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Brooklyn South

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Original language(s)


Country of origin
United States

First episode date
22 September 1997

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Created by
Steven BochcoBill ClarkWilliam M. FinkelsteinDavid Milch

Jon TenneyMichael DeLuiseGary BasarabaJames B. SikkingYancy ButlerTitus WelliverKlea ScottPatrick McGawRichard T. JonesAdam RodriguezDylan Walsh


Brooklyn South is an American ensemble police drama series that aired on CBS for one season during the 1997–98 television season. The series was co-created by Steven Bochco, Bill Clark, David Milch and William M. Finkelstein.


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The series attempted to create a setting of a gritty, realistic police station similar to that of NYPD Blue (and was set in the same universe as NYPD Blue), but differed by focusing on the uniformed police officers rather than the detectives. The pilot of Brooklyn South was noted as the first TV-MA rated episode on broadcast television (or rather, TV-M as the rating was displayed during the time), making it the first time a show on CBS would receive a TV-MA rating.

Brooklyn South Brooklyn South Adam Rodriguez Connection


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The focus for Brooklyn South was the 74th Precinct in southern Brooklyn, New York City. Francis "Frank" Donovan (Jon Tenney) was the patrol sergeant who presided every day over the morning shift assignments he gave to the uniformed officers. Donovan was an informant for the hated Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB), and secretly reported to Lt. Stan Jonas (James B. Sikking), who, early in the series, transferred from being an IAB officer to the precinct captain after the officious Captain Lou Zerola (Bradford English) transferred to precinct maintenance. It was later revealed in the season that Donovan became an undercover informant 15 years earlier for IAB to protect his father, a retired cop living in Florida, from indictment for corruption.

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In the pilot episode, a psychotic gunman went on a shooting rampage outside the police station, killing a number of policemen and innocent bystanders. He was wounded in the shootout and brought back into the station where he died from his gunshot wounds. It was later revealed that Ann-Marie Kersey (Yancy Butler), a policewoman whose boyfriend was one of the victims of the shooting spree, slipped into the room where the wounded madman was being held and kicked him several times in his chest which caused his death. Because the shooter was black and all of his victims were white, the killer's family pressured the city to launch an Internal Affairs investigation. Eventually, everyone was exonerated for the suspect's death, and Kersey completely got away with it, though her guilt over murdering a critically wounded criminal would haunt her off-and-on for the duration of the series. Kersey then had a romantic affair with Donovan, but it did not last. Kersey and Donovan later got back together. Later in the series, Kersey was designated to detective.

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Also in the pilot episode, Phil Roussakoff (Michael DeLuise), a burly officer, transferred to the 74th Precinct and was partnered with Jimmy Doyle (Dylan Walsh), a well liked and respected street cop whose younger brother, Terry (Patrick McGaw), was trying to become a police officer to follow in their late father's footsteps. Terry left the police academy to take an undercover assignment to infiltrate an Irish street gang planning a bank robbery. Roussakoff briefly dated Jimmy and Terry's younger sister, Kathleen (A. J. Langer), but was awkward and uncomfortable to dating. Terry helped foil the Irish gang's robbery, and he ended up joining the police vice squad anti-crime unit.

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Jack Lowery (Titus Welliver) was a tough street cop coping with personal demons which included his selfish and nagging wife, Yvonne, who died early in the season. Lowery later started an affair with his female partner, Nona Valentine (Klea Scott), which did not sit well with Clement Johnson (Richard T. Jones), Nona's former boyfriend and the station's traffic cop. Eventually Nona and Clem got back together, then broke up, and by the series end, Nona got back together again with Lowery. Hector Villaneuva (Adam Rodriguez) was a young rookie cop who was tutored by the rest of the officers how to do his job the best be could.

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Richard Santoro (Gary Basaraba) was the station's desk sergeant, a police veteran who had seen it all and was the voice of reason in the station house, keeping things calm. Santoro later stuck up for Donovan when he came out as an informant for Internal Affairs Bureau to save Santoro from a corrupt IAB officer who was trying to ruin Santoro's reputation. Ray MacElwaine (John Finn) was a 50-year-old veteran police officer who transferred to the 74th Precinct late in the series and soon proved himself to everyone that despite his age, he could still "walk the beat" and take down criminals. MacElwaine also stuck up for Donovan after finding out Donovan's work with IAB. In the series final episode, MacElwaine decided to retire from the police force, and Santoro was promoted to Lieutenant. So, Captain Jonas threw a double-party for the entire police station in celebrating Santoro's promotion and MacElwaine's retirement. In his speech, MacElwaine changes his mind and decides not to retire, to great celebration.

Other secondary characters included Kevin Patrick (Mark Kiely), a police officer wounded in the opening shooting spree in the pilot episode, which made him a paraplegic, and his wife Noreen (Star Jasper), both of whom were friends with Jimmy, Terry, and the Doyle family. Also, Emily Flannagan (Brigid Brannagh) was a local barmaid and the daughter of Irish mobster Paddy Flannagan who was the leader of the small Irish gang that Terry had infiltrated. After Terry's undercover work was done, he and Emily got romantically together, but the series ended before their romance could go any further.


The series was scheduled opposite ABC's Monday Night Football and NBC's Dateline Monday, and struggled in the ratings, averaging 10.5 million viewers and ranking 74th for the season. The series underwent retooling in an attempt to boost ratings, but despite the changes, the series was canceled in May 1998 shortly after the first season wrapped.


The series was created by Steven Bochco, Bill Clark, William M. Finkelstein and David Milch. Bochco and Milch had worked together on the previous police drama series Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. Bochco and Finkelstein worked together on both L.A. Law and Cop Rock. Clark served as a supervising producer, writer and technical advisor on NYPD Blue and is a retired police officer. Bochco, Clark and Milch served as executive producers for the series alongside writer Michael S. Chernuchin and director Michael Watkins. Chernuchin had previously worked as a producer and writer on Law & Order. Watkins had worked with Bochco as a director for NYPD Blue. Clark worked as a supervising producer and regular writer for Brooklyn South. Marc Buckland was the series other supervising producer and a regular director.

Retired Chicago police officer Edward Allen Bernero was a regular writer for the series. Scott Williams and Matt Olmstead were the series other regular writers. During the 1997–1998 television season, Bochco premiered another new series titled Total Security, which was canceled prior to the mid-season break. Writers Doug Palau and Nicholas Wootton moved from Total Security to Brooklyn South in January 1998 and were regular writers for the seasons second half.

DVD release

On October 28, 2003, A&E Home Video released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.


Brooklyn South Wikipedia

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