Major Case Squad

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"Major Case" redirects here. For the episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, see Major Case (Law & Order: Criminal Intent).

The Major Case Squad is a division within some police departments. The detectives of these divisions typically investigate crimes beyond the scope of normal squads. These functions vary from department to department.

New York City Police Department[edit]

The Major Case Squad of the New York City Police Department is located at One Police Plaza in Manhattan, New York City. The squad investigates the following types of cases:

  • Art theft
  • Burglary or attempted burglary of a bank or bank safe
  • Burglary of a truck contents over $100,000
  • All commercial burglaries in which the value of the property stolen exceeds $100,000
  • Kidnappings, as directed by the Chief of Detectives
  • Larceny by extortion, or attempted larceny by extortion, from a bank
  • Larceny of truck contents over $100,000.
  • Robbery, or attempted robbery, of a bank by an armed perpetrator
  • All robberies in warehouse depots, or similar locations, where the objects of the crime is a truck or its contents
  • Robbery of truck and contents by hijacking

The New York City Major Case Squad does not normally investigate homicides: Those are generally conducted by precinct detective squads and borough homicide squads; the exceptions involve homicides committed by violent criminal organizations that fall under larger federal RICO investigations and prosecutions, as well as the murder of police officers. On the matter of the homicides of police officers, the Major Case Squad was originally formed in response to the wave of assassinations of police officers in the late 1960s and early 1970s by radical groups such as the Black Panthers. Ultimate responsibility for any homicide case in NYC rests with the precinct detective squad concerned, but the Major Case Squad has historically played a large and important role in the investigation of any homicide of an NYC police officer. The Major Case Squad also played an integral role in apprehending criminal members of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), which was an African American nationalistic domestic terrorist organization that executed bombings and murdered police officers across New York City in the 1970s among other places as well.

Saint Louis[edit]

The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was formed in 1965 and is a multi-departmental unit charged with investigating major crimes in six Missouri and four Illinois counties. The squad brings together specially trained, and highly experienced investigators and averages an 80% clearance rate.[1]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The movie Die Hard with a Vengeance features John Mclane working for a fictionalized Major Case Unit.
  • In the comic strip Dick Tracy the main character (Tracy) is Chief of Detectives who works with the Major Case Squad (also called the Major Crimes Unit) of a fictional city.
  • The series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, depicts a fictionalized version of the NYPD Major Case Squad, one that investigates murders, which the real Major Case Squad does not do.
  • The television series The Wire features a fictionalized Major Case Unit within the Baltimore Police Department. This unit is charged with solving excessively vicious crimes as well as crimes involving the major drug kingpins of the city.
  • The television series The Closer and Major Crimes feature a fictionalized Major Crimes Division within the Los Angeles Police Department. This unit is charged with solving homicides, as well as grand thefts, frauds, and rapes.
  • A Major Crimes Unit exists within the Gotham City Police Department in comics set in the DC Universe, dealing mostly with crimes perpetrated by masked criminals and supervillains.
    • A similar unit is depicted in The Dark Knight, tasked with shutting down the city's crime syndicates as well as investigating the crimes perpetrated by The Joker, and the capture of The Batman.
  • On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a fictionalized version of the Major Case Squad (called Major Crimes) can opt to take over crimes of individual precincts. This leads to resentment from the squad's members when one particular detective (nicknamed "The Vulture") continuously takes over cases that are nearly solved in order to build his own reputation.
  • On CBS' Elementary, a contemporary update of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes and his associate, Joan Watson, work as consultants for the NYPD's Major Case Squad.
  • On NCIS, Special Agent Gibbs and his team form the Major Case Response Team based in Washington DC