A Police Procedural is concerned with an accurate representation of the day to day realities and procedures of the police and law enforcement. It's a very specific sub-genre of crime fiction. The Police Procedural is almost the antithesis of the Cop Show
. The Police Procedural is characterized by the lack of emphasis on the character's personal lives and the increased focus on the nuts-and-bolts of law enforcement.
This term is also sometimes used specifically to describe the "Reverse Whodunnit
" style of crime drama made famous by Columbo
, despite the fact that most examples have very little to do with actual police procedure.
Note that the focus on "realistic" police work doesn't mean the show has to be set in "reality". A show looking at the day-to-day routine of the Space Police
is still a procedural.
Both the Police Procedural and the Cop Show are sometimes called "Precinct Shows".
See also: Criminal Procedural
, Forensic Drama
, Buddy Cop Show
, Cop Show
Live Action TV
Anime and Manga
Film - Live Action
- Fell is about a detective in a Darker and Edgier part of town.
- Gotham Central follows the Major Case Squad of the Gotham City Police Department as they deal with crimes and the villains that plague the city.
- Top 10 is a superhero Police Procedural.
- High and Low: The second half of Akira Kurosawa's film, based on Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novel, King's Ransom.
- Hit Team: The only Hong Kong movie that centers on the Hong Kong Police Force's secretive Surveillance Support Unit.
- M by Fritz Lang's and its sort-of sequel The Last Will of Dr. Mabuse are some of the earliest cinematic examples, starring Otto Wernicke as Kommissar Lohmann of the Berlin police.
- The Next Generation -Patlabor-: The live-action sequel of the Patlabor series, based on the movie timeline.
- White Heat, despite being known mainly for James Cagney's manic performance ("Made it, Ma! Top of the world!"), with details on how undercover police go about gaining the trust of a villain, and details on how a vehicle tail is conducted.
- Fire in the Sky: Although this film is an alien abduction story, the focus is not on the abduction but on the police investigation. This police procedural takes up about half of the film time.
- Detective Story shows the everyday routine of the 21st Precinct, the issues they have to deal with, from petty complaints by citizens, to minor felonies, to major crimes.
- The Naked City is told from the view point of the staff working at the homicide department, and thus providing us with many of the details of daily detective work.
- He Walked By Night