The only interrogation that does happen is one step forward, two steps back. Marlowe is arrested by a black detective and ushered into the station by a black cop. On the way to interrogation he chats with another detainee, a black clerk he met buying cat food at the supermarket whose girl was "busted at a protest" (the only reference to any in the movie) so he "busted the pig who busted her." The white cop that interrogates Marlowe asks him if he's "a fag" because the cop's "a fag" too and can tell by the name. Not having anywhere to wipe his fingerprints, Marlowe smears them on his face and, recalling "The Jazz Singer's" tale of a Cantor's son escaping his identity by minstrelization of another, does an Al Jolson bit as protest during interrogation. The black cop, watching from behind a mirror, calls his white superior a "honky" out of earshot, though he could easily refer to Marlowe as such too. It's a snapshot of shifting discourse, with the demands of civil rights for oppressed demographics starting to become refracted through power, any association with authority a slippery slope toward communal fragmentation.