Welcome to your weekend flashback! In case you blocked it out, The Cop Rock TV show premiered on ABC on Wednesday, September 26, 1990. A police procedural TV series musical drama created by Steven Bochco and William M. Finkelstein, Cop Rock was cancelled by ABC after 11 episodes — of the 13 ordered — had been produced. ABC famously gave sponsors free ad time on the experimental hybrid project. The Cop Rock TV series finale, “Bang the Potts Slowly,” aired Wednesday, December 26, 1990.
The Cop Rock TV series cast includes: Anne Bobby, Barbara Bosson, Ronny Cox, Vondie Curtis-Hall, David Gianopoulos, Larry Joshua, Paul McCrane, James McDaniel, Ron McLarty, Mick Murray, and Peter Onorati. Terri Austin, Dennis Lipscomb, William Thomas, Jr., and Kathleen Wilhoite recurred.
Actors from Bochco’s other series were featured in crossovers: James B. Sikking from Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law‘s Jimmy Smits and Michele Greene. Randy Newman performed the opening sequence and wrote songs for the pilot.
Watch the opening sequence of ABC’s Cop Rock TV series.
In May 2016, Shout! Factory released Cop Rock: The Complete Series, on DVD. The DVD contains special features, in addition to all 11 of the produced and aired episodes.
1. Cop Rock: “Pilot”
2. Cop Rock: “Ill-Gotten Gaines”
3. Cop Rock: “Happy Mudder’s Day”
4. Cop Rock: “A Three-Corpse Meal”
5. Cop Rock: “The Cocaine Mutiny”
6. Cop Rock: “Oil Of Ol’ Lay”
7. Cop Rock: “Cop-A-Feeliac”
8. Cop Rock: “Potts Don’t Fail Me Now”
9. Cop Rock: “Marital Blitz”
10. Cop Rock: “No Noose Is Good Noose”
11. Cop Rock: “Bang the Potts Slowly”
Learn more about Cop Rock: The Complete Series on DVD.
Cop Rock Cancellation
To celebrate the Shout! Factory release of Cop Rock: The Complete Series, The A.V. Club interviewed Bochco and some of the Cop Rock cast and song writers, to produce, “An oral history of Cop Rock, TV’s first and last musical police drama.”Here is the cast and crew’s discussion of the Cop Rock TV series cancellation:
[Anne] Bobby: We knew that the ratings weren’t good. And it was a very expensive show to do, I understand. And keep in mind: I was 21 years old! [Laughs.] But you know when you’re on a show that’s off the ropes. You know it on Broadway, and you know it on TV. I was not surprised when we were all pulled to meet in the squad room so they could tell us. We all got together, and there was a bit of laughter, because we all knew what it was about, and then it got very quiet, and Steven said, “Well, we are canceled.”
[Larry] Joshua: It’s funny. We got nine million people to watch that show every week, and when they told me that wasn’t enough, I was, like, “Shit! If you had a business and I told you every week nine million people were gonna come through your door, you’d say, “Oh, fuck, that’s amazing!” But behind the scenes they were saying, “We need 12 million to break even!” So they had to cut us off.
[Steven] Bochco: I remember, actually, that as the show was being essentially canceled, Bob Iger said, “You know, if you’d make this show without the music, I’d pick it up.” Because it was actually a really provocative cop show separated from the music. In fact, if you think about it, Peter’s character became a sort of interesting model for the character in The Shield. But among the many reasons I didn’t want to do that was that when we were casting the show, we essentially concentrated more on singing than acting. We had some good actors, but we really looked for people who could really sing, and my feeling always was that if we took the music out, we kind of would’ve had a cast that just as pure actors would not be as stellar as that which I would have preferred. So I said, “Nah, I don’t want to do that.” So we didn’t. But, hey, he got his cop show from us a few years later.
What do you think? Did you watch the Cop Rock TV series? Will you buy the complete series on DVD?