Spring 2012 Review: NYC 22

20 Apr

The rookies in the 22

NYC 22 came in with one major factor going for it, and one major factor against it.  For it, is that it’s created by Richard Price, acclaimed crime novelist and writer on The Wire.  I read two of his novels, Clockers and Lush Life, and enjoyed both of them greatly, and working on The Wire, well that really goes without saying (He’s credited with the scripts for a couple of season 3 episodes, a couple of season 4s, and a season 5).  Against it, is the fact that, well, it’s on CBS.  CBS police procedurals are far from the worst shows on TV; there’s plenty of terrible CBS comedies to thank for that.  They’re generally watchable, but they’re hardly appointment viewing.  They’re more like second-tier hungover Sunday marathon viewing if Monk isn’t on any channel.  So the Richard Price who has written for  The Wire doesn’t seem exactly like an ideal fit for the short form of a CBS procedural.

And it’s not.  The show is a little bit clunky, and a little bit forced.  Still, the Price touch on the writing and storytelling does take it a step above a typical police procedural.  There’s plenty of cliche and standard police procedural rigmarole, but there’s less than in CSI or NCIS.  It’s not quite better enough to make it a really good show, sadly.  It feels boxed in; if the show could roam free to where it really wanted to go, there might really be something.

NYC 22 follows six NYPD rookies in the 22nd precinct up in Harlem.  The six rookies include – Jennifer Perry, a slim blonde who was an MP in Iraq, Kenny McLaren, a legacy cop who comes from generations of boys in blue, Ahmad Khan, a Afghani cop who migrated from the UK, Ray “Lazarus” Harper, a long-time beat reporter who decided to become a cop after being laid off, Tonya Sanchez, a Hispanic female cop whose family is composed of criminals, and Jayson “Jackpot” Terry an African-American who used to be a basketball hot shot before he blew out his knee.  The six, paired in twos, are mentored by Officer Daniel Deen, played by Oz’s Terry Kinner, who comes with the old wise man nickname of “Yoda.”  In just their first day on foot patrol, the officers have to deal with a variety of massive crises, learning on the job.

Lazarus and Sanchez are supposed to be watching a dead body to ensure no one interferes with it, but instead get held hostage by an irate ex-pharmaceutical employee who has been beating his wife since he got fired, and they have to talk him down.  The other four get caught up in a massive melee between teenage gangs, and have the temerity to not even radio in for help, slowing down the response of the rest of the police units.  At the end, classic, tough-guy-with-heart-of-gold Yoda gives all the officers a strict talking-to, explaining all the mistakes they made, and how they came extremely close to not even making it through day one, but when one the rookies asks how the new cops assigned to other officers did, Yoda responds, “worse.”  Awww.

It a review I posted about Scandal a couple of days ago, I talked about how people described The Wire, in the highest of compliments of being, “Not TV.”  After The Wire, the bar is set higher for police shows, and it’s hard to match that.  NYC 22 is certainly TV, but within the limits it’s trapped in, it does a halfway decent job.

Will I watch it again?  I might.  At first I was going to say to be honest, I probably wouldn’t, but writing that sentence I changed my mind.  I might.  It’s not great, and it probably will never be great, but it’s fairly decent, and I don’t think it will get worse.  Low expectations, I know, but I enjoyed it an all right amount.

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