Inner City Blues: The Racialicious Review of Detroit 1-8-7 1.1

By Arturo R. García

There’s worse ways for a show to curry favor than by dropping a little Stevie into its’ opening scenes. Fortunately for Detroit 1-8-7, it’s got a few other things going for it.

Shot for the most part in a documentary style  (we’re introduced to each character and case with title cards, a nice, efficient touch), the show’s pilot episode revealed itself to be a mostly taut, tight affair, that takes advantage of its’ diverse cast.


First among equals in this shop is Detective Louis Fitch (Michael Imperioli). There’s potential for this kind of character – highest case-closure rate, capable of cracking suspects with a single stare, etc. – to stray too far into White Knight territory, but there’s seeds planted throughout the episode that place him closer to Al Pacino’s character in Heat; Fitch is as frayed as he is formidable. Of course, he can also be a jerk: after just a few minutes working with rookie partner Damon Washington (Jon Michael Hill), Fitch first demands a transfer, then spends most of the rest of the case talking to Washington on his cel phone – while standing right in front of him.

The other team spotlighted in the episode is also worth noting: the black/South Asian pairing of Vikram Mahajan (Shaun Majumder) and Jesse Longford (James McDaniel), who we meet in a diner, talking like two perfectly normal veteran partners. It’s a small thing to see them shooting the breeze about hot dogs, but it’s still nice to see. As is Longford’s joyful application of his Italian lessons, which pays off later in the episode.

There’s still some cliche notes, of course: the musical selections, which veer into standard network “mood-heighteners” by the episode’s end, seem superfluous considering the show’s photography style. And unfortunately, most of our introduction to Det. Ariana Sanchez (Natalie Martínez) revolves around a romantic subplot and her accounting for Fitch’s oddness. But overall, there’s enough dry humor and a surprising enough ending to make this show worth at least investing an hour of your time.

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health


Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives


Written by: