Electric Review

Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms

On Franz As Sipowicz

Dennis Franz
Original portrait by Eric Ward, © 2005. All rights reserved.

On March 1, NYPD Blue hung up its badge after 12 splendid seasons at the center of ABC’s play-list.

This brings to a wistful end an era in which America was blessed to witness the life and times of Andy Sipowicz (played by the brilliant Dennis Franz). This iconic NY cop has been notable not so much for his heroic presence, but instead, for the ordinary mask he wore.

You see, Sipowicz is representative of the commoness of the human condition. Often over-looked by its peers, his face this holy personification of the vulnerable: lost in a search for that secret self which each of us hides behind.

You see, Sipowicz is cast in raw emotion. He is passion tempered with doubt. He is openness cloaked in wary eyes and cloaked again in the deep keen perceptions of caution and pain. Sipowicz is the idea of justice rolling against an unjust wheel. This is a life about confession – striving to outlive old memory this lone alien in an endless fight against iron-cold ideas of loneliness, self-deception and denial. Each version of Sipowicz the genuine motion of mind moving through dark scars of silence — careful slow deliberate lost within the delicious reflex of hunger and need.

Above all else, Dennis Franz’s “Andy Sipowicz” built the poetic features of this immortal and archetypal character from the best of the worst, separating skin from husk and husk from mask until only bone wrapped in flames of flesh remained. Here, hiding behind the many voices of this fictive man, we come upon the true essence of faith and hope and grace. Here, among these ancient devices of characterization, plot and pace, we come upon the bare realities of our lives.

by John Aiello

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2008 by in 2008, Artist Profiles, August 2008, Quick Picks, Television and tagged , , , .
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