Why Don’t TV Cop Shows Have More Police Brutality Storylines? Blame ‘Dragnet’

Police have had a major hand in filming cop shows since the days of “Dragnet,” and critics say it’s had an impact on how America views its law enforcement

“The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

Every episode of “Dragnet,” the godfather of TV police procedurals that ran in the 1950s, began with these words. They were a promise that what viewers were about to see was a faithful re-creation of how police detectives investigate crime and how police as a whole conduct themselves in their jobs to protect and serve. It is a tradition that has continued in modern times with shows like “Hill Street Blues,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Law & Order,” “SWAT” and hundreds of crime shows that have become part of the backbone of network primetime programming.

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Jeremy Fuster

Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com