Is The Syndicate In 'Mission: Impossible' Real?

In the newest installment of the Mission Impossible franchise, M ission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt and the rest of his good guy IMF (Impossible Mission Force, for you newbies) team face a new global threat in the Syndicate, which they describe as an anti-IMF. The Syndicate is a worldwide organization made up of highly-trained operatives looking to cause civil unrest to further their evil agenda. Pretty scary stuff, for sure, but should you, the moviegoer, be worried? In other words, is the Syndicate based on a real organization?

More like real life organizations, plural. Although nothing exists (that I know of, gulp) in our world that's on the scale of the Syndicate depicted in the film, there are plenty of organizations out there looking to cause trouble that bear more than a passing resemblance to the Syndicate. Some of them are seriously frightening if they're true, almost as scary as the airplane stunt Cruise did for the movie, and if you believe in conspiracies, you could be putting yourself in danger just by reading this. So your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to peruse this list of four real life inspirations for the Syndicate in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.

1. The National Crime Syndicate

In the original Mission Impossible TV show from the '60s, there was an antagonistic organization known as the Syndicate, but it wasn't the same global threat that's present in the new film. Instead, it was based on the National Crime Syndicate, which was a collaboration between the major organized crime outfits in the United States beginning in the 1920s. Sometimes just referred to as the Syndicate, the union is believed to have formed in 1929 at the Atlantic City Conference, where crime bosses from across the nation like Bugsy Siegel, Al Capone, and Nucky Johnson met up to work on bringing their operations together. What it must have been like to be a fly on that wall.


While ISIS' ideology doesn't line up with the Syndicate's, they are currently the biggest threat to world peace of any independent organization. In just a few short years, they've managed to become the richest terror organization in the world, with some putting their valuation at $3 billion dollars. They're also one of the few true global terror organizations, with sleeper cells located around the world and a stated goal of global domination. If Ethan Hunt and the IMF were real, this is who they'd most likely be fighting.

3. Rogue States

In case you couldn't tell from the name of the film, the Syndicate is considered a rogue nation, so it was at least in part inspired by real life rogue nations, or rogue states as they're more often called. These are defined as any state that poses a threat to the world through their unpredictable and reckless behavior. In other words, these are countries that don't play nice with others. And while the Syndicate isn't an actual country, they definitely don't get along with the rest of the world.

4. Shadow Governments

Everybody's heard of the Illuminati and their queen Beyonce, but how about the Bilderberg Group? The Bildergerg Group is an actual organization made up of some of the most powerful people in the world who actually do meet every year. What they do at these meetings is highly secretive; it's against the rules for members to discuss what they discuss. Yet conspiracy theorists would have you believe that they're running the world and planning a New World Order. The Syndicate has also infiltrated the world's governments to push their own agenda, so perhaps there's a bit of art imitating life here?

Now that you know the truth, steer clear of any unmarked vans or, you know, motorcycle chases.

Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (4)