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Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
There’s no music playing, but you’re singing it aren’t you? Of course you are.
Cops turned Bad Boys, by Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle, into a worldwide phenomenon when they adopted it as their opening theme.
I’m not proud to say it, but I’ve always loved Cops. I was singing the theme song before I could even speak properly, potentially a nod to my mother and father’s questionable parenting style. Regardless, who isn’t captivated by drunk people screaming in the street, criminals coming up with lies on the spot, and intense foot chases where you can hear the camera man huffing and puffing the whole time?
There’s a reason Cops is one of the longest-running television programs in North America.
Naturally, when I heard that fellow admitted Cops fan, Dan Taberski, was releasing a podcast series examining the show, I couldn’t wait to check it out. If you’re a podcast fan, you might know him from his previous show, Missing Richard Simmons. I had no idea Dan’s new podcast would change everything I thought I knew about my favourite guilty-pleasure entertainment.
Running from Cops explores the ways cops and criminals have been portrayed on the popular television show throughout its more than 1,000 episodes. It’s the result of an intense 18-month investigation in which Dan and his team examined how the show came to be, how much control the police have over what makes it to your screen, and why we might want to think twice about what we’re consuming as “reality TV.”
In episode one, Dan speaks to a lawyer whose client appeared on the show. She and her boyfriend were visited by officers and the camera crew after they were determined to be loitering in a suspicious area.
After a quick search of the car, the officer pulls out a Cops classic – the road side drug test. “You see how this turned blue?” you hear him explain to the camera and suspects. “That’s crack cocaine.” The pair adamantly deny having drugs in the vehicle, claiming they have no idea what the substance is.
But who are you going to believe? I mean, they did the drug test right in front of your eyes, right? The segment ends, and you’re left feeling satisfied that the pair will be charged for their cocaine possession.
Except, as it turns out, there was no cocaine. The lawyer explains that after the substance was sent off for a proper analysis, it was determined not to be cocaine. In fact, the lab had no idea what it was, just like the couple. But Cops doesn’t bring this suspect back on to apologize and let her clear her name. The public is left to assume justice was served while this woman spends the foreseeable future explaining her appearance on Cops to those who only saw one side of the story.
This is just one example of the many captivating interviews Dan secured with folks on both sides of the camera.
If you’re at all interested in the show Cops, or the general portrayal of police in the media, this podcast is for you.
Jill Ellsworth is a writer and communications specialist who lives in Dominion, N.S. Her column appears biweekly across the SaltWire Network. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
READ MORE FROM JILL ELLSWORTH