Bad Good Cops in movies


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MTMilitiaman
January 19, 2006, 11:39 PM
Am I the only one with a particular pet peeve regarding the glorification of violence and blatant individual rights abuse in cop shows?

For example, I am a big fan of "The Shield" on FX. In some ways I can relate to Vic and seeing him have a good heart makes it hard at time to disagree with him (as a fictional character), but I do. In a recent episode I saw he walks into a convenience store with one of his guys to ask the owner if he's seen a particular person around. The guy they are after assaulted one of Vic's guys in the beginning of the episode and they are trying to track him down. They tell the store owner they know his store has been knocked over multiple times but they can offer protection if he cooperates. The guy gives them some information on their suspect so Vic draws his peice, walks over to the only consumer, shoves him against the wall with the muzzle in his face, and tells him to spread the word that the place is protected and anyone who messes with it is going to have trouble. I couldn't help but think the measure was a little excessive--how would you feel if you went into a store for a six pack and ended up with a pistol in your face? The conclussion of the episode is them finding this guy and beating him to within an inch of his life, leaving him bloody and broken in a parking garage.

People have rights. And I hate seeing violation of these rights glorified on TV by "hero" cops. Anyone else agree or am I alone here?

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Winzeler
January 19, 2006, 11:54 PM
You're definitely not alone. I absolutely despise it. The thing that makes it worse is the fact that this crap gets crammed down our throat by the Hollywood, anti-gun elitists. Sometimes I actually think that they're so oblivious to think this is how things (proper gun use) ordinarily are. Other times I think they're just trying to paint a picture to further their agenda of control. I rarely, if ever, think they're just doing it to add drama.

Devonai
January 20, 2006, 12:38 AM
It's THE SHIELD!

The extreme tactics of Mackey's strike team is the whole point of the show. Mackey is not a hero, and this is made clear from the very first episode of season one. All of the characters have good sides and bad sides (except for CCH Pounder's Detective Weims) and they're never made out to be heroes. Series creator Shawn Ryan's mission statement was to make a show about the most corrupt police precinct in US history, LAPD's Rampart Division. In fact, the show was originally pitched under the title "Rampart."

MTMilitiaman
January 20, 2006, 12:57 AM
Ok my bad--main character probably works better than "hero." And all that about "The Shield" is all well and good, and interesting since I didn't know any of it, but that was just the first example that came to mind. Just about any time a cop is portrayed in a movie, excessive force is glorified or portrayed as beneficial, if not absolutely necessary. Off the top of my head I can't think of a single cop drama where the viewer isn't expected to deal with some sort of individual rights abuse by police. I'm sick of it. Ever sense I watched "Lethal Weapon" for the first time as a wee one I've had to deal with. I wonder how much of it is accepted by viewers who in turn expect and accomindate it in reality. I've seen an awful lot of sarcastic, rude, and sometimes down right nasty police in reality and I wonder how much of their behavior is spawned by peoples' willingness to turn the other cheek or look the other way to attitudes and excessive behavior by police perhaps not exclussively but largely because they have come to accept it on TV. I don't usually buy the "desensitizing by TV" theories but here I have a hard time believing such force would be so openly condoned if it pissed everyone off as much as it pissed me off.

Car Knocker
January 20, 2006, 02:16 AM
Sorry, can't help you out on this. The only thing I watch on TV is the news and cartoons with my 3-y.o. granddaughter, and sometimes I have trouble differentiating between the news and the cartoons. :D

longeyes
January 20, 2006, 02:47 AM
Mackey's corruption isn't what sells; what sells is that he is a direct primitive man in a feckless "nuanced" society. People get off on the fact that he's tough and fearless and instinctive and cuts the Gordian knot between every commercial break. That is a universal value that even the sophistos in Hollywood find compelling. It doesn't hurt that the show is very well-written and -acted.

GunnySkox
January 20, 2006, 03:03 AM
Mackey's corruption isn't what sells; what sells is that he is a direct primitive man in a feckless "nuanced" society. People get off on the fact that he's tough and fearless and instinctive and cuts the Gordian knot between every commercial break. That is a universal value that even the sophistos in Hollywood find compelling. It doesn't hurt that the show is very well-written and -acted.

Exactly. People like the visceral satisfaction they get out of seeing the "bad guy" who's infringed upon "our" turf (e.g., beating on one of "our" boys) get the everloving piss whipped out of him. But if it were just people, just Joe Average dropping the proverbial hammer on the guy who did whichever, people wouldn't like it, it'd hit too close to home. So it's an officer (an authority figure, doesn't need to be a cop, necessarily, but violence is one of the more memorable parts of their job, so it fits for the psyche), and not only that, but he's an antihero, too, he's got a bad side. So the viewers get all the satisfaction, all the "he needed killin'", all the "tighten up, or I'll break your kneecaps", and none of the guilt for wanting to hurt people, instead of doing it the "civilized" way.

So we can have our cake, and beat the crap out of it, too.

~GnSx

Hkmp5sd
January 20, 2006, 03:12 AM
The reason I like The Shield began with episode one. Everyone knows from the beginning Mackey is crooked. He's taking money to protect drug dealers and all of the other typical bad cop actions. However, in the pilot episode, I never saw the scripted ending coming. When Mackey picked up the gun and shot the cop point-blank in the face, it surprised the hell out of me. Most cop shows are so predictable you can tell what is going to happen by looking at the clock and seeing how much time is remaining. Not so with The Shield.

DRZinn
January 20, 2006, 11:50 AM
The main difference between a show and reality is that in the show you often have the opportunity to see the bad guy commit the crime. Then when he's grabbed and beaten or killed without a trial, it's OK, because we, the omniscient audience, saw him do it.

Oldtimer
January 20, 2006, 11:51 AM
Hey, you guys are letting out all of the steam from my up-coming, yet-to-be-written novel, titled "Police Brutality....the FUN part of law enforcement"!

I've never watched "The Shield", but I have seen some of the short "trailers" of it. It looked like trash, filled with gratuitious violence and heavy-handed "tactics"....so why bother?

Sad to say, but there are probably young people who watch that show and think "That's the way it is!"

I guess that the old "Dragnet" and "Adam-12" series would look tame nowadays. Friday, Malloy and Reed never violated anyones "civil rights", even though they always got the job done!

LawDog
January 20, 2006, 12:06 PM
I miss Barney Miller. :(

LawDog

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