Created By: ryanasaurus0077 on July 17, 2013 Last Edited By: StarSword on August 7, 2013
Troped

Impersonating an Officer

The act of impersonating a police officer (or IPO for short)

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No Launching Please, due to massive (by one count, 77.4%) misuse of another trope for this one. PAGE ACTION CROWNER

Crime is rampant on the streets. Drugs are being sold, people are dropping at the sound of two boards being slapped together, windows are shattering to make way for burglars... who knows what sort of craziness goes on every day? Then, police officers show up to either take back the loot or perform a vigilante killing, and it looks like the day is saved...

Not! Surprise, surprise; sometimes by way of a Traitor Shot, the police officers are revealed to be scofflaws themselves (or, at the very least, a bunch of people who have taken the law into their own hands). Naturally, this upsets the balance of law and order between criminals and the police; Hilarity Ensues (as does chaos every so often). At times, it's a single person acting alone; at others, it's an organized group; but in fact, impersonation of a police officer has taken place.

Related to False Flag Operation or Dressing as the Enemy. Compare Bavarian Fire Drill, a.k.a. getting people to do what you want by acting like an authority. Unrelated to No Badge? No Problem!, which is where someone affiliated with the authorities but who actually isn't one acts as though he were.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Lupin III: This happens to be one of Lupin's favorite tactics, often by disguising himself as Inspector Zenigata; usually at Zenigata's expense.
    • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin infiltrates the titular castle by posing as Zenigata, claiming that the real one Gustav saw was an imposter. It works. Gustav falls for it and attacks Zenigata and his men, allowing Lupin to slip inside unnoticed.
    • Lupin also pulls this twice in Lupin III: The Secret of Twilight Gemini:
      • The first happens, near the beginning, where he disguises himself as one of Zenigata's men in an attempt to slip past the inspector (which Zenigata doesn't fall for).
      • The other happens about halfway through the film, when he disguises himself as a police officer to infiltrate Morocco's police HQ to dig up information on Galoux. Which is leads to a run-in with Fujiko and a night of Sex with the Ex.
    • Lupin poses as Zenigata again, in the Red Jacket episode "Albatross: Wings of Death", where he uses the disguise to try to get Prof. Lumbach to tell him about his bomb manufacturing plant. Lumbach stalls by pretending to fall for it, to buy time for the real Zenigata to show up!
    • And he poses as the inspector one last time, in the Red Jacket series finale "Aloha Lupin", to track down a group of imposters who were impersonating him and his gang.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The debut episode for Sailor Mars includes a heroic example. When Bunny Tsukino finds out that the disappearing buses had been hijacked by Dark Kingdom agents, she boards one disguised as a cop and tries to arrest the driver. It backfires on her as she ends up being forced into another dimension along with the bus.
    • Three episodes later, this gets subverted when it turns out the security guards attacking the Sailor Soldiers are not only fake cops, they're also fake humans! That's right, Jedite created them from scratch and sent them to attack the Sailor Soldiers as part of a backup Batman Gambit in case they ended up defeating him. Unfortunately for him, after his defeat, an impatient Queen Beryl committed an act of Bond Villain Stupidity, and he became just another case of Death by Secret Identity.

Comic Books
  • The Punisher has been known to use fake ID to enter crime scenes and get firsthand information before the detectives arrive.

Film
  • An early comedic example of this ploy in play is The Wrong Arm of the Law, where a gang of Australian crooks upsets the established rules of the cops and robbers game in London. Shortly after this gets taken too far when a couple of paranoid lower-level criminals unwittingly attack actual police officers, the criminal underworld decides to forge a temporary alliance with the police to capture the IPO mob.
  • In The Streetfighter's Last Revenge, shortly after being double-crossed by the Owada clan, Terry Sugury intercepts a group while disguised as a highway patrol officer. He directs them to pull over in a car crushing lot and then reveals himself. He then sends a lone assassin, Wolf, back to the Owada clan alive to tell the patriarch that he should fight Sugury for the money he had stolen.
  • As seen in a flashback, Chow pulling one off sets the plot of The Hangover Part III in motion.
  • Inspector Gadget, meet your Evil Twin Robo-Gadget, who's not so much impersonating a police officer as he is downright smearing the police officer's good name by committing all sorts of crimes.
  • Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead had two main characters pose as police officers to stop their mark. Given that one of the criminals had a short fuse, it went From Bad to Worse very fast for everybody involved, putting into motion the main plot of the movie.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Clearly the favorite form for the T-1000 Terminator to take is that of a Los Angeles patrolman. Not surprisingly, an LAPD cop was the first person the T-1000 encountered upon arrival from its time-travel. That form also avails the T-1000 to plentiful information and resources.
  • Dick Tracy. Several of Big Boy Caprice's henchmen dress up as police officers, "arrest" Lips Manlis and take him to a warehouse to be murdered.
  • The main villain of the Maniac Cop slasher movie franchise is an undead former police officer who was framed for Police Brutality and still dresses in his old uniform while he carries out his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Psycho Cop has a similar premise, although the killer is mortal (or as close to it that your average slasher villain gets).
  • The Dark Knight Saga:
    • As Ra's al Ghul claims in Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne is trying to defend "a city so corrupt [the League of Shadows] infiltrated every level of its infrastructure. Effortlessly." How effortlessly? The district attorney, Carl Finch, was assassinated by what appeared to be a police officer.
    • In The Dark Knight, this is part of The Joker's assassination plot against Mayor Garcia at Commissioner Loeb's funeral. Fortunately, Jim Gordon figured out that something was up just by reading an obituary the Joker had typed up for Garcia, came to the funeral wearing a bulletproof vest, and dove in front of the Mayor just as the Joker and his goons fired at him.
  • When we first meet Harry in Home Alone, he poses as a cop, check in on all the houses in the neighborhood, seeing who will be leaving for the holidays, allow him and Marv to rob them later.
  • In Running Scared, the drug dealer Julio Gonzalez has his men capture the police officers guarding a government building and put on their uniforms to masquerade as them. He then uses the building as the location to trade a woman he captured for the cocaine the protagonists seized.

Literature
  • Ostap Bender tries to do this with the underground millionaire Koreiko in The Little Golden Calf. Ostap wants Koreiko to admit that a large sum of money was indeed stolen from him, to confirm that he's richer than he seems. However, it's a Paper-Thin Disguise consisting of only a police hat, and the hat has a coat of arms of the wrong city, to boot. Koreiko later points that out.
  • The Three Investigators has a Classy Cat-Burglar have one of his men dress up as a police officer. When the cops show up and try to use that as a charge, he points out the the fake cop is in fact wearing a New York Police uniform (the series is set in California), and as such cannot be accused of impersonating the local police.

Live-Action TV
  • In an episode of Time Trax Lambert's police badge is stolen and is later used for a Flashed Badge Hijack by the guy who stole it.
  • Seven Days: Two inner city hoods steal Frank's and Olga's NSA IDs, and are later seen at a bar demanding that the bartender give them a bottle of some expensive alcohol, but the bartender isn't buying it. "OK, if you're with the NSA, what does 'NSA' stand for?"
  • My Name Is Earl: Earl stole a cop's badge and used it to get free food and other stuff. Then someone stole it from him.
  • In Supernatural Sam and Dean regularly go undercover as FBI agents (as do several other hunters), with Bobby backstopping their aliases if someone wants to call their superior. One episode shows Bobby has a whole wall of phones labeled with each alias, though in the same episode the trope fails because it turns out the sheriff they're talking to knows Bobby.
  • Justified:
    • Stupid crook Dewey Crowe decides to rob two toughs who stole a large amount of drugs from the Dixie Mafia. When the local clothing store does not have any ski masks in stock, he instead buys a suit and a cowboy hat. He then proceeds to impersonate US Marshal Raylan Givens and successfully pulls off the robbery. When the real US Marshal Raylan Givens finds out about it, he is quite pissed and tracks Dewey down. It does not help matters that the two toughs have also tracked Dewey down and when Raylan identifies himself, they open fire on him since they will not be fooled by the same trick twice.
    • In season four, a Detroit hitman is tasked with killing Drew Thompson but no one knows what identity Drew is currently using. The hitman disguises himself as a sheriff's deputy and goes to the houses of men who could be Drew and shoots them dead. He is exposed when he tries to arrest Boyd Crowder and Raylan Givens is present. Raylan just spoke to the sheriff and the sheriff would have mentioned if he sent someone to arrest Boyd. Before Raylan can check in with the sheriff, the hitman panics, draws his gun and is shot dead by Raylan.
  • In an episode of Adam-12 there's someone out there claiming to be a particular detective in the LAPD, flashing his badge around and inisiting on bribes. They aren't sure until the end of the episode whether it's really that cop turned bad or someone impersonating him. It's someone impersonating him.
  • Alluded to a few times on It Takes a Thief (2005). Some of the homeowners who signed up for the show were either police officers or married to police officers. Matt always made a point of talking about what would have happened if a real burglar, instead of Jon, had walked off with police uniforms, badges, and firearms.
  • In an episode of The Listener a gang of robbers use fake cop uniforms to gain access to secure locations like high end jewelery stores and rob the place. Their disguises are very good and they even make sure that their getaway car looks like an authentic police vehicle. Later in the episode they steal an ambulance and commit a robbery disguised as paramedics.
  • In an episode of Barney Miller, a man claiming to be a detective from the 12th precinct is accosting men as they leave gay bars and demanding money or else he'll beat them.
  • Orphan Black has petty criminal Sarah witness the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her - who ends up being a seemingly loaded police detective. Wanting the money for her daughter, Sarah impersonates her and attempts to ingratiate herself into her life - it works, for the most part, until the other cops catch on. Of course, since she and the woman were clones, it's not like Sarah had a particularly hard time of it.
  • Friends: Phoebe finds a cop's badge and pretends to be a cop. This works well until she tries it on the cop to whom it belongs.
  • In Doctor Who we have the Doctor's psychic paper, a business card of sorts that appears to the reader as whatever form of ID he requires at the time. He's done everything from a simple Bavarian Fire Drill to more involved impersonations of plainclothes law and military officers.
  • In Mission: Impossible members of the IM Force often impersonated police officers...as well as soldiers, security personnel and other officials.
  • Banshee combines this with Dead Person Impersonation. Lucas Hood was the sheriff of a backswoods town in Oregon who decides to take the job offer of sheriff in Banshee, Pennsylvania. However, on his way into town he stops at a bar on the outskirts of Banshee and is killed by two robbers. The robbers are then killed by the protagonist, a master thief who just got out of prison and is in Banshee looking for his old girlfriend. The thief realizes that the only person in Banshee who actually knew what Hood looked like recently died of cancer, so he assumes Hood's identity and becomes the new sheriff. He has no police training but his brutal methods are quite effective against the local toughs so people just assume that he is a Cowboy Cop.
  • Seen repeatedly in Person of Interest.
    • John Reese has repeatedly used the badge of Detective Stills, a Dirty Cop he killed in the first episode. He also once used the ID of Jennings, a wife-beating U.S. Marshal he deposited in a Mexican prison.
    • Carl Elias' number two, Anthony "Scarface" Marconi, was first seen impersonating a patrol officer.
    • One episode had a pair of ex-FBI agents who had been forced out for corruption, but were now pretending to be FBI while acting as hitmen.

Tabletop Games
  • Shadowrun supplement Bug City. Truman Technologies operatives dressed up as Eagle Security officers captured Fuchi-employed gang members, lined them up against a wall and ruthlessly murdered them. This was inspired by the 1929 "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre".

Video Games

Western Animation
  • One episode of Batman Beyond shows people from the criminal organization KOBRA dressing up as cops to get Batman to willingly hand over a boy they've been targeting, who knows what Batman looks like under his mask.
  • Cartman's brief impersonation of a police officer in an early episode of South Park. He dressed like a police officer (complete with aviator sunglasses) and pulled people over in his big wheel. When they inevitably figured out that he wasn't a real cop, he'd start beating them with a baton.
    "RESPECT MY AUTHORIT-AH!"

Real Life
  • The 1929 "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre". Killers hired by Al Capone's gang dressed as police officers, captured members of the North Side gang and executed them.
Community Feedback Replies: 61
  • July 17, 2013
    DracMonster
  • July 17, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    What did you have in mind?
  • July 17, 2013
    DracMonster
    Uh, reload the page, I changed my reply, heh.
  • July 17, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Film

    • Things To Do In Denver When Youre Dead had two main characters pose as police officers to stop their mark. Given that one of the criminals had a short fuse, It Got Worse very fast for everybody involved, putting into motion the main plot of the movie.

    Also, the YKTTW title could use a bit of revision- it wasn't instantly obvious to me what the whole name of the game was. Impersonating An Officer is a good existing trope, but since it could also mean military officer impersonation and not necessarily impersonation by criminal elements. Police Impersonation would leave no doubt about what this trope is about. Also, related to False Flag Operation or Dressing As The Enemy.
  • July 17, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    OK, I'll put the title to a vote.
  • July 17, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I can't believe we don't have this. Especially since Impersonating An Officer is the perfect name for it, but... it something else entirely.
  • July 17, 2013
    StarSword
    Compare Bavarian Fire Drill, a.k.a. getting people to do what you want by acting like an authority.
  • July 17, 2013
    Larkmarn
    FYI, I'm going to make a TRS on Impersonating An Officer when a slot opens up, since it is chronically misused for this.
  • July 17, 2013
    aurora369
    Ostap Bender tries to do this with the underground millionaire Koreiko in The Little Golden Calf. Ostap wants Koreiko to admit that a large sum of money was indeed stolen from him, to confirm that he's richer than he seems. However, it's a Paper Thin Disguise consisting of only a police hat, and the hat has a coat of arms of the wrong city, to boot. Koreiko later points that out.
  • July 17, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Clearly the favorite form for the T-1000 terminator to take is that of a Los Angeles patrolman. Not surprisingly, an LAPD cop was the first person the T-1000 encountered upon arrival from its time-travel. That form also avails the T-1000 to plentiful information and resources.
  • July 17, 2013
    DAN004
    Does this go here, or The Mole?
    • In One Piece, Vice Admiral Vergo is revealed to be Doflamingo's trusted subordinate and an inside man of the Marines. He was planted since 15 years ago and climbed up to said position. This revelation shocked the G-5 Marine squad so much that they vehemently denied it at first, thinking that the Vergo they meet is an impostor, since he used to be so nice to them.
  • July 17, 2013
    DAN004
    BTW, would someone make a crowner for the title?
  • July 17, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    That would actually go under The Mole.
  • July 17, 2013
    karstovich2
    I would suggest two rules:

    1. Anything involving "IPO" must be excluded. First thing that comes to mind is "Initial Public Offering." Particularly true when any crime/fraud is also in the title: it suggests securities fraud in connection with a company going public.

    2. Nothing directly involving "police impersonation" or "impersonating a police officer" as that risks confusion with the existing trope.

    As for my own suggestions:

  • July 17, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    • In an episode of Time Trax Lambert's police badge is stolen and is later used for a Flashed Badge Hijack by the guy who stole it.
    • Seven Days: Two inner city hoods steal Frank's and Olga's NSA IDs, and are later seen at a bar demanding that the bartender give them a bottle of some expensive alcohol, but the bartender isn't buying it. "OK, if you're with the NSA, what does 'NSA' stand for?"
    • My Name Is Earl: Earl stole a cop's badge and used it to get free food and other stuff. Then someone stole it from him.
  • July 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    ^^ One question: can the laconic mention "IPO", so long as it's clarified that in this context it stands for "impersonating a police officer"?
  • July 18, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Dick Tracy. Several of Big Boy Caprice's henchmen dress up as police officers, "arrest" Lips Manlis and take him to a warehouse to be murdered.

    Real Life
    • The 1929 "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre". Killers hired by Al Capone's gang dressed as police officers, captured members of the North Side gang and executed them.
  • July 18, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
  • July 18, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Shadowrun supplement Bug City. Truman Technologies operatives dressed up as Eagle Security officers captured Fuchi-employed gang members, lined them up against a wall and ruthlessly murdered them. This was inspired by the 1929 "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre".
  • July 18, 2013
    Koveras
    Ignore this post, please.
  • July 18, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Cop Guise, then, maybe? Not big on the suggested names, myself, but I've always thought brevity to be a good thing with names.
  • July 18, 2013
    Bisected8
    • The main villain of the Maniac Cop slasher movie franchise is an undead former police officer who was framed for Police Brutality and still dresses in his old uniform while he carries out his Roaring Rampage Of Revenge.
    • Psycho Cop has a similar premise, although the killer is mortal (or as close to it that your average slasher villain gets).
  • July 18, 2013
    Chabal2
    The Three Investigators has a Classy Cat Burglar have one of his men dress up as a police officer. When the cops show up and try to use that as a charge, he points out the the fake cop is in fact wearing a New York Police uniform (the series is set in California), and as such cannot be accused of impersonating the local police.
  • July 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Is it me, or does that example include an instance of Exact Words?
  • July 18, 2013
    karstovich2
    @ ryanasaurus0077: I was mostly talking about the title. Not sure how you'd fit it in the laconic, though.
  • July 18, 2013
    Luc
    Cop Guise sounds good to me.
  • July 18, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Cop Guise sounds the best so far, but I think this should be Impersonating An Officer and rename that to something else.

    Impersonating An Officer gets misused as this trope more often than it gets used for its actual definition, so that really should be renamed. As such, this'll be opened up, I hope.
  • July 18, 2013
    randomtroper89
    ^ You mean Trope Transplanting?
  • July 19, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Yeah. I started a Wick Check and in the first 10 wicks, 6 were blatantly wrong. 3 others might be (two look wrong, one looks right), and only one is unambiguously correct.

    That is awful.
  • July 19, 2013
    StarSword
    All right, then, flag this at the top of the draft as No Launching Please until we can get a TRS on Impersonating An Officer.
  • July 19, 2013
    Bisected8
    FWIW, I like Cop Guise too.
  • July 22, 2013
    StarSword
    Got a TRS thread open. I confirm Larkmarn's result on the misuse: Checking every third wick netted me 77% misuse for Cop Guise.
  • July 23, 2013
    StarSword
    TV:
    • In Supernatural Sam and Dean regularly go undercover as FBI agents (as do several other hunters), with Bobby backstopping their aliases if someone wants to call their superior. One episode shows Bobby has a whole wall of phones labeled with each alias, though in the same episode the trope fails because it turns out the sheriff they're talking to knows Bobby.
  • Film
    • When we first meet Harry in Home Alone, he poses as a cop, check in on all the houses in the neighborhood, seeing who will be leaving for the holidays, allow him and Marv to rob them later.
  • July 23, 2013
    MiinU
    adding to the Lupin example:

    Anime and Manga

    • This happens to be one of Lupin's favorite tactics, often by disguising himself as Inspector Zenigata; usually at Zenigata's expense.
      • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin infiltrate's the titular castle by posing as Zenigata, claiming that the real one Gustav saw was an imposter. It works. Gustav falls for it and attacks Zenigata and his men, allowing Lupin to slip inside unnoticed.
      • Lupin also pulls this twice in The Secret of Twilight Gemini:
        • The first happens, near the beginning, where he disguises himself as one of Zenigata's men in an attempt to slip past the inspector (which Zenigata doesn't fall for).
        • The other happens about halfway through the film, when he disguises himself as a police officer to infiltrate Morocco's police HQ to dig up information on Galoux. Which is leads to a run-in with Fujiko and a night of Sex With The Ex.
  • July 24, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Running Scared (1986). The drug dealer Julio Gonzalez has his men capture the police officers guarding a government building and put on their uniforms to masquerade as them. He then uses the building as the location to trade a woman he captured for the cocaine the protagonists seized.
  • July 24, 2013
    nielas
    • On Justified stupid crook Dewey Crowe decides to rob two toughs who stole a large amount of drugs from the Dixie Mafia. When the local clothing store does not have any ski masks in stock, he instead buys a suit and a cowboy hat. He then proceeds to impersonate US Marshal Raylan Givens and successfully pulls off the robbery. When the real US Marshal Raylan Givens finds out about it, he is quite pissed and tracks Dewey down. It does not help matters that the two toughs have also tracked Dewey down and when Raylan identifies himself, they open fire on him since they will not be fooled by the same trick twice.
      • In season four a Detroit hitman is tasked with killing Drew Thompson but no one knows what identity Drew is currently using. The hitman disguises himself as a sheriff's deputy and goes to the houses of men who could be Drew and shoots them dead. He is exposed when he tries to arrest Boyd Crowder and Raylan Givens is present. Raylan just spoke to the sheriff and the sheriff would have mentioned if he sent someone to arrest Boyd. Before Raylan can check in with the sheriff, the hitman panics, draws his gun and is shot dead by Raylan.
  • July 24, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of Adam-12 there's someone out there claiming to be a particular detective in the LAPD, flashing his badge around and inisiting on bribes. They aren't sure until the end of the episode whether it's really that cop turned bad or someone impersonating him. It's someone impersonating him.
  • July 24, 2013
    StarSword
    ^You know I dehyphenated Adam Twelve, right?
  • July 24, 2013
    MiinU
    Just remembered two more Lupin examples:

    • Lupin poses Zenigata again, in the Albatross: Wings of Death television special, where he uses the disguise to try to get Prof. Lumbach to tell him about his bomb manufacturing plant. Lumbach stalls by pretending to fall for it, to buy time for the real Zenigata to show up!
    • And he poses as the inspector one last time, in the Bye Bye, Lupin television special, to track down a group of imposters who were impersonating him and his gang.

    Oh, and you forgot the word "be" in the first sentence - This happens to be one of Lupin's favorite tactics.
  • July 24, 2013
    Antigone3
    Alluded to a few times on It Takes A Thief 2005. Some of the homeowners who signed up for the show were either police officers or married to police officers. Matt always made a point of talking about what would have happened if a real burglar, instead of Jon, had walked off with police uniforms, badges, and firearms.
  • July 24, 2013
    StarSword
    Did a cleanup to the draft: namespaces, italicization, How To Write An Example (don't pothole the work in the entry, state it outright), Example Indentation.
  • July 24, 2013
    somerandomdude
    One episode of Batman Beyond shows people from the criminal organization KOBRA dressing up as cops to get Batman to willingly hand over a boy they've been targeting, who knows what Batman looks like under his mask.
  • July 25, 2013
    nielas
    • In an episode of The Listener a gang of robbers use fake cop uniforms to gain access to secure locations like high end jewelery stores and rob the place. Their disguises are very good and they even make sure that their getaway car looks like an authentic police vehicle. Later in the episode they steal an ambulance and commit a robbery disguised as paramedics.
  • July 25, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of Barney Miller a man claiming to be a detective from the 12th precinct is accosting men as they leave gay bars and demanding money or else he'll beat them.

    @Star Sword: "You know I dehyphenated Adam Twelve, right?" I honestly don't know what you mean by that. Adam-12 remains hyphenated.
  • July 26, 2013
    Chabal2
    The Punisher has been known to use fake ID to enter crime scenes and get firsthand information before the detectives arrive.
  • July 26, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^I mean that the hyphenated page {{Adam-12}} is now a redirect to Series.Adam Twelve that would've been cut but for the inbounds. That's all.

    Western Animation:
    • Cartman's brief impersonation of a police officer in an early episode of South Park. He dressed like a police officer (complete with aviator sunglasses) and pulled people over in his big wheel. When they inevitably figured out that he wasn't a real cop, he'd start beating them with a baton.
      "RESPECT MY AUTHORIT-AH!"

  • July 28, 2013
    Synchronicity
    Don't know if this would count, but...

    Live Action TV
    • Orphan Black has petty criminal Sarah witness the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her - who ends up being a seemingly loaded police detective. Wanting the money for her daughter, Sarah impersonates her and attemps to ingratiate herself into her life - it works, for the most part, until the other cops catch on. Of course, since she and the woman were clones, it's not like Sarah had a particularly hard time of it.
  • July 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Friends: Phoebe finds a cop's badge and pretends to be a cop. This works well until she tries it on the cop whose badge it is.
  • July 28, 2013
    godofgamers
    Also happens in Grand Theft Auto Vice City, when Tommy and Lance disguise themselves as cops. For the sake of getting to say this aloud, how do we NOT have a thing for this?
  • July 28, 2013
    StarSword
    • In Doctor Who we have the Doctor's psychic paper, a business card of sorts that appears to the reader as whatever form of ID he requires at the time. He's done everything from a simple Bavarian Fire Drill to more involved impersonations of plainclothes law and military officers
  • July 28, 2013
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • In Mission Impossible members of the IM Force often impersonated police officers...as well as soldiers, security personnel and other officials.
  • July 29, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch plz.
  • July 30, 2013
    nielas
    • Banshee combines this with Dead Person Impersonation. Lucas Hood was the sheriff of a backswoods town in Oregon who decides to take the job offer of sheriff in Banshee, Pennsylvania. However, on his way into town he stops at a bar on the outskirts of Banshee and is killed by two robbers. The robbers are then killed by the protagonist, a master thief who just got out of prison and is in Banshee looking for his old girlfriend. The thief realizes that the only person in Banshee who actually knew what Hood looked like recently died of cancer, so he assumes Hood's identity and becomes the new sheriff. He has no police training but his brutal methods are quite effective against the local toughs so people just assume that he is a Cowboy Cop.
  • July 30, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^I'll go tell TRS.
  • July 30, 2013
    DAN004
    Has this been launched yet? If not, I'm adding an example:
    • In one of Spongebob Squarepants episodes, Spongebob is made a prefect by Mrs. Puff. He then thinks that he can use the authority to help people outside of his boating school, so he goes to the Bikini Bottom city and finds that the traffic light's broken. Then he steps up as a traffic police and helps the boats cross the crossroads in his usual haphazard fashion. Nothing seems to be bad, until he goes off and it's revealed to the audience (unbeknownst to him) that those boats he helped are piling up in a giant crash. He's then wanted by the police for this.
  • July 31, 2013
    nielas
    ^ Does Spongebob actually pretend to be a police officer or does he simply assume that being a prefect gives him the authority to direct traffic? Confusion over this difference is the reason Impersonating An Officer is in TRS.
  • July 31, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ The latter.
  • July 31, 2013
    StarSword
    Ok, that's a weird one then. Probably does belong on No Badge No Problem after all.

    Ask The Tropers advised us to recrowner to confirm that Trope Transplant is still the preferred solution.
  • July 31, 2013
    StarSword
    Wait, lemme double check: We want this trope to be titled Impersonating An Officer, right?
  • August 7, 2013
    StarSword
    Ok, crowner called for Trope Transplant. Last call for examples; launching both drafts at 1 PM EST.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=2z5ngi2toxpkbvwl2381a5xh