Television: New Cops On The Beat

As the networks clone CSI and Law & Order, two innovative cable cop shows are playing by their own set of rules

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Read this way, the network whodunit is like the mainstream post-9/11 superego, telling us that the system may make mistakes but it works. Evil is knowable, crime solvable, justice swift and attainable. The Wire and The Shield arrive like an unconscious (and just as American) response: It's O.K. to doubt, to question, to acknowledge the bad among the good. Decades of cop shows have schooled us on our Miranda rights, chief among them the right to remain silent. Cheers to these cable cops for exercising their right to make some noise.

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