Sometimes the criminals make the best heroes. They don't have reservations on certain things such as "morals" and they have no qualms with going around the proper channels to accomplish their goals. But since they also have skills that have gone around the more natural education system
they are brought in as a specialist.
There is practically a built in subtrope here specifically with hackers being brought in to do some uber-hacking
for the good guys.
Compare Boxed Crook
when they are offered some sort of deal for their services in exchange for a shortened or eliminated prison term. Sometimes overlaps with the Token Evil Teammate
, depending on how self-serving they actually are.
- Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was recruited by Sisko for help in planting evidence to convince the Romulans that the Dominion have intentions of invading Romulan territory.
- About half the team in Leverage.
- Michael from Burn Notice occassionally employs the services of the money launderer Barry and the gun runner Seymour for various jobs.
- Parodied in Seinfeld where George hired the best freelance electrician around to wire a battery to a Frogger arcade machine he bought so he could keep his high score. The electrician was disappointed that it wasn't a heist, though George said if he wanted to he could steal the necessary tools.
- In the pilot episode of Stargate Universe it wasn't entirely clear if Eli had been involved with dubious computer crimes or not, as the government was only interested in the hidden code he had cracked from a computer game.
- Pretty much the entirety of The Longest Yard is the prison warden demanding an inmates versus prison guards football game and Adam Sandlers character being forced to recruit the various criminals with no promise of anything but a chance to bash into the guards and/or humiliate them.