After the huge success of the U.S. "COPS" reality TV show – where a camera follows police around on their busts – the Japanese decided it would be an interesting show to produce here. I watched it tonight and found it a bit different from the American version. Here is what I saw, translated from Japanese of course:
COP: Hey, you! Did you drop that piece of paper?
Man: I am so sorry honorable sir (bowing). I bring shame to myself.
COP: Pick it up and do not do it again!
Man: (bowing lower) I shall not err again.
COP: (talking to camera). Yeah, this used to be a pretty nice neighborhood, but it is starting to go down hill. That litter there is a perfect example. Last week I saw a piece of gum. We’re talking about beefing up patrols, but there is only so much we can do.
COP: (whispering to camera) We’re on a stake-out here. This place is notorious for law breakers. Okay, this is it!
SWAT Team: (shouting) Go! Go! Go! (jerky camera motion follows armed men onto a street corner)
COP: You there! Stop where you are! (half a dozen Japanese men in suits stop in their tracks). That pedestrian walk signal is RED! You were jay walking!
Men: (all bowing rapidly up and down) We did not realize! We are so sorry!
COP: You are only sorry for being caught! You bring shame to your family! Boys, you know what to do! (SWAT team starts issuing citations)
COP: (talking to camera) It is a fine line that separates civilization from chaos. We do what we can every day trying to hold that line. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
I don’t think the Japanese version would be successful on American TV. But what does it say when our astronomical crime rate and crazy crime scenes make for better entertainment?