We here at Crave love a good cop show as much as the next media outlet. From Law & Order to The Wire, there is nothing quite like delving into the seedy underbelly of modern crime via the high production aesthetic of a good TV show. I mean real crime and real criminals are just not as glamorous (remember kids, crime doesn’t pay but crime fiction does, just ask James Patterson). Yet with the format having been mined bare by mainstream television in the past couple of decades, finding a good cop show that still feels original can be pretty hard these days.
One of the shows that has managed to re-invent this TV mainstay to great effect is Grimm, and with the fourth season just released on Blu-Ray and DVD we thought we’d celebrate the release by going through some other great shows that have taken/twisted the trope to new heights with our list of 8 Best Cop Shows That Aren’t… in no particular order.
The show that started it all (well this article at least) Grimm is a brilliant fusion of a police procedural drama and a supernatural monster of the week freak fest like Buffy. Following the adventures of detective Nick Burkhardt, who as the descendant of a race of guardians known as Grimms has the power to see things where others can’t – namely the supernatural. Now cue a crazy pile up of tension, subtext and monsters (heaps of monsters) as Nick battles to keep the forces of humanity and the wessen (freaky monsters who appear human/benign to everyone but Nick) in balance. As I mentioned before the fourth season is out now, so go buy it and all the rest and settle in for a good old binge cos let’s face it, if you clicked this link you probably don’t have heaps of friends to distract you.
Grimm Season 4 is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.
A pretty standard detective drama, the names gives away what is so exciting about this show, which is of course set right in Batman’s backyard – Gotham City. Following a young Jim Gordon as he joins the city’s police department as a detective partnered with Harvey Bullock, the series explores the rise of the villains of Gotham City such as The Penguin, Hugo Strange, and Catwoman as well as exploring how a young Bruce Wayne came to be Batman. While the first season was a little story of the week, the second season pushed things into high gear and living up to its comic book roots.
Gotham Season 1 is available digitally and to stream on Netflix with the second season currently screening in the US.
Before Bones, David Boreanez was Angel, the vampire with a soul, Buffy spin-off and the slayer of teenage girls’ (and some guys alike) hearts. The series eventually went off the deep end by trying to bring in an element of legal drama to the proceedings, but in the beginning, it was one of the best modern noir detective shows ever put to the small screen. Following a monster of the week format, Angel saw the titular character move from Sunnydale (aka his ex-GF Buffy’s hometown on the hellmouth) to Los Angeles – because where else do you move with a name like Angel.
New in town and looking for some helpless souls to help (what else is a vampire with a soul meant to do in L.A., tan?) Angel ends up scrounging through the cities underbelly of demons and monsters with the help of a couple of sidekicks including of course the inimitable Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia, the popular girl turned fighter of all things demon-y from Buffy.
All seasons of Angel are available on DVD/Blu-Ray and digital.
For anyone watching TV as much as I did in the 90s, The X-Files was a weekly event. Centering on the adventures of Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they investigate the eponymous X-Files (cases of a bizarre nature), the overarching narrative is driven by an alien/government conspiracy that Mulder – his younger sister having been abducted as a child – is hell bent on exposing and bringing to justice.
Thrilling millions, the series spawned two movies (one great/ one not so much) and with its recent revival has run for 10 seasons. And while this latest run certainly has it’s ups and downs – the less said about the square dancing mushroom trip sequence the better – for die hards like me it has some great twists to the official cannon that breathe new life back into the story. As for those of you who aren’t fans of the show… what is wrong with you? Fire up the first season and begin the indoctrination, because you have no idea what you are missing out on.
Season 10 of The X Files is available now digitally.
James Spader is a legend, no two words about it, and The Blacklist lets him flex his acting muscles in one of his most badass characters ever. A former Navy Intelligence Officer gone rogue and eluding capture for over 25 years only to turn himself in, the series is based around Spader’s Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington and his Blacklist of the world’s most dangerous criminals, criminals he’ll give up in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Oh and he wants to hunt them down himself, and will only accept the help of a rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) because of course he does.
Watching Spader in the kind of role that would usually be reserved for a brawny tough guy or a grizzled and brooding malcontent is the real pleasure here, the actor making the role all his own and stealing every scene he’s in. If you miss him in Boston Legal, just imagine he quit law and went all vigilante and this can pretty much pick up where that show left off.
Season 3 of The Blacklist is available digitally, with season 1 and 2 available to stream on Netflix Australia.
Following the Winchester brothers Sam and Dean as they hunt demons, ghosts, monsters and all manner of supernatural creatures, Supernatural (they really thought out of the box with the title for this one) is your classic monster of the week detective series, the twist being that urban legends lead the brothers to their prey.
Now in its 11th season, the show’s spot-on mixture of campfire horror stories, slick action, and some very attractive protagonists has seen it build a huge following across it’s run. Check out the trailer for the latest season here below to see what I mean.
Season 11 of Supernatural is available now digitally.
A post-millennial take on the same premise as The X-Files, i.e. a division of the FBI dedicated to investigating the paranormal, Fringe follows Fringe Division’s Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), mad scientist Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his estranged son and jack of all trades Peter (Joshua ‘Pacey’ Jackson). Trading an alien/government conspiracy for a war being waged between parallel universes, the series produced by mister lens flare himself, J.J Abrams, the series takes its premise and turns the volume up to 11 with everything from LSD induced telepathy (which coincidentally might also have the truest depiction of an acid trip ever screened on television) to musical episodes and more, this show is a must-see for any sci-fi fan.
All seasons of Fringe are available on DVD Blu-Ray and digital.
The original crime drama with way more going on than just crime, this iconic eccentric and just plain amazing brainchild of surreal genius David Lynch was one of the first shows to take the premise of murder mystery and turn it into something much more. Using the mysterious death of homecoming queen Laura Palmer as a catalyst to peel back the veneer of small-town respectability to look at the moral corruption beneath. Lynch, of course, indulges in plenty of surreal dream sequences and horrific visions, filling the town of Twin Peaks with some of the most charming and bizarre characters fever put on the screen.
From FBI super sleuth Dale Cooper played by dreamboat Kyle MacLachlan to the late Catherine Coulson amazing Log Lady, by the third or fourth episode these people are like your own loved ones. Canceled after just two seasons, but with a long overdue third season set to hit screen next year (with one hell of a cast), to say this show was ahead of its time is an understatement, as we’re really only catching up now.
Season 1 & 2 of Twin Peaks are available to stream on Stan with the third season due to premiere in early in 2017.