Freeze! – ‘Police Squad!’ Epilogues – Robert Miller


Harries describes Parody as a ‘discursive mode’ that employs a ‘range of ironic, disrupting techniques in order to agitate established convention. He continues to iterate that ‘textual form’ is ‘deformed’ by parody’ through a ‘process of ‘defamiliarization’. (Harries 2000)

‘Police Squad!’ (1982) attempts to make the familiar, unfamiliar by subverting a popular 80’s TV trope – the freeze-frame ending. ‘Police Squad!’ does in fact parody the detective genre in general by exploiting a number of the tropes and conventions within however, I chose the show’s ‘epilogue’ endings because they are amazing.

Although most likely everyone is fairly familiar with the freeze-frame, I have included a link to a wholesome classic TV freeze-frame compilation along side the ‘Police Squad’ epilogues for contrast.


And the ‘Police Squad!’ epilogue compilation:



The freeze-frame is a versatile technique and depending on its use it can be suspenseful and ambiguous – like the Rocky III double punch or conclusive like the rocky IV ‘I’ve achieved the thing and its over face close up’ however, the trope has been overused, tacky and ripe for the picking. ‘Police Squad!’ recognises the established trope and as Harries states uses a range of ‘disrupting techniques in order to agitate (the) established convention’.[1]

The disruption in this case comes from the fact that something is always left unfrozen, this in turn disrupts the convention. For example, we see in one of the epilogues that the freeze frame occurs whilst Hocken is pouring Drebin a coffee from the office pot. Although the characters freeze, the coffee endures and eventually overflows on to the floor and all over Drebin’s hand; and continuing for an uncomfortable amount of time. Furthermore, we can see Drebin’s face become increasingly uncomfortable due to the boiling beverage engulfing his grabber. The ‘Police Squad!’ epilogues are an interesting example of a convention ‘deformed by parody’ through a ‘process of defamiliarization’.[2]





Dan Harries (2000), ‘Part 1: Mapping film parody’, Film Parody, London: BFI, 1-39.

[1] Dan Harries (2000), ‘Part 1: Mapping film parody’, Film Parody, London: BFI P4

[2] Ibid

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