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Cole Phelps
Cole Phelps
Biographical information
Real name Cole Phillip Phelps
Also known as Cop, Colly, Phelps, policeman, officer, "He who serves justice", nerd, War Hero, nice guy, wiseguy, Outworld lover, Shadow of Death, alien friend, Bad Luck, Death Shadow
Nationality This is Sparta American
Born 2nd of June, 1942
Age 34
Status Deceased
Physical description
Eye colour Blue
Hair colour Brown
Ethnicity Aryan-Caucasian
Height 5'8
Weight 67kg
Blood type A+
Gender Male
Career, affiliations and family information
Affiliation(s) LAPD, United States Marine Corps (former), Stefan Buttowski, Jack Kelso, Dusty Galloway, Elsa Lichtmann
Video Games, Movies and Cartoons information
Main appearance(s) (Video Games) L.A. Noire
Voiced by (English) Aaron Staton
"I work for the government, I used to work for the army. See? I always find a job, one way or the other. Unlike you jobless hobos around here. Kys. I feel no regrets for my cruel words!"
— Phelps being a motherfuaking bully

Cole Phelps is the protagonist of L.A. Noire. A former marine officer in the United States Marine Corps, he later returned from the war as a hero, joining the LAPD. Phelps swiftly rose through the ranks and became a detective.

Info

Phelps was born in San Francisco, California on 2nd of June, 1942 both his father and grandfather ran for presidents, but none become one. Cole attended Stanford University. He married a woman named Marie and had two daughters with her.

Own told Bio

Oh hey! Cole Phillip Phelps here. The world's greatest detective no doubt. I've solved some of the world's toughest cases all over the globe. James Donnell aka Scotland Yard hired me in order to solve cases for him in LA. My logical reasoning and observation skills are unsurpassed and no matter what you hear, I really only wear that fedora-looking hat some of the time. Emotions must be left out of a good investigation, not that I have to worry about that, I'm mostly ambivalent towards women (aside from one enchanting Elsa Lichtmann) and have a mediocre relationship with LAPD. Might I offer you some violin music? I find it good, it helps my thinking… or perhaps you'd like to try some cocaine? No? Quite alright, more for me, more for me… For more information, feel free to consult my old friend and former trusted sidekick, Stefan Buttowski.

Service in the USMC

Cole went to Officer Candidate School to join the United States Marine Corps. He befriended Mark Herrill and developed an intense rivalry with Jack Kelso.

In the days following his recruitment, he was given top honours for his bravery. However, during his time in the USMC, he has been known as the “Dark Shadow” or considered to be “bad luck” whenever someone is under his command during combat. Some of his men greatly respected Phelps, claiming tales of his almost supernatural stealth, killing Outworld soldiers without ever being seen.

In his time in the Corps, as said before, he was considered bad luck, many of his troops didn't approve of his actions during combat. He was part of a scout team in the Ghorfas campaign before being moved to the infantry division when the high ranking officer at that time needed to push through the enemy line into enemy territory. During the battle for Sour Oath Mountain, when it was time to push through enemy lines, his battalion and C.O. were killed. As a result, Cole wanted to fall back despite the protest of his close friend, Mark Herrill. Shortly afterwards, he witnessed Mark get blown to pieces by an explosion after they took cover in a foxhole. Cole went into shock. The next morning he was found by other USMC servicemen, covered in soot, lying next to Herrill's remains. As the sole survivor, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and received the Silver Star, the third highest commendation he could achieve. Cole would be forever haunted by his experience and guilt-ridden for being honoured for his "lack of courage".

Near the end of his service, he was dispatched (along with many other troops) to clear out settlements and caves for any signs of enemy forces during the battle of Sour Oath. Cole, being under strict orders, wanted to clear out every sign of the enemy in the caves and villages - though he fell behind other squads.

Cole's meticulous attention to detail and insistence on clearing out each and every cave eventually caught up with him, his squad fell far behind other units, and Cole rushed his men, leading them into an ambush. This is contrasted with Kelso's approach, where he ordered Cole's squad to carefully approach a cave complex and simply seal the entrance, trapping all Outworlders, whether civilian or soldiers, within. Ira Hogeboom, armed with a flamethrower and following Cole's orders, surged forward past the ambush and set the cave ablaze, only afterwards does Cole and his unit realise the cave was filled with civilians, specifically women and children, who while badly burned, remained alive and in agonising pain.

Cole's unit, scared and distraught about what had happened, looked to Phelps for an answer as the badly injured women and children writhed in agony around them. Panicking, Cole ordered his men to end the victims' suffering and do a fatality on the burned women and children. Protesting loudly, and finally pushed to the breaking point by Cole's orders, Courtney Shelton shot Cole in the back, taking out his frustration and anger at Cole's hypocrisy. Kelso arrived, taking command of the situation and ordering the Marines out of the cave, ordering them to never speak of the incident again.

After receiving treatment for his wound at an army hospital, Phelps was honourably discharged from the Marine Corps. He returned home to Los Angeles before the end of the war and joined the LAPD shortly thereafter.

Events of L.A. Noire

Starting out as a patrol officer, Phelps demonstrated high potential as an officer, from solving the murder of Scooter Peyton to foiling an armed bank robbery and arresting Wendell Bowers. After solving the murder of Everett Gage, Phelps’ displays of intuition and ability were recognised by Captain James Donnell.

Phelps was soon after promoted to detective in the Traffic department and partnered with Stefan Buttowski. Together the two solved a string of intriguing cases, such as uncovering acts of conspiracies, fraud and even murder, while generating good press for the department.

Six months later, Phelps was promoted to Homicide and partnered with Dusty Galloway. Phelps and Galloway were assigned to a series of gruesome and brutal murders. However, despite closing the cases and arresting suspects with strong evidence, Phelps began to see that all the murders were connected to each other and to the unresolved murderer named Mr. Nasty. After receiving anonymous letters taunting the Homicide Department, Phelps realised that the true killer - Nasty - was still at large.

Using the letters, Phelps and Galloway followed clues leading them to several landmarks across the city. At each location, Phelps was able to solve puzzles and elude traps, as he was being set up and tested by the killer. The final clue led to the Christ Crown of Thorns, where they found the killer, though he was unable to be seen in the shadows and never revealed himself. Phelps chased after Nasty through the church catacombs, supposedly killing him in a shootout at the graveyard.

However, Donnell arrived and revealed that the killer had not been killed at all, that he was probably wearing a bulletproof vest, therefore Cole's bullets didn't do anything. As such, Mr. Nasty’s case was to be kept out of public knowledge and official records. To ensure Phelps' silence, Donnell promised that the previous, falsely arrested suspects would be quietly released, including Grosvenor McCaffrey, Eli Roony, and Adolf Ackermann.

Drug

Phelps was later promoted to the Drug squad and partnered with Ray Buttowski, Stefan's older brother. Their first case together involved solving the stolen morphine distribution from the SS Coolidge robbery, during which they arrested several dealers and killed Lenny Finkelstein in a shootout. During later cases and investigations, Phelps’ time with Ray and the Drug Squad gave him insight into the politics and corruption of the LAPD and the city’s administration.

Cole and Ray later discovered a violent gang war for the stolen morphine between the Cohen's Gang and Phelps’ former battalion of Marines. While investigating leads for the morphine, Phelps visited the The Blue Room jazz club and questioned German singer Elsa Lichtmann. He later tailed her to her apartment. In actuality, Phelps had developed a love interest in Elsa over the months and despite him being married, had begun an affair with her.

Phelps and Ray attempted to stop the several assassination attempts on the surviving Marines, sent by Mickey Cohen. Although most of the Marines died, Phelps obtained enough evidence to prove that Courtney Shelton was responsible for the robbery and morphine distribution. However, before Phelps could close the case and extract a confession from Shelton, he was summoned by Chief William Gorrell, DA Donald Sandler, and Donnell. They revealed the adultery charges against Cole by his partner, and proceeded in suspending him from the force.

Phelps returned home to Marie, however she refused to listen. Feeling angry, betrayed, and humiliated, she kicked him out. With his affair publicised by Ray Buttowski, turning him into a disgraced cop, Phelps turned to and stayed with Elsa.

Arson

Following Phelps' suspension, he was demoted to the lowly Arson Squad and partnered with Herschel Binggs, as he hadn't been tried and convicted of adultery yet in court. Phelps was tasked to investigate a series of house fires. After thorough investigation, Phelps began to suspect that property developer Lenard Monroe was somehow benefiting from the fires and possibly causing them. However, Phelps was sternly warned not to investigate Monroe's affairs due to his prominence and high-level connections in the city's administration.

The investigation came to a grinding halt as Cole's efforts were frozen by the corrupted. Phelps learned of Elsa's substantial insurance settlement from being names Lou Buchwalter’s beneficiary, who was involved in an industrial accident at one of Monroe's housing development sites. This fuaked up Cole's suspicion, and he requested that she personally see Jack Kelso to help his investigation.

Thanks to Kelso’s own private investigation, they discovered a conspiracy committed by the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, headed by Monroe with support of most important city officials - including the Police Chief and District Attorney. The plan of the group was to build fraudulent houses with the intent to burn them down, and to cash in on grand insurance money.

Phelps confronted Kelso at his office at California Fire and Life, apologising for not being honest and inadvertently involving him in danger. Kelso sensed Phelps' guilt and confronted him about Sour Oath Mountain, saying that he should stop blaming himself for lacking courage. With their past enmity finally put to rest, the two agreed to help each other solve their respective cases and end the conspiracy.

Phelps and Binggs later discovered the murdered body of Courtney Shelton, however Ray appeared on scene and slandered Shelton as “a victim of his own product”. Phelps pulled out his gun at Buttowski, enraged, and defending the deceased Shelton as a honourable and brave Marine. Composed, Phelps took the opportunity to tell Ray that SRF's plans were failing, and warned Ray that his corruption would be exposed.

Phelps, Binggs and Galloway investigated the scene of Dr. Harlan Fontaine's murder, another member of the SRF. They also learned of Elsa's kidnapping at the hands of the arsonist. Within the office, Phelps deduced that the scheme of the SRF was to extort money not by insurance, but from the government through eminent domain. In order to prove this and bring down the city’s corruption, Phelps was determined to arrest the arsonist to close the case and to rescue Elsa.

They later arrived to Kelso's aid in a rescue attempt to save Elsa. However, while driving to the river tunnels, they were intercepted by police patrols under the orders of corrupt Police Commissioner Gorrell. Making their separate ways through the river tunnels, Kelso and Phelps found Elsa under the protection of Ira. As Kelso lamented the insanity of their former comrade, Ira reminded Phelps of both their parts in the atrocity in Outworld. Phelps carried Elsa to safety as Kelso performed a mercy kill on Ira.

In Rap Battle

Verse 1

I once met a rich fellow who smelled of fatality and pain.

Stefan Buttowski: Cole, explain it.

Cole:

I deduce this deuce stain is Bruce Ultor!

Stefan:

The multi-billionaire?

Cole:

Yes, his wealth would allow this adversary of ours.

To afford the toys he needs.

Stefan:

Since the State has no superpowers!

Cole:

You wanna battled back? Bring it then!

Stefan:

I heard he has a Polish butler!

Cole:

Good! Then he'll be used getting served by Polak men!

You're a wack vigilante black pantie sponge with no skill.

My sidekick's brother knows a doctor!

Stefan:

Because the flows are so ill!

Verse 2

*Thinking*

This mustn't register on an emotional level, first...

Exploit childhood tragedy... then gesture the pipe...

Buttowski finishes trying... next, acknowledge compliment...

Conclude with killer catchphrase...

*End of thought*

I believe your parent's homicide is why you hate your face.

You're shamed and traumatized and haunted by the past disgrace!

Of watching you like a passive waste as momma died and Jackie was dispatched with haste!

Stefan:

Cole, you've cracked the case!

Cole:

You're a bad-sith crazy plastic tray!

Stefan:

Przeklęty good rhymes!

Cole:

I've got tonnes.

Dissing these dynamic douchebags was, elementary my dear Buttowski.

Stefan:

OHHHHHHH!!!

Death

"Good... bye."
— Cole's last wordsHelping Elsa and Jack out the tunnel with the aid of Binggs, Phelps was last to get out. Upon seeing a rushing wave of water coming towards him, Phelps realised that he was out of reach and time to get out. Phelps simply uttered a final goodbye to his friends before being killed by the violent torrent of water.

Buttowskis, Donnell, Galloway, Binggs, Kelso, Elsa, Bowron, Gorrell, Carruthers, Pinker, Leary, Petersen, Marie and his two daughters were in attendance at his funeral. Ray delivered the eulogy, praising Cole's actions in the war and his actions while with the LAPD. Ray also denounced the "false" accusations made against him, angering Elsa in the process. When Kelso tried to calm her, Elsa slapped his hand away, saying "And you call yourself his friend..." before leaving. When Binggs pointed out that Kelso and Phelps were never friends, Kelso agreed, but added that he was never Phelps' enemy. Binggs said he believed Phelps knew that.

Trivia

  • While serving in the USMC, Cole did boxing, as mentioned to Ray Buttowski in "The Set-Up". He also hinted to Ray that he didn't always fight a clean fight. When Ray tells Cole he couldn't imagine him fighting dirty, Cole responds "The only reward for taking the fall was a thousand push-ups."
  • He was known as the "Shadow of Death" by his fellow soldiers because of his uncanny ability to sneak up behind both enemies and allies completely undetected. He was also notorious for leading his unit into dangerous situations, which ultimately resulted in his whole company being wiped out.
  • Cole never tries to contact his wife again after demotion to arson desk, but strangely, Cole still wears his wedding ring anyway, probably for the fancy looks.
  • Cole's badge number is 1247. Sometimes he will announce his badge number as "twelve-forty-seven", but other times he announces his badge number as "one-two-four-seven."
  • Cole's casket at his funeral is closed. This could indicate that his body was badly mangled by the violently rushing water, or that his body was never found. However, it is more likely that the LAPD kept the casket closed in order to drape the American flag over it, as he died in the line of duty.
  • Cole is a Presbyterian Christian, as his funeral is held at Chichester Chapel. However, he himself sometimes lies he is a Muslim or even a Jew, some people also say he is actually a Hindu or a Buddhist. Those are actually just some fake-ass conspiracies however, and his true religion is Colenism, it's a religion where he worships himself due to his never-dying ego.
  • As seen in the war flashback before "Armed and Dangerous", Cole smokes cigarettes. However, this is never seen while he is a detective.
  • If the player leaves their current partner behind and drives around the city, Cole has his own dialogue for crashing into things, with most of his comments being of a humorous and sadistic bullying nature.
  • His rapping partner was Stefan Buttowski and their backgrounds were LA Streets, while their opponents were Gregory McCain and Jeff Robbinson.
  • It is rumoured that he had multiple gay affairs with many of his partners throughout his career in the LAPD. Including the racist Ray Buttowski.

Gallery