- 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:
- Ross Gellar appeared in the first few episodes as John and Laura Kelly's divorce lawyer.
- You see Howard's mother in a season one guest role.
- Josh Lyman and Toby Ziegler appeared in early season episodes.
- Lt. Fancy's younger brother was Black Dynamite.
- Donna's sister was Grace.
- Captain Montgomery used to be a homeless guy named Otis.
- Anthony Stewart Head was a pompous theater actor.
- Michael Harney played Mike Roberts throughout the first five seasons.
- Felicity Smoaks mother was a major part of the series.
- 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).
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