Call 911: Cop Shows Have Officially Taken A Turn For The Absurd
Who’s solving crime on television these days?
On one hand we’ve got “Detectives Olivia Benson” (Mariska Hargitay) and “Fin Tutuola” (Ice-T) careening up, siren blaring with the red light spinning on top of the car; the ubiquitous ‘Blue Bloods’ clan; the squads from ‘Rookie Blue’, ‘Major Crimes’, ‘Hawaii Five-0’, ‘Longmire’ and ‘Chicago PD’; plus those two from ‘Motive’, not to be confused with the other two from ‘The Bridge’ or ‘The Killing’ or ‘Murder In The First’.
What they all have in common is that, at least in these procedural dramas, all the characters are “on the job.” The down side is that they all make the life threatening, scary, and often monotonous work of real police officers seem more glorified and badass-cool than it actually is.
However, that’s better than the other brand of law enforcement portrayed in shows like ‘Castle’, ‘The Mentalist’, ‘Elementary’, ‘White Collar’ and the newest citizen-as-peudo-cop entry: ‘Taxi Brooklyn’ -- all shows I refer to as, “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” TV.
I admit that I got used to best-selling mystery novelist, “Richard Castle” (Nathan Fillion), who partnered with NYPD “Detective Kate Beckett” (Stana Katic) as research, because of his City Hall connections.
I’ve also learned to live with psychic friend, “Patrick Jane” (Simon Baker), of ‘The Mentalist’.
Because I’m a fan of Lucy Liu, I tolerate “Sherlock Holmes” (Jonny Lee Miller) on ‘Elementary’, as the former Scotland Yard consultant and post-rehab drug addict slueth.
I’m even amused by “FBI Special Agent Peter Burke” (Tim DeKay) needing help from art forger and thief “Neal Caffrey” (Matt Bomer) on ‘White Collar’.
But I am drawing the line at ‘Taxi Brooklyn’.
Maverick (yawn) NYPD detective "Cat Sullivan” (Chyler Leigh) has her driving privileges suspended after she’s wrecked yet another police vehicle, so she relies on cab driver “Leo Romba” (Jacky Ido) – living here after a stint in a French prison – to drive her around. But it doesn’t stop at chauffering. Leo helps her track down bad guys.
I live in New York City. I have had taxi drivers who could not find their way from uptown to downtown without explicit directions, let alone find a serial killer who is plaguing the city.
After watching the first six episodes – that’s six hours of my life that I will never get back – Episode 6 was the deal breaker, as Leo is now accompanying Cat to crime scenes. That’s right, inside the yellow police tape to possibly trample on evidence that could be useful in discovering whodunit.
A woman has been killed. She is the wife of a criminal called The Stalker, who is in Sing Sing. Her murderer uses her husband’s M.O. It must be a copycat.
Cat doesn’t want to work the case. Too close. See, she was once kidnapped and almost killed by The Stalker.
Instead of her captain telling her to get to work, he gets Leo to charm Cat into changing her mind. Leo has sway that apparently a direct order from her superior officer does not.
Cat agrees do it, but only if Leo shadows her 24/7. If you were a cop, who was on a case involving a criminal who might try to repeat an assault already done to you, wouldn’t you want another cop, or perhaps a whole swat team with weapons, to have your back? What’ll the cabbie do, throw his trip sheet at the killer and cause a deadly paper cut?
Aside from investigating crime scenes, Leo has accompanied Cat to interview witnesses, participates in briefing meetings with the captain and other detectives, and walks around the precinct drinking bad squad room coffee like he belongs there. Leo even tags along to the morgue, when the next of kin is identifying the latest victim of the stalker copycat, and the relative doesn’t even question who the cabbie is, even when Leo is questioning him.
Cat decides that Leo needs to drive her to Sing Sing to see if the The Stalker has any idea who killed his wife. Cat, the tough as nails maverick, gets queasy during the interrogation and, yes, Leo takes over. (FYI: The Stalker is the only one smart enough to ask Leo who he is. Leo doesn't respond.) Since he’s served time, Leo speaks The Stalker’s language and gets the inmate to answer questions that the trained detective could not. Seriously?
Now, the same captain, who had demanded Cat take the case, wants her off it.
Cat can’t go home because the stalker copycat is, as predicted, now after her, so she has no choice but to stay with Leo. What happened to the safe house on ‘Law & Order’ where the NYPD used to keep witnesses out of harms way? They wouldn't hide one of their own?
Over dinner that he's cooked for Cat, her mother and his roommate, a random comment is all it takes for Leo to get an idea as to whom the killer might be.
He and Cat then go looking for the copycat, who gets the drop on them. In an effort to rescue Cat, Leo is stabbed "in the line of duty.” Cat, her captain and the cops at the precinct donate blood to save him.
On next week’s episode, Leo acts as a decoy, aka goes undercover, to catch guest star, Annabella Sciorra.
I’m going to catch a cab now, to take me to the doctor, since my head hurts from shaking it so much.