The Big Sleep

Captain Al Gregory Character Analysis

“Burly” Captain Gregory works at the Missing Persons Bureau, and is assigned the case of missing person Rusty Regan. He helps Philip Marlowe in his investigation into why Arthur Gwynn Geiger is blackmailing Regan’s father-in-law, General Sternwood. Gregory later implies to Marlowe he knew that Eddie Mars’s story that his wife Mona Mars and Regan ran off together was a lie. Gregory tells Marlowe he is being as “honest” as he can “in a world where it’s out of style.” But Marlowe learns from Eddie that Gregory is friendly with the racketeer, suggesting the Captain is corrupt.

Captain Al Gregory Quotes in The Big Sleep

The The Big Sleep quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Al Gregory or refer to Captain Al Gregory. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Big Sleep published in 1939.
Chapter 20 Quotes

“General Sternwood’s a rich man,” I said. “He’s an old friend of the D.A.’s father. If he wants to hire a fulltime boy to run errands for him, that’s no reflection on the police. It’s just a luxury he is able to afford himself.”

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), General Sternwood, Captain Al Gregory
Related Symbols: Knights, Money
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
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He’s got friends in town, or he wouldn’t be what he is.

Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 21 Quotes

I have my pipe line into headquarters, or I wouldn’t be here. I get them the way they happen, not the way you read them in the papers.

Related Characters: Eddie Mars (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Captain Al Gregory
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 30 Quotes

Being a copper I like to see the law win. I'd like to see the flashy well-dressed mugs like Eddie Mars spoiling their manicures in the rock quarry at Folsom, alongside of the poor little slum-bred hard guys that got knocked over on their first caper and never had a break since. That’s what I’d like. You and me both lived too long to think I’m likely to see it happen. Not in this town, not in any town half this size, in any part of this wide, green and beautiful U.S.A. We just don’t run our country that way.

Related Characters: Captain Al Gregory (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Eddie Mars, Mona Mars
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Captain Al Gregory Character Timeline in The Big Sleep

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Al Gregory appears in The Big Sleep. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 20
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
At the Missing Persons Bureau, Captain Gregory is considering Marlowe, who sits across a desk from him. Marlowe is asking the Captain... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Gregory asks if Marlowe knows District Attorney Wilde. Marlowe explains he’s an ex-cop who used to... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Looking back at Marlowe, Gregory asks if he’s after information on Rusty Regan. Marlowe replies “sure.” Gregory thinks General Sternwood... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Gregory tells Marlowe that Rusty is missing and won’t be found. The Captain then asks an... (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...was a former alcohol smuggler during Prohibition, and kept $15,000 on him at all times. Gregory doesn’t think Rusty was killed for the money though—he was too tough. (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Marlowe asks for a photo of Eddie Mars’s wife, but the police don’t have one. Gregory offers Marlowe a picture of Rusty instead. Gregory explains they questioned Eddie Mars at the... (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Gregory’s theory is Mars’s wife and Regan ran off together, as they never found her car.... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...really thinks Eddie Mars killed both his own wife (Mona) and Rusty. Marlowe agrees with Gregory that the two missing people likely ran away together. (full context)
Chapter 21
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...to admit he had gone to the police in the first place. Marlowe agrees with Gregory that Mars is probably too smart to kill both Rusty and his own wife (Mona)... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...and Marlowe agrees. Mars offers Marlowe a favor in future, without needing to go through Gregory. Marlowe says he knew Mars had him paid off. (full context)
Chapter 25
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
...cash his check. Marlowe then sits in his office thinking it through, wondering why Captain Gregory hadn’t found Mona yet. Maybe he hadn’t tried, he wonders, as the rain falls. (full context)
Chapter 30
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe is sitting across from Captain Gregory at the Missing Persons Bureau. The cop has heard all about Marlowe’s encounter with Canino.... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Gregory says maybe he left Eddie and Mona to “play a little game like that.” Marlowe... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Captain Gregory raises his eyebrows and says he’s as honest as policemen come in this world. He... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Gregory continues that he doesn’t think Eddie killed Regan, and that Regan will likely appear sometime... (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Captain Gregory tells Marlowe that the private detective “played it smart” by telling the police everything about... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Sighing, Gregory tells Marlowe he’s “too rough” for the Sternwoods. Marlowe gets up to leave, and Gregory... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
The General asks Marlowe why he went to see Captain Gregory. Marlowe tells Sternwood he thought the old man was afraid Rusty was involved in Geiger’s... (full context)