Corey Peges, the subject of the lean and sober documentary A Story of Cops and Robbers, began his law enforcement career in 1992 and eventually became a commanding officer over his 20-year career with the New York City Police Department. But as a black officer, Peg was often viewed with suspicion by his fellow police officers, who snidely remarked that he was too close to the community he patrolled.
What these officers didn’t know was that Pege was once part of a Queens drug gang known as the Supreme Team. When he trained new officers, his presentations included criminal investigations from his own friends and former associates. In essence, Peges led a double life.
Peges’ story is told through photographs, home video, and most importantly, contemporary interviews with him, his family, friends, and former contacts both within the police department and among members of the Supreme Team. Director Ilinca Calugreanu also includes re-enactments to stage dramatic scenes from Peges’ life, such as his failed attempt to shoot a man.
The reenactments are beautifully filmed, with vibrant camerawork and a vibrant selection of costumes. But their inclusion disrupts the flow of the narrative, often revisiting scenes already explained.
The repetition of verbal and visual storytelling points to the limitations of this film. A Story of Cops and Robbers explores Peges’s bifurcated loyalties, but interviews with talking heads tend to isolate characters whose closeness to one another is the subject of the film. If the main problem in Peges’ life was that his past and present could never intersect, the documentary reproduces rather than resolves this tension.
History of cops and robbers
Not rated. Duration: 1 hour 24 minutes. In theaters and available for rent or purchase on Apple TV, Google Play, and other streaming platforms and pay-TV operators.