Scoop, the brand-new Hansal Mehta limited series on Netflix, brings us many characters who are not exactly good but are not bad either. They are just human beings who make the most of the situation and allow themselves to succeed. There is also a power game that many cannot ignore in every office structure, more so amongst the police, who are forced to follow orders even if it means doing the wrong thing.
JCP Harshvardhan Shroff, the top brass cop with Mumbai Police, is one of the main contacts for Jagruti to get enough information or confirmation on any news she is working on. They seem to have had a professional relationship for many years and she was friendly with his son as well. But Harshvardhan’s being in a position of power does not stop him from insinuating that he wants to sleep with her or probably just have a fling with him in exchange for all the information he gives her. Shroff thinks he deserves some remuneration for everything he does for her, and he comes across as a man deeply rooted in misogyny.
He showcases his power to her, but Jagruti never falls for it. She holds herself back as she has her ways of getting information from him. On the other hand, Shroff is not afraid of the profession she comes from. Cops like him exist, and it is not a surprise that men of his stature go to any extent to validate their authority.
As Jaideb Sen’s murder investigation picked up steam, Shroff and his team were under a lot of pressure to solve the case as soon as possible. Jaideb was a renowned crime journalist, and his death raises questions about the many enemies he had made across his collective experience. In a hurry to close the case, Jagruti’s name is rumored to be attached to the investigation report as a suspect. It is obvious from the beginning that the evidences against Jagruti was only circumstantial, and there is no solid proof to prove her involvement in Jaideb’s murder. This does not stop Shroff and his team from interrogating Jagruti for hours. A while after her interrogation, Jagruti is found to be one of the main suspects and co-conspirators.
It is hard to ignore the fact that Shroff was involved in something shady, and his power, along with the support of his superiors, allowed him to go after Jagruti and make tall claims about her so-called “relationship” with Chhota Rajan. Maybe her refusal to be his mistress or have a fling with him made him take the extreme step. Jagruti was also the one who caught on to Jaideb’s theory that the Mumbai Police Crime Branch is protecting the D-Company, which is why they thwarted many of the Intelligence Bureau’s missions to capture Dawood Ibrahim.
Shroff was under immense pressure from his superiors to ensure that the case did not catch up to them. The charges of MCOCA against Jagruti make her chances of getting bail a strenuous affair. Shroff wanted to make sure there is a narrative amongst the whole of media that Jagruti was the one who killed Jaideb Sen because of her professional rivalry, and she had links with Rajan. Shroff, at times, felt guilty for what he was doing to her, but his bad conscience always won so that he and his superior officers were not portrayed in a bad light. There has always been a godly image of Mumbai Police around the state and the nation, and to think they botched up a whole investigation is bad PR.
At one point, Commissioner Malik’s conversation with Shroff indicated that it was them who got rid of Jaideb and are now making Jagruti a scapegoat because they cannot be shown as someone trying to protect the world’s most wanted terrorist. Shroff’s loyalty to his force was so fierce that he and his team would go to any extent to make sure Jagruti was not given bail. They prolonged the case as much as they could, repeatedly.
Shroff’s cancer diagnosis does allow him to rethink all the awful things he has done while being part of the force, but again, since he might not have too much time on his hands, he would rather be outside the jail than behind bars. Shroff’s good conscience never kicked in because he was so deep in the nexus that it never allowed him to do the right thing for himself or his family. He knows if Jaideb could be eliminated, killing Shroff would not be a problem as well.
Imran and Sandeep’s theoretical investigation proves the fact that Shroff, Malik, and ex-cop Acharya formed a syndicate to protect the D-Company, and they were the ones who were always at loggerheads with the Intelligence Bureau. But all they have is a theory with no concrete evidence to back it up. Imran and Sandeep’s findings only prove that Shroff either willingly jumped on this bandwagon to earn some underhanded cash or was forced into it due to severe peer pressure.
JCP Shroff does showcase some redemption in the wake of his cancer diagnosis, but he knows there is no turning back for him from here on. The man shows sympathy towards Jagruti after her bail, but he does not have it in himself to face her, knowing that he was involved in filing countless bogus charges against her. Shroff will probably die with blood on his hands because he chose to live the life he is living now, and there is no way he would be able to rectify anything without causing a major furor. Shroff did become a victim of his actions. He, his superiors, and his team created a monster they could never kill.