There's a new cop show on the TV landscape, ABC's Detroit 1-8-7, and it's just like all the other cop shows that have been on in the last ten years. Except it's way worse.
The Pitch: Detroit 1-8-7 is the Wire meets NYPD Blue meets Southland meets the first ten minutes of Beverly Hills Cop
The Set Up: Detroit 1-8-7 is like every other hard-boiled, no nonsense cop show ever on TV. The show centers around a bunch of detectives and follows their lives and cases. Originally, the pilot included a documentary aspect, the conceit was that a film crew was following these cops around and that would have given the show a slightly original aspect going for it. The network had the doc element removed because they felt that it didn't allow for actual verisimilitude ironically; the problem was that they didn't think that the character played by Michael Imperioli plays wouldn't act the way he acts knowing that he was being filmed. And that may be. What it resulted in, however, is a completely bland show that doesn't have a wit of personality or distinctiveness, it doesn't even bother to make use of being set in Detroit, it could be any crumbling urban environment. The show is totally rote in every way. Like this sequence, where Imperioli comforts a woman whose daughter-in-law has been killed and then complains that he can't work with his new partner.
Cringe Factor: (Out of 10): 7. The goofiest thing about this pilot is that they label the two cases that the cops are working on as if we're peering into some sort of video case file. And, in the most obvious non-twist of all time, the two of them are connected. There's simply nothing to recommend this show: it doesn't stand out in any distinctive way at all. What's worse is that draws from so many other recent cop shows - it attempts to combine the grittiness of NYPD Blue, the slight doc element of Southland and the savvy of the Wire but all it can do is a terrible impression of those shows. Like this scene where two cops hunt for a bullet casing, which was much more compelling when McNulty and Bunk did it in the scene where they only said "fuck."
Over/Under for Cancellation: 12 episodes. This just can't hang on for long, there's no compelling reason to watch, especially when the Wire is available on DVD. And, if you've seen the wire, there's even less of a reason to watch, since you've seen it all before but done way better. Plus, ABC couldn't sell Life on Mars a few years ago and that was show that had a lot of personality and was really well done, which seems problematic for Detroit 1-8-7's prospects. It'll probably be gone by mid-season.