Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
COPS (TV series)
COPS is one of the longest-running television programs in the United States and one of the earliest reality TV genre programs. It is broadcast by the Fox Network and documents the day-to-day activities of American police officers ("cops") while on-duty. Originally created by John Langley and Malcolm Barbour , It premiered on March 11, 1989 and has aired over 600 episodes. It has also been spun off into a number of different shows, such as COPS: Shots Fired, COPS: Bad Girls or COPS: Caught in the Act.
The show is made up of footage shot by film units who accompany selected police officers while they execute their duties. The show has followed officers in 140 different cities in the United States and also has filmed in Hong Kong, London, and the former Soviet Union.
The show is well known for its theme song, "Bad Boys", by Inner Circle .
The show has been criticized for its predominant focus on the criminal activities among the poor. Critics of this aspect of the show say it unfairly presents the poor as responsible for most crime in society while ignoring the white-collar crimes that are typical of the more wealthy. One response to this is that television is primarily a visual medium, requiring regular footage on a weekly basis to sustain a show, and police officers "busting in" on some office where identity theft papers are being created or other high-level crime rings are operating do not happen very often, thus it is not likely to be filmed and thus not shown. Low-level crime (by poor people) happens every day, providing large quantities of material suitable for filming.
The show has been spoofed in a variety of television series, such as the Comedy Central show Reno 911! and the Ronnie Dobbs sketches on Mr. Show with Bob and David. It is also frequently parodied in short segments of some feature films, especially animated films, a testament to how deeply the show has become embedded in American pop culture. One famous example was Troops, a parody of both COPS and the popular Star Wars movie franchise.
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