Thursday, November 16, 2006

Top Cops

I recently bought my first ever DVD. I love films, but I don't think I would ever want to watch even my favourites more than once a year or so, so seeing them at the cinema, hiring them on DVD or waiting for them to be shown on TV is fine with me. But this was TV programme, so actually it was a box set; Season II of "The Wire". A few years ago, I had heard rumours on American radio of this brilliant cop show where not much happens and that's the whole point . I watched the first series on MTV3 in Finland, where it had been put in a real graveyard slot, late night on saturdays I think. I probably only discovered it because recent fatherhood had curtailed my previously more interesting saturday evenings - either at the cinema or out with mates for a drink. They started showing the second season this autumn at a similarly ridiculous time; I missed the first two episodes, watched one, then missed the next - got annoyed, looked it up on and thought as they had it for twenty quid reduced from fifty, that this wasn't too much for 15 hours or so of entertainment.

I love police shows, British and American, but currently The Wire is the best. But who is the best TV cop? The contenders:

Detective William "Bunk" Moreland (played by Wendell Pierce), "The Wire". This man doesn't talk, he rumbles like a passing freight train. He is Barry White with a badge and gun. Although all the girls will love and the all the blokes want to look like Officer Jimmy McNulty, it's Bunk who really has the style.

Detective Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz), "NYPD Blue". In Finland we're watching the last season of NYPD (or as it is said by at least my Finnish better-half, "Nuuuped"), and Sipowicz a volcano of man, at last appears to have become dormant. Dennis Franz has created a masterpiece with Sipowicz, it must be exhausting to act that level of pent-up rage day after day. I can't remember when NYPD started, it feels like I've been watching the development of Sipowicz for most of my life. I'll miss him when he's gone.

Detective Vic Mackey(Michael Chiklis), "The Shield". The "new Sipowicz" for cop-show-connoisseurs. Mackey lacks the critical introspection of Sipowicz, but then he hasn't sunk to the personal depths that Andy did. He has moments of moral clarity but can't seem to hang onto them. I'm sure Vic and Tony Soprano would get on well.

Any other suggestions via the comments are welcome.


Tom Fuller said...

Does Det. Frank Drebin count?



Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

I feel you might not be taking this with the seriousness it demands Tom! ;-)

Dave C said...

Having seen some late episodes of NYPD Blue recently I'd have to agree with you about Sipowicz.

BTW, if you want to see an unlikely, but quite brilliant cop show then try and find the Danish show "Unit One" (that's the translated title here in Oz.) The best cop show I have seen in years, we get it on our multi-cultural channel with sub-titles (and it is available on DVD here as well.)