The Don

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This is The Patriarch of a crime family—most often, as Captain Obvious would suggest, The Mafia. He is shrewd, ruthless, and better not be crossed. Often he will hold to an arcane code of honor, which is perhaps incomprehensible to non-mobsters. He will be very protective of his family and he will ensure that his dear little girl wants for nothing, all while maintaining the illusion of morality. Unlike other villains this type is often fairly Genre Savvy. Quite likely he did read the Evil Overlord List. Also more likely than many villain archetypes to be an Anti-Villain, whose sole interest is in keeping the peace in his town and the money flowing.

Examples of The Don include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • One Piece has Capone "Gang" Bege, a pirate captain modeled as one of these, Al Capone in particular. His crew are even dressed as members of The Mafia and refer to him as "Father".
    • The earlier villain Crocodile was the head of the crime syndicate baroque works, hides his actions behind a legal business (a casino no less) and certainly had an air of this around him.
  • Heat Guy J has Lorenzo Leonelli (whose character design is an Expy of Vito Corleone ). He is dead at the beginning of the series, and his Ax Crazy teenage son takes over the Family.
  • Baccano! has several, all based in New York. One of the major families effectively has three Dons, a trio of brothers who chose to run the organization together after their father died.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Carmine "The Roman" Falcone from the Batman: The Long Halloween miniseries.
  • Wallenquist from Sin City is a rare German gangster mob boss.
  • The Kingpin and Silvio Manfredi of Marvel Comics are two reoccurring leaders of the Maggia, Marvel's expy of the Mafia.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Vito and Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Trope Codifier.
  • Marc-Ange Draco, head of the Unione Corse in the James Bond novel (and film) On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Ray Vargo starts out as this in Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai. At the end, after his death a little more than halfway through the movie, he gets replaced as the head of The Family by his daughter Louise.
  • The aforementioned Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins and his successor Salvatore Maroni in The Dark Knight are two old-school Mafia crime lords who are put out of business by both Batman and his psychotic enemies.
  • In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, the Sherrif of Rottingham enlists the help of Don Giovanni (Dom DeLuise), a mafia boss from the actual island of Jersey, to get rid of Robin Hood.
  • "Mr. Big" -- who is a shrew -- in Disney's Zootopia.
  • Carmine Sabatini in The Freshman is a dead ringer for Marlon Brando as Don Corleone, and it's strongly hinted that he was the actual model for the character. This works much better than you would think because Sabatini is played by Brando, essentially reprising his performance as Corleone.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Rene Benoit of NCIS.
  • Tony Soprano of The Sopranos, and Uncle Junior before him. The rival New York family has Johnny Sack, who is replaced by Phil Leotardo when he dies of lung cancer.
  • Monk has had the occasional run in with these, including once when he was hired by one who wanted to find out who had attacked their barbershop front so as to be sure they where not going to start a needless Mob War.
  • In season 2 of The Wire, "The Greek", unnamed patriarch of the Greek crime syndicate. He's very soft spoken, has a calm civility of another age, masking an icy ruthlessness.
  • Lost has Mr. Paik, Sun's father and Jin's employer.
  • The Guatrau, leader of the Ha'la'tha, on Caprica.
  • In Star Trek A Piece of the Action, Captain Kirk of all people becomes the biggest don on the planet.
    • "Nobody's gonna put the bag over Me anymore..."
  • Jimmy Reardon of Intelligence has most of the qualities associated with the Don.
  • Ryuubee Sonozaki of Kamen Rider Double.
  • Harry Montebello on The Straits.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Discworld has "Legitimate Businessman" Chrysophrase the troll, allegedly a 'Ton' in the disorganised crime syndicate, the Breccia.
    • Of course, every sensible troll knows that the Breccia doesn't exist. Definitely not. If it did exist without his permission, Mister Chrysoprase would be very upset.
    • In the animated Wyrd Sisters, Chrysophrase is clearly based on Don Corleone.
  • Don Bruce the Fairy Godfather of the MYTH Inc. series.
  • Uncle Enzo from Snow Crash.
  • "Gentleman Johnny" Marcone of the Dresden Files is this to a tee. He's so formidable and Genre Savvy that he even manages to come out ahead when tangling with wizards, vampires, and werewolves.

Play By Post Games[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Bruto Cadaverini and Winfred "Big Wins" Kitaki from Ace Attorney.
  • Salvatore Leone is perhaps the best known Don of the Grand Theft Auto series. You also meet a couple of Dons of the big five families in Grand Theft Auto IV.
  • Don Pygoscelis[1] of the Kingdom of Loathing's Penguin Mafia.
  • Don Pianta from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
  • Each New Reno crime family in Fallout 2 has a leader of this type.
  • Don Punchinello in Max Payne is somewhat a subversion of the stereotype: as Max puts it, "Punchinello was a pushover", justified by the fact that he is just a public figurehead used by the real villain to pin the Valkyr distribution on.
  • Aria T'Loak in Mass Effect 2 is the ruler of the Wretched Hive Omega. While not referred as "Don" (it is assumed that she is female but the Asari are a One-Gender Race), she has the entire crime life on Omega in her pocket and shows many of the mannerisms associated with this trope. She's also big on keeping the (relative) peace in Omega.
  • While Team Rocket falls squarely under The Family for the Whole Family, Giovanni is The Don through and through. He even later on picks up a fedora/long coat/corsage combo. However, unlike most examples here, he seems to put his family below his organization.
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day has the infamous Don Weazo, leader of a group of criminal weasels and owner of the Rock Solid.
  • Li Yuan the pirate chief and extortionist in the old game Taipan.
  • Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime has Don Clawleon, the leader of the Plob.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Futurama has The Don Bot.
  • Peter also has dealings with one in an episode where he gets into debt with the Mob in an episode of Family Guy.
  • The Simpsons has Fat Tony.
  • South Park has Loogie. Despite being an elementary school kid, he's styled after a classic Italian mafioso and runs a racket that steals tooth fairy money from kids around the neighborhood.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Hungarian gangster Andrei Gyorgy is an interesting and obscure example of this. His smuggling prowess in World War II made him not merely an important crime lord, but a major player in the espionage game. He was hired for various purposes by many different factions including the British, Americans, Germans, Hungarians, Zionists, and who knows how many others for getting messages, agents, money, or whatever to given places. After the war, his syndicate broke up and he retired to become an obscure bartender.
  • Carlo Gambino, upon whom many people believe Mario Puzo based Vito Corleone.
  • John Hancock of the House of Hancock otherwise known for his prominent signature on the Declaration of Independence was an inveterate tax-dodger. In pre-Revolutionary times smuggling was not considered particularly criminal (in the colonies anyway) and it was actually possible to get insurance on a smuggling voyage. The Government of course, had other ideas on that score.
  • Some famous Dynasties in American and British history were basically drug lords bringing opium to China and tea home. Tea of course was not illegal but opium was in China. The Forbes were one example of this, as were the Lows, and the Jardines. Many of these have sense "gone legit" and are as respectable as any.


  1. Pygoscelis is a genus of penguins