Dirty Cop

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

David Aceveda: It doesn't bother you, the things that he does?
Claudette Wyms: I don't judge other cops.
David Aceveda: Mackey's not a cop. He's Al Capone with a badge.

How did these people manage to get themselves in a uniform instead of being locked up behind prison bars seems to be a miracle. The dirty cop often appears as a villain in both Cop Shows and Crime-Time TV. Brutal, fascist, and often on the take from the local mob, this cop makes most criminals and prisoners look like...well, saints.

All too often an example of Truth in Television. May escalate to Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop for entire precincts.

See Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word, Cut Himself Shaving, Rabid Cop, Prison Rape, Corrupt Hick, etc. If a cop's framed as one of these, it's Police Brutality Gambit. If a cop outright murders people, you've got a Killer Cop.

If it is just a facade and the cop secretly has a heart of gold, it's Noble Bigot with a Badge.

Examples of Dirty Cop include:

Anime and Manga

  • It's quite plausible that the Triad leader Mr. Chang in Black Lagoon was once a former police officer. Chang is a darker take on several John Woo characters, but his past as a cop seems to allude to Tequila Yuen from Hard Boiled. Since Tequila fought gangsters and Chang is one, it stands to reason that he wasn't that honest of a cop.
    • Chief Watsup, the Chief of Police in Roanapur. Not only on the take from the various cartels that run the city but has also used his authority to get an unfair advantage when collecting bounties put out by the cartels.
  • In the manga FAKE during Dee's backstory, it's revealed that the man Dee considered as his adoptive father was a dirty cop and Dee resolved to become a better cop than he ever was.
  • Akai and Kanie from Kite use their status as homicide detectives to lead the investigation of a series of professional murders away from the true criminals. Of course, they are also the employers of the true criminals. And that's not all they're mixed up in either. Akai in particular is an out-and-out sociopath, particularly when it's revealed that he's been raping and brainwashing Sawa, one of the child assassins he and Kanie employ.
  • John "Sleepy" Estes from Mad Bull 34 is the toughest police officer of the 34th precinct who commits a lot of illegal acts throughout the show in the name of justice. He's running a prostitution ring in his neighborhood, because the way he sees it that stuff will always be there and at least if he's in charge he can keep it from getting out of hand and it keeps the girls safe. That said, he uses the money he stole from the prostitutes to donate to the medical clinics. One who's a sensible person can't imagine what the city would be like without him, despite not liking to work alongside him.
  • Monster has two of these: the two detectives who are hired by Johan Liebert to kill Nina's adopted parents and the ones from Prague, Commissioner Hamrlik, Chief Detective Batella and, Detective Janacek.
  • Naruto: In the pilot, the Inspector and his subordinate turn out to be one, killing Takashi, stealing the painting and framing Naruto for both.
  • In one episode of Nerima Daikon Brothers, Gagdet Detective Yukika tries to catch the eponymous group by cooking up a rumor that the chief of police is in league with the yakuza, and the money from their dirty deals is in a vault under the station, knowing they'll fall right into her trap. However, when the NDB tunnel in, they find that the chief of police actually is in league with the yakuza, much to Yukika's surprise.
  • The title characters of Noir kill a few corrupt cops over the course of the series.
  • Hibari Ginza of Speed Grapher is a vicious policewoman who's mostly unnecessarily violent, given her habit of "self-defensing" people (she actually uses it as a verb), but she's also corrupt as well. She's shown essentially committing insider trading based on the crimes going on, and because of her jealousy of Kagura, she abuses her authority to obstruct Saiga, the hero. By the end of the series, she has a Heel Realization and ends up a better person.

Comic Books

  • Astro City: In the "Dark Ages" story arc, Charles' partner Lannie takes weekly bribes from the criminals to overlook their activities. Charles refuses to get involved, rejecting the bribes but refusing to report Lannie to Internal Affairs. He gets shot in the back as a result.
  • Batman:
    • The entire Gotham City police department is corrupt, with the exception of Gordon and one or two good cops. This becomes a major plot point in Gotham Central, a series set within the Major Crimes Unit of the Gotham City Police Department, the only consistently honest branch of the department. Since its members are all personally selected by the commissioner they have a modicum of integrity and competence, but the universal corruption of the rest of their force makes even their simplest of cases difficult since the other departments are stealing evidence, accepting bribes, and often committing the crimes themselves. This comes to a head in the Corrigan story arcs, where Jim Corrigan (The main corrupt cop of the series) is selling crime scene evidence on the black market, redistributing the heroin that is collected by the narcotics department, and eventually starts personally murdering other police officers that are trying to stop him. At the end of the series, though everybody knows he did it, his web of corruption has spread so far that the case against him is sabotaged and he gets off completely free until Final Crisis Aftermath where it comes back to bite him in the ass. And the one time Internal Affairs and the MCU are actually able to build a case against him, they have to compromise their morals and let him go to save one of their own.
    • Even the MCU isn't immune. Harvey Bullock went too far when he gave one of his Mafia connections information on a man in witness protection so they would kill him. The man in question is an assassin who shot Commissioner James Gordon, but still. In his pre-Crisis origin, Bullock was formerly corrupt, on orders from Hamilton Hill, a corrupt mayor, to sabotage Gordon's career, but then came to respect him.
    • Blüdhaven is (or rather was)[1] even worse than Gotham. Criminals there who didn't share the profits from their crimes with the police were murdered. Chief Redhorn placed a bounty on Nightwing's head, although as bad as he was, his brother Mark (aka Blockbuster) was a far more lethal villain. The only truly honest cop — technically — in Bludhaven was Nightwing himself, who, in his Dick Grayson identity, joined the force in order to bring it down.
  • Almost every cop in Sin City, with the notable exception of John Hartigan.
  • The Brotherhood in X-Men Noir, Chief Magnus' private task force dedicated to controlling the criminal element from within. Magnus is dedicated to the pursuit of justice, but as he says, "laws only work on the law abiding."
    • Luke Cage Noir, meanwhile, has Officer Rachman and Tombstone, corrupt cops working for Randall Banticoff.
  • Elsewhere in the DC Universe, Hub City (where The Question is the biggest heroic presence, if you can even call him one) is even worse than both Gotham and Bludhaven. The FBI yearly analysis lists Hub City's police department as the most corrupt department in the country, and the mayor is even worse. (The place was founded by a pirate captain in 1818 who was murdered by his own men - town leadership hasn't changed much.) The few honest cops spend most of their time trying to improve their PR due to the crimes committed by dirty ones. The police chief is a By-The-Book Cop, but only due to a Heel Realisation after seeing just what types of crimes were being committed by the criminals he was taking bribes from.

Fan Works

  • In The Tainted Grimoire, there are Khamja operatives within the ranks of the Jylland Defenders of the Peace.
  • In the Ranma ½/Sailor Moon crossover Relatively Absent, what is supposed to be the quiet collection of Akane and Nabiki Tendo and their subsequent transfer into the custody of the Japanese National Intelligence Directorate via the local police in Nerima gets assigned to a pair of crooked cops with a grudge against both girls, who take the opportunity to inflict as much Police Brutality on them -- and their father -- as they feel they can get away with.


  • Frank Nugen and his ring of corrupt officers in 16 Blocks wants to kill Eddie Bunker, the witness who would testify about their corruption.
  • American Gangster:
    • Reno Trupo (Josh Brolin) and his gang of corrupt detectives make life difficult for both drug lord Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) by demanding money, invading his family house and destroying their furniture, shooting his dog and assaulting Eva, his wife, and honest cop Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) by almost taking $10,000 in bait money and outright telling him not to arrest Frank to keep the drug/bribe business going. They're only stopped when Frank and Richie team up to catch all the corrupt cops that Frank knows, nearly 3/4 of the police force.
    • In addition to the detectives, Richie's career is ruined when he and Javier Rivera, his partner, don't keep a million dollars, making the other corrupt cops in his squad suspicious that they'll turn them in. This drives Rivera to stealing and drug use, culminating in a fatal overdose on Frank's "product."
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (2005): A group of corrupt cops with very superior firepower attack a lonely police station in order to silence Marion Bishop, the gangster who could expose them.
  • Harvey Keitel as the main character in the aptly-named Bad Lieutenant.
  • The Gotham police in Batman (except Commissioner Gordon), but most notably Lt. Eckhardt who is hired by Carl Grissom to kill Jack Napier.
  • Changeling has Captain J.J. Jones, who is willing to go any length to protect the image of the LAPD, including giving Christine a stand-in for her missing child, forcing her to care for him, and committing her to a mental institution when she finally decides to stand up for herself.
  • The Dark Knight Saga:
    • Most of the cops from Batman Begins (of course with the exception of James Gordon) and then Anna Ramirez and Michael Wuertz from The Dark Knight. It's implied that Ramirez had some moral issues with what she did to Rachel Dawes and the Commissioner's family but we never find out about Wuertz.
    • In some of the promotional animated materials that bridge the timeline of the two films, Ramirez is shown to have a VERY sick mother that the mob is using to force her to be a dirty cop (offering much needed money for her bills and threatening her life if Ramirez doesn't cooperate).
  • Colin Sullivan in The Departed is Frank Costello's mole in the Massachusetts State Police.
  • The customs official in The Dogs of War putting aside half the protagonist's belongings as "Airport Tax" and "Importation Tax".
  • Corrupt cops are a fact of life in The Elite Squad. Nascimento muses that the police have enough manpower to clean up the city, but it's a lot easier and safer to take bribes and look the other way... unless you're a member of BOPE.
  • In Arnold Schwarzenegger's End of Days, it appears the entire NYPD are secretly Satanists. And not the fun, pot-smoking free-love Satanists either, but the "murder witnesses and abduct women" kind.
  • Castor Troy when he's Sean Archer in Face Off.
  • Played with in Fallen, where early on John Hobbes explains to Lou, the new transfer that while he doesn't take bribes, he doesn't really care all that much if other cops do, since he figures they are still putting their lives on the line and out there doing good 90% of the time anyways.
  • The Corrupt Hick police officer in The Final lets the jocks go in exchange for them handing over all of their weed... which he is later seen smoking. In a deleted scene, we see that he does the exact same thing with good-looking women, in exchange for sex.
  • Detective Fowler in Four Brothers.
  • In the movie The Fugitive, Frederick Sykes is an ex-cop who happens to have one arm.
  • Mark McCluskey in The Godfather is a corrupt police captain serving under the Tattaglia crime family.
  • Literally every policeman in Hobo with a Shotgun: "At least he's only killing the dirty cops." "We're ALL dirty cops!!"
  • Hot Fuzz has the never-seen Uncle Derrick, who was arrested for selling drugs to students. Ironically, he inspired his nephew Nick Angel to become a genuinely good cop. One of the film's main villains, Frank Butterman, is also corrupt.
  • Detective Sergeant Vincent Della Pesca in The Hurricane.
  • Dennis Peck (Richard Gere) in Internal Affairs.
  • The LAPD in L.A. Confidential, wherein nobody is completely clean, not even the usually upstanding Edmund Exley.
    • Jack Vincennes takes bribes to bust famous suspects for his tabloid paper buddy.
    • Bud White tortures criminals on the Captain's orders and kills the ones whom he truly despises during arrest and stages the crime scenes to look he killed them in self-defense.
    • Dick Stensland is a drunken thug who beats up unarmed prisoners on the basis of escalating rumors that they hurt some cops and deals in heroin on the side.
    • The worst is Captain Dudley Smith, who has taken over Mickey Cohen's empire and staged the Nite Owl Massacre himself.
  • Abel Turner in Lakeview Terrace is a prejudiced LAPD police officer who terrorizes Chris and Lisa Mattson, the interracially married couple who had moved in to his neighborhood.
  • Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman) from Léon: The Professional is a corrupt DEA agent, as well as being a gleefully psychopathic Psycho for Hire.
  • The main character of the film Murder Most Likely, which incidentally was a film-ization of a real life story.
  • Hank Evans in Me Myself and Irene is Charlie Baileygates' split personality who lashes out at everyone who had been rude to Charlie. Though he's technically not the main antagonist of the film, just a representation of Charlie's repressed anger thoughout the years.
  • The Negotiator: Lt. Danny Roman is accused of murdering a cop (his former partner and best friend) and suspects he's been framed by his fellow officers in a conspiracy. Commander Frost eventually confesses about a scheme to steal money from the police retirement fund, which Roman inadvertently got dragged into when his friend got killed for starting to catch on.
  • The two Detectives who show up during the Shared house 48 arc in He Died With A Felafel In His Hand are blatantly corrupt and even try to justify it.

Melbourne Detective: I'll tell you how this game works Daniel. We're the cops, we get to ask the questions. You're the suspect, you get to complain about your civil liberties, perhaps get shot, maybe even killed. And it has to stay like that Daniel, otherwise everything falls out of balance. When things fall out of balance, you know what happens then don't you Daniel. Your spiritual values start to decline. You get your disintegration of your social structure, don't you? The system collapses. Petulance, flood, famine. It happened to the Romans, it happened to the Greeks, it happened to the Ancient Mesopotamians. And we don't want it happening to us do we Daniel?

  • Detective Kaota in Outrage works for Yakuza and is the one coming out on top of the affair.
  • Payback features two corrupt cops. These two cops are, besides the Internal Affairs officers in one scene, the only cops in the whole movie.

Porter: Dirty cops. Do they come any other way?

  • Rooster in Righteous Kill after it is revealed that he killed all the people and had Turk framed for it.
  • Commander Forrester in Scanners 2. He wants to take power by building an army of scanners (telepaths) to keep everyone else in line, and using those he already has to wring himself into higher positions of authority, by killing the police chief, manipulating the mayor into appointing him as his replacement, and killing her as well when she finds out too much, among other things. His lackey Gelson is one as well.
  • Serpico is full of corrupt cops. The title character is notable for not being one of them.
  • Stanley Timmons In Shooter is a local police officer who tries to kill Bob Lee Swagger as part of the frame-up.
  • Super Troopers: Captain Bruce Grady and the entire Spurbury police department. Finding this out results in the state trooper protagonists getting to take over their jobs after their branch is shut down due to budget cuts.
  • Major Calloway from The Third Man comes across as one for the first act or two.
  • Captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) in Touch of Evil.
  • Alonzo Harris in Training Day is a corrupt narcotics detective who is appointed to train Jake Hoyt, showing him the questionable methods he commits as part of his enforcement of the law. Though it's implied that his superiors (the "Three Wise Men") had kept him around, because he helps to arrest a lot of drug dealers. According to Alonzo, he also has 38 cases pending trial, 63 active investigations, 350 log cases he has yet to clear, and is supervising five other officers besides Hoyt.
  • Barricade from the live action Transformers movie is a Decepticon that can turn into a police car.
  • Dean Keaton in The Usual Suspects is the leader of a group of criminals, and as described by the cops was one of these. He had ties to organized crime and murdered several people. Also, the criminal protagonists conduct a heist that involves robbing corrupt NYPD cops and the cartels which are paying them.
    • David Kujan tries to portray himself as a good cop in contrast to Keaton, but he's all too willing to say that, if Verbal doesn't tell him the whole story, he'll call in every favor he has in the underworld to have Verbal killed.
  • The bad guys in the 1989 film The Dream Team are this, and are trying to kill Dr. Weitzman because he witnessed them murder another cop.
  • In Wonka the police force in the city where it takes place (presumably London) are all on the take of the Chocolate Cartel. Gradually, Wonka wins pver the rank and file officers until, {{spoiler|at the end, the Chief is the only one loyal to the Cartel - and ends up arrested by his own men.


  • Blore, one of the villain protagonists of And Then There Were None is a former cop, whose crime is fitting up an innocent man, leading to his victim being sentenced to hard labor and dying in prison. Blore is presented as devious and amoral, suggesting this was indicative of his general behavior as a police officer.
  • Discworld: Endemic in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, especially in the past seen in Night Watch. Once he comes into power in the system, Sam Vimes comes down heavily on major abuses such as corruption, but lets smaller offenses slide as a sort of Necessarily Evil. He absolutely won't condone Police Brutality, though (although he might fake it if need be). Even then, Vimes is fully willing to ignore the law in the name of doing what's right, since he view justice as "protecting the innocent" rather than "obeying the law".
  • In Death: This trope has popped up a number of times in the series, with Judgment In Death and Treachery In Death standing out in particular.
  • The majority of James Ellroy's characters are either corrupt cops (or feds) or formerly on the take. Dudley Smith is just the one most people know. Edmund Exley was also far more compromised in the book than the film. Although the books (where Dudley Smith is around until the end of White Jazz does turns this around a bit by having Exley make the bringing down of Dudley Smith his first priority as Chief of Detectives (although this is more because of personal dislike than anything professional).
    • By the end of White Jazz, Exley is totally compromised, essentially having become the counter-Smith within the department. The entirety of the action is the protagonist being caught in the power struggle between the criminal empire Smith has built and Exley's own quasi-criminal means to achieving his ambitions. Eventually, Exley drops his hatred for Smith in favor of his political ambition and the protagonist ends the book, decades later, deciding to return to LA to bring both men's sins to the light. The protagonist, Klein, is himself quite crooked, but the ultimate point is that his sins pale in comparison to either of theirs.
  • Michael Connelly's mystery novels often use corrupt cops as villains. Much of this is likely Truth in Television given Connelly's history as a reporter in LA.

Live-Action TV

  • Adam-12: Several episodes dealt with corrupt fellow officers of Reed and Malloy, the most notable of the lot being the 1971 episode "Internal Affairs – Blackmail," where one of Malloy's best friends is being investigated for blackmailing a witness.
  • Andromeda: In “Lava and Rockets”, Molly Noguchi and Dylan Hunt are stunned to learn that the police will accept a bribe in public. The reason is low taxes and a high crime rate.
  • Against the Wall plays with this trope a lot. It is based around Abby Kowalski working in the Internal Affairs division to help investigate cops or other law enforcement officials.
  • The A-Team face off against a Similar Squad of cops who moonlight as assassins in "A Private Little War".
  • The Bill has had several, most famously Don Beech.
  • Agent Kenton on Bones.
  • In Blue Bloods one of the Reagan family was a cop who was killed for getting to close to the truth about a ring of corrupt cops. Later the Reagans help close down the syndicate.
    • In a later episode, Jamie rides with a partner who had testified in court against other cops as a demonstration of support. Eddie is ambiguous about this but later supports Jamie.
  • Brotherhood has some examples. Arguably Declan at times but definitely his partner Ralph after Michael helps him cover up an accidental shooting.
  • They usually don't actually show up, but the existence of these is sometimes part of the reason why the clients on Burn Notice can't just call the cops. In "Unpaid Debts" they ran afoul of a group of them, and in "Question and Answer" Sam pretended to be one.
  • Cold Case has Roger Mulverny, who abused his wife and used it position to make sure her pleas for help were lost. When she tried to leave him for a kind man, he murdered his daughter in front of her, causing her to give up her other daughter for the child's own safety and go into hiding. Forty years later, her boyfriend (also a cop) tearfully confesses that he and some of his other cop friends took him behind an alley and beat him to death. The investigating detective's reaction when they hear this story? They sweep the original dirty cop's death under the rug without even a single thought. That's one straight example, then two extremely sympathetic examples within five minutes of each other.
  • Jason Clark Battle from Criminal Minds is a corrupt deputy with a hero homicide complex. He sets ups a shooting so he can make himself a hero by being the first to respond. He attacked Garcia fearing that she could find out about his murders.
  • CSI:
    • Jeffrey McKeen is an Undersherriff who's actually a mob boss.
    • Sam Vega is a homicide detective who is a vigilante serial killer.
  • CSI: NY has done this repeatedly. Flack's mentor, Mac's first partner, Danny's old partner...
  • Being a bad guy on Damages seems to entitle you to at least one (and usually more than one) corrupt cop/FBI agent on your payroll who is willing to surveil, harass, or murder anyone who bugs you too much.
  • Firefly has the downright brutal Lieutenant Womack Womack, who is a member of Allied Enforcement but who likes to smuggle human organs on the side.
  • Justified has Doyle Bennett who IS a corrupt cop, but only in matters concerning his family.
    • Season 1 featured a corrupt sheriff who worked for a Miami drug cartel. He struck a deal with them so he could get revenge on a child killer. He is actually a fairly effective sheriff since he is able to crack down on illegal drug manufacture and sales in the county. The drug cartel is not interested in selling drugs in the county and helped him get rid of the local meth manufacturers who were their competition in other areas. Things go bad for him when the cartel asks him to help them kill Raylan.
  • Law & Order occasionally brought up cops on the take. It even implied that one of its main detectives might be dirty. Fontana wore very nice clothes and flashed a big roll far too often for a simple detective.
    • Back when he was "on the sauce", Briscoe was implied to be dirty (or at least surrounded by a lot of other dirty cops). By the time he joins the 27th Precinct, he only pretends to be a dirty cop in order to get his informants to trust him.
  • Leverage has surprisingly few for a show about Robin Hood like thieves. Virtually all of the targets are Corrupt Corperate Executives with a dirty cop not appearing at all until well into the second season. Hardison also impersonates a dirty cop during "The Boys Night Out Job" convincing Mexican drug dealers that he can help them.
  • Life On Mars has a number of episodes which revolve around Gene Hunt and his superiors' relationships with local gangsters or corruption in general. Ashes to Ashes Series 2 was a complete arc about the fight between Hunt and various corrupt Met officers such as Mac, which doesn't end with Mac's death part way through the series.
  • They've also been seen on NCIS, although usually as a one-off.
    • In a flashback we find out that Tony left the Baltimore police department when he found out that his partner was dirty.
    • NCIS: Los Angeles had a group of corrupt cops who acted as an escort service for drug dealers and other criminals. Turns out they drew the line at helping terrorists.
  • DCI Roy Slater ("Slater the Slag") in Only Fools and Horses episodes "May The Force Be With You", the 1985 Christmas special "To Hull and Back", and "The Class of '62".
    • The second episode of Rock and Chips, "Five Gold Rings", shows us that after leaving school, Slater immediately joined the police force.
  • Det. Porter from Raising the Bar.
  • The 1992 TV series Renegade had Donald "Dutch" Dixon, a lieutenant who framed the main character for the murder of another cop. Dixon also headed a squad of equally crooked cops.
  • The Strike Team on The Shield can be seen as the epitome for corrupt cops, with the added twist that Curtis Lemansky and Ronnie Gardocki are good cops who fell in with the wrong crowd and largely stayed in the shallow part of the corruption pool, and Vic Mackey and Shane Vendrell, who killed fellow police officers in order to cover their own asses when they were in danger of being exposed. They also sell drugs they get from buy-busts, use torture to interrogate suspects and protect drug dealers they can control, all in the name of "keeping the peace".
  • The Shadow Line is full of them:
    • DS Delaney, Jonah Gabriel's deceased partner. Because of the association, Gabriel himself is also teased as being one for a while.
    • Sergeant Foley, who will sell information to virtually anyone so long as they can pay.
    • And finally, Richard Patterson, Commander David Khokar, Commander Penney and Lia Honey are all involved in some way with Counterpoint. Making Gabriel about the only clean cop in the series.
  • Detective John Sheppard in the penultimate episode of Stargate Atlantis barely manages to keep his job by scraping by on his quarterly performance reviews, has illegal gambling debts and quits the force to skip town after stealing money from a crime scene. Rodney McKay is extremely disappointed in him, since met another version of him that was honest and determined and a member of the Earth's defense against alien threats. He turns around before it is too late, and dies stopping the villain.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: Several episodes had corrupt cops, mainly in background roles, but one—the Season 4 episode "The Brotherhood"—was the focus of an entire episode. A small-town police department is run by a police chief frustrated about the crime rate and the perception that criminals get off on technicalities, so they kill the suspects after they are freed by the court. At one point, the crooked officers turn things up another notch when they throw a lighted cocktail into a prison bus, killing several prisoners and the guards and badly burning the driver. The main focus of the episode was on a Marine Corps recruit named Ernesto Lopez, who had been accused of rape only for DNA evidence to exonerate him; Walker is unable to get to Ernesto before the overzealous cops do, and Walker is left to track down the two stooges. The chief eventually turns his gun on himself when he learns Walker is coming for him.
  • Weeds has a number of corrupt cops and Nancy even ends up married to a dirty DEA agent.


  • The second verse of Lupe Fiasco's "Handcuffs" is sung by a drug dealer, commenting on his arresting officer, making such remarks as "You ain't no better than me, just a hustla with a badge."
  • The N.W.A. song Fuck Tha Police has quite a few of these.
  • Phil Ochs' song "Here's to to State of Mississippi" depicts the cops in Mississippi that way:

They're chewing their tobacco as they lock the prison door
Their bellies bounce inside them as they knock you to the floor
No they don't like taking prisoners in their private little war
Behind their broken badges there are murderers and more

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • Ace Attorney:
    • The corrupt lawyers. Manfred von Karma, Kristoph Gavin, Jacques Portsman, Calisto Yew...
    • Damon Gant is a corrupt police chief, and was strongly implied to be forging evidence before he killed anyone. There's something seriously broken about the Ace Attorney legal system.
    • Apollo Justice introduces us to Daryan Crescend, who is an international affairs agent who smuggles cocoons into the country (for good reasons) and kills Interpol agents (not for good reasons). There's also Valerie Hawthorne from T&T, who helped fake a kidnapping and frame an innocent man, though she did try to make up for it.
  • All 3 of the player characters in Call of Juarez: The Cartel are corrupt to some degree. LAPD Detective Ben McCall is on the lighter end of the scale; he steals petty cash from criminals to help pay for the medical expenses of the child of one of the many hookers in his jurisdiction that he's protecting, he otherwise has a very strong sense of justice (although he also has anger issues and is prone to acts of Police Brutality). By "street cop" standards he's practically a boy scout. DEA Agent Eddie Guerra is on the much more extreme end of the scale; he's secretly running a network of street dealers to sell drugs for him, in order to pay off his huge gambling debts. He also sets up an informant to be murdered because he was worried Internal Affairs was getting to the guy. It also turns out he was The Mole and helped the Cartel abduct key witness Jessica Stone, because they owned his gambling debts. FBI Agent Kim Evans is by all appearances an idealisitic Good Cop, but is (reluctantly) willing to commit crimes, obstruct the investigation, and even outright murder witnesses when ordered to do so by the director of the FBI, supposedly for The Greater Good (although it turns out most of her crimes were the result of her being mislead by the director).
  • Captain Eddie Shrote in The Darkness.
  • Dead Rising has Jo Slade working as a mall security raping women and beating them with her nightstick.
    • Dead Rising 2 has one also: Raymond Sullivan is working for Phenotrans all along.
  • Tashmann from the first Drakensang game: the first time you see him he's trying to use his badge to hire a prostitute for free.
  • Edi E. from Final Fight took bribes from the Mad Gear Gang, controlled a part of the city, and got the crap beaten out of him by the heroes. He later double crosses the Mad Gear Gang by arresting it's members during the events of Final Fight Revenge.
  • The Godfather: The Game doesn't just have beat cops, but also FBI agents on the take who will help you keep the other families under control if the vendetta escalates to open Mob War.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Frank Tenpenny and Eddie Pulaski in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas are corrupt CRASH officers who often takes bribes from the gangs they're supposed to be stopping.
    • Francis McReary in Grand Theft Auto IV.
    • The undercover cops in the beginning of The Lost and Damned, however they're killed in "Bad Cop Drop", a very early mission.
    • A group of NOOSE and FIB Agents in The Ballad of Gay Tony, who intend to frame Ray Bulgarin by planting fake evidence in his truck. They're killed off in the mission "Going Deep".
  • L.A. Noire has the entire LAPD except for Cole Phelps and his partners. But Roy Earle of the Administrative Vice desk is easily the worst.
  • C-Sec officer Harkin from the Mass Effect series, although he is fired from the force by the second game. Anderson mentions that the only reason he lasted as long as he did because humanity wanted a presence in C-Sec; they got shot of him as soon as they had the numbers.
    • Played with in regards to Captain Armando-Owen Bailey. He's willing to take bribes from corrupt politicians... but only because it helps keep the peace and keeps his men alive. He authorizes rough interrogation of prisoners... but only because the crime rate in his district is awful and he sees the need to use extra force. He's also on Shepard's side for the most part and will bend the rules for him/her when he needs to.
    • Officer Kaira Sterling from the Noveria corporate police is openly taking bribes to cover up Administrator Anoleis' corruption, and is more than willing to murder anyone who gets in the way.

Kaira: Do you know what we did to cop killers back on my world?
Wrex: Do you know what we did to dirty cops back on mine?

  • B.B. from Max Payne turns out to be one of these, especially when it's learned that he killed Alex at the Roscoe Street Station and had Max framed for it.
    • Winterson in the sequel, who has a love affair with the Big Bad.
  • Chase Linh in Need for Speed Undercover.
  • Doctor Peace in No More Heroes is a corrupt cop, a Deadly Doctor, and a skilled assassin with many interests outside the law.
  • Persona 2: Sumaru City's police force seems to have a bit of a problem with these, to put it mildly. One of them is a boss battle in Eternal Punishment.
  • Agent Edgar Ross from Red Dead Redemption, who's hobbies include kidnapping people's families in order to force them to track down outlaws he should be tracking.
  • Resident Evil 2 has Police Chief Brian Irons, a wife-beater and multiple rapist who is on Umbrella's payroll and thusly not only works to conceal their wrong-doings, but is also implied to discredit potential competitors and even provide human test-subjects for them. He's also a lunatic who suffers a mental breakdown during the resultant Zombie Apocalypse, actively sabotages the efforts of his police to aid the human survivors, and finally takes to hunting them down and killing them himself.
    • On top of all of that, the game also drops heavy hints that he may be a Serial Killer as well. And by hints we mean the human skulls in his secret taxidermy chamber.
    • Made worse in Outbreak. One of the files in the first scenario notes that 8 blonde women, all ages 18–23, started disappearing and people were saying there were groans and screams in the sewers. The description matches his last victim in RE2, the Mayor's daughter.
    • There's also a case of this in the first Resident Evil, albeit a rather unusual example: Albert Wesker was the team captain of Division A of the S.T.A.R.S. Precinct and presumably also their leader, and seems outwardly to be a model cop. However, he is in fact a double agent for the Umbrella Corporation, and more importantly is intending to lure the S.T.A.R.S. Teams to their deaths at the hands of B.O.W's both to silence them and to give the B.O.W's battle data, and later games reveal that he was in fact also planning to betray Umbrella as well.
  • The two Vice cops in Scarface the World Is Yours.
  • Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor; after a few days in Tokyo after a lockdown resulting from demon presence, a group of police officers begin abusing the power of demon-summoning objects called COMPs to rob and/or kill others. They eventually surrender their powers after being beaten twice, the second time when faced with the lord of death, Yama.
  • George Sewell in Silent Hill: Downpour. Especially in the end reveals he killed Frank Coleridge and pin the blame on Murphy.
  • In River City Girls, police officers are among the mooks the two protagonists have to deal with. One could justify this, seeing as Kyoku and Misako are delinquents and never deny it, but using tear gas grenades and tasers does seem a little extreme. The enemy profile screen does indeed confirm they are on the Yakuza payroll.

Web Comics

  • In the "Phoenix Rising" Story Arc from Sluggy Freelance, Officer Tod is actually a former mob enforcer. He's found a pretty sweet gig where, as long as he covers up the local Vigilante Woman's numerous murders, he can just sit back, do nothing, and collect a fat paycheck from the government.
  • Paradigm Shift has vampires working for the FBI.

Web Original

  • In The Gamers Alliance, George Bush is a dirty officer in the Maar Sul's SAVAGE who accepts bribes and looks the other way when the Totenkopfs act and does his best to help the cult's evil cause whenever he can.
  • Gronkh's mini-Let's Play of the game "Die Polizei" (a police simulator) was about being a racist, sadist, foul-mouthed asshole, to emphasize the bad quality of the game and spice it up.
  • From SCP Foundation, SCP-973 (aka “Smokey”) is an exaggeration, as he is not the State Trooper he appears, nor is he human, but a Serial Killer and demonic predator of unknown origin and motivations. He attacks drivers who exceed the speed limit, often convincing them to stop and pull over as most motorists would, although he is not above trying to run them off the road if they do not. (Likely why his own car has quite a lot of frame damage, something survivors have noted.) Exactly how he kills victims after tricking or forcing them to stop has never been described by any reliable witness, but it clearly isn’t pretty - the victims’ car is always found miles from the road, badly damaged, with the bodies of victims inside, disemboweled, decapitated, or otherwise horribly maimed and mutilated to the point that forensics are needed to identify them, with at least some coroners getting sick trying to. Most terrifying of all, the Foundation has yet to successfully contain SCP-973 (not for lack of trying, by the way, SCP-973 having a well-earned Euclid designation as a result) and the area where it hunts and the times of day he does so seem to be expanding.

Western Animation

  • American Dad: In "Cops and Roger", Roger Smith takes advantage of his authority when he joins the police force.
  • Family Guy:
    • Parapeligic officer Joe Swanson has outright looked the other way many times when his closest friends – Peter, Quagmire and Cleveland – break the law, even if not explicitly stated as such in the given episode. Instances include:
      • Numerous episodes of ignoring Quagmire's repeated preying on (and having sex with) teenaged girls, and to a much lesser extent, Peter.
      • Numerous episodes of Peter repeatedly abusing Lois – particularly in "The Courtship of Stewie's Father" – and Meg.
      • "Jerome is the New Black": Peter causing a fire at his new friend Jerome's house out of jealousy and hate when Peter believes that Jerome (a black man) is having an affair with Lois.
      • "Family Goy": From his upstairs window, Peter shoots a gun at his Jewish neighbor Mort Goldman while he is at his mailbox (a scene emulating an infamous scene in Schindler's List). Not only does Joe fail to arrest Peter, HE ALSO SHOOTS HIS GUN AT MORT! (And then greeted him with a friendly "hello" to boot!)
      • "Burning Down the Bayit": Peter and Quagmire conspiring with Mort Goldman to burn down Goldman's pharmacy (to allow him to collect an insurance settlement).
      • A definite Not So Above It All moment in one episode: Joe busts Brian for driving with an expired license, and explicitly forbids him from driving until he gets one, starting that very minute. Brian is about to call a cab so he can get home - and Joe reveals he's moonlighting as an Uber driver.
    • All that aside, a truly villainous policeman (who Joe has the honor of arresting) was Sheriff Nichols from "Cool Hand Peter". A bigot who had no problem misusing his authority, he tormented Peter, Joe, Cleveland and Quagmire while they were traveling through the south for no reason at all, planting marijuana in their car, and jailing them in a labor camp with no due process whatsoever. Fortunately, when the four escaped, Nichols was dumb enough to chase them back to Quahog, only to quickly find that the police department there weren't about to take his crap. Still, he serves as a cautionary tale, as there are many who would side with him, and that makes them dangerous.
  • The King of the Hill episode, "Lupe's Revenge", has a police woman who severely abuses her power. Naturally, in accordance with Hank's hilariously bad luck, she falls in love with him.
  • In Minoriteam, the villainous corrupt cop is literally a police officer made of dirt and grime who actively participates in the White Shadow's evil schemes and, like many of his cohorts, is virulently racist.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Chief Clancy Wiggum and the Springfield police in are sometimes shown to be corrupt as well as incompetent. Wiggum's badge has "Cash Bribes Only" written on it.
    • In "Treehouse of Horror XXXIV", an adult Maggie becomes this as Lisa's accomplice. After Sideshow Bob murders Bart, Lisa becomes a Serial Killer with the intent to be sent to the same prison and get revenge; Maggie - who is a correction officer - is the one who brings her to Bob's cell, wordlessly telling her sister to Do with Him as You Will.
  • South Park has no honest cops, but two of them stand out:
    • Picture Chief Wiggum but make him even dumber and take away any good qualities and you have Officer Barbrady. How this idiot ever became a police officer is anyone’s guess, as he commits far more crimes than he prevents. For example, in “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe”, he tries to cover up the crisis (which involves cows being brutally killed) and when protesters refuse to leave, he threatens to shoot them execution-style. He’s committed at least two murders (one of them a child) and has admitted to, uhm, pleasuring himself while watching Game of Thrones on duty. Despite this, however, Barbary is not the dirtiest cop in South Park, which brings us to…
    • Sergeant Harrison Yates. There’s no way to sugarcoat this, Yates is a bigot and an asshole, possibly even worse than Cartman in both regards, and a contender for the title of Worst Police Officer in Cartoon History. He is a gullible, stupid, lazy, racist, misogynistic, hateful extremist. Among the worst things he’s done include orchestrating a string of hate crimes and then framing innocent African-Americans for them, because he was annoyed that they were richer than he was (“The Jeffersons”) and claims that his biggest reason for even becoming a cop was because he wanted to beat up minorities without being viewed as a monster (“Naughty Ninjas”). He once went undercover as a (less-than-convincing) Dirty Harriet and actually performed the sexual acts requested of him, then arrested the men he provided them to. (Even the rest of the police force was disgusted by this.) In plots where he isn't the villain of the story, he's downright terrible at uncovering whoever is; in one episode, he writes off the multiple murders committed by ManBearPig as “school shootings” (the murders did not occur at a school and were not gun related) and pins it on the main cast, simply because he wants to go home and play Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • Axe Cop. Whether he's actually a real police officer or not is debatable, but he has has methods of dispensing justice that few actual police would approve of. Not that this is entirely a bad thing.

Real Life

  • The infamous LAPD Rampart scandal is easily one of the most infamous cases of police misconduct in America, due to the CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) unit which was combating street gang violence in Los Angeles, being the cause of widespread corruption. The CRASH scandal was loosely dramatised in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas where a similarly named police task force served as one of the game's primary antagonistic factions.
  1. The city destroyed during the Infinite Crisis storyline and has been an uninhabitable nuclear waste dump ever since