Donegal born, Peter Daly, emigrated to New York in the 1950s, where he became an NYPD cop, coming into contact with some of America’s most notorious crime figures.
Sucked into the mob world, Peter’s special investigations unit (SIU) was notoriously corrupt, and when he was involved in one of the biggest drug busts, known as the ’100 Kilo Case’, Peter ended up doing ten years in prison (under the protection of the Italian and Irish Mobsters such as Jimmy “The Gent” Conway) for keeping 5 kilo of the narcotics, which he sold on. These of course were the same narcotics seized by Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, as depicted in William Friedkin’s 1971 motion picture The French Connection.
Peter Daly – Good Cop/Bad Cop? examines Peter’s life in Ireland, his service in the Korean War and his subsequent NYPD career. The documentary features exclusive interviews with ex cop Frank Serpico famously portrayed by Al Pacino in the motion picture Serpico, Bob Leuci the cop who lifted the lid on NYPD corruption by turning state witness and Joseph Jaffe who alongside Rudolph Giuliani prosecuted Peter and other members of the SIU unit.
The documentary follows Peter on a recent trip he made to New York where a dinner was held in his honour by retired members of the NYPD SIU and Narcotics units. Peter retraces his steps along his old beat in lower Manhattan as he attempts to come to terms with the choices he made 40 years ago. The passage of time is palpable as many of his old haunts are unrecognisable. The gentrification of many neighbourhoods rendering them unfamiliar to an old man who patrolled the cities mean streets in early 1970s
Recorded in Donegal and New York over three months in the summer of 2013, Peter Daly – Good Cop/Bad Cop? is a unique tale of emigration, corruption, intrigue, regret and loyalty. It links a small town in North West Donegal with some of the most earth shattering incidents in recent U.S. history. It examines moral choices made by the Irish abroad and places the listener in the protagonist’s shoes urging them to find their owner answer to the question posed by the Documentary’s title.
– It becomes a fraternity and you gotta play by the rules. I missed just being a policeman. – Frank Serpico New York June 2013.
– I realised every room had to be wired. I would draw a ‘no’ on my hand so that nothing was spoken – Peter Daly – Ballyshannon May 2013.
RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday 14 September, 1pm