‘Cops’ Celebrates 1000 Episodes of Arrests, Chases and Heart-Pumping Action (VIDEO)

Cops: Beyond the Bust

It’s not every day that a show reaches its 1000th episode, but the long-running, non-fiction crime series Cops—which has been showing us the insides of police work across the U.S. since 1989—hits the major milestone this week.

Co-created by John Langley, who is an executive producer along with his son, Morgan, the series originally ran on Fox until 2013 and then moved over to Spike, where it continues to thrive on Saturday nights.

To commemorate the 1000th episode, Cops Beyond the Bust, with host Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), airs August 21 and will look at highlights from the series as well as reunite police officers and suspects in front of a live audience.

Langley talked to us about what how the show has changed (or not) over the past thirty years.

Congratulations on 1000 episodes! As the world has changed over the years, how do you think the show has changed or, at its heart, is it the same show?
John Langley:
After 30 seasons in primetime, I can honestly say that Cops is essentially the same as it was at the beginning! At heart and in spirit is remains the same, which is to say a chronicle of the police beat in various cities across the country.

In your opinion, what is the key to the show’s longevity? I know I’ve never gotten tired of watching it!
From my point of view, Cops has endured because it is as real as we can capture the reality of street policing. It is still unpredictable and in the moment, with the fewest edits being the best edits. It’s a subjective view of law enforcement in action vis-a-vis a ride along for our viewers. You can still capture a glimpse of the raw and real in the backstreets and alleys of your city without leaving your couch. You can still witness a complicated arena of crime and sociology and psychology without being at risk. You can still learn about laws and law enforcement and social problems directly and draw your own conclusions.

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What will fans see in the special Cops Beyond the Bust?
Beyond the Bust offers a retrospective of our episodes as well as the history of the show through clips and commentary, reuniting officers and suspects under the capable and empathic hosting of Terry Crews. It is truly a backseat ride through some of Cops’ most memorable moments.

How challenging was it to sift through all the episodes to pull the best clips for the special?
After 837 drug busts, 470 foot pursuits and 370 car chases, we really had too much to draw from, so we just offer a sampling of some of our favorites. But the best clips are always a matter of opinion and you will have plenty to choose from, from shootings to animal wrangling, dangerous suspects and domestic disturbance calls to fistfights and high speed chases. You name it, and you are likely to see it.

Some shows, after 1000 episodes, might feel the need to retool the show. Any changes coming for the next 1000 episodes?
The only changes we anticipate are more and more interesting episodes!

Here’s an exclusive clip from the special:

Cops, Saturdays, 8/7c, Spike. Cops Beyond The Bust airs August 21, 9/8c, Spike.