Played by Rick Schroder: Already a gold-shield detective at 28, Sorenson was an obvious up-and-comer in the NYPD, but he wound up in a bad spot for his first squad assignment after a stint in Narcotics: replacing the late and much-loved Bobby Simone in the 15th detective's squad. Despite some initial resentment, Danny won over his co-workers, but often got distracted from casework because of his own emotional issues. Always harboring some deep, dark secret about his own childhood -- which involved Danny raising his two younger sisters after their parents split -- he had a constant fear of "getting stirred up," and in fact spent much of his time at the 15th doing just that. He finally seemed to be finding some inner peace when he was murdered during an undercover operation at a strip club.
Born April 13, 1970 in Staten Island, New York, Rick made his first TV commercial when he was only three months old, and had appeared in nearly 60 by the time he blew out the candles on his 7th birthday cake. Before he'd turned 9, he already had a Golden Globe, for Best New Male Star of 1979 after playing Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway's son in "The Champ."
Schroder, who was still going by "Ricky" at this point, saw his fame heighten in 1982 when he was cast in the lead of the NBC sitcom "Silver Spoons," playing the estranged son of a childish millionaire. The show ran for four years on NBC and one in syndication, but by the time it was over, Schroder was ready to escape the cute-kid straightjacket, even if nobody wanted to hand him the key.
At an agents' urging, he shortened his stage name to "Rick" and began playing more adult roles in TV-movies and miniseries, most prominently as young cowboy Newt Call in "Lonesome Dove" and "Return to Lonesome Dove" (the latter of which reunited him with Voight).
But even though he was getting good reviews and some decent recognition within the industry, the public still thought of him as "little Ricky Schroder" -- until, that is, he wowed "NYPD Blue" producers Stephen Bochco and David Milch in an audition to replace Jimmy Smits. While Bochco and Milch were skeptical going in, Rick was the only actor auditioning who was confident enough to go toe-to-toe with Dennis Franz in a scripted scene, or even to touch Franz.
Schroder's "Lonesome Dove" experience turned him on to the appeal of ranching, and he maintains his own ranch in Colorado, where his wife Andrea and three children live. When Andrea suffered a late-term miscarriage during Rick's third season on the show, he decided he needed to spend more time at home and asked out of his contract.