Good Cop: I'm the scriptwriter

Wednesday 29 August 2012, 15:02

Stephen Butchard Stephen Butchard

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Good Cop, in short, is a police show that I wanted to try and make that little bit different - a police show in which I wanted to concentrate on the individual, the man, rather than the rules.

Recently police dramas, both home-grown and imported, have been mostly dominated by forensics and procedure - with the help of science, analysis, questions and answers we have watched our police teams solve puzzles - and very entertaining it is too!

But with aspirations to put something fresh and hopefully new up on our TV screen John Paul Rocksavage became a beat cop.

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Trailer: 'What are you Rocksavage? A witness? A weakness? A suspect?'

Sav is a copper at the sharp end.

He knocks on a door and has no concrete idea of what lies behind it.

Events unfold in the moment and Sav has to react and find the correct response to anything and everything before he and his colleagues are called to the next crisis, the next 999.

Everything is in the moment, everything is loaded with the emotions and dangers of the moment - it's the very stuff of drama (theoretically).

But for me this was only half the story.

Yes, he's a policeman and yes, we go to work with him but the drama had to be about what is happening in his life as a whole - the drama had to be about how his work life could impact upon his private life.

Sav's mindset was also important. He HAD to be a good man, he IS a good man, a Good Cop.

Doing the right thing is important for a reason and that reason is the people he loves or has loved.

He would never want to let them down - they are to be protected.

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Waitress Amy is intimidated by Noel Finch

Although I wanted to keep the drama character-driven I couldn't ignore that the bulk of the characters were policemen and women so I made sure I went to the police themselves, a pure source for research.

At the beginning of each police shift there is an all-inclusive meeting where ongoing jobs and relevant topics and events that might affect the shift are discussed - this is called a parade.

I sat in on a few non-sensitive shift parades and briefings and sat across the table from several constables, sergeants, inspectors, one chief inspector and one assistant chief constable - all of them good cops.

Meeting them, talking to them, seeing them as people, hearing about the work they do and how they feel about it was both vital and inspirational.

Sitting in on the parades made me realise that although certain tasks were laid out these people really didn't know what the day would have in store for them - literally anything could happen and they would deal with it, willingly.

MINOR SPOILER ALERT!!

In episode one, we meet John Paul Rocksavage on the day of his very own perfect storm.

A day that begins on the beach with him meeting his ex-girlfriend Cassie - and ends, shall we say, in tragic circumstances... but the storm hasn't finished with him yet, not by a long way.

Warren Brown as John Paul Rocksavage on set

Warren Brown as John Paul Rocksavage on set

The main series story arc is dictated by the repercussions of the tragedy and how events conspire against Sav to change the whole of his life.

Sav spends the rest of the series trying to press the reset button - all he wants is for things to return to normal... but of course that's impossible.

The challenge through the series was to make events as hair-raising and dramatic as possible but ALWAYS to maintain the plausibility and truthfulness of the characters.

Stephen Butchard is the writer of Good Cop.

Good Cop is on Thursday, 30 August at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

UPDATE: Episode four of Good Cop will be on BBC One on Saturday, 13 October at 10.30pm. In light of news events, BBC One had postponed the final episode originally due to transmit at 9pm on Thursday, 20 September.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Great episode. Tense, dramatic yet low key. Excellent performances, good writing, effective direction.

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    Comment number 2.

    Gripping drama. Wonderfully acted. Now I need to find the music played at the end.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    Fantastic BBC drama superbly written with outstanding characters ... Already hooked after episode 1 !!!! Well done to all involved !

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    At last, a good, meaty British drama! Great first episode; hope the series lives up to expectations...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    Really enjoyed the first episode. Love a good British crime drama!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    Really enjoyed this gritty British drama last night. On the edge of my seat - made me want to hang those bad guys! I had difficulty believing it was drama - felt so real. Such convincing performances Hope the next episodes live up to expectations. Great roles for Stephen Graham and Warren Brown - excellent

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Superb gripping story line, authentic terminology, FLO Family Liaison Officer, fantastic believable characters. Can't wait for the next episode,thank you BBC

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    Comment number 8.

    So while you guys were watching Good Cop last night Latimer Creative Media were excited to be playing host to John Paul Rocksavage (a.k.a Warren Brown). At Latimer we work to co-create media content with young people and give them a leg up into the industry. Warren came down to talk to our young people about how he made it as an actor and proved to be a massive hit. To find out more about Latimer and our monthly talks program [Personal details removed by Moderator] visit our website www.latimercreativemedia.com

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    Didn't like it. It was lit badly, camera work was wobbly and the plot was nonsense. It is just another crime drama following in the wake of other dramas thought to be trendy.

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    Comment number 10.

    Fantastic. Really enjoyed this. Let's hope after the fourth episode, we get a series out of it. Always love seeing Liverpool on the telly - such a beautiful, photogenic city. @Jilly88888 - the music was 'Pump it Up' by Elvis Costello And The Attractions ;)

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    Has potential, but let down by unbelievable sequences. I thought it very unlikely that the Police could'nt spare an officer to guard the house overnight, especially if the victim died it would be a murder site. And of course, finding a gun under the floorboards was very serendipitous. All because a floorboard creaked. I must have quite a lot stashed away under my floor if every creaking floorboard has something under it. Why would one of the attackers return to the scene of the crime so soon when there would be every chance that the house would be under surveillance, as it would probably have been in real life?

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    I agree 100% with geriatricpete, however, I'll go a step further and confirm that there is absolutely no way that a scene guard wouldn't be in place at the 'squat' or for there to be at least 2 full time officers assigned to protect the scene with complete line of sight cover. This ensures that nobody goes in or out without having their details recorded, which effectively renders this entire piece implausible. I accept that what we have here appears, on the face of it, to be good 'drama', but sensationalising the brutal attack on a police officer and then compounding it with a vigilante police officer intent on revenge adds up to little more than popcorn TV. Certain parts were believable but trust me when I say that after the death of the child in the opening sequence this officer would have spent the rest of his shift filling in paperwork, not having web chats in his patrol car, cups of tea and bacon sarnies!! Nice attempt at tapping into 'the service' but woefully misinformed or lazily researched.

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    Comment number 14.

    Very gripping new police drama, very explicit in filming but I am really appreciating the police view and the level of crime and the criminals they deal with on a daily business because let's be honest it's a tough job which pshycologically taps into your beliefs and ethical standards. Very real, very real.

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    Comment number 15.

    Love the new drama line-up but would still love to see a second series of Zen!!!

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    Comment number 16.

    only decent thing on bbc for a very long time, fantastic script and casting fab too. Warren Brown you are an absolute star, fantastic as were all the cast.Sometimes you wonder what you pay a t.v license for, well if good cop is the only decent drama to come from the beeb this year then for once i can say my t.v license was worth the money just to watch good cop. Please make series 2 xx

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    The music at the end is by Tricky but i cant find it anywhere its called Why Armies if anyone manages to get it please pass on where from cheersx

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    Comment number 18.

    No, the music at the beginning is TRICKY and "armies", the music at the end was Pump It Up by Elvis Costello.

    Really great drama. About time BBC1 delivered something edgy.

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    Comment number 19.

    acted brilliantly
    researched well

  • rate this
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    Comment number 20.

    Love it . Fantastic drama , can't wait until the next episode !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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