TV show Cops, criticized for glorifying police aggression, cancelled after 32 seasons

One of the longest-running shows in US TV history showed police chasing down and apprehending suspects

The long-running TV show Cops, one of the first shows to expose an American audience to law enforcement in the field, has been cancelled by the Paramount Network after 32 seasons.

The network removed the show from its schedule amid protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

Now, the network has announced it’s fully dropping the reality show, which shows police chasing down and apprehending suspects, kicking in front doors and arresting people, often pursuing suspects in high-speed chases.

Officers would sometimes coerce suspects into signing releases to be filmed, according to a podcast called Running From Cops.

“Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a network spokesperson said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Cops, which debuted in 1989, had one of the longest runs in American television history and sparked a number of similar programs.

The show faced criticism over the years from those who said the program glorified police aggression and profited from suspects’ misfortune. In 2013, the civil rights group Color of Change began a campaign urging Fox to not renew the show and called on advertisers to withdraw support.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday evening, the group applauded the decision to cancel the show.

“Crime TV plays a significant role in advancing distorted representations of crime, justice, race & gender within culture & #Cops led the way, pushing troubling implications for generations of viewers,” the organization said in a statement attributed to Arisha Michelle, its vice-president and chief of campaigns.

Other policing shows have also recently come under fire. The A&E network pulled last week’s episodes of Live PD – which also follows officers in real-time, though the show has not been cancelled outright. In March 2019, Javier Ambler, a black man, was killed in Austin as the Live PD cameras were rolling. The 40-year-old postal worker and father of two had his high-beam headlights on while driving home after a poker game.

Cops ran on the Fox network for 25 years until 2013, when Viacom-owned Spike TV picked it up. The show remained on the air after Spike was re-branded as the Paramount Network in 2018.

Guardian staff

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