The Urban Population Act: Anyone living in a city will live, as often as possible, in the more “touristy” (read: better-known) parts of the city, ignoring wherever the real population of a city may be. As a result, only 14% or so of the population of NYC lives in Manhattan, but 70% (at least) of the TV and film population do. Likewise, every San Franciscan will live around Russian Hill, every LA resident on the West Side, every Chicagan on the lakefront, and every New Orleanian in the French Quarter, but no one will live on Staten Island, Richmond, San Fernando (unless you’re mocking them), the Nothwest Side, or Algiers.
The European Timewarp Regulations: the UK & mainland Europe is almost invariably old-fashioned, with possibly a tiny hint of modernity. Quaint old double-decker buses? Rustic peasants? Plentiful occupied castles? We got 'em all.
The Automobile Manufacturers’ Subsidization Act: all cars and trucks are required to have an explosive device which will detonate if the vehicle is involved in a collision, thus assuring that the car’s owners (if they survive) must purchase a new vehicle. Most models have a secondary proximity sensor, which will wait until the good guys have exited the vehicle and are running away before blowing. Some vehicles even have advanced ADG (Acceleration Due to Gravity) sensors. If the ADG sensor detects that the vehicle has fallen off a cliff, it will trigger the explosion before the vehicle hits the ground.
National Universal Health Insurance Act: the reason why coffeehouse baristas and poor inner city ghetto dwellers can go to the doctor if they get sick, or have surgery if required, without cost, HMOs, preexisting conditions, or other shortcomings of the provision of health care in the United States being an issue.
National Universal Cosmetic Dentistry Act: the reason why coffeehouse baristas and poor inner city ghetto gwellers have perfectly white, perfectly formed, perfectly aligned teeth.
Canadian Open Immigration Act: Canadians, especially comedians, may work in and immigrate to the United States without the bureaucratic processes and paperwork required for those of other nationalities.
National Police Bylaw: all law enforcement activities in Canada are performed by Mounties.
Whenever an innocent person finds a corpse, the first thing he or she will do is handle the corpse, perhaps trying to ascertain if it’s alive or dead, and then will grab the murder weapon and wait for the cops to arrive.
In a legal drama, if the cops gather evidence that makes an airtight case against the defendeant early in the show, you can be sure that a judge will throw the key piece(s) of evidence out on a technicality.
In those rare airtight cases where the judge does NOT throw the evidence out, you can be sure of one thing – the defendent is innocent.
You have a right to a speedy trial act: So speedy that preliminary hearings, evidence motions, jury selections are dispensed with, your trial will begin right away, so that the sub-plots involving you attorneys personel lives can proceed without intteruption.
The peanut gallery act. All witnesses for your trial can sit and watch the entire proceedings.
All movie defendants shall have the right to trial by background music: if the music accompanying the defendant’s arrest and/or arraignment is slow and tragic-sounding, the defendant is innocent and shall be found as such by the end of the film. If the music is sufficiently sinister sounding, the defendant is guilty but will be found innocent through a gross miscarriage of justice that can only be rectified by hero rogue cop dispensing some extra-judicial whup-ass.
Sub-law: All innocent defendants look sad, frightened or otherwise distraught. All guilty defendants look relaxed and confident.
Most mass murderers will decide to play an elaborate game of clue-giving and taunting with the police, frequently with a specific member of the police.
Benevolent figures who have information that would help our heroes out dole it out in small hints, and then say “that’s all I can tell you for right now”. They never just tell everything they know.
The Racists Reformation Act of 1949 states that a bigoted character must have his life saved by a member of the minority group for which has has expressed distaste. First invoked in Home of the Brave, carried on proudly in Windtalkers.
Thou shalt not notice when the rear-view mirror appears and disapears constantly, depending on whether the view is from inside or outside of the vehicle.
Okay, it’s not so much a rule for the TV show/movie as it is a commandment for the audience.
The Courtroom Theatrics Law:
Attorneys in high-profile criminal cases are allowed virtually unlimited latitude in questioning witnesses. The maximum penalty that can be imposed even after repeated witness-badgering is a half-hearted, mumbled warning by the judge.
The vehicle security act: Every parked vehicle shall have a set of spare keys left on top of the driver’s sun visor. Failing this, a vehicle will be easy to hotwire in a matter of seconds and shall employ no kind of immobiliser device or alarm.