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"I hear ya partner. L.A.'s finest are on it, so light 'em if you got 'em."
―Al Powell [src]

Sergeant Al Powell is an LAPD cop that helps John McClane with the terrorist takeover of the Nakatomi Plaza in the 1988 film Die Hard. The character also makes a brief appearance in the 1990 sequel film Die Hard 2, where he assists McClane in his investigation at Dulles International Airport. He is the deuteragonist of the first film and supporting character of the second film.


Powell has black hair and brown eyes.

Die Hard[]

On his way home from work, Powell was at a gas station grabbing some Twinkies for his wife when he was radioed to investigate an emergency call sent from John McClane at the hijacked Nakatomi Plaza. Arriving at the building, Powell was met by one of the terrorists posing as a security guard and was persuaded that the alarm was a mistake triggered by bugs in the Nakatomi Plaza computer system. In a desperate bid to attract Powell's attention and get help, McClane threw Marco's corpse from the 34th floor onto the hood of his police car. Realizing that their cover had been blown, Hans Gruber's terrorists opened fire on Powell's desperately fleeing car in an attempt to kill him.

Barely escaping, Powell called in for backup assistance and a police siege on the building began. Throughout the film, Powell talked to McClane (under the alias "Roy" or "cowboy") via CB radio and tried to help and comfort him, often defending him from the outbursts of his superior, Deputy Chief Dwayne T. Robinson. Powell provided a link between McClane and the LAPD, keeping him up to date with developments, such as the doomed SWAT team raid and the arrival of the FBI.

PDVD 127

Al Powell meets John McClane for the first time.

During their conversations the two men grow to relate to one another, and Powell reveals to McClane that he had been on deskwork following an accident where he shot a child who was carrying a toy ray gun. It was unknown if this resulted in a fatality or serious injury, however it appeared that an investigation determined that Powell was not held liable, as he did not have criminal charges prepared against him. However, Powell has carried memories of this for the remainder of his life and in good conscience felt he could never fire a weapon again. As such he applied for a desk job, which was granted. Although he was not in an active-duty position at the time of the hijacking, Powell still responded to the police report and agreed to investigate Nakatomi Plaza as ordered. The script reveals that he has spent eleven years behind the desk as a result. The last conversation the two men have via radio is abruptly cut short when McClane - having discovered that the roof was rigged with explosives - is placed at gunpoint by Gruber's right-hand man Karl Vreski. The only phrase Powell can discern is something to do with a double-cross.

At the end of the movie, McClane and Powell finally meet each other face to face greet one another. A friendly hug is brought to an abrupt end when Karl emerges from the building wielding a machine gun seeking revenge. However, Powell sums the courage to draw his weapon, albeit out of self-defense and a desire to protect John and Holly. In doing so he ends Karl's terrorist career.

Die Hard 2[]

"Take that twinkie out your mouth and grab a pencil will ya."
―John McClane calling up Powell for assistance [src]

Al Powell talking to John McClane on the telephone at the LAPD Building.

After a pair of armed perps break into the baggage handling area at Dulles International Airport, John McClane is forced to kill one of the men and grabs an improvised set of fingerprints from his corpse. Looking to identify the man, McClane phones Powell who is back in the LAPD office preparing to snack on a twinkie.

Asking how his vacation is going, John responds that his wife stood him alone in Washington DC with his in-laws, causing Powell to quip, "Ah, the in-laws. They love their policemen son-in-laws, don't they?" McClane faxes the fingerprints to Powell for identification, much to his surprise considering McClane's aversion to technology.

After getting the dossier of the man that matched the fingerprints, he calls McClane back. Powell notes that, according to the Department of Defense, the man was an American military advisor, Sergeant Oswald Cochrane, who was reported killed in a helicopter accident in Honduras two years before. He then faxes a copy of the dossier to McClane. After getting his thanks from McClane, Powell nodded before hanging up on each other.


  • Powell appeared in the Die Hard video games Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza and Die Hard: Vendetta. In both games, he was voiced by Reginald VelJohnson.
  • VelJohnson admitted that Powell's liking of Twinkies has become somewhat of his own trademark. He states that fans will sometimes give him Twinkies, often stating that he 'probably wanted one'.
  • Although he has played the same role in the first two, he has been absent ever since.
  • He is the one of the three characters to only appear in two Die Hard films, the others being Holly and Thornburg.
  • The character of Al Powell was taken directly from the Roderick Thorp novel 'Nothing Lasts Forever', although the original character was younger and appears much later into the story.
  • VelJohnson reprised his role as Powell again in an episode of the television show Chuck. During the episode, he is shown eating twinkies with Big Mike, as his cousin.
  • Al Powell may return in Die Hardest, and if he does, might be the new Police Chief of the LAPD.


Click here for quotes by Al Powell.


Die Hard Wiki has a collection of images related to Al Powell.

Behind the Scenes[]

Reginald VelJohnson portrayed Al Powell in Die Hard and Die Hard 2.


Die Hard Die Hard 2 Die Hard with a Vengeance Live Free or Die Hard A Good Day to Die Hard

Die Hard Characters
John McClane - Holly Gennero - Lucy McClane - John McClane, Jr. - Al Powell - Richard Thornburg
Die Hard Hans Gruber - Karl Vreski - Dwayne T. Robinson - Harry Ellis - Joe Takagi - Argyle - Ginny - Theo - Eddie - Heinrich - Alexander - Tony Vreski - Franco - Fritz - Marco - Uli - James - Kristoff - Harvey Johnson - Gail Wallens - Mitchell - Rivers - Special Agent Johnson - Agent Johnson
Die Hard 2 William Stuart - Ramon Esperanza - Major Grant - Carmine Lorenzo - Leslie Barnes - Ed Trudeau - Marvin - Samantha Coleman - Garber - Kahn - Oswald Cochrane - O'Reilly - Baker - Thompson - Burke - Miller - Sheldon - Shockley - Mulkey - Sherman - Albertson - Telford - Vito Lorenzo
Die Hard with a Vengeance Simon Gruber - Zeus Carver - Joe Lambert - Connie Kowalski - Walter Cobb - Ricky Walsh - Mathias Targo - Katya - Charles Weiss - Jane - Fred Schiller - Dexter - Raymond - Jerry Parks - Karl - Otto - Mischa - Nils - Klaus - Rolf
Live Free or Die Hard Matt Farrell - Thomas Gabriel - Mai Linh - Warlock - Miguel Bowman - Emerson - Trey - Russo - Rand - Del - Molina - Taylor - Raj
A Good Day to Die Hard Yuri Komarov - Irina Komarov - Viktor Chagarin - Alik - Mike Collins - Murphy