While its main focus is stealing or capturing, then selling, rare and strong Pokémon, it also funds and conducts cruel experimental research on Pokémon. Their oath, as posted on the wall of one of their many bases, is "Steal Pokémon for profit. Exploit Pokémon for profit. All Pokémon exist for the glory of Team Rocket." Their ultimate goal is to take over the world using Pokémon.
Team Rocket is based in Kanto, with many smaller branches across Kanto and Johto. Giovanni is the Gym Leader of Viridian City's Pokémon Gym during Ash's journey through the region, however, he is later revealed to have abandoned his duties.
An underground school for aspiring Team Rocket operatives is present somewhere in the region, while the organization's headquarters were formerly near Pallet Town. The headquarters was relocated sometime during Ash's journey in Johto or Hoenn to a large building in a canyon following damages it sustained due to Mewtwo's anger at being controlled.
- Main article: Team Rocket gang
A three member gang of Team Rocket field agents, Jessie, James, and a talking Meowth, were defeated on an assignment to steal Pokémon from Viridian City's Pokémon Center by rookie Trainer Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu, and since then have followed him everywhere on his journey in order to steal the Pikachu that humiliated them. After following him through Kanto and Johto, coming in contact with many other Team Rocket members along the way and being shown as incompetent compared to said members, the trio followed Ash to the Hoenn region under directions from Giovanni to establish a branch of Team Rocket there (though this was really only a ploy to get them out of his hair). When Ash returned from Hoenn after competing in its regional League Conference, the trio returned to Kanto as well, empty-handed. After following him through Kanto once again, Giovanni assigned the trio to the Sinnoh region, again with the directive to establish a Team Rocket branch there.
Giovanni claims to not even recognize the three agents, and has rejected the only Pokémon they ever presented to him: a Togepi and a Yanma. Meowth often fantasizes about pleasing Giovanni with Pokémon captured using one of the trio's many harebrained schemes and mechas, at which point he would then replace Giovanni's Persian as "top cat", however this is hindered by both the fact that Ash and friends defeat the trio each time, as well as Giovanni's low opinion of the three, who have managed to eat up much of Team Rocket's funding with their failures.
While Giovanni views the trio as "bumbling idiots who can't do anything right", they have occasionally shown that they can do things right, if only by working on the side of Ash and his friends. It should be noted that when other Team Rocket members have come into contact with Ash or any of his friends they've been often just as easily foiled as these three.
The trio has often been shown as poor or having little money. This may be due to the amount of machinery and costumes they use in their attempts to capture Ash’s Pikachu. Because they have an unusually high rate of failure, one would wonder why Giovanni continues to fund their projects. They often take on side-jobs like selling food at stadiums or creating fake items and selling them to the public. Several episodes after the series began, they notably started speaking in rhymes from time to time.
Many other members of Team Rocket have appeared besides the aforementioned boss and trio, most of them field agents as well. A recurring duo that is rivals with Jessie and James, Cassidy and Butch, shows up from time to time. This pair reports to Dr. Namba, rather than Giovanni directly.
Attila and Hun, operatives from Team Rocket's Johto branch, are featured as antagonists in The Legend of Thunder!, where they play the same role as Jessie and James do to Jimmy, Marina, and Vincent. Other Johto operatives include Tyson, who was in charge of the Lake of Rage experimentation; Domino, an elite Team Rocket member that was part of a mission to recapture Mewtwo; the Iron-Masked Marauder, a high-ranking agent who managed to capture a Celebi in one of his Dark Balls, and Professor Sebastian, a high-ranking Rocket scientist involved in both Attila and Hun's and Tyson's plots.
Team Rocket has attempted to do many major and potentially globally-altering operations, including cloning DNA of Mew and altering it to create Mewtwo. This stemmed out of a desire of Giovanni to appease his mother's obsession with Mew, although he ultimately desired Mewtwo for use as a weapon. When Mewtwo finally finished developing, he deceived Mewtwo into working for him, using him in Gym Battles against such Trainers as Gary Oak (who suffered his first of only four losses to date). Team Rocket also attempted to capture and control a Lugia and Celebi, and it also created a device that could force Pokémon to evolve. It also successfully managed to capture a Rayquaza, although it is never revealed whether they maintained control of it or if it managed to escape.
They have various means of transportation, such as boats, submarines and helicopters.
- Team Rocket is the villainous team to have the most regions under its control, as it had operatives in Kanto, the Sevii Islands, and Johto (if one goes by the anime, it also has operatives in the Orange Islands and Unova).
- Team Rocket is the only main series villainous team to not have anything to do with their respective games' version mascots. In the same way, they are the only villainous team that has yet to try and use a legendary Pokémon to achieve their goals (have attempted to do so on several occasions, most notably with Giovanni and Mewtwo).
- In the anime, however, Team Rocket has tried to obtain the most legendary Pokémon for their own uses (by Jessie and James) out of any other villainous team.
- Both Jessie and James have befriended or owned a Pokémon whose species are known to frequently work for the good of common people, a Chansey and a Growlithe respectively, with Chansey being known to work as nurses and Growlithe (along with Arcanine) being often used as police dogs. This is unusual, considering Team Rocket's association with crime and illegal activities.
- Team Rocket's uniforms vaguely resemble [[bōsōzoku uniforms.