Homicide: Life on the Street (season 4)

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Homicide: Life on the Street (season 4)
Homicide, Life On The Street – The Complete Season 4.jpg
Season 4 U.S. DVD Cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Release
Original network NBC
Original release October 20, 1995 – May 17, 1996
Season chronology
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Season 3
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Season 5
List of Homicide: Life on the Street episodes

The fourth season of Homicide: Life on the Street aired in the United States on the NBC television network from October 20, 1995 to May 17, 1996 and contained 22 episodes.

The fourth season marked the debut of two characters: Detective Mike Kellerman (portrayed by Reed Diamond), who transfers from Arson to Homicide; and J. H. Brodie (portrayed by Max Perlich), a news cameraman who is hired as the unit's videographer. The season was also the last to feature Captain/Detective Megan Russert (portrayed by Isabella Hofmann) as a regular. Drug kingpin Luther Mahoney (portrayed by Erik Dellums) also makes his first appearance. Stuart Gharty (portrayed by Peter Gerety) also debuts in a guest appearance.

Guest stars include Lily Tomlin, Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell, Jerry Orbach, Benjamin Bratt, Jill Hennessy, Chris Rock, Marcia Gay Harden and Jay Leno.

The DVD box set of season 4 was released for Region 1 on March 30, 2004. The set includes all 22 season 4 episodes on six discs.[1]

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
34 1 "Fire: Part 1" Tim Hunter Story by : Tom Fontana & Henry Bromell
Teleplay by : Julie Martin
October 20, 1995 (1995-10-20) 401

With Bolander and Felton suspended, the squad struggles to pick up the slack. Pembleton and Bayliss investigate a body found at a burned-out warehouse and cross paths with arson detective Mike Kellerman, whose theories of the crime put him at odds with the pair. Soon a second building is set on fire, with another body in the rubble. Munch and Howard both sign up for promotion exams.

First appearance of Det. Mike Kellerman
35 2 "Fire: Part 2" Nick Gomez Story by : Henry Bromell and Tom Fontana
Teleplay by : Jack Behr
October 27, 1995 (1995-10-27) 402
The arson/murder investigation continues, and Kellerman surprises everyone with his interrogation of the prime suspect. Giardello offers him a chance to join the homicide unit. Kellerman accepts after visiting his father at the distillery where he works. Howard takes the promotion exam, but Munch is a no-show.
36 3 "Autofocus" Alan Taylor Story by : Tom Fontana & Henry Bromell
Teleplay by : Bonnie Mark
November 3, 1995 (1995-11-03) 403

The department moves into an old bank building when a gas leak forces them to evacuate headquarters. Detectives Lewis and Kellerman partner up to investigate the murder of an old woman; a young news cameraman risks his job to help them solve it. Pembleton is thrown off balance by the change of scenery and the fact that he will soon become a father, while Howard (recently promoted to Sergeant) gets off to a bad start in her attempts to supervise the other detectives.

First appearance of J. H. Brodie
37 4 "Thrill of the Kill" Tim Hunter Story by : Tom Fontana & Henry Bromell
Teleplay by : Jorge Zamacona
November 10, 1995 (1995-11-10) 407

The homicide unit works with the FBI to catch a thrill-killer who is working his way north along Interstate 95. The case takes one strange turn after another, from the detectives' first attempts to profile their suspect until the moment they finally get him in the Box. Giardello's daughter Charisse surprises him by announcing her engagement and plans to move across the country.

Guest star: Jeffrey Donovan as Newton Dell
38 5 "Hate Crimes" Peter Weller James Yoshimura and Tom Fontana November 17, 1995 (1995-11-17) 406

After a man is killed by skinheads outside a gay bar, Pembleton and Bayliss find their investigation complicated by conflicting information about his sexual preferences. Lewis and Kellerman catch a new lead on Crosetti's last unsolved case, putting Lewis (who originally worked it with Crosetti) and Howard (who took it after his death) sharply at odds with each other. The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday has all the detectives making and rearranging plans on the fly, and Brodie is officially hired as videographer for the homicide unit.

Guest stars: Terry O'Quinn as Bailey Lafeld; Allison Smith as Officer Debbie Haskell; Dean Winters as Tom Marans
39 6 "A Doll's Eyes" Kenneth Fink Story by : Tom Fontana & Henry Bromell
Teleplay by : James Yoshimura
December 1, 1995 (1995-12-01) 404
A shooting at a mall leaves a 10-year-old boy brain-dead. As his parents struggle with decisions about keeping him on life support and donating his organs, Pembleton and Bayliss track down the shooter and wind up questioning their own moral and spiritual convictions.
40 7 "Heartbeat" Bruno Kirby Story by : Henry Bromell and Tom Fontana
Teleplay by : Kevin Arkadie
December 8, 1995 (1995-12-08) 405

As Lewis and Kellerman quickly solve a drug-related death, they get a tip on another case: a man who was buried alive in a wall 10 years ago. Munch and Howard target a dealer obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe, relying on psychological manipulation to get him to confess. Munch's stab at a relationship with medical examiner Alyssa Dyer quickly goes sour, and when Pembleton finds that everyone in the office suddenly knows about Mary's pregnancy, he becomes enraged at Bayliss for telling the secret. The department returns to headquarters in this episode.

Guest star: Kevin Conway as Joseph Cardero
41 8 "Sniper: Part 1" Jean de Segonzac Story by : Henry Bromell & Tom Fontana
Teleplay by : Jean Gennis & Phyliss Murphy
January 5, 1996 (1996-01-05) 408
The start of 1996 brings a clean board that is soon covered with red names when a series of sniper attacks leaves nine people dead and puts the entire department on red-ball alert. A game of hangman is found drawn in chalk at every scene, leading the detectives to a suspect who kills himself even while his house is surrounded and filled with cops. Dissatisfied with Russert's handling of the case, Barnfather demotes her from Captain to Detective and sends her home; she is barely there before another sniper attack claims three more lives. Meanwhile, Bayliss takes a few too many muscle relaxants for his chronic back pain and ponders having surgery, and Jay Leno visits the Waterfront only to be driven away by the reticence of Bayliss and Munch.
42 9 "Sniper: Part 2" Darnell Martin Story by : Henry Bromell & Tom Fontana
Teleplay by : Edward Gold
January 12, 1996 (1996-01-12) 409
As the sniper attacks resume, the exhausted detectives return to work - including Russert, whom Giardello calls in despite Barnfather's order that she stay out of the case. Pembleton believes that the new shooter (who eventually racks up five kills) is connected to the first, while Russert believes him to be a copycat. After an overly helpful witness attracts the detectives' attention, Russert draws on recent experience to bring the case to a surprising close.
43 10 "The Hat" Peter Medak Story by : Henry Bromell & Trish Soodik and Tom Fontana
Teleplay by : Anya Epstein
January 19, 1996 (1996-01-19) 412

Lewis and Kellerman are sent to Pennsylvania to pick up Rose Halligan, a fugitive wanted in Baltimore for the murder of her husband. The trip turns into a disaster after she escapes their custody and is later found outside the home of her husband's mistress, whom she has just killed. A case investigated by Munch falls apart in court when Brodie's videotape shows a key piece of evidence missing from the crime scene. Anticipation in the squadroom comes to a head with the announcement that the open captain's position has been filled - and to everyone's shock, it goes to Roger Gaffney instead of Giardello.

Guest star: Lily Tomlin as Rose Halligan
44 11 "I've Got a Secret" Gwen Arner Story by : Tom Fontana & Henry Bromell
Teleplay by : D. Maria Legaspi
February 2, 1996 (1996-02-02) 413
Investigating the case of a man found dead in the driver's seat of a borrowed car, Pembleton and Bayliss question whether an emergency room doctor's racial bias led her to perform shoddy surgery that caused his death. Lewis and Kellerman make several attempts to apprehend a suspect wanted for the murder of his parents. After they finally catch him, Lewis reveals that he has a mentally ill brother who has been institutionalized for nearly 20 years. Munch sees Howard with a mysterious new man and relentlessly tries to find out who he is.
45 12 "For God and Country" Ed Sherin Jorge Zamacona & Michael S. Chernuchin February 9, 1996 (1996-02-09) 411

As detectives from Baltimore and New York connect a pair of poison gas attacks in the two cities five years apart, the prime suspect's wife is murdered to keep him from giving up any more information. His son tips off the police, leading to the arrest of an anarchist ex-Special Forces colonel who is trying to start a race war.

This episode concludes a crossover with Law & Order that begins on "Charm City."

Special appearances by Benjamin Bratt as NYPD Det. Rey Curtis; Jill Hennessy as New York A.D.A. Claire Kincaid; Jerry Orbach as NYPD Det. Lennie Briscoe
46 13 "Justice: Part 1" Michael Radford Story by : Tom Fontana & Henry Bromell
Teleplay by : David Rupel
February 16, 1996 (1996-02-16) 414

Munch and Russert take the case of a retired cop, Edgar Rodzinski, found strangled at his wife's grave. His son Jake is a BCPD detective who knew Lewis from the police academy, and he starts pressing Lewis to give him information and get involved so he can do a little digging of his own. However, his efforts only hinder the other detectives' work. A suspect is arrested and brought to trial; after he is inexplicably acquitted, Jake contemplates taking the law into his own hands.

Guest star: Bruce Campbell as Jake Rodzinski
47 14 "Justice: Part 2" Peter Medak Story by : Tom Fontana & Henry Bromell
Teleplay by : David Simon
February 23, 1996 (1996-02-23) 415

As Jake Rodzinski struggles to cope with the acquittal of his father's killer, a new case comes in: the killer has been found shot in the head. Kellerman picks up the case and is ordered not to share information with Lewis because of the past relationship between Lewis and Jake. As the evidence increasingly points to Jake's involvement in the shooting, Gee reflects on the changed culture of the police; in the old days, cop killers were shot on sight. Meanwhile, Bayliss nurses a grudge against Pembleton for forgetting his lunch order of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Guest star: Bruce Campbell as Jake Rodzinski
48 15 "Stakeout" John McNaughton Story by : Tom Fontana & Noel Behn
Teleplay by : Noel Behn
March 15, 1996 (1996-03-15) 416

After the detectives learn the name of the man responsible for a long string of abductions and murders, they begin round-the-clock surveillance at his neighbors' house, waiting for him to come home so they can arrest him. As everyone on the shift takes a turn, three topics keep coming up: the personal lives of the homeowners, Giardello's indecision about flying to California for his daughter's wedding, and rumors that Bayliss plans to leave the homicide unit or quit altogether.

Guest stars: Jim True-Frost as George Buxton, Kate Walsh as Cathy Buxton
49 16 "Requiem for Adena" Lee Bonner Julie Martin March 29, 1996 (1996-03-29) 418

A young girl is found murdered in a manner very similar to Adena Watson. Remembering how that investigation spiraled out of control, Pembleton insists on working the current case alone and without the usual "red ball" treatment. Bayliss’ conviction that the two cases are connected leads him into a clash with Pembleton and jeopardizes the latter’s efforts to get a confession. Brodie reveals his secret crush on Howard, who thinks he and the rest of the squad are playing a joke on her.

Guest star: Chris Rock as Carver Dooley
50 17 "Full Moon" Leslie Libman & Larry Williams Story by : Tom Fontana & Henry Bromell & Eric Overmeyer
Teleplay by : Eric Overmeyer
April 5, 1996 (1996-04-05) 410

Lewis and Kellerman investigate a shooting death at the seedy New Moon Motel on the outskirts of Baltimore. The fact that nearly every tenant has a criminal record, and the victim is missing both a boot and vintage motorcycle, leave the pair awash in potential suspects but short on evidence. Lewis watches the demolition of the housing project in which he grew up, and takes one of its bricks as a memento.

Cameo by The Reverend Horton Heat
51 18 "Scene of the Crime" Kathy Bates Story by : Henry Bromell & Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana
Teleplay by : Anya Epstein & David Simon
April 12, 1996 (1996-04-12) 421

Lewis and Kellerman investigate the death of a drug dealer in a housing project, but they are hampered by the interference of a private security force run by Black Muslims. The case puts the two detectives at odds with each other and pits Giardello against the bosses, who reveal that nationwide politics may trump the search for the killer. A double shooting in another housing project leads Russert to file departmental charges against the patrolman who responded to the call, arguing that at least one of the victims might have survived if he had not waited to go in. Meanwhile, Munch makes big plans for Bolander's return to work after his suspension, only to have them ruined when the Big Man backs out.

First appearance of Peter Gerety as Patrolman (later Detective) Stuart Gharty
52 19 "Map of the Heart" Clark Johnson Story by : Michael Whaley & James Yoshimura
Teleplay by : Michael Whaley
April 26, 1996 (1996-04-26) 417

A high-profile divorce lawyer is found dead in his own swimming pool, and a man claiming to be his son shows up in the homicide office with evidence to incriminate himself. Pembleton and Bayliss soon find themselves in a face-off with the National Security Agency and a second suspect whose sudden confession seems a little too convenient. Meanwhile, Brodie tries to toughen himself up, Munch buys a VCR of highly questionable origin, and Kellerman tries to unmask the "Lunch Bandit" who has been stealing everyone's food from the office refrigerator.

Guest star: Terry Kinney as Richard Laumer
53 20 "The Damage Done" Jace Alexander Story by : Henry Bromell and Tom Fontana
Teleplay by : Jorge Zamacona
May 3, 1996 (1996-05-03) 419

Kellerman becomes the primary on a rash of drug-related killings that prove to be part of a turf war between two rival dealers, "Drak" Fortunato and Luther Mahoney. Each points the finger at the other until a standoff with Drak and a surprise confession convince Kellerman who is responsible for the murders. At a peace vigil attended by the detectives, Drak, and Mahoney, the turf war comes to a sudden end when Drak is shot dead.

First appearance of Erik Dellums as Luther Mahoney
54 21 "The Wedding" Alan Taylor Henry Bromell May 10, 1996 (1996-05-10) 420

Lewis surprises the squad by announcing that he will be getting married at the end of the day's shift, and asks for their help in organizing the reception. Everyone is skeptical, especially Munch, but the wedding turns out to be genuine - and Pembleton's wife Mary goes into labor afterward. Howard's fun-loving sister Carrie comes in from Florence for a visit, prompting Bayliss and Kellerman to vie for her attention. With most of the squad otherwise occupied, Giardello and Howard team up to investigate the death of a controversial talk-radio DJ. After a potential suspect shoots at them and Giardello kills him in self-defense, they learn that a friend of his tipped them off as a practical joke.

Melissa Leo, credited as "Margaret May," appears as Carrie Howard.
55 22 "Work Related" Jean de Segonzac Tom Fontana May 17, 1996 (1996-05-17) 422

Pressures both on and off the job are mounting for the detectives, as Mary gives birth to the Pembletons' daughter Olivia and Lewis confesses to Kellerman that his marriage is already in trouble. The pair investigate a literal "red ball" case - a man killed by a red bowling ball thrown from a freeway overpass - as Giardello frets over the bosses' upcoming review of his earlier self-defense shooting. Pembleton and Bayliss take a robbery/murder at a fast food restaurant; once they get a suspect in the Box, Pembleton suffers a stroke. He is rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery, with uncertain prospects for his recovery.

Final appearance of Det. Megan Russert as a regular character


Cast[edit]

Returning for the fourth season of Homicide were Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Isabella Hofmann, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto, Melissa Leo, and Kyle Secor. Daniel Baldwin and Ned Beatty did not return, as both were frustrated with the direction of the show. The characters of Beau Felton (Baldwin) and Stan Bolander (Beatty) were written out by engaging in drunken, inappropriate behavior while attending a policeman/firefighters convention in New York City; as a result both were suspended for 22 weeks (the length of the season). While they were only suspended for the duration of season 4, their departure from the series was not revealed until the next season.

Both Reed Diamond and Max Perlich joined the cast as Detective Mike Kellerman and J.H. Brodie, respectively. During the season, Diamond was credited as a main cast member while Perlich was a recurring cast member. The character of J.H. Brodie was supposedly based on David Simon. Season 4 also saw the debut of Peter Gerety as Stuart Gharty. The Gharty character would make a guest appearance once during the season as well as two guest appearances during the fifth season before becoming a main character in the final two seasons. The fourth season also saw the debut of Erik Dellums as drug kingpin Luther Mahoney. Despite only making one appearance during the season, the character would return many times during the fifth season serving as the main antagonist for the detectives.

Isabella Hofmann left the cast at the end of the season due to pregnancy with her and Daniel Baldwin's child, but would return for three guest appearances (two in person, one as a telephone voice) in the fifth season. Andre Braugher nearly left after the season, believing he had explored the Frank Pembleton character to its limit, but he decided to return after the producers agreed to give Pembleton a handicap by means of a stroke, portrayed at the end of season 4.[2]

Celebrity guest appearances include Lily Tomlin as murder suspect Rose Halligan in "The Hat". Jeffrey Donovan played twins Newton and Miles Dell with one being a thrill-killer in "Thrill of the Kill". Bruce Campbell played grief-stricken detective Jake Rodzinski in the two part "Justice". Law & Order stars Jerry Orbach, Benjamin Bratt, and Jill Hennessey played their characters Lennie Briscoe, Rey Curtis, and Claire Kincaid respectively in "For God and Country". Jay Leno played himself in a cameo appearance in "Sniper Part 1".

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Ratings for season 4 improved compared to season 3. Homicide ranked #66 and had an estimated audience of 8,900,000[3] a big step up compared to Season 3 which ranked at #89 and had an estimated audience of 8,200,000.[4]

Awards[edit]

Homicide would win two TCA Awards for "Outstanding Achievements In Drama" and "Program of the Year" as well as one Viewers for Quality Television award for "Best Quality Drama Series". Homicide was nominated for three Emmy Awards as Andre Brauger was nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Lily Tomlin was nominated for Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her guest appearance in the episode: "The Hat", and the show was nominated for Casting for a Drama Series. The show was also nominated for one Humanitas Prize for "60 Minute Category" as well as 3 NAACP Image Awards including "Outstanding Drama Series" while Brauger & Yaphet Kotto were both nominated for "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series".[5]

References[edit]