Mental Floss

5 Things You Didn't Know About COPS

Kara Kovalchik
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Bad boys, bad boys"¦whatcha gonna do? If the ratings can be taken as an indicator, TV viewers love to see drunken trailer park residents beat up on their relatives. This week our TVHolic looks at that weekly guilty pleasure, COPS.

1. It all started with a Documentary

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is the brainchild of writer/producer John Langley. In 1983 Langley was working with Malcolm Barbour on a documentary called

Cocaine Blues

, which was a graphic depiction of the effect of the so-called upscale drug on the average American. While researching

Cocaine Blues

Langley was on the scene during several drug raids, and

it occurred to him that the logistics, preparation and execution of such police work from the cop's point of view might make for an interesting television series

.

2. Geraldo was an Influence (sort of)

Langley worked with Geraldo Rivera on a two-hour special entitled American Vice, which again focused on the War on Drugs and followed various law enforcement agencies on the job. Equipped with not only a concept but also a working knowledge of what would be involved (a physically fit camera crew that could keep up with police officers while carrying unwieldy equipment), he began pitching his new show idea to the networks. He was met with every reaction from disdain to outright incredulity. You can't have a TV show without at the very least a narrator, he was informed. No one will agree to appear on-camera, we'll get our (posteriors) sued from here "˜til doomsday, said several execs. It was all a matter of timing when Langley finally hit pay dirt in 1989. The Fox Network was in its infancy and was looking for unusual, "edgy" programming in order to set itself apart from the Big Three networks. Langley had done his homework and had figured out the necessary technology "“ the action could be filmed live using microwave technology and bouncing signals up to helicopters and back down to trucks. Fox was impressed by his pitch and ordered 45 episodes.

3. Will your city get picked?

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4. Why There are Fewer Blurry Faces

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5. When the Crew Gets Involved

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I'd love to hear about your favorite COPS memories or moments. I'll wait a moment while you don your wife-beater undershirt and light up a Lucky Strike.

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