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Good cop/bad cop, known in British military circles as Mutt and Jeff (from an American newspaper comic strip of that name) and also called joint questioning and friend and foe, is a psychological tactic used for interrogation.
It involves a team of two interrogators who take apparently opposing approaches to the subject. The interrogators may interview the subject alternately or may confront the subject at the same time.
The 'bad cop' takes an aggressive, negative stance towards the subject, making blatant accusations, derogatory comments, threats, and in general creating antipathy between the subject and himself. This sets the stage for the 'good cop' to act sympathetically: appearing supportive, understanding, in general showing sympathy for the subject. The good cop will also defend the subject from the bad cop. The subject may feel he can cooperate with the good cop out of trust and/or fear of the bad cop. He may then seek protection by and trust the good cop and tell him the needed information.
The technique is easily recognised by those familiar with it, but it remains useful against subjects who are young, frightened, or naïve. Experienced interrogators assess the subject's level of intelligence and experience with the technique prior to its application.