a body <on> the back door, eyes <on> the side door

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
Detectives are going to send an undercover agent to meet a criminal. The agent is worrying, and asks a detective:
-- You sure you got everything covered?
-- Yeah. There's a body on the back door, eyes on the side door and two guys out on the corner. You're gonna be fine.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, TV series

The detective's talking here about other undercover agents being outside the building where the meeting is going to take place -- in case something goes wrong. The question is if using the preposition "on" like that is kind of slang. Thank you.
 
  • Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    Hi,

    I'm not sure it's slang (cop talk, perhaps), but it's certainly idiomatic. It's funny, because about half of the threads you open revolve around a phrase or an idiom that is identical in my mother tongue, and God knows French and English are miles apart! :) I don't know where that "on" comes from. I look at it as the same "on" as in "I'm on it!". It's a bit as if you had a map of the area and you put pawns on the strategic points. Come to think of it, I think it is sort of slangy. It has a bit of a military sound to it.
     
    Last edited:

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I don't know where that "on" comes from. I look at it as the same "on" as in "I'm on it!". It's a bit as if you had a map of the area and you put pawns on the strategic points.
    Or maybe it comes from the word "cover" that is used in the OP... When you cover something with something else, the second thing ends up being on the first thing. That work?:)
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    Maybe! :) In any case, "on" is very normal. I often hear "I put one guy on the street" (= I gave orders for a man to be stationed on the street) or "I put two of my men on the roof", or "I want two men on each exit and three to back me up".
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    I think of it as: on target. One guy is responsible for back door, another one for the street. I'm on him = I have my sights on him (during surveillance).
     
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