Love them or hate them, the cops are out there protecting and serving their communities. However, because police officers are so ubiquitous throughout civilized society, TV shows and movies about them and their lives have often been of great interest to the public. Just what are police officers like in real life and how do they go about their investigations? Movies and TV shows about police, detectives, and law enforcement often dig deep into how an investigation can turn on the discovery of even the most microscopic of clues, while other shows depict the police from the perspective of the accused. From exposing the darker side of operations to depicting them as heroes, the best shows about cops span a range of genres and topics.
Whatever your interest in watching the police on your TV screen or in the movies, there are a number of genres suited to the topic. Action and adventure films like Die Hard feature a lone cop trying to survive and save the day during a hostage situation while television shows like Law & Order tend to follow a more procedural drama in depicting the police. Then you have somewhat new shows about law enforcement, such as the comical Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This list compiles some of the more recent examples of police TV shows and films anyone interested in the topic are sure to enjoy.
Which police movies and shows deserve the top spots on this list? Help decide by giving your favorites a thumbs up and adding any good police movies or shows missing from the list.
- Law & Order (NBC, 1990) is an American police procedural legal drama series created by Dick Wolf. Set in New York City, the series follows an investigation of a crime, apprehension, and prosecution ...more
- The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott Glenn, ...more
- Criminal Minds (CBS, 2005) is an American police-procedural television program. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit based in Quantico, Virginia. The show ...more
- NCIS (CBS, 2003) is an American police procedural drama series created by Donald Bellisario and Don McGill. The series revolves around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal ...more
- South Boston cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes under cover to infiltrate the organization of gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). As Billy gains the mobster's trust, a career ...more
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 2000) is an American crime drama television series created by Anthony E. Zuiker. The series follows Las Vegas CSIs working for the Las Vegas Police Department as ...more
- When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grizzly ...more
- A gritty, realistic look at the life of cops in a large (and unnamed) metropolitan city. Led by Capt. Frank Furillo, the cops of the Hill Street Station kept the peace - though there were plenty of ...more
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC, 2013) is an American police procedural comedy television series created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), an immature but talented NYPD detective in ...more
- Wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) escapes from the law in an attempt to find her killer and clear his name. Pursuing him is a team of U.S. marshals led by ...more
- New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas Eve. He joins her at a holiday party in the headquarters of the ...more
- Tom Selleck stars as Frank Reagan, the New York Police Commissioner, and patriarch of the Reagan clan, a multigenerational family of cops. Frank's oldest son is Danny, a seasoned detective and Iraqi ...more
- Cop Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) attempts to track down a psychopathic rooftop killer before a kidnapped girl dies. When he is found Harry abuses the murderer's civil rights putting him back on ...more
- Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work for ...more
- Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, 2010) is an American police procedural drama television series and a remake of the original 1968-1980 television series. The title of the new show uses a zero instead of the ...more
- New York Detective "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner (Roy Scheider) chase a French heroin smuggler. ...more
- Monk (USA, 2002) is an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series created by Andy Breckman. A brilliant detective with an extreme case of OCD (Tony Shalhoub) helps the San Francisco ...more
- Two LAPD officers patrol the streets of Los Angeles. ...more
- Castle (ABC, 2009) is an American crime-comedy-drama television series created by Andrew W. Marlowe. A homicide detective (Stana Katic) reluctantly works with a best-selling mystery novelist (Nathan ...more
- The Wire (HBO, 2002) is an American crime drama television series created and written by David Simon. The series features the Baltimore drug scene, as seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law ...more
- "Fargo" is a reality-based crime drama set in Minnesota in 1987. Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is a car salesman in Minneapolis who has gotten himself into debt and is so desperate for money ...more