I mean,HOW MANY ways could the writers of the show hurt Detective Andy Sipowicz(a brilliant Dennis Franz!)? Let's review:he was a Vietnam vet who had to live down some of the horrible stuff he'd witnessed,his first partner is forced out of the squad,his son and namesake is murdered while trying to foil a saloon hold-up,his second partner is felled by a debilitating illness,his third partner disappears during an undercover operation (and is later found dead),his long-time flame,the DA(the lovely Sharon LAwrence)is shot and killed in the courthouse she worked,his alcoholism and got him into trouble more than once.I mean,Wow! I guess the fact that he still persevered through all that,plus clashes with quite a few of his coworkers(and no fewer than one of his superiors)was a true testimony to his toughness. His relationship with Charlotte Ross' character(to whom he had almost no chemistry)was disposable. Also,it seemed like each season was going to come a new,crushing blow to his world and anyone who he was directly close to,to which had me almost wishing the show would close to give him some peace,finally!
The rest of the cast,which seemed in constant flux,was very strong,as well. In particular,Jimmy Smits as Bobby Simone(partner #2,as aforementioned),Bill Brochtrup as JOhn Irwin(the sweet,gay receptionist),David Caruso as partner #1,John Kelly,James McDaniel as Lt.Arthur Fancy and Gordon Clapp as the basically decent Det.Greg Medavoy.
This show was very well written and kept the story lines very tight and gritty though most of its run. I feel like near the end,the show's writers and producers seemed to be wanting a way to end the show and couldn't quite find a right way to do so. I have yet to see the last episode,but I've heard that it was done very well.