Created By: neoYTPism on May 3, 2011 Last Edited By: neoYTPism on May 20, 2011
Nuked

The Police Are Coming To Someone's Door

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Do We Have This One?? Oh, and I am open to title suggestions.

There are various ways someone can get arrested. Some may be taken out of their cars and put in handcuffs. Others may be trying to run but don't get away. But sometimes, to make the arrest, the police are coming to someone's door, whether it is that of an office or of a home, and said someone is sitting or standing there, knowing the police are coming, and just anticipating their arrival.

This trope, in turn, is about said anticipation, and how it can be played for suspense and/or drama.

This scene (contains spoilers) from The Shawshank Redemption comes to mind.

Truth in Television for some cases, but it might be an idea to focus on fictional examples for now.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • May 3, 2011
    elwoz
    Tom Lehrer ends "I Hold Your Hand In Mine" this way.
  • May 3, 2011
    Fanra
    There are two ways this can go.

    One is where the police ring your doorbell. You answer and they say, "Mister Smith?". "Yes?" "You are under arrest".

    The other is when, usually at 5am, they smash down your door(s), bursting in with guns drawn and point guns at your head (and your S.O., if you have one) while you are in bed just waking up from the noise. This one has become extremely common, even with non-violent criminals. I guess the opportunity to dress up in military gear and bust down doors is too good to pass up. Note that the damage to your door and any other damage is your problem, they are not legally responsible for the damages or if you are robbed while you are in jail with your door broken.
  • May 3, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Actually, there are more than two ways. The kind I mentioned in my first example (and implied from part of the description) is where you know the police are on their way, and you are there in your office anticipating their arrival.
  • May 4, 2011
    jaytee
    Isn't there some kind of law (or Hollywood law) about arresting someone inside their house or something? I could swear I've seen at least two examples where the question of whether the subject willingly stepped outside of his doorway befor ethe police cuffed him was a plot point.
  • May 4, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Not sure what you mean, jaytee...
  • May 4, 2011
    jaytee
    I'm not sure what I mean either... It's tough being me.
  • May 4, 2011
    Sackett
    ^^ I've heard something like that too

    My father (who is an attorney) once told me to never step outside when the police come to the door because... I can't remember.
  • May 4, 2011
    Fanra
    Actually, it works the other way around. If they arrest you inside your house, they can look around. If you step outside and lock the door behind you, you give them no excuse to look inside, unless they already have a warrant to search it.

    If they have an arrest warrant, they can arrest you anywhere. If they don't have an arrest warrant, then they can arrest you if they see you commit a crime or are in "hot pursuit" of you after you committed a crime.

    If they arrest you in your house or another area, they can check around you for anything in "plain sight" or where a weapon could be that you could grab.

    Staying in your doorway and not stepping outside does nothing.

    This is all for the USA, other countries are different.
  • May 4, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Well, I recall discussion a couple of years ago about that Real Life situation where a black college professor getting arrested for being belligerant to cops while they were purusing an investigation as to whether or not he was the property owner, the cops had to get him to step outside his house in order to arrest him for disorderly conduct because if he was doing it inside technically he wasn't bothering anyone. (ETA: This situation.)

    See the page image for Cut And Paste Suburb.
  • May 7, 2011
    neoYTPism
    This is more so about the anticipation of the arrival of the police than what one does once the police get there, although I suppose decisions made during said anticipation (like whether or not to step outside) are relevant enough.
  • May 7, 2011
    Fanra
    Randomsurfer, the Henry Louis Gates arrest is not a good example to use, as the charges were disorderly conduct for allegedly yelling at a policeman outside Gates' house. The charges were dropped, as in general it is not illegal to yell at the police, as long as you are not interfering with their official business. Of course, as shown, you can get arrested anyway, if the cop decides they don't like your actions or attitude.

    The charge of "disorderly conduct" is considered a "blanket" charge that is used anytime the police decide they don't like someone's attitude. If you don't yell or make a scene, you should be fine. In any case, whether or not you are inside or outside your house, if the cops decide they want to arrest you for breathing, they will.
  • May 9, 2011
    neoYTPism
    What is relevant to whether or not it is an example is whether or not Henry Louis Gates was waiting at his home and anticipating the arrival of the police.

    Even then, I am beginning to wonder if this YKTTW should focus on fictional examples, if only for Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgment...
  • May 12, 2011
    captainbrass2
    Might Simon and Garfunkel's Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. fit in here? The song's about a guy who's robbed a liquor store and is spending a last night with his girlfriend knowing that he has to leave in the morning or the police will turn up. Fridge Logic: If he's that worried about being caught, why's he in his girlfriend's bed and not on the run now?
  • May 13, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^ Perhaps because they have a lead on him or something and trying to leave now could risk getting him in even bigger trouble?
  • May 19, 2011
    ChimbleySweep
    Silence Of The Lambs: either a sub-category (in which case it is the most famous example of) or a subversion. The FBI ring the doorbell to the serial killer's house. Oblivious, he goes to answer the door, only for the audience to find out [spoiler text] that the FBI are at the wrong house! An alone and unaware Clarice Starling is the person ringing the killer's door (Alone With The Psycho).
  • May 19, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
    The end of the poem The Wild Party is something like this. There's been a murder, and the famous final lines are, "The door sprang open / And the cops rushed in."
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