New York Undercover: “The Little Ghetto Show That Could”

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Welcome back guys! WOW. Thank goodness I grew up in the 1990s! On Wednesday March 23, 2016, TV One aired Unsung Hollywood on one of my favorite shows of all time and that is New York Undercover! Saying that this Unsung Hollywood was great is an understatement. It brought back so many memories and filled me up with nostalgia. I started thinking to myself, why did TV One take New York Undercover off the air?! That’s one show I never get tired of watching, no matter how many times I’ve seen each episode. It’s just that raw and good!

Did any of you check out Unsung Hollywood on New York Undercover? If not, please check your local listings and see when it re-airs because I promise you you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t get TV One, check out the full episode on the website. Unsung Hollywood answered a lot of questions as to why New York Undercover ended in the first place. We get to hear the producers, writers, and members of the cast discuss the show and how it became apart of Black and Latino pop culture.

It took a lot of convincing from Andre Harrell and other producers to get FOX to green light New York Undercover. The show was definitely ahead of it’s time and it was very realistic and raw. New York Undercover dealt with baby mama drama, gang violence, rape, racism, relationships, intimacy, drugs, fraternities, predators on the internet, and etc. Nothing was off limits with New York Undercover! A lot of 90s Black sitcoms touched on real life situations, which was something The Cosby Show tried to stay away from.

Basically the producers wanted to create a show like Miami Vice but feature Black cops as the leads. The problem was that FOX at the time did not want two Black leading cast members. Hmmm. So they ended up casting Michael DeLorenzo along with Malik Yoba as the main cops. Patti D’Arbanville was cast as the lieutenant, and Lauren Velez became the first female cop on the show who joined the squad. The entire cast was very attractive and it seemed all the ladies loved Michael DeLorenzo. A lot of dudes thought Lauren Velez was gorgeous and Malik Yoba had a few female stans as well. Jonathan LaPaglia became apart of the cast for season 3 but I personally didn’t feel he was needed. He was added because FOX was trying to make New York Undercover diverse and appealing to mainstream White audiences. SMH. This was the worst mistake FOX ever made!

FOX felt that New York Undercover was getting too urban and “Black” for their taste. This was especially true after the first season. The writers referred to the smash hit as “the little ghetto show that could.” LOL. Overtime, the cast started to feel like they were not getting the respect and recognition that they deserved. We learn that it wasn’t just about the money but about the fact that the show was not being promoted like some of their counterparts. It wasn’t getting the fame that shows like Seinfeld and Law and Order were getting. Despite that though, the actors were still winning awards for their performance on the groundbreaking drama.

Everybody and their mama in R&B and Hip Hop was on this show! Soul artists from the 60s on down to the 90s were featured on the show and all gave outstanding performances. Seeing your favorite artists perform at the nightclub called Natalie’s was always one of the highlights of the show. It gave you a chance to exhale from watching a serious or dramatic scene play out. Although shows like In Living Color and All That also featured a lot Hip Hop artists, those shows didn’t feature old school artists from the past like James Brown and Gladys Knight. It was epic! I would have LOVED for Tupac to have been apart of the show as well but unfortunately that didn’t happen. You know Tupac can play a GREAT bad guy. LOL

The worst mistake FOX made was thinking that New York Undercover couldn’t survive without a White presence on the show. BAD MOVE DICK WOLF AND FOX! Michael and Malik refused to show up for work for like 3 days because of the fact that they felt they were being disrespected and I believe this angered Dick Wolf and FOX. As a result, Johnathan LaPaglia was killed off at the end of season three. Who knew Johnathan would only be there for one season? However, that wasn’t it. The huge shocker was when Eddie Torres blew up in a car at the of season three! Let me tell you, I felt horrible after first watching that scene as a child. I was like OMG. In 2008, I got TV ONE and saw New York Undercover for the first time in over 10 years and even then as an adult I felt uneasy watching Eddie blow up in that car. I know it’s just TV, but it just felt like you lost a family member!

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The two most handsome cops on television!

For FOX to even think they could come back with a fourth season after that mess just proved how delusional they were. It was quite hilarious really because the entire format of the show had changed and it was no longer relate-able and enjoyable to watch. Fans moved on and FOX eventually cancelled the show. FOX didn’t care about minority viewers anymore because they had acquired NFL shows. That’s a shame. The show could have lasted for another five to ten years!

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It was great seeing this beautiful cast reunite!

I know that you can purchase New York Undercover online on a couple of sites but I’m waiting for an official DVD release! I hope there is one soon or that TV ONE will re-air it again. It will also give this current generation and future generations a chance to see a great show. After watching this incredible Unsung Hollywood, I couldn’t help but ask myself, why do they always cancel some of the best shows? Why are the corniest shows the most popular? Nevertheless, it was great seeing Malik, Michael, and Lauren reunite in the Harlem, NY streets! They have all aged good and you can tell that they are very appreciative of being apart of pop culture. Job well done TV One and Unsung producers!

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6 thoughts on “New York Undercover: “The Little Ghetto Show That Could”

  1. New York Undercover was my favorite show of all time. I check for a dvd release on a regular basis. This show was a huge hit and the cast was great. This show never should have ended.

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  2. I love this show & it’s my favorite Cop show from the 90s. It was cool to see a Black man (Malik Yoba), Latino/Italian (Michael DeLorenzo) & a Latina (Lauren Velez) playing as detectives on National TV. James Mtume (Founder of 70s-80s Funk band Mtume) did a great job as a composer for this show. The episode of Unsung Hollywood was great. The music guest performances from Mary J Blige, SWV, Aaliyah, Montell Jordan, Johnny Gill, Temptations, Monica, The O’Jays, Teena Marie, etc were great! One of my favorite episodes from NY Undercover was the recurring episodes of Ice-T playing as Danny Cort seeking revenge against J.C. (Malik Yoba). There was a lot of great guest actors on the show like Eartha Kitt, Naomi Campbell, Ice-T, etc. A lot of people forget that Gladys Knight played the nightclub owner Natalie! I was also shocked when Eddie Torres was killed off the show. Season 4 with Tommy Ford was kinda dry! The characters J.C. (Malik Yoba) & Nina (Lauren Velez) was also in a relationship on Season 4 too! A few years ago, Malik Yoba stated that he wanted to revive NY Undercover but nothing happened SMH. Although i’ve signed the petition for it, I’ll like to see FOX release NY Undercover on DVD. BTW, Great post!

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    1. Thank you YoungOldSoul great comment! You brought back memories for me just reading your comment! Did you know that Lauren Velez is Afro-Latino? LOL that means she’s half black or at least has black ancestry and I’m not surprised because she looks it! I wonder if Michael is too, I think he’s half Puerto Rican and it’s been said that they have a lot of black ancestry, a lot of them. Yeah that Unsung was great, I watched it twice! I only watch Unsungs on repeat if it was really good. What I found interesting is that the cast hasn’t talked in YEARS. I was just reading this morning that Kadeem Hardison hasn’t talked to Bill Cosby since 1995 so it’s amazing how after these shows end a lot of times the cast doesn’t continue hanging out. To be honest, all I remember from season 4 was that Malik and Lauren were in the bed together LOL! This was such a great show that could have lasted for many more seasons hadn’t Fox and Dick Wolf tried to make it appeal to another audience.

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      1. I knew Lauren Velez was Afro-Puerto Rican (Black & Puerto Rican) though! Did you know that Lauren has a twin sister named Lorraine Velez (Who’s also an Actor/Singer)? Michael Delorenzo’s actually mixed with Italian & Puerto Rican! It’s true, most Latinos & Chicanos have Black ancestry! Dick Wolf dropped the ball by trying to expand it to the Caucasian audience on Season 4. But, the storyline with J.C. (Malik) & Nina (Lauren) having a relationship was kinda interesting! I remember on Unsung Hollywood, Uptown Records Founder/Owner Andre Harrell & Malik Yoba speaking about 2Pac wanting to appear on NY Undercover. That would’ve been cool! Malik did have a point about Tupac having a death wish. Pac was known at times to associate himself with negative people like Suge Knight for example SMH. R.I.P to 2Pac! Speaking of Kadeem & Bill, that episode of Unsung Hollywood about A Different World was great! I love watching Unsung!

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        1. Yes I knew Lauren had a sister! I didn’t know she was famous too though, thanks for that tea! You got all the good tea YoungOldSoul! LOL! I would have LOVED for Tupac to have been on NYU because I really enjoyed him on A Different World! You know if you listen to Pac’s songs he talks about dying all the time…it’s like he knew he was going to go…wow…at least we had the chance to experience him for a little while and he left so many incredible songs, videos, interviews, movies, etc. behind!

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