Perhaps inspired by the likes of "Adam-12" and "Dragnet", this true reality show follows cops throughout the US (on rare occasion, it has shown immigrant cops (temporary and permanent) as well as cops in other countries) as they find, investigate, chase, and arrest "alleged" perpetrators ranging from minor traffic violations turned into major chases because the driver didn't have a license, to prostitution and drug busts, to domestic quarrels, with tasers and guns at the ready.
I'm not really sure what the purpose of this show is. Does it serve the public by showing us how hard a cop's job is, or does it help the bad guys by giving lessons on how to evade and avoid cops? Most of the clips are shown well after the arrests and arraignments and sentences have been handed down, so why not tell us what the outcomes were? Did the guy who beat his wife/buddy/father/whatever get out with a warning? suspended sentence? jailed? escaped? Did the gang banger who stole a car and eluded police for a 25 mile chase through multiple counties/states/school districts/etc get locked up for good? Is the drunk who caused a major accident behind bars or was he let out with his 50th warning?
I'll admit that I liked watching it, at first, but I have discovered the formula which now makes it boring: Black dope dealers run from the cops, attempt to throw the drugs away, which the cops find, then they deny ever seeing the stuff, and repeatedly ask, "What did I do?" Hispanics are always drunk and don't speak English. Whites beat up their spouses, claiming that they needed it (both the perp and the recipient of the abuse).
When they show a perp following the orders of the cops, only to be pounded down to the pavement and swarmed over by cops, I wonder if they are showing off for the cameras, or simply lost sight of "protecting the public" (remember: the voice-over announcer states at the beginning of every show that everyone shown is presumed innocent). Personally, I'd like to see everyone who parks illegally get the death penalty, so, you could well imagine how I feel about dope dealers and road ragers. But, when the cops overdo it, I begin to wonder whose side I'm on.
Having friends and family in police departments and legal venues in many US States, and having received moving and parking violations, getting in minor trouble when I was a kid, and having been in court a few times on both sides of the bench (fighting tickets and hearing the public as a court magistrate), I completely understand the legal process, and am fascinated by it. "COPS", however, has overdone it, especially without telling us what happens after the arrests, to the point that I couldn't care less, anymore (BTW, "American Jail" and a limited, British-based, "COPS"-like series (I don't recall the name of it) *do* tell us what happened after the arrest, but it stuns me that most who are found guilty serve only light sentences, even if they threatened the lives of innocents in some way; the justice system has failed, and the insane run the asylum).