In reality, the International Criminal Police Organization — the ICPO or Interpol — acts as liaison among the national police forces of member countries, maintains a database on international criminals, and writes (along with the FBI) those "pirating this movie is illegal" messages/PSA's
that get removed in the pirated versions of films anyway. In other words, they don't do any direct investigation or prosecution themselves; they simply facilitate communication between agencies in different countries.
, Interpol acts more like U.N.C.L.E.
and sends agents (normally solo), who somehow have full power over local police, out to track down and capture international criminals. One reason for this trope is that everyone knows Interpol is "international police"
and it avoids the need to create a group wholesale, even if that means fudging what they actually do.
Compare United Nations Is a Superpower
for details on the One World Government
that presumably gives the World Police their orders.
Anime and Manga
- Inspector Zenigata of Lupin III is an Interpol agent; one version of the gang's origins explicitly has another character suggest that he join to pursue Lupin across the globe more easily. The local cops vary in their response to his commands; sometimes, he's an unwanted distraction from their duties. Other times, he leads a small army of Japanese policemen directly under his command.
- In Daitarn 3, Reika Sanjo is an ex-Interpol agent.
- In Azumanga Daioh, Tomo is a big fan of Lupin III, and her dream is to be an Interpol agent. Given that Tomo is a moron, it's more like she believes this trope than that show itself does.
- Giant Robo: The Animation had the superpowered "Experts of Justice" as ICPO agents. Yes, Interpol basically had the Justice League on its payroll here.
- Portrayed more accurately in Death Note; Interpol are seen near the beginning as a group of police representatives from various different nations discussing the recent spate of deaths of renowned criminals and forming a consensus of whether or not they should contact L, and once L demonstrates that the perpetrator is based out of Japan the case is entirely within the jurisdiction of the N.P.A. (albeit with L calling on resources from the F.B.I. at one point).
- Possibly justified in Gunslinger Girl. Hillshire Hartman met Triella during his job as an investigator for Europol - the localized version of Interpol. He was acting outside his jurisdiction though and got fired, ending up as Triella's handler.
- Darkholders from Marvel Comics stars one of these, agent Sam Buchannan. Partly justified in that in the comics, Interpol has degenerated to little more then a devil cult.
- Christine St. Clair from DC 1970s Manhunter strip.
- In Lord of War, Interpol agent Jack Valentine pursues the illegal Arms Dealer main character. Oddly, late in the film the Villain Protagonist refers to US President as being the Valentine's boss, and uses contacts in the US military to get himself released when Valentine has arrested him, so one wonders if Agent Valentine switched jobs at some point.
- The Cassandra Crossing: O.J. Simpson plays an Interpol officer. Talk about a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment...
- The movie of Tomica Hero Rescue Force had two Interpol agents.
- Lorna Campbell from Johnny English is an Interpol officer.
- Both Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror Of Mechagodzilla have Interpol agents as main characters. However, worth noting is they act somewhat realistically as their mission was to investigate the alien invasion presently going on and intervene if needed instead of taking full control. Still doesn't stop them from directly fighting said alien invasion though.
- Die 1000 Augen des Dr Mabuse has an undercover Interpol agent investigating international crime at a German hotel.
- The International features a somewhat realistic version of the agency but the protagonist still largely fulfills the trope anyway.
Live Action TV
- There's a friendly Interpol officer whom Tom Swift Jr. summons from time to time to arrest international bad guys; apparently they're out of the local cops' jurisdiction somehow.
- In Leverage, Interpol has enough prestige that a fairly senior insurance executive can become an agent and consider it a step up in his career. Word of God says, "Interpol in the Leverage-verse is not this world's Interpol. It is, basically, S.H.I.E.L.D.. Or maybe U.N.C.L.E.. It's the law-enforcement all-star team."
- 1970s ITC Entertainment series Department S featured three Interpol agents (and their jet-setting diplomat boss) who solved "impossible" crimes.
- One episode of Remington Steele guest-starred Tom Baker (of Doctor Who fame) as an Interpol agent whose investigations intersected Remington Steele's Case of the Week.
- Special Agent Emily Prentiss of Criminal Minds is a former Interpol undercover operative.
- The show Crossing Lines goes one further by having an elite force of cops from the International Criminal Court investigating cross-border crime in Europe. The International Criminal Court deals with crimes against international law (in other words serious war crimes and genocides committed by governments and quasi-governments), has no police force of its own, and even if it had, would not get involved with ordinary crime, no matter how serious or high-profile.
- The sixth episode of White Collar had Meilin, an undercover Interpol Agent that was working undercover as the right-hand of Chinatown mobster Lao Shen.
- Such an agent is featured in Ace Attorney's fourth game as the victim of one case.
- Investigations runs away with the trope, not only making another victim out of one, but featuring one as a major character.
- Carmelita Fox of Sly Cooper is an Interpol agent.
- Looker of Pokémon Platinum ,Black and White and X and Y, as well as a minor NPC on the SS Anne in Pokémon Red and Blue, work for the not-Interpol "International Police" and both are going after the game's evil team. As the only other cops in this series do nothing but attack kids up past 6 p.m., though, it's a huge step up.
- Chun-Li is an Interpol agent who fights crime by personally kicking the crap out of crime lords.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Interpol's purview has been expanded to include international supercrime, and they have been given an investigation and enforcement arm.
- Gadget Boy & Heather work for Interpol.
- In the first episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Captain Black says that he laid the groundwork for Section 13, his group of secret agents that fights organized crime, during his stint with Interpol.
- After the US made a agreement to further cooperation with Interpol, some politicians who didn't do their research (or, more likely, They Just Didn't Care) started warning that Interpol agents would be coming to America and making arrests and such, infringing on the country's sovereignty.
- Virtually any country will have some politician make those noises when it starts "furthering cooperation" with any international agency. It's mostly a ritual designed to remind everyone that the step can't be taken as a renunciation of sovereignty—it's basically being tsun-tsun to globalization.
- After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a U.S. Senator called for Interpol to take over the investigation.