Picks and Pans Review: Cops in Russia
A Russian alcoholic is arrested, taken to a detox center and strapped into a straight-backed chair until he sobers up. That's just one of the unsettling incidents in this special hour-long edition of Cops. The same cinema vérité approach that the show uses in the U.S.—cameras following real cops on the job—is employed to examine the local militia of Moscow and Leningrad. Thanks to glasnost's liberalizing influence, the producers were allowed to spend 16 days filming in the U.S.S.R. with virtually no restrictions on content. The result is often harrowing, as we see a woman suspected of theft taken from her bed in the middle of the night, her eyes trying to adjust to bright camera lights. We witness the arrest of black marketers, motorcycle punks, drug addicts and people who killed relatives during disputes. We also follow two Leningrad detectives, called Starsky and Hutch by the camera crew, on late night rounds.