We've often heard that there is no such thing as "strict" fiction. There must be something to it; because we all use whatever we have stored up in our own gray matter. All of this comes from our own life experiences; ergo, anything we 'create' on blank paper has its origin in something we've seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt or just lived.
As a good current example of a contemporary series that regularly makes use of "Right out of the Headlines" story lines and even brags about them; we present "LAW & ORDER.
That tag-line about being from headlines seems to fly in the face of the occasional caveat of: "The story in tonight's episode is strictly fictitious. Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead is purely coincidental." Oddly enough whenever this warning appears, the more the following hour drama is like a real life occurrence which is fairly recent.
As to "THE DISTRICT" (CBS, 200-2004), we don't point the finger at any one particular episode or any continued storyline; rather it is the very elemental make-up of the series and the characteristics of the main character, himself.
Big City Police Departments are often put under the command and direction of an outsider serving as Chief/Commissioner/Superintendent, or whatever title have you. And the one real life model that appears to have been used for Chief Jack Mannion (Craig T. Nelson) would be William Bratton, the present Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. A native Bostonian, Mr. Bratton has served in several top cop posts in Boston, New York Transit Police, New York City Police and others. I'm proud to saw that he had applied for the job here, in Chicago, but wasn't successful. (That was our loss, not Chief Bratton's.) As far as Chief Jack Mannion, he too has been boss elsewhere and was a Uniformed Cop and then Detective in New York City. He also has had other experiences with other departments; so he's well educated, equipped and traveled in the Police World.
.Arriving in Washington, in the District of Columbia (D.C. for short), newly appointed Chief of Police, Jack Mannion (Coach) begins to reshape the Departments Command Staff into what best reflects his own ideas of what the District of Columbia Department will perform and look like (No, Schultz, not in regards to race, color or gender. It means performance, tactics and results.) Chief Mannion soon discovers that, not everyone in Police HQ is on board with the new outsider's plans. The most prominent resistance was found to be coming from the guy who would be his number 2 in command of the Department. Deputy Chief Joe Noland (Roger Aaron Brown) had been acting Chief before Mannion's appointment and fully expected to get the post himself. After a brief period of friction, the two men settled all and the Deputy was as devoted to Mannion's program as anyone could be.
The new Chief immediately reached out to find officers to people his own immediate staff, and made an extraordinary maneuver, he found Administrative Clerk Ella Farmer (the Late Lynne Thigpen) and elevated her to the top level in order to run the department's computer system and especially, the War Room.
Whoa! "War Room? What that? The computerized War Room shown in "THE DISTRICT" is 2nd to none. Not even the President's War Room in DR. STRANGELOVE() had anything on this. Computer imagery, contact with the whole doggone District of Columbia, building floor plans and whatever else you can imagine. This is possibly either the most exaggerated item in the whole series or the most marvelous use of modern technology that there is in Law Enforcement.
As far as Realism, on a scale of 1 to 10, give it a 5. In the category of Enjoyment, give the series "THE DISTRICT" an 8.