Top Ten Cop Shows
Cops are a part of our daily lives. We rely on the police to protect us and help prevent crime. When traffic lights go out, cops work to keep traffic flowing, when someone threatens us, we go to the cops for protection. Given how important cops are in our lives it is not surprising that so many television shows have been made about this vital part of our society. Whether it is a rookie beat cop on his first day or a hardened detective tracking down a ruthless drug dealer, we love to watch cops do their thing. The following shows all have one thing in common, they are about cops in some way.
CHiPs was about not just cops, but motorcycle cops. From the opening montage we watched as the officers of the California Highway Patrol did everything from shooting bad guys to delivering babies in the back of a car and we loved it. There have been a lot of shows about patrol cops over the decades of televisions existence, but CHiPS is probably the epitome of this particular genre because ever one of the characters is a very normal person doing a job that is very important to our society.
Justified is almost more western than cop show because the main character is such a cowboy. Tough talking and straight shooting, Timothy Olyphant is a throwback to the days of frontier justice. He doesn’t always do things by the book, but he always does the right thing It’s refreshing to see a cop show where they don’t make the protagonist overly complicated because while Olyphant has his issues, he really looks at the world in a very simple way.
8. The Shield
Almost the exact opposite of Justified, the Shield is a very dark drama which follows a corrupt detective named Vick Mackey as he tries to balance making money with doing the right thing. Vick is a very flawed character who constantly makes decisions that really do put him on the edge of being evil. What makes The Shield so fascinating to watch is that each and every one of the characters in the show are deeply flawed in some way. Where so many cop shows try to make their characters noble, The Shield shows us the stains that all of us would pick up working their job.
7. Reno 911
In a genre almost completely dominated by dramas, Reno 911 is a comedy about police that will make almost anyone laugh. The idea that you could make a cop show a comedy seems a bit disrespectful to the policing profession, and maybe it is, but it’s funny stuff to watch. One thing is for sure though, most Americans are glad that the cops of Reno 911 are not on our police force.
6. The Wire
The Wire is a show about the inner city drug war and it doesn’t pull any punches. Without giving us time to blink this show shows us what the drug war is really like in the decaying urban centers of our country. Gangs, corrupt cops, and people simply caught up in the bad are all part of this show and it keeps you watching while you ask yourself if this can be the way things really are. The sad truth is that while The Wire is fiction, it tells us a very real story about just how dark the world of inner city drug dealing can be on both sides.
Castle is a show about a mystery writer who teams up with a New York city detective to solve crimes. Where so many cop shows are dark and a bit depressing, Castle is light-hearted and leaves you feeling good at the end of most episodes. Perhaps the reason Castle is such fun to watch is that it’s one of the only cop shows in which the main male character is actually kind of a wimp instead of being the tough guy. It’s nice to have a cop show that is good old fashion fun.
4. NYPD Blue
Where Castle is a light-hearted approach to the cop show genre, NYPD Blue is about making it as gritty as possible. NYPD blue is the story of a group of New York City homicide detectives who have to deal with some of the worst people on the planet every single day and it shows us this without apologizing if it offends our sensitivities. This show is not for people who are squeamish but if you like in-your-face style storytelling, it’s a very good watch.
3. Criminal Minds
Serial killers fascinate us and Criminal Minds gives us a chance to indulge that fascination on a weekly basis. Criminal Minds follows a group of FBI profilers as they track down and apprehend serial killers that are ripped right out of our nightmares. This show is one of the most intense shows you will find on network television and will definitely get you jumping at every bump in the night once in a while. This show is definitely not suitable for children and even some adults might want to steer clear. However, if you have a fascination with serial killers, then you will love this show.
Not every cop show has to be about police themselves and CSI isn’t. CSI is about the science behind police work and focuses on the forensic scientists whom are such a big part of solving crimes. While CSI does receive some criticism about its realism, it does show us that there are people who never wear a badge but still help put criminals behind bars. It’s about time we realized that there is more than guns and police sirens behind law enforcement.
1. Law and Order
To date the Law and Order franchise is the single most successful cop show series ever. Law and Order is a group of shows that gives us a glimpse into the various aspects of law enforcement from the straight police work through to the importance of scientific evidence and even court rooms.