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Quotes / Cowboy Cop

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    Film — Live-Action 
When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher's knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn't out collecting for the Red Cross.
Harry Callahan (explaining his reasons for gunning down an Attempted Rapist), Dirty Harry

Spock: I would cite regulation, but I know you will simply ignore it.
Kirk: See? We are getting to know each other.

Frank Drebin: When I see 5 weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards, that's my policy.
The Mayor: That was a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, you moron!
The Naked Gun (this is a direct parody of the Dirty Harry quote above)

Sgt. Turner: Sergeant Nicholas Angel. When did you start?
Angel: Tomorrow.
Turner: Well, I see you've already arrested the whole village.

Joe Friday: (jotting down notes during a car chase) "Reckless endangerment of human life...willful disregard for private property...failure to signal for a safe lane change..."
Pep Streebeck: He's really racking up the violations, huh?
Joe Friday: Not him! YOU!

Are you a good cop, hotshot? Why, sure you are. You gotta be some kind of great cop, coming in here all by yourself.
Clarence Boddicker, RoboCop (1987)

You wanna get Capone? Here's how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That's the Chicago way; and that's how you get Capone!
Malone, The Untouchables

Hans Gruber: Do you really think you stand a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?
John McClane: Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.

Tony: You won't hurt me.
John McClane: Oh, yeah? Why not?
Tony: Because you're a policeman. There are rules for policemen.
John: Yeah. That's what my captain keeps telling me. *cue Pistol-Whipping*

Not everything can be solved with your strategy of shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more, and then when everybody's dead, maybe think about asking a question or two.
President Ulysses Grant, Wild Wild West

Sheriff Rawlins: Okay boys, gather around here and listen up. We're shuttin' it down. Wyatt Earp's here to mop up!
Deputy Marshal Gerard: That's funny. Wyatt Earp.

TRAXX is a mercenary ex-cop who knows nothing about the law, but knows everything about justice.
— Actual box description of TRAXX

Inspector Todd: You wanna play some fuckin' bull-shit cowboy cop, you do it in somebody else's precinct!
Detective Axel Foley: Don't you wanna hear my side of the story?
Inspector Todd: What the FUCK is your side of the story?
[Foley thinks and comes up with nothing.]
Detective Axel Foley: Let's hear your side of the story.
Inspector Todd: Hey, Foley. I'm not gonna take any more of your shit. Y'all have any idea how much this STUNT of yours is gonna cost this city?
Detective Axel Foley: I don't think cost is the issue here, sir. I think the issue should be my blatant disregard for proper procedure.
Inspector Todd: You damn right, wiseass!

"I'm telling these motherfuckers that if they continue killing our children to make their precious millions that they deposit in their secret Swiss bank accounts, counselor, before your last suit even gets off the court clerk's desk, I'll have their stinking bodies in garbage bags and ship them back to Japan for fertilizer. Got it?"
Joe Marshall, Samurai Cop

Captain Healy: Dammit, Spartan. I'm sick and tired of this "Demolition Man" shit! You're not supposed to come down here, you're not supposed to apprehend Simon Phoenix single-handedly, and you're not supposed to blow anything up!
John Spartan: It wasn't me this time, he dumped the gas and had the placed rigged to blow.
Healy: Yeah right, and you had nothing to do with it. I know you've been trying to nail this psycho for 2 years. But try to remember a little thing like official police procedure. Now where are the hostages?

"This maniac should be wearing a number, not a badge."
Salvano on Nico Toscani, Above the Law (1988)

Vetinari: Commander, I always used to consider that you had a definite anti-authoritarian streak in you.Vimes: Sir?Vetinari: It seems that you have managed to retain this even though you are authority.Vimes: Sir?Vetinari: That’s practically zen.

    Live-Action TV 
Lustig: (pries badge pin out of his face) Y-you cannot do this!
Gunter: I can do whatever I want! I am a cop!! With massive issues!!

Patterson: Put leash on this guy, alright!?
Det. Briscoe: We gave up; he keeps chewing through them.
Law & Order, "Narcosis"

Fletcher "The Icepick" Nix: Nice Hat. There much call for cowboys these days?
Deputy Marshal Givens: You'd be surprised.
Justified: "The Gunfighter"

Sisko: Mister Odo, you're not going to take the law into your own hands.
Odo: The "law"? Laws change depending on who's making them. Cardassians one day, Federation the next. But justice is justice.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "A Man Alone"

Ivan: I know you better than your mother. Your sense of 'honor and fair play.' Oh, you could shoot me — if I was armed and coming after you. But like this, Thomas? Never. Goodbye, Thomas. Do svidaniya.
Magnum: ...Ivan?
Ivan: (turns around) Yes?
Magnum: Did you see the sun rise this morning?
Ivan: Yes. Why? (get shot)

I've reached a point, Detective Sydnor, where I no longer have the time or the patience to address myself to the needs of the system in which we work... When they took us off Marlo this last time, when they said they couldn't pay for further investigation, I regarded that decision as illegitimate and so I'm responding in kind. I'm gonna press a case against Marlo Stanfield without regard to the usual rules. I'm running an illegal wiretap on Marlo Stanfield's cellphone. If you have a problem with this, I understand completely and I urge you to get as far fucking away from me as you can.
Lester Freamon, The Wire season 5

Wences: This isn't a regular bust. You're not coppers.
Cowley: No, we're worse. Much worse.

Kira: (being recalled to Bajor) You break the rules, you pay.
Odo: (incredulous laugh) Wait a minute, I want to be sure I heard that correctly. Because it doesn't sound like the Kira Nerys who has made a career out of breaking the rules.
Kira: Well, I guess I broke one too many.
Odo: Major, you've been breaking one too many for fourteen-and-a-half-years. Cardassian rules, Bajoran rules, Federation rules, they're all meaningless to you! Because you have a personal code that's always mattered more. And, I'm sorry to say, you're in slim company.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "The Circle"

    Tabletop Games 
No doubt the arbiters would put you away, after all the documents are signed. But I will have justice now!
Alovnek, Boros guildmage, Condemn, Magic: The Gathering

    Video Games 
Howdy-ho, folks. I'm Sheriff Meyers. Be good, or I'll shoot you dead.
Sheriff Meyers, Fallout: New Vegas

Collecting evidence had gotten old a few hundred bullets back.

You're out of the military now, Reg. This is police work. Sometimes you gotta pick which orders you're gonna follow. And other times, you gotta make your own orders.
Det. Bennett, Resonance

You got the right idea. Cap the bastards before the lawyers get involved.
UNATCO Guard, Deus Ex

Kamina: Voted "loosest cannon" upon graduating the academy... holder of the entire police force's highest arrest record, wrongful OR otherwise... and the only officer in the entire department who's EVER caused more collateral damage than our budget could cover... the legendary lieutenant detective of the GPD's celebrated vice division... the incomparable supercop, KAMINA!! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM!?
Whore: D-dude, like... NONE of that stuff is anything to be proud of.

    Web Animation 
As for the actual plot, well why don't you fill in the blanks yourself? You're a cop on the mantlepiece, you've been mistaken for a sloth you didn't commit, and now you're out for a kebab and to clear your schedule...What confuses me, though, is that even after you've been wrongly accused and are on the run, you can still arrest people. In fact when the evil private cops show up to arrest you, you can arrest them back! What organisation is going to come around and pick those guys up? The Criminal Police from opposite land who give talks to high school kids on how drugs are really great and everyone should take them?

Doctor: I'm sorry. We had to surgically remove your lose cannon on the edge.
Cop: Can I at least punch my superiors?
Doctor: Only if we find a donor, otherwise it's by the book from now on.

    Web Original 
Ever since the Dick Tracy reboot, we’ve been forced to contemplate whether it’s been true to the spirit of the strip’s history, and today we have our answer. The Dick Tracy I know would never follow up 'Spike Jr.’s different from most' with anything other than 'and that makes him a dangerous subversive who must be neutralized.'

Adam-12 may have been the first series to realistically document the working lives of regular beat cops (in that clipped, highly stylized, über-authoritarian Jack Webb style I adore), but after seven years viewers were ready to move on. It was simply a matter of changing times and tastes. Webb's and Cinader's positive, low-key, low-violence, and essentially reassuring view of policing in America certainly found favor with those viewers who sat in a daze in front of their tubes in 1968, wondering if American society was going to go down in flames. However, by 1974-1975, network television was already beginning to embrace that resulting cynicism and more aggressive outlook of our changed society, with gritty, morally complex shows like Kojak and particularly Police Story, making Adam-12 look more simplistic by comparison (a relative comparison, to be sure, since Police Story's 'realism' isn't really any more 'real' than Webb's―TV romanticizes and fictionalizes everything it touches by its very own nature).
Paul Mavis on Adam-12

Hilariously Torchwood turns up in the first scene in their gigantic SUV with big, bold music wearing ray bans and long flowing jackets and parading up to the police in slow motion. I have honestly never seen a more ridiculous, overblown, cartoon bunch of regulars in my entire life. How the actors took this at all seriously is beyond me. I am almost willing to bet that they thought they would wind up coming across as the ultimate expression of cool...until the rushes started coming in.

The central moral question of Dirty Harry — should we be rooting for this guy — is by necessity answered in the affirmative somewhere on the road to Dirty Harry Part Five, more properly called The Dead Pool. That this answer is alarmingly depressing is no matter in the face of a $235,000,000 film franchise.

Travolta prevents the plane from taking off and forces Cage to crash into a warehouse made entirely from fireworks, apparently. If you seriously think, even for a second, that a real law enforcement agent would actually try a stunt like that then you're hugely misinformed about how much money they make.

After kicking China's largest gunless criminal organization to death, supercop Kevin Chan finds himself at the top of a mall watching the final villain escape four floors below. Instead of shouting down for any of the hundreds of onlookers to grab the elderly, unarmed man, Jackie leaps onto a metal pole covered in lights and explodes down it, shattering through the mall's very, very last unbroken pane of glass. Then, without a camera cut, he climbs from the ruins of a sales kiosk to hold a shard of glass against the man's neck. Because when you make an arrest in Hong Kong, the only Miranda right you give the perp is the right to shit his pants.

The nation is full of guys in uniform overtly shooting rocket launchers into private residences, and the police have wasted their time tracking down the only guy doing anything about it? I bet it was real easy to find him with your vantage point behind that desk, sitting on four boxes of Krispy Kremes, eh chief? Can't you see he gets results?? What about the rights of that little girl?? Anyway, Chuck doesn't even listen. He just keeps flippin' channels like El Tubbo wasn't even there reading him the riot act. Awesome."

Matt: Fargo is a bit of a soft-hearted fellow. He doesn’t necessarily approve of Dredd’s recent murders, so he knocks him down to the academy two days a week to teach ethics. I get he’s trying to teach Dredd a lesson, but really that seems more like a strategy to end up with some especially trigger-happy cadets.
Chris: I kind of wish that had been the plot of the movie, and we ended up with Judge Dredd in front of a crowd of Judge Teens going “I came here to teach you… but you ended up… teaching me.” Wouldn’t have been worse than what we got.
— Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on Judge Dredd (1995)

There’s some nice gunplay throughout, but the real standout is a climactic one-on-one fight to the death between Riggs and Mr. Joshua (Busey). It’s a real showstopper of a fight, though I have my doubts the LAPD would just stand around and let one of their own beat the shit out of... Wait, never mind.

He's a detective that breaks all the rules. She's an officer consumed with revenge. Together, they're....fired. They're awful cops.
Twitter user Derek Lawler

    Web Video 
So they take me to Internal Affairs, but I punch Internal Affairs in the face. They can't take me off the case. I never get taken off the case! (beat) So that's when they take me off the case. The Captain's like, "Give me your badge!", so I throw the badge in the urinal. If it were up to me, the scene would've ended with me taking a shit on it, too, and then my shit would become a fist and knock him out. And then I'd follow it up with, 'That's one tough shit', or, 'Shit happens, Captain.'
Allison Pregler, "Steven Seagal Explains The Glimmer Man"

    Western Animation 
Da Chief: You busted up that crack house pretty bad, McGarnicle. Did you really have to break so much furniture?
McGarnicle: You tell me, chief. You had a pretty good view from behind your desk.
Da Chief: You're off the case, McGarnicle!
McGarnicle: You're off your case, chief.
Da Chief: [Bewildered] What does that mean, exactly?
Lisa: Dad, sit down.

McBain: I can't avenge my partner's death with this peashooter.
Da Chief: I don't wanna hear it, McBain. Tha- that cannon of yours is against regulations! In this department, we go by the book!
(using said cannon, McBain shoots a massive hole into the thick book of police regulations Da Chief is holding, as well as the wall behind it)
McBain: Bye, book.

    Real Life 
There’s a real fascist strain in the American psyche...He appeals to the vigilante, the lonely Gary Cooper type out there trying to defend the honor of womanhood and property against hoodlums. It has always been part of the American myth, yet it’s a fascist notion, because it goes against the whole idea of law and order and due process.
Gore Vidal (1986)

He thinks that crooks coming out of retirement is a twist, a new idea. Whatever next? How about a drama involving a policeman who solves crimes, but he's a maverick who doesn't go by the book.


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