1. kaloni
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    kaloni New Member

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    Crime Which television crime or detective series to follow?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by kaloni, Sep 12, 2014.

    Hello everyone,

    After publishing three middle grade books, this time I am inspired and working on a new-adult murder mystery with paranormal aspects.

    What popular TV series or movies should I watch to get a grasp on how the 'Police' department works on a case to unearth the criminial or killer? When does the detective pitch in? Does the 'detective' work with the police or independently? Who employs the detective? Is he part of the team of the state police? What could be the procedure and tools they use?

    As I am not from USA, I'd like to know more on how the US police work as the novel is based in that country. Although different states follow different procedures, yet a general idea would be great.

    Any advice or suggestions on what TV crime/detective series I should follow, would be great.

    Thank you
     
  2. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    My GF has tried to get me into Criminal Minds, but I find the model, genius guy to be a little deus ex machina. I would avoid that at all costs.
     
  3. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Wire. My favorite show about detectives, police, or crime. My second favorite show after Game of Thrones. The one show I would recommend you watch if you only watch one show in your life. Widely regarded as one of the best shows ever made, especially for its realistic and educational portrayal of the police department, politics, drug trade, and life on the street in Baltimore, and for its intelligent plot. Difficult to follow due to its complexity, its use of regional lingo, and its refusal to hold the viewer's hand -- all of which make it easy to get utterly absorbed in the story on the second viewing. Demands your full attention and the full extent of your empathy for a diverse range of characters.

    It is not the story of a single detective. The closest thing it has to a "main character" is a detective whose insubordinate behavior sets several chains of events in motion and leads to the investigation of one drug kingpin or corrupt politician or another. The main investigation at any given time is carried out by a detail -- a small group of city detectives and other city cops, led by a lieutenant. The FBI occasionally gets involved. Often, a city detective who is not part of this detail takes a call and investigates a murder on his own, but the show only focuses on such an investigation if it provides the viewer with information relevant to the overall plot.

    Throughout the show, a wide range of techniques and tools are used. Detectives use complex maneuvers to follow drivers down the city streets. They pose as addicts and buy drugs. They use hidden cameras, hidden microphones, wiretaps, and other surveillance devices. They search through phone call records, text messages, financial data, political campaign donations, you name it. You see how the police department is structured, how the different sub-departments interact with each other, and how the chain of command works. More often than not, you see that the whole system is a dysfunctional mess.

    I love it so much because it is not just a quasi-documentary or a police procedural, but an exciting, often funny, often heartbreaking drama about characters I care about. Its greatest strength, in my opinion, is the acting. It feels more real to me than any other movie or TV show.
     
  4. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you watched True Detective?
     
  5. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. Another outstanding show. In some ways, the writing is even more impressive than the writing of The Wire, considering how effortlessly season 1 spans 17 years in 8 hours while still spending plenty of quality time with the characters. The cinematography is definitely more impressive, especially at the end of season 1 episode 4.

    I still enjoy The Wire much more because I care more about the characters and it is more immersive. Rust Cohle is merely interesting. (Though I have a feeling that if I re-watch season 1, then I will care about him more, knowing how his character ends up and knowing his personal transformation.) But The Wire has several characters I grew attached to as if they were friends, family, and members of my own community. I even cried for some of them. And the whole is greater than the sum of the parts: all those characters add up to a world I feel like I live in. I feel like I will go to sleep and wake up in Baltimore. I feel like I will walk outside onto the streets of Baltimore. I never got that feeling from True Detective.

    Ultimately, I recommend The Wire over True Detective for a viewer who wants to learn about detective work. True Detective focuses on an interesting character and an interesting case that happen to be exceptions to the norm. The Wire focuses on business as usual in the police department and on the streets of Baltimore, although it certainly has its fair share of extraordinary characters.
     
  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Excellent series are Danish/Swedish 'The Bridge' (two seasons), 'The Killing' (three seasons) and French 'The Spiral'. Also original 'Wallander'. Out of American ones, a fun, light-hearted ones are 'Rizzoli and Isles' and 'The Castle', a more traditional ones are various 'Law and Order', 'True Detective' and 'The Wire' being quite hard-boiled. In any case, if you want to write a 'crime procedural' you need to look into some books that detail the police system in the country you want to set your story in, as well as books by famous authors from that genre. But you can choose to focus on the characters more than on the procedural aspect, in which case you can make it whatever you want it to be.
     
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  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I like Criminal Minds. Actually, I'll rephrase that. I like to sit and watch Shemar Moore ... (Derek Morgan)

    And I like to watch all the CSI's but at the end of the day, real police work is a hell of a lot less dramatic than is portrayed on TV. As an example, I worked in a hospital for a number of years which included working in a lot of different departments, particularly A&E and it is nothing like Casualty, ER, Greys Anatomy ... you get the picture.

    I would suggest you research the technicalities (you'll be surprised what you can find out on the net if you use the right search strings) and then for everything else, go with your gut and don't be afraid to ask people who work in that profession, for their opinion. The FBI have a whole section devoted to assisting TV/film makers, authors and writers with any research that they can help you with.
     
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  8. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "Elementary" is a pretty good show. Johnny Lee Miller is great actor. I used to love his old show "Eli Stone."
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I really like Bones, and recently got into Dexter in a really serious way.
     
  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    A "really serious way?" Have you proposed? :rofl:
     
  11. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    That show had a lot going for it, but I feel that it really dropped the ball as it went on.
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I would if I could, it's to die for. :D
     
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  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You aren't going to get accurate info watching TV shows/movies because they take a lot of liberties for the sake of entertainment. In addition to finding some books on the topic, your best bet is to watch documentaries. There are some very good ones out there, such as Gang Cops and The Police Tapes. Both are fairly old, but they're worth watching.
     
  14. kaloni
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    kaloni New Member

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    Thank you everyone for all your inputs and info as they have been really helpful.
    Books are not easily accessible on my side due to high shipping cost. So for the time being I will stick to the TV series.

    Most of the feedback have bordered around these series:
    Wire in the blood
    The Wire
    True Detective
    Law and Order
    The Castle;
    CSI Miami
    Bones
    Perception
    Criminal Minds (FBI again)
    Monk (private detective, IIRC)
    Medium

    CSI Miami, Wire in the blood, Law and Order and Medium are the few I have got hold of at the moment.

    Thank you once again for taking the time to answer my query.
     
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  15. kaloni
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    kaloni New Member

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