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File:The Brig.jpg

"I am on your side."

I'm sorry Doctor, but I must insist. My place is with the men out there, trying to do something about that... whatever it is out there, not standing about here, messing around, looking for some damn fool flute!
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Doctor Who

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

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

A natural employment for an Officer and a Gentleman. See also: Four-Star Badass. Contrast General Ripper, Insane Admiral.

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

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

Examples of The Brigadier include:


  • Maj. Gen. Olivier Mira Armstrong of Fullmetal Alchemist. Also an example of a Four-Star Badass.
    • Generally all the military staff in FMA that are good fall under this trope at one point or the other.
  • The Colonel in Akira is one of these, even if the other good guys take a while to realize it (his constantly trying to arrest them as revolutionaries didn't help).


  • Nick Fury, director of SHIELD.


  • In The Iron Giant. General Rogard is actually a good guy who is only fighting the Giant because Kent lied to him that it was a killer. Once he learns the truth, he immediately stops attacking it.
  • General Jack Gordon Shepherd in Starship Troopers 2.
  • General Grey in Independence Day. AKA the "They're preparing to fire their primary weapon!" guy.
  • Group-Captain Mandrake, from Dr. Strangelove.
  • While not military, this is exactly the behavior of (police) Captain Lorenzo in Die Hard 2.


  • Literary (and TV) example, on a smaller scale: Lt. Murphy from The Dresden Files book and TV series. As the head of the "Special Investigations" department of the Chicago PD, Murphy is responsible for fitting vampire attacks, troll rampages, etc. into the standard police blotter. She uses the titular Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the phone book, as a consultant; when the first story opens, she doesn't really care about "all this supernatural mumbo-jumbo"--she just wants to make her case. Four books in, she's answering the door with her sidearm in one hand, and a crucifix in the other.
    • In her early days, she was still trying to 'fit' the supernatural into the world of law and order, to subordinate it to the law and the procedures thereof. Some nasty encounters with demonic super-werewolves and spiritual predators able to invade the minds of her and her men forced her to accept that the supernatural is bigger than she is, which changed the path of her character considerably. These days she's increasingly amenable to vigilante action and far more fast-and-loose with the law than she once was, from necessity.
    • And hamstringing ogres with a chainsaw. Can't forget that.
  • Lord General Zyvan in the Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) novels is a highly competent commander and on close personal terms with the eponymous commissar.
    • In the later Gaunt's Ghosts books, Lord General Barthol Van Voytz has a similar relationship with the title character — Van Voytz pulls political strings to Gaunt out of trouble more than once (most notably in His Last Command). Van Voytz is also a contrast to the early series' parade of treacherous General Rippers: Dravere (First and Only) Lugo (Honour Guard) and Sturm ( twice, in Necropolis and Traitor General).
  • Sir Colin Campbell receives this treatment in the Flashman novels, first at Balaclava and then at Lucknow.
  • Pellaeon from the Hand of Thrawn duology. Yes, he's the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces, but he kicks off the plot with his attempts to make peace with the New Republic.
  • In the Wheel of Time series, most senior military commanders are portrayed in this light, especially Gareth Bryne and Davram Bashere. The only real exceptions are the Whitecloak Lords Captain.

Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who:
    • The aforementioned Lethbridge-Stewart as played by Nicholas Courtney is the Trope Namer. His first few appearances embodied this trope a lot stronger than he did later, as repeated encounters with the Doctor mellowed him out somewhat. In the serial "Battlefield" he had retired and been replaced by Brigadier Winifred Bambera... though when he does show up, he still gets called "Brigadier" far more often than anything else (like, say, Alistair).
    • Colonel Mace in the 2008 Sontaran two-parter: the Trope Namer is mentioned, and now has a knighthood (this must disappoint Nicholas Courtney greatly - he expected the Brig to have a peerage by now).
    • In The Sea Devils, Captain John Hart.
    • Father Octavian in "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone".
  • General Hammond from Stargate SG-1.
    • And General Landry as well. Actually since the air-force is more or less portrayed in a positive light many of upper brass can fit this trope provided they get enough screen time and aren't made out to be evil.
  • Commodore Ross from Space: Above and Beyond. His rank is even the naval equivalent of Brigadier.
  • Speaking of guys named Ross, Vice Admiral William Ross, a secondary character from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine who spent most of his time behind the scenes leading the Federation war effort against the Dominion (which is actually a little bit odd, seeing as Vice Admiral, even in Trek, is only a three-star rank and the equivalent of a Lieutenant General. Ross should have been a Fleet Admiral).

Video Games

  • Admiral Steven Hackett and Captain/Councilor David Anderson from Mass Effect are these, being a staunch supporter of Shepard to the point where the former denied a request to detain and interrogate Shepard due to Cerberus ties and confirmed Shepard being alive without actually meeting him/her (wants to say "hi") and the latter risks court-martial or getting shot to help you do your thing in the first game and is the only one in the Council to actually believe you in the second.

Web Comics

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

Web Original

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

Western Animation