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October 24, 2014

Dennis Franz

'Hill Street Blues' Fun Facts

by Jane Murphy, posted Jan 15th 2011 10:00AM
In 1981, Britney Spears and Natalie Portman were born, and NBC, a network known for popularity if not quality ('Diff'rent Strokes', 'CHiPs'), was about to become an awards juggernaut.

NBC's cop drama 'Hill Street Blues' debuted on Jan. 15, 1981. With a huge cast of character actors darting about Capt. Francis Xavier Furillo's Hill Street station, the hour-long drama with a documentary look was an evolutionary leap in broadcast television.

The show might've been a one-season wonder if not for a boatload of Emmy nominations and wins, right from the start (including one for the late, great actor Michael Conrad, whose "Let's be careful out there" became an 80's catchphrase). Cancellation staved off, NBC's Thursday night anchor went on to collect nearly 100 Emmy nods before it ended after 146 episodes on May 12, 1987

"Hill Street' gave perennial police procedural guest stars like Daniel J. Travanti (as Furillo) and James B. Sikking a chance to shine, and launched the careers of Dennis Franz, David Caruso, Lynn Whitfield and 'Thirtysomething's' Ken Olin.

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Five Cop Shows That Should Never Be Remade

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 2nd 2010 6:24PM
Sgt. Esterhaus on 'Hill Street Blues'It's pilot time again and this season the networks have decided to turn back the clock, specifically on old cop and crime shows, to save their sinking ratings.

For instance, NBC is bringing back the mystery series 'The Rockford Files' with Dermot Mulroney in the role that James Garner turned into a classic TV crime fighter. CBS has also ordered a remake of the procedural cop classic 'Hawaii Five-O' with Scott Caan and Jean Smart.

Normally, my gut reacts to a TV remake the same way a person who just washed his car reacts to a line of dark clouds (a lot of cursing and shaking of fists at God or some other celestial being). However, if done right, anything has the chance to be good... unless it's one of the following cop serials, which should never be touched by a TV producer ever again.

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Stump the King - NYPD Blue - VIDEO

by Paul Goebel, posted Jan 28th 2008 11:30AM

Charlotte RossAs I'm sure you've heard by now, the FCC has levied a $1.4 million fine against Disney for an episode of NYPD Blue. The fine comes as a reaction to an extended shot of Charlotte Ross's bare butt in an episode of NYPD Blue back in 2003.

Now, I'm sure we all have different opinions about the fine. Some of you think it's wrong to fine creative works for their mode of expression, even a TV show. Some of you think the fine is appropriate because you don't want your children accidentally seeing any nudity and some of you, like me, think that Disney and ABC should be given an award for showing us what is very possibly the most beautiful butt ever seen on film.

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NYPD Blue: Ice Follies/Oscar, Meyer, Weiner

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Aug 1st 2006 12:34PM
NYPD Blue(S01E09/S01E10) This was a pretty interesting episode pairing. The first one, "Ice Follies," was probably the best episode of the season so far. It was tense. It held my attention and I didn't yawn. That's saying something. Before I get to the good stuff though, let's get rid of the boring junk. Once again, Sherry Stringfield's character serves no purpose. Either she's not around at all (which is great) or she randomly enters a scene and you're caught off guard. Since transferring at the DA's office, she's now working in a new role which places her at the station with John. Wonderful. Now we can't avoid her. All I can say is that Stringfield must have sighed with delight when Caruso decided to leave at the end of the season. If she had to hang around as his ex-wife for a second season? That would have been tough. Plus, the first season of ER just wouldn't have been the same.

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NYPD Blue: Tempest in a C-Cup

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jul 18th 2006 11:44AM

Gail O'Grady as Donna Abandando(S01E08) It's not that I'm against fancy one-liners for episode titles. I just find it sort of disappointing when you read one that sounds interesting and the episode barely has anything to do with it. The Sopranos and Deadwood are notorious for this. I like my episode titles to be simple, but descriptive. Take Seinfeld and "The Puffy Shirt." Going into that, you got a pretty good idea about the focus of the episode.

Alright, you can tell I'm reaching here because eight episodes in, and we finally got to one that I didn't really enjoy. It was just slow. But we did get a new character. Donna Abandando (played by Gail O'Grady) got hired by Lt. Fancy to be the new detective's secretarial assistant. She seems a little loopy, but it's the type of character that can lighten up some of the more serious scenes. The "tempest in a c-cup?" That would be her and she was in the episode for only a couple of minutes. It would have made far more sense to call this one something along the lines of "The Taxi Cab Butcher." What, too much?

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NYPD Blue: NYPD Lou

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jul 10th 2006 3:19PM

NYPD Blue - season one cast

(S01E07) This had to be the first point in the season where the writers for this show just said, "What the hell? Let's go nuts." So they did. People got whacked. Children went missing and there was a guy who thought he was a werewolf.

Martinez (to the wolf guy): "So, uh, what do you like to be called? Mr. Wolf?"

The wolf guy would be Lou (hence the title). He's a bum who seems to think he's a werewolf and he uses it as an excuse to get locked up for the night (hey, it's a bed). What had me excited about it was who played the wolf guy: Dan Hedaya! He's one of my favorite character actors. Check out his IMDb page because he's been in a ton of stuff. This had to have been a crowning achievement for him though because he was actually credited as "Lou the Werewolf."

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NYPD Blue: Personal Foul

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jul 3rd 2006 7:59PM

Dennis Franz as Andy Sipowicz(S01E06) For the first few episodes, I was was really enjoying picking out all the swears, slang words, and racial slurs that this show was getting away with at the time. Now I'm having way more fun picking out all the random guest stars. Every episode is just crammed with a bunch of people in tiny blip roles. So far we've had some good ones like David Schwimmer, Michael Rappaport, and Luis Guzman. But this episode added a whole bunch more.

  • James Pickens, Jr. (you'll recognize him as Webber on Grey's Anatomy)
  • Tobin Bell (he's played Jigsaw in the Saw films and he was Kingsley in season two of 24)
  • Michael Jace (he played one of the ADAs, but most will recognize him as Julian on The Shield)

I think it's incredibly interesting to see all these guests. First off, this was 12 years ago and a lot of these people didn't have the careers that they have now. Secondly, I think it mirrors a lot of what David Milch does with his shows. Look at the first season of Deadwood and think about all the notable guest stars that were involved (Kristen Bell from Veronica Mars comes to mind). I just like to dissect all this stuff. You can point and laugh later. On to the rest of the episode.

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NYPD Blue: Emission Accomplished

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jun 26th 2006 7:47PM

NYPD Blue(S01E05) A Martinez-centric story. I didn't think we'd get one of these this early in the game. He still seems like too minor a character to warrant an episode largely devoted to him.

That being said, it wasn't half bad. One of the things I like about this show is seeing all the cop show stereotypes that it helped to create. In this case, I'm referring to the young rookie cop being side-lined because he has to watch over his smack addict brother. That's a stereotype... right?

Plus, the story allowed for the list of unexpected guest stars to keep growing. Luis Guzman made a random turn as James' father Hector. I didn't really buy it though, especially since Nicholas Turturro and Guzman only differ in age by five years. They looked more like brothers than father and son. Ahh, the joys of the suspension of disbelief.

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NYPD Blue: True Confessions

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jun 19th 2006 11:27AM

NYPD Blue: logo(S01E04) Since I started watching this show (I had never seen an episode before), I've been doing my best to avoid reading about the episodes on fan websites and places like IMDb. For whatever reason though, I went ahead and read something on this particular episode. That was stupid because I would have much rather preferred that the ending were a surprise. Some shows I don't care if I know stuff in advance but I like to be in the dark with NYPD Blue.

So here goes. David Schwimmer's guest stint has come to an end. Josh "4B" Goldstein was gunned down as he tried to stop some thug from stealing a lady's purse on the subway. Kelly made it to the hospital just in time to see 4B take his last breath. It was actually kind of sad. Schwimmer wasn't half bad in the dramatic role and it's too bad we probably won't see that side of him again now that he's typecast as that bumbling schmuck from Friends. Anyway, that's how the episode ended but there was plenty more in between.

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NYPD Blue: Brown Appetit

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jun 12th 2006 1:55PM

NYPD Blue; Dennis Franz; David Caruso; Andy Sipowicz; John Kelly(S01E03) I was talking with a few of my co-workers the other day and I mentioned that I was posting on old episodes of NYPD Blue. One of them flipped out he was so overjoyed. Apparently it was his favorite show, he knew just about every episode inside and out, and he wished that it would have gone on for a few more seasons. I told him to take deep breath because I had only seen the very first three episodes so far and wouldn't be able to dish about that much with him.

But he kept going and went on about how he loved the first season and he remembers how his mother was appalled when the show first premiered. That much I got because if you recall, many station affiliates refused to air Blue during the debut season. I guess what I don't get, and I'm dating myself here, is how this show was considered to be controversial. By today's standards, this show is incredibly tame if you think about some of the things that are on today. I guess the whole point I'm trying to make here is that I'm really enjoying this show so far because it's interesting to see how TV has evolved since the early 90s. There, and now I feel justified. I've turned watching TV into an academic exercise. Moving on...

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NYPD Blue: 4B or not 4B

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jun 5th 2006 6:07PM

NYPD Blue Season 1

Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.

(S01E02) David Schwimmer is still around. I love it! Even better is that Kelly refuses to call Schwimmer by his character's name. Rather he keeps referring to the guy as his apartment number, 4B. Hilarious.

Back to the story though, we pick up right where the pilot episode left off. Sipowicz is in the hospital, but he's talking and seems to be recovering quite well. The only problem is that he has no recollection of who shot him. At least that's what he tells Kelly and Fancy. It becomes clear pretty quickly that Sipowicz wants Giardella for himself, so he's keeping his mouth shut.

One of the things I'm loving about this show are all the great cop show stereotypes that NYPD Blue adheres to. Good cop, bad cop. Seasoned veteran who's seen it all and the balanced partner. The compassionate hard-ass of a lieutenant. This show follows all the rules and then goes ahead and breaks them. It's interesting to watch though. It's like seeing a child being born because you can see things that have influenced other shows in the years that followed.

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NYPD Blue: Pilot

by Jonathan Toomey, posted May 29th 2006 11:41PM

NYPD Blue - Season 1 Cast

Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.

(S01E01) Ahh, the glory days. When men were men, gas was cheap(er), and David Caruso wasn't aging like a raisin while patrolling the beaches of Miami. Of course, I'm talking about NYPD Blue when Caruso (as Detective John Kelly) was scouring the streets of Manhattan with the best bad New York accent I've ever heard. The year was 1993 and Steven Bochco and David Milch's new ABC cop drama would ensure that television would never be the same. It was, after all, dubbed the first ever "R-Rated" TV series.

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