With a nationwide reckoning of the racist, broken policing system underway, so to has a reckoning come for Cops, the long-running reality show that follows cops doing shitty cop things.
The Hollywood Reporter says Paramount Network has canceled Cops amid protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. The show was pulled from its schedule at the beginning of the month.
“Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a spokesperson told the publication.
Cops has been on the air since 1989, airing first on Fox for 25 seasons until Spike TV, now Paramount Network, picked it up in 2013. There’s been a lot of discussion over the ethics of continuing to film Cops, which glorifies cops with often over-sensationalized police chases, arrests, and violent crimes. The show has repeatedly been criticized for perpetuating racist and classist stereotypes about poor people of color, and for perpetuating society’s misguided celebration of law enforcement.
But people across the country are re-examining police brutality and policing as a whole, and with calls to defund and even abolish police rising to a fever pitch, it seems perfectly reasonable to stop celebrating cops on TV. In addition to Cops, it appears A&E has pulled Live PD, another cop reality TV show (and one that stars Lana Del Rey’s ex-boyfriend). And Brooklyn Nine Nine will reportedly focus future plot-lines on police brutality and racist policing, though perhaps a better move would be to disband the precinct altogether.