Study Guide

Crash Flanagan (William Fichtner)

Flanagan (William Fichtner)

It's About Ethics in Policing

Flanagan works with DA Rick Cabot and Detective Waters on the case of Detective Conklin. Conklin shot another member of the force, Detective Lewis, who was Black, but Waters discovers that Conklin may have had a reason: Lewis may have been dealing drugs.

We never know exactly what Conklin did, but Flanagan wants to put him away in prison.

Yeah, Flanagan may have only one name, but he has lots of words. Here, for example, are his thoughts on why Black people bear a heavy responsibility to be "good" in reaction to the high rates of crime committed by Blacks

FLANAGAN: F***ing Black people, huh? […] I mean, I know all the sociological reasons why per capita eight times more Black men are incarcerated than white men. Schools are a disgrace. Lack of opportunity. Bias in the judicial system. All that stuff. All that stuff! But still, it's gotta get to you, on a gut level as a Black man, they just can't keep their hands out of the cookie jar. Of course, you and I know that's not the truth. But that's the way it always plays, doesn't it? And assholes like Lewis keep feeding the flames. It's gotta get to you.

It's interesting that Flanagan, who is white, is acting like he's asking Waters, who is Black, questions about his opinion on race. But he doesn't want to hear Waters' answers—Flanagan answers his own questions. He doesn't even let Waters speak. And when Waters does speak, Flanagan acts like he knows better, for example in the following epic monologue.

FLANAGAN: What are you? The f***ing defender of all things white? We're talking about a white man who shot three Black men. And you're arguing with me that maybe we're not being fair to him? You know what? Maybe you're right. Maybe Lewis did provoke this. And maybe he got exactly what was coming to him. Or maybe stoned or not, just being a Black man in the Valley was enough to get him killed. There was no one there to see who shot first, so there is no way to know. Which means we could get this wrong. Maybe that's what happened with your brother. Maybe we got it wrong. Maybe Lewis isn't the only one who deserves the benefit of the doubt. You're the one closest to all this. You need to tell us. What does your gut tell you?

Waters thinks Conklin is innocent. Flanagan wants Conklin convicted for the good publicity, because that will ensure Rick Cabot gets a good chunk of the Black vote. Flanagan doesn't care about justice; he only wants to use a dead Black man as political propaganda.

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