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On Today's Television, Death Can Really Be Taxing

November 28, 1998

Too bad that those of us who watched Tuesday's episode of "NYPD Blue" can't agree with Howard Rosenberg's glowing review ("Bedside Manner, Real and Imagined," Nov. 25).

Yes, we watched the same episode Rosenberg did but not on a tape supplied by the network sans commercials. The version we watched on television had its dramatic impact and continuity destroyed by ABC's crass decision to go for the bucks and cram in twice the normal number of commercials.

RICHARD VARENCHIK, Valencia

*

As a medical ethicist, I found the death of Bobby Simone on "NYPD Blue" a high drama with no connection to reality. "Critical Care," a film that aired on cable in the same ratings period, told it straight. A rich old man who has become nothing more than a vegetable is kept alive at all costs as his daughters fight over his inheritance. Meanwhile, a poor young Latino who lies dying of kidney disease is helped to slip off peacefully.

Any nurse can tell you how to die with dignity. Have the words "no insurance" tattooed on your chest.

ALLEN D. ALLEN, Studio City

*

I am distressed by Rosenberg's comparison of "60 Minutes" and "NYPD Blue." The "60 Minutes" segment was life. "NYPD Blue" was a manufactured TV show. On one, a human soul was thrust into eternity. I assume Jimmy Smits got up and walked off the set.

Surely God must weep over the cavalier treatment we afford the gift He gave us. I do.

ARLETA RICHARDSON, Los Angeles

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