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Always Gets His Man

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No perp can escape the Law.

[slams jail cell door on fugitive] "That's the last time he'll fish over the limit."note 
Fraser, Due South

This is a cop's cop. He is incorruptible, competent, and feared by evildoers. If he is not Da Chief it is likely because either he is too young, or his path is blocked by Obstructive Bureaucrats who fear him for obvious reasons.

He is often a By-the-Book Cop, though some versions have a bit of Cowboy Cop in them. May be a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist. If he is an Inspector Javert, he will be portrayed sympathetically as a Worthy Opponent and he is only on the opposite side by an unfortunate error in the system or else because the protagonist is a Villain Protagonist. Often, because Elites Are More Glamorous, this kind of Cop belongs to a famous law enforcement organization: effectively the constabulary equivalent of a Badass Army. He may also be Smith of the Yard.

Very often, he's a Determinator who is Lawful Good— with a strong accent on lawful. Generally a fair cop, though if the protagonist is operating outside the law, he'll pursue him as relentlessly as anyone else. You very much do not want to do something to make him follow you. This type is more common in the Cop Show than the Police Procedural, as the former presents an idealized and actionized version of police work, while the latter more often depicts flawed heroes because of its focus on the system as a whole.

Not to be confused with Super Cop, which is a cop with superpowers (though the tropes can obviously overlap).

The Trope Namer is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, one of those "constabulary Badass Army" type organizations, thanks to the famous motto: "The Mountie always gets his man!" (It's not really their motto—that's "Maintain The Right"—but it's gotten established in pop culture that way.)


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inspector Zenigata from Lupin III thinks of himself this way. To be fair, he's successfully caught everyone he's gone after who isn't part of Lupin's gang, and he makes it look easy. He's even caught them a couple times — getting them to stay caught, however....
  • Inspector Lunge from Monster loses his family and eventually takes an unpaid vacation of several months to try and catch Tenma. He's so determined that, while dying of blood loss he handcuffs himself to Tenma to try and stop him from escaping.

    Comic Books 
  • Donald Duck in the story "The Mountless Mountie" joins the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and proudly recites the motto; his colonel is unimpressed and rejoins, "I doubt it."
  • Colonel Samuel Benfield Steele of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Hearts of Yukon. The trope title is even played with, as Steele is trying to perfect the Mounties' motto, with the help of Jack London:
    Steele: I invariably apprehend my criminal! (sotto) How was that, London?
    London: Still needs work, sir.
    • Eventually he settles on "We always get our duck"! note 
  • Green Lantern: "No man escapes the Manhunters!"''
  • Inspector Ishida in Usagi Yojimbo is a police detective in a large city whose government was corrupted by at least two villains. Ishida, however, is a steadfastly honest officer with a deep commitment to the cause of justice, regardless of who the criminals and their victims are, and sometimes even seeing justice done if there is no legal way of achieving it.
  • Judge Dredd: Dredd is a satire of this archetype. He's a stellar and incorruptible cop who always gets his man by resorting to violence and brutality, but he's still a By-the-Book Cop because he lives in a dystopian Police State where such behavior is institutionalized.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • From Clue:
    Wadsworth: Like the mounties, we always get our man!
    Green: Mrs. Peacock was a man?! (Mustard and Wadsworth slap him)
  • The Dick Tracy movie. Breathless Mahoney also has a song called "I Always Get My Man" but it's about... something else.
  • Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) in The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals. A modern day version of Inspector Javert from Les Misérables, he will not allow a criminal to escape if it is in his power to stop them, and will not rest in his pursuit of a fugitive until he has captured them.
  • Horse Feathers' Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx) is no lawman, but at one point he invokes the trope in song anyway:
    My son is right, I'm quick to fight, I'm from a fighting clan
    When I'm abused or badly used, I always get my man
    No matter if he's in Peru, Paducah, or Japan
    I go ahead, alive or dead, I always get my man
  • Jack Valentine in Lord of War spends more than a decade chasing Arms Dealer Yuri Orlov, doing it all by the book despite Yuri using all sorts of tricks and schemes to stay one step ahead of the law. After all that time and effort, Valentine finally catches Yuri... and Yuri has a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card due to his connections with the US government.
  • Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther believes he is this, and will pursue his quarry across continents to bring them in: even if it is almost invariably the wrong person..

  • 2666: Subverted with Kessler, the American inspector sent in to instruct the Mexican police force and aid in the investigation.
  • In the Commonwealth Saga, Paula Myo fits this trope to a T. Genetically engineered to be an incorruptible super-cop, she has been working for the Serious Crimes Directorate for centuries, and in all that time has only failed to solve one case. Which she is still pursuing, after a century and a half. When circumstances force her to decide between arresting the Well-Intentioned Extremist perpetrator and saving the human race from extinction, she suffers a near-fatal nervous breakdown.
  • Discworld: Sam Vimes, serving as the anchor through which Pratchett explores law and order in his typical fashion, wanders between a straight-laced version of this trope and a deconstruction depending on the book. After his ascension to Commander of the Watch, he acquires a reputation for being this trope across the Disc. Combined with his reputation for honesty, this means that when a politically-sensitive crime is committed, tensions between leaders can be held at bay if they know Vimes is on the case, as they accept that not only will he catch someone, he'll catch the right people responsible.
  • The Rhodian Navy collectively in Over the Wine-Dark Sea. They keep the peace in the Aegean and they are feared by pirates.
  • Zinc Chandler, a Mountie from Michael Slade's RCMP novels, recited the Mounties' "Get Your Man" slogan repeatedly in his head when he shook off the effects of being rendered nearly unconscious. Nearly all of Slade's Mountie heroes fit this trope, singly or collectively.
  • Solomon Kane, who once pursued a bandit from France into the middle of Darkest Africa.
  • Star Wars Legends: Corellian Jedi are characterized as utterly devoted and incorruptible lawmen who are feared by evildoers in the Corellian sector. The Corellian Security Force (CorSec) has this reputation as well, and Jedi Master Corran Horn is both a Corellian Jedi and an ex-cop.
  • Tortall Universe: Beka Cooper. She relentlessly pursues criminals who seem invisible or impossible to nab because of their position. She's a little By-the-Book Cop and a little Cowboy Cop (as most Dogs are, since it's a proto-police force), but on one occassion she actually arrested her partner for taking a bribe to ignore murder.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: Security Chief Michael Garibaldi, formerly of Mars. His past isn't that important, and he prefers not to talk about it, anyway. The Mars colony is considered to be the most dangerous place in the Earth Alliance—doubtless his instincts as a detective were honed on Mars before he was reassigned to B5. (He swore never to return to that planet after it nearly killed him multiple times. Naturally, he ends up returning multiple times in the later seasons.)
  • In Bones, Booth mentions this trope when Brennan comments that he could never catch her if she were to commit a murder:
    Booth: That's right. See? Because I always get my man.
    Bones: I am a woman.
  • Columbo in Columbo. Every time the killer thinks they have got away with it, Columbo suddenly appears to ask them "just one more thing".
  • Fraser in Due South, although he protests whenever someone claims that the Mounties' slogan is "We Always Get Our Man."
    • In the pilot Fraser's father evens says "You shoot a Mountie, they'll hunt you to the ends of the Earth".
  • Sheriff Carter in Eureka is a more mild version of this.
  • Such characters are a staple of the Fargo universe; Hank and Lou in season 2 and Lou's daughter Molly in season 1, in addition to Marge Gunderson from the movie. All of them serve against a backdrop of Police Are Useless.
  • Kojak of... Kojak is an idealized cop: feared in the underworld, and zealous in weeding out corruption. The only reason he hasn't been promoted to Chief is because of insubordination (and a desk jockey isn't as exciting to watch). In the TV movies, he is rewarded with his own Major Case squad.
    "What's the point? Where would you go? If the subway ran to Outer Mongolia I'd still come after you."
  • Olivia Benson of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a female version.
  • Sterling on Leverage is a rare morally ambiguous version of this role that is only out for himself. While he is against the heroic thief main characters they are clearly doing it to help people, whereas he works for an insurance company. He is made somewhat more heroic when he joins Interpol but he still serves himself over others. The conflict between him and Nate comes down to To Be Lawful or Good with Sterling choosing lawful with Nate choosing good.
  • In Murdoch Mysteries the excessively perfect Sargeant Jasper Linney from the episode "Anything You Can Do" has this as his personal motto as befitting a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Of course, most his trait apply equally to his half-brother William Murdoch.
  • Leroy Jethro Gibbs in NCIS. Ditto Fornell.
  • Don Eppes in NUMB3RS.
  • Odo of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a mix of By-the-Book Cop (when it's his own rules) and Cowboy Cop (when it's other people's rules). He was modeled after the sheriff archetype in Westerns.
  • Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager, as the ship's security officer, occasionally conducts or assists in investigations those times that someone commits a crime aboard ship, or one of his crewmates gets falsely accused of a crime by aliens. In one episode he even works out that the perpetrator of a series of crimes is himself being mind controlled and having the memories wiped afterwards and promptly relieves himself of duty and informs the rest of the command staff so they can place him under arrest while they figure out who's actually responsible.
  • Cordell Walker (Chuck Norris) in Walker, Texas Ranger.
  • Josh Randall from Wanted: Dead or Alive is the Bounty Hunter version.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Jacques Rougeau, during his portrayal of The Mountie in World Wrestling Federation during 1991-1992, always boasted "I always get my man!" His entrance theme, "I'm the Mountie!" – a heel-type marching tune performed by Rougeau – spelled this out perfectly.
    "I'm The Mountie... I'm handsome, I'm brave, I'm strong.
    I'm The Mountie... and I enforce the law.
    You can try to run but you can never hide.
    I'm the Mountie... I always get my man."
  • Partially lampshaded when the WWE were forced to change Rougeau's gimmick after pressure from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who weren't fond of a man dressed as one of their officers committing stereotypical acts of wrestling villainy. Rougeau was instead teamed up with fellow Canadian Carl "Pierre" Ouellet as The Quebecers, they kept the same entrance music but with altered lyrics:
    "We're not The Mounties... we're handsome, we're brave, we're strong.
    We're not The Mounties... but we enforce the law.
    You can try to run but you can never hide.
    Unlike the Mounties... we always get our man."

    Tabletop Games 
  • In GURPS' Traveller Sword Worlds'' the Confederation Patrol provides a lot of these kinds of Space Police for the Sword Worlds Confederation.

    Video Games 
  • In EVE Online, Concord, the space police, will punish attacks on innocent players by immediately appearing to destroy your ship, having first locked it down to prevent you moving, shooting, or even being able to target anything. In the past, it could occasionally be possible to escape from them by setting up some very unusual situations that allowed you to escape to low-security space. CCP, the developer, responded to this by updating the rules to say that escaping from Concord is officially considered an exploit no matter how you manage it, and your ship will be removed anyway. Concord always get their man, even if they have to work through the metagame to manage it.
  • In Pokémon Sun and Moon and, by extension, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Nanu is the sheriff on Alola's Ula'Ula Island and is by far the most skilled cop in the entire region. Team Skull hasn't run amok over Alola like the other regions' villanous teams, and that's because Nanu placed his police station right by Team Skull's hideout and has been holding them off, all by himself, the whole time Team Skull has existed. That being said, the "getting" part he doesn't care much about. He's Brilliant, but Lazy, not showing much interest in arresting them and more on simply corraling them if they get loose.note 

    Visual Novels 
  • Mortelli from Daughter for Dessert finds the protagonist's stolen toaster (though he declines to say who was responsible), and he figures out that the protagonist was the one who broke into his office.

    Web Comics 
  • Unsounded: Captain Emil Toma has a reputation for always capturing the brigands he's after. While he's not nearly as perfect as his propaganda spread reputation he is tenacious and keeps after criminals long after anyone else would have given up, even after being betrayed by his superiors and running afoul of much larger plots than he was expecting he still strives to do the best he can in the situation he's in.

    Western Animation 
  • Dudley Do-Right Of The Mounties. Sometimes he gets his man (Snidley Whiplash), sometimes not.
  • In an episode of Evil Con Carne, when Hector is told that he is being targeted by the Mounted Police, he shouts "The Mounties!? They always get their man!".
  • Joe Swanson in Family Guy has always gotten his man. Always. One episode actually centered around him losing his first criminal ever, but of course he catches him by the end of the episode.
  • Heckle and Jeckle are mounties in the cartoon "Sno' Fun." They go after their man Powerful Pierre in what appears to be Terrytoons' carbon copy of Tex Avery's Northwest Hounded Police.
  • "Klondike Kat always gets his mouse!" (The mouse in question being the rodent thief Savoir Faire, and the Mounties in this case are the Klondike Kops.)
  • Looney Tunes examples:
    • Big Man From The North (1932) has Bosko going after his man.
    • Fresh Hare (1942) has Mountie Elmer Fudd going after Bugs Bunny for a number of crimes he's committed (as opposed to hunting him for game as is the norm).
    • Snow Man's Land (1939) has a Pinto Colvig-voiced derp of a Mountie going after a bullying bruiser.

    Real Life 
  • Though they may or may not qualify under the trope, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, one of those "constabulary Badass Army" type organizations that have a lot of these kind both in fiction and presumably in Real Life, are the Trope Namers here, thanks to the famous motto: "The Mountie always gets his man!". (It's not really their motto—that's "Maintain The Right"—but it's gotten established in pop culture that way.)
    • Even referenced in Peabody's Improbable History segment of Rocky and Bullwinkle when Peabody and Sherman went back in time to Canada to meet a Mountie who always gets his man. He couldn't arrest a wanted Native American because she's a woman which turns out to be a man in disguise at the end.
  • Robert Carrey, an Elizabethan adventurer who served as Warden of the Northern Marches and patrolled the Anglo-Scottish border keeping evildoers at bay. A decent and honest man and too seldom remembered.
    • As Sir Robert Carey,note  he is fictionalised in the novels of P.F. Chisholm, who dramatises the man, the place, and the period.
  • Eliot Ness: He and his men were not called "the Untouchables" for nothing. He was an US Treasury agent who kept organized crime at bay in Chicago in the days of Al Capone.
  • Combining this with Vigilante Man and Best Served Cold: In a town in Arizona a highwayman lies buried at the graveyard. Marked on his tombstone is "Wells Fargo Never Forgets". Yes, that Wells Fargo. Yeah, if you thought messing with the bank was bad today...
  • Theodore Roosevelt apparently acted like this back in his days as a New York Police Chief. He'd go patrolling in the streets and if he saw a cop acting corrupt (taking bribes, hassling people for no good reason), he slapped them and then fired them on the spot.
  • The “Encounter Specialists” of the Mumbai Metropolitan Police acquired such a reputation as they went after the city’s organized crime rings during the 90s and the aughts. If they couldn’t build a prosecutable case against a crime lord, they would extrajudicially execute him, writing it off as “killed during an encounter with police”. Hence the name. Many of them became so famous for taking down gangsters that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26 2008, specifically targeted these policemen first, before hitting their primary targets.

Alternative Title(s): Always Gets Her Man