In addition to being one of the first reality shows to ever grace the small screen, COPS also enjoys the luxury of being both the longest-running unscripted show on FOX and one of the longest-running television shows of all time, having outlasted America’s Funniest Home Videos, Law & Order, and even The Simpsons (if only by a few mere months). Depicting the daily trials and tribulations of our nation’s finest since 1989, the half-hour documentary series created by John Langley and Malcolm Barbour premiered its 29th season back in June and continues to ask the probing question of what bad boys are going to do when the authorities come for them.
Being both an internationally recognized brand and a commercial success for close to 30 years, there was really only one logical next step for the COPS franchise to take: a movie. It’s happening to board games, it’s happening to video games. It’s even happening to emojis. And now, it’s happening to COPS.
According to Deadline, a COPS movie has been greenlit with the intent to turn the procedural drama “into an edgy narrative feature with a buddy comedy bent on the order of a Lethal Weapon.” Not only that, but Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and writer Cameron Fay (Dance Camp) have signed on to the project being produced by The District and Langley’s production studio, Langely Films.
More likely than not, the similarities between COPS the show and COPS the film won’t extend all that much beyond the brand name. The long-running reality show did not feature a central protagonist, for starters, nor did it adhere to any set narrative structure beyond its documentary-esque trappings, which makes it an interesting choice to be turned into a full-length feature film. It’s one of the most base-level cop stories ever told, and the idea of it being turned into yet another buddy-cop movie doesn’t exactly speak to what we can expect in the originality department, either.
That being said, Fleischer was able to put his own unique spin on the equally played-out zombie genre with Zombieland, so maybe he’ll be able to elevate COPS above the level of its somewhat mundane source material. It could be compelling to see the film embrace the found-footage angle of the show a la what The X-Files did in their seventh season crossover episode with the program, “X-Cops” (or David Ayer’s End of Watch). There are enough modern-day storylines to draw inspiration from, but we’ll just have to wait and see as COPS continues its way through development.
Screen Rant will have more details on the COPS movie for you as it develops.