The BEST Episodes of Homicide: Life On The Street

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2021

Network: NBC

Based on the factual book Homicide: A Year On the Killing Streets by journalist David Simon, the series charts the lives of a team of homicide detectives in Baltimore, Maryland, both on and off the clock.

Prison Riot

#1 - Prison Riot

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 18, 1996

A riot breaks out at the prison, where two inmates are killed. The squad goes to the scene, but Frank must still stay behind. Bayliss, Lewis, Kellerman and Howard interview the inmates; many of them have familiar faces. Frank works on his target practice. Bayliss thinks that one inmate really wanted to tell him something, so he puts together a deal to get the information. The inmate confesses to the murder and Bayliss doesn't believe him. Another riot breaks out and the truth is finally discovered.

star 9.00
55 votes
Directors: Kenneth Fink
Writers: Henry Bromell, Tom Fontana

#2 - Betrayal

Season 5 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 10, 1997

Frank and Tim investigate the death of a young girl whose abused body was found by the side of the interstate. Brodie goes to an interview with a new potential roommate. Kellerman finally gets his day in court, where he is supposed to take the 5th amendment. Frank and Tim disagree with their pursuit of the investigation. Frank tries a different approach with the mother and she tells him the story-- only they won't be able to get a murder one conviction. Julianna comes down to the courthouse to offer Mike some moral support. He sees Connelly come out of the courtroom and thinks things are going bad, so he prepares to give it all up. However, his appearance before the grand jury doesn't go quite as he expected. Brodie walks out of the building with his new roommate. The detectives try to celebrate Kellerman's freedom, though he has different thoughts about the situation. Tim tries to come to grips with the child abuse he experienced in his past and also tells Frank he doesn't want to be

star 9.00
55 votes
Directors: Clark Johnson
Writers: Gay Walch, Julie Martin, Tom Fontana

#3 - Subway

Season 6 - Episode 7 - Aired Dec 5, 1997

A man falls between the cars of a subway train in front of horrified witnesses. Was he pushed? While the man is still alive, the prognosis is he will be dead the moment they extract from the position he currently occupies: pinned between the train and platform. Homicide is called in light of this condition and the fact he may have been pushed. Pembleton questions the victim, and Bayliss questions the witnesses, especially a strange one named Larry Biedron. The victim has no relatives in the Baltimore area. He does have a girlfriend who is supposed to be jogging in the area; Lewis and Falsone try to find her to bring her to the scene.

star 8.97
112 votes
Directors: Gary Fleder
Writers: James Yoshimura
The City That Bleeds

#4 - The City That Bleeds

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 27, 1995

Bolander, Munch, Howard and Felton all meet to serve a warrant, but Bolander, Howard and Felton are shot in an ambush. Pembleton becomes the primary in the investigation and is partnered with a detective who specializes in the psychology of their prime suspect: a pedophile. Stan's ex-partner Mitch Drummond offers his help. Kay's father and Beau's wife and the kids come to the hospital. A clerical error is discovered to be the cause of why the detectives went to the door marked 201, instead of 210.

star 8.70
111 votes
Writers: Jorge Zamacona, Julie Martin
Dead End

#5 - Dead End

Season 3 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 3, 1995

The detectives continue chasing their only lead, the child molester. Munch is teamed with Stan's old partner. Beau has no feeling in his foot, but feels guilt about Kay's condition. Stan's ex-wife arrives in town, but has a hard time going to see him at the hospital. Barnfather and Granger want Russert to review Gee and see if he was negligent in his duties regarding the paperwork that led to the shooting. The pedophile is located and it is discovered he was responsible for the strangulation of a young boy, but not the shooting of the three detectives.

star 8.70
111 votes
Writers: Jorge Zamacona, Julie Martin
Hostage (2)

#6 - Hostage (2)

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 27, 1996

Night has fallen and the crisis is no closer to being resolved. Gee demands that Barnfather make a decision. Frank continues to trying to adjust. Frank insists on going to the hostage scene. The identity of the hostage-taker is made when he demands that his pig be brought to the school. When the pig doesn't arrive in time, he sets a fire and seriously wounds a hostage (who later dies) and then becomes badly burned. Brodie takes issue with Munch's treatment of Pembleton. The paperwork gets completed and the hostage-taker is formally charged. Frank makes a decision regarding his recovery.

star 8.70
83 votes
Writers: James Yoshimura, Julie Martin, Tom Fontana
The Documentary

#7 - The Documentary

Season 5 - Episode 11 - Aired Jan 3, 1997

On New Year's Eve, the detectives sit back in the quiet of the evening and watch a documentary that Brodie has made about them and their work. During the filming, Brodie also happens to capture the lunchtime bandit red-handed.

star 8.70
83 votes
Directors: Barbara Kopple
Writers: Eric Overmyer, James Yoshimura, Tom Fontana

#8 - Narcissus

Season 5 - Episode 20 - Aired May 2, 1997

There is a major police chase after an armed suspect, as he holes himself up in a row house that is the headquarters of ARM (African Revival Movement). The head of that house, a former cop, calls in a favor, high in the police department. Munch and Pembleton try to work the case as Bayliss seems to be missing. Their investigation seems to be thwarted every step of the way. Stivers' has second thoughts about what she saw at the Mahoney shooting. An attempt to serve ""Burundi"" Robinson an arrest warrant breaks out into a war between the police and ARM. Gee goes into the house to confront Robinson and finds out who and what he knows.

star 8.70
83 votes
Writers: Yaphet Kotto
Three Men and Adena

#9 - Three Men and Adena

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Mar 3, 1993

Pembleton and Bayliss have only twelve hours to grill their prime suspect in the Adena Watson case before they must let him go.

star 8.60
139 votes
Directors: Martin Campbell
Writers: Tom Fontana
Fits Like a Glove

#10 - Fits Like a Glove

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 21, 1994

Gaffney allows a possible murder site to be washed down which causes Pembleton to go off on him. Russert takes Gaffney off the case and Pembleton is made the primary. Things get more complicated as a second victim is found. Beau tries to decide between his family and his relationship with Megan and he confides in Kay; his wife tries to reconcile with him. Russert wrestles with the media demands about the case. Something from Bayliss' past comes out when they try to get the liquor license for their bar. Bayliss goes to the liquor commissioner to work things out. A collector of the macabre comes in search of the victim's white gloves. A third victim is discovered.

star 8.50
111 votes
Writers: Bonnie Mark

#11 - Colors

Season 3 - Episode 19 - Aired Apr 28, 1995

Tim's cousin shoots a Turkish exchange student and his partnership with Pembleton may be in jeopardy when they both stand on opposite sides of the case. Lewis hires his grandmother to cook at the bar.

star 8.50
111 votes
Directors: Peter Medak
Writers: Tom Fontana
Fire (1)

#12 - Fire (1)

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 20, 1995

Bolander and Felton are suspended for 22 weeks without pay for incidents related to activities at a police convention in Washington, DC. Howard plans to take the sergeant's exam. Pembleton and Bayliss are assigned to investigate the death of a body found at an arson. At the scene they meet an arson detective that clashes with Frank's working style. Frank hesitates chasing a suspect, and later we learn that his wife is pregnant. Munch also decides to take the exam, and when the wagering begins on who is going to pass, everyone favors Howard. While the detectives are debating whether the fire was set to cover the murder, another fire is started.

star 8.50
167 votes
Writers: Julie Martin
Requiem for Adena

#13 - Requiem for Adena

Season 4 - Episode 16 - Aired Mar 29, 1996

A young girl is murdered, in a style similar to Adena Watson's murder. Frank demands to work the case alone as Bayliss begins to think that the two crimes might be related. Bayliss' obsession with trying to get this case solved and linked to Adena's murder causes the two of them to clash. Howard learns that Brodie has a crush on her and tells him she doesn't like the joke that's being pulled-- only problem there is that it's the truth.

star 8.50
111 votes
Directors: Lee Bonner
Writers: Julie Martin
Scene of the Crime

#14 - Scene of the Crime

Season 4 - Episode 18 - Aired Apr 12, 1996

Lewis and Kellerman's investigation of a murder in a housing project puts them at odds with a civilian-patrol group, run by the Black Muslims. Munch is excited because Stan is scheduled to come back June 1st. Russert and Munch catch a case where both the victim and shooter are dead. She with Howard must decide whether to circumvent the so-called ""blue wall of silence"" among police officers when it is discovered that the officer on the scene didn't react in time. Barnfather stops Lewis and Kellerman's charging of a Muslim, until something is leaked to the newspapers. The ""big man"" is scheduled to come to the bar, but changes his mind, twice.

star 8.50
111 votes
Directors: Kathy Bates
Writers: Anya Epstein, Barry Levinson, David Simon, Henry Bromell, Tom Fontana

#15 - Crosetti

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Dec 2, 1994

Crosetti's body is found and Bolander is the primary and he thinks the evidence points to suicide. If it is a suicide, there will be no honor guard for the funeral. Refusing to accept the death as a suicide, Meldrick launches his own investigation and tries to thwart Bolander's investigation. Bayliss and Pembleton make arrangements for the funeral reception. Pembleton has reservations about going into the church for the services. Munch works with his brother, an undertaker, to arrange for a coffin. The preliminary ME report shows Crosetti had a blood alcohol level of .25 and wide variety of anti-depressants, The verdict: suicide.

star 8.41
140 votes
Writers: James Yoshimura
A Shot in the Dark

#16 - A Shot in the Dark

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Feb 24, 1993

Bolander and Munch tackle a case, but Stan keeps throwing his old partner's name at John. Evidently the date with Carol didn't go that well, he doesn't want to talk to her or about her. Pembleton (with Felton) and Bayliss follow different hunches in the Watson case. Chris' recovery is amazing, but it will take a lot of therapy and his getting used to being blind. The suspect in Chris' shooting gives himself up, to prevent being the victim of police justice. Lewis isn't as sure as Crosetti that their suspect is the one. Barnfather lets out a key piece of evidence to the media, taking the wind out of Tim's line of questioning for his suspect. Tim lets him know how he feels, and even though he is right, he must apologize. Pembleton and Felton discuss various racial issues while following up their lead. Carol finally catches up with Stan. Munch wants nothing to do with Karaoke at the bar, but finally gives in and enjoys himself. Frank gets hold of evidence that will allow them to follow up

star 8.40
139 votes
Writers: Jorge Zamacona
Extreme Unction

#17 - Extreme Unction

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 28, 1994

The church asks that the public know the details of the murders. Pembleton has an interesting time in the box with a witness who has multiple personalities and is shown to be the killer, but before he can get a confession, her lawyer arrives and later she confesses on television. Pembleton begins to question his faith. Bayliss becomes a not-so-silent partner. Beau spends some time with his family and decides to end his relationship with Megan.

star 8.40
139 votes
Writers: D. Keith Mano
End Game

#18 - End Game

Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 10, 1995

Bolander has a relapse. The detectives sound off to the local news about the shooting. Apartment 201 is opened up and the occupant, Gordon Pratt, is a gun freak who once tried to be a cop. Russert and Howard declare a truce. They find the shooter, but lack of a weapon gets him released; later he is found with a bullet in his head.

star 8.40
139 votes
Writers: Rogers Turrentine
Map of the Heart

#19 - Map of the Heart

Season 4 - Episode 19 - Aired Apr 26, 1996

A prominent attorney is murdered and the murderer presents himself to Pembleton and Bayliss with a videotape that implicates him. Brodie works on increasing his self-image. Kellerman is determined to find out who's the ""lunch bandit."" The NSA steps in on Pembleton's murder investigation and provides him with a guilty party, even though they know he didn't do it. Bayliss' disgust with the interference doesn't sit well with Gaffney who wants to charge him with insubordination.

star 8.40
139 votes
Directors: Clark Johnson
Writers: James Yoshimura, Michael Whaley
Hostage (1)

#20 - Hostage (1)

Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 20, 1996

Gaffney and Barnfather give Gee a hassle about the return of Frank to duty and the sudden departure of Russert to Europe. Bayliss and Munch are called to the scene of a homicide, where the victim, Mrs. Uba, was cooking breakfast and the only witness may be a male pig named Angie. Frank returns to work and Gee tells him what his limited duties are going to be and that he's called in all his favors and both their asses are on the line. The squad is called out for a hostage situation at a middle school.

star 8.30
83 votes
Directors: Ted Demme
Writers: James Yoshimura, Julie Martin, Tom Fontana
Bad Medicine

#21 - Bad Medicine

Season 5 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 25, 1996

More drug-related homicides are occurring. Pembleton is still relegated to desk duty and now so is Kellerman. A federal grand jury investigation is being conducted that goes back to the time when Mike was in the arson unit. Frank is still not taking his medicine and getting ready for the range test. Brodie moves out of Munch's place and into Bayliss'. Lewis finds out that the witness to his drug homicide has been brought downtown. He goes after him and meets Stivers, a female detective in narcotics. Lewis's witness points toward Luther Mahoney as the initiator of the contract. They go to find the executor, who's been executed. Stivers pages Mahoney and he comes in for questioning, but they can't make a case that Danvers thinks will stick. Frank misses a passing grade on his test by four points.

star 8.30
83 votes
Directors: Kenneth Fink
Writers: David Simon, Julie Martin, Tom Fontana
M.E., Myself and I

#22 - M.E., Myself and I

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 1, 1996

The new Chief Medical Examiner (CME), Julianna Cox, speeds into town. An FBI agent, Pandolfi, conducts interviews with the squad about Kellerman. Frank looks for way to celebrate his anniversary with his wife. The new CME arrives on the scene of a homicide that Lewis and Bayliss are working on, they lay down their respective ground rules. Bayliss' murderer confesses to committing another crime. Kellerman is worried by the ongoing investigation and takes it out on another arson officer. Brodie offers to make chili for the Lewis family but the dinner turns into a fight for Meldrick and his wife. From a suggestion by Frank, Bayliss and Lewis get the other body exhumed and checked out. Frank and Mary celebrate their anniversary. Bayliss gains some insight into the new CME.

star 8.30
83 votes
Directors: Michael Fields
Writers: Emily Whitesell, Lyle Weldon, Tom Fontana
The True Test

#23 - The True Test

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 22, 1996

Lewis and Bayliss investigate a homicide at a boarding school. Gee goes to Frank's house to pick him up for a trip to the gun range. Kellerman wants the investigation into corruption in his old arson unit to move along, but he finds out that all the real guilty parties have made plea bargains. Frank's firearm test looked promising. The tiny little voice in Bayliss' head tells him that McPhee Broadman might be their suspect despite the fact that his mother is a powerful judge in Baltimore. A student comes forward and confesses to the student's killing; however, the detectives aren't convinced he alone was responsible. Frank passes the exam and can return to active duty, but as far as he is concerned the real test is in the box.

star 8.30
83 votes
Directors: Alan Taylor
Writers: Noel Behn, Tom Fontana
Blood Wedding

#24 - Blood Wedding

Season 5 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 13, 1996

Frank gets his first case as a primary-- unfortunately it is a case that involves the shooting of Danver's fiancée. Danvers is concerned about Frank being the primary and keeps throwing his opinions into the investigation. Danvers changes his perspective on the death penalty and also reflects on his past performance in many of the cases he's tried. Brodie continues to look for housing; the latest place he tried staying was the morgue. Kellerman is discouraged when it appears as though Cox may have only been looking for a one-night stand and nothing more-- so he takes a sick day. Gee takes some time out of his day to have a talk with Kellerman's former partners to see where they stand with him in regard to their testimonies to the grand jury. He also sees the Deputy Commissioner to see what can be done for Kellerman; what he learns instead are some truths about the Gaffney promotion.

star 8.30
83 votes
Directors: Kevin Hooks
Writers: James Yoshimura, Matt Witten, Tom Fontana

#25 - Diener

Season 5 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 31, 1997

Kellerman assures Lewis that he is seeking some professional advice; he also takes some time off. Lewis is assigned to work with Pembleton and neither is happy with the situation. Together they investigate the murder of a wealthy woman. They suspect the brother may have had a touch of sibling rivalry. Meanwhile, the brother insists that the police have stolen his sister's diamond ring. Mary tells Frank that she thinks they need to talk to a marriage counselor. Cox investigates whether the missing diamond ring might have been taken by one of her staff. She gets Brodie to help her add some video surveillance to the morgue. Mary asks Tim to be Frank's partner again.

star 8.30
83 votes
Directors: Kyle Secor
Writers: Christopher Kyle, Julie Martin, Tom Fontana