NYPD Blue-Season 1 (1993)

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Released 17-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-True Confessions; Personal Foul; Oscar, Meyer, Weiner
Audio Commentary-Steroid Roy; Black Men Can Jump; Guns 'N Rosaries
Featurette-Making Of-The Making of Season One
Featurette-Love on NYPD Blue
Featurette-Cast Blotter
Script To Screen Comparison-Pilot (4)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 1044:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Gregory Hoblit
Dennis Dugan
Daniel Sackheim
Bradley Silberling
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Dennis Franz
David Caruso
Nicholas Turturro
Sherry Stringfield
Gordon Clapp
Amy Brennerman
James McDaniel
Gail O'Grady
Michael DeLuise
Wendie Malick
David Schwimmer
Robert Constanzo
Mitchell Ryan
Case ?
RPI $159.95 Music Mike Post


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
French Titling
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A long, long time ago (way back in 1993), N.Y.P.D. Blue became one of the most controversial television shows ever made. It pushed the envelope in every respect, introducing prime time network audiences to nudity and swearing in a realistic, gritty police drama. It was an instant success with both the viewing public and the police force and changed television forever.

    Any publicity is good publicity and N.Y.P.D. Blue got much of theirs for free. Morality groups in the US spent millions in advertising in an attempt to get the show banned. TV talk shows and magazines circulated rumours of nudity clauses in the actors' contracts. All of this just added to the hype and made the show even more popular. N.Y.P.D. Blue's success was built on its very different format and style. It incorporated a realistic storyline, a hard-hitting soundtrack, innovative camerawork, and accurate portrayals of police 'on the job'. The series introduced cop slang to the general population - terms such as reach out (talk to and ask for a favour), on the job (a working police officer) and popped (get arrested) are now part of everyday language. N.Y.P.D. Blue altered the way all subsequent TV dramas have been made.

    I did not watch the first series of N.Y.P.D. Blue when it was originally aired in 1993 and only became a casual viewer years later. Now that I have watched the entire first season, I have become a fan and am looking forward to getting my hands on the second series.

    N.Y.P.D. Blue revolves around the Detective squad of the 15th Precinct in New York City. This is not purely a crime show. It also depicts the detectives' home lives, their work and personal relationships and their struggles with everyday life.

    The character development over the entire season is excellent. Not all the characters are introduced in the first two weeks, but rather this is a gradual operation that takes about half the season. By the end of the 22nd episode I felt as if I knew the characters personally and could closely empathise with them. The performances from all of the actors were excellent and could not be faulted. This first season of N.Y.P.D. Blue really hit the ground running. It does not take a couple of seasons for the storyline to get interesting and reach its peak. It is there right from the beginning. Well, maybe not during the pilot episode, but definitely by the second episode.

    This is not just a one storyline per episode show, either. There are various subplots operating at any given time. The many subplots are built around relationships between the detectives, other police at the 15th Precinct, family members and acquaintances, and finally, interactions with those involved in criminal cases.

A Brief Summary of Each Episode Follows:

Episode 1- Pilot (46:27)

    After an unsuccessful mob trial, Detective Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) gets shot by the mobster. His partner, Detective Kelly (David Caruso), investigates and squeezes the mob to give up the shooter.

Episode 2- 4B or not 4B (47:18)

    Sipowicz is recovering in hospital, but claims he can't remember who the shooter was. The mob blackmails Officer Janice Licalsi (Amy Brenneman), Kelly's new girlfriend, into shooting him. The father of a murdered boy holds the judge hostage.

Episode 3- Brown Appetit (47:15)

    Sipowicz is out of hospital but confined to desk duty and wants to get back on the street. Kelly is moonlighting as a bodyguard for an unhappy, wealthy woman. 14 cops are indicted for mob connections including Officer Licalsi's father. Two brothers are charged with the murder of an elderly neighbour.

Episode 4- True Confessions (47:12)

    Sipowicz has stopped drinking and is back working on the street. Kelly quits moonlighting as a bodyguard. The wife of the couple he was guarding soon thereafter shoots her husband. Kelly and Sipowicz investigate a liquor store murder in which they suspect the wrong person has been arrested.

Episode 5- Emission Accomplished (47:17)

    Officer James Martinez (Nicholas Turturro) discovers his brother is a junkie. The super of his brother's building is a dirty cop trying to force tenants out of the building. An elderly man falls to his death in the building. Kelly turns the dirty cop in to internal affairs.

Episode 6- Personal Foul (46:50)

    Kelly arrests a friend after a fight at their weekly basketball game where another friend dies. Kelly's ex-wife Laura (Sherry Stringfield) is an A.D.A. and is dealing with Sipowicz's attempted murderer, Alfons Giardella (Robert Costanzo), who has turned against the mob. A female car passenger is shot during a road rage incident.

Episode 7- N.Y.P.D. Lou (47:14)

    Sipowicz's son Andy Jr (Michael DeLuise), tells him he is getting married. Kelly and Sipowicz check out the girlfriend. They then investigate a missing 11 year old boy. Laura witnesses Giardella get murdered by the mob. Lou, a local "werewolf ", witnesses two drug dealers shoot each other.

Episode 8- Tempest in a C Cup (47:15)

    Kelly and Sipowicz investigate the murder of a fireman moonlighting as a cab driver whose son is a cop at the 15th. Lt Arthur Fancy (James McDaniel) is interviewing a potential secretary for the detective squad. Laura is being coerced into falsifying her testimony. Sipowicz and Det Greg Medavoy (Gordon Clapp) shut down a strip club for prostitution.

Episode 9- Ice Follies (46:35)

    The new mob boss tries to blackmail Licalsi who goes to the organised crime division for help. Martinez's brother overdoses on heroin and his father seeks revenge against the dealer. Medavoy turns 40 and hits onto the new secretary, Donna Abandando (Gail O'Grady).

Episode 10- Oscar, Meyer, Weiner (47:14)

    Laura gets transferred to the DA's office and is now a regular at the 15th squad. Licalsi is working with the organised crime division to get the new mob boss. An Oscar award is stolen from a famous writer. Kelly and Sipowicz investigate the violent murder of a family. Fancy teaches Sipowicz a lesson about racism.

Episode 11- From There to Eternity (46:43)

    Fancy is getting heat from the division captain and his job is on the line. A doctor's daughter is kidnapped and Kelly and Sipowicz investigate. A seemingly unrelated man, woman and child are arrested and the man charged with armed robbery, but there is more to their story.

Episode 12- Up on the Roof (47:15)

    Fancy tries to keep custody of a foster child for whom his family has been caring. The new mob boss is shot and Licalsi may have a lead. Mob soldier Ritchie is shot and another takes a hostage on a roof top. Martinez and Medavoy investigate thieves using a fake ATM to clean out bank accounts. Kelly gives Licalsi the opportunity to clear her name for good.

Episode 13- Abandando Abandoned (47:18)

    Medavoy leaves his wife and goes home with Donna. Det Sharon Lasale (Wendy Makkena), a friend of Kelly's from the academy, joins the squad. Lasale has a first day she will never forget. An alcoholic husband and wife accuse one another of beating each other. An accused cop killer goes to the press to turn himself in.

Episode 14- Jumpin' Jack Fleishman (47:13)

    Detectives investigate a woman being strangled and robbed in her apartment. The prime suspect is a cross dresser. Sipowicz is at the dentist and tries to stop a doctor jumping out the window. A woman is mugged and raped but is afraid of what her husband will say.

Episode 15- Steroid Roy (47:19)

    Sipowicz is worried about having ADA Sylvia Costas (Sharon Lawrence) over to his apartment for dinner. Det Mike Roberts (Michael Harney) has a run-in with his mistress. She is later found dead. Licalsi and Kelly are being hassled by a new officer, whom they think is on drugs. Medavoy and Martinez are reinvestigating a case and suspect something is not right.

Episode 16- A Sudden Fish (47:17)

    Medavoy is stressed about traffic and has a suspected heart attack. Sipowicz looks into the robbery and beating of a wheelchair confined Vietnam veteran. Kelly does more moonlighting as a bodyguard for a friend's wife and finds out she is being blackmailed.

Episode 17- Black Men can Jump (46:47)

    Detectives investigate the shooting of a teenager. When they capture a suspect, he escapes. Sipowicz gets a visit from the father of an old missing persons case, Mr Boochie. A PI is conning the father and Sipowicz is not impressed. Lasale is offered a job in another department of the N.Y.P.D..

Episode 18- Zeppo Marks Brothers (46:48)

    Laura thinks she is being followed and asks Kelly for help. A mob informant is scared he is going to get killed and escapes from the D/A cops. Ex-Det Roberts sees Kelly and asks for help acquiring PI and bodyguard work. The detectives have to report for a uniform parade.

Episode 19- Serge the Concierge (47:19)

    A man turns himself into the detectives because he thinks he unwittingly helped a friend dispose of a body. While looking for the body at the dump, a rich old man's body is found. His wife is a suspect. Kelly's friend Jimmy dies. Sipowicz's son is arrested for selling coke. Sipowicz quickly investigates to clear his son's name.

Episode 20- Good Time Charlie (47:17)

    Licalsi is promoted to detective for assisting the organised crime division. An acquaintance of Kelly's comes in with incriminating photos of himself that were sent to his wife. His mistress is later found dead. Sipowicz meets Sylvia's family at her father's birthday party. Lt Fancy's wife is pregnant.

Episode 21- Guns 'n Rosaries (47:17)

    Medavoy discovers his wife has been cheating on him for a long time. Medavoy and Martinez are in a road rage incident and Martinez is forced to shoot a man. Licalsi is feeling guilty over her promotion. She feels it is a pay-off for keeping her mouth shut. Sipowicz looks into going to A.A. meetings.

Episode 22- Rockin' Robin (47:17)

    Kelly gets the mob lawyer to defend Licalsi. A priest's body is found in a park with his pants down but it looks like a set-up. Sipowicz and his son go looking for a car with the help of Mr Boochie. Sipowicz becomes suspicious that an old employee of Mr Boochie's was involved in kidnapping his daughter. Kelly has lunch with Jimmy's widow Robin and meets her again later.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is the most disappointing aspect of this DVD box set. The video quality varies greatly from episode to episode, but never gets any better than average. At first I though the flaws in the transfer quality might be for artistic reasons to add to the overall atmosphere of the show, but I could not find any reference to this so I must assume that these flaws were not originally intended.

    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame.

    The sharpness of the transfer varies greatly over the entire season, ranging from good to very bad. The sharpness of background action tends to suffer the most and occasionally I felt the picture was on the verge of breaking up entirely. This was particularly evident during episode five, Emission Accomplished. Grain was also evident during most of the episodes to varying degrees, but I felt this added to the overall gritty atmosphere. The shadow detail was acceptable with all objects necessary to the story being visible, but there is considerable room for improvement. Low level noise was kept to a minimum and only noticeable when I was re-watching scenes for this sole reason.

    The colours are clear and constant with no noticeable problems. There is minimal use of bright colours and for the most part the episodes were kept intentionally dull. An example of this is seen in the clothing worn by the main characters. The main cast members, with the exception of Det James Martinez (Nicholas Turturro) and Donna Abandando (Gail O'Grady), usually wear drab and boring clothes.

    There were numerous instances of MPEG artefacts, the most obvious being posterization. The posterization was particularly evident on the faces of Lt Fancey (sometimes portions of his face almost looked blue), and Det Kelly (David Caruso). Once again this was not present in every episode but at times it was particularly noticeable. Aliasing is kept to minimum and is mild when it does occur. Film artefacts occur regularly throughout all episodes. These are small and do not detract from the viewing experience.

    Two subtitles options are available; English and French. These appear to be accurate to the dialogue.

    All six discs in the set are RSDL-formatted and the layer change in all cases is not noticeable as it occurs between episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is surprising and much more consistent than the video.

    There are two audio tracks; French 2.0 Dolby Digital (192kbps) and English 4.0 Dolby Digital (448 kbps). The 4.0 channels are configured as Left, Centre, Right and Surround. English is the default track. There are also commentary tracks available on selected episodes.

    The dialogue was clear and easily understood at all times. Audio sync was not an issue with this transfer.

    The musical score was written by Mike Post and is as unusual and ground-breaking as the rest of the show. From the opening credits, the music in N.Y.P.D. Blue grabs your attention and holds it throughout each episode. The music adds greatly to the overall atmosphere and dramatic effect. Without it, the show would be nowhere near as effective as it is.

    Although there is a 4.0 track available, this is a predominately a dialogue-driven show and the surround channel is used only sparingly. There is no subwoofer usage.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There is a small selection of good extras, but I was hoping for more.

Main Menu Introduction

    There is a small video and audio sequence that introduces the main menu on each disc. It resembles the opening sequence from the show both visually and aurally, but is not exactly the same. After watching it numerous times it actually becomes annoying and you wish the discs would go straight to the menu.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The menu system is unlike any I have seen before. There is a background picture accompanied by music. A horizontal bar is present and as it is moved to select an episode, the music changes to suit the episode and video animation relevant to the episode appears within the bar.

Audio Commentary

    An audio commentary can be found on the following episodes: True Confessions; Personal Foul; Oscar, Meyer, Weiner; Steroid Roy; Black Men Can Jump; and Guns 'N Rosaries. The commentaries are presented by each episode's director or writer.

Making Of-The Making of Season One

    This featurette has some of the cast and crew describing how season one of N.Y.P.D. Blue was made. It covers everything from the stories to the camera work. It also includes the trouble the producers had with the TV networks in regards to the language and nudity in the show. Run time is 58:24.

Love on NYPD Blue

    This featurette details some of the love interests on the show during the first season. Run time is 12:00.

Cast Blotter

    In this featurette, the casting director describes the process of casting for the show. She also describes how and why some choices were made. Some of the cast describe their casting experience for the show. Run time 11:55.

Script To Screen Comparison-Pilot Episode

    Compares the script to what was actually performed during some of the pilot episode scenes.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Lists background information on the cast and crew for the first season.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of these DVDs misses out on a Spanish audio track.

    The Region 1 version of these DVDs misses out on French subtitles.

    Other than these two minor differences, the box sets appear to be the same. If I had to choose, I would go with the Region 4 version because of the PAL/NTSC differences.

Summary

    N.Y.P.D. Blue- Season One was ground-breaking T.V. It broke all the rules and became the most watched show of its time and is still enjoyable today. It has been given an average video transfer, an above average audio transfer and a small selection of entertaining extras. All-in-all, a very acceptable package. Fans of the show should 'reach out' and buy it now.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Geoff Greer (read my bio)
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using S-Video output
DisplayBang & Olufsen BeoVision Avante 82cm 16:9 Widescreen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon AVR-1803. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR 1803
SpeakersParadigm: Phantom Version 3 Front, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 Rear, Jensen SPX-17 Sub

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