21 Jump Street is the headquarters for a squad of police officers who specialize in investigations relating to young people. Each of the Jump St. personnel was selected for their ability to pass for high school or college students, allowing them to operate undercover in areas where it is difficult for regular police officers to blend in unnoticed. Written by
Marg Baskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Johnny Depp had always been Patrick Hasburgh's first choice to play Tom Hanson but Depp turned the role down. Jeff Yagher was then cast as Hanson and filming for the pilot began. But Fox was unhappy with his performance and halted production after three weeks. Fox wanted Josh Brolin for the role but Hasburgh wanted to offer the role to Depp again. This time Depp accepted the role and Yagher's scenes were re-shot. See more »
Throughout the first season Hansen repeatedly says "tail" when
his mouth obviously says "ass." This was a post-production change in response to network censorship, who thought the word "ass" was inappropriate. See more »
Launching pad for teen stars; one of the better early Fox shows.
This was one of the first Fox hour-long dramas, and Fox definitely wore its heart on its sleeve. Like WB now, Fox wanted to lure in a teenage audience with its good-looking young stars. Luckily for those stars, 21 Jump Street was a rather good vehicle, and stood on its own merits.
Kind of like a Mod Squad for the 80s, the "teens" in 21 Jump Street were cops. Hip cops. They would infiltrate schools, drug rings, gangs, wherever teenagers were in trouble... unlike the Mod Squad, though, the storylines were always passable, and quite often excellent. Almost every episode touched upon subjects that were taboo for the big 3 networks (and still are)- AIDS, statutory rape, drug use, abortion, child abuse- and presented it in a moralistic way, but without being maudlin.
The show kind of faltered in its last few seasons; Johnny Depp was becoming a star, and execs started pushing other "stars" into the spotlight, hoping for cash rewards and spin-offs. Richard Greico was most heavily promoted, to an audience that didn't really care. He became a teen-age heartthrob for a while, but never achieved the momentum to carry his career skyward. With this pushing of the stars, the storylines took a back seat to character preening. The end result was faltering ratings, and cancellation.
Until it became an actors' showcase, though, 21 Jump Street was probably the best drama on TV.
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