In academic television research, realism is a flexible concept whether it is regarded as a textual property of a television series or as a political effect of the text, whereas in journalistic television criticism, it has been perceived as the ability of the series to describe and deal with reality. Thus in journalistic use, realism has been nearer to the everyday meaning than the academic concept. Accordingly, realism is not a mode or a convention but a set of discourses also in journalistic television criticism. Those discourses are mostly referential by nature: journalists tend to compare events and characters of television drama with those of the real world. Journalistic critique embeds its justifications in certain notions of social ethics and values. Mostly the critique, however, does not reflect its own ideological frames. The article asks if the academic discourses of realism would be useful for journalistic television criticism in its effort to understand the historical and political nature of ”realistic” representations. An analysis of the popular Finnish crime serial Raid (2000) is offered as an example.