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The nominal questions left hanging by the first part of Homicide’s season finale last week include who gets shotBaylisswho quits in disreputeKellermanand who ambles off into the sunset in disgustPembleton. But the more interesting question is whether the Baltimore-based cop drama can survive the departure of Andre Braugher, the soul of the show and the one actor capable of making its stagy, Mametesque soliloquies sound like received wisdom from God Himself. In spite of the fact that the series was inspired by a bookDavid Simon’s true-life turn of the same nameit is the acting, and not the writing, that has inspired a freakishly loyal core audience that has seen the show through 100 episodes. The dramatic core of Homicide has always existed in the space between the partners, and Braugher’s exit means that he and Bayliss (beautifully underplayed by Kyle Secor) can no longer make like existential cowboys through a landscape of blood and mayhem. The show’s physical centerpiece”the box,” where suspects are questionedwill become an infinitely less complicated and menacing place without Braugher striding in the door. But, unlike the absolutely bereft NYPD Blue, don’t look for Homicide to limp along after the coroner has shown up. If it’s time to give it up, Munch (Richard Belzer) will turn out the lights without so much as a sentimental look back. At 10 p.m. on Channel 4, WRC-TV, NBC. (David Carr)