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Bob has had a pretty rough day. He's been dumped by his girlfriend, bitten by a dog, soaked by a rainstorm, and he's just found out that he has 8 hours to find his kidnapped buddy. How could things possibly get any worse?
Oh, right. By quite literally running into the same cop who pulled you over yesterday.
Expect hilarity to ensue as Bob encounters this same officer(s) in the most unfortunate situations at least two or three more times. But don't worry--because of its humorous nature, this almost always ends with the two men making amends by helping each other catch the bad guy.
Compare Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist, who is actively pursuing the protagonist.
Anime and Manga
- Combined with Inspector Javert in Full Metal Panic Fumoffu: In one episode, Sosuke and Kaname get chased by an enthusiastic policewoman because they're speeding along on a bicycle, with the cop eventually wrecking her car. Several episodes later when dealing with a serial ponytailer, the pair runs into the same cop, who got into deep trouble for wrecking her car and is now trying to fix her reputation. Sosuke recognizes her and uses his Bonta-kun suit in order to prevent her from identifying him. Of course, this causes her to develop a Zenigata-like fixation on Bonta-kun until the real culprit is found.
- In Die Hard 2, John McClane gets a parking ticket from a no-nonsense airport cop, and then spends the rest of the film butting heads with the chief of airport security because of the Chief's idiocy. The kicker? The two antagonistic cops were brothers. At the end, they reconcile by tearing up John's parking ticket.
- In Jingle All the Way, Ahnold mistakenly aggravates a local cop and then continues to have run-ins with him throughout the film (including accidentally detonating a package bomb in his face). They reconcile at the end when Ahnold saves the day in the Turbo-Man outfit.
- In the old Disney film The Absent-Minded Professor (the original version of Flubber), Alonzo Hawk and his henchmen are constantly foiled whenever their car crashes into a cop car, which always causes the cop to spill "BOILING HOT COFFEE!!" in his lap. Needless to say, he promptly arrests them.
- Throughout Superbad, the main characters keep running into the cops whenever they least want to (buying alcohol underage, getting run over, etc.). The cops make it up (to Mclovin, at least) by letting him shoot at their burning cop car.
- Super Troopers, both for the stoners as a Brick Joke, and as a variation, for the highway troopers themselves who keep having run-ins with the Murberry Police Department.
- The detective in Gone in Sixty Seconds is this.
- The Blues Brothers - State Troopers Mount & Daniel, and John Candy's lieutenant.
- James Bond has a not-terribly-pleasant encounter with Louisiana Sheriff J.W. Pepper in Live and Let Die, and runs into him again in The Man with the Golden Gun while Pepper just happens to be vacationing in Bangkok.
- In the recent Sherlock Holmes movie, Sherlock takes every opportunity to insult Inspector Lestrade's intelligence, and it seems like Lestrade would like nothing more than to lock him up. That is until he helps capture one of the top baddies.
- Speaking of Robert Downey Jr., this probably applies to Tony Stark with Agent Colson and/or Nick Fury in the Iron Man films.
- Definitely applies to The Rocketeer, where Billy Campbell's character is continually harassed by federal agents who want the jetpack he has. After they shoot up the Nazis at the end, cue instant good relations.
- The Hangover - they're caught and dragged in at the worst possible time. Thankfully, the protagonists get off nearly scot-free.
- Big-time Played for Laughs in Wild Hogs when the protagonist motorcyclists continue to run into the same police officer multiple times. It's suggested that the officer assumes they are homosexual (and envies their casual relationship), and Hilarity Ensues.
- In Lilo and Stitch, one background conflict is the fact Lilo's family situation (her older sister takes care of her as if they were mother and daughter) is not looked on kindly by Child Protection Services, and it is the same Bald Black Leader Guy they seem to be constantly running afoul of. In the end, it's revealed he's really with the MIB (a.k.a. good guys) and was Obfuscating Stupidity the whole time.
- The EPA agent from Ghostbusters continually harasses the eponymous group until he finally gets a warrant to shut down their "environmentally dangerous" ghost containment field. Hilarity did not ensue...at least, not until the very end. And even then, he's still not very repentant.
- Indiana Jones does this with the Nazi officers a few times in The Last Crusade.
- Jumanji. You know, the cop with the constantly-destroyed car.
- In the Terminator series, the Connor family keeps running into the same police-psychologist, Dr. Silberman.
- In Star Trek, when Kirk and Scotty are caught in engineering, the security officer who discovers them is the same one Kirk was fighting earlier in the movie, who greets him with "Come with me, cupcake!".
- In The Gumball Rally, most of the main racers are on a first name basis with the pursuing cop.
Live Action TV
- A serious example of this happens in the Criminal Minds episode "Profiler, Profiled". The team travels to Chicago (Morgan's hometown) and a cop from Morgan's youth accuses him of murder.
- ICarly has a cop show up in one of the first episodes, where they accidentally change a large traffic sign to say "PEE ON CARL" of course, Officer Carl arrests Spencer. Then about 2 seasons later, some gay pet photographers ruin the iCarly studio (long story), and Officer Carl shows up again, and doesn't help them because of the events in the first episode.
- In Frasier, a policeman pulls over the Cranes for mistakenly being identified as having a stolen vehicle. Many hours and miles later, they make an illegal U-turn, and the same cop pulls them over for it.
- The time travelers from Joseon run into that same cop again and end up in jail in Rooftop Prince.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, there is an episode where the same cop shows up to ticket Squidward over and over again.
- In King of the Hill, there's an episode where Hank is pulled over several times for different reasons by the same female cop who wants to have close contact with him.