Monday, September 1, 2014

Good Cop, Bad Cop!

The Departed is a compelling movie about two men fighting for different sides of the law. Both are cops, but one is a mole for the police force, and the other is a mole for the mob. Each man is trying to uncover the true identity of the other, while one endeavors to protect himself, and the other endeavors to protect society at large. This movie depicts two fundamental stereotypes about law and crime and also contradicts these stereotypes. The Departed shows that some police officers are corrupt and some criminals serve the greater good.

As seen in places around our country like Ferguson, Missouri, the police sometimes do not act for the benefit of the people. The police represent the idea of the "Good Samaritan" type who watches out for others and protects the interests of the public. However, in The Departed a police officer, played by Matt Damon, is an informant for the infamous mob boss Frank Costello. Instead of using his position to protect the public he pursues his own self interest. Since he is actually protecting an enemy of the public he is using his position to gain things for himself. The movie demonstrates that even though he is a police officer, that doesn't exempt him from working for his own self interest, which breaks the stereotype that those there to protect us will actually do so.

The other police officer in the movie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, infiltrates the same Irish gang that the other cop works for. To do this he must serve time and be branded a criminal, to prove himself to the boss. In his life as a criminal, he is considered as someone who looks out for only himself. The same is true for the other men in the "gang." For most criminals this is exactly how they are, but just as some cops are bad, some criminals are good. Criminals are typically branded wrong doers for their entire life because of one bad act in the eyes of the law. The Departed breaks this stereotype by showing that the character played by Leonardo Dicaprio works to help others rather then himself. He may be a cop, but his ties to the force quickly slip away.  He may be a criminal, but he never loses sight of the reason he joined the mob in the first place as he continues to work for the greater good.

The Departed is a movie that challenges stereotypes that are rooted in our society. It reflects that because something seems to be a certain way does not make it so. These stereotypes are important to discuss because they implicate events in our country like Ferguson, Missouri. The Departed demonstrates that in life, people are not necessarily what they appear to be.


  1. I enjoyed this article, I like the relevance this holds to current events. It was interesting how it didn't only touch on cop stereotypes but also the nature of people from such opposing walks of life.

  2. I agree that people can be selfish. I also agree with the idea that the phrase "to protect and serve" may not always be true in all situations, regardless of whether or not there is an undercover mobster at your local police station.

  3. I agree that often times people are not what they appear to be. This can have disastrous effects, as in the end of this movie, as well as in real life when those who are thought of as stereotypical criminals get their lives cut short because of someone who can't see the truth.

  4. I watched this movie and thought the same thing. It really shows that that your motives don't always depend on your position in society, but instead on who you are as a person and your background. One of the best cop movies that also had a profound message about society.