Undercover in a Gay Bar

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Going undercover in a gay bar is a slash trope commonly used in fanfiction written for buddy cop fandoms or AUs based on a police or investigative partnership. In these stories, two same-sex characters (at least one straight-identified) must pose as lovers at a gay bar to solve a crime, but during the course of their investigation, they discover that they are attracted to each other.

The gay bar is optional as long as they are undercover as a gay couple in an environment where acting on their attraction will be socially acceptable.

The Starsky/Hutch novella Murder on San Carmelitas is probably amongst the earliest examples of the trope.



The Trope in Original Media

In original media, the trope is often used to showcase the discomfort of the straight-identifying cop and to highlight the otherness of the gay community. The fanfiction trope is often an intentional subversion of this idea.

  • The 1980 film Cruising may well be the first example of the trope used in original media. In that film, Al Pacino goes undercover to hunt a gay serial killer. The film was widely criticized as homophobic both during filming and after its release.[4]
  • The 1982 film Partners, starring Ryan O'Neil and John Hurt, used the same set up, murders in the gay community, to tell a story about an unlikely partnership between a butch straight cop and his stereotypically mousy gay partner who falls in love with him during their assignment.[5]
  • In the Fastlane episode, Strap On, Billie Champers pretends to be a lesbian and picks up a suspect in a lesbian bar in order to catch a killer. This story is remarkable in that Billie's sexuality is never clearly stated and she is never shown expressing discomfort at her surroundings.[6]


  1. ^ recommendations by allaire mikháil, 23 May 2000. (Accessed 17 April 2010)
  2. ^ Hieroglyfics Recs - fanfiction and fanvid recommendations by Isis, 13 May 2009. (Accessed 17 April 2010)
  3. ^ Helen's Sentinel slash page. (Accessed 28 Jan, 2012.)
  4. ^ Looking Back at "Cruising", accessed April 17, 2010
  5. ^ Scraping the barrel: Eight of the worst gay depictions in film, accessed April 17, 2010
  6. ^ Sarah Warn. "Fastlane" Lesbian Episode a Fun But Uneven Ride, AfterEllen.com, January 18, 2003, Accessed April 16, 2010