Homicide Life on the Street - The Complete Season 3
DVD | Box Set
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Ned Beatty, Yaphet Kotto, Richard Belzer. The critically acclaimed crime drama that consistently delivered hard-hitting, no-nonsense storytelling during its entire 20-episode third season. Also includes five interviews, six commentaries and more. Produced by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana. 6 DVDs. 1994/color/18 hrs/NR/fullscreen.
If the first two seasons introduced one of the great television crime dramas, Homicide really came into its own during the third. Instead of the mere 13 episodes scattered between 1993 and 1994, NBC ordered up a full 20 for the 1994-1995 season. The entire terrific cast is back, with the exception of Jon Polito, whose absence is explained in the fourth episode ("Crosetti"). There are other changes, like the addition of Megan Russert (Isabella Hofmann) as shift commander. Aside from the fact that the mostly male staff now has a woman to report to (alongside Yaphet Kotto's Lt. Giardello), it turns out that Russert has a "history" with one of the detectives. Homicide always excelled in its exploration of racial and office politics; now sexual politics would become a bigger issue. Religion also comes to the fore as Pembleton (Andre Braugher) is finally forced to confront the loss of his faith while working on a case ("The White Glove Murders") involving several aid workers (episodes 1-3). Meanwhile, his partner, Bayliss (Kyle Secor), is coming to resemble the naive young rookie of the first two seasons less and less by the second... while getting to enjoy a little more romance than the rest of the squad--especially the hapless Meldrick (Clark Johnson). But all is not sturm and drang. Humor still finds a place in each episode and Munch (Richard Belzer) still gets many of the best lines. In the season premiere ("Nearer My God to Thee"), for instance, he tells Bolander (Ned Beatty), "There is no such thing as gratuitous sex. Gratuitous violence, yes... Sex cannot and will not ever be gratuitous." He could be describing Homicide itself, in which nothing is ever gratuitous, especially the sudden loss of human life, which is never--and should never be--treated lightly. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- "Homicide: Life in Season 3"--an interview with Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana, Henry Bromell, David Simon, and James Yoshimura, narrated by Daniel Baldwin
- About "The Board"
- Song listing
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Top customer reviews
This was my favourite season in a stellar series. By Year Three, the personalities were set and familiar, and in the opening episode had suffered the first casualty in the lineup when veteran detective Crosetti was found drowned. His ex-partner, Meldrick Lewis (Clark Johnson), had to come to terms with his death, and you truly feel sorry for Lewis's painful final acceptance.
The unusual style of filming of this series - hand-held cameras, repetitive shots of the same two-second scene, for emphasis on a plot point - was unsettling at times but riveting in its ability to catch your attention. The overall reality of the characters made it impossible for me to have a favourite amongst the cast, as each one shines at unexpected moments, but the most memorable to me are Yaphet Kotto as Giardello and Andre Braugher as Frank Pembleton, a mercurial, driven, intense detective known for his ability to get criminals to fess up. Ned Beatty, who plays out-of-shape, constantly-cranky Bolander, an old-school detective nearing retirement, always brings something special to the role. John Munch (Richard Belzer) plays his role with wit and sarcasm, sardonically regarding the world with a very jaundiced and jaded eye. Meldrick Lewis (Clark Johnson), a perpetual whiner, suffers the fate of no one wanting to partner with him and goes through life looking slightly baffled and injured. Kay Howard (the great Melissa Leo), the squad's only female detective up to this point always ensures that she is more than ready to keep up with the boys, and the point is made in Season Three that she has the best record for closing cases in the whole squad. The loose cannon in the group is Beau Felton (Daniel Baldwin - the Baldwins are everywhere), who brings his personal problems with him to work and adds to them by carrying on an affair with a superior officer, Megan Russert (Isabella Hofmann). We learn a lot about the detective's lives outside the squadroom in Season Three - in one particularly memorable episode, a burned-out Kay Howard takes vacation time and drives home to the Chesapeake, landing in the middle of small-town, know-everybody trauma, which just shows that you can't run away from your regular life. Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor), the newest member of the squad, always seems a trifle off-balance, never really sure of himself in the scope of the group, and never sure of his standing with his partner, Pembleton - a man who would sooner go without any partner at all.
The character development, plots, acting, and edgy realism in this series is unsurpassed, then and now. The show unfortunately didn't glean a high Nielsen rating (it was stuck in the echoing hole of Friday night, when most people with social lives are not home watching TV)but probably much to my own social detriment, I rarely missed an episode, and the critics showered praise upon it. It certainly portrays police work well - many times I marvelled at the fact that politics seems to be pervasive throughout the police world, as people in the show are denied promotions almost purely on a punitive basis, and others are promoted because it's politically - and demographically - correct.
Never a boring moment here; never a bad job of acting. There are several droll cameos - Tim Russert, briefly, and one intro crossover with Chris Noth of Law And Order delivering John Waters to Baltimore as a captured fugitive - and I have to say that the scriptwriting is possibly the best on TV, at least of its genre.