Hearts and Souls
|"Hearts and Souls"|
|NYPD Blue episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Paris Barclay|
|Written by||Steven Bochco, David Milch, Bill Clark & Nicholas Wootton|
|Original air date||November 24, 1998|
David Barrera as Dr. Victor Carreras
"Hearts and Souls" is the fifth episode of the sixth season and 115th overall of the American crime drama NYPD Blue. "Hearts and Souls" originally aired in the United States on ABC on Tuesday November 24, 1998, at 9:30 pm Eastern time as a 90-minute special. The episode was directed by Paris Barclay and written by Steven Bochco, David Milch, Bill Clark and Nicholas Wootton. It was the culmination of months of public speculation on the method of closure that would be employed to write Jimmy Smits's critically acclaimed Bobby Simone character out of the regular cast and clear the way for Smits' replacement, Rick Schroder. "Hearts and Souls" was a critical and commercial success, achieving both high ratings and positive critical feedback and is now regarded as one of the greatest television episodes in television history. It marked the second high-profile replacement of the partner for lead character, Detective Andy Sipowicz, played by Dennis Franz.
At the 51st Primetime Emmy Awards, this episode won awards for Direction for Paris Barclay and Guest Actress for Debra Monk as well as a nominations in Writing for Steven Bochco, David Milch, Bill Clark and Nicholas Wootton. Barclay also won a Directors Guild of America Award. The episode also won an Eddie Award and a Banff Rockie Award as well as a Cinema Audio Society Award nomination.
This was Smits' last regular appearance as Simone, although he returned for one scene in an episode during the twelfth season. The episode highlights his rapid and mysterious physical demise, which has culminated in his need for a heart transplant. Many emotional portrayals are included to represent the feelings of loved ones, friends and colleagues when someone that they care about is suddenly in dire medical need. In another storyline, the episode simultaneously highlights the stress that can be caused when alcoholism afflicts a family through a critically acclaimed guest appearance by Debra Monk as the ex-wife of Sipowicz.
The episode begins with a special five-minute extended "Previously on NYPD Blue" segment that retraces Simone's (Jimmy Smits) whole character history. The final portion of the prolog presents Lt. Arthur Fancy's (James McDaniel) prior episode persuasion of a police widow to directly donate her husband's heart to give Simone a chance to live. The regular portion of the episode begins after the completed heart transplant. The episode focuses on whether Simone's heart transplant was successful. It starts ten days after the heart transplant with his anticipated hospital release. Simone's recovery is hampered by an internal chest infection, which leaves him weakened. The doctors attempt diagnosis of the infection and weakness, which appear to be minor, with tests. Tensions run high in the department from almost the beginning of the episode. Greg Medavoy (Gordon Clapp) has a scene where his verbal aggression with a citizen complainant provides a respite and represents the frustration and helplessness of Simone's friends and colleagues. James Martinez' (Nicholas Turturro) generally good manners are also tested. Sipowicz displays deep emotions to his wife ADA Sylvia Costas (Sharon Lawrence). The doctors differ in their opinions of which treatment to use. One advises Simone and wife Diane Russell (Kim Delaney) to pursue surgery, while another advises natural progression. Sipowicz's (Dennis Franz) ex-wife Katie (Debra Monk) catches him offguard by appearing at the station drunk and asking for his help. She is preparing a pro se defense against DWI charges, but when Sipowicz is about to respond with assistance, she slips away. The personal turmoil drags him away from his compassionate watch. When he is distracted, Simone's health deteriorates to the point where his demise seems imminent. Dr. Carreras suggests ending the suffering, while Dr. Swan disagrees, but Carreras believes his sentiment is masking office politics that govern how statistics are attributed to various departments. Russell is conflicted on which doctor to take advice from. Sipowicz manages his wife's crisis by negotiating agreed Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Russell instructs Simone's colleagues to say their goodbyes before he receives his last rites. Simone has flashbacks of his pigeons that are symbolic, while his onscreen wife Russell is present with wifely emotions for this tragic situation. In the end, Simone fades away just as the screen fades to white (as opposed to black).
After one season on NYPD Blue, David Caruso decided to leave his role as Detective John Kelly and pursue a movie career when he was unable to secure a salary increase from $80,000 (US$127,292 in 2014 dollars) per episode to $100,000 (US$159,115). At the time, Caruso had a pending Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nomition for the 46th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1994. Meanwhile, ABC was enduring the odd combination of high ratings, high critical praise and largescale network affiliate boycotts of its breakthrough use of nudity and profanity on public television that forced it to offer discounted advertising rates in spite of its success. Smits, who had left his Emmy Award-winning role as Victor Sifuentes on L.A. Law in 1991, was signed as a replacement on August 18, 1994. Caruso would continue in his role for the first four episodes of the second season, and Smits replaced him in a new role in episode 5 in November. Smits originally hoped to sign with the show for three years, while ABC sought a more standard five-year contract.
In April 1998, toward the end of the fifth season, Smits told Liz Smith that he would only perform in a handful of episodes in the sixth season in order to smoothly transition his character's departure. Smits declined interviews and made a written statement, but show creator Steven Bochco noted that Smits had come to the decision several weeks before he announced it. Smits earned five consecutive Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nominations as well as three nominations for Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama for the Simone role. Smits, who earned the Golden Globe Award at the 53rd Golden Globe Awards in 1996 for the role, stated that "I accomplished what I sought to do - to prove I can act - and now it's time to seek another course."
In mid-June 1998, rumors surfaced that Rick Schroder would replace Smits. The following week, Schroder was officially announced as the replacement. By late September, the buildup the Smits' departure was set to commence with the first episode of season 6, on October 20. On October 7, ABC announced that Smits would be stabbed in the opening episode of the season. The week before the season premiere, Mark Tinker revealed that Smits would be written out in the fifth episode of the season and Schroder would enter in the subsequent episode. Bochco revealed that National Enquirer and other gossip tabloids had offered to pay for details about the storyline. The five-week story arc was scheduled so that the final three weeks were in the November sweeps with Shroder's debut marking the final week of the sweeps. When the network decided to pre-empt the show on Election Night (November 3), the final episode was moved back to the second last night of sweeps.
The first week stabbing was regarded as similar to the Murder of Jonathan Levin. ABC sent the media the first two episodes prior to the season 6 premiere. In the first episode, Smits is both stabbed and inadvertently cut by his dentist. Based on the first two episodes, Dave Matheny and Neal Justin of the Star Tribune determined that Simone would endure a worsening mysterious illness. In the third episode of the arc, Smits was hospitalized and in need of a heart transplant. The fourth episode was a buildup to impending heart surgery as he struggles with cardiomyopathy.
In April, Bochco stated that he did not intend to kill off Smits' character, Simone. On L.A. Law, Smits had returned to the show for critically acclaimed guest appearances during sweeps episodes after leaving his regular role. Whether Smits' character would overlap with Schroder's character on screen was undetermined when Schroder was announced in June, but at the time Season 6 production was scheduled to commence on August 10, 1998. As of mid-July, Smits' departing episode was not scheduled to film until September.
On the eve of the season 6 premiere, NYPD Blue executives assured the public that Smits' storyline would not be irreversible. However, this led to doubt among critics who did not feel it was possible to have a sensible storyline that retained the services of Kim Delaney in the role of Simone's wife Detective Diane Russell. A humorous piece in Newsweek described the general consensus as "He's gonna die. He looks like he's dying...If he dies, it's easy to keep his wife (played by Kim Delaney) on the show." In addition, his castmates noted that their characters would grieve. However, some sources, such as National Public Radio's Noah Adams and Robert Siegel, read into the fact that "Network publicity speaks of Simone's departure, not his demise..."
In late August, Schroder participated in a New York City Police Department ride-a-long to prepare for his role. Season 6 production began the week of September 5. David Milch, who had had multiple angioplasties influenced the storyline so that it would represent "the alienation and disempowerment that almost everyone feels in a hospital, without demonizing the hospital". Milch employed his brother, who is a doctor, as a consultant. He explained to his hometown newspaper, The Buffalo News, that the five-story arc was chosen because a surprise event would not have worked in this media age with the audience's expectation of the character's departure. According to Kim Delaney, during the filming of this episode the cast was repeatedly breaking down emotionally as if they were experiencing a personal death in the family.
The 90-minute special extended into the Sports Night time slot that preceded NYPD Blue during the 1998–99 United States network television season. Smits appeared in the November 9, 2004 "The Vision Thing" episode in his only return guest performance.
- Dennis Franz as Det. Andy Sipowicz
- James McDaniel as Lt. Arthur Fancy
- Nicholas Turturro as Det. James Martinez
- Sharon Lawrence as A.D.A. Sylvia Costas
- Gordon Clapp as Det. Greg Medavoy
- Jimmy Smits as Det. Bobby Simone
- Kim Delaney as Det. Diane Russell
- Andrea Thompson as Det. Jill Kirkendall
Awards and ratings
In 2009, TV Guide created TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time, with this episode ranked number 30. Ron Epstein of Variety named it as the best of the 261 episodes of the series on March 1, 2005 on the day of the series' final episode. Director Paris Barclay won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and a Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing - Drama Series for his work in this episode. Debra Monk won Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for this episode. Jane Kass won an American Cinema Editors Eddie Award in the category Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television for this episode. Steven Bochco Productions won a Banff Rockie Award for the Best Continuing Series at the Banff Television Festival for this episode. Elmo Ponsdomenech (re-recording mixer), J. Stanley Johnston (re-recording mixer) and Joe Kenworthy (production mixer) were nominated for a Cinema Audio Society Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Series. Steven Bochco, David Milch, Bill Clark and Nicholas Wootton were nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the episode, while the other four nominees in the category were episodes of The Sopranos.
The episode finished second to 60 Minutes (23.56 million) for the week ending November 29 with a Nielsen Media Research estimated viewership of 22.10 million. It was the largest overall viewership in three years for the series and the best 18-49 demographic rating in two years.
Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe noted that the buildup to the finale added intrigue at the cost of cliche. John Levesque of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said "the whole six-episode arc strikes me as a B or B-minus effort that got bogged down in one character and gave us all-too-familiar subplots that were lacking in imagination." Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Sun-Times described the arc as a "lingering exit". Associated Press Television critic Frazier Moore found the entire story arc to be "a dramatic and fitting farewell for the character - and a proud performance by Smits". The Buffalo News describes the arc as "a brilliant five-episode story line".
Dusty Saunders of Rocky Mountain News described the farewell episode as "Unforgettable", praising several acting performances. Of Simone (Smits), he described his performance as "spellbinding" noting his "Particularly effective" and metaphorical scenes with his pigeons in addition to saying "Smits is not the first TV actor to portray a character, lying in bed, facing death. Such scenes are as common as headache relief commercials. However, Smits' compassionate portrayal is as realistic as weekly TV drama gets." He described Russell (Delaney) as "...superb Tuesday night, displaying both helpless agony and feisty determination." Although he praised her role as a wife, he noted that as a detective her dealings with her partner Det. Jill Kurkendall (Andrea Thompson) were cliched. He noted that Greg Medavoy's (Gordon Clapp) "...frustration epitomizes the concern of the precinct crew as it monitors Bobby's Simone's battle for life." He noted that Sipowicz' (Franz) storyline with his first wife, Katie (Monk) "...provides a needed diversion from the hospital room drama."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Levesque claimed the finale had its ups and downs. He describes the Sipowicz subplot as the only "viable" one in the episode, stating that Monk's performance had a "a frantic loneliness that almost brings the show back to its dark, gritty-streets realism". He claims this performance is tempered by the dramatic, but unrealistic "overwrought behavior" of Simone's fretful colleagues. He summarized the episode as "well written (by Nicholas Wootton) and generally well acted, with several characters having to experience a range of emotions", but was most disappointed in Delaney's performance as Russell.
The Chicago Sun-Times's Rosenthal described the episode as "wrenching" and a "powerful piece". He says the focus of the episode is whether Simone's transplant took and that the episode downplayed policework, while highlighting the interpersonal. He noted that the performance made Simone an Emmy Award favorite. He notes that a lot of emotions are displayed by Simone's colleagues and that the episode also has a meaningful secondary storyline in which Sipowicz shows volatility in the face of "Simone's uncertain health and the reappearance of his alcoholic ex-wife". Kevin Newman of ABC's Good Morning America described the finale as "very touching" and noted that Smits, himself, claimed to have warned his own mother not to watch because it would be "too emotional". The Associated Press' Moore described the episode as "moving".
Immediately before the finale, The Boston Globe's Gilbert praised the episode as "one of the series' most memorable" and "a highly emotional and yet restrained 90 minutes, with a satisfying resolution". He describes the special introduction as "a nice touch". He commends the writers for focusing the episode on "medical themes" rather than "crime investigation". He praises Delaney's performance over a range of emotions. He describes Monk's Katie Sipowicz "a prisoner of grief for their late son". He notes that Smits ends his NYPD Blue tenure with "grace and power".
The Buffalo News describes the finale as a "heart-pounding resolution", noting that the final moment between Sipowicz and Simone was "also emotional despite its simplicity". They note that the medical ethics consideration outdoes ER. They note that the "acting is uniformly excellent", praising Smits in particular for conveying emotion without much dialogue as well as Delaney for "capturing Diane's anxiety and heartache". They praise the pigeon scenes' ability to complement to the symbolic achievement of the episode that lives up to its billing.
Monica Collins of the Boston Herald said the episode "lives up to the hype" with "high melodrama" that offset "graceful, gutsy storytelling". She lauded the script, which delved into "the politics of medicine". The episode demonstrates the emotions of several relationships. Sipowicz endured heartfealt suffering due to the friendship that had grown beyond his imagination, while his ex-wife needed his emotional support and connections regarding her legal situation. He says Delaney had "an incredible performance" as "a perfect picture of pain and panic", while Smits "...goes out with dignity, with a performance that's all heart..."
- Gilbert, Matthew (1998-11-24). "Smits' `NYPD' exit touches the heart" (subscription required). The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2012-04-19. "...In a nice touch, the episode begins with an extended version of the 'previously on NYPD Blue' clips, going back to Smits' debut on the show in 1994. And rather than developing a crime investigation subplot, the episode wisely keeps its focus on the medical themes of recent weeks, as Kim Delaney's Diane continues to cope with a rather cold medical establishment. Delaney is quite affecting, as she moves expertly among profound emotions that extend well beyond concern and fear. The episode also brings back Andy's first wife, Katie, who has become a prisoner of grief for their late son. Andy must help her out, even though he and the other cops at the 15th precinct are preoccupied with Bobby, who begins the episode with a new heart in place. But the episode belongs to Smits, who ends the Smits era of "NYPD Blue" with grace and power."
- "A Good Cry For 'Blue' Viewers In Touching Finale". The Buffalo News. 1991-11-24. Retrieved 2012-04-19. "The heart-pounding resolution of a brilliant five-episode story line...A scene between the partners at the episode's end is also emotional despite its simplicity...It leads to ethical complications between the doctors that are more interesting and smartly written than anything that has happened on "ER" this season. Delaney does strong work here, with her pained looks brilliantly capturing Diane's anxiety and heartache...The acting is uniformly excellent, with Smits doing well to capture his character's spirit without too much dialogue...the return of Bobby's fellow bird-lover, Patsy (Brad Sullivan), also makes this episode symbolically soar to extra heights. This is one case in which the show live up to the promos that promise viewers that they will see one of the series' most memorable episodes."
- "NYPD Blue: Hearts and Souls". TV.com. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- Moore, Frazier (1998-11-25). "So long, Bobby: Jimmy Smits' `NYPD Blue' character killed off" (subscription required). AP Online. Retrieved 2012-04-19. "This moving episode, and the five-episode story arc it concluded, was a dramatic and fitting farewell for the character - and a proud performance by Smits"
- Saunders, Dusty (1998-11-23). "Tearful 'Blue' Crew Lets Go Of Simone.(Entertainment/Weekend/Spotlight)" (subscription required). Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- Collins, Monica (1998-11-24). "'NYPD' sends Smits off in blaze of raw emotion and great writing." (subscription required). Boston Herald. Retrieved 2012-04-19. "Bobby and Diane are drawn to one M.D. who is straightforward and compassionate. However, he is pushed the off the case by another doctor who's very skillfully slick...For Sipowicz, the potential loss of a buddy made in midlife is particularly wrenching. He tells his ever-patient wife, Sylvia (Sharon Lawrence), that he never expected to forge such a friendship. Compounding Sipowicz's woes is the arrival of his blowzy ex-wife wanting his help to erase a drunk-driving rap. She is also lonely and wants a sturdy shoulder to cry on...For actress Delaney...this is an incredible performance...trying so hard to convey hopefulness to the patient, Delaney is a perfect picture of pain and panic..."
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- Maynard, John F. (1994-08-18). "Jimmy Smits Joins the Force on 'NYPD Blue'" (subscription required). The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Caruso, a little-known actor who made a one-season splash as Detective John Kelly, has decided to follow the treacherous path of other television phenoms into the world of feature films...Reports indicate Caruso wanted a raise from $80,000 to $100,000 an episode, a salary usually reserved for established stars on long-running series...Caruso recently pulled in $1 million for the lead role in the upcoming Fox film "Kiss of Death" and is said to be in heavy demand by movie studios looking for new talent."
- Holbert, Ginny (1994-08-18). "'NYPD' Signs Smits To Replace Caruso" (subscription required). Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Caruso, who became a breakout star as Det. John Kelly in the show's first season, will leave four episodes into the season, which begins on Oct. 11. Smits' character, not yet revealed, will join the cast in the following episode...Smits, who left his "L.A. Law" role as Victor Sifuentes in 1991, won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for the 1989-90 season."
- Miller, Ron (1994-08-31). "'NYPD Blue' still scares away advertisers." (subscription required). Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Though ABC's trend-setting police drama was the most talked about new show of the 1993-94 TV season and has broken a record for Emmy nominations in its freshman year, nobody is copying it...One year after its controversial premiere, NYPD Blue has slowly but surely regained many of the ABC stations that refused to carry it last season, but is still not commanding top dollar from the advertisers who decided to stick with the show."
- "Smits may spend 3 years in 'Blue'" (subscription required). The Boston Globe/The Hollywood Reporter. 1994-08-17. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Jimmy Smits is seeking about $80,000 per episode for his first season to join ABC's "NYPD Blue" and also wants to be able to walk away from the show after three years, industry sources reported Monday...ABC, while not balking at the asking price, according to sources, is seeking what one source described as a more "usual contract." Most contracts for series actors are for five years and give a producer and network an option at the end of each season."
- "Report: Smits leaving ABC's NYPD Blue" (subscription required). AP Online. 1998-04-17. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Actor Jimmy Smits, who plays Detective Simone on the ABC drama, told columnist Liz Smith that he plans to leave the show after this season, his fourth. Smits will appear in up to a half-dozen episodes next season to help phase out his character."
- Waxman, Sharon (1998-04-18). "Actor Jimmy Smits Turning In His 'NYPD Blue' Badge" (subscription required). The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "A loss for the show. A risk for the actor. A bummer any way you look at it. "My career aspirations as an actor have always been driven foremost by the creative desire to be versatile," Smits said yesterday in a written statement. "I have and will continue to vigorously pursue opportunities in all mediums." He declined to be interviewed yesterday by The Washington Post. Steven Bochco, the show's creator, said Smits informed him of his decision several weeks ago..."
- "Primetime Emmy® Award Database". Emmys.com. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- Kupcinet, Irv (1998-04-19). "Kup's Corner" (subscription required). Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
- "Smits quits NYPD Blue." (subscription required). Sunday Mirror. 1998-04-19. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
- "Schroder booked by `NYPD'?" (subscription required). Chicago Sun-Times. 1998-06-16. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "An interesting dark horse has surfaced for the plum role opposite Dennis Franz on ABC's "NYPD Blue." Sources say Rick Schroder, the towheaded actor who first surfaced in "The Champ," was seen on the 20th Century Fox lot last week hobnobbing with "NYPD Blue" creators Steven Bochco and David Milch."
- "Short Takes.(News/National/International)" (subscription required). Rocky Mountain News. 1998-06-23. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Former Silver Spoons child star Rick Schroder is reporting for duty at NYPD Blue as Andy Sipowicz's new partner. Schroder, 28, will replace Jimmy Smits, who announced earlier that he is leaving the show after four years. Smits will appear in an undetermined number of episodes this fall while his character is written out of the show."
- Saunders, Dusty (1998-09-30). "Can Buddy Faro Survive The '90s?(Entertainment/Weekend/Spotlight)" (subscription required). Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "For some viewers, the fall TV season really doesn't begin until NYPD Blue and The X-Files unwrap new episodes. The former begins its sixth ABC season Oct. 20, with the first episode starting the buildup to the departure of Jimmy Smits, whose character, Detective Bobby Simone, will be written out in the fifth or sixth episode. A new young cop, portrayed by Rick Schroeder will share co-star billing with Dennis Franz."
- "Simone stabbed on 'NYPD' opener" (subscription required). The Boston Globe. 1998-10-07. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Detective Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) of "NYPD BLUE" gets stabbed in the season opener on Oct. 20, ABC has announced. The episode revolves around the murder of a high-school teacher from an ultra-wealthy family. During the investigation, Simone is stabbed by the prime suspect."
- Saunders, Dusty (1998-10-13). "TV is Rainbow's End For Irish Themes.(Entertainment/Weekend/Spotlight)" (subscription required). Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "According to NYPD Blue executive producer Mark Tinker, Jimmy Smits will leave the series in the fifth episode with Rick Schroder joining the cast during the sixth show. The series premieres for the season Oct. 20."
- Stroud, Michael (1998-10-12). "Bochco mending fences with CBS." (subscription required). Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "'The National Enquirer called our ward-robe designer and offered a lot of money to give the story line,' says Bochco. 'I think it is a terrible symptom of a very destructive impulse to spoil.' A National Enquirer spokesperson couldn't be reached. Bochco, who says there have been other offers of money from "gossip rags" for details about the show's first fall episodes, says the Simone character is stabbed, but he won't say what happens next in the four-episode story arc that leads to actor Jimmy Smits' departure from the series."
- "Television" (subscription required). Charleston Daily Mail/Los Angeles Times. 1998-10-19. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Ever practical, co-creators Steven Bochco and David Milch have devised a timetable to milk some extra ratings mileage out of Smits' departure. The series opens with a five-episode story arc that concludes with Simone's exit, extending three weeks into the November ratings sweeps. Schroder, the one-time child star of "Silver Spoons," can demonstrate how much he's grown up beginning Nov. 24 - the last Tuesday within the sweeps period - with no overlap between him and Smits."
- Bark, Ed (1998-10-30). "Sweeps concept doesn't rate highly anymore." (subscription required). Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "And NYPD Blue will say goodbye to Jimmy Smits on a 90-minute episode scheduled for Nov. 24, the second-to-last-day of the sweeps. Rick Schroder's arrival, delayed a week by Tuesday's election-night pre-emption of NYPD Blue, is now set to occur outside of the sweeps on Dec. 1."
- Stroud, Michael (1998-10-26). "True 'Blue'?" (subscription required). Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Last week, the real-life alleged killers of the schoolteacher son of Time Warner Inc. Chairman Gerald Levin went on trial for a 1997 crime that is remarkably similar to the NYPD Blue episode, prompting an attorney for one of the defendants to accuse ABC and NYPD Blue producers of cynically exploiting coverage of the trial. NYPD Blue co-executive producer Bill Clark acknowledges that he may have been "subconsciously" influenced by the Levin case in writing the episode, but says he didn't intentionally borrow from the tragedy."
- Shales, Tom (1998-10-20). "'NYPD Blue': Back in Full Force; Season Opener Sets Up Det. Simone's Departure" (subscription required). The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Will Simone die? ABC is not saying, but the network did supply the first two episodes, tonight's and next week's, and Simone is still alive at the end of both. An ABC spokeswoman said yesterday in Los Angeles that the network is keeping the circumstances of Simone's departure a strict secret..."
- Shales, Tom (1998-10-20). "'NYPD Blue': Back in Full Force; Season Opener Sets Up Det. Simone's Departure" (subscription required). The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "His dentist...accidentally nicks Simone's gum during a routine cleaning (the episode is called, irreverently, "Top Gum"). Later Simone complains of one of those "chest colds" that just won't go away. He sweats. He drinks a lot of water. And then there's the little matter of a stabbing during a drug bust. To tell you more would be unfair and unkind."
- Matheny, Dave and Neal Justin (1998-10-20). "FYI; Wake up like a dachshund in the middle of the night.(VARIETY)(Review)" (subscription required). Star Tribune. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Detective Bobby Simone has a cold - the kind Russian leaders have a habit of catching. Judging by the season's first two episodes of "NYPD Blue"...it looks like Jimmy Smits' departure in November will involve a mysterious illness that starts off as congestion. Next week, the situation gets more dire."
- Marin, Cheech and Tara Weingarten (1998-11-16). "Don't Call Him 'Ricky'.(former child star Rick Schroder joins cast of 'NYPD Blue')(Brief Article)" (subscription required). Newsweek. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "Schroder, 28, replaces Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits), now hospitalized for a heart ailment."
- Pergament, Alan (1998-11-16). "Buffalo Angle On 'NYPD Blue,' And A Conspiracy Marathon On Thanksgiving" (subscription required). The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "On Tuesday's episode, we learned that he needs a heart transplant...Dr. Robert Milch is listed as one of two medical advisers on the continuing story arc, which concludes in two weeks. Dr. Milch, who is medical director of Hospice Buffalo, is the brother of 'NYPD Blue' writer and co- creator David Milch."
- Justin, Neal (1998-11-22). "Final week of sweeps yields a cornucopia of TV shows; It's a holiday week smorgasbord - but luckily, there's precious little in the way of turkeys.(ENTERTAINMENT)(Review)" (subscription required). Star Tribune. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "Last week, we watched Simone on the verge of heart surgery after contracting a mysterious illness. Now, it's just a matter of seeing whether he lives or dies (we're not telling)."
- Levesque, John (1998-11-24). "Jimmy Smits Is Great, But Farewell Episode Is Faded 'Blue'.(Television)(Review)" (subscription required). Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "Fans know that Simone is battling an infection brought on by cardiomyopathy. Last week's episode had him preparing for a heart transplant."
- Pergament, Alan (1998-11-25). "A Lot Of Local Thought And Emotion Went Into 'NYPD Blue's' Tear-Jerker". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- Saunders, Dusty (1998-04-21). "Despite Protests, It's TV Violence As Usual" (subscription required). Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Bochco added that the script for Smits' final appearance would be open-ended, meaning that his character, Bobby Simone, could return for guest appearances."
- Pergament, Alan (1998-04-28). "Make A Date For Laughts On 'Frasier'" (subscription required). The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "He left "L.A. Law" after five seasons in 1991, along with Harry Hamlin and Michelle Green, because he thought his role of Victor Sifuentes had gotten a little stale. However, he returned for two sweeps episodes the next season and was given a Best Supporting Actor nomination."
- Lowry, Brian (1998-06-23). "New on 'Blue' // ABC hopes Schroder adds spark to police drama" (subscription required). Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
- Rosenthal, Phil (1998-07-17). "New to `Blue' // Schroder gives few clues to `NYPD' role" (subscription required). Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
- Cox, Ted (1998-10-19). "'NYPD' fans bracing for Smits' departure.(Suburban Living)" (subscription required). Daily Herald. Retrieved 2012-04-17. ""NYPD's" writers and producers have already said that his Bobby Simone character would always be welcome, and they have promised to avoid a sudden Henry Blake-like tragedy...simple common sense dictates that the writers have to do something drastic with his character if they're to retain the services of Kim Delaney, who plays his on-screen wife and colleague Diane Russell. How will they explain Bobby's missing if Diane's still around?"
- "Smits Quits Hit, Gives Wits Fits.(speculation on what will happen to character Jimmy Smits plays on 'NYPD Blue' TV show)(Brief Article)" (subscription required). Newsweek. 1998-11-09. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
- "The Post Files" (subscription required). The Birmingham Post. 1998-10-19. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Other members of the cast say their characters will 'grieve' over Simone's loss and producers won't say anything about the prospects of a return guest appearance by Smits."
- Adams, Noah and Robert Siegel (1998-10-24). "Smits Gone" (subscription required). National Public Radio. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "Other members of the cast say their characters will 'grieve' over Simone's loss and producers won't say anything about the prospects of a return guest appearance by Smits."
- "People in the news" (subscription required). AP Online. 1998-08-23. Retrieved 2012-04-17. "Riding along with police, Schroder recently spent a day racing around New York, visiting the sites of two homicides, a suicide, the city morgue and watching undercover ``buy-and-bust narcotics operations."
- Edel, Raymond A. (1998-09-05). "Television News & Notes" (subscription required). The Record. Retrieved 2012-04-17. ""NYPD Blue" started production this week, aiming for an Oct. 20 sixth-season premiere on ABC, and Rick Schroder's character has finally got a name. The flaxen-haired former "Silver Spoons" star will play narcotics detective Danny Sorenson -- single, ambitious, and approximately half the age of partner Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz)."
- "Falwell Says Y2K Crash Could Be Heavenly Event" (subscription required). The Spokesman-Review. 1998-11-25. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "...executive producer David Milch drew on his own health crisis in fashioning a story line for Jimmy Smits' exit from the show. Smits' character, Bobby Simone, suffers heart trouble and needs a transplant. Milch, who has had several angioplasties to deal with heart blockages, said he wanted Simone's condition to explore 'the alienation and disempowerment that almost everyone feels in a hospital, without demonizing the hospital.'"
- "Names in the news.(News Briefs)" (subscription required). Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. 1998-11-26. Retrieved 2012-04-19. "It's just a TV show, but actress Kim Delaney says the NYPD Blue storyline that concluded Tuesday night _ with the death of Detective Bobby Simone, played by Jimmy Smits _ had her and the rest of the cast grieving as if they'd had a death in the family. Delaney, who plays Simone's wife on the show, says that while the episode was being filmed, nobody could look at each other without breaking down."
- "Television highlights for the week of Nov. 22-28." (subscription required). Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. 1998-11-12. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "9:30 p.m. NYPD BLUE Too much for just one hour? Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) is led to a 'surprising reconnection' with his ex-wife (Debra Monk); meanwhile, there are new developments in Simone's (Jimmy Smits) medical crisis. (ABC, 1-1/2 hrs.) (Sorry fans, no Sports Night; this is a LONG episode.)"
- "'Pride' is sweeps 'loser' at NBC" (subscription required). Dayton Daily News. 2004-11-08. Retrieved 2012-04-19. "Jimmy Smits is returning to ABC's NYPD Blue for one last appearance, targeted for the November sweeps period...The network is promoting that Tuesday night, Smits will appear in the NYPD Blue episode titled "The Vision Thing.""
- "Cover story". TV Guide. June 15, 2009.
- Epstein, Ron (2005-03-01). "The best of 'Blue': trying to select the 10 best out of 261 episodes of "NYPD Blue" is nearly impossible, but these hours stand out from the pack.(NYPD Blue Farewell)" (subscription required). Variety. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- "The Winners Are . . ." (subscription required). The Washington Post. 1999-09-13. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- "DGA Awards History". Directors Guild of America. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- "Saving Private Ryan takes the star role in awards.(News)" (subscription required). The Birmingham Post. 1999-03-15. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- "Influence of 'Sopranos' Is Spreading (Life & Leisure)" (subscription required). Albany Times Union. 1999-07-23. Retrieved 2012-04-19. "But if you want to see why The Sopranos was such a stunning success, put aside all those nominations and look at one other category: outstanding writing for a drama series. 'Hearts and Souls,' the Jimmy Smits departure from NYPD Blue, rightly earned one of the nods in that category, and very well may win. The other four? The Sopranos, The Sopranos, The Sopranos and The Sopranos."
- Braxton, Greg (1998-12-02). "CBS Scores KO With Sunday Punch, Other Shows". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- Gilbert, Matthew (1998-11-15). "TV's Rotten Season Hello? It stinks.; How are we supposed to love network programming like this?" (subscription required). The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "While the imminent departure of Jimmy Smits has added a curiosity factor to "NYPD Blue" in recent weeks, it's nonetheless a drama suffering from buddy sentimentality and cliched crimes."
- Rosenthal, Phil (1998-11-24). "Tonight's episode reveals results of Simone's transplant // Smits' last 'Blue'" (subscription required). Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-04-18. "...in a wrenching 90-minute episode...this coda has little to do with police work...and everything to do with people and how they relate to one another, especially under pressure. It's a powerful piece of work. Smits' lingering exit these past weeks is in sharp contrast to his hastily written entrance four years ago,...the strongest, best-realized characters on TV...Tonight's script from Nicholas Wooton - combined with the direction of Harvey's own Paris Barclay - gives Smits all he needs to be the early front-runner in next year's Emmy race. But Simone's trials and tribulations are only part of what makes this episode so special. Sipowicz is a ticking bomb, dealing with both Simone's uncertain health and the reappearance of his alcoholic ex-wife (Debra Monk). The whole precinct is as uneasy as we are - and we know it's just TV."
- Newman, Kevin (1998-11-25). "National News and 20/20 Preview" (subscription required). Good Morning America. Retrieved 2012-04-19.