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Murder, Inc.

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"Thugs-4-Less! Pay for six hits, and the seventh is free!"

In various forms of fiction, it is terribly common to have various criminal organizations floating around with a single purpose in life: causing death to others. It is often called The Assassin's Guild, but it could appear under any number of other names or in any number of settings. Their goals for this vary. It's often simply for money, but it could just be a group that enjoys playing politics. In that case, there's some overlap with the Ancient Conspiracy, except they're not that old ... and not that big.

Sometimes, Murder, Inc. started as an organized crime group that came under new leadership and started indulging in other, darker (and probably less profitable) hobbies, such as the killing of puppies. In that case, they probably go by a modern, Mafia-esque name. Frequently and regardless of origin, they have a large code of by-laws that makes one wonder how they do anything without six months' advance notice.

Indeed, there's often overlap between Murder, Inc. and other groups. Often, what makes Murder, Inc. different from any other Organized Crime Syndicate/terrorist front/Secret Police is the fact that their strength comes not from their numbers or their training, but their reputation. Most such groups could, in fact, really consist of ten competent people and it wouldn't hinder their operations too much. Or two—don't forget the Old Firm. They're feared as the ones that "take people" who are "never seen again." Usually people that "cause problems" that need to be "solved." Capisce?

In less contemporary settings—far past or far future—they are the frequent source of Training from Hell (and, if their membership is large enough, The Spartan Way).

In some cases, Murder, Inc. might even be a force that will assist the heroes. But they should never be trusted. It's kind of like trying to beat someone to death with a rattlesnake; deadly, effective, and very, very stupid. However, if a single character leaves this group, they will be your friend forevermore, possibly becoming the Sixth Ranger.

There are more pragmatic evils out there. Why kill people when you could be doing something else? Why, for fun and profit, of course! "For fun" usually entails that the group sees murder as an art form of one sort or another (like the Blood Knight you never see coming). "For profit" usually invokes images of the League of Extraordinary Hitmen (tm). Sometimes, what keeps such a group together is a slavish devotion to their leader, who will serve as The Dragon. First glance would indicate Murder, Inc.'s leader would be a good Man Behind the Man. Unfortunately, The Reveal is usually too foreshadowed to be useful: after all, if every person on the street fears them, it's not surprising when they turn out to be the Big Bad. One can still play it that way, but don't expect the audience to be surprised.

These groups are typically composed of Professional Killers unless this trope is being played for laughs. More comedic examples often operate like a Weird Trade Union. May be either A Lighter Shade of Grey or darker.

The Trope Namer is Murder, Inc, a gang that mainly did killings for Lepke Buchalter and the National Crime Syndicate from the 1920s through the 1940s, dubbed Murder Incorporated by journalists, aka the Brownsville Boys. They also hired their men out to other mobs. What set them apart was, unlike hitmen who worked on a per-contract basis, they were salaried and had a benefits package.

Please note that Murder, Inc. isn't always evil. They don't tend to let codes of morality get in the way of their business model.note 

Compare with Private Military Contractors, which has similar functions with employees acting as Hired Guns, but is often "legal" compared to the criminal Murder, Inc. (not that they're above engaging in dodgy business practices either...)


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Red Dragon Syndicate in Cowboy Bebop was always called that, but became much more...uh...vicious as time passed. Eventually, their full-time job seemed to be killing people and antagonizing the main characters. The people that the organization was seized from were very opposed to this and even said the organization wouldn't survive long like this.
  • The various ninja villages in Naruto are partly this, but are primarily mercenaries who will perform any task for the right amount of money. None of the main characters actually perform assassinations, such tasks being reserved for high-ranking individuals. None of the villages are explicitly 'evil' (except Orochimaru's), but are mostly considered enemies of each other.
    • Kakashi is a main character and he used to perform assassinations and may still do so if not as often. The rookies later own devise their own assassination attempt against Sasuke and in the Grass Country arc, the plot revolves around intercepting an Akastuki spy in the Sound village with the intent that his info. can be used to draw up plans to assassinate Orochimaru; this ran simultaneously with a secret plan to kill Sasuke by new member Sai, on orders from ROOT, for whom he had already carried out numerous killing missions.
  • The Black Organization of Case Closed. They also deal with drugs and illegal weaponry as well.
  • The Gung Ho Guns in Trigun are the murderous minions specifically of the Big Bad, selected for their power and willingness to slaughter people, up to and ultimately including everybody. In the manga, however, some slots in the Guns are explicitly filled from the ranks of The Eye of Michael, which is one of these that fronts as a Christian church and has its roots in a plant worshiping cult. They therefore tune in to the Ancient Conspiracy part of the trope. The arrangement is useful to Knives because it means if one of these minions dies off there's already a contract in place to bring in a replacement.
    • Wolfwood is one of them, of course. They adopted him around age twelvish and subjected him to horrible experimentation and Training from Hell, and he's got subversive goals, but he's very much what they made him.
      • In fact, he took advantage of the 'auto-replacement' feature to shoot his teacher and infiltrate the Guns.
    • Anime Chapel the Evergreen, Chapel-with-an-apple, is not shown to be from one of these. He could at least as easily be someone's pet assassin who took on an apprentice and then later fell in with Legato, although the information is sparse enough it could go either way.
      • The sense of honor anime Chapel ultimately shows ("the cornered mouse will attack the cat") does not fit with the frenetic nihilism that seems to be in fashion in the Eye, although that might just be Razlo being Ax-Crazy, Livio being beyond the Despair Event Horizon, and Master C being crippled and out for revenge.
  • Broadly speaking, the Hell Correspondence from Hell Girl is this in a supernatural, Deal with the Devil context. They'll instantly whisk anyone you don't like to Hell, but the price is your own soul (after your natural death).
  • The Anten Seven in Outlaw Star, who are a group of elite assassins who work under Lord Hazanko. They were sent to kill Gene Starwind and the Outlaw Star crew.
  • The Desperado used books store in Candy & Cigarettes is a front for the SS Agency, a government-sanctioned (or so they claim), extralegal entity seeking to punish those who would otherwise evade justice from their sheer power and wealth.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • The League of Assassins, as their name implies, is an organization that specializes in covert operations that involve assassinations. They mostly work to fulfill Ra's al Ghul's goals, but some stories have them being working as assassins just for money.
    • The DCU also has the Council of Spiders, a spider-themed group of elite assassins who decide to kill Ra's al Ghul as a game, since he seems like challenging prey. Their membership includes poisoners, martial artists, and a guy with six extra arms. He can oct-wield.
    • In addition to the Council, Red Robin also introduced the Covenant of Ka, a group of Powered Armor-wearing assassins based out of Cairo. Tim has an exasperated inner monologue marveling at just how many organizations there are that deal near exclusively in death upon running into them.
  • In Fables, Peter Piper's wife, Bo Peep, was a member of such an organization in their Homeland, after the Adversary invaded.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Marvel has the Assassins Guild. They were introduced in Gambit #1 and mostly appear in the X-Men-related books. They've recently returned as antagonists of the Scarlet Spider.
    • There was also The Punisher: Assassin's Guild, featuring another such organization. Oddly enough it had the Punisher teaming up with the guild.
    • There was an organization named Murder Inc. in the Marvel Universe (Partly based on the real-life Murder Inc.) in the 1940s, that would take in homeless men, force them to sign life insurance policies, then collect on the policies after murdering them.
  • In the Sin City comics, the Colonel runs an organization of elite assassins.
  • Koroshi, the assassin's guild from Usagi Yojimbo.

    Eastern Animation 
  • Scissor Seven has the Killer League, the biggest orgonazation of assassins in the setting. It even has a yearly ranking of its members, which can be improved by completing tough contracts, or killing higher ranked assassins. The country of Xuanwu makes full use of it to conquer new territories, hiring killers or placing bounties on the strongests inhabitants of the targeted territory to weaken it, making the defensless population left surrender by themselves.

    Fan Fiction 

  • The Enforcer (1951): The film features a group of hired killers based on the original, real-life Murder Inc. They have a bad case of No Honor Among Thieves and unravel pretty fast during a police investigation.
  • The creation of such a group, to prevent overlapping contracts, is a major plot point in Grosse Pointe Blank.
  • Two such organizations collide in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005).
  • The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad of Kill Bill infamy.
  • The Fraternity in Wanted is a high-powered group with Gun Kata.
  • The Assassination Bureau, based on the unfinished novel The Assassination Bureau, Ltd. by Jack London.
  • In The Parallax View, the Parallax Corporation seems to be this, whether or not it was a secret government front, as their entire business is arranging assassinations.
  • The John Wick series features an elaborate world of Assassins that seems to effectively operate with impunity. They all function on a strict set of rules and obey a Cosmopolitan Council of criminals called The High Table. The Assassinations themselves seem to work on a contract-based system, with open contracts being basically public bounties anyone can collect and closed contracts being essentially traditional hitman hiring.
  • Violet & Daisy: Violet and Daisy seem to be a part of an organization like this. They even have the ranks of 9 and 8, with this going up to 1. Daisy also meets Killer No. 1 in the film. Aside from that however we get no information.
  • Murder Inc, a 1960 B-Movie, is an adaptation of Brooklyn DA Burton Turkus's account of the Real L Ife Trope Namer. It's otherwise notable as the breakout performance for Peter Falk.
  • Naked Weapon revolves around the heroine and her bestie, two young girls raised to be top assassins from such an organization. It's run by a sadistic Dragon Lady called Madam M who had minions kidnap young girls from all over the world, imprisoned in her torture dungeon, and have them brainwashed since birth to be obedient killing machines that obeys everything she demands.
  • Kate features a professional killer and her handler. Given the resources he displays and Kate's female-voiced intel feed via commlink, they are likely part of a larger organization compartmentalized for protection.

  • The eponymous Scythes in Arc of a Scythe are an elite group of humans who bring permanent death in a world where natural death is eradicated. The justification for this is that because all attempts at space colonization have failed, humans would overpopulate to extinction without the Scythedom.
  • Discworld:
    • The Assassins' Guild of the great city of Ankh-Morpork, whose motto is "Nil Mortifi Sine Lucre": "No killing without profit", is at once a parody and a lampshading of the trope. The Guild is legal, its head is an influential public figure, and it is common for nobles to send their children to its excellent fee-paying school. The Guild will take political actions for the good of the city, and will even enforce their monopoly on assassination by hunting down murderers. Assassins themselves abide by several rules, including that they always wear black, even when this is detrimental to any attempt to be inconspicuous, and especially that they're not allowed to kill people unless they are paid to do so, and they cannot kill the defenseless (although as far as the Guild is concerned, anyone rich enough to hire bodyguards automatically falls under "capable of defending himself"). In Pyramids, the head of the Assassin's Guild gives a great speech about how killing for a cause is extremely dangerous and inherently evil, as compared to killing for money.
      Dr. Cruces: No, we do it for the money. And, because we above all must know the value of a human life, we do it for a great deal of money.
    • There is a Klatchian (read Arabic) assassination group, the drug-using Hashashin, resembling accounts of the original Assassins (Hashishim). However, descriptions of the Hashashin are sometimes parodic; apparently, they kept giggling at the way light reflected off their knives, swaying to music, and falling over. In Jingo, as Ankh-Morpork goes to war with the Klatch, Vetinari notes acidly that the Guild's boast of being so good that the Klatchians send their children there really means that Klatch's assassins know Ankh-Morpork's methods, have refined their ancestral skills, and have a working knowledge of the city's layout.
    • The Truth has The New Firm: Mr. Pin, the brains, and Mr. Tulip, the muscle (with a bad chemical habit and a deep appreciation for antiquities). Aside from referencing Misters Croup and Vandemar, some of their dialogue also echoes Jules and Vincent of Pulp Fiction; for example, the two have a discussion on what they call a sausage-in-a-bun in Quirm, and Mr. Tulip owns a coin-purse that says "Not A Very Nice Person At All" on it.
  • The Hashishin are identified as the (possible) forebears of the Illuminati in the Illuminatus!! trilogy, reflecting assorted flaky real-world conspiracy theories.
  • Dragaera: The Right Hand of the Jhereg is essentially a fantasy mafia, with assassinations being quite common both within the house and out.
  • The Reynard Cycle: The country of Glycon has a famed Assassins Guild. The majority of expatriates from their country are freelancers killing people for money.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire actually features multiple Murders Inc.
    • The Sorrowful Men of Qarth will always say "I am so sorry" right before they kill you.
    • The Faceless Men of Braavos are Warrior Monks who worship death as a universal force, with the "Many-Faced God" as its personification. They are the world's most capable assassins but do not consider themselves to be killers for hire. Instead, the customer is expected to make a "donation" to their temple for the privilege of selecting an individual to receive the blessing of death, the cost being deliberately so high that you really have to want someone dead. Unless it's yourself you want dead, that you can have for free with no questions asked and corpse disposal included.
  • The protagonist of Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe works for Umbra Corp, a great example of this trope.
  • Michelle West's novels have a group called the Kovaschaii, who are high-quality assassins. Among other things, they take information on the target directly from the client's mind, foiling any attempts at eavesdropping. Also, one of them does leave and become a hero, but not because they're evil or even because he wanted to: a girl who can see the future convinced him that he would be needed elsewhere to help save the world.
  • The Executioner series by Don Pendleton. The Black Aces are elite Mafia hitmen under the control of the Five Families. Toward the end of Mack Bolan's war against the Mafia we discover they're not above manipulating the politics of the Mob for their own ends. Bolan also finds their reputation useful by pretending to be one himself.
  • In Dreams of Steel, a novel in The Black Company series, the cult of Kina plays this role pretty explicitly. They believe that anyone they kill for the goddess Kina will go directly to paradise, so they make it their goal to kill as many as possible.
  • Henry Slesar's short story "The Candidate" concerns the Society for United Action, a group of like-minded individuals who, upon deciding someone is truly "not fit to live", engages in mass wishing for the person's death, after letting them know that they've been targeted; the sheer psychosomatic effect of knowing so many people are wishing you dead has resulted in their "hits" being successful the vast majority of the time.
  • The Silent Guild of History and Economics operates openly, with several of its laws not only common knowledge but featured as obligatory reading in Introduction to Law, along with the court case "Romanez vs. the Silent Guild".
  • In C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner (1994) series, the alien atevi have a strange form of government-approved Guild: someone contracts with the Guild to assassinate a target, the Guild informs the government, and the government informs the target. If the target is still killed in spite of the warning, the killing is legal. If an amateur kills someone themselves, it's illegal. If a Guild member kills someone without a Guild sanctioned contract, it's illegal and ticks off the Guild.
    • In spite of being called the Assassin's Guild, and the members being called assassins, most assassins spend the majority of their time doing security work or being bodyguards, on the theory of "to catch a thief, send a thief".
  • A humorous novel titled Going Public (author unknown, sorry) starred three young hitmen who decided to actually offer stock options for their assassination business, 3W Undertakings. (The "W" was because the three had adopted nicknames based on "Willie" — Willie the WASP, Willie the Wop, and Willie the Watusi.)
  • The Shadow once fought an organization that offered death insurance. People would buy insurance on a person and would be paid if they did not die by a certain time. Of course, this was really a paper-thin disguise for a murder for hire business, though when the organization failed to carry out a hit they did pay up.
  • The Brotherhood of the Hand from The Death Gate Cycle is part Murder, Inc. and part Thieves' Guild; they are the most powerful criminal organization in their world and have their hands in all sorts of dubious enterprises, but are most well-known for producing highly competent assassins, including Anti-Hero Hugh.
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman has "Croup and Vandemar, the Old Firm, obstacles obliterated, nuisances eradicated, bothersome limbs removed and tutelary dentistry."
  • Subverted in John Moore's The Unhandsome Prince. The capital of Melinower does have an Assassin's Guild—but it's actually a fake, run by the palace guard, to catch people who might want to hire or join such an organization.
  • In Sherrilyn Kenyon's The League series they have "The League", who also offer education. The entire futuristic society runs around a very public assassination contract system. Things like "Spill-Kills" offer bonus payment for everyone killed trying to get to the target.
  • The Gray League in Diamond Sword, Wooden Sword is part assassin's guild, part information brokers.
  • In the Yellowstone society described in Revelation Space, a number of companies provide "Shadowplay" services, which allow the bored, wealthy, immortal aristocrats living in the upper city to set an assassin on... themselves. The assassin has a limited time to kill his target (often a few months), both the assassin and the target are alerted by a special implant when they get close to each other, and there may be other constraints and requirements specified by the target (for example, limitations on weapons, or on the place of the killing). The game is designed so that most of the targets manage to escape, but around 30% get killed. Why do they do that? They are so bored that facing death is the only way they manage to feel alive, and besides, surviving a shadowplay session makes you famous and respected.
  • The events in Chasm City are instrumental to the creation of Shadowplay, and the end of the novel sees the foundation of the first and biggest shadowplay company, Omega Point.
  • In MARZENA according to Helena, there's this thing called the Coven which is a modern-day evil league of super evil women. The Coven hides itself behind a number of companies such as Starcloud and the C-Section. They form the Feminist Mafia and controls the stock market by killing people for a profit to buy ruined companies with decimals on the Credit. There's also the United-Bank of all Nations, the UBN, money is all about profit at any cost.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers wrote a story about a firm called "Smith & Smith, Removals" that specialized in such matters. It was supposed to be part of a series, but she never wrote any more.
  • Agatha Christie's The Pale Horse had one of these.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen has several:
    • The Guild of Assassins in Darujhistan is exactly what it calls itself. They are headed by Guild Mistress Vorcan and organized in internal clans and make it possible for noble families to settle their disputes away from the public eye.
    • The Claw doubles as the Secret Police of the Malazan Empire. They are typically trained from a young age and organized in Hands, which often include assassin mages as well. Any place facing a Malazan conquering army tends to shit its metaphorical pants at even the rumor of a Claw Hand or two having slipped in to prepare their army's arrival.
    • The Talon was the precursor of the Claw but with less emphasis on the police and more on the secret parts. It was allegedly wiped out by the Claw to secure Empress Laseen's hold on the empire, yet rumors of a few agents still existing and operating tend to have even the Claw scamper in near panic.
    • The Kingdom of Lether has the peculiarly named Rat Catcher's Guild, which purports to do just that - catch rats and other vermin. In truth, they act as the unofficial assassins guild, the guild of thieves, a refugee smuggling ring, and are conveniently contracted by the crown to investigate disappearances.
  • Villains by Necessity: The assassins guild Sam used to be a member of.
  • Joe Pickett: In Stone Cold, Joe is sent to Medicine Wheel County to investigate what retired financier Wolfgang Templeton is up to on his ranch. It turns out that Templeton is running a murder-for-hire organisation, with Joe's friend Nate as one of his operatives.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Assassins Guild. Members usually dress in all black or wear a badge (although this would seem self-defeating) and follow certain rules. Tourists however have little to fear from them, since they will find an assassin easily overcome when they make their attempt.
  • In Le Père Goriot, the Society of the Ten Thousand, led by Vautrin, is able to arrange for major crimes (a policeman explicitly said they didn't care for matter less than 10,000 francs), such as thefts and murders.
  • The The Riftwar Cycle has the Nighthawks, which play a central plot point in Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon. The Black Slayers who infiltrate the Nighthawks have an annoying tendency not to stay dead unless killed with fire or the heart is cut out.
  • Agent G by C.T. Phipps has the International Refugee Society (IRS) that provides the billionaires of the world with untraceable murders that they make look like accidents. Notable for the fact that their agents are all brainwashed memory-less Hollywood Cyborg assassins called Letters.
  • Girls Don't Hit: Synergistic Business Services, a company officially specializing in mediating corporate disputes but actually arranging contract killings. They have assassins around the US and elsewhere. Joss and Echo are just two, with Miles their only actual link to the business. Sometimes though Joss goes to an office where she does fake work but actually just surfs the Internet. It's mentioned that the FBI suspects their activities, but can't prove it-they killed one agent who'd come too close.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: Along with their main extortion rackets, waterlords' assassins can be hired to kill people for a high price (usually they just take out enemies of the waterlord they serve).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
  • Homicide International Trust on MacGyver (1985).
  • G'Kar from Babylon 5 was once targeted by someone from the Thenta Makur, a Narn assassin's guild. Their signature is leaving a black flower on the target's bed, which is a signal to get one's affairs in order. The group has such a dedication that when G'kar fakes bribing the man they sent, they cancel the contract on him and move it to the assassin out of embarrassment.
  • The Mal Noche from CSI: Miami are supposed to be one of these. A street gang originally from South America, it's repeatedly mentioned that their business is solely in murder for hire (avoiding other lucrative businesses like selling drugs). Considering the sheer number of Mal Noche members operating in Miami, one has to think the Miami market for hired killers is booming.
  • Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is once targeted by the Order of Taraka, an assassin's guild hired by Spike to take her out.
  • In The West Wing, Toby Ziegler's father was a member of the historic Murder Incorporated.
  • One episode of Mutant X featured Blue Bolt, an organization of Badass Normal assassins with acute hand-to-hand skills and cutting-edge technological weaponry.
  • The Junshi clan from Jake 2.0.
  • The Cape: The Tarot society are a group of assassins for hire.
  • Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire: Dongalor hires one called the Stygian Corps which promises to murder Kröd and Aneka. They fail.
  • The Watch (2021): The Assassins Guild. All of their work is legal, so long as they leave behind a calling card, don't kill members of other guilds and stay inside of a quota.
  • The Diagnosis: Murder episode "Murder x 4" sees one of these operated out of an insurance agency run by a computer consultant working at Community General. The consultant finds people who need someone dead, then finds people with terminal illnesses to act as assassins in exchange for their families being fully covered when they pass away.

     Multiple Media 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Modesty Blaise has several examples, starting with "La Machina" in the very first story arc. The most notable example would be Salamander Four.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Assamites in Vampire: The Masquerade and other Old World of Darkness role-playing games are used as hired vampiric killers. Their backstory ties them to The Hashshashin.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 members of the Assassin prestige class are typically supposed to be members of an assassin's guild. in supplemental campaign material, one of the most famous of such organizations is The Garrotte, a multi-planar guild of assassins with operatives virtually everywhere. They are also the only apparent epic level assassins guild. Notably, they don't just kill their targets, they can also use special rituals and weapons to render them Deader than Dead in order to circumvent the fact that Death Is Cheap at epic level play. All of this may or may not hold true in a given campaign.
  • The Forgotten Realms has a number of assassins guilds. The Fire Knives of Westgate play a minor role in Azure Bonds.
  • The player characters in Blades in the Dark can effectively be this trope if they pick the "Assassins" crew type.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Officio Assassinorum supplying the Imperium of Man with four flavors of assassins (six if you count those found only in the background lore). There are also Death cult assassins, Eldar Striking Scorpions and Dark Eldar Mandrakes which have their own organizations.
  • Talislanta has the Arimite Revenant cult, who commit assassinations for money, and the Rajan Torquar assassins, who are motivated by religion.

    Video Games 
  • The Age of Decadence: The Boatmen of Styx will assassinate anyone for the right price. The group originated as a Praetorian Guard within the Legions back during the days of the Empire, and specialized in removing threats to the Emperor's safety. After the Empire went belly-up, the Boatmen went freelance and continued to ply their trade. This has led to a rivalry with the Imperial Guards, who are another ex-legionary group devoted to keeping the peace between the Houses.
  • The Molochean Hand in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. They are secretive, with an ancient and actually very compelling history, and they're quite literally everywhere you go - hot on your trail, keeping lookout in bars, and waiting for you in plot-relevant dungeons. Sadly their fearsome reputation becomes a bit implausible when you realize you've killed two dozen already, and you're not even playing a combat-oriented character.
  • The main character of Assassin's Creed, Altaïr, is one of The Hashshashin, and the game depicts the Syrian branch; future games would depict successor incarnations of the Assassins as being more politically-motivated (namely opposing Templar schemes to consolidate control over humanity), though they're willing to invert this by actually putting contracts on Templars and hiring either Assassins or outsiders for minor targets.
  • Pendles from Battleborn runs Executive Executions, of which he's the sole proprietor and star assassin. He advertises EE services with all the affability and charm of a professional business-minded assassin.
  • CELL from the Crysis. Despite being a mercenary company who is supposedly fighting off the Ceph, they have no qualms about murdering civilians and are trying to kill the protagonist and the other Marines as well.
  • Dark Souls has several factions that basically exist to murder other players, particularly the Darkwraiths, Blade of the Darkmoon, and the Forest Hunters.
  • Dead to Rights features a large mercenary group whose forces are a recurring element in the game called Mayhem Inc.. Weirdly enough, Jack Slate — the main cop character — is already acquainted with them and identifies them as "that assassin's guild out of Broadway." Is its address listed in the phonebook?
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The Lone Wolves are a disparate band of Psycho for Hire assassins who range from barely Affably Evil to frothing-at-the-mouth mad. Their victims' spirits litter their camp, hoping for vengeance, and their Sadist leader's office has no fewer than five child ghosts. By Act II, they've taken a contract on the Player Character...
  • Dragon Age:
    • The Antivan Crows in Dragon Age: Origins fall under this category, with members being raised and trained for the sole purpose of assassinating and... well, sex. If Zevran is recruited as a companion, he shifts his allegiance from the Crows to the Warden, and if his friendship increases sufficiently he will answer questions about the organization. The Warden can also choose to take assassination side-missions from a representative of the Crows. Sten (if recruited) will question Zevran about the organization's name, pointing out that crows are scavengers not killers. Zevran says he heard a rumor that they considered calling themselves 'The Antivan Kestrels', "but it didn't sing, it didn't dance".
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition introduces the House of Repose, which operates from Orlais. They're probably the most polite ruthless murderers you'll ever meet. They target Josephine because of a contract against her family that was drafted a hundred years ago. Even though the original clients are long dead and their descendants no longer nobility, the House of Repose will still honor the contract for the sake of their reputation. However, since the situation is so unusual, they extend the courtesy of an explanation, so that at least she understands why they're trying to kill her. The conversation also gives her an idea of how to have the contract nullified, and though their representative warns that it will take a long time, he sees merit in the idea. If allowed to leave unharmed, he adds that "I pray we never meet again," suggesting that he personally doesn't like having to honor the contract.
  • The Elder Scrolls includes a number of organizations that may qualify, but two are most prominent: the Morag Tong and the Dark Brotherhood.
    • The Morag Tong is a guild of assassins officially sanctioned by the Dunmer (Dark Elf) government. To put it lightly, the Dunmer Great Houses don't get along very well, and since open warring between the Great Houses would weaken the Dunmer overall, the Morag Tong was sanctioned as the solution. Whenever someone with enough wealth to hire the Morag Tong wants someone dead, an "Honorable Writ of Execution" will be created for that person and a Tong assassin will be dispatched to kill them. They follow a strict code of honor and are highly professional in regards to their work. (Even if one of their agents could get away without getting caught following an assassination, they are still encouraged to turn themselves in and present their Honorable Writ of Execution to ensure that everything remains above board.) After aiding in the assassination of Emperor Reman Cyrodiil III at the end of the 1st Era, they were outlawed everywhere in Tamriel except for Morrowind. Amusingly, their and the Dark Brotherhood's modern lore characterization is almost an exact flip of what they were when the Morag Tong was introducednote .
    • The Dark Brotherhood is a fully criminal offshoot of the Morag Tong who operates throughout the rest of Tamriel. They are a much more Psycho for Hire group, doubling as a cult of Sithis. Despite this, they do still have rules, such as losing part of your paycheck for anybody else aside from the intended target dying in the mission area. They appear to very much dislike the wholesale slaughter of innocent people, but one unnoticed target or another they do seem to encourage as that is how you gain entry into the guild, just no mass-murdering people for the hell of it. Also, the lower-level leaders are very much sane in a professional way, and generally only care if you are doing your job right. By the time of Skyrim, 200 years after the Oblivion Crisis, the Dark Brotherhood has been reduced to a single chapter in a hidden Sanctuary in Falkreath. As there has been no official Listener, the highest-ranking Brotherhood member below the Night Mother, in a long time, the current leader Astrid has taken a less religious approach to things, namely having the Brotherhood taking contracts by word of mouth rather than hearing a dead woman's voice. She later proves to be quite the Control Freak when the newly-recruited player character is recognized as the Listener of the Night Mother fairly early on in the story, so much that she eventually resorts to dealing with the head of the Emperor's personal guard to try and sell you out, only for this to backfire horribly on her and result in much of her Brothers and Sisters and eventually herself being killed. When first meeting Astrid, the player character can either begin a short quest chain to wipe them out and end the Brotherhood forever or join them and put them on the path to renewed glory in Skyrim.
  • Hitman has the ICA (International Contract Agency), although the contracts 47 usually gets make them more like a Villain Protagonist as the handlers at the agency are the ones who select the contracts for their partnered hitmen to accomplish, and have their own moral stances. Diana, the Handler for the protagonist: Agent 47, just happens to go after really bad people, and freely admits in later games that other handlers get to choose better contracts for more lucrative reasons. With the ICA now dissolved as of Hitman 3, 47 and Diana now work as freelance assassin, taking on contracts to take down syndicates that specialise in all manner of nasty criminal activities. The Franchise in Blood Money was also being set up as this before their eventual dissolving by the end of that game.
  • The Lotus Assassins in Jade Empire
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, you encounter the Genoharadan (which is claimed to be an Ancient Conspiracy). Sorta. This particular league of assassins is so shrouded in deception and mystery that you never really find out what it's really all about. And by the time you finish the associated quests, it may not even exist anymore. Or maybe it does. Who knows?
  • Sharon reveals in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III that she used to be a member of a group of assassins called the Order of the Moonlight Horse. The group was eliminated during a conflict with Ouroboros, save for Sharon and two other members known only as the Golden Butterfly and the Thousand Oathbreaker, who all ended up joining Ouroboros after the order was destroyed.
  • No More Heroes: The UAA (United Assassins Association) follows this trope. Interestingly enough, it also sets up deathmatches between members of its own organization, allowing ambitious killers to climb their way up the UAA's assassin rankings.
  • There's a dubious group on your space station in The Perils of Akumos that deal in explosives, among other less legal activity.
  • Thugs-4-Less in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. Boasting such mottos as "If it ain't broke, we'll break it!" and "Pay for six hits, and the seventh one's free." Thugs-4-Less flunkies challenge Ratchet throughout the game, and the Thugs-4-Less leader serves as one of the game's main villains, even though you end up on the same side as the person who hired them in the first place. Right around the time it's revealed the thief is a good guy, and Mr. Fizzwidget doesn't really want anything more to do with you, the Thugs-4-Less leader gets a phone call to make him switch sides, and still be opposed to you.
  • The Howling Voice Guild and Nether Gate in Suikoden. The latter even has no fewer than four defectors. They're all, naturally, quite loyal to the cause once recruited.
  • The Assassin's Guild in the video game Summoner 2.
  • The Scattered Bones of Tales of Zestiria. Infamous and have a catchphrase in "may these weary bones find peaceful rest". They also fall under the kind with morality, researching their targets and only killing those who they feel deserve it, aka Asshole Victims. Considering they used to be the famous Windriders their morality makes sense. They also act as the Sparrowfeathers, a group of Intrepid Merchants who aid Sorey and others more than once.
  • Watch_Dogs has the Fixers, a loose network of mercenaries and freelancers operating through Chicago's Darknet, willing to do any job for anyone, provided the price is right. Although wetwork and kidnapping are just some of the services they provide (they also incorporate skilled hackers and wheelmen in their ranks for illicit transportation and data retrieval, for instance), they are mostly used as professional assassins and hitmen.

    Web Animation 

  • Team Vorg, from Cwen's Quest, is a "business" in CQ's fantasy world whose whole business model is based around having large armies going about conquering city's and towns at the behest of their psychotic and unstable but also Reaganomic, corporate-minded & business savvy leader.
  • The titular group in Suicide for Hire, though it consists of just two teenagers, and their clients and their victims are the same people.
  • A league of assassins assaults The Dragon Doctors and the magical doctors are forced to use their spells and skills to fend them off. A magical mishap turns one of the assassins into a tree, rooted to the spot in front of their clinic, and until the spell wears off (which could be years) they have to take care of her and keep her company.
  • Errant Story has the Gewehr, a guild of assassins that includes among its numbers Hitman with a Heart Jon Amraphel, one of the comic's main protagonists.

    Web Original 
  • A famous creepypasta involves an organization known as "Boothworld Industries", which is in the business of... "remodeling". Considering the content of their "courtesy calls", they are not a design firm. However, since they do not seem to ask for payment for their services, it is unclear whether they are a true Murder, Inc. or something significantly more eldritch masquerading as a company, and whether "remodeling" is even simply murder/torture or something far worse still.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Bob Clampett short Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs has the queen hire assassins literally called Murder Inc. to "black out So White''. On their van, they even have "Midgets 1/2 Price, Japs Free" proudly lit up on its side. Just in case it wasn't offensive enough already.
  • Batman Beyond had the Society of Assassins (also known as the Society of Shadows.)
  • The Guild of Assassins from Adventure Time.

Kids die for free~!


Video Example(s):


Immediate Murder Professionals

Immediate Murder Professionals (or I.M.P.) is an assassination law-firm of demons who are hired to kill people on Earth.

How well does it match the trope?

4.95 (58 votes)

Example of:

Main / MurderInc

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