Each week, viewers saw the gritty reality of life in a New York City Police unit, as the officers go about their work with a grim determination, and a willingness to break the same laws that they're supposed to be enforcing. Two partners, Detectives Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) and John Kelly (David Caruso) (later replaced by Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits)), were the central characters in this weekly Police drama, and personified very different approaches to their difficult job. Sipowicz's brash gruffness (covering an emotional vulnerability) was tempered by the precise and controlled demeanor of the two partners with whom he has worked.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
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 television dramas.
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.
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