Procedural (genre)

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A procedural is a cross-genre type of literature, film, or television program involving a sequence of technical detail. A documentary film may be written in a procedural style to heighten narrative interest.

Types of media[edit]



In television, "procedural" specifically refers to a genre of programs in which a problem is introduced, investigated and solved all within the same episode. These shows tend to be hour-long dramas, and are often (though not always) police or crime related.[citation needed]

The general formula for a police procedural involves the commission or discovery of a crime at the beginning of the episode, the ensuing investigation, and the arrest or conviction of a perpetrator at the end of the episode.

Modern examples of this genre are the Law & Order, CSI & NCIS franchises. House is an example of a non-crime-related procedural.

  • Procedural dramas are generally very popular in broadcast syndication because the lack of long-term storylines makes it easier for viewers to tune in for just one episode without feeling lost.
  • Procedurals are sometimes noted for their lack of character development, with little attention being paid to the lives of the recurring characters outside of their jobs.[1]


  • Non-fiction science procedurals such as the PBS Secrets of the Dead series or Court TV's Forensic Files take a viewer step-by-step through an investigation, much like a fictional procedural.[2]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ames, Melissa (2012). Time in Television Narrative: Exploring Temporality in Twenty-First-Century Programming. University Press of Mississippi. p. 277.
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  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2006-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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