"...What would you do without me? Say 'nothing'."
"Nothing," said the Prince.
"Good. Then you're helpless and I'll help you."
A heroic party whose official professions are defined vaguely enough to allow them to go on all sorts of adventures. Generally requires only one catch (like simply being paid) to take any job no matter how unusual or apparently trite, and all are treated with the same amount of professionalism.
A noticeable trend is for these groups to be some variation of either mercenary work or detective work. If dealing with supernatural forces, you literally
have a Who You Gonna Call?
on your hands. Adventure Guild
is a subtrope commonly found in a Role-Playing Game Verse
People who do this stuff without getting paid generally have Chronic Hero Syndrome
. A variant might be that they'll charge based on the client's ability to pay, lowering or even waiving their fees if the case is interesting enough or the customer is in dire enough straits.
Someone who wanders from place to place doing this is a Knight Errant
the slogan of Angel Investigations in Angel
, however their original line was in fact "We help the hopeless
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Anime and Manga
- The Ghostbusters, whose philosophy, as Peter says in a television ad, is that "no job is too big, no fee is too big!" Though they do milk business customers like the Sedgewick Hotel for all they're worth, they're more forgiving when it comes to private individuals like Dana and Louis.
- Seven Samurai gives a somewhat ambivalent and often cynical treatment of this.
Live Action TV
- In Angel, Angel Investigations started with the slogan "We help the hopeless", as its original advertising slogan, but it evolved into "helpless" in later seasons, and in at least one instance, "We hope you're helpless."
- It should have been the last one, if you've seen how they play it in later seasons, then you know it's the most emotionally charged of them.
"In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit
. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles
underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The A-Team
- The Goodies in that, when they're not carrying out zany schemes for themselves, they actually do want money for what they do, but they usually do it so badly that they're lucky if they get off scot-free. In one episode they pledged to not do any more charity work and the next person who wanted help better pay up for it... and then the next person who walks in is a beautiful woman. They promptly forget their pledge, and help her anyway.
- The Avengers
- The Equalizer
- Knight Rider
"Michael Knight. A young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law."—the Opening Narration
- Paladin in Have Gun — Will Travel
- Vengeance Unlimited, for one million dollars or a favor.
- The Pretender does it for free, since he can steal from the baddies' bank accounts.
- MacGyver - does he actually HAVE a job?
- Technically yes, but the job description appears to be VERY VERY broadly defined.
- The WWE tag team The Acolyte Protection Agency (APA for short) hired themselves out to various underdog faces for bodyguarding, six-man-tag-teaming, and general-purpose ass-kicking. They even had a few faux-commercials for their services, with the tag line "APA: 'cause we need beer money!"
- Burn Notice
- The crew of the good ship Serenity in Firefly. As an added bonus, some of their jobs do involve helping the helpless. (When they noticed one of their jobs involved exploiting the helpless, Captain
Tightpants Mal did a Heel Face Turn and brought the stolen loot back.)
- Lampshaded/subverted by Mal: "We rob from the rich and sell to the poor."
- Pushing Daisies
- Leverage has this from the second episode on (in the pilot each of the 5 thieves made out with over $32 million on short-sold stock).
- Leverage is an odd duck because, unlike most other examples of this trope, the characters really don't need money very much at all and are therefore never broke. But then, international thieves are a lot like stock brokers: if the guy's broke, he's probably not worth hiring.
- Sanctuary has a slight twist on this, as the main characters generally help abnormal humans, while fighting the more dangerous ones.
- The Middleman
- Human Target
- The Doctor and whatever companions are hanging with him this week- whether it be creepy statues or the end of reality itself. Not really a 'profession', of course; the Doctor does it for the glory of seeing everything cool in the universe and helping people.
- Person of Interest is about an ex-CIA officer who needs a sense of purpose and a billionare software developer with a conscience; they help people who are going to be the victims of violent crimes, according to the predictions of a government surveillance supercomputer.
- Gary and his friends on Early Edition.
- The majority of adventuring parties in any given Tabletop Games, especially Dungeons & Dragons, also tend to be like this, as a cheap and easy way for the Game Master to get the adventure started.
- A particular Hat of the Lawful Good alignment.
- Superhero RPGs are perhaps an even better example.
- In contrast, Dark Heresy characters distinctly don't help the helpless. In fact, since the players work for the Inquisition, chances are they are actively killing the helpless just in case they happen to be Chaos tainted.
- Shadowrun teams with any sort of ethics at all tend to fall into this category. Of course, most Shadowrunners are immoral scumbuckets who'd slit their own mama's throat for a single nuyen, but the player characters are exceptions. Hopefully.
- Troubleshooters from Paranoia treat all jobs with the same amount of professionalism. That amount is zero.
- They're troubleshooters: They find trouble, they shoot it.
- Kim Possible: From babysitting to saving the world, "she can do anything".
- Disney animated show The Weekenders has a charity organization "helpers helping the helpless," where helpful helpers help helpless people needing help. Description courtesy of the lady in charge losing her thesaurus (she finds it later). Not quite this trope, but the name is there.
- The Real Ghostbusters have been hired by everyone from a pair of young children and a kindly old lady to a Hollywood studio, NASA and the French and Japanese governments. Thankfully, they take that into account when deciding what to charge the customer.
- Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers have the motto "No case too big, no case too small" in their theme song. And they appear to follow that principle...
- Most incarnations of Scooby-Doo, whose teenage heroes, a roaming, freelance detective agency in later versions, stumble into just about every paranormal situation imaginable on a weekly basis and take it upon themselves to help the people they've met and debunk the (usually) fake ghost.
- Jack from Samurai Jack is an example of this, helping everyone he met in his journey and fighting evil in general.