CBS Television Studios has signed a deal with a law enforcement advisory group to consult on its extensive roster of crime and legal dramas.
The studio has inked an exclusive agreement with 21CP Solutions, which works with cities and communities to design and implement public safety initiatives and reforms. The group advising CBS TV Studios will be led by former Obama administration official Ronald Davis and will include former law enforcement officials, civil rights scholars, lawyers, academics and community thought leaders in police reform.
The deal comes as the industry rethinks its relationship to law enforcement in the wake of nationwide social justice protests and examines the way police and prosecutors are portrayed on TV. CBS Studios produces 11 crime or legal dramas, including the NCIS franchise, Blue Bloods and The Good Fight.
“Police and legal series have been a mainstay of the Studio’s roster and the Network’s schedule for decades,” said CBS TV Studios president David Stapf. “We have an opportunity to build on that successful foundation going forward, and having the insightful and highly respected advisors from 21CP Solutions at our disposal is a valuable resource to our creative process.”
Added Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, executive vp diversity and inclusion at ViacomCBS, “Providing our writing staffs with the best and most knowledgeable technical advisers offers more inclusivity and perspective. With deeper and richer narratives, our shows can convey experiences that are more authentic to the communities they depict.”
Davis headed the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services from 2013-17 and led a task force on 21st century policing during the Obama administration. Additional 21CP advisors working with CBS Studios are Laurie Robinson, a professor at George Mason University and former assistant attorney general under Obama and Bill Clinton; legal scholar Matthew Barge; former Tucson, Arizona, police chief Roberto Villaseñor; former United Nations official Anette Sikka; and Brian Maxey, an attorney and former COO of the Seattle Police Department.
“I applaud CBS Studios for recognizing the impact its police and legal series have on the relationship between police and the communities they serve and on public perceptions on law enforcement, crime and race,” said Davis. “The CBS and 21CP Solutions partnership is a first-of-its-kind effort that will provide CBS and its writers with technical advice, based on the historical and current truths and realities of policing, as well as contemporary efforts to transform policing and reimagine public safety.”
R. Scott Gemmill, executive producer and showrunner of NCIS: Los Angeles, said he’s “very excited” to work with the 21CP team. “Having an audience of millions of viewers each week comes with a great deal of responsibility. This new partnership will help us ensure that our storytelling continues to produce accurate portrayals of law enforcement, and will hopefully allow us to play a small part in the ongoing reform moving forward.”