Police Woman (TV series)

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Not to be confused with Police Women (TV series).
Police Woman
Police Woman.jpg
DVD cover
Created by Robert E. Collins
Starring Angie Dickinson
Earl Holliman
Ed Bernard
Charles Dierkop
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 91 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) David Gerber
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 48–50 minutes
Production company(s) David Gerber Productions
Columbia Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 13, 1974 (1974-09-13)  – March 29, 1978 (1978-03-29)

Police Woman is an American television police drama starring Angie Dickinson that ran on NBC for four seasons, from September 13, 1974, to March 29, 1978.

Synopsis[edit]

Based on an original screenplay by Lincoln C. Hilburn, the show revolves around Sgt. "Pepper" Anderson (Angie Dickinson), an undercover police officer working for the Criminal Conspiracy Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. Sergeant William "Bill" Crowley (Earl Holliman) was her immediate superior, and Pete Royster (Charles Dierkop) and Joe Styles (Ed Bernard) were the other half of the undercover team that investigated everything from murders to rape and drug crimes. In many episodes, Pepper went undercover (as a prostitute, nurse, teacher, flight attendant, prison inmate, dancer, waitress, etc.) in order to get close enough to the suspects to gain valuable information that would lead to their arrest.

Character's name[edit]

Although Dickinson's character was called Pepper, sources differ as to the legal given name of the character. Most sources give the character's legal name as Suzanne. Others give it as Leanne or Lee Ann. (The latter name is mentioned by Crowley in the second season episode "The Chasers" and by Pepper herself in the first season episode "Fish".) The Police Story episode entitled "The Gamble", which serves as a pilot for Police Woman, gives Dickinson's character's name as "Lisa Beaumont". On the Season 1 DVD release of Police Woman, Dickinson states that she and producers decided not to go with the name Lisa Beaumont when the series first went into production and came up with the name Pepper.

Episodes[edit]

Guest stars[edit]

Among the guest stars in the series' 91 episodes were: Edie Adams, Diane Baker, Rossano Brazzi, Rory Calhoun, Dane Clark, Bob Crane, Patricia Crowley, James Darren, Ruby Dee, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Patty Duke, Geoff Edwards, Sam Elliott, Rhonda Fleming, Larry Hagman, Mark Harmon, Amy Irving, Bayn Johnson, Fernando Lamas, Ida Lupino, Carol Lynley, Ian McShane, Don Meredith, Donna Mills, Juliet Mills, Annette O'Toole, Michael Parks, Joanna Pettet, Kathleen Quinlan, Kim Richards, Smokey Robinson, Ruth Roman, William Shatner, Fay Spain, Laraine Stephens, Philip Michael Thomas, Robert Vaughn, John Vernon, Patrick Wayne, Adam West, Barry Williams and Debra Winger.

"Flowers of Evil" controversy[edit]

"Flowers of Evil" was the eighth episode of season one, airing November 8, 1974. In it, Pepper investigates a trio of lesbians who run a retirement home while robbing and murdering the elderly residents. Gay and lesbian groups protested the episode, calling its portrayal of lesbianism stereotypical and negative. A group of lesbian activists zapped NBC's corporate offices a week after the episode aired, occupying the offices overnight. Following negotiations with activists NBC agreed in 1975 not to rebroadcast the episode.[1] "Flowers of Evil" is available on the season 1 DVD box set.

Reception[edit]

Police Woman became the first successful hour-long drama series in American primetime television history to feature a woman in the starring role. This helped to make Dickinson a household name.

Police Woman was a spin-off of the Police Story (1973-1978) anthology series. Police Woman was so successful in its first season in particular, that during the first spring and summer rerun period, the show hit number one in the Nielsens ratings. The success of Dickinson starring in an hour-long TV drama series gave the networks confidence that women can actually carry an hour-long series. This paved the way for more (albeit fanciful) 1970s shows starring women, such as The Secrets of Isis, Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman, and The Bionic Woman, as well as the more serious Cagney & Lacey in the 1980s.

Police Woman caused an avalanche of applications for employment from women to police departments around the United States. Sociologists who have in recent years examined the inspiration for long-term female law enforcement officials to adopt this vocation as their own have been surprised by how often "Police Woman" has been referenced.[citation needed]

In February 1976, President Gerald Ford re-scheduled a Tuesday press conference so as not to delay an episode of Police Woman, reportedly his favorite show.[2]

Ratings and timeslots[edit]

Season Timeslot Rank Rating
1) 1974–1975 Friday at 10:00 P.M. #15 22.8
2) 1975–1976 #30 20.2
3) 1976–1977 Tuesday at 9:00 P.M. Not in the Top 30
4) 1977–1978 Wednesday at 9:00 P.M.

DVD releases[edit]

On March 7, 2005, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released Season 1 of Police Woman on DVD in Region 1.[3]

On October 14, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to the series, and plan to release additional seasons on DVD.[4] They subsequently released Season 2 on February 7, 2012.[5]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 22 March 7, 2006
The Complete Second Season 24 February 7, 2012

Syndication[edit]

Several episodes from the first season are available to view for free in Minisode format on Crackle.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Capsuto, Steven (2000). Alternate Channels: The Uncensored Story of Gay and Lesbian Images on Radio and Television. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-41243-5.

External links[edit]