After subjecting television viewers to a slew of mediocre television crime shows, spawned in the 1960s and 70's (with stoic, rigid and near-humorless law-and-order spouting walking manikin-coppers) from the likes of actor/producer Jack "Dragnet" Webb and Quinn Martin ("Streets of San Francisco", "Cannon" ,et al) producers David and Jerry Zucker finally did something about it.
After making a big pop culture success "Airplane" in 1980, they turned their attention to lampooning the old-style cop procedural with a short-lived six -episode series in 1982 called "Police Squad".
The show featured Canadian-born Leslie Nielsen, an actor previously trapped as a guest star in formal and uninspired roles as urban cops and detectives, as Frank Drevin of "Police Squad, A Special Branch of the Police Force".
The ratings were not good but the show took on a cult following in VHS releases. A big screen adaptation, "Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad" (1988) was a success. Nielsen was perfect in his comic turn on this material, and the actors and actresses around him spoofed some of the same stoic cops, femme fatales and one-dimensional big-time crime bosses they had played previously. Two more film sequels followed. Later Nielsen spent the last part of his career doing take-off films playing authority figures (vampires and U.S. Presidents) gone zany.