Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1/31/1993 NBC commits Homicide

January 31, 1993.  This night saw the premiere of one of the great TV cop shows.  Homicide: Life on the Street was based on David Simon's memoir of a year as embedded reporter in the Baltimore Homicide Squad, and a lot of the best lines in the early years came right from the book.  As in Melissa Leo's explanation in the first episode: "This is Homicide.  We work for God."

Besides Leo the cast included Yaphet Kotto, Andre Braugher, Ned Beatty, Jon Polito, and Michelle Forbes, to name a few.  Richard Belzer played John Munch, a detective who transferred to New York when Homicide ended, and got a job with Law and Order: SVU.

Creator David Simon also did pretty well for himself, going on to Oz, The Wire, etc. 

At the end of the first episode the rookie detective caught his first homicide: the brutal killing of a young girl.  The cops pursued that case throughout the series, getting nowhere. One episode consisted only of the grim interrogation of the chief suspect.  At the end of that hour all that had changed was that the detective who was sure the suspect  had done it was left in doubt and the one who had been in doubt was now sure.

After the show ended they brought the entire cast back for a TV movie -- even the characters who had died -- but they never solved that one nagging death.

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