Preview: Angie Tribeca 1×1 (US: TBS)

Police Squad for the 2010s

In the US: Mondays, 9pm, TBS. Starts January 25th
In the UK: Not yet acquired

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good US cop spoof. Back in the 80s, there were Police Squad and Sledge Hammer to make us laugh with pastiches of the then-conventions of the genre, as well as some plain old silliness.

Since then, it’s been a desert, I tell you. A desert. But now from the brains of Steve and Nancy Carell comes Police Squad again. A little different, but still basically Police Squad.

Angie Tribeca stars Rashida Jones as the eponymous Tribeca, a lonewolf detective who works alone. Then along comes partner number 237 (Mr Ali Larter aka Hayes MacArthur from Perfect Couples and Really) and finally there’s someone who might be able to accommodate her uniquely tough working methods.

And that’s basically the plot. There’s a tough gruff police captain (Jere Burns from Dear John USA and Help Me Help You). There’s all manner of guest suspects (Lisa Kudrow and Gary Cole). But that’s about it. 

But that’s not what the show’s really about it. It’s about a series of scenes containing sight gags, stunts, jokes and whatever else it fancies, all of which are intended to make you laugh in more or less the same way Sledge Hammer and Police Squad did. Sometimes that’s by undermining conventions, such as continuing conversations that would normally be ended by a scene cut or left implicit; sometimes it’s by verbal jokes, such as having every line begin “with all due respect”; sometimes it’s by visual fun, such as having the suspect jog off while an obvious stunt double does gymnastics to pursue him unnecessarily dramatically; and sometimes it’s just by doing something odd, like having MacArthur plummet to his death and then pop back unharmed in the next episode.

All of this description kills the comedy, of course, so I’m going to stop with it now. I so am. Watch the trailer instead.

The show takes about 10 minutes for the first episode to transcend sixth form-review style comedy and to become actually funny, but after that it’s frequently laugh out loud funny, so I’m definitely going to stick with it.

PS If you’re quick, TBS is streaming the entire first season right now, so you can watch it all in one go, but only for another day or so. The show’s already been renewed for a second season, too. 


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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