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Knowledge Broker

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"Give me ten minutes, and I could start a war."

"Whether you're a coke dealer, a thief, an arms dealer, or a spy, you need someone to clean your money, which makes a good money launderer the closest thing you can get to a Yellow Pages for criminals."

This is the person who always seems to have the dirt on everybody. The person who runs an information-gathering system, with a network of informers.

The Knowledge Broker has a web of contacts stretching into various organizations, industries, and government agencies, and always seems to know what's going on. Sometimes the Knowledge Broker seem nearly omniscient. He/she always seems to have just the right tidbit of information for whoever is willing to pay their price. For the most part, he remains impartial despite his vast influence, and most people know to stay on his good (or at least indifferent) side.

This is a person who is not mysterious (Compare Mysterious Informant). Everybody knows that when you want information, you go talk to this person. Usually of dubious morality. Often your innocent hero has a buddy who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, and knows that they ought to start by talking to "Big Eddie" or whoever, cause he always "knows anything that goes down."


Sometimes the source of information is more upscale in appearance, in which case they are probably also The Barnum. They usually want something from the hero before they hand out the information (unless they owe the Hero a favor, or have a crush on him). Often they'll want nothing more than cash, but sometimes they want the Hero to run an errand for them. Or they may trade information for information. If there is romantic subtext, she might ask the Hero to be her escort somewhere — always a good choice for drama when the hero is looking for information about the kidnapping of his love interest. Obviously saving his true love justifies cheating on his true love — or does it?

Many times this character is relegated to a position as a Plot Device. When the Knowledge Broker is given Character Development, expect him to have a traumatizing past and/or an old relationship with one of the protagonists. When acting as a contact for the heroes, expect the Knowledge Broker to supply the catalyst to propel the story forward. If the heroes get stuck, expect him to suddenly come up with a new lead. If he's mostly in it for the money, expect either a Face–Heel Turn or a Heel–Face Revolving Door that may one day make someone put a gun to his head. If he's less-than-impartial towards the main character, expect him to deny payment, with an excuse like "I owed you a favor anyway." Likely to Default to Good (if only because the good side winning would keep them in business); rarely, if ever, is this character working strictly for the antagonist. When the compiler of information isn't impartial at all and instead serves an organization, they are The Spymaster.


If the contact is a recurring character and the Knowledge Broker and the protagonist are different genders (or not), expect romantic subtext.

Real Life information brokers tend to be consultants who work in market research, though there are exceptions.

See also The Fixer.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Daily Days, a newspaper from Baccano!
  • Big Ear, (because he heard about everything, you know), from The Big O. You know, the one with the glasses...
  • Sakaguchi Ango from Bungo Stray Dogs. He is introduced as an important source of information for the mafia, and he's often doing business abroad. That's what we're told... but he is actually doing this work for the Government; he plays an important role there as well. Taken Up to Eleven when Atsushi, Kyouka and Oguri escape using the latter's Ability (to erase every trace of a crime) and they're still found by Ango. That's before it is revealed that Ango has the power to receive the memories of everything he touches, which finally answers why he is this trope.
  • Old man Gomeiji from Buster Keel! deals in information to sell to adventurers. When encountered by the heroes, he hires them to retrieve a treasure chest from the nest of a giant two-headed serpent, only to reveal that it contains his stash of information, written down on rice grains he can decipher.
  • Ginko from Kure Nai, for the romantic subtext version. Also Shinkurou's Unlucky Childhood Friend.
  • Nabiki Tendo of Ranma ½.
  • Fuuchoin Kazuki from Get Backers theoretically does this for a living, although he's more often seen kicking ass.
  • Haruo Nijima from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is a partial case of this. Though he has incredibly skills in analyzing enemies and information gathering in general, he acquires all his intelligence for the sole purpose of furthering his own goals of power.
  • Information brokers are one of the most lucrative jobs people can have in the After the End setting of Gundam X. The second episode has a broker boasting about how they're so much smarter than those idiot mobile suit pilots. Then he's vaporized by the GX's Satellite Cannon.
  • The man known only as Yamada in all incarnations of My-HiME where he appears.
  • Hiruma of Eyeshield 21. Like Nijima he uses it for his own gains and specializes in blackmail with it.
  • In Final Fantasy: Lost Stranger, Grede Treid deals in only the latest and best information, becoming fabulously wealthy for it. His services are so valued that he and his clerks can easily charge 600 million Gil for information without blinking, an impossible price for most to pay. And yet, his word is so valued that the fact that he's willing to put a price on information about Raise only bolsters Shogo's hopes that it exists and that he'll be able to use it to revive Yuko.
  • Rufus Barma in PandoraHearts.
  • A series of unnamed women in Mnemosyne, who drink Grasshoppers and take sex as payment (yeah, it's that kind of show).
  • Durarara!!: Izaya Orihara, though it's hard to tell whether he's doing it for the money or simply because It Amuses Him. Considering his intelligence and his personality, it's probably the latter with the former as a perk.
    Izaya: It's kinda scary how much people trust me.
  • Becky Farrah from Gunsmith Cats.
  • Black Butler has the Undertaker. He's just in it for the laughs.
  • GUN×SWORD has Carmen99.
  • Madeleine in the manga of Honoo no Alpen Rose.
  • Sonica of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, who is a genuine palm reader who could read a person's memories and biological data by touching her target. This, combined with her personality and the fact that everyone in the underworld goes to her when they need to interrogate someone, means she's got the dirt on everybody. Like most Knowledge Brokers, she's in it for the money so the price of her info is always very steep, and she has plenty of blackmail material for those unwilling to pay.
  • Information Brokers in general in Sword Art Online, especially Argo. Argo once sold a piece of information, then sold the information about her selling that information, then offered to sell even that information of the sale of information about the information the original buyer of the actual information. Quite the knowledgeable knowledge broker.
  • Itori from Tokyo Ghoul. She runs an extensive information network from her bar, Helter Skelter, and also handles any sort of legal documentation that other ghouls might need.
  • In Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Largo, master of the Bee Hive, visits one such knowledge broker in a tobacco shop. He buys various bits of information while disguising his requests as cigarette purchases.

    Comic Books 
  • Examples in the The DCU:
    • Oracle usually fills this role for Batman.
    • The Calculator from The DCU was a goofy Silver Age villain with a giant pocket calculator on his chest and vague Awesomeness by Analysis powers - until Identity Crisis revamped him into Oracle's Evil Counterpart, a knowledge broker for supervillains. In DC Universe Online, the two serve the role as Mission Control for heroes and villains respectively using their know-how.
    • A similar role (information broker to the villains) was played by the Monitor during the run-up to Crisis on Infinite Earths. His role in the actual Crisis is quite different.
    • In some instances, Jason Todd as the Red Hood has played this role, bringing valuable information to heroes. And, occasionally, villains. For his own ends, or to ensure they end up getting themselves killed. If it came up more often he'd be a Magnificent Bastard.
    • The Penguin functions as an information broker for Gotham's underworld, and sometimes to Batman, with a little arms dealing thrown in for good measure.
  • Information is just another commodity in the world of Finder, and Lynne Grosvenor is implied to be one of the best infotraders in Anvard. Within an hour of his sisters' mugging, he's recovered their belongings and tipped off the police (if not something worse, considering how protective he is of Marcie).
  • Nomad, from Marvel Comics, confronts the 'Favor Broker', who is also a Big Bad, multiple times through his title series. The Broker claims not to like the position he is stuck in but is too piled up with favors to ever quit.
  • The Consultant from PS238.
  • In the Astro City story, "The Tarnished Angel," Donnelly Ferguson uses his knowledge of the city's underworld to find jobs for the B-rate villains of Kiefer Square. He arranges for all of them to be hired for a city-wide crime spree planned by fallen hero El Hombre, who plans to kill all the villains and restore his heroic stature. Steeljack didn't like associating with him even before all this came to light, but because Ferguson didn't have a record he was one of the very few people he knew with whom he could freely mingle without violating his parole. He never gets what's coming to him, but he's not the same man after the Conquistador incident, either.
  • The Harlot functions as this in Fall of Cthulhu. As one of the most powerful entities in the Dream Land, she can provide virtually any form of information; her asking price is generally a piece of the client's body, though she will occasionally accept pieces of the client's mind — especially in the case of Raymond Dirk.
  • Max Normal in early Judge Dredd comics.
  • Angel had a creature, Polyphemus, with an encyclopedic knowledge of demonology. There was some romantic subtext between him and Laura, a former watcher.
  • The Shingouz in Valérian are an entire race of creatures who specialise in spying and information trade. A trio of them often push their services on Valerian and Laureline and end up getting them involved into the main plot of the ongoing issue.
  • Feetus from Grimjack. Notable in that he and Grimjack were old war buddies and genuine friends. He plays a more important role in the plot than just a source of information for Grimjack.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Ivan Petrovich, a former Red Room Agent who served as a Parental Substitute to Natasha and joined her in defecting. Natasha inwardly considers him to be one of the best intel analysts on the planet and in chapter 67, both the Red Room and HYDRA make a play for him. Both are foiled by the Winter Soldier, who is nominally working for HYDRA, and manages to help Petrovich fake his death.
    • Doctor Strange is the ultimate example of this, overlapping with Mister Exposition when he's feeling helpful. He knows almost everything you could possibly want to know, and has dirt on everyone. It helps that he's exceptionally stealthy, and an immensely powerful Seer and time-traveller. He also never lies, which helps with trust... or it would, if he wasn't a master Truth Twister. Plus, he dispenses information on his schedule and no one else's.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami features Keeper Midori, who fits this Trope to a T. She keeps close tabs on all the warring factions in the story, often popping up at opportune moments- such as lulls in the fighting -to offer information on their enemies, at a price.
  • Futari Wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon has Omemi Emiru, a different sort of an Alpha Bitch who uses this (something she calls a "talent" for coming upon other people's information) to keep her classmates in line. Her Etherium powers reflect this, as she uses her illusion abilities to, in a sense, construct what others see of reality, made more convincing by what she's found out about them.
  • In The Horsewomen Of Las Vegas, Dana Brooke is this for crime boss Charlotte Flair. She's Charlotte's personal assistant, but she also spends a lot of her salary making contacts with other parts of the criminal underworld. She hypothesized that The Bella Twins were responsible for the murder of The Godather which kicked off the story, even when the police didn't have any idea who it was.
  • In Next On, Gakupo is one.
  • Kunsel in Crisis Core was a well informed and vaguely gossipy Mr. Exposition. The Fifth Act upgrades him having a vast information network, being everyone's go to guy for information and in the Omakes, being better informed than the Turks.
  • In the Discworld fics of A.A. Pessimal, Conina's Barbarian Hairdressing Salon is a hub of information exchange which stands outside the usual network of Guilds. Conina Cohensdaughter-Harebut is a Thief and barbarian heroine who fulfilled her vocation to be a Hairdresser. And everyone needs a hairdo. And everyone — Thief, Assassin, Heroine, Watchwoman, Seamstress, Teacher — talks to their hairdresser. Who if she is so inclined may pass interesting information back.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters has Charles Ludmoore, who seems to know just about everything happening on both Earth and Meridian, and is willing to supply that information (as well as access to his vast black market resources) to anyone willing to pay the price. Somewhat different from most examples, in that he and his brothers are actively Playing Both Sides of the war on Meridian for the benefit of a much larger agenda.
  • The Halloween Unspectacular series has Ovard Grim. Publicly, he's just the head of a scrap metal reclamation company. In reality, however, he runs numerous other businesses of varying levels of legality, one of which is trading information. In both the fourth and fifth editions, he sells information to heroes and villains alike, always putting his own interests first.
  • Chasing Dragons has the mysterious figure known as the Kindly Man, who controls the criminal underworld in Myr by trading in information. It's very strongly implied that he's Varys.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Osmosis Jones, this is the function of the Flu shot. Kinda justified, if by a long shot, by those who know a bit of biology.
  • Zootopia: Nick knows everyone in the titular city, making him an invaluable lead for Judy's case at several points.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Brain in the film noir send up Brick provides Brendan with intel on the situation at the school.
  • The Matrix:
    • The Merovingian from the sequels. "I am a trafficker of information, I know everything I can."
    • Neo also qualifies, before his Red Pill, Blue Pill decision in the first minutes of the original film.
  • In Heat (1995) Robert DeNiro's character consults such a figure for intelligence on potential heists and police opponents. When DeNiro asks him where he gets this stuff he replies that it just comes to him through the air (his house is festooned with antennae and located on a hill above Los Angeles).
  • Louis, the French guy from Munich, along with the rest of his family.
  • Skinny Pete from the 2003 remake of The Italian Job acts as this for Charlie and his crew when they pull their final heist in L. A.
  • From the Lethal Weapon series, Leo Getz. "Whatever you need, Leo Gets". (Unfortunately, he tends to get himself in trouble a lot.)
  • In Attack of the Clones, there was Dex, the owner and chef of Dex's Diner. Seeing as his place was popular with merchants, smugglers, and other frequent travelers, and how he's traveled all over and done more jobs than can be counted on his four hands, he often overheard things that no-one else did, and was willing to sell the info. In the movie, Obi-Wan goes to him to find information on the Kamino cloning project; he identifies the reclusive race whose world is so obscure that nobody noticed it being missing from the Jedi archives from a simple metal dart.
  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence: Doctor Know... is in the know. And is also an unreliable search engine that charges per-question, but that's besides the point.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Caliban is a broker and informant on mutant goings-on.
  • Mr. Universe for the series Firefly's Big Damn Movie Serenity, the self proclaimed "eyes and ears of the 'verse."
  • Welcome to the Punch (2013). A criminal seeking to put out some information on the street as The Bait visits a tattoo parlour whose owner gives him the option of releasing the information "old school" (word of mouth) or "new school" (via Facebook and Twitter).
  • Soylent Green gives us Sol Roth and his fellow "Books" — people who read all things related to a case and hand over the data to their assigned detectives. They even convene in old libraries to exchange information.
  • Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: Madison, the bartender.
    Madison: With all the stuff I hear, you could incriminate half of Duluth.

  • Jasper from Super Minion. He might not be quite as smart as he claims and he might overcharge, but the information he provides is frequently spot on.
  • Billy from the Final Friends series by Christopher Pike always knows where everyone is all the time. No one questions how he knows.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Varys "The Spider" is the Lord of Whispers for the Seven Kingsoms. Having no title or wealth (being referred to as Lord out of courtesy), and being a foreign eunuch, he only managed to survive the overthrow of the Targaryen dynasty because of his usefulness.
    • Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish is an extremely minor lord and an unabashed schemer who knows everyone's dirt. Turns out that owning several high-end brothels frequented by powerful nobles and merchants has other benefits beyond the obvious.
    • Qyburn, a former maester, becomes Lord of Whispers under Cersei's direction and claims that the job is easier than you'd think, because there are always people who will seek you out to sell secrets.
  • Slughorn from the Harry Potter novels was one.
  • Chrysalis, the transparent-skinned owner of the Crystal Palace bar in the Wild Cards universe, uses a telepathic bartender and tiny spy-creatures spawned by a unique Joker to gather information— along with the traditional bribes and espionage.
  • The sheer scale of the Star Wars universe dictates a rather absurd number of these. By far the best, though, is smuggler-in-chief Talon Karrde, whose organization, which took over after Jabba The Hutt's enterprises collapsed with his death, was built on information brokering. He ended up defaulting to the New Republic's side after Thrawn had him kidnapped to try and coax the location of a lost fleet out of him. In the Hand of Thrawn duology, he took a certain crucial bit of intelligence to Supreme Commander Pellaeon in time for a Big Damn Heroes moment, and his organization sets up between the newly at peace New Republic and Imperial Remnant, making sure information flows freely to both sides so there won't be any nasty secrets. His old mentor knows everything, but withdrew from galactic affairs.
    • Around second place or so are the various other important smugglers, and government agents are somewhere around twentieth. Unless they're Thrawn's agents, that is, or wherever and whatever he gets his intel from.
  • Pahvulti, the renegade Tech Priest in Simon Spurrier's Warhammer 40,000 Night Lords novel Lord of the Night. He was exceptionally good at his job, becoming the information baron of a hive, due to his mentality of a cad combined with his thought processes being that of a computer.
  • Amoral Attorney Kodringer in The Witcher
  • Charles Augustus Milverton of the Sherlock Holmes tale that bears his name. He uses the information he receives to blackmail people and sometimes even ruin them just For the Evulz.
  • After refusing to back down from a touchy case and losing her position, Wolfe from the Andrew Vachss Burke books takes on this role, and is apparently the best at it.
  • "Done it" Duncan of the Discworld acts unwillingly as this, as he claims to have performed every crime that happens in the city, including a Suspiciously Specific Denial that can be very useful to the Watch.
    • Also, Fred Colon from Night Watch forward, in a strange way. After being pulled off the streets, he is given an office, where he always keeps a kettle going and a box of free doughnuts. This is a favourite hang-out for ex-cops, old cons and petty criminals, all of whom have an ear to the street and gossip like old washerwomen. Colon hands over the information gathered to Vimes, who gladly pays for the tea and doughnuts in return.
  • The Outsiders from Larry Niven's Known Space stories. Unusually, they don't care about getting the dirt on anybody; their business is in Slaver-era technical knowledge (they sold humans the hyperdrive, giving them a fighting chance in the Man-Kzin Wars) and treasure maps. It's almost impossible to acquire knowledge in these fields that you can sell them, but if you can do it you'll pretty much be set for life.
    It was well known that the reactionless drive the Outsiders used was for sale, and that the price was a full trillion stars. Though no individual, and no nation now extant, could afford such a sum, the price was not exorbitant.
  • The Remover of Inconvenient Obstacles from Tad Williams's War Of The Flowers.
  • The former CIA from Snow Crash is a knowledge-brokering company. Among other things it employs camera-laden guys who roam around recording everything, in case it'll come in handy later.
  • Gyoko from Shogun seems to know everything, and has a network of courtesans who supply her with information. In a society that values titles and military power, she manages to do much with the use of information only.
  • "Papa" Friedlander Bey from the Marîd Audran series deals exclusively in information on a global scale; governments operate, or not, based on the information bought, sold, and traded by him.
  • Magician Humphrey from the Xanth series is not ranked as a magician for being born with powerful magic, but rather for his ability to find information. He can answer any question, but because so many people have questions, they have to get past three obstacles to get to him and work for him for a year or provide some other kind of significant service for him in return. This way, only serious Questions come to him to keep things sane.
  • This is the Hat of the Agletsch, a Proud Merchant Race in the Star Carrier series. Any given inhabited star system has resources aplenty to manufacture goods, so instead the Agletsch buy and sell everything from intelligence to schematics and technical data, and even art.
  • In Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series, Danny Boy Bell, an albino black man, performs this role. A website providing information about the book series, Poogan's Pub, is named after one of the spots Bell frequents.
  • In Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, Kuroki's epithet doesn't only refer to his social skills, but also refers to his large social network which allows him to obtain information about everyone in the neighbourhood. Probably because this work is aimed at children, unlike most examples of this trope he's a recurring member of The Team and is seen to be morally upright.
  • In The Iron Teeth web serial, the mysterious and beautiful woman Luphera aids Blacknail the hobgoblin by trading him information. She also appears to sell information, among other things.
  • Edgedancer (a novella of The Stormlight Archive): Nigh-everyone in Yeddaw buys and sells information, as in their country, knowledge is a currency as good as - and sometimes better than - physical money.
  • The archivist Korobeinikov in The Twelve Chairs was a low-key version of a knowledge broker: he made money by selling decommisionned archive documents with sensitive information (such as the data on Bolshevik confiscations of property during the revolution that Ostap Bender wanted).
  • In The Spirit Thief, the brokers are a network of people famous for being able to find anything and any piece of information (they're a bit worse with people) within an hour or so of placing a query. They charge through the roof, but given their almost-supernatural (actually supernatural, as they're in league with wind spirits) capabilities, the main characters agree that they're worth every standard.
  • Subverted in Quiller's Run. Quiller hopes to get information on the Big Bad from a former intelligence officer who lives in the Cambodian jungle monitoring the electronic pathways including several bugging devices. Unfortunately he's half-insane from the head injury that put him there. Quiller has to parachute in, get past several attack dogs, then talk the Knowledge Broker into not only giving him the information, but not killing him during his fits of psychosis.
    • Also subverted in the second Quiller novel; the Thai underworld figure he consults as per this trope turns out to be running his own gambit. The plot involved a kidnapping for a hostage exchange; he planned to help Quiller foil the kidnapping, only to kidnap Quiller as an alternate hostage.
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union: The Jewish metropolis of Sitka, Alaska, includes a number of information brokers among the gangsters and former spies of its underworld.
  • The Dresden Files: There is one common theme between many powerhouses in the Dresden-world: Knowledge is power. The strongest know this and give their knowledge with a price, if at all.
    • The Fae, especially higher level Sidhe members, love being this. Any fae could have the information the mortal seeks, but the mortal must make exactly clear what information the mortal wants. Any loophole or ambiguity, and the fae can, and most will, give muddled and broken information. The fae will also ask for a payment in return of equal value to the knowledge given.
    • Donnar Vadderung is the modern day mask of Odin, the King of Norse Gods, and Santa Claus, Winter King and beholden to Queen Mab. He runs a mercenary group but is always well informed. He knows things about the hero Harry Dresden that not even Harry knew until just a days prior, namely: Harry has a daughter and she was kidnapped by vampires. He also knows the vampires didn't kidnap her just for vengeance against Harry. Like the fae, he is willing to trade information for information, but there are two times when he asks no payment from Harry. The first is when Harry came asking for help finding his daughter and saving her. Odin gives the knowledge freely, but Harry realizes later Odin, Mab, and others played him to help do serious damage to the Vampire Court that took his daughter by using his quest to their needs. Later on when Harry asks for more information in a different book as Santa he gives Harry crucial information in outgambitting another Spymaster and his human ally, but states Harry was a good boy this past year and to consider it a belated Christmas present.
    • The Archive is the repository of all human knowledge. Anything written, typed, or printed, whether on stone, sand, paper, or computer, or other medium by other means, is instantly entered into her mind. The mantle is past from mother to daughter since Ancient Greece. She can recall anything her predecessors knew with perfect clarity too. She is not a broker of knowledge. She is neutral in all venues and the mantle of the Archive even restricts the female host from giving it, even if the person is a friend on a good cause. She is there in case of a societal collapse and lose of knowledge.
  • The Lost Redeemer: Casella Raider and Marabella Lawguard both fit this role. Each woman runs a spy network and always seems to know what the other characters are up to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hatter from the miniseries Alice. Ratty describes him to Alice as "a man who knows," and he seems to be connected with everybody — the Hearts and the Resistance. His street smarts and knowledge of Wonderland are a help, and when he and Alice have run out of plans and resources, he lists an obscure woman he knows through about eight different people and suggests talking to her, although he admits it's rather a long shot.
  • Game of Thrones: This is Varys' job as Master of Whisperers, and he's terrifyingly good at it. If, for whatever reason, a character does not go to Varys, they go to Littlefinger.
  • "Ice Pick" from Magnum, P.I.. Definitely of the "dubious morality" sort.
  • Arvin Sloane from Alias fulfilled the role for a season, when he wasn't being the Big Bad.
  • Starsky & Hutch were always going to Huggy Bear for the "word on the street" He's a sartorially resplendent urban patois-fluent streetwise African-American.
  • Baretta: Tony Baretta is always going to Rooster" to get the low-down.
  • Parodied in the shape of Johnny the Snitch on Police Squad!!, the shoeshine guy who could give you information on absolutely everything — at a price — whether you're a cop looking for a fugitive, a surgeon needing advice on how to perform an operation, or just Dick Clark asking about musical trends (and youth cream)...
  • If Sam Axe isn't performing this function in Burn Notice, he knows someone who does. Another frequent source of information is Barry, the money launderer (currently the subject of the page quote), who knows at least something about everything slightly shady that happens in Miami, as all the crooks in South Florida seem to use him to clean their gains.
  • Guerrero, on Human Target. How did he get that photo? "Dude, you don't want to know."
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Fin Tutuola. Much says of him, "Fin bolted a few hours ago, didn't say where. That usually means a covert meeting with one of his operatives in the Drug Netherworld." Munch himself has contacts he can call on for anything related to spying, black ops, national security, and three-letter agencies.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles:
    • The final two episodes of season one center on a Knowledge Broker who had files on hundreds of people and sold that information to whoever paid more.
    • Hetty Lange, who's firmly on the side of the good guys—she seems to have limitless knowledge of everything that goes on not just in her unit, but pretty much all over the planet. Hetty has a massive database of contacts and connections from her days in the Cold War, and is fluent in at least eleven languages. She even lampshades the role in one episode when she's accused of being The Chessmaster; Hetty demurs and explains that she doesn't see individual pieces—she sees, and moves, the whole board.
  • Sherlock.
    • Mycroft is the British Government (when he isn't being the CIA or MI-6).
    • Charles Augustus Magnussen is the updated version of Charles Augustus Milverton from the short stories.
  • Philip from Kamen Rider Double has all of Earth's knowledge in his head.
  • Limehouse from Justified has an extensive network of informants throughout Harlan County and the neighboring areas. If you are a client of his unofficial bank, he will share the information if you ask nicely. He is a leader of a black community in the mountains of Kentucky and his community survived since the Civil War by always knowing what its enemies and allies were up to and where the next threat was coming from. He also helps shelter battered women fleeing their abusive partners, which definitely endears him somewhat to Marshall Raylan Givens despite the distinctly shady nature of Limehouse's business.
  • JK from Kamen Rider Fourze has information on every student in the school and it's his first-year in Amanogawa High.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Garak, Odo and Quark all play this role. Garak's comes from the intelligence world and he has connections everywhere and in every facet of society. Odo's tend to be police, security and politically based and Quark's tend to be economic and black market.
  • Trick from Lost Girl. Part of it comes from being the owner of a bar that's one of the few places open to both Light and Dark Fae, part of it from having once been the Blood King.
  • Dorium Maldovar, owner of the Maldovarium, who knows — among MANY other things — what is The Question in Doctor Who.
  • Breaking Bad: The Amoral Attorney Saul Goodman also has a network of connections for virtually any criminal enterprise. Whether you need help cleaning up a crime scene after your girlfriend dies of overdose, need an expert conman to impersonate a water inspector, or simply need a buyer for your large quantities of illicit drugs, Saul either knows who can get the job done, or he knows who knows them. Better call Saul!
  • The mysterious hacker group Everyone from Elementary serves as this; while they initially serve as antagonists in an episode, they later befriend Sherlock and Joan, providing helpful information on cases in exchange for odd favors. Joan calls on a few members of Everyone to serve as eyewitnesses (via Skype-like video services) to a villain threatening her and describing his latest scheme.
  • Antique book dealer Felix Muholland fills this role in Banacek; tracking down whatever esoteric piece of information Banacek needs to crack a particular. Interestingly, he is the only character who ever refers to Banacek by his first name.
  • The villainous Dale "the Whale" Biederbeck of Monk is one of these (it helps that he's also insanely rich). In his debut episode, it's revealed that he has dirt on everyone from politicians to professional baseball coaches, and can make them obey him with a single phone call; later, he somehow manages to learn about some shameful parts of Sharona's past within a day or two of her meeting him. In a later episode, he forms an Enemy Mine pact with Monk by offering information on Trudy's death that even the cops never discovered in exchange for Monk's clearing him of a murder. What makes this particularly impressive is that Dale weighs in at 800 pounds, and thus runs his information empire from a specially-made bed.
  • A lighthearted version (that borders on The Family for the Whole Family) appears in Disney Channel's Jessie. Recurring character Tony, the doorman of the high-rise where the show takes place, is apparently the best-connected person in all of New York. Whenever the main characters need strange objects for some Zany Scheme, it's a safe bet that "Tony knows a guy" who can get them.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • CHIKARA has The Whisper, who was introduced during the "lost"note  Season 17. He was essentially Blackmailing Princess Kimberlee into hurting her friends, leading to her leaving the promotion altogether.note  It was never explained how he had obtained the information he claimed to have on people.

  • Luke Anatoray, from v2 of Open Blue.
  • Jonathan Patches of The Gungan Council can get information on anything as well as make sure no one gets certain information one doesn't want to let out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun. Having good contacts is key to survival if you don't wanna die or get arrested by Lone Star. Your contacts come in various ranks, which vary depending on the edition.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: The entire Nosferatu clan serve this function. Their monstrous appearance forces them to stay in the shadows, making information and intrigue come naturally to them. Their supernatural stealth and propensity for animal spies doesn't hurt, either.
  • In Vampire: The Requiem, this role belongs to the Mekhet clan, who have the added advantage of looking normal, and being able to acquire information directly through supernatural means (such as Mind Reading, Psychometry, or Astral Projection).
  • Mage: The Ascension: Also, every mage, to a certain extent, though the Mysterium are the ones with the main focus on it. One Sourcebook provides detailed information on how their "knowledge economy" works.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Corax wereravens (and to a lesser extent, the Bone Gnawer Garou) serve as this to other supernatural beings.
  • From Forgotten Realms, we have The Pillar of Skulls, a hideous landmark upon Baator. Composed of the heads of various beings, it can access their knowledge to answer many questions... but it won't be free. The Pillar will ask for sacrifice to be made as payment, but sometimes it will take valuable information it has not already known as well. Notably, the Pillar is not omniscient, asking a question it doesn't know the answer to will not levy any payment.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Keeper of Secrets, the Greater Daemon of Slaanesh that knows every one of your dirty little secrets. It actively uses this information in combat to hamper you, ranging from bribing you with your heart's desires to revealing something that shatters its victim's minds.


    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Shadow Broker, the completely unknown head of a vast Information Brokering Empire. Even the highest ranking members of the organization communicate with their boss only through audio-only communications channels, in which the Shadow Broker uses a computer generated voice.
    • The Illusive Man at the head of Cerberus is also in the same business, but he doesn't use it for profit but to always be ahead of his enemies and to use the information he has as bribes or for blackmail. He doesn't sell information, but only shares it to make other people depend on him.
    • In the second game, Liara starts her own business on Illium, but for her the profits are mostly to fund her own investigations into the identity and location of the Shadow Broker, who tried to find the dead body of Shepard and sell it to the Collectors and kidnapped her partner when she gave the body to Cerberus first. Her real goal is to kill the Shadow Broker and rescue Feron. Not bad for the socially awkward archeologist from the first game.
    • The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC takes Liara and Shepard to the secret base of the same. Where it turns out that the current person behind the desk is a yahg, a huge gorilla-like alien who was kept as a slave and pet by the last Shadow Broker. After he killed his master in his own private chambers, he simply sat down at his computer and continued business as usual. And after he is killed in battle and the computers restart, Liara does the very same thing, instantly becoming one of top ten most powerful people in the entire galaxy.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has a guy like this named Brains.
  • In Dragon Quest XI there is "Noah the Know-It-All", who often "overhears" juicy info and then passes it on further for a price. Saving him from capture by a monster, he repays the favor by revealing to the Hero the location of an item that would lead him to the World Tree.
  • Jules in Final Fantasy XII. Due to the way Archadian high society works, everyone in Archades is a Knowledge Broker to one degree or another.
  • The Oracle in Deus Ex is an AI born in cyberspace from the sheer information in it, who trades what he knows for information he does not have (this doesn't have to be of any value, a "joke you heard recently" and your breakfast are both things he requests in exchange for information). However the Oracle only appears at three points in the game, all in emails that are entirely optional to read, and everything we know about him is Word of God.
  • In Star Control II, this is the hat of the Melnorme, who accept "bio-data" from you in exchange for galactic history, current events, and technological specifications. They also sell starship fuel.
  • ASCII in Burn:Cycle, a mysterious entity that resides in the Televerse and speaks in rapid Machine Monotone, with kiosks in the real world offering their location in exchange for credits. They become Sol Cutter's main source of intel for most of the game, sometimes giving out software to help Cutter.
  • Everyone you talk to in City of Heroes. Seriously, how does Joe Shmoe know which warehouse the Trolls are selling firearms out of? Granted, many of your contacts have some relation to law enforcement or the criminal underworld, but it gets quite silly after a while. It becomes ridiculously literal in Praetoria, where the game's primary currency is labelled Information. This hat will cost 30 informations sir.
  • Jay the Unseen in Tales of Legendia.
  • Wiseman from the .hack R1 Games had this as his initial occupation, before joining the team for real.
  • In I Will: The Story of London for the Pioneer Laseractive, the man to see was Mr. Pound AKA "Antenna", who runs a Britain-wide information network. He's easily recognised as he's the only person in the entire game who carries two umbrellas in one hand.
  • In Yandere Simulator, Info-chan. She's technically a student at Akademi High School, but she spends all her time in the locked Info Club room, and can only be contacted electronically. She knows a lot about everyone at school; she got her position and privileges by blackmailing the school's headmaster, and she has enough dirt to destroy the reputation of most of the school's students. She also doubles as a black market dealer, as she can get helpful items like cigarettes, fake IDs, and poison for the right price. The price is measured in panty shots (or, later on, gossip from planted bugs), which she accepts because some students will pay her for them. In game, she acts as a Mysterious Backer to Yan-chan, knowing her true nature and intentions but not caring as long as it gets her business. She'll give out general information on the students for free; more direct aid will require payment.
  • In Privateer Roman Lynch provides information to the protagonist to aid his quest in finding out about the mysterious artifact he's acquired, at the expense of performing missions for him.
  • The Riddler is depicted this way in the Batman: Arkham Series.
  • This seems to be the in-story role of Sai in Akatsuki Blitzkampf. He is said to be a person who, through illegal means, gathers all the information in the world. Though it looks like he might actually be an undercover agent for the MI6.
  • Oskan in Styx: Master of Shadows is a blind old crook wanted by the Akenash human government. He has many connections tapped into the criminal underworld of Akenash and mainly serves as the contract provider for Styx, offering Styx directions and information to help him reach his goals in exchange for Styx stealing and killing for him.
  • Varric does this when not writing or adventuring in Dragon Age II. This is all done in place of what should in theory be his actual job, namely running a business, which is in fact registered to a totally fictitious cousin.
    Varric: It means coins flow when I talk and when I shut up.
  • Persona:
    • The rumormongers in Persona 2 inform you of, among other things, shops that secretly sell weapons/armor and those shop's prices, or of demons existing or knowing specific skills. For a fee, Detective Todoroki spreads those rumors and makes them come true.
    • In Persona 5, Yuuki Mishima runs the Phantom Aficionado Website (or Phan-site), which among other things is the source for most of the game's sidequests.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: Clan Nosferatu is isolated from human society by its Looks Like Orlok appearance, but compensates by being extraordinarily well-connected, even specifically recruiting Playful Hackers (and Crackers) to maintain their edge. They'll even pay the Player Character to help expand their surveillance network. Their leader's not above selling information on the MacGuffin's location to multiple factions, then selling information on its new location to the losing side.
  • Anachronox has several mentioned or implied, but two stand out: K'Conrad Khk and Eddie the Chew. The former is merely an Aewa (a flying species) who takes advantage of the planet's subjective approach to gravity and the tendency for people to not look up very often, in order to find juicy info. He's also a literal broker, as he likes to trade secrets for other secrets. The latter is far more complex; Eddie is hyperintelligent and appears to for all intents and purposes absorb all info on the whole planet, but needs to process it properly in his mind in order to produce proper, cohesive data. (Chewing on stinky, chewy things seems to help him focus; petitioners have to bring him something that fits the bill as payment.)
  • In Star Traders Frontiers you can find Intel (usually by Spying in the orbit of a system, but there are other sources) that relates to ongoing conflicts, or simply relating to a specific faction. Some Contacts (such as Spymasters) will buy Intel, although it's worth more in improving your Personal Rep with, and increasing the Influence of, the buying Contact.
  • Yakuza: This series being what it is, they appear.
    • The most prominent one is the Florist, who has cameras covering most of Tokyo and works for the highest bidder. He got his name because when he was starting out, he always delivered his intel on cards attached to flower arrangements.
    • The first game also has a more down-market version in Tamura, a journalist who has a sideline selling information he dug up but for various reasons can't print.
    • Yakuza Like a Dragon features the Geomijul, a Korean crime syndicate that gathers intel through its extensive surveillance network in Ijincho and both sells it and uses it to keep the peace between the other criminal factions.

    Visual Novels 
  • Redd White from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. His company, Bluecorp, was an information-gathering corporation that specialized in obtaining blackmail material concerning big-name individuals such as celebrities, politicians as well as high-ranked people on the judicial system, effectively making White a man above the law.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: People approach Little Miss Malachite to find out information for them. However, she usually demands an up-front fee before she'll discuss business. She's also willing to delay giving information back to her clients just in case there are other people looking for information on those clients. When Cinder escapes from the Vault of the Spring Maiden, she seeks out Little Miss to find out where Teams RWBY and JNPR have gone. Little Miss says it'll take her a week even though she already knows the answer, purely because she wants to know if there are any people searching for information on Cinder.

    Web Comics 
  • Anabelle knows almost everything in APOC, for a price. Sometimes she'll divulge information if she's feeling charitable, but that's a rare enough occurrence.
  • Ace Tanager from The Incredible and Awe-Inspiring Serial Adventures of the Amazing Plasma-Man holds a wealth of information about the citizens of Meridian City, which he gladly shares with Plasma-Man in exchange for patronage of his lounge.
  • Landon from This Is Not Fiction is introduced as one, being the self-titled "Godfather of Highschool".
  • Planescape Survival Guide has the "info imp," not that he is particularly helpful.
  • A Miracle of Science: Benjamin spends four pages talking to a broker named Taro, who gives him a lead by consulting his Omniscient Database of black-market programmers to identify the author of code on a chip. He trades for this info with photos he took aboard a Martian ship — the Martians have just rejoined the interplanetary scene, and Ben has a closer relationship with them than most. He and Taro evidently enjoy a friendly working relationship.
  • Lisa from Paranatural runs the school store at her middle school and acts as an information broker for gossip.
  • Bud/Laser Thrash in Sleepless Domain, who is very skilled at collecting information. Not even Harley, who spends the most time with her, knows how she does it.
    Cassidy: Are you sure gossip isn't your real power?

    Web Original 
  • Shadow of Super Stories makes her living this way. Whether she has a supernatural ability for getting information or is just very good at her job has not been answered.

    Web Videos 
  • Ash, the Real Money Trade guy from Noob, seems to be a downplayed case. There is no explicit mention of any kind of extensive network, but any knowledge he does get his hands on is merchandise like any other to him. That aspect of his activities doesn't become relevant to the plot until late Season 5 of the webseries and the movies.

    Western Animation 
  • Geezy the Pegelount is one of these in the Wretched Hive of Tortuna in Galaxy Rangers. A later episode reveals that his cousin is one of Her Majesty's victims (explaining why he's no fan of hers). Fanon also suspects Doc was one of these before being "reluctantly" recruited into the Rangers.
  • In Bonkers a bunch of cartoon grapes will often give Bonkers tips on his latest case. In other words, he hears about it "through the grapevine".
  • Mr. Cairo from Phantom 2040. He only values knowledge and no amount of currency, which is probably why he hasn't told the Big Bad who The Phantom is despite the hefty reward. He never appears in person, only communicating with his customers through holograms. It turns out he's not a person at all, but rather a sentient computer program.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "China Jones", Daffy seeks info from one called Limey Louie. Unfortunately, this is a ruse by Louie himself, who bears a grudge against Daffy for sending him to jail.
  • Hilda: The Rat King of Trollburg knows all secrets overheard by the city's rat population and is willing to trade them for new secrets, or sometimes for a rancid cod sandwich from the dumpster behind this one restaurant by the docks, they like those.

Alternative Title(s): Information Broker


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