Should New York Undercover Make A Comeback?
No other TV show captured urban life in mid-1990′s New York City better than New York Undercover. Featuring a multicultural cast and a strong hip-hop presence, it made history as the first police drama on American television to feature two people of color (Malik Yoba as Detective J.C Williams and Michael DeLorenzo as Detective Edward Torres) in the starring roles.
Originally known as Uptown Undercover (the show was based in Harlem), executive producers Andre Harrell (former CEO of Uptown Records) and Dick Wolf (of Law & Order fame) joined forces to create a series combining standard cop-show fare (bank robberies, murders, car chases, etc.) with a colorful hip-hop backdrop.
The show ran for four seasons, from 1994–1998. With famed musician-producer James Mtume as the show’s musical director, every episode featured a musical performance. Classic 90′s acts including Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, Xscape, 112, Aaliyah and Boyz II Men all performed on the show.
Malik Yoba, who played suave Det. Williams (currently starring in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too) was the only actor to appear in every season. He’s now helming a campaign to bring the show back to TV screens for a new generation of fans. Via his Twitter and Facebook fan page, Yoba’s requesting everyone send an email to [email protected] to show support for the return of the show.
New York Undercover documented a time when crime was very real on the streets of the city, as was new money brought in by hip-hop’s leap into the lucrative mainstream. With Yoba’s plans to bring it back today, how would New York City be portrayed? Would the show’s edge and authenticity—qualities that made it popular with urban audiences—be possible to recreate in 2010?
Only time will tell.