Dennis Franz



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Chicago Code

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Question: I really like the new show The Chicago Code; I am from Chicago and also love the fact that it is shot on location here. My only issue with the show is Jennifer Beals' HORRIBLE attempt at a Chicago accent (and I love her). It is especially grating when she is narrating the story. I have lived in Chicago my whole life, and I can tell you that most people do not have that Dennis Franz (or the SNL characters') accent. That is a South Side thing and only a portion of the South Side actually talks that way. I will say that Jason Clarke not only nails the South Side accent but also the whole South Side mentality of a diehard White Sox fan who hates the Cubs (Sox fans are an angry bunch). Everyone I know that has watched the show has had the same reaction to her and it almost makes the show unwatchable. What do you think? Why can't they just let her talk normally? read more

I'm baffled. Why would a ...

Question: I'm baffled. Why would a seasoned actor like Sam Waterston essentially accept a demotion to be the DA on Law & Order? It makes no sense for a veteran actor like Waterston to be reduced to a minimal role. The DA, even when the excellent Steven Hill was on the show, usually has only a few scenes, if that, discussing the case and advising on strategy or when to cut a deal. As DA, Waterston won't have his usual scenes bickering with defense lawyers, grilling hostile witnesses and suspects, and making courtroom appearances to argue arcane points of law, much less trial scenes with juicy cross-examinations. It strikes me as absurd for Waterston to agree to be relegated to a walk-on role. It would be like making Dennis Franz lieutenant prior to the end of NYPD Blue. Franz would never have agreed to such a move. So why did Waterston? Answer: You're assuming he had a choice. The show is going through what Dick Wolf calls "one of its major renovations of the past 10 years." Earlier this ... read more

I've been thinking of Hill ...

The cast of Hill Street Blues

Question: I've been thinking of Hill Street Blues lately and it is driving me nuts that I can't remember the name of my favorite character. He was played by Bruce Weitz and I think his first name was Mick, but they always called him by his last name. He was a wonderfully eccentric policeman — scruffy and tough, with a heart of gold — and received frequent phone calls from his mother. Can you help me out? I know this will continue to bother me till I find out!

Answer: That would be Det. Mick Belker, who was quick with a growl, just as willing to bite a perp as book him, and, by the looks of him, not on friendly terms with showers or razors. I'd imagine Weitz would consider it a compliment that you remember his name rather than his character's, but he did memorable work on the series. During Hill Street's January 1981 to May 1987 run read more

So what's with the big snub ...

Question: So what's with the big snub of NYPD Blue at the Emmys during its final year of consideration? And what's with the critics not noticing the snub? Sure, the show went a few seasons too long and had a few cast changes too many, but it seems that with this show's final episode, fans, critics and now awards ceremonies have forgotten all about it. I just hope that the recent musical numbers announced for the Emmy broadcast don't take away from the annual look back at the best television moments of the year (my favorite part of the Emmys), including goodbyes to all our favorite shows. Answer: Good point about the Emmys having an obligation to reflect TV milestones, even when a show is not nominated, and NYPD Blue's departure certainly qualifies as one (at least as much as Everybody Loves Raymond's). But the reason there was little fuss made about NYPD's no-show in the nominations is that, unlike Raymond still towering in a depleted field of TV comedies, NYPD's faded glory had been ... read more

Rescue Me from all this misery....

Rescue Me from all this misery.

That was my initial response after sitting through — or should I say enduring? — Tuesday night's punishingly sad episode of FX's Rescue Me, with its expert blend of comedy-laced tragedy culminating in the worst-case scenario, the death of firefighter Tommy Gavin's only son, Connor. (I'm only sorry that FX felt the need to telegraph this shocking event in its promos.)

What a senseless death: a little boy riding his new bike, struck and killed by a drunk driver in broad daylight, just out of his parents' sight. The ghastly irony of this happening to the kid of a substance-abusing, commitment-phobic jerk of a "hero" is not lost on Tommy. And as his shattered wife whales on him at the hospital, both covered in their boy's blood, Tommy suffers this latest gut-punch with a quiet grimace of grief and guilt. Denis Leary has simply never been better.

When this seaso read more

NYPD Blue Hunk's Farewell

When NBC's tween-comedy Saved by the Bell was expelled in 1994, Mark-Paul Gosselaar (then best known as Zack) thought it'd be a snap finding his next big role. Unfortunately, lean times and less-than-stellar projects followed. That is, until producer Steven Bochco rejuvenated Gosselaar's career by annointing him as Dennis Franz's final partner on NYPD Blue. Four years later, the groundbreaking police drama is closing up shop. (ABC airs a one-hour retrospective tonight at 9 pm/ET, followed by the actual finale at 10.) At least this time, the actor's future is less uncertain — he has already been cast in a Fox pilot about a brother and sister who run a Las Vegas wedding chapel. With steady employment on the horizon, Gosselaar's able to relax and fondly reflect on his well-received stint at the 15th You wrapped shooting on Blue jus read more

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