Robbery Homicide Division

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Robbery Homicide Division
Created by Barry Schindel
Starring Tom Sizemore
David Cubitt
Klea Scott
Barry Shabaka Henley
Michael Paul Chan
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (3 unaired)
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 45–48 minutes
Production company(s) Forward Pass
Universal Television
Original network CBS
Original release September 27, 2002 (2002-09-27) – April 21, 2003 (2003-04-21)

Robbery Homicide Division (RHD) is an American police procedural television series on CBS, created by Barry Schindel [1] with executive producer Michael Mann. Schindel has been nominated for three Emmy Awards.


The show took an intense, no-nonsense look at the present-day Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery Homicide Division. Lt. Sam Cole is the driven chief detective of a squad that is dedicated to solving some of the worst crimes the city has to offer. There were several technical advisers who worked on the show: Chic Daniel, an LAPD living legend who served more than twenty years on SWAT; Robert Deamer, a specialist of gang enforcement who is one of the most decorated veterans of Special Enforcement Unit (ex-C.R.A.S.H.); and Lieutenant Todd Reinhold, an actual squad leader of Special Weapons And Tactics.

The series was originally titled Metro which was the division where the show was originally going to be set. Then, the title was changed to RHD/LA which was used for the fall schedule announcement. CBS ordered the final title believing that people would be confused about what RHD stood for.

In April 2002, Schindel left to focus on his duties at NBC's Law & Order. Frank Spotnitz joined the show as an executive producer and the showrunner in May 2002 after The X-Files ended its nine-season run and then left in October because he decided that it "was not creatively the show that he wanted to be working on."[1]

Thematically, the show was very reminiscent of Mann's film Heat in that it also dealt with a driven cop working the Robbery-Homicide Division leading a multi-ethnic squad. Stylistically, Mann has said that RHD was a chance to test out some of the high-definition digital cameras he would later employ to much greater effect on Collateral and the film version of Miami Vice.


Although RHD was critically acclaimed, Law & Order: SVU had better ratings in the same time slot. CBS placed the show on hiatus after the December 7th episode. The series was cancelled after ten episodes. Mann told Variety magazine, "I guess maybe the show never found its audience." There was possible interest by HBO or CBS sister network Showtime to pick up the series, but it never went further than speculation.[2] Because of its NBC Universal ownership, reruns of the series have since aired on the high definition network Universal HD.

It is rumored that the arrest of Tom Sizemore, due to a drug related incident, ultimately led to the cancellation of the show. Sizemore has stated during filming of his show Shooting Sizemore that he regrets letting down all the cast members, staff, and producer Michael Mann. The actor claims that the cancellation created a rift between him and close mentor Mann which has still not been resolved.[3]

Cast and characters[edit]

Actor Role
Tom Sizemore Lt. Sam Cole
David Cubitt Det. Richard Barstow
Michael Paul Chan Det. Ron Lu
Klea Scott Det. Sonia Robbins
Barry Shabaka Henley Sgt. Albert Simms


Code Name Writer(s) Director Premiere
1 E3801/101 A Life of Its Own Barry Schindel Stephen Gyllenhaal September 27, 2002 CBS
2 E3802/102 Mini-Mall Todd A. Kessler Fred Keller October 4, 2002 CBS
3 E3803/103 2028 (a.k.a. Internet Sex) Jan Oxenberg [2], Philippe Browning, Frank Spotnitz, Todd A. Kessler D. J. Caruso October 11, 2002 CBS
4 E3807/105 Free and Clear Vince Gilligan D. J. Caruso October 18, 2002 CBS
5 E3805/106 Alton Davis Redux Carter Harris Rod Hardy October 25, 2002 CBS
6 E3806/107 In/Famous Frank Spotnitz, Jan Oxenberg Paul Michael Glaser November 1, 2002 CBS
7 E3804/104 City of Strivers (a.k.a. Defense Lawyer) Jan Oxenberg Rod Hardy November 8, 2002 CBS
8 E3808/108 Wild Ride (a.k.a. Zero Disrespect) Todd A. Kessler Nick Gomez November 15, 2002 CBS
9 E3810/109 Life Is Dust Todd A. Kessler, Sean Jablonski [3] Mario Van Peebles November 30, 2002 CBS
10 E3811/110 Had Todd A. Kessler, Gustave Reininger, Glenn Kessler Paul Michael Glaser December 7, 2002 CBS
11 E3812/111 Hellbound Train Jan Oxenberg Ami Canaan Mann CBS
12 E3809/112 Vamonos, Chica Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, Sean Whitesell Bill Duke CBS
13 E3814/113 Absolute Perfection David O. Sosna [4] Paul Michael Glaser CBS

The remaining three unaired episodes premiered on the USA Network in April 2003. Afterwards, it aired on HDNet and Sleuth in 2008.


In her review for The New York Times, Caryn James wrote, "The executive producers, Mr. Mann and Frank Spotnitz (a producer of The X-Files), have created a style that does not dominate substance so much as it makes a dark subject palatable."[4]

Chicago Sun-Times gave the show three out of four stars and Phil Rosenthal felt that the show, "holds a lot of promise, but a lot of that promise remains unrealized in this opener. It's just a little confusing."[5]

The Los Angeles Daily News gave the show three out of four star and David Kronke felt that the "storytelling may be spotty - convenient contrivances help our heroes to their resolutions - but the richly cinematic quality of the programs make them seem deeper, smarter and more resonant than they really are. The series is also adept at capturing Los Angeles' multiculturalism, though it seems to insist upon depicting it as somewhat sinister."[6]

USA Today gave the show two out of four stars and felt that it was "all style and no story."[7]

In his review for the Washington Post, Tom Shales praised Tom Sizemore's performance: "What saves it, really, is the key performance: Tom Sizemore as Detective Sam Cole, head of one of those elite teams inside the police force that get to dress well and barge in without search warrants and so on. Sizemore veritably storms the screen in one of those can't-look-away performances that make a character instantly indelible. You feel you recognize Sam Cole and yet never saw anyone exactly like him before."[8]

In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Goodman wrote that the show, "plays out like a moody film."[9]

Other reviews: Canoe [5] & Entertainment Weekly [6] & [7] [11 One-Season TV Wonders], [8]


The show debuted on Friday at 10pm ET/9c to an anemic 8.41 million viewers. CBS gave RHD two chances to capture a wider audience by airing two episodes on Saturday night. The first tryout was unsuccessful, but the second Saturday airing on December 7, 2002 did capture a larger audience; garnering a 5.7 household rating, while its lead-in The District received 7.3 million viewers and a 5.1 rating. On average, the show drew 7.1 million viewers an episode.

  • Episode 1 (9/27/02) - Viewers: 8.41 million; household rating: 5.6
  • Episode 2 (10/04/02) - Viewers: 8.0 million; household rating: 5.2
  • Episode 3 (10/11/02) - Viewers: 7.7 million; household rating: 5.4
  • Episode 4 (10/18/02) - Viewers: 6.2 million; household rating: 4.2
  • Episode 5 (10/25/02) - Viewers: 6.6 million; household rating: 4.3
  • Episode 6 (11/01/02) - Viewers: 6.9 million; household rating: 4.7
  • Episode 7 (11/08/02) - Viewers: 6.8 million; household rating: 4.7
  • Episode 8 (11/15/02) - Viewers: 6.5 million; household rating: 4.4
  • Episode 9 (11/30/02) - Viewers: 7.6 million; household rating: 5.1 (Sat 10:40pm ET) [after Ice Wars; competition was Erin Brockovich & College Football]
  • Episode 10 (12/07/02) - Viewers: 8.9 million; household rating: 5.7 (Sat 10pm ET) [after SEC Championship]


  1. ^ Schneider, Michael (October 4, 2002). "Spotnitz transfers out of Robbery Homicide". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  2. ^ Adalian, Josef (December 10, 2002). "Eye closes RHD file". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  3. ^ Shooting Sizemore, Final Episode.
  4. ^ James, Caryn (September 26, 2002). "The Ever-Darkening World Of Television Police Work". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Rosenthal, Phil (September 27, 2002). "What Are You Looking At?". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  6. ^ Kronke, David (September 27, 2002). "Robbery Homicide Offers More Package Than Plot". Los Angeles Daily News. 
  7. ^ Bianco, Robert (September 27, 2002). "CBS' Hack, RHD criminally inane". USA Today. 
  8. ^ Shales, Tom (September 27, 2002). "No Pastel-Packing Vice Cops Here". Washington Post. 
  9. ^ Goodman, Tim (October 11, 2002). "Detectives with a difference". San Francisco Chronicle. 

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