ABC News Presents NYPD 24/7 is an interesting look into the New York Police Department. In August 2002 a group of journalists from ABC News spent sixteen months documenting various cases from different departments of the NYPD. This seven-part documentary series is hosted and narrated by Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue). In each episode, we get an up close and personal look into real life police officers and detectives. The cases they deal with can become quite emotional and powerful. After the first episode you'll want more. ABC News Presents NYPD 24/7 is a gripping documentary series that is fairly informative, but more entertaining. If you enjoy television crime dramas like NYPD Blue or Law & Order, this documentary series should be just as exciting, if not more.
Something that makes this documentary riveting is the way that the police officers and characters are portrayed. Each episode centers on one or two different individuals. We get a chance to see them on the job and a brief insight into their lives off-the-job. However, the key element that makes these real life cops so interesting is their altruistic passion for the job. Despite the horrors they are forced to encounter on a daily basis, they continue on without pause.
The actual cases were also an interesting part of the documentary. In the first episode the Manhattan South Homicide tracks down the assailant of a woman who was stabbed and left for dead. The investigation is led by Detective Steve Di Schiavi. He is a man whose passion for the job is clearly shown in this hour long episode. It becomes very gripping to watch him and his fellow officers track down the bad guy. Watching the way that the case actually unfolds is enticing.
In what is probably the most gripping and intriguing episode, number four focuses on a brutal murder. In the "Romona Moore Murder", a black woman in her early twenties was mutilated and left for dead. The investigating detectives from Brooklyn South Homicide made it their sole purpose to catch the murderers. The charge is led by a highly decorated detective named Mike Hinrichs. The passion that he holds becomes an intrinsic portion to making this gruesome case tolerable. Hinrichs himself had a difficult time dealing with Romona's brutal murder, which made him feel more human and easier to identify with.
The episode also covered an interesting outlook to the public's perspective of the NYPD. Days before the murder, Romona's family reported that she was missing and a detective named Casey took the call. However, he didn't really do much to find her. After the murder, Romona's family and friends held a protest blaming Casey for her death. They claimed if he had done his job and found the missing girl, she would have never been killed. Issues of racism are also pushed as an issue. "If she had been white he would have looked for her." On the other side, Casey gets a chance to defend himself. In a city of millions, it's a needle in a haystack. The truth is that it's not that Casey didn't care, but rather he couldn't do anything. The "Romona Moore Murder" is easily the most emotionally powerful case covered in this documentary series.
The other episodes are not nearly as strong or powerful as the previous, but they are still entertaining. One interesting officer that the series covers is Lieutenant Vic Hollifield. At the time of the documentary (he retired in 2003), he was head of the Emergency Service Unit. He appears in episodes two and three. The interesting thing about him is the emotions he battles on the job dealing with the aftermath of 9/11. He lost a lot of friends and co-workers and still has a difficult time dealing with the job. As an older cop, he has old fashion ways of handling situations, which really adds personality. For instance in episode four, he pulls over a drunk driver and instead of hauling him off to jail, he locks guy's keys in the car. The episodes with Hollifield also include Nicole Papamichael, an undercover vice detective, and officer Alison Esposito, who is the daughter of a police chief. The remaining episodes tackle murder and the mindset of a city scared of terrorism.
Overall, ABC News Presents NYPD 24/7 is a very emotional, entertaining, gripping, and fairly informative look into what the daily lives of some the exceptional members of the NYPD. For any fan in crime series, this documentary is a must.
The video is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is good, but it is rougher than most DVD releases. This release was shot on film and it has slight grain that is more apparent during darker portions. There are also a few instances when the camera crew is running along with the cops or moving quickly and the picture loses focus. However, the roughness gives this documentary a life-like feeling.
The audio is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The audio track is not very impressive. It is a very plain track that is more than adequate for a documentary.
The extras include profiles for the leading police officer and detectives from each episode and a photo gallery.
I really thought that ABC News Presents NYPD 24/7 was an entertaining documentary. The approach provided a chance to see what real life cop work is like on a scale that is comparable to television dramas like NYPD Blue or Law & Order. The police officers and detectives covered in this documentary were all quite intoxicating in terms of how easy they were to connect with. Their cases provided material that was enticing. Overall, this is an entertaining documentary.