Cop Rock is an American musical police drama series that aired on ABC in 1990. The show, a police drama presented as a musical, was co-created by Steven Bochco, who also served as executive producer. TV Guide ranked it #8 on TV Guide's List of the 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time list in 2002.
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 L.A. 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 crew members 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.
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