Police Procedurals

Caproni

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Last night I was having a conversation during my supper with my soon-to-be sister-in-laws about old television shows. The majority of our discussions revolve around movies and television, with them generally picking my brain for ideas for what they might be interested in watching for themselves, or if they cannot remember the title of something. They conversations typically involve both parties sharing different films and televisions with the other.

Anyway, one these young ladies mentioned that she wanted some seasons of Murder, She Wrote, while the other said she had always wanted Diagnosis: Murder. Their anxiousness in having these shows on their shelves triggered a thought in my mind. I occasionally look for such conversations as this one to generate ideas in my head to initiate discussions with you guys here.

Television often goes through a series of trends, some of them lasting decades. One of the more common genre staples in the medium is the widely defined (or at least for this thread) police procedural. These shows were usually quite popular during their prime, and typically centered around a specific person, group of people, or those within the confines of a specific cop/police/detective union or organization in which the stars of said series would be ushered to solving that week's mystery.

Now, as I said earlier, I'm defining the police procedural genre rather broadly for the purpose of lengthening and diversifying the discussions within this thread. But he basic consensus I'm drawing toward is a generically this: a cop show in which murders and other crimes typically occur and are solved within the hour (or thirty minutes, depending on the show) of a series by the head(s) of the core cast, who probably would as some type of government-funded police force or undercover private investigator.

Let's get this rolling.
 
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Daniel Avery

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It's funny you mention Diagnosis: Murder.

My mother was a fan of all the older-skewing shows like this: D:M, Murder, She Wrote and Matlock. I teased her mercilessly about giving in to the stereotype of senior citizens being hooked on these kinds of shows, though she insisted they were all interesting and had their own identities. It always felt to me that the same writers shuffled back and forth between the three shows. I recall constantly teasing, "It's the same show!"

But now that she has graduated to 'the harder stuff' (Live PD, Cops, etc.) I long for the days when people were "gently murdered" on MSW and Andy Griffith would use his folksy charm to get the bad guys to confess their evil deeds. Can you imagine Olivia Benson trying to deal with Cabot Cove's latest murder?
 

Caproni

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It's funny you mention Diagnosis: Murder.

My mother was a fan of all the older-skewing shows like this: D:M, Murder, She Wrote and Matlock. I teased her mercilessly about giving in to the stereotype of senior citizens being hooked on these kinds of shows, though she insisted they were all interesting and had their own identities. It always felt to me that the same writers shuffled back and forth between the three shows. I recall constantly teasing, "It's the same show!"

But now that she has graduated to 'the harder stuff' (Live PD, Cops, etc.) I long for the days when people were "gently murdered" on MSW and Andy Griffith would use his folksy charm to get the bad guys to confess their evil deeds. Can you imagine Olivia Benson trying to deal with Cabot Cove's latest murder?
Yeah, I remember picking at my grandparents about the exact same thing. My grandfather use to watch reruns of Matlock religiously, while my grandmother was more apt be spend hours watching Murder, She Wrote. I remember teasing at how similar the shows were, with the only major difference being on had a male star and the other a female.

Now I'm the one wanting these shows (with the possibly exception of Matlock) added to my DVD collection.

I think what you're referencing about these shows being "softer" is what I enjoy most about them. They have a mystery, but the story isn't quite as sensational. A little more moral, if you will. Now, I must admit that I can get into a serious binge of Law & Order: SVU every once in a while, but I often long for those times when the Angels were searching for a murdered girl inside a sleazy women's prison.
 

bmasters9

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I think what you're referencing about these shows being "softer" is what I enjoy most about them. They have a mystery, but the story isn't quite as sensational. A little more moral, if you will.
And The Streets of San Francisco (70s ABC police procedural w/Karl Malden, Michael Douglas [1972-76] and Richard Hatch [1976-77, final season]) is one of those shows-- it's a staple for me on DVD (I finished my copy of CBS' condensed all-in-one DVD a long time ago, and I keep going back to it and seeing random episodes).
 
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