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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'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'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.'

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Bean

I stand TV anymore. I can't even sit and watch it for 10 minutes before I get annoyed with the antics. Everything is so predictable and easy to deconstruct. You can watch and just know exactly what the big whigs at the studio were thinking behind decision made regarding what to put on TV.
I can't get into the cop shows at all, above all others. All the characters have an answer and take turns talking right on queue so each actour has equal air time, they put all their effort into solving the crime when so many in real life go unsolved, the chicks are always both unrealistically hot yet super tough, and the crimes are above average in terms of their nature; usually sex-related, curiously disgusting, and involving women. We can't see breastfeeding on TV but graphic recreations of mutilated bodies????
I know many people who spend WAY way way to much time and energy obsessing over their favourite new shows without questioning the quality or intelligence of what they are viewing. Minds to stuck in the clouds these days in fantasy.

August 28 2010 at 2:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark

Another new show... Persons Unknown... pretty good too.. bunch of folks get kidnapped, brought together in a small (empty) town.. no relation to each other.. and week by week the facts get revealed.

June 24 2010 at 9:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gbsmitty

Too many cops shows. I liked the original Law and Order but even gave up on that long ago. How about a new genre beyond glorifying a police state and flogging people to lose weight, sing, survive, etc? Might bring the middle class back to television.

June 24 2010 at 8:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Valerie

I am so glad that NCIS still has everyone on the show. It gets to the point that if you keep changing the people that make the show, you don't have a great show anymore. I love them all, but Mcgee and Gibbs are the best. Not saying that Abbie, Ziva and Tony aren't great, but I look forward to seeing what thay are going to do in each show. Thank you Sean for staying on the show. If anyone has a problem with the show, you can always watch something else, no one is twisting your are to watch it. But you are missing a great show.

June 24 2010 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KAREN

Memphis beat was good but the Good Guys in my opinion was really bad

June 24 2010 at 7:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jerry

I don't care about the new shows but they shoud put back on Cold Case I like watch it but its on the wrong day put it back on Firday not Sunday every1 is in bed at that time

June 24 2010 at 7:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
debbieL13

Just watched Memphis Heat, well worth it!!

June 24 2010 at 7:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rock Fossil

Guess what? I'm not going to watch any of this formulaic cop schlock. Its all garbage and overdone to the point of nausea and beyond. As far as the commercials,there ought to be a law against them!
I have a DVR which I program to selectively choose quality programs(Discovery,History, Nat Geo, etc.) and skip through every commercial and I mean every one! Enough is enough of this consumer brainwashing everyone in this country is infected with.

June 24 2010 at 7:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Denny

Cop shows are like westerns in the late 1050's and early 1960's. They show the network's inability to really be creative. If one has been successful then they seem to feel that we need a lot more."

June 24 2010 at 7:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
solomeeeo

They are advertising this new series with Tom Selec that sounds a lot like Hill Street Blues. IMO there will never be antoher Hill Street Blues.

June 24 2010 at 7:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to solomeeeo's comment
Rock Fossil

And there will never be another Tom Selleck, don't forget Magnum P.I.

June 24 2010 at 7:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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