A friend reminded me that on this night 17 years ago, after the first Cowboys-Bill Super Bowl, a little show called "Homicide: Life on the Street" debuted. Inspired by David Simon's great book about the year he spent embedded with a real Baltimore PD Homicide unit, "Homicide" has since been overshadowed by Simon's work on "The Wire," but the original show was pretty incredible in its own right.
Though my heart ultimately gravitated towards "NYPD Blue," "Homicide" at its peak was the better of the two classic '90s cop dramas, and it gave the world the majestic splendor that was Andre Braugher as Frank Pembleton, which you can enjoy in this scene from that very first episode, "Gone for Goode."
(I don't want to give short-shrift to the many other wonderful "Homicide" characters and actors, like Clark Johnson as Meldrick Lewis or Yaphet Kotto as Lt. Giardella, but Braugher's star always burned hottest and brightest on that show.)
And, for good measure, a few other bits of classic "Homicide" I could find on YouTube:
• Pembleton gets a confession from a man he knows is innocent, just to prove a point to his boss. (This is a very long clip, but every second is worth it.)
• Bolander and Munch employ a new kind of lie detector (in a gag Simon would re-use on "The Wire").
• Kay Howard's perfect streak continues (also from the pilot).
• Howard and Tim Bayliss quit smoking and drive their partners crazy in the process.
• Meldrick is a Luddite (and a smooth operator).
God, I miss that show. It was never the same after the third season, as they began to introduce younger, more attractive, duller cops and eeeevil drug lords in futile attempts to goose the ratings, but good lord, when it was good, it was incredible.