NBC (Fridays, 10 p.m. ET)
NYPD Blue deservedly gets praise as the most innovative cop show in years. Too bad Homicide has gotten lost in all the Blue buzz, because this is also one of the few series worth setting aside time to watch. After trial runs during the past two years, the Barry Levinson-coproduced show is in its first full season and continues to be the best drama—not just cop drama—on TV
Whereas NYPD Blue is confrontational and aggressive, Homicide is casual and personable. It follows a group of Baltimore homicide cops, often focusing on how their jobs affect their lives. The story lines can be eccentric, such as one about two cops (Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson) trying to buy a bar, or as serious as one about an officer (Andre Braugher) losing faith in God while pursuing a serial killer. Either way, Homicide is that rare show that can both amuse and educate.