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[[quoteright:350:[[Series/TheSopranos http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sopranos_family.png]]]]

The equal and opposite of the CopShow and PoliceProcedural, the Criminal Procedural is a type of CrimeAndPunishmentSeries that focuses on people who are on the ''wrong'' side of the law, and especially their present-day transgressions of it. Examples often focus on certain types of criminals:

'''[[ConMan Con Men]] and [[GentlemanThief Gentlemen Thieves]]''' are the most popular, since it's easy to make them sympathetic to the audience by making [[TheMark their victims]] rich and greedy. They are also usually charismatic and attractive. Their shows are usually light in tone and there will almost certainly be one episode where they actually help the police to take down a violent (and therefore "bad") criminal. There may be a recurring police officer who tries (and fails) to capture the protagonists, or who coerces them into helping him out with his investigations.

* See also: TheCaper, TheCon.
* Examples: ''Series/{{Hustle}}'', ''Series/ItTakesAThief1968'', ''Franchise/LupinIII'', ''Film/OceansEleven'', ''Series/{{Leverage}}''

'''Outsiders/Hangers On''' are the next rung down on the popularity ladder. Generally petty crooks, fencers, forgers, dealers of soft drugs and other people who are on the wrong side of the law but not sufficiently nasty to put off the viewing audience. Expect the really nasty criminals to pop up more regularly, usually as a plot device if the protagonists owe them money/drugs/something else. The outsiders are usually cowardly or otherwise non-violent. These guys typically star in dark comedies.

* See also: TheAggressiveDrugDealer (antithesis)
* Examples: ''Series/{{Weeds}}'', ''Series/LockStock'', ''Series/BreakingBad'' (roughly first half), ''Series/{{Ideal}}''.

'''Hardcore/Organised Criminals''' are the least popular protagonists for Criminal Procedurals, largely because they have to be shown to be despicable people in order to come across as being remotely realistic. It's also difficult to play down the crimes that they commit: murder, extortion, dealing in highly dangerous drugs, etc. As a result, such series tend to be very adult in tone and morally complex, and therefore not attractive to advertisers. Where there is humour, it tends to be pitch black.

* Examples: ''Series/TheSopranos'', ''Series/TheWire'', ''Film/TheGodfather'' (Book and Movie), ''Breaking Bad'' (roughly second half)

'''Convicts''' do not fit comfortably into the popularity ladder. This is because, since they have been taken off the street and are (in theory) paying for their crimes, they don't necessarily have to be shown committing criminal acts. Or, when they do commit such acts, they are usually in flashbacks, as a part of the convict's origin story - or against fellow inmates, which attacks can be seen as justified to some viewers. As a result, series set in {{prison}} can have wildly different tones, from harrowing to comedic.

* See also: {{Prison}}, PrisonRape, LuxuryPrisonSuite
* Examples: ''Series/{{Oz}}'', ''Series/PrisonBreak'', ''Series/{{Porridge}}'', ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack''


[[folder:{{Anime}}, {{Light Novel}}s, and {{Manga}}]]
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'' is an action/comedy [=Franchise=] about a GentlemanThief and his accomplices.
* ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' encompasses just about all four types of "people outside the law" and even introduces characters that seem to fit in a criminal archetype all their own.
* ''Manga/CatsEye'' is about a team of sisters trying to steal back their inheritance GentlemanThief style.

* ''Hard Time'' was a short-lived but critically acclaimed Creator/DCComics series that combined convicts in prison with more fantastic elements. (It did ''not'' take place in Franchise/TheDCU.)
* ''ComicBook/SecretSix'' straddled the line, focusing on a team of villains who were initially bootstrapped together by a mysterious backer, but banded together while taking "gray jobs" to make money.
* ''ComicBook/ThePunisherMAX'' arguably falls into the third type. As this version of Frank Castle goes to far greater extremes in his holy war against crime. To the point that he more or less comes across as a glorified [[SerialKillerKiller serial killer who happens to go after other killers]].

* ''Film/ToCatchAThief'' had Cary Grant as a suave jewel thief who supposedly had retired, until thefts in his style started happening again...
* ''Film/CatchThatKid''. A movie about a girl and her friends who team up to rob the bank her mother works for to pay for her father's surgery.
* ''Film/TheHotRock'': Robert Redford as GentlemanThief Dortmunder. See ''Literature'' below.
* ''Film/TheSting'': Robert Redford and Paul Newman team up to scam a racketeer. The inspiration for and referenced by many others on this list.
* ''The Sting II''
* ''Film/{{Sneakers}}'': Robert Redford as the leader of a team of shady (but ''mostly'' licit) "security experts".
* ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid'': Robert Re... look, let's just say that Robert Redford really likes the GentlemanThief type and [[TheCaper capers]].
* Creator/QuentinTarantino likes this genre as well. ''Film/ReservoirDogs'' follows a cadre of bank robbers (and one undercover cop) on a heist that goes pretty far awry.
* Also from Tarantino is ''Film/PulpFiction'', whose main characters are [[ThoseTwoBadGuys two contract killers]], their imposing boss, a boxer who's killed a man in the ring by way of ripping the boss off, and two sweetheart stickup artists whose victims include the contract killers, although [[MuggingTheMonster "victim" isn't really the right word]].

* ''Literature/TheHotRock'' and all of Donald E. Westlake's "Literature/{{Dortmunder}}" books involve cons, capers, criminals, and gentlemen thieves.
* Also from Westlake (under his Richard Stark psuedonym), the Literature/{{Parker}} novels. In contrast to the Dortmunder books, the Parker books are dark, violent, and star an utterly amoral VillainProtagonist.
* The ''Literature/GentlemanBastard'' series is about con men in a fantasy world vaguely resembling a GrimDark Renaissance.
* ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'': The Vlad Taltos series chronicles the adventures of a mobster/assassin in a fantasy world.

* ''Series/TheAmericans'' examines what it takes to be an illegal spy (sleeper KBG agent) in Reagan's United States. It involves murder and deception on a regular basis.
* ''Series/TheBlackDonnellys'' is about in Irish-American gang
* ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire'' explores the organized crime ventures and opportunities opened in the wake of [[TheRoaringTwenties the Volstead Act]] in New Jersey, New York and Chicago.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'' about a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher turned meth cook turned drug kingpin. Features an excellent ProtagonistJourneyToVillain.
* ''Series/{{Brotherhood}}'' is about the worlds of two brothers, one a politician and the other a mob boss, wind up intersecting.
* ''Series/DarkJustice'' follows Judge Nicholas Marshall, who after his wife and daughter are [[MurderByMistake killed by a car bomb meant for him]] before the series starts, turns vigilante and forms a team of minor repentant criminals to run sting operations by night to catch the criminals that get OffOnATechnicality in his courtroom by day.
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' follows Dexter Morgan, a forensic specialist by day and SerialKiller who [[SerialKillerKiller goes after other killers]] by night. Interestingly, also a {{Police Procedural}}.
* ''Series/{{Gangland Undercover}}'', is an American factual drama miniseries about Charles Falco, a former ATF confidential informant who infiltrated an outlaw motorcycle gang.
* ''Series/HapAndLeonard'' is a drama series based on the characters Hap and Leonard, created by novelist Joe R. Lansdale and adapted by his series of novels of the same name.
* ''Series/{{Hustle}}'' is a British TV series about a group of con artists, heavily inspired by the remake of the movie ''Film/OceansEleven''.
* ''Series/{{Ideal}}'' is a sitcom about a small-time drug dealer.
* ''Series/{{Intelligence 2006}}'' is partly about an organized crime group engaged in the marijuana trade.
* ''Series/ItTakesAThief1968'' with Robert Wagner was probably the first television program to do this.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'': A formulaic but truly fun show where a band of TrueCompanions conmen/thieves/hitters/hackers/etc. take down the rich and greedy.
* ''Series/LockStock'', a spin-off from the movie ''Film/LockStockAndTwoSmokingBarrels'', featured a gang of Outsiders who invariably ended up on the wrong side of much nastier London gangsters.
* ''Series/MurphysLaw'' is about undercover cop Tommy Murphy and the various criminal organizations (and in some cases, prisons) he enters.
* ''Series/{{Narcos}}'' chronicles the drug empire built by Pablo Escobar and the efforts to capture him.
* ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack'' is BasedOnATrueStory about a woman who was sent to prison for helping her girlfriend transport illegal drugs.
* ''Series/{{Oz}}'' is an infamously violent show set in a US prison with a multitude of rapes, castrations, murders and more rapes.
* ''Series/{{Ozark}}'' is about a white collar family man who must start up a new money laundering business in the Lake of the Ozarks to pay back a cartel he stole from.
* ''Series/PeakyBlinders'' based on RealLife [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaky_Blinders street gangs]] in early 20th century [[UsefulNotes/TheMidlands Birmingham]] ([[LondonEnglandSyndrome the English one]]), and their attempts to gain prominence in the underworld against more powerful and influential gangsters. Also features some very [[CorruptCop bent coppers]] as well as appearances from the [[UsefulNotes/TheTroubles IRA]], communists, anarchists and a pre-Prime Minister UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill.
* ''Series/{{Porridge}}'' is a BritCom set in a small prison.
* ''{{Series/Power}}'': Ghost, a powerful drug dealer, attempts to go legit by opening a night club. However, many of his associates are against this, including his wife. And many of his enemies sees this an act of weakness and an opportunity to take over his empire.
* ''Series/RedWidow'': The daughter of a {{Mafiya}} boss who has to continue the criminal work of her husband after he is killed.
* ''Series/TheSaint'' was a GentlemanThief with RobinHood tendencies, although the TV version downplayed this, portraying him more as an AmateurSleuth whom a police detective had [[InspectorJavert an inexplicable grudge against]].
* ''Serimoney''. The series also focuses on other prisoners and uses {{flashback}}s to detail their crimes.
* ''Series/SneakyPete'' is about a con man infiltrating his old cellmate's family by masquerading as him in an effort to rob them and pay back a mobster.
* ''Series/SonsOfAnarchy'' is about an outlaw motorcycle club operating a variety of criminal activities ranging from petty to extreme. Shades of grey abound, but even some of the most murderous characters are oddly lovable.
* ''Series/TheSopranos'' is probably the best known example: a high-profile, critically acclaimed show following the exploits of Tony Soprano, mafia boss, and the various members of his two families.
* ''Series/{{Spotless}}''
* ''Series/TheStraits'' is about the deadly smuggling trade between northern UsefulNotes/{{Australia}} and UsefulNotes/PapuaNewGuinea. It focuses on infighting in the Montebello crime family, but also how a drug trade between a developed nation (Australia) and a developing nation (PNG) impacts the people on all sides who get caught up in it.
* ''Series/{{Weeds}}'' is a comedy/drama about a bereaved housewife who starts selling marijuana to pay the bills.
* ''Series/TheWire'' tends to be evenly split between the lives of the criminals and the lives of the cops that are stalking them. Later seasons broadened this to politicians, journalists, and children who are getting into a life of crime.

* ''Radio/TheLivesOfHarryLime'' was about the exploits of con man Harry Lime, played by Creator/OrsonWelles.

* ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt'' centers around a RealityShow featuring several prisoners and convicts, all trying to earn their way out.