[[caption-width-right:300:[[SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou Dirty Larry is Shooting You]].]]
->'''Captain:''' Senator Mendoza is one of the most respected men in this state, [=McBain=]. And you drove his limo off a cliff, broke the necks of three of his bodyguards, and drove a bus through his front door?!\\
'''[=McBain=]:''' But Captain, I have proof dat he is head of an international drug cartel!\\
'''Captain:''' I don't wanna hear it, [=McBain=]! You're outta here!\\
''[[=McBain=]'' ''punches the captain out a window.]''\\
'''[=McBain=]:''' That makes two of us.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', "The Way We Was"

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

''He's a loose cannon, but ''DAMMIT'' he's the best we have!''

Sure, our society may be built upon rules and procedures, but they usually make for bad television. Sometimes you have to bend the rules, [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique rough up the suspects]], [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight moon your supervisors]] and [[OnlyBadGuysCallTheirLawyers shred the Constitution]] to get stuff done.

A Cowboy Cop may be an AntiHero (or an occasional ByronicHero) if he is the protagonist of the show, typically HotBlooded and passionate about his maverick antics, or a JerkWithAHeartOfGold whose [[CassandraTruth unlikely claims will generally be proven correct]]. However, in shows that feature cops as secondary characters, the Cowboy Cop is often at odds with the main characters, as he will trample all over the crime scene and/or the suspect's rights. If DaChief is a Cowboy Cop he would often reprimand the naive upstart who is being too soft with the criminals and will gladly let the loose cannons go in shooting first and asking questions later.

He will usually be a detective, as a beat cop is much less likely to be intimately involved in a case's full duration.

In a SWAT Team type situation where the cops are expected to shoot to kill, he does not care about human shields or property damage and will more often than not almost level the place to take down the suspects, with extreme lethal force.

Cowboy Cops are almost always asked to TurnInYourBadge by DaChief, at which point they usually become a VigilanteMan in regards to whatever bad guy they are after for either the rest of the movie or until they get their badge back. As a result of his flagrant rule-breaking, InternalAffairs ''hates'' the Cowboy Cop with a passion. Often policemen who oppose the Cowboy Cop are revealed to be {{Dirty Cop}}s, scared that he's going to shake up the system they've worked so hard to manipulate in their favor. As part of being unorthodox, the Cowboy Cop often has at least one [[StreetSmart contact on the street]] to feed him information that can't be obtained through an official channels.

Just as with cowboy sheriffs in the old west, cowboy cops rarely show any remorse for using lethal force. First kill scenarios are rarely depicted; these guys (and occasionally gals) have usually filled whole cemeteries to capacity before we meet them for the first time.

Being a Cowboy Cop may be just be backstory -- the character might make the transition to another field such as being a federal officer or a [[TheMenInBlack Man in Black]], where their methods might fit in a little better.

May often be the recipient of ArsonMurderAndLifesaving.

The TropeNamer for "Cowboy Cop" is ''Film/BeverlyHillsCop'' (1984), then the term was popularized by ''Film/DieHard'' (1988).

Compare BunnyEarsLawyer. Contrast ByTheBookCop. Compare ''and'' contrast DirtyCop and RabidCop. While a Cowboy Cop is generally more well-intentioned than a Dirty Cop, more {{deconstruct|edTrope}}ive works will concede that they both show [[NotSoDifferent equal scorn]] for necessary regulations; meanwhile a Rabid Cop is a Cowboy who's lost all sense of perspective and morality. For the military version, see MilitaryMaverick. OldFashionedCopper is the specifically British subtrope. For a policeman involved with literal OldWest cowboys, see TheSheriff.

* CowboyCop/AnimeAndManga
* CowboyCop/ComicBooks
* CowboyCop/{{Film}}
* CowboyCop/{{Literature}}
* CowboyCop/LiveActionTV
* CowboyCop/VideoGames
* CowboyCop/WebComics
* CowboyCop/WesternAnimation
* CowboyCop/RealLife


[[folder: Advertising and Commercials]]
* One Sprint commercial proclaims that its video phones make everything awesome, and as proof, shows a clip from a (nonexistent) film called "Epic Renegade Cop" where Callahan is ordered Turn In Your Weapon by DaChief. [[ExtendedDisarming Among the things Callahan sets down]] are a (ludicrously huge) HandCannon, a pair of nunchucks, a machine gun, and, when DaChief glares at him, a rocket launcher.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Parodied by the "comic within the comic", in Al Capp's classic ''ComicStrip/LilAbner''. "Fearless Fosdick", who Abner Yokum idolized, was a satiric CaptainErsatz of classic comic strip detective ComicStrip/DickTracy, and he often turned up the Cowboy Cop aspects of the Tracy strip to at least 11 (if not higher). The typical conclusion of a Fosdick adventure would feature Fosdick himself ventilated by a number of large bullet holes in his person (though in the context of the strip, these amounted to mere flesh wounds), while he stood surrounded by large piles of bullet-riddled corpses of innocent bystanders.

* Garrus Vakarian of ''Fanfic/{{Renegade}}'', to an extent that even his main universe counterpart would consider a bit much. His favorite method of entering buildings [[DynamicEntry is via truck]], his favorite type of gunshot is [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique to the kneecap]], and apparently [[TankGoodness he can drive a tank]].
* Qui-Gon Jinn in [[https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3380015/ruth-baulding ruth baulding's]] works, in a ToBeLawfulOrGood choice, will always choose Good. To the point where, in ''Exodus,'' he ''lets himself get enslaved because he knows the Council will send someone to rescue him'' (and the rest of the slaves with him).

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The "Cop" character archetype in ''TabletopGame/{{Cyberpunk}} 2020'' and its related games is essentially this trope. This is somewhat justified in-setting where everyone and their mother is packing high-caliber heat and cyberware.
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'''s Ravnica block, the Boros Legion was an entire guild of this sort - it's what you get when you combine White's morality and concern for the greater good with Red's emotional nature and individuality, and then give it the task of enforcing the law.
* The Maverick Cop from ''TabletopGame/FengShui'' is nearly invariably one of these kinds of cops. In many games, he or she is usually paired up with the more [[ByTheBookCop by-the-book]] Karate Cop.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'': Dangeresque, Strong Bad's action-hero alter ego.
* The ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'' episode "Stay Tuned" turns into a CopShow parody, with Pinkie Pie in the role of "cop on the edge, living on the limits of the law, with a gambling problem and a brother on the other side!"

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The internet comedy group [=BriTANick=] has performed a sketch during at least one of their live shows featuring a Cowboy Cop parody character named [=MacNamara=] who explains to DaChief that he acts the way he does because [[spoiler:his wife and children were killed by a werewolf.]] Understandably, the chief is skeptical, [[spoiler:and rightfully so, because it turns out [=MacNamara=] just shot his dog while pretending it was a werewolf and subsequently claimed to everyone his family was dead when they obviously weren't, all so he could be seen as insane and be given early retirement. It doesn't work, so he changes tactics and pretends to transform into a werewolf himself. When it seems like he's about to get naked, the chief relents and grants him the early retirement.]]
* ''Funny Or Die's'' ''[[http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/2621d24714/tough-justice-with-michelle-dockery Tough Justice]]'', which pits [[Series/TheShield Vic Mackey]] alongside Lady Mary from ''Series/DowntonAbbey''.
* Parodied in [[http://www.theonion.com/content/news/vigilante_cop_acts_as_judge_jury these]] [[http://www.theonion.com/content/news/entire_precinct_made_up_of_loose articles]] from ''Comic/TheOnion''.
* ''Blog/SeekingTruth'': Zeke Strahm, though he is woefully WrongGenreSavvy and ends up having to deal with [[CosmicHorrorStory a problem a bit bigger than an ordinary scumbag]].
* As a detective in ''VideoGame/TroubleInTerroristTown'', LetsPlay/{{Turpster}} tends to favour shooting first and not bothering with the questions, at least in LetsPlay/{{Sips}}' videos. This gets to the point where he dubs himself the "RDM Detective" [[note]]RDM stands for "random death match" and is a potentially bannable offence in TTT, since games can degenerate into pointless shootouts and ruin the fun for others[[/note]]. This eventually presses LetsPlay/LewisBrindley's BerserkButton and drives him to murder Turps out of sheer anger even though they're both innocent. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIX_wFKZvF0&list=UUD4INvKvy83OXwAkRjaQKtw#t=487 Video here]].
-->'''[=McBain=]''': '''''MENDOZAAAAAAA!!!'''''