While on the phone with Frank in The Departed (2006), Sullivan shares his disapproval about Costello's crew pushing Queenan to his death. Frank defends the action stating that one person had to die and disregards Dignam and his departure. Sullivan is upset that he no longer has access to the information that Queenan had:

Sullivan: He put in his papers, Frank.He left. I don't know where he is.

Frank: Don't get your balls in an uproar, Collie. That Irish pissant... he's so hot for me, we give him a whiff of my ass, he'll crawl right in it. Let's give him a whiff.

If Dignam is not of Irish descent, then who is Frank referring to with the Irish derogatory term?

  • 3
    "If Dignam is not of Irish descent": what makes you say that?
    – OldPadawan
    Aug 10, 2023 at 4:54
  • 3
    @NapoleonWilson - You appear to have used your moderator powers as a "super-downvote" here. The fact that OP was mistaken about the Irish ancestry of a character who speaks with a strong American accent doesn't seem like a good reason to close their question.
    – Valorum
    Aug 12, 2023 at 17:57
  • 3
    @NapoleonWilson Often, fixing a faulty premise makes for a useful Q&A pair, especially if said premise is a common or understandable misconception. Aug 13, 2023 at 20:43
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    @NapoleonWilson I don't understand what's unclear, so I don't know what edit to make. The Q&A seem clear to me: "who does this Irish epithet refer to, if Dignam isn't Irish?" - "actually he probably is Irish". Why the OP thinks he isn't Irish, we don't know, but why does that matter? Aug 14, 2023 at 6:24
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    @Randal'Thor It matters because it is the entire premise of the question. "Why is this direct quote from the film contradicting my arbitrary ungrounded assumption about this character?". Can you genuinely not see the problem with making up a wild claim in your head and then wondering why the film contradicts it? What is the point? The fact the the assumption was bollocks in the first place, makes the entire question moot. Now if we knew where that assumption actually came from, this can be adressed. But without that context, the asker now knows as much as without the answer.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 14, 2023 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


If Dignam is not of Irish descent

It's not clear if he's not. It's never mentioned AFAIR.

TL;DR: as his name and accent sound so Irish, no wonder one think he's from Irish ancestry and treats him as one. Who Frank talks about could also be any cop involved, including Dignam, or Queenan.

As Boston's history is filled with Irish people, culture and accents since the 19th century, many names are from Irish ancestry. The name Dignam itself seems to find its origin in Ireland.

In the movie, Mark Wahlberg plays Sgt Dignam, and the actor was born and raised in Boston. His accent is said to be the best of all actors in the movie.

Mark Wahlberg is from Dorchester, a town whose name, when pronounced with a Boston accent, is the most New England thing ever. Dawww-chest-ahhh. Unlike Damon, Wahlberg seems to really remember what it sounds like to be from the region, and it pays off. Everything he utters in The Departed is so purely Boston, with the perfect amount of dropped Rs, a complete butchering of the hard-O sound, and a nice hint of impotent outrage that lends the accent its attitude. It's marvelous. Mark Wahlberg should only play people from Boston. The departed - accents ranking

  • His accent is Irish? He sounds American to me
    – Valorum
    Aug 13, 2023 at 10:33
  • As a foreigner who lived for years in the US, I can hear a difference when people speak, but I can't say where it comes from specifically (but Texas and Georgia because I lived and work with people from those states). Native say his accent from MA seems clearly from Irish background though.
    – OldPadawan
    Aug 13, 2023 at 11:03

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