This paper studies the 36 TV crime shows of the Spanish generalist channels (1990-2010) through a narrative analysis based on the hypothesis that the observed changes are related to foreign influences and will be decisive for contemporary serial narrative. It intends to determine if and how the procedural format has evolved into melancholic cop-opera and the interrelation with the modernization of TV stories. The results show that the structure of procedural drama no longer hinders serialization, that analepsis as a way of solving cases brings together procedural drama and series, and that cop-opera remains a genre on the rise in contemporary TV fiction, providing numerous titles to new and old platforms. These findings confirm the hypothesis suggested. The serialization of police drama, the sophistication in the use of narrative and visual resources, and the apparent influence of foreign productions determine the evolution of the analyzed period, as corroborated by generic and format hybridization, the forensic subgenre, and narrative resources. Serialization coincides with the establishment of the genre in Spain during the second decade analyzed (2000-2010). The visual fragmentation of the plot accentuates a postmodern narrative. Police drama reflects an increasingly homogeneous narrative between Spanish and American fiction, such as La casa de papel (Netflix, 2017-). Temporary alterations and story fragmentation produce mosaic-like fictions, and narrative transformations increase the engagement of a more active viewer.