Homicide: Life on the Street – The Complete Series (repackaged)

I’ve recently purchased HOMICIDE THE COMPLETE SERIES Boxed Set.

On DVD, uncut, and in the order the producers want you to see the episodes, is the only way to view this show. Shows like this and DS9 that were butchered in network airing, really come alive on DVD.

From the first the show is astounding, Andre Braugher is a revelatory force of nature. Brilliant.


1.GONE FOR GOODE– The first episode is fantastic! Putting all the pieces on the board, and setting the mold for all the seasons to come. A more brilliantly written, and powerfully performed television series there has never been, while at the same time being endearing, and humorous, and playful, and human. Andre Braugher from the first, being the lightning in the bottle, sounding the arrival of a bold, brash, exciting, and new type of television. A-/A,

2. A GHOST OF A CHANCE-This is Bayliss show, as he imbues the role of the rookie, on his first case, who must speak for a murdered young girl, with a sense of pathos that is rarely seen, and rarely equaled. Though the final wake scene, may have been a little much. B/B+..

3. NIGHT OF THE DEAD LIVING-A very odd episode for early in the season. It feels a bit like filler. The crew are all hunkered in on night shift, on the hottest day of the year. It even has breezy, bluesy music to emphasize its slightly background/elevator music pacing. The whole subplot with the cleaning woman I find heavy handed, annoying, unwatchable/wretched. It’s fast forward material. Which is the only episode I’ve ever seen of Homicide I can say that about. D/C+

4. SON OF A GUN– Follows up the aftermath of a cops shooting, and a witness with headaches. B

5. A SHOT IN THE DARK-The search for a cop shooter concludes. Bayliss and Pembleton pursue 2 different routes to find Adina’s killer. And Stanley and the Doc’s relationship progresses. B.

6. THREE MEN AND ADENA-Moses Gun [is that a great name or what!]as Risley Tucker gives a devastating, should have won an award performance, as the last, best suspect in the Adena Watson murder. He, Pembleston, and Baylis, and the ghost of a dead girl- in a room… together. B+/A-.

7. A DOG AND PONY SHOW– In stark contrast to the minimalism of episode six, this episode crams much in, as it juggles multiple plots. From a torture/murder investigation, to the investigation of the murder of a police dog. Perhaps the most effective being the backstory of Giardello, and his put out to pasture friend. The performances of the extras range from poor (the crying girl) to excellent (Pony the Drug Dealer). B+.

8. AND THE ROCKETS DEAD GLARE– FANTASTIC episode. In the terms of juggling multiple plots (among them an investigation of the murder of a Chinese student) and all the plots being absolutely riveting. Nothing specifically amazing, but as a whole a great episode. An episode about brotherhood. Perhaps the quintessential HOMICIDE episode. A-.

9. SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES-Another enjoyable episode. As Howard and Bayliss try to quit smoking. The Asbestos plot-line seems a bit overdone, as nothing more than an excuse for Kotto to chew scenery. But that aside it’s an enjoyable and funny episode. B+.

The DVDs also have a lot of specials. A very intriguing one being the Homicide episode of A&E’s AMERICAN JUSTICE.


1. SEE NO EVIL-A father with cancer wants his son to help him commit suicide, and Pembleton and Bayliss catch an officer involved shooting that smells like murder; and a therapist meets with the cops of Homicide. B+. [This was dangerous daring TV in 1993, so much so that out of the gate it scared the networks, and because of this only had 9 episodes in season 1, and only 4 episodes in season 2 (SEE NO EVIL being the first of those 4), almost not making it to a season 3.]

2. BLACK AND BLUE– The investigation of a police involved shooting takes center stage. And Pembleton alone must hold the line. And the conflict between Giardello and Pembleton is drawn clear. A PHENOMENAL episode. Costars a glowing Julianna Margulies of future ER Fame. And a fantastic ending sequence, one for the books. Director Chris Menaul being a name to watch. This was ground-breaking tv, being one of the the first dramas to have multiple characters of color, and give them all distinct voices and personalities. To make them all human. I think this more than anything else raises this show, and this more than anything else… much like later shows is why they had to fight tooth and nail to keep the show on the air. TV as art. A-.

3. A MANY SPLENDORED THING– There’s a nice 7ish vibe to this episode with a bit of Street Smart tossed in. Pembleston’s speech to Bayliss about virtue and vice is one for the ages. The only thing that slightly sinks this episode is Munch. Really annoying. But episode quickly recovers. Great stuff. And Julia Margulies is glowing as always. A-.

4. BOP GUN-Here is the episode that showed Robin Williams dramatic range. As a tourist who loses everything save his rage.Fascinating, riveting episode. What a way to end season two. And how NBC could let the show disappear for a year from the airwaves before doing more episodes is a crime. The end of a devastating two seasons. A-.

Homicide: Life on the Street – The Complete Series (repackaged)


  1. HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET gets my vote as the best police show ever. One of the things about this show that never gets mentioned is that we get to see a friendship grow, develop and mature between Pembleton and Bayliss. They start out the show barely tolerating each other and through the course of the series we see them become as close as brothers. The only other TV show that I can think of that shows such a friendship build and grow over time is the one between Miles O’Brian and Julian Bashir on DEEP SPACE NINE.

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