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5 Shows like NYPD Blue: Gritty & Personal

samar2One of the more realistic primetime police dramas, ‘NYPD Blue’ moves with a lifelike pace and focuses less on the thrill of solving the case and more on character studies of the central characters: two partners who take very different approaches to their job.

Let’s take a look at other police and legal dramas – both gritty and personal – in TV shows like ‘NYPD Blue’. ~ Samar N

Shows Similar To ‘NYPD Blue’

This article recommends an underrated title, a must-see title, an unknown title, an ‘if you like, you will like’ title and an unexpected title so you have different options when it comes to choosing your next movie to watch.



‘Ally McBeal’ (Fox, 1997 – 2002)

Although framed as a legal drama, this series similar to ‘NYPD Blue’ used legal proceedings as a plot device to unfold the dynamics of its highly sexualized cast, who often meet in a unisex toilet where they play out their relationship drama.

Ally Mcbeal (Carista Flockhard) also acts out vivid fantasies, coloured by the case she’s working on, featuring her boyfriends past, present and future.


Similarity Match

A legal drama about a sexualized firm with a unisex toilet.



‘Law & Order’ (NBC, 1990 – 2010)

‘Dun dun’: these sounds open every one of the 456 episodes that spanned 20 seasons.

Although overtaken by its popular spin-off ‘Law & Order: SVU’, the original is still the best, especially in its early days.

Don’t miss Seasons 1-5 which feature heartthrob Chris North (Mr. Big from Sex & the City), as quick-tempered detective Mike Logan.


Similarity Match

If you love the spin-off, don't miss the original.



‘Hill Street Blues’ (NBC, 1981 – 1987)

Before Steve Bochco created ‘NYPD Blues’, he worked on ‘Hill Street Blues’, another gritty, realistic police drama set in an unnamed metropolitan city modelled after Chicago.

Referring to the blue of their uniforms, the cops of the Hill Street Station worked together to keep the peace, from the lower ranking traffic officers right up to the captain of the precinct himself.

‘Hill Street Blues’ was nomiated for 96 Emmys during its run.


Similarity Match

An award-winning gritty police drama that set the stage for 'NYPD Blues'.



‘Prime Suspect’ (ITV, 1991 – 2006)

This acclaimed detective drama stars Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, one of the first female Chief Inspectors in London’s Metropolitan Police.

Tennison fights to overcome sexism in the policeforce while struggling to balance her personal life with work, especially since her her male co-workers are determined to see her fail. She increasingly turns to alcohol to help her cope, and in the final episode of the series, we see her confront her problem at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.


Similarity Match

Helen Mirren plays the first female Chief Inspector in London's Metropolitan Police.


If You Like ‘NYPD Blue’, You Will Like

‘The Practice’ (ABC, 1997 – 2004)

James Spader and Lara Flynn Boyle play attorneys at a Boston law firm frequently embroiled in ethical quarries, defending murderers and rapists in high-profile cases.

The lawyers often face inner battles when trying to balance their personal morals with legal ethics.


Similarity Match

A legal drama with sophisticated actors. 


What Would You Add?

Here are a few TV series like ‘NYPD Blue’ that you may enjoy. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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