A scene in the movie The Departed:

Billy (to Trooper Brown, with a gun to Colin's head): Look, he's Costello's rat, all right? I got boxes of tapes! Evidence! Other documents proving it!

Trooper Brown (has his gun trained on Billy): Maybe you do. But right now I need you to drop the weapon!

Billy: I have evidence cold-linking this prick (referring to Colin) to Costello, all right?

Context: Billy is an undercover state trooper working with crime boss Costello. Colin is a mole inside the state police force working for Costello. Costello has just been killed by Colin prior to this scene of a confrontation between Billy, Colin, and Brown.

It doesn't appear to be idiomatic or commonly used at all--Google and Google Books have literally nothing relevant to "cold-linking". It seems "linking" would do the job. Is "cold-linking" a wordplay on something else? Or is it police slang?

  • Could you provide more of the dialogue in that scene for those of us who haven't seen the movie in a while?
    – miltonaut
    Apr 21, 2019 at 14:19
  • @miltonaut Added more context. Thanks for the suggestion.
    – Eddie Kal
    Apr 21, 2019 at 15:15
  • 1
    Is there any pause between 'cold' and 'linking', because an alternative would be. "I have evidence cold. Linking this prick to Costello, all right?" Saying you have something cold means it's solid, good evidence.
    – mkennedy
    Apr 22, 2019 at 18:27
  • @mkennedy I don't think there is. I found a clip on YouTube.
    – Eddie Kal
    Apr 22, 2019 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


There is such a thing as a cold case. Cold cases have not yet been solved by police and become "shelved" (filed away for reference in case new information is found. Then, the case is re-opened.) When cases become cold, any evidence that is found is kept on file in the police evidence room for cold cases.

As English loves to make verbs of just about anything, the writer has chosen to use "cold link" as a verb. it is typical of "policespeak" to create verbs out of heavy, administrative terms. The writer has been creative in a very believable way.

The character (a cop?) has found evidence linking the Costello guy to some cold case evidence the police department has.

  • @MichaelHarvey I disagree. The noun may exist, but the verbal form seems made up. Would you say that somebody swimming-pooling a rubber ducky sounds normal? I couldn't find any use of cold-linking (as a verb) in the article you referenced in your own answer. The answer here is talking about the verbification; it already recognizes it as a noun. Apr 21, 2019 at 14:53
  • @JasonBassford I am not Michael Harvey. //It is quite annoying to be downvoted when the questions involve creative use of language. This is an invention of the author and is probably used by cops, anyway.
    – Lambie
    Apr 21, 2019 at 16:25
  • I know that you are not MichaelHarvey. My comment was not directed at you—but in response to the other comment, which has now been deleted. And, for the record, I upvoted this answer. Apr 21, 2019 at 16:34
  • @JasonBassford Aha, I had no way of knowing that. My apologies. I'll have to remember to swimming pool my rubber duckies. [What a hoot.]
    – Lambie
    Apr 21, 2019 at 16:44
  • That's okay. ;) Apr 21, 2019 at 16:46

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