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NYPD Blue - Season 2

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 1015 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
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NYPD – Season 1 saw the groundbreaking show create its own place in television history with wonderful new filming techniques, high quality drama and a terrific cast of characters. With this first season being such a huge success, many wondered what the producers could do to keep the show fresh and still maintain its original direction. Fans should not have worried, because the show grew even stronger in the second season, winning itself six Emmy Awards along the way.

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David Caruso departs the 15th squad for the last time.

David Caruso and Dennis Franz had established their characters throughout season one and the show's huge audience was ready for their partnership to develop further, along with the possible introduction of new characters. What actually happened in season two was a huge shock to most viewers. The producers had been at odds with its star David Caruso and both parties agreed to end their partnership. Caruso had visions of becoming a big screen actor - a decision that backfired - and with the producers feeling the actor was too demanding for the show, both parties agreed that the best solution was to find a replacement for the star.

Caruso was skilfully written out of the show and Jimmy Smits was brought in to replace him. For Caruso’s last scene, he is seen to walk down the famous precinct stairs, through the busy front desk and out the door. One producer stating that he went out to get Caruso to do another take but the actor had gone out the door and gotten into a waiting limo, making another take of the scene impossible. The introduction of Smits as Bobby Simone was met with reservation from most viewers, but he quickly established himself as a more than worthy replacement for Caruso and, from all accounts, a much easier actor to work with.

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Jimmy Smits makes his debut.

Season two also saw the introduction of Kim Delaney as detective Russell, a character who went on to become a crucial member of the team with the foundation of her relationship with Simone beginning in this season. Other regulars continue in this season, with a few notable cameo appearances from recognisable actors such as Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond).

Aired in the US in 1994-1995, the second season really builds on what the first established. The gritty style of filming, the superb scripts and impressive character development make this season equal to, if not better than, its predecessor. Again there are 22 episodes running for approximately 46 minutes each in length and along with ongoing storylines, each episode offers a new crime for the precinct to focus on along with many interpersonal developments among the main characters. The only criticism of this show is the blatant use of nudity to attract viewers, but thankfully this is done with a great deal of humour.

With the first season ending with many issues unresolved, season two hits the ground running and the first few episodes see some closure to some major stories. The John Kelly character only lasts 'til episode four, so the incoming Bobby Simone is given plenty of time to win over fans, time not really required as his charm soon wins over even the most diehard Caruso fans.

"Last season on NYPD Blue..."

Following are brief episode synopses. Being an ongoing series there will be several mentions of contonuing stories, so please consider this a plot spoiler warning.

Trials and Tribulations
Kelly takes a great risk when he decides to testify at Licalsi’s trial, causing IAB to investigate him. This set in place the planned departure of the character. The detectives investigate the robberies of drug dealers, Sipowcz’s AA sponsor wants him to abide by a contract before proceeding with his relationship with Sylvia and Donna attempts to give Greg advice about his divorce.

From Whom the Skell Rolls
IAB’s investigation of Kelly continues with the arresting of police officers robbing drug dealers giving them more ammunition. Sipowicz and Kelly investigate a double murder, while Licalsi takes the stand at her trial and the verdict is delivered.

Cop Suey
Detective Adrienne Lesniak arrives at the 15th precinct and the team investigate the murder of a cop in Chinatown. Fancy catches Greg and Donna in an embrace and speaks to them about improper behaviour, while Lesniak’s abusive ex-lover causes trouble.

Dead and Gone
A baby in a car is the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting and Sipowicz must help his hooker friend Lois when a cop client dies during his visit. Lesniak’s ex-lover is causing more trouble for her and IAB move in on Kelly, forcing the department to give him a transfer. His reaction is to quit and he leaves the 15th precinct for the final time.

Simone Says
This episode sees the arrival of Jimmy Smits as detective Bobby Simone. He is welcomed by Sipowicz in his usual style, but soon proves his worth as a valued partner. Smits soon fits into the cast well and the friendship between Simone and Sipowicz develops over the series and most are soon saying “John Kelly who?”.

The Final Adjustment
A woman who helped Bobby when his wife died comes to see him worried about her 11 year old son having a gun in his possession. Martinez, moonlighting as a security guard for a student, is worried about her father’s well being. This episode also contains the famous shower scene with Sipowicz and Sylvia where Andy finally joins the cast who have bared their butts.

Double Abandando
Donna’s sister Dana (Debra Messing) comes to stay and causes problems between Donna and Greg. Shots are fired at the school opposite the precinct and the shooter is suspected to be the 11 year old that Bobby had tried to help. The detectives also investigate an assault on a man to discover he has infected several women with HIV.

You Bet Your Life
Andy’s AA sponsor is beaten by his mentally disabled son and seeks help from Andy. Sipowicz and Simone investigate a murder where a pregnant woman’s burnt body is found. Martinez and Medavoy investigate a pawn shop robbery.

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel
The detectives are sent to investigate the murder of the owner of a gay bar. Medavoy investigates a gypsy fortune teller who has swindled his neighbour and receives a curse while Fancy’s wife is about to give birth to their second child. Andy’s AA sponsor is not taking Andy’s advice about his son and this proves to be a fatal decision.

In the Butt Bob
Lesniak gets flashed by a man and has to deal with his high priced lawyer and psychiatrist. Vinnie Greco, an old snitch of Fancy’s brings in a tip about some men looking for high powered weapons for a planned robbery. It turns out that Vinnie is working for someone else in a ploy to bring down Fancy. Andy invites his son to dinner to meet Sylvia and discovers he intends to join the air force. Andy proposes to Sylvia and this time around she accepts.

Vishy-Vashy Vinny
Simone gets the chance to interview a man he thinks is a serial killer, while the detectives are brought in on the planned armoured car robbery. Having made Vinnie wear a wire, Fancy gets evidence against the man trying to bring him down and offers him a choice.

Large Mouth Bass
Simone and Sipowicz investigate the brutal murder of a woman, while Lesniak and Martinez investigate a conman selling a box to women that is supposed to improve their looks. The new captain arrives and instigates new overtime rules that don’t go down too well. Bobby’s long time friend seems to be in with the wrong crowd when Bobby discovers the nightclub he is involved with is a haunt for wiseguys.

Travels With Andy
Andy and Bobby travel upstate on a case and Bobby takes the opportunity to release his homing pigeons for a trial flight. Andy and Sylvia disagree on wedding plans while Lesniak meets up with an old friend and starts dating him, much to Martinez’s disgust.

A Murder With Teeth In It
The detectives investigate a murder where a woman’s teeth are stolen. Andy and Bobby also investigate a case where a pimp is murdered and the evidence points to a cop who Andy once helped out. Bobby mentions details of a case to his girlfriend who is a reporter, the story ends up in the paper and Bobby is not happy. Donna’s ex-boyfriend arrives in town making Greg extremely jealous and James discloses to Greg that he has feelings for Adrienne.

Bombs Away
Bobby and Andy have a car accident with a man and discover he has a woman in his trunk. They then discover he has planned to extort money from a rich family by using explosives. They must try to find the family in time. The Webster serial killer is brought into the 15th and while being escorted out he is gunned down by a sniper. Bobby investigates the father of one of his victims. James asks Adrienne out to dinner, but she declines due to her previous experience of dating a work colleague.

Un-American Grafitti
A Puerto Rican teenager is beaten to death in Little Italy because he was spraying the area with graffiti. The problem is that the two suspects are connected with a high power local and they must struggle to make their case. Donna makes a decision about her relationship with Greg, while after Sylvia has her bag snatched she reveals a secret from her past to Andy.

Dirty Socks
Bobby is having problems with an obsessed witness to a homicide. She offers to change her story in order to win his affection. He is not interested, but doesn’t want to lose this witness. The wife of the owner of a small business that Andy worked in as a child is murdered during a stick up and Dionna’s replacement PA John arrives.

Innuendo
After a shooting spree, the detectives search for the killer where a rookie cop’s stray bullet also killed an innocent person. Fancy’s brother is having problems at the precinct he works at and Fancy decides to help. Andy has to visit the doctor for a prostate exam, he has kept it quiet from Sylvia who has thought that their lack of sexual activity was due to the secret she revealed to him.

Boxer Rebellion
Fancy is helping James prepare for the police boxing tournament, while a woman who Sipowicz convinces to testify is murdered. Detective Dianne Russell is brought in to assist with a case working undercover and the attraction between her and Bobby is instant.

The Bookie and Kooky Cookie
A bookie is murdered and the detectives search for the killer. Donna returns to her PA position while Bobby encounters more problems from his obsessive witness. Relief PA John hears of a position upstairs in anti-crime and Andy smells something familiar on detective Russell.

The Bank Dick
A witness in hospital smells alcohol on Russell’s breathe and Bobby confronts her on the issue. John is bashed while out with his boyfriend and asks Bobby for help and Greg’s ex-wife asks him to consider reconciliation. Andy asks Bobby to be his best man after his son can’t attend.

A.D.A. Sipowicz
It’s the day of the big wedding for Andy and Sylvia. Pre-wedding jitters make Andy act strangely while Fancy’s brother is in another scrape. James goes out with Adrienne and Dianne makes a crucial mistake while apprehending a suspect that causes her to admit she has a problem.

The season comes to a close without the usual cliffhangers that so many shows love to end seasons on. There are ongoing issues that will recommence at the beginning of the next season, but overall the viewer is not left wondering who will return. Like the first season, this is compelling and highly entertaining television and a show that never loses its appeal.

  Video
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As was the case with the first season, this presentation is again of a very high standard. Delivered in full frame, the intentionally gritty feel of the show may make the transfer seem less competent than it actually is, but for a television show that was aired ten years ago this one comes up trumps. Picture is generally sharp throughout, with natural skin tones and intentionally bland colours for the most part. Black levels are excellent and shadow detail is also first rate. The only minor problems are with some slight grain and aliasing, but these are so minor that they will cause little distraction.

  Audio
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Audio is again supplied in Dolby Digital 4.0 and, yet again, this is an excellent sound mix. Dialogue is the driving force here and this is delivered extremely well. The rear speakers are used to great effect also for the impressive music of Mike Post and also for some directional effect and general ambience. There are no issues with synch or other nasties such as hiss, pops or dropout. Overall, this is an excellent audio track.

  Extras
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The bar was set high for the first season of NYPD Blue and luckily that standard has been met again in the extras area, as well as everywhere else.

Audio Commentaries
Through the easy to navigate menu, there are six audio commentaries available. One can be found on each disc, giving the season a balanced spread without making the commentaries too boring. Those available are as follows;

Cop Suey - Director Mark Tinker
Simone Says - Creator David Milch
Vishy-Vashy Vinny - Director Michael Robin
Bombs Away - Technical Advisor Bill Clark
Boxer Rebellion - Technical Advisor Bill Clark
A.D.A. Sipowicz - Director Mark Tinker

Each commentary offers its own unique quality of entertainment and amount of detail and most are reasonably enjoyable to listen to, with the best possibly being from director Michael Robin. Most, however, do offer a reasonable amount of trivia along with technical information for those so inclined.

Season Two: A Season of Change
This 57 minute featurette is possibly the pick of the extras. It goes into episode-specific detail of the season and contains interviews with cast and crew, along with footage from the show. The most notable absentee is, of course, David Caruso, adding fuel to the fire that there was quite a bit of bad feeling towards his departure from the show.

Wedding Bell Blues
This seven minute featurette takes a look at the on-screen marriage of Andy and Sylvia. A number of interviews with cast members involved offers some amusing information.

The Music of Mike Post
Also running for seven minutes, this featurette looks at the excellent music of Mike Post used in the season. It focuses mainly on the opening theme with Post discussing his earlier compositions for shows prior to NYPD Blue.

Simone Says – Script to Screen Comparison
Last up in the extras is a nice script to screen comparison for the episode Simone Says. There are three script excerpts contained with a total running time of nine minutes. The sections available are Sipowicz Meets Simone, Sylvia Meets Simone and Simone and Sipowicz Bond.

  Overall  
Contract

Overall this is again a wonderful release and a welcome one to the DVD format. The standards were set in season one and season two carries them on well. The video and audio transfers are of a high standard also and with an excellent array of extras for a television show of this age, this is value for money for fans.


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      And I quote...
    "It may have been ten years since this season was first aired until its release onto DVD, but it's been worth the wait."
    - Adrian Turvey
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