Farewell to NYPD Blue: Best & Worst Romantic Pairings

By Amanda Wilson

First, let's take a moment to remind ourselves what makes a sex scene work. If you're doing anything other than porn, you need to do more than uncover the bodies of two really good-looking people. You also need to uncover the characters' hearts, minds and souls. The reason a sex scene is good for this purpose is that human beings are usually quite vulnerable and open in those ways when they're engaged in physically intimate acts with one another. In other words, in addition to the backside, you get to see the inside of a person during sex. If both are exposed, you're cooking up something good. Almost without exception, NYPD Blue managed to do that.

The Best

Bobby & Diane: Hands down, the hottest. A lot of this can probably be attributed to the chemistry between Jimmy Smits and Kim Delaney. (Jimmy must be a generous actor to be able to develop such great rapport with so many fellow actors). But their appeal goes beyond the steamy sex. There was something else that was always present between them no matter what was going on--I think it was respect. It may have been a respect the actors had for one another, but it was also clearly that the characters respected each other. This connection--think of it like a rope--linked them always, even when they fought. The rope was one part sexual desire and one part respect. A favorite moment of mine had them arguing over Diane going out into a dangerous situation. She ended up stalking out of the squad room, and without looking back, she flipped him off over her shoulder. Nothing says loving like being able to tell your sweetie to fuck off and not having it end the relationship. Another time, this same argument ended with Diane giving him a hand--if you know what I mean--under a table in a restaurant. Their final moment, at Bobby's death bed, brought it all together. Even their grief was sexy. And the connection between was so strong that it lasted for the rest of Diane's tenure on the show thereby ruining any future liaisons (see worst paring below).

Also Great

Andy and Sylvia were a perfect pair. There wasn't a lot that was sexy here, but the match up was great. Sylvia saved Andy's life. The contrast between them was marked, and Sylvia became the woman who made Andy want to be a better man. Their signature moment was, of course, outside the courtroom in the pilot when he tells her off. My favorite moments between them were the time Andy had to confess that he sweats when he eats and their wedding day.

The coupling of Greg and Donna was a favorite. There's the obvious contrast between them, but what made this thing tick for me was that Donna--a woman many men admired--gave us a chance to see Greg as more than just a stuttering buffoon with a rash. She loved her Gregory, and that made others take another look at him to see why. She was able to see the man behind the nasal spray, the good and kind soul that lived inside his anxious skin. The relationship lifted both characters out of the stereotypes their wardrobe and mannerisms projected and into the real world.

Also Sexy

Kelly & Licalsi, Simone and the reporter (Benita, played by Melina Kanakarides), Clark and Ortiz, Clark and Devlin (the wacky doc played by Chandra West), Jones and Heywood.

Also Sweet

James and Gina; Tony and Ortiz; Clark and Munson (the ADA); PJohn and Ray, his safari man, and Andy and Katie, for the two seconds they were going to reunite.

Almost Nothing

John Clark never got to have what I'd consider to be a worthwhile relationship. The ones the work the best are the ones that are not only sexy but serve the purpose of exposing the characters' souls. Clark's first two hook-ups, Ortiz and Devlin, had a common thread: both were women in need of a rescue. Ortiz's abusive ex had been murdered and Devlin was, well, just a complete head case. The sexiness was there, to be sure, but not much more ever happened. We never got to know why Clark was so consistently attracted to damaged women he felt the need to save, and that would have been good to know. In the end, he got paired with Munson, who was perfectly normal. They were adorable, but she was so far out of the Ortiz/Devlin mold that had the show gone on, I would have questioned it seriously. If we're going to have him in a pattern of picking up the drug addicted, alcoholic, abused types, they why go for Munson? If we're going to have him going for the normal, fun-loving type, why not go back to Ortiz after her character did a turn around? Ah...well....it's all over now. I just think we could have gotten to see more of Clark's soul in addition to his buns.

Almost the Worst

Andy and Connie: They were great in the office, but making Connie Mrs. Sipowicz served to ruin what was compelling about the character. The chemistry Andy and Connie had at work did not translate from the squad room to the bed room at all. Additionally, there was no need for Andy to get married. He was doing fine on his own with Theo, and the tension that existed in the dual parts of his life (bad ass cop and single dad) was enough. Connie's attachment to Theo was misplaced, and while it was being used to introduce the idea of a Connie and Andy romance, the much more interesting and naturally dramatic use of PJohn as a caregiver for Theo was summarily ended. This was a bad choice no matter how you look at it. It runs a very close second to...

The Worst Romantic Pairing

Danny and Diane: Disaster. In addition to the fact that there was zero chemistry between these two, Diane's relationship with Bobby simply could not be topped. And there was no need to top it. At that point, after Bobby's death, Diane's evolution as a character might have rivaled Andy's for appeal. Instead, she got hooked up with Danny. But the fact that Kim Delaney looks great without clothes is not reason enough to have tossed Diane in the sack with him. It made no sense for the character, it did not fit into the story and Danny was such a freak that if Diane were dying to get laid, she'd have made a better choice. It's unfortunate that Kim, who was one-half of some of the sexiest stuff ever on TV, was also one-half of the single most disgusting romantic scene ever (through no fault of hers): Danny is sobbing in the locker room, practically calling her "mommy" and then wipes snot and tears out of her hair. What was Steven Bochco thinking?


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