‘Grimm’ Has a Really Strange Approach to Police Work

I wanted to like Grimm, because I’m a total sucker for fractured fairy tales. And there are some good things in the show, most notably a Big Bad Wolf who’s cranky over the historic misrepresentation of his people, and who seems likely to end up guiding our somewhat bland hero through his new calling. But one thing that really bothered me was the show’s apparently fantastical approach to the basics of police work: Nick spends a lot of time crashing in places without warrants and setting up surveillance on folks without approval.

It’s good to have that part of the job depicted accurately on television both because it’s a good thing that they exist in the real world, and because they make for more compelling storytelling. We don’t live in a Minority Report kind of world — if Nick just keeps storming into suspected child kidnappers’ houses, at some point he’s going to violate the rights of someone innocent and supernatural who will be totally within their rights to be thermonuclearly angry with him. And more importantly, it would be interesting to see Nick try to get warrants based on information he’s getting from supernatural sources a la Beka Cooper, trying to reconcile magic and the rationality of police work. If the show isn’t going to play with that tension at all, why not just make him a private investigator? Creating concepts like cops who can see magic are interesting when they let us play with tropes and our ideas about the real world, not when they let us abandon our sense of the rules entirely.