As a member of the metro Detroit community, I participated in the group cringe when I heard there was going to be a cop show about murder in Detroit. Great. Just what we needed. People wallowing in our Murder City reputation.
However, I tuned in; mostly out of curiosity. The initial shows struggled with character
development and their writers were clearly NOT from Detroit. There were some initial gaffs from inauthentic scripts, including referencing "soda" instead of "pop" (whatever), and having a Windsor (Ontario) police officer and perp who speak French (what?). But, I kept watching. The cast, lead by key actor Michael Imperioli, really started to gel, and became more interesting to watch. The scripts improved: they showed true Detroit landscape, but it wasn't ruin porn. They started including the complex relationship between the city and the suburbs. They show are showcasing specific ethnic, architectural and historical stories that make Detroit unique.
Last week, the series had a great episode (Ice man/Malibu), and I'm looking forward to more. Ice man was the story of a dead man found frozen at the bottom of an elevator shaft in an abandoned building (this is pulled straight from a real Detroit incident). As the detective story plays out, we see the artists of Corktown (a "hip" upcoming area of Detroit) and a manipulative French photographer doing ruin porn of the city (hmmm... sound familiar?). The dead man is the brother of some well-off suburbanites, and mental illness plays into the story. The Malibu story uses all the recent movie business that Detroit has seen because of the great incentives offered by the state of Michigan. Art imitating life imitating art? A dead starlet, cheating, rehab, money, drug dealers -- great stuff for a cop show. One of the movie set characters has a great line (I paraphrase), "I told her -- drugs are not free. At least not in Detroit." Love it.
If you like cop shows, or are just looking for something new that is not a reality show, check out Detroit 1-8-7. It has been compared to Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. And you might learn something about the "real" Detroit.
Detroit 1-8-7 shows on Tuesday nights at 10pm/9pm Central.
P.S. The previous episode, called Shelter, was also really good. It had a great "cold case" involving the Detroit riots.
P.P.S. Dear ABC: Please pick up this show for another season! Some shows need time to develop!
P.P.S. Check out the new trailer! Awesome.