April 15, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Disclaimer:  Network pilots now in circulation are not necessarily in the form that will air in the Fall.  Pilots are often reedited and rescored, and in some cases even recast or reshot.  So these critiques shouldn’t be taken as full TV pilot reviews, but rather as a guide to the general style and content of the new shows coming your way.
NYC 22 –  Sundays 10PM on CBS:   If Nothing Else Is On…

NYC 22 (which was originally called The 2-2) is the deluxe version of Rookie Blue.  It’s got a superb pedigree, with a script by Richard Price, acclaimed for his novels (“Bloodbrothers,” “Clockers”), screenplays (Sea Of Love, The Color of Money) and television work (The Wire aka The Greatest Cop Show Ever).  The pilot director is James Mangold, whose features include Walk the Line and Knight and Day, and who’s just been announced as the director of the Wolverine sequel.  In addition, the show was developed at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Productions (DeNiro starred in Price’s Mad Dog and Glory).  For all that, there’s nothing particularly distinctive about the series they’ve all made.

This being CBS and not ABC, the tone of the piece is more procedural and less soapy than Rookie Blue‘s.  (We only get one illicit romance.)  And as the participation of Price and DeNiro would suggest, we’re on the streets of New York, not in Canada.  But it’s essentially the same group of newbie cops, under the supervision of a crusty-but-benign veteran (Terry Kinney).  The 6 cops have backstories, which include a stint in Iraq for Leelee Sobieski’s “Whitehouse,” a NBA career that ended with a blown knee for “Jackpot” (Harold House Moore), 14 years as a local newspaper reporter for “Lazarus” (Adam Goldberg), etc.  At the start of the episode, they’re all told clearly to stay quiet and follow orders–which of course they don’t, leading–who would have guessed?–to armed confrontations and unnecessary danger.
Very little of this is surprising or exciting.  The only character immediately suggesting any depth is Goldberg’s, who at one point doesn’t behave as a TV cop is supposed to.  The rest are foolish and brave, overeager and stressed-out.  If they weren’t easily differentiated by gender and ethnic background, they’d practically be interchangeable.  With Price in charge, there’s some better-than-average writing, as when Jackpot, who had been a hero (and an arrogant one) to his high school pals, meets one of them on the streets years later., and when he runs into an elderly woman who has strong opinions about his pro basketball career  Mostly, though, it’s rudimentary, predictable stuff.  None of the actors manage to stand out, and Mangold’s direction is professional but anonymous.
CBS, of course, lives off this genre.  What may hold NYC 22 back, though, is its lack of any uniqueness:  the CSI shows have their high-tech jargon, Mentalist its titular protagonist, the new Unforgettable its heroine with her freakish memory–but NYC 22 is plain, down-the-middle police work.  When you finish watching it, you feel like you should fill out a timesheet.
Read more about TV’s new shows at THE SKED PILOT REPORT.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."