ByDustin Hucks, writer at
Former Editor-in-Chief at Moviepilot, butt aficionado
Dustin Hucks

BBC America's Copper tells the tale of Kevin Corcoran, an Irish-American police officer navigating the dangers of 1860s New York in the infamous Five Points neighborhood. It's an excellent original series with an intriguing premise, and an even more intriguing lead.

In homage to unique and interesting enforcers of law on the big and small screen, below we list five of our favorite cops in television and cinema. A note, they're not all exactly good guys.


He was absolutely ruthless, a drug, adrenaline, and sex addict, prone to wild mood swings, and fascinating to watch. Bad Lieutenant was a clinic in what it meant to be a crooked cop, and The Lieutenant was indeed, very freakin' bad.


Brainerd, Minnesota police chief Marge Gunderson is whip smart, a crack shot with a sidearm, and can handle her business like a pro even when seven months pregnant in the dead of winter. Also, she really knows how to pull off a solid poignant moment.


Mayberry, North Carolina never appeared to be a hotbed of criminal activity, but when unpleasant types managed to slink their way into the borders of the sleepy, rural town, Sheriff Taylor was already ten steps ahead of them. Objectively, you might have to question his judgement in keeping deputy Barney Fife on the payroll, what with his marked inability to do much more than cause grief and shoot holes in his holster, but Andy gets a pass for being remarkably good at keeping the peace.

Also, he was great with a guitar when not upholding the law.


Lieutenant Dangle is wholly incompetent, sexually inappropriate with pretty much everyone, frequently breaks the law, and has absolutely no business leading a team of deputies, much less running the entire Reno sheriff's department.

He's also [email protected]* awesome. He's just boot goofin', guys. Don't sweat it.


Being a police officer is difficult enough; being a police officer in 1864 in the Five Points, one of the most notoriously dangerous neighborhoods in New York, has to be that much more difficult.

The good thing about Kevin Corcoran, is he doesn't much have to play be the rules any more than the folks trying to put a bullet in him. Basically, he's a good guy that gets to be really nasty when it suits his needs.

it makes for a hell of a watch.

Did one of your favorite cops not make the list? Think it's sacrilege that John McClane didn't get a nod? Let me know who you would have chosen in the comment section below.


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