I'd kill a man who'd dare to, like, invade my personal space."
A character is able to Screw the Rules, simply because their friends or family are very influential, powerful, or wealthy people. Can be Truth in Television, especially with The Mafia and similar criminal organizations.
A favored technique of the son of the villain.
Often phrased as: "Do you know who my dad is?"
- Death Note: Though Light is one of the suspects of the Kira case from the very beginning, his father's status as the Chief of Police is what protects him from being seriously considered as such by the normal police and he knows it.
- One Piece
- In the first few episodes, Helmeppo can do whatever he likes because his father, Axe-Hand Morgan, runs the town. Morgan actually hates his son, but lets him use his name and authority as long as it doesn't put a dent in his ego.
- The World Nobles are an even more extreme example. If there's someone they can't shoot and is openly defying them, an admiral gets involved immediately. Arguably the only people in the world who could get away with defying the World Nobles are the Four Emperors — not even the Seven Warlords of the Sea (who have a notorious amount of Ultimate Job Security) can get away with that. Though this is because one of the Emperors alone is enough to challenge the World Government and the Marines with sheer manpower rather than any kind of strong influence beyond that of pirates.
- Doflamingo is able to fake quitting the Seven Warlords because he is a former World Noble. According to him, he isn't considered one anymore by the others, but he still holds clout as a descendant of one of the World Government's founding families. And apparently knows something that allows him to blackmail the World Government.
- Caesar Clown attempts to invoke this trope at the tail end of the Punk Hazard arc, citing all of the people who rely on his factory, the weapons he makes from it, and even all the children who suffer under him. Luffy promptly responds that he doesn't care.
- Vampire Hunter D film. Greco, the mayor's son who sexually harasses Doris Rumm.
- This happens in the novel, and is not the only example in the series.
- A woman who gets into an altercation with Bamboo Blade's teacher, Toraji-sensei, uses her position as the superintendent's next-door neighbor to get him fired.
- Averted in the fourth Detective Conan movie, Captured in her Eyes. When the police superintendent learns that his son had a connection to a murder case, he personally orders the investigation re-opened to discover the truth.
- Every single target of Akumetsu, being filthy-rich megalomaniacs, Corrupt Corporate Executives, and/or Sleazy Politicians, in any combination. Not that this stops him.
- Miyano from Maga Tsuki is able to get so much stuff done via this method that it borders on Reality Warping.
- Season One of Hell Girl early episodes featured some antagonists who were like this.
- Used by both the heroes and the villains in the various iterations of the Ghost in the Shell franchise. Quite memorably, in the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series, a perp managed to avoid conviction partially thanks to this trope, and in response Chief Aramaki quietly arranged his "accidental" death in a car accident and hushed up any investigation that might follow, neatly demonstrating that the trope goes both ways. In another incident, some college kids were running an amateur organ black market, under the impression that their influential parents would get them out of any trouble. The Major literally scares the piss out of them instead, though her motivations were more personal than getting around their connections.
- Dr. Chrome Ballanche was able to dabble in the forbidden arts only because he was a lifetime friend of the God-Emperor of the most powerful nation around, even if his intentions were noble.
- Oz from Pandora Hearts frequently exploits his connection to Jack, the "Hero of Sablier," as well as his own standing as a member of one of the four dukedoms. On one occasion, he threatens to use Jack's influence to turn Pandora against Duke Barma when the latter attempts to arrest Alice and Break. Another time, he pretends to have accessed his connection with Jack in order to deceive Isla Yura. Unfortunately for Oz, this connection backfires when it's revealed that Jack isn't the shining hero of Sablier everyone thought he was, but rather the villain who caused the whole tragedy in the first place. Oz does not take this revelation well at all.
- Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: During Season 2 of the anime and Volume 8 of the novels, there have been attempts to destroy the Neighbor's Club via RulesLawyering. The issue this time was that it turns out that Maria wasn't actually a teacher or a nun at the school, and Kate was just letting her think that to make her go to the school and behave. This means that the club didn't have a supervisor as is required in the school rules. Sena proceeds to get her daddy(the chairman) to fix the problem by having him appoint Maria as a temporary part-time instructor meaning she could now be their supervisor. Aoi (the Rules Lawyer in question) then tries to get them shut down for not having an instructor when the club was formed, meaning their club shouldn't exist in the first place but Sena then proceeds to tell her that if she does not cease and desist she will have her reputation ruined and expelled. Needless to say, Sena won that round.
- In Akame ga Kill!, the depraved group Wild Hunt often excuse their actions by pointing out that they are sanctioned by the government, and their leader Syura is the son of Prime Minister Honest. After, Wild Hunt rapes and kills Bols's wife and daughter and then Syura attempts to rape Kurome, Wave says he doesn't care and kicks Syura's ass.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Shingo Sawatari often name-drops his father, the Mayor, when things don't go his way. Played for Laughs later when he's in the Synchro Dimension and he doesn't seem to understand the concept that this won't work because nobody there has ever heard of him or his father.
- That Yellow Bastard and Kevin in Sin City have heavy ties to the O'Rourke family. Fortunately, Hartigan and Marv don't care.
- Agent Graves in 100 Bullets. He spends the first half of the series giving out cases with a gun and well... you know. Graves is so connected that if a bullet from his cases is found at a crime scene, the investigation stops altogether. Any friend of Graves' is flat out allowed to get away with murder.
- In the She-Hulk graphic novel, Jennifer is captured by SHIELD and forced to be strip-searched in public in front of male personnel and in violation of all established procedure. Dum-Dum Dugan, acting director, comes in and is furious at this abuse, and orders the agent responsible confined to quarters pending a formal reprimand. The agent threatens to use his connections, and Dugan gets a harsh phone call by those connections ordering him to let the agent go. (He didn't get away with it; he was the first casualty of a sentient swarm of cockroaches who invaded the craft, who used him as host. More than likely, his last few moments weren't pleasant. On top of that, this led to the Helicarrier being destroyed, one of SHIELD's biggest disasters; in all likelihood, those powerful connections he called didn't retain whatever authority they had much longer...
- Subverted in a Donald Duck comic where Donald works at a theatre. The son of a mob boss basically threatens his way to being the leading man, despite being an incredibly bad actor. The subversion occurs when Donald breaks and becomes as angry as only Donald Duck can be, telling the guy just how bad he is. The offended young man calls upon his father... who turns up and thanks Donald for finally standing up to his obnoxious son, who is always using his connections to get away with stupid stuff.
- In Batman #424 we have Felipe Garzonas the son of a wealthy diplomat, he's an obnoxious jerk who is very abusive to his girlfriend and is also involved in a drug smuggling ring, he is arrested twice for his crimes but quickly released and it is later arranged that he won't serve any jail time because of his father's diplomatic immunity, after his second release he harasses his girlfriend to the point where she commits suicide and Batman can't do anything about it, Jason Todd the second Robin is furious so he takes manners into his own hands, when Batman arrives on the scene Felipe has fallen to his death from his apartment, he asks if he pushed him but Jason claimed he slipped.
- Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra: Trey gets away with everything he does (from bullying to attempted murder) because his father is a powerful politician.
- The Death Note AU Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything has a Running Gag where L goes around introducing all of his coworkers and his rivals and his enemies to his "good friend" the prime minister.
- In Waking Nightmares, a rare heroic version of this is used when the Flim Flam brothers come to claim Sweet Apple Acres, which they did actually win in the series. Trixie promptly points out the multitude of ways that the heroes could use their own connections to make their victory decidedly meaningless.
- In Diaries of a Madman, Navarone's unusual friendship with Celestia keeps him out of prison and gives him a lot of leeway in what he does, though it's also because she finds him too useful to imprison, and resorts to non-standard punishments instead.
- Roy Desoto basically used this in this Emergency! fic, but for good rather than bad reasons. John Gage is sick and hospitalized, and Roy is the only one who can usually keep him calm-John usually gets upset in this author's fics without his friend around when he's sick. Roy was on vacation, and Dr. Brackett cleared him to go into Johnny's room upon knowing he was heading back home. A nurse fails to get the message and tries to turn Roy and his wife away, and Roy tells her to call Dr. Brackett, who's one of the head doctors on staff. Brackett isn't happy to find out about the whole thing,especially since she was mistreating Johnny as well.
- Bad Future Crusaders: Babs Seed is able to get away with much more than other members of the guard simply because she is Captain Rumble's ex and a lot of characters are afraid to mess with her purely out of fear of what he'll do to them if they do. Also at one point Dinky makes it perfectly clear Babs would have been punished severely for attacking Featherweight, but is lenient because of her own friendship with Rumble.
- Discussed in The Headhunt. A conversation between the nonhuman members of the USS Bajor's command crew has them basically decide that the Federation law banning Augments from Starfleet or public office (see DS9: "Dr. Bashir, I Presume") not only runs counter to Federation values but is actually unconstitutional under the Articles of Federation. However, the humans are terrified of Augments thanks to the Eugenics Wars, and because they have so much political mojo in the Federation, nobody's had the balls to mount a legal challenge and get it struck down.
- In Sonic X: Dark Chaos, Tsali is able to get away with genocide and mass murder without Demon government interference because of his personal connections with Maledict himself. He also has near-limitless access to money from the Demon treasury for the same reason.
- Lampshaded in I Am NOT Going Through Puberty Again!. Shikamaru says that under normal circumstances, using forbidden time travel jutsu could qualify as high treason, but since the perpetrators are the Hokage's son and preferred successor respectively he can't actually give them a harsh punishment. So he just makes them wear signs saying ''WE WILL NOT MESS AROUND WITH FORBIDDEN JUTSU'' until the problem is fixed.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series Mokuba Kaiba: "My brother is Seto Kaiba; I can decide who lives and who dies."
- "Heis'he Ri'nanovai": The Federation ambassador is willing to let Jethro Wisniewski be tried under Romulan law as long as the death penalty is taken off the table. Praetor Velal initially refuses, but then Ambassador Rama offers to help Velal get sanctions relief past the Federation Council.
- A Kanto politician in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines forces Professor Oak to give his children starter Pokémon (despite not getting high enough scores in his official test) on threats of cutting his research budget.
- A Brighter Dark: After pushing one too many of her buttons, Corrin punches Niles in the face and tells him that as a member of the Nohrian royal family she could easily get away with killing him, and even convince her brother Leo to look the other way at her murdering one of his subordinates due to their close relationship.
- AQUA: The First Step: According to Dr. Polendina, the only reason Commander Vasilyevich still had a job in the Atlesian army despite his General Ripper tendencies is because Jacques Schnee backed him up, bribing people and pulling strings to keep him employed.
- In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Alexis Lois "Lexi" Luthor is able to wield her family's vast network of connections to get her hands on information that should be restricted to the Japanese government, police, and the Top Ten Heroes. She makes full use of this to track down Izuku to satisfy her interest in talking to an alien.
- Batman Begins: Bruce Wayne became Batman because nearly all the public officials of Gotham were in the pocket of Carmine Falcone.
- DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story: The Purple Cobras are able to enter the big Las Vegas dodgeball tournament without a regional qualifying match because the dodgeball chancellor is a friend of White's.
- Mean Girls: I don't think my father, the inventor of Toaster Struedel, would like that I'm not on this list.
- When Willy Bank, the antagonist of Ocean's Thirteen, tries to use this as a threat against Danny Ocean, Danny replies he has all the same connections and they like him better.
- The Boondock Saints: Yakavetta. Not that it helped him.
- Schindler's List: A rare positive example: Oskar Schindler's membership of the Nazi party and friendship with senior Nazi officials are the reason he can save the lives of his eponymous List (well, that and a certain amount of outright bribery).
- Sorority Row:
Kyle: Are you crazy? Do you have any idea what my father is capable of?
Jessica: Oh yeah? Well, maybe I'm fuckin' the wrong guy!
- Jackie Treehorn from The Big Lebowski, according to the Malibu Police Chief.
Police Chief: Mr. Treehorn draws a lot of water in this town. You don't draw shit, Lebowski.
- Another positive example in Hussar Ballad: while having a lower rank than Field Marshal Kutuzov, General Balmashov is a personal assistant to the Russian Tsar, and demonstrate willingness to throw all his weight to overrule Kutuzov's unjust decision.
- Averted in Burnt by the Sun. After being arrested by the NKVD, Colonel Kotov rattles off Joseph Stalin's personal phone number. The secret policemen squirm in their seats, but when he goes to leave the car they inflict a brutal beating. Kotov has no idea that Stalin is the one ordering his arrest in the first place.
- In the Police Academy movies, a politician pulls this stunt on Hooks to get out of a parking ticket, thinking he can easily intimidate the squeaky-voiced policewoman. He discovers that Beware the Quiet Ones applies instead when she hits him with a bunch of additional charges.
- The 1948 Soviet adaptation of Cinderella is most frequently remembered for the stepmother who boasted of having better connections than the king himself.
Fairy Godmother: I would have turned her [the stepmother] into a frog long ago... but, unfortunately, the old woman has lots of connections!
- Honor Harrington: Pavel Young lived and breathed this trope, abusing the heck out of the North Hollow family's position as one of the more powerful noble houses in the Star Kingdom to satisfy his basest desires and avoid any responsibility for his actions.
- Clive Cussler: Many of the villains have massive influence and wealth; the Vigilante Man only stops them.
- Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter.
- He uses the threat "When my father hears about this..." at least once a conversation, at least in the earlier books. It's not particularly effective. In the first book, when he says he's going to tell his father about how he has to go into the Forbidden Forest for punishment, Hagrid dismisses the threat, saying that Lucius Malfoy would tell him that's how things are done at Hogwarts. In Book 4, bringing up Lucius Malfoy practically makes Mad-Eye Moody née Barty Crouch Jr. salivate at the thought of an excuse to talk to a former Death Eater. Particularly one he hates for his lack of fealty to Voldemort.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Draco incites a new wave of panic in the students studying for their OWLs by loudly declaring, "Of course, it's not what you know, it's who you know. Now, Father's been friendly with the head of the Wizarding Examinations Authority for years — old Griselda Marchbanks — we've had her round for dinner and everything" a few days before the exams start. Neville says he's almost certainly bluffing, as his grandmother actually is friends with Marchbanks (and she's never mentioned the Malfoys) and he doubts he'll get a leg up because of this relationship.
- Similarly, Umbridge's connections in the Ministry allow her to literally get away with (attempted) murder in Book 5, as she's still around in Books 6 and 7.
- Snape's connection to Dumbledore allows him to get away with blatantly unprofessional conduct that would get him banned from teaching in a Muggle school.
- James Potter. You'd think the fact that a Prefect like Remus Lupin hanging around him most of the time would hamper his ability to bully people... except, Lupin was also one of his closest friends (because James didn't ostracize him when he learned that he was a werewolf before the werewolf became school prefect) who preferred to simply look the other way in regards to James' bullying. Though, to James's credit, he outgrew the bullying behavior by the time he became Head Boy.
- Percy Wetmore from The Green Mile. His Catch-Phrase practically is "I KNOW people!!!" whenever anyone starts thinking of doing anything to him. Subverted when the others show that they too know people. He even got his job as a Death Row prison guard through his connections. Edgecombe couldn't figure out why he'd want a job like that, but seeing Percy treats the inmates, it's pretty obvious he likes feeling he has power over someone.
- In Are You In The House Alone, Phil Lawver is the son of a very wealthy and/or influential man. When he rapes the narrator, the police chief refuses to even open an investigation on him due to his family connections.
- This used to be the case in Discworld's Ankh-Morpork; an ongoing theme is the way Sam Vimes and Lord Vetinari have made it harder and harder to pull this off, providing an almost endless source of plot conflict as the city's Blue Blood population fight for their privilege.
- There's a beautiful moment in Feet of Clay where an Upper-Class Twit tries to pull the "I'm a friend of your Commander" line on some badly-shaved watchman in battered armour. This does not go well for him.
- Subverted in Snuff when the obnoxious Upper-Class Twit Gravid Rust escapes capital punishment for trafficking goblin slaves and troll drugs by accepting exile to Fourecks instead, since Ankh-Morpork nobility wouldn't accept one of their own being sentenced by non-humans. However, Vetinari also has connections, including a friend-of-a-friend in Fourecks with a singular interest in venomous spiders...
- Falcone, closest thing to a Big Bad in the Warchild Series, has been arrested once before and sent to prison. His connections either broke him out or saw fit to release him early (the books are rather vague on that). When he gets arrested a second time, he tells our heroes it's a waste of time and brags about how he'll be out again. Indeed, he doesn't even make it to the prison when a group of his loyalists arrive to free him from the custody of the Space Marines. But in a fitting turn, he is murdered on the docks because one of our gray heroes can't bear to see him get away unpunished.
- This is the stock in trade of the "looters" in Atlas Shrugged, who essentially make themselves into an "Aristocracy of Pull".
- Vorkosigan Saga:
- Miles Vorkosigan, the Barrayaran Prime Minister's son and Emperor's foster brother, occasionally does this; he considers it a last resort. He still gets in a lot of trouble, and the time he does try to use connections to keep from losing his secret covert ops identity after injuring an officer during a seizure, then falsifying the report of the incident, it doesn't work, though he still gets a medical discharge instead of dishonorable discharge and a further sentence. Really, his usual philosophy is more "Screw the Rules, My Results Will Justify It" or "Screw The Rules, I'll Deal With the Consequences Later".
- Similar to the Discworld example above, this used to be the case for the aristocracy in general, and the efforts toward reforming the government to stop this are frequently mentioned.
- Subverted throughout the Codex Alera series. Several times, egotistical figures with connections attempt to invoke their connections or just pull rank on their own authority, only to be outmaneuvered or simply punched out. The one time saying "Screw the rules, I have connections" works in the series, it's a bluff. One Hilarious in Hindsight moment in the second book has a character saying "I have connections" to defuse a tense moment between some guards and an enemy nation's ambassador, but it's only a bluff because he's really just a page boy and student acting on no authority but his own. The Hilarious in Hindsight part is, he actually is the legitimate prince, but no one knows it except for the enemy he's trying to bluff.
- Occurs in a brief exchange in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. A man trying to get Mannie to get the government to buy patriotic buttons for members of La Résistance gets the brush-off. The man takes umbrage, threatening to go directly to Party Chairman Adam Selene, a close friend of his. Mannie is unimpressed by this statement, since Adam Selene is an alter ego of Mike. Since only Mannie and two others know that Mike is secretly a sentient computer, it's pretty obvious that the man is bluffing.
- A rare good example in Oblomov. Tarantyev's buddy thinks he can pull off robbing Oblomov blind, but his friend Stolz happens to be on first-name base with the general, who gets Mukhoyarov (said buddy) fired.
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The Vigilantes definitely use this trope to accomplish their missions and with style! In fact, it seems that Washington, D.C. pretty much requires everyone to make use of this trope. A number of the bad guys use this, and John Chai from Vendetta happens to be very explicit, considering how he was promising the Vigilantes that his father would make them pay (The Vigilantes were not intimidated by this, for the record).
- Another rare heroic example in The Raven Cycle: Richard Campbell Gansey III lives among psychics, spirits, and magicians. His super power? Calling in favors. He uses this power for good, either to help a friend in trouble (such as when Ronan faces expulsion or Adam presses charges against his father) or to further his search for Glendower
- Deconstructed in The Phantom of the Opera: The original book by Gaston Leroux shows the consequences of a society that embraces this principle: The opera managers know how to play politics better than to manage, and who the opera singer knows is more important to being The Prima Donna than to sing better. This means that everyone is a Stupid Boss who doesnt know how to do his job. Every employee knows that, so the bosses are Properly Paranoid about being pranked by them because nobody respects them. They also are the ideal victims for a BlackMailer, and thats how Erik (the titular phantom) could convince them to let him do whatever he pleases.
- Lightly used in A Deeper Blue. When an admiral objects to Adams pulling a cigar, the former is asked to check whose authority is behind him.note The man quickly gives in.
- The Hunt for Red October: A Soviet doctor who was drunk on duty botched what should have been a simple appendix removal. Being the son of a senior party official, he remained unpunished for the violation of the rules and the death resulting from it. This is part of what drove Ramius to defect, as the victim was his wife.
- In the fourth book of Protector of the Small, Neal puts a spell on an abusive innkeeper that will prevent him from beating his servants by reflecting the pain back on himself. When the innkeeper says that it's illegal to force a magic on a person, Neal says that nobody's going to believe the innkeeper over Duke Baird of Queenscove's son. (To be fair, the innkeeper himself implied that he was buddies with the local magistrate and they're in a border town with an impending war, preventing a by-the-book resolution.)
- This trope is directly responsible for the entire Archer Christifori arc in Battle Tech. A Smug Snake of a junior officer with heavy political leanings towards the increasingly oppressive Archon Katherine Steiner-Davion killed Archer's sister when he was supposed to be picking her up for an interview then tried to weasel out of it with some Blatant Lies. When all he got was a slap on the wrist as punishment (he was demoted a couple ranks but spent no time in the brig and was never even charged with murder) thanks to his family's political connections, it was the final straw for Archer, who started a rebellion on his planet with his entire militia company before becoming one of the major players in the FedCom Civil War.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has Janos Slynt attempt to do this at the Wall, despite the fact that at the Wall you're essentially a dead man and no one will care what happens to you.
- In Dora Wilk Series, one of Thorn Councilmen tries to force Dora to free his nephew from prison and rape charges, basing himself on this trope. She has none of this, though.
- The Hunger Games: A different interpretation of the word "connections" in this case, but the reason Katniss hasn't been tossed in a cell for illegally hunting the District 12 wildlife isn't because of any particular skill at evading the Peacemakers. It's because the Peacemakers are also her customers.
- Wolf Hall:
- Thomas Cromwell is a member of a covert reading group of John Tyndale's English translation of the Bible, who face death by burning if discovered (as indeed several of them are). Cromwell is a little safer than people like Little Bilney because he's the right hand of Cardinal Wolsey, and it's an unspoken understanding between the two of them that he's allowed his little bit of heresy because of their friendship. (Cromwell also pays close attention to when Wolsey mentions names from the group and warns them of forthcoming raids. Later, when he's Master Secretary and thus becomes the Connection, he tries to arrange an escape for John Frith, but Frith refuses to take it.)
- Cromwell later does this from the other end in an example of "screw the rules for my connections." When he's put in charge of bringing down Anne Boleyn, he's reminded by his accomplices of Thomas Wyatt, a poet with a well-known crush on Anne. Henry Wyatt is a family friend who once asked Cromwell to look after his wayward son, so when Mark Smeaton names Thomas Wyatt as one of Anne's partners, Cromwell refuses to add him to the list and refuses his accomplices' advice to arrest him until Wyatt arrives in London and Cromwell has no choice but to take him in. Even then he puts Wyatt in the Tower of London only for protective custody and doesn't even start a case in the hopes that the well-publicized executions of Anne and her five accused lovers will take the heat off. It does, and he releases Wyatt unharmed a little while later.
- Reference material for The Railway Series reveals that the first Sir Topham Hatt, Baronet, had this. He was an engineer in his own right, before becoming director of the entire North Western region. He knew Sir William Stanier and Sir Nigel Gresley, both among the most famous locomotive engineers the world had ever seen. His good standing with them ensured Gordon was purchased, and Henry was rebuilt, to give his railway the powerhouses it needed.
- Carrie: Overlapping with Screw the Rules, I Have Money!, Chris Hargensen's father is a rich Amoral Attorney who regularly employs Loophole Abuse to ensure she never faces the consequences of her bullying actions. He got her into Oberlin despite her poor grades, and when she's banned from attending the prom for taunting Carrie over her first period in the shower, he threatens to sue the school unless they let Chris attend; he's forced to back off when the principal shows him Chris' long record of violations, declaring that they could easily have Chris locked up for them.
- Subverted in the Sharpe TV-adaption of "Sharpe's Eagle".
Simmerson: I have a cousin at Horse Guards, sir... and I have friends at court.
- Crusade: The Pro Zeta Corporation uses its influence with its clients to avoid an investigation.
- In Scrubs, a medical student is annoying the shit out of Elliot, because his father is the CEO of the corporation that owns the hospital, so Elliot can't punish or treat him badly. After Kelso tells Elliot that it's his job to kiss his father's ass and that she should go out and kick his ass, she does so.
- Cole, one of the medical students introduced in season 9, is the son of a major donor to the hospital, and pulls this to get away with screwing around in the hospital. While it does keep him from being expelled, it doesn't keep anyone from getting back at him for his general jackassery.
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 short film "Cheating", Johnny gets caught cheating on a test, and Tom Servo riffs, "Fortunately, your mob ties will get you off, Johnny."
- Scooter on The Muppet Show gets by (at least early in the show) mostly on the fact that his uncle owns the theater where the show takes place. He's not necessarily a brat about it, and he doesn't make that many demands, but just casually mentioning his uncle is enough for Kermit to cave in instantly. (Scooters uncle appeared in one episode, and it's easy to see why someone would be afraid of him. He's a nasty guy to work for.) This aspect slowly disappears over time.
- Landry in Friday Night Lights is a cop's son, and therefore, when he confesses to murder, the police are visibly trying to find a way to avoid prosecuting him. Even in his interview, the detective almost desperately tries to coach him into setting up his defence, and when his dad arrives, they let him go and ultimately fail to file charges.
- This almost has to be happening for Lee "Apollo" Adama in Battlestar Galactica (2003). Having your dad be the head of the Colonial Military can mean you get cut a lot of slack. At the end of season 1, he commits mutiny and puts a gun to the head of Galactica's XO, but this doesn't seem to hurt his career much. Towards the end of season 2, he's even promoted to commander (over a few higher-ranking and more-experienced officers, the aforementioned XO included — though events early in the season hint said XO wouldn't be the best commander) and put in charge of his own Battlestar. And is there any other explanation for in season 4 when despite the pressing need for experienced pilots at all times, he is allowed to quit the military for good and gets shoehorned into a Quorum seat, which allows him to temporarily rise to be president when Roslin is missing, mostly because they needed a candidate his father would accept? Given what we have seen of the lack of options open to ordinary people of the fleet and the need for all those in essential positions to do their duty all the time, one can't help but feel Lee is lucky to have the opportunities he has. And, in fact, he lampshades this a bit. At Baltar's trial, specifically, he notes that he had done some ridiculous things that should have gotten him prosecuted at least... but he was forgiven.
- Part of a climactic scene in late season three of Dexter. Dexter confronts a monster he's created by reminding him of the evidence he has. Miguel's reply? "You got what, a ring? I got fucking CITY HALL!" Of course, he never did learn exactly who or what Dexter really is...
- In the Japanese Tokusatsu Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, a group of villains are incredibly calm towards Sen-chan's questions, annoyances, and at one point death sentence because one of their fathers is a judge for the Space police. Unfortunately for them, Sen-chan just decides to kill them before they have time to tell their connections.
- Castle is a surprisingly benign version of this... while he uses his influence as a best-selling mystery author (and the fact that he has the mayor on speed dial) to be allowed to shadow Detective Beckett, he has proved quite useful, with his Genre Savvy providing breakthroughs in several cases, and on one occasion using his connections to rush evidence through the lab to close a case.
[after making a bet on whether or not their Vic of the Week was a CIA agent]
Beckett: All right, you're on!
[Castle dials a number]
Beckett: ...who are you calling?
Castle: My guy in the CIA.
Beckett: [disbelieving] You have a guy in the CIA???
Castle: When will you learn? I've got a guy everywhere.
- Captain Montgomery is good at subverting this. He later reveals to Beckett that he could have gotten rid of Castle at any time ("The mayor doesn't run this place, I do."), but only kept him around because he thought it would be good for her. Also, when a suspect threatens to call the police commissioner, he replies "Tell him I said hi. And that I could use a raise."
- Castle is a surprisingly benign version of this... while he uses his influence as a best-selling mystery author (and the fact that he has the mayor on speed dial) to be allowed to shadow Detective Beckett, he has proved quite useful, with his Genre Savvy providing breakthroughs in several cases, and on one occasion using his connections to rush evidence through the lab to close a case.
- Practically everyone on Veronica Mars is guilty of some version of this. Veronica herself constantly exploits any and all connections she has in law enforcement. Usually justifiable, considering she lives in Neptune.
- In Dollhouse, it's not a person but the title business. It largely survives because it has a lot of rich and powerful people, including at least one senator and the Governor of California, on its client list.
- As the World Turns loves this trope because of its legacy families. Many of the characters, even just with ties to super couples and their parents/children, tend to be able to get away with anything on connections alone.
- On Burn Notice, one scumbag Abusive Parent uses his connections to protect his mobster brother. When Michael and company take out the scumbag by making him look like an unstable lunatic, it's mentioned in the epilogue that the brother will likely go down with him.
- This is the main reason why the Office of Disruptive Services team on Chaos is able to operate the way they do. They have connections going all the way to the White House. Their Obstructive Bureaucrat boss wants them fired, but as long as they do not screw up in a major way, their everyday misdeeds will go unpunished.
- One of the major themes on The Wire. Clay Davis and Ervin Burrell are two of the biggest offenders.
- On Queer as Folk, a police officer who frequently uses male prostitutes accidentally strangles one of them. Luckily (for him), his long-time friend and former partner on the force is now the chief of police, and agrees to help him cover up the whole thing.
- JAG: Meg Austin's father was a friend with Colonel Oliver North (of the Iran-Contra scandal fame). Meg calls in a favor from "Uncle Ollie" once or twice when they need info they can't get through official channels.
- On Life, Russian gangster Roman Nevikov has a whole bunch of FBI agents in his pocket, which allows him to walk away from pretty much any criminal charges the LAPD cares to bring by claiming to be a federal informant providing information about terrorist networks.
- Done humorously in the movie Ike: Countdown to D-Day. The film made a point of showing Montgomery's (historically true) prohibition on smoking in his headquarters or at meetings he's attending, even to the point that Eisenhower, his superior in the Allied chain of command, wasn't allowed to light up. During the briefing for Operation Overlord given to King George VI, the king pulls out a cigarette, much to the distress of Monty who clearly isn't willing to tell his monarch that smoking is banned in the building. Immediately almost all the other senior Allied commanders, including Eisenhower, start smiling and also light up.
- Game of Thrones:
- Ser Jaime and Tyrion of the wealthy and powerful House Lannister get by on Tywin's and Cersei's reputation as well as their family's gold. Subverted in "Walk of Punishment" when Jaime tries to bribe Locke into releasing him. Locke gives Jaime a well-deserved "The Reason You Suck" Speech, mocking him for acting as if he's better than others and in control, when in fact nearly all of his influence and power comes from his father, and that when separated from him Jaime is helpless and should talk more wisely. To emphasize his point, he then lops off Jaime's hand.
- Tywin Lannister, probably the most powerful (and certainly the richest) person in Westeros, backs the Baratheons of King's Landing to the hilt, allowing them to pretty much do whatever they want, no matter the obstacles. Unfortunately, this has also extended to the borrowing of money, leading to the Baratheons of King's Landing acquiring astronomical amounts of debt which they are largely unable to service.
- Used frequently in Lawand Order Special Victims Unit. Though expect whoever just got off on that to get killed shortly after by a victim that couldn't care less.
- Subverted in the mini-series Nancy Wake. Wake's husband, industrialist Henri Fiocca, tells a Gestapo officer that he can be talking on the phone with Marshall Petain in half an hour. "Can you do the same with your Fuhrer?" Later on he's arrested and the Gestapo officer tells him, "By the way, Marshall Petain has never heard of you."
- Deconstructed in Brooklyn Nine-Nine in an episode where the Deputy Commissioner's son is revealed to have been tagging police cars with graffiti, but whenever he gets arrested he calls his father, who puts pressure on the arresting detectives to drop the charges. While venting to Captain Holt, Detective Peralta enviously calls the kid lucky, which gets this response:
Holt: I wouldn't say he was lucky. I feel bad for this kid. I mean, what kind of father cares so little for his son that he lets him get away with everything?
- In Blue Bloods, the Reagan kids avert this trope in that they refuse to use their father's clout as Police Commissioner. In "Critical Condition," Sosa suggests that with Jamie's family connections, he could have made Detective by now. That said, other characters try to invoke the trope, to mixed results:
- Inverted in "Parenthood," when Mayor Carter Poole's illegitimate daughter Ariel joins a protest and is caught up in the ensuring dragnet. Ariel doesn't demand special treatment, but her parents politely suggest, separately, that Frank had better let the matter drop.
- In "Rush to Judgment," Jamie is accused of undue force (he was actually trying to knock someone out of the path of an oncoming biker), a D.A. makes it clear she thinks he's guilty and his father must be covering for him. When video proves Jamie innocent, the woman continues to smark about his family always getting their way.
Jamie: If my family really threw their weight around like you say...how smart is it for you to be insulting us?
- In "Men in Black," Jamie and Vinny arrest the previous mayor's daughter and her friend after catching them in the act of smoking pot on a park bench. When preparing to arrest them, said daughter tries to invoke this:
Rebecca Levitt: Don't you guys have any real criminals to chase?
Jamie Reagan: You might want to ease up on that attitude, Rebecca.
Rebecca Levitt: You don't know who my father is.
Jamie Reagan: [smirks] I don't really care.
- Of course, after a discussion with Erin her dad tells the judge:
Rebecca's father: I would like to tell the court that my daughter is a wonderful young woman... [beat] ...who needs to learn to respect the law.
- The bad guys don't have a monopoly on this. In "Warriors" the State Department refuses to grant political asylum to a Turkish cellist in danger of being the victim of an honor killing if she returns home (for having dated and slept with an American during the tour). Frank talks a contact into getting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to hire her, and his opposite number at State, the episode's Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist, expedites a work visa.
- There's an implication that when Nicky is arrested with her friends in "Road to Hell" after drugs are found in the car during a traffic stop that Nicky was expecting the process to be easier for her on the basis of her last name.
- In "In the Box," Garrett's stepson Sam has been arrested for scoring oxycodone during an observational buy. Garrett wants to have him released into rehab. However, Frank is suspicious of the circumstances, and has his secretary Abigail Baker investigate, discovering that Garrett has used his pull at 1PP to keep Sam out of prison on several prior occasions. Frank confronts Garrett and gets him to see that he's enabling his stepson's drug habit and not helping him.
- In "Dedications," Frank brings up having to use Henry's influence to squash a commendation, when a botched attempt to arrest the head of a Westies gang faction led to the death of the guy's wife and grandson.
- It's played almost ridiculously straight in one episode which features the Deputy Commissioner cheating on his wife during a marital spat with a woman in Atlantic City. He makes it clear that the affair was mutual, admits to lying about his position when he met the woman, and she has pictures of text messages they sent to each other. The DPC is ready to resign, as he doesn't want to bring a scandal down on the department...so Frank asks his father to call up his old buddies on the Atlantic City force to put some pressure on the woman to "disappear," specifically saying he wants Henry to do it off the record so it can't be traced back to him. What makes it particularly egregious is that the episode's A-plot features Danny going on a rant about how priests lie to cover up child molesters (which, while true, turns out to have nothing to do with the case at hand). And the show doesn't even mention the parallels. Maybe the producers thought no one would notice.
- In The West Wing, an inversion of this got Charlie Young his job as personal assistant to President Bartlett. Deborah Fiderer was pressured to give Charlie's position to the son of a prominent Democratic supporter (read: donor), but she wouldn't do it and ended up getting fired as a result. Despite this, though, she refused to admit what had happened as she didn't want Charlie to feel obliged to her for doing what she knew was right. The President is so impressed by her loyalty (and amazing memory) that he hires her to become his new private secretary.
- In the Australian series Halifax f.p., a detective working an interstate case is threatened with damage to his career by a local politician. When the detective points out that he's not even from that state, the politician indicates the club they're standing in, and talks of how politicians from all over the country pass through the club when visiting his state, and how politics is all about working these connections...
- Daredevil (2015):
- Nelson & Murdock's difficulty in taking down Wilson Fisk is because Fisk is deeply connected, with corrupt cops and senators on his payroll.
- Karen Page gets her job at the New York Bulletin because Mitchell Ellison feels bad about not having previously supported Ben Urich, who he knew had been close with Karen and had been mentoring her through her investigation of Wilson Fisk up until Fisk killed Ben. It's clear that Karen's connection to Ben and to Ellison is why she's getting a job with one of New York City's major newspapers and immediately getting a private office, despite not having any journalism degree or prior experience in the field. (Most reporters would be lucky to get a cubicle to start)
- Rosalie Carbone, introduced in the last two episodes of Luke Cage season 2 prior to showing up in Daredevil season 3, has immense influence in organized crime. She has as much control over the underworld in Rikers as Fisk does.
- Jessica Jones (2015):
- Jessica attempts to use the connections of her acquaintances when trying to acquire sufentanil that she can use against Kilgrave. She tries to ask Trish if she has connections to any shady doctors who might be willing to slip her some, but Trish says that all the doctors she knows save small African villages and wouldn't be easy to persuade. So she next goes to Jeri Hogarth's ex-wife Wendy, who is a doctor. Wendy is not helpful either. So Jessica just resorts to stealing some from a hospital, using Malcolm as a distraction.
- It's how Trish manages to identify the security firm that Kilgrave has hired to protect him in case Jessica uses the sufentanil to knock out his powers. As she explains to Simpson:
Trish Walker: I might have a lead.
Will Simpson: So, you gonna tell me?
[Trish walks past Simpson, gets an envelope on the table behind them, and passes to him. He opens it. Inside are the pictures of various people in black shirts]
Will Simpson: Mmm, military.
Trish Walker: Ex. They're bodyguards. Kilgrave's new bodyguards.
Will Simpson: And how do you know?
Trish Walker: I went to all the top New York security firms, told them an old stalker of mine was back, that I was in the market for a new protection detail. After that, it was just a matter of getting the right people to talk.
Will Simpson: No way. The first rule of personal security is to keep your clients secret.
Trish Walker: I give good talk.
- Played for laughs in a later episode. When Jessica and Trish are searching the morgues looking for Kilgrave's father, Trish bribes Maury Tuttlebaum, the morgue attendant at Riverbank Medical Center, into letting them search the bodies by getting him the chef's table at Per Se.
Jessica Jones: Dinner at the fancy restaurant is supposed to buy us quiet assistance.
- In season 2, Trish uses another favor with Maury to get him to fast-track the identification of a charred skull she and Jessica find in Dr. Hansen's incinerator.
- In episode six of season 2, Trish and Jessica try to enter a private country club to talk to Dr. Karl Malus's donor Justis Ambrose. But because Trish is not a member there, the maitre'd refuses to let them through despite recognizing Trish. Ultimately, Jessica has to sneak in by hopping over a wall while Trish just launches a tirade at the maitre'd calling him a sexist, which culminates in her eventually throwing up due to going through the withdrawal of being off Simpson's inhaler.
- In episode four of season 2, Trish's new boyfriend Griffin Sinclair offers to use his pull as a newscaster at ZCN to get Trish a job there. She politely declines saying, "I love you for offering, but going to them as Griffin Sinclair's girlfriend won't get me taken seriously," and she would rather get the job by her own merits than her connections.
- Luke Cage (2016):
- Mariah Dillard is a city councilwoman in bed with the criminal activities of her gangster cousin Cottonmouth, and these connections are how she and Diamondback are able to sell Judas bullets to the NYPD as part of their scheme to discredit and kill Luke Cage.
- Cottonmouth, in turn, has managed to escape arrest and convictions because he's got cops on his payroll to interfere in investigations that might incriminate him or his underlings, one of whom is Misty Knight's partner.
- Diamondback has connections which give him access to Hammer Industries weapons, such as the brand-new Judas bullet.
- The Defenders (2017):
- After Danny Rand and Luke Cage get into a fight when Luke interrupts Danny's attempt to interrogate Cole, Luke gives Danny a dressing-down about how his crusade against the Hand has him going after bottom-feeders when his wealth and social status give him the ability to take his fight right to the top. After much discussion with Colleen, Danny decides to go to the Hand's headquarters at Midland Circle in his capacity as the CEO of Rand Enterprises. Unfortunately, it's a trap, and while he manages to fight off most of Alexandra's men, he's almost captured, until Luke, Jessica and Matt show up to rescue him.
- The pull Luke has with Misty Knight from their work on Cottonmouth and Diamondback is how he's able to convince her to stash Claire Temple, Colleen Wing, Malcolm Ducasse, Trish Walker, Foggy Nelson and Karen Page in her precinct when the Hand begin targeting them.
- The Hand have thrived for so long because of their use of connections. They use contacts in the mayor's office and Trish's radio station to shut down talk about the earthquake triggered by underground mining at Midland Circle. After Elektra kills Alexandra, the remaining fingers - Murakami, Bakuto and Madame Gao - try to reason with her by pointing out that the Hand's connections are what gives them power and has allowed them to survive, but Elektra flat-out tells them she doesn't care about them beyond using them as tools to get the substance.
- The Punisher (2017): William Rawlins has managed to escape prosecution for the war crimes he committed in Afghanistan thanks to his rise to being the Director of Covert Operations for the CIA. In turn, Billy Russo has managed to also escape persecution for his role in these war crimes thanks to his pretty face and good charisma when it comes to schmoozing politicians.
- Attempted on The Mentalist by a Victim of the Week's wealthy husband, who demands that Agent Cho tell him the name of his murdered wife's lover.
Walcott: Are you sure, Agent Cho? Because I can make one phone call and your career is toast.
Cho: [completely unimpressed] That's impressive. The most I can get with one phone call is a pizza.
- Breaking Bad: Gomez uses this to bluff the owner of Gus's laundromat when Hank sends him there to search for evidence of an underground meth lab:
Steven Gomez: So I bust this chef. Well, he says he's a chef, but just because you work at a restaurant that charges $14 for a burger, that don't make you a chef. That makes you a glorified burger flipper, at least in my book. Anyway, so we bust this chef for heroin possession. He says, "Well, just because you found heroin in my chef whites doesn't make it mine. Maybe it came from the place that launders my chef whites" — this place.
Dennis Markowski: Oh, come on, man. I don't want to do this stuff with you.
Steven Gomez: I—I know, I know. You don't have to say it. I'll say it for you: "His story is a big load of steaming horse shit." I mean, we're going to find heroin here like we're going to find Jimmy Hoffa. Right? The thing is, is that the chef's daddy is a United States Senator. I'm not going to tell you which one, but you probably know who he is, right? So now I've got to waste my time checking out this burger flipper's story, and if I don't, his old man's going to jam me up, my ASAC, my whole entire office. Politics, huh? So what do you think?
Dennis Markowski: Listen, you know what? I have to check with my boss, and he's out of town, and I can't promise I'll reach him anytime soon either, you know?
Steven Gomez: Well, yeah, that's probably the way to go, so I'll have to go get a warrant, and we'll do it official, but you're probably going to have to close down for the day.
- "Bitchin' Camaro" by The Dead Milkmen gives us this gem:
I ran over some old lady
at the county fair.
And I didn't get arrested
because my dad's the mayor.
- It's been suggested that this is why Jesus Christ wasn't immediately arrested following the cleansing of the temple — Herod Antipas let it slide as part of a conspiracy with Sejanus to get himself installed as King of Judea and overthrow the conservative, corrupt High Priest Caiaphas.
- The McMahon kids don't fall into this too well... Shane's a fan favorite (the inversion of Vince in many ways, but he has broken out into one of his catchphrases once. Not the one you're thinking of though.), and while Stephanie is a bit of a bitch as well as a Daddy's Girl, she was a face in her General Manager days (and ironically, her reign came to an end when Vince beat her in an I Quit match).
- Being friends with a high-profile wrestler is a great way to guarantee a job. Brutus Beefcake owes his entire career to his friendship with Hulk Hogan. Kevin Nash was first brought into the WWF because of his friendship with Scott Hall, and then they became good friends with Shawn Michaels and former indy sensation the 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman. They would form The Kliq and amass all kinds of backstage power for themselves, with Triple H joining in 1995. Later in WCW, the top wrestlers would try to become friends with Eric Bischoff and would usually get a huge push from it. Just ask Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Diamond Dallas Page, among others.
- Carlito became this way in Ohio Valley Wrestling after joining Bolin Services, telling Jim Cornette he could do whatever he wanted when being yelled at him for arriving to a training session late. It also lead, somewhat ironically, to Carly disowning his family and WWC, who'd you'd think would provide more connections than Kenny Bolin...
- The early Adventures in Odyssey episode "Camp What-A-Nut" features a low-key version of this. Chas Wentworth, son of a wealthy businessman who (among other things) partially owns the camp itself, has a well-earned reputation as a troublemaker who figures his money will cover any trouble he might get into. For once, among other things, this doesn't come hand in hand with being popular. In fact, it eventually comes out that he is caught in a cycle of being a jerk to everyone because most people don't like him because he keeps flaunting his cash on the flawed assumption that people universally respect money.
- This is what the various 'Influence' backgrounds in 'The World of Darkness'' represent. Vampires, being immortal, are especially prone to cultivating these. Particularly the Ventrue.
- Shadowrun characters can cultivate connections that vary in function, influence, and loyalty. Being a 'connection horse' is a popular way to make a socially-oriented character extra useful: having a ton of loyal friends in high places makes running the shadows fairly easy at times.
- While it may not be potent enough to really count for this trope (barring GM Fiat, of course), the 2012 version of the Iron Kingdoms RPG introduced a Connections system. Mainly representing membership to certain organisations, like the Order of the Golden Crucible or the Greylord Covenant, or a specific nation's military and these connections can provide some material help at the GM's discretion. The section does mention that it can't be used to, say, have the party's Mage Hunter use his contacts in the Retribution of Scyrah to call in a couple of Mage Hunter Strike Teams to clear out an Orgoth ruin for them.
- Played somewhat more straight with one of the Aristocrat career's starting abilities, Privilege. Short version is that he's immune to persecution for petty crimes and can only be tried by a court of his peers (meaning other nobles). A successful Etiquette roll can let the character demand hospitality and request aid from a noble not at war with his kingdom (so don't expect Cygnaran noble to get much help in Khador or the Protectorate) and gets a nice bonus so social skill rolls made against people of a lower station who recognise him as a noble. Drawback is that the punishments from a high court are typically quite severe.
- Hero System characters may have a "Contact" Perk, representing an NPC who is willing to do favors and pull strings.
- The Serenity Role Playing Game has two perks of this nature, "Friends in High Places" (for connections in society's elite) and "Friends in Low Places" (for criminal underworld connections). You can roll a die to get your contacts to help with problems, difficulty dependent on the magnitude of the request (e.g. a small loan is an easy roll, getting the Feds to back off is harder).
- Roy Cohn in Angels in America.
- In the opera The Barber of Seville, Count Almaviva's connections keep him from being arrested by his romantic rival, Dr. Bartolo.
- Cyrano de Bergerac: At Act II Scene VII, De Guiche wants to Buy Them Off Cyrano, offering to say to his uncle, Cardinal Richelieu, whom Cyrano has already impressed, I'll gladly say a word to him for you. And at Act III Scene II, he lampshades how he will occult in a monastery:
De Guiche: ...Hard by, in the Rue d'Orleans, is a convent founded by Father Athanasius, the syndic of the Capuchins. True that no layman may enterbutI can settle that with the good Fathers! Their habit sleeves are wide enough to hide me in. 'Tis they who serve Richelieu's private chapel: and from respect to the uncle, fear the nephew. All will deem me gone...
- Some of the bystanders in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City claim that they "know people".
- In Tales of the Abyss, there's an unusual example in that it's actually useful to the player outside of cutscenes: equipping Jade with his "Emperor's Best Friend" title gets you a discount in shops.
- Tales of Vesperia has 2 characters who due to their positions of power will probably be acquitted for their heinous crimes even after being arrested. Yuri murders both of them in cold blood before they're given the chance.
- In The Godfather 2, you can do favours for corrupt officials in exchange for getting their help later.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Throughout the series, the Order of the Black Worm, a secretive Magical Society/Necrocracy founded by the legendary/infamous Lich/Necromancer Mannimarco that is dedicated to the study of The Dark Arts, has long been able to forge connections with people in positions of power. Empress Clivia Tharn allowed the Order to practice freely in Cyrodiil during the Planemeld, and the Order forged connections with Lord K'avar and Princess Morgiah leading up to the Warp in the West. When this has failed, the Order has simply resorted to bribery or threats instead.
- Doing favors for the jarls can result in the Dragonborn becoming a Thane. It's mostly a ceremonial title, but one of the perks is the ability to force guards to overlook any bounty that you might have on your head. It only works if your crimes are minor, though.
- Oddly enough, however, the bounty for assassinating the Emperor is low enough for you to do this. (1500, 150% of the bounty for normal murder.) Sure, it was a decoy, but you didn't know that and your intent was to kill the real Emperor. This might make sense if you've completed the Stormcloak questline and liberated Skyrim from the Empire, but if you have, that in itself presents Fridge Logic as to why the Penitus Oculatus is still in Skyrim in the first place.
- The Thieves Guild questline also allows you to do this; when you reach a certain rank you can bribe guards for half the normal price for bounties.
- Several quests in the game also allow you to bring up your title if you've become the faction leader of a certain faction (by completing the relevant questlines).
- In Dragon Age: Origins, Bann Vaughan, son of the current Arl of Denerim, employs this trope throughout the City Elf Origin, first by responding to the Warden's threats with the stock phrase "Do you have any idea who I am?" He later claims the Alienage will be purged by his father should the Warden slay him.
- Having a high reputation with a government in the X-Universe series lets you get away with an absurd amount of murders. You can capture their flagship, murder the crew, then sell the fighter pilots into slavery, and you'll often take only a minor reputation hit unless you started slaughtering everything else in the sector.
- In Max Payne 3, the paramilitary leader Neves says that he knows a lot of powerful people. Max tells him that they won't be able to help him now.
- Victor Branco pulls the same thing, declaring that even if Max takes him in, he'll walk. Max responds "You'll walk with a limp" and shatters one of Branco's legs with a harsh stomp.
- Mass Effect:
- Spectres more or less have this privilege. They answer directly to the Citadel Council, and are explicitly "above the law", enabling them to do things that would otherwise be very illegal in the pursuit of greater threats. Some Spectres abuse this, others are more scrupulous, but as long as they get the job done, the Council will back them.
- In Mass Effect 3, Aria T'loak, a crimelord and former de-facto ruler of Omega, is capable of bypassing Citadel customs by calling up the Asari councilor and telling her to give her permission.
- In Star Trek Online, there's Nog, the son of the Grand Nagus Rom and first Ferengi in Starfleet. Despite this humongous helping hand, Nog prefers to do things without his help. When you first meet him, yes, he's carrying around his father's staff, but he tells the Player Character that he's here on Starfleet duty and, besides, the staff was his father's second best.
- Cantr II: This is part of what makes the game fascinating, watching the mental gymnastics performed to justify punishing one person and not another, for the same infraction.
- In Persona 5, a drunk douchebag tries to sexually harass a woman. Fortunately for her, you happen to be passing by and stop him. Unfortunately for you, said douchebag has more pull with the police than you and promptly has you arrested for assault, expelled from your high school, and forced to move away to serve a year of probation. Many of the villains in the game are people who get away with misdeeds due to their connections, all the way up to Masayoshi Shido, a candidate for Prime Minister and the aforementioned drunken douchebag who gave your protagonist such grief in the first place. Luckily, the Phantom Thieves don't really give a damn about how famous or well-connected 'shitty adults' are. In fact, trying to invoke this trope and act above the law is a quick way to piss them off and get your heart stolen.
- In Ace Attorney Investigations, these are the exact people the Yatagarasu tries to combat. It's also pulled by Alba in the final case. If he committed the murder on Allebahstian soil, then he only gets a trial in Allebahst, where he will surely get off lightly due to his war hero status. This is before Agent Lang shows Edgeworth's trump card to the Allebahst royal family; after that, Alba attempts to leave for parts unknown instead.
- In the adult-oriented Visual Novel Discipline: A Record of a Crusade, this is the primary reason for Leona's Rich Bitch personality. When she's able to use a jet to blow up a portion of a school building, and NOT get punished for it, not even the O'Rourke family has that kind of clout.
- Subverted in Arthur, King of Time and Space: Morgan (before she's openly evil) expects that as the king's half-sister she can do whatever she wants, but egalitarian Arthur has instructed his people that anyone saying "Do you know who I am?" is to be ignored.
- Girl Genius: While this is not at all Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, his paper doll sports useful phrases such as "Do you know who I am?" and "My father will hear of this!".
- In Terra Kaleb Ceros is still alive at the start of the comic because of somebody else's connections. He was sentenced to death for beating one of his subordinates to death, but Solus Kalar had his father, the Sovereign of the Asurian Empire, overturn the execution so Solus could use him in the Shadow Cabal.
- Rare heroic example in Kubera: Asha has such good connections that she can literally get away with murder. 29 times.
- Hilariously, Randy tries to invoke this trope, saying that he "knows people now" who can put a horse head in Greg's sheets — after he's spent three days as a male prostitute in Manwhores, while threatening him ineffectually.
- The Nostalgia Chick, as part justification for the high-grade (cameras in Nella's house across the country, stealing Todd's government pay records, that kinda thing) stalking she does.
- Gaea from Noob has done plenty of ban-worthy stuff. Some of that stuff was cooperating with Tenshirock, who helped her get her avatar back when it was banned, then kept it from being kicked out a second time when she got framed by someone else in the webseries and novels.
- Used in Futurama with the Mayor's aide dating Leela.
- Parodied to some degree, since he likes to try and use his position even when it wouldn't make any difference (e.g. saying he's the mayor's aide and requesting a table even after the restraunteer in question cheerfully showed them to a table).
- The Simpsons:
- Subverted by Mayor Quimby's nephew, who is a Spoiled Brat, but didn't actually commit the crime he is thought to have. Also subverted in that in spite of Quimby's rampant bribery, his nephew still comes very close to being imprisoned for the crime.
- Marge benefited from this in an episode when she had a nervous breakdown and blocked traffic on a bridge. She was arrested, but Mayor Quimby immediately pulled some strings to get her released without charge. Quimby did it because he knew that if Marge went to jail, he could kiss the "chick vote" goodbye, but the results were still beneficial.
- One of the greatest examples is Ed Wuncler III from the The Boondocks cartoon. His grandfather is the ultra-rich owner of... pretty much everything, so Ed gets away with... well, pretty much everything. Take, for example, his foray into bank robbery. It was bungled about as badly as it could have been, and when they get into the car, they start arguing and eventually ask the bank manager (who they had also kidnapped) for a second opinion. Later, back at Ed's house, a police officer shows up to return Ed's wallet, which he lost at the bank while in the process of robbing it. He even apologizes for having wasted Ed's time. It helps when your grand-dad owns both the police and the bank in question.
- Wuncler Sr. does this in the season three finale by calling The President of the United States to get a renegade agent to stand down.
- Courtney and her gratuitous use of her lawyers on Total Drama Action, which has gotten her multiple immunities and preferential treatment by the producers. As the show goes on, though, they eventually start to tire of her attitude. Her lawyers stop returning her calls.
- Miraculous Ladybug: The only reason Chloé can get away with being such an insufferable Alpha Bitch to everyone is because her dad is the mayor, as well as a Doting Parent who will use the full extent of his authority to bring harsh punishment upon anyone who dares make his precious little angel displeased in any way. She is well aware of this, and exploits this trope to its fullest potential. On the ludicrously rare occasion that her dad shows something resembling a spine and doesn't do what she says, she quickly puts him back in line by threatening to call the only person who has authority over him: her mom.
- Neo Yokio: The Magistocracy, the families of magic and psychic users, have "Magisticratic Immunity" from the law enforcement of Neo Yokio and will only answer to the Lord Mayor. Aunt Agatha uses this to save Kaz from the Remembrancer's interrogation.
- Very often Truth in Television, unfortunately. Hence the adage of "It's not what you know, it's who you know."
- Often tried (and failed) by customers featured on Not Always Right.
- Just because you're a surgeon or your father is Assistant Manager does not give you the right to treat the employees like crap or get away with stealing.
- Here is a case where the actual manager was right there at the time.
- Here's a customer who did have a connection (via a manager), and abused it to get free food. His M.O. is to come into the deli, ask for something they have that is not ready, then complaining to the manager so that the employees at the deli are forced to give him a meal for free. Eventually, however, the store manager catches on when he finds that the other manager is always signing off on no-charge purchases on the deli production sheets for that specific customer, plus security camera footage shows the customer deliberately looking for things they didn't currently have available. He has the customer banned from the store, and gives the other manager a one week unpaid suspension.
- The final straw in this Humiliation Conga: not only does he not have connections, but the fellow customer whose removal he's asking for does. As in, the customer he was trying to hit on and then assault was the bartender's sister. The bouncer at said bar was the bartender's husband.
- This is an odd example in that the customer seems to have honestly deluded herself into believing that she is the vet's girlfriend, or she's trying very hard to become his girlfriend. She's set, er, straight, by the vet's sister, and later the vet himself.
- This caller demands a new free computer, even though the issue with his current computer is easily fixed, and then claims to know the founder of the company and be having lunch with him the next day - only to be informed that the founder is dead.
- This woman flat-out states that she is "above the law, and with one word, can have your entire company shut down".
- Deconstructed by an employee featured on Not Always Working, when her uncle points out that not only does he not have that much power with the establishment, but he'd fire her for that crap, too.
- Another Not Always Working story features a waitress who is rude, slacks off in her duties, and is a generally poor employee, but because her boyfriend — a chef at the same restaurant — has threatened to quit if she is fired, management is unwilling to discipline her. Until they realize which chef she's dating...
- Olive oil companies in Italy can slip less than 20% of hydrogenated oil into their Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil and market it as 100% pure. Because the big names of these edible oil companies have political connections, this means that anyone buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil and hoping for its health benefits is possibly getting crappy hydrogenated oil with it.
- This is how Inheritance Cycle got widely published. Christopher Paolini's parents originally published it with their own company, until the son of a more well-known author read the book and said it was the best book written by a teen that he'd ever seen. Without reading it himself, said more-famous author told his publishing company, Alfred Knopf, about it and they decided to publish it and promote it themselves. And the rest is history.
- The Battalion Dance, the story behind two of the rules on Skippy's List, has this as a major theme — basically, civilian wives going overboard with their "power" which they supposedly had because of who they married. Chaos ensued.
- Terrible behavior by army spouses (usually wives of officers) trying to abuse their partners' rank is relatively common in many military settings; in the US armed forces perpetrators are invariably reviled and the most common real effect is an embarrassed apology from the spouse holding the actual rank. The on-base slur for such people in the US are "Dependas"Translation
- In the British Army, there is a sort of informal convention that implicitly dictates that, in the parellel heirarchy of military wives, the Colonel's Lady is "first among equals". This is reflected in the informal status given to the Regimental Sergeant Major's wife. (the RSM is the most senior enlisted soldier). Whilst this bestows informal power, the wise postholder will understand she is only there as a mirror of her husband's rank, and will go about using the status informally and gently - to suggest, rather than order, and to use it in ways which support her husband in his job, and are constructive in the wider Batallion family.
- YouTube Partners, immune to (most of) the rules of content nature restrictions and also don't have to have a relevant title or thumbnail.
- This mindset is so inherent to Israeli culture that it has its own special term — "Proteqzia" — sometimes sardonically referred to as "Vitamin P".
- "Go ahead, sue me if you dare [for killing a pedestrian and injuring another], My dad is Li Gang!" Even with the effort of the Chinese government to censor the outrage and provide a staged apology from Li Qiming and his father, Baodong City Public Security Bureau Deputy Director Li Gang, Qiming pled guilty and was sentenced to six years and fines of over half a million renminbi. The internet vigilantism in this case uncovered Li Gang's corruption and the Hebei University president's plagiarism.
- During the Ocean Marketing fiasco, Paul Christoforo tried to do this by listing PAX, E3, Germany the convention, the mayor of Boston, and many more as people who would back him. It backfired when Mike Krahulik, the co-founder and organizer of PAX, got involved in the situation, and told Christoforo to get lost.
- As any Army field officer knows, either knowing the right people in QM or having a NCO/private/dogsbody who does and being deliberately ignorant of how they go about their business leads to wonderful things being acquired for the unit that either are unavailable/waiting in a depot somewhere/need to be requested in triplicate.
- Raoul Wallenberg actually used this trope for good purposes, when he claimed Swedish Diplomatic Impunity while rescuing Jews from the Nazis.
- Ditto with Oskar Schindler and Albert Goering, the latter the younger brother of the Nazi Reichsmarschall, both of whom used their connections to save Jews and other victims of Nazism.
- The Royal Italian Army was filled with officers who got away with gross incompetence and were promoted due to friendship with important people and Freemason membership. Among the worst examples we have:
- Captain Hercolani Gaddi. During the initial Italian conquest of Libya, Hercolani Gaddi was placed in control of Sokna and tasked with supplying the troops of colonel Miani, sent to occupy Fezzan, but failed in his task for no apparent reason, resulting in Miani being forced to retreat and not suppress the start of the revolt that nearly kicked the Italians out of Libya. In the following investigation, Hercolani Gaddi was not touched thanks to his Freemason membership and friendship with generals Martini and Tassoni (Freemasons themselves)
- General Pietro Badoglio. Having anticipated the Austro-Hungarians would try and break through Italian lines at Volzana (an obvious weak point in his sector), he not only disobeyed orders to fortify the first line and keep the artillery ready for a fighting retreat (he placed his artillery in such a way they could shell into oblivion any breakthrough but could not escape if anything went wrong), but he did so in such a way his artillery would be unable receive his orders to open fire or even see they should have opened fire if the Austro-Hungarians attacked with mist (precisely the reason Cadorna wanted a fighting retreat). When the Austro-Hungarians attacked with misty weather as part of the Caporetto offensive they captured the artillery, making the defeat much worse (the main breakthrough happening at Caporetto, hence the name of the battle), but Badoglio was not sacked, and in fact entered the staff of Cadorna's replacement Armando Diaz, thanks to his Freemason membership and friendship with the king and his prime minister.
- Despite hard evidence, football player Matthew Barnett was acquitted of raping Daisy Coleman because his grandfather was a Republican state senator.
- Similarly, Manu Sharma was acquitted of murder despite hard evidence, because his father was an influential MP. In this case, however, the public outcry was enough to see Sharma retried and convicted.
- The very concept of Wasta in the Middle East, especially the Arabian Peninsula. Simply put, whom you know allows you to act above what is the written law. The origins are rather interesting as Middle East is built upon tribal and familial connections in what is until modern times, a harsh and lawless land. Therefore, most native Middle Easterners see connections not as an illegal way, but as quasi-legal alternative. While the very concept grates on the modern notion of "merit above all", the system of Wasta reinforces existing connection and trust; after all, if you personally know someone and can attest to that person's character, he or she would naturally be preferred to a stranger, even with an equal amount of skill. In essence, it's the phrase "better the devil you know" taken to its logical conclusion. To say that this is bordering on Blue and Orange Morality would of course, be an understatement, and with the entry of these countries to the global marketplace, frictions between native Middle Easterners and expatriates have been on the increase and is not expected to go away any time soon.
- The Renaissance painter Caravaggio was an out-and-out Jerkass that outright assaulted and killed multiple people during his life, only escaping being arrested because the Catholic Church was one of his patrons and the cardinals that he painted for pulled strings to keep him out of jail, even when he murdered someone in a tennis court with over twenty witnesses.
- As the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated has pointed out, the MPAA seems to be more lenient with their ratings if the film they're looking over was produced/backed by a studio. If the film was independently produced, they'll be far more strict.
- British investigative journalist Stephen Knight looked into long-standing allegations of corruption among Freemasons operating under vows of secrecy, and concluded that in many areas, including the process of law, there was a case to answer. One case conceerned a Freemason in a messy divorce who boasted to his wife that he'd "fixed" the case so that the judge was also a Mason and would resolve the divorce in a manner wholly favourable to him. Unfortunately, the Masonic judge had to withdraw from the hearing as ill, and a replacement, asigned impartially by the court, turned out to be one of Britain's few women judges... the divorce did not go as the husband planned it. Not at all. But when checking out the judge who would have taken the case, Knight discovered he - and the husband - both belonged to the same Masonic lodge, which meant that both parties were knowingly engaging in a conflict of interests and impartiality.
- The executives and regulators in the US financial industry are close friends with each other, with regulators often joining executive boards after they leave the SEC or FTC. Thanks to these close personal relationships, the architects of the 2008 financial crisis pocketed their salaries and fat benefits packages while the federal government bailed their collapsing businesses out from bankruptcy and thousands of ordinary people lost their homes.
- Russia is friends with China, Iran, and Turkey, who are only too happy to help Russia to subvert sanctions imposed upon Russia by western countries, and have done so in the past.
- Cultures influenced by Confucian thought are heavily based on this as well, which contributes to the endemic corruption within their governments. It's based on the Chinese practice of guanxi, where a group of associates takes care of each other. The whole "we take care of our own" philosophy.
- Yi Sun-Shin, who later became Korea's most famous Admiral, violated this policy early in his career by treating the subordinates with connections exactly like those without them, getting Reassigned to Antarctica as a result.
- The disgraced television presenter and serial pedophile Jimmy Savile is widely believed to have got away with his crimes for so long because of his incredible closeness to Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister during the 1980s; during the case of the investigation into Savile, it was found that he had been awarded a knighthood by Thatcher despite civil servants repeatedly warning the Cabinet Office of his criminal background.
- University students in medieval Europe were considered honorary clerics and as such, were above any secular law. This meant they were basically free to terrorize the towns and their citizenry with little or no repercussions. The blowback from these unrestricted privileges led to things like the St. Scholastica Day Riot in Oxford