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Since when were female law enforcement officials the hottest commodity on TV?

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Female-law-enforcement

American audiences have been taken into custody by a group of no-nonsense, tight-business-suit-wearing females in the justice department. This summer it seems like every channel you flip to features a high-profile show about an impossibly beautiful woman fighting crime. These girls are powerful and well-trained, with an uncanny ability to chase down their foes in heels, and whether they’re cops, spies, detectives, or judges, these women are taking down criminals — and arresting huge numbers of viewers. Could this be the new television trend? Just take a look at the evidence from the past week:

  • The season premiere of TNT’s smash hit The Closer, which features Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson, found a huge 7.7 million viewers.

  • Close behind, the series premiere of Rizzoli & Isles earned the best-ever debut for an ad-supported cable show with 7.6 million viewers. The TNT drama stars Angie Harmon as police detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as a medical examiner Maura Isles.

  • USA’s premiere of Covert Affairs, built solidly upon its lead-in, White Collar, and achieved a terrific 4.9 million viewers. The spy drama features the Coyote-(not)-Ugly actress Piper Perabo as C.I.A. trainee Annie Walker.

  • ABC picked up their Canadian import, Rookie Blue, which centers around a recent police academy graduate played by Missy Peregrym, for a second season.

  • Judge Judy slammed the gavel down on Oprah in the syndicated ratings, drawing an average of audience of 5.7 million viewers vs. The Oprah Winfrey Show‘s 3.8 million.

As to why these programs are blowing up the summer schedule, I have a few guesses. These shows (and let’s exclude Judge Judy for a moment) feature strong and dangerous female protagonists who possess a vulnerable, insecure side as well. In a television landscape that often prefers archetypal tough guys, this kind of dimensionality is refreshing. In a more shallow sense, it doesn’t hurt that the actresses playing these women are beautiful.

But what do you think, PopWatchers? Are you a prisoner of this trend? Should we expect twice as many female crime-fighters on our screens by this time next year? Does this bode well for the CW’s Nikita?

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