5 Police Procedurals That Have Been Unjustly Forgotten
Ready for a powerful trip down memory lane?
Among other genres, police procedurals hold a special place. There's never a dull day in the lives of their characters, and justice always finds the bad guys. On top of that, the tight-knit groups that work in a police department allow for all kinds of interpersonal relationships and dynamics.
It is no wonder that shows like Law & Order and NCIS have been on the air for many years and continue to be a hit with audiences.
But the genre also has a number of underrated projects that, for one reason or another, were canceled prematurely and forgotten by the general public. Here are five great examples.
New York Undercover (1994-1999)
Where to stream: Prime Video, Peacock
If you grew up watching TV in the 1990s, you might remember rooting for the two undercover NYC cops played by brilliant actors Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo. The show focused not only on street crimes and gang-related cases, but also on the personal lives of the protagonists, which had some shocking twists and turns.
It's a shame that the Fox series, set in the same fictional universe as Law & Order, only lasted four seasons and ended prematurely due to a behind-the-scenes salary dispute.
Where to stream: Prime Video, Tubi, Vudu, Apple TV, etc.
This character-driven crime drama about LAPD officers policing the streets of the City of Angels was ahead of its time. It was one of the more realistic portrayals of the city, making it part of the set.
Creator Ann Biderman wasn't afraid to take risks. She removed the musical score, leaving in visceral sounds like footsteps and breathing. Besides, the show didn’t balk at killing main characters, which was a shocker at the time.
Unfortunately, the transition from NBC to TNT and gradually reduced budgets led to the show's cancellation after Season 5.
Reno 911! (2003-2022)
Where to stream: Prime Video, Hulu, Paramount+, Roku, etc.
Reno 911! followed the massively inept and grossly incompetent members of the fictional Reno Sheriff's Department. This mockumentary-style sitcom imitated popular law enforcement documentaries in general and Cops in particular, and was extremely fun to watch with its somewhat borderline humor.
The original 5-season series aired on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2009. And in 2020, the show got a revival that only lasted two seasons, much to the disappointment of fans.
Barney Miller (1975-1982)
Where to stream: Apple TV, Sling TV, Philo
You probably weren't even born when this eight-season ABC sitcom, which took place almost entirely in the squad room of the New York City Police Department and the adjoining office of Captain Barney Miller, aired. In any case, you must have forgotten how funny, classy, mature, and refreshingly liberal for its time the show was. Definitely worth a nostalgic re-watch.
Homicide: Life in the Streets (1993-1999)
The show is currently unavailable for streaming
The seven-season police drama that chronicled the work of a fictionalized version of the Baltimore Police Department's homicide unit is a true hidden gem. In fact, you could say it is a treasure that has been hard to find since its original DVD release.
Recently, there have been rumors of Life in the Streets being added to streaming platforms, so we certainly hope to be reunited with Andre Braugher's Frank Pembleton soon. After all, it was his breakthrough role and we miss the actor who recently passed away very much.