Cop Rock title card
|Created by||Steven Bochco
William M. Finkelstein
|Written by||Steven Bochco
William M. Finkelstein
Michael A. Graham
|Directed by||Michael Fresco
Michael M. Robin
Gilbert M. Shilton
|Theme music composer||Randy Newman|
|Opening theme||"Under the Gun" performed by Randy Newman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||11|
|Executive producer(s)||Steven Bochco|
Michael M. Robin
|Running time||45– 48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||20th Century Fox Television
Steven Bochco Productions
|Original run||September 26 – December 26, 1990|
Cop Rock is an American musical police drama series that aired on ABC in 1990. The show, a police drama presented as a musical, was co-created by Steven Bochco, who also served as executive producer. TV Guide ranked it #8 on TV Guide's List of the 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time list in 2002. The periodical dubbed it "the single most bizarre TV musical of all time".
Cop Rock attempted to combine police procedural with musical theatre, the former a genre in which Bochco had already been very successful with Hill Street Blues. The series centered on the LAPD and featured an ensemble cast that mixed musical numbers and choreography throughout storylines. For example, one courtroom scene in the pilot episode had the jury break into song, proclaiming their verdict on the defendant ("He's Guilty") Gospel-style. Another episode had a lineup of Hispanic suspects proclaim in song "We're the local color with the coppertone skin / And you treat us like we're guilty of some terrible sin." The show also featured crossover appearances from other Bochco series; one episode featured James B. Sikking reprising his Hill Street Blues role of Lt. Howard Hunter (Sikking was working on another Bochco series at the time, Doogie Howser, M.D.), while another episode featured cameos by L.A. Law stars Jimmy Smits and Michele Greene.
The series' theme song, "Under the Gun", was written by Randy Newman, who also performed it in the series' title sequence music video-style in a recording studio, complete with a full backing band and the show's cast (appearing out of character) serving as an audience. Mike Post, who served as Cop Rock's music supervisor, was also part of Newman's band in that opening sequence; Post is the keyboardist in dark glasses sitting next to Newman.
The show was a critical and commercial failure and was canceled by ABC after 11 episodes. Owing to the combination of its bizarre nature (a fusion of musical performances with serious police drama) and its high-powered production talent, it became infamous as one of the biggest television failures of the 1990s. The series' final episode, which aired on December 26, 1990, concluded with the cast breaking character and joining crew members in performing a closing song. (That final episode featured Sheryl Crow appearing as a back-up singer.)
Despite its overwhelmingly negative reception and short run, the series still has been rebroadcast in later years, with VH1 and A&E Network airing it on separate occasions later in the 1990s, and Trio airing it in the 2000s.
- Anne Bobby - Off. Vicki Quinn
- Barbara Bosson - Mayor Louise Plank
- Ronny Cox - Chief Roger Kendrick
- Vondie Curtis-Hall - Cmdr. Warren Osborne
- David Gianopoulos - Off. Andy Campo
- Larry Joshua - Capt. John Hollander
- Paul McCrane - Det. Bob McIntire
- James McDaniel - Off. Franklin Rose
- Ron McLarty - Ralph Ruskin
- Mick Murray - Det. Joseph Gaines
- Peter Onorati - Det. Vincent LaRusso
- Teri Austin - Trish Vaughn
- Dennis Lipscomb - Sidney Weitz
- William Thomas, Jr. - Det. William Donald Potts
- Kathleen Wilhoite - Patricia Spence
|Ep. #||Prod. Code||Episode Title||Airdate|
|1||2101||Pilot||September 26, 1990|
|2||0X02||"Ill-Gotten Gaines"||October 3, 1990|
|3||0X03||"Happy Mudder's Day"||October 10, 1990|
|4||0X04||"A Three-Corpse Meal"||October 17, 1990|
|5||0X05||"The Cocaine Mutiny"||October 24, 1990|
|6||0X06||"Oil of Ol' Lay"||October 31, 1990|
|7||0X07||"Cop-a-Feeliac"||November 7, 1990|
|8||2108||"Potts Don't Fail Me Now"||November 21, 1990|
|9||2109||"Marital Blitz"||December 5, 1990|
|10||0X10||"No Noose Is Good Noose"||December 12, 1990|
|11||0X11||"Bang the Potts Slowly"||December 26, 1990|
Awards and nominations
|1991||Emmy Award||Nominated||Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series||Robert Appere, Gary D. Rogers, Ron Estes, and Mark Server||"Oil Of Ol'Lay"|
|Nominated||Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series||Gregory Hoblit||Pilot|
|Nominated||Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics||Ron Boustead and Greg Edmonson||"Oil Of Ol'Lay"|
|Won||Outstanding Editing for a Series - Single Camera Production||Joe Ann Fogle||Pilot|
|Won||Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics||Randy Newman||Pilot|
- Hull High - Another television series with musical segments that debuted (and was canceled) in 1990.
- Viva Laughlin - A 2007 television drama with musical segments. The show was canceled after just two airings due to poor ratings.
- "The Worst TV Shows Ever". cbsnews.com. 2002-07-12. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "TV Musicals: The Highs and Lows". TV Guide. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- "ABC Cancels 'Cop Rock'". The New York Times. 1990-11-30. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- Weinraub, Bernard (1991-11-06). "A Series Makes the Starting Gate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- Tucker, Ken (2004-06-04). "Flops 101: Lessons From The Biz". ew.com. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- Cop Rock at Television Heaven
- Cop Rock, Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law
- Cop Rock at Bad TV Shows
- Cop Rock at the Internet Movie Database
- Cop Rock at TV.com