The undisputed master of the “Doctor, Cop Lawyer” TV genre Steven Bochco died Sunday, April 1 at age 74 following a battle with leukemia.
Interestingly enough, the only one of Bochco’s shows I ever watched was the 1990 series Cop Rock, because I was taking a musical theater class in college at the time and my professor required his students to watch it. I honestly don’t remember that much of it, except it was short-lived, and is listed as one of Bochco’s biggest failures. The basic gist of it was cops in real-life situations set to musical theater. What could go wrong, right?
Bochco’s ex-wife Barbara Bosson, who appeared in several of Bochco’s series, is second from the right on the bottom. Ronny Cox is second from the left in the middle, he is best known (at least to me) for playing the “heavy” in a variety of movies, including Robocop and Total Recall. He was also the victim of some violent rednecks in the 1972 film Deliverance.
I’m going to be honest here, I never really watched any of Bochco’s series (besides Cop Rock). But you couldn’t grow up in the 1980s/early 1990s without at least being AWARE of their existence! Hill Street Blues had a great piano-based theme song, and I’m pretty sure my dad watched it (he is a pretty big fan of cop/legal dramas). L.A. Law starred Susan Dey, who used to be on The Partridge Family. And didn’t it also feature that “special” character Benny?
Susan Dey and Jimmy Smits in L.A. Law.
Other series Bochco is credited with include Doogie Howser: M.D., NYPD Blue, Murder One, and McMillan and Wife (that title kind of weirds me out for some reason…), among others. Let’s see, his “doctor” series was Doogie Howser. His “lawyer” series was L.A. Law. And he created several “cop” series. Yup, I’m going to just call the late Steven Bochco the master of “Doctor, Cop Lawyer” television! Rest in peace, Steven Bochco! You undoubtedly helped pave the way for a whole plethora of “copycat” doctor, cop lawyer TV shows including but not limited to Law and Order, The Wire, Grey’s Anatomy, E.R., Boston Legal, House, Matlock, and countless others! I’ve never been a real fan of this genre (I’m more of a Police Squad/Sledgehammer girl myself), but in light of Bochco’s passing, I’ll show my respects to this very creative, innovative and talented individual! And did I mention Emmy-winning, too? Here’s the list (you’ll thank me if Steven Bochco’s series comes up as a topic on trivia night):
- 1981 Outstanding Drama Series, for Hill Street Blues
- 1981 Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, for Hill Street Blues, “Hill Street Station” (premiere episode)
- 1982 Outstanding Drama Series, for Hill Street Blues
- 1982 Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, for Hill Street Blues, “Freedom’s Last Stand”
- 1983 Outstanding Drama Series, for Hill Street Blues
- 1984 Outstanding Drama Series, for Hill Street Blues
- 1987 Outstanding Drama Series, for L.A. Law
- 1987 Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, for L.A. Law, “The Venus Butterfly”
- 1989 Outstanding Drama Series, for L.A. Law
- 1995 Outstanding Drama Series, for NYPD Blue
My dream is that one day there will one day be a real “doctor, cop lawyer” TV series featuring a character playing all three roles in one. Preferably a single mother, juggling the demands of all three high-stress, high-powered careers with being a single mother dealing with a contentious ex-husband, and also those catty women in the PTA (not to mention her constantly bickering children). Think of the possibilities! I’d watch the f— out of THAT series! But only if it were presented as a comedy!