Played by Jimmy Smits: Bobby had a lot of pain in his life. He grew up in Brooklyn with a distant father, and his two best companions were an aged, punch-drunk boxer and a teenaged wiseguy wannabe. He grew up, got married, and joined the police force, and for a while was living a very happy life until his wife came home and told him that she had breast cancer. He spent a while chauffeuring the police commissioner around to have more time to spend with his wife, and later, to grieve her death. His assignment at the One-Five was the first detective tour had after Mary's death, but Bobby the introvert and Andy the loudmouth somehow became the best of friends. Bobby also met his second wife, Diane Russell, during his time at the One-Five, but they were only married a few months when he was hospitalized with a bad heart infection. A transplant was performed, but the new heart failed, and Bobby rejoined his late wife in the big precinct in the sky.
Eventually, he caught the bug again, and went back to school, getting his masters in theater at Cornell in 1982. He travelled the country doing repertory theater until getting his first big break as Don Johnson's initial partner on "Miami Vice," who got killed in the pilot episode. A few years later, he was cast as noble public-defender-turned-corporate-litigator Victor Sifuentes on Steven Bochco's "L.A. Law." Smits was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy every year he was on the show, and won the award in 1990.
Along with co-stars Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey (who quickly changed her mind), Smits left "L.A. Law" in 1991 to pursue a movie career, but after flops like "Switch," he probably regretted the decision. He knocked around in TV movies and miniseries for a few years, in addition to the occasional film role (like his critically acclaimed performance in the independent film "Mi Familia/My Family").
His luck turned when David Caruso quit "NYPD Blue" in a salary dispute. Smits, who had been producer Bochco's first choice for the series lead but turned it down, was approached again, and this time consented to do the show. The match worked well: by all accounts, Smits was every bit as easy to work with as Caruso was difficult, and the show jumped in the ratings when Smits joined.
When Smits joined the show, he signed a four-year contract, and as the fifth season was winding down, he decided it was "time to move on" -- primarily because he was frustrated with being handed scripts at the last possible minute by co-creator David Milch -- and told Bochco and Milch that he would not be returning. He graciously agreed to appear in the first five episodes to let the writers give Bobby a fitting exit, and left with the goodwill of every single person on the show.
Smits has two children, a boy and a girl, from his marriage to ex-wife Barbara, and currently lives with actress Wanda DeJesus, who appeared once on "NYPD Blue" as an old friend of Bobby's.