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Premise of ’10-8′ not new but drama has exciting moments

“I was born in New York, almost incarcerated there. Now I’m policing the streets of Los Angeles.”

So begins the life story of Rico Amonte, a deputy trainee at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, in the new drama “10-8.”

The premise of the show is nothing new. A rookie cop is paired with a hardened veteran to learn the ins and outs of being a police officer on the dangerous L.A. streets. What makes the show unique is the storytelling. Rico narrates his experiences, offering a humorous and engaging view on the life of a rookie officer.

Rico (Danny Nucci) doesn’t join the force until he’s 28 years old, a little older than most rookies but also a little wiser. He was delivered from a life of petty mischief in New York City to the other side of the badge in Los Angeles by his brother, Angelo (Michael Rispoli), an L.A.P.D. homicide detective.

“This is a hard job, my friend,” Angelo tells Rico. “And it’s not for everybody.”

Rico worries that he may not have “the stuff” to make it as a deputy. But that is not his only worry.

Senior Deputy John Henry Barnes (Ernie Hudson) will become Rico’s worst nightmare. Barnes, a 23-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, is assigned as Rico’s trainer. Barnes will be the one to teach the kid how to patrol the streets and stay alive. Barnes will also be the one to issue impossible orders in a very loud bark. When he’s not yelling at Rico, Barnes offers the rookie advice that helps him become a good officer.

“If there is an ounce of life or blood in you, fight back,” instructs Barnes. “Never give up.”

Rico’s first day on the job includes a fight at a strip club where he meets a flirtatious dancer, a foot pursuit with a dim-witted gunman and another pursuit that ends with a gun being pointed at his head.

“10-8,” which is police radio lingo for being in service, is produced by Aaron Spelling (“Melrose Place,” “Beverly Hills, 90210”) and the same team that created “Oz” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.” The drama offers a realistic portrayal of what officers endure through their rookie training period, but some of the policing techniques are a bit lacking. Chalk that up to creative license to make the story a bit more exciting.

The series reveals police officers to be human, with the same fears and insecurities that most people have. Except they have a very real desire to make it home alive each day.


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