Detroit 1-8-7 Season 1
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Detroit 1-8-7 Season 1
Finding an audience for a new network-TV cop show has always been an upstream swim, and it gets harder every season to hook an audience with the right combination of character study and police procedural. Detroit 1-8-7 very nearly clicked, but ABC pulled its plug after one season when its battle against the current of ratings and critical opinion drowned the show. It's too bad there wasn't more time for Detroit 1-8-7 to settle into its own, because there's plenty to like in this 18-episode package. The concept started as a fake ride-along reality show with the homicide squad of an inner-city precinct in crumbling downtown Detroit. ABC scuttled the premise (though there are a few leftovers of what the style might have been in the first two episodes) and redirected the format into an old-school, gritty, tough-talking profile of the detectives, the grisly murders they clean up, and the messy personal lives that intertwine with the job. The jittery, kinetic, handheld style that's become pretty much the standard of modern cop shows is employed efficiently in bringing Detroit to life. The show was filmed on location and uses the blighted city's urban decay to great effect, making Detroit a primary character in itself. The other star of Detroit 1-8-7 is Michael Imperioli as Det. Louis Fitch, a grizzled veteran with a 1,000-yard stare and a knack for police work that is clearly his only interest in life. The show largely is Imperioli and it wouldn't even have lasted as long as it did without his authoritative presence and charismatic influence. There's a mystery behind Fitch that worms its way through the season. It's a secret he's carrying that drove him out of New York, where he first drew accolades as an uncompromising cop with morals of steel and a will to win. In fact each character has a thematic arc that stretches across all 18 episodes, some of which are intermingled. Second to Imperioli in making the show crackle is James McDaniel, who brings the cred of his years playing Lt. Fancy on NYPD Blue (the show to which this and all other aspiring cop dramas bow down) as the lifer looking forward to retirement with excitement and trepidation. Fitch's new partner is a rookie detective named Washington (Jon Michael Hill) who often suffers the brunt of Fitch's cranky moods (he also has the bad luck to get shot on his first day). The squad is rounded out by the beautiful, tough-as-nails Det. Sanchez (Natalie Martinez); Det. Stone (D.J. Cotrona), a hunky ex-narcotics officer who's carrying a bounty on his head; the suave, womanizing Indian-American Det. Mahajan (Shaun Majumder); and Lt. Maureen Mason (Aisha Hinds), the boss who runs her squad with firm, convincing expertise. The very nature of the cop show configuration brings a stocklike quality to ensembles that really can't be helped. But the acting and interaction here is of a consistently high quality and the scripts back them up with plausible crime-scene scenarios. The show is also improved by the kind of personal asides that augment character development without intruding on the kind of realism Detroit 1-8-7 is trying to capture. In addition to the scored musical cues, the episodes are packed with pop songs that are heavy on soul, contemporary rock, and classic R&B, also adding to the urgent sense of street-wise. The DVD package is completely bare bones with no special features or commentary tracks. Fortunately, the episodes speak for themselves, both individually and as a collection that tells the compelling and believable story of a cop shop and its grey-shaded shopkeepers. As a final aside, Detroit 1-8-7 is one of those shows that suffers more than most from the strictures of network standards and practices and the FCC. Because the production is so vibrantly realistic, it rings more glaringly false when the dialogue is limited to TV-approved bad words. The only thing that sometimes feels disingenuous about these cops and criminals is the way they talk. Who knows how Detroit 1-8-7 could have flourished if it had found a home on cable? --Ted Fry
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Note: This television series had only 1 season.
"Detroit 1-8-7" is a police procedural TV series that features three teams of detectives assigned to solve murders. Each episode features two crimes to be resolved usually involving all three teams some alone and some teams collaborating. The city of Detroit with all it's past splendor and current urban decay is highlighted in each episode and is a significant contributor to this shows success.
According to Wikipedia The 1-8-7 of the title is a specific reference to the California Penal Code designation for homicide, which has become a slang term for murder.
Content & Packaging:
4 disks - 18 episodes - first broadcast on ABC September 21, 2010 to March 20, 2011. The season 1 set comes in a solid, standard, snap case - no booklet with cast photos and episode summaries are included - and no extras or interviews - disappointing. Note there was no season 2 of this show.
· The six detectives and their superior play noteworthy roles in each show. The fact is they are all excellent actors and each brings a distinctive perspective to solving murders in a city shrouded with hopelessness and urban decay.
· The creative talent behind the cameras and the writers have make the city of Detroit with all its warts an important center of attention of this show - I would say an indispensable focus.
· The back-story and interactions of the detectives are engaging and believable - contributing to the likeability of the series.
· As mentioned the cast is uniformly excellent. I will single out two actors for special mention: Michael Imperioli as Det. Louis Fitch and Jon Michael Hill as Det. Damon Washington. The caustic and joking interactions between these two detectives are real hidden treasures on the shows.
· A real big thumbs down to the suits that pulled this series after one short season of 18 episodes.
· There were no deleted scenes of extras on the released DVD set.
This is an extraordinary police drama that kept my interest during each episode - a uncommon occurrence for this viewer. If the material interests I highly recommend it.