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Jurisdiction Friction

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Agent Smith: Lieutenant, you were given specific orders.
Lieutenant: I'm just doing my job. You give me that "juris-my-dick-tion" crap... you can cram it up your ass.

When two or more law enforcement organizations both can lay claim on a particular criminal case or suspect they will rarely see eye-to-eye on the best way to prosecute/investigate the case. In the U.S., local cops vs. the Federal government (FBI, DEA, etc.) is the most common setup. Usually, the locals will want to shut down a petty crook to protect their town and the "little guy", while the Feds are focused on the big picture and would rather he go free so they can focus on building a case against the "big fish" higher up the criminal ladder. When a case is particularly sensitive or difficult, the friction may be reversed: each group of investigators wants to absolve themselves of jurisdiction to avoid the problems that will come with it. This is most likely to happen if one of the groups is under pressure to improve their conviction rate and does not want to risk taking on a case they cannot solve.


Jurisdiction Friction may also occur at the initial crime scene: the hero investigator will barely have the time to unearth a few clues before the rival investigation outfit shows up to flash badges all over the place and claim jurisdiction. At this point, the hero will either turn Vigilante Man or move on to a new case that's oddly reminiscent of the old one.

Which side of the dispute is sympathetic and which is heartless/incompetent/arrogant/corrupt/trigger happy/working for the shadow government depends entirely on who the main characters are. FBI agent series such as The X-Files and Without a Trace naturally will have them in the right, while a Police Procedural like Law & Order is frequently on the other side.

In addition to local versus Feds, the friction can occur between other law enforcement subdivisions over the same suspect, like drug enforcement officers versus homicide investigators, or simply one of a city's police districts versus another. Internal Affairs can also get involved at some point. And everybody has it in for the Private Detective.


Will likely involve the hero being Taken Off the Case. Compare Right Hand Versus Left Hand, We ARE Struggling Together (for when the factions bickering over a common goal are not part of any government), and Tricked into Another Jurisdiction.

See also Interservice Rivalry for the military version.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • NERV is really not popular with the Japanese government, whose sovereign territory they operate in under a UN mandate. Right in the very first episode, the Japanese military refuses to let NERV handle Sachiel until after the loss of massive amounts of men and materiel, with the generals overseeing the operation making defeating the Angel with conventional forces a matter of pride despite, as the supreme commander of NERV points out, defeating Angels being what NERV and their titular Humongous Mecha exist for.
    • Episode 7 later reveals that the Japanese military did not accept being forced to yield to NERV for handling the Angels and tried to develop their own Humongous Mecha so that they'd be able to cut NERV out of anti-Angel operations, to which NERV's response was to sabotage the project to ensure it won't divert funding from NERV. Which in turn resulted in the events of the Girlfriend of Steel visual novel where the Japanese military shifted their priority to keeping NERV in check and ultimately culminated in the events of End of Evangelion, where the government flat-out revokes NERV's authority due to having been convinced by SEELE's people in the UN that NERV was planning on going rogue and the military is happy to oblige in enforcing it.
    • In episode 8, the commander of the UN Navy Pacific Fleet flat-out refuses to turn his cargo, Evangelion Unit 02, over to NERV's operations director while they're still out on the sea, insisting that the Eva and its pilot were handed to them by NERV's Germany branch to be transported to Japan and are under their jurisdiction until they reach Japan, not a second before. When Gaghiel attacks the fleet and the NERV ops director tries to invoke her authority and take command, she once again gets rebuffed by the admiral who tries to countermand Unit 02's deployment and only relents once half the fleet is gone.
  • Inspector Zenigata has been on the trail of Arséne Lupin III for years in hopes of hauling the Master Thief to Japan to face justice. Which he believes he finally has succeeded in when Lupin is arrested in Italy... until he's told by the local authorities to buzz off. In this case, it's less due to a jurisdiction issue since Zenigata's an Interpol Special Agent but a political issue — Lupin has a death sentence in Japan and Italy refuses to extradite suspects to countries on charges if it's likely they'll be executed.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam has some examples of this despite the wartime setting thanks to the personal ambitions of Zeon's ruling Zabi family and their loyalists. After Ramba Ral loses his Gouf in battle with the Gundam, he puts in a request for a brand-new Dom to replace it. The request goes to M'Quve, who ultimately denies the requestnote  because he doesn't want Dozle Zabi (for whom Ral works) finding out about the secret mining operation that Kycilia (M'Quve's boss and Dozle's sister, the two of whom mutually dislike each other) has going in Odessa, which leads to Ral performing an unsuccessful suicide attack against White Base and robs Zeon of another veteran pilot and leader.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, this plays a big part in how the balance of power in the United Kingdom goes.
    • Officially, there are three major branches: the British Royal Family, the Anglican Church, and the Knights of England. On paper, the Royal Family leads the country (and by extension, the parliamentary government as well as the police and other related agencies), the knights maintain the order (by way of ensuring the royal family and the church don't get too powerful as well as dealing with internal affairs the "normal" police can't handle), and the church deals with foreign affairs that cannot be concluded normally due to cultural differences (mainly the magic side affairs around the world and dealings with the science side, particularly Academy City). The friction is especially evident between the Knights (who normally side with the Royal Family) and the Church (who can exert the most pressure on the Royal Family).
    • However, because the UK also consists of four separate cultures with their own desires (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), it's not uncommon for members of the same faction to hate each other or those of different factions to ally with each other based on where they side culturally.

    Comic Books 
  • A 1990 The Avengers storyline has a group of Russian terrorists taking over a British sub. With their own British super-teams unavailable, they ask the U.S. for aid who call in the Avengers. They run into the People's Protectorate who are out to stop the rogue Russians. The sub surfaces off the coast of Newfoundland with the two teams trying to figure out a plan...only for Alpha Flight to arrive and claim "jurisdiction of this mess" goes to them as this is now a Canadian matter. The three teams manage to work together to stop both the terrorists and some Atlantean invaders.
    • During Operation: Galactic Storm, a team of Avengers are captured by the Kree military and brought to Hala. Almost immediately on setting foot there, a bunch of Accusers show up and demand to take custody. The soldiers and Ronan get so into their argument Sersei is able to use her powers to make it look like the Avengers have escaped.
  • Walker and Pilgrim in the comic book Powers often find their investigations turned over to the Feds. Naturally, this never stops them investigating anyway.
  • A police ally of the X-Men once used this to save them when crooks-turned-feds Freedom Force attempt to arrest the mutant heroes. She insisted Freedom Force produce the documentation necessary to take the X-Men into custody (which they didn't have on them). This gave the X-Men time to flee the city.
  • The military equivalent showed up in The DCU when The Shield (an Army Super Soldier) and Magog (Marine corporal turned emissary of one of the Old Gods) ended up on the same mission together. They spent just as much time sniping at each other's respective branches as they did fighting the main threat.
  • In Batman Year 100, Gotham City PD and the Federal Investigators clash over a murder. The GCPD thinks it should have jurisdiction as the murder happened in Gotham, the Feds because it was one of their men and also because they committed the murder and are organizing a massive cover up. Batman knows he has jurisdiction because he's the Goddamn Batman (see The Dark Knight film below).
  • In Gotham Central, tension exists between the Major Crimes Unit and the other squads. Some of the conflict is because the other squads tend to use the fact that the MCU has jurisdiction over cases with supervillains to lazily dump routine investigations on them by claiming that the case bears the hallmarks of a supervillain. The rest of the conflict comes from the fact that the MCU is the only consistently honest department in the notoriously corrupt and incompetent GCPD.
  • Adventures in the Rifle Brigade has a jurisdiction conflict between the Wehrmacht and Gestapo. See, the crack commandos of the Rifle Brigade were caught on the streets of Berlin by Panzer ace Otto Flaschmann, who happened to be there on leave. However, Gestapo captain Venkschaft claims them as his prisoners, since Berlin is his home court. Seeing it as his collar, Flaschmann pulls strings with some powerful friends of his to get them turned over to him and sent to a cushy POW camp (instead of being tortured, interrogated, and executed). A furious Venkschaft accuses him of hunting for headlines. It's a moot point; they escape from custody almost immediately after being turned over to Flaschmann.
  • The Simpsons: As in the show (see Western Animation), in disasters Chief Wiggum and Mayor Quimby will argue over who's in charge, starting with the first issue.
    • When Krusty starts his own country, Krustopia, Springfield's police camp outside the compound and then proceed to do nothing. After a few weeks, federal agents show up and point out how useless the police have been. They take over, cut the power... and then join the police in sitting around.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): When the FBI arrests a bunch of people as spies on the word of Paula von Gunther, who they claim to have broken (she's just using their naivety to get them to move her to another prison so she can escape and gave them a false list of names) they find themselves butting heads with the USAAF's military intelligence branch.
  • Stormwatch, from the series of the same name, was a superhero team under the direct control of the UN. It theoretically had global jurisdiction, but could only be allowed to operate if asked by either the UN Special Security Council or if the government of a specific country invoked "Code Perfect," declaring that there was a superhuman emergency within their borders.
    • During Warren Ellis's run on the book, the American government declared that they would no longer allow Stormwatch within the country unless specifically requested. This proved to be a problem when a bunch of rogue superhumans were about to tear apart a small Louisiana town, but the US refused to give Stormwatch permission to intervene. Battalion got around this by finding a French citizen who was visiting relatives in the town, calling up the French Premier, and asking him to invoke Code Perfect on behalf of his citizen.

    Fan Works 
  • Takamachi Nanoha of 2814: When Chrono showed up on the scene he tried to assert himself as an official of the Time Space Administration Bureau but Nanoha, as the local offical of the Green Lantern Corps, put a quick end to that.
  • Feathers and Fire: A Republic fleet officer tells Atreus the captain of his caught smuggling can't be prosecuted because that guy was operating in Hutt space where the Republic has no authority.
  • In Bad Future Crusaders, Equestria's forces consist of the regular guards, Captain Rumble and his elite Stormfront unit, the Canterlot Criminal Investigation Department, the Royal Equestria Air Force, and Featherweight's changeling spy network. They are constantly bickering over who should handle what except for Featherweight, who only provides the other groups with Intel rather than actually acting.
  • In the fan-made video "Gunther vs Paul", which is based off of the second hotel raid in Deus Ex, Gunther is about to haul off Paul, after defeating him in hand-to-hand combat, but Majestic 12 agents show up just in time and order him away, causing him much frustration.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic i'm giving you a nightcall: The murder of Sergeant Matthew Halsey puts in the investigation in the hands of both the police and the military much to Ed's ire, especially since the military liaison is his ex, who he's avoiding.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man fics Extra Legs to Stand On and Ocelli show jurisdictional friction happening between the NYPD, the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, and SHIELD due to the Lizard's actions counting as domestic terrorism.
  • In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, there is quite a lot of it going on between the UN (investigating into Queen Chrysalis' crimes on behalf of the International Criminal Court) and the Equestrian crown (who take the matter very personally and thus take offence to the fact human investigators are roaming around Equestria to begin with).
  • The synopsis for the multi-fandom crossover "Like Broken Glass" openly says "a double murder turns into a jurisdictional nightmare." First, Kate Beckett and Rick Castle investigate the murder of a Boston cop and a Navy officer. The cop happens to be a partner of Jane Rizzoli which brings her and Maura Isles to town and demanding to take the lead. However, because the other victim was Navy, that brings in agents from NCIS who want to take over. They track down a possible suspect only to find it's NCIS: Los Angeles agent Kensi Blye on vacation. And then, Kensi's partner, LAPD officer Deeks, shows up and poor Beckett is ready to smash her head against a wall.
  • Chasing Dragons: The Royal Orders, as Stannis' personal armies, can supersede local law enforcement like the City Watch, much to the ire of the latter.
  • The Weaver Option:
    • Imperial Navy Admiral von Kisher arrived at Operation Pearl Harbor in full parade dress and immediately tried to pull rank and take charge of all naval assets. He only backed down when every Space Marine chapter present made it clear they would follow Naval Secretary Wolfgang instead. It's later speculated von Kisher was positioning himself to take the Navy's share of the massive bounties and rewards being racked up by the Operation.
    • Fenris is on the border of Segmentums Obscurus and Solar, which has resulted in a millennia-long feud in the Administratum over which side of the border it's on... because neither Segmentum's department wants to deal with the headache from having the Space Wolves in their region.
      • When a Chaos ritual throws Fenris through the Warp, an Imperial officer notes that on the bright side this will end the feud. The Warmaster responds it might end up being worse: Fenris lands in a different Segmentum which wants it put back where it belongs, leading to a three-way Administratum struggle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bon Cop, Bad Cop has the Quebec and Ontario police arguing over a dead body found lying on top of a highway sign indicating the precise location of the Quebec/Ontario border. And the reason they have to work together in the first place is to stop the RCMP (i.e. the Feds) from getting involved and stealing all the glory.
    Martin: His heart is in Québec.
    David: Ya l'Ontario dans l'cul aussi! ("He's got Ontario up his ass!")
    Martin: What?
    David: But his ass belongs to you.
  • Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard runs afoul of this twice in The Fugitive (1993) when chasing Dr. Richard Kimble.
    • In the first act, Sheriff Rollins, while investigating the crash of the prison bus and the train derailment that resulted, is sure that No One Could Survive That! and is ready to close the case when the Feds happen on the scene. When Gerard insists on making sure, he makes clear that he has the authority to take jurisdiction. Somewhat reluctant, Rollins turns over all aspects of the investigation to them so that they won't receive complaints from the locals. Their attitude towards the case (and by extension the Feds) pulls a complete 180 when evidence is found that the eponymous fugitive is Not Quite Dead, which causes the U.S. Marshals and the Illinois State Police to successfully work together.
    • In the final act, there's a disagreement between Gerard and the Chicago Police Department. First, he questions their conclusion that "Kimble killed his wife for the money", and soon starts finding evidence proving Kimble's innocence. Later, after Dr. Kimble is believed to have shot a police officer on the 'L' (which was actually Sykes, who Kimble was able to disarm): the CPD wants to kill him, and Gerard and his team want to take him alive. The blood is so bad that Gerard actually gets pinned down by sniper fire from a police chopper while chasing Kimble on the roof of the hotel.
  • Inverted in Beverly Hills Cop III, where Detective Billy Rosewood has been appointed DDOJSIOC (Deputy Director of Joint Special Inter Operational Command), responsible for coordinating the efforts of the various L.A. metro area law-enforcement agencies as needed. At one point he assembles a veritable army of different units and uniforms, including Baywatch lifeguards, to surround and secure a single suspicious van, which proves to be empty; he gets chewed out for it.
  • The movie Murder at 1600 has Wesley Snipes as a Washington D.C. police homicide detective investigating a murder of a secretary at the White House. He has all kinds of Jurisdiction Friction with the Secret Service (which guards the White House). This is also a case of poor research because any murders on Federal property (like the White House) are handled by the FBI.
  • In The Negotiator, Danny Roman is a Chicago Police Department officer who, believing himself wrongly accused of murder, has taken hostages in police headquarters, but the building itself is owned by the Federal Government. The FBI agents agree to let the local authorities handle the situation temporarily, but then later take over. When Roman escapes the building, the local police take over again, because he is now at large in the city, which is not Federal jurisdiction. (Realistically, the Feds would still have jurisdiction because he was still a suspect in a crime committed on Federal property.)
  • The Matrix, this happens in the opening when Agent Smith, Agent Brown, and Agent Jones drive up to the Heart 'O the City Hotel where they've dispatched the police to capture Trinity. In the simulated world that the Matrix has created, blue pills see the Agents as the equivalent of the FBI.
    Agent Smith: Lieutenant.
    Lieutenant: Oh, shit.
    Agent Smith: Lieutenant, you were given specific orders.
    Lieutenant: Hey, I'm just doing my job. If you give me that "juris-my-dick-tion" crap, you can cram it up your ass.
    Agent Smith: The orders were for your protection.
    Lieutenant: [laughs] I think we can handle one little girl. [Smith ignores him and starts walking towards the building] I sent two units! They're bringing her down now.
    Agent Smith: No, lieutenant. Your men are already dead. [inside, as the one police officer prepares to put the handcuffs on Trinity, she attacks him and his comrades, knocking out or killing them]
  • Mysteriously avoided in Taking Lives, in which the Sûreté du Québec swoop down in helicopters in front of a train station in Moncton, New Brunswick (somehow managing to get there from Quebec in 20 minutes).
  • The Spurbury Police Department and the Vermont Highway Patrol continually clash over jurisdiction in Super Troopers, even leading to an out-and-out brawl at a murder scene. There is a justification beyond general JerkAssery, though: the state doesn't have the money to maintain a separate Highway Patrol station, so the "troopers" need to get big crimes on their record to justify their existence. This ends up getting resolved when the Highway Patrolmen expose the massive amounts of corruption in the Police Department... and then, when the Highway Patrol station is shut down, they simply join the police department to replace the disgraced officers.
  • Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) has tension between the auto theft unit and the homicide unit of the LAPD about the Big Bad, who is wanted by both of them. You'd think that being part of the same police department after the same man they'd find it easier to work together to bring him in and simply increase his charge sheet (and thus the likelihood of him being convicted for something), but apparently not. It could be Truth in Television when there's a limited budget and both departments are trying to impress Da Chief.
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back has a Federal Wildlife Marshall who shows up at a diamond heist claiming jurisdiction because the criminals also arranged for the animals in an animal testing facility next door to be released at the same time. The local cops resent this... less because of the jurisdiction issue, and more because he's a complete idiot.
  • The Dark Knight:
    • Shown when Batman appears at a crime scene and asks Gordon for a couple minutes alone before his men come in and contaminate it. Gordon is happy to oblige, but his officers take offense.
    • Lau flies back to Hong Kong to escape prosecution in Gotham City, saying he's out of Dent's jurisdiction and confident that China won't extradite a national. The Joker retorts, in his warning about Batman to the mafia meeting, that Batman has no jurisdiction. Lo and behold, Batman comes a-knockin' on Lau's door.
    • Though the point is moot, Lau was mistaken. Hong Kong has a completely separate legal system from the rest of China and it has an an extradition agreement with the United States. Mainland China will not extradite its own citizens (see Article 8(1) of Extradition Law of the People's Republic of China) but it will try its own citizens for overseas crimes, which can be a bad thing because China has the death penalty and some states don't.
    • Also, if Batman recovers Lau and brings him to Gotham police, he's acting as an agent of the police department and has to abide by all the same rules.
  • Die Hard films:
    • Becomes a plot point in Die Hard because Hans Gruber knows the FBI's standard responses to a hostage situation, and was counting on them to take the case from the LAPD and follow their playbook, helping him crack a safe and cover his escape.
    • Averted in Die Hard with a Vengeance. The NYPD Captain is ordering his men to search the schools and challenges the FBI Agent not to pull a jurisdictional stunt. The FBI Agent has kids in one of the threatened schools, and he's more than happy to help.
  • Averted in The Boondock Saints. FBI Agent Smecker is called in to investigate a murder in Boston because the dead men were connected with the Russian Mob. He shows up with Da Chief, who tells the detectives in no uncertain terms that they are to fully cooperate with Smecker. Smecker turns out to be incredibly good at his job and shortly earns the respect of the police.
  • Subverted in The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. The Detectives are trying to prevent Special Agent Bloom from finding out they were involved in Don Yakavetta's killing. Bloom knows, and is actually on their side, but is just having fun fucking with them.
  • Averted in The Presidio. The Officer's Club at the Presidio is broken into, and an investigating military cop is shot on the scene. During the ensuing chase, which spills out into the city of San Francisco, the SFPD take over, and two officers are killed when one of them is shot and their car crashes and explodes. The SFPD and the Military Police decide to work together to solve the case, although it turns out the installation Provost Marshal and the police inspector assigned to work together on the case have a history with each other, and do not get along.
  • First played straight then subverted in the film adaptation of Along Came a Spider. Alex Cross is brought in to investigate the kidnapping of a U.S. Senator's daughter from their exclusive, secured private school. The Secret Service representative is at first cagey and defensive about having a simple detective being brought in lead the case, but later approaches Cross and apologizes, says he thinks jurisdiction arguments are "a massive waste of time", then asks what he can do to help.
  • In The Avengers (2012), the World Security Council berates Nick Fury for handing over Loki to Thor to "face Asgardian justice" instead of letting him be tried on Earth as a war criminal. Fury replies by saying that he didn't give Loki to Thor, he just didn't see fit to start an argument with a demi-god over the matter.
    • Avengers: Endgame reveals that during the Avengers movie itself, Alexander Pierce, the U.S. Secretary of Defense and a major operative of HYDRA, wanted Loki and the Tesseract, since Loki should answer to the US Government and its people, rather than Odin, and the fact that the Tesseract itself has been S.H.I.E.L.D. property for 70 years. And unlike Nick Fury, he had the Pokeballs to start an argument with a demi-god over the matter. However, Loki and the Tesseract still have to go to Asgard regardless of Pierce's intervention.
  • Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore has this as a minor plot-point (while the organizations in question are not technically government arms, they act like it and actually refer to the issue as a jurisdiction problem): generally the cats' MEOWS and the dogs' DOG goes after threats from the other species, but in the Kitty Galore case MEOWS also claims jurisdiction on the logic that she's a Rogue Agent of MEOWS. To sidestep the jurisdiction issue, the two organizations agree to work together.
  • Although mostly averted on Twin Peaks (see below), played pretty straight in The Movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, in the run-in between FBI Special Agent Chet Desmond and the startlingly corrupt Deer Meadows Sheriff's Office. Desmond ends up beating up all the local cops.
  • In Airheads, the disagreements between LAPD's Sgt. O'Malley and SWAT leader Carl Mace cause many problems, as Mace threatens to undermine O'Malley's negotiations by trying to take down Chazz.
  • In the 2002 film Blood Work, based on a novel by Michael Connelly, the killer pursued by former FBI agent Terry McCaleb (Clint Eastwood) pulls this intentionally-he dumps a body on the exact boundary between two police forces to create a jurisdictional dispute and slow down their investigation.
  • Mullins and Asburn in The Heat, at first. Also, the DEA.
  • Parkland shows a small brawl between the Secret Service who want to take JFK's body back to Washington and the Dallas police who insist that Texas law requires him to stay in the state.
  • A particularly absurd example occurs in Hitman, between Interpol Special Agent Mike Whittier and the Russian FSB. Not only does the real Interpol have no jurisdiction over any crimes,note  the investigation they are fighting over is the attempted assassination of the Russian President — in Russia!
  • The film adaptation of Stuart Woods' novel Chiefs has a problem wherein the chief of the Delano City Police wants to investigate a suspected murderer - except the suspect lives in Justin County, and Delano is in Mainbridge County.
  • A fair deal of the conflict among the heroes in the film Black Dog come from the FBI agent and the ATF agent over who has jurisdiction in their investigation of a gun-smuggling operation.note 
  • Halo: Nightfall features tension between the Sedran Colonial Guard and Jameson Locke's team from the United Nations Space Command's Office of Naval Intelligence. ONI, particularly Horrigan, consider the Sedrans backward hicks who still believe in Valhalla, and notes their tech is at least 200 years behind current UNSC standard. The Sedrans, meanwhile, are suspicious of the UNSC's motives: yes, they did beat the Covenant and save humanity, but in the wider Expanded Universe of Halo they've basically turned into a military dictatorship.
  • Vacation: Rusty and Debbie escape from being arrested for trying to have sex at Four Corners because the park rangers are too busy arguing among themselves over which one has the authority to arrest them.
  • Predator 2. During the first half of the movie, Lieutenant Harrigan of the LAPD has an ongoing feud with Peter Keyes of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) over the investigation of a war between Los Angeles drug gangs. It turns out to be worse than that: Keyes is actually a Federal agent hunting for an extraterrestrial killer.
  • Mulholland Falls:
    • The LAPD detectives' investigation leads them onto restricted military areas. When they're inevitably arrested by the MPs for trespassing, the Colonel points out that they're out of their jurisdiction.
    • When the detectives' investigation starts to uncover a high-level conspiracy within the U.S. military, an FBI Agent is sent to Los Angeles in a slimy attempt to intimidate the local cops. This falls flat on its face when Hoover (the main character—an LAPD homicide detective—, not the FBI director of the same name) and the Chief immediately call it out for what it is, and Hoover later ambushes the FBI agent to beat him up. Then he drags the guy out of the federal building they're in and points to a line on the floor to tell him where his jurisdiction ends.
  • The Death of Stalin: Suffice it to say that the NKVD and the Red Army do not like each other much. There is palpable glee in the army officer's voice when he arrives at NKVD headquarters and announces "The army is back in town".
  • The Highwaymen: Hamer and Gault are technically only allowed to investigate crimes within the State of Texas and run into a smarmy FBI agent several times. At one point, when they're told to turn back by a roadblock for crossing state lines, Hamer decides to ignore it.
  • Death Line: When Inspector Calhoun starts investigating Manfred's disappearance, Stratton-Villiers from MI-5 turns up to tell him there is nothing to investigate. Inspector Calhoun is secretly delighted when the cleaners are murdered at Russell Square station, as murders are definitely police business, and that they occurred at the same location as Manfred's disappearance is a happy coincidence.
  • Averted in Judas Kiss. Detective Friedman and Agent Hawkins are old friends, and approach the shared case (the kidnapping is federal, the homicide is local) like mature adults. It helps that Friedman didn't want the case in the first place, and is getting more push back from his own police force than from the feds. Hawkins, who is removed from the local politics, uses her status to help Friedman, such as securing a crime scene before a Dirty Cop can tamper with it.
  • In Trust No 1, Officer Doug Bradley is forced to hand his case over to the FBI and the NSA, both of whom are in on a vast conspiracy.
  • In The Siege, the FBI agent investigating a terrorist incident actually arrests the U.S. General whom Congress has appointed to head the handling of that incident. The soldiers supporting the general back down in the face of the FBI, showing the supremacy of the civilian arm.
  • Electra Glide in Blue: When police arrive on the scene of Frank's "suicide," Wintergreen tries to stop the coroner from touching the body because he has deduced that Frank was murdered, and he doesn't want the coroner messing up the evidence. The two of them get into a fight about whether the officer in charge has more authority than the coroner. When Sgt. Ryker breaks up the fight and then asks the coroner an innocuous question, the coroner is so worked up that he starts screaming at Ryker too, then asks the corpse, "Why did you have to shoot yourself in my jurisdiction?"
  • End of Watch: Officers Zavala and Taylor are told to step aside by DEA.
  • A Perfect World: Texas Ranger Red Garnett, who's trying to track down escaped convict Butch Haynes, finds himself at odds with FBI Agent Bobby Lee, who is perfectly willing to shoot Butch while Garnett, who has a history with Butch, wants him alive. Garnett also clashes late in the movie with the local sheriff after they've cornered Butch, as well as with criminologist Sally Gerber, who's along with Garnett and Agent Lee (though she and Garnett eventually become an example of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork).

  • In the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the Miami Metro PD gets into a jurisdictional tangle when the Ice Truck Killer, who they're investigating, leaves a body in an area under a rival district's jurisdiction.
  • Happens in The Dresden Files book Fool Moon, where three FBI agents are investigating a string of murders caused by a werewolf. The Jurisdiction Friction is so bad, they almost come to violence against Murphy while investigating a crime scene. This is because they are the werewolves themselves, in particular demonic-influenced ones, and gradually losing their human minds to the Beast. The fact that they're the guilty parties, having set up another type of werewolf to lose control of his curse and attack a Mob head who's escaped justice, doesn't help.
  • This is addressed in several Vince Flynn books, most notably Transfer of Power. Of course, the different Agencies have it a bit easier than most examples, because their heads know each other personally, but there is still an acknowledged interagency rivalry and pride.
  • In Gorky Park the friction between the militia (police) and the KGB was quite apparent. It becomes a plot point when Renko, chief investigator for the Militsiya, wonders why the KGB hasn't taken the case away from him.
  • Discworld:
    • There's serious friction between the Night Watch (once a band of incompetents, now a semi-serious police force) and the Day Watch (basically a gang with badges) in Men at Arms, especially when Night Watch officers discover a body during the hours of daylight. There is also a jurisdiction question when a crime has been committed on guild territory since guilds are supposed to have jurisdiction over their members and the Watch can't take on the whole Assassins' Guild at once (although the Beggars' and Fools' Guilds are more accommodating). In the later books, Commander Vimes and the City Watch are respected and feared enough that Guilds will cede jurisdiction. It helps that he's the Assassins' Guild's landlord.
    • In Snuff, Vimes is in the Shires, where he has a certain amount of authority as a local landowner but is explicitly not part of the (self-appointed) local law-enforcement hierarchy at all. But as far as Vimes is concerned, murder is a universal crime and that's all the jurisdiction he needs. Subverted in the finale. While city authorities had traditionally left the Shires to their own devices, as Commander of the Watch he absolutely does have legal authority and the Magistrates are completely illegitimate. The Watch moves in in force and takes control of the situation once this becomes clear.
  • In the novel Pyramid Power, the Pyramid Security Agency runs roughshod over every other government agency that had anything they wanted due to their charter giving them authority over just about everything that can be associated with the alien pyramid that landed in Chicago. But one agency wasn't on the list of people they could overrule — the Fish and Wildlife Service — which brought charges against them for illegal actions against an endangered species — the sphinx and dragons that came out of the pyramid. Who then requested assistance in dealing with the violators from some of the agencies that the PSA had been pushing around — which included a regiment of paratroopers.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Allegiance, Mara Jade, Darth Vader, and the Imperial Security Bureau all have their own different tasks, but there's one duty they all have in common: finding traitors and killing them. They don't get along. Vader is paranoid that Mara is being trained to replace him, Mara wishes he'd stop, and neither of them like the ISB. Both clash with Mara; the ISB tries to have her killed when she nears a truth they don't want her knowing, and Vader outright tries to murder her when he thinks she's after his target (Princess Leia).
    • Matt Stover's novelization of Revenge of the Sith describes an argument between Anakin Skywalker and the Jedi Council over who commands the Grand Army of the Republic after Palpatine is given oversight of the Jedi Council. When argument breaks out after Anakin clarifies that with his new powers, Palpatine is now Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, Yoda states "Pointless it is, to squabble over jurisdiction." Yoda couldn't be more wrong—Palpatine's gaining direct control over the clones is exactly what allows him to order them to execute Order 66, the order that wipes out almost all of the Jedi.
  • In the Tom Clancy novel Executive Orders, one of Jack Ryan's first acts as president is to settle a turf dispute. The Boeing 747 crash into the US Capitol building left the NTSA (responsible for investigating airplane crashes), the Secret Service (the President was killed), and the FBI (terrorism, assault on a Federal building) and the Washington DC police department (murder) all with claim to the investigation. Ryan orders the FBI to take the lead, as it's bigger and has more resources, with the Secret Service a close second.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Lannister soldiers arrive with an arrest warrant for Gendry, who has joined the Night's Watch. Yoren asserts that recruits of the Night's Watch are immune from arrest, but the Lannister men refuse to back down, resulting in a fight.
  • In The Duggars: 20 and Counting, Michelle discusses how her children have sometimes given her lip because she's made them clean up messes she found on the spot, even though they're part of another child's jurisdiction (read: chore domain). Basically, she gets to overrule them because she's mom.
  • Appears frequently in the Leaphorn & Chee series by Tony Hillerman, about two detectives on the Navajo Tribal Police. Homicides committed on Indian Reservations are FBI jurisdiction, which often leads to conflict between the Navajo detectives and the FBI agents. Individual agents such as Kennedy may be decent people, but the FBI as a whole is portrayed as an inept bureaucracy.
  • With FBI agents pulled to Florida from all over the country, in A Deeper Blue, to deal with a possible terrorist attack using VX nerve gas, those from New York run into trouble "interfacing" with Lake County deputies, who hold a rather low opinion of the FBI in general due to previous conflicts, and an FBI motto that seems to the locals to be "Ready, Fire, Aim."
  • The Apprentice Rogue: Artamos is part of the Order of Black Knights, which is tantamount to the kingdom's Black Ops. The mission that forms the plot is Artamos' responsibility so he has to enforce his authority over the plate mail knights from both his own kingdom and his charge's kingdom; both of them think they should be in charge.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga there is a rivalry between Imp Sec and local police, as well as the normal military police. This takes on a nationalistic component in Komarr which is a conquered planet and still resentful. There is also a rivalry between Imp Sec and Ops within the Barryaran service, however, that is more Interservice Rivalry.
  • This happens in Hen of the Baskervilles from the Meg Langslow Mysteries when a body ends up splayed across the county line of Caerphilly County and Clay County. Clay County is very much unequipped to do a proper investigation of the murder but wants jurisdiction anyway. Meg and the Caerphilly County police chief manage to convince them to give Clay County to give the case to them by insinuating that the cost of the investigation will be astronomical, though Clay County still insists on having one of their people on the case as an observer, who turns out to be an interfering idiot. The twist in this case is that he's not simply an interfering idiot, he also happens to be the murderer.
  • Averted in Charlotte MacLeod's novel Vane Pursuit, in which various (but connected) crimes are committed in a variety of locations separated by hundreds of miles, and the law enforcement personnel are all happy to cooperate with each other and agree to let their superiors sort out who will actually have jurisdiction.
  • In Ellery Queen's novel The Glass Village, jurisdiction friction is the main point of the story. Residents of a small town fear that the stranger they blame for the murder of a local woman will "get away with it" if he's prosecuted by the state. To avoid a lynching, the stranger is tried by the local townsfolk with the assistance of a judge who deliberately does everything incorrectly so that the verdict will be overturned on appeal and he can have a fair trial after tensions have eased.
  • The FBI is mentioned several times in Under a Graveyard Sky as making it difficult to track down the virus turning people into Technically Living Zombies, as the microbiology experts supposed to be assisting them are also the primary suspects, and the FBI's concern is more "find the guilty party" than "stop the virus". CDC staffers are particularly hostile to the FBI, thanks to how they reacted to previous events like the anthrax attack shortly after the September 11, 2001 attack.
  • Ragnarok, the first book in The Echo Case Files, utilises the classic 'feds versus local cops', in which the fed protagonists can technically steamroller through anything the local cops try and put in their way, but (initially at least) try and play nicely with them, to avoid making enemies.
  • The fourth Rivers of London book, "Broken Homes", puts a spin on this. Peter states that unlike in television, friction occurs when other branches or services won't take over a murder or unusual case. Turns out murder investigations are really complicated, generate a huge amount of paperwork, use up all of the manpower budget and forensics budget, and are generally a pain in the arse all around (and that is just the mundane ones). Most Chief Inspectors are desperate to get that sort of headache off their budget.
  • Happens in The Snow Queen Series. On the planet Tiamat, only off-worlders are subject to the star-spanning Hegemony's legal system; any Tiamatans caught in crime must be turned over to the Snow Queen's justice. Unless it's a crime that would affect her or her plans, Queen Arienrhod usually simply releases the perpetrators. Thus, criminal enterprises on the planet generally need only use a Tiamatan front man or front woman to avoid prosecution. This is an endless source of frustration to Hegemonic Police Commander Jerusha PalaThion and her force.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, offstage, and downplayed, because no one really wanted to be in charge of investigating the Rangers' disappearance. Later, the New Rangers' Deputies arrogate authority, and the police don't like it. The heroes reveal themselves to the police commissioner precisely because they are sure this will cause the police to support them as soon as they get evidence.
  • In the thriller Maxwell's Train', a group of terrorists hijacks a train out of New York City. They managed to bring it over the border into Canada to attach it to another hijacked train in Toronto. The book openly notes how the common citizen would assume that "after so many hours, the combined forces of American and Canadian authorities would have stopped this." In reality, the terrorist leader knew the clashing of the FBI, state police, railroad officials and even the CIA would cause a massive amount of red tape to slow things down. Bringing the train to Canada just increased that as the Canadian authorities were totally unaware of this hijacking in the first place so had no idea this linking of trains would happen. The terrorist leader herself notes how this entire friction was key to her whole plan working.
  • In the Joe Pickett novels, Joe—a game warden—frequently clashes with the local sheriff over jurisdictional issues. And matters get worse when other agencies get involved. Winterkill features a jurisdictional nightmare involving not only Joe and the sheriff, but the state police, the FBI, the Forestry Service, and the National Parks Service.
  • In The Crowner John Mysteries (set in medieval Exeter), there is constant tension between the coroner Sir John de Wolfe and his brother-in-law the Sheriff over who actually has jurisdiction over a particular crime. It gets worse when the crime involves the Church, and so might fall under the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Court.
  • In The Golem's Eye from The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Internal Affairs under John Mandrake (Nathaniel) is given leave to investigate and put to stop both the golem affair and the Resistance, but the police chief Henry Duvall takes every opportunity he can to push for more power for his department and to try to make Internal Affairs look bad so that he can gain power over the cases. Oh, and Duvall is one of the masterminds of the golem plot.
  • In Smaller & Smaller Circles, the Quezon City police, in addition to being generally useless at their work, can be very territorial, especially against higher authorities like the National Bureau of Investigation. According to one NBI official:
    Ading: The QC boys get very annoyed when anyone steps on their turf.
  • The Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations novels feature friction between the various Time Police agencies seen in the franchise. It doesn't help that they have very different methods (as far as the DTI are concerned, uptime groups like the 31st century's Time Agency are breaking the Temporal Prime Directive by even showing up in the 24th century) and that the uptime organisations aren't even sure they all come from the same future, and that one agency's "maintaining the true timeline" isn't another's "recklessly altering history".
  • Subverted in Reginas Song. One of the Seattle Slasher killings is on a Navy base, so the police aren't allowed on the scene. However, while this looks like it might be a problem, the Navy send everything they find to the police, and their autopsy leads to a major break in the case.
  • Crossfire, the first Shira Calpurnia novel, illustrates how complex law enforcement can be in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Shira is a senior member of the Adeptus Arbites who survives an assassination attempt by a cybernetically enhanced psyker shortly after her arrival on Hydraphur. She immediately starts an investigation. However, the attack took place at the beginning of a lengthy vigil leading up to a major religious festival, with various strictures enforced by the Battle Sisters attached to the local cathedral that she must abide by or receive dispensations from. The Imperial Navy jealously protects its perogatives in the highly fortified system when Shira's investigation leads off-planet. In addition, the year's Master of the Vigil is throwing his weight around and the Inquisition takes an interest in the psyker. The Monocrat, Hydraphur's civilian governor, is the only major authority not seen openly intervening in the case.
  • In Timeline-191, this is the reason reluctant rebel Scipio flees from South Carolina to Georgia after the Marxist uprising is crushed. Because the Confederacy places heavy emphasis on state's rights, there is less cooperation between the Confederate states in law enforcement matters. Georgia is too busy tracking down its own black Marxists to worry about fugitives from another state, so any warrants from South Carolina don't carry a lot of weight, and Anne Colleton (his former boss and primary pursuer) doesn't have as many social contacts in Georgia with whom she can pull strings to expedite the issue.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The German KiKa teen drama Allein gegen die Zeit features two BKA officers (Bundeskriminalamt — Federal Criminal Police Office) rescuing top-secret documents from the Ministry of the Interior's archives from two shadowy figures. They later get suspected of being part of the conspiracy when it turns out they just stole files from investigating BND agents (Bundesnachrichtendienst — Federal Intelligence Service).
  • Miami Vice did this often with the standard local vs. Feds variety. Sometimes averted when the Feds specifically asked for Vice assistance. Notably, sometimes the Vice squad bumped heads with detectives in other Miami police divisions like homicide or theft.
  • Happens a fair bit in Sons of Anarchy; there are various clashes between the local police, the local sheriffs, the ATF, the FBI and even the CIA at the end of season 4.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Maquis freedom fighters were attacking Cardassians, but while based outside Federation space they were still technically Federation citizens, making it very testy—if not an outright race—as to whether Starfleet was going to find them and stop them, or the Cardassians were going to find them and kill them.
    • You won't find many Starfleet officers who actually like (or even know about) Section 31, and most 31 operatives regard Starfleet as idealistic dreamers with no idea of how the universe truly works. Yet both are sanctioned forces of the Federation.
    • The initial Starfleet/Bajoran Militia team up at the beginning of Deep Space Nine was like this.
    • It's implied in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Face of the Enemy" that many Romulan military commanders are resentful of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan Secret Police.
    • Similarly, Deep Space Nine goes in depth into the rivalry between the Cardassian Central Command (military) and the Obsidian Order (very powerful civilian secret police.) Given that the Obsidian Order is an extremely powerful entity in Cardassia, which is basically fascist, it's inevitable that they and the military will come into serious conflict on a regular basis. Really, any time a secret police force exists in Star Trek, you can expect it to come into conflict with the military at some point, probably quite a lot.
    • In the Deep Space Nine episode "Hippocratic Oath," Worf, new to the station and acting on behalf of Starfleet, arrests a smuggler. However, Odo, the station's Chief of Security, operating on behalf of Bajor, had planned to allow the smuggler to go free, having shape-shifted into the smuggler's bag of latinum, allowing him to infiltrate the entire smuggling operation.
  • In 24, a great many plots and subplots involve Jurisdiction Friction. 24 being the way it is, the conflict spirals way beyond Fed vs. Local. Past conflicts have involved CTU vs. The U.S. Secret Service, CTU vs. LAPD, CTU vs. The Armed Forces, CTU vs. The FBI; it gets pretty interesting. Subverted though, in that in several instances, various organizations will team up to stop their common Big Bad.
    • In the 24: Live Another Day novel Deadline, a character thinks to himself about the fact that contrary to the way things are usually portrayed in the movies, the arrival of the FBI generally doesn't spark an immediate rivalry with law enforcement agencies.
    In Kilner's experience, the opposite was usually the truth. State or county cops with less manpower and typically with operational budgets that were already stretched to the limit would welcome the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Law & Order franchise:
    • Friction often occurs not only between the NYPD and feds but between their Order equivalents, the Manhattan District Attorney and the US Attorney's office. Also, the other boroughs, other towns or counties in the state, the state government, the Port Authority, New Jersey, other U.S. States, the U.S. military, Canada, and other nations. It's one of the writers' favorite ways to disrupt a case that could be a slam dunk by the 45-minute mark. It helps that New York's unique position in geography and politics — specifically, New York being America's largest city means that Feds are often brought in, while three other states (Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) are very nearby — means it has a lot of overlapping government spheres of influence, second only perhaps to Washington, D.C.
    • In only the first season, for example, one of three Federal inmates in a prison van is murdered during transport to court in Manhattan, leading to NYPD detectives and FBI agents bickering over who has the jurisdiction to question the other two prisoners while the deceased is lying dead on the pavement. It then gets averted when the investigation leads them to Ian O'Connell, an accused killer with ties to the IRA. A British agent observing the subsequent trial not only cedes authority to Ben Stone, he offers to have a character witness from the U.K. fly to New York on the next Concorde to rebut the defendant's testimony. As he says to Stone, "O'Connell belongs in jail. Your jail, our jail, it doesn't matter."
    • Two episodes ("Jurisdiction" and "Bronx Cheer") both dealt with overlapping jurisdictions where the Manhattan DA prosecuted one person and another jurisdiction prosecuted (or convicted) someone else for the same crime. Both times, the people the other jurisdiction prosecuted were actually innocent and had been railroaded for political reasons.
    • This works to the good guy's advantage in one episode where Ben Stone is forced to cut a very cushy plea deal to get testimony out of a member of the Russian Mafia which gives him immunity for any crimes he admits to in Manhattan. As soon as the mobster is off the stand, the police and the District Attorney for Brooklyn show up and arrest him, since his testimony implicates him for crimes in another jurisdiction which Stone smugly points out he has no control over.
      Attorney: We had a deal! No prosecution in New York City.
      Stone: In New York County — that's Manhattan. I never gave your client immunity in Brooklyn; that's Kings County. [To the client] If you want some free advice, sir, next time get a better lawyer.
  • Lethal Weapon: In episode 7 Riggs tells a woman he's a cop and that she's interfering with his investigation, only for her to tell him she's a DEA agent and that he's interfering with her investigation.
    Detective Riggs: LAPD! You're interfering with an investigation.
    Agent Palmer: Yeah, DEA. And you're interfering with my investigation.
  • The Wire:
    • In most cases, it's actually a reverse of the standard version. One law enforcement jurisdiction will often try to foist murder cases onto another to avoid having their numbers go down when the case inevitably goes unsolved. The city police actually go to the FBI, begging for their assistance in busting criminals or solving crimes, but the Feds usually turn them down due to their new, mandated focus on terrorism.
    • In Season 2, the Baltimore City police, the Baltimore County police, the Port Police, and the Coast Guard all fight not to take a huge murder case, as they know there's no chance of solving it and will damage their clearance rates (ratio of homicides solved to homicides reported). Jimmy McNulty—a City cop—eventually sabotages City's attempt not to be saddled with the murders because he wants to get revenge at City Homicide's bosses for exiling him to the Harbor Division.
    • Valchek brings the FBI into the investigation of his nemesis Frank Sobotka, which is welcome news to the police unit, but it also means they'll have to re-prioritize their targets. The feds ultimately withdraw their support when union corruption charges are made, since the feds were only interested in international racketeering.
    • When Frank Sobotka's son Ziggy gets arrested for murder, Ziggy gets arrested, taken to Homicide, and processed by Jay Landsman. But Landsman forgets to bring the Sobotka detail in the loop about this important arrest, meaning that the Greeks are able to clear out their operation before the police can serve warrants on them, including Glekas' store. Understandably, Daniels is very pissed.
      Daniels: Let me ask you, who exactly am I working all these dead girls for? The Homicide unit, right? The same Homicide unit that can't put two and two together and pick up a phone leaving me to read it a day-and-a-half later in The Baltimore Sun. (Beat) What did you take from the scene?
      Jay: Photos, latents, spent casings... Fuck, they cleaned everything else?
      Daniels: Even for a supremely fucked-up police department this takes the prize.
    • Season 5 features a straight version: the FBI expressed a willingness to take on the massive drug/murder investigation of Marlo Stanfield, but only if the Baltimore State's Attorney (the local prosecutor) would hand over the prosecution of corrupt State Senator Clay Davis to the United States Attorney (the federal prosecutor). Everyone knows that a federal case would be much more likely to get a conviction, because the jury pool would include the suburbs in Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties, and possibly even rural areas even further out (where jurors would either not know Davis or regard him as a corrupt City politician long overdue for a commuppeance), while a state trial would draw only from the City of Baltimore (where Davis had his base of support and could grandstand as a defender of Black interests—never mind that the State's Attorney was himself Black). However, the State's Attorney shuts down this deal, because he wants to take Davis down personally so he can run for Mayor after Carcetti runs for Governor. Sure enough, the City jury acquits Davis after he engages in just the kind of grandstanding everyone predicted, and the State's Attorney is left a laughingstock of Baltimore politics.
  • Reno 911!:
    • Subverted when the clearly-more-competent FBI comes to town to investigate a serial killer and the local crew try desperately (and fail) to (in the words of Lt. Dangle) "not seem like dicks" to them.
    • Played for laughs on another occasion where the Reno sheriffs' drug sting operation (posing as a buyer) nets-a DEA sting operation (posing as the seller), after both go through a Long List of humorous drug euphemisms.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • Dr. Huang (an FBI profiler) often acted as a mediator between the squad and the feds. One gets the feeling during the times he actually takes the FBI's side, he does so not because he thinks they're right, but because he doesn't particularly like Stabler most of the SVU team.
    • Another episode featured Benson and Stabler going up against the FBI when one of the key participants in their case was revealed to be in the Federal Witness Protection Program as a witness to a key Federal case. Subverted, in that Benson and Stabler's interference in the Federal case merely ended up getting the guy killed and screwing up both the FBI and NYPD investigations.
    • On another episode, Internal Affairs shows up to ream Stabler and Huang after a suspect commits suicide in custody. Since Huang is FBI, everyone in the scene is perfectly well aware IA can't touch him. The IA guy starts blustering ineffectually "And you — Dr. Huang — you better watch yourself too!" Huang proceeds to openly roll his eyes and scoff at the guy in one of the greatest "bitch, please" moments in the series.
    • They also occasionally clash with detectives from other departments. In "Countdown", while searching for an 8-year-old who's been kidnapped and has only three days before she's murdered, they discover that the perpetrator is a Serial Killer with victims from all over the city. The detectives who handled the case of the Brooklyn girl outright refuse to cooperate because of the underhanded way Benson and Stabler got their files until the latter pair remind them that yet another little girl is going to die if they don't help.
    • At the end of one episode then-Captain Cragen lampshades that this trope actually helps criminals get away with their actions far too often because they can actually cooperate while the several police departments have to be convinced to work together.
  • Largely averted in Criminal Minds: the FBI main cast won't get involved in a case until the local authorities ask for help since they don't want the locals to stop asking. This was a minor problem in one episode until an agent notices that a letter from the UnSub was sent from a different state, giving the FBI jurisdiction anyway.
    • It was a major issue in one episode, where Reid and Prentiss are sent into a cult compound to investigate allegations of pedophilia, posing as social workers (since the FBI isn't welcomed by cultists). Before they sent agents in, the FBI checked to make sure that no other law enforcement organizations were planning operations that could interfere, receiving negative answers from police at all levels. In fact the state AG had been planning a major raid by the state police and lied about it, since he didn't want the FBI co-opting his big operation (which was essentially a publicity stunt for a gubernatorial run next year), and went ahead with it while Reid and Prentiss were still inside, sending the cultists into a siege and endangering the agent's lives. When Hotch takes command of the situation he essentially bans the state authorities from the scene in retribution, relying solely on the county sheriffs.
  • Stargate SG-1 bristles when it comes to the NID, but it all gets really simple once they turn out to be the Bad Guys anyway.
  • In CSI, the titular forensic technicians have apparently unlimited authority to interrogate suspects, pursue fugitives, engage in gun battles, make arrests, and cut deals. In the real world, their obviously massive share of departmental funding alone would make the normal cops psychotically jealous — but the eager and justifiable use of the Law of Conservation of Detail makes many a Fan Dumb believe that in the CSI Verse the normal cops are useless. Also, it seems that CSI also have ridiculous authority to investigate crimes and incidents that clearly would fall under Federal Jurisdiction (The bus accident in CSI, and the plane crash in CSI: Miami being prime examples which would fall under National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency). The first season had at least one episode where the CSIs clashed with the FBI.
  • In CSI: NY:
    • Mac butting heads with the U.N. over a French diplomat who died during a New York party. Mac wanted to move the body for an autopsy but got refused for a while.
    • Mac flashing his badge in Chicago to get into the Tribune building didn't amuse Chicago P.D., who quickly reminded him he had no jurisdiction.
    • However, it does mimic the original at times, such with the case involving blood on the Statue of Liberty. That would be investigated by National Parks police in real life since it's a national monument. There was also a case with a dead Marine that would clearly have been NCIS territory in real life. (This last one was Handwaved by a Marine who told Mac that he'd been instructed by his superiors to cooperate with the investigation.)
  • Psych:
    • Parodied when the Treasury Department horns in on a case. Naturally, they have their own Federal psychic consultant.
    • When Chief Vick (police) and her sister (Coast Guard) get in a fight over which of them has jurisdiction over a case. Vick's sister even hired Shawn and Gus and sidelined them just so Vick wouldn't have their service.
  • Comes up frequently in NCIS. Is the dead body of the week a matter for NCIS, their counterparts in the Army, the FBI, or a local enforcement agency? Sometimes, characters on all sides get so snappy about jurisdiction that it seems they're more interested in having cases on their records than catching the bad guys... and the main characters are not above playing some dirty tricks in order to keep control of an investigation, such as when they agree to hand over a corpse to the FBI but put one of their own (live) agents in the body bag instead.
    • The pilot episode both played it straight and subverted it. First, a Navy Commander dies on Air Force One, and the case is fought over by NCIS, FBI, and the Secret Service. Then a Marine Major dies in identical circumstances and the local police have no problems handing the case over, 'cause they've got another body across town to deal with.
    • A couple of episodes later, the NCIS team manage to basically seize a crime scene from the local cop after browbeating him over his slipshod approach to crime scene investigation (which included handling evidence with his bare hands, allowing reporters onto the scene, and presuming that the victim was a drug dealer without evidence). A few miles away, meanwhile, there are a couple of dead drug dealers at a crime scene controlled by Army CID, who happily turns it over to NCIS and the DEA because the two crime scenes seem related, and because the local CID office is shorthanded that day.
    • Gibbs has a frontierish eye-for-an-eye attitude toward justice that in some ways resembles that of a clan chief more then that of a cop. The cases he demands are often those in which he vaguely feels he has some reason to think It's Personal.
    • Averted in another episode of NCIS; the local cop offers to cooperate fully, in exchange for all credit.
    • Played with in an episode where the case is under clear FBI jurisdiction and NCIS is called in only as a courtesy since the main suspect is a spy NCIS once arrested. When the NCIS team starts investigating, FBI agent Fornell makes a big stink about NCIS interfering in his case. He is then told that the NCIS and FBI directors talked about the issue and the FBI director used his discretion to transfer the case to NCIS jurisdiction. It is then revealed that Fornell was pulling a Batman Gambit on NCIS. He did not want the case so he made a big stink about jurisdiction specifically so that the NCIS team would go above his head and take the case from him. However, in the end, the joke is on him since the directors decide that the FBI should be represented in the investigation and Fornell is assigned back to it.
    • Sometimes it goes well, though; Team Gibbs has a comfortable working relationship with CGIS Agent Abigail Borin, who shows up on a fairly regular basis when NCIS and the Coast Guard both have an interest in the same case.
    • Gibbs in particular has an excellent relationship with Army CID Colonel Hollis Mann — so good they begin dating each other in fairly short order, and stay together for nearly a year — though that doesn't stop them from bickering over jurisdiction when their cases overlap. It's fairly clear that one of the reasons Gibbs is so into her is that she can go toe-to-toe with him on equal terms.
      Hollis: If this is going to turn into a pissing match, you'd better bring an umbrella.
  • Mostly ignored on NCIS: Los Angeles as the LAPD usually isn't informed of what's happening. Did show up in an episode where each group was conducting an undercover op into the same people, which caused enough of a problem that the team gained an LAPD detective as a liaison and member of the team. Los Angeles also tends to give this a nod whenever the team has to do something that would require going through local channels, but don't have the time — Hettie goes a long way back with a lot of people and can easily procure the warrants needed to veto the usual chain of command. This gets played for laughs at one point where the local cops hand over a case with absolutely no hesitation. The team thinks this is suspicious... then notice the dead guy kept a meticulous filing system without a computer.
    • A major case is when Callen and Mosley work with the ATF tracking some weapons dealers. Mosley, naturally, tries to assume command only to be told by the ATF that this is their case. It gets dramatic when an ATF undercover agent is killed when one of the gang members recognizes him. Mosley wants to charge in but the ATF agent insists they keep to the plan so the agent's sacrifice won't be for nothing. When the arms dealer is about to escape, Mosley demands Callen arrest him with the ATF head telling her they need to let him go in order to track his clients. When Mosley demands again, the ATF operative snaps that she will arrest Mosley on the spot if she opens her mouth and lets the man go. While Mosley rants about this, she's put in her place that this was an ATF operation and Mosley nearly ruined it.
  • NCIS: New Orleans is currently featuring a lot of friction between the FBI and the NCIS branch in NOLA. Especially now that there's an FBI agent full-time in Pride's office.
  • Built into The Closer, given that Brenda Leigh Johnson, a detective with the LAPD, is married to an FBI agent.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard occasionally saw this, when Hazzard's Sheriff Rosco Coltrane clashed with Sheriff Little of neighboring Chickasaw County.
  • Inverted in Homicide: Life on the Street, when a detective takes a corruption case involving a judge and local drug dealers to the local office of the FBI and the friction comes from the fact that the FBI don't seem interested in taking the case or what the cop has to say. Disgruntled, the cop leaves, but one of the agents corners him and explains off-the-record that they're already investigating the case; official policy is not to let on to the locals, hence their apparent lack of interest. Satisfied, the cop agrees not to let on that he talked to them.
  • Played variously on The X-Files. Considering that Agent Mulder is the Trope Namer for a conspiracy believing weirdo, understandably some local cops are annoyed when he shows up spouting his nonsense, others are happy to let him take the case off their hands, a tiny minority even believe him, and a few are in on the crime.
  • Castle:
    • The FBI shows up in a Season Two episode, and there's a little Jurisdiction Friction but they ultimately wind up helping more than getting in the way (although they still need Castle's insight to actually get the case solved), and the FBI agents in question are nice people. Most of what tension there is seems to stem primarily from the fact that Beckett is seething with jealousy (not that she admits it) about Castle's fascination with the gadgets the FBI bring with them and the way he clicks with the lead FBI profiler.
    • "Setup"/"Countdown," when the Department of Homeland Security pulls rank once the case involves possible radiation and foreign terrorism. The DHS agent in charge, while a hard-ass, is actually a reasonable guy; the fact that Castle had a private meeting with a member of a foreign government's Secret Police is a valid reason to be furious.
    • Comes up again in "Lynchpin." There's Jurisdiction Friction but Castle and Beckett are on the other side of it as they're working with the CIA and required to keep secrets from their colleagues at the NYPD.
    • Once again comes up in "The Human Factor". An American dissident is killed by a military drone missile and the Feds completely block the NYPD's attempts at investigation at an apparent attempt at coverup. Once Beckett gets her hands on the Special Investigator from the Attorney General's office, however, and extracts a promise of help from the Attorney General himself, they get along better.
    • Played straight in the Sixth season episode "Need to Know", only with Beckett now working for a Federal task-force taking the case away from Castle and the NYPD. In order to help her colleagues with the NYPD, Beckett goes against her Federal partner McCord and provides the press with an anonymous tip. McCord later tells her that she thinks Beckett did the right thing, but their superiors disagree, and Beckett is fired.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: When the FBI shows up, the only real friction is between Detective Frost and the head agent, and it's immediately obvious that it's something personal. She was Frost's former fiancé.
    • Some serious jurisdiction friction crops up "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone" when the NSA decides a murder has national security implications. Although the NSA has no authority to investigate homicides, they seize all of the evidence they claim has security implications and refuse to grant the BPD team access to it.
  • Mostly absent on NUMB3RS — when the LAPD show up, it's usually to provide the FBI with more boots on the ground. However, Don Eppes did clash with a narcotics detective in the episode "Man Hunt", and with the NSA in the episode "Finders Keepers".
  • Although the Sanctuary team has no real jurisdiction, this trope comes into play a few times as they try to gather abnormal-related evidence before the law enforcement comes in and sets up jurisdiction.
  • Played straight and parodied on Dollhouse. FBI Agent Ballard gets stonewalled by an ATF Agent after the latter completely botches a high-risk warrant on a religious cult (Does This Remind You of Anything??). Later, several of the Dolls and their human handlers are sent to investigate an outbreak, but the handlers are only given cover identities as private security. Topher, as a joke, programs the Dolls to think they are NSA Agents, who act like jurisdiction-stripping jackasses to their handlers.
  • The Shield: Played for serious drama, as Vic manipulates the LAPD and ICE against each other in an effort to get a job offer and an immunity deal from the latter.
  • JAG: Occurs in several episodes. Not only with external parties (i.e. non-military) such as local police or FBI; but often the local commanding officer does not like the presence of JAG officers from Washington in his/her fiefdom.
  • Babylon 5:
    • When an alien structure is found on the planet near Babylon 5, an Earth Force cruiser arrives and the Captain argues with Commander Sinclair over who should investigate it. The Captain wins at first, by right of seniority (a Captain outranks a Commander), but Sinclair proceeds to use every trick he can to hinder the Captain's misguided attempts to sieze control of the machine. Both end up teaming up against an alien warship that arrives and attacks the station, wanting to stake their own claim. At the end of the episode, once the crisis has passed, the Captain informs Sinclair that their higher-ups decided that Sinclair was the one in the right, and apologizes before departing.
    • Talia Winters and Susan Ivanova argued on what to do with a teenage thief who just awakened with Telepathic abilities; Talia wanted the teenager to join the Psicorps, and Susan wanted to have her go through the justice system. Dr. Stephen Franklin intervened, saying that since the teenager is unconscious, she is in medical care, and both of them should leave as they could be disturbing the patient.
    • When the war criminal known as Deathwalker turns up on Babylon 5, just about every member race of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds sends a warship that demands that she be turned over or else they would attack the station. Ivanova defuses the situation by getting them to argue with each other over which one of the threatening warships Deathwalker should be turned over to, as there was only one of her. Also, the major powers want her immortality drug or want to avoid a trial. Sinclair negotiates a truce that allows the development of the immortality drug, and a trial. Deathwalker reveals that the drug requires a death for a life. Then Kosh asserts his jurisdictional claim as a Vorlon and kills Deathwalker.
    • When a bomb goes off in one of the fighter bays soon before the President of the Earth Alliance is expected to arrive on Babylon 5, a detachment of his security detail arrives to try and take control of the situation. Garibaldi is accused of being behind the bombing, and ends up going into hiding while he tries to find out what is going on. Commander Sinclair covertly helps him while Lt. Commander Ivanova is as unhelpful as possible for the security detail's commander. The security detail's second in command is revealed to be The Mole and Garibaldi saves the day.
  • Michael Westen in Burn Notice made use of this trope one time, walking into a torched building and claiming to be from the county government. He didn't get free access to the site, but it bought him a few minutes while the city fire chief called the county office.
  • The second season of Dexter has a variation. When Dexter's victims are discovered, an FBI taskforce is sent to assist Miami Metro, because the task force leader (Special Agent Lundy) is an expert at difficult serial killer cases. This trope is defied by Captain Matthews, who insists that the case will not be a "jurisdictional circle-jerk". Lundy joins his task force with the Homicide team and generally works well and respectfully with them. When another killer starts copycatting Dexter, Lundy warns that the FBI may seize total control of the investigation; Dexter ends up killing the copycat, so that he won't be locked out of the loop.
    • Happens again (briefly) in the Third Season: A series of murders are blamed on a local drug dealer that killed the kid brother of a Crusading ADA and a high-ranking Miami-Dade Sheriff's Deputy. (Dexter actually killed both the dealer and the brother, the latter by accident.) When a body is found matching the killer's MO but outside Miami's metro area, the Deputy uses this to shoehorn his way into Miami PD and take over the investigation.
    • The fourth season has the FBI take control of the investigation into the Trinity Killer. The Homicide team is especially bitter about this, since they had not only done pretty much all of the legwork by then, but the FBI had been ignoring Lundy's insistence that the killings were connected for 15 years.
  • On The Mentalist, the CBI often finds itself bumping up against local police departments who are not happy about them having jurisdiction.
    • A finger of a missing (later revealed to be murdered) man from Nevada was found in the desert and a team of experts was needed to establish which side of the California-Nevada border the spot where the finger was found was in. If it was in Nevada, the CBI would have no jurisdiction. If in California, they'd be allowed to work on the investigations. Considering who the protagonists of the show are, it's obvious which state the finger was found in.
    • In the fifth season premiere "The Crimson Ticket," the F.B.I. and C.B.I. agents have a throwdown regarding the events of the previous season's finale.
    • Subverted in another episode in which the titular mentalist actually expresses hope that they could just pass the buck on a missing persons case involving a rich-and-well-connected type he's not interested in investigating to the FBI.
      Jane: Can't we just give it to the FBI? They love that stuff.
      Lisbon: Oh, I wish. Boss is doing on-cameras - it's our baby.
  • A non-law enforcement example occurs in the last episode of The West Wing, where a train is caught in an ice-storm at a point hazily around the Massachusetts / New Hampshire border and both state governors are dithering about exactly who's responsibility it is to send the rescue teams out. This means that one of President Bartlet's last official acts in office turns out to be calling both governors at the same time, picking one at random, and basically telling him not to be such a damn idiot and send his state's National Guard out anyway, since no one cares who's job it is to rescue the train as long as someone does it.
  • On New Tricks the team occasionally experiences this when a cold case they are investigating turns out to be connected to an active case. They are not supposed to be investing active cases since most of them are not actually police officers any more.
  • In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, Officer Don's sting operation against a video pirate is taken over by a state cop played by Miguel Ferrer:
    Jack: Jack McMannus, state crime division.
    Don: What? Like the Feds?
    Jack: No. Feds are federal. I'm with the state. See, it's Feds, [gestures up high] state, [gestures slightly lower] you. [gestures way down low]
    Tommy: Hey, who's this guy?
    Jack: Jack McMannus, with the state.
    Harry: Ooh, a Fed! [gestures up high]
  • Alcatraz: Since Alcatraz was a federal prison, Hauser's federal taskforce should have jurisdiction over capturing the returning "63s". However, since the government's been keeping a tight Masquerade on the disappearance and return of the inmates, and the crimes committed by the 63s so far have fallen under SFPD jurisdiction, there's been a lot of headbutting between the groups. Fortunately, since Rebecca's a cop, she's able to handle the cases without stepping on toes.
    • Episode 4 has Hauser intentionally invoking this trope as a delaying tactic — the villain of the week has taken hostages in a bank, and the police have arrived to deal with it. Hauser plays the role of traditional FBI agent in these situations in order to distract the cops long enough for Rebecca to sneak in and extract the target.
      "I'm going to go join that jurisdictional pissing match over there and buy you some time."
  • A big part of early episodes of Chuck, in which CIA agent Sarah and NSA agent Casey have to work together with Chuck. This fades in later episodes to the point where the writers seem to forget that Sarah and Casey work for two different agencies, though it could just be argued that Sarah and Casey had transitioned from Teeth-Clenched Teamwork to Fire-Forged Friends in that time.
  • The main concept of Bron|Broen. A serial murderer dumps human remains exactly on the border between two countries, so that the police of the cities on each side of the border have to co-operate unwillingly.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • "Anything You Can Do" begins with a Mountie taking control of Murdoch's investigation on the grounds that the victim is a suspect he's been pursuing.
    • In "Kommando", the Toronto Constabulary clashed with the Army over has jurisdiction over the case of a murdered soldier, with Inspector Brackenried threatening to arrest Colonel Haywood for obstruction of justice at on point.
    • In "Shadows Are Falling", an old friend of Murdoch's comes to him for help when he's accused of murder by Station House No. 1, who resent Station House No. 5 getting involved and asking awkward questions, especially since they know Murdoch's station considers them to be incompetent and corrupt.
      Inspector McWorthy: This is not in your jurisdiction, Murdoch.
      Murdoch: At the moment, it's in my home!
  • The Leverage team uses this to their advantage in one episode. In "The Radio Job", they get barricaded by FBI inside a building, so they fake a terrorist threat and turn the situation into a turf war between the Feds and Homeland Security. While the two team leaders are butting heads, they buy themselves times and escape through a series of distractions.
  • In Game of Thrones, Lannister soldiers claiming the king's authority come to arrest Gendry, who has joined the Night's Watch. Yoren asserts that recruits of the Night's Watch are immune from arrest, but the Lannister men refuse to back down, resulting in a fight.
  • Twin Peaks:
    • The events surrounding the murder of Laura Palmer crossed the county line, thus necessitating the presence of FBI agent Dale Cooper. When he arrives in Twin Peaks, he tells Sheriff Truman that he's encountered this trope in past dealings with local law (see above under Film for an instance of his colleague dealing with it) and hopes to avoid any friction here. In pleasant defiance of the trope, Truman completely agrees and the two quickly become friends, with one exception: when Cooper advises Truman, on scant evidence, to release Ben Horne and drop the charge of Laura Palmer's murder, Truman, for the first time, refuses point blank, declaring he's "had enough of the mumbo jumbo" involved in Cooper's eccentric approach to law enforcement. Of course the whole thing is quickly resolved when they discover the killer was Laura's father Leland, possessed by BOB.
    • Played straight in Sheriff Truman's antagonistic relationship to Agent Rosenfeld, the FBI forensics specialist, who acts much more like the classic Jerkass fed trope until eventually chilling out.
    • In the second season, when Cooper's pursuit of cocaine smugglers crossing the Canadian border puts him in a feud with an RCMP officer (who turns out to be crooked) and under investigation by the DEA. The DEA agent turns out to be an entirely reasonable cop who ends up helping Cooper to prove his innocence.
    • In The Return, Denise Bryson's gender identity (she's either a transvestite or transgender- it's never made entirely clear, though Season 3 seems to lean towards the latter) became a source of this while she was transferred to work for the DEA and before eventually returning to the FBI. Gordon Cole recounts that he instructed them to "open their hearts or die".
  • An episode of Bones had the Roswell Sheriff refuse to release a mysterious body to the FBI. For good reason.
    Sheriff: I'm not allowing the Feds to swoop in and take off with a mysterious body. (Gets a painful look on his face.) Not after what happened last time.
  • An episode of Southland sees two LAPD officers, one of them Jessica Tang, argue with a pair of LA County officers over who takes responsibility for cleaning up a guy hit by a train, with his remains spread from the track (County jurisdiction) to the road. However, when Tang tongue-lashes someone down the phone over getting help for a homeless retired Marine, the County officers quickly agree to take the body.
  • This is a recurring problem on Longmire. Longmire has no jurisdiction on the Native reserve and is openly despised by the tribal police because he got their old police chief arrested for corruption. In turn both police forces hate getting the feds involved if they can avoid it. Longmire also gets into trouble when an investigation leads into the neighboring county and that county's sheriff is not happy that Longmire did not notify him.
  • The rivalry between the Metropolitan Police and the City Police causes problems in the Ripper Street episode "The King Came Calling".
  • Happened in Doctor Who in "The Claws of Axos". Britain's Ministry of Security wanted to control UNIT, and the Brigadier spends the episode battling bureaucrat Horatio Chinn over the issue.
  • In the original Battlestar Galactica episode "Greetings from Earth", there's a clash between the military and civilian authorities over who should control a shuttlecraft full of humans in suspended animation.
  • An episode of A Touch of Frost has David Jason's Inspector Frost (Britain's answer to Columbo) seeking to investigate a suspected murder on an Army base. Frost is hindered and frustrated by the Royal Military Police (who at the time of screening were following the old principle of demarcation between British civilian and military authorities: if a serious crime happened on a military base, it was for the RMP to investigate and no business of the civilian cops, whose remit ends at the barracks gates). Frost sees how amateurish and incompetent the Army cops are at investigating murder, and gets involved anyway: as he uncovers skullduggery, financial corruption, bullying, illegal sale of military equipment, etc, the Army cops eventually realise they're all on the same team. Eventually.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Kevin blackmails a Navy officer to persuade her to allow Sam and Dean, who are posing as FBI agents, to investigate a crime on the Navy base where the FBI would not have jurisdiction.
  • Monk:
    • "Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty", involved an actual dispute over jurisdiction: the San Francisco Police Department captures Top Ten Most Wanted fugitive Miguel Escobar and charged with him with a local homicide case. But the FBI and the DEA want to try Escobar first because he's wanted for drug trafficking charges in multiple states. Stottlemeyer is reluctant until the FBI agent who passes him word of the transfer of custody produces a warrant from the U.S. attorney general.
    • Whenever the Feds get involved in an SFPD homicide case, what usually happens is that the Feds and SFPD have very tense cooperation, and in the end, Monk and the SFPD end up invariably closing the case and embarrassing the feds.
      • "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect" has a mailbombing case which is handled by the ATF (who technically do have jurisdiction as crimes involving the postal service are federal offenses). Stottlemeyer does show contempt for Special Agent Josh Grooms, the agent in charge.
      • "Mr. Monk Meets the Godfather" does this with the investigation into the quintuple homicide of some mobsters in a barbershop, and the mob family they worked for was under investigation by a joint ATF-FBI task force. When boss Salvatore Lucarelli recruits Monk to look for the man responsible for the shooting, Monk finds himself getting involved with the FBI who want him to go undercover to recover evidence implicating them in other crimes, which Stottlemeyer is against as the Lucarelli family killed and dismembered the last guy who tried to infiltrate the family.
      • "Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever" has Monk get put in Witness Protection, under Agent Grooms's custody. Stottlemeyer and Natalie also are brought along, with Stottlemeyer not only doing so out of loyalty to Monk, but also because he doesn't trust Grooms with Monk's safety.
      • "Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy" had jurisdiction friction over a particularly gruesome homicide involving a street musician who was killed six ways (struck over the head, suffocated with a plastic bag, poisoned, stabbed four times, shot two times, and run over with a car, in that order). In that one, the Mayor has called in the Feds, and Stottlemeyer doesn't like this, nor the fact that the FBI guys treat Monk with contempt. (In reality, the FBI wouldn't have jurisdiction over this case, unless the victim was a political figure, someone in the witness protection program, the homicide was committed during a crime that is a federal offense (like a security guard being killed during a bank robbery) or the killer crossed state lines in committing the crime. The entire case should have been handled by the SFPD only.)
    • There is evidence that the Feds and SFPD sometimes get along: in "Mr. Monk Is Someone Else", there's smooth cooperation between Team Monk and the FBI Los Angeles field office. In "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head", Randy persuades the FBI to lend the SFPD a plane when Monk is found with amnesia in Wyoming. And in "Mr. Monk and the Election", when evidence shows up at the crime scene that the shooter used an AK-47, Stottlemeyer tells Randy to call the ATF and request their help (though the ATF doesn't show up onscreen, it is mentioned that the two forces are working together on the investigation: the SFPD to look for the suspect, and the ATF to locate the gun).
  • Good News Week: Invoked by Paul McDermott when John Howard's government was considering sending in the army to deal with a docks dispute:
    "No, no, no. You send the navy in to deal with a dock strike. You send the army to deal with a coal miners' strike, and you send the air force in to deal with a pilots' strike! Otherwise, the navy, army, and air force get into a big demarcation dispute and go out on strike, and the government has to send in the wharfies to defend us against invasion! Which isn't a bad idea — when those wharfies cover the coastline, nothing gets ashore!
  • Arises several times in Fringe, not helped by the fact that the Fringe department generally can't explain what they are doing and would sound insane if they did. They also had to deal with higher-ups who viewed them as a rogue group occasionally.
  • In Gotham, Gotham PD has the Homicide Division and the Major Crimes Division constantly clashing over who gets the murder cases. Not to mention the hostility due to accusations of one side being corrupt over the other.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Major Crimes is mostly seen through Detective "The Vulture" Pembroke, who's notorious for waiting until cases are basically solved, claiming jurisdiction over it, and taking all the credit.
    • Jake pretty much starts a feud with the FDNY over an arson case of a beloved pizzeria when he believes that the fire marshal is wrongly going after the owner for the fire.
    • He also refuses to believe that the US Postal Inspection Service is a real federal agency until it takes his case away for not cooperating with them.
  • The Glades: Happens between the FDLE and the Seminole Tribal Police when Jim is called in to help investigate a murder on an Indian reservation in "Honey".
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: In "Murder and the Maiden", tension between the police and the military complicates the investigation of a murder on an RAAF base.
  • Total Recall 2070: The main characters, including Hume and Farve, work for the CPB (Citizens' Protection Bureau), a civilian agency that deals with general criminal investigations. Calley represents the Assessor's Office, another agency that has official judicial oversight over the Consortium, the five most powerful Mega Corps. Although they're both generally opposed to the Consortium, at times the interests of the CPB and the Assessor's office would conflict and Calley would run his own investigation behind the detectives' backs.
  • In Powers in season 2 the FBI is called in to investigate Retro Girl's murder.
  • Kamen Rider Drive: In the Drive Saga: Kamen Rider Chaser movie, a corpse is found sprawled across the border between Tokyo and Futo. Both cities' police departments want to take charge of the investigation, since they suspect that the victim had something to do with their respective city's super-criminals (Roidmudes and Dopants respectively), which leads to Shinnosuke having to deal with Futo's stern and stoic Detective Ryu Terui. It turns out that both groups are right — the perp is a Roidmude who stole a Gaia Memory, and on top of that he's only pretending to be dead. When he springs to life and starts running amok, the heroes transform into their Rider gear and kick butt together.
  • In the Agent Carter episode "The Lady in the Lake", LAPD Detective Andrew Henry isn't happy when the SSR take the lead in his murder investigation as they're likely to uncover evidence of his corruption, while back in New York, the FBI claim jurisdiction over the interrogation of Dottie Underwood, a Soviet spy that the SSR spent a lot of time and manpower capturing.
  • On Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, the FBI, Missing Persons and the CIA are all mixed in investigating the mess of events that is the show's plot and none of them are particularly happy with each other.
  • The Indian Detective: With the CBSA in the first episode. Justified as they're suppose to take the lead in any criminal situation on the Canadian side of the American-Canadian border.
    • Later on, between Doug and the officers from the Mumbai Police. Justified in that he's only visiting Mumbai to see his dad and he's not working in an official capacity. He's even accused of working such cases to discredit the force.
  • Stranger Things: The Indiana State Police find Will Byers's body in a quarry near Hawkins. They refuse to give the Hawkins police access to even see the body close up, and even have the local coroner sent home so someone "from state" can perform the autopsy. Hopper finds this all to be very suspicious, combined with the fact that the body looks way too intact for someone who supposedly fell into water from a high cliff, and suspects there's some sort of cover-up going on. To prove his theory, he strikes up a conversation with O'Bannon, the trooper who called it in. O'Bannon claims the quarry was state-owned, and Hopper agrees, only for him to then immediately reveal the quarry is actually privately owned, so O'Bannon would have no business being there, and makes O'Bannon quickly fess up. Hopper then goes to the morgue, and tries to bluff his way past the state trooper assigned to guard the door, but quickly catches on that he's in on the conspiracy, there to make sure no one gets close enough to find out that the body is actually a fake mannequin stuffed with cotton:
    State Trooper: Hey, you can't be back here!
    Jim Hopper: Yeah, I just got off the line with O'Bannon. He said that he needs to see you at the station. It's some emergency ...
    State Trooper: What the hell are you talking about? I don't work with O'Bannon.
    Jim Hopper: Did I say O'Bannon? I meant ...
    State Trooper: (vacant, hostile staring)
    Jim Hopper: (grimaces) Okay. (punches the trooper out cold)
  • Deception (2018):
    • An intriguing version in that the friction comes within the same agency. The FBI Homicide division is investigating the murder of a psychic. Agent Kay finds a suspect is under investigation by the Counter Intelligence division, checking in with him. He tells her it's just a routine investigation into money launderers. Later, he saves Kay and Cameron from a hitman and reveals that the suspect is a major arms dealer and they didn't want Homicide messing up their case. Cameron lampshades on how he somehow always assumed the FBI was on the same side and they both give him a "don't be ridiculous" look.
    • A later episode has Kay's ex-boyfriend, a CIA operative, involved in the chase for a thief. When the thief is captured, she escapes into the building. The agent is forced to admit that she's heading for a secret CIA black ops site that the FBI didn't even know was in the same building for some information on a past case. Kay notes how the CIA's refusal to share information with other agencies just causes a lot of problems.
  • The Kill Point: The FBI takes over negotiations from the Pittsburg P.D. after one of their agents, who happened to be in the bank during the initial robbery, dies in the hospital from injuries sustained in the shoot-out. The new FBI negotiator immediately tries to throw her weight around, and proves to be far more incompetent than Horst Cali in dealing with the situation. First, she antagonizes Mr. Wolf instead of agreeing to his comically small demands (he's willing to surrender a hostage in exchange for a birthday cake), then declares that the FBI "doesn't negotiate with terrorists". As Cali points out, this defeats the whole purpose of communicating with the hostage takers at all and means they might as well storm in guns blazing and apologize to the families of the dead civilians afterwards. Some of the things that go wrong are indeed beyond her control, such as an independent sniper trying to kill one of the hostage takers. When Wolf refuses to deal with her any longer and Cali rescues another hostage by giving Wolf what he wants, he is put back in charge of negotations with Wolf and his gang.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • The third season sees some of this going on between the NYPD and the FBI, since the FBI are in Wilson Fisk's pocket and corrupt, and the NYPD are not (anymore). Foggy is quick to note that Fisk's "deal" only applies to his federal case, and that he can still be prosecuted for his crimes at state level irregardless of the outcome of his federal case. District Attorney Blake Tower is reluctant to pursue a case against Fisk, citing jurisdictional matters. Foggy sees this as Tower not wanting to jeopardize his reelection chances, though Tower could have other motives (like not wanting Fisk to get a chance to expose the fact that Tower knew all about Reyes ordering a DNR on Frank Castle, covering up the massacre of Frank's family, and later using Grotto as bait to capture the Punisher).
    • In "Karen," Fisk sends Dex to kill Karen as revenge for her murder of James Wesley. As he fails to kill Karen, only succeeding at killing Father Lantom, Dex is forced to return after changing into his FBI windbreaker to smoke out Karen and Matt, who are hiding in the basement, as the NYPD are conducting their investigation. Matt eventually gets an idea as to get Karen out of the church alive. He has Foggy show up to the church, and announce loudly that Karen will only surrender to the NYPD. There's a bit of back and forth between Brett Mahoney and Dex, with Ray Nadeem (who had served as Dex's getaway driver during the hit) defusing the tension by quietly warning Brett about Dex's treachery. So Brett "arrests" Karen and escorts her and Foggy out of the church, puts them in the back of a squad car, and drives them to a point a few blocks away where they then reconvene with Matt.
  • Played with in Justified, where the U.S. Marshals, FBI, Kentucky state troopers, and local Harlan County sheriffs can usually get along. The friction usually comes into play when somebody on any one of these sides turns out to be a Dirty Cop working with the criminals (with the others either unaware or knowing but unable to touch them due to the fact they haven't done anything necessarily illegal yet and been caught), or when Raylan Givens is getting on everyone's nerves with his actions violating procedures even if for a good cause.
  • In Earth: Final Conflict, this can happen whenever a Companion Protector shows up at a crime scene or at a place of interest and starts to pull rank on the local police. In one case, an American cop clashes with the Protector to the U.K. Companion, who points out that Companion Protectors have worldwide jurisdiction. In some cases, Protectors keep their rank and authority from their previous job, like Agent Ronald Sandoval still being in the FBI, even though his primary loyalty is now to the Taelons, not the United States.
  • Yellowstone: This is Serious Business when all three law enforcement agencies in the area are just minions of rival strongmen. The livestock agents are loyal to the Duttons, the Broken Rock tribal police are loyal to Rainwater, and the sheriff's office serves any interest the sheriff finds expedient. Asserting jurisdiction over a case means that someone gets control over it. In the pilot episode, livestock agents and tribal police nearly get into a shootout over a jurisdictional dispute involving a fortune of stolen Yellowstone cattle.
  • Bosch:
    • Cooperation between the LAPD and the FBI is rather shaky in some of the plots. In season 2's adaptation of Trunk Music, when a mob-affiliated producer is murdered, Bosch and Edgar find out he's being investigated by the FBI for his ties to an Armenian outfit based out of Las Vegas. Agent Jay Griffin admits that the FBI was wiretapping Tony Allen's office, but won't say why and won't share any intel. Bosch escalates the matter up the chain of command to Deputy Chief Irving. Irving gets the feds to turn over what they have but is suspicious with how readily they do it.
    • Season 4 sees it happen in the adaptation of 9 Dragons, after Bosch's ex-wife Eleanor is gunned down in a drive-by shooting while helping the FBI pursue some Triad gangsters laundering their money through casinos in Los Angeles.
    • Season 6, which adapts The Overlook, sees Bosch lock horns with the FBI agents while both agencies are investigating the murder of Stanley Kent, with Bosch telling SAC Jack Brenner, "This you bigfooting my case in the name of national security?" Later, one of the agents, Clifford Maxwell, inserts himself into the serving of a warrant on Waylon Strout in an aggressive, cowboyish way, when they'd agreed to let the LAPD lead, provoking a shootout that ends in the death of Travis Strout and an LAPD officer being wounded. Bosch, who is furious about Travis getting killed before he could be questioned, says Maxwell went in "too fast, too fuckin' hard." Maxwell later turns out to be the one who killed Stanley Kent, as he was having an affair with Kent's wife.
    • In season 7, the LAPD eventually determine that gangster Mickey Pena is responsible for ordering the East Hollywood arson fire. However, the FBI refuse to let the LAPD near Pena because they're using Pena as an informant in a big RICO case that's about to go down (and the LAPD won't be able to get to him at all afterwards since Pena will be going into witness protection), with SAC Brenner holding the line even when Irving reminds him that a little girl died in the fire. Then Irving, who's worried about the possibility that he won't get a second term as Chief of Police, remembers that the FBI just closed a corruption investigation into newly elected Mayor Susanna Lopez due to "insufficient evidence". After some consideration, he agrees to Brenner's request to back off Pena in return for Brenner turning over the FBI's files on Lopez, so he can coerce her into endorsing his second term. None of this goes over well with Bosch, who uses a workaround to snatch Pena out from under the Feds' nose, and gets promptly suspended by Irving (which Bosch turns into a resignation after Pena is gunned down outside the police station by the father of the girl who died in the fire).
  • Fargo: In season 2, the crimes of the Gerhardt family are spread across three different states and four different jurisdictions. Lou Solverson and Hank Larson, being competent officers as well as family (Lou is married to Hank's daughter), are only to happy to work together. The Fargo PD play nice with the Minnesota State Troopers, but Ben Schmidt resists doing anything to upset the Gerhardts. In the final episodes, however, when the Rock County Sheriff, Minnesota State Troopers, Fargo Police Department and South Dakota State Troopers all must work together, friction comes to a boil, mostly due to the South Dakota State Police insisting on running the show and making bad calls culminating in most of them being massacred after Hanzee Dent tricks the Gerhardts into attacking them thinking they're Kansas City mobsters. When Lou objects to their handling of it, he's petulantly ejected from the state. Even when Lou stumbles on a murder committed by Hanzee on his way out, the troopers ignore his observations and kick him out.
  • Clarice: In "Father Time" the DC Police and FBI both get called to a crime scene, which causes a heated argument as their commanders fight over who has jurisdiction until the DC commander at last gives up.
  • In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier John Walker in his role as Captain America points out that the Dora Milaje have no jurisdiction in Latvia, even while he has gone off the books in his own investigation. The Dora Milaje are having none of it, and argue that they have authority wherever they find themselves, delivering a beatdown to prove their point.
  • A rare example from Power Rangers, of all shows — the teamup between Time Force and Wild Force is instigated by a dispute between the Wild Force team and the Silver Guardians (whose leaders, Wes and Eric, are/were the Red Time Force Ranger and the Quantum Ranger, respectively) over whether the monsters they fought were either mutants (which Time Force and the Silver Guardians fought) or Orgs (who the Wild Force team is currently fighting). It soon emerges that they're both mutant and Org (dubbed "Mut-Orgs"), and they got this way thanks to Ransik, the Big Bad of Time Force, who then becomes a Boxed Crook of sorts to make up for his part in their re-emergence. The two teams' cooperation is somewhat stymied at first because, at the start of the episode, Eric happened to pull over the Yellow Wild Force Ranger, Taylor, and gave her a ticket for speeding (which quickly turns into Unresolved Sexual Tension)!

    Puppet Shows 
  • Muppets Most Wanted has crimes committed by Constantine and Dominic being investigated by Sam the Eagle (who is shown to be part of the CIA) and Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon. They get very little done until the end of the movie due to a "mine is bigger than yours" Running Gag and because the Interpol agent is a Joke Character who is constantly on breaks for the purpose of poking fun at French workers' entitlements.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Champions universe the two U.S. government anti-supervillain agencies PRIMUS and SAT have been known to squabble over who's in charge of investigating or dealing with supercrimes. Likewise, conservative elements in the U.S government resented the way UNTIL charged around the U.S. and created SAT specifically so the U.S. could handle its own super-problems.
  • The fantasy world of GURPS Banestorm has an unusual take on this with the city of Tredroy, which is part of a Sunni caliphate, a Shi'ite sultanate, and a Christian principality simultaneously. Intersectional disputes between the three different legal systems have to be very carefully negotiated.
  • Shadowrun:
    • Used to great effect by the shadowrunners. The very basis of the setting's Mega-Corp system is that corporations of a certain size are granted extraterritoriality over their possessions, with private security to enforce corporate laws which may or may not match up with the local government's version. A sufficiently daring shadowrunner can commit a run in a government area and escape into a corporate zone, or vice versa, where the opposing police force cannot pursue him. Tensions between public and corporate police forces are high enough that extradition is rarely an issue; between opposing corporations, even more so. Just be careful not to get caught: Private security tends not to be overly concerned with such trivialities like the Geneva Convention, and the poor unlucky runner might find himself the recipient of some creative product testing rather than a nice safe prison term.
    • The Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America. In Washington D.C. there's considerable conflict over jurisdiction between the FedPol (Federal Police) and the FDC (Federal District of Columbia) National Guard.
  • Space Marine chapters in the Warhammer 40,000 universe can be notorious for this. The Space Wolves and Dark Angels chapters, rivals for the past 10,000 years owing to a fistfight between Leman Russ and Lion El'Johnson during the Legion days before the reforms in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, have actually fought wars with each other over jurisdictional grievances.
    • This is cranked up yet another notch when the Inquisition gets involved. Members of the Inquisition technically only answer to each other and the Emperor, and can call upon the aid of any Imperial citizen, from a janitor to a High Lord of Terra. However, fleet units, planetary governors and armies of the Imperial Guard sometimes take exception to the Inquisitor's edicts and have enough political clout and firepower to make an Inquisitor's day miserable. Space Marine chapters technically don't answer to the Inquisition and can tell an Inquisitor to piss off, but doing this is inviting an Inquisitorial proceeding as to why, and Inquisitors have enough personal and institutional power that even large chapters are leery about doing so without very compelling reasons (or they just kill the Inquisitor in the middle of a chaotic battle and claim to have not seen them since communication was lost). This is cranked up ANOTHER notch when two Inquisitors start butting heads.
    • It gets better (well, worse): The Inquisition is divided into several orders, with the chief ones being the Ordo Xenos (deals with aliens), Ordo Hereticus (deals with heretics), and the Ordo Malleus (deals with daemons). Each faction tends to look down on the others as getting in the way of dealing with the major threat or not doing enough against it, of using unsanctioned weapons, of being at greater risk of corruption by the enemy...
    • One of the main divides in the Inquisition are the Puritans and Radicals: The Puritans are those who mostly use faith and tried-and-tested methods against Chaos and Xenos, the Radicals are willing to use Dangerous Forbidden Techniques, possessed weapons and daemonhosts to use Chaos against itself at the risk of falling to Chaos themselves or use Xenotechnology, alien mercenaries or other non-human assets (curiously, most Radicals are in fact older Inquisitors who feel traditional methods aren't doing enough).
      • Puritans and Radicals have subfactions. The most extreme Puritans are the Monodominants who are the stereotypical frothing at the mouth fanatics who don't accepts any degree of deviation. The most extreme Radicals are the Xanthites, the most desperate followers of which do most of the fall to Chaos while trying to use it thing, a Xanthite sub-sub faction (the Phaenonites) have outright betrayed the Imperium after deciding to take over mankind as the only option and were wiped out save a handful of survivors who kept it secret. The worst are probably the Oblationists, who are Xanthites who hypocritically enforce Monodominant beliefs on others, only believing those who took the Oath of Oblation being worthy of damning themselves for the good of mankind.
    • Some systems also have their own branches of the Commissariat in charge of the local Planetary Defense Forces. The friction happens when the Imperial Guard has to defend those systems because the local commissars tend to punish IG members, which is overstepping their bounds as far as commissars in the main branch are concerned. The local commissars have a tendency to get shot by the members of the main Commissariat, due to the fact that local commissars are only called that out of convenience and enforce the planetary governments will on the local military, and the actual Commissars enforce the Emperor's will on the galactic military and certainly don't like glorified bouncers overstepping their station.
    • It gets more interesting on the law front, as the Ecclesiarchy has its own courts which are wholly independent of civil law; the Adeptus Arbites have jurisdiction over all Imperial crimes (plus general law enforcement on some worlds directly administered by the Imperium rather than local governor), and only have to defer to the Inquisition, so there have been numerous occasions when they have clashed with the Ecclesiastical courts, or even the Commissariat (on at least one occasion, the Arbites have arrested an entire Imperial Navy task force, and on another, commandeered a cruiser in the middle of a contested warzone to provide the muscle to arrest an Imperial Planetary Governor). The relations between the Arbites and planetary law enforcement (names vary but they are generally referred to as Enforcers) are more complicated: The former handles crimes against Imperial institutions or violations of the Lex Imperialis, while Enforcers deal with planetary law and serve as the Planetary Governor's way of controlling the civilian population. The Enforcers don't like the Arbites getting involved unless necessary due to possible collateral damage and fear them, while the Arbites in turn treat them as incompetent bullies playing at glorified mall security at best to corrupt or even heretical at worst (to the Enforcers discredit, they are more susceptible to Chaos corruption or just regular old Dirty Cop behaviour far more than the religiously fanatical Arbitrators). They do cooperate however, and the most stable planets have the Arbites oversee the Enforcers to produce better quality police, excepting the aforementioned case of critical planets being fully staffed by Arbitrators at all levels of law enforcement.
      • To make matters even more fun, the Adeptus Mechanicus has its own laws and enforcers, and its members technically aren't even normal citizens (they are still Imperial citizens, but unlike the majority they are not controlled by the Administratum but the Fabricator General of Mars sits with the Master of the Administratum and others in the High Lords of Terra), but members of an allied semi-subordinate semi-sovereign Cargo Cult polity that has monopolies on technology in the Imperium (any planetary government or privately owned franchises either produce under licence from the Mechanicus or make inferior local designs), meaning trying to pin a crime on them is really tricky. Oh, and the exact set of laws that apply in any situation depend upon whose territory it is.
    • And the worst is this is all entirely deliberate: the last time a single man controlled every branch of Imperial power, it led to the Age of Apostasy.

    Video Games 
  • In Alan Wake, an FBI agent called Nightingale assumes control of the Sheriff's Office and the Washington State Rangers of Bright Falls, Washington in order to capture the eponymous protagonist. However, it soon turns out that Nightingale is a Trigger Happy drunkard, who tries to shoot and kill an unarmed Wake and instead nearly injures innocent bystanders on two separate occasions. The local sheriff, Sarah Breaker, calls him out on this, and it turns out that Nightingale is suspended, and is trying to capture Wake on his own accord and without any legal backing in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, as he thinks Wake is responsible for the death of his former partner. He is wrong, if only slightly.
  • Deadly Premonition closely follows the example set by Twin Peaks when FBI agent Francis York Morgan rolls into a small town to investigate a murder. Friction occurs between himself and the local authorities (though mostly Sheriff George Woodman, as the deputy sheriffs Emily and Thomas both warm up to York pretty quickly) until York reveals the murder is part of a much larger case and completely takes control of the case. Granted, it certainly doesn't help that George is the culprit, with Thomas as a knowing accomplice.
  • Zig-zagged in Disco Elysium. Precincts 41 and 57 of the Revachol Citizens' Militia have disputed for some time over who has jurisdiction over the district of Martinaise; as a result, neither precinct responds to crimes in the area often. The murder that starts the plot compels both districts to send an officer of theirs to investigate: Kim Kitsuragi from the 57th, and the Detective from the 41st. Kim, for his part, has no interest in a "pissing contest" - he just wants to do his job, and cooperates with the Detective's investigation as his partner.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has an army that is split into two divisions: the anti-Pulse force, PSICOM (Public Security and Intelligence Command) and the ground-level Guardian Corps. The Purge that is central to the game's events is orchestrated by PSICOM, but when things go wrong, they cover it up from the Guardian Corps. Then when that doesn't work out, they enlist the Guardian Corps' help, but the Corps. gets upset when a PSICOM commander starts giving orders in a village that has traditionally been protected by the Guardian Corps.
  • In the Mass Effect series, Spectres are an elite Council Agents granted absolute authority in Citadel Space. Various law-enforcement agencies are told to simply look the other way whenever Spectres arrive on the scene, much to their annoyance.
    • Noveria is not legally in Council Space, and while Spectres (by agreement) are allowed to go armed and investigate there, any attempt to assert their authority will be buried in paperwork. Meanwhile, the first part of the arc set there involves an Internal Affairs agent for Noveria's Executive Board trying to get evidence on the local administrator, while Elanus Risk Control mercenaries are under orders from said administrator to burn the relevant evidence. Shepard solves the jurisdictional dispute by right of superior firepower, and can support either Internal Affairs, the administrator, or neither.
    • Asari Justicars are fully committed to upholding an ancient and strict Code that allows for no leniency. Asari law enforcement is obligated to stand aside if one shows up but gets very worried as there's a good chance that anyone involved in a crime, no matter how small, will end up dead very soon, which tends to be a diplomatic nightmare when the person in question is anything other than another asari. On Ilium, meanwhile, the local authorities have to arrest a justicar who's on a mission to enforce off-world laws, while the justicar is obligated to fight her way free after one day. In fact, the Justicars are one of the two groups that were used as a basis for the Spectres.
  • In The X-Files Game, the player character can meet the town's detective that is on scene for a crime investigation. The detective will hate your guts and if you decide to push it further by being a bigger jerk ass over how the investigation belongs to the FBI, you will get fired.
  • In the Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth subseries, whether due to Interpol involvement, foreign national issues or simple prosecutor substitution, Edgeworth cannot seem to get through a single case without someone else claiming jurisdiction over the crime scene and demanding that he leave. Given his unending quest for the truth, this rarely stops him.
  • Rainbow Six references jurisdiction issues quite a bit since Team Rainbow often needs to be first called upon by the government that needs them. In the case of the fifth game, Rainbow Six Vegas, a "jurisdictional pissing match" between local law enforcement, FBI, and the military means to a slow response to the terrorist attack in Las Vegas. However, the government allows Rainbow to help because they have a team in place lead by a former Delta Force operative (the player character). The FBI and SWAT are later shown to be glad for the help.
  • Grand Theft Auto V has a rivalry between the "FIB" and "IAA" (expies of the FBI and CIA, respectively) take up a good portion of the single-player plot. It is far more extreme than any such inter-agency rivalry in real life (we hope), stopping just short of outright warfare between the agencies.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky:
    • In theory, Liberl's army and the bracer guild cooperate with each other. Underneath the surface, however, there's a lot of disputes. Your two main characters, Joshua and Estelle, learn this firsthand when investigating the missing airline their father Cassius Bright was on and discover from the Bose Bracer Guild that the military is maintaining a public information blackout, and that includes the Bracer Guild. Furthermore, bracers are being prevented from entering the areas the army is investigating.
      Joshua: So pretty much what you're saying is that it's a bunch of jurisdictional disputes, right?
    • Jurisdiction friction even happens within the ranks of the Bracer Guild itself. If a senior bracer wishes to take control of an investigation that was being handled by junior bracers, they can do so at will, and there's not much the junior bracers can do about it, no matter how much they may dislike it.
  • One of the later Imperial Legion quests in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind involves an Imperial soldier accused of murder; you must escort him to the Imperial town of Ebonheart to ensure that he will be tried in an Imperial court rather than a Dunmer court.
  • The Arc police forces in Astral Chain hate it when Neuron show up to an investigation, since they take over the case with no ceremony and it always seems to end with them linking it to a gate incident, cutting off the Aberrations, and taking all the glory. There's not exactly anyone they can complain to either as Neuron is nominally part of the police force themselves. In truth, if Neuron show up it's because a Chimera is expected, the existence of which is classified - being Invisible to Normals and immune to conventional weapons is bad enough without their existence causing mass panic. The problems with this are shown during the first investigation, as two PO'ed cops refuse to say much of anything; eavesdropping reveals witnesses reported large, shadowy hands dragging people through gates, which they dismissed as hysteria and therefore didn't report, but is vital information to Neuron.
  • Averted in XCOM: Chimera Squad. Commissioner Maloof (head of 31PD) chimes in when you select your first optional mission, saying she's glad to have the help and will send anything that needs doing the squad's way, and take the heat if things get political — they can't afford to fire her in the middle of a crisis.
  • Puyo Puyo!! Quest: Intral City has a special police unit called "spacetime patrol" that will raise a stink when private detectives and their agencies overstep their legal boundaries, by, for example, time traveling within Intral's city limits or attempting rescue operations from within spacetime rifts.

    Web Comics 
  • In Blue Yonder, two sets of superheroes are indignant over the notion of the other being the ones to help Jared.
  • Grrl Power addresses this in a way only a Superpowers-based comic can.
    FBI Agent: And here is where her eardrums burst.
    DHS Agent: Is that chick made out of lightning?
    FBI Agent: Doesn't keep her eardrums from exploding.
    CIA Agent: Look! That other broad one-armed a parking bumper at her!
    ATF Agent: You know I have some vacation time I can't roll over...
  • The two space authorities of Galaxion, IP and TerSA do not get along. At all.
  • Comes up in the first volume of Paradigm Shift: The Chicago PD are investigating what's either a series of animal attacks or the work of a Serial Killer who thinks they're a werewolf when the FBI show up claiming jurisdiction as the CPD's main person-of-interest in the case is a suspect in two very similar murders, one of which took place on federal land. Victim and alleged perpetrator were both at least technically active-duty Army personnel, although the suspect was on long-term medical leave with suspected PTSD, so presumably the FBI came out on top of a previous jurisdictional squabble with the Military Police. The agent in charge doesn't endear himself to the CPD detectives working the case, mostly because he's rather evasive about certain relevant information, but settle their differences and come to a working agreement. Then things take a turn for the weird... What the FBI are really investigating is some kind of Super Soldier black-project Gone Horribly Wrong, and the suspect really is a werewolf.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Admiral Manyara Emm of UNS Intelligence butts head with General Bala-Amin of Sol system Entry and Traffic control.

    Web Original 
  • The Onion parodied this, in their article: "Local Authorities More Than Happy To Let FBI Take Over."
  • Whateley Universe:
    • In the story "Loose Cannons", a five-way battle took place between the M-SOC (Metahuman Special Operations Command), the MCO (Mutant Commission Office), some unnamed jerks in power armor, the KoP (Knights Of Purity), and some superpowered teenagers. The M-SOC, the MCO and the KoP were "arguing" jurisdiction over arresting the teenagers.
    • Also gets lampshaded a few times regarding superhero teams and their relations with each other, local police, and federal authorities. For example, in Los Angeles, the superteams have an agreement that they won't jump into a fight (which they weren't already immediately present for, that is) until the authorities request them to get involved, and that they don't poach other teams' fights unless the other team asks for help. This leads to an amusing scene in "Silent Nacht" where the members of one superhero team watch live footage of a rival team getting trounced while munching popcorn and critiquing the other team's performance.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park:
    • In "The Snuke", which parodied 24: Kyle's attempt to track down a terrorist cell through social networking websites is taken over in sequence by Homeland Security, the FBI, the ATF, the Secret Service, and the NSA, all within less than two minutes. Kyle then takes it back by just saying so.
      NSA Agent: All right, we're in charge now!
      Kyle: [pause] Not any more, you're not.
      NSA Agent: Oh, snap.
    • This was also parodied in "Lil' Crime Stoppers" when the boys were playing detective agency and had their game taken over by a bunch of kids playing FBI. Later, real cops are taken over by the real FBI in exactly the same fashion.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Marge vs. the Monorail" had Police Chief Wiggum and Mayor Quimby arguing about which of them is in charge of handling the out-of-control monorail situation. In the end, neither of them does anything about the monorail because they're too busy reading the town charter to see who really is in charge of the situation (and getting distracted when Wiggum notices he's entitled to "comely lasses").
    • In "Catch 'Em If You Can", when Homer and Marge needed to be rescued from Niagara Falls, American and Canadian Coast Guard captains argued over who had the authority to do the rescuing.
    • Subverted in the episode "The Bob Next Door", where Sideshow Bob's plan to murder Bart without legal consequences involves the murder taking place in "Five Corners", the point where five US states meet (he would stand in one state, shoot the gun in the second, the bullet would pass through the third, hit Bart in the fourth, and he would die in the fifth, Bob reasoning that no single act is against any law in any state). Chief Wiggum arrives to arrest him at the last minute, so Bob steps into another state where the Springfield PD has no jurisdiction. It's then revealed that Wiggum contacted the police of the other four states, and each is waiting in their respective jurisdictions, and amicably work together to bring him in.
  • In the "Hot Shots" episode of Family Guy, Joe Swanson of the Quahog Police Department gets into an argument with a state police officer over jurisdiction in the town after it's put under quarantine, who then argues with an FBI official over the matter. As all three of them are wheelchair-bound and are on the road, a crossing guard tells them that he has jurisdiction over all of them.
  • A minor one occurred in an episode of The Fairly OddParents where Timmy wished he was the most wanted kid in the world. This prompted the Dimmsdale Police Department at his house, then the FBI helicopters arrived a few seconds later. One of the police officers then shouted: "Hey, we were here first!"
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In "Elementary My Dear Stacy", Perry is forced to work alongside the James Bond-expy/parody agent Double 0-0 because both OWCA and the British Secret Service claim jurisdiction over stopping Doofenshmirtz while he is on British soil.
    • In "Sidetracked", Perry has to work with agent Lyla Lollibery of COWCA (The Canadian Organization Without a Cool Acronym) to stop one of Doof's schemes on a train that runs along the border between the United States and Canada, due to the fact that each organization only has jurisdiction on one side of the train.
  • In the King of the Hill episode "High Anxiety", a murder case in Arlen is investigated by both a County Sheriff and a Texas Ranger who constantly bickered and criticized each other's investigation methods.

    Real Life 
  • Real-life example: The Waco Siege in 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) tried to raid a compound, and made a complete mess of things. The FBI steps in, takes over, brings in a friggin' tank, and makes an even BIGGER mess of things. The two agencies have been at odds ever since.
    • Still the situation in 2009.This article details, among other things, the ATF and FBI arguing over who should investigate explosions on a routine basis.
  • Considering the multiple law enforcement agencies and the occasional shift of control (control of the drug unit is shifted from department X to department Y), this is certainly a reality in The United States, between the ATF, DHS, DOJ, FBI, CIA, and more.
  • The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office was formed as a compromise between the U.S. Air Force and CIA, who were fighting for funding for their respective spy satellites
  • Margaret Garner, when cornered by slave catchers, killed her children rather than let slavers take them back with her. This produced a legal discussion as to whether the Federal Fugitive Slave Act trumped mere state murder charges. It did, so she had to flee.
  • In countries that have a gendarmerie (regular soldiers trained as cops who enforce the law among the civilian population) there is often a rivalry between the gendarmerie and the local police.
    • Particularly bad in Italy, where there are EIGHT different police forces. Things are regulated this way:
      • If it happens in a fire (especially if the fire is the crime), the Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco (the firefighters) have jurisdiction.
      • The Carabinieri (gendarmerie and military police) have jurisdiction if the perpetrator is a member of the armed forces or the crime involves organized crime, terrorism (they have an anti-terrorism branch for this), crimes at sea, crimes against the environment or happening in national parks and forests (these were actually under the jurisdiction of the State Forestry Corps, but it was completely absorbed by the Carabinieri in 2017), drugs or food sophistication, or there's just need for serious firepower (they're part of the armed forces, after all, their standard equipment includes assault rifles and squad automatic weapons, and if things go south they also have larger machine guns and sniper rifles).
      • The Polizia di Stato has jurisdiction over crimes happening in cities and those involving highways (there's a special branch for this), railways (another special branch), mails and internet (a third special branch), airways (special branch), organized crime (special branch), drugs (special branch), and preventing any kind of crime (another special branch).
      • The Guardia di Finanza has jurisdiction on financial, tax, terrorism and drug-related crimes, doubles as custom guards and military police, and may intervene when there's need of larger firepower than the Carabinieri can muster (after all, the Carabinieri don't have grenade launchers and hand grenades, while the Guardia di Finanza does).
      • The Guardia Costiera has jurisdiction on crimes at sea, assuming the State Police, the Guardia di Finanza, the Carabinieri or the Italian Navy don't get there first (Italy has a lot of coastlines, and the Coast Guard needs any help they can get).
      • The Polizia Penitenziaria deals with crimes happening in jails and escorts convicts whenever they are to get out of the prison before their sentence expires (if they need to go to the hospital or to testify).
      • Polizia Provinciale and Polizia Municipale deal with minor crimes happening in towns and provinces; minor crimes in general are dealt with by whoever gets there first.
      • Finally, since 2008, Italian Army soldiers can double as police officers if they happen on a crime or are needed for crowd control, at least until other police forces arrive and take over. They also regularly patrol certain areas of major cities such as Milan and Rome
    • To mitigate the problem, efforts against drugs and organized crime (that are jurisdiction of the Carabinieri and the Polizia di Stato and tend to involve also the Guardia di Finanza) are coordinated by the Direzione Centrale per i Servizi Antidroga (Central Directorate for Anti-Drugs Services) and the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia (Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate) respectively.
    • France and Turkey have significantly more stable relations between police and gendarmerie. France has clearly distinct lines as to where and under what circumstances the Gendarmerie Nationale and the Police Nationale operate. Turkey does the exact same with clear operational areas and circumstances, and both are directly under the control of the Interior Ministry so high command holds control over both. In both countries, certain elements of the Gendarmerie come under military control under certain circumstances and local police are always subordinate to national police. Also, Turkish Gendarmerie units not under Land Forces command are strictly civilian police, all military crimes are investigated with by the military provost and discipline office.
  • Richard Ramirez (also known as the Night Stalker) avoided capture because of exactly this.
  • In British Policing (at least, say 90% of the time), whether this is any uncertainty whatsoever, the bickering will be over why one's own force shouldn't be responsible for an investigation. This shouldn't be complicated because jurisdiction in Great Britain is very simple on paper — the force which polices the area where the crime happened investigates — but it never works that way in practice. Where there are no cross-border issues, it becomes a question of which squad or team within the individual force gets lumbered with the responsibility — and then it gets ugly.
    • The exception to this is any incident involving armed forces personnel, because they're subject to military law and are supposed to be handed over to the military police... unless civilians were involved, in which case it gets complicated. For example, the submarine HMS Astute was paying a goodwill visit to the city of Southampton when one of the posted sentries suffered some sort of mental breakdown (as it turned out, he had been on a 48-hour drinking binge and had had over 20 pints of cider and beer, plus other drinks) and opened fire in the control room, killing one officer and wounding another. The perpetrator and his victims were all Royal Navy personnel, but the ship was in a civilian port rather than a Royal Dockyard and when the shooting occurred, several members of the city council were in the compartment whilst being given a tour of the non-classified areas. Figuring out whose jurisdiction that falls under will probably take much longer than the actual trial.
      • In fact, it took less time than feared since Ryan Donovan, the shooter, was convicted in 2011, the same year as the crime, to life by a civilian court, the option of a military trial being also available.
  • This trope is a fact of life in countries with a federal political system, including Canada and the United States. Different levels of government are continually squabbling over who has jurisdiction in any given sphere, arguing over money and agitating against perceived "unfair" treatment from each other. In some cases, this is deliberately encouraged — one reason the United States chose a federal system dividing power between the federal and state governments was to prevent either one from becoming too much of a threat to individual liberty.
    • Canada initially started with a stronger federal government after seeing how American federalism was a factor in the Civil War, but a series of well-argued court cases in the 19th and 20th centuries gradually transferred more powers to the provinces at the federal government's expense.
      • Health care remains a sticking point, as although it's a provincial responsibility, most of the funding comes from the federal government due to its more extensive taxation powers, giving them a great deal of leverage for enforcing its conditions on the provinces. This naturally leads to frequent complaints of federal interference in provincial affairs.
  • Speaking of Canada, this trope, influenced by national politics, helped trip up efforts to stop a major crime war in 1990s Quebec. The Quebec Biker War was a Mob War between the Hells Angels (with support from the Rizzuto family of mobsters) and the Rock Machine, a splinter group of bikers that began operation in the 1980s (with support from various other biker groups that were united to get rid of the Hells Angels). After a car bomb set by some of the bikers accidentally killed a child, the RCMP teamed up with the Quebec provincial police and the Montreal city police to try and bring an end to things. The result was a complete failure to actually stop the bikers or anyone else — thanks to the Quebec separatist movement being at its' apex, relations between the RCMP and the Quebec authorities were never good (as there were repeated disputes over the lack of a law like the US' RICO Act that could be used to stop the criminals), while the detectives spent more time feuding with one another and taking advantage of being on such a high-profile assignment; as a result, the war dragged on for several more years.
  • A strange subversion of this exists in the West Bank/Palestinian Territory, as Israeli citizens (regardless of race or religion) fall under Israeli law, while the Palestinians who are not citizens are under martial law, especially in zones B and C. Things are kept so separate that if an Israeli soldier actually witnesses a citizen commit a crime against a Palestinian in the territory, that soldier cannot arrest the citizen but must call the police.note 
  • The manhunt for John Dillinger in 1933-1934 was one of the earliest cases of friction between the FBI and local law enforcement. The FBI was a relatively new and untested agency that wasn't taken seriously by all, local officers disparagingly called the FBI agents "college boys".
    • After Dillinger broke his colleagues out of the Michigan City penitentiary in the fall of 1933, the Indiana State Police petitioned the FBI for help pursuing him but were rebuffed, leaving the ISP and Chicago Police Department to track Dillinger down.
    • In November of 1933, they picked up his tail but a disagreement over whether to capture Dillinger by himself or with the rest of the gang led to a dramatic car chase allowing Dillinger to flee.
    • In April of 1934, after Dillinger, his girlfriend Billie Frechette, and Homer Van Meter evaded an FBI raid in St. Paul that included officers from the notoriously corrupt local police, J. Edgar Hoover issued memos forbidding local police from participating in FBI raids.
    • This came back to haunt the FBI later the same month at Little Bohemia Lodge, after they failed to notify local officials of a capture attempt on the Dillinger gang. Combined with them not spot-checking the entire area around the lodge, a firefight broke out, an innocent bystander was killed and his friends wounded when they were mistaken for associates by the FBI, and one agent was murdered and had his car stolen by Baby Face Nelson.
    • Finally, In July, the agents had a tip on his whereabouts in Chicago and sparingly notified the local police agencies of their intention to make another arrest. This was fortunate, as the agents staking out Dillinger's suspected location were reported as potential robbers by a concerned citizen. A final shootout ensued and Dillinger was killed.
  • In the pursuit of another 1930s criminal, Alvin Karpis, both the FBI and the federal postal inspectors claimed jurisdiction, with the postal inspectors one step ahead of the FBI for most of 1935.
  • Very sadly, "the Wall", a bureaucratic device designed, supposedly, to facilitate co-operation between the FBI and the CIA was largely responsible for the failure of U.S. authorities to stop the 9/11 attacks. In (highly simplified) essence, the CIA was massively anal about secrecy and viewed telling the FBI anything as a security risk, and the FBI was massively anal about chain of evidence and viewed telling the CIA anything as compromising some future prosecution (other issues included the CIA not being able to share documents without them being declassified, and that federal law didn't allow for the FBI's counter-intelligence department to work with the CIA). Indeed, the FBI didn't even know the hijackers were in America until a few days before the attacks, and even then, this was only because a CIA officer accidentally copied an FBI agent into a round robin email. Trying to prevent this from happening again is why the Department of Homeland Security was created, and was one of the purposes of the Patriot Act.
  • Inside Washington, D.C., what police department is responsible for a crime depends on location, time of day, the phase of the moon, and the condition of the president's dog. There is the D.C. police, there's the Secret Service, Capitol Police, FBI Police (really), Smithsonian police, National Cathedral police, various college police forces, and way too many Federal agencies trying to secure their own various headquarters... here's a handy list of them all. Just remember to keep away from the little red dots.
    • Applies to the Washington D.C. metro area as a whole, with Virginia and Maryland surrounding and only a stone's throw away from the District of Columbia. Not to mention numerous local, state and federal facilities scattered throughout the neighboring counties.
  • Having two anti-virus softwares on your computer at once can cause a digital version of this. AV software tends to have to do things like read the contents of random files, monitor access to critical system files, and generally interpose itself between applications and the system, which is something that a lot of viruses do. As such, it's not too uncommon for them to label the other a virus, and attempt to delete each other.
    • This also counts as a Logic Bomb in certain scenarios: One will intercept a data transfer to check it for potential threats, then send it on. The other will see this transfer, intercept it, and send it on. The other will see this transfer, intercept it, and send it on. The other will see this transfer, intercept it... This is why some Antiviruses try to detect if it's the sole antivirus on the system, and bitch about it if it isn't. Due to a misconception spread by some "computer experts" back in the '90s, there were a handful of users who were convinced that it's beneficial to have multiple antiviruses on the same machine. After all, two heads are better than one (except in this case).
  • A version of this can happen if you're trying to perform a given task on your computer (say, opening a PDF file) and you don't have a program assigned to perform said task by default. If that's the case, you'll have your computer asking you which of your capable programs you want to perform the task every time you want it done.
  • Many of Belgium's current issues stem from its French and Dutch/Flemish-speaking communities and public servants operating in silos, from the comical (the Fries Revolution and strip protests) to the tragic (security lapses with the 2016 Brussels bombings).
  • Any society where the population is divided into several ca can fall victim to this trope.
    • During the Middle Ages, the jurisdiction depended on the personal status of the party and/or the place where the action took place. These jurisdictions were the feudal justice, Church justice, City justice, and the nascing Royal justice. For example, a cleric might expect to be tried in a Church court applying Canon law, a peasant might be tried by his lord while burghers might be tried by their city. Furthermore, there were matter-related jurisdictions, such as treason being tried by Royal justice while heresy and marriage-related cases being tried by Church ones.
    • Until 1746, Scotland had heritable jurisdictions.
    • In England, legal tricks like the Bill of Middlesex allowed the Court of King's Bench to hear cases that would normally be in the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas.
  • This Business Insider article discredits the trope (in fact, referencing this very article to do so), saying that the expectation of the trope actually causes it, as local authorities may mistakenly think the FBI behave the way they've seen in film and television.
  • In June 2022 in the town of Hiawassee, Georgia, just south of the Georgia-North Carolina state line, a Hiawassee police sergeant pulls over a driver for speeding. Just after the city cop gives the driver their citation, the Towns County Sheriff shows up and start questioning the driver. The two law enforcement officers then get into a heated argument over who had jurisdiction for the stop, with both officers threatening to arrest one another. The Towns County Sheriff has a reputation of antagonizing the Hiawassee PD.


Video Example(s):


Interrogating Axl

Following a chemical terror attack against the independent human colony Sedra by Covenant Zealots, UNSC ONI Agent Jameson Locke walks on on Sedran Militia Colonel Randall Aiken beating up an alien smuggler to get him to talk (without success). After some trading of barbs between Aiken and Locke's team, Locke addresses the prisoner, Axl, in his own language and quickly starts getting him to open up... before casually mentioning he can always hand him back to Aiken if he doesn't keep talking. Axl spills everything he knows in a hurry.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoodCopBadCop

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