MovieChat Forums > French Connection II (1975) Discussion > Why didn't Charnier kill Doyle?

Why didn't Charnier kill Doyle?


After kidnapping him and feeding him heroin, why did he give him back to the police? Barthelemy says something to Doyle like, "Imagine if your police force finds out you're a junkie cop" to explain why Doyle's rehab had to be kept secret, but if Charnier's reason for doping him up was just to make him look like a junkie, that seems kind of dumb. And if Charnier considered Doyle to be such a fly in the ointment, it seems that it would make even more sense to just kill him.

Any theories?

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[deleted]

I just watched FC II again and believe that Charnier thought he HAD killed Doyle. He gave him an overdose, which he thought would kill him. It was Charnier's bad luck that Doyle lived.

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Something else you might think about is he could have wanted to ruin his reputation. Take away his pride and he has little left. But he could have thought it was an overdose like you said. Ruin his reputation and kill him at the same time.

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[deleted]

I think that basically Charnier was smart and killing Doyle would have been a stupid move, so he just messed him up royally to get some breathing room.

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Even though Doyle and Charnier are roughly hero and villain in a general sense, the script dares a more complex view. While Doyle is clearly obsessed with getting Charnier, Charnier is focused on his current criminal operations. To Doyle, Charnier is a rival. To Charnier, Doyle is a pest. The last thing Charnier wants is for the French police to be working on an investigation into Doyle's murder.

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Charnier only kidnaps Doyle to find out how much is known about his operation. When Popeye has become addicted, Charnier asks him how much the cops know - at this point Charnier is almost blackmailing him - you tell me what I want to know and I'll give you another shot. And cops crawling all over Marseilles looking for Popeye, is making things difficult for him. He believes Popeye, says he's honest, but stupid. Then says again "Yes, honest" and the way Fernando Rey says that suggests to me he has a sort of grudging respect for Popeye. Killing him would certainly cause more problems. Sending him back buys him some time. But he still hadn't cottoned on to Popeye being such a fighter.

That's my pennyworth...


“Nobody’s winning. One side’s just losing slower than the other.”

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You are right. He knew if he killed this cop he would have a bigger problems with local police and an international incident.

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I saw it on FMC last night - again. It was rewarding to see how unsettled Charnier was when he saw Popeye Doyle through the window of another fine restaurant and, later, in the trolley. He was more pulled-together when he messed with Popeye in the subway in NYC.

"Two more swords and I'll be Queen of the Monkey People." Roseanne

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clearly Charnier underestimated Doyle

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Charnier knew Doyle was sent as bait, and that Doyle was a stubborn relantless type, so killing him was not an option. The method he used was genius, get him hooked on dope, get whatever information you need, give him a hot dose, he is dead. It would just look like Doyle had got hooked on drugs and overdosed.

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But what if Charnier just kidnapped Doyle, then killed him and forever hide the body? If the body is completely disposed of, no one will find it, so therefore, no one is going to tie the murder to Charnier.

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If he killed Doyle, the French police would never have stopped searching the city for him and that wouldn't have helped his activities.
He thought that by drugging him he wouldn't remember where he was.

If he wanted him dead he would NEVER have thrown him in front on the police station.

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The Heroin OD method Charnier chose had a dual purpose: to kill him and to discredit him. The result, he hoped, was to get Doyle off his back and trash his investigation so the NYPD would leave him alone for good.

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maybe charnier thought that once doyle was reintroduced to the cops he would be sent back to new york and charnier would be rid of him for good. charnier knew that doyle was the main cop on his case and by getting rid of him he would be clear to carry on his operations. charnier also would have been amazed that the french cops would "let" doyle go cold turkey and recover himself


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Frog 1 thinks Doyle is tenacious but ultimately stupid. He underestimates him.

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I just assumed Charnier didn't kill Doyle because it would have brought too much attention down on him and his illicit organization in his own backyard. By addicting him to dope and dumping him off, there was a lot less publicity than outright killing him. Also, it wouldn't have been much of a film if Doyle got killed in the middle of the feature.

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