“Well there’s some good news and there’s some bad news. The good news is you’re right, I’m a cop and I gotta take you in. The bad news is I’ve been suspended and I don’t give a fuck.”

Cop is a 1988 film starring James Woods (AKA The World’s Greatest Twitter Commenter) as an LAPD detective on the track of a serial killer. It’s the kind of detective-cop movie that I wish was still made.

Woods is the not-so-heroic hero of the story. He is a very flawed, and probably not all there in the head, protagonist. He’s married but constantly cheats on his wife, has a daughter he loves but tells gruesome stories to about his work, and is a dedicated, obsessed-with-the-job, detective that doesn’t really pay much attention to the rules or the law. All of that sounds familiar for current cop films but the difference is that he has zero guilt or inner doubt about any of this stuff. It’s great!


The story of Cop involves a series of murders of women all tied together, through what appears to be a web of drugs and prostitution. Then what appears to be a serial killer. Then ends up being something a lot deeper. We follow Woods’ character, Detective Lloyd Hopkins, as he takes the case after the first girl is killed and as he slowly circles in on what is really going on. In between, he abuses other cops, friendships, the law, hookers, feminists, and his authority.  At one point he takes a chick home to have sex with her after blowing her boyfriend away during a stakeout. The guy is all charm.

The story is a great, hard-boiled, cop story with an even more cynical 80s edge to it. James Woods is always excellent at playing narcissistic, sleazebag bad guys in a film. The reason I enjoy Cop so much is because he plays that type to the fullest, but is the hero of the story. Who doesn’t like a lovable scoundrel? It’s fun watching a character, that would be “me too’ed” off the face of the planet today, serve justice to various mooks and psychos. I like to think Woods is like this in real life.


This movie seems like it’s been memory holed in the last 10 years and after watching it you can probably see why. A real shame because it is an awesome police thriller. Woods had a run of great films in the 1980s. This and Best Seller are two of my favorites. We will talk about Best Seller in a few days.




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