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A&E Home Video presents
Homicide: Life on the Street—The Complete Season 6 (1997-1998)

"When in Rome, you do what the Romans do. When in Baltimore, you do what I tell you to, detective."
- Lieutenant Al Giardello (Yaphet Kotto)

Review By: Dan Heaton  
Published: February 17, 2005

Stars: Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Reed Diamond, Michelle Forbes, Peter Gerety, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto, Kyle Secor, Jon Seda, Callie Thorne
Other Stars: Toni Lewis, James Earl Jones, Lynne Thigpen, Jeffrey Wright, Ami Brabson, Clayton LeBouef, Walt MacPherson, Mekhi Pfifer, Paul Giamatti, Vincent D'Onofrio, Alfre Woodard, Charles Durning, Hazelle Goodman
Director: Varied

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (television material suitable for all but young children)
Run Time: 17h:38m:00s
Release Date: January 25, 2005
UPC: 733961716856
Genre: television


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

DVD Review

Entering its sixth season, Homicide: Life on the Street received a dire ultimatum from the executives at NBCŃbeat Nash Bridges or face cancellation. The Don Johnson/Cheech Marin series offered light-hearted, escapist fare that viewers barely remembered hours later, but it still presented a major challenge for the Homicide producers. They wanted to maintain the high quality and challenging material that defined the show, but the need for higher ratings remained on the table.

This year began with several key cast changes, including the stunning departure of Melissa Leo as Kay Howard. Transferred to the Fugitive Squad during the police rotation, she remained there and only received a brief mention during the premiere. Her role had diminished since Howard's promotion to sergeant, which gave the strong detective fewer chances to take cases. However, it was difficult for me to swallow Leo's abrupt departure. The other departing cast member was Max Perlich as the camera operator J.H. Brodie, who was fired due to some personal off-set difficulties. Brodie's documentary on the Homicide unit won him an Emmy, which caused him to move to Hollywood. This explanation does allow the writers to take a fun jab at the Emmys, who consistently snubbed the critically acclaimed series each year.

The three new cast members offered an impressive new energy and helped to maintain the series' high level. They also introduced several attractive young detectives to the mix, which couldn't hurt in the battle for ratings supremacy. The primary addition was Paul Falsone (Jon Seda), a driven Italian who transfers from the auto squad and tries considerably to prove he belongs. Laura Ballard (Callie Thorne) arrives from Seattle and immediately challenges the arrogant, stubborn detectives like Pembleton. Thorne has received some knocks from some devoted fans, but she offers much more than just an attractive figure. The final inclusion is Stu Gharty (Peter Gerety), who originally appeared as a frightened beat cop in Season 4's Scene of the Crime. He provides an older, more conservative counterpoint to the veteran Homicide detectives. Both Gharty and Falsone helped solve Beau Felton's murder in the two-part finale of Season 5.

Homicide's previous season featured the smooth arch-villain Luther Mahoney (Erik Todd Dellums), who slipped through the detectives' fingers numerous times. The events culminated with Kellerman killing Mahoney in Deception, which should have ended the story. Lewis and Stivers witnessed the shooting and signed off on it, and the act will haunt them during the entire season. Falsone arrives and starts asking questions, and Luther's sister Georgia Rae appears to gain her revenge. The events culminate in an all-out war between the police and the Mahoney gang during a frenetic two-part season finale. Enjoy the episode reviews!

Blood Ties, Part One
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Written By: Anya Epstein
Guest Stars: : James Earl Jones as Felix Wilson, Lynne Thigpen as Regina Wilson, Jeffery Wright as Hal Wilson, Ellen Bethea as Thea Wilson, Toni Lewis as Detective Terri Stivers, Hazelle Goodman as Georgia Rae Mahoney, Mekhi Pfifer as Junior Bunk, and Robert Chew as Wilkie Collins

The sixth season begins with plenty of significant changes to the Homicide Unit. Howard is now working for the Fugitive Squad, Brodie moved to Hollywood, and three new detectives were added: Falsone Gharty, and Ballard. The primary story involves the self-made wealthy businessman Felix Wilson (James Earl Jones), a hero to the African-American community for his community work. When his domestic assistant is found dead in the bathroom of a benefit in Wilson's honor, his family may be prime suspects. The other major plotline involves the appearance of Georgia Rae Mahoney, Luther's sister. A motorcycle rider is firing at homicide detectives, and she may be behind the shootings. This plot-heavy episode starts the season off well, though Georgia Rae's appearance veers it towards more sensationalistic territory.

A strong performance by James Earl Jones helps to earn this episode 3.5 out of 5 guns.





Blood Ties, Part Two
Directed By: Nick Gomez
Written By: David Simon
Guest Stars: James Earl Jones as Felix Wilson, Lynne Thigpen as Regina Wilson, Jeffery Wright as Hal Wilson, Ellen Bethea as Thea Wilson, Toni Lewis as Detective Terri Stivers, Armando Benitez as Himself, Scott Erickson as Himself

While Ballard and Gharty push to closely investigate the Wilsons' ties to the murder, Pembleton and Giardello focus on other suspects and can't believe the Wilsons are involved. Meanwhile, Munch and Kellerman investigate a murder at Camden Yards involving a rabid Yankee fan. They also have a chance meeting with some actual Orioles players. After being shot at in the previous episode, Falsone asks Kellerman, Lewis, and Stivers tough questions about the Luther Mahoney shooting. This episode feels more low-key and lacks the uncharacteristic action scenes of the premiere.

Does killing a Yankee fan really count as murder? This episode deserves 4 out of 5 guns.





Blood Ties, Part Three
Directed By: Mark Pellington
Written By: David Simon and Anya Epstein
Guest Stars: James Earl Jones as Felix Wilson, Lynne Thigpen as Regina Wilson, Jeffery Wright as Hal Wilson, Ellen Bethea as Thea Wilson, Toni Lewis as Detective Terri Stivers, Zeljko Ivanek as ASA Ed Danvers, Lance Lewman as Detective Bob Castleman

Pembleton and Giardello decide that they must place the brunt of the investigation onto the Wilsons, which leads to some surprising revelations that are difficult for both men. In other news, the killing of an informant involving Georgia Rae Mahoney again places her in the detectives' sights. This episode concludes the excellent trilogy that featured fine acting from James Earl Jones, Lynne Thigpen, and Jeffery Wright. It calls to mind the memorable ongoing storylines of the series' early seasons. The growing troubles of the Mahoney shooting continue to play a large role, and they will haunt Kellerman, Lewis, and Stivers throughout the entire year.

This gripping emotional tale deserves 4.5 out of 5 guns.





The Subway
Directed By: Gary Fleder
Written By: James Yoshimura
Guest Stars: Vincent D'Onofrio as John Lange, Bruce MacVittie as Larry Biedron, Kristin Rohde as Sally Rogers, Wendee Pratt as Joy Tolson

Homicide works best when it functions in an almost play-like setting, with only a few locations and characters. This episode mainly serves as a two-person conversation between a dying man and a detective. John Lange (Vincent D'Onofrio) is pushed in front of a subway and becomes violently trapped underneath the cars. Removing the train from his body will cause his immediate death, but his brain still functions clearly. While the frustrated guy tries to understand what has happened, Pembleton must interview him to determine the cause of this death. As the story progresses, their connection becomes more emotional and makes the ultimate outcome even more excruciating. Writer James Yoshimura has crafted one of his finest scripts, and D'Onofrio gives an award-worthy guest performance.

Naysayers who believe the series is past its prime should make this episode required viewing. It deserves 5 out of 5 guns.





Baby, It's You, Part 2
Directed By: Ed Sherin
Written By: Jorge Zamacona
Guest Stars: Benjamin Bratt as Rey Curtis, Carey Lowell as Jamie Ross, Jerry Orbach as Lennie Briscoe, Maureen Anderman as Gayle Janaway, Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy, Rachel Jane Sacrey as Brittany Janaway, Tom Tammi as Doctor Steven Janaway, Sagan Lewis as Judge Susan Aandahl, Dan Hedaya as Leslie Drake, Zeljko Ivanek as ASA Ed Danvers

The crossover episodes between Homicide and Law and Order provided for great television, but it becomes difficult to only view the second part on the DVD sets. This episode begins in the middle of the story as the Baltimore and New York attorneys are fighting for jurisdiction to prosecute Steven Janaway for the grisly murder of his 14-year-old daughter. When the trial comes to court, however, a surprising revelation forces the detectives to change their original perspective. While not as effective as the previous crossover, this story does offer some nice interactions between the two casts. The episode does feel more procedural in the vein of Law and Order, which makes it less memorable in the Homicide context.

New York has nothing on Baltimore's finest. This episode earns 3 out of 5 guns.





Birthday
Directed By: Alison MacLean
Written By: Julie Martin
Guest Stars: Alison Folland as Grace Rivera, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Hazelle Goodman as Georgia Rae Mahoney, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembleton, Helen Carey as Maggie Conroy

An unknown assailant viciously attacks a young woman and leaves her near death, which brings both the Homicide and Sex Crimes units to the scenes. Falsone, Lewis, and Stivers work together to solve the crime, but searching through a large number of bars is not an easy task. Falsone makes the case a personal mission and refuses to give up until the killer is apprehended. Meanwhile, Kellerman receives chilling news from Georgia Rae Mahoney that could jeopardize his career and that of Lewis and Stivers. Also, Pembleton wonders about his future career when his wife faces complications during her pregnancy. This episode uses a fairly conventional story and continues the season's focus on Falsone over some of the more-established detectives. Jon Seda does a surprisingly impressive job, but it is unfortunate to barely see Munch and some of the other detectives during this tale. This is not one of the year's better entries, but it does include some nice human moments from Pembleton and Bayliss apart from the primary story.

This solid entry gains 3 out of 5 guns.





Saigon Rose
Directed By: Nick Gomez
Written By: Eric Overmyer
Guest Stars: Camille McCurty Ali as Off. Antoinette Perry, Vanessa Brown as Lucy Nguyen, John Tran as Tom Nguyen, Dion Graham as Curtis Lambright, Ellen McElduff as Billie Lou Hatfield, Russ Carter as Officer Jones, David Elias as Dr. Eisenberg

A Vietnamese family is gunned down in their restaurant after-hours, and the evidence points to an off-duty police officer. Pembleton and Lewis investigate the crime and attempt to discover the truth behind the brutal slayings. In other events, Kellerman tells Cox the truth about the Mahoney shootings and Georgia Rae's surveillance tape. Ballard comes down with a vicious allergy to shellfish, which is terrible news to her native Baltimore partner Gharty. This episode includes top-notch acting from Reed Diamond, who's had few cases this year but has performed well. His confrontation with Falsone is one of the season's more nerve-wracking moments.

This interesting entry receives 3.5 out of 5 guns.





All is Bright
Directed By: Matt Reeves
Written By: Rafael Alvarez
Guest Stars: Kathryn Erbe as Rita Hale, Ellen McElduff as Billie Lou Hatfield, Carol Kane as Gwen Munch, Rahalen Nassri as Elizabeth, Joey Perillo as Bernard Munch, Rosemary Polen as Margaret Longley

Ballard and Gharty draw an emotionally draining case when they investigate the murder of a sexually active guy who was HIV-positive. The evidence points to Rita Hale, a woman he infected, and her current state makes it difficult for Ballard to continue the investigation. Meanwhile, Munch's ex-wife Gwen returns to arrange her mother's funeral and asks him for help. Kellerman finally tells Lewis the truth about the possible Mahoney tape, as it could destroy both of their careers. Finally, Bayliss purchases a surprise Christmas gift for Cox, which could lead to a possible connection. This top-notch episode is extremely difficult to watch due to Hale's grisly condition, but the camera remains focused on her plight. Suzanne Vega's “Blood Makes Noise” perfectly underscores the mood during an impressive musical montage. Callie Thorne and Peter Gerety finally take center stage, and both actors do a fine job with the difficult material.

The season's starting to gain momentum; this episode deserves 4 out of 5 guns.





Closet Cases
Directed By: Leslie Libman and Larry Williams
Written By: Christopher Kyle
Guest Stars: Peter Gallagher as Chris Rawls, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Hazelle Goodman as Georgia Rae Mahoney, Brian Van Holt as Peter Fields, Monica Trombetta as Janine, Bobby Brown as Terry Brown, Beau James as Detective Higby

Pembleton and Bayliss investigate the death of a gay man thrown in a dumpster, and this case bring some surprising feeling so the forefront for Bayliss. He accepts a dinner invitation from restaurant owner Chris Rawls, which confuses Pembleton. Lewis tells Stivers about the Georgia Rae Mahoney videotape, which causes them to force Kellerman to act. Falsone tells his wife he plans to sue for joint custody of their son. This intriguing episode allows Kyle Secor to act in a manner that might seem odd for his character, but it actually matches with Bayliss' past experience. Yet another lost relationship has called into question his dealings with women. Also, the difficulties just keep coming for Kellerman, and the future episodes will be no exception.

This impressive episode deserves 4 out of 5 guns.





Sins of the Father
Directed By: Mary Harron
Written By: Darryl Lamont Wharton
Guest Stars: Al Thompson as Jesse, Stephanie Roth as Pamela Ridenour, Laurence Mason as Dennis Rigby, George Diggs as William Rigby, Leeanna Saunders as Mazie Rigby, Granville Adams as Off. Jeff Westby

Falsone and Lewis investigate the brutal whipping and murder of a white businessman with no apparent connections to the area. Their search leads to family history that could explain the vicious nature of the slaying. This case is especially distressing for Lewis, as it calls to mind the history of slavery. Meanwhile, Pembleton becomes even more confused when Bayliss flirts with Ballard at breakfast. Her possible interest also irritates Gharty, who hears rumors about Bayliss being a “switch hitter.” They do have a date and attend an art show, but the connection might not be there. This episode's primary story spotlights the constant existence of family past that still haunts people today. In typical Homicide fashion, the details revealed are not easy to take and leave few obvious answers.

This episode receives 3.5 out of 5 guns.





Shaggy Dog, City Goat
Directed By: Kyle Secor
Written By: Eric Overmyer
Guest Stars: Steve Allen as Mr. Cochran, Jayne Meadows as Mrs. Cochran, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Hazelle Goodman as Georgia Rae Mahoney, Katherine Kelly as Donna McCord, Ellen McElduff as Billie Lou Hatfield

In this clever, unique episode, Dr. Cox receives an award and relates an odd case to her medical examiner peers. The story involves a suicide jumper who has also received an unexplained shotgun wound. Meanwhile, Georgia Rae Mahoney files a civil suit against Kellerman, Lewis, Stivers, and others for the death of her brother Luther. Angered by the suit, Lewis confronts Georgia Rae, which may jeopardize his police career. Also, Ballard and Gharty investigate a crime that takes them to the rough hills of western Maryland. This environment is quite a departure from the west-coast atmosphere for Ballard. This episode lacks any ground-breaking elements, but it provides the type of original, entertaining experience that has been missing from much of this season.

Will Ballard and Gharty return to Baltimore in one piece? This episode deserves 4 out of 5 guns.





Something Sacred, Part One
Directed By: Uli Edel
Written By: Anya Epstein
Guest Stars: Zeljko Ivanek as ASA Ed Danvers, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Leslie Silva as Sister Dyanne Attwood, Ellen McElduff as Billie Lou Hatfield, Victor Anthony as Pedro Velez, Michael Pena as Luis Carranza

This mid-season two-parter begins with the vicious slaying of a local priest, which places Ballard in charge of a red-ball investigation. The evidence points to Pedro and Luis, two Guatemalan teenagers who lived under the priest's wing. When they're apprehended, however, the conversations may lead to detectives towards another avenue. The Catholic Church and its lawyer Sister Attwood protest the unit's handling of the case, which makes the search for clues even more difficult. Lewis' disappearance troubles Kellerman, who worries for his former partner's safety. This episode initially aired in one block with part two, and it basically sets up the events of the conclusion.

This rough case earns the episode 3.5 out of 5 guns.





Something Sacred, Part Two
Directed By: Uli Edel
Written By: David Simon
Guest Stars: Zeljko Ivanek as ASA Ed Danvers, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Leslie Silva as Sister Dyanne Attwood, Victor Anthony as Pedro Velez, Michael Pena as Luis Carranza, Clayton LeBouef as Col. Barnfather, Avery Kidd Waddell as Rock Rock, Jonathan Orcutt as Stephen Zaymore

The detectives pose as priests and attempt to draw out the killers of two local priests. Th evidence leads them back to Rock Rock, who refuses to cooperate. In desperation, Pembleton and Ballard aim to show him that something sacred does exist in this world. Meanwhile, Kellerman goes on a drinking bender and beats up a young African-American man for doing nothing. This harrowing incident reveals the depths that the once-proud Kellerman has fallen because of the Mahoney shooting, which has completely undermined his ability function. Lewis also reappears to ask Falsone for some information, but he keeps avoiding Kellerman. This episode effective concludes the primary story and includes some great work from Peter Gerety as the angered Catholic Gharty.

Munch actually doesn't look so out of place as a priest. This excellent entry receives 4.5 out of 5 guns.





Lies and Other Truths
Directed By: Nick Gomez
Written By: Noel Behn
Guest Stars: John Glover as Nelson Broyles, Alan Campbell as Dr. Jesse Randolph, Julie Simone Robb as Ava Dietz, Kristin Rohde as Sally Rogers, Brigid Cleary as Delphine Atkins, Ed Johnson as Jerome Optner, Jerry Lyden as Sam Dunn, Kevin Murray as Frederick Mapes, Jonathan Orcutt as Stephen Zaymore

Following a possible case of extreme road rage leading to several deaths and one paralyzed victim, Kellerman and Munch try to determine who was at fault. The victim files a lawsuit against the city because the attacker was their vehicle, which brings politics into the mix. Dr. Cox faces pressure to change blood-alcohol results to help their case, which presents her with a nasty ethical dilemma. Pembleton and Bayliss investigate a death involving a group of wannabe spies called the Silent Sons. In other events, Falsone has the final hearing about his joint-custody battle. This episode gives a fitting send-off to Dr. Cox, who will be missed.

This solid episode receives 3.5 out of 5 guns.





Pit Bull Sessions
Directed By: Barbara Kopple
Written By: Sean Whitesell
Guest Stars: Paul Giamatti as Henry Tjarks, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Laurie Kennedy as Felicity Weaver, Tony Fitzpatrick as Tony

When an elderly man dies from a brutal attack by a pair of pit bulls, Pembleton and Falsone attempt to decide if the death was accidental. The evidence may point to intent by his grandson Henry, who could have left the dogs out on purpose. They get him in the box, and Falsone refuses to believe that the guy has no feelings about the death. Meanwhile, the other detectives hang out at the Waterfront and describe some of the stupid criminals from past days. Paul Giamatti (Sideways) gives an excellent performance as the unfortunate Henry, and it provides a hint of his talents that are now appearing on the screen. Much of this episode does not involve a specific case, but the discussion of dumb criminals mirrors the main story perfectly.

A surprisingly effective episode, this story deserves 4.5 out of 5 guns.





Mercy
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Written By: Eric Overmyer
Guest Stars: Alfre Woodard as Dr. Roxanne Turner, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Harlee McBride as Dr. Alyssa Dyer, Ellen McElduff as Billie Lou Hatfield, Kathryn Kelley as Donna McCord, E. Dawn Samuel as Alberta Wells, Rick Warner as Judge Gibbons

Pembleton and Bayliss investigate a possible assisted suicide by Dr. Turner, a character originated by Alfre Woodard in St. Elsewhere. She maintains that the death was legitimate, but the victim's sister believes it was murder. This case presents some difficult moral quandaries, as some would believe Dr. Turner is providing a valuable service for her patients. Stivers and Falsone catch a possible nasty murder of a 12-year-old girl, which causes Giardello to warn them about becoming attached to the case. Kellerman meets with the possibly fraudulent Judge Gibbons about the Mahoney civil suit and tapes their conversation. It appears there may be a way out for the detectives from implication in the Mahoney shooting. This entry includes an excellent performance from Alfre Woodard, who matches Andre Braugher during their confrontation in the box. It also discusses a tough issue without taking a specific side, which is also a trademark of the series.

This compelling episode receives 4 out of 5 guns.





Abduction
Directed By: Kenneth Fink
Written By: Julie Martin & Anya Epstein
Guest Stars: Robert John Burke as Jeffrey Andrews, Elizabeth Marvel as Amy Marshall, Bray Poor as David Marshall, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Amelia Campbell as Sandy Reynolds

Falsone lands a case of a child abducted on a merry-go-round directly in front of his front. Unfortunately, there are no witnesses and the typical investigation tactics aren't working. A popular television host of This Week's Wanted offers to help with the investigation, but he receives some stiff resistance from the detectives. Events look bleak, but hypnosis of a possible child witness might help to break the case. It's a bit awkard to see the homicide detectives searching for a living kid, but it does offer a new activity for the unit. The overall effect is only mediocre, however, as the conventional aspects of the case differ from the typical unique nature of the series.

This episode receives 2.5 out of 5 guns.





Full Court Press
Directed By: Clark Johnson
Written By: Philip B. Epstein
Guest Stars: Steve Burns as David Tarnofski, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Reg E. Cathey as Bernard Weeks, Clayton LeBouef as Col. Barnfather

Tensions rise between Munch and Gharty when they investigate the death of a star high school basketball player. The possible killer is a guy who received constant bullying from the victim, which causes the detectives to relive their high school experiences. Munch apparently had a very rough time, and it was guys like Gharty who gave him trouble. Meanwhile, Bayliss and Pembleton catch the wrong suspect in a murder, but this mistake offers a surprise reward. Ballard and Kellerman investigate the death of a Mahoney lieutenant that may signify a drug war within the organization. Is Lewis involved in these killings? This episode includes a large number of stories, but they combine for a solid tale. Blue's Clues and rock singer Steve Burns effectively plays the troubled kid, and Richard Belzer and Peter Gerety shine in their confrontation, which would carry over into the following season.

This episode receives 3 out of 5 guns.





Strangled, Not Stirred
Directed By: Jeff Tobias
Written By: Linda McGibney
Guest Stars: Francie Swift as Helen Montgomery, Jack Gwaltney as Nick Montgomery, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Zeljko Ivanek as ASA Ed Danvers, Victor Bevine as Officer Lester Sanders, Dori Legg as Lisa Elliot, Harlee McBride as Dr. Alyssa Dyer, Mark Bernier as Ray Davis, Kevin Donnelly as Ben Elliot

In the worst episode of the season, Ballard and Gharty investigate two deaths of single women stunned and taken away by a couple before strangulation. This case is especially difficult for Ballard, who sometimes goes out alone on Saturday nights. Lewis provides assistance to several detectives with open Mahoney cases, which again raises suspicion about him. This episode feels very conventional and too sensationalistic for the series.

The season is stumbling towards the finish, but the last four episodes help to save the day. This entry receives 2 out of 5 guns.





Secrets
Directed By: Ed Bianchi
Written By: Yaphet Kotto
Guest Stars: Remak Ramsay as Remington Hill, Zeljko Ivanek as ASA Ed Danvers, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Laurie Kennedy as Felicity Weaver, Chris Paulk as Brenner Jones, Harlee McBride as Dr. Alyssa Dyer, Walt MacPherson as Roger Gaffney, Rick Warner as Judge Gibbons

The detectives investigate two very similar cases that may be suicides, but additional details reveal that this is not the case. Meanwhile, Lewis faces the disciplinary committee and is relieved to return to active duty. Judge Gibbons makes his decision on the Mahoney civil suit, and Kellerman loudly chides him in the courtroom hallway. This act would have lasting ramifications in the season finale, and once again reveals the Kellerman's increasingly irresponsible behavior. Reed Diamond does a great job revealing the rough edges of the character, who has been worn considerably by the past few years.

Penned effectively by Yaphet Kotto, this episode receives 3 out of 5 guns.





Finnegan's Wake
Directed By: Steve Buscemi
Written By: David Mills
Guest Stars: Charles Durning as Thomas Finnegan, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Bronson Dudley as William Devlin, Robert Carlson as Officer Byron Denys, Terrence Currier as Charles Devlin, Ann Guilford-Grey as Gloria Finnegan

Charles Durning gives a striking performance as Thomas Finnegan, a former homicide detective who assists Falsone in solving a murder that is 66 years old. He makes the character's regrets believable and shows what the current detectives could become. Kyle Secor also does well as Bayliss once again faces his demons of the Adena Watson case, which still haunts him to this day. Directed by Steve Buscemi, this character-driven story differs considerably from the upcoming season finale, and gives the detectives a last moment of respite before the chaos to follow.

This impressive episode deserves 4 out of 5 guns.





Fallen Heroes, Part One
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
Written By: Lois Johnson
Guest Stars: Mekhi Phifer as Junior Bunk, Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Clayton LeBouef as Col. Barnfather, Rick Warner as Judge Gibbons, Harlee McBride as Dr. Alyssa Dyer, Ellen McElduff as Billie Lou Hatfield, Kevin Corrigan as Carl Curtis, Genia Morgan as Nessa Jackson, Jefferson A. Russell as Eugene Richmond

Judge Gibbons is stabbed brutally, which brings Bayliss and Pembleton into a red-ball case. The evidence quickly points to Junior Bunk, whose demeanor has changed considerably due to some hard time in prison. The detectives can no longer break him, and he refuses to sell out his mother Georgia Rae. Meanwhile, Falsone and Stivers investigate the drive-by shooting of a parole officer. While they investigate the case, a violent act occurs that will change the makeup of the homicide unit forever. The events conclude in the second part, which adds even more difficulties to the mix.

The shocking events of this episode work perfectly and earn it the premier rating, 5 out of 5 guns.





Fallen Heroes, Part Two
Directed By: Kathyrn Bigelow
Written By: Joy Lusco
Guest Stars: Toni Lewis as Terri Stivers, Clayton LeBouef as Col. Barnfather, Ami Brabson as Mary Pembleton, David Boykins as Adrian Kenner, Bruce Elliott as Cyrus Sink, Tony Hill as Willard Fanning, Karen Kirschenbauer as Virginia Bayliss

It's all come down to this moment. The disastrous events of the previous episode lead the police into an all-out battle with the remnants of the Mahoney crew. They search tirelessly for Georgia Rae, but the end result may be different than you might expect. Bayliss makes a heroic move that causes his partner to rethink his priorities in life. All of this chaos causes Giardello to revisit the particulars of the Mahoney shooting, which could be disastrous for Lewis and Kellerman. The episode ends abruptly and opens numerous possibilities for the seventh (and final) season. Unfortunately, only some of these opportunities would come to fruition in a mixed year of hits and misses.

Rated together with the previous episode, this overall story is one of my favorites. It receives a definite 5 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: Homicide's sixth season continues the trend of brighter colors and a less-grainy look, which provides a benefit for this DVD transfer. It retains the original full-frame picture from the initial television airing and includes few significant defects. The Baltimore setting looks better than ever, and even the limitations of the format aren't too noticeable.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: This release utilizes a solid 2.0-channel Dolby Surround transfer that presents the unique music cues impressively. The dialogue-heavy stories require a clear audio track, and this one fails to disappoint. The success of the rear speakers is limited due to the source material, but the sound field still has some depth at certain moments.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 184 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Writer James Yoshimura and Director Gary Fielder on The Subway
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
6 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Once again, a show as complex as Homicide has received only a limited collection of extras, which is a considerable disappointment. The two significant features relate to The Subway, one of the season's best episodes, and offer plenty of worthwhile information. They are described in the sections below:

Commentary with writer James Yoshimura and writer Gary Fielder
Although some of this material is repeated in more in-depth fashion durnig the documentary, the commentary still provides an informative experience. Both Yoshimura and Fielder speak candidly about making the episode and the difficulties in shooting and writing the piece. Yoshimura talks specifically about his dislike for independent feature-film directors who try to remake the show, while Fielder discusses the pressures of joining an ongoing series for one episode.

Anatomy of a Homicide Documentary
Directed by Theodore Bogosian and narrated by actor Will Lyman, this impressive PBS documentary takes a comprehensive look at the making of The Subway, one of the season's finest episodes. It includes interviews with many of the show's key players who discuss the story and the series as a whole. Writer James Yoshimura provides considerable input and describes the script's origins. We also view meetings, location scouting, and other key aspects to the production. This documentary initially aired on PBS and was followed by the episode. It takes the show seriously and avoids any the typical promotional fodder included on many DVD features. Although they failed to include the extras needed for a show of this caliber, A&E deserves credit for at least offering this top-notch supplement.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Even though Homicide: Life on the Street did not achieve NBC's goal of beating Nash Bridges, it received a surprisal renewal for a seventh season in 1998. There would be more changes, mostly for the worse, but the stories would continue to be worthwhile. The sixth season was a bit uneven, but its high points ranked among the best of the show's entire run.

 


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