June 28, 2004 12:00 PM

ABC (Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET)


Though it comes from Terence Wrong, the ABC News producer behind the worthwhile Hopkins 24/7 and Boston 24/7, you may wonder if this seven-week study of the New York City police force is nothing more than a glorified Cops.

What distinguishes NYPD 24/7 (premiering June 22) are its shaded portraits of officers who aren’t perfect. Foremost among these is Lt. Vic Hollifield of the Emergency Service Unit, who appears in the second and fifth episodes. Though his two decades of experience serve him well most of the time, we can see he’s losing his cool as well as his zest for an incredibly stressful job. “I’ve seen enough,” says Hollifield, haunted by his unit’s losses on Sept. 11, 2001. “I’ve seen too much.”

Meeting such a memorable character makes the show’s faults forgivable. The majority of the episodes cut back and forth between stories, often to our frustration. One murder case takes an abrupt turn that cries out for more explanation. And narrator Dennis Franz, attired as Det. Andy Sipowicz, shouldn’t introduce each episode from the set of NYPD Blue. It’s as if real-life cops need validation from one who exists only on TV.

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