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5 Shows like Flashpoint: Elite Cops

Laura Light itcherWow, a cop show without real perps? Moral caring cops with emotional issues? Hostage situations, lots of weapons and character study along the way….like what you hear….then let me introduce you to ‘Lie to Me’, ‘Criminal Minds’ and ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’, all TV shows like ‘Flashpoint’.
~ Laura Light

Perps Are People Too

Police work is portrayed on television more often than any other profession. It has been that way since the cowboys rode off into the television sunset. Someone breaks the law, a crack team does whatever it is they do, they nail the sonofabitch, the credits roll.

They might not be especially profound or ground breaking, but they are clever, inventive and hugely entertaining. I love them all!

But ‘Flashpoint’ stands out, netting high ratings and kudos on both sides of the pond.

More about the consequences of action or inaction then spraying bullets, the show is grounded in moral motives that will pierce the heart of any viewer. Let the Rambo’s have their shows, and let us tread the thin, ever moving and twisting blue line of the negotiation.

Elite cops they may be, but sharp shooters they are not. Take a look at these three series similar to ‘Flashpoint’ for a more intelligent look on catching the bad guy!


Shows Similar to ‘Flashpoint’…

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ (CBS, 2009 – )

I’m not a murderer, Mr. Callen. But I may be a hypocrite. Cole’s fate is in the hands of someone *far* greater that I…

Starring Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service’s Office of Special Projects takes on the undercover work and the hard to crack cases in LA.

They’re undercover agents, more CIA then FBI. Their technique is different, they don’t lower themselves by wearing badges, or carrying ID, something that is referenced to many times throughout the show, especially when a story of their case comes up on the news, and Callen (O’Donnell) mentions that they never get credit, and how could they? They don’t really exist! Dah!

Similarity Match: 90%
Take all the humour and witty banter from ‘Flashpoint’ and times it by ten with an all-star cast and you have this series made.

‘Criminal Minds’ (CBS, 2005 – )

Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical…

An elite squad of FBI profilers analyse the country’s most-twisted criminal minds, anticipating the perpetrators’ next moves before they can strike again.

It’s quite dark, but there is a steady dose of gallows humour, from wacky antics tech analyst Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness).  And it does require a certain suspension of disbelief (don’t they all) and they almost always catch their man. But I can live with that, because it’s genre storytelling of a superior quality.

Similarity Match: 80%
Like ‘Flashpoint’, this is formulaic show with a good looking cast, but it’s more sophisticated and dark, and centres less on character development.

‘Lie to Me’ (FOX , 2009-2011)

The average person lies 3 times for every 10 minutes of conversation…

Okay, so I may have a slight girl crush for this show. Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) is a sort of a superhero. He’s a human lie detector. He looks for dozens of subtle tells in the face and on the body. He’s studied human communication so intensely that he always knows if someone is concealing something.

‘Numbers’ may have math, ‘House’ is rude yet brilliant, and ‘Bones’ has the partner chemistry, but ‘Lie to Me’ has all of this and more! So they aren’t cops, but his company is involved with police and political matters.

The characters complement each other well, and use their personal characteristics to colour their judgments and choices, which is true to life I suppose…

Similarity Match: 75%
Both use there brain more than brawn, but whereas ‘Flashpoint’ is a cop procedural show, ‘Lie to Me’ focuses on human natural.


If You Like ‘Flashpoint’, You Will Like…

There may be a ton of cop shows on TV, and it’s easy enough to earmark ‘Flashpoint’ as one of the greats, but how do all those perp-chasing, car-crashing, rule-bending, good-cop-bad-cops actually stack up against the bad guys? You know, the crooks, liars and thieves among us? Here’s two TV series like ‘Flashpoint’ where it seems it’s good to be bad!

‘Leverage’ (TNT, 2008-2012)

You want me to break into a secure storage facility with whatever I can scrounge up at the buffet table?

A crew of high-tech crooks attempt to steal from wealthy criminals and corrupt businessmen.

Even when ‘Leverage’ toys with serious issues, including the mistreatment of an Army reservist who is shot in Iraq by a private contractor, the dramatic tone is whimsical and very tongue in cheek. This motley crew is a kind of comedy troupe that can pick pockets, empty bank accounts and punch their way out of anything. Loose morals? Sure, but with hearts of gold!

More about crooks v rich organisations, but like ‘Flashpoint’ its twisty plots and character escapades make it a compelling watch.

‘White Collar’ (USA Network, 2009-2014)

I’m being released into the custody of the FBI under your supervision and this thing chafing my leg. Anything I’m missing?

I think of ‘White Collar’ as a little bit ‘48 Hours’ (the Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte classic) and a little bit ‘Catch Me If You Can’ (the DiCaprio & Hanks rollick), you know, think fun TV.

About a white collar criminal who agrees to help the FBI catch other white collar criminals using his expertise as an art and securities thief, counterfeiter, and conman. This is a funny, clever, well written series, with a focus on character relationships, while not becoming too obsessed over getting all the real-life details right.

Featuring more clever plotting then ‘Flashpoint’ and outstanding chemistry between its leads, it’s certainly witty but also based in cloud coo coo land.


Elite Cops v Elite Crooks

Its hard to say which I enjoy more! I love good conquering evil (who doesn’t) but I like lines being blurred between hero and villain to help add spice. Check out ‘The Wire’ for heavy, serious tell it like it is drama, or ‘Burn Notice’ for more elite cops getting into hot water. I like to think of it as ‘White Collars’ younger and more immature brother….

Do You Like Cop Shows?

Is ‘CSI’ or ‘Law & Order’ More Your Thing?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

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