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Good Cop, Bad Cop

 

Techniques Interrogation > Good Cop, Bad Cop

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

One interrogator is very unpleasant and may seem to be becoming extremely angry and uncontrolled, perhaps being about to use extreme interrogation methods.

The other interrogator is reasonable and holds back the nasty interrogator, preventing the suspect from being harmed. They may fight or argue amongst themselves.

Whilst the nasty interrogator is out of the room, the nice interrogator apologies for the unkind colleague and explains that he might not be possible to hold them back next time. He then talks urgently with the suspect, saying that if the suspect can give him something useful, he may be able to calm the nasty interrogator down.

Example

Bad cop: That's it, you ****** *****, I'm going to rip out your ****** throat!! [lunges at suspect]
Good cop [grabbing bad cop at the last minute]: Joe! NO! That won't help! Calm down! Go and cool off!
Bad cop
[storming out and slamming door]: I'm going to kill that ****** *****!!
Good cop: Sorry about that--are you ok? You know I can't hold him off for ever. If you can just give me one name, though, I'll be able to use that to protect you. Just one, go on, who else was there?

Discussion

This is a classic method, sometimes known as 'Mutt and Jeff' but still can work. It is based on the fundamental principle of hurt and rescue.

The dangerous interrogator is direct evidence of potential harm. Active care about a person, deliberately acting to protect them, is a powerful trust-building activity. Having given the suspect something something, the nice interrogator has now set up an exchange dynamic, whereby the subject owes them. This is compounded by the additional offer of exchange of information for further protection.

A variant at home is 'Good parent, bad parent' which many parents use, deliberately or otherwise.

See also

Good Guy/Bad Guy, Evidence principle, Exchange principle, Hurt and Rescue principle, Contrast principle

 

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