Shawn Berger is a very rich, greedy and grandiloquent man who owns a helicopter, a TV network, a personal army (with tanks), and at least one private spacecraft. And he is also a Decepticon-allied human who made a deal with Megatron by getting rid of the Autobots off of Earth and run for Mayor of Central City. He appeared in the two-part episode "Megatron's Master Plan" of the original Transformers cartoon show as a major antagonist turned anti-hero.
Prior to the events of the series, Shawn Berger ran for mayor in Central City in 1984, yet he lost. He gave the new mayor a solar energy factory as a "gift" to the city. In truth, he secretly placed his hired troops inside in hopes he could be a hero of the people in case of a Decepticon attack. As he expected, the Decepticons attacked his solar energy factory during its opening and had his troops deployed to stop them, only to fail as they are no match for the Decepticons. The Autobots however, arrived and saved the day instead, with the mayor thanking them.
Berger witnesses this on TV and was enraged with the Autobots' interruption, since he badly wanted to become the city's mayor instead. He ordered his guards to leave his office to give him time to think. He picks up a nearby cassette, who then reveals himself as the Decepticon Laserbeak in disguise and kidnaps him. He brought the corrupt official to a nearby mountain ridge, where he was greeted by the Decepticon leader Megatron himself. The Decepticon leader offered him a deal that they could give him anything he wants, even two cities as he desired while in return, he will use his wealth, power and influence to help them. Megatron then told the corrupt official the "truth" about the Autobots as the "wicked conquerors" and the Decepticons as the "heroic liberators" and he badly needed evidence to prove this. Berger then agrees to help and Dirge takes him back to his office, unaware of the consequences.
The next day, Berger hires a pilot and uses a news helicopter to look for the Autobots. He found the "Autobots" (actually disguised Decepticons) in a nearby abandoned oil field, secretly stealing oil and overhears them. "Ironhide" spotted them and warned "Optimus Prime", who then shoots the chopper. Megatron and the Decepticons arrived "saved" Berger and drove off the "Autobots". While Berger's chopper flees, "Wheeljack" shoots the camera off the chopper, before the item was caught by Dirge and gave it to Megatron, who claims the tape must be returned to Berger as it "contains valuable evidence".
During Autobot Day while the crowds cheer for the Autobots and Optimus about to give a speech, Berger went to the video station and had the operator play the tape recordings he have, revealing the Autobots as "evil power hungry conquerors", including a video of the Autobots "draining" an abandoned oil field, fighting the "heroic" Decepticons and even a video of "Wheeljack" "brainwashing" the Coneheads, along with a speech of Megatron "trying to save the humans". A majority of the public, with the exemption of Spike Witwicky, Sparkplug Witwicky and Chip Chase, believed in this accusation and began to turn against the Autobots while accusing Spike, Sparkplug and Chip as traitors. Berger, alongside the mayor who refuses to believe but had no other choice, had the Autobots rounded up and arrested and sent for trial where they are exiled out of Earth forever. Berger also provided the ship they rode for their exile.
With the Autobots now exiled their way back to Cybertron, Megatron and Berger went to Autobot headquarters, where the latter witness the Decepticon leader reprogramming Teletraan-1 to sent the Autobots' ship directly into the sun instead.
Now with the Autobots out of their way, Berger then declares the Autobot Day into Decepticon Day, with the Decepticons appreciated as heroes instead, with the Decepticons being accepted into the society. Berger finally got what he wanted but this was short lived when Megatron reveals his true intentions to drain Earth and enslave humanity while declaring martial law on Central City, which he renamed Megatronia 1. Exposed, Berger was shocked by this by declaring it is over for the Autobots have been incinerated in the sun. Everyone, even his own personal guards who abandoned him, have began to hate Berger for his betrayal and selling humanity for the Decepticons. Trying to redeem himself, he saved Spike from Laserbeak, who tried to kill him for trying to prove the Autobots have been framed and ended up becoming one of the human slaves on the city, with the mayor claiming that Berger got what he deserved. As everyone blames him for their enslavement, Berger aided Chip escape the Decepticon enforcers before being caught and punished.
Humanity's slavery was short lived when the Autobots, who turned out to have survived, returned and defeated the Decepticons, freeing everyone including Berger. Apologizing for his mistakes, he told Optimus that he would disband his personal army, only to be pointed out by Sparkplug that they have already left him. Optimus told him "You are going to face justice, and may it be kinder to you than it was to us." before ordering the Autobots to roll home. It is unknown what became of Berger after this but it is indicated he was imprisoned for his actions.
- Shawn Berger is the second human antagonist to form an alliance to the Decepticons, the first being Dr. Arkeville and Ali being the third.