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Playing With / Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!

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Basic Trope: Criminals get away with crimes because their powerful friends and/or family get them out of trouble.

  • Straight: Corrupt Corporate Executive Brandon Gold commits fraud against a small business vendor, and gets away with it because the judge presiding over the case is a personal friend.
  • Exaggerated: Brandon Gold hires a terrorist cell to blow up an office building of one of his biggest rivals. The bombing makes national headlines from the bombing and the infamous acquittal of Brandon Gold on national and/or international terrorism charges because the judge presiding over that case was a childhood friend of Brandon's.
  • Downplayed:
    • The Judge dismisses cases against his friends unless the evidence is extra-strong, and in such cases he will convict to save face.
    • Gold uses his connections to get a plea deal that greatly reduces his sentence, but that doesn't really let him get away with his crimes.
    • Gold does go to prison for his crimes but uses his connections to become a Boxed Crook doing a job that he enjoys.
    • Gold pays for some, but not all, of his crimes.
  • Justified: The culture in the context of Brandon Gold's story is one where the only way to get ahead in politics or business is to have wealthy friends or family and to scratch their backs when they scratch yours.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Everyone thinks Brandon Gold committed fraud and plans to use his connections to get away with it, but then it turns out it was one of his managers embezzling the money that would've gone to his vendor, and Gold himself had nothing to do with it.
    • Gold expects to get away with the fraud, but the judge knows he can't get away with helping Gold get away with it and convicts him despite the connection between them.
    • The vendor turns out to be the judge's best friend. Gold quickly realizes he's screwed.
    • Gold is convicted when new evidence surfaces.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Gold knew about the manager's actions, turned a blind eye, and the court, in turn, turns a blind eye to his blind-eye turning—again because Gold's friend is the judge.
    • Gold knows the appeal judges as well, and they get him off the hook even after his initial conviction.
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    • But that evidence was faked, improperly introduced, or circumstantial, so Gold goes free.
  • Parodied: Gold gets away with Poke the Poodle-esque minor infractions like petty theft because he knows the judge, but the victims of the petty theft treat it as Serious Business.
  • Deconstructed: The world is shown to be a Crapsack World where integrity and competence at your job mean less than who you know, so nothing ever really gets done, or at least never gets done correctly.
  • Reconstructed: Companies and courts begin cracking down on incompetence and crime—because some of the highest-up people want to make money and cannot do so effectively in a world where people can't do their jobs, so they use their influence to create these long as they stay in power themselves...
  • Zig-Zagged: Gold was innocent of the crime that the public believed he did, but it later turns out he did commit another crime that the government papered over due to how many officials he knew. However, when the public became aware of that, the officials had to punish Gold, but then he managed to use his connections to get his sentence reduced.
  • Averted:
    • Gold never commits a crime or is accused of committing one.
    • Gold doesn't have any connections, or at least, none in the specific setting in which he's accused of a crime.
    • Gold's connections are the ones asking Alice to nail him for this crime.
  • Enforced: The producer, wanting to deliver An Aesop about corruption, shows a powerful and well-connected villain getting away with crimes.
  • Implied: The judge smiles knowingly at one of Gold's family members after delivering an acquittal.
  • Logical Extreme: Gold is committing genocides and mass rapes, and it's being covered up because he knows everyone at the top in the government and media.
  • Played for Laughs: The officials that Gold knows use some ludicrous excuses to get him out of a jam that make the audience in- and/or out-of-universe laugh.
  • Played for Horror: The name "Brandon Gold" is a Brown Note that scares the bejabbers out of everybody within earshot.
  • Played for Drama: The story focuses on the moral crises that some of the officials go through, and the dilemmas they face: lose their position and ability to do good, or do something that they know is bad.
  • Invoked: Bob comes into the Nouveau Riche class and deliberately makes as many connections as he can so that he'll have an easy time breaking rules later.
  • Exploited: The public suspects Gold of doing this on a regular basis, so a politician plays up the stories based on public outrage and says he'll put an end to it to try to win votes.
  • Discussed:
    • A news report focuses on corruption in a foreign country where who you know determines whether you are convicted or released. Someone watching this news report voices suspicions that their own city works the same way.
    • "Don't try to use your 'friends in high places'; I have a few of my own."
  • Conversed: Characters talk about a movie they saw that had a Corrupt Corporate Executive who got away with everything due to their connections.
  • Untwisted: Brandon Gold is portrayed by the work as someone who is morally upright before a case comes up where he's accused of something...but then it turns out Gold is Straight Edge Evil, actually committed the crime, and uses his connections to get away with it.
  • Defied:
    • Alice learns that Gold got away with his crimes due to being a friend of the judge's, and orders a retrial with a judge that has no clue who Gold is.
    • Alice kills Gold. A "The Reason You Suck" Speech containing a Pre-Mortem One-Liner about how his connections aren't going to save him this time is optional, but highly encouraged.
    • Alice destroys all of Gold's connections before gunning for him.
    • Alice makes Gold too embarrassing for his connections to want to do anything with him.
    • Alice plays the same game as Gold and becomes friends with his connections. By the time she comes gunning for him, they like her more than they like him.
    • Alice takes Gold to a place where his connections can't really do anything to stop his fate, other than maybe make angry Twitter posts.


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