Homicide' was the '90s

Epitaph: Great while it lasted but now Baltimore must be known for something beside murder.

February 15, 2000

WELL, it's finally over. They have done it this time. "Homicide: Life on the Street" is history.

The two-hour finale Sunday wrapped up every loose end wrappable, did things from which characters can never recover, brought all together for one last ensemble acting jamboree and polished the whole thing off. Closure.

Oh, television suits might want to revive a cult series in another form, but it couldn't be the same. Producer Tom Fontana and his actors and writers took care of that in this reprise of the 122 one-hour episodes that died in the seventh season without a funeral. Now it is respectfully dispatched.

The show that created Baltimore pride and a cult following by exploiting the most sordid and dreadful of our folkways, that revived tourism to Fells Point, that brought distinguished actors into Baltimore's civic life, that made our city more famous for what it was most famous for in the 1990s -- besides Cal Jr., the death of Edgar Allan Poe, crabcakes and vanishing white marble steps -- must defer to the times.

"Homicide," like all good things, had to end.

And, despite wisecracks about Baltimore starting to export its major service, the homicide rate here is doomed. Martin O'Malley was elected mayor and Ronald Daniel appointed police commissioner to bring it down. They will. They must. Baltimoreans will have to dine out on other distinctions.

The next great Baltimore television series ought to be an updated "Friends" in Federal Hill with appropriate cavorting in valleys and bay, about young people coming for the great jobs to be created in cutting-edge fields in the economy of tomorrow.

Oh, there might be a bit of lacrosse and basketball and baton twirling. But it ought to focus on hope and promise and opportunity fulfillment that bring diverse people together.

Think of the ratings, the Emmys! What a concept! All that remains is to sell it to the networks. They are so 1990s.

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