"Buddy cop show" is a common trope; but so is a partnering of a cop and a civilian, and especially a cop and an extraordinary civilian (a mentalist in The Mentalist, an immortal in Forever, a fallen angel in Lucifer, a blocked writer in Castle, a tattooed amnesiac in Blindspot, a mnemophage in iZombie, etc.). Is there a common name for this trope? If not, what would be a succinct way to describe it?

Originally posted to English SE. Cop and Scientist from TVTropes was proposed and seems to awkwardly fit, but in many of these the partner is not a scientist (Mentalist, Lucifer, Blindspot, Castle), or is not primarily used for the scientific expertise (iZombie).

  • Odd couple comes to mind
    – cde
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 2:59
  • 1
    Take your pick Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 8:40
  • Doesn't that made it into cross post?
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 11:25
  • I think the term is 'not based in reality.' Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 15:56
  • @ankit the response on english.se was to direct them here. It should of just been migrated, but since it's dont, the english.se one should be deleted or closed.
    – cde
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


The TV Trope for this is called They Fight Crime, basically any time two dissimilar people team up to fight crime. 90% of the time, it's a straight man, by the book cop and a funny man unconventional non-cop, but not always. It often employs the double act (aka comedic duo) even when it's not a comedy. Even when it's a gritty no-fun-allowed drama. Then it's called bad cop/good cop. Semantics really.

All those shows genre wise would be a procedural. That's the general term for them. Even as a police procedural, because it all boils down to most of the mentioned shows being about crime solving in a semi legal way. Ratings and reviews wouldn't care about the specifics of the characters non-police job title is.

  • Thank you, I believe that's as good as I'm going to get.
    – Amadan
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 2:08

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