Felony Squad

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Felony Squad
Howard Duff Felony Squad 1967.JPG
Howard Duff working in front of the camera and behind it, 1967.
Genre Crime drama
Created by Richard Murphy
Starring Howard Duff
Dennis Cole
Theme music composer Pete Rugolo
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 73
Producer(s) Richard Newton
Philip Saltzman
Running time 30 mins.
Production company(s) 20th Century Fox Television
Distributor 20th Television
Original network ABC
Original release September 12, 1966 – January 31, 1969

Felony Squad is a half-hour television crime drama originally broadcast on the ABC network from September 12, 1966, to January 31, 1969, a span encompassing seventy-three episodes.


The program starred Howard Duff (as Sergeant Sam Stone) and Dennis Cole (as Detective Jim Briggs) as investigators in a major crimes unit. The setting was an unidentified West Coast city. Duff's character was the veteran who was teaching his younger partner the nuances of life in this new facet of police work. Another main character was desk sergeant Dan Briggs (portrayed by Ben Alexander), the father of Cole's character.

Originally entitled, Men Against Evil, the show was set to be a soap opera-type program about a police captain. However, when the concept proved to be unworkable, the project was changed to a standard police drama with three main characters. In addition, following a sponsor's objection about being associated with the word "evil," the show's title was changed.

For the first two years of the show's run it was broadcast on Monday nights, with 30 episodes comprising a season's run. In the fall of 1968 it was switched to Friday evening time slot, a move that proved disastrous. The program was cancelled at midseason after just thirteen aired episodes. The final episode of the series was part of a crossover with the ABC legal drama Judd, for the Defense, starring Carl Betz. The stunt also proved to be no more effective for Judd, which was cancelled at the end of its season after a two-year run.

Howard Duff made a cameo appearance in an episode[which?] of Batman as Sam Stone. He opens a window and talks to Batman and Robin (who are crawling up the side of the building with a batrope) about how he fights crime with a gun. As the dynamic duo leave, Stone says "Don't slip!" and then turns to his partner (who is not shown) and says "Brave men, Jim."[citation needed]

Alexander's role in the series was not only onscreen but also offscreen as a technical adviser. His earlier work with Jack Webb in Dragnet was the basis for this added position, but ironically resulted in his inability to reprise his role of Officer Frank Smith when Webb revived Dragnet in late 1966. He died of a heart attack less than six months after Felony Squad left the air.

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