As a gritty procedural, Third Watch was always one of my favourites. Created by ER executive producer John Wells and ex-Chicago police officer Edward Allen Bernero, the show began in 1999 and showcased the exploits of New York police officers, paramedics and firefighters as they work the “third watch” shift from 3 pm to 11 pm.
Third Watch was successful in presenting the ensemble of characters as real people and not just chiselled stereotypes. The characters had real problems, struggled to make ends meet and dealt with complicated situations both on and off the job.
One of the great things about the show was how it balanced multiple-episode continuity with dive-right-in storylines that encompassed several episodes and even overlapped into other seasons. Viewers grew with the characters and became involved in their lives.
The ensemble cast included Jason Wiles as Officer Maurice "Bosco" Boscorelli, Coby Bell as Officer Tyrone "Ty" Davis, Jr., Skipp Sudduth as Officer John "Sully" Sullivan, Molly Price as Officer Faith Yokas, Anthony Ruivivar as paramedic Carlos Nieto, Michael Beach as paramedic Monte "Doc" Parker, Bobby Cannavale as paramedic Bobby Caffey, paramedic Kim Zambrano (Kim Raver), and Eddie Cibrian as firefighter Jimmy Doherty.
Third Watch ran for a total of 6 seasons from 1999 to 2005. It won a Peabody Award for a third season episode (“In Their Own Words”) that featured interview clips with real-life responders to the 9/11 tragedy.
Thanks to the magic of DVD, Third Watch is being released for fans to enjoy again and again. With The Complete Second Season just released by Warner Home Video, all 22 episodes of the 2000-2001 season are available. There’s also a gag reel as a special feature.
The first episode, “The Lost,” is a classic. It details Yokas and her increasingly tense living situation with her husband Charlie (Jeremy Bergman). She is hiding a pregnancy due to fears about not be able to afford another kid, but her partner Bosco wants her to “do the right thing” and spill the beans immediately. Also, Sully’s fears of being buried alive are drawn out into the open thanks to an eerie case.