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Internal Death Squad

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When an organization, particularly one that grants a lot of personal power to its agents, has a dedicated unit specialized in hunting down and executing its rogue or unreliable members. Since the existence of such as a unit would be demoralizing to everyone else, it is usually held secret, so its reveal can be a major spoiler to the audience.

Compare Internal Affairs (who usually just investigate rogue elements, without the summary execution part), Secret Police (a clandestine government agency investigating and often eliminating threats to the state), Hunter of Their Own Kind (where the hunter is usually a former member of the group) and The Political Officer (who may be portrayed as this trope, but is often also in charge of general morale). See also The Purge, which may be carried out by this character.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kenny Ackermann's Anti-Personnel Control Squad in Attack on Titan was formed in secret, (officially) to counter the Survey Corps in case they ever turned their attention from the Titans to internal politics. Like the Survey Corps, Ackermann's Squad is trained in the use of vertical maneuvering gear, giving them incredible mobility in urban warfare; unlike the Survey Corps, who are only equipped with anti-Titan swords, they have long-range handguns that are specifically designed to kill humans.
  • The eponymous warriors in Claymore run a constant risk of Awakening into giant rampaging monsters, so sending warrior teams to kill their Awakened comrades is a normal thing for the Organization. What most warriors don't know, however, is that the Organization also has Number 10 (nominally the 10th strongest warrior of each generation) specifically trained to disable and to kill un-Awakened warriors, in case they turn on the Organization.
  • According to the liner notes in Ghost in the Shell, Section 6 is the only government organization who has the authority to put out kill orders on members of other Sections. When Section 9 learns that Section 6 put out a hit on the Major, Chief Aramaki rushes to their headquarters and threatens to shoot Section 6's leader at point blank unless he calls off the hit. The hit itself was part of shady deal to nab a wanted foreign general who was too well protected from official due process.
  • The Celestial Dragons of One Piece are above the laws and consider themselves gods (to the point that attacking one will get one of the three Admirals of the Marines sent after you). Whenever there is some conflicts between Nobles, the "Holy Knights" are the ones mediating and administering judgment onto them, being the only organization with the authority to do so.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, a comment from Kenshin implies that Saito, in addition to his duties as one of the captains of The Shinsengumi, was also tasked with ferreting out and killing rogue members.

    Comic Books 
  • The Transformers (IDW): The Decepticon Justice Division is a super-elite force of Decepticons who hunt down and torture to death any of those within the Decepticon ranks who need to be put down. Traitors, moles, deserters, basically anyone for whom Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil may apply — their names get put on The List, and the D.J.D. crosses them off. Their purview includes the occasional Super-Soldier, hence the need for them to be super-elite.
  • The Boys:
    • The MegaCorp Vought American is responsible for nearly everyone with superpowers, and uses The Seven (a takeoff on the Justice League) to police the rest. Most supers live a life of Sex Drugs And Rock N Roll, and that's fine, but if they start doing anything that might make Vought look bad in ways their enormous political and financial clout can't bury or explain away, then The Seven get sicced on whoever isn't behaving. The result is often very, very bloody.
    • The most powerful member of The Seven is Superman Substitute The Homelander, who was raised from birth by Vought to be their greatest star and the company's biggest showpiece, but they also realized the potential danger of someone with his powers going rogue, so they created a clone of him with augmented powers that could take him down in an emergency: Black Noir. The trope then gets deconstructed, as it's Noir who goes rogue. Turns out that being created for a single purpose and then being unable to fulfill it for decades does bad things to a person's mind, so Noir eventually instigated/provoked Homelander into a mental breakdown and a series of actions with world changing consequences.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Double Team: Each member of "The Colony" has his own "overseer", one of the other retired spies that has the secret assignment to hunt down his respective member if he ever manages to escape. This is one of the complications that comes to bite Quinn in the ass when he does so on the third act, but thankfully his overseer happens to be a Reasonable Authority Figure and only asks Quinn for some hair so he can help him fake his death.

  • Behind Blue Eyes by Anna Mocikat is about the Guardian Angels, a cyberpunk group of assassins that work for the Olympias Corporation. While they work against foreign agents, they are primarily deployed as assassins against dissidents or separatists within their dystopian One Nation Under Copyright.
  • In The Broken Earth Trilogy, the Functional Magic of orogeny is a capital crime for everyone except members of the Fulcrum, which is nominally run by Imperial orogenes. Behind them are the Guardians: ageless Mage Killers with innate Anti-Magic and strange powers who forcibly recruit "feral" orogenes and kill Fulcrum orogenes who overstep their bounds.
  • In Mother Night, one of Howard Campbell's guards is a Hungarian Jew who got forged papers, joined a Hungarian SS unit, and was assigned to one of these to find out who was leaking information to the Jews (it was himself). He notes with pride that 14 SS men were shot on his recommendations.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Space Wolves were originally the Emperor's executioners, being the ones who would take down their brother Space Marines if they went rogue. Leman Russ eventually changed their doctrine, leading to the more familiar "Horny Vikings IN SPACE!" theme. The role of anti-Space Marines Space Marines seems to have gone to the Minotaurs chapter, which answers only to the Inquisition.
    • There is also the Ordo Sicarius, whose specific role is to monitor and if necessary eliminate members of the Officio Assassinorum, the official state assassins of the Imperium. They assassinate assassins...

  • Transformers: The Cobalt Sentries are part of the Decepticon Secret Police, who wield unlimited power to weed out traitors to the Decepticon cause within its ranks.
  • BIONICLE: The elite Dark Hunter Eliminator has the role of eliminating incompetent Dark Hunters and completing their missions. Because of this, he is despised by his fellow Dark Hunters and The Shadowed One keeps him away from the island of Odina, where the organization's headquarters is, to prevent attempts on Eliminator's life.

    Video Games 
  • The Belkan Air Force in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War has the Schwarze Squadron, an eight-man team flying high-tech interceptor aircraft on standing orders to shoot down any Belkan aircraft attempting to defect. The player gets to engage them in the Mercenary route while they are chasing after Wolfgang Buchner, a.k.a. Pops from the previous game, as he attempts to defect to Osea.
  • BlazBlue: The Zero Squadron is this for the NOL's army unit. It's an unofficial part of the army and answers directly to the Imperator. Their main duty is to look for and hunt any rogue members of the army, and kill them if needed.
  • Christine Royce from Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money is a member of the Circle of Steel, a hardline faction within the Brotherhood of Steel who task themselves with assassinating those who betray the Brotherhood or stray too far from its core tenets.
  • Monster Hunter: The eponymous members of the Hunter's Guild do not hunt for sport or glory, but rather to both preserve civilization and maintain ecological stability by culling monster numbers and keeping them manageable. If any one hunter decides to ignore the rules and starts killing monsters wantonly, the Guild Knights are sent in to take care of them — permanently. Given that all hunters are strong enough to tackle monsters the size of a house on a regular basis, sending a hunter specialized in killing hunters is not only completely justified, but also the only option. After all, the last time dragons were overhunted, they declared war on humanity and drove them to near extinction.
  • The Executioner (E) units in NieR: Automata are a secret production line of YoRHa androids deployed by the Bunker to hunt down and to execute rogue agents like A2, or to keep a close eye on unreliable elements and to summarily execute them if necessary, like 2E was keeping tabs on 9S...
  • Nanotrasen, from Space Station 13 can send in Death Squads equipped with incredibly lethal weaponry. Usually reserved only for the worst of cases...depending on admin discretion.