->''"No one messes with the Ministry of Public Welfare!"''
-->-- '''Takashi Terada''', ''Anime/RoujinZ''

Some bureaucrats are a [[ObstructiveBureaucrat bother]]. Others are [[BeleagueredBureaucrat overworked]]. Still others are [[CorruptBureaucrat dishonest]]. However this one is a lord or lady of the office, and even the most powerful kneel before them. This is a character no one on the outside knows about. Others get the glory, but they get the job done and well enough to earn praise from their fellows. They are living paper shredders who cut through red tape like a buzz saw, and are usually very good with being TheScrounger.

When female, she's likely to be young and attractive and very much a PluckyOfficeGirl, but with a streak of an IronLady as well. Often this is a female intelligence analyst who is something of an indirect LadyOfWar. Sometimes her {{Love Interest|s}} will be one of her field agents. Their general behavior is rather like an ApronMatron in their dedication and their hidden but intimidating air of authority, except this character brings these traits to work.

Regardless of gender, they are something like TheConsigliere but tend to work farther in the background. If circumstances call upon them to go into peril openly, they will, of course, [[TookALevelInBadass take a level]] and be more straightforward in their badassery. But for now they are just a Badass Bureaucrat.

Often found in combination with an AlmightyJanitor and/or SilkHidingSteel. Also see PenPushingPresident.


[[folder: Anime/Manga ]]
* In [[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist both]] [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist versions]] of ''Fullmetal Alchemist'', Maes Hughes is certifiably badass as he uncovers a lot of TheConspiracy through sheer investigation and intelligence not to mention that he takes out both Envy and Lust single handed; too bad they are both immortal.
* In ''Manga/{{X 1999}}'', Yuuto Kigai and Kanoe work in the Japanese government (he's an office worker in a Tokyo ward, she's the SexySecretary to the Prime Minister). Kanoe leads the Dragons of Earth and Yuuto is her [[TheDragon right hand man]].
* ''Manga/DescendantsOfDarkness'' gives us the RightHandHottie to Chief Konoe, Seiichirou Tatsumi. Very handsome, very smart, and has the power to manipulate shadows.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'''s sidestory ''[[Manga/MobileSuitGundamThePlotToAssassinateGihren The Plot to Assassinate Gihren]]'' has an evil example in [[TheEvilPrince Gihren]]'s secretary, Cecilia Irene, who is also an example of the dark type of ObstructiveBureaucrat. A coldly efficient young woman who acts like TheBaroness, she is feared/respected by the top brass, pushes Gihren's special projects through the red tape, and acts as his keeper of the keys, handling all the black operations that the rest of the General Staff doesn't want to think about.
* ''LightNovel/SaiunkokuMonogatari'''s heroine wants to become a civil servant in an ancient China-esque country; the show focuses much with the internal workings of the State, and most main characters are Badass Bureaucrats of some sorts.
* In all incarnations of ''Franchise/GhostInTheShell'' [[AlmightyJanitor Daisuke "The Ape" Aramaki]] is an old Government hand, respected and feared by a friend and foe alike. Though, setting the Division 9 as an independednt Cabinet-level investigative agency ''without'' any of the the [[CorruptCop Ministry of Interior]], [[ArmiesAreEvil Ministry of Defence]] and [[AssInAmbassador Ministry of Foreign Affairs]] oversight, is usually treated as his greatest feat.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Henry Gyrich of Creator/MarvelComics has his moments, despite usually being at best an AntiVillain. See his epic victory over the Man-Ape in Comicbook/BlackPanther's eponymous series, using nothing but his encyclopedic knowledge of the law.

* [[AdaptationalBadass Meowth]] in ''FanFic/{{Symbiosis}}'', who games Team Rocket's system for Jessie and James's sake.
* ''FanFic/TheInfiniteLoops'' makes [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Mayor Mare]] into one of these when she convinces the Vogons not to destroy Equestria (with superior paperwork-fu).
* In ''Fanfic/TheUniversiad'', the Salary Men of [[StateSec the Office of Special Resources]]' Financial Management Directorate pursue financial crimes with superhuman diligence and persistence and have been known to stay on cases for decades to centuries in order to get their man.
* In ''[[FanFic/SovereignGFCOrigins Origins]]'', a ''MassEffect''[=/=]''StarWars''[[spoiler:[=/=]''[=Borderlands=]''[=/=]''[=Halo=]'']] MassiveMultiplayerCrossover, Senator Glia Ham'Del might qualify, seeing as she's almost a one-woman crusade against the [[StateSec Republic Intelligence Service]], who despite being much removed by time seem to take their cues from the Imperial Security Bureau.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Bob "Mr. Incredible" Parr, from Creator/{{Pixar}}'s ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', was this during his brief stint as an insurance claims agent, much to the chagrin of his ObstructiveBureaucrat boss Mr. Huph.
* Roz from ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'', [[spoiler: also the CDA Administrator incognito.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Pam, in ''Film/TheManWhoNeverWas'', and most of the other main characters.
* Lawrence starts off as this in ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia''.
* The middle-aged professionals in ''Film/OldSchool'' are noted for being ''really'' good at filing paperwork.
* Mallory from ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'' at first seemed like a ObstructiveBureaucrat but is later shown to be a ReasonableAuthorityFigure and even [[spoiler: takes the bullet for M from Silva and was able to kill two of his Mooks before becoming the new M at the death of Judi Dench's character.]]
* Keiji Watanabe in ''{{Film/Ikiru}}'' is an understated example, but best exemplified when his response to being punched in the stomach (while suffering from stomach cancer) is to simply go into the office to rabble-rouse some more.

* Tywin Lannister from ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' and its HBO adaptation, ''Series/GameOfThrones''. While he is definitely an effective battlefield commander and tactician, his real strength is his almost unmatched skill as a politician and long-term [[TheStrategist strategist]]. [[TheDreaded He is feared throughout the entire country]] for [[TheUnfettered his ruthlessness and brutal efficiency]]. His audiences with people are almost universally one-sided, with him being able to completely break people's ability to negotiate with [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech brutal speeches]] and [[TheChessmaster out-maneuvering]]. While his [[TheCaligula psychopathic grandson]] is, on paper, the king and the most powerful person in the Seven Kingdoms, Tywin is the real power behind his rule and [[DragonInChief lets Joffrey know on several occasions who is really the one in charge]].
* Jack Ryan starts off as this in ''Literature/TheHuntForRedOctober.'' If anyone wants to know something, talk to him. There is also a secretary referred to who, while directors come and go, she "really" runs the CIA.
* Anyone and everyone working for [[Literature/TheLaundryFiles Her Royal Majesty's Laundry Service]] who is not an ObstructiveBureaucrat or snivelling incompetent is revealed to have elements of this trope.
* Kwiatuszek in ''Literature/ShamanOfTheUndead'' may look like a pudgy secretary, but she has AwesomenessByAnalysis gift and she doesn't shy away from helping main characters, even if it's technically none of her business. She also worked herself into ManBehindTheMan position without having other characters' badass magic skills.
* Jorj X. Mc Kie and probably everyone at the Bureau of Sabotage in ''Literature/ConSentiency''.
* Several of Lord Vetinari's "dark clerks" in the Literature/{{Discworld}} are Assassin's Guild-trained. How much actual clerical work they do seems to depend on the assignment...
** Inigo Skimmer in ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'' is one of them, a small man with a way of nervously clearing his throat and an expert on {{Uberwald}} politics, who, left alone with a group of bandits, killed seven before the rest fled.
** A.E. Pessimal from ''Discworld/{{Thud}}'' deserves at least honorary mention, notable for attacking a troll (which are made of ''rock'') with his teeth. After being inducted as a full copper, he puts his skills to use against white collar crime. The business community's greatest fear is being subjected to one of his audits.
** Even the regular clerks get a touch of this at the end of ''Discworld/GoingPostal'', where the description of the clerks auditing [[spoiler: Reacher Gilt]]'s finances [[MundaneMadeAwesome makes forensic accountancy sound like an inexorable, inescapable force of Truth]].
** On the other hand (or at least the hand that pays him more) is Mr. Slant, zombie attorney and president of the Guild of Lawyers, whose death only enabled him to stop taking lunch breaks. He can quiet a [[ArmyOfLawyers roomful of attorneys]] with a glance, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of case and precedent because ''he was there and helped write it.''
** And don't forget Mr. Bent, from ''Discworld/MakingMoney'', who runs the bank accountants with an iron fist... but as it turns out is very well-thought of because tough as he is, he's also the sole reason why the bank of Ankh-Morpork has worked at all, and he's been a tireless crusader for improving work conditions for the bankers. [[spoiler: Plus, he took out assassins with long-forgotten, probably genetic ''clowning techniques''!]]
* Vinny Duto in Literature/JohnWells series, HeroOfAnotherStory. While his days in the field has passed now, he remains legendary in the CIA for his fearlessness. He has once shrugged off a two-month abduction by Colombian rebels with two week trips in Caribbean.
* The Vogon Constant Mown from ''Literature/AndAnotherThing'' seems well on his way to become this at the end of the book -- in a race of {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s he figures out how to use laws and loopholes in laws to ''help'' people while at the same time making it appear that he's being as ruthless as other Vogons. (He does have some luck on his side, when some of his genuinely concerned remarks are mistaken for and lauded as very sophisticated sarcasms.)
* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse''
** ''Rogue Squadron'' is an elite special forces unit in the ''ComicBook/XWingSeries'', whose members were recruited not only for their experience and expertise as starfighter pilots, but also for a wide range of additional skills that could come in handy during covert infiltration mission behind enemy lines. One of the most important members is Nawara Ven, who is a former lawyer and whose legal expertise is frequently used to trick imperial bureaucrats and occasionally exploit legal loopholes against their superiors.
** In the Literature/NewJediOrder, General (and later Supreme Commander) Sien Sovv is characterized by his thoughtfulness, efficiency, thoroughness, [[ArmchairMilitary and not a lot of combat experience]]. While he suffers some ignominious defeats, due mostly to [[ExecutiveMeddling his bosses, the Senate]] or to [[WeHaveReserves the enemy's sheer numbers]], he matures into exactly the sort of commander the Galactic Alliance military needs: a shrewd politician but [[ReluctantRuler unconcerned with his own power]], capable of [[StiffUpperLip keeping morale up]] and [[RedOniBlueOni riding herd on his more impetuous junior officers]] while managing the interstellar infrastructure needed to keep new troops and ships pouring in. Over the course of ''Destiny's Way'', he transforms the allied fleet from a crippled, [[WeAreStrugglingTogether scattered]], [[LosingTheTeamSpirit demoralized]] RedShirtArmy into a [[BadassArmy well-equipped, fully replenished force of seasoned veterans]] capable of carrying out [[OldMaster Admiral Ackbar]]'s ambitious plans to [[BackFromTheBrink take the war back to the Vong]].
* While most Administratum drones are of the ObstructiveBureaucrat variety (that oft-repeated quote about [[TabletopGame/Warhammer40000 losing entire planets to rounding errors]]? Yeah, that's them), Literature/CiaphasCain ('''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM''') meets a refugee who qualifies during his trek through the deserts of Perlia. Not only does the guy survive months of desert warfare enduring countless ork attacks, he even plans out the column's rationing for food, fuel and water, without which they'd all have died in the desert.
* In Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TheStarBeast'' we have his Excellency the Right Honorable Henry Gladston Kiku, M.A. (Oxon.) Litt. D. ''honoris causa'' (Capetown), O.B.E., Permanent Undersecretary for Spatial Affairs. Mr. Kiku can read at over 2,000 words per minute, useful since he needed to go through a dozen memos and other documents per working hour, making the occasional notation and referral to subordinate for action. Most were for information but he needed to be kept informed. During the climactic confrontation with the Hroshii on the tarmac of a spaceship landing field and with the threat that they could [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroy the Earth]] with their one ship, he stood there and cursed mildly when the wind nearly blew his hat off.
* In ''Literature/CaptainVorpatrilsAlliance'', Ivan Vorpatril is a major administrative genius, being able to chew through the whole day workload of his boss, the Chief of Naval Operations, in just three hours -- and it wasn't a particularly slow day at the HQ, as the narration kindly notes. Later on, when he's been ReassignedToAntarctica to hide him from sight in the wake of the whole hoopla, he manages to compress a whole workload of a Barrayaran Consul (himself) into just three mornings per week, so efficient he is.
* Robert Moses in ''Literature/ThePowerBroker''. He's called "the best bill drafter in Albany" early on and lives up to it by injecting loopholes into all kinds of legislation. Despite having no elected position, Moses runs right over checks and balances and mayors and governors to build infrastructure how he wants.
* ''Literature/WolfHall'' is about (and a HistoricalHeroUpgrade of) the resident BadassBureaucrat of Henry VIII's court, Thomas Cromwell. He knows how to fight, but by the time of the books' main plot, he rarely has to, preferring to use words, [[MyRuleFuIsStrongerThanYours Rule Fu]], and [[InformationBroker a network of bankers, merchants and spies]] to get things done.
* In ''Literature/AlienInASmallTown,'' although Paul loathed his time shuffling papers in his alien race's endless bureaucracy, he became good enough at it that when the abused Warriors want to stage a demonstration, he's able to navigate the permits and legal red tape so deftly that the leaders have absolutely no legal way to stop the protest, as much as they want to.

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Tyrion during his stints as acting Hand of the King and Master of Coin.
** Tywin was previously Hand of the King to Aerys II. He becomes Hand of the King once again after King Robert dies. For all his faults, and perhaps because of some of them, he is a true genius with political intrigue and public administration within his capacity as a statesman.
** The Braavosi banker Tycho Nestoris is played by Creator/MarkGatiss of {{Series/Sherlock}} fame for a reason.
* Hetty from ''Series/NCISLosAngeles''. She is both a bureaucrat and a former agent who once wrecked a Ferrari in Monte Carlo and is proficient in numerous exotic weapons. She is nicknamed [[TheChessmaster "The Duchess of Deception"]]
* ''Series/{{MASH}}''. Radar. Klinger later manages to grow into the role after Radar gets sent back to the States.
* Bunpei Shiratori, a local government bureaucrat from Inba, Japan, is an All-Star competitor on ''Series/NinjaWarrior''. A particularly memorable competition had him recovering from heat exhaustion to advance all the way to the third stage.
* Esther Drummond in ''Series/TorchwoodMiracleDay''. She's not very good at gathering intelligence, or being professional and separating her work from her personal life, or coping with high risk situations, but give her a pile of data, and she's sure to advance the plot.
* Joan from ''Series/MadMen.'' Pretty much everyone in the office acknowledges that she really runs the place and is one of the only people who knows how the office bureaucracy and logistics truly works.
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'': Mycroft Holmes claims to have a minor position within the British government. It is heavily implied that Mycroft Holmes ''is'' the British government. He does, after all, control all the CCTV cameras in London. And is possibly the head of MI6.
* Donna from ''Series/DoctorWho'' is a variation: although she never made it past temp [[note]] in the main timeline, at least[[/note]], she can pretty much single-handedly run an office, work out complex calendar systems, type 100 words a minute and do a SherlockScan of office file systems. She saves the day a few times over with those skills.
* Pretty much the entire main cast on ''Series/TheWestWing''. They're always cutting deals, manipulating other departments and offices, and getting none of the glory outside of the office.
* James Lester in ''Series/{{Primeval}}''. His main concerns are typically bureaucratic in nature. But it's quickly revealed that he cares much more than he'd like to admit. When someone points this out, he coldly threatens to sue them for libel. In the latest season, when the wealthy industrialist financing the ARC is demanding that all the prehistoric creatures be put down (after one nearly causes his death), Lester threatens to leak information about this to the press, even though he himself has often complained about the animals (except for the mammoth, which saved his life earlier).
* Richard Woolsey in ''Franchise/StargateVerse''. He starts off as an ObstructiveBureaucrat, but through character development becomes this when he is put in charge of [[spoiler:the Atlantis Expedition]]. In the GrandFinale, he [[spoiler:takes the Atlantis into battle against a super-hive in Earth's orbit, even ordering Carson to keep firing at the risk of causing the city to have an uncontrolled re-entry]].
* [[spoiler:Vir Cotto]] in ''Series/BabylonFive'' uses recordkeeping to aid [[spoiler:his smuggling of Narns to other worlds, by declaring them dead via a fake Centauri noble so that they would not be missed. He helps ''thousands'' of Narns in this way]].
* Melinda May in ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD''. When Coulson recruits her, she's working a desk job she willingly chose to avoid going through the [[NoodleIncident unspecified trauma]] she suffered in the field earlier.
* Sir Humphrey Appleby of ''Series/{{Yes Minister}}'' epitomizes this trope. He basically runs the Department of Administrative Affairs and has a huge influence on the British Government whether working for his Minister or out-gambiting him as an adversary. He eventually rises to Cabinet Secretary where he is the bulk of the power behind the Hacker regime, including getting Hacker promoted to PM in the first place. All while being a "humble functionary". Sir Arnold, prior to retirement, also fit this.
* Plenty of the Ministry workers in ''Series/ElMinisterioDelTiempo''. They're civil servants with little to no weapon or hand-to-hand fighting training, but perfectly able to kick serious ass.

* {{Music/Savatage}} features two on ''Music/HandfulOfRain'': "Chance" is about [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiune_Sugihara Chiune Sugihara]] and the turmoil he must have felt as he destroyed his career to do the right thing, see the RealLife section below. "Castles Burning" is about [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Falcone Giovanni Falcone]] who died taking on TheMafia.
* "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" by Music/{{Cake}} is about the narrator's love for a female badass bureaucrat. She "uses a machete to cut through red tape."

* In Creator/DataEast's ''[[Pinball/TimeMachineDataEast Time Machine]],'' one of the representatives of TheEighties is a woman executive wearing a pin-striped suit and no-nonsense glasses, unfazed as she travels through time.

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* While very much on the ObstructiveBureaucrat archetype, there's no denying that the [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering Azorius]] are awe-inspiring when moved to do something.
* The few notable Vilani commanders in the Interstellar Wars era of ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' tended to be this. Vilani bureaucracy is so convoluted that only a badass can survive it. But several do and do so quite well.
** The alien race of the Bwaps has this as it's hat.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' the number of things that can be accomplished by members of the CelestialBureaucracy with the mere stroke of a pen can be staggering. Some of the most noteworthy are the Sidereal Exalted who are at the forefront of the Bureau of Destiny. The most powerful Sidereal, Chejop Kejak, hasn't been using his powers much in the past several centuries, but maintains incredible power in Heaven through the number of committees he chairs or has membership in (which amounts to virtually all of them), and in Creation through his status as advisor to the Scarlet Empress, tutor to her children, and [[AlmightyJanitor secretary of the head of the most powerful religion in the world]].
** In the First Age, we have Salina. To recap, Salina is (in)famous for a Working that literally [[RealityWarper rewrote the laws of reality]]. The only thing exceeding this achievement is the amount of bureaucratic wrangling she managed to pull off to secure the official support and logistics required to implement it.
** This is one of the key talents of Eclipse Caste Solars. Give an Eclipse ten minutes, a piece of parchment, and a pen, and he will snare your ''entire government'' in pits of bureaucratic madness that nobody can escape, then take advantage of the chaos to go and punch a deathknight through a wall or three.
* The Seneschal player class in the ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' RPG ''TabletopGames/RogueTrader'' is characterized in this way. A typical seneschal is a financier, quartermaster, and/or business manager to one of the eponymous [[NGOSuperpower Rogue Traders]] and is an expert in matters of commerce, intelligence -- oh, yes, [[BadassBookworm and personal combat]] as need be. Like all ''Rogue Trader'' characters, they are expected to hold down both shipboard posts ''and'' participate in highly dangerous adventures.
* There's a reason Clan Ventrue is considered the Lords of the Camarilla in ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade''. They may not have Disciplines that directly aid in combat, but Presence and Dominate are ''perfect'' for currying favors and lobbying bills and policies in the grand scheme of things, while Fortitude will let them survive assassination attempts that would have eviscerated other vampires. You being an Elder won't matter if a Ventrue simply condemn your home and have it demolish in the daylight.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Bureaucrat class from ''VideoGame/AnarchyOnline'' lives and breathes this tropes. They use a combination of bureaucratic red tape and propaganda to hold enemies in place or turn them neutral, making them invaluable for [[AnAdventurerIsYou crowd control]], while their robot bodyguard or charmed enemies handle the rest. . The [[BadassInANiceSuit nice suits]] and GunsAkimbo they frequently sport are just gravy on one of the most DifficultButAwesome classes in the game.
* In earlier versions of ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'', raising any skill would increase ''all'' your stats, regardless of the skill; raising it to godlike levels would make you godlike. And the Bookkeeping skill was incredibly easy to raise by assigning a dwarf as your bookkeeper. As a result, Dwarf Fortress bookkeepers would rapidly become practically demigods.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''
** You can intercept this transcript from a human colony world about to be overrun by the Reapers:
---> '''Secretary Phillips''': The emergency fund's gone, sir. We don't have the credits to hire enough ships to evacuate the colony before the Reapers get here. Not with the prices their captains are asking for.\\
'''Councilor Gujir''': What about the military?\\
'''Phillips''': The left an hour ago. They said... they said it's too much of a risk to come back.\\
'''Gujir''': Did they.\\
'''Phillips''': Yes, sir.\\
'''Gujir''': Here.\\
'''Phillips''': This... is this a passkey, sir? And an inventory?\\
'''Gujir''': Phillips, I am authorizing you on behalf of this city's Senate to seize any and all eezo stockpiles in our treasury, in order to secure safe passage for our citizens on any available ships.\\
'''Phillips''': These look like private stockpiles. Senate members' stockpiles.\\
'''Gujir''': I'm forgoing re-election. Now get us those ships.\\
'''Phillips''': Yes, sir!
** Also during ''3'', there are a few oblique references that Shepard, despite being a hero shouldering the burden of an entire galaxy at war, is still careful to always fill out his/her paperwork properly.
---> '''Brooks''': I'm going to have to write a report about getting shot. I hear those are really complicated.\\
'''Shepard''': It's faster if you make a template.\\
'''Brooks''': I think maybe you get shot too much.
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', you can find Ranger Jackson, a mustached ranger who serve as the commander of the Mojave Outpost. He is described by Cass as ''washed up old fuck-up'' and a ''Brotherhood Scribe'' because he loves paperwork, and doing things exactly like the law says. But if you accomplish some good work for him, he may have ''lost some supplies'' that ended in your pocket. And if you find evidence of the Van Graff's and Crimson Caravan's corruption and murdering work... Tthe NCR bureaucracy is described in the game as obstinate, but you don't want to have it against you. Jackson will assure you the Van Graff and the Crimson's leader will be in deep trouble, and Cass even say it is a fate worse than death...
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'' has [[spoiler:Senator Steven Armstrong, who is not only the true mastermind behind the plot, but is also capable of physically overpowering Raiden with his bare hands due to nanomachines that grant him NighInvulnerability and SuperStrength. [[HopelessBossFight At first, Raiden stands no chance against him.]] It's only after Raiden obtains Sam's High Frequency Blade that he is able to do any significant damage to Armstrong]].
* The checkpoint the player mans in ''VideoGame/PapersPlease'' is regularly attacked by terrorists. Eventually, funding is cut so much that they no longer employ soldiers to protect you, meaning you have to resolve such situations with a sniper rifle. The player can choose to aid a shadowy revolutionary group. While this requires less shooting and making more "mistakes", the player and their entire family are under the watchful eye of the Arstotzkan government and could be killed or detained for the slightest infraction.
* We have the Arachnos Arbiters in ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes''. The Rogue Isles, are run in a state of organized anarchy by [[TheSocialDarwinist Arachnos]]. The organization keeps things running smoothly with their Arbiters. You need to go to them to take advantage of level-ups, they give you training while also taking note of your current threat-level. But one does not get to be a bureaucrat in the Rogue Isles without first having veteran military experience, as such all Arbiters will have a pencil in one hand, a note pad in the other... and an assault riffle strapped to their backs. Furthermore if you do not fill out form 32-B they have legal authority to open fire!

* Chancellor Jarjuna of the human nation of Vasgol in ''Webcomic/TheWaterPhoenixKing'' has yet to appear in person, other than one brief glimpse in a flashback to the war as a "kid in goofy armor", but he gained his position by leading the rebellion despite being only a commoner and ''killing a {{god|Emperor}}'' with his own sword -- and he's held onto that job for the decade since despite ongoing attacks from outside forces and fractious nobles trying to grab, or grab back the power they had before the empire was shattered. So pretty badass, despite being dismissed as a mere bureaucrat by the old nobility, and it's hinted pretty [[TheGoodChancellor good]] as well -- he seems to be ''trying,'' and at least partially succeeding, to be a good ruler, at least.
* Lars Sturtz from ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan''. Most of the events in the Battle for Barthis were to either {{delay|ingAction}} or [[WeNeedADistraction distract]] Brakkis, the LawfulEvil CorruptCorporateExecutive, so that Lars could navigate the legal system to rescind the unsubstantiated declaration of [[YouDontWantToCatchThis corruption]] on the town, grant the citizens disaster relief, circumvent Gregory's [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished "debts"]], organize a benefit concert, and expedite the rebuilding protocols. Not to mention Lars' [[{{Determinator}} painstakingly arduous]] auditing of the executive's doctored [[MegaCorp consolidated]] financial statements that uncovered a complex money laundering scheme and connections to a few murders that ultimately [[VillainousBreakdown took Brakkis down]]. And Lars [[ThickerThanWater only did that]] just to [[PapaWolf bring]] his son [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone closure]].
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'':
** Vanamonde von Mekkahn looks like a young loafer who does nothing but laze around and drink coffee all day. In reality, Vanamonde secretly runs the town of Mechanicsburg from his seat in the coffee shop, can rally the people of the town into highly effective guerrilla fighters against the Wulfenbach army in a matter of hours, and will utterly mess you up if you ''dare'' threaten a member of the Heterodyne family.
** Baron Klaus Wulfenbach:
*** By necessity, Klaus had to become this. By the time he returned from exile, he found Europa torn apart by the various mad scientists, his estate destroyed and rampaging {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, essentially undoing all the work his friends (the Heterodyne Boys) did. Lacking their charisma and the fate of Bill and Barry Heterodyne pretty much unknown, the Baron proceded to amass a greay army to take over Europa and force people to stop fighting by basically saying "Do '''NOT''' make me come over there." [[TheExtremistWasRight And it worked]]. He brought peace and order back to the land, with the quality of life being second to only when the Heterodyne Boys were around. However, he is very miserable as the realpolitik and managing of an empire has made him cynical and weary, not able to enjoy his passions in science and having to be forced into greater measures when worse things happen (even having to coerce Gil, his own son, at one point, something he really didn't want to do.)
*** The necessity is proven during the timeskip. Klaus' latest drastic measure ends up locking him and the rest of Mechanicsberg in time-stop state, putting him out of the picture. Two years later, ''40'' of the ''52'' royal families of Europa are dead, warlords are trying to take the Empire and Gil having to use all the forces to retake his empire while dealing with the aftermath his dad put in. The people view Wulfenbach's rule as some sort of ''lost golden age'' and things have gotten so bad that the Knights of Jove (a massive conspiracy against the Baron) [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness align themselves to restore Gil to the throne to try and restore order.]]
*** Boris Dolokhov serves as the Baron's personal secretary and administrative second-in-command. He personally organised the forces of the empire in the face of continent-wide rebellions while the Baron is incapacitated, and when faced with the mutiny of the Jagers he beats the location of the generals out of their messenger so that he can discuss the matter with them.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* Hermes Conrad from ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' once organized a forced labor camp he was imprisoned at so efficiently that all the work could be done by one Australian man.
** He also used his organization skills to lead a fleet in a battle to retake Earth in ''Bender's Big Score''.
** He also at one point managed to clear the Central Bureaucracy's entire backlog in 3 minutes 58 seconds. While performing a ''musical number''.
* Tarrlok, a SleazyPolitician from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', at first seems to be your average DeskJockey, but quickly displays his prowess as a martial organizer (What else do you call a politician who participates in police raids?) and is a competent [[MakingASplash waterbender]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'', Callie Briggs is officially the Deputy Mayor of Megakat City, but as the HypercompetentSidekick to lazy, incompetent Mayor Manx she's the one who does most of the work. She can also handle herself in a fight, becoming an ImprovisedWeaponUser to defend herself when necessary.
* Twilight Sparkle from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' adores lists and schedules, which is often mocked by the others. Still on many occasions her attention to detail has saved the day, and she has shown herself to be pretty competent in a governmental position. (she's also a traditional badass, for added flavor)

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Betty Carp, an attractive immigrant filled this position at the OSS and earned praises from various formidable spymasters.
* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18509_5-unknown-schmucks-who-turned-into-superheroes-in-clutch.html Felix Vasquez]] your typical {{salaryman}}, a Housing Authority Supervisor for the city of New York to be exact, who received a call that one of the buildings that he oversaw was on fire. After calling the fire department, he then ran to the burning apartment building, beating emergency services, and saw a woman who was waving her baby out of a window. When he told her [[TemptingFate not to throw the baby]], the woman [[TooDumbToLive misunderstood]] and threw her baby out of the window. Having only seconds to spare, Felix [[TookALevelInBadass hopped a freaking fence]] and caught the baby, saving its life. What's even more badass is that the baby wasn't breathing when he caught it, so he gave it CPR. If that's not badass, nothing is.
* UsefulNotes/DwightDEisenhower. Stuck in a training post for UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, he never saw action leading men in combat and did not hold an independent command higher than a battalion before the UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. His appointment as Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force was considered a maverick act. He turned out to be one of the most able general officers the United States has ever sent to war, at least partially because the sheer size of the Allied Expeditionary Force required someone whose skills were not those of your typical combat general. Probably Eisenhower's most important skill was the recognizing that his post was primarily a ''political'' one. He knew he was never going to be recognized as a battlefield leader or expert strategist or tactician, and didn't think of himself as one. His job was to ride herd on his international team of subordinates who had such an assortment of personal quirks, raging egos, and nationalistic points of view that they'd be disastrous in command of a multinational military force.
* Eisenhower's boss, George C. Marshall. Marshall more than any other man was the architect and builder of the United States Army that fought World War II, and as such its ultimate success in Europe and the Pacific was largely his doing. Winston Churchill called him the "organizer of victory". After the war he moved into diplomacy, where he was responsible for the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe in the late 40s and early 50s.
* UsefulNotes/JosefStalin. Whatever else you might think of him, he was a bank robber and a revolutionary, and a far more charismatic and intelligent one than his most famous sources portray him as. He used bureaucracy as a springboard to establishing a personal dictatorship and in turn to annexing most of Eastern Europe and turned Russia from the least of the Great Powers into one of Earth's only two superpowers.
* There are a number of stories of diplomats and consular officials who saved Jews from the Holocaust due to determined applications of bureaucracy.
** Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, saved ''thousands'' by filling out visas that allowed Jews to evacuate to Japan. He was recalled in disgrace, but he continued to fill out visas as fast as he could until the very last minute, even flinging them out of the window at the crowd as the train pulled away. Sugihara was a ''vice''-consul, which means in the (highly stratified) Japanese diplomacy he did not have the authority to decide on visas. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiune_Sugihara#Lithuania He gave them out in direct violation of his orders from Tokyo]], during the time when powerful Japanese generals had to step carefully to avoid disgrace, execution or assassination. This is an even more badass act.
** Similarly, UsefulNotes/RaoulWallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, saved numerous Jews by falsifying paperwork permitting them to enter Sweden, then bought up apartment buildings, filled them with Jewish families, declared them Swedish sovereign territory (much like an embassy or consulate in a foreign country) and pretty much dared the Nazis to stop him. They didn't.
** John Rabe, on the other side of the world, was a diabetic Siemens employee who managed to get a section of Nanjing turned into a safe zone for Chinese civilians during the Japanese occupation with no authority, no government backing, and no military force.
* Creator/SamuelPepys almost founded the Royal Navy on his own during the Stuart monarchs.
* Abdolhossein Teymourtash. [[UsefulNotes/{{Iran}} Persia]]'s youngest Member of Parliament and one of the top authorities on the Persian language despite not actually speaking it as a child. Was halfway through completely overhauling the Persian judicial system when the government fell and Reza Shah Pahlavi came to power. Teymourtash became Minister of Court, a position with no actual responsibility, and turned it into the Ministry of Absolutely Everything. He set up a central bank, a bar association, a secular school system and a university, defined the border with Turkey, built the country a railroad network, centralised the collection of taxes and sent hundreds of students to Europe to pick up technical skills, while the ministers supposedly responsible watched in amazement. Foreign treaty-makers had spent a century extracting concessions from Persia in return for "aid"; Teymourtash took five years to send them all packing. All except the British, whose oil-drilling agreement caused Teymourtash's downfall at the hands of the Shah - not because Teymourtash hadn't been remarkably successful in renegotiating it, but because the [[TheCaligula capricious and ill-educated Shah]] couldn't understand why he didn't just rip the thing up.
* Frank J. Wilson, agent of the Treasury Department's Bureau of Internal Revenue (and later Chief of the United States Secret Service). It was his meticulous scrutiny of UsefulNotes/AlCapone's finances which allowed the criminal's arrest and conviction for tax evasion. You might be able to bribe the right elements of law enforcement to stay free, but [[IntimidatingRevenueService God help you if the IRS comes after you]]...
* J. Edgar Hoover singlehandedly built the [[UsefulNotes/AmericanLawEnforcement FBI]], arguably one of the largest and most powerful law enforcement agencies in the world. Not only that, but as director of the FBI, Hoover was effectively the most powerful person in the US, outlasting 5 presidents and largely being untouchable, due to him having dirt on ''everybody''. Nobody dared try to remove him from office and he only gave up the position due to his death from a heart attack.
* Staff officers in an army have throughout history had the job of working out all the little details that turn a general's grand plan into actuality, from ordering the right quantities of ammunition, rations, etc. to mapping out the paths that the soldiers will take to their deployment and jump-off points, how many carriages in how many trains are needed, organising transfer and care of the wounded and dead, and making sure that infantry (and cavalry in a bygone age), artillery, and (where applicable) tanks and aircraft all work together smoothly. Etcetera. They are the ultimate detail-obsessed pen pushers. ''They are also all trained professional soldiers.''
* When WWII broke out, the British Parliament decided to form a national unity government, uniting left and right, Labour and Conservative, in a single executive dedicated to fighting the war effort. At the head, in the office of Prime Minister and providing the face and the quotes, was the irrepressible UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill, leader of the Conservatives. The body, however, was definitely UsefulNotes/ClementAttlee, leader of the Labour Party. Where Churchill was flighty, Attlee was steady. Where Churchill was emotional, Attlee had a vulcan-like analytic mind. Where Churchill was charismatic, Attlee was grey and dull. And yet his organizational skills, essentially centralizing and creating a vast, unified, war machine out of Britain's sprawling Imperial bureacracy, was just as important a contribution to Britain's victory as Churchill's speeches in the Commons.
* In Nazi Germany itself, we had [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Konrad_Morgen#Life Georg Konrad Morgen]], who was horrified when (after intercepting contraband in the form of stolen gold fillings) he learned of the extent of the Holocaust, doing everything he could during and after WWII to nab other Nazis, typically on charges of corruption, up to and including Gestapo chief Maximilian Grabner.
* US President UsefulNotes/HerbertHoover tends to be remembered, if at all, by Americans as being the guy under whose watch the Great Depression started, and he tends to be regarded unfavorably because of that (despite the fact that it wasn't his fault, and he did probably all he could legally and in good conscience do to cut it short). What's forgotten is that he donated nearly all of his salary as President to charity (the first of two Presidents so far to do so) and headed the Commission for Relief in Belgium and the US Food Administration during World War I and the American Relief Administration after it, all of which provided literally millions of tons of food and supplies to war-stricken countries in Europe.
** He was also the Secretary of Commerce during the Harding and Coolidge administrations. During his tenure he managed to create the first meaningful radio communications regulations in the UnitedStates, the same regulations which would be one of the major influences on the [=FCC=] when it was founded, standardized motor vehicle driving laws and rules for the entire nation to reduce traffic accidents, coordinated and organized the relief efforts necessary after the Mississippi Flood of 1927, and managed to stamp out malaria, pellagra, and typhoid fever in much of the same region.
* [[UsefulNotes/TheKnightsTemplar The Order of Solomon's Temple]], while famous for their knights deserve mention here. Everyone has heard of the Templar Treasure, but while movies imagine this as hoard of gold or Thor's hammer, the reality is that their funding largely came from investments. By creating one of the most well established banking and cheque system in Europe, they were able to establish what was essentially a multinational corporation. By investing the pilgrim's money while they were in the holy land, they were able to receive the interest profits from these investments and amass their own personal endowment that rivaled kingdoms. In reality their eventual purge was little more than a hostile takeover to take control of these assets. All of this while they remained one Europe's most effective armies.
** To put this into perspective: the king of France was the one to order the Templars put out of business, because the kingdom was so far in debt to them that the order could have taken ''France itself'' in payment.