Feeling Blue

updated 03/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

Twelve years, 20 Emmys and enough naked butts to make Howard Stern blush: From the start NYPD Blue (which airs its final episode March 1) was a different kind of TV cop show, exploring racism, alcoholism and other hot-button issues with unprecedented candor and language previously heard only on cable. But it was the nude scenes that often won the most attention, especially when series star Dennis Franz (a four-time Emmy winner as gruff Det. Andy Sipowicz) disrobed in Season 2. "That was done in response to people passing by on the streets and yelling, 'Yo, Sipowicz, when we gonna see your a—?' " recalls Franz, 60. "So we said, 'All right, let's give it to them!' " As the final scene wrapped Feb. 11, "it was a big weep-fest around the place," says Franz. "You'd think those big lugs wouldn't get so mushy, but we were all crybabies. We realized what we were going to miss most was each other."

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