Detroit 1-8-7

"Detroit 1-8-7" emerges as a spare but undistinguished, by-the-book copshow.

Det. Louis Fitch - Michael Imperioli Sgt. Jesse Longford - James McDaniel Lt. Maureen Mason - Aisha Hinds Det. John Stone - D.J. Cotrona Det. Damon Washington - Jon Michael Hill Det. Vikram Mahajan - Shaun Majumder Det. Ariana Sanchez - Natalie Martinez Dr. Abbey Ward - Erin Cummings

Stripped of the pilot’s cinema-verite, faux-documentary style, “Detroit 1-8-7” emerges as a spare but undistinguished, by-the-book copshow, with the timeslot, gallows humor and co-star James McDaniel all direct links to “NYPD Blue.” Whether that’s enough to prevent this series (which derives its name from the code for a homicide) from becoming another primetime casualty is anybody’s guess, but as trade-offs for local production dollars go, ABC’s grim and gritty drama certainly won’t improve Detroit’s image among potential U.S. tourist destinations.

Shifting to his second consecutive ABC cop role (the last on the more intriguing “Life on Mars”) following “The Sopranos,” Michael Imperioli occupies centerstage amid this diverse ensemble as Det. Fitch, a brilliant crime-solver utterly devoid of interpersonal skills. He’s so inept at dealing with people, in fact, that he calls his new partner Damon (Jon Michael Hill) on his cell phone to dispense advice, even when the two are seated a few feet apart.

Fitch is hardly the only eccentric within the squad, which also includes McDaniel’s Sgt. Longford, who dreams of retiring to Italy; and soon-to-be dad Damon, whose wife calls incessantly, irritating Fitch by triggering a “Baby Love” ringtone. Still, Imperioli’s “Monk”-like persona and damaged character is clearly first among equals, if somewhat diluted by the pilot’s let’s-introduce-the-gang approach.

Written by Jason Richman, the premiere opens with a double murder in a pharmacy, as the detectives seek to determine whether it was a random or premeditated act. Along the way, there are several amusing references to Detroit as an urban hellhole, from murder remaining its one thriving industry to bullet casings piled up along the highway. In this show, Michigan’s production tax breaks come at a steep price.

Beyond that, though, the series plays like a pretty straightforward procedural — similar in tone to “Homicide,” including one profane (and frequently bleeped) interview with a hostile witness. It’s not bad, but it initially looks relatively uninspired next to TV’s best copshows, including current entries such as TNT’s “Southland.”

On the plus side, the appetite for solidly produced primetime crime appears nearly insatiable, there’s a hook to entice viewers into a second episode, and “Dancing With the Stars” ought to lead viewers toward its precinct.

Still, with the reconstituted pilot shoehorned into a conventional format, those strokes add up to a thin blue line of defense if “1-8-7” wants to avoid being 86’ed — potentially joining ABC’s lengthy list of recent 10 p.m. victims.

Detroit 1-8-7

ABC, Tues. Sept. 21, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Atlanta and Detroit by Mandeville Prods. in association with ABC Studios. Executive producers, David Zabel, Jason Richman, Kevin Hooks, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman; co-executive producer, Paul Shapiro; producer, Patrick McKee; director, Jeffrey Nachmanoff; writer, Richman.

Crew: Camera, J. Michael Muro; production designer, Chuck Parker; editors, Billy Fox, Harry Yoon; music, Dave Kushner, John O'Brien; casting, Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas. 60 MIN.

Cast: Det. Louis Fitch - Michael Imperioli Sgt. Jesse Longford - James McDaniel Lt. Maureen Mason - Aisha Hinds Det. John Stone - D.J. Cotrona Det. Damon Washington - Jon Michael Hill Det. Vikram Mahajan - Shaun Majumder Det. Ariana Sanchez - Natalie Martinez Dr. Abbey Ward - Erin Cummings

More TV

  • iheart living room concert for america

    Fox's 'IHeart Living Room Concert for America': TV Review

    There’s something refreshing about something being about what it’s actually about. This was the thought that came to mind as the Backstreet Boys — a band still riding on the afterburn of one massive hit — performed a five-way “socially distanced” version of “I Want It That Way” on Fox’s televised benefit to raise awareness [...]

  • Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in

    'Homeland': Carrie Mathison Says Goodbye to Longtime Ally (SPOILERS)

    “Homeland” reached another milestone in its final season with the passing of a fan-favorite character who has been with the show since its inception. SPOILER ALERT: The following includes spoilers for “Threnody(s),” episode 8 of the eighth and final season of Showtime’s “Homeland.”  Carrie Mathison has said goodbye to a longtime ally in her quest [...]

  • Jane Levy Breaks Down Special 'Zoey's

    Jane Levy on 'Panic' and Jim Carrey as Inspiration for Special 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' Episode

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch,” the eighth episode of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” thrust Jane Levy back into the spotlight as a leading lady in a broadcast series, but the eighth episode of that NBC dramedy, entitled “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch,” more literally thrust her into [...]

  • ‘Westworld’: 5 Burning Questions From Season

    ‘Westworld’: 5 Burning Questions From Season 3 Episode 3

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the third episode of “Westworld” Season 3. After Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Bernard’s (Jeffrey Wright) windy Westworld and Warworld antics from last time around, Episode 3 returned to the equally dangerous environment of future Los Angeles. The episode began with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) playing [...]

  • Outlander 507

    The 'Outlander' Death That Brought 'An Unexpected Wave of Emotion' (SPOILERS)

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Ballad of Roger Mac,” the seventh episode of “Outlander” Season 5. The latest “Outlander” episode was simply heartbreaking with one confirmed death and one fate left quite literally hanging in the balance. Both book readers and non-book readers alike have been aware for [...]

  • Mergers and Deals Placeholder

    Tegna Confirms Two Acquisition Offers Withdrawn Amid Coronavirus Upheaval

    Tegna confirmed Sunday that two suitors for the station group have recently withdrawn acquisition offers, citing the upheaval in the broader marketplace caused by the coronavirus crisis. Tegna’s statement is the company’s first acknowledgement that it has received four unsolicited acquisition offers in recent weeks. Two of those have since been withdrawn while the other [...]

  • David Schramm

    David Schramm, Star on NBC's 'Wings,' Dies at 73

    David Schramm, a stage actor who was also a star on the NBC comedy “Wings,” has died. He was 73. Schramm was a founding member of New York’s The Acting Company, which announced the news of his death on Sunday. He played Roy Biggins, the rival airline owner on “Wings,” and appeared in all 172 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content