Not Tropeworthy (titles crowner 6/12/14): Cop Boyfriend

Deadlock Clock: 2nd Feb 2014 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [83]
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1 Larkmarn28th Dec 2013 10:06:39 PM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
I can't think of a reason this is distinct from Friend on the Force. It's just The Same, but More Specific, for some reason specific to a female Amateur Sleuth whose Friend on the Force is her boyfriend.

Then I looked at the examples and it wound up being, by and large, "this person's boyfriend is on the police force." There are genderflipped examples, examples where the female being a sleuth isn't the case(including several examples where she's a criminal, which is Dating Catwoman), and many examples where the sleuth just wound up dating someone on the force because they were already working with them.

72 wicks. 38 inbounds.

edited 28th Dec '13 10:07:54 PM by Larkmarn

2 SeptimusHeap29th Dec 2013 12:51:31 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I am torn. On the one hand, "boyfriend or no" is enough of a difference to not merit The Same, but More Specific. On the other hand, the example section seems fairly questionable.
3 Madrugada29th Dec 2013 05:20:21 AM , Relationship Status: In season
My suggestion would be to clean up the examples section of those that don't fit the current definition ("female Amateur Sleuth whose Friend on the Force is also her Love Interest") first of all, then see whether there's enough left to warrant it being a trope.

edited 29th Dec '13 5:21:38 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
If nothing else, I would remove the claim that it is "practically a requirement in fiction." I read a ton of books with female amateur sleuths, and the majority of those that I have read so far do not have a dating relationship with any of the cops in the story.

Personally, I'd be willing to make Cop Boyfriend a redirect to Friend on the Force, and expand the description of the latter to say that it can include relatives and love interests.

edited 29th Dec '13 5:29:49 AM by Catbert

I think there is a distinction that can be made here, but it shows very little in the trope names.

Friend on the Force here is a one-way relation, a useful contact for the protagonist, but one that will never have any impact on how the protagonist sees or approaches things.

Cop Boyfriend is a mutual relation, and the protagonist always has to think about or relate to how the other character will view or react to what the protagonist is doing.

Of course, that distinction need not be limited to the related character being a cop or other law enforcer.
6 Madrugada29th Dec 2013 10:48:32 AM , Relationship Status: In season
I completely agree with removing the sentence about it being "practically a requirement". Right offhand, I can't think of any of the female detectives (Amateur Sleuth, Private Investigator, Little Old Lady Investigates, Kid Detective, or otherwise) who have a boyfriend who's a LEO, and especially not where he's the reason she gets involved in the case in the first place.

edited 29th Dec '13 10:49:58 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
@Madrugada: I don't think a simple cleanup will work. The name implies a broader trope than the definition.
8 shimaspawn29th Dec 2013 07:16:32 PM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
Stephanie Plum and Esther Diamond, but in both cases the cop boyfriend is a side effect, not a cause.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
9 Madrugada29th Dec 2013 08:33:57 PM , Relationship Status: In season
^^ I'm saying start with a cleanup so we can see what we've got when the garbage is gone. I have my doubts that a clean-up alone will do the whole job, but it's hard to mop the floor when there are old pizza boxes and dirty socks everywhere
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
10 Willbyr30th Jan 2014 04:14:05 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Clock is set.
I deleted the line about it being a Cop Boyfriend being a requirement, as per earlier conversation.
I removed some examples. When I have time, I can think of some examples (mostly from works we don't have pages for) that could be added.

Upon further reflection, I think this is a legit subtrope, however I would rewrite it a bit. More often then not, I see the Cop Boyfriend trope being played out as a side effect of the amateur sleuth's snooping rather than the reason for it. For example, Diann Mott Davidson has the Goldy Bears Mysteries series, which changes to the Goldy Shultz series when the titular amatuer sleuth falls in love with and gets married to a homicide detectie that she met during her amateur sleuthing. A similar thing happens with Sami Carter's Candy Shop Mysteries.

Basically I think that this is a legitimate trope because it plays a somewhat different role than Friend on the Force, by allowing one character to be both the Love Interest and the character the represents the official police as opposed to the meddling amateur. Also, unlike the Friend on the Force, who generally encourages or supports the non-police sleuthing, the Cop Boyfriend is more often then not actively discouraging the amateur from getting involved, not only as a matter of professionalism, but also because he doesn't want to see her get hurt. Only on occassion does he seek out her help, and even then very reluctantly.

So basically I think what we need to do is cleanup the examples, tweak the definition a bit (to include making it gender neutral), and possibly change the name so that it doesn't sound like a cop boyfriend of just any old character.

EDIT PS: This trope is getting a ton of misuse on other pages as "any character who is a cop is and is dating anyone." Some of the worse "examples" including Vince on Will & Grace, which last time I checked has nothing at all to do with detectives, and the real life brother of one of the people that runs The Spoony Experiment.

I've been slagging all the bad examples, so sorry for not thinking to do a proper wick check. However, so far I've removed at least 13 examples and I'm no where near going through all the wicks.

edited 8th Feb '14 11:00:09 AM by Catbert

Okay, I finally finished cleaning up the more obvious misuse in the wicks. Out of 73 wicks when I started, only 27 are left. That is well over 50 percent misuse.

Of the remaining wicks, some of them only count if you consider the trope flexible enough to include private investigators and bounty hunters.

At a minimum, we absolutely must rename this trope, because it was being used as Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Even husbands of characters in family sitcoms, fathers of characters, and brothers of real life people that have nothing to investigating crimes or tracking criminals were being listed.


Could someone make a page action crowner with the following options?

  • Do nothing
  • Merge with Friend on the Force
  • Keep current definition but rename to discourage misuse
  • Exapand defintion to be gender neutral and include professional private investigators and bounty hunters as well as amateur sleuths, and rename to discourage misuse

edited 8th Feb '14 11:23:57 AM by Catbert

14 StarSword10th Feb 2014 05:33:41 PM from somewhere in deep space , Relationship Status: In denial
15 Willbyr10th Feb 2014 05:50:06 PM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Crowner's hooked.
16 StarSword11th Feb 2014 12:17:10 PM from somewhere in deep space , Relationship Status: In denial
You are of Bajor.
I'm curious about the "expand" option. Why does "character has an S.O. who is an Amateur Sleuth" have sufficiently similar narrative purpose to "character's S.O. is a cop" to warrant expansion?

TL;DR: Can we get some clarification on the "expand" option?

edited 11th Feb '14 12:17:41 PM by StarSword

Sorry, I guess I did not word that well.

The current definition specifies that the character with the Cop Boyfriend must be an Amateur Sleuth: ie, someone who investigates crime entirely as an unpaid person doing this on their own time and for purely personal reasons. Most examples of an Amateur Sleuth either have no jobs (especially the Kid Detective or the Little Old Lady Investigates) or have a job completely unrelated to criminal investigation.

The "expand" proposal is the allow characters who are a Private Investigator or a Bounty Hunter in the professional capacity qualify for having a Cop Boyfriend, even if they are paid professional. This is because even for professionals, the Cop Boyfriend still plays the duel role of Love Interest and the main contact with the government law enforcement agencies..

edited 11th Feb '14 12:49:15 PM by Catbert

18 StarSword11th Feb 2014 01:17:01 PM from somewhere in deep space , Relationship Status: In denial
You are of Bajor.
EDIT: NVM, you edited the option already. Nice to see people thinking ahead.

Changed my vote accordingly.

edited 11th Feb '14 1:18:10 PM by StarSword

19 DonaldthePotholer12th Feb 2014 07:55:44 PM from Somewhere in (not)Miami
Even with the expansion, it still sounds to me like the essence of the Trope is "Crime Fighter outside of the Police Force has a S.O. who's on the Force." Maybe I'm mixing my Loves, but that still sounds to me like Friend on the Force but with Romance.
20 Madrugada12th Feb 2014 08:53:33 PM , Relationship Status: In season
A Friend on the Force works with the investigator. A Cop Boyfriend is usually not happy about the investigator's job/hobby, and tries to discourage them from getting involved.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Bumping for more votes.
22 Willbyr16th Apr 2014 04:08:37 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Calling for the winning option: Expand definition to be gender-neutral and include professional Private Detectives and Bounty Hunters who have romantic relationships with a Cop Boyfriend, so that not only Amateur Sleuths but any non-government investigator can qualify for having a Cop Boyfriend. Also rename to discourage misuse, with new name to be determined.
Any suggestion for a new names? My only idea so far is "Sleuth's Cop Boyfriend", which isn't gender neutral but it would not be the first time we've used non-gender neutral terms to describe a gender neutral trope.
24 SeptimusHeap2nd Jun 2014 04:56:00 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Bumping this. Not very keen on that name but it's the only one so far.
25 Madrugada2nd Jun 2014 05:05:22 AM , Relationship Status: In season
Sleuth's Love Interest Is A Cop?

Yeah, not great.sad
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.

Alternative Titles: Cop Boyfriend
11th Jun '14 7:39:57 PM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
At issue:

Total posts: 83
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