Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

“Detroit 187″ Pilot Review

Posted by Marlo Stanfield on September 22, 2010

Michael Imperioli and the cast of "Detroit 187"

Motor City.  Not since “Gran Turino” has a – alright, I can’t even finish that thought.  But Detroit 187 is actually another enjoyable show. Maybe I didn’t spend so much time watching the NYPD Blues and Law and Orders of yesteryear that the genre has burnt out on me, but there’s a freshness to this show that makes me want to watch.

Michael Imperioli stars as Detective Louis Fitch.  And he’s crazy.  Not like “I’m the King of France” crazy but “I’m the not funny, cop version of Dr. House” crazy.  Detective Damon Washington, played by Chicago actor Jon Michael Hill, is his new transferred partner and it’s his first day on Homicide.  They’re investigating a double at a pharmacy, and Det. Washington loses his lunch.  The other detective duo of Longford and Mahajan (portrayed by James McDaniel and Shawn Majumder, respectively) investigate an attorney’s murder, complete with Funk music in the background during their scenes.  The Detroit Homicide squad is completed by Det. Ariana Sanchez (Natalie Martinez), Det. John Stone (D.J. Cotrona), and Lt. Maureen Mason (Aisha Hinds).  Both murders intersect to create a solid pilot episode.

The style of the show makes one feel like they are a part of the action.  I know that Detroit 187 was shot single camera because of its original mockumentary conceit, but I hope Detroit 187 will continue to use that focus because it lends to the rough edges of the city of Detroit.

I do have a couple of complaints.  One, how do they get to Det. Sanchez car accident so quickly? Detectives Finch and Washington arrive before the ambulance – what is that?  The call that she’s in trouble is put into the radio, and they’re are immediately there.  Two, sometimes the background music, while familiar and welcoming, can be a bit oversaturated.

Regardless, Detroit 187 is a cop show that has the chops to last.  Good writing, interesting locale, and mounds of great acting are going to carry this show and hopefully, people will tune in. I know I’ll be DVRing it while I watch my Parenthood. Creator Jason Richman clearly was influenced by David Simon’s work for this show, but what crime drama isn’t now? It’s unfair to compare a network show to hope to achieve the scope of The Wire, but Detroit 187 is definitely a new gritty show that fans of The Wire can get behind, and maybe some older long lost fans of NYPD Blue as well.  The thing that struck me about this pilot was its unforgiving nature. Detroit 187 wasn’t afraid to let loose a couple of bleeped out F bombs here and there, or really show the extremities Det. Finch will go to convict a criminal.  Plus, not spoiling anything, but any show that has the guts to do what this show does at the end of the pilot is worth watching week after week.

Grade: A-

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8 Responses to ““Detroit 187″ Pilot Review”

  1. CJ Cregg said

    OK. So the twist at the end was pretty crazy. But I was pretty bored by the show throughout. (Although given that this post is the top searched and read post of all our new content, I think I may be in the minority here.) I agree that the mockumentary feeling was still there, which was cool, but I found the characters to be annoying. They were preachy (in the case of the detective that’s like ‘I’m from here, you just hope it’s not someone you know’) or just plain angry (in the case of Det. Finch). Now, I will say, this is not a genre of TV that I spend a lot of time watching because it isn’t really my thing. So maybe that predisposed me to not be excited about this show, but I found it to be perfectly mediocre.

    Grade: C

  2. CJ Cregg said

    It’s fascinating that so many people are interested in this review because Detroit 1-8-7 did not do well in the ratings last night. Seems like the kind of show that might have a dedicated, but small following.

  3. J Foot said

    In answer to the question of how did they get to the accident so fast – you have obviously never been to Detoit. There is just basically no heavy traffic (and sometimes no traffic at all) in certain areas of the downtown. Once you get a few blocks away from the core it is deserted. I have been through the downtown area on a Sunday morning and it is hard to even find a single person out on the street. Detroit is quite a unique city and although I live in Windsor on the Canadian side of the river we often go to Detroit for sporting and entertainment events and find it quite shameful that such a beautiful city was allowed to die. I will watch again just for the curiosity factor.

    • Marlo Stanfield said

      You are correct. I have never been to Detroit, nor know the intricacies of their Police Force / EMS. But thank you for reading our blog and giving us a firsthand account of what is happening there. Please continue to visit our site.

  4. Mr. Feeny said

    I was definitely not expecting this to be as good as it was. CJ is right. If you’re not a fan of crime dramas or mysteries, it’d be difficult to appreciate Detroit 1-8-7. Its style and pace are unlike any of the CSI, Law & Order, or NCIS shows on television. Marlo describes it well as gritty. But I appreciated its focus on some aspects of the characters and its spattering of humor. Of course, the funniest moment seems morbid and depressing now. If the ending holds up, they basically did what JJ Abrams wanted to originally do with Lost. Not a bad show to be compared to for risk-taking. Of course, Abrams didn’t actually take that risk. What I liked most was that they kept the focus on the policework. Too often nowadays a crime procedural feels like they need to show a little bit of the offender, too. It ruins the suspense.

    As procedurals go, this is definitely a standout. But, it is still just a procedural.

    Grade: B+

  5. Gary Hill said

    Enjoyed the show very much and will tune in every week. It had a mixture of humor, possible future romance (I hope they don’t go the route of other shows and do a lot of sexual stuff. It’s not necessary to make it a good show.), drama and surprise (I liked the ending but I hope the detective lives. I think he will). I also like the fact that a lot of the future episodes will be filmed in Detroit.

  6. Tom said

    Tv is a business and like any business sometines its good to have a few losses to ballance out your winners. Think about it did they give this show the NYPD blue treatment,NO! Or going back a ways even the Hillstreet Blues treatment,No. The difference is in the WRITEING!!! Even dvd’s of Hillstreet,(whitch by todays standerds is cornball)are still better than this! It played like a woman from Birmingham wrote it,,Oh wait she did. This show will never be green-lighted for even 1 more singel episode. They will broadcast what they have in the can and thats it. Like the Lions they where beaten befor thay started and it showed. Hollywood has no interest in it winning. 2nd stringers all the way. Mike Imp.as your leed PLEASE!!! Next to Tony S. he pulled-it-off at best. But Dennis Zranz he ain’t. Sorry Spider Spider crawl back to New York.

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