15. HILL STREET BLUES 

Created by Michael Kozoll and Steven Bochco  

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Aired: NBC, 1981-1987

Low rated in its infancy, Hill Street Blues broke as many TV storytelling rules as its ultimate success helped establish for cop shows. Writing the pilot, Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll insisted on creative autonomy from the brass at NBC and MTM, the result of which was that “we could break away with all kinds of sidebars and sub-stories,” Kozoll recalled. Bochco set about bringing writers to the show with points of view untainted by years in TV. One of those was a former aspiring novelist named David Milch. “The level of complexity we were trying to achieve in our scripts under the extraordinary time constraints you deal with in TV made it absolutely clear to me that you had to write these things in an ensemble way,” Bochco said. “So I knew that we had to locate really good voices and work together as a chorus.”

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