"This police drama contains adult language and scenes with partial nudity. Viewer discretion is advised."
The potential images those words created alone caused more controversy for this series, before it had even premiered. The "Bible Belt" was up in arms and no-one had even seen an episode. In most of those southern states the local ABC affiliates refused to carry the show, which was a shame because aside from a "little" bare flesh and a couple of harsh words, they missed out on a quality television show. Of course it wasn't long before they realized it really was no big deal.
Late during the first season, Steven Bochco said during an acceptance speech at the 20th Annual People's Choice Awards:
"In spite of those who seek to legislate what we can and cannot see on our own television sets in the privacy of our own homes. NYPD Blue has succeeded because the American people, properly so, prefer to judge for themselves."
At those awards the show was voted "favorite new television dramatic series" and "favorite television dramatic series" the first year it was eligible. The show has been nominated for and won numerous awards. Check out this IMDb link for more information. Most notably the series has been nominated for an Emmy 84 times and has won 20 of those times and Dennis Franz has claim to four of those statues.
Before this series, some of the stars had an affiliation with Steven Bochco from his previous highly acclaimed series Hill Street Blues. David Caruso had guest starred in two episodes and during the 3rd season, Dennis Franz guest starred as Det. Sal Benedetto in 5 episodes and was killed off in his last appearance. Franz officially joined the cast in that show's 6th season as Lt. Norman Buntz and stayed with the show until it ended. Then the Buntz character was brought back for a short-lived comedy series called Beverly Hills Buntz the following season. This series didn't last because it was erratically scheduled as a fill-in and then couldn't build an audience. James McDaniel also appeared in a Hill Street Blues episode and then also appeared in Steven Bochco's attempt at something new, a musical police drama called Cop Rock. When Caruso left early on in the series, another Bochco veteran was called upon; Jimmy Smits who played Victor Sifuentes on Bochco's L.A. Law was brought in to play new detective Bobby Simone.
While other actors have left with big screen ambitions, two actors have left the series to move onto...