The Best Police Corruption Shows

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Vote up the best scripted TV shows that delve into the darkness of police corruption.

Good cop, bad cop. Whether it's dishing out vigilante justice or just taking a little bribe money, this list of the best shows about police corruption features characters that turn on the institution of law enforcement. FX's The Shield entertained audiences with seven seasons of amoral detective work and received plenty of awards for it, proving that sometimes the ends justify the means.

This list of shows about police corruption is ranked from the best to the worst, based on votes from the Ranker community. Thanks to you, we can find the very best TV shows about compellingly crooked cops. The shows on this list include Watchmen, which boasts an Emmy-winning performance from Regina King, as well as We Own This City, a 2022 HBO police corruption TV show that has drawn comparisons to The Wire.

What do you think are some good shows about police corruption? Vote up the police corruption TV shows you think are the best and see where your favorite shows rank.

  • The Shield
    Photo: FX
    50 votes

    Operating out of a converted church, an experimental division of the Los Angeles Police Department uses criminal methods to coerce information and stage arrests and take a share of various drug busts. The Shield's cast, led by Michael Chiklis, boasts quite a bit of star power including Glenn Close and Forest Whitaker in extended roles. It also enjoyed continued critical acclaim over its run, including an Emmy for Michael Chiklis.

    • Actors: Michael Chiklis, Benito Martinez, CCH Pounder, Jay Karnes, Glenn Close
    • Premiered: March 12, 2002

    Available On:


  • The Wire
    Photo: The Wire
    15 votes

    The Wire thematically follows five different institutions in the city of Baltimore and their relation to law enforcement, told through the eyes of recurring characters and continuing storylines. The drama collected an extensive cast over the years including popular characters played by Dominic West, Idris Elba, Andre Royo, and Michael K. Williams. During its airing, the series only received average viewership and received no major awards but is retroactively considered one of the greatest television shows of all time due to its hyper realistic portrayal of crime and urban life, use of real-life Baltimore and Maryland figures, and multi-layered narratives.

    • Actors: Dominic West, John Doman, Frankie R. Faison, Wood Harris, Domenick Lombardozzi
    • Premiered: June 2, 2002

    Available On:



  • We Own This City
    Photo: We Own This City

    Based on the nonfiction book of the same name, We Own This City traces the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department's Gun Trace Task Force and the corruption surrounding it. The ensemble cast features Jon Bernthal in the lead role as well as Wunmi Mosaku, Jamie Hector, and Josh Charles. The series has received critical acclaim, including one review calling it a “spiritual successor to The Wire with an even more pessimistic outlook on law enforcement.”

    • Actors: Jon Bernthal, Wunmi Mosaku, Jamie Hector, McKinley Belcher, Darrell Britt-Gibson
    • Premiered: April 25, 2022

    Available On:

  • ADA Decourcy Ward and corrupt FBI veteran Jackie Rohr join forces to tackle a case that will change the city's justice system forever. Aldis Hodge and Kevin Bacon play the central two characters in the series, which was based on a story by Ben Affleck and Charlie MacLean. City on a Hill was praised for being ambitious and entertaining even if it didn't always land gracefully.

    • Actors: Aldis Hodge, Kevin Bacon, Jonathan Tucker, Mark O'Brien, Lauren E. Banks
    • Premiered: June 16, 2019

    Available On:

  • Shades of Blue
    Photo: Shades of Blue / NBC

    NYPD detective Harlee Santos is forced by the FBI to go undercover and investigate her squad, headed up by Matt Wozniak, after being confronted about her own complicit corruption. Jennifer Lopez stars opposite Ray Liotta with Drea de Matteo, Warren Kole, and Dayo Okeniyi playing supporting roles. Critics praised the performance of Lopez especially, and considered the show a glossy, fun ride. 

    • Actors: Jennifer Lopez, Ray Liotta, Drea de Matteo, Hampton Fluker, Warren Kole
    • Premiered: January 7, 2016

    Available On:

  • 6
    5 votes

    Set fifteen years after the events of the 2001 film, Officer Kyle Craig partners with the morally ambiguous Detective Frank Roarke as he infiltrates the LAPD's Special Investigation Section. Bill Paxton stars as Roarke, in one of his final roles before passing, while Justin Cornwell plays his rookie partner. The show received mixed reviews for being entertaining but not always being able to distinguish itself from other police procedurals.

    • Actors: Bill Paxton, Justin Cornwell, Katrina Law, Drew Van Acker, Lex Scott Davis
    • Premiered: February 2, 2017