10 Movie Cops More Corrupt Than Woody Harrelson in Rampart

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 10 2012 5:29 PM

Fact-Checking Rampart: Is This Really “the Most Corrupt Cop” in Movie History?

Official poster for Rampart

Both the poster and the trailer for the crime drama Rampart, out today, loudly herald its LAPD antihero as “the most corrupt cop you’ve ever seen on screen.” The marketing gimmick is effective, just like the heavy metal guitars the trailer employs to make even taking a dip in the swimming pool seem thrillingly sinister. But the marketers could also use some perspective.

The corruptness of Hollywood’s most corrupt cops cannot be underestimated. Woody Harrelson’s Officer Dave Brown is indeed a pretty bad and deeply troubled dude. He’s racist, ill-tempered, and a womanizer. But his corruption is a case of mild dyspepsia compared to the rabid rampages that are S.O.P. for many other movie cops.


Hollywood likes its cops over the top. Several actors have given their most scenery-chewing performances as police officers (usually as members of the LAPD, the local force for most moviemakers, and a department familiar with real-life scandal itself). They plant evidence, take out other cops that get in the way, and shoot at dead gangsters because “their souls are still dancing.”

Here are 10 cops more corrupt than Harrelson’s Dave Brown, along with an internal affairs-style report on the estimable misdeeds of each. Eat your heart out, Officer Brown.


Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 4:33 PM Walmart Is Killing the Rest of Corporate America in Solar Power Adoption
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.