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Inspector Javert

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Do they ever give him a rest? No. They don't.

Orie: You are... Ragna the Bloodedge, aren't you?
Ragna: That's never a good question.
Orie: Then it's true. You are the man who holds the Keystone, and are responsible for the slaughter of countless innocents! Don't try to deny it... it's all written down on this wanted poster!
Ragna: What? Wait, that's... agh, seriously!? That stupid poster followed me to this world, too!?

Inspector Javert is a well-intentioned, if sometimes clueless, law enforcement officer (or detective, or Bounty Hunter) who honestly (if sometimes wrongly) believes that the hero is a bad guy and doggedly pursues him in a Stern Chase, seeking to get him. However, the trope is not confined to heroes, and the Javert frequently finds himself pursuing criminals of all stripes, often the powerful or influential Mafia Boss or Villain with Good Publicity. In that case, he will be treated in-story as a noble hero who is completely immune to temptation and utterly dedicated to his duty. This can even apply to petty criminals, resulting in, say, ten years spent chasing down a thief who stole a loaf of bread.

The Javert does not realize that the hero either is wrongly accused, has already redeemed himself for crimes done long ago, or is working towards a much greater good and can't stop to pay for whatever petty or unjust law he may have violated. Perhaps the Javert simply doesn't care, as the law is the law with the rationale that the fugitive can always dispute the accusation in the courts, and one is either on the side of the law, or on the side of crime. Thus, the Javert is the type of person who obeys the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law. Inspector Javert may be the reason the hero has to keep moving among Adventure Towns. Often, the only way to slow him down is to defeat other violent criminals, then leave them for the Inspector to arrest and process before he can resume the chase.

At some point, however, the officer and accused have to team up to fight a common enemy, or the movie or series ends with them discovering that their entire campaign to bring the hero to justice was in vain, or he is innocent and finds evidence to prove it or they decide to just let them go with a "five minute head start", or something to that effect.

If the Inspector Javert is working for the Police State, he can play with Heel–Face Door-Slam by trying to abuse his authority.

Named for the archetypal character in Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables (and the subsequent musical), who relentlessly pursues the escaped convict Jean Valjean, despite the latter having repeatedly repaid his debts to society. Lt. Gerard in The Fugitive was inspired by Javert, down to the French surname.

A Subtrope of Hero Antagonist and Implacable Man.

Compare Accuser of the Brethren, Knight Templar, Lawful Neutral, and Lawful Stupid. Also compare and contrast Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist; the hero is a Villain Protagonist or Anti-Hero and that Inspector chases a real criminal. May be portrayed as a Butt-Monkey and/or Worthy Opponent by the protagonist. Some examples count as Obliviously Evil. Less sympathetic examples may be a Villainy-Free Villain. Contrast Inspector Lestrade.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Farnese in Berserk is introduced hunting down the Black Swordsman Guts, whom she believes to be a mass murderer and some kind of prophesied figure of doom. Of course, the reader knows this isn't true, but Guts is a Nominal Hero who's very bad at explaining himself, and the demonic beings he's hunting down regain their human forms when killed. So Farnese keeps happening upon towns and villages where the Black Swordsman showed up and left a massive pile of corpses, and therefore assuming the worst.
  • Played straight with Inspector Javert in Les Miserables Shoujo Cosette, an anime adaptation of the novel. Unlike the original, however, he stops himself from committing suicide and ultimately accepts Jean Valjean for who he is, realizing that if Valjean can change, he can too. He also attends Valjean's funeral at the end of the anime.
  • Detective Heinrich Lunge in Monster takes this to the point that he knowingly destroys his life. To Lunge's credit, he eventually learns the truth of the situation, apologizes to Tenma, takes down Roberto, and eventually reconnects with his daughter.
  • Officer Natsuko in Re: Cutie Honey, at least at first. Honey is the only one that can fight Panther Claw, but she is acting outside the law (and her constant Clothing Damage from battles also paint her as an exhibitionist), so Nat-Chan is determined to arrest her.
  • Detective Angelica Burns in Coyote Ragtime Show. In her defense, Mister is a legendary criminal mastermind and one of her only leads to find the MacGuffin treasure (which was the loot of the theft of the biggest multi-planetary bank around) and taking down the Big Bad Madame Marciano. However, Mister is (at his worst) an Anti-Villain Gentleman Thief (with much higher standards than the Madame and her "children"), and so Burns' drive to capture Mister looks a bit misplaced.
  • Police Inspector Saehara in D.N.Angel, with a bit of a variation. Dark really is a thief, he's just got a good reason for it.
  • Inspector Wizer of Slayers Revolution, whose insistence that Lina is responsible for all the evils of the world is quickly becoming a Running Gag. It's subverted, however: Inspector Wizer was pretending to be a personification of this trope when it's revealed he just acts this way to manipulate people into doing what he wants. His act even manages to fool Xellos! Unlike most versions of this, however, Lina Inverse is not Wrongly Accused. He's got her dead to rights, of the crime of being Lina Inverse.
  • Leon Orcot from Pet Shop of Horrors is somewhat of a subverted example, because he thinks Count D is a ruthless Serial Killer that kills innocent people. Part of this is true, as Count D's pets bring misery to their owners, but only if they violate the contract they sign after buying the pet - thus, the owners know what they shouldn't do. Actually, D sells these pets mostly to people that must be taught a lesson or are simply evil, like a pair of parents that accidentally made their daughter die by spoiling her and giving her everything - even dangerous drugs, a man that broke the heart of his fiancee and has driven her to suicide or a power-hungry, carefree politician that neglected his wife. To good men that follow the deal's terms, these pets bring happiness.
  • Quent from Wolf's Rain is a variation — he isn't a lawman, but he does believe the wolves (or, rather, wolves in general) are responsible for the death of his family, and he obsessively hunts them at every turn.
  • Claymore: Priscilla burns for the blood of Teresa for "killing humans". Never mind that the humans were ravaging a village at the time, doing so much damage that Teresa wondered if killing the youma in said village was a good idea since the bandits stayed away while the youma was there.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Ushio fits this so well for Yusei, his prisoner number might as well have been 24601. He eventually lightens up later on.
  • Toshio Wakagi in Codename: Sailor V wanted the titular Magical Girl behind bars because she was a vigilante. In his defense, she was going out of her way to show the police up, and ultimately had no problem with her when he realized her bigger motivation was a complete inability to let a crime go unpunished or not help someone in need.
  • In the Cowboy Bebop episode "Cowboy Funk", Cowboy Andy mistakes both Spike and Jet on separate occasions of being the Teddy Bomber... even with the real Teddy Bomber standing right next to them both times.
  • Played with in Death Note. The master-detective L appears to be this in the eyes of the other characters, particularly Chief Yagami, in his absolutely relentless pursuit of Villain Protagonist Light Yagami, as he has no real reason to believe that Light is guilty and his methods are extreme. Subverted in that he's actually right about Light, who really is a brutal Serial Killer... Then L becomes this for real during the Yotsuba arc when Light's memory is erased since Light is no longer Kira at that time and L continues to pursue him passionately. However, once Light's memory is restored, Light is guilty again and L's actions become justified, bringing him back to Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist status.
  • Three of these appear in Hana no Ko Lunlun. The first one shows up in England (pursues Sayid for having been a petty thief but is foiled when he and Lunlun set out for Morocco), the second is seen in Egypt (pursues Lunlun as a side effect of her unknowingly becoming the accomplice of a Gentleman Thief - he catches the thief but lets Lunlun go), and the third one appears in Sicily (is on the case of Dario the bank-robbing Anti-Villain who's about to slip away because of the state of regulations; but when Dario shows up to save a trapped Lunlun from an airtight bank vault, he allows Dario to leave as a free man since not only he chose Lunlun over his freedom, he actually turned himself in five minutes after the state kicked in.)
  • Junko Hattori of Demon King Daimao has a rather nasty habit of this. When we're first introduced to her, she attacks Akuto because she automatically assumes that he was trying to mug her grandmother when he was just helping her out. After the reveal that Akuto is destined to become the next Demon King, Junko repeatedly hassles and tries to kill him, repeatedly mistaking his attempts to actually be good as evil.
  • Lupin III subverts this with Inspector Zenigata. Although driven to capture Lupin and his gang to the point of obsession, Zenigata isn't so blind as to not realize that, unlike other career criminals, Lupin has a code of honor which leads to a mutual sense of respect between them despite being on opposite sides of the law. He also realizes that there are far worse individuals than Lupin and will begrudgingly join forces with him if doing so will serve the greater good. But that won't stop him from going back to chasing after Lupin once he's finished processing the villain of the week that they'd joined forces to take down.
  • Game Master of Gundam Build Divers plays this frustratingly straight. During the initial Break Decal storyline, despite people approaching him and admitting their usage of the titular illegal items and video footage of people using them, he refuses to apprehend anyone because the Gunpla Battle Nexus Online game does not register the items and, thus, they haven't done anything illegal. On the other hand, when he realizes that Sarah is actually an electronic lifeform and threatening the game by her existence, he goes after her guns blazing, refusing to acknowledge the fact that she's a one-of-a-kind AI, but just "a bug"

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    Comic Books 
  • Detective Harvey Bullock of Batman and Batman: The Animated Series (to a lesser extent in the latter). Justified because Batman is a vigilante, but Batman is oftentimes shown to be the only one that can take down the Villain-Of-The-Issue/Arc. Batman himself can sometimes fall into this, willing to chase down whichever criminal he's after (no matter how justified or how small-fry) to the literal ends of the Earth (and only getting more dogged if the criminal manages to avoid him even once, even to the point that he's willing to go to war with other heroes, if they get in the way... heck, even other heroes are not exempt from him applying this Trope to them, Depending on the Writer).
  • British Detective Dai Thomas of Captain Britain, at least in the early stories. He really doesn’t like costumed vigilantes, to the point where not only is he trying to arrest Captain Britain, but he pulls a gun on Captain America. That does not go well.
  • When it comes to hunting down the The Incredible Hulk, General Ross slides among three tropes: this, General Ripper, and Knight Templar. He Who Fights Monsters comes into play as in his pursuit of destroying the Hulk he himself becomes the Red Hulk.
  • Judge Dredd: Old Stone Face can go here. Oh, how he can go here. Dredd is extremely rigid in his application of the law, so he'll chase after people no matter how small the crime (even across parallel universes, as his crossovers with Batman can demonstrate). Played with in that he's not completely unreasonable though, as he has (occasionally, and on a good day) been shown to use his judgment to go easy on people because of special circumstances.
  • A recurring antagonist in Kid Colt is Marshal Sam Hawk, a.k.a. 'the Manhunter', an honest lawman who was dogging Colt's trail because he honestly believed him to be an outlaw.
  • Ms. Tree has Captain Miller, who is constantly trying to put the eponymous heroine behind bars for her vigilante activities.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • Silver has tendencies of this. While trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong by finding and stopping a traitor in the Freedom Fighters, he accuses and tries to attack Sonic, Rotor, and Antoine in that order, every time with very little evidence to go on thanks to all records having nearly wasted away since the cataclysm. He actually began to accuse Bunnie Rabbot of being the traitor based on the knowledge that she left without telling anyone, but Sonic, who was already on the verge of strangling him for accusing Antoine, snapped and effectively dissuaded him from that one, telling him to pack up and go home, because he's really not helping.
    • In the Endgame arc, Sonic is accused of Sally's apparent murder. Geoffrey St. John is the arresting officer and the one who hunts him when he escapes. Despite personally knowing about such things as Robotnik's Auto Automatons, robots that can perfectly imitate people, he's fully prepared to believe the worst in Sonic and doesn't hesitate to chase him all the way to Angel Island, and it takes Dulcy, a Living Lie Detector, telling him that Sonic was framed by Robotnik to get him to back off.
  • A non-cop example, and arguably the most prominent comic-book example; J. Jonah Jameson, former editor of the Daily Bugle and current mayor of New York, and perpetual thorn in the side of Spider-Man. Depending on who's writing him, he's depicted as total Jerkass, or as a semi-honorable businessman. When Peter was framed for murder during The Clone Saga, Jameson paid for Peter's legal defense. When Bastion threatened his life if he refused to print an editorial condemning mutants, Jameson (a civil-rights advocate) refused to give in to threats. Jameson is a skinflint, a tight-wad, and on occasion a Bad Boss, but is also often portrayed as a man with a strong sense of honor and fair play. And no matter how much good Spider-Man does for the city of New York, Jameson will still make it his mission to bring Spider-Man down. In the Ultimate Universe Jameson's positive qualities are played up a lot more, to the point where he eventually recognises Spider-Man as a hero (and he just restarts his crusade because he, at first, believes Miles Morales is desecrating Peter's memory. He lets go once Miles builds a better rep).
  • General Sam Lane (Lois' father) has been portrayed as this to Superman, of all people. Pre the New 52, in the New Krypton storyline, he was straight-up General Ripper who was determined to destroy Superman's reputation and kill him, regardless of who got hurt in the process. In the New 52 Action Comics, General Lane is portrayed as this in Superman's early years, where Superman is still a mysterious Good is Not Nice vigilante. He's still gunning for Superman, believing him to be a potential threat to America, but he's not the psychotic genocidal General Ripper he was before the reboot.
  • Captain America in Target X feels personally responsible for all the killings X-23 has carried out because she slipped his grasp after her field test by masquerading as a wounded survivor. He reveals he's been tracking her down ever since (approximately six years) and is obsessed with bringing her to justice. He's driven to the point where he completely ignores Matt Murdock's attempts to warn him that S.H.I.E.L.D. won't care really about justice but instead will use her as a weapon the same way she was used by the Facility. Before he can actually turn her over, however, he recognizes the truth of this and that Laura was as much a victim as the people she killed and lets her go.
    • He goes back to this during the road to Secret Wars (2015), hunting down the Illuminati and goading every superhero he converses with into a With Us or Against Us situation—either they help him or they are abetting the Illuminati (even by inaction). Granted, the latter have all but Jumped Off The Slippery Slope in their quest to save Earth 616 from the Incursions (and seek no other methods, thinking I Did What I Had to Do justifies everything), but people do point out that Rogers is wasting time and resources better used to try to stop the Incursions on his manhunt... which he ignores.
  • Subverted with the final Garth Ennis arc of The Punisher MAX, where a cabal of corrupt American generals (planning to go corporate) sic Delta Force on Frank Castle, both to bring him in (the generals intending to kill him) and to recover a videotape of him interrogating their agent (who'd identified them). It turns out that the unit commander Colonel George Howe genuinely believes that the Punisher is a criminal who must be brought in... but, since he was rescued from captivity during the Vietnam War by Frank Castle's special operations team, he felt obligated to preserve Frank Castle's life — wanting to put him on trial, not put him down. (Eventually the generals' liaison with the Colonel believes that that's why he was so receptive to the orders.) After Frank Castle tells him about the tape and one of the generals inadvertently exposes his motivation, Howe views the tape and decides to release Castle so that he can kill the generals... but since the tape would so damage the credibility of the military, he flat-out tells Castle that he won't reveal the generals' crimes.
  • Tintin: Thomson and Thompson in Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh and Tintin: The Black Island, though they're more of a parody of the trope. They're more Punch Clock Villains in Tintin: The Blue Lotus, and they get better in the later albums however, where they are, if still incompetent, at least trying to help Tintin. However, if the orders are to get him, they will try to arrest him, regardless of what may be the bigger threat (even if the Big Bad is literally standing in front of them).
  • Superlópez: Oh Holmez. He's less efficient and ruthless than the typical Javert, but every little bit as bureaucratic and single-minded.
  • After The Dark Phoenix Saga, and Jean's Heroic Sacrifice and subsequent return, some elements of the Shi'ar don't know, or at least don't believe, what we know about her: Continuity Snarl affects the details, but basically, Dark Phoenix wasn't all Jean and was definitely under More than Mind Control which Mastermind and Emma Frost had been working on her for months. Jean Grey didn't wake up one morning and decide it might be amusing to wipe out the five billion inhabitants of the planet D'Bari, and does not normally have the power to do such a thing if she did want to; it was the perfect storm of circumstances that cannot be replicated. But to this day, they pursue her and other relatives of hers, fearing the return of Dark Phoenix. Worse, most of their actions are the sort of thing that would make Jean decide to go kick their asses if she did ever return to that power level. It's Bullying a Dragon to the extreme: "There's this woman we fear is a cosmic destroyer, Galactus squared in terms of power and can never die, but who made a Heroic Sacrifice to stop herself, and has been nothing but heroic ever since her return. I know! Let's target her whole family for death on the off-chance that one could potentially become a Phoenix host!" They top themselves when they go after a time-displaced teenage Jean Grey and put her on trial for crimes she hasn't even committed (yet). J'son of Spartax of all people is the one who calls out Gladiator on his blatantly unfair treatment of her during the trial. Not because he gives a damn about her of course, but because he wants to make the Shi'ar look bad. Then again, it's to say they didn't deserve it.
  • For years Bishop was determined to prove Gambit would one day betray the X-Men, regardless of how many heroic acts Gambit would perform. This plot thread was laid to rest when the traitor was revealed to be Onslaught. During the Messiah Complex arc, he became this to Hope (because on his timeline she grew up to be a villain) and in doing so (by means of trying to kill her when she was only minutes born and refusing any other alternatives) he jumped the Moral Event Horizon. He was so extreme that when Cable and Hope kept escaping with a time machine that only went forward, he decided the best way to corner them was to wipe out humanity and render the Earth uninhabitable (reasoning that he could just undo it later with his time machine). It took some serious handwaving to rehabilitate him after that.
  • The Disney Ducks Comic Universe stories have more than a few that involve Paperinik, Donald Duck's superhero alter ego (in no small part due to him starting out as an outright criminal). The most notable are:
    • Inspector Pinko, who chases Paperinik for no apparent reason beyond "he looks like a criminal".
    • Commissioner Alcmeone Pinko, the other Pinko's father, who hunted Fantomius, the one whose legacy Paperinik inherited. This time there's a better justification, as Fantomius was, by his own admission, a Gentleman Thief (as stated again and again in the series' tagline and Fantomius' own Calling Cards), no matter what his victims do to get a visit from Fantomius or the fact he often has to arrest them too. It's also partly caused by him never knowing why Fantomius is targeting them as if he knew he's going after them to ensure justice he'd gladly let him go... As he actually did the one time he knew.
    • Paperinik New Adventures:
      • Colonel (later general) Clint E. Westcock has this dynamic with Paperinik and was actually ecstatic when he was ordered to arrest him, due to Paperinik infiltrating a secret base and getting away with it. He changes his opinion after the Evronians raid his command, the Dept. 51, and Paperinik holds the line alone long enough for the soldiers to rally and come to the rescue.
      • Detective Spader, from Duckburg's police department, tries to arrest Paperinik because, even if his contributions in keeping the crime down are undeniable (and will use his help to deal with other criminals), he still remains a vigilante who breaks the law all the time.
    • A non-Paperinik example is in the parody of Les Misérables, in the Disney take of the Trope Namer himself, who catches the Beagle Boys, who here lives in Paris' catacombs, by flooding them, on top of chasing Scrooge Valjean to tell him he's been pardoned five years earlier, as he was the only cop in all of France to have a chance to catch him.
  • Iron Man: Tony became this during Civil War, maintaining that "the law is the law is the law" and everyone had to obey it, regardless of how pissed off his former allies got with him (on account of Tony flagrantly ignoring anyone's civil rights in the process) and how unusually cruel things got (the example of Cloud-9 stands out—ok, sure, undergo mandatory training or be arrested sounds bad enough, but then she was forced by Gyrich to become a Cold Sniper and nobody batted an eye and this is the least that was done by the government using the Registration to step on people's faces). He spent a lot of time between Civil War and Secret Invasion hunting the New Avengers because of this, and in one spectacularly stupid move, tried enforcing the law on Thor, who was... not amenable. Making it worse, afterwards, Tony said he wouldn't have done anything differently.
  • In Chip Zdarsky's run of Daredevil, Detective Cole North relentlessly pursues Daredevil after the hero accidentally kills a crook with a bad throw. Due to his descending health and actions, Spider-Man steps in and grounds Ol' Hornhead. When Cole turns his attention on Spider-Man, the webslinger beats the detective's trap, then drags him up on the rooftop for a good dressing down, Deconstruction this trope by telling him that he needs to stop thinking in terms of "legal" and "illegal" and start thinking on "saving lives", also putting him in a Secret Test of Character by seeing if he'll listen to his words or keep with his black and white ways of thinking by seeing if he'll shoot him once his webbing bonds dissolve or let him go. He lets him go.
  • Wolverine & Gambit: Victims: Inspector Andrews is convinced that the two heroes had something to do with Alexandra Davies's death, and is determined to bring them to justice. In his defence, it was a pretty convincing Frame-Up, as she was killed by a robot copy of Wolverine.

    Fan Works 
  • Serenity: In the The Horseshoe Nails series by Dyce, the Operative actually takes the name Javert. The second Operative appears to take the name Marius, although this is only mentioned in passing. 'Marius has been shot, which is keeping with the literature but should not be encouraged.'
  • The Truth Decays plays with this with Konoha's Torture & Interrogation Division dealing with Edward Elric: Ed, because he's an Alchemist, has abilities that make him a Wild Card too powerful to ignore (and they wish to understand), and coming from Amestris (a place that doesn't exists in the Naruto-verse, but still) means that he comes from a country that may or may not become a threat later on, and in the aftermath of the Sound Invasion Arc, they are too skittish about possibly hostile unknowns to leave Ed alone (but they try to treat Ed nicely... except that Ed keeps pissing everybody off). Danzo and ROOT, however, toss any and all sympathetic parts of this trope out the window from the very first second they are on-screen and never look back, putting a mask of a more "regular" Javert (Ed wrecked half of town, he's a possible threat to Konoha) in order to have full access to anything Ed says (and they are ok with doing stuff like decimating innocent citizens to try to make him talk).
  • In To Hell and Back (Arrowverse), Eddie towards the Streak/The Flash. It has shades of Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist considering that the Flash has committed murder, but the sympathy decreases as Eddie's obsession grows.
  • In A Young Girl's Delinquency Record, Mary joined Interpol to pursue Tanya over the fact that she killed her father. Never mind that for all that Tanya is an alleged war criminal, the death of Anson Sioux was not one of her crimes - he was a legitimate casualty of war.
  • Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox: Kaiza, the Whirl City Police Department's chief, has this mindset toward Naruto, largely because the latter is one of the Nine Terrors whose actions during the 365-day spree of destruction across the country resulted in significant loss of life and damage to property; Whirl City was one of the worst-affected locales during that period, and it's also personal for Kaiza because his wife was raped and murdered right near the end of that time. Not helping matters is that, prior to the start of the story, Naruto was involved in a gang-fight at Whirl City's Uzushio High School that resulted in several thugs being battered and the compound being damaged while not sustaining any injuries himself, and basically got to relocate from the city instead of being arrested, for which Kaiza views him as a Karma Houdini. However, there are a few things wrong with Kaiza's thinking: first, the Terrors themselves weren't even involved in Mrs. Kaiza's rape/murder, and the men who did it were quickly caught and imprisoned not long afterward; second, Naruto was defending himself during the aforementioned gang fight when the gang's leader set the other thugs on him; and third, during the story's Gaiden chapters, it's indicated that Kaiza's motivation is more due to anger at Naruto being treated as a hero by the government instead of as the criminal (Kaiza believes) he should be treated as, whereas by comparison, despite his years of service on the force, Kaiza's been thrown under the bus by some gang members who blackmailed him into trying to kill Naruto in exchange for his daughter Hokuto's safety, just so the gangsters can try to get easier deals with the prosecution for themselves (it doesn't help that Kaiza had to team up with Naruto to beat the thugs in order to rescue Hokuto). It gets to the point that, after he's put on suspension following a confrontation with Whirl City's Internal Affairs officers, he goes on a mission to rally some of his old batch-mates from the police academy to incite a country-wide strike action by the cops to threaten to withdraw their services unless the government authorizes Naruto's arrest.
  • Blake in A Rabbit Among Wolves remains unconvinced that Jaune is steering the White Fang in a positive light for altruistic purposes, mainly due to him accidentally killing Adam, but her insistence just annoys those in and outside her team as well as complicating matters for those around her.

    Films — Animation 
  • Captain Razoul tends to be this toward Aladdin, though particularly in the TV spin-off, he has his Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist moments. He does get better at the end of Aladdin and the King of Thieves, though.
  • Impresario Tetti-Tatti in "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met" segment of Make Mine Music. And he mistakenly believes Willie the Whale has swallowed opera singers by (mis)interpreting the Bible story of Jonah and the whale.
  • Ratatouille: After getting glances of Rémy and Linguini working together, Skinner begins to rightfully suspect that the two are a team, but his desperation and methods to prove it only accomplish making him look like an insane freak.
  • WALL•E: The Microbe Obliterator (M-O) takes great pride in his work. Whatever contaminants enter his domain are thoroughly purged with the efficiency only a robot can have. He sees WALL•E as a cancer upon the great Axiom, as the trash-compacting robot unintentionally leaves filth and pestilence in his wake. M-O knows not and cares not for why WALL•E has come to the Axiom. He only knows that WALL•E must be cleansed. Nothing will distract him from his goal. Not distance, not danger, not even the rules that he has lived by his entire life. The road is long, for he must purge the filth that serves as his trail to the heretic. But when he finds WALL•E, he will be at his weakest. He will be at his mercy. And he will be cleansed. And then they'll become BFF. note 
  • Maximus of Tangled is a horse with a personal vendetta against Flynn Rider and will stop at nothing to bring him to justice. Until he gets charmed by Rapunzel to help her and Flynn, that is.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Apple Dumpling Gang: In the sequel, Marshal Wooly Bill Hitchcock relentlessly pursues Amos and Theodore for a bank robbery they didn't commit and is blinded by a desire to avenge the injuries and humiliations that the duo accidentally inflict on him. At one point, he reads off a list of charges against them, sentences them to death (declaring they've forfeited the right to an actual trial), and tries to gun them down.
  • Bad Dreams: Detective Wasserman is depressingly quick to publicly accuse Cynthia of being more deeply involved in the cult suicide than she claims and later suspects her of getting her fellow patients to kill themselves. He's wrong on both counts.
  • Detective Soo-jin in Broker is a police officer tasked with protecting women and children, but she is more concerned with catching her mark than for the well-being of the children. She does not care about Woo-seong's health when he gets sick, and even tried to set up Sang-hyeon to sell the baby, just so she could get an arrest under her belt.
  • In Deux Hommes dans la Ville (a.k.a. Two Against the Law and Two Men in Town), it is a major plot drive. In fact, a main cause of the film's Downer Ending.
  • Street Angel: Neri, sergeant of police, who chases Angela after an attempted robbery, then when she escapes jail, and later comes for her after she returns to Naples.
  • Nearly all of the Mission: Impossible films have one in pursuit of Ethan Hunt (IMF superiors Kittridge and Brassel in the first and third films respectively, inspector Sidorov in the fourth, CIA agent Hunley in the fifth) and Briggs in the seventh). The second film is the first exception.
    • Mission: Impossible – Fallout stands out as a very technical example, as the 'Javert' equivalent, CIA agent August Walker, is actually the Big Bad, who is working as a mole in the CIA to try and provoke them into going after Hunt. A plan that ironically goes wrong when his boss, Sloane, pulls a Javert move of her own and orders the arrest of all of the agents (including Walker) to interrogate at CIA HQ in Langley, forcing everybody to go rogue in order to finish their missions.
  • The Frighteners gives us Occult Detective Milton Dammers who aggressively harasses protagonist Frank Bannister because he's convinced that Frank is responsible for the murders that happen throughout the film. In addition to being this trope, he's also quite the fruitloop (implied to be the result of past experiences being tortured by another cult).
  • The Operative in Serenity is a case where a government assassin fits the character type. He's after River in order to protect the Alliance's secrets, and doesn't ask what those secrets are because he believes wholeheartedly in the Alliance's vision of a "world without sin." He only stops when his idealistic vision of the Alliance is shattered with the knowledge of River's secret.
  • Detective Spooner in the film I, Robot is a subversion, as he is the main character. In his determination to apprehend Sonny for murder, he stumbles across something even more sinister... And it turns out he's right.
  • Hobbs in Fast Five is characterized this way until he decides to help Dom because his team was killed and he wants revenge. After an Enemy Mine for a day or two, he gives Dom a mercy lead.
    Hobbs: Give me those documents. (throws them aside) All I care about is that Toretto is a name on a list!
  • The main bad guy in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay could be seen as a parody/deconstruction of this trope, showing just how irrational, prejudiced and willfully ignorant a law enforcement official would need to be to believe the protagonists really are terrorists.
    "It's obvious these kids are innocent, but you're too dumb to realise it"
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Commodore Norrington is midway between this and Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist; he has every reason to go after Jack Sparrow, but he doesn't have all the facts about Will Turner. He's also most definitely a good guy in the first film.
  • Billy Dee Williams in Abel Fererra's Fear City.
  • Dark City: Inspector Frank Bumstead hotly pursues protagonist John Murdoch for a series of murders that John is innocent of. The reality-twisting alien Strangers have created the murders but were interrupted before they could create the murderer! John is eventually arrested, but Frank's open mind has been picking up on the real story: when John demonstrates worldview-shattering abilities to manipulate reality himself Frank is ready to be recruited to fight the real villains. And then he gets hurled into space.
    • Bumstead is actually a subversion since he quickly figures out John is innocent based on his behavior, and he only pursues John to find out what the hell is going on.
  • Red (2010): Agent William Cooper. He's a CIA agent tasked to hunt down the main characters and doesn't question the motive behind the mission because he's just simply doing his job. Once he discovers the real truth behind the kidnapping of the Vice President and the conspiracy behind it, he not only lets the main characters go but shoots his boss dead and then "handles" the fallout of the whole affair.
  • Henry Burke in Race to Witch Mountain, a Men in Black-type government operative, whose job is to hunt down and capture the two aliens running around - he doesn't care if the aliens appear to be human teenagers. Or if, y'know, letting them go would be what prevents the Alien Invasion that is being planned back on their home planet from actually happening.
  • Inspector John Acheson, in 2010's The Tourist. He wants to continue pursuing clever thief Alexander Pearce, even after Pearce leaves a check to cover the 'seven hundred and forty-four million' he owed in back taxes. But Acheson's superior overrides him, pointing out that all Pearce did was steal from a gangster.
  • Although not law enforcement, Principal Rooney from Ferris Bueller's Day Off is scarily obsessive about catching Bueller to the point of landing him in this trope.
  • The hotel concierge in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is religiously devoted to busting Kevin for "credit card fraud"(ie using his dad's credit card without permission) so much so that he threatens to call the police on Kevin, thereby scaring him into the streets, instead of contacting a social services agency and kindly asking Kevin about the matter. When Peter and Kate show up at the hotel, they're quick to chew him out over it.
  • Gustave the Station Inspector in Hugo fits this archetype in his determination to catch the protagonist, who has been living in the walls of the train station he is guarding.
  • Sheriff Cooley in O Brother, Where Art Thou? starts off chasing the main characters legitimately—they are, after all, escaped convicts—but displays all the self-righteous personality associated with the trope, and his true colors come through when he persists in trying to capture and hang the Soggy Bottom Boys after they have publicly earned the Governor's pardon (and he knows it).
  • Timekeeper Leon in In Time: the sad part is, in a way he ends up triggering off the entire catastrophe his job is designed to avoid, simply because he cannot or will not accept that a wealthy man with a century-plus on him could voluntarily relinquish that time to someone else. Had he been less zealous, one suspects that Will Salas would eventually have married into the Weis family (the film makes clear the attraction between him and Sylvia), and been in a perfect position to accomplish from within what he risked a lot to accomplish from without.
  • While Inspector Uhl in the film The Illusionist (2006) is tireless in his pursuit, he is a likeable guy and more of an Obstructive Bureaucrat than an actual villain.
  • Customs agent Dave Kujan from The Usual Suspects is obsessed with arresting cop-turned-criminal Keaton. Trouble is, while there's little doubt that Keaton is a thief and murderer, he seems to be genuinely trying to go legitimate at the start of the movie. But Kujan's dogged pursuit lets Keaton's potential business partners know about his criminal background, torpedoing his career and sending him back to a life of crime. In Kujan's interactions with Verbal, we also see he's willing to break the law himself (including issuing death threats) if it means catching Keaton and is so focused on that goal that he ignores any explanation that doesn't paint Keaton as the criminal mastermind behind everything, which ends up leading to Verbal (or rather Keyser Soze) making up a tall tale with Keaton as the Fall Guy that Kujan buys hook, line, and sinker.
  • Samuel Gerard in The Fugitive has a classic transition from pursuer to ally. Initially his job is bringing back Kimble, the truth about Kimble's conviction is not his business. The chase through the storm drains is also an obvious reference to Les Misérables, which has a similar scene towards the end of the book.
  • Impostor: Major Hathaway is chasing Dr. Spencer Olham because he's convinced that Olham is an alien biorobot who killed the original and took on his personality in order to detonate a bomb and kill the Chancellor. He plans to prove that by vivisecting Olham and disarming the explosive, but Olham escapes and spends the whole film trying to prove he's human. Hathaway turns out to be right, but missed that Olham's wife was also replaced and then fails to consider that both Olhams could have been impersonated, ending in Hathaway's death when the bomb explodes.
  • Sheriff Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit. He begins making up charges to go after Bandit for, caring little whether or not it's true, or even where he does and does not have jurisdiction (he seriously believes saying he's in 'hot pursuit' would allow him to chase Bandit all over the United States).
  • Inspector Aberline from The Wolfman (2010), appropriately enough. He blames all of the werewolf murders on Talbot and believes they are the result of him having gone insane, and chases after him once he has definite proof that the wolf-man is real and not Talbot's invention.
  • Sheriff Loomis is a more realistic example in The Wraith. At first he was this for a long time with Road Pirate, Packard Walsh; waiting and watching him slip up. However, when the Wraith comes into the picture, he's on his pursuit list too, even though he doesn't really care since it's only Packard's gang the Wraith is after. He does everything in his power to investigate the Wraith, even opening up a cold case regarding Jamie Hankin's murder as it was one of the leads that clue him in to the Wraith's identity. He gives up when Packard dies and the Wraith is no longer around.
  • In Marmoulak, the Warden is a textbook case. He is an extremely cruel religious fundamentalist who pursues Reza Marmoulak tirelessly and declares his intention to force all the prisoners to go to heaven. However, he seems to genuinely believe that he is doing the right thing, and shows some signs of softening at the very end.
  • Two from the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Ant-Man, Scott's ex-wife's fiancé Paxton is a cop who is distrustful of Scott due to his criminal past, and later in the movie begins to pursue Scott after he escapes police custody, unaware that Scott is working to save the world. He eventually learns the truth and uses his position to clear Scott's charges.
    • T'Challa during his introductory appearance in Captain America: Civil War: After his father is killed in a bombing at a United Nations summit, he resolves to have his vengeance on Bucky Barnes, who has been publicly blamed for the attack. Of course, Bucky was framed for the attack by Helmut Zemo, but T'Challa assumes his attempts to flee from justice are a sign of guilt and doesn't listen when Bucky proclaims his innocence. Ultimately, T'Challa realizes his mistake upon overhearing Zemo admit to the bombing while eavesdropping on Barnes, and subsequently takes Zemo into custody; to make up for his hasty judgment, he allows the still-wanted Barnes to take refuge in Wakanda.
  • In Suffragette, Inspector Steed plays this role. Instead of acknowledging that women are unjustly denied the right to vote, he arrests women whose only 'crime' is protesting against that injustice.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Oddly enough, Colonel Stryker plays this role in the film. After Apocalypse took control of Professor X's mind and ordered him to control the nuclear missile controllers and send the missiles into space, Stryker tracks the signal to the X-Mansion and mistakenly believes that Xavier is actually the one who's behind it. So he leads a special forces to raid it and capture some key mutants to interrogate them about Charles' whereabouts.
  • In Sweet Country, black farmhand Sam Kelly kills white land-owner Harry March in self-defense and goes on the run, pursued by a posse led by Sergeant Fletcher. Fletcher initially assumes March was an innocent victim, partly out of racism and partly because he feels a comradeship with March because they were both ex-soldiers, and is determined to get Sam even after the rest of the posse gives up and turns for home. His attitude changes after Sam gets a chance to tell his side of the story and Fletcher learns what an Asshole Victim March was.
  • Tough Guys: Sergeant Yablonski is determined to send Harry and Archie back to jail despite his supervisor telling him to leave them alone. He shows up to mock Archie at his busboy job and tries to goad Harry into punching him in a bar even when Harry greets him with a compliment on his promotion and offers him a drink. However, he only wants to send them back to prison, and is upset when it looks like they may die in a shootout.
  • Bank Shot has 'Bulldog' Streiger, whose personal motto is "No one escapes 'Bulldog' Streiger". After Ballentine escapes, Streiger pursues him all the way to Los Angles, and organises a multi-agency taskforce in an attempt to bring him to justice. At the end of the film, he is vowing to learn to swim and then swim to Samoa to continue the chase.
  • Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter: Once Marshal McPhee gets on Jesse's trail, he will not give up.
  • In Ripper: Letter from Hell, Detective Kelso is still obsessing over and hunting the Serial Killer Molly escaped from 5 years earlier.
  • Angel Has Fallen: FBI Agent Helen Thompson is hunting Mike because she's genuinely convinced that he's a traitor. When Mike provides just enough evidence of his innocence, she switches gears and goes after Wade.
  • Detective Kennedy in M.F.A.. He is not single-mindedly pursuing Noelle per se, but is devoted to bringing in the Campus Killer and follows the evidence wherever it takes him, circling around the case until Noelle is the only suspect left. When she explains that the murdered men were rapists, he agrees that they may have been, but a murder is a murder—regardless of who the victim is—and she does not have the right to inflict her own brand of justice. Ironically, if the original rapes had been brought to his attention, rather than being swept under the rug, he would undoubtedly have pursued the rapists with the same dogged determination and brought them to justice, thereby removing the need for Noelle's vigilante justice.
  • In Apache, Al Sieber takes on the job of hunting down Massai with a single-minded dedication: to the point where other folks regard him as touched in the head. However, his seeming madness pays off, as he is able to identify that Massai must be holed up in the high mountains. Then he just has to wait till the weather changes, and he and his scouts can move in.

  • Les Misérables:
    • The book named the trope with the original Inspector Javert. In his face, the narrator describes seeing "what could be called all the evil of good." Javert subverted the trope of maniacal lawfulness once in the book: during the street brawl of Fantine and Monsieur Bamatabois, he thought her guilty of everything and refused to hear how she had been attacked because she was a prostitute. A character true to the spirit of the trope would have accused both of them. This is a display of idealism rather than stupidity—Fantine, being a prostitute, was already a law-breaker, whereas Monsieur Bamatabois was 'innocent.' Similarly, he refuses to accept that Jean Valjean was not necessarily in the wrong when he stole a loaf of bread, and he follows Valjean mercilessly for decades for what amounted to a parole violation. Worst of all, even after Valjean saves his life, Javert still can't make himself admit that he's wrong, and is actually Driven to Suicide for his failure, in effect killing himself over his failure to accomplish a goal that never had any real importance.

      Alternatively, he could instead have realized just how wrong he was about the world, and critically failed to cope. The lead-up to his suicide goes on for several pages, as we watch him struggle with a dilemma he can barely process. He seems to finally get the idea that the law is maybe too harsh on convicts: one of his last acts is to write down a list of pragmatic reforms for the local prison, such as suggesting that they should stop making prisoners stand around barefoot in the freezing cold because when they get sick it's expensive to treat them. But this is, perhaps, the essence of his dilemma: he has operated under the belief that "law" and "good" are the same entity, but in this instance, they're clearly not. Letting Valjean go is moral, but unlawful; imprisoning him again is lawful, but immoral. No matter what he does, he betrays his purpose; since he can't serve his purpose, he finds no reason to live.

      Also of note is that when Javert isn't chasing Valjean, he's otherwise very good at his job. He leads a group of Paris police officers in catching the Patron-Minette street gang and correctly pegged "Monsieur Madeleine" as Valjean. However, when a case of Mistaken Identity leads him to think that he had Wrongly Accused Madeleine, he begs Valjean to dismiss him for his screwup-showing that Javert is no more tolerant of his own sins than he is of anyone else's. Javert lives the most rigid and unyielding code of conduct of anyone in the novel and shows mercy to no one - not even himself. By releasing Valjean, he's committed a capital crime. As a man of the law, his code of conduct requires that he give his life as punishment for that crime.
    • When Javert, in a particular scene, asks to be resigned from his duty because he thought Madeleine was Valjean, something he adamantly resists believing because "Madeleine" is an authority person (from his perspective), Valjean/Madeleine promptly asks him to go back to work, because he understands what an excellent policeman Javert initially is. (Also, there's a bit of Dramatic Irony: Javert wants to resign over a mistake that "Madeleine" knows he didn't make.)
  • Detective Fix in Around the World in Eighty Days is rightfully determined to catch a bank robber. It's just that the protagonist fits the description he was given of the criminal's appearance, so he literally follows Phileas Fogg around the world, waiting for a chance to arrest him. He also misinterprets Fogg's trip as him having a Complexity Addiction to try and throw the British government off his trail before escaping to a neighboring country, leading to Fix thinking that he's playing a game of cat and mouse with a master thief and giving himself quite the inflated ego. After detaining him back on British soil, Fix is informed that the real robber was caught a while ago. However, he is a bit more reasonable than some examples here, seeing as he does release Fogg when he realizes his mistake. (This doesn't stop Fogg from decking him, though.)
  • The FBI agents in the Dale Brown novel A Time for Patriots are obsessed with putting Patrick McLanahan away, convinced that he's a Right-Wing Militia Fanatic.
  • John Mandrake, from The Bartimaeus Trilogy, is a fairly high-ranking government official charged with wiping out the Resistance. He genuinely believes the Government to be in the right, and continues hunting down the final member of the Resistance until the government collapses and demons attack London.
  • Binkle And Flip, being a light-hearted kid's book set in a World of Funny Animals, has Willie Weasel the policeman who spends every single story trying to stay ahead of the two eponymous trouble-making rabbits and their latest get-rich schemes, including posing as a fake doctor, pretending to be a fake Fortune Teller in a fair, and being unlicensed chimney-sweeps. Hilarity Ensues all the time.
  • Bezu Fache in The Da Vinci Code. He believes that Langdon is in the conspiracy that killed Jacques Sauniere (and because Langdon ran away because of him being a target for said conspiracy... well... Not Helping Your Case).
  • Inspector Glebski from The Dead Mountaineer's Hotel is a rare example of the main character playing Javert. He has some pretty good reasons, but eventually his actions are directly responsible for the Downer Ending.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Morgan. He starts out as a Well-Intentioned Extremist and almost malicious about it, but after seven books or so his opinion of Harry gets upgraded to "reckless and unpredictable but probably not evil" (which, to be fair, is pretty accurate). He's at least suspicious until the book he dies in, but he eventually becomes willing to listen to Harry and give him a chance.
    • Murphy occasionally acts as this, as well, though only in the first book— after Harry fully explains The Masquerade to her in Summer Knight (rather than giving her minimum information as cases demanded), she's much more cooperative.
    • Her former co-worker, Rudolph, went in the opposite direction as her. While Murphy went from a Javert-ish policewoman (Towards Harry, anyway) to a far more reasonable character that didn't beat him up and/or arrest him like she did in the first two books, Rudolph went from a reasonable character that trusted Harry to Jerkass Smug Snake that will try to have Harry and Murphy arrested at any possible time, even if that means lying his ass off.
  • Sherlock Holmes and his brother Mycroft in the Enola Holmes series. In this case, they are simply doing what they thought was right trying to find their naive 14-year-old runaway sister and force her into Finishing School before something terrible happens to her. However, by the end of the series over that year of hunting her, Sherlock slowly realizes that Enola has grown into a capable young woman and a brilliant professional detective in her own right. As such, his determination to capture Enola fades until he helps her prove herself to Mycroft who soon respects her liberty.
  • The Fear Index has Leclerc who by the end is completely convinced that Alex is mentally unhinged and tries to stop him.
  • In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Blood Pact Inquisitor Rime seems too eager to see Gaunt guilty of being a Chaos agent. When it turns out that Rime is really a Chaos officer, things suddenly make so much sense.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Ministry of Magic much of the time, especially under the Fudge administration — especially in Book Five, when they make Harry and Dumbledore each into a Hero with Bad Publicity for daring to say that Voldemort has returned, even though it's true because the Ministry thinks it's the best way not to cause a panic. Voldemort presses the issue later by appearing right in front of the Ministry of Magic, proving Harry and Dumbledore right beyond all possible doubt, which sends the Wizarding World into a panic anyway.
    • The Dementors are entities that pursue their target with unrelenting, cold calculation, although they also don't distinguish between "the one they hunt and the one who gets in their way." The Dementors rigorously pursue Sirius Black throughout the books, even though Black was found to be innocent of murder because he escaped from jail.
    • Umbridge initially seems to be this, in her first appearance in Order of the Phoenix. By Deathly Hallows, though, it's clear that the law is more just a way to quench some sadistic and power-hungry impulses (whereas, an Inspector Javert follows the law to the letter because they believe in the moral rightness of it).
  • The Seeker in The Host (2008), who is convinced that Wanderer is still alive even after she disappears after days in the desert and continues to search for her for months.
  • Inspecteur Limier from ‘’Sky Without Stars’’ is clearly Inspector Javert as a Cyborg.
  • Paula Myo from the Pandora's Star series by Peter F. Hamilton is genetically engineered to be an Inspector Javert, to the point where she turns in her parents, who kidnapped her at birth for their crimes. When circumstances force her to decide between arresting the Well-Intentioned Extremist and saving the human race from extinction, she suffers a near-fatal nervous breakdown.note 
  • The Furies in the first Percy Jackson and the Olympians book, which makes sense as this is essentially their function in Classical Mythology, particularly in The Oresteia, where the Furies relentlessly pursue Orestes.
  • Gunilla from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard pursues the main heroes to prevent them from causing Ragnarok: she thinks that Samira is evil because she is the daughter of Loki and she is manipulating the heroes into releasing her father - but she does not know that the team knows about Surt the demon's plans.
  • Chauvelin of The Scarlet Pimpernel — hmmm... must be a French thing. Charged with hunting down the Pimpernel, he pursues his quarry with a single-minded determination that borders on fanaticism. And he has no qualms about using aristocratic prisoners as live bait for the Pimpernel.
  • Inspector Russell Flint in Tom Sharpe's novel Wilt, who thinks Wilt has murdered his wife. He's even worse in The Movie based on the book.
  • Quite a few of Discworld City Watch books deliberately set up Commander Sam Vimes as a subversion of this trope. He is absolutely dedicated to the law in letter and in spirit, and will doggedly pursue any criminal...So long as their crime warrants it, because Sam Vimes understands on a very deep and personal level the difference between crimes of desperation and crimes of malice. This is made most obvious in Night Watch, which is a Whole-Plot Reference to the Trope Namer... with the important twist that the "Valjean" of the story is actually The Sociopath and a serial armed robber with several murders to his name and the "Javert" is Vimes himself, a tough but utterly fair Old-Fashioned Copper who probably stole a few loaves of bread himself as a young boy because it was that or starve.
  • In The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street, Dolly Williamson of Scotland Yard is convinced that the titular watchmaker is responsible for making the bombs that Irish nationalists have been setting off in London, and harasses him throughout the book. It turns out to be the clockmaker working as a police consultant.
  • In The Spirit Thief, Miranda is an agent of the Spirit Court tasked with hunting down the main character, Eli, and she's practically obsessed with her task, trying to capture the man even when she's kicked out of the Spirit Court or in the middle of enemy territory. She loses the attitude once the Myth Arc takes over and she decides she's just being petty at this point.
  • Paul Sinclair: Wilkes, the prosecutor in A Sust determination interestingly isn't so much this for going after Wakeman (who is guilty of at least some of the charges both morally and legally). Instead, he qualifies for with the overly aggressive way he goes after a witness gives crucial evidence for Wakeman's defense, even insinuating that he should be charged as well over the incident for providing Wakeman bad advice.
  • Chocoholic Mysteries: Sergeant McCullough of the Lake Knapp police in Snowman Murders, who is bound and determined to prove that Lee and/or her husband are responsible for the two murders in the book, simply because they were the last two people who might have seen Fletcher Mendenhall alive and have a motive to kill him (he was an obnoxious drunk who flirted with Lee and didn't want to take no for an answer). Even after she gets chased by the real killer, he's convinced that she faked it to throw the cops off the trail. Fortunately, the state police and Warner Pier police are able to keep him from going too far.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 does this. All the time. The latest one has been Special Agent in Charge of D.C. Branch, Larry Moss, who believes Jack Bauer has gone off the far end with the death of Bill Buchanan, and is off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against everyone who has wronged him.
    • Completely subverted in the case of Chloe O'Brien in the final season. Chloe initially doesn't believe Jack's claims that the Russian government is really behind all the attacks on New York since she's worried he's snapped after the murder of Renee Walker. She's wrong about them not being involved. She's completely right about him going off the deep end. In the end, Chloe now has to expose the Russians as the real villains and simultaneously keep Jack from killing them and starting an international crisis, instead making her a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist.
  • At least in the first season of Angel, there was a detective named Kate who pursues Angel and his team somewhat relentlessly. Although sometimes she's an ally, eventually she turns into nothing but the Inspector Javert of the show, after her father is killed by vampires and she blames Angel. For example, after a Back from the Dead Darla tells her that Angel was behind a string of murders, Kate unhesitatingly storms the Hyperion with a SWAT team to have him arrested. However, she is forced to accept the truth when Gunn points out that Angel, being a vampire, couldn't possibly have just stormed in and killed someone in their own home unless he was explicitly invited or the residents were already dead. Later, Holtz takes up the role, though it's a bit more ambiguous as the crimes he seeks justice (or, increasingly, vengeance) for are ones Angelnote  has undeniably committed.
  • Arrow has a few.
    • Detective Quentin Lance goes back and forth. In Season 1 he follows this trope to a T with both the Arrow and Oliver Queen. In the second half of Season 3, after being the Arrow's ally since the end of the first season, he goes even harder this time. From Season 4 onward, he remains an ally.
  • Samandra Watson in Season 6 is determined to bring the Green Arrow to justice, even in the face of powerful villains threatening the city and Team Arrow being the only ones doing something about it. Even when she finally makes a deal with him to catch the villains she only does it if he accepts to deliver himself to justice.
  • In The A-Team, the military police who are chasing the A-Team qualify as this, notably recurring antagonists Colonel Lynch, Colonel Decker, and General Fullbright. Fullbright doubles as a General Ripper.
  • Psi Cop Bester from Babylon 5. He is a consistent thorn in the side of the entire B5 crew and does a few truly reprehensible things to them, but it's usually because he genuinely believes that he is acting in the best interests of his people, the telepaths, who are persecuted by "mundanes" such as the B5 commanding staff. He is also always quick to remind them that he has the authority of the law behind him.
  • The Grey-and-Gray Morality makes things slightly ambiguous, but one of Nucky Thompson's antagonists in Boardwalk Empire is a Knight Templar Prohibition agent, Nelson Van Alden, who becomes obsessed with exposing his criminal activities at all costs. He finally succeeds in Jumping Off the Slippery Slope when he murders his own partner for corruption, which once it's found out puts him on the run. He does manage to convince his superiors of Thompson's criminality, however, and his replacement on the case is a much more level-headed and competent Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist.
  • Bones:
    • Agent Flynn was mostly just doing his job trying to track down Brennan when Pelant framed her for murder, but he does annoy the team.
    • Agent Miller in season 11’s opener starts out like this but proves to have an ulterior motive of distracting the team from finding out that she had a previous romantic relationship with her missing partner. She’s not charged with anything though and actually encourages Brennan’s interruption of an interrogation so Brennan can get the suspect to reveal Booth’s location.
  • Almost every season of Charmed had an SFPD detective out to expose the Halliwells, due to the proliferation of incidents that they seemed to be on the periphery of. Whether eventual ally, lover, or near-caricature (Season 8's Sheridan actually best fits the Javert description), one and all tend to suffer for getting between the Halliwells and those targeting them.
  • CSI: Miami had Internal Affairs Sergeant Rick Stetler, who constantly popped up the moment he so much as imagined any member of the team was doing something corrupt and had a very personal beef with Horatio Caine (because Caine had made Lieutenant before him, and Stetler decided to believe that Caine had done it through dirty means). He also had an abusive relationship with his girlfriend (who was Caine's sister-in-law through his dead brother) and was finally Put on a Bus to Hell when he was discovered to have been stealing impounded vehicles to sell off and had an Assistant District Attorney killed to keep it quiet.
  • Day Break (2006): Detectives Spivak and Choi, who are investigating the Garza murder and proceed to arrest Hopper for the crime the conspiracy framed him for. Choi proves to be more reasonable than his partner however and actually helps Hopper after Hopper saved his life in one loop. Spivak hated Hopper's father and is prejudiced against the son. In addition, he seems to be involved with the conspiracy, which is subverted — Shelton planted the evidence.
  • Detective Dorn from Deadly Games was following the Charmed path, but the series was Cut Short before his investigation got very far.
  • The Devil Judge has police officer Soo-hyun who suspects Yo-han of the murder of his brother and investigates after him when the truth is he's not responsible for his brother's death, however, it's justified since Yo-han kept the truth hidden and has done morally questionable things before.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Judoon seem to be a whole race of Inspector Javerts. Ruthless, efficient, logical, and not really caring about the morality of the crime or sentence. That said, they will follow the laws of the planet they are on, such as following the speed limit in a car chase and handing out a promise to return/repay the car's owner for the trouble. Justice must be served.

      In their first appearance, they transport an entire hospital to the Moon in order to pursue their quarry without infringing on Earth's sovereign jurisdiction. The Doctor has to spend most of the episode outrunning them since their execution order didn't specify not to kill any innocent alien they might find in the hospital.
    • "Planet of the Dead": Classy Cat-Burglar Lady Christina is certainly guilty of theft, but DI McMillan comes across as obsessed with arresting her by any means necessary.
  • Detective Crumb from Early Edition wanted Gary Hobbes behind bars because of his constant appearance around various calamities. Understandably, telling Crumb that a newspaper predicting the future was the reason he was around said calamities would have been a one-way ticket to a nuthouse.
  • Bilar Crais from Farscape is a combo of this and It's Personal, spending all of Season 1 being the Big Bad, trying to bring to justice/get revenge on John for accidentally causing the death of Crais' brother.
  • Lieutenant Gerard, The Fugitive who will doggedly track down any sighting of Richard Kimble, no matter where it takes him in the country. Hardly surprising given that the character is designed as a modern version of Inspector Javert of Les Miserables.
    • Subverted in the series finale, as Gerard comes to believe in Kimble's innocence at last and saves the doctor's life.
  • In the early episodes of Gotham Renee Montoya doggedly pursues Jim Gordon under the mistaken belief that he framed Mario Pepper and murdered Oswald Copplepot. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Jim is engaged to her ex Barbara and she continues to carry feelings for Barbara. Her partner Crispus Allen calls her out of this saying she is taking things too personally.
  • Doubly subverted by Detective Tritter of House: he's really out for personal revenge against House, but House really is guilty of abusing prescription drugs. Tritter's entire basis for squeezing the hospital and House was that he was a suspected drug dealer, which is laughable considering how obsessive House is about hoarding his Vicodin.
  • Reporter Jack McGee of The Incredible Hulk (1977), who vows to hunt the Hulk down and bring the creature to the law's attention, believing that the Hulk had killed Dr. Marks and David Banner.
  • Kaitou Sentai Lupinrangervs Keisatsu Sentai Patranger gives us Keiichiro Asasi/Patran #1, the leader of the Patrangers. Despite the rival team, the Lupinrangers, stealing away the Lupin Collection from the villains to protect them, he is unflappable in his dedication of eradicating crime and has declared them criminals because "a thief will always be a thief". This is a source of grief for both teams, but he opts to let them go if something more pressing happens after a while.
  • Numerous characters from the Law & Order universe go through this from time to time, but the most egregious examples have been Jack McCoy and Elliot Stabler, both of whom have done things during cases that should have gotten them fired or even locked up.
    • Benson also displays this tendency, on multiple occasions confronting a suspect or person of interest who claims they either haven't done things or won't or are on the way to changing and telling them that people like "them" don't stop or change, and it's just a matter of time.
  • Francis in the television version of Logan's Run swings between this and Smug Snake.
  • Detective Fales from Denver in Longmire. He's investigating Walt and Henry for the murder of the crackhead who killed Walt's wife. This bites him in the ass big time when Longmire discovers Fales suppressed evidence that would link David Ridges to said crackhead, and gives it to his daughter, allowing the charges against Henry to be dropped. The tragedy is that his targets are actually guilty of a series of lesser but still serious crimes but he is too focused on exposing Walt as a corrupt sheriff to consider the whole picture.
  • The marshal pursuing Kate on Lost He finally caught her, but then died in the plane crash.
  • Ms. Marvel (2022): Damage Control seem to be nothing but Javerts. The minute Kamala makes her public debut, their head field agent deduces from a single Youtube video that she was clearly trying to kill the person she's shown saving (from her own Power Incontinence) and dedicate themselves to hunting her down with excessive force. The only reason they stop is one of their agents goes beyond simple Javertishness, as it becomes clear her motivation is psychotic hatred (and regular bigotry), and actively tries to kill Kamala in public, which is beyond the pale even for them.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Badge of Honor", an old friend of Seth's arrives in Cabot Cove. He is followed by a private eye named Jarvis who has been dogging him for years, convinced that he was responsible for a jewellery store robbery.
  • Slater from Only Fools and Horses. He will nick for anything you've done! In fact he will nick you for anything you haven't done and he won't let a little thing like "Innocence" get in his way!
  • The cops and prosecutors from Perry Mason. This is a slight variant in that they believe the hero's clients to be guilty, rather than the hero himself.
  • Chris plays this role during an arc on Parks and Recreation where Ben and Leslie's relationship comes to light. Ben is technically Leslie's superior in local government, so their relationship violates an important ethics rule. Chris is responsible for pressing the case against Leslie and Ben. It drives him to near insanity — Ben is his best friend in the world, and he admires and respects Leslie — but he keeps pushing, because he sincerely believes that the rule they broke was important and exists for a good reason.
  • This from Prison Break's creator and head writer: When the second season of Prison Break was pitched to the network as something akin to The Fugitive, executives asked the writers to include a "Tommy Lee Jones" antagonist to hunt down the protagonists. This led to the character of FBI Agent Mahone, who spent the first seven episodes portrayed as an intense, intelligent but well-intentioned FBI manhunter. Then he started murdering the fugitives, on the orders of the evil Company who threatened to kill his wife and son if he didn't comply. It got worse from there. Mahone's intelligence and ability to rival Michael turned him into an Ensemble Dark Horse. In the following seasons, Mahone's crimes committed while in pursuit of the protagonists ruined his role as Inspector Javert and made him part of the criminal team, and therefore one of the "good" guys.
  • In the second season finale of Sherlock, the entire police department becomes this for Sherlock himself.
  • Lt. Jon Kavanaugh of The Shield fits, though his target, Vic Mackey, isn't innocent to say the least despite being the protagonist.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "For the Uniform", a renegade Starfleet officer acknowledges Captain Sisko's pursuit of him as well-intentioned, while he considers himself a Jean Valjean character. Sisko's reaction is to "become Javert", and act like a villain, manipulating his quarry into surrendering in an act of self-sacrifice. He does this by releasing a chemical weapon on a human-inhabited world that makes it uninhabitable to humans in retaliation for Eddington doing the same thing to a Cardassian-inhabited planet. This is one of the most polarizing episodes in the series as a result, and cemented Sisko's reputation as a very different kind of Starfleet officer to any previous protagonist in the franchise. The trope namer is explicitly discussed in the episode. Sisko and Dax read a digital copy of the novel while discussing how to use it to thwart Eddington's plans (since Eddington sees himself as Valjean specifically as he has also read the novel), and Dax says she is not a fan of Victor Hugo's writing, saying it is too sprawling for her taste.
  • All forms of law enforcement in Supernatural are after the brothers for the various crimes they have committed and been framed for over the course of their demon-hunting careers. At one point when they realise that the FBI has a division working on their case they just sit, stare at each other and realise just how royally screwed they are if anyone catches them.

    The Inspector Javert in this case is Agent Henricksen, who eventually comes around to the Winchesters' innocence in "Jus in Bello", before being killed by the Big Bad.
  • Winger takes on this role in TekWar. He doesn't trust the protagonist due to his criminal history and, being an android, has a rigid investigative method. In spite of this, he isn't a bad guy and believes in his principles and respecting people's legal rights (whereas other characters will bend the rules to get what they want). One episode dealt with him having a vital component stolen which, if not recovered, would lead to mental instability and eventually death. The component couldn't be easily replaced by laws against androids and manufacturing these components. He insisted on providing a method so he could be killed if he became a danger to public safety and refused to accept a replacement if doing so meant violating the law.
  • John Doggett on The X-Files starts out as this, with his belief that Mulder ran away for some mundane reason (so he's the Agent Scully to Agent Scully) rather than it being the deed of the Government Conspiracy. It is after some time working as Scully's partner that he comes to believe Mulder's innocence.
  • In The Pretender, Miss Parker led the Centre Pursuit Team to hunt down Jarod across the United States.

  • Pharisee in Dino Attack RPG is depicted as an arrogant, self-righteous individual who has decided it is his divine right to impart justice on wrong-doers, even though the world isn't as black and white as he sees it. There are two notable instances of Pharisee being the Inspector Javert:
    • During the hunt for The Mole, Pharisee came to the conclusion, with much tangible evidence to support it, that Amanda Claw was actually Silencia Venomosa, a ruthless assassin and mercenary, and was thus most likely the Mole. While he was correct in his deduction of Venomosa's identity, what he could not comprehend was that Venomosa had retired and was striving to redeem herself of her crimes. As a result, he was wrong about Amanda being the Mole.
    • During the Final Battle, there is one point where Pharisee, while tracking down a pair of deserters (including one Boxed Crook), was mercilessly beating Montoya, a former small-time criminal who was also trying to go straight and was just trying to get back home to his wife. After tracking down one of the deserters, Pharisee did have a Heel Realization of sorts in regards to the needlessly brutal treatment of Montoya.

  • In the musical of Les Misérables, the literal Inspector Javert is a flanderized version of himself. He comes across as completely obsessed with catching Valjean and Valjean alone, as opposed to being the Well-Intentioned Extremist he is in the novel. It's mainly due to the necessary distillation of the 1900+ pages that was the original work.
    Javert: And so it must be, for so it is written
    On the doorway to paradise
    That those who falter and those who fall
    Must pay the price!
  • Bells Are Ringing has Inspector Barnes, a Vice Squad cop eager to get a promotion by closing down Susanswerphone on the flimsiest circumstantial evidence that the answering girls are too close to their subscribers.
  • In The Scarlet Pimpernel, Chauvelin - just like the original character in the eponymous novel - is an agent of the French revolutionaries and once ordered to hunt down the Scarlet Pimpernel, he stops at nothing to do so.

    Video Games 
  • Agent Nightengale from Alan Wake has convinced himself that the eponymous hero is responsible for his own wife's disappearance, and is utterly bullheaded towards any attempts, by Alan or otherwise, to dissuade him of this.
  • The crossover spin-off game BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle has Orie and Weiss fall under this upon confronting Ragna after finding one his badly-drawn wanted posters. Hazama, of all people, calls them out on it.
  • Zigzagged with Moe Mortelli in Daughter for Dessert. He investigates the protagonist in the toaster theft only to eliminate him as a suspect, but then actually believes that he stole Lainie’s treatment money (and his break-in into Mortelli’s own office solidifies his suspicions). Then, when the protagonist explains his side of the story, Mortelli immediately believes him.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • In the Templar path, Knight Commander Meredith believes that Hawke somehow masterminded the entire Mage-Templar conflict and that he/she is a greater threat to Kirkwall than the rogue Circle that Hawke just helped her to Annul. At the beginning of the Final Battle, she prays to the Maker to give her the strength to defeat the great evil she imagines Hawke to be. She has a moment of doubt when she realizes she's losing, but it passes quickly.
    • In the Mage path, if Hawke is a Mage, she believes that in addition to orchestrating the rebellion, they're using Blood Magic to corrupt her fellow Templars and turn them against her. She becomes even more convinced of this when Knight-Captain Cullen finally has enough of her tyranny and tells her that if she wants to arrest Hawke, she has to go through him first. At that point in the game, it's obvious that she's been driven kind of insane by the Lyrium Idol.
  • Carla and Tyler from Fahrenheit. Subverted in that they are absolutely correct in their suspicions of Lucas; it's just that the Ancient Conspiracy is far more important than the murder he committed.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, the crux of the Character Development of both Steiner and Beatrix is growing out of this mindset.
    • As The Captain of Alexandria's 'Knights of Pluto', Steiner is naturally distrustful of Gentleman Thief Zidane's intentions with Princess Garnet. Zidane's a decent guy, if a bit of a Chivalrous Pervert. It's just that Steiner believes that Zidane kidnapped the princess and it's his duty to take her back home. While technically true, it ignores the context that Garnet asked to be captured, Zidane saved her life, and Queen Brahne has gone completely off the deep end into a tyrant, which Steiner only realizes after Brahne tries to kill Garnet to get the eidolons from her body. Once that happens, Steiner begins to realize that he had some part in what's happened, and vows to make amends.
    • Beatrix is in a full My Country, Right or Wrong mindset from the outset, though she questions why she has to do such horrible things in the name of Alexandria. It's only once Beatrix is ordered to slaughter an entire town of pacifists that she begins to question following the Queen's orders, and only after Steiner's own moment of realization that she actually rebels.
  • Front Mission features the O.C.U. and U.S.N. (later called U.C.S.) as this trope toward one another, being two rivaling super-powers until the cease-fire that incorporates them both into the Peace Mediation, which together becomes this toward the "terroristic" Soul of Huffman.
    • The Commander (Lloyd/custom name) ends up as this toward Driscoll, except that he turns out more exactly right than he ever assumed.
    • It is interesting to note that Colonel Olson, who rags on the main commander for such a thing, himself pretending to be this to disguise being one of the two moles!
  • Heavy Rain, Spiritual Successor of Fahrenheit, has Lt. Blake thinking that Ethan Mars, the Red Herring suspect, is the Origami Killer. He's wrong. He's less heroic as other examples, being an incompetent Rabid Cop who is convinced of Ethan's guilt despite the flimsy evidence.
  • The police in Jet Set Radio, to an extent; the main characters are fighting for free expression, but since they do so via graffiti...
  • The Legend of Tian-ding has the Japanese district Chief of Police, Matsumoto, who repeatedly tries catching the titular Just Like Robin Hood protagonist and constantly failing, with Tian-ding making off with the wealth of Japanese tyrants and corrupt local businessmen before re-distributing them to the poor. Matsumoto ultimately develops a bit of Villain Respect towards Tian-ding, and even pulls a Defector from Decadence when his superior, Shimada, orders him to massacre a village - by having the civilains evacuated and finally saving Tian-ding from a firing squad.
  • Spectre Jondam Bau from Mass Effect 3 to Kasumi. Okay, Kasumi really is a thief, but it's a bit odd to be pursuing a woman who mostly goes for artwork during the Reaper invasion when one would think the focus would be on the ancient beings who are out for the blood of every sentient organic race. He does respect her enough that when she sends him a tip relating to the war he pursues it, but after she saves his life and either dies or appears to his first reaction is "I was going to arrest her!"
  • Deputy Chief Jim Bravura in the original Max Payne. He returns in the sequel as Da Chief with the eponymous protagonist serving under him.
  • Goyoda Heiji/Bob Copper in Mega Man Star Force. He has a valid reason to believe Mega Man is bad in the anime, as he at one point cuts open a truck full of radio viruses slated (presumably) for cleaning or deletion while trying to escape a particularly nasty enemy. Though the man is hilariously incompetent at this, despite being very competent at everything else regarding his job, and very, very persistent. Geo seems to be incredibly good at this Clark Kenting thing.
  • Mega Man Zero: The Neo Arcadians, four of them being the Four Guardians, hold this to an extreme against most reploids, including Zero in the first two games; whether Copy-X truly believes this or simply pretends is debatable. Later on, they all slowly come around, Fefnir the fastest and Leviathan the slowest.
    • Though in Zero 3 Harpuia has come around concerning Zero, he still takes a while learning to trust the rest of La Résistance.
  • The cops and prosecutors from Ace Attorney are similar to the ones in Perry Mason... well, except for Manfred von Karma in the first game, who knows damn well who the real killer is because it's himself.
    • Franziska doesn't care if the defendant is guilty or innocent, as long as she wins the trial. She doesn't really get over it until she starts working for Interpol in the spin-offs, and even then she has to butt heads with Edgeworth multiple times about what they think happened at a crime scene and who's responsible.
    • Edgeworth in particular is like this toward the end of the first game's second case (when Phoenix is the defendant). Not too long afterward, this trope gets subverted at the end of the third case when Edgeworth is convinced that Phoenix's client is innocent and joins Phoenix in going after one of the witnesses.
    • Shi-Long Lang practices the "philosophy of detainment" laid down by his ancestor Lang-Zi. It can be boiled down to "arrest every suspicious person in the vicinity, then let the prosecutors figure out which ones are actually guilty." Except that he also despises prosecutors because one disgraced the Lang family, so he's pretty much a thorn in Edgeworth's side for most of the game. Amusingly, his wolf-like design inverts Javert's description as 'a Dog among Wolves.'
  • To some extent Vhailor from Planescape: Torment qualifies for this role. Although the nature of the story makes it go a rather unusual route. It gave him superhuman powers. He was conscious of it, and so was The Nameless One, whose Practical Incarnation decided to bottle him up, not just to put a halt to his relentless pursuit, but for later use.
  • Palkia in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, who seeks out the player and their partner, intent on killing them for distorting space. After beating him in a boss battle, he starts questioning whether they are responsible, having been told by Cresselia they were evil beings. As it turns out, Darkrai was responsible and tried to frame them for it, since while they do slightly distort space due to having been present (and in the player's case from) an altered future, it's nowhere near enough to affect the world as badly as Darkrai had been intending.
  • Carmelita Fox from Sly Cooper believes Sly is nothing but a low-life criminal and will try to gun him down whenever she sees him. Sly's actually more of an Anti-Hero who steals from other criminals for his own purpose, but he's a whole lot better than the baddies in the series.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Shadow the Hedgehog: The G.U.N Commander, who wanted Shadow captured, dead or alive. Thankfully, he gets better after learning the truth regarding Shadow and what happened on the ARK, even going as far as to invite him over to visit him and his family in the Expert Mode ending.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): Played straight with Silver, thinking Sonic was the Iblis Trigger. He's actually right, but not in the way he predicted.
  • Tales of Vesperia:
    • Leblanc, Adecor, and Boccos. They never quit chasing Yuri. Even when you fight Adecor and Boccos in the Coliseum, they're still trying to arrest him.
    • Flynn plays the part for a bit with Yuri, too.
  • Maiev Shadowsong in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne starts off as one, dedicating an exorbitant amount of time and energy into tracking down her former prisoner Illidan Stormrage. However, as the campaign goes on, she becomes increasingly determined to capture Illidan not for justice's sake but to avenge the deaths of the Wardens who died guarding or trying to recapture Illidan, which leads to some very rash decisions and, eventually, her to being captured by the very man she was hunting. By the time The Burning Crusade expansion of World of Warcraft rolls around, it's stopped being about justice and has become very, very personal, to the point of where she finally exacts her revenge...only to find she's got nothing left to live for afterwards.
    • Fully subverted with her reappearance in the novel Wolfheart, where her Principles Zealotry leads her to turn against her own people, disgusted with them letting the Highbourne back into Night Elven society during her absence.
  • Inspector Juste Volerti of Aviary Attorney is described this way. The object of his focus is the Viridian Killer who severely injured him eighteen years ago. He comes to think the game's protagonist is this killer and does something awful and unethical trying to prove it.
    • The prosecutor Severin Cocorico had no single fixation but is revealed to have once been convinced that his job was to put every criminal or potential criminal on the execution block or in prison. However, he underwent Character Development and has become more willing to bend and chooses good over lawful any day.
  • Estel, an elite officer in Streets of Rage 4, attacks the heroes because she thinks they are criminals and they need to be arrested. Technically, she is not wrong since the protagonists are fighting The Syndicate with vigilantism, which is against the law. However, the police force are under the thumb of the Syndicate, and despite the heroes trying to explain as such, Estel refuses to listen to them and thinks their claims are ridiculous. Once Mr. Y blows up a train full of civilians just to kill the protagonists that were on top of the trains, Estel quickly realizes that the heroes were right and she appears moments later to help them out.

    Web Animation 

  • Miko Miyazaki from The Order of the Stick at first, until she goes off the deep-end thinking she is the 12 gods' vessel.
  • Agent Rammer from Sluggy Freelance relentlessly tries to capture Dr. Schlock and Aylee, who are, admittedly, often on the murky side of the moral spectrum.
  • Klaus Wulfenbach from Girl Genius. He's chasing down Agatha when she hasn't done anything yet ... but he has very good reason to not want an "untried Heterodyne heir" running amok through Europe. He also believes her to be the Other, given that the last time he met Agatha she was possessed by the Other. In the following arc, he'd be willing to ignore his grievous injuries and knock down Castle Heterodyne to get at her ... if his own son wasn't in there too.
  • Captain Jhalm from Digger believes that Digger is dangerous and repeatedly tries to capture her.
  • Emile Severin from Sire is an inversion, believe it or not. While he regularly beats up Susan for being a Jerkass, he still treats her and Anna as innocent due to not knowing they're guilty of murdering Paul. It doesn't hurt that he's related to the actual Javert, either.
  • Unsounded has Captain Emil Toma and his subordinate, Elka, who both mistakenly believe Duane and Sette to be members of the Red Berry Boys, a gang that kidnaps people, cuts out the organs, and uses the space to smuggle an illegal substance inside them. On the plus side, they're at least also going after actual members of the Red Berry Boys.
  • In Witches Among Humans, Lilith is a cop hunting Luz down, seeing the witch as a threat.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Agent Ben and Agent Jerry of the FBI seemingly exist just to further complicate whatever paranormal nonsense Bob is already going through. By contrast, the two local cops, Officer Baskin and Officer Robbin, generally refuse to believe anything unusual is going on in Bob's life, and in their obliviousness find the frantic Ben and Jerry highly amusing.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Thomas & Friends had Thomas run afoul of a particularly overzealous constable who makes a big deal out of Thomas travelling down a tramway without cowcatchers and side plates, to which Thomas remarks that he doesn't catch cows. The constable marks Thomas as a regular law breaker, despite the fact that his predecessor whom Thomas was good friends with had no problem with Thomas using that road. Supplementary materials written by the Reverend Awdry explain that the offending officer enforced small laws that none of his peers really cared about. In the time that the episode takes place in (1951), the law in question, a Ministry of Transportation regulation, had actually been repealed for several years, meaning that the constable was enforcing an outdated law.
  • Batman Beyond: Barbara tends to come off as such towards Terry. It's shown to its greatest extent in "Eyewitness", in which Spellbinder uses his illusion technology to make Barbara believe that Batman had murdered Mad Stan in cold blood. When he is exposed and promptly arrested, Spellbinder takes the time to taunt Barbara: "You were so ready to believe the worst [in Batman], it was easy." Barbara even acknowledges herself that she screwed up big-time and gives Terry a public service award as an apology.
  • In the first two seasons of The Batman, the grouchy and hot-tempered Chief Rojas was this to Batman, thinking him just as much a "freak" as the guys in Arkham. In the first season, Detective Ellen Yin was the same, but she changed her mind by season two, becoming Batman's ally.
  • Agent James Bennet in The Zeta Project genuinely believes that Zeta has been turned against them and is a threat. Despite the number of times he has saved people, the comments of his own team, and the time Zeta saved his own son. But this may have changed when he overheard that the chip in Zeta's head was a conscience chip, and is indeed not working for terrorists. However, the show was canceled before anything could be shown.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron: Commander Feral, continually running them down to the media for the property damage caused by actually stopping the threats to the public. At least partially because he and the Enforcers are unable to.
  • Truant Officer Langley Turk from the Fillmore! episode "Field Trip of the Just". Turk is determined to bust Fillmore for truancy because of Fillmore's delinquent past. Fillmore actually has a pass allowing him to be out of school, but Turk assumes it is a forgery.
    • To be fair, Turk had reason to believe Filmore was playing truant since he ran away when asked to produce the pass again. Though by that point the pass had been destroyed so he couldn't have given it to him. Not that Turk would have believed him anyway.
  • Flint in G.I. Joe: Renegades. He pursues the titular Renegades for their actions against COBRA, not knowing that COBRA is a Villain with Good Publicity.
  • Gatchaman Expies the S-Forcenote  from Megas XLR come to Earth to fight Coop because they think he's a bad guy. So does their regular arch-nemesis, who wants to team up with him. Coop's attempts to prove that he is a good guy don't work out very well.
    Coop: I'll prove that I'm a good guy, even if I have to wreck this whole city!
  • Leela is like this towards Fry when they first meet on Futurama, relentlessly pursuing him in an attempt to assign him a career. It's later subverted, as she's chasing after Fry on orders only, and hates her job. This is what makes her quit and join Fry and Bender.
  • The Van Helsing parody Doctor Von Goosewing in Count Duckula, who is fundamentally incapable of grasping that his quarry is a harmless Vegetarian Vampire.
  • Jim from Code Lyoko suspects that Jeremie and his friends are up to no good since they've been sneaking around a lot within the last few months. Near the end of the season, his determination to find out the truth leads to him chasing Jeremie through the dorms, which leads to the latter getting a twisted ankle and Jim being fired. But that leads to him learning the truth and becoming an ally, meaning that after the gang presses the Reset Button, he becomes a much better character.
  • Solomon, the leader of G3 (Galactic Guardian Group) in Sym-Bionic Titan. He's not a villain but still is suspicious of whoever's controlling the Titan. On the other hand, General Steel was a lot worst and he tends to shoot first and ask questions later. He made irrational decisions. Solomon see and knows how much Steel is a big idiot.
  • Subverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Jet spends a few episodes trying to prove that Zuko is a firebender. He is right, but Zuko has changed from an Anti-Villain to a Byronic Hero, and the audience is set up to expect that he'll make a full Heel–Face Turn any time now - leading most of said audience to root for Zuko and consider Jet an Inspector Javert. Then Zuko helps Azula take over Ba Sing Se, revealing Jet to really have been a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist.
    • On its continuation series The Legend of Korra, Chief Lin Beifong's Establishing Character Moment is getting in Korra's face after she faces off against some members of the local Triad and demolishes half of the street taking them down and gives her the riot act, declaring that the fact she's the Avatar (and the reincarnation of her mother's best friend) will not earn her any special treatment from her (and almost has her tossed in jail until Tenzin arrives and negotiates). Many episodes afterwards have her treating Korra like a punk even after it's been made clear that The Cops Need The Avatar.
  • Amanda Killman from Bunsen Is a Beast is determined to expose Bunsen as evil and dangerous when he's clearly nice.
  • Chase Devineaux from Carmen Sandiego, the Interpol and later A.C.M.E agent that repeatedly attempts to capture Carmen throughout the series.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series Inspector Hackle from “P.O.V”, the Internal Affairs Officer investigating a botched sting operation, is insanely determined to prove Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya, and Officer Wilkes as Dirty Cops for no apparent reason and takes any contradiction between their stories as “proof” of this. He also totally ignores anything Commissioner Gordon says in their defense and suspends them from the force. Gordon finally gets fed up with him when Montoya helps Batman take down the gang the sting operation was supposed to catch and Hackle begins berating her for doing so since she was suspended, and severely reprimands Hackle for his unprofessional behavior.


Video Example(s):


Thomas Breaks the Rules

The new policeman on the Quarry Tramroad refuses to let Thomas on the line because he doesn't have a cowcatcher and sideplates, and claims him to be a regular lawbreaker.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / InspectorJavert

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