Homicide: Life on the Street debuted on NBC, when it's 'sister series' Law & Order was in its 3rd season, taking viewers to Baltimore, with a new group of detectives, played by a great cast!
Leading the squad was Yaphet Kotto (Alien) as Lt. Al Giardello (called G by his officers), with Andre Braugher as Detective Frank Pembleton, who took rookie detective Tim Bayliss, played by Kyle Secor, under his wing. Other detectives who partnered up in the first two years of Homicide included Detective Stanley Bolander (Ned Beatty), twice-divorced, cynical wise-cracker Detective John Munch (played by Richard Belzer, who later reprised Munch on Law & Order; Special Victims Unit), Detective Meldrick Lewis (Clark Johnson), Italian Detective Steve Crosetti (Jon Polito), tough female cop Detective Kay Howard (Melissa Leo), and troubled family man Detective Beau Felton (Daniel Baldwin). These varied detectives investigated 2-3 cases in one episode, making a very different style for the series from Law & Order, though it was just as hard-hitting and gritty as the 4-series franchise.
Also filled with recurring support characters, such as politically-minded college educated but inexperienced Col. Barnfather (Clayton LeBoeuf), shot blind Officer Chris Thormann (Lee Tergesen), and sexist/ racist Irish Officer/Detective Roger Gaffney who, IMHO, wouldn't know a murder victim from a Pop Tart. These last 3 characters recurred frequently throughout the entire series, and (to my disappointment) Gaffney never got killed. Oh well.
Special bonus! Robin Williams guest stars in a 2nd season episode as a tourist whose wife is gunned down in front of him and his two kids while vacationing in Baltimore.
Like L&O, Homicide was shot on location in Baltimore, lending an air of authenticity to the series. Sadly, the Fells Point police station this series was filmed in is now closed down, though tourists can still see it, and go to the Waterfront Bar, which Lewis, Bayliss, and Munch bought in Season 3, which sells Homicide merchandise!
This was the beginning of a great series, and you'll enjoy the hours spent watching it, instead of watching these stupid reality shows that are polluting the airways now. Send a message to Hollywood! Buy the DVD sets, and don't watch reality shows!!!