Monday, April 2, 2018
Very sad news today...
Steven Bochco, creator of classics such as NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues that helped redefined the medium of television, has died at 74 after a long battle with leukemia.
Bochco was nominated for an Emmy 30 times as producer and writer, winning 10. His many other honors include the Humanitas Prize and Peabody honors. A New York City native, Bochco attended NYU and earned a theater degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology before beginning his career at Universal as a writer for shows like Ironside and Columbo. He then left for MTM Enterprises, where James Earl Jones starred in his first show, the short-lived cop drama Paris.
A few years later, he created Hill Street Blues, his breakout, which premiered in 1981. It collected eight Emmys in its debut season and racked up 98 nominations in its seven-season run. The show turned previous broadcast cop dramas like Dragnet on their head, deliberately showing the flaws and human dimensions of police officers and using cinematic techniques to reveal the gritty landscape they patrol. The other trailblazing aspect of Hill Street, whose signature line was Sergeant Phil Esterhaus (played by Michael Conrad) telling the troops, “Let’s be careful out there,” was its serialized narrative.
Building on the complex depictions of the workaday ambiguities of police work he established in Hill Street a decade earlier, NYPD Blue brought a bolder, more in-your-face tone. No character or actor personified that more than Andy Sipowicz, the complicated detective played by Dennis Franz in a turn that brought him four Emmys. From the pilot of the show to its finale 12 seasons later, it continually pushed the boundaries of decency in skirmishes that might seem almost quaint by today’s standards.
I never missed NYPD Blue. It was a great show with an amazing cast.
Mr. Bochco was an extremely talented man who always did incredibly powerful work, no matter what project he was involved in over the years.
He will be missed.