Steven Bochco, the prolific TV creator behind NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and Doogie Howser M.D., died Sunday. He was 74 years old.
Bochco's family told TMZ that the writer died this weekend after a battle with leukemia for the past several years. A family family source said he fought for as long as he could, but "finally gave up."
Bochco began his career at in the late 1960s, penning the 1968 film The Counterfeit Killer. He transitioned to television, and got his first creator credit on The Bold Ones: The New Doctors. However, it was not until Hill Street Blues that he found his first big success. He created the crime drama with Michael Kozoll and won six Emmys as a writer and producer on the show. In 1982, 1983 and 1984, the series won Outstanding Drama Series.
"The idea of almost every other cop show was that the private lives of these folks was what happened the other 23 hours of the day that you weren’t watching them, and we turned that inside out," Bochco said in an interview with The New York Times about the creation of Hill Street Blues. "Hill Street was a show where their personal lives kept bleeding profusely, hemorrhaging if you will, into their professional lives. Where you had ex-wives coming in inappropriately and disrupting proceedings. You had Furillo’s lover [the public defender Joyce Davenport] getting into horrible arguments with him about the law. And you had an alcoholic, J. D. LaRue. All of this stuff just kept intruding and informing how these men and women went about their business."
In 1986, Bochco struck gold with another crime drama, L.A. Law. In 1989, he co-created Doogie Howser M.D. with David E. Kelley, and the series turned Neil Patrick Harris into a star.
Bochco also won three Emmys for L.A. Law and another for NYPD Blue. He was also inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1996.
The writer's other credits include Raising The Bar, Commander in Chief, Blind Justice, Philly, Murder One and Brooklyn South. His last series was TNT's Murder in the First, starring Taye Diggs.
Bochco's work remains influential on crime dramas today, as the series told ongoing stories that continued into following episodes. They were not just "case-of-the-week" episodes.0comments
"The stories were complicated and ongoing," ER showrunner John Wells told the Times in 2014. "There was no simple, easy answer. Oftentimes, the crime or injustice wasn’t solved. They spent a tremendous amount of time really taking you inside the politics of the workplace, so it was really about the workplace as much as it was about the victims."
Photo Credit: ABC