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A cleaner, or fixer, is a person who "cleans up" after crimes to physically erase their trace or uses pressure or bribes to limit fallout from a criminal act.
A fixer plays a similar but often less hands-on role, often minimizing bad publicity for public officials or media figures by quelling stories of their misadventures, but also capable of more heavyhanded tactics, as necessary.
A cleaner may destroy or remove incriminating evidence at the scene of a crime. A popular figure in crime fiction, a cleaner may also be a contract killer who commits murder to "clean up" a situation. Cleaner is also a slang term for someone, usually a member of a crime organization or a covert government agency, who disposes of a corpse after a hit.
In contrast, legal crime scene cleanup is a legitimate industry, eliminating blood and other biohazardous materials such as dangerous chemicals used in an illegal drug lab as permitted by responsible authorities.
A fictional example of a cleaner is Shoulders from the comic strip Dick Tracy. More contemporary are the roles played by Jean Reno as Victor in La Femme Nikita (1990) , Harvey Keitel as Victor in Point of No Return (1993), and a year later as a Mr. Wolf in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (1994), George Clooney as the title character in Michael Clayton, and Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in the TV series Breaking Bad (TV series) (2008–2013). It was parodied on Seinfeld`s episode 155, "The Muffin Tops" (1997), where Newman makes the problem of leftover muffin stumps go away by eating them. Another example is the character Ray Donovan in the Showtime television series of the same name. In Person of Interest recurring character Zoe Morgan is a cleaner who is occasionally called in to use her knowledge and skills to help out in situations. She also has a occasional romantic relationship with protagonist John Reese. In The Blacklist (TV series), Susan Blommaert plays a cleaner known as Mr. Kaplan.