Just like the good guys have a Command Roster
, when your Villain Protagonists
are involved in a Caper
, characters tend to fall into a number of roles. Unlike the Command Roster
, however, some of the roles really depend on what kind of heist is going on, so the actual number of members and which jobs are included in the Badass Crew
, are somewhat more variable than in the military example. Characters are also more likely to have more than one specialization, or some of the more specialized roles are farmed out to Satellite Characters
who aren't really part of the main crew. Sometimes the crew will fall into a Five-Man Band
, if it has the right amount of members.
Roles in the Caper Crew:
- The Mastermind: The leader, who gathered the crew, found the target, calls the shots and thought up the plan. Usually the most experienced in the business as well, and very respected by their crew otherwise they wouldn't be able to keep all these amoral people in line. Compare The Chessmaster, The Captain, the Big Bad. Likely to be The Legendary Thief to any New Kid who becomes The Mastermind.
- The Partner In Crime: The leader's second-in-command, who assists The Mastermind in plan-making and usually almost equally as experienced. Depending on the nature of the crew, he might be the only one besides The Mastermind who actually knows what's going on. May overlap with other roles. Compare The Lancer, The Dragon, the Number Two.
- The Backer: The Client who is paying for everything. Sometimes he has a deadline or is fussy in some other way that influences the crews actions. Usually only The Mastermind and his Partner interact much with him. There isn't always a backer though, sometimes the crew front the money themselves and fence it hoping to make back enough for a profit.
Tech Skill Roles:
- The Hacker: The guy who hacks into computers and whatnot, very often a young kid who is a Playful Hacker or The Cracker. Sometimes he isn't a part of the team, but just someone who another character has ties with.
- The Gadget Guy: The Gadgeteer Genius who builds all the special stuff you need to break into the vault security or whatever it may be. In a smaller crew he will often overlap with The Hacker, or the crew may simply outsource the job to someone else they know offscreen.
- The Coordinator: Basically Mission Control, and usually isn't a role so much as some other character will have this role on top of another, usually The Hacker or The Mastermind.
- The Conman: The guy who usually does most of the conning, acting and people manipulating using confidence tricks. Sometimes they are referred to as a Grifter. May also act as The Mole if it's necessary.
- The Distraction: This role has a lot of versatility in how it is achieved, but it just comes down to distracting the dupes while their pals run off with their money (or whatever it is). May be a Femme Fatale seductress, or a really loud obnoxious guy, or even a bomb specialist. Sometimes overlaps with The Roper or The Conman.
- The Burglar: May be a Classy Cat-Burglar, Phantom Thief, or some other form of savvy-thief, they are the person who infiltrates and helps themselves to the goods. May also be a safe-cracker but that is becoming less common as technology develops and most locks are electronic, requiring the more tech-oriented roles instead.
- The Pickpocket: The guy who has the steadiest hands, performing any job that requires sleight-of-hand stealing of security cards and the like. May be merged with one of the other Thieving roles, but if not then they may be a former Street Urchin.
- The Roper: The bait, who tells the tale to the Mark and puts them into position to be conned. May be a female seductress or other form of Distraction.
- The Driver: He drives the getaway vehicle. He will probably be a Badass Driver.
- The Muscle: The Brute or The Big Guy, he's around to help with carrying heavy things, getting into fistfights, acting as a bodyguard, or being threatening and menacing.
- The Acquirer: Also known as The Scrounger, or The Fixer this guy comes up with whatever random thing the crew needs. He always knows a guy who knows a guy who has a cousin, and shows up with the right tool for the job, no matter how obscure or however vaguely established it is how he managed it.
- The New Kid: Basically an apprentice and New Meat. He's new and is learning from everyone. He probably has his own specialized skills, pulled some small jobs with another crew, but either way he isn't taken quite as seriously or respected as much as the other members of the crew. The current Mastermind might become his mentor.
- The Legendary Thief: Basically the Old Master of the mastermind, he's the go-to-guy when the crew gets stuck. He's been around forever, knows everyone and is the absolute best at that game. Usually retired and sipping cocktails on the beach whenever he is approached.
- The Inside Man: If The Conman isn't acting as The Mole, then the team may have one of these. A guy who works for the people being robbed, assisting the robbers with codes or secrets or whatever it is they need to get in. May be an actual member of the crew from the start, recruited later, or be no longer working for them anymore. The presence of at least one of these makes it an Inside Job.
- The Searcher: Basically the one who gets the ball rolling for the actual job. Unlike the Inside Man, and despite possessing some such capacities, they do not work for The Mark. They infiltrate the target quarters ahead of the crew, often in disguise, identify its key areas and hot spots, and inform the crew of what is likely to await them as they go to pull off the job. May influence the Mastermind's plans. The Mark may never ever see this particular member.
- The Fall Guy: On occasion, the team may have one of these, who sometimes falls under the Naïve Newcomer or New Meat category. This person is someone that the team finds useful but also expendable, and willingly give up to the police in exchange for either their own immunity, or to buy them some more time if the plan goes awry.
Compare Command Roster
, The Caper
. A subtrope of Badass Crew
Anime and Manga
- Lupin III and his gang are the epitome of the trope:
- Lupin: The Mastermind + Coordinator of the group's activities, he's also their Gadget Guy, a master Con Artist, and an accomplished Pickpocket. See also: Master of Disguise.
- Jigen: Lupin's right hand man and lifelong Partner In Crime. Also serves as the Driver and the Muscle.
- Goemon: The group's other Muscle, though he's an impossibly skilled swordsman rather than a thug.
- Fujiko: Lupin's on-again/off-again gal pal. Occasional Partner in Crime and a highly skilled Cat Burglar, but has been known to serve as the Distraction or their Inside Woman when the job requires it.
- Loki: Agent of Asgard's crew consists of:
- Loki: The Master Mind, The Hacker, The Conman, The Pickpocket.
- Thor: The Distraction, The Inside Man can be also The Muscle if needed.
- Verity: The Coordinator, magic Hacker if it's seeing through illusions.
- Sigurd The Ever-Glorious: The Muscle, The Inside Man, he can do The Burglar if needed.
- Lorelei: The Burglar, The Roper, The Distraction.
- In the Flash Back in Iron Man #10 (part 1 of "The Secret History of Tony Stark"), the Stark Seven who take on The Greys' Vegas casino are:
- Howard Stark: The Mastermind, The Backer, The Gadget Guy.
- Rollo: The Inside Man, The Acquisitioner, The Roper (convincing his fellow Greys that the con is on, but not where they think it is).
- Jimmy Woo: The Hacker, The Burglar.
- The Bear: The Burglar (via explosives rather than safecracking).
- Thunderbolt Ross, Dum-Dum Dugan and Nessa the Kitten: The Distraction. (Thunderbolt and Dum-Dum would also have been The Muscle if this had gone wrong.)
- And although not counted as one of the Seven, Maria Stark: The Driver (helicopter).
- The Anderson Tapes: Duke is the Mastermind. Pat Angelo is the Backer. Socks is The Muscle. Spencer is The Driver. "The Kid" is The Hacker. Tommy Haskins (the "bird dog") is arguably The Inside Man. "Pops" is a self-appointed Fall Guy.
- Dominic Cobb: the Mastermind
- Saito: the Backer
- Arthur: Partner in Crime, the Coordinator
- Ariadne is the New Kid as well as a Coordinator - being The Architecht
- Yusuf is the Gadget Guy
- Eames is the Con Man
- Yusuf, Arthur and Eames mostly share Distraction duties, though that's more a function of how the movie's particular heist is set up than a general role thing.
- Sneakers: Bishop is the Mastermind, Crease is the Partner in Crime, Carl is the Burglar/Safe Cracker, the Hacker, and was presumably the New Kid a few years ago, Whistler is the Gadget Guy, and Mother is the Coordinator and the Driver.
- Ocean's Eleven (2001):
- Danny Ocean: The Mastermind / The Distraction
- Rusty Ryan: The Partner in Crime / The Coordinator
- Reuben Tishkoff: The Backer
- Livingston Dell: The Hacker
- Basher Tarr: The Gadget Guy
- Saul Bloom: The Conman (The Distraction in Thirteen)
- The Amazing Yen: The Burglar, due to his acrobatic skill
- Linus Caldwell: The Pickpocket / The New Kid
- Virgil and Turk Malloy, "The Twins": The Driver / The Muscle
- Frank Catton: The Inside Man
- In the sequels, we have:
- Tess Ocean: The Distraction (Twelve)
- Gaspar LeMarque: The Legendary Thief (Twelve)
- Terry Benedict: The backer (Thirteen)
- Twelve and Thirteen also has Ma and Pa (respectively) Caldwell appear as Distractions/Inside Persons, posing as authorities (in the latter case, that's his day job), much to Linus's chagrin.
- Thirteen also has the Twins briefly taking on Livingston's role as The Hacker, after he is taken into custody.
- Twelve and Thirteen also have Roman Nagel as The Acquisitioner and part-time Gadget Guy. In Twelve, he supplies them with a custom-built holo-projector, while in Thirteen, he not only installs the rigged card-shuffling machines after Livingston is arrested, but, in a deleted scene, actually shows Livingston how to rig them.
- The Thieves:
- Popie: The Mastermind
- Macau Park: The Mastermind/The Backer
- Zampano: The Gadget Guy
- Yenicall: The Burglar (Classy Cat-Burglar)
- Pepsee and Julie: The Burglar (safecrakers)
- Chewing Gum: The Con Man
- Chen: The Distraction
- Andrew and Jonny: The Muscle
- The Asphalt Jungle:
- Doc: The Mastermind
- Emmerich: The Backer
- Louis: The Burglar
- Dix: The Brute
- Gus: The Driver
- The Fast and the Furious main cast evolves into an elite Caper Crew over the course of seven movies (although no two movies feature exactly the same crew), most prominently in the fifth and sixth movies. Everyone is The Driver at some point and almost everyone is capable of serving as The Muscle, with other roles sliding around as needed but mostly as follows:
- Dom: The Mastermind
- Brian, Letty: The Partner In Crime, The Muscle
- Mia: The Coordinator
- Roman: The Conman
- Han: The Acquirer, orginially set to be The Roper.
- Gisele: The Muscle, The Distraction
- Tej: The Hacker, The Gadget Guy
- Leo and Santos: The Burglar, the Conman, The Distraction
- Hobbs: Becomes a Backer and Inside Man during Fast Five
- Rififi has Tony as The Mastermind as well as The Driver, Mario as The Partner In Crime, Jo as The Muscle (he's the one who hacks through the ceiling of the jewelry store) and César is The Burglar (he's the one who actually cuts through the safe).
- If you consider Now You See Me a Caper film, everyone - given the subject topic of the film, get to be The Distraction, but overall - Daniel is the Con man, and supposedly The Mastermind (though it is later revealed the true Mastermind is Dylan, on top of being the Inside man and Legendary Thief), Henley and Meritt split both Roper and Partner in Crime duties, Jack is the Burglar, the Pickpocket and the Muscle, Arthur is the Backer, and Thaddeus is the fall guy.
- In Donald E Westlake's Dortmunder novels Dortmunder is the Mastermind, Kelp is the Partner In Crime, Murch is the Driver, and Tiny Bulcher is the Muscle.
- Mistborn has a fairly odd crew. Kelsier is the Mastermind, Yeden is the Backer, Dockson is the Coordinator and Partner in Crime, Breeze is a master Conman, Ham is the Muscle, and Renoux, Marsh, and Vin are all the Inside Men, and Vin doubles as the New Kid. Clubs is sort of a Concealer (he uses his copper Allomancy to hide the others' Allomantic signatures), Spook uses his Super Senses to be a Lookout, and Sazed functions as a Driver from time to time, although he's really the team Badass Bookworm. Also, Kelsier doubles as the Distraction, a second Muscle, and the Burglar, as does Vin.
- Heist Society and it's sequel Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter does this. The roles are generally the same - we have Katarina as the Mastermind, Hale as The Partner in Crime, Simon fills all the Tech Roles, Gabrielle is the combination of The Distraction (very much so) and The Burglar/Pickpocket, we have the Bagshaw brothers as The Muscle, Nick is the New Kid/Pickpocket and The Mole in Heist Society and dear old Uncle Eddie as The Legendary Thief.
- The Dresden Files 15th book Skin Game has Nicodemus attempting to rob Hades vault. Nicodemus is the Mastermind, Deirdre is the Partner In Crime, Harry both the Distraction and the Burglar (he's the Ice Gate specialist), Goodman Grey is the Inside Man (as a shapeshifter, he is a copy replacement of the man they needed on the inside), Anna is the Burglar, Hannah is both the Muscle and the Burglar (her fire magic gets them past the reinforced doors, and she's the Fire Gate specialist), and Binder (via his army of goons) and the Genoskwa are the Muscles. Mab, Marcone, and even Hades himself are the Backers. Grey, the Genoskwa and Hannah turn out to be Inside Men as well- Harry buys Grey's services before Nick could, while Hannah and the Genoskwa are far from just hired specialists- they're the new bearers of Lasciel and Ursiel.
- Six of Crows follows this to a T, although some of the roles are modified to fit the setting. (i.e. In an early industrial world, spy Inej fulfills the work of a hacker.) The team features Kaz as the Mastermind,
- Leverage has a Grifter (Conman+ Distraction), Hitter (Muscle and Driver), a Thief (Pickpocket and Burglar), a Hacker (Hacker and Gadget Guy) and The Mastermind who doubles as The Backer. Nate doesn't seem to really have any more money than anyone else — he does the "paying for everything" thing, but it almost seems like the client-of-the-week is Leverage's Backer (as they're the ones who set the overall mission constraints). Also, Nate and Hardison generally share the Coordinator role, and Hardison is probably more likely to be the Distraction than anyone but Sophie.
- An episode has them face off against a nearly-identical crew, minus a Grifter. Naturally, each role ends up facing off against their counterpart.
- In another episode, their enemy knows everything about them (it was the guy who originally put the crew together), so they double-down on almost all roles: two Hitters (including a former enemy), two Grifters (one of them being Nate's ex-wife), two Thieves (Parker's Gentleman Thief mentor), two Hackers (including a former enemy), but only one Mastermind.
- They also switch Grifters for a few episodes, while the actress who plays the original Grifter is pregnant.
- Human Target: Ames (acting as The New Kid and The Burglar) gets roped into one of these; her job is to snake her way through the airducts & disable the security system. Chance goes in too, taking the place of "Mr. Chicago" - who he later discovers is the "cleaner." It's his job to kill everybody involved with the heist so the Mastermind doesn't have to pay them anything.
- Original crew: Mickey is the Mastermind, Stacey is the Distraction, Ash is the Hacker, the Gadget Guy, and the Safe Cracker, and the Driver. Danny is the New Kid. Albert and Stacey take turns acting as the Partner in Crime; everyone except Ash takes turns as the Conman.
- Second crew: With Mickey gone, Danny takes over as Mastermind. Billy becomes the new New Kid. The roles of other characters are unchanged.
- Third crew: Mickey is back as the Mastermind, Emma is the new Distraction and is also the Pickpocket. She and Sean are both New Kids, although Emma quickly rises to take Stacey's role as Partner in Crime. Ash and Albert's roles remain unchanged.
- Mission: Impossible's cast always fit into one or more of these roles.
- In "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang", the senior leadership of Deep Space Nine decides to steal $1 million from the hotel count room.
- The Mastermind - the whole crew contributes in theory. Truthfully, when the Retired Thief joins, it becomes his plan.
- The Partner In Crime - since the whole crew is involved, they all fit. Miles O'Brien and Dr. Bashir stand out, since they were there when the mob arrived.
- The Backer - Vic, whose risking both his own "life" (his memories of the crew, since this is a hologram with safeties on, they won't lose anything), and supplying the High Roller distraction with his nest egg.
- The Coordinator - the lack of this role is noticeable when the plan goes badly.
- The pickpocket - Rather inverted with Bashir; he slips Ipecac into a martini.
- The Distraction - most of the crew do this job, in different ways.
- Vic is hanging out with the High Roller, they're distracting the casino customers.
- Kira is hanging out with Mickey-eyes, the new boss.
- Cassidy is "drunk" and telling the guard that...
- Miles has stolen her chips, but he says he's innocent.
- The Burglar - Nog is a safecracker, using his Ferengi hearing to listen to the tumblers.
- The muscle - Odo is the one who will carry out a suitcase full of $1 million, and make it look easy.
- The Retired Thief - they need one more person to do the role of High Roller, but noone seems interested. An earlier conversation convinces Sisko to join them, and he takes over from there.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Time Heist", the Doctor and Clara are part of a Caper Crew breaking into the biggest bank in the universe. The Mastermind who recruited them is a mysterious figure called the Architect ( who's actually the Doctor, operating through pre-prepared messages, but they wiped their minds to get past the bank's telepathic security, so he doesn't know that) who is also the Coordinator and probably the Gadget Guy; the Doctor is the Partner in Crime (claiming that being in charge is his special ability); Psi, a Cyborg with a computerised brain, is the Hacker and also serves as the Distraction at one point; Saibra, a Humanshifter, is the Con Woman; and Clara is the New Kid. The Backer is the future self of the bank's owner, trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, and is therefore also the Inside Woman.
- In The A-Team Hannibal is the Mastermind, B.A. is the Muscle, and Face is the Con-Artist. The role of the Driver is split between B.A. (when they need to drive a ground vehicle), and Murdoch (when they have to fly an airplane or helicopter.)
- On The 100, some of the characters briefly form one of these in Season 2. Monty is the Hacker, Miller is the Muscle, Maya is the Inside Man, and Jasper actually refers to himself as the Mastermind. Harper bemoans that the only role she gets to play is lookout.
- Plumbing the Death Star: With all of Christmas stolen and put in one of the Grinch's bank vaults, Duscher, Zammit, and Jackson are left to assemble a team of Christmas characters to pull off "A Christmas Heist", with Santa Claus himself backing them. The team they assemble is as follows:
- The Gadget Guy: Kevin McCallister of Home Alone fame already has experience using make-shift tech to ruin his enemies from his childhood adventures, but with the funding of Santa Claus, McCallister is ready to get back into the game. Duscher also has a suggestion in the limo driver from Die Hard with a Vengeance. Why? Because his car has a phone in it.
Jackson: No, Kevin McCallister is still the clear winner.
Zammit: But Jackson, he can drive, and make—a phone call.
- The Conman: With enough stealth expertise to sneak into Santa's sack and more passion for the mission than any other operative, Buddy from Elf is more than prepared to lie his way into the bank security and get gunned down if it means saving his favorite holiday.
- The Pickpocket: Malcom McDowell from the derivatively named Home Alone: Holiday Heist uses his genius-level intellect to assist in the actual stealing of Christmas.
- The Burglar: Catwoman, having been featured in the Christmas-set Batman Returns, gets in on the caper and is the one to open the vault containing Christmas in it, although her involvement brings a big problem for the crew: Batman. Still, that downside doesn't make her worse than Duscher's suggestion, the very alcoholic, very diseased Bad Santa.
- The Driver: In a win for Duscher, the others' suggestions of The Polar Express and Tim Allen prove too chaotic to work into the plan, so the team agrees to bring in the limo driver from Die Hard with a Vengeance as their getaway driver.
- The Muscle: Die Hard's John McClanenote serves as the main source of firepower in the heist. He gives Catwoman the time she needs to get into the vault, and knowing him, probably blows the entire building down with C4.
- The Reserve: When the heist goes wrong and all seems lost, the three Masterminds have little choice, but to call in their most dangerous pick, the only Christmas character with no sense of morality to slow it down and no reluctance to take a human life. Worse than that, it has parasitic abilities that allow it to cause "ego death" by overriding of anyone it touches and controlling them, most often to force its victim to kill him or her self. It has no name, but it did once possess an inanimate object, one with a name befitting a monster with a heart cold as the abyss: Frosty the Snowman.
- The Fall Guy: With one role left to fill for the heist, Zammit puts forward Bad Santa as a fall guy before offering an infallible option: the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to being able to distract crowds with His miraclesnote , the King of Kings would also put any police coming to arrest Him in a moral dilemma.
Jackson: They'd be like "Ah, I don't really want to arrest Jesus."
Duscher: "Last time this happened, we looked like the biggest jerks."
- Covert Action requires the Player Character to uncover criminal plans — that is, who participates and what exactly they are supposed to do — and upon collecting full incriminating information either arrest them or blackmail into cooperation. Roles other than Mastermind vary depending on which of 13 basic plots is used — there are Inside Contact, Middleman, Courier, Driver, Mercenary, Kidnapper, Researcher, Alarm Specialist, Thief, Assassin and so on.
- The City of Heroes Summer event mission "Casino Heist", being based on The Caper, lets the players take on the roles of the Caper Crew: the hacker (Hacker), thief (Burglar), grifter (Conman/Distraction), and hitter (Muscle/Distraction).
- Sly Cooper series has most of the primary skills handled by the three main members of the Cooper Gang. Sly handles the thieving-related skills. Bentley is the resident tech specialist while Murray is the driver and the muscle. The third game expands the team with members who possess more specific skillsets while the fourth game brings it back to just the main three with Carmelita along with the ride and era-specific ancestors of Sly.
- The Cast of Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine are a stereotypical Caper Crew, to the point that they are addressed almost exclusively by their job titles.
- Payday 2 has four classes by default. The Mastermind's role is to support his teammates and control hostages and cops. The Enforcer serves as the party tank and cutting locks. The Technician focuses on using gadgets and explosives while The Ghost focuses on infiltration and stealth. Bain serves as the group's handler.
- In Grand Theft Auto V, you can hire various individuals to fulfill roles when planning a heist, usually a hacker, getaway driver or a gunman.
- Geralt must assemble one in The Witcher 3:The Wild Hunt DLC Hearts of Stone in order to rob an auction house.
- In Kill Six Billion Demons, Allison assembles a Caper Crew of devils to help her rob Mammon's Dragon Hoard.
- Allison herself is the Backer, as she gains the permission from Himself to gather the crew, and the crew operate for her interests. Unusual in that she takes part in the robbery as well.
- Duutholmel/Oscar is the Mastermind, he uses his connections among devils to assemble the crew and he's their de facto leader.
- 1-11 is the Gadget Guy, a skilled mechanic.
- Xand and Nxor are the Conmen, pretending together to be a higher-ranked devil than they are.
- Suuz the Acrobat is the Burglar, who relies on their acrobatic skills.
- Cat Master is the Brute, bearing the title "Professional Obstacle Remover".
- Charon is the Scrounger, using his dead thralls to gather goods across the city.
- Cio is the Legendary Thief, as the new identity of the Ebon Devil Yabalchoath, the only devil to ever succeed in robbing Mammon's hoard before.
- The regulars become a Caper Crew (with limited success) in the Chowder episode "The Heist". The roles are:
- Mung - The Mastermind
- Schnitzel - The Muscle
- Gazpacho - The Driver
- Truffles - The Burglar (operates the jackhammer they use to break in)
- Chowder - The New Kid (acts as lookout)