Summer Cop Shows: Comparing the New Police Dramas
by Kim Potts, posted Jun 23rd 2010 1:20PM
One of the most popular genres on TV remains the cop show, which means, with such a ubiquitous presence, there's always going to be some good cops (and series) and some bad cops in the mix.
Here's our cheat sheet to help you decide if you should tune in, or whether the crime isn't worth your time.
'The Good Guys' (Fox, Mondays at 9PM ET)
Stars: Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford
The 411 on this 911: 'Burn Notice' creator Matt Nix is the mind behind this dramedy, which pairs ambitious cop Jack Bailey (Hanks) with Dan Stark (Whitford), a mustachioed, boozing detective who seems stuck in the early '80s, which is probably the last time he was 1) sober (maybe) and 2) a good cop. Actually, despite his love for the libations, Stark's experience often wins out over Jack's more rigid ways.
M.O.: Despite Jack's boneheaded penchant for offending people and Dan's penchant for the drink and the ladies, they usually manage to get their man. Of course, much property damage might ensue along the way.
Fits the profile of: 'Starsky and Hutch,' minus the cardigan sweaters and bellbottoms, and with a '79 Trans Am replacing the Gran Torino.
'Unusual Suspects' (ID Network, Mondays at 10PM)
Stars: Real-life bad guys (and girls!)
The 411 on this 911: Investigation Discovery's compelling new series unfolds the stories behind tough crime cases where the victims were often done in by people they knew and trusted, often people everyone knew and trusted, like a church-going grandma or the boy next door or their own spouse.
M.O.: The July 5 episode includes the story of a robbery victim who's later murdered in her car. The unlikely killer: The very cop who had helped her when she was robbed!
Fits the profile of: 'Forensic Files' ... the cases are always solved, but in 'Unusual Suspects,' it's always with a twist.
'Memphis Beat' (TNT, Premieres June 22)
Stars: Jason Lee, Alfre Woodard and DJ Qualls
The 411 on this 911: Even if he's back without the 'stache, it's good to see 'My Name Is Earl' star Lee return to the tube and play another quirky character. He's Memphis cop Dwight Hendricks, a caring detective who loves his city, his family, his friends, his fellow Memphis citizenry and the music of The King.
M.O.: It's a hunka, hunka fun, from the Elvis songs as episode titles and Dwight's performances of Elvis tunes to eager rookie Davey (Qualls) and Woodard as Dwight's tough boss Lt. Rice and 'Alice' star Celia Weston as Dwight's feisty mama Paula Ann. And Dwight, while serious about his love of the blues, is also a dedicated, talented cop, who relies his knowledge of the city and his intuition (though not necessarily an affinity for following the rules) to crack cases.
Fits the profile of: The quirkiness and team vibe reminds us a bit of 'NCIS,' but this George Clooney-produced drama is pretty unique
'Rookie Blue' (ABC, Premieres June 24)
Stars: Missy Peregrym and Gregory Smith
The 411 on this 911: 'Reaper's' Peregrym and 'Everwood' star Smith are Andy and Dov, rookie cops thrown into their first assignment, post police academy, in the big city.
M.O.: Don't expect many arresting developments (pun intended!), as Andy, Dov and their fellow rookies bond while busting perps and also trying to learn from their rookie mistakes and earn the respect of their elders in this by the book drama.
Fits the profile of: 'Grey's Anatomy'-meets-'Police Academy,' but, sadly, minus the humor and Michael Winslow's funny noises.
'Haven' (Syfy, Premieres July 9)
Stars: Emily Rose and Lucas Bryant
The 411 on this 911: Audrey Parker (Rose) is an FBI agent who reads vampire novels and doesn't bother to put down roots (she's an orphan). All that makes her the perfect agent to be shipped off to Haven, the Maine town that seems to be predominantly populated by people with supernatural skills ... even though their fellow townsfolk don't suspect those skills are the source of the town's many strange occurrences. There's also a particularly handsome Haven policeman, Nathan Wuornos (Bryant), who immediately engages in banter with Audrey, meaning danger: romance ahead.
M.O.: Based on the Stephen King novella 'The Colorado Kid,' 'Haven' will find Audrey unraveling another town curiosity every week, like how a big old wind storm seems to kick up every time one of its citizens gets angry.
Fits the profile of: 'The X-Files,' with a dash of 'Pushing Daisies,' set in 'Twin Peaks'
'The Glades' (A&E, Premieres July 11)
Stars: Matt Passmore and Kiele Sanchez
The 411 on this 911: Passmore is Chicago cop Jim Longworth, who's let go, with a settlement, after his boss shoots him when he (mistakenly) thinks Jim slept with his wife. The cocky Longworth takes his cash and moves to a sleepy Florida town where he thinks he'll be able to phone it in at his new state police gig ... until the phone starts ringing off the hook with report after report of new homicides.
M.O.: Well, there's gotta be a reason why people in this Everglades town keep turning up dead, right? And while Longworth is overly blessed with confidence, he also happens to be a good cop, so we assume he'll be taking time out of his busy schedule of hitting on single mom Callie (Sanchez) to get to the bottom of this homicide spree.
Fits the profile of: 'Burn Notice' meets 'Life'
'Rizzoli & Isles' (TNT, Premieres July 12)
Stars: Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander
The 411 on this 911: Boston detective Jane Rizzoli (Harmon) and medical examiner Maura Isles (Alexander) are complete opposites, but also BFFs who work together to track down some of Beantown's biggest baddies.
M.O.: In the premiere, Jane and Maura are on the case of a serial killer, or rather, a copycat of serial killer who once tried to kill Jane.
Fits the profile of: 'Cagney & Lacey'-meets-'Quincy, M.E.'