As protests continue around the world after the death of George Floyd in police custody, television shows about the police are having to step back and reconsider the stories they need and want to tell.
It's been an important moment in American History as Black Lives Matter protests continue in the wake of George Floyd's death while in police custody. Centuries of systemic racism entrenched in all aspects of American society, and particularly in law enforcement, are being scrutinized like never before.
"It’s something that every black man has been through and it’s hard to really try to get other people to understand," Terry Crews said in an interview with Access Daily. "I have to say, right here, what is going on right now is Black America's MeToo movement. We always knew this was happening, but now white people are understanding."
It's created an uncertain situation as so many television shows slowly head back into production amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Cop shows remain one of the most dominant formats on the air today, but how would this new America receive them today?
No one is quite sure, but according to Crews, his show has been taking a hard look at what's going on in the world around them and it's already leading to some pretty drastic changes for the NBC comedy's upcoming eighth season.
The actor shared that the writers have effectively scrapped their entire plan for Season 8, going so far as to trash four completed scripts. In other words, they're rethinking the whole show, what it's about and what it should be saying.
"We've had a lot of somber talks about it and deep conversations and we hope through this we're going to make something that will be truly groundbreaking this year," he shared. "We have an opportunity and we plan to use it in the best way possible."
"We have to start over," he continued. "Right now we don't know which direction it's going to go in."
It's important enough that they realize they can't just ignore what's going on outside their windows in the real world.
Protests are ongoing, showing no signs of abating, and real change is beginning. This isn't just going to die down and everything goes back to normal, because it's that normal that protesters are fighting against.
So what do you do in a fictional world built around cops as heroes? It's a question facing so many shows right now at a time in America where there are calls to defund the police, and major questions rising about their reliance on violence and shooting, as well as the militarization of local police forces.
It's a complicated social issue that doesn't come with easy answers, but it's also a huge cultural moment that must be reflected in the stories that are told about law enforcement. And on television, there are so many of those stories every week, you can guarantee people will be looking to them to see what they have to say.
"This is an opportunity right now for us all to unite and get together and understand what this is and that we have to battle this together," said Crews.