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A&E Home Video presents
Homicide: Life on the Street—The Complete Third Season (1994-1995)

"We're detectives, homicide detectives. We never give any good news to anyone, ever."
- John Munch (Richard Belzer)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: November 09, 2003

Stars: Daniel Baldwin, Ned Beatty, Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Isabella Hofmann, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto, Melissa Leo, Kyle Secor
Other Stars: Zeljko Ivanek, Mary B. Ward, Ami Brabson, Clayton LeBouef, Tony Todd, Lucinda Jenney, Steve Buscemi, Al Freeman Jr., Gerald F. Gough, Joe Morton, Lauren Tom, Harlee McBride, Nancy Marchand, Gloria Reuben, David Morse, Bruno Kirby, Richard Edson
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (television material suitable for all but young children)
Run Time: 16h:09m:00s
Release Date: October 28, 2003
UPC: 733961709810
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A+B+B+ B-

DVD Review

Homicide: Life on the Street aired only 13 episodes during its first two seasons and barely survived cancellation from NBC during both years. Surprisingly, the network actually decided to renew the series for an almost-full season of 20 episodes in the fall of 1994. This lengthier and specific timeframe allowed the writers to craft ongoing stories that significantly expanded each character. The result was the series' most consistent and satisfying year in which nearly every tale provided classic moments. Future seasons would crank up the emotions and use even more tense story lines, but they never quite matched the solid creative output of the show's first long season.

The ensemble cast received several major changes this season on prompts from network executives. Isabella Hofmann joined the cast as Lieutenant Megan Russert in an effort to spice up the series' sex appeal. While she does a great job and provides an interesting counterpoint to Yaphet Kotto's Al Giardello, I'm not sure if she did much to provide a steamier atmosphere. Sadly, Jon Polito received his walking papers from the network due to "differences" on the set. Rumors did arise that NBC axed him due to his excessive weight, but nothing has been confirmed. Detective Crosetti's gruff charm is missed this season, but his departure does generate one of the show's most gripping episodes. The remainder of the cast stays intact and continues to provide one of television's best ensembles.

Following Robin Williams' attention-grabbing role in Bop Gun, this season continues the tradition and includes numerous, wonderful guest actors. Lucinda Jenney spices up the white-gloves trilogy as an apparently schizophrenic serial killer. Her ultimate confrontation with Pembleton disturbs the normally arrogant detective for a long time. Acclaimed character actor Joe Morton deftly plays crusading journalist Sam Thorne across two stories. Steve Buscemi also adds another lowlife to his resume as a suspected shooter of three detectives. Other noteworthy appearances include Nancy Marchand as a distraught parent, Al Freeman Jr. as the conniving deputy commissioner, Tony Lo Bianco as Bolander's famed ex-partner, and Tim Russert as Megan's cousin (as himself).

Homicide's third season retains the gritty, realistic atmosphere and emphasis on character over action scenes. However, significant modifications were made to the series' original concept to make it easier for casual viewers. The first change is the emphasis on "red ball" cases, which involve the entire department working towards a single case and setting aside all their other activities. It is no coincidence that the season's largest ratings occurred for the "white gloves murders" and "detectives shootings" episodes. The producers have also toned down the chaotic hand-held filming style that characterized earlier seasons. The new visual tone remains inventive but is a bit less disorienting now. Plots have also become a bit more linear and usually end after one or two episodes. Luckily, the series' clever humor and original spirit are stronger than ever.

Supported by a new group of talented writers, these episodes bring us closer to the personalities of each detective and the difficulties of working among the dead. Beau Felton (Daniel Baldwin) must deal with his wife and kids' departure and turns to alcohol for solace. Kay Howard (Melissa Leo) returns home to escape the city's harsh realities and discovers things aren't so different. Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher) questions his Catholic faith when an evil murderer goes unpunished, and quits following a betrayal from the bosses. These are just a few of the countless interesting developments included on this release. Ned Beatty and Daniel Baldwin shine in their final seasons and craft performances among the best on television. Richard Belzer provides plenty of humor as Munch, and Clark Johnson again makes Lewis a fascinating individual. As ever, holding everything together is Yaphet Kotto's commanding presence as the forthright and dedicated Giardello.

Homicide: Life on the Street—The Complete Third Season (Episode Descriptions)

Nearer My God to Thee
Directed By: Tom Hunter
Written By: Jorge Zamacona and Tom Fontana (story)
Guest Stars: Tony Todd as Matt Rhodes, Mary B. Ward as Beth Felton, Walt MacPherson as Detective Roger Gaffney, Beau Jones as Detective Higby, Pamela Payton-Wright as Sister Magdalena Weber

The third season immediately beings with a red-ball case that showcases the more linear story lines of this season. Luckily, the compelling dramatic writing remains and leads to an excellent opening tale. The recently named "Samaritan of the Year" is found dead in a dumpster wearing only a pair of white cotton gloves. A "red ball" investigation commences that involves both squads, including the other shift's new commander, Megan Russert. She immediately faces tremendous pressure from the bosses and gets refreshing assistance from Giardello. The primary investigator is the bigoted Roger Gaffney, who seriously clashes with Pembleton over various issues. Felton faces marital troubles and pulls Howard right into the middle of it. In less troubling news, Munch and Lewis plan to buy the Waterfront Bar, which leads to one of the season's most entertaining running stories.

This impressive beginning to a three-part story earns 4 out of 5 guns.





Fits Like a Glove
Directed By: Ted Demme
Written By: Bonnie Mark, Tom Fontana (story), and Julie Martin (story)
Guest Stars: Tony Todd as Matt Rhodes, Mary B. Ward as Beth Felton, Walt MacPherson as Detective Roger Gaffney, Pamela Payton-Wright as Sister Magdalena Weber

The white gloves murder investigation continues and heats up even more when another body is discovered. This victim also appears in a dumpster under the same conditions as the first body. Pembledon takes over the case when Gaffney makes a possible disastrous mistake and then rudely insults Lieutenant Russert. She also must battle journalist Matt Rhodes and try to keep the pivotal elements away from the public. The case grows extremely difficult for Pembleton and his struggling Catholic faith. Meanwhile, our prospective bar owners submit their applications to the liquor board, but a problem from Bayliss' past make it more than a simple formality. Serving as the middle segment of a three-part tale, this entry deftly keeps the story moving forward towards the gripping conclusion.

This solid episode nicely sets up the tense conclusion and rates 3 out of 5 guns.





Extreme Unction
Directed By: Keith Gordon
Written By: Keith Mano, Tom Fontana (story), and James Yoshimura (story)
Guest Stars: Lucinda Jenney as Annabella Wilgis, Tony Todd as Matt Rhodes, Mary B. Ward as Beth Felton, Pamela Payton-Wright as Sister Magdalena Weber, Zeljko Ivanek as Ed Danvers

Pembleton finally gets the "white gloves" killer in the box, but this adversary may not bend to his skills. Annabella Wilgis enters the precinct as a witness, but clues reveal that she may be closer to the case than initially expected. Guest star Lucinda Jenney (The Shield) wonderfully conveys Wilgis' disorder that confounds our esteemed detective. The case's frustrating result causes Pembleton to doubt his Catholic faith and belief that God will punish evil. In other stories, Bayliss continues to supercede his "silent partner" role in buying the bar, which irritates Munch and Lewis to no end. Felton must also decide what to do about his marriage. This episode offers a tense interrogation that once again showcases the series' brilliant writing. Braugher gives one of his best performances and will continue to play a more central role as the season progresses.

A frustrating yet remarkable conclusion to the trilogy. This one rates 4 out of 5 guns.





Crosetti
Directed By: Whitney Ransick
Written By: James Yoshimura, Tom Fontana (story), and James Yoshimura (story)
Guest Stars: Lee Tergesen as Officer Chris Thorman, Edie Falco as Eva Thorman, Heather Brown as Beatrice, Joey Perillo as Bernard Munch
In one of the series' most emotionally powerful tales, the detectives are shocked to discover that Detective Steve Crosetti has died. All of the initial evidence points to suicide, and Bolander investigates the case in typical fashion. However, Lewis refuses to believe that his partner will take his own life. Each individual must deal with the loss of a fellow detective, and the writing stings while remaining realistic. Lewis reveals an unwielding devotion to Crosetti, while Bolander also supports his colleague by acting completely differently. Pembleton also receives scorn for refusing to attend the funeral mass. However, his final action showcases his strong feelings and provides a wonderfully touching conclusion.

Clark Johnson's top-notch performance is just one of this episode's numerous classic elements. A perfect 5 out of 5 guns is awarded to a top-10 caliber episode.





The Last of the Watermen
Directed By: Richard Pearce
Written By: Henry Bromell and Tom Fontana
Guest Stars: John Dossett as Chick, Michael Currie as Wesley Howard, Gareth Williams as Chris Haskett, John C. Hansen as Josh Howard, Jan Austell as Harlan, Harlee McBride as Dr. Alyssa Dyer

An especially grisly murder is the last straw for Howard, and she decides to visit her family's coastal home. While the saddening tunes of the Counting Crows Raining in Baltimore plays, she leaves the nasty city and reunites with past friends. Unfortunately, home isn't the ideal place she anticipates, and residents are struggling with divorces and nasty economy. Howard also must use her detective skills to assist in solving a local murder. Back in Baltimore, Pembleton must partner with Felton, strongly against his wishes, and they immediately clash over ideologies. However, they actually end up getting along better than expected. This story provides an interesting look at Howard's background and finally gives Melissa Leo a deserved showcase episode. The murder story line feels a bit contrived, but it does provide some effective human moments.

This solid episode earns 3 out of 5 guns.





A Model Citizen
Directed By: John McNaughton
Written By: Noel Behn, Tom Fontana (story), Jorge Zamacona (story)
Guest Stars: Joe Morton as Sam Thorne, Laurie Kennedy as Felicity Weaver, Lauren Tom as Emma Zoole, Michael Willis as Darin Russom

In an effort to spice up their November sweeps ratings, NBC moved forward this sexier episode and the next, Happy To Be Here. Unfortunately, it also prematurely revealed Crosetti's death and mixes up the story order. Lewis finds love at first sight with the attractive and morbid crime scene reconstructor, Emma Zoole. However, she falls for Bayliss, which creates a rift between the two detectives. We also meet the excellent Joe Morton as crusading journalist Sam Thorne, who plays a key role in the next episode. In other news, Pembleton and Russert must deal with a civil-rights lawsuit from the "white gloves" murderer. Munch also has a silly experience attending alcohol awareness class. This tale feels similar to a first-season episode with its multiple story lines that combine into a coherent whole. The most interesting portion concerns an accidental shooting within a home between two brothers. Munch and Howard struggle to remove the gun in a rare case that actually does not involve a homicide.

Numerous storylines combine well in this interesting episode, which earns 3.5 out of 5 guns.





Happy to Be Here
Directed By: Lee Bonner
Written By: Julie Martin, Tom Fontana (story)
Guest Stars: Joe Morton as Sam Thorne, Maggie Rush as Monica Thorne, Darryl LeMont Wharton as Matt Cameron, Lauren Tom as Emma Zoole, Ruben S. Brown as Dwight, Bruce Dworkin as Liquor Store Clerk

Giardello's friend, Sam Thorne, is murdered by a teenage kid in public while eating lunch. Following the shooting, the young man actually takes the time to pay for a mint while departing. He commits a murder to buy a new bicycle but won't steal a mint, which presents an odd contradiction. Meanwhile, Bayliss confronts Emma Zoole's boyfriend and quickly decimates any hope for the relationhip. Feeling terrible about his lost love, Bayliss confronts a convenience store owner when his money is 11 cents short. This silly, yet saddening moment reveals how quickly homicide detectives can lose their vision. This story provides a collection of memorable scenes that reveal how remarkably the small things in life can affect us.

Several classic scenes earns this tale 4 out of 5 guns.





All Through the House
Directed By: Peter Medak
Written By: Henry Bromell
Guest Stars: Nancy Marchand as Lorraine Freeman, Ryan Todd as Fidel MacGaffin, Zeljko Ivanek as Ed Danvers, Kevin Cameron as Desmond, Vernon DeVinney as Sam

It's Christmas Eve and the Homicide squad find themselves stuck working at the station. Munch and Bolander investigate the murder of a Salvation Army Santa Claus in the snowy weather. While his partner tries to contact the child welfare people, Munch spends a harrowing night with the victim's son Fidel, and can't seem to find a way to give him the bad news. Russert hits the streets and assists Lewis' investigation of a young female victim. The late Sopranos star Nancy Marchand makes a notable guest appearance as the girl's high-class mother. Back at the station, Bayliss spends the night trying to hustle his fellow detectives at cards and falls victim to Giardello's own hustling talents. This holiday episode manages to inject some enjoyable moments while retaining the series' realistic, gritty style.

Too bad for Bayliss. This episode earns 3 out of 5 guns.





Nothing Personal
Directed By: Tim Van Patten
Written By: Bonnie Mark, Tom Fontana (story), James Yoshimura (story)
Guest Stars: Walt MacPherson as Gaffney, Dean Winters as Tom Marans, Pamela Isaacs as Amanda DeBreaux, Stan King as Bobby

This captivating tale provides a perfect example of the difference between Homicide and other cop shows. NBC actually moved this episode towards the season's tail end for inexplicable reasons and created numerous continuity issues. Giardello finally distributes Crosetti's closed cases and lands a whopper on Howard with the apparently unsolvable Chilton case. Howard strives to maintain her perfect record and prove herself among the male detectives. Sadly, Felton loses a key piece of evidence and draws the ire of his partner. Daniel Baldwin does an excellent job depicting his character's descent into alcohol caused by his wife and kids' disappearance. Yaphet Kotto also showcases more of Giardello's personal frustrations after getting snubbed by Russert's African-American friend. The final scenes between Bolander/Giardello and Russert/Felton provide some of the classic emotional moments of the season.

Another spellbinding episode rates 3.5 out 5 guns.





Every Mother's Son
Directed By: Ken Fink
Written By: Eugene Lee, Tom Fontana (story), James Yoshimura (story)
Guest Stars: Sean Nelson as Ronnie Sayers, Howie Mandel as Interior Decorator, Gay Thomas as Mary Nawls, Rhonda Stubbins White as Patrice Sayers, Helen Carey as Maggie Conroy

Bayliss and Pembleton investigate the distressing shooting of thirteen-year-old boy at a local bowling alley. The murder becomes even more troubling when they learn that the killer is only 14 years old. The kid doesn't understand the big deal because he shot the wrong boy. An especially chilling moment occurs when both boys' mothers have a pleasant conversation without revealing the connection. Meanwhile, the bar owners must leap more hurdles, including a visit from the historical preservation society—George Washington reportedly took a bathroom break at this building, which makes it a landmark. This story is one of the season's best entries and presents a distressing look at lost kids "playing gangsters." Both women portraying the mothers are excellent, and Braugher gives another memorable performance. Belly's melodic track Full Moon, Empty Heart wonderfully complements the action.

This distressing but top-notch story rates 4.5 out of 5 guns.





Cradle to Grave
Directed By: Myles Connell
Written By: David Mills, Tom Fontana (story), James Yoshimura (story)
Guest Stars: Al Freeman Jr. as Deputy Commissioner James Harris, Clayton LeBouef as Captain Barnfather, Dick Stilwell as Congressman Wade

Pembleton becomes embroiled in a political scandal when he trusts the word of Deputy Commissioner James Harris, who offered him a promotion in Season One's And the Rockets' Dead Glare. Congressman Wade reports a kidnapping, but all evidence points to a false report. When Pembleton follows his superior's orders and drops the case, the roof caves around him. Meanwhile, Munch and Lewis investigate a murder among the Deacons biker gang that also involves the FBI. This episode features a noteworthy guest appearance from renowned character actor Al Freeman Jr. as the conniving deputy commissioner. It provides two strong stories that stand well on their own and deliver excellent acting moments.

It's enjoyable to see Munch and Lewis get a prime case. This episode earns 3.5 out of 5 guns.





Partners
Directed By: John McNaughton
Written By: David Rupel, Tom Fontana (story), Julie Martin (story)
Guest Stars: Al Freeman Jr. as Deputy Commissioner James Harris, Robert Clohessy as Doug Jones, Lily Knight as Natalie Jones, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembleton, Sean Whitesell as Dr. Eli Devilbliss

Russert's old partner, Doug Jones, joins her homicide shift and appears to have his life in order. Unfortunately, questions arise when his wife Natalie "falls down the stairs" under suspicious circumstances. Russert grows concerned when evidence appears to indicate domestic violence. Pembleton must decide between choosing telling the truth and saving the department's public image. This episode gives more screen time to Isabella Hofmann in an especially troubling story line. Braugher also reveals more of Pembleton's home life and his cooking troubles. It nicely culminates the previous episode's tale and showcases the bond between police partners.

This solid entry rates 3.5 out of 5 guns.





The City That Bleeds
Directed By: Tim Hunter
Written By: Julie Martin, Jorge Zamacona
Guest Stars: Tony Lo Bianco as Mitch Drummond, Mary B. Ward as Beth Felton, Michael Currie as Wesley Howard, Clayon LeBouef as Captain Barnfather, Gloria Reuben as Detective Theresa Walker

This monumental episode represents the first time that guns have been fired in the series. However, it does not represent any type of "sell out" from the producers and ranks as one of the strongest entries. Bolander, Howard, and Felton also receive serious (possibly) deadly injuries while serving a routine arrest warrant. Sex Crimes detective Theresa Walker assists Pembleton in searching for pedophile Glen Holton—the apparent shooter. Bolander's heralded ex-partner, Mitch Drummond, also returns from the Bomb Squad. While the three detectives' lives hang in the balance, Pembleton and the entire department searches for Holton. Although very traumatic, this intense story develops across three parts and ranks as one of the season's pivotal sequences.

Will all three detectives survive? This traumatic episode rates 4.5 out of 5 guns.





Dead End
Directed By: Whitney Ransick
Written By: Jorge Zamacona, Julie Martin, James Yoshimura (story)
Guest Stars: Tony Lo Bianco as Mitch Drummond, Dana Ivey as Margie Bolander, Michael Currie as Wesley Howard, Clayon LeBouef as Captain Barnfather, Gloria Reuben as Detective Theresa Walker

The shooting plot line continues as the detectives scour the city for Glen Holton. Felton wakes up and comes to some important revelations about his family life. He also feels terrible for allowing Howard to enter the apartment building first. The bosses order Russert to investigate Giardello's handling of the events that led to the shooting. Pembelton and the gang arrest Holton, but soon discover that they may have the wrong guy. The events play out in wonderfully dramatic fashion, culminating in an emotional sequence featuring Lisa Germano's song, The Darkest Night of All.

The aftermath leads to some impressive character development, which leads to 4 out of 5 guns.





End Game
Directed By: Lee Bonner
Written By: Rogers Turrentine, James Yoshimura (story), and Henry Bromell (story)
Guest Stars: Steve Buscemi as Gordon Pratt, Tony Lo Bianco as Mitch Drummond, Dana Ivey as Margie Bolander, Clayon LeBouef as Captain Barnfather, Gloria Reuben as Detective Theresa Walker

Steve Buscemi gives a captivating guest performance as Gordon Pratt, the new prime suspect in the triple shooting. This gun freak claims to be a genius, but his shortcomings are slowly revealed through an intense interrogation. Will Pembleton and his fellow detectives bring Pratt down and gain a confession. This finale to the three-part story reveals severely increased tensions between everyone involved. Munch and Pembleton engage in a war of words that leads to a nasty confrontation. In typical Homicide fashion, this tale ends in unpredictable fashion and creates a new question for the subsequent episode.

Another excellent guest appearance deserves 4 out of 5 guns.





Law and Disorder
Directed By: John McNaughton
Written By: Bonnie Mark, Julie Martin, Henry Bromell (story), James Yoshimura (story)
Guest Stars: Chris Noth as NYPD Detective Mike Logan, John Waters as R. Vincent Smith, Dana Ivey as Margie Bolander, Valerie Perrinne as Brigitta

Tim Bayliss must investigate the murder of Gordon Pratt and receives zero cooperation from his fellow police officers. The squad's own detectives are the prime suspects and give Bayliss little reason to believe their stories. Felton returns from the hospital very quickly and may not be completely ready to assume his role. Additionally, Pembleton and Lewis join together and have very different views about a shooting. Their conflict reveals an intriguing difference between the two guys' viewpoints. Munch also has an embarrassing moment when a photo resurfaces from his hippie days. Kyle Secor does a great job as the exasperated Bayliss and wonderfully showcases his character's emotional difficulties on the case. There's also a quick cameo from Chris Noth as Law and Order's Detective Mike Logan. It lasts for a brief moment, but represents a precursor to the full-fledged crossover episodes of future seasons.

Did one of the detectives kill Gordon Pratt? This decent episode earns 3 out of 5 guns.





The Old and the Dead
Directed By: Michael Fields
Written By: Randall Anderson, Henry Bromell (story), James Yoshimura (story)
Guest Stars: Shawn Hatosy as Lyle Warner, Lyle Kanouse as Bret Blakely, Pete Philopolous as Carl Blakely, Tim Russert as Himself

Howard returns to work and immediately grows angry when her desk is no longer in its proper place. However, following a lucky appearance from a suspect in Pembelton's case, she doesn't seem to mind the new location. Bolander serves as the primary on his first case back, but struggles with recovering his detective skills. Giardello discovers city fraud that could mean the end of Colonel Granger's tenure. Unfortunately, political correctness causes Russert to receive the promotion to captain that Giardello deserves. Ned Beatty and Melissa Leo both do a remarkable job in presenting their characters' determination to return to normal duty. This episode also features a cameo appearance from NBC political host Tim Russert, who is Megan Russert's cousin on the show.

Although not groundbreaking, this episode flows nicely and earns 3 out of 5 guns.





In Search of Crimes Past
Directed By: Ken Fink
Written By: Jane Smiley, Henry Bromell (story), Julie Martin (story)
Guest Stars: Barnard Hughes (Sam O'Donnell), Helen Stenbourg (Isabella Kunkle), Felicia Shankman as Lee Bigalow, Clayon LeBouef as Colonel Barnfather, Jerry Stiller as McGonigle

The desperate daughter of a death-row inmate kidnaps Colonel Barnfather in a last-ditch effort to save her father. Bolander originally investigated the case sixteen years earlier, and tries to discover if he asked the wrong questions. Meanwhile, Munch partners with overzealous bartender Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld) in the microbrewery business, with predictably disastrous results. This story once again reveals Ned Beatty's skills and makes his eventual exit even more unfortunate. Even after the case is resolved, he refuses to rest until his personal questions are settled.

This episode rates 2.5 out of 5 guns.





Colors
Directed By: Peter Medak
Written By: Tom Fontana
Guest Stars: David Morse as Jim Bayliss, Zeljko Ivanek as Ed Danvers, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembleton, Peggy Yates as Maria Delgado, Holly Rudkin as Shannon Bayliss, Makan Shirafkin as Hikmet Gersel

Bayliss becomes personally involved in a case when his cousin Jim shoots a Turkish exchange student who mistakenly arrives at his door. Pembleton investigates the case with his usual demeanor, which creates a serious rift between the partners. Was Jim rightfully defending his home, or did he cross the line because of racist ideas? This emotionally charged episode asks all the tough questions and doesn't pull punches in examining the short-sighted views that still plague our society every day. Both Pembleton and Bayliss' views are understandable, which makes their increasing conflict even more difficult to watch.

This episode stays with you for a long time, and it deserves 4.5 out of 5 guns.





The Gas Man
Directed By: Barry Levinson
Written By: Henry Bromell, Tom Fontana (story)
Guest Stars: Bruno Kirby as Victor Helms Sr., Richard Edson as Danny Newton, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembleton, Tylor Buckalew as Victor Helms Jr.

Directed by Barry Levinson, this tale offers a much different perspective on the Baltimore Homicide Squad. Bruno Kirby and Richard Edson deliver memorable guest performances as a criminal released from prison and his best friend. Kirby's Victor seeks revenge against Pembleton for destroying his life and stalks the detective, searching for a way to both humiliate and kill him. This season finale contains a large collection of '70s music and injects considerable style into the story. The tense last scenes showcase the fragility that exists even in the most powerful detectives.

The third season ends on a very strong note, which rates 4 out of 5 guns.





Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: This collection utilizes the series' original full-frame transfer, but the much granier television images have been cleaned up considerably. A minor amount of fuzziness does exist during a few moments, but it still represents a significant improvement. Homicide incorporates unique visual styles more than a typical television drama, which makes a solid transfer more essential. This release does not disappoint and deserves a commendation.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Each episode appears in a decent 2.0-channel Dolby Surround transfer that rarely disappoints. The dialogue resounds understandly, which is pivotal for a well-written series of this nature. The audio obviously remains pretty centralized, but the jarring sound effects and music do work nicely. These transfers do not match the best television releases, but they remain in the upper echelon.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 160 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
0 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Barry Levinson and Harry Bromell on "Gas Man"
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
6 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. About "The Board"
  2. Song Listing
  3. DVD Production Credits
Extras Review: This six-disc collection includes a few noteworthy extra features in a similar vein to the first release. It still falls short of my expectations, which include commentaries on every episode and a lengthy documentary. Homicide: Life in Season 3 provides a quick 14-minute overview of the season from the writers and executive producers. Daniel Baldwin narrates the feature, which discusses the pivotal episodes and difficulty in promoting the show. Interviews with Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana, Henry Bromell, and James Yoshimura enlighten us slightly, but still never go far enough to really satisfy devout viewers.

The other significant extra feature is a commentary from executive producers Levinson and Bromell on the season finale, The Gas Man. They discuss the major differences between this entry and others by its focus away from the homicide detectives. Believing it might be the series' last episode, Levinson returned to direct, and created an especially inventive tale. Bromell wrote the story and was excited to follow criminals while they observe our heroes. Neither guy has viewed the episode since its completion, which makes the experience less exciting for us. The commentary inclusion is still worthwhile, but it falls short in terms of providing fascinating material.

The remaining supplements include song listings, cast and crew biographies, and an About the Board text description. The music lists from each episode are refreshing considering the show's impressive use of tunes to complement the story.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Homicide: Life on the Street would continue to provide compelling drama through four more seasons and a television movie. Intriguing characters like Reed Diamond's Mike Kellerman, Jon Seda's Paul Falsone, and Callie Thorne's Laura Ballard would join the cast and work from the foundation of the early cast. The series' third season is easily its most consistent and marks the last moments for two pivotal actors—Ned Beatty and Daniel Baldwin. Both grew tired of the constant network uncertainty and vowed never to work in television again. Their loss was unfortunate and took a bit to overcome, but the show rarely faltered in its subsequent years.

 


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