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Organized Crime Tropes

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Michael Corleone: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man who's responsible for a lot of people, like a senator or a president.
Kay Adams: Do you know how naïve you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don't have men killed!
Michael Corleone: Oh. Who's being naïve, Kay?

Nice wiki you got here, it'd be a real shame if something bad happened to it.

We represent all sorts of legitimate businesses, from youth clubs to international interests, if you know what I mean.

What? You want in on The Con? How do you know about that? Have you been comparing with Terrorism Tropes or contrasting with Cops and Detectives?


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Useful Notes:

Criminal groups (by ethnic/national origin)
  • The Cartel: Latin American gangsters and mobsters, who are usually specialized in drug trafficking.
  • Gangbangers: At least in the United States, these guys are often (though not always) depicted as being black or (mestizo) Hispanicnote . Unless they're white (see below).
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: Criminal groups tend to be mostly or entirely composed of people from the same ethnic background.
  • The Irish Mob: Irish gangsters and mobsters.
  • Kosher Nostra: Jewish gangsters and mobsters.
  • London Gangster: British gangsters and mobsters.
  • The Mafia: Italian gangsters and mobsters.
  • The Mafiya: Gangsters and mobsters from Russia (or other nations of the former Soviet Union).
  • Metro-Specific Underworld: Certain types of gangs tend to dominate the local underworld in particular geographic regions.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: Newcomer immigrant criminals who are more fearsome than the preestablished local crooks.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacist prison/street gangs.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Chinese gangsters and mobsters.
  • White Gangbangers: Street gangsters of (non-Hispanic) white European descent, often depicted in contrast to gangbangers of color.
  • Yakuza: Japanese gangsters and mobsters.
  • The Yardies: English gangsters and mobsters.

Criminal groups (other types)

Individual criminals (and other characters)

  • Arms Dealer: A black market merchant who sells illegally smuggled weapons to the criminal underworld.
  • Bantering Baddie Buddies: A pair of hired guns engaging in witty banter while committing crimes.
  • The Consigliere: The Don's closest advisor and second-in-command.
  • The Don: A crime lord, gang leader, or mob boss. This man is the head honcho of any particular criminal organization.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Someone who has direct connections to the black market, whether as a merchant or deliveryman of illegal goods.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: An ex-military veteran who became a professional criminal. Their combat training or wartime experiences tend to make them very deadly and effective for gang warfare.
  • Gayngster: LGBT gangsters and mobsters.
  • The Informant: A criminal who feeds confidential information about his accomplices' activities to the authorities.
  • King of Thieves: A crime lord who's so influential and powerful, that all other local crooks in the area are expected to submit to him.
  • Loan Shark: Mob-affiliated moneylenders who charge predatory loans to their clients. Failure to repay one's debts to them will likely result in a very painful punishment.
  • Mafia Princess: A mobster's daughter, niece, sister, wife or girlfriend; who's spoiled and pampered thanks to all the ill-gotten wealth she's been gifted with.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: A crime lord who's very well-feared by other criminals.
  • Mumbling Brando: A lot of mob bosses are parodies of Marlon Brando's portrayal of Vito Corleone from The Godfather.
  • Professional Killer: Hired assassins, contract killers, or hitmen. These guys are often paid by the mob to eliminate specific people whom they really want dead.
  • The Queenpin: A female mob boss.
  • The Rat: A character whose criminal dealings make them a valuable source of information... for the right price.
  • Shady Lady of the Night: A prostitute who is hired to be an informant, a hitman, or to do criminal activites other than sex.
  • The Stool Pigeon: A character who sells out their associates to the authorities.
  • Super Mob Boss: A crime lord who's (physically) powerful enough to also be described as a supervillain.
  • Tattooed Crook: Many criminals have skin tattoos, which often display their membership in a particular gang.
  • Venturous Smuggler: Someone who makes a living by covertly transporting various illegal goods for sale on the black market, such as drugs or weapons.

Other tropes