DirtyHarry Wiki
Advertisement
8093-11868

Lt. Neil Briggs

"A hundred years ago in this city, people did the same thing. History justified the vigilantes, we're no different. Anyone who threatens the security of the people will be executed. Evil for evil, Harry. Retribution."
—Neil Briggs revealing himself to Harry Callahan

Status: Deceased

Cause of death: Blown up by Harry Callahan.

Weapons: Smith & Wesson Model 19 Snub Nose, .357 Magnum Colt Python

Lt. Briggs is the main antagonist of the second Dirty Harry film Magnum Force. He is Harry's corrupt boss and the leader of the Death squad.

Briggs was sent to watch Callahan after the way he handled the Scorpio case, even telling Callahan that they can't have anyone yell "police brutality" everytime Harry is involved.

Briggs portrays himself as a cop who is strictly by the book and against excessive police force. Briggs is constantly rebuking Harry for his violent tactics and trying to keep him away from homicide investigating, although he ends up putting Harry back on homicide after the murders. He ends up being the main cop investigating a surge in killings of high profile criminals in the Bay Area. Lt. Briggs thinks that the vigilantes are just rival criminals killing each other and doesn't believe they're cops and rejects Callahan's theories and discredits his evidence. 

Briggs brags that he never had to take his gun out before, that eventually changes when he pulls out his Smith & Wesson Model 19 Snub Nose possibly for the first time and aims it at Harry while revealing his true colors at the same time. He reveals that he is the ringleader of the vigilantes which is a shock, since he was against violence. He says that vigilantism is justified, evil for evil and scolded Harry for sticking with the system. Harry argued that he hates the system but he would rather stick with it than become a vigilante killer, which then Briggs told Harry that he was about to "become extinct". He arranged for Grimes to follow them and help kill Harry but the two engage in a brief fight. During the scuffle, Harry manages to disarm Briggs and knocks him out by slamming his head into the dashboard then later tosses him out of the car.

After Harry kills the deranged vigilante cops, a very badly beaten Briggs pops up out of nowhere holding a .357 Magnum he got from Grimes' dead body and tells Harry there's more cops like them. He then tells Harry he's going to prosecute him since he had killed three police officers. While Briggs does this, Harry re-arms the bomb and throws it into the car without Briggs noticing. Lt. Briggs' last words are "It'll be my word against yours, and who's going to believe you?" "You're a killer Harry a maniac." Briggs then drives off only to be blown up, ending his organization.

As Harry looks upon the wreckage, he says "A man's got to know his limitations" before walking away. Briggs was the fifth and final one of the death squad to die.

He was played by the late Academy Award-nominee Hal Holbrook.


Trivia

  • Briggs was most likely the one that tipped off Palancio which led to the shootout.
  • Briggs was an overzealous police officer and had very radical ideas.
  • Briggs is also the only Dirty Harry main antagonist older than Harry.
  • Briggs is also the only main antagonist of the Dirty Harry saga not to be directly killed by Harry Callahan, instead being killed by a bomb that was turned on by Harry.
  • Despite being the main antagonist of the film, the rookie vigilante cops had more screen time than him, but he became the final antagonist of the film for Harry to defeat.
  • Briggs replaces Lt. Bressler, Harry's boss in the first Dirty Harry movie. Bressler would later return as Lieutenant in the third Dirty Harry film The Enforcer.
Advertisement