IN THE CROSSHAIRS
Detroit City Council recently has had a public hearing about the upcoming television drama Detroit 187 (http://tinyurl.com/25okbjp). The series, due to air on the ABC network this fall, is filmed in and set in Detroit, focusing on a group of police detectives and officials and the crimes they solve. Michigan's nascent tax-incentives for the film industry played a role in the TV show coming to Detroit; the pilot for the show was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.
Considering how the Law & Order and CSI franchises have long been TV staples, I'm somewhat surprised that it took this long for someone to come out with a Detroit answer to the typically New York-and-Los Angeles-centric police shows. Likely hundreds of people will end up getting direct or indirect jobs as a result of the show's presence. Not only the featured actors and the film production crew benefit, but also local caterers, clothiers, paid extras and various small businesses will get a boost.
As spearheaded by city councilman Kwame Kenyatta, the concern of council concerns the name of the show. '187' is a regional California police-code for murder, which, perhaps ironically, was in this writer's opinion thrust into the public pop-culture lexicon by various hardcore-themed hip-hop music and movies-- who else easily remembers Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg's hook from "Deep Cover"-- ("..and you don't stop, 'cause it's 1-8-7 on an undercover cop...")
I feel that the council have a certain point-- to me, 'Detroit 187' comes across as kind of corny, since, well, '187' really isn't used by local police here. 'Detroit Streets', in comparison, still lets the viewer know that this is likely a gritty show, without appropriating a vaguely misleading term. At the same time, Kenyatta's threatened to play hardball with the producers, floating the idea of withholding city permits to close streets for filming, if the 'demands' aren't met.
It would be reckless of city council to really follow-through on such a threat. Kenyatta and those who agree with him would be side-swiping all of the jobs that were and are being created by the show to make some temporary political points with those who feel that Detroit's rep as a crime-heavy town is completely unfounded. It would set a bad precedent, potentially scaring off other filmmakers (including home-grown ones) on the notion that Council is yet another board of suits who want to dictate art content, and who are prone to shut down anyone who doesn't glibly accede to every 'suggestion'.
Say-- I wonder if the producers of the show could be convinced to take on the costs of blowing up the old Michigan Central Station (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Central_Station) in the season finale. Seriously. Here's the scenario-- a mysterious mad bomber starts targeting abandoned buildings throughout the city, and the countdown is on for stopping him. Several rickety structures will go "ka-boom!" on a recurring basis throughout the season; we only see the culprit in shadow or behind their back.
When the remains of innocent squatters are found in the rubble, the charges are upped from property destruction to murder. Clues eventually reveal that the culprit sees his vandalism as rebellious works of art, and his "piece de resistance" will be detonating the Train Depot. The heroes race down Michigan Avenue, confronting the villain, but he has his hands on the killswitch.. and in the final seconds..3-2-1.. 'baroooooooommm'.....Who is buried alive? Who is just buried? Stay tuned next fall! (Dun-Dun! Or however that Law & Order sound-effect goes...)