I call it oddity as I am not sure if this could be a plot hole or not.
okay so Robocop comes online and recites his three Prime Directives, and we see the classified Directive 4.
Now the 3 Directives are similar to the Three laws of Robotics, imo. They are basically hard coded and hardwired into Robocop and they directly influence his behavior and at times remind him of what he should or must do.
Serve the Public Trust
Protect the Innocent
Uphold the law.
Not a lot of wiggle room or logic reinterpretation in them. They are rock solid and help govern his behavior.
Up until his memories begin to at least partly return, he realizes he once was Murphy and that Boddicker killed him and that he is now a cyborg and has essentially lost his family. Now anger is clearly driving him even if he doesn't fully understand it and he goes after Boddicker at the drug warehouse.
He tells them all to come quietly or there will be.....trouble. And trouble there sure was. They all blast him and he registers lethal force used against him so he can return the favor and blast them all, but here's the thing: when he get his hands on Boddicker his Prime Directives were NOT stopping him from using excessive force and tossing Boddicker through windows as he read him his rights. It wasn't until Boddicker reminded him he was a cop that his senses returned and THEN Uphold the Law helped reign him in.
Then he goes after Dick Jones and Directive 4 overrides all the other directives and starts to shut him down. He fights it despite the harm he is doing to himself and then came ED-209 and the cops.
Later at the steel mill, he is basically Murphy again despite him still missing memories of his past life. The criminals come for him and we see no sign of his directives impeding him or insisting he take them alive. Now that is again fine as they were leveling the place with those cannons so again, lethal force against a cop prompts lethal defense.
BUT: as he again confronts Boddicker, Boddicker states he surrenders and MURPHY, not Robocop, tells him that he isn't arresting him anymore! Wait a minute.....WHERE were the Prime Directives? The man has stated he surrenders, so Uphold the Law should have activated and compelled him to arrest Boddicker again. We know his directives were still on line as Directive 4 was there at the end, stopping him until the old man realized what he had to do and gave us the funny scene "Dick...! YOU'RE FIRED!" and Directive 4 shuts off. Murphy blasts Dick Jones which would be justified in that Jones was still armed and was ready to take more hostages if needed, etc.
But the Prime Directives should have stopped him from attempting to execute Boddicker at the steel mill. When Boddicker then attacked and stabbed him with the metal pole then again lethal attack equals lethal defense. Though in this case, revenge was still a factor.
So, plot hole or was Murphy's rage at Boddicker able to override the Prime Directives in those two cases?
Then Robocop 2 comes: he is shattered and rebuilt with a few hundred or so Directives and he is utterly confused and can barely function. Yet after the scientists discuss options, he is able to somehow retain enough self awareness to beat the directives long enough to overload himself and fry the directives out of his circuits?? Surely directives like uphold the law would prevent him from self damaging?
Robocop 3: after Robocop 2 his original 3 directives plus directive 4 is back. Directive 4 is purged as he is being repaired so now he can fight again.
The Prime Directives miniseries showed he had all 3 and Directive 4 to not harm OCP was gone, but it was replaced in part 1 with a new Directive 4 to KILL Officer John Cable. Despite the massive conflict and overload he was experiencing he was fighting all the directives until the supervillain they were trying to fight forced the issue and Cable told Murphy to kill him (Cable) despite the overload and that killing Cable is a violation of all 3 Directives, Directive 4 won and Robocop blasted his old friend......then went berzerk on the super villain and was traumatized for most of the second episode...
That's a good question. Did he override the directives at the warehouse simply by will? If so, why couldn't he will himself through Directive 4 and kill Dick Jones? Maybe there was something different about the way it was programmed and he couldn't override it?