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story.lead_photo.caption A&E’s Live PD is hosted by Dan Abrams (left) with commentary from Sean “Sticks” Larkin (middle) and Tom Morris Jr.

What else can we watch now that the Olympics are in full swing on NBC? How about real cops in action? Live.

Live PD airs from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday on A&E. You can make an evening of it beginning with Live PD: Rewind at 7 p.m. that features the best moments from past episodes.

A&E repeats that same schedule at 7 p.m. Saturday, with a new episode at 8.

There are two ways to look at a series such as Live PD. It's either an inspirational real-life homage to our dedicated, hard-working law enforcement officers as they venture into harm's way to keep our streets safe, or an exploitation for our entertainment of the disadvantaged dregs of society.

Either way, it's fascinating.

The premise of Live PD takes a show like Cops to the next level. It also opens by disclaiming that all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Unlike Cops, however, most Live PD detainees seem to have their shirts on.

Live PD is moderated in the studio by Dan Abrams, the chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News. Commentary is provided by former Washington special police officer and crime reporter Tom Morris Jr. and guest law enforcement officers.

Abrams acts as ringmaster as he switches viewers among six locations across the country where 12 police units are being covered in real time. With three cameras per unit, at least 36 cameras are being monitored.

The series incorporates dash cams along with fixed and hand-held cameras "to capture the work of a mix of urban and rural police forces on a typical Friday night."

A&E says Live PD continues its "commitment to provocative, culturally relevant programming" by "shining a light on the hot-button issue of policing in America by presenting a transparent look at law enforcement on duty."

Having watched a dozen episodes, I have come to the conclusion that there seems to be an inordinately high percentage of folks driving around without identification or insurance, having just smoked marijuana, with a warrant out for their arrest and crack baggies under the seat.

Judging by the show, America's police are the sweetest, most polite, most professional public servants around. Critics would say that anyone would be polite if there were a couple of cameramen along for the ride.

My favorite segment was when a skittish and shady (but presumed innocent) fellow was pulled over for a busted taillight and then "detained" (handcuffed) for his safety. A search of his vehicle uncovered a crack pipe, $1,500 in large bills, a marijuana scale, a couple of syringes and an open beer container.

"Those aren't mine, officer. I swear to God," the detainee claims. "Hey! Are we on Live PD? Cool!"

At that point, detention morphed into arrest.

How does Live PD get away with showing faces without permission? Because it is considered a live news program, the series is legally allowed to show faces on camera. Nonetheless, there are attorneys on hand in the control room to keep an eye on things. There is also a slight built-in broadcast delay just in case.

In an interview with the entertainment website TheWrap.com , Abrams said, "This isn't a reality show, this is reality.

"What this program does is show in real time what [police] do. Cops was a most-salacious-moments of various police encounters. This is everything. This isn't just a moment, two moments -- this is as it's happening, which I think is just a fundamentally different thing."

Trivia: As you watch the series, note how most officers will lightly touch the left rear of a vehicle as they approach the driver's window. That's so their thumbprints will be on the vehicle just in case things go bad.

Mostly reruns. As long as the Winter Games dominate NBC's prime-time schedule, the other broadcast networks will continue their plans to not waste fresh episodes of popular shows while many viewers are off watching the action in South Korea.

For example, tonight's episode of CBS' The Big Bang Theory first aired Oct. 16. All the CBS shows tonight are encores.

ABC will present the second episode of its filler reality series The Bachelor Winter Games at 7 p.m., and Fox will broadcast reruns of Gotham and 9-1-1.

Supernatural and Arrow are also repeats on The CW.

In Friday's prime-time schedule, ABC will kill the evening by airing the family friendly animated movie Wreck-It Ralph, while CBS will continue with its limited series Celebrity Big Brother.

The CW will air the Season 3 finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend at 7 p.m. Friday.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 02/15/2018

Print Headline: Similar to Cops, but Live PD's 'perps' wear shirts

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