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The Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist represents the law, who is [[TheDeterminator intent]] on capturing a criminal. It just so happens that the viewpoint character of the work is a LovableRogue or some other [[VillainProtagonist criminal]].

The Inspector must be sympathetic, unlike the InspectorJavert. He believes in the law, but won't sacrifice his humanity at its feet. He's doing exactly what he should be doing, and even doing it fairly well, but never quite as well as the protagonist is doing ''his'' job. As a series goes on, chances are he'll develop a great deal of [[WorthyOpponent respect]] for his quarry, and may be quite prone to [[EnemyMine teaming up]] with the protagonist. He also does not chase WronglyAccused criminals. Don't try to fake being a victim of his target; the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist ''knows'' his quarry, and can often tell right off "That's not his style." Likewise, he can often figure out pretty quickly if an innocent target is being framed by his archnemesis.

This sympathy can be played for laughs, and [[ButtMonkey humiliated left and right]] by the hero. Thus, this character runs a risk of becoming a joke among fans (or even [[InspectorOblivious in-series]]) if he never has any on-screen successes, especially if {{Flanderization}} sets in. A common way of preventing this is to have the character be a CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass against lesser crooks, thus racking up an impressive career record of arrests even if it is primarily cleaning up after his main quarry has defeated them. Perhaps he even deliberately lets the main villain go because the alternative is letting more vicious ones escape. Occasionally, he may even catch him, only for the criminal to escape other, more foolish characters, or receive ThePardon. Regardless, when his superiors try to replace him, that replacement usually finds himself ''totally'' outmatched by the rogue and humiliated to the point where the Inspector is replaced as the only police officer who has a decent chance of capturing the quarry.

More likely to be LawfulGood than InspectorJavert, because he has the answer to the question "ToBeLawfulOrGood". Many times, it is also revealed that he is VERY good at his job... but that his elusive quarry [[OvershadowedByAwesome is SO good as to make him look foolish]]. Spotlight episodes might even prove him to be [[TheChessmaster quite formidable]]. The protagonist himself may even praise him, and usually enjoys getting chased.

This character is also always considered an important one in the series, even if he is secondary to the protagonist: the series would just not be as interesting without a foil for the hero. Expect him to have a few episodes dedicated exclusively to him, like showing his point of view for an entire episode or showing his life outside chasing his prey. Can easily become an EnsembleDarkHorse if he's likable enough (which he usually is).

A subtrope of HeroAntagonist. See also TheRival. Compare {{Determinator}}, MeddlesomePatrolman. Contrast InspectorJavert (who may be villainous, though rarely actually ''evil'').

Simple inspector identification test: if it would be unjust for the inspector to actually arrest the hero, but the inspector doesn't know or doesn't agree, he is InspectorJavert. If it would be just to arrest the hero (a GentlemanThief is still a lawbreaker) but it never seems to happen or stick, despite him being good at his job, it's Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* Old Cookie Crisp commercials, which replaced the ones about their old mascot, Cookie Jarvis, had Officer Crumb chasing after the Cookie Crook and Chip the Dog for stealing Cookie Crisp. He never succeeded... until they changed the commercials to have Officer Crumb catch them in the end. Later the Cookie Crook and Chip the Dog were scrapped entirely for [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute Chip the Wolf]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The former TropeNamer is Inspector Kouichi Zenigata from the ''Franchise/LupinIII'' series. He set the standard for a whole host of wacky detectives following in the example of his relentless pursuit of Lupin. By this point, he's come to admit he wouldn't have any idea what to do with himself if he ''did'' catch Lupin. He's also very much in the "good, just not as good as his quarry" column - he gets closer to catching Lupin than anyone who tries to replace him, he's a one-man police force against any lesser criminal, and can have quite a good time beating up an entire gang of muggers barehanded. It's openly stated that his stellar arrest record (i.e. cleaning up after Lupin) is what lets him stay on the Lupin case.\\\
Zenigata has also actually been able to catch Lupin clean a few times. In the original manga and anime, he caught him with a VERY cleverly laid trap, and kept him behind bars FOR A YEAR. It took Lupin a VERY clever BatmanGambit to escape that time. The bottom line is Zenigata IS capable of catching Lupin from time to time. Lupin STAYING caught? Ah, now ''that's'' the tricky part, ain't it?\\\
He's also let Lupin go more than a few times, too. While Lupin is his archenemy, it's a matter of the two being [[FriendlyEnemy on reasonably good terms with each other]], and he'll stop chasing Lupin if there's a worse villain to be caught, even to the point of ignoring Lupin escaping if the badguy is bad enough (sort of a reward for helping stop him).
%%* Bob Copper from ''MegaManStarForce'', who is an {{Expy}} of Zenigata.
* In ''Manga/GunsmithCats'' and its pilot of sorts, ''Riding Bean'', Percy is the head investigator, obsessed with catching Bean Bandit the legendary Road Buster. Bean finds him most amusing, even though at one point he frames Bean for a murder so he can squeeze favours from the mobster who actually committed it. He's less sympathetic in ''GunsmithCats: Burst'', where Percy tries to have him ''assassinated'' and will happily put innocent lives at risk, order his men to near-suicidal maneuvers and let far more dangerous criminals get away if it brings him closer to catching Bean.
* SherlockHound's portrayal of InspectorLestrade has elements of this, when chasing Moriarty. Ironically, Creator/HayaoMiyazaki, one of the directors also directed ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro''.
* ''KaitouSaintTail'' has the AmateurSleuth Asuka Jr constantly trying to foil Saint Tail. Of course, complications arise from Meimi's on-off crush on him outside her alter-ego, eventually leading into DatingCatwoman.
%%* Tadashi from ''Manga/AstroBoy'' started out in this role.
* ''Managa/MagicKaito''
** Hakuba Saguru from can be seen as a serious version of this or, in his worse moments, a genuine InspectorJavert. However, he does do a fair bit of good despite his attempts to catch the gentleman thief protagonist, and views him as a WorthyOpponent. Also notable for the huge amount of HoYay his obsessed chase produces.
** Don't forget Inspector Nakamori, who is pretty much exactly [[Franchise/LupinIII Zenigata]]. He's an actual cop in charge of an entire division devoted exclusively to catching Kaitou Kid. He's also totally, unhealthily obsessed and does not even approach being smart enough to beat Kid, instead getting taunted and gently humiliated whenever he faces off against the thief. (Though he ''is'' more competent when not dealing with Kid.) And ironically, Nakamori's daughter [[{{Tsundere}} Aoko]] is the closest to Kaito's [[DatingCatwoman love]] [[VictoriousChildhoodFriend interest]].\\\
The ''MagicKaito'' manga was arranged with a lot of homages to the original Arsene Lupin, [[GentlemanThief Gentleman Burglar]], so that Nakamori is a clear {{Expy}} of the much-toyed-with Ganimar, and '''H'''akuba '''S'''aguru's original arrival is timed and delivered to be reminiscent of '[[LawyerFriendlyCameo Herlock Sholmes]]' in ''Lupin''. He's even wearing [[SherlockHolmes Holmes]] {{cosplay}}.
** Eventually, he gets ''yet another'' Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist... Conan from ''Manga/DetectiveConan''. Kid has actually had much more success as a guest star on Conan than he did with his own comic.
* Detective Leon Orcott of ''Manga/PetShopOfHorrors''. He finds Count D to be a threat to humanity. Count D finds him to be endearingly/irritatingly thick-headed. Both are correct in their assessment. [[GoKartingWithBowser This doesn't stop either of them from having tea with one another several times a month]].\\\
Leon also finds himself disturbingly attracted to D (disturbingly so because D is male - sort of), just as D finds himself disturbingly drawn to Leon (disturbingly so because Leon is human). Eventually, as Leon really begins to trust D, he lets his little brother live in the titular Petshop because he feels it would be ''the safest environment'' for the kid. ... And he still tries to arrest D occasionally after that.
* ''SetoNoHanayome'' has [[ShoutOut Zenigata]] Mawari, a policeman's daughter obsessed with enforcing rules with all her might. Comes with a CatchPhrase: "Must Mawari teach you the rules of..."
%%* Another female example: Atsuko "Jambo" Jackson, from ''MichikoToHatchin''.
* Inspector Saehara from ''DNAngel'' falls into the comic side of this trope due to Dark already having a rather more competent nemesis. He does realise it would be out of character for Dark to kidnap someone though.
* ''Manga/OnePiece''
** Captain, later Commodore, [[spoiler:even later on, Vice-Admiral]], Smoker. He's a marine, and catching pirates is his job - not wrongly so, since a lot of Pirates really are terrible criminals in this world. It just so happens our hero is also a pirate, if a really nice one that [[ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything never pillages or hurts innocents]]. He catches plenty of other, less nice pirates along the way and [[spoiler: actually helps with foiling the plans of the BigBad in the Alabasta arc]]. Also notable in that Luffy stands no chance against him in a fight and Smoker would have absolutely no problem taking Straw Hat in if not for dumb luck, circumstance, or help from allies always getting Luffy out of Smoker's grasp. [[spoiler:Well, at least until Luffy learned Haki. These days, their relationship is this and WorthyOpponent.]]
** Ironically, this was the relationship that Luffy's grandfather Garp had with the previous Pirate King. [[spoiler:So much so, that Roger, recognizing that they had pretty much become friends to the point that he trusted him as much as he did his own crew, entrusted Garp with his unborn child]]. The fact that Luffy and Smoker's relationship is so similar to their respective predecessors makes it more symbolic.
* L from ''Manga/DeathNote'' would qualify as a more serious and less hands on example. As the worlds greatest detective, he early on (correctly) fingers out the main protagonist as the most likely candidate to be the notorious serial killer known as "Kira" and continues to pursue his hunch for the rest of the series, even when circumstances (orchestrated by Light of course) seem to disprove this. [[spoiler: It's also a rare example where the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist's opponent ends up losing because of his hard work, albeit through his successor]]
* Misaki Kirihara of ''DarkerThanBlack'' manages to be one of the most sympathetic characters in the series despite spending most of it working against the (amoral, but generally also sympathetic) main characters. It helps that the series runs on GreyAndGrayMorality.
* ''Manga/CatsEye'': Inspector Utsumi will never, ever catch the three {{Classy Cat Burglar}}s. Because they're the protagonists, and because his girlfriend is [[DatingCatwoman one of them]].
* Several police persons appear in HanaNoKoLunlun, ranging from this trope to InspectorJavert. The most archetypical Sympathetic Inspector Antagonists are the policeman who chased after Sayid and Scharo in the first part of the Morocco miniarc, and the inspector form the Egypt episode who pursues a GentlemanThief that Lunlun has befriended [[spoiler: and actually ''succeeds'' in catching his target. Poor Lunlun never knew she was aiding an outlaw, tho.]]
%%* The wearin a shirt called "Checkmate" from TenjhoTenge
* Bright Honda in ''Manga/ShadowLady'' is a skilled detective and a wizard with gadgets, but he's trying to take down a supernatural cat burglar.
* Meguro from ''Manga/{{MW}}''. Like [[Manga/DeathNote L]], he guessed right who the bad guy is but lacks evidence.
* Kotarou Amon from ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'', having been shaken out of his [[BlackAndWhiteMorality black-and-white]] view of the world after encountering Kaneki. He remains determined to fight Ghouls and stands in Kaneki's way, but also considers him a WorthyOpponent that he desperately wants to learn more about. Roughly half of the series follows him, making him the secondary protagonist for chapters focused on the human side of the story. The second time they face each other in battle, he even allows Kaneki to escape while insisting that tending to the wounded is more important. In their final showdown, he finally gives his name to Kaneki and both mentally beg the other not to die. [[spoiler: Even after he loses his right arm to Kaneki, he insists that he can't die, because then it would make Kaneki a murderer -- the very thing he begged Amon to not make him, during their first encounter]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
%%* Lt. Kellaway from ''ComicBook/TheMask''.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} from the perspective of the ClassyCatBurglar ComicBook/{{Catwoman}}. He is dedicated to justice and she play loose with the law, but they bail each other out on occasion.
* Inspector Ginko in the Italian series ''ComicBook/{{Diabolik}}''. He's just as good as his quarry... And, being that good, he has already taken down a few [[TheMafia mob bosses with the entire organization]] and, in collaboration with Diabolik, crippled a terrorist organization. The only reason Diabolik usually wins is that, being a cop, Ginko is more restricted in the actions he can take, while Diabolik and Eva can do whatever they want.\\\
To show how good is Ginko: in the very first story, Ginko succeeded into identifying Diabolik, expose his use of LatexPerfection, and nearly caught him, with Diabolik escaping with the loot only because ''[[TheDeterminator he didn't cry in pain when Ginko shot the scarecrow he was hidden in]]'', making Ginko believe he had already ran away. A flashback in a following story shows that Diabolik had already tried to steal the target of his first story, but Ginko managed to ''arrest him'' (Diabolik evaded only because he was wearing a mask at the moment of capture, and managed to change identity the moment the prison guards looked another way).
* Finch in ''ComicBook/VForVendetta'' is an effective and honorable detective, it's just that V, his opponent, is a master of [[BatmanGambit Batman gambits]]. You could argue that this trope is subverted in the end, as Finch [[spoiler:manages to find and kill V]], but the comic strongly implies that [[spoiler:V wanted this to happen]], making it his ultimate BatmanGambit.
* In Comicbook/TheIncredibleHulk comic books, [[GeniusBruiser Doc Samson]] kept trying to stop the Hulk when he was savage or grey. He ought to be good at it, since he's almost as strong as the Hulk, but as the grey Hulk put it: "You know what [being almost as strong as me] means? NOTHING!"\\\
Doc Samson's origin story pointed out that he got his powers by draining them from the Hulk, but that the Hulk was (relatively) calm at the time ... and Hulk gets stronger as he gets angrier. Of course, since the Hulk's baseline is still pretty darn strong, Samson is no slouch against most opponents.
* In the KaitouKiramekiMan series of the Anime/TimeBokan franchise, the iconic TerribleTrio were bumbling cops who always failed at catching the GentlemanThief protagonists.
%%* Inspecteur Croûton in ''Gil Jourdan''. Then he becomes an ally.
* In the 1970s both [[WolfMan Man-Wolf]] and ComicBook/{{Morbius}} headlined their own series in monster anthologies. Their shared Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist was Simon Stroud of the "Special Police Task Force". He was an honorable man who tried to capture them alive, and used lethal force only against truly "inhuman" foes. He made his last appearance as a genuine hero in 1980. After several years OutOfFocus, Stroud resurfaced in the 1990s ''Morbius'' series as a man utterly obsessed with killing Morbius. He had long since abandoned his career, alliances, and much of his morality in favor of hunting his vampire. In one story arc of this later series, Stroud briefly ends up in a [[BedlamHouse Mental Institution]]. It is mentioned that the other patients live in fear of him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl'': Norrington. He's definitely not the bad guy, and is pursuing Jack out of duty and orders. Jack is, after all a pirate, and piracy was a huge threat to settlements.\\\
Several of the deleted scenes feature PetTheDog moments for Norrington. Notably, he tells Governor Swann that whatever his personal feelings towards Will, he's duty-bound to try and rescue him from Barbossa. He also has a moving heart-to-heart talk with Elizabeth after she "accepts" his proposal. Even Jack admits that he respects Norrington as "a man who knows what he's after."
* Willem Dafoe's character in TheBoondockSaints hits this trope. Perhaps averted later [[spoiler:when he attempts to imitate the Saints, and again when he flat out joins their cause.]].
* Kenneth William's characters in the ''Film/CarryOn'' movies with Sid James as an outlaw (''Film/CarryOnDick'' and ''Film/DontLoseYourHead''). Fits this trope rather amusingly, with Sid James as the GentlemanThief.
* Inspector Jacques Clouseau of ''Film/ThePinkPanther'' fame started out as this in the very first film pursuing [[Main/GentlemanThief the Phantom]], who was the original protagonist. Clouseau became the EnsembleDarkHorse the subsequent films focused on, and he never gave up his determination to capture villains. This, combined with his chronic ineptitude, is what drove [[Main/DaChief his superior]] Chief Inspector Dreyfus to madness. On the other hand, in ''Trail of the Pink Panther'', Charles Lytton (the Phantom himself) saw that determination as the secret to what success Clouseau had.
%%* Sheriff Beaufort T. Justice in the ''SmokeyAndTheBandit'' movies.
* Creator/TomHanks's character Carl Hanratty in ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan'' hunts down a very skilled conman/forger.
* Detective Martin Prendergast in ''Film/FallingDown'' is the HeroAntagonist. He opposes and tries to calm down the rampage of the VillainProtagonist.
* ''ShinjukuIncident'' has detective Kitano, playing the role to its extreme. He's a bit of a {{jerkass}} for parts of the film, but he is nonetheless shown in a positive light, in a sense even more so than JackieChan's character. Subverted/played with, though, in that rather than chase Steelhead to the ends of the earth, he agrees not to do just that...after he almost dies chasing Steelhead to the ends of the earth.
* The nameless LAPD detectives of 1-Baker-11 in ''Film/GoneInSixtySeconds1974'' are a perfect example of this and HeroAntagonist. Maindrian Pace has been stealing cars, then, after being tipped off to his final theft and instituting a stakeout, Pace rams their car and flees from the scene after being signalled to stop. They are the only police car to chase Pace the entire pursuit, from beginning to end.
* Inspectors Castlebeck and Drycoff in the remake of ''Film/GoneInSixtySeconds2000''.
* Sue Shiomi in the role of Huo Feng in ''Film/TheStreetFighter's Last Revenge''.
* Maximus from ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', a royal mount that got separated from his rider but still kept trying to bring Flynn in. [[spoiler: He eventually warms up to him.]]
%%* Superintendent Graham from ''Film/TigerBay''
%%* Inspector Tarconi in ''Film/TheTransporter''.
%%* Richie Roberts in ''AmericanGangster''
* Inspector Kong from ''Film/SoClose'' begins the movie as this. The protagonists are a pair of professional killers. Once they're [[ContractOnTheHitman betrayed]] and Kong is framed, however, she joins the remaining hitwoman to [[ClearMyName clear her name]].
* Paul Giamatti's chief inspector in ''Film/TheIllusionist'' sympathizes and even admires the hero, but works at the pleasure of the villainous aristocracy. He ultimately allows the hero to get away with his master plan.
%%* Pat Garret in both ''Film/YoungGuns'' films
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The original Literature/ArseneLupin had Ganimard, the original Zenigata. Lupin himself admits that even though Ganimard doesn't have his or Holmes's intellect, he made up on pure tenacity and determination. Not that Lupin ever had any qualms on making him look like a fool though. Notable for being the first one ever to arrest Lupin.
* In the Moist von Lipwig POV Literature/{{Discworld}} novels, Vimes is this, though an unusual case as those who've read the whole series will be familiar with him as a protagonist.
* Most of the police officers who pursue ''Literature/TheSaint'' fall into this category, especially Chief Inspector Claud Eustace Teal of Scotland yard and Inspector John Henry Fernack of the NYPD. Teal was so important to Simon Templar's early adventures that two collections were named after him. He also saved the Saint's life at least once.
* Porfiry Petrovich from ''Literature/CrimeAndPunishment'' is probably this; subverted in that he [[ItWasHisSled succeeds]], [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin hence the second part of the title]]. What's so impressive about Porfiry is that the protagonist, while guilty, just manages through a combination of luck and XanatosSpeedChess to make it so that there is very little evidence against him; the only way he could be convicted is if he confesses. Porfiry, knowing that the protagonist is guilty but not possessing enough evidence to convict, ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome manages to hound and mess with him enough to convince him to confess.]]''\\\
Interestingly, even while he was messing with the protagonist with such ideas as reduction of sentence and suicide, he seemed genuinely concerned for the protagonist's moral welfare. (Only after, however, he is utterly certain that the protagonist will confess. Knowing he's caught the right guy and clinched the case, he takes some time out to feel sorry for him.)
%%* Charlie Weston in the ''Literature/NickVelvet'' stories
%%* Ben Price in the short story ''A Retrieved Reformation''
* Literature/JakubWedrowycz's wannabe nemesis, officer Birski, who rarely succeeds in arresting him, and even then only manages to do so on charges of producing moonshine (as opposed to a whole lot of other outrageous things [[CrazyAwesome Jakub tends to do]]).
%%* Captain Quarterblood in the ''Literature/RoadsidePicnic'' by the Creator/StrugatskyBrothers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The various Army commanders (of which there were five or six) who pursued the ''Series/TheATeam'' flip-flopped between this and InspectorJavert depending on the script & characterizations. [[ColonelBadass Colonel Decker]] managed to embody both tropes, being a WellIntentionedExtremist.
* Paul Ballard on ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'' spends most of the first season trying to uncover the titular operation. Many would consider him the true protagonist of the show, apart from Echo who is a victim he is trying to save.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'':
** Harry "Snapper" Organs's pursuit of the Piranha Brothers seems to be a spoof of this trope.
** Well, that and Inspector Leonard [[AluminumChristmasTrees "Nipper"]] Read, the guy who brought down [[LondonGangster the Kray Twins]] of whom the Piranhas were a parody.
* Jim Sterling on ''Series/{{Leverage}}'', except he '''never''' looks foolish and the protagonists never manage to humiliate him, even when they get away, [[MagnificentBastard because he always manages somehow to get promoted after every encounter with them.]]\\\
Sterling is also an interesting example because he doesn't actually care all that much about capturing Team Leverage unless it somehow serves his own purposes and ambitions. Most of the time, he just leaves them alone.
%%** Detective Bonanno might actually a better example of this trope.
* Hank Schrader of ''Series/BreakingBad'' is this to an elusive crystal-meth manufacturer known to him only as "Heisenberg." [[DramaticIrony Little does he know]] that "Heisenberg" is actually his brother-in-law Walter White, the JustifiedCriminal protagonist of the series.
* Peter Burke of ''Series/WhiteCollar'' was this pre-series - by the time the show starts he's already caught GentlemanThief Neal. Then they end up on the same side, and he still plays this sometimes, considering Neal has some trouble letting go of his former conman ways.
* Doakes serves as the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist in ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' [[spoiler: until he's killed in a fire.]]
%%* Seasoned detective Kwak in the KoreanSeries ''BadBoy''.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "Planet of the Dead", the detective pursuing [[ClassyCatBurglar Lady Christina]] is mostly played for laughs, ignored by UNIT and other authorities, and in the end, the Doctor helps her escape as he watches in futility.
* Detective Carter in ''PersonOfInterest'' is a serious version, pursuing the vigilante protagonist. She does occasionally team up with Finch and Reese, [[spoiler: the frequency of such team ups increasing up until the season finale, where for the second time, she (along with her partner, Lionel Fusco, who was initially blackmailed into assisting them unbeknownst to Carter until she tracked him down) helped Reese evade the CIA.]] Finch will occasionally contact Carter for information that the NYPD may have on a POI.
%%* Chief Inspector Teal in ''Series/TheSaint''.
* ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' gave us a single-episode example in the form of Sheriff Bourne in ''The Train Job''. He nearly catches Mal early on, except for the intervention of Inara, and after cornering Mal, decides to let him go when he sees that Mal was in the process of returning the stolen cargo, having learned that it was actually medicine needed to alleviate the villagers debilitating lung-disease.
* Detective Quentin Lance on ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' is another serious example. Mostly being antagonistic to our hooded vigilante, he's never actually a problem, and Oliver actually relies on Lance to be there at the right moment, and gives him tips on other criminals (such as [[ColdSniper Deadshot]]) when he needs help taking them down. Notably, Lance actually found incriminating evidence that Oliver was the vigilante running around [[spoiler:Only for it to be a plan by Oliver to ensure he's never under suspicion by having an ally dress up and take his place and making it seem as if Lance was blinded by a "personal vendetta" against the Queen family.]] Ollie does legitimately thank Lance though.
* Police in general in ''Series/{{Covert Affairs}}'' on several occasions. Both Annie and the Police of the countries she is working in are doing their respective jobs.
* Chloe O'Brien becomes this in the final season of ''TwentyFour'' [[spoiler: when Jack undergoes a FaceHeelTurn in his quest to [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge slaughter]] the mastermind of the attacks on New York whose actions lead to the death of Renee Walker. Chloe wants to expose them, as opposed to Jack who just wants to kill them regardless of who gets hurt in the process.]]
* Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzalez in ''Series/FromDuskTillDawn'' is determined to hunt down the Gecko brothers, [[VillainProtagonist the protagonists]] of the series.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Carmelita Fox from the ''Franchise/SlyCooper'' video game series. She's one of the most respected cops in the world, perhaps thanks to Sly's MO of only stealing from other criminals: even though she usually fails to catch Sly, she can always bring in his victim. Sly also tends to flirt with her whenever they clash, which eventually evolves into DatingCatwoman.\\\
Carmelita is unique among Sympathetic Inspector Antagonists in that [[spoiler: at the end of ''VideoGame/Sly3HonorAmongThieves'', she DOES capture Sly...in a manner of speaking. The two of them end up romantically involved and Sly quits the thief business so they can be together. Of course, he does this by faking amnesia, so it's hard to say who really ends up on top here.]] As of Sly 4, [[spoiler: after figuring out that Sly was faking amnesia and getting mixed up in the Cooper Gang's latest mission, she finally has the epiphany that she and Sly aren't so different. They both stop real crooks, just from different sides of the law. The ending implies that she's now on relatively good terms with the gang.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'', Hieronymus Lex - one of the Imperial City's Watch Captains - is the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist to the Gray Fox, leader of the Thieves' Guild in Cyrodiil. In fact, he is one of the only members of the Imperial Watch who even believes the Thieves' Guild exists, and has dedicated himself to becoming a perpetual, overzealous thorn in its side. [[spoiler:He mellows considerably after you inform him that he's been reassigned to the city of Anvil... although not without a brief rant about how the Gray Fox must have been behind that, too.]] [[spoiler:He's right.]] Although for fun, [[spoiler: once you get the Gray Fox cowl, you can put it on in front of him and have him sputter in disbelief at finally catching him]].\\\
So many layers of irony were in that 'reassignment'. [[spoiler:On one hand, Lex is now unwittingly working for the Gray Fox. On the other hand, it was the Gray Fox who, after so many years of cat-n-mouse evasion between them, hand-picked him to be his head of security. This actually reveals a huge respect for the man.]]
* Officer Denise Marmalade in ''[[VideoGame/MegaManLegends The Misadventures of Tron Bonne]]''.
* Captain Leblanc of the Schwann Brigade in ''VideoGame/TalesofVesperia''. In a final side quest with him before the final dungeon, after Yuri escapes from him one final time, he even laughs and says "I wouldn't have it any other way".
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** Luke Atmey plays the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist to GentlemanThief Mask*[=DeMasque=] in ''AceAttorney: Trials and Tribulations.'' [[spoiler: By which we mean he's blackmailing [=DeMasque=] into committing the thefts to make money and get attention.]]
** And in ''Ace Attorney Investigations'' Detective Badd's spent ten years chasing a vigilante thief called the Yatagarasu and has become an expert on his techniques. [[spoiler: By which we mean he ''is'' the Yatagarasu, or at least one of the three people in the Yatagarasu group. Since he's the main detective on the case he can easily erase all evidence of the Yatagarasu's identity.]]
** Dick Gumshoe is usually this, but even moreso in ''Investigations'', where he's Edgeworth's assistant/sidekick. Though he's most used for comedic purposes, he has shades of InspectorLestrade, {{Determinator}}, and DumbassHasAPoint. Notably, in the last case, he was able to deliver all the remaining evidence needed to incriminate the suspect without ''even being told what to look for''. If he pays more attention to Edgeworth, he could easily [[TookALevelInBadass take a level in badass]] in sequels, but this is unlikely, since now he's more of a TheWatson, but at least it's a step up from ButtMonkey.
* Spectre Jondum Bau from ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' is a semi-example. He's not against Shepard, but he is trying to hunt down one of Shepard's friends, Kasumi Goto, ClassyCatBurglar extraordinaire. Both Bau and Kasumi have great respect for each other. He does however look the other way after realising Shepard has been secretly aiding and abetting Kasumi the entire time. It helps that Kasumi [[NeverFoundTheBody apparently]] died trying to save the hanar homeworld. That plus Shepard's trust in her would be a potent argument in favor of "cleared of all charges." And no, this is not a spoiler, Shepard guesses she's still alive if she's loyal.\\\
This seems to be typical of Spectres in general though they're in danger of JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope when they do, because Spectres are given broad authority to violate lesser regulations in service of the greater good of the Council, which allows them to work with mercs, thieves, and assasins. A Spectre in the second game works with the Shadow Broker because of the useful intel she gets. Shepard himself is willing to work with Cerberus in the second game.
* In ''VisualNovel/LoveLetterFromThiefX'', Tatsuro Togoshi is a police detective assigned to catch the main characters, who make up a group of [[PhantomThief Phantom Thieves]] called the Black Foxes. He's also the protagonist's childhood friend, which makes things complicated for both of them after she becomes involved with the Foxes, and on a couple of occasions he ends up turning a blind eye and letting them go rather than be forced to arrest them.
* Inspector Paul Vergier in ''VideoGame/RhythmThiefAndTheEmperorsTreasure'' spends much of the game unsuccessfully trying to catch Phantom R, although he's very good at predicting where Phantom R would be next. When NapoleonBonaparte goes after Vergier later on (ItMakesSenseInContext), however, Vergier guns down Napoleon's {{Mook}}s with little effort.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* Detective Leon Williams in ''Literature/AngelOfDeath'' is assigned to discover the identity of the titular serial killer, our protagonist. He has a very low opinion of the Angel, but only because he does not know that he has to kill to survive, and when [[spoiler:Valthakar kills a woman on camera, attempting to frame the Angel of Death,]] Det. Williams instantly sees through it and deduces that [[spoiler:another killer is behind this. This is doubly impressive when you consider that the Angel of Death has powers which everyone involved had a hard time accepting were real in his case, let alone in another.]]
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
%%* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' DIB! DIB! DIB!
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitansTroubleInTokyo'', Commander Daizo is another serious form of this, sternly chasing Robin once he "kills" one of Brushogun's ink constructs. He even ''looks'' like [[Franchise/LupinIII Zenigata]] - intentionally so, given the setting and nature of the film. But in a twist, [[spoiler: he's revealed to be the villain of the piece, using Brushogun as a slave to create criminals for him to capture.]]
* Commander Ulysses Feral will not stop before he's caught those ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'' for the destruction they inflict on the city! ... Usually. His real sympathetic part is that more than once a bad guy he's captured will try to use his mutual hatred of the SWAT Kats to get favorable treatment, only to be promptly reminded that Feral does ''not'' make deals with criminal scum.
%%* Ganimard from ''NightHood''.
%%* Ranger Smith from ''WesternAnimation/YogiBear''. Charged with the duty of keeping people's picnic baskets from being stolen.
* The Sheriff from the Bunny and Claude ''[[LooneyTunesInTheSixties Looney Tunes]]'' cartoons.
* Agent Li in ''WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject'', which frequently brings her into conflict with her boss, [[InspectorJavert Agent Bennett]]. Eventually, [[spoiler: she seeks reassignment due to her belief that Zeta is not a threat to anyone.]]
%%* [[FatBastard Rancid]] [[FatIdiot Rabbit]] from CatDog.
%%* [[StupidBoss Principal Pixiefrog]] from ''WesternAnimation/MyGymPartnersAMonkey''.
%%* Mr. Wilter and Principal Stringet from ''ChalkZone''.
%%* Ranger Stu from ''SquirrelBoy''.
%%* The Angry Cop from ''TheGoodeFamily'' episode "Gerald's Way or The Highway".
%%* Benson from ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow''.
%%* Gobsmack from ''WesternAnimation/{{Pearlie}}''.
%%* Candace certainly ''thinks'' she is this to WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb.
%%--> '''Candace''': Mom, Phineas and Ferb are writing stuff about me online!
%%* Rambamboo from ''WesternAnimation/{{Breadwinners}}''.
%%* The titled character from ''WesternAnimation/ScaredySquirrel'' combinds this with the IdiotHero and the VillainProtagonist tropes.
%%* Cheif from ''WesternAnimation/TakAndThePowerOfJuju''.
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