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Turn in Your Badge

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Nick: I'll tell you guys what I'm gonna do! I'll tell you what! I'm gonna get even with every rotten cop in this city!
Paolo: Yeah, me too!
Guido: How you gonna do it, Nick? How you gonna do it?
Nick: I'm gonna...turn in my badge!
Guido: Yeah! I'm gonna burn my uniform!...
The Firesign Theatre, How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All?

That cop has always been a loose cannon, but this time he's stepped over the line. He is ordered by his boss to turn in his badge and gun, and then go home on an extended "vacation." This is sometimes accompanied by an Insignia Rip-Off Ritual.

The cop ignores this directive and finishes tracking the perp down. Sometimes, it's because he's a Cowboy Cop. Other times, It's Personal. When the bad guy is eventually caught, the cop's boss never reprimands the rogue cop and sometimes even admits he was wrong. There won't even be a McCloud Speech about all the regulations the cop broke on this excursion, not the least of which being ignoring an order — probably because he technically wasn't acting as a cop, but merely breaking the law as a regular citizen...

But then the cop might actually honor the original directive.


Variation: the cop was never actually off the force but was merely pretending to be, with his superiors' knowledge, to fool a bad guy, sometimes another cop (see: Fake Defector, which is a case of Not Himself).

If, instead of being suspended, the cop quits to make a point, that's Resign in Protest.

A video montage of this trope's use in fiction: Gun and Badge.


    open/close all folders 

  • Played with in Sprint's "Epic Renegade Cop" ad: the badge is the only thing Callahan doesn't turn in to Da Chief during his Extended Disarming.
  • During the early 1970s; Chrysler Corporation's Dodge division ran a series of commercials featuring actor Joe Higgins as a Southern sheriff named J.W. Higginsnote ; sheriff of the fictitious "Scat City"note . In one 1971 ad promoting Dodge's "spring special" (typically promoting special features such as, in this instance, whitewall tires and an automatic transmission) for their Dart Swinger model; Higgins uses the trope name verbatim en route to having the deputy who drove up in the new car arrested for accepting a "special deal" (implying Higgins thinks the deputy took a bribe).

    Anime and Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • In Ultrasonic, Nick gets suspended after the first Ultrasonic attack after Chief Bogo finds out from Marinette that he fired a warning shot, violating the first rule of firearm usage: "Shoot to kill, and nothing else."
  • In Absolute Power Sucks Absolutely, Maxime revokes his own League membership while visiting Kahndaq to avoid the international incident that a foreign power "invading" another country would cause.

    Films — Animated 
  • Parodied again near the end of We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, when Stubbs the Clown resigns from Prof. Screweyes' circus and hands in his props. All his props: "Here's my shoes, my nose, my horn, my buzzer, my fake arm, my bug-eye glasses, my backstage passes, my hat, my rabbit, his backstage passes, my fake fangs, a few birds, my pogo stick, my donkey ears, my extending tongue gag, my rubber chicken... ya can't even get these anymore... my lucky whale tooth, and a giant clam that opens to reveal the American flag held by a mermaid and her normal brother Richard!"
  • Renaissance's Cowboy Cop main character gets told to do this as punishment for accusing Da Chief of being on the take from the film's resident Mega-Corp.
  • Zootopia features a variant: Judy Hopps voluntarily resigns from the ZPD after her remarks at the press conference inflames historic tension between predator and prey and alienates her new friend Nick Wilde. However, after a "Eureka!" Moment, she ends up returning to Zootopia to solve the case as a civilian and ends up being reinstated to the ZPD afterwards.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Big Heat, the police commissioner, who is corrupt and in with the mob, does this to Glenn Ford's character in an effort to stop Ford's investigation.
  • Brian Dennehy's character in F/X: Murder by Illusion is told to turn in his badge and does so. Then he steals his superior's badge.
  • Dragnet: Happens to Friday in the parody film. However, he deserves it as he arrests the suspect in public and only has the testimony of an eyewitness who briefly saw the suspect. Captain Gannon then threatens Friday's partner with the same fate if he goes anywhere near the suspect.
  • It's being acted out in one scene of the 2003 The Italian Job remake. Rob, whilst trying to drive through the city as fast as possible to time the escape route, is waiting at a light where he needs to make a left turn (green arrow only). Unfortunately, he is trapped behind an actor rehearsing the phrase "Give me your badge and your weapon; I don't want to see you anywhere near this case (pretends to crush cup)" in such a variety of different voices and emphases he fails to notice there's a green arrow, until the very last second when it's turning amber and Rob starts honking at him, so he's the only one that gets to go through, with a very disgruntled Rob saying, "Unbelievable" in disbelief. Also, the actor copies Rob's accent and decides to use that accent for the audition.
  • Inspector Li Ying from John Woo's The Killer is taken off the case of the Hitman with a Heart that he's beginning to develop a bond with when he completely botches his attempt to capture him at the airport and brings in the wrong guy, allowing the killer to get away with his blinded girlfriend. He's taken off the case because the superintendent is convinced that Li is siding with the suspect rather than trying to bring him in.
  • Bud White from L.A. Confidential fits the brutal-cop part of the trope perfectly, but his Turn in Your Badge moment is undercut by the fact that Da Chief only did it to get leverage over White when he recruited him as muscle for a criminal enterprise.
  • Lampshaded by Danny Madigan in Last Action Hero.
    Danny: He only took your badge, because you destroyed more of the city than usual.
  • James Bond:
    • In Licence to Kill, Bond pretty much turns in his badge to go after the iguana-stroking villain who dumped his best friend into a shark pool.
    • Subverted at the beginning of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. After M takes Bond off the hunt for Blofeld, Bond tells Moneypenny to write a memo tendering his resignation (presumably with the intent of pursuing Blofeld as a rogue agent). Moneypenny instead writes a memo requesting two weeks' leave.
  • Ray Duquette in Wild Things is asked to do this after his second lawful shooting, due to the (well-founded) fear of Da Chief that with that kind of luck, the shootings might not be so lawful after all. Of course, this isn't where the consequences end...
  • They try to do this to Dirty Harry in Sudden Impact. After his harassment of an old mobster at his daughter's wedding results in a heart attack they order him to take a vacation. While on vacation some punks try to take him down with a molotov cocktail and he forces them off a pier to their deaths. They end his vacation, but send him out of town on another case.
  • In Day of the Wolves, the police chief of Wellerton is fired after he tries to arrest the mayor's son. This causes him to be not at the police station when the villains who are Taking Over the Town arrive; allowing him to stage a "Die Hard" on an X.
  • In The Guard, Sergeant Gerry Boyle is told to turn in his badge. Subverted when he refuses, turns out to have critical information regarding the case and finally proves to be the only cop NOT on the take from the drug dealers.
  • I, Robot: After shooting up, crashing, and beating the crap out of two entire sixteen-wheelers' worth of robots, but having no evidence to prove it was self-defense, the chief orders Detective Spooner to turn in his badge.
  • Shaft (2000). When Samuel L. Jackson's Shaft is requested to turn in his badge, he does so by throwing it like a shuriken, causing it to embed itself in the wall next to a judge's head. Awesome? Very much so.
  • Played straight in Showtime, after the two protagonists (who are forced to be part of a cop reality show) cause a lot of damage to the city, Da Chief (normally, a nice guy) tells one of them (a patrolman) that he's no longer a TV detective and is back on patrol. The other cop (played by Robert De Niro) is suspended. Averted in that, when he asks if the chief wants his badge, the guy just tells him to get out of his office. Also, they don't immediately start following up on the case. Only when they see the latest episode of the show that they notice something strange that gives them a clue.
  • Played straight in the So Bad, It's Good French film La Vengeance. The problem? French policemen don't carry badges.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness's opening, Kirk gets demoted for violating the Prime Directive and then trying to hide it in his report.
  • Played with in S.W.A.T.. After reckless actions rescuing hostages from a bank robbery leads to a civilian getting wounded, creating a PR nightmare and a hefty lawsuit against the department, Captain Fuller wants the people responsible gone. Lieutenant Velasquez, however, insists they should stay within the division, for a chance at redemption; Fuller relents just enough to assign them to the Gun Cage. Brian Gamble, who caused the whole problem in the first place, blows up and walks out; the other one, Jim Street, accepts the demotion calmly, but won't sell his partner out to get back on the team.
  • Happens in Miss Congeniality when Gracie correctly hypothesizes that The original threat wasn't from the recently caught "The Citizen" but a copycat, and wants to investigate Cathy Morningside. Da Chief wants to hear nothing of it and tells her she can only stay as a civilian, prompting her to turn in her badge and sidearm.
  • Happens at the start of the movie in The Stone Killer (1973). Charles Bronson plays a detective who has to hand in his gun and badge after a controversial shooting depicted in the Action Prologue. Rather than wait to be cleared by an inquiry, he resigns and joins another police department on the other side of the country.
  • Happens at the end of the movie in Dredd, when rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson hands in her badge to Dredd, thinking that she's failed her probation. However Dredd passes her, having been impressed how she Took a Level in Badass during the course of the movie.
  • The protagonist of Cop is ordered to turn in his badge and gun by Da Chief (who is portrayed as an uptight WASP, although he has good reasons to dislike his Cowboy Cop subordinate) for his continual reckless behavior, which has even made him a suspect in a murder investigation. He continues to hunt down the serial killer in his spare time, since he simply doesn't give a damn anymore.
  • No Name on the Bullet: Deputy Miller resigns out of fear after seeing the dangerous gunman John Gant draw and knowing he couldn't beat him a fair fight (and might have to try with Sheriff Hastings gun hand shot) while Hastings himself eventually throws down his badge out of disillusionment after failing to prevent violence in the town.
  • In Birds of Prey, Renee Montoya ends up doing this after her investigation of Roman Sionis breaks too many rules with nothing to show for it. Harley Quinn even narrates how this happens to every good movie cop at some point, and is the point where they really start getting things done. This briefly turns out to not be the case as the movie shows Montoya on the path to giving up, but then her investigation gets her informed of a climactic rendezvous with Sionis after all. In spite of this, she is (once again) denied credit for saving the day and is never reinstated, which leads her to forming the new Birds of Prey to fight crime herself.

  • DCI Jack Spratt of Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series is stated in the book-within-a-book Bumper Book of Berkshire Records to have been suspended over 262 times in his career, only one of which led to higher action (a reprimand).
  • Halt from John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice deliberately creates a situation where he'll get banished from the Kingdom so he can save his apprentice only to get misty-eyed when he must turn in his ranger badge oak leaf necklace to the authorities as well.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Subverted in the book Men at Arms, when Lord Vetinari takes Vimes off the case and demands that he turn in his badge. It eventually becomes clear to the reader that he is doing this to make sure Vimes solves it, though Vetinari goes a bit too far and drives Vimes into a 10-Minute Retirement. The trope was played more or less straight in the earlier novel Guards! Guards!, when Lupin Wonse takes Vimes' badge.
    • Additionally, in Jingo, all the senior officers of the Watch do this when threatened by Lord Rust, Vetrinari's stand in during his 10-Minute Retirement. Everyone — Vimes, the senior officers, Lord Rust... — proceed to act as if Vimes is still Commander of the Watch (once he gets out of the door, at least).
    • Parodied in Snuff, when Vimes treats going on a two-week holiday arranged by his wife like being suspended (or forcibly retired), and says "My badge, just like Vetinari ordered. I put it down. It won't be said they took it off me!" And what's actually in the envelope he turns over is an old snuff tin.
  • Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus is frequently suspended from cases for various reasons throughout the series.
  • Subverted in Liz Williams' Detective Inspector Chen novel Snake Agent. About halfway through, Chen has a meeting with Da Chief, who tells him explicitly that he is not going to take Chen off the case, because he knows full well that Chen is the only person able and willing to handle it. (The scene also features Chen uttering the words "Go to Hell, sir" — as a literal and truthful response to the question "What do you intend to do next?")
  • Meyer Landsman of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is ordered to turn in his badge and gun as a result of his Cowboy Cop methods. When he still goes investigating the case, he uses his membership card in the titular union to justify his questioning.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Warrior Class, Terrill Samson asks Patrick McLanahan and David Luger to resign after they take part in a rescue mission against his orders.
  • The Isaacsons in The Alienist are on a "special assignment" leave from the NYPD.
  • In Rivers of London after Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale is shot, Grant is put on suspension and Tyburn moves quickly to try and get him fired and the magical department shut down. The Commissioner doing the firing becoming one of those possessed and turned into a rioter probably helped get this fixed.
  • The Dresden Files: Throughout the series, Murphy has been taking blows to her career in order to help Harry fight various monsters. She finally gets fired at the end of Changes. In the novella Aftermath and in Ghost Story, she keeps fighting monsters anyway.
  • China Mieville ("The City and The City") inverts this: You absolutely expect that the Inspector will clash with the ominous, all-powerful Breach and gets drawn off the case. Nope. He WANTS to hand over this political stinking case to Breach, but the crime was so carefully perpetrated that Breach, who is specialized only on Breaches, duh, has no rights to take over.
  • Brotherband has Hal and his Herons placed in this position when they lose the Andomal. Their badges are the only thing that they hand in, taking the other possessions that should have been handed in and using them to instead hunt down the Andomal.
  • In Apparatus Infernum, the powers that be want a quicker result than the protagonists are providing, and since Mikani isn't inclined to be taken off the case quietly, Gunwood orders him to take a few days off (upgraded to a week thanks to Mikani not knowing when to keep quiet). They aren't made to literally hand over their badges, but it plays out much the same.
  • Sano Ichiro undergoes the Samurai equivalent; after Sano refuses to stop investigating the shogun's nephew following two murders the future heir might have had some involvement in, the shogun takes away Sano's rank and holdings and bans him from court.
  • In Death: When Eve is called out for getting personally involved with Roarke in spite of the latter being a suspect of a murder she's investigating, she tells Whitney he'll have to take her badge if he pulls her off the case. He refuses. She declares that, if she turns out to be wrong about Roarke being innocent, her superiors won't have to ask for her badge.
  • Luke Skywalker does this in a sense to one of his Jedi Knights in the Dark Nest Trilogy. Alema Rar lost her twin sister to a Jedi-killing voxyn back in Star By Star and has now become deeply involved with the Killiks, and has pretty much fallen to the dark side. Luke takes her lightsaber from her and removes the crystal, disabling it. Alema insists she'll just build a new one, and Luke tells her he'll do the same to that one, and the one after.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Adam-12:
    • In the episode "X-Force," Malloy is suspended for four days after being accused of using excessive force on a suspect, a smart-mouthed child molester.
    • Several other episodes see rouge or otherwise bad or ill-suited police officers either get let go, voluntarily agree to turn in their badge or get washed out. A Season 3 episode saw an officer, a close friend of Malloy's, be involved in an extortion ring. A "Badge Heavy" cop turns in his things in Season 5 after evidence mounts of him using excessive force on suspects. A Season 6 episode, "The Rookie," saw a "supercop" get fired after it was clear he was using poor judgement in identifying suspects. And finally, a young rookie cop realizes — almost too late — that a stuttering impediment makes him ill-suited for the force in Season 7's "Pressure Point."
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Rosco and Enos have both been asked to turn in their badges for various reasons, often for simply irritating their boss, Boss Hogg. At least once, as Rosco handed the badge to Boss, he stuck Boss' hand, causing him to yelp in pain.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: A Season 5 episode saw Trivette be placed on administrative leave while the shooting of a child during a drug bust is investigated; a tough high-ranking officer suggests that Trivette carelessly fired his gun and shot the child, but in the end it becomes clear that the child was caught in the crossfire and that the bullet came from one of the criminal's handguns.
  • Discussed in an episode of Family Matters. A gang called the Dragons trashes Rachel's Place; Carl is in the middle of running an investigation when a beaten-up Eddie arrives and says the Dragons jumped him, too Carl is enraged and wants to retaliate with physical violence, but Steve points out that Carl would lose his badge when the Dragons inevitably claim police brutality against him. Then Steve volunteers to go into the Dragons' lair {{wearing a wire]].
  • Happens to Jack Bauer on 24 at least once a season, forcing him to "go rogue" for 2-3 episodes before CTU realizes he was right all along.
  • In the Angel episode "Reprise", Kate faces the review board at her Internal Affairs investigation, who lay out all of her unusual actions over the last several months including her now supposedly morbid fascination with unusual cases. Kate cannot explain the true circumstances, and the board concludes that she has become unstable due to her father's murder. They fire her and demand her badge and gun.
  • Det. Mike Cellucci is asked for his badge in Blood Ties S2 finale. Considering he's been threatened with it for two seasons and finally left a hostage crisis to battle Astaroth with Vicki and Henry, it's completely unsurprising.
  • Subverted in an episode of Cold Case, where Det. Valens goes overboard on a suspect after suffering a personal tragedy and is ordered to turn in his gun (but not his badge) to his boss. Not only was he not taken off the force (it was only a suggestion for a leave of absence that Valens mistook for a suspension), but he also doesn't go off on his own, during his leave.
  • Subverted on CSI, when Warrick Brown forces Detective Jim Brass to hand over his badge, but only so he can analyze it and find the evidence to clear Brass of the crime he was accused of, before Brass gets it back at the end of the episode.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    • Subverted in "Charges and Specs", the season 1 finale.
      Peralta: [Dramatically] Here's my gun and my badge!
      Holt: I don't need those. You're not suspended yet, you're on administrative leave.
      Peralta: You never let me do anything cool!
    • Subverted again in "Sabotage". After Peralta is framed for drug use, Holt actually does need his badge and gun - except rather than slam them down on his desk, Peralta has to go fill out forms and hand them to a property clerk.
      Holt: In the meantime, Peralta, you're suspended. I'm gonna need you to hand in your badge and gun.
      Peralta: All right, fine, you can have my badge and gun, but we're doing it in your office so I can slam them down on your desk and yell out, "The system stinks!"
      Holt: Actually, the procedure is to bring your gun and badge down to the equipment room on the second floor, fill out form 452-underscore J, hand said form in to the inventory clerk, and then receive a claim check through interoffice mail.
      Peralta: The system stinks!
      • When Peralta is later cleared, he demands he be dramatically given back his gun and badge, while Holt again points out that he needs to fill out the proper paperwork. Except now the entire precinct is on Peralta's side, so Holt just rolls his eyes and gives up his own gun and badge.
  • Parodied with Laser Tag in the pre-credits sequence of an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
  • Subverted in an episode of Joan of Arcadia: Will was being a loose cannon due to stress from recent events, and nearly shot a little girl; he's slowly talked into accepting the break from work. In a later episode, back on the force and fresh from a successful bust, he's interviewed by reporters who try to shove him into the McCloud role, which he gets an ego trip from until his coworkers call him on it.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson, though very rarely for either of them.
    • In one episode a Genre Savvy Stabler is told that the captain wants to see him, he gives his gun and badge to Fin, knowing he'll have to turn them in anyway before he leaves.
    • And after the Season 7 Finale, Law & Order: Criminal Intent's Bobby Goren. The scene is inverted in the season 8 premiere.
  • DCI Gene Hunt gets suspended in both Life On Mars accused of murdering a boxing promoter and Ashes to Ashes (2008) Gene and Ray attack a suspect and are reported by Alex, and Gene gets put on paid leave, which means, of course, that he was just being Gene!
    • Gene Hunt himself employs this trope in the seventh episode, when there is a death in police custody and he suspends Sam for being overzealous in his pursuit of the truth. The Stinger?
      Gene: You did a good investigation, Sam. I'm glad I let you.
    • He also suspends Alex in series 2, in a heartbreaking moment illustrating the deterioration of trust between them.
  • A variation in Midsomer Murders where Inspector Barnaby isn't kicked off the force but removed from a case that involves his wife. The inspector who is handling the case catches on when witnesses complain about being interviewed again, but fortunately is a colossal jerkass who is soundly beaten at the end.
  • New Tricks:
    • Subverted; although he's not technically a police officer anymore, when Gerry is briefly sidelined from an investigation owing to his possible old-time connection to a gangster who has become the focus of the investigation, he angrily offers his resignation, only for his boss (Sandra) to flatly refuse it; she doesn't want his 'badge', but at the same time she can't reasonably have him in the investigation.
    • Another time, after another chewing out from Sandra, Gerry offers her his badge yet again — except, of course, being a retired policeman, he no longer has a badge, so he has to make do with his Blockbuster video club card.
  • Subverted in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Shades of Grey", in which Jack O'Neill (a Military Maverick) is forced to retire after stealing a piece of advanced technology from the Tollan, and then proceeds to collaborate with Colonel Maybourne and his rogue NID team involved in similar activities. In the end, it is revealed that all of this was a ploy by O'Neill and General Hammond to expose the NID's mole in the SGC, who turned out to be Colonel Makepeace.
  • Occurs during the first series finale of Torchwood to Owen after he opened the Rift and caused what appeared to be irreparable damage. It was later subverted in the second series, once again with Owen. The subversion was that he was asked to turn in his badge, not because of the danger to others, but to himself - he had died and was brought back to life, and could no longer heal.
  • Fox Mulder (The X-Files), at least three times.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Danny Messer once in the second season, played relatively straight, although Danny didn't actually kill the guy - his DNA just ended up on a cigarette his brother swiped and tossed in a hole with the guy; and averted more recently in season 8.
    • Don Flack has his taken away temporarily when a suspect dies while he's interrogating him.
    • Stella Bonasera angrily turns hers into Mac during her stolen Greek antiquities arc because he wants her to let the proper authorities handle it and she refuses to back down. He gives it back to her once the case is solved.
  • The Mentalist:
    • Used with Wayne Rigsby, but quickly taken back once Patrick Jane realized that he had been hypnotized and wasn't responsible for his actions.
    • Used again in the second season with Lisbon after she was accused of murder and failed a polygraph test. And this time, she really had to turn it in.
    • The whole team went unregulated for an episode after breaking protocol, but they were allowed to carry on when Minelli looked the other way.
  • "Mr Monk Gets Fired": Monk accidentally deletes important police information, so the commissioner revokes his license. It's implied that Monk deleting important forensic information was really only an excuse for the commissioner to do this, and that he was actually taking Monk off the case in revenge for sending his friend (a corrupt cop) to jail.
    • In the Tie-In Novel Mr. Monk on the Couch, Stottlemeyer threatens to have former vice cop turned homicide Lieutenant Amy Devlin's badge after she comes very close to getting killed by an Ax-Crazy killer in a trap to catch said killer.
  • Bones:
    • On episode had Booth turn in his badge. The rest of the team realized that they could get him his job back if they solved the case they were working on, so his suspension only lasted one episode.
    • Hodgins also hands in his resignation after Booth finds out that the victim's wife is a good friend of his, and Hodgins failed to mention that. When the case is solved and the bad guy put away, Cam tears up the letter of resignation. This is despite the fact that Hodgins more or less owns the entire institute but does his work because he likes it.
  • NCIS:
    • Subverted. In "Jeopardy" Ziva appears to have caused the death of a prisoner in her custody and is stuck on desk work. She says there's only one thing to do, having "seen it on your American movies" and hands Gibbs her badge. Gibbs in unimpressed, gives her back the badge and tells Ziva that if she does that again, she'd better mean it. In "Twisted Sister" McGee hands in his badge to the Director because he refused to turn in his sister when she appeared to have committed a murder — Gibbs promptly Dope Slaps McGee for allowing the Director to manipulate him into resigning.
    • Played straight in the season 8 episode "Defiance"; after McGee and DiNozzo blunder a protection detail, director Vance demands that "if the situation is not rectified in 48 hours", he will have both their badges on his desk.
    • And in the season 10 finale "Damned If You Do", DiNozzo,McGee and Ziva all take off their badges and hand them over to clear Gibbs' name.
  • A humourous variation occurs in NCIS: Los Angeles. When they're about to go rogue to rescue Hettie, the team pre-emptively does this. One by one, they slap down their badges . . . until it reaches Deeks, the consultant from the LAPD who doesn't have a NCIS badge. He shrugs philosophically, comments "I would if I could," and follows them out.
  • Parodied. Kenneth does this in the workplace dramedy 30 Rock. Pete is justly alarmed that a page was carrying a gun...
  • Astoundingly, it takes The Good Guys ten episodes before this happens to Dan and Jack. Dan isn't bothered by it, since he considers suspension like a vacation. Naturally, he manages to bungle his way into getting them reinstated through an incredibly illegal chain of events.
  • On White Collar, fingerprints implying Peter planted evidence lead to an investigation and his boss asking for his badge and gun.
  • On Twin Peaks, this happens to Agent Cooper.
  • On S.W.A.T. (1975), the premiere episode plays with this as Robert Urich's cop character, in the hospital after surviving an attack that killed his partner, picks up his badge as if he wants to resign. However, he then simply requests if his badge could be renumbered to his deceased partner's; the SWAT leader agrees to make the arrangements.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Subverted in an episode, where Worf kills Duras, a member of the Klingon High Council in a duel. Granted, Duras has just killed the mother of Worf's child (aboard the Enterprise, no less), but this, at the very least, should have cost him his commission. The only thing that saves him is the fact that the Klingon High Council considers the matter closed (that and the fact that they don't even want to acknowledge Worf's existence after his discommendation). Picard also points out that a letter of admonishment will be appended to his service record, so Worf's promotion prospects were pretty dire until the Dominion War came around.
  • In the pilot of Due South, Fraser turns in his own badge, after he is denied a transfer to the consulate in Chicago so that he could coordinate with the Chicago Police Department to ensure that they are investigating the suspect in his father's murder. Having seen that he intends to go to Chicago whether they let him go officially or not, they decide to give him the transfer (thus, he keeps the badge after all.)
  • In Dollhouse, Agent Paul Ballard has to hand in his badge and gun because the Dollhouse sets him up since he's too close to the truth.
  • In the Castle episode "Always", Gates demands this of Esposito and Beckett, and Beckett decides to resign entirely.
  • Discussed and defied in Bron|Broen — when it's suggested that Martin be taken off the case now that It's Personal, he matter-of-factly announces that he'd just keep investigating as a civilian. They keep him on.
  • In the third season of The Joe Schmo Show, The Full Bounty, those evicted are told "Turn in your badge and your gun."
  • On Community a blistering Turn In Your Badge speech is given by Abed, of all people, to Shirley and Annie who are campus security for the day and are trying to out-loose cannon each other. After they repeatedly fail, Dean Pelton chews them out, and Abed starts feeding him lines to make him emulate this trope. When he gets frustrated by Abed's interruptions, Abed takes over and does a full parody of this trope.
  • After the events of the Criminal Minds episode "Doubt", Erin Strauss sees enough to ask this of Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner. Hotch is officially suspended for two weeks, though Strauss tells him, "if it were up to me, you wouldn't get these (his badge and his gun) back".
  • Downplayed for Detective Carter between seasons two and three of Person of Interest. When an assassination attempt by the Dirty Cop organization HR in the season two finale fails (Carter was quicker on the trigger than her assailant), the HR cop in charge improvises, pocketing the assassin's gun to make it look to Internal Affairs like she shot an unarmed man. By the season 3 premiere, Carter's been busted down to patrol officer.
  • In Murdoch Mysteries, Chief Constable Giles dismisses both Murdoch and Brackenreid for their efforts to clear Julia of her estranged husband's murder. They set up shop in Brackenreid's dining room and are joined by Crabtree to continue their investigation.
  • The Indian Detective: Doug is suspended from the Toronto Police Service for a month. His partner Robyn also gets a week-long one.
    • Meanwhile, it's implied this is at least one thing Deputy Commissioner Ruby Singh could do to Inspector Devo if he attempts to help Priya build a case against Gopal Chandekar.
  • Luke Cage (2016):
    • Captain Audrey, Misty Knight's supervisor in the first part of season 1, gets the boot from the 29th precinct after Detective Scarfe's death and it coming to light that he was corrupt under her watch.
    • Misty is forced to temporarily give up her gun and shield for a day of counseling with a department shrink on Inspector Ridley's orders after she snaps and assaults Claire in an interrogation room.
  • Daredevil (2015). Subverted when FBI agent Nadeem tells his superior Tammy Hattley and an agent of Internal Affairs that he has allowed himself to be manipulated by Fisk. Hattley places Nadeem under suspension and orders him to hand over his badge and gun. She uses the latter to shoot the OPR agent and frame Nadeem for the murder. She then gives Nadeem his badge back, as every other agent on Fisk's protection detail has already been compromised in a similar fashion.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: Frank Pembleton agrees to help a Congressman cover up a homosexual liaison, but after the press gets wind of it and the Baltimore PD's top officials leave him hanging, he quits in disgust. He soon returns to duty and reluctantly testifies that the cover-up was his idea, in order to save the department any further embarrassment. At the end of Season 6, he hands in his badge for good after his partner is shot and one of the other detectives on the shift admits his role in killing a local drug lord.
  • In the Miami Vice finale "Freefall," federal agent Andrew Baker threatens to get Crockett and Tubbs kicked off the force for killing the deposed dictator of a Banana Republic who was in league with corrupt government officials. The two respond by throwing their badges on the ground, completely burned out from the job and disgusted by the corruption they've seen, despite Castillo's pleas for them to reconsider.
  • In the Future Cop episode "The Mad Mad Bomber," Haven inaccurately predicts the location of a bombing, resulting in the unnecessary evacuation of a crowded sports arena. Afterward, Captain Skaggs declares him faulty, takes his badge and gun, and sends him back to the lab to be dismantled.
  • Defiance: Played with. Nolan is the Lawkeeper, appointed by the current mayor Amanda Rosewater. Datak Tar, who is running against her, broadcasts a racist rant Nolan gave twenty years ago when he was still with the Earth Republic, in order to discredit Amanda. Nolan, realizing that this means Datak is in much deeper with the E-Rep than expected and that there will be terrible consequences if he is elected, immediately turns in his badge and refuses to hear another word of it.
    Amanda: I'm not letting you quit, Nolan.
    Nolan: You're right, you're not; you're firing me. Tell them that I'm an impetuous hothead—great against the Volge, but not fit to serve as Lawkeeper.
  • Hightown:
    • Jackie is suspended after she gets into a car accident while drunk. If she can't get the charges reduced, a felony conviction will cost her the job permamenently.
    • Ray's captain suspends him after it turns out that he's involved with his informant, tainting the investigation into Frankie Cuevas Sr.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In the Dick Tracy story where Big Boy Caprice put a million dollar open murder contract on Tracy's head, Chief Patton orders Tracy suspended (presumably with pay) from duty until that case is solved considering that having him on duty would attract murder attempts that would also endanger his colleagues. Tracy is completely against this and Sam Catchem offers the compromise of increasing the security around Tracy, who will be confined to desk duty in the meantime, while the detectives work on stopping the contract.

    Video Games 
  • Streets of Rage. What little the story has is about a city being ran amok with a nebulous Crime Syndicate that even the police force has been corrupted. At the very least, there are three cops that won't stand for this bullshit so they quit the police force and decided that the best to solution is to enter the streets of rage and starts whooping the asses of the criminals, from the lowest of mooks to the head honcho of the syndicate. Who are they? Axel Stone, Adam Hunter and Blaze Fielding. Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.
  • A non-police example in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2: Edgeworth surrenders his Prosecutor's Badge rather than let the (corrupt) head of the body that governs prosecutors take him off his current case.
  • A flashback in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords shows the Jedi Council commanding the Jedi Exile (canonically a woman named Meetra Surik) to turn in her lightsaber for acts she committed while fighting under Revan in the war with the Mandalorians. The Exile defiantly stabs her lightsaber into a stone plinth in the center of the chamber before storming out.

  • Played with in a long-running cop show parody on Checkerboard Nightmare. The trope is so routine that when the chief pulls it more often than usual, the title character protests that "we've already turned in our week's supply of badges!"
  • In Darths & Droids, Obi-Wan and Anakin get suspended from the Jedi Order after they do a spectacularly bad job protecting the Senator and apprehending the assassin. The Genre Savvy players think that this means they're on the right track, since this always happens to the Cowboy Cop just before they save the day in the movies.

    Western Animation 
  • The Angry Beavers, "Dagski and Norb" (parodying Starsky & Hutch). The titular cops report to their superior about seeing a car that looked just like theirs... and end up turning in their badges anyhow because there was a report about "something bad going down" and their car being seen leaving the scene of the crime.
  • Happens to Montoya in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "P.O.V.". (Bullock and an incidental character, Wilkes, are also forced to turn in their badges, but only Montoya keeps working on the case.)
  • In Family Guy The Movie, Tom Tucker is fired from the news station and had to give back all of his station items, including his mustache.
  • In at least one episode of Fillmore!, the title character has to turn in his Safety Patrol sash.
  • The second variation of this trope happened with Elisa on Gargoyles. Turns out she was going undercover to catch Dracon.
  • Done on The Simpsons when Apu is fired from the Kwik-E-Mart. He is told to hand in his pricing gun (which he keeps in a shoulder holster) and his backup (kept in an ankle holster).
    • In one episode, Ned Flanders became a Bounty Hunter. When he quit, he tried to play the trope but then realized there wasn't anything he had to give back. (Which is odd, considering Ned and Homer were seen using tasers. Was Homer the only one to be given one?)
    • Subverted in one of the McBain clips — Da Chief reads our Cowboy Cop his List of Transgressions, and just as he starts to threaten that "You're outta here!", McBain picks him up and throws him through a window. ("That makes two of us.")
    • During the ending credits of "Sky Police", Chief Wiggum turns in his badge, his gun and the jetpack. The last item smashes Mayor Quimby.
  • Parodied in South Park when Mr. Garrison is fired.
    Mr. Garrison: I suppose you'll be wanting my badge and gun...
    Chairman: Mr. Garrison, most teachers do not carry a gun!
    Mr. Garrison: Oh, sorry. So I can keep it then?
  • Grizzlikov, the Obstructive Bureaucrat supreme of SHUSH, ends up getting let go by Da Chief J Gander Hooter, in favour of a squad trained and inspired by Costumed Crimefighter (and title character) Darkwing Duck in one episode. It's the variant, as mentioned above; he gets recruited by the villains and works as The Mole to sabotage their big design, all according to Hooter's plan.
  • In the Bonkers episode "Quibbling Rivalry," Bonkers meets Miranda's sister, Shirley Wright. During one scene, because of the damage caused when Shirley filmed them doing their jobs, Bonker phones her news station and announces on live television that he will turn in his badge, despite Miranda's pleas that he not do it. Later in the episode, however, Bonkers and Miranada rescue an old lady and her cat, and Shirley's praise of him causes Bonkers to change his mind about resigning. (This is a harsh blow for Francis, who desperately wants Bonkers out of the department.)
  • Inverted on Superman: The Animated Series. Da Chief Maggie Sawyer remarks that if she had a nickel for every time Cowboy Cop Dan Turpin turned in his badge of his own volition, she'd be richer than Lex Luthor.
  • Danger Mouse: In "The Invasion of Colonel K," the Colonel fires Danger Mouse and Penfold, but that's only because Baron Greenback (reduced to microscopic size) has entered his brain and is telling the Colonel what to say.
    • "Demons Aren't Dull" has DM attempting to quit after he is humiliated on a "This Is Your Life" show showcasing his shortcomings. The show was secretly staged by Baron Greenback.
  • April O'Neil's news station boss occasionally threatened to "have your press card!" on the '90s animated version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Chronicles of Meap", The Stinger for the episode features a mock trailer for a sequel episode, including a scene with Major Monogram furiously telling Perry the Platypus "I want your hat on my desk!"
  • Futurama: Professor Farnsworth used this on Leela to demand her to give back stuff he didn't give her in the first place, specifically the "captain's jacket," in fact an unremarkable woman's jacket that she's owned since well before she joined the crew (which is subsequently worn by Bender and then Fry when each takes over as captain).
  • In Metalocalypse, Murderface is placed on band suspension because the others are tired of dealing with his crap. Murderface tries to make it sound cooler by comparing himself to a badass cop who crossed the line and has to turn in his gun and badge. Ofdenson then informs that he actually does need to turn in his badge. Apparently he was given one when the band was formed, but he lost it.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "Prince Adam no More", when Skeletor banished Beast-Man from Snake Mountain, he told Beast-Man to turn in his whip and his seat at their meeting room. (Skeletor had the second part done by destroying said seat)
  • After several missions gone wrong, Lin Beifong from The Legend of Korra resigns as Chief of Police so she can fight Amon and his Equalists on her own terms.
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Bruce tells Terry to give back the Batsuit, gruffly trying to stop him from going after the Joker and ending up dead, or worse, ending up like Tim Drake.
  • The Dysfunction Junction crew of the Combining Mecha Titan Maximum has this happen to them when the villain releases a sex tape of one of them. Since the team was especially unruly, their Da Chief, Admiral Bitchface, enjoys this more than he should.
    Palmer: You're having us reassigned???
    Admiral Bitchface: Did I say reassigned? I meant decomissioned. [To his men] I want these ships dismantled piece by piece, melted down, and turned into a statue of my balls in Palmer's mouth.
  • Parodied in The Powerpuff Girls, where a lazy and corrupt cop is called to turn in his equipment. He turns in his badge, then his sunglasses. When he tries to hand in his gun, Da Chief refuses, telling him to keep it as a souvenir.

     Real Life 
This is actually a common practice after any incident where a law enforcement officer has had to discharge his/her firearm in the line of duty, particularly if lethal force was involved. The officer submits a detailed report of the incident, then turns in their badge and gun for the duration of the review process. When they are cleared to return to work, they get them back.


Video Example(s):


Gun and Badge

Video montage of movie cops turning in their badges.

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Main / TurnInYourBadge