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Modern Police TV: 5 TV Shows Since 2000 That Shaped the Genre

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 07:24 PM

What is it about police TV shows that we love? Perhaps the fact that the crimes that are committed during the course of these shows plays into our fears. Unlike other dramas that focus on the fantasy world, crimes in police shows are based on real-life scenarios.

Frankly, this is what scares us, and makes us root for the heroes to catch the bad guys. What is not to love about heart pumping action? Some of these shows have not only shaped modern police TV, but shaped how most of us perceive police procedures as a whole.

Here are five television shows that changed the way we watched the police on TV and defined the genre of cop shows.

1. “Law & Order” (1990-2010)

While this show began a decade previous, it needed to be considered because it lasted as long into the 2000s as well as spawned a handful of spinoffs during the second half of its long run. Showing crime, from two separate vantage points, Law & Order opened up a whole new aspect of television in the police drama.

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Showing crimes from investigating, and arresting, to court, gave the viewer an “all in” approach to solving crimes. Its format combined the procedural and the legal drama for a new hydrid of a show gave viewers the satisfaction of seeing justice through to the end.

2. “The Wire” (2002-2008)

This critically acclaimed HBO series dissected intercity crime in a way no series before it had. Not just detailing the struggle between police and dealers for control of Baltimore’s streets, “The Wire” took a hard look as seasons went on at all political and social institutions that contributed to and were affected by the city’s decay.

3. “The Shield” (2002-2008)

Michael Chiklis starred in “The Shield” as the corrupt Strike Team leader Vic Mackey. The FX series centered around a special police unit the broke as many laws as it upheld. Keeping the peace in this modern police drama was about navigating levels of moral ambiguity and political machinations, and Vic Mackey was perhaps one of the greatest antiheroes among TV cops, with several awards to prove it.

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4. “CSI” (2000-2015)

Perhaps the mother of all modern police procedurals, “CSI” dazzled audiences with the “how” in this “whodunit.” The Las Vegas Crime Scene Investigation team put the science in forensics and broke down complex crime scenes from the barest shreds of evidence.

“CSI” proved so popular that it produced a few offspring for CBS as well as several imitators.

5. “Southland” (2009-2013)

While so many modern police dramas have focused on special crimes or special units, “Southland” was an intense and gritty look into the lives of fictional uniformed officers in the LAPD.

TNT saved this show from cancellation when NBC let it go after its first season, and “Southland” rewarded TNT with wide critical acclaim and a loyal but not-quite-big-enough audience.

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Some of these shows have not only shaped modern police TV, but shaped how most of us perceive police procedures as a whole. Here are five television shows that changed the way we watched the police on TV and defined the genre of cop shows.
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2016-24-01
Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 07:24 PM
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