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Bringing in the Expert

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MacCready: If you can't handle it, get me somebody who can! Get me Bruce Lee!
Cobb: Bruce Lee is dead.
MacCready: Then get his brother!

An underling fails, so their employer hires the best man (or woman) to get the job done — usually played out by villainous characters, who suffer a bitter and humiliating defeat at the hands of the hero by proxy, when the hero defeats their champion. Enraged at their defeat, they do not engage the heroes face to face themselves, but use their financial means to acquire the toughest specialists money can buy, to settle the score. The expert may be Only in It for the Money, but some are actually interested in the prospect of a Worthy Opponent to test their mettle. If the expert is soon defeated or killed despite their expertise, he (or she) is The World's Expert (on Getting Killed).

Subtrope of Hired Guns. Compare Cast the Expert and Sorting Algorithm of Evil. Not to be confused with Expert Consultant.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Throughout Area 88, the communist rebels resort to hiring veteran air force pilots as mercenaries to take out the mercenaries recruited by the Royal Asranian Air Force. Among them include ex-American Navy pilot Patrick Reed, who was recruited to fly their MiG-23 Flogger fighters supplied by the USSR.
  • Chimitsu Sunazara is a mercenary sniper recruited by a black ops unit called SCHOOL in the Battle Royale arc of A Certain Magical Index after their previous sniper was killed by ITEM agents.
  • Most of the plots in Black Lagoon involve the hiring of bounty hunters and mercenaries to go after Lagoon Company or the VIPs they're supposed to protect/escort. It rarely goes well for the bad guys.
  • Mercenary Tao in Dragon Ball was hired to kill Goku after the Red Ribbon Army suffered several curb-stomp battles at the hands of him and his friends.
  • In Durarara!!, Vorona and Slon are hired in Japan as mercenaries in order to abduct Akane Awakusu and blame it on a hostile Yakuza group as a last resort by Yodogiri Jinnai.
  • Gauron is recruited by Amalgam in Full Metal Panic! in order to cause headaches for Mithril during their anti-terrorist operations in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • In the 1st GiG episode "Automated Capitalism", a Chinese Triad group recruits an underworld assassin named Fem to take out a known banker named Yokose Kanemoto. She was eventually arrested by Section 9 before she could carry out the hit.
    • In the middle of 2nd GiG, ex-JGSDF soldier Hideo Kuze is recruited by militant refugees in Dejima to help them fight off the JGSDF since their overt attacks are foiled by law enforcement, including Section 9.
  • This happens a lot to Duke Togo. He is, quite literally, the world's greatest assassin, so when someone needs someone else killed (and can afford the hefty fee), they know who to call. On more than one occasion, he's called in not even to kill someone, but just to provide his assessment.
  • In Jormungand, a team of assassin led by Dominic is hired by rogue CIA SAD agent Hex in order to assassinate Koko and her men in North Africa as a last resort.
  • In Patlabor, Schaft Enterprise, courtesy of Richard Wong aka Utsumi, recruits an Indian boy named Badrinath Harchand to take on the Ingrams of SV2 and secure as much combat data as possible after the failures of using pro-environment terrorists to take on them with Brockens.
  • This is a minor plot in Spriggan's "Legend of the Mask" arc when ex-Machiner's Platoon officer Dutch "Iron Arm" Metrisk is hired by Koichi Sasahara under the influence of Tezcatlipoca to battle Yu Ominae in Mexico after all previous attempts to stop him in Japan failed.
  • In YuYu Hakusho's Spirit Detective arc, Yukina was held prisoner in Gonzo Tarukane's mansion in the outskirts of Tokyo in order to avoid detection by law enforcement. Since his subordinates were not able to make Yukina cry to get her tears hardened as crystal gems, Tarukane arranged to make contact with the Toguro brothers, known in the underworld as the leaders of the Apparition Gang that specializes in anything requested by their clients, including the use of torture methods towards demons. They succeed.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Blind Fury: The Big Bad exasperated by his minions' failures to deal with the Blind Weaponmaster, tells his henchman to get Bruce Lee if that's what it'll take to deal with him. When The Dragon points out Bruce Lee is dead, he demands his brother or someone capable of it. They settle for hiring an expensive Japanese swordsman of their own, who does end up giving Nick his toughest fight in the movie.
  • In Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, the mercenaries Angus and Duncan MacDougall attempt to assassinate Seamus on the boat returning from the prison.
  • In Diggstown Gabriel Caine bets John Gillon that boxer "Honey" Roy Palmer can defeat ten local boxers in 24 hours. Gillon does not trust the local amateurs to get the job done so for the final fight he brings in a Super Ringer "Hammerhead" Hagan, a professional boxer who has beaten Palmer before. He then tries to do it again but Caine actually paid off the new expert to throw the fight.
  • The Empire Strikes Back has Darth Vader recruiting bounty hunters, including Boba Fett, in order to capture Han Solo and lure in Luke Skywalker instead of relying on the Stormtroopers.
  • The Ghost and the Darkness. John Patterson prepares a cunning trap for the man-eating lion that's attacking his workers. Sir Robert Beaumont looks like he's going to praise it, only to scoff at how ridiculous the idea is and say he's calling in a professional lion hunter, Charles Remington.
  • Gorgeous. Jackie Chan vs. an expert kickboxer hired by the Big Bad that used to be his friend.
  • The main plot of Guns And Talks involves four assassins recruited by clients for various jobs in South Korea, which usually involves killing off someone they know.
  • Hard Times. As Chaney beats Gandil's bald prizefighter, Gandil hires Street, the top fighter from Chicago to square things out.
  • Done twice in Kung Fu Hustle by the Axe Gang: First they hired the blind musical assassins to get rid of the three kung fu masters (Tailor, Coolie and Donut) in the Pig Sty Alley after their mooks are soundly beaten by the three. The musicians manage to do it, but then they face the Landlord and Landlady who are secretly kung fu masters too, and they soundly beat the musicians. Then the Axe Gang hires The Beast, an infamous bloodthirsty kungfu master that has locked himself up in an asylum, to fight the couple.
  • Moonraker. The villain Drax orders The Dragon Chang to kill James Bond. Chang fails repeatedly and Bond finally kills him. Drax then hires Jaws to finish the job.
  • Done twice in The Muppet Movie. Doc Hopper hires Professor Krassman to brainwash Kermit. When he fails, Hopper hires Snake Walker to assassinate Kermit.
  • Ocean's Thirteen has the best-in-business of subverting casino computer defence systems guy. Upon hearing of what Ocean's band has their sights on, the invitee immediately gives up and talks about returning the front money for his services.
  • Once Upon a Time in China. The Saho thugs hire out Iron Shirt Yim, a down-and-out martial arts master, to combat Wong Fei Hung.
  • Several 1970s Shaw Brothers kung-fu films had the villain suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of The Hero, resulting in them hiring outside martial arts experts to do their fighting for them, usually foreign experts from other parts of China or Asia.
  • Shiri has Lee Bang-Hee brought out of obscurity by Park Mu-Young in Seoul with orders to assassinate key targets in the South Korean government in order to keep Operation Center busy and force the South Korean government to transport the CTX prototype explosives by the South Korean Army and hijack it and partially do it as payback for OP's interference with a hijacking operation his men executed years ago.
  • The Sting. After Hooker and his partners con one of Lonegan's numbers runners out of the money he was carrying, Lonegan puts out a hit on them. When two of his underlings fail to kill Hooker, Lonegan has the assassin Salino assigned to get rid of him.
  • In Way of the Dragon, Tang Lung faces off against Colt in the Colosseum, hired by the Italian Mafia in order to get rid of him after their men have failed to make him leave Rome.

  • Inverted in Blood Rites, where Harry calls in Kincaid, the expert mercenary he'd met in the previous book to help deal with a gang of Black Court vampires.
  • In The Day of the Jackal the conspirators fail to kill De Gaulle so for the next attempt they hire a professional assassin known only as "The Jackal". Ironically, the amount of money they have to steal to afford his services is the first sign to the police of what is going on.
  • In Fighters of Danwait, the Lo'ona Aeo start a massive hiring spree of demobilized human soldiers, pilots, and Space Navy officers after the end of the final Void War between humanity and the Bino Faata. Previously, they recruited pretty much anyone, although mostly civilians, but the massive influx of out-of-work war vets bolsters their mercenary force (used to protect their borders and shipping) by a large factor. The civilian hires are relegated to the Convoy, providing escort to Lo'ona Aeo merchant ships, while the experienced mercs are members of the Patrol and spend their time, well, patroling Lo'ona Aeo border sectors for hostile incursion. Ironically, their typical foes are the Dromi, who had worked for the Lo'ona Aeo in the same capacity for over a millennium and are now pissed off at being terminated in favor of the upstart humans.
  • The Executioner. After an open contract and their own mooks fail to kill Mack Bolan in the first three novels, the Mafia Commission vote to bring in the Talifero brothers, who run the modern version of Murder, Inc..
  • Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch: Whenver Cole and Hitch are hired, the opposing faction will often try to hire similarly skilled gunmen to counter them:
    • Resolution: After Wolfson hires Hitch and Cole, Eamon Malley hires Cato and Rose.
    • Blue-Eyed Devil: General Laird hires Chauncey Teagarden to take revenge after Cole kills Laird's son.
    • Appaloosa: Bragg hires the Shelton brothers after his own men prove inadequate to deal with Cole and Hitch.
  • In Yendi, the Jhereg crime boss Laris arranges for several attempts on the life of the protagonist Vlad Taltos, but they fail each time. He finally gets serious and hires the Sword and the Dagger of the Jhereg, two expert assassins, to take care of Vlad.

    Live Action TV 
  • The A-Team episode "Deadly Maneuvers" had a syndicate of crime lords pay Major Douglas Kyle to assemble a Dream Team of mercenaries to hunt down the A-Team.
  • On Believe Skouras does not believe that the FBI is capable of bringing Bo back to him so he hires a mercenary to find her. When the mercenary fails, Skouras enlists another powerful psychic to locate Bo and neutralize her protectors.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "What's My Line, Part 1" Spike brings in a trio of assassin demons to kill Buffy.
    Dalton: Uh, yes, but... The Order of Taraka, I mean... isn't that overkill?
    Spike: No, I think it's just enough kill.
  • The Verrat in Grimm are always brought in by the antagonists due to Nick and the others putting a stop to their activities in the Greater Portland Area.
  • In the premiere of Halt and Catch Fire Joe and Gordon reverse engineer the IBM PC BIOS chip which puts their employer, Cardiff Electric in a lot of legal trouble. To avoid a massive lawsuit from IBM, the company has to design and build their own PC clone to prove that they are not infringing IBM's copyright. Gordon could do it but all current Cardiff employees are considered legally 'tainted' and the company has to hire an outsider to do the actual work. Joe then subverts the trope by hiring Cameron to work on the project. While she is portrayed as a very gifted engineer, she is still in college and has never worked in the computer industry.
  • On Justified Katherine Hale and Wynn Duffy plan to steal millions from fellow mobster Avery Markham. However, Markham is believed to keep his money in a safety deposit box in a local bank and neither Hale nor Duffy know much about robbing banks. To rectify this, they partner up with Boyd Crowder who used to rob banks for a living before he switched to other criminal endeavors. Boyd then discovers that the money is actually kept in the vault of a former bank building so they start looking for and expert who can help them break into the vault. Duffy hires the "Wiz", an explosives expert who knows how to blast his way into bank vaults. When that literally blows up in their faces, Boyd instead decides to dig his way into the vault through a nearby abandoned mine. Fully aware of the dangers such an operation could present, he hires Zachariah Randolph, an expert miner who knows how to work the old mines without getting yourself accidentally killed.
    • When Markham's mercenaries prove to be no match for the US Marshals, Markham brings in Boone, a Psycho for Hire who is a master gunslinger equal in skill to Marshal Raylan Givens.
  • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Space Empire Zangyack recruits a bounty hunter named Kiaido in order to take down Captain Marvelous and the other Gokaigers after previous attempts to kill them failed. He proves to be a troublesome enemy that the Gokaigers needed help to deal with him.
  • Roseanne: Deconstructed in the Season Nine episode where Darlene goes into extremely premature labor. Roseanne, who's recently won the lottery, declares that she wants "the best doctor on the whole damn planet" to help, as money is no longer an object. Two (literally) world-class OB/GYNs are flown in and do everything possible for Darlene and her baby, but they sadly explain that even with all of their knowledge and Roseanne's resources, there's only so much they can actually do given the limits of nature itself. In the end, it's implied that the family's faith and love is what truly allows the baby to live as opposed to the doctors' expertise, but the latter certainly helps the situation.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Who better to oversee the rehabilitation of former Borg on a derelict Borg cube than Hugh, an ex-drone? He's the Executive Director of the Borg Reclamation Project.

    Video Games 
  • In Gangsters 2: Vendetta it was possible to hire professional hitmen to deal with rival mob leaders. Their services always came with a hefty price tag, however.
  • In the mission "You Lucky Bastard!" of Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, Don Salieri repeatedly sends Tommy and other family hitmen to assassinate Don Morello's brother—but after they fail three times in a row, he calls them off and hires a pair of freelance Professional Killers. These also fail, however, so Tommy kicks subtlety to the curb, chases the man down, kills all of his bodyguards, and just shoots him in the head.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Admiral Zhao requisitioned an elite unit called Yuyan Archers famed for their Improbable Aiming Skills. Surely enough, they managed to capture Aang and bring them to Zhao's base.
  • Most incarnations of G.I. Joe has Zartan recruited as a mercenary by the future Cobra Commander to assassinate Snake Eyes prior to his recruitment as a GIJoe commando.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Dr. Doofenschmirtz once hired a professional platypus hunter to help him take down archnemesis Perry. He also applied the same principle in building Norm, since he learned "the enemy of the platypus is man" (as in, habitat loss due to human encroachment/pollution, but he interpreted it as literally "an average man is the perfect enemy for a super spy platypus"), even though he didn't hire him per se.
  • Samurai Jack has Aku recruiting the Imakandi, bipedal lion people renowned for never failing a hunt, in the episode Jack and the Hunters. While Jack gives them a lengthy chase across the city, they eventually succeed in capturing him, but were so impressed by his skill they let him go instead of turning him over to Aku.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) has the Shredder recruit a mercenary assassin named Tiger Claw in order to deal with the Turtles and their attempts to get in the Foot Clan's way.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian. In the episode "Battle of the Barbarians", an evil wizard hires another barbarian to help him defeat Thundarr.
  • The Venture Brothers: Played with when OSI seemingly calls in the assassins Herr Trigger, La Tueur, and Go-Fish to kill Brock Samson after terminating him as an agent. It's inverted because Hunter Gathers actually sent the assassins so Brock would kill them and thus eliminate competition for the Black Hearts.