%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out.
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->'''Jess:''' You're not '''seriously''' going to fight us again, are you?\\
'''Hawke:''' I have no desire to trade blows with you. I'm going to bow out for the time being. There are some things I must investigate before I commit myself to this.\\
'''Max:''' There he goes. What is it with that guy? Even when he loses, he acts like he won.
-->-- ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars: Dual Strike''

The Enigmatic Minion is a strange, specific type of villain. Put simply, they are a non-BigBad antagonist whose agenda, motivations [[AmbiguouslyEvil and villain cred]] itself remain highly ambiguous for much of the story. Whether as a MonsterOfTheWeek or as a [[RecurringBoss long-term villain]], Enigmatic Minions are defined by their ambiguous nature and the suspicion they evoke, both in the heroes and in the audience. There is certainly something altogether 'not right' about them, but it is difficult to say how or why they act the way they do.

The Enigmatic Minion lacks any obvious motives and desires to be discerned by the heroes or the viewer, and certainly won't reveal them if asked. In fact, good luck getting anything more than CrypticConversation out of them. Despite [[NobleDemon assurances that they're antagonistic]], they obviously have a free will of sorts and a modus operandi that does not entirely follow the expected for a villain. An Enigmatic Minion may take actions that turn out to help the heroes in the end, or [[TheWatcher shower an unusual amount of personal attention]] on their progress without opposing them. The minion will seem to [[OmniscientMoralityLicense know a lot more than they're letting on]], possibly even more so than the BigBad they are seemingly aligned with.

If a member of an evil organization, the EnigmaticMinion will usually hold a prominent position, be trusted by the BigBad, or has a job only they are capable of doing, which would explain why they're being kept around. This importance also keeps the minion safe from YouHaveFailedMe moments, at least for as long as the BigBad thinks they are still on the same side. {{Enigmatic Minion}}s usually don't 'fit' their assigned role, whether they're satisfied with it or not. And in the case of the latter, they certainly won't admit it.

Eventually, the story may offer [[TheReveal a Reveal]] as to the minion's true nature. This can be anything from being TheManBehindTheMan to being GoodAllAlong. Other times it may not and leave the character as mysterious as when they appeared. Expect an AllLovingHero to attempt to befriend this type of character, which may or may not take.

The Enigmatic Minion falls somewhere between a villain and a WildCard in a story, and fills a mold similar to the LovableTraitor. They may be constructed as a WorthyOpponent, although an extremely ambiguous one .

Compare with the HiddenAgendaVillain, who is a clear villain-- and also clearly a BigBad-- but whose plans are unknown. The StealthMentor will frequently take on this guise as part of their teaching process. Also compare the AloofAlly, who is commonly mistaken for an Enigmatic Minion in their first appearances, but isn't a villain, just a jerk, and the MysteriousBacker, who's this trope with the "Minion" part replaced with "BigGood". Subtrope of MysteriousStranger.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Kaworu in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' is one of the best-known examples of this trope. [[spoiler:He had been sent, possibly even created, by [=SEELE=] to infiltrate [=NERV=], but because he is the most human of the Angels he also has thoughts and desires beyond the whims of his creators. During his brief storyline, he struggles to make sense of the situation and decide what stance he wants to take towards humanity.]]
* Kuze in ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' plays this part for most of the second season. [[spoiler:The confusion arises from the fact that he is an UnwittingPawn to the BigBad, [[{{Chessmaster}} who happens to lead the task force]] that is supposed to capture or kill Kuze.]]
%%* Folken in ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne''.
%%* Joker in ''Manga/FlameOfRecca''.
* Paul von Oberstein in ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes''. Nobody is ever entirely sure what his motivations are and whose side he is truly on, and [[spoiler: even his death from a bomb during the last episode leaves people wondering if it was a miscalculation or a planned event.]]
* Laplace's Demon in ''Manga/RozenMaiden''. He doesn't appear until the second season in the anime, but in the manga, he shows up before five of the dolls do -- and we ''still'' don't know what he's doing. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace%27s_demon Possessing absolute causal knowledge of the universe, of course.]] In anime he mucks around dolls and their game in such a way one can suspect he is [[spoiler:Rozen's servant]] with too much quirks. Well, either that or he just amuses himself with the show.
* The seemingly unstoppable Iwanbo from ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' was simply too dumb to carry on a fight without being distracted and running off. [[spoiler:The following arc that is covered in the manga would later reveal the character to be merely [[ObfuscatingStupidity feigning idiocy in order to hide his true nature and purpose]].]]
%%* Kyuzo fills this role for much of ''Anime/SamuraiSeven''.
%%* Christopher Armalite (early on) and Cz (later on) from ''LightNovel/ScrappedPrincess''.
%%* Ikuto from ''Manga/ShugoChara''.
* Sideways in ''Anime/TransformersArmada'' starts off as a drifter who joins the Autobots, but he later [[FaceHeelTurn defects]] to the Decepticons. However, Sideways is hinted several times to [[DragonWithAnAgenda have his own agenda]] and he eventually betrays the Decepticons as well. Sideways makes several more appearances throughout the series and is hinted to be working for a third party, eventually revealed to be [[spoiler:[[GreaterScopeVillain Unicron]]]].
* Mystogan from ''Manga/FairyTail'' one of his biggest mysteries, is if he's really using his true strength against his opponents. But [[WordOfGod if you really want to find out I suggest you better be either really powerful, or have a decent escape plan.]] It should be noted that Mystogan is most definitely not a villain, nor was he ever hinted as such. He's basically an EnigmaticMinion for the BigGood, Makarov, that the main characters know next to nothing about [[spoiler:at first]].
* Half of the villains of ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' are this at one point. This has about a 100% overlap rate with the half of the villains that get [[DefeatMeansFriendship befriended]].
%%* [[MonsterClown Hisoka]] from ''Manga/HunterXHunter''
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'':
** Paptimus Scirocco of ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'' gets his start as one of these, being introduced in the 10th episode as a mysteriously skilled pilot who arrives out of nowhere to attack the Argama and departs as quickly as he came. Following this he takes a 10-episode break before returning in episode 21, where his backstory was properly established. [[spoiler:He eventually becomes the BigBad of the series via a late KlingonPromotion in episode 46]].
** Ribbons Almark, Alejandro Corner's right hand in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00''. [[spoiler:Who turns out to be the ''[[ManBehindTheMan true]]'' evil mastermind in the end... ''[[DidntSeeThatComing fucking Ribbons]]]]''.
** And Regene Regetta is this to Ribbons in turn in the second series. [[spoiler:While he fails to overthrow Ribbons and take over the conspiracy, he ends up helping the heroes to defeat Ribbons.]]
* Sara of ''Manga/MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' has aspects of this, being the grown-up version of the DarkMagicalGirl. Sometimes, she can be found interrupting her own followers' plans if her conscience gets the best of her, which isn't often. Right afterwards, she goes right back to condemning ThePowerOfLove. [[spoiler:Like the previous example, though, she's not exactly a ''minion''.]]
%%* Nagi from ''Anime/MaiHime'' is like this throughout most of the show, even after TheReveal.
* Xelloss from ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' is cheerfully open about the fact that he is working towards his own villainous ends. The heroes let him hang around with them because he [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder betrays their enemies just as often as he betrays them]], with the explanation that he was only siding with them while it advanced his own plan. His own plan is, of course, [[CatchPhrase a secret]].
%%* Isako from ''Anime/DennouCoil''.
* Rakshas in ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' fits this role in the new Band of the Hawk. He seems to be playing both sides, admits to joining Griffith just so he can [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou make sure to be the one to kill him,]] and is nowhere to be found during the current battle.
%%* Shiner from ''Manga/{{Psyren}}'' fits this dangerously well.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Gin Ichimaru was a [[CoDragons Co-Dragon]] for Aizen, but was distrusted by his putative allies both before and after defecting from Soul Society. Aizen himself acted like he mistrusted Gin, and Gin often engaged in odd behavior that brought his motives into question. [[spoiler: Turns out that Gin only sided with Aizen in order to betray him… Aizen was aware of this and kept Gin around just for the amusement of seeing how he intended to go about it.]]
** Haschwalth is Dragon to [[TheEmperor Yhwach]], but his true loyalties are a mystery. He's ambivalent about killing low-ranking Shinigami. He shows concern over how Yhwach handles Ichigo… for ''Ichigo's'' sake. His soldiers think he's Yhwach's rightful heir but whether Haschwalth even cares about the succession is unclear. [[spoiler: Most enigmatic of all is his acceptance of Uryuu Ishida as Yhwach's UnexpectedSuccessor. It's implied that he may sympathise with Uryuu's KickedUpstairs status because of his own ambivalence towards Yhwach.]]
* Abelia from ''Anime/NowAndThenHereAndThere''. She's an intelligent woman and capable leader. She's also unflinchingly loyal to an obviously insane despot, seeming for all the world like a extraordinary dark take on the PunchClockVillain. [[spoiler: The series ends without a stitch of explanation, much less backstory, in explanation. She does eventually have a HeelFaceTurn of sorts. Her insane boss is about to be drowned and is crying out for her to save him. She's more than capable of doing it, but chooses not to.]] It's heavily hinted that Hamdo wasn't always batshit crazy. It's also heavily hinted that she used to have a BodyguardCrush on him, and spends the whole series hoping that he'll return to the man he used to be.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** Due to Kabuto's habit of betraying everyone he's ever met with a smile on his face, his loyalty to [[BigBad Orochimaru]] was pretty much the only thing anybody could be certain about him. [[spoiler:After Orochimaru's death, Kabuto's goals and drives became more transparent when he tried to play both sides of the war against one another]].
** Zetsu also fits this trope pretty well. He seems to be part spy, part... [[ManEatingPlant trash disposal]] for the Akatsuki. The only clue we've been given about his motives is Pain saying his reason for fighting is "land". [[spoiler:Ultimately he is revealed to contain the will of Madara, allowing him to direct Tobi after his death. And even ''that'' is a lie. Chapter 681 reveals that he's been playing ''everyone'' for fools. His true master is not Madara -- it's ''Princess Kaguya''.]]
** Itachi's a good example. His neglect to finish off enemies (outside of his [[BloodbathVillainOrigin backstory]]), unnecessary retreats from battle, and reluctance to share information with his Akatsuki allies often confuse both the protagonists and antagonists alike. [[spoiler:It turned out that he was a spy with loyalties to Konoha and his younger brother]].
** Konan was this within the Akatsuki. Little to nothing was known about her, before her initial reveal. Serving as [[spoiler:Pain's partner and literal guardian angel]] it was soon uncovered that she has a far deeper connection to the organization than newcomers such as Deidara.
%%* Nathan Mahler in ''Anime/BloodPlus''.
%%* Carrossea Doon in ''Anime/{{Madlax}}''.
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'': Beatrice's BattleButler, Ronove has a servile and snarky tone towards her. It's not clear how deep his obligation toward her is, but he often lampshades clues or leaks important information for Battler.
%%* El ''Manga/{{Shitsurakuen}}'' fits this, posing as Karin when he is out to help her and being El to oppose her
%%* Aika seems to be one while following after Athena in ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler''. Her motives are yet unexplored.
* Miyabi from ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'' is one to [[BigBad Gyokuro]]; he's very AmbiguouslyEvil, to the point that even the main characters don't seem to know what to make of him, but he and Gyokuro don't seem to trust each other, [[spoiler:he is really [[TheManBehindTheMan The Masked King]] and the [[EldritchAbomination Shinso Vampire]] [[BigBad Alucard]]]].
%%* Mikage, and especially Mamiya, in ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena''.
* Nico Robin from ''Manga/OnePiece'' was all over this trope [[spoiler:before her HeelFaceTurn]]. She makes her premier blowing up Igaram's ship in a direct blow to Vivi's scheme to expose Crocodile, but immediately after that hands over an eternal pose to get the Straw Hats to Alabasta. In Alabasta she personally brings Vivi to Crocodile, badly injuring Pell in the process, then saves Luffy after Crocodile leaves him for dead.
%%* Kamisama in ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}''
* ''Manga/{{Beelzebub}}'': Natsume at first only appear to be a minor, unimportant member of Kanzaki's crew who looks constantly bored. It is later shown that he is much stronger than he appears, possibly one of the strongest non-supernatural characters of the story, is much smarter than Kanzaki and most other delinquents, and is downright ''laughing'' when the school in invaded by demons. Why he is anyone's, let alone [[BadBoss Kanzaki]]'s subordinate is a complete mystery, unless he was telling the truth when he said that he liked hanging around Kanzaki because [[BloodKnight a fight was always bound to happen]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Ignition from the ''ComicBook/EmperorJoker'' story arc. Reality is now shaped by the Joker's twisted mind, and even he has no idea where this guy came from. Ignition later appeared in the "normal" DC universe working for the third General Zod (the one who was actually a Russian human being possessed by the spirit of Zod) but [[PutOnABus never appeared again]] after.
* While initially an independent villain, the ''Comicbook/XMen'' villain Mister Sinister served this function in a number of arcs after the eventual reveal that he was a 19th century British scientist who had been empowered by perennial X-Men BigBad ComicBook/{{Apocalypse}}. This transferred over to the [[WesternAnimation/XMen animated series]] as well, with Sinister first introduced in the second season as an independent villain and later functioning as one of Apocalypse's lackeys (though the reason for his service to Apocalypse was undermined with an origin story episode in the final season that changed his origins).
** The 90s ''X-Men'' story arc ''ComicBook/FatalAttractions'' introduced one of these for ComicBook/{{Magneto}} in the form of [[Characters/XMenAcolytes Exodus]], a mysterious mutant who appeared out of nowhere to be Magneto's MouthOfSauron recruiter. He would later be given depth (and eventually a backstory establishing him as a time-displaced KnightTemplar), but in the first appearance he was very much this.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
%%* Tarot in the ''Pokémon'' fanfic ''Fanfic/TheDarknessWithin''.
* Faybol in the ''Franchise/StarWars'' [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] fic series ''Legacy of the Sith'' has many elements of this- mysterious, powerful, pops in and out of the story seemingly at will, etc. [[spoiler: He turns out, however, to be almost completely evil and is one of the BigBad's most loyal minions- he's just secretive by nature. Said BigBad is also the only one who can be said to know ''all'' his secrets, though the reader now knows quite a bit about him too]].
* Masque of ''Fanfic/PokemonStormClouds'', a mysterious Team Rocket agent who specializes in brainwashing Pokémon to serve the Team, yet doesn't seem to actually care about Giovanni's agenda. [[spoiler:Giovanni calls him on this and it turns out that Masque is EvilerThanThou by a great deal. He reveals that the army of Pokémon brainwashed to serve Team Rocket are more loyal to Masque himself, and takes up the mantle of BigBad.]]
* ''Fanfic/QueenOfAllOni'' has Blankman, the dark wizard who [[VillainProtagonist Jade]] hires to serve as the [[TheSyndicate Shadow Hand's]] foreman. We know next to nothing about him (not even his real name), and whenever he does get any focus, it just raises more questions and makes him seem more mysterious. In later chapters, Hak Foo and even Jade herself are starting to realize just how much of an unknown factor he is in the grand scheme of things.
* ''Fanfic/NightsFavoredChild'': [[TheDragon The Inquisitor]] is this ''in spades''. Among other things, Nightmare Moon doesn't even remember when he started working for her -- it's like he's been there all along. On top of that, he [[spoiler: ''knows her as Luna'']], something that [[WrittenByTheWinners shouldn't be possible]].
* ''Fanfic/FriendshipIsMagicalGirls'': Starscream is this for the Shadowbolts. While Gilda is driven by her desire for revenge against the Emerald Flame Dragons, and Lightning Dust is run by greed (and develops a personal grudge with Rainbow Dash), Starscream lacks any apparent motivation to fight the mahoushoujo -- in fact, during the fight in Loyalty 9, she doesn't even participate. Combined with her mysterious identity and powers, there is very little we know about her.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
%%* Baron Samedi in the Film/JamesBond movie ''Film/LiveAndLetDie''.
%%* Kobayashi in ''Film/TheUsualSuspects''.
* Magenta in ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow''. We know her brother hated their master, but just whose side Magenta's on is never quite clear... ''We'' know Riff Raff hated Frank, but apparently Magenta is about as unclear on other people's allegiances as she is on her own.
-->'''Magenta:''' [[spoiler:You killed him!]] But ''I'' thought you ''liked'' him! He liked ''you''.\\
'''Riff Raff:''' ''He didn't like me! He '''never''' liked me!''
* Tom Reagan, TheConsigliere to mob boss Leo O'Bannon in ''Film/MillersCrossing'', is a rare example of a protagonist (albeit a fairly villainous one) fitting this trope. The audience is kept in the dark as to his motives and intentions, and even when by the end of the film his goal becomes clear, his reasons for it do not. The most explanation he offers is [[spoiler:the very enigmatic "Do you always know why you do things, Leo?"]]
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'':
** Agent Mercer of the East India Company has some qualities of an Enigmatic Minion, especially in the way he pops in and out of the story. Though unlike a lot of other examples, Mercer ''is'' truly evil, to the extent that death by tentacle felt like karma.
** [[NoNameGiven The Spaniard]] in ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides'' is this to the King of Spain; he's the first of the three main factions to set out after the Fountain of Youth, but we see him by far the least and its never quite clear exactly what he wants with it. [[spoiler: Turns out, he's been sent by the King to destroy the Fountain, which the Spanish see as blasphemous]].
* The Man in Black in ''Film/Halloween5TheRevengeOfMichaelMyers'', who appears throughout the movie and whose motivations aren't revealed until the next film ''Film/HalloweenTheCurseOfMichaelMyers''.
* The "Mystery Man" from ''Film/LostHighWay'' has no clear goals or motivation, looks somewhat strange, and only shows obvious threatening behavior towards the end of the movie. His role in the movie is, along with everything else in it, open to interpretation... It ''is'' a David Lynch film, after all.
* Dr. Elsa Schneider in ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'' serves this role. While she's revealed as an ally of Donovan and the Nazis, her ultimate ambition is to get the grail. She constantly battles her personal views with her professional obligations. At the grail temple, she deceives her employer by giving him a fake holy grail, which makes the audience think she's done a HeelFaceTurn. However, she gets GoldFever when the real grail is in her hands and in the process falls to her death while trying to reach it.

* In about the last three books or so of the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, Snape comes to occupy this role to the extent that pretty much every fan site had lists of equally strong arguments why he was good or evil.
* Phalse in ''[[Literature/ForgottenRealms Azure Bonds]]'' novel. Until the Final Showdown he was the least transparent of villains, representing unknown force with unknown motivation and did not anything serious save recruiting TheMole. Gradually proved to be both smartest and creepiest participant of the conspiracy, despite hard competition (in either quality) with his partners [[spoiler: that is, hysterically vicious VainSorceress, [[DemBones lich]], band of vengeful killers-thieves and ancient evil god.]]
** Also subverted in that he is poses as a minion serving an unknown force, but is in fact the actual creature.
* Sol from ''Literature/WarriorCats''. Although he isn't a minion and also a HiddenAgendaVillain, he has many EnigmaticMinion tendencies, such as randomly coming and going whenever the plot requires.
* Vergere from the ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' is a mysterious alien who serves [[ScaryDogmaticAliens the Yuuzhan Vong]] but is decidedly reticent about her own history and motivations for doing so. "Everything I tell you is a lie." [[spoiler: Though she turns out to be more of a WildCard than a minion, as she's a former Old Republic Jedi whose goals are motivated by her extremely esoteric approach to the Force - and later she got retconned as being a Sith acolyte ''too'']].
* The Remover of Inconvenient Obstacles from ''Literature/TheWarOfTheFlowers'' by Creator/TadWilliams is an extremely ancient and powerful fairy, an expert in numerous fields hired by the BigBad to capture protagonist Theo, and who hides numerous secrets of his own [[spoiler: that turn out to be the key to the entire plot, and an agenda entirely separate from his alleged employer]].
* Childermass from ''Literature/JonathanStrangeAndMrNorrell''. He is the manservant of Mr. Norrell and has an odd sort of power over the man that no one else can understand. At one stage Mr. Norrell tells an aristocrat to be quiet because Childermass is talking, and it's never revealed as to where exactly Childermass came from or why he works for Norrell.
* She's not exactly a minion, but Diana from ''Literature/{{Gone}}'' could qualify. She's very open about the fact that she's working on her own side. She's never really done anything evil, although she has often stood aside and let others do terrible things. She helps both sides when it suits her. She won't commit to anything. And yet she's probably [[LoveMakesYouCrazy the only person Caine trusts]], and the heroes have offered to let her join them, [[spoiler: and, [[ManipulativeBitch when she realize she's losing control over Caine]], [[HeelFaceTurn she takes them up on it.]]]]
%%* Literature/TimeScout: Chuck Farley, ever so.
* Sabbath in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures. He tends to end up on the Doctor's side by the end of the book (often enough that they get almost friendly with each other), possesses a distinct air of mystery, and is revealed by the end of his run to be working for an [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness Omniscient Council of Vagueness]] (and he tends to become the part-time minion of various other villains when it'd help his plans). But it's never really explained why he's working for them. [[spoiler:At any rate, he eventually turns against them.]] Lampshaded quite nicely by Trix, playing him in an amateur film that she and Fitz, in the depths of extreme boredom, made about their adventures:
-->'''Trix:''' Working as I am for unspecified higher powers, the nature of my misguided plans remains frustratingly obscure, ha ha!
* Chlorr of the Mask in the second and third ''Literature/OldKingdom'' novels- she serves [[EvilSorcerer Hedge]] because she's under magical compulsion to do so, but has a personal history and agenda that is constantly hinted at but never fully explained, on top of being a {{necromancer}} powerful enough to go toe to toe with [[BadPowersGoodPeople Sabriel]] fight her pretty evenly. [[spoiler: WordOfGod has confirmed she was an Abhorsen herself at one time, and she'll be getting her own prequel book to explain her history and what exactly her deal is]].
%%* The tempomancer is one of these in the ''Literature/MediochreQSethSeries'.
%%* The Orange Man in ''VenusPrime''.
%%* Angela in the ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'' could be considered an inversion, as she serves as this except on the heroes' side. Same goes for the Twins, who turn out to be [[spoiler:enemy spies]].
* In ''Literature/WolfHall'', a number of people are willing to be Thomas Cromwell's associate or patron, but he keeps his past and motives largely to himself, and attempting to categorize him usually ends up concluding only that he is a "person" of some kind. The only person he trusted enough to let down his guard was Cardinal Wolsey, and Wolsey made things even more enigmatic for everyone else by making up outrageous stories about his right hand man.
* General Wesley in ''Literature/{{Victoria}}''. Was he responsible for the death of almost the whole Administration in a very [[FalseFlagOperation weird-looking]] terrorist attack, or was he really its last major loyal supporter? Is he a mere power-hungry tyrant, or just a [[MyCountryRightOrWrong stolid patriot]] who blindly keeps fighting for national unity long after everyone else realizes it is dead and buried for good?

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
%%* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': Lilah definitely filled this role. Indeed, Wolfram & Hart as a whole could be considered enigmatic most of the time.
* ''Series/{{Awake}}'': Captain Harper. The second episode reveals that she is in contact with the people who caused Britten's accident, and that she's conducting a cover-up. On the other hand, she seems to have moral objections to the murder.
%%* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': In Season 2, Spike increasingly became an Enigmatic Minion after he was left wheelchair-bound and Angelus returned.
* ''Series/{{Continuum}}'': This show is in love with this trope. For example, the main group of time-travelling villains, [=Liber8=], has (unsurprisingly) eight members, of whom three are pursuing their own hidden agendas -- one is part of an ancient conspiracy to protect history, one has been sent back by their arch-enemy to change his past, and one is just a ruthless opportunist who, over the course of the show, [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder betrays every other character at least once]].
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'': Nina Sharp often appeared as this, [[spoiler: although it turned out that she and William Bell were not as villainous as they initially appeared]].
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': [[MadDoctor Qyburn]] serves as this to [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Cersei]]. He has a mysterious past, mysterious abilities that seem far beyond the realm of medical science, and his true agenda is vague.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': The purportedly mute Haitian: working for the hidden higher power, [[spoiler:Angela Petrelli]], and looking damn enigmatic while doing it.
%%** HRG is this on occasion as well, especially in Volume 4.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': Richard Alpert seems to have become one of these, despite being on the side of the resident villains. He's mysterious, kind and friendly, polite even when taking weapons off the heroes, and is the only Other to openly defy [[MagnificentBastard Ben]]. While some things about him are divulged as the show goes along, his true motives are very mysterious like every other thing on the show.
* ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'': Villain Lokar. He's technically a recurring Monster of the Week, but he only appears during multi-part episodes, always teleports away before defeat, and seems to be more of a peer than a servant to the Big Bad. The Sentai villain he's based on was that series' version of ''Satan'' and Bandora / Rita's direct superior.
* ''Series/OliversTravels'': The mysterious Baxter, who shows up from time to time to make vaguely menacing conversation and warn Oliver and Diane off their investigation. After they trace the conspiracy back to Baron Kite, they learn that Baxter is Kite's chief of security. And then it turns out he has a personal agenda of his own.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': Tom Neville. As the first season goes on, you start wondering why he's working for Sebastian Monroe, and what sort of agenda he has. [[spoiler: The [[Recap/RevolutionS1E20TheDarkTower first season finale]] reveals that he is simply out to benefit himself by taking over the Monroe Republic, make sure the power never gets turned back on, and to take over the entire continent for himself]].
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': Garak, whose trademark is his enigmatic nature. Although he ''seems'' to be on the good side, episodes like "The Die is Cast" prove that he can certainly play the role of the villain when it suits him. Like other Enigmatic Minions, he never reveals his motives, he's involved with a mysterious organization (The Obsidian Order), he is an EnsembleDarkhorse (he was originally just supposed to be a guest character), and he always knows more than he's letting on. And good luck getting any [[CrypticConversation useful information]] out of him. In the end he turns out to have very straightforward loyalties; he is a loyal patriot of the Cardassian people, and a sworn enemy of the Cardassian government. He will strike against that government or it's later Dominion masters, but not if Cardassia itself is harmed.
%%* ''Series/{{Witchblade}}'': Ian Nottingham in the TV adaptation starts out this way. Throughout the first season, he swings closer and closer to a HeelFaceTurn, eventually [[spoiler: sacrificing his life for Sarah.]]
* As in the books, Thomas Cromwell in ''Series/WolfHall'' insinuates himself into Henry's service and nobody can quite figure out who he is or how he did it, nor why. The absence of the narration's internal monologue serves to make Cromwell just as enigmatic to the audience as he commits to ever more ruthless deeds while still having a more humane disposition than many of the people around him.

* In Music/{{Mothy}}'s songs, specifically the ones belonging to the Franchise/EvilliousChronicles, the Master of the Graveyard is a variation of this. Though she's [[ImAHumanitarian unambiguously evil]], her plans are never revealed, though Capriccio Farce and the end of Master of the Graveyard imply that they are definitely there, and probably irreconcilable with Ma's…whatever Ma's are.
-->While she outwardly obeys [[MagnificentBastard Ma]], she is a dark and deceiving woman.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' universe, the mysterious Green Lady is a powerful and ancient Sidereal Exalted who apparently betrayed Heaven and now serves no less than ''three'' different Deathlords, [[DoubleReverseQuadrupleAgent convincing each of them that she is their loyal minion and spying on the other two]]. If your character meets her in game she will certainly embody this trope to perfection. [[spoiler:Which is normal since she is actually still working for Heaven but using an insanely dangerous MemoryGambit in order to study the Deathlords and learn how to destroy them.]]

* The villain Count Fosco from ''The Woman in White'' might count as an example of the mole variety, as because of his charming and whimsical façade, the heroine initially seeks his help against the more obvious villain, Sir Percival Glyde.

[[folder:Video Games]]
%%* Yuber from the ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'' series.
* [[spoiler:Kratos]] from ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia''. His interest in your progression during the storyline becomes so prevalent and noticeable that Lloyd eventually begins wondering out loud why the heck someone who betrayed and all but killed him once and who constantly refers to himself as an enemy keeps appearing to drop enigmatic hints and encouragements about what he should be doing next.
%%* [[spoiler:Ryoji Mochizuki]] from ''VideoGame/Persona3''. He isn't even aware of his role ''himself'' for a while.
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'':
** Dante in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne''. While at first just doing his job to hunt you, he eventually realizes there's something fishy going on...
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', Mastema is no longer the SmugSnake asshole he was in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney''. In fact, he has the Four Archangels' plan to eradicate Tokyo smashed, and imprisons three of them in Kagome Tower, only allowing Gabriel to escape. Thus, he saves Tokyo... and then collaborates with Tayama's scheme to produce Red Pills, ditching him in due time... To further mudden the waters, he's implied to be the only angel left who can actually ''hear'' God's voice, ''and'' despite being the fricking ''Angel of Hostility'', he's surprisingly cool with you taking the Chaos Path, saying that straying from the Lord is one way to learn about Him as well.
%%* ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'':
%%** Mid-Boss from ''VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness'', although he does a fair job of appearing pathetic rather than truly enigmatic.
%%** Zenon's masked underlings from ''VideoGame/Disgaea2CursedMemories'' fit the trope to a tee, however.
%%* Meta Knight, ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'''s mysterious recurring WorthyOpponent, sometimes fills this role; very much so in [[TheAnimeOfTheGame the anime]], ''Anime/KirbyRightBackAtYa!''
* And as quoted, Hawke in his appearance in ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars: Dual Strike''. [[spoiler:He pulls a HeelFaceTurn when his boss tries to have him killed.]] Also, Hawke in the previous game (''VideoGame/AdvanceWars 2: Black Hole Rising'') as well. [[spoiler:After losing the battle for Green Earth, he leaves Sturm, only to come back at the end of the final mission and finish off sturm with his Super [=CO=] Power.]]
* Raven from the game ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}} 5'' who gets introduced as an mysterious observer in the opening sequence, and is in the tournament on a mission for his unknown employments.
* Alex from ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' fulfils this trope expertly; he nominally works for or with the villains but seems kind and decent, and shows sympathy to the heroes on numerous occasions. His motives are unfathomable, but it becomes clear that [[spoiler:[[ItWasHisSled he's using both sides]], and is ultimately [[TheChessmaster the most dangerous of the lot]]]]. At one point in the second game, there is a battle that can be optionally won or lost; if the heroes win, Alex will save the villains, but if the villains win, Alex will save the heroes. He'll also heal the player's party just before the fight, and if you mind read him, shows concern over Mia, who is in a trap at the time. It's interesting to watch him as you play through for the second time. You can start to see how everything he does fits into his plan.
** He comes back to the role in (''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'') manipulating the Tuaparang agents to some unknown goal, but also helping the player by distracting them so the player can end the eclipse. Since Alex engineered the eclipse in the first place though, he assumedly accomplished some goal of his own between starting and ending it. It also features his first battle against an ally, in which he downs Tyrell with a single attack.
* [[spoiler:Naomi]] in the ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' series shows almost no signs of being anything but another member of Snake's large support team, but begins to act somewhat strangely over the course of the first game. Even after several turns of the HeelFaceRevolvingDoor you still have not the slightest idea whom the character is actually working for or is always coming back to your side, but does not seem to be trying to harm you.
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'''s testaments.
* Ada Wong from ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' is fairly enigmatic, being nominally Leon's enemy while having an agenda of her own and playing the other power players against each other.
* Harle in ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'', for [[MindScrew confusing]] and spoilery reasons. WordOfGod even says [[spoiler:that there's actually something of a connection between her and Kid, which players noted when comparing the similar build, reactions to Serge and almost identical facial features.]] Her eventual fate is [[spoiler:pretty vague, actually.]]
%%* Samir Duran from ''VideoGame/StarCraft: Brood Wars''.
%%* Suzaku from ''VideoGame/{{Tenchu}} 2''.
* ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'':
** Garland becomes this, while somehow simultaneously being a LargeHam. He's surprisingly sympathetic, knows more about the nature of the universe than the gods themselves, and serves an even higher power. In fact, he has to [[spoiler:''personally'' explain the plot to the BigBad]]. The one difference is that he never passes up a chance to fight the heroes. His job is to fight, and [[BloodKnight he enjoys doing it]].
** Golbez also qualifies, often appearing to leave hints and clues on the villains' plans without outright stating his true intentions.
%%* Kariya from ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''.
* Vincent from ''VideoGame/SilentHill3'' at first seems to be in league with BigBad Claudia, sharing her background and occult beliefs and meeting with her a few times throughout the game, while also making it clear to the heroine Heather that he has his own hidden agenda. Later it turns out that [[spoiler:he's working against Claudia and trying to save the world, though he's doing it for entirely selfish and amoral reasons]].
* ''VideoGame/HeavenlySword'':
** General Flying Fox meets the criteria of being high-up in the BigBad's army despite not being trusted, and prone to turning up several times under rather unclear circumstances. However, while his exact motives are never explained, his general [[AxCrazy Ax Craziness]] in combat and his tendencies for murdering and sadistically toying with his victims [[spoiler: and his surprisingly unconcerned grace when he is eventually defeated]] suggest that he is just a BloodKnight who lives for the thrill of life-or-death combat and enjoys making people suffer.
** Bohan's raven also appears to be this; it seems to be sentient, but never speaks, and appears rather mysteriously at various points. [[spoiler: By the end of the game, the Raven remains pretty mysterious, but it turns out it was never a minion.]]
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRowIV'' has the Professor Genki, an insane DeadlyGame [[GameShowHost Show Host]], willingly signing up to serve the [[AlienInvasion Zin Empire]] to create versions of his game shows that utilize superpowers. But winning his games causes chaos that disrupts the Zin's systems, and he's as often found giving the player shiny new toys to wreak havoc as he is hindering them. Whether he's a genuine [[TheQuisling Quisling]] who isn't very good at his job, a TricksterMentor, or [[ItAmusedMe just plain nuts]] is left up in the air.
* Axel from ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''. In his first appearance, ''Chain of Memories,'' he betrays (and is at least partially responsible for the [[spoiler: deaths of]]) pretty much everyone in Castle Oblivion. Within his Organization his role appears to be a mix of assassin and secret police, and he's on no-one's side but his own. Even his team-mates remark that they don't have a clue about what goes on in his head. [[spoiler: Eventually some light is shed on his motives--namely, helping his old friend Saix rise to power and [[PoisonousFriend keeping Roxas and Xion by his side.]]]]
* Following a FaceHeelTurn, [[spoiler:Sialeeds]] in ''VideoGame/SuikodenV'' becomes this to the Godwin faction. Gizel even knows he's being played by accepting the help but chooses not to do anything about it. [[spoiler:Sialeeds is eventually killed by overuse of the Twilight Rune, [[HeroicSacrifice using it to shield the Prince and Lyon from the Sun Rune]]. Gizel notes as he's dying himself that [[BadGuysDoTheDirtyWork she was able to use her Godwin support to purge the country of many of its corrupted nobles that would have opposed her niece's queendom]], and the only member of Team Evil who actually obtained their objective.]]
* In ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', Dimentio is the only one of [[BigBad Count Bleck]]'s minions who volunteered on his own to work under Bleck. As if this weren't shady enough, he's the only villain who doesn't seem interested in actually ''stopping'' the heroes, but when he does finally decide to get the job done he's [[WhamEpisode shockingly ruthless]] [[OneHitKill and effective at it]]. Or at least, he would be, if doing that wasn't exactly what the heroes needed in order for them to get the last Pure Heart. In fact, he never seems to do anything that really helps the Count... [[spoiler:It turns out that his plan all along was to have the heroes defeat Count Bleck, exhausting their own [[MacGuffin MacGuffins]] in the process and leaving Dimentio in sole control of the DoomsdayDevice.]]
* Bleden Mark, the Archon of Shadows, in ''VideoGame/{{Tyranny}}''. His job is killing potential threats to Kyros, but as long as the player doesn't merit that title, he's an affable-if-enigmatic sort-of-friend to the Fatebinder's ascent. In the [[OmnicidalNeutral anarchist]] path, he's the Fatebinder's main "questgiver", pointing them towards useful artifacts [[spoiler:and possibly becoming one of the Fatebinder's CoDragons along with Tunon]].
* Auron and Kimahri from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' are heroic versions. Auron's conversations were always cryptic, and Kimahri didn't speak at all at first. However as progress is made, Auron's words become more justifiable and Kimahri begins to open up to Tidus.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
%%* Archer from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'', especially in the Unlimited Blade Works route.
* Judge Hakari Mikagami (Justine Courtney in the fan translation) from ''[[Franchise/AceAttorney Ace Attorney: Investigations 2]]'' spends 4 out of 5 cases trying to take away Edgeworth's prosecutor badge. However, in the fourth case, she behaves strangely, often leaving hints for Edgeworth to pick up. [[spoiler:She finally reveals herself as GoodAllAlong: she's trying to take down her corrupt boss, Blaise, by spurring Edgeworth in the right direction]].

[[folder:Web Animation]]
%%* Phaxel is one of these in ''WebAnimation/{{TOME}}'', but that could just be because he gets bored easily.
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': Neopolitan appears to serven Roman and is completely loyal to him. She's an extremely skilled fighter, superior to Roman, and usually ends up protecting him when his skill isn't enough. She [[SilentAntagonist never speaks]] and appears to get on with the villains that control Roman much better than Roman does, even though she's clearly serving him and not them. Why she's so loyal to Roman is unknown. Why she's willing to work better with the other villains than Roman despite her loyalty to Roman, is unknown. And whether or not she's capable of speech is also unknown.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}!'' has a particularly good example of this trope in [[NobleDemon Argent]]. He's working for [[LaughablyEvil Khrima]], one of the story's [[BigBadDuumvirate main villains]], but he doesn't care about the heroes; his real motivation is gradually revealed through the story - [[spoiler: he has a personal vendetta against the other main villain, [[KnightOfCerebus Eternion]], and is just using Khrima for resources; when Eternion is defeated, he bows out of the story.]].
* Nioi in ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive''. She [[spoiler:searches for a way to backstab gen. Shade Tail (SubordinateExcuse vs. PoisonousFriend court intrigue)]] when not on her proper job [[spoiler:(artifacts research)]] or fixing minor problems like Kaoli's abnormal status.
* Veithel in ''Webcomic/{{Juathuur}}''. Until the end, it's unclear if she cares for Ratheel and Dej or if she is willing to betray them for her father's benefit. [[spoiler: Both, actually. And she will sacrifice to save Dejoru AND follow her father's wishes for her.]]
* Torg, protagonist of ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', was doing this professionally for a while in an attempt to get back at another evil organization. He recently gave up after his "boss" turned out to have unintentionally betrayed him.
* Gamzee Makara of ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' definitely fits the wild card aspect of this. He's clearly an antagonist, but his relationships with some of the protagonists add ambiguity. [[spoiler: In addition, its now uncertain how much of what he did was mindcontrol and how much was his own initiative.]]
* ''Webcomic/Collar6'' has Gunther, an associate of the strip's main antagonist, Mistress Butterfly. He walks into the strip with no real introduction, backtalks Butterfly, effortlessly puts down a pile of {{Red Shirt}}s, has enough SuperStrength to take out a vault door with a single blow, and does it all with unflappable, mildly amused calm. Ultimately, he turns out to be a SuperSoldier rescued from death's door, utterly devoted to Butterfly and her husband, just perplexed and concerned at the [[TheDarkSide dark turn]] Butterfly's powers have recently taken.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Masked Men from ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets''. About all we can say for sure is that they have some connection to The Operator. Season 2 drops hints that they may not be entirely malevolent, culminating in the season finale, in which [[spoiler:one of the masked men saves Jay and Jessica from Alex, who was holding them at gunpoint]]. Totheark, a Website/YouTube account full of cryptic messages which might be run by one or more of the Masked Men, is similarly inscrutable.
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', [[LivingShadow the Shadow]] and [[ManipulativeBastard Simon]] are this. The Shadow works for the Grey Cult but has his own mind and a different agenda than his masters, which becomes especially true when he is finally returned to his true form [[spoiler:[[TricksterMentor Taliesin]]]] after which he still acts ambiguously. Simon is a seemingly obedient follower of his master's teachings and acts as a spokesman for all the Totenkopfs, but he tends to act rather ambiguously and his loyalties and goals aren't really clear-cut even to his superiors.
* Bluejay of the Alphas, at [[SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy]] in the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse''. The Alphas are definitely evil, but Bluejay openly mocks the BigBad and performs a bunch of less-than-evil acts that he passes off with excuses. But he's still helping the bad guys and we don't know what he's really up to.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [[EvilTwin Justice Lord Batman]] from ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''. Although the one responsible for allowing the Justice Lords to interact with the Justice League, he seems reluctant at best to follow the lead of the other Justice Lords and his true motivations for doing so in the first place is never revealed.
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'':
** Sideways plays one of these in ''Anime/TransformersArmada''. He does so many sneaky evil laughs and sinister remarks while still being casually friendly with everyone that it's obvious he's TheMole, [[spoiler: for Unicron, surprisingly enough.]]
** He does the same thing in ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'', even claiming to be an Autobot at one point for absolutely no clear reason. He is enigmatically joined by Soundwave about two thirds of the way through the series, who doesn't appear to be on anyone's side at all.
** Tarantulas also plays the enigmatic cackler in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''. Even at the end of the series it's not completely clear whose side he's on, though there's good money he's only on Team Tarantulas. His MultipleChoicePast muddies things even further.
%%* Owen, the original [[WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}} Xanatos']] BattleButler.
* Calypso in ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' is more of a "Villain's Engimatic Girlfriend", but otherwise fits. She's introduced in the same episode as Kraven, pops in and out of the narrative, has what might be mystical powers and knowledge like her comic counterpart, or might just be spooky intuition, and is never really explained (though it's not unlikely that she was intended to have a role in later seasons, before the show was cancelled).
* Solomon from ''WesternAnimation/SymBionicTitan'' -- he's mysterious, badass, tends to pop in and out of things, and is overall the least malevolent of the three main villains (himself, [[GeneralRipper General Steel]], and [[GalacticConqueror General Modula]]). He ends up [[spoiler: becoming an ally of the heroes after they save his life against an EldritchAbomination during an EnemyMine]] and is [[spoiler: solidified as a minion rather than a mastermind in his own right when the episode "Fortress of Decepion" revealed he had a boss, who's plenty enigmatic himself]].
* Vater Orlaag from ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}''. It's not clear exactly what his deal is, aside from seeming very loyal to [[BigBad Mr. Salacia]].
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** Iroh is introduced as Zuko's AffablyEvil uncle and mentor who halfheartedly tags along on his nephew's quest to capture the Avatar. Over time, we find out details about his past, like the death of his son Lu Ten, and his experience as a war hero and a mystic. It's only later that we find out that he's [[spoiler:a leader in the Order of the White Lotus and an active opponent of the Fire Nation's campaign of conquest]].
** Mai is a decent example as well, in contrast to Azula's volatile nature. Mai keeps to herself and rarely does anything out of boredom, however get between her and Zuko and you'll see [[TheDogBitesBack who's more careless then.]]
** [[TheSpook Combustion Man]] might count too, in that he's Zuko's hired minion with an ''extremely'' enigmatic backstory, but his agenda is pretty clear from the start: ''[[ProfessionalKiller kill the Avatar, get money]]''.