Homicide Life on the Street: Complete Series
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Homicide Life on the Street: Complete Series

Although many collectors of DVDs and Blu-rays might consider the release of the series sets popular television shows and film franchises is more than a marketing ploy to induce people most likely have individual set to repurchase the same material again. While this is true for some selections many have content of an extras not found in the previous released sets. Generally available for loan course quite frequently offered as daily specials on Amazon.com discounted at prices approaching two thirds off retail. Understandably the most important function of such conglomerations is to bring an entire series of incredible television show to a much greater audience. People have heard the reputation of such shows are intimidated by the cost of collecting the individual steps as they came out fine drastic price reductions and the inclusion of crucially important additional material. Such a discussion cannot be undertaken without the consideration of such an offering for one of the finest television shows ever produced; ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’. For seven seasons occupying the period between 1993 and 1999, getting so many major accolades that members of production crew and cast members were consistently seen giving their short speeches of acceptance at the center stage podium. It has been ranked as one of the imminent police procedural television series that redefined the genre on both broadcast networks and eventually even those occupying the exalted position of cable television. ‘Homicide’, ignited a number of careers and were strongly linked to the most expensive Lisa lawyer show franchise ever, Dick Wolf’s ‘Law & Order’, and all its numerous spinoffs. The character of John Munch always portrayed by former standup comedian, Richard Belzer has reprised his character over 20 years spanning a record-breaking dozen crossovers with other television series. Aside from the Thick Wall franchises, Detective Munch held prominent roles in such notable television series as ‘The X-Files’ and ‘The Wire’. This is one instance in a long list of how this series exerted a great and undeniable influence on all subsequent police procedural.

The action is focused on the port city of Baltimore Maryland, focusing upon over homicide unit. Heading the unit is Lieutenant Al Giardello (Yaphet Kotto) signs cases and coordinate the efforts of several teams of detectives that comprise the unit. The major teams represented a wide variety of investigators who despite their differences in technique all share the same unquenchable thirst at discovering the truth and closing their cases. The initial pairings included; Detectives Meldrick Lewis (Clark Johnson) and Steve Crosetti (Jon Polito), Detectives Stanley Bolander (Ned Beatty) and John Munch (Richard Belzer), Detectives Detective Kay Howard (Melissa Leo) and Beau Felton (Daniel Baldwin) and the Detective Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher), a loner by nature who was forced by the lieutenant to partner with the relatively young and inexperienced, Detective Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor). It is only natural that over the course of seven seasons the cast would undergo changes as some are promoted or leave the department and others rise up to replace them.

The genius of this series lies in how its creator Paul Attanasio and his team of writers went to great extremes to humanize their characters. Prior to this series the vast majority of men and women of the police force were frequently portrayed as two-dimensional all types that were required to fill the expected slots mandated by such a series. In ‘Homicide’ however, each of the detectives is imbued with a distinctive and unique personality. Adding to the realism the concept of the noble untarnished police detective is cast aside. Also serious about this time have permitted their primary characters to be ambiguous in the use of their moral compass, this series more than the concept to include such imperfections in the not quite so drastic and easily identifiable to the audience. In the initial season some of the characters are quite heavy smokers. As a time before such practices were forbidden in the workplace, ashtrays were found on both surfaces usually in the state of overflow. Detective Howard did make several attempts at quitting but the practice remained evident for much of the series. This may seem like a small point but it is only representative of a general commitment to presenting realistically imperfect human beings working exceptionally stressful careers.

Much of the drama was derived from the juxtaposition of mutually exclusive personalities. One of the most mismatched teams had to be that of Pembleton and Bayliss. Detective Pembleton was experienced with an incredibly key and I for detail in a rigid procedure that when followed ultimately leads to is resolving the crime. He felt that he worked best alone since discussion with other detectives without any slow him down but become a diversion from observations he knows are correct. Being partnered with Bayliss was close to an unforgivable insult the Pembleton integrity, at least by himself. The experience of Bayliss was initially seen as a major hindrance to the exceptionally talented loan Pembleton. Bayliss would eventually become the emotional center of many of the storylines. Themes such as child abuse and bisexuality would be introduced and explored this character as the series progressed.

Detective Howard realized that she was a woman in a man’s world and accepted the fact of life that she had to be tougher, better and more successful than any man of similar rank. Although Holly rational she did frequently depend on attributing unsubstantiated causality in examining the progression of the crime. Along with several other detectives she had her turn with plot points that featured the worst fear any police officer can have; being shot on duty. She makes a full recovery but by season five is past the promotion test and become to Sergeant Detective. Her perchance for micromanagement maybe once unilaterally admired detective into one alienated from most of her former peers.

Detective Felton was used to represent with the greatest potential for crossing the line to unprofessional and potentially illegal activities. From such minor infractions as his refusal to adhere departmental dress regulations to the more serious dependency on Holly unorthodox methodology he was the most unpredictable of characters. Due to a breakdown in contract negotiations with Daniel Baldwin the character was written out in season three. In contrast, in contrast Detective John Munch proved to be one of the most fascinating characters of the show. It is little wonder that this man inevitably dressed all in black sporting a pair of dark shades in Fedora would find his rate onto a record-breaking number of other shows. Exceptionally intelligent, and a true autodidactic polymath, his incredibly eclectic range of knowledge frequently proves insight into the case necessary to bring it to resolution. The string of ex-wives behind him, John appears to be always searching for the next ex Mrs. Munch. Although he has a strong belief in many conspiracy theories they never seem to deter him from proceeding logically and professionally.

Towards the end of the run, around the fifth season, several main cast members were added whose characters lasted but a single season. This included, Michelle Forbes as medical examiner Julianna Cox. .Detectives Paul Falsone (Jon Seda) and Laura Ballard (Callie Thorne) help fill out the roster for the final season. They were joined by an actor that has discovered a fruitful niche in television law enforcement and criminal endeavors, Giancarlo Esposito as FBI Agent Michael Giardello, son of the Lieutenant in charge, Al Giardello. There were three cross over episodes with Law & Order, all of which are included in this set. This is a significant concession to loyal fans who deserve being able to enjoy a full episode even if it is spread over different series. There was also a made for television movie broadcast in 1968, ‘Anatomy of a 'Homicide: Life on the Street’, which is also included. This is simply put a must have.

bulletCommentary on "Gone For Goode," "Gas Man," "The Hat," "The Documentary," "The Subway," and "Forgive Us Our Trespasses"
bulletInterviews with Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana, Henry Bromell, David Simon, and James Yoshimura
bulletTo Catch A Killer: Homicide Detectives Episode of A&E's Signature Series American Justice®
bulletSuperbowl XXVII Commercials for Season One Premiere
bulletHomicide: Life On The Street Song Listings
bulletAbout "The Board"
bulletInside Homicide with David Simon and James Yoshimura
bulletFeature-Length Documentary Anatomy of a Homicide
bulletVSDA Panel and Live DVD Commentary with Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson, James Yoshimura, and David Simon
bulletBarry Levinson's Acceptance Speech for the 2004 VSDA Career Achievement Award
bulletCast Biographies

Posted 04/21/2015

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