Good Cop Brutal Cop Show?

Tonight’s HD premiere of Good Cop (SoHo, 8.30) contains one scene of shocking violence that British media reported was “particularly startling” to see on BBC One.

Creator Stephen Butchard (Five Daughters) told The Daily Telegraph it pushes the boundaries but  is necessary.

“It’s all of the things that violence on screen shouldn’t be – it’s gratuitous. But that’s the odd thing about censorship and violence. If it’s violence, shouldn’t it be horrific? Shouldn’t it be repulsive?

“I think here it needs to be repulsive because that’s the event that Sav witnesses. Hopefully it’s more suggestive of repulsion than merely showing it.”

The beating scene lasts 62 seconds and was followed in the fourth and final episode by the depiction of an attack on a female police officer that prompted the BBC to delay its broadcast because of the deaths of two policewomen in Manchester.

The vigilante cop drama earned mixed reviews in the UK. The Telegraph criticised its “cookie-cutter baddie”, “convenient coincidences” and failure to fulfil its “real promise”.

The Guardian was more generous but thought it “almost Scandanavian in its bleakness” and riddled with cliches: “The rain, and the urban grime; the troubled protagonist burdened by the weight of his backstory and personal life; the good cop who turns out not to be so good etc.

“But truth is, a totally true-to-life police drama would probably be mainly about paperwork. Quite mundane.”

The Independent said Good Cop was “much better cop than most police procedurals” and “well worth following” while The Times thought it “totally gripping” and “proves why the mainstream audience at which it is aimed doesn’t mind (or maybe notice) a formula when the content is top quality”.

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