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A Guide to Popular TV Dramas: Part 2


The first part of this blog series featured Character Driven Procedural TV shows, and today I’ll focus on Plot Driven Procedural TV shows.

If you have flipped through the channels, you may have noticed already that the vast majority of plot driven procedurals are crime dramas. They are easy to follow and do not require viewers to make an appointment with their TV sets as is the case with serial dramas. Viewers can jump in at any point in the series to sample the type of show that they’d be watching. With any type of narrative, they have a beginning, middle, and end. Most if not all of the crime dramas close their case at the end and give viewers a sense of comfort or closure. They’re made to be fun and escapist entertainment. Once an episode ends, the same type of format starts all over again the following week: the crime is committed, the investigators are brought in and by episode’s end, the perpetrator is discovered and captured. And by then, you’ll have known the who, what, why and how of the crime. This explains why procedurals are the most popular format in TV today.

Below are some of the most popular crime procedurals that are available at the Niles Library (unless otherwise noted):

CSI (Available as interlibrary loan)

This is the most popular franchise still airing today. Instead of a whodunnit, this series primarily focuses on the how.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Available as interlibrary loan)

Follows the detectives who investigate the crimes and the lawyers who prosecute the criminals. This series has a more investigative focus than its parent series.


A modern update of the classic focusing on the cases of the infamous Sherlock Holmes and his partner Watson.

The Mentalist

A celebrity “psychic” works together with a team of detectives to solve the toughest cases after the murder of his wife and child prompts him to find the real identity of the killer responsible.

Criminal Minds

This series focuses on the why of a crime by dwelling inside the mind of criminals. An elite team of FBI Behavioral Analysis Agents work together to bring the most twisted criminals to justice.


An FBI agent and a forensic anthropologist team up to solve the most baffling cases.


Although this is a direct spinoff of the popular NCIS franchise, this show focuses primarily on cases involving the Navy in the city of Los Angeles by utilizing undercover work. This show is more action-oriented than the character-oriented parent series.

Click here to read Part One of this blog series!

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