Great Television Made In Brooklyn

Mourning ‘Shift’

By Linda Stasis for the New York Post

MY new favorite channel is ID (Investigation Discovery), a wall-to-wall true crime channel that has seemingly limitless episodes of “48 Hours Investigates,” which makes me happy to be alive. It has a new original series debuting Sunday night. I like it, but it’s not enough to make me happy to be alive. Grateful, maybe.

The series, called, “The Shift,” follows an elite unit of homicide detectives who work the swing shift in the Indianapolis PD. Personally, I’d like to see a show just once where the unit is made up of below-par or even ordinary cops. But that’s just me.

Anyway, this interesting, if not riveting, show follows the Indy detectives from murder to solution, a format we’ve seen before and will sure as shoot see again. The detectives here are engaging simply because they are so real – clearly not media trained, glamorized or sleeked up for the screen.

They are methodical, hard-working, and have tunnel vision, which is exactly what you have to have to solve puzzles – especially of the homicidal kind.

But does all that puzzle solving and methodical door knocking and tedium make good TV? Not especially.

What makes a show like “Law & Order” work so well is that, for one thing, it’s scripted from real life and therefore follows a scripted arc that manipulates us into being entertained; we get to know the life of the murdered person and the murderer and we feel like we’re helping to solve the crime. This reality show is more like actually going to work with the cops, and the ball is always in the court of the cops. You may not feel especially engaged in the outcome because it’s tough to get invested the way we should.

On the up side, it’s always interesting to see how a crime is solved and to get to know the people who devote their lives to doing just that. I particularly like Detectives Christine Minka and Lesia Moore. Minka is steel, Moore is silk – a modern version of good cop/bad cop – female style.

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