Police/Detective RPG with aliens

Asking for a friend. He wants to run a police/detective themed RPG that features aliens, similar to the movie/tv series “Alien Nation”, but is lost on a good system to pull it off. He likes the concept of the Gumshoe system as a fit, but Mutant City Blues is a bit too “super-heroey” for his vision. Any suggestions?

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If I were doing it, I’d start with the Mutant City Blues, but change the Quade diagram from that game to reflect the aliens instead of mutants. (Partially, this depends on if there is just one kind of alien int he game, or if there are many different kinds.) So the new diagram would connect different alien abilities, and identify ways to know when an alien was using weird technology or biological capabilities humans don’t possess.

(I previously made a game that used Quade diagrams from MCB to investigate weird aliens, but that was a medical procedural, not a cop show.)


I think it’s about a single alien race who have immigrated to Earth in modern day, much like the aforementioned Alien Nation.

My big question would be: how would the presence of aliens make it a different game than a game without aliens? For example, if MCB is too super-heroey, does that mean the vision is of a low-powered setting (or no-powered), or is it a tone issue, like…needs more grit?

Basically if GUMSHOE is seen as a good fit but MCB is not, I’d start looking at other GUMSHOE systems and ask “why wouldn’t this just work.” Would Esoterrorists work? Night’s Black Agents? Is the difference just that some PCs need to be able to be stronger or smarter than others?