My favorite interrogation scene

It’s disturbing to realize I have a favorite interrogation scene, but now isn’t the time for introspection.  My students are taking their criminal procedure final tomorrow, and interrogation is much on my mind.  Thus I present you with what I believe is the finest interrogation in television history, and perhaps the most realistic fictional one, from the fantastic HBO series The Wire.

Bunk shows how it’s done


I love showing this clip to my students.  It’s a great antidote to the myopia that develops from breathing too much of the rarified air of Supreme Court opinions.  Warning: every third word is m@#$!%$*&^!r.

Do you have any clips you love to show your students — interrogations or otherwise?

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5 Responses

  1. Bruce Boyden says:

    Homicide had a bunch of good ones, but whenever I’m stalling for time, I think of one word: “Biddle”.

  2. Howard Wasserman says:

    Actually, Season Two of The Wire, when Omar testifies and is cross-examined.

  3. Alex Kreit says:

    Mark, you and I must be on the exact same wave-length! I’d planned to show this same scene to my Crim Pro class this semester when we got to the interrogations material but it slipped through the cracks for me between a combination of technical difficulties and a busy week that week. I’m planning to use it in the Spring semester though.

    For other interrogation scenes, I also like this one from the Wire a lot:

    And, though it does not have an actual interrogation scene, I think that the documentary Murder on a Sunday Morning provides a powerful example of how the police might still be able to use physical force to obtain a confession in spite of what the constitution says. Unfortunately, due to its length, I haven’t figured out a way to incorporate the documentary into my class, but I’m still hoping to one day find a way.

  4. Mark Edwards says:

    Those are all great scenes.

    The Biddle scene is a beauty. And D’Angelo’s interrogation is great not just for the technique, but for the larger point that if the suspect isn’t charged, then even if the police violate Miranda, it doesn’t really matter.

    Alex — we must be on the same wave-length, since you and I are also the only ones I know who teach crim pro and property. Those are my staples. Most people don’t see the relationship, but it’s there, it’s there! We should compare notes sometime.

  5. TRE says:

    So did you put this in the exam? Otherwise you are a sadist.