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Government Procedural

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We have met the Government Conspiracy, and it is us! The main characters are The Government (or at least part of it) — in The White House, Whitehall, the Governor's mansion, a Covert Group, or bureaucrats elsewhere. Variations range from Sitcom to Prime Time Soap with political trappings to topical Ripped from the Headlines drama.

A Law Procedural with government attorneys as the main protagonists is a subgenre. See Spy Fiction for espionage themed stuff. See also Police Procedural and Cop Show for law enforcement portrayals.

If the story is more of a character drama focusing on one leader in particular, see Ruler Protagonist.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kaji Ryuusuke No Gi is one of the few pieces of Japanese fiction that has a grounded take on this genre. It focuses on a salaryman following the dying wishes of his brother, which is to follow the footsteps of their dead father and go into politics. Conflict between the young, idealistic protagonist and the much older conservative politicians ensures.
  • Midnight Occult Civil Servants has the Noctural Community Relations Divisions in the Greater Tokyo Area meant to police the city from various supernatural threats while helping the Anothers keep the peace and make sure humans don't learn about them. They also liaise with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police if a rogue Another is deemed to have killed humans.

    Fan Works 
  • The main events of Flaihhsam s'Spahkh are something of a government procedural set in the Romulan Imperial Senate.
  • In Origins, there's a Plot Thread dealing with issues in the Home Galaxy Senate — mainly, an agency looking increasingly like State Sec is pushing the boundaries of acceptable experimentation while consolidating more and more power. A Senator is trying to at least shine a light in, though so far there hasn't been much in the way of results.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Advise & Consent: The U.S. Senate deals with the controversial nomination of a left-wing candidate for Secretary of State.
  • Conspiracy (2001) is a really sinister version of this, about a meeting between a group of government officials in Nazi Germany in 1942... planning the Holocaust.
  • Dave: Dave, a cheerful guy who happens to be the spitting image of U.S. President Bill Mitchell, is recruited by Mitchell's corrupt staffers to impersonate the president after Mitchell is made comatose by a stroke.
  • Gabriel Over the White House: a very odd example of the genre in which the President becomes a fascist dictator...and that's supposed to be a good thing.
  • In the Loop concerns factions within the British and American governments colluding to start the War on Terror.
  • Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln's efforts to get the 13th Amendment passed and end slavery in the United States forever.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: A wide-eyed rube (James Stewart) is given an appointment to the U.S. Senate. By accident he discovers a criminal conspiracy involving fraud and graft, and winds up fighting the corrupt political machine in his state,which attempts to pin the blame on him.
  • Path to War: the Johnson administration and its social agenda gets derailed by the Escalating War in Vietnam.
  • The Report: the 2012 Senate investigation of the CIA's use of torture against suspected terrorists and the cover-ups related to it.
  • Thirteen Days: the Kennedy administration deals with the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Contagion (2011): is basically a look at how the CDC, as a government agency, would operate in the face of a supervirus. Local and federal bureaucracy occasionally becomes a problem.
  • Shin Godzilla shows in great detail what would the most likely response of the Japanese government to the Gojira threat look like. And the U.S. response, too...
  • Charlie Wilson's War shows the intricate maneuvering of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson to get the legislative branch of government to finance the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
  • Polish film 1970 reenacts the decision making process which ultimately led to a brutal crackdown on dockyard strikers. The film skillfully combines the actual audio recordings of government officials and their secret meetings, with the footage of their puppet replicas and the actual violence.
  • Adults In The Room by Costa-Gavras is based on the memoirs of the former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis. It shows the inner workings of the left-wing Greek government and, to a much larger extent, the very difficult negotiations that government had with the European Central Bank, IMF and the German government.

  • Ben Safford Mysteries: The seven novels involve various government scandals (a contentious Supreme Court nomination, congressional hearings into Medicaid fraud, etc.) with a congressman as the Amateur Sleuth.
  • EarthCent Ambassador is a foreign service version of this, Played for Laughs. One of the two leads is the ambassador for EarthCent on Union Station, operated by a race of Benevolent AIs called the Stryx.
  • To a degree, Going Postal, and even more so Making Money.
  • When the plot doesn't center on the military action, much of the plot of the Honor Harrington series busies itself with the intricate workings of the various governments involved, and occasionally gives the impression that the military commanders have a less stressful job than the politicians do (Some of the politicians certainly think so, at least).
  • Manticore Ascendant, a prequel series to Honor Harrington, continues the trend of Manticoran politics being at least as ruthless as interstellar warfare.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: It's about politics in the Seven Kingdoms... with some focus outside it when necessary, battles, dragons, zombies and other magic that occasionally show up to just make the politics much, much more complicated. Mainly, though: the fascinatingly convoluted politics of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Star Trek: Articles of the Federation takes its name from the United Federation of Planets' version of the Constitution, and deals heavily with Federation internal politics and foreign policy, beginning with the inauguration of Nanietta Bacco as President. The author compared it to Star Trek meets The West Wing.
  • The war-themed epic thriller Victoria: A Novel of 4th Generation War includes heavy elements of this, with political planning and machinations (within both the civilian government and the General Staff) as important to the story as the military action itself.
  • Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, an, focuses on the structure of the US government, and how it actors deal with a very different 1972 election, and the political fallout of it.
  • Full Disclosure: The book follows President Sven Ericson and both his allies and enemies in the White House as he tries to keep the 25th Amendment from being used against him after losing his vision.
  • The Arts of Dark and Light is an epic fantasy tragedy with strong elements of government and politics, in a style somewhat similar A Song of Ice and Fire. Its main plotline concerns a battle for the future of the mighty but declining Republic of Amorr, waged between conservatives and radical reformers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 a heavily actionized political thriller where the US President is always deeply involved.
    • 24 (India) is the Indian remake with the Indian government involved in fighting off terrorist plots.
    • 24 (Japan) is the Japanese counterpart, meant to tackle Japanese political/social issues.
  • Allegiance (2015)
  • Babylon 5 in its first season, before the big fantasy-influenced plot arcs got going, although the politics remained extremely important even then.
  • The (usually) less violent parts of Battlestar Galactica (2003)
  • Bayan Ko is one for a provincial Philippine small town, with its mayor as the Ruler Protagonist.
  • Benson was an American sitcom that that centered around an amiable, if somewhat dimwitted, governor of a state, and Benson his hypercompetent Deadpan Snarker butler.
  • Borgen, which is about a fictional female prime minister of Denmark and her staff, allies, and rivals.
  • Chief of Staff: Korean series about a guy named Tae-joon, the chief of staff to an assemblyman, and how Tae-joon is torn between his idealism and his desire for power.
  • The Comey Rule, a docudrama dramatizing the FBI's investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 American Presidential election.
  • The Crown (2016), with Elizabeth II learning to take on the responsibilities of the Crown at the increasing cost of her personal happiness, and the struggles of her Prime Ministers, beginning with Sirs Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden.
  • Designated Survivor, the 13th member in the United States presidential line of succession becomes President.
  • The Expanse has the United Nations Security Council governing Earth as one of the main plots.
  • The Family: The new, democratically elected Serbian government tries to arrest the former dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, who has barricaded himself in his villa, with most of his family and cronies. In order to do so, they have to rely largely on the people in the police and the military who have been appointed by Milosevic himself.
  • Foreign Affairs (1966), taking place in the Foreign Office in Whitehall, which is always getting into conflict with the Soviet Embassy.
  • House of Cards (UK) concerns an ambitious Conservative Party whip maneuvering to rise to Prime-Ministership.
  • House of Cards (US) concerns an ambitious Democratic Party whip maneuvering to rise to Presidency.
  • If It Moves, File It follows a pair of hapless and unsuccessful Civil Servants working in the filing department of a government department.
  • Kings, centered around a fictional Decadent Court in a modern setting.
  • Madam Secretary has the US Secretary of State, a former CIA officer named Elizabeth McCord, as its protagonist, and deals with both foreign and domestic policy.
  • Mister Sterling, a Spiritual Successor of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington starring an up-and-coming Josh Brolin.
  • Parks and Recreation is an odd one in that it focuses on small-town local government, with a bureaucrat as the central character — albeit a bureaucrat who was for a time a member of the City Council and would eventually become Governor of Indiana and (we think) President of the United States.
  • The Regime, a series about a crumbling fictional authoritarian Middle European regime whose Chancellor faces domestic turmoil that threatens her hold on power.
  • Roadkill, a series about a politician's shady past.
  • Servant of the People, a Work Com variant about a Ukrainian high-school teacher who finds himself catapulted into the presidency (oddly enough, in a case of Life Imitates Art, the show's very star, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, himself has ascended to become Ukraine's current Real Life president).
  • Show Me a Hero, a miniseries about the Yonkers housing controversy of the late 20th century.
  • Tehran
  • The Thick of It— a sitcom about civil servants in a minor British government department making life hell for each other.
  • Utopia (2014) is a comedy about the "Nation Building Authority", a newly created government organization responsible for overseeing major infrastructure projects.
  • Veep, a sitcom about (what else) the Vice President of the United States and how useless she is. At least at first... Despite coming from the same person (Armando Iannucci) as The Thick of It, the characters do not usually intentionally make life hell for each other, and attempts at scheming usually backfire.
  • The West Wing is the Trope Codifier, centring around a fictional US President and his staff.
  • The Wire: The police and politics plotlines concern government procedure. Season 3 onwards, in particular, introduces the internal politicking of Baltimore City Hall and how the city's systemic problems can corrupt even initially idealistic people.
  • Yes, Minister (and its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister), a sitcom about the British government and civil service.

  • The Men from the Ministry is a sitcom about an office in Whitehall that is tasked to help out other offices when they're too overloaded with work (and who also gets all the odd jobs no one else is willing to do).

  • 1776. Jockeying for votes: The Musical!
  • All the Way — About Lyndon Johnson's crusade to pass the Civil Rights Act.
  • Both Your Houses: All the ugly deal-making that goes into getting a bloated appropriations bill passed.
  • Of Thee I Sing: A very silly version that revolves around the President getting a girlfriend.
  • Hamilton: A good chunk of the plot is about the American Revolution (creating a government) and running said government.

    Video Games