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What an institution!

Lt. Harris: You make me sick!
Cadet Mahoney: Thank you Sir, I make everybody sick.
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Police Academy is a 1984 comedy film directed by Hugh Wilson, and starring Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall and G. W. Bailey. It grossed approximately $146 million worldwide and spawned six sequels of varying quality.

Short on police recruits, the new female mayor of a City with No Name announces a new policy requiring the police department to accept all willing recruits, regardless of height, weight, age, race, or education. Not everyone in the police force is happy about the new changes. The main character, Carey Mahoney, (Guttenberg) is a repeat offender (a Karmic Trickster with a bad habit of retaliating to offenses in criminal ways) forced to join the police academy as an alternative to jail, a proposal by the officer who has been lenient on Mahoney due to knowing his father. Mahoney reluctantly agrees to this but decides that he will get himself thrown out, which would leave him free of the deal. The new standards have resulted in a rather large Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, with Mahoney being the most normal and sane among them.

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However, the chief of police, outraged by the mayor's lowered requirements, decides to respond with his own change in policy: new cadets will be forced to quit rather than being thrown out. Lieutenant Harris, who trains the cadets, agrees with the plan and employs tactics to make their lives as miserable as possible so that they do in fact quit. Despite this, Mahoney tries many schemes to get thrown out anyway, but then he begins to bond with his fellow cadets.

Among these characters include Moses Hightower, a muscular Gentle Giant and former florist, Dr Monsignor Larvell Jones, master of both martial arts and vocal effects (played by veteran performer Michael Winslow), Karen Thompson (Cattrall), Mahoney's Love Interest and the main reason he doesn't bail out of the academy completely, Eugene Tackleberry, gun enthusiast and off his rocker in that regard, and Laverne Hooks, a shy, mousy woman who is also accident prone.

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Gradually, and surprisingly, many of the misfits grow into competent officers.

This spawned a total of six sequel films, a live-action TV series, as well as a children's cartoon series and a fantastic amount of merchandising. There has also been talk of an eighth Police Academy film being directed by Steve Guttenberg.


The various sequels include:

  • Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985). Now graduated, the misfits are assigned to a troubled precinct run by Commandant Lassard's brother Capt. Pete Lassard (Howard Hesseman), facing trouble caused by a new street gang run by Zed. Meanwhile, Capt. Lassard's underling Lt. Mauser (assisted by his dingbat crony Proctor), has eyes on using the new cadets to run the precinct into the ground so he can take over. The main character to not return is Officer Thompson (Catrall), while it introduces Bobcat Goldthwait as the gang leader, Zed.
  • Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986). Turns out, there are two Police Academies in the city. The first being the familiar establishment of the first film, the other being a military-style organization, now run by Mauser (and Proctor) from the previous film. With the city deciding to axe one of them, the former misfits want to ensure the survival of their academy. And to do that, they need to train up a whole fresh batch of recruits... including Zed?!
  • Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987). Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) decides that the police force is overworked and understaffed, so he comes up with the idea of recruiting civilian volunteers to work side-by-side with his officers in a program called "Citizens On Patrol" (COP). The former misfits have to do the training and deal with sabotage efforts from within the police. G.W. Bailey's Lt. Harris returns (and inherits Proctor, somehow) as Guttenberg departs, making his last appearance in the series.
  • Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988). Lassard is reaching retirement age. But first he is invited to Miami to the National Police Chiefs Convention. He is to receive an award for his efforts. Naturally, he brings along some of his favorite students. He unwittingly interferes with the plans of a local group of jewel thieves. The cops get to fight Miami criminals across Miami Beach and the Everglades. Matt McCoy's Nick is introduced as a replacement protagonist for Mahoney.
  • Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989). The city is facing a string of high-profile robberies by a sophisticated gang of robbers. Lassard and his crew are assigned with capturing them. However, the criminals seem to learn of any police plan ahead of time, indicating the presence of a mole in the ranks. The gang members also appear to have skills equal to the most eccentric members of the force.
  • Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994). An attempt to revive the series. Russian Commandant Alexandrei Nikolaivich Rakov (Christopher Lee) needs help against the local mafia. He decides to ask for assistance from the United States police. Lassard and his crew get the assignment. Meanwhile, mob boss Konstantine Konali (Ron Perlman) plans to bring down any computer security system in the world.

The television incarnations of the franchise include:

  • Police Academy: The Animated Series (1988-1989). A 65-Episode Cartoon produced by Ruby-Spears Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Featuring animated versions of the characters from the film series, along with a new supporting cast and a unique Rogues Gallery.
  • Police Academy: The Series (1997-1998). A live-action show, featuring some of the newest recruits of the academy. Sgt. Larvell "Motor Mouth" Jones was the only character from the films turned series regular, though Hightower, Tackleberry, and even Cmdt. Lassard made guest appearances. Lasted 1 season, 26 episodes.


This film series provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Tackleberry's tear gas round in Their First Assignment and the tracking device from Mission to Moscow. Probably the rounds he used in the first film are explosive rounds, since he blows up a target with one shot.
  • Abusive Parent: Played with, as Kirkland's father and brother routinely get into good-natured but violent fistfights in the home. Even Tackleberry is unnerved by it. In Citizens on Patrol, their latest fistfight becomes more mean-spirited after the brother insulted his father for being a slow hitter.
  • Adult Child: Tackleberry gets very giddy when it comes to his guns. When trying out some new models in the fifth film, he refuses to share them with other cops, leading to Callahan promising to buy him some in a motherly tone.
  • Agents Dating: In Their First Assignment, Tackleberry goes on a date with fellow officer Kirkland, which culminates in them going back to her place for nookie — but before that can happen, they must (seductively) remove the large number of guns they have hidden on their respective bodies.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Nogata, the Japanese exchange cadet, shows off his martial arts skills in the third and fourth films. There's also the gang of ninjas from the fourth film.
  • All There in the Script:
    • According to the script for Their First Assignment, Proctor's first name is "Carl".
    • In the script for Citizens on Patrol, Arnie and Kyle's last names are "Lewis" and "Rumford" respectively.
  • All Women Are Lustful: If Callahan is interested in a guy, she's not shy about making it known. She'll literally throw him down and screw his brains out. In the fourth film, when Lassard asks his instructors what their greatest frustration about being a cop is, her answer is separate locker rooms.
  • Amazon Chaser: Most of Callahan's appeal to the male characters are her Amazon-like traits. Tackleberry also falls for his future wife while watching her fight, and is turned on when she starts talking to him about the merits and drawbacks of certain firearms.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Proctor is briefly implied to be gay in the second film, as he knows the address of the Blue Oyster bar without flinching. This is dropped in the next film, as he ends up being seduced by a hooker and ends up unwittingly wandering into the Blue Oyster naked to his discomfort.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: In Assignment Miami Beach, Harris discovered that Lassard was supposed to retire the previous year.
    Harris: [laughing] Proctor, don't you see what this means?!
    Proctor: [laughing] No!
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Throughout the series, Harris develops a reputation of being a bit of an ass-kisser, and he's not entirely apologetic about it. In part 5, Lassard is being forced out due to reaching mandatory retirement age, and Harris, who is captain at this point, starts working on Commissioner Hurst to show that he would make a good replacement. Which leads Hurst to fire back with a whopper of an APQ; "You have a lot to learn about acting like a commandant. At least Lassard has the respect of his men. Whose respect do you have?" Harris is immediately shamed into silence, and admits to Proctor that Hurst is right. He still doesn't try any harder to earn anyone's respect, though (he somehow comes to the conclusion that attending Lassard's commendation ceremony at the police conference will magically gain him that respect in and of itself).
  • Artifact Title: The characters graduate from the academy at the end of the first film (some of the sequel subtitles seem to be trying to keep it relevant). To be fair, from Back in Training onward, the characters from the first film who remain are now instructors at the academy.
  • Artistic License – Cars: The squad cars used for the driving test is a 1976 AMC Matador. It turns into a '74 when Hightower flips it, and no longer has an engine.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety:
    • Tackleberry has likely broken every safety guideline in the book.
    • Harris, of all people, averts this in the first film during the firing range scene. When he asks to borrow Tackleberry's Hand Cannon, he points the muzzle downwards and downrange before opening the cylinder in order to unload it. He then plays it straight by firing off a loaded flintlock pistol in his office.
    • The second film zigzags it as well. Mauser asks Hooks to show him her revolver. When she points it at him, he takes it away and performs a safety check only to discover that it isn't loaded. He puts her on report and gives her dispatch duty. Later on, an older cop fires his revolver into the ceiling in the squadroom, causing everyone to duck.
  • Artistic License – Law Enforcement: The handgun range they are learning on are outdoors, with targets of 25 meters/yards. In reality, trainee police officers learn on an indoor range, with targets initially set at 10 yards, then increasing to 15 then 25 yards as they become more proficient with their guns. It's only after they're proficient with their guns that they move outdoors, to add environmental effects (wind, sun, glare, etc.) for the officers to compensate for.
  • Asian Cleaver Fever: In Police Academy 2, Commandant Lassard, his goldfish, and his brother Pete visit a Benihana-style restaurant, where the cook does all kinds of knife theatrics... much to Pete's chagrin. At the get-go, Pete pulls a gun on the cook when he plunges his knife into the wooden table as part of his act, and later Pete angrily asks the cook if the theatrics are necessary.
  • Aside Glance: Mahoney whenever a great prank just set itself up for him (e.g. shoe polish on Harris' face, switching Mauser's shampoo for glue and leaving Proctor exposed in front of a stadium audience).
  • Ass Shove: Lt. Harris and the horse, Mauser receiving a cavity search, among other incidents.
  • A-Team Firing: Nobody ever manages to land a shot on anybody else in these movies, except maybe Tackleberry's use of his service revolver to get a cat out of a tree. Tackleberry seems to be doing this deliberately, though, as some of the shots he does pull off show us that he is perfectly capable of hitting someone if he wanted to.
  • Badass Biker: Tackleberry from Their First Assignment onward. In the cartoon, he is always shown wearing a bike helmet and sunglasses.
  • Badass Driver: While not shown much, Mahoney is a skilled enough driver to perform Car Skiing. Of note, he also teaches Hightower how to drive and one of them may have taught Hooks before the third film.
  • Badass Unintentional: The entire cast (except Hightower, Callahan, and Tackleberry, who are just badass. Oh, and Jones. Even Mahoney, sometimes. Actually...).
  • Bar Brawl: At the Blue Oyster in Their First Assignment.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: The scene where Mahoney convinces Thompson that he's an officer and almost makes her show him her thighs.
  • Berserk Button: Using racial slurs around Hightower is a very bad idea. He flips a car over in anger over it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Throw racist comments around sweet-old Moses Hightower and he'll let you have it!! And the race card had to be played twice to provoke a violent reaction. The first time simply invokes a stern look, while the second was in defense of a fellow officer. Also, don't mess with his uniform. City Under Siege is one of the few times he's provoked to genuine anger when his nameplate is damaged.
    Hightower: Now I'm mad...
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Hooks.
  • BFG: Tackleberry's other weapons of choice other than Hand Cannons are generally these. In fact, in the cartoon series, he wields a bazooka.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Mess with Hooks then you'll have to answer to Hightower.
  • Big Eater: Vinnie Schtulman, from Police Academy 2, and Thomas "House" Conklin from 4 and 5.
  • Big Fun: Thomas "House" Conklin, and Moses Hightower, when playing pranks on Harris, Proctor, and Mauser.
  • Birds of a Feather: When Tackleberry meets new partner Sgt. Kathleen Kirkland, she's as much of a Gun Nut as he is. One of their first conversations is comparing sidearms. Her family could probably count too.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Konali, the name of the villain in Moscow, is very close in pronunciation to Russian каналья, "crook".
    • In Their First Assignment, there is a Russian word хуй ("dick, penis") on the phone booth that Mahoney destroys with a baseball bat.
  • Boobs of Steel: Callahan is demonstrably the best unarmed fighter among the cast, in addition to being physically strong (she is an avid weightlifter). Camera angles always accentuate her large chest.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The guy who takes Harris hostage sure fires a lot of bullets given that he only has two stolen revolvers, may or may not have gotten any extra bullets from the cadets he took them from, and certainly can't reload without giving Harris an opening to escape.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the first film, there was an incident involving then-Lt. Harris and a horse. Jones gave a horse whinny out when all the then-recruits laughed at him about it. In Assignment Miami Beach, when Capt. Harris has been called to pin the Lieutenant rank on Hightower during Eric Lassard's (supposed) retirement ceremony, Jones gives the horse whinny again as he walks by.
    • Also in the first movie, Larvell shows Mahoney what he was in for by perfectly imitating the sound of a machine gun being fired, causing multiple people to duck for cover and several officers to draw their weapons. He uses this trick later in the film to scare a mob of rioters away from the cop car he, Mahoney, and Lassard are in.
    • In the final act of City Under Siege, Hightower commandeers a monster truck for a car chase, but cedes the driver's seat to Tackleberry when he says he has experience driving vehicles that size. This is a call back to Their First Assignment, where Tackleberry drove one on his honeymoon.
  • Bullet Hole Spelling: In City Under Siege, Gun Nut Tackleberry shoots the words "HAVE A NICE DAY" into a backlit wall with an automatic rifle while facing off against an equally gun-crazy bad guy.
  • Bullying the Disabled: Downplayed; while Mauser is stumbling through the locker room naked with his eyes glued shut in Their First Assignment, Jones takes the opportunity to bark and growl exactly like Officer Vinnie's very large dog, Lou. Since he cannot see that Lou is actually on the other side of the room, Mauser starts begging.
    Mauser: Aw no, Lou, don't bite me there!
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • Commandant Lassard, particularly as he is allowed to remain on well past retirement age. Most of the characters to a lesser extent.
    • Proctor, despite his incompetence, is related to Harris through the marriage of Proctor's sister and Harris's nephew, yet he still remains on the force in spite of his ineptitude.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sgt./Lt. Proctor frequently ends up on the receiving end of the other officers' pranks, such as being sent to the Blue Oyster gay bar, and having a portable outhouse (with Proctor inside) moved by crane to the middle of a football field with the walls removed while he's still using the toilet in Police Academy 4.
  • Cameo:
    • Of the people skateboarding during the scene where Kyle is introduced in the fourth film, only David Spade ISN'T a professional skateboarder by trade.
    • G.W. Bailey makes a brief, uncredited appearance at the end of Their First Assignment as a guest at Tackleberry's wedding, though his face isn't shown.
  • Captain Obvious: In City Under Siege.
    Lassard: The word—
    Harris: Word on the street, now that might turn something up. Listen to the stoolies, maybe put a few men undercover.
    Hurst: Well, Commandant Lassard?
    Lassard: The word on the street might... give us a clue!
    Harris: [chuckles] I think I just said that. [to Hurst] At his age, the memory comes and goes.
  • Car Skiing: In the beginning of the first movie, Mahoney uses car skiing to park a belligerent businessman's car in an otherwise full parking lot. A deleted scene from the fourth movie had Mahoney do this again as a Call-Back.
  • Catchphrase: A couple of characters have recurring lines:
    • Harris: "Move it, move it, move it!"
    • Hooks: "DON'T MOVE, DIRTBAG!"
    • Tackleberry: "NOW, Mister!"
    • Commandant Lassard: "Many, many wonderful things/fine men and women"
  • Chain-Link Fence: Spoofed in Citizens on Patrol when Lt. Harris and Proctor climb a chainlink fence only to have a caretaker come along and unlock the gate while they're climbing over it.
    • Jones is able to leap over them in a single bound.
    • In the first film, Blanks and Copeland are shown taunting criminals on the other side of a fence until they get to a gap in the fence, where a thug simply takes their revolvers.
  • Chainsaw Good: Tackleberry was asked by a mother to get her bratty son out of a tree he was hiding up on to avoid going to school. When the brat refused to come down peacefully, Tackleberry whips a chainsaw out of nowhere, intent on chopping the tree down, much to the mother's horror.
  • Chase Scene: Several, but that's to be expected with seven films and two series. Strangely, they rarely involve police cars...
    • Back in Training culminates with the instructors and cadets using jet skis to chase speedboats.
    • Citizens on Patrol involves hot air balloons and propeller planes.
    • Assignment Miami Beach has a chase involving airboats.
    • City Under Siege has the Big Bad in a cherry picker, followed by both a monster truck and a bus.
    • Mission to Moscow has the trope played mostly straight with a Soviet police van and a police bike with sidecar chasing a Volga passenger car.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Or lack of skill, in this case. Lassard confuses numbers several times over the first movie, which sets him up for sending Harris and the cadets to the wrong numbered street when they are deployed to help suppress a riot, getting them in the thick of the chaos rather than on the periphery.
  • Chest of Medals: Rakov, the Russian Commandant, has enough medals to cover his entire jacket.
  • The Chew Toy: Leslie Barbara in the first film, who only joined the Academy after getting picked on by a gang of bullies. He eventually gets his revenge on them during a citywide riot. Sweetchuck pretty much exists to be abused.
  • Da Chief: Commissioner Hurst.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A lot of characters disappear between each of the films:
    • Their First Assignment: Cadet Leslie Barbara, Cadet Karen Thompson, and Cadet George Martín.
    • Back in Training: Capt. Pete Lassard and Officer Vinnie Schtulman.
    • Citizens on Patrol: Cmdnt. Mauser, Sgt. Kyle Blankes, Mrs. Fackler, Cadet Hedges, and Cadet Karen Adams.
    • Assignment Miami Beach: Sgt. Carey Mahoney, Officer Tomoko Nogata, Sgt. Chad Copeland, Officer Sweetchuck, Officer Zed, Officer Bud Kirkland, and Sgt. Kathleen Kirkland Tackleberry. If you count a place as a recurring character, the Blue Oyster Bar also stops appearing.
    • City Under Siege: Officer Tommy "House" Conklin.
    • Mission to Moscow: Sgt. Nick Lassard, Sgt. Laverne Hooks, Sgt. Douglas Fackler, Lt. Proctor, Lt. Moses Hightower, and Commissioner Henry Hurst.
    • Zigzagged with Douglas Fackler, who appeared in the first three movies, and while he was absent from Citizens on Patrol and Assignment Miami Beach, he returned for City Under Siege.
    • The only characters to not suffer from this were Cmdnt. Eric Lassard, Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry, & Sgt. Larvell Jones, who appeared in all seven films and both series. Capt. Thaddeus Harris appeared in only five of the films (he was absent in Their First Assignment and Back in Training), while Capt. Debbie Callahan appeared in only six (she was absent in Their First Assignment).
  • City with No Name: No name was ever given for the city the movie took place in (since the first four films were produced in Toronto). The presence of a Toronto Dominion bank in Back in Training confirms a Canadian setting.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Callahan, Jones, Nogata, Leslie Barbara, Bud Kirkland, and Hightower are the standout examples of unarmed fighters in the series. The first two are unarmed instructors at the academy, Nogata falls under All Asians Know Martial Arts, Barbara is shown improving massively as part of his Character Development after his initial encounter with Callahan, Bud Kirland is a Boxing Battler who learned from his father, and Hightower is so ridiculously strong that weapons are nearly redundant to him.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Commandant Lassard, so very much.
    • Larvell Jones might also qualify, playing video game sound effects in the middle of the night.
  • The Comically Serious: The recruits of the rival academy in Back in Training.
  • The Con: The Big Bad of City Under Siege orchestrates a crimewave alongside an old bus route, which would soon be the route of a train line. The crimewave would then drive down property prices allowing him to buy them and then resell them when the train line is complete and the price skyrocketed.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The hooker from the first movie returns in Back in Training at a party where Lassard remembers her fondly.
    • "Main Bad Guy" from the first movie's climax also shows up again in Back in Training (complete with the inexplicable Vassar T-shirt), first in a police suspect lineup, and then near the end as the leader of a gang of thieves.
  • Cool Car: Two generations of the legendary Bigfoot monster truck appear through-out the series; Bigfoot 3, bodied as a 1982 Ford F-250, appears at the end of Their First Assignment as Tackleberry and Kirkland's honeymoon car and driven by Tackleberry. City Under Seige has Bigfoot 6, bodied as an '87-'89 Ford truck, is comandeered by Jones for the final chase but is mostly driven by Tackleberry.
  • Cool Shades: Tackleberry's.
  • Corrupt Politician: The mayor is the villain in the sixth movie, causing a crime wave to devalue property so he can buy it cheap.
  • Covers Always Lie: Whoever did the artwork for the first film's poster apparently confused Thompson and Callahan, as Thompson is depicted with Sergeant stripes, whereas in the film, she's a cadet who graduates to the rank of Officer at the end.
  • Creator Cameo: Hugh Wilson, Jerry Paris, and Alan Myerson, who directed the first, second and third, and fifth films respectively, each have small one-scene roles in their films. Creator and producer Paul Maslansky also makes numerous non-speaking cameos throughout the series.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: A lot of the characters, but Eric Lassard is a repeat offender. For example, he cheerfully goes along with a kidnapping in Assignment Miami Beach, thinking it's a elaborate prank set up by the police convention's committee. As soon as he's told it's a real hostage situation, he easily knocks the crap out of his kidnapper.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Cadet Hooks is a soft-spoken, timid cadet for much of the first movie, but when she hits her sweet spot, she can be heard in Spain.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
    • City Under Siege's plot. The mayor has invoked a crime spree so he can buy property on the cheap and make a profit later on.
    • In Mission to Moscow, Konali has been making billions legitimately through sales of a wildly popular video game, yet wishes to use a new version to hack into every computer on the planet so he can blackmail governments and manipulate the stock market.
  • Dark Reprise: In several moments, the main theme is played in a different key.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Used for the basis of a terrific zinger in part 2, after Mauser's shampoo is replaced with epoxy, leaving his hands covered in his own cut-off hair:
    Mauser: Can anyone explain to me how this happened?
    Mahoney: I can, sir... and if you don't stop doing that, you could go blind.
  • Demoted to Extra: Eric Lassard in Their First Assignment and, to a lesser extent, Mission to Moscow, where all he does it get the Academites to Russia, gets into the wrong car at the airport and is no longer integral to the story until he defeats Konali singlehanded.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo:
    • Fackler unknowingly causes the riot near the end of the first film, and the role of main villain is taken by a never-before-seen random thug who managed to steal guns off some of the cadets; he's even listed in the credits as "Main Bad Guy".
    • The climax of Back in Training and Citizens on Patrol involve problems that appear out of nowhere, and presumably don't even exist before said climax. Though Proctor inadvertently causes the crisis in Citizens on Patrol.
  • The Dilbert Principle: Proctor gets promoted from sergeant to lieutenant in spite of his incompetence.
  • Dirty Coward: Blanks and Copeland in the first movie are two racists who are kept in line from saying anything too offensive thanks to Hightower, but yet are not afraid to say a racial slur to Hooks. When they want to know where the party is and get payback for going to the Blue Oyster, they go after Barbara instead of Mahoney. And when Hightower wrecks their car, they go after Mahoney instead, even admitting this trope, and bullying Mahoney until he throws the first punch so they won't get in trouble. And during the riot, one guy scares them enough to let him take their guns and run off... into the Blue Oyster.
  • Disabled Snarker: According to an interview with Norman Donaldson in September 2020, Steve Guttenberg confirmed that filming had begun on an 8th Police Academy film. However, Guttenberg also said that Mahoney is now in a wheelchair, having lost a foot in the line of duty.
  • Disaster Dominoes:
    • Fackler is often the cause of these. In the first movie, he causes a citywide riot completely by accident.
    • Exaggerated in City Under Seige where he accidentally causes chaos just by walking through the precinct, said chaos culminating in every officer in the bullpen taking cover from Chinese fireworks after he accidentally knocks an ashtray with a still-smoking cigar into the box they're in!
  • Disguised in Drag:
    • Cadet Martin in the first movie does this to a minor degree to sneak in and out of female cadets' rooms, until he is caught by Callahan.
    • In the beginning of the third film, Hightower disguises himself as a woman to bait and arrest possible purse snatchers.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • Callahan is basically a female version of Tackleberry (with an even more serious personality).
    • Kirkland's Gun Nut tendencies mark her as a female Tackleberry even more.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In City Under Siege, a man drops a barbell on his chest in the gym and almost dies because everyone - including the guy spotting him is too busy watching Callahan to notice.
  • Dodgy Toupee:
    • The Jerkass customer who tries to get Mahoney to park his car in a full lot in the first film is wearing an obvious wig, which Mahoney wastes no time in pointing out.
    • Mauser ends up wearing a wig after Proctor has to cut his hands out of his hair thanks to the glue prank.
    • During the yacht club robbery in Back in Training, a woman saves her jewelry by hiding it under her husband's toupee.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Hightower; he is rather careful around people but property damage can and has happened.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Surprisingly for a comedy movie series about the police, this trope doesn't get played until Citizens on Patrol. Then Zed tries to teach the students the most important thing to know while on patrol: how to eat a doughnut.
  • The Door Slams You: During the shooting exercise in Back in Training, Mrs. Fackler kicks open the door and while cheering at her success, the door suddenly swings shut on her, knocking her down.
  • Dramatic Thunder: More like comedic thunder. In City Under Siege, Hightower faces off against a criminal counterpart as strong as he is. They each take turns punching the other, each punch causing thunder to sound.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Harris plays this role in the first film by pushing the cadets so hard that they are encouraged to quit. Callahan is this as well to a lesser extent.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Hightower, at first. Mahoney is something closer to Drives Like Crazy-Awesome.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first two movies have prologues, setting up the premise of each film.
    • The first, third and fourth movie have No Antagonists until the climax. Their First Assignment has the villains as the focus of the plot, and the other sequels starting with Assignment Miami Beach followed suit.
    • The first four films are the only ones to feature the Blue Oyster club.
    • The first and fourth films are the only ones to have songs playing during the end credits.
  • Emergency Trainee Battle Deployment: The climax of the first film involves a riot breaking out across the city and all the police academy trainees have to be deployed to bolster the short-staffed police force. They are only supposed to be deployed to peripheral areas of the rioting to direct civilians away from the area, but Lassard's poor map reading skills gets the cadets dropped in the middle of the chaos.
  • Executive Ball Clicker: In Citizens on Patrol, Captain Harris has a Newton's cradle in his office. When Proctor fiddles with it, Harris says, "Don't you ever touch my balls without asking!"
  • Expy: Multiple times characters left, but were replaced by other characters with identical personalities and characteristics. For example, Nick Lassard, who joins the cast in Assignment Miami Beach, is identical in character to Carey Mahoney, who left after Citizens on Patrol. Kyle Connors, who shows up in Mission to Moscow, is also near-identical to Mahoney and Nick. The characters Thaddeus Harris and Mauser are also almost identical, with Mauser's Yes-Man Proctor shifting to kiss ass for Harris between movies without explanation, and it works perfectly.
  • Extended Disarming:
    • In Their First Assignment, it involves Tackleberry and Kathleen Kirkland (new partner-turned-paramour whom he would later marry) getting ready for romantic relations. After the lights go out a forgotten sidearm discharges. Followed by a satisfied moan from Kirkland.
    • In the first film, when unpacking his bags in the dorm, Tackleberry places an unholy number of firearms on his bed.
  • The Faceless: The Big Bad in City Under Siege, until The Reveal.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In City Under Siege, the Wilson Heights Gang perform a robbery right under Harris's nose because he's too busy stroking his own ego to pay attention to his surroundings (or Proctor, who has noticed, but lacks the initiative to actually do something about it). Twice.
  • Fair Cop: Every single movie. Thompson in the original movie, Kirkland in Their First Assignment, Adams in Back in Training, Stratton in Assignment Miami Beach, Katrina in ''Mission to Moscow' ', and Callahan throughout majority of the films.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Occasionally, Tackleberry would make use of Abnormal Ammo that would be less lethal, such as tear gas or tracking device rounds, or use a crossbow to shoot someone's cigar. Hilariously, his Weapon of Choice in the animated adaptation was a bazooka, which he uses with almost reckless abandon on walls and the like, while a standard firearm is used exactly once.
  • Fantastic Rank System: Sort of: For most of the series, Callahan fraternizes with Mahoney and friends, helping along with their schemes and pranks and following their lead as just one of the gang, even though she helped train them and outranks them all.
  • Fat and Skinny:
    • Mauser and Proctor
    • The partnership of Mahoney and Vinny in Their First Assignment.
  • A Father to His Men:
    • Commandant Lassard. It must run in the family because his brother Pete Lassard is the same way. Mahoney displays some signs of this also.
    • Harris in Mission to Moscow shows shades of this due to taking a level in kindness, rarely insulting his fellow American officers, expressing relief that a cadet was not injured after falling of the top of a fast-moving car during a chase, and even referring to Tackleberry as "Tack".
  • Fauxreigner: In the first movie, George Martin pretends to be Latin-American because the ladies love it.
  • Field Promotion: The only promotion we see onscreen is Hightower's to Lieutenant at the end of the fifth film for saving Captain Harris from an alligator.
  • Flanderization: Practically all of the recurring cast was horribly flanderized as the movies piled up, except maybe Mahoney.
    • In the first two films, Commandant Lassard is generally quite competent, if slightly ineffectual. Starting with Back in Training however, he becomes more and more absent-minded. May be justified because he is getting older.
    • Harris and Callahan start out as stern but rather competent instructors, by Citizens on Patrol, Harris is a fumbling grump and Callahan is a sexy valkyrie.
    • Proctor is worth noting. His first appearances in Their First Assignment has him as a Hyper-Competent Sidekick with his dimwitted side shown only casually. Back in Training is when he's already the dimwitted sidekick he's known for.
  • Fly Crazy: At the beginning of Back in Training, a fly was bothering Commandant Lassard. He sees the fly land on a woman's cheek, sitting next to him. He slaps it, pushing the woman to the floor.
    Lassard: Got it!
  • Fun with Acronyms: Citizens On Patrol in the fourth film.
  • Gag Boobs: Callahan's large breasts are frequently used for sight gags.
  • Gay Bar Reveal: The Blue Oyster.
  • Geeky Turn-On: Tackleberry was attracted to Kirkland in the second film because of her knowledge of firearms.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Leslie Barbara is a guy whose first and last names both qualify; he gets teased about this, until he stands up for himself and retaliates against Blankes and Copeland in a cafeteria brawl. This even extends to his pet dog Princess, which he brought to the Academy only for it to get away from him and hump Lassard's leg. Just let that roll in your skull for a moment.
  • Genre Shift: The first, third and fourth involves police training with the antagonists showing up at the end. The second, fifth, sixth, and seventh feature antagonists relevant to the overall plot.
  • Gentle Giant: Moses Hightower.
  • Gilligan Cut: In City Under Siege, when Nick suggests he and Jones to go undercover at a possible hideout, Harris insist on going himself. Nick tries to talk him out of it, but a smug and confident Harris ignores him. Then we cut to him and Proctor disguised as window washers, with a terrified Harris clinging on the windows for his life.
    Proctor: (washing the windows) Undercover work is sure exciting!
    Harris: Shut up, Proctor!
  • Girl of the Week: Mahoney gets a love interest in the first, third, and fourth movie. Apparently the one in the fourth movie is permanent.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Implied for Tackleberry with his love scene with Kirkland in the second film.
    [gunshot after the lights go out]
    Kirkland: Oh, Eugene!
  • Gotta Pass the Class: Hightower comes to Mahoney at night and tells him that he's going to get expelled if he fails the driving test, but he hasn't driven a car in years. Mahoney takes him for a driving lesson that night and Hightower learns enough to pass.
  • Groin Attack:
    • In Citizens on Patrol, Sweetchuck accidentally walks in the path of Lassard's back swing, taking a putter in the crotch. Captain Harris, while giving a condescending speech to the new recruits, Hightower's dog walks up and bites him in the crotch. In the shooting range scene, Mrs. Feldman asks Tackleberry if she could try shooting with his Hand Cannon. He allows her, but then she gets blown backward from the strong recoil as the shot hit at the target's crotch area.
    • In Mission to Moscow, Konali has Callahan in his personal bedroom while she's Bound and Gagged and dressed in a Go-Go Enslavement outfit. When Konali gets on top of Callahan from upon the bed and attempts to kiss her, she uses both of her knees to strike him in the family jewels, making him fall off the bed in a state of excruciating pain.
  • Gun Nut:
    • Tackleberry is rather fond of his guns. When he starts unpacking upon arrival at the academy, he unpacks a gym bag full of them. Apparently, this extends to his family as well, as his Hand Cannon from the first movie was apparently a gift from his mother.
    • Also Kirkland in the second movie, with whom Tackleberry hits it off in no part due to their mutual interest in firearms, and they eventually get married.
    • In the fourth film, Tackleberry ends up as the instructor of elderly Mrs. Feldman. The initially reluctant Tackleberry quickly warms up to her once he sees the Wall of Weapons she has in her apartment.
  • Hack the Traffic Lights: In City Under Siege.
  • Hand Cannon: Tackleberry's sidearm, a Smith & Wesson Model 629. During its first appearance on the range in the first movie, when asked where he got it, he replies that it was from his mother.
  • Hassle-Free Hotwire: In Back in Training, Zed, a criminal-turned-cop, accomplishes this by ripping out the appropriate wires and biting them.
  • Hate Sink: Lt./Commandant Mauser lacks any redeeming qualities that would make the audience sympathize with him, especially compared to Harris. Whenever he'd get his comeuppance it's without question that he had it coming.
  • Head Desk: After the climax of the first movie, Tackleberry removes both his sunglasses and motorcycle helmet before he starts banging his head against the hood of a police car for having missed the shoot-out.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Zed is the lead villain in Their First Assignment. In Back in Training, he joins the police academy.
    • In the final movie, Harris is a reluctant teammate, instead of being an antagonist.
  • Helium Speech: In Citizens on Patrol, the cadets swap an oxygen bottle for a helium bottle to prank Harris.
  • Henpecked Husband: The witness in Back in Training. He's worried that the suspects will see him, since his wife warned him and told him not to do this.
    Hurst: Oh, for God's sake, Miller, will you take your balls out of your wife's purse and finger the dirtbag?!
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Hightower was previously a florist, and unlike most of the recruits he wasn't fired from that job.
    • Gun nut Tackleberry plays a mean sax in the first movie, and provides emotional support to an about-to-run-off Sweetchuck in the third.
    • Some of those Blue Oyster bar regulars really are good dancers.
    • Commandant Lassard is an incredible pool player.
  • Hockey Mask and Chainsaw: Tackleberry has this getup on when he, Hightower, Mahoney, and Jones play a prank on Arnie, Kyle, and House. He uses the chainsaw to cut open a bodybag from inside and bursts out, scaring the trio off.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Back in Training, Mouser wants well-trained and disciplined recruits to help him win the competition. Unfortunately for him, none of them can adapt to certain situations or to think outside the box like Lassard's recruits.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Played for Laughs. Jones would often wear a Martial Arts Headband and begin taunting Mooks in this manner.
    Larvelle Jones: Wanna fight, huh? Fight me!
  • Honking Arriving Car: In Their First Assignment, the arriving car horn is used in tandem with a Gilligan Cut from Officer Mahoney being fitted for a wire and him working undercover at a pool hall. The car horn sounds from outside the pool hall, and two members of Zed's gang pick up Mahoney in a stolen car to take him to their hideout. They also honk the car horn to herald their arrival once they are inside the hideout.
  • Hot Scoop: Claire Mattson from the fourth film as Mahoney's Love Interest played by Sharon Stone.
  • Hot Teacher: Callahan...
  • Hypocritical Humor: In Back in Training, two of Mauser's recruits become the governor's bodyguards see themselves as more competent than Lassard's recruits. But when the busboys pull out their guns and demand money and jewels, the governor tells them to take them out, they fainted.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Bobcat Goldthwait's "Zed" character shows up in Their First Assignment, and ends up joining the Academy in Back in Training.
  • IKEA Weaponry: Appears in one or two of the movies. What appears to be a sniper rifle eventually becomes something like a machine gun nest or an anti-aircraft turret.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Tackleberry. He is able to write the phrase "HAVE A NICE DAY" by simple application of More Dakka in City Under Siege. In the first scene of the first film, he manages to make deliberate shots in pitch black darkness.
    • The rioter who steals Copeland and Blankes' guns is able to come within inches of hitting Thompson with a revolver while in an elevated position over a hundred yards away and at the same time holding a struggling Lt. Harris. He also bullseyes a police radio no more than eight by three inches.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Seen in Citizens on Patrol.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: In Citizens on Patrol, Proctor absolutely wigs out at the fact that they have a gang of ninjas in the precinct lockup. When he gets conned into releasing all of the prisoners, the ninjas turn up on the streets and have to be subdued by the police.
  • I Was Just Joking: In the first movie, Mahoney and Hightower steal the car belonging to a Jerkass fellow trainee in order to help Hightower practice for the police driving test. The car is very compact, and Hightower ends up sitting almost with his knees to his chin. Mahoney jokingly suggests ripping the seats off and sitting in the back. Cut to Hightower tossing the seats off to the sidewalk...
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: In Assignment Miami Beach, Hightower holds one of the diamond thieves over the railing at the roof of the hotel to make him talk.
    "Want me to drop you somewhere?"
  • Japanese Tourist: Nogata has shades of this upon his introduction in Back in Training, which prompt Mauser to have him enroll at Lassard's academy instead.
  • The Jinx: Fackler, especially due to flanderization as the series went on...
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Towards the end of the first movie, the two cadets who Harris had blatantly favored ended up losing their issue sidearms to a man who would use them to take Harris hostage. This is a very serious infraction, and since all cadet issue sidearms had the names of the cadet they were issued to on them, it was obvious who had lost their guns. Despite that, they are seen in the third movie, where they sabotage Lassard's academy in favor of Mauser's including deliberately interfering with the operation of a police dispatch station and getting caught red-handed. And despite that, they're in the fourth movie, having reached fairly high rank in Harris' precinct.
    • Many of the stunts the main cast pulls off would destroy all hope any real police officer might have of career advancement, or possibly just dismissed outright.
    • "Main Bad Guy" in part 1 and Zed in part 2 are both arrested for their crimes (which included assaulting and threatening police officers), yet both are free once again in Back in Training with no explanation. The former is again caught and presumably put away for good at the end of that movie, but Zed was actually allowed to join the police force himself.
    • Having a major breakout from the holding cells while VIPs were visiting the precinct as happened in Citizens on Patrol should have gotten Harris or at least Proctor (who caused it to happen by bringing his sidearm into the holding area against protocol, and allowing it to be stolen from him) demoted or sacked. Harris' screwups in City Under Siege should also have gotten him demoted or dismissed, as his mistakes were the main thing keeping the rest of the cast from catching the gang earlier (though in his defense, he had no idea that the mayor - an authority figure - was the gang leader).
  • Kicked Upstairs: In Mission to Moscow, Kyle Connors initially flunks out of the academy due his vertigo resulting in him being unable to pass physical fitness and was even on his way to Lassard's office for his signature to confirm he's flunked out, only to be brought along on the mission due to him replacing the name of another officer on the list of those assigned to the mission with his own and presumably becoming an officer once returning to the states due to his part in bringing down Konali. Him not even hesitating to jump onto a moving car being used a getaway vehicle after Callahan is kidnapped likely did him some favours as well.
  • "Kick Me" Prank: Done with a Suntan Stencil to Captain Harris in Assignment Miami Beach, by having people call him "dork".
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: Angers Hightower into knocking out his opponent.
  • Late to the Action: Happens to Tackleberry during the first film's riot. He doesn't take it gracefully.
  • Latin Lover: See "Fauxreigner", above.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Subverted in Citizens on Patrol.
  • Leatherman: The denizens of the Blue Oyster Bar.
  • Leitmotif: The music typically associated with the Gay Bar Reveal for The Blue Oyster is an arrangement of The '70s song "El Bimbo" by French disco group Bimbo Jet.
  • Lima Syndrome: In Assignment Miami Beach, Eric Lassard gets taken as a hostage but the hostage taker eventually felt sorry for him.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: What kicks off the first movie's plot.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Justified in City Under Siege because the case in question is restricted solely to the main cast for security reasons, but even then, Cpt Harris and Lt Proctor are seen doing a stakeout before the security restrictions are put in place, even though that's a job well below a precinct captain's paygrade.
  • Malaproper: The mayor in City Under Siege.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: In Back in Training, Zed collapses a door at the training grounds by screaming at the lock.
  • Manchild: Proctor, from Citizens on Patrol onward.
  • Marshmallow Hell: In Back in Training:
    Nogata: I love America!
  • Medication Tampering: Downplayed in Citizens on Patrol. While Lt. Harris is taking a shower, someone (later implied to be Zed) replaces his underarm deodorant with mace. He doesn't die, but he does irritate his armpits.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: In Assignment Miami Beach, Jones imitates the sound of the metal detector going off whenever Harris goes through, forcing him to surrender more and more things until he takes off his belt and his pants fall down.
  • The Millstone:
    • Proctor. The few moments of competence shown by both Mauser and Harris are invariably torpedoed by Proctor's idiocy. He ends up causing the climactic prison break in Citizens on Patrol with his gullibility, and he wrecks Harris's plan to rescue Lassard in Assignment Miami Beach after it had technically succeeded.
    • Harris takes over the role in City Under Siege. At one point he drives into a standoff and parks in the line of fire. And when Sgt. Lassard tells him to get out of the line of fire, Harris goes on a rant about how Sergeants don't give instructions to Captains, distracting the police and giving the criminals an opening to escape.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Citizens on Patrol has a near-identical plot to Back in Training, the only major differences being that the third deals with new Police Academy recruits (like in the first film), and the fourth is based around a civilian training course. In fact, the two movies were meant to be shot back-to-back, but director Jerry Paris falling seriously ill (and later dying) forced the filmmakers to delay shooting of the fourth film.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Jerkasses Copeland and Blanks end up with buzzcuts because they weren't smart enough to know that police regulations for hairstyles are much more lenient than those of the military. Harris notices their haircuts and assumes they both have a military background, so he makes the pair his go-to enforcers/snitches (Blanks, the slightly smarter of the two, runs with it and lies about having service cred).
  • Mistaken for Gay: In the first film, Commandant Lassard thinks Mahoney gave him a blowjob during his speech, so he assumes Mahoney is gay. In the end, when he sees him with Karen Thompson, he is happy to note Mahoney has reversed his sexual orientation.
  • Murderous Thighs: Callahan's unarmed combat training includes this. After her first demonstration, everyone volunteers to be next.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Callahan.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin:
    • Tackleberry in the second film. He ends up admitting to Mahoney and everyone in the bar ends up hearing, causing an awkward silence.
    • Connors is revealed to be one in the seventh film. The Russian forensics expert is somehow able to determine this from a single strand of his hair.
  • Never My Fault: In City Under Siege, Harris chews out Sergeant Lassard for a sting operation he suggested backfiring when it was Harris' fault it failed (even before it was revealed that he had inadvertently leaked the plan to the gang) because he was too busy planning his speech for the commendation ceremony after making the bust to pay proper attention to his post.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In the first film, Fackler accidentally triggers a citywide riot.
    • In City Under Siege, when Harris calls out the others.
      Sergeant Lassard: It seems like a good plan at the time.
      Harris: Ah yes, a fine plan. We lose a priceless diamond. The Wilson Heights gang pulls off the crime of the century, and we look like a bunch of jerks because we practically invited them. So do us a favor, Sergeant Lassard, the next time you have a brilliant idea, please, keep it... to... yourself.
      Tackleberry: [pretends to cough] Asshole!
    • In the same movie, it is revealed Harris was the one who unknowingly tipped off the main villain about the police's plans which allowed the gang of thieves to pull off their jobs without a hitch.
    • Harris is a frequent cause of these moments in the animated series.
    • In City Under Siege, the Academites finally corner the bank robbers after a robbery and it looks like a major break in the case has been made... only for Harris to pull in the line of fire and attempt to arrest them himself which leads to an argument breaking out amongst him and the other officers which distracts them long enough for the criminals drive around the blockade and eventually get away.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • In Back in Training, Mauser forbids his cadets to respond to the call about the stickup and kidnapping at the yacht club, thinking it to be a prank which allow's Lassard's cadets to swim in and save the day. When they realize it's not a prank, the best they manage to do is get a canoe in the water. This heavily sways the governor's opinion and Lassard's academy remains open. While not shown on-screen, Mauser's academy was shut down with Mauser himself likely having been fired due to ignoring a call for such a serious crime as he does not return in any other sequels. Adding to this: he had Nogata transferred to Lassard's academy, unaware that he knows martial arts, which gave Lassard's cadet an edge against the criminals. And two of Mauser's cadets he assigned as the governor's bodyguards fainted during the stickup.
    • In Mission to Moscow, Callahan is kidnapped by Konstantine's men in revenge for trying to foil his operation. If only he knew that she and her fellow officers were on their way to the airport after Commander Rakov had ordered them to leave the country.
  • Not Me This Time: The riot in the first movie leads to the academy cadets being mobilized as well, which immediately leads to...
    George: Jones, was that you?!
    Jones: No, man!
  • Not So Above It All: Callahan is introduced as every bit the hardass as Harris in the first film, playing Drill Sergeant Nasty to the new recruits. However after she catches Martin sneaking into the women's quarters to hook up with the female recruits, rather than busting him, she makes a move on him. She also finds Harris's incident with the horse hilarious as she had trouble trying to keep a straight face.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Though not mocked for it, the thug holding Harris hostage at the end of the first movie doesn't have his finger on the trigger.
  • Oddball in the Series: The second film is the only one that doesn't feature the titular academy in a significant way; Commandant Lassard only pops up in a cameo with his brother taking centre stage as the precinct's captain and the six officers that get sent to him (Mahoney, Jones, Hightower, Tackleberry, Hooks, and Fackler) are recent graduates from the first film. Even the Fair Cop Love Interest introduced in this film isn't one for Mahoney (or one of his Suspiciously Similar Substitutes), but for Tackleberry.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Lt. Harris in the first film, when Hightower gets pissed after Copeland made a racist remark on Hooks.
    • George Martin, when he sees the riot just down the street.
  • Oh Me Accents Slipping: In-universe, how George Martin gets caught out as a fake Latin American.
  • Only Sane Man: Mahoney, compared to his wacky friends.
  • Outside Ride:
    • In the first movie, Mrs. Fackler jumps on the hood of her husband's station wagon to prevent him from going to the academy. Undeterred, Mr. Fackler just drives to the academy with his wife on the hood the entire time which is witnessed en route by another recruit in a limousine.
    • Happens to the Facklers again in Back in Training, though this time the roles are reversed with Mrs. Fackler going to the academy and Mr. Fackler trying to stop her.
    • When Callahan is kidnapped by Konali's thugs, Cadet Connors immediately takes off after the getaway car, jumping onto the trunk of another car before leaping onto the roof of the kidnapper's car and managing to hang on for a while, even through some high-speed turns and attempts to shake him off via reckless swerving.
  • Overranked Soldier: If you turn this trope to the police rather than the military, it would probably be easier to list the characters who don't qualify for this. Most of the protagonist cops are type II (with Tackleberry and Lassard arguably a IV for different reasons), while the antagonist cops tending to be type III and/or V.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Good grief, Mission to Moscow. Not only do various characters in the movie sport cartridgeless Game Boys (of the black and white variety — the color models didn't come out until 4 years later), but videos of the game in action are blatantly shot on a PC monitor, in color!
  • Parrot Pet Position: Lassard's goldfish.
  • The Peeping Tom: Both Mahoney and Lt. Harris in the first film. In one scene, Mahoney is watching the female police cadets as they shower while drinking a beer. He gets busted by Lt. Harris who takes the beer and starts peeping himself only to be immediately noticed.
  • Percussive Maintenance: In City Under Siege Hightower banging on a computer allows it to access password-protected files.
  • The Pig-Pen: Officer Vinnie Schtulman. His apartment is a mess, his uniform is always dirty, he's willing to eat a chocolate bar he finds in a bin and will eat breakfast cereal after his cat has used it as a litter box.
  • Plank Gag: In the first movie, Fackler is carrying a mattress while he crosses Jones and Mahoney in a hallway. Introducing himself, he turns around some to shake Mahoney's hand, pushing Jones into a door and down service stairs with the mattress.
  • Police Lineup: One of them is being done in the third film with the witness scared to identify the suspect because he thinks he can see him. Blanks switches on the lights and proves him right.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Along with Copeland's racial comments, Commissioner Hurst also laments how he can recall a time at the academy when new cadets were all the same color (interestingly, even in the first movie there's a minor black character who is already a serving police captain, so racial homogeneity has clearly not been part of the police department for quite some time). This trait is dropped from both characters after the first film.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser:
    • Proctor is little more than a toady to Harris. The one time he tries to take some initiative on his own — in the third movie — ends very badly for him.
    • Mauser is also this to the higher-ups (Hurst even calls him the biggest ass-kisser he knows).
    • Pete Lassars accuses Chief Hurst of this.
  • Psycho Rangers: The Wilson Heights Gang in City Under Siege consists of Ox (a huge man with Super Strength, like Hightower), Ace (a gun nut with Improbable Aiming Skills, like Tackleberry), and Flash (a skilled martial artist, who serves as Jones' evil counterpart). Eventually, all three end up fighting, and losing to, their heroic counterparts from the Police.
  • The Quiet One: Moses Hightower who usually says only a few words at a time.
  • Random Events Plot: Many of the films primarily consist of random shenanigans by cops and cadets until the crisis in the final act that causes them to get serious and spring into action.
  • Rank Up: Between films, many characters get promotions. Most of the main cast get promoted really quickly too:
    • At the end of the first film, the entire class of cadets pass out and become officers.
    • During Their First Assignment, Mauser becomes a Captain, with Proctor moving up into Mauser's old role of Lieutenant, a rank he maintains for the rest of the series. Proctor is shown as a Captain in the third film, but apparently got demoted after this.
    • Between Their First Assignment and Back in Training, Mahoney, Hightower, Jones, Tackleberry, Fackler, Blanks, Copeland and Hooks are promoted to Sergeant, while Callahan has become a Lieutenant (and is a Captain in the later films) and Mauser is now Commandant of the rival academy.
    • By Citizens on Patrol, Harris has become a Captain. In Kirkland's cameo, she's got Sergeant stripes on.
    • Hightower earns a promotion to Lieutenant at the end of Assigment: Miami Beach for saving Harris' life.
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • Moses Hightower owned a flower shop before becoming a cop, and the sixth movie reveals he does cross-stitch.
    • Also, Zed loves soap operas, even as a gang leader.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Subdued example: Callahan in the first film is tough on the recruits and seems just as hard on them as Harris. However while Harris is trying to make them fail or quit, Callahan is giving her best effort to train them. She's genuinely pleased when they begin to show competence, and in one scene scowls in disgust when Harris openly dismisses their progress. Notably, during Hightower's Tranquil Fury moment, while Harris is desperately screaming at him to stop, Callahan makes no effort at all to stop him, and even slightly moves out of his way to let him go to town with the jerk that threw slurs at Hooks. It kind of makes sense why she ends up fraternizing with these cadets later on as if she was one of them to begin with.
    • Commissioner Hurst. Especially in Back in Training, while he must remain neutral and wanting both academies to look good, he's secretly rooting for Lassard's academy to win the competition. He wasn't always this way, however. In the first film, he shows racist and sexist viewpoints regarding some of the new cadets.
  • Recurring Element: Every movie, except Mission to Moscow, begins with a view of the city.
  • Reckless Gun Usage:
    • Tackleberry is a pretty frequent offender what with his performing such actions as shooting a cat out of a tree, firing a tear gas round into a car to get a kid to go to school, shooting a phone booth to get a woman's quarter back and shooting a man's cigar with a crossbow.
    • There's also a scene in the second film at the end of a Rousing Speech where one of the older cops at the precinct shouts "Let's kick ass!" and fires his revolver into the air. Everyone ducks for cover upon hearing the shot.
  • Running Gag: A common gag in the first four films was straight antagonists being lured to, or otherwise stumble into, a gay bar, "The Blue Oyster", and watching their discomfort as its normal patrons pull them in for dances.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Proctor. Example from Citizens on Patrol:
    Proctor: Commissioner Hurst is here. May I send him in?
    Harris: No, send him packing. [Proctor was about to leave when...] Proctor, send Commissioner Hurst in immediately.
    Proctor: But you said—
    Harris: Immediately! [Proctor leaves to get him] Pinhead.
  • Satchel Switcheroo: In Assignment Miami Beach, Lassard's luggage was in a suitcase externally identical to one in which a gang of jewel thieves had stashed their goods. They claim the wrong bags at the airport, setting off the main plot.
  • Scary Black Man:
    • Hightower, if you get on his bad side. Lampshaded in Back in Training.
      Cabbie: Look, wise guy, don't think a blue uniform scares me.
      Mahoney: No, sir, this is not a scary uniform.
      Cabbie: No, it's not a scary uniform.
      Mahoney: Hightower!
      Bystander: That's a scary uniform.
    • They make sure to include one of these when the riot in the first movie starts.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Mission to Moscow.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Callahan's lifesaving demonstration, with no shortage of volunteers. Including Sweetchuck who jumps back into the pool after only just climbing out after an accidently fall into said pool.
  • She's Got Legs: Mahoney's first attempt to get kicked out of the academy involves trying to get Thompson to show off her thighs to him. She later teases him with a description of them as being tanned, toned, and luxuriant to the touch. When Harris has Mahoney in his office, she finally shows them off to Mahoney in a pair of tight gym shorts.
  • Shooting Gallery:
    • One of the training exercises in the first movie, and used to demonstrate how nuts Tackleberry is. Barbara accidentally fires his shotgun as soon as he picks it up and "kills" an innocent target, and then turns around to ask the instructor what to do next; he sweeps the shotgun muzzle across the entire crowd and everybody hits the dirt... except Tackleberry, who calmly remains standing and smiling. Of course, Tackleberry being a gun nut, probably was staring at the weapon rather than the target, and noticed that he didn't re-cock it and so couldn't be fired anyway (still a dumb move, but more understandable). When it's Tackleberry's turn at the exercise, he charges screaming inside one of the buildings and obliterates the first target that pops up from behind.
    • There's also the scene where the cadets are issued their revolvers. One cadet picks up his revolver in awe while another cradles it like he's afraid he'll drop it. Tackleberry picks his up and looks at it with utter disgust. Later, the others are firing away with standard issue weapons. Tackleberry uses a Hand Cannon to destroy the targets. Harris has to take the gun away from Tackleberry.
  • Shrinking Violet: ...although Cadet Hooks can be damn loud when she wants to be.
  • Shout-Out: City Under Siege has a lot of these:
    • When Tackleberry's villain counterpart shoots a smiley face into a paint can, then Tackleberry trumps him by writing HAVE A NICE DAY on the wall with his machine gun.
    • Harris threatens Proctor with his revolver, saying "Go ahead, make my Christmas."
    • Sweetchuck references Sudden Impact in the third movie with the "Go ahead, make my day line" when holding up a Mook. He's evidently a fan of Dirty Harry, as he also uses as cardboard cutout of Harry as part of his security setup in the second film.
    • When Proctor is driving the bus during the final chase scene, he barely avoids hitting a corner fresh fruit stand as Harris yells, "Look out for Gene and Roger's fruit stand!" Doubles as a Take That!, given the two reviewers' dislike of both the Fruit Cart trope and the film series itself.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • Played for Laughs — Fackler's bad luck is the very thing that started the riot in the first movie.
    • In a case of NO role large impact, Mayor Mary Sue Beale isn't even in the first movie, but it's her off-screen change to the academy recruitment standards that sets the entire series in motion.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: In the first film, Commandant Lassard suggests to his audience that they should take a cigarette break after he had a blow job done to him by a hooker hiding inside a podium while he was giving a presentation.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Tackleberry is depicted as having a fairly grown son, likely in his tweens, in the sixth film. That was only four years, and as many films, after he married Kirkland at the end of the second film. So it's either this, or at least ten years passed between those films. Given that the mayor in the sixth film is clearly not the mayor from the first two films, and Harris implies that the current mayor has served multiple terms, a Time Skip is likely.
  • Spot the Impostor: Seen in City Under Siege, when the film's Big Bad, the Mastermind, disguise as Commissioner Hurst this way. They pull the "Pinocchio Test" on the Commissioner, by pulling on his nose. Sure enough, the commissioner that came in with the rest of the officers yells in pain, and on the commissioner already seated, as St. Nick pulls on him, the latex mask's nose stretches out quite far, giving him away, and is thus unmasked to reveal the Mayor.
  • Status Quo Is God: Became the case starting with Back in Training.
  • Stock Footage: In City Under Siege, they used the same footage of an exploding factory from The War of the Worlds.
  • Stout Strength: House is a fat guy who is almost as strong as Hightower. Fitting as they're old associates.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: There was no evidence that Jones had any hand-to-hand skills beyond the basic self defense course at the Academy until he dons a headband and turns into a master Hong Kong Dub martial artist halfway through the second film.
  • Suntan Stencil: In Assignment Miami Beach, Harris is tanning on the beach. Nick writes "DORK" in sunblock on his chest. When he wakes up and walks on the crowded beach, Hilarity Ensues. He did it because Harris called him a buttwipe for standing in his sun.
    Nick Lassard: "Buttwipe", huh? Haven't heard that in a while.
  • Super Strength: Hightower can flip cars over, rip seats out with his bare hands and carry grown men with one arm.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Hooks' first scene in City Under Siege has her writing a ticket for a Mercedes-Benz parked next to a hydrant. The owner of the car calls her over and rips up the ticket and scatters the pieces on the ground before explaining to her that he has the necessary connections to have her busted down a crossing guard and telling her to scram which she does... only to return moments later with a slew of new citations for his car being too far from the curb, parked in a red zone, blocking a fire hydrant, its expired registration sticker and missing front plate in addition to him littering, willfully destroying a court summons and attempting to extort an officer before his car is promptly towed away. He is then informed of the necessary fines he must pay to get his car back.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Lt. Mauser of Their First Assignment and Back in Training, and Capt. Harris of the first film and final four sequels are extremely similar in personality. Both have an instant dislike of the protagonists and of Mahoney in particular, resulting in them being the butts of many pranks. In fact, they are so similar that when Harris returns for the other sequels, he's inherited Mauser's assistant, Proctor, and the character dynamic has not changed at all.
    • Sgt. Carey Mahoney of the first four movies, Sgt. Nick Lassard of Assignment Miami Beach and City Under Siege, and Cadet Kyle Connors of Mission to Moscow, since they're all good-natured troublemakers who fight for justice. The series adds Rich Casey, who qualifies as Legacy Character by this point (he's even got the original Larvelle Jones on his side).
    • Kyle Rumford from Citizens on Patrol seems intended to inherit Mahoney's role. For added points, he's played by David Spade.
    • Rakov in Mission to Moscow takes over Lassard's role due to Lassard being Demoted to Extra. He is just as much of a bumbling klutz, though he's more competent.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Callahan gets naughty with at least two cadets during the film series.
  • Tempting Fate: In City Under Siege, Harris is finally in his own precinct away from Lassard and his misfits. Then, he finds himself working alongside them due to fears of there being a leak in Harris' precinct. The (unwitting) leak is Harris himself, who is telling the mayor - who is secretly The Mastermind - everything about the police's efforts to stop the Wilson Heights Gang as part of his typical brownnosing.
  • Terrible Trio:
    • The jewel thieves Tony, Mouse, and Sugar in Assignment Miami Beach.
    • The Wilson Heights gang in City Under Siege.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • During a gala event in Back in Training, Mauser is told to deal with a naked man terrorizing the hotel (actually Proctor) and he responds by saying "Yes sir, I'll get right on top of him!" before making an Oh, Crap! face when he realizes what it sounds like.
    • In Citizens on Patrol, Proctor plays with a Newton's Cradle in Harris's office.
      Harris: DON'T TOUCH THOSE! [takes cradle from Proctor] Don't you ever touch my balls without asking! [everyone in the area stop what they were doing and stare at the both of them]
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Mahoney's face in the final scene of Part I when he realizes that Lassard is pranking him and he can't do anything about it.
  • Those Two Guys: Sweetchuck and Zed in the third and fourth movies, and the animated series.
  • Threatening Shark: Subverted in Assignment Miami Beach. A shark swam up to the beach sending everybody running... until it runs right into Tackleberry, who points his gun right in the shark's face and says, "You leave the swimming area NOW, mister!", and the shark swims away.
  • Toilet Humour: Several times, including a fart in court, swapping a shampoo bottle with a bottle of quick-setting glue and a spray-deodorant can with a pepper-spray can, and a surreptitiously relocated porta-potty. Colliding with a horse qualifies too.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Harris in Mission to Moscow is noticeably nicer than in previous films, reserving his insults normally towards the Russian police with all injuries happening to him as a result of his own inflated ego rather than pranks, which indicate he has respect from his fellow officers, treating Kyle as if he was a cop despite the fact that he's merely an ungraduated cadet which is especially remarkable given his attitude towards the cadets in the first movie. This extends to him even expressing relief that Kyle was not injured after falling off the top of a moving car during a chase.
    • Though he never appeared in anymore movies after Back in Training, Mauser returns in the live-action series, now a sheriff. Likely due to the fiasco he got himself into after refusing to allow his cadets to respond to the robbery-kidnapping in Back in Training, his kind behaviour towards the cast is far removed from his Jerkass attitude towards the freshly graduated officers in Their First Assignment.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes:
    • Played with for Mahoney. The point wasn't to make him a cop, it was to put him through fourteen weeks of hard conditioning that would hopefully teach him enough discipline to clean up his act, whether he graduated and received a badge or not.
    • Zed too, considering he was the Big Bad in Their First Assignment.
  • Training Montage: It's a Police Academy after all.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Mahoney gets back at Mauser by replacing his shampoo with Tackleberry's epoxy resin, resulting in getting his hands glued to his head. Proctor has to cut the glued portions of his hair to free his hands. Not only does it leave him with a stupid-looking haircut, he also has hairy palms.
  • The Trickster: Mahoney.
  • True Companions: As to be expected from a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, our main characters become close friends and allies over the course of the series. In Back in Training, all it takes to get Mahoney to drop his dream assignment of mentoring hot female basketball players and come back to the Academy is to hear that Lassard needs help.
  • Truth in Television: The Police Lineup scene (see above) in the third film is a rare instance of correctly showing how one-way mirrors work: They are actually semi-transparent mirrors, which works as a one-way mirror only when one side of the mirror is lit-up and the other side is dark.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Lt. Mauser.
  • Ultimate Job Security:
    • Why Captain Harris hasn't been fired (or even disciplined) for all the rotten (and often illegal) things he's done is a mystery.
    • Commandant Lassard is given this trope by the end of the fifth film.
    • Proctor also. He's not exactly playing with a full deck, yet he makes it all the way up to Lieutenant.
    • In real life, Tackleberry probably wouldn't make it past the tear gas incident in the second film. Or shooting that cat out of the tree in the first film.
    • Mahoney arranging for Mauser to undergo a cavity search in the same film should have done for him as well. Mauser did suspend Mahoney for it, though.
    • Blankes and Copeland got their issue sidearms stolen from them during the riot (by the man who held Harris hostage), a very serious offense (and given that the film demonstrated that all cadet-issue pistols had the name of the cadet they were issued to on the butt, the fact that their weapons were taken from them and used to fire at other policemen would be obvious to any cop who saw the recovered firearms), yet still managed to graduate from the academy and become minor characters in the third and fourth films. Sabotaging a police dispatch system while it was in operation in the third movie should have gotten them canned as well.
  • Verbal Tic: Commandant Lassard. Many, many, many times.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Tony in Assignment Miami Beach (briefly).
  • Voice Changeling: Jones and to lesser extent, the main villain in the 6th film.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's very, very hard to say much about the villain — and his motives — in the sixth movie without giving it all away.
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…:
    • Tackleberry's solution to any situation is to shoot at it. This includes, but is not limited to, extinguishing a man's cigar, getting a refund from a payphone and getting a cat out of a tree.
    • Tackleberry's brother-in-law Bud Kirkland may have been brought up on boxing by his dad, but all he has is one solid punch that gets the job done each time.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Going of the scripts, you'd suppose the main setting is "The City", which is, of course, located in the great state of "The State". The police department itself is called the "Metropolitan P.D." and has no municipal identifiers on any of their uniforms. The only real points of information narrowing it down are that it's coastal (Mahoney is on beach patrol at the start of Their First Assignment, a marina features into the climax of Back in Training), and not in Florida (or else traveling there in Assignment Miami Beach wouldn't have warranted a plane flight).
  • While You Were in Diapers: In City Under Siege, when Harris insists on taking Nick and Jones' undercover assignment.
    Nick: I don't think an assignment like this is really appropriate for a man of your—
    Harris: Nonsense, sergeant. I was handling undercover cases while you were still trick-or-treating.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The second film shows that Hightower is scared of rats. The sixth has heights as this for Harris.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In the second film, Mahoney, Schtulman, Fackler, Tackleberry, and Kirkland end up shooting up Sweetchuck's shop without catching any criminals. Mauser notes in the after action report that between them they expended over a thousand rounds of ammunition between them. The problem with this is that it would be very unlikely that even five cops, mostly armed with revolvers, would carry that amount of ammo between them, even taking into account the shotgun Fackler carries and Kirkland's assault rifle. Then again, when it comes to Tackleberry (and Kirkland), anything is possible.
  • Yes-Man: Lt. Proctor.

Alternative Title(s): Police Academy 2 Their First Assignment, Police Academy 3 Back In Training, Police Academy 4 Citizens On Patrol, Police Academy 5 Assignment Miami Beach, Police Academy 6 City Under Siege, Police Academy 7 Mission To Moscow, Police Academy The Series

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