[to a criminal in custody] I want to talk to you. I want to take you across the street, get you a cup of coffee . . . without cuffs. Now look, I didn't touch you upstairs, right? You take off on me, I'll put one in your back. Understand? Come on.
[testifying before the Knapp Commission Through my appearance here today . . . I hope that police officers in the future will not experience . . . the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to . . . for the past five years at the hands of my superiors . . . because of my attempt to report corruption. I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist . . . in which an honest police officer can act . . . without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. Police corruption cannot exist unless it is at least tolerated . . at higher levels In the department. Therefore, the most important result that can come from these hearings . . . is a conviction by police officers that the department will change. In order to ensure this . . . an independent, permanent investigative body . . . dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential.
[Given a detective's gold badge] What's this for? For bein' an honest cop? Hmm? Or for being stupid enough to get shot in the face? You tell them that they can shove it.
The reality is that we do not wash our own laundry - it just gets dirtier.
You stupid fuck! You didn't know me? You fired without a warning, without a fucking brain in your head? Oh, shit. If I buy one, motherfucker, I ain't buying it from you.
Leslie Lane: [feeling his gun as she's riding on the back of his motorcycle] What'ya need a gun for?
Frank Serpico: Didya ever hear of Barnum and Bailey?
Leslie Lane: Yeah.
Frank Serpico: Well, I'm their lion tamer.
Frank Serpico: You know that I'm totally isolated in the department. I don't have a friend.
Chief Sidney Green: Oh, don't give me that bullshit about friends. I've been putting cops away for thirty years. My name's an obscenity to every shithouse wall in every precinct in the city.
Frank Serpico: I've observed that, sir.
Chief Sidney Green: Friends! And I fought my way up as a Jew in the department in the days you were supposed to have an uncircumcised shamrock between your legs. I have this nightmare. I'm on 5th Avenue watching the St. Patrick's Day parade and I have a coronary and nine thousand cops march happily over my body.
Tom Keough: Now I ain't sayin' who. They just said ya'... ya' couldn't be trusted, you know?
Frank Serpico: 'Cause I don't take money, right?
Tom Keough: Frank, let's face it. Who can trust a cop who don't take money?
Capt. Insp. McClain: Frank, has anyone ever told you that you have a tendency toward self-pity?