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Consider that in the first 50 years of ABC television, NYPD Blue was on
for 12 of them. Was it better, more edgy the first couple of seasons?
Yes. Was it at the end? Not so much. Yet, it was still appointment
television. It was ground-breaking, and if you missed it from Day One,
sure you can buy the DVD's as they come out, but it was so different
than anything on TV then, and it changed what we expect out of
The character of Andy Sipowicz, played by 4 time Emmy winner Dennis Franz, was the most realistic character ever created on television, faults and all. He was a modern-day everyman, and that was why we rooted for him, even when he was in one of those moods. It was why we continued to watch right up until it's triumphant end.
It came along when the one-hour drama on network television was all but dead; it re-defined the look of prime time drama with language and wardrobe (or lack their of), as well as how it was filmed; and when you speak with anyone that is or ever has served in law enforcement in this country, they'll tell you it was the best show at capturing "The Job" from a realism and accuracy standpoint.
Thank God for re-runs.
I had never seen NYPD Blue until the ninth season. Then I went back and watched all the reruns, starting from the first season. I have been hooked ever since. I taped all the the episodes and watched them every evening. Now I'm going back through the first season! As the stories unfolded, I found myself getting caught up in the stories and the lives of the characters. At the end of a hard day's work, I can always count on Andy Sipowicz to say something to make me laugh. What a great character! He runs the gamut of emotions and I find myself going there with him.I alternate between loving the guy and hating him! As an African-American, I sometimes rankle at his racist remarks. But I sometimes find myself agreeing with him when he makes remarks about other minorities, which has made me realize that I must be a racist too. I admire Andy because he is honest enough to voice his opinions and own up to his shortcomings. I have enjoyed each of Andy's partners. I feel that each one has brought something different to the show. But Jimmy Smits was my favorite and I was devastated when his character dies. But my favorite characters on the show are Greg Medavoy and John Irving, both underrated and underused on the show. One of my favorite episodes is "Israel", where a homeless deaf mute man was accused of killing a little boy. Andy was trying to find clues to the killing in the deaf man's Bible, but became so frustrated that he threw the Bible across the room. Later while trying to comfort the boy's mother, Andy picked the Bible up from the floor and started to read aloud from it. As he read over the hustle and bustle of the squadroom, a peace started to fall over all under the sound of his voice, himself included. It was a great moment,from a great scene from a great show.
Taking a lot from his previous cop drama Hill Street Blues, Steven
Bochco fashioned in NYPD Blue one of the biggest television hits ever.
It was the kind of show that even in its last days still wanted its
fans begging for more. And we may yet get more, who knows.
Two characters remained through the show's run and anchored it until it's conclusion. Dennis Franz as Detective Andy Sipowicz, a very flawed individual, an alcoholic bigot, but the best detective around. And Gordon Clapp as Detective Greg Medavoy, a decent man with a lot of issues of confidence. The rest of the cast came and went through the 15th precinct of Manhattan just like life itself.
Sipowicz took over the show after the departure of his first partner David Caruso. He was predicted to be a breakout star and he sought to take advantage of his new found fame with a major movie career. A lot of folks wondered if NYPD Blue would survive at that point. Sipowicz was supposed to be a supporting character with the problems just mentioned, Archie Bunker with a badge. But he went in Alcoholics Anonymous and preached its virtues as did Daniel J. Travanti from Hill Street Blues. And over a dozen years, Sipowicz grew in strength and character.
Dennis Franz had three succeeding partners all who had a different character and background. Jimmy Smits, Rick Schroeder, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar were all very good and very different. In the case of Gosselaar he was finally able to shake the casting specter of Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell.
The women detectives all had an individuality about them as well. Probably Kim Delaney as the alcoholic Diane Russell was the best. She was counseled by Andy Sipowicz and brought into AA, but she also wound up marrying Jimmy Smits's character Bobby DeSimone and bravely carrying on after his demise. Sipowicz married ADA Sylvia Costas played by Sharon Lawrence and after she was killed in an unforgettable court house shooting episode. Andy later married again to young detective Charlotte Ross and found again some domestic happiness.
In fact it was getting to be a running joke towards the end that it was as fatal to be around Dennis Franz as it was to be involved with a Cartright from Bonanza. Partners Jimmy Smits and Rick Schroeder died, wife Sylvia Lawrence died, and his son from an even earlier marriage was killed all during the run of the show. But Sipowicz dealt with it all.
The detective squad of the 15th precinct had four heads, James McDaniel, Esai Morales, John O'Donahue, and Graham Currie. One of them actually was a cop, John O'Donahue. He played this mediocre time server Eddie Gibson who was an absolute doofus and originally was a detective on the graveyard shift. When he took the sergeant's test, passed it and wound up succeeding Morales the whole squad was ready to flip. But Gibson wasn't totally stupid, he knew these people and he basically let them have their head.
James McDaniel had a wonderful character in Arthur Fancy and he had all the problems and frustrations of being a black man who rises in the NYPD. I remember once in an episode he was asked why he didn't get rid of a bigot like Sipowicz. To which he replied if I got rid of him it isn't like I'm going to get as his replacement some candidate for the brotherhood award. Probably I'll get another white cop with the same attitudes, but who isn't half as good on the job.
We got to know all these people and what baggage they might have brought to each case they were assigned to. Probably NYPD Blue could have kept going, but Steven Bochco decided to end it while still on high. And he did in fact give it an ending of sorts unlike Hill Street Blues. It was an ironic ending in fact for Sipowicz. But you'll have to see the final episode in fact you'll have to see the entire series which you can catch on cable television to appreciate why.
But the elements are there for a TV movie or six. I've got a good feeling that people would want to see them. We may not have seen the last of the detective squad of the 15th precinct from NYPD Blue.
This masterpiece is good from beginning to end. It will make you a
better human being. It will bring you to a certain maturity about life
and what are the most important parts of it. The acting is out of this
world amazing. This is an all-star cast and don't you worry about
loosing some great characters along the way, they are replaced by other
very talented and interesting ones. The core actors of the show stay on
for long periods of time and this allows you to truly feel as if they
are your close friends. This show will make you laugh, it will make you
cry, it will make you think and most importantly, if there is something
going on in your life and you need certain guidance, Andy is there for
you and he will most definitely have the answer you are looking for
during one episode or another.
No doubt in my mind : If this TV show was a mandatory watch in high schools, the world would be a better place.
I've almost never missed an episode of this show during it's entire run. I'm going to miss having a "normal" cop show on the air. Law and Order is too talky and the CSI procedural stuff is just too much of an okay thing. I must say that it's the tiny moments in "Blue" that have the biggest impact on me. The final picture-taking sequence in this week's episode just seemed like two actors (Franz and Clapp) really relishing the joy they've had working with one another all these years. Even though you can see where it seems to be going, I still look forward to spending time with the fictional 15th squad. Currie Graham was a great addition and some unsung players that never get press (Henry Simmons, anyone?)have just made this show so good--and so New York.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I imagine I could,to some degrees,apply the summary line to LAw and
Order(16 seasons!),but I applied it to this show because I felt
like,somewhere inside the last five seasons of the show,it just started
to run on fumes near the end.
I mean,HOW MANY ways could the writers of the show hurt Detective Andy Sipowicz(a brilliant Dennis Franz!)? Let's review:he was a Vietnam vet who had to live down some of the horrible stuff he'd witnessed,his first partner is forced out of the squad,his son and namesake is murdered while trying to foil a saloon hold-up,his second partner is felled by a debilitating illness,his third partner disappears during an undercover operation (and is later found dead),his long-time flame,the DA(the lovely Sharon LAwrence)is shot and killed in the courthouse she worked,his alcoholism and got him into trouble more than once.I mean,Wow! I guess the fact that he still persevered through all that,plus clashes with quite a few of his coworkers(and no fewer than one of his superiors)was a true testimony to his toughness. His relationship with Charlotte Ross' character(to whom he had almost no chemistry)was disposable. Also,it seemed like each season was going to come a new,crushing blow to his world and anyone who he was directly close to,to which had me almost wishing the show would close to give him some peace,finally!
The rest of the cast,which seemed in constant flux,was very strong,as well. In particular,Jimmy Smits as Bobby Simone(partner #2,as aforementioned),Bill Brochtrup as JOhn Irwin(the sweet,gay receptionist),David Caruso as partner #1,John Kelly,James McDaniel as Lt.Arthur Fancy and Gordon Clapp as the basically decent Det.Greg Medavoy.
This show was very well written and kept the story lines very tight and gritty though most of its run. I feel like near the end,the show's writers and producers seemed to be wanting a way to end the show and couldn't quite find a right way to do so. I have yet to see the last episode,but I've heard that it was done very well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When this show started in 1993, it was by far the most innovative show
on television. The show pushed the boundaries of language, sex, and
violence and really brought in a whole new era of television. The combo
of David Caruso and Dennis Franz was arguably the best cop duo in
history. The first season was outstanding as it brought a level of
reality never seen on TV.
Early in the second season, David Caruso had a contract dispute and left the show. The show would never be the same. Jimmy Smits came in and, though he was pretty good, was no David Caruso. The show leveled out in terms of pushing the boundaries and became a little stale. Then they killed off Jimmy Smits and brought in Rick(y) Schroeder. This is when the show hit the wall and went straight downhill. It bottomed out when Zak from "Saved by the Bell" was cast and in the end show became virtually unwatchable. This is too bad, especially when you think how good this show could have been if Caruso had stuck around.
I'm stunned that this only rates as 7.5 on IMDb. This is one of the few
shows of the past 30 years that I would rate as 10/10 without a
Its first season (1993) with David Caruso was absolutely flawless. I remember vividly being glued to it as an impressionable teen-turning-twenty. Unlike most cop shows that had gone before it, it dared to show its main characters in a less-than-flattering light. They weren't just cops, they were imperfect anti-heroes that made mistakes, and had dark sides. I enjoyed immersing myself in the 12-year ride through their highs and lows right alongside them.
Season 2 saw the departure of what had until then been the main character - David Caruso who played Detective John Kelly. I remember being annoyed about this at the time. From Kelly's departure, I didn't watch again until the show was nearly finished filming, some time circa 2004. By the time I realised what I'd missed, I was at least able to box set binge the whole thing. (Something I've repeated several times since.) In retrospect, the departure of David Caruso ultimately helped the show become something more than it had been. It moved to a more ensemble cast centred around Kelly's ex-partner, recovering alcoholic Detective Andy Sipowicz. It turned out to be far more entertaining and informative to watch Andy learn about life and make mistakes, than it had been to watch Kelly be a more perfect detective with fewer personal flaws in the first season.
The show went through highs and lows right along with the characters. The low point was probably around Season 7, when the writing was somewhat chaotic. The show recovered with the departure of main writer David Milch, and ended with a strong 12th Season in 2005.
Highly recommended. If you've never seen it, treat yourself, now. You'll thank me later.
Believe-it-or-not, I never watched this show until I bought the DVD
when it came out. I just never watched it, even though I enjoy crime
shows. Anywhere, here are my thoughts, just randomly said:
David Caruso may have gotten top billing as the star of the show but Dennis Franz is the actor who dominates when on screen. He is the most dramatic figure in this crime series that features character studies, almost to the point of being soap opera-like. In fact, all the love-lives of the main characters are explored, especially as the episodes developed that first season.
In the beginning, some sex scenes were used to grab viewers. This was new to TV then. All the characters in the show may not have been likable but they were all interesting. To me, the most likable was Nicholas Turturro's "Martinez."
The cops - men and women - all talked tough and the show's writers liked to insert words like "a-hole" and "prick" because, I suspect, they could get away with using them. This was TV's first drama to use words like that and have the open sexuality that was shown here. We saw side shots of breasts and Caruso's butt, etc. Speaking of Caruso, he left after this first season and that really annoyed a lot of the viewers, I am told. After an unsuccessful movie career, he landed back on his feet in TV with the very successful CSI: Miami show. Franz, meanwhile, stuck it out for the long NYPD run.
I found the first season interesting but too much soap opera and not enough straight crime story didn't encourage me to buy any further season DVD sets.
I just started watching some reruns of NYPD Blue on TV. Andy is the highlight of the show. His character is so unglamorous and anti- Hollywood stereotype that his character actually comes across as amusing. Let's face it. He's pretty darn fat, bald and ugly. But what makes his acting so funny are all the sneering looks and rude attitude he gives to the skanks and low lifes he has to confront on a daily basis. He's always brimming with condemnation and disgust. Every facial gesture screams it out loud!!! His attitude becomes so relentless and over the top that it's a hoot to watch. It becomes fun to call dirt bags - dirt bags!!! It's a great innovative show....not sure there are any other crime shows that are similar. If so, I haven't seen them.
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