NYPD Blue is an American television police drama set in New York City, exploring the internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct detective squad in Manhattan. Each episode typically intertwined several plots involving an ensemble cast.

Season 1 aired as part of the 1993–94 United States network television schedule for ABC, premiering on 21 September 1993 and concluding on 17 May 1994. The show's first season led to a record 26 Emmy nominations[1] and six awards.

Plot synopsis

John Kelly and Andy Sipowicz are detectives in the 15th squad. Sipowicz is the elder partner but is a drunk and a threat to the partnership lasting much longer. Kelly has a genuine affection for his partner but becomes increasingly exasperated by Sipowicz's behavior. In the pilot, Sipowicz is shot by Alphonse Giardella, a suspect that he had insulted in court. This leads to his decision to sober up and save his job.

While his partner is recuperating, Kelly is teamed up by the squad's Lieutenant, Arthur Fancy, with a young cop from Anti-Crime, James Martinez. Kelly's personal life is no less frenetic as he is going through a divorce from his wife, Laura, and is embarking on an affair with a uniformed cop, Janice Licalsi. To complicate matters further, Licalsi has been ordered to do a 'hit' on Kelly by mob boss Angelo Marino, otherwise Marino would turn in Licalsi's father, who is on his payroll. Instead, Licalsi murders Marino and the repercussions come back to haunt both her and Kelly.

Sipowicz, meanwhile, sobers up and begins a relationship with A.D.A. Sylvia Costas while the other detective in the squad, Greg Medavoy, embarks on an affair of his own with the squad's new P.A.A., Donna Abandando.

Main Cast

Actor Character Main cast Recurring cast
David Caruso John Kelly entire season N/A
Dennis Franz Andy Sipowicz entire season N/A
James McDaniel Arthur Fancy entire season N/A
Sherry Stringfield ADA Laura Michaels episodes 1-18 N/A
Amy Brenneman Janice Licalsi entire season N/A
Nicholas Turturro James Martinez entire season N/A
Sharon Lawrence ADA Sylvia Costas N/A Episodes 1, 4, 6-9, 11, 13-16, 18-22
Gordon Clapp Greg Medavoy N/A Episodes 3, 5-6, 8-19, 21-22
Gail O'Grady PAA Donna Abandando N/A Episodes 8-22

Recurring guest roles

Season 1's recurring guest roles include:

  • David Schwimmer as Josh '4B' Goldstein (Episodes 1-4), Laura Michaels' neighbor, whose stint as a vigilante ends badly. Dies in episode 4.
  • Robert Costanzo as Alphonse Giardella (Episodes 1-3, 5-7), a mobster who, after shooting and nearly killing Sipowitz in the pilot, turns State's evidence. Assassinated in episode 7.
  • Larry Romano as Richie Catina (Episodes 2, 9-12), [2]
  • Daniel Benzali as James Sinclair, Esq. (Episodes 1, 22)
  • Luis Guzman as Hector Martinez (Episodes 5, 9), Detective Martinez' father
  • Michael Harney as Detective Mike Roberts (Episodes 6, 8-9, 15, 18)[3]
  • Michael DeLuise as Andy Sipowicz, Jr. (Episode 7, 19, 22)[4]
  • Bradley Whitford as Norman Gardner (Episodes 13, 21), a crusading reporter.


Each NYPD Blue episode entry includes its original airdate in the United States, the writing and directing credits, and a plot summary. The credits and airdates are taken from the pamphlet accompanying the Region 1 Season 1 DVDs.

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
1 1 "Pilot" Gregory Hoblit Story by : David Milch & Steven Bochco
Teleplay by : David Milch
September 21, 1993 (1993-09-21) 0K01/5101

John Kelly takes on the mob after his partner, Andy Sipowicz, is shot by a vengeful gangster. Kelly's wife wants a divorce.


  • First appearance of David Caruso as John Kelly, Dennis Franz as Andy Sipowicz, James McDaniel as Arthur Fancy, Sherry Stringfield as Laura Michaels, Amy Brenneman as Janice Licalsi, Nicholas Turturro as James Martinez and Sharon Lawrence as Sylvia Costas.
  • Guest starring Daniel Benzali as James Sinclair and David Schwimmer as Josh '4B' Goldstein.
  • A quarter of ABC's 225 member stations preempted the pilot.
  • The pilot earned a DGA Award; the competition included two other episodes from the season, "True Confessions" and "From Hare To Eternity".
  • A Recurring guest-star during NYPD Blue (season 1) was actor Robert Costanzo as the mafia soldier Alphonse Giardella. Costanzo was also a guest on Friends, playing the character Joey Tribbiani Sr in the first season episode The One With the Boobies. Costanzo and Schwimmer are two Friends actors who appeared in multiple NYPD Blue episodes in the first season.
  • The famous opening scene between Sipowicz and ADA Costas includes her saying the line "I would say 'Res ipsa loquitur' if I thought you knew what it meant," to which Sipowicz replied, "Hey, ipsa this you pissy little bitch", while grabbing his crotch. The phrase Costas is referring to is latin meaning 'the thing speaks for itself'.
  • In 1996, TV Guide included this episode as part of its "100 Most Memorable Moments in TV History", ranking it # 83.
2 2 "4B or Not 4B" Gregory Hoblit Story by : David Milch & Steven Bochco
Teleplay by : David Milch
September 28, 1993 (1993-09-28) 0K02/5102

As Sipowicz slowly recovers from his wounds he says that he cannot remember who shot him. Kelly appears in court on behalf of a man whose son was killed in a drive-by shooting. Laura Kelly's neighbour, Josh Goldstein, carries a concealed weapon hoping to surprise the person who mugged him.


3 3 "Brown Appetit" Gregory Hoblit Story by : David Milch & Steven Bochco
Teleplay by : David Milch
October 5, 1993 (1993-10-05) 0K03/5103

Kelly and Martinez investigate a strangulation murder; Fancy releases Sipowicz to full duty and he joins the investigation. Fallout from the Marino case implicates Licalsi's father in wrongdoing. Kelly moonlights as a bodyguard for the wife of a millionaire. Sipowicz exacts his own unique revenge on Giardella.


  • First appearance of Gordon Clapp as Greg Medavoy.
4 4 "True Confessions" Charles Haid Story by : Art Monterastelli, David Milch & Steven Bochco
Teleplay by : David Milch & Art Monterastelli
October 12, 1993 (1993-10-12) K506/5105

Kelly and Sipowicz investigate a double homicide at a liquor store. Mrs. Wagner seeks revenge against her husband and Goldstein fatally ignores Kelly's warnings about confronting criminals.


5 5 "Emission Accomplished" Michael M. Robin Ted Mann October 19, 1993 (1993-10-19) 0K11/5111

Martinez discovers that his brother has lost his job and continuing to use drugs. As James plans to send him to a Detox program, the two encounter the building superintendent who according to Roberto is forcing Tenants out of the building for money. Martinez then discovers that the superintendent turns out to be an officer from another precinct named Jack Hanlon who came up through the NYPD with John Kelly's father. A gambling addicted detective spends the last of his savings staging elaborate practical jokes at the precinct much to the ire of Lt. Fancy. Following the death of another tenant in Roberto's building, a disgusted Kelly helps Martinez in bringing Hanlon to justice saving Martinez from spending the rest of his career in IAB.


6 6 "Personal Foul" Brad Silberling Story by : David Milch
Teleplay by : Burton Armus
October 26, 1993 (1993-10-26) 0K08/5108

Kelly is forced to arrest a close friend after a dispute on a basketball court results in death. Sipowicz suspects a husband may be concealing the truth in the drive-by shooting of his wife. Licalsi's quick thinking saves Kelly's life during a drugs raid.


  • Guest starring Tobin Bell as Jerry.
  • There is a commentary for this episode by Brad Silberling on the DVD release.
  • James Pickens Jr. guests stars as a postal worker named Nathan Foster, Pickens would appear again in Season 7 playing a different character, a Police Lieutenant named Joe Abner.
7 7 "NYPD Lou" Gregory Hoblit Ted Mann November 2, 1993 (1993-11-02) 0K07/5107

Kelly and Sipowicz investigate the disappearance of a young boy. Sipowicz's estranged son announces his engagement to a woman that raises the father's suspicions. Laura is the sole witness when an assassin ambushes Giardella. A man who claims to be a werewolf may have witnessed a murder.


8 8 "Tempest in a C-Cup" Daniel Sackheim Gardner Stern November 16, 1993 (1993-11-16) 0K10/5110

Kelly interrogates a man suspected of committing a string of taxi robberies, one of which resulted in the shooting death of a cab driver. Sipowicz goes undercover at a topless bar. Lt. Fancy hires Donna Abandando, a civilian, as the precinct's receptionist and administrative assistant for the squad.


9 9 "Ice Follies" Dennis Dugan W.K. Scott Meyer November 30, 1993 (1993-11-30) 0K09/5109

When Roberto, Martinez's brother, dies of a drug overdose, their father vows revenge. Licalsi receives a blackmail threat from the mob. Medavoy, seeking a distraction from his troubled marriage, accepts Donna's offer to go ice skating.


10 10 "Oscar, Meyer, Weiner" Brad Silberling Ted Mann & Gardner Stern December 7, 1993 (1993-12-07) 0K12/5112

Kelly investigates the brutal robbery-murder of a wealthy family and a Hollywood screenwriter reports that his Oscar has been stolen. Meanwhile, Licalsi ignores Kelly's advice and informs Lastarza that she is being blackmailed by the mob.


  • Guest starring Renee O'Connor as Rebecca Sloane
  • There is a commentary for this episode by Brad Silberling on the DVD release.
11 11 "From Hare to Eternity" Eric Laneuville David Milch & Burton Armus December 14, 1993 (1993-12-14) 0K13/5113
Fancy is harassed by Borough Commander Haverill who accuses him of mismanaging the detectives. Kelly and Sipowicz investigate the kidnapping of a young girl while a destitute mother with a questionable past agrees to testify against a man who is suspected of committing armed robbery. Sipowicz realizing that Haverill is trying to move Fancy out for bogus reasons blackmails Haverill over an unsolved mob murder. The precinct staff collects gifts for a Christmas party they are hosting for some needy children.
12 12 "Up on the Roof" Michael M. Robin George D. Putnam January 4, 1994 (1994-01-04) 0K14/5114
A manhunt ensues when Tommy Linardi's dead body is discovered inside a nightclub. A robber uses a fake ATM to rob unsuspecting customers of their savings and Fancy tries retaining temporary custody of a young boy whose mother only recently finished a drug rehabilitation program.
13 13 "Abandando Abandoned" Gregory Hoblit Story by : David Milch & Steven Bochco
Teleplay by : Ted Mann & Gardner Stern
January 11, 1994 (1994-01-11) 0K15/5115

Detectives investigate the shooting death of a man whose wife recently transferred to the precinct. A woman claims she wants her husband prosecuted for spousal abuse but never follows through on her threat. Elsewhere, Medavoy begins an affair with Donna.


14 14 "Jumpin’ Jack Fleishman" Rick Wallace Story by : Steven Bochco & David Milch
Teleplay by : Ted Mann, Gardner Stern & Burton Armus
January 18, 1994 (1994-01-18) 0K16/5116
The detectives search for a cross-dressing killer, while a sexual assault victim fears her husband will blame the attack on her provocative style of dress. Sipowicz's dental appointment is interrupted when a doctor threatens to commit suicide.
15 15 "Steroid Roy" Félix Alcalá Ann Biderman February 8, 1994 (1994-02-08) 0K17/5117

A detective becomes the prime suspect in the suspicious suicide of a police informant. Laura believes Kelly may have overlooked evidence in a homicide investigation and a detective obsessed with his physique is tested for substance abuse.


16 16 "A Sudden Fish" Lesli Linka Glatter Story by : Steven Bochco & David Milch
Teleplay by : Burton Armus & Gardner Stern
February 15, 1994 (1994-02-15) 0K18/5118
The girlfriend of a terminally ill millionaire is blackmailed by her ex-lover and Sipowicz investigates the robbery of a disabled Vietnam veteran.
17 17 "Black Men Can Jump" Jesús S. Treviño Story by : Steven Bochco & David Milch
Teleplay by : Ted Mann
March 1, 1994 (1994-03-01) 0K19/5119

The detectives investigate the slaying of a young black teenager whose father takes matters in his own hands when a likely suspect escapes. Sipowicz suspects a private investigator is taking advantage of a man whose daughter disappeared 2½ years earlier.


  • There is a commentary for this episode by Bill Clark on the DVD release. Clark notes that the only roles that were initially cast were Franz as Sipowicz and McDaniel as Fancy. After Clark saw Mad Dog and Glory he suggested to the show's creators that David Caruso play Sipowicz's partner; Clark then found out that Caruso was already under consideration.
18 18 "Zeppo Marks Brothers" Michael M. Robin Story by : Steven Bochco & David Milch
Teleplay by : Ann Biderman
March 22, 1994 (1994-03-22) 0K20/5120

After a witness is gunned down in the street, the detectives scramble to save their case against the two brothers who have also planned a hit on Laura.


  • Guest starring Leland Orser as Zeppo
  • The episode marked the final appearance of Sherry Stringfield as Laura Michaels.
19 19 "Serge the Concierge" Lesli Linka Glatter Story by : Bill Clark
Teleplay by : David Milch, Gardner Stern & Burton Armus
March 29, 1994 (1994-03-29) 0K21/5121

Kelly, Medavoy, and Martinez lead a search for a girl's body in a Staten Island landfill, finding another body in the process. Sipowicz attempts to clear Andy Jr.'s name after his son is arrested for selling drugs.


  • The episode earned production designer Paul Eads and set decorator Mary Ann Biddle a Creative Arts Emmy Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Series".
20 20 "Good Time Charlie" Gregory Hoblit Story by : Steven Bochco & David Milch
Teleplay by : Ted Mann & Ann Biderman
May 3, 1994 (1994-05-03) 0K22/5122
Kelly and Sipowicz investigate the death of one of Charlie Lear's many mistresses. Licalsi receives an unexpected promotion. Sipowicz has a rough night after meeting Costas' family at a birthday party. Fancy's wife tells her husband that she is pregnant.
21 21 "Guns ‘N’ Rosaries" Michael M. Robin Story by : Steven Bochco & David Milch
Teleplay by : Burton Armus & Gardner Stern
May 10, 1994 (1994-05-10) 0K23/5123
Medavoy and Martinez narrowly escape injury when a disgruntled driver tries to shoot them, then face the wrath of angry African Americans who believe that they have killed a black man without reason. Licalsi confesses to murdering Marino and his driver and Andy attends an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Meanwhile, Medavoy moves out once again after he discovers his wife has been cheating on him.
22 22 "Rockin' Robin" Gregory Hoblit Story by : Jody Worth
Teleplay by : Jody Worth & Ted Mann
May 17, 1994 (1994-05-17) 0K24/5124

Detectives investigate the murder of a priest whose body was discovered in a park frequented by male prostitutes. Sipowicz reopens an investigation into the disappearance of a friend's daughter. While Kelly and Robin become lovers, Licalsi wins release on bail.



Amid controversy about Steven Bochco's intent to produce network television's first "R-rated" series, NYPD Blue premiered on ABC in September 1993. The innovative police drama survived a serious onslaught of protest to emerge as a popular and critically acclaimed series. Blue (as it was sometimes promoted) deliberately tested the boundaries of broadcast restrictions on partial nudity and adult language. Praise for the show's finely crafted storytelling and engaging style soon overtook initial condemnations of its occasional flashes of skin and salty dialogue. By the end of its first season, NYPD Blue had revived Bochco's reputation as a risk-taking producer of "quality television."

Daniel G. Streible, writing for the Museum of Broadcast CommunicationsNYPD Blue

The series was nominated for 26 Emmy nominations and won six awards:

The season also led to Golden Globe Awards for Best TV Series - Drama and Best Actor in a TV Series - Drama (David Caruso); a Directors Guild of America Award for Gregory Hoblit for the pilot episode; two People's Choice Awards for ""Favorite New TV Dramatic Series" and "Favorite TV Dramatic Series"; PGA Awards for Steven Bochco, David Milch, and Gregory Hoblit; and two Viewers For Quality Television Awards.Awards for NYPD Blue from Internet Movie Database.