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I love Homicide: Life on The Streets. It is without a doubt one of my all time favorite shows. Once a year Mrs. Crimespree and I sit down and watch it all beginning to end. Well, I just finished my latest viewing of this work of genius about fifteen minutes ago and some things are rolling around in my head so I thought I would share.

Based on a book by David Simon, the man who would go on to become a modern day hero of the procedural with The Wire and who continues to wow us with Treme, Homicide is all about one unit in the Baltimore police dept.

A critical hit right off, NBC wasn’t sure what to do with it, the first couple seasons were renewed by piece work and till season three it wasn’t really a sure thing. Guest stars helped, but NBC moved the show from night to night, almost sabotaging it.

Homicide endured. Barry Levinson’s vision together with Tom Fontana and others was creating something entirely new on television, a show that felt real, didn’t dress up the fact that these were cops solving murders.

The show’s biggest strength was always the characters, and in that sense the seventh season could be the weakest, but it has some truly stand out moments. But really, watching from episode one it is clear that Frank Pembleton is the guy to watch. Lewis is the heart and the link to the soul on the show, Bayliss is an enigma, sometimes whiny, sometimes strong, but always interesting. Much is comic relief. Beau Felton was the stereotype, hard drinking hard living. Bolander was old school living in the past but still working in the present. Kay Howard while often driving me a bit nuts was a damn fine cop. Croseti, the man added an edge to the early episodes, and until he pissed of someone off camera and was told not to come back , he was a hoot. Even after the actor left the show, the character still made his presence felt.

Later on we had new cops come in, Kellerman added a lot to the show, but it was kind of like replacement guys in the army, you don’t want to get too attached.

The only real flaws that I think exist in the show stem from NBC sticking their noses in and demanding things be added. More women, relationships, sex. Homicide was never meant to be NYPD Blue, which blows after season two.

The show still makes me smile, makes me think and makes me sad.

It also makes me hope that out there on the street we have people like these cops speaking for the dead, and some one like Gee watching over them.