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Must TV cops have enough issues for a magazine?



Don’t get me wrong. In their heyday, I was all about the characters of Bobby Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) on Law and Order: Criminal Intent and Gil Grissom (William Petersen) on the original C.S.I. While Goren was always odd, he’s gotten stranger (and a lot chubbier and unkempt) over the years. Now we all know that Jeff Goldblum will be joining the cast to replace Mr. Big Chris Noth. I can’t think of Goldblum not playing a role full of quirks, can you?

But I started thinking about things. You know, there are very few cops out there in TV land who just lead mundane normal kind of personal lives. It’s not Adam-12 or Dragnet out there and it’s been a lot of years since normal was the norm.So let’s take a trip to the recent precincts and clack about all these issues with those sworn to protect and serve us …

Bobby Goren, C.S.I.: Criminal Intent

Played by Vincent D’Onofrio, whose own issues cut his character’s schedule to every other show, Goren always has a screw loose and has further dipped into the realm of madness. Oh, we’re talking schizophrenia in the family, Asperger’s Syndrome, and a buffet of issues. Would he remain on a real police force? I doubt it.

Jimmy McNulty, The Wire

Jimmy, played by Dominic West (who seems not to have any loose screws that have hit the tabloids), is a severe womanizer who loves his bottle and tends to challenge the bosses at every pass. The first two traits could probably exist in the brotherhood of blue, but the latter would have him brought up enough to get dismissed and not just put on some boat. Oh, yeah … they may put him on a boat, then sink it. I’ve personally known some cops over the years with the alcohol and womanizing issues. He fits right in there to an extent, but it’s not the norm.

Dexter Morgan, Dexter

Yeah, I know Dexter’s not a real cop per se, but he is employed by the Miami Metro Police Department, so I’m including him here. Dexter, played with relish by Michael C. Hall, is the epitome of a police employee with issues. Dude, the man is a serial killer — how more awry from the norm can we go than being a serial killer? Of course, he has other issues which led him into his serial killer ways and he even has a code. Would he last employed by a real department? He just might sneak on by; they’d have to be brilliant to catch him.

Gil Grissom, C.S.I.

Grissom, played by William Petersen, started out with just a few minor quirks. In the beginning, he was very straitlaced and, although very intuitive, mostly a by-the-books kind of guy. He evolved into having a hearing disease and fooling around with one of the people under his command. But his quirks, as offbeat as the hearing thing was in particular, would probably allow him to stay on the force. That is, if he wasn’t being replaced by Laurence Fishburne.

Numerous others

Lenny Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) , Law and Order — An alcoholic, he entered a 12 Step Program and lost a daughter who ended up being a murdered meth addict. The character Horatio Caine on C.S.I.: Miami suffers from bad acting-itis by David Caruso (’nuff said there, methinks). Jeff Goldblum played Raines. a kind of oddball psychic-esque kind of character on the short-lived Raines. Monk? We don’t even have to go there. Peter Falk as the title character on Columbo just might have started all the quirkiness.

How many more cops with issues are there?

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