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This is the first full-length study of the career and achievements of David Milch, the US writer who created NYPD Blue, Deadwood and other ground-breaking television dramas. It locates Milch’s work in the traditions of American literature while tracking his career from academic research assistant to leading Hollywood screenwriter of his generation. It draws on behind-the-scenes material in order to evaluate the nature and significance of authorship, intention, collaboration and performance in his shows, and in doing so provides a major contribution to the study of television art.

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This chapter offers an account of David Milch’s early work in television, particularly his success as a writer for Hill Street Blues and his creation of NYPD Blue. It offers a detailed analysis of the creation and development of his first major character, Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) in that show.

in David Milch
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This chapter introduces the main themes pertinent to the analysis of David Milch’s writing. It locates his television work within debates about film and television authorship and signals the necessity of thinking about American literature as a way to properly understand that work.

in David Milch
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This chapter offers a detailed biographical account of David Milch’s family background and his early life at university and elsewhere before he began work as a television writer in the 1980s. In particular it examines the profound influence of the poet Robert Penn Warren on Milch during the latter’s time at Yale University in the 1960s and 1970s. It also calibrates the significance of Milch’s time studying at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and offers an analysis of his MFA dissertation, ‘The Groundlings’, and one of his early poems.

in David Milch
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This provides an account of David Milch’s writing process once he had departed from network television with a particular focus on the writing of Deadwood.

in David Milch
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This chapter explores Milch’s work after the cancellation of Deadwood, with particular attention to John From Cincinnati and Luck. It seeks to understand how Milch’s authorial voice developed and evolved alongside changes in US drama production.

in David Milch