This is the character in {{Cop Show}}s, {{Detective Drama}}s, and Espionage Thrillers that everyone despises. Even the cops who make use of his services hate him. He is beneath the level of more dignified, "honest" crooks. He is a low level version of the KnowledgeBroker; perhaps even the minion of one. But where a KnowledgeBroker is high status and has an arbitrarily greater reputation, this character is just a stoolie. (This difference is sort of like the difference between a courtesan and a street-walker... they are both prostitutes, but one is considered "high class".)

The Informant lives in a miserable fashion selling information. But he is needed, so he is tolerated. Sometimes a sort of patronizing affection is granted him. In such a case, he is likely to be a LovableCoward as well as a LovableTraitor. Probably there are those who will not find him lovable...

A subtrope of KnowledgeBroker. MysteriousInformant is a SisterTrope to, and TheStoolPigeon is a SubTrope of, The Informant. This trope may be averted entirely if a particular crime boss or criminal empire is [[TheMobBossIsScarier considered too scary to inform on]].

Not to be confused with 2009 Matt Damon film ''Film/TheInformant2009'', which is actually about a [[TheStoolPigeon Stool Pigeon]], kind of.

Informants fear prison, since they probably become a PariahPrisoner, fearing molestation or lethal violence. Compare BakerStreetRegular for a more sympathetic version of the trope.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the Franchise/MarvelUniverse, Turk, a petty street criminal, often has this role in several different titles. Many of the heroes (notably {{Comicbook/Daredevil}}, Comicbook/ThePunisher and Comicbook/SpiderMan) seem to use "I need information; I think I'll go beat on Turk until he sqeals" as a standard operating procedure, although this has varied DependingOnTheWriter.
%%* Weavel from ComicBook/SinCity.

* Ribs in FanFic/TheTaintedGrimoire makes a living as a streetear. He is on good terms with the protagonists.

* Juan Martinez in ''Film/RunningScared1986''. He's a second generation stoolie.
* The informant in ''Film/TheFrenchConnection'' is portrayed more seemingly realistically than the norm described in the trope description at the top of this page, perhaps because the film is based somewhat closely on a true story.
* Clarence Darlington in ''Film/LakeviewTerrace'' is a small time drug dealer and DirtyCop Abel Turner's informant.
* In the Creator/GuyRitchie movie ''Film/RockNRolla'', the London underworld is puzzled by he identity of an informant whose testimony has been putting away multiple well connected gangsters. At the very end of the film [[spoiler:it's revealed to be TheDon himself, [[LondonGangster Lenny]]. Lenny's men quickly and ruthlessly turn on him, especially since some of them, including TheDragon have gone to prison based on that testimony]].
* In ''Literature/TheFriendsOfEddieCoyle'', Eddie (Creator/RobertMitchum) is what can only be termed an aspiring informant. [[spoiler:[[DownerEnding It doesn't go so well]].]]
* In ''Film/HellraiserInferno'', Detective Joseph has an ex-con snitch named Bernie running an icecream truck, whom he abuses for information on the Engineer. Then again, Bernie is implied to have been sent to prison for being a pedophile. [[spoiler:The Engineer tortures and murders the informant on camera to spite Joseph.]]
* In ''Film/BlackMass'' Whitey Bulger pretends to be one, but in reality he's mostly feeding the FBI things they already knew, and in any case he's informing on the Italian mafia so he and the rest of TheIrishMob can replace them as head of organized crime in Boston. Later, a real informant rats Whitey out for smuggling guns to the IRA, and Whitey kills him with the contempt usually associated with a rat.

* Nick the Nose from Donald Sobel's ''Two Minute Mysteries'' series.
* [[spoiler:David]] in Creator/ChinaMieville's ''Literature/PerdidoStreetStation'' sells out Isaac to the militia as part of his work as a paid informant.
* In Literature/{{Discworld}}, Lord Vetinari gets intel from the city's beggars, mostly by way of unfounded rumors that he pays for information. And the City Watch under Commander Vimes gets information from similar sources, as well as some of the pettier of petty criminals, who have an almost jocular relationship with the lawmen. It's mentioned that the Watch House break room is populated by a collection of "petty crooks, informants and ex-watchmen, some of whom were the same people." Vimes signs off on the doughnuts, since the information they bring in is well worth the price.
** In ''Discworld/NightWatch'', Nobby Nobbs started out as one of these, and eventually became a real member of the Watch. Though not a particularly good one.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Willy the Snitch from ''Series/{{Buffy|TheVampireSlayer}}'' runs a dive patronised by demons, and lives up to his name
* In ''Series/MiamiVice'', Crockett and Tubbs regularly called upon Izzy "The Snitch" Moreno and Neville "Noogie" Lamont to get information on whatever big plot was going down. The two cops treated the latter like some unpleasant form of fungus, while the former was treated like a favored pet.
* ''Series/InPlainSight'', by its very nature, often deals with Informants who are now on the run from their former employers.
* While very few of the Informants were ever actually ''shown'', the detectives on ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' often had regular informants they relied on. Detective Rey Curtis often referred to an entire network of confidential informants he had from his days as a vice cop.
** Fin from ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' had a number of these as well, most of whom he'd acquired from his time in Narcotics.
** One or two episodes make it clear the NYPD expects cops to register their CI's with the department, and frowns on officers who keep informants "off the books".
* In the episode of ''Series/FantasyIsland'' with the two old actors who used to star in a cop show together, their characters had an informant they used to rough up when they wanted information. When they get stuck in a real-life version of the show, the informant shows up with a massive grudge against them for the way they used to treat him.
* Alexei, a Russian taxi driver in Moscow, in ''Series/{{JAG}}'' a LovableRogue that works for "the highest bidder", but develops a crush on Mac.
* Merl from ''Series/{{Angel}}''.
* ''Series/TheWire''
** Bubbles was a frequent informant to the police, and on very friendly terms with the officer he worked for. Kima in particular even helped him when he was trying to quit heroin.
** In the fourth season, Randy's story is used to show the darker side of this trope and illustrate how becoming a police informant can completely ruin your life, even if you're in middle school.
* Several one-off characters in ''Series/TheSweeney'', whose portrayals ranged from "contemptible but necessary" to actually fairly sympathetic. Of course, one of the show's central themes was that the cops and the cons were NotSoDifferent.
* ''{{Series/Guerrilla}}'': One of the black radicals turns out to be a police informant. He points out the leader of the protest for the police, who beat him to death. Pence also has a female one, whom he's involved with and fathered a son by.
* ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''. While battling time agents in WW2 New York, Captain Archer is put in contact with a man who sells information to them. However the informer frankly admits that [[RealityEnsues he makes most of the stuff up]].

* Snow's "Informer" is apparently about this, if you can make sense of the IndecipherableLyrics.
* The Music/GetoBoys' "Snitches" is anti-informant.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Ziggy in ''VideoGame/LauraBow: The Dagger of Amon Ra''. Unfortunately, his dangerous career got the better of him in the end.
* Ugarte in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'' and ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryV''.
* ''VideoGame/TimeSplitters2'' has a Prohibition-Era level where you have to protect a snitch.
* The Cohdopian embassy in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigations'' has a slight problem with their employees wanting to snitch and then winding up dead.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AaahhRealMonsters'': Zimbo, see TheStoolPigeon.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' TOS episode "Terror Island", Race Bannon's "old friend" Jade questions an unnamed informant, who pulls the old "more money might help me remember" trick until Jade gets tired of him and pulls a gun.
* Josh Stone from ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' was closer to this trope than TheStoolPigeon, as not only was he undercover for the Superintendent Skinner, he was also not even a kid. He did such a good job at covering his tracks that TJ and his friends initially thought Randall was behind their being snitched on, [[NotMeThisTime despite Randall's insistence that he did not]], until they literally chased him into a bathroom.
* Trader Johann from ''WesternAnimation/DragonsRidersOfBerk'' could often be counted on to provide information if you meet his price. Or just threaten him with trade sanctions.