A group of youthful police officers join a special undercover unit that has them pose as high school and college students in order to stop young criminals before their behavior grows worse.Genre:
The fourth season of Fox's hip undercover cop phenomenon opens with Ioki (Dustin Nguyen) in the hospital and Hanson (Johnny Depp) in prison (falsely convicted of murder). The end of the premiere ("Draw the Line") brings good news for one of them when Penhall (Peter DeLuise) and Booker (Richard Greico) join forces, while the fate of the other looks promising. This is confirmed in the following episode ("Say It Aint So, Pete"), but by then, Booker will have split the scene (to return for the Booker
crossover, "Wheels & Deals").
Other notable episodes include "Eternal Flame," directed by Mario Van Peebles (Baadasssss!) and guest starring a longhaired Thomas Haden Church (Sideways). There's also "Come From the Shadows," in which Penhall marries a Salvadoran refugee to prevent her deportation (and adopts her nephew when he becomes orphaned), "Stand By Your Man," in which Hoffs (Holly Robinson Peete) is the victim of date rape, and "Mike's P.O.V." with a scruffy Donovan Leitch (Gas, Food Lodging) and preppy Vince Vaughn (Swingers).
The rap on the fourth year is that Depp started turning in lackluster performances when he couldn't get out of his contract. Fortunately, he doesn't sink the show, but it's clear his heart isn't in it anymore. On the bright side, 21 Jump Street remained as much a time capsule of the late-1980s as ever with music from the B-52s and Devo and references to Ghostbusters and Back to the Future. (Hoffs surname was even taken from a notable 1980s figure: Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles.) Once Depp was set free, Fox pulled the plug on the program, which ran for a final season in syndication. In exchange for the Booker episode, this set deletes the season finale, "Blackout," which featured Depp's final appearance as Officer Tom Hanson. --Kathleen C. Fennessy