Forget Martin and Roy. Here's 11 top good cop, bad cop, pairings

As Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane ride in as the FAI’s new sheriff and deputy, Dave Kenny looks at some other memorable good cop/bad cop pairings from the archives, or should that be ‘bad cop/bad bad cop’?

Forget Martin and Roy. Here's 11 top good cop, bad cop, pairings

Riggs and Murtaugh

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover created Hollywood’s most popular good cop/bad cop (GC/BC) combo in the 1980s’ Lethal Weapon series. Good cop Murtaugh was a man constantly on the verge of retirement, who was hauled back into action when things got rough. That’s right, just like Gay Byrne.

Riggs was more mad cop than bad cop. Actually, Gibson is madder than Riggs ever was. He once called a female cop “sugar tits”. In fairness, if you’ve ever eaten a donut in a cop car you’ll know that the sugar always ends up down your front.

The most enduring legacy of the franchise is the question: what ever happened to Danny Glover?

Madonna and Guy Ritchie

They’ve split up, but if ever a woman made a man look good…

The Queen and Prince Philip

Queenie has a lot to put up with. There’s Charles and his horsey missus snapping at her heels... and there’s Philip. While she is the royal family’s perennially-exasperated ‘Murtaugh’, Phil is its unpredictable ‘Riggs’. If there’s a taboo to be smashed, then he’s your man. To a woman solicitor, 1987: “I thought it was against the law for a woman to solicit.”

Cue royal sigh, cue obligatory visit by Her Maj to woman’s centre to smooth ruffled feathers.

CJ and PJ

Spindoctor PJ Mara had the unenviable task of making Haughey look good in the eyes of a sceptical 1980s public. It was about as easy as getting a weasel to wear a necktie.

Dermot Morgan’s radio show played up their GC/BC fantasy relationship.

CJ: “Maaaaara, what this country needs is an emperor, like Japan.”

PJ: “But boss, the Nips believe their emperor is God.”

CJ (pauses): “And what’s wrong with that?”

Cha and Miah

Miah (Michael Twomey) is the condescending philosopher, while Cha (Frank Duggan) is the soft eejit who doesn’t realise his partner is talking utter goatcrap all the time. Imagine being that gullible. They’re a bit like Enda and Eamon Gilmore. One’s a good cop and the other … has absolutely no cop whatsoever.

Bertie and Tony

Remember how Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair became so matey during the 1990s? Going to football matches together, etc? They were the two good cops of the peace process, cajoling our northern cousins down the path of non-violence.

Then it all went moobs-up and they both became bad cops. One unleashed bloody mayhem on a country beginning with the letters ‘Ir’, handing its sovereignty over to foreigners …

The other invaded Iraq.

Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin

He got to say “You’re fired”, but there was no doubt that Jackie Lavin wore the pants in TV3’s Apprentice relationship. Sometimes, it looked like Bill — who is 142 — had actually forgotten his pants. Jackie would row in with some withering assessment of a candidate’s behaviour, if Bill looked like he was nostalgically wandering off down Penny Apple Lane. “Ahhhh, do youse remember Bang Bang and the old Theatre Royal?”

“Bill, the candidate lied about his Harvard qualifications. We should have him executed. Now.”

Hopefully, Bill will return to our screens. He is, after all, Ireland’s answer to Steve Jobs. (Both made it big with Apples.)

The Chuckle Brothers

On paper, First Minister Ian Paisley and his deputy, Martin McGuinness, went together like chocolate and cabbage. Big Ian was a loudmouth bigot; former IRA man, Marty, looked like he’d just stepped out of geography class. That said, they beguiled us with their smiley chemistry. Their role as GC/BC was interchangeable depending on what side of the divide you came from.

Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh

In the late Noughties, Cowell decided to cast Louis as his X Factor good cop. To do this, he had to change the Kiltimagh hard man’s identity. “Get him some hair. And new eyes,” ordered Cowell. New Louis (Nouis) emerged, soft-focussed and cuddly. Simon’s little Oirish bunny. If they were a TV cop series, they’d be Star(maker)sky and (rabbit) Hutch.

Biddy and Miley

Biddy and Miley were the stars of RTÉ soap, Glenroe. Biddy was a narky wagon, while Miley was a loveable bumpkin who used to say “Well, hoooooly God” all the time. Then the Milester rogered young Fidelma in the barn and became the bad cop in the eyes of Ireland’s mammies. The show never recovered. Neither did Fidelma, although she did get to boast that she had joined the Miley High Club.

Richard and Judy

He was mildly ascerbic and smug-looking; she was, well, a bit ‘mumsy’. Richard’s direct questions often appeared rude, earning him a whack from Judy’s script. In their 21 years on TV, she rolled her eyes so much at his behaviour that she looked like she was having a permanent epileptic fit. Judy wore her heart on her sleeve.

And something else on her sleeve too. At the 2000 UK TV awards, her boob flopped out of her dress. It wasn’t the first time she’d been caught on camera with a proper tit. That was Richard’s job, after all.

Nidge and Janet

Love/Hate came to an end last night. This season gave us the classic GC/BC duo in Kieran (real life cop) and The Gaffer. However, the more interesting GC/BC scenario emerged with the pairing of Nidge and Janet, the brothel boss. He’s a psycho and she’s a hooker with the proverbial heart of gold. “You’re kind,” he says, before frenching her in the pub.Who said romance is dead? Their relationship is a real yin-yanger. Or ying-skanger, if you prefer.

More in this section

ieParenting Logo
Writers ieParenting

Our team of experts are on hand to offer advice and answer your questions here

Your digital cookbook

ieStyle Live 2021 Logo
ieStyle Live 2021 Logo

IE Logo
Outdoor Trails

Discover the great outdoors on Ireland's best walking trails

IE Logo
Outdoor Trails


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up
Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd