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4.2 out of 5 stars32
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 26 May 2007
Excellent - the best ensemble acting and writing of any US cop show bar none. Still as gripping and moving as I remember from first watching the show on Channel 4 in the mid-90s. And to the best of my knowledge the episodes are presented in the correct order originaly intended by the writing/production team. Its the original transmission order by CBS which was out of order (for Nielsen ratings "sweeps" purposes) and it is that order which gets listed on historical websites about the show. Hence the confusion.
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VINE VOICEon 22 June 2010
I came to Homicide: Life on the Street after watching all of The Wire and reading David Simon's books Homicide and The Corner. It isn't essential to have read the book on which Homicide is based before watching the series, but it is helpful as a lot of the storylines in Season One are lifted directly from the book.

Homicide is clearly a forerunner of The Wire, though given the limitations of its network position it isn't really fair to compare the two directly. The series is a departure from the conventions of the network police drama, mainly in showing the darker sides of police work: the familiarity with death, the banality of murder and its investigation, the institutionalised racism and corruption within the police. It doesn't go nearly as far as The Wire in this respect, but it's still a significant break with typical detective dramas and it feels every bit as fresh now as it must have done when first broadcast - largely because newer shows such as Cold Case and Bones are still peddling the same formulaic plots and characterisations that Homicide reacted against.

Homicide doesn't have the sheer scope and ambition of The Wire. It's a police drama and its focus is firmly on the police: we don't really encounter anybody else except when they come into contact with the police. The city isn't a character in the way that it is in The Wire and the narrative is less complex, though it still puts most detective dramas in the shade.

Is it as good as The Wire? No. For all its qualities, Homicide is still a network police drama. The Wire is much more than that, and in many ways the comparison isn't a fair one. It's best to watch Homicide for what it is: one of the best and most sophisticated police dramas that the networks have yet produced and are likely to produce for some time to come. Maybe the best tribute I can pay to it is that of all the police dramas I've seen since watching The Wire, Homicide is the only one that still feels satisfying.
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on 6 February 2008
Highly recommended, this is a 13 part first season of Homicide - Life On the Street - which gives the viewers fully realised characters, hard hitting story lines and a look at the day to day frustrations and triumphs of a murder squad.

Two points - the cases are not closed per episode, there are on going investigations and recurring storylines for the main characters. Also, the pale colour used to film the early episodes on disks 1 to 3 will have many viewers reaching for their remote control to adjust their settings. Do not - all becomes more familiar in disk 4.

Buy this, borrow it or rent it - but see it. It is ground breaking drama at its finest.
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on 21 July 2008
Although I have seen all of the episodes of Homicide it was a long time since I watched the first series. Great characters, stories and acting. A nice helping of laugh-out-loud humour as well. I would say it is probably my favourite "cop" series - up there with the (very different) BBC series "The Cops". Prefer it to "The Wire", though that series gains by being less episodic, letting a main story develop.
As for the question of episode order, well I checked the web sites etc. and concluded that episode 3 on the disk should actually be at episode 9. Big mistake. It makes no sense to watch it in this order, as flashbacks from other shows (4 and 5, say) quite clearly refer to what is in episode 3 on this disk. This episode was transmitted out of order for some reason (it is rather downbeat and atypical, maybe they were concerned about ratings for a new series), and they tacked on a "one night last September" caption at the start of the episode. Watch the series in the order it is presented on these DVDs and enjoy. Terrific!
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on 9 December 2007
I was extremely pleased when I saw that Homicide: Life on the Street was being released in the UK on DVD. I LOVED this misunderstood series when it aired on Sky back in the Nineties. However, I'm disappointed at the complete lack of any extras or bonus footage and features for the UK release. All you get is the episodes. Fortunately, I bought the entire collection in the form of a US Region 1 special edition "File Cabinet" boxed set, which has LOTS of extras and looks just amazing. I would urge that all fans of this series (who want to see some extras) buy it on the US Region 1 discs instead, as the discs seem to work on UK Region 2 players.

The only plus points about the UK releases are the DVD menu presentation and complimenting music on the episode listing screen, which is a darn sight better than the US disc menus which are without music and look very bland. Also, the UK PAL format always looks clearer and sharper than the US NTSC format on our UK TVs.
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on 27 June 2008
Perhaps the best cop series I've ever seen. Highly recommended.

The episodes are not in the wrong order, they are in the order that the producers originally intended, rather than the much-criticised order that they were shown by NBC. NBC often aired them out of order so that more eye-catching episodes were shown during 'sweep' periods.

The quality of the DVD is good and I can't see the need to purchase the American version. I must have recieved a different box to previous buyers, as I can't spot this mythical missing cast member, and wouldn't care so much if I did.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 September 2011
Years before The Wire became cult viewing NBC aired Homicide: Life On The Street, a series adapted from David Simon's 1991 book Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets. Homicide was a solide police procedural which didn't impress NBC initially. The first season had nine episodes, with a further four in season two. The series ran for seven seasons and the first two of them are presented in this boxset of thirteen episodes, even though the DVD title only mentions Season
The fictional Baltimore Homicide Unit is home to Detectives Meldrick Lewis (Clark Johnson), Steve Crosetti (Jon Polito), John Munch (Richard Belzer), Stanley Bolander (Ned Beatty), Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor), Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher), Kay Howard (Melissa Leo) and Beau Felton (Daniel Baldwin) fall under the command of Lieutenant Al Giardello (Yaphet Kotto). With a wealth of guest actors appearing, the foundations are made to create a gem of a series.
Channel Four aired the series and shunted it around their schedule in the 90s and the series also had an extremely overdue rerun in recent years on ITV4. I found the first two series (presented in this boxset) as extremely difficult to maintain my interest. I am glad that I persevered with the programme as it became essentail viewing with my desire to quickly obtain the next boxset. The regular cast shine with the top notch guests to display some of America's finest television.
Notable guest stars include Julianna Margulies (one year before her ER role), Robin Williams (who received an Emmy Award nomination for his Homicide episode), Lee Tergesen (Oz), Edie Falco (Oz, The Sopranos), Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy) among others. Semi regular Zeljko Ivanek (Oz, 24) stars as prosecutor Ed Danvers.
If you have never seen an episode of Homicide, you're in for a treat.
If you have, this is certainly a boxset that would a welcome addition to any collection.
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on 8 January 2011
After seeing the whole of The Wire, some of the CSI series and some of Law and Order, I couldn't resist this at the price. Though it is very early ninties it is an exceptional cop show with tremendous character development as it goes along. So much character development that it reminded me very much of The Wire (it's even set in Baltimore). Gripping story lines (murder of a child as one example), carry on through the episodes and the cops do not always prevail. What raises a smile to your face, apart from the splendid occasional humour by the writers, is the fact that this 1st series at least, is pre DNA so the cops have to rely on old fashioned detective skills a little more than current shows. I'm almost done with series 1 after watching it it in 3 hours stints. Hope the following 5 series are as good!!
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on 21 January 2010
Watching Homicide is like watching the evolution of The Wire.

I remember many of my friends enthusing about Homicide back in the 1990s but I never got into it. As a massive fan of The Wire, however, I became curious about what I'd missed.

The similiarites between the two shows are ever-present. Not just the locations and the characters, but also much of the camera style, use of music, dialogue and the way the plots play out. You could almost see this as a dress rehersal.

Homicide also has the "slow-burning" quality of The Wire. The first few episodes don't immediately feel like they grab you, but by the time you've watched half a dozen you find yourself hooked.

The show is well into its stride midway through this season - but it really starts hitting its peak in Season Two as the characters mature and the production becomes more confident in itself.

Homicide is utterly ground-breaking and unlike anything that came before it - going places that even the daddy of them all, Hill Street Blues, didn't manage.Homicide's unrelenting emphasis on gritty realism can make it difficult to watch at times. But despite being a bit challenging on the viewer - especially at the outset - it's ultimately thoroughly rewarding and well worth sticking with.
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on 18 October 2010
This series is superb. The ensemble acting and camera work are so good it is hard to believe this is art not reality. The stories are fantastic full of uncertainties and the many loose ends add to the realism. It knocks most British cops shows out of the water, and is at the other end of the spectrum from the slick CSI style of many American series. It is up there with The Wire and Deadwood in the ¨as good as it gets¨ category. Who cares that there are no extras on the DVDs it is still great value anyway. Don't miss it.
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