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  • Despite some of the more cartoony personalities that make up the staff of Sacred Heart Hospital, Scrubs has been touted as being one of the most realistic portrayals of life as a medical intern compared to all the other medical shows on television. Not only do they have doctors on staff as medical advisors (including the "Real J.D."), but they frequently receive stories of odd medical instances from doctors that they then work into the show. People have gotten into medicine because of the show.
    • This is Wonderland is similarly accurate, though in a courtroom rather than a hospital. Lawyers, apparently, are traded around between courts, work multiple cases simultaneously, and have to deal with people even more unpleasant than the lawyers themselves.
    • Another example is WKRP in Cincinnati, in its depiction of the (pre-Clear Channel) radio-broadcast industry.
    • And Barney Miller is often acknowledged as the most accurate cop show ever put on TV.
  • After being refused permission to film in the London Underground, the Doctor Who production team had David Myerscough-Jones design sets for The Web of Fear based on photos of the Tube tunnels. The result was so good the BBC received legal threats from the London public transport authorities, who assumed they'd done a bit of illegal location filming.
    • They did it again with an arc that ended with a church being blown up. Their model was so realistic that a number of viewers wrote in complaining that it was a sacrilege to destroy a nice country church for the sake of a television program.
  • The Thick of It displays a very extensive and realistic documentation of the inner workings of the offices of Whitehall, and has many fictional counterparts for real politicians. Politicians themselves have commented on the realism, noting that the only thing unrealistic about it is the show's infamous amount of profanity. In real life, it's worse.
  • Carnivale demonstrates extensive knowledge of Tarot as well as biblical mythology, and the plot tends to hinge on obscure symbolism that the viewer is supposed to figure out themselves with little guidance.
  • Similarly, CSI has a reputation for Hollywood Science and Did Not Do the Research, but in a snippet of CSI New York a tech taking out a hard drive for evaluation was shown switching the jumper before putting it in the external enclosure, a small detail anyone not in the know would not likely catch. Especialy surprising given the sad prevelence of Hollywood Hacking on the show.
    • Often the writers on CSI do actually do the research and try to show it, but the compression required for a 40-minute episode makes it Hollywood Science anyway.
    • The sheer number of ways people have died in the CSI franchise makes this trope almost mandatory for the autopsy scenes, as the writers have to do a fair bit of research simply to come up with a cause of death we haven't seem before.
    • Word of God says that they do do their research, but distort a lot of the science deliberately so that criminals don't use the knowledge to escape more effectively.
  • The Closer is a Police Procedural with a surprising number of accurate details. Established in the opening scene when our heroine insists on a seperate search warrant for the garage as it is a "stand alone structure." She goes on to be careful about legal and procedural minutiae. Over the years, when her tactics slide into Cowboy Cop-y occasionally, she gets called out on it in a massive lawsuit--just like real life.
  • Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing (in its first few seasons anyway) was a surprisingly candid and realistic portrayal as the sorts of conflicts and obstacles any presidential administration must run into on a daily basis, no doubt due to the fact that former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan were advisers to the show. Some episodes were based on one character having to teach another character (and, by extension, the audience) about certain aspects of the federal government (e.g. Sam teaching C.J. everything she needs to know about the U.S. Census).
    • Not without its errors, though.
    • The show actually got a lot more politically accurate after Sorkin left - in particular, the final couple of seasons consist of a VERY meticulous election cycle, with polling numbers and electoral college projections tracked with stunning accuracy. Sorkin didn't care much for the minutae of elections, to the detriment of the first full campaign depicted on the show.
      • Though they did the entire run-up to a brokered Democratic Convention, without mentioning "super-delegates" even once.
  • Homicide: Life On the Street is frequently praised as one of the more accurate portrayals of police work, with a good eye and ear for details and dialogue often found within the Baltimore Homicide Unit as well as the cases they worked and the chain of command in the police department. Similar to The Wire, many lines of dialogue are taken word for word from David Simon's book
  • Burn Notice based its main character Michael Westen on the technical advisor for the show, retired espionage expert Michael Wilson. All the MacGyvering gadgets and explosives are accurate as can reasonably be (They aren't going to give all the ingredients and steps in making thermite on the show, 'cause everyone knows that one mixes rust and aluminum dust, the ratios are somewhat obscure though). And then when you get into items that might be outside Wilson's expertise they call in others. They consulted a radiology expert on how he could make a one-time use x-ray machine in the trunk of his car. Fans love that every explosion comes with a line that justifies it: they taped acetone to a gas tank so it actually would explode when you shoot it; Michael used incendiary ammo on barrels with inflammable water sealant, etc.
  • While it has created its own mythology, the Supernatural writing staff started out researching actual folklore and urban legends. Some people claim that this is a case of Did Not Do the Research because "everything's wrong," but folklore and urban legends are usually spread orally, so the details of each story change depending on who's telling it, but the writers kept the core elements the same. This is especially evident in the early episodes of the first season.
    • Sometimes, the writers manage to Show Their Work on actual mythology by having the brothers dismiss the Real Life versions of the tales, claiming they're mistakes and/or disinformation.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus owns this trope; as befits a show written by a group of Oxbridge graduates, it often parodies writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Marcel Proust, and frequently mentions philosophy. Even the Monty Python films show their workings; Holy Grail for example steers away from well-known legends such as the Sword in the Stone and concentrates on parodying lesser known Arthurian tales (for example Galahad's temptation in Castle Anthrax is based on actual legends of castles designed to cause knights to stray).
    • The fun also comes from their famous inversions of typical tropes like "Welsh miners are stupid" when they start talking about things like the 30 Years War and obscure classical architecture.
  • Rome featured a rather odd case of this trope meeting Reality Is Unrealistic, at least according to the director's commentary. At least one reviewer took the time to complain about Atia's unrealistic bikini line, when apparently they'd gone to the trouble of finding out exactly how the Romans looked after that sort of thing. Apparently it involved sharp seashells...
  • In one episode of Criminal Minds, the unsub thinks he is the Fisher King of Arthurian legend. In the story's climax, he demands that Spencer Reid (whom the unsub thinks is Sir Percival) "ask the question." Reid refuses, as doing so would deepen the unsub's belief in his delusions. The episode never mentions what question the unsub had in mind, but given that those interested in Arthurian tales know exactly what it was, it's evident that the writers did their mythology homework.
  • Creator Anthony Horowitz ensured that all the WWII period details in Foyle's War were thoroughly researched. Most episodes are inspired or directly based off actual people, events, or wartime organizations.
    • There is one scene when Foyle becomes suspicious of a secretive factory that's being presented as a munitions facility, but doesn't have any smokestacks and the employees appear to know more about carpentry than machinery. The maintainers of the factory eventually allow him in, revealing that they are making coffins. Thousands and thousands of coffins, knowing full well they'll be needed. Foyle and Sam are sworn to secrecy, as the knowledge would be damaging to public morale.
  • Freaks and Geeks does this perfectly with both the time period (early '80s) and the location (anyone from southeast Michigan will enjoy the references to Faygo and the Auto Show, and the frequent use of "pop").
  • Leverage has an actual pickpocket as a consultant so that all of Parker's Five-Finger Discount maneuvers are pulled off as realistically subtle as possible--sometimes, it's not even clear that she's robbed someone until the scene is shown from her perspective in flashback. Sometimes it was not even clear to other people on the set. During one blocking run-through, the director asked the actress to repeat a scene, but "really do the lift this time." She responded by holding up the item, which she'd already stolen on the last run.
    • Said consultant played Parker's counterpart on Starke's team in "The Two Live Crew Job".
    • This self-described "honest thief" is also consulted when it comes to Sophie's mind games and grifting tricks. Even some of Hardison's techniques come from him. One of the show's creators recounted a time when he spoofed a phone call to his cell phone to look like it was coming from his mother. Word of God is that roughly 95% of the seemingly impossible things the characters do on the show are things the consultant has shown them in real life.
  • The IT Crowd is ridiculously exaggerated slapstick. But the writers put in lots of little details and shout-outs that shows they Did The Research into what IT workers are actually like and into. As a result, actual IT workers love it.
    • A lot of the IT and general geekiness accuracy comes from the fact that writer Graham Linehan is One of Us and in one of the DVD commentaries pretty much says Mos is based off of a younger him and Roy of of him now.
  • Firefly is one of the few Sci Fi shows/movies (if not the only) that has no sound in space. This actually adds atmosphere to the show and does not lessen the action.
    • There's also a subversion. Jayne mentions his guns don't work in vacuum, and they have to rig it up so that Vera has atmosphere so they can shoot a space-borne trap. This is incorrect; most modern guns would work fine in vacuum, and doubly so in the future. However, they did consult a firearms expert, he was just wrong.
  • The Wire is known for its accurate portrayal of Baltimore, police procedure, slang, and based many of its characters on actual police and criminals of the Baltimore area. Furthermore, its portrayal of a newsroom has been touted as the most accurate ever shown on television. And this says nothing of its portrayal of politics, schools, and unions.
    • The fourth season in particular, it's most critically acclaimed season, is noted for its BRUTALLY and heartbreakingly honest and accurate portrayal of inner city schools and how difficult it is for kids to get out of the cycle of drugs, poverty, and violence.
    • The Wire is currently being taught in a number of universities in a variety of fields, from law to sociology to film studies. A sociologist has described The Wire as the best sociological text ever written.
    • Fifth Season: Pearlman was quoting 18 USC chapter 47 section 1014. It pertained to wire fraud.
  • Often Utz brand potato chips and pretzel snacks can be seen in The Office's breakroom vending machines. Utz is a Lancover, PA product widely distributed in the northeastern United States, and would indeed be seen in a Scranton, PA workplace.
    • Similarly, Sheetz coffee cups can regularly be seen by the office workers. Sheetz is a gas station/convenience store that is so common in Pennsylvania and several surrounding states that it borders on the point of absurdity.
    • Another commonly featured brand is Wegmans, a grocery store chain with 75 locations along the Mid Atlantic, including one in Scranton, PA.
    • The Office features many other Shout Outs to real products, people and places from the Scranton area as well.
  • Blue Heelers does this to an impressive degree, from procedure in the event of a shooting to the actors playing the role of an officer go through the academy.
  • Underbelly -- based on the book series and newspaper article, actually worked with members of Task Force Purana to get the story right, except when it wasn't.
    • Also a minor case of Did Not Do the Research...the first series had things like Pure Blonde beer and Coke Zero, in 1995. A Tale of Two Cities got it much better.
  • Stargate SG-1 and its spin-offs had this in spades because the producers cooperated closely with USAF. All scripts were checked for accuracy, military protocol were uphold, many of the extras were military personnel, two chiefs of staff appeared on the show, actual F-15 and F-16 planes were used, and the show was also shot on a real Russian submarine and a real US Navy submarine in the Arctic.
  • Lie to Me: The show is based off of Paul Ekman's promising, but not-yet-complete, research. It doesn't acknowledge many of the shortcomings in the research (unlike Ekman himself), and doesn't have time to explain the intricacies of the findings, but the principles are quite sound. Anyone familiar with Paul Ekman's research will recognize things in this show lifted directly from the man's lectures and experiments.
    • The pilot, for example, used a clip of a microexpression on Kato Kaelin from the OJ Simpson trial -- the exact same clip that Ekman has used in his own lectures.
    • Also, pictures of Tim Roth going through the Facial Action Coding System are mounted in Lightman's office.
  • Adam-12, produced by Jack Webb's company depicted police procedures so accurately that episodes were used as instructional films in police academies.
  • Webb's other well-known production, Emergency!, is also recognized for the attention to detail it gave to emergency medical response, firefighting, and hospital emergency rooms. Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe (Gage and DeSoto) had actually received paramedic training prior to filming. You can tell that in many of the scenes there's no script and they're simply doing what a paramedic would do in that situation, including reminding each other of things that have to be done or checked. The captain of the station in season one was an actual Los Angeles County Fire Department captain, Mike Stoker basically played himself (he was also an LA County firefighter), and the dispatcher was Sam Lanier, an actual dispatcher for the department.
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie was very good about being accurate about details in even the most absurd sketches, for instance, Laurie walks into a model shop in the "Dalliard/Models" sketch and asks for a Messerschmitt 109E, whereupon the clerk hands him... a fully assembled 109E. In the same episode, Fry begins to complain about the show Top Gear trying to be funny, while you never see comedy shows reviewing Nissan Micras, whereupon Laurie immediately gets up and begins reviewing a Nissan Micra parked in the studio, accurately listing the powertrain options and door layouts available. In the "Major Donaldson" sketch, Fry reads out Laurie's character's rank as "Hauptsturmfuhrer (Captain) Freidrich von Stilch," which accurately reflects the rank on Laurie's collar tab. Also, Laurie wears the field-gray SS uniform, correct as the black Allgemaine uniform had been phased out in 1939.
  • The Devil's Whore is pretty good with these. It even features Prince Rupert of the Rhine's war poodle.
  • Southland gets a lot of praise for this with former police officers saying it is exactly what their job was like.
  • Somewhat surprisingly considering its blatant 'sword-and-sorcery' elements and occasional new age mysticism, the 1980s TV series Robin of Sherwood is by far one of the most accurate depictions of the European middle ages ever to appear in a popular culture context, right down to citing obscure historical events and studying geneologies of particular noble families. Furthermore, most of the elements of the Robin Hood legend that it depicts are well-grounded in (at times obscure) earlier literature.
  • Early episodes of The Bill were extremely accurate in their depiction of the various aspects of police work. One in particular, featuring by-the-book DS Alistair Greig questioning a local hard case with a reputation for being uncrackable and getting him to crack without a threat or a harsh word spoken, was so accurate with regard to suspect questioning techniques that for many years it was used to teach them.
  • Despite a lot of script-kludging, when a case is cited on Law and Order, it's a real case, and usually on point. Whether the judges ruling, or the defense counter-point is realistic, is another matter, but the show does cite real case law.
    • Law and Order, also, over other shows supposed to take place in New York City, is the most realistic, in getting things like the geography of the city right, and the weather. The detectives correctly say for example, that they will go "down" to Alphabet City, when they are in Central Park, and give directions by street coordinates that are real. It rains, or is overcast, for no plot-related reason. People buy food from street vendors, and eat while they are walking. Mostly, this can be attributed to the fact that the show is not only set in New York City, but also shot in New York City.
    • For it's first few years, Law and Order was accurate in another way that was rare on television for the time - the police rarely even drew their weapons, much less fired them. True to life, most of their time was spent talking to people, doing research on the victim's background, and running down leads.
  • The Big Bang Theory, being a show about three extremely nerdy scientists (and an engineer), pays unusual amounts of attention to getting scientific jargon and such correct. All of the equations seen in the background are accurate and scientifically provable.
  • Boardwalk Empire does a painstaking job of accurately recreating the look of 1920's Atlantic City with the sets and costumes designed to reflect the time period. The creators have also done thorough research on their subjects and make sure that the personalities seen onscreen reflect the ones in real life, most notably with Arnold Rothstein.
  • In-Universe example in the Monk episode Mr. Monk Goes to a Wedding. After Monk had to take Natalie with him to a mud spa due to it becoming a crime scene from a body being discovered in one of the stalls, he also took a male stripper with him, having mistook him for an actual cop. When telling the cop of the situation via police terms, the stripper responded with "That bad, huh?", implying that the stripper in question knew enough about police codeterms to understand the situation (presumably to allow him to play the role of a cop as realistically as possible).
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