Comic Legends: Did NYPD Blue Really Reference Watchmen in an Episode?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-eighth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As always, there will be three different posts for each legend this week!


NYPD Blue referenced Watchmen in an episode about why Andy Sipowicz stopped believing in God.



One of the all-time great TV characters is Detective Andy Sipowicz, played by Dennis Franz, on the hit drama series, NYPD Blue. Franz played the character for a remarkable 11 seasons, winning an amazing FOUR Emmy Awards for Best Actor in a Drama for the role.

The main narrative of NYPD Blue was the redemption of Detective Sipowicz, who begins the series as a broken man but slowly pulls himself out of the dirt. However, along the way, he has a lot of bad things happen to him. Like, oh man, you would think that he was a character in the Bible with a normal-sounding wife's name with the amount of horrible things that happen to him throughout this series.

In Season 2, however, it looked like the darkness might have been in his past...

He's getting married (guess whether his wife later gets murdered) and she wants to get married in a church, so he visits a priest. In the end of the episode, though, he has to admit that he has given up on God. He explains why to his fiancee in a stunning monologue:

I worked a case once. A couple's kid was missing. A 14-month old kid. He wondered away in a park, and we're looking everywhere, and there's flyers we got out, they're interviewed on the radio. The guy's a dog trainer in from the Midwest who came here so he could take this special course with a German Shepherd that he's got. And the wife's half an oilier. You can tell that she likes to drink. I'm just getting this bad feeling about the both of them. So, I go at her a little bit. We're up there in their transient apartment they rented, and finally she says... whatever happened, it wasn't her. So now I'm looking at the husband. He's this... he's this horse-balled tough guy. A fake marine. And he's talking to me about how pets have to be disciplined, and the breakdown of discipline... and I'm getting worried what might have happened with this asshole. And now she starts screaming that it wasn't her. She was asleep. The baby peed while the father was changing it one night and... uh... it urinated in the guy's face. He threw the baby down on the floor, and fractured its skull, and the baby lay there and died. And what happened with the baby, I wanted to know. And she's still screaming that it wasn't her and I'm looking at this dog, and this asshole husband is trying to get the dog away from me. This German Shepherd dog with a drooping round belly. Now, I got to cut open this dog to find out what's going on. I take the dog over to the vet's. We cut its large belly open... we got to murder this poor dog and... there's the pieces of the dead child... hacked apart... inside the dog. The sick couple tried to hide their dead baby by hacking him apart and surgically hiding its pieces inside their dog.

However, he adds (in a great bit)

Father Kankarides wanted to know if I lost my faith. I got faith in you.

Fans of Watchmen might find the story familiar.

In Watchmen #6 (by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons), the imprisoned Rorschach explains to his psychiatrist the moment where he stopped being Walter Kovacs and became purely Rorschach...

Brutal. Rorschach then killed the dogs and then handcuffed the killer to a pipe, doused the room with kerosene and gave the man a hacksaw to try to escape. He did not escape.

Reader Dwain G. wanted to know if this was a Watchmen reference, then, in NYPD Blue.

I asked the guy I know who knows the most about NYPD Blue, the great TV writer, Alan Sepinwall, and he explained to me that it was not a Watchmen reference. Not only weren't there any comic book readers in the writer's room of NYPD Blue at the time (including the nominal writer of that episode, George Putnam), but he noted that David Milch actually asked show writer Bill Clark (a former cop) to share the worst thing he ever experienced as a cop for that final sequence.

Interesting coincidence, though!

Thanks to Dwain for the question and thanks to Alan for the information!

Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:

Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week's (Black Panther-themed) legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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