The Massachusetts State House is visible in numerous scenes in the Departed. These scenes always include Colin Sullivan. It is even visible from his apartments window and he often looks out upon it.

What is its significance? Does he long to enter politics? The character is very driven so is it where he wants to end up?

4 Answers 4


According to this analysis on CrimeTV.com:

The Massachusetts State House is featured in the film as a symbol of Colin Sullivan's ambition.

This view is echoed in the Pacific Northwest Inlander article "Bloody Entanglements":

Damon manages to convey an astounding amount of information in scenes where he doesn't even speak. From the way he sits and stares at the Massachusetts State House dome, we get that he has political ambitions.

There is no actual apartment in Boston with that view, however. According to imdb trivia:

The view of the Massachusetts State House was an effect shot from the roof of Suffolk University, which is the law school where Sullivan says he is taking night classes.


I believe it's meaning can be found in the scene between Billie and Frank, where Frank draws on the table. Note that it is a picture of rats, swarming over the MA state dome. Why? Because I believe that the Gold Dome represents the American ideals of ambition, power and above all, honesty. To be golden, as it were. However, as we see throughout the film, the actions and decisions required to make it to the gold, are not so pure. It's all an illusion, at least, by Frank's perception. Billie's too, by the end of the film he mocks "the state funeral, with all the bagpipes and shit".

He does this, because he understands that it's all just for show, and that only rats make it to the top. This can go further with the rat motif, because notice at the end, a rat crawls across Sullivan's balcony. At last, he had reached the top, but in the end...he was only a rat.


It represents the Golden Dome over the Temple of the Mount in Jerusalem. The film is analogous to the battle over that land.

  • Welcome to Movies & TV. Can you elaborate a bit more and maybe provide some more information to back up this theory?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jan 25, 2014 at 0:58

Just a point of interest. To be able to live in the Back Bay in Boston is a status symbol. Apartments start at $3K and go up. For a kid from Southie, the Back Bay would mean he "made it". I don't know many State Police who could afford to live in the Back Bay.

On the roof of the "344 Washington" building in the movie you can see building that looks like a tall white louver door. That's the Boston Federal Reserve building.

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