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FAMILY HAS THE BLUES IN `LINCOLN HEIGHTS'.

Byline: David Kronke Television Critic

`Lincoln Heights'' is sort of ABC Family's answer to HBO's ``The Wire,'' with all the attendant positives and negatives such a description implies.

While it aspires to present an earnest depiction of inner-city life, it's likewise hamstrung by its need to serve its target audience. ``The Wire'' treats its audience as intelligent adults; ``Lincoln Heights'' can't quite afford to do that.

Russell Hornsby is immensely likable as Eddie Sutton, an idealistic L.A. police officer who moves his family back into the tough neighborhood he grew up in as part of an incentive program for cops to live in the areas they patrol.

``It's not Disneyland,'' he concedes of the neighborhood, and indeed, his kids are bullied and taunted at school, and their home is broken into. Still, Eddie's wife, Jenn (Nicki Micheaux), remains supportive, and the neighbors begin to warm to his presence, sort of, though one tells him, ``Folks around here see the police as more dangerous than the Ebola virus.''

But before the drama behind that tension can be played out, the show's writers jump the gun and have Eddie shoot and kill a young thug during a convenience-store holdup-

hostage situation involving his daughter. Then they up the ante with an Al Sharpton-type condemning Eddie and the police force rabidly engaging in a witch hunt, even though he shot the man in self-defense.

If that's how the police department treats its cops who move into bad neighborhoods, one doesn't see much of a future for the project.

And anyway, the story line seriously distracts from the show's intentions; it's an OK plot, but it should've been saved for later in the series rather than dominating its first episodes.

David Kronke, (818) 713-3638

david.kronke@dailynews.com

LINCOLN HEIGHTS - Two and one half stars

What: An idealistic L.A. cop moves his family from a cramped apartment into a large home in the troubled neighborhood he polices.

Where: ABC Family.

When: 7 tonight.

In a nutshell: Earnest but likable.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Nicki Micheaux and Russell Hornsby move their family into a rough L.A. neighborhood in ``Lincoln Heights.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 8, 2007
Words:358
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