Great television shouldnâ€™t just reflect our innate need to be distracted and entertained. It should at least try to reflect some of society that weâ€™re running away from at full speed. Is a criminal justice degree really that easy to obtain? The current criminal justice system is filled with good and bad eggs and televisionâ€™s endless barrage of cop shows arenâ€™t that far outside of the box. For every Joe Friday and Gil Grissom, thereâ€™s a bad egg or two in the same carton.
1. Vic Mackey from The Shield
Michael Chiklisâ€™ shining performance (20 percent of the shining comes from the light reflected off of his head) in FXâ€™s groundbreaking â€œThe Shieldâ€ should always get top billing on lists like these because it has become the gold standard not just for cop shows, but pretty much all television shows.
Its gritty portrayal of an inner city â€œStrike Teamâ€ that aims to take down the gangdeg drug trade by controlling it and keeping a slice or two of the action themselves raised the bar for televisions in its ilk and especially in its time slot and it was all anchored by the baddest cop to ever walk a fictional beat. Mackey has skirted over so many lines in the lines of duty with the skill and grace of a hopscotch champion that itâ€™s not just the level of depravity and questionable ethics that he sunk to in the name of justice. Itâ€™s that he managed to get away with all of it nearly scot-free.
2. The “Police Department” from The Kids In The Hall
Not all lapses in ethical judgment are intentional. The scrupulous can also be guilty of ignorance, which the fuzz from this Canadian sketch have as much as of as Canada has snow and extremely polite white people.
The members of Metro Toronto Police Department, who have never been identified by name probably to protect the innocent, give the badge a bad, dumb name. They lack any sense of urgency on the beat whether its responding to a crime by walking because itâ€™s such a nice day or letting the passersby at a murder scene play with their guns because holding your first is kind of exciting. This is the kind of lawlessness a nation faces when it doesnâ€™t have unrestricted gun laws on its books.
3. Chief Wiggum from The Simpsons
The police chief of the Springfield PD suffers from the three most corruption afflictions of any police department, real or fictional: a lack of intelligence, basic morality and general health and hygiene.
He isnâ€™t just an amoral simpleton who doesnâ€™t understand the difference between right and wrong, legal and illegal or loaded and unloaded. Heâ€™s also a big fat slob who often lets his gut get in the way of his work, both physically and professionally. He hasnâ€™t made an arrest in God-knows-how long and he even lets the same criminal, the professional bagman Snake, get away with so many crimes that Springfield must not have a district attorney because one surely would have complained that the only successful indictment was against New York Yankeesâ€™ second baseman Steve Sax for being from New York.
4. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens from Justified
This ten-gallon hat wearing good olâ€™ boy may look like another dumb hick who donâ€™t know spit about the law, but he knows enough to get around it once or twice.
Thatâ€™s because heâ€™s shot more than his fair share of suspects in the line of duty and always manages to get away cleaner than the preacherâ€™s daughter after her Saturday night bath. In fact, he has a crusty layer of burnt gun powder in between his thumb and forefinger on his shootinâ€™ hand from all the bad buys heâ€™s blown away and somehow, internal affairs clears just about every case that has his fingerprints on it as self-defense. He almost cost himself his career when he carried on a not-so-secret affair with the chief witness in one of his most high-profile murder cases, although in his defense, it was with someone who looked like Joelle Carter. No jury in the world could convict him of failing his duty to please that sweet booty.
5. The entire Reno Sheriffâ€™s Department from Reno 911!
When it comes to outright incompetence and breaking the law in the name of protecting, no single police force in television land has become more adept at breaking and bungling cases than the deputies of the biggest little city in America.
Lt. Jim Dangleâ€™s men and women in uniform constantly put their lives and careers on the line in the name of scoring a hot arrest to please the people upstairs as well as scoring major drug deals for their personal stash and scoring a sweet ride or two to stick in their garage. And if their blatant disregard for the rules and regulations of basic police procedures werenâ€™t enough, their incompetence would have pushed them into a life sentence in any other jurisdiction if their own district attorney wasnâ€™t a habitual serial killer himself.
6. Sledge Hammer from Sledge Hammer!
Some cops not only blatantly disregard the law for their own personal amusement, they actually see it as a hindrance to the effective dispersement of justice.
This San Francisco inspector has dedicated his life to enforcing the law, even when he doesnâ€™t agree with laws like the First and Third Amendment to the Constitution. Heâ€™s OK with with the second one since he proudly carries, sleeps with and talks to a .375 Magnum as his service revolver of choice. He also has a fairly impressive record as a police officer if your department is based under the regime of a South American dictator. He regularly tortures criminals for information by tying them to back his car and dragging them around the parking lot until they squeal. He blows up entire buildings with a bazooka just to subdue one rooftop sniper. And the only reason he causes so much mayhem is so he can do his job because â€œthe only way to fight criminals is to be crazier than they are,” a philosophy that served as the basis for the Dick Cheney Doctrine.