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12 TV Shows You Must Watch if You Love ‘9-1-1’

March 12, 2019
8 min read

‘9-1-1’ premiered on January 3, 2018, and is a police procedural show which is kind of a throwback to the number of 70s-80s cop shows which were hugely popular back then. ‘9-1-1’ revolves around first-responders from Los Angeles, California. The first responders are the teams which have to appear the quickest at a crime scene. They include police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and others. The very famous Angela Basset plays one of the lead characters, Athena Grant, who is a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. Peter Krause, Oliver Stark, and Aisha Hinds play other major characters in the series. ‘9-1-1‘ is presented in a serialized format and does not follow any one particular story-arc, but revolves around the team, their personal lives, and the crimes they tackle together.

The series has been well-received by the critics and audiences and might help bring police dramas back on the map again. There have been many popular police dramas which have reached iconic status. Here is the list of shows similar to 911 that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like 9-1-1 on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

12. NCIS (2003-)

‘NCIS’ stands for Naval Crime Investigation Service, and this show is about a group of investigators who solve crimes involving the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps. The group on which this show focuses on is a Major Case Response Team of the NCIS. Mark Harmon plays the lead role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Interestingly, NCIS itself was a spinoff of the series JAG (1995) where the character of Gibbs was first introduced. The show itself has now given birth to spinoffs like ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ (2009-) and ‘NCIS: New Orleans‘ (2014-). Fans who enjoy police procedurals surely a treat ahead of themselves if they wish to check out ‘NCIS’.

11. Criminal Minds (2005-)

Unlike ‘NCIS’ or ‘9-1-1’, ‘Criminal Minds’ is a show that tells a story of some members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit’. Their job mainly is to create behavioral patterns of notorious criminals and try and figure out what crimes they might be committing next. The cast is headed by Mandy Patinkin, who plays the role of Jason Gideon. Gideon is widely considered the BAU’s best officer, and he gets to lead the most important cases. However, his own personal demons are also disturbing him constantly throughout the show. The series has been so popular that it gave birth to two American spinoffs, namely, ‘Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior’ (2011-) and ‘Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders’ (2016-2017). Further, a Korean spinoff was also created in 2017, but it did not continue further.

10. Hill Street Blues (1981-1987)

Hill Street Blues is one of the most critically acclaimed police dramas ever, and revolved around the lives of police officers of a station located on Hill Street. The very first season of the series was a critical and commercial darling and ended up bagging eight Emmy nominations, the second highest for a debut season in history. A number of parallel storylines are dealt with in each episode, and besides the crime-solving aspect, the series also questions moral dilemmas that policemen feel while dealing with crimes and criminals. ‘Hill Street Blues’ deals with the conflict between personal and professional lives that policemen have to go through constantly.

9. The Killing (2011-2014)

The Killing is a crime drama which follows the lives of two police officers called Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman play the two leading characters. The show is based on a Danish series called ‘Forbrydelsen’. The series received widespread acclaim from the critics, and some have called it one of the most addictive crime series ever to hit the television screens.

8. Kojak (1973-1978)

Let us move on from police dramas and focus on another type of character, who is also a police officer, but  Winner of the Academy Award, Abby Mann, created this show about a character called  New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. Besides being a show on police investigations and solving murders, ‘Kojak’ also talked about important issues like rights of the inmates, how people of color are treated by the police, and how there is rampant corruption present among the ranks of police officers themselves. The character of Kojak is considered by many to be one of the most iconic characters in television history. Telly Savalas is the actor who played the titular role.

7. Major Crimes (2012-2018)

Another police procedural drama which became hugely popular is ‘Major Crimes’, and the series started as a spinoff from another series called ‘The Closer’ (2005-2012). ‘Major Crimes’ begins with Captain Sharon Raydor being appointed the new Chief of the Major Crimes Division of the LAPD. Raydor took charge after Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson departed from her post. Many major characters of ‘The Closer’ have also become regular characters in ‘Major Crimes’. The writing and acting of the series has been widely praised by critics. Mary MacDonnell played the role of Captain Sharon Raydor.

6. The Shield (2002-2008)

‘The Shield’ is a show that deals with the police fighting corruption, gang violence, drug trades in the district called Farmington in Los Angeles. The show follows the story of the Strike Team, who are licensed to use force to curb the growing criminal activities in the district. Sometimes they even use unlawful means to extract information from the criminals. The first season of ‘The Shield’ received widespread acclaim, and the lead actor Michael Chilkis won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for his performance as Detective Vic Mackey. In 2003, ‘The Shield’ bagged the Golden Globe Award for being the best television vision.

5. Line of Duty (2012-)

Considered one of the greatest shows to ever come out of the BBC, ‘Line of Duty’ tells the story about three police officers-  DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure), DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) who are looking into corruption charges against a senior officer who, though corrupt, has been declared “Officer of The Year”. The series has been praised for great characters and stories, and breaking away from the usual formulae followed by series dealing with police and criminals.

4. Prime Suspect (1991-2006)

Created by Linda LaPlante, ‘Prime Suspect’ features the legendary Hellen Mirren in the leading role. Her character, Jane Tennison, is the Detective Chief Inspector Greater London’s Metropolitan Police Service. The story is about the struggle Tennison faces while trying to keep her head up in an institution historically dominated by men. Her boss Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Kernan supports her ambition. The series has been ranked 68th by BFI in their list of 100 Greatest British Television Programmes. Mirren was the winner of three BAFTA Awards and one Emmy Award for her brilliant portrayal of Jan Tennison.

3. Law & Order (1990-2010)

Created by Dick Wolf, ‘Law & Order’ is a legal procedural and police drama set in New York City. The series ran for 20 seasons and was hugely popular during its run. Each episode ran for an hour, with the first half being dedicated to apprehending a criminal and the second half-hour dedicated to bringing him to justice where the legal system’s operations were shown. The series gave birth to a spinoff called ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ (1999-), which is also running its 20th season. The show and its spinoff have tied with ‘Gunsmoke’ (1955-75) to be the only three live-action drama series to run for 20 years. The show has been acclaimed widely, and has also won numerous awards during its long run.

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2. Broadchurch (2013-2017)

‘Broadchurch’ was created and written by Chris Chibnall. Each season focuses on a case, with the entire series dealing with the murder of a young boy which brings a lot of media attention to the small town where the crime happened. The series aired in three seasons, and the brilliant writing kept the audience guessing till the last episode of the series. The intense writing and acting received widespread acclaim and won many awards throughout its run. The popularity of the series even saw an American remake being made, entitled ‘Gracepoint’. However, the remade series did not receive much acclaim and was canceled after a single season.

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1. The Wire (2002-2008)

Considered one of the best television series ever, ‘The Wire‘ is set in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, and each season of the series deals with one section of the criminal world of Baltimore. The first season deals with the gang and drug-related crimes in the city. The second season deals with the crimes happening centering the seaport. Bureaucracy, education, and the media become subjects in the other seasons. The realistic dialogues and intense, gritty police work became hallmarks of the show. It has earned huge critical acclaim from all reviewers and publications and is considered a benchmark in the history of shows related to crime and police work.

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