Tuesday, September 11, 2012

THE 66TH PRECINCT OFFICERS SELECT: POLICE FILMS AND TV COP SHOWS THEY WATCH




Here it is again. Tuesday, September 11th. Looks like it’s gonna be another glorious fall day, bright sun, 75 degrees. Since it’s an off year, a less solemn way to honor the 66th Precinct’s first (and second) responders and the cops who work there might be to check out the cop films and TV cop shows precinct cops like.

Purely by chance, they’ve put together a fairly wide-ranging list of films with enough unfamiliar choices to joggle your viewing for several evenings. It’s a  way to see the job through their eyes.

Among the 66th's officers who wear the World Trade Center/Ground Zero pin are Deputy Inspector Michael Deddo, Lieutenant Robert Delaney, Community Affairs Detective Mike Milici, former Deputy Inspector John Sprague, and Lieutenant James Selleck, retired.

Cornering cops to find out their cop movie recommendations isn’t easy, but Officer John Wright, on duty at P.S. 230 playground last year for the 9/11 Candlelight Memorial, had more than enough time to run down his choices. Turns out he’s a film buff.

"TV cop shows are too inaccurate," he said, when asked about his favorites. Former D.I. Sprague concurred. Nonetheless, Sprague cited Hill Street Blues as "his guilty pleasure." Hearing that, Deputy Inspector Deddo smiled and nodded. "Yes, that's  true."

Serpico, (1973, starring Al Pacino, dir. Sidney Lumet), got three thumbs up. It was  Sprague’s favorite and that of Officer Iosilevich and another officer at the Community Affairs office, but Officer Wright nixed it. The writer, he said, had a point to make—clearly one with which he disagreed. So here are Officer Wright’s choices.
1. Fort Apache the Bronx, 1981, starring Paul Newman, dir. Daniel Petrie
2. The French Connection, 1971, starring Gene Hackman, dir. William Friedkin
3. Training Day, 2001, starring Denzel Washington, dir. Antoine Fuqua
4. Stake Out, 1987, starring Richard Dreyfuss, dir. John Badham
Other officers, found at a 66th Precinct Community Council meeting, named two comedies: Police Academy, (1984, starring Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall, and G.W. Bailey, dir. Hugh Wilson); and Beverly Hills Cop, (1984, starring Eddie Murphy and Lisa Eilbacher, dir. Martin Brest). Sprague added another: Lethal Weapon 2 (1989, starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Joe Pesci, dir. Richard Donner).

Fort Apache the Bronx got another shout-out. Another cop suggested an ABC News documentary, NYPD 24/7 (2004, Neil Carter and Dennis Franz, hosts, dir. Rudy Bednar), an inside look at the NYPD in 7 episodes. It didn’t sit too well with Police Commissioner Kelly, the officer told me. "It showed too many warts."

Rookie Blue (2010) was the only TV cop show the 66th mentioned. A Canadian series starring  Missy Peregrym and Gregory Smith, it finished its third season in August, but it’s available online at ABC. It will return for a fourth season next summer.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Officer Kushnir, Kensington’s former beat cop, chose The Departed (2006, starring LeonardoDiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson, dir. Martin Scorsese). A remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, it won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
"No cop movies for me," Officer Avril said. Her preference: cartoon and horror movies. And Detective Milici sounded horrified at the thought. "I’ve been a cop my whole life; I don't go home and watch cop movies."
As an outsider peering in, if I dare, I would choose Sea of Love (1989, starring Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin, dir. Harold Becker). It’s probably my only chance to attend an NYPD precinct party. Written by Richard Price, who wrote Lush Life about a Lower East Side precinct, it’s also pretty steamy.