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Good cop, bad cop

Posted by Lewis on May 03, 2005

In Reply to: Good cop, bad cop posted by David FG on May 03, 2005

: : : "Good cop, bad cop" - was there a famous team (actors, movie or literary characters, real cops?) to whom this phrase was first applied?

: : I believe it originated as a description of real cops who worked in pairs when interrogating suspects. No particular individuals, just the idea of a team who used the technique that the phrase refers to.

: Yes. It is an interrogatory technique by which one of the team is actively hostile/aggressive to the suspect, while the other pretends to be his friend. It works because the suspect is relieved by the apparent sympathy of the 'good cop' so he reveals whatever secrets he might have.


It works very well as a pressurising interview technique - bad cop goes ballistic and the other plays good cop calms him down, ushers him out of the room and then explains to the suspect that it will be difficult to calm bad cop down - is there something that the suspect can tell to help good cop persuade the bad cop to be more reasonable?

it has worked well over the years.

I can't remember the psychological concept that underpins its success, but it may be connected to the Stockholm Syndrome in which the victim associates with the person holding him/her as a means of self-preservation - in fact it does have similarities.

It's just a technique, not popular culture.


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