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Homicide Life on the Street - The Complete Season 5

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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(Aug 31, 2004)
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$59.99 $20.12

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With dark humor and edgy determination, the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department Homicide Division battle a murder rate near tops in the nation. Too bad death doesn't follow a schedule. Executive Produced by Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Diner) and Tom Fontana (OZ, St. Elsewhere), and created by Paul Attanasio (Gideon's Crossing, Quiz Show), HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET plunged viewers into the uncompromising reality of solving murders. Filmed with hand-held cameras, originality, and verve on the gritty streets of Baltimore, HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET featured a sharp soundtrack and an extraordinary cast highlighted by Yaphet Kotto (Roots), Richard Belzer (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), and Emmy winner Andre Braugher (Gideon's Crossing). This collection includes all 22 episodes from the fifth season of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning series, available on DVD for the first time, featuring the episode TV Guide named "one of the greatest episodes in TV history." "Now for the First Time" WATCH THE EPISODES IN THE ORDER INTENDED BY THE SERIES' PRODUCERS

Big changes were afoot for Baltimore's finest during the fifth season of Homicide. The fourth season ended with a shocker--Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher) suffering a stroke while interrogating a suspect. In season premiere "Hostage," directed by the late Ted Demme, Pembleton is back on the job, but he's a changed man. His reflexes aren't what they used to be and his pride has taken a beating. Meanwhile, Megan Russert, who had been demoted the previous year, has moved abroad. Never fear, two strong women will join the squad in the form of detective Teri Stivers (Toni Lewis), on loan from narcotics, and medical examiner Julianna Cox (Michelle Forbes, just as formidable as she was on Star Trek: The Next Generation). This is especially good news for Lewis (Clark Johnson) and Kellerman (Reed Diamond). Alas, Lewis is married and Kellerman has just been accused of police corruption.

Standout episodes include "Documentary", directed by Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple, and "Prison Riot," with Charles S. Dutton and Dean Winters, a precursor to Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana's Oz. (Scott Winters, who appears in the last two episodes, would join brother Dean on that show.) But "Bad Medicine," in which drug kingpin Luther Mahoney (Erik Todd Dellums) makes his first appearance, is the most significant. With the introduction of Mahoney, Homicide would begin to deal with the drug war in earnest. Author David Simon would continue to explore the issue in his HBO series The Wire.

Aside from the brilliant acting, writing, and directing, Homicide was known for its savvy song selections, such as Tom Waits's "Cold, Cold Ground" and "Till the Money Runs Out" in "Bad Medicine." In addition, the episode "The Heart of a Saturday Night", directed by Whit Stillman, was titled after--and inspired by--Waits's composition of the same name. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • 22 episodes on six discs
  • Commentary by writers Eric Overmyer and James Yoshimura on "The Documentary"
  • "Inside Homicide": an interview with David Simon and James Yoshimura

Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Reed Diamond, Michelle Forbes, Clark Johnson
  • Directors: Clark Johnson, Kyle Secor, Alan Taylor, Barbara Kopple, Jean de Segonzac
  • Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 31, 2004
  • Run Time: 1034 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002NY830
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,977 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Homicide Life on the Street - The Complete Season 5" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The fifth season of Homicide saw tragedy strike every single member of the squad, making for the series' darkest, most introspective year. The two hardest hit were Frank Pembleton and Mike Kellerman. Pembleton, who was felled by a stroke in the previous season's finale and spends the first half of the fifth season regaining his basic ability to write, talk and move properly, also struggles to regain his top-notch investigative prowess in the box solving murder cases. But just when things return to normal for him on the job, his marriage falls apart at home ("Valentine's Day.") Andre Braugher's portrayal of a recovering Pembleton proves him to be one of the finest dramatic actors on television during Homicide's run. Meanwhile, Kellerman finds himself grounded when he is the target of a police corruption investigation stemming from his time in the Arson unit ("Bad Medicine.") To make matters worse, Kellerman finds himself facing his old drug lord nemesis Luther Mahoney, who keeps slipping through his grasp again and again. These events drive Kellerman to a suicidal night on his boat ("Have a Conscience") and ultimately, to a violent confrontation with Mahoney ("Deception") that will reap consequences for Kellerman throughout the following season.

The other members of the Homicide unit have their share of problems as well. Lewis' surprise marriage is also in trouble and he finds himself tempted by a female cop (Teri Styvers) assigned to help him nail Mahoney ("Control.") Bayliss finds himself struggling with demons from his past when he works yet another child murder ("Betrayal.") This case ultimately leads Bayliss to drop Pembleton as his partner, destroying the strongest relationship in the squad.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first season saw changes in the cast. Gone were Ned Betty and Daniel Baldwin, to depart at the end of the years Isabella Hufmann and Melissa Leo. For the "characters", this season was a rough one personally.

Frank Pembleton, who was now partnered with Bayliss, sees their partnership coming apart for two reasons. Pembleton has suffered a stroke and chaffs at the medication, chaffs at the desk duty. While Bayliss is once more haunted to the point of obsession over a child murder case. To add to the strain, Pembleton stroke is destroying his marriage. Mike Kellerman, who joined in the 4th season, is hounded by an old nemesis, Luther Mahoney, and threatened by Internal Affairs over problems that occurred when he was on an arson squad. A corruptions investigation looms and Kellerman feels he is being made to take the fall, pushing him to consider suicide. Lewis' recent marriage is going through a tough period and this is amplified as he is attracted to a new female cop assigned to help bring down Mahoney. Michelle Forbes (ST:NG) starts a two year run as the new Medical Examiner, who has a problem with the bottle and getting involved with Kellerman. The end of these episodes has Melissa Leo faces solving the murder of her former partner (Baldwin), and you meet the new members Seda and Gerety. They have a touch of humor with Brodie dashing about with his camera filming everyone (he leaves at the end of the year, too.)

Some of the changes were good; some - in many eyes - thought them brought about the decline in the show. I cannot say I agree with. Things change. If you stay the same you stagnate. Homicide brought forth strong drama, that was gritty, powers and above anything else you'd see on telly.
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Format: DVD
Some reviewers have commented on the "poor" and "grainy" picture quality of the discs for seasons 1&2. Disregard that comment. The show's first two seasons, which were barely long enough to be called seasons, were filmed with an intentionaly gritty look. And the sound is hard to hear much of the time. They were going for a "realistic" feel, which the DVD reproduces. Turn up the volume, it's still a fantastic show.

Starting with season 3, you will notice the picture quality improves a great deal. With a full season pick-up and slightly bigger budget, the show was able afford better lighting and sound.

The stories are just as good, though. The writing was in no way affected by the slightly glossier look. And they brought on Exec Prod. Henry Brommel, a great addition to an already great staff of writers.

If you've never seen this show, you should. It was amazing. And it holds up ten years later. Better than ever.
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Format: DVD
I agree with most that Season 5 was the best for this outstanding series. What's terrific is that these episodes hold up and can be viewed multiple times. I can't believe no reviewer has mentioned the "Deception" episode...where Mahoney gets scammed by the delivery of bad drugs, Munch leads a "to be murderer" to his victim, and the critical Mahoney meeting, which leads to a scramble to his apartment, which leads to his shooting and death.
That scene when Mahoney smiles and the tension builds with all three detectives at bay,and then he is shot when he starts to lift his arm,is classic TV, and led to the major storyline in Season 6, where all the big guns came in to resolve this plotline.
Speaking of music, does anyone know the name of the song played as a background for the drug distribution mid-way thru the episode, and again at the end, when the depositions for Mahoney's murder are taking place? What a powerful soundtrack!(Just found out:"Evidence", by Faith No More).
Kudos to the "Homicide" team for a great Season and series....
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