Hot Pursuit

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"All this for a loaf of bread?"
Aladdin, Aladdin

Police officers will engage in high speed pursuits involving dozens of patrol cars for the flimsiest of reasons. No TV police force has a "Do not pursue" policy for minor crimes. Officers involved in the chase are usually Lemming Cops. Not to be confused with the Need for Speed games of the same name. Or hot fursuit, which is something else entirely.

Examples include:

Film - Animated

  • Non-automobile variation in Aladdin: the guards chasing after the titular hero for stealing a loaf of bread.
    • The titular character lampshades it in the comment at the top of the page
      • Which is of course a reference to Les Misérables, where Jean Valjean's lifelong chase with Inspector Javert begins with the theft of a loaf of bread.
      • Shouted out in The Animated Series when a thief is being pursued by both the guards and Aladdin himself. The scene is an almost shot-for-shot remake of the one from the move (before the singing), only the thief in question is nowhere near as good as Aladdin is, and stole a huge diamond ("All this for a diamond?").
    • Subverted in that stealing an apple is punishable by instant removal of a hand.

Film - Live Action

  • Parodied in the extreme in The Blues Brothers and Taxi 2. In the latter, insults about sexual tastes directed to some cops cause Paris' entire police force to chase down the main characters throughout the city (with predictably destructive results). In the former, running a red light is the catalyst for the titular Brothers to be chased down by every law enforcement agency in Illinois, up to and including the National Guard. They're also chased by Illinois Nazis and a renegade country band, but for different reasons.
    • As in the Grand Theft Auto example below, running a red light causes the cop who pulls the Blues Brothers over to notice that they have a massive record of major and minor traffic violation, in addition to "Joliet Jake" spending three years in prison for knocking over a liquor store. The really serious high speed pursuit comes after their initial attempt to escape from the police gets out of hand and they cause serious property damage. It's still an example of a case where the cops would be smarter to apply a "do not pursue" policy, but the initial red light is only the start of their problems.
      • Quite the opposite of "do not pursue", at one point early in the chase a police dispatcher calmly radios to all concerned that "the use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved."
  • Also seen in the Smokey and the Bandit movies which are actually made of little less than long pursuits.
  • An Older Than Television example would be any number of old Charlie Chaplin shorts. The unfortunate tramp had a way of getting into trouble with the police over minor things, usually resulting in a hilarious chase scene.
  • The Chase is basically made of one long Hot Pursuit with half a dozen police cruisers always keeping the same distance to the getaway car.
  • The Der Clown movie Payday contains five chase scenes, only one of which does not involve police cars, one of which leads to the spectacular destruction of more than one dozen police cars in Slo-Mo Big Air, and one of which has SWAT cars chase an aircraft on a runway.

Live Action TV

  • Roscoe P. Coletrain from The Dukes of Hazzard would gleefully shout over his CB that he was in "Hot Puuuur-Suit!" of the Duke boys, frequently followed by him driving off a cliff or into a lake when he couldn't match the Duke's driving ability.
  • Due South featured a car chase in the episode Heaven And Earth, notable for having highly competent driving on the part of all of the cops involved, along with a bitchin awesome accompanying song.
  • Pretty much Once an Episode in CHiPs.

Video Games

  • Video game example: In the Grand Theft Auto series, the police will chase you after a simple fender bender. If the chase goes on long enough (and enough officers get killed trying to chase you), SWAT teams, helicopters, soldiers and eventually tanks will be called in to take you down. Though to be fair, after the player has killed multiple police officers and racked up thousands of dollars in property damage, they have some valid reasons to call in the tanks and jets.
    • To be unfair (Ha!), the police will up your wanted level when they kill themselves in pursuit of you—apparently the GTA universe has some harsh felony murder laws. And of course the cops have absolutely no regard for innocent bystanders. Tanks, helicopters, troop trucks and jet fighters in the middle of an urban area - "Well, he dinged my fender!"
      • Even more amusing, they only chase you if you ding a cop car. You can plow into a civilian car at top speed and leave a huge dent in it, and the cops won't care. So much as tap a cop car though... In San Andreas, they will pursue other civilians that hit their cars (opening up the hilarious potential to shunt other cars into the cops, only to watch them get busted when they roll dazed from the wreckage).
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted. While the wanted level increases, the police not only use squad cars, but in Level 3, they use Pontiac GTO, and in Level 5, they use "Corvette C6!" And let's not talk about "Sgt.Cross", with heavily-modified Corvette C6!!! There are several destructible environments while you can laugh at when you crashed on it and see how the cop cars WRECKED! while your car doesn't.
    • Before Most Wanted, there was Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit. After Most Wanted, there was Carbon. And Undercover, but fans don't talk about that.
    • As of 2010, there's the new Hot Pursuit, which is basically this trope entirely. With all of the EMPs, spike strips, and police helicopters being thrown around, the real good thing about this is that the players get hypercars, along with the police. Also, players, like in the previous HP games, can play as the cops - who can drive street racers off the road and down the cliffs. However, racers get a few weapons of their own.
  • Another non-car incident occurs towards the latter third of Assassin's Creed. Granted, at this point your character has killed half a dozen important members of society and countless soldiers and guards and they're on the lookout for funny behavior in a white hood, but even so much as knocking someone over or climbing a wall will cause Altair to have half the city watch chasing him.
  • Road Rash 64 has cops going hog-wild all over the game world's island simply for a motorcycle race. If the ending animation is done just right, cop cars will slam into the drivers, sending them flying. Murder for speed.
    • An important note is that they will chase you whether you're breaking laws or not. You can adhere to the speed limit and stop at every red light, and they will still go after you.

Western Animation

  • In the premiere episode of Sonic X, the police go to ridiculous lengths to catch Sonic for what, at most, could be construed as disrupting traffic. (Granted, he is also an alien creature unknown to our world, which would probably be a much more valid reason for chasing him, but this is not brought up.)
    • And they didn't exactly treat him like one. I think one officer even made a reference to someone's kitty cat...
    • And they bust out Formula 1 police cars. They are the only vehicles that can even catch up to the speedster, but still.
      • Parodied mercilessly in Shady Vox's abridgement of the first episode, where Sam Speed says "We're the high speed pursuit unit. Our job is to chase down anyone who commits a crime and tries to get away in an F1 racing car. And don't you dare say it doesn't happen. Because it totally does!"