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Season 4 had some mighty high standards to live up to; and for the most part it does. It hits the ground running with an episode that immediately sets a few major plot points in motion that will effect the rest of the season: The squad gets a new PAA named Geri, who sets her sights on Andy, and later she desperately needs his help, Greg's weight concerns introduces him to a cop named Abby who will play a pivotal role in his life this season, Martinez's victory against Vince for delegate leads to pivotal episodes for each of them, Martinez also meets a cute young PAA who will play a major role in his life, Jill Kerkindal joins the squad halfway through the season, Fancy, feeling the victim of racial profiling, is forced to examine his own prejudices, and Bobby asks Diane to marry him and her response sets off a chain of events that becomes the dramatic center of this season. Andy's issues, although they surface from time to time, take a backseat this season as the dramatic focus is placed more on Simone and Russell, both together and individually, than ever before. This results in some truly captivating episodes that effect both the individuals involved, as well as those around them: Russell and her undercover assignment with James Leary gives her character a big overhaul, but it also shows cracks in Simone's generally cool demeanor; you see his weaknesses and what makes him tick. And Simone, in probably the best story arch of this season, gets screwed by the job and the FBI as he is told to get close to, and do favors for, a former childhood pal turned wiseguy. This assignment and the secretiveness with which Simone must carry it out, as he gets in deeper and deeper over his head, enrages both Russell and Andy and leads to two terrific episodes: "Is Paris Burning?" in which, between a horrible murder of a witness, Simone's tightening noose with IAB, and his own feelings of frustration and helplessness, Andy just loses it. And the season finale which I remember shocked the hell out of me back when it first aired. If you are going to try to make fans salivate for a shows return the following season, this is the way to do it.

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Special Features Select episode commentaries "Through the Lens: The Look of Blue" featurette "In With the New" featurette

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FX2234226 NYPD Blue - The Complete Fourth Season DVD (1996/Jimmy Smits) $29.98