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SUNDAY PUNCHES | WHAT THEY'RE WATCHING

'Law & Order'? Fuggedaboudit

April 16, 2006

Michael Connelly, the mystery writer who invented LAPD Det. Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch, has written 17 books. "Echo Park," the latest in the Bosch series, is scheduled for publication this fall; "Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers," is out next month. Obviously, Connelly is a busy man--though not too busy to watch reruns on TV. Here are his five all-time favorite cop shows (each, you'll notice, long ago dispatched to syndication heaven), and why:

"Dragnet" (1951-'59): Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday was the "perfect policeman. 'Just the facts, ma'am,' and just what we could probably use right now."

"Police Story" (1973-'77): The anthology series set in L.A. "wasn't about cops working on cases; it was about cases working on cops."

"Hill Street Blues" (1981-'87): The gritty inner-city station house was "home and family. 'Be careful out there'--words to live by."

"Miami Vice" (1984-'89): Crockett and Tubbs stylishly took on the drug world in "a cop show with bling before there was bling."

"Kojak" (1973-'78): Telly Savalas, a bald lieutenant with a fondness for lollipops, was "cool as a jazzman--his shaved head was a statement long before Michael Jordan."

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