Review: NYC 22 (CBS) 1×1

The 22nd most original show you'll watch today


In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, CBS

Have you noticed how much US network TV is like Las Vegas? As soon as one Las Vegas hotel gets something (e.g. an IMAX 3D ride), suddenly every Las Vegas hotel has to have it?

So stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A cop show on CBS (why haven’t you stopped me yet?) all about rookie cops (why haven’t you stopped me yet?), their love lives (why haven’t you stopped me yet?) and the thorny dilemmas they face on the streets that academy hasn’t prepared them for (why haven’t you stopped me yet?).

Do you see where I’m going with this? I hope you do. Because I have to ask myself, you and CBS: Do we really need another Rookie Blue? Do we really need a show that isn’t even half as good as Southland, simply because these shows aren’t on CBS and CBS is the home of the procedural?

No, it doesn’t matter that Robert de Niro is one of the producers, or that this features a surprisingly diverse cast, including Adam Goldberg (Friends), Leelee Sobieski (Joan of Arc) and Brit actor Tom Reed. Why? Because ultimately, despite a slight hint of the Southland in terms of detail, this is no better and no different than any other generic cop show, put together because all the other networks had one and CBS wanted one, too.

Here’s a trailer:

NYC 22 follows six diverse NYPD rookies as they patrol the gritty streets of upper Manhattan. The new trainees include Jennifer “White House” Perry, a former college volleyball star and Marine MP in Iraq with a take-charge attitude; Ray “Lazarus” Harper, the oldest rookie and a former police news reporter with better sources than most seasoned cops; Tonya Sanchez, who comes from a family with a criminal history; Ahmad Kahn, an Afghani native who fought his way to freedom; Kenny McClaren, a fourth-generation police officer with great instincts but qualms about joining the force; and Jayson “Jackpot” Toney, a young basketball legend who squandered his opportunity in the NBA. Their demanding Field Training Officer, Daniel “Yoda” Dean, is a case-hardened, unsentimental veteran of the force who emphasizes basics and holds each cop accountable for their actions. Rounding out the team is Sergeant Terry Howard, a no-nonsense plainclothes officer from the Gang Intel Unit, who trains the rookies on how to keep the gangbangers at bay. With unique backgrounds, personalities and reasons for being on the force, the new cops will make their share of rookie mistakes while they figure out how to relate to their boss, each other and the people they swore to protect.

Is it any good?
Its diversity is about the only good thing about it. The originality is in the characters and their previous careers and backgrounds: a basketball player, a female marine MP, a journalist, an Afghani refugee, a member of a crime family, and a ‘blue blood‘. After that, it’s the same old, same old.

Although the show tries hard to be different to other cop shows in attention to detail and attitude, it always fall back into the same old rhythms, the same old style of incidental music, the same quick, tidy resolutions to situations and the same trite emotions. You can pretty much guess exactly what’s going to happen with every single plot line the second the set-up hits the screen. You know how each pairing is going to interact, you know which punches will be pulled, you know what actual events aren’t actually going to happen.

Now, CBS being the old-people network, that might be exactly what the audience wants: easy, predictable writing with a twist so that they can still not be totally bored. But if you’re not part of that core audience, why not watch the original shows from which this is derived instead? Why not watch Southland? Why not watch The Wire, assuming you haven’t seen it all already? Why bother with this diluted, mundane, sub-ER, sub-CSI, ensemble rubbish that you’ve seen a dozen times before?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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