4 May 2004 | Verbal-17
Excellent show that never got a chance
Traps was an excellent cop drama that, like so many other intelligent, well-written shows, was cancelled by its timid network before it ever got a chance to make an impression with viewers. And that's a shame, because after seeing the first few episodes, I for one was hooked by the compelling acting and impressive writing displayed on screen.
The plot: after a highly-decorated detective is killed in the line of duty, his twentysomething son Chris (Dan Cortese, currently seen in Rock Me Baby), also a cop, must carry on with his life while dealing with the professional pressures of inevitably having to measure up to his great father. He is aided in this by his father's former partner (Bill Nunn) and his grandfather Joe (the late great George C. Scott), who is a retired cop that is nevertheless doggedly investigating some of the cases that he never solved during his career (there is a touching scene where he calls the mother of a murder victim to let her know that he still hasn't given up; this scene makes it very clear how much police work means to Joe).
What really made this show stand out was that it fully developed its characters and took the time to explore the greater meaning of what being a cop was (unlike most cop shows, which simply give you your daily fix of mystery and thrills, and nothing more). In the pilot episode, for example, Chris must deal with a corrupt cop in his own department, while most other cops simply want to look the other way. This is a standard plot line for a show like this, but the episode ends not with a cliche shoot-out scene, but instead with a moving speech by Scott's character about how the then-recent scandals (Darryl Gates, Rodney King etc.) had soiled the reputation of policemen throughout this country.
If this show had been allowed to build an audience, it might have been another NYPD Blue. As is, it exists merely as a reminder to those few who had a chance to see it of what it could have been.