The Robert De Niro produced NYC 22 would have made for an interesting watch if it was not so much like the countless cop dramas that have preceded it
On paper, NYC 22 seemed like a show with infinite potential. With screenwriter Richard Price, (best known for Clockers and The Wanderers), Robert De Niro as executive producer and credibly talented cast including names such as Adam Goldberg & Leelee Sobieski, there isn’t much more than you can ask for. Save for a little originality, perhaps.
Set in (22nd precinct of) Harlem, NYC 22 follows six brand new recruits in the local police force as they learn to fight street crime. And, surprise, surprise… each of them has a side story. So let’s see. There’s Sanchez (Judy Marte), the latino from a broken family out to prove a point; Ray Harper the recovering alcoholic (Adam Goldberg); Jennifer Perry, a former marine from the White House colour guard (Leelee Sobieski); Jayson Toney an African-American ex NBA star (Harold Moore); the racially profiled Afghan (Tom Reed) and of course Kenny Mc Laren (Stark Sands) who hails from a line of NYPD men.
If they weren’t so contrived and blatantly obvious about the imposed diversity, it’d would have been full marks on inclusiveness.
Now to the show. Each episode starts off with a staff detail by the training officer Daniel “Yoda” Dean (Terry Kinney) who by the by is the only character that’s not just a collection of tics and feels credible. The rookies are then briefed on the order of the day which could be anything from a criminal on the run to a bomb threat, a gang bust or a similar variant. And, so our young rookies are out patrolling the streets, defusing crises —everything from domestic squabbles, gang wars, burglaries to unclogging toilets. All with different degrees of success.
With prime-time shows like CSI showing their age, it is understandable that networks would look for suitable replacements in the crime show genre. But with NYC 22, they played safe, a little too safe maybe. Even with a talented cast ringing in decent performances and well-scripted dialogues (for the most part), it’s let down by its plot. Or the lack of it.
To be sure, NYC 22 is not a bad show. Just one, whose over familiarity and predictability is something we’ll all seen before. Unless it gets its act together pretty quickly over the coming season, all chances are, it will get lost amongst the thousands of shows on TV without a trace.
Episodes of NYC 22 are available online.