N.Y.P.D. Blue and Public Morals

N.Y.P.D. Blue (1993-2005)
Public Morals (1996)
Type: Crossover

   Steven Bochco is famous for being the TV genius who created hits shows such as N.Y.P.D. Blue and L.A. Law. With all that acclaim its easy to forget that he's also infamous for being the creator of some really big TV stinkers like Cop Rock - the police musical drama series!

   But in spite of the flops, Bochco has kept his rep as a genius. His hits are so big they tend to dwarf and make people forget about the bombs (unfortunately for him, not even if he created the most brilliant show of all time would people forget Cop Rock).

   For instance, remember Public Morals? No? Really? Surprising considering it was the big deal new Bochco cop show when it was getting set to premiere. However it quickly died after hitting the air. The gimmick to this show was that it was a sitcom about the N.Y.PD.'s Public Morals Division shot using a filmed, regular police drama look and approach. It was going to be a big hit for CBS. Only the shows main hook - it was a comedy about police doing sleazy work - is the very thing that put people off about it.

   While the show was not a spin off, Bochco did bring in as a regular character gay Administrative Assistant John Irvin, played by Bill Brochtrup, who had also been a recurring character on N.Y.P.D. Blue.

   Where Public Morals was a controversial sitcom failure, N.Y.P.D. Blue was a controversial dramatic success. Attracting attention initially for using blue language, so to speak, and partial nudity (no full on breast shots but nearly! And lots of butts. Holy crap the buts!). The show tried to be an as close as possible real world depiction of the lives of cops. They weren't perfect heroes, they were seriously flawed folks trying to usually do the right thing. Hard thing is finding out what the right thing is. Causing a mob guy to get whacked: is that good or bad?

   Like I said though, Public Morals wasn't an actual spin off of N.Y.P.D. Blue. In a true spin off a minor character on one show would leave and be the central character of the new show. This is that rare case where a supporting player, John Irvin, migrates from one show to another show where he is STILL just a supporting player. Funky.

   In terms of creating a hit show though Bochco was actually better off with the singing and dancing cops. Only a single episode of Public Morals aired before it was dragged off to the cancellation slammer. Buh bye. And now no one remembers it. All the characters - gone for good. Well... except for John Irvin. Irvin was quickly back on N.Y.P.D. Blues where he soon became a full fledge regular character.

   Here is another weird part. This counts as a full fledge crossover even though one of the shows involved was only on for one episode (others episodes were filmed but never aired). Meanwhile there is the case of the attempted M*A*S*H spin off about Radar becoming a policeman in Iowa. It never became a series. They only shot a pilot episode which did end up airing to fill time in CBS's schedule one week. Now that is not on my list and doesn't count because Radar's show never became a full fledged series. But Public Morals was also on for just one episode and it does count because even though only one episode aired it had more episodes and was a series. Silly, isn't it?

Other N.Y.P.D. Blue Links
N.Y.P.D. Blue and The Drew Carey Show
N.Y.P.D. Blue and Hill Street Blues

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