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A&E Home Video presents
Homicide: Life on the Street—The Complete Fourth Season (1995-1996)

"Death is so weird. You just squeeze a trigger and kill a person with so little effort. What's that like to be so empty of compassion? To take a life in your hands and just pop, pop, pop. No fear of hell. No fear of lethal injection. No fear at all."
- Detective Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor)

Review By: Dan Heaton  
Published: April 28, 2004

Stars: Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Reed Diamond, Isabella Hofmann, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto, Melissa Leo, Kyle Secor
Other Stars: Max Perlich, Zeljko Ivanek, Ami Brabson, Clayton LeBouef, Walt MacPherson, Illeana Douglas, Marcia Gay Harden, Mandy Patinkin, Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin, Benjamin Bratt, Jerry Orbach, Jill Hennessy, Bruce Campbell, Chris Rock, The Reverend Horton Heat, Peter Gerety, Erik Todd Dellums
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (television material suitable for all but young children)
Run Time: 17h:12m:00s
Release Date: March 30, 2004
UPC: 733961711141
Genre: television


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

DVD Review

The first three seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street followed a tumultuous path where imminent cancellation was always a possibility. Tremendous critical acclaim was gained by the nine episodes of the opening year, but the ratings did not match NBC's lofty expectations. Only four episodes aired during the subsequent year and the show's cast and crew became especially irritated with the lack of network support. Amazingly, the third season was ordered with 20 episodes, but NBC continued to shy away from promoting the series on the level of its other dramas. Thanks mainly to the overwhelming success of NYPD Blue, cop shows were a valued commodity, and this lead to another renewal, but several major cast members would not return.

Stanley Bolander (Ned Beatty) and Beau Felton (Daniel Baldwin) faced serious difficulties in the past year, which lead to numerous compelling moments. Both detectives were severely wounded in a shooting that also involved Kay Howard (Melissa Leo). Felton's marriage also fell apart, partially due to his affair with Megan Russert (Isabella Hofmann). His wife and kids fled the house, which left him a depressed individual prone to excessive drinking. Beatty and Baldwin both performed superbly during the third season, but the actors became extremely frustrated with the network dealings. Both swore never to do another television series, and they departed the show for good. The writers decided to "suspend" the characters for 22 weeks following crazy activities during a police convention, a clever nod at the length of a television season. Although they would never appear on another episode, their characters remained a part of the series by association. The actors would return to the roles in the concluding Homicide: The Movie in 2000.

Homicide's fourth season represents a transition year for a series that began as one of television's most innovative dramas. Catering to requests from network executives, the writers again toned down the ongoing storylines and brought resolution to more cases. They also added some sensational aspects, with episodes including a gas-station serial killer, rooftop snipers, a recurring evil drug dealer, and other more action-packed events. However, many of these stories rank among the best of the series and include plenty of fascinating moments. The focus still remains on characters talking and doesn't waver into generic cop fare. The detectives are still haunted by past experiences, including Tim Bayliss' (Kyle Secor) problems with the Adena Watson case and Meldrick's thoughts about his former partner Crosetti, who committed suicide. We also witness some wonderful guest performances from Marcia Gay Harden, Lily Tomlin, Erik Todd Dellums, Bruce Campbell, and numerous others that keeps things fresh each time.

The major new cast addition is Reed Diamond as the energetic young Detective Mike Kellerman, who joins the cast following the two-part season premiere. His arrival initially appears to show the creators catering to the network, but Diamond actually brings considerable value to the show. Kellerman teams with Lewis to provide a much-different team dynamic than the Pembleton-Bayliss partnership. Max Perlich also makes a series of guest appearances as the photographer J.H. Brodie, who would official join the regular cast next season. The rest of the cast remains solid, with Clayton LeBoeuf and Walt MacPherson providing support as the meddling bosses. Zeljko Ivanek also continues as Assistant States Attorney Ed Danvers and often must give the bad news to our tenacious detectives.

The final item worthy of mention is the first crossover episode with the more-popular and less-risky Law and Order. This combination brings characters from both shows to the other city, and the result was a ratings boon for NBC. The contradictions between each style were evident during these stories, which would occur again several times in subsequent years. On to the episode summaries!


Fire, Part 1
Directed By: Don Scardino
Written By: Julie Martin
Guest Stars: Clayton LeBouef as Colonel Barnfather, Walt MacPherson as Roger Gaffney, Tara Henson as Lisa DeNardi

The season begins with two major departures: Beau Felton (Daniel Baldwin) and Stanley Bolander (Ned Beatty) have been suspended for exactly 22 weeks due to some crazy activities at a police convention. Bayliss and Pembleton join with arson investigator Mike Kellerman to investigate a warehouse fire that killed a teenager. Their styles contrast sharply, which forces Giardello to step in and force them to work together. Pembleton hesitates while chasing a suspect, and then reveals to his partner that his wife is pregnant. He also swears Bayliss to secrecy about the entire matter. The killer continues to go free, and a second fire reveals the possibility of a serial arsonist.

Reed Diamond's Kellerman nicely clashes with the typical Homicide detective style. The season premiere earns 4 out of 5 guns.





Fire, Part 2
Directed By: Nick Gomez
Written By: Jack Behr
Guest Stars: Adam Trese as Gavin Robb, Harlee McBride as Dr. Alyssa Dyer, Pat McNamara as Mike Kellerman Sr.

The concluding act of the opening two-parter begins with the detectives investigating a second warehouse fire. Russert makes a deal to get Giardello another detective, but they must put this case down for it to happen. Howard takes the Sergeant's exam, and Munch fails to show for the test. Meanwhile, persistent police work on the arson finally leads to Gavin Robb, a young chemist with no prior criminal record. The unproven Kellerman gets him in the box and hopes to uncover a confession. This top-notch episode is even better than its predecessor and includes some great work from Reed Diamond. His internal conflict about joining the Homicide squad is especially effective, leading to a powerful finale.

The writers remain at the top of their game. This entry rates 4.5 out of 5 guns.





Autofocus
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Written By: Bonnie Mark
Guest Stars: Ileanna Douglas as Gina Doolen, Max Perlich as Brodie, Fisher Stevens as Jonathan Heine

The detectives must deal with an awkward environment when a gas leak forces them to relocate to an old bank nearby. Howard becomes a sergeant and immediately faces resistance from Lewis when she tries to help. Lewis and Kellerman partner for the first time on a mysterious purse-snatching of an elderly woman. Novice TV news cameraman J.H. Brodie may have filmed the killers, but submitting the tape could cost him his job. This episode reveals yet another chilling visage of young people having "fun" committing murder. It also marks the beginning of the Lewis/Kellerman partnership, which lasts over the next few seasons and nicely contrasts with the Pembleton/Bayliss duo.

This solid episode rates 3.5 out of 5 guns.





A Doll's Eyes
Directed By: Kenneth Fink
Written By: James Yoshimura
Guest Stars: Marcia Gay Harden as Joan Garbarek, Gary Basaraba as Paul Garbarek, Sean Whitesell as Dr. Eli Devilbliss, Mandy Patinkin as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger

In one of the series' most emotionally draining episodes, a young boy is shot accidentally at the mall and declared brain dead. While Pembleton and Bayliss investigate the crime, they also must assuage the grieving parents who must decide the boy's fate. Marcia Gay Harden and Gary Basaraba give wonderful guest performances and deliver touching, realistic performances. There's nothing easy about viewing this episode, but it does at least provide a partially happy ending.

Few shows have the guts to make a challenging episode of this high quality. It receives 4.5 out of 5 guns.





Heartbeat
Directed By: Bruno Kirby
Written By: Kevin Arkadie
Guest Stars: Kevin Conway as Joseph Cardero, Jon Korkes as Boomer Mason, Harlee McBride as Dr. Alyssa Dyer, Maria Winters as Alexandra Dumas

Howard and Munch finally receive prominent screen time and investigate a strange 10-year-old murder involving a victim that was buried alive. Their search leads to the slightly crazed Joseph Cardero, a drug dealer and devoted fan of Edgar Allen Poe. Although he has little evidence, Munch hounds Cardero and tries to bring out the man's guilt. This episode takes much from the Poe story "The Telltale Heart," in which a murderer could still hear his victim's heart from beneath the floor. In other news, Munch destroys his relationship with Alyssa Dyer by sleeping with her roommate. Although she doesn't know the truth, his overwhelming guilt also forces him to confess. This episode moves slowly and is not one of my favorites, but it wonderfully invokes the spirit of Poe. Kevin Conway also gives a scenery-chewing performance as the extremely troubled Cardero. It's also great to see Richard Belzer and Melissa Leo gaining primary roles.

Literary buffs should love this episode's clever atmosphere. It gains 3 out of 5 guns.





Hate Crimes
Directed By: Peter Weller
Written By: James Yoshimura and Tom Fontana
Guest Stars: Terry O'Quinn as Barry Lafeld, Allison Smith as Debbie Haskell, Max Perlich as Brodie, Dean Winters as Tom Marans, Bret Hamilton as Zeke

Pembleton and Bayliss investigate a young man's murder in a gay neighborhood by a group of skinheads. They immediately suspect that the victim is a homosexual, which causes considerable grief to his father (an excellent Terry O'Quinn) and his friends. Everyone seems more concerned with his sexual preference than having the killers brought to justice. Meanwhile, Brodie is hired to photograph the crime scenes for the homicide unit. Lewis catches a lead on an old Crosetti case that baffled Howard, which again raises the tension between them. This Thanksgiving episode concludes wonderfully with the Barenaked Ladies' song "What a Good Boy" and once again reveals the series' premier writing.

One of the series' best, this episode earns a perfect 5 out of 5 guns.





Thrill of the Kill
Directed By: Tim Hunter
Written By: Jorge Zamacona
Guest Stars: Jeffrey Donovan as Newton Dole/Miles Dole, Marty Lodge as Steve Brandt, Theara J. Ward as Charisse, Rhonda Overby as Dawn Daniels

This very-different episode focuses on a gas-station thrill killer who is murdering someone every time he stops for gas. Everything appears in sensationalistic fashion, which makes it one of the lowest points of the series. The action is filmed competently, but it feels contrived and more on the lines of today's C.S.I.-type hooks. The worst element is the final twist, which goes against the show's original premise and seems to cater to the network's need for sensationalism. The episode's other storyline concerns the arrival of Giardello's daughter, and even that aspect is handled poorly by tricking the audience into thinking she is dead.

One of the series' worst episodes, and that includes the mediocre seventh season. 1 out of 5 guns.





Sniper, Part 1
Directed By: Jean de Segonzac
Written By: Jean Gennis and Phyllis Murphy
Guest Stars: Max Perlich as Brodie, Carolyn McCormick as Linda Mariner, Andrew Parks as William Mariner, Clayton LeBouef as Colonel Barnfather, Jay Leno as Himself

In this episode's prelude, Jay Leno makes an appearance at the Waterfront, and Bayliss and Munch ignore him in hilarious fashion. That calm tone immediately disappears with the deaths of three random citizens. Evidence points to a sniper, and the detectives scramble to catch the killer before more people are dead. Each crime scene includes a hangman game, which baffles Bayliss, the primary detective, and the entire squad. This tale's eventual result brings the ire of Barnfather down on Captain Russert, who is demoted twice in five minutes.

This powerful episode nicely contradicts its predecessor by treating a possibly sensationalistic topic with grace. 4 out of 5 guns.





Sniper, Part 2
Directed By: Darnell Martin
Written By: Edward Gold
Guest Stars: David Eigenberg as Alex Robey, J. Smith Cameron as Ms. Griffin, Max Perlich as Brodie, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembleton, Carolyn McCormick as Linda Mariner

The relieved detectives plan to get some much-needed sleep, but unfortunately another sniper terrorizes Baltimore once again. Did the original killer have an accomplice? Evidence points to a copycat killer, and Russert uses her own personal troubles in hopes of acquiring a confession. This episode effectively showcases the panic caused by this type of random shooter through the detectives' personal reactions. Pembleton makes his wife wear a bullet-proof vest and moves her desk away from the window, and Munch shows extreme worry for Howard's safety. The actual killer is less-interesting this time around, and that part doesn't work as well, but the overall story is decent.

This solid conclusion earns 3 out of 5 guns.





Full Moon
Directed By: Leslie Libman and Larry Williams
Written By: Eric Overmyer
Guest Stars: Christopher Tarjan as Greg Muir, Max Perlich as Brodie, Ron Brice as Mr. Evans, The Reverend Horton Heat as Crazy Preacher, Karen Tsen Lee as Night Manager

The writers go back to basics with this intimate, compelling story concerning a single murder at the run-down New Moon motel. Lewis and Kellerman discover that 98.9% of the current residents have a criminal record, and the only clear people probably have false names. They speak with all types of odd denizens, including a crazed reverend, a drugged out former doctor, a prostitute who enjoys swimming naked in the pool, and a couple definitely hiding something sinister. This wonderful episode includes plenty of memorable small performances from the odd characters. Rocker the Reverend Horton Heat even makes an appearance as the preacher, and one of his song's plays several times during the tale. Oddly, this entry was originally shown way out of sequence.

No one does this type of show better than Homicide. That originality earns this episode 4.5 out of 5 guns.





For God and Country
Directed By: Ed Sherin
Written By: Jorge Zamacona and Michael S. Chernuchin
Guest Stars: Benjamin Bratt as Rey Curtis, Jerry Orbach as Lennie Briscoe, Jill Hennessy as Claire Kincaid, J.K. Simmons as Colonel Alexander Nathanial Rausch

This episode concludes the story begun earlier in the week on the Law and Order episode Charm City. New York detectives Rey Curtis and Lennie Briscoe travel to Baltimore and assist in searching for the mastermind behind the initial subway bombings. They apprehend a suspect in Colonel Alexander Nathanial Rausch, a scary racist man willing to kill to change society. His views especially affect Pembleton, who vows to expose his terrible deeds. This story is a mixed bag and includes some excellent character interaction between the casts. However, it also doesn't totally work due to the stylistic differences between the two series. Jerry Orbach and Richard Belzer have a great time squabbling because Briscoe had an affair with Munch's ex-wife. Bayliss also pines for striking attorney Claire Kincaid.

A powerful ending gains this episode 3.5 out of 5 guns.





The Hat
Directed By: Peter Medak
Written By: Anya Epstein
Guest Stars: Lily Tomlin as Rose Halligan, Zeljko Ivanek as Ed Danvers, Max Perlich as Brodie, Walt MacPherson as Roger Gaffney, Clayton LeBoeuf as Colonel Barnfather

Giardello has a long interview with Barnfather, and the detectives celebrate his expected promotion to captain. However, the eventual promotion goes to the bigoted and incompetent Roger Gaffney, which angers everyone once again. The show's primary story involves Lewis and Kellerman traveling to Pennsylvania to extradite Rose Halligan to Baltimore. They lose her several times, in the Enchanted Forest and after stopping at a local diner. Munch also has problems with Brodie involving a pivotal piece of evidence. Lily Tomlin gives a standout performance in this memorable episode, which gives Clark Johnson and Mike Kellerman plenty of opportunities to flex their acting muscles.

Excellent writing earns this episode 4 out of 5 guns.





I've Got a Secret
Directed By: Gwen Arner
Written By: Maria Legaspi
Guest Stars: Mimi Kennedy as Dr. Wystan, Gabriel Casseus as Nurse Derek Sherman, Joesph Durika as Peter Wolsky

Pembleton and Bayliss investigate an apparently obvious death of a man found in a car, but then learn that the gunshot did not kill him. Evidence could point to Dr. Wystan, whose past might reflect a bias against the suspect. Lewis and Kellerman struggle with apprehending a very large man, which brings Lewis to discuss his mentally disabled brother. In lighter news, Howard has a new boyfriend, and it bothers Munch that he can't discover the identity. This decent episode provides an interesting dilemma in the lead story, but it falls short of the best entries.

This solid episode earns 3 out of 5 guns.





Justice, Part 1
Directed By: Michael Radford
Written By: David Rupel
Guest Stars: Bruce Campbell as Jake Rodzinsky, Zeljko Ivanek as Ed Danvers, Max Perlich as Brodie, Donald Neal as Augie Distel, Michael Willis as Darin Russom, John Haynes Walker as Pez McCadden

Munch partners with Russert and receives an extremely difficult case—the unexplained murder of a retired cop in a local cemetery. The victim's son is Jake Rodzinsky, also a policeman and a former buddy of Lewis. He constantly pressures the detectives to find the killer and even conducts his own investigation. A suspect is apprehended, but difficulties in with the jury may set him free. Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead series) delivers a remarkable guest performance playing against type as the tortured son. Jake's frustration is totally understandable, and Campbell deftly reveals the boiling fury growing inside this figure.

This strong and troubling story earns 4 out of 5 guns.





Justice, Part 2
Directed By: Peter Medak
Written By: David Simon
Guest Stars: Bruce Campbell as Jake Rodzinsky, Max Perlich as Brodie, Donald Neal as Augie Distel, John Haynes Walker as Pez McCadden

They killed Kenny! When Kenny Damon is found murdered soon after being released from prison, Jake Rodzinsky is the prime suspect. Giardello splits Kellerman and Lewis apart to keep Meldrick's personal feelings away from the investigation. As evidence continues to point towards his friend, Lewis must decide which side to take. In less serious news, Bayliss grows extremely irritated with Pembleton over a forgotten grilled-cheese sandwich, with silly results. This memorable conclusion presents an interesting dilemma over the realities of the justice system. Kenny Damon was not convicted for killing his father, but Jake could be charged with taking revenge. The result is a tense episode that reveals a more-difficult side to investigating murders.

A slight improvement over the excellent first part, this episode earns 4.5 out of 5 guns.





Stakeout
Directed By:
Written By:
Guest Stars: Max Perlich as Brodie, Jim True-Frost as George Buxton, Kate Walsh as Cathy Buxton, Helen Carey as Maggie Conroy

The squad discovers the identity of a mass murderer, but is unaware of his current location. They organize a 24-hour stakeout in groups of two to watch his house from a neighbor's place. The entire squad takes a turn, and each duo has interesting conversations throughout the day and night. They also must deal with a squabbling couple who argue fiercely, then make up with the detectives in the house. Giardello plans to leave to attend his daughter's wedding, but has second thoughts when he considers their relationship. This episode represents Homicide at its best without any flashy or sensational moments.

This episode rates 4 out of 5 guns.





Map of the Heart
Directed By: Clark Johnson
Written By: Michael Whaley
Guest Stars: Terry Kinney as Richard Laumer, Max Perlich as Brodie, Walt MacPherson as Roger Gaffney, Harlee McBride as Dr. Alyssa Dyer, John Fiske as Buster Simmons

Bayliss and Pembleton are baffled when a possible suspect gives them a video that basically implicates him for the murder. Events become even more complicated when the NSA gets involved and interferes with the investigation. The eventual result leaves the detectives fuming and gets Bayliss in trouble with Gaffney. Meanwhile, Kellerman is determined to discover the identity of the "lunch bandit," but his efforts do not entirely go as planned.

This solid episode earns 3 out of 5 guns.





Requiem for Adena
Directed By: Lee Bonner
Written By: Julie Martin
Guest Stars: Chris Martin as Carvey Dooley, Max Perlich as Brodie, Nurit Koppel as Susannah Chase, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembelton, Walt MacPherson as Roger Gaffney, Clayton LeBouef as Colonel Barnfather

Bayliss' guilt over never solving the Adena Watson murder comes to the forefront when another young girl is murdered in similar fashion. Pembleton asks to work the case alone because he fears that his partner will ruin the case again, which causes considerable friction between the detectives. After the case breaks, Bayliss remains convinced the suspect also killed Adena. This powerful episode once again reveals Kyle Secor's tremendous acting skills as he reveals the continued emotional torture wrought by Bayliss' first case.

Can Bayliss find closure? The intriguing response earns this story 4.5 out of 5 guns.





The Damage Done
Directed By: Jace Alexander
Written By: Jorge Zamacona
Guest Stars: Kevin Thigpen as Alonzo "Drak" Fortunado, Ingrid Rogers as Amy Jennings, Erik Todd Dellums as Luther Mahoney, Sean Akil Wingate as Pendell

Notorious drug dealer Luther Mahoney makes his first appearance on this show and provides one of many frustrations to Lewis and Kellerman. They must investigate a series of drug murders that appear to give evidence of a drug war between Mahoney and Alonzo "Drak" Fortunado. The detectives initially suspect Drak, but after a nasty confrontation with Kellerman their focus shifts to Mahoney. This impressive story nicely introduces Mahoney and prepares us for his numerous appearances in the following season. Although he has limited screen time, Erik Todd Dellums creates a memorable character not soon to be forgotten.

Kellerman will dread the day that he met Luther Mahoney. This one earns 4 out of 5 guns.





The Wedding
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Written By: Henry Bromell
Guest Stars: Max Perlich as Brodie, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembleton, Karen Williams as Barbara Shivers, Kevin Grantz as Paul Lupkis

The homicide detectives suspect a joke when Lewis announces to everyone that he's getting married at the end of the day to the unknown Barbara Shivers. Munch leads the charge against this event being true, but most of the detectives become involved in helping with the preparations (and the money). Their business causes Giardello and Howard to take a case, which ends up involving a saddening shoot-out. This humorous episode includes silly moments for Kellerman and Bayliss as they battle over Howard's sister Carrie (also played by Melissa Leo). The storyline with Giardello is also well-done and once again reveals Yaphet Kotto's skills.

This enjoyable episode receives 3.5 out of 5 guns.





Scene of The Crime
Directed By: Kathy Bates
Written By: Anya Epstein and David Simon
Guest Stars: Victor L. Williams as Ishmael Al-Hadj, Peter Gerety as Officer Stuart Gharty, Max Perlich as Brodie, Laurie Kennedy as Felicity Weaver, Clayton LeBoeuf as Colonel Barnfather

A murder at the Highland Terrace apartments draws Lewis and Kellerman into direct conflict with the Muslims who provide security for the area. Their leader Ishamel Al-Hadj proves especially formidable and refuses to assist the detectives in their investigation. He also tries to split the detectives by baiting Kellerman with racist remarks. They're definitely hiding something, but the Muslims also have kept peace in the area. This contradictory theme also follows the other storyline involving future regular Stuart Gharty. Witnessing a nasty shootout while responding to a call, he returns to his car and waits until two teenage kids have died. Russert pursues an investigation against him, but Munch strongly opposes her and sides with Gharty. Both stories have plenty of gray area, which leads to a fascinating episode.

Still a very powerful episode, this story earns a perfect 5 out of 5 guns.





Work Related
Directed By: Jean de Segonzac
Written By: Tom Fontana
Guest Stars: Max Perlich as Brodie, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembleton, Sean Whitesell as Dr. Eli Devilbliss, Jeffrey Perry Czerbinski as Ian McKenzie, Michael Willis as Darin Russom

The toll of dealing with death and catching the killer has taken its toll on Frank Pembleton, and the stress has grown considerably later in the season. While interrogating a suspect in the box, Pembleton has a stroke that leaves him a coma. If he recovers at all, the return to his original stature may be extremely difficult. The other story involves Lewis and Kellerman arguing about the merits of investigating a possibly unsolvable case. Lewis also drops a bombshell about his recent marriage. This difficult episode presents a shocking and unflinching portrayal of Pembleton's stroke, which enhances its horror. The dream-like finale reveals his helplessness and makes us wonder about the future of our master detective.

This emotionally draining episode 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: Reviewing the picture for Homicide is made more difficult due to the purposefully grainy nature of the series' photography. Hazy images could be misconstrued as flaws, but ithey actually match the preferred atmosphere. This full-frame transfer matches the original format and provides an impressive presentation. It does improve significantly over the television version and offer a brighter picture with few defects.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: This release utilizes a solid 2.0-channel Dolby Surround transfer that presents everything in a clear manner. The considerable dialogue is easily understandable and springs well from the front speakers. The memorable title sequence and jarring sound effects also work nicely to generate the proper tone. Although nothing spectacular, this decent track should please the series' devoted fans.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 176 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Clark Johnson and Writer Anya Epstein on "The Hat"
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
6 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. About "The Board"
  2. Song Listing
Extras Review: This season follows the pattern of previous ones with a brief documentary and one commentary track. "Homicide: Life in Season 4" runs for seventeen minutes and provides a nice overview of the year's major events. While I would love to know more about specific episodes, it does give some interesting details. The commentary track occurs for The Hat and comes from writer Anya Epstein and actor Clark Johnson. Both of them provide a broad discussion about the series and cover some specifics about this episode. Neither has seen it since the original airing, so their comments are limited. Johnson's work on other DVDs like The Shield helps him here, and Epstein also has an easy demeanor.

The remaining supplements include cast and crew biographies, DVD production credits, and song listings for each episode. While the fanatic in me would love to see many more extra features, I can't complain too harshly because it's wonderful just to have the series at home.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Homicide: Life on the Street's fourth season features wonderful character interaction and some of the most powerful single episodes over the series' entire run. The loss of two primary cast members is handled seamlessly, and Reed Diamond does remarkably well as the new detective. The more sensational elements are still rare, but they do provide notice of the beginning's of the series' transformation towards a more-straightforward product. Luckily, this collection of 22 episodes still delivers a premier dramatic tale that will keep viewers enthralled for a long time.

 


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