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By DAVID ZURAWIK | January 29, 2006
HILL STREET BLUES: SEASON ONE / / Fox Home Entertainment / $39.98 Outside of Dragnet, the 1952 series starring Jack Webb that gave birth to the genre, there is not another TV cop drama equal in stature to Hill Street Blues. The watershed production that made its debut on NBC in 1981 arrives on DVD Tuesday with all 17 episodes from Season 1 -- and commentary on three of them by co-creator Steven Bochco. This is the series for which the term "gritty cop drama" -- used to describe virtually every urban crime show, from NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street to ABC's NYPD Blue -- was invented.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | August 11, 2013
It is impossible to watch the highly touted new AMC drama “Low Winter Sun” without thinking of HBO's “The Wire.” I tried. But as I watched the first two episodes of the crime drama set and filmed in Detroit, I kept flashing back to “The Wire” - in a good way. Based on a British miniseries, “Low Winter Sun,” which premieres at 10 p.m. Sunday, tells the story of a Detroit police detective, Frank Agnew (Mark Strong), who with the help of his partner kills another detective in an act of vengeance.
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FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | January 28, 2002
After being forced to read Othello in more college courses than I care to remember, and seeing Shakespeare modernized far too often, word that Masterpiece Theatre was doing the tragedy as a contemporary cop drama didn't exactly set my heart racing. Not even a screenplay by the brilliant Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice) could raise my dismal expectations. Was I wrong. This Othello, about a black police commissioner and set in Scotland Yard, is a mesmerizing dramatic ride through race, ambition, paranoia, false friendship, political correctness, jealousy and lies.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | August 19, 2012
Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana, the executive producers of "Homicide: Life on the Street," return to prime time tonight on BBC America with "Copper," starring Tom Weston-Jones. (That's Weston-Jones sitting with them in the picture above, taken in California where they were promoting the series.) Set in 1864 in New York, the series is cop drama meets frontier saga, and I like it. I loved "Homicide," "Oz" and Levinson's last TV effort, "You Don't Know Jack," a docu-drama look at Dr. Jack Kevorkian, starring Al Pacino, for HBO. But I hated "The Jury," a series the duo did for Fox. They've had some failed projects since "Homicide" and "Oz," but I think "Copper" could be a winner.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | March 12, 2002
This is supposed to air on HBO or a major network in September, not on a basic cable channel in March. But to see the best cop drama on television, tune in to FX at 10 tonight for the premiere of The Shield, starring Michael Chiklis as a rogue cop on the Los Angeles Police Department. Michael who, on the F-what? Come on, you know Chiklis. He starred in The Commish, an ABC cop drama in the early 1990s - only, he's a little hard to recognize. Instead of the soft, friendly, roly-poly, teddy bear of a police commissioner he played in that drama, here he's gone muscle shirt, leather jacket, shaved head and pumped-up to the point where we think "steroids" when we meet his character, Detective Vic Mackey.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | October 7, 2000
As entertainment, "The District," a new cop drama from CBS, would be an easy series to dismiss in a sentence or two. But, because of what it says about race and crime in cities like Washington and Baltimore, this series has dangerous sociological baggage. "The District" stars Craig T. Nelson ("Coach") as Jack Mannion, a New Jersey police chief who is brought to Washington, D.C., by the deputy mayor to tackle an out-of-control crime rate and a corrupt police department. Mannion, who favors black-and-white swing dancing shoes and will break into a show tune at the drop of a hat, is said to have a phenomenal record of cutting crime in every city he's worked.
NEWS
By DAVID ZURAWIK | November 25, 2008
After seven seasons, The Shield comes to an end tonight on FX. And I am surprised at how little emotion I feel about the finale. Once upon a time, I was crazy about this cop drama and its lead character, rogue LAPD detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis). I have freely acknowledged before that the pleasure I took in The Shield was probably not a good thing in that all its raw-edge violence was clearly speaking anger to rage. And I was the red-hot receptor. Still, it was compelling to watch Mackey and his renegade cops run roughshod over the urban mayhem of Los Angeles' nasty side.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | September 27, 2002
A plane knifes diagonally across a darkening twilight sky, the distant roar of its engines blending into and then being replaced by the faint sound of a singer wailing through an electronic haze. The camera follows the plane as it disappears off the television screen. The scene is only nine seconds long, but it represents so much of what is right and all that is wrong with the pilot for Robbery Homicide Division, the new CBS cop drama from producer Michael Mann (Miami Vice), starring Tom Sizemore.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik | September 24, 2002
Amid all the talk of new series, it is easy to forget about the old. One of the oldest network series, NYPD Blue, returns for another season tonight, and I am happy to report there is still much life in this venerable cop drama from Steven Bochco. The secret of success for NYPD Blue is a simple one: Stick with Sipowicz - Dennis Franz's Detective Andy Sipowicz, every bit as much a television classic as any of the great British detectives like Inspector Morse. Enjoy him now, because we are really going to miss this guy when he's gone.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic | May 18, 1994
CBS says it's looking for younger viewers. But you'd never know it from the fall schedule the graying network announced yesterday, with new shows for such older stars as Dudley Moore, Della Reese, Hal Linden and Suzanne Pleshette.Furthermore, CBS renewed several series with the oldest audience profiles on TV -- Dick Van Dyke's "Diagnosis Murder," Angela Lansbury's "Murder She Wrote" and "Rescue 911."The biggest news yesterday from CBS might have been its cancellations. Burt Reynolds, Norman Lear and Tom Arnold all got the boot as the network canceled "Evening Shade," "704 Hauser" and "Tom."
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,david.zurawik@baltsun.com | March 8, 2009
With the cancellation of ABC's Life on Mars last week, it's official: The cop drama as we've known it since Hill Street Blues in 1981 is dead. Twenty-eight years is an impressive run, but as a culture, we have moved well past thinking of urban America as a dark and threatening frontier that needs to be tamed by hard-edged, big-city detectives like Mick Belker of Hill Street Blues and Andy Sipowicz of NYPD Blue. As a nation, we have new fears, frustrations and nightmares, and so, Hollywood is trying to give us new prime-time heroes that speak to our anxieties and send us off to bed feeling a little better about the world in which we live.
NEWS
By DAVID ZURAWIK | November 25, 2008
After seven seasons, The Shield comes to an end tonight on FX. And I am surprised at how little emotion I feel about the finale. Once upon a time, I was crazy about this cop drama and its lead character, rogue LAPD detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis). I have freely acknowledged before that the pleasure I took in The Shield was probably not a good thing in that all its raw-edge violence was clearly speaking anger to rage. And I was the red-hot receptor. Still, it was compelling to watch Mackey and his renegade cops run roughshod over the urban mayhem of Los Angeles' nasty side.
NEWS
By DAVID ZURAWIK | January 29, 2006
HILL STREET BLUES: SEASON ONE / / Fox Home Entertainment / $39.98 Outside of Dragnet, the 1952 series starring Jack Webb that gave birth to the genre, there is not another TV cop drama equal in stature to Hill Street Blues. The watershed production that made its debut on NBC in 1981 arrives on DVD Tuesday with all 17 episodes from Season 1 -- and commentary on three of them by co-creator Steven Bochco. This is the series for which the term "gritty cop drama" -- used to describe virtually every urban crime show, from NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street to ABC's NYPD Blue -- was invented.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 21, 2003
Dark Blue is one of those totally happy surprises that moves so quickly and curves so sharply that it leaves this era's hyped critical hits looking like beached whales. It never ceases to be a rabidly involving L.A. cop movie; it never loses its fierce sense of humor. But it manages to say a lot more about race and class than Changing Lanes, about depression than The Hours, about fathers and sons and their surrogates than Road to Perdition or About a Boy, and about minority reports (and police ethics)
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | September 28, 2002
The pilot for NBC's Boomtoom would deserve a full-blown critical rave if for no other reason than the brilliant way creator Graham Yost advances the craft of storytelling in the genre of network cop drama. While there is no shortage of narrative theorists who talk about detective fiction as being most successful when it is like a puzzle, no one on network television has ever managed to create a series that could make viewers feel as if they were actually putting together a puzzle piece by piece as they watched.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | September 27, 2002
A plane knifes diagonally across a darkening twilight sky, the distant roar of its engines blending into and then being replaced by the faint sound of a singer wailing through an electronic haze. The camera follows the plane as it disappears off the television screen. The scene is only nine seconds long, but it represents so much of what is right and all that is wrong with the pilot for Robbery Homicide Division, the new CBS cop drama from producer Michael Mann (Miami Vice), starring Tom Sizemore.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,david.zurawik@baltsun.com | March 8, 2009
With the cancellation of ABC's Life on Mars last week, it's official: The cop drama as we've known it since Hill Street Blues in 1981 is dead. Twenty-eight years is an impressive run, but as a culture, we have moved well past thinking of urban America as a dark and threatening frontier that needs to be tamed by hard-edged, big-city detectives like Mick Belker of Hill Street Blues and Andy Sipowicz of NYPD Blue. As a nation, we have new fears, frustrations and nightmares, and so, Hollywood is trying to give us new prime-time heroes that speak to our anxieties and send us off to bed feeling a little better about the world in which we live.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | September 28, 2002
The pilot for NBC's Boomtoom would deserve a full-blown critical rave if for no other reason than the brilliant way creator Graham Yost advances the craft of storytelling in the genre of network cop drama. While there is no shortage of narrative theorists who talk about detective fiction as being most successful when it is like a puzzle, no one on network television has ever managed to create a series that could make viewers feel as if they were actually putting together a puzzle piece by piece as they watched.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik | September 24, 2002
Amid all the talk of new series, it is easy to forget about the old. One of the oldest network series, NYPD Blue, returns for another season tonight, and I am happy to report there is still much life in this venerable cop drama from Steven Bochco. The secret of success for NYPD Blue is a simple one: Stick with Sipowicz - Dennis Franz's Detective Andy Sipowicz, every bit as much a television classic as any of the great British detectives like Inspector Morse. Enjoy him now, because we are really going to miss this guy when he's gone.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | March 12, 2002
This is supposed to air on HBO or a major network in September, not on a basic cable channel in March. But to see the best cop drama on television, tune in to FX at 10 tonight for the premiere of The Shield, starring Michael Chiklis as a rogue cop on the Los Angeles Police Department. Michael who, on the F-what? Come on, you know Chiklis. He starred in The Commish, an ABC cop drama in the early 1990s - only, he's a little hard to recognize. Instead of the soft, friendly, roly-poly, teddy bear of a police commissioner he played in that drama, here he's gone muscle shirt, leather jacket, shaved head and pumped-up to the point where we think "steroids" when we meet his character, Detective Vic Mackey.
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