"Detroit 1-8-7": Familiar and Fresh at the Same Time

"Detroit 1-8-7" Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 10 p.m. EST on ABC Stars: Michael Imperioli, Jon Michael Hill, James McDaniel, Aisha Hinds A respected but misunderstood homicide detective is among the cops who patrol the streets of Detroit.
Michael Imperioli, Jon Michael Hill, James McDaniel and Aisha Hinds star in the police drama "Detroit 1-8-7." (ABC)

NEW YORK (CBS) ABC's newest cop drama" Detroit 1-8-7" began life as a mockumentary, and signs of that genre sometimes peek through onscreen.

It became a more traditional crime drama after Detroit, where the show is set (but not filmed) banned cameras from following around police officers, thus kicking out the underpinnings of the plot.

Pictures: New Fall TV Shows

But the show still draws on a lot of the police procedurals that went before ("NYPD Blue," "Homicide Life in The Streets," " Law & Order") and has a strong cast led by "The Sopranos" veteran Michael Imperioli.

Imperioli, who spent years in the role of Tony Soprano's nephew Christopher Moltisanti, comes to "Detroit 1-8-7" straight from another police drama, the short-lived 1970s-era "Life on Mars."

In "Detroit," he plays Detective Louis Fitch, a 10-year member of the force who is a master interrogator with a laudable case closure rate. Backing him up on the squad is Detective Ariana Sanchez (Natalie Martinez), Detective Damon Washington (Jon Michael Hill), Detective Vikram Mahajan (Shaun Majumder) and Lt. Maureen Mason (Aisha Hinds).

The drama, filmed in Atlanta, also stars James McDaniel, best known to audiences as Lt. Fancy on "NYPD Blue," which owned this ABC timeslot for many years.

The first episode had all the traditional cop-show elements - foot chases, car chases, forensics, family notifications, interrogations and arrests. But there were some interesting twists that could turn the formula on its head. For example, Fitch pries an interrogation-room confession out of a suspect without asking a single question - he couldn't because the suspect had already invoked his right to representation.

The jury is still out on this drama. It has gotten few raves but few poor reviews as well. Whether it will become another "NYPD Blue" remains to be seen.

What did you think? Vote in the quick poll below and continue the discussion in our comments section.