By Ken Tucker
September 09, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Filled with nicely grumpy, unfamiliar faces, New York Undercover (Fox, Sept. 8, 9-10 p.m.) is a promisingly downbeat cop show from creator Dick Wolf (Law & Order). The debut episode introduces us to J.C. Williams (Malik Yoba) and Eddie Torres (Michael DeLorenzo). (When was the last time an African-American and a Latino starred in a TV drama?) They track down drug dealers and car thieves, including a cardigan-sweatered Clarence Williams III (The Mod Squad). In a series like this, the plots have been seen a thousand times, so it’s the details that distinguish it. Undercover boasts fine, understated stars, a thumpingly convincing hip-hop soundtrack, and dialogue so naturalistic it’s unlikely viewers outside of urban areas will pick up all the slang.

The Undercover character I like most is the cops’ tough-as-nails female boss, Lieutenant Cooper, played by Patti D’Arbanville-Quinn-yes, the ’60s L.A. rock fixture and Don Johnson ex! Jolly good for her. B+