The following context is from the movie "Serpico"

"Person 1: We'll take it from here, kid. You don't have to hang around.

Person 2:What are you talking about? That's my collar.

Person 1:We take the collar. A collar like this, don't look good, a patrolman takes it.

Person 2:Wait a minute. I don't care how it looks. Now, I did the work. I broke my ass on this. It's my collar."

The following definitions I found on thefreedictionary.com that I think might apply to this sentence.

"take" 19. to make, do, or perform (an action): to take a leap.

"take" 6. capture, arrest, seize, abduct, take into custody, ensnare, entrap, lay hold of Marines went in and took 15 prisoners.

Does take in this context simply mean "make" which would make sense or is it a phrase with tautology in it, which I already encountered a couple of times in the English language, which means "to make an arrest"? or perhaps it's something completely different?

  • 3
    'Take a collar' is NY police slang for 'make an arrest'. This isn't standard dictionary or schoolbook English. May 31, 2022 at 19:27
  • Well, I think that, more specifically, what the character means by "taking" the collar is that he will take credit for the arrest/have the arrest specifically recorded in his name.
    – cruthers
    May 31, 2022 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


Take is used twice, in slightly different ways:

“We’ll take it from here.” — “take it from here” is a fixed phrase, originating in music, when one person (one performer) takes over responsibility for some task from another. In this case, the detectives are going to take over responsibility for processing an arrest (a “collar”) from the patrolman.

“We take the collar.” — here they mean that they intend to take credit for the arrest, because if a patrolman took the credit, it would illuminate the fact that the detective bureau is not doing its job.

Both usages come from the primary meaning of take: “to get into one’s hands, possession, or control”.


It's important to note that the English employed in the above example is poor English, or at least, non-standard English. Sadly, this style of speaking has begun to infiltrate spoken English (mainly in the USA, not so much in Britain).

Basically, it's a conditional statement.

We take the collar. A collar like this, don't look good, a patrolman takes it.

means the same as

We take the collar. A collar like this, don't look good, a patrolman would take it.

Only that it is expressed with poor grammar, which ought to have no place in the English language. Nevertheless, languages evolve, and we have to put up with such non-standard usage until it comes to be perceived as normal.

  • 1
    Non-standard it is, but please keep your value judgments to yourself. Also, if you want to express it in standard English, A collar this this doesn't look good: a patrolman should take it.
    – Colin Fine
    May 31, 2022 at 22:20

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