Tuesday, September 21, 2010

By The Numbers

Tonight the premiere episode of "Detroit 1-8-7" airs on ABC. So, I finally decided to figure out what the hell "187" meant. It didn't correspond to anything local I could put my finger on. To my surprise it actually refers to the section of California legal code dealing with homicide.

California legal code?

Jeez. Why have a West Coast term as the basis for the title of a show touted in promtional ads as "Made in Detroit?" After doing a little more digging, I discovered that "187" supposedly has become urban slang for "murder" (as "5-0" is for "police").

Okay, I guess I get it. But, I'm still not sold. To me, it still sorta rings false, -- like "Ford Camaro."

Chad Halcom had a great take on it in Crain's Detroit Business:
Maybe 'Detroit 7-5-0' didn't test well

...the Michigan statute, which presumably our stalwart detective protagonists will be enforcing this fall season, is actually MCL 750.316 et seq.

There is no Chapter 187 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, although three of the most commonly cited “Act 187” statutes here address pest control (P.A. 187 of 1965, MCL 286.501), the proper qualifications of school bus drivers (P.A. 187 of 1990, MCL 257.1801) or the proper wording and form that mortgages, warranty deeds and quit claim deeds must take (Act 187 of 1881, MCL 565.151).

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