‘NYC 22’: Richard Price’s world of rookie police
- Last Updated: 12:39 AM, April 14, 2012
- Posted: 10:08 PM, April 13, 2012
Tomorrow night at 10 on CBS
Just because the 22nd precinct doesn’t exist in real life doesn’t mean that novelist Richard Price’s new TV series, “NYC 22,” is not based in real life. It is — but with a dash of unreal that’s almost as big as Price’s mythical 22nd precinct, which runs from Harlem to Morningside Heights.
That doesn’t make it bad. It just makes “NYC 22” better than most, but not as great as it could be.
The series, which is the mid-season replacement for the irreplaceable and indestructible, “CSI: Miami,” follows six rookie cops on their first day.
The newbies are Ray “Lazarus” Harper (Adam Goldberg), a former police reporter; Ahmad Khan (Tom Reed), who arrives at NYPD via London after a childhood in Iraq; Jennifer “White House” Perry (Leelee Sobieski) who also arrives via Iraq, but as a US Army military police; Kenny McLaren (Stark Sands), who comes from a looong line of blue; Tonya Sanchez (Judy Marte), who comes from long lines of white — as in drug-dealing gang bangers; and Jayson “Jackpot” Toney (Harold House Moore — confusing, yes, I know), a former NBA star.
The premiere opens as (myth No. 2), five of the six rookies impossibly end up on the same subway car at the same time.
As rookies, they are treated like poop on a shoe by the other cops — especially on the first day when they meet Daniel “Yoda” Dean (Terry Kinney), the jaded but fair-minded veteran field training officer, who gives them their marching orders each day at the shape up.
As the rookies get partnered and repartnered each week, we learn their backgrounds and their foregrounds — what they want, what they hope for, what they are afraid to hope for.
The problem with everything that’s so right about the show is myth No. 3: Rookie Sanchez, in the first two episodes, happens to walk into situations that make her solve two crimes on the first and second day on the job. She could make captain by episode six at this rate.
What works is the real atmosphere of the streets of NYC, and the acting, which, for the most part, is first rate. (I love Adam Goldberg and Tom Reed, especially, since they look like real people. Judy Marte is too good-looking, but she’s such a steady presence, you forget how gorgeous she is.)
Leelee Sobieski, on the other hand, acts like the former expressionless model that she was. What works in Vogue doesn’t work at the 22. But, then again, it’s a mythical station house, so maybe they would have a fashion model/martial arts cop who don’t take no crap from nobody.
The series, written by Price and produced by Robert DeNiro, has NYC cred, and it, like its characters, grows with each episode.
Of course, if “NYC 22” gets picked up for more than one season, they’ll be older than those “kids” on “Dawson’s Creek,” who practically had their AARP cards by the time the series wrapped.