Richard Nixon (Self)
Also known as The Greater Good, this series of vignettes focuses on the day-to-day work of Kansas City, Missouri police covers the range of circumstances they encounter and the variety of social roles they are asked to play. More than simply chasing down criminals, the police act as counselors, negotiators and arbitrators of civil injustices, minor altercations and petty crimes. Filmed in 1968 at the height of an anti-authoritarian age, the policemen shown are more frequently reasonable, patient and fair than sadistic, inhumane or incompetent. When a policeman does step out of line, the fact that he knows he is being filmed is as revealing as the unguarded asides or unnecessary violence captured by the camera. This is well made, with content similar to the Pittsburgh Police films shot by Wiseman's former collaborator, John Marshall in 1969 and 1970. But because Law and Order was funded by the Ford Foundation for television release, and not for training police officers, it does not feature as many situations that are likely to cause disagreements about how they should have been handled.