Adam-12 title screen, season 4
|Created by||R. A. Cinader
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||174 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jack Webb|
|Running time||30 Minutes|
|Original run||September 21, 1968– May 20, 1975|
Adam-12 is a television police drama that followed two police officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Pete Malloy and Jim Reed, as they patrolled the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol unit, 1-Adam-12. Created by R. A. Cinader and Jack Webb, who is known for creating Dragnet, the series captured a typical day in the life of a police officer as realistically as possible. The show originally ran from September 21, 1968 through May 20, 1975, and helped introduce police procedures and jargon to the general public in the United States of America.
The identifier "One-Adam-12" is a combination of three elements. The first element indicates the unit's LAPD division. The second element indicates the type of unit. The third element identifies the patrol car's number. One-Adam-12 is a two-person unit. LAPD assigns two-person units the letter "A" and in the LAPD phonetic alphabet, the letter "A" is spoken as "Adam". One-Adam-12 means the patrol car operates in Division 1 (Central Division); Adam indicates the unit is a two-person unit; 12 is the patrol car's last two numbers. In the program, One-Adam-12 typically operated in the Rampart Division, Division 2, not the Central Division, Division 1, meaning the unit's call sign should have technically been Two-Adam-12.
Adam-12 featured the LAPD Rampart Division station at 2710 West Temple Street as the setting for the series. However, according to the radio call sign of the unit "1-Adam 12", the station is actually the Central Division station (Division One), which serves Downtown Los Angeles. The Temple Street building now sits abandoned and unused by the LAPD, as a newer and larger building now houses the Rampart Division.
Adam-12 was a realistic style police drama following the lives of two officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, veteran Police Officer III (P-3) Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and his rookie partner, probationary Police Officer I (P-1) Jim Reed (Kent McCord). Each episode of the series, like those of Dragnet, was based on actual cases with names changed to protect the innocent and covered a variety of incidents that the officers encountered during a shift, from the tragic to the trivial.
In the series' first episode (filmed in September 1967, a year before the pilot was picked up, and directed by Jack Webb), Reed is less than a week out of the prestigious Los Angeles Police Academy, and is eager to begin his career. Three weeks before, Malloy's patrol partner (and friend) had been killed in an attempt to apprehend an armed robbery suspect; Malloy is deeply saddened, to the extent that he plans to resign from the force. On what is to be Malloy's last night on patrol, the watch commander Lieutenant Moore (Art Gilmore) assigns Malloy to take the young, raw, rookie Reed out for his first night on patrol. Moore was Malloy's first training officer 7 years earlier. While Reed shows tremendous potential on his first night on the job, Malloy realizes that his new partner has plenty to learn, and with renewed purpose, the veteran officer decides to stay on the job and guide Reed during his nine-month probationary period. His comment to Reed at the end of their first watch together was: "How can I quit? You're not ready to be turned loose on Los Angeles without a leash."
Viewers had been introduced to the character of Jim Reed during the 1967-1968 season of Dragnet (which was called Dragnet 1967 for that particular season) in the episode "Internal Affairs", in which he and Malloy were witness to a case of alleged police brutality against another officer. McCord had appeared in several episodes, alongside other veteran officers who were neither seen nor referred to when Adam-12 was picked up.
Reed's rookie term is played out during the first season, after which he is promoted to a full officer. Reed and Malloy remain beat partners. In later seasons, Malloy and Reed began patrolling other beats of Los Angeles, including the L.A. International Airport, the Los Angeles Harbor, the Foothill District, the West Valley area, Venice, Van Nuys, Hollywood, Rampart, and North Hollywood. With Reed having completed his probationary police officer training period and now holding the rank of Police Officer II (P-2), several episodes featured the officers working with other rookie officers, with guest actors playing these one-time characters; some episodes had Reed serving as the training officer, whereas Malloy, having been promoted to the rank of a Senior Lead Officer (P-3+1), who coordinates patrols in many neighborhoods, worked as the acting shift supervisor.
Malloy displays a distinguished expert shooting medal, Reed displays an expert medal.
Malloy and Reed reported to Shift Supervisor (Sergeant 1) William "Mac" McDonald (William Boyett), who occasionally took a black and white command cruiser (a Plymouth station wagon carrying extra police equipment) with the call sign 1-L-20 into the field. Reed once questioned why Malloy hadn't taken the Sergeant exam, as he would have rated higher than Mac did. Malloy related he preferred working patrol on the street to supervision. Malloy later showed he could supervise when Mac was ill, and Malloy filled in.
Several of their fellow officers were recurring characters; the most frequent were Jerry Woods (Fred Stromsoe), Ed Wells (Gary Crosby), Detective Sgt Jerry Miller (Jack Hogan), and Officer Brinkman (Claude Johnson). Shaaron Claridge, a real-life LAPD dispatcher, was the dispatcher.
Over the course of the series, "Mac" McDonald was promoted to Sergeant 2. Lt Moore was promoted to Captain, and served as the Commanding Officer of the division, apparently replacing Captain Grant (Art Balinger).
The personal lives of Malloy and Reed come up on occasion, and are always tied into their duties. Malloy is a bachelor who has at least two girlfriends during the course of the series, the last being Judy (Aneta Corsaut); Reed is married to Jean (Mikki Jamison, 1969–70; in the last season, she was played by Kristin Nelson). They have one child,"Jimmy", whose birth (off-camera) is a major part of the plot of Season 2 episode "Baby".
The police vehicles were central characters in that "mobile patrol units [became] associated with the black and white units made famous in such television shows as Adam 12". It was one of the shows that portrayed "the professionalism of the officers and police departments". Ronald Wayne Rodman pointed out that the theme of Adam 12 referred to a "military style topic while portraying a sense of contemporary action". Douglas Rushkoff noted: "Adam 12 also marked [the] last gasp of the righteous style of cop TV." Their set was not a squad room or an office, but the actors "watched the changes in American culture through the windshield of their squad car".
In 1999, Mattel toys paid homage to Adam 12 by producing a die cast toy police car based on the series a part of their "Star Car" series.
The patrol unit "One Adam-12" never existed in the LAPD. When Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck (a big fan of the show) served as Central Division captain, he instituted the "Adam-12 Award" which honored productive officers by allowing them to ride Unit 1-A-12. The officer could pick and choose which calls to check on without having to do any paperwork. Chief Beck invited Kent McCord to ride-along with 1-A-12, finally providing Kent "Jim Reed" McCord the opportunity to say "One-Adam-Twelve, roger" on the real LAPD radio frequency.
Other notable actors and actresses
Episode 10, "Log 132: Producer", stars Karen Black (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Airport 1975, Dogtown) and James McEachin (DJ in Play Misty for Me). McEachin also appeared in five additional episodes, each time in a different role.
Episode 16, "Log 62: Grand Theft Horse?", guest stars Tim Matheson as a horse thief.
Episode 26, "Log 22: So This Little Guy Goes into This Bar, and..." guest stars Harry Dean Stanton as a welfare hustler.
Episode 58, "Log 55: Missing Child" guests stars Jodie Foster as the playmate of a missing child.
Episode 158, "X-Force" guest stars Paul Gleason as a father of a kidnapped girl. Gleason guest starred in other various roles throughout the series.
The production of the program involved showing all aspects of correct police procedures, and “Webb wanted the vehicle itself to be considered a character.” The show specifically centered on police radio cars and helped reinforce “the sound of radio as an anti-crime technology.” The police vehicles used in the production of show were purchased from local dealerships and outfitted by the prop department to LAPD cruiser specs.
- 1967 Plymouth Belvedere - pilot 
- 1968 Plymouth Belvedere - season one 
- 1969 Plymouth Belvedere - seasons two and three 
- 1971 Plymouth Satellite - season four 
- 1972 and 1973 AMC Matador - seasons five through seven 
In seasons two and three, there were many instances where Reed and Malloy would be seen driving a 1969 Plymouth one minute, then with a camera or scene change, they would be in a 1968. The two years were very similar, with only minor differences between them.
The LAPD had purchased 534 Matadors for its patrol fleet. An event in 2001 that featured a restored LAPD Matador police car, brought together Bernard C. Parks, the former LAPD Police Chief, and Tom Williams, the producer of Adam-12.
Connections to other Mark VII shows
Officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed appear on the Dragnet episode "Internal Affairs: DR-20", The D.A. episode "The People vs. Saydo" and the two-part Emergency! episode "The Wedsworth-Townsend Act", which was remade from the original pilot. Sergeant MacDonald appears on the Dragnet episode "Personnel: The Shooting". The episode "Lost And Found" was set at Rampart General Hospital and featured the Emergency! cast. However, during an Emergency! episode, Adam-12 is shown as a TV show that the paramedics like to watch, causing somewhat of a paradox between the shows (much like ABC's Batman and The Green Hornet where a crossover episode takes place, yet Batman is seen as a TV show on The Green Hornet).
Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Season 1 of Adam 12 on DVD in Region 1 on August 23, 2005.
In fall 2008, Shout! Factory acquired the distribution rights through an agreement with Universal. They have subsequently released the remaining 6 seasons, with season 7 packaging titled "The Final Season."
In Region 4, Umbrella Entertainment has released the first two seasons on DVD in Australia.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|Season 1||26||August 23, 2005||May 11, 2011|
|Season 2||26||September 30, 2008||August 3, 2011|
|Season 3||26||August 11, 2009||TBA|
|Season 4||24||February 23, 2010||TBA|
|Season 5||24||August 10, 2010||TBA|
|Season 6||24||January 17, 2012||TBA|
|Season 7||24||April 10, 2012||TBA|
Episodes of Adam-12 are available for on-line streaming at Hulu and Netflix.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Adam-12.|
- The Official Kent McCord Archives: Adam-12
- 1Adam12-1Adam12.com Everything Adam-12
- Adam-12 at the Internet Movie Database
- Adam-12 at TV.com
- Adam-12 at TVguide