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Psycho Supporter

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"YEAH! Burn his house down! Burning people! He says what we're all thinking!"
GLaDOS, Portal 2

A psycho supporter follows someone else's beliefs simply because said supporter is nuts.

Used a lot to deconstruct other tropes, most notably the Genki Girl, The Dragon, and Sycophantic Servant. If this character is initially a good guy, a Face–Heel Turn will most likely happen.

May also intersect with the Yandere, Lady Macbeth, and Overzealous Underling. A lot of Psycho Supporters also suffer from Mad Love or the Subordinate Excuse if they're really devoted to the leader in question.

Not to be confused with a character who supports a psycho; that's Friend to Psychos.

In real-life situations, they will usually be seen as a liability to the movement they support, and will constantly be told to Stop Being Stereotypical.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Ace Attorney Investigations manga, Marco Swindell, who is extorting money out of the head doctor of the Jiffy Clinic, is found dead of poisoning. The culprit turns out to be a patient, Clive Fortuna, who decided to kill him to free Dr. Jiffy of him. Dr. Jiffy tells the culprit that he finds his devotion touching, but that his crime must be punished.
  • Attack on Titan: After the timeskip, Floch Forster turns into this, as he's essentially at the forefront of the Yeagerists' worst crimes, gleefully betraying and brutalizing comrades and civilians alike. Whether he's been consulting Eren for his marching orders or simply acting in his master's stead is unclear at best. Either way, he seems to be enjoying the atrocities he commits — a stark contrast to the troubled Warriors.
  • Christopher Shouldered serves as this to Firo in the Baccano! Light Novels. Thanks to Firo's uncanny lunatic magnetism, the flippant, Axe-Crazy Christopher decided that they were friends almost immediately upon crossing paths with him. His first order of business is helping Firo find the (not actually) kidnapped Ennis, committing copious amounts of murder along the way. Firo gets a brief reprieve from Christopher when he winds up in Alcatraz and Chris goes to Chicago... only to find himself saddled with another self-appointed Poisonous Friend, Ladd Russo.
  • Black Cat: In the anime, Creed Diskenth takes this to creepy extremes. He has such a constant hard-on for Train that at one point he ruthlessly butchers three intelligence officers for referring to Train as 'that guy'. The kicker is that he does this just after Train, once a heartless assassin, reforms and abandons the life of a killer, deciding to never take another life. Train pays little attention to the fact that Creed goes on a killing spree anytime Train's honour is insulted.
  • Uta in Blue Reflection Ray does believe in the Red Reflector's cause to strip away emotions since she thinks that will create a world more appropriate for her, but she's equally invested in sending others into despair and causing havoc as well.
  • Code Geass
    • Rolo, who has an obsessive devotion to his "brother" Lelouch... so much that he wants to prevent Lelouch from reuniting with his real sibling, and murders Lelouch's possible love interest when Rolo decides she might get in the way of this goal.
    • Alicia Lohmeyer is this to Nunnally, as she tries to go behind her back on multiple occasions and take a much more hardline approach, as she cares nothing for the Japanese.
    • , Diethard Reid, a TV producer who joins La Résistance not because he agrees with them, but because they're epic. And because he was bored. Later on in season two, Diethard elaborates that the reason he finds them so cool is that he hates the current state of the world and wants it to change... but he doesn't really care how it changes or who does it, so he follows them just because they are changing things. And thus he will latch onto whichever side he thinks is winning/changing at the current moment, which gets proven when Lelouch/Zero gets kicked out of the Black Knights and Diethard promptly gloms onto Schneizel with the same fanatical devotion. Unluckily for Diethard, Lelouch had anticipated such a betrayal, and Diethard is shot dead by his new master, who has been geassed, the second he tries to kill Lelouch on his behalf.
    • V. V. is a Poisonous Brother to Charles. He is so devoted to their goal of "a world without lies", he murders Charles' most beloved consort, Marianne (which has the side effect of setting the events of the series in motion), among other things done behind his brother's back. None of this is lost on Charles, who, fed up with V. V.'s lies after a series of failures, takes his code and leaves him to die.
  • Death Note: Misa is unwaveringly faithful and supportive of Light Yagami — and also much cruder and more indiscriminate in her use of the Death Note, which Light considers an insult to his goal of punishing only criminals.
    • Mikami's even worse, killing exactly a page a day but killing reformed criminals and those that Light thought were redeemable or innocent.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, Jiren is this to Universe 11's Pride Troopers. Pride Troopers all gravitated to him because of his power and they all consider him their friend, but Jiren absolutely refuses to do anything with them, seeing them as stepping stones to his goals.
  • A lot of characters follow this pattern in Durarara!!:
    • Izaya is revealed to be this to Shinra. How bad is Izaya willing to protect Shinra? Well it all started in middle school when a student named Nakura tried to stab Izaya after trying to bet on him and losing the money because Izaya purposely didn't succeed. Izaya didn't expect anyone to protect him because he was technically getting what he deserved which is why he panicked when Shinra jumps in the way of the knife. Izaya swears that Nakura will regret this for the rest of his life. After that, he stalks Nakura after that incident and continues to keep in touch with him in order to destroy his life when the time is right. He frames him for two major incidents at the end of the novel and outright tells him that those bosses will get him.
    • Mikado, Kida, and Anri are all willing to be this for the naive, nice people they believe the others to be.
    • Walker and Erika are this for Kadota, though he has some idea about what they're doing while he averts his eyes.
  • Excel from Excel♡Saga is a psycho supporter of Lord Il Palazzo. Il Palazzo may be using mind control to gain supporters, but Excel is the only one who acts unhinged around him. She also uses the Subordinate Excuse to hang around him.
  • Eyeshield 21: Hiromi Kisiragi of the Hakushuu Dinosaurs is a Weak, but Skilled cornerback who is absolutely dedicated in his support of team leader Marco and centre Gaou. He is also very quietly insane, preaching a Blood Knight Fighting Narcissist philosophy that claims only strength is beautiful. This stems from his past as a weak, bullied chump, and plays directly into his support of Gaou and Marco.
  • Yuno from Future Diary is Yukiteru's creepy stalker-for-a-girlfriend. She'll gladly risk her own life to protect Yuki, and she won't think twice about slaughtering anyone who dares to harm him. She's also extremely jealous, and Yuki finds himself struggling to convince her not to kill his friends.
  • Alucard of the Hellsing Organization clearly qualifies as Sir Integra's anti-conscience by the way he is able to stir Sir Integra into giving him the most ruthless orders so he can indulge his bloodlust as well as succeed in whatever mission he is sent to.
  • While there are plenty of zealots in Hellsing 'verse, the Iscariots are prepared to commit any sin in the service of the Lord.. because their ultimate goal is to continue the fight in Hell.
  • Gundam:
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Shaiapouf. His goal is to make the Chimera Ant King's plans a reality, and, when Komugi, the human girl the King has taken in and played Gung-gi against, threatens to have the King turn back on his original plans by having him develop human emotion towards her, Pouf has an epic breakdown and decides that it would be best to kill himself for the King's former ideals. Like Itsuki from Yu Yu Hakusho below, his character seems to also have elements of Mad Love and Happiness in Slavery added in. It's especially funny because what he melts down about is that he almost just killed the girl to get her out of the way, before realizing that if she died his king could never beat her, never get over her, and never forget about her, and it would be the worst thing he could do. Therefore suicide pact with himself and screaming while he plays the violin.
    • The other two Royal Guards are comparatively sane, though they have basically the same worldview. They're just...a lot more matter-of-fact and less romantic about it. Although when Pitou was on the ground in front of Gon, begging to be allowed to save the life of the blind girl who was "of importance to one who is of importance to me" before Gon proceeded with the revenge killing attempt, that was pretty...impressive.
    • Killua Zoldyk knows all about sneaking behind friends' backs to get a morally questionable, if logically justifiable, job done. Unlike most of the rest of his family, however, he tends to keep the body count fairly low and the collateral damage to his relationships as minimal as he can.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • All of DIO's minions in Stardust Crusaders, special shout out to Vanilla Ice, who's so obsessed with DIO he'll outright KILL anyone who makes him destroy any images of the Vampire. Ironically, Ice was too psycho for DIO's tastes to entrust his master plan of "Heaven", which is why Pucci below got the mission.
    • Stone Ocean: Enrico Pucci, the Dragon Ascendant of DIO, and also the closest the vampire has ever been to a homosexual relationship, the main antagonist of Stone Ocean. He has such an obsession with DIO, he's willing to achieve "Heaven", a secret which was well-kept in DIO's diary, which of course he possesses, and resets the universe, simply to fulfill his Evil Plan. He might be an insane priest, but he's one amazingly loyal follower. In fact, it's the fact that Pucci was more stable and an earnest equal than Ice despite his devotion that he got the mission instead.
  • Kino's Journey: Kino meets a woman traveling with the intent of spreading peace, but the man she is traveling with is a highly skilled gunman. He kills people trying to attack the woman and she is none the wiser.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh!:
    • Oddly, some of Shibuya Yuri's most avid followers in are open to this accusation; i.e. following someone because of your own insanity rather than the merits of their position. Yuri's a Demon King, but his goals involve "world peace through people not fighting any more," "not doing his own paperwork" and "playing baseball."
    • Gunter—apparently actually an extremely competent academic, highly skilled swordsman, and powerful majutsusha, despite coming off as a brain-damaged Squishy Wizard. Being around Yuri just makes him dopey as hell, but also means he intently supports whatever Yuri wants, even when it's counter to every custom of the land.
    • Conrad—almost as hypercompetent as he seems, and in fact a decent guy, but insane. Hard to say whether that first comes through when he tells Yuri that if Yuri gets killed Conrad will 'see him again soon' or when he is firm that to protect Yuri he will kill absolutely anyone, but that's just in the first dozen episodes, and by the end the level of his lifelong codependency issues have been thoroughly plumbed. He quite frankly states that he is this to Yuuri in relation to both Greta and Hube, who respectively tried to kill Yuuri to please her racist guardians and to get Conrad to kill him, and who Yuuri wants to save and protect when they're disabled afterward. Conrad's first priority will always be Yuuri's safety, no matter how cruel he has to act.
      • He doesn't really believe in this peace thing, but he believes in Yuri. Because it's Yuri. And Yuri is the center of his universe. Because someone has to be.
    • Wolfram—well, okay, he's just an eighty-four-year-old teenager in love. Pass.
    • Hube—his The Atoner thing seems weirdly noble and is totally crazy, especially with the Death Seeker element. Especially crazy when you find out that the sin he was banished for was being a gung-ho commander during the last war and being careless with the troops. Which people don't even hold against him because of all the soldiers who died, they hate him because the blind White Magician Girl everyone loved knowingly worked herself to death trying to heal his casualties. So he's basically a scapegoat for the whole ruling class' guilt about everything that went wrong in that effed-up war. And then he follows Yuuri with dedication for not entirely buying into that, even though he still does.
  • Paul von Oberstein plays this to Reinhard in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, purposefully delaying the information that a faction opposing Reinhard was carpet bombing a planet with nukes and later intentionally or unintentionally causing the death of Reinhard's moral compass Kircheis.
    • Walter von Schenkopp occasionally plays this role for Yang Wenli, often suggesting that Yang should consider seizing power for himself, forming his own nation, or killing Reinhard after being ordered to surrender just as he has the latter dead in his sights. This is mostly because Schenkopp honestly feels Yang would do better than the pack of Ungrateful Bastards they've been working for who have alternately ignored intelligence or advice from people smarter than them, and (consequently found themselves staring down the barrels of Imperial particle-beam cannons) or screwed Yang over and/or the Alliance over even after Yang just got through saving their asses. One of the prime differences between Reinhard and Yang is that Reinhard listens to Oberstein, while Yang usually rejects Schenkopp's suggestions due to his moral code and general lack of ambition.
      • Another is the fact that Oberstein is a brilliant strategist where Schenkopp is a bruiser. The former's advice is somewhat better thought out and presented.
  • In The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, Miran Froaude is this to King Sion Astal.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's:
  • Amamiya Yuuhi of The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer instantly pledges his complete loyalty to Princess Sami after she vows to stop the mages' plot to destroy the world so that she can do so herself with her own fists.
    • Although after fighting the mage's golems, befriending his fellow beast knights, and coming to truly love both Sami and the world, he decides to stop her by his own hands.
  • Baron Ashura and Count Brocken from Mazinger Z loyally followed Dr. Hell. The remainder Hell's Co-Dragons do not count because Pygman and Gorgon followed their own agendas.
  • Monster: Johan served as Anna Liebert's Poisonous Brother, murdering anyone their pursuers might have possibly used to pinpoint their location before she finally caught on and shot him in the head. He got better. Johan also helps Tenma's promotional woes by killing off all his superiors that were keeping him down.
  • Shizuru of My-HiME could be seen as being one of these to Natsuki; the latter seems pretty horrified when she sees that Shizuru has destroyed First District Headquarters, and her defeating Yukino and Nao and by proxy killing their loved ones- Haruka, and Nao's mother in the name of 'protecting her'.
  • In Naruto Danzo is revealed to be one to his Rival, The Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi. In an effort to keep the village safe, and prevent the idealistic Hiruzen from having to tarnish his image Danzo created Root, a Black Ops organisation that has been involved in all sorts of unpleasant business over the years, all, at least in his mind, for the good of the village.
  • In her Deathbed Confession, Baron Hisamichi in Ōoku: The Inner Chambers admitted that she poisoned Yoshimune's older sisters (and a rival claimant to the throne) to ensure that Yoshimune would become shogun. She was twelve when she poisoned Yoshimune's sisters. It's not entirely clear what Yoshimune's thoughts on this were, but their parting was amicable enough.
  • One Piece:
    • Bartolomeo was once a crime syndicate leader, but soon became a fan of Monkey D. Luffy, setting out to sea in hopes of finding him one day. He keeps up to date with all the news regarding Luffy, even knowing of information that the World Government does not want leaked. Bartolomeo finally catches up to Luffy in Dressrosa—while he is normally quite villainous, causing death and destruction wherever he goes, he will gladly support the more heroic Luffy in everything he does (and has thus far been of great help to Luffy). He also cuts the tongues off of or otherwise maims anyone who speaks ill of Luffy within earshot.
    • Almost every subordinate member of the Donquixote Pirates falls here. Hell, Trafalgar Law initially joined as a child due to suffering a psychotic break and seeing joining Doflamingo as his best chance to hurt as many people as he could before dying of a terminal illness. Doflamingo's only even become the figure he is today because the four executives of the crew, Pica, Trebol, Vergo, and Diamante, realized the power of his Haki and became his fanatically devoted followers on the spot, to the point of burning down a town because its uneven pavement caused kid-Doffy to trip. Other crew members are equally fanatical in their devotion, a mentality Doflamingo clearly encourages as it makes them easy pawns.
  • The Chessmaster Kyoya Ohtori (and, to a degree, all other male members of the Ouran High School Host Club) is utterly devoted to the idealistic and naive club founder Tamaki Suou and is not above using dirty tricks and threats to cover up for his blunders from the shadows, which Tamaki generally fails to notice. This is most evident in episode 14 ("Covering the Famous Host Club").
  • PandoraHearts:
    • Gilbert is utterly dedicated to his master Oz and will do anything to protect him. Although he hasn't yet killed anyone (onscreen, anyway) for Oz's safety and well-being, he's tried, without any hesitation - despite being the gentlest, sweetest, most pathetic character of the series. However, his backstory flashbacks show that he cold-bloodedly allowed himself to be adopted by an 'enemy house' to become nobility and to steal their secret family weapon (the Chain called Raven), and then became an assassin, all in order to gain the power to save Oz. It gets very, very worrying when poor Gilbert starts experiencing a nearly overwhelming compulsion to kill Alice, despite the fact that Oz adores her.
    • Oz himself has had a scary unnatural breakdown in which he wanted to do this for Alice, to stop her from suffering by killing her.
    • And let's not even get into the absolute Yandere mess that is Jack. Basically, it's safe to say that nearly everyone in the cast is a Poisonous Friend to someone else.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Seemingly played straight with Homura to Madoka, but subverted. It appears as though she attempts to kill Sayaka for causing Madoka grief as she slowly positions a glowing hand near her chest. However, since Homura fights and kills quickly and efficiently with handguns or explosives (especially since her offensive ability with magic is incredibly weak or nonexistent), and she doesn't go for Sayaka's Soul Gem (which had been on the ground at the time and even when she's transformed, it's on her bellybutton), an act that would actually kill her, it appeared to be an intimidation tactic in order to scare Sayaka into using a Grief Seed. She also tries to kill Kyubey for her sake, but in a previous timeline, Madoka had asked her to keep Kyubey from tricking her. In Rebellion, however, Homura becomes an extreme example of the trope. Homura literally hijacks Madoka's goddess powers and imprisons her in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
    • Kirika Kure is willing to do absolutely everything for her best friend Oriko (who she's in love with), to the point where she kills other magical girls because Oriko tells her to.
  • In Rebuild World, Alpha offers her assistance to Akira in exchange for helping her achieve her goals. It's blatantly clear that she's preying on Akira's naivety and sense of gratitude to manipulate him, but it's unclear what exactly she wants from the relic she wants him to track down. She's also frustrated by his growing number of relationships, as it means that she can't manipulate him as easily.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: While Malty/Myne is definitely fit for this category and so much more, the one that manages to really sink their racism-laced fangs longest is Mald from Itsuki's party. Even his appearance alone is more than enough to tip one off of his uncaring, muscle-headed self, always taking strides of abusing Itsuki's less-experienced party member's without a shred of remorse and, like the rest of those shitty nobles in Melromarc, hates demi-humans and anything related to them just for being viewed as "scum", as well as always viewing the Shield Hero as a useless, inferior speck of dirt despite the massive amount of evidence to the contrary.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Yumi Komagata and her love for the (literally) flaming Makoto Shishio. At least Yumi is secure in the knowledge that, in his own twisted way, Shishio does love her back. He does fatally injure her, but then he cradles her in his arms as she dies so she can pass away in peace.
    • Creepy Crossdresser Kamatari Honjou, on the other hand, is fully aware that he'll never be loved like Yumi (because he's not a real woman) or favored like Soujirou (because he's not as good a fighter), and yet he is still obsessively loyal to Shishio to the point that Misao has to knock him out and Chou has to lie to him in order to keep him from killing himself in disgrace after he fails to carry out Shishio's last command to him.
    • And then there's Hoji, who is clearly insane. He follows Shishio out of a near fanboyish belief in the latter's ability to change the world, and kills himself at the end when he realizes that he won't be able to spread Shishio's philosophy to the rest of the world. But he gets to go help Shishio and Yumi conquer Hell! Look how happy he is when Shishio asks if he's coming!
  • Fiore from the Sailor Moon R movie is a textbook example; obsessed with his friendship with Mamoru to the point that he'll destroy Earth for his sake, even though that's not at all what Mamoru wants.
  • Ni Jieni in Saiyuki. Interesting in that he is both a Psycho Supporter of Gyokumen.
    • Arguable since it's very possible that Ni Jieni is the one manipulating Gyokumen.
    • At any rate, just using her. He's psycho, and he's backing her up, but his psychosis doesn't instill loyalty or associate him with her cause.
  • Ukuleleman from Space☆Dandy is a huge fan of Space Dandy (the character), particularly in awe of his smile. Ukuleleman likes Dandy's smile so much that he invites Dandy to come visit his planet, where he intends to kill Dandy while he's smiling and preserve him as a statue so that Ukuleleman can admire Dandy's smile forever.
  • Ralph Werec from Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry is one of these, and relies on the expectation of Mad Love as a motive; he only pretended to be in love with Vivian Medlock and to have made his Face–Heel Turn for her sake. His motivations were far more scarring (in more ways than one) and left him flat-out insane, and once Captain Medlock outlives her usefulness, he turns on her too.
  • Trigun:
    • Legato in the manga who decides to torture and kill Vash while Knives, the Big Bad, is recovering from his last encounter with Vash, knowing that Knives will kill him when he wakes up.
    • Also Wolfwood, most notably when he shoots Zazie the Beast, who looked like he might have been calming down. Vash's idealism has infected him so badly by this point that he ends up feeling horribly guilty over everyone else's reactions, which eventually gets him killed.
  • Subverted in The Twelve Kingdoms: In the last arc, Kouya initially appears to be a Poisonous Friend to his leader, Atsuyu; he murders dissidents regularly and claims to have "exiled" them when Atsuyu, who is presented in a positively saintly light, asks. However, Atsuyu is revealed to be a Manipulative Bastard who abuses Kouya's extreme loyalty to get away with atrocities while keeping his own hands clean.
  • Michiko of Texhnolyze is a seemingly quiet secretary/driver for Onishi. Then we see her collecting the Texhnolyze parts, many of which are still attached to living people...
  • Kuroi from Thou Shalt Not Die to Mashiro. He will protect her with his life... and also murder anybody who harms her, looks at her funny, or even simply gets too close to her.
  • In Trigun, Dominique the Cyclops seems to be following Legato like this, just as Legato follows Knives (which is far more obvious in the manga than the anime). Knives isn't exactly sane either, though.
    • Dominique never gets much character development. Legato, though...even the comparatively sane anime version of him is, in fact, fucking nuts, and this is presumably most of the reason he's so dedicated to helping Knives Kill All Humans.
    • Since Knives himself isn't human, his desire to kill them could be considered rational in light of his and his species experiences with them. But any human who knows the extent of his omnicidal plan and follows him anyway would be a psycho supporter. Legato hates all humans including himself and believes they deserve to die, an attitude which Knives considers enlightened for him.
  • Yubel from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, one of Judai's Duel Monsters, whom he apparently sent into outer space when they started killing anyone who defeated or upset him. They now hold a homicidal grudge against Johan because of his friendship with Judai. They get better after they and Judai fuse their souls.
  • Itsuki from the YuYu Hakusho anime loves Sensui because... Sensui is beautiful. In all kinds of senses, with a stress on the functional beauty of tremendous power.
    • In the manga, where Itsuki is more twisted, it's because he's gotten the opportunity to see all that purity get twisted and warped and spit out a shattered genocidal maniac who's more powerful than ever and still charismatic and brilliant. He compares it to "a little girl who believes babies come from storks growing up to star in pornos". He loves that kind of thing. He plays this so straight.
    • Sensui is an odd subversion: due to his Black-and-White Insanity, he developed a new split personality each time he needed to do something he considered evil, leaving his central persona pure.

    Comic Books 
  • Some comics have played with the idea that Harley Quinn of Batman was at least slightly cracked before she met The Joker and that he simply unleashed her inner crazy, or that she'd still be just as nuts were he out of the picture. When it comes to her successor, Punchline, there's no ambiguity at all: she's nuts. Having watched the Joker during his career, she decided as a college student his worldview fit in nicely with her own, and she actively sought him out in order to join him (before murdering her dean to prove her loyalty). It's perhaps for the reason that she seems to have more of Joker's respect than Harley initially did.
  • Bone: The Hooded One is devoted to the Lord of the Locusts and is content with helping him bring about the apocalypse.
  • Glory to the Chaos King in The Incredible Hercules.
  • Halfway through the Judge Dredd story "The Torture Garden", Chief Hershey discovers that one of the members of the strike team she sent to take out the Dark Judges on Dominion falsified his records, and is in fact an Ax-Crazy nutjob. Sure enough, he turns out to be a secret Death Cultist who also smuggled in Judge Fear as a Willing Channeler.
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong: In this Kong: Skull Island graphic novel sequel, Riccio is this. As his Sanity Slippage progresses, it becomes more and more clear that he's this regarding his initial respect for the Iwi and his reverence for Kong as a divine being, what with the actions he takes to endanger the Iwi and his conviction Kong is the only thing in the world that matters.
  • Megatron's ideology was already pretty extreme in The Transformers (IDW), but Tarn of the Decepticon Justice Division, introduced in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, is worse. Even Megatron comes to see him as a dangerous maniac. To anyone less than Megatron, he's The Dreaded.
  • Depending on who is writing, Batman is this to the Justice League, and the superhero community at large. Hard not to be when your teammates stumble across detailed plans on how to kill each and every one of them in case they go rogue and have to be put down.
    • He's this especially to Superman.
    • Although Batman did at one point say that he trusted the Justice League to be the ones to take him down, should he ever go rogue.
  • One of the interpretations of Captain America's sidekick Bucky was as the guy who did the backstabbing Cap was too moral to do.
    • Another is that Cap wasn't too moral for that kind of work, but that his public image could not be so sullied. There are several instances where Cap is portrayed as accepting, even approving, of Bucky's "extracurricular activities," although there are quite a few where he is not.
    • Averted in the Ultimate universe, where Cap fights the way a real soldier would.
  • Huntress was this to Black Canary in pre-reboot Birds of Prey. She was extremely loyal to the Canary personally, but there was no question that she remained one of, if not the, darkest antiheroes in the DC universe. Interestingly, however, she did moderate her behavior so that Canary would be comfortable working with her; Canary did not really see Huntress' dark side until Huntress was about to throw Yasemin off a building and Canary had to talk her out of it. Canary made her final decision to leave the group directly after this incident, which seems not to have been a coincidence.
  • DC Comics' controversial Identity Crisis storyline turned a small group of lesser Justice League members into this for the League at large. While the Big Three heroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman went about living and acting on their ideals, lesser members would do necessary "clean-up" jobs to preserve the League's secrets, primarily by having Zatanna wipe minds and reprogram someone's personality. Used as a Retcon to explain away events where the villains learned (or should have learned) the identities of various heroes, but never acted on them.
    • Especially applied to the odd devolution of Doctor Light from a physics genius able to make light waves sit up, roll over, and otherwise do basically impossible things (i.e. turning afterimages into explosive holograms) who could convincingly take on the whole Justice League into a Butt-Monkey with a ray gun that was basically a suped-up flashlight, who regularly lost to the Teen Titans. What happened to him caused many villains, and heroes, to look at the Justice League as having crossed a Moral Event Horizon.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: NNY meets a fan who idolizes and copycats his work because he thinks it's just that cool. NNY is outraged because he doesn't kill for the fun of it — he does it because he needs the outlet to survive his role as a "Flusher" for the world's negativity. (NNY then proceeds to do to the copycat what he does to everyone.)
    • Also, oddly enough, this becomes an example of Even Evil Has Standards as well. It is implied by NNY's killing rant that the impostor raped a woman, and that NNY would "never do...that". (Though, this may be more because NNY loathes physical contact than anything else.)
  • In Nexus, Kreed was a super-strong alien called a Quatro who had lived all his life as a member of an assassin's guild. Killing was the only thing he knew how to do, but he had come to find it pointless. When he learned of Nexus, he came to revere him as a man who had learned how to use those skills in a worthwhile cause, and he followed Nexus unquestioningly like a loyal puppy, even at times when Nexus himself was showing terrible judgment, and Kreed would threaten terrible violence to anyone who he perceived as a threat to his hero. When Nexus finally decided he trusted Kreed enough to send him on a mission — to hunt down and execute a list of murderers for the Merk, a task Nexus himself had always despised — Kreed and his fellow Quatro Sinclair went mad with bloodlust, going on a wild killing spree that Nexus was only able to halt after countless innocent people had been already killed.
  • DC Hero team, The Outsiders. The Outsiders have had three different incarnations over the years. They were founded by Batman, whose ties to the League had become strained. He has stated his intent to use the team as a black ops version of the Justice League, able to take the proverbial "fall" in public opinion where the League cannot.
  • In one J. Michael Straczynski-penned Spider-Man issue, Spidey defeats the villain-of-the-month using a modified version of a plan he had to take down the Hulk, and mentions that most of the Marvel Universe's heroes have plans for taking each other down, although it isn't something they like to talk about.
  • X-Men: Professor Xavier has made contingency plans to take down all of the other X-Men at one point. Given the number of times a hero's gotten Brainwashed or hypnotised or had some other Enemy Exchange Program weirdness happen to them, that probably isn't such a bad idea. The fact that he included one for taking himself down probably mitigated any hard feelings.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Crown of Stars, former Big Bad Winthrop was a psychopath, a rapist and a blood-thirsty dictator. His Dragon with an Agenda -and current Big Bad- Jinnai was a paranoid, megalomaniac, power-thirsty, rapist, raving lunatic. And after replacing his former boss he got worse.
  • In A Force of Four, Badra is completely committed to carry out Mars' plan to destroy Earth because she's also a raving, mass-murdering lunatic.
  • Narcissa Malfoy in For Love of Magic undergoes Heel–Face Brainwashing after Harry kills her husband in a duel. Within a couple years, her devotion to Harry is explicitly compared to her sister's towards Voldemort, including believing he should rule the world. Harry dislikes it, but has just enough morals left to not kill her even though he doesn't actually have a use for her anymore.
  • Hellsister Trilogy has Nemesis, a blood-thirsty, mass-murdering half-Kryptonian raised by Darkseid who considers it's his duty to ensure that his god's will to conquer everything and enslave everyone be fullfilled.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Cyber and Starfire -not that Starfire- are two nutjobs who think Lex Luthor is a misunderstood genius and do his bidding slavishly.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: Season 2 newcomer Nyx is Zim's self-described biggest fan, and also happens to be completely nuts.
  • As the story progresses, the Barty Crouch Jr. of The Parselmouth of Gryffindor grows more and more delusional about the extent of Voldemort's power, referring to his fallen master as though he'd been some sort of disembodied, immanent god of darkness. (He is still massively dangerous, however.)
  • Chiron in Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton is Gendo's subordinate and he's even more depraved, more blood-thirsty and pettier than his boss. Gendo is a Manipulative Bastard and an asshole, but he's pragmatic: he doesn't go out of his way to mess someone up and he may deem torture as necessary but not enjoyable. Chiron? Chiron enjoys it.

    Films — Animated  
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: We see that Nanna Harley paid Delia and Deirdre Dennis' (better known as Dee Dee, Harley's granddaughters) bail to keep them out of jail. Even when Harley was calling them out, she paid their bail. In an alternate timeline, those two managed to kill all the Justice League.
  • Implied with Le Fou in Beauty and the Beast. Not only does he continue to follow Gaston and like him despite being treated like trash, but the literal translation of his name is "The Fool" or "The Madman".
  • Pete in A Goofy Movie. Whereas in Goof Troop, Pete was just a heartless jerkass who only cared about himself, the film version of Pete legitimately wants to help Goofy raise Max better. The problem is that Pete is very cynical and condescending, especially towards children of any age, so Pete just assumes Max is a bad kid and works from there. He insists that trying to have an honest conversation is pointless and that Goofy should be authoritative and punish Max until he learns to never talk back. For his part, Goofy disagrees, but it turns out Pete was right about Max deceiving him, which doesn't help things.
  • Zira in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. Besides being a loyal follower of Scar, she’s also pretty obviously crazy by the end of the film. Even the other outsiders have enough and go back to Simba’s side. Zira just ends up dying when she won’t let go of her fanaticism.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The photojournalist played by Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.
  • The Dark Knight incarnation of the Joker's various minions have a healthy proportion of madmen among their numbers, who follow him because of his own crazed will.
  • Downfall presents Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph Goebbels, as one of the more fanatical believers in the tenets of National Socialism in the bunker, to the point of Blue-and-Orange Morality. She's arguably even more sociopathic than Hitler is. In the end she poisons all six of her children because she believes that it would be merciful compared to allowing her children to grow up in a world where Jews and homosexuals are allowed to live.
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn, Richie is unquestionably devoted to his more mature brother Seth. Of course, this could be simply because they're brothers. On the other hand, Richie seems to enjoy - really enjoy - being a criminal in ways that even Seth finds repellent. When Richie rapes and murders a woman the brothers were holding hostage, for instance, it's hard to tell if Seth is upset because he's ashamed of Richie or because Richie's psychosis has put a crimp in their carefully-laid plans.
  • Happy Gilmore: Shooter McGavin is more than happy to use his borderline stalker as a weapon against Happy Gilmore, up to and including running him down with a VW Beetle on a fairway, so long as he can get away from him as fast as possible afterwards.
  • In the horror movie Nightwish, a Mad Scientist who uses his graduate students as bait to investigate poltergeists at an Old, Dark House, makes use of several patients from a mental asylum to control them because they're easy to order around.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has the three Largo children for their father Rotti, and later, Luigi and Pavi for Amber in her bid to get control of Gene Co. In both cases, the leader isn't really outright evil until you take into account that not only do they turn a blind eye to the activities of their supporters, they actively enable them. Pavi Largo is the creepiest example of this; he seems fairly well adjusted as far as scarred sex addicts go until the crazy comes out to play.
  • Saw: Most of the Jigsaw Killer's apprentices and major accomplices willingly follow him and support his cause as a Poetic Serial Killer. Amanda in particular came to embrace his twisted ideology and views him as a father figure. However, they usually end up screwing his philosophy in different ways.

  • From the Alex Rider series: Conrad, The Dragon of General Sarov. Sarov at least has a noble goal from his mindset. Conrad just wants to kill things.
  • The Vengeance in A Tale of Two Cities
  • In Patrick O’Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, the dual protagonists are frequently each other's poisonous friend: each man has been known to aid his dearest friend’s missions by conducting hostilities in ways that are appalling to the latter’s sensibilities or morality—the swashbuckling captain Jack Aubrey with large-scale naval carnage, the surgeon/intelligence agent Stephen Maturin with cold-blooded assassination and deception.
  • Valentinian in Belisarius Series has some aspects of this; not only is he Belisarius' bodyguard, but he is also his personal executioner and hatchet man. When Belisarius wants some shocking bit of violence done he simply says "Valentinian..." which is shorthand for Off with His Head!.
  • The Biblical figure of Joab in Second Samuel. As King David's general, he frequently performs David's dirty work including orchestrating the death of Uriah the Hittite (on David's orders) so David may marry Uriah's widow, Bathsheba, and executing David's son Absalom for rebellion, against David's orders. While Absalom's death enables David to remain king, David publicly mourns for Absalom. Even then, David didn't technically give the order. Solomon gave the order on his behalf after yet another betrayal and David confiding in him about Joab's past actions.
  • In the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, the President's chief general is a Psychopathic Manchild. ("Let's blow everybody up! Bam bam boom blam blam!") The President and the Vice-President have to constantly keep him from going rogue...and he does respectfully, if unhappily, defer to them, thus fitting this trope.
  • The Culture: The whole purpose of Contact's Special Circumstances division.
  • Vimes and Vetinari in Discworld.
    • Vimes's butler Willikins is this to Vimes. He has been for a long time, but as of Snuff! he identifies as such.
  • Monk Mayfair is just short of this to Doc Savage. Philip José Farmer theorizes that in addition to Savage needing someone who can kill (and lie, steal and seduce), Mayfair's obvious enjoyment of these gives Savage vicarious pleasure.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Rare protagonist example: Harry Dresden to Michael Carpenter, his good friend, who is a (literal) Knight in Shining Armor and has an uncompromisable code. There are times when Harry will lie, strike, or kill someone Michael cannot harm without breaking his moral code. The first example of this happening is in Death Masks, he asks Michael to leave the room while he breaks the legs of Quintus Cassius.
    • And then Ebenezar is something of a Papa Wolf Poisonous Friend to Harry and the White Council. Ebenezar is the "Blackstaff", the assassin of the White Council who has the sole directive to protect the Council when abiding by the Laws of Magic will end them in a worse place. He has used magic to kill thousands of people. It is only because the Staff absorbs the black magic that would taint Ebenezer can he remain a good person.
  • In The General, Suzette, Lady Whitehall. Wife of the straightforward and honest Raj Whitehall, who survives the Byzantine machinations of the Governor's court despite his total lack of aptitude for such things... because Suzette is entirely happy to seduce and manipulate his rivals, poison his enemies, and arrange for obstructionist officials to be quietly dropped into the river with a sixty-kilo roundshot chained to their ankles. All without telling him. Disturbing because he is WELL AWARE of what she is doing and yet is on occasion preachy about the morality of doing it.
  • The Girl and the Ghost: Suraya tells Pink not to use his powers to hurt people, even the ones who bully her. He does it anyway, though subtly enough that he hopes she won't notice. She is not pleased when she catches on.
  • Lord Montfallcon does this for a living in Gloriana by Michael Moorcock, working behind the scenes to maintain order because he fears his queen's idealistic policies aren't enough to secure the realm's new golden age.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Among the Death Eaters, Bellatrix Lestrange. Word of God states that "her true love was always Voldemort," but he had no discernible affection for her, merely using her loyalty. She even had a child with the man, despite him being a hideous snake-man. Likewise Barty Crouch Jr. and a few others who are truly Sycophantic Servants and not in it for the power involved.
    • Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix knows that Cornelius Fudge would never permit her to use the torturous Cruciatus Curse to get information out of Harry and his friends, but as she says, "What Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him". Even the book synopsis on the dust cover describes Umbridge as having "a personality like poisoned honey."
    • The secret of Dumbledore's childhood: his poisonous (boy)friend Gellert Grindlewald.
    • In a more complex way, and probably not intentionally, it's Snape for Dumbledore, being the Bad Teacher for Harry (Dumbledore obviously being the good one). His constant nitpicking, bickering, and sneers served to harden Harry's spirit and supposedly not to get a swollen head. Not that it was pleasant, or remotely useful, given that Harry hated the fame from the beginning and already had to go through the traumatic experience of being a murder target almost every year. Not that it was successful, either, since not only did Harry already arrive at the school detesting excessive fame and attention thanks to the Dursleys' treatment, Snape's treatment also caused Harry to constantly suspect Snape of evil through all of the books, which almost allowed Voldemort to win several times (a notable example being the first book, where Harry attempting to prove the wrong person guilty gave the real Voldemort ally too big of a lead).
  • The Dennis Hopper character in Apocalypse Now was modeled on "The Harlequin", a young Russian man in a harlequin-like suit in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. He views the Anti-Villain of the novella, Kurtz, as some sort of religious cult figure (of course, Kurtz is plenty psychotic himself) — and it is implied (cautiously, as the story was written in 1899) that he and Kurtz have been in a homosexual relationship.
  • Jeeves of Jeeves and Wooster. Frequently puts others, including Bertie himself, through the wringer in order to restore the status quo, and has been known to interfere in Bertie's relationships and deliberately drive away prospective fiancées—all for his own good, of course.
  • The Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell gets it into his head that working as a butler constitutes abuse for Stephen Black, and decides that because he's handsome and courteous, he needs to be king of something. He even tries to get him to kill the king of England for this reason, and Stephen has to explain that it doesn't work like that.
    • There's a dark sort of Overly-Long Gag late in the book where The Gentleman tells Stephen a rambling story of the lengths he went through to find Stephen's "true" name and the many people he ended up murdering directly or indirectly in the process.
  • The Knight and Rogue Series has a mild example in Fisk. While Michael is so righteous that he won't even tell a white lie, and encourages Fisk to follow this example, Fisk is willing to lie or con his way out of a situation when need be-usually when Michael isn't looking. He becomes less of one by the third book, though.
  • Captain Badaya would be this to Admiral Geary in later volumes of The Lost Fleet series, leading a faction of the fleet that would back him in a full-blown coup... except that Admiral Geary, who's considerably smarter than Badaya as well as Incorruptible, successfully bluffs him into thinking he's blackmailed the government into making him The Man Behind the Man instead.
  • In The Lost Stars, one of general Drakon's aides is colonel Roh Morgan, who, in addition to being an excellent assassin and bodyguard, is a bloodthirsty madwoman who has to be held back from murdering everyone she sees as a threat and who latched onto Drakon with enthusiasm of a yandere because she's convinced she's destined to give birth to his child, whom she intends to raise to conquer all of human space. When Drakon realizes just how badly messed up she is, he's horrified.
  • The Corrupt Corporate Executive Cassandra Cautery is all kinds of this to Dr. Charles Neumann in Max Barry's Machine Man. She claims to have his best interests at heart but is clearly only looking out for Better Future.
  • No Longer Human has Horiki, who also has a convenient habit of showing up just as the protagonist Yōzō is about to recover from whatever ails him.
  • In "Okuyyuki", the sentient sword nicknamed Audrey is quite the Hungry Weapon—not really villainous, but she can come across as an example of this trope. Some of this is Deliberate Values Dissonance, since she was forged in an ancient warrior culture with somewhat different standards of conduct than present-day America.
  • Zadie Smith of Reconstructing Amelia is this to her best friend Dylan, who's sweeter, quieter, and has a much harder time standing up for herself — including standing up to Zadie. Zadie genuinely cares for Dylan... and this drives her to out her girlfriend Amelia, which indirectly leads to Amelia's death, for Dylan's "own good." Rather than humanizing Zadie, their friendship makes Zadie terrifying. It doesn't help that there are some undertones that imply that Zadie hates Amelia because she wants to keep Dylan all for herself.
  • The novel Shady Corners by Mathew Williams has a Poisonous Friend as the protagonist. It's every bit as creepy a read as you'd expect.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, being Cersei Lannister's enemy is a hassle, but being her friend is, arguably, even worse. Everyone she has ever associated herself with has suffered for it. Even if Cersei means well going in (she doesn't always — just ask Sansa or Lancel), she's still at heart a narcissistic, overly-proud, entitled, overgrown Royal Brat with a tendency towards alcoholism and Black-and-White Insanity. So, even if she likes somebody, she'll wind up screwing them over with it because she just can't do healthy relationships thanks to her skewed paranoia either being a little too catching or being liable to go off at the wrong time at the wrong thing. Even with best intentions, since secret, "bold" Murder Is the Best Solution or Let's You and Him Fight actions done behind other allies' backs to help finish the problems they're all dealing with can backfire when the knock-on effects start to stack up and interact. Badly.
  • From the novel Surrender, Finnegan is this to Gabriel.
  • Stephen King's thriller Thinner gives us an anti-heroic example: Protagonist Billy Halleck is cursed to die by a pack of traveling Gypsies after accidentally killing the leader's daughter. Billy's best friend, mafioso Richie Ginelli, responds by poisoning their guard dogs, shooting up their camp (without killing anyone), and assaulting the clan leader's granddaughter. The old leader takes the curse off, but Ginelli is killed by said granddaughter in the end.
  • In Victoria, John Rumford becomes one to President Yancey, General Laclede, and the other Neo-Confederate leaders through his ruthless solution to the Atlanta insurrection, which he then gives them credit for.
  • Warbreaker features Nightblood, a magical sentient sword forged to smite evildoers on behalf of the forces of good. Unfortunately, he doesn't really have any comprehension of what evil is since he's an inanimate object with no real moral compass of his own. As a result, he mostly just wants to kill everyone in sight on the off-chance that they're bad guys.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Perrin's loving girlfriend and wife Faile in . Besides being a very jealous type and giving him a hard time over any woman she suspects might want him, she also indulges in all the dirty aspects of politics he considers to be wrong, including sabotage, espionage, manipulation, and assassination. Some of those things he tells her not to do, but she doesn't listen. The rest, he chooses not to ask about or think about too closely.
    • There is Masema, a fanatic devoted to serving the Dragon Reborn, whether he wants it or not. He raises a rabble and mostly terrorizes the countryside. The Dragon makes some perfunctory efforts to get him under control, but in the end he has to be put down.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Connor on Season 4 of Angel, regarding his loyalty to Jasmine (with maybe an unhealthy dose of Papa Wolf thrown in for good measure).
  • In Arrow, when Oliver reveals himself as Green Arrow and goes to prison, he meets a friendly yet maladjusted convict named Stanley Dover who idolizes Oliver and claims he was wrongfully labeled a killer. Not only is he a serial killer, but once he escapes, he begins to stalk Team Arrow and hold Oliver and his family hostage thinking they can be together.
  • Saul Tigh on Battlestar Galactica. He's best friend to Commander/Admiral Bill Adama (Galactica's resident beloved leader). He's usually the guy rooting for a good fight rather than diplomacy, and occasionally, is right in doing so. But he's a liability. Time after time after frackin' time, Adama goes out on a limb for Tigh - hiding the truth of his alcoholism, appointing him XO even though he's "not cut out for command", and whitewashing, then forgiving, most of Tigh's screwups (including shooting civilians aboard the Gideon, a military dictatorship, the use of suicide bombers on New Caprica, and showing up drunk to testify at Baltar's trial). Though he occasionally has to Shoot the Dog to keep the blood off Adama's hands (see the entire New Caprica arc and the S3 episode "Hero"), one shudders to think how far a Saul Tigh who's realized he is, in fact, the very thing he's been fighting for so long will go in the service of Bill Adama.
    • In an odd case, Tigh himself has his wife Ellen, who encourages his alcoholism and tries to get him to be more assertive and ambitious. And betrays resistance plans to the Cylons to keep him alive. However all of this is now in the past tense as he poisoned her for this last. Supposedly someone else in the resistance would have done something worse to her otherwise.
      • He is this way up until he learns that he is a Cylon. It is very likely his destructive behavior and drinking were his way of internally dealing with his "sleeper" status, and keep himself from doing something fatal to Galactica and Adama, but YMMV...
  • Walter White is this to Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad. While Jesse wasn't completely innocent before getting into business with Walt, it's undeniable that his life has taken a definite turn for the worse because of Walt's influence. Walt even manages to manipulate Jesse into killing Gale in cold blood. Jesse is equally poisonous to Walt, if usually unintentionally, and in a completely different way: while his sincerity might be debatable, we continue to see Walt go to impressive lows in order to ensure Jesse's safety, despite the fact that he is an emotionally volatile wild card and a liability. Add this to the fact that Jesse is the one who gets Walt into the drug business in the first place, and you have a recipe for one of the most mutually poisonous friendships on television. One so toxic, it has a collateral death count of close to a hundred, if not in the hundreds.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Caleb of the First, whom he basically sees as God.
    • Giles on several occasions, in particular beating the crap out of Ethan in "Halloween", killing Ben in "The Gift", and plotting with Robin to kill Spike in "Lies My Parents Told Me". And sending Faith to kill Gigi in the Season Eight comics. He even gives a nice speech about it in "The Gift".
      Giles: No she couldn't [have killed you]. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and make Buffy pay for that mercy—and the world with her. Buffy even knows that, and still she couldn't take a human life. She's a hero, you see. She's not like us.
      Ben: ... Us?
      [Giles calmly suffocates Ben]
    • Believing that Buffy is compromised by her love for Angel, Xander tries to ensure his demise on two separate occasions, "Becoming, Part Two" and "Revelations", first by not telling Buffy that Willow was working on a spell to restore his soul, then by encouraging vampire Slayer Faith to kill Angel after he'd come back from the dead.
    • Really, all of the cast for both shows are this for all the others (besides Dawn, Tara, and Lorne). We've seen them all without the others (Wishverse Buffy, Dark Willow, Ripper, Angel after firing everyone, Wesley after his betrayal) and they're all much, much worse without the others. So it's like Conservation of Ninjutsu, only with evil.
    • In a subversion, in "Supersymmetry", when Fred plans to murder (or at least trap inter-dimensionally, which is probably a death sentence) her old college professor, who did the same to her and at least four other people, her boyfriend Gunn kills him for her, in an attempt to fulfill this trope. Fred does not take this well at all.
  • Burn Notice:
    • Michael is hardly a boy scout himself, but it's implied in several episodes that hanging out with a Handsome Lech FBI informant and Ax-Crazy arms dealer and former IRA terrorist are not exactly helping his standing with the intelligence community.
    • Conversely, Sam and Fi are portrayed as good influences compared to some of the people Michael has had to (metaphorically) get into bed with in the course of investigating the people who burned him. A particularly strong example is Larry, Michael's former mentor-turned-Psycho for Hire Professional Killer, who's always showing up trying to convince Michael to join him. Larry thinks that Michael's true potential is being stifled by his association with his present comrades.
  • On Charmed, Cole kills a corrupt landlord who is trying to blackmail Phoebe. This is a turning point in one of his several backslidings into evil.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "The Performer" has the unsub turn out to be Dante/Davies's manager using an obsessed, schizophrenic fangirl to murder other fans to get publicity for his new album. Davies is quite horrified at this.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Leela has no qualms about violently disposing of anything or anyone that threatens the Doctor, despite his many attempts to rein her in.
    • Captain Jack Harkness is willing to go quite far to protect the Doctor, using methods that the Doctor would never approve of.
    • River Song takes this trope to extremes, willing to let time itself be destroyed just to keep the Doctor alive. It frustrates him terribly.
      • On the other hand, he does admit that her methods are useful at times:
        The Doctor: Oh, and this is my friend River. Nice hair, clever, has her own gun. Oh, and unlike me, she really doesn't mind shooting people. I shouldn't like that. Kinda do, a bit.
        River: Thank you, Sweetie.
      • Neatly summarized when River faces a Dalek:
        Dalek: Records indicate you will show mercy. You are an associate of the Doctor.
        River: I'm River Song. Check your records again.
        Dalek: Mercy!
      • She gets it from her mother:
        Amy: River Song didn't get it all from you, "sweetie".
        Madame Kovarian: [death wail]
    • Missy. She's "I'b helpig" homicidally insane.
      Missy:[after chaining Clara to a wall of undead Daleks as bait, poking holes in a Dalek, then letting the undead Daleks swarm the unfortunate Dalek] Wheee!
  • The Flash has Harrison Wells, Barry's mentor who is helping him learn how to control his powers. He's willing to go to great lengths to keep Barry safe, including killing Simon Stagg and leaving General Eiling to the mercies of Grodd, because both of them had their own designs on the Flash.
  • Bebe on Frasier was a classic example of this: the completely unscrupulous agent. Frasier was frequently warned that agreeing to anything she suggested, however favourable and seemingly innocent, was tantamount to dealing with Satan.
    Frasier: What kind of a woman are you? You seduced me, you lied to me, you nearly got me killed. You've shamelessly manipulated not only me but the station, the news media, and the entire city of Seattle. What do you have to say for yourself?
    Bebe: Aren't you glad I'm on your side?
  • Ghostwriter: Calvin Ferguson is this to Jeffrey Baxter. More than once, Calvin ropes Jeffrey into his schemes to cause trouble for the Ghostwriter Team. However, "What's Up With Alex?" implies that Calvin is also the Cloudcuckoolander's Minder. When we finally see Jeffrey without Calvin around to tell him what to do, he causes problems for Jamal in other ways.
  • The Good Wife includes Fred Weller guest-starring as a jerkass Amoral Attorney. It's implied he acts this way in part because he believes his boss deserves someone watching his back and willing to get their hands dirty. Good thing, too, because it was the only thing giving his character depth. Too bad his boss doesn't deserve it...
  • Lily from How I Met Your Mother is revealed to be this, breaking up Ted's girlfriends if she thinks that it will be better for Ted (and, by extension, herself).
  • On Luther, the eponymous Scotland Yard detective has Alice Morgan, a former Child Prodigy who brutally murdered her parents and got away with it, and has now developed a crush on the copper who investigated the case. Luther really doesn't appreciate her attempts to help him get back together with his estranged wife, which seems to involve a lot of breaking and entering and assault.
  • The Office (US): Dwight toMichael.
  • Izzy hands to Blackbeard in Our Flag Means Death.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Alison is a deconstruction, as her behavior actually drives the Liars away from her. Character Development makes her less of one as the series goes on, though.
  • Revenge has Nolan, who's actually an inversion of sorts: while he assists Emily Thorne in her titular revenge gladly and is significantly more cynical than she is, he also frequently points out she could easily just go off to enjoy her life and leave the people who wronged her behind.
  • Scandal: Pretty much the entire main cast are this to each other. Olivia and Cyrus will do horrible things to protect President Fitzgerald Grant and in turn Grant will do horrible things to protect Olivia. Melly Grant will do anything to protect her husband, even though she knows that he loves Olivia because she made it her life's mission to get Fitz elected president. Olivia's Gladiators do increasingly nastier and nastier things to protect Olivia and each other. B6-13 is an entire secret government agency that is the poisonous friend for the United States, torturing and assassinating people, and even committing acts of terrorism in order to secure the well-being of the country.
  • Subverted on an episode of Shark, when Serial Killer Wayne Callison's love-smitten publisher turned out to actually be a spy planted by Stark.
  • A Season 5 episode of Smallville, titled "Fanatic", features one of Lex Luthor's political campaign supporters going berserk and trying to kill his opponent Jonathan Kent.
  • In Star Trek, "Section 31" performs questionable actions in (preemptive) defense of the Federation. Played with a bit, as when they first surfaced in Deep Space Nine the Federation was actively trying to shut them down; Enterprise sort-of retconned them into originally being the black-ops wing of Starfleet Intelligence, and apparently losing their budget and official status at some point seems not to have slowed them down much.
    • Garak proudly admits to being this trope in "In the Pale Moonlight":
      Garak: That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing? Well, it worked.
    • Tuvok cites this trope as his reason for secretly betraying Captain Janeway in an early episode of Star Trek: Voyager, saying that his role requires making the morally dubious choices she can't make in order to get the crew home. She doesn't take it well.
    • Section 31's official status is also listed in the non-canon Section 31 novels, where Kirk carefully reads the Starfleet Charter and locates Article 14, Section 31, which is a short clause allowing for the creation of an unspecified agency with unspecified powers to safeguard humanity.
  • True Blood: Roy, the little toad who cheers Marnie's wholesale destruction and mayhem. She has her tortured backstory as the reason he does this; he just seems to think it's fun.
  • Damon of The Vampire Diaries can sometimes fall into this role, particularly in regards to protecting Elena. He's outright stated that he will do whatever he has to do in order to keep her safe, even if she hates him for it.
  • Why Women Kill: Rita plans to mentor Alma in all her manipulative ways. Subverted. She did not mentor her though their feud will definitely be continued.
  • The Wire: Jimmy McNulty is a deconstruction of the Cowboy Cop who always does what he thinks is right no matter the politics or his orders. This turns his career into a train wreck, but his allies usualy get taken down with him, leaving a trail of bitter former comrades in his wake. He's also extremely self-destructive in his personal life, so he even makes his own loved ones' lives worse. All of this is unintentional, however, and he really is trying to do the right thing.
    Michael Crutchfield: Did [McNulty] fuck you?
    Bunk Moreland: He tried. But mostly he just fucks himself.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Steven Richards was like this to Raven and Victoria, even as the latter got Bored with Insanity.
  • The Basham Brothers to Shaniqua, who was the "center of their universe". She treated them well, all things considered, or at least as well as you could expect, given her profession.
  • Jon Heidenreich was like this to Booker T who "showed him the light" in the form of a steel folding chair to his skull. Jon then moved on to Road Warrior Animal.
  • Mickie James, until she realized her obsession with Trish Stratus was unhealthy and mellowed out.
  • Rosa Mendes, who debuted on Raw assaulting Melina for "stealing" Beth Phoenix's championship (as in winning in a wrestling match). Beth's boyfriend Santino had advice on how they could make the relationship work for them but Beth just took her support for granted.
  • Eugene to Triple H. Unlike most examples, Eugene wasn't violent, overly obsessive or a danger to Triple H's reputation. No, he was just blind to the fact Triple H was no good for him, or anyone else.
  • If it's a Women Of Honor segment or show and you see BJ Whitmer appear, then chances are you're about to hear about Kelly Klein, a lot about Kelly Klein. Up until their Fight Without Honor at Best In The World she was the one thing that could take his mind off of destroying Steve Corino. Klein for her part seems to appreciate it on some level, because she will attack those who try to shut Whitmer up.

  • Mrs. Lovett, the female lead of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Spurred on by obsessive (unrequited) love for the title character, she shelters him despite his tendency towards psychopathic murder and comes up with the plan of disposing of the corpses he produces by baking them into meat pies and selling them for, to her great satisfaction, a tidy profit.

    Video Games 

  • Depending on how moral you want to play it, Steven Heck is this to Mike in Alpha Protocol, murdering and framing innocents to help his buddy.
  • The Batman: The Telltale Series has "John Doe", aka The Joker, who manages to be this to Bruce. He's a violent and unsettlingly creepy lunatic who derives cruel pleasure from fighting, mayhem, and destruction, but at the same time, he's a truly loyal friend to Bruce who genuinely cares about him, even saving his life at a couple of key points in both Seasons. He manages to be simultaneously an innocent victim of mental illness as well as scary as hell.
  • Doubly-subverted, deconstructed, and mixed in with a little Psycho Supporter in Brink!. The Resistance has some rather extreme followers who are willing to do ''anything'' if they think it will help Brother Chen and the Resistance. At one point, one of them says that they will do the dirty work while Brother Chen, the much more reasonable leader of the Resistance, will be able to keep his hands clean. The subversion comes when Chen mostly tolerates such soldiers since he sees them as necessary for the war effort and for his political promotion. It's deconstructed through Moekena, who looks at Chen and the radical followers and sees a vile leader who uses others so that he doesn't get his hands dirty instead of seeing a conflicted leader who has to deal with dangerously extreme but necessary followers since Moekena does not know of Chen's point of view. It's doubly subverted when Chen yells at the radical followers in rage once they attempt to cover (or succeed in covering) the Ark in nuclear fallout for him in a What-If mission, calling the radicals idiots and rebuking them for not realizing that he was bluffing.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
    • Nagito Komaeda idolizes the Ultimate students that are trapped on the island, and is willing to do anything to help them excel, even if it means sacrificing himself in the process. Unfortunately, this also means setting up the first murder of the game, and then roping Hanamura into it without him realizing. With team leader Togami dead, he hoped to drive the rest to despair, only for them to regain their hope and overcome it in the end.
    • One of the big twists of the game is that all the characters (minus one) used to be minions of Junko Enoshima. They were all brainwashed into blindly following her ideals of spreading despair in the world and used their abilities to cause The End of the World as We Know It. They continued carrying out Junko's will even after she died, which is why they had their memories wiped for rehabilitation.
  • Disgaea:
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • Morrigan kind of fits this, since she approves of the Warden's more ruthless actions and dislikes his/her more compassionate ones. However, if the Warden makes an effort to befriend her, she is steadfastly loyal, even deeming a female Warden to be an honorary sister of sorts.
    • A better example appears on the antagonists' side: Arl Howe to Teryn Loghain. Arl Howe does seem genuinely loyal to Loghain and his political and military support is a great boon to him as well. However, Loghain supporting him and making him Arl of Denerim will help to screw him over in the Landsmeet if you bring up some of Howe's actions like kidnapping and torturing the son of another noble.
    • It's possible for the Warden to play this role to Leliana at the end of her quest, where she is unnerved by a comment about she and her ruthless former mentor being the same. Faced with a crisis of conscience, she asks the Warden for their opinion. At this point, it is possible to either assure her that she's a good person or tell her that she's denying her true self. Choosing the latter will cause Leliana to become more individualistic and open to supporting selfish or morally questionable actions (as well as becoming more openly promiscuous and non-monogamous.)
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition turns Leliana into one, blood loyal to her allies, but utterly ruthless. Indeed, she spies on her best friend Josephine trying to resolve her family problems, before proposing going behind her back and resorting to infiltration and assassination, knowing full well it will get a What the Hell, Hero? reaction but happy to shoulder that burden if allowed.
  • Introduced in Dynasty Warriors 8, Jia Chong is this to the easygoing Sima Zhao. It's made quite explicit - while Sima Zhao looks (and acts) like a Californian surfer transposed into ancient china, Jia Chong is pale as death with hair as black as night. Several soldiers refer to the two as being 'like light and shadow'. Jia Chong repeatedly takes action to benefit Sima Zhao, usually without bothering to check with him first and is particularly swift to kill off enemies that Sima Zhao seems inclined to offer mercy to. Culminating in...
    Sima Zhao: (Standing with his sword raised over the Wei Emperor) This is what you want from me, right?!
    Jia Chong: Yes... but the dirty work is my job. (Cuts down the Emperor himself)
  • Rider to Sakura in the Heaven's Feel route of Fate/stay night. She's willing to let the world be destroyed or kill Shirou and Tohsaka, her sister, just to prolong her life an extra couple days if she has to, whether Sakura wants her to or not. Eventually, she realizes that Sakura just being alive isn't sufficient, and ends up fighting against her. She's still acting almost exclusively for Sakura's benefit, though.
  • Hubert in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, plays advisor to future emperor Edelgard. He considers it his role to do whatever is necessary to ensure her success, arranging bribes and assassinations behind her back. His eagerness to make himself the bad guy doing the dirty work for her dismays Edelgard, who has already resolved to stain her hands with blood to bring about her vision of a better world.
  • In the first God of War, Ares honestly seems to think he did Kratos a favor when he tricked him into murdering his own family. During their final battle, Ares throws a fit and claims that Kratos had no right to turn against Ares after everything Ares did to make him stronger. In the end, when Kratos has Ares at his mercy, Ares makes one last plea for his life by telling Kratos that he just wanted to make Kratos a great warrior. Unfortunately for Ares, he succeeded.
  • In Hakuouki, Hijikata Toshizo intentionally takes on the role of harsh disciplinarian and "Demon Vice-Commander" to keep order within the Shinsengumi and further Commander Kondou Isami's goals against the heavy opposition of the era's very classist society, allowing Kondou to remain as nice and brotherly and idealistic as he wants to be. It's a mild example since Kondou is aware of everything Hijikata is doing, but there are points at which Hijikata is specifically noted as "playing the villain" for Kondou's sake. In the end, it kind of backfires on both of them, as Hijikata's efforts protect Kondou from many of the harsher realities of leadership and leave him unprepared to deal with the situations the Shinsengumi face after the Boshin War begins.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend has two notable examples, both revealed in the much darker "Bad Boys' Love" route. Namely, Hitori Uzune's efforts to avenge (and later, keep the remains of) his brother Nageki Fujishiro, and the extremes to which Yuuya Sakazaki went to protect his brother Sakuya Shirogane Le Bel.
  • Axel to Roxas and Xion in Kingdom Hearts. He seems like a pretty cool guy, and he genuinely cares about his friends, but a single playthrough of Chain of Memories is more than enough to see how wickedly treacherous he can be. This becomes even more apparent towards the end of 358/2 Days. He grows so attached to Roxas and Xion that he becomes obsessed with maintaining their friendship and keeping them safe — however, to achieve this, he lies to them, does questionable stuff behind their backs, and if they try to leave the Organization of their own free will, he attempts to bring them back by force. Things come to a terrible head when Roxas finally gets fed up with this and deserts the organization, and Xion ends up initiating a Suicide by Cop that results in her being wiped from existence. Axel does redeem himself in the end, but Redemption Equals Death. Although, since he's now Back from the Dead in the form of his original self, it's possible that he can finally make his actions speak for it.
  • Mass Effect: Cerberus as a whole is humanity's poisonous friend initially. Much like Section 31 described above, they too started as a black ops unit then went their own way. Some of the questionable things they are involved in - cloning rachni to act as shock troops, attempting to repurpose Thorian creepers as shock troops, even attempting to repurpose husks as shock troops, siccing thresher maws on troops to study them, injecting a human soldier with thresher maw acid to see if it will turn him into a super-soldier, kidnapping humans and aliens for horrific biotic experiments, plugging in autistic savants to an AI neural network to try to control it, and finally running an extermination camp to study Huskification with the ultimate goal of subjugating and enslaving the Reapers. All of these things were done to protect or advance humanity.
  • Shadow Hearts 1 gives us Arcane Olga, a sadistic ghost of a witch who cackles as she drains the life out of innocent civilians. She is later recruited by the Big Bad, a Well Intentioned Exremist. She works for him because she admires him and will reign in her sadism based on his orders, however, if he doesn't specifically order her otherwise she goes right back to hurting people for the fun of it.
  • A downplayed and rather strange example in Starcraft 2. At the conclusion of the Covert Ops mini-campaign, Nova comes to the conclusion that Valerian Mengsk is a great man and a worthy ruler, but also entirely too soft. Not only does she disobey a direct order to bring in a mutinous general alive, but she also makes it perfectly clear that she intends to go rogue and begin assassinating anyone she deems a threat to Valerian's rule.... despite Valerian explicitly ordering her not to do that.
  • Tales of...:
    • Mithos is a poisonous brother of Martel in Tales of Symphonia, whose misinterpretation of Martel's wish for a discrimination-free world leads to him attempting to execute an Assimilation Plot.
    • Sodia from Tales of Vesperia. She tries to murder Yuri, whom she perceives as Flynn's poisonous friend. Yuri also considers himself this to Flynn, citing it as the one thing he agrees with Sodia on. Flynn has none of it.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Makuru is one to Obadei, insisting on taking vengeance against the orcs after learning that they killed Obadei's brother.
    • In Mists of Pandaria, Wrathion is shaping up to be this. He believes the Burning Legion will eventually invade Azeroth, so the Alliance/Horde war must end so that Azeroth can put up a unified front against the threat. However, being a black dragon, Wrathion's idea of world peace involves one of the two factions conquering the other. Pretty much everyone else who meets him agrees that Wrathion should not be trusted.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Salem's minions range from the Well-Intentioned Extremist Hazel to the For Science! Watts, along with a few people who are clearly in way over their heads. Tyrian, on the other hand, is so psycho that he makes everyone else look perfectly sane and rational. He worships Salem as a goddess (despite Salem doing nothing to encourage this belief), sings her praises at every opportunity, and happily tells the people he is murdering about how their deaths are for Salem's glory. When he does fail her, all she has to do is say "I'm disappointed in you" to drive him to despair.

    Web Comics 
  • Used interestingly in Cobweb and Stripes, when Betelgeuse offers to be exactly this for Lydia. He volunteers to handle anyone at her request, so she needn't get her "sweet little hands" dirty. She's not entirely comfortable with the offer, although at the same time she sort of appreciates it.
  • Firefly Cross has a fairly low-key (so far) example; Katyn's friend Micah is actually Dark, and willing to kill in order to protect her. Which he's already done, when a Well-Intentioned Extremist stole her sword.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Subverted with the Priests of the Count who serve Mammon, the Grand Dragon. They're described as being absolute nutters, and they look pretty freaky, especially when they fight. However, it's revealed that their reasons for serving Mammon, at least for some of them, are not so crazy. The former Evil Overlord has become sympathetically senile, and his vault is a refuge containing a peaceful society enclosed from the Crapsack World outside. It's understandable to want to defend that.
  • Looking for Group:
    • Richard. Cale has conceded that Richard is both a blight upon the world and the best chance they have at saving it IF he gets enough material to troll Cale with when the party isn't looking. And by material, we mean knights, peasants, orphans, endangered animals, funny dogmatic armies, doggy funmatic Mix-and-Match Critter, etc.
    • Pella commits a crime to further the main character's cause.
  • In Men in Hats, Aram attacks Sam with a steamroller in the name of putting Gamal's plans into action, and Gamal is pretty sure steamrolling people wasn't his idea. (Aram has also been known to poison his friends, sometimes with scorpions.)
  • In The Order of the Stick, Tarquin does seem to genuinely love Elan, but he expresses it in truly awful ways. He welcomes Elan by arranging captured slaves to spell Elan's name and then burning them alive. He wants Elan to be happy with he frames Haley's father for murder as a "test" to see whether she deserves Elan. He wants Elan to grow into the role of The Hero instead of remaining a supporting he orders his army to kill the actual Hero Roy. On the other hand, being Tarquin's enemy is even worse which Nale found out the hard way.
  • Sleepless Domain: Cassidy is this to Heartful Punch. Her entire motivation for aggressively confronting Undine with the implied accusation of being complicit in the Team Alchemical tragedy seems to be centered around protecting HP, without consideration of what the latter might know or want. HP even says as much when she finds out what happened, telling Cassidy to just leave Undine and her alone.
  • Something*Positive: Hurt Davan in any way and PeeJee and Aubrey will respond with tenfold the pain you caused him. Davan is not always bothered by this.
  • Jordan in Tower of God to Baylord Yama, at least in Yama's own opinion at one point. Jordan expresses enthusiastic support to Yama even after hearing his dark secret, which Yama expected might turn him against him. Possibly due to his over-exuberant admiration, this prompts Yama to think to himself, "What a lunatic." So: Jordan says why he supports Yama, and Yama reacts to this by thinking he's a lunatic, so he thinks Jordan supports him because Jordan is nuts.

    Web Original 
  • In Twig, the narrator, Sylvester, becomes steadily aware that he is essentially this towards the more moral Lillian, and he worries even when they enter a romantic relationship that he isn't actually able to love her and build her up instead of tearing her down. His amorality and inbuilt Manipulative Bastard tendencies also make him worried that he'll become a poisonous influence on her future as an Academy professor.
  • In Worm, Token Evil Teammate Regent, realizing that Sociopathic Hero Shadow Stalker isn't going to leave the Undersiders alone and will in fact keep coming after them with lethal force until she gets lucky, takes it upon himself to use his People Puppets power to utterly destroy her life and drive her out of town, refraining from killing her only because it would be more troublesome and draw more attention from the authorities.

    Web Videos 
  • In The Veronica Exclusive, Veronica's girlfriend Jane would do anything to make her happy, up to and including murder.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: Sasha is both this and Toxic Friend Influence: Sasha combines her controlling attitude toward Anne with a ruthless protectiveness. She used her school status to defend Anne from bullying and believes Anne would be better off if she joined Toad Tower.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Princess Azula's devotion to Fire Lord Ozai. Though it's kind of unclear with her whether she follows the world-conquest thing so intently because she's insane, or because she was raised to conquer the world, or because of bad genetics Zuko managed to avoid, or...anyway, she follows Ozai as much because he's her father and she wants to please him as because she's a megalomaniac. A little more megalomania and she could have offed him at a some point.
  • Batman: The Animated Series
    • Harley Quinn is an interesting take in the trope, because without someone to lead her, Harley doesn’t have the motivation to commit crimes. Unfortunately, her love for The Joker keeps dragging her back to his side.
    • The Joker abuses her with glee, until his death. After that, is implied she chose a tranquil life.
    • Poison Ivy also abuses Harley and doesn’t want to give her enough credit for her part at their heists.
  • Inferno, the pyromaniac fire ant from Beast Wars, is kind of an interesting case. Due to his beast mode instincts being so overpowering he firmly believes that he is an ant and that Megatron is Queen of the colony. This means Inferno is literally incapable of disobeying orders from his Queen, a trait that makes him one of Megatron's most valuable troops.
  • Beetlejuice drags Lydia into all sorts of scams, schemes, and misadventures; however, he is profoundly loyal to her, and will utterly destroy anyone else who creates difficulties for her. (Or he would if she'd let him. She stops him if he goes too far.)
  • Count Duckula: Igor is a Card-Carrying Villain who was loyal to all of Duckula's predecessors and thus to the current one, though not without expressing his displeasure and disappointment with his master's friendliness and harmlessness. That is why he tries, without betraying him, to turn him more to his liking like the forebearers.
  • Rick from Rick and Morty, despite all the abuse, treating his family as a means to an end, and all his many many flaws, will look out for his friends and family when the chips are down and isn't even sure why he bothers. Of course, since it's Rick, he'll do it in some pretty ruthless, messed up, and heartless ways. Best example is when he passively protects Jerry of all people from a jealous alien out to kill him:
    Message One: This is Garmos! I have intercepted sexual communications between you and my new girlfriend Keara! I am coming to kill you NOW!!!
    Message Two: Yo Jerry it's the Big R. I killed that alien that was coming after ya. Looking out for you, buddy.
    Message Three: Yo Jerry it's Rick. Don't be mad I fucked your ex-girlfriend Keara.

Alternative Title(s): Crouching Support Hidden Batshit