The Offence

1972 film by Sidney Lumet

The Offence is a 1972 British crime film about a tormented police detective who kills a suspected child molester during an interrogation.

Directed by Sidney Lumet. Written by John Hopkins, adapted from his 1968 stage play This Story of Yours.
After twenty years what Detective Sergeant Johnson has seen and done is destroying him. taglines

Detective Sergeant Johnson

  • They wouldn't know Christmas from pancake bloody Tuesday.
  • The more I drink, the more sober I get.
  • Here in a room like this one, you find something about yourself. Something like the truth.
  • Every single thing I've ever felt, wanted to feel, in one moment - hitting him. I had to hit him again. Somehow, I didn't have any choice. I wanted what he could give me, sitting there, letting me hit him. I wanted that. He knew. He was saying, like, "Welcome home." I had to kill him.

Kenneth Baxter

  • Nothing I have done can be one half as bad as the thoughts in your head. I wouldn't have your thoughts!
  • You've found it, haven't you? Something like the truth? Does it surprise you? Shock you? It's there in everyone. You must know that better than anyone. Surely you know that, eh? Of course, you think just everyone else, not you. I suppose, being a policeman, you have to. Twenty years thinking you're different. It must get to be a habit, thinking, "Thank God I'm not those other men." It's difficult. It's dangerous. But you're just the same, you see. In some ways you're one hell of a lot worse.

Lieutenant Cartwright

  • You think you're a hard case? I was shouting and swearing when you still wet your bed.
  • You're right about one thing. I don't want to be fair. I came here because I was told to go. I was told I had to talk to you. I don't want to talk to you. I don't want to waste 10 seconds on you. It makes me sick, Johnson, what you did. What you are turns my stomach.


Maureen: Don't push me away, shut me out!
Detective Inspector Johnson: It's a job you do on your own.
Maureen: Let me help you!
Detective Inspector Johnson: Look, sweetie, enough's enough. Go on off to bed.
Maureen: Please let me help you!
Detective Inspector Johnson: "Help, help, help!" Endless bloody bleating, like a sheep with a spike stuck up it! I don't need your help. Your help or anyone else's! You had your chance. "Talk to me," you said. All you had to do was listen. You couldn't even do that. You couldn't hold that bloody belly and just listen!
Maureen: Not fair!
Detective Inspector Johnson: Promises, lovely bloody promises with you! "Talk to me," you said. "I'll help you," you said. "I'll make you happy," you said. You bloody didn't! I'm here to tell you, Ms. Bride of 1956, you didn't make me happy! You never have! Never once!

Kenneth Baxter: You're mad! You must be!
Detective Inspector Johnson: Mad? Mad? It's you that's mad, Baxter. You won't find me chasing after little girls and ripping their clothes off. You won't find me following little girls home from school. "Would you like a sweet?" "You come with me, little girl, I've something to show you." I know you! Can't get enough at home. Don't know what to do with it. You start looking at your secretary, think about her. What would she look like stripped off? You've got money! Easy when you've got money. "You, I want you, come here. Cash on delivery." But when you bring it off, when you see something in her eyes that says, "I'll remember you." I mean, suppose she just looks at you, and it's just one face. One more face, and 10 million others! Suppose she doesn't even see you!
Kenneth Baxter: You sad, sorry, little man.

Detective Inspector Johnson: You filthy bloody little pervert!
Kenneth Baxter: Takes one to know one.

Detective Inspector Johnson: It hasn't always been like this, like it is now. I can't think, I can't stop thinking. Is it like that? Is it the same for you? Is your mind full of things all the time? [grabs Baxter's hand, squeezes] Thoughts, pictures, shadows, darkness. White, smooth white legs, thighs and breasts, blood and pain?
Kenneth Baxter: You're hurting me.
Detective Sergeant Johnson: [sobbing] Help me!
Kenneth Baxter: You're hurting me.
Detective Sergeant Johnson: Help me!
Kenneth Baxter: [breaks free from Johnson] Help your bloody self!


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