Serpico At 73 Contends New York Police “Blue Wall” Still Solid


Frank Serpico’s long and loud complaining about widespread corruption in the New York Police Department made him a pariah on the force. The story was the subject of a 1973 movie. Interviewing him at age 73, the New York Times says he “seems spry enough to chase down and collar a perp.” Serpico is working on his own version of the adventures chronicled by Peter Maas’ biography, which sold more than three million copies.

Today, Serpico believes the police department still does not acknowledge its internal problems because the leadership's top priority is to avoid scandal. “I hear from police officers all the time; they contact me,” he said. “An honest cop still can't find a place to go and complain without fear of recrimination. The blue wall will always be there because the system supports it.” Michael Bosak, a 27-year police veteran who has served as its informal historian since retiring in 1995, said the department “is a thousand times more honest than it was 40 years ago. I think [Serpico is] still in a lot of pain. Going through what he went through, it can drive you off your rocker.”

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