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|
|Producer(s)||R. A. Cinader|
Edward K. Dodds
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Mark VII Limited|
|Original release||September 21, 1968 –|
May 20, 1975
Adam-12 is an American television police procedural drama that follows Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed as they ride the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol unit, 1-Adam-12.
The series was created by Robert A. Cinader and Jack Webb, the latter of whom also created Dragnet. It starred Martin Milner and Kent McCord and purported to realistically capture a typical day in the life of police officers. The show ran from September 21, 1968, through May 20, 1975, and helped to introduce police procedures and jargon to the general public in the United States.
Adam-12's radio call sign identified it as a Central Division unit serving Downtown Los Angeles, but the show actually featured the fledgling LAPD Rampart Division station at 2710 West Temple Street as the setting for the series. This was either a production creative decision or an LAPD bureaucratic decision to showcase a new modern facility rather than the much older Central Division police station.
Many of the filming locations were in the San Fernando Valley (composed of LAPD Devonshire, Foothill, Mission, North Hollywood, Topanga, Van Nuys, West Valley, and Valley Traffic Divisions); and the garage used tow trucks from the North Hollywood Division, close to Universal Studios, which co-produced the show with Mark VII Limited. The Temple Street building was closed in 2008, as a newer and larger station now houses the Rampart Division; the old building is being renovated to serve as headquarters for LAPD's Metro Division, an elite reserve unit that includes counterterrorism and SWAT platoons.
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The designation "1-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 reporting district (beat). Therefore, the one in 1-Adam-12 means the patrol car operates in Division 1 (Central Division). LAPD assigns two-person units the letter "A". In the LAPD phonetic alphabet, the letter "A" is spoken as "Adam". The third element is the patrol car's assigned reporting district (beat). In the program, the Rampart Division, Division 2, portrayed the Central Division, Division 1, so in reality the unit's call sign should have been 2-Adam-12. As all LAPD reporting districts are odd-numbered, there was never an actual patrol car with the call sign of 1-Adam-12.
Adam-12 was a realistic police drama which followed two officers of the Los Angeles Police Department: veteran Police Officer II (P-2) Pete Malloy, Badge 744 (Martin Milner), and his rookie partner, probationary Police Officer I (P-1) Jim Reed, Badge 2430 (Kent McCord). Each episode of the series 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. The series' first episode was filmed in September 1967, a year before the pilot was picked up. It was directed by Jack Webb.
In episode 1, Reed is less than a week out of the prestigious Los Angeles Police Academy and is eager to begin his career. Three weeks earlier, Malloy's patrol partner and friend had been killed in a warehouse. The reason for them being in the warehouse is never mentioned; Malloy is deeply saddened, to the extent that he plans to resign from the force. (The episode "Elegy for a Pig" was not about Malloy's partner dying; Tom Porter was a friend who joined the LAPD with Malloy.) Watch commander Lieutenant Moore (Art Gilmore) was Malloy's first training officer seven years earlier, and he assigns Malloy to take Reed the rookie out for his first patrol on Malloy's final shift. Reed shows tremendous potential on his first night on the job, but Malloy realizes that his new partner has plenty to learn, and the veteran officer decides to stay on the job and guide Reed during his nine-month probationary period.
Reed's probationary period is played out during the first and second seasons, after which he is promoted to a full officer. Reed and Malloy remain partners. In later seasons, Malloy and Reed began patrolling other beats of Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles International Airport, the Los Angeles Harbor, the Foothill District, the West Valley area, Venice, Van Nuys, Hollywood, Rampart, and North Hollywood. 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 had been promoted to the rank of a Senior Lead Officer (P-3+1) who coordinates patrols in many neighborhoods and works as the acting shift supervisor.
Malloy displays a "Distinguished Expert" shooting medal, Reed displays a "Sharpshooter" medal.
Malloy and Reed reported to Shift Supervisor (Sergeant 1) William "Mac" MacDonald (William Boyett), who occasionally took a black-and-white command cruiser (a Plymouth station wagon, carrying extra police equipment. From Season 5 Mac's vehicle was an AMC Matador station wagon, in keeping with the Matador squad cars used by Malloy and Reed from Season 5.) Mac's call sign was 1-L-20 into the field. Reed once questioned why Malloy had not taken the sergeant's 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 voiced the dispatcher and was a dispatcher for the LAPD in real life.
The personal lives of Malloy and Reed came up on occasion and were always tied in to their duties. Malloy is a bachelor who has at least five girlfriends during the course of the series (the last being Judy (Aneta Corsaut)), while Reed is married to a woman named Jean (played by several actresses, including Kristin Nelson); in Season 2 he becomes a father.
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 The Matrix Reloaded, Agent Johnson stands on a bridge by a police car and the call comes over the radio, "1-Adam 12" as an homage to the show.
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, as well as several episodes of Emergency! as a Sheriff's Detective.
Episode 16, "Log 62: Grand Theft Horse?", guest-stars Tim Matheson as a horse thief.
Episode 25, "Log 92: Tell Him He Pushed Back a Little Too Hard" guest-stars Dick Sargent (Darrin Stephens #2 of Bewitched) and Jacqueline Scott (who played Donna Taft, the sister of Dr. Richard Kimble, in four episodes of The Fugitive).
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 60, "Log 105, Elegy for a Pig" guest-stars Mark Goddard (Major Don West of Lost In Space) as Malloy's friend and police academy classmate, Officer Tom Porter; and shows a great deal of Malloy's backstory, as well as what happens when an LAPD officer is killed in the line of duty.
Episode 66, "Log 115: Gang War" guests-stars Trini Lopez as a local Latino priest who tries to help the officers prevent a rumble between two Latino gangs. Lopez would also appear the following year as "Steve Hernandez" in Episode 95, :"The Parole Violator".
Episode 69, "Log 66: The Vandals" guest-stars Robert I. Clarke as a father of a teenage girl.
Episode 77, "Log 88 - Reason to Run" guest-stars Randolph Mantooth as "Neil Williams"; and in an Emergency! cross-over episode as paramedic "John Gage", Episode 106, "Lost and Found" This episode also guest-starred Linda Kaye Henning of Petticoat Junction.
Episode 92, "Tell him he pushed a little too hard" guest-starred Dick Sargent Murders neighbor over dispute sharing a boat.
Episode 98, "Sub-Station" guest-starred Frank Sinatra, Jr., portraying a disturbed man who takes a stewardess hostage and demands a meeting with a Hollywood director. He would also guest-star in a later season episode as an officer in the same division.
Episode 137, "Northwest Division" guest-stars Johnny Whitaker of Family Affair as a juvenile on a minibike. In addition, Martin Milner's real-life son Andrew played Whitaker's stunt double in the minibike chase scene.
Episode 150, "Clinic on Eighteenth Street" guest-stars Sharon Gless, later of Cagney & Lacey fame and most recently co-star of Burn Notice on USA Network and Frank Sinatra Jr. in his third role on the show.
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.
Episode 164, "Victim of the Crime" features Martin Milner's real-life daughter Amy Milner as Debbie McMahon, the shopkeeper's daughter.
Episode 170, "Operation Action" features Kent McCord's real-life daughter Kristen McCord as a child named Debra, who is playing hopscotch when Reed pulls up behind Malloy's abandoned car.
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 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 being the grilles, tail lights and side marker lights (1968) and reflectors (1969) between them.
Connections to other Mark VII shows
Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency! take place in the same universe and depict different aspects of the public safety infrastructure of Los Angeles, California. There are several "crossover" episodes on each series with characters from 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" (the conclusion to a crossover that begins on "The Radical") and the Emergency! pilot movie, "The Wedsworth-Townsend Act". 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.
Several years after Adam-12 was cancelled, Kent McCord was signed to appear in a planned third series of Dragnet playing Sgt. Friday's partner, but the project was cancelled due to Jack Webb's sudden death in December, 1982; since none of the scripts Webb wrote for the project were ever produced or released, it is not clear if he intended McCord to play a different character or to revive the Jim Reed character.
Other television appearances
Universal Studios 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
February 13, 2018 (re-release)
|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|
As of January 5, 2015, episodes of Adam-12 air on Cozi TV. The series had been airing on Me-TV from May 2013 until January 1, 2015, when its place in the network's weekday afternoon line up was taken by Adventures of Superman. Adam-12 previously aired on Me-TV's competitor Antenna TV until April 2013, on Retro Television Network and on i: Independent Television before that. On January 1, 2020, the show returned to Me-TV as part of their afternoon block of programming alongside Dragnet at 5/4C (Dragnet aired periodically in the AM)
Episodes from Adam-12's first four seasons are available for on-line streaming on Hulu in some regions. Amazon and Apple's iTunes Store offer only Season 1 as available for sale as permanent downloadable files.
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- City of Los Angeles. Los Angeles Police Department Annual Report, 1973 (PDF). National Criminal Justice Reference Service. p. 24. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
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- Episode 7/21, "Gus Corbin". First aired April 1, 1975.
- "Equipment". lapdcops.com. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
- Episode 5/01, "Dirt Duel". First aired September 13, 1972.
- Episode 7/22, "Dana Hall". First aired April 29, 1975.
- "Adam-12 (TV Series 1968–1975) Trivia". IMDb. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
- Berg, Bruce L. (1999). Policing in Modern Society. Elsevier Science. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7506-9867-2. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
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- ""Adam-12" Producer (TV Episode 1969)". imdb. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- "Randolph Mantooth in Episode 77, "Log 88 - Reason to Run"". imdb.com. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
- "Randolph Mantooth in Episode 106, "Lost and Found"". imdb.com. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
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- "Adam-12 (1968) Did You Know?". IMDb com. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Kent McCord appeared several times as a LAPD Officer on Dragnet before the Premier of "Adam-12"; ironically he appeared in "Dragnet" as a LAPD Officer Reed in a three episodes "The Phony Police Racket", "The Trial Board", & "The Big Search"]
- "It's New to Me". Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television). Archived from the original on April 23, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
- "COZI TV 2015 Schedule". COZI TV. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
- "The Waltons, Adam-12 and Dragnet join the MeTV schedule in January". Me-TV Network. December 14, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
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