Watchmen Reveals Why Police Officers Wear Masks

The HBO series Watchmen has raised a lot of questions about the world after Ozymandias faked an [...]

The HBO series Watchmen has raised a lot of questions about the world after Ozymandias faked an alien invasion and Doctor Manhattan abandoned humanity to live out his life on Mars. And with the new series taking place nearly three decades after those vents, the world has seem some drastic changes — especially in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a conspiracy involving white supremacists and the police department is currently unfolding. But tonight's episode managed to reveal one key detail about the show that had fans confused until now.

The police officers in Tulsa are all anonymous and even don masks to cover their faces and hide their identities, and there are a few high-ranking law enforcement officers who operate as sanctioned vigilantes, complete with their own identities and costumes.

Now we know why these officers mask their faces when dealing with the public, as there are a lot of people who are now targeting the police because of the tenuous cultural and political challenges in Tulsa.

As revealed in episode 2 of Watchmen, called "Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship," the Tulsa Police Department was targeted in a massive attack a few years prior to the present day of the series, with the Seventh Kavalry donning their Rorschach masks and attacking officers while they were off the clock, in their homes, on Christmas Eve.

Angela Abar is sharing an intimate moment with her husband when two of the Rorschachs break into her home and attempt to kill her; she fatally stabs one but is then shot by another. But she blacks out before she finds out what happens to the second, and wakes up in the hospital to find her police chief Judd waiting for her. He tells her that many other officers were killed during this coordinated attack, which they refer to as the White Night.

It seems like from that moment, legislation passes to allow the officers to remain anonymous, which is why Angela herself is a retired cop in public but still operates as Sister Night.

But knowing the events of the last episode, where Angela found Judd hanging from a tree with the mysterious old man in the wheelchair waiting for her, we wouldn't be surprised to learn that there's more to this story.

New episodes of Watchmen air on Sundays on HBO TV.