In the event of Costigan Jr.'s death from The Departed (2006), his department typically arranges for a memorial service to honor his life and sacrifice:

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Earlier in the movie, Costigan Jr was erased from the police directory by Sullivan.

How can Costigan Jr.'s department arrange a memorial service if he was erased from the police directory?

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    How do we know that the department arranged the service?
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 6:25
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    This is not as much of a mystery as the missing personnel file of Costigan in the database. Since Sullivan had come forward revealing that Costigan was undercover, his missing file would have raised suspicions. The MSP IT department would have run an audit and seen that Sullivan had erased the file. Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 21:39
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    @Valorum: Look at the flags, the honor guard in formal police dress uniform, etc. This is clearly an official police funeral. Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 16:23
  • @NateEldredge - To be pedantic, it's a film set where someone has brought some stuff that makes it look official. The same could be true of the funeral in the film. Merely having a flag and lots of police officers in uniform doesn't make it an officially sanctioned event.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 16:24
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    @Valorum: Okay, then what I mean is that the depiction is clearly of an official police funeral - that is what the audience is intended to infer. You simply would not see that stuff at a non-official funeral in real life. For instance, it would likely be a violation of departmental rules for police officers to appear in uniform except as part of their assigned duties. Attending an official funeral would be part of those duties, attending the funeral of Just Some Random Guy would not be. Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


After the encounter on the roof of the building, and the killings, back at the police headquarters, Sullivan invents a story to protect himself, identifies Barrigan as being the mole and recommends Costigan for the Medal of Merit. In order to do that, Costigan has to be recognized as Police Officer working undercover.

He can maybe get the files on Costigan and the whole operation back. His status probably grants him access to do so (Dignam too?). I haven't found any evidence of any backup of the file though, but he can say Costigan, while they were talking, admitted to being a cop working undercover. And that the mole deleted the files.

That would explain why Costigan's funerals were "official" (with the flag and the police squad). This can also happen (pure speculation) after an investigation by Internal Affairs that reveals all of Costigan's background (seems weird in less than a1 or 2 weeks though).

Nevertheless, this is never clearly explained. It's quite of a hole in the script/story.


Because Sullivan tells them who Costigan was. He needs Costigan to be a cop to explain his version of the shootout.

Just look at what he says before the funeral:

At that time, Trooper Barrigan, who I now understand to have been Francis Costello's informer in SIU, intercepted us in the lobby and shot Trooper William Costigan once in the head.

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