While there are plenty of cop shows on TV, Blue Bloods is something unique.
It’s not simply a drama about cops from the commissioner to detective to patrol officers. It’s also a drama about family as the bond of the Reagans and those dinners are what keeps viewers tuning in for eleven seasons.
That family aspect sets Blue Bloods apart from the pack, and several shows have tried to emulate it. Some fail, but others succeed in showing the levels of police drama while mixing in some great personal stuff as well.
Most are from modern times, but a few predate Blue Bloods and even show some of the seeds that later show used so well. Aside from focusing on the action for cops, they also mix in powerful drama and occasional humor.
As fans wait for the next season of Bloods to premiere in the fall, here are ten shows much like it that show the lives of cops amid some unique touches that prove not all the drama in a police show is in cracking a case.
He may be famous as either Captain Kirk or Denny Crane, but William Shatner also scored a massive hit with this 1980s ABC drama.
Hooker is a veteran cop who could have been a detective but prefers being on the streets. He usually trains other officers, one of whom was a young Heather Locklear.
The series had some top action, with Hooker (literally) throwing himself into the thick of things. Hooker is a ladies’ man but has a good relationship with his ex-wife and kids.
The guest stars include a young Sharon Stone and Leonard Nimoy playing on the pair’s Star Trek partnership.
It may seem a bit cheesy with Shatner but still a terrific “cop on the street” show.
Seasons 1-5 streaming on Crackle.
Cagney and Lacey
Amazing as it sounds, a show centering on female cops was once rare on TV. Then this CBS hit came along.
Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly respectively play the title ladies, two cops handling not just the job but the “old boy’s network” of their precinct.
The series was interesting, balancing their lives with Cagney, a single gal, while Lacey had a husband and kids. Each woman felt the significant tension of the jobs with Lacey’s marriage on the rocks while Cagney fought a drinking problem.
The show could be daring for its time in storylines and not backing off from the harassment the pair had on the job. Both actresses won multiple Emmys for a show that still holds up today.
Seasons 1-3 streaming on Pluto.
Against The Wall
Imagine if the Reagan family dinner had everyone treating Danny like the enemy.
That’s the basis for this short-lived Lifetime drama. Rachael Carpani is Abby, a fourth-generation Chicago cop who finally achieves her dream of becoming Detective…in Internal Affairs.
To her father (Treat Williams) and her three cop brothers, this makes her a traitor to the force. Abby sometimes feels better chasing crooks on the streets than clashing with her family over dinners.
As much as she hates investigating fellow cops, Abby has to do it and deals with the complex dynamics of the job. She’s aided by Lina Flores (Bloods’ Baez) as her pregnant partner.
The show only lasted one season but is still notable for a strong female lead and how this is one dirty job even cops hate to handle.
Season 1 is available on Apple TV.
Mysteries Of Laura
Emmy-award winner Debra Messing worked this light-hearted cop show onto her resume.
She’s the title role of Laura Diamond, an NYPD homicide detective who’s better at busting perps than handling her twin sons. Complicating matters is the unit’s new captain (Josh Lucas) happens to be her ex-husband.
The mysteries are light-hearted but fun, and it’s great seeing the banter of Laura and her ex handling their tense relationship on the job. The second season adds Callie Thorne as a new captain for more tension.
There are some good guest stars like Debby Ryan as Laura’s meddling sister, and the cases get more dramatic as the season goes on.
While lasting just two years, it’s a light-hearted take on a romantic cop show.
Seasons 1-2 streaming on Tubi.
Michael Chiklis shocked TV viewers with his Emmy-winning turn as a corrupt cop in the groundbreaking FX drama The Shield.
The reason it was so shocking was that Chiklis had come to fame playing a completely opposite role in this popular ABC drama.
He played the commissioner of an upstate New York town described as a teddy bear by colleagues. He could be tough at times but also quite friendly and spent half his days balancing running the force with his wife and kids.
Despite his genial nature, the show could be daring tackling topics other early 90s TV shows avoided from corruption to social issues as Chiklis did his best to run a clean force.
The show was never a huge ratings hit but had a strong following. While he gained later fame as a darker cop, this gives Chiklis a starring role as a Frank Reagan-like leader.
Seasons 1-5 streaming on Tubi and Peacock.
This acclaimed TNT drama was a gripping look at the lives of LAPD officers.
The show bounced around several cops, including Oscar winner Regina King as a veteran detective. In a dry run for his Gotham role, Ben McKenzie is a rookie cop who slowly hardens as the series goes on.
The show can be morally complex, with the cops often forced into some harsh actions in order to keep the peace. It often seems they’re in a war they know they can never win but continuing to fight it.
From the politics of the upper class to the threat of gang wars, the dangers are there. There’s also the amazing personal dramas of the cops, who are often unable to leave their jobs behind when they come home.
While sadly canceled on a cliffhanger, it remains a powerful piece of police drama to enjoy.
Seasons 1-5 streaming on HBO Max.
This ABC hit showcases a fun turn on the usual cop show.
Nathan Fillion is Nolan, a divorced man who handles his mid-life crisis in a unique way: by becoming the oldest rookie cop in the history of the LAPD.
The first year shows Fillion getting along nicely with another cop (Melissa O’Neill) as others (including Alyssa Diaz) handle the learning curve of their tough jobs.
The series amps up more drama as each cop has to deal with the dangers on the street and some serious personal problems from troublesome family to Nolan framed for corruption.
The third season addressed the issues of police violence and not shying from current events. While there is some good humor, it also shows how the lives of patrol officers can be hugely at risk.
Season 1-3 streaming on Hulu.
Shades Of Blue
Jennifer Lopez toned down her movie stardom for this NBC drama.
She plays Harlee Santos, a single mother cop who, to make ends meet, goes along with her unit’s corruption. When the FBI busts her, Harlee is forced into a complex game as an informant.
Ray Liotta plays her trusted boss, who Harlee has to worry about betraying. There’s also Drea de Matteo as a fellow cop who gets herself into hot water.
Harlee is put in the middle of some tough choices that make her face how far she’s fallen as a cop. She’s still dedicated to her daughter and thus willing to do anything to keep her safe.
Lopez’s star power is fantastic to sell the series, which has a powerful ending but quite the ride before the terrific payoff.
Seasons 1-3 streaming on Tubi.
This Canadian hit focuses on the Strategic Response Unit, sort of a Canadian SWAT team. They’re called in for hostage situations but try to smooth it over with talk rather than action.
The team is a top unit with Hugh Dillion, David Paetkau, Enrico Colantoni, and Amy Jo Johnson all jumping into action. They consider themselves family as they have to lean on each other for support in some tense situations.
While most of the focus is on hostage situations, there is some good personal drama. Dillion has to handle family trouble, from a pregnant wife to his troublesome son. In addition, Paetkau and Johnson have an up and down relationship that culminates in a great way in the final episodes.
This is a thrilling show for procedural fans with plenty of action and some familiar faces from Candian TV. Yet it shows how “family” isn’t just blood but forged in the bonds of a risky job.
Seasons 1-5 streaming on Hulu.
For fans of Blue Bloods, this Canadian/ABC series can be a fun show.
Missy Peregrym of FBI stars as one of a handful of police officers starting their first years on the job. Her first patrol has her nearly shooting a crook who’s really an undercover cop.
The series expertly shows the ups and downs of these rookies learning the streets and getting into serious scrapes. They can clash on procedure and make scores of mistakes to learn from.
Peregrym’s Andy grew up under a homicide detective father who suffered a breakdown and thus dealing with his shadow. A good cast matches her with Charlotte Sullivan as her partner from a family of cops who has to deal with her own father’s problems.
The series is wonderful, balancing the crimes with the personal dramas and it’s a great way to give Bloods fans some fun vibes.
Seasons 1-6 streaming on Roku.
Blue Bloods Season 12 is premiering Friday, October 1 at 10/9c on CBS