Suspiciously Idle Officers
In any film or show in which Dirty Cops
are secretly in the employ of someone not a member of the police force (e.g., The Mafia
or a Corrupt Corporate Executive
), said dirty cops apparently have no actual, official duties, and can therefore spend 100% of their time doing the bidding of their secret employer. No mention is ever made of supervisors, time cards, patrol schedules, or other cases upon which the officers should be working.
- This was a very common trope in Bollywood films from the 1970s to the early 1990s. Most crime bosses had a few cops on their payroll who could be seen hanging around the villain's lair in most scenes without actually doing anything coplike.
- In the thriller Confidence, two members of Con Man Jake Vig's gang are actual members of the LAPD, whose role it is to bust in on the scene of the con and force the victim to leave in such a rush that he abandons his money. Eventually, it is revealed that Gunther Bhutan, the federal agent who has seemingly come to town to bust Jake, is actually on his payroll, too. One wonders how he justified the trip to his supervisors.
- In the Mob comedy The Freshman, the young student played by Matthew Broderick is unwittingly drawn into the schemes of a mobster played by Marlon Brando, and soon finds himself pursued by two agents of "Department of Justice, Fish and Wildlife Division." Eventually, it is revealed that these agents are actually in the pay of a rival Mob family, and plan on killing both the student and the gangster and stealing the proceeds of their crimes.
- The DEA agents in The Professional are hard-pressed to explain the brutal gun fight that stirred the plot into action, but nobody ever questions why they were there in the first place, and they are never seen pursuing actual police work throughout the film.
- Detective Liebowitcz in Sin City seems to exist purely to punch Bruce Willis in the face. His comic counterpart would later be seen walking around, taking orders from a guy who controls a guild for assassins.
- This trope is inverted later in the same movie where cops actually arrive 'too quickly to the scene of the crime in Marv's story, clueing him in that they work for the Big Bad and are trying to frame him. He's right, too.
- Mentioned and averted in the X-Wing Series novel Solo Command. When Reverse Mole Lara Notsil infiltrates Iron Fist, she hatches a plan to subvert the ship's maintenance droids and have them perform sabotage on the basis that they are Beneath Suspicion. In order to keep the ship's crew and AIs from noticing anything is amiss, she orders half of the reprogrammed droids to continue on their usual duties for half of each day, then assume the identity of another saboteur droid for the other half of the day, thus convincing the main computer that they're all still on the job.
- Damages is quite enamored of this trope. In the first season, it is revealed in the finale that Arthur Frobisher's chief goon, who has been handling various bits of Dirty Business ranging from surveillance to contract murder, and who is responsible for the murder of the protagonist's fiancee, is actually a highly-decorated police detective. His efforts to keep his criminal activities secret form a major subplot in the second season. Meanwhile, in the main plot of the second season, a pair of FBI agents who are investigating Patty Hewes' law firm are revealed to actually be in league with one of the targets of her latest case. In this instance, these agents do have a supervisor looking over their shoulder. It's simply that he's in on the conspiracy, too.
- In the show Life, which actually features as its Myth Arc an investigation into deep-rooted corruption inside the LAPD, Roman Nevikov, a member of The Mafiya and a Dragon with an Agenda to the members of the conspiracy, is revealed to have a seemingly endless supply of FBI agents on his payroll, enabling him to set up entire fake operations that are actually covers for his own criminal dealings, with the Bureau higher-ups apparently none the wiser.
- The German Nazi officers in 'Allo 'Allo! seem to be only focussed on their Zany Scheme in order to obtain the MacGuffin of the day or get out of the problem presented by their General. The General von Klinkerhoffen at least seems interested in maintaining order and the performance of his officers.
- In Vegas when Sheriff Ralph Lamb confronts corrupt film mogul Barry Silver, he is surprised to discover that Silver's bodyguards are actually active-duty LAPD detectives. Ralph was previously warned about how rich and connected Silver was but he did not think that Silver actually had the LAPD on his payroll. The detectives are later shown willing to shoot Ralph and his deputies in order to prevent Silver's arrest.
- Played With in Person of Interest with reformed Dirty Cop Fusco in that he only ever seems to do work for Reese but he repeatedly complains about this fact and that he does actually have a day job that requires his attention. Carter simply keeps intersecting with them.
- In Dominic Deegan, before Szark Sturtz's duel with Scarlatti, a batallion of Callanian knights arrives as part of Serk Brakkis's entourage, to make sure the duel is fought in all fairness. They're on Serk's pay roll, and intend to make sure Scarlatti (his proxy in the duel) wins.