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Actors Playing Cops Arrest Suspect In Unscripted Bust

Wed., Oct. 9, 1996

Richard Belzer and Clark Johnson aren’t real Baltimore cops, they just play them on TV.

But the two cast members of “Homicide: Life on the Street” got a taste of real street life Monday when a man suspected of shoplifting at a pharmacy crashed the set during a rehearsal of an arrest scene and surrendered to them.

“Oh, no,” the man was heard to say as he dropped what he was carrying - about $100 worth of Polaroid film, police said. He then raised his hands and stood there.

The “officers,” with guns drawn, were standing over an actor portraying a murder suspect and lying spread-eagled on the concrete pavement of Lovegrove St. They looked at each other with that “Now what do I do?” look on their faces.

The “officers” were all actors.

The intruder had surrendered to a bunch of performers, none of whom was prepared or willing to arrest the man, who continued standing in their midst.

“The Screen Actors Guild bylaws says I don’t have to arrest anyone,” quipped Belzer, who portrays Detective John Munch.

“If he’s convicted,” said Johnson, who plays Detective Meldrick Lewis, “the judge should drop the theft charge and send him away for being stupid.”


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