ABC Bidding Adieu to 'NYPD Blue'

02/10/2004 AT 04:18 PM EST

It's curtains for "Blue." "NYPD Blue," ABC's long-running police drama, will come to an end following the 2004-05 season, Reuters reports.

The critically acclaimed cop show, which took a break during its 11th season this year but returns tonight, upped the ante for realistic dramas. In a climate where "pushing the entertainment envelope" is being hotly debated, "Blue" was a pioneer in portraying the messy work and home environments of New York City detectives.

In its non-prime-time slot, the series relied on bold, sometimes offensive language, and occasional semi-nude scenes not often seen on network TV. However, the show is considering an edited version of just such a scene for its March 2 episode in the Central and Mountain time zones, where "Blue" plays at an earlier time, USA Today reports.

During its lifetime, the show has had a rotating roster of stars. Aside from Dennis Franz's role as detective Andy Sipowicz, which has run the entirety of the series, "Blue" has featured "CSI: Miami" star David Caruso, Jimmy Smits, Rick Schroder and former "Saved by the Bell" star Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Franz's partners.

Series creator Steven Bochco, whose previous TV hits include "Hill Street Blues" and "L.A. Law," indicated that "NYPD Blue" might return for an additional run if it performed exceptionally well during its 12th season, even though it was a remote possibility. "It's better to go out early rather than overstay our welcome," said Bochco, according to Reuters.

Throughout its run, the show has amassed 20 Emmy wins on 84 nominations. And "Blue" is one of a handful of series that have managed to survive until the 12-year mark. Currently, NBC's "Law & Order" is the longest-running show still on the air after 14 years. "NYPD Blue" is second at 12 years, followed by "ER," which has made its 10-year anniversary.

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