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Tyrant Takes the Helm

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"Mufasa's death was a terrible tragedy, but to lose Simba, who had barely begun to live... for me, it is a deep personal loss. So it is with a heavy heart that I assume the throne. Yet, out of the ashes of this tragedy, we shall rise to greet the dawning of a new era... in which lion and hyena come together, in a great and glorious future!"

Did your new leader start off their reign by making a speech that included phrases such as "there will be many changes around here" or "things will be very different under my command"? If so, then you're in a situation where a Tyrant Takes the Helm.

This is a plot trope relating to a Story Arc where a character snags a major leadership position, becomes Drunk with Power, and decides that from here on out, things will be run their way whether anyone else likes it or not. The person regularly filling this position, often a Reasonable Authority Figure, will likely be absent during this time (and this new replacement may have had something to do with that). As would be expected of a tyrannical ruler, expect them to immediately start making rigorous and questionable changes and becoming an instant despot. And if he personally knew his predecessor, he's likely going to make it damn clear that he won't be as "soft" or "lenient" as the last guy, or "baby" his subordinates like the last guy. Common changes made include the elimination of Ultimate Job Security and the decree that All Crimes Are Equal. In most cases, the heroes will have to confront this new ruler and attempt to change things back to normal.

A common subversion of this trope is the Bait-and-Switch Tyrant, who is signalled to be unreasonable and cruel in their introduction but turns out to not be that bad after all, with the story demonstrating that the characters have come to accept the new rules. If the character who temporarily takes control isn't malicious or obnoxious, but is simply grossly incompetent, see Sketchy Successor. If the tyrant took the helm of a corporation by acquiring 51% of its stock, they're a Majority-Share Dictator.

Remember, this isn't a trope for describing characters who become tyrants, but for describing a plot point of when (and possibly how) a character takes over for someone else and institutes new rules that are generally disliked by the majority of those affected. Be aware of spoilers!


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    Anime and Manga 
  • .hack//Legend of the Twilight: The Cerulean Knights take over after Balmug is fired from System Administration. They ruthlessly hunt down gamers even remotely accused of hacking or of minor offenses (changing the color of the avatar's clothes etc).
  • Angel Beats! toys with the trope - Angel is originally viewed as a villainous Emotionless Girl created by "God" to sabotage the SSS in her capacity as "Student Council President", but is actually not so different from them. Later, when Angel herself falls victim to the SSS' schemes, she gets fired and is replaced by her deputy who becomes a God complex authoritarian, fitting the trope. Later when she is "promoted" back to her regular position, she attempts to play the Tyrant to the SSS once more to buy time for her and Otonashi's Batman Gambit of making other students disappear.
  • Food Wars!: The banished Nakiri (actually Nakamura) Azami returns to Totsuki, taking over from his own father-in-law, and unleashing his own brand of "culinary supremacism" by shutting down all attempts at creativity in the kitchen and centralising all culinary thought under his command (via a single organisation literally and fittingly, if unimaginatively, named "Central").
  • Gouda, the Big Bad of the second season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a pretty good example of this, coming in and working to undermine Section 9 and turn them into his lackeys.
  • Love Hina (either the OAV or vol 11 of the Manga): Kanako Urashima, Keitaro's creepy, somewhat overaffectionate adoptive sister manages to provoke the tenants at Hinata to the point of open warfare when she takes over in her "Oniisan's" absence.
    • In a way it's more or less Karma catching up to the girls for mistreating Keitaro (despite the fact that they all eventually got along.)
  • The conflict of Mobile Suit Gundam essentially began when Zeon Zum Deikun died, allowing his chief of staff Degwin Zabi and his family (who may or may not have played a role in Deikun's death) to rise to power in Side 3 and turn it into a dictatorship bent on conquering the Earth Sphere.
    • Ironically, Degwin has this pulled on him by his eldest son Gihren, who supplants Degwin as de facto ruler with his own - much more radical - Cult of Personality, leaving Degwin a powerless figurehead. Gihren later ends up murdering Degwin after learning he’s trying to sue for peace with Earth behind Gihren’s back, and takes absolute control.
  • Averted on Naruto. When Danzo is appointed acting Hokage after Pain's Invasion Arc, he consciously avoids making decisions that would make him unpopular with the populace.
  • After the Time Skip of One Piece, Akainu becomes the Fleet Admiral. He's already introduced Conscription to bolster his forces and, according to Caesar Clown, would support Caesar's idea of using Weapons of Mass Destruction and human experimentation in prisoners, regardless of the legality or the ethics involved. He's so horrible that Aokiji fought him for six days straight in an effort to become Fleet Admiral himself just so Akainu wouldn't get the position, and when he lost, he promptly quit the Marines rather than work under him.
  • Makoto Isshiki in RahXephon, who later becomes an Unwitting Pawn.
  • One episode of Ranma ½ had Tatewaki Kuno taking over his father's role as school principal. Needless to say, many preferred his father.
  • Rosario + Vampire: The Student Police started out as a good, necessary institution. Then Kuyou, an anti-human extremist and The Mole for Fairy Tale, took over, and under him, the group devolved into a band of yakuza-esque thugs that abuse their authority to make everyone at Yokai Academy miserable For the Evulz.
  • Samurai Pizza Cats: In "Emperor Fred Does Hard Time", Emperor Fred gets banished by his own daughter. The Big Cheese becomes the Acting Emperor of Little Tokyo after Vi leaves to search for her father upon learning that his ship was destroyed in a storm.
  • One episode of Sgt. Frog has Tamama being promoted to squad leader, and quickly going mad with power. He ends up bitter and alone after he ends up throwing all his squad-mates, along with Fuyuki, Natsumi, and Angol Mois, in the brig.
  • Spy X Family introduces the former Gretcher family in the Cruise Ship Arc. They were a major player in the criminal underworld who used their influence for purely benevolent causes such as giving away free food after The War Just Before. However, the patriarch and his two sons got killed in a power dispute by Leonardo Hapoon who took over the business aiming to use his newfound power in unethical matters and arms dealing as well as sending a Carnival of Killers against the Sole Survivor and her baby son to clean up loose ends. This prompts the Shopkeeper to assign Yor Forger and her manager to protect them until they can get smuggled out of Ostania.
  • Erika Furudo in Umineko: When They Cry, to a completely murderously sadistic extent, attempts to steal the role of detective protagonist from Battler, and proceeds to act completely obnoxiously to the other characters and generally be a massive Parody Sue.
  • Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid: In episode 9, after Akira is defeated by Momoka and outed as a woman to the people of Wärter, Charlotte is declared the leader of Mermaid instead. Unlike Akira, Charlotte is an Alpha Bitch who's first response to any problem involves violence; she quickly decides that order on the island is best kept under her absolute control and sends Wärter agents to capture the girls from Tokino village and Lady Lady, as well as several other unaffiliated girls who have yet to be shown.

    Asian Animation 
  • Simple Samosa: In "Mayor Gaayab", Cham Cham is the first person to replace the kind, well-liked Royal Falooda as the mayor of Chatpata Nagar. Within the short period of time he leads the town, he demonstrates just how egotistical he is by imposing taxes on all the townsfolk, bossing the citizens around for his own purposes, and acting like a king, even donning a crown and king's cape. When Samosa convinces Mr. Fried Fritter to take the position of mayor, Cham Cham super-glues himself to the chair in the town hall in a vain attempt to keep Fritter from replacing him.

    Comic Books 
  • Played for Laughs in The Boys. After Butcher's Sleeping with the Boss goes south, Rayner goes on leave and puts their Butt-Monkey "Monkey" in charge. He promptly gets Drunk with Power and gets back at Butcher for years of physical and emotional abuse by giving him mountains of paperwork. Butcher ensures his reign is short-lived.
  • Averted by Captain Ben Daimio from B.P.R.D.: when he arrives to take up the position of field team commander, he specifically states: "Don't want anybody to worry about my changing things around here. You guys have a system, it works. Stick to that". And indeed he doesn't try to make any radical changes. Except for making Roger put some friggin' pants on. And later he changes his mind about that, too.
  • Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen: In a Crossover with Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, Captain Conner, the martinet son of a general, is given command of both the Deadly Dozen and the Howling Commandos. He proves to The Neidermeyer who cracks under the strain of facing real combat for the first, and his indecision nearly gets both the Dozen and the Howlers killed, forcing Fury to relieve him of command. Succumbing to paranoia, Conner attempts to execute Fury and Kelly for mutiny before being shot by 'Bullseye' Miller.
  • Gold Digger: Boyd, through a series of petty revenge hijinks and luck, ends up thwarting her older sister's plans to strengthen her island dictatorship, by bringing her second-in-command's archenemy to a fight that she is obligated by duty to participate in - and curbstomp via science. Boyd proceeds to address her family Tropicano by considering that she could be a nice ruler, and then instantly screams that she doesn't want to and to "fire up those industrial machines" in her petty yet overstocked attempts to surpass the US Navy.
  • Immortal X-Men: After Sins of Sinister, Colossus is appointed by Storm as her voice on the Quiet Council while she's on Mars. Unfortunately, Colossus is being telepathically controlled and no-one in the X-Men manages to notice, no matter how hard he tries to fight it, while the non-X-Men on the Council don't know or don't care either way. As a result, he manages to effectively seize majority rule of Krakoa in one meeting, so his controllers can ruin it.
  • Judge Dredd: The post of Chief Judge has been usurped by would-be tyrants at least twice.
    • Judge Cal was the corrupt chief of the Special Judicial Squad who assassinated his predecessor Chief Judge Goodman to take over his position. He quickly becomes The Caligula during his tenure as Chief Judge, passing ridiculous decrees like outlawing happiness, making his goldfish Deputy Chief, and trying to execute the whole city twice.
    • Judge Sinfield, while much more sane than Cal, was an unscrupulous careerist who resorted to brainwashing his direct superior while he was deputy to become the new Chief Judge by default. His hardline stance on the mutant issue and general corruption brought him in conflict with Dredd, who eventually decided to run against Sinfield as a candidate.
  • Justice League: Ambassador Rolf Heimlich becomes this to the JLI for the first part of the "Breakdowns" arc due to Maxwell Lord being in a coma. Ultimately, it turns out he's a mole planted by Queen Bee.
  • Heidi Jackson when she takes over Hard 8 Enterprises in Knights of the Dinner Table.
    • In the same vein, whenever Weird Pete finds himself GMing. Despite being one of the most laid back players in the series, whenever he picks up the dice behind the screen, he falls back on his old-school taskmaster persona. His tools are the Bolt of Divine Retribution and the Murderous Falling Rocks. Along with the demerit system, which he assigns for pretty much everything that can be conceived as insinuating that the GM is wrong. Gain 50 demerits, lose a level. At least he's kind enough to offer the option of letting players work off their debt at his game shop: An hour of 'volunteer' work knocks off one demerit.
  • This happened twice to the New Mutants during their original run. The first was when Magneto took over Xavier's School - somewhat subverted in that Mags was honestly trying to do the right thing, but the kids never trusted him at all and assumed this trope. The second was when Cable assumed leadership of the team and reformed them into a military strike force. Reception was mixed, especially since Cable had killed the fathers of two team members. He was framed in both cases.
  • One The Simpsons comic has Homer becoming a Majority-Share Dictator at Duff Brewery when the owner of the brewery, Sam Duff, leaves him 51% of the shares in his will. He promptly upsets the other board members by releasing a new flavor of beer (designed to taste good when paired with donuts) without consulting them, and when he overturns a veto preventing the brewery from being operated by Job Stealing Robots, the entire staff of the brewery go on strike.
  • The Smurfs:
    • In King Smurf, the eponymous Smurf gets himself elected to replace the temporarily absent Papa Smurf, then proceeds to declare himself king, hire a Praetorian Guard, and rule by decree. His overt despotism results in civil war.
    • A different form of despotism takes place in "The Finance Smurf", where the title character controls all aspects of Smurf life through the use of money.
  • Spider-Man: In the Dark Reign arc, Norman Osborn becomes this for the entire Marvel Universe.
  • Another Marvel example is Henry Gyrich, who becomes this for S.W.O.R.D. (Marvel Comics). He had the same effect on the Avengers years earlier, although he wasn't actually leading the team.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers: Monstrosity: Scorponok usurps leadership of the Decepticons from Megatron and promptly focuses his followers on strategically pointless acts of destructive violence that endanger his own faction and the Cybertronian race as a whole, believing that the survivors will be "strong". Even the other Decepticons are disgusted with his brand of leadership, and no one so much as shifts a servo to help Scorponok when he returns to his throne room to find Megatron, this time in fighting condition, waiting for him. Scorponok is left begging for mercy by the time Megatron is done, which Megatron grants by leaving him alive but ruined with a name as a hypocritical coward.
    • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Getaway's time as captain of the Lost Light starts badly and goes downhill fast. Now, to be as fair as possible to the bastard, the first thing to go wrong for him was only partially his fault - he'd sold Megatron out to a different group of jerks than the ones who had actually showed up to kill him - but his reaction to the resultant morale crisis was to turn to the memory-editing serial killer in the hold and pay him the lives of 25 of his newly claimed crew to erase the awkward bits. From there on, as things spiral more and more out of his control, things go more and more to hell in a handbasket and he nearly burns out his mind control gun from overuse, culminating in him selling out to an Ancient Conspiracy, appointing a Knight Templar who thinks Primus agrees with him about everything as the new head of security, and turning the entire crew into monsters just to get back at Rodimus.
    • The Transformers (Marvel):
      • Happens the first time Grimlock takes command of the Autobots, where the Dinobot takes about two minutes to go completely mad with power, having anyone who defies him put in the Variable Voltage Harness, snooping through personnel files, assigning top-ranking Autobots pointless tasks, and utterly ignoring the war with the Decepticons. He even wears a crown. About the only positive thing he did was that he managed to ensure the Autobots weren't dependent on humans for fuel. Several Autobots desert out of disgust, and a squad of Autobots flee to the planet Nebulos in a desperate attempt to revive Optimus Prime. When they succeed and Optimus returns, the entire Autobot army (barring Grimlock's Dinobots) pointedly ignore Grimlock and go over to Optimus' side.
      • Grimlock does a better job when he becomes supreme commander of the Autobots following Optimus Prime's (second) death during the battle with Unicron, but his unwillingness to heed advice causes him to blunder into a Decepticon ambush that almost completely wipes out the Autobots (with only 5 survivors out of the entire army).
  • The Ultimates: Played with. Gregory sets Nick Fury up to take the fall for his own treasonous actions and discredits Carol Danvers so he can take the reins at S.H.I.E.L.D.... but only does so to set-up AstroTurf revolutions in the Middle East and North Korea and install democratic governments in the place of dictatorships. That the new governments would look upon S.H.I.E.L.D. favorably... well, that's just a bonus.

    Comic Strips 
  • An early arc of FoxTrot saw parents Roger and Andy leaving their eldest son Peter in charge while they went on vacation. Peter immediately started abusing the power they'd given him, making Paige and Jason follow all his demands. When they get sick of it and confront him, he responds by locking them in the basement. Fortunately, Jason and Paige had tapes of Peter's reign and Peter himself told them he locked Jason and Paige in the basement, so he was punished accordingly.

    Fan Works 
  • All For Luz: Governor Rodger Maxwell takes control of the Reality Check Camp from the original counsellor and turns it into a Death Camp for Luz and 32 other superhuman teenagers out of Fantastic Racism.
  • AQUA: The First Step: Dr. Polendina, a Fatherly Scientist, is initially the director of the Jaeger Program. But after one of the girls sees the horrors at a drug kingpin's house and commits suicide, unable to cope, he's replaced with Commander Vasilyevich, a General Ripper who devotes his time and effort to having them kill Faunus and Faunus sympathizers. Eventually, Alexander and the remaining kids rebel and kill him.
  • Better Bones AU: Hollyleaf becomes the tyrannical leader of the ancient Lake cats, believing that she can save them from environmental destruction with her laws and Clan morality.
  • Eugenesis gives this as one of the reasons Prowl reluctantly takes command when Rodimus is incapacitated, so that Grimlock and his "cronies" don't.
    • As the follow-up story reveals, Grimlock wasn't the one Prowl should've been worried about.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles: In Jakhowls Rising, when peace talks between the ponies of Equestria and the jakhowls of Aurarora seem to be going smoothly, Razor Fang, unwilling to see the ponies as anything but his enemies, murders Sirius for seeing him as "weak" for making this alliance. He then frames Springer and his pony friends for Sirius' murder while declaring himself the new chief, imprisoning the other elders so they can't question his leadership, and prepares the rest of Aurarora to go to war against Equestria, too blind to understand that would wipe out the entire Jakhowl race. After Mirage and the elders escape during the night, they inform Springer the only true way to stop Razor Fang is for him to challenge Razor to a kyosongsai, a one on one battle to determine the chief of a tribe, and beat him. Ultimately, Springer not only defeats Razor, he exposes him as the true murderer.
  • In Fractured (SovereignGFC), a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover and its sequel Origins, this trope happens twice, once per work.
    • In Fractured, the United Defense Command takes more and more power away from the Citadel Council under the guise of defending against the Reapers, eventually morphing fully into this trope. They are militaristic, inefficient, nepotistic, and violent.
    • In Origins, the Republic Intelligence Service is increasingly grabbing authority away from the already-sclerotic Senate because of the Flood while invoking the Godzilla Threshold and playing the Opportunistic Bastard card by claiming "We knew this was coming."
  • Glee The Virtual Season Four has an episode where Sue takes over New Directions and forces the club into a theme week they hate.
  • Goggles and the Tears, set just after the events of System Shock 2, deals with the godhood-hungry SHODAN looking to exploit the usage of tears in time and space, using Elizabeth to do so, and usurp control of Columbia from Zachary Comstock by pretending to be his prophesied archangel. Fortunately, because of those same tears, Goggles, Booker DeWitt, Gordon Freeman, Mjolnir Recon #54 and Durandal notice this and immediately get involved as a result.
  • Just a Random Tuesday… is set during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and is all about students and teachers of Hogwarts trying to deal with Umbridge taking the helm. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Loved and Lost: After Prince Jewelius usurps the princesses as Equestria's ruler, he sentences them as well as Twilight's friends and brother to slavery after legalizing it, wipes out all the Royal Guards who remain loyal to the dismantled princesses, replaces them with bribed convicts, raises Ponyville's taxes, bans any trading with the town, and tries to make the public falsely believe that he has the situation with the escaped Changelings under his control.
  • Shadows over Meridian: During the Swamp arc, Lord Kur is revealed to have been put in charge of the Swamplands' capital Everdeen with a duty of cleansing the area of Phobos' remaining supporters. With the fact that he's a genocidal fanatic who's put the entire city on lockdown and under strict food rationing (a decision that hasn't made him popular in the city) as a part of his plan to eliminate the shapeshifters and other "monstrous" races, he's a definite step down from whoever used to run the city that thrived as a melting pot of commerce and interspecies relations during Phobos' reign.
  • True Potential: Invoked. Suzumebachi really wants to replace Onoki as the next Tsuchikage, and undo all the progress he made towards Konoha in order to start another war.
  • In the Turning Red fic Turning Red: Secrets of the Panda, prior to the events of the story, Jason used his skills as a manipulator to fool the government into thinking Mike Smith (who is a Well-Intentioned Extremist) had committed treason, just so he could take command of the PCA.
  • In Winter War, Aizen conquers Seireitei. He doesn't seem to have any actual use for the city, but he does have a Dragon undergoing a serious Villainous Breakdown, who might mess up Aizen's current projects if kept around. So he turns the city over to Gin to get him out of the way. Gin proceeds to rule using torture and gruesome public execution to keep himself in charge and using the members of the Gotei 13 who didn't join La Résistance to enforce his reign of terror rather than allowing them to do their actual job as Psychopomps.
    • It's worth noting Gin's rule differs from the Central 46 and Yamamoto only for the fact that the abuses are more public and obvious. New Boss very much the same as the Old Boss.

    Film — Animated 
  • Inverted in Frozen, where after Elsa flees the kingdom in panic and Anna goes after her, Hans is given the authority to take care of the people in Arendelle. Despite Hans's status as an Evil Prince who later attempts regicide against the two girls, he proves himself to be competent at handling the frightened and confused citizens in the aftermath of the Endless Winter Elsa unknowingly unleashed beforehand.
  • Professor Rattigan's plan in The Great Mouse Detective is to take over British "Mousedom" and introduce hundreds of corrupt laws, including crushing taxes on the elderly, infirm, and children. The way he seeks to do it is a bit non-typical, though, as rather than becoming king himself, he wants to replace the beloved Queen Mouse with a robot and become the official Royal Consort instead, with the robot queen signing off all the laws for him.
  • The Lion King: The movie's main plot is set off when Scar "reluctantly" assumes the Pride Lands' throne after murdering Mufasa to get it, and begins his Nazi-esque hyena regime. Within the span of a few years, he runs the Pride Lands into the ground, and even the hyenas who serve him agree that Mufasa was a much better king than Scar ever was — though not within earshot of Scar. The 2019 remake also has Scar and the hyenas constantly over-hunting and slaughtering any animal species they can get their hold on to.
  • Toy Story 3: With Lotso being replaced with another version of himself, he bitterly and selfishly forces both Big Baby and Chuckles to leave Daisy with him and when the three fall off the Pizza Planet truck they're traveling on, they end up in front of Sunnyside Daycare with Lotso staring at it blankly and then limping his way toward it. This moment is also accompanied by Lightning Reveal and Dramatic Thunder too. Telling the story, Chuckles lays out that Lotso now has control of everything there, oppressing all the other toys and forcing many of them to either submit to his demands or be broken and thrown out — not even letting toys escape either.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Turbo took over Sugar Rush, brainwashed its inhabitants, and caused them to alienate and bully Vanellope, the true ruler of Sugar Rush.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Bananas: Woody Allen joins a group of freedom fighters in a Latin American country, San Marcos. They eventually depose the military dictator, but the new president, Esposito, quickly reveals himself to be equally tyrannical and comically deranged. Esposito is then deposed and replaced by Fielding Mellish (Woody).
  • Buffalo Soldiers: Elwood apparently had an "arrangement" with his first CO, but when Sergeant Lee takes over the unit he immediately becomes a thorn in Elwood's side because for him the Army is Serious Business. That said, Elwood isn't just lazy or in possession of some contraband but a genuine criminal, making Lee's crusade against Elwood and his associates pretty reasonable.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Koba sets up an attempted assassination on Caesar and then blames the humans for the things he himself did, which works doubly in his favor for not only putting him in charge but also forcing the apes to fight the humans.
  • Day of the Dead (1985): Captain Rhodes, after his superior officer Major Cooper dies. While Cooper is implied to have not been very pleasant himself, Rhodes takes it to a whole new level when he threatens to have Sarah killed, after which he makes it clear that any person in the facility who questions his authority will be executed following a court martial. Fisher himself states that while Cooper was an asshole, he was still "a sweetheart" compared to Rhodes.
  • The plot of the Dead Like Me movie is initially driven by the disappearance of Rube in a mysterious fire and the arrival of his shady Smug Snake replacement who encourages the Reapers to feel free to abuse their powers and cut corners on the job. A bit of a subversion in this case as the hard-nosed by-the-book leader is replaced with a much more laid back one, but it ends up playing out much the same as the Reapers begin to realize the consequences of their irresponsibility (both for themselves and the people around them).
  • In Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.
  • In Fort Apache, The Bronx, the new police captain is determined to run things "by the book". Protagonist Officer Murphy predicts things will go to hell.
  • Full Metal Jacket ends with Animal Mother in charge of Lusthog Squad after Crazy Earl and Cowboy are killed in combat.
  • In Gladiator when the corrupt, self-centered Commodus murders his father, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and subsequently becomes the next emperor of Rome, things do not go well after that.
  • In Heavyweights, Camp Hope is taken over by Tony Perkus, a fitness fanatic who systematically removes everything fun about the camp and runs the campers ragged with unreasonably harsh exercise programs.
  • Near the beginning of Horrible Bosses, one of the aforementioned horrible bosses takes over his dead father's company and purposely drives it into the ground solely for personal gain.
  • In The Jungle Book (2016), after failing to get Mowgli the first time, Shere Khan murders Akela and takes control of his wolf pack, forcing them to be afraid of him.
  • General Zod attempts this at the beginning of Man of Steel, when after Jor-El fails to sway the Kryptonian high council, Zod blasts his way in, declares the council disbanded, and names himself supreme leader. His rule is brief as his forces are soon defeated, he and his closest accomplices are arrested and sent into the Phantom Zone.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Black Panther (2018), Killmonger usurps T'Challa to become the new king of Wakanda. Once in power, he proceeds with his plan of arming the African diaspora with vibranium weapons and creating a global Wakandan empire. As a sign that his rule will not be kind one, he threatens to murder the children of his opponents and burns Wakanda's sacred garden so that only he can have the Black Panther's power.
    • Loki initially plays this straight after Odin goes into Odinsleep from the stress of banishing Thor and revealing Loki's true heritage in Thor, refusing Sif and the Warrior's Three's request to bring Thor back from exile, tricking Laufey, his biological father, into killing Odin only for Loki to kill him to win Odin's approval and tries to destroy Jötunheim after Thor returns. When he steals the throne from Odin again after the events of Thor: The Dark World, the worst he does to his subjects is force them to watch incredibly hammy plays of his own heroic deeds in Thor: Ragnarok and banishes Sif because she knows that "Odin" is actually Loki. Ironically, the latter part of Loki's second usurping saves her life when Hela returns to Asgard and kills the Warrior's Three.
      • Played straight with Hela, Odin’s firstborn daughter, returns to Asgard to reclaim her “birthright” after defeating Loki and Thor in battle. She immediately demands that the Asgardian army accept her as their rightful queen, convinced that they will welcome her back and enthusiastically support her ambitions to return Asgard to its blood-soaked past. When they refuse, she proceeds to slaughter the entire army. For the rest of her reign, her only subjects are terrified civilians, and one reluctant collaborator.
  • In the MonsterVerse, Godzilla is the default King of the Monsters, who considers the Earth's entire surface — sans Skull Island, which is under King Kong's rule — to be his territory which he must defend and keep the balance of, often saving humanity from far, far more destructive monsters by proxy. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), Godzilla is taken out of action by the Oxygen Destroyer striking him, and without him around to fight anymore, his Arch-Enemy Ghidorah immediately steals his kingship. Ghidorah instantly sets about engulfing the globe in massive storms, rampant Titans, and other disasters which threaten to cause planet-wide extinction. The humans' main theory is that Ghidorah is violently xenoforming the planet in his own image, but the novelization briefly suggests that maybe Ghidorah really just wants every other living thing dead.
  • Manipulating the titular characters so they lose their capacity to inherit a company in an attempt to become this is the plan of the Big Bad on both Mr. Deeds and Billy Madison.
  • This happens in Out Cold when a rich skiing tycoon takes over Bull Mountain and attempts to transform it into another Vail.
  • In the Richie Rich film, Laurence Van Dough arranges for Richie's parents to be killed so he can take over their estate. He's temporarily foiled by Richie taking over with Cadbury as his proxy, but then frames Cadbury for the Richs' murder. Don't worry, the Riches got better.
  • Toy Santa in The Santa Clause 2. At first, he's supposed to simply fill in for Santa on basic tasks like checking in on the elves' work and the high-rank elves in the know have little problem passing him off as Santa (who had some work done), but with time he gains more autonomy and decides he needs to check the list twice, at which point he discovers all of the kids in the world should be on the naughty list (by his "there exists" argument of naughtiness) and the high-rank elves start arguing with him. Soon, he builds an army of toy soldiers, insists no more toys are built, and puts the highest-ranking official around under house arrest for exposing him as a fraud. It's later shown that he imprisoned many more of the elves and he even ties up the real Santa when he returns.
  • This is pretty much what the Emperor does in Star Wars. He claims that the current chancellor is unable to handle the crisis at hand and becomes his replacement. He then starts to restructure the Republic into an Empire, for the good of the people and peace in the galaxy. The important difference is that he was the one who created the crisis in the first place.
  • Summer Camp Nightmare, which is a 1980s adaptation of the book The Butterfly Revolution, has Franklin Reilly, one of the teenage counselors-in-training, stage a takeover of Camp North Pines with the other teenagers by putting all the adult counselors in detention, promising to liberate the summer camp so that the children could have fun without the strict boring activities of its camp director Mr. Warren when he was in charge. However, as Mr. Warren is killed during the takeover and one of the girls from the neighboring liberated Camp South Pines is raped, Franklin turns tyrannical and everybody is forced to obey his rules or else suffer various forms of punishment. Chris Wade, one of the teenagers who resisted the takeover, eventually got the police to rescue the children and bring them home safely while putting Franklin under arrest.
  • Superman II features one of the few moments in the DC franchise where General Zod succeeds in removing the President of the United States from power and taking over the planet. However, thanks to Superman, his rule is short lived.
  • Super Mario Bros. (1993): Koopa overthrew the King and took over Dinohattan, turning it into a police state overrun with crime and pollution; he's mismanaged the city so badly that the people are running out of food, water, and clean air. Toad even expresses how horrible Koopa's rule is in his "The Villain Sucks" Song, and screams as such in Koopa's face before being put through the Devo Chamber:
    Toad: What a lousy Kingdom ever since Koopa took over. And YOU, Koopa! You're a lousy leader!

  • In Animal Farm, Farmer Jones is removed from power for neglecting his animals. For a while, the society they form instead under the pig leaders Snowball and Napoleon is pleasant and ideal. But Napoleon has his own plans and desires; he secretly kidnaps and raises a litter of nine puppies, and when they mature into proper attack dogs, he has them chase Snowball off of the farm and takes control, outlawing debates as his first act and turning the farm into a work camp, making it worse than it was before.
  • In Bad Mermaids Make Waves, the mermaid queen Arabella Cod is fishnapped and imprisoned in a tank on land. Hidden Lagoon is taken over by a mysterious mermaid named The Swan who keeps everyone under lockdown and forces them to spend all their time making shell tops. The only mermaids who can do what they want are the rich mermaids of Oysterdale, who are allowed to loot the other cities. The Swan turns out to be a puppet of her "henchman" Ommy Pike, who plans to force everyone to wear shell tops so he can mind control them using the Ruster Shells, a magic shell top that only works on people who are dressed the same. He allowed the looting because he wants to live in Oysterdale, and theft is an easy way to have all the nice things moved from the other cities to Oysterdale.
  • Black Tide Rising: Near the end of Strands of Sorrow, The Remnant of the US military led by the protagonists locate the Secretary of Education and install her as acting President. Unfortunately, she quickly turns out to be a delusional Zombie Advocate (due to a desperate desire to locate and cure her infected daughter), ordering the military to stop killing zombies and try to detain them instead, while also threatening to charge the protagonists with war crimes, due to the zombies technically still being human. Realizing that her inept leadership will potentially ruin their efforts to restore civilization, and being morally unwilling to depose her in a coup, the protagonists instead launch an illegal operation to find someone higher up the line of succession to legally oust her, eventually succeeding in locating and rescuing the Vice-President.
  • Captain Queeg turning out to be one of these is basically the major plot motivator in The Caine Mutiny. The greatest piece of evidence of him being one (the one that destroys him in the court martial, even) is how absurdly obsessed he becomes with finding a quart of stolen strawberries.
  • Brother Leon, in The Chocolate War. He becomes acting headmaster of Trinity High School when the regular headmaster falls ill, makes a Deal with the Devil to try and secure the job permanently, and eventually winds up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
  • In Divergent, it's heavily implied that this is what happened to Dauntless. Dauntless's original MO was to train its members to be strong and courageous, yet to remain rational and use their strength solely for keeping the peace. As Erudite became more entrenched in its plot to overthrow Abnegation as the primary governing faction of Chicago, it started slipping in its own members into Dauntless leadership. The new leadership, by changing the rules of initiation, would eventually wipe any semblance of honor from Dauntless and turn its members from honorable, courageous soldiers into merciless killing machines. After a few years of this, Erudite would finally have the perfect army with which to control via simulation serum and then use to utterly destroy Abnegation.
  • This was part of Baron Harkonnen's plan for Dune: first have his evil mentat Piter de Vries take control of Arrakis and squeeze every ounce of worth and water out of the people, then have his nephew Feyd swoop in as a big damn hero and win everyone's love and affection. Alas, Piter came down with a bad case of death before he could be put in charge, so the Baron sent his other nephew, the "Beast" Rabban.
  • During the events of Terry Pratchett's The Fifth Elephant, Sergeant Colon is, much to his own horror, put in charge of the city watch by means of being the most senior watchman available and promptly begins burning paperwork and accusing his subordinates of stealing sugar cubes and "earlobing" him. This has the effect of creating the Watchmen's Guild. This is ultimately corrected when Captain Carrot returns from his "sabbatical". Humorously, this had little effect on the city's crime rates; if anything, crime rates went down, since all the criminals knew that this state of events would put Commander Vimes in a foul mood when he got back and nobody wanted to be on the receiving end of that.
  • The Fire Never Dies:
    • After President Wilson suffered a stroke and the remainder of the US government considered surrendering to the Reds, General William J. Simmons, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, took control of the White forces in a military coup, destroying not only any chance of a negotiated surrender but also any remaining legitimacy of the US government. Simmons fully intended to remake America in the KKK's white supremacist image if given the chance, but the Reds' imminent victory ensured it would never come to pass.
    • A Flash Forward in Update 100 revealed this happened to Britain of all places years after the Second American Revolution, falling under a Falangist regime headed by the likes of Baron Garvagh, General Fuller, William Joyce and others.
  • The plot of Gay from China at the Chalet School revolves around this trope. When Miss Bubb, the tyrant in question, takes over as temporary headmistress after Miss Wilson, Miss Annersley, and others are injured in a car crash, her fixation on exam results and crackdowns on the girls' free time and privileges makes her very unpopular, to the point where Joey writes a letter begging Miss Wilson to come back. Things come to a head when she forbids Gay Lambert - who has broken rules on more than one occasion - to see her older brother before he is stationed in Asia, which leads to Gay running away and culminates in Miss Bubb having to resign, to everyone's relief.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Dolores Umbridge comes to Hogwarts as a teacher imposed by the Ministry of Magic, becomes High Inquisitor, fires Trelawney, tries to subdue Hagrid like he's a wild beast with a team of Stunners due to her hatred of Half Human Hybrids and treats any "filthy half-breed" like a stupider, lesser being, dictates rules aimed at abolishing the students' civil liberties, literally tortures students during detention, and finally deposes Dumbledore and becomes Headmistress. Her "things will be different around here" speech gets lampshaded by Hermione. She's so bad that she actually sides with Voldemort after she's run out of Hogwarts.
  • In the Honor Harrington short story A Ship Named Francis, after the captain ends up in a coma because of a potato sack race, his psychotic XO takes over. He declares that he's going to increase discipline onboard ship and starts out by holding summary court martials in which he sentences a quarter of the crew to death - within one day of taking command. Since they were four days away from their homeport, the crew figured that at his current rate the XO would end up killing everyone by the time the ship made it back, and they hastily devised a plan to subvert his insanity (Note that the Francis S Mueller was the duty posting for everyone the Navy didn't want at an important posting but hadn't screwed up enough to be thrown out... yet).
  • In Paul Robinson's In The Matter of: Instrument of God, Marilyn, the Deputy Administrator of the Welcoming Department, becomes appointed to Administrator when the former administrator decides to go back to earth. Her new rules are so disliked that the entire supervisory staff of the department quit in protest - all except for one supervisor so that she can't appoint anyone in their place.
  • In Douglas Coupland's jPod, this happens twice, although neither of the tyrants is particularly evil. The first one is Steve, who takes over as head of marketing and promptly attempts to get a cute turtle inserted into the skateboarding game they're designing. He's later vanished by the Chinese mafia, and replaced by Alastair, who turns the game into an edutainment title about a prince and a flying carpet. He frustrates the characters so much that they find and rescue Steve.
  • In the Juniper Sawfeather novel Echo of the Cliffs, Mr. Mains is suspended from his position as principal of West Olympia High for missing work to talk to June during her tree-sit. His successor, former Vice Principal Mrs. Slater, is highly unpopular with both students and teachers for her tyrannical behavior, which includes fining teachers whose students are caught using cell phones in class, even though the school is short on computers and some kids have to use their phones to do their assignments. The only people who like her are Regina and the rest of the Student Council, who get to spend most of their time patrolling the halls and reporting people for cell phone violations. Haley becomes the leader of the school resistence movement and plans a walk-out during class. The afternoon of the planned walk-out, Mrs. Slater and Regina try to prevent it by barring all the doors. Mrs. Slater is fired for violating the fire code, Regina is suspended, and Mr. Mains is reinstated.
  • Miss Viola Swamp from the Miss Nelson Is Missing series of books. Miss Swamp was a very harsh disciplinarian who kept the mischievous children in line when they took advantage of Miss Nelson's kind nature. It was revealed at the end of the first book that Miss Swamp was Miss Nelson in disguise.
  • Mouseheart: Pinkie after taking control of the Mūs village, quickly turning it into a Police State, ordering every able-bodied mouse be conscripted into her military, and refusing to allow Atlantian refugees be allowed to seek shelter. Luckily, Dodger manages to get her to come to her senses.
  • In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Arcadio takes over Macondo during the wars and rules harshly, killing many people.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: When beloved centaur mentor Chiron is temporarily relieved of his duties in the second Percy Jackson book, The Sea of Monsters, somebody unaccountably decided that the best person to replace him as activities coordinator at Camp Half-Blood would be notorious child-murderer Tantalus.
  • One of Niccolò Machiavelli's most famous pieces of advice from The Prince was to have a Tyrant Take The Helm in a rebellious territory. The tyrant will crush resistance at the cost of arousing public hatred. Then, when you come in and order the tyrant's beheading, you're left with a pacified province of people who consider themselves indebted to you for eliminating the tyrant.
  • This happens when Prince John usurps King Richard's throne in many versions of the Robin Hood story.
  • In the third book of the Septimus Heap series, Queen Etheldredda the Awful attempts to pull this. She's a ghost, so her ability to do things is somewhat... limited, but she attempts to influence the Princess and her family to various effect. Those she doesn't like get infected with a dangerous disease via her ugly pet.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Joffrey Baratheon becomes King of Westeros after his father's death. Almost immediately he uses his power in abusing and killing people whenever he feels like it. He is unaware that he would not be King if not for his family's proper managing skills, and he was killed by the family of his would-be Queen because he was a sadistic idiot. His mother Cersei Lannister isn't far behind, as Queen Regent she empowers people of questionable loyalty, and is sabotaging the Alliance between the Lannisters and the Tyrells. Very soon she is removed from power, and the Kingdom of Westeros is slowly plunging into ruin.
    • Under the Lannister regime we have other examples of tyrants taking over. When the Starks, the beloved rulers of the North, are betrayed at the Red Wedding by the Freys and Boltons, Roose Bolton personally murdering his liege Robb Stark, the Boltons are rewarded with control of the North. Despite Roose's talk of "a quiet land, a quiet people", under the new regime his monstrous son Ramsay Snow, "the Bastard of Bolton", is legitimized as Roose's heir and goes round the North committing atrocities, flaying, murdering and raping people. However this trope is deconstructed, as many of the Northerners despise the Boltons, especially Ramsay, and Roose notes that his son's cruelty means they will never hold the North successfully.
    • In the history of Westeros Maegor the Cruel's reign was this, when Maegor seized the Iron Throne after his half-brother Aenys' death, even decapitating the Maester who pointed out his brother's sons should inherit before him. Maegor was a monstrous sadist, committing atrocities and murdering two of his nephews. Though played with in that under Aenys the realm was already unstable, due to Aenys' weakness and inability to act decisively, leading to conflicts with the Faith, though the conflict became much more brutal when Maegor took over. Fortunately Aenys' youngest son Jaehaerys I proved to be perhaps the most capable King to ever sit the Iron Throne.
    • Fire & Blood also has the regency of Aegon III. When the reliable Tyland Lannister dies of the Winter Fever, someone summons slimy plotter Unwin Peake to be Hand of the King. Peake immediately sets about firing or removing much of the King's council and replacing them with relatives and toadies, overriding the king's own choices and telling him to shut up whenever he actually does try objecting because he's "just a boy", and might well have arranged the death of Aegon's first wife so he'd be forced to marry Unwin's daughter. This state of affairs continues for three years until the other regents finally get fed up with Peake, who threatens to quit as Hand if his demands aren't met, and is met with the response "go right ahead".
  • Spy School: For all of his incompetence, Alexander is more fatherly towards Ben and the others, listening to their input and trying to keep them well-protected. Once his father takes over, Cyrus is more inclined to risk their lives gratuitously, insults them, and ignores their input on almost everything, while still tending to be just as easily Out-Gambitted by Spyder as his son.
  • Tempest (2011): In Tempest Revealed, Sabyn takes over Tempest's position as monarch of Coral Straits at the same time Tiamat takes over the other four major aquatic kingdoms of the Pacific. Sabyn makes some effort to look like a good merKing, but Tiamat openly commits mass murder against her subjects.
  • Thomas & Friends: A minor example of the newly-appointed policeman in "Thomas in Trouble" from Toby the Tram Engine, who accuses Thomas of being dangerous to the public.
    Thomas: Peep peep! Good morning sir.
    Policeman: Disgraceful! I didn't sleep a wink last night, it was so quiet, and now engines come whistling suddenly behind me.
    Thomas: I'm sorry, sir, I only said "good morning".
    Policeman: Where is your cow-catcher?
    Policeman: Don't be funny!! No side plates, either. Engines going on public roads must have their wheels covered, and a cow-catcher in front. You haven't, so you are Dangerous to the Public.
    Thomas's driver: Rubbish. We've been along here hundreds of times, and there's never been an accident.
    Policeman: That makes it worse. (Writes "Regular Law-Breaker" in his notebook)
  • Warrior Cats
    • The first arc, Into the Wild, has three of them. One of them is Brokenstar, who murdered his father Raggedstar to be ShadowClan's leader, and that's where things go downhill for the Clan really fast. He banishes all the elders from the safety of the camp, forces kits to become apprentices at three moons instead of six (and makes them warriors at five moons instead of twelve), and makes his Clan eat rotten food instead of fresh meat to focus on battles. He even lets Brightflower's kits die and shifts the blame onto Yellowfang (his mother and Brightflower's daughter), banishing her from the Clan. But a lot of ShadowClan cats get so sick of Brokenstar that they team up with a ThunderClan patrol to drive him out.
    • Tigerstar seems to be a good leader at first when he takes the wheel, rebuilding ShadowClan's strength, but he still tries to get back at his former ThunderClan compatriots. But in The Darkest Hour, he takes over the RiverClan camp, starts up propaganda against half-Clan cats and executes them, and attacks WindClan to intimidate them and show what would happen if they did not join TigerClan (a mix of ShadowClan and RiverClan}. It was his tyranny that brings him to his bloody end, as an even fiercer tyrant named Scourge rips him open from head to tail.
    • Scourge starts out as a kittypet named Tiny who ran away from home. After he slowly becomes the leader of the stray cats in the city, he forms BloodClan and forms harsh rules for them to live by. One of his rules is that the weaker cats do not need to be taken care of. He doesn't like families living together in fear of being overthrown and punishes them for living together.
    • In the seventh arc, The Broken Code, when Bramblestar loses a life, an unknown spirit enters his body and proceeds to pretend to be him. However, this new cat ends up being a Control Freak who punishes everyone who breaks any rule - even accidentally - and later anyone who so much as questions him. This especially becomes dangerous when he exiles both medicine cats and appoints a cat with no experience or knowledge of healing. Meanwhile, he himself breaks the warrior code by insisting he eat first, even before the elders. The cats remaining in the Clan are wary of each other, not knowing who they can trust and who will report them to him.
  • The evil governess Miss Slighcarp in The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken does this the minute Bonnie's parents leave the house.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100:
  • This happens at least once a season in 24. Usually at some point the competent head of CTU is either punished for not "playing by the book" or somehow incapacitated, and "Division" sends over a replacement, who is always an arrogant jerk who annoys everybody by being more concerned with strict guidelines and power trips than with doing whatever it takes to stop the terrorist threat at hand. Usually, this person is either re-replaced or finally comes to see the error of his or her ways, usually when they make things worse.
    • Special mention must go to Lynn McGill, who is such a tyrant that they eventually just declare him unfit for command and arrest him.
  • "Evil Dick" of 3rd Rock from the Sun is a humorous version. His first "drastic change" was to move a gnome from a coffee table to a dresser.
  • Happened a few times in 7 Days (1998), and always cancelled with the series' built-in Reset Button.
  • The secretary Miss Harbottle from All Creatures Great And Small. She rules the accounts with an iron fist and equates taking money from the cashbox to pay for petty expenses with embezzlement. No wonder she didn't last long.
  • The Brit Com Are You Being Served?, 1976 season, episode "Forward Mr. Grainger": The lovable head of the Men's Department Mr Grainger gets a temporary promotion and instantly becomes a complete tyrant, even going as far as to fire one of the regulars. Then the real manager returns ahead of schedule and takes back his job, sends Grainger back to his, and Grainger realizes that he's dug his own grave.
  • While DCI Jim Keats doesn't outright take leadership of CID, and while he's a lot subtler than your typical Tyrant, his role in Ashes to Ashes (2008) is that of an authority figure who tries to implement some serious changes, going against the grain and established protocol in an effort to - hopefully - usurp the current leader. Not only does he fail, he reveals his true nature. There have been theories that he's tried to take over before, in the guise of Frank Morgan in Life on Mars.
  • The replacement Kosh on Babylon 5, to the point that eventually Sheridan and Delenn actually have him murdered.
    • Also Emperor Cartagia, who turns out to be batshit insane and kills most of his advisers for trivial reasons (and keeps their heads to talk to them). His final plan? To become a god by letting the Vorlons destroy Centauri Prime. The worst part is that Londo helped put him in power, as he and Lord Refa believed they could control him. Boy, did that plan backfire.
      • In "The Lost Tales", Sheridan meets Cartagia's son Dius Vintari, whom Galen predicts will become the next tyrant after Vir's death. His hatred for humanity would grow over the years and he would eventually stage a surprise attack on Earth. Galen's plan is to stage an "accident" with Sheridan as the trigger-man. But Sheridan backs out at the last moment and realizes that the real problem is Vintari's presence in the Decadent Court of Centauri Prime, so he takes the prince regent to live with him and Delenn on Minbar. Galen then admits that this was his real plan all along.
    • Colonel Ari ben Zayn in the episode "Eyes" falls into this category when he trumps up charges against Sinclair and takes over the station to the point that his own aide helps discredit him. It turns out that not only did ben Zayn have a personal grudge against Sinclair (who was promoted ahead of him to command the station), he was probably mentally unstable to begin with and ended up aiding a larger conspiracy within EarthGov to further his personal agenda.
  • Admiral Cain from Battlestar Galactica is a serious-as-cancer tyrant. Her concept of pragmatism involves a lot more "execution of un-useful civilians" than Adama's. Fortunately she's taken down before she gets to try this out with her newfound fleet. There's also the matter of her sanctioning the long and brutal torture of a Cylon captive who was once her girlfriend.
  • Blindspot: Near the end of Season 4, Madeline Burke manages to frame Jane's team for her own crimes while making it look like they framed her. She then uses the public sympathy for her "suffering" as leverage to get herself appointed to a position of civilian oversight over the FBI; she proceeds to use their resources throughout Season 5 to further her own goals while hiring mercenaries to run the Bureau's offices like mini-Police States in order to repress dissent.
  • In The Boys (2019), Homelander performs a hostile takeover of Vought in Season 3 after manipulating the Mole in Charge Congresswoman Victoria into turning on the CEO and her adoptive father Stan. After the initial shock, Stan remained as collected as ever and mocked Homelander to his face, telling him that he'll just run things into the ground without Stan to cover up his Psychopathic Manchild antics.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Snyder replaced Principal Flutie after Flutie was eaten by students possessed by hyenas. While he openly despised pretty much all teenagers, he targeted Buffy and the Scoobie Gang and turns out to be working for Mayor Wilkins, the Big Bad of Season 3. However he's apparently in the dark as to exactly who (or what) he was working for, as he clearly wasn't expecting the Mayor to turn into a snake and eat him. He even stands up to the Mayor at the end, however ineffectively.
  • Deputy Commissioner Doherty on Cold Case, new boss and arch-rival to Lt. Stillman, on Cold Case. Interestingly, the actual reason he enjoys making Stillman's life hell is a bit of a twist: at first we're led to believe it's Stillman's contempt for Doherty's sleazeball City Council allies, then because Stillman locked up Doherty's junkie son, but it's eventually revealed that Doherty is actually envious of Stillman because the son's stay in prison had legitimately straightened him out, and thus Doherty resents Stillman for accomplishing something he never could. In the series finale, it's implied Doherty will be sent to prison or at least lose his job, as it turns out his son also committed manslaughter, which Doherty had fudged police records to cover up.
  • Erin Strauss on Criminal Minds However she tries to remove Hotch from his position as Unit Chief (and Hotch later says to Prentiss that, if Prentiss had told Strauss some of the things the team has done, he would have gotten fired), but later on tells former agent newly joining the team David Rossi that the team is Hotch's. And, instead of finding a way to get rid of Hotch after he beats George Foyet to death, she feeds the team and Hotch lines to ensure that all testimony makes it obvious that Hotch had no choice.
  • Crossing Jordan had multiple instances, one with Dr. Jack Slocum and another with Special Prosecutor William Ivers. The latter somewhat redeems himself in a later episode.
  • Private Frazer in Dad's Army yearns to do this, angling for increased power and responsibility at every opportunity. Ironically, the one time he was temporarily put in charge he proved himself a much more effective leader than Captain Mainwaring. However, in following with the trope, the power goes to his head enough and he becomes enough of a bullying tyrant so that when the positions are returned to normal, no one really minds.
  • Death in Paradise: Sergeant Angela Young, who takes over the station when Poole is laid in bed with a fever and Camille is in Paris on a training course in "An Unhelpful Aid".
  • The Defenders (2017): Elektra Natchios, after she abruptly kills Alexandra, declares to the remaining Fingers of the Hand that they answer to her. But whereas Alexandra actually listened to the other Fingers and appreciated their advice, Elektra flat-out doesn't care what they think and even threatens to have them killed if they get in her way.
  • Dexter experienced this trope with the introduction of Esme Pascal. An annoying short-lived character who constantly raved that her boyfriend was cheating on her (which he was with the original leader). She then promptly becomes unstable as a result of LaGuerta's machinations.
  • The major ongoing plot in the third season of The Doctor Blake Mysteries involves Chief Superintendent Munro taking over from Lawson and trying to drive Lucien out of the position of Police Surgeon.
  • In the Doctor Who Series Three finale, The Master becomes Prime Minister
  • In the Dollhouse episode "Meet Jane Doe" (2x07), after losing Echo, Adele is replaced by Harding, who humiliates her by installing her as his puppet/maid and creates a Research and Development department presumably to begin building the technology responsible for the collapse of civilization we see in "Epitaph One" (1x13). She is only able to regain her position of power by delivering said technology right into Harding's hands, a move made out of desperation and perhaps qualitatively worse than anything she has done on the show before. Of course, she's spurred on by this bit of inspirational wisdom from Boyd after they learn that Harding plans to send a number of the actives to a new house in Dubai:
    Boyd: You need to take this house back.
    Adele: And how am I supposed to do that?
    Boyd: ...The Adele I knew would never ask me that question.
    • Of course, given The Reveal later on that Boyd is the ultimate Big Bad running the corporation, this entire chain of events may have been orchestrated.
  • ER had chief nurse Eve Peyton, who forced Sam to fire long-time nurse Haleh.
    • Also Dr. Romano upon becoming chief of the ER, although it was somewhat different.
    • The ultimate example would be the first, Kerry Weaver, who took over as chief resident at the beginning of Season 2 and promptly spent the next decade making everyone miserable with her nitpicking, nagging, controlling ways. To the point where the staff actually had a party to celebrate he taking a day off. It really didn't help that she took over from the much nicer Mark Greene, whom everyone loved.
  • In one episode of Even Stevens, Principal Wexler leaves to pursue a modeling career and is replaced by incompetent pushover Vice Principal Landau. After the school descends into anarchy, Ren gives him a pep talk and tells him to be more assertive. He takes it to heart, and a few days later the school has turned into Nineteen Eighty-Four (things get better in the end, of course).
  • Two examples from Foyle's War:
    • The first takes over when Foyle is suspended under suspicion of having committed sedition; he initially seems like a Bait-and-Switch Tyrant, if a bit of a strict one until it's revealed that he framed Foyle for sedition in order to get his job so that he could murder a junior civil servant hiding out in a 'funk hole' hotel nearby whose incompetence he blames for the deaths of his mother and sister in an air-raid.
    • The second takes over when Foyle resigns and is disliked by everyone because he seems disinterested and incompetent at the job — it's later revealed he's like this because he doesn't care about anything since the deaths of his two sons in the war. He ends up accidentally getting shot by someone gunning for Milner, thus prompting Foyle's return.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Deconstructed with House Bolton. Roose only gets away with his betrayal and usurpation due to the depletion of the Stark forces at the Red Wedding and the backing of the Lannister controlled Iron Throne. Even then, Roose has to use his political savvy to keep the Bolton regime intact, as many of his vassals want to see him gone.
    • In the Season 6 finale, after killing most of her political enemies in a wildfire explosion and Tommen's suicide, Cersei forcibly takes the Iron Throne and names herself Queen.
    • Joffrey inherits the throne after Robert dies and quickly starts ruling in a despotic, sadistic way.
  • Get Smart. In "The Hot Line", KAOS arranges for the Chief to be demoted to Agent Second Class and the incompetent Maxwell Smart to take his place as Chief. Max assures 99 the position won't go to his head, but of course it does.
  • Greek: Lizzie, the national representative watching over Zeta Beta Zeta, is a passive-aggressive Tyrant, promising any "slip-ups" being reported to Nationals. She's somewhat ineffective, though, and eventually shows signs of a Bait-and-Switch Tyrant.
  • Hogan's Heroes. This trope may as well be called "Colonel Klink's Been Replaced Again", given how often this is used.
    • Also applies when a new sergeant of the guard or underling comes in. They're almost invariably sterner than the usuals.
    • Also might apply to Crittendon. He's technically an ally, but he's both overcontrolling and a complete moron.
    • Special mention goes to the episode where Schultz is put in charge. After taking advice from Hogan about how officers are supposed to act, his usual "I see nothing" attitude flies out the window and he starts treating the prisoners like, well, prisoners. Of course Hogan and the guys immediately start devising schemes to return to the status quo.
  • Roger Gaffney in Homicide: Life on the Street. He is an incompetent detective who is promoted over Giardello for purely political reasons. He gives his "things are going to change around here" speech while Giardello trashes a room in a fit of rage.
  • Edward Vogler from House. Of course, there wasn't really a "regular" leader he was replacing, but Vogler did manage to pretty much take over the hospital and force them to run it his way. House, of course, opposed him at every turn and the rest of the main cast eventually came around as well.
  • House of Saddam: According to Iraqi President Al-Bakr, thanks to his rule - with Saddam Hussein as deputy - Iraq has schools and food for all of the people, for the first time in history. He is deposed upon Saddam's coup d'etat of the Ba'ath Party and Saddam's regime is quickly driven by megalomania and tyranny.
  • Mr Howard and Ms. Briggs from iCarly turn the school into something out of 1984 in iHave My Principals.
  • I, Claudius: Claudius plans to use this gambit by naming Nero his successor; the intent being to let Rome see how dreadful an Emperor can be. Strangely, they all seem to have forgotten how bad things were under Tiberius and Caligula, who preceded Claudius. Once Nero has ruined everything, Claudius's true chosen successor is to return to reinstate the Republic. Needless to say, this does not work out.
  • In Jack of All Trades, Governor Croque once goes to prison and his wife takes over for the duration. She decides to start executing villagers to force the Dragoon to reveal himself. In another episode, Jack and Emily have to aid Croque in looking good in front of his superiors since otherwise he might be replaced by someone who is actually a threat.
    • Any episode where Croque's brother Napoleon shows up, he immediately takes over (being The Emperor and all), forcing Dragoon to try to get him off the island as fast as possible.
  • When Monica Mancuso takes the helm as owner of the Montecito resort in Las Vegas, her already-unpleasant persona turns into The Caligula, having both put the casino in jeopardy several times, including with a foreign government, and wanting to take over other properties for herself in the Las Vegas area. All of this, combined with the fact that she's a horrible Gold Digger makes her hated by everyone, staff and customers, and her Karmic Death is celebrated. By contrast, all of the other owners, including A.J Cooper, have either been tough but fair, or downright reasonable.
  • Subverted briefly in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit with Kim Greylek who informs Cragen that she'll be present at crime scenes. The captain, finding this a very familiar scene, cuts her down immediately.
    "That won't last."
  • A curious example appears in Life On Mars in the form of DCI Frank Morgan, who temporarily replaces Gene Hunt when the latter is accused of murder. Contrary to the usual Tyrant, Morgan is — compared to his fellow 1973 officers, at any rate — a progressive, thoughtful, and thoroughly competent administrator who only becomes a tyrant in that he's unwilling to put up with the sloppiness and ethically questionable conduct that Hunt encouraged. Sam Tyler, himself a progressive officer (with the excuse that he [to his knowledge] comes from 2007) finds himself actually admiring Morgan's methods even whilst he's trying to clear Hunt's name of murder. Later in the season, Morgan does reveal a bastard side, however, in that he's willing to go to any lengths — including letting the rest of the team die in a botched undercover job — so as to discredit Hunt and allow himself to take over and reform the department.
  • Matt Webber in the MacGyver episode "Early Retirement". MacGyver's boss Pete oversees the disarming of a nuclear warhead. A deadly explosion at the disarming facility causes Pete to accept full responsibility and retire from the Phoenix Foundation. However, MacGyver soon suspects that Matt Webber—the replacement for Pete—is responsible for sabotaging the warhead.
  • In M*A*S*H, Frank Burns became one whenever left in command.
    • Likewise with Hawkeye. He started out trying to be reasonable, but when faced with the increasingly difficult decisions command gave him, he started alienating the rest of the camp (Margaret even tells him off by saying "If Frank Burns could see you now!"). Luckily, Potter returned and smoothed things over. It becomes something of a learning experience for Hawkeye, who takes command not quite so seriously the next time Potter leaves him in command.
    • Colonel Potter, by contrast, was something of a Bait-and-Switch Tyrant.
    • The one time Winchester took the helm, this trope only applied to Klinger, whom Winchester employed as his batman. Everyone else was more exasperated by how much a nonentity in command he was, interested only in listening to Wagner and otherwise indulging in the privileges of rank than actually running the unit.
    • Subverted in the original film. Frank is left in command at one point, but he's so disrespected that he essentially has no authority.
  • Acting DA Van Dyke on Medium.
  • In the Midsomer Murders episode "Picture of Innocence'', Barnaby is taken off a case when he becomes one of the suspects and is replaced by the pencil-pushing bureaucrat Martin Spellman, much to Jones' disgust.
  • In season 2 of Monster Warriors, Obstructive Bureaucrat and Teen Hater Superintendent McClellan is elected mayor and attempts to shut the Monster Warriors down: putting Capital City at the mercy of the monsters. He eventually resigns and goes back to being superintendent.
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: The western episode-episode sees the TV bosses giving Mr. Potato Head a literally impossible task. When he calls them out on its impossibility, they put an oh-so-subtly-named Bully-Boy McPherson in charge of his show, and give him a contract that allows him to cancel the show if he's not satisfied with the cast's work, which repeatedly threatens to use!
  • Nightingales: "All at Sea" features a new inspector who rules with an iron fist and quickly drives Sarge, Ding Dong and Carter to mutiny.
  • On NYPD Blue, the first time Lt. Fancy leaves, his replacement definitely fits the trope. Fancy sees what's going on, and arranges to get her removed and comes back. Subverted when he leaves again—everyone (especially Andy) is expecting another tyrant, but the new guy turns out to be OK.
  • Played with several times in the U.S. version of The Office (US), most notably in the episode "The Job". Michael, assuming he will be promoted, names as his replacement Dwight, who immediately starts making odd changes.
    • This is also the crux of the Charles Miner story arc when Michael quits.
    • Happened yet again with Dwight when Steve Carell left the show. This time, Dwight went on an utterly insane power trip, which is probably more a tribute to how much he had Flanderized than anything. After one episode, he was fired for firing a gun in the office, though he of course retained his old job.
    • Subverted in the show's final episodes where Jim manages to put a Batman Gambit in effect where through a bit of Insane Troll Logic all of Dwight's crazy tyrannical policies are delegated back to Dwight to deal with. Forced to be his own Only Sane Employee, Dwight mellows out a lot and after a few months becomes the best manager the company ever had.
  • During the robot revolution of Other Space, the robots turn to the coffeemaker for his laser firepower. He quickly uses it to take over the ship.
  • Oz: Played with when Martin Querns takes over Em City after Tim McManus is fired. He's far more lenient with the prisoners than McManus was and turns a blind eye to everything except violence, but he runs Em City with an iron fist, replacing all the COs with ones of his choice and brooking no disagreement with his policies.
  • On Parks and Recreation, Chris after he becomes acting City Manager. He institutes a number of changes, including the UST-inducing ban on workplace dating, in addition to shaking up the Parks Department by giving everyone new assignments that they're unsuited for. However, Chris is quite a nice guy; he's simply oblivious to the fact that not everyone is as efficient, cheerful, and professional as he is.
    • Ron discusses the tendency for new city managers to shake things up and insist on doing things their own way. He loves this period because all of the changes are inevitably terrible and nothing gets done, giving him a chance to relax and eat doughnuts.
  • In Porridge (episode "Disturbing the Peace"), Mackay is sent away, only to be replaced by the sadistic Napper Wainwright.
  • Power Rangers:
    • In Power Rangers Time Force, when Alex arrives to the present, his first actions are to take Wes' powers and assume leadership of the team. While he genuinely wants to save the future, he spends more time berating and ordering the other Rangers around, which doesn't earn them any sympathy from them. It takes the others finally giving him a What the Hell, Hero? straight to his face that if he cared about the future, he wouldn't have tried to replace Wes.
    • In Power Rangers S.P.D., Supreme Commander Birdie fires Cruger in one episode due to Cruger's unwillingness to follow Birdie's ideas on strategy. Birdie gets the Rangers, and later himself, into trouble very quickly due to his pride and his "split up the team regardless of circumstances" strategies.
  • An episode of Primeval had the imperious Christine Johnson take control of the ARC and force the team into hiding. She was removed from her post by the end of the episode though.
    • After the return of Abby and Connor after their 1-year hiatus in the past, they find out that things have changed in the ARC. While James Lester (who is much more caring than he pretends to be) is still formally in charge of day-to-day activities, it's now partly a privately-funded operation with a tycoon named Philip Burton having a lot of say. While he's not exactly a tyrant, he's much more concerned with the anomalies themselves than protecting the people from all the creatures that come through. After he nearly dies thanks to Rex escaping his cage, he orders that all creatures in the ARC be put down, no exceptions. Lester has to blackmail him to reverse the order.
  • At the end of season 7 of Psych, police consultant Harris Trout evaluates the Santa Barbara police department and suspends chief Vick, taking over as interim chief. His first act is to fire McNab for taking a side job as a male stripper, demote Lassiter, and refuse to hire Shawn and Gus for any more cases. In the 4th episode of season 8 there's a hostage situation in the station and when it's over Trout takes out his frustration by firing Lassiter, Juliet, and the newly rehired Shawn and Gus for "not being loyal to him", then receives a call from his own superiors informing him that he has just been terminated for his ham-fisted bungling of the situation.
  • Queeg in the self-titled episode of Red Dwarf. Subverted because he is actually an alter ego of Holly, created to show the crew how good they have it with him. Guess he knew this trope.
  • The first season finale of Roseanne is about a tyrannical new manager who takes over from the more easy-going Booker at the Wellman Plastics factory where Roseanne, Jackie, and their other friends all work. After toying with Roseanne and making her suck up to him in exchange for lower quotas, he thinks he's broken her and raises the quotas back up to impossible levels, prompting all the women to quit.
  • When Doctor Maddox takes charge in Scrubs. She doesn't so much change the rules as do away with the small amount of leeway Doctor Kelso gave the staff.
  • Sister Boniface Mysteries: In "Crimes and Miss Demeanours", Detective Chief Inspector Winner is sent from Scotland Yard to oversee the investigation and immediately rubs everyone in Great Slaughter up the wrong way with his abrasive attitude.
  • In one episode of The Slammer, the Governor is arrested and replaced by a new governor, Mr Beltsem. Beltsem is a tyrant who mistreats both the prisoners and the guards, and suffers from 'show biz phobia'.
  • The Stargate SG-1 episode "Chain Reaction" is a typical Tyrant Takes The Helm episode. The beloved leader of the SGC, General Hammond, is blackmailed into retiring and is replaced by a General Bauer. Bauer proceeds to break up SG-1, dedicate all the SGC's resources to building a big bomb, and privately delivers the "things will be different around here" speech to O'Neill. O'Neill then sets out to get Hammond back and he is, of course, successful by the end of the episode.
    • Bauer also screwed up so badly in the episode (blowing up an uninhabited planet which very nearly meant irradiating the entire state) that he probably would have resigned even if Hammond hadn't returned.
  • Captain Edward Jellico in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Chain of Command (Part 1)". He made sweeping changes which, while normal for a regular armed force, were rather unorthodox for the Mildly Military Starfleet. Given that they were facing the very serious possibility of armed conflict breaking out with a hostile empire, these were probably necessary, but that didn't stop the crew from complaining all the way through. Notably, he finally put Troi in a standard uniform (which was much more flattering on her anyway). Something of a subversion, too, since he rescued Picard and Out-Gambitted the Cardassians (a race that has Magnificent Bastard as their hat). Picard even said he'd be keeping a lot of Jellico's changes.
    • In the subsequent spin-off novel series Star Trek: New Frontier, one storyline had Commander Riker temporarily take command of the USS Excalibur while its regular captain was on an important undercover mission. Reminded of his own attitude towards Jellico's actions, Riker takes care to avoid becoming this by not trying to impose his own way of doing things on the Excalibur crew by reminding himself that everyone has their own command style, and is able to adapt enough to trust the senior staff.
  • An episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody had Mr. Mosbey fired and replaced by a Tyrant. It was all back to normal by the end of the episode.
  • Steve Fleming in The Thick of It. At first his colleagues are happy to see the back of Malcolm Tucker but when they realize how creepy, charmless, and bad-tempered his replacement is, they decide they want their jerk to come back from his 10-Minute Retirement.
    • Also Cal "The Fucker" Richards, who replaces Stewart Pearson as Opposition campaign manager in the Season Three finale. His openly psychotic demeanor terrifies everyone, even the usually unflappable Peter Mannion. Fortunately Cal's only around for one episode, but things can't have been pleasant.
  • John Gilbert for a while in Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries.
    • While admittedly already a Knight Templar, John crosses the Moral Event Horizon when he knocks out Sheriff Forbes so she couldn't interfere with his mad plan to use the entire town as bait for the tomb vampires. Killing Anna was within his already established moral framework.
  • Veronica Mars: Keith Mars when he regains the position of sheriff. While generally a good guy, his response to underage drinking was way out of proportion to the actual problem. The deputies subsequently make no effort to enforce the law in this regard and pointedly ignore Keith's orders.
  • Vikings: In season 5 Ragnar's unhinged son Ivar takes over Kattegat and quickly becomes Viking-Hitler.
  • The Wire:
    • Lt. Marrimow takes over and all but destroys the MCU in the fourth season. The bosses who sent him to the unit did so specifically to disrupt the unit, not because they believed he would be a good boss. Deputy Commissioner Rawls even refers to Marrimow as "My Trojan Horse."
    • Marlo Stanfield, a small-time dealer, perceives the Barksdale drug empire as weak in Season 3, decides to wage war on Avon Barksdale's organization and take over West Baltimore, which he manages to do thanks to some luck and good timing. Unlike Avon who (mostly) refrained from killing people unless they interfered with his corners, (which is mostly part of the game) or he was looking to take over their turf, Marlo is a power-hungry sociopath who has people killed if he hears they were talking bad about him, questioning him, or even if they look at him wrong. He violently deposes the relatively peaceful old order and is responsible for dozens of murders. In season five, afterkilling Prop Joe, Marlo assumes power atthe New Day Co-op and as first order of business announces that there will be no more meetings, and that the price has gone up.

  • Al Stewart's song “Joe the Georgian”, which is actually about Joseph Stalin's regime, re-imagined in a naval setting where he literally takes the helm.
    We all set off together
    On this sorry ship of state
    When the captain took the fever
    We were hijacked by the mate
    And he steered us through the shadows
    Upon an angry tide
    And cast us one by one over the side

  • This is the backstory for Big Guns; even the antagonist is named "King Tyrant".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Kodo Fuyuki's takeover of FMW, which started the much-reviled "World Entertainment Wrestling" era in the promotion known for naming Garbage Wrestler. Interestingly, Fuyuki's inevitable defeat at the hands of "First Son" Masato Tanaka didn't actually bring WEW to an end.
  • Giant Baba's wife Motoko was viewed this way by many who followed Mitsuharu Misawa out of All Japan Pro Wrestling to form Pro Wrestling NOAH. Nobuo Shiraishi was this when he bought All Japan from The Great Muta to the point what was left of his roster performed a hostile takeover to save the company after receiving Motoko's blessing.
  • Kevin Nash was this after he won the WCW commissioner position from Terry Funk in early 2000. To the point where he told everyone that from now on, whenever speaking to him, they must kneel and refer to him as their "Lord Master".
  • Ric Flair was this after he turned heel while president of WCW. Well, this and batshit crazy.
  • Colt Cabana and Adam Pierce publicly denounced Bruce Tharpe's takeover of the National Wrestling Alliance and activation of Presidential powers as this during the Seven Levels Of Hate event.
  • Vickie Guerrero during her time as WWE Smackdown and WWE Raw General Manager fills this role well.
  • DJ Hyde's acquisition of CZW coincided with his supposed ascendency to godhood. His further acquisition of WSU was a combination of this and Meet the New Boss, though it did help along Havok's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Once John Laurinaitis got a hold of both Raw & SmackDown, he hid behind the philosophy of "People Power" and used it to his own ends.
  • As detailed by the book The Death of WCW this was one of the causes for the eventual collapse of the wrestling federation. Initially the program was funded exclusively by Ted Turner, the absent-minded billionaire who owned the network WCW aired their matches on, meaning they could blow extravagant budgets on their programs. Unfortunately for the managers, Turner merged his company with AOL-Time Warner who would not allow the federation to waste their money unless they could pull in viewers and money and imposed a budget on WCW's TV programming.

  • Remley pulls this in The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show after he signs his name to Phil's employment contract, but it's played humorously. It doesn't last long:
    Remley: From this moment on, I am your leader. You will respect my authority without question and obedience, I AM AN ABSOLUTE POWER!
    Band members: Heil, Remley! Heil, Remley! Heil, Remley!


    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate III:
  • In Batman: The Telltale Series, after he's Convicted by Public Opinion over the Sins of Our Fathers, Bruce Wayne is ousted from the company that bears his namesake in favor of The Penguin. Meanwhile, after the Penguin helps kill the mayor, Two-Face is elected and immediately goes Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, turning the city into a Police State.
  • BioShock: Once Andrew Ryan is out of the picture, Atlas takes over, reveals his true identity as Frank Fontaine, and proceeds to make the protagonist's adventure a living hell while ruling as a complete dictator with full intentions of taking over the world economy by brute force and the use of ADAM. Considering the fact that he has no ideology compared to Ryan, this gives him no restraints as the ruler of the city, and considering that Ryan's own restraints basically amounted to "don't screw with me or Rapture as a whole" that resulted in him trying to use sedative gas on the entire populace to maintain order, really goes to show just how ridiculously far he's prepared to go.
    • Bioshock 2: After Jack is finished killing both tyrants and leaves, the city is taken over by Sophia Lamb, a cult leader who was busy being in jail - while turning all the staff and inmates to her cause. And after she's defeated, computer scientist Wahl was planning to bide his time with Rapture's mainframe until he could finally compute Maxwell's Demon and take over the universe - but he gets shot by Delta, who wants the technology to fix what's left of Rapture instead.
  • The back half of The Case Of The Golden Idol revolves around Villain Protagonist Lazarus Herst and his rise to power in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of 18th-century England. To wit:
    • Lazarus infiltrates the Brotherhood of Masks, and uses the eponymous Idol (an Artifact of Doom with vast alchemical powers) to convince the Brotherhood that he's their Chosen One and eliminate any dissenters in the process.
    • Lazarus runs for office in Parliament and forms a new political faction. With the Brotherhood's connections in high society and government, his New Order Party wins a plurality of seats, and his co-conspirators prevent a coalition from rising against him by mudering one of the coalition leaders and framing the other for the deed.
    • Within a few years, the Order Party has "freed the country from the chaos of multi-party government" by installing a totalitarian regime, and forces its citizens to live under a set of strict Virtues. Citizens who violate the Virtues (even something as innocuous as wearing a silly hat in public or listening to "vulgar" music) are judged to lose a certain number of "merits" and punished by using the Idol's powers to take years off of their lifespan, which are then redistributed to more virtuous citizens and Order Party sycophants. Lazarus intends to lead an army to depose the monarchy and secure his rule indefinitely, up until an error in judgement and a Spanner in the Works causes his death and the Idol's destruction, and the Order Party collapses almost overnight.
  • Dishonored is rife with this. After the Empress is murdered, the Lord Regent rules with an iron fist. After Admiral Havelock betrays Corvo and seizes control, he continues the Lord Regent's practices.
  • In Fable III, if you're an evil player this is what happens when you usurp your older brother Logan as King. You can be just as bad or even worse of a tyrant than him.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, if Caesar dies due to improper treatment for his brain tumor or otherwise, the far more tyrannical Legate Lanius takes over as leader of the Legion.
  • In between Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, following the deaths of Owyn and Sarah Lyons, Arthur Maxson becomes the Elder of the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, undoing Lyons' reforms and steering the chapter onto a fascistic and genocidal track not that different from the Enclave that they defeated.
  • His dad was certainly not a charmer, but Rufus Shinra of Final Fantasy VII made it quite clear from his New Era Speech ('The old man ruled through money, I'll rule through fear') that he was going to be worse. Although President Shinra destroyed an entire sector of his city, killing untold numbers, just to wipe out a terrorist hideout. Rufus 'died' defending the same city from WEAPON and then resurfaced alive and repentant, if still manipulative, in Advent Children.
  • Final Fantasy XVI: Anabella Rosfield "reluctantly" assumes the throne (after murdering her husband Elwin to get it) and issues her Nazi-esque regime alongside her second husband, the Emperor of Sanbreque. Within the span of a few years, she runs Valisthea into the ground, and even some of her subjects agree that Elwin was a much better ruler than Anabella ever was - though not within earshot of her.
  • Valtome from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is a tyrant of the Smug Snake variety, and a bit of an odd example given the fact that the old leader is still there; he just was forced to follow Valtome's orders. Which includes, among other things, sending a significant number of his men into a deathtrap to hunt for corpses. Oh, and sending his personal army to attack Queen Elincia, who had just achieved a ceasefire by willingly disarming herself.
  • In the Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade campaign "Festival of Life", the player ends up doing this. The protagonist of the campaign, Kilgor, is an ambitious and Ax-Crazy barbarian participating in the traditional contest in which barbarians can challenge the king of Krewlod for the throne. The current ruler, Winston Boragus, is actually something of a Reasonable Authority Figure by barbarian standards. Through charisma and diplomacy, Boragus improved Krewlod's standing and recruited many formidable and capable warriors to join his banner. Unfortunately, this meant that when Kilgor wins and slays him at the end of the campaign, said army becomes his to command. Even worse, Kilgor had burned down many of Krewlod's farms during the Festival of Life, plunging Krewlod into the worst famine in its history. Kilgor's "solution" was to declare war on the rest of Enroth to plunder their lands. This would lead to Enroth's doom.
    Waerjak: Thousands would've starved to death. Thousands more would've certainly succumbed to disease, but instead of disbanding his army Kilgor started a war - a war that brought about the end of the world!
  • Throughout the Mega Man Zero series, Neo Arcadia has a quick succession of rulers. The first was X (hero of the predecessor Mega Man X series), who establishes the city as a safe haven for humans and Reploids alike. After he disappears, he's replaced by a vastly inferior clone, Copy-X; he's still benevolent to humans, but he decided that because of an energy crisis, the Reploids are demoted to 2nd-class citizens, branding them Mavericks and unjustly persecuting them. After Copy-X's death, he was briefly replaced by Noble Top Enforcer Harpuia, who tries to keep the issues with the rebellion as cordial as he could manage. He gets usurped from the position when Copy-X returned to power, who was much worse than before he was killed. And he was merely an Unwitting Pawn for Dr. Weil, who orchestrates Copy-X's second (and permanent) death to position himself as the new leader of Neo Arcadia, setting him above his predecessors as truly the worst of the lot.
  • Hideyoshi in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams. While Nobunaga was an all-powerful man who sold his soul to the genma for his ambitions, you at least had the feeling that he had no ill will towards his enemies and was lost in his ambition, not trying to be a genma puppet or cause suffering to the people he wanted to rule. Hideyoshi, on the other hand, pretty much tries to turn the entire country and possibly the world into mind-controlled monsters and has people used to make Genma trees that will allow his plans to work. He's ultimately a pawn, but he went to lengths willingly that Nobunaga might actually be disgusted with.
  • SaGa Frontier: In the Full Mystic ending, Asellus snaps after suffering nothing but discrimination from both Mystics and humans due to her position as the only Half-Mystic in the setting. She proceeds to overthrow Orlouge, becoming the new lord of the Mystics... And a worse tyrant that Orlouge ever was.
  • After the revelations of Tsukiji Hongwanji and Reverse Hills, the prentice Samurai in Shin Megami Tensei IV are urgently summoned back home, where they find the entire court has been deposed and exiled. And nobody bothers to wonder where they went. The Monastery's Witch Hunts are steadily growing in ferocity and frequency. The populace is being slowly subsumed into a haze, with dreams of a shining light that commands all to obey the Monastery. The Four Archangels are back in town, steadily and gently Mind Raping everybody to consolidate their rule.
  • During a Space Route scenario in Shin Super Robot Wars, the Londo Bell rescues Fonse Kagatie from imprisonment. He relates how the alien attack and Tassilo Vago's treachery brought about the end of the Zanscare Empire (just as Lupe Cineau had said), ending in Tassilo bringing him here a prisoner. When the party tells him that Zanscare is still active, Fonse realizes that Char Aznable must have taken control. Increasingly panicked, he tells the party they must stop Char before he achieves his misguided goal of robbing all mankind of its emotions, creating obedient soldiers as the aliens want.
  • StarCraft provides Arcturus Mengsk, who fills this role as the Emperor of the Dominion. The point is not that Mengsk is worse than the government he overthrew, but that he is just as bad: that the only thing changed between the Confederacy and the Dominion was the label. Well, and he has a personal grudge against Raynor. As of Heart of the Swarm, he has finally been deposed. His son, Valerian, who inherited his position, is way more benevolent as a ruler.
  • In Act 3 of the Imperial Agent storyline of Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Ancient Conspiracy manipulates The Empire's Dark Council into dissolving Imperial Intelligence and all the agents are reassigned to various Sith Lords for the war effort. The Player Character is handed over to Lord Razer, a psychotic Kaleesh Sith who's more concerned with satisfying his Blood Knight urges than actual strategy.
  • Trails Series
    • Colonel Alan Richard attempts one in Trails in the Sky FC, trying to subtly dethrone the Queen of Liberl and place her rather dull-witted nephew Duke Dunan as a puppet king. The endgame is dedicated to making sure that does not happen.
    • In Trails of Cold Steel III's final chapter, the Emperor of Erebonia, a Reasonable Authority Figure, gets shot in an attempted assassination by Ash Carbide. He's not dead, but while hospitalized, his power still transfers over to his young son Cedric. He's not the tyrant, however, as Cedric immediately transfers power over to Chancellor Osborne, who then proceeds to whip up the populace into a frenzy by claiming that the assassin was from the Republic of Calvard (which he knows isn't true, considering he was there when it happened) and starts a nation-wide universal conscription into the army for the imminent war. And that's not even talking about what happens AFTER this series of events...
  • Garrosh Hellscream from World of Warcraft embodies this trope to its fullest. When the Cataclysm wreaks havoc upon Azeroth, Thrall abandons his position as Warchief of the Horde to fulfill his shamanistic duties to the elements and leaves Garrosh in his stead. While his humble acceptance of the position looks at first to be promising, it does not take long for the power to get to his head. His radical beliefs of orc supremacy and disregard for other races - even those allied to the Horde - force him to be the primary antagonist of Mists of Pandaria and a minor antagonist of the next expansion, Warlords of Draenor.
    • And with Battle for Azeroth, the Forsaken leader Sylvanas Windrunner assumes the title of Warchief and promptly takes the uneasy cold war which has been going so far and tosses it into the fire. OhCrap.
    • After Sylvanas is ousted from the position, the Horde comes to the conclusion that the Warchief position itself enables tyrants. They instead form a council to lead the Horde to ensure this doesn't happen again.

    Web Animation 
  • Dingo Doodles - Fools Gold: Has this happen with Bouclaire, who was a Self-Made Orphan twice first to her birth parents, then to the king and queen of the Kingdom of Kylandria after getting herself adopted by them, she then threatened the other princesses into giving her the throne. As she is still a 10 year old girl deeply in her Princess Phase she changes the countries banner to a pink unicorn from a blue feather and forces everyone to wear gaudy powdered wigs and 17th Century French style clothes, and dictates that all buildings must be repainted in a pink glitter aesthetic. She enforces this by executing any prominent nobles who object to this, and then punishing any other dissidents by poisoning their local water supply to scare people into following her rules, as any resistance would not just get them killed but the entire population of their neighbourhood - with the potential wipe some entire small towns off the map.
  • Homestar Runner: Played with in the Cheat Commandos toon "2 Part Episode". Admiral Flashfight is unambiguously one of these, but under his command, the Cheat Commandos actually do something besides playing video games with Blue Laser.
  • Red vs. Blue
    • Simmons tries to implement discipline exercises to reinforce his new position of power in Red army when he replaces Sarge. The Red army doesn't respect Simmons enough for this to work, however, and the group as a whole soon works towards getting Sarge back (including Simmons).
    • When Carolina decides to use the Reds and Blues to kill the Director, she imposes military-style discipline and no-challenge orders on them all. Given their normal Mildly Military style, and the feeling that she's using them as cannon fodder, the Reds and Blues become increasingly reluctant to follow her, and are puzzled by Washington's submissive attitude; Washington who has fallen into his Freelancer subordination to Carolina is also becoming increasingly frustrated with her behaviour. Eventually, the Reds and Blues mutiny against Carolina and abandon her, and Washington takes their side, telling Carolina to learn the difference between friends and enemies.
    • Discussed trope when Washington takes over as Blue Leader after the ship crashes, Washington institutes standard military discipline, forcing the Blues to stick to a rigorous schedule every day. Although Simmons is thrilled with Washington's style, the Blues are not. Tucker accuses him of being tyrannical and compares it to Church's laid-back attitude. Wash eventually admits that he's never been in a position of command before; he's being harsh partially to hide his nerves, partially to hide his worry over their survival situation, and partially because he thinks Tucker has far more potential than Tucker's ever realised. It's made clear that, while it's tyrannical by the simm troopers standards, it's pretty normal drill sargent behaviour for the rest of the military.
  • RWBY: Sienna Khan wasn't exactly a saint, considering that she was the one who pushed to convert the White Fang into using violence in the first place, but she was still a Well-Intentioned Extremist who legitimately cared about Faunus equality and disapproved of Adam Taurus participating in the attack on Vale and Beacon Academy. In Volume 5, Adam kills her and takes control, turning them into a full-fledged Faunus supremacist group. Sadly, Adam also proves to be a General Failure, and his hotheadedness and Sanity Slippage lead him to make increasingly stupid decisions that ultimately run the White Fang into the ground.

  • Simon DeVere, the new store director in TRU-Life Adventures. He talks big about preserving what works at the store and just making a few tweaks here and there, his actions prove him to be this trope.

    Web Original 
  • On the Dream SMP, the L'Manburg Election arc ends with Schlatt winning the Election after pooling his votes with the SWAG2020 party. His New Era Speech just after his inauguration features him declaring himself as Emperor of L'Manburg and exiling his greatest political opponents, POG2020 (the previous administration as well as two of the founders of L'Manburg) from the country and forcing them to Run or Die in the same sentence. In the same livestream, he changes the name of the country to Manburg and tries to remove the remnants of the founders' influence on the country (e.g. tearing down the walls of L'Manburg that marked their borders). Considering how light-hearted the rest of the Election arc wasnote , the turn of events that came with Schlatt becoming President is exceptionally jarring, and after this particular incident, all of the subsequent plotlines became significantly Darker and Edgier.
  • Noob:
    • This got inverted when Arthéon replaced Master Zen as Guild Master.
    • A straight example can be found in the novels. In the plot of the Fictional Video Game in which the story is set, General Helkazard died and was replaced by Lorth Kordigän; the latter is much more of an extremist.

    Western Animation 
  • Essentially the whole plot of the Adventure Time episode "Too Young". Although the earl of Lemongrab isn't evil or malicious in his intentions (he's more of an angry, inexperienced, spoiled child), his style of ruling is summed up by his quote from the storyboards: "Anyone who disagrees or disobeys will be thrown into the dungeon." He isn't an intentional tyrant, but he does end up sending literally everyone in the Candy Kingdom to the dungeon for "one million years".
    • At the end of the sixth season, the King of Ooo (who previously was king in name only) tricks the citizens of the Candy Kingdom into electing him princess, leaving Princess Bubblegum to live in exile. For the first few episodes of the seventh season he proves to be a selfish and incompetent leader, and is eventually overthrown by his lackey Crunchie, who in turn makes himself the new ruler. Bubblegum eventually retakes her kingdom offscreen.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Ozai murders his father, Fire Lord Azulon, after Azulon threatens to kill Ozai's son, Zuko, as punishment for attempting to usurp his brother Iroh's birthright. Afterward, the worst period of the 100-Year War really beginsnote , coming to a head when Ozai attempts to use Sozin's Comet to burn the entire Earth Kingdom to the ground.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door
    • In "Operation: C.A.N.N.O.N.", Numbuh 1 leaves for a vacation, and after an ambush by some of their enemies, Numbuh 4 takes command and starts bossing the others around. As he grows increasingly mad with power, he works his friends to exhaustion building a giant "clam cannon". It only works because the hastily-made weapon blows up in the faces of the Delightful Children From Down the Lane, who were trying to turn it against the KND.
    • In "Operation: I.T.", due to abusing some Loophole Abuse, Father manages to become Supreme Leader of the Kids Next Door. His first plan after getting this position is to use the treehouses as giant broccoli factories. Numbuh 362 and Numbuh 1 manage to oust him before the end of the episode, letting the former take her job back.
  • The beginning of the Capture the Flag five parter of Craig of the Creek deals with Xavier, king of the other side of the creek, winning over the other kids and convincing them to make him their king by being their only source of snacks. However, he quickly proves to be a petty and petulant dictator, banning any games he’s not good at, and generally treating everyone just like he does on his side (i.e. not very well.) It’s up to Craig and friends to fight back against his tyranny and take back the creek.
  • In Danny Phantom, a series of pranks in "Eye for an Eye" escalates to Vlad becoming Mayor of Amity Park and him doing this. Eventually things went back to being (relatively) normal.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Future Stock", an unfrozen shady businessman from The '80s takes over Planet Express and ends up trying to sell it to Mom's Friendly Robot Corporation. He's only thwarted when he dies from his bone-itis just as he's about to complete the merger.
    • In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" Morgan Proctor, Hermes' replacement bureaucrat, is not only an insufferable bossy-boots but tries to pressure Fry into having a relationship with her.
    • In "Birdbot of Ice-Catraz", Bender briefly took over from Leela (who was busy at an environmental protest) as captain of the Planet Express ship, and proceeded to boss Fry around and generally be a jerk.
    • Happens to Bender again when he becomes the new ruler of Osiris IV in "A Pharaoh to Remember", where he works his subjects like slaves building a giant monument to himself in a desperate bid to be remembered.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch: The bears trick Peevly into taking a long vacation, thinking the zoo will be unsupervised during his absence. Unfortunately, Peevely is replaced by the efficient and intimidating Mr. Grunch, who cracks down on any shenanigans. Naturally, the bears try to get Peevly back.
  • Lieutenant Major Goose in the Hey Arnold! episode "New Teacher". After they get a new teacher by the name of Mr. Simmons, the kids refuse to take him seriously and perform a series of pranks, eventually causing him to get frustrated and quit. However, he is then in turn replaced by a strict military martinet (Major Goose), and the kids waste no time in hatching a plan to get Mr. Simmons back.
  • Subverted in King of the Hill. When Buck Strickland is in the hospital, he appoints Jerkass Vickers to run things while he's gone. However, it turns out Buck actually did all the things Vickers does, he just does them in secret instead of announcing them.
  • The Legend of Korra
    • In the first season, Tarrlok becomes this after ascending to de facto ruler of Republic City. His first action is to impose harsh curfew measures on non-benders, then cuts off their power to force them outside so he can arrest them.
    • In Season 3, the Red Lotus assassinates the Earth Queen, creating a power vacuum in the Earth Kingdom. While the Earth Queen was a selfish woman who made her subjects pay impossibly high taxes in order to indulge herself in luxuries, her replacement, Kuvira, turned out to be much worse, as she is somewhat of a fascist dictator, who'll even kill her own fiance to achieve her goals.
  • In My Adventures with Superman, Iron Lady Amanda Waller acted as The Starscream to General Ripper Sam Lane in their efforts to take down Superman at the behest of the U.S. government. Because Lane wasn't willing to endanger civilians for revenge, Waller betrays him by freeing the criminals they recruited to make him look incompetent so she could steal his position out from under him.
  • In Season 2, Episode 24 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Diamond Tiara is chosen as the new editor-in-chief for Ponyville's school's newspaper. She goes so far as to call her role a "new regime" while describing it and twists the newspaper into a muckraking gossip rag that humiliates most of the population of Ponyville and gets the Cutie Mark Crusaders ostracized for their role as "Gabby Gums". After the Crusaders apologize, Diamond Tiara is demoted and replaced by the much more benevolent Featherweight.
  • Ninjago: The Big Bad of the second half of Season 11 is the Ice Emperor, who took control of the once-peaceful Never-Realm and caused an eternal winter. It's revealed in "Corruption" that this is the result of the exiled formling Vex manipulating the memory-wiped ice ninja Zane into thinking he was the disgraced ruler of the realm and leading him to "take back" his role as the emperor.
  • Subverted in The Owl House. Boscha ends up ruling over the survivors at Hexside after the Collector takes over the Boiling Isles, and while she acts as the same haughty Alpha Bitch she's been all series and is running the place into the ground, the narrative paints her as a young girl who's hopelessly out over her depth and just wants things to go back to normal with only the fear of showing weakness (and Kikimora encouraging all her worst impulses) keeping her from stepping down to let better qualified people take over.
  • In Ozzy & Drix, this is how addiction is depicted: Hector taking up smoking cigarettes in one episode; from the perspective of the cells inside of him, a pushy guy named Nick O'Teen makes his way into the brain, ousts the Mayor and starts ruling the body with an iron fist, controlling Hector's thoughts and desires.
  • In Potsworth & Company, there was one episode where the villain, tired of her son's failures, fired him and hired a replacement who was so terrible the heroes tricked her into firing him and rehiring the original Big Bad.
  • In an episode of The Hub's Pound Puppies, "McLeish Unleashed", Mr. McLeish finally gets the promotion he's been stumping for, and his position as head dog-catcher is taken over by the even more dangerously ambitious Milton Feltwaddle (last seen in "Toyoshiko! Bark Friend Machine"), who proceeds to turn Shelter 17 into a heavily-secured dog prison. Fortunately, the Puppies manage to sabotage Feltwaddle's regime change and get McLeish to go back to his old job.
  • Recess:
    • One episode has Gus appointed as Acting King of the Playground while King Bob is away. His insane edicts culminate with enslaving the entire playground and forcing everyone to dig in the "cookie mines" (nobody's brave enough to ask why he expects to find cookies underground).
    • Randall became one of these after blackmailing King Bob with a photo of a dress he was forced to wear by his sister.
    • In one episode King Bob himself devolves from a Reasonable pseudo-authority figure to an Egyptian tyrant after feeling like he'll be forgotten: being inspired by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, he renames himself "Pharaoh Bob" and forces everyone to build him a pyramid.
    • The principal who seeks to replace Principal Prickly, who is not only immune to the pranks by TJ at first go (and in fact gives an Early Room 101 discipline) but plans to turn the school to Auschwitz or Airstrip One Elementary school. The only reason he doesn't end up being the next principal was because Prickly chose not to become a middle-school principal for the children’s sake (while claiming it was because of a poor pay offer).
    • One episode sees King Bob preoccupied with a biographer, leaving his usually reliable assistants to handle affairs of the playground. When there's an issue they're not sure how to resolve, they come upon rules created by one King Mortie. This seems to work out, but the rules become increasingly bizarre. (Turns out Mortie was Acting King of the Playground during the Great Depression Era and his rules were meant to ensure that the poor kids would always have something to play with.) T.J. and company want things to go back to normal, but King Bob's assistants get a little too comfortable dictating these rules and effectively establish a secret police to enforce things. But don't worry, King Bob sets everything straight.
  • In Sally Bollywood, one of her teachers, Ms. Smith, is replaced by a very strict military woman named Ms. Chicago who pretty much runs the class like a boot camp. It's later revealed that Ms. Chicago is actually Ms. Smith in disguise who went "on holiday" to teach the class not take her for granted.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted twice when surly assistant superintendent Leopold stomps up to the podium in Springfield Elementary's assembly hall, snarls something to the effect of "things are going to be very, very different around here", then cheerily introduces a much more endearing individual as the replacement faculty member. The first time is in "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song" when announcing Ned Flanders as replacement principal, and the second time is in "The PTA Disbands" with Marge Simpson becoming a substitute teacher.
    • Inverted in "My Sister, My Sitter". After Lisa proves herself a reliable babysitter for the neighborhood, Homer and Marge leave her in charge when they go out. Lisa tries to be fair, but Bart (hating the idea of being babysat by his little sister) is as difficult as possible. After a series of pranks, he winds up breaking his arm in a fall. Naturally, it goes downhill from there.
    • Played straight in "The Parent Rap" when Judge Constance Harm (an exaggerated parody of Judge Judy) takes over for Judge Snyder.
    • Homer addressing employees after he takes over the power plant:
      Homer: Today begins my reign of terr...iffic management!
      Lenny: (relieved) I thought he was going to say "terror"!
      Carl: I didn't think he was going there.
  • Played on South Park with Bill Donohue in the "Fantastic Easter Special", who takes over the Catholic Church before Jesus makes him Half the Man He Used to Be.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In the Umbara arc, Anakin is called away from his unit and Pong Krell takes over. Krell immediately starts ordering the clones on suicidal charges, scolding them for retreating from hopeless situations, and insisting on referring to them by their alphanumeric designations rather than their chosen names. In the final episode of the arc, he manipulates two units of clones into attacking one another, which finally pushes the survivors to mutiny against him. Turns out he's fallen to the Dark Side and was planning on joining Dooku, making this a case of Mole in Charge as well.
  • In the WordGirl episode "Banned on the Run", Mr. Big mind-controls the mayor of Fair City and forcibly takes his place, allowing him to come up with all sorts of silly laws and making the citizens miserable. In particular, he bans WordGirl and Captain Huggyface from being in the city. Despite this, WordGirl is able to stop Mr. Big and restore the original mayor by the end of the episode.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Umbridge


Schlatt wins the Election

Initially, it seemed as though Wilbur won L'manburg's presidential election. Before Tommy could celebrate however, Wilbur revealed that Quackity had chosen to endorse the campaign of Schlatt, a third and later candidate. <br>With a majority vote of 46% beating out Wilbur's 45%, Schlatt is elected as President. His first order of business? Exiling Tommy and Wilbur from the country they helped to create. The situation of the server went downhill from that point on.

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Main / TyrantTakesTheHelm

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