In Den of Thieves (2018), there was an exchange between Ray and Donnie during the middle of the main heist planning.

Ray was violent toward Donnie, asking him what he told the cops and Donnie said, "I didn't tell them anything! I don't even know anything!" or something to that effect.

This scene confuses me because during the movie, it makes sense. The character development makes this scene seem normal. But, at the end of the movie

We learn that the hiest was Donnie's plan, and he approached Ray to pull it off. So...Donnie knew EVERYTHING!

What was the point of the exchange and why did it play out like it did (Donnie cowering, Ray violent)?

Ray acted like it was his plan, and he was the master mind.

Did I miss something?

1 Answer 1


The rest of the crew knew Donnie was questioned by the cops. Ray was supposed to be a leader of the gang. Now, he has to do something to keep the discipline and to keep anyone from wavering in their devotion to the cause. His decision: beat and frighten the potential snitch.

To understand the group dynamic here, go by what the other members of the crew knew.

  1. The newest member of the team, their driver, was approached by the cops and questioned.

  2. Their whole plan is potentially in danger! What does he know? What did he tell them?

  3. The doubts about the plan start to blossom. Aren't 3 million dollars enough for us? One of us died to get those, should we quit while we are ahead? Should we trust him, our driver, now that he is compromised? Should I, as a gang member, trust any of the others? The pressure is higher now, the uncertainty greater.

  4. When you are uncertain, who do you turn to guidance? Our leader, that's who. And that leader is Ray. Who trusts in the plan, but doesn't necessarily trust Donnie.

Now, look at what cops know. Cops know that Donnie is connected to the gang. He is the smallest fry of them all. Works as a bartender as a honest job, drives for the gang when he needs some quick cash. He owns nothing, no fancy apartments, no pools, no fancy cars, nothing. He does work as a driver for the gang (that's how he was originally caught and why he was sent to prison, he has mad driving skills and he stole a car) and that is as far as cops know. Gang (except for Ray) know that he is connected as a driver.

Donnie was tortured by cops. What does he tell the cops? As much as he can as to get off the hook without getting in deeper trouble. I mean, "he is small fry, the gang doesn't trust him with much. I just drive cars." is what cops believe is true. Even if he told them the truth "I am the mastermind" they wouldn't have believed him.

"You, a small car thief, a mastermind and leader? Please. Those guys were soldiers, Ray won't work under any one, he was always a leader in any and all robberies he committed. You're a driver. Why would a mastermind do the job of a driver?" So they let him go, scared and doubtful. Or so they thought.

What does Ray know? Donnie knows everything and was tortured by cops. The whole plan is in danger! So what does Ray do when he finds out he was questioned and let go? A very violent public questioning of the potential snitch. He does the same thing that cops did, beats him and threatens to kill him. And finishes that questioning to the group's (of tough guys) and his own satisfaction. If Donnie didn't snitch to the rest of the gang after that questioning, he didn't snitch to the cops either. The order is restored, we are all on the same page again.

  • Your answer makes sense for the movie as it plays out until you learn that it was all Donnie's plan. You didn't address why Donnie would snitch about anything, it was his plan. Or why did Donnie say he didn't know anything? It was HIS plan. From what I remember, it wasn't public either, it was just Ray and Donnie (though I would have to rewatch to be sure) Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 19:36
  • I'll edit my answer.
    – jo1storm
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 8:44
  • 1
    Donnie is planning on ripping off Ray, and he probably doesn't want Ray around after that. the best way to take care of Ray is to put Nick on him. it's an interesting balancing act: give Nick enough info to take down Ray, but not so much that Donnie can't pull off the heist.
    – zim
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 3:59

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