CBS tried to reform the cop show. Police reform advocates are not impressed.
The final episode of Chicago’s most watched police show aired Monday night, and the episode was the same—the same old cop show, same old problems, plus a new problem. But the show’s producers did something that would’ve been unthinkable just months ago. They gave America’s heartland police chief new ideas.
The show, called Law & Order SVU, has been an on-air mainstay since 2005. Every episode involves either the mayor or the city attorney in a murder investigation, but it’s only the fourth episode since 2010 in which the show went outside its regular procedural model.
The producers of Law & Order SVU got a big opportunity with the recent murders of four police officers. The show’s producers decided to take their case from local authorities in Los Angeles to the state’s attorney’s office in Chicago, who is also charged with prosecuting white-collar crime.
This turned out to be the most dramatic moment of the episode, and Law & Order producer Dick Wolf said that the show’s executives thought that the show would be on the way to becoming the next Miami Vice.
“We looked at the police in Miami and said, ‘Why don’t we use the same framework of the Miami vice, of the ‘70s,’’” Wolf said.
Chicago’s show, which debuted last month, comes as the city is trying to get the murder cases out of its court system in order to reduce its jail population. Law & Order SVU has made an effort toward that effort, with a “get tough” attitude in which the “law” is the main character in both the murder cases and the courtroom drama.
“I’m not talking about the legal maneuverings and strategies and tactics, but the show,” Wolf said. “The show takes place in a big city that is going through a criminal justice scandal and a political scandal, and we’re very conscious of what has happened in Chicago, but the show is about the law. It’s about the rules of the law. It’