Cop Rock: Stalk like a man

Programming note: This is my last Cop Rock recap. Like the show itself, these recaps are being put on indefinite hiatus due to lack of interest. If there’s enough demand in the comments section, I may finish out the series later, but for now, please enjoy my recaps of Supergirl.

Previously on Cop Rock: Patty Spence sold her baby for $200 but was determined to get her back. She voluntarily came clean to the cops about what she did, but Capt. Hollander had her locked up anyway. Chief Kendrick realized that Mayor Plank had natural inner beauty once she had plastic surgery to improve her outer beauty, and the two began a romance. Meanwhile, LaRusso went to jail while awaiting trial for murdering a suspect, but got bailed out by his sexy lawyer, who did some hot Miranda Rights roleplay with him.

Summary:

In a city park, white collar yuppies buy drugs off a guy who turns out to be an undercover cop, and they’re immediately arrested. It turns out to be a massive police sweep, and our whole cast is staking out this park, and they’ve even set up an outdoor booking center to process all the people in business attire they’re arresting.

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As one guy in a suit gets fingerprinted, he sings a song titled “Pursuit of Happiness” about being a white collar coke addict, and how they should all be cut some slack because they’re not “real” criminals like the crackheads on the street. The other arrestees join in, and I have to say this is a pretty catchy pop tune; it’s the kind of song that could have gotten some radio airplay in 1990, were it not, you know, featured in a terrible show about singing cops.

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One of the women they bust is especially belligerent, and it turns out she’s an assistant to a city councilman. Chief Kendrick leans on Capt. Hollander to let the woman off with a warning, due to this particular city councilman being responsible for approving the police force’s budget.

Holloway cuts the assistant a break, but she soon gets arrested again. This time, he promises she’ll do jail time (or as Holloway often puts it, multiple times throughout the series, “you’re goin’ down”). So the assistant immediately rolls over on the councilman, claiming that he’s the one she’s actually been buying drugs for. She gets immunity and the councilman gets busted snorting coke in his bathtub. Afterwards, Chief Kendrick is angry about the arrest, but ultimately comes to respect Holloway’s decision.

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This week’s special guest star is Gina Gershon, though this was before she gained fame (or infamy) for stuff like Showgirls and Bound, and before you ask, no, she doesn’t get to sing. She plays soap actress Stacey Kane, who comes to the police for help because she’s got a creepy stalker who’s been sending her vials of his own blood. Det. McIntire basically gives her the ol’ “we can’t help you ma’am” runaround, insisting there’s nothing the police can do until the guy actually commits a crime. She yells at him and storms out, but the next day, she comes back to apologize. She also asks him out to dinner, and this date with a sexy soap star predictably causes McIntire to have a change of heart about what the police can and cannot do.

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McIntire decides to go have a chat with the stalker, who has a stereotypical shrine of Stacey Kane complete with glossy 8x10s filling his wall. McIntire tells him to leave Stacey alone, but that warning goes unheeded: After the stalker performs the creepy ballad “A Step Away”, he goes to break into Stacey’s house.

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McIntire is there to confront the guy, but as he holds out a bouquet of flowers, Stacey suddenly whips out a gun and kills him herself.

Apparently, Stacey’s romantic interest in McIntire was all a ruse to give her the chance to murder her stalker, and to get away scot-free because… um… a cop was in the room, I guess? McIntire is so despondent about a woman leading him on for a good two or three days that he goes into the locker room and sings the Mr. Mister-esque “Beautiful Lies”, featuring poetic lines like “She played me sweeter than a saxophone”, and “She left me standing in the danger zone”. (Pop music sure was obsessed with danger zones back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.)

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And while we do see McIntire again in future episodes, this is pretty much the one and only solo storyline he gets before Cop Rock is cancelled.

Meanwhile, LaRusso is out on bail, and he wants to sleep with his hot lawyer Trish again. She plays hard to get for a while, pretending she’s too much of a tough-minded independent woman and in fact, maybe they won’t sleep together ever again. Of course, she relents two minutes later, but first she tells LaRusso that he’ll have to start earning back the bail money she posted for him. To that end, she got him a job as a security guard at a campaign event for a candidate for governor.

At the event, Trish introduces LaRusso to a Hollywood producer who drops hints about making his story into a movie. Because who wouldn’t pay good money to see the heroic portrait of a cop who beats up and kills unarmed black men? It’s got blockbuster written all over it! Nevertheless, this is setting up a future plotline where LaRusso becomes a minor celebrity as he awaits trial.

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And then the candidate is up on stage giving a speech that turns into our next musical number, an old-style big band number titled “Money Makes the Wheels Go Round” about how he needs lots of cash to run for governor. This is one of the more bizarre moments of the entire series, as this character doesn’t have the slightest connection to any of the current plotlines, and is never seen again. It’s almost like the show itself decides this musical number was a bad idea, because they fade to the next scene halfway through the song.

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In a brief scene, we learn that Chief Kendrick and Mayor Plank don’t regret the kiss they shared one bit, and they want to continue seeing each other, and they kiss again.

And finally, Patty Spence pleads with a judge to get her baby back. It turns out Capt. Holloway is now on her side, and after one short hearing, the judge decides to give Patty probation. She also gets to see her baby again, but the visits will be supervised to, you know, make sure she doesn’t pawn her off for drugs again.

The episode concludes with Patty singing her daughter another lullaby titled “You Are More Than Enough”. Alas, it isn’t nearly as affecting or memorable as the first lullaby she sang to her daughter in the pilot, “Sandman’s Coming”. And thanks to Cop Rock’s early cancellation, this is the end of Patty’s story.

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Thoughts:

Back in 1990, the subplot about a TV actress with a violent stalker was basically a Law & Order-style rip from the headlines; sitcom star Rebecca Schaeffer had just been murdered by an obsessed fan, a crime that led to the passage of the country’s first anti-stalking laws. (Alas, this sort of shit still happens; Just look at Christina Grimmie.) Obviously, this episode pretends those anti-stalking laws don’t exist, since there wouldn’t be much conflict here if the police could just go arrest the guy.

Unfortunately, a somewhat interesting plot is undone by the confusing way it ends. How does McIntire being at Stacey’s house allow her to get away with murder? Stacey’s scheme would have made far more sense if McIntire was the one who shot the stalker, with the police much more likely to believe their own detective’s claim of self-defense than some actress. But with the charges pending against LaRusso, this show probably didn’t want to deal with two different plotlines where a cop gets investigated for shooting an unarmed man.

Also, I have to admit to kind of liking the stalker’s song, “A Step Away”. It’s terrible and cheesy, but it almost sounds like one of those retro songs that could have been used on Twin Peaks (another ABC show that premiered the same year, and was obviously much more successful).

And while it’s great that they brought back Kathleen Wilhoite as Patty Spence, it’s unfortunate that her story saw such an easy resolution. If you sell your baby for drugs, there’s no chance in hell you’re going to see that kid again, but in this episode, all it takes is going before a judge and promising really hard that you’re going to stay sober.

And lastly, the title of this episode is “The Cocaine Mutiny”, which I have no qualms with. It’s probably the least terrible title of the entire series run, to be honest.

Songs performed in this episode:

[*DISCLAIMER: For the most part, Cop Rock didn’t credit its musical numbers, so the titles below are best guesses based on the lyrics.]

  • “Pursuit of Happiness”* performed by Joe Retta, et al
  •  “A Step Away”* performed by John Putch (Fun Fact #1: Putch later went on to become a director, with his most high-profile project to date being Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike.)
  • “Beautiful Lies”* performed by Paul McCrane
  • “Money Makes the Wheels Go Round”* performed by Bill Hayes (Fun Fact #2: Hayes is the only performer on this show to score a #1 Billboard hit, with “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” in 1955; Randy Newman, who performs the theme every week, only made it to #2 with “Short People”, while Sheryl Crow, who appears as an extra in an upcoming episode, did the same with “All I Wanna Do”.)
  •  “You are More Than Enough”* performed by Kathleen Wilhoite

Next Up: Six more episodes of drama, action, singing and dancing, but you’ll have to buy the DVD if you want to find out what happens next, because I’m done here.

TV Show: Cop Rock

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