Rene (P. Noiret) is a "ripou", a rotten cop who makes ends meet by accepting bribes, presents and free drinks from the people he should be putting in jail. When his partner retires, he must team up with Francois (Lhermitte), a young police school graduate with a righteous attitude.
Set in Paris’s 18th Arrondissment, where the only difference between crooks and cops is that the latter are far more charming in their dedication to breaking the law. Bleary, weary old Philippe Noiret, the Dixon of Dock Green of bent coppers, is saddled with Thierry Lhermitte, determined to make a name for himself as the French Serpico, and has to initiate the younger man into the carefree and lovable world of police corruption.
A cynically cosy comedy, likable enough in itself thanks to nicely shrugged-off performances and a few mildly amusing incidents, but insidious in its intent : it’s okay to be corrupt, we are told, just so long as you’re also a solidly bourgeois Frenchman who dreams of retiring to a little old café near the racetrack. It has a bland look that comes off better on television than it did in the cinema.
Amusing set-up allows some original ideas to come to the fore from Zidi. Funny moments ensue.