The past few months have seen a lot of changes being made to some of our favorite TV shows, and there are going to be even more going forward. Now that shows are actively trying to begin filming again (with a few broadcast series already stepping up to the plate for the challenge), not only will those behind all of the productions need to implement new safety features, but now some of CBS' most popular crime and legal dramas will be getting some outside help to make sure those shows accurately portray the relationships between law enforcement and the people they police.
CBS has a long history of being the home to several extremely popular dramas that focus on different law enforcement officials and legal eagles, but with very real life concerns over how those agencies police people hitting an intense (and necessary) high in the past several months, CBS TV Studios has now contracted with law enforcement advisory group 21CP Solutions to consult with the writers on those shows. Currently, 11 legal and crime dramas are produced by CBS TV, and those include SEAL Team, S.W.A.T., Bull, MacGyver, the NCIS and FBI franchises, and All Rise.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the exclusive agreement will see a group of civil rights scholars, lawyers, and former law enforcement officials, as well as academics and community leaders working on police reform help the series produced by CBS TV Studios look more deeply at how they show law enforcement and the relationships between those officials and the public. They'll be led by Ronald Davis, who headed the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services from 2013 to 2017, and also led a task force on 21st century policing practices during President Obama's administration.
Executive vice president of diversity and inclusion at ViacomCBS, Tiffany Smith-Anoa'i, noted that the move was made in the hopes that their shows would be able to come back strong and with stories that present "deeper and richer narratives" while also being "more authentic to the communities they depict." For his part, Ronald Davis sounds excited to be a part of this new undertaking, and said:
I applaud CBS Studios for recognizing the impact its police and legal series have on the relationship between police and the communities they serve and on public perceptions on law enforcement, crime and race. The CBS and 21CP Solutions partnership is a first-of-its-kind effort that will provide CBS and its writers with technical advice, based on the historical and current truths and realities of policing, as well as contemporary efforts to transform policing and reimagine public safety.
We already knew that several shows which focus on law enforcement and the legal system were looking to make some changes in how they presented those professions and characters, and how they relate to the general public. S.W.A.T.'s executive producer, Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, said that they would remain committed to examining "the intersection of black communities and law enforcement," while Brooklyn Nine-Nine's writers reportedly threw out what they had planned for the upcoming season so they could find a way to tackle police brutality and racism.
On top of that, Law & Order: SVU's Elliot Stabler-centric spinoff (Law & Order: Organized Crime) will start by having our current reckoning for the criminal justice system baked right into the main plot, as it features a lead character who used to be known for "smacking people around" during interrogations and such back in the day.
It's good to see that police procedurals and other types of crime / legal shows are taking these steps, and it will be interesting to see how it changes the stories seen on them moving forward.
To see when your favorite crime shows and cop dramas return to the airwaves, be sure to check out our guide to fall TV.