a critique

Why Is There NO Individuation In NYPD BLUE

Everyone speaks the same cadences, generic cop talk, so that the characters sound alike.

 

Is this because Boccho has no ear for language, for speech or is this an artistic choice, giving the show a slang all its own?

 

NYPD Blue speaks “reaching out” in rhythms often that are only syncopated phrases. It brings you into its world and grips you. When one cops leaves the show, the rest still sound like him. Sure Sipowitz is a bit more “pissy” than Metavoy. Metavoy and his partner hammer entrapments at their suspects. The female cops are more feminine and the DA more businesslike and compassionate. All a little more than stereotypes. But they are all generic; they are types, not individuals.

 

None of them are particularly sympathetic or likeable either. In their staccato world, issues of justice, right and wrong, even criminality are lost in the rat-a-tat of “doing the job.” Browbeating is part of the job. Misrepresenting is part of the job. Ignoring due process and the right to representation is part of the job.

 

All this is submerged in the language, which reflects the quick camera cuts that move the viewer through the scenes. The rhythm of the language is part of the hypnotic quality the show exerts. Lots of grit too—the NYPD stationhouse is in the middle of grimy streets, drug killings, petty crimes and lots of blood shed.

 

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