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Friend on the Force

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"I wished I was one of those private eyes in books; they've all got a friend on the force."
Mask Market by Andrew Vachss

A Friend on the Force is a regular police officer who is friendly with our Private Detective or Amateur Sleuth and who can provide him with assistance. The Friend on the Force often acts as the official with the authority to arrest the criminals that the Private Detective identifies. He can also quickly get the Private Detective up to speed with certain details not known to the general public, such as coroner's reports, without the Private Detective having to get these through official channels, which would usually involve a lot of bureaucracy, red tape, and days, if not weeks, of waiting (which would probably make for rather boring reading). If the Private Detective gets into legal trouble while investigating, the friend can help him get out of it.

The usefulness of the relationship is sometimes mutual. The friend might ask the Private Detective to help him with certain shady things that he as an official cannot do, either because he is too high profile and recognisable, or it will break regulations and he wants to avoid trouble with the press and/or Internal Affairs.

Compare to Inspector Lestrade, which is a detective that is incapable of solving crimes without the help of a Great Detective — though it's pretty common for a FOTF to double as a Lestrade. Superheroes usually have enough clout to enlist The Commissioner Gordon. Compare and contrast Friend in the Black Market, for a helping hand on the more dubious side of the law.

A supertrope to Sleuth Dates Cop.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Big O's Roger Smith has Dan Dastun.
  • In Billy Bat, Kevin's ally Agent Smith works for the CIA.
  • Case Closed:
    • In Tokyo, Megure is this to Kogoro and Shin'ichi. He also used to be this to Yusaku.
    • Several other major policemen would fill this roll to Kogoro and Conan depending on the type of case or the location of the crime.
    • In Osaka, Otaki is this to Heiji.
  • Codename: Sailor V: Superintendent Natsuda Sakurada is secretly a huge fan of Sailor V. Officer Toshio Wakagi, rather less so; he's pretty resentful of how Sailor V seems to get all the glory for simply showing up, while he gets all the blame for anything that goes wrong. (Mainly due to the boss being such a huge fan.) Still, he warms up to her over time.
  • Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop still has friends inside the ISSP.
  • Gunsmith Cats: Rally Vincent has Roy Coleman.
  • Hajime Kindaichi of The Kindaichi Case Files have won the trust of Inspector Kenmochi and, to a lesser extent, Inspector Akechi. Whenever a clueless district officer tries to stop him from snooping around, Kindaichi could always get their reference to force them to allow him continue the investigation.
  • Mazinger Z: Kouji Kabuto has Inspector Yamitaro Ankokuji.
  • Moriarty the Patriot:
    • George Lestrade of the Yard for Team Holmes.
    • Zachary Patterson of the Yard for the villains, Team Moriarty.
  • Speed Racer: Speed befriends Interpol agent Inspector Detector, who often calls on Speed's help to solve crimes.
  • Speed Racer X: Go befriends a UNPO detective named Cathy, who often asks for Speed's help investigating crimes.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Ushio and Mikage become allies to the Signers during the Dark Signer arc. This trope becomes more pronounced with the Yliaster arc, since the two of them often inform the Signers about unusual or criminal activities and act as back-up for them. The Yliaster arc is also the arc where help from the police is much more visible, due to the fact that the police were Yusei's enemies during the Fortune Cup arc, which was a prelude to the Dark Signer arc.

    Comic Books 
  • Baker Street: Inspector Pinner is Sharon Ford's former partner in CID, and still comes to her for help with difficult cases. She sometimes calls him in at the end of her private investigations to handle the official bit of locking up the villains.
  • Drowntown: Leo goes to an old acquaintance of his, Inspector Mickey Hammond, for information. Hammond isn't actually very friendly (or at least, they're Vitriolic Best Buds), but Leo points out that some of Hammond's successes were thanks to Leo's help (and that this help could be withdrawn in the future).
  • Jon Sable, Freelance: Sable has Captain Josh Winters. Winters will sometimes slip into The Commissioner Gordon role.
  • Lady Mechanika: Lady Mechanika has Detective Inspector Singh as her liaison on the police force.
  • The Long Tomorrow: Private investigator Pete Club's cop friend and confidant is Lieutenant 3, who also happens to be a robot like everyone else on the Force.
  • The Maze Agency: Lt. Roberta Bliss is this to Jennifer and Gabe.
  • Ms. Tree: Michael Tree has Lt. Rafe Valer, her late husband's former partner.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Captain Jean DeWolff proves a staunch ally to Spider-Man despite the other police being wary of him, even granting Black Cat amnesty for the crimes she'd committed in the past and promising to keep her identity as Felicia Hardy a secret as a favour to Spider-Man. As such, her eventual murder at the hands of the Sin-Eater leaves Spider-Man devastated.
    • Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) in the Ultimate Marvel universe works as this to several teen heroes. Miles Morales, Cloak, Dagger and Bombshell are just teenagers with powers and good intentions. Jessica has powers and also the training and clearance of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, so she works as their "big sister" of sorts.
  • Starfire: Sheriff Stella Gomez and her brother Sol Gomez (head of the coastal guard) become this to Starfire during her stay in Key West, with Starfire occasionally assisting them with city matters. Although Stella also often acts as Starfire's Cloudcuckoolander's Minder due to her being a Fish out of Water in the city.
  • Superman: Inspector Mike Henderson, member of the Metropolis Police Metacrimes Division during Supergirl's Gates/Igle run. He helped Supergirl discover the identity of Superwoman during the Who is Superwoman? story arc.
  • The Tomb of Dracula: Inspector Chelm initially arrests Frank and the others for murder, but after seeing evidence that vampires are real, he lets them go. He proceeds to help them in several later issues when their mission brings them to London.

    Fan Works 
  • A Certain Mythic Archmage: During her first forays as a hero, Taylor repeatedly encounters Officer Fite, gradually building up this kind of relationship with him.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Lieutenant Karrin Murphy of Chicago PD's Special Investigations department is this Harry Dresden, as per canon.
    • In Ghosts of the Past, Coulson has been made SHIELD's commanding agent for the Midwest. With his purview including both Chicago and Smallville, this puts him in position to play this role for both Dresden and Clark.
  • In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, the judge Colm Mullan acts as one to the lawyer protagonist Estermann, since they're dear old friends. The relative illegality of this is Lampshaded.
  • Deku? I think he's some pro...: Aizawa's connection with Detective Tsukauchi comes in handy when he and Ms. Joke are nearly Arrested for Heroism then they stop a criminal while out of their uniforms.
  • Subverted in Harry Potter and the Lady Thief: While Hermione knows that Harry would support her if he knew that she was training to become a thief, Sirius wants to keep Harry Locked Out of the Loop. After all, covering for a criminal while trying to root corruption out of the Ministry would just make him look like a massive Hypocrite.
  • Im Giving You A Nightcall: Both Riza and Mayor Armstrong serve as these for Edward after the former learns that he's secretly the vigilante crimefighter Fullmetal.
  • Private eye James Evans (a.k.a. Harry Potter) has a few of these in Inlaqueo, including Hermione Granger and a couple of Aurors.
  • A Man of Iron: Jeor Stacy serves as one for Tyrion, who views Stacy as just the man he needs to help fix the whole sorry situation in King's Landing.
  • In Netherworld Nightmare, it's more like "fans on the force". Every police cruiser in Amity Park is equipped with a ghost threat detection device; however, those who support Danny Phantom have patched theirs to mark him as a "friendly" ghost rather than "hostile".
  • Pound the Table has the FBI agent Catherine "Cate" Caine, who's Noa's best friend in NYC, along with being the captain of the local roller derby team.
  • In the Streets of Rage Saga, Adam stays on the force after Axel and Blaze quit. In The New Syndicate, he also uses his connections with the FBI to help the heroes get clearance to enter areas they wouldn't be able to otherwise.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Batman (2022): As Jim Gordon is not yet the police commissioner, he's this to Batman. He can get the Bat into crime scenes and permission to investigate, but the other police and Commissioner Savage in particular barely tolerate it; at one point when they're ready to finally arrest Batman, the two have to stage a falling out, complete with Batman punching him in the face, for him to get away. Also unlike most incarnations, Gordon and Batman actively investigate together, unofficial partners in all but names, rather than they're usual dynamic wherein Gordon simply hands the Batman information and lets him do the rest.
  • Bright: Inverted. Daryl Ward is a LAPD officer being chased by terrorists, gangsters and corrupt cops because he is carrying the MacGuffin with him. He asks the help of his friend Deputy Rodriguez, a sheriff from outside of his department, because he is not involved in the crooked cops' scheme and he is the only one that can be trusted to contact the federal agents for help.
  • Havenhurst: Jackie is friends with Tim Crawford, a police detective. As a result, he's the first person she goes to with clues about the strange goings-on at the building.
  • In Lady in Cement, Private Detective Tony Rome has his ex-partner, Lt. Santini of Homicide.
  • Mongolian Death Worm: Daniel has a friend in Officer Timur.
  • Rear Window. When LB Jeffries suspects one of his neighbors has murdered his wife, he calls in his old war buddy Doyle, now a police detective, to investigate.
  • A Low Down Dirty Shame: Shame has two - DEA Agent Rothmiller and Captain Nunez. Rothmiller is a subversion. He's really working with Mendoza, the Big Bad.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Private detective Eddie Valiant has Lieutenant Santino, who calls him in on the Acme murder and shows up at the end with the rest of the police. (One may come to conclusion that the Valiants and Santino graduated together from Police Academy).

  • Benjamin January has Lieutenant Shaw.
  • The Bourne Series turns the Big Bad of The Bourne Identity into Bourne's helper in the next two books, Supremacy and Ultimatum. It's Alexander Conklin.
  • The Cat Who... Series: Andrew Brodie, police chief for Pickax, is this for Qwill; he's also one of the very few people whom Qwill has trusted with the secret of Koko's strange abilities.
  • Chocoholic Mysteries: Hogan Jones, the chief of police for Warner Pier, is this for Lee, especially after he marries her aunt Nettie. However, this doesn't always help — some of the state police and the sheriff's department suspect that he's helping keep her out of trouble whenever she gets involved in a crime, either as the target or just because she found the body.
  • Domino Lady: Det. "Mad Dog" Morgan Verani provides Domino Lady with details of cases he thinks she would be interested in.
  • The Dresden Files has Lieutenant Murphy. Because of the nature of the world she rarely gets to make any arrests on cases he's involved in, but the cases still get closed... one way or another.
  • Eddie LaCrosse: In The Sword-Edged Blonde, one of the Eddie's old mercenary comrades is now head of law enforcement in a city where Eddie needs to find a certain criminal. They naturally help each other out, but don't end up fully in accord — there's a supernatural aspect to the criminal which Eddie doesn't want to reveal. The friend indicates that he'll probably get over his irritation eventually, but right now, it would be best for Eddie to leave town.
  • Ellery Queen helps his father, the chief of police. One wonders why they even have police detectives when Ellery can (and does) solve all the cases.
  • Geoph Essex seems to toy with this trope without ever playing it totally straight. In Lovely Assistant, Jenny has Detective Monaghan, who is originally the Columbo-like cop questioning her about all the weird stuff going on, but turns out to be a useful guy to know. In Jackrabbit Messiah, Lieutenant Springer seems to start out as Amity's (and Jack's) Friend on the Force, but kind of cuts the cord as she heads off on the big adventure with them.
  • Ellis Peters' Felse Investigates novels feature police detective George Felse and his son Dominic; some of the novels focus on George's official investigations, while some have Dominic acting as an amateur sleuth with George as his friend on the force.
  • Fun Jungle: Fish and Wildlife officer Tommy Lopez, in the two most recent books. Chief Honneker has shades of this by the fourth book, although he still answers to J.J. before letting them in the loop.
  • The Great Merlini: Merlini and Inspector Gavigan were friends before the first novel started.
  • In The Hardy Boys books, the Hardys have two major ones in the Bayport Police Department:
    • Police chief Ezra Collig is an old friend of Fenton Hardy who often works with the brothers as a Reasonable Authority Figure on the force, though he makes few arrests himself. In a lot of books, one-off cops are typically the ones who actually arrest the criminals. In some of the series—mainly the Casefiles spinoff and a few of the mainline Digest books—Collig doesn't appreciate the boys horning on the department's cases and butts heads with them, but still looks out for their safety and respects their skills when they inevitably catch the bad guys.
    • A straighter example is Officer Con Riley. In the original books, he's a Butt-Monkey comic-relief character, but by the Digests and Casefiles, is a reliable and trusted ally and source of intel for Frank and Joe, treating them more kindly and respectfully than Collig does, and they consider him a genuine friend. In some books where the case they're working on is outside of Bayport, the boys will call him when they need info like looking up someone's record or checking a license plate or fingerprint.
  • Hercule Poirot has Inspector Japp.
  • Carl Hiaasen uses Recurring Character Sgt. Al Garcia as one of these to the main characters of his first three solo novels. In Tourist Season, Garcia's like this to former newspaper reporter turned private investigator Brian Keyes, in Double Whammy, he's like this to former news photographer turned private investigator R.J. Decker, and in Skin Tight, he's like this to former homicide detective Mick Stranahan, though in all three examples, this is also a case of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, as Garcia doesn't always get along with them.
  • Hoshi and the Red City Circuit has RCPD inspector Cassandra Sorreno, who was Hoshi's primary sponsor before she was emancipated, and is now one of her closest allies.
  • In George C. Chesbro's In the House of Secret Enemies, Detective/Criminologist Dr. Robert Frederickson (Mongo to people who knew him from the circus) has a big brother, Garth, on the New York City Police Force. A much bigger brother.
  • John le Carré's George Smiley has Inspector Mendel, whether neuntil he retires. The quote comes from a book that occurs after his retirement, so Burke cannot count on his help any more.arly retired or fully retired.
  • Lord Peter Wimsey has Inspector Charles Parker, who later becomes his brother-in-law.
  • The Maltese Falcon: Sam Spade is friends with detective Tom Polhaus. His relationship with Lieutenant Dundy is much more antagonistic.
  • In the Marcus Didius Falco series, Falco's best friend, Petronius, is a member of the Vigiles, who were more of a Fire Department than a Police Force, but were the closest thing ancient Rome had. The books make it look more like a Police Force than it probably historically was.
  • Marîd Audran has Lt. Okking. Okking generally tolerates Audran, and sends cases his way when the police don't want to be bothered, but there might be enough money to interest Audran. Audran hates cops, but tolerates Okking, and calls him by preference when something turns up that requires a police presence.
  • Mick Oberon has Pete, the werewolf cop. Mick lets him into Elphame during the full moon so he won't hurt anyone.
  • On the East Coast, Mike Hammer is friends with Captain Pat Chambers, NYPD.
  • Mitch Tobin: Tobin has a few old police colleagues who he sometimes gets help form, most frequently Marty Kengelberg (who, ironically, is still bitter towards Tobin for getting his partner killed in the first book but mends fences with him by the end).
  • Moon (1985): Traumatised psychic Jonathan Childes helped Detective Inspector Ken Overoy find a child-molesting Serial Killer. They get back in touch when Childes psychically witnesses more murder.
  • In the Nancy Drew books, Chief McGinnis (the chief of police in River Heights) is a close family friend of Carson and Nancy Drew, and Nancy and Chief McGinnis turn to each other for help in many of the books.
  • Nero Wolfe's relations with Inspector Cramer are more cordial than friendly. Sergeant Purley Stebbins, though, has been known to spend the evenings playing cards with Archie Goodwin and the boys.
  • In Newshound, FBI Agent Jonathan Stone functions as this for his sister Heather, who uses him to cut through administrative red tape and as an occasional source of information.
  • Philip Marlowe from the novels by Raymond Chandler has Bernie Ohls, chief investigator for the DA's office. In Chandler's older pulp stories, the same general role is played by deputy sheriff "Violets" M'Gee, but once he "cannibalized" them into the Marlowe novels this character was Demoted to Extra.
  • Philo Vance has two. John Markham (technically District Attorney, not a policeman) brought Vance in for the earliest novels because the two had a long-standing friendship. A couple novels in to the series, Sergeant Heath (NYPD Homicide Division) has warmed to Vance enough to count as well.
  • Phryne Fisher has Detective Inspector John "Call me Jack" Robinson.
  • The Michael Shayne series had Chief Will Gentry, a friend of private detective Michael Shayne who was always running interference for Shayne when other cops in Miami PD wanted to arrest Shayne. In The Private Practice of Michael Shayne, Shayne realizes that due to his own blundering, his gun is about to matched to a murder case, which will result in Shayne being arrested and charged. He is tight enough with Chief Gentry that he can get Gentry to send the ballistics tech home for the day, so Shayne gets a few hours to catch the real killer.
  • On the West Coast, Shell Scott is friends with Captain Phil Samson, LAPD.
  • Inspector Tobias Gregson for Sherlock Holmes, with whom he is more friendly, and who is the counterpart of Inspector Lestrade. Hopkins probably counts as well, though he is more of a Protegé on the Force.
  • Smaller & Smaller Circles: At the NBI, Ading Rustia is this to Saenz. Also the Director by extension.
  • Star Wars: In the Coruscant Nights Trilogy, the hero Jax Pavan, who "finds things" and has a rather complicated, never defined job that does involve investigation, has a slightly antagonistic but ultimately friendly relationship with Pol Haus, a police prefect on Coruscant. Of course, there's never anyone to lock up, since Pavan's enemies strongly tend to be Dark Jedi who vanish, Inquisitors working with the Empire, and Darth Vader. Mostly Haus and Pavan just meet to trade information. Haus suspects that Pavan is a Jedi, but ultimately bails him out.
  • Stephanie Plum has Eddie Gazarra, her childhood friend and cousin-in-law, who she frequently goes to for information when she's not on speaking terms with Morelli. She's also friendly with Carl Costanza, although he isn't quite as much help.
  • The Thursday Murder Club have DCI Chris Hudson and PC Donna de Freitas of the Kent Police to help them with inquiries. Donna loves the arrangement while Chris would prefer it if the club would just turn over evidence rather than feeding him drips and drabs because they want to solve the case themselves.
  • In the Zachary Nixon Johnson series, Captain Tony Rickey of the New Frisco police is a close friend of Zach's, and sometimes helps him with his cases.

    Live Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • This was Kate Lockley's role in the first two seasons.
    • Lampshaded at one point in season 3. Pressed on where he got some info, Angel reveals that he hired a detective agency with some friends on the force. The rest of the team bemoans how pathetic that looks for their own detective agency, don't they have their own friends or something? Angel agrees it's not ideal, but reminds them that Kate got canned (mainly as a result of her association with Angel Investigations cluing her in on The Masquerade, and how bonkers she sounds to other cops as a result).
  • Arrow: Despite starting out hating him, Detective Lance eventually comes to see the Arrow as the hero that Starling City needs, and by Season 2 is now this trope. And with his promotion to Captain in Season 3, he's now also The Commissioner Gordon. Until he learns of Sara's death, which he irrationally blames on the Arrow's mere existence, turning him back into Inspector Javert.
    • Detective Lance's daughter Laurel serves a similar function (and similarly goes back and forth in her support/disapproval of the Arrow) as a "friend in the DA's office." until she takes up her sister's mantle and becomes the superhero Black Canary
  • Blood Ties (2007) has Mike Celluci, Vicki's ex-partner and ex-boyfriend. Now that Vicki has left the force and has become a PI, she often crosses paths with Mike. She has to hide a few things from him at first, like the fact that Henry is a vampire and that many of her cases involve the supernatural, but eventually he figures it out and it becomes his turn to hide that from his superiors and colleagues. Eventually, this ends up getting him suspended, although the show was cancelled before we got to see the resolution.
  • Campion: Albert Campion has Detective Inspector Oates, a competent cop who often takes Albert's arrests and investigations.
  • Castle has Kate Beckett for the title Rick Castle, a mystery author who assists the police in exchange for inspiration for his stories. They both have loads of UST, which eventually is resolved. To the point where she gradually becomes his Girlfriend, Fiancée and eventually Wife on the Force.
  • Charmed: The most prominent one is Lieutenant Darryl Morris, who helped the sisters throughout the series, except in the first and last seasons. The first season had Darryl's partner and Prue's boyfriend Andy Trudeau, and the last season had Homeland Security Agent Murphy and Paige's boyfriend Henry Mitchell, a parole officer.
  • Diagnosis: Murder: Dr. Sloan's son is a homicide detective. A relative on the force.
  • Due South: Ray performs this function for Benton who has no jurisdiction in Chicago.
  • Elementary has Tobias Gregson. Gregson in this version is a captain in the NYPD instead of a Scotland Yard inspector (Gregson does mention his temporary assignment to Scotland Yard post-9/11, where he met Holmes). Gregson tends to trust Holmes, as long as the latter has at least a hint of evidence to back up his claims and will often trust Holmes over his own detectives. The one time he got pissed off at Holmes was when the latter started questioning Gregson's star-making arrest and accusing him of planting evidence. Gregson is visible straining himself to avoid decking Sherlock. It turns out it was Gregson's then-partner who planted the evidence, but the guy was still guilty.
    • Also, Gregson is revealed to have known from the start that Sherlock is a recovering drug addict but has kept it quiet, figuring Sherlock would tell him when he was ready. The reaction on Sherlock's face when Gregson asks "Do you think I'm an idiot?" is priceless (not of mockery but of shame).
  • Mike's former partner Marcellus serves as this in Hack. He often puts his own job on the line to help Mike, because Mike didn't serve him up to Internal Affairs when he was busted, even though he could have.
  • Harry O: Lt. Manny Quinlan, a former colleague from Harry's days on the force for the San Diego episodes, Lt. K.C. Trench for the Los Angeles episodes.
  • Kamen Rider Double has Fuuto police detective Mikio Jinno, who is on friendly terms with local P.I. Shoutarou Hidari. In the series' first episode, he slips Shoutarou some photos of a recent Dopant crime scene, which proves useful in tracking down the culprit. Later, the Fuuto Police Department gain Superintendent Ryu Terui, a.k.a. Kamen Rider Accel, who proves a capable force against Dopants along with Double.
  • Les Petits Meurtres d'Agatha Christie: Reporter Alice Avril thinks Commissaire Laurence is this for her, but he originally considers her a nuisance and doesn't get much better.
  • Leverage has FBI agents Taggart and McSweeten and Massachusetts State Police Detective Captain Patrick Bonano.
  • Toby from The Listener has Detective Charlie Marks, though she's often inclined not to listen when he comes to her with evidence and can't explain how he got it because he found out by reading minds. Of course this changes once she finds out.
    • And since she died, they found a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for her in the form of Sergeant McCluskey. It is subverted in later seasons when the police hire Toby as a full time consultant. Then it is inverted when Toby starts dating a reporter and becomes her Friend on the Force.
  • Magnum, P.I. has Lt Tanaka. He also knows an (inevitably pretty) lawyer at the District Attorney's office and several contacts at the naval base.
  • Mannix: Once he started his private investigator practice, he started getting a few of these, particularly Lt. Tobias, Lt. Kramer, Lt. Ives and Lt. Malcolm. The last-named was a friend of Mannix's from the Korean War.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a few:
    • Cloak & Dagger (2018): Detective Brigid O'Reilly. She initially went looking for Tandy because she suspected that Tandy had defended herself from assault; unfortunately, by the time Tandy decided to speak up, the assaulter in question had already had his rich uncle clean up the mess and make it look like he was just a victim of a random mugging. Later, when Tyrone is trying to investigate the cop who shot his brother, Tandy sends him to O'Reilly, and she does everything she can to help.
    • Daredevil:
      • Sgt. Brett Mahoney from the 15th Precinct is Foggy Nelson's childhood friend, and thus a major ally to Nelson & Murdock. As one of the few cops in the precinct not to be on Wilson Fisk's payroll, he's also the one reliable cop the firm turns Detective Carl Hoffman over to when he sells Fisk out. In season 2, Brett also becomes a somewhat reluctant ally towards Matt Murdock's alter ego Daredevil. In season 3, he gives Foggy the space at a union gathering to deliver a speech condemning the FBI's handling of Fisk's release from prison and encourage the NYPD to throw their support behind his impromptu district attorney campaign. Later in the season, he assists Foggy and Nadeem in keeping Karen from being captured by Dex, takes in Nadeem's family after Fisk tries to have them killed in retaliation, and is the one to take Fisk back into custody after Nadeem's death.
      • FBI Special Agent Ray Nadeem is a lesser variant of this. He starts off as a bit of an antagonist towards the members of the main trio, due to his pride keeping him from realizing that Fisk is manipulating him. He doesn't become this trope until halfway through the season, once confronted with evidence establishing that Fisk manipulated the FBI into letting him out of prison and is using Nadeem's coworker Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter as his personal assassin. Subsequently, he helps Matt investigate Dex, though their attempt to break into Dex's apartment ends with him getting shot while fleeing. After finding out that the rest of his FBI colleagues are also on Fisk's payroll, and being forced by Fisk to be a getaway driver for Dex as Dex carries out an attempted hit on Karen as revenge for her murder of James Wesley, Nadeem fully comes around to being a firm ally by letting Brett "arrest" Karen to save her from being killed in custody by the corrupt FBI agents.
    • Jessica Jones:
      • Jessica gets two in season 1. The primary one is Sgt. Will Simpson, who works with Jessica and Trish to take down Kilgrave until an attempt on his life from Kilgrave causes him to go insane. The other is Detective Oscar Clemmons. Once he sees Kilgrave's powers for himself, he is fully willing to help Jessica. He also admits to Simpson that he might have a point in claiming that Kilgrave is too dangerous to stand a normal trial, but he also points out that it still doesn't give Simpson nor himself the right to take the law into their own hands by killing him. Too bad Simpson disagrees.
      • In season 2, Jessica develops a new one in the form of Detective Eddy Costa, who is initially a bit of an antagonist towards her during the IGH investigation, but is firmly one of her allies come season 3.
    • Luke Cage: Detective Misty Knight has a somewhat rocky relationship with Luke Cage throughout the first season, though she is usually a friend more than foe, eventually fully warming up to Luke after she learns the full details of Luke's messed up half-brother.
  • Matt Houston had Lt. Novelli in the first season and Lt. Hoyt for the rest of the series.
  • In Midnight Caller, ex-cop Jack Killian's adventures frequently bring him into contact with his former coworkers, especially Lieutenant Carl Zymak.
  • Monk: Lieutenant Disher and Captain Stottlemeyer.
  • Averted in Moonlight (2007). When asked by Beth why a private investigator like him doesn't have this trope, Mick points out that, being a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire is tough enough without a cop who knows him constantly noticing odd things about him (like the fact that Mick doesn't age or stays in the shadows). A flashback reveals that Mick had a cop friend ten years ago, who has now retired and lost sight. This is the only reason Mick still occasionally visits him. Beth herself, being a reporter, has her boyfriend working in the DA's office and then an assistant DA after her boyfriend is killed.
  • Part of Me: Eddie is a American cop that befriends Diego, Valeria, and Maite when they end up in Miami, helping them deal with their status as The Illegal and assisting them in avoiding Carlos and his cartel
  • ''Petrocelli: Lt. Ponce and Lt. Clifford.
  • Peter Gunn had long-suffering Lt. Jacoby, who could never prevent Peter from involving himself in his cases.
  • Psych: Carlton Lassiter and Juliet O'Hara. Although Lassiter at least is less a 'friend' and more 'somewhat reluctant and slightly resentful ally'.
    • Shawn's dad Henry, being a former cop until Season 5, had all kinds of friends on the force, through which he would track Shawn's case and sometimes provide useful leads/background information. Now that he's back on the force as the SBPD external liaison, these don't come into play as often.
  • Republic of Doyle has Constable Leslie Bennet, who provides information to Jake Doyle and serves as a person he can call in to arrest criminals he encounters in his private detective endeavors.
  • The Rockford Files: Jim Rockford is friends with Sergeant Dennis Becker.
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators has DI Christina Marlowe, who isn't above trading tips and information with ex-cop-turned-private-eye Frank Hathaway. He was her mentor when she first joined the force; she trusts his judgement begrudgingly, and is the only person who knows the real reason Frank was fired from the police force.
  • The BBC Sherlock version of Lestrade is much closer to this than the trope he named. He's also the only friend Sherlock has on the force, as every other police officer he knows would rather Lestrade not keep involving this weirdo who keeps human eyes in his microwave (which leaves him powerless when Moriarty's manipulations convince the entire police service Sherlock's a fraud). Luckily, things get better for him.
  • Simon & Simon: Rick and A.J. Simon have "Downtown" Brown, a plain-clothes/undercover cop.
  • Spenser For Hire: Spenser has several police contacts.
  • Tidelands (Netflix): Officer Corey Welch continually offers assistance to Cal as a cop, as a friend, and as a lover.
  • Torchwood has PC Andy.
  • Tracker had Mel's on again-off again boyfriend Detective Vic Bruno. She makes use of him a few times during the series. (Trust,A Made Guy)
  • Vega$ (1978) had Lt. Dave Nelson played by Greg Morris of Mission: Impossible fame.
  • FBI agent Fitzhugh plays this role in The Wire. He is a friend and major ally for Jimmy McNulty and regularly goes out of his way to help the struggling and often powerless BPD. Unlike the local detectives, the overwhelming resources and prowess of the Bureau make him a real law enforcer working for a real agency.

  • Lieutenant Burke in the podcast Rex Rivetter: Private Eye starts off as a Bible quoting homicide detective friendversary to the titular hero.
  • In episode four of Mystery Show, Starlee tries to make a Friend on the Force but doesn't have any luck and has to turn to a reporter friend to use his Friend on the Force instead.

  • A common trope in private detective shows:
    • The Falcon, Sergeant Corbett
    • Sam Spade, Lieutenant Donahue
    • Richard Diamond, Lieutenant Levinson and Sergeant Ortis(justified as Diamond is himself a former policeman)

    Video Games 
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Adam Jensen has two friends on the force, one who you can get a favour from and accidentally get fired (although if you convinced him to do the favour you can get him a job at the company you work for...if you extorted the favour he'll just try to kill you) and the the other he does a favour for.
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth: Goro Matayoshi is this to Kyoko, as they help each other out to solve cases.
  • Lewton, the Private Detective in the Discworld Noir computer game, has Nobby Nobbs as his buddy on the force. Which only really goes as far as Nobby giving him several useful pieces of gossip and convincing Vimes to arrest Carlotta at the end.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Sergeant Kylon of the Denerim Guard serves as this for the Warden, joking that even if he believed the official line that the Wardens killed King Cailain at Ostagar, he's not stupid or suicidal enough to try to attack them.
  • In Dragon Age II, Aveline Vallen is this for Hawke's company, as a member and later Captain of the Kirkwall Guard. She often comes to Hawke with independent work that would stretch the guard's numbers too thin, stops patrols venturing too near the mansion where Fenris is squatting, but doesn't shy away from arresting Isabela for starting bar brawls.
  • Gabriel Knight: Gabriel Knight isn't a detective, but he does do some sleuthing with the help of his good friend Detective Mosely. He also uses Mosely to get information for his novels.
  • Inverted towards the end of L.A. Noire, where Jack Kelso plays the part of Cole Phelps' friend off the force, as an investigator for California Fire and Life.
  • Kazuma Kiryu of the Like a Dragon series has Makoto Date, a detective with Organized Crime who often ends up helping him out whenever their paths cross. While they never go so far as to call each other friends, they both have great respect for one another, and Date is one of Kiryu's most consistent and reliable allies throughout the series.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Introduced in Mass Effect 2, Armando Bailey is a friend on C-Sec for Shepard. Given that Shepard is effectively investigator, judge, jury, and executioner if necessary s/he doesn't need Bailey to get things done per se, but s/he will turn to Bailey for information.
    • In Mass Effect 3, Jondum Bau acts as one amongst the Spectres that Shepard belongs to. He admits that unlike the Council, the other Spectres saw the evidence and took the warnings about the Reapers very seriously, so they've been secretly getting prepared for the invasion ever since Shepard first discovered the threat back in the first game.
  • Streets of Rage:
    • In the first game, you play as one of three ex-cops. When the A button is pressed, you call in a friend still working in the precinct to deliver either a napalm strike or rain down gatling fire, taking out all enemies or hurting all bosses on the screen.
    • In the second game onwards, Adam is reinstated to the police force while Blaze goes freelancing while Axel goes on a journey to hone his martial arts skill before becoming a freelancer himself. This has both advantages and disadvantages:
      • In the second game, this makes him an easy target for the returning Mr. X to enact revenge at, since not all of his corruption in the force is instantly gone, so Adam is the one kidnapped and used as bait for Axel and Blaze.
      • In the third game, Adam gets to repay his friends for rescuing him by riding a helicopter and pull a Big Damn Heroes, since cops has easier access to them.
      • In the fourth game, since he's still a respected cop, he can interrupt and persuade Estel so she no longer attacks Axel, Blaze and friends.
  • Persona 4 has Adachi, who helps out the protagonists a few times (capturing Rise's stalker, giving hints about the investigation to the protagonist, etc); Persona 4 Golden even adds a social link for him. Oh, and he happens to be the guy who carried out the first two murders, framed the first suspect (actually a copycat who only killed one victim) and tricked the second suspect into nearly doing more (by letting him think shoving them into the TV World would keep them safe - had the Investigation Team not rescued them...). The protagonist's uncle (and Adachi's boss) has hints of this, but mostly tries to keep him from interfering with the investigation.
  • Persona 5 subverts this with Goro Akechi, a teenage detective who is initially antagonistic towards the Phantom Thieves, but forms a Confidant with the protagonist on their first meeting. While he later joins the party, it's actually via Blackmail, and on the condition they disband once their Enemy Mine is over. Like the above example, he's also Evil All Along, being a hitman for The Conspiracy trying to set the Phantom Thieves up to take the fall for his crimes. This is later played straight with Sae Nijima, who the protagonist talks into a Heel–Face Turn while being interrogated and Zenkichi Hasegawa in Persona 5 Strikers, who still takes a while to come around.
  • Pokémon has one in the form of Looker, an agent of the International Police (and apparently their only effective member). He appears first in Platinum, where he makes the arrests after you've cleared the path, and continues to make appearances throughout the DS/3DS games.
  • In Spider-Man (PS4), Yuri Watanabe is this for the title character, semi-similarly to the comics. While she is mostly just a voice on the radio, she acts as Peter's line in the police force to know what they're up to, and his way to have the police collect any criminals he's busted on his own.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has Mórag Ladair join the party partway through the game. Turns out having the Special Inquisitor of the Ardainian Empire as a personal friend opens a lot of doors for the heroes, and in sidequests she frequently acts as a way to have the Ardainian Army assisting you in the background.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has Detective Gumshoe, who starts out as an annoyance but later becomes essentially a friend to Phoenix (while remaining an annoyance). He even helps Phoenix a bit on the sly in the second and third games, despite technically being on "the other side".
    • Gumshoe serves this purpose in a more formal capacity in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, since he's Edgeworth's partner. Likewise, Detective Badd was the partner to Prosecutor Faraday in more ways than one. No, not that way. A different way.
    • The first game has some notable instances where Gumshoe helps out, usually when it's Edgeworth's wellbeing on the line. In Case 1-4, Gumshoe goes out of his way to help Phoenix as much as he can in relation to the Gordon Lake shootings, because Edgeworth is the one on trial and Gumshoe really wants to get the guy off the hook. In Case 1-5, Gumshoe agrees to let Phoenix into Damon Gant's office after finding out that Edgeworth is seriously considering retiring over how badly this case has gone. This helps Phoenix get the decisive evidence for the case, even though poor Gumshoe gets fired over it.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, once Akira lets Officer Ooe in on what's going on with the spirits, she agrees to help him out and pulls some strings so that he can investigate the Killer Peach without having to deal with the other police.

  • Ray Smuckles and Captain B, as seen in this Achewood strip.
  • Girl Genius: Ivo Sharktooth, Private Jäger has a friend on the force in The Chief. Though he looks in on The Chief mostly to make sure he doesn't go mad since no humans can see him.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron have Felina Feral, the one Enforcer who is willing to work with them, despite her uncle (who happens to be head of the Enforcers) being their sworn enemy.