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If the first two seasons introduced one of the great television crime dramas, Homicide really came into its own during the third. Instead of the mere 13 episodes scattered between 1993 and 1994, NBC ordered up a full 20 for the 1994-1995 season. The entire terrific cast is back, with the exception of Jon Polito, whose absence is explained in the fourth episode ("Crosetti"). There are other changes, like the addition of Megan Russert (Isabella Hofmann) as shift commander. Aside from the fact that the mostly male staff now has a woman to report to (alongside Yaphet Kotto's Lt. Giardello), it turns out that Russert has a "history" with one of the detectives. Homicide always excelled in its exploration of racial and office politics; now sexual politics would become a bigger issue. Religion also comes to the fore as Pembleton (Andre Braugher) is finally forced to confront the loss of his faith while working on a case ("The White Glove Murders") involving several aid workers (episodes 1-3). Meanwhile, his partner, Bayliss (Kyle Secor), is coming to resemble the naive young rookie of the first two seasons less and less by the second... while getting to enjoy a little more romance than the rest of the squad--especially the hapless Meldrick (Clark Johnson). But all is not sturm and drang. Humor still finds a place in each episode and Munch (Richard Belzer) still gets many of the best lines. In the season premiere ("Nearer My God to Thee"), for instance, he tells Bolander (Ned Beatty), "There is no such thing as gratuitous sex. Gratuitous violence, yes... Sex cannot and will not ever be gratuitous." He could be describing Homicide itself, in which nothing is ever gratuitous, especially the sudden loss of human life, which is never--and should never be--treated lightly.

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Special Features "Homicide: Life in Season 3"--an interview with Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana, Henry Bromell, David Simon, and James Yoshimura, narrated by Daniel Baldwin About "The Board" Song listing

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AAE70981 Homicide: Life on the Street - The Complete Season 3 DVD (2003/Richard Belzer) $99.95 $79.99