We gave it an A
Now in its 10th season, Steven Bochco’s durable detective show has settled into such a familiar groove that it rarely surprises. But to revisit its rule-breaking first season is to remember what all the original fuss was about. It wasn’t just the raunchy dialogue or bare-butt bedroom scenes; it was also the complex, character-driven stories of cops solving usually sordid crimes while grappling with their own demons. Dennis Franz’s ornery, bigoted, alcoholic Andy Sipowicz remains one of prime time’s most compelling characters, but the early center of the NYPD Blue universe was his first partner, John Kelly (David Caruso), a bristlingly intense, tortured tough guy who was, in his smoldering way, as volatile as Sipowicz. With respect to Jimmy Smits, no subsequent costar has created such potent chemistry.