For a racist, alcoholic, prostitute-using misfit, Detective Sipowicz was remarkably likeable. Partly down to the beautiful writing of 12 seasons of NYPD Blue, partly due to the acting brilliance of Dennis Franz who made the troubled detective a character that will linger long in the memory.

Despite his inherent bigotry, Sipowicz was the moral heart of the 15th Precinct. We struggled along with him as he attempted to outgrow his hostility to ethnic minorities, women and gays, all the while fighting crime the best way he knew how. We even forgave the fact that this was often with his fists.

With his passion for tropical fish and short-sleeved dress shirts, he was an unusual TV hero, even a heartthrob for some. His eventual marriage to Assistant District Attorney Sylvia Costas and the birth of their son Theo brought tears of joy but tragedy was never far behind.

Andy suffered through the murders of his eldest son Andy Jr and wife Sylvia, the death of two partners, Bobby Simone and Danny Sorenson, not to mention prostate cancer. Not surprisingly, he fell off the wagon a few times but soon climbed back on, toughing it out to the bitter end.

A final marriage to fellow cop Connie McDowell softened him, along with the adoption of her orphaned niece and the birth of their own child.

Tough, tender, grumpy as all get out, quick to anger, Sipowicz was eminently watchable and surprisingly easy to love. Andy, we miss you.


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