It’s funny to think that not too many years ago, TV was filled with straight-up police procedurals. They had always been with us, of course, going back to Dragnet (generally regarded as Hollywood’s first cop show) , and on through Police Story, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and of course to Law and Order and its many clones. True, throughout that time we had PI shows (The Rockford Files, Magnum P.I., Spenser for Hire), and action-oriented crime solving (The A-Team, Maguyver, Charlie’s Angels), and certainly more than one amateur sleuth hour ( Diagnosis Murder, Murder She Wrote, Jonathan Creek), but even they were fairly prosaic in nature: “Help, Crime!” “Don’t worry, I’ll solve it, I’m a surgeon/mystery writer/magician.” “Okay, cool, thanks.”
PI shows, action-oriented crime solving and amateur sleuth hours are all still with us, happily, and it must be said that they have been getting more outlandish as time goes by. Unless it’s just me, and shows about pie makers who can bring the dead back life, prison escapees who seek to unravel political conspiracies and war vets who miraculously locate lost stuff have not, in fact, taken the field to a whole new level of crazy fun. But it is only quite recently that the quirky, often bizarrely-gifted, crime fighter has taken over the traditional procedural, as well.
[Welcome to the age of odd]