Serpico is a true story movie about a young, inexperienced cop who joins the New York Police Department and on his first day, he learns that his colleagues are corrupt, sharing money received from criminals. Serpico refuses to receive the money and reports to a superior. Over the years, his superior does not take any attitude against the corruption and Serpico is an outcast police officer, rejected by his fellows. His personal life is affected and he is harassed and threatened by his colleagues. In a drug bust, Serpico is betrayed and shot in the face. He recovers and testifies to the Knapp Commission about the police corruption. Finally, Switzerland gives political asylum to him and he moves to that country.
The goals of policing are expected to maintain order, enforce the law, and prevent crime. However, they perform other tasks as well, many of them having little to do with crime and justice and more to do with community service (Criminal Justice in America, chapter 4, page 118-119). These goals were not met in the NYPD serpico movie because of the corruption that was formed between police and local political leaders at that time.
The symbols, beliefs, values and attitudes is what helped defines the police subculture “the cop’s world” and each officer’s role (chapter4 page 115) for instance the scene when Serpico finds trouble fitting in due to his embrace of the counterculture of the 1960s. He moves to Greenwich Village, grows his hair and beard long to the point where he must maintain a plainclothes appearance, and associates with a more left-wing crowd that is distrusting of the NYPD.