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I remember one episode (if my memory serves me right) where Major Monograma told Doof that, when they get back home, he will be arrested.

But why don't they arrest him permanently, so he can't do all those bad things despite the shows premise?

I want an in universe answer, but not like the "Characters in Phineas & Ferb TV Show are aware of the 4th wall, so they are making an "illusion" that they are in a TV Show. Otherwise, there would be no show at all".

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    Can you try to figure out which episode you remember this from? It'll make it easier to answer. – amflare Mar 29 '18 at 15:15
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    That's "Major Monogram." The Mayor in the show is Roger Doofenschmirtz, the brother of evil Heinz Doofenschmirtz. – JRE Mar 29 '18 at 15:28
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    Do I get to be embarrassed now for knowing so much about a children's TV show? – JRE Mar 29 '18 at 15:29
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    Phineas and Ferb aren't really aware of all the goings on with Doofenschmirtz. All of that is Perry's problem. – JRE Mar 29 '18 at 15:30
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    @JRE if you see an obvious error in the question, then use Edit to fix it. You have the rep, SE encourages it, and the question/answer gets better. And its a character's name so not a trivial edit, plus also avoids the possible Mayor/Major confusion. – Criggie Apr 9 '18 at 5:06
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Not arresting Dr. Doofenshmirtz may be the most efficient way to neutralise him.

Supervillains like Dr. Doofenshmirtz are unlikely to stay imprisoned in standard correctional facilities. Special measures like the Phantom Zone or prisons resistant to special powers are a common trope in stories featuring supervillains.

Doofenshmirtz doesn't mess around with ordinary crimes like bank robberies. He is even shown to order (and presumably pay) the parts for his monstrous schemes. Considering his actions within the realm manageable by ordinary law enforcement, he appears as a law-abiding citizen.

Considering how his resources and energy are bound by his convoluted and easily thwarted plans, Doofenshmirtz is effectively imprisoning himself in his laboratory. Putting him in a prison would likely be expensive and would also give him time and opportunity to cause more problems than when given the freedom to bury himself in work.

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    He doesn't always act within the law. Think of the time he stole all of the hotdogs so that his bratwurst business would boom. Or the time he minaturized and stole all the famous landmarks of the world (the Eiffel tower and other things.) – JRE Mar 29 '18 at 22:00
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    @JRE: Both examples can hardly be called ordinary crimes. In particular, stealing the hotdogs was neither the intended target nor used for funding the real crime. Of course the execution of his schemes usually breaks laws en masse and big time, but that is only a side effect. My point is that Doofenschmirtz is typically either below or far above the radar of ordinary law enforcement. What can any old cop do against someone stealing buildings? (Not counting Sergeant Colon of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, of course.) – straycat Mar 29 '18 at 22:52
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    Besides, they can copy his designs and not have to pay him royalties. – Aaron Gullison Mar 31 '18 at 20:30
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    @TemporarilyHere: If you refer to Aaron Gullison, I understand his comment as related. The O.W.C.A. watches Dr. Doofenshmirtz carefully, and when crossing his plans they of course can copy and use of his designs. In prison, Doofenshmirtz would not be such a bountyful (albeit unwitting) resource. – straycat Apr 4 '18 at 20:18
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    +1. And OWCA is probably one of those Federal agencies that basically walks in and tells the local authorities: "Hands off of my case." MIB-style. Let's not even get into the truly big question: how does Phineas pay for all the stuff her orders every day? As far as I can tell, none of their projects actually collects any money and they disappear or are given away at the end of the day. – Wayne Apr 8 '18 at 18:28
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He's a famous professor who invented time travel. So he may avoid arrest based on his own recognizance.

(Even if he hasn't invented time travel when Phineas and Ferb takes place, it's safe to assume he has some successful inventions under his belt. How else does he get money for his elaborate schemes?)

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    His ex wife is very well off, and has to pay ailmony to him. He mentions it several times in different episodes. – JRE Apr 10 '18 at 15:47
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Dr. D is not really a bad guy. He is just a middle-aged man with sad life and he has talent for inventions, but he spends it for nothing. He is actually the most likeable character in the whole show.

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