Homicide: Life on the Street was an American police procedural series created by Paul Attanasio for NBC. It ran for seven seasons and a TV movie. It was also the origin for the character of detective John Munch, who has gone on to appear in several TV series and become a focal point of the Westphall multiverse.
Based on the book Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets by journalist David Simon (who would later go on to create The Wire), Homicide: LOTS was one of the first truly gritty cop series on US TV, preceding NYPD Blue by months. It followed the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department's homicide division as they investigated, caught and broke the city's murderers. While many series focus on clue-gathering and forensic investigations, much of the action in Homicide is based around 'the box', the interview room in which suspects are interrogated. It was also notable for introducing long-form plot arcs, a rare feature in early '90s TV.
The cast rotated frequently, usually losing at least one person at the end of each season, but a handful of characters remained from beginning to end. These were: captain Al "Gee" Giardello (Yaphet Kotto), detective John Munch (Richard Belzer), detective Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor) and detective Meldrick Lewis (Clark Johnson). In 2000 a TV movie was screened that saw every regular member of the cast returning for one final case after one of their own was shot and left in a coma.
Westphall connections in HomicideEdit
- In the episode "Law & Disorder", the pre-credits sequence sees Law & Order's detective Mike Logan (Chris Noth) delivering a criminal (played by film director John Waters) into the custody of the Baltimore PD.
- After that season three episode, seasons four, six and seven featured true crossover stories, with storylines starting in Law & Order and concluding on Homicide, which followed it immediately. In order: Law & Order's "Charm City" sees New York being attacked by a domestic terrorist who is then brought to Baltimore in Homicide's "For God and Country"; "Baby, it's You (part 1/2)" begins with a body in New York and ends in Baltimore, where the victim was raped; and finally "Sideshow (part 1/2)" see the two teams investigating the murder of an important official.
- Mandy Patinkin makes an uncredited cameo in a Homicide episode playing his Chicago Hope character Dr Jeffrey Geiger, accepting a patient into his care. Though his character is never named, he is wearing his Chicago Hope uniform.
- In "Mercy", St Elsewhere's Dr Roxanne Turner (Alfre Woodard) is investigated by detectives after possibly performing a mercy killing.
- 'Miss Sally's Schoolyard', a fictional show-within-a-show frequently seen on Oz, is seen on a TV in Homicide.
Westphall connections to HomicideEdit
- The character of John Munch, who originated in the series, went on to become a regular in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which began the year after Homicide ended. He also appeared in several other shows in both cameo and supporting roles, from the ultra-realistic The Wire to supernatural drama The X-Files. For a full account see the John Munch entry. Only those appearances during which he was a regular on Homicide count as crossovers with Homicide, to wit: Law & Order (see above) and The X-Files (episode "Unusual Suspects"),
- In The Wire episode "That's Got His Own", one of the characters mentions a Baltimore drug dealer named Junior Bunk - Junior Bunk was a minor but important character in Homicide.
- From 1997-1999, Homicide had a spin-off web series, Homicide: Second Shift. Although it had its own cast, the stories were told through still images, not live action video. Thus, it doesn't count as a part of the Westphall universe. Nevertheless, the Second Shift cast did appear in a seventh season crossover episode, "Homicide.com", as well as making minor cameo appearances in other seventh season episodes.