Headscratchers: Beverly Hills Cop

  • Why is Victor Maitland such an idiot? Axel had no reason to suspect him until Maitland had him thrown out of his office, at which point Axel was certain that Maitland was behind it. Why not just say, "Mr. Tandino worked security for one of my warehouses....Yes, I do use bearer bonds; that's fairly typical in the art business....No, I don't know why Mr. Tandino had bearer bonds with him in Detroit....No, I have no idea why someone would want to kill Mr. Tandino....Please let me know if there is anything else I can tell you that would help."
    • For that matter, why does he bother kidnapping Jenny from the warehouse, while leaving Axel there, alive? And why on earth does he bring her back to his own house, of all places? Why doesn't he just shoot them then and there? Or take them to some remote location, kill them there, and dump the bodies? Why does he leave his thugs there to spend several minutes beating Axel up? What was the point of all that, except to let Billy rescue Axel, and then let the two of them, with Sgt. Taggart, rescue Jenny? Seriously, why is Maitland such an idiot?
      • Because he's a 1980s action movie villain.
      • If you listen to the commentary Maitland really isn't all there and just goes crazier once Foley starts sticking his nose into his business. They even left in a reaction his actor had to something Eddie Murphy said but was edited out because it made him seem more sinister and slightly crazy.
    • Here, I got one: he keeps underestimating Axel based on looks alone. One of the other things the commentary points out is that they tried to shoot it so Axel is a fish out of water due to apparent class rather than race - Beverly Hills vs. Detroit being about as classic an example as you're ever going to find in the US, then or now. (Apparently, Eddie Murphy came up with some ad-libs that injected race into the narrative, but with the exception of the check-in and warehouse scenes they weren't used, and those were just too good to leave out.) So Maitland sees a working-class punk, not Detective Axel Foley, and is too overconfident and financially seated to bother coming up with a consistent web of lies or even look into his background.
      • As for the warehouse: he assumes that Axel is working on his own and has no reason to believe he has been making contacts within the BHPD. He has goons who are more than happy to beat a man to death - why not indulge them in a place where they all know they won't be seen? In fact, the warehouse is a remote location for almost all intents and purposes, and that's why he uses it to hide his drugs. However, shooting them's out of the question; whatever its flaws, the BHPD doesn't skimp on responding to gunfire. (As for shooting them himself? Zack fires his shotgun from the hip and Maitland himself only nicks Foley in the arm despite having a clear shot at his torso.)

  • The Hollywood Law example is rather interesting because, instead of ignoring Maitland's fourth amendment rights, Axel is actually needlessly sensitive to them. When he and Jenny go to search Maitland's warehouse for drugs, Billy asks why he can't come along; Axel explains that, because Billy is a cop in that jurisdiction, and they don't have probable cause, the judge would rule the search illegal and toss the results. Of course, realistically, any judge with a triple digit IQ would also hold that Axel was acting as an agent of the Beverly Hills police, so that justification would not fly. The real reason they could legally search the warehouse is that Jenny is a manager in Maitland's company and has a key. If the police are admitted to a place with the consent of a person who would normally have access to that place, then they do not need probable cause. If the manager of a business willingly permits the police to search said business, the police do not need a warrant.
    • Maitland is a prominent businessman (is there any other kind in this genre?), and that was largely why Axel got arrested the first time. On top of that, he's basically playing a hunch when they search the warehouse - Bogomil even points this out, that because they don't have any proof of the drugs they can't get a warrant, so 'Axel acting as an agent of BHPD' would cause more problems than it could solve and Maitland could get it tossed out on a 4th amendment technicality. Jenny might have permission to enter the warehouse, but not to actually open anything (like how most people aren't cool with friends ransacking their house to find something they shouldn't have been looking for in the first place) as she clearly isn't the owner - there's nothing legal about them searching the place at all, let alone opening boxes to find something that may or may not be there. Unless it's the owner opening the door, "normally has access" follows "probable cause" and not the other way around.