With a camera crew embedded in the Chicago Police Department's Special Victums Unit, this show follows missing persons cases from the initial report through the conclusion of the case. There are both happy and tragic endings.
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A Look at an aspect of Modern Police Work or Selling the Public on an Exaggerated and Rosie Picture of Police Service that isn't being given! (At Least Not In Chicago!)
Steven J. Cannell Productions presents "MISSING PERSONS" TV Series Createed by Peter Lance & Gary Sherman. With Daniel J. Travanti (Lt.Ray McAuliffe),Jorja Fox(Officer Connie Karadzic),Paty Lombard(Mrs.Barbara McAuliffe), Juan Ramirez(Carlos Marrone),Robert Swan(Dan Duck),Fred Weller('Soapy' Sadowski),Amy Carlson (Somebody or Other).
Any time a producer wishes to make a Cop Series here are basically two routes to go. One can be all escapism, super fantasy all the way. In this type, there are no "sorta bad guys" and no "less than enthusiastic about their jobs" Coppers. The lead character usually lives just for his job. And regardless of how much the main character gets into trouble, makes waves or rocks the bureaucratic boat, he remains in the same position.
The other type of story lone tries its best to be realistic. Any glamor is played down. The tedious monotony of a Criminal Investigation is very much a large part of mostly all of the installments.(The typical investigation depicted is the FOLLOW-UP, rather than the PRELIMINARY, mainly because most Cop Shows center on the "Big Heat", "The Man", you know, the DETECTIVES.) Very few of these shows have the Uniform Cops as their subject.
As to the next case, one series called "MISSING PERSONS(1993-95), we can only say that it falls somewhere between the fantastic and the realistic.
Our Series is set in my town, Chicago, you know the "City with Broad Shoulders, the Stacker of Wheat, Hog Butcher to the World", etc., etc.In actuality, all of these Carl Sandberg attributes are mostly poetic anachronisms in this "Modern World". There is a certain amount of these industries left, but not to any great degree as to make it a "Center" for any one of them.
Chicago still has the Spectre of the Prohibition Era hanging over it, and it probably always will. This is unfortunate, and largely undeserved for most of our citizenry. Therre is also an unfair attitude out there concerning the C.P.D. To some, we are either the most crooked Coppers or the most "Police Brutality Prone." In reality, neither is true, these attitudes merely being a product of a prostituted press.* It would appear that this "MISSING PERSONS" started out as a legitimately sincere project. The crux of the show seemed to be an honest attempt to play down violent crime, gun play, car chases and any other "Bad-Ass", Bumper Morgan-Dirty Harry type activities.
In contrast, the characters of "MISSING PERSONS" seem bent on making a point of their almost Pascifist behaviour. Detective Bobby Davison (Erik King) states that it was good to be bringing families back together, instead of breaking them up. This occurs during an exchange with a Detective from Homicide. This is a gruff, gravely voiced character who smirks at such an nonviolent activity as a Missing Person Investigation is below his contempt and dignity.
As a definite 'Plus'(+)for the Series and Its Creative/Production Team is the excellent uses of Chicago locales. Chicago has been said to have a wide range of looks and appearances vary highly from one section of town to another. You may find the Architechture of the Schools will vary a great deal, also.** The best use of a shooting location has to be their choice for Missing Persons Bureau Headquarters. It is the old Brighton Park Police Station,3900 S. California Avenue, which from about 1962 to 1994 was Home to Area 3 Detectives, Youth and (until '73)Traffic Divisions. It is a very old building dating to the turn of 19th to 20th centuries. It is now used as a Satellite Facility by the Cook County Sheriff's Police.
Again on the down side, this Missings series probably inadvertently does a dis-service to the public by creating th false impression that any Missing Persons Case gets far more individual attention than they really do, as they are handed out in bunches to the Investigating Officers, rather than one at a time, as is pictured.
And even though they were given full cooperation of the Chicago Police Youth Section(Youth handles all missings in Chicago.), they still missed the boat a little when it comes to speaking Chicagoan. Case in point involves a latter episode which was introducing Valerie Harper as an Investigator returning to work after an extended Medical Absence, with an implication that there had been something between her and the Lieutennant. Well, in this installment, she brings the morning sweet rolls, priding herself in remembering what were the preferences of her co-workers. For one she announces "a Jelly Doughnut".
BONG! BONG! ALARM sounding here!! In our provincial dialect, we Middle Americans would not call it a "Jelly Doughnut", but rather use the much more proper terminology of "Jelly Bismarck". A Technical Dialect Adviser was needed. (I was available) Once again, it seems that all of this is done by the Production team with good intentions. It would seem that the old sayings are proved here are: 1. "A Little Bit of Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing.", and 2. "The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions!"
NOTE: * 'Scuse me oh Noble Fourth Estate of the Land, but it's true. You've managed to neuter our country's Police Departments, just the same way that you are now doing it to Our Armed Forces!
NOTE: ** Architechture varies greatly, neighborhood to neighborhood depending on when settled and who were the original Ethnics founding the community.
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