Show Reviews (29)
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best police drama ever aired. follow the homicide dept of baltimore md as they investigate charm city's worst crimes.
gritty and realistic. barry levinson insisted on using hand held cameras to film the show on location in baltimore. that contibuted in the realistic almost reality show feeling of the program. baltimore's homicide unit is headed up by lt al giardello. his squad-detectives frank pembleton, his rookie partner tim bayliss, kay howard, beau felton, steve crosetti, meldrick lewis, stan bolander(played by the legendary ned beatty), and john munch(brilliantly portrayed by richard belzer). after a while a few characters left or were killed off and more detectives are added, lt/capt/det megan russert, mike kellerman(personal fav) and others. state prosecuter ed danvers was a semi regular, played by previously underrated zeljko ivanek is great. an interesting fact, richard belzer has played john much in 8 different programs, including all 4 law & orders. homicide also took you into the personal lives of the detectives, which many times provided explanations on why they react they way they do in each case. it showed that cops aren't mechanical drones, but human beings w/feelings fand personal demons and fears. the crossover eps w/law & order were great. the interaction between munch and briscoe was priceless. the show ended nicely with the homicide movie. it was great to see all the living characters brought together to solve gee's murder.moreless
This show was, only second to shows like . and All in the Family and other such shows broke into new areas where so many shows of it's time were nothing but formulaic pollution we had to cough our way through to get to shows like this. I ended up catching the full series only AFTER it was syndicated out to Court TV, but their scheduling was horrible so I had to make the investment and get all of them. It was well worth it. I am also a fan of "OZ", also another groundbreaking show. This was during an era where cable networks like HBO and others were pushing broadcast television into areas it never thought it would go. But, to keep any kind of pace, they had to go scouting these cable producers and artists for broadcast television. In this case, IT ALL WORKED! I cannot believe when I watch the show just how THICK it is with talent. Another fave of mine is NYPD Blue which I've almost memorized the first 7 seasons or . So, this is in that same fare imho where things don't feel perfectly timed and people have to repeat themselves, "Did she say Apt. 2H?" Sipowitz would ask Simone. I had never seen lines written to be repeated because humans do lose track, get distracted, and do have to ask questions sometimes. So small of an effect used in all these shows I've mentioned, but this small dab of paint, this general effect made a regular show into more of a Live Play being aired Live. You just never knew how things were going to twist in the show. I really enjoyed it and believe many others would find it possibly dated but only in the fact there aren't a bunch of smart phones than that, it's like any other day in any Detective Squad and they speak it as real as it can be spoken on Broadcast TV. Great people made and acted in this production and went on to great careers or already had great careers. If you haven't watched the show, give it a real good shot to be the show you will most assuredly become obsessed with imho.moreless
Agree with Tss about how networks used to take chances on shows, and so many good shows would not have 'made it' by today's unfortunate standards.
This has been a favorite of mine for many years. Like many people I think the writing suffered toward the end, but I am glad to have the entire series on DVD. The show holds up over time, and I hope to enjoy watching for a long time to come. I like the movie, too.moreless
The Ultimate Movie Review! -- @tss5078
Back in the day, networks stood behind the shows they picked up. They believed in them, they advertised them, they pushed them to do whatever they could to get ratings. Unfortunately, things are much different today, as a new show is given 13 episodes to crack the top 50 on the Nielsen charts, and if they fail, they're gone before they even got started. If this had always been the policy, shows like Cheers, The X-Files, Law & Order, & Homicide: Life On The Street never would have gotten started.
NBC took a real chance on this show, the cast was all unknowns, except for Ned Beatty, and the rating for the first season were in the toilet. NBC saw the potential though, they realized they had a special cast full of future award winners, and a terrific writing staff, so they made the show more intense. Regular characters could be killed off or added every week, they got big name guest stars, and even had crossover episodes with highly successful shows like Law & Order and The X-Files. With the network behind it, the series soared, completing 7 seasons, winning 4 Emmy's, and it was even turned into a full length feature film.
Homicide: Life On The Street, follows a unit of Homicide Detectives in one of the worst areas of Baltimore, which at the time, had one of the highest murder rates in the country. We follow the investigation, similar to the way they do in Law & Order, but what's different here, is that Homicide is more character based. The audience gets to intimately know the Detectives, their families, and their lives, but even that wasn't the real strength of the show. What made Homicide unique, an Emmy winner, and the launching point for almost a dozen big named actors was "The box" . the interrogation room. Homicide takes us into the interrogation room in a way that has never been done before, showing all the emotion, stress, and everything that comes with the process.
What I really love about this show is that everyone is used equally and no one is a star! Every member of the cast is important and even the opening credits are in alphabetical order, giving no one top billing. That was how the show was designed, but the truth is that Andre Braugher moved beyond that and become a legend.
Playing the very complex Detective, Frank Pembelton, Andre Braugher made a name for himself by captivating audiences. Everything that happened was so deep and personal to him, and he put the emotion into everything he did, not only making him the best detective in the squad, but also the best character to watch.
Homicide takes you inside the interrogation room, but also inside the lives of Homicide Detectives the way that no other show has done before or since. It's a one of a kind show that survived, only because someone important at the network actually watched it and saw how amazing it is. If you're looking for a great show to get into, there are 7 seasons and over 100 episodes, and take my word for it, this show is as addicting as anything I've ever seen!moreless
Forget the Law & Order franchise; forget the CSI chain of shows; forget NYPD Blue. THIS is the police drama that any actual police detective will tell you is the most accurate depiction of life in the robbery/homicide department is like. Each officer who makes it into the elite squad of homicide detectives comes into it with an ideal of putting the bad guys away for what they have done, of avenging the slain and protecting society from those who would do them harm. Over time, the delusion washes away and reality sets in. No matter how many murderers and psychopaths they put away, there are always more. As the years pile on, a jaded attitude (Det. Munch) is the only defense these detectives have against becoming self destructive (Det. Felton), suicidal (Det. Crosetti) or becoming vigilantes (Det. Kellerman and Bayliss). The characters in this show are so remarkably human that you can't help but empathize with them. You can feel their anger and frustration when an arch-criminal like Luther Mahoney walks free...again. You feel their despair when a child is tortured to death they can't solve the case. You share their sense of victory when a thrill-killer is taken down and convicted. No other show I've ever seen before or since has managed to extract so many emotions from me. Law & Order SVU comes close, but that's mainly because of the transition character of John Munch and the fact that most of Homicide's writers now work at SVU.moreless
Hands down the best police drama's ever written.
I personally feel this is one of the best shows ever on TV! There are so many areas of this show that were before its time. From the simple aspect of the camera work; this was one of the best characteristics. The way the show was filmed was refreshing and added to the intensity of the plot lines. I'm still angry how they ended the show and it's been how many years!? To me that is excellent writing; to keep the show in someones mind so many years later. There wasn't a single character I didn't like; they were all awesome in their way. Munch was one of my favorites. I thought it was totally kool when Richard Belzer came to Law & Order as Detective Munch; it was a great tribute to a great show. I wish they would air re-runs of the show so people of a different generation could appreciate the show. I truly miss this show it is one the greatest! Applause to one the greatest casts of TV. You won't be forgotten!!moreless
Great show. A classic
This is a great and magnificent serial. It is very very praiseworthy.. The action and the drama is so intriguing.. it just cathes you within the first seconds. The show is also along my top favorites police action serial ever: csi and third watch. It's very interesting and mellow and captivanting. I've seen every episode and I don't regret the time spent for seeing them (it was always after arriving home from school and even if I had loaths of homework I still watched it) and I'm so freakin' proud. It's a good show. Just watch it and you will love it.moreless
A thinking man's crime show delving into the psychology of the criminals and the detectives seeking them.
This is my favorite show. While the writing and production faded into crime show cliches in it's final season (season 7 by the way) it was a look at real life police work, where detectives are human and crimes are not always solved.
The beauty of this show is that there are no chase scenes and no shootings. The big thrill is when detectives get perps into "the box", the room where interrogation takes place.
Initially in this series there was a collection of top notch character actors spending time in the box. The biggest names (though not huge stars) were Yaphet Kotto, Ned Beatty anad comedian Richard Belzer. But it is not a star driven series. It's more like Hill Street Blues in that vein. WHat the show did have from time to time was a famous guest star such as Robin Williams. He is stirring in Episode 10-"Bop Gun" as a husband who wife is murdered while on vacation.
The show initially was filmed in a very jumpy fashion, cutting cameras in something of a stilted cuting edge way. This added to the tension of the show. Add in the haunting opening music and occasional music underscores (for example Joan Osbornes "What If God Were One Of Us") and it made for an engaging Friday Night at 10 that I never missed.
Best show ever. Thank goodness I read David Bianculli's review before the Super Bowl.moreless
The reason this fine show was canceled was due to much of the public. Most people were unable to properly digest the great substance of this show. There is an extreme difference in reading a book of substance such as "In Cold Blood", by Truman Capote, and reading a frivolous, coffee table book such as "Sex" by Madonna. Likewise, there is a difference between watching a program like "Homicide" and watching a program like "The A-Team". The show was so deep, people didn't watch.
The characters were outstanding. It's always good to watch excellent drama in which characters have strengths and weaknesses. Their weaknesses were were emphasized greatly to show realism. Naturally, the stories were great.
Another thing I miss was the crossover between "Homicide" and "Law and Order". These shows retained their individual styles while bringing the characters together so nicely.
It's too bad that it's gone.moreless
A serial police drama that paved the way for shows like The Wire and Land Order: Special Victims Unit.
Set in Baltimore, Maryland the show revolved around a group of police detectives working Homicide. The series started with rookie Tim Bayliss transfering from Mayor security guard and landing himself under the command of Leutinant Al Gieradello. After a few missteps, he is assigned to be partners with Frank Pembleton, a lone detective that likes to work by himself. But he has established himself as one the most efficient detectives on the force, closing a majority of his cases. He takes the young Bayliss under his wing and shows him how a detective works. It is not long before Bayliss takes on his first case, the murder of a young girl. Throughout the series this murder plays on the emotion of Bayliss and shows who he really is. Now, the series is not all about Pembleton and Baylss. There are a number of detetives who are present on the show. Some of the key characters on the show are John Munch, Melderick Lewis, and Al Gieradello. Throughout the series run these characters had always been there. The show is full of witty dialogue and long drawn out speeches. Which is not a bad thing, but can can get boring. The brilliant written episodes and colorful characters are what make up for it. I did not watch this when it first aired, but got hooked through reruns. I am glad I did not miss this show.moreless