Andrea Langworthy's column: It was an unlikely ride
Thanks to cable TV, which doesn’t follow the networks’ fall-to-spring schedule, there are some new police dramas to watch at this time of year. I love police shows.
“Major Crimes,” a favorite of mine, began its new season last month on TNT. Following the first episode, the network premiered a new police show created by Steven Bochco, the man who brought “Hill Street Blues” to the small screen in 1981. That was enough for me to want to watch “Murder in the First.”
I like it. It’s believable and that’s my criteria for this type of entertainment. Often, when my husband and I watch a show of this sort, I get upset and yell, “That would never happen in real life,” at the television. I mean, how likely is it that a real female detective would be stalked, tortured and held hostage like Mariska Hargitay’s character, Olivia Benson, on “Law & Order: SVU”? It’s the reason I don’t watch the show.
A few weeks ago, I was surprised to see ads for a new summer show on NBC. “Taxi Brooklyn” stars Chyler Leigh as Detective Cat Sullivan. Leigh is the actress who played Meredith Grey’s younger sister on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She was believable as Lexie Grey and did a fine job of dying in the final episode of season eight so I had high hopes for the show.
My expectations were dashed before the first segment even aired. A pre-show review told me Detective Sullivan doesn’t work well with partners, has gone through a number of them and (apparently) has her own back when solving the season’s first crime.
A horrible driver, she isn’t permitted behind the wheel of a squad car. (This is where a partner might come in handy, right?) Somehow, she gets a Brooklyn cab driver to transport her through the borough so she can solve a crime. (Oh, sure, because New York cabbies don’t need the money. They just want to make new friends.)
I wrote off the show but it got me thinking about all the good police procedurals I’ve seen in my lifetime. From “Naked City” where there were eight million stories to tell, to “The Streets of San Francisco” with Karl Malden as a believable gumshoe, to the groundbreaking “Cagney and Lacy.” From Hill Street to “NYPD Blue” to the original “Law & Order,” and many fine shows in between, I’ve seen my share of believable peace officers.
Detective Cat Sullivan is not one of them. How do I know? With great embarrassment, I confess: Despite advance warning to do no such thing, despite our better judgment, my husband and I watched the first episode of “Taxi Brooklyn.”
I kept waiting for Curly, Moe and Larry to appear. Instead, Detective Sullivan’s ex-husband, a district attorney, was the stooge who allows his ex to wheedle him into letting the taxi driver out of jail even though the cabbie might still be a suspect in the murder case and seems to be in this country illegally.
I’m no Sergeant Joe Friday but even I can see the cold, hard facts. “Taxi Brooklyn” is headed for the scrap heap.