|Created by||Steven Bochco
|Starring||See: Main cast|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||12|
|No. of episodes||261|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Steven Bochco Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Dolby Digital 4.0 (DVD)
|Original run||September 21, 1993– March 1, 2005|
NYPD Blue is an American television police drama set in New York City, exploring the internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Each episode typically intertwined several plots involving an ensemble cast.
The show was created by Steven Bochco and David Milch and was inspired by Milch's relationship with Bill Clark, a former member of the New York City Police Department who eventually became one of the show's producers. The series was broadcast on the ABC network from its debut on September 21, 1993‚ and aired its final episode on March 1, 2005. It remains ABC's longest-running primetime one-hour drama series.
|Andy Sipowicz||Detective||1993–2005||Dennis Franz|
|John Kelly||Detective||1993–1994||David Caruso|
|Bobby Simone||Detective||1994–1998, 2004||Jimmy Smits|
|Danny Sorenson||Detective||1998–2001||Rick Schroder|
|John Clark, Jr.||Detective||2001–2005||Mark-Paul Gosselaar|
|Diane Russell||Detective||1995–2003||Kim Delaney|
|Greg Medavoy||Detective||1993–2005||Gordon Clapp|
|Baldwin Jones||Detective||2000–2005||Henry Simmons|
|John Irvin||PAA||1995–2005||Bill Brochtrup|
|Arthur Fancy||Captain||1993–2001||James McDaniel|
|James Martinez||Sergeant||1993–2000||Nicholas Turturro|
|Sylvia Costas||ADA||1993–1999, 2005||Sharon Lawrence|
|Tony Rodriguez||Lieutenant||2001–2004||Esai Morales|
|Janice Licalsi||Detective||1993–1994||Amy Brenneman|
|Adrienne Lesniak||Detective||1994–1996||Justine Miceli|
|Thomas Bale||Lieutenant||2004–2005||Currie Graham|
|Laura Murphy||Detective||2004–2005||Bonnie Somerville|
|Laura Michaels||ADA||1993–1994||Sherry Stringfield|
|Eddie Gibson||Sergeant||1994–2004||John F. O'Donohue|
|Rita Ortiz||Detective||2001–2005||Jacqueline Obradors|
|Valerie Haywood||ADA||2001–2004||Garcelle Beauvais|
|Connie McDowell||Detective||2001–2004||Charlotte Ross|
|Jill Kirkendall||Detective||1996–2000||Andrea Thompson|
|Donna Abandando||PAA||1993–1996||Gail O'Grady|
|Court Officer||Unknown||2003||Charles Martinet|
Produced by 20th Century Fox and Steven Bochco Productions, film production primarily took place in the greater Los Angeles area. The show did film in New York but only for exterior shots that used New York landmarks. In the final season the show was filmed only in Los Angeles to save money.
The show was initially a vehicle for David Caruso. In a departure from previous Bochco series, John Kelly was the main character and the first season revolved around him and his professional and personal lives (promo shots for the show depicted Caruso in the foreground and other first-season characters set off behind him). Season 2 saw the departure of John Kelly, and with his departure, the decision was made to return to a more ensemble series. Dennis Franz, as Andy Sipowicz, a veteran New York City Police detective, eventually evolved into the show's lead character, taking more and more of a mentorship role as the series progressed (to the point of finally being promoted to sergeant and running the detective squad at the end of the series finale). His principal co-stars included (Season 2 and beyond) Jimmy Smits as Det. Bobby Simone (1994–1998), Rick Schroder as Det. Danny Sorenson (1998–2001) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Det. John Clark Jr. (2001–2005). Each was paired with Franz's Sipowicz, providing a younger and more suave foil to the abrasive, tragedy-prone detective.
John Kelly and Andy Sipowicz are detectives in the 15th squad. Sipowicz is the elder partner but is a drunk and a threat to the partnership lasting much longer. Kelly has a genuine affection for his partner but becomes increasingly exasperated by Sipowicz's behavior. In the pilot, Sipowicz is shot by a suspect that he had attacked and humiliated earlier. This leads to his decision to sober up and save his job.
While his partner is recuperating, Kelly is teamed up by the squad's Lieutenant, Arthur Fancy, with a young cop from Anti-Crime, James Martinez. Kelly's personal life is no less frenetic as he is going through a divorce from his wife, Laura, and is embarking on an affair with a uniformed cop, Janice Licalsi. To complicate matters further, Licalsi has been ordered to do a 'hit' on Kelly by mob boss Angelo Marino, otherwise Marino would turn in Licalsi's police officer father, who is on his payroll. Instead, Licalsi murders Marino and the repercussions come back to haunt both her and Kelly.
Sipowicz, meanwhile, sobers up and begins a relationship with A.D.A. Sylvia Costas while the other detective in the squad, Greg Medavoy, embarks on an affair of his own with the squad's new P.A.A., Donna Abandando.
Licalsi is found guilty of the manslaughter of Marino and his driver and is given a two-year sentence. Because of his involvement with Licalsi, and the belief that he withheld evidence that could have given her a longer sentence, Kelly is transferred out of the 15th and chooses to leave the department altogether. He is replaced by Bobby Simone, a widower whose previous job was that of driver for the Police Commissioner. This does not sit well with Sipowicz but in time he learns to accept his new partner and, as his relationship with Sylvia leads down the aisle, asks Simone to be his best man.
After an affair with a journalist who uses information that he gives her in an article, Simone begins a relationship with another new officer in the squad, Diane Russell. Sipowicz, still a recovering alcoholic, recognizes in Russell's behavior that she also has a problem and, after much prompting, she herself goes to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Elsewhere, due to his lack of self-belief that a woman like Donna could love him, Medavoy's relationship with her breaks down, due in no small part to Donna's visiting sister.
At the beginning of the season Sylvia becomes pregnant with Andy's child. A baby boy, Theo, is born towards the end of the season. This is contrasted with the fate that awaits Sipowicz's older son, Andy Jr., who announces that he is to join the police force. Andy is finally bonding with his estranged son when he is gunned down, which leads the elder Sipowicz to fall off the wagon. Andy Jr's murderers are killed themselves by Simone in an act of self-defense.
Bobby and Diane, whose relationship had been put on hold while she attended AA, resume their relationship only for Diane to begin drinking again when her abusive father beats her mother. Her father is eventually killed and her mother becomes the prime suspect.
James Martinez and new detective Adrienne Lesniak begin an affair but only after Lesniak tells Medavoy that she is gay, then that she is not; Martinez later breaks up with her due to her controlling and unpleasant behavior, and Lesniak eventually leaves the squad. Medavoy himself leaves his wife, recognizing that she is holding him back but it is too late to save his relationship with Donna who leaves to take up a job with Apple.
During the next two seasons, there are a few minor cast changes: Donna is replaced by several PAA's, most notably by Gina Colon, played by Lourdes Benedicto, a character that eventually marries Martinez and is written out; and Det. Jill Kirkendall, played by Andrea Thompson is partnered up with Russell. Sipowicz's battle with prostate cancer and the up-and-down Simone/Russell relationship, which included Russell's revelation that she had been sexually abused by her father, are prominent storylines. Also during this time, Franz would win four Emmy Awards, and both Delaney and Clapp would each win an Emmy for supporting roles.
Season 6 becomes a major turning point in the history of the series, as Smits decides not to renew his contract and leaves the show. In episode 5 "Heart and Souls" Simone passes away due to his enlarged heart, shortly after marrying Russell in a civil ceremony, and his body's subsequent rejection of a heart transplant. Smits was replaced by Rick Schroder as Det. Danny Sorenson. Also during Season 6, two other critical incidents occur: the heroin overdose death of PAA Dolores Mayo (played by Lola Glaudini), and the shocking death of Costas, gunned down at the courthouse trial of the suspect accused in Mayo's death by her distraught father. Costas's final words, "Take care of the baby," to Sipowicz leads to his initial withdrawal from the squad. Yet, his keen perceptiveness allows him to gain a confession from the accused suspect, who tried to buy his way out of trouble. Furthermore, Sipowicz reaches a level of understanding with PAA John Irvin (portrayed by Bill Brochtrup), whose homosexuality was a foible for Sipowicz in their interactions to that point.
The next two seasons see the continuation of the Sipowicz/Sorenson relationship, along with more changes in the squad: departing during this time were Kirkendall, Martinez, Fancy as squad leader (through a promotion to write him out), and even Russell herself for a leave of absence to grieve the loss of Simone. Arriving to replace them would be Det. Baldwin Jones, played by Henry Simmons, Det. Connie McDowell played by Charlotte Ross, and Lt. Tony Rodriguez, played by Esai Morales. At the end of Season 8, Sorenson is approached by the owners of a strip club to work for them providing information and such. After reporting this to Lt. Rodriguez, Sorenson goes undercover, but then turns up missing after a stripper he was seeing turns up dead in his apartment (not by his doing as it turns out). The Sorenson character would be written out at the start of Season 9 at the request of Schroder, who wanted to spend more time with his family in Montana.
The fourth and final phase of the show would take place over the final four seasons. In addition to the 'Sorenson missing' storyline, Season 9 would also initially tie-in with the September 11 terrorist attacks. A suspect trades immunity for a robbery and shooting in exchange for information on a buried rug in Brooklyn that turns out to include Sorenson's dead body. Filling the void as partner for Sipowicz is newly promoted Det. John Clark, played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar. As with Simone and Sorenson, there is initial tension between Clark and Sipowicz, largely due to an old feud from years earlier involving Sipowicz and Clark's father, John Clark Sr. (played in guest spots by Joe Spano). Season 9 also sees the introduction of Det. Rita Ortiz played by Jacqueline Obradors.
The remaining four years would see a continuing focus on Sipowicz as the main character, as had been the case since Simone's death. Another unlikely romance would develop between Sipowicz and McDowell. This came about due to her ability to stand up to Sipowicz's gruffness, and her tender relationship with Theo (played by Austin Majors). They would eventually marry, and after adopting McDowell's sister's baby daughter (following the sister's murder by her husband, Connie's brother-in-law), they would have a child of their own as well. The McDowell character would eventually become an off-screen character in the final two seasons, due to issues between Ross and show executives. Other departures and arrivals: Rodriguez would be written out following a dispute with an IAB captain who shot him in a drunken rage; replacing him initially as head of the squad was Sgt. Eddie Gibson, played by former actual NYPD officer John F. O'Donohue, who had previously served in the squad both on night watch and briefly on the "day tour"; Gibson was then replaced at the start of Season 12 by Lt. Thomas Bale, played by Currie Graham; arriving and then departing was ADA Valerie Haywood, played by Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon; and replacing McDowell was Det. Laura Murphy, played by Bonnie Somerville. The final few episodes involve the impending retirement of Det. Medavoy, and Sipowicz's attempts to take the Sergeants exam.
The series included greater nudity than was common on broadcast television, which prompted Rev. Donald Wildmon and his American Family Association (AFA) to call it a "soft-core porn" series and take out full page ads in major newspapers, asking viewers to boycott the show. 57 of ABC's 225 affiliates preempted the first episode, mostly in smaller markets comprising 10–15% of potential viewers. The show's ratings success led most affiliates (and advertisers) to end their opposition. By the end of the first season the show was a Top 20 hit and protests by the AFA were countered by support from Viewers For Quality Television.
In 2005, L. Brent Bozell III told Time that the nudity on the series influenced him to establish the Parents Television Council, in which he served as president from 1995 to 2006. The PTC has directly criticized several episodes of the show for perceived vulgarity and filed complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the use of obscene language in several episodes aired in early 2003, at the last half of the tenth season of the show, associating the series with a perceived increase in profanity and violence on prime-time television from the late 1990s to early 2000s. The FCC ruled that the language in the episodes was indecent but decided not to fine ABC because the episodes aired before a 2004 ruling that obscenities would lead to an automatic fine. However, on January 25, 2008, the FCC fined ABC $1.4 million for the episode "Nude Awakening" that aired on February 25, 2003, due to scenes of "adult sexual nudity". The fine was ultimately rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on January 6, 2011.
According to NYPD Blue: A Final Tribute, a retrospective broadcast on the same night as the last episode, the controversy was not limited to what was on the screen. David Milch, the show's co-creator and head writer, was a controversial figure on the set during the seven years he was with the show. His working style and tendency to procrastinate or make last-minute, on-set changes contributed to a frustrating working environment for some of the cast and crew. Smits left the show when his contract ended because of it. Milch cites his own alcoholism and other addictions as factors contributing to the difficult environment. In spite of the controversy, Milch is usually credited as a major creative force during the years he worked on the show; Milch won two Emmy Awards for his writing, shared another as executive producer and shared in a further ten nominations for his writing and production.
The show's 261st and final episode, "Moving Day", aired on March 1, 2005, bringing an end to the show's 12 year run. The final episode depicted just another day on the job, with Sipowicz as the new squad room leader. In the final scene, previous squad leader Lieutenant Bale wishes Sipowicz good luck with his new position, looks around his old office and says "It's yours." After all the detectives come in, one by one, to wish Sipowicz goodnight, the last to say goodbye is John Clark with "Good night, Boss." Sipowicz surveys his new office, puts his reading glasses on, and begins to go through the paper work on his desk. The camera then moves out through the 15th precinct squad room and out the door. The final shot is the squad room sign over the door.
|Season 1||September 21, 1993||May 17, 1994||22||Tuesday 10:00 pm||#18||13.0|
|Season 2||October 11, 1994||May 23, 1995||22||#7||15.7|
|Season 3||October 24, 1995||May 21, 1996||22||#10||13.5|
|Season 4||October 15, 1996||May 20, 1997||22||#13||12.1|
|Season 5||September 9, 1997||May 19, 1998||22||#17||10.5|
|Season 6||October 20, 1998||May 25, 1999||22||#12||10.4|
|Season 7||January 11, 2000||May 23, 2000||22||#17||15.5|
|Season 8||January 9, 2001||May 22, 2001||20||#23||16.2|
|Season 9||November 6, 2001||May 21, 2002||22||Tuesday 9:00 pm||#31||12.3|
|Season 10||September 24, 2002||May 20, 2003||22||Tuesday 10:00 pm||#34||11.3|
|Season 11||September 23, 2003||May 11, 2004||22||#51||9.9|
|Season 12||September 21, 2004||March 1, 2005||20||#42||10.1|
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the first 4 seasons of NYPD Blue on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4. All of the sets contain the original master recordings, the original ABC broadcasts, and custom-made credits. After the release of the fourth season in 2006, Fox announced that they would be reviewing the possibility of further releases, citing the lack of sales. To date in Regions 1 and 4, there have been no further DVD releases, and it is not known if Fox still retains the rights to the show, as they no longer retain two other Bochco properties, Hill Street Blues and L. A. Law.
In Region 2, Mediumrare acquired the rights to release the the remaining eight seasons of the show on DVD in the United Kingdom. All seasons have now been released.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates||Extra features|
|Region 1||Region 2*||Region 4|
|The Complete 1st Season||22||March 18, 2003||May 19, 2003||June 17, 2003||
|The Complete 2nd Season||22||August 19, 2003||October 6, 2003||February 17, 2004||
|The Complete 3rd Season||22||February 21, 2006||April 17, 2006||May 29, 2006||
|The Complete 4th Season||22||June 20, 2006||August 14, 2006||August 21, 2006||
|The Complete 5th Season||22||N/A||December 10, 2012||N/A|
|The Complete 6th Season||22||N/A||December 10, 2012||N/A|
|The Complete 7th Season||22||N/A||February 25, 2013||N/A|
|The Complete 8th Season||20||N/A||February 25, 2013||N/A|
|The Complete 9th Season||23||N/A||March 25, 2013||N/A|
|The Complete 10th Season||22||N/A||April 1, 2013||N/A|
|The Complete 11th Season||22||N/A||April 29, 2013||N/A|
|The Complete 12th Season||20||N/A||April 29, 2013||N/A|
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