As Frank Serpico is driving across the bridge in his Studebaker Lark to report for his first posting as a patrolman in 1960, many of the cars in the background are models from the mid-1960's to early 1970's. (This is true in many of the early street scenes as well.)
In the latter part of the film Serpico is shown practicing with his new Browning Hi-Power at the range. He fires a total of 15 rounds at the target. This would be correct, if the clip held 14 'shots', as the salesman tells him when he purchases it. In fact, the Hi-Power's clip holds only 13 rounds, with one in the spout, making a maximum total of 14 rounds to discharge.
In the opening sequence of the movie that shows Serpico having been shot, it is raining heavily whilst he is being rushed to the hospital in the police cruiser. Towards the end of the movie where this sequence of events picks up again, it is not raining.
Serpico was shot in his face and operated on. He subsequently wakes up after the operation with his beard intact. The hospital would have shaved it to cure the injuries caused by a bullet trespassing his cheek.
In the opening scenes with the patrol car carrying Serpico to the hospital, the unit's emergency light has 3 red bulbs and one amber bulb as it spins. As the unit arrives at the hospital and as they remove him from the back seat the light has 4 red bulbs.
As the cops are monitoring the drug dealer's apartment near the end of the movie, there is a French Renault Dauphine parked in the front of the building. The Dauphine disappears after Frank enters the building. The gray car parked across the sidewalk on the other side of the street disappears as well, once the police bust the 2 users leaving the building.
During the shooting gallery scene, Frank and a few other cops are practicing their marksmanship. All the bays are full except for bay two, which has the shooters table up, to allow access to the gallery itself. In the reverse scene, the table is down.
After throwing Corsaro against the wall in the Police Station, Serpico begins searching him among his fellow coworkers. Just before Serpico starts to search his back pockets, the suspect's pants are still up and unblemished. The camera cuts away then cuts back to the suspect's pants already torn with his crack exposed before Serpico even starts his search. We then see Serpico start to rip and tear down Corsaro's slacks & drawers, thus exposing his crack.
The prisoners "chain gang" being led into the Paddy Wagon at the beginning, had both male and female prisoners on the same "chain," and transporting both sexes in the same wagon. This was absolutely forbidden by the NYPD, then, and now.
At the beginning, at the hospital after Serpico had been shot, NYPD Lieutenant (Judd Hirsch) salutes Chief Sidney Green when Green is dressed in business attire. NYPD members only salute superior officers in uniform.
At the apartment raid, Serpico is shown armed with an automatic sidearm, possibly a 9mm. However, Frank Serpico has stated that this is incorrect and that he was carrying his trusty Smith & Wesson snub-nose .38 special as he always was (and the other officers were; this is a favorite of plainclothes and undercover officers as it is more easily concealed and drawn.)
When Serpico is being rushed to the hospital in a Police car at the very beginning, the uniformed officer's collar brass says "73," indicating they are from the 73rd Precinct. Yet, when the car reaches hospital, the Radio car is painted "82nd" Precinct. BTW: both Precinct's are fictitious.
Just before he is shot, Serpico is on a rooftop and the World Trade Center Towers can be seen in the background. The second tower wasn't completed until January, 1972. Serpico was shot during a drug arrest on February 3, 1971.
When Serpico takes a phone call from a "Captain" McLean, then places a tap to record the conversation, Serpico first says "Excuse me," then when he comes back on the phone, he addresses"Captain" McLean as "Sarge," NYPD slang for the rank of SERGEANT.