Homicide: The Movie

"Homicide: The Movie"
Homicide: Life on the Street episode
Directed by Jean de Segonzac
Written by Tom Fontana, Eric Overmyer, and James Yoshimura
Guest appearance(s)

Ed Begley, Jr. as Dr. Victor Ehrlich
Jason Priestley as Det. Robert Hall

Episode chronology

Homicide: The Movie is a television movie that aired February 13, 2000, one year after the completion of the American police drama television series Homicide: Life on the Street. It was written by the series' head writer Tom Fontana and staff writers Eric Overmyer and James Yoshimura, and directed by Jean de Segonzac, who had served as a cinematographer and director several times during the show's run.


Retired police lieutenant Al Giardello is running for mayor on a platform of drug legalization and seems to be the front-runner when he is suddenly shot at a press conference, by an unseen gunman. Unconscious, he is rushed to the hospital. In a montage sequence, each of the detectives who used to work for him during the show's 7-year run learns of the shooting and rushes to the squad room. While some of the detectives are still working Homicide, most have either quit the force, retired, or transferred to other departments. Particular attention is paid to Frank Pembleton, who is now working as a college professor and Mike Giardello, who has quit the FBI and is now working as a uniformed officer.

At the squad room, all of the detectives, past and present, clamor for an opportunity to help find the shooter. There they find that Stuart Gharty is now shift commander, despite his overwhelming lack of qualification. Captain Roger Gaffney, who has previously shown overt signs of racism and has a particular dislike of Pembleton, allows all of the white former detectives to aid in the investigation but forbids Pembleton from participating. In Gaffney's absence, Gharty admits that he was promoted to shift commander only because the top brass figured he would never have the spine to stand up to them in a conflict. In defiance and out of respect for Pembleton's excellent work as a detective, Gharty secretly permits Pembleton to temporarily re-join the unit and teams him with Det. Tim Bayliss, who had been on an extended leave of absence. Just as Bayliss and Pembleton had been partners for most of the series' run, John Munch (who now works at the Special Victims Unit in New York City) is temporarily re-teamed with his old partner, the retired Stanley Bolander. As videographer J. H. Brodie examines video footage of the shooting, the detectives disperse throughout Baltimore, following various leads, some involving the mayoral race and others involving various cases Giardello worked while a lieutenant at Homicide.

Meanwhile, Giardello's son is under the dual strain of intense media attention and worrying about his father. He eventually manages to evade the press and is approached by Mike Kellerman, who offers an arrangement with Mike: Kellerman uses his P.I. skills and contacts to track down some of Al Giardello's old enemies and then stands guard as Mike Giardello tries to beat information out of them.

A subplot involves Bayliss and Pembleton rekindling their bond, despite having seen very little of each other during the past two years. Bayliss guesses that Pembleton misses being a homicide detective and may even return one day but while Pembleton admits that he sometimes misses the job, he insists he could never return, because he felt that his soul was weighed down a little more, each time a suspect confessed a crime (this being a reference to Pembleton's unparalleled talent for convincing suspects to confess during interrogations). Towards the end of the film, Bayliss sacrifices his friendship with Pembleton, by forcing him to listen to one last confession, as Bayliss admits to murdering Luke Ryland, the "Internet Killer" who had been released on a technicality in the final episode of the series. This puts Pembleton in the difficult position of having to choose between his friendship with Bayliss and his highly developed sense of moral justice. Ryland's name is eventually written on the Board as a closed, cold case, but Bayliss' fate is not revealed.

In the epilogue, Giardello finds himself in a slightly otherworldly version of the squad room. He sees Adena Watson (whose murder occurred in the first episode of the series) and encounters the spirits of Beau Felton (who had died in the line of duty) and Steve Crosetti (who had committed suicide at some point between Seasons 2 and 3). Crosetti and Felton reveal that while the afterlife may physically resemble Earth, it lacks the worry that comes with living. Giardello joins Crosetti and Felton for a game of poker but has one last worry when they inform him that the fourth, unoccupied chair is for the next casualty from the Homicide unit. Giardello asks if the chair is intended for his son, but Crosetti and Felton tell him that there is no way of knowing.

The film ends with a montage showing Al's interactions with his officers.

Cultural references

Giardello's doctor is played by Ed Begley, Jr., who also played a doctor in the series St. Elsewhere; the closing credits confirm that Begley is, in fact, reprising his St. Elsewhere character.


Like the TV series, the cast was credited in alphabetical order. Yaphet Kotto, Kyle Secor, Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson, Peter Gerety, Jon Seda, Callie Thorne, Toni Lewis, Michael Michele and Giancarlo Esposito reprised the roles they held during the final season of the show, whilst Melissa Leo, Andre Braugher, Ned Beatty, Reed Diamond, Isabella Hofmann, Max Perlich, Jon Polito and Daniel Baldwin reprised roles they had held earlier in Homicide's run. Zeljko Ivanek who had held a recurring role throughout the TV series was promoted to main cast for the TV movie finale.


Character Portrayed by Current Job Role Homicide Job Role
Al Giardello Yaphet Kotto Mayoral Candidate BPD Lieutenant
Kay Howard Melissa Leo BPD Sergeant
Tim Bayliss Kyle Secor BPD Detective
Meldrick Lewis Clark Johnson BPD Detective
John Munch Richard Belzer NYPD Detective BPD Detective
Frank Pembleton Andre Braugher College Professor BPD Detective
Stanley Bolander Ned Beatty Retired BPD Detective
Mike Kellerman Reed Diamond Private Investigator BPD Detective
Megan Russert Isabella Hofmann wife of a French diplomat BPD Detective
Stuart Gharty Peter Gerety BPD Lieutenant BPD Detective
Paul Falsone Jon Seda BPD Detective
Laura Ballard Callie Thorne BPD Detective
Julianna Cox Michelle Forbes Doctor Former Chief Medical Examiner
Terri Stivers Toni Lewis BPD Detective
Rene Sheppard Michael Michele BPD Detective
Michael Giardello Giancarlo Esposito BPD Officer FBI Agent Liaison
J. H. Brodie Max Perlich Camera-man Crime Scene Videographer
Steve Crosetti Jon Polito Deceased BPD Detective
Beau Felton Daniel Baldwin Deceased BPD Detective
Ed Danvers Željko Ivanek Asst. State's Attorney

Guest starring



    De Segonazc, Jean. (2001). Homicide: The Movie. [DVD]. A&E Home Video.

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