Creative commentary plus crafty composition

One of the most powerful television dramas to come from the 1990s, lasting until 2005, was NYPD Blue. Set in New York City (although only partially filmed there), the extremely gritty stories were reflected in a range of non-glamourous characterizations, highlighted by Dennis Franz’s work as detective Andy Sipowicz, for which he won four best actor awards in eight nominations.

Like another classic show of this period from the camp of Steven Bochco, L.A. Law, this series was a big hit in the traditional syndication market, but seems to have been left off the list of specialty channels and services like Crave TV (at least so far).

When a TV program lasts for twelve seasons, accompanied among the way by content controversy but also serious recognition and awards, there is depth there. Such a characteristic remains, in DVD re-viewing, a sobering contrast to the light-minded fare so available nowadays. Yet another example of the principles of supply/demand: an expanded demand for content cued by the wide range of viewing options requires that content be produced, the overall quality suffering as top flight writers and producers can only produce so much.

Some lessons, subject to interpretation:

  • The true professional always has a pen and notepad handy
  • Lying in the process of an investigation, when well-motivated, can be instrumental in providing outcomes which may justify the means
  • Exhibitions of the alpha male ego in action, especially confronting peers, does not make one sanguine, unless somehow awed by this character trait
  • Presenting business cards does not generate a pedestal
  • Detailed discussions with suspects may require brushing aside bad breath
  • Conversations in the office (such as for a detective squad) can be engaged in short clips and code for efficiency; talks with prospects and customers (such as suspects and witnesses) can slide between circumspect, leading, and abrupt
  • Females on the job have to carry a heavier coat of wariness, armed or not
  • While good people can do bad things for defensible reasons, sometimes bad people can too (but it may be murkier)
  • Running through bystanders can happen with impunity as long as done with single-mindedness and recklessness (and quickness)
  • Changes in a core peer group are likely to launch a domino dynamic


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