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Training Day is a 2001 police drama directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by David Ayer and starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. The film follows two LAPD narcotics detectives over a 24-hour period in the gang neighborhoods of South Los Angelesmarker.

Training Day features appearances by Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger, Harris Yulin, Raymond J. Barry, Terry Crews, and Eva Mendes. Musical artists Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Macy Gray are also featured.


The film follows a single day in the life of a young LAPD cop Jake Hoyt (Hawke) as he is subject to an evaluation by Detective Alonzo Harris (Washington), a highly decorated LAPD narcotics officer who could put him on the path for rapid career advancement.

After meeting in a diner, Jake rides with Alonzo in his car, a black 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo lowrider, during the day. From the first few moments of their interaction, it becomes quickly apparent that Jake's belief in the system is in stark contrast to Alonzo's philosophy of blending in with "the real world" without regard for the rules. They first detain some college students buying marijuana from a dealer, but instead of arresting them they confiscate the drugs. Alonzo offers Jake a hit from the marijuana which Jake initially refuses. Alonzo threatens him and states that a drug dealer would have killed him for refusing. Jake stands fast, but Alonzo puts a gun to his head and threatens to throw him out of the car. Jake relents and takes the hit, but quickly discovers that the marijuana was laced with PCP.

Alonzo then takes Jake to the home of a man named Roger (Scott Glenn) for an apparent social call. After leaving Roger's, Jake notices a female high school student being attacked by two men in a side alley. He demands Alonzo to pull over as he jumps out to save her. Alonzo watches, but doesn't intervene. Jake wants to process the men and the girl, but Alonzo dismisses her and leaves the two men out on the street, saying the girl's cousin (a gang member) will take care of her attackers. Jake denounces this as street justice, but Alonzo tells him that as a narcotics detective he is focused on shutting down major drug operations, not stopping individual crimes. Jake discovers the girl's wallet and takes it with him.

The pair then harass disabled drug dealer, Blue (Snoop Dogg), forcing him to tell them about his supplier "Sandman" or else go to jail. They travel to Sandman's home and enter it with a phony search warrant. While searching, Alonzo steals Sandman's stash of drug money. Sandman is not home, but his wife (Macy Gray) is suspicious of the two, and after realizing the warrant was fake and the money is gone, calls for help from Sandman's crew loitering nearby. A shootout ensues, but Hoyt and Alonzo escape unharmed, leaving Jake shaken up by the event and Alonzo's criminal behavior.

They arrive at The Jungles to visit Alonzo's Salvadoran mistress, Sara (Eva Mendes), and their young son, where he establishes that the gangs in the housing project all fear and respect him. This is followed by a meet with three high ranking police officers; known as the "Three Wisemen": D.A. Stan Gursky (Tom Berenger), Detective Doug Rosselli (Harris Yulin), and Captain Lou Jacobs (Raymond J. Barry), where it is clear from their conversation that Alonzo has bigger problems than breaking in a new rookie. Alonzo gets permission to "cash in on an account" to pay off a gang of Russians who want him dead.

Alonzo returns to Roger's home with Jake and some fellow "narcs" (narcotics officers) led by Jeff (Peter Greene), Paul (Dr. Dre), and their followers Tim (Nick Chinlund) and Mark (Jaime Gomez). They seize a huge amount of money hidden underneath the floor of his kitchen, and divide a cut amongst the team (though Jake refuses it) before shooting Roger as he sits unarmed. Alonzo and his crew doctor the scene to make it appear that Roger fired on Jeff and that Jake killed him in defense of his fellow officers. Jake refuses to lie about the events whereupon Alonzo again threatens to kill him and make it appear that he was killed in the line of duty by Roger. Jake snaps, turning the shotgun on Alonzo and sparking a tense standoff between him and the corrupt officers. Ordering his crew to stand down, Alonzo reveals his wild card; the department will run a blood test on Jake as a routine procedure following the shooting, which will detect the PCP he had smoked earlier. Alonzo offers to have the test results falsified in exchange for Jake's cooperation.

As backup arrives to clean up, Jake expresses his overall disgust at the way Alonzo operates, to which Alonzo replies that despite their seeming friendship, Roger was a crime lord and that his death will result in lives saved. He states that he believes Jake can be a great narcotics officer and that he will never be asked to compromise his ethics again if he joins Alonzo's unit.

The pair later arrive at the home of a Latino gangster named "Smiley" (Cliff Curtis), who is playing poker with two other gang members, Moreno (Noel Gugliemi) and Sniper (Raymond Cruz). After playing a hand, Jake realizes that Alonzo has abandoned him to the thugs. Smiley informs him of Alonzo's situation; he must pay one million dollars to the Russian mob for killing one of their couriers in Las Vegas, or be killed himself. Jake tries to escape, but he is overpowered and dragged into the bathroom to be shot. They ignore his mercy pleas and search his pockets, finding the wallet he had picked up earlier which, coincidentally, belongs to Smiley's cousin. Smiley is infuriated, and Jake desperately tries to tell him the truth about where he found it. Doubtful, Smiley calls his cousin to confirm Jake's story. In exchange for Jake having saved his cousin's life, Smiley calls off the hit, letting him go and returning his gun.

Shaken by the progression of the day's events, Jake returns to Sara's apartment looking for Alonzo. He attempts to arrest him as he tries to make his appointment with the Russians, but Alonzo resists and a fight breaks out. Jake eventually manages to subdue him, after which the local gang members and residents begin congregating to watch the conflict. Alonzo tries to get the crowd on his side by offering a monetary reward to whoever kills Jake, but they refuse to intervene and allow Jake to walk away with the money, which he intends to turn in as evidence of Alonzo's renegade activities. Alonzo however, still full of bravado, forces the crowd to back down and leaves the scene.

In his desperate escape to LAXmarker, Alonzo is surrounded at a quiet intersection by a crew of Russian hitmen who spray his car with machine gun fire. The final scene has Jake pulling into his driveway and going home to his wife, Lisa (Charlotte Ayanna), and daughter, while a radio broadcast reports Alonzo's death — describing it as occurring honorably 'in the line of duty.'



Antoine Fuqua wanted Training Day to look as authentic as possible, and he shot on location in some of the most infamous neighborhoods of Los Angeles, Californiamarker. He even obtained permission to shoot in the Imperial Courts housing project. It was the first time L.A. street gangs allowed cameras to be brought into the Imperial Courts neighborhood. The crew also filmed in Hoover Block and The Jungles. Parts of the film were shot on a dead end street called Palmwood Drive where the Black P. Stones Blood gang members were seen on the rooftops. Cle Shaheed Sloan, the gang technical advisor of Training Day, managed to get on screen real-life gang members from Rollin' 60 Crips, PJ Watts Crips and B. P. Stones Bloods.

According to Fuqua's commentary on the DVD release of the film, the actors and crew ended up receiving a warm welcome from local residents. When Fuqua was unable to shoot a scene directly on location, he recreated the locations on sets.

There were also two police officers on hand as technical advisors, Michael Patterson and Paul Lozada. Washington, Hawke and other cast members also met with undercover police officers, local drug dealers and gang members to help them understand their roles better.

The coffee shop in the beginning of the film, called Quality Cafe, appears in many films, including Old School, Se7en, Ghost World, Gone in Sixty Seconds, and Catch Me If You Can.


The film received mostly positive reviews upon release, and Denzel Washington's portrayal of Alonzo Harris gathered glowing praise from the critics. Fuqua wanted his character to be seductive and part of a machine, and not just a random rogue cop. In Washington's own words,

I think in some ways he’s done his job too well. He’s learned how to manipulate, how to push the line further and further, and, in the process, he’s become more hard-core than some of the guys he’s chasing.

The review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 72% of critics gave positive reviews based on 152 reviews.

Denzel Washington's character Alonzo was ranked 50th villain in the AFI's 100 greatest heroes and villains list.


Denzel Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Ethan Hawke was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Box office

The film was released in theaters on October 5, 2001, and was a box office hit, landing at #1. At its second week of release, the film's gross revenue was $13,386,457, landing again in the #1 position. The film stayed in the top-ten box office until the seventh week of release, landing at #12. The film grossed $76,631,907 domestically and $104,876,233 worldwide.


A soundtrack containing hip hop music was released on September 11, 2001 by Priority Records. It made it 35 on the Billboard 200 and 19 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and spawned two hit singles, Nelly's "#1" and Dr. Dre and DJ Quik's "Put It on Me".


  1. "Man on a mission". October 2006.

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