Sarge (TV series)

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Genre Crime drama
Created by David Levy
Starring George Kennedy
Theme music composer David Shire
Composer(s) David Shire
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) David Levy
Producer(s) David Levinson
Cinematography Richard A. Kelley
Jacques R. Marquette
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 44 mins.
Production company(s) Universal Television
Harbour Productions
Original channel NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 21, 1971 (1971-09-21) – January 11, 1972 (1972-01-11)
Preceded by Sarge: The Badge or the Cross

Sarge is an American crime drama television series starring George Kennedy. The series aired for one season on NBC from September 1971 to January 1972.


Kennedy stars as Samuel Patrick Cavanaugh, a San Diego police detective sergeant who decides to retire and enter the priesthood after his wife is murdered. Sarge had initially studied for the priesthood prior to his police career, but his seminary studies were interrupted by military service during World War II.

The series, which ran in 1971, was preceded by a pilot titled Sarge: The Badge or the Cross, which set the premise for the subsequent series. One week before the show's fall premiere, Cavanaugh travelled to San Francisco because of the death of a friend and fellow priest. His investigation caused him to cross paths with the characters from Ironside in a two-hour special that consolidated the two series' consecutive time slots. This has been subsequently seen as a TV-movie, The Priest Killer.

The series was set in San Diego and the pilot movie was filmed primarily on location. However, when the series went into production, episodes were filmed in Los Angeles. The parish church used was St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church on North Broadway in Chinatown.

George Kennedy's character was originally Sarge Swanson in the pilot movie. Starting with the Ironside crossover episode, and for the rest of the series, his last name was changed from Swanson to Cavanaugh. Supporting actor Ramon Bieri played Sarge's police contact. In the pilot, his name was Chief Dewey, but was changed to Lt. Barney Verick, chief of detectives, for the series. Sallie Shockley and Harold Sakata reprised their roles from the pilot movie for the series. Henry Wilcoxon as Bishop Andrade and Dana Elcar as Father Frank Dismore also appeared in the pilot, as well as the series.


Sarge was well received but ultimately failed by being pitted against CBS' Hawaii Five-O and The ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week.


Episodes currently are syndicated under The Bold Ones umbrella title, and can be seen on the RTV network and Cozi TV.

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