The first season of the long-running NYPD Blue ranks among the best television I have ever seen. After the first stellar season, an unfortunate contract dispute saw star David Caruso (now of CSI: Miami fame) leaving. At that point, there was a noticeable drop-off in the quality of the content, although the series was still more than respectable for its remaining eleven seasons–The show ran for twelve seasons in total. One of the series’ creators and writers, David Milch, would later go on to concoct the brilliant HBO show, Deadwood.
The first season of NYPD Blue is set in the no-nonsense early to mid-1990′s New York City. I believe it captures the essence and grit of that time period as well as any television show (or film for that matter). Moreover, the show avoids the tired, generic, and washed-up story lines from cop shows in the first season for an original and riveting experience. In addition to Caruso starring as the tough Detective Kelly, Dennis Franz develops one of the more memorable characters in television history: Detective Andy Sipowicz.
I highly recommend you check out the first season of NYPD Blue.