Wednesday, March 02, 2005



Bye Bye Blue

I watched the NYPD Blue series finale this morning. I taped it last night as I find US TV programmes impossible to follow because of all the commercials. (May as well enjoy being able to fast forward through commercials while we still can!)

All in all it was a good finale. No big explosions or drama, just going out on a low key with a reasonable story.

I was a pretty avid follower of Blue during the first couple of seasons. To my mind it ran out of ideas and started going downhill not long after Jimmy Smits came on board. I stopped watching it when the Smits character died. We're supposed to accept a 6'4" guy who looks like he spends his off hours lifting weights dying of heart failure? Ridiculous.

The Dennis Franz character is what kept the series going all these years. Even when the plots are lousy, good characters are what keep viewers coming back and there's no denying that Franz's portrayal of Andy Sipowicz was a classic.

Other than Sipowicz, the characters are just too good looking. How many six foot tall blondes with enormous melons does the NYPD employ in reality? And I doubt pretty boys like Mark-Paul Gossellar and Ricky Schroeder would survive the academy. As for Henry Simmons, he's a good actor, but he looks more like a fashion model than a cop.

[Digression: Third Watch characters look more like cops, especially Molly Price. But if the cops in reality are as dumb as they are made out to be by this show, NYC is in big trouble!]

Blue was supposed to push the envelope in terms of bad language and nudity, but to my European eyes it looked fairly tame stuff. When Blue started, I was at the time working with a major police department in the UK. In fact I was working with one Detective Sergeant who looked a lot like Sipowicz. It was interesting to compare the reality of the UK Police with the world of Blue. For example, the UK Police don't use terms like 'perp' and 'skell'. I also didn't see any black superior officers giving their staff '48 hours to come up with something' or they'd 'have their badge'. Similarly in the UK, senior officers are not troubled by District Attorneys or Mayors 'crawling up my ass'. The UK police spend most of their time attending courses on diversity and equal rights, filling out forms, and manning surveillance cameras.

So anyway I am eagerly awaiting March 8th, when Season 4 of The Shield begins. That is the best cop drama I've ever seen; it beats the crap out of Blue, and the Parents TV Council hate it. Check out for handy summaries of all the best bits of The Shield. If you can justify the cost of FX for a 15-episode season, get it!
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