The type of Emmy win ‘The Crown’ is seeking has not been achieved in a very, very long time

Last year, “Succession” became the first show since “The Practice” in 1998 to win its first Best Drama Series Emmy for its second season. This year, an even longer drought could end. “The Crown” feels like a shoo-in to prevail — it stands at 4/1 odds — which would make it the first show in 36 years to win its first drama series Emmy for its fourth season.

The last show to pull this off was “Cagney & Lacey” in 1985. The police procedural defeated four-time defending champ “Hill Street Blues” on what turned out to be a huge night as it claimed three other wins: Best Drama Actress for Tyne Daly (her third in a row), Best Drama Directing for Karen Arthur and Best Drama Writing for Patricia Green. “Cagney & Lacey,” which was on it third consecutive bid in the category, scored drama series again the following year for its fifth season.

But since “Cagney & Lacey’s” maiden victory, no show has claimed its first drama series Emmy for its fourth installment.

1987, 1989-1991: “L.A. Law” (Season 1, Seasons 3-5)

1988: “thirtysomething” (Season 1)

1992: “Northern Exposure” (Season 3)

1993-94: “Picket Fences” (Seasons 1-2)

1995: “NYPD Blue” (Season 2)

1996: “ER” (Season 2″)

1997: “Law & Order” (Season 7)

1998-99: “The Practice (Seasons 2-3)

2000-03: “The West Wing” (Seasons 1-4)

2004, 2007: “The Sopranos” (Season 5, Season 6 — Part 2)

2005: “Lost” (Season 1)

2006: “24” (Season 5)

2008-11: “Mad Men” (Seasons 1-4)

2012: “Homeland” (Season 1)

2013-14: “Breaking Bad” (Season 5 — Parts 1 and 2)

2015-16, 2018-19: “Game of Thrones (Seasons 5-6, Seasons 7-8)

2017: “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Season 1)

2020: “Succession” (Season 2)

SEE ‘The Crown’s’ Queen Elizabeth could rule twice over at the Emmys

Most notably, until “Succession’s” triumph, every first-time winner this century won for either the first season or the fifth. This is all just coincidence — no voter is out there being like, “I cannot vote for this show to win drama for the first time because it’s its fourth season” — but it is something that no Season 4 has won while several shows claimed their inaugural statuettes for older seasons.

But if any fourth season can do it, it’s “The Crown’s.” The fourth installment was the royal drama’s buzziest yet, thanks to the highly anticipated introduction of Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and her marriage to Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor). It dominated the winter awards, snatching top honors everywhere and multiple acting wins. And for the first time since it premiered, “The Crown” is far and away the Emmy frontrunner for drama series. Granted, it has lucked out in that most of its drama series rivals from last year are ineligible — “The Mandalorian” (second in the odds) and “The Handmaid’s Tale” (fifth) are the only other shows that can return — but no one has proven to be a formidable match for it so far. Untested newbies “Bridgerton” and “Lovecraft Country” are in third and fourth place, respectively. After getting dropped last year, “Pose,” in sixth, is looking to return for its third and final season. Likewise, “This Is Us,” in seventh, was snubbed last year after three consecutive bids and is hoping to make it back for its fifth outing. Rounding out the top eight is “The Boys,” which is contending with its popular second season but is by no means a slam dunk for a nomination.

And if “The Crown” somehow does not claim its first drama series trophy this year, it can focus on getting it for its fifth season since that clearly happens more often than not.

Emmy odds for Best Drama Series
Will 'The Crown' finally prevail?

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