NYPD Blue is a long-running American television police drama. It was created by Steven Bochco and David Milch, and inspired by Milch's interactions with a former member of the New York City Police Department named Bill Clark (who eventually became one of the show's producers). Its episodes were originally broadcast on the ABC network from September 21, 1993 to March 1, 2005. Since 2001, episodes of the series have also been rerun on Court TV and Turner Network Television.
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The program explored the constant internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Typically, an episode covers a single day's events, and intertwines several subplots involving an ensemble cast of characters.
Dennis Franz, as "Andy Sipowicz", a veteran New York City Police detective, played the show's main character for the duration of its run. His principal co-stars included David Caruso as "John Kelly" (1993-1994), Jimmy Smits as "Bobby Simone" (1994-1998), Rick Schroder as "Danny Sorenson" (1998-2001) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as "John Clark Jr." (2001-2005). Each of these characters has been paired with Franz's Sipowicz, providing a younger and more suave foil to the abrasive, tragedy-prone detective.
The show is noted for the use of tight close-up shots and frenetic camera work.
- Dennis Franz as Andy Sipowicz
- David Caruso as John Kelly (1993–1994)
- Sherry Stringfield as Laura Hughes (1993–1994)
- James McDaniel as Arthur Fancy (1993–2001)
- Nicholas Turturro as James Martinez (1993–2000)
- Amy Brenneman as Janice Licalsi (1993–1994)
- Sharon Lawrence as Sylvia Costas (1994–1999)
- Gordon Clapp as Greg Medavoy (1994–2005)
- Gail O'Grady as Donna Abandando (1994–1996)
- Jimmy Smits as Bobby Simone (1994–1998)
- Justine Miceli as Adrienne Lesniak (1995–1996)
- Kim Delaney as Diane Russell (1995–2001)
- Andrea Thompson as Jill Kirkendall (1997–2000)
- Rick Schroder as Danny Sorenson (1998–2001)
- Bill Brochtrup as John Irvin (1999–2005)
- Henry Simmons as Baldwin Jones (2000–2005)
- Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon as Valerie Haywood (2001–2004)
- Charlotte Ross as Connie McDowell (2001–2004)
- Esai Morales as Tony Rodriguez (2001–2004)
- Mark-Paul Gosselaar as John Clark, Jr. (2001–2005)
- Jacqueline Obradors as Rita Ortiz (2001–2005)
- John F. O'Donohue as Eddie Gibson (2004)
- Currie Graham as Thomas Bale (2004–2005)
- Bonnie Somerville as Laura Murphy (2004–2005)
NYPD Blue gained notoriety for profanity and nudity never previously broadcast on American network television. As Milch noted in a May 2002 interview:
- It took an extra year to get on the air to negotiate with ABC what could and could not be done. The good thing about that delay was that I got to spend an extra year with cops to research and come to understand more about what it meant to be a New York City cop.
The delay did little to defuse the controversy. Fifty-seven of ABC's 225 affiliates preempted the first episode because of protests led by Rev. Donald Wildmon and his American Family Association (AFA). The preemptions were mostly in smaller markets, comprising 10–15% of potential viewers, which limited the impact of the protest. The show's ratings success lead most affiliates (and advertisers) to end their opposition. By the end of the first season, the show was a Top 20 hit, and continued protests by the AFA were countered by support from Viewers for Quality Television and recognition from Emmy and People's Choice Awards. The program earned Franz a best-actor Emmy for Franz for the first season (one of four he eventually received for the role), and a best drama series Emmy for the show's second season.
According to one fan site , cast members who appeared nude include: Caruso, Stringfield, Brenneman, Franz, Smits, Lawrence, O'Grady, Delaney, Miceli, Thompson, Schroder, Simmons, Ross, Gosselaar, and Obradors.
According to NYPD Blue: A Final Tribute, a retrospective first broadcast on the same night as the last episode, the controversy wasn't limited to what was on the screen. David Milch, the show's co-creator and head writer, was a controversial figure on the set during the seven years he was with the show. His working style and tendency to leave writing to the last minute contributed to a frustrating working environment for some of the cast and crew. Smits left the show when his contract ended because of his frustrations with the working environment. Milch cites his alcoholism and other addictions as factors contributing to the difficult environment. In spite of the controversy, Milch is usually credited as a major creative force during the years he worked on the show; Milch won two Emmy Awards for his writing, shared another as executive producer and shared in a further ten nominations for his writing and production work.
The final episode
March 1, 2005 saw the show's 261st and final episode, "Moving Day", bringing an end to the show's successful 12 year run. Rather than have another huge controversial event or kill off a character, the decision was to have the final episode be like just another day on the job only with Andy as the new squad room leader. In the final scene, previous squad leader Lieutenant Bale wishes Andy good luck with his new position, looks around his old office and says "It's yours." Then all the detectives come in, one by one, to wish Andy goodnight. The last one to say goodbye is Clark. Andy surveys his new office, puts his reading glasses on, and begins to go through the paper work on his desk. The camera then moves out through the 15th precinct squadroom and out the door, it moves up and the we see the squad room sign over the door one last time.
- Dennis Franz was the only actor to appear in all 261 episodes
- Dennis Franz and Gordon Clapp are the only actors to appear in all 11 seasons
- Kim Delaney and Jimmy Smitts are the only actors to return after they left the show
- The only time an original cast member and their replacement appeared in the same episode was when James McDaniels (Lt. Fancy) and Esai Morales (Lt. Rodriguez) appeared together in the season 8 episode "Flight of Fancy"
- In the series only Andy's first and last partners (John Kelly and John Clark) did not die. However, the two in between (Bobby Simone and Danny Sorrsen) died.
- Also Andy's two partners who lived both had the first name John.
- Series summary from the Museum of Broadcast Communications
- Official websites for the show from ABC, Court TV, and TNT
- Series ending commentary from MSNBC, Slate, and the Christian Science Monitor
- Entire series information and epiosde summary & review 
- April 2001 announcement about NYPD Blue's airing on Court TV and TNT
- David Milch's Active Imagination, a May 2002 interview with Milch
- NYPD Blue at the Internet Movie Database