Saturday, April 11, 2009

Police Cops

I was watching Lost the other night. There was a cop show following, a not-entirely-unenjoyable cop show at that, but it got me and my friend thinking: just how many cop shows are on the air? After perusing imdb's TV listings, I've come up with the following list:

Forensic Science Shows:
CSI: Original Recipe
CSI: Miami
CSI: New York

Cop Shows:
The Unusuals
Cold Case

Shows about the FBI:
The Mentalist

Criminal Minds
Without a Trace

Law and Order variations:

L&O: Original Recipe

For convenience's sake I'm sticking to broadcast networks (sorry, The Closer and Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye). Nineteen shows, spread out over the course of a week. That's almost three a day, for those of you playing Basic Arithmetic, the Home Game. So I had a thought. A once-in-a-lifetime Primetime TV event: Every cop show, every night, every network. Different teams, different approaches, but they all must solve the exact same murder.

Not a crossover. Rather, here's how it works: With only minor geographic changes, the story of, let's say, a prominent investment banker who was beaten to death with a name-brand shoe outside The West 43rd Savings and Loan. His money is in his pocket, this was no robbery. Now, each show's crack detective team, from CSI Miami's Horatio Caine and his sunglasses and crappy one-liners to Fringe's Walter Bishop and his mind control swimming pool, must each interview the suspects, uncover the evidence, make with the snarky, and solve the murder. Every cop show, every night.

You could have big-name guest stars, real method guys who'd have no problem putting the exact same spin on the exact same murder case, night after night, for what amounts to the better part of three weeks. We'd become familiar with their ins and outs. CSI's crew obsesses over tiny shards of glass while Bones Feds deal with the impact of Nike tread on someone's skull and The Mentalist himself gets all wiggy with potential suspects.

Each suspect is asked the same questions, slightly differently. The jokes are new, the banter and the b-plots of course there to keep us interested, since by Monday night we all know the score. But it's fun to watch them, dancing over and around the same evidence, coming to the same conclusions at just the last second, sparing the innocent man and damning the guilty. Upholding justice. Saving the day, every day.

It'd be awesome.

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