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"The Enforcers will handle this!"
Commander Feral, SWAT Kats

Sometimes, when they're dealing with a situation, the protagonists will meet up with the people who are officially supposed to handle this sort of thing: the police, the military, the exterminators, or the Ancient Conspiracy. Inevitably, the first thing these people will tell a civilian hero to do is to get out of the way and let them do their jobs.


In Fictionland, the Rule of Drama means that this never works out. In some stories, the "civilian" is really better able to deal with the situation than the official professionals; this is particularly common in Super Hero stories or other stories with paranormal elements, where the "professionals" may try to defeat a supernatural problem with mundane methods and get their backsides handed to them. In others, the protagonists will ignore the professionals and get in way over their heads for doing so, though even then they tend to solve the story's central problem anyway.

Sometimes the professionals aren't just telling the civilians to step back for their safety. Sometimes, they're trying to maintain The Masquerade or keep other secrets out of the public eye.

This trope is Truth in Television, but in Real Life, it's really better to listen to the professionals when they order you out of the way.


Compare Hero Harasses Helpers and Not Now, Kiddo. Can lead to Prohibited Hero Saves the Day. See also Police Are Useless, Militaries Are Useless, and Adults Are Useless.


Anime and Manga

  • In Berserk, Jill's father has a bad case of I Coulda Been a Contender! regarding his days in the army. When the Knights of the Iron Chain show up hunting Guts, he offers to guide them, but when battle is about to begin he is shooed away by the knights who don't want civilians messing around.

Fan Works

  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld and The Big Bang Theory crossover The Many Worlds Interpretation, the City Watch have to deal with a wild animal on the loose, running panicked in a non-familiar city environment. Doctor Johanna Smith-Rhodes, who realises exactly what the animal is, joins the pursuit. A new and naive Watchman tries to exclude her from the pursuit on the grounds that she's a civilian. Johanna rolls with it, potentially adding assault on a police officer to her charge sheet. Then she rounds up the creature.

Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: One sword upgrade is obtained by giving it to two smiths who take turns hammering at it. If you try to join in with your own hammer, they tell you amateurs shouldn't interfere.
  • In Tokyo Xanadu, Asuka wants Kou to stay out of her business and not try to investigate the Eclipse with her. She's an enforcer for Nemesis and prefers to work alone, while Kou has no knowledge of the Underground. He manages to wear her down and get her grudging acceptance, but this trope comes back in full effect in Chapter 5, when Asuka discovers a Greed on a tier higher than anything they've faced before. According to her, a Grim Greed is entirely beyond the rest of the group's skill, and so she puts Kou in a barrier so he doesn't interfere with her defeating it.

Western Animation

  • In SWAT Kats, Commander Feral frequently tells the vigilante SWAT Kats to let the Enforcers handle the Monster of the Week. The SWAT Kats have an advanced fighter jet that's better than anything the Enforcers have, and Police Are Useless against the kind of supervillains they have to fight, so nobody ever listens to him.

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