It’s not every day that you see Dennis Franz, David Caruso, Jimmy Smits, and Ricky Schroder walk the same street. Come to think of it, the four stars from ABC’s police drama NYPD Blue had never done it before Sept. 21, 2011, when they gathered at Raleigh Studios Manhattan Beach (Calif.) for EW’s Reunions Issue photo shoot. The vibe was warm, chummy, and a bit emotional as Franz and three of his onscreen detective partners (unfortunately, the fourth, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, was filming out of town) swapped well wishes and staked out Memory Lane.
Caruso, Smits, and Schroder hadn’t spent much time with each other, as Schroder’s Danny Sorenson replaced Smits’ Bobby Simone, who had replaced Caruso’s John Kelly. Franz — who claimed four Emmys for his portrayal of tough-nosed Andy Sipowicz (and who still wears a ring that’s a replica of his badge) — worked with each of the three while staying on the show for its entire 12-season run. “Dennis was the hub from which all the other spokes moved,” praised Schroder. “He’s the godfather.” Franz, who hadn’t actually seen Caruso in person since the latter’s infamous departure from the series only four episodes into season 2, gave his original partner a hearty hug and opened with a joke: “We gotta get together and take a picture every 17 years!” Caruso was clearly moved by the rare opportunity. “Wow. You could feel the power of it,” he marveled afterward. “It just felt so right to be with them, too… Man, I wish we could go out and do some episodes with those four guys!” Smits chuckled and savored that possibility. “There could be some serious fireworks happening there. Definitely.”
For more with the four lawmen from NYPD Blue — and to see what happened when we reunited the casts of Princess Bride, Fatal Attraction, Aliens, and Home Improvement among others — pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.