Psycho for Hire

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    River: You like to hurt folk.
    Early: It's part of the job.
    River: It's why you took the job. Not the chase, not the money... Power. Control. Pain.

    Firefly, "Objects in Space"

    A hired agent who is in it for the sadism. They may have other motivations, like money or power, but these are incidental to the sheer joy they get from torturing and murdering people. Hey, at least they love their job.

    Instantly identifiable by their Evil Laugh, at least one unusual signature weapon, a flashy style, and a tendency to play with their victims like a cat. Many of them are Ax Crazy. When on Team Good Guys they are invariably the Token Evil Teammate.

    Most are mercenaries, the handful who aren't are summoned and controlled with Applied Phlebotinum. They are almost never the Big Bad, because unstable maniacs don't make good or interesting plotters. The Big Bad often has contempt for them for precisely this reason. Note that the Evil Overlord List discourages hiring such individuals, as they "tend to do dumb things like even the odds to give the other guy a sporting chance." In fact, it's hard to understand why any intelligent Big Bad would hire these guys, given their tendencies to attract attention by killing vast numbers of innocent bystanders, turn down easy chances to kill the hero because "it wouldn't be fun", and turn on their bosses because of trivial or imaginary "insults" or just For the Evulz.

    The Blood Knight also enjoys himself without much purpose, but he just loves the fight. The Combat Sadomasochist also enjoys hurting others, but differs in that they also enjoy being hurt. The Sociopathic Soldier can be extremely similar to this trope, but is retained by a single employer, usually his nation's armed forces.

    Contrast the more realistic Serial Killer, who doesn't flaunt it, and the less realistic Heroic Comedic Sociopath who hangs around heroes and whose sadistic games are treated as wacky hijinx for the sake of comedy. As various examples of the latter may testify, it is all too possible for a character to sit on the fence. If two Psychos For Hire are paired together, they might be Those Two Bad Guys. If the Psycho For Hire is not for hire, he's doing it For the Evulz. The all but canonical alignment for these type of characters are Neutral Evil; Chaotic Evil characters of this type are usually Types 2 through 4, but others usually go freelance; and Lawful Evil is typically more professional. Compare Terrorists Without a Cause.

    No real life examples, please; calling a real person "psycho" is a very bad idea.

    Examples of Psycho for Hire include:

    Anime and Manga

    • Alan Gabriel from The Big O.
    • Barry The Chopper and The Slicer from Fullmetal Alchemist are a pair of Serial Killers who were offered a chance at life in exchange for guarding Laboratory 5. Barry in particular makes it very clear that he only accepted the offer for the chance to start cutting people up again.
    • Kurodou "Dr. Jackal" Akabane and Takuma "The Enlightened" Fudou in GetBackers. Both of them tend to get sidetracked from their mission when they get too excited about fighting Ban / Ginji.
    • Cowboy Bebop features the ultimate Psycho For Hire in "Pierrot Le Fou." Not only is he a lunatic, he's Immune to Bullets.
    • Legato Bluesummers and the Gung Ho Guns from Trigun. Vash pretends to be one himself in one episode.
    • Dilandau Albatou from Vision of Escaflowne is an almost too perfect example.
    • Bandou and the Unknown Man from the anime/manga Elfen Lied.
      • The third assassin sent, The Agent, Averts this.
    • Dragon Ball series has a number of these including, Tao Pai Pai, Tambourine, Nappa, Dodoria, Zarbon, and The Ginyu Force.
    • Devo The Cursed from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
      • And he's matched by Alessi, who manages to combine this with Dirty Coward.
    • Udo Jin-e (Kurogasa) from Rurouni Kenshin is an almost stereotypical example. He has everything from a Slasher Smile to even Glowing Eyes of Doom. In the never-animated Jinchu arc, Enishi's Six Comrades are also a squad of these.
      • Otowa and Gein seem to be the only ones in the group that fits the trope. Enishi, Mumyoi, and Kujirinami were motivated mostly by Revenge, while Banjin falls more under the Blood Knight category. A better example would be Heishin's personal fighting squad, the Sushin/Shishin.
      • Makoto Shishio was probably one of these, back when he was working for the Shishi
    • The Shichinin-tai (Band of Seven) from Inuyasha, especially Jakotsu and Suikotsu (when dominated by his evil side).
    • MAR has the incredibly sadistic leader of the Zonnens, Saturn.
    • Samurai Champloo has several, including Ryujiro Sasaki and The Three Brothers.
    • The anime Texhnolyze has an unexpected Psycho For Hire in Yoshi who murders innocent people and starts gang wars for the sake of amusement. While he may have an ideological purpose behind it all, it is so obscure that it only makes him look all the more hysterical.
      • It's rather tragic one: He comes from a world where there are no passions, no-one desires or fears anything, and death is just an irrelevant abstraction. Then he comes to Lux, and sees who people who truly care about living, due to being under a constant threat of violent death. He falls so much in love with this feeling, and thinks that the people of Lux don't appreciate it enough, that he decides to share his own newfound passion with everybody by starting a war that will swallow the entire city, allowing him to witness it's overflowing lifeforce in the fullest.
    • Hellsing has Jan Valentine; being a minor villain didn't seem to matter for him at all as his part of attacking the Hellsing manor was mostly for the fun of it. Not even as he is burning to death does he stop laughing maniacally.
      • He threatens to rape, kill, then rape Integra again, and also dies laughing, because his bosses will kill him before interrogation, and dies flipping off the cast. While betraying his bosses. His brother Luke? Got eaten alive by Alucard in demon-dog mode.
        • Alucard himself would also count were it not for the binding spells etc. keeping him on a leash.
        • Who says that discredits him? He's a psycho, and he's been recruited to kill his own kind. Which he does For the Lulz. He's squarely in Chaotic Evil territory, of the most dangerous variety. He's Type 3, the predator mindset. Rebelling against his captors never enters his mind, due to that single-minded obsession with Integra. And yet he keeps tempting her and goading her into letting him do as he pleases. Which generally results in piles of corpses.
        • Furthermore, there are no 'binding spells'. Hirano debunked that. Alucard works for Integra because he wants to, and the fancy pentagrams on his gloves were just Rule of Cool.
    • Schwartz of Weiss Kreuz start out as a team of four Psychos For Hire, since they are the Evil Counterparts of the four Hitman with a Heart protagonists. That they turn on every single one of their employers before the end of the first series illustrates the dangers of employing Psychos For Hire.
    • Black Lagoon has a surprising amount of characters who could qualify. The most notable ones would be the Creepy Twins Hansel and Gretel.
    • The gleefully psychotic Anemone from Eureka Seven fits this trope perfectly, at least when she's on her medication (without it, not so much). In a way, she could be seen as a female version of Dilandau (well, not including the androgynous nature).
    • Karasu (among others that could be argued for) in Yu Yu Hakusho.
    • Perhaps one of the crowning examples is Gauron from Full Metal Panic!!, who actually had to be restrained from killing the pilot on an airplane he was hijacking, even when none of the other terrorists could fly the plane. He's been shown to also shoot and kill his employers when they say things that irritate him. Furthermore, while utilizing a Lambda Driver seems to drive another terrorist into a kind of delusional psychosis, Gauron doesn't seem at all changed by his experiences with it, suggesting he's already that crazy. Add in his intentionally brutal execution and gruesome display of Sousuke's comrades just to attempt to "wake up" the perfect killing machine he remembers Sousuke being, and the psychosis is rather clear. However, his sheer personality while doing this (such as utilizing his infamous "bang" finger pose to trigger his AS's Lambda Driver) have had some people torn between whether he's in Moral Event Horizon territory or an utter Badass.
      • Gates, Gauron's replacement in Amalgam's antagonist role from The Second Raid, is also like this, with a Running Gag being his random killing off of his own men for any number of reasons. Also, his last words before his death? "I could use a haircut" while his mech is being vaporized around him by the Arbalest's Lambda Driver. If not for his apparent combat skills, one'd wonder why Amalgam'd hire someone MORE unstable than Gauron.
        • It's an example of Adaptation Distillation. In the original novel he was a nondescript goon who didn't even had a name, and was known only by his Amalgam codename—Mr. Kalium. The whole psycho thing was invented by the animation team.
    • Baccano! has both the very talkative Ladd Russo, who is technically an assassin even though his killings on the train are strictly pro-bono (and in self-defense!), and Claire Stanfield (aka Vino), who is infamous for leaving unrecognizable remains.
    • Tsukiyomi of Mahou Sensei Negima tends to fall into this.
    Cquote1.svg can I slice up the people on that ship, then?
    Fate:...were you even listening? (Not that I daresay you'd have any trouble slicing them up...)

    • Drosselmeyer in Princess Tutu used to be one of these, until the fact that he'd write any story terrified even those that hired him so much that they cut off his hands.
    • Cancer Deathmask from Saint Seiya.
    • Sir Luciano Bradley, the Knight of Ten from Code Geass. Similar to the Kimbley example above, he specifically states that he joined the army so that he would be allowed to kill a lot of people without being punished for it.
      • Bradley doesn't have a single line of text where he isn't insulting, threatening or otherwise expressing a desire to hurt someone.
    • Yazan Gable of Zeta Gundam is an amoral, violent soldier whose only stated reasons for joining the Titans were: 1) His skill at killing, and 2) Having the privilege to murder AEUG supporters. He's very good at it.
      • Ali Al-Saachez of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 comes off as a fusion of Yazan and the above-mentioned Gauron. An Axe Crazy psychopath who freely admits that he enjoys killing for the fun of it, Ali has started wars, armed Child Soldiers, and toppled entire governments for money and kicks, all while salivating about how he's the worse kind of person there is.
      • Decil Galette of Gundam AGE is what Yazan and Ali would look like if they were Enfante Terribles. A gleefully Axe Crazy Cheerful Child, Decil views war as one giant game, and all the soldiers under his command as playthings. This attitude does not improve upon his reaching adulthood, and he now resembles his two inspirations more than ever.
      • Fuala Griffon is rendered this after her ... exile in space, since she loses her military ranking and pretty much fights because she can.
    • Mnemosyne features the psychotic Laura, who takes sadistic pleasure in causing as much harm and destruction to her target, Rin, as she possibly can. Of course, she also enjoys harming those close to her as well.
    • Due of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who performs her assassination duties with a big smile on her face. Quattro mentions in the supplementary manga that she wants to be just like her.
    • Roberto from Monster. Oddly enough, even he isn't as evil and sadistic as his master, Johan.
    • The World Government in One Piece has these guys comin' out the wazoo.
      • For starters, most high level Marines aren't generally very nice people.
      • They employ seven pirates as privateers, the Seven Warlords of the Sea, and basically let them do whatever they want without so much as keeping tabs on them (one of them tried to amass a zombie army and take over the world, another pulled an Evil Plan to overthrow a country and revive a Forgotten Superweapon), and the most likely worst of them is a sadistic nihilist who abandons slave trade because he thinks it's become passe.
      • Then there's the Cipher Pol No. 9 assassin squad, who all more or less qualify, but are led by one Rob Lucci, who is just out of his mind.
    • In The Five Star Stories most of the Left Wing of the Mirage Knights is made up of these types, most of whom are kept under lock & key in the aptly named Demon Tower when the emperor isn't using them.
    • Gosterro from Blue Comet SPT Layzner pretty much embodies this trope.
    • Col. Hazard from Machine Robo Rescue.
    • In Naruto, this trope abounds. After all, it deals with an entire society of mercenaries where death is a commodity.
      • Momochi Zabuza was originally this and works for the Big Bad of the arc until he is betrayed. Cue messy end for both.
      • Deidara, on the other hand, took on contracts from antinationalist terrorists prior to joining Akatsuki, stating his reason for doing such was just to blow things up with his art. Even his time with Akatsuki was less about fulfilling their plans than getting even with Itachi.
      • Gaara before his Heel Face Turn also qualifies for this. His main reason for acting as a shinobi was to find more people to kill and he shared a hate-hate relationship with his father/boss.
      • Kakuzu and Hidan are two sides of this coin. Kakuzu joined Akatsuki to gain money, power, and because he's killed everyone else he worked with. Hidan joined because it's more satisfying to kill powerful opponents and a world where he rules means more sacrifices for his god.
    • And then we have the Varia from Katekyo Hitman Reborn. All nine of them...
    • Hauenkua in Utawarerumono is a sadistic maniac who wants to kill any chance he can.
    • Atori in Noein. He improves marginally thanks to amnesia.
    • Wei in Darker than Black is sadistic and violent even by Contractor standards, which is saying something. But then, his power is to teleport chunks out of anything he's gotten blood on, so you shouldn't exactly expect him to be a nice guy.
      • Wei's basically a saint compared to Ilya Sokolov, a Contractor introduced in episode 7 of the second season. Ilya was a Serial Killer prior to getting his powers, which makes him a very competent tracker and killer, although his boss is troubled by having to employ such a nut. Interestingly, Ilya is almost Good Powers, Bad People, as his power is to put people into a peaceful sleep/killing painlessly, but he's still a skin-crawlingly creepy psycho.
    • The chainsaw Living Weapon Giriko from Soul Eater. While he does have { or at least did have) the motivation of protecting Arachne, he has no problem fighting for the hell of it given the opportunity, and doing so violently and with obvious enjoyment. Example being in chapter 75 when he encounters Maka. He also joined Noah apparently for want of something to do when found by Justin Law.
    • Episodes 20-21 of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a cyborg "cleaner" working for corrupt government officials who relishes opportunities to cover up his crimes by slaughtering any witnesses, even his own men if it feels necessary/he feels like it.
    • Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index begins like this but changes to Heroic Sociopath Anti-Hero when he picks up Last Order. He still prefers to brutally and painfully kill opponents with crazed laughter instead of sparing them but then again, it's not like he brings the girl with him into the battle zone.
    • Hunter J from Pokémon. She's an utterly ruthless poacher-for-hire willing to sick an army of henchmen and pokemon comparable to those of the Elite Four on small children if they get inbetween her and a valuable pokemon. She will only relent in her merciless attacks if she captures her prey or if her employer cancels the job.

    Comic Books

    • Lono from One Hundred Bullets.
    • American comic books have a bottomless supply of them, from Arcade to Zsasz
      • Biggest example is Lobo, a DC parody of Nineties Anti Heroes whose favorite sport is to kill (see the quote on Sociopathic Hero).
      • It;s been shown that even hiring Lobo is dangerous. Having killed, and generally destroyed the planet of, most people who've ever hired him. Most recently he was tasked by a god with tracking down the one weapon that could kill said god, and returning with it. Upon completing his mission, Lobo immediately killed him with it. He really should have seen that coming.
    • In the Daredevil comic book, the Big Bad used a Psycho For Hire to make a mob hit look like a random killing. Once, it worked—but another time, the Psycho For Hire got carried away, and the whole thing was blown.
      • The Kingpin also once hired two psychopaths to draw out Daredevil and hopefully kill him at once: Nuke, a Super Soldier driven insane from years of harsh experminents and being pumped full of drugs, and a killer in a Daredevil costume. Nuke was to drop into Manhattan and just start firing his huge gun Betsy, and the other one was supposed to kill Matt Murdock's friends dressed as Daredevil, framing him for the crime.
    • Sabretooth from X-Men. To the point where even hiring him is dangerous because if you piss him off, he WILL go after you when he's done with the original task.
    • Judge Death from the Judge Dredd universe is a psychopathic and nihilistic Judge who considers life in general to be a crime and is thus obsessive in exterminating all life in general.
    • Psyko from the Sleepwalker comics lived up to his name. A Serial Killer before he got his powers, he would later use them to make everyone around him Brainwashed and Crazy, and Mind Rape Sleepwalker until he nearly drove the alien hero crazy.
    • The Comedian of Watchmen was this to a certain extent, suggested to have merely become a masked vigilante for a reason to kill people. Despite most of his comrades recognizing this he appears to have impressed part of the mindset that led him to such actions onto every one of them, with varying reactions.
    • Griffen and Hyde from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. We eventually root for Hyde, his love for Mina making him (almost) a Sociopathic Hero, but the fact the government is delighted to have an invisible treacherous rapist on its books is troubling to say the least. You might also count Nemo but at least there's method to his madness.
      • Nemo actually seems fairly emotionally stable, if incredibly pissed off and bitter, at first. Then, at the end of the first book, he busts out the automatic harpoon gun. Quartermain points out that Hyde is actually better than Nemo, because you can reason with Hyde.
    • Murdock in Carland Cross shows signs of belonging to this trope quite often.
    • Seth Angus Billy Cletus Bubba Jamie Clement Callum Cowie, a hillbilly pedophile given superpowers by the world's richest nations and hired to take out The Authority.

    Punch Clock Villain: I didn't get involved in this because I'm some sort of cackling super-villain who gets off on hurting people or anything.
    Seth: Hell, I did.

    • Female mercenary ninja Toyota from Y: The Last Man.
    • Bullseye from Daredevil. In an appearance in the current Deadpool comic, he even mentions he rarely spends the money he makes from his hit jobs. He is actually extremely rich by this point, but rather than use it, he continues to be a hit man because he likes it.

    Bullseye: I'm going to need to pleasure myself now. You might want to leave the room.
    Kingpin: For fuck's sake ,you're insane!

    • Noriko "The Blood Princess" has had homicidal tendencies since childhood and uses random slayings as moral boosters for her slaves. It's implied that her master, an unseen Manipulative Bastard, would love to be rid of her if it weren't for her "usefulness" (basically Helena Caine sans any morals, ever). It's revealed she's the ultimate Unfavorite, having been rejected by her "step" and biological fathers. This is somewhat tempered by the fact that she killed said fathers by poisoning and back-stabbing, respectively, and she's telling this to her The Favorite half-sister while beating her half to death.
    • Doctor Phosphorus fills this roll nicely in the Starman series.
      • As does Colby Zag, the copycat Ragdoll who the Smug Snake hired over the internet.
    • Wolverine's son Daken.
    • Hazel and Cha-Cha from Gerard Way's Umbrella Academy. A diner chef makes the mistake of saying they'd have to chop off his arms and legs to get his secret pie recipe. They do just that. All while wearing adorable furry masks!
    • In the Soviet Super Soldiers oneshot, Firefox is a strong example. "You have come to the Firefox for either one of two reasons, Valentin Shatalov. Either you want to die... or you want someone else to." After being given his assignment, he asks with great interest whether he's allowed to make it "something worth talking about."
    • Sin City has Those Two Bad Guys, Mr. Shlubb and Mr. Klump, along with a host of others including the silent farm boy cannibal Kevin. On the heroic (sociopath) side, we have Miho, who also does not speak and wears absolutely no expression on her face but a deadly calm, but clearly enjoys killing people and toying with her victims.

    Gail: ...but those boys in that hunk-of-junk Plymouth, they're one mistake away from seeing what Miho can do. She's been aching for some practice. Things have been so quiet since all the trouble with Marv and Goldie and Cardinal Roark. It broke my heart, seeing Miho so frustrated. I'd have to be made of stone not to give her something to do.

    • The Frenchman and the Female from the titular The Boys divide their time between playing board games and inflicting grievous bodily harm.
    • Bizarrely, lovable comic-strip character Tank McNamara once stated that he became a football player because "I got to hurt people and it was legal." He seemed totally serious, although almost everything else we're ever shown of his personality contradicts this.
    • The twin assassins Siamese, from Kabuki: "...we will do silly things to your tender parts..."
      • Probably Snapdragon as well. She saves a man from a Jack Bauer-style interrogation and then tells him: "They would have killed you before you talked." (pulls a knife) "I won't have the same problem."
    • The original Terra from Teen Titans.
    • Cheshire from The DCU. It doesn't get much more psychotic than nuking a small country just to prove to the world that you're not bluffing—and laughing while it burns.
    • Minor Savage Dragon and Deadly Duo enemy Fusion puts an unusual emphasis on the "for hire" part. "You guys are pathetic. I'd put you out of your misery, but hey -- I do this for a living. I start killing guys for nothin' and word gets around, you know?"
    • Deadpool is a shining example of this trope. He was once hired to keep Spider-Man distracted. During that time he tried to blow Spidey up with an exploding pen, blew-up his own feet instead and challenged Spider-Man to a Your Mom contest. In addition he has yo mama joke so bad that it can kill people. [dead link] Ultimately he stops when the contract ends, leaving Spider-Man just as confused as anyone else who has ever tangled with him.
    • Colonel Lychee from Les Innommables.
    • Deathstroke from DC Comics, Depending on the Writer.

    Fan Works

    • In the Dark Knight fanfic A Piece Of Glass, The Joker points out that the psychopath Breech Loader kills for money even though she claims to consider money worthless. Her answer? She mostly finds it amusing to see just how much she can get away with charging.


    • Gaear Grimsrud from Fargo is a classic example. He is a demented psychopath who is completely apathetic and taciturn throughout the movie, even when he is committing cold blooded and often graphic murder.
    • Frank Nitti as portrayed in The Untouchables.
    • Road to Perdition has Maguire, a disgusting hitman and crime scene photographer with a fascination over death. He's hired by Frank Nitti to kill the main characters.
    • In Sleepy Hollow, before he became the Headless Horseman, the Hessian was a Psycho For Hire for the Redcoats. He wasn't in it for the money, but rather "...for the love of carnage."
    • Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs is described as having gone berserk during the robbery, and the other robbers take him to task for being a "psychopath" instead of a "professional." The "ear" scene is one of the most sadistically twisted scenes in film history. He even managed to disturb his own actor, thanks to an ad-lib by his victim.
    • In Kill Bill, Gogo Yubari and pretty much everyone in the original Deadly Viper Assassination Squad are sadistic bastards for hire, including The Bride herself...
      • Played with, though. The only person in the movie who isn't profoundly emotionally effected by the killing that opens the film is Elle Driver, and her comeuppance is spectacularly ugly even by Tarantino standards.
    • Various Dragons in James Bond movies.
    • Japanese film actor Tatsuya Nakadai practically made a career out of playing this type of character in 1960s Jidai Geki films, most notably:
    • Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men is an utterly remorseless and unrelentingly evil mass murderer. He often takes lives simply for the sake of killing, as he follows a murderous and nihilistic moral code that revolves around the concept of fate and chance. He's so evil that he immediately turns on the people who hired him to take the loot for himself, making him something of an aversion to the trope.
    • Jackson Rippner of Red Eye is a murderous, cold-blooded sociopath (regardless of what fanfic writers say), who has found the perfect job for his unique worldview: assistant terrorism!
    • Sergeant Bob Barnes and Bunny from the film Platoon.
    • George Higgins aka Machine, the snuff film performer from 8mm.
    • Repo! The Genetic Opera has the Repo Men, hired by Gene Co for their surgical precision and their ability to become sociopathic killers with the flick of a scalpel.
    • Jonathan Brewster from Arsenic and Old Lace is a good example, in that although his villainy is motivated by a desire for wealth, it is apparent from his conversations with his sidekick, Dr. Einstein, that when killing someone who crosses him, he prefers to make their death as long and painful as possible.
    • Tanner, the NSA chief in My Fellow Americans..
    • Bullet Tooth Tony in Snatch. He's not only one of the toughest guys in London, but he's willing to torture and kill people for a visiting American who will only be in town for a few days.
    • In The Devil's Rejects, Sheriff Wydell hires the a pair of psychotic bounty hunters called the Unholy Two and sics them on the Axe Crazy, mass-murdering Firefly family. The Unholy Two are so Badass that they actually win the showdown.
    • Both Gigan and Ghidorah from the Godzilla films are two giant-sized versions of this trope. Both monsters are often under the employment (or control, as it were) of various evil aliens and both seem to really enjoy destroying cities as well as attempting to kill Godzilla and/or any of his allies, setting them apart from the big guy's other enemies, who tend towards Obliviously Evil. Needless to say 40-story Psychos For Hire can really screw up your day.
    • Kobus from District 9. Employed by MNU, nothing would make his day more than getting to kill some aliens and considers himself lucky to even get paid to do so. He even says to Christopher that he loves watching them die.
    • Johnny Cash plays one of these (a mad, guitar-playing hitman) in Five Minutes to Live. In some areas, the film was actually marketed as Door-to-Door Psycho.
    • Blazing Saddles takes this to the extreme, when Hedley Lamarr holds auditions and recruits an army of them.
    • In The Dark Knight, the organized crime syndicates think the Joker is a Psycho for Hire when they set him after Batman, but he's really just using them as part of his crazy scheme to "watch the world burn."
    • Waingro, from Heat. He is hired to work with McCauley's team, but is kicked out because of his psychopathic tendencies and impulsive killings. Waingro goes rogue, becomes a Complete Monster by killing a prostitute (it is implied that he has done this several times before) and is hired by Smug Snake Van Zant to bring down McCauley's team.
    • Tin-Tin, Funboy, T-Bird and Skank from The Crow, who do particularly brutal jobs for the city's kingpin, Top Dollar. In something of a subversion of the trope, Top Dollar is far more evil than even these psychotic killers.
    • Wanted has a particularly nasty case of this in a man named Max Petridge, whose signature assassination technique is to break into his target's home and tie them down to a chair. The target's loved ones are Forced to Watch while he burns the victim alive. Afterwards, he brands his initials onto the back of the family member's necks so that they will never forget what he did to them.
    • Yamada in Sharkskin Man And Peach Hip Girl. He's a psychotic, giggling, nervous, homosexual, childish Servile Snarker. He's also very bad at his job.
    • The Guns of Navarone. "Butcher" Brown (AKA "The Butcher of Barcelona"), in the Backstory of the mission. Though it's more "to order" than "for hire", what with him being in the military.
    • Bennett from Commando:

    MATRIX: How much are they paying you, Bennett?
    BENNETT: They offered me a hundred grand. You want to know something? When I found out I could get my hands on you, I said I'd do it for nothing.

    • Simon Phoenix from Demolition Man, although he is released and controlled rather than hired. He is prevented from killing the big bad by mental tampering but since it's too specific he can order his newly released pals to do it, which he does not because the Big Bad says he's a pyscho but because the big bad is "an evil Mr. Rogers."..
    • Wison(Jack Palance) in Shane.
    • Leroy from Mystery Team has shades of this.
    • Isaacs (Tom Hollander) in Hanna.


    • This may be a somewhat lacking example, but Remo Williams from The Destroyer, while taking missions from the government, usually kills his enemies by goring their faces until it has the consistency of spaghetti in smashed jello and constantly rips arms and legs off. His mentor also isn't quite pleasant.
      • No, not really. Remo isn't in it for sadism. He kills largely for patriotic reasons and even then considers giving up his job every other book. Some their antagonists, like T.B Donleavy from Sweet Dreams, would qualify.
    • Several villains in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series qualify, most notably Mr. Teatime in Hogfather and Carcer in Night Watch, once he can find someone to hire him. Also Wolfgang, from The Fifth Elephant. Subverted with Stratford in Snuff, as it's solely his psycho-for-hire gratuitous cruelty and murderousness that end up provoking the hero to investigate evil-doing that would otherwise have stayed below the radar.
    • Fenrir Greyback, a minor villain from the later Harry Potter books, has the added bonus of being a werewolf. While completely inhuman, the Dementors also fit this pretty well, only working for the Ministry of Magic because of the opportunities it gives them to feed off peoples' misery, inevitably joining the forces of evil when they offer more opportunity to cause harm.
    • Messrs. Croup and Vandemar from Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. They, in turn, hire Mr. Ross to do a spot of work for them, and later Mr. Varney.
    • The Giant Spider Ungoliant in The Silmarillion, Morgoth's accomplice in the Darkening of Valinor. Morgoth is terrified of her and only his fire-whip wielding legion of Balrogs can keep her under control.
    • Taylor from Animorphs. Both the Yeerk and the human host are insane. And the Yeerk is sadistic, arrogant, and equipped with a device that can induce severe physical and psychological pain. Pleasure, too, just to upset any mental defenses. Tobias, of course, is the one who gets to spend book #33 at her mercy.
    • In Second Apocalypse the Consult relies on this trope for its Artificial Human Evil Minions.
    • Many warriors in A Song of Ice and Fire, especially those employed by Tywin Lannister. Ser Gregor Clegane, "The Mountain That Rides," is a hulking horror, driven into a perpetual rage by migraines and painkillers. Vargo Hoat leads an entire mercenary company of child killers, Evil Clowns, and other classy gents who take great pleasure in chopping off captives' hands and feet for their own amusement. At one point, a character wonders just how many monsters Tywin has working for him. Relatively more sympathetic is Sandor Clegane, a brutal thug with some Wangst issues, who insists that all knights are psychos for hire by default, but like to pretend otherwise. He sums this trope up nicely with, "Killing is the sweetest thing there is."
      • House Bolton starts out as the Stark family's own Psycho for Hire bannermen, which is somewhat interesting as the Starks are generally good guys and the Boltons are now considered the Token Evil Teammate of the North. The Boltons betray them at the Red Wedding, and now Roose Bolton is Warden of the North.
    • Rather a large number in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. One notable one would be Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku's Dark Acolyte and general all-round murderous underling. She numbers her Jedi kills and became obsessed with Obi-Wan, to the point of first keeping him prisoner in what looked almost like a gimp mask to stop his powers, then continually hunting him whenever he was near.
    • Keith from Everworld (sadly enough, he represents a good portion of people nowadays).
      • Not just Keith. This is pretty much the job description of the Sennites. Somewhat Justified in the sense that Senna's ability to dominate mortal minds is greatly enhanced when that mind is unhinged.
    • Every Dan Brown book has one.
    • Roger from the Lord of the Flies. He ends up becoming the Hangman of Jack's tribe, killing Piggy, torturing any dissenters, forcing the rest of Ralph's tribe to join, and preparing a stick on which to mount Ralph's head.
    • Johnny "Dread" Wulgaru from the novel Otherland.
    • In Richard K. Morgan's book Black Man (aka Thirteen in the USA), Carl Marsalis is a genetically modified supersoldier called a "thirteen," who works for the government hunting down his own kind. Hard-wired for war, he simply has the need to kill. Since he's an Anti-Hero, however, he never crosses the Moral Event Horizon and keeps his homicidal urges firmly focused on scumbags.
    • Harley and Olaf from Anita Blake. Harley was a maniac, and Olaf would disassemble his female targets and eat them.
    • The Novel Siege from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featured an evil shapeshifter Meta. He liked killing, but he also took money for it, which he spent for various evil things (including buying slaves who he killed slowly. He also slaughtered his last boss.
    • Luca Brasi from The Godfather. He murdered the mother of his child and his own child. He also chops Capone gunmen into little pieces with an axe. He's described as being the only man who can make his boss, Vito Corleone, a little nervous. Which only serves to make his death all the more terrifying.
      • Al Neri is also this to Michael, once he takes over the family.
    • From Warbreaker Tonk Fah. His partner Denth is an aversion, however -- he has his own goals, and is Affably Evil and even somewhat sympathetic.
    • John Rainbird from Stephen King's novel Firestarter. He's an assasin for a secret goverment agency, but he only kills people because he's obsessed with death. From the money he receives for it, he mostly buys shoes that he never wears.
    • Simon Darcourt from Christopher Brookmyre's A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away and A Snowball in Hell is this. He is no longer for hire in the latter, but he still manages to find time to enjoy a little torture now and again.
    • Kraken: Goss is possibly the Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope... literally, at that.
    • Pe Ell of The Druid of Shannara. He's an assassin for hire because he loves looking into people's eyes while they die, believing that it will help him to understand death. Cree Bega of The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara is a Torture Technician and cold-blooded sadist employed as The Dragon to The Morgawr; while not a mercenary he certainly demonstrates this attitude.
    • Peter Riviera from Neuromancer. Not only is he a sadist with a sexual fetish for betrayal, but he also has an implant that allows him to project horrifying holograms to confuse and frighten enemies (or anyone else, for that matter).
    • In the Robin Cook book Coma, the bad guys hire a hitman to kill medical student Susan Wheeler when she gets a whiff of their black-market organ scheme. He is specifically instructed to make it look like a rape/mugging gone bad, and when he is told this, it is stated that he absolutely relish the idea of sexually assaulting Susan—Susan herself notes that he seems to savor the fear he's creating as he stalks her.
    • Robert Crais's The Sentry gives us Daniel who the drug cartels use to track down and kill people. One scene has him in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and enjoying torturing people during the storm. He hears two voices which he calls Tobey and Cleo, believes himself to be a werewolf, and would like nothing more than to kill a zombie.
    • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: By the book Fast Track, the Vigilantes have become this. It's debatable whether or not the author intended them to be put into this trope, but they fulfill most, if not all, the requirements of this trope!

    Live-Action TV

    • Chris Flannerly of Underbelly was certifiably off his rocker. He aims to be the biggest killer in Australia. He takes credit for the killing of horse race robber Ray Chuck before earning his reputation by going on a killing spree for the highest bidder. He eventually takes out contracts for racing identity George Freeman, before it is realised the hitman is too dangerous to live. Experts say the real life Flannerly was either accurately portrayed or a lot worse.
      • 'The Runner' and 'The Driver' (their names could not be given due to the concurrent court case), whose claim to fame was to kill Jason Moran in front of their kids, would also qualify. Specifically when The Runner thinks his wife is having an affair he first tracks down who he thinks she is with, only for the teenager to not only be taken into protection by the police but is the wrong man, after trashing his house he beats and rapes his wife.
    • Marcus, Spike's hired torture expert, from the Angel episode "In the Dark."
      • Also, Angel(us) himself acted as a Psycho For Hire to Jasmine for a while after he lost his soul.
      • Spike himself was introduced as a Psycho For Hire - the Badass Longcoat from out of town who maimed for fun and just dropped by to kill the hero and torture her boyfriend to death. However, it took less than an episode for him to decide he'd have more fun if he took charge.
      • Then there was Faith, who acted in this way for a time after killing a random human.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Jem'Hadar are the mercenaries employed by the Founders. They are kept under control through addiction to a drug controlled by the Founders.
      • Actually Jem'Hader are slave soldiers, and seem to be treated tragically by the show rather then focusing on psychopathy. Presumably the Founders programmed them to like causing pain, but they are also often treated as if not quite as honorable opponents in the Klingon or Romulan sense, at least as dedicated soldiers who take pride in their valor and discipline.
    • Elle Bishop from Heroes.
    • The Master of Doctor Who wavers between Psycho For Hire and Magnificent Bastard within and between appearances, a meticulous planner and manipulator on some occasions and killing random people left and right just for the hell of it on others.
    • Keamy in season 4 of Lost.
    • Bounty Hunter Jubal Early from the Firefly episode "Objects in Space," as mentioned in the above quote.
    • Jamie McDonald of The Thick of It, Malcolm Tucker's lackey and attack dog whom Malcolm uses as much by reputation as by actual force. More than once he has convinced someone to get motivated by threatening to call Jamie over.
    • Murdoc from MacGyver. Not only does he kill people in a variety of interesting ways, he rigs cameras to photograph his victims at the moment of their death, ostensibly to prove to the person/people who hired him that victim X is really, really dead (for a while he even sent copies to the authorities "just for kicks"). He is also practically unkillable.
    • Professional Wrestling example: Jake "The Snake" Roberts after his Face Heel Turn in the early '90s, to the point of being a Complete Monster.
      • The Undertaker, a Ghoul whole steals souls and buries people alive, was considered the GOOD guy in all his encounters with Jake The Snake.
    • The Cigarette Smoking Man sometimes comes across as this in The X-Files. Indeed, in one episode, he's referred to as "the killer" by Deep Throat.
    • Tig from Sons of Anarchy.
      • Tig only really counts when the club hires out to do some dirty work; he is the most violent and least mentally stable of the Sons, but he is still extremely loyal and considers Clay to be a true friend. Most of what he does, he does for SAMCRO, and hurting people is just a bonus.
    • Dwight Schrute in the US version of The Office. Too bad Michael hired him first.
    • Gilroy's subtitle in Burn Notice is "Freelance Psychopath."
      • Michael's former mentor "Dead Larry" is a pretty good example of the trope, too. He doesn't have to kill that many people to do his job, but he enjoys it so much.
      • Simon is literally a terrorist for hire who committed the various acts that Michael is accused of (resulting in his burn notice) while in the employ of Management and whoever he works for.
    • "Mike" from Breaking Bad is a professional (and very skilled) hitman, as well as a host of other odd jobs that make life easier for people breaking the law. Though also portrayed as a cool-headed family man, he casually confesses to enjoying his job, when confronted.
    • In Noob, one of the characters is a mercenary who joins groups for money and is clearly in for the occasion to kill enemies. A mix of friendship with one of the main group's members and the urge to hit on something will even make her frequently tag along for free as long as she gets to do the latter.
    • Moriarty on Sherlock is referred to as the "consultant criminal".
    • In Spartacus: Vengeance Ashur enlists several of these, after finally showing Roman soldiers are no match for gladiators. Most notably is The Egyptian who manages to nearly kill Crixus, and later Oenamaus, with nothing but a pair of knives.
      • Unfortunately, as they're ultimately, well, psychos for hire, when Glaber offers them money and land in exchange for betraying Ashur, they all do so instantly.

    Tabletop Games

    • Dark Eldar in Warhammer 40,000 are a Planet of Hats of sadistic sociopaths. Creators of Slaanesh who are of a martial bent also fall squarely into this trope (and usually supplement it with playing the Mad Artist in their spare time as well) because the only missing ingredient for their eternal youth is entertainment.
      • The Dark Eldar also sometimes can actually be up for hire. They kill/enslave/unspeakable act your enemy, get paid, then horrify you.
      • Pretty much all Chaos Space Marines actually. In every edition they only get crazier.
      • The barbaric Orks occasionally act as mercenaries for other races, particularly clanless Freebooter bands or Orks of the culturally contaminated (they wear uniforms and use camouflage!) Blood Axe Clan. This is generally a dumb move on the part of their employers, as the Orks prefer to be paid in weaponry that they will inevitably end up using against them.
      • Kroot kindreds, when they're not fighting for the Tau Empire, roam the galaxy looking for mercenary work. Though not technically sociopaths, their penchant for eating enemy dead as they seek evolutionary upgrades can strain relations amongst their comrades.
        • The Kroot are actually a subversion in that they are one of the least evil races in the Galaxy.
    • Szuriel, the Horseman of War in Pathfinder is what happens when a being of near divine status adopts the mentality of a typical Psycho for Hire. Szuriel hires out her daemons as mercenaries to mortals, demon lords, archdevils, and anyone else who is willing to pay. These campaigns inevitably result in war crimes, genocide, and the eventual betrayal and destruction of both sides, because Szuriel doesn't care about causes or contracts—only violence and the theft of souls.

    Video Games

    • In Way of the Samurai 2, the local Big Bad, Hanzaemon Takenuma, has a Psycho For Hire named Kyojiro Kagenuma. She scares the ka-britches our of pretty much everybody, wields the most scary sword in the game, has two ridiculously overpowered attacks, and will—in several endings—continue to haunt the player after the Big Bad has been defeated. Often referred to as a 'Mad Dog', though never to her face. Call her O-Kyo at your own peril.
    • Ryuji Yamazaki from the Fatal Fury games is a knife-wielding maniac who is usually found in the employ of Geese Howard. He's by far the most brutally insane character in the entire SNK game universe, as evidenced by many of his gory attacks and penchant for maniacal laughter.
      • Another Psycho For Hire from Fatal Fury would be Freeman.
    • Most Metal Gear Solid bosses who aren't either Magnificent Bastards or Anti-Villains fall into this trope.
      • Vamp from Metal Gear Solid 2 displays a few of these tendencies. He takes on entire squads of Navy SEALs armed with only a large hunting knife, and always kills in a way that ensures maximum bleeding. So he can drink it.
      • Also Psycho Mantis from the first game, who explicitly states that he wasn't interested in a revolution, only in killing as many people as he possibly could.
        • Metal Gear Solid, strangely enough, also had a rare protagonistic example of this trope, as Liquid Snake mentioned to Solid Snake when atop REX that [Solid Snake] enjoyed all the killing, and mentioned that this was most likely part of the reason he returned to Shadow Moses Island. Meryl also mentioned that Solid Snake also most likely felt alive when people were dying around him based on his answers.
      • The third game has The Fury, a deranged cosmonaut whose life goal seems to be to set the world on fire. The Pain and The Fear probably also count.
    • The non-Canon spin-off game of the above, Metal Gear Acid, had La Clown, who was a notable Psycho For Hire in that s/he cheerfully lampshaded every part of the concept - as well as the concept of The Dragon and the death-bed Heel Face Turn in his/her dying speech.

    La Clown: I've never lost to anyone before, but I felt like letting you win this one, just to see what it's like.
    Snake: ...
    La Clown: But I never thought... losing would mean dying. I think I'm about to die. Snake, Flemming is in the underground hangar. He could be activating Metal Gear and deciding on a target for its nuclear warhead as we speak. To get to the hangar, you'll have to open a door in the north part of this section, and go down the ladder.
    Snake: Why are you telling me this?
    La Clown: If I die here, it means I'm not the hero. The hero is supposed to survive to the end. So... I guess that makes me the villain. The villain is always supposed to take the hero's side right before dying.

    • Leon Powalski from the Star FOX games.
      • Pigma Dengar is implied to be one of these as well during the Bolse mission in Star Fox 64. While he may express his motives being for the money, his opening line when Star Wolf attacks Star Fox on Bolse makes it very clear that he also absolutely enjoys killing people as well.

    Pigma Dengar: Daddy screamed REAL good before he died!

    • Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI starts out in the game as a particularly heinous Psycho For Hire, performing such acts as setting a castle filled with inhabitants on fire simply as an act of persuasion, to single handedly causing the genocide of an entire kingdom (including his own men), simply for the sake of amusement. Eventually, through betrayals and an Earthshattering Kaboom, he evolved into an even more heinous Big Bad, vaporizing entire cities with his Wave Motion Gun and attempting to annihilate everything because he thought that it was pointless to let it exist anyway.
    • Professor Hojo from Final Fantasy VII. He does numerous experiments on humans, and how he does it is worse then it sounds. He's likes hurting people far more then money, highlighted when he actually tries to keep the Sister Ray from killing Sephiroth.
      • Mainly because Sephiroth is his son, who was the result of a particularly heinous experiment.
    • Akechi Mitsuhide from the video game Sengoku Basara. Casual fans are shocked seeing this kind of Alternate Character Interpretation since Mitsuhide is the guy often receiving the Historical Hero Upgrade, since Nobunaga is always often the villain. Strangely, even Nobunaga is also villainous here.
    • Yuber from the first three Suikoden games is a classic example of the summoned and controlled type of psycho.
      • Luca Blight from Suikoden II fits the standard archetype, but does his work strictly pro bono and is, in fact, the Big Bad. He is widely regarded as one of the most evil and sadistic villains in video game history. This scene makes this trait abundantly clear.
      • Childerich from Suikoden V is also an example, which has garnered criticism to his character because of his resemblance to Luca, right down to using (as a shout out) his infamous "Die pigs!!" line when killing people. One critic even described him as "Diet-Luca."
    • Albedo Piazzolla from the Xenosaga series frequently demonstrates that he has delved so far into madness and sociopathy that it is difficult to even describe him as human.
    • Bryan Fury from the Tekken series possesses mental instability and sadism typical of this trope. However, he has not worked under anyone since Tekken 3, fighting on behalf of his "creator", Dr. Abel. Since then he's been in it for himself.
    • Vega in the Street Fighter series. Vain to the point of insanity (driven by the murder of his mother), he harbors an extreme vendetta against all things ugly as well as anything that could be more beautiful than him. He is a powerful ally of M. Bison due to his unpredictable and sadistic behavior.
    • Archibald Grims from Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, will take any job as long as it involves killing... preferably of the innocent. When the rest of the Neo Divine Crusaders get tired of his crap he simply defects to the Shadow Mirrors. He is also noteworthy for being the enemy of the Branstein family, having caused the death of Elzam's wife by poisoning her with gas while trying to gas the rest of the colony of Elpis, thus forcing Elzam to kill his already lethally-poisoned wife to stop it.
      • Archibald was actually preceded by Lubikka Hakinnen from SRW Gaiden. Instead of the Bransteins, though, he targeted Tytti, having slaughtered her whole family in front of her eyes. He would've happily done this to other people, but he just takes extra pleasure if the victim is Tytti. When he got hired by the Shutedonian army, he also takes that job happily since it involves killing, and doesn't mind letting out Evil Laughs often. And then, he finally hammers it down in Tytti's breakdowns by killing her would-be-lover Ricardo and inflicted her fear of starting a new relationship.
    • Mugetsu from The Bouncer is an archetypical Psycho For Hire, being a genetically enhanced yet utterly unstable psychopath with a penchant for hysterical laughter and flashy, unorthodox movements in battle. Every time that you encounter him in the game, he gleefully exclaims his intention of slaughtering you in one way or another.
    • The Horned Reaper in Dungeon Keeper. Monstrously powerful in combat, he won't take being mistreated like the other minions and will rapidly become rebellious if not treated with kid gloves.
      • Which is why you usually made a special small room just for him, and only release him in combat.
      • In the second game, Horny was ascended into a unique Juggernaut who could only be brought into play by Summon Magic after gathering all four pieces of a Talisman and he only stayed as long as you had mana to burn on him or until you dismissed him.
    • Curtis Blackburn in Killer7, dear God...
    • General Viper in Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity is this with a touch of Axe Crazy. Fitting, then, that his weapon of choice is an axe.
    • Phillip Clyde in Army of Two fits this perfectly, with the addition of the main characters taking it in stride. His batshittery is best summed up, if not with his use of grenades and a stinger while on a plane, then with a dialog example:

    Clyde: I'm gonna kill you, cut you open, and go to an aerobics class wearing your intestines for leg warmers!
    Salem: I mean, does that even make sense.
    Clyde: I'm gonna kill you both, drain all your blood, take out your bones, put your body in a big chair with some elves and reindeer, sit on your lap, and tell you all the cool shit I want for Christmas!
    Salem: Clearly, this guy had a messed-up childhood.
    Rios: Heh heh, you think?

    • HK-47 from Knights of the Old Republic is an assassination droid whose only suggestion for every situation involves violence. It's up to the player as to whether or not he gets to fully embrace his psycho-for-hire status.

    Player: HK-47, can you translate?
    HK-47: Analysis: 98% probability that the miniature meatbag's compatriots have been captured and he is asking for our help in remedying the situation.
    Player: What about the other 2%?
    HK-47: Reply: 2% probability that the meatbag is simply looking for trouble and needs to be blasted. That may be wishful thinking on my part, master.

      • In Knights of the Old Republic II, the ante is upped by adding a New and Improved line of droids called HK-50s. They may seem harmless at first, until you learn that every last one of them is out to kill you. "But anonymous contributor," you might ask, "how does that make them psychotic? Everything is out to get you in Knights of the Old Republic" That may be true, but recall this line: "[Mocking query]: Coortaaaa... Coorta, are you dead yet?"
    • Prometheus from Mega Man ZX will happily murder people for kicks. There's a good reason why his nickname in-series is "The Reaper." He's also one of those psychos who actually has some degree of intelligence, considering he and Pandora knew from the start that the Game of Destiny was a complete (and intentional) farce (Unlike every other villain character in the series except Albert). He even tried to kill Master Albert in front of the hero, in a betrayal on the level of Kefka... Except that one didn't quite work out, since Master Albert happens to be a Magnificent Bastard. Of course, had he succeeded, he and Pandora had full intentions to wipe out and destroy everything for no justifiable reason except revenge against Albert (Destroying the world is kinda going WAY beyond revenge anyway).
      • It's safe to say Prometheus had plans simply to destroy the other Mega Men and, most likely, Model W as part of his scheme, but he went batshit by his own madness after losing to Grey/Ashe. Before the fight in Advent...

    Prometheus: What are you talking about?! It's not over yet! We're still here - the garbage left behind by that scum!
    Pandora: We can't get our old bodies back... we can't change our destiny... so we'll hasten the destiny of destruction.
    Prometheus: We will destroy all that Albert made. That is our revenge. So let's have some fun, why don't we - and go out with a bang!

      • After the fight in Advent...

    Prometheus: It was all a farce! Albert set up everything from the start according to his own plan. He said that Mega Men were the natural evolution of Man?! Don't make me laugh! What an epic sham! I'm going to demolish this whole wretched world! * Critical Existence Failure ensues*

    • Although instead being recruited -and also seemingly only a little off-kilter-, Tempest Hawker and Tenzan Nakajima of Super Robot Wars Original Generation end up growing into them, the reasons being different. Hawker joined the DC for revenge, Tenzan because he knows his way around a robot's controls. Over the course of repeated and humiliating defeats at the hands of the Hagane and its small squad, including Tempest's "rival" and a girl that looks a bit like Hawker's dead daughter, they each lose sight of many things about life. In the final battles against them, they use powerful Valsion Customs... which serve as the straw that breaks the camel's back and induce complete, psychotic behavior and screaming "DIEDIEDIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" at the top of their lungs.
    • Isaac from Castlevania: Curse of Darkness.
    • Although all of the characters are assassins in No More Heroes, most of them seem to be SORT OF stable... except for Destroyman who cosplays as a superhero when he kills people, and Bad Girl is, as Travis describes, "not an assassin," but "a perverted killing maniac."
      • I guess Travis himself counts, too, as he sees his murders not as a job, but a HOBBY. As if being an Otaku wasn't expensive enough!
    • Flying Fox from Heavenly Sword is a prime example of this trope, as evidenced by the sadistic pleasure he takes in the imminent (and actual) slaughter he causes.
    • Wild Dog from Time Crisis. He's also the only recurring character in the entire series. Even though he's constantly getting exploded on!
    • Kartikeya from Wild ARMs 5. Sure, blow up a whole village just for the heck of it!
    • Goh Hinogami from the Virtua Fighter series is a creepy-looking assassin hired and trained by the J6 corporation to kill as many fighters as he can. He takes great pleasure in his job, using his judo abilities to snap his opponents' limbs, and even resorts to kicking and taunting them after they've been defeated.
    • Disaster: Day of Crisis... Evans. Wait, what? This guy seems cool and collected at first, but he rather enjoys fighting Ray, and eventually shows his true side as a man who gets a huge thrill out of the natural disasters that are occurring. The game itself notes that he is a mixture of a cool head and madness. Though, there is the literal psycho for hire, if only I could remember his name...
    • Janus Cascade from Wild ARMs 3 is sort of like this. He's even willing to sacrifice his two comrades to obtain whatever he or the Prophets want.
    • Zagi from Tales of Vesperia starts off as this, until his sole motivation becomes fighting Yuri.
    • Bulleta/B.B. Hood of Darkstalkers. A bit literal on the "for hire" part. In addition to being a sadistic, deranged sociopath, she's a Bounty Hunter—the fluff specifically identifies her as a "Darkhunter," a type of bounty hunter specializing in capturing or killing monsters. She ended up summoned to the Majigen because she was considered to qualify as a "monster" by Jedah, despite being completely human... and instantly decided to kill everyone else. Even more unsettling is her innocent demeanor and resemblance to Little Red Riding Hood.
    • Jerme of Fire Emblem. Dear God, Jerme.

    Jerme: Such beautiful skin. If I cut you into lovely red ribbons with this, would the pieces be as soft and lovely as silk?

      • Valter in Sacred Stones, a Blood Knight who cares for nothing but seeing more combat and has an unhealthy obsession with the female protagonist.
      • The Flame Emperor from Three Houses is surrounded by these, which is bound to raise plenty of eyebrows due to his insistence that he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
        • Kostas is your bog-standard bandit boss Starter Villain, and was hired to kill the teenage heirs to the Adrestian Empire, Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and Leicester Alliance respectively. Since he's got nothing but contempt for the nobility, he's chomping at the bit to put them to the axe.
        • The Death Knight/Jeritza von Hrym/Emile von Bartels, an armored, scythe-wielding psychopath who seems to be legitimately turned on by the thought of slaughtering people. The Emperor doesn't even need to pay him in gold for his services: as far as he's concerned the blood spilled from his victims is its own reward.
        • Metodey, who might just be the most psychotic of them all. He's heavily implied to be a cannibal, and makes all kinds of creepy comments about "cooking" his victims and dressing them up with spices.
    • Montross from Star Wars: Bounty Hunter is introduced as Jango Fett's Rival, and manages to make Fett look like a hero by comparison. Jango brings in targets dead or alive, depending on what pays more. Montross brings everyone in dead.
    • In The Elder Scrolls series, the Dark Brotherhood is a death cult filled with thrillkillers who traditionally accept a fee for their murders. In Daggerfall, Oblivion, and Skyrim, the player gets many opportunities to be the Psycho for Hire.
    • The Anti Heroes of Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, with Lynch being a literal example as a schizophrenic who may or may not have been responsible for killing his wife.
    • Viath in Tales of Graces. If you meet him in a sidequest later in the story, you'll see that he has truly gone off the deep end.
    • The Hitman series gives you the option of being a Psycho For Hire through your actions as the player, though it's heavily discouraged.
    • Hasta from Tales of Innocence, who's a creepy Cloudcuckoolander.
    • Just about everyone in Team Fortress 2. In a game chock full of mercenaries with "interesting" personalities, there's the Pyro, a Pyromaniac. The Scout is a aggressive twerp who badmouths everyone he comes across and enjoys beating up others with his bat. The Soldier is a cross of a Drill Sergeant Nasty and Cloudcuckoolander with a bazooka. The Heavy cheerfully laughs as he mows people down and converses with his miniguns and things he pulls out of a lunchbox. The Engineer gets a little too jolly when his machines kill people. The Demoman is a scottish drunkard with a propensity for blowing things up. The Sniper thinks he's a utter professional but he enjoys his work and spits out insults far too much for that. The Medic sees healing as unrewarding in comparison to harming others, and is morbidly fascinated with human suffering. Finally, the Spy is an actual professional who nonetheless mocks his victims with a jaunty cackle.
    • Emile in Halo: Reach, blatantly pointed out with the skull carved into his visor. He pretty much doesn't care about anything but killing Covenant. Frankly, though, it's a wonder the rest of the SPARTAN-IIIs aren't like this, what with being war orphans trained as killing machines from, in some cases, the age of four (and the rest weren't much older).
    • Thugs-4-Less in Ratchet and Clank Going Commando.
    • Infinite from Sonic Forces styles himself as more of an ominous Darth Vader figure, but he's ultimately a petty thug and gun-for-hire that joined Eggman's army purely to satisfy his bloodlust and desire to see the world burn. You don't get much more "psycho" than slaughtering a company of soldiers down to one survivor, who you spare purely to torment and terrorize for fun.

    Web Comics

    • Captain DuPree in Girl Genius. Not even the iron-fisted Baron Wulfenbach can really keep her under control, though...

    Baron Wulfenbach: DuPree. When I say the words "Alive and unharmed" - do any neurons actually fire in that brain of yours?
    Captain DuPree: Um - No Sir!
    Baron Wulfenbach: I thought not.


    Gilgamesh: Your orders are simple - kill anyone who enters [this room], except for Doctor Sun and myself.
    Captain DuPree: ["speaking" in Rebus Bubbles due to a broken jaw] :man: :woman: :little girl: ?
    Gilgamesh: Yes, anyone.
    Captain DuPree: :knife: :gun: :axe: :cheese: ?
    Gilgamesh: Yes, any way you like.
    Captain DuPree: [hugging a rather disgusted-looking Gil] :"World's Best Boss" trophy:!


    Ed: (talking about his head) It's a head. It works. As long as it can express how much I enjoy killing people, it's all good.

    • Jeff from RPG World probably fits the bill.
    • Rocky and his cousin Calvin from Lackadaisy Cats. While they don't seem to be sadistic, they are definitely psychos.
      • And for the competition, we have The Savoy Siblings and Mordecai. Mordecai especially.
    • Mell Kelly is a more amiable example of this trope than most, but this doesn't change the fact that she works for Narbonic Labs mostly because she likes big guns and shooting people with them. She would be a Heroic Sociopath if it weren't for what the main characters do for a living...
    • Belkar Bitterleaf from Order of the Stick walks a narrow line between this and Heroic Comedic Sociopath. He has become an adventurer only because he loves to kill things, and he'll happily stick his daggers into anyone, even friendly and non-hostile NPCs. He has at times even considered killing his own party members for XP.
      • He's gotten somewhat better recently after a Vision Quest, if only because he's realized that if he plays along with the other heroes' rules most of the time, he'll have more free reign when it comes to "stabbing the bad guys" time. He's still not a good person by any stretch, but he may just have moved up from Stupid Evil to actual Chaotic Evil.
    • Exterminatus Now features Lothar Hex, who is literally a Psycho For Hire; he's a mercenary, and as an incidental bonus he's a psychopath. He has some features of the Heroic Sociopath...but he has also been known to explain to his friends that "You guys have three seconds to get off me, or I stop thinking of you as friends and start thinking of you as mutilated corpses," while revving up his circular saw.
    • Ki from Harkovast, in his own words:

    "I'm not here to make friends. I show up to kill people...and look good while I do it."

    • Demons in Blip. While Lucifer himself is Affably Evil, the Chibi devils he employs are mindlessly destructive.
    • Skoll of Cry Havoc, while well payed for her services as a mercenary, seems to be mainly motivated by a psychotic glee in killing people.
    • This guy, yeh?

    Web Original

    • Parodied in Red vs. Blue with Agent Tex.
      • "I wouldn't say I'm mean. I just get paid to do mean things." "Yeah, but you enjoy it." "Well, I think it's important to like what you do."
    • Several people in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe are this. Krait, Glory, Crosshair, Gravestone, Whiteout, Demise, Polaris, and the members of both the Furies and the Iron Legion all qualify.

    Western Animation

    • Pegleg Pete from various Disney properties often functions as hired muscle for a smarter villain, like Sylvester Shyster, Eli Squinch, or Agent Von Weasel. In service to all three, he's shown easy willingness to try killing Mickey Mouse and his friends, with any weapon from rifles to propellers to his own fists.
      • Though occasionally Pete has a twinge of regret after believing he's finally dispatched his longtime enemy. After all, thug though Pete may be, he and Mickey have occasionally bonded to take on more powerful other villains.
      • Shyster and Pete are, incredibly, both enamored of Minnie Mouse, and in fighting over her, the employer/employee relationship has fallen apart a few times.
      • Pete also works as his own boss a good 60% of the time, though interestingly tends to be less brutal when not in someone else's employ.
    • Rampage from Transformers: Beast Wars is massive, insanely powerful, and delights in tormenting his victims. He's also more or less immortal, and the Megatron of that series gained control over him by cutting out a piece of Rampage's spark (in a nutshell, the soul of a Transformer) while he was unconscious and encasing it in a "squeeze box" that could cause Rampage excruciating pain if he disobeyed. He's pretty much the trope cast in plastic and let loose... though not without a few soft spots.
      • May also apply to Inferno, a memory damaged Predacon with the body and mind of a red ant who considered Megatron his Queen and would do anything for "The Colony". He was near impervious to pain, had no sense of self-preservation, and had a passionate love for setting people on fire. Megatron was constantly annoyed by his clear insanity but kept him around because, well, he was just so damned good at setting people on fire.
        • It's not so much memory damage as it is brain damage. Inferno's delusion is that he is a real ant, and Megatron is his Queen. He is simply incapable of trechary or disobedience. Megatron loved having a minion with that kind of attitude. This particular version of Megatron views his troops as expendable, but Inferno was the one pawn he wouldn't risk losing.
        • However, he is a psycho who loves setting people on fire. A lot. As gleefully violent as Rampage and super loyal to boot? There's no wonder he's Megs' favorite.
      • Another, more recent example is Lockdown, a Decepticon-aligned bounty hunter from Transformers Animated. He claims to be in it for money and upgrades, but it's plain to see that his true pleasure comes from hunting down and brutally disassembling helpless robots. So much so that he often kept pieces of them as "trophies." In fact, his motto is, "Run all you want; it'll make the chase more fun." Ratchet's encounter with him during the Great War was the cause for most of Ratchet's later emotional troubles.

    Lockdown: "You couldn't stop an oil leak! But don't worry... I got everything I wanted from you long ago."

          • Actually Lockdown said in his debut appearance that he finds hunting trophy's to his favorite part of the job.
        • Extended to even further depths after it is revealed that he used to be a student of Prowl's mentor, Yoketron. And not only that, but he was the one who betrayed and killed him. In his own words;

    Lockdown: "If my first act as a bounty hunter was betraying my sacred sensei then everything I've done since has been easy."

      • Transformers Prime brings us Airachnid. In a nutshell, mix together Lockdown, Rampage, and Tarantulas and put them into the body of a spider-helicopter fembot.
    • Hexadecimal from ReBoot. She sows mayhem mainly for her own amusement and possibly to get Bob's attention.
    • Hobgoblin's Spider-Man the Animated Series incarnation. Norman Osborn hires him to assassinate Wilson Fisk / Kingpin, wanting to end their 'partnership'. When that fails, Hobgoblin switches sides and kidnaps Harry Osborn for Kingpin, only to pull a Starscream and take over Crime Central. Fisk and Osborn are forced to rely on Spidey to deal with him - and that's just in his first two episodes.
    • The siblings Jackal and Hyena from Gargoyles are examples. They're sometimes-teammate Wolf is a borderline example, as he takes the same kind of jobs because he enjoys them, but is more of a vicious brute than an outright lunatic. Anton Sevarius is a variation, as a Mad Scientist for hire who isn't a physical threat- but his creations are.
    • Invader Zim prefers Humongous Mecha and his Kill Sat instead of killing and maiming directly, but it's hard to ignore the maniacal glee with which he steals organs or reduces cities to rubble.
      • Even going on a rampage on his own planet just for the heck of it.

    Zim: I put the fires out.
    Tallest Purple: You made them worse.
    Zim: Worse... or better?

      • As well as...

    Zim: But I blew up more than the other Invaders!
    Tallest Red: You blew UP all the other Invaders!

    • Due to Flanderization, Vicky from The Fairly OddParents descends into this trope in later seasons.
    • Arguably Allan from Tintin. He even hooks up with Rastapopoulos later on.
    • Duncan from Total Drama Island, although more of an Anti-Hero, the item he chose to hunt for raccoons was a chainsaw. Considers Owen and Gwen being attacked by eagles as awesome TV.
    • Protoman from Ruby-Spears's Mega Man. In "Future Shock," it's implied that he doesn't want Wily to completely dominate the world, as the man's draconian policies would severely limit Proto's opportunities to wreak havoc. Outside of that episode, he never hesitates to make things go boom (though he can't bring himself to kill his little brother).
    • In the recent G.I. Joe: Resolute, Zartan admits that he may be a mercenary but it was never about the money. he just likes killing people.
    • Dennis in the The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie .
    • The Venture Brothers gives us Herr Trigger, one of OSI's (former) most-wanted assassins. Something he has over the other two most-wanted is that he is a gun fetishist and kills simply for the sexual pleasure. Most of his dialog is a creepy, ecstatic laugh.
    • Grim Reaper in Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes seems to be working for HYDRA for the sole reason that he likes killing, fighting, terrorizing etc. In his own words: "Finally... someone to hurt".
    • Combustion Man from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Although he's mute, his sadism is shown through his actions. Perhaps the best example is the fact that when Zuko offers to pay him double to stop, he refuses
    • The appropriately named Psycho from Max Steel was typically found working for Big Bad John Dread. As most of his lines indicate, it's got less to do with the money and more to do with hurting people. In his own words, there's nothing he likes better than going on a rampage.
    • Whammer from Word Girl.
    • Randall Boggs from Monsters, Inc.. He kidnaps children in order to collect their screams for power. While Waternoose at least has the motive of keeping his company afloat and providing energy to Montropolis, Randall has no motives except wanting to see children suffer.
    • Skulker from Danny Phantom is shown on more than one occasion to willingly perform tasks for Vlad Plasmius, though he clearly does it for the thrill of the hunt more than any actual payment.