It's been almost a year since Eddie Murphy revealed that Beverly Hills Cop 4 was dead in the water. However, the silver lining to this news was that he would produce a TV series based on the hit action-comedy franchise, which would follow the son of his character, Axel Foley. Since then we haven't heard any development on the potential series, but that all changes today.
Word is that The Shield creator Shawn Ryan is working with Eddie Murphy and Sony Pictures Television for a Beverly Hills Cop TV series, and networks began hearing their pitch for the project this afternoon. In addition to producing, Murphy has also agreed to take a small role in the show.
We're not sure if anything has changed since Murphy teamed with Sony and Ryan for this TV endeavor, but when he talked about the potential series last year he said the show would follow, "Axel Foley's son, and Axel is the chief of police now in Detroit." At the time, Murphy was already open to appearing on the show in that capacity, saying he would "do the pilot, show up here and there," and that still seems to be the case with the actor slated to star in the pilot and a few "special" episodes throughout the first season of the series.
As for the style of the show, Vulture's sources described it as a standard buddy-cop show designed to be a crime procedural with some strong comedic elements. The creative pairing seems like a good one, considering that Shawn Ryan has had great success with crime procedurals ranging from Nash Bridges to The Shield - and more recent canceled series like The Unit and The Chicago Code (a show that didn't deserve to be canceled) - and Eddie Murphy's glory days existed when Beverly Hills Cop was a hit.
Crime procedurals are a dime a dozen on network television, but injecting comedy into them has proven to be difficult. The last attempt resulted in The Good Guys on Fox. While Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks made for a great team, the blend of comedy and action never seemed to work because the danger never felt real for the characters. The comedy took away from the crime element, and that's a hurdle that Ryan and Murphy can overcome.
Hopefully we'll hear more official details on the pitch soon. As of now the project needs to find a network home, but with Ryan and Murphy on board, I'm betting it will have no problem getting at least a pilot order. I'd like a network like FX to end up with Beverly Hills Cop so we can have edgy comedy and action meeting on the one network that seems to know how to do both right, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. Stay tuned.