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  1. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    The cop turns criminal

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by disasterspark, Sep 1, 2019.

    Earlier in my story's development, my MC was a cop who turned to crime after being shown how flawed the justice system truly is. I even posted that on the forums. I cut that out because I realized my MC likely wouldn't have made it far as a cop if he had criminal ideas. That, or he wouldn't have become a fugitive. Not to mention, it would have been easier (and better) if he was a regular citizen/underdog who took part in crime and became the likes of Edward Snowden or something.

    But I always liked that idea. So much that today I wanted to revisit it, but instead have it happen to someone else.

    For a little outline it goes something like this.

    - New rookie girl cop (whom will be refered to as NRGC) joins the force in the hunt for MC. She is an idealist, brought up on government ideas, but still smart enough to think on her own. She is an idealist, which catches the attention of the Criminal Underworld. If the opportunity were to arise, they would try to convert her. Because though idealists can't be bought, they can be swayed. And if they can be swayed, they can be turned.

    - The MC and his gang go around committing crimes, trying to get NRGC's attention, but never getting caught. Always one step ahead, making her lose her morale. The MC could even go undercover and be the only one to call the police. Then in a police interview, request her, then with the help of a fellow criminal lawyer, show her she's not getting the truth with "lawful" means.

    - Then when the NRGC is demoralized enough, she begins criticizing the government in her more "private" moments. This leads to other cops suspecting her to be a criminal in hiding.

    - The MC gets on the rooftop of the police station, and sends her a note saying "If you want me, come to the rooftop, alone. Bring nothing with you." or something like that. She obliges and goes up, meeting the MC for the first time.

    - The MC pretty much explains almost everything, while leaving some stuff out. He essentially explains that the justice system is corrupt and unreliable, and they are planning on taking her out. NRGC says something to the effect of "Yeah I know, but I can win back their trust." To which the MC says back "No it's too late, come with me and you will live. Refuse, and you will die."

    - NRGC agrees and becomes a criminal.

    I could also have her become a corrupt cop who still tries to kill the MC, but uses "unorthodox" methods, and even kills other cops as well and becomes a full on criminal and antagonist. It could give the story a unique character with a unique role, even though it already has a criminal antagonist, but a corrupt cop could do.

    Edit: I forgot, questions!

    1. Would this seem like something a good guy or bad guy would do? My MC, though a criminal, is a good guy at heart. Maybe it can be unintentional as well. Would this seem like something a good-natured person would do in a situation like this?

    2. If my MC goes undercover as a citizen to lie to police, how would he do it without getting caught? He has a criminal lawyer by the way.

    3. How would am idealist rookie cop react to all this?

    4. Of the two outcomes, which is more likely?

    Edit 2: I would also like to clarify that NRGC and the MC turn to crime for similar, yet drastically different reasons. The MC turns to crime because in his situation, he found that committing crimes were the only way for him to survive. If he hadn't begun committing crimes, then he would have most likely died long before the story even began. But NRGC turns to crime when she realizes the justice system doesn't work. She was already an adult, who didn't need to commit crimes to survive. She is shown that the justice system doesn't work because the MC keeps getting away. So she decides to become a vigilante and hunt the MC down herself. And yes, I went the "vigilante" route for the character.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The bastards hung me in the spring of '25.... Contributor

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    Go watch "The Seven Five" on Netflix if you haven't already. Excellent documentary on one of the most corrupt police precincts in US history.
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The bastards hung me in the spring of '25.... Contributor

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    One of my best friends is a narcotics sergeant for the Providence Police Department. He has a saying that the stupid thugs and bullies in high school become petty criminals and end up in jail. The smart bullies and thugs become cops and eventually end up in jail. And the super smart thugs and bullies become cops and eventually end up as lieutenants and captains.
     
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  4. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    You either die a thug or live long enough to see yourself become a cop. Dystopian government.

    But I'd also like to add that if he made it as a cop, it would be hard to justify why he would turn against the government so quickly without someone showing him.
     
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  5. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You should check out some Hong Kong dramas. This "black cop, white cop" thing (the metaphoric type - I'm translating literally) is a major theme in a lot of police dramas in Hong Kong. I literally just watched one last winter called Shadow of Justice. I think you can find it free online with English subtitles? I don't know how many episodes have English subs. Back then it was brand new and English subs were only available for the first couple of episodes. The rest I watched in pure Cantonese until I found another platform that had it with simplified Chinese subs (which still helped make it less eye-wateringly difficult to keep up).

    Anyway, that whole series is about two best friends, both of them cops, and of course both in love with the same woman. The trio are all cops, two men - Tom and Jake, let's call them, and one woman called San. The first episode hints at Jake's character when Jake suggests to Tom that Tom should look into the black market for a kidney for Tom's sister, who's dying and awaiting a transplant. Tom adamantly refuses. Anyway, then Tom is framed for a crime from episode 1 and the whole thing spirals. The whole thing centers upon Jake, who becomes a celebrated cop who gets promoted precisely because he works for the city mafia. The mafia tips him off to secret locations for drugs etc in order to boost his achievements to get him up the ladder. While the actual good cops Tom and San are being pursued as criminals. It was quite cool.
     
  6. AnimalAsLeader

    AnimalAsLeader Active Member

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    When I hear "good guy turning bad", the first thing that springs into mind is obviously "The Godfather". It is a downfall for entirely different reasons, though. I think, for a person to do a complete 180 on what they believe, it takes a really personal experience. Keep in mind, that even if NRGC starts to question the government, this doesn't mean that suddenly the underworld becomes more appealing, They are still criminals, and they're not all Robin Hood down there. At first, it is far more likely for her to turn into a Dark Knight type of crimefighter, where she just goes on her own as she realizes that the government can't help her, OR stop fighting crime alltogether when she realizes that she can't do it on her own.

    The change from "good girl believes in the government" to "good girl is disillusioned and resents" is pretty easy, but it's only half the journey, and the second part would be much harder than just a "come with me or die" situation. If she is an idealist, she still believes that fighting crimes is the way, not joining them.
     
  7. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    So becoming a corrupt cop or vigilante out to take them out would work?

    The reason my MC and his friends turned to crime in the first place is simply survival. Not revenge, not illness, nothing. Would that change her mind and make her think about joining them?
     
  8. AnimalAsLeader

    AnimalAsLeader Active Member

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    If she only becomes a criminal to survive she does not reall join them, she becomes their prisoner. Abandoning her ideals of fighting crime and her oponion about the goverment does not change her opinion about crime itself. If she opposed robbery and murder before because of moral reasons why would she suddenly condone it?
     
  9. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    No not NRGC, the MC and his friends.

    Edit: To answer your question, I'm thinking of having it to where she doesn't join the team explicitly, but becomes a vigilante out to "arrest" the MC and his friends. Maybe at first becoming their "friend" and gaining their trust. Even going as far as beginning a sexual relationship with one of the members.

    Then after that, gaining their trust and playing some type of good cop bad cop with them. Where her normal self is the good cop ('The vigilante won't come as long as I'm around") and the bad cop ("Tell me where your leader is!").

    I dunno, but I feel like I have a unique role on my hands.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  10. AnimalAsLeader

    AnimalAsLeader Active Member

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    Okay, so it's not that far fetched to say that your NRGC begins a relationsip with a criminal without abandoning her ideals. Maybe said member is just a victim of injustice and she sympathizes with him, maybe she wants to pull him out of the crimescene, but gets drawn in ...
    Also, now I understood what you meant. IF they joined the crimescene for survival, she might feel for them. But as we all know, there are so many ways out of poverty in the civilized world, so many welfare programs (At least in europe), that at least the reader will be like "being poor doesn't mean you suddenly have to rob someone". Crime is mostly a poor choice and poor choices alienate readers from characters, if the reader is under the impression that such a decision is not in line with the characters portrayal, epsecially if they are sid to be smart. Now, that's not guaranteed to happen of course, but the more your characters contradict themselves, the harder it is for the reader to follow.

    Sure, you can have them become the victims essentially, they were drawn into crime somehow (choosing a setting with Mafia-like structures helps a lot). But just because your NRGC can understand how they got into this mess, doesn't mean she would join them. IF she is an idealist, she'd rather try to get them out of the crimescene.
     
  11. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    While it is true that in most places in the real world that there are ways out of poverty besides committing crimes, in here they didn't get that chance. I mean it when I say that they had to commit crimes to survive.

    Let me introduce you a new term I came up with that might make things easier. The MC and his two closest friends and teammates, one being his younger brother, were all "illegal births". Meaning they were born from criminals, often without legal ID (birth certificates and stuff). And so as such, they are treated as criminals without any help from the government. It's one of these times where I consider removing the "dystopian" label on it, and just have them be a government with dystopian tendencies. The citizens they help are pure citizens with "legal births.". Born legally and with proper ID, from parents with no criminal background at the time of birth.

    So in essence, there really weren't any other options. The government took them all away before they were born.

    And I find it ironic that you mention that the NRGC wants to get the MC and his friends out of the criminal scene. Because the MC wants just that. To escape the country and find a new life away from it all, for him, his brother, and his best friend.
     
  12. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Yup. It's called death.
     
  13. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    Very funny.
     
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