Having been a cop and working in the criminal justice field for years, cop TV shows attracted my viewing. There were the good series like Joe Wambaugh’s Police Story, and that less believable but nonetheless entertaining offering from Michael Mann, Miami Vice. There were also the shows I absolutely hated such as The Rookies, Policewoman, SWAT and Starsky & Hutch.
The year was 1990 when people still regularly watched prime time TV. COP ROCK came from Steven Bochco, who was still fresh with the success of his show, Hill Street Blues. COP ROCK is still considered one of television's most notorious flops of all time.
COP ROCK took the viewers on a magic carpet ride from the simulated reality of police adventures to Broadway musicale fare. Gone was the reality that I never missed since TV and films seldom capture the real world of cops and robbers.
At nearly $2 million per episode, ABC pulled out all the stops utilizing the award winning musical talents of Mike Post, Randy Newman along with some really talented actors, singers and dancers. The show was well promoted and even enjoyed some nice reviews from the critics. The show won a couple of Emmy Awards after it was sent away for burial.
I guess what I liked best was the idea of lifting the grit and smell of everyday police work to a higher plane of entertainment. There’s no question as a true fan of the show I was in the minority. The ratings took a dive as the sponsors and ABC quickly dropped COP ROCK like a bad habit.
Perhaps my love for COP ROCK is simply because I like musicals such as Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and Evita. Perhaps I’ve been in enough real tangles with criminal suspects and the dysfunctional humanity in need of police attention that I don’t care to watch Law and Order or CSI. I’m not sure just what it was I just enjoyed the show.
I asked writer John Romano, a member of the COP ROCK creative team a while back, where are the DVDs? I’ll buy them! Just get them into production and market the product! Romano’s response to me was, “I’m for that.” The DVD’s never happened. I think the real travesty here is denying the actors and writers a chance to derive a little more income from their fine work.
Thanks to one of my fine friends at NYPD RANT, I have a link to some video clips from COP ROCK!