Detroit 1-8-7: low ratings, worth saving (on my DVR and ABC)

Over the past few weeks, I've been doing my best to save my DVR.  It's dying a slow death.  Everyday.

detroit 1-8-7

Each night I come home, and just 5% of space remains on my beloved piece of technology, packed to the brim with unwatched episodes of Nikita, Hawaii Five-0, and The Event.

In getting caught up on some of my favorite new shows, I've discovered Detroit 1-8-7.  A police drama based in one of America's roughest cities, the show features Sopranos co-star Michael Imperioli and likely has television's most racially diverse cast on television.

I'm not a big fan of TV procedurals.  I never watched NYPD Blue, didn't bother with the CSI franchise, and never cared for the multiple incarnations of Law & Order.  And while I loved The Shield, ABC's Detroit 1-8-7 fails to be as gritty and emotionally involving as that fine FX series.

With that said, this is a good show.  Michael Imperioli plays a Detroit cop with more than a few issues, torturing his new partner with silence and awkward stares.  James McDaniel and Shaun Majumder have great chemistry, and Natalie Martinez plays a no nonsense cop breaking in a street smart detective in D.J. Cotrona.

But is anyone else watching?  Not really, says most ratings-based websites. According to TV By the Numbers, ABC's Detroit series might be in need of some series backup:

Detroit 1-8-7 slid further towards cancellation to a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating versus last week’s preliminary 2.2 rating (as of October 6th).

Who knows why Detroit 1-8-7 isn't quite catching on.  It has a strong lead in with Dancing with the Stars, airs in the drama friendly timeslot of 10 pm, and has a strong, likeable cast.  If viewers are hoping this series fills the void left by NYPD Blue, they'll likely be as unsatisfied as those hoping The Event becomes the perfect blend of Lost and 24.

I can only hope that ABC sees the potential in Detroit 1-8-7, and keeps the show around long enough to find more viewers.  And I don't care if my DVR objects.

Video: Detroit 1-8-7
Check out last night's episode, "Murder in Greektown/High School Confidential," in full from Hulu, while available:

By Michael Langston Moore

About the author

Michael Langston Moore writes for three columns at, including the Boston TV Examiner.  He also has his own television blog entitled The Screen Fiend.

You can follow Michael on Twitter, too: @MLM_Examiner

More From Michael Langston Moore

1 Comment
On: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Welcome to TVGA, Michael! 

My take on Detroit 1-8-7 and crime shows/procedurals is very close to yours. I'm an obsessive fan of The Sopranos and The Shield but can't sit through an episode of CSI. I checked out Detroit 1-8-7 entirely because of Imperioli's involvement. I'm still watching... but am not thrilled. It's solid, it's watchable, but it doesn't really do a whole lot for me. Quite frankly my favorite parts are those that touch on the cops' personal lives/interests, but it's been so light and far between that I doubt this will ever be a serious emphasis of the show. 

By the way, I have the same DVR dilemma and the shows you listed are the exact ones "on the bubble" on my box as well !


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