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Interpol Special Agent

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As it turns out, he actually has a reason.

In reality, the International Criminal Police Organization — the ICPO or Interpol — acts as liaison among the national police forces of member countries, maintains a database on international criminals, and writes (along with the FBI) those "pirating this movie is illegal" messages/PSAs that get removed in the pirated versions of films anyway. In other words, they don't do any direct investigation or prosecution themselves; they simply facilitate communication between agencies in different countries.

In fiction, Interpol acts more like U.N.C.L.E. and sends agents (normally solo), who somehow have full power over local police, out to track down and capture international criminals. One reason for this trope is that everyone knows Interpol is "international police" and it avoids the need to create a group wholesale, even if that means fudging what they actually do. It may also be born out of a US-centric belief, where federal agents can indeed take over local investigations if they transcend the state level. Obviously, no such thing exists on a global level.

Compare United Nations Is a Superpower for details on the One World Government that presumably gives the World Police their orders. Not to be confused with the band.

A form of Artistic License – Law Enforcement.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Inspector Zenigata of Lupin III is an Interpol agent; one version of the gang's origins explicitly has another character suggest that he join to pursue Lupin across the globe more easily. The local cops vary in their response to his commands: sometimes he's an unwanted distraction from their duties, other times he has their full collaboration, and in one particular occasion he goes around the world with a small army of Japanese policemen directly under his command.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Player Character Nate's manga counterpart Blake is a 12-year-old International Police agent like Looker, and a hyper-competent Sociopathic Hero.
  • In Daitarn 3, Reika Sanjo is an ex-Interpol agent.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Tomo is a big fan of Lupin III, and her dream is to be an Interpol agent. Given that Tomo is a moron, it's more like she believes this trope than that show itself does - especially since her role model from the show isn't Zenigata, but Fujiko.
  • Giant Robo: The Animation had the superpowered "Experts of Justice" as ICPO agents. Yes, Interpol basically had the Justice League on its payroll here.
  • Portrayed more accurately in Death Note: Interpol are seen near the beginning as a group of police representatives from various different nations discussing the recent spate of deaths of renowned criminals and forming a consensus of whether or not they should contact L, and once L demonstrates that the perpetrator is based out of Japan the case is entirely within the jurisdiction of the N.P.A. (albeit with L calling on resources from the F.B.I. at one point).
  • Possibly justified in Gunslinger Girl. Hillshire (aka Hartman) met Triela during his job as an investigator for Europol, the localized version of Interpol. He was acting outside his jurisdiction though and got fired, ending up as Triela's handler in the SWA.
  • In Speed Racer, we learn that Racer X aka Rex Racer is an secret agent for Interpol.

    Comic Books 
  • Bernard Prince, a Franco-Belgian Comic whose title character is a retired Interpol Special Agent; some stories feature flashbacks to his time as one.
  • Darkholders from Marvel Comics stars one of these, agent Sam Buchannan. Partly justified in that in the comics, Interpol has degenerated to little more then a devil cult.
  • Manhunter, the DC 1970s trip, stars Christine St. Clair.
  • X-Men's Banshee was once an Interpol agent. Then he was a criminal. And then a superhero.
  • W.I.T.C.H. gives Interpol an entire division of Occult Detectives lead by Mr. Riddle, although the division is looked as a joke and treated as dead-end placement. Mr. Riddle, who was indeed a psychic, wanted to show that the supernatural existed and investigated the Guardians for this reason.

  • In Lord of War, Interpol agent Jack Valentine pursues the illegal Arms Dealer main character. They're so powerful that his team is shown bossing ex-Soviet soldiers around, which in reality would just get them all shot. Oddly, late in the film the Villain Protagonist refers to the U.S. President as being Valentine's boss, and uses contacts in the US military to get himself released when Valentine has arrested him, so one wonders if Agent Valentine switched jobs at some point.
  • The Cassandra Crossing: O.J. Simpson plays an Interpol officer.
  • The Movie of Tomica Hero Rescue Force had two Interpol agents.
  • Both Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla have Interpol agents as main characters. However, worth noting is they act somewhat realistically as their mission was to investigate the alien invasion presently going on and intervene if needed instead of taking full control. Still doesn't stop them from directly fighting said alien invasion though.
  • Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse has an undercover Interpol agent investigating international crime at a German hotel.
  • The International features a somewhat realistic version of the agency and goes out of its way to explain that Interpol is an advisory body not a law enforcement agency. But the protagonist still largely fulfills the trope anyway by going rogue.
  • Jean-Pierre Napoleon in Muppets Most Wanted, who chases the villains all over Europe.
  • In Hitman, Hero Antagonist Mike Whittier and his partner are Interpol agents. Particularly notable in that a recurring plot point is their Jurisdiction Friction with agents of the FSB, despite the fact that they are investigating the attempted assassination of the Russian President - in Russia!
  • Assassins portrays Interpol as having armed field agents conducting sting operations.
  • Now You See Me has Alma Dray as a more realistic portrayal, having previously worked exclusively at a desk and only tagging along with the FBI in order to catch the Four Horsemen because of their Teleporting Bank Robbery trick.
  • Army of Thieves has "Interpol" agents acting like field police agents.
  • Momentum: Some armed Interpol agents in bulletproof vests show up at the end attempting to get Alex, but are told off by South African cops for not having any jurisdiction.
  • Valentina Valencia in Zoolander 2 is an Interpol agent of the Global Fashion Department and former swimsuit model that couldn't transition to top model because she was too buxom for the runway.

  • There's a friendly Interpol officer whom Tom Swift Jr. summons from time to time to arrest international bad guys; apparently they're out of the local cops' jurisdiction somehow.
  • In Tom Clancy's Balance of Power, the Interpol office in Madrid is said to be the "toughest" in the world and the only law enforcement in Spain that the Americans trust. Two of their agents join the Americans in saving the day. It is obvious that the author thinks of Interpol as a typical law enforcement agency.
  • Europol in Incompetence, as part of a United Europe is basically the European equivalent of the FBI.
  • Discussed in The Spoilers by Desmond Bagley. A London doctor who has come across evidence of an international drug smuggling conspiracy is asked why he doesn't pass on the information to Interpol for further investigation. He replies that other reasons aside, Interpol is only a liaison agency.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Leverage, Interpol has enough prestige that a fairly senior insurance executive can become an agent and consider it a step up in his career. Word of God (aka show runner John Rogers) says, "Interpol in the Leverage-verse is not this world's Interpol. It is, basically, S.H.I.E.L.D.. Or maybe U.N.C.L.E.. It's the law-enforcement all-star team."
  • 1970s ITC Entertainment series Department S featured three Interpol agents (and their jet-setting diplomat boss) who solved "impossible" crimes.
  • One episode of Remington Steele guest-starred Tom Baker (of Doctor Who fame) as an Interpol agent whose investigations intersected Remington Steele's Case of the Week.
  • Special Agent Emily Prentiss of Criminal Minds is a former Interpol undercover operative. The two-parter where this is revealed is riff with the trope: Prentiss was undercover as a Honey Trap for an Irish terrorist who was then imprisoned in a North Korean reeducation camp, presumably at Interpol's request - even though he had never been to or committed crimes in North Korea, nor is North Korea an Interpol member in reality.
  • The show Crossing Lines goes one further by having an elite force of cops from the International Criminal Court investigating cross-border crime in Europe. The International Criminal Court deals with crimes against international law (in other words serious war crimes and genocides committed by governments and quasi-governments), has no police force of its own, and even if it had, would not get involved with ordinary crime, no matter how serious or high-profile. You only have to look at the rows created by the European Arrest Warrant to see how much fury any proposal to implement this show's concept in real life would cause, a fact of which the show's producers are more than aware of, since in every episode the team receives only reluctant assistance from the local police departments.
  • White Collar:
    • The sixth episode had Meilin, an undercover Interpol Agent that was working undercover as the right-hand of Chinatown mobster Lao Shen.
    • In the sixth season episode "Uncontrolled Variables", Keller's handler Luc Renault is also an Interpol special agent.
  • In the Psych episode "Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster's Goblet of Fire", Shawn and Gus are called to go undercover for Interpol to bust one of England's most wanted criminals. When they arrive, they learn their old friend/foe Despereaux, real name Royston Staley, is really the boss in charge of the mission and the art thief persona was an Interpol cover identity the whole time. Or was it?
  • Millennium (1996): A few of the Millennium Group's agents were recruited from Interpol.
  • Ying Xiong in Black And White TW is approached early in the series by an old friend claiming to be this trope who wants to work with him on an investigation as well as do some more personal matters together off the clock. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs, and the fact that this trope doesn't work leads his colleagues to out her as a mole sent by Sarkozy.
  • Speaking of Doctor Who: That Oscar thinks the Doctor—that's the garishly clad Sixth Doctor, accompanied by Jamie in full piper's kit and Peri exposing most of her cleavage—is this trope in "The Two Doctors" (thanks to him emerging from a Police Box, despite the scene taking place in Spain) is intended to be a sign of his romantic but gullible temperament.
    Anita: But Oscar, it does not say "Policía".
    Oscar: Interpol, my dear. They are everywhere.
    • He later gets a line about how they are "Obviously from the plain clothes branch," which gets a reaction take from the Doctor at his own outfit.
  • Gwen Karlssen from Blood & Treasure is from Sweden, but apparently as an Interpol agent she is able to deputize Danny so he could arrest someone in Seychelles.
  • Averted on FBI: International has Jaeger is a Europol agent whose main job is to be a liaison between the U.S. Fly Team and local European police forces. This has her mostly in offices and almost never in the field as an agent herself.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Inter-Intel, the international police organization that Mandrake the Magician frequently helps out, is basically this.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, an Interpol agent is the victim of the third case.
    • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth puts this trope to work, as a series of domestic incidents Edgeworth is investigating turn out to be connected to an international smuggling ring, justifying Interpol's involvement. Agent Shi-Long Lang, his assistant Shih-na, and his hand-picked team of one hundred Men in Black feature heavily in the resolution of the story, and established character Franziska von Karma is also involved as an Interpol consultant. The victim of the second chapter is also an Interpol agent, killed while investigating the smuggling ring.
  • Inspector Carmelita Fox of Sly Cooper is an Interpol agent.
  • Pokémon: A minor NPC on the SS Anne in Pokémon Red and Blue, Looker, a recurring NPC debuting in Pokémon Platinum, and a couple of other NPCs from Pokémon Sun and Moon work for the not-Interpol "International Police" and are investigating the game's evil team. As the only other cops in this series do nothing but attack kids up past 6 p.m. though, it's a huge step up. The International Police remains a pretty impressive police force no matter how you look at it, given the only other police who actually fight crime happen to be the Ranger Corps. Still makes you wonder why there's no word of their involvement in the Wretched Hive of Orre, however...
  • Street Fighter: Chun-Li is an Interpol agent who fights crime by personally kicking the crap out of crime lords.
  • In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Adam Jensen joins Task Force 29, a counter terrorism division of Interpol created to deal with the drastic rise in terrorist activities thanks to the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Justified in universe somewhat by being a division made by and with the consent of the participating countries specifically to combat augmented terrorism in those countries, which despite the game admitting it wields and unprecedented amount of jurisdictional authority, it still have to butt heads with local police and governments. So the inaccuracies with real life Interpol is somewhat admitted.
  • In the original version of Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, the Player Character is an Interpol agent.

    Western Animation 
  • Inspector Gadget sort of works for Interpol; it's vague but implied in a few episodesnote . Gadget Boy & Heather marks the first explicit mention of Interpol within the Gadget universe. Later series would sidestep Interpol completely, by having Gadget work for the World Organization of Mega Powers or another, unnamed agency.
  • In the first episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Captain Black says that he laid the groundwork for Section 13, his group of secret agents that fights organized crime, during his stint with Interpol.
  • Carmen Sandiego: A neat little bit of Canon Welding sees the two detectives after Carmen start out working for Interpol and then get recruited by the A.C.M.E. Detective Agency. Gets something of a subversion later on when an agent is demoted to desk work, which includes a lot of stamping and filing of seemingly endless piles of international police documents.

    Real Life 
  • After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a U.S. Senator called for Interpol to take over the investigation.
  • In the complex international investigations, like those involving drugs and human trafficking, for example, there are international officers aplenty, but they aren't specifically Interpol agents — they are normal officers from their respective national police agencies. Interpol simply provides necessary paperwork and acts as a liaison in cases there are no direct intergovernmental agreements between respective nations.