I have a confession: I am obsessed with Cops. The granddaddy of all reality, now in its 24th season, has regaled us with countless moments of redneck domestic disputes, johns discovering that their prostitutes were actually dudes and the savant ability of myriad Cops cameramen to pull in when a perp is wearing an ironic t-shirt. Heretofore, my favorite moment was when an undercover cop dressed as a clown and solicited hookers.
But Cops arrested my heart again for the first time when I was lucky enough to see the latest and—dare I say—best episode in the history of ever which featured a near-Hitchcockian story of a wife taking out a hit on her own husband (Warning: Spoilers follow).
Our story begins in Florida, where all the best episodes that aren’t in Vegas or Portland occur. A sweet-looking, young woman can be seen via hidden camera demurely taking out a hit on her husband with a man who, unbeknownst to her, is an undercover cop. She negotiates a bargain price of $7,000, because in these troubled times, we even have to be thrifty in our homicide plots, but she haggles with such a casual aplomb like she’s ordering a lower back tattoo she no doubt has. The hit is agreed to take place the next morning while she’s at the gym. And, with that, the Good Wife heads out to an evil mani-pedi.
Since the cops are onto this criminal mastermind, as they’re watching this footage back at the station, they rush to warn the unsuspecting husband at the exact time his boo is at her cardio alibi and he is supposed to be wacked. The husband reacts exactly how I would (and have) reacted in this situation: I don’t want to hear about any planned assassination attempts on me until I have some coffee, but the cops convince him to come with them to the station so they can pull off the next stage of the sting.
The cops lure the wife to the house with a call to her cell. They fear that she won’t respond, but she does! We’ve entered the third act of this theatre macabre and I am at the edge of my seat. The hopeful Black Widow pulls up to an extensive crime scene looking like she was just released from the School for Wayward Kardashians. The cop in charge tells her that her husband has been killed, and I hope that prisons have drama programs because this woman deserves a freaking Oscar for the way she reacts to this news. The shaking, the wailing. She needs to see him one last time, but Honey Badger don’t care, and the cops take her back to the station to see who might want to kill her husband.
Back at the station, the detective inquires if anyone had motive for the murder but these are just the final steps of this wonderful dance leading up to the moment for which this detective probably joined the force. After hearing her lies, Detective Awesome declares, “The game is over!” They have her on tape soliciting the first degree murder of her husband and she’s going to go away for a long time. Check and Mate. Is it weird that I felt like that was my Woodstock? But it gets better.
After they cuff the wife, they open the door and reveal that her husband is still alive. She demands he approach her, like she did all this to teach him a lesson for always leaving the toilet seat up and it was time to kiss and make up, but her husband refuses and only says to her, “I can’t fix this,” which is no “Consider that a divorce,” but satisfying, nonetheless. With that, she is led off to a holding cell to think about what she’s done…for twenty years.
And now we’ve reached the portion of Cops where we are supposed to divine some sort of message. Usually that message is pretty clear: don’t troll for hookers; don’t bring a gun with you to get your neighbor’s dog to shut up; don’t complain to a cop that your dealer sold you plaster instead of crack (these are all actual messages from other episodes). Given that this episode dealt with betrayal, I think we’ve learned that we should live every day like our wife’s attempt to have us rubbed out was thwarted by the Fox Network… and Cops!
Do you have a favorite episode of Cops? Leave it in the comments!