I was reading this article ranking fictional cops, and I was wondering why, because I hadn’t heard of most of them, and then I hit the testimonial to Sam Vimes. Yes, this is why it was worth reading.
Sam Vimes believes that his role is to protect the powerless from the powerful, and to annoy rich people. And he does those things consistently, and works hard to keep the Ankh-Morpork police force more or less in line with that role. He’s not perfect, but we’re not supposed to think he can be, because Terry Pratchett is too awesome for that.
Sam motherfucking Vimes though. When the revolution came, he was on the barricades. Awesomely, through the power of time travel, HE WAS ON THE BARRICADES TWICE. Sam Vimes, fresh-faced young copper, joins an uprising as a young man, SEES THE REVOLUTION FAIL and then, as an older man thrown back into that era through time travel he JOINS THE REVOLUTION A SECOND TIME EVEN THOUGH HE KNOWS IT FAILED AND HELPS TO MAKE SURE IT SUCCEEDS. He BEATS UP A GOVERNMENTAL TORTURER AND BURNS DOWN THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE SECRET POLICE. He once showed up where two armies were squaring off to go to war and ARRESTED BOTH ARMIES FOR CONSPIRACY TO CAUSE A BREACH OF THE PEACE. SAM. VIMES.
Unfortunately, this had to come from a fantasy novel, because a cop who is not a thug in the service of the rich and powerful, and who has a deep moral commitment to protecting the poor and underprivileged, is a creature that can only exist in a world that is flat and resting on the backs of elephants riding a flying turtle.