10 Times The Movie Killer Was Hiding In Plain Sight

5. Captain Dudley Smith - L.A. Confidential

LA Confidential Captain Smith James Cromwell
Warner Bros.

L.A. Confidential is one of Hollywood's all-time best film noirs, and it fittingly features one of the most stingingly brilliant villain reveals the genre has ever seen.

The marvelous James Cromwell, who a few years prior received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his delightfully charming performance as farmer Arthur Hoggett in Babe, was cast in this movie as steely, corrupt LAPD Captain Dudley Smith.

It was an against-type performance for the actor, for sure, but even accepting the character's dubious law enforcement methods, few could've appreciated that he'd actually turn out to be L.A. Confidential's primary antagonist.

In the third act, Smith ends up murdering both star cop Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) and tabloid reporter Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito), before cops Bud White (Russell Crowe) and Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) realise that Smith is attempting to take over Los Angeles' heroin supply for his own gain.

Far from being a corrupt cop simply happy to break some eggs in order to clean up L.A., he literally aspires to become the city's new drug lord, and even after he's eventually killed by Exley, the LAPD covers up his villainy to protect their own image.

Given Cromwell's penchant for playing likeable, grandfatherly characters, surely nobody expected Smith to actually be pure human trash.

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.