When you become a police officer, you'll quickly
learn that everybody knows your job better than
you.  And... why shouldn't they?  Everybody
watches television.  It's correct to say that
producers of cop shows have made efforts to add
realism and a degree of accuracy in the way they
portray certain aspects of police work.  For
example, television dramas have educated everyone
about search warrants... well, sort of.  You know
what I'm talking about.  The detectives are busy
following leads, so the lieutenant or the prosecutor
says to them, "You go ahead, I'll get the warrant."
– or – "I'll call in the warrant."  In reality, if you'd
wait for your lieutenant or prosecutor to get you a
warrant, you'd be waiting until the day you retire.
A Lot of Realism...
but not really
Page 2
Police Shows
Police Television Shows
Past and Present
by Barry M. Baker
Page 2
To be fair, it would make for some pretty boring
television if you had to watch the detective spend
an hour preparing a statement of probable cause
for the warrant and then another hour or two
tracking down a judge to sign the search warrant.  
Then, there's the all familiar Miranda Warnings...
"You have the right to remain silent..."  Again,
there's no need to give a verbal Miranda Warning
when you arrest a suspect.  Additionally, Miranda
given verbally is very weak when it comes to trial.  
That's why you'll have a Miranda form signed by
your suspect with his/her initials after each warning.

Of course, inaccuracies and shortcuts are just part
of any script for television.  As long as inaccuracy is
used only to enhance the pace to improve
entertainment value, it's no big deal.    

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Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker  
Cops (stylized as COPS) is an American documentary /
reality legal series that follows police officers, constables,
sheriff's deputies, federal agents and state troopers during
patrols and other police activities including prostitution and
narcotics stings. It is one of the longest-running television
programs in the United States and, as of May 2011, the
longest-running show on Fox, following the cancellation of
America's Most Wanted after 23 years.
This is a list of police television programs. Dramas
involving police procedural work, and private detectives,
secret agents, and the justice system have been a
mainstay of broadcast television since the early days of
broadcasting. Shows that are not dramatic programming
are indicated (e.g. reality television, comedy or
TV Shows