Triggered by: Why didn't the Agents take over or displace the Policemen?

In all three Matrix movies, there are many scenes where agents don't bother to hide the existence of inexplicable phenomena such as their abilities from the public:

  • Agent chasing Trinity leaps an impossible distance between two rooftops, in plain sight of police.
  • Agent takes over a helicopter and tells the co-pilot to get out.
  • Agent takes over a businessman in a busy street and a woman carrying groceries in order to shoot a fleeing Neo.
  • An agent hops from car to car on the freeway, leaving crushed wrecks behind him.

According to Smith himself, the human mind only accepts the Matrix only as long as it is believable. Won't the public stunts undermine this? Or is there any evidence that the witnesses are later eliminated or memory-wiped, neuralizer-style?

2 Answers 2


Considering human nature and weaknesses, the machines likely expect to lose large amounts of humans on occassion (war, disease, famine etc). In the case when people can't believe what they've seen and are unable to cope with not believing (some people may assume angels, or demons, or superheros etc) the robots would perform a clean up operation to minimize ripple effects.
I would guess this to include either killing and liquefiying anyone causing ripples or if they are really worried about losing a couple hundred batteries, they might make them think it was just a dream, like they did when they bugged Neo.

  • I can totally accept this theory, except that for some strange reason, agents seem to need to physically capture subjects within the Matrix to bug or erase them. (I couldn't find any answer to that question so I'm going to ask that separately).
    – HNL
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 14:12
  • @HNL I think physically capturing most people wouldn't be an issue. Only in rare cases, beside hacker Zionists, would this become an issue.
    – Xantec
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 18:43

There is a simple reasoning for this. Morpheus states (in the Matrix simulation with the woman in the red dress) that the people they want to save, do not want to be saved. They are part of the system, and - for the time being - are happy with it.

So, the people in the Matrix are not worried by phenomena caused by agents, because they don't want to be.

This is a common theme in the Matrix, and in fact restated even more clearly in one scene in Revolutions (in fact my favourite scene in that film) where Councilor Hamann is standing with Neo in the engineering facility deep down under Zion, saying between the lines, that people want to be ruled by machines since even the "free" people of Zion make themselves dependent on machines -- again. They, too fail to notice this.

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