Re: RARA-AVIS: Lack of PIs on TV

Date: 29 Jun 2007

John wrote:

"Sorry, I did not note that in context the critic was talking about the big four Networks - ABC, NBC, CBS & Fox."

Odd, considering how they are losing their primacy. For instance, the recent premiere of The Closer beat many network shows of the week. And the networks are recycling certain shows like Monk (as you note), Kyle XY, etc, reversing TNT's pattern of replaying network shows like House and Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Intent.

"I would also note that the two USA programs - Monk & Psych - were passed on by the big four networks, though they have appeared on Network as summer replacements."

And most of the recent PI shows they have tried have failed -- Eyes, that one with Gina Gershon, etc.

"Both shows feature characters who primarily act as police contractors and under police authority, though both have taken outside customers."

That's true, they back up the cops, unlike the classic TV PIs (Harry O and Rockford were my faves) who did have cop friends, but usually went to them for info on their own cases.

"Can't talk to either the Dresden Files or The Dead Zone."

Dresden falls somewhere in between, has a cop friend, but with the classic somewhat adversarial relationship as the cop tries to keep the cop/PI boundary, even in those shows where she brings him on as a consultant. More foten, though, they "find they are working on the same case." Dead Zone s more of an amateur detective helping out his sheriff friend. However, the new sheriff is not so happy about his meddling.

It has to be noted, though, that both of these fall in the sci-fi realm. Like Angel, their outsider status is augmented by a supernatural ability.

Oh, one further quibble with the critic you cited. While cop shows certainly comprise the majority of current crime shows, saying they have replaced the PI implies that they were rare when the PI was in prime time. Hardly. Dragnet coexisted with Sunset Strip; Rockford coexisted with Kojak, TJ Hooker and Police Woman Harry O with Cagney & Lacy, etc. Cops have always been on TV.


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