The Shadiest of the Shady Organizations in Literature & Pop Culture

Posted by E.H. Kern

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in full swing with season three, and we at Quirk can't help but notice how much shady business Coulsen and Co. have to deal with. So just for funsies, here's a list of the five most shady organizations in literature and pop culture.


Yes, like it or not, Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division, aka S.H.I.E.L.D., is a shady organization. Even though S.H.I.E.L.D. in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are the good guys, sometimes their modus operandi takes them to the dark side and the quagmire of morally dubious decision-making.




Developed within S.H.I.E.L.D., and HYDRA’s double agents spent a lot of energy to infiltrate and take over the original organization. It can’t get any shadier than a shady conspiracy within a shady organization. That's like shady squared. 



The N.I.C.E.

The N.I.C.E., or the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments, is a research organization in C.S. Lewis’ supernatural novel, That Hideous Strength from 1945. The purpose of the N.I.C.E. is to exploit Earth’s natural resources and cause the destruction of mankind.



The Magisterium

The Magisterium in Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials is the governing organization that exerts total control over the citizens of a world very similar to ours. Pullman’s Magisterium is inspired by the Catholic Church where the magisterium is the authority that determines the authentic teachings within the Church.



Big Brother

Big Brother is arguably the most famous concept to come out of George Orwell’s novel 1984. In the novel it is never determined whether or not Big Brother is an actual person or just a figurehead that represents the Party, which controls everything in society. The only thing that is for certain is that Big Brother is watching.


Are there any shady organizations you would like to add to this list? Let us know at @QuirkBooks!