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In reality, the International Criminal Police Organization -- the ICPO or Interpol -- acts as liaison among the national police forces of member companies, maintains a database on international criminals, and writes those "pirating this movie is illegal" messages/PSA's that get removed in the pirated versions of films anyway. In other words, they don't do any direct investigation or prosecution themselves; they simply facilitate communication between agencies in different countries.
In fiction, Interpol acts more like UNCLE and sends agents (normally solo), who somehow have full power over local police, out to track down and capture international criminals. One reason for this trope is that everyone knows Interpol is "international police" and it avoids the need to create a group wholesale, even if that means fudging what they actually do.
Anime and Manga Edit
- Inspector Zenigata of Lupin the Third is said to be an agent of Interpol. The local cops seem pretty uncaring of what he asks them to do, though.
- More, he has police forces under his command.
- In Daitarn 3, Reika Sanjo is an ex-Interpol agent.
- In Azumanga Daioh, Tomo is a big fan of Lupin III, and her dream is to be an Interpol agent. Given that Tomo is a moron, it's more like she believes this trope than that show itself does.
- Giant Robo: The Animation had the superpowered "Experts of Justice" as ICPO agents. Yes, Interpol basically had the Justice League on its payroll here.
- Portrayed more accurately in Death Note; Interpol are seen near the beginning as a group of police representatives from various different nations discussing the recent spate of deaths of renowned criminals and forming a consensus of whether or not they should contact L, and once L demonstrates that the perpetrator is based out of Japan the case is entirely within the jurisdiction of the N.P.A. (albeit with L calling on resources from the F.B.I. at one point).
- Darkholders from Marvel Comics stars one of these, agent Sam Buchannan. Partly justified in that in the comics, Interpol has degenerated to little more then a devil cult.
- Christine St. Clair from DC 1970s Manhunter strip.
- Interpol Manzai is premised on the idea of sending two of the Azumanga Daioh cast out as Interpol Special Agents. Much like Tomo's idol, Inspector Zenigata, they don't have full authority; they must work under the auspices of the local police to have any capacity as a law enforcement officer.
- Lord of War: An Interpol agent goes after the arms dealer main character.
- The Cassandra Crossing: O.J. Simpson plays an Interpol officer. Talk about a Funny Aneurysm Moment...
- The movie of Tomica Hero Rescue Force had two Interpol agents.
- Lorna Campbell from Johnny English is an Interpol officer.
- Both Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla have Interpol agents as main characters. However, worth noting is they act somewhat realistically as their mission was to investigate the alien invasion presently going on and intervine if needed instead of taking full control. Still doesn't stop them from directly fighting said alien invasion though.
- There's a friendly Interpol officer whom Tom Swift Jr. summons from time to time to arrest international bad guys; apparently they're out of the local cops' jurisdiction somehow.
Live Action TV Edit
- In Leverage, Interpol has enough prestige that a fairly senior insurance executive can become an agent and consider it a step up in his career. Word of God says, "Interpol in the Leverage-verse is not this world's Interpol. It is, basically, SHIELD. Or maybe UNCLE. It's the law-enforcement all-star team."
- 1970s ITC Entertainment series Department S featured three Interpol agents (and their jet-setting diplomat boss) who solved "impossible" crimes.
- One episode of Remington Steele guest-starred Tom Baker (of Doctor Who fame) as an Interpol agent whose investigations intersected Remington Steele's Case of the Week.
- Special Agent Emily Prentiss of Criminal Minds is a former Interpol undercover operative.
- In Psych, Desperaux poses as one of these -- he's not really stealing valuables, he's working undercover to recover them. The show leaves it open as to whether he was truly an agent; the only sure thing is that Guster's plans to visit to Pottercon were ruined as they got dragged into another mystery.
Video Games Edit
- Such an agent is featured in Ace Attorney's fourth game as the victim of one case.
- Investigations runs away with the trope, not only making another victim out of one, but featuring one as a major character.
- Carmelita Fox of Sly Cooper is an Interpol agent.
- Looker of Pokémon Platinum and Black and White, as well as a minor NPC on the SS Anne in Pokémon Red and Blue, work for the not-Interpol "International Police" and both are going after the game's evil team. As the only other cops in this series do nothing but attack kids up past 6 p.m., though, it's a huge step up.
- Looker remains a pretty impressive agent of the police force no matter how you look at it, given the only other police who actually fight crime (besides him and that minor NPC) happen to be the Ranger Corps. Still makes you wonder why there's no word of their involvement in another region, however...
- Chun-Li is an Interpol agent who fights crime by personally kicking the crap out of crime lords.
Web Original Edit
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Interpol's purview has been expanded to include international supercrime, and they have been given an investigation and enforcement arm.
Western Animation Edit
- Gadget Boy and Heather work for Interpol.
Real Life Edit
- After the US made a agreement to further cooperation with Interpol, some politicians who Did Not Do the Research (or, more likely, They Just Didn't Care) started warning that Interpol agents would be coming to America and making arrests and such, infringing on the country's sovereignty.
- Virtually any country will have some politician make those noises when it starts "furthering cooperation" with any international agency. It's mostly a ritual designed to remind everyone that the step can't be taken as a renunciation of sovereignty—it's basically being tsun-tsun to globalization.
- After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a U.S. Senator called for Interpol to take over the investigation.