When it comes to police dramas for me, the list pretty much begins and ends with “Homicide: Life on the Street.” It wasn’t the first to inject the notion of realism to cop shows (“Hill Street Blues” gets that honor, though that show was before my time), but it was the first that made me realize that yes, being a cop is an honor, a brotherhood, a matter of civic duty and all that, but it’s also a job. A shitty, fruitless, mind-numbing job.
There’s not a lot of busting heads or car chases or shootouts or criminal masterminds or slamming other cops against lockers. There’s paperwork, asking repetitive questions, arresting absolute morons, having tiffs with co-workers and not getting paid very much. “Homicide” made cop-work look like an absolute fucking grind, and as a result made me respect police work a lot more. (more…)