Homicide: Life on the Street

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: Homicide: Life on the Street
Abbreviation(s): H:LotS, HLotS
Creator: Paul Attanasio, David Simon
Date(s): January 31, 1993 to May 21, 1999 (TV Series)
February 13 2000 (Television film)
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: at IMDB (TV Series)
at Wikipedia (TV Series)
at IMDb (Television flm)
at Wikipedia (Television film)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Homicide: Life on the Street is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit.

The series was originally based on David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (1991). Many of the characters and stories used throughout the show were based on events depicted in the book.

It ran for seven seasons (122 episodes) on NBC from January 31, 1993 to May 21, 1999, and was succeeded by Homicide: The Movie (2000), which served as the de facto series finale.

The show inspired the spin-off Homicide: Second Shift, which was shown exclusively online and did not include the regular cast.


See also: Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets for the book canon

TV Series

In the first episode, we see Tim Bayliss join the Homicide department, and get assigned a very reluctant partner, Frank Pembleton. The cast was large and talented, and other characters had important episodes, but in the first five seasons, Frank and Tim's relationship is the focus of the show. When Frank's character leaves at the end of 5th season, most agree that the show never recovered.

Tim evolves more as a character than most stars do; he was gradually led from generic cop homophobe to questioning bisexual, even going on a date with a gay man at one point.

Television film

Former homicide Shift Commander Al Giardello is shot just as he's about to start his campaign for Mayor of Baltimore, so the former and current homicide detectives work together to find the culprit.


Homicide: Second Shift was an Internet web series presented in a static script/comic book format (there was no streaming video). The web-show started 21 February 1997. The show featured detectives of the homicide squad that worked the second shift, after the television detectives went home for the day. Several of the characters from Homicide: Second Shift had cameos on Homicide: Life on the Street, and the web series had one story crossover with the television show.

The on-air/online crossover — the first such crossover for NBC — was a three-part story-line. "Homicide.com", a season 7 episode Homicide: Life on the Street, was the middle part of the crossover with Homicide: Second Shift. Though the television episode was self-contained, parts one and three which were online only provided expanded context for the story.

For more information about the spin-off web series, visit the Wikipedia page Homicide: Second Shift.


Due to the friendship between Tom Fontana and David Simon, which started in 1980s while working as writers in the same building, HLTOS canonically crossed over with both Law & Order, St. Elsewhere and The X-Files (Munch met the Lone Gunmen). Over the course of the seven seasons, several characters left the show, some later reappear - including some who died - in the 2000 movie or The Wire series that was also based on the book that inspired Homicide.

The Fandom

alt.tv.homicide; multiple mailing lists w/ splits and controversy (including one called the "Schism mailing list"); conventions; remaining archives


The characters Frank Pembleton and Tim Bayliss were clearly the fan favorites, and they had all of the intensity that tends to foster a slash fandom. The fact that Pembleton was the only detective to maintain a marriage in the show may be something that discouraged fan writers who envisioned a sexual Frank/Tim relationship.

The fandom (as was the show itself) was popular with crossovers, and Tim was memorably slashed with X-Files' Fox Mulder, due South's Ray Kowalski, and Law & Order's Mike Logan, as well as Chris Rawls, a gay man that Tim dated in one episode.

Frank appears in far less crossovers. Some fans wonder if the fact that Frank is played by a black actor had anything to do with this, and of the small size of the fandom. See also Racism in Fandom.

Fan Comments


I loudly second [M.A's] enthusiasm for this program. [N] did her damnedest to get me interested (even dangled a 'gorgeous black man' in front of me, but I was too stupid to bite--plus, it's on well past my bedtime.) in this, but I resisted. Wish I hadn't, now.

This program has some of the strongest, ignore-this-if-you-can slashable bits I've ever seen--and if the two characters weren't such a complete turn-off, we'd be seeing reams of slash about Munch and Bolander. We've got Bo turning up to sleep on Munch's sofa because he's been thinking about how empty his future will be once he retires and Munch is still on the force; Munch spending days sitting at Bo's hospital bedside, bringing him presents, telling the world that he loves the "Big Guy", too many bits to remember off hand (and I've only seen five episodes!). Handing it to us on a plate, really.

They really do put in all the bits we wanted to see in Pros et al, complete with what amounts to songvids (Very Meaningful emotional song as one partner [Tim Bayliss] watches his other partner [Pembleton, who has been known to complain about Bayliss looking like he's about to kiss him] drive away, possibly forever. I mean, we're talking in-your-face slash bits here. With Bayliss discovering his dark side, with Pembleton juggling honour and doing what's right, open discussions of whether or not they've ever had homosexual experiences, tons of bits.

And on top of all that, we've got really good writing, superb characterisations, wonderful acting and continuity--there are actual honest-to-goodness repercussions going on here, folks. Lovely stuff.

Definitely recommended for both slash bits and sheer high quality. [1]

BTW, this is a great show; I've been watching for a few years. The relationship between Frank Pembleton and Tim Bayliss has been growing in intensity for some time, but never with physical overtones.

Frank is married with two kids. At one point his wife and he separated for a brief time, and have since gotten back together. At that time, he and Bayliss had split up their partnership after Bayliss had told him about being abused by his uncle as a child. When she left Pembleton, she went to see Bayliss and asked him to resume their partnership. Her quote, "He won't be able to handle both of us leaving him." !!! Frank is the most brilliant detective in Homicide. He had a stroke last year and gradually recovered throughout most of last year, with Bayliss and Mary's (his wife) help. Bayliss has grown immensely thanks to his friendship with Frank.

I can't wait to see where they go with this, though I hear the Andre Branagh (the actor who plays Frank) may leave at the end of this season. The show has been on six seasons.

BTW, if you're an X-Files fan, you met a Det. Munch during the Lone Gunmen backstory this season. He (both the character and the actor who plays him) is a regular on this show. I'm not sure how Chris Carter pulled that off,

since the two shows are on different networks, but he did! [2]

That's what I love about Pembleton and Bayliss. The disdain, the sarcasm, the bitchiness, the resentment, especially on Pembleton's part, because he knows deep down that yes, he *needs* Bayliss. He foundered without him, much as he tried to act like he was fine. He wasn't. It was fun seeing him with Lewis for a while, kind of like partner swapping. <grin> But he belongs with Bayliss. [3]

Comments About the Chris Rawls Episode

The episode which aired January 2, 1998 was called "Closet Cases". It featured the guest star, Peter Gallagher, as a gay man. Despite the fact that many fans wanted it to be an arc, or a continued storyline, it was a one-shot.

One scene is here.

If anyone's interested, tonight's episode of Homicide: Life in the Street is the one in which Tim Bayliss (a regular character) starts "exploring his sexuality", most likely by going out on a date with someone played by Peter Gallagher. Judging from next week's blurb in TV Guide ("Frank is perplexed by Tim's lifestyle changes"), this is an arc storyline, not a one shot. Please, PLEASE, I'm begging you guys, somebody watch this show! Anybody! How can I discuss it afterwards if no one watches it? I've been watching Homicide for five years and all my conversations about it have been completely one-sided! grovel grovel grovel (I have no shame)

Actually I'm inclined watch it just for that particular subject matter out of curiosity. Might be interesting to see what we write, acted out on screen. Sort of. [4]

One of my friends, who is on several different slash lists, told me that a rumor is going around about an interesting character development on Homocide [sic].

It seems that Tim Bayliss is due to question his orientation. Has anyone heard this? This sounds like wishful thinking on someones part but anything is possible. [5]

As someone who has watched Homicide for years and has told everyone who will listen that it's a GREAT show, I'm thrilled that this storyline has recruited so many new viewers. I just wish they'd given us Bayliss and Pembleton, rather than bringing in a new character, because that's where the real angsty relationship lies. Those two squabble and pout and make up like a couple, and they did it last season for everyone to see, which was great. Maybe Bayliss will get comfortable with Chris, then realize Pembleton is his true heart's desire. <sigh>

Yes, I have heard this. (I'm a big Homicide fan!) I've read part of what is purported to be an interview with Kyle Secor (the actor who plays Bayliss.) He says that Bayliss, discouraged by his most recent stab at love, will attempt a date with a gay man (played by Peter Gallagher.) He doesn't say how the date is going to turn out (but knowing Bayliss' history, it'll be a fiasco.) I don't know if this is true or not, although another source has confirmed that Peter Gallagher is in an upcoming episode, and he is playing a gay man. I will say that this would be absolutely in keeping with what they've been doing with Bayliss' character. As early as the second season (this is the sixth) he was beginning to doubt his sexuality. Last year he admitted to his partner that he had been abused as a child (I'd suspected this from the first season), and he's been wrestling with a lot of complex issues ever since. Given his abysmal track record with women (to date his most successful relationship has been with a manipulative death fetishist), I'd be surprised if it didn't at least once cross his mind that he might be gay. So, this may be a hoax, but it's still a quite feasible plot development. And this being Homicide, such a story would *not* be played for laughs. Now I want you all to go watch Homicide! Not only is it a great show -- Bayliss is pretty darn cute, too! [6]

I think this is going to be a background plot (like the other fellow wanting custody of his son), but apparently part of next week's episode is Frank dealing with how *he* feels about Tim's "change in lifestyle". I hope they *do* continue with this storyline, because they are treating it with a lot of care and sensitivity.

BTW, apparently the cop character, Bayliss, had previously been revealed to have been sexually molested by his uncle. This would explain why Frank was saying that the "old" Bayliss would have decked Chris Rawls (Gallagher's char). Maybe being molested made him repress any attraction he might have felt towards men. And now that he has been pretty much forced to deal with his abuse (pushed into facing it by his partner) he now can feel free to start feeling that attraction. I doubt he's fully gay, but he definitely is shaping up to be bi.

I'm going to be following this show for as long as they care to use this plot line, that's for sure. [7]

Yes, I loved that scene. And actually, the only person who seemed to have a problem was Pendleton (not sure I got the name right). I also really liked the scene in the nightclub when Bayliss is bouncing around enjoying the music and atmosphere, and then the guy is obviously interesting in Pendleton - ROFL! Also, the interrogation scene was interesting. It was obvious Bayliss felt nothing but contempt for the killer/boy - yet he handled answering 'the question' well. And it led nicely into his accepting the "date" with Chris. It was almost a statement - I choose the people I"m interested in based on who they are, not what they are. Though I could be reading a lot more into it than was there. Still - it was pretty impressive for prime-time drama. And the "date-asking" scene was - as you said - delightfully awkward, shy, and utterly sweet. And I also loved how Bayliss handled Pendleton's question about what Chris was doing there. He could have easily faked an answer - 'he came to thank us for finding his friend's killer so quickly" - instead he simply said "he asked me to dinner."

LOL! I cheered!! :)) [8]

I might have to start watching Homicide, even though Bayliss is the only character I really like. [9]

I *highly* recommend tuning in. I have been a fan of the show for years and watching the relationship develop between Frank Pembleton and Tim Bayliss is one of the main reasons. Talk about intense!!! I *really* like the new story line as well:)

I don't know of any mailing lists for Homicide, (which is where I should probably take my discussion about the show) anyone know of a slash friendly H:LOTS list? [10]


Man, I want Gallagher to come back. I want it *bad*. (Kiss or no kiss. But I think these people are cool enough to eventually work a kiss in there if it's at all possible. Especially during a sweeps period. All publicity is good publicity...)

I was telling my brother about the episode, and he was thrilled to hear the storyline-- "You mean he's a continuing character on a cop show, he admits these feelings, he's going to act on them, and he doesn't die a tragic death thirty seconds later?" he asked joyfully. And when I told him that Tim's love interest was Peter Gallagher ("you know, the one with the *eyes*"), he was agog. Of course I'm sending him a tape of the ep posthaste.

There's one slight bummer for me, though. I used to be passionately in love with Homicide, but I've been slowly separating myself from it lately-- I was unhappy with Melissa Leo's dismissal, I didn't care for a couple of the newer characters, *and* I know the series will be ending fairly soon. Rumor has it this is the last season, but I don't know if that's confirmed. I do know, as the article said, that Andre Braugher-- Frank-- plans to leave at the end of this season in any case. And I've also heard similar rumblings about Clark Johnson (the guy who plays Meldrick Lewis). So I thought my disappointment at the latest changes would be a good catalyst to start the process of weaning myself off the show before it ends. Making the transition easier-- I wouldn't have to go cold turkey. But they've dragged me back in, dammit. Hook, line, sinker. I expect I'll be in until the bitter end. And while I'm sure I'll love the ride, I think the inevitable cold turkey will be hard.

Ah, well. [11]


Homicide: Life on the Street-centric

Crossover Fanfiction



Vid Comments

There was a time when I knew nothing whatsoever about Homicide: Life on the Streets, but that was a time before I lived within five miles of both Katharine Scarritt and Pamela Rose. Three days of indoctrination a la Clockwork Orange made me a solid fan of the show and primed me nicely for the utterly voluntary three weeks of continued viewing that followed. By the time they were done with me I was madly in love with Mike Kellerman and Tim Bayliss, so both "Losing My Religion" and "Crucify" hit me hard where I live. "Losing My Religion" contains one of the niftiest climactic moments I've seen in a vid, and the story of Mike Kellerman's fall from grace is very easy to follow. The clips are dead-on and the flow of them is clean and just fast enough to keep you drawn in for the whole song. "Crucify" is a great choice for a Bayliss vid and makes me hurt for Tim like you wouldn't believe. The relationship between Tim and Frank is dark and dysfunctional and yet, for all that, kind of sweet. "Crucify" lets you see all of that. [12]


Art: very little print art was created for the series as the small fandom took root at a time when most fans were moving their activities to the Internet.

Archives & Communities




Mailing Lists

  • Homicide Life on the Streets Chat and Fic archive link Description: "In my humble opinion, there is by far not enough fiction about Homicide, Life On The streets. Soooo, here's another chance to discuss the show and post a bit of fluff. General friendship, hetero or slash fiction is encouraged. We welcome smarm through the rough and tumble BDSM and beyond. By joining this list you declare to one and all that you are above the legal age. Any fiction posted, will be automatically archived, unless the author includes a "Do NOT Archive" addendum."
  • Homicidal Maniacs archive link Description: "Consider this club as an extension of SaveHomicide.com, where Homicidal Maniacs can discuss ways of bringing back the show."
  • Autofocus archive link Description: "Autofocus is an adult mailing list for Homicide: Life on the Street fanfiction and discussion."
  • Homicide 2 archive link Description: "Welcome to Baltimore's Homicide Unit! Feel free to sit down at any of the Detective's desks & discuss any old, new or ongoing cases."
  • The Waterfront Bar archive link Description: "The Waterfront is a place were we are free to discuss, bicker and debate about The Best Damn Show On Television, Homicide Life On The Street! So take a good long pull on your drink and be prepared to defend your position! Bad poetry and song parodies encourged here on Open Mike Night."
  • Homicide: LotS (mailing list) archive link Description: "For viewers of the best damn show on television, Homicide: Life on the Street. Subscribers know that Homicide is better than Law and Order, E.R., The Practice, and every other critically heralded drama. If you're interested in fan fiction, please subscribe to autofocus. If you'd like to discuss the actors, filmmakers, crew, locations, and storylines of Homicide: Life on the Street, then this is the list for you."
  • Law Dogs [offline] Description: "Slash oriented list for fans of the television dramas Homicide and Law & Order."


  1. ^ from Virgule-L, quoted anonymously with permission (March 1995)
  2. ^ comment at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (4 Jan 1998 )
  3. ^ comment at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (January 6, 1998 )
  4. ^ comments at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (January 2, 1998 )
  5. ^ comment at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (January 4, 1998 )
  6. ^ comments at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (4 Jan 1998 )
  7. ^ comment at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (January 4, 1998 )
  8. ^ comment at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (January 4, 1998 )
  9. ^ comment at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (January 4, 1998 )
  10. ^ comment at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (January 4, 1998 )
  11. ^ comment at CI5 Mailing List, quoted anonymously] (January 4, 1998 )
  12. ^ merryish, from a much longer review (see Media Cannibals/Tape4), posted to the Vidder mailing list Jan 27, 2000. Quoted with permission (25 March 2011)