87th Precinct

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87th Precinct series
AuthorEd McBain
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Genrepolice procedural
PublisherE. P. Dutton
Published1956-2005
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
 
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87th Precinct series
AuthorEd McBain
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Genrepolice procedural
PublisherE. P. Dutton
Published1956-2005
Media typePrint (Hardcover)

The 87th Precinct is a series of police procedural novels and stories written by Ed McBain. McBain's 87th Precinct works have been adapted, sometimes loosely, into movies and television on several occasions.

Setting[edit]

The series is based on the work of the police detectives of the 87th Precinct in Isola, a district of a large fictional city based on the New York City borough of Manhattan. Other districts in McBain's fictionalized version of New York correspond to NYC's other four boroughs, Calm's Point standing in for Brooklyn, Majesta representing Queens, Riverhead substituting for the Bronx, and Bethtown for Staten Island.

Relation to Dragnet[edit]

Each novel begins with the same disclaimer:

"The city in these pages is imaginary. The people, the places are all fictitious. Only the police routine is based on established investigatory technique."

In interviews and articles, McBain has freely admitted that his series was heavily influenced by the radio and TV series Dragnet. This introduction, simultaneously evoking and contradicting Dragnet's introductory phrase, "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent," was apparently McBain's way of acknowledging the debt, yet announcing his intention to go his own way in every book.

Characters[edit]

The series focuses on the detectives of the 87th Precinct, and although different detectives will "star" in different novels, most 87th novels feature a significant, if not a starring role for Detective 2nd Grade Stephen Louis "Steve" Carella.

The regular characters in the 87th Precinct novels are:

Detectives of the 87th[edit]

A number of other detectives are mentioned, or have smaller roles. In the first novel in the series, Cop Hater, Carella is partnered with a detective called Bush. Bush's wife has hired someone to murder Bush, as well as two other officers who are not mentioned in the other novels.

Some of McBain's cop's names, including M. Meyer, B. Kling and R. Havilland, are seen in a duty roster posted on a squad room wall in the original 1962 film version of Cape Fear. At the point the film was made, over a dozen 87th Precinct novels had already been published.

Others at the 87th[edit]


Other regular characters[edit]

Ed McBain on writing an 87th Precinct novel[edit]

"I usually start with a corpse. I then ask myself how the corpse got to be that way and I try to find out—just as the cops would. I plot, loosely, usually a chapter or two ahead, going back to make sure that everything fits—all the clues are in the right places, all the bodies are accounted for...(I) believe strongly in the long arm of coincidence because I know cops well, I know how much it contributes to the solving of real police cases."

The 87th Precinct Mysteries[edit]

Short stories[edit]

The following books excerpted chapters from 87th Precinct novels:

Other media[edit]

References[edit]