Some weeks, Thursday Movie Picks is pretty tough because there just aren't that many films to choose from on a particular topic. This week, it's the exact opposite. There are too many choices available. That makes it even tougher. The topic, by the way, chosen by Chief Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, is Police. That would be tough enough if we were actually talking about movies. However, this is the last Thursday of the month. That means we're talking about television. And literally every other show on TV is a cop show. It's been that way forever. I think I can find at least a few you may not have thought of. So, let's start with a theme within the theme. Ladies...
(1974-1978)Sgt. "Pepper" Anderson (Angie Dickinson) is the star of our show. She's an undercover cop in Los Angeles who's laundry list of covers include nurses, hookers, flight attendants...ya know...wimmin stuff. Hey, it was the 70s. And since it was the 70s, that made this a historic show. It was the first successful prime time drama on American television that featured a female lead. Many people also credit the show with a major spike in the number of female applicants to law enforcement agencies all over the country.
Cagney & Lacey
(1982-1988)Cagney (Sharon Gless) and Lacey (Tyne Daly) were a pair of New York City detectives who were partners. No pretending to be prostitutes for these two. They were just regular, hard-working cops who also had lives away from the precinct. One of the criticisms of Police Woman is that it treated its über-hot star in a sexist manner. Aside from the occupations she often posed as, there was the way her co-workers treated her, and Dickinson herself recalls getting tired of having a shower scene in seemingly every episode. Cagney & Lacey avoided all that by treating our heroes as real people. A boat load of Emmys can attest to the quality of that approach.
(2017-???)To flip the script just a bit on current events, this series revolves around the shooting of an unarmed white man by a black cop. Investigations also reveal that local cops are trying to cover up the death of a black teen. Our hero is Ashe Akino (Sanaa Lathan), a cop from the Department of Justice, investigating the local police department. The series is currently in its infancy, only six episodes in. I'm a fan, so far, but the show is still working out the kinks. Thank Mrs. Dell for this since I generally don't watch much TV. She put me on to this one. Aside from Lathan, the show boasts a cast that includes Richard Dreyfuss, Helen Hunt, Will Patton, and Aisha Hinds. By the way, the episode that aired just last night happened to be helmed by none other than famed director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Got Married) who, sadly, passed away on the same day.
You know what? Those shows are a bit too "normal." You come to Dell on Movies on Thursdays because I'm the one who is going to pick some outlandish shit you never thought of watching. No sense in disappointing you. That means it's time for bonus picks!
Get Christie Love!
(1974-1975)Inspired by such blaxploitation classics as Foxy Brown, and Cleopatra Jones, or just copying them, this made-for-TV movie was created. It featured our heroine, Christie Love (Teresa Graves, looking like a 70s version of Whitney Houston) as a cop who goes undercover to take down a drug ring. As you might expect for a TV movie, it's rather tame by blaxploitation standards, but it was still pretty successful. So successful, it was, it spawned an entire series of the same name. It only lasted 23 episodes, but it is historically significant. Believe it or not, It was the the only U.S. network drama to feature an African-American female lead until Kerry Washington strutted her very expensive Manolo Blahniks across the screen in the first episode of Scandal in 2012. That's 38 damn years from one premiere to the next, in case you weren't counting.
(1990)Have you ever wondered what Glee might have been like had it been set in a police station instead of a high school? Well, here's your answer. No, I'm serious. It's a freakin' cop drama/musical. Yup. I'm done talking about this. Just watch a minute or two.
No, don't you dare scroll passed it like it isn't there. Go back and watch!
(1996-2000)Forget about Glee. Have you ever wondered what Baywatch would be like if it were about cops...on bicycles. No, not motorcycles, like CHiPs, we're talking ten-speeds. It's as bad-good as it sounds. Amazingly, but perhaps not all that surprisingly, this thing managed to go on for four seasons. I can only imagine how that happened...
Never mind. Spiffy new uniforms. I get it.