Two down and out cops are paired as partners to take on a cartel before the cartel spreads a powerful drug that could destroy the city or risk being fired, if they survive.
I have to admit this isn’t the easiest story to write a logline for. Mainly because the only reason a down and out cops would be assigned to take down a drug cartel that could destroy the city is if they are supposed to fail… This adds words to the logline, however. So here is an attempt but it is probably a little rough.
“When his corrupt police chief assigns him the task of taking down a powerful cartel, an alcoholic formerly great detective must stop a massive drug ring even though the only reason he was assigned was to fail.”
I like The Other Guys! The difference is, they start with a small case and then unravel a grand conspiracy. If that’s not the point here, if it’s really the two inserted into something big at the beginning, then it’s a question of how to make it plausible enough. Many undercover comedies are in this vein, like Miss Congeniality and 21 Jump Street. There’s by accident, like A Shot In The Dark (the first Pink Panther). Perhaps your cops get assigned by mistake and then…other options. Even for a comedy, there should be something understandable to how they get in over their heads so that the reader doesn’t lose interest at that moment.
>> Two down and out cops
Describe each and more precisely since conflict is needed between them and it would nail the irony and humor. Disgraced, demoted, desk jockey, timid, hotshot…
>> a cartel before the cartel spreads a powerful drug
A powerful, NEW drug, right? Is this set in America or in a Latin America country? Something feels off about starting with a cartel that will get bigger…perhaps the cops are the ones to discover they have a new drug. Point is, spread out the events/turns.
>> that could destroy the city
This can be cut and a description of the drug would imply it, like “Ten times more addictive than heroin.”
>> or risk being fired, if they survive.are
This will likely not be necessary in the next take on the logline because the drug and danger in battling the cartel are enough stakes. Even for a comedy and for this first logline, it’s hard to imagine that these two cops would be fired for failing such a difficult assignment.
Clarify the main antag and create a sense of what happens most of the time. As with the location, is this about the cops in an American city chasing leads to find who’s behind the drug?