Created By: darkjezter on September 1, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on May 2, 2016

Throwing Away The Badge

Resignation letters are for pansies. Real men quit the police force by tossing away their badge in disgust.

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Trope
So you've got a movie or TV show about police officers, and one of the characters becomes disillusioned and decides to quit the force. What better way to show them deciding to quit the force than by throwing away their badge in disgust?

  1. Turn in Your Badge: Da Chief orders the loose cannon to do it, probably due some reckless action.
  2. Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: In a more strict setting, like on the military or some other highly hierarchical organization, turning in the badge is Serious Business, with a whole ceremony for such dishonor, probably because of a big failure or breaking an important rule withing the organization, not only he loses the badge, but his reputation, honor, credibility, privileges and his library pass.
  3. This trope: A way for the loose cannon to say "F*ck You" when demanded to turn in the badge.

A favorite of Cowboy Cops.


Examples:

Film
  • At the end of Point Break, Johnny Utah tosses his FBI badge into the ocean.
  • Dirty Harry also does this.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Officer Blake throws his badge away after being shot at by his fellow police officers.
  • In the 2000 Shaft film, the title character is so disgusted when a guilty-as-Hell suspect is granted bail that he throws his badge like a ninja star, causing it to embed itself in the wall of the courtroom.
  • This happened at the end of High Noon, where Will Kane takes off his sheriff's badge and drops it in on the ground in front of the town that's abandoned him.
  • At the end of the Tek War Made-for-TV Movie Tek Justice Jake tosses his private security ID badge and gun down before walking out in disgust over his boss's actions. His boss assures everyone that he'll be back.

Literature
  • The entire Ankh-Morpork City Watch does this in the Discworld novel Jingo, rather than work for Lord Rust. Well, except for Sergeant Detritus, who also quits but points out his badge is carved on his arm.

Live-Action TV

Western Animation
  • Stinky Diver does this in the Action League Now episode, "Turkey of Terror", when he doesn't believe The Mayor has gone good by inviting them to a Thanksgiving dinner at his mansion. Turns out, Stinky was right about The Mayor, and he later comes to The Mayor's mansion to rescue the League after Justice brings him his badge.

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • September 1, 2012
    DaibhidC
    • The entire Ankh-Morpork City Watch does this in the Discworld novel Jingo, rather than work for Lord Rust. Well, except for Sergeant Detritus, who also quits but points out his badge is carved on his arm.
  • September 1, 2012
    Damr1990
    a favorite of Cowboy Cops
  • September 1, 2012
    morenohijazo
    This happened at the end of High Noon, where Will Kane takes off his sheriff's badge and drops it in on the ground in front of the town that's abandoned him.
  • September 1, 2012
    randomsurfer
    At the end of the Tek War Made For TV Movie Tek Justice Jake tosses his private security ID badge and gun down before walking out in disgust over his boss's actions. His boss assures everyone that he'll be back.
  • September 1, 2012
    jatay3
  • September 1, 2012
    StarValkyrie
  • September 1, 2012
    Damr1990
    ^ ^^ to clarify:
    • Turn In Your Badge: Da Chief orders the loose cannon to do it, probably due some reckless action
    • Insignia Rip Off Ritual: in a more strict setting , like on the military or some other highly hierarchical organization, turning in the badge is Serious Business, with a whole ceremony for such dishonor, probably because of a big failure or breaking an important rule withing the organization, not only he loses the badge, but his reputation, honor, credibility, privileges and his library pass
    • this trope: a way for the loose cannon to say "F*ck You" when demanded to turn in the badge
  • September 2, 2012
    Euodiachloris
    It might be somewhat distinctive... but I smell a merger in a future clean-up... <shrugs>
  • September 2, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^They don't even need to be "demanded to turn in their badge." They could independently resign.
  • September 3, 2012
    darkjezter
    Updated with additional entries from replies.
  • October 8, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    "Sonny" Crockett does this on the very last scene of the last episode of Miami Vice. Considering hos bad things have been for him from the first episode, it's impressive he didn't do so earlier.
  • October 8, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • Stinky Diver does this in the Action League Now episode, "Turkey of Terror", when he doesn't believe The Mayor has gone good by inviting them to a Thanksgiving dinner at his mansion. Turns out, Stinky was right about The Mayor, and he later comes to The Mayor's mansion to rescue the League after Justice brings him his badge.
  • July 24, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Bump!
  • July 24, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 24, 2014
    robinjohnson
  • July 24, 2014
    BKelly95
    Video Games
    • Tanner does this at the end of the first Driver. Apparently, it didn't take because he's still on the force in later games.
  • July 24, 2014
    bejjinks
    Not sure this has anything to do with how a "real man" acts but the trope of throwing away a badge in disgust is a real trope.

    • In "Crash", the younger, less racist, more naive officer accidentally kills a black man because he fears the black man might have a gun. After realizing the black man had a religious icon instead, the cop drives to an abandoned part of the city, sets his police car on fire, and walks away throwing his badge away.

    Sorry if I formatted this wrong. I'm still figuring out how to format on this site.
  • January 9, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump please.
  • January 9, 2015
    Ominae
    Near the end of Robocop 3, all of the officer stationed at the Detroit Police Department's Metro West precient tossed their badges in front of an OCP Securities Concept representative as a sign of protest when they were ordered to be deployed in order to clear out refugees living in the slums.
  • January 9, 2015
    maxwellsilver
    Please correct the namespacing.

    Also, Tanner was with the Chicago Police in Driver 2. In Driver he was NYPD.

    And Dirty Harry is probably the Trope Codifier.
  • January 9, 2015
    Skylite
  • January 10, 2015
    thunderkey
    Go and mine Insignia Rip Off Ritual, then make this a sub trope of that, because of how throwing a way is just one specific ritual.
  • January 11, 2015
    Arivne
    • Capitalized the title.
    • Changed * to # to number a list.
    • Added periods at the ends of sentences.
    • Changed unnecessary double curly braces to Camel Case.
    • Examples section
  • January 26, 2015
    Ominae
    I don't know if includes covering up your tracks, but the latest Grimm showed the main cast (except for Wu) toss their badges before they rescue Monroe from being "executed".
  • January 26, 2015
    gallium
    Why is all the spoiler text in bold font? I've never seen that in any other article and it's distracting.
  • January 26, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ ykttw bug
  • January 29, 2015
    Ominae
    Seemingly played with in Grimm's "Tribunal", Nick, Hank and Renard toss their badges into the trunk of a SUV before they go rescue Monroe from being executed. They only do this so that no one can identify them as police officers.

    (Don't know if this works. But I'll get a relevant photo up here.)
  • January 29, 2015
    DAN004
    That'd fit more into a trope about "losing your identifying mark".

    Do we have it, btw?
  • January 29, 2015
    Ominae
    Good question though...

    Closest I can find is Identity Concealment Disposal.
  • January 30, 2015
    ZuTheSkunk
    Does this qualify?

    • In Rango, when the titular character's lies he spread throughout the movie are finally exposed and he's exiled from the town as a result, he stops for a moment to look at the sheriff badge he's still wearing. He then throws it on the ground in defeat and continues walking away from the town.
  • May 1, 2016
    marcoasalazarm
    I Come In Peace: When "Larry" Smith gets almost killed by his boss because He Knows Too Much and questions the utility of making first contact with aliens through what is effectively The Aggressive Drug Dealer, he grabs his federal agent badge and tosses it to the chest of his boss' still-cooling corpse.
  • May 1, 2016
    iNfiniTeSe7eNz
    Here's the issue: Insignia Rip Off Ritual currently covers cases where the the person in command is forcibly demoting or discharging the offending party, and also where the cop/soldier becomes disillusioned with their organization and quits of their own volition. We'd have to move all of the latter examples from that to this.
  • May 2, 2016
    ErikModi
    In I Robot, when Detective Spooner is finally asked to turn in his badge by his Captain, he throws it at him in disgust.
  • May 2, 2016
    Tallens
    Would this count?

    • Babylon Five: In mid season 3, after an organization called Nightwatch is given authority to take over all security duties on the station, Zack Allen, who's been a member since it started, helps the captain trap the Nightwatch officers in the docking bay, after which he tears the armband identifying him as a member and throws it to the floor.
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