Cops

Common Sense Media says

Suspects caught on tape. Too violent for kids.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series shows what happens if you break the law from police officers' points of view.

Positive role models

The officers usually act admirably, but sometimes they seem to be showing off for the cameras. Suspects are seen engaging in allegedly criminal or socially inappropriate acts. The majority of suspects are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Violence

Lots of domestic violence. Fights, stabbings, robberies, car chases, etc. Sometimes the officers use lots of force, and suspects occasionally fight back.

Sex

Suspects are sometimes naked (their bodies are blurred). Officers often arrest prostitutes.

Language

Lots of profanity, with the worst bleeped.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol and drugs play a role in many of the crimes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this show isn't suitable for kids. While it's interesting to see the types of calls that officers respond to, most of the footage is graphic and violent. Many of the calls involve prostitution, domestic violence, fights, robberies, and drug deals. Suspects sometimes fight back, which can be scary. Sometimes the cops use a lot of force, which can be upsetting. Suspects often use profanity, with the strongest words bleeped.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

COPS, one of the longest-running shows on TV and considered one of the first reality shows, follows police officers from across the country as they perform their jobs. A camera crew accompanies the officers as they respond to calls, and the action results from the often violent and bizarre encounters that the officers have once they arrive at the crime scene.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Much of the show's appeal comes from getting a peek into the daily life of a police officer. However, the glimpse we're given isn't appropriate for kids. The calls that are chosen for each episode are selected for their shock value, and it's hard not to be shocked by much of the footage: drunken brawls, domestic arguments, and armed criminals that fight back. Also, at times it seems that both the suspects and the officers are performing for the cameras, so it's hard to tell how "real" these scenes are.

Crime scenes can be bloody, and suspects and officers often get seriously injured. A recent episode, for example, featured an armed suspect on the run, a bloody trailer-park brawl, and a domestic violence call. Unless your teen is considering a career in law enforcement, there doesn't seem to be much reason to expose your kids to this show.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether or not they think this is a fair representation of a police officer's job. Could every day on the job be this dangerous or exciting or outrageous? Do you think the officers and suspects would act differently if they weren't being followed by the cameras? Why has this show remained so popular for so long?

TV details

Cast:Burt Lancaster, Harry Newman
Networks:Fox, Syndicated
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Cops was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byToBreakFate December 4, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

well...

kids are gonna have to learn just how sucky this world is sooner or later. everything isn't bright rainbows and cute kitty cats. they should be old enough to depict right from wrong first, though...
Kid, 11 years old July 25, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Great with exceptions

I love this show because I love justice. Now if I see someone smoking I can easily tell what they are smoking, nifty skill :) I think it will teach tweens and teens what not to do or might just do the opposite. I would tell your children that this is what you shouldn't do (i.e. smoke, domestic violence, etc.)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byMr.MovieMan123 July 25, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Great for Teens

I watch this show constantly. This show is good, but too violent for kids 12 and under. The show is mainly cops arresting people for prostitution, possession of illegal drugs and/or narcotics, and domestic disturbances. I would recommend watching it with your kid the first time they see it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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