->'''Principal Skinner:''' Bart Simpson, on the side of law and order? Has the world gone topsy turvy?\\
'''Bart:''' That's right, man. I got my first taste of authority... and I ''like it.''
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''

A simple form of TheReveal used to explain why PoliceAreUseless, and why our otherwise normal characters don't simply ask the police to deal with the dangerous criminals. It turns out the police ''[[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem are]]'' [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem the criminals]].

Generally speaking this trope is intended to rationalize why the main characters don't go to the police with their problems, which tends to be the logical response by normal people to outrageous things like murder plots. This can also be established in the back story and does not need to be displayed on-screen directly.

Often involves at least one DirtyCop by necessity. Can result in a HaveYouToldAnyoneElse from the bad cops if someone comes to them in search of a HopeSpot.

Unfortunately too often TruthInTelevision [[CrapsackWorld in a lot of countries]].
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Fairly early on in Creator/NaokiUrasawa's ''Anime/{{Monster}}'', Tenma runs into a couple of cops who work with/for Johan 'The Monster' Liebert. He doesn't know who else might be, and thus gets really paranoid about talking to the police... rightly so, since shortly afterwards, he gets framed for murder.
* Creator/NaokiUrasawa's ''TwentiethCenturyBoys'' features this as a HopeSpot: the young detective hero has [[BringNewsBack successfully contacted]] an influential ally in the upper echelon of the police force with his information on TheConspiracy. Surely things will turn better from there on right? Wrong - the police is already in the bad guys' pocket and you have just doomed everyone by revealing your hiding place.
* Third time's the charm for Urasawa, he pulls this yet again in ''Manga/{{Billy Bat}}''. A man on a car trip through the racist-laden ''DeepSouth'' witnesses a group of Klu Klux Klan members burn a black man at the stake. He goes to the local sheriff, only to recognize him as one of the Klansmen.[[spoiler: It's ultimately a subversion: the sheriff is indeed a racist, but the Klansman was his cousin, not him. The sheriff doesn't let personal feelings get in the way of his job as a lawman: he immediately arrests his cousin on suspicion of murder.]]
* ''Anime/YattermanNight'' casts the Yattermen in this role: inside the Yatter Kingdom, they have put their people under hard labor, forcing them into camps. Similarly, they have shot at unarmed people looking for help. Later on [[spoiler:the Yattermen are revealed to be a robot army. It's unclear if there are real Yattermen still existing.]]
* Most police in ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'' up until the second season are antagonists, seeing as the BigBad is in charge of the police force.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comedy Series]]
* Parodied in a ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' sketch. A pimp is telling an interviewer about his dealings with the Piranha Brothers.
-->'''Luigi:''' One night Dinsdale walked in with a couple of big lads, one of whom was carrying a tactical nuclear missile. They said I'd bought one of their fruit machines and would I pay for it.\\
'''Interviewer:''' How much did they want?\\
'''Luigi:''' Three quarters of a million pounds. Then they went out.\\
'''Interviewer:''' Why didn't you call the police?\\
'''Luigi:''' Well, I had noticed that the lad with the thermonuclear device was the Chief Constable for the area.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* A major theme in ''ComicBook/BatmanYearOne'' is that most of the police department is corrupt -- this is given as an explicit reason why it's necessary for Bruce Wayne to don a bat costume and terrorize criminals, as often some of the people he beats up happen to be cops who are in on the crime. The first real progress he makes is when he finds out that Gordon ''can'' be trusted, creating a legitimate outlet to fight crime.
* In ''SinCity'', the police force is so corrupt, it's actually shocking when people find a cop who is clean. In the first story, police death squads are sent after Marv in order to silence him after he's framed for murder. In ''That Yellow Bastard'' almost the entire police force are willing to protect a pedophile SerialKiller son of a senator, going so far as to frame one of their own (probably the only ''good'' cop of the entire bunch). In ''The Big Fat Kill'', a recently killed DomesticAbuser is exposed as being a hero cop, which is bad news for Old Town (because [[spoiler:the truce between the girls and the cops forbids the girls to kill cops that wander into their territory, in exchange for the girls being allowed to protect their own and keep the cops and the mob out]]). In ''Hell And Back'', the cops are in league with an assassin guild. At least in ''Hell and Back'' the police chief briefly rediscovers his morals long enough to help the protagonist finish off the assassins/human traffickers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''FanFic/OriginStory'', the US government sends the ComicBook/{{Thunderbolts}} to arrest Alex Harris. Alex points out the idiocy of making the Radioactive Man, Venom, and Bullseye a part of law enforcement.
* Episode 3 of ''Fanfic/SherlockSeason4'' ends with several police officers capturing the Joker. You find out soon afterward that the police are "acutllay corupt cops who were working with Joker & are going 2 come back in next episode".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The old ChuckNorris movie ''Film/BreakerBreaker'' features a lot of corrupt cops in a town run by an equally corrupt mayor who assumes his towns new official charter lets him convict and execute people for whatever reason he pleases.
* ''Film/{{Fletch}}''. Police Chief Karlin and some of his officers are running the local drug ring, so Fletch can't go to them for help.
* In ''Film/DateNight'', this is the reason why Phil and Claire end up ditching the police station mid-interview to conduct their own investigation -- they see their kidnappers walking in and getting some coffee, and are not at all sure they're safe being around any longer. It later becomes relevant information that the whole police force isn't in on it as [[spoiler:the plot is resolved when Holbrook contacts someone he knows he can trust to organize the final operation]].
* ''Film/PineappleExpress'' has this when Dale sees that a police officer in uniform is present when Ted murders a rival criminal -- and puts some bullets in him herself just to be sure. Since Dale's a process server, he really should have someone he can talk to about this, but on the other hand, his chronically being high doesn't do wonders for his judgment. Hilariously, he's arrested later on -- and the beat officer actually believes his story because it explains iffy problems in the department. [[spoiler:Saul completely screws this up by [[StopHelpingMe helping Dale escape.]]]]
* The bad guys in the remake of ''Film/AssaultOnPrecinct132005''.
* ''Film/HotFuzz'' - the [[spoiler:Chief of Police]] turns out to be in on the bizarre "accidents" surrounding the town.
** In fact he's the ringleader; the whole shenanigan is built around [[spoiler:winning a contest that's more or less meaningless beyond his wife's annual involvement in the town's participation therein]].
* The 2008 French movie ''Skate or Die'' shows it in the very trailer: The heroes walk into a police station with their phone film evidence, only to see the killers among the cops. The bulk of the movie is the heroes trying to escape said cops long enough to copy their film to a computer and send it (it was [[UnintentionalPeriodPiece in the years after camera phones but before smartphones and 3G were commonplace]]).
* In ''Film/FightClub'' the {{Narrator}} tries going to the cops when he finds out that Fight Club (now called Project Mayhem) is involved in serious terrorist activities. Except it turns out several police officers are members of Project Mayhem, and have orders to castrate anyone who betrays the group [[spoiler:(even if that someone is the ''leader'' of Project Mayhem)]]. Cue the {{Narrator}} trying to take matters into his own hands.
* Film/{{Cellular}}
* ''Film/LAConfidential'': [[spoiler:Captain Dudley and a large group of his men are setting themselves up as the new LA drug kingpins after [[TheDon Mickey Cohen]] goes to prison]].
* Film/HoboWithAShotgun: Yeah okay, they're not really the bad guys, but very, very few of them aren't corrupt.
--> [[spoiler:'''Chief of Police:''' "We're ALL bad cops!"]] to a[[spoiler:nother]] cop.
* In ''Theatre/WestSideStory'', Lt. Schrank and Officer Krupke are not only meddling in the affairs of the Jets and the Sharks, but they're also very racist against the Sharks.
* ''Film/{{Flightplan}}'' has this at the twist at the end.
-->"People believe what I tell them to believe. That's how authority works."
* The 2007 ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' film does it with a twist - the Decepticon Barricade has a police car as his alternate mode.
* In ''Film/LakeviewTerrace'', Abel Turner is able to bully and harass his interracial couple neighbors because he's a well-respected, 28-year-veteran of the LAPD so no one would believe them. At one point, they threaten to call the police, he responds that he ''IS'' the police.
* ''Film/TheProfessional'': Stansfield and his crew work for the DEA, but also [[KillEmAll murder the entire family]] (save [[LittleMissBadass one]]) of a man holding drugs for them and don't seem unfamiliar with hiring out [[ProfessionalKiller professional killers]] from the Mob.
* The two killer cops who got caught on "film" in ''Film/StrangeDays''. Max hints that there are a lot more of them. [[spoiler:He's lying.]]
* A large part of the plot of the movie ''Film/{{Witness}}''. Amish boy Samuel witnesses them commit a murder. Later, the dirty cops descend upon the Amish community with murderous intent.
* In ''Film/SuperTroopers'', the Spurbury police officers (except [[TheChick Ursula]]) turn out to be in cahoots with the Canadian marijuana smugglers.
* In ''Film/{{Copland}}'' corrupt cops from New York have gone so far as to set up their own town in New Jersey.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In line with his {{Anvilicious}} Libertarian philosophical leanings, DeanKoontz has played this card a few times. ''{{Intensity}}'' has a last minute revelation that the SerialKiller is a young rising star in a local police force, ''Dark Rivers of the Heart'' has a murderous FBI agent who kills people he feels are too good for the world, etc.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' played with a variant of this; in many cases the cops were controlled by the [[PuppeteerParasite Yeerks]] and so going to them would be certain enslavement since they couldn't tell who was a controller.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* The Vampires from ''Series/BeingHuman'' have a lot of policemen among their ranks, because, well, someone needs to cover up all those bloodless corpses at crime scenes, right? Herrick and Fergus are examples.
* In the first series of ''Series/{{Damages}}'', the malevolent Bearded Man is revealed towards the end to be a cop.
* On ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' HR, an organization of {{Dirty Cop}}s, is a recurring villain and a major source of Numbers for the heroes to protect. They control crooked judges and prosecutors and have major ties to the Italian and Russian mobs. Even a major crackdown by the FBI does not stop them and they even go as far as recruiting actual mob members into the NYPD to booster their ranks.
* In the first season of ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'', Patricia finds out that the cop she went to in hopes of getting help finding Joy is in on the mystery with the teachers. This only makes her more desperate and suspicious about what's going on.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theater]]
* Right from the start of Les MisÚrables the police are vilified, especially Javert, who hunts Valjean endlessly because he broke parol.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'': [[spoiler:When Adachi answers Namatame's call to the police to tip them off about the role of the midnight channel in the murders (that Adachi committed!), then uses the opportunity to make him unknowingly attempt to commit more murders]].
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** In case 1-2, Redd White apparently has most of the police department (and the prosecutor's office) in his pocket, meaning that Phoenix has nobody to turn for support except himself.
** And in case [[spoiler:1-5]], the villain is [[spoiler: Police Chief Gant, who orchestrated both Neil Marshall and Bruce Goodman's murders.]]
** In [[spoiler:5-4 and 5-5]], the villain is [[spoiler:a spy, though he's been impersonating detective Bobby Fulbright throughout the entire game.]]
* In ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'', The [=CRASH=] unit, especially [[BigBad Officer Tenpenny]], are corrupt to the core and essentially extort the player character while turning a blind eye to the gang violence they're supposed to be fighting against, preferring to just let the gangbangers take each other out rather than do any work themselves.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', Arl Howe put his own handpicked men into the Denerim Guards, leading honest-cop Sergeant Kylon to lament;
--> '''Kylon''': I swear the Arl's men are more criminal than the miscreants we occasionally arrest; some of them ''are'' the criminals we have to arrest!
* In ''VideoGame/MaxPayne 3'', [[spoiler: the UFE are the private army of a SleazyPolitician and in league with outlawed paramilitaries to do OrganTheft on the poor.]]
* While not actually a peace officer, the Purple Guy in the ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys'' series gets [[TropesAreFlexible a similar reveal]]. How did a child murderer break into the local SuckECheeses and grab a mascot costume without the security guards seeing an intruder through the omnipresent closed-circuit cameras? Because he's a security guard himself. This also explains why the animatronics [[KillerRobot don't trust security guards anymore]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The Los Angeles Police Department saw its reputation take a heavy blow with the exposure of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampart_scandal Rampart scandal]], which was FreakierThanFiction - a number of the cops involved were ''ranked and blooded members'' of street gangs.
* Frank Serpico [[DefectorFromDecadence sought to expose colleagues]] in the NYPD who got up to this.
* And of course, {{UsefulNotes/Chicago}} during the Prohibition-era, when the cops were pretty much in UsefulNotes/AlCapone[='=]s pockets.
[[/folder]]

----