Cowboy Cop / Video Games

  • Purna in Dead Island was one of these in her backstory. Fed up with the racism (she's half-Aboriginal), sexism, and corruption in the Sydney Police Department, she eventually snapped, confronting and shooting a child molester who had used his wealth and connections to escape prosecution. She later became a Bodyguard Babe for rich VIPs.
  • In Deus Ex, Anna Navarre's preferred method of law enforcement is to sneak in and kill everything in sight. The reason why you didn't go back to UNATCO without pay after the Battery Park Mission is because she wrote a good report for you and claimed the NSF were beyond negotiation.
    • In fact, that is UNATCO procedure on the ground level, most of the troops wants to shoot first and ask questions later. Even if it means racking up a huge civilian bodycount.
    " You got the right idea. Cap the bastards before the lawyers get involved."
  • As pictured, there exists an Atari Lynx game titled Dirty Larry: Renegade Cop which runs the gamut of cop thriller cliches. Larry's hands are glued to his pistol and he never makes legitimate arrests.
  • In Dragon Age II Aveline is forced to become one of these early on when it becomes increasingly clear that Kirkwall's City Guard is corrupt. After removing the root cause of the problem Guard Captain Jeven, she gets promoted to the vacant position. Even then, she still takes time off from her duties to go adventuring with Hawke and makes allowances for some of her less than law-abiding companions (Merrill the apostate blood mage, Anders the apostate abomination, and Fenris the squatter).
  • Fallout 3 had an entire organization of cowboy cops that the player could join: The Regulators.
    Sonora Cruz We've dedicated our lives to bringing the evil to justice. And out here in the Wasteland, there's only one brand of justice: the gun.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, you have the option of installing one of these as the Sheriff of Primm. He's found in a nearby jail, having been arrested for being a Cowboy Cop back in NCR territory, though he played no part in the Powder Gangers' uprising. In the epilogue, it's stated that while he is fair for the most part, occasionally a few people will wind up dead with little to no evidence against them.
  • In Fallout 4, a terminal in a police station has an entry written by Da Chief, complaining about all the Cowboy Cops under his (supposed) command. Of course, the poor bastard was three days from retirement when the bombs fell.
  • Role-playing games generally have a shortage of cowboy cop types. The closest the Final Fantasy series has come up with might be Fish out of Temporal Water Tidus (Final Fantasy X). He gets shoehorned into becoming a Guardian for the Summoner, primarily because he has no other livelihood or hope of navigating an alien future where his celebrity is long forgotten. His ignorance proves to be a real asset, however, as the church of Yevon is completely foreign to Tidus; thus, it inspires no fear in him. He bucks the system at every turn, is branded a blasphemer, and eventually convinces the Summoner and his fellow guardians to disown the church. Worst guardian ever... or the best!
  • House of the Dead: Overkill's Isaac Washington, a Cluster F-Bomb-dropping Guns Akimbo-using Scary Black Man.
  • Depends on how you play in L.A. Noire. At the end of a case, the game keeps track of all the collateral damage you cause in the process of solving it.
  • Vi, the Piltover Enforcer, from League of Legends is an ex-con who cares more about beating up criminals than arresting them and leaves boring stuff like that to her By-the-Book Cop partner, Caitlyn.
    Vi: "Come on! Resist arrest already!"
  • Mass Effect:
    • Garrus Vakarian, although considerably more polite and soft-spoken than is usual for the trope, is certainly one. In his very first appearance, he is arguing with Executor Pallin over his most recent investigation, and throughout the rest of the game he's a frequent supporter of killing criminals rather than giving them the chance to escape justice. He also is a deconstruction of the trope because his Cowboy Cop urges are not tolerated by C-Sec. As such, a Paragon character can rein him in and teach him that it's important to do things the right way, not just get them done. Although it doesn't end up sticking completely — even if you took this route with him, he's become a vigilante by Mass Effect 2, which he will apologise for. In fact, Garrus even admits in Mass Effect 2 that he isn't a very good turian, because of his refusal to obey orders if he feels the order is unjust.
    • Renegade Shepard can be this. In fact, C-Sec generally doesn't like Spectres because of the risk of them becoming this.
    • "The Council thought Blasto, the first hanar Spectre, would play by the rules..."
    • Captain Bailey of C-Sec is part this, part Old-Fashioned Copper: as Da Chief, he's never shown in action but he certainly doesn't have a problem with bending or breaking the rules. This seems to pay off, as he's promoted to Commander between Mass Effect 2 and 3. If a more paragon-leaning Shepard questions his methods, he gives off a speech that doubtlessly has been practiced on countless rookies.
    Bailey: This ain't the Presidium! All they have to worry about is protesters outside their free speech zones or someone's poodle crapping on the grass. Down here, we have drugs, organized crime and murder. Policing a ward is like policing New York City.
    • In the Citadel DLC of the third game, it's shown in a video archive of historical events that the first Spectre was a Salarian operative of some sorts who used 30 civilians to bait and flush out his target.
  • Max Payne - Though, Max's idea of police work is pretty flimsy: If he isn't investigating the crime scene, he is making it. Lampshaded by Max himself in one of the cutscenes:
    "Collecting evidence had gotten old a few hundred bullets back."
    • The second and third games play around with this, as Max wants to be a By-the-Book Cop, but his impulsive nature causes him to charge into situations guns blazing.
  • Metal Gear's Solid Snake didn't have much of a personality to begin with. He evolved into a gruff ex-solider with a chip on his shoulder who just wants to race sled dogs in peace. Following Metal Gear Solid, Snake defies orders and exposes the Shadow Moses conspiracy, completely torpedoes the Presidency of George Sears, then goes into hiding to covertly sabotage his own nation's variations on Metal Gear weapons.
    • Fridge Brilliance dictates that the Flat Character of early Snake is attributed to his naiveté and blind obedience to orders. Later games paint him as much more jaded and anti-authortarian.
  • Metroid - According to a prequel manga, this was the occupation of Samus Aran before she became a bounty hunter, then savior of the universe. In Metroid: Fusion, where Samus is revealed to hate following orders and ends up disregarding them entirely to eliminate the threat. And given that when the Federation saw a being with equal firepower to Samus at her strongest, who blasted its way out of top-security quarantine, can reproduce through mitosis and have ten of itself running around (at full power) in a matter of minutes, can assimilate anything that isn't Samus by touch, and wants to spread the X throughout the galaxy Zerg-style, they wanted to capture it alive, it's probably a good thing Samus didn't play along.
  • Ex-Marshal Anderson from Outlaws is an interesting example. He gunned down a suspect in cold blood, was called out on it, and was fired. However, when we meet Anderson, he fully accepts that it was right to fire him and that officers of the law have to follow the law, and is very quick to put down anyone who says otherwise.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Case 5 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney features Jake Marshall, a cop who's dedicated himself to finishing his personal investigation of his brother's murder, no matter what rules he has to break or who he brings down. He also wears a poncho and ten-gallon hat, decorates his office with cacti and speaks in a 19th-century Western dialect, all for no reason that anyone can figure out, making him both an example and a parody of the trope. He's not even from Texas.
    • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth plays with this with Detective Tyrell Badd, who despite his badassery tends to obey orders and do things by the book even when he finds it distasteful. Except for that whole Yatagarasu thing.
  • In SWAT 4, acting like you are in Rainbow Six or Ghost Recon where you shoot the criminals without them firing back can get you plenty of "Unauthorized use of Lethal Force". in the elite difficulties, this hits even harder as the death of more than 2 suspects is an automatic mission failure.
  • Mocked in a Heavy update for Team Fortress 2. After eating a sandwich (long story), the Heavy sometimes says, "You're a loose cannon, sandvich, but you're a damn good cop!" Made hilariously literal here.
  • Velasquez of Traffic Department 2192 takes this trope and runs with it. She has no sense of professionalism, displays no concern for protecting the innocent, disobeys orders in order to kill more baddies, and primarily interacts with her colleagues and superiors through Ineffectual Death Threats (or effectual death threats.) Yet she can face twenty better-armed opponents and kill them all, and until such time as order can be restored her superiors have no choice but to keep her around, no matter how much they hate her guts.
  • True Crime: Streets of L.A. opens with Nick Kang coming back from suspension for his Cowboy Cop antics. It is his shoot-first-ask-questions-later nature that gets him invited to join the Elite Operations Division: to get the kinds of crooks the EOD goes after, it takes cops that aren't afraid to bend, or even break, the rules.
  • As Sleeping Dogs was formerly a sequel to the above game, it's no surprise that Wei Shen is not all that different from Nick. However, this does actually come to bite him in the Year of the Snake DLC, in which he gets busted down to beat cop due to his superiors having enough of his antics.
  • According to the backstory of Mega Man X, Vile was one when he was still with the Hunters, to the point where he wound up being locked up before Sigma went crazy and freed him. The Archie comics show what he did to cross the line: collapsing a highway overpass on top of a recently reactivated Wily Machine. While civilians were still driving on it.
  • In Trouble In Terrorist Town, the detective is this if they begin shooting at other people for poor reasons, such as but not limited to (*deep breath*): their not using a microphone (quite possibly because they don't have one), their responding aggressively to equally rude questions, being inactive, picking up a traitor weapon even if they've declared it and killed the prior user in view of many innocents, not understanding where the traitor tester is, firing into the air, not responding to other commands because they've muted other players for whatever reason and so on. To stop this getting too rampant, there is a karma metre that punishes any friendly fire, and admins will intervene to slay (kill for one round) any players that continually take the piss, or ban them.
  • If Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2010 and Rivals are to be believed, the appropriate response to a county-wide street racing problem is to buy a bunch of supercars, fit them with experimental directed-EMP technology, and chase the suckers down.
    • F-8, the Cop player character from Rivals, is a straighter example, managing to get himself kicked off this afore-described police force. Let me repeat that: This Cowboy Cop was too brutal for the police department that saw fit to throw assloads of Car Fu and the most bleeding-edge of anti-vehicle weapons at Racers.
  • Detective Manny Pardo from Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number seems to be actively trying to invoke this trope, seeing himself as a Hollywood action star as he recklessly shoots his way through multiple crime scenes without even attempting to call in back-up or collect evidence. He's revealed to be a Killer Cop as he's the Miami Mutilator.
  • The Vigilante of Town of Salem is this along with Vigilante Man, able to attempt to kill a player at their own choosing. If he kills a fellow town member, he will instead be Driven to Suicide.