The Corpse of "Cops": Autopsy of a TV Series

Years ago in a Harper’s* essay, a former film editor on the TV show, “Cops”,  admitted that, by agreement, the police had  imposed complete censorship privileges  over the show’s contents.  In the piece, the editor confessed that she was ordered to toss on the editing room floor–like so much used toilet paper– damaging footage depicting illegal police brutality, largely aimed at African-Americans. The incriminating celluloid evidence was, of course, later flushed down the drain pipe of oblivion.  Tipping-point ashamed of her complicity with her Faustian commanders and  fellow conspirators, criminal officers if the law. she  finally slinked  away from her job and wrote her expose.

Today, thanks to the existence of citizen documentary filmmakers bearing  cinematic evidence that verifies  the moral transgressions that police had been accustomed to conceal behind their badges and  scribble on their falsified reports, smart cops have been sobered into wariness; ignorant cops are being caught.

Maybe somebody should produce a show called”Dumb Bad Cops.”  Years of footage  will likely be available for that.



  • I’m reasonably sure it was Harper’s, but may have been another respected publication known for irreproachable veracity and impeccable fact-checking

Filed under: Culture, politics

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