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Charles S. Dutton,
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Eddie Torres and 'J.C.' Williams are two detectives of the 4th precinct of New York City. In their job they fight against the worst of the society infiltrated like the bandits who try to stop. Their honesty and good making shocks against the lawless world of the criminals and the lawyers who serve to the own criminals. In their work they have the help of their boss, Lt. Virginia Cooper, a hard character woman who knows the streets like no one that she cares that their agents don't use illegal ways in their cases, at the same time that she watches other couple of good agents, Tommy McNamara and Nina Moreno, who often times they work with Torres and Williams. All together try to clean the streets of the criminal plague that invade the city. Written by
great Urban series, but bad decisions derailed it..
Premiering in the fall of 1994, this was a great urban action/drama series, it could have lasted for longer than it did. There were excellent musical guests every week, lifting from the Soul, R&B & Jazz worlds.. It was consistently in the top 3 of Urban Households (i.e., black/Latino), but struggled to get crossover ratings during its run. Despite the show clearly having a big Urban following, allegedly the network and/or production studio did not have much in the way of promotional merchandise to accompany the program. The show aired for most of its run on Thursdays, 9 p.m. Eastern Time, directly competing with the then-juggernaut of NBC's 1990's Thursday block of "Must See TV" shows like Seinfeld, Friends, E.R., etc. The then-head of urban music label Uptown/MCA records, Andre' Harrell, was part of the initial team who pitched the show, initially called "Uptown Undercover" before it was accepted by FOX. Producer Dick Wolf of the "Law & Order" franchise was intrigued, and helped secure network support.
Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo play detectives J.C. Williams and Eddie Torres, two young New York undercover cops stationed at the 4th Precinct in Harlem. Their boss is the tough but fair "Lou", Lieutenant Virginia Cooper (Patti D'arbanville-Quinn). Their adventures usually revolved around solving crimes committed in their Harlem district, which ran the gambit from drugs, sex crimes, murders, kidnappings and more.
After the first season, Lauren Velez, as the character of Nina Moreno was added, and had good chemistry with Delorenzo, who would become a romantic interest-- eventually, the characters were married. At one point after the 2nd season, DeLorenzo and Yoba briefly held out from filming in a bid to get more money. Head producer Dick Wolf played hardball and threatened to simply kill them off-screen in the 3rd season debut episode (in a fire) and replace them with two new detectives. Obviously, Yoba and DeLorenzo returned. In the third season, Jonathan LaPaglia was added as Tommy McNamara, a 2nd-generation Irish-American cop transferred from Queens who initially has some friction with the other guys but they eventually come to respect each other.
Some of the recurring sub-plots running through different points of the show are Eddie's strained relationship with his father, a talented jazz musician who's also a recovering drug addict. J.C. was a teen father, now sharing custody of son George ('G') with his mother Chantal. Both detectives would juggle romance and work; Eddie had a fateful dalliance with a known mobster's daughter, who was the sister of a neighborhood friend-turned-mob soldier; J.C. found his family targeted by sadistic drug dealer Danny Cort (played by Ice-T). McNamara's policeman dad was apparently dismissed dishonorably, and proving his dad's innocence was a lingering obsession. The precinct was targeted by Internal Affairs at least once, and Cooper was tempted by an extramarital affair with a fellow cop.
sadly, the producers and/or the network decided to throw a bomb into the mix-- literally-- and ended the third season by abruptly killing Torres and McNamara at the hands of a sadistic female terrorist-- the 4th season, which started in January the following year, took Morena and Williams, placing them in a midtown Manhattan precinct (they usually met in a seemingly abandoned building), for a unique, cross-precinct undercover squad overseen by the anal hardcase Lt. Malcolm Barker (Tommy Ford from "Martin")..
Two new (white) detectives were added, Josh Hopkins/Det. Alec Stone, and Marisa Ryan/Det. Nell Delaney; the idea was to get the detectives to explore more diverse locales and situations in NYC, and to get more mainstream viewers with the new detectives.. It didn't work.. and during the abbreviated 13-episode run of the 4th season, ratings sank even further, effectively killing the show..
Somewhat predictably, Wolf's gamble at a radical re-imagining of the series was NOT accepted by the show's loyal, though "cult" audience. In my opinion, the killing of Torres, and to a lesser extent, McNamara, was too radical a move, and offended loyal viewers. If the show's cast was left intact circa season 3, I think it would have done just fine. The arrogance of Dick Wolf, and the relative indifference of the network is was really made the show go under, not pandering to "liberalism" or whatever nonsense others may dream up (The criminals that J.C., Eddie & company came up against were from all ethnic backgrounds, so the show wasn't some "Black & Latin cop bust bad Whiteys Every Week" cliché').
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