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* UnbuiltTrope: By the time the term "RealityTV" was invented and became a popular genre, this show was already considered a long-runner.

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* UnbuiltTrope: By the time the term "RealityTV" was invented and became a popular genre, this show was already considered a long-runner. Also, it's fairly unusual compared to most modern Reality TV, which involves a fair amount of scripting and behind the scenes organization, as ''COPS'' is still completely true-to-life with no scripting, just cameramen filming real police doing their real jobs.


Eventually, it was decided, in consultation with the producers of ''COPS'', that the individual's right to privacy should be respected, and that the faces, license-plates, and addresses of those featured on the show must be obscured in post production. People who sign waivers appear without {{pixellation}}, so every drunk, naked ranting guy being handcuffed said at some point, "Yes, I want to appear on TV like this." Ninety percent of arrested suspects opt to appear without blurring.

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Eventually, it was decided, in consultation with the producers of ''COPS'', that the individual's right to privacy should be respected, and that the faces, license-plates, and addresses of those featured on the show must be obscured in post production. People who sign waivers appear without {{pixellation}}, so every drunk, naked ranting guy being handcuffed said at some point, point (and ''after'' they sobered up), "Yes, I want to appear on TV like this." Ninety percent of arrested suspects opt to appear without blurring.

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* TakesTenToHold: TruthInTelevision, since it was one of the first popular series to follow real American law enforcement around. There would be suspects too strong for one officer to restrain. In one episode there was a sweaty naked suspect; the officers said it was hard to get a grip.


* RealityShow

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* RealityShowRealityShow: Doesn't get much more real. There's no script (outside of the opening), the cops are real cops, and the things they investigate are real crimes. More than thirty years after its debut, it's still going, due to it being incredibly cheap to make.


* BlatantLies: Yes, ''of course'' the police can't tell you are drunk.
** Similarly, the opening of any prostitution sting [[MustStateIfYoureACop will begin with "Are you a cop?"]] "''No.''" (This often works to a police officer's advantage: There's a common urban legend that a police officer is required to tell you that he's a cop if asked. Patently untrue, given that undercover police work is a thing that exists.)

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* BlatantLies: BlatantLies:
**
Yes, ''of course'' the police can't tell you are you're drunk.
** Similarly, the The opening of any prostitution sting [[MustStateIfYoureACop will begin with "Are you a cop?"]] "''No.''" (This often works to a police officer's advantage: There's a common followed by "No." (There's an urban legend that a police officer is required to tell you that he's they're a cop if asked. Patently untrue, given that undercover police work is a thing that exists.thing. Since it helps with their job, the cops aren't exactly in a hurry to correct this falsehood.)


* StupidCrooks: Quite a few of these show up. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JkwZUk3Kng For example]], one woman called the police because her neighbor wouldn't return $20. When asked what she gave the neighbor $20 for, the woman openly tells the cop that she was trying to buy crack. As a bonus, when the officer asks the neighbor about it, the neighbor denies having taken the money because [[EveryoneHaStandards she's a prostitute, not a drug dealer]].

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* StupidCrooks: Quite a few of these show up. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JkwZUk3Kng For example]], one woman called the police because her neighbor wouldn't return $20. When asked what she gave the neighbor $20 for, the woman openly tells the cop that she was trying to buy crack. As a bonus, when the officer asks the neighbor about it, the neighbor denies having taken the money because [[EveryoneHaStandards [[EveryoneHasStandards she's a prostitute, not a drug dealer]].


* AlcoholInducedIdiocy: A disproportionately large amount of the show's incidents involve alcohol. [[DrugsAreBad Or drugs]].



* ByTheBookCop: Almost everything shown by the police officers is by-the-book, even if some things are occasionally skipped over in the show itself for time, like the reading of a suspect's Miranda rights.

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* ByTheBookCop: Almost everything shown by the police officers is by-the-book, even if some things are occasionally skipped over in the show itself for time, like the reading of a suspect's Miranda rights. Unsurprising, given that they were confident enough to have their activities filmed; you'd better be ''damn'' sure you're not involved in violating procedure if there's going to be a camera crew following you around.



* StupidCrooks: Quite a few of these show up.

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* StupidCrooks: Quite a few of these show up. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JkwZUk3Kng For example]], one woman called the police because her neighbor wouldn't return $20. When asked what she gave the neighbor $20 for, the woman openly tells the cop that she was trying to buy crack. As a bonus, when the officer asks the neighbor about it, the neighbor denies having taken the money because [[EveryoneHaStandards she's a prostitute, not a drug dealer]].

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* LongRunner: The show's first season was in 1989 and it has been on television ever since, making a ChannelHop to Spike TV in fall 2013 and another one to Spike's successor Paramount Network in 2017.


* RealLifeThemeTune: "Bad Boys" by the reggae group Inner Circle.


* BaldOfAwesome: What would appear to be a higher-than-average number of police officers appear to favor this or near-bald buzz cuts. Understandable since they don't want to give a suspect anything to grab onto in the event of an altercation.

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* BaldOfAwesome: BaldOfAwesome:
**
What would appear to be a higher-than-average number of police officers appear to favor this or near-bald buzz cuts. Understandable since they don't want to give a suspect anything to grab onto in the event of an altercation.


* IdiotBall: Running from the police once they've cuffed your hands behind your back. Once there was a clip that involved a man calling the cops because someone had stolen his marijuana. [[WhatAnIdiot He was arrested.]]

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* IdiotBall: Running from the police once they've cuffed your hands behind your back. Once there was One instance had a clip that suspect run ''twice'' after being handcuffed with predictable results.
** Another instance
involved a man calling the cops because someone had stolen his marijuana. [[WhatAnIdiot He was arrested.]]

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* RealLifeThemeTune: "Bad Boys" by the reggae group Inner Circle.


* RealSongThemeTune: "Bad Boys" by Inner Circle. The song was initially recorded and released in 1987, two years before ''Cops'' premiered. However, it wasn't issued as a single in the United States until 1993, where it promptly went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 because [[TheRedStapler it was the theme song for]] ''Cops''.


''COPS'' is a reality show that is "filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement", which means it's incredibly cheap to make. It is also the longest-running {{reality show}} on television (it premiered in 1989); the show has a proven formula that has remained popular for years, and it was part of the longest unchanged nightly schedule in American television (Creator/{{Fox}}'s Saturday night schedule; the other show in that schedule was ''Series/AmericasMostWanted'', before its ChannelHop). ''COPS'' is arguably the most realistic {{reality show}} on television: there is absolutely no script and no narration outside of the opening credits; everything you see is real people in real situations.

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''COPS'' is a reality show that is "filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement", which means it's incredibly cheap to make. It is also the longest-running {{reality show}} RealityShow on television (it premiered in 1989); the show has a proven formula that has remained popular for years, and it was part of the longest unchanged nightly schedule in American television (Creator/{{Fox}}'s Saturday night schedule; the other show in that schedule was ''Series/AmericasMostWanted'', before its ChannelHop). ''COPS'' is arguably the most realistic {{reality show}} RealityShow on television: there is absolutely no script and no narration outside of the opening credits; everything you see is real people in real situations.

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