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Cop Rock is a short-lived Americanmarker television series that aired on ABC in 1990. The show, a police drama presented as a musical, was created by Steven Bochco, who also served as executive producer. Cop Rock has been cited as one of the worst television series, ranking #8 on TV Guide's TV Guide's List of the 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time list in 2002.


Inspired by Dennis Potter's 1986 BBC drama serial The Singing Detective , Cop Rock attempted to combine musical theater with the police drama, the latter a genre in which Bochco had already been very successful with Hill Street Blues. The series featured an ensemble cast that mixed musical numbers and choreography throughout storylines. For example, one scene in a courtroom had the jury break into song, proclaiming "He's Guilty" in 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." Its theme, "Under the Gun", was sung by Randy Newman, who opened each episode performing it in a music video-style credit sequence. The show also featured crossover appearances from other Bochco series. In one episode, James B. Sikking reprises the role of Lt. Howard Hunter from Hill Street Blues, while another episode featured cameos by LA Law stars Jimmy Smits and Michele Greene. Sheryl Crow appears as a back-up singer in the final episode.

The show was a critical and commercial failure and was canceled by ABC after 11 episodes. Owing to the combination of its bizarre nature and its high-powered production talent, it became infamous as one of the biggest television failures of the 1990s. The final episode concludes with the cast breaking character and joining crewmembers in performing a closing song.

Despite its overwhelmingly negative reception and short run, the series still has been rebroadcast three times, in the 1990s on VH1, on A&E Network, and in the 2000s on Trio.

Mike Post was the music supervisor on Cop Rock. Post appeared in the Cop Rock opening sequence as the musician in the dark glasses sitting next to Randy Newman and playing the keyboard.


Episode list

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

Year Award Result Category Recipient Episode
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

See also

  • 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.


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