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Cleanup Crew

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For all those hard to remove stains...

"Now, you've got a corpse in a car, minus a head, in a garage. Take me to it."

A character or team, usually affiliated to The Mafia, The Men in Black, or the Masquerade, who specialize in crime-scene cleanup, forensic evidence disposal, and/or body disposal.

Not to be confused with legitimate crime scene cleaners, who only work to make a place livable after the police have already collected evidence; this trope is about covering up the evidence of what's happened.

Bodies, guns and personal effects are wrapped in plastic and taken away for incineration or dissolved in acid. Blood is mopped up and blood splatter is cleaned from walls. Shell casings are collected and disposed of. Fingerprints are wiped away with solvent. Bullet holes in walls are filled and windows are replaced. Security footage is deleted and leftover files are shredded and removed. Some "full service" cleaners even deal with wounded gunmen and witnesses, Double Tapping them so they'll tell no tales and taking the bodies away. When police arrive, it looks like nothing happened here. These are the guys behind It Was Here, I Swear!.

They'll frequently refer to themselves as "The Cleaner(s)". They may dress in cleaning crew jumpsuits and arrive in a legitimate-looking cargo van. Cleaners are among the various underground, illicit services available in the Black Market. Not, however, to be confused with The Fixer, which is something entirely different.

Compare Memory-Wiping Crew, who do similar things for evidence that is psychological rather than physical.

Not related to the Almighty Janitor.


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  • An ad campaign for Wingo cleaning products shows them being used by mobsters to clean up crime scenes, with a healthy amount of Black Comedy. "No stains, no problems."

    Anime and Manga 
  • Sawyer the Cleaner from Black Lagoon is a cleaner who moonlights as an assassin when she needs to. Not nearly as subtle as most Cleaners on this page, particularly given her weapon of choice; but then again, Roanapur seems to have an unofficial policy of "do what you want, just don't leave bodies lying around; it's bad form to not clean up after yourself." The police chief seems more bothered about the commotion that criminals cause than the crimes themselves.
    • She does however also do regular proper cleanup work together with some other cleaners. However, mistakes, like leaving the mattress a decomposing body had been lying on, can still occur.
  • Call of the Night: Azami regularly cleans up after Kiku's rampant offspring, ensuring that the existence of vampires is kept under wraps. After Yamori accidentally destroys Nazuna's apartment building, Azami collects her belongings and moves them somewhere else (making it seem that the building was empty), before telling the humans surrounding the crumbling building that it collapsed due to age degradation.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • In Index, Touma sees what he believes to be the corpse of Mikoto's sister; by the time he's contacted Judgment, the body and any evidence is gone. Then Touma finds Mikoto's sister again... and notices that she has a very large dripping bag over her shoulder. And then he meets a few dozen more of Mikoto's Sisters. Not only are the clones being used as disposable targets, the researchers also make them clean up their own corpses.
    • A Certain Scientific Railgun: When Mikoto sees her clone brutally murdered by Accelerator, she tries to fight him. Just as things are starting to get really bad for her, a few dozen more clones arrive for the cleanup, and convince Accelerator that the experiment cannot be interrupted by an unscheduled fight. Mikoto is broken even further by seeing her clones cleaning up the area as casually as if it's an unimportant demolition project.
    • A Certain Scientific Accelerator: Scavenger is a gang employed by Academy City's Board of Directors to swoop in after battles to terminate stragglers and witnesses. This puts them rather low on the totem pole for Dark Side organizations, who are normally the assassins who are causing the mess in the first place. Notably, "Scavenger" is just a nickname, and they complain several times that they want an official code name.
  • Gunslinger Girl: Bruno, a Punch-Clock Villain with a loving family whose job it is to dispose of the victims and stolen cars of the Pandina terrorist organization. Captain Raballo makes a call for a "garbage truck" to dispose of the bodies of two subway hooligans killed by his cyborg in a training exercise.
  • Mei Company is a team of retired magical girl warriors who run a cleaning service, and often clean up after battles with monsters. Spoofed slightly in that the current generation of magical girls is completely unaware of Mei Company's existence, leading them to assume that just like how monsters disappear when destroyed, the surroundings magically fix themselves. Mei Company is left with extra work after the magical girls decide this means they don't have to hold back in battle.
  • Naruto
    • One of the tasks for the ANBU, sort of a special ops sect of ninja making them Elite Mooks amongst Elite Mooks, is properly disposing of their clan's corpses, since if dead ninja were to be studied by enemy clans their special clan specific jutsu might be turned against their homeland.
    • Hunter ninja of the Hidden Mist village. The first we meet is aged about twelve, and his introduction shows him pulling out his knives, seemingly in order to dismantle a Mist ninja.
    • Zetsu of the Akatsuki, who is sent to eat the bodies of fallen Akatsuki.
  • Rebuild World: Played with. Colbert and Revin are employed in one of these after Sheryl's relic shop is attacked... but the crew is used to make the crime scene look more and not less heinous, scattering blood around, in order to get backing from the government to charge the perpetrators more money in their impending Indentured Servitude.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Though, given it was a civil war where both sides felt the other were illegitimate and his side won and wrote history, it is slightly debatable as 'crime scene,' Iizuka was this for Kenshin for pretty much his whole assassin career. (Roughly ages fourteen to sixteen.) Once he switched to 'free swordsman and general rearguard', he didn't need one anymore, which is good, because...
  • Spy X Family: Thorn Princess has this trait as the one doing the killing, in which she avoids leaving a mess behind in the first place. Oddly enough it gives Yor the only useful domestic skill she has, in which she keeps their home extremely clean. She is otherwise useless domestically, especially as a cook.
    • Her boss, Matthew McMahon does the explicit part of the job, getting rid of the bodies.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: The Eraser was a one-shot villain who specialized in making the evidence of others' crimes disappear, for a small percentage of the take. And because he's a Batman villain, he does this while dressed in a yellow pin-stripe suit and a cylindrical pink mask that makes him look like a walking #2 pencil.
  • Batman: Black and White: In "The Devil's Children", Victor Dean used to work as a body disposer for Gotham's mobs, hiding the bodies in landfill or disposing of them out at sea. His legitimate cover business is as a cement contractor.
  • Marvel's various Damage Control limited series were about the wacky misadventures of a cleanup crew. Their job was to clean up the aftermath of the various (and numerous) super-battles in the Marvel Universe; Hilarity Ensues when abandoned bits of Applied Phlebotinum are picked up, superweapons are accidentally activated, and super-villains won't pay their bills. Averts this trope throughout, despite being (at various times) co-owned by The Kingpin and a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Butcher Joyce from The Darkness.
  • An especially disturbing version turned up in The Punisher MAX comic, with plenty of Gorn-y detail on what goes into dismembering a corpse for disposal.
  • The first Sin City story actually depicts corrupt cops and federal agents as clean up crews. They pop up in two scenes and are promptly beaten down by the protagonist.
  • Sharon in Sink is a cleaner in Sinkhill hired by people to get rid of bodies.
  • Spider-Man: Jimmy Natale, the sixth Vulture, used to be one of these but got tired of cleaning up sloppy mistakes. He found someone with the technology to manufacture supervillains and approached his bosses with the idea of creating their own Vulture to "thin the herd" and discourage screw-ups. Unfortunately, he failed to notice that he had all the qualities he suggested they look for. Next thing you know, he's a flying, acid-spitting monster.
  • The Fraternity in Wanted have one called Cover that stops their antics reaching the news. They're so good they managed to stop the public learning about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

    Fan Fic 
  • Batman expects a cleanup crew when he discovers the bodies of John Hartigan and the Yelow Bastard in A Dark Knight over Sin City. They arrive a few moments later, interrupting his fight with Kevin.
  • In Origin Story (a Power Girl/Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover) Alex incinerates Ben Wilkinson's body with her heat vision (after Giles murders him as a means to permanently eliminate Glory) to keep the police from looking too closely at what happened at the construction site. Its less the casual way Alex does this, and more the fact that she did it in the first place, that completely unnerves Buffy, even if Buffy agrees after the fact that it probably was the best thing to do under the circumstances.
  • The forensics department of The Company in The Return which exists to maintain the Masquerade and clean up leftover demon parts and patch up the landscapes.
  • Who Needs Obliviators? a oneshot, addresses one of the various possible ways to "clean up" a scene of magic in the Harry Potter universe.

  • The Boondock Saints kill a villain who was broadly similar, in that he was a hit man but did his own, highly clinical clean up as he went along. Rocco, who dealt with the guy before, calls him a "sick fuck" with good reason.
    Rocco: This guy takes out a whole family — wife, kids, everyone — like he's ordering a fucking pizza.
  • The reason the police never get involved in the events of Burn After Reading is that the CIA are observing everything from afar, confused as to what's happening but worried that it might be a matter of national security. They're repeatedly forced to dispose of bodies before the police can find them and make everything uncomfortably public.
  • A benevolent example in The Cat in the Hat, where the Cat – after the fine print of the contract is satisfied – rebuilds the destroyed interior of the house with the D.I.R.T., and even cleans up the kids, Nevins and Mrs. Kwan to make it look like nothing happened, so the kids won't get in trouble with their mom.
  • Cinderella the Cat: This edgier take on the Cinderella fairy tale has the title character forced to work as a cleaner for her evil step-family, who are all assassins.
  • Desert Heat has a one-man Cleanup Crew to dispose of bodies by encasing them in Saran Wrap and then dumping them into a canyon.
  • Escape Room (2019). After Zoey dies, a cleanup crew turns up to remove the body and the evidence of the Death Course. Zoey is only faking her death and has anticipated this, stealing a gun from them so she can escape. However when Zoey leads the police there at the end of the movie, the entire place is empty and they don't believe her.
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, after Captain Needa has failed him, Darth Vader chokes him to death using the Force. He then signals to some Navy troopers (the ubiquitous black-clad Imperial guards) who promptly drag the body away.
  • The Godfather Part II has a possible variation where Michael and co "offer" to clean up after their own frame job on Senator Leary, who was drugged and left in a hotel room with a Disposable Sex Worker. The idea is that he'll owe them a favour, and thus be in their pocket.
  • Aliens carrying out an Infiltration-style invasion find these people very useful. Check out the garbagemen in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and the gardeners in The Arrival (1996); the latter also double as a hit squad who either Make It Look Like an Accident or 'vanish' the evidence with Applied Phlebotinum.
  • In Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Ryan has a close-call with an assassin in his hotel room after arriving in Moscow, which results in quite a bit of damage. He calls the CIA team monitoring him, who instruct him to leave for a few hours. Once Ryan returns, he finds the body has been removed and everything in the room has been restored, even the bullet holes in the door and the smashed bidet.
  • John Wick: After dealing with a dozen of Viggo Tarasov's men, John calls up a special "Waste Disposal Department" and asks for "a dinner reservation for 12". For the price of twelve gold coins (one per body), Charlie and his boys scrub John's house clean of forensic evidence, wrap the bodies up in plastic, and then haul them away in a van. The crew later show up at Bethesda Fountain to clean up Ms. Perkins after Winston has his firing squad revoke her membership to the Continental. Though not referenced directly in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the crew members are shown in the background of the Continental's furnace/corpse disposal room in the basement.
  • The Men in Black have "Special Services", members of the MIB organization who clean up evidence of aliens to prevent the general public from learning about their existence. They appear after (a) Mikey is killed, (b) J and K examine the dead alien in the morgue and (c) the Bug escapes from the jewelry store.
  • In Momentum the main antagonists are cleaners employed by a corrupt US senator, skilled in assassination and body disposal. They're totally ruthless, especially The Dragon in charge and his Dark Action Girl lieutenant.
  • At the end of Morgan, a corporate security team is shown Zipping Up The Bodybags, kicking gravel over the blood, and recovering Morgan's body from the lake.
  • Munich. Carl, the most experienced member of the group, works as "sweeper" — his job is to remove any evidence (such as cartridge cases, though not bodies because the hits are made publicly) left behind by the Mossad hit team. "The Group" also carries out this function, usually by paying a lot more money to someone already in that profession, e.g. hotel staff would be paid to remove a body from a room without anyone noticing (which they already do for non-criminal reasons, say when a guest has a fatal heart attack) and a gravedigger would be paid to dig a hole, put a body in it and keep his mouth shut.
  • Nikita is the Trope Codifier, with Jean Reno playing Victor the cleaner — a ruthless Implacable Man feared even by the trained killers of the agency. He not only disposes of the bodies in the bathtub with acid (while they're still alive, much to his annoyance) but forces Nikita to carry out the original mission.
  • Harvey Keitel plays "Victor" in Point of No Return, the English-language remake of Nikita.
  • Harvey Keitel plays the much more genteel Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction. Wolf takes charge and "solves problems," including corpse disposal. His reputation precedes him; when Vincent tells Jules that Marcellus Wallace has sent "the Wolf" to assist them, Jules (who was panicking) immediately calms down.
  • The Shadow Conspiracy (1997). A household cleaning crew for a company called A Tidy Job turn up to dispose of the bodies left by a killer who murders several people in the opening scene.
  • Played with in the Batman Cold Open of The Soldier (1982). A terrorist assassination team is ambushed by the Heroes "R" Us squad, then a Black Helicopter lands on the road, the terrorists bodies and weaponry are loaded inside, a team member sprays the bloodstains away, then everyone flies off in the helicopter. Assassination and clean-up, all in one convenient package!
  • Three Days of the Condor. After the protagonist reports a CIA station has been attacked and his friends murdered, a CIA team (driving a cleaning truck, and carrying buckets and mops) turns up to investigate and presumably dispose of the evidence.
  • Underworld (2003): Alexander Corvinus leads a group of men, appropriately called The Cleaners, who cover up the evidence of lycans and vampires. They collect bodies, destroy evidence, and bribe eyewitnesses into staying silent. It's explicitly mentioned that they don't kill to cover it up. They are all killed by Marcus in Evolution, which is what probably led to humans learning of the existence of lycans and vampires in Awakening. The novelization explains that all of them come from special forces all over the world.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: In The Stinger, several people are shown vacuuming the spent cartridge cases and mopping the blood from Wolverine's carnage at the Alkali Lake facility.

  • Played for Black Comedy in Dora Wilk short story "Clean Job After Dirty Job", where werewolf alpha kills a wannabe-leader when the latter tries to assassinate him and he has to clean up the mess before his wife shows up. The cleanup crew turns out to be Cool Old Lady called Grandma, and she leaves the place in better state than it was before the attack.
  • In the novelization of The Cabin in the Woods, a cleanup crew enters Jules' and Dana's apartment as soon as the five college students drive away in their RV. In this case, it's not dead bodies they're concealing, but any evidence as to where the five intended human sacrifices might have disappeared to.
  • In the Stephen King novel Firestarter the hero muses that these people must have showed up at his home shortly after he found the dead body of his wife (murdered by a sinister Government Agency of Fiction) and then left his home forever to chase after his powerfully pyrokinetic daughter (kidnapped by the aforementioned sinister Government Agency of Fiction).
  • The Girl from the Miracles District has trolls fulfilling this role for Scandinavia's magical community. As they're man-eaters, they're always happy to "dispose" of any body - or bodies - they're invited to.
  • Mentioned briefly in Guards! Guards!, when Lord Vetinari orders his secretary to have someone paint over the disturbing Hiroshima-esque shadows on a wall where some bandits got obliterated, so as to quell rumours of Ankh-Morpork being attacked by a dragon. His secretary points out that fresh paint in The Shades would just make it obvious that someone had something to hide, so the Patrician amends it to having the wall demolished. Not that it helps much.
  • The Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter; if there's a break in the Masquerade, they'll swoop in to hide all evidence and wipe the memories of any muggles. An anecdote in the tie-in novel 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' also shows that civilians will get in on the act, and did so when a dragon attacked a muggle beach.
  • In Mark Gatiss' Lucifer Box novels, The RA continues the theme of janitorial euphemisms by calling its cleanup crews "Domestics".
  • In the Mercy Thompson novels by Patricia Briggs, most werewolf packs retain the services of a witch to clean up their messes.
  • The Murderbot Diaries
    • The title character finds that befriending a spaceship with a powerful AI and drone units has advantages for this trope. The climax of Artificial Condition ends with a Corrupt Corporate Executive dead, and several members of her staff killed or unconscious. The Sapient Ship remote-pilots her shuttle into its docking area, wipes the shuttle's memory, sends a faked message from one of the dead men to lull suspicion, and sends drones to clean and sterilize the shuttle which is then remote-piloted to a place where the survivors can seek medical care and decide what, if anything, they are willing to tell the authorities.
    • In Fugitive Telemetry a murder victim has been dumped in a public area, but the killer has used a hazardous materials sterilizer to remove any DNA evidence. It's deliberate misdirection, as the killer was a robot who wouldn't have left DNA traces anyway.
  • In the Greenverse of the Nightside and Secret Histories series, ghouls sometimes hire out for this purpose, while the Ghost Finders have crews of human technicians to clean up evidence and spiritually detoxify "bad places" after an investigation.
  • The night-haunts in October Daye appear whenever a fairy dies to take away the obviously-not-human body (which won't decay either) and replace it with a human-looking substitute.
  • The President's Vampire series features one of these as backup to Cade, helping to ensure the maintenance of the Masquerade.
  • In the Tweed & Co. series by Colin Forbes:
    • Tweed gets into a shoot-out in the middle of Zurich, returns to the scene with a disbelieving colleague and finds no sign of any damage. Turns out the Swiss authorities have an on-call team of builders and glaziers to conceal anything unpleasant from the tourists.
    • His novel Terminal opens with a woman being chased across the snow by guard dogs and gas bombs; she makes it to the fence only to die from the Deadly Gas. Gas Mask Mooks remove her body and, in a chilling detail, one of them carefully wipes specks of blood from the fence.
  • In Vigilauntie Justice, Carole calls a crew to clean up the scene after her crafting circle murders a con artist.
  • To protect the Masquerade, characters in the Young Wizards series have been known to patch up disaster areas by using timeslides, at least once replacing an entire town with a version from an alternate reality where the damage never happened.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Agent Carter episode "The Lady in the Lake", this is the side job of LAPD Detective Andrew Henry, dumping bodies and making "problems" disappear for people wealthy enough to pay.
  • These have shown up in The Blacklist on at least one occasion. The most notable examples are The Stewmaker, who acts as one of these for criminals, using chemicals to dissolve and dispose of bodies; and Mr. Kaplan, who is Red's own personal Cleanup Crew. And also not a mister.
  • The Boys (2019). In "You Found Me", Billy Butcher realises the No-Tell Motel they're staying at has been raided by a black ops unit who are now waiting to ambush anyone else who shows up because the parking lot has been freshly swept and the windows have new glass.
  • Mike, the associate of Gus in Breaking Bad, often serves practical purposes such as this, but it's Walter himself who knows the proper chemistry to completely dissolve a human body. When Mike learns that Walter is capable of this, he starts bringing bodies back to Walt's lab for disposal.
  • In one of the third season episodes of Burn Notice, Michael was tasked with following a cleaner for a group thieves. Said cleaner used explosives to clean the crime scene.
  • Charmed (1998) has the supernatural Cleaners, who are powered by holy and evil together to keep magic a secret. After the Masquerade was instated after the Salem Witch Trials, the Charmed Ones caused so many breaches that the Cleaners had to be created.
  • Chuck has CIA cleanup teams, posing as firemen, clearing up the aftermath of firefights and the like.
  • The Cleaner (UK): Wicky is a one-man cleanup crew, making sure no traces of death remain when he's done. In a twist to the trope, he's providing a legitimate service and working on the right side of the law.
  • The Cleaning Lady is a Foreign Remake of the Argentinian La Chica que Limpia (also remade as La muchacha que limpia in Mexico). The eponymous cleaning lady has a son with an immunodeficiency disorder that requires him to live in a sterile environment. This makes her very exact in her cleaning and desperate for cash for her son's medical treatment, causing her to work for gangsters cleaning up crime scenes.
  • In CSI, a cleanup crew is involved in the Season 12 episodes "Mrs. Willows Regrets" and "Willows in the Wind". They work very professionally, cleaning their crime scenes with ethanol, wiping any fingerprints and even filling in any bullet holes with plaster. As for the bodies, they take them from the crime scene and use bugs which have been treated with radiation to strip them to the bone in a matter of hours.
  • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk has a couple on hand, such as the assailants who kill Dex's friend Julie.
  • Dead Like Me: Referenced for Black Comedy when George, a rookie Grim Reaper with no legal identity, needs a place to stay. Mason takes her to an apartment whose mob-connected owner was just messily, lethally interrogated, leaving dozens of corpses around. He then reassures her that the place will be spick-and-span once the mob's cleanup crew is done.
    Mason: Look at this: Execution, execution, execution... this was a mob hit. They have teams for this sort of thing! It will be cleaned up before you know it!
  • The Defenders (2017): Luke Cage gets involved in the mess with the Hand due to being asked by Misty Knight to help out the late Candace Miller's brother Cole, who is one of several young men the Hand have been recruiting out of Harlem to do dirty work for them. Luke ultimately ends up first crossing paths with Danny Rand when he tails Cole's crew to a warehouse where the crew are destroying the bodies of Chaste warriors.
  • In the Elementary third season episode "The Adventure of the Nutmeg Concoction", it turns out that several crime scenes are linked not by a common killer, but by a common cleaner whose preferred method of body disposal leaves a nutmeg scent behind. In a later episode, Kitty brews up her own nutmeg concoction to dispose of the body of her tormentor, though she ultimately settles on "merely" disfiguring his face with it and leaving him alive.
  • Season 2 of Haven introduces Dwight Hendrickson, a Cleaner who tidies up Trouble related crimes and disasters to keep the Masquerade.
  • Helix: This is Implied in "274" when CDC veterinary pathologist Doreen and her army liaison Major Balleseros are convinced that one of these has made off with Doreen's dissected monkey corpse, which she's been using to determine the nature of The Virus outbreak in the private research facility they've been sent to. They suspect the facility's lead scientist, Dr. Hatake, sent a crew to prevent her from discerning the Synthetic Plague's nature, particularly since her necropsy lab appears to have been scrubbed with formaldehyde.
  • Hemlock Grove: Much to his chagrin, Dr. Pryce keeps getting ordered to dispose of bodies whenever a member of the main cast who has him on their payroll kills someone. Since this allows him the leeway to conduct his experiments without interference from above, he grudgingly obliges.
  • Eliot pretends to be this twice in Leverage, both times to scare a mark into panicking and doing something stupid.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The United Network Command for Law and Enforcement apparently had insurance to cover any collateral damage done in the course of an 'Affair'. In one novelization Napoleon offers a dismayed homeowner a card for UNCLE's special insurance adjusters.
  • Moonlight (2007) had a character like this for the vampires to help maintain the Masquerade.
  • Nikita, like its predecessor, has Cleaners who kill and dispose of bodies on Division's orders, but it also has Reapers, Cleaners meant to deal with Division personnel. In episode 6, we learn that Owen was once a Reaper, and one of his assignments was the murder of Nikita's fiance.
  • Person of Interest. In "Control-Alt-Delete", Finch expresses disbelief that Control (in charge of the nation's black ops anti-terrorism unit) hasn't heard a thing about their shoot-out with Samaritan agents beneath the New York Stock Exchange, deriding her efforts as "just a clean-up crew" for Samaritan. At the end of the episode Control goes to look for herself and finds the whole place spic-and-span. Except when she runs her finger along the wall, fresh paint comes off.
  • The Centre in The Pretender had "Cleaners" and "Sweepers": Sweepers seemed to be low-level mooks who cleared the bodies out after a shootout. Cleaners seemed to be active assassins who were sent in to eliminate threats. Interestingly enough, two of the main females on the show - Miss Parker and Brigitte - were at one time Cleaners.
  • The Punisher (2017): William Rawlins and Billy Russo have one on hand to get rid of the bodies of the operatives who are killed by Frank and Gunner.
  • Olivia Pope and Associates have acted as one of these in at least one instance on Scandal.
  • Stephen King played one in a guest spot on Sons of Anarchy. Gemma, while on the run, had just killed a woman who threatened to report her to the police. Tig calls in this guy. After he's finished, the main characters are clueless how he managed to completely disappear the corpse with nothing more than regular kitchen appliances.
  • Star Trek: Picard. The Zhat Vash clean up all the evidence of their attempt to kidnap Dahj, leaving her apartment immaculate. Laris even notes they went to the trouble of erasing all the evidence down to the molecular level just in case someone with Romulan equipment decided to investigate, despite the risk to themselves. However, because they can't leave signs that they had cleaned up the apartment, there's still a clue left in the computer because they couldn't afford to erase it entirely.
  • Westworld has technicians in hazmat suits who remove the hosts for repair and memory-wiping after each host 'dies'. Incomplete memory wiping has led those hosts programmed as Native Americans to assume they are shades who ferry people to the afterlife. Due to an overly hasty clean-up after a massacre, one of the hosts finds a spot of blood on her underclothes and a bullet fragment inside her body despite the lack of a bullet scar.
  • Near the end of Season 2 of The Wire there's a scene that cuts between a cleanup crew working for The Greek furiously cleaning up a location, (washing heroin and coke down a drainage system with a hose, shredding documents and then taking big bags full of those shreds to dispose of elsewhere, etc.) and cops furiously typing up warrants to search that location. By the time the cops get there, everything is gone.

  • The existence of CORE, and the supernatural in general, is kept secret thanks the hard work of the Cleaners in A Geek's Guide: Corporation of Occult Research and Extermination.
  • The Murderverse: The death cultists of Murder in the Mountains have a Janitor who passively "cleans up" the nightkill, preventing their role from being revealed, and once per game can "deep clean" the kill to remove nearly all evidence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chronicles of Darkness tends to have one or two groups per species of supernatural with the job description "Protect the Masquerade".
    • A less general example: World of Darkness: Chicago has a vampire named Dumptruck Ned, who specializes in collecting and disposing of bodies, for a fee based on how well-known or connected the corpse was in life. Given the nature of Kindred existence, he never lacks for money. He's staunchly apolitical, but given the sheer amount of secrets and favors owed he's picked up over his career in the dump truck, if he ever wanted to get involved in the Danse Macabre, he'd have no problem getting into the upper echelons.
  • Somewhere in the Conspiracy X game's supplements there's a mention of cleaners that Aegis PC's can summon to cover up a mess they've left behind.
  • Dungeons & Dragons supplement Den of Thieves. Thieves Guild enforcers sometimes act as "cleaners", removing evidence and bodies from a crime scene.
  • Player characters may find themselves playing this role in Shadowrun: While bodies still lying around in the street are usually dealt with internally by street gangs or the mafia, occasionally Lone Star gets there first. In that case, said street gang or mafia will hire shadowrunners to raid the morgue before the corpses can be identified and autopsied.

  • In Harold Pinter's play The Dumb Waiter, two hitmen discuss what happens after they have done their work and left the scene. They come to the conclusion that their organization must have a cleanup crew that they have never seen.
  • In Martin McDonagh's play The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Padraic and Mairead force Donny and Davey (his father and her brother, respectively) to "get chopping" on the three people they've just killed— or else the cleanup crew will be the next to die. Oh, and it's a comedy.

    Video Games 
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: Armacham Technology Corporation's security guards engage in an effort to cover up their illegal experiments, which are directly responsible for the strange ghostly phenomenon in Fairport. And in case their standard guards can't do the job, they have an army of hired mercenaries who will destroy all the research facilities and kill all witnesses, including Armacham's own president, whom the board of directors blames for the mess as she stirred up the paranormal activity to begin with against their warnings. However, Armacham's cover up efforts were likely dealt a blow when their cleanup crews attacked U.S. Military personnel. Now the government's on to them.
  • Half-Life: The Hazardous Environment Combat Unit or H.E.C.U. is sent by the government after the Resonance Cascade (the accident that unleashes the aliens from another universe) to fight off the invasion, but also to silence anyone who worked on the project. Most of them are not happy about it. And when they can't do the job, the government sends in Black Ops units who begin killing all the remaining H.E.C.U. forces as well. Prior to the Resonance Cascade, some scientist even refer to them as a "cleanup crew" which some dismiss it as "paranoid rumor" to keep employees in line.
  • Killer7: Garcian Smith calls himself a cleaner. Indeed, his job, when one of the personae has been killed in game, is to "clean" up their remains by retrieving what is essentially their head wrapped up in a brown paper bag...then he can resurrect them with the use of a TV in Harman's Room. Notably, if Garcian dies, the game immediately ends.
  • Library of Ruina has the WARP Cleanup Crew, whose job is to ensure the passengers of W Corp's trains leave safely without ever finding out how it works.
  • In Mama & Son: Clean House, Really Shooter's mother cleans up behind him and recycles it all for more ammunition.
  • The cleaners in Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is, as their name suggestsm a clean-up crew in-charge of disposing every evidence (including blood and bullet scatters) so that no cop (read:Max Payne) can investigate it. It seems somebody high up has a sense of humor given their company name is "Squeaky Clean". It's a cover front for the fact that they are professional commandos posing as cleaners to dispose of competition, special forces style.
    Cleaner: Kaufman's waiting in the van. The hardware's been bagged. Soon as the guys get Jackie Brown in there taken care of, we're done.
    Cleaner 2: Okay, I'll round up the crew, make sure the clean-up's done: bodies, blood, prints, hair, mags, empty brass... When we're out of here, there won't be a shred of evidence for the cops to find. Just a ghost story.
  • No More Heroes: At the end of every Assassin Session, men appear and start spraying a dissolving foam that scrubs the blood and bits of whatever's left of Travis Touchdown's carnage completely away.
  • One of the V.I.Ps in the Big Bad's dungeon in Persona 5 is simply referred to as "The Cleaner". The cast are initially confused at someone like that being considered a VIP (the others are distinguished politicians, a former noble, and company presidents), until they realize he's this kind of cleaner, and a Yakuza member.
  • One of the three paths available to anyone unfortunate enough to play Resident Evil Survivor involves taking on an army of pseudo-human soldiers dispatched by Umbrella to destroy all evidence of the game's events. Tragically they fail to expunge the game itself from everyone's collective memory.
    • They even evaporate on death, equipment and all. Very convenient for an army whose every action must be deniable.
    • Operation: Raccoon City introduces the Wolfpack, another Umbrella-sponsored group of mercs who's primary mission in said game is to destroy any and all evidence that could expose Umbrella's instigating of the Raccoon City viral outbreak. It also means killing any and all witnesses they find, up to and including police officers and even series main characters if the player so chooses.
  • In Roombo: First Blood, the player character is a cleaning robot, so after murdering the burglars it needs to clean up the bodies, blood and muddy steps.
  • Serial Cleaner casts you as a cleaner who gets hired to dispose of bodies and evidence for various criminals, all the while dodging the cops on the scene.
  • Team Fortress 2's Miss Pauling is the mercs' cleaner. She's much more level headed than the mercs, but still crazy enough to shoot incapacitated survivors, witnesses, and giant monsters made of bread tentacles. It's pretty justified; her boss rules the planet, her co-workers are violent psychopaths who kill each other and come back to life, and she only gets one day off a year.
  • It is possible for The Mafia of Town of Salem to have a Janitor, who is able to clean a person they kill. Cleaning a dead player will make their role and will unreadable to the rest of the town, which can possibly erase vital information like investigative results or who claimed what to the Jailor. Amusingly, through rare circumstances, they can clean a dead mafia or even themselves.
  • You play as these guys in Viscera Cleanup Detail, the space station janitor simulator. (Oddly enough, only one of the levels is clearly on a space station, the rest are the aftermath of scenes from a generic scifi-horror games/movies). Your job includes cleaning up bodies, gibs, bloodstains, shell casings, and fixing bullet holes in the walls. Essentially make the place look like a massive mutant-on-marine fight didn't occur, and ready for reopening for operation.
    • There's also released DLC that places you in the cleanup detail for a temple in Shadow Warrior (2013) and the workshop from Santa's Rampage.
  • The UMS Marines sent to dispatch Prisoner 849 with haste halfway through Unreal's Expansion Pack Return to Na Pali, right after 849 discovers that the whole Operation Talon Hunter has been classified Deep Ultra and that all evidence of it should be cleansed out.

    Visual Novels 
  • In ATOM GRRRL!!, Jessica calls her uncle to help with the corpse of the cop Big E killed. Wisely so, as he straight-up teaches them how to dissolve the guy.
  • In Double Homework, Dr. Mosely/Zeta has one of these. They'll people in this group help her disappear without a trace and take care of any “liabilities” at the end of each of her experiments. They destroy all of Dennis’s possessions, wipe his online accounts clean, and start an avalanche with the intention of killing the protagonist and the rest of the students on the class field trip.

    Web Animation 
  • Chloe Sakamata of hololive's 6th generation, the Secret Society HoloX, is labeled as their cleaner. Considering that it's a Secret Society of all things, it should be immediately obvious what that means.

    Web Original 
  • "The service" in Interviewing Leather took care of this kind of thing for villains such as Leather.
  • Operative QUICK from The Last Stage by NatOne Productions acts as a one-man cleanup crew. His main function on the team is to dispose of paranormal artifacts, or the mangled bodies those artifacts affect.
  • Red vs. Blue has Recovery Agents, they go after dead Freelancers, take their equipment and blow the body up.
  • Often mentioned offhandedly or indirectly in the SCP Foundation.
  • In the Quest Den series Tobak Quest, Dahl kills his unreliable henchman within Dowser's flat, then hands Dowser a business card for a "carpet cleanup" company:
    Dahl: You call this number. When the guy on the other end picks up, you'll ask him for the deluxe hot water extraction with added lavender fragrance. You'll give him this address, and you wait. (...) After the call, a few of my trusted guys will come over and take care of the corpse.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer's Dr. Krieger is very good at disposing of bodies, and it's implied he likes it a little too much.
    Lana: Is Krieger hard at work?
    Archer: He literally might be.
    Lana: Ew.
    • One episode reveals that Malory has used ISIS this way after killing the Italian prime minister.
  • The Plumbers in Ben 10 were essentially the frontline equivalent of The Men in Black. Same suppressing function, a lot more wet work.
  • The Fairly OddParents! has Wanda's father, "Big Daddy", who handles Fairy World's garbage disposal. He even boasts about it in his card:
    Big Daddy's card: Garbage Incorporated. We make your trash and your problems disappear, if you know what I mean.
  • The Venture Brothers Season 3 Episode 13 features one who looks like Mr. Clean. He uses a cleaning spray that instantly melts flesh and apparently leaves behind a clean, lemony-fresh scent.
    Brock Sampson: You'll find a number for a guy called The Cleaner. Call 'em and tell 'em we got a Damian Hurst in Room 202.

Would you like to make... a dinner reservation?


Video Example(s):


"Dinner Reservation"

After dealing with a dozen of Viggo Tarasov's men, John calls up a special "Waste Disposal Department" and asks for "a dinner reservation for 12". For the price of twelve gold coins (one per body), Charlie and his boys scrub John's house clean of forensic evidence, wrap the bodies up in plastic, and then haul them away in a van.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CleanupCrew

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