In the iconic Christmas movie Die Hard John McClane discovers terrorists infiltrating the Nakatomi plaza.

In his first encounter with a terrorist, McClane gets the drop on him but the terrorist says something like "you won't shoot me because it is against the rules" (it is clear in context that the terrorist knows McClane is a cop). But Mclane's identity has not been revealed at this point and no-one knows who he is never mind that he is a cop. That comes much later in the movie.

How does the bad guy know McClane is a cop?

  • 2
    I'd have to watch the scene again, but the script has McClane saying "freeze police" as he pulls a gun on the terrorist.
    – HorusKol
    Dec 25, 2018 at 7:37
  • 2
    He literally tells him he's a cop in the previous line.
    – sanpaco
    Dec 25, 2018 at 19:04
  • @sanpaco I think you are right. I was distracted while rewatching the movie by the subsequent conversations where Hans et. al. speculate about who their mystery assailant is and by the radio conversations McClane has where he doesn't want to tell the other cop who he is. The terrorist who knows he is a cop is dead before he can tell anyone else.
    – matt_black
    Dec 26, 2018 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


As @HorusKol said, John tells him. The terrorist Tony goes to investigate the sound of a power saw and John steps from hiding and puts his gun to Tony's head'

John: Drop it, dickhead. It's the police.

Tony: You won't hurt me.

John: Yeah? Why not?

Tony: Because you're a policeman. There are rules for policemen.

John: Yeah, that's what my captain keeps telling me.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .