2. The Wire (HBO)
There's really nothing we can say that hasn't been said already, so just trust us. Ride with genius co-creators David Simon and Ed Burns (a former Baltimore newspaperman and cop respectively) as they deconstruct the modern American city—from drug corners to elementary schools to the mayor's office—in their TV novel. If you want a "cop show," go peep a T.J. Hooker re-run.
YOU AUGHTA KNOW:
Several of the real-life cops and former criminals upon whom the show's characters are based have small roles on the show, including notorious drug kingpin Melvin Williams (who plays Deacon), stickup man and hitman Donnie "Larry" Andrews (Donnie), and homicide detective Jay Landsman (Lt. Dennis Mello).