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Posted about 8 years ago
Written by Mark Nichols
Why should local law enforcement officers get all the glory when it comes to reality television? Well, fear not Drug Enforcement Agency, Al Roker, (yeah, you read that right – Al Roker) is producing a new reality televsion series featuring the DEA in the Motor City. “DEA” is an original Spike TV series that follows U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in metro Detroit. The project, made up of six one-hour episodes, was filmed last summer.
While federal law enforcement entities are generally pretty camera shy, this marks the first time a federal law enforcement agency has let cameras follow its agents while they work.
Spike TV was given “extraordinary” access to Group 14, a metro-Detroit-based task force made up of DEA special agents and officers from police departments in southeast Michigan.
The task force works cases from street-level dealers to international drug traffickers. The first episode focuses on a two-day period and shows the task force busting a low-level drug dealer in Detroit and conducting negotiations that led to another drug dealer by using a criminal informant.
During the filming of the episodes, producers said drug agents seized more than 500 pounds of marijuana, more than three pounds of cocaine, 8,000 ecstasy pills and 35 guns.
“I think the difference between us and general cop shows is that it goes into relationships between agents when we’re not on the streets,” Justin Mohr, one of the special agents featured in the show, told the Detroit Free Press. “I think they did a good job of capturing how we work as a group.”
Local officers from Troy and Redford Township are featured in the show’s first episode. While lots of cops wince at the idea of gang members and drug fiends tuning in to the program for reasons of “counter-intelligence,” the producers and stars of the show say that won’t happen.
“I don’t think we’re revealing anything to them that they don’t already know,.” Mohr told the Free Press. But it still took two years of negotiating with the DEA before filming was given the go-ahead. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the show is its producer. “DEA” is produced by Al Roker Productions Inc. and Size 12 Productions.
“This is a departure for us,” Roker said. “I’m very proud of the program. It’s not what viewers are going to expect.” If the network decides to produce more episodes, Roker said he would love to continue in Detroit. It seems he’s taken a liking to Lile’s Ham Sandwich Shop in nearby Dearborn.