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
Page 6
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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Police Shows
Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
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
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 comedy-drama).
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