Homicide: Life on the Street

NBC (ended 1999)


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Homicide: Life on the Street Fan Reviews (29)

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  • Groundbreaking Television

    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.
  • Love it

    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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Best...cop...show...EVER!!

    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.
  • 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!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Decent series.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Barry Levinson's cop show set in Baltimore that follows the detectives of the homicide unit.

    Perhaps the greatest show ever in terms of techniques, story-lines, and performances. My all time fav!!! The actors are incredible and you see people trying to imitate them still on TV today. The story lines are relevant and compelling not just because in a number of instances they are based on real life instances, but also because every one involved in this show took care to create something that transcends the typical TV experience. Though it seemed to run out of steam during the last season I still think it was as good as anything else out there. One would be hard pressed to find television more gripping and entertaining than the 3rd and 4th seasons.
  • The most brilliant drama series ever written

    Welcome to the Baltimore Police.... Laugh,cry, punch you fist in the air, or throw a pillow at the tv.Tag along as Baltimores finest respond from the sublime to the absolure abserd homicides. Be a fly on the wall as the detectives interview the 'perps' in 'the box'(a small room painted a vomity yellow-you get the feeling the walls are closing in on you). Also you get into the minds and private lives of the detectives and follow them through hook-ups,dumpings,weddings,babies,shootings of fellow officers and finally death. You may not always agree with the way things are done in Baltimore, but once you watch you'll be hooked. I strongly recommend the Homicide:Life on the Street box set. I could go on for just about ever on this show and actors but only one word can sum it up beautifully:Brilliant *****
  • Setting new standards of ugly

    It may not have been the best show at times (seasons 4, 6 and 7) but it was the show that brought cop shows to a new standard. No longer about the case, about catching the "bad guys", Homicide's avant garde approach targeted the people, who they were, their flaws and virtues and how the two can often be the same thing. Unlike headliner Law and Order, Homicide cared for its characters, each of them having his own purpose and not just an empty suit to read the standard cop drama shlok that had become the norm.
    Homicide showed viewers and networks alike that cinema wasnt supposed to be clinical, wasnt supposed to be steralized, it's supposed to be gritty, dirty, real. And in this fashion Homicide opened the doors to a new revival of quality in television which continues to develop and endure to this day.
  • Officially The Best Damn Cop Show On The Box. Enough said.

    I'm not a fan of cop shows. For me, there was always a sense that NYPD Blue smugly knew how hip it was and slowly, but surely after the Jimmy Smits-era, the show took an nose dive. Sort of relying on past glories that would put Saturday Night Live to shame.

    I tuned into an episode of Homicide on late night Channel 4 after reading how it was better than NYPD Blue. I took the chance and from there on in I was hooked, despite watching it as the show entered its third year.

    Despite this late start, you could easily pick up on the character traits without them resembling stereotypes; the best pairing coming from Pembleton and Bayliss. Any other show could have made their partnership a standard chalk and cheese cliche. But Homicide managed to avoid all that. There was a realistic representation in the way the two opposite methods would clash. As the series progressed, the series developed Bayliss into someone less naive due to spending time with the cynical Pembleton. There was something dark about Bayliss' academy ideals slowly being crushed and reformed into a hardened, inhuman approach. Very few shows deal with this kind of development; usually it's the old 'opposites who hate but respect each other' template.

    The cases were realistic and gritty to watch too. It was one of those shows like Deadwood where you had to sit down and listen to what the characters had to say. Obviously this was a time where CSI style effects that point out the obvious hadn't been incorporated yet. A great example would be with Det. Munch's unsolved case. There were so many dead ends and red herrings that by the end it was never really put to rest. Due to this kind of realism, the cops never had a clear set of clues which they followed to the killer. Or even stumble on a vital piece of information by pure chance (like Monk every week!). There was proper procedure to follow, with questioning, witnesses, paperwork and you could feel the frustration as the episodes moved along at its own pace.

    Of course there were negative points to the show. It borrowed the shakey-cam effects from NYPD Blue as if it needed that style to really make it more grittier; the writing was good enough to start with. The realist approach started slipping when they intoduced a blackmail storyline, involving a crime baroness and a corrupt detective, that would drag on for too long. Some of the original cast were also repleced with lesser versions of themselves or with empahsis on their personal lives. Michelle Forbes' forensics doctor, for example, got more personal storylines that added nothing other than to make it more soap-like. Despite some minor-late season flaws though, it's one of those shows that gives the viewer some credibilty and without insulting people's intelligence.

    Sure, it had the same NYPD Blue camerawork and way less action, if you just caught sight of it for a couple of minutes. This kind of surface copying and lack of fast pacing is what put a stop to a larger audience. That or the constant inferior comparisons. But overall, it was a cop show that went against everything that the genre should be. Please don't miss out on it just because it's not NYPD Blue. It's far superior and never stopped before it had a chance to rely on those past glories like many long running shows.

    Oh yeah, and it probably contains Yaphet Kotto's finest performance in years.
  • Love the show from writing, acting, and feel of being on the police force!!

    I love this show a lot and used to watch it
    On Court TV when it aired
    It was a fact-real based life show it seemed
    From the writing, acting, and feel of being on the police force
    Plus the fact that it was shot on location in Baltimore
    Just like they do on L&O shows in NYC
    This is a great feel for the city
    Instead of just on a soundstage backlot!
  • In my opinion, one of the best shoes ever on television.

    Homicide was an excellent show that not only followed the crimes and cases in depth, but also explored the characters, their psyches, and their growth.

    This show is amazingly directed.

    All the case sorries are well written.
    I can't say enough about the characters. They are just an awesome gang to get to know.

    Tim Baylis will always be my favorite love his and Franks partnership, they really level each other out.

    Awesome show.
    Worth buying.

  • There is no higher calling.

    Homicide is by far the most intriguing and though provoking cop show that ever aired. Gritty, realistic and always believable (or at least almost always believable…a heck of a lot more believable than other cop shows.)

    I hear how people call CSI a howdunnit…not a whodunit. Well, Homicide was definitely a whydunnit. A show that relied on the words, the intents and motivations of all of it’s’ characters: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    This was a show with a visual language all its’ own. Other shows laughably say that their location is a character in the show…in this show it was. It played a role in who these people were, and the cases they experienced. And some of those cases were truly unique.

    Whenever there was a cast change, they found a way to make it work into the show…and amazingly, it paid off in dividends in a number of cases. I cried when Pembleton left, not because his loss would be such a detriment to the show…but because the beauty and elegance of his departure in the story were heaven sent gifts from the gods of great writing. Kellerman’s departure played extremely well into guest starring stints, and the disappearances of Steve Crossetti and Beau Felton were turned into great episodes that expanded the mythos of the show. The comings and goings of actors and characters rarely ever felt contrived.

    The role of the bosses in Homicide was pivotal. In shows like Law&Order where you witness one strata of employee…Homicide showed us who was up on the food chain and how one guy gets kicked…everyone gets kicked. The scenes between Giardello and Barnfather and Gaffney (or Barnfather and Granger) were immaculate dances of good versus evil, a father protecting his children.

    I cannot think of another show in the history of television where one room was as important to the tale as all the people involved in the show. The Box was not just the interrogation room. It was the heart of the show. The place where the guilty would fall and the innocent would rise…or at least we hoped. (I was lucky enough to be on the sets and actually in the Box. Till my dying day I will remember the energy of that claustrophobic ante-room, sitting at that table, looking for my window.)

    Homicide found a way to use music in the telling of its’ tales. Yes, montages have been around for quite some time, but where have they been used this well? Not just the slow pensive moments, but the rousing action beats (few as they were.) The percussive score for the show, a boon to its emotional impact, were no less brilliant than the acting.

    The acting, of course was top notch. The characters vivid and different, each one grew with age and experience. There was no formula, each character was bold and new, and with the partnerships never really solid. New combinations were tested and the actors and characters found new challenges playing against each other. The stories were based on plot and character, and in most cases the story did not dictate itself, but the characters dictated the flow of the story. This is how it should be.

    You had to engage your brain with this show. It was well worth the time and effort.

    If you saw the episodes from the first few seasons, before NBC executives forced major changes, you would have seen a show that truly did what no other show was willing to do…the guilty would sometimes prevail, because that is the way it is in life. The innocents fall, and the guilty go free. Homicide was not afraid to show that. NBC was.
    NBC forced them to create a “supervillan,” because all shows must have a supervillan.
    What did they do? They invented Luther Mahoney. Indelibly played by Eric Todd Dellums, Luther was a character you hated but loved to see come on the screen. But, Homicide, never willing to do exactly what the networks wanted…killed him off a season and half after they introduced him. That’s when the real fireworks began.

    It’s true the seventh season was not as good as previous seasons, but it was still far greater than any other show on television. The seventh season, of course, became the shows final season. No one will be able to convince me that they actually thought they would come back for an eighth. When they wrote the last episode of the season, they knew it would be their last.

    And when the final frame of that episode aired, I finally realized how strong a show Homicide was. It drew itself closed in a tight little circle. And we could have left it there and felt satisfied.

    But they went on and made a TV movie, which just expanded the mythos and gave us what was a different kind of satisfaction.

    I will always think of the series as separate from the TV movie, for the series on it’s own it’s a symbol of human artistry. Of the rebellious nature of talented people, people who have a story to tell and a dream to realize…a dream that should not be compromised for the sake of the small minded…a dream that I shared for seven seasons of the best damn show on television.

  • Real life - real pain - real payoff

    Based on the non-fiction book Homicide : A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon (who details the year, 1988, that he spent with the Baltimore PD) The show had a grittiness unseen on television.

    The show's original characters were mostly derived from real detectives detailed in the book. (Munch, by virtue of his age, was a hybrid of two characters.) Most interesting is that the real detectived signed off to NBC the use of their casework and situations - with one exception.

    Det. Tom Pelligrini refused to sign that agreement. While nothing came out of it legally, he, from the accounts I read, felt justified when Tim Bayliss, his "character", began veering into the homosexual zen detective by the seventh season.

    Much is made out of how the show stayed on the air. The second season only aired four episodes. The third season was originally a 13 episode contract, which they then used to make a cliffhanger episode, only to be given their first complete season.

    By the fourth season, notable cast changes came about, but fans were receptive to the addition of Reed Diamond as Mike Kellerman, less while then Daniel Baldwin's character.

    The fifth season saw Pembleton's stroke and Kellerman's suspension cover the first half of the season. Odd to take two dynamic actors and sideline them in that way.

    The show was renewed for a sixth season, but by now NBC seemed to exert more influence. While some longtime fans complained, the show maintained credible acting and had what appeared to be the last explosive storyline - the Georgia Rae character avenging the death of Luther Mahoney. It seemed the entire unit was headed for a showdown as the show would end.

    Then halfway through the season, with Cheers and Cosby signing off, Homicide was renewed. Almost immediately, the Georgia Rae "shocker" was "no videotape" and a lawsuit. But by season's end, the payoff was still there. But Andre Braugher and Diamond left.

    The final season began as a disaster, with the writers and producers openly talking about NBC requiring more "love" stories. Cynical fans felt they wrote those scenes so poorly to convince NBC to dump the show or get off their backs. Eventually, the show righted itself, and ended its run with a powerful couple of episodes near the end.
  • The best drama to ever go to a full stop.

    This show is an excellent drama of which you will rarely find on network TV(perhaps NYPD Blue in its first five or six years,St.Elsewhere,L.A.Law,Hill Street Blues might compare). This show,set in the Homicide division(of course) of the Baltimore Police Department and centered around the elite detectives of the precinct was an edgy,intense show which took some big-time chances(For example:One episode was set exclusively around two of the detectives grilling a suspect)and it's time slot,Friday nights at 10 eastern/9 central,made this a constant candidate for the cancellation blocks,but the loyal viewer-ship and the loud protestations of TV critics helped keep this show afloat for the six and a half years it ran. The acting and writing were by far some of the best on network t.v.,the characters fleshed out by Andre Braugher,Yaphett Kotto(As the chief) and long-time standup comedian Richard Belzer,who has found his niche as a dramatic actor(and as the SAME character,Detective John Munch,in no fewer than five TV shows,now on Law and Order:Special Victims UNit)stand out maybe the most! I believe they could even revive this show someday in the future with some different characters in the roles and,with roughly the same writing and exactly the same kind of no-hold-barred risk-taking,could be at least half as good,if not equal.
  • Other cop shows pale in comparison.

    At its most basic level, the best art explores human nature. This is exactly what makes Homicide: Life on the Street an exceptional creation. It is about the dark side of people, that part of us that causes us to kill, and those who "speak for the dead."
    Homicide is a remarkably intellgent television show, with credible, likeable, and smart characters, great dialog, as well as excellent writing and directing. It was refreshing to watch a show without the usual cliches: shootouts, car chases, fights, explosions and the like. Although the 7th season was a letdown, the show’s finale is not, so overall I’d give it the highest rating. After watching Homicide, I just couldn't watch other cop shows anymore.
  • My only regret is that I didn't start watching this show when it first came out on network television.

    Out of all the shows that I wish were still on television this is the big one of them all. I don't have any of the DVD sets and the only episodes that I ever see is when the show does a cross-over re-run with "Law & Order" on TNT. Out of all the episodes that I've seen on TNT plus with all the reviews that I've read about the 7 seasons that it was out, I can tell that this show was one of the best back in its days. I'd like to be able to watch more of the episodes but they aren't on any cable channel any more (except TNT every once in a while) and I'm not gonna buy the DVD sets cause they are waaaaaay to expensive.
  • one word. Brilliant! i just got into this show and i have seen every episode on dvd and i tell you it should be on the air and law and order shouldnt.

    as i said this show is brillant! this show should still be on the air and law and order should not. this show had intresting caracters intresting crimes and intresting plots. even through it ran for 7 seasons the first 2 had 13 episodes combined. so really there were only 5 seasons with more than 22 episodes. this show was great! the whole show really revolved around det. Tim Bayless because he started the show and he ended the show were he left and at the end the internt killer died that he didnt like so he must have killed him. i beg you to watch this show, you will not be able to watch it on cable unless its still on that court tv channel. so go out and buy the seasons 1&2,3,4,5,6,7. and enjoy them because i garentee you that this is way better than law and order. just to tell you they arnt cheap either some of them cost like $90 in canada!
  • Story of Baltimore Detectives.

    One of the best, if not THE best American cop show. I always enjoyed watching this. The interrogation box, the writing of the names of the victims on the board,… all classic stuff. I really wish they would release all seasons on a region 2 DVD. That would make me very happy!
  • Homicide is a show based on a what else, a homicide detective squad. The show follows the lives of a close knit group of detectives, and shows you the day to day mysteries they solve

    I honestly think it is one of the best shows out there. I saw a episode of tv guide one time, and on the cover was a picture of the cast of Homicide. The headline said "The best show your not watching". It is so true.

    It was a show that didn't have the greatest following, but the networks didn't seem real concerned about trying to help it out, always putting it in awful time slots. I loved the characters, I thought the actors were great and the casting was fantastic. I loved that the characters had a depth to them that just isn't seen on any other show out there.

    I loved the show, I hate that they let it die, and I can't figure out why you can't find a rerun anywhere. I went out and bought the first few sesons on DVD, they are the only TV show DVD's I own. I do have to say that I also love Law and Order. I think SVU is my favorite and I love seeing Munch live on through that show. I will take any piece of Homicide that I can get!

  • Whatever happened to GREAT, intelligent TV??

    In my opinion, this was the greatest show that ever aired on TV and the cast was fantastic, particularly Pembleton, the much under-appreciated Lewis, and Howard. It is too bad that so many people found it more inspiring (ugh!) to watch Nash Bridges! This is what is called the \"dumbing down of America\". There is not a show today that in any way compares to the genius of \"Homicide\", and the people who put quality in every episode, Barry Levinson and David Simon!
  • A seminal show in how I watched TV

    You watch television differently when you’re a teenager. You care more for entertainment and something that fits your philosophies. When you’re an adult you watch some TV shows differently. And sometimes there are television shows that help you make a transition from one phase of your viewing to another.

    Up until I was fifteen years Old, my parameters for watching TV were not the same as I would later have. Most of my viewings were children’s shows and cartoon related television like The Simpsons. Three very different shows that I watched would play a vital role of me growing as a viewer. The first was Picket Fences, David E. Kelley’s quirky drama. While it would contain scenarios that were far-fetched and bizarre, the overall dramatic entertainment combined with the fine quality of the acting would establish a fond place in my memory and would cause me to follow Kelley into several other well-written shows. It was the first one-hour drama that I watched regularly.

    The second drama was The X-Files. Much has already been written about this show (I have written at length on it several times) so it is enough to say that this series got me into science-fiction on different levels (most of them related to government conspiracies)

    The third show aired at 10:00 pm on Fridays which was Picket Fences’s time slot until the fall of 1995. In order to fill this void, I watched mostly cable shows until January. Then (for reasons which have escaped me) I turned to NBC. And saw a program that I had watched once or twice before but never got involved in. I watched as several detectives in Baltimore tried to stop a serial killer using a sniper rifle and who appeared to be playing ‘Hangman’. For the next fifty five minutes, I was captivated in a way that had never happened to me before and has rarely happened since. Homicide had struck a chord with me that I still feel for.

    I would like to say that after this I became an immediate follower of the show, but such was not the case. This story was a two-parter, so I was back the next week. However, I still watched rather sporadically until March when I fell into a pattern of seeing it. I watched it from the Law and Order crossover until the stunning suddenness of Frank Pembleton’s stroke. Over the summer, NBC reran many of the episodes from the first three seasons , including the Adena Watson case (which we will deal with in due course) By August I was hooked.

    For the next three years, I made sure that I was home Fridays at 10 P.M. NBC had recently coined the catchphrase ‘Must-See- TV’ and this show qualified in a big way. But more than that I began to watch TV drama’s in a way I hadn’t before. At first, it was through programs like Chicago Hope, Early Edition and The Pretender. Then I began looking for TV series in syndication, the most obvious of which was Law and Order. By the end of my freshman year of college, I was enraptured by several TV dramas --- so many, in fact, that when Homicide was cancelled it didn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it would
    I caught up on the reruns when Lifetime bought the syndication rights for the series. Therefore,it wasn’t until April 1997 that I learned the series origins.

    As any loyal fan of the series could tell you, Homicide evolved from David Simon’s Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets. Set in Baltimore in 1987, the show follows the Homicide unit through a typical year. One lieutenant, three sergeants and fifteen detectives are all given a certain amount of face time. Some are good detectives, others have misfortunes and bad luck and some are not capable. But Simon does a brilliant job of describing nineteen men dealing with a city that averaged 250 murders a year (a rate which has skyrocketed over the past decade)

    Several of the cases that would form the backbone of Homicide’s first few seasons are related in this book. The near fatal shooting of police officer Gene Cassidy. The series of murders arranged by Miss Geraldine Parrish, the ‘Black Widow’ and possibly the dumbest criminal mastermind in Baltimore. The shooting of John Randolph Scott by persons unknown--- quite possibly a policeman. And the investigation into the murder of eleven-year old Latonya Wallace, a tragic murder which remains unsolved to this day. Overseeing everyones actions is ‘the board’, a listing of the number of homicide investigations a detective has open and how many they have solved.

    Many of the characters on the show also sprang form the pages of Simon’s book. Tom Pellagrini, a rookie police detective on the job three months was mirrored in the character of Tim Bayliss. Donald Worden, the twenty-five year veteran on the job would help originate the character of Stanley Bolander. Lieutenant Gary D’Addario and his command over the squad would evolve into shift commander Al Giardello. And Harry Edgerton, the aloof loner with a brilliant mind for police work would help originate the shows most enduring character, Frank Pembleton.

    For merely paying strict attention to the book helped establish a great mood for the show. But attention to detail only goes so far. What made Homicide an exceptional show was the high quality of the writers. This was due to the presence of the producers of the show Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana. Fontana was a brilliant writer who had already won recognition for his work on
    St. Elsewhere. He helped assemble a superb writing staff, featuring Simon, James Yoshimura, Julie Martin and Henry Bromell. They also assembled one of the most exceptional casts on television, a mix of veteran actor and new stars, all the while maintaining a lineup which bore a striking resemblance to the Baltimore Homicide unit.

    All of this helped make Homicide a brilliant show that received almost universal critical acclaim. But television is a strange beast, and while the show did have a loyal following, it never delivered the audience that one would have expected of it. Furthermore, it never received recognition from the Emmy’s. In its entire seven-year run, the show was never nominated for Best Drama. Part of this was due to its lackluster numbers but a lot of it was because NBC never seemed to appreciate what they had. They showed enormous patience (otherwise the show would never have lasted two years, let alone seven ) but they didn’t treat it with the respect that it deserved. And because of their cavalier treatment of the show, many actors and writers would leave the program not because they were unhappy with the work but because they didn’t know if they would be on the air from season to season.

    Because Homicide was very different from any police procedural that had come before. For one thing, there was the quality of the acting. It wasn’t the kind of show that relied on famous faces, though a few would show up. Most of them were character actors who would become famous later. (The few exceptions were often comedians, which we will deal with as well.)And keeping in with the fact that Baltimore is one of the blackest cities in America, many of them were black. In an industry which is known for featuring white actors and for a white audience, this was exceptional. The show would also quite frequently deal with race without being obvious, something which few shows even attempt, let alone successfully pull off

    The show was also notable in its camerawork. Even the casual fan of the show would note it’s effective use of jump-cuts and camera movement, often imitated but rarely as effectively. Equally notable (especially in the early years) was the bleached out look of the show. Some shows like The X-Files are notable for being ’dark’; Homicide looked pale. The show would also in its later seasons , be noted for its use of songs as background music. This too been done in other shows, but rarely to the same effect.

    Just as important was the use of recollection. Most TV shows feature characters who don’t remember things that happened in the previous episode, let alone later. Homicide had a long memory .Events that happened in the squad would have reverberations that people would remember not just over the season but for years afterward. These memories and experiences would help shape the character, and in a medium when any change in characters is consider bad, this was exceptional.

    The show also had something that very few police shows have: a sense of humor. Perhaps it was because the detectives dealt with death every day that needed some kind of defense, but the show had a dry wit. And frequently the wit would come from the crime and the criminals themselves. This infusion of comedy into drama was rather daring, though later shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The West Wing would turn it into an art. Comedians would be used frequently over the show’s run, often to surprising dramatic effect.

    The show was also adult, but not for the usual reasons. There wasn’t a lot of sex and what there was almost never went into the bedrooms of the detectives.
    Unlike NYPD Blue, a contemporary show, detectives did not become involved with other detectives (at least not until near the shows conclusion). Most of the romance (what there was of it)happened off-screen. There was also very little on-screen violence; it became clear very early in the shows run that the detectives would rarely pull their guns much less fire them. The show was for mature audiences because it dealt with mature issues. The most obvious one was murder but they also included racism, sexual assault, child abuse, loyalty (particularly loyalty to fellow policemen.) And the drug market. Baltimore is mired very deep in the world of heroin trafficking. Most crimes in Baltimore involve drugs in some form. They are the cause and effect of most murders. Simon would be drawn to this world of drugs and eventually write another book and create another TV series based on the war on drugs. In this series, however, stories about drugs were frequently and subtly told. And unlike many police dramas, the messages would not be telegraphed but subtly written.

    Finally, there were the portrayals of the detectives themselves. These were not heroes or invincible warriors. No, these were flawed (sometimes deeply) human beings who sometimes would have to bend the rules in order to close the case. They didn’t believe in the integrity of the criminal justice system because they knew how it worked. This is not a world where every crime has the same value. Even though when were dead were all the same, sometimes how we die is more important. These are hard lessons and we learned them a lot. And the men who were in charge of these squads were undeserving of their position and how they used rank to the detriment of some of the characters

    All of the moral issues that Homicide would deal with made it a great dram. Combined with the high quality of the direction, acting and writing and you had a TV show that may have been the best program of the 1990’s.
    During the course of these reviews, we will examine some of the investigations that the show would deal with along with how the characters were affected. We will see how closely to the parameters of the book Fontana and Yoshimura and the rest would stay--- and when they began to stray from it. We will see how the characters would evolve--- and how they stayed the same.
  • in short GREAT!!!

    well all I could say about this show is said in upper part. seriously one of the best shows ever made. with great actors, strong personalities and great story.
    it's one of my favourite shows so what else can I tell. I think that everyone should see it, it deserves attention.
    only bad thing is that it ended.
  • Undoubtedly the best cop show ever.

    Alright, maybe that's hyperbole; there've been plenty of good cop shows throughout the decades. None have ever struck me quite like Homicide did, though. I loathe - absolutely hate - the phrase "thinking man's" anything, but it really does seem to apply to Homicide. It's notable for its focus on the befores and afters of violence, rather than attempting to deliver a gunfight every week; this also contributed to the impact of the violence that *was* shown on the series, such as the shooting of Luther Mahoney and Junior Bunk's policehouse rampage. More often, though, the show revolved around the various relationships of the characters, and was especially mesmerizing whenever Frank Pembleton and Tim Bayliss had a few minutes to sit in their unmarked car and wax philosophical.

    The series started declining in quality after the fifth season, mostly due to cast changes, but it was watchable throughout the run. Also noteworthy is Homicide: The Movie, a made-for-tv followup to the series featuring pretty much all of the major cast members, and Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets, the book by David Simon that inspired the series.