Marvin as Frank Ballinger,from NBC's M-Squad 1959.
|Composer(s)||Main theme by
Incidental music and arrangements by
John T. Williams
Orchestra conducted by
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||117 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John Larkin
John B. Moss
|Running time||30 mins.|
|Original run||September 20, 1957 – June 28, 1960|
M Squad is an American police drama television series that ran from 1957 to 1960 on NBC. It was produced by Lee Marvin's Latimer Productions and Revue Studios. Its format (and opening credits) would later inspire the creation of spoof TV show Police Squad! Its main sponsor was the Pall Mall cigarette brand; Lee Marvin, the program's star, appeared in its commercials during many episodes. Alternate sponsors were General Electric (GE), Hazel Bishop and Bulova watches.
Set in Chicago, Illinois, it starred Marvin as Detective Lieutenant Frank Ballinger, a member of "M Squad", a special unit of the Chicago Police, assisting other units in battling organized crime, corruption and violent crimes city-wide. Paul Newlan co-starred as his boss, Captain Grey. Although Marvin had been appearing in feature films since 1951, it was this series that made him a star, and he later went on to an even bigger film career afterward.
- The theme music for the first season was composed by Stanley Wilson, who won the 1959 Grammy Award for the Best Soundtrack Album and Background Score from Motion Picture or Television. In the second and third seasons, the new theme was composed by Count Basie.
- A soundtrack album, Music from M Squad, with liner notes by Lee Marvin, was released during the run of the show .
- The TV series Police Squad! was a spoof on police series in general, and M Squad in particular. The opening sequence of Police Squad! spoofed both the opening sequence of M Squad and the openings of Quinn Martin's various police shows. The closing sequence spoofed the closing credits of Hawaii Five-O.
- Similarly, the 1994 music video directed by Spike Jonze for the song "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys directly parodies the opening sequence of M Squad, amongst other police shows.
- A novel was published in 1962, M Squad: The Chicago Cop Killer, by David Saunders. It was published by Belmont Books, New York.
- Lee Marvin carried two Colt Cobra revolvers, the lightweight variant of Colt's "Detective's Special" revolver, which was popular with detectives at the time.
- M Squad: The Complete Series was released on DVD in the U.S. on November 11, 2008 by EDI Video .