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I f-cking know you. I know your family. You make one more drug deal with that idiot f-cking cop-magnet of a cousin of yours and I'll forget your grandmother was so nice to me. I'll cut your f-cking nuts off. You understand that?
~ Arnold French
Arnold French is the secondary antagonist of Martin Scorsese's 2006 crime drama film The Departed.
He is a ruthless mobster who served as the right-hand man of Irish-American gangland boss Frank Costello and helped oversee the potential of their latest "recruit" Billy Costigan, not knowing that he had been sent undercover to bring Costello to justice. In the end, both Arnold and Costello were killed after being betrayed by their police mole Colin Sullivan and Arnold died by committing suicide.
Arnold French was known to be a feared mobster and the personal enforcer of his Irish gangland boss Frank Costello in South Boston. They controlled the city's organized crime for many years and Arnold, known as Mr. French, often managed criminal jobs that Costello sent him to do and also authorized him to ensure that their fellow gangsters would do them without question.
At some point, Mr. French got acquainted with Billy Costigan and learned that he was a member of a family who were previously connected to Costello's mob. Mr. French confronts Billy for attacking one of his gangsters and threatens him. He then beats up that same gangster after the latter complains in response to Mr. French telling him who Billy is. Later on, Mr. French informs Costello about Billy's actions and Costello decides to recruit Billy in the organization. They meet up with Billy and Costello has Mr. French brutally inspect Billy to check if he is not a cop. It turns out that Billy is working undercover to bring down Costello's empire, but he and Mr. French don't know this and they decide to recruit him.
For the next year, Mr. French is often seen whenever Costello summons Billy to do some jobs and has Mr. French supervise him on his criminal activities. Mr. French also helps Costello evade capture from the police on many occasions, at one point running through a red light when they find themselves being followed by undercover police officers. When Costello and Mr. French later discuss if Billy is reliable in their operation, it is revealed that Mr. French was married to a woman who he later murdered for unknown reasons.
When Costello escapes a sting operation during a illicit meeting with Chinese gangsters, he realizes there is a "rat" in the organization and has Mr. French join him in interrogating Billy the next day. Billy claims that he is not the rat and Costello believes him, before getting him to join Mr. French is finalizing the preparations for an upcoming drug transaction. When the job happens that night, Costello and Mr. French are unaware that Billy has secretly alerted highly decorated police sergeant Colin Sullivan about this; Sullivan is Costello's mole in the police but ends up betraying his boss upon learning that Costello is an FBI informant and Sullivan would then be worried about his dual identity being exposed.
As a result of both Costigan's information and Sullivan's betrayal, Costello is traced by the police and both he and Mr. French and their crew are intercepted by the authorities. They attempt to escape as the rest of the crew gets killed in an prompting shootout, but then both Costello and Mr. French get shot. Costello ends up fleeing on foot while Mr. French, bleeding from the gunshot wound on his throat, crashes the car to a wall. The car gets set on fire and Mr. French, realizing his time is up, decides to kill himself as the car explodes. Mr. French's body is incinerated.
Moments after Mr. French's death, Costello would be killed by Sullivan and the latter gets commended by the police force for taking down Costello's organization. A few days later, both Costigan and Sullivan would get killed in the aftermath of Costello's downfall and Mr. French's death.
Arnold French is based on Stephen Flemmi for being the boss's right hand man and possibly not being Irish-American. Flemmi was the right-hand man and close friend of the Irish mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, which was the basis for Frank Costello.
When Billy is in a bar, meeting Mr. French for the first time, he walks near a payphone after punching a guy at the bar and pulls his jacket down. In the next shot, his jacket is back on again.
When French smashes Costigan's arm cast, on the second attempt Costigan seems to be using his own force to smash the cast. As French loses his grip at the top of the motion, Costigan's arm moves downward with all the force it would have had had French not let go.
When French is holding the bag with the hand he places a ring very close to Costello's cheek. A second later, without him having moved, the hand is at jaw level and farther away.
French's weapon of choice was a Colt Python revolver.
While running from the cops, French turns the car ninety degrees to the left, but from a different angle it's still facing in the original direction.
When French backs up the car, just before he is shot, the driver has no beard, clearly being a stuntman.
Before French dies, he starts to cough, and the windshield has fewer bullet holes than in the previous shot.