Emily Clark

TV Series Review

On the surface, Ronnie Pike and Aaron Bishop are pretty similar. They’re cool, smart and tough. They rib each other while also supporting one another, and their friendship is seemingly bulletproof.

But they’re also both cops. And putting their lives on the line every day as they chase down the hardened criminals of London’s East End can chip away at that fraternal bond, showing just how different they really are.

Pike is a family man who grew up in a comfortable middle-class home as the son of a decorated former police officer. Bishop wasn’t so lucky. He grew up without a dad, stuck in the foster system until he was old enough to strike out on his own.

But those differences, though they might strain their friendship, never break it. They’re there for each other, building each other up and willing to take a bullet.

Odd Cop-ple

Bulletproof originated in Britain and was created by Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters (the show’s stars). In an interview with Deadline Hollywood, they said they were inspired by Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys, saying that “the humor and funny moments come from the relationships between the characters.”

While the show isn’t exactly a laugh-out-loud comedy, Pike and Bishop do exhibit that strained brotherly bond that buddy-cop stories work. It can get quite messy, though. Working for the police often requires the officers to exchange fire with the baddies they’re chasing, so viewers see quite a bit of bloodshed. And sometimes upholding the law pushes them to their emotional limits. For instance, Bishop accidentally shoots a fellow cop in the first season after the man gets caught in crossfire, and Pike is often caught between the love he has for his job and the love he has for his family.

Although Pike and Bishop refrain from drug use personally, some of the criminals they chase are drug dealers, and we often see the results of that drug use played out on screen. People also smoke and drink. Profanity is an issue, but American viewers can be gratified that when the show was imported from its native Britain to The CW, it didn’t bring along the f- and s-words that were frequently used across the pond. (We still hear plenty of substitutes, though, including  “flipping” and “frickin’”, along with other, milder profanities.) Casual sex and near-nudity also pop up (we never see anything significant on screen, but Pike and his wife enjoy taking baths together).

The fraternal bond between Bishop and Pike is bulletproof, but watching the show requires a mental bulletproof vest.

Episode Reviews

Mar. 22, 2021: “South Africa: Part 2”

After getting caught up in a kidnapping case while on vacation in South Africa, Pike and Bishop are arrested as suspects.

A little girl is blindfolded and chained to a wall. We hear that statements taken from a domestic disturbance report don’t match, indicating that the husband abused the wife and dislocated her shoulder.

Gunfire is exchanged between police and kidnappers. A corrupt cop shoots his fellow criminals and plants evidence to hide his guilt.

In jail, a man sexually propositions Pike, so Pike headbutts him, causing the man to bleed. Later, the guy gets his friends to beat up a guard so that he can stab Pike with a makeshift knife. Pike fights back, and Bishop saves him by hitting the attacker with a chair before guards rush in with guns to stop the fight. Both men get into fistfights elsewhere throughout the episode.

Bishop has Pike purposely cut him in prison so he will be sent to the infirmary where one of the kidnappers is recovering from a gunshot wound. He presses on the man’s wound to torture him for information. Bishop uses a grenade as a threat but blows up an empty car with it at the last second. Someone says their life insurance policy won’t kick in if they kill themselves.

Some women drink wine. A man drinks liquor. Someone vapes. A woman hugs and kisses her shirtless husband. A woman wears an off-the-shoulder dress. We see a person with a zebra-skin rug. A man speeds through traffic.

March 20, 2020: “Episode 2.1”

Pike and Bishop go undercover to stop a drug lord from introducing a new, deadly drug onto the streets of London.

Bishop shoots two men in the feet after they threaten him with knives. While undercover, Bishop knocks one cop unconscious while punching another in the nose, causing him to bleed. Someone gets hit in the head with a brick. A man uses a blowtorch to burn another man’s neck. Several criminals on motorbikes crash after getting hit by police cars chasing them, and a few cycle-riding criminals are even tackled by officers on foot. A woman pushes her knee into a man’s groin. A man is slapped twice. Police officers draw guns on a group of criminals.

A woman dies in the hospital after allegedly overdosing on drugs. The owner of a barbershop with a busted window says his shop was robbed because people are desperate for drug money. People drink and smoke in bars. A cop steals money from a drug bust to pay for her father’s medical care.

A couple lays in a bathtub together (nothing critical is seen). A man kisses another man to mock him. A woman sits in a man’s lap. Someone jokes about male genitalia. Bishop tells Pike to ground his daughter after she is rude to him.

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

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