This io9 post got me thinking. Yes, making The Walking Dead as a police procedural is a terrible idea. But crime wouldn’t stop just because of an apocalyptic event (unless the entire human race is wiped out). A sufficiently large group of survivors will need some sort of law and order. (DUN-DUN)
There will be some minor spoilers for The Walking Dead if you’re not caught up.
In the current state the TWD television universe (I don’t read the comics so I can’t address that) we have seen only one example of cops who still look like and act (more or less) like cops. And that didn’t turn so well, especially for Beth. Rick and Shane were sheriff’s deputies when things went to hell but they both lost that mindset soon enough. Deanna’s grand vision for Alexandria probably included a police force (which we saw a tentative start with Rick and Michonne) but that’s a long way off if it ever happens. So that’s not really the setting for a post-apocalyptic procedural.
Suppose instead that after whatever apocalyptic event happened there is a sufficiently large group of survivors settled in one spot to have a functional government and some rules to promote the common good like “don’t steal from the food warehouse.” Obviously there will need to be someone to enforce those rules. It could be a sheriff-like figure for a smaller community (like in Defiance) or something resembling a contemporary police department. We haven’t seen much of the local police in this season of The Last Ship but that sort of stabilized post-apocalyptic situation is the kind of environment I’m writing about. Colony is another example. The show wasn’t primarily a procedural but had a lot of procedural elements since the main character was working law enforcement.
Depending on the nature of the apocalyptic event the police would not only have to do normal law enforcement stuff but may also have to ready to handle the appearance of a zombie/vampire/angel/demon/whatever in the (probably walled) city, There is a lot of potential for showing the political and societal sides of things as cops deal with:
- The death of a senior government official or well-off citizen
- The black market for items that are in short supply
- Food riots and the story behind them (Do you remember why Soylent Green is people?)
- Government corruption (including the cops)
- A shadowy Moriarty figure with a mysterious agenda
Maybe the post-apocalyptic thing is too played out for this to happen anytime soon. But I still think someone could make a decent post-apocalyptic police procedural.