October 25, 1999 12:00 PM

NBC (Sundays, 8 p.m. ET)

“You’re givin’ me whiplash,” police officer Faith (Molly Price) yelled to her fast-driving partner Bosco (Jason Wiles) in last month’s premiere of this drama series about New York City cops, paramedics and firefighters working the 3-to-11 shift. I shared Faith’s complaint as the breathlessly paced opener kept shifting moods, hustling characters forward and hurling them into crises on the streets. Simply too much of a good thing.

Then I watched an October episode and had a whole other beef. Now there seemed an overemphasis on the love lives of divorced Kim (Kim Raver) and bachelor Bobby (Bobby Cannavale), a pair of paramedics who share an ambulance and appear to be hiding their feelings for each other. I grew bored with a prank war between hotheaded young Bosco and veteran cop Sully (Skipp Sudduth), as well as a dogged effort by the paramedic team of Doc (Michael Beach) and Carlos (Anthony Ruivivar) to return a lost watch. Conditioned by the premiere, I wanted more action.

Executive producers John Wells and Christopher Chulack have an ER background, and Third Watch reflects their talent for turning chaos into compelling drama. But the new series, though well-acted, may be overcrowded with characters. Do we really need two nervous rookies, Carlos and Sully’s cop partner Ty (Coby Bell)? I’d prefer a tighter focus on Sully and Doc, a couple of city-weary guys trying to be helpers, not necessarily heroes. They could even ride in the same car, if they didn’t have different jobs.

Bottom Line: Keep watch, look for improvement

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