Life on the Street is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit.Life on the Street is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit.Life on the Street is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit.
Then we have the second part of the Title, "Life on the Streets", the Sub-Title if you will. This is also a very descriptive, loaded phrase. The discussion of being "on the Street" is certainly an authentic phrase, used by the "Real Police" as much as by any authors.
But try putting the two together, as has been done here in this series and in the book that proceeded it, and what do you get? "HOMICIDE:Life On The Streets", is our answer but of course. But this is one Title that appears to be an instant oxymoron, for the juxtaposition of the two elements just doesn't blend. It would be much like blending Fire and Water, this Homicide & Life.
And yet, we do see what the Series creator Paul Attinsano is driving at. Either term by itself would not be adequate. It's just another case of the sum of the parts equaling more than the total.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let's start off by saying that there has never been a dramatic series that has started out to have such a high quality of story line and writing, and maintained the same as did Producer Barry Levinson's Baltimore Cop Show.
Starting off with the Cast, there was a certain vigilance observed to insure that there would be no 2 dimensional, stereotype cops and robbers situations. he actors charged with this task would all have to be first rate and selfless, as the series wasn't afraid to portray characters with "warts". You know, we see the thorns, as well as the roses.
Starting at the top, we have Unit Commander, Al Giardello(Yaphett Kotto), the product of a bi-racial marriage, having had an Italian Father and a Black Mother; Al navigates through the lexicons and cultural pools of either. Detective Steve Crosetti(John Polito) a truly grizzled veteran Cop/Detective. He would not move 2 feet if 1 1/2 feet would suffice. Very and obviously an Italian Ethnic, he is sometimes taken to be Lt. Giardello, as in the 1st episode. Det. John Munch(Richard Belzer), a guy who has wanted to be a Detective ever since he was a kid, though this would seemingly fly in the face of his Jewish heritage and upbringing. Being that he is well educated, extremely intelligent and street smart, he is doing this Detective business because he wants it, not because he failed at something else.* Others of the original Duty Roster are: Det. Frank Pembleton(Andre Braugher), a Black Guy who both grew up in the inner-city, but also can boast of being very well educated, by the Jesuits, yet. A manic when it comes to work, which is to a point to which he almost destroys his own health. Det. Tim Bayliss(Kyle Secor), new to the Detective Division. Smart, eager to learn he gets teamed with Pembleton. Formerly had some (Empty Holster)job in the Commissioner's Office. Melissa Leo as Det., a status seeker, works, slaves and studies hard to become a Detective/Sgt. of Police. Captain Megan Russert(Isabella Hoffman-Woo, woo, woo, woo!)now get this, she is a fictional cousin of NBC Newsman & Moderator of "MEET THE PRESS", Tim Russert(honest, that's what the series says!)
Rounding out the original "work sheets" are:Det. Stan Bolander(Ned Beatty)seemingly a sort of "dull blade', the blue collar guy found a great interest in classical music, even learning to play the Cello!Det. Meldrick Lewis(Clark Johnson)grew up in the Public Housing Project, Street Smart, Easy Going, Get's along with anybody and can work with anyone. My personal favourite Characterization.**ASA Ed Danvers(Zeliko Ivanek)excellent portrayal of Prosecutor and their relationship with "The Fuzz!" (Remember, in some States and the Federal Court System it's ADA(Assistant District Attorney), whereas such States as Maryland & my own Illinois use Assistant States' Attorney( ASA ).
Like so many series that last for any length of time, there were many, many changes in the line-up, more than most. Look it up! No more space will be allotted here! "HOMICIDE" truly dared to be different, and remained so through the course of its run. It made use of some multi-shot repeating fade-ins, all seen from slightly different angles,donned with accompanying sound of a short, blunt musical queue. (It has to be seen & heard).
Also, each and every "HOMICIDE" episode is much like a feature film. That is, each is able to stand on its own. And yes, there are a lot of continued story lines and ideas that carry from week to week, and it is better to follow the series week to week, but it's not necessary.
And it has the quality of sets, cinematography and really great, haunting music, both in theme and incidental music by Douglas J. Cuomo and Jeff Rona.
The whole story was neatly wrapped up with the 2 hour Made for TV HOMICIDE: The Movie(2000), which maintained the flavor of the series, yet still dared to be different.
NOTE: * Richard Belzer re-prised Det.Munch for "LAW & ORDER: Special Victims Unit. Munch has many 'crossover' appearances on the various other "LAW & ORDER" 'offspring'.
NOTE: ** In this author's 35 years on the Chicago Police Dept.,I met and worked with a lot of guys like 'Meldrick', but this was in my own "series"(my life on the streets!).
- Sep 30, 2007