"Homicide: Life on the Street", has earned both critical and popular accolades, including two 1993 Emmy Awards (for Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Writing), a 1994 Emmy nomination for Robin Williams (Outstanding Guest Actor in A Drama Series), a 1993 Peabody Award and a 1994 Best Drama Series nomination from Viewers For Quality Television.

Humanitas Prize-winning writer/producer Henry Bromell ("Northern Exposure," "I'll Fly Away") comes on board as co-executive producer, joining award-winning executive producers Barry Levinson ("Bugsy," "Rain Man") and Tom Fontana ("St. Elsewhere") in overseeing the ensemble series.

"Homicide: Life on the Street" is produced by Baltimore Pictures in association with NBC Productions, Inc.

"Homicide: Life on the Street" achieves its signature authentic look through the use of hand-held cameras on location in Baltimore. "Using hand-held cameras creates a hybrid format by combining the intense drama with the look of a real documentary or news piece," says Levinson, who has earned, among other honors, six Academy Award nominations and one Oscar ("Rain Man") for his work in feature films.

Levinson added, "Shooting in Baltimore gives a dimension of reality to the show that we could never get if we were in Los Angeles. The faces of the people surrounding the main characters, the things we see every time we step outside, can't be duplicated elsewhere and help give the show its special flavor and texture."

In the past, "Homicide: Life on the Street" has been directed by such acclaimed motion picture directors as Barry Levinson, John McNaughton ("Mad Dog and Glory") and Stephen Gyllenhaal ("A Dangerous Woman," "Waterland"). This year's roster includes Ted Demme ("The Ref") and Tim Hunter ("River' s Edge," "Tex").

"Homicide: Life on the Street" utilizes a flexible story line structure to give it a distinctive edge. "Combining self-contained episodes with on-going story arcs creates an interesting rhythm and allows us to feature a wider variety of stories," comments Fontana, who also has been honored with numerous awards, including two Emmys and a Peabody Award for his work on "St. Elsewhere." "We're able to do the larger personal stories and more complicated cases that can't be resolved in just one hour."

Pragmatic and politically savy Lieutenant Al Giardello (Kotto) supervises one shift of detectives who tackle the entire spectrum of urban violence present in an Eastern blue collar city plagued by a homicide rate averaging close to a murder a day.

Giardello's squad from the Baltimore Homicide Unit boasts a roster of detectives as unique as the cases they are called on to solve. Stanley Bolander (Beatty) -- a.k.a. The Big Man -- is a natural investigator whose instincts have been honed by nearly three decades of police work. Day after day, Bolander tries to teach his younger partner, John Munch (Belzer), his craft through a stinging process best described as education-by-insult.

A loyal, blustering good ol' boy in the Baltimore tradition, Beau Felton (Baldwin) is partnered with Kay Howard (Leo), a methodical and business-like detective who has closed a record 100% of her assigned cases.

Investigating the city's disturbing murders leads the squad's most intense interrogator, Pembleton (Braugher), to a difficult period of self-examination. Contrastingly, Pembleton's amenable partner Tim Bayliss (Secor) is finally feeling confident in his ability and has fully engaged in all of the unit's activities.

Rounding out the squad is Meldrick Lewis (Johnson), a hardworking detective whose dry sense of humor has slowly left him as he continues to cover for his partner, a no-show after taking a vacation.

Early in the third season of "Homicide: Life on the Street," the detectives find themselves trying to track down a serial killer. Catherine Goodrich, recently named Baltimore's Samaritan of the Year for her work with battered women, has been murdered. Her body is found in a dumpster behind a church, nude except for white gloves.

Goodrich is discovered during the shift headed by newly appointed Lieutenant Megan Russert (Hofmann). Because the case is a political hot potato, Giardello's squad is called in to work on it as well. Tension mounts between Gaffney, the detective from Russert's shift who heads the case, and Pembleton. It gets nasty.

Meanwhile, Felton's marriage is in real trouble. His wife, Beth (guest star Mary B. Ward), tired of the couple's failing therapy sessions, throws him out of the house. Howard is surprised when Felton informs her that he is staying with a mystery lover, whose identity he must keep secret. She is even more shocked when a confused and distraught Beth turns to her for advice on preventing a divorce.

Munch and Lewis also have plenty on their minds besides police business. They want to buy the bar across the street from the station house but need to find a third partner. When Bolander resists their strong-arm attempts to join them, the pair turn to Bayliss, who finally agrees to be a silent partner.

"Homicide: Life on the Street" is produced by Baltimore Pictures in association with NBC Productions, Inc. Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana are the executive producers, with Henry Bromell serving as co-executive producer. Jim Finnerty and Gail Mutrux return as supervising producer and producer, respectively.

"Homicide: Life on the Street" is based upon the book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon.