Shot under the title Blood on the Moon, one of three James Ellroy novels with same central character, Cop is a modestly executed, off-target police drama giving actor James Woods another outlet for his compellingly schizophrenic persona. As star vehicles go, this one’s good, but the overall package fails to fill the big screen.
Lloyd Hopkins (Woods) is a good LAPD cop who clearly loves his work and his eight-year-old daughter; in that order, harps his ever critical wife (Jan McGill). She’s soon out of the picture as Mrs Hopkins moves out with the child, leaving a note labelling Woods ‘deeply disturbed.’
Domestic pressures and a hard-to-crack serial murder case lead to the detective’s lapses in judgement. His affairs with women he meets in the course of his investigation get him into trouble with his superiors (including Charles Durning). One of the implicated is Lesley Ann Warren, a chain-smoking, feminist poet and bookshop-keeper who turns out to play a pivotal role in the murder mystery hounding Woods.
Warren’s character and tantalizing performance appear fully 50 minutes into running time, a fact that adds to pic’s off-balance feeling. Technical contributions are routine.