Zootopia’s Judy Hopps: The Tale of a Corrupt Cop

Zootopia’s Judy Hopps is a rookie cop with a heart of gold, who uses some shady tactics to get the job done. But does her extreme tactics really make her a corrupt cop?

Yes. Yes they do. But I’m still looking forward to a sequel that deals with some of the wheels she set in motion.

Zootopia Judy Hopps it's called a hustle sweetheart.
No. It’s called corruption. But sure, we can just call it a ‘hustle’ for short.

Zootopia came out in 2016. Audiences and critics generally agree it is an excellent movie with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8 out of 10 on IMDb.

And, I also recommend Zootopia as it is an enjoyable movie with a good story and humorous jokes. Even after several dozen viewings (thank you daughter), its humor is still funny and the story remains solid.

But with dozen’s of viewings under my belt, I can’t help but start over-thinking the movie. Most notably, can we talk about just how corrupt a cop Judy Hopps actually is?

From mild issues, like insubordination, to mob ties, here are some of the reasons Zootopia‘s Judy Hopps is actually a corrupt cop.

Why Zootopia’s Judy Hopps became a corrupt cop

I really can’t deny that Judy Hopps worked her ass off (in a musical montage of course) to become the top of her class at the Zootopia Police Academy. Honestly, I wish I could montage my way through exercise and other boring activities, but that wish has yet to come true.

The mayor personally gave Judy her badge and assigned her to precinct one in the center of Zootopia. Pretty much she started riding a self-esteem high and developed a bit of an ego.

She moved to Zootopia (again by montage about trying everything). And that’s when shit started to get real.

Her captain ignored her and assigned her to the lamest job possible: meter maid. Her squad ignored her. Nick Wilde hustled the crap out of the small town bumpkin. And her parents rubbed it in that she’s a freaking meter maid.

With all that build up, I’m pretty sure it’s her second day on the job that she snapped. Judy Hopps, the cadet that defied all odds to become the best, started her journey down the road of corruption in a desperate attempt to keep her job and, because it is Disney and a cop movie, do the right thing.

What makes Zootopia’s Judy Hopps a corrupt cop?

1. Defying orders

Chief Bogo reprimanding Judy Hopps in Zootopia

Judy Hopps’ first assignment was parking duty. The assignment disheartened her and was arguably one of the prime reasons for her to become corrupt.

On day one of her job, she left her post to follow Nick and his partner around town. Her captain likely didn’t even realize she left her post because she already gave out more tickets then he expected.

Flash forward to day two. Judy not only abandoned her post, she engaged in a dangerous chase through Little Rodentia to catch a petty thief.

She then argued with her chief about the virtue of her actions. And, due to plot driven circumstances, during her argument with Chief Bogo, she promised a private citizen she would find her husband, an otter who disappeared.

Chief Bogo fired her for “insubordination” but ended up offering her a deal to keep her job if she could find the missing otter in two days.

All this came across as a classic bad cop movie (like Die Hard or Lethal Weapon). But rather than being a wash up or well-proven officer, Judy is two days out of the academy and already broke rules as she saw fit, likely due to a bruised ego.

Sure, her early actions weren’t “corruption,” but they sure as hell can lead to it when an officer starts feeling they can do whatever they please. And Judy’s next set of actions starts to prove this connection.

2. Blackmail

Judy Hopps blackmailing Nick Wilde

Judy Hopps blackmailing Nick Wilde was the first truly corrupt cop move that she made in Zootopia. Nothing about the scene is anything but shady. And funny. But mostly shady.

In fairness, Nick was her only witness and first clue to the whereabouts of the otter, so she really needed his help. Of course, he wouldn’t just help a police officer without prompting, so Judy nudged him… with blackmail.

First though, she hustled him by getting him to talk about all the money he makes in a given day. Then she pulled out his tax form and let him know he was under arrest for lying on a federal form.

Nick counters it his word against hers. To which she replies, “actually, it’s your word against yours.” She had recorded their conversation, which, depending on how closely Zootopia’s laws follow U.S. federal and state laws, may be illegal there.

Judy then demanded Nick tell her where the missing otter was last seen. And though he did as she asked, she continued to keep him trapped until she basically solved her missing otter case.

But it’s OK because they became friends in the end. Great foundation to a friendship right there.

3. Mob ties

Judy Hopp's mob ties in Zootopia

What corrupt cop would be complete without mob tie-ins? I would personally love to see a Zootopia sequel that deals with the fall out of her connection to the “most feared crime boss in all of Tundra Town.”

So how did Zootopia’s Judy Hopps become a corrupt cop with mob ties? Well, when she abandoned her post to chase the petty thief, she saved the life of a little Jersey shore-esque rodent.

As it turns out, Judy saved the life of the mob boss’ daughter. Then, his daughter saved Judy’s life when her dad was about to have Judy and Nick killed for sneaking around his property.

And that’s when Judy officially gained mob ties. Yay!

The relationship started innocently enough. He didn’t kill her (which I would think she could arrest him for threatening to kill her though). The mob boss then offered her another lead.

Good so far.

But then, later in the movie, Judy took the petty thief she had chased earlier in the movie to see the mob boss because the thief knew something about the crimes. Under threat of death, the thief told her everything she needed to know.*

You also find out this won’t be the end of their relationship. The mob boss’ daughter made Judy the Godmother of her baby.

*Technically, Judy had quit the force for a few days prior to this event happening. But since she clearly rejoined the force by the end of the movie, the scene demonstrated she was willing to do anything to get what she wanted.

Other theories and speculation

If you like reading about movie theories and speculations, check out some of my other posts dealing with speculation and theories:

Nathan

Nathan is not a published author, professional movie critic, or avid fan of most children shows. He is a caring father (when he's not banging his head against the wall), a movie connoisseur of sorts literally able to have full conversations in movie and TV quotes, and dedicated to helping other parents avoid starting a show with their small children that they will soon regret. In his free time, he does nothing. He has two small children. Free time does not exist.

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