It takes some big stones to accuse Judge P.S. Colbert of squeezin' shoes.
Our reviews of NYPD Blue: Season Three (published September 20th, 2006), NYPD Blue: Season Five (published February 2nd, 2014), NYPD Blue: Season Seven (published October 14th, 2014), and NYPD Blue: Season Eight (published March 9th, 2015) are also available.
"An unforgettable turning point."
Big Apple homicide detective Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz, Dressed To Kill) has seen more than his share of trouble in recent years. A recovering alcoholic and cancer survivor, Andy's also had to cope with the death of his adult son (a cop murdered in the line of duty), in addition to the bloody minutiae of a career that puts his own life on the line every second of the day.
Macho as he comes off, the big man's actually a mother hen at heart; a real worry wart. As NYPD Blue: Season Six gets under way, Andy's partner Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits, L.A. Law) becomes a principal concern, and for good reason. What starts as a woozy feeling plus trouble catching his breath, soon ends up putting Bobby in the hospital, where he'll stay for the rest of his life. The first four episodes pulse with ominous anxiety—Smits' early exit from the series wasn't exactly a secret; in fact, it was big news. None of which makes his final episode ("Hearts And Souls") feel any less like an oozing abscess of undiluted agony, shared by the rest of the detective squad and audience members alike. There is rage, hope-against-hope, and finally, hopelessness.
"Bobby a quality about him. He had a likeability, but he also brooked no nonsense."—Det. Greg Medavoy (Gordon Clapp, Matewan).
Grief over Bobby's death spreads far and wide during the remainder of the season, but there are no maudlin histrionics nor poetic elegies delivered to the accompaniment of sad and syrupy strings. Life goes on, and more to the point, crime never stops. Next!
Danny Sorenson (Rick Schroder, Locker 13) reports for duty in episode six. Still baby-faced and looking positively cherubic, Schroder nevertheless cuts ties with that loveable imp he played in Silver Spoons from the moment he first opens his mouth in an historic introduction to future partner Andy Sipowicz.
Sipowicz: "So, that's what fourteen year-olds are wearing now?"
Coming in under such circumstances, Sorenson's integration is, if not a baptism of fire, one of hot water, at least. But as we will soon learn, hot water is something Sip's new buddy has dipped his toe into many times before, as a former infantry man, narcotics officer, and a young man with an extremely hot head when riled. Buckle up and prepare for one helluva ride: Schroder's got the wheel, and he won't be slowing down for sharp turns.
In other departmental news, Lieutenant Fancy winds up taking hits right and left: first, while trading hay-makers in the locker room with Sipowicz—when tensions between the two boil over—and later, when he catches a round of assault weapon volley while out on a call. Don't worry, the good Lieutenant was wearing his vest—but still, talk about breakin' balls…
Speaking of…I don't mean to bust too big on the Shout! Factory folks, who've delivered another great-looking set of full-frame episodes here, but (the stand-up Dolby 2.0 Stereo track aside) what's it gonna take for y'all to realize that us non New Yawk-uhz would really benefit from some subtitles?!
All things being even, NYPD Blue collectors can expect more of the same they've gotten from previous seasons: skells, perps, boom-box music, colorful guest star appearances, unbeatable ensemble work from the regular cast and crew, et al.
And please remember to say a special prayer for Detective Diane Russell (Kim Delaney, who earned a well-deserved Emmy nomination for her work this season), who's recently become a beneficiary of the Widows and Orphans fund.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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