->''"The mark of a true hero is somebody who's willing to sacrifice his own personal morality to help keep the world safe."''
-->--'''Tess Mercer''', ''Series/{{Smallville}}''

Most great fictional heroes fall into one of two broad categories: the IdealHero, such as TheCape or a KnightInShiningArmor who is pretty much exactly what one would hope for in a hero - skilled, courageous, morally pure, etc., and the AntiHero, who lacks one or more qualities normally considered necessary for an IdealHero. For example, a ClassicalAntiHero lacks ability or self-confidence. A KnightInSourArmor lacks a positive attitude, and a NominalHero lacks morally pure intentions.

A Pragmatic Hero lacks the "moral cleanliness" of an IdealHero. When fighting evil, they often commit acts that might seem more characteristic of a villain than a hero. However, Pragmatic Heroes have morally good intentions and often hold themselves to strict moral standards--it's just that those standards aren't always what others might expect from a hero. This type of hero tends to be much more concerned with whatever heroic business the plotline has assigned them than the niceties of proper heroic etiquette. However, with the exception of unintentional mistakes, they will rarely if ever commit a villainous deed that doesn't further the cause of good in a way.

This character is one step further toward the dark side of the AntiHero from the KnightInSourArmor. Wheras the KnightInSourArmor complains but does the right thing anyway, the Pragmatic Hero is more about doing the right thing whether anyone likes it or not, and will shove aside more idealistic heroes who give them a WhatTheHellHero moment.

At the end of the day, their justification is typically IDidWhatIHadToDo, they ''love'' giving TheReasonYouSuckSpeech to a poor WideEyedIdealist, and they might evolve into [[CynicalMentor cynical mentors]]. However, they will never say "SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids". Deep down, they want the best for others, and this character may have shades of ChronicHeroSyndrome as he/she will often be the one to defend a captured minion or fallen hero. Being pragmatic, they also have both the flaws and strengths a more passionate hero lacks, so are less likely to let [[ItsPersonal personal]] intentions get in the way of their job. In this sense a Pragmatic Hero contrasts a BloodKnight or HeWhoFightsMonsters. Compare/Contrast GoodIsNotNice if the good ends will have to be met through not-nice means.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Homura Akemi from ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', who is willing to do anything to protect Madoka.
* Fakir in ''Anime/PrincessTutu'', to the point that [[WideEyedIdealist Duck]] (and most of the audience) thinks he's a ''villain'' in the first few episodes. He tries to kill the resident DarkMagicalGirl (and threatens to kill [[MagicalGirl Princess]] [[UnwittingPawn Tutu]], as well), and his overprotective treatment of Mytho can only be described as emotional abuse (or would be, [[EmotionlessBoy if he had any emotions to be abused]]). However, his only goal is to protect [[TheWisePrince Mytho]], since he feels it's his duty as the Knight, and once his original plans fall through, he teams up with Duck to find another way to help him.
* ''Manga/{{Patalliro}}'': Most of the cast, to an extent, but Bancoran fits the most with his "bishounen killer" persona and HairTriggerTemper. And yet, he's always the first to show kindness and it's clear that there's a strong sense of honor and duty underneath it all.
* ''[[Manga/SailorMoon Minako Aino]]'', of all people, graduated to this at the end of ''Manga/CodenameSailorV'' when she [[spoiler: killed Ace, ''her true love'' for being Kunzite's {{Dragon}}]]. Had shades of this since the start, as her first kill was [[spoiler: Higashi, the disguised youma on which she had a crush]], but she was holding hope she could ''save'' [[spoiler: Higashi]], while she attacked to kill when facing [[spoiler: Ace]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* {{Wolverine}} is sometimes portrayed as this, for example in the 2013 CrisisCrossover ''ComicBook/AgeOfUltron'', where he [[spoiler: goes back in time and murders Hank Pym before Ultron can be created.]]
* WonderWoman. While she will always try to find a peaceful solution first, she is perfectly willing to kill if she has no other alternative.

* In the ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' fic ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10163620/1/Before-Beacon-The-Founders-Story Before Beacon]], Otto is this.
-->''The village, he sensed right off, was in trouble. Grimm had likely been troubling it for days, weeks, months- he didn't know and couldn't tell. He needed to clear it, for the villagers' sake. And he would be damned if he didn't get a nice pile of gold doing so.''
* [[WesternAnimation/TeenTitans Cyborg and Persephone]] hate the idea of [[ThouShaltNotKill killing]] anyone in the finale of the ''Fanfic/CoincidenceAndMisunderstandings'' series, but understand that it's likely going to be necessary when storming a base filled with villains.
** Likewise when Mammoth [[MercyKill mercy killed]] Otto/Plasmius, Persephone remarked on how tragic it was that such a thing was necessary. By contrast, Nightwing arrested Jinx for murder after she destroyed Overload.
* [[Manga/{{Naruto}} Sarutobi]] allows Naruto to get away with being a KleptomaniacHero in [[http://naruto.adult-fanfiction.org/story.php?no=600105466&chapter=3 Demon's Dirty Dreams]] partially because Naruto is so good at LoopHoleAbuse that it can't be proven he's actually stolen anything. Mostly however, it's because 1) rich merchants losing things they can easily afford to replace is a small price to pay to keep the resident jinchuuriki from going nuts and 2) Naruto turns in anything he steals that points to a traitor or someone cheating the system.
* FairyTail story ''Fanfic/AngelsBreath'' has Ryusuke Yugure, a genuinely nice man with JerkAss and DeadpanSnarker tendencies who is perfectly willing to torture an enemy to get information on a group who may endanger his guild.

* Hit Girl from ''Film/KickAss'' is pragmatic hero, though more accurately fits the type, seeing as her motives are more demonstrably good that her father in the long run.
* The title character of the ''Film/DirtyHarry'' franchise.
* Some Jedi in ''Franchise/StarWars'' do not object the creation of clones genetically engineered to defend the Republic from the separatists. Then again, they have strongly held ideals, and think the Republic is the best possible regime.
* Glinda from ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' may be this. Though sometimes, people like an AlternateCharacterInterpretation.
* JohnWayne played many, many Pragmatic Heroes with guns, who rarely verge on UnscrupulousHero, but can easily be judged a bit ''too'' tough.

* Much of ''LightNovel/FateZero'' is spent describing Emiya Kiritsugu's cold pragmatism. Originally, he wanted to be "a hero of justice" who would help the weak and needy, but a necessarily brutal career turned him into an assassin capable of committing atrocities in his belief that the needs of the many outweigh those of the few. For Kiritsugu, sacrificing a hundred people to save a thousand is something he would do without batting an eye. Despite this, Kiritsugu never gives up his ideal of achieving a everlasting peace without conflict, and is willing to do anything necessary to bring such a utopia around sooner. This leads to his willing participation in the Holy Grail War for the artifact's supposed wish-granting power.
** Honorable knight Saber despises her master Kiritsugu for using the most brutal and dishonorable methods to achieve victory. Kiritsugu retorts that not only do his methods end the war quickly, but they also leave survivors averse to further bloodshed. Meanwhile, chivalry perpetuates war by ennobling and glamorizing it.
** [[spoiler: As a child, he is forced to gun down his own father when the senior Emiya's research into immortality infects an entire island with vampirism. At the end of this, he meets freelance cleaner Natalia, who trains him and becomes his mother figure.]]
** [[spoiler: Many years later, he makes the choice to kill Natalia during a botched assassination contact aboard an airliner. The target magus booby-traps his own body to release swarms of bees that irreversibly zombify anyone they stung. Knowing that the airliner could endanger entire cities if allowed to land, Kiritsugu shoots it down even though his mother/mentor is on board. In their last exchange, she seems to approve.]]
** [[spoiler: His ideals are finally tested when he has won the Holy Grail War and obtained said wish-granting Grail. The newfound knowledge that it would bring "peace" to the world through bloody means little different than his own leads Kiritsugu to destroy the artifact instead.]]
*** The consequences of his actions in Fate/Zero lead Kiritsugu to pass down his ideals to his adopted son Shirou, who later strives to become [[AllLovingHero a hero who doesn't sacrifice anybody]] in [[FateStayNight his adolescence]].
* Franchise/HarryPotter is constantly breaking the rules and ultimately [[spoiler: uses two out of the three unforgivable curses, and robs a bank]] to stop Lord Voldemort's schemes.
** Dumbledore as well. He leaves Harry in the care of the Dursleys (who are far from the ideal guardians ever), but does so because [[spoiler:his living with them will invoke an ancient magic that protects him from Voldemort]]. Notably the times when he ''doesn't'' follow this trope (he keeps from telling Harry vital information because he doesn't want to cause him distress from the knowledge), it backfires horribly since Harry walks into danger as a result.
* Grimble from ''Literature/GuardiansOfGaHoole'' fits here, like some other owls in the series do, by virtue of the high stress they have put on efficiency in [[CombatPragmatist fighting for]] good.
* In ''TheMistsOfAvalon'', Vivian may be one, [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation or]] [[TheHighQueen be]] [[KnightTemplar anything]] [[TheHero else]]...
* Edmund Pevensie from ''TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' is this, especially when compared [[TheHero to the chivalrous, idealistic Peter]]. Edmund seems to have a more cold-natured thinking, a sharp mind and logic. He is rarely driven by emotions and is mostly collected and down-to-earth, having an acute sense of justice, going to the point where he becomes unsympathetic towards enemies and downright cruel, as opposed to Peter, who is more impulsive and emotional. This is proven when Peter battles Miraz, because Edmund tells Peter not to be chivalrous and to strike Miraz. The scene suggests that, if Edmund had been in Peter's place, he would not have hesitated and would have killed Miraz in a heartbeat.
** Further shown in the novels when we are told the titles of each of the Pevensie children. Peter gets "The Brave" whereas Edmund gets "The Just". [[GoodIsNotNice Giving people what they deserve]] [[GoodIsNotSoft does not by any means always mean mercy.]]
* ''Literature/WarriorCats'' features violent fight, tough decisions, and cats betraying the warrior's code, but some of the cats implicated do it for the right reasons.
* The good guys in DavidWeber's ''Literature/{{Safehold}}'' are clearly good anyhow, but they justify and present their actions and motivations as purely pragmatic moves. Better to be merciful and honorable to defeated enemies so future foes will be more willing to surrender rather than fight to the last, better to treat your people well so they'll be loyal to you in turn, and so on.
** frequent remarks are made along the lines of "Isn't it nice when the moral thing to do and the pragmatic thing to do are the same thing?"
* Literature/CiaphasCain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, insists that, contrary to his image, he's an abject coward, and almost always seems to have an explanation as to why a given course of action seemed to best ensure his personal safety. He also tries to complement and be nice to his subordinates, because many a CowboyCop hard-driving Commissar has been "accidentally" shot by the men he was leading into battle. Note that the series hints that the claims of cowardice aren't always true; there have been plenty of times when he's been unable to come up with a pragmatic explanation, and blames it on shock or injury when it's clear he's acting out of genuine caring.
* Joseph Carrion from the ''Literature/MediochreQSethSeries''. Mediochre at least ''tries'' to be an IdealHero but [[AntiHero isn't very good at it]]. Joseph, by contrast, never saw any need to restrict himself to "good" actions in the first place, and is perfectly fine with gunning people down if it's for a good cause and there's no better option available.
* Pretty much all of Mike's followers in John Ringo's ''Literature/PaladinOfShadows'' series
* Lord Vetinari of the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series always has the smooth operation of the city in mind, but the people in the city aren't as carefully considered.
* Tennyson Hardwick, small time actor, part time detective and bodyguard, former gigolo and hero of the eponymous series by Blair Underwood, Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due is a man hardened by his past enough to kill when he has to but still moral enough to regret having to do it, even though he acknowledges that the men he killed had it coming. he also bends or even break the law often enough to sometimes put him at odds with his former cop father and current cop brother figure.
* Stannis of ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' falls firmly into this during his more cynical moments. He has a very strong sense of what is right and will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to achieve that right; including having his own brother Renly assassinated. It helps that Renly was a JerkAss, but what he had to do still torments him.
* In ''Literature/{{Acacia}}'', in contrast to her older brother Aliver who is an IdealHero , the Acacian princess Corinn is this [[spoiler:while she still retains quite a bit of her morals, she's not one to worry too much about that. How so? She overthrows her family's usurpers through treachery, continues her empire's use of drugging the population to pacify them (though she concedes a bit by using less of them), mind-controls opponents and even her own siblings if they get out of line, and drops the equivalent of a magical nuke on an enemy city that does various horrible things including causing a victim to be flayed alive. However her pragmatism makes her queen while his idealism ends up getting her brother killed]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TwentyFour'': Jack Bauer is a highly unconventional government agent who won't hesitate to torture his enemies to find out what he wants to know. Given that knowledge may be the only thing standing between the world as we know it and some very bad things, he falls in this category.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** The eponymous character thinks he has to take down the forces of evil by any means, and tries to distance himself from humans because they make him more remorseful, and ultimately, less ruthless. He also joins a dubious organization. Possibly momentarily downplayed when he tries to turn into Angelus, his Enemy Without.
** It becomes a plot point in season 5, when it drives him further and further away of his function of Champion. Eventually, it resulted in the murder of [[spoiler: an innocent champion called Drogyn.]]
** A perhaps even ''larger'' example of Angel's pragmatic hero complex is in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' Season Eight comics. He [[spoiler: adopts the status of a masked figure called Twilight]] under order of the Powers, intentionally putting himself against [[spoiler: Buffy and supposedly the Slayer organization]] to keep her focused and alive for the [[spoiler: inevitable Twilight prophecy]] because he believed Buffy would die, along with the rest of the world. In the end, it resulted in the deaths of [[spoiler: 200 slayers and Buffy's watcher, Giles.]] Though he ''was'' possessed in some areas (Long story ... )
** Wesley also frequently displayed this trope. He [[spoiler: was against rescuing Willow from the Mayor for a box]], [[spoiler: tortured a woman in a closet]] to gain information on Angel's wherabouts and stabbed a [[spoiler: a girl that was getting high off vampire's feeding off her]] to find out where Angelus was:
-->'''Wesley:''' "You try not to get anybody killed, you wind up getting everyone killed."
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Giles, later in the series. Buffy avoids this. Faith doesn't, when a good girl she will ShootTheDog and seek out RevengeByProxy, as well a keeping a cynical, pragmatic and decadent attitude, but is altruistic just the same.
* ''Series/{{Camelot}}'': Merlin sees himself as this. It is unclear whether he is actually this at the end of the series, but it seems he wants to be this and will succeed later.
* ''Series/TheCloser'': Brenda Leigh Johnson is a Pragmatic Hero, verging on the Lawful choice of the dilemma ToBeLawfulOrGood because she genuinely thinks she has to (but choosing good ultimately, though a rather tough good).
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Doctor is this, [[spoiler: at one point sacrificing a city to prevent the world from being ruled by the villains]]. However, this tends to vary between incarnation, and sometimes even episodes. In one episode the Doctor will be willing to comment genocide against a destructive race, and in the next he'll be refusing to wipe out the Daleks (AKA, the worst things in the universe). A big theme of the revived series is whether the Doctor is a messianic figure, or whether he's a narcissist hypocrite who looks down on others for not following his high and inconsistent standards.
** Jack Harkness too, although he swings widely between this and Unscrupulous Hero, especially in Torchwood. In Doctor Who proper, he is more often between Disney and Pragmatist.
** This is pointed out in "The Sirens of Time", where the 6th Doctor says all his incarnations are pragmatic but he is more so, stopping the villain by shooting the controls.
* ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'': Elliot Stabler, possibly. He uses IDidWhatIHadToDo as a CatchPhrase, because he is highly moral, but also sometimes too determined in achieving what he thinks are the best results. He has a closure rate of 97%, after all.
* ''LegendOfTheSeeker'':
** It is explored greatly in this ABC show.
** First of all, it is PlayedStraight with the [[TheFettered incorruptible]] Kahlan. She sacrifices her chances to get her immediate happy ending with the man she loves, her safety and the right to have the normal life she dreams of since so long ago, but can be a bit too extreme, even after her LoveInterest. For instance, when she learns that [[spoiler: [[ItMakesSenseInContext her baby niece is actually a baby nephew]], and discovers he'll be a terrible dictator of the AlwaysChaoticEvil men Confessor kind]], she initially wants to drown him. She is also ready to kill a dangerous, potentially apocalypse-causing, yet innocent young lady Confessor.
** Zedd seemed to show signs of being this, but it gets {{Subverted}} when he is willing to get revenge on Panis Rahl while it doesn't help in his quest, nor in his goal, not even helping to fulfill his personal standards, morally or otherwise. Then, it gets DoubleSubverted, as he refuses to do so when he realizes how bad it would be.
** It is [[PlayingWithATrope played with]] with Cara, who behaves like one due to Richard's orders (but it is unclear whether she completely or just partly adopted this mentality).
** {{Subverted}} with Richard, who is supposed to be turned into a Pragmatic Hero by his training but always TakesAThirdOption, remaining (depending on your point of view) either a HeroicArchetype, either a hero with shades of type I antihero.
** It gets {{Deconstructed}} for antagonists such as [[TotalitarianUtilitarian Darken]] [[BrokenBird Rahl]], [[spoiler: [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans Nicci]], [[ShootTheDog the first Mother Confessor in the series's run]], and [[TroubledSympatheticBigot the Sisters of The Light]], except [[TokenGoodTeammate Verna]]]], who see themselves as this, but unlike Kahlan, Zedd and Cara, refuse Richard's solutions about taking a third option.
* ''{{Medium}}'': The heroine, Alison Dubois, uses death threats, emotional manipulation and horrible phobias to make people get caught by the police, or confess their crimes. Sometimes, she even lets murderers die when they can't get caught. She justifies it by thinking they cause a threat, but is several times seen rejoicing, which is justified again because she has many proofs of the afterlife.
* ''Series/{{Merlin}}'': [[GoodIsNotSoft Merlin]] from this BBC show could be seen as this. Merlin [[spoiler: [[IDidWhatIHadToDo poisons the innocent Morgana]] to save the good future he works for]]. Gaius encourages him on this way, and they both end up talking about how hard making difficult choices can be, but how it becomes necessary. Morgana is later characterized by her [[DefiedTrope lack of planning and impulsivity]], which cause her to go to great length either to make something way too extreme happen, either to prevent one of this situations realize, until the season 4 premiere, in which she accepts to do an enormous sacrifice.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'': Ziva David was once a DarkActionGirl, who used manipulation and brutal intimidation to save her country. Since officially joining the team and under Gibbs influence she has dialed back to being a KnightInSourArmor.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': Miles Matheson, thanks to Charlie's influence, goes from Unscrupulous Hero to this type of hero as the series goes on ("[[Recap/RevolutionS1E6SexAndDrugs Sex and Drugs]]", "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E7TheChildrensCrusade The Children's Crusade]]"). He wants to take down his old friend Sebastian "Bass" Monroe and atone for his misdeeds ("[[Recap/RevolutionS1E3NoQuarter No Quarter]]"). Still, characters have had to intervene to make sure Miles doesn't go too far ("[[Recap/RevolutionS1E16TheLoveBoat The Love Boat]]", "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E18Clue Clue]]").
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** Has [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans Tess]] [[BecauseDestinySaysSo Mercer]], who defines herself and people who are really heroes, as the people who are ready to do the dirty work for the good of the many.
** [[AntiHero Oliver Queen]] refuses to adhere to Clark's ThouShallNotKill policy pretexting that it prevents him from being this. This argument is possibly used by [[MagnificentBastard Lionel]] [[BigGood Luthor]], and all those who wish Clark would at last become more effective and implicated, or who want him to went JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope.
** [[TheCutie Chloe Sullivan]] becomes this to protect Clark at one point, but she is guilt-stricken in the afterwhile.
* Oliver Queen from the Series "Series/{{Arrow}}" is a prime example in season 1, killing the bad-guys to save the day.

* Elite Agent Rotor in Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG happens to be guilty of multiple war crimes, but he's also fighting to save the world from Mutant Dinosaurs and does a dang good job at it.

* In general, this is where the people closest to be heroes from WarHammer40000 fall.

* [[Creator/WilliamShakespeare Shakespeare's]] ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' lets his beloved lose hope in their future together to do what he thinks is right, thus qualifying if you [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation agree that he is doing what is right]] in fighting against the (possibly) traitor queen and her king.
** Macbeth in ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'' was probably one (some see him as a DarkerAndEdgier version of Brutus from Theatre/JuliusCaesar, as he wanted to promote non-hereditary monarchy) before [[LadyMacbeth his wife]] tried to mend his ways...

* Prowl in ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1'' is often portrayed this way in contrast to the rest of the Autobots tending to be far more idealistic. How far it goes ranges from him just being TheSpock in [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers the original cartoon]], to being kind of a dick in [[ComicBook/TheTransformers the original comics]], to being a WellIntentionedExtremist in [[ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW some]] of [[ComicBook/TransformersLastStandOfTheWreckers the]] recent [[ComicBook/TransformersRobotsInDisguise comics]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Yuri Lowell from ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' [[IDidWhatIHadToDo did what he had to do]] to Cumore and Ragou and many a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech are given by him to Flynn Scifo.
* A Renegade Commander Shepard can be quite pragmatic in ''Franchise/MassEffect''. With a general "IDidWhatIHadToDo" philosophy as the core tenet of the playstyle, all kinds of morally questionable actions can be done.
** Even ''[[GoodIsNotSoft Paragon]]'' Shepard slips into this during the second and third game.
** Mordin Solus falls into this. He's a decent person and firmly on the heroic side, but he's also extremely pragmatic and isn't afraid to be ruthless and do horrible things for the sake of the greater good. He is first introduced as a doctor who willingly went into a heavily plague-infested area to save as many lives as possible... and who mercilessly gunned down mercenaries trying to stop him and hung their corpses up outside his clinic as a warning to others.
-->'''Daniel''': You're a doctor! You're supposed to help people!
-->'''Mordin''': Many ways to help people. Sometimes cure patients. Sometimes execute dangerous individuals. Either way helps.
* Raiden from ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'' firmly believes that some people have to die in order for innocent lives to be saved. His evil alter ego, Jack the Ripper, makes him a borderline UnscrupulousHero.
-->'''Raiden''': There's a saying I like: 'One sword keeps another in the sheath.' Sometimes, the threat of violence alone is a deterrent. Sometimes, by taking a life, others can be preserved. It's the code the samurai lived by...
* The new ''[[VideoGame/TombRaider2013 Tomb Raider]]'' game has Lara develop into this over the course of the game. While she starts out as a ClassicalAntiHero who must simply kill in self defense merely to survive the extreme conditions around her, she gradually becomes more and more jaded and numb until she's spouting BadassBoasts that imply she's now come to revel in the carnage she reaps. She even has a standard "brushes off of an attempted WhatTheHellHero " moment.
** Although that moment came directly after [[spoiler:a friend [[HeroicSacrifice sacrificed himself to save her]] and the WhatTheHellHero speech was used to unfairly ''blame'' Lara for his death]], so she was both justified in brushing it off ''and'' not in the best frame of mind at that point.
* Jim Raynor in ''VideoGame/{{StarCraft II}}''
* Lee Everett in ''The Walking Dead Video Game'' can be pragmatic depending on player choice.
* HectorBadgeOfCarnage, Hector is willing to use any means to get where he needs to be, even if it involves lying, black mail, stealing...anything to get the job done.
* Captain Walker in ''SpecOpsTheLine'' certainly considers himself to be one of these. [[spoiler:Whether the player still agrees with him by the end of the game is another story...]]
* Shadow from the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' series became one after discovering his true purpose in his [[VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog self-titled game]]. He realizes that Maria's wish for him is to protect the world, but he has no qualms in going the extra mile in doing so, especially if it involves fighting against Sonic and the other heroes.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Armsmaster, a BadassNormal GadgeteerGenius, is a clear example of this. He notes to [[VillainProtagonist Taylor]] that she should avoid fights where she can, develops technology specifically to incapacitate the villains of his city, and [[spoiler:gets several supervillains deliberately killed in order to give him a chance to kill [[OmnicidalManiac Leviathan.]]]]
** A later and even more extreme example is found in Alexandria of the Triumvirate, who is ''entirely'' willing to manipulate the system that ''she created'' to keep parahumans under the control of normal people to put her civilian identity in a position of authority where she can do the most good with her Thinker powers, threatens the lives of a villain's friends in order to force her to give in, is willing to work with a far worse villain for the sake of maintaining security of the foremost parahuman prison, and [[spoiler:is guilty of enough crimes against humanity to push her into WellIntentionedExtremist territory.]]
* The ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' is ultimately trying to protect the world (and reality in general) from potentially dangerous items. This occasionally means they are forced to do morally ambiguous things for the sake of their mission. Among other things, many of the items captured are sentient, or even human. Knowing that a child RealityWarper is rarely more than a childhood trauma away from [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds initiating an apocalypse]], and that even [[LethalHarmlessPowers the most innocuous items]] can be abused in the wrong hands, the foundation [[IDidWhatIHadToDo does what it has to do]].


[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Princess Bubblegum from ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', of all people, given some of the depths she will go to at times. Finn and Jake have even [[WhatTheHellHero called her out a couple times]], though not always face to face.
* [[GoodIsNotNice Batman]] in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''.
* Kyle from ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' often plays this role, particularly when confronting one of Cartman's many schemes.
* Rose from ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'' is most likely this, being willing to pull off a FinalSolution to save her family and the entire Magical World from the Huntsclan.
** Though this is only after she finds out Jake's secret, up until that point she's an AntiVillain.
* Few of the heroes in ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'' seem to really give a flying fish if the Urpneys are TrappedInVillainy, and will take any measure to stop them. This bordered BloodKnight or outright UnscrupulousHero territory in early episodes, though later seasons made their retaliations more passive, often disinterested in attacking the Urpneys outside the means to protect the stone. They ''sometimes'' relapsed however.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'': The heroes are not averse to fighting dirty when confronted with [[TyrannosaurusRex sharpteeth]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}}'' holds himself to a strict moral code, but this doesn't stop him from beating people or animals to a pulp (occasionally for little to no reason, in the early shorts anyway). And a sometimes when he rescues Olive, he does so to prevent Bluto from having her rather than for her own safety.
* Many of the past avatars from WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender and WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra, most notably Kyoshi, who wouldn't hesitate to murder somebody if it would save the lives of innocents.