It seems there are a few places that reality television cameras shouldn’t be — but given today’s audience, and our voyeuristic hunger for access, it’s no surprise that those places are few and far between. Donnie Wahlberg‘s new TNT reality series “Boston’s Finest” allows viewers unprecedented access into the personal and professional lives of real police officers in Boston.
At the Television Critics Association Press Tour on Friday, Wahlberg told reporters that the show hits particularly close to home for him — literally, some of the cops that the show follows live on his older brother’s street. Wahlberg had a few reservations about bringing a reality TV show to Boston, because he didn’t want it to seem like he wanted to make the city look bad. He joked that reality producers are swarming his hometown. “‘We want a bunch of drunk ladies like ‘Jersey Shore’ but they all say clam chowda!'” he jokes. “I’m from Boston. I can’t do a show that exploits Boston.”
Don’t expect a show like “Cops,” which sensationalizes people in their lowest moments. “I would not be allowed back in the city if I simply tried to make a Boston version of ‘Cops,'” he says, noting that while he respects that series, this is a different kind of show. “‘Cops’ is a long-running, successful show, but I can’t make ‘Cops’ in the city that I live in.”
“Boston’s Finest” examines the lives of beat officers, detectives, SWAT, fugitive and special task forces, and the highly decorated Gang Unit in the Boston Police Department.
Unlike “Cops,” “Boston’s Finest” will also follow the officers — who live in the same neighborhoods that they serve and protect — home. We’ll meet their families and loved ones. Wahlberg describes the officers as “quality human beings who do heroic things in a very heroic environment.”
“They grew up in neighborhoods where they could easily be a bad guy or a good guy,” he adds. He chose to produce this show — his first as producer — in the interest of highlighting good people who made the right choices.
Wahlberg’s brother, Mark Wahlberg, is a prolific producer, but he was aware that he had to be a bit more discerning. “Mark has a little more latitude as a producer than I do. I have to be a little more careful with the stuff I do,” he says. “The story that I want to tell is about the people that I know.”
The series will be paired with scripted drama “Southland,” and is set to premiere Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m. EST.