Procedural Checklist

Greg Braxton of the LA Times shares his funny, and stingingly accurate, ten-step formula for the typical TV police procedural.

2. The ‘What d’ya got’ scene

The star investigators must
arrive at a crime scene walking at a regular pace or in slow motion. Dark trench
coats are a must, and the stars should look properly stern and speak cryptically
out of the sides of their mouths when asking officers at the scene, "Who’s the
stiff?" Detectives should possess a background in comedy or philosophy: Nothing
kicks off a murder investigation or leads into the first commercial like words
of wisdom or a morbid one-liner such as, "Dinner really did cost him an
arm and a leg."

The list goes on. But Greg left a couple of things out:

1 ) the hero’s  obligatory dead wife (an updating of what was "the obligatory estranged wife").

2) the hero’s  or co-star’s  struggle with an  addiction (gambling, alcoholism, etc.)

3) one lead character eats healthy, the other loves junk food.

4) the irascible boss.

5 thoughts on “Procedural Checklist”

  1. The successful TV police procedural

    And now for something completely different: Greg Braxton, in the LA Times, gives the 10-step formula to the hit TV police procedural: 3. The back-at-headquarters scene The differences between the investigators must be quickly demonstrated for i…

  2. The food started with Law & Order. I remember Dick Wolf saying in an interview he never saw cops eating on the job.
    Guess he missed Miami Vice and She’s the Sheriff.


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