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.