between Police Forces
and unofficial investigators (Amateur Sleuth
, Private Detective
, Magician Detective
, etc) can be complicated. Expect the couple to go back-and-forth between helping each other with their work and getting in each other's way. Sometimes they'll have a Friend on the Force
situation going on, where the cop provides the sleuth with information about a case, maybe even with access to the crime scene, and the sleuth, after discovering a culprit, will let the cop make the arrest. Other times, one or both may be sabotaging their partner's investigation, usually to keep them safe from finding the truth.
The relationship between these law enforcers and unofficial investigators is strained by many factors. They're often working towards the same goals and have a lot in common, but the police officer has rules and regulations to follow, which the independent sleuth often ignores and gets in the way of. The cop also has a duty to protect citizens from harm, a job not made any easier by their sleuth friend throwing themselves into dangerous situations. The cop may worry that their significant other will get hurt or killed one of these days, and try to dissuade their partner from sleuthing. It's not uncommon for the cop to come to the rescue when the sleuth gets in over their heads, resulting in a Rescue Romance
. In some cases, the cop isn't even aware the person they're dating is an independent sleuth, forcing the sleuth to act like they're just really interested in their partner's work so they can get information to fuel their own investigation. Expect this secret to put a big strain on the relationship, with a dramatic confrontation when the cop inevitably finds out.
While this sort of relationship can theoretically exist in a Cop Show
, most often the sleuth is the lead character
and the cop is their Love Interest
. As such, we're usually not meant to agree with the cop's objections to the sleuth's involvement in the case, and if the relationship goes on long enough, the cop will eventually come around.
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Anime & Manga
- In Death Note, Raye Penber, an FBI agent sent to Japan to aid in the investigation of the Kira case, does not want his fiance, ex-FBI agent Naomi Misora, to get involved in the Kira case. Unfortunately for him, she was the better detective between the two. If he had let her get involved, the series would be one and a half volumes long, and both of them would still be alive.
- In Mirai Nikki, Uryuu (9th) has Detective Nijishima, who swings between wanting to help her and wanting to help someone else in favor of her throughout the series. Near the end, he decides he wants to help her because he has fallen for her. He proposes about ten minutes screen time before his death. At the end, she goes back in time and marries him before he was supposed to die, and averts his death.
- Ram is in a relationship with a corrections officer named Ganga in the Bollywood movie Khalnayak. She goes undercover to help catch a notorious criminal that escaped from Ram and caused him to lose his reputation as a detective...and gets in way over her head when said criminal goes all Yandere over her.
- In the Claire Malloy book series, Claire's boyfriend (later husband) Peter Rosen is a boyfriend who does not approve of her getting into trouble.
- In the CeCe Caruso book series, CeCe's boyfriend, Peter Gambino.
- Psychic Eye Abby Cooper's boyfriend Dutch Rivers later ends up working for the FBI. Dutch is somewhat subverted in that he starts out as a disapproving boyfriend (plus his girlfriend is a psychic), but later grows comfortable having her help him on cases.
- Stephanie Plum has both an off/on boyfriend (Joe Morelli) and an off/on bounty hunter/mercenary boyfriend, Ranger. Ranger is somewhat more cool with Stephanie's cases than Joe is.
- Kinsey Millhone rarely dates, but she has had a boyfriend (Cheney Phillips). Kinsey is an ex-cop and PI, so the disapproval thing was not an issue.
- In Tanya Huff's Blood Books (and the TV show made from them, Blood Ties), the heroine is a cop-turned-PI, and her human love interest/former police partner fills this role.
- In A Mantra For Murder series, A.J.'s cop boyfriend Jake.
- In Earlene Fowler's quilt-themed mysteries, quilter and Amateur Sleuth Benni Harper dates Officer Gabe who later becomes the police chief, and Benni's husband.
- In the novels by Ngaio Marsh, artist Agatha Troy has her husband, Detective Chief Inspector (later Chief Superintendent) Roderick Alleyn. Several of the novels begin with events that happen to her (painting a portrait at some country house, or going on a trip by herself), and he comes into the picture later. He's never happy about his wife being involved in crime, particularly murder.
- Daisy Dalrymple from the Carola Dunn novels of the same name eventually marries the Inspector Lestrade of her series. Since it's set in the 1920s, he's remarkably enlightened about her solving what seems to be most of his cases.
- In Seeking Who He May Devour, by Fred Vargas, Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg plays this role, since the focus is more on his lover Camille. However, due to their complicated relationship, Camille is the most reluctant to ask for his help (the idea of getting the help of an "unusual cop" originally comes from Soliman), while Adamsberg doesn't really care about the case itself but is rather pleased to help her.
- Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels have a gender-flipped version with the title character and his Cop (Ex-)Girlfriend Louise Munroe.
- Jill Churchill's Jane Jeffry is a mother of three with a boyfriend on the force.
Live Action TV
- The Closer - Brenda's boyfriend-then-husband Fritz is an FBI agent. Brenda belongs to the LAPD, but she has often found it useful to have an inside source in the FBI who can get information or do things that the LAPD cannot. He will sometimes offer to help, but there have been times when the FBI and the LAPD both had mutually exclusive interests in the same suspect (for example, a suspected murderer may be a mid-level member of a crime syndicate, and the FBI may consider his usefulness as a snitch above the interests of the LAPD). In these cases, Brenda will do something underhanded, in essence tricking the FBI, and, more personally, Fritz. Fritz will often take this very hard, and will call Brenda out, often gaining the sympathies of the audience (Brenda will often take an "ends justify the means" defense with Fritz when he reacts this way).
- Crossing Jordan - Jordan, a medical examiner, shouldn't be anywhere where a freshly-found dead body isn't. But she constantly goes snooping, often dragging Det. Woody along with her (and just as often following him to where the action is).
- Veronica Mars has a private detective/ex-sheriff father. She doesn't always need him to get cases, but she did learn most of her sleuthing skills from him. Through part of season 1, she really did date a cop, who made regular appearances even after they broke up.
- In Moonlight, Beth's boyfriend is a district attorney. He is very adamant about her staying away from cases he is investigating/prosecuting, although he has no idea that she is slowly falling for Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Mick.
- In Tracker, Mel's on-and-off boyfriend is a police detective. He is constantly doing favors for her, hoping to rekindle their relationship. He even searches for her missing fiancé, who disappeared years ago. He is distrustful of Cole, whose quirky personality and speech patterns don't help matters.
- McMillan and Wife: Sally Mc Millan has her husband, San Francisco Police Commissioner Stewart McMillan. Since they are a married couple, they regularly discuss crime and its solution (frequently in bed or some other intimate setting).
- Detective Beckett became Castle's Cop Girlfriend once they resolved their Unresolved Sexual Tension. Castle's Genre Savvy-ness as a mystery fiction author is useful for solving cases and he uses Beckett as the inspiration for his new character.
- Bones Booth and Bones have this dynamic with the latter as The Protagonist sleuth. She is his partner on cases that require her expertise. They had Unresolved Sexual Tension for a long time but they eventually resolve it.
- In Psych, Jules is Shawn's Cop Girlfriend. Although, he was hired by the SBPD as a consultant before meeting.
- Gender-reversed in The Finder where Deputy US Marshal Isabel Zambada is Walter's Cop Girlfriend.
- In Charmed, Andy for Prue in the first season. He serves as a source for information and help within the police department with cases concerning magic. This then becomes something of an attraction for Paige: she has Federal Agent Kyle Brody in season seven, an unnamed cop in season eight, and Henry in the same season, who she then goes on to marry. For Paige, at least, she meets all of them in the course of her Charmed duties - Agent Brody is investigating the Avatar threat and needs the sisters' help, who then offers to clear them of suspicion with his influence, and one of Henry's parolees is an innocent Paige is supposed to save.
- In Parks and Recreation, this is applied (an subverted) in Season 2's "Greg Pikitis," in which Leslie Knope (a bureaucrat in the parks department) plays detective while trying to prove that the titular teenage delinquent is responsible for vandalizing a statute. She tries to get her boyfriend Dave Sanderson—a local cop—to help out, but it turns out that small-town police departments simply can't swing that.
- Tess Tracy née Trueheart, the wife of ace police detective Dick Tracy, runs an investigative agency that sometimes coordinates with the PD.
- Candy Matson of the eponymous radio series had Detective Ray Mallard.
- Angel Starr has at least four or five in Ace Attorney, all of them in different parts of the police department. She uses them to get her information and access to secured areas.