10 Police Procedurals With The Most Ridiculous Gimmicks

Split image 21 Jump Street, Castle, Gourmet Detective

The police procedural is one of the most common and safest TV formulas. Some of these series have lasted more than two decades and are among the most viewed shows on television. However, in the search for a good hook, some of these cop shows reach for gimmicks to set themselves apart from other crime shows. These are often silly, even if the show itself is good.

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The use of a gimmick to sell a cop show is nothing new. For as long as the genre has existed, showrunners have tried to make their projects stand out. However, the ideas are ridiculous all the same and can require a lot of suspension of disbelief. The bending of genres, silly plot devices, and inclusion of absurd character quirks can all make a series sound silly from the first episode – even if it’s otherwise a solid show.

10 Monk Uses Its Quirky Hero As The Selling Point

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Monk is one of the best detective shows ever made, and stars Tony Shalhoub as the titular hero. Rather than use a setting, sub-genre, or unusual plot device as its selling point, Monk instead depends on the quirky nature and psychological disorders of its lead as the gimmick.

While the result is an excellent series with strong character development, it’s an incredibly unusual direction for a series to lead with. However, despite its sensitive subject matter, Monk was a very compelling and interesting series that managed to keep viewers guessing.

9 Mrs. Columbo Was Just A Shallow Rebranded Spin-Off

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Columbo is widely regarded as one of the most influential detective shows of the 20th century, undoubtedly inspiring shows like Monk and even House. It followed a detective with astute observational skills who would often solve a crime immediately and lead audiences through his investigation.

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After the series ended, Mrs. Columbo was put into production. Mrs. Columbo was an obvious and shallow copy of the original show that made no case to viewers beyond the connection to Columbo. Viewers didn’t give the show much attention, and it was canceled after one season.

8 The Rookie Pokes Fun At The Mid-Life Crisis

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Rookie Sees a Significant Breakup and a Proposal in the Same Episode

The Rookie stars Nathan Fillion as John Nolan, a man who decides to pursue his dream of being a cop in his 40s. Although it’s not impossible for an older man to become a rookie cop, the hook of a newbie policeman undergoing a mid-life crisis is a stretch.

However, the absurdities aren’t limited to The Rookie’s main character. Some other rookies who joined the cast have brought their own eccentricities to the series. As good as it is for characters to be unique, the show pushes suspension of disbelief too far.

7 Life On Mars Is Great But Relies On Novelty

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Sam Tyler on the roof of the police station in Life on Mars

British sci-fi cop show Life On Mars is an excellent series for fans of an unusual idea. It follows a modern British detective transported back to the 1970s, where he adjusts to an older method of policing. In the grittier, more unrefined era, he finds himself slowly feeling more at home.

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Life On Mars is by no means a bad series in pitch or execution, but its premise is obviously impossible, and audiences only buy in for the novelty. A time-traveling detective show sounds cool, but few can deny how much of a deviation it is from standard cop shows.

6 21 Jump Street Depended On Cops Who Seemingly Never Aged

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As great as the series may have been, the pitch for 21 Jump Street wears thin the further into the series fans watch. It depended on the use of young-looking police officers to infiltrate criminal operations related to schools. Despite being an iconic show, this method of policing was silly.

21 Jump Street was campy, tried too hard to connect with young audiences of its day, and was just unbelievable. Some episodes even saw the officers spend the bulk of the runtime dealing with teenage drama problems, to the point they’d forget their role in the school. Even stranger, they managed to pass as teens for five years.

5 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Is Great Fun But Beyond Belief

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The main cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has definitely earned its reputation as one of the best sitcoms of the 2010s, if not the best. However, from the outset, fans are told to suspend their disbelief at the level of antics that goes on inside the 99 police precinct.

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Everything from Jake’s conduct to the absurd degree of Scully and Hitchcock’s incompetence shows fans that the events are nonsense. Despite being a good, fun series, the hook of Brooklyn Nine-Nine requires fans to accept a department of hijinks, jokes, and unrealistic drama.

4 Numb3rs Used Math To Solve Crime

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Although the idea of applying mathematics to crime solving could be good in theory, in Numb3rs the idea was much too forced. The episodes obviously manufactured obscure and strange ways to apply math to the crime just so the characters could get to use their gimmick.

Numb3rs wasn’t weak for its application of math to crime solving, but rather the way math would feature within the episodes. The number of math-themed crimes that occurred within the show’s existence was improbable and almost always felt forced.

3 Castle Never Would Have Been Allowed To Stick Around

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The pilot episode of Castle and its setup made a lot of sense. When a prominent crime novelist’s books become the inspiration for murders, the police turn to him for help – after suspecting him. However, that partnership managed to continue beyond the pilot for a full eight years.

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As much sense as the pilot made, the idea of letting a jokey novelist tag along for eight years of crime-solving is quite ridiculous. A casual consultation job could make sense, but the frequency of his involvement stretches the imagination.

2 The Gourmet Detective Based A Show Around Food-Based Crimes

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Gourmet Detective main characters

The Gourmet Detective’s absurd premise might be partially responsible for the fact that it only ran for five episodes. The series focuses on a “gourmet detective,” who uses his expertise in the kitchen to help solve a number of murders related to food.

The crime genre has seen numerous series that combine an unusual area of expertise with crime solving, but this went to a silly degree. Although food can be used to help in an investigation, the idea that it would be vital in every murder on the show was just laughable and clearly forced.

1 Cop Rock Tried To Make A Musical Police Procedural

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>10 Police Procedurals With The Most Ridiculous Gimmicks Funimation India

Cop Rock had an absurd gimmick from the start. The series tried to balance the police procedural formula with song and dance. The results weren’t great. Despite having some strong acting talent onboard, the series’ ridiculous hook didn’t fit the genre.

The outcome of Cop Rock’s gimmick created a confusing tone, and viewers were left to wonder if it was supposed to be taken seriously. It’s difficult to grapple with the otherwise somber tone of a crime series when any scene could transition from a crime to a musical number.

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