"The underworld will now be run like a business… and the Chairman of the Board will be… the Kingpin!"This is The Patriarch of a crime family—most often, as Captain Obvious would suggest, The Mafia. He is shrewd, ruthless, and better not be crossed. Often he will hold to an arcane code of honor, which is perhaps incomprehensible to non-mobsters. He will be very protective of his family and he will ensure that his dear little girl wants for nothing, all while maintaining the illusion of morality. Unlike other villains this type is often fairly Genre Savvy. Quite likely he did read the Evil Overlord List. After all, you don't rise to become the head of dozens if not hundreds of individuals by being careless. Also more likely (but not necessary) than many villain archetypes to be an Anti-Villain or at least showing that Even Evil Has Standards, whose sole interest is in keeping the peace in his town and the money flowing. The Oyabun is the Don's Yakuza counterpart, while in The Triads and the Tongs, he's known as the Mountain Master or the Dragon's Head.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- One Piece has:
- Capone "Gang" Bege, a pirate captain modeled as one of these, Al Capone in particular. His crew are even dressed as members of The Mafia and refer to him as "Father".
- The earlier villain Crocodile was the head of the crime syndicate Baroque Works, hid his actions behind a legal business (a casino no less) and certainly had an air of this around him.
- While it isn't as obvious as the above two examples, Donquixote Doflamingo is most certainly this, being the leader of the Donquixote Family while also being the most powerful underground broker in the New World, having his hand in almost all illicit businesses. Yet despite his ruthlessness, he is shown to deeply care for his most powerful subordinates.
- Heat Guy J has Lorenzo Leonelli (whose character design is an Expy of Vito Corleone ). He is dead at the beginning of the series, and his Ax-Crazy teenage son takes over the Family. The position's title is "Vampire," for reasons never really explained in the series.
- Baccano! has several, all based in New York. One of the major families effectively has three Dons, a trio of brothers who chose to run the organization together after their father died.
- Shirogami Ryuji of Tokyo Crazy Paradise, the third-generation head of Kuryugumi, the largest crime syndicate in the Kanto region, despite still being in high school. He succeeded to the position after his father was murdered.
- Diavolo, head of the Passione and Big Bad of the Vento Aureo arc in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. He takes the Don's typical elusive nature to an extreme, and his entire motivation is to make sure that no one has seen his face and lived. To that end, he operates largely via an alternate personality, naming himself Doppio, which he uses to infiltrate the protagonist's team.
- In Death Note, Rod Ross is nominally the leader of his particular Mafia faction in LA. But he always defers to Mello (who is a pretty Ambiguously Gay blond boy approximately half Rod's age and apparently planned to blow up their HQ building with everyone else in it once they were no longer useful to his investigation of Kira), because Mello is such a shrewd leader and it's good for "business."
- Wolfsbane, a lupine alien who controls all of New Vegas in the Big Finish Doctor Who Destiny of the Doctor audiodrama Night of the Whisper.
- Don Maestro in the Big Finish Doctor Who Companion Chronicles drama Mastermind is a twist on the "protective of his family" element of the trope. The reason he's so protective is because he's the Master in his body-stealing phase, and plans to keep jumping into the bodies of successive generations.
- Carmine "The Roman" Falcone from the Batman: The Long Halloween miniseries.
- The Penguin currently fills this role in Gotham City, having retired from committing crimes personally - for the most part.
- Wallenquist from Sin City is a rare German gangster mob boss.
- The Kingpin and Silvio Manfredi of Marvel Comics are two reoccurring leaders of the Maggia, Marvel's expy of the Mafia.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Vito and Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Trope Codifier.
- Paul Vitti (played by Robert De Niro, who seems drawn to such roles) in Analyze This is supposed to be a respected and high-ranking member of the Mafia; trouble is, he's having so many issues in his life...
- Marc-Ange Draco, head of the Unione Corse in the James Bond novel (and film) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
- Ray Vargo starts out as this in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. At the end, after his death a little more than halfway through the movie, he gets replaced as the head of The Family by his daughter Louise.
- The aforementioned Carmine Falcone (see Comic Books) in Batman Begins and his successor Salvatore Maroni in The Dark Knight are two old-school Mafia crime lords who are put out of business by both Batman and his psychotic enemies. Similarly, Carl Grissom plays the role in Tim Burton's Batman.
- In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, the Sherrif of Rottingham enlists the help of Don Giovanni (Dom De Luise), a mafia boss from the actual island of Jersey, to get rid of Robin Hood.
- Paul Cicero in Goodfellas is a relatively blue-collar version.
- Paulie was merely a capo in the Lucchese family, meaning there is a Don that goes unseen as well (or three, going by the history; namely Tommy Lucchese, Carmine Tramunti, and Anthony Corallo).
- The Hutts are notorious for being mobsters in Star Wars continuity. Jabba was the most well-known example, but Expanded Universe books mention many others.
- In The Crow, Top Dollar apparently has authority over all major crime in the city.
Top Dollar: Nothing happens in this town without my say-so.
- Fear City: Matt Rossi visits his old employer in the Italian district for advice on how to deal with the elusive killer who is carving up his strippers.
- In Spielberg's Munich, the main character encounters a maxed-out Papa Wolf version of The Don - The Patriarch of a crime family, who is just as attentive and reasonable as a regular fiction farm daddy, and also performs a "man test" for the main character - specifically, if he can hold his own in a kitchen (he can, on account of being raised in a kibutz). Plays out all the tropes of a wise old Don to a tee, with BIG emphasis on family.
Papa: Let me see your hands.[he grabs Avner's hands and compares them to his own]Papa: Too big for a good cook. That was my problem too! I would've been a master, but I have thick, stupid butcher's hands just like yours. Oh, we are tragic men. Butcher's hands, gentle souls.
- In the German modernist City Noir classic, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Pums is portrayed as this, coming off as more urbane, dressing better and showing more sophistication than his fellow lowlifes.
- Colonel Bozzo-Corona, the il'Padre d'Ogni (Allfather) of The Black Coats is perhaps the Ur-Example.
- Vito and Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Trope Codifier before the (deservedly lauded) movies.
- Ankh-Morpork has "Legitimate Businessman" Chrysoprase the troll, allegedly a 'Ton' in the disorganized crime syndicate, the Breccia. Of course, every sensible troll knows that the Breccia doesn't exist. Definitely not. If it did exist without his permission, Mister Chrysoprase would be very upset. In the animated Wyrd Sisters, Chrysoprase is clearly based on Don Corleone.
- Very upset [emphasis in the original, usually] is typically how Mister Chrysoprase is described as about to be, generally because someone shows signs of balking at the "eminently reasonable suggestions" being put forth at the present moment by his underlings. However, just about every time Mister Chrysoprase is actually present, he exhibits the tolerance and affability of someone who knows he's going to get his way in the end.
- Wulfgar from Valhalla is the archetypical Don, first with his brother and then alone.
- Don Bruce the Fairy Godfather of the Myth Adventures series.
- Uncle Enzo from Snow Crash, possibly the most legitimatly benevolent example in fiction.
- "Gentleman Johnny" Marcone of the The Dresden Files is this to a tee. He's so formidable and Genre Savvy that he even manages to come out ahead when tangling with wizards, vampires, and werewolves.
- Chodo Contague from the Garrett, P.I. novels is a classic Don. His predecessor was also, although he dies in the first novel before getting much chance to act out this trope.
- "Papa" Friedlander Bay from George Alec Effinger's Marîd Audran series is a classic version, with a strong sense of honor, and strong religious beliefs—which don't stop him from having a hand in most of the organized illegal activities in and around the Budayeen. The primary way that he differs from the archetype is that he's an Arab Muslim, rather than an Italian Catholic.
- No Hutt could have ever matched the influence held by Prince Xizor, the Big Bad of the Expanded Universe novel Shadows of the Empire. A crimelord who commanded the Black Sun, a galactic ciminal empire with millions of members, he was secretly loyal to Palpatine, and was quite likely the third most influential person in the Empire. His goal was to become number two, replacing Darth Vader in that role.
- Anthony Luca, the father of main character Vince Luca in Son of the Mob is the most powerful mob boss in New York, having killed his rival, Mario Calabrese and inherited his late mentor's empire. He's nicknamed "Honest Abe" by his allies, with word on the street being that if you deal with Anthony Luca, you'll never get ripped off. Conversely, rip off Anthony Luca and you'll never deal anywhere again. Not in this life.
- Nick Velvet: Nick is hired to steal a Right-Hand Cat from a Mafia don in "The Theft of the Mafia Cat".
- In Relativity, the town has a number of gangs, each with their own leader, but Stefan Donalli is the overseer of all of them. When he gets sent to jail, all the other gang leaders, including Donalli's sister, get into a giant war to see who takes over next.
- Capa Vencarlo Barsavi in Gentleman Bastard fits this trope perfectly.
- Rene Benoit of NCIS.
- Tony Soprano of The Sopranos, and Uncle Junior before him, and Jackie Aprile, Sr. before him. Technically, all three were Acting Boss for Ercole "Eckley" DiMeo, who was convicted and sent to federal prison in Missouri in 1995 (four years before the series begins) until Tony formally takes the title of Boss for himself in Season 6 (Eckley was ancient—over 80—incarcerated, and quite probably senile). In the premiere the remaining Capos do discuss the possibility of establishing a forum, but reject it because the old hierarchy is much more efficient at settling disputes. The rival New York family has Carmine Lupertazzi, a classic old-school Don. He is replaced by Johnny Sack and Phil Leotardo.
- Gotham has Don Falcone, who's been ruling the city's underworld for at least fifteen years. He has a bunch of sub-don's, of which three are named: Salvatore Maroni, Fish Mooney, and Nikolai. All three are The Starscreams.
- Monk has had the occasional run in with these, including once when he was hired by one who wanted to find out who had attacked their barbershop front so as to be sure they were not going to start a needless Mob War.
- In season 2 of The Wire, "The Greek", unnamed patriarch of the Greek crime syndicate. He's very soft spoken, has a calm civility of another age, masking an icy ruthlessness.
- Lost has Mr. Paik, Sun's father and Jin's employer.
- The Guatrau, leader of the Ha'la'tha, on Caprica.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Piece of the Action", Captain Kirk, of all people becomes the biggest don on the planet.
"Nobody's gonna put the bag over Me anymore..."
- The climax has Kirk implicitly make the Federation President this, by painting the Federation as an interplanetary crime syndicate which Kirk is an enforcer for and which is now muscling in to get its cut of the profits.
- Jimmy Reardon of Intelligence (2006) has most of the qualities associated with the Don.
- Ryuubee Sonozaki of Kamen Rider Double.
- Harry Montebello on The Straits.
- Hawaii Five-O, the original: The Vachon patriarch, played somewhat against type by Harold Gould, who was usually seen in comedy series. The "V for Vachon" arc ran about 5 episodes spaced over a season.
- Datak Tarr is one in Defiance. Naturally, he prefers the world see him as an entrepreneur. In the pilot, his bodyguard nearly breaks the arm of a man who runs up to him on the street with his weekly protection payment, as the regular pick-up guy didn't show up. Datak quietly (but angrily) tells the man to go home and wait for someone to come, but never to approach him like that on the street. His wife Stahma, meanwhile, distracts the man's children by offering them sweets.
- True to this trope, Datak strives to maintain the culture of his lost homeworld, despite the fact that he was the lowest of the low there. His son Alak was born on Earth and wants nothing to do with his father's "business", preferring to immerse himself in human culture (i.e. a typical second-generation immigrant), working as the titular town's radio DJ and nearly squealing with delight when he gets his hands on some old records.
- Justified has Bo Crowder, head of the Crowder family and former criminal kingpin of Harlan County. During his heyday there wasn't an illegal transaction that took place in the county without him receiving a cut of it. During his five-year stint in prison his empire collapses; Season 1's main arc is driven by his attempt at reclaiming it.
- Person of Interest has several Mafia dons, most of whom look the part, and prioritise their families and territories. The most important don, though, is Elias, who looks so nebbish and unassuming that he's able to work undercover in his enemies' territory for three years. He's the bastard son of a Don who murdered his mother and attempted to have Elias himself garotted, which drives Elias to have his father killed and take over all the territories of New York. He does highly value oath-keeping and personal loyalty, to the point that he maintains a truce with the protagonists.
- Thomas Shelby, don of the Shelby clan and their gang, the Peaky Blinders, in the thusly-named Peaky Blinders. An unique example, in that he's not the father of the family, not even the eldest son. After him and his siblings father became a Disappeared Dad, Thomas surpassed his elder brother, and took control of the family business, simply because he's much better at it than his brother.
- Lois and Clark had the Intergang head Bill Church Sr., after he and his son Bill Church Jr. end up in prison the family business is taken over by Mindy Church... Bill Sr.'s till that point thought to be airheaded Trophy Wife who set him up and who had been Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Lord Howard Hurtz from Medieval Madness.
"I'm gonna make you look like an accident."
- Bruto Cadaverini and Winfred "Big Wins" Kitaki from Ace Attorney.
- Salvatore Leone is perhaps the best known Don of the Grand Theft Auto series. You also meet a couple of Dons of the big five families in Grand Theft Auto IV.
- Don Corneo of Final Fantasy VII fame. One of the less smart and Genre Savvy examples.
- Don Pygoscelisnote of the Kingdom of Loathing's Penguin Mafia.
- Don Pianta from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Later his son-in-law Franky takes over, although his daughter is really the one in charge.
- Each New Reno crime family in Fallout 2 has a leader of this type.
- Fallout: New Vegas starts off with Nero in this role for the Omertas and Benny filling it for the Chairmen, with Robert House over them both as capo del tutti capi. Marjorie of the White Glove Society is also "under" House, but is more of a conventional CEO type; Mortimer fits the Don trope better, though he's nominally subordinate to Marjorie. Pretty much any part of this can change as a result of the player's actions, with Cachino taking over the Omertas and Swank taking over the Chairmen (and, in one possible ending, with the player taking over from Mr. House as overlord of the entire strip).
- Don Punchinello in Max Payne is somewhat a subversion of the stereotype: as Max puts it, "Punchinello was a pushover", justified by the fact that he is just a public figurehead used by the real villain to pin the Valkyr distribution on.
- Aria T'Loak in Mass Effect 2 is the ruler of the Wretched Hive Omega. While not referred to as "Don" (it is assumed that she is female but the Asari are a One-Gender Race), she has the entire crime life on Omega in her pocket and shows many of the mannerisms associated with this trope. She's also big on keeping the (relative) peace in Omega. The third game shows that her power seems to extend beyond Omega, as she's capable of bypassing Citadel customs simply by calling up the Asari Councilor and she can potentially end up controlling three of the biggest PMCs of the galaxy.
- While Team Rocket falls squarely under The Family for the Whole Family, Giovanni is The Don through and through. He even later on picks up a fedora/long coat/corsage combo. However, unlike most examples here, he seems to put his family below his organization.
- Don Genie from F-Zero is so rich that he scoffs at a billion credits worth of prize money.
- Conker's Bad Fur Day has the infamous Don Weazo, leader of a group of criminal weasels and owner of the Rock Solid.
- Li Yuan the pirate chief and extortionist in the old game Tai-Pan
- Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime has Don Clawleon, the leader of the Plob.
- David Wai-Lin "Uncle" Po, the Chairman of the Sun On Yee Triad in Sleeping Dogs. He's succeeded at the end of the game by Broken Nose Jiang.
- Gate of Thunder's villain is Don Jingi, leader of the Obellon crime syndicate.
- Mister Tayama in Shin Megami Tensei IV. Plans to keep Tokyo forever under his thumb as his "utopia", built on evil so unimaginable even demons are outright horrified. His Ashura-Kai ran largely unopposed, except by the Ring of Gaea and a few scattered demons. However, of the game's antagonists, he's by far the least in the know of what truly is at stake, and is promptly Dragged Off to Hell by the activation of the Yamato Perpetual Reactor.
- Dermot "Lucky" Quinn is the boss of the Chicago mob (predominantly Irish instead of Italian in this game) in Watch_Dogs.
- In the Yakuza games, Daigo Dojima is the current Sixth Chairman of the Tojo Clan, which makes him the boss of the biggest criminal organization in Japan and a major player in the events of the series. Series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu was made the Fourth Chairman in the first game before he chose to step down to raise his adopted daughter, though he still holds some degree of power and influence among those who recognize him.
- The Elder Scrolls
- The leader of the Thieves' Guild in each game where it appears qualifies. Naturally, the Player Character can always rise up to that rank by finishing the Guild quest line.
- Master Thief Gentleman Jim Stacey holds the position.
- The Camonna Tong, the Mafia-esque native Dunmer Syndicate, are rivals to the Imperial Thieves Guild and are led by the crime boss, Orvas Dren. In contrast to the violence-averse Thieves Guild, they are much more gang-like and thuggish, resorting to violence to get want they want while also running Morrowind's illegal drug, smuggling, and slaving operations.
- Oblivion has the mysterious Gray Fox in this position.
- Skyrim has Mercer Frey in this position. It turns out he murdered the previous Guildmaster Gallus and took over the position, and determined to wipe out the only witness before leaving the rest of the Guild to rot while he makes off with all their treasure. Should you manage to confront and kill him, you will become the new Guildmaster provided you have completed all Fence quests for the Thieves Guild.
- Gino Giorgetti of Fishbones.
- Don Polpo in Rusty and Co..
- Don Long-Legs of the The Family in Sonic the Comic – Online!.
- In Runners 'verse the word is "dhama". The protagonists, being smugglers, have had dealings with two of them so far.
- In the Contemporary Arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, Odin is a mafia don.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, Vesuvius Matheson is the Don of the Matheson Crime Family which rules the city of Matheson and has considerable influence in the Maar Sulais underworld.
- Parodied in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Bad Horse, the rarely-seen leader of the Evil League of Evil, turns out to actually be a (bad) horse.
- In The Guild, Zaboo goes this route in Season 5 when he starts running a seat-savers racket. He becomes so powerful that at one point Neil Gaiman comes to ask him a favor. Zaboo is even stroking a toy cat in the scene.
- Luciano Mezzanotte from Fate/Nuovo Guerra.
- Pokemon Pals: Giovanni
- Corta of Shadows Of The Limelight is a female version who heads a crime family and is considered on of the top three most powerful criminals in her city.
- Futurama has The Don Bot.
- Peter also has dealings with one in an episode where he gets into debt with the Mob in an episode of Family Guy.
- The Simpsons has Fat Tony. (However, while Fat Tony is the most well-known mobster in Springfield, he isn't the biggest; he answers to a more powerful one named Don Vittorio DiMaggio.)
- South Park has Loogie. Despite being an elementary school kid, he's styled after a classic Italian mafioso and runs a racket that steals tooth fairy money from kids around the neighborhood.
- The most powerful mobster in Gotham city at the outset of Batman: The Animated Series is Rupert Thorne, who seizes the position in an early episode from aging mobster Arnold Stromwell. His old-school methods provide a contrast to those of Batman's more colourful foes. In late seasons, the Penguin gives up committing crimes personally to control organized crime behind the scenes, much like he did in the comics.
- Rupert Thorne and Arnold Stromwell actually deconstruct this trope: They follow it completely except at The Patriarch part: Rupert Thorne cares for his brother Mathew, but he is the reason his brother has become a Back-Alley Doctor. Stromwell has destroyed his marriage, driven his son to drugs, and has not seen his priest brother in years. Both of them are a curse on their loved ones.
- The Legend of Korra has a few Dons running around Roaring Twenties Republic City leading the bending triads. One was Predecessor Villain Yakone, and a more recent one is Lightning Bolt Zolt.
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law had a funny example. Harvey defended Fred Flintstone, who was thought to be this, and who certainly believed himself to be this. Harvey successfully argued that Fred suffered from Identity Amnesia yet again, causing himself to believe he was this trope. Meanwhile, the episode shows plenty of evidence that Fred was indeed The Don. Which is why the Twist Ending showed that Fred never was The Don. Barney Rubble was.
- The Fairly OddParents! subverted this with Wanda's father Big Daddy. He acts like a stereotypical mob boss and expresses his desire for Wanda to run the "family business" that Cosmo and Timmy assumed to refer to the mafia, which in reality turned out to be a garbage pickup company.
- Los Trotamúsicos: In this adaptation of The Bremen Town Musicians the gang of robbers is lead by a maffiosi Expy named Chef. He dressed in a borsalino hat, a white suit and has Sinister Shades.
- Hungarian gangster Andrei Gyorgy is an interesting and obscure example of this. His smuggling prowess in World War II made him not merely an important crime lord, but a major player in the espionage game. He was hired for various purposes by many different factions including the British, Americans, Germans, the Hungarians and the Zionists and who knows how many others for getting messages, agents, money or whatever to given places. After the war his syndicate broke up and he retired to become an obscure bartender.
- Mario Puzo based Vito Corleone off of several real-life Mafia bosses, including Carlo Gambino, Frank Costello, Joe Bonanno, Tommy Lucchese, Charles Luciano, Santo Trafficante Sr., Raymond Patriarca Sr., Angelo Bruno, Russell Bufalino, Tony Accardo, Sam De Cavalcante, Frank Balistrieri and Carlos Marcello.
- His son Michael was loosely based on Bill Bonanno (the son of Joe Bonanno), Santo Trafficante Jr. (the son of Santo Sr.), Tommy Gambino (the son of Carlo Gambino), and Ray Patriarca Jr. (the son of Raymond Patriarca Sr.)