Accurate portrayals of your profession in fiction

Back in the early 1970s I installed equipment in newsrooms of a few newspapers. I am not a newpaper journalist nor was ever employed by a newspaper. But the television show Lou Grant (1970-1977) did a good job of depicting what a newsroom looked like. The show even migrated from typewriters to what were then called Video Display Terminals (VDTs) for the writing and editing functions.

Over fifteen years working emergency. Never seen a TV show that really portrays it realistically. I’ve been to conventions where the medical consultant to “ER” or other similar shows speaks. He works at a big LA hospital and talks about ECMO and a million other things not generally available to many doctors. ER can be dramatic, but in ways that are often repetitive, time consuming or frustrating.

The medical cases themselves do have some resemblance to reality. But I once called over twenty hospitals trying to find an orthopod who had the ability and desire to take my patient. Small town docs can spend a lot of time on the phone or trying to persuade consultants to see patients they clearly need to see, and it isn’t compelling TV. (Note to Dopers: Remind self not to get badly injured in car accident on day of first big snowfall, hospitals get busy. Also, do not shovel heavy snow if you have a bad heart.)

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is an excellent portrayal of the life of a historian. Sorry, gotta go, NATO’s on line 2

On the other side of the coin is the show from a few years back that my boss, the attorney of over thirty years experience, liked to call How to Flunk Out of Law School and Never Pass the Bar.

I’m not a chef, but I’ve seen a couple of those YouTube videos where a fighter pilot or trauma surgeon or lawyer, or whatever, reviews movies about their profession and rates them for accuracy. A couple of chefs have said that one of the most accurate depictions of professional cooking is the animated movie about a talking rat - Ratatouille.

Which isn’t surprising, as the filmmakers apparently worked with professional chefs to get the kitchen scenes right. The animators even included little details like burns on the cooks’ hands and arms.

There was an episode or two of Brooklyn 99… :smiley:

The IT Crowd is a frighteningly accurate depiction of in-house IT support experience, in particular management attitude to them!

Years ago, when I was spending my first sentence in retail, the Gorge Burns/John Denver movie Oh God! did not spend a lot of time portraying Denver’s/Jerry Landers’s role as a store manager, but the couple of minutes on the screen were accurate.
In a slight twist to the OP’s request: I can’t think of any instructor I had in high school bearing any resemblance to the teaching style of Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, or the plot which was not real on many levels, but the background scenes of a high school boarding school were right on.

This gardener thought Chauncey’s casual puttering around at the beginning of Being There cut it fair enough.

I’ve never really seen any realistic portrayal of workaday life as a civil (not criminal) lawyer.

The reality is that it’s 99% meticulous office work that generally doesn’t contain the drama necessary to sustain fiction. And where it does contain drama it’s often only dramatic if you understand a lot of background detail.

How about Better Call Saul?

The parts where he’s not scamming people, but instead actually acting as a lawyer, seem to focus a lot on how the job is mostly paperwork.

In fact, the “meticulous attention to detail” is even a major plot point, where he forges some paperwork, just to change one small detail, and goes through multiple versions to make sure it looks real.

As a former locksmith I notice bad/bullshit lockpicking when I see it. The vast majority of people don’t notice or care, but I do.

A few instances where the actors knew, or were taught, the proper way:

Midnight Run: Robert De Niro’s character uses a tension wrench and a snap pick, a type of manual “auto” lockpick.

Terminator 2: When Linda Hamilton is in the institution she steals a paper clip that she then uses to open her hand restraints and then on the door. She accurately uses both a tension wrench and a pick. (in reality it would be extremely difficult with just a standard paper clip, but not impossible; it’s unlikely to impossible she could do it in a just few seconds, though)

Undercover Blues: Kathleen Turner uses the proper tools in the proper order.

What is never realistic is that lockpicking in movies and TV is always 100% effective. Not only do they always succeed, they almost always do it the first try, in seconds. I realize nobody wants to watch somebody fumble around with a lock for 10 minutes, but in reality, lockpicking usually takes a while and your odds of success are 50/50 at best.

Do that, definitely.

I’ve thought of writing a novel featuring an ananatomic/clinical pathologist, of whom there seems to be a complete dearth in fictional literature, TV and movies. My doc is drawn unwillingly into investigating a series of suspicious hospital deaths, crossing paths along the way with a sexy surgeon*, obstructive administration and doubtful detectives.

*I didn’t say it was going to be completely realistic.

Have either of you seen “Emergency!”? If so, what’s your opinion? It’s about firefighters, but the characters have a fair bit of interaction with ER personnel.

I grew up on it, have the entire series on DVD, and have an autographed photo of Randolph Mantooth and I. I half blame the show for my having been a firefighter. It really was a great show.

Reality-wise, it was accurate in some respects. The development of prehospital care coincided with what they showed. The EMS side of things were technically accurate, but missed a lot of the real-life side. The fire scenes are near comedy in their portrayal of how fire actually works. Watching the show when I was 7, it seemed like a cutting edge documentary. Watching it today, its eye rolling nostalgia.

Stephen Fry was in a program called Kingdom, in which he was a small-town solicitor, and most of his practice seemed to involve civil law.

For many years I’ve been on a quest to find a film that accurately portrays engineers. Apollo 13 is the closest I’ve found.

I found Primer to be unwatchable. The audio was so poor I couldn’t understand half of the dialog. Turned it off after 30 minutes.

I’ll check out Halt and Catch Fire.

I think you will like Halt and Catch Fire. Whether or not it’s an accurate portrayal of computer engineering, it was a really good drama.

Worked at BestBuy throughout the 90s and therefore knew a bunch of guys who worked at Circuit City. We “secret shopped” each other frequently. The 40 Year-Old Virgin totally captured the culture in your typical Circuit City.

The only time I watched a movie set in a prison and had the feeling that it bore some resemblance to what I did for a living was Women of San Quentin, a made-for-tv movie from 1983.