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Basic Trope: A cynical character who is nevertheless obstinately good.

  • Straight: Alice is an experienced police detective who honestly expects most of her cases to end in tragedy... but not for lack of trying.
  • Exaggerated: Alice is an Iron Woobie who is constantly undermined by those around her.
  • Downplayed: Alice is sarcastic but not particularly pessimistic.
  • Justified:
    • Most of her cases have been long-dead or badly prosecuted.
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    • As a cop Alice has witnessed Police Brutality and racial profiling, dealt with scumbag murderers and rapists, and on top that people hate her and assume she's a Corrupt Cop just because she's a cop.
    • Alice might think she lives in a Crapsack World, but also thinks that being Good Feels Good even though it might suck from time to time.
    • Alice might be cynical and think things will turn out for the worst, but she knows that there's still a chance that she's wrong and something good might happen.
    • Alice isn't fond of the state of the world, but that's all the more reason not to take it lying down, even if nobody else gives a shit.
  • Inverted: Alice is an up-and-running villain filled with idealistic zeal of how easily she's going to Take Over the World.
  • Subverted: The Reveal is that Alice is actually a Dirty Cop.
  • Double Subverted:
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    • ...except she was framed.
    • But that was in the past and she is trying to make up for it.
    • ...and so is everyone else. It's more suspicious if you aren't. Alice's bribes are voluntary payments from people grateful she actually did her job.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: The framing was actually a lie fabricated by Alice in order to hide her True Colors. Which, in itself, was a lie to preserve her cover.
  • Averted:
    • Alice is heroic, cheerful and optimistic.
    • Alice is cynical and doesn't bother to fight on.
  • Enforced:
    • True Art Is Angsty.
    • "The world can suck at times, People need a hero who realizes this and fights on regardless."
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  • Lampshaded: "Why do you fight so hard if you know you're just going to lose?" "Things are bad enough already. I'm not letting them get worse."
  • Invoked: "I Gave My Word."
  • Exploited: Alice is assigned the case because the criminals are more likely to mistake her for someone who can be bribed.
  • Defied:
    • Whenever depression threatens, Alice remembers all the cases she closed successfully.
    • "Screw This, I'm Outta Here!! Those irritating optimists are better suited for this job!"
  • Discussed: "Let me tell you right now — I would rather have Det. Lime investigating my murder than any wet-behind-the-ears Wide-Eyed Idealist who thinks every criminal is always caught."
  • Conversed: "You know, for a character as cynical as Det. Lime, she seems to be awfully heroic."
  • Implied: Alice goes into a rant about how the world is a Crapsack World. When someone asks her why she fights, Alice gives them a meaningful look, but we don't see what she said.
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed:
    • While she enjoys the warm fuzzies from fighting the good fight, she still goes into every case without expectations.
    • ... Not that this is stops her from fighting anyway. She didn't become a "good guy" because she thought she was on the winning side, she became one because she does what is right.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Alice gets her ideas thrown back in her face by a Knight Templar or Fallen Hero who shares the same cynical beliefs as she does, forcing her to confront her own ideas and see how her attitude could create the same problems she despises.
    • Bob confronts Alice about this and comes to a conclusion of his own: that Alice continues on not because she genuinely wants to do good in the world but because she's hopelessly addicted to it. Fighting is what gives her purpose and she's afraid to admit it to herself.

The Knight In Sour Armor is over here, ya goof... why do I even bother sometimes (mutter mutter)...
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