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The Brigadier

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Armour-piercing rounds for Daleks, high-explosive rounds for yetis, and silver rounds for werewolves. (And we even got gold-tipped bullets for you-know-what.)

"This mission is recon only. Do not engage the enemy. I'm allowing the use of this ship because of the obvious tactical advantage it provides you. Under no circumstances is it to be used to travel through time. Never in my life did I imagine ever giving that order."
Gen. Hammond, Stargate SG-1, "Moebius, Part 2"

Any senior military person in a sci-fi drama who is a good guy. Will sometimes be skeptical of the existence of the Monster of the Week. When convinced and facing the current menace, Five Rounds Rapid is usually his default response to deal with it. However, when that fails, he is generally ready to admit when he is wrong and is immediately open to other ways to handle the situation. By senior, we mean someone above the rank of Colonel or naval Captain. Often, The Brigadier is also a Reasonable Authority Figure.

Often paired with a Technical Pacifist main character, either to prove that violence wouldn't solve the problem anyway or to allow the Technical Pacifist to have someone else fire the guns.

A natural employment for an Officer and a Gentleman. See also: Four-Star Badass. The law-enforcement equivalent is The Commissioner Gordon. Contrast General Ripper, Insane Admiral.

In the rankings of Authority Tropes, the next lower step is Colonel Badass and The Captain. The next steps up are the Four-Star Badass, The Caligula, The Good Chancellor, Evil Chancellor, Standard Royal Court, and Decadent Court.

Note that The Brigadier is not necessarily a Brigadier (as in General), but may have any number of stars.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Colonel in AKIRA is one of these, even if the other good guys take a while to realize it (his constantly trying to arrest them as revolutionaries didn't help).
  • Almost all of the military staff on the side of good in Fullmetal Alchemist fall into this, but one of the prominent examples is Olivier Armstrong.

    Comic Books 
  • Brigadier Alysande Stuart, who headed up W.H.O. (Weird Happenings Organisation) in Excalibur (Marvel Comics). And yes, she is a gender-flipped Expy of the Brig himself.
  • General Jonathan "Herc" Stone in Green Lantern. As the Commander of Edwards Air Force Base, he's regularly forced to answer the call when extraterrestrial threats reach Earth's doorstep, to the point that he keeps a "brig" in the base for imprisoning rogue aliens and their weapons. And as Hal Jordan's commanding officer in the Air Force — and one of the few people who knows about his "other job" — he occasionally serves as Green Lantern's Mission Control during missions on Earth.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • General Darnell, Steve Trevor's superior officer in the USAAF and later USAF in Wonder Woman (1942), in which he has to deal with Amazons, magical enemies, and superpowered allies and foes.
    • Starting in Wonder Woman (1987), Steve himself becomes a D.E.O. officer after leaving the Air Force, at eventually replacing Sarge Steel as the head of the D.M.A. in Wonder Woman (2006).

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Iron Giant. General Rogard is actually a good guy who is only fighting the Giant because Kent lied to him that it was a killer. Once he learns the truth, he immediately stops attacking it.
  • In Starship Troopers: Invasion, General Johnny Rico fills this role, and leads The Cavalry to save the heroes in the film's climax.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • DC Extended Universe: General Swanwick in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He's responsible for leading the fight against General Zod's Kryptonian forces in the former, and he advises the President of the United States during the battle against Doomsday in the latter. Though initially antagonistic towards Superman, he comes to trust him by the end of Man of Steel, and eventually helps Lois Lane find evidence proving Lex Luthor guilty of bankrolling terrorists in Africa.

  • Sir Colin Campbell receives this treatment in George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman novels, first at Balaclava and then at Lucknow.
  • Many of the military-types appearing in the Lord Darcy stories are this sort of character, particularly the Naval officers. Subverted by Commander Lord Ashley of "Too Many Magicians", who turned out to be the killer.
  • The Royal Air Force has its equivalent rank of Air Commodore. Air Commodore "Baggy" Bletchley is the Brigadier in RAF blue. In the works of Derek Robinson, he is a hangover from WW1 biplane fighting who pops up in a series of books to give hearty encouragement, interspersed with contradictory, confused, and frequently impractical or impossible orders to his beleaguered squadron commanders. In Hullo Russia, Goodbye England it is revealed he went sand-happy in North Africa note  and had to be retired to a desk job at the Air Ministry in London. note 
  • Star Wars Legends: Admiral Gilad Pellaeon from the Hand of Thrawn duology. Yes, he's the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces, but he kicks off the plot with his attempts to make peace with the New Republic.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Lord General Zyvan in the Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) novels is a highly competent commander and on close personal terms with the eponymous commissar.
    • In the later Gaunt's Ghosts books, Lord General Barthol Van Voytz has a relationship with the title character similar to Zyvan and Cain's. Van Voytz pulls political strings to get Gaunt out of trouble more than once (most notably in His Last Command). Van Voytz is also a contrast to the early series' parade of treacherous General Rippers: Dravere (First and Only) Lugo (Honour Guard) and Sturm ( twice, in Necropolis and Traitor General).
  • In The Wheel of Time series, most senior military commanders are portrayed in this light, especially Gareth Bryne and Davram Bashere. The only real exceptions are the Whitecloak Lords Captain.
  • Gen. Sam Doubleday, the Reasonable Authority Figure of the last stretch of Animorphs books, is this by nature, if not by rank. When Jake demonstrates the morphing ability, Doubleday is hesitant to accept it as evidence of a larger Alien Invasion, but rapidly changes his mind after one of his infested lieutenants attempts to shoot the unarmed teenager in the head. From that point, the Animorphs operate with significantly more backup and intel, with the backing of Doubleday and his immediate retinue, for all the good it does them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Chouseishin Gransazer has JSDF section chief Atsushi Misonogi, who provides the Gransazers with military support in their battles against the Cosmic Alliance.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The aforementioned Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart as played by Nicholas Courtney is the Trope Namer. His first few appearances embodied this trope a lot stronger than he did later, as repeated encounters with the Doctor mellowed him out somewhat. In "Battlefield" he had retired and been replaced by Brigadier Winifred Bambera ... though when he does show up, he still gets called "Brigadier" far more often than anything else (like, say, Alistair).
      • Some expanded universe sources indicate that Lethbridge-Stewart was promoted to general prior to retirement, but that he liked to be known as "the Brigadier" as a nickname (and possibly as an homage to the Doctor).
      • In Commonwealth protocol, an Army officer who retires with a rank above Captain should be addressed by their rank, unless they express a preference not to. So addressing him as "Brigadier" would be entirely appropriate.
    • In "The Sea Devils", Captain John Hart. (Not to be confused with the Torchwood antagonist of the same [assumed] name.)
    • Colonel Mace in "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky": the Trope Namer is mentioned, and now has a knighthood (this must've disappointed Nicholas Courtney greatly he expected the Brig to have a peerage by now).
    • In "The Stolen Earth", the ranking UNIT officer is General Sanchez.
    • Kate Stewart (played by Jemma Redgrave), the new Head of Scientific Research at UNIT as of "The Power of Three", is very much this, as she has been pivotal in reshaping UNIT as a military organization led by scientists. Her father Alistair taught her that "science leads", something he said he learned "from an old friend". When she joined UNIT, she dropped the name Lethbridge so she would rise in the ranks on her own merits without any favoritism.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim: Takatora Kureshima is a deconstruction of this archetype. He wants to stop Helheim and do the right thing, but his inner circle is filled with unsavory and self-serving figures who withhold information from him and lead him into becoming a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Parodied in Monty Python's Flying Circus; Graham Chapman's recurring character of the Brigadier, a stereotypically uptight senior British army officer, pops up to end sketches and advance the action by walking briskly in and barking "Silly! We'll have none of that silliness around here!" or "Sergeant-Major, get a bit of discipline into these men!" In one episode, he steps out from behind a desk to reveal he is in full British Army uniform only from the waist up — but in a ballerina's tutu and tights from the waist down.
  • Commodore Ross from Space: Above and Beyond. His rank is even the naval equivalent of Brigadier.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • General Hammond goes from being The Brigadier to becoming a Four-Star Badass in later seasons.
    • General Landry as well. Actually since the air force is more or less portrayed in a positive light, many of upper brass can fit this trope, provided they get enough screen time and aren't made out to be evil. This included two cameos by actual Air Force Generals (Chief of Staffs no less) portrayed positively by the cast.
    • Jack O'Neill progresses from being a Colonel Badass to becoming a Four-Star Badass by the time of Stargate Universe.
  • Speaking of guys named Ross, Vice Admiral William Ross, a secondary character from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine who spent most of his time behind the scenes leading the Federation war effort against the Dominion (which is actually a little bit odd, seeing as Vice Admiral, even in Trek, is only a three-star rank and the equivalent of a Lieutenant General. Ross should have been a Fleet Admiral).

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon: Pierre La Pointe, a French General in command of the entire Task Force 108.
  • Admiral Steven Hackett and Captain/Councilor David Anderson from Mass Effect are these, being a staunch supporter of Shepard to the point where the former denied a request to detain and interrogate Shepard due to Cerberus ties and confirmed Shepard being alive without actually meeting them and the latter risks court-martial or getting shot to help you do your thing in the first game and is the only one in the Council to actually believe you in the second.
  • Colonel Roy Campbell from the Metal Gear series certainly qualifies, despite him officially being "retired" in most of his appearances. He's also one of the very few authority figures who doesn't betray you by the end, barring a few instances in Metal Gear Solid where it turned out his family was threatened (and Campbell ultimately stood up to his blackmailers, anyway).
  • Commander Jack Vandham of Xenoblade Chronicles X is a strong leader of his forces and, despite his rough exterior, is usually open-minded to peaceful solutions to NLA's interactions with Xenoform life. Lampshaded in Chapter 8, when he attempts to use the title of "Brigadier" to intimidate the incoming Ganglion forces and party members Elma and Lin aren't really sure if the title means anything.

  • Most of the main cast of Operator are both military (owing to the alternate-WWI setting) and their reactions to the supernatural element range from accepting it to acting as if it's nothing out of the ordinary at all.

    Web Original 
  • Bill 'Bulldog' Maddicks is the most prominent canon example in Freedom City Play By Post. The tough, no-nonsense commander of STAR Squad, the local super-SWAT team, Maddicks can best be understood as an honest, clean-living Harvey Bullock.
  • At the Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, there's a huge security staff, headed up by ex-military officer Security Chief Franklin Delarose. At Whateley Academy, near Dunwich New Hampshire, the security officers have to be prepared to handle troublesome teenage superpowered students, not to mention the occasional monster or invasion. So he's a lot more savvy than the usual Brigadier.

    Western Animation 
  • Although she doesn't show up very often, Bravestarr has Commander Kane.
  • General Newcastle on Challenge Of The Go Bots.
  • General Flagg in the first season of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Obviously, Duke and Flint also count, though they're lower down the totem pole. The third season introduced Hawk (an actual brigadier general).