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Quick Hits

Homicide: Life on the Street Premiered 28 Years Ago Today

  • On January 31, 1993, NBC premiered Homicide: Life on the Street, a gritty police procedural set in Baltimore that's still regarded as one of the best shows of all time. In particular, it gave us fiery Detective Frank Pembleton, which became the breakout Emmy-winning role for Andre Braugher. 

    The clip above is from the Season 5 episode entitled "The Documentary," where the officers of the BPD  give a particularly unsettling breakdown of what it's like to be in the hot seat in a police interrogation room, and it's easy to see why Braugher was met such critical acclaim as a dramatic actor, and why his comedy work on Brooklyn Nine-Nine plays so well against that image.

    This series also gave us the first appearance of Detective John Munch, as played by Richard Belzer, a character who's enjoyed unprecedented longevity on American television. Once Homicide ended in 1999 after seven seasons, Munch retired from the Baltimore Police Department and transferred to New York to become a regular on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for another 15 seasons. All told, Munch had a run of 22 consecutive seasons on the air (23 if you count his guest apparance in the 17th season). That beats out both Marshall Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke and Frasier Crane of Cheers and Frasier, both of whom were on the air for 20 straight seasons.

    And as they say on TV, that's not all: Munch made guest appearances on ten different shows on five different networks. Homicide crossed over with the original Law & Order a few times, and Law & Order: Trial By Jury was an extension of that, but his bizarre list of other appearances includes The X-Files, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and that other widely acclaimed crime show set in Baltimore, The Wire. He's an absolute linchpin of the St. Elsewhere theory of connected TV universes.

    Homicide: Life on the Streets sadly doesn't seem to be streaming anywhere currently. That should be remedied as soon as possible.

    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Homicide: Life on the Street, Andre Braugher, Richard Belzer