Since the events of 911 there has been a lot more appreciation, at least publicly, for the real life heroes who populate fire and police stations all over the country. Few jobs offer so little reward for such high risk all in the name of protecting our society from harm. It’s likely no coincidence that while Third Watch began a couple of years before those events, it reached its peak in popularity in the months and years that followed. A better than average procedural drama, Third Watch offered a look at both police officers and firefighters along with their paramedics. You could call it a cross between Hill Street Blues and Emergency.
The police officers and the fire fighters are all members of New York’s 55th Precinct. The Precinct carries the nickname of Camelot. While they work from separate facilities, they are across the street from each other and their duties often find them working together. The two houses share a bond, but there are also moments of stress and rivalry. But when there’s a crisis, these men and women are the best and get the job done.
Third Watch is the brainchild of John Wells, himself no stranger to television success. Think ER. It’s a better than average procedural that allows for more variety because of the distinct jobs, but it also sports a rather large ensemble cast that are really the heart and soul of the series.
Ty Davis (Coby Bell): Ty’s a product of a rich family history of cops. His father had some problems that Ty is forever trying to get to the bottom of. Now his training officer and eventual partner is his father’s old partner. He’s a young fresh kid who is at times more eager to do the job than those around him. He’s still idealistic enough to appear naive.
John “Sully” Sullivan: (Skipp Sudduth): Sully is the seasoned veteran here. He’s partnered with Ty, but is the direct opposite. He’s seen enough crap to make him completely cynical. He’s one of the show’s most developed characters and provides a lot of the more compelling story arcs.
Faith Yokus (Molly Price): Yokus is a mother who must balance her job with raising her kids and dealing with an alcoholic husband. She’s also a seasoned veteran and often exhibits a hard strict persona to keep her own balance. She’ll often let her heart dictate her actions, usually getting her in trouble.
Maurice “Bosco” Boscorelli (Jason Wiles): Bosco is the cowboy in the group. He’s a shoot first ask questions later hot shot. He’s a good cop but subject to taking too many short cuts. To Bosco the world is black and white with very little area in between.
Monte “Doc” Parker (Michael Beach): Doc is the paramedic everyone looks up to. He was once in medical school but ended up a paramedic. He knows as much as the doctors sometimes and it can get him in trouble. He takes the job too personally at times and provides one of the most compelling story arcs toward the show’s end.
Carlos Nieto (Anthony Ruivivar): Carlos is the green guy on the paramedic team. What he doesn’t know could fill a supercomputer, but he’s pretty arrogant. He’s partnered with Doc and the two share a rather tumultuous relationship.
Kim Zambrano (Kim Raver): Unfortunately we know more about Kim’s love life than we want to. She was once married to firefighter Jimmy, and the two often argue as they share the same station house. She’s too often the damsel in distress and doesn’t hold up well under pressure.
Jimmy Doherty (Eddie Cibrian): Jimmy is a playboy with an ex-wife at the station and a son he doesn’t always do right by. He’s courageous and likely the first one to rush into a burning building to save someone. He’s a gambler with a lot of bookie debt to cover.
Bobby Caffrey (Bobby Cannavale): Bobby is Kim’s partner and in love with her, but he has to listen to her complain about Jimmy all the time. He takes care of a sick mother and wants to be the protector of others, particularly Kim. He has a low self esteem but does a good job as a paramedic.
Here in the second season the show begins to hit its stride. We know these characters now, and the writers and directors were smart enough to just turn them loose. The top story lines include a cop killing sniper. Sully is investigated by internal affairs for being a dirty cop. Sully finds love in a mail order Russian bride which ends up causing him a ton of trouble. Lethal heroin hits the streets. A school shooting pushes each of the characters to their limits. Kim attempts suicide.
Each episode is presented a full frame original broadcast format. It’s not a perfect presentation and pretty much average from every major aspect. From black levels to colors it looks pretty much like a 90’s television show. It looks a little older than it actually is, however. Good enough for television is the likely attitude.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track offers pretty much dialog and music or effects. It’s fine for what it is.
Just a Gag Reel.
Like most folks I didn’t catch on to Third Watch right away. In fact, I never saw these first two seasons at all before the DVD release. It was nice to watch the evolution of these characters that I had come to like from the last couple of the show’s 6 years run. I think whether you’re a fan yet or not, this is a great opportunity to watch it from it’s earlier years. It took a year between the first and second year releases of this quality series. Pick them up quickly so that we all won’t need to wait so long for the remaining episodes. You won’t be sorry. If they see the support, Warner will pump out the rest of them. “Look, if you’re a good businessman, I’m sure you’ll see the wisdom in calling anyone who hasn’t done it yet, tell them.”