My interest in watching this series (which hereafter, I will just refer to as "Detroit") was sparked by slick ABC promos featuring the show's most recognizable star -- Michael Imperioli of Sopranos and Goodfellas fame. And Imperioli and his "Fitch" character are certainly at the center of this show.
Detroit impressed me by being a compelling mix of powerful and zany acting (although most of the actors are unknown to me) (check out the African-American homicide detective who goes around spouting Italian language proverbs as if he was Don Corleone or something), slick production, interesting and ultimately interconnected storylines, and a ton of funny and quirky situations and lines.
My personal favorite scene from Episode 1: A murder suspect, after being "interrogated" rather poorly by the green new homicide detective (whose mind is constantly preoccupied with thoughts of his wife very soon expecting their first child), invokes his Miranda right to see an attorney. That means the cops can't ask him any more questions, because if they do and the suspect says anything meaningful, then the cops likely won't be able to use such statement against the suspect in a court of law. Put another way: Once a suspect invokes his Miranda right to see an attorney, the questioning must stop until an attorney is present.
So Imperioli's Fitch character marches into the interrogation room and just starts staring at the suspect (named "Pooch"). And he does so for what seems like maybe 2-3 hours straight, never breaking pose. Over the duration of time, this Pooch, who so masterfully handled himself against the green detective, starts to go crazy at Fitch's incessant staring. Ultimately, Pooch can't take the staring anymore, and he breaks down and spills the beans on what he knows (he wasn't the killer, but has some relevant info). And you know what? All of that info might have been ultimately usable in a court of law (since Fitch never opened his mouth, although I assume Pooch's attorney would argue that the confession resulted from the "duress" of being forced to sit there at look at Imperioli's ugly mug for hours on end!). Classic scene.
Did the show strain credulity at times? Of course, but what crime drama except perhaps for the classic The Wire (at least until the final season) does not strain a bit a credulity from time to time? And so it was that the show depicted homicide detective Fitch being sent into a high-stakes hostage situation near the end of the episode (sorry, but I doubt that would ever happen in reality).
And there were also some classic lines, such as when Fitch is questioned about the truth of all the highly personal stuff he told the kidnapper in that final scene in order to get the kidnapper to put his gun down. Says Fitch, "It was true when I said it." And then as Fitch and the green detective gaze upon the massive Detroit PD homicide board (the big board that lists all the recently outstanding murder investigations, with open murders appearing in red and closed ones appearing in black), Fitch comments that such board "might be the last assembly line left in Detroit."
So I'll be catching Episode 2 of Detroit 1-8-7 next Tuesday, that's for darn sure. And so should you. Has all the makings of some great TV week in, week out. I'm not easily impressed. But I was tonight.