Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Dan Frazer played the Chief Of Detectives in the 'NYPD' episode "The Witness". His character wasn't given a name and was only referred to as "Chief".

Could he have been Frank McNeil, the Captain who oversaw Lt. Theo Kojak and the other detectives in the 13th Precinct of Manhattan South? Since I had no clue about how rank works in the NYPD, I asked a friend of mine who only recently retired from the force in the last few years......

Captain is the highest civil service title one can achieve in the NYPD. After captain it is discretionary, at the authority of the Commissioner, you can be promoted to deputy inspector (gold leaf), inspector (eagle), deputy chief (one star), assistant chief (two stars) or a super chief (three stars) who usually head a bureau, patrol, narcotics, OCCB, etc. So Chief of Detectives is really a captain ('cause that was the last official test he took, passed and was promoted to) acting in the rank of Chief of Detectives.

Usually ranks after Captain follow that line as I laid out above and don't skip a rank. However, to be a commissioner or deputy commissioner the chain of rank doesn't necessarily hold. Bernie Kerik is the latest example. He was a simple investigator or Detective 3rd grade who was made Police Commissioner by the mayor because it's a civilian title. Do you follow me so far?

So to answer your question which I already have, the Chief of Detectives is a Captain, acting in a higher rank. Which means that if the commissioner wanted to, for disciplinary purposes which I doubt would ever happen, he can bust a Chief down to a Captain, no lower.

Thanks, Mo!
But apparently it must have happened, because by the time we meet up with Frank McNeil again, he's not the Chief of Detecives anymore. Whatever may have caused the change, he's only in charge of the 13th Precinct. Later in the 'Kojak' series, however, McNeil must have finally redeemed himself in the eyes of the Police Commissioner and was once again made the Chief of Detectives. (It was probably a new Commissioner who gave him his old job back.)

And that would have been a perfect "Game Of The Name" theory - had it not been for Dan Frazer's second appearance on 'N.Y.P.D.', in the episode "Cry Brute".

Detectives Peconic and Corso both addressed him as "Captain", so that fits in at least with having the Chief of Detectives holding the rank of Captain. But then Corso actually states his name this time around - he addresses him as "Captain Laney".

(Somebody on that show must like the name "Laney". It was also the name of the couple at the center of the housewives as prostitutes investigation.)

In a way, I'm glad this happened. I wasn't that happy with the splainin for Frank McNeil losing his job as Chief of Detectives in between 'N.Y.P.D.' and 'Kojak' and then reclaiming it years later.

However, I'm not about to give up on the claim that both of these Dan Frazer roles are the same guy. But my new splainin may seem too far out there for such a gritty, "realistic" cop show, especially after I declared that previous splainin not realistic enough, mundane as it was.

You see, I'm going to hit the 'Primeval' reset button.

First off, let me remind everybody that the Toobworld Dynamic is inclusive of all TV show genres - the main Toobworld sitcoms, sci-fi, Westerns, period pieces, legal dramas, medical shows, reality programming, commercials, mini-series, TV movies and some cartoons (those that crossover into the real world.) If a show is banished to another TV dimension, it's only because it clashes with the overall dynamic.

So 'N.Y.P.D' shares the same world as 'Gunsmoke' and 'Star Trek'. Or to keep it all on the same timeline, with 'Family Affair' and 'The Invaders'. And theoretically, since they all share the same world, they should be able to cross over with each other.

The British sci-fi series 'Primeval' serves as a Toobworld "Essential" because of a very important plot point - at the end of the first season, Toobworld's timeline was altered back in prehistoric times and certain changes occurred. Some drastic, others trivial.

Toobworld Central uses the timeline alteration to re-adjust certain problems in other TV shows - like the different President in 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea', a different California governor in an episode of 'Monk', and we're going to use it to fix the difference between the two Dan Frazer episodes.

In 'Primeval', the timeline alteration caused one member of the Anomaly Research team to never exist in the first place. However, although Claudia Brown was now gone, there was a woman named Jenny Lewis who looked exactly like her and served in the same general capacity as Claudia did.
That's the route we're taking here. With the adjustment of the Toobworld timeline, Chief of Detectives Captain Laney no longer existed. Instead, he was replaced by his exact double, Captain Frank McNeil. Only in this new timeline, although he was still a Captain when those 'N.Y.P.D.' stories once again play out, he is no longer the Chief of Detectives. And the only thing that needs to take place off-screen between the two TV series is that he transfers out of the 27th Precinct to the 13th Precinct where he'll work with Lt. Theo Kojak instead of Lt. Mike Haines.

And dat's de name o' dat tune, as Baretta would say!


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