What is better than a cop show filled with action and crime-fighting? A team that is made up of handsome young officers who pretend to be teenagers in high school and students in college taking down bad guys. The show was a massive hit with teenage girls in the late ’80s for obvious reasons.
It also helped boost Johnny Depp’s career when he wasn’t yet Edward Scissorhands. Remember, back then, the whole cast that made up the cop crew were faces not known to anybody. But the diversity and uniqueness of each character created a successful dynamic.
Where is the Original Cast Now?
The original show premiered on April 12th, 1987, and took the hearts of audiences, especially young girls, by storm. The stars, including the now legendary Johnny Depp, have gone on to enjoy incredible careers. I mean, who hasn’t heard of Captain Jack Sparrow?
The show launched the careers of many of the other actors who starred as part of the teenage-looking police officer crew. It also highly contributed, along with a few other shows, to the revival of the Fox network. Let’s find out where they are and what they are up to these days.
Depp was a heartthrob to teenage girls all around the world. Who could blame them? If he’s a hunk now, he must have been an even bigger one when he was young. On the show, Depp played officer Tom Hanson. Today, Depp is internationally recognized for the billion-dollar franchise, The Pirates of the Caribbean.
He and Tim Burton have teamed up for the years to create some of the most lucrative films, including Edward Scissorhands and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also did a bit in the remake of 21 Jump Street, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.
Depp Was Accused of Domestic Abuse
Depp’s ex-wife accused him of sexual abuse in 2016, turning his personal life upside down. She also issued a restraining order against the actor due to domestic violence. Paparazzi flooded her when she left the court building with what appeared to look like a mark on her cheek.
After the domestic violence case, many claimed his career would be over. He did have a bit of a downward faze. He starred in the Harry Potter-inspired “Fantastic Beast” series as Gellert Grindelwald. However, once the details became public, Warner Brothers were forced to let him go.
Fans are Still Loyal to Him
His acting career and reputation were certainly hit, but it wasn’t totally over for Depp. Fans have rounded their support through the hashtag #JusticeforJohnnyDepp, and Dior didn’t cancel their campaign with him for their aftershave, Savage.
Depp also humbly thanked fans for their support, calling them “Soldiers.” A photo was snapped of Depp blowing a kiss, blessing their loyalty. Amidst the complicated lawsuit, his movie, Minamata, had not yet been released. The director of the movie said that MGM was “burying” the movie because of Depp’s personal life and scandal put out on display for the public.
Holly Robinson Peete
Peete, who played Sergeant Judy Hoffs, was credited with being “the smart cop.” She made an impact on the show by portraying the prejudices against a young, black, female police officer. Since then, she has appeared in “For Your Love,” “The Celebrity Apprentice,” as well as other acting performances.
She also ended up marrying NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and having four kids. Like Depp, she also appeared in the latest 21 Jump Street movie as her original character, officer Judy Hoffs. Holly has been recognized for being a family woman raising all her boys, with one who was diagnosed with autism as a child.
Taking on Reality TV
She also went on to write a children’s book with her daughter called “My Brother Charlie,” which aims to bring about awareness of growing up with an autistic sibling. The book won an NAACP award and received other recognitions.
It doesn’t look like she was afraid to put her family out on display as she starred in “Meet the Peetes,” a reality TV show that aired on Hallmark. The show highlights the careers of Holly and her husband while taking on their busy schedules and managing a family.
Nguyen originally played Vietnamese refugee turned Officer Harry Truman Ioki. His role on 21 Jump Street was ironic, considering it was a major foundation for inclusion in Hollywood and got rid of the stereotypes that came with being an Asian on television, like being sexually inexperienced or geeky.
Since being on the original series, Nguyen has taken on several roles on TV, including “V.I.P,” before going back to Vietnam to produce his own projects via Dreamscape DBS, a production company that he and his wife launched.
Reflecting on His Career as an Asian American
Then came along the opportunity to play Zing on Warrior. He did not think twice and agreed to take on the role. Let’s not forget, like his fellow cast members, he also took part in the most recent 21 Jump Street.
When asked about his career as an Asian American on a major series, he responded, “I wasn’t aware of that impact and a certain responsibility in terms of representation. I think it’s not until after I left the show and started traveling around that I realized it”.
When Richard was cast as Detective Dennis Booker, he was a former model. He also went on to play “Booker” on a spinoff of 21 Jump Street. He remembered that period in his life, saying, “I went from anonymity to everyone knowing about in about two weeks.”
He was so popular for his looks and demeanor that he didn’t go up against anybody for playing the hero on If Looks Could Kill. This was his first feature film which cast him as a Mobster with famous names such as Patrick Dempsey.
He Wasn’t Really Up for the Lifestyle
Grieco reflected on how he didn’t take many acting roles even though he was offered them throughout the years. There were great opportunities, but he doesn’t regret not taking any on. He did launch a career as a painter and sold his first piece in 2009.
He recalled, “It kind of took off, and I just painted for four years straight.” He made a few cameo appearances like Roxbury and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Even though it has been difficult with the pandemic, he has gotten back into producing and directing.
Managing the team was Captain Adam Fuller, played by Steven Williams. He also played Jefferson Burnett on the Equalizer and took a role in LA Heat. He appeared numerous times on the science fiction show The X-Files.
Over the years, he has appeared on a long list of movies, including 3 Musketeers, Last Curtain Call, Jack the Giant Slayer, and Birds of Prey. It seems like after his time on the original series, he developed his acting career and expanded into the world of television.
Now an Oscar-nominated actor for his role in The Rose, Frederick occasionally appeared in some of the first episodes as Captain Richard Jenko. It has been rumored that Frederick’s role in the show is what convinced Johnny Depp to join the cast.
He spent just about 40 years acting until retiring in 2006. His career also led to a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer for When the Legends Die. He is most remembered for his roles that earned him nominations, as well as playing Chef in Apocalypse Now.
Being remembered for his signature move of pressing his face against the glass and making a “puffer face” is what earned him the role of Sal “Blowfish” Banducci in 21 Jump Street. His acting career didn’t last as long as some of the previous cast members, with his last movie, “Living Out Loud,” coming out in 1998.
He was recognized for his comedic contribution to the show, but that didn’t carry out to other roles. He did go on to run his own business called Living the Dream Unlimited, a Los Angeles-based event-planning company.
His role as Officer Dough Penhall on 21 Jump Street was one of his first. He got the chance to work with his brother, who played Officer Joey Penhall in the fifth season. The highlight of his career was becoming a director and screenwriter as opposed to staying on the acting path.
He is noted for working on the Stargate Franchise. He married within the industry, first with actress Gina Nemo, after which they got divorced, and then he remarried Annie Marie Loder. Like his original co-stars, he appeared in the remake of the original series.
Younger brother to actor Peter DeLuise in real life, Michael played his little brother in the show, Officer Joey Penhall. His more notable role was taken on later in his career as T.J from “Gilmore Girls.” It seems like for him, he enjoyed working with the family as he starred alongside his father in Hot Stuff (1979).
He continued to work with his older brother on SeaQuest DSV. Other guest appearances included CSI: NY, Lost, and Stargate SG-1. He also played Alan in Wayne’s World as part of Wayne’s circle of friends.
Bendetti wasn’t an OG of the show; rather, he only appeared in the last season as Officer “Mac” McCann. He did take on a few small parts in the ’90s, but his acting career didn’t last. He basically just disappeared with his last appearance on Amanda and the Alien.
He has decided to gear his energy into the world of business. Due to his experience in acting, he realized the importance of actors’ trailers and turned it into a massive venture where some come with Italian tiled bathrooms.
The Most Successful Show on Fox
When you think of police officers, you don’t really imagine them being this group of baby-faced guys whose photos are hung in every teenage girl’s locker. The director chose just that and in turn made a bunch of nobodies into stars.
It seemed like Depp, on top of being the handsome lead, was happy to take part in a show that tackled difficult issues such as drug abuse, abortion, and homelessness. “If somebody can get something out of it, can learn something… that’s great.” He reflected on how the character went from being innocent to an experienced officer.
A Classic TV Series Turns Into an R-rated Movie
The original series ran for five seasons that revolved around a group of “not-bad” looking officers. In 2008, rumors spread that the series was being revamped into a movie and that Superbad star Jonah Hill was going to be an executive producer on the film.
Initially, excitement wasn’t all the rage surrounding the remake as Jonah Hill was known for his comedic appeal as opposed to the serious issues tackled on the original show. During the making, Hill said, “We’re approaching it from an original standpoint; I’ll tell you that much.”
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum – The Perfect Duo
No one could miss Tatum’s and Hill’s bromance on set. In their commentary on the movie, Tatum jokingly remarked that some of the scenes were shot while the pair were drunk or hungover. The party scene at Schmidt’s house didn’t demand too much drunk acting as it was all too real.
Dave Franco, who played Eric, punched Hill’s character Schmidt in the chest to sober the actor up in real life. It couldn’t be that hard for the recognized names to act drunk, but they decided to make it easier on themselves, literally.
Similarity to the Original Series
Unlike Channing Tatum, who clearly looked lost in the high school hall due to his age, Hill fit right in. Like the TV series from the ’80s where the officers looked like teens, Hill mastered the part with bleach blond hair and braces.
He also reflected that his character resembled his real self as a high school kid mimicking Eminem. Most people would probably want to forget what they looked like in high school, but considering Hill is an actor and the pictures were exposed, he embraced it.
Tatum Had to Jump Over a Many Times
Remember when Jenko and Schmidt are dodging the cops on the freeway? Schmidt took on the high school character with real force as he dressed up as Peter Pan, which was hilarious to see while running. Jenko, on the other hand, looked super cool jumping over cars.
Not to mention his incredible ability to slip and slide on vehicles and such. In reality, it wasn’t as easy as it looked for Tatum. Not only did it take several attempts for Tatum to complete the jump, but he also hurt himself in the process.
Depp Laid out Some Conditions to Appear in the Movie
It was so fun to see so many of the original characters appear in the new movie. However, none of the actors were as well-known as superstar Johnny Depp. Depp wasn’t going to surface the set that quickly.
He only agreed to make an appearance if his original co-star Peter DeLuise would play in the movie as well. He also demanded that his character would meet his fate. Both requests were rejected by Sony Pictures without any problem, and the two characters bid farewell.
Classic Johnny Depp
Everyone knows that Depp has the incredible ability to play hilariously questionable characters. The same goes for the small role in 21 Jump Street – the movie. You may have noticed that his character couldn’t stop eating peanut butter throughout the movie.
The request was completely okayed by the directors, who even added a peanut butter tattoo to his character. The obsession for peanut butter was also something Depp wanted to show on the original series but was denied. At least in the 2012 movie, he got to live out his dream.
The Nerd Becomes the Cool Kid
Stereotypically the jock is the cool one in school while the nerd is the one getting picked on. For the movie, however, the moviemakers decided to flip this customary portrayal upside down. Due to his lack of popularity, Jenko ends up throwing ninja stars with the school’s rejects.
The final scene showed one of the ninja stars’ pictures getting a smack in the middle of the face. It was so precise that it almost looked professional. But, Tatum enjoyed the attempts and ended up hitting the target in about three tries.
The Power of Hollywood
You would think with a big Hollywood budget; they wouldn’t need to shut down a whole freeway to shoot a scene and instead could add it through a green screen or something. That wasn’t the case for 21 Jump Street.
They certainly had the cash to film the scene where Schmidt and Jenko are trying to escape their chasers on a real freeway. However, as the movie wasn’t that successful at the box office, as the money made from the movie didn’t cover the original cost.
Sony Was Worried About the Actors Getting Hurt
Wow, I wish I had these well-cared-for benefits at my job. In the movie, Tatum and Hill had numerous scenes where they were running away from something or someone. To take preventive measures and assure the actors’ safety, professional massage therapists were hired to assist.
I mean, this seems like a typical addition to any big-time Hollywood set, but still, it might have been a little too much. Hilariously, however, there is a behind-the-scenes cameo of Channing Tatum giving Jonah Hill a massage without him knowing.
Timing Wasn’t Right for a Certain Line
During the commentary that was added to the blue-ray version, the directors explain why they had to cut out a line about Whitney Houston. The line that was originally meant for Chris Parnell’s character.
In the movie, he ran the Peter Pan auditions and was meant to say, “I remember, one time, doing [illegal substance] with Willie Nelson’s horse, and we were having so much fun.” Houston had recently passed away, and the line about doing drugs was referring to her niece, so they nipped it.
The Ending Fantastic
The movie was certainly criticized, but you cannot argue that it was filled with comedy, especially the ending. The movie decided to use its car chasing additions seen throughout the movie for the finale and took it over the top with massive explosions.
Finally, having caught the bad guys, all these added movie elements were greatly enjoyed by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, considering it displayed all the perks of getting to work as an actor and being on an action movie set.
Johnny Depp Was a Master of Disguise
Most people, including myself, did not recognize Johnny Depp in the 2012 remake. Even one of the actresses in the movie didn’t recognize him, Brie Larson. On Set, Larson shared that she thought a random old biker was coming over to say hello when he uttered, “Hi, I’m Johnny.”
She was probably just as shocked as we were, realizing who it was. Depp took advantage of the situation and decided to walk around Bourbon Street, knowing that it would be a rare opportunity for people not to recognize him.
Ice Cube Takes on a Key Role
Ice Cube is probably remembered for a couple of things; being a member of NWA/changing the rap game forever and his snarky and hard attitude that was perfect for playing the 21 Jump Street’s main officer.
His character shined through in the sequel 22 Jump Street as opposed to the first where Tatum and Hill’s characters go to college. For Ice Cube, it was important for audiences to enjoy the second movie regardless of seeing the first movie.
Shooting Jonah Hill Down There
Ice Cube was certainly happy to shoot the scene where he tasers Hill’s character’s nuts. In addition to enjoying making the scene, Cube loved working with the two actors during the making of the movie.
He also recalled how naturally intimated the actors were by the rap star: “Yeah. I think they’re naturally a little intimidated by me anyways, so I just use it to my benefit and really try to make them feel it.” Off-camera, though, the guys were totally cool with each other.
A Little Catch Up with the Gorgeous Channing Tatum
The world was shocked when on-screen co-stars call it quits. Yes, I’m talking about Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan divorcing. Dewan and the Magic Mike lead made their split public in April 2018.
They said that there weren’t any hard feelings between the two and that they were simply two best friends who needed to go their separate ways. Since his divorce, he had an on/off relationship with pop sensation Jessie J, and is currently suspected to be dating Zoe Kravitz.
Where on Earth is Jonah Hill?
The actor went from playing the chubby comedic characters to a serious film star. He also lost a lot of weight in the process. Let’s not forget his Oscar nominations for supporting roles in the Wolf of Wall Street and Moneyball.
Since then, audiences haven’t heard too much from Hill. Fans, however, shouldn’t worry, as he is not leaving the Hollywood scene. He just had to work out some personal problems and take some different routes such as voice-over, clothing design, and directing.
Latest Update on Ice Cube
A lot of controversies have floated around regarding the right to deny the COVID vaccine, and Ice Cube is a prime example. The producers of a film requested he get the vaccine, and he refused, leaving behind a nine-million-dollar salary.
The same requirement was made to film Oh Hell No alongside Jack Black. He hasn’t really shared comments about his refusal to get vaccinated, but he has written the following on Twitter, “Doctors of the world: Stop lying about the Coronavirus. The people need absolute Truth.”
A Lookback at some of the Tough Subjects in the Original Series
Recalling difficult memories and topics is what made the show stand out. One of the classic issues highlighted was dealing with bullies. There is an episode where Penhall tries to enter the interworking of the smart kids at school. While on the mission, he is halted by a school bully.
He can’t break his cover, so he is forced to deal with the situation, which brought back memories of when he was bullied in school by a guy named Jack. The episode allows some of the guys to recount their experiences with bullies.
Going Up Against Sexual Harassment
Officer Judy Hoffs falls in love with Marcus, and the happiness it brings her culminates. However, once she finds out he’s married, she is distraught and ends things immediately. Marcus isn’t willing to let her go so easily, though.
He goes through a great deal of trouble and tries get her back. But, in turn, he ends up harassing her. He also puts her career at risk by making her reveal evidence about her personal life. Since Marcus audits the officer’s program, he sees revealing his actions as the only way to save her career.
A Kid Will Stop at Nothing to Run Away from His Parents
Divorces can be extremely challenging, and 21 Jump Street looks at some of the consequences placed on kids. With the help of his grandfather, a boy pretends to get kidnapped. Regardless of not staying together, the parents are constantly fighting, and the kid finds himself stuck in the middle.
The boy was going to kickstart a new life for him and his grandfather using the ransom money from the staged kidnapping. However, the plan falls between the cracks when the 21 Jump Street crew infiltrates the plot.
Hanson Spends Some Time in Jail
Hanson, played by Johnny Depp, gets an insight into what it’s like to spend some time in juvenile hall with other members of the 21 Jump Street crew. They go undercover to investigate the presence of illegal substances and a death.
However, he quickly discovers the reality of being in jail as Penhall leaves him alone on the mission due to his inability to deal with claustrophobia. Hanson is educated about the experiences of people that he put behind bars that greatly affect his mental health.
The Sad Reality Behind a College Fraternity
The difficult and dangerous realities behind college hazing are something Hanson and Ioki discover when they go undercover to investigate the rape that happened at a fraternity. Throughout their undercover take, they experience the merciless tactics for initiation.
The tactics are not only demeaning but put the pledges’ lives at risk. Thankfully, the two undercover cops manage to catch the man responsible for the sexual assault and end the barbaric procedures used to pick new fraternity members.
A Teenager’s Decision Regarding Pregnancy
Hoffs and Ioki secretly infiltrate the suspicions behind clinics being attacked. They were created to assist young women with pregnancy and birth control. Albeit, another member of the crew also joins but investigates those going up against the clinics.
Rebecca is a young girl who faces the difficult decision resulting from teen pregnancy. Hoff befriends this girl who is dealing with a lot of pressure from her boyfriend Mark to keep the baby. However, she isn’t left with much of a choice after Mark follows through with an explosion at the clinic that Rebecca accidentally gets caught up in.
Hanson Befriends a Struggling Boy
A boy diagnosed with AIDS is facing a difficult reality as his parents and other kids force him not to attend school. At first, Hanson doesn’t want to take on the responsibility of protecting this boy named Harley.
As time goes on, they build a connection revealing Hanson to be Harley’s only true friend. The two hug it out in a sequence giving Harley the confidence to know that Hanson will be there for him. The episode highlights the reality behind discrimination of AIDS patients.
A Young Girl Faces Sexual Abuse
Diane is a smart teenage girl who is caught trying to figure out what to do after her father sexually abuses her. She confides in and begs Hanson to kill her father, who is a high-ranking officer, to make matters worse.
Her dad also puts pressure on her to keep the whole debacle a secret. Diane offers to pay Hanson to get the job done. Hanson finds himself in a difficult situation as he tries to do what he can to help Diane as he goes after her father.
A Racial Divide in a High School
Hanson and Hoffs are assigned the challenging task of calming down the heightened racial unease in a high school. Things get much worse after a black student is hit by a car. The school is infuriated, suspecting that the incident was a planned murder.
The truth comes out as the student shares that she was pregnant, and the incident was a suicide planned because of her personal reality. She prompts everyone at school to stop fighting while sharing her relationship with her white boyfriend and how they are planning on keeping the baby.
Trying to Understand the Cause for a Suicide
Hanson and Penhall are on a mission to find out what happened with a series of burglaries. While they are on a stakeout, they witness a student taking his own life. Before that, Hanson spoke to that same student and is filled with guilt, thinking he pushed the student a little too far.
Penhall doesn’t really seem to care about the suicide, and this infuriates Hanson. However, Penhall shares that his mom had committed suicide years before this case that guides an emotional conversation between the two.