Follow TV Tropes


Middle-Management Mook
aka: Middle Management Mooks

Go To

He's above the cut of the average Mook, but not smart enough to be the Evil Overlord, or even the Evil Chancellor. He's not a Corrupt Corporate Executive, because he never got above Corrupt Corporate Middle Management. He is neither bold, aggressive, or action-oriented enough to be the Mook Lieutenant. He's definitely corrupt, though. He's venal, petty and foolish, but is often a Punch-Clock Villain who might be a candidate for a Heel–Face Turn. Usually, the Big Bad considers him a convenient patsy. The biggest obstacle he presents to the heroes is telling more competent people what to do.

He will often not have the brains or guts to be able to rise above the threat-level of the average Smug Snake, and if he should happen to be ambitious enough to try his hand at being The Starscream, he is not very likely to ever succeed. As his main function in his organisation is getting lower-ranking mooks to do all the dirty grunt work, also expect him to be a Dirty Coward who will attempt to stay out of any direct confrontation with the hero(es) and instead relying on throwing his underlings into the fray between himself and them.

Compare and contrast with Weak Boss, Strong Underlings.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • "Three-headed" Baskerville, the Chief Justice of Enies Lobby, holds this position in One Piece. When the Straw Hats start invading the island and Spandam can't be reached, he starts mobilizing the Watchdog Unit and the Just Eleven Jurymen, and when the pirates reach the courthouse, he grabs a sword and takes part in the fighting as well. However, he fails to stop them from reaching the tower of justice and disappears from the story afterwards while the Straw Hats go on to fight CP9
  • Parodied in a Tokyo Ghoul:Re omake focusing on various members of Aogiri going to Ayato with assignments or problems to be fixed. Later on, he complains to his subordinates that being middle management sucks.

    Comic Books 
  • Komptin from Negation is a Middle Management Mook, but he's also the series' primary villain. Charon, his boss and Negation ruler, appears intermittently throughout the series. Komptin is seen commanding Negation soldiers and administrators, but also answers to Negation generals and lawbringers, all of whom work for Charon.
  • In Sin City, during Marv's Roaring Rampage of Revenge, he starts off by killing lower-level crime bosses such as moneymen who're sending henchmen after him. He works his way up until he finds a corrupt priest, who is killed soon after. It's only then that he finds out who the Big Bad is and has to go after him. To put it in perspective, Marv is not all that impressed by the moneymen he's killing off but is very surprised by how high it goes when he realizes that the Big Bad is an extremely powerful person in one of the wealthiest, most corrupt families in the nation.

  • The main character of District 9 starts out as this, quite literally.
  • Johnny Mnemonic: Takahashi is only the regional head of PharmaKom who oversees the corporation's affairs within the Newark area. Takahashi's position of power is so subordinate to that of the Corrupt Corporate Executives on the Company Board (the real Big Bads of the movie, who are never named or seen in the entire story) that he isn't even made fully aware of his superiors' exact motivations for wanting Johnny's head or that they cheated him out of something which could have saved his young daughter's life.
  • Moff Jerjerrod, the Imperial officer in charge of the Death Star in Return of the Jedi. It sounds like an important job, but he's mostly a Beleaguered Bureaucrat Punch-Clock Villain who gets relegated to the background once Darth Vader and the Emperor show up.
  • Eddie Valentine from The Rocketeer before his Mook–Face Turn.

  • Chapman from Animorphs is a junior high school vice principal and an important member of the Sharing, one of the Yeerks' main fronts for "recruiting" young people.
  • Crispin Horsefry in Going Postal, and arguably the rest of the chairmen of the Grand Trunk working with Reacher Gilt.
  • New Jedi Order: Despite being one of the most prominent characters in the series, a power-hungry spy and manipulator whose actions helped shape the course of the Yuuzhan Vong War, Nom Anor is officially a mid-ranking member of the Vong's administrative/bureaucratic Intendant caste. He's not much of a physical threat and gets outwitted several times, but he always survives because he never goes anywhere without devising an escape route first.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Heroes:
    • Noah Bennet, before his Heel–Face Turn. Matt even lampshades it, with much hilarity since it takes a lot of the first-season mystique out of ol' HRG. Then volume 4 reveals that when Bennet was first recruited, he was a Fantastic Racist and a disproportionate number of the subjects he was sent to bag and tag ended up dead, so he might be a rare example of a mook becoming this trope by getting Kicked Upstairs.
    • Thompson might qualify too; he doesn't seem to be part of the ringleaders either.
  • Kamen Rider Revice: Kanae Motomura's main role in the Deadmans is to report to Orteca and relay his commands to the other, lower-level worshippers. She's slightly more important than your average Evil Minion, but it isn't long before Orteca sacrifices her to create another Gifftarian once he's run out of others to use as hosts.
  • The Vorta in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are a whole race of these. The Founders need a corps of middlemen to handle the Jem'Hadar and to conduct diplomatic relations. The Vorta have been bred to be articulate and obedient, so they get the job, despite the fact that no one — Jem'Hadar, Cardassians, or the Federation — is particularly fond of them.

    Video Games 
  • Bojonn from Costume Quest is a fairly literal example. He dresses like a construction site foreman, talks in corporate buzzwords, and summons lesser minions with his megaphone.
  • A corrupt corporation is one of the main foes in Final Fantasy VII, so several villains in the game are Middle-Management Mooks, including Reeve before his Heel–Face Turn. Final Fantasy VII Remake literally has a recurring NPC referred to as "Shinra Middle Manager". A more benign example than most, he's both brave enough to stand up to Barret and not so much personally corrupt as just another Punch-Clock Villain working for a corrupt company who's been brainwashed by their corporate-owned media and propaganda into thinking that Shinra wants what's best for the world and its peoples.
  • Kingdom of Loathing:
    • One of the monsters you could fight during the 2009 Crimbo event was the Mob Penguin Caporegime. To quote the monster's description, "This penguin is kind of middle-management for the Penguin Mafia. He got promoted to his level of incompetence, and now instead of busting heads and breaking fingers, he has to make sure everyone files their paperwork and doesn't abuse their expense accounts."
    • There is also the Evil Spaghetti Cult Middle Manager fought during the Pastamancer's Nemesis Quest, who is referred to as the evilest of the cultists.
  • Vinnie Gognitti from Max Payne, who functions as one of Don Punchinello's day-to-day business operators. When Max stars his Roaring Rampage of Revenge by going after the gang, Vinnie barricades himself in his office, and shouts angry orders at his men to stop Max. When Max finally reaches the office, Vinnie is reduced to begging his Don over the phone for re-enforcements, and when Max tries to confront him inside the office, Vinnie decides to make a run for it, once Max proves that he is faster on the draw than Vinnie and manages to plug him in the side. After a frenzied chase over several rooftops, Vinnie first tries to put up a token fight once Max actually corners him.
  • These go by the name of 'Admins' in most Pokémon games. The regular ones are just Team (blank) Grunt' while the higher ups are 'Team (blank) Admin'. In Pokémon Gold and Silver, they're Team Rocket Executives instead.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Middle Management Mooks