Back in August, word leaked out that Eddie Murphy and Shawn Ryan were shopping a television reboot of Beverly Hills Cop to various networks. Since then, CBS has committed to producing the pilot, and now, Deadline has revealed that the show has found their leading man, and they didn’t give it to “Crocodile” Dundee.
That’s right: Brandon T. Jackson—best known for his turn as the energy drink-swilling, attitude-prone rapper-cum-actor Alpa Chino in Tropic Thunder—has earned the role of Aaron Foley, Axel’s blue-collar son who’s followed the career path of his father but is trying to escape his shadow. Murphy is still tapped to play Axel in the pilot and may recur pending a series pickup.
After the nosedive the franchise took with the third movie and the problematic attempts to reboot Beverly Hills Cop as a film—Brett Ratner was tapped to direct a fourth film a few years back, but script issues most likely deep-sixed it—I think assimilating Cop as a TV show is a decent idea*, and they’ve snagged the best lead possible whose name is not Donald Glover.
If I have any qualms about all of this, it’s the fact that this will not be a cable series. For one, given the persona of Foley in at least the first two films, this is a show destined for AMC or FX, where a higher tolerance for vulgarity and brutality is held. Furthermore, going to CBS might get it lost in the shuffle of the network’s heavy saturation of procedural series, in spite of this one bearing a less serious pedigree. They’re too safe a choice and it firmly guarantees it will feel bowdlerized in some way.
As long as they keep Harold Faltermeyer away from being bastardized by the inexplicable dubstep craze, the heat will certainly be on.
* – This isn’t the first time a Beverly Hills Cop television series has crossed the industry’s mind. After the success of the original, Paramount attempted to develop a series with the intention of having Eddie Murphy reprise his role as Axel Foley. Of course, his fame dictated no interest in returning to television after his stint on Saturday Night Live, and a suitable replacement couldn’t be found. The smoky, crass (but quite entertaining) Beverly Hills Cop II got made instead.