09/22/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT
CBS (Mondays, 10 p.m. ET)
The first nine minutes will leave you breathless," says a CBS ad for the Sept. 22 premiere of this drama series. "The next 51 will blow you away." The claim is overstated time-wise—unless you're blown away by commercials and promos for the late news—but essentially correct. The new cop show from executive producer Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues) gets off to a stunning start with a chaotically violent action sequence in which a crazed but cool gunman wreaks havoc on the street, while a sniper joins the assault from above. The principal shooter dies under questionable circumstances while in police custody, setting off a community controversy and an investigation that will play out in coming weeks. The rest of the opener, if not as potent as advertised, does a solid job of introducing the large cast in badges and blue, led by Jon Tenney, Dylan Walsh and Gary Basaraba.
That said, there are a few misdemeanors: the over-the-top scenes between an agitated cop (Titus Welliver) and his shrewish wife (Jana Marie Hupp); the sneer of Hill Street vet James B. Sikking as an Internal Affairs Bureau lieutenant (can't an IAB officer be a good guy for once?); and the mix of Brooklynese and police patois that makes some dialogue hard to understand.