good cop vs bad cop

I believe Elliot is a good cop, through and through. To me, a bad cop is one who is corrupt. Elliot is not corrupt. He is a dedicated and passionate detective who is always interested in what's best for the victims and makign sure justice is served. I certainly can't deny that he tends to bend and even break the rules from time to time. However, when he does so it because he wants the perps to get the punishment they deserve. He does not go above the law for his own benefit. He does not take bribes or simply look the other way when he knows something wrong is happening. If he has to step out of line to bring a criminal down - he will.

To be fair, there is one time when I can think of Elliot using his position for personal benefit, and that is to get his daughter Kathleen out of a drunk driving arrest. Elliot himself punishes her by burning her driver's license. And eventually Kathleen is arrested for the incident (in the season 8 finale, 'Screwed'). I hesitate to say that Elliot 'abused his power', but I suppose that he did do so. Still, he did it for someone he loved, not himself, and it's not like he let Kathleen completely off the hook. It's a rare event as well, so I don't believe that even this makes him a bad cop. I would say it makes him a good father.

Now onto the subject of how Elliot tends to treat suspects. It is common for him to be very rough with them. But, when you look at the type of people he is dealing with - rapists, murderers, pedophiles - it's hard to blame him for say, slamming a guy up against a wall or kicking a chair out from beneath them. Elliot is quick to temper. Combine that with him being an ex-Marine, and it's really not surprising how he roughs people up. It should also be taken into consideration that Elliot doesn't abuse his power as a cop to slap people around as he likes, simply because he, as the authority figure, can. He only really gets physical if the suspect is being particularly stubborn or disrespectful. Or if they are simply being frustrating. While I wouldn't say that I am 100% okay with the way Elliot treats suspects and perps, I do understand where he is coming from. If the suspect turns out to be guilty, then don't they deserve to have been roughed up a little? (Hopefully I'm not making myself sound like a sadist here.) This is my opinion here, but I really can't blame Elliot for his harsh treatment of suspects because, assuming they are guilty, getting a little shakedown from Detective Stabler is likely nothing compared to what they might get in prison. Elliot seems to be the type of person who believes 'an eye for an eye', so when he does treat the bad guys/possibly guys in a rough way, it's simply his way of saying 'How do you like it?' Again, just my own opinion here, but this does not make him bad. It makes him angry, angry at the people who really are bad. This anger drives him to do his best in getting a conviction, and in the end, that should say for itself whether Elliot is a good cop or a bad cop.

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