Thursday, July 18, 2013

Homicide: Life on the Street

Homicide: Life on the street premiered in 1993, I was 9 when it debuted. I don't remember a whole lot but I was mesmerized from episode 1. I was always the person who was watching stuff they shouldn't be watching or listening to music they shouldn't be hearing. But Homicide was different it didn't rely on the cheap tricks of over the top violence, blowing crap up or even language. It was a show based on characters and emotion. I was hooked. The grittiness of the direction and the visuals alone were worth the then 46 minutes I gave up on my Friday nights.  Then when you add in the actors and actresses that would for me be forever synonymous with these characters I was drawn to it even more.

To me the heart and soul of the show was the next 5 actors.

Andre Braugher as the holier than now Frank Pembleton. He can do no wrong and he can never be wrong. Braugher ate up every piece of dialogue given to him and created a masterpiece. He set the bar of what an actor should be like or should want to be like. I never once saw him give a bad performance in the show, hell even now he still demands a type of precise that so called movie stars demand.

Kyle Secor as the very new kid on the block Tim Bayliss. He was given the important assignment of being Pembleton's partner. He was a sometimes unsure of himself, what he believed in, whether or not people can change. He was a nice balance to Pembleton.   Bayliss was my personal favorite character and still to this day I hope to marry Kyle.

Richard Belzer as the dark, twisted, conspirator John Munch.  Munch was a man of many opinions. Some of which were outlandish and some which were probably correct. He was a many that spoke his mind no matter what or who he was talking to.     At this point I think Richard headstone will read Richard Belzer as played by John Munch.

Clark Johnson as laid back Meldrick Lewis. Lewis was the fast talker, cool cat of the squad. Always dressed real nice with what seemed like a different hat in each episode. He was never one to let emotion control the investigation unlike some of his fellow detectives.

Yaphet Kotto as the man in charge Lt. Al Giardello. He was tough as nails on the outside and a big teddy bear on the inside. He was the man who controlled his squad by not controlling it. He let them be themselves until it was no longer an option.

To me this next group of actors and actresses where always able to hold their own against anybody. There were times they made me forget that there were other actors on the screen.

Melissa Leo, Daniel Baldwin, Ned Beatty, Jon Polito, Michelle Forbes, Reed Diamond, Jon Seda, Callie Thorne, Peter Gerety, Isabella Hoffman, Max Perlich, Toni Lewis, Michael Michele and Giancarlo Esposito. Zeljko Ivanek.

Homicide was a show that went on for 7 seasons and a movie. It was a show that always struggled in ratings. I will never understand that. Even now it is a show that is better than 99 percent of the crap that is on right now. It was a show that was way ahead of it's time, even now I don't think it would be appreciated. Some of the standout episodes to me will always be the Pilot, Three Men and Adena, The Documentary, Kaddish, Subway, The Twenty Percent Solution, Lines of Fire. Every cross over episode with Law & Order, Every Red Ball, 2 parter or 3 parter. Okay there isn't a bad episode of Homicide. Even if it was an "off" episode it was still great. I go back and watch the entire series at least twice a year sometimes more. It never fails to grip me or entertain me. There are parts that I will cry at still to this day. Not sure how many shows can say they have that kind effect on me. Maybe because I was so young when I first started watching it or the fact that I had tape's EVERY single episode. I would rewatch and rewatch. I would watch live and tape at the same time. 

It was a show that will forever be the highlight of my childhood and even now at 30 I look forward to watching it. When I see the actors in other things or when their name pops up as a producer, writer or director it makes me smile. They may have gone on to do bigger and better things but to me they will always be from Homicide. I have gone on to follow most of the actors in what they do. Kyle in just about every guest role he has done on TV. How he doesn't have his own show or at the very least a series regular role is beyond me.  Callie Thorne went from Homicide to episodes of The Wire. Rescue Me to USA's Necessary Roughness. Reed Diamond will forever be Mike Kellerman to me. Everytime I see him in anything I think he is the bad guy. Also always see the image of him shooting the powerful Luther Mahoney. 
Homicide should go down as one of the best dramas of all time. I would put it #1. But as you can see from above there is nothing this show can do wrong in my eyes. It will forever be the bar I hold TV shows too.