• Deader Than Disco:
    • When the series premiered it broke new ground in the cop drama genre, was critically acclaimed for its acting and was hugely controversial for its swearing and nudity. Now it's barely even remembered as just another cop procedural. Interest waned so much that after the fourth season's DVD release in 2006 no further seasons were released for a long time. Currently (2017) the whole series is available on DVD, however.
    • The show's disappearance from American cable and broadcast syndication didn't help matters. Still, David Milch's continued attempts at high concept HBO dramas could help renew interest, especially now that the whole series (including the last 4 seasons in HD) is on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming and can be seen regularly on Direc TV's Audience Network. It's one of their few notable titles not available on competitor Netflix Watch Instantly.
    • The Seasonal Rot described below is probably also a contributing factor in the show fading from public consciousness: general opinion seem to be that the last four or five seasons simply weren't as good or interesting as the first seven or eight.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Sipowicz became the focus character after Caruso left.
    • Also Gordon Clapp as Medavoy who went from a recurring character to being an important character who ended up being the only cast member to stay all twelve seasons besides Dennis Franz.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Sipowicz, eventually evolving into merely The Woobie.
  • Never Live It Down: Sipowicz has become famous for showing his butt. On the entire run of the show, it actually happened twice (and one of those was during a prostate exam).
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • While there is a Vocal Minority that thinks the show was never as good as it was in the first season with David Caruso as the star, it's usually agreed that the show lost its luster somewhere between the departure of Jimmy Smits in season 6 and season 8, by the end of which the entire original cast (as well as the popular Kim Delaney) save Dennis Franz had left the show and Sipowicz had entered into a ludicrous Ugly Guy, Hot Wife relationship with Connie (Charlotte Ross). There's some other opinions floating around but there's very few fans that think all 12 seasons of the show are worth seeking out and watching.
    • Regardless of what you think of the quality of the later seasons, the show did lose some very colorful characters (and good actors), and its tone did change a lot, going from edgy and avant-garde to being one Crime Time Soap among many. How much of this is actually the show's own fault with respect to the latter point is debatable.
    • David Milch ending his active involvement with the show after season seven is seen by many as the end of the really great period.
    • The last few seasons (10 and later) also seem increasingly disconnected, with the writers throwing random problems at the characters, and then resolving them in one or two episodes, without this leading to further character or plot development.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: When it premièred the show was ground-breaking not only for its gritty depictions of police work but also for the fact that it was willing to push the envelope with the stuff that could be shown on network television, making full use of a FCC clause that claims networks can show whatever they want after 11pm. The show earned the ire of conservative parent groups for its depictions of swearing, violence, sex and nudity (although why Parent groups would target something obviously not intended for children defies all logic). Whilst network television has (at least with regards to sex, nudity and profanity) never been as daring (Blue gained ABC some heavy FCC fines), all of the stuff it was known for can be seen almost ubiquitously on cable television.
  • Tear Jerker: Simone's Death Episode (though Andy Jr. and Sylvia's deaths hit hard as well)