Police Story (TV series)
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|Created by||Joseph Wambaugh|
|Opening theme||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||95 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||David Gerber|
|Running time||60 min.|
|Production company(s)||David Gerber Productions
Screen Gems Television
Columbia Pictures Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original run||September 25, 1973 – May 28, 1978|
Police Story is an anthology television crime drama that aired on NBC from 1973 through 1978. The show was the brainchild of author and former policeman Joseph Wambaugh and represented a major step forward[according to whom?] in the realistic depiction of police work and violence on network TV. It was produced by David Gerber and Mel Swope.
Although it was an anthology, there were certain things that all episodes had in common; for instance, the main character in each episode was a police officer. The setting was always Los Angeles and the characters always worked for some branch of the LAPD. Notwithstanding the anthology format, there were recurring characters. Scott Brady appeared in more than a dozen episodes as "Vinnie," a former cop who, upon retirement, had opened a bar catering to police officers, and who acted as a sort of Greek chorus during the run of the series, commenting on the characters and plots. Tony Lo Bianco and Don Meredith made several appearances as Robbery-Homicide Division partners Tony Calabrese and Bert Jameson. Other recurring characters included surveillance specialist Joe LaFrieda, played by Vic Morrow, and vice officer turned homicide detective Charlie Czonka, played by James Farentino. Chuck Connors also starred in various episodes.
The anthology format allowed the show to try out characters and settings for series development, and, during its broadcast run, Police Story generated three spin-offs. A first-season episode, "The Gamble," starring Angie Dickinson, became the pilot for the successful Police Woman series, which ran from 1974-1978. "The Return of Joe Forrester," a second-season episode starring Lloyd Bridges, was developed into the weekly series Joe Forrester. Finally, "A Chance to Live," a special episode from the fifth season starring David Cassidy, was spun off into the series Man Undercover. That series didn't do as well, and lasted only ten episodes.
In later seasons, perhaps because of the expense of maintaining the anthology format on a weekly basis, Police Story became a series of irregularly scheduled TV movies.
Police Story was a precursor to later shows such as NBC's Hill Street Blues (1981-1987), Law & Order (1990-2010), ABC's NYPD Blue and NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street (both latters started in 1993).
Numerous actors, musicians, sports figures and former real-life cops who were familiar to audiences in the 1960s and 1970s made appearances on the series, including Danny Bonaduce, Ed Asner, Eve McVeagh, Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., David Janssen, Claude Akins, Robert Stack, Ahna Capri, Mike Connors, Alex Cord, Sean Garrison, Stuart Whitman, Lenore Kasdorf, David Cassidy, John Saxon, Kurt Russell, Cameron Mitchell, Martin Milner, Vince Edwards, Robert Forster, William Shatner, Dean Stockwell, Jan-Michael Vincent, Larry Hagman, George Maharis, Wayne Maunder, Howard Duff, Chad Everett, Don Meredith, Steve Lawrence, Gabe Kaplan, Robert Goulet, Sylvester Stallone, Joseph Campanella, Michael Cole (2 episodes), Clifton Davis, Joe Garagiola, Stephen McNally, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Egan.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release date
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||22||September 25, 1973||March 26, 1974||September 6, 2011|
|2||22||September 10, 1974||May 6, 1975||N/A|
|3||22||September 9, 1975||March 12, 1976||N/A|
|4||22||September 21, 1976||April 5, 1977||N/A|
|5||7||September 27, 1977||May 28, 1978||N/A|
Awards and nominations
Two episodes received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Episode in a Television Series: "Requiem for an Informer," written by Sy Salkowitz (from the first season), and "Requiem for C.Z. Smith," by Robert E. Collins (second season). In 1976, the show won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series.
In 1988, ABC aired four Police Story TV films using scripts from the original run to fill in for the writers strike delayed ABC Mystery Movie, The stars of the films included Ken Olin, Robert Conrad. and Jack Warden.
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003 pg. 945 IBN 0-345-45542-8
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