NYC 22 is the latest network cop show from CBS. Set in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood the show is the brainchild of writer Richard Price, who wrote such Crimezine classics as: The Wanderers, Clockers, Mad Dog Glory the Color of Money and several episodes of cult crime show The Wire. It is the kind of track record that demands Crimeziners set their DVR’s for CBS at ten Sundays.
The show is produced by Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions and based, in part, on Price’s childhood experiences growing up in the Bronx. Now the idea of a show featuring rookie cops is a cliché amongst crime show clichés. We have already had The Rookies, ABC’s Rookie Blue, the Ethan Hawke vehicle Training Day and enough Police Academy movies to last several lifetimes.
So when Crimezine heard that NYC 22 a show featuring “fresh-faced recruits thrown in at the deep end” was about to air, we half expected that Thaddeus Harris and the Academy regulars would be back for an “hilarious” reprise of their eighties antics in: Police Acadamy umpteen—Life on the Street. It is with great relief we can inform you that this is not the case.
The sexual tensions amongst the young and for the most part dazzlingly do-able cast are a major theme—all the old school cops seem to mysteriously hate the newbies. The oldsters are all without exception hideously old and ugly, Like, Ewwwwww!
Ethnic and racial diversity amongst the recruits is so finely balanced, it borders on the ridiculous. NYPD’s diversity department and network marketers must have spent hours slapping themselves on the back at how “Inclusive” this show is. Nothing innately wrong with inclusive, but it is seriously overdone here, giving the show a glossy manufactured vibe that distracts.
In many ways the show mirrors the characterization of Sci-fi Super hero’s the X-men. Blonde cutsie-pie Jennifer Leelee Sobieski who served as MP in Iraq (yeah right!)has the powers of pulchritude. African American Jayson “Jackpot” Toney has the powers of a former basketball star (Zzzzz). Ahmad Khan an Afghan refugee has the ability to communicate with NYC cabbies in their native Lingo and Ray ‘Lazarus’ Harper, a former newspaper hack, has the powers of looking rumpled and being a disgrace to his family (chortle).
The plots you will have seen a zillion times before, Cagney and Lacey NYPD Blue, etc, etc. The first episode dealt with Gang violence, Domestic violence and a particularly unlikely protection scam. It has to be said that Mr Price has done a marvelous job at putting fresh spin on the delivery of time worn cop show themes, despite a sense of deja vu that is at times overwhelming this show is fast paced and watchable. There is even a teasing promise that certain crimes will be ‘carried over’ to make the series more involving in future episodes.
Crimezine also likes the beat-cop angle to this show—nice to see junior officers hitting the streets fighting crime, rather than sitting around in patrol cars. Special word goes out to Terry Kinney in his portrayal of Daniel “Yoda” Dean, the man charged with keeping the whole motley crew in order. Strongly reminiscent of Joe Wambaugh’s legendary Oracle from the Hollywood Station novels, Dean plays an Irascible supervisor, who ferries his rookies around the mythical 22nd Precinct with all the patience of an ill tempered high-school football coach.
Initial ratings for NYC22 have been described as “disappointing’, so if you want to catch it you better catch it now… later Crimeziners.