Take "Criminal Minds," which follows a group of FBI profilers out of Quantico who track serial killers. I've gotten hooked over the past month thanks to ION running through about ten episodes - nearly half a season - every week. It's currently in its fifth year on CBS, and started out as one of the better entries to the cop-show genre with good writing, good actors, and a better eye for accuracy and realism than most. Subsequent seasons have been wildly uneven in tone and quality, and now it's pretty much been dumbed down into another "CSI" clone. Sure it's still entertaining, but I do miss being able to watch a whole episode without spotting things that would never, ever happen in real life roughly every five minutes.
Some of the biggest recurring issues:
I know that Mandy Patinkin's departure at the end of the second season was a major turning point in the show for the worse, but it also looks like budget cuts did away with most of the interesting visuals and research-intensive writing that characterized the earlier seasons. What depresses me is that this has actually helped the show, because the ratings for "Criminal Minds" have been steadily improving even as the quality has dipped.
I do find it refreshing to find a crime drama that is so shamelessly pandering to women. Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, and Michael Gray Gubler provide a great variety of masculine eye-candy. On the female side of the cast, Paget Brewster, AJ Cook, and Kirsten Vangness are certainly not unattractive women, but neither are they aggressively sexualized the way you see in so many similar shows.
All in all, there are enough redeeming elements that I keep watching "Criminal Minds." Despite all the issues I have with it, I have to admit that it's far better written than most of the other crime dramas and will occasionally do something really riveting. It's just a shame that the federal agent characters it portrays are somehow less realistic and believable than the ones found in far older and less ambitious shows - like "The X-files."