When I'm watching a show like "Law & Order", I'm always curious if the following scenario is reality or just a handy plot device of television and fiction :
A discussion plays out between the police (or district attorney) with the accused. During this conversation, one side suspects that the other has something to offer and hints a deal could be worked out. At some point one of the two sides declares, "Off the record?" at which point, the other agrees, and the full details of the crime are openly revealed. Usually this turns into a plea agreement or in the case of the police, they ignore this lesser confession in order to go after the "big crime"
So my question is, fact or fiction? These magic words, "Off the record" seem to allow both sides to openly discuss anything imaginable without legal ramification. A clever invention of television drama or a real life tool of the police and justice system?