May 6, 2013 at 2:24 PM ET
Bad boys, what you gonna do? You better keep running -- the classic law-enforcement reality show "Cops" will carry on for a 26th season this fall, although it will move from its longtime home on Fox to Spike TV.
If you've seen one "Cops," you've got the plot down. This is no "Lost," with complicated plotlines that throw loyal viewers for loops. It's straightforward as a Miranda warning: Cops chase bad guys. Cops catch bad guys. Bad guys are often naked, high, lying, rock-stupid, or all of the above.
Here are six reasons we love the show still.
That theme song
Most shows today are too cool for theme songs that tell what's going on, but not "Cops." Reggae band Inner Circle rocks out with a super-catchy warning to the criminals we're about to see, "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do, when they come for you?" Whatcha gonna do? They're gonna get busted and go to jail, is what they're gonna do, and we're gonna watch.
The cops themselves
From Los Angeles to Louisiana, the show took us inside the world of law enforcement in a most un-Hollywood-like way. This was no "Adam-12" or "Dragnet," with glamorous stars out on high-profile cases. These cops were regular men and women, sometimes jokey, sometimes serious, sometimes befuddled by the bizarre criminals that crossed their paths. Their work veered from dull paperwork to life-endangering chases, and for many of us, this was the first honest glimpse we'd ever had inside daily police work.
The racing camera operators
Operating a camera on some reality shows looks kind of simple. Not so on "Cops." Here the cameramen and women book out after a running perp just the same way the officers do, racing through weeded lots, darting around dark corners, and often panting with the exertion -- all while hauling a hefty, expensive camera while they do so.
The sheer amount of nudity
"Cops" editors have to reach for the pixelator almost as much as their comrades on "Survivor." We just had no idea so many people liked to drive naked until we tuned in to a few regular episodes of this show. Makes you have sympathy for those folks working late-night drive-thru windows.
The dumb criminals
Let's face it, the ordinary run-of-the-mill DUIs and robberies are interesting, but it's the wackos that bring us in. The guy who robbed a fast-food restaurant and tried to escape wearing those sneakers that light up. The drug users who try to eat whole bags of evidence. People who think they can outrun a police helicopter. And folks who deny, deny, deny, even as their breathalyzer's lighting up like a carnival ride or cocaine is falling out of their pants. We may not be geniuses, but we're Einsteins next to these fools.
Hoping to see your city onscreen
It's not exactly a point of pride, but it's sure interesting when "Cops" heads to your own hometown to film an episode. Hey, you always thought that intersection was seedy! You've eaten at that burger joint that got robbed! And doesn't that guy in handcuffs look a little like ... Cousin Jim, is that you?