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Canceling ‘Cops:’ Why Hollywood Loves The Police

A police car drives past the US Capitol and the Capitol Visitor Center after the building was evacuated due to reports of a fire in Washington, DC.
A police car drives past the US Capitol and the Capitol Visitor Center after the building was evacuated due to reports of a fire in Washington, DC.

Take a minute and think about the shows you watch on television. Chances are, there’s a police officer in at least one of them. Cops on TV (and in movies and podcasts)  are everywhere.

And by now, you’ve surely heard that one of the longest-running police shows of all time — aptly called “Cops” — and its cousin, “Live PD,”  have been canceled.

Critics say these shows represent police brutality, disproportionately show the arrests of people of color and often take advantage of people who were being arrested.

But those shows represent — or distort — real events. And a lot of people are watching. Crime shows are the most popular type of TV. 

What do these shows tell us about police work and crime prevention? Are these shows at all accurate? And what’s harmful about showing the police on TV?

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