June 02, 2020 at 05:00PM
‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ star Stephanie Beatriz is among the actors raising funds to help pay bail for people put in jail.
op dramas are as American as apple pie. For more than half a century, Hollywood has shaped our collective understanding, and general high opinion, of police work. As an excellent reported series from the Washington Post pointed out in 2016, “police pressure, government regulation and censorship helped mold pop culture’s stories about the police.” As such, it has become the norm that law enforcement is almost always positioned as the heroes in shows such as Law & Order, NYPD Blue, The Shield, and CSI.
And this week, as peaceful protests and violent outbursts spread throughout the nation in response to police brutality and the killing of George Floyd by a law enforcement officer, Vulture‘s Kathryn VanArendonk wrote about the popularity of fictional cops set against this grim context. “TV has long had a police’s-eye perspective that helps shape the way viewers see the world,” she wrote, “prioritizing the victories and struggles of police over communities being policed.”
Many Americans associate police work with the moral high ground and the fictional officers they see in beloved shows like NCIS, Law & Order, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CSI, Chicago PD, Blue Bloods, and going all the way back to Dragnet. Now, some actors who have benefitted from that paradigm, playing law enforcement individuals, are giving their residuals to help free those who have been jailed while protesting.
On Monday night, actor Griffin Newman posted that “I’m an out-of-work actor who (improbably) played a detective on two episodes of BLUE BLOODS almost a decade ago. If you currently play a cop? If you make tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in residuals from playing a cop? I’ll let you do the math.”
He then posted an image of a donation of $11,000 to the Community Justice Exchange and ActBlue Charities. As its mission statement reads on the website:
Every day, community bail & bond funds raise money to free our friends and neighbors from local and county jails as well as immigration jails. This is always urgent work as jails, prisons, and immigration jails have always been sites of violence and death.
In response, a number of other actors who play cops on TV have followed suit. On Tuesday morning, Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Stephanie Beatriz posted the same message and thanked Newman for leading the way.
Behind-the-scenes names are getting involved as well. Céline Robinson, who has written for Law & Order: SVU posted that she was also donating.
Other Twitter users have also called upon more TV cops to join in on the movement. If you are also looking for ways to support the protests, we’ve compiled a list of how to contribute no matter where you are.