Farewell to NYPD Blue: Ranking the Bosses

By Amanda Wilson

Arthur Fancy

He's the best for the first several years of the season. His quiet control was exactly what that squad of misfits needed. Fancy was the anchor in the storm and was a perfect fit. In spite of the fact that too many TV dramas have black bosses and not enough main cops who are black, Fancy's heritage was truly a part of the purpose of his character and a part of the fabric of the show. He shined a bright light into Andy's eyes on the subject of racism, and even got that light shone back into his own eyes. We thought no one could replace Fancy, but several did.

Thomas Bale

Even though he was there only a year, he gets my vote for second best. He, too, was just what the squad needed and arrived just when the squad needed it. By the time Bale came along, the men and women of the 15th were a well-oiled machine, even if no one higher up in the brass really knew it (Bale mentioned he was brought in to control a rouge squad). Bale's approach was decidedly un-Fancylike, but had the same effect: he anchored the squad, though not for the reasons he thought he did. They united in hatred for him and in learning how to work around him in order to get their jobs done.

Eddie Gibson

Gibson, too, united the squad and even paved the way for the success of the character Bale. His overall ineffectiveness taught them they didn't need a lot of supervision so that when Bale came along, the tension was that much more strong. The comic exchanges between Andy and Eddie were good for their sheer fun, but they also freed Medavoy from the bonds of being the squad goof and got him into more meaningful things. Eddie was a good choice also because his existence highlighted Andy's leadership. Again, good timing. Andy wasn't ready to be that kind of leader under Fancy, for example.

Tony Rodriguez

A bit of a disappointment as a boss, especially considering that he was played by the fine actor Esai Morales. Unfortunately for Morales, the character of the boss hadn't yet evolved into anything that could really be meaningful. The show is, after all, about the detectives, and more specifically, Andy. Tony didn't do much for Andy. His impact on the whole squad was far less than that of Fancy. The attempts at personal stories involving Tony weren't very compelling, but he did have some great moments. The arc with Fraker was memorable even though it led to Tony's exit.

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