You want to know what I really think about this place, Chief? This whole department is just a damn television show. Literally. We’re nothing but a procedural with three acts, familiar police department archetypes, and yes, occasional semi-famous guest stars.

I started suspecting something was up earlier this week. I was in the lab with Kowalski, Chen, Mink, Ramirez, and those two young technicians from Milan. We were watching the Ribbon Killer’s latest murder re-enacted on the lab’s state-of-the-art hologram. It was an amazing demonstration, but try as I might I couldn’t focus. I was too distracted by everyone’s stellar cheekbones.

After it was over one of the techs asked if we had any questions. So I asked, “Are we the sexiest police department in the nation? I mean, Jesus Christ, look at our perfect skin and bone structure. Isn’t it a bit odd that the best cops in the city would also be the stone cold foxiest?”

Nobody else seemed to think so, but I think that’s because they were too preoccupied with the obvious sexual tension they had with someone else in the room. Me, I knew something was up. My hunch was that we’re so good-looking because we’re the lead characters on a prime time cop drama. A big network cop drama to be exact, considering that we’re the only police force in history to never once curse on the job.

Don’t believe me? Go ahead, Chief, try to drop an f-bomb. That’s what I thought.

Look, I don’t know why we’re a cop show either. We’re probably just pawns in some studio’s bigger game. What I do know is that what happens around here would make some pretty compelling scripted TV. I mean, the Ribbon Killer was our sixth serial killer this year. No problem though, because we caught them all, like, stupid fast. In fact, we catch everyone! Pretty amazing considering nobody here plays by the rules.

Which reminds me: does anybody here write anything down? I’ve been a cop here for four seasons and I’ve never once done any paperwork. I don’t think there’s a record of anything that’s ever happened here. Hell, far as I know we don’t own a single computer, besides the one we use to zoom in on surveillance footage and peruse off-brand social networks to root out pedophiles.

I understand it is an amazing computer that can do things no other computer in existence can do, and I do not take it for granted. It’s our greatest weapon against crime, besides Kowalski’s gun that never runs out of bullets.

Speaking of Kowalski, did you notice how he looks totally different this year but nobody has mentioned it? Like, he’s about half a foot taller and five years younger? Feels like someone should have commented on that, but instead we treat this stranger like he’s an old pal.

Wait, that’s it. If we’re characters on a cop show that means you’re all being played by someone else. Kowalski. Mink. Rockstone. That DA who looks like Richard Grieco wearing makeup to make him look older. Even you, Chief.

You ever notice how sometimes you give a hint of having an Australian accent? Most the time you sound American, but every once in awhile, on certain words, and especially when you get very emotional… I don’t know, it’s like you’re not a real chief, but someone’s idea of what an American police chief sounds like.

Like right now while you’re threatening to take my badge and gun. That’s not you talking, that’s your character. And me being all defiant and cocksure, mouthing off to my boss like people wish they could, that’s totally something I would do.

That’s it! I’m not a cop at all, I’m a goddamn protagonist. An unrealistic one at that. Remember yesterday? You know, when I figured out that the senator’s killer was his daughter all along? I chased her up to that rooftop where we had a shootout that ended with me plugging her, causing her body to fall twenty stories onto that parked Mercedes. Pretty typical, I know.

But it shouldn’t be typical! After something like that a normal person would at least be like, “Wow, you remember when I got in that gunfight yesterday? I’m still kind of processing that.” Even a speeding ticket bothers most folks for at least a couple days. But not me! It’s like no matter what craziness happens to me every week I always reset, doomed to repeat the cycle forever.

I don’t know what any of it means either. I need time to figure it out. I’m going to the ocean to gaze at it while that bass-heavy instrumental theme music that follows us everywhere plays.

You know where to find me if you need a quip.