- This article is for the TV mini-series. For RoboCop's set of rules, see Prime Directives.
RoboCop: Prime Directives (PD) is a TV miniseries released in 2000. It is based on the movie, RoboCop. The series consisted of four feature length movies: Dark Justice, Meltdown, Resurrection, and Crash & Burn. All four episodes have since been released on DVD.
Fireworks Entertainment stated that they wanted to make use of the TV rights to RoboCop before they expired and thus ordered that Prime Directives be made, selecting Julian Grant to direct. Grant had a reputation for finishing projects ahead of schedule and under budget. He, in turn, picked Joseph O'Brienli and Brad Abraham to write the series, and Page Fletcher to star as RoboCop, after Richard Eden (who previously played the character in RoboCop: The Series) was turned down for demanding too much money to reprise his role.
The previous incarnation of RoboCop was the family-friendly RoboCop: The Series TV show. Grant had no interest in perpetuating this approach, however, and would return RoboCop to his dark, violent roots. Although Prime Directives takes place ten years after the original film, the production was not permitted to use clips from the feature films. However, MGM had licensed shots of Murphy's death scene from the original film for the television show to use. The creators of Prime Directives took the footage that the TV show used, recolored the shots blue, and used them in the third film in the series, "Resurrection."
There were inside references to previous RoboCop movies and TV series.
- One OCP employee makes reference to the previous failed attempts to recreate RoboCop, Cain in RoboCop 2.
- Another character makes reference to RoboCop cleaning up Cadillac Heights, RoboCop 3.
- In "Dark Justice" and "Resurrection", RoboCop has flashbacks, which contain footage from the original movie.
- Page Fletcher — Officer Alex Murphy / RoboCop
- Maurice Dean Wint — Commander John T. Cable / RoboCable
- Maria Del Mar — OCP Executive Sara Cable
- Kevin Jubinville — OCP Executive Damian Lowe
- Anthony Lemke — OCP Executive James Murphy
- David Fraser — Ed Hobley
- Leslie Hope — Ann R. Key
- Geraint Wyn Davies — David Kaydick
- Rebeka Coles-Budrys — Jordan
- Ellen Dubin — Sandra Smyles
- Anthony J. Mifsud — Chuck Conflagration
- Eugene Clark — Carver RH
- Marni Thompson — Abby Normal
- Françoise Yip — Lexx Icon
- Tedde Moore — The Old Woman
- Leslie Ann Coles — Ashley St. John-Smyth
Prior to being cast, Page Fletcher had not seen any of the RoboCop feature films and no effort was made to mimic Peter Weller's original movements. Fletcher instead worked out a RoboCop movement system for himself that he felt was appropriate for where the character was, physically and emotionally.
Prime Directives takes place ten years after the first RoboCop film. This series is largely considered an alternate reality to the films as major events of the second and third films and the television series are completely ignored, most notably as the films do not have Delta City being developed and OCP is dissolved as shown in the third film, but within this series Delta City is built and Old Detroit has been eliminated and OCP was never dissolved. In the theatrical movie series, Murphy is publicly revealed to have been converted into RoboCop and openly uses his legally deceased name whereas in this series, Murphy's identity remains secret from his conversion until the fourth episode, in which he is legally recognized as Police Commander Alex Murphy, formerly known as RoboCop Model 01.
Co-writer Joseph O'Brien stated, "there's nothing in PD that significantly contradicts those other versions. The reasoning behind setting our story ten years later was to just give ourselves some distance, creatively and temporally, to tell our tale, and not out of any disrespect for those earlier incarnations, nor the people responsible for them."
In regards to the character of Anne Lewis, O'Brien went on to say, "As far as we were concerned Anne Lewis is dead. Whether this happened in RoboCop 3 or not we leave to the discretion of the individual viewer."
Prime Directives takes place ten years after the first RoboCop movie and does not directly refer to the sequels or anything that followed.
RoboCop is outdated, tired, and has become quasi-suicidal. Delta City (formerly Detroit) is now considered the safest place on Earth, and he is no longer viewed as particularly necessary.
The first half of the series focuses on his former partner, John T. Cable, who is slain by a scheming OCP executive (his own ex-wife, Sara Cable) and resurrected as a cyborg identical to RoboCop, save for color and the addition of a second sidearm. "RoboCable" is sent to destroy RoboCop, but after several battles, Cable is convinced to join Murphy (RoboCop's original identity).
Meanwhile, OCP (on the verge of bankruptcy) is taken over by a scheming executive, Damian Lowe, who manages to murder the entire board of directors. To bring OCP back, he plans to use an artificial intelligence called S.A.I.N.T. to automate the entire city.
The second half of the series introduces Dr. David Kaydick, who plans to introduce a “bio-tech” virus (Legion) to wipe out not only Delta City but all life on the planet, infecting computers and people alike. He is able to take control of RoboCable by planting a chip in him that causes him pain if Kaydick activates it and can even kill him if set high enough. RoboCop finds aid from a group of tech thieves that are determined to stop Kaydick and RoboCop's own son, now fully grown and aware of the fate of his father.
RoboCop and his rag-tag band race to stop Kaydick from infiltrating OCP tower and activating S.A.I.N.T., which would, presumably, kill almost all humans.
In 2002 the complete mini-series was released in the UK on Region 2 by Prism Leisure. Subsequently in 2008, Delta Visual Entertainment reissued RoboCop: Prime Directives on DVD in the UK on November 17, 2008.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment released the entire 4-part mini-series on DVD in Region 1 in 2003, in 4 separate releases.
The return to a dark, violent atmosphere (unlike the family-friendly approach taken as of RoboCop: The Series) was welcomed, however the poor writing and lackluster acting is often criticized by fans.
With virtually no commercial promotion, Prime Directives premiered in the US on the SCI FI to lackluster ratings. Despite its poor ratings, it easily recouped its production costs through foreign sales, turning a substantial profit before broadcast and became a regular fixture on Canada's Space.
- The "RoboCop's Greatest Moments" ad is composed of action clips from RoboCop: The Series. The exterior shots in Dark Justice of Murphy's car as he drives to meet Cable are from the TV series. (The lighting doesn't quite match the rest of the scene, and there's some grain). The RoboCop foot hitting the ground at the beginning is also a clip from the series.
- Footage from RoboCop: The Series is used in various parts of Prime Directives . The MediaNet segments use footage from the TV show, which often features Richard Eden in the suit.
- Page Fletcher actually turned down the role of RoboCop in RoboCop: The Series. He was their original first choice, but he had become somewhat disenfranchised with television following the poor treatment he had received on The Hitchhiker, and moved on to other things, prompting the hiring of Richard Eden. Because of this, Page was on the short list to play RoboCop in Prime Directives. He read the 450-page script in one sitting, and was so taken by it that he actually cried. He subsequently met with Director Julian Grant, and said yes.
- Prime Directives was not permitted to use footage from the feature films. However, MGM had licensed shots of Murphy's death scene from the original RoboCop for the television show to use. The creators of Prime Directives took the footage that the TV show used, recolored the shots blue, and used them in Resurrection.
- RoboCable's holster shots started out as RoboCop's holster shots. They were later colored black on computer and flipped for the other leg. Some RoboCop leg holster shots were in front of a green-screen, and some were lifted straight from the TV series.
- The writers forgot that the name "Otomo" had been used in RoboCop 3 when naming Jordan's toy. However, like Frank Miller, they wrote it in as a reference to AKIRA writer/director Katsuhiro Otomo.
- Cable's role was specifically written for Maurice Dean Wint. The creators were not aware that Maurice was a big-time chess player, but it made them absolutely certain that he was the perfect actor for Cable, and Wint choreographed the chess games in PD.
- In Meltdown, the shot of the Da Bomz headquarters exploding in the MediaNet segment is from the TV series.
- The writers were unaware that Murphy had demonstrated deflection calculation in RoboCop: The Series when writing the sequence in Resurrection.
- Edwin Hobley had a more developed back-story that didn't make it to the screen. If one notices carefully, you can see that he uses a cane. The reason for this is because of an automobile accident in which his wife and daughter died and only Hobley survived. This is implied in Crash and Burn when he examines the photograph of his family. When he speaks to S.A.I.N.T., he's speaking to his 'daughter', who's consciousness he attempted to program into S.A.I.N.T..
- The makers of PD wanted to but wasn't allowed to use ED-209 during development. ED-209 is a property belonging to the movie rights and PD was made with the TV series rights. The writers wanted to have RoboCop fight two ED-209s instead of the OCP building entrance security guards.
- The actors were put in the RoboCop/RoboCable suits in thirty minutes each time.
- The suits were power-tooled shut after being put on. However, the lower portion of the suit snapped off independently in case of "emergencies".
- For many scenes, Fletcher and Wint would only wear the portion of the suits that was worn above the waist. This made it less tiring. They would be filmed above the waist. Scenes filmed this way include the cemetery scene in Meltdown, portions of the hand-to-hand Murphy/Cable fights, and when RoboCop talks to Cable in the weapon storage room..
- The gun twirl at the end of Crash and Burn is taken from the TV series, with the background matted out.
- Cable's mustache is fake believe it or not. Maurice usually wears a neatly trimmed and cared for mustache and goatee, but was convinced that it would have looked rather out-of-place as RoboCable. Nevertheless he wanted to wear a mustache to help differentiate young Cable from older Cable.
- The first two days of Prime Directives were spent shooting the Motor City Mangler flashback that appears in Dark Justice.
- During one take, RoboCable slipped and dropped an Auto 9 gun out of a window. They had to fly to Texas overnight and back to repair it. The gun handler himself got on the plane and got there and back to the set for the next day.
- The Japanese animated cartoon appearing on the OCP TV network in the second episode, "Cyborg Police Officer", is a mixture of RoboCop and classic anime/manga character Gigantor (known in Japan as Tetsujin 28-go). The animation was created by Marcus R. Moore and can be seen on his website.
- The DVD release of the series was packaged incorrectly with many cases containing copies of RoboCop 3 rather than Prime Directives.