I’ve been a Milch fan before I knew who Milch was. Back in middle school, when rumors spread that NYPD Blue would show a little booty on network television, I’d tune in and get roped in by the plot lines. A decade later, Deadwood came around, reinvented the language of the Western, constructed a microcosm of the brutal evolution of American society, and knocked my ass flat OUT. That said, when the memo arrived (nine months late) that Milch was working on another cop drama, it made me pause. Not ’cause I doubt Milch has another masterpiece in him, but because it’s hard to see what Milch could offer the police teledrama genre now, in a world after The Wire.
For all the haterade that was thrown at Milch after “abandoning” Deadwood for John from Cincinnati, I was at least slightly interested to see how he could revive the blonde-surfer-beach drama, which had been completely gutted with the mid-90s straight-to-syndication likes of High Tide, Baywatch, and all its abysmal spin-offs. Well, as we all know, he didn’t. Maybe he wanted to inject American television with a dose of magical realism? Maybe he needed some sun, after three years shooting in Nebraska? All I know is, in hindsight, that whole idea seemed like it was concocted during a bout of LSD-reflux. John Monad from Cincinnatti – the levitating, reincarnation of that older J.C.? C’mon, man.
But let’s do like J.C. and forgive, if we can’t altogether forget.
What could Last of the Ninth possibly offer that David Simon hasn’t already? Here’s a summary according to The Hollywood Reporter: a period piece, set in NYPD 1972, “about an older detective’s mentoring of a young detective returned from Vietnam in a department fiscally crippled, under attack by revolutionaries, and which has been brought by allegations of systematic corruption into public disrepute.” Wait, that actually sounds good. A cop drama before the War on Drugs dominated cop dramas. As long as this dude doesn’t turn up…