It’s such a cliche when villains or criminals hide behind “diplomatic immunity” in books, movies, TV shows, and other forms of media. In real life, ambassadors don’t pay unpaid parking tickets, but they don’t go around killing anyone or plant nuclear bombs. They sure as heck can’t hop on a plane after getting caught doing something serious. Another aspect of diplomatic immunity in real life is that it can only be fully given to “recognized diplomats”. Yet so many (dare I say) lazy writers use “diplomatic immunity” as a method to prevent a villain or culprit from being arrested. I mean, how else can Dr. Doom walk around JFK, and not even use the metal detector? Anyone remember when The Joker was an Iranian ambassador?
There are other cliched plot points for using diplomatic immunity: evil ambassadors can smuggle weapons through airports because they allegedly can’t be searched by airport security, it answers our burning question- “Why can’t they just ARREST him?”, the ambassador can spy and steal our technology with impunity, and he/she can plan everything at his embassy (which our hero is not allowed to enter).
Some more examples:
CSI Miami- pretty pathetic. An ambassador’s son killed someone in the U.S. AND smuggled diamonds (oooo). So the police had to lure him into international waters. ALSO, the ambassador found out the killer wasn’t his blood son, so diplomatic immunity was revoked anyway!
Lethal Weapon 2- diplomatic immunity was “invoked” even after he tried to kill a police officer. A lot of people I know remember that one.
Ever watch Barney Miller? I loved that show…used to watch it in the early evening in syndication after school or camp. There was one episode where the diplomat was walking around with a SLAVE.
Dumb Law & Order episode- It’s established that a diplomat is immune to parking fines, so instead the police towed his car away! (WTF!!)
Smallville- The cops couldn’t arrest a freak who was killing strippers. They had to call…INTERPOL.
Famous episode of The Commish: a diplomat is found to be a rapist…they couldn’t arrest him, so instead give him a bunch of parking tickets and enforce archaic laws. (WTF)
The West Wing (at one time a very cool show) made it a central plot- a diplomat was a terrorist, but they couldn’t arrest him…so the president orders…an assassination and killed him.