Homicide: Life on the Street (TV Series 1993–1999) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
91 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
"Homicide": the greatest show on television
evso30 July 1999
It was a gloomy day when NBC cancelled this amazing show, but unfortunately, not enough viewers were watching. It can now be viewed in syndication - as of January 1999 it is shown on Court-TV weeknights. "Homicide" was an Emmy and Peabody-award-winning show. Because of its unique shooting style, magnificent writers, and terrific actors, it is the best show I ever watched. Other cop shows are no comparison. In fact, no other drama on network television had such a racially diverse cast. This is the only drama I have seen with African-American actors in leading roles. It is a sad fact that there aren't other shows like it out now.

This show truly did duck the "system" of other dramas, staying true to the source and portraying realistic characters. Anguish, joy, anger, humiliation, and respect are evident in the faces of the characters in assorted episodes. The first few seasons were the best, in my opinion, but the other seasons were still better than anything else on the networks. I shudder to think that "Nash Bridges" beat this amazing show in the ratings. If you are at all interested, try to find this show on television in your area. There is no middle ground with this show; you will either hate it or love it. All that I know have become addicted to it.
72 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
one of the best cop shows if not THE best
terp_9227 July 2000
Sorry Law and Order, but there's just something special about this show and there's more of a place for it in my heart, and it has nothing to do with the fact it takes place in my home state (well OK, that's does have something to do with it). It had an unconventional style different from that of L & O, but there were times I found it to be more intellectual.

There was never a bad episode, and the casting was all good, especially Andre Braugher, Yaphet Kotto, Kyle Secor, and Richard Belzer. It's too bad that some cast members left earlier than they should of (Ned Beatty, Jon Polito), but they were ably replaced.

It's really a shame that more people didn't watch this show which led to its cancellation, and appreciate it more with some of the crap that's on TV these days, which is a sad commentary on TV viewers as a whole. Oh well, there's always the reruns on Court TV.
41 out of 48 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's Too Bad That It's Gone!!
warlock16210 December 2001
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.
62 out of 76 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Power of the Loyal Viewer(and Critics)!
KUAlum2627 April 2005
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),Ned Beatty,Melissa Leo,Isabella Hoffman,Clark Johnson,Daniel Baldwin,Kyle Secor,Reed Diamond and long-time stand-up 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.
35 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best drama to ever be made. Full Stop
mikedawson4 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is easily the highest quality television drama to ever be produced from the US or anywhere else for that matter. Forget NYPD Blue, forget CSI, forget The Shield, and dare I say it forget Hill Street Blues. They're all good in their own right but not a scratch on HLOTS.


Filmed on location in Baltimore (which to a foreigner like myself is a lesser know and more interesting city) with no soundstages (the first two seasons used an actual morgue before the actors got too sick being in there) the show had the grittiest edge of any television show (being a Brit this appeals to me), using 100% hand-held camera work, not using glamorous supermodels to play the detectives (at least not till the slip in the final season) this show achieved a new level in authenticity. And yet next to this the characters portrayed and the way they act is almost theatrical at times making for a nice contrast. The interrogations in particular are often like watching poetry in motion because along with realism of mumbled lines and characters talking over each other, there is a very clear arena where almost anything goes "the box" the place where the show really happens, the heart if you will. Some of the most memorable scenes have occurred in the room, and the intensity and intelligence of the dialogue "God is greater that that which we can imagine, we can not imagine God therefore God exists" is the selling point of the show. So rare are car chases and shootouts in this show that when they do occur it is a very intense experience. The shootout in the squad room in season six's 'Fallen heroes' is a good example. That scene shocked me to my core because we had never seen anything that violent or brutal on homicide before. Keeping these elements as a once or twice a season treat made them ten times more effective than in a cop show where it happens every week.

The actors are sensational; Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson, Kyle Secor, and Yaphett Kotto are incredible. But the awards for the best have to go to Andre Braugher who managed to portray an entirely different black cop to Clark Johnson's and was entirely mesmerizing for the six seasons he was present each season bringing something new and interesting to the character (his stroke at the end of the fourth season for example). And the other unsung great of Homicide, Reed Diamond, who effectively portrayed the slow erosion of Det. Mike Kellerman from nice good guy cop, to a completely dirty cop who executed a criminal he couldn't convict and blackmailed a crooked judge to his whims and then just for the hell of it got said judge killed too.

Homicide is intelligent, dark, and humorous in places, often touching, sometimes depressingly human in its display of man's often-casual attitude to murder. More than that it is a character driven show rather than narrative, and these are the more memorable of shows on television, interesting a complex characters like Jon Polito's conspiracy nut, who was secretly suicidal, Crosetti or the workaholic (only woman in the squad) Det. Howard. The characters lie, they cheat, the change their opinions and as in real life it isn't a big deal. An incredible success which was about ten years ahead of it's times.


Reviews of the seasons:

Season One and Two - (effectively the same season) the subtlest and most original of the seasons, some misjudged episodes early on when the writers were finding the ground but some standout episodes "Three Men and Adena" and "Black and Blue" being the best two. ****

Season Three - The most dramatic of the seasons, intense character developments and a non-stop tour de force of pain and misery for most of the squad. Best Episodes "The Gas Man" and "Colors". *****

Season Four - Some more sensational plots that didn't quite work at the time (the sniper two-parter) and yet now seems creepily realistic after Washington sniper attacks. However a solid season with some interesting single episodes. Best episodes "The Damage Done" and "Requiem For Adena" ****

Season Five - The best season with incredible opportunity for the writers (They'd been renewed a season ahead so they could do just about anything they want for this season) Pembleton's stroke, and Kellerman's court cases being high up the list and of course the all important Luther Mahoney plot. Best Episodes "Blood Wedding" and "Deception" *****

Season Six - The Mahoney story continues to dizzy and destructive heights it was a pleasure and a tense story to watch where you never really new how it would resolve. Some weaker additions to the cast let it down slightly but this is definitely the most watchable season. Best Episodes "Subway" and "Fallen Hero's" *****

Season Seven - The weakest season, Braugher and Diamond had left and the plots were becoming far too sensational with some more weak additions to the cast, it was still amazing to watch but some part of the viewers longed for it to have finished on the high note of "Fallen Heroes" Best Episodes "Homicide.com" ***

Homicide: The Movie - Wraps things up nicely but could have done with being about twice as long as all the characters are there but seven seasons of issues are not dealt with properly. **

If you get a chance to see any of it watch it, even better now that it's on DVD why not invest in it because trust me you won't be disappointed.
24 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
True crime.
jarius11 June 2002
I have never been a big fan of police serials, but this is my all time favourite. I have nothing to add to the earlier comments, other than that in a time with complicated racial conflicts, poverty induced crime and the problems stemming from social inequality, this show tried to comment on the real problems facing the modern society.

And it was exciting too.
24 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The greatest one hour in television history
marcmiller1028 April 2006
Simply, the greatest one hour in television history. Imagine what a hit the show would be now, considering it influenced so many cop shows today? The story lines are incredible, that arc for multiple seasons. ITs like one great book, and lots of secondary stories and characters in between. The greatest show on television from years 1-6.

Some people say that show lost some steam when half of its original characters left from the first 4 season, but the story arc from season four to six, involving Luther mahoney, was brilliant. It tied every character together, and no one, and i mean no one, came away clean or unscathed.

Brilliant, powerful, emotional, heartbreaking, funny, Witty, classy, real, authentic, and just plain good. Television was spoiled to have it. Andrew braugher created the single great character of the cop drama. It did what some shows can not do back in the day; it held a single story line through out each season, instead of making one out of the last four episodes.
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
From Book by former Baltimore Sun Crime Reporter, David Simon . Character Driven Series without becoming Soap Opera. Bold, Innovative, Unique and Very Memorable.
redryan6430 September 2007
Ever since first encountering this Series, its title has held a certain fascination for this writer. First of all we have HOMICIDE, now that makes perfect sense. We've all heard that term used in countless Feature Films, Radio Dramas, TV Series, Pulp Magazines, Detective Novels, etc.

Then we have the second part of the Title, "Life on the Streets", the Sub-Title if you will. This is also a very descriptive, loaded phrase. The discussion of being "on the Street" is certainly an authentic phrase, used by the "Real Police" as much as by any authors.

But try putting the two together, as has been done here in this series and in the book that proceeded it, and what do you get? "HOMICIDE:Life On The Streets", is our answer but of course. But this is one Title that appears to be an instant oxymoron, for the juxtaposition of the two elements just doesn't blend. It would be much like blending Fire and Water, this Homicide & Life.

And yet, we do see what the Series creator Paul Attinsano is driving at. Either term by itself would not be adequate. It's just another case of the sum of the parts equaling more than the total.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let's start off by saying that there has never been a dramatic series that has started out to have such a high quality of story line and writing, and maintained the same as did Producer Barry Levinson's Baltimore Cop Show.

Starting off with the Cast, there was a certain vigilance observed to insure that there would be no 2 dimensional, stereotype cops and robbers situations. he actors charged with this task would all have to be first rate and selfless, as the series wasn't afraid to portray characters with "warts". You know, we see the thorns, as well as the roses.

Starting at the top, we have Unit Commander, Al Giardello(Yaphett Kotto), the product of a bi-racial marriage, having had an Italian Father and a Black Mother; Al navigates through the lexicons and cultural pools of either. Detective Steve Crosetti(John Polito) a truly grizzled veteran Cop/Detective. He would not move 2 feet if 1 1/2 feet would suffice. Very and obviously an Italian Ethnic, he is sometimes taken to be Lt. Giardello, as in the 1st episode. Det. John Munch(Richard Belzer), a guy who has wanted to be a Detective ever since he was a kid, though this would seemingly fly in the face of his Jewish heritage and upbringing. Being that he is well educated, extremely intelligent and street smart, he is doing this Detective business because he wants it, not because he failed at something else.* Others of the original Duty Roster are: Det. Frank Pembleton(Andre Braugher), a Black Guy who both grew up in the inner-city, but also can boast of being very well educated, by the Jesuits, yet. A manic when it comes to work, which is to a point to which he almost destroys his own health. Det. Tim Bayliss(Kyle Secor), new to the Detective Division. Smart, eager to learn he gets teamed with Pembleton. Formerly had some (Empty Holster)job in the Commissioner's Office. Melissa Leo as Det., a status seeker, works, slaves and studies hard to become a Detective/Sgt. of Police. Captain Megan Russert(Isabella Hoffman-Woo, woo, woo, woo!)now get this, she is a fictional cousin of NBC Newsman & Moderator of "MEET THE PRESS", Tim Russert(honest, that's what the series says!)

Rounding out the original "work sheets" are:Det. Stan Bolander(Ned Beatty)seemingly a sort of "dull blade', the blue collar guy found a great interest in classical music, even learning to play the Cello!Det. Meldrick Lewis(Clark Johnson)grew up in the Public Housing Project, Street Smart, Easy Going, Get's along with anybody and can work with anyone. My personal favourite Characterization.**ASA Ed Danvers(Zeliko Ivanek)excellent portrayal of Prosecutor and their relationship with "The Fuzz!" (Remember, in some States and the Federal Court System it's ADA(Assistant District Attorney), whereas such States as Maryland & my own Illinois use Assistant States' Attorney( ASA ).

Like so many series that last for any length of time, there were many, many changes in the line-up, more than most. Look it up! No more space will be allotted here! "HOMICIDE" truly dared to be different, and remained so through the course of its run. It made use of some multi-shot repeating fade-ins, all seen from slightly different angles,donned with accompanying sound of a short, blunt musical queue. (It has to be seen & heard).

Also, each and every "HOMICIDE" episode is much like a feature film. That is, each is able to stand on its own. And yes, there are a lot of continued story lines and ideas that carry from week to week, and it is better to follow the series week to week, but it's not necessary.

And it has the quality of sets, cinematography and really great, haunting music, both in theme and incidental music by Douglas J. Cuomo and Jeff Rona.

The whole story was neatly wrapped up with the 2 hour Made for TV HOMICIDE: The Movie(2000), which maintained the flavor of the series, yet still dared to be different.

NOTE: * Richard Belzer re-prised Det.Munch for "LAW & ORDER: Special Victims Unit. Munch has many 'crossover' appearances on the various other "LAW & ORDER" 'offspring'.

NOTE: ** In this author's 35 years on the Chicago Police Dept.,I met and worked with a lot of guys like 'Meldrick', but this was in my own "series"(my life on the streets!).
14 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
GeneralB14 December 1999
This is a fantastic drama. It features great performances, especially by Andre Braugher, Richard Belzer, and Yaphett Kotto, and excellent writing. I started watching when they showed the sniper episodes, and have been hooked since. The show's quality dipped slightly after Braugher left, but it was still going strong.
15 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
So glad, I live in a country that still offers reruns
Joyce Hauchart16 January 2001
Like everybody before me told, this is THE best police story ever made.

The photography, the personages, the direction and last but not least the music. It's the first series where I noticed that a song was completely played, while all the actors kept moving, doing what they have to do, but without dialogues. If you are a scriptwriter it's a dream when you can accomplish this. The action counts. But then, as a cherry on a pie, the dialogues are perfect too.

Too bad we get this only once a week and then at a past midnight hour.

I was very surprised to learn this series originated from a book. Got that information from this web-site. I'm still full of praise but on the go for the Amazon book store. :-)
17 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the greats.
suzy q12315 July 2001
I loved this show, and still do in re-runs. Featuring one of the best casts ever assembled on tv, some great scripts and interesting direction, this show never let me down. Why'd they cancel it? Probably too much quality. It always had great guest stars too, I'm disappointed I can't find them listed here. Oh well, there's probably too many to name, but it was a great show and if you get a chance check it out late at night. Maybe it'll come out on DVD!
20 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Best show I've seen
smitheeallen26 March 2002
This is the best show ever. It even beats "The West Wing" which I think is superb. I wish they would show the reruns on some other channel than Court TV at 1AM.

Audrey Braugher delivered one of the greatest and intense performances on TV or anywhere else for that matter as Detective Francis Xavier "Frank" Pembleton. The supporting cast, which included Kyle Secor, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto, and Callie Thorne (to name a few) were also great. Tom Fontana is one of the best TV writers ever. "Three Men and Adena" is one of the most intense and compelling episodes I've seen. This series has had more famous guest stars on it than any other show, except "The Simpsons." They included Robin Williams, Lili Tomlin, James Earl Jones, Steve Buscemi, Vincent D'Onofrio, and David Morse among others.

Braugher and Fontana won Emmys. The show also received The Humanitas Prize and The Peabody (which has only gone to two other drama series, "St. Elsewhere" and "The West Wing").
14 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the finest TV series ever aired
AlsExGal13 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Homicide" was an original crime drama that aired on NBC between January 1993 and May 1999. It was based on David Simon's book, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets", which was based upon Simon's experiences in 1988 when he spent a year as a civilian assistant to the Baltimore Police Homicide Unit so that he could document what life was like in a big city homicide squad. His extensive notes, interviews, and observations were eventually published as the book.

Much of the cases chronicled in the first two seasons of the show are adapted from actual events in the book. The first two seasons focus on rookie Tim Bayliss's first case - the murder of 11 year-old Adina Watson whose murder is never solved and haunts him for the duration of the series. The original cast was truly brilliant, but to get a third full season the show's producers had to delete veteran actor Jon Polito (Crosetti) from the cast and pretty up the cast by adding Isabella Hoffman as shift supervisor Megan Russert.

There was an entire episode, perhaps the best of the series, dedicated to detective Crosetti's suicide at the beginning of season three. Crosetti left no note, and apparently had no huge looming problems in his life. He just chose to fill himself with alcohol, tranquilizers, and antidepressants and then throw himself into the Chesapeake rather than return to his job after his vacation, in spite of his deeply held religious beliefs that would make you think this is a choice he would never have made. This is one thing you'll see on Homicide time and time again - the writers are not afraid to leave the tough questions unanswered...forever.

Season four is also great, although two more original cast members depart - Beau Felton and Stan Bolander. The two additions to the cast include Mike Kellerman, whose boyish, fun-loving exterior hides a cagey and complex detective with a penchant for self destruction. He is transferred from arson to homicide as a result of the help he renders on closing the case of an arson-related homicide when a dead body is found in a burned warehouse. Also, J. H. Brodie, a news cameraman who is fired because he gives a tape showing the attacker of an elderly woman to the police rather than to the station for which he works, is also added to the cast. He is apparently meant to be an analog of David Simon. The only problem is, Simon took great pains to keep himself out of the story while Brodie is constantly included in the plot, making him a somewhat awkward although likable addition.

By season five, the "NYPD-Blueing" of Homicide is becoming a bit more pronounced. Never having stellar ratings, the series was forced by the network to show less detective work and gritty realism and more of the personal lives of the cast members. Still, the episodes are excellent. In this season, Michelle Forbes, the new M.E. with a "Queen of the Dead" vibe, speeds into town and becomes involved with Mike Kellerman. Frank Pembleton is shown recovering from the stroke he had at the end of season four and struggling to return to full duty. Elijah Wood stars as a the spoiled sociopath son of a Baltimore judge who believes he can get away with anything, including plotting the murder of his own judge mother. Finally, there is the apparent suicide of a long-since departed detective that turns out to be a murder.

Season six is where things begin to go downhill in the show. At the conclusion of season five it was determined that detectives would rotate between departments. This was used as a vehicle to introduce three largely uninteresting and even unlikeable cast members - Det. Ballard who actually comes from a Seattle homicide unit, Det. Paul Falsone and Det. Stu Gharty. Falsone always came across as a sneak and Stu Gharty had already been shown up as a coward in an episode from a previous season. Melissa Leo's character, Kay Howard, is now completely evicted from the series. Still, there are some interesting developments. In "Subway" Pembleton gets an opportunity to speak with the dead for a change rather than for them. Bayliss, at the ripe old age of 37, decides to explore other facets of his sexuality, much to the surprise of Pembleton. Kellerman's execution/shooting of arch-criminal Luther Mahoney in the previous season leads to all out war between the police and Mahoney's family that ends up in a shootout in the squad room and also with Bayliss taking a bullet for Pembleton. Both Pembleton and Kellerman resign from the force.

Season seven is largely forgettable. Bayliss has converted to Buddhism following his brush with death and becomes "The Zen Detective". Giardello's son joins the cast as liaison between Baltimore PD and the FBI, although the two look more like brothers than father and son - the age separation is just not there, and neither is any semblance of a believable family connection. Michael Michele joins the cast as ex beauty queen/detective Rene Sheppard and does as good a job of helping this show jump the shark as Ted McGinley could have ever hoped to do.

The main episodes from season seven worth watching include those that wrap up Mike Kellerman's story after his exile at the end of season six - the two parter "Kellerman P.I". There are also the episodes that further Tim Bayliss' character development where he is forced to shoot the killer of a Buddhist monk in self defense - "Zen and the Art of Murder". The other storyline worth watching involve episodes on the Internet killer, who is released on a technicality but vows to Bayliss that he will kill again. These two story lines - the Internet killer being freed and Tim discovering that he can kill if he has to - collide in the excellent series finale "Forgive Us Our Trespasses".
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Are my comments needed?
LouBlake15 March 2002
We all agree this was probably the best crime series ever made, despite NBC's reluctance to support and promote it. This was TV acting, scripting, and directing at it's best.

What the public could not accept, was that the stories did not have neat endings. Life, and crime stories are messy. The show reflected that. And I'm grateful for it's honesty.

On the other hand, I'm grateful they allowed the show to have a movie that ended several major story lines. At the end of it all, we needed closure, even it some of the endings weren't "happy endings". That in itself showed the quality - the truth of this show.

Fiction can be truthful, and "real". This was the best example . And NBC should hang it's head in shame for the way it treated it. I'm glad that "Munch" still lives on Law & Order SVU, but it's a shadow of a great character in a great show.

On TV you take what you get.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Best show on television
KatrinaBay9 April 2005
"Homicide" was easily the best show on TV and it's a shame it wasn't more popular. Det. Pembleton and Det. Bayliss are two of the most realistic and well-written characters to grace the boob tube. Watching those two in the "box" is like listening to music the way they complete each other's sentences. They're like an old married couple-they can't live with each other and they can't live without. Hell, the entire cast is awesome. Lewis, Munch, Gee, Kellerman, Cox, Howard. All incredible. It's gritty, it's funny, and it's true to life. You wish you could go out for a beer with these guys, you wish you could count them among your closest friends. That's the sign of a great show.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent TV Cop Show
flimbuff12 April 2002
This is very similar to NYPD but without the overacting and soap opera plots. Excellent low keyed acting with sometimes very human and occasionally boring storylines. Much like real life. :-)

The setting is Baltimore which is a nice difference and the cast is almost all black yet most white viewers may not even notice except when the performers have to emphasize it in the story.
14 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Why the Best?
matthewfahey25 June 2005
Simply, the most rewarding dramatic broadcast television show I have ever seen. HLOTS was consistently character driven, well written and beautifully shot and edited. The acting stands alone as a singular achievement in broadcast TV. An across the board gifted ensemble speaking emotionally provocative, unflinchingly honest and challenging words.

Two things kept this show from legendary status: First, for most of it's run, it suffered from a terrible schedule spot, Friday. Second, it was a challenging show. In no way is that a denigration, in fact, the opposite. The levels of meaning presented in the writing and reinforced by the camera style and acting required a level of attention that people normally bring with them to watch the theatre.

Regarding it's lack of very many Emmy's, it was produced outside of Hollywood, yet was made with substantive quality and artistic integrity. My guess is that it therefore lacked clout and engendered jealousy at the same time.

It's cliché, but HLOTS was ahead of it's time. Many shows on today echo much of the style and substance HLOTS pioneered. Look no farther than THE SHIELD, NIP TUCK or THE SOPRANOS for dramatic quality similar to what HLOTS was doing 10+ years ago.

There are other good dramas on TV today, but HLOTS connected so consistently on an emotional and aesthetically fulfilling level that I felt like I had lost a friend when it finished it's run. I can't say that about anything I've seen before or since.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ryu_210 March 2002
As an aspiring writer, and a longtime local of Maryland, this series has continuously touched me and will probably always be in my memories.

Not much more can be said about "Homicide: Life on the Street" that hasn't already been said. Excellent writing, gripping messages, memorable characters...this is an example of the epitome of drama, this is a study of human behavior, and like the book that inspired it, this is a tribute to the brave men and women who strive to see that justice is served in real life.

In case you don't know the general idea, it's about a believable group of individuals tracking down killers--who are often portrayed as disturbed individuals themselves, not brawlers. The heart of the stories primarily takes place in two settings: The box, and the street--with humorous, often thought provoking intervals happening in the station and during car scenes.

The best season: Six, in my opinion. This season combined the series' great writing (stories like "Blood Ties", "The Subway", "Abduction", "Finnegan's Wake", "Fallen Heroes", etc.) with some general excitement throughout almost the entire run of episodes. Also, every character present has something interesting or likable about them (the poster for "Homicide: The Movie" features mostly the collective image of season six). "Homicide" didn't often focus on intimate relationships, but the main one towards the story's end was developed in a clever, truly romantic way.

Overall, as you've probably heard before, this is one of the best shows ever to air on television. It will always be regarded as such.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Thinking cops
petra_ste23 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Set in Baltimore, Homicide: Life on the Street paved the way to The Wire. No car chases, shootouts or clichés: this cop show focused on character development and on the psychological duels between detectives and criminals in scenes full of suspense and depth.

Writing and performances are superb. Braugher is phenomenal as clever, smug ace investigator Pembleton. The underrated Secor makes Bayliss a multi-faceted individual, a sensitive man capable of appalling bursts of violence. Johnson is likable as Meldrick, Belzer hilarious as Munch; Diamond has one of the best character arcs, as he portrays Kellerman's downfall; Kotto imbues the potentially clichéd role of the grumpy officer with humanity, humour and a volatile sense of threat. And Melissa Leo is still the best female detective seen on TV. Among guest stars, Robin Williams, Steve Buscemi, Elijah Wood and David Morse.

Homicide was not afraid of providing existentially disquieting closures: many cases were never solved, sometimes because they were "stone-cold whodunits" from the start, sometimes because the detectives messed up. In what is possibly the best episode (Three Men and Adena), there is a scene where you sense Pembleton and Bayliss are THIS close to getting the suspect confess, but they are so angry and exhausted they let the occasion slip... and you suddenly realize along with them that the moment is gone, beyond recall. It's terrific stuff.

Homicide had a seven seasons run. The first two feature some of the strongest episodes, like Black and Blue and Three Men and Adena. Seasons three, four and five found were also excellent: best episodes are Crosetti, Colors, Hate Crimes, Stakeout, The Hat, Prison Riot, Have a Conscience, Double Blind, Partners and Other Strangers.

In the last two seasons the series suffered from weak writing and new characters who were not on par with the original cast, like Falsone (Jon Seda), Ballard (Callie Thorne) and Sheppard (Michael Michelle). Character assassinations or departures of fan favorites like Pembleton, Lewis, Bayliss and Kellerman did not help.

Overall, Homicide was a brilliant show, something quite out of the ordinary. It's a pity it did not maintain the same level of quality to the very end, but the first five seasons (and a handful of episodes from the last two) were remarkable.

5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Far superior to most other cop shows (possible spoilers)
Ruth20069 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I never managed to see this show while it was on TV (it didn't get shown a lot in the UK), but took a chance as I love cop shows, and bought the DVDs. And I'm so glad I did. This blows most other cop shows out of the water. It didn't go for such sensationalism, sex and drugs that many other shows in the genre use to grab viewers interests. Instead, it built the characters up slowly, so you feel like you really know them. The cases they studied ranged from the truly macabre, to crimes of passion, even to cases with humorous elements to them. All of the actors were superb. Much has been said of Andre Braugher's performance as Frank Pembleton, and he certainly was excellent in that role. However, as Frank was such a strong character, I do feel that the quality of acting by some of the other actors was overlooked. My personal favourites were Kyle Secor as sensitive Tim Bayliss (the show starts on his first day, so he learns about the job at the same time as the viewer), and Clark Johnson, who deserved more recognition for his role as Meldrick Lewis.

A lot of the episodes were quirky and unusual. One of my all time favourite episodes is Full Moon from season 4, in which only Lewis, Kellerman and Munch from the main characters appear, and even Munch isn't in it for long. Another favourite is The Gas Man, which tells the events from the point of view of a character who is previously completely unknown to the viewer. And of course the episode 'Crosetti, which is one of the most moving and powerful episodes of any show ever. I defy you to watch it without your eyes filling with tears!
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Best
muller-tom6 November 2011
No doubt, the most realistic police show ever made.

Mean we all saw a lot of cop-shows in our life, most unrealistic, but this one is entirely different. Great characters, great acting, its more intellectual then all the rest.

no car chases, no gun-firing all the time

and, no high-tech computers.

cause that doesn't exist in real life.

and yet the show is still entertaining.

the difference is this show is not really about the murders. well it also is, but most of the characters are psycho-log. very deep. all with their own personal problems. the writing is fantastic, cause the dialogs, they just talk ass we all do - day by day.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Best TV show ever period!!!!!
ltfish0615 October 2007
Homicide was the best show of any genre to be made for television. It honestly gave the most detailed and truthful accounts about how criminal investigations really happen. It also touched on the personal lives of how many police officers live and how they deal with the daily grind of the job. I say this because I've been in law enforcement for 7 years and I know how things really happen. Homicide puts the truth in crime TV....all crimes don't get solved overnight or at all sometimes. Homicide touched on that very point in different episodes. It was a show that TV executives should have just let it run it's natural course. It was taken off the air well before it's time!!!
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
lostonu11 October 2006
First off, I'd like to say that is/was one of my all-time favorite TV programs. I know that many, who have commented, feel pretty much the same (or close to it), so I won't make my comments long, and drawn out. I cannot praise this show enough. Never, not even once, did I see a false moment in any episode. That last statement, by all accounts, describes perfection… that is not a place to go carelessly. I try to watch movies, TV shows, or even small productions of college plays with an extremely discerning eye, and every moment was an exercise in character truthfulness. The entire cast, whether you liked all of them or not (another subject, for another time), was excellent ensemble cohesiveness.

My (then) girlfriend, and I could not wait to see what G's hair-style/do would look like from episode to episode; we always made comparison's based on the previous week's look. My personal favorite, in the cast, was Andre Braugher's "Frank Pembleton". "Frank" appeared to be (inwardly) driven to perfection, while at the same time trying not to make it look that way – his co-workers knew him too well, to be fooled by his outward demeanor.

This was one of television's finest moments. In the history of television, I cannot find a better show… some, many may argue, may have been just as good… I'm not sure that there were any better.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
T.V at it's finest
brianoreilly9918 August 2006
Homicide is, without question, the greatest T.v show ever produced. Brilliant writing and acting, and even with cast fluctuations, the quality rarely ever dipped.It's a shame it never caught the public's full attention, like inferior shows such as NYPD blue, but still survived 7 season's of close on perfection.Of the core cast, most people will pick Andre Braugher as the standout, playing Frank Pembleton, but for me Kyle Secor, as the decidedly odd, and constantly evolving Bayliss, and Yaphet Kotto as Al are the standout characters.The show is set in Baltimore and was produced under the watchful eye of Barry Levinson, a Baltimore native.All seven seasons are available, and a must have for any discerning viewer. Buy them now!!!!!
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the Best Police Dramas Ever!
ShelbyTMItchell15 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Yes even better than Law and Order and CSI. As it portrays really gritty and really violent. As also really in your face. With a one camera angle that would really open the door to several other shows like "The Office and Brooklyn Nine Nine that stars one of the actors on the show, the great Andre Braugher.

It was shot on location in Baltimore MD. As the ensemble cast had witty Richard Belzer who would have his John Munch go on ten shows besides this and Law and Order SVU. Future Oscar winner Melissa Leo, Ned Beatty, Yaphett Kotto as the worried boss LT G.

One gritty show and really well written and produced by the great director Barry Levinson! You don't see shows like this now a days!
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed