“End of Watch”
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 always have each other’s backs. 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
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
Are they in real danger? Constantly. Though it’s clear, being beat cops,
that 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 if anything should ever happen to one of them, they would die bravely in
the line of duty, and after exacting 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
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.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving,