->''"Well, I suppose the first thing you should know about us is...[[WeAreEverywhere we have people everywhere.]]"''
-->-- '''Mr. White''', ''Film/QuantumOfSolace''. [[BodyguardBetrayal He's not exaggerating.]]

The Syndicate is TheEmpire of the criminal world. It maintains an iron grip on the BlackMarket, commands battalions of armed guards and controls large sectors of land (from districts to cities or whole planets). Its influence might extend towards law enforcement, labor unions, politicians and corporations, whether through blackmail, bribery, coercion or simple business. Its many activities include racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, gambling, smuggling and trafficking.

In addition to standard {{Mooks}}, its security apparatus may consist of a MurderInc, {{Bounty Hunter}}s, ProfessionalKillers and the CorporateSamurai. You know you're in trouble when the Syndicate somehow boasts {{Pinkerton Detective}}s and/or PrivateMilitaryContractors. Often times, The Syndicate can be a bonafide NGOSuperpower.

There are several ways to structure the culture and chain of authority within The Syndicate, but the most common would be for it to carry a distinctly corporate flavor. In this sense, the Syndicate operates its enterprise by setting up illegal monopolies or illicit criminal networks, all the while conducting themselves almost like a business clique (see [[KnightsOfTheOldRepublic The Exchange]]).

On a semantic note, a "syndicate" is nothing illegal per definition, as it is simply a group of companies working together for mutual profit (most immediate example would be the television syndications), however, "the Syndicate" only has one meaning in modern Western popular culture. In this sense, it may have gotten its name from the so-called "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Crime_Syndicate National Crime Syndicate]]" of ethnic gangs and the similarly-vague "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Commission_(mafia) Commission]]," the RealLife governing body of the American [[TheMafia Mafia]]. Both were organized by the Italian gangster Lucky Luciano and the Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky in the early [[TheGreatDepression 1930s]].

Not to be confused with a short-lived Creator/{{BBC}}1 GameShow hosted by Nick Ross, or the companies which distribute NewspaperComics to the papers themselves or the [[VideoGame/{{Syndicate}} video game of the same name]]. Compare the NebulousCriminalConspiracy and NebulousEvilOrganisation. Funnily enough, in Spanish "Sindicato" means both "Syndicate" and "Trade Union" (the same goes for the French "syndicat"). [[MilkmanConspiracy Make of that what you will]].

See also TheMafia (and its Russian cousin TheMafiya), TheIrishMob, TheTriadsAndTheTongs, TheCartel, {{Yakuza}}, and MafiaPrincess.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The Red Dragon in ''Anime/CowboyBebop''.
* Demon Card in ''Anime/RaveMaster''.
* Enfant in ''Anime/{{Madlax}}''.
* Les Soldats in ''Anime/{{Noir}}'', although they also venture quite far into the AncientConspiracy territory.
** Indeed, the main conflict in the organization revolves between those who emphasize the AncientConspiracy angle, and those who just perceive themselves as The Syndicate - that is, the idealists and the pragmatists.
* The all-encompassing, running the entire world behind the scenes group in ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'' is one of these and actually called "The Syndicate", but most the viewer ever sees of it is the cell Hei is in and the occasional one-shot agent they have to contact. Up until TheReveal of the conspiracy (which isn't all that ancient), there's not a high ranking Syndicate member to be seen -- not even [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness an Omniscient Council of Vagueness]]. [[spoiler: It falls apart after Hei blows the lid of The {{Masquerade}} at the end of the first season.]]
** [[spoiler: End of season 2 sees the creation of a New Syndicate, of which [[SnarkyNonHumanSidekick Mao]] and [[HeroAntagonist Kirihara]] are members.]]
* ''{{Gungrave}}'' is a series 100% based off of a syndicate and with its fair share of conspiracies. And zombies.
* Meiousei aka Pluto in ''[[TanteiGakuenQ Detective School Q]]''.
* ''DetectiveConan'' has The Black Organization.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* Intergang from the ''Comicbook/{{Superman}}'' comics falls into this, and is a credible threat even to powerful superheroes because they get their weapons and technology from TheDCU's ultimate BigBad and EvilOverlord, {{Darkseid}}. (They also make a few appearances in the Superman and JusticeLeague cartoons, but as a lesser threat).
** More recently, reinvented as the [[ReligionOfEvil Church of Crime]]. Same deal, only with fewer Apokaliptan superweapons, and more [[MultipleReferencePun Apocalyptic revelations]].
* The 100 (a.k.a. The 1000) is another example from TheDCU.
* The Maggia in the MarvelUniverse.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|Mirage}}'', the Foot are supposed to be this, although they're not terribly effective at it. The Shredder and his men, it is eventually revealed, are pretty much a rogue faction of the main group (which mostly remains unseen outside the no-longer-canon Vol. 3), and the fact that Karai needs the turtles in order to stop the warring between factions does not bode well for the group as a whole. In the current story arc, it is revealed that most of the clan the world over had been killed by a group of mysterious warriors. So yeah...
* The Singh Brotherhood of ''ComicStrip/ThePhantom'' is a powerful criminal organisation which traces its origin back to the Viking Age.
* Herr Wallenquist runs one of these in ''SinCity'', where he is the prime benefactor of an assassins' guild that also specializes in the BlackMarket and indirectly controls the corrupt police precinct. In past stories, he has shown to have connections with other crime families such as the Lords and the Roarks.
* Vulture, in the 1950s MartianManhunter strips, was a shadowy criminal group led by the enigmatic [[DiabolicalMastermind Mr. V]]. They flummoxed both J'onn and the police with their zany schemes, and every time that J'onn thought he'd finally caught Mr. V, it would turn out to be just another one of his {{Body Double}}s.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films]]
* Pick a [[HeroicBloodshed Hong Kong triad film]]. Any triad film.
* ''Film/{{Payback}}'' pits AntiHero Porter against a syndicate. Just a slight bit of [[PlayingWithATrope playing]] and LampshadeHanging goes on as it's discussed at several points that the movie's syndicate actually used to be called The Syndicate, but changed its name to The Outfit while Porter was recovering from his wounds.
* In ''Film/PointBlank'', Lee Marvin battled a remarkably organised organised crime organisation which was explicitly referred to as "The Syndicate". ''Film/TheOutfitOutfit'' was a loose sequel to ''Point Blank'', and ''Film/CharleyVarrick'' inhabited a similar world
* The Umbrella Corporation in the ''Film/ResidentEvil'' movies.
* The [[FunWithAcronyms SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion]] aka SPECTRE, in the ''Film/JamesBond'' movies.
* The SpiritualSuccessor of SPECTRE is Quantum in ''Film/QuantumOfSolace''. Bonus points for having one of its members actually say, "[[WeAreEverywhere We have people everywhere]]" about five seconds before being proven right.
* The Organization in the Virgil Tibbs adventure ''The Organization''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The ArchEnemy of SherlockHolmes, Professor Moriarty, is the head of a mighty criminal organization filled with "a hundred broken fighting men, pickpockets, blackmailers, and card sharpers at the other, with every sort of crime in between." Holmes deduces that it is responsible for nearly all the undetected crimes in London, even powerful enough to threaten entire nations.
* The Syndicate in the ''{{Illuminatus}}!'' trilogy plays this trope to the tee.
* Umbra Corporation from ''Literature/{{A Game of Universe}}'' by Eric Nylund.
* It's also called "The Syndicate" in the WhateleyUniverse. In this world of mutants with superpowers, The Syndicate is run by shadowy supervillains, and staffed with armies of minions and {{Mooks}}.
* OlderThanRadio: ''Les Habits Noirs'' (''Literature/TheBlackCoats'') novels by Creator/PaulFeval, written from 1863 to 1875.
** And he had an earlier prototype in the Literature/GentlemenOfTheNight
* [[{{Dragaera}} The House of the Jhereg]].
* Milo's syndicate in ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo''.
* ''PhoenixForce'' sometimes battles MERGE (a criminal alliance of TheMafia, the Unione Corse, the Colombian cartels and the Mexican Mafia) and its Oriental equivalent TRIO -- a union of the {{Yakuza}}, the [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triads]], and the fictional New Horde (a Mongolian crime group). Its members don't always get along.
* Literature/TimeScout's criminal empire is composed of TheMafia, TheMafiya, TheYakuza, and many {{Corrupt Politician}}s
* Donald Westlake's Parker novels featured one of these, run along 60s corporate lines. Parker had some trouble with them in the first few novels, but arranged a détente of sorts after helping a new leader ascend to power. Parker even did a couple of jobs for them thereafter on a strictly cash basis.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Pick a CriminalProcedural. If it doesn't have The Syndicate, pick the next one: it's bound to be in.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Several shows in the franchise, including ''Deep Space 9'', have the Orion Syndicate, although since most of the major characters were (essentially) military personnel it tended to be more of an around-the-edges nuisance than a direct threat.
** "A Piece of the Action" in ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' has Kirk arrange for the formation of a syndicate of mobs. It's all for a good cause, of course: the planet in question is run ''by'' mobs straight out of 1920 Chicago, so The Syndicate is the closest equivalent to TheFederation for the moment, and it helps to keep the Iotians working together.
* In ''Series/TheXFiles'', the OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness is actually called "the Syndicate" (among other things). They are [[spoiler:an international conspiracy of politicians and businessmen who discovered the existence of aliens after the RoswellIncident and a few years later, managed to negotiate a temporary truce with the homicidal aliens, buying themselves a few decades in return for assisting the alien colonization]].
* ''Series/{{Alias}}'' had the Alliance, K-Directorate, the Covenant, etc.
* The infamous Shocker of the long running children's TV show [[KamenRider Kamen Rider]] definitely fits into this one considering that it spawned a lot of evil organizations after.
* ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' is known for its evil organizations like [[NebulousEvilOrganisation FULCRUM]], Fulcrum's parent company The Ring, and the current incarnation of the Syndicate: Volkoff Industries.
* The [[MissionImpossible Impossible Missions Force]] faces off against The Syndicate several times.
* The criminal organisation Niska represents in ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' was never given an offical name, but is usually referred to simply as 'the Syndicate'.
* The Franchise/StargateVerse has the Lucian Alliance, a network of drug smugglers and black market dealers that developed into a consistent secondary threat to the Tau'ri after the Goa'uld Empire collapsed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A few such syndicates exist in ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'', and from time to time you'll be asked to infiltrate their corporate headquarters during your missions.
* In the ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'', The Syndicate is the economic arm of the [[TabletopGame/MageTheAscension Technocracy]].
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'': Your typical Thief's Guild in a big city will be one of these. Depending on the setting, a variety of other guids, like an Assassin's Guild or Mage's Guild, might be involved in nefarious criminal schemes.
* The Shadow Thieves in the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms''. They double as a ReligionOfEvil, since they are the devoted worshipers of Mask, the god of thieves. Also the Zhentarim, who are thinking really big and have their hands deeply in politics, effectively even controlling their own small country.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' brings us the Guild, a syndicate so wealthy and influential that it qualifies as an NGOSuperpower, despite being a mortal-run organization in a world ruled by {{Physical God}}s.
* The [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering Orzhov Syndicate]]. Officially, they're a church. [[BlatantLies Officially]]. Everybody on [[CityPlanet Ravnica]] knows that they're in charge of big business as well as organised crime... and if you owe the Orzhov a debt, you're going to pay it off, even after death.
* The Free Enterprise secret society in ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}.''
* Pretty much how [[TheFairFolk Dark Eldar]] society is organised in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. They live in an impossibly vast inter-dimensional city called [[MeaningfulName Commorragh]], and it is ruled and enforced by the Kabals, which are basically like a mix between crime syndicates, pirate fleets, and the old medieval Italian city state families. They constantly battle for dominance through political and military means, with the Kabalite Warriors being made-men, and Archons are basically Godfathers. A warrior can climb the ranks of a Kabal [[KlingonPromotion by killing those ranked above him]].
* A subversion appears in a ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' book of NPC villains. The villain is a homeless schizophrenic who was more or less literally raised by a television. He sincerely believes that there is an interstellar (he's in a science-fiction universe) crime syndicate, that he's a member of it, and that it sends him messages and instructions in mysterious ways(he interprets random happenings and the voices in his head as such). He's completely deluded, but has managed to convince a number of the local lowlifes that he's for real, and as such has a surprising degree of influence in his local area.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Classic PC hit ''Videogame/{{Syndicate}}'' featured... [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin you guessed it]], a Syndicate.
** And the player plays a team of its agents, no less.
** A little subverted though as while they're no strangers to playing dirty, the implication is that most of their income is from at least semi-legitimate sources.
*** ''Playing dirty'' might be putting it a little lightly. The game's story and setting are a pretty shamelessly obvious example of BlackAndBlackMorality.
* The unnamed crime syndicate run by Mr. X in the ''StreetsOfRage'' trilogy.
* ''JohnWooPresentsStranglehold'', being the sequel to classic Hong Kong film ''HardBoiled'', has three of them: the Golden Kane headed by Yung Gi, the Zakarov syndicate headed by Damon and Vladimir Zakarov, and Dragon Claw headed by Mr. Wong.
* StarWarsExpandedUniverse:
** The Black Sun criminal syndicate, which exists in some form or another during every period of the GFFA. Though dissolved after the Vong War, it makes a comeback during the Legacy era.
** The Zann Consortium from ''[[VideoGame/EmpireatWar Empire at War: Forces of Corruption]]'' essentially evolves into a galaxy-wide syndicate by the end of the campaign.
** The Exchange in the ''[[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic Knights of the Old Republic]]'' games.
* The Guild in ''JadeEmpire.''
* ''VideoGame/FrontMission'' has two of these - one in the main Front Mission universe and another in the Gun Hazard universe.
** In the main Front Mission universe, the "Grimnir" led by Morgan Bernard (who also functions as the series BigBad).
** In the Gun Hazard universe, "The Society" led by Henry Sherwood.
* The Black Dragon to which Kano belonged and their rival parent group the Red Dragon from ''MortalKombat''. Likewise, Sub-Zero's Lin Kuei and their rivals, the Shira Ryu, to which Scorpion once belonged. The White Lotus Society, to which both Liu Kang and Kung Lao belonged, is the "good guy" variant of this trope.
* The crime syndicate called "The Syndicate" in ''{{Oni}}''
* In the MMORPG RagnarokOnline we have Rekember Corporation. When something bad is happening you can be 90% sure that Rekember has it's fingers in it.
* In ''EVEOnline'', there is an entire region of 0.0, lawless, space called [[http://eve.wikia.com/wiki/The_Syndicate The Syndicate]]. It was once described as a good place for a vacation by a Gallente Senator.
** Their allies, [[http://eve.wikia.com/wiki/Serpentis Serpentis Corporation]] and [[http://eve.wikia.com/wiki/Angel_Cartel Angel Cartel]] are little different.
*** All three, however, have had this status dulled as of late by their more grey morality in comparison to the EvilerThanThou Sansha's Nation, which is something like The Syndicate [[JustForFun/XMeetsY meets]] ReligionOfEvil.
* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Syndicate]] in ''[[Franchise/JakAndDaxter Jak X]]'' that is run by [[VillainousGlutton Krew's]] rival gang leader and practically ''runs'' [[ViceCity Kras City]]. Fixes all the [[BloodSport Combat Races]], [[SeriousBusiness hires mercenary drivers]], [[spoiler: sabotages Jak's vehicle, and kills Blitz's father, though that happened before the game's events.]]
* [[Franchise/StreetFighter Shadaloo]] started out as this, but as the series progressed, became more of a NebulousEvilOrganisation.
* The plot of ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigations'' centers around an international smuggling syndicate.
* Nile in ''VisualNovel/HotelDuskRoom215''.
* The Z Syndicate from ''VideoGame/CustomRobo''. Strangely, the organization was originally formed for benevolent purposes, before the lieutenants decided to make it a criminal group and ousted their leader.
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes: Going Rogue'': has [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the Syndicate]]. Essentially, after the [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Hamidon Wars]], [[EvilCounterpart Emperor Cole]] began cracking down on organized crime. This only caused it to "get more organized," and in the end, every gang in the city had banded under the name of the Syndicate. Players will run across members of the Syndicate, whose [[MirrorUniverse Primal Earth]] counterparts are heads of other gangs.
* The Syndicate (or rather, ''a'' syndicate, because the actual names are randomly generated) attacking the station is one of the possible events to occur on ''VideoGame/SpaceStation13''. Effectiveness varies based on the intelligence of the syndicate members, but usually, being a team of three or more foes armed to the teeth with energy swords and bombs and hell bent on destroying the station, they're near the top of biggest threats to the station.
* The Pizza Bat corporation in ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle'' is in control of a mafia the size of a small army. Needless to say, they pretty much run the city.
* The Syndicate in ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' is a consortium of three powerful gangs, firmly in control of the city of Steelport and environs.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has a faction of rogues called the Syndicate. It's a subversion in this case as the Syndicate is a meaningless, almost powerless faction only feared by low level characters.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' has Khamja, a shadowy criminal clan so powerful that it basically runs the country the game takes place in.
* The Syndicate is actually one part of Ul'dah's ruling government in ''FinalFantasyXIV'' alongside the Sultinate. Most major decisions are made by vote with the Syndicate members and the Sultana. Everyone knows the Syndicate to be corrupt and only looking out for themselves, often reducing the Sultana to a figure head position despite her efforts.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/RoninGalaxy'': The Akuma gang in the first chapter. Possibly the Moritomi gang from the second.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Dark Hand of ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' is originally portrayed as this, having connections to nearly every major international crime out there. Because of VillainDecay, however, it is no longer the case.
* Of course, there needs to be a mention of THE number one syndicate in all of western animation... [[WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget MAD]].
* ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Huntik}} Huntik: Secrets & Seekers]]'' has The Organization, which reportedly has agents the world over, has the power to erase bank accounts, and can even take over governments.
[[/folder]]

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