Since the original cop shows, made for everyone of all ages to watch, became censored by age the content within these shows changed with the evolution of how morbid a show. Show genres that once showed mild violence became genres full of blood, gore, dead bodies, and anything inbetween.
Crime shows that were once made to be family friendly were now made to keep up with the increasing demand for violence in the media instead of just there to show cops fighting mild criminals. Shows of this genre started having the common theme of them all feeling the need to be a dramatic as possible because if anything brings in views it is definitely drama whether there is too much to be realistic or not.
Another theme seen in many but not as many shows as the aforementioned themes was the interteam romance that keeps the views on the edge of their seats over what will happen to them next because nothing is better than fictional romances.
The purpose of crime shows was to create a show that would give a “realistic” perspective on the agencies in charge of crime. These shows consisted of the usually weekly cases with the main character acting as hero who can keep evil at bay giving the viewers of this era a sense of safety. This was the original model of crime shows that are now a rare occurrence with shows like the U.S. aired Battle Creek and the U.K. aired Death in Paradise that feature the classic jaded detective and the enthusiastic rookie.
While these shows were popular enough many of the most successful crime shows of the 21st century go with the more modern vigilante crime model with shows such as Leverage, where criminals take on the role of modern day Robin Hoods by stealing from the corrupt rich and giving to the poor; Dexter, where serial killer working as a forensic blood spatter analyst for Miami-Metro Police Department kills as a way of dealing his own form of justice; and Burn Notice, where a burned spy fights crime using the skills he acquired during his career. Another difference from the original model is the creation of cop comedies such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Psych in which writers write a less serious take on crime with a comedic element to it that keeps the views laughing while enjoying their usual interest in crime shows.
Of course, there are still the roots of the classic crime model with shows such as Criminal Minds, where the characters work as FBI agents in the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU); Bones, where the main characters work for as agents of FBI or as consultants of the FBI; NCIS, where the characters work as agents for the NCIS Major Case Response Team; and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, where the characters work for New York Police Department.
There are also shows based off of the even older model, the thriller model from literature. This model is what can be called the Sherlock and Watson model. Some examples of this is Bones (Brennan and Booth), the modern U.K. revival of the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Sherlock (Sherlock Holmes and John Watson), and the modern U.S. revival of the same Sherlock Holmes books in Elementary (Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson).
No matter how much crime shows change though or how different they appear to be, at their core they are still all shows that demonstrate their own form of justice no matter how different their beliefs and methods of doing so are.
Written by Ashleigh McCoy