The job of a sniper requires hours of reclusive sitting; waiting for a target to come across the scope. In most cases, a sniper doesn’t chase his or her target; the target comes to them. It’s a lonely job that doesn’t demand much more than a man and a gun. Sure, nowadays equipped with radio sets and GPS trackers, they can do a lot more, but before all that, it was just a man and a gun. It makes sense why Scorpio (Andrew Robinson), the sadistic serial killer in Dirty Harry, is a sniper. Scorpio’s not given much back story in Dirty Harry, but he’s a definite loner. He works as a groundskeeper at a nearby stadium, where he lives alone, in a decrepit room beneath the stands, probably no bigger than a closet. We also know that he kills, for the fun of it.
In a very different way, Police Officer Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is a loner too. His wife died many years ago, leaving him to live alone. When the department assigns him a partner to work with to catch Scorpio, he informs the guy that every partner he’s had has been shot or worse, killed. Callahan’s character resembles that certain type of gun-slinging, “my way or the highway” Western sheriff persona that Eastwood became so synonymous with during the ‘60s.