21 Jump Street followed a group of young undercover cops chosen for their youthful appearance and ability to go undercover in schools or colleges. They had the ability to infiltrate areas where “normal” cops would be suspicious as a result of their age.
The show covered various themes relevant to the late 80’s and early 90’s: drugs, sex, AIDS, hate crimes, racism, alcohol abuse amongst others, and it tried to deliver a strong moral message as it’s climax each episode.
Sadly, a lot of the impact was lost as a result of one of the shows actors, rising star Johnny Depp, the popularity of Depp’s character on the show gave him the exposure he needed to launch a successful movie career, and 21 Jump Street only managed to produce one season (season 5) after he left (at the end of season 4) before being cancelled by its network.
21 Jump Street was based on a real life situation. An undercover unit in Los Angeles, California, used the same method.