Just the Facts

What it is: The purest of the procedurals, with the focus almost entirely on that week's case and little time for things like home lives or big character arcs. Current example: "Law & Order," which has elevated the case-above-all form of storytelling to a near art form over its 19 seasons. Classic: "Dragnet," the 1950s and '60s show in which Jack Webb played the upright (and occasionally uptight, in its late-'60s incarnation) beacon of law enforcement whose mantra was "Just the facts, ma'am" and stripped away just about everything not having to do with the case of the week. Others: "Police Story"
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