|Last appearance RoboCop (2014)|
Nickname(s) RoboCop "Murph"
First appearance RoboCop (1987)
Fictional universe RoboCop
|Full name Alexander James Murphy|
Creator Edward Neumeier
Species Human, Cyborg
|Created by Edward Neumeier
Portrayed by Peter Weller (RoboCop and RoboCop 2) Robert John Burke (RoboCop 3) Richard Eden (The Series) Page Fletcher (Prime Directives) Joel Kinnaman (Remake)
Voiced by Dan Hennessey (The Animated Series) David Sobolov (Alpha Commando)
Movies RoboCop, RoboCop 2, RoboCop 3, Robo Cop Dark Justice
Played by Joel Kinnaman, Peter Weller, Robert John Burke, Page Fletcher
Similar ED‑209, Clarence J Boddicker, Raymond Sellars, Officer Anne Lewis, Clara Murphy
RoboCop is a fictional robotically enhanced Detroit police officer designated as OCP Crime Prevention Unit 001, and is the main protagonist in the film series of the same name. The character begins as a human being named Alexander James "Alex" Murphy, who is killed in the line of duty by a vicious crime gang. Subsequently, Murphy is transformed into the cyborg entity RoboCop by the megacorporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP). He is referred to as Robo by creators Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner in their original screenplay.
- RoboCop 2
- RoboCop 3
- RoboCop Prime Directives
- RoboCop 2014
- Police file
- Prime directives
- Body structure
- In other media
- Video games
- Comic books
Police officer Alex Murphy is serving with the Detroit Police Department when its funding and administration is taken over by the private corporation Omni Consumer Products. Murphy is a devout Irish Catholic and a mild-mannered family man, living with his wife, Ellen (Nancy in the television series, Clara in the 2014 remake), and his son, Jimmy (James Daniel "Jimmy" Murphy in RoboCop: The Series (see ep. 06, "Zone Five"), David in the 2014 remake). Murphy starts mimicking his son's television hero, T.J. Lazer, by twirling his gun whenever he took down a criminal. Murphy's psychological profile states that he was top of his class at the police academy and possesses a fierce sense of duty. This dedication explains why Murphy exhibits none of the negative attitudes and statements shared by his fellow officers when he is transferred to the Metro West Precinct, the most violent area of Old Detroit. The police dissatisfaction is the result of OCP's deliberate mismanagement, and penny-pinching, which led to the deaths of many police officers in the precinct.
OCP holds a contract to fund and run the Detroit Police Department. Security Concepts is the division that provides oversight for the police. In order to supplement the police force that is overwhelmed with crime, Security Concepts begins developing robotic law enforcement units. Originally, the Senior President Dick Jones develops a fully robotic unit called ED (Enforcement Droid)-209, with plans to secure a long-term contract with the military for replacement parts and service. However, ED-209 severely malfunctions during the simulation of a disarm-and-arrest-procedure and kills the test subject, even though he dropped his weapon. Ambitious junior executive Bob Morton takes this as a justified reason to go over Jones's head and pitch his "RoboCop Program" directly to OCP's CEO, the "Old Man".
Morton and his team restructure the police force to place prime candidates with high aptitude and experience in law enforcement into high crime areas where death in the line of duty is much higher. Once a death occurs, the deceased officer's body will be used in the construction of a cyborg law enforcement unit, since they have already signed waivers allowing OCP to do whatever they pleased with their corpses. This unit will be afforded the fastest reflexes made possible by modern technology, a memory assisted by an on-board computer, and programmed with a lifetime experience of on-the-street law enforcement.
Murphy is one of these candidates. He is partnered with Officer Anne Lewis, a veteran herself of Old Detroit, plagued by crime boss Clarence Boddicker and his gang. One day, Murphy and Lewis are on patrol when Boddicker hits a pharmaceutical company. They give chase to the gang's panel truck, and after a rolling shootout, chase the truck to an abandoned steel mill. As they split up to search for the gang, Murphy is captured by three other gang members: Emil Antonowsky, Leon Nash and Steve Minh. When Boddicker shows up, he asks Murphy for his opinion of him, to which Murphy defiantly and honestly tells him, "Buddy, I think you're slime." While Lewis is incapacitated after henchman Joe Cox knocks her off a catwalk, Boddicker shoots off Murphy's right hand with a shotgun. The gang members then take turns firing their shotguns, shearing off Murphy's right arm and blasting holes in every part of his body. Amazingly, Murphy is still alive on his knees afterwards (perhaps due to the protective body armor covering his upper body). Boddicker then walks up and executes him with a gunshot to the head. Murphy is rushed to the emergency room, where the doctors try in vain to keep him alive. Because of Murphy's stellar record and near-perfect psychological profile, portions of his body are subsequently used to create the prototype RoboCop designated as OCP Crime Prevention Unit 001.
Because he is pronounced dead, the body is seized by OCP, citing the release forms Murphy signed when he joined the police force. The technicians of the RoboCop Program, led by Morton, take what is left of Murphy's face and portions of his cerebrum and cerebellum and apply them to a cybernetic body, in effect resurrecting Alex Murphy as RoboCop.
RoboCop quickly proves to be an effective weapon against crime, but unbeknownst to Morton is that RoboCop begins to remember his past life as Murphy, starting with his death at the hands of Boddicker and his gang. Enraged at having had his life stolen from him, RoboCop embarks on a personal quest for vengeance as he hunts down and apprehends Boddicker's gang, resulting in the gang's arrest. RoboCop also tracks down OCP's senior executive, Dick Jones, in an attempt to make him pay for aiding Boddicker. However, RoboCop's classified 'Directive 4' comes into effect, preventing him from arresting Jones, and he is subsequently damaged by the ED-209 as well as Lt. Hedgecock and his SWAT team, though a few SWATs refuse to follow the order. After enduring a massed attack by SWAT, RoboCop is rescued by Lewis who was alerted by the few SWATs to LT. Hedgecock's treachery. The two hide in an abandoned steel mill after they escape, during which RoboCop confides to Lewis about his memories of his past life. He also uses a drill brought by Lewis to remove his headpiece, showing how he has his "Alex Murphy" face stretched over it. The two are attacked by Boddicker's gang, commissioned by Jones to destroy the cyborg after he realizes that his entire confession of ordering Morton's murder has been recorded. The final confrontation with Boddicker himself ends with RoboCop violently stabbing him in the throat with the computer data spike installed in his fist. RoboCop confronts Jones in the middle of an OCP board meeting, during which Jones takes the "Old Man" hostage. After admitting that he can take no action due to Directive 4, the "Old Man" fires Jones, allowing RoboCop to shoot him, since he is no longer an OCP employee and his orders on the Detroit police force to destroy him is put to an end. Complimenting RoboCop on his shooting skills, The Old Man asks him his name. Robocop smiles before answering, "Murphy".
A year later, OCP attempts to replicate the success they had with Murphy with a new RoboCop Program; however, all of the candidates selected go insane upon activation and commit suicide or harmed others, due to the severe mental strain of their prostheses. RoboCop is captured, torn apart by the drug lord Cain and his gang and subsequently thrown in front of the police station in an effort to send them a message. He is reconstructed with numerous other directives that render him virtually ineffective on the street, but he is able to reset his programming and erase his directives by giving himself a massive electric shock, leaving him free to lead a counter-attack against Cain.
To find a suitable personality for the new Robocop Program, Dr. Juliette Faxx turns to the criminal element in Cain, reasoning that someone with strong megalomania would relish the power of the new body instead of rejecting the new-found life, just as Murphy came through the process due to his strong sense of justice. Her plan is to use his addiction to the drug Nuke to control him. Upon his death, Cain's brain and spinal column are harvested and placed in a larger, more powerful cybernetic body, referred to as RoboCop 2. Ultimately, Cain's addiction to Nuke proves to be his undoing, as Lewis tempts him with a vial of the drug long enough for RoboCop to attack Cain from behind and remove his brain casing from the robot body. RoboCop smashes the brain on the pavement, eliminating Cain for good.
Omni Consumer Products (OCP), on the verge of bankruptcy, creates an armed force called the Urban Rehabilitators ("Rehabs" for short), under the command of Paul McDaggett (John Castle). Ostensibly its purpose is to combat rising crime in Old Detroit, augmenting the ranks of the Detroit Police in apprehending violent criminals. In reality it has been set up to forcibly relocate the residents of Cadillac Heights, killing some of them (including the parents of Nikko, a Japanese-American computer whiz kid) in the process. The police force is gradually superseded by the Rehabs, and violent crime begins to spiral out of control. The Delta City dream of the former OCP CEO, "Old Man", lives on with the help of the Japanese zaibatsu Kanemitsu Corporation, which has bought a controlling stake in the organisation. Kanemitsu (Mako) sees the potential in the citywide redevelopment, and moves forward with the plans to remove the current citizens. The company develops and uses its own ninja robots (called "Otomo") to help McDaggett and the OCP President (Rip Torn) overcome the resistance of the anti-OCP militia forces.
When RoboCop (Burke) and partner Anne Lewis (Allen) try to defend civilians from the Rehabs one night, Lewis is mortally wounded by McDaggett and eventually dies. Unable to fight back because of the 'Fourth Directive', RoboCop is saved by members of a resistance and eventually joins them. Due to severe damage sustained in the shoot-out RoboCop's systems efficiency plummets, and he asks the resistance to summon Dr. Lazarus, one of the scientists who created him. Upon arrival she begins to treat him, deleting the Fourth Directive in the process. During an earlier raid on an armoury the resistance has picked up a jet-pack prototype, originally intended for RoboCop's use, which Lazarus modifies and upgrades.
After recovering from his injuries RoboCop conducts a one-man campaign against the Rehabs. He finds McDaggett and attempts to subdue him, but McDaggett is able to escape. McDagget then obtains information from a disgruntled resistance member (Stephen Root) regarding the location of the resistance fighters base. The base is then attacked by the Rehabs and most of the resistance members are either killed or taken prisoner. Nikko escapes with the help of Lazarus before she is captured and taken to the OCP headquarters as a prisoner.
RoboCop returns to the rebel base to find it abandoned. One of the Otomo ninjabots then arrives and attacks him. RoboCop experiences another power drain and his side-arm is destroyed, but eventually he is able to overcome his opponent. Meanwhile, Nikko infiltrates the OCP building and assists Lazarus broadcast an improvised video, revealing that OCP is behind the outbreaks of criminality in the city and implicating them in the removal and termination of the Cadillac Heights residents. The broadcast causes OCP's stock to plunge dramatically, driving the company into total ruin.
McDaggett decides to execute an all-out strike against Cadillac Heights with the help of the Detroit City police department, but the outraged police officers refused to comply and instead defect to the resistance. As a result, McDaggett turns to hiring street gangs and hooligans to assist with his plans.
Having heard Lazarus' broadcast Robocop takes to the air using the jet-pack. As the combined forces of the Rehabs and street gangs are about to wipe out the rebels and Detroit Police, RoboCop mounts an aerial assault on the attackers, leading to their defeat. He then proceeds to the OCP building and confronts the waiting McDaggett. Robocop is then attacked, and nearly defeated, by two Otomo robots. Nikko and Lazarus succeed in reprogramming them using a wireless link from a laptop computer, however, forcing them to attack each other. This triggers a timed self-destruct sequence in both units, forcing Robocop to flee. Igniting his jet-pack the flaming discharge hits McDaggett's leg, immobilising him. Robocop escapes with Nikko and Lazarus, leaving McDaggett to perish in the blast while attempting to stop the self-destruct devices.
As Old Detroit is being cleaned up Kanemitsu arrives and confronts RoboCop and his group, while his translator (Doug Yasuda) tells the OCP president on Kanemitsu's behalf that he is fired. Kanemitsu then bows to RoboCop. The deposed OCP President turns to Robocop and says "Well, I gotta hand it to ya... what do they call you? Murphy, is it?" RoboCop replies, saying "My friends call me Murphy. You call me RoboCop."
RoboCop: Prime Directives
Ten years after the first RoboCop was activated, OCP revives the RoboCop Program yet again. After the death of Delta City Security Commander John T. Cable, OCP uses portions of his body to create Crime Prevention Unit 002, moving back to the original elements of Morton's RoboCop Program. In a move of Corporate Espionage, this new RoboCop is activated in an attempt to eliminate his predecessor so that the conglomerate could freely participate in questionable activities. This programming is later overcome by Cable, who OCP had not remembered was a former friend, and partner, of Alex Murphy, and the two instead moved against OCP.
In this reboot of the series, Alex Murphy and his partner, Jack Lewis, are attempting to arrest crime lord Antoine Vallon, unaware that he has contacts inside the department. When Lewis gets shot and is hospitalized after an undercover deal goes wrong, and Murphy is badly injured when Vallon detonates a car bomb in his driveway, Murphy is selected for the new Robocop program as part of a campaign by OmniCorp's Director, Raymond Sellars to overturn the Dreyfus Act, which prevents robots being used for law enforcement purposes in American streets, by putting a human in the robotic body.
Although Murphy is virtually completely reconstructed with a cybernetic body—his face, central nervous systems, circulatory systems and respiratory systems are the largest part of him left intact, and various chips have been implanted into his brain, as well as at least one eye being replaced—he proves to operate at a slower rate than the drone counterparts due to his natural hesitation when making judgements in the field. Attempting to get around this, Dr. Norton—the cyberneticist responsible for creating Murphy's implants—has a new chip installed in Murphy's brain that compensates for this by taking control of his responses in action. When faced with his public debut, he is so overwhelmed by his emotions that Dr. Norton is forced to shut down Murphy's ability to feel emotions to prevent a psychological breakdown.
With his emotions shut down, Murphy proves to be an effective detective and police officer, quickly tracking down assorted unarrested suspects through his access to various security systems. His inability to emotionally connect results in him avoiding contact with his wife Clara and son David. When Clara confronts Murphy about his distance, it causes the reversal of the effects of Dr. Norton's emotion augmentation that results in Murphy tracking down Vallon and his police contacts, effectively solving his own murder, only to be shut down when he attempts to force a confession out of the police chief after learning that she was one of Vallon's contacts. When Sellars attempts to use this discovery to have RoboCops put in action on a country-wide scale and to destroy the original, Norton has a crisis of conscience and not only reactivates Murphy, but admits what was done to him psychologically during the program. With the death of Sellars, Murphy is reconstructed by Norton and allowed contact with his family again.
Alex Murphy's police file (from the first RoboCop film) reads as follows:
Murphy, Alex J.
548 Primrose Ln,
Grade: 1 00 33
Service: 7 Merit:
RoboCop is programmed to follow three main "prime directives" (accompanied by a mysterious fourth) based on the "To Protect and to Serve" motto of the Los Angeles Police Department and many other police forces, and which are comparable with Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics":
"Dead or alive, you're coming with me."First Directive: Serve the public trust This is the moral directive programmed: it establishes RoboCop as a police civil servant in the series. RoboCop must help the civilians in any ways possible; and must protect their rights to life, privacy, and property from any lethal or non-lethal harm. This disables him from prosecuting, arresting, trespassing or harming innocent civilians without warrant, or act in any way against the public's trust. If he detects innocent bystanders, his fellow officers or criminals of minor misdemeanors are attacked; it then activates the Second Directive and Third Directive. Second Directive: Protect the innocent This is the ethical directive programmed: it establishes Robocop must exercise duty to rescue, non-lethality and the presumption of innocence at all times. Lethal-force is authorized only during life-threatening situations, and only against criminals with a history of serious felonies (etc. murder). Third Directive: Uphold the law This is the legal directive programmed: it establishes RoboCop as a law enforcement officer, and is obligated to "protect and serve" as required by law. It also forbids strike action or to request termination of employment, and disables him from directly arresting or harming a police officer (unless proven guilty). Fourth Directive: Classified This directive is deliberately programmed as "hidden" and is inaccessible by RoboCop. This directive renders him physically incapable of arresting or injuring any senior OCP employee: "Any attempt to arrest a senior OCP employee results in shutdown."
The Third Directive is specifically what prevents Murphy from killing Boddicker during a drug raid: while Boddicker had been shooting at RoboCop minutes before, he then put his gun away and tried to flee, but RoboCop caught up with him and started severely beating him (based on echoes of memory of what Boddicker did to Murphy). The badly wounded and now unarmed Boddicker begs for his life, pleads that he surrenders, and that RoboCop can't kill him because he's a police officer – which activates the Third Directive, making Robocop take him in alive back to the police precinct.
The Fourth Directive is Jones' contribution to RoboCop's psychological profile. Jones informs RoboCop that he is an OCP product and not an ordinary police officer. As a result, RoboCop is unable to act against the corrupt Jones until the Old Man terminates Jones's employment with the company, allowing RoboCop to act against him. The Fourth Directive has been erased twice, in each of the sequels. RoboCop 2 sees the deletion of all of the directives; after Dr. Faxx has RoboCop reprogrammed with so many new irrelevant directives that he is nearly incapable of taking action, RoboCop is forced to subject himself to high voltage electricity to clear his database. In RoboCop 3, Directive Four is declassified and reworded as "Never oppose an OCP officer." It is eliminated so that RoboCop could avenge Lewis's death.
By the time of RoboCop: Prime Directives, Directive Four was not present at all, but a saboteur instituted one which is stated as "Terminate John T. Cable." In RoboCop: The Series, Directive Four was also not present. At the end of Prime Directives, all his directives were erased, but RoboCop stated to his son that he would do "What I do: Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, and uphold the law," noting that he would keep his directives by his own will, not through the imposition of programming.
Robocop carries guns designed for him and is equipped with enhanced reflexes, speed and strength, visual and auditory capabilities.
RoboCop's vision has an internal zoom capability for better aim as well as tracking. RoboCop also has different vision modes but the only one that has been used in the movies was thermal vision in RoboCop and RoboCop 3. His systems use a grid which is crucial to RoboCop's targeting as well as bullet trajectory (allowing him to make ricochet shots), though apparently the targeting reticle of RoboCop is internal to him, as seen in the first movie. As seen in RoboCop 2, RoboCop's programming prevents him from targeting children, which allowed Hob to shoot RoboCop and escape the Nuke drug lab. He also has a recorder which can detect voice fluctuations and stress as well as play back audio/visual. This recording capability enables RoboCop to document any situation he encounters with perfect recall and unbiased neutrality, with his memory being deemed through legal agreement as admissible evidence in a court of law. As seen in RoboCop 2, RoboCop possesses a directional microphone with which he can track conversations from a distance. It would seem to be very sensitive, as he can hear vehicles approaching from afar despite being indoors (as he did when he was hiding out in RoboCop 3). In the television series, he is capable of lie detection by means of a polygraph.
In the reboot film, his vision is greatly enhanced: His visor comes down when in attack mode, and is usually up when in sentry mode. He uploaded the entire database of the Detroit PD in the visor, allowing him to instantly spot criminals in the crowd (as shown during a demonstration, where he spotted a criminal and arrested him). He also has an internal microphone allowing him to speak directly with OmniCorp officials.
Various displays and interpretations range from RoboCop being mostly electronic and mechanical, while others depict his structure as balanced between the two. In the original print of the film, director Van recorded the death scene, in which crime lord Clarence Boddicker shoots Murphy in the head at point blank range, blowing out the complete rear right side of Murphy's head. This would necessitate the computer running RoboCop, with Murphy's only partial brain interacting with the computer. This scene and successive conflict structure was removed from the original release, though the back head explosion scene and destructive showing of Murphy's head is included in most successive home releases as a deleted scene. In the released theatrical version and original VHS home releases, only the front of Murphy's head and the entry wound are shown (visible when RoboCop removes his helmet in the final act). Alex Murphy's brain, nervous system and personality apparently remain intact; he is able to fully reassert himself after most of the external controlling systems are destroyed and punctuated at the end of the film, where he states his identity as "Murphy" rather than RoboCop.
While all of Murphy's limbs have been replaced with "total body prosthesis" (as indicated with the scene where Murphy's left arm is announced as salvaged) Murphy's nervous system is maintained. The first movie lets the viewer assume that some of Murphy's organs were transplanted into the cyborg (without clearly stating which ones and to which extent), since he needs to feed on a "rudimentary paste that sustains his organic systems". Donald Johnson (played by Felton Perry) comments Robocop's paste "tastes like baby food".
RoboCop's reconstructed external structure is protected by an armored shell composed of "titanium laminated with Kevlar" making RoboCop incredibly resilient against both bombs and bullets, as well as extreme impacts such as being hit by cars and falling off skyscrapers. In RoboCop and RoboCop 3 the body armor is gray, and in RoboCop 2 the armor is blue. RoboCop's hands, midsection, and neck armor are black. As demonstrated in RoboCop, the body armor can sustain thousands of armor-piercing rounds before damage begins to appear on the armor. It is also highly resistant to heat, as in RoboCop, he was unaffected after being caught in a gasoline station explosion and in RoboCop 3 when he was briefly set aflame. His visor is made of the same material and a black strip of bulletproof anti-fog glass which protects the cranium apparatus and eyes. The visor also has an undercloth of Kevlar which protects the neck and covers up any wires etc. It should also be noted that the visor conceals most of Alex Murphy's face, and is attached with screws. When the visor is removed, only Murphy's face (which is grafted onto a completely mechanical skull) from the top of the neck up is exposed. When the helmet is removed, the back of his head exposes part of the metal casing and some minor mechanical elements.
In RoboCop 2, RoboCop's right arm contained a display that alerted personnel to his health status. RoboCop's hands also contain actuators strong enough to crush every bone in a human hand (about 400 foot pounds). His right hand also contains a spike (referred to by fans as a "dataspike" and by production as the "terminal strip") which is used to retrieve or display data from any computer bank with a corresponding port. At the end of the first film, the jack is also used as a stabbing weapon against the antagonist Clarence Boddicker. RoboCop is extremely strong, able to lift the front of the average car over his head with one arm or resist the crushing effort of a car crusher, as seen in the TV series (episodes 5 and 21, respectively). He was designed to be able "to penetrate virtually any building," and breaks locks with ease.
In Frank Miller's RoboCop, RoboCop stores his reserve box magazines in his right wrist; this is never shown in the film series. He is seen reloading the Auto-9 in RoboCop 2 with a magazine already in hand at the start of the scene. In the later television series, the holster area of his left thigh is used to store grenades, though on some schematic drawings the same area is used to store an emergency oxygen tank.
RoboCop implies that only Murphy's face and brain was used in the construction of RoboCop, as Morton states that "total body prosthesis" was an agreed-upon parameter. It is unclear in the first two films whether or not RoboCop's human face is merely a replica of Murphy's, as it contains a scar where Boddicker shot him in the head, though he tells Murphy's wife, in RoboCop 2, that "they made this to honor him." After touching it, she says, "it's cold."
In RoboCop 3, Dr. Marie Lazarus, RoboCop's chief technician, stated that Murphy's face was indeed transplanted onto a mechanical skull, and that it is not a replica.
In the 2014 RoboCop reboot, RoboCop is seen in several bodies. Initially, he is constructed in a silver body very similar to the one seen in the original films. Omnicorp CEO Raymond Sellars later has marketing executive Tom Pope conduct focus group testing on a number of other designs. One such design features a transformation function, in which RoboCop could switch from his usual, bulky shape into a slimmer, more human-like form for off-duty public relations purposes. Though Sellars rejects this concept, he selects the slimmer "public relations" design as RoboCop's permanent design, albeit painted black to make him more marketable. Following Sellars' death and the significant damaging of this body, RoboCop is rebuilt in his original body by Dr. Dennett Norton.
Unlike in the original films, RoboCop's head is contained within a helmet, instead of his face being transplanted onto a metal skull. One feature common in every design seen in the reboot film is that the visor, which was screwed onto RoboCop's head in the original films, can move up and down freely, commonly moving over his eyes when his emotions spike and his crimefighting programs activate.
In RoboCop: Creating a Legend, a bonus feature on the RoboCop: 20th Anniversary DVD, it is stated that Murphy's face was removed from his corpse and implanted on the cyborg's head to give RoboCop a sense of identity. This psychological disruption RoboCop may have experienced is explained from the basis that a person whose memory has been erased would still possess the memory of being human and would suffer a psychotic breakdown if he saw the reflection of a robotic image instead of his original image of humanity.
In other media
Since his 1987 film debut, the RoboCop character and franchise have been exercised through numerous entertainment media including multiple television series, comic books, video games, and action figures.
RoboCop has appeared in numerous television series based on the films. These include:
RoboCop has appeared in several video game adaptions for the films.
RoboCop has appeared in several different comic books.