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Series / Future Cop

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Future Cop is an American science-fiction cop show that ran for five episodes on ABC in the spring of 1977, with a pilot in 1976 and a final two-parter on NBC in 1978.

Veteran street cops Joe Cleaver (Ernest Borgnine) and Bill Bundy (John Amos) are partnered with the rookie John Haven (Michael J. Shannon), but Cleaver soon discovers that Haven is actually an android programmed to be the perfect cop.

Future Cop contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Cleaver calls Haven "Fumblebutt" at first, and later "Kid."
  • Alliterative Name: Bill Bundy.
  • Amusement Park: In "Cops and Robin," Haven, Cleaver, and the girl they're protecting go to Knott's Berry Hill.
  • Androids and Detectives: The first TV example, predating Holmes & Yoyo by several months.
  • And Starring: Starring Ernest Borgnine in Future Cop, also starring Michael Shannon as Haven, John Amos as Bundy.
  • Babysitting Episode: "Cops and Robin," the final two-parter, in which Haven and Cleaver have to look after a five-year-old girl while her mother is in protective custody.
  • The Boxing Episode: "Fighting O'Haven," in which Haven goes undercover as a boxer to investigate the mysterious deaths of four other boxers.
  • Bringing Running Shoes to a Car Chase: In the opening scene, Cleaver and Bundy are engaged in a high-speed chase with a Porsche. When the police car is blocked, Cleaver gets out and chases after the Porsche on foot, with about as much success as you'd expect.
  • Car Fu: The boxers in "Fighting O'Haven" were murdered by being hit by cars.
  • The Comically Serious: When a waitress tries to flirt with Haven by saying she can guess his sign, he says, "Is there one showing?" She laughs and says, "Finally, a cop with a sense of humor!"
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: In "The Mad Mad Bomber," Haven resuscitates an electrocution victim by thumping his chest twice.
  • Faking the Dead: A woman in "Cops and Robin" has spent the last six years in hiding with her young daughter because she was afraid to testify against the man who murdered her cop husband. Despite faking her death, she kept withdrawing money in her own name, allowing both the police and the criminals to track her down.
  • Fixing the Game: "The Kansas City Kid" involves a man who spies on poker games through a camera hidden in the ceiling, then tells his accomplice what the cards are through the earpiece hidden in her glasses.
  • Frame-Up: In "The Carlisle Girl," Bundy's daughter is working for a cosmetics company that secretly deals drugs. Her employers trick her into bringing dope in her suitcase and blackmail Bundy by threatening to tip off airport security agents.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: In "The Mad Mad Bomber," the titular explosives expert used to work in Vietnam, where he blew up several bridges.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: By the beginning of "Cops and Robin," Haven has begun to develop the capacity for emotions and creativity. Dr. Alcott has him temporarily move in with Cleaver so he can learn about human relationships.
  • Hassle-Free Hotwire: Bundy can hotwire a forklift in about ten seconds, thanks to his past as a juvenile delinquent.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: After Cleaver breaks Haven out of the Synthetronics lab where he's about to be dismantled, Captain Skaggs and Dr. Tingley show up at his apartment to ask him why Haven is missing.
    Cleaver: Are you accusing me of taking him?
    Skaggs: Who said anything about taking him?
    Cleaver: Well, she said it was missing! Didn't you say that, ma'am?
  • Literal-Minded: Haven was programmed to know common police slang terms, but he'll still take instructions like "Take a walk" literally.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: In "The Mad Mad Bomber," Haven discovers a detonator in a stolen TV set, which allows the cops to track down the people behind a series of bomb threats and prevent them from following through.
  • Multi-Part Episode: The two-parter "The Mad Mad Bomber."
  • Name and Name: The pilot is currently sold as "Cleaver and Haven."
  • Opening Monologue: "My name is Joe Cleaver. For fourteen years I've been partnered with the man on my left here, Bill Bundy. We never had a secret from each other, until now. This good-looking kid on my right, a rookie cop called Haven, he's the secret. He looks human, talks and acts human, but he's not. He's an android. A robot. The perfect cop. The cop of the future. A future cop."
  • Outside Ride: In "The Mad Mad Bomber," Haven chases after a pickup truck containing stolen TV sets, grabs onto the back, climbs over the top of the cab, and raps on the windshield.
  • Photographic Memory: Haven. In the pilot, he watches every Superbowl at high speed so he can better make small talk with other officers, and remembers every detail perfectly afterwards.
  • Reading Lips: Haven does this in "The Carlisle Girl" to eavesdrop on a brief phone conversation that's too far away for him to listen in.
  • Repetitive Audio Glitch: In "The Mad Mad Bomber," Haven has a detonator hidden in his chest. It interferes with his functioning, and he keeps glitching out and repeating facts about the World Wars.
  • Secret-Keeper: Cleaver is the only other cop who knows Haven's an android.
  • Slip into Something More Comfortable: In "The Carlisle Girl," Haven manages to flirt his way into the apartment of a suspected drug dealer. She leaves the room to change into a sexy nightgown, giving Haven time to look for evidence.
  • Spock Speak: Haven talks like this.
  • Super Cop: Haven is designed to be stronger, faster, and smarter than anyone else, as well as loyal, calm, nonviolent, and by-the-book. Even his facial features were designed to project "quiet strength, inner tranquility, emotional reassurance."
  • Super-Senses: Haven can eavesdrop on phone conversations and detect people's heart rates without touching them. During the training simulation in the pilot, he sees a black man holding a gun and an elderly white woman begging for help, and arrests the woman because his sensors detect gunshot residue on her hands, indicating that she has fired recently.
  • Supreme Chef: Haven watches a bunch of cooking videos in "Cops and Robin." While he, Cleaver, and Robin are in hiding together, he cooks gourmet meals every night.
  • Throwing The Game: Haven is told to "take a dive" in "Fighting O'Haven." Instead, he does a backflip, landing on his back.
    Referee: What was that all about?
    Haven: That was my dive, sir. Wasn't it satisfactory?
  • Taught by Television: Haven learned his flirting technique from a Humphrey Bogart movie he saw with Cleaver.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: Narrowly averted in "The Girl on the Ledge." Haven's locomotion circuits are knocked out by a power outage during the night. One of the scientists suggests giving him "an injection of 2,000 volts," but before he can be shocked, Cleaver reminds them of a time when his central diodes stopped working, with similar effects.
  • Turn in Your Badge: After Haven inaccurately predicts the location of a bombing, resulting in the unnecessary evacuation of a crowded sports arena, Captain Skaggs declares him faulty, takes his badge and gun, and sends him back to the lab to be dismantled.
  • Wire Dilemma: During the climax of "The Mad Mad Bomber," Haven tries to disarm a bomb using instructions he's been given, but he malfunctions and collapses before he can start. He tries to give instructions to Cleaver, but stops functioning entirely partway through, and Cleaver has to guess which of the last two wires to cut first.