on April 15, 2014
The whole series has been about the redemption of Sipowicz and this season has put the bookend on the redemption–from drunk to a boss. The acting and writing is superb. I am not sure why people like Bochco (NYPD Blue/Hill Street Blues) and Chris Carter (X Files) can manage to produce enduring art surpassing even Spielberg's attempts at TV, while others write dreck. The amount of character development is phenomenal, long before the end of the series you start caring about them and, in the end, feel almost if you are losing friends. The characters that show up every once in awhile continued to build their legends and remain interesting; I was always glad to see them. The transitions in command kept the show lively, especially in this season with Lt. Bale. (The boss you learn to hate.) The resolution of the Fraker matter was handled brilliantly, with an ending no one could have seen coming. The supporting actors have always done a great job that continued in the final season. Gordon Jump is either a complete idiot who stumbled through the show or a brilliant actor who performed better than anyone, (including the leads), acting like a character stumbling through the show. (I think I am love with Medavoy's new girlfriend, although not as much as I loved Sharon Lawrence as Sylvia Costas.) The only thing missing was an appearance by Sharon Lawrence in the Sylvia Costas role. (Special 'ghost' appearance.) By the end of the season, Sipowicz had become the 'sage' of the precinct and its natural leader. Redemption complete.
In retrospect, the only way the show made it this long was by dumping David Caruso who was really made for procedurals that don't require much range.
The final season of NYPD Blue is as bittersweet as any goodbye, but it's a total success for everyone involved in the show. It provides a superb ending to the series in every way. And it all begins and ends with Andy Sipowicz. First, he looks to be forced off the job by incoming Lt., and former IAB bigwig, Thomas Bale, who immediately begins making life hell for everyone in the squad, old “dinosaur” types in particular. After spending half the season establishing a shaky mutual respect with his new boss, Andy takes the sergeant's exam and passes. Near the end of the season, he gets his promotion and goes back in the bag as a boss in the 15th. This leads to some hilarious ribbing from his former partner, John Clark, but Clark soon realizes how lost the squad is without Andy's experience and guidance. After Bale gets shot on a raid, ending his career, he pulls some strings and helps Andy become squad commander. Concluding the series with Andy in charge was a perfect ending that I'll mention again momentarily. Along the bumpy ride to Andy's last promotion, Clark goes rogue for about half the season as he mourns the death of his girlfriend and his dad. It takes Andy getting shot outside a bar to finally bring him to his senses. Medavoy has a trying last year, also bumping heads with the new lieutenant. After being put through trial court for moonlighting as a bouncer, he begins questioning his career choice. His doubt comes full circle when he meets an attractive real estate agent who helps him make the decision to put in his papers and transition into a new profession. While it would have been nice to see Medavoy get a more noble exit from the job, it's great to see him find happiness on a personal level, which his character has searched for ever since the first season. Baldwin eventually celebrates adopting Michael, but has to help him through the murder of his father, Craig, by a jealous husband whose wife slept with Craig. A new DA replaces Valerie Haywood, who exits with no fanfare whatsoever, but her only real role is to help Clark find his way back to himself as his new love interest. In a more substantial new role is Bonnie Somerville as Det. Laura Murphy. Besides serving as the obvious eye candy detective, she's used as a central character throughout the season. Unfortunately, we don't get to see her in any steamy scenes like every other attractive policewoman (or lawyer) ever featured on the show.
One standout moment of the season is an appearance by Jimy Smits as, apparently, the ghost of Bobby Simone. I really don't care how far-fetched his scene with Andy in the locker room is, it was a thrill and a treat to see Andy and Bobby have a scene together in the show's last season. It doesn't matter if the scene was intended to be a dream sequence, a hallucination, or an authentic supernatural experience, I thought it was perfect. Smits helped make the show a huge hit after David Caruso left and became the fan favorite out of all of Andy's partners. If given a choice for one cameo from a past character, Simone would have been at the top of my list. The writers did an excellent job the whole season of bringing closure to the series, especially the last episode's ending. Andy, now the squad commander, sees every one of his detectives at the end of their shift, listening to their progress on cases and giving advice when he can. He encourages the new detectives and assures them that they'll improve with time. The last image we see is Andy behind his desk, seemingly reflecting on how far he's come in life. From the raging, crotch-grabbing, profanity-spewing alcoholic of the first season to a good husband, father, and leader, Sipowicz has undergone one of the great character arcs in TV history, and he seems to know it as the shot pulls away and the credits roll. The series ended too early, but that just assured that it never got stale. It went out on top as far as the quality of the writing, directing, and acting. Not just another TV cop drama, there will never be another show quite like NYPD Blue.
I had to give five stars because a DVD like this would be off the hook!!!
This site professes to have it, but I am not willing to pay $99 because I only missed one episode. I wish TV Land would buy it. This was the second greatest cop show ever on TV, Hill Street Blues being the first and ground-breaking, which all other shows emulate. NYPD Blue was right up there and absolutely the greatest during it's 12-year run and we still mis it. Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, and Law and Order CI, and Law and Order original. Nothing compares. Nothing will be that unique again.
on March 17, 2016
This show is even better than I remembered. I watched most of it when it originally aired and loved it then. Rewatching the entire series (though I admit I skipped most of the first season to avoid the David Caruso garbage) I was a bit surprised at just how it has held up. The acting is fantastic and the writing is superb! Dennis Franz is perfect casting as a crotchety recovering alcoholic that friends and coworkers turn to when in trouble. Wish we could all have a friend like Sipowicz looking out for us in this world. The evolution of the character from the racist, angry drunk of the first season is a master class in character development by the writers/ show runners and in acting by Franz and James McDaniel as Lt Fancy. Many of the conflicts and issues explored by the show are the same ones in the news headlines today. Overall, I cannot say enough good things about this show and how much I will miss watching it! I look forward to watching it again in a couple of decades when I can enjoy it again!
on October 7, 2015
After 11 five-star seasons, the final season of my favorite "cop show" just flopped. NYPD Blue jumped the shark somewhere in season 11 about where Connie (Charlotte Ross) just walked out one day to finish her pregnancy at home and was never seen again. Every other character who left had a nice farewell...but not Connie. Even if she had trouble with the "brass" at Bochco Productions, the audience deserved better. But that was Season 11..and by Season 12...the loss of direction and carefully crafted story lines became totally obvious.
NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD.
First, Eddie simply disappears as the boss. Just gone, no explanation. Ditto with ADA Haywood. Poof. Just not there. Connie Sipowicz never ever shows up, of course, nor do the two younger Sipowicz kids...though she's alluded to several times.
Second, the new boss, Lt. Bale, is a colossal jerk--the ultimate micromanager who's clearly gunning for Sipowicz...right up until he suddenly isn't. Andy takes the sergeant's test knowing if he passes, he'll be a boss in uniform--totally against type. And in the end, he actually gets to be the boss of the detective squad, but only after the Chief of D's tells him it will never, ever happen--then gives him the job ten seconds later. The whole season feels like it was plotted on the back of a cocktail napkin.
So why three stars? Because of a marvelous uncredited appearance by Jimmy Smits...fine acting by the ensemble and especially the last look we had of Dennis Franz before he took a well-earned retirement.
on November 14, 2013
Watching this season on rerun, it was better than I remember when I watched in back in 2005. I thought the plot to get Andy was great, but it was obvious from the beginning that it was Hatcher behind it. The end result of that, with Hatcher being transferred to Miami and Sipowicz off the hook for threatening to kill him was boring. I thought having Bale as the new commander of the squad was a good change. Some things I didnt understand were how they kicked Gibson out and the new female detective from season 11 without any explanation. I also didnt like never seeing Connie at all, even in some situations where it would be obvious for her to be in the scene. They really avoided having her on the show in the last season. Of course you have to love the cameo by Jimmy Smits as Bobby Simone's spirit in one of the last episodes of the season. That was a turning point for the relationship between Sipo and Clark which had soured over Clark's depression. The reason why Bale had to accompany the group on a raid seemed a little strange to me but it obviously set him up to be shot which in turn would allow Andy control of the squad in the final episode. Again, loved the season but there were definitely some awkward parts to the plot. Some things seemed written just for a sole purpose of getting the characters to a certain place, to help wrap up the show.
By the way, for those of you who think Greg was a nerdy loser, he seemed to get some decent lady action between PAA Donna and his final squeeze, the real estate sex goddess. Good going Greg. You still give me some hope!