NYPD Blue: The Complete Third Season

Set in New York City's 15th Precinct, Steven Bochco's NYPD Blue chronicles the personal and profession trials faced by a group of police officials as they attempt to enforce the law amidst the maddening frenzy of the Big Apple. In its third season, iconic police detective Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) must deal with such weighty issues as the shooting death of his son and his wife's pregnancy, all while continuing his investigative duties and masquerading undercover as a rabbi and a bank robber. Meanwhile, his partner Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) begins romancing colleague Diane Russell (Kim Delaney). NYPD Blue invites comparisons to other primetime police procedurals, but unlike Dick Wolf's Law & Order, the show refuses to divide an investigation between criminal apprehension and due process. Whereas the trial failures that plague Law & Order's conclusions invite thoughtful nagging at the scales of justice, NYPD Blue makes more substantive the characters through which these processes are seen — investigations into the nature of urban crime, it seems to propose, are as important as any verdict a court could offer. The moral struggles of Sipowicz and his fellow 15th Precinct detectives are the focus of every episode, and their flaws make their victories more endearing. In season three, faced with the horrors of child assault, internecine homicide and unidentifiable remains, Franz's Sipowicz reveals to the viewer a thinly masked fragility that lurks beneath his regular violent eruptions. Steven Bochco made waves in the early '80s as the creator of Hill Street Blues. The series was so influential that its gritty fingerprints can still be found in most contemporary crime drama programming, in their shaking cameras and circadian chronologies. As it came to the end of its seven-season stint, Bochco continued his success with L.A. Law and Doogie Howser, M.D. At the time of NYPD Blue's conception, his most recent television creation had been Cop Rock, a short-lived, Randy-Newman-scored musical drama that was met with a few Emmys and cancellation. On March 1, 2005, the final episode of NYPD Blue aired on ABC. However, it promises to be a popular item in syndication, but for those unwilling to embark upon haphazard attempts at following the show out of sequence, Fox is in the process of releasing respectable editions by season. Two episodes include commentary and there are three manufactured featurettes. (Fox)