December 6, 2005
In the world of television, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the writers and producers of hour-long crime dramas, and the viewers, who watch said dramas. These are their stories.Be Careful Out There
10 Cop Show Facts, Moments, People or Events
(AKA "Annie Squeals Over Ben Browder Again")
Okay, so while I promised Liz I wouldn't do this, clearly I lied. Arrest me. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. That's a little cop beat humor disguised by hysterical laughter. But even the most vigilant columnist deserves a Top Ten List, and in honor of being in the midst of the holiday season, I offer up 10 Cop Show facts, moments, people or events that I am thankful for, entirely unresearched and straight to your computer screen. Thank god we've got copy editors or nothing in this article would be spelled right!
I refuse to thank you for Criminal Minds or Killer Instinct because I actually did watch Killer Instinct and there was a snake inside a body and pretty much let me find the limit of what I'll do to cover my beat. Live snakes in dead bodies was definitely a line in the sand.
- Ice-T and his oh so sharp suits and his cool name. You can keep
your balding, testosterone heavy Elliot Stablers. I'll take Fin' Tutuola
any day. He's a deadbeat dad and a former vice cop and more importantly
he and Munch are clearly dating and anyone who loves Munch is okay by me.
- Roll call on the hill. Because every time Sgt. Esterhaus told
them to be careful out there, you knew he meant it. It became a benediction,
a prayer and a promise and a catch phrase for all of us (not to mention
this column). Of course, there's a lot to be thankful for about Hill
Street Blues, including gritty storytelling, season long arcs, and Lucy
Bates' crush on her partner, because Lucy wasn't a beautiful girl and she
was a good cop, and this embarrassing oh-so-human emotion tied into this
girl struggling to be a beat cop in love with this big dumb palooka of a
guy was just heartbreaking.
- Bones for beating the odds and getting
better as the season progresses and making Anthropologists look both
as dorky and as cool as they really are and for allowing me to retain hope
that someone, some where will say, "Australopithicus Afarensis" on TV and
mean it!! Also, it gave David Boreanaz work and I find I'm enjoying that
more than I thought I would.
- Grissom and the pig carcass. Because it was ultra gross, but
it was also realistic and as accurate as any of the science that CSI
doles out and because I have a great big crush on Grissom from when William
Peterson played the hero in Manhunter. Using the decaying pig carcass
to establish time of death for a body is an acceptable practice in forensic
science, and that was just cool! I watch CSI almost entirely for
Grissom, and for Warrick's hair, but mostly for Grissom.
- Crockett and Tubbs and Elvis the alligator because my cousin
and I spent an exhilarating Christmas season leaping around corners with
hairdryers shouting, "Freeze, Miami Mice!" I know that there were cop shows
before this that had a stylized look and feel, but I was too young for most
of them and Miami Vice debuted at the height of '80's fashion and
Don Johnson made pink acceptable for men. I'm probably the only one thankful
for that because really unless you were a vice cop with a boat and an alligator
and an address in Miami, pink was probably a bad choice in the '80's but
I applaud all those who took the fashion risk anyway. Actually, I'm really
thankful for Edward James Olmos who defined the term hard-ass and because
despite the sockless loafers and the slick style, this was a good show about
an ugly job and Michael Mann really found his niche with it. But re-establishing
Don Johnson as a pop singer? Michael Mann you get no love for that!
- Stunt casting. The X-Files favored it, and the Law
and Order franchise practically beats off to it. If you've been on the
big screen, you've played a psychopath on an L&O show. That girl from A
Knight's Tale got to be hysterical and amoral. Marsha Gay Harden got
to be both a racist and an FBI agent. Eric Stoltz got to be a pedophile
and so did Matthew Modine and really anyone else who's asked. Yeah it's
a gimmick, but it usually boosts careers, shepherds in good performances
and gives me something to pay attention to aside from the idea if this many
kids are abused in the city of New York, it's a wonder they're not all raving
- Really, for all of Homicide: Life on the Street, but largely the Adena arc because I started reading David Simon's Homicide before I watched the series and it broke me that they never solved this case, and it broke me again to watch it unfold, to watch Bayliss and Pembleton and know that no matter what they did, they'd never find out who killed that little girl and that the lack would rob them both of something. And for Ned Beatty getting some, and for Richard Belzer because I do love Munch. I really, really do.
Finally, a special thank you to Liz. Since I started OD'ing on cop shows, I'm now afraid to leave the house, talk to strangers, take candy from men I don't know, go to New York, or eat pork. This beat's been a blessing, Liz. Really it has!
Email the author.
All written content © 2005 by the authors. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org