After a 25-year run valorizing America’s police forces to the thumping reggae pulse of Inner Circle’s “Bad Boys,” Fox has canceled its weekly reality TV series COPS. To which we should say: good riddance.
Yes, the show is being picked up by all-things-manly cable network Spike TV, but critics of the increasing militarization of American police should celebrate nevertheless: the long-running series will no longer air its highly-selective take on “policing” to as large an audience as Fox’s Saturday night lineup.
Of all the police reality shows available for viewing today, COPS may actually be the most tolerable. Unlike its cop-shows-on-steroids successors, COPS often did a good job depicting the monotonies of police beat work, and the oddities of dealing with some of the more bizarre domestic disputes. That being said, the show’s legacy is one of glorifying and overlooking abuse through a highly-selective, heavily-edited depiction of “reality.”