POLICE PRESENCE

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Dennis Franz and the illustrious cast of “NYPD BLUE” were feted by the Phoenix House at its 2003 Achievement

Award Dinner at the Bel Air Hotel. Franz was decked out in a steel gray suit, bronze silk tie and, keeping in step with any

good cop on the beat, sensible shoes. He talked shop with industry insiders, praising the show’s eleven seasons. He said

he was confident the arresting run would continue.

In addition to being one of television’s most successful and longest running series, “NYPD BLUE” tackles tough story

lines that deal with issues like addiction. Every year one acclaimed television drama is given the honor. Past honorees

include “The West Wing” and “ER.”

“These are the finest programs on TV and they’re best way to get our message out,” Phoenix House Regional Director

Winne Wechsler explained. “You see Dennis Franz’s character (Andy Sipowitz) as he struggles with recovery day-to-

day. He’s very sympathetic and someone people can relate to.”

The evening kicked off with a VIP reception, where guests were offered a choice of wine or Perrier. They snacked on

shrimp dumplings, lobster and caviar, mixing with the likes of Ed Begley Jr. and “NYPD Blue” producer Steven Bochco,

as well as a group of impeccably dressed Phoenix House teens who represented just a few of the recovery house’s many

success stories.

Other longtime supporters included Malibu board members Jeff and Elayne Nathanson. Inside, the dinning room tables

were topped with fluffy arrangements of blush roses, pink gerber daisies, yellow snap dragons and green orchids. After

enjoying a first rate feast, it was down to business. To demonstrate the impact of the show, they screened several moving

clips culled from various “NYPD Blue” episodes. Which one was the Franz favorite? “One of my favorites is from

season two,” he said. “My fiancée and I are at a function and I get drunk. I totally blow it. It’s powerful stuff.” Powerful

indeed.

Begley played Master of Ceremonies. After a few words from Phoenix House President Mitchell S. Rosenthal, it was time

for a real man in blue. Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton took the stage, presenting Franz and the cast with the

prestigious award. So amid so much mindless fare out there, “NYPD BLUE” is a true standout that gives Reality TV a

whole new meaning.