “We’re just talking about our detective novel/ the movie we’re making!” (There was at least one comedy where people robbed a bank by dressing up as movie-makers shooting a movie of gangsters robbing a bank…)

In his book My Eight Years in Another World, soap head writer Harding LeMay describes a restaurant meeting with the show’s producers and writers that centered around how best to kill off a character on the show. Suddenly the men realized that the people at the next table were listening with a mixture of fascination and horror.

LeMay loudly said “So how do we best kill off this character on a soap opera,” and the other table went back to their meal.

I had something similar happen to me. After watching a movie with a friend, we went to dinner. As we were waiting for our food, we were discussing the convolutions and what-ifs of the rather violent movie plot. Suddenly, we were angrily confronted by a [CROSSOUT]psycho bitch[/CROSSOUT] concerned citizen at an adjoining table, who didn’t understand that we were discussing a movie – and didn’t believe us when we told her so! :rolleyes::smack::mad: She stormed out of the restaurant, and we were concerned for a few minutes that she went to fetch a policeman. :eek:

This one has been called out for decades.
In George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra Caesar pulls his companion aside, out into the open “Now that everyone can see us, no one will think of listening to us.”

Also, in Frederick Forsyth’s Day of the Jackal, one of the spy officers balks at discussing secrets with his superior in a restaurant.

“Don’t worry,” says the supervisor, “Gentlemen don’t listen to each others’ conversations.”
“We do,” says the underling, after a pause.
“That’s different. It’s our job.” The supervisors reply also suggests that they’re not gentlemen.

In the army, they taught us about “discriminator” microphones that had two elements. The operator spoke into one, while both picked up the ambient sounds (which could include gunfire, artillery, explosions, your typical battlefield soundtrack) and, through a fairly simple and clever pre-computer process, inverted the sound waves at one microphone to cancel out the matching (but opposed) sounds waves at the other, leaving only the signal unique to the main receiver, i.e. the operator’s voice.

Also, as season one Breaking Bad demonstrated. If you don’t trust your co-conspirators in evil doing, populated public places are good for keeping shit from getting out of hand.

Maybe it’s why mob bosses insist on tipping the waitress.

I’ve recently had agents from a well-known Federal agency query me about possible international terrosists. In a pizza place, at noon. Complete with photos.

Was it at Sheikhi’s?

Most tv crimes are solved, in part, by a server identifying someone, being in house at such time. Alibi’s hinge on it, timelines unravel, etc, etc.

Ask anyone who’s worked in service, if ever, in their career, they have been aid to police in this fashion. Doesn’t happen. But on tv, it happens all the time. Like, almost every case.

Even worse, I’ve been on planes behind people who were looking at clearly confidential information on their laptops which were in plain view. You might wonder what’s the chance of a competitor being behind you. On a San Jose to Austin flight, pretty damn high. I’ve seen security warnings about this very thing, but people are stupid, and sure that getting in that extra hour of work is worth the risk.
I’ve heard conversations on planes also that shouldn’t have been said.

That reminds me of the Mad Magazine parody of the original Fugitive, where every other panel with Richard Kimble had a Wanted poster in the background with Kimble in the exact same pose he was in in the panel.

Well, in DC there is a restaurant that was known for spies back in the day. Lots of politians would hang out there so naturally so would lots o’ spies.

I’ve told this here before, but it bears repeating.

Imagine, if you will, an airport in the Middle East, around the turn of the millenium. Our protagonist is waiting for his flight so he decides to do some work. He fires up his laptop, and everything behind him gets very quiet. The corporate desktop background says, “Electronics Warfare…” :smack: :smack:

For all the reasons others have given, a restaurant is no less safe a place to meet then anywhere else. Any public place has the risk of being overheard, but so do private places, and then you’re more likely to get attacked if your conspirator turns against you.

They do meet a lot in one particular relatively deserted place though (in movies and on TV) - parking garages. That’s always seemed to be me one of the least safe places to meet - not many ways to get out. Perhaps that’s why they do this in movies etc, for a tight getaway that looks good on screen. Also, it’s a really cheap and easy place to film in. :smiley:

:smiley: So, how was Gitmo?

On the Andy Griffith show there was an episode where bank robbers pretend to be interested in creating a TV show about Andy. Gavin McLeod was one of the robbers. Next season there’s an episode about an actual movie being created about Andy - with Gavin McLeod playing one of the producers. Well, I thought it was funny

Didn’t Woodward and Bernstein really meet “Deep Throat” in a parking garage? Maybe that was invented for All the President’s Men, but a quick Google indicates that it was true. Either way, it’s likely that All the President’s Men influenced the parking garage meet-up scenes in later films and TV shows.

Or even child porn. (Yes, the link is SFW. :rolleyes:)

Where I lived a group of people involved in the" recreational drug importation industry", used to regulary discuss their plans in a local pub.

Unfortunately the police had the place bugged and they were all arrested.