After George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, TV Rethinks If Cops Should Always Be the Good Guys

“It just feels like we can do more with the art and with the shows that are put out there,” “S.W.A.T.” showrunner Aaron Rahsaan Thomas says

The Hero Cop is one of television’s most enduring tropes. But how heroic can the police remain at a time when many outraged citizens are campaigning for them to be defunded amid widespread protests over the killing of unarmed civilians like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor?

The fallout from the weeks of nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism has already prompted two cop shows to hand in their badges: The long-running reality shows “Cops” and A&E’s popular “Live PD.” The simmering tensions against the people entrusted to protect and serve their communities have boiled over, and that has led to questions about the vitality of the fictional cops who patrol the television screen.

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Tim Baysinger

Tim Baysinger

TV Reporter • tim.baysinger@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tim_bays