Worst cops on TV | Virgin Media
Worst cops on TV

Worst cops on TV

04/02/2016TV

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Acclaimed US sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back on E4 for its third season, and the cops of the 99th precinct are on great form. America’s really figured the cheat codes for the workplace sitcom in the last few years, and Brooklyn follows The Office and Parks and Recreation as a stand-out example.

Sharply written with great performances, it has a well-defined set of characters: the goofy hot-shot detective, the gentle giant, the try-hard careerist, the deadpan captain and, of course, the lazy incompetent cops. In their honour, let’s pay tribute to some of TV’s finest. By which we mean, TV’s worst. TV’s worst finest.

Hitchcock and Scully (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Hitchcock and Scully are always hungry to catch criminals.

Hitchcock and Scully are always hungry to catch criminals.

Let’s start with the dopes in question at the Nine-Nine: Hitchcock and Scully. While those around them are competent to varying levels, these two spend most of their time eating and getting in the way. When Rosa tells Terry they ate her fudge ice cream from the fridge, the evidence she volunteers is met with: “But Scully’s always got fudge stains on his shirt!”

Chief Wiggum (The Simpsons)

“Hey, I’m the chief here. Bake him away, toys.”

“Hey, I’m the chief here. Bake him away, toys.”

Clancy Wiggum is Springfield’s first line of defence against criminal masterminds like Sideshow Bob. “If he was going to commit a crime, would he have invited the number one cop in town?” he asks Bart at Bob and Selma’s sham wedding. “Now where did I put my gun? Oh yeah, I set it down when I got a piece of cake.”

Frank Drebin (Police Squad!)

Like a midget at a urinal, he was going to have to stay on his toes.

Like a midget at a urinal, he was going to have to stay on his toes.

Credit where it’s due: Frank always solved the case before the not-quite-frozen freeze-frame at the end. But he was often oblivious to his situation, especially when dealing with murder victims’ families. "We're sorry to bother you at a time like this, Mrs. Twice,” he told one widow. “We would have come earlier, but your husband wasn't dead then."

Detective Steve Billings (The Shield)

Billings: Stare-guilting you into a confession.

Billings: Stare-guilting you into a confession.

Billings made no secret of his apathy towards police work, wanting only to last a few more years and pick up his pension, and content for the meantime with turning a side-profit through owning the vending machines in the precinct. He eventually sues the city for millions, claiming a workplace injury has left him with debilitating headaches.

Roland Pryzbylewski (The Wire)

He couldn’t even find his police car.

He couldn’t even find his police car.

Prez did a good line in failure, managing to shoot a wall by mistake in the squad incident room while showing off his new gun, and accidentally shooting his own car. Bullet-proof in the department because he’s married to the Deputy Commissioner’s daughter, he’s mercifully confined to desk duty, and later becomes a teacher. It’s unclear in which profession he’d do more damage.

DS Jimmy Beck (Cracker)

A first-look at the super-serious Harry Potter prequel, “Hagrid”.

A first-look at the super-serious Harry Potter prequel, “Hagrid”.

The inspired detective (or psychologist, in Fitz’s case) needs his foil; the old-school copper who pours scorn on his every theory only to be proved wrong, but never learn his lesson and be just as sceptical next week. Beck is just that guy, hating Fitz and his method of getting inside criminals’ psyche rather than just kicking down their door and roughing them up, ideally while drunk. After a string of foul-ups he jumps off a building, somehow managing not to mess that up too.

Literally all the cops in Dexter

Dexter leaves behind his biggest clue yet.

Dexter leaves behind his biggest clue yet.

Seriously. Eight years with a prolific serial killer working in the Miami Police Department forensics lab, and the cops don’t clock him. The only exception is Doakes, who had Dexter’s number early on, before being blown up in a cabin and framed posthumously as the Bay Harbor Butcher, leaving Dexter free to carry on killing. Er ... hooray?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs on Thursdays at 9pm on E4, and episodes are also available after broadcast in All 4 in Catch Up TV.

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