Talk about art imitating life imitating art imitating life.

In the 2002 American action-comedy movie Showtime two odd-couple cops are ordered by the LA Police Department to pair up for a reality television police show. Hard-nosed veteran detective Mitch Preston (played in delightfully irascible fashion by the great Robert De Niro) is a distinctly unenthusiastic participant, but his new partner, brash and charismatic rookie Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy), laps up the glamour and attention of his 15 minutes of fame, revelling in his new-found celluloid celebrity. Throughout the film the grisly Preston, who just wants to get his serious police work done, bemoans his flashy partner’s corner-cutting and grandstanding for the cameras, ignoring the all-important grunt work in favour of sexy TV stunts.

It sounds like some of ‘Queensland’s finest’ may be feeling a bit the same way about their colleagues in the high-profile unit Rapid Action and Patrols, more sexily known as the RAP Squad, which stars in Channel Ten’s new reality police show Gold Coast Cops. Rank and file police are complaining the RAP dudes are cherry-picking their jobs to make good television, while they unload more tedious and humdrum police work to other officers. To add insult to injury promotional material for Gold Coast Cops bills the RAPPERS as “one of the most elite task forces in Australia” when in reality (that’s reality reality, not reality television reality), according to their non-TV star colleagues, many of them are comparatively inexperienced but obviously photogenic rookies.

According to one client I represented last year, having been arrested on drug charges and deposited at a local police station for the charges to be processed, he was regaled with complaints by police at the station that the RAPPERS had left them to type up all the necessary paperwork, then photograph, fingerprint and process the accused for court, all tasks usually the domain of the arresting officers, so they could quickly get back “on set.”

That’s Show Business I guess.

Chris Nyst – Gold Coast Lawyer, Novelist and Film Maker