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The Group

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Basically, a sub-trope of Names to Run Away from Really Fast that applies specifically to a group or organization, as well as the Super-Trope under which several others fall (such as Ancient Conspiracy and Government Agency of Fiction).

The Group does not have any proper nouns in its name. This is meant to convey just how ancient, mysterious, clannish, secretive, powerful, and connected it is. It is not "The Silford Group". It is simply...The Group. The Group is typically some form of Ancient Conspiracy, Government Agency, or Very Powerful Crime Syndicate. Even more likely, The Group will be some combination of some or all of the above, such as an ancient and extremely highly-trained order that traces its origins back to the time when it was an Egyptian mystery religion, today has deadly assassins and The Men in Black counted among its many agents, is technically an ancillary part of the United States government and, oh yeah, manages a large underground criminal empire as well.

If there's a Masquerade going on in your world, The Group is, de rigueur, the first ones in and the last ones out to deal with anything related to it. If it gets broken, that's on them. Even if The Group is evil, which they may well be, they may often try to cover up The Masquerade in an attempt to utilize whatever it is for their own ends, and thus do the world some good by keeping it ignorant and safe. Whether it is mystical, supernatural, or horrific beings, creatures, phenomena or MacGuffins, things of alien origin, superhumans and related paraphernalia, examples of advanced technology, time travelers and the difficulties they create, various types of monsters, demons, or whatever other Green Rocks or Weirdness Magnets may be around in a world, you can be assured The Group will be there to either hunt and destroy them, try to manipulate and use them, or simply watch and contain them. Oh, and it should go without saying that if anyone is in charge of The Group, yes, it will be an Omniscient Council of Vagueness.

It's also entirely possible to have two Groups in the world. Often, they will be fighting a war in the shadows, this will be the basis for an Arc (story or myth), typically with one fighting behind the scenes to protect the world, and the other secretly trying to destroy or corrupt it. The Group may be several decades old (for example, formed around World War II or the Cold War), several hundred years old (for example, dating from around the time of the Industrial Revolution and the American and French Revolutions), several thousand years old (originating in Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, or Ancient Egypt), as old as human civilization itself (as soon as one cavemen invented fire, two others got together on the other side of the cave and whispered to each other that they had better keep an eye on this, and thus The Group was born), or older than time itself (humans may serve The Group, but some very definitely non-humans founded, and control, it).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop has The Syndicate, a group of Mars-base Chinese Triads which employed series protagonist Spike Spiegel as a hit man and also employed Big Bad Vicious up until the point that he took over the organization and turned it into his own personal army to satisfy his Blood Knight appetites.

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority, with the titular superhero group.
  • The Council in Supergirl Bronze Age comics, a villainous super-secret organization based in Chicago and dedicated to controlling the world's exchange of information. Some of their operatives were a super-villain team known as The Gang.
  • The Enclave: A group of criminal scientists in the Marvel Universe.
    • The Committee: A criminal organisation from the same.
    • The Conclave: The Avengers foes. A shadow cabinet made up of members of every U.S. government organization.
    • The Corporation: Nationwide business-like criminal organization. Foes of Captain America and the Hulk, amongst others.
    • The Cabal, a group of several powerful supervillains and antiheroes, and Evil Counterpart to The Illuminati.
    • Magento's organization was just called The Brotherhood for a while. After it abandoned The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
  • The Fraternity from Wanted; while the movie has an organization of Anti-Hero Jerkass assassins, the original comicbook has full on amoral supervillains.
  • Sin City has "The Guild", a group of assassins who also deal in the Black Market.
  • The Disney Ducks Comic Universe has a few such organizations:
    • Paperinik New Adventures has a crime syndicate named the Organization, though their leaders don't see it as a proper name:
      "Names are needed to distinguish things, Paperinik. We have no need of them. We are unique!"
    • Paperinik New Adventures has four: the secret services known as the Agency (for short, the full name being "Agency So Secret It Doesn't Even Have a Name") and the Direction, and the crime syndicates known as the Organization (distinct from the PKNA one, and its namesake, though only the original founders were aware of it]]) and the Direction.

    Fan Works 

  • The Division in Push, who are a Mutant Draft Board looking to harness all of the powered people of the setting as human super weapons.
  • The Order from Sherlock Holmes (2009) are a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of the Freemasons as they were commonly thought of in Victorian times, being a shadowy group of influential men at the highest reaches of power engaging in mysterious, weird rituals. It's gradually taken over by a powerful and charismatic Dark Messiah who has returned from the dead and is demonstrating his power to such an extent that almost the entire country is utterly terrified of him. However, it's ultimately a complete deconstruction, as the Order is largely presented as a bunch of superstitious and largely ineffectual old men who are utterly caught up in their own mythology to the extent that they'll let the so-called Dark Messiah, in fact a complete charlatan, seduce them with a theatrical manner and some admittedly pretty clever conjuring tricks. Hey, this is Sherlock Holmes; as if he wasn't going to be Doing In the Wizard. It's also an excuse for them to have orgies, apparently.
  • The "Human Project" in Children of Men are a group of scientists dedicated to curing infertility, supposedly based in the Azores. They are secretive to the point of being a myth.
  • The Group from Munich and Sword of Gideon, an all-pervasive criminal organisation whose basic role is that of The Fixer. What they do is pay ordinary people a lot more money to do their job for an illegal purpose. Got a body in a hotel room that needs to be disposed of? The hotel staff will carry it out in a cleaning trolley, then pass it on to an undertaker who'll bury it in one of his graves.

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four has The Party. (It also has The Brotherhood, but they're not working against the protagonist.)
  • In the Anne Rice books, it's The Talamasca. "We watch, and we are always there."
  • Bentley Little has a whole slew of novels like this. The Store, The Association, etc. They are all horror.
  • The Majestic 12 from Scarecrow, the 12 richest men who secretly run the world for their own profit.
    • An earlier Matthew Reilly book Area 7 had Die Organisasie (The Organisation in Afrikaans), a group of South African leftovers from Apartheid.
  • The Shop, from Stephen King's Canon Welding crossover-verse which ties all of his fiction into The Dark Tower universe.
  • The villainous secret organisation from the Mediochre Q Seth Series is known only as The Organisation Which I Represent.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Dominion from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has the right sort of name (although, so does The Federation, come to think of it), and they were definitely a mysterious powerful organization in the first few seasons. Section 31 is the clandestine intelligence agency in the Federation that has been around from the beginning. The Circle was a short-lived Bajoran political party/terrorist organization/Cardassian front. Not to mention the Obsidian Order of the Cardassians, and Romulan Tal Shiar.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The N.I.D. According to the RPG sourcebook it stands for National Intelligence Department.
    • And later, the Trust, a group of incredibly powerful industrialists that was taken over by the Goa'uld.
  • Bureau Thirteen in Babylon 5. Heard of once in the episode Spider In The Web, then never heard from again.
  • Parodied by the Agency from the Sci Fi Channel series The Invisible Man. It's a secret government agency that consists of about five (visible on-screen) people, and because of this is prone to being transferred around between various departments of the US Government, as well as suffering from budget cuts. About the only thing they have going for them is that the titular invisible man works for them.
  • Anthony Perish and Tony Mokbel refer to their criminal organisations as The Company in Underbelly: Badness and Fat Tony & Co, respectively.
  • "The House" from The Player.
  • The Order. Sure, it's The Order of the Blue Rose, but... The Order.
  • The Kray brothers' Firm is parodied by Monty Python's Flying Circus with the equally vicious but none-too-bright Piranha brothers, who start a racket called the Operation. It takes them three tries to figure out that they should threaten to beat up victims if the victims don't pay protection money, leading to the Other Other Operation.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Compared to The Second City Saints ("honorable" wrestlers who watched each others backs), The Prophecy (destroy Ring of Honor and remake it in the image of Christopher Daniels), Special K (do as many drugs and get as many other people hooked on them as possible), The Christopher Street Connection (get the tag team titles on Mace and Buff E, and be really gay while doing it), "The Group" stood out not only for their simplistic name but also their simplistic purpose, to take ROH's money. Whether or not they were worse than anyone else is a matter of debate, except for The Prophecy, who proved Eviler than Thou and forced The Group to disband after it took two of its members.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Directive, a shadowy intelligence organisation from the Aberrant role playing game.
  • Sentinels Of The Multiverse has the organized crime group The Organization, run by the archvillain simply known as The Chairman. In a game that has you fighting mad scientists, killer robots, alien warlords and little girls, he's one of the hardest enemies.

    Video Games 
  • The Cabal in Blood. Known more properly as the Cult of Tchernobog, but more often called just Cabal.
  • The Hitman video games have the International Contract Agency, which is usually known as just The Agency. Although they're the organization the protagonist works for, they're morally ambiguous enough to count. A competing group from Hitman: Blood Money is The Franchise. In the first movie the group is called The Organization.
  • The Organization from Street Fighter III, a strange, powerful cult that has produced the superhuman Gill, is never really given a name in the Japanese, though it is sometimes referred to as the Illuminati in English.
  • The Agency from the Syphon Filter series of games, which served under The Consortium. After the protagonist becomes the new leader at the end of the third game, it gets reorganized into the International Presidential Consulting Agency... which still doesn't have any proper nouns.
  • The Foundation in The Suffering: Ties That Bind, which seems to be a paramilitary organization hell-bent on capturing Malefactors and supposedly researching them. They also have an unhealthy interest in Torque, because they work for Blackmore.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, before their true scope and motives were revealed, Organization XIII were simply referred to as "the Organization".
  • The Star Cabal in Star Wars: The Old Republic, a shadowy organization that butts heads with the Imperial Agent throughout their storyline. The Cabal is revealed to have been manipulating events since not long after the Great Hyperspace War (ca. 1200 years before the game) and several characters from other class missions have cameos among their ranks, leaving it ambiguous how much they actually did in the interest of their long-term goals.

    Web Originals 
  • In the SCP Foundation universe, the titular globe-spanning supernatural containment organization is often referred to as simply "The Foundation." The full name is rarely used, both within and without the organization.
    • One of the supernatural groups of interests is called The Factory. They make supernatural and often commercial objects on an industrial and global scale, yet their activity has never been directly observed, only indirectly found. It is not known by any other name.
  • Subverted in the (much maligned) second installment of Zoofights, where the team of contestants known simply as The Institution was among the most noble and heroic teams.

    Web Video 
  • Discussed by Unskippable in their inFAMOUS: Second Son episode:
    Graham Stark: The more generic the name of the department, the scarier it is.
    Paul Saunders: If it was just "The Department", you just run.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The Company (referring to the CIA) and The Bureau (referring to the FBI). Of course, only used when their motives are secret...
    • The Farm is where the The Company trains its agents.
  • Israel's famous intelligence agency, the Mossad, simply means "the Institute" in Hebrew.
  • The highly secretive US special forces known as formerly known as the Intelligence Support Activity is often called simply The Activity.
  • "The Hansa" was a trading conglomerate that dominated trade in northern Europe in the late Middle Ages. The word "hansa" is Old High German and means something like "group", "band", "association" or "entourage".
  • "The Firm" was the name of the gang led by the twin brothers Ronnie and Reggie Kray, the most powerful and brutal London gangsters of the 1960s.