In The Departed (2006), after hearing from Dignam that Myles Kennefick, who stole 20 microprocessors worth 100 grand each from the Mass Processor Company, was dead, Sullivan visited Mrs. Kennefick to question her:

Sullivan: You wanna help catch the people...who forced your son to do a robbery and then killed him?

Mrs. Kennefick: Allegedly. If he was killed, he probably did something wrong.

Sullivan: But not the robbery. That's not wrong. He did something else wrong?

This statement suggests that Sullivan thinks that committing the robbery isn’t morally wrong or deserving of punishment.

If Sullivan is a staff sergeant, why does he believe that the robbery was not wrong?

  • 3
    It's probably more English than plot. He's meaning that he wasn't voluntarily involved in the robbery, so that wasn't wrong. Maybe in something else?
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 31, 2023 at 5:58
  • @OldPadawan I added few words.
    – Max Power
    Jul 31, 2023 at 6:33
  • It was a question, not a statement. "That's not wrong?" Meaning, "It is wrong, why can't you see that?"
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 12, 2023 at 5:48

2 Answers 2


(Haven't seen it, so I'm assuming the correctness of your quotes) It seems to me that when Mrs K says

If he was killed, he probably did something wrong.

she means 'something wrong in the eyes of those who hired him to do the robbery'.

Entering this hypothetical, Sullivan then says, my paraphrasing:

Those people wouldn't have killed him for doing the robbery, because in their eyes that's not wrong (since that's what they hired him to do!)

and asks her

So he did something else, that they regarded as wrong?

  • How should the mother know what had her son done that was regarded as wrong by the bad people? Aug 1, 2023 at 2:20

Sullivan is being sarcastic.

He says it in the vein, 'Oh, but the robbery. That's not wrong...'

And in doing so, digs deeper to find out what else Myles was guilty of, or what else he was involved with.

Since there is some question to why he would be sarcastic, Sullivan and his partner were questioning Ms. Kennefick as a result of information released by Dignam.

Sullivan intentionally antagonizes Ms. Kennefick so she won't voluntarily give up information about Costello, which would prove catastrophic for Sullivan's interests.

  • Why should someone be sarcastic with a grieving mother who has lost a son? Aug 1, 2023 at 2:18
  • Clearly you haven't seen the movie, or you wouldn't ask. Colin is an easily irritable character. Ms. Kennefick is being evasive. Colin is trying to get information. How many cops do you know have a soothing bedside manner? Aug 1, 2023 at 5:53

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