The Ultimate List of Best Police Procedural TV Shows: A Deep Dive into Crime Solving Dramas


We live in a golden age of television where gripping stories, complex characters and high production value have never been more accessible. One genre that has stood the test of time is the police procedural. From the gripping car chases to the cunning sleuth work, police procedural TV shows offer suspense like no other.

Understanding Police Procedural TV Shows

Police procedural TV shows are a subgenre of crime dramas. These shows focus on depicting the detailed step by step procedures used by law enforcement officers to solve crimes. This genre provides a fine blend of action, investigation, legal proceedings, and human drama.

Unfolding the History of Police Procedural TV Shows

Modern police dramas trace their origins back to radio series such as Dragnet, which brought distinctive elements of police work to the realm of entertainment in the late 1940s. Subsequently, television inherited and expanded upon this tradition, producing classics like Law & Order that continue to define the genre.

Pioneering Police Procedural Shows

Considered as the pioneers in the genre, Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue revolutionized the presentation of police work on television. These shows were a perfect blend of gritty realism and engrossing storytelling, setting a new standard for the genre.

Modern Staple: Law & Order and its Spinoffs

Law & Order, created by Dick Wolf, has been airing since 1990. Its unique structure split between the investigation of a crime and the prosecution of the defendant in court has become iconic in the television landscape. The series has spawned multiple successful spinoffs including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent

CSI Series: A Forensic Approach

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation debuted in 2000, shifting the focus from traditional ‘beat’ policing to forensic work. This innovative approach has since inspired numerous spinoffs, each centering around forensic investigations in different cities.

A British Charm: Line of Duty and Broadchurch

British police procedurals Line of Duty and Broadchurch stand out with their intense, character-driven narratives and atmospheric storytelling. Line of Duty explores corruption within the police force while Broadchurch focuses on the effects of a young boy’s murder on a small town.

Scandinavian Noir: The Bridge and The Killing

Scandinavian noir, a subgenre of crime drama, has been lauded for its deeply atmospheric and character-driven stories. Shows like The Bridge and The Killing became international hits, creating a high standard for globally recognized police procedurals.

Police Comedies: Unconventional Approach

Notably, Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes an unconventional comedic approach to the police procedural format while still maintaining a dedication towards solving the case of the week.

Conclusion: The Ever-Evolving Genre

With their deeply layered narratives, innovative storytelling methods, and authentic portrayals of law enforcement, best police procedural TV shows have and continue to redefine the landscape of television. They offer viewers a fascinating insight into the world of crime and punishment. Tomorrow’s police procedurals will no doubt continue to evolve, driven by the demand for intriguing, thought-provoking content.

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