NYPD Blue seemed destined to end before it began, with leading character Det. Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) being gunned down in the very first episode. Andy would recover, but the person responsible for his wounds, mob boss Alfornse Giardella (Robert Costanzo), would prove to be the catalyst of many of the series' initial plot lines and subplots. Attorney Laura Michaels (Sherry Stringfield), ex-wife of Andy's partner, Det. John Kelly (David Caruso), turned out to be the sole eyewitness when Giardella was himself slain by his enemies. And, rather than do the bidding of Giardella crony Angelo Marino (Joe Santos), uniformed officer Janice Licalsi (Amy Brenneman), who had been forced into collusion with the Mob because of her on-the-take policeman father, cold-bloodedly murdered Marino -- a fact that would lead to grief and professional disgrace for Janice's erstwhile lover John Kelly. Other first-season NYPD Blue developments: The contentious Sipowicz almost begrudgingly entered into a romance with Assistant DA Sylvia Costas (Sharon Lawrence), who like Andy, had a serious problem with booze; the drug-addicted brother of Det. James Martinez (Nicholas Turturro) died of a drug overdose; precinct skipper Arthur Fancy (James McDaniel) had problems at home due to a custody battle over a foster child and Mrs. Fancy's difficult pregnancy; and unhappily married Det. Medavoy (Gordon Clapp) began an affair with sexy new administrative assistant Donna Abandando (Gail O'Grady). (Clapp and O'Grady were merely recurring characters this season, but would graduate to full "regular" status for season two). NYPD Blue closed out the 1993-1994 season by winning five Emmy awards, for best lead actor (Dennis Franz), best writer (Ann Biderman), best director (Daniel Sackheim), best art direction (Paul Eads, Mary Ann Biddle) and best casting (Junie Lowry-Johnson, Alexa L. Fogel). The series also endured the first of many cast defections, when Sherry Stringfield relinquished the role of Laura Michaels in order to accept a job on the new medical drama series ER.