NYPD Blue Summary/Review by Amanda Wilson aka Puedo01@aol.com & Alan Sepinwall aka sepinwal@stwing.org
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

"Moving Day"
Series Finale
Season 12, Episode 20
3/1//05
Teleplay by William Finkelstein
Story by Bill Clark & Steven Bochco & William Finkelstein
Directed by Mark Tinker

AMANDA:It's not true that no major character dies in the series finale.

You'll forgive me a rather long summary, but if you've seen the show and feel like skipping the summary, at least do yourself the favor of reading the last two paragraphs. You may have missed who died.

SUMMARY

Andy begins his first day as squad boss by visiting the scene of a homicide with his four detectives. Only two of them know he's the boss. Clark and Jones question him about why he's out of uniform as Rita and Murph smile and prod him to tell. The news is met with a joke from Clark and they all share a happy feeling while standing over the beaten and strangled body of one Pamela Wyatt. Wyatt was a high-rent whore.

Back at the 15th, after congratulations on his new job from PAA Irvin who says he's staying on the job, Andy meets the two new detectives in the 15th squad, young Ray Quinn and young Joe Slovak. The boys are eager. They've already done a phone dump on Wyatt's number. Her parents and a guy named Nikada jump out. Nikada was in her appointment book. The two young guns are sent out by the Boss to see Nikada. Rita and Murph go see the girls parents.

At the same moment, a former Chief arrives with two suits in tow. He busts Andy's chops a bit about his new job, tells the listening squad that he used to be Andy's Sarge, then introduces himself as the security boss for one of the two men with him, real estate mogul Robert Heilbrenner. The other guy is Heilbrenner's lawyer, Basil Greenhouse. Heilbrenner wants a private chat with Andy about the Wyatt murder. Andy insists Clark and Jones accompany since it's their case. All but the old Chief--Angelotti--head for the coffee room. Angelotti lingers to impress the kids Quinn and Slovak who are, well, impressed.

Heilbrenner tells the cops he came in because Wyatt was his mistress and he knows his name is going to come up in the course of their investigation. He says he cared for her, wanted her to quit being a hooker, but broke up with her recently when his wife threatened divorce. He gives an alibi and says his driver, employees and some friends can back it up.

Quinn and Slovak go see Nikada as he's having lunch with his girlfriend. He tells them to get out and stands by his refusal to talk to them by saying he's with the Japanese embassy and has diplomatic immunity. They leave to check him out further.

Rita and Murph are on Wyatt's family. Her mother is in denial over the murder and her daughter's lifestyle; her father is angry. They go meet with her sister who knew more about her life. Rosemary Wyatt says she met only two people her sister knew. Heilbrenner and another hooker named Anne-Marie who did threesomes with Pam and Heilbrenner. She says Heilbrenner like to play rough, beat her sister and always wanted details about her tricks.

Back at the squad, Baldwin takes a call from Rita who tells him about Anne-Marie. He and Clark go to talk to her. PJohn is watching as Andy settles into his usual spot in the squad room, then suggests he help Andy move into the bosses office. Andy declines, uncomfortably eyeing the office where he had so many clashes with authority. He hastily explains that Bale's stuff is still in there.

Slovak and Quinn interview Heilbrenner's driver, Dale St. John. He backs up his bosses alibi with simple, straightforward answers. He tells them he's paid to not pay too much attention to detail.

Clark and Jones talk to Anne-Marie at the gym where she works on her call girl abs. She confirms Heilbrenner is violent with women, far beyond a little slap and tickle. She says Wyatt was angry when Heilbrenner broke it off.

Good leads aside, the case comes to an abrupt end when a couple of guys from "intelligence," the FBI and the State Department show up. Andy is informed that Nikada provided a written confession to the murder and was, as they spoke, on a plane back to Japan under diplomatic immunity. The two young detectives who cracked the case by getting told by Nikada to fuck off are due commendations and Andy is congratulated on wrapping up a murder so quickly in his first day as boss. All that might have worked on a guy with a giant ego, but Andy's sensibilities as a detective are too strong. He knows he's got a good sense about Heilbrenner and wants to know why Nikada confessed.

The whole squad agrees, especially after Slovak and Quinn admit to having made a great, big rookie mistake. When Angelotti was wowing them with his two stars as Chief stories, he pressed them for details on the case and they coughed up Nikada's name. Ouch.

Nikada's gambling habit is exposed, and in light of details about Heilbrenner's huge bank account and D.C. connections, there's suddenly a chance for a big connection. Andy tells his detectives to keep the case open; he'll deal with any flack on it from the bigger bosses.

Nikada's girlfriend is questioned, and so is his uncle. Both says he was not a violent man, but the gambling mess was bad.

Heilbrenner's wife tells the story of how she found about Wyatt and put a stop to the affair. She threatened her husband with a forensic audit and a good lawyer. She knows the affair stopped because the giant drains on the back account also stopped.

The Chief of Detectives, Duffy, gets wind of the continuing investigation and tells Andy in no uncertain terms to stop. Andy tries to explain, but Duffy won't hear it. He slams out after delivering his order.

Amidst this chaos, a cheerful, relaxed, happy-go-lucky Greg Medavoy arrives with his new Argyle sweater and a pair of penny loafers. (OK, you can't see the shoes, but you can imagine they're there.) He's smiling the smile of the hopeful, the freshly laid, the man without a care in the world. Just showing an apartment in the neighborhood and thought he'd drop by. Everyone is happy to see him, but half the squad is running out the door to chase down a new lead. Greg keeps smiling. He notices Andy at his old desk and inquires what's up. He's told Andy is the new boss. The smile doesn't move. "New boss," he says through pearly whites in a now-concrete grin. Urgent conversations continue around him as he smiles doggedly on, wide eyes warily roaming the room looking for other large land mines. He spies two more: Slovak and Quinn, who are huddled over his desk--their desk. He greets them. They have to leave. Jones has to run, too. In a second, it's just PJohn and Greg, who remarks that when you're gone, you're really gone.

Murph and Rita meet with Nikada's bookie. They discover he owned $110k and that, shock of shocks, he paid it off in cash just before boarding a plane to Tokyo. It's a solid lead, and Rita and Murph ask Andy if he'll inform Duffy. Andy says he won't until the case is solid. The detectives are afraid he'll lose his job.

Jones and Clark go meet Heilbrenner's driver on the street. They chauffeur him to the station house where they inform him that he could go to jail as an accessory to murder if he doesn't tell the truth this time. He does: he picked up Heilbrenner at Wyatt's house at 4 that morning, got him a change of clothes and took him home. His shirt was bloody. Heilbrenner told him what happened with Wyatt was an accident, and that if he'd keep quiet, he'd take care of the driver's family forever.

The case is finally made. Andy accompanies Rita and Murph to arrest Heilbrenner at his house.

Lt. Bale wanders in to the squad just before everyone returns. The nerve damage is apparent. He's walking stiffly--limping--with a cane. PJohn offers to help him clear out his office but he says he wants to do it alone.

Andy, Rita and Murph return with Heilbrenner and get him checked into New York's Finest's Hotel amid great bellyaching from his lawyer and the old chief. Upstairs, they greet Bale but within a minute, Duffy arrives to exact a pound of Andy's flesh. He charges into the bosses office and orders Andy to follow. The shouting match ensues and everyone hears it.

Duffy screams that only 24 hours have passed and he already regrets giving Andy the job. He says he had to see the arrest on TV news, and that the embarrassment that followed will not be forgotten. Andy reminds him that he tried to explain the case earlier, and that his first obligation was to clear the case. Duffy doesn't care. He screams at Andy up one side and down the other, but in the end, does nothing else. Andy has, after all, lead the team to get the real killer.

When the dust settles, Bale limps in and quietly tells him where to find some administrative files. He tells Andy that being a squad boss is a shaky perch: you gotta make the guys above you happy, keep the guys below you safe and live with yourself. He says Andy will have no problem with the last two things and then wishes him luck on the first thing. They share a smile and a handshake. Bale leaves.

Andy's first day as a boss ends with the new kids coming in to his office to apologize for screwing things up. Andy gives them a pass, builds their confidence a little and hears them say they're happy to be working for him. PJohn wishes a good night to the Sergeant before leaving, and Rita and Murph stop in to say that one night soon they're all going to have to go out to celebrate Andy's new job. Andy agrees. They know he feels a little shaky after the encounter with Duffy, and Murph says they're proud of him. Baldwin also tries to bolster his spirits by telling him that if there were any doubts about his being a good boss, those doubts were erased today. Everyone else gone, Andy's last partner steps in the door just as Andy moves behind his new desk for the first time. He asks how it feels; Andy says it'll take some getting used to. Then Clark says, "Good night," and after a pause, "Boss."

Andy looks at the files on his desk. The squad review is next week, and he's got a long night ahead of him alone in the office. He sits down in his new chair, puts on his glasses and digs in. We back out of the office slowly, past the desks of the detectives, through the catching area, and we linger in the doorway before drifting above the set itself for one last look at Andy Sipowicz.

REVIEW

AMANDA:There are few, if any, who would tell you that television is high art. They're right; for the most part, television is a cheap thrill, completely disposable, gobbled up and tossed away like so many McCheeseburgers. But there are fine artists who work in the field of television--people who can find the sweet spot in the balance between subtlety and emphasis--and they'll produce a lasting visual moment that breaks through and burns itself into your mind forever. Mark Tinker made the final shot of the final show of NYPD Blue just such a moment.

If you're still wondering who died in the season finale, look in the mirror. The last major character to leave Andy was us, the audience. How delicately were we are informed of our demise: we walk--no, float--out of the squad room backward. When we start this movement, it feels a little odd because usually, we're going forward, following someone, looking ahead--but no matter, really, this different kind of movement; we know we have to say good-bye before we go off to bed tonight and this is just how we're doing it.

We stop then in the doorway and pause to look at Andy, the odd backward motion forgotten in our desire to get a last glimpse of this familiar place. Still distracted by the finality of it all, we being to drift upward until we're gazing through a transom, only it's not a transom. There is no window, no glass in the door frame. We're only given a second to absorb that we're looking at Andy and the squad room of the 15th precinct from above the set itself--our imaginary world is thus broken forever, and we are given finally the perspective of Bobby, Sylvia, Danny and Andy Jr.

It's like the many other solid socks in the stomach we got from this show over the years. Powerful, these are the moments where the writers, directors, cast and crew reach through the static and sink one right into your gut.

That the show ends with everyone and everything (except us) going on with their usual lives is, to me, the most dignified way to bring an end to the elder statesman of TV drama. Any of the usual tricks--killing someone off, having someone leave town--wouldn't have worked. First, they've already used all those things on us. Second, it's the way everyone else ends a long-running show, and if we've learned one thing over the years, it's that the people who make Blue are not everyone else. Its groundbreaking beginning is met well with this, its groundbreaking ending: I think this is the first time in television history that the audience has gotten killed off at the end. Well done.

Andy Sipowicz comes full circle, and begins carving out a new circle of his life. Dennis Franz's ability to bring this character through 12 years of a rocky, hard life with consistency and believability is no small thing. David Milch told him at the start that he'd figure it out, and he did. The redemption of Andy was achieved, but we can leave him knowing that his struggles are not over. He came into our world drunk and fighting. We leave him sober, but he's still fighting. He's a hero, after all. Lesser men would have crumbled under the weight of Andy's life. If a lesser man had made it up to Medavoy's racket when Duffy was saying there was no way in hell he could lead the squad, that lesser man would have given in to the doubts that had dogged him all day, agreed with him and walked away. Andy, however, fought. And he fought again tonight, and won.

ALAN: I don't have a lot to add, especially given how beautifully Amanda described the final shot, one of a handful in the history of the series that I'm sure will get my tearducts working every time I watch it. (Others include Andy's rescue of Jenny Bucci, the final scene with a living Andy Jr. and the death of Simone, so it's in good company.) So I'll focus on the rest of the episode.

I understand Steven Bochco's desire to do a finale that boldly says that Life Goes On (guest starring, perhaps not coincidentally, the star of "Life Goes On"), but I'm not sure it always worked. The show has essentially been saying goodbye for the last two months (starting with Andy passing the sergeant's exam), and while the relative handful of us still watching have gotten to see all the curtain calls and applause moments, I suspect the finale is going to get a ratings bump from viewers who haven't watched in years, and they're going to get an episode that's mostly business as usual until the last five minutes. (Even with Andy as boss, this was a pretty routine case.) I sat down with my tape of the finale prepared to spend the hour feeling emotional, but I spent a lot of it wondering why we were seeing so much of the two new guys. Again, I get it -- Life Goes On -- but I would have rather had some more time with the characters we'd known for years (or, in the case of Murphy and Bale, year).

I really like the guy who plays the Chief of D's and wish we had met him earlier -- say, during the period when Bale was still conducting Operation: Tightass -- and thought the actor playing the limo driver was just about perfect. Even at the very end, the show still manages to create these great little portraits of tragic New York characters.

I think taking this approach to Andy's new job was the right one. I wouldn't want to watch a series where Andy was the boss of the squad, but I'm glad we got a little taste of it, and that the writers acknowledged that dealing with his own bosses might be his Achilles heel in the long run. That was a nice scene between Andy and Bale. I still think the writers horribly bungled Bale's transition from fascist to compassionate conservative, but Currie Graham is just so good in both incarnations that I accepted it for the moment.

Outside of the last five minutes, was this a classic series finale? No, but how many of those are there? I can count 'em on one hand: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, St. Elsewhere, Newhart, Cheers and Frasier. It's a very hard thing to do well -- even Milch's farewell for Hill Street Blues was pretty underwhelming. And given how perfect the closing sequence was, I'll give the rest of the episode a mulligan.

QUICK HITS

By Amanda

*I liked the opening scene where the cops are having a personal and happy moment together over the body of the murder victim. This is one of those small touches of reality that other shows can't seem to manage. Usually, you usually get one of two things at a crime scene: a lot of melodrama with everyone a little too serious, or some enormous contrast such as raucous laughter or noisy eating that is tossed in for shock value (note to young directors/writers: these things rarely shock anyone). In NYPD Blue, you get understated contrast--a bunch of people who've worked together for years living their lives the way all the rest of us do no matter what our jobs are--and the end result looks and feels real.

*Interesting name for the lawyer. Basil Greenhouse is apparently not nearly as good as greenhouse basil.

*The two new kids were named Quinn and Slovak. A fun throwback to the Irish Kelly and the Eastern European Sipowicz.

*PJohn, whose wardrobe often matched his props, was tonight dressed appropriately in (NYPD) blue. After all these years of wondering, I was finally able to ask Bill Brochtrup about some of the stuff on PJohn's desk. Again, these are the little things that make a house a home, or in the case, an actor's space a real world. The kid's drawing on the wall: it's a picture of a little girl dancing in front of a big sun and a tree. It was done by the daugther of someone in the art department at Bill's request. The plastic hippo that sits atop the desk light has company: there's a red, white, and blue pom-pom caterpiller that was made for Bill by Austin Majors (who plays Theo) after 9/11. Bill's alter ego, PJ, plays as if were made for him by Theo. There's also a candy dish that Bill re-filled with candy for the cast and crew a few times a day. He reports the dish was a popular gathering spot. Next to that is a photo frame on the desk that got a new picture every week and featured the likes of Britney, Christina, Prince William, Rob & Amber- a different one every episode. Some things to keep an eye for in reruns.

*In all my years reviewing I always looked for, but never found, a little glitch or goof in the background. Tonight, I think I may have hit pay dirt! Medavoy was listed on the chalk board as the catching detective! Lest you doubt me, the date next to his name was 3/something. He retired two shows ago--two weeks in Blue time--back on 2/something. Sure, Bale was out of commission by then, and sure, someone could have forgotten to update the chalk board in his absence, but if that's the case, then where'd the 3 come from? Gimme five!

*Greg's moment in the squad was pure Gold. Again, if you failed to read the summary, go back and read the paragraph about his visit.

*Symbolic that the last Lt. was limping. In contrast to all the other bosses, Andy was very active in the cases and at the same time let his guys do the work they needed to do. It lets us die happily knowing that Andy will be the first squad boss to do more than sit behind the desk and make assignments.

*The first moment we see in the squad where Andy is boss he takes the evil sign-in book away.

*Each character who walked in to Andy's office to say good night was on the verge of tears. Those who looked most like they would crack were MPG, Jackie, Henry Simmons, Bill Brochtrup and Dennis himself. (Earlier, Currie Graham) Normally, this would have bugged me--not one of the characters had anything to get weepy over as far as the story went--but I didn't mind it a bit as I was just as weepy (OK, more). That last scene of the series was really the last scene they shot, and the actors were very emotional and teary. I don't know if this was a choice they made, but by allowing themselves to come so close to the surface in their characters (meaning, you could see the real MPG just under the surface of John Clark in his last scene, the real Jackie, the real Dennis, etc.) they foreshadowed Tinker's final shot in which he breaks the fourth wall (the wall in TV land that you never see, the one you in the audience are watching through).

CAST LEGACIES

by ....(drumroll, please) All season long, Amanda's been trying to guess what my initials stood for. A promise is a promise, and I promised I'd tell her when we got to the last episode, so...

Guest Cast Legacy, researched by James Leonard Garner, III (I liked J.Lo better--AW)

Previously on NYPD Blue... Lisa Lackey as A.D.A. Lori Munson, James Martin Kelly as Chief Duffy, Billy Concha as Officer Miller, Ralph Garman as Officer Gruden

Previously on NYPD Blue as someone else...
--John Thaddeus (Dale St. John) -- played the title character in Season 5's "Speak for Yourself, Bruce Clayton."

--Stanley Anderson (Robert Heilbrenner) -- was in Season 1's "Rockin' Robin."

--David Brisbin (Basil Greenhouse) -- appeared in Season 9's "Cops and Robber."

--Keone Young (Akira Nikada) -- he was Charlie in Season 7's "Goodbye Charlie."

--Bill Smitrovich (Al Angelotti) -- he played the wife-murdering chiropractor in Season 2's "The Final Adjustment."

--Bruce Locke (Johnny Nikada) -- he was in Season 4's "A Wrenching Experience."

--Robert Silver (Pat Wyatt) -- appeared in Season 2's "A Murder with Teeth in It."

--Richard Portnow (Howard Segal) -- he was in the Season 2 episode "Innuendo."

Not previously on NYPD Blue...
--Vincent Corazza (Ray Quinn) -- he's done guest roles on "24," "JAG," "CSI," and "Without a Trace"

--Joe Sikora (Joe Slovak) -- other roles include appearances on "Monk," "Third Watch," "CSI: NY," and "JAG"

--Gwendoline Yeo (Ai Watanabe) -- she's been on episodes of "Judging Amy," "The O.C.," and "Grounded for Life," and has done a lot of video game voice work.

--Maureen Muldoon (Anne Marie Sullivan) -- you've seen her on "CSI," "Charmed," and "Profiler."

--Rosemary Forsyth (Felicia Heilbrenner) -- her extensive credits include roles on "Days of Our Lives," "Mr. Belvedere," and "General Hospital."

--Danica McKellar (Rosemary Wyatt) -- can currently be seen on "The West Wing," best known as Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years."

--Patty McCormack (Jeannie Wyatt) -- her credits go back to the early years of TV and most recently made appearances on "The Sopranos," "Cold Case," and "ER"

Rouding out the cast: Edward Carnevale (James Fitzgerald); Jeff Austin (Christopher Perkins); Dan Ziskie (Inspector Dowdell) and Rubin Knight as doorman

And in closing, I want to thank Amanda and Alan for giving me the opportunity to help them out by researching the guest cast for their reviews. It's been a great gig that I've had a lot of fun with, and my Mondays are going to seem empty now that I don't have to check ABC's press releases anymore. Anybody wanna do "Blind Justice" reviews? ;-)

(AMANDA: Thank you James Leonard. Without you this last while, there'd be no cast legacies.)

ON THE WEBSITE

ALAN: If you're reading this on the website, you may have already noticed a significant change. For the time being (if not forever), I've replaced the front page with a page featuring our various tributes to the end of the show. (Don't worry; the old main page is still there; the URL is just different, and there's a link to it on the new main page.) Included among this are reprints of my stories from Sunday's edition of The Star-Ledger, including an essay on what made the show great and my lists of the best episodes, interrogations and nude scenes, plus a tally of all the dead loved ones Sipowicz and everyone else suffered over the last 12 years.

In addition, Amanda and I have worked on a bunch of other stuff, including a list of classic lines, great moments that aren't mentioned in any of the other lists, great one-shot or recurring characters, thoughts on the women of the show, the various bosses, Andy's partners, and the best and worst romantic pairings. Basically, we haven't been sleeping a lot lately, but if not now, when?

And if you're reading this on the newsgroup, then hop on over to http://www.stwing.upenn.edu/~sepinwal/nypd.html for many, many, many words about this great show.

I said my big goodbye to the show back in my review of the final season premiere, so now I'll cede the floor to the woman who's been doing this gig longer than I did. See ya in the funny papers...

NEXT WEEK

AMANDA:Uh..oh..OUCH! (How dare I?)

Seriously, next week, we begin our letter writing campaign to get the rest of the seasons out on DVD.

I'd like to add a few final notes on the cast and crew and my experience writing these reviews. First is my deep thanks to Alan. His hobby became mine, and we both had so much fun. For as long as we've been doing this and writing to each other about the show and about life, we never actually met until about two weeks ago in Los Angeles. It was the middle of the night, we'd both just flown all the way across the country, we were exhausted, and it was pouring down rain. But it was like we'd know each other for 10 years, and really, we have. Alan, his wife Marian and I carried on like we traveled around the country together every weekend. I wish I lived next door to them. I could hang with the Sepinwalls, easy. I hope I know them forever and that I'll see them again.

This whole weird, incredible thing began for me with a new computer and that frenzied first few days when you're giving up your Internet cherry. I was passionate, searching, longing to discover. I looked up everything, and when I'd thought I'd run out of everything I could think of, NYPD Blue came on the TV behind me. Hey, I thought to myself, that Jimmy Smits is pretty easy on the eyes. A few clicks later, I found myself at Alan Sepinwall's NYPD Blue Homepage, and my life was changed in some very interesting, wonderful ways. I found I had a few things in common with Young Sepinwall--I liked NYPD Blue, and I liked to write. I didn't know anything about writing critiques, but I like to think I've developed a new eye for watching drama much the way I learned in college to read books at a deeper level. One of the many things watching Blue has given me is a more-refined sensibility for artistic expression. I feel humbly indebted to David Milch and the other really fine writers on this show for that. It may not be a skill I can sell, but it's given me immense pleasure, and when I watch a show like Deadwood, for example, I can love it on a level I'd never have imagined.

What I've gained personally is immeasurable, and it's a testimony to the wonder of this technology. You can build a strong argument that the Internet has made our world a little more disconnected--people are staying home more, living online where the only sound is the quiet clicking of someone typing out into the vastness of a cold, dark cyberworld. Not so for me.

I really don't want to come off as self-serving by writing this, and Alan will tell you that I've struggled over whether to do it, but I want to share with you who've faithfully slogged though my writing--good and, at times, really bad--what this has really meant to me and some of the wonderful, fun things I've been blessed with through it. Forgive me a propensity for melodrama here--I'm not as talented a writer as those I critique weekly. (And if you hate Oscar speeches, just move along right now. I wouldn't want you to puke or anything.)

Writing these reviews expanded my world in real and wonderful ways. I began it by accident, thinking "That Jimmy Smits sure is fine to look at," and I ended it a couple of weeks ago at the final wrap party for NYPD Blue in Los Angeles where I stood on line for a while at the buffet with Jimmy and mugged it up for a picture with him. I wouldn't call Jimmy a friend, having only met him once, but I am blessed with having made many friends who worked on this show. Each is a gift. One whom I have a lasting personal friendship is Executive Producer Mark Tinker. I say that at the risk of you readers thinking I have no credibility in my praise of his work, but stop right there. One of the many great things about Mark--and what is a testimony to our friendship--is that even when I all but called him (and his show) a putz, he took it in stride. He would, in fact, have it no other way. The truth about Mark professionally is that he is a gifted artist (evidenced most recently by tonight's finale), and no amount of humility on his part will change that. The truth about Mark personally is that he's been a true friend to me especially in my darker days, generous of soul and spirit, achingly funny, a trifle moody and pretty damn easy on the eyes himself. I'm sure we'll remain friends forever.

Others with whom I've shared friendship and who have shown me extreme kindness include Holly Baker-Kreisworth (and her lovely daughter Hannah), John O'Donohue (whom I owe a dinner), Gordon Clapp (who owes me a(nother) beer), Dennis White, Jody Worth and more recently Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Bill Brochtrup, Currie Graham and Matt Olmstead, all of whom have said very kind things about the reviews. I owe all of them my thanks. Considering how brutally honest I can be in my writing, you can conclude without question that grace is among the many gifts each of them has.

I should also thank David Milch whose talent makes my knees knock each time I meet him and who, though I doubt he remembers it, "discovered" me in the Fox lot cafeteria one day. I was lunching with Tinker and my sister when he wandered in to talk about a scene he was setting up. He spoke in long, curvy sentences--his arms waving, an occasional shy smile popping up on his face--he told Mark he needed hookers for the next shot, and then his eyes landed on us. I don't want to dwell on what the true meaning of that moment was, but suffice it to say that within 10 minutes my sister and I were whisked off to wardrobe, outfitted in the most horrendous clothing and soon found ourselves standing in the hallway just outside the squad room door, me in handcuffs. We were official background in the Season 7 episode "Along Came Jones." Before the cameras rolled, Rick Schroder walked by, whistled at us and said, "How much?" My witty sister responded, "You can't afford us." Then she laughed and said to me, "Look at me, my kids would be so proud," which got a big laugh from Dennis Franz. A fun memory for a couple of sisters to share. It was Henry Simmons' first episode, and the scene where was Baldwin and Greg come back to the squad with a suspect. Baldwin is sent off to settle the guy in the pokey room while Greg, Andy, Danny and Fancy talk about how Baldwin's first day is going. (I'm the out-of-focus hooker on the left, my sister is the one on the right.) Now that I think about it, it is especially fitting for me that the final shot of the finale be taken from the very spot where I stood for my 35 seconds of blurry fame on NYPD Blue.

Though I have no right to it, I will not in the future be able to watch any of these actors or see the names I know so well of writers, directors and other crew without feeling a bit of familial pride. I wish them all so much good and many more successes, and I'll keep my eyes on all of them, just like they were family, so I can share in the joys that are sure to come.

Here's to them, to all of you, and here's to the guy who invented this website.

I'll be around. Email me some time--
Amanda Wilson