War On Cops

Some criminals are motivated by financial gain. Some are trying to get even with someone, or to advance an ideology. Others seem only to exist to battle with law enforcement, and fall under this trope.

War On Cops refers to when a criminal goes out of his/her way to fight police, whether in pursuit of a larger goal or not. While a criminal may claim to be fighting for some other interest, if he/she seems to leave a tremendous amount of burning squad cars and police stations in rubble they would fall under this trope.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 

  • The Joker can descend into this on occasion. A major example was in the Knightfall saga when the Joker and the Scarecrow set a trap that killed 20+ SWAT officers. There was very little larger motivation for the attack other than spreading general chaos/fear.
  • Nemesis is a major example. At the beginning of the story he has wiped out the top cops in Hong Kong, North Korea, and Japan and clashes with America's top cop for the rest of the story. Nemesis goes far out of his way to enact this trope, by toying with police leaders (with attacks on the President and the Pentagon being almost minor footnotes).
  • The Justice League of America villain Prometheus, conceived as the anti-Batman by Grant Morrison, has this as his backstory: the son of two criminals killed by police, he swore revenge on "the forces of justice." After a few years of killing police, he decided that superheroes like the JLA would be better targets for his anger.
    • Predating him is the Wrath, who had a similar background.

  • The main villain Clarence Boddicker of RoboCop (1987) is a poster boy for this trope, the original script opened with an ambush of Detroit police where he and his men spray paint numbers 29, 30, and 31 on the deceased. Leads to his downfall when one cop gets rebuilt.
  • The Street Thunder gang in Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) lay siege on a police station, when it gives refuge to a man who killed one of them.
  • Major part of Bane's plan in The Dark Knight Rises, including imprisoning thousands for months and hunting the rest like dogs.

    Live Action TV 
  • One episode of Criminal Minds had the team investigating an ambush killer that seemed to be targeting cops. It turned out that the killer's primary motivation was going after "the strongest prey", who just happened to be cops (he had previously gone after gang members before deciding that cops were higher on the food chain).

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto has this as a major part of gameplay; depending on your star rating, you can go from fighting a couple of bustling cops to a SWAT arriving to take you down to a military tank aiming its cannon at you.