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Decker: I've been calling you for three weeks. Why are you avoiding me?
Lucifer: Well, I do have a business to run, detective. I can't play Good Cop / Handsome Devil Cop all the time!
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A Sub Genre of Buddy Cop Show where the two "buddies" are:

  1. A policewoman (or detective, or any kind of crime solver). She could be either a young rookie who thinks that she will make a difference or a seasoned cop who was a wide-eyed rookie but lost her idealism along the way. In any case she is strict with herself and the others, firmly believes in the system and is almost Always Lawful Good. And since everyone in fiction looks good, you could also expect her to be a Fair Cop.
  2. A snarky male Deuteragonist who does not work with the law, but who somehow teams up with the cop to solve one or multiple case(s). Unlike the policewoman, he is Street Smart which makes him a powerful and unlikely ally to the cop who need him despite her reluctance to work with this kind of petty criminal. However, he is often a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and the lawful influence of the cop brings out the best in him, even eventually convincing him to go straight. He does not necessarily need to be a criminal though, good variants include a flamboyant writer or an Intrepid Reporter.
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The reasons that those two people have to work together vary. For the policewoman, he usually is her only witness and/or her last lead. For the guy, it is whether because it affects his business, to be in the good books of the police, to clear his or a friend's name or just because he likes that. Or maybe he just doesn't have the choice. The male sidekick has a much higher than random chance of having a "posh" English accent, and of having his name or job description as the show's title.

This kind of pairing is mostly used in comedies, playing the opposition between The Comically Serious policewoman and the snarky civilian and their Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. However, you could expect a healthy dose of drama as well with the backstory of each character who has a Dark and Troubled Past that led her/him in this path, cue them having a better understanding of each other and tightening their bond. They have a Strictly Professional Relationship, which of course brings its fair share of "Will They or Won't They?" since Opposites Attract.

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Often overlaps with Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl (when the cop is of the "idealist rookie" kind), Strong Girl, Smart Guy and Straight Woman And Wise Guy. Compare Dating Catwoman if they eventually cross the line.

Gender Inversions of this trope are possible, but less common.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • The Da Vinci Code pairs the female detective Sophie Neveu with cryptologist Robert Langdon. Though Langdon isn't snarky, he is being pursued by police captain Bezu Fache as a prime suspect in the murder of museum curator Jacques Sauniere.
  • In The Dresden Files, Lieutenant Karen Murphy of the Chicago police force often teams up with civilian consultant (and practicing wizard) Harry Dresden in order to solve crimes of a supernatural nature. While Harry's non-stop snark and disrespect for authority and Murphy's frustration and irritation at having to seriously work with someone who calls himself a wizard create friction in the first few books, they do eventually come to respect and care for each other as close friends.
  • In Death: Detective Eve Dallas's husband Roarke often get involved in her cases, sometimes by coincidence, sometimes by volunteering his help when he thinks she could use it. He is a former street criminal who went legitimate and became a billionaire and the combination of his old talents and his enormous wealth make him very useful to Eve and her squad.
  • In the Nikki Heat novels (originally a Show Within a Show of the Castle TV series that was defictionalized), the tough, savvy Detective Heat (based on Kate Beckett) is paired up with journalist Jameson Rook (an Author Avatar of Rick Castle).
  • In Jack Reacher "Make Me", Michelle Chang, a former FBI Agent, has this dynamic with Knight Errant Jack Reacher, although it's also a case of Opposites Attract with the Walking the Earth Jerk with a Heart of Gold protagonist hooking up with the female detective towards the end. It does take a lot of exposition to get to this point though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dempsey and Makepeace: She's a competent but single London cop (who is also titled hereditary aristocracy), he's a cleaned-up Dirty Harry type from the NYPD who gets unexpectedly made her partner for reasons that are never mentioned again after the pilot episode.
    (After Lady Harriet Makepeace addresses Lt Dempsey with the English pronounciation "Lef-tenant")
    Dempsey: You know how to say "Lootenant", don'tcha? Just put your lips together and go "OO".
  • A downplayed version in Agent Carter in which Agent Peggy Carter teams up with snarky butler Jarvis. Downplayeed because even though Jarvis was snarky, he was also more skittish and uncomfortable going into danger, while Carter was an outgoing secret agent.
  • The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a Gender Flip version of the trope with stoic and professional agent Grant Ward and snarky hacker Skye who just integrated Coulson's team. Their relationship bloomed throughout the season under each other's influence, with Skye progressively becoming more focused and professional while slowly Defrosting Ward until The Big Damn Kiss. Unfortunately, Ward actually was The Mole though he really felt for her and the betrayal strengthened Skye's convictions to become an agent even more.
    • Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter from the same series and the Most Wanted Spin-Off also are a version of the trope (the former being an tough undercover agent and the letter a snarky mercenary), but add to that fact that they are a divorced couple in a Love Hate Relationship. By the end of season 2, they are back together and Hunter officially joins S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Castle features by-the-book cop Kate Beckett and bestselling mystery novelist Richard Castle. Castle became involved in one of her cases because he was a suspect. He later bribed the mayor to let him tag along on subsequent cases, theoretically for research but in reality because he had a crush on Beckett. See also Nikki Heat in the Literature folder.
  • Depending on what brain she is "on", iZombie's Olivia Moore can be the snarky civilian to Detective Babineaux in a Gender Inversion of the trope. However, the genders are used straight when Olivia uses her connection with the police to investigate on her own, followed by her friend Ravi who is always snarky (or the non less flamboyant weatherman Johnny Frost in one episode, however he turned out to only be an Helpful Hallucination).
  • In Lucifer, the eponymous and devilish protagonist helps the LA detective Chloe Decker to solve different cases by using his connections and powers of suggestion. At first it was personal but then he continued to help Chloe because he found that fun.
  • The Mentalist has Patrick Jane, a former stage psychic and con-man, working with California Bureau of Investigation special agent Teresa Lisbon. He has put his bad past behind him, mostly, but he's still a Gadfly who loves messing with people's minds.
  • Remington Steele follows the case-solving adventures of private investigator Laura Holt, a serious detective paired with dashing but capricious Remington Steele.
  • Rosewood: Inverted. Snarky and world-weary Detective Annalise Villa of the Miami PD teams up with Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr., a private forensic pathologist with a zest for life who tries to convince her to open up and enjoy herself, even as he gets a thrill out of leaving the lab and joining her on cases.
  • Although Bones is not this trope, the 200th episode special ("The 200th in the 10th") is done in the style of a 1950s big budget crime caper film with Brennan as a new LAPD detective faced with sexism on the force, and Booth as a notorious jewel thief - who is framed for murder. The two team up to clear Booth and catch the real killer.
  • In Sleepy Hollow, modern day detective Abbie Mills teams up with American Revolution solider Ichabod Crane to fight supernatural monsters plaguing her town. Since Crane is a noble and polite gentleman, most of his snark comes from being a Fish out of Temporal Water both marveled and dismayed by the future.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Dan and Elise (who is secretly a spy/ninja) have this relationship is some episodes of Dan Vs. in which they find a common enemy, whether it is by pure hatred of it or to protect Chris.
  • In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, two of the main characters are young cadet Strongarm and speed addict Sideswipe. In the pilot, Strongarm arrested Sideswipe for his dangerous behavior, but then they were both coincidentally dragged along Bumblebee on Earth. A good portion of the first season consists of the two of them bickering but progressively learning from each other.

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