Less Destruction Equals
More Realism
Have you noticed the single big difference between
made for television police shows and movies?  The
level of violence and property destruction is
minuscule in the television programming compared
to the big budget cop movies.  Of course, money is
the main factor.  Where the cop movies rely on
action to drive the entertainment, the television
genre relies on plot and multiple characters to
attract their viewers.

The absence of gratuitous violence and destruction
in the made for television police shows does provide
much more realism to the programming.  How often
do you see a police car being abused in a television
police show?  Sure, there’s always the scene where
two detectives approach a suspect, and the suspect
runs.  The young detective chases the suspect on
foot while the older detective jumps in the police car
to cut off the suspect’s escape.  The police car
comes to a stop as the suspect crashes into the car’
s fender.

You will, however, work with police officers who
have evidently watched a lot more movies than
television shows.  Of course, all those movies
eventually make it to television, so the violence and
action in the form of property destruction does
have its negative effects.  You will be amazed how
some police officers get caught up in the action of
their own circumstances and lose sight of end

The example I love to use is the golf course.  If you
ever drive your police car onto a golf course in
pursuit of a suspect driving a vehicle or on foot,
you are going to be in so much trouble.  In a matter
of minutes, you could inflict hundreds of thousands
of dollars in damage to the course.
Page 6
Police Shows
Police Television Shows
Past and Present
Page 6
by Barry M. Baker
There’s only one scenario where I could see you
justify driving your police car onto a golf course:  
You receive a call – this is important.  By receiving a
call, you have not initiated the action.  The details of
the call are that a vehicle is on the golf course
driving over fairways and greens, and the driver is
attempting to strike golfers.  You drive your police
car onto the course, and you promptly crash your
car into the suspect disabling the
suspect’s vehicle.

In this scenario, you’ll be commended for your quick
and decisive action.  You’ve protected lives and tens
if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional

If you were to see this scenario portrayed in a
movie or even a made for television show, you
wouldn’t see all the construction equipment setting
on the sidelines.  The presence of that equipment
would be in preparation for the demolition of the
golf course to make way for a residential housing

It’s all about cause and effect.  Any property
damage you cause in the performance of your duty
must always be commensurate with the threat.  

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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