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TV cops: Fact vs. myth

Adrenaline-fueled, high-drama television cop shows offer a distorted picture of reality


The other night we had some non-law enforcement friends over for dinner. As the children were watching a popular police drama on TV, the conversation turned to what was happening on that show. 

Some questions were asked and, after 45 minutes, I decided to burst everyone’s bubble. It was time to explain fact from myth. Here are 23 facts that set the record straight about real cops vs. TV cops: 

1. Crime is not solved in one hour with eight commercials.

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts from a Jim Nabors television special. (Photo/CBS Television)
Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts from a Jim Nabors television special. (Photo/CBS Television)

2. Seldom have I thrown my badge across my Captain’s desk.

3. When seconds count, help is just a few minutes away.

4. I never responded to a call with smoking tires and blaring up-beat music.

5. Investigations take time.

6. Detectives have a case load; they are not just assigned one case at a time.

7. I never saw a gun shot out of a suspect’s hand.

8. I never beat a confession out of a suspect.

9. Crime scene personnel do not interview and arrest suspects.

10. There is a lot of paperwork for every action taken and it does not wait until the morning.

11. Bartenders are not usually pulled across the bar.

12. I can’t remember the last time someone went rogue.

13. I only said once,” Book ‘em Danno, murder one.”

14. Jumping through a window is not a smart move.

15. Most of the time I drive without lights and siren.

16. State attorneys are never walking around the station house.

17. I have never had to make the choice between cutting the blue wire or red wire.

18. I have never jumped onto a moving car, bus, train or ship.

19. No one just walks onto a crime scene.

20. I have never seen someone lick their finger and state, “That’s cocaine!”

21. All my weapons are department approved.

22. If a SWAT team is called, they go in first.

23. Female detectives do not wear high heels.

By the time I was done explaining fact from myth, police work did not seem all that glamorous. But it sure is damn rewarding.

What TV cop myths would you like to debunk? Share in the comments below.

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