NYPD Blue is an American television police procedural created by Steven Bochco and David Milch and set in New York City, which reveals the gritty reality of life in a New York City Police unit as the officers go about their work with a grim determination.
It was inspired by Milch's relationship with a former member of the New York City Police Department Bill Clark (who eventually became one of the show's producers).
The program explores the internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Typically an episode covers a day and intertwines several plots involving an ensemble cast.
The storylines generally show that none of the main characters are all good. They all struggle with moral decisions and sometimes choose the wrong path, but every decision leads to the drama of growth or in some cases personal or professional destruction.
Set against the gritty backdrop of New York City, NYPD Blue portrays realistic characters devoting themselves to the pursuit of justice while attempting to integrate their personal lives.
The series earned 27 Emmy nominations in its first season, won the coveted award for Outstanding Drama Series in its sophomore year and received Emmy Awards for writing and directing in its fourth and fifth seasons.
NYPD Blue received a total of 82 Emmy nominations, winning 20.
NYPD Blue gained notoriety for profanity and nudity never previously broadcast on American network television.
Fifty-seven of ABC's 225 affiliates pre-empted the first episode because of protests led by Rev. Donald Wildmon and his American Family Association (AFA). The pre-emptions were mostly in smaller markets, comprising 10-15% of potential viewers which limited the impact of the protest.
The show's ratings success led most affiliates (and advertisers) to end their opposition.
By the end of the first season the show was a Top 20 hit and protests by the AFA were countered by support from Viewers for Quality Television and recognition from Emmy and People's Choice Awards.