Why ‘Cops’ has resumed production after getting canceled
The “bad boys” of reality television are back, but not for American audiences.
Three months after “Cops” was canceled by Paramount Network, the show is reportedly in production again in Spokane, Washington, where the series often took place during its initial 32-season run.
“We have a longstanding relationship with ‘Cops’ and [series producer] Langley Productions, and we are pleased they have decided to return, highlighting the outstanding work our deputies provide to all of you,” said Spokane’s Sheriff’s Office, noting that two area crews began filming last month and will continue through early November.
However, Langley Productions said that the episodes are not intended for US audiences, and will be released only to the international territories still in contract with the show, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The 33rd season premiere of “Cops” was originally postponed in observance of the unrest prompted by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Paramount Network later canceled the series outright on June 9. Following suit, A&E pulled its own law enforcement reality series, “Live PD,” while WGN allowed their syndication rights to lapse June 30.
The show has long been criticized for its problematic production and policing tactics. A 2019 podcast by journalist Dan Taberski, “Running From Cops,” revealed many unsettling details about how the series is made — from reportedly targeting mentally compromised offenders for the sake of “good television,” to allegedly using media release forms as a bargaining token following arrest.
“We found that a lot of it is not constitutional, not legal, not ethical, not good policing,” Taberski told the LA Times in 2019. His reporting uncovered a pattern of allegedly targeting those who “were too drunk or high to know if they were consenting, or they were coerced into signing the release.”
“You don’t really think of that when you’re watching the show, but when you really dig in and find those people [arrested on the show], every story is upsetting,” he continued. “Every story is someone who feels like they were exploited, and these are people who don’t have a lot of power and they can’t do anything to fight back.”
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