Friends in Low Places
A seedy character who happens to be very influential outside of the underground.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-01-18 19:26:32 sponsor: ryanasaurus0077 (last reply: 2013-11-20 20:54:50)

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It's bad enough to have a President Evil or Mayor Pain running things, but if an elected official happens to have connections to an unsavory person or group (such as, say, The Mafia), that's just asking for trouble. The voters may have had no idea what they were getting themselves into, but either way, expect corruption to spread like the flu. Expect a lot of controversies to erupt. Especially expect at least one assassination to occur while this man's on the job.

Note that he doesn't have to work for the government, but can work for an influential organization, charitable or not, in addition to the unsavory person or group. Sometimes, he'll be the unsavory person himself.

Compare Double Agent, Mole in Charge, The Sneaky Guy, Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!. May overlap with President Evil or Mayor Pain (but never both at the same time).

Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Rosario + Vampire has Kuyo, the Fascist leader of the student police at Youkai Academy and a Double Agent who's really working for Fairy Tail.
  • One Piece: Donquixote Doflamingo, both King of Dressrosa and the big cheese in the underworld (under the alias of Joker).

Film

  • From The Dark Knight Saga:
    • Ra's al Ghul notes in Batman Begins that Gotham is so corrupt, its very infrastructure, including its government (e.g. Judge Faden), is full of them, and a bunch of them are members of the League of Shadows.
    • Lau in The Dark Knight is a CEO from Hong Kong looking to enter a business arrangement with Wayne Enterprises, but he is also a money launderer who is managing the mob's life savings, though he's quick to rat them out once Batman drags him back to Gotham.
    • John Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises presents himself as a respectable businessman, but he's had dealings with Bane and his radicals for years and is the one who brought them to Gotham City, a move he eventually comes to regret.
  • Captain Boone, the military governor's right hand in The Jungle Book, says this word for word when he and his thugs capture the governor and his daughter as leverage to force Mowgli to lead them to the treasure.

Live-Action TV

  • In Vegas, The Mafia led by Vincent Savino helped the new mayor unseat the incumbent in hopes of getting more leeway in their casino operations. This mayor isn't so much evil and connected as he is naive and kinda stupid, and Sheriff Lamb is hoping to keep the mob from extending their influence any further.
  • Boardwalk Empire runs on this trope—it's an examination/character study of what happens when an already Corrupt Politician gets in over his head with the mob.

Tabletop Games

  • The Serenity RPG provides the trope-naming character trait "Friends in Low Places", which means you have connections with the criminal underworld and can call on them for help at your discretion. Whether or not they grant it is determined by dice roll.

Real Life

  • Lance Armstrong was this to both his cycling team and Livestrong (his anti-cancer organization) for over 15 years. Even when "coming clean", he still came across as this.
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