In the mid 1990s, New York Undercover was my favorite police drama on TV. The show starred Malik Yoba as Detective J.C. Williams and Michael DeLorenzo as Detective Eddie Torres, two undercover detectives in Harlem, New York’s 4th Precinct assigned to investigate various crimes and gang-related cases. This was the first time a police drama on American television to feature two people of color, an African-American and Latino, in the starring roles. The show also starred Patti D’Arbanville-Quinn as their boss, Lt. Virginia Cooper. Lauren Vélez, who joined the cast in the second season as Nina Moreno, was also a detective and Eddie’s love interest.
I felt like New York Undercover was the hip-hop version of Miami Vice. Like Miami Vice, I was fascinated with the gritty storylines, action, and suspense of the show. I felt so connected with New York Undercover because it captured the energy and the hip-hop culture of New York. The music playing in each episode was the hottest hip-hop and R&B tracks of that era. Hip-hop’s ghetto-fabulous era was in full swing, and the audience could see it on the show. Since J.C. and Eddie were young urban detectives, it was cool to see them dressed in Tommy Hilfiger, hockey jerseys, Timberland boots and other urban fashions, which gave them authenticity. They were one of the youngest, coolest pairs in an American television series. The show had a cool inner-city feel to it, and the main characters dealt with some real-life issues in their day-to-day drama. It became personal for them on many episodes.
I was in junior high school when New York Undercover first aired on Fox. I knew it was going to be a hit on TV because it was something that was fresh. After being impressed with the first show, every Thursday nights I tuned to Fox and recorded New York Undercover on my VHS. I liked when popular artists such as Aaliyah, the Isley Brothers, and Notorious B.I.G. performed a set at Natalie’s. I felt it was exciting to have a special musical guest on the show every week. Fans had an opportunity to see some of their favorite artists not only performed a hit song, but also do cameos. Ice-T as Danny-Up was my favorite villain on the show. He was brilliant! That character was believable and very unpredictable. Danny-Up was definitely one of the best outlaws on TV.
It was hard to see the show go in the late 1990s. I really enjoyed watching the show. I am happy that I can watch New York Undercover on Channels TV One and Nuvo TV. I can once again relive the moments and emotions of the show.
By Shamarie Knight, 7th Jul 2014