Crime dramas have been a staple of the television landscape since the advent of the medium. Along with comedies and soap operas, the police procedural made an easy transition from radio to TV, and starting with Dragnet in 1952, quickly became one of the most popular genres. Crime television has proven to be a fascinating reflection of changes and developments in the culture at large. In the '50s and early '60s, the square-jawed, just-the-facts detectives of The Untouchables and The FBI put police work in the best light possible. As the '60s gave way to the '70s, however, the depictions gained more subtle shading, and The Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files, and Baretta offered conflicted heroes in more complex worlds. This trend has of course continued in more recent decades, with Steven Bochco's dramas seeking a new realism through frank depictions of language and sexuality on television. In chronicling these developments and illustrating how the genre has reflected our ideas of crime and crime solving through the decades, author Douglas Snauffer provides essential reading for any fan.
This work provides a comprehensive history of detective and police shows on television, with, among other elements, production histories of seminal programs, and interviews with some of the most important writers and producers of crime television. Besides the shows listed above, this volume will also discuss such programs as: Peter Gunn, The Mod Squad, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Magnum P.I., Miami Vice, T.J. Hooker, Remington Steele, Cagney and Lacey, Murder, She Wrote, The Commish, Homicide: Life on the Street, Monk, and many more.