"Many fans and critics derided season seven of "Homicide" for one reason: the loss of Andre Braugher, who had felt that the character of Pembelton had been taken as far as possible. While it is disappointing to have "Homicide" without him, season seven is capable of standing on its own. Standout episodes include the two-part "Kellerman: PI," "Homicide.com," "La Famiglia," and the final episode, "Forgive Us Our Tresspasses." The twenty-two episodes are available on six discs and include:
La Famiglia Brotherly Love Just an Old Fashioned Love Song The Twenty Percent Solution Red, Red Wine Wanted Dead or Alive: Parts One & Two Kellerman, P.I.: Parts One & Two Shades of Gray Bones of Contention The Same Coin Homicide.com A Case of Do or Die Sideshow Part Two (Part One an episode of "Law & Order") Truth Will Out Zen and the Art of Murder Self Defense Identity Crisis Lines of Fire The Why Chromosome Forgive Us Our Trespasses
Extras on the DVD set include: Live Panel Discussion with Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson, James Yoshimura, and David Simon Barry Levinson's Acceptance Speech for the 2004 Video Software Dealers Association Career Achievement Award Commentary with Tom Fontana, Julie Martin, and James Yoshimura on the Episode "Forgive Us Our Trespasses" Cast Biographies
While not exactly "loaded" with extras, this final season set is a necessary addition to any fan's collection, if only for the addition of Giancarlo Esposito and the unresolved plotline of the relationship between Gee and Mike which comes to a head in the movie. Full of ups and downs, season seven isn't the greatest, but it was television at its finest, and no show has come close to achieving what "Homicide" did from beginning to end: tell gripping stories with a well-developed cast of characters that entertained for seven short years."
Homicide's Fall From Grace
Ryan | 07/31/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There is nothing worse for a diehard fan of a truly great television series than to see their favorite work spiral from top quality to bottom-of-the-barrel. Many reviewers have already said it and it is very true; Homicide's final season was, by far, its weakest. The most obvious reason was, of course, due to the departure of Emmy winner Andre Braugher as the moralistic and intense centerpiece of the show, Frank Pembleton, but one also can't overlook the damage done by Reed Diamond's exit as the turbulent Mike Kellerman. The absence of these two genuine characters, succeeding the departures of other greats like Kay Howard, Stan Bolander, Juliana Cox, Beau Felton and Megan Russert, was just too much for the series to take.
But its not only the lack of decent characters that hurt the show; bad writing and gimmicky plots further drove Homicide downward. There is no better evidence of this than the introduction of Lt. Al Giardello's son Mike (Giancarlo Esposito) as an FBI liaison to the Baltimore police department. The conflict between father and son is supposed to be compelling, but the two actors and characters are so different and share so little chemistry that its impossible to regard their ongoing struggle to reconnect as little more than a bad soap opera subplot, not worthy of Homicide's past creative achievements. The other new face is Det. Renee Sheppard (Michael Michele.) She is little more than just a new face. She has no personality and adds nothing to the group dynamic of the show. Other players from the previous year (Gharty, Falsone and Ballard) take center stage in this season. They were tolerable before, but their personal relationships and watery portrayals only show why a good ensemble drama needs good actors and authentic characters to be successful. There's a third and final crossover with Law & Order, but it tries to press too many political buttons in the midst of the Lewinsky/Starr scandal and comes off as too heavy-handed and manipulative for its own good.
Despite the final season's many obvious flaws, there's just enough to bring diehard fans like me back for the finish. The two-part "Kellerman, P.I." gives us some closure to Mike Kellerman's character that we won't find in the subsequent movie. Several other noteworthy episodes include "Lines of Fire," "The Same Coin," "Homicide.com," "Self-defense," and "Truth Will Out." Old Homicide veterans like Munch, Lewis and Giardello Sr. still put in quality performances, though they aren't as effective when they're not given good stories and actors off which to play. Tim Bayliss is one of the few compelling characters that remains, though he is a mixed bag for much of the season. After returning from his near-fatal shooting in the sixth season finale, he seems to be adrift without Pembleton and clings to Buddhism for comfort. This comes off as cliché and cornie for much of the season, but his strange trip is worth the pay-off in the excellent series finale, "Forgive Us Our Trespasses," when Bayliss ends his series arc in a dark and disturbing fashion. Viewers left hanging can find some answers in the Homicide movie, though it too suffers from its own problems.
The extras are sparse in this set, though not necessarily as bare as previous offerings. The panel interview is insightful and the commentary is pretty good. This DVD set may not be worth 100 bucks, but its really necessary to complete the collection of an otherwise excellent and vastly under-rated network series. If the price tag puts you off, just do what I did and buy it used. Enjoy the great series finale and the few other gems in this season and thank David Simon, Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson for bringing us this truly outstanding television program. "
Not With a Bang But a Whimper
Dirtbike Kid | United Kingdom | 03/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The final season of Homicide :Life on the Street was a shadow of the show's former brilliance. Not that it isn't worth watching mind - I daresay most of the episodes on here would hold up reasonably well against most other shows - but with Pembleton & Kellerman gone there wasn't really much to hold the show together (Although Kellerman does reappear in two episodes as a Private Eye who becomes embroiled in a Homicide case.). All Ballard, Stivers and Sheppard seemed to do in this season was whine how the guys didn't treat them as equals - it's as though Kay Howard never existed. There are bright spots though. I still say that "Lines of Fire" is one of the ten best episodes of the series. "Homicide.com" sees the series final major story arc,which sees Sheepard catch a particularly nasty red ball in the form of Internet Killer Luke Ryland, and will eventaully culminate in a shocking turn of events that takes place in "Homicide:The Movie." (out now on DVD). Law and Order SVU star Chris Meloni makes a guest appearence in the two parter "Wanted Dead Or Alive", and there is also the second part of the final Law and Order crossover, "Sideshow". You still nedd to own this though, on the basis that once you've seen the first six seasons, you'll want to own this just to complete your set.But in terms of the series itself, it's a sad end to what for me is the greatest television show ever made."
The worst of the seven but a solid purchase nonetheless
J. K. Walton | Trenton, NJ | 05/26/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While I normally don't deride others comments on these boards, I have to thoroughly disagree with the earlier writer who said that seasons six and seven were the only ones worth watching. NBC made an attempt to make the show more accessible to fans of shows such as NYPD Blue and Law and Order, it doesn't hold a candle to the earlier seasons. However, everyone is entitled to an opinion and here is mine.
While season six had a decent mix of the long standing characters (Pembleton, Bayliss, Munch, Louis) combined with Kellerman (who in my opinion was harder to replace than Pembleton in some ways) and bits of the new characters, season seven relies almost entirely on the "new and improved" NBC version of Homicide.
That means more Falsone, more Ballard, more Gharty combined with Sheppard. While Ballard and Gharty aren't bad characters, Falsone is pretty hard to swallow and Sheppard doesn't ever fit the show's image. It seems as if each character is attempting to replay a former character. Falsone resembles a less sympathetic Felton, Ballard is attempting to play a "sexy" Howard, and Gharty a more blue collar Bolander. None is as good as the original. Also, the long standing partnerships of characters drove the show in many ways (Pembleton/Bayliss, Bolander/Munch). It was almost a novelty to see the original cast team up with someone else such as when Louis was searching for partner to bridge the time between Crosetti and Kellerman. Now they sort of freelance with various partners, killing some of the strength of the dialogue of earlier seasons.
The reason to watch this season is the writing as well as the catharsis experienced by the Bayliss character. More than any other character, the character of Tim Bayliss is intrinsically connected to all the various incarnations of the show. Plus, the worst season of this show is still "very good" and the new characters are less bad characters as they are in the difficult position of following one of the greatest ensemble casts ever assembled during the first five years of the show's run."
Much better than I expected
TRock | 07/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been reading all the hoopla of how much worse Season 7 is from the rest and bought into it because of the absence of Andre Braugher, et al and continuing saga of Jon Seda, et al. I had been an avid Homocide viewer from Seasons 3-5 when it was on, network television, but because of a work schedule and a broken VCR I missed most of the 6th Season and all 7th Season.
I've just finished watching Season 7 off of the DVDs I purchased (bought all the others already), and all I can say is that the naysayers are wrong. Sure, the romances get a little out of hand, but other than that I really have only viewed 1 or 2 weak shows in the whole season. The same can be said for most of the other seasons as well. The two part episode, Kellerman, P.I., with Reed Diamond and Jena Malone is outstanding as is Lines of Fire, Homicide.com, Bones of Contention, etc. Personally, I found La Famiglia the weakest of the lot. After viewing it, I thought, "geez, they're right. this season is weak."
Don't believe it. The writing is still top notch. The addition of Austin Pendleton is a real plus. I would have liked to have seen more of Clark Johnson, but he still plays a prominent role in most of the episodes and thank God he's still carrying on the tradition with his directing from all that he learned on this show. I also have grown to like Jon Seda and his character. It was difficult at first, but his honest portrayal of an honest man in the midst of chaos retains is commendable.
I'm sad that I'm finally at the end after having bought all of the seasons as they're release, but so happy that I have them to watch over and over. Homocide: Life on the Street - all seven seasons, is the best investment I've made in a long time.
4 Stars for some of the excessive romance. That's NBC's fault. 5 Stars for the Season as a whole."