Denzel Washington in Inside Man

Denzel Washington as Det. Keith Frazier in Inside Man (2005).

Denzel Washington as Det. Keith Frazier in Inside Man (2006).

Vitals

Denzel Washington as Keith Frazier, NYPD detective

New York City, August 2005

Film: Inside Man
Release Date: March 24, 2006
Director: Spike Lee
Costume Designer: Donna Berwick

Background

Thirty years after Al Pacino electrified audiences in Dog Day Afternoon, Spike Lee released Inside Man, another gripping film about a mid-day New York City bank robbery involving hostages, double-crosses, and character-driven comic moments biting into the suspense.

While Dog Day Afternoon focuses primarily on the criminals, Inside Man shifts focus to the other side of the law as the charismatic and somewhat cocky Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) is assigned to handle the robbery. His adversary is far more cunning than the emotional Sonny of Dog Day Afternoon, and Frazier is just the guy to match his wits. As Frazier himself bemoans:

Who ever heard of a bank robbers escaping on a plane with fifty hostages? You’ve seen Dog Day Afternoon! You’re stalling! Why? I don’t know.

Washington was originally given the choice between playing the guileful bank robber Dalton Russell or the ambitious Detective Frazier. He opted for the second, citing the role as “Brutus goes to Brooklyn” and basing it off of his earlier Broadway performance in Julius Caesar.

What’d He Wear?

Detective Frazier dresses sharply for work, showing up at the scene in a lightweight wool tan pinstripe suit that nicely contrasts the colder dark blue uniforms and suits around him.

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Frazier stands out from the rest of the cops with his seasonally-appropriate wardrobe.

Frazier’s suit jacket is single-breasted with a 3-button front that is nicely spread out over Washington’s long torso. The jacket has a welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and a ventless back. The shoulders are straight with roped sleeveheads. He wears his gold NYPD police detective pin, with its blue enamel painted surface, on the left notch lapel.

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A pensive Denzel.

Although it first appears to be a simple pinstripe pattern, a closer look reveals an alternating double stripe with the light tan stripe providing the most contrast and a second peach stripe blending in to provide a warmer overall appearance.

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Another day so another shirt and tie. This production still offers the best view of the contrasting suit stripes, though.

The suit has a pair of matching low rise trousers with single reverse pleats, offering more comfort for a man that ends up wearing the same pants for almost 24 hours. Frazier’s suit trousers have belt loops, on-seam side pockets, and two jetted rear pockets that each close with a single button. The plain-hemmed bottoms have a full break.

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Frazier’s shirt on the day of the bank robbery is light ecru cotton. It has a large, wide spread collar and a front placket. He fastens the double cuffs with gold links.

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Frazier’s silk tie perfectly matches his gold-and-blue NYPD lapel pin. The tie is a series of bold right-down-to-left stripes alternating between double-ribbed navy blue and a wider mustard gold. The gold stripe is broken up by two narrow sets of triple stripes in yellow, citrus gold, and yellow again.

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The next day, when Frazier and his partner go to investigate the vault, Frazier wears the same suit with a different shirt and tie. The shirt is white, but his tie is cream and orange striped – also bold but now in the opposite direction – with black stripes across the bottom half of each cream portion.

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The second shirt-and-tie combo is better seen during Frazier’s meeting with Madeleine White, but – alas – he wears a solid tan suit for that meeting.

Frazier sticks to the earth tones with his dark burgundy leather belt that closes with a steel buckle. He attaches his black nylon belt holster – one of the few non-earth tone aspects of his outfit – to the right side of the belt for a right-hand draw.

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Mitchell: Hey Keith, let me see your shoe.
Frazier: What?
Mitchell: Lemme see your shoe.
Frazier: Why?
Mitchell: ‘Cause I have never seen anyone put their foot that far up a guy’s ass.

A sharp-dressed guy like Frazier would be expected to follow the matching belt/shoes rule, and he does so with aplomb. He sports a pair of dark burgundy cordovan leather perforated cap toe bluchers with thick black soles. The brief glimpse of his socks under the trousers’ full break shows dark – either black or dark brown – dress socks.

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The full break of Frazier’s trousers is just long enough to avoid hitting the soles on the back of his shoes.

Maitre d’: May I have your hat, please?
Frazier: No, you cannot! Get your own.

Frazier tops off his look (literally) with a short-brimmed trilby in light straw. The hat’s slim cream-edged ribbon is taupe with a black, cream, and rust brown Glen plaid overcheck.

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On his right pinky, Frazier wears a gold pinky ring resembling a miniature NYPD detective’s shield, complete with the blue enamel face. He also wears a gold curb link bracelet on his right wrist.

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Gold is clearly Frazier’s color of choice from his clothing to his accessories, including his Gevril Chelsea watch with its 18 karat yellow gold 40mm case and gold link bracelet. The watch has a round white dial and fastens to his left wrist via deployment clasp.

How to Get the Look

Detective Frazier doesn’t let the unpredictable nature of his work get in the way of his looking sharp on a long summer day in the city.
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  • Tan double-pinstripe lightweight wool suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 3-button front, welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless back
      • Blue enamel-painted gold NYPD pin on left lapel
    • Single reverse-pleated low rise trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, jetted button-through rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Light ecru cotton dress shirt with large spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Gold and navy blue boldly-striped silk necktie
  • Gold cluster cuff links
  • Dark burgundy cordovan leather perforated cap-toe bluchers
  • Black dress socks
  • Dark burgundy leather belt with squared steel single-claw buckle
  • Black nylon RHD belt holster for mid-size Glock pistol
  • Light straw short-brimmed trilby with multi-color Glen Plaid ribbon
  • Gevril Chelsea yellow gold wristwatch with white dial and gold link deployment-clasp bracelet, worn on left wrist
  • Gold curb link bracelet, worn on right wrist
  • Blue enamel-painted gold NYPD detective’s shield pinky ring, worn on right hand

The Gun

True to life, all NYPD officers seen in Inside Man – including Detective Frazier – carry Glock 19 semi-automatic pistols. Surprisingly for a crime drama centered around a bank robbery, Frazier never gets to draw his, and the only action it sees is when he removes the magazine and puts it away at the end.

 

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Frazier says goodnight to his Glock.

The Glock 19 is, in fact, one of three 9×19 mm service pistols currently offered to NYPD officers; the other two are the SIG-Sauer P226 and Smith & Wesson 5946, both with double-action only (DAO) triggers and all modified to a 12 lb. (“NY-2”) trigger pull. The NYPD transitioned to semi-automatic pistols from revolvers in 1994, but any officers carrying revolvers from before then are still permitted to use their revolver as a duty weapon.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Sorry to interrupt you, Mister Mayor, but there’s an old American saying: When there’s blood on the streets, somebody’s gotta go to jail.

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