Introduction: Law enforcement has become an important fiber of the modern day human society that it has infiltrated numerous popular media channels and was in more than one occasion moved from supporting role or background characters necessary for making a human life realistic into becoming the center of a story – real or fictional.
Cops and the law enforcement agency as an institution is as important in the maintaining of balance and peace and order in the society (real life) as they are just as important a source for struggles and conflicts that make cop life a very interesting bedrock for works of fiction – may it be novels on hardbound books or award winning movies playing in theaters. Cops and the popular Media: Cops are always part of movies or novels that involve crime and crime solving scenes.
Sometimes the cops are portrayed as smart, intelligent and very crafty, while some movies portray cops as those who are not well endowed with natural physical talents and acute common sense that they are always being victimized by law breakers. Sometimes, they are always two steps away from the crime after it happened and they are consistently portrayed as mere followers in movie or book stories.
Representing the cops – the many types of police officers as seen in the movie The Negotiator: The movie The Negotiator tickles the imagination of the viewers by challenging them to either believe or provide an intelligent dispute when it comes to the issue of the presence and prevalence of dirty cops who try to manipulate the system using their power for their own personal gain, which is usually financial in nature.
There are many real life cops who are popularized either by their heroism or by their acts which is not consistent with the characteristics expected of an officer and a gentleman like being a member of the law enforcement agency, and the movie The Negotiator provided an example about the different types of cops and was able to sufficiently represent both the good and honest cops (Jackson and Spacey) from dirty cops.
The Negotiator is followed by many different movies that tackle the same problem and also represent the two completely opposite types of cops – good cop, bad cop was the theme of Training Day which was starred by another African American Denzel Washington; the movie SWAT also revolved around the involvement of cops in high profile crime which is financially rewarding. Movie plot and summary: The movie The Negotiator is in some way a deviance from the former types of cop movies storyline, and maybe it is the reason why the movie was popular during its release and received good reviews and feedbacks from critiques and moviegoers.
In this movie, the conflict arises from individuals who wore the same uniform – cops are chasing after the bad guys who have a badge and a gun just like them, and from the inside, it was really hard to tell who the real bad guys were since everyone involved in the web of conflict were all cops. Lead actor Samuel Jackson, who played the role of Danny Roman in the movie, was perceived as the bad guy after people are only looking at how Roman fits in the jigsaw puzzle that involves the death of a fellow cop and his presence in the crime scene.
But what other police officers do not know is that Roman is a victim of a set up that was orchestrated by his own close friends in the force, and Roman’s hostage taking activity provided the real line that defined not only his true cop friends, but the real police officers whose main motivation is not personal gain or personal agenda but the pursuit of achieving what cops are designed to accomplish during particular scenarios.
As Roman held hostage a few people from the Chicago police office building, another cop who is a negotiator like Roman joined the fray in the hope that the stand off will end without bloodshed. Like Jackson, Kevin Spacey’s personality in the movie as a cop is that which illustrates Spacey’s pursuit of truth, fairness and justice, and in being able to convince himself that he found just that, Spacey goes on to help Jackson clear his name while at the some time put the real culprits of the crime behind bars.
The cop stereotype: There are many times that cops are reflected as inept and incapable of stopping crime. In old versions of hero-movies, the cops usually arrive when everything is over, which may hint towards poor intelligence and information gathering of the law enforcement agencies which is not generally true since most cops develop assets and maintain snitches so that they are updated with street information which they can use for their cases and help in the avoidance of being always the last to arrive in a crime scene.
This is particularly consistent in movies wherein there is a very powerful antagonist which the movie’s protagonist will take down by himself. During these cases, the cops are portrayed as close to being useless since the cops cannot stop the antagonist. Another popular stereotyping of cops in the movies is the penchant of cops to arrive a minute too late, once everything is already settled by movie heroes.
But more new movies like SWAT, Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys as well as shows like CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) which feature cops as intelligent, vigilant and capable hunters of law breakers. The portrayal of the police and how it reflects the roles, styles and functions of the police: The movie The Negotiator provided the audience a glimpse of the roles of the police in the society as well as the styles and functions of the police. The most important role of the cop is the role in making sure that every individual is removed from harm’s way.
This is a very general job description, and this can be broken down to smaller, more specific tasks which are reflected in the movie. When Jackson held hostage some of the individuals that were trapped with him in the building, his cop instinct to save lives were still showing, and there are many instances wherein Jackson’s character have indicated that Jackson, as a naturally kind human being and a responsible cop, is not capable of taking the lives of the innocent hostages he have with him just so he can clear his name from the case he is implicated in.
The same role was being portrayed by Spacey, and as a cop and as a negotiator, Spacey, who prides himself of being a negotiator who manages to stabilize hostage situations without any deaths, is particular with getting the hostage as well as the hostage taker out of the building unharmed. But in the middle going to the end of the movie, the audience will see how Spacey’s character will go out of his way as a cop to make sure that the hostage taker did not just get off the situation unharmed, but as well as be able to get off the situation with his name clear from whatever crime he was implicated in at the start of the movie.
Some of the minor characters in the movie also displayed this particular characteristic of a dedicated cop, specifically the sniper who refused to shoot Jackson even when he was clearly in the open, in the belief that hostage taking should be resolved in a non-violent manner and that a police officer as decorated and dedicated as Jackson did not deserve to end up like this. In doing so, the sniper character in the movie also showed another important characteristic of the cops that is portrayed in the movies, and that is the exercise of judgment call.
Spacey, Jackson and the different heads that are present during the crisis management at some point were conflicting with each other because each wants to pursue a course of action which is greatly based in judgment call, more than anything else. The movie also illustrated the style on how a police force operates during particular situations, an example of which is the hostage taking crisis that happened in the office of the Chicago police no less.
The movie The Negotiator showed the audience how police units handle this particular type of problem by deploying snipers on the roof, an assault team and a surveillance team via air support, not to count the menial jobs done by other members of the police force, which include keeping the curious public as far as possible from the scene of the hostage taking so as to avoid putting more people in harm’s way.
The movie also allowed the audience to see the style by which the chain of command operates during this kind of situation, and how inter-department squabbles between different law enforcement agencies can occur during crisis management events when more than one police unit is involved in a case.
The Negotiator’s illustration on how the cops in the movie moved should follow the same method as real cops, because while characters and conflicts maybe fictional, some aspects of the movie like the style and function of the cops should at least adhere to a certain level of truthfulness and realism so that the audience will not be provided with information which is wrong and erroneous. Police portrayal – is it real?
Defining the accuracy and realism in cop characters in movies: It is hard to tell on a personal level if the cops being portrayed in the movies are generally realistic of generally very far from how real cops are, mainly because cops are portrayed very differently from one movie to another, and another thing is that every person’s experience seeing or interacting with a cop maybe different from one another. When it comes to assessing the level of realism in the cop characters in the move The Negotiator, the same can be said.
For one, there are times when the cop characters in the movie are displaying the characteristics that normal cops display in real life, while there are times when the characteristics of the cops in the movie are far from how real cops are. The similarity of the fictional cops with real cops is the capability for human emotion as well as the capability to do acts of treachery and deceit. Cop characters in the movie were capable of displaying human emotions and allowing these human emotions to affect their judgment and decision making, a characteristic that is similar to real life cops.
In real life and in fiction, cops are susceptible and vulnerable to the temptations that money creates, generally because of the income most cops earn. This also has a parcel of truth in it since there are many cops that are either dissatisfied with low pay or are satisfied with the pay but feels that what he/she earns is not sufficient to support his/her family, making some of the real life cops bite the bullet and gamble their career in the name of extra income. Work Cited: The Negotiator. Warner Bros. 1998. 7 March 2008 <http://thenegotiator. warnerbros. com/>.