History Main / SympatheticCriminal

29th Jul '14 2:14:08 AM SeptimusHeap
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%% Please maintain the alphabetization of this page's examples section. Thank you.
%%
Oh no! [[BankRobbery These guys just held up a bank]], and they have hostages! They're threatening to kill everyone if they do not get their demands! They'll even kill the old lady! They don't care! They're monsters!

Not exactly. You see, these guys don't really plan to hurt any of the hostages. That's just a front they put up to scare the police. In fact, they don't really seem like they're that bad at all. The hostages seem to be getting along with them, even joking around. Soon it's revealed that they aren't just being greedy. They have [[WellIntentionedExtremist good intentions]]. They're a JustifiedCriminal: [[HealthcareMotivation they need the money to pay for their daughter's operation]]. Either that, or the person they are robbing kind of [[AssholeVictim deserves it anyway]].

This trope is often used in BankRobbery and HostageSituation movies. Expect the hostages, the crowd outside and even the media to sympathize with the robber. Sometimes the negotiator or the detectives will actually [[FriendlyEnemy grow to like the bank robber]] or at least respect him as misunderstood. If the good guys do not sympathize, expect them to be painted in a [[DirtyCop bad light]].

These characters are often the protagonists, but not always. Also, they don't have to be bank robbers to invoke the trope. If they're sympathetic but have no clue about how to do the crime, they're a IneffectualSympatheticVillain.

See also StockholmSyndrome, JustifiedCriminal, KarmicThief, and LoveableRogue.
----
!!Examples

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* Based on the most-popular version of his origin (the Alan Moore version), SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker qualifies. He was just an ordinary non-criminal who had to do one job to help support his pregnant wife...Then again, it's the Joker, [[MultipleChoicePast so who knows how true that story is.]]
** DependingOnTheWriter, and to a large extent whether or not its the mainstream comic, SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker could have been a violent murderous criminal even before his acid bath. In that light he just acts insane to get away with the InsanityDefence and in truth all that happened to him was he developed a love of committing horrific crimes for attention and thrills, and not just for money or other reasons.
* In the ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness'' book there's a comic book when a little boy and his dad are being mugged, the little boy screams for help, his father has a heart attack and his son screams for a doctor, Seizureman comes to save the day but has a "Brain attack" And finally the mugger says "I should call a ambulance".

[[AC: {{Film}}]]
* [[UnscrupulousHero Parker]] in ''Film/{{Parker}}'', who is far more [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-meaning]] than the VillainProtagonist he is in the [[Literature/{{Parker}} novel the film is based on]].
* In ''Film/{{Airheads}}'', the VillainProtagonist TrueCompanions are much more sympathetic than the rest of the cast.
* ''Film/{{Bandits}}'', starring Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton.
** Mitigated in at least one scene where the bank manager's wife breaks down crying in the middle of dinner on account of, y'know, being held hostage in her own home by bank robbers. It's a realistic touch. However, the audience still seems expected to root for them.
* In ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099204/ Cadillac Man]]'', the villain is TheWoobie.
* In the movie ''Film/CatchThatKid'', a bunch of kids robbed a high-security bank in order to pay for surgery for the father of one of the kids.
* Creator/CharlieSheen's character in ''Film/TheChase''.
* Al Pacino's character in ''Film/DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money to pay for his girlfriend's sex change operation.
* Clive Owen in ''Film/InsideMan''.
* In ''Film/TheItalianJob1969'', the audience (especially if they're British) are supposed to feel this way about Charlie Croker and his gang, even though objectively they're not sympathetic at all.
* Denzel Washington in ''Film/JohnQ'' holds up a hospital to ensure that his dying son gets the operation he needs.
* Creator/SamuelLJackson in ''Film/TheNegotiator''. When he is falsely accused of his best friend's murder, Jackson holds a government office hostage in order to clear his name and learn the truth.
* ''Film/PublicEnemies'': John Dillinger went to a lot of trouble to cultivate this persona. It helped that he was gregarious and good at working a crowd. In all likelihood, he might have actually been just a poor farm boy who stole to get a better life, and compared to contemporaries Baby-Face Nelson and Clyde Barrow, he was a nicer or at least more careful criminal.
* The Bill Murray film ''Film/QuickChange'' has these as protagonists.
* ''Film/RuthlessPeople'': Sam Stone stole a fashion idea from Ken and Sandy Kessler, as well as their life savings. The Kesslers decide to get revenge by kidnapping Sam's wife, Barbara, and forcing him to pay a $500,000 ransom. The Kesslers are portrayed as being incredibly nice and gentle people (also completely incompetent kidnappers) who end up befriending Barbara and helping her get revenge on Sam (who had intended to kill her).
* This is a big part of the theme in ''Film/{{Swordfish}}''. Subverted in the opening, where John Travolta's DiabolicalMastermind refers to/deconstructs ''Film/DogDayAfternoon'', commenting that a more successful robbery would rely on carefully applied ultraviolence instead. The antagonist is a quasi-sympathetic KnightTemplar who steals money that doesn't really belong to anyone for an ostensibly good cause. He doesn't want to hurt anyone, ''but'' if he has to, he doesn't hesitate to employ violence "for the greater good".
* Happened in the French movie ''Yamakasi''.
* In ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan'', Frank Abagnale starts out his career of conning people and counterfeiting checks after running away from home and trying to support himself. He gets less sympathetic as his crimes and the amount of money he has stolen increase, but he remains likeable as a develish rogue who outsmarts his enemies with sheer brains and bravado, and also scores points for tiring of his life as a criminal.
* Creator/SergioLeone was apparently quite fond of this sort of character. Examples include Tuco in ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' (who while not the most pleasant of people has a very emotional conversation with his brother where it is implied he grew up in poverty and had to become a bandit to survive), Cheyenne from ''Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest'' (who actually helps the protagonists after being framed for a series of murders he didn't commit, even going as far as to allow himself to be turned in so that the reward money can be used to keep Jill McBain's farm), and Juan Miranda from Film/DuckYouSucker, who is really just a poor man who loves his family and is trying to take care of them [[spoiler: and is genuinely heartbroken when they're killed by the Mexican army]].

[[AC: {{Literature}}]]
* Moist von Lipwig is a serial ConMan and bank robber who's done just about everything short of actually killing people, including use of a shoe as an offensive weapon. He's also a protagonist, an extremely non-violent person if not an ActualPacifist, and one of the most sympathetic characters in the Literature/{{Discworld}} books. It helps that he gets a CrowningMomentOfAwesome every other scene. The fact that in the books [[spoiler:he is a BoxedCrook at first, a ReformedCriminal afterwards and runs government offices for most of the time]] might also have something to do with it.
* Lisbeth Salander in Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy steals hundreds of millions of dollars by very clever use of computer hacking and disguise, and gets the reader's sympathy for her cleverness. Anyway, the original owner was a nssty villain who in the first place got the money in very nasty ways and who clearly "deserved it". Moreover, Salander had had a hard life and when becoming a multi-millionaire does not any extravagant use of the stolen money - just enough to enjoy life a bit, in between very harsh and dangerous adventures.

[[AC: LiveActionTV]]
* The Carnival of Crime in ''TheCape''. They rob banks to circus music.
* A {{subversion}} is an episode of ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' wherein the Buy More is robbed by a bumbling, all around likable guy. [[spoiler: who is actually a competent, ruthless agent of the NebulousEvilOrganization in the series and who did the robbery only to draw Chuck and his partners out]].
* ''CSINewYork'' had a season finale with a bank robber whose family was being held up until he robbed the bank [[spoiler:subverted later when you discover his family doesn't exist, and he was lying all along. The episode ends on a cliffhanger since he took Mac hostage. The first episode of the following seasons reveals that he does have a family, they just weren't in any danger (since he was the mastermind behind it all)]].
** Another episode of ''CSINewYork'' has [[spoiler: two young boys who were trying to get enough money to pay their mother's rent]]. They ended up being robbed by a much less sympathetic bank robber who was casing the bank they robbed and [[spoiler:shot one of them to steal the money. [[LaserGuidedKarma He ends up being run over in his escape attempt]] when the [=CSIs=] catch up with him]].
** Another episode had [[spoiler:the daughter of a bitterly estranged couple, desperate to escape the pain and torment of living in the middle of such a relantionship, rob her parents so she could run away with her boyfriend (who helped her with the robbery). She never intended for her father to die, it was ''his wife'' who killed him, and even she comes off as sympathetic as the husband was willing to destroy his company, bankrupting her, their daughter, and his best friend/business partner, just to spite the wife.]]
* Most of the cast of ''Series/{{Firefly}}''. They kill and steal, but it generally only hurts the villainous Alliance.
** The second episode even had them trying to give ''back'' a bunch of stolen goods when they realized the man who hired them neglected to mention it was [[spoiler: needed medical supplies from a colony of working class miners.]]
* Gwen Raiden from ''Series/{{Angel}}''.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'': In the episode "The Bank Job", a father and son attempt to rob a bank in order to pay off some meth dealers who are holding the mother hostage. Luckily, the Leverage team was in the middle of conning a corrupt judge with a deposit box in the bank when this all went down.
** The cast of Leverage itself probably qualifies due to their Robin Hood philosophy of [[JustLikeRobinHood committing crimes to help people]].
* ''Series/QuantumLeap'':
** Sam leaped into a masked bank robber, who with his two brothers were trying to steal ''exactly'' the amount their pa needed to pay off the mortgage to the same bank.
** Sam leaped into a man who, along with his friend, robbed a church in order to pay for treatment for his friend's daughter's treatment for fever (which his friend's wife had died of). The church refused to give them any money from the donations as "They said we would spend it all on rum."
* One of the last seasons of ''Series/StargateSG1'' had an episode where the team gated into a museum, were quickly considered Terrorists, and had to pretend to be taking hostages and acting the part before they could fix the gate and return to Earth.
* Most of the drug dealers and criminals in ''Series/TheWire'' have at least a few sympathetic moments. Omar has a code of honor that prevents him from killing civilians or kids. Stringer Bell wants to escape from the ghetto and become a businessman. Avon Barksdale is shown to greatly care about his family, friends and associates; and goes out of his way to get a talented basketball player into college and donates $15,000 to start a boxing gym for kids. Michael and Dukie are two homeless teenagers with unreliable drug addicts for family who are trying to survive while taking care of Michael's little brother. There are [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters many]] other examples.
* ''Almost every single criminal'' in ''Series/{{Flashpoint}}'' has sympathetic motives. In many cases, the members of the SRU that are assigned to talk or take them down end up sympathizing with them.
* Walt (at least initially) and Jesse in ''Series/BreakingBad''.
* Discounting the occasional serial killer, when the murders are finally exposed on {{Bones}}, they often tend to have somewhat sympathetic (or at least human) motives for their actions. That's not to say it justifies their actions, but it can lead to some real tear-jerker scenes. A memorable example involved a former soldier and medical student explaining why she killed one of her comrades right in front of a child she had been helping when Booth arrived.
** Another example that leaps to mind is the brilliant scientist who believes his military-contractor employer tried to stop him from going to the Feds about their illegal activity by killing his ex-wife and kidnapping his young son. Booth asks the scientist crew what the guy's next move will be (since the man is a genius like them) and they point out that in terms of character, he's more like Booth (a "protector"). Booth thinks for a moment and then determines the guy will go after the man he holds responsible. They arrive at the boss's office just in time to talk him down as he holds him at gunpoint demanding his son's release.
* Popped up from time to time on ''Series/{{Life}}''. Most notably the episode where three soldiers on leave go after the CorruptCorporateExecutive behind some defective body armor that got their fourth friend killed (turns out he knew the vests were only effective for 3-years of use but lied about them lasting ''5'' in order to get the army contract).

[[AC:Religion, Mythology, and Legends]]
* Among the legendary stories of the wise Japanese judge Ooka Tadasuke is one where a man out of work sneaks into a rice warehouse and steals just enough rice to feed his family for the week. He intends to replace it when he gets a job.

[[AC:Roleplay]]
* Montoya fits this role rather nicely in Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG. He ''was'' a small-time criminal just trying to provide for his girlfriend and never really wanted to be involved with crime. A heist gone wrong and the urgent need to get away finally gave him the chance to go clean and start a new life. Later on he is arrested for attempted murder- trying to shoot the former bounty hunter Silencia Venemosa, who he is rightfully angry at for murdering his partners. His subsequent arrest and pardon ultimately lead him to redeem himself in the eyes of a particularly nasty lawman.
** Interestingly Silencia Venemosa herself, while incredibly terrifying (complete with comparisons to The Terminator in her efficiency), still has a tragic backstory that actually makes her quite sympathetic- the whole reason she became a bounty hunter in the first place was to track down the crime boss that burned down her home and murdered her parents.

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney'' gives us Terry Fawles. He went along with a phony kidnapping ploy at the behest of his girlfriend, Dahlia Hawthorne. She and her sister Valerie made it so that he got ''arrested on genuine charges for a fake crime''. Why did they do it? Terry wanted to know too. He broke out of prison just to ask.

[[AC:Webcomics]]
* Pekka from ''Webcomic/FairyDust'' has long worked for the Amicale and still dabbles in illicit activities, but goes farther and farther out of his way to protect his surrogate grandchild from them.

----

to:

%% Please maintain the alphabetization of this page's examples section. Thank you.
%%
Oh no! [[BankRobbery These guys just held up a bank]], and they have hostages! They're threatening to kill everyone if they do not get their demands! They'll even kill the old lady! They don't care! They're monsters!

Not exactly. You see, these guys don't really plan to hurt any of the hostages. That's just a front they put up to scare the police. In fact, they don't really seem like they're that bad at all. The hostages seem to be getting along with them, even joking around. Soon it's revealed that they aren't just being greedy. They have [[WellIntentionedExtremist good intentions]]. They're a JustifiedCriminal: [[HealthcareMotivation they need the money to pay for their daughter's operation]]. Either that, or the person they are robbing kind of [[AssholeVictim deserves it anyway]].

This trope is often used in BankRobbery and HostageSituation movies. Expect the hostages, the crowd outside and even the media to sympathize with the robber. Sometimes the negotiator or the detectives will actually [[FriendlyEnemy grow to like the bank robber]] or at least respect him as misunderstood. If the good guys do not sympathize, expect them to be painted in a [[DirtyCop bad light]].

These characters are often the protagonists, but not always. Also, they don't have to be bank robbers to invoke the trope. If they're sympathetic but have no clue about how to do the crime, they're a IneffectualSympatheticVillain.

See also StockholmSyndrome, JustifiedCriminal, KarmicThief, and LoveableRogue.
----
!!Examples

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* Based on the most-popular version of his origin (the Alan Moore version), SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker qualifies. He was just an ordinary non-criminal who had to do one job to help support his pregnant wife...Then again, it's the Joker, [[MultipleChoicePast so who knows how true that story is.]]
** DependingOnTheWriter, and to a large extent whether or not its the mainstream comic, SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker could have been a violent murderous criminal even before his acid bath. In that light he just acts insane to get away with the InsanityDefence and in truth all that happened to him was he developed a love of committing horrific crimes for attention and thrills, and not just for money or other reasons.
* In the ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness'' book there's a comic book when a little boy and his dad are being mugged, the little boy screams for help, his father has a heart attack and his son screams for a doctor, Seizureman comes to save the day but has a "Brain attack" And finally the mugger says "I should call a ambulance".

[[AC: {{Film}}]]
* [[UnscrupulousHero Parker]] in ''Film/{{Parker}}'', who is far more [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-meaning]] than the VillainProtagonist he is in the [[Literature/{{Parker}} novel the film is based on]].
* In ''Film/{{Airheads}}'', the VillainProtagonist TrueCompanions are much more sympathetic than the rest of the cast.
* ''Film/{{Bandits}}'', starring Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton.
** Mitigated in at least one scene where the bank manager's wife breaks down crying in the middle of dinner on account of, y'know, being held hostage in her own home by bank robbers. It's a realistic touch. However, the audience still seems expected to root for them.
* In ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099204/ Cadillac Man]]'', the villain is TheWoobie.
* In the movie ''Film/CatchThatKid'', a bunch of kids robbed a high-security bank in order to pay for surgery for the father of one of the kids.
* Creator/CharlieSheen's character in ''Film/TheChase''.
* Al Pacino's character in ''Film/DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money to pay for his girlfriend's sex change operation.
* Clive Owen in ''Film/InsideMan''.
* In ''Film/TheItalianJob1969'', the audience (especially if they're British) are supposed to feel this way about Charlie Croker and his gang, even though objectively they're not sympathetic at all.
* Denzel Washington in ''Film/JohnQ'' holds up a hospital to ensure that his dying son gets the operation he needs.
* Creator/SamuelLJackson in ''Film/TheNegotiator''. When he is falsely accused of his best friend's murder, Jackson holds a government office hostage in order to clear his name and learn the truth.
* ''Film/PublicEnemies'': John Dillinger went to a lot of trouble to cultivate this persona. It helped that he was gregarious and good at working a crowd. In all likelihood, he might have actually been just a poor farm boy who stole to get a better life, and compared to contemporaries Baby-Face Nelson and Clyde Barrow, he was a nicer or at least more careful criminal.
* The Bill Murray film ''Film/QuickChange'' has these as protagonists.
* ''Film/RuthlessPeople'': Sam Stone stole a fashion idea from Ken and Sandy Kessler, as well as their life savings. The Kesslers decide to get revenge by kidnapping Sam's wife, Barbara, and forcing him to pay a $500,000 ransom. The Kesslers are portrayed as being incredibly nice and gentle people (also completely incompetent kidnappers) who end up befriending Barbara and helping her get revenge on Sam (who had intended to kill her).
* This is a big part of the theme in ''Film/{{Swordfish}}''. Subverted in the opening, where John Travolta's DiabolicalMastermind refers to/deconstructs ''Film/DogDayAfternoon'', commenting that a more successful robbery would rely on carefully applied ultraviolence instead. The antagonist is a quasi-sympathetic KnightTemplar who steals money that doesn't really belong to anyone for an ostensibly good cause. He doesn't want to hurt anyone, ''but'' if he has to, he doesn't hesitate to employ violence "for the greater good".
* Happened in the French movie ''Yamakasi''.
* In ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan'', Frank Abagnale starts out his career of conning people and counterfeiting checks after running away from home and trying to support himself. He gets less sympathetic as his crimes and the amount of money he has stolen increase, but he remains likeable as a develish rogue who outsmarts his enemies with sheer brains and bravado, and also scores points for tiring of his life as a criminal.
* Creator/SergioLeone was apparently quite fond of this sort of character. Examples include Tuco in ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' (who while not the most pleasant of people has a very emotional conversation with his brother where it is implied he grew up in poverty and had to become a bandit to survive), Cheyenne from ''Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest'' (who actually helps the protagonists after being framed for a series of murders he didn't commit, even going as far as to allow himself to be turned in so that the reward money can be used to keep Jill McBain's farm), and Juan Miranda from Film/DuckYouSucker, who is really just a poor man who loves his family and is trying to take care of them [[spoiler: and is genuinely heartbroken when they're killed by the Mexican army]].

[[AC: {{Literature}}]]
* Moist von Lipwig is a serial ConMan and bank robber who's done just about everything short of actually killing people, including use of a shoe as an offensive weapon. He's also a protagonist, an extremely non-violent person if not an ActualPacifist, and one of the most sympathetic characters in the Literature/{{Discworld}} books. It helps that he gets a CrowningMomentOfAwesome every other scene. The fact that in the books [[spoiler:he is a BoxedCrook at first, a ReformedCriminal afterwards and runs government offices for most of the time]] might also have something to do with it.
* Lisbeth Salander in Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy steals hundreds of millions of dollars by very clever use of computer hacking and disguise, and gets the reader's sympathy for her cleverness. Anyway, the original owner was a nssty villain who in the first place got the money in very nasty ways and who clearly "deserved it". Moreover, Salander had had a hard life and when becoming a multi-millionaire does not any extravagant use of the stolen money - just enough to enjoy life a bit, in between very harsh and dangerous adventures.

[[AC: LiveActionTV]]
* The Carnival of Crime in ''TheCape''. They rob banks to circus music.
* A {{subversion}} is an episode of ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' wherein the Buy More is robbed by a bumbling, all around likable guy. [[spoiler: who is actually a competent, ruthless agent of the NebulousEvilOrganization in the series and who did the robbery only to draw Chuck and his partners out]].
* ''CSINewYork'' had a season finale with a bank robber whose family was being held up until he robbed the bank [[spoiler:subverted later when you discover his family doesn't exist, and he was lying all along. The episode ends on a cliffhanger since he took Mac hostage. The first episode of the following seasons reveals that he does have a family, they just weren't in any danger (since he was the mastermind behind it all)]].
** Another episode of ''CSINewYork'' has [[spoiler: two young boys who were trying to get enough money to pay their mother's rent]]. They ended up being robbed by a much less sympathetic bank robber who was casing the bank they robbed and [[spoiler:shot one of them to steal the money. [[LaserGuidedKarma He ends up being run over in his escape attempt]] when the [=CSIs=] catch up with him]].
** Another episode had [[spoiler:the daughter of a bitterly estranged couple, desperate to escape the pain and torment of living in the middle of such a relantionship, rob her parents so she could run away with her boyfriend (who helped her with the robbery). She never intended for her father to die, it was ''his wife'' who killed him, and even she comes off as sympathetic as the husband was willing to destroy his company, bankrupting her, their daughter, and his best friend/business partner, just to spite the wife.]]
* Most of the cast of ''Series/{{Firefly}}''. They kill and steal, but it generally only hurts the villainous Alliance.
** The second episode even had them trying to give ''back'' a bunch of stolen goods when they realized the man who hired them neglected to mention it was [[spoiler: needed medical supplies from a colony of working class miners.]]
* Gwen Raiden from ''Series/{{Angel}}''.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'': In the episode "The Bank Job", a father and son attempt to rob a bank in order to pay off some meth dealers who are holding the mother hostage. Luckily, the Leverage team was in the middle of conning a corrupt judge with a deposit box in the bank when this all went down.
** The cast of Leverage itself probably qualifies due to their Robin Hood philosophy of [[JustLikeRobinHood committing crimes to help people]].
* ''Series/QuantumLeap'':
** Sam leaped into a masked bank robber, who with his two brothers were trying to steal ''exactly'' the amount their pa needed to pay off the mortgage to the same bank.
** Sam leaped into a man who, along with his friend, robbed a church in order to pay for treatment for his friend's daughter's treatment for fever (which his friend's wife had died of). The church refused to give them any money from the donations as "They said we would spend it all on rum."
* One of the last seasons of ''Series/StargateSG1'' had an episode where the team gated into a museum, were quickly considered Terrorists, and had to pretend to be taking hostages and acting the part before they could fix the gate and return to Earth.
* Most of the drug dealers and criminals in ''Series/TheWire'' have at least a few sympathetic moments. Omar has a code of honor that prevents him from killing civilians or kids. Stringer Bell wants to escape from the ghetto and become a businessman. Avon Barksdale is shown to greatly care about his family, friends and associates; and goes out of his way to get a talented basketball player into college and donates $15,000 to start a boxing gym for kids. Michael and Dukie are two homeless teenagers with unreliable drug addicts for family who are trying to survive while taking care of Michael's little brother. There are [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters many]] other examples.
* ''Almost every single criminal'' in ''Series/{{Flashpoint}}'' has sympathetic motives. In many cases, the members of the SRU that are assigned to talk or take them down end up sympathizing with them.
* Walt (at least initially) and Jesse in ''Series/BreakingBad''.
* Discounting the occasional serial killer, when the murders are finally exposed on {{Bones}}, they often tend to have somewhat sympathetic (or at least human) motives for their actions. That's not to say it justifies their actions, but it can lead to some real tear-jerker scenes. A memorable example involved a former soldier and medical student explaining why she killed one of her comrades right in front of a child she had been helping when Booth arrived.
** Another example that leaps to mind is the brilliant scientist who believes his military-contractor employer tried to stop him from going to the Feds about their illegal activity by killing his ex-wife and kidnapping his young son. Booth asks the scientist crew what the guy's next move will be (since the man is a genius like them) and they point out that in terms of character, he's more like Booth (a "protector"). Booth thinks for a moment and then determines the guy will go after the man he holds responsible. They arrive at the boss's office just in time to talk him down as he holds him at gunpoint demanding his son's release.
* Popped up from time to time on ''Series/{{Life}}''. Most notably the episode where three soldiers on leave go after the CorruptCorporateExecutive behind some defective body armor that got their fourth friend killed (turns out he knew the vests were only effective for 3-years of use but lied about them lasting ''5'' in order to get the army contract).

[[AC:Religion, Mythology, and Legends]]
* Among the legendary stories of the wise Japanese judge Ooka Tadasuke is one where a man out of work sneaks into a rice warehouse and steals just enough rice to feed his family for the week. He intends to replace it when he gets a job.

[[AC:Roleplay]]
* Montoya fits this role rather nicely in Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG. He ''was'' a small-time criminal just trying to provide for his girlfriend and never really wanted to be involved with crime. A heist gone wrong and the urgent need to get away finally gave him the chance to go clean and start a new life. Later on he is arrested for attempted murder- trying to shoot the former bounty hunter Silencia Venemosa, who he is rightfully angry at for murdering his partners. His subsequent arrest and pardon ultimately lead him to redeem himself in the eyes of a particularly nasty lawman.
** Interestingly Silencia Venemosa herself, while incredibly terrifying (complete with comparisons to The Terminator in her efficiency), still has a tragic backstory that actually makes her quite sympathetic- the whole reason she became a bounty hunter in the first place was to track down the crime boss that burned down her home and murdered her parents.

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney'' gives us Terry Fawles. He went along with a phony kidnapping ploy at the behest of his girlfriend, Dahlia Hawthorne. She and her sister Valerie made it so that he got ''arrested on genuine charges for a fake crime''. Why did they do it? Terry wanted to know too. He broke out of prison just to ask.

[[AC:Webcomics]]
* Pekka from ''Webcomic/FairyDust'' has long worked for the Amicale and still dabbles in illicit activities, but goes farther and farther out of his way to protect his surrogate grandchild from them.

----
[[redirect:JustifiedCriminal]]
15th Jul '14 7:13:28 PM dragonflyer223
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* Al Pacino's character in ''Film/DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money to pay for his [[Transsexual girlfriend's sex change operation]].

to:

* Al Pacino's character in ''Film/DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money to pay for his [[Transsexual girlfriend's sex change operation]].operation.
15th Jul '14 7:10:07 PM dragonflyer223
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* Al Pacino in ''Film/DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money for a sex change operation for a friend.

to:

* Al Pacino Pacino's character in ''Film/DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money to pay for a his [[Transsexual girlfriend's sex change operation for a friend.operation]].
12th Jun '14 1:45:45 PM TVRulezAgain
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* In the movie ''CatchThatKid'', a bunch of kids robbed a high-security bank in order to pay for surgery for the father of one of the kids.

to:

* In the movie ''CatchThatKid'', ''Film/CatchThatKid'', a bunch of kids robbed a high-security bank in order to pay for surgery for the father of one of the kids.
13th Apr '14 6:08:46 PM Aiguille
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* Most of the drug dealers and criminals in ''TheWire'' have at least a few sympathetic moments. Omar has a code of honor that prevents him from killing civilians or kids. Stringer Bell wants to escape from the ghetto and become a businessman. Avon Barksdale is shown to greatly care about his family, friends and associates; and goes out of his way to get a talented basketball player into college and donates $15,000 to start a boxing gym for kids. Michael and Dukie are two homeless teenagers with unreliable drug addicts for family who are trying to survive while taking care of Michael's little brother. There are [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters many]] other examples.
* ''Almost every single criminal'' in ''{{Flashpoint}}'' has sympathetic motives. In many cases, the members of the SRU that are assigned to talk or take them down end up sympathizing with them.

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* Most of the drug dealers and criminals in ''TheWire'' ''Series/TheWire'' have at least a few sympathetic moments. Omar has a code of honor that prevents him from killing civilians or kids. Stringer Bell wants to escape from the ghetto and become a businessman. Avon Barksdale is shown to greatly care about his family, friends and associates; and goes out of his way to get a talented basketball player into college and donates $15,000 to start a boxing gym for kids. Michael and Dukie are two homeless teenagers with unreliable drug addicts for family who are trying to survive while taking care of Michael's little brother. There are [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters many]] other examples.
* ''Almost every single criminal'' in ''{{Flashpoint}}'' ''Series/{{Flashpoint}}'' has sympathetic motives. In many cases, the members of the SRU that are assigned to talk or take them down end up sympathizing with them.
15th Feb '14 11:06:25 AM m8e
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* SamuelLJackson in ''Film/TheNegotiator''. When he is falsely accused of his best friend's murder, Jackson holds a government office hostage in order to clear his name and learn the truth.

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* SamuelLJackson Creator/SamuelLJackson in ''Film/TheNegotiator''. When he is falsely accused of his best friend's murder, Jackson holds a government office hostage in order to clear his name and learn the truth.
6th Feb '14 10:55:24 PM 04801
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* Parker in ''Film/{{Parker}}'', who is far more [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-meaning]] than the VillainProtagonist he is in the [[Literature/{{Parker}} novel the film is based on]].

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* Parker [[UnscrupulousHero Parker]] in ''Film/{{Parker}}'', who is far more [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-meaning]] than the VillainProtagonist he is in the [[Literature/{{Parker}} novel the film is based on]].
6th Feb '14 10:53:03 PM 04801
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Added DiffLines:

* Parker in ''Film/{{Parker}}'', who is far more [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-meaning]] than the VillainProtagonist he is in the [[Literature/{{Parker}} novel the film is based on]].
5th Feb '14 2:24:04 AM erforce
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* In ''{{Airheads}}'', the VillainProtagonist TrueCompanions are much more sympathetic than the rest of the cast.

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* In ''{{Airheads}}'', ''Film/{{Airheads}}'', the VillainProtagonist TrueCompanions are much more sympathetic than the rest of the cast.



* Al Pacino in ''DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money for a sex change operation for a friend.
* Clive Owen in ''InsideMan''.
* In ''TheItalianJob'', the audience (especially if they're British) are supposed to feel this way about Charlie Croker and his gang, even though objectively they're not sympathetic at all.

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* Al Pacino in ''DogDayAfternoon''.''Film/DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money for a sex change operation for a friend.
* Clive Owen in ''InsideMan''.
''Film/InsideMan''.
* In ''TheItalianJob'', ''Film/TheItalianJob1969'', the audience (especially if they're British) are supposed to feel this way about Charlie Croker and his gang, even though objectively they're not sympathetic at all.



* SamuelLJackson in ''TheNegotiator''. When he is falsely accused of his best friend's murder, Jackson holds a government office hostage in order to clear his name and learn the truth.
* ''PublicEnemies'': John Dillinger went to a lot of trouble to cultivate this persona. It helped that he was gregarious and good at working a crowd. In all likelihood, he might have actually been just a poor farm boy who stole to get a better life, and compared to contemporaries Baby-Face Nelson and Clyde Barrow, he was a nicer or at least more careful criminal.

to:

* SamuelLJackson in ''TheNegotiator''.''Film/TheNegotiator''. When he is falsely accused of his best friend's murder, Jackson holds a government office hostage in order to clear his name and learn the truth.
* ''PublicEnemies'': ''Film/PublicEnemies'': John Dillinger went to a lot of trouble to cultivate this persona. It helped that he was gregarious and good at working a crowd. In all likelihood, he might have actually been just a poor farm boy who stole to get a better life, and compared to contemporaries Baby-Face Nelson and Clyde Barrow, he was a nicer or at least more careful criminal.



* RuthlessPeople: Sam Stone stole a fashion idea from Ken and Sandy Kessler, as well as their life savings. The Kesslers decide to get revenge by kidnapping Sam's wife, Barbara, and forcing him to pay a $500,000 ransom. The Kesslers are portrayed as being incredibly nice and gentle people (also completely incompetent kidnappers) who end up befriending Barbara and helping her get revenge on Sam (who had intended to kill her).

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* RuthlessPeople: ''Film/RuthlessPeople'': Sam Stone stole a fashion idea from Ken and Sandy Kessler, as well as their life savings. The Kesslers decide to get revenge by kidnapping Sam's wife, Barbara, and forcing him to pay a $500,000 ransom. The Kesslers are portrayed as being incredibly nice and gentle people (also completely incompetent kidnappers) who end up befriending Barbara and helping her get revenge on Sam (who had intended to kill her).



* Creator/SergioLeone was apparently quite fond of this sort of character. Examples include Tuco in Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly (who while not the most pleasant of people has a very emotional conversation with his brother where it is implied he grew up in poverty and had to become a bandit to survive), Cheyenne from Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest (who actually helps the protagonists after being framed for a series of murders he didn't commit, even going as far as to allow himself to be turned in so that the reward money can be used to keep Jill McBain's farm), and Juan Miranda from Film/DuckYouSucker, who is really just a poor man who loves his family and is trying to take care of them [[spoiler: and is genuinely heartbroken when they're killed by the Mexican army]].

to:

* Creator/SergioLeone was apparently quite fond of this sort of character. Examples include Tuco in Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' (who while not the most pleasant of people has a very emotional conversation with his brother where it is implied he grew up in poverty and had to become a bandit to survive), Cheyenne from Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest ''Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest'' (who actually helps the protagonists after being framed for a series of murders he didn't commit, even going as far as to allow himself to be turned in so that the reward money can be used to keep Jill McBain's farm), and Juan Miranda from Film/DuckYouSucker, who is really just a poor man who loves his family and is trying to take care of them [[spoiler: and is genuinely heartbroken when they're killed by the Mexican army]].
26th Jan '14 12:17:00 PM m8e
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* Creator/SergioLeone was apparently quite fond of this sort of character. Examples include Tuco in Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly (who while not the most pleasant of people has a very emotional conversation with his brother where it is implied he grew up in poverty and had to become a bandit to survive), Cheyenne from Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest (who actually helps the protagonists after being framed for a series of murders he didn't commit, even going as far as to allow himself to be turned in so that the reward money can be used to keep Jill McBain's farm), and Juan Miranda from DuckYouSucker, who is really just a poor man who loves his family and is trying to take care of them [[spoiler: and is genuinely heartbroken when they're killed by the Mexican army]].

to:

* Creator/SergioLeone was apparently quite fond of this sort of character. Examples include Tuco in Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly (who while not the most pleasant of people has a very emotional conversation with his brother where it is implied he grew up in poverty and had to become a bandit to survive), Cheyenne from Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest (who actually helps the protagonists after being framed for a series of murders he didn't commit, even going as far as to allow himself to be turned in so that the reward money can be used to keep Jill McBain's farm), and Juan Miranda from DuckYouSucker, Film/DuckYouSucker, who is really just a poor man who loves his family and is trying to take care of them [[spoiler: and is genuinely heartbroken when they're killed by the Mexican army]].
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SympatheticCriminal