Played by Bill Brochtrup: Openly gay and extremely efficient, John Irvin made such a favorable impression on Lt. Fancy during a temporary stint as a Police Administrative Aide that he wound up with a permanent job in the precinct's Anti-Crime unit -- which earned him the nickname "Upstairs John" from members of the second-floor detective's squad. Though his kind spirit endeared John to all in the precinct, he eventually transferred out, first to One Police Plaza, then to a brief stint with a Public Morals squad. After a failed attempt to start his own computer graphics business, John returned to life as a civilian aide, spending time in both Anti-Crime and the detective squad, then took over the detectives squad PAA slot full-time again after Dolores Mayo died. Despite Sipowicz's rampant homphobia, John and Andy have become friends, and John not only cuts Andy's hair from time to time, but frequently babysits for Theo.

Bill Brochtrup

It's been a long and winding road for Bill Brochtrup from guest star to cast member on "NYPD Blue." When Gail O'Grady was busy doing TV-movies in the drama's second season, Bill was cast to fill in for a couple of episodes, but just as his TV alter ego impressed enough to get a regular job, so did Brochtrup, who appeared frequently throughout the second and third seasons.

When "Blue" co-creator Stephen Bochco was looking to fine-tune his CBS sitcom "Public Morals," he decided to add Brochtrup to the cast -- as John Irvin, making him one of the few TV actors to play the same character on both a drama and a sitcom. (Ed Asner did both as Lou Grant, albeit in reverse order.) "Public Morals" tanked -- only one of the 12 episodes Bill shot ever saw the air -- but Bochco cast him again the following year in his ABC private eye drama "Total Security."

Towards the end of the short life of "Total Security," Bill was walking across the Twentieth Century Fox studio lot when he bumped into the other "Blue" co-creator, David Milch, who asked him simply, "Are you about ready to come back home?" Bill enthusiastically agreed, but scheduling conflicts kept him from doing anything more than a one-scene cameo near the end of the fifth season.

When the sixth season started, all systems were go for John's big return, with one problem: Lola Glaudini was already in place as the new detective's squad PAA, Dolores. So John was sent back upstairs to Anti-Crime, which allowed Brochtrup to appear occasionally while Milch decided what to do with Dolores. By the season's 13th episode, John was back in the squad PAA chair full-time, and Bill was in the opening credits for the first time, a regular castmember with a long-term contract.

Bill Brochtrup's overall acting career hasn't been quite as winding, but at times it must have seemed as long, particularly early in his life in Los Angeles, when he found himself appearing in re-enactments on TV reality courtroom shows (a teen rapist on both "The Judge" and "Superior Court," and a newly-arrived Russian immigrant on "Divorce Court")." A third-generation Californian raised in Seattle, he's the oldest of four siblings.

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