The constant lead performer since the show's beginning has been Dennis Franz, as "Andy Sipowicz", a veteran New York City Police detective. His principal co stars have been David Caruso as "John Kelly" (1993-1994), Jimmy Smits as "Bobby Simone" (1994-1998), Rick Schroder as "Danny Sorenson" (1998-2001), and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as "John Clark Jr." (2001-). Each of these characters has been paired with Franz's Sipowicz, providing a younger and more suave foil to the abrasive, tragedy prone detective.
Produced by Steven Bochco, who worked with Franz on the 1980's police drama Hill Street Blues, the program explores the constant internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of New York City. Typically, an episode covers a single day's events, and intertwines several subplots involving an ensemble cast of characters. The show is noted for the use of tight close up shots and at times jarring handheld camera work.
NYPD Blue gained initial notoriety for profane language (by American broadcast standards) and scenes of partial nudity. Over the years though, it has settled into a comfortable position as one of American television's leading series, winning numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards.