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Playing With: Boxed Crook
Basic Trope: A convicted criminal is forced to perform a task.
  • Straight: Jack, a burglar, is offered his freedom if he will burgle an embassy.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Penal battalions. For example, committing a crime automatically gets you conscripted and sentenced as Cannon Fodder.
    • The government shamelessly frames Jack because they want his skills and throws homicidal maniacs on the team because they think they might be useful. They then use the proof that he burgled the embassy to force him on more missions.
  • Downplayed: Jack is put in charge of something within the prison; he gets privileges to go with his new job, but not his freedom.
  • Justified:
    • Jack's skills are unique.
    • For penal battalions, it serves as a utilitarian form of capital punishment, or to make use of criminals with skills that ordinary civilians can't acquire (such as the lack of doubt about killing people).
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Jack's a plant; they think The Mole will assume he's the easiest to subvert.
  • Double Subverted: But to make the case really convincing, they used an actual criminal.
  • Parodied:
    • When selecting agents for dangerous, vital missions, the authorities always chose newly convicted jaywalkers.
    • The task involves him being in a box.
  • Zig Zagged: Tom offers Jack his freedom if he burgles an embassay; on the mission, Jack tricks Tom to his hideout, where his Mooks catch him, and offers to let him go if he burgles the office so Jack can destroy records of him; Tom traps them all in the office but persuades the authorities to let them all work for him instead of going to jail.
  • Averted: The officers chosen for dangerous missions all have clean records and legitimate training, or the agency always uses completely open methods of seeking and obtaining information.
  • Enforced: "The Moral Guardians won't let us show police officers breaking and entering; we've got to get a shady character like Jack to do that sort of dirty work."
  • Lampshaded: "Hey Agent Bob, does it ever occur to you that letting a convicted criminal work in law enforcement might be a bad idea?"
  • Invoked: Jack offers to break into the villain's mansion in exchange for his freedom.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: Agent Bob proposes using Jack, and the idea is immediately shot down and never mentioned again.
  • Discussed: "We're going to get some convicted felon to do it, aren't we?"
  • Conversed: "So, when they need to really entertain a kid's birthday crowd, do they call John Wayne Gacy?"
  • Deconstructed: The government agents are more evil than the criminals they look down, whom they ruthlessly use, often causing their deaths.
  • Reconstructed: The criminals are the worst of the worst, and only look like victims because the agents give them no chance to commit crimes.

We have a proposal for you. You can work for us, or go back to Boxed Crook. Which will it be?

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