A Tribute to TV Writer and Producer Steven Bochco

Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, 2007.81.365

Award-winning television writer and producer, Steven Bochco, died April 1st at his Los Angeles home of complications from leukemia. In his lifetime, he produced hits such as “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law” and “NYPD Blue.” His wildly popular police procedurals and courtroom dramas set a new standard for storytelling by portraying police officers as ordinary people who just happened to work in law enforcement.

Bochco and his writing partner crafted the first script for “Hill Street Blues” in just ten days. The result was a series that lasted seven seasons and garnered 26 Emmys. The show made its debut in 1981 and was unique in its ability to convey multiple story lines that carried through multiple episodes.
Bochco created “L.A. Law” with former Los Angeles (CA) Deputy District Attorney Terry Louise Fisher. The show premiered in 1986.NYPD Blue premiered in 1993 and quickly developed a reputation for its many expletives and partial nudity, prompting 57 ABC stations across the country to boycott the show. Bochco described it as the first R-rated TV series. Ultimately, it too became a hit and aired for 12 seasons.
Morality, alcoholism, and alimony payments were among the issues Bochco’s characters faced. It was the first time TV cops were portrayed as real people with real lives. His shows pushed boundaries, and American audiences couldn’t get enough.