What does it take to be a detective on America's most dangerous streets? The men and women of Detroit Homicide are as tough as they come. They have some of the finest detectives working their streets. Detective Max Fitch (Michael Imperioli) is a veteran cop with unorthodox methods and an enigmatic personal life.
I like my television drama (especially when it is well produced; written; and cast.) ABCs "Detroit 1-8-7" is new to our primetime schedule here in Australia - currently being aired on Seven/Prime, and the pilot episode was enough to get me hooked. With David Zabel, of "ER" fame involved in its production, I am not surprised by its exceptional creative visual and sound quality. The show's documentary style of filmmaking and soundtrack captures the perfect tone of Detroit - similar to how "Law & Order" and "NYPD Blue" captured the tone of New York City; "Homicide: Life On The Street" captured the tone of Baltimore; and "SouthLAnd" captured the tone of south-central Los Angeles, "Detroit 1-8-7" is another new show in the line, including CBSs "Blue Bloods" and NBCs "Harry's Law" giving me such great viewing pleasure. Indeed, it appears we may be heading into a revival of what Robert J. Thompson has defined as the Second Golden Age of Television Drama. I'll applaud and throw bouquets if it gets a DVD release!!!!
"Detroit 1-8-7" was the best crime drama to come along in a good while on TV. Set and filmed on location in Detroit, the show follows the working and personal lives of a squad of homicide detectives. The characters are interesting and realistic, not the typical gun-brandishing overblown egos we see on many other cop shows. Michael Imperioli shines in the lead role as Detective Louis Fitch, a wily and "fascinatingly odd man" who is well-respected by his peers and who has the highest case closure rate in his division. The show carries itself on engaging story lines that focus on more than just solving homicide cases, without resorting to unrealistic stunts, car chases, flashy hot rods, bikini-clad women or high-tech gadgets. The show is really more about the characters, their lives as law enforcement officers, and the difficult choices their job often forces them to make. As Season One unfolds, their personal stories become quite compelling. If you want to see a cop show that finally comes close to showing us what a real-life detective's life might be like, this is the one to watch. Too bad ABC executives didn't have the good judgment to keep it around longer. We only got 18 episodes for Season One. If another channel picks up "Detroit 1-8-7" with its excellent cast, I will surely continue to support this well-written, well-acted show.
I remember watching a few episodes of this show when ABC was bouncing it around, but I never followed it because I couldn't get their schedule correct. Because I liked what I saw, when I noticed the DVD I bought it, quite on a lark actually. I am so glad I did. Three episodes in, I realized this show was too good for television. I also must say that unlike most other reviewers, I'm quite glad it only lasted 18 episodes, because any more than that would have jeapordized the story line, the chemistry, the whole feel of the series. I have been a fan of television "cop" dramas forever. I must say this is probably the best I've even seen. There is no question that Michael Imperioli and James McDaniel are the "stars" of this series, but the entire ensemble cast is just brilliant. This is a well written, well acted, technically proficient and endlessly fascinating series. In my opinion, the character development and the show peaks at episode 16. But don't ruin it by starting with that one! If you decide to buy this, I humbly suggest that you wait until you can schedule the time and watch the entire series, beginning to end, over a one week period. That's what I did, and you will find that it truly plays like a motion picture. Really, it does. And I must say it was wrapped up brilliantly. I'm not sure when the producers found out during the season that the show would not be renewed, but the last episode is a wonderful, bow wrapped conclusion to a gritty, exciting, well done police drama. My compliments to all of the actors, and the writers, and producers, and directors who put this together. It really is that good, especially if you are true fan of the genre.
Detroit 1-8-7 is probably the best cop show never to have made it past one year. With an all-star cast headed by Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) and supported by noteworthy actors like James McDaniel (NYPD Blue), Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome) and Jon Michael Hill (Elementary), in addition to rave reviews from USA Today, it's hard to understand why the series didn't take off.
In this little-known gem of a series, Imperioli plays an intelligent, introverted detective. He is so aware and focused, he's able to get under the skin of murder suspects during interrogations, yet he is so socially withdrawn, he sometimes communicates with his frustrated rookie partner (Hill) by cell phone even while in the same room. McDaniel plays an old-timer planning for his retirement in Italy. Martinez plays a sharp, yet feminine detective who shows that she has the grit and intelligence to work alongside her male cohorts.
In addition to superior acting, the writing is excellent. Each episode highlights a different aspect of Detroit, its people and its suburbs. This drama could easily have exploited all that's wrong with the city, but it focuses more on what's right with it. We see scenes of The Eastern Market, Greek Town, and Belle Isle. We meet characters who are passionate about Detroit as well as murderers and thieves.
Perhaps the time slot wasn't right, but more likely the series was cancelled because Michigan's new governor drastically cut back a program which offered some of the most generous film tax credits in the nation. When that happened, many movies and television dramas packed up and left. More's the pity because Detroiters and the people of Michigan could have used that small spark of Hollywood glitter to enrich their lives.