If you spot a police car over the next few days, flag it down and thank the men and women inside. For protecting and serving you, sure, but also for allowing a camera crew to document those entertaining educational apprehendings of bad boys. If you can believe it, COPS will hit the 800-episode milestone tonight. (SPOILER ALERT: Boa on the loose! Stop that guy running away with drugs!). It’s a feat that few shows ever achieve (and 789 more episodes than Cop Rock ever made). Though little fanfare will be made of this event, we here at EW.com will not let the big day pass unnoticed, so we shined a flashlight into the face of series creator John Langley and asked him to name his favorite incidents—the weirder, the better—from the arresting Fox docuseries.
• The Buff-and-in-the-Buff Burglar (Philadelphia, 1992) “The cops showed up at a barbershop, and there was a naked burglar whom the owner had shot. The burglar was sweaty and mad. He [appeared to be] on some kind of drugs, and he started fighting with the police officers. They had to wrestle with this nude guy that was as big as a football player. Very difficult to subdue a nude person. There’s nothing to grab a hold of, so to speak.”
• Armed and Stabulous (Pierce County, Wash., 1996) “A police officer pulled up to a suspect—a big, hefty lady in a car having a domestic dispute—and she gunned her car right into the officer’s. After she hit his car, he jumped out and ran around to her door. Then she jumped out with a butcher knife and tried to stab the cop. He ducked and tackled her, and she fell and impaled herself on the knife. It was a huge butcher knife, right out of Psycho. They subdued her and she went to the hospital and lived through it. Amazingly. Fortunately she didn’t get the guy with the knife. He would’ve been history.”
• The Eternal Circle (Las Vegas, 1990) “A woman had gotten out of her car and somehow it started going backward in circles in a parking lot at a good clip. It was like the machines were taking over. I’ve never seen anything like that. She went to put it in [park] while it was still running—she was going to leave it for a second—and she didn’t have it all the way in. She put it in reverse, got out of the car, and it took off…. It was going to keep going until it ran out of gas or broke loose and crashed into something. So the cops got out their batons and beat it into submission. They broke the window, jumped inside, and subdued the car.”
• The Double-Down Thief (Las Vegas, 2004 and 2010) “We had a guy who was on one show for a stolen car and he showed up just recently on another show for a stolen car. The same guy, the same crime, and he used the same excuse! Everything was the same except for the police officers arresting him! And he crashed the car, right on camera…. The ultimate recidivist—he’s been on COPS twice.”
So, PopWatchers—and dare I say COPS Watchers—what did you think of Langley’s list? Any memorable episodes that you’d add to the mix? Better yet, have any of you—or a friend/family member—ever wound up on COPS? Feel free to start confessing. Shirt and shoes optional.