Brace yourselves, people. Because we're coming to the end of an era -- my all-time favorite show is going off the air after 12 awesome years. After tonight, NYPD Blue will be no more. Well, except for on cable.
Ok, so I've been trying forever to write a coherent blog about how utterly incredible this show is. I can honestly say I've seen every episode at least once -- between the days when I used to tape the two concurrent episodes every day on TNT, and the marathons on Court TV on holiday weekends, and of course the weekly new episodes. I love this show. I love everything about it. I KNOW everything about it. Ask me anything and I can probably give you the answer in such a way that you wished you'd never asked. I'm sorry, there's just a lot of backstory involved and if you want a good answer, well, you'll have to hear it all. The writing is incredible, because it lets you in on the characters' lives without it becoming cheesy. The characters grow and change and perhaps the very best example of this Andy Sipowicz. At the beginning of the series, Sipowicz was a vulgar, bigoted, closeminded drunk who was supposed to be killed off after a few episodes. Instead, he became the center of the 15th Precinct Detective Squad, and the center of the show.
He's had 4 partners in 12 years -- John Kelly (David Caruso) -- who I didn't like that much then and cannot STAND as Horatio in "CSI:Miami" -- Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits), who died of a quick moving illness that affected his brain; Danny Sorenson (Ricky Schroder) who was like a son to Andy but you knew nothing good could come for him because he was such a tortured soul -- he was killed by the mob, wrapped in a rug and buried near the East River; and John Clark (Mark Paul Gosselaar) who has also become like a son to Sipowicz, especially after Clark's dad committed suicide. He's had 3 bosses -- Lt. Arthur Fancy (James McDaniel), who gave Sipowicz more chances than he deserved, especially since early Sipowicz was incredibly bigoted and resented having an African-American boss; Lt. Tony Rodriguez (Esai Morales) who understood, like Lt. Fancy, that underneath the gruff exterior was a great cop and an even better man; and Lt. Thomas Bale (Currie Graham) a by-the-book guy with whom Sipowicz had a stormy relationship until he found out that Bale was in the closet and Bale realized that he was a friend and would keep that secret. He's had 3 wives -- Katie, with whom he had Andy Jr. and who he helped through dealing with the muder of their son and her resulting battle with alcoholism; Sylvia, the Assistant District Attorney with whom he had Theo and who was murdered outside of a courtroom; and Connie, a fellow cop who started out helping Andy with Theo and they eventually fell in love.
Through all of the monumental loss he's experienced, Sipowicz has remained a good man. His bigotry has diminished considerably, especially in the realm of homosexuals. John Irwin (Bill Brochtrup) is the civilian administrator for the squad, and is openly gay, which made Sipowicz uncomfortable. But as time passed, he and John became great friends, with Sipowicz trusting John so implicitly as to let him babysit Theo. He no longer drinks, even though there have been many times when he could have, and he has sponsored other detectives who struggled with alcohol. Sipowicz is a great father to his little boy and is the father figure, the mentor and the friend to every detective in the squad.
Things are changing at the 15th Squad -- Andy was recently promoted to Sergeant, but in the course of a case, Lt. Bale was shot and permanently disabled, so Andy is now the squad commander. Greg Medavoy (Gordon Clapp), the only other detective to have been in the squad as long as Andy, is retiring. Producers of the show say that there won't be a big bang ending, that it's better that "NYPD Blue" depart in a way that lets viewers know that life in the 15th goes on, even through all the changes.
No matter what happens, I know that come 10:00 tonight, I'll be bawling my eyes out because I'll miss my friend Sipowicz.