"Did I get this gold shield for being a good cop or being stupid?"

In 1960 an honest man became a New York City policeman. His childhood dream and adult ambition sent Frank Serpico on a journey and the city was changed for it.

In 1973, the city government formed the Knapp Commission to investigate Serpico's allegations of widespread police corruption.

Why did Serpico matter? Peter Maas, author of the book Serpico, says in the 25th anniversary issue of New York Magazine, "Frank Serpico! The first police officer not only in the history of the New York Police Department, but in the history of any police department in the whole United States, to step forward to report and subsequently testify openly about widespread, systematic cop corruption-payoffs amounting to millions of dollars."


Please answer the following questions in your journals;

  1. Which neighborhoods or streets did you recognize in the film?
  2. Why doesn't Frank Serpico 'fit in'? What makes him different from everyone around him?

  3. What is it about Serpico fellow cops don't like?
  4. What problems do cops have with Serpico?
  5. Why is it so dangerous for Serpcio?
  6. Did Serpico do the right thing?

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Internet Move Database (

The Frank Serpico Website (

Serpico on the Diallo murder (


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