If it ever really was, New York is no longer the nation’s crime capital, but it remains the capital of television crime shows. In the latest example, NBC is going back in crime time. An hourlong pilot, conceived by Sonny Grosso, the cop-turned-producer, wraps up three weeks of filming on location in New York this week. The crime drama’s working title, “NY70,” invokes a tumultuous decade when crime, racial tension and political conflict consumed the city, reports the New York Times. The series is to be loosely based on “The French Connection” heroin smuggling case, which Grosso and his partner Eddie (Popeye) Egan cracked and which was the basis for the 1971 film that won five Oscars.
“I’m here today because of that case,” Grosso said last week, sipping coffee in the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown, where a scene was being filmed in the presidential suite. “The city is way better, cleaner, less crime,” he said. “Crime is down so much now that we have to go back to the 70’s.” Grosso was on the police force from 1954 until 1976, when he retired as a first-grade detective, became an actor, film consultant and writer and formed a production company. He walks with a cane these days, to favor a bad hip, and also carries a .38 Colt revolver.