If you were making a movie about the ideal world of the policeman, what would it look like?
First of all, you would have your policemen look like young hunks, all in shape and toned and handsome, and look great in a well-pressed uniform. Let’s see, how about….Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena?
Then you would have these two guys develop such a close relationship with each other that it’s almost a bromance: they always have each other’s backs, they say “I love you, man,” and mean it. They listen carefully to each other while cruising, sometimes disagreeing, sometimes making light of, sometimes referencing a previous conversation, but always intently listening.
Then you would have both of them endowed with a fantastic set of police skills: either one can drive like a race-car driver. Either can handle a weapon like a true marksman. Either can make an arrest and an apprehension without error or inconsistency. Both are well-respected in the squad room. Both are veterans. And they would never tolerate any other officer speaking ill of their partner.
Would they rush into burning buildings to save little children? Yes, and get a medal for it, but they would later agree that they didn’t feel like heroes or anything. Would they be able to intervene on an altercation in progress, and keep it from escalating? Yes, and even, on one occasion, take off the badge and the gun and go after it bare-knuckled with a local tough, who later has all kinds of respect for them because they could have turned him in for it but didn’t.
Romance? Oh yeah, one of them is married, and though he doesn’t brag about his marriage, it’s obvious that there’s lots of love there. The other one is dating, and gets helpful relational hints from his more experienced partner. Their women (Natalie Martinez and Anna Kendrick) are not only young and pretty and incredibly supportive, they are also astonishingly sexy. In fact, the one scene at the wedding where the veteran cop’s wife talks to the blushing bride about keeping her man happy – that’s maybe one of the sexiest scenes in any movie all year, and all they did was sit around and talk about it.
Are they in real danger? Constantly. Though it’s clear that, since they’re beat cops, there is plenty of information “up the ladder” that’s kept from them, still, they can handle themselves even when the guns are drawn and the weapons are fired in anger. And the one time they do get in over their heads, because suddenly the powerful drug cartel has put out a contract on them, they handle themselves with courage and resourcefulness despite being outnumbered and outgunned.
And if anything should ever happen to one of them, the other would die bravely in the line of duty, and after he’d exacted immediate revenge on the evil perpetrators you’d have the most somber, serious, dignified funeral ever, complete with vast uniformed solidarity, and a fitting, emotional but stiff-upper-lipped tribute.
Do “real” cops live in such a world? Would that it were so. But it’s an inspiring thing to see, even if it is only in the movies.
Ronald P. Salfen is the minister at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church in Irving, Texas.