After 30 years on television, COPS has evolved into a constant messaging machine about policing in America. Running from COPS is the result of an 18-month investigation and delves deep into how the show actually gets made, how much control police departments really have over the final product, and the harrowing stories of the people who have ended up on camera. Subscribe for free and start listening April 23.
How real is the longest running reality show in TV history? We begin our investigation of COPS.
What is it like to watch yourself on COPS when you can’t remember getting arrested?
COPS producers claim every suspect on the show agrees in writing to appear on TV. Why would anyone sign that piece of paper? Plus: Who has final control over what airs on COPS, the producers or the police?
An ex-cop breaks down some of the most shocking arrests we’ve watched on COPS and tries to imagine why police departments would want that footage out in the world. Plus, the next generation of COPS is LivePD — six hours a week of policing aired live. What could possibly go wrong?
How does it feel to be hunted for months by police officers and camera crews, both of whom seem hellbent on putting you on TV?
We get our hands on raw, unedited footage of COPS and finally answer the question we've been asking throughout our 18-month investigation: How real is COPS?
One last story that shows how even the most innocuous police interactions, the ones COPS and Live PD air to get laughs, aren’t funny at all if you’re the one on TV.
Plus: a trip to the motherfucking Kumquat Festival.
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Dan Taberski is a director, writer, and producer based in New York City. He created the kids show Destroy Build Destroy for Cartoon Network, and co-created the feminist digital comedy series Our Bodies, Myself. His 2016 documentary short film These C*cksucking Tears won jury prizes at the SXSW, Seattle, and Outfest film festivals. Taberski is a former producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and worked on economic policy in the Clinton White House. He's also an accomplished quilt-maker.