A look at the most ultimate henchmen (and women) of the Mission Impossible universe.

Much like there are the big missions and the side quests, there are the major villains and the minor ones who assist them. These henchmen are the tiny cogs in the criminal machine, which help to make any nefarious plan… well, really nefarious.

Over the course of seven films, the Mission: Impossible franchise has featured a lot of secondary bad guys, which isn’t a surprise since the saga is renowned for having multiple villains in pretty much every movie. But who out of them is the best of the worst? Let’s look back at some of the most memorable henchmen and henchwomen of Mission: Impossible!

Alert: this article contains spoilers for most of the franchise’s films, so read at your own risk!

Franz Krieger – Mission: Impossible (1996)

For a reason that I’m yet to understand, French antagonists are surprisingly over-represented among Mission: Impossible minor villains. The first film already offered us famous French actor Jean Reno as the knife-wielding Franz Krieger. The disavowed IMF agent is on the receiving end of Ethan Hunt’s magic tricks, and overall, spends most the movie being a snarky jerk. His only motivation is money, but the greedy pilot does have some pretty impressive skills. He can fly a helicopter inside of a tunnel – and would definitely fly one inside of Fort Knox if that means he can grab more cash on the way. Competent and ruthless: the perfect combination for a successful henchman. It isn’t a big surprise when Krieger is revealed to have been working for IMF traitor Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) all along, but his knife tricks remain a joy to watch!

That nameless henchman – Mission: Impossible (1996) and Ghost Protocol (2011)

No name here, and we never even hear the sound of that guy’s voice. But come on, the man’s dedication to his job as a henchman deserves some praise. In the first movie, he is assisting sophisticated arms dealer Max (Vanessa Redgrave), and with his long hair and lighter, you might think of him as the cousin of Die Hard’s Karl (Alexander Godunov) – and you’d be right, because actor Andreas Wisniewski did play Karl’s brother Tony in the 1988 classic film. He has a little less to do here, but still takes his job very seriously: in 2011, our favourite goon is still in business, and doesn’t hesitate to recapture Ethan like in the good old days. While the entire fanbase still regrets Vanessa Redgave’s absence in Ghost Protocol, this tiny nod to the first film and Wisniewski’s menacing aura are enough to get the anonymous character a spot on this list.

Sabine Moreau – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Calling her a henchwoman might get me shot: after all, the French assassin is just the contact of Ghost Protocol’s crazed main villain Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist). But Léa Seydoux’ character definitely steals the show: Sabine gets paid with diamonds (clearly her best friends) and doesn’t hesitate to shoot any IMF agent – or other harmless person – standing between her and the jewels. Moreau’s introduction scene has her dispatching poor IMF agent Trevor (Josh Holloway), establishing her as a force to be reckoned with. It also gives her a bone to pick with spy Jane Carter (Paula Patton) whose lover she just killed… The eventual brawl between these two verges a little into catfight territory, but Moreau’s subsequent demise – a nice, gentle little fall to the death down the Burj Khalifa – make her the best villain of M: I Ghost Protocol.

Janik Vinter “The Bone Doctor” – Rogue Nation (2015)

With a nickname like “The Bone Doctor”, villainy is pretty much guaranteed, but rogue agent Janik Vinter (Jens Hultén) takes it to a whole new level. While Rogue Nation doesn’t let us meet many members of terrorist network the Syndicate – entirely made of agents who have chosen the dark side – Vinter is definitely a memorable henchman. Employed by sociopathic leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), The Bone Doctor is a specialist of torture in all of its shapes and forms, and rejoices when he gets to use his skills on the great Ethan Hunt. Of course, Vinter isn’t successful, but he keeps his spirits high and doesn’t hesitate to wink at his enemies in a slightly sarcastic way. We all love a bad guy with a good sense of humour and an inflated ego, and when he gets to face amazing MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) in a knife fight, things only get better!

Paris – Dead Reckoning (2023)

Her name might pay homage to a sophisticated magician from the original series, but Paris doesn’t go in for subtleties. As the right hand woman of bad guy Gabriel (Esai Morales), who works for a mysterious AI, she steals the show whenever she appears on screen. Played by the charismatic Pom Klementieff (yet another Frenchie!) the character is a nice nod to silent but lethal henchmen of old Bond films. A perfect badass, Paris revels in a fight, and uses her small frame to her advantage, taking down goons twice her size in confined spaces. But it’s her “fun-loving” personality which really sets her apart. Paris is having the time of her life chasing Ethan and thief Grace (Hayley Atwell) throughout Rome in an armored vehicle, and when she isn’t bashing skulls with fire extinguishers, you can find her drawing hearts on glass panels. So, it might seem a little surprising that the henchwoman undergoes a redemption arc – a rarity in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Spared by Ethan and left for dead by her former boss, Paris joins the right side and saves Ethan and Grace. Seeing how this newfound moral code gets mixed with her love of destruction an unpredictable nature will be one of the most exciting features of M: I 8. Here’s to hoping we’ll see Paris become even more of a badass then!