Police movies & police TV are not equal.
Most police TV shows seem to thrive off of solving a crime or a mystery, and while the characters have their own drama and characteristics, part of the gravity towards police television is that these character development nuggets are revealed slowly, and in the midst of multiple seasons of high tension drama, where relationships are slowly developed. Not only that, like medical shows, police characters are usually intriguing because of their dedication to the job, while their philosophy of how to get the job might be different from other characters on the shows, who are equally dedicated, just with their own thoughts and methodology.
When it comes to police films, they do not have this luxury of demonstrating a characters consistency, dedication, and have the time to slowly develop and reveal these nuggets of personal life.
As such, Police films seem to usually focus on one crime and often have a much higher concentration of character development in a two hour period, than a TV show would ever had. This means that the intrigue of film has to be built primarily on the cop (often his corruption) or the magnitude of the crime they are solving, or even, how they are connected to the crime.
I think it's because of this difference that we see Cop-themed television more popular than Cop-themed films.
That's why today we see so many police TV -- The Closer, Bones, Numb3rs, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, CSI, CSI-Miami, CSI-New York, Law & Order, & Southland, among others.
I can't think of many recent cop films that have intrigued me, short of some very heavy films, Training Day, The Departed, and World Trade Center, American Gangster, Hot Fuzz and Gone Baby Gone.
And it's interesting that a genre that thrives on the small screen has such a weak presence on the big screen.
Another police themed film is in theaters later this year called Brooklyn's Finest. The film premiered at Sundance earlier in the year, and was the first film to be purchased, although purchased for well under the cost of production.
Directed by Academy-member Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), I can surely expect Brooklyn's Finest to be another heavy film, which will star Richard Gere (pictured above with Ethan Hawke). Gere, Hawke, and Don Cheadle play policemen, facing moral dilemma's as we expect to see in these police films.
The film, obviously takes place in New York, and certainly will have a chance for some drama. The film also co-stars Ellen Barking, Wesley Snipes and Vincent D'Onofrio.
I wouldn't expect this film to be as big as Scorcese's The Departed, but I'm interested in how Richard Gere will do in this role, as he surely has the most to gain or loose by a role of this nature.
I expect Ethan Hawke to do well in this film Fuqua led Hawke to an Oscar nod in 2002 with Training Day, I could see him doing it again...Oscar is impressed with Actors playing police, even though these films aren't favorites in the other catagories.
Understandably so, if it's just a longer version of CSI or Law and Order, why should the Academy be impressed.