triple bill of police dramas. 'serpico' (1973) is based on the real-life story of undercover police officer frank serpico (al pacino), who discovers that corruption is rife soon after joining the force. refusing the payoffs that have become accepted practice, the nonconformist serpico finds himself spurned and harrassed by his fellow officers. when the strain of performing his job honestly finally becomes too much, serpico turns first to the disinterested police commission and finally to the 'new york times' to make his voice heard, and is forced to give evidence in the resulting investigation. however, with the cops as well as the crooks now out for his blood, serpico discovers that integrity comes at a very high price. in 'narc' (2002), detroit undercover cop nick tellis (jason patric) is persuaded to return to the police force to help uncover the murderers of a fellow officer after a spell away following a drugs bust that went badly wrong. tellis is teamed up with the dead officer's partner, henry oak (ray liotta), who seems to work on his own violent agenda. as the duo become more involved in the complex trail to the murderers, they find their lives are being ruled by the crime: tellis begins to ignore his wife and newborn baby, and oak becomes even more volatile. kevin costner stars in 'the untouchables' (1987) as eliot ness, an idealistic treasury official who vows to bring an end to al capone's (robert de niro) corrupt hold over prohibition-era chicago. to this end, ness puts together an elite team of law-enforcement officers (played by sean connery, andy garcia and charles martin smith), and begins making bold strikes at capone's bootlegging operation. nevertheless, capone's empire continues to thrive, and ness realises that he must try a different approach. brian de palma directs, from a david mamet screenplay, and sean connery won a best supporting actor oscar for his efforts.