Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 Fictional Cops We Wish Were Real

10 Fictional Cops We Wish Were Real

[Editors Note: Jay Smith, writer for, sent me this article they posted and offered to allow it be run here. I know there are other fictional cops we could add to this list, but these are great picks and great comments. Thought you might enjoy.]
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With all the shows and movies focusing on police these days, it’s hard to find any unique or likable cop characters. Many seem to be cast from the same mold, making it hard to connect to them or emotionally invest in their characters. But there is a handful of fictional cops who know it is their duty to protect, serve, and entertain. Whether we love them for their competency or for their hilarious mistakes, here are 10 police characters that we wish were real.
  1. Larvelle Jones from Police Academy

    One of the most important skills for a police officer to have is the ability to produce awesome sound effects with his mouth, and Larvelle Jones is a master. He should’ve been able to skip the police academy altogether. He uses this talent to not only annoy his authorities but to intimidate suspects and entertain the public (or make them flee in terror depending on the circumstances). From gunshots to helicopters to harmonicas, Jones can do it all, and he’d make a very effective officer in the real world since most of us would probably be much more willing to cooperate with a human beatbox than a normal cop.
  2. Officer Michaels and Officer Slater from Superbad

    Officer Michaels and his partner Officer Slater would probably be the last police officers you would want protecting you, but the only ones you would want busting you at a party. They attempt to do their jobs sometimes, and if there was a person in danger, they would probably help, but for the most part, these guys are just laid-back idiots. It’s nice, though, to see cops relating to young people and helping one guy have the best night of his life. Maybe it’s a little extreme to set your own police car on fire, but that just keeps criminals from doing it later.
  3. Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show

    When it comes to small-town deputies, Barney Fife is as tough as they come. Between locking up alcoholics in one of Mayberry’s two jail cells and wooing Thelma Lou, Barney still found plenty of time to inadvertently foil criminals’ plans and take care of a goat full of dynamite. He may not be the biggest or smartest policeman to walk a beat, but he helped keep Mayberry one of the safest TV towns. Every city could benefit from a big-hearted, strong-willed deputy like Barney Fife who will work day and night to nip crime in the bud.
  4. William "Bunk" Moreland from The Wire

    William "Bunk" Moreland, a homicide detective in the acclaimed series, The Wire, is the kind of cop you want patrolling your city. As a character, he’s believable at his weakest, displaying faults like alcohol abuse and infidelity, but he’s amazing at his best. Bunk’s a hard worker who always tries to do the right thing and understands the community he’s protecting. He can get punk kids to talk, relate to informants, and use his wit to make you love him. He also provides consistency in the homicide department throughout the series, making you trust your own police force a little bit more. It’s all in the line of duty.
  5. Chief Clancy Wiggum from The Simpsons

    Growing up, Chief Wiggum was always the cop in cops and robbers, was a hall monitor, and maybe a part-time security guard. That’s the kind of dedication we’d like to see in our real-life police forces. Sure, he’s a little pudgy and mostly incompetent, but he’s always there when Springfield needs him, even if he’s not entirely helpful. He also has a couple heroic moments under his extra long belt: solving the attempted murder of Mr. Burns and saving the Simpson family from Sideshow Bob. Even though he’s quick to throw the rule book out the window, gets overly emotional about his fellow cops, and eats his weight in donuts, Chief Wiggum is responsible for Springfield being an undeniably happy place to live.
  6. Joe Friday from Dragnet

    Joe Friday was such an excellent cop, the actor who played him was buried with full police honors when he died. Friday was a no-nonsense detective with the Los Angeles police department who went about his job, boring paperwork and patrols included, with pride. He’s about as close to a real policeman as you can get on TV (or radio or the movies) because the show’s creators were careful to show every step of real LAPD cases, though most cops today can’t talk as fast as he does. Friday never revealed too much about his personal life, was never overacted, and never failed to earn respect for those in his line of work. And while we wish Joe Friday himself were real, it’s likely that we have someone almost exactly like him in our own police departments.
  7. Inspector Gadget from Inspector Gadget

    If there’s anything better than a cyborg, it’s a cyborg policeman. Inspector Gadget isn’t your typical cyborg or your typical policeman, but every child is amazed by his endless supply of high-tech tools that stay hidden beneath his hat and trench coat. He wasn’t exactly the sharpest investigator on the force, but he was brave enough to face the frightening Doctor Claw each week. It may be his niece Penny that really saves the day, but Inspector Gadget is the policeman we always tuned in to see. In real life, the police department might not hire him, but he could at least tour the country showing off his built-in helicopter and other gadgets, or make a really entertaining contestant on a reality show.
  8. Marge Gunderson in Fargo

    With a sweet Minnesota accent and a seven-month pregnant belly, Marge Gunderson is one of the most likable female cops of all time. As she investigates three murders (and those that follow) in her jurisdiction, she is incredibly competent and gets the job done by being polite and intelligent, rather than hard and unapproachable like many female police officers are portrayed. Even if the criminals hadn’t been bumbling idiots, it’s clear that Gunderson would’ve been hot on their trail. If we need role models for our little girls, we should point them toward Marge Gunderson, a strong, working woman with a husband, baby on the way and impeccable manners.
  9. John Kimble from Kindergarten Cop

    Before Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor, he was a policeman (and Danny DeVito’s twin and a pregnant man, but that’s beside the point). But he wasn’t just any policeman; he was an undercover cop who became a teacher and had a ferret who helped save the day. Detective John Kimble knows how to keep both criminals and kindergarten students in line, and he does it all with his tough but lovable accent. Even though he assaults a kid’s father and starts a relationship with a woman who is both a fellow teacher and a witness in his case, most people would agree that they would feel safer if he was protecting their children.
  10. Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order

    In the series that spawned a thousand similar series, Lennie Briscoe is the man that works the streets and makes sure that the bad guys end up behind bars. Briscoe always has some wisecrack to make and gets along well with his coworkers, but isn’t afraid to take a stand for what he believes. During his 12 seasons on the show, he saw countless murderers sentenced to prison time and helped the audience see how the law really works. For many, Briscoe is the way we envision all homicide detectives, or at least how we would want them to be.

1 comment:

  1. Great job; loved this post! Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry also gets my vote :)