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Barry Newman Petrocelli 1974.JPG
Barry Newman as Tony Petrocelli.
Created by Harold Buchman
Sidney J. Furie
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Starring Barry Newman
Susan Howard
Albert Salmi
David Huddleston
Composer(s) Lalo Schifrin (pilot, 2.2)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 45
Executive producer(s) Edward K. Milkis
Thomas L. Miller
Producer(s) Leonard Katzman
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 48 minutes
Production company(s) Miller-Milkis Productions
Paramount Network Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network NBC
Original release September 11, 1974 (1974-09-11) – March 31, 1976 (1976-03-31)

Petrocelli was an American legal drama which ran for two seasons on NBC from September 11, 1974 to March 31, 1976.[1]


Tony Petrocelli was an Italian-American Harvard-educated lawyer who grew up in South Boston and gave up the big money and frenetic pace of major-metropolitan life to practice in a sleepy city in Arizona called San Remo (filmed in South Tucson, Arizona). He and his wife Maggie lived in a house trailer in the country while waiting for their new home to be built (it was never completed over the course of the series). Tony drove a beat-up old pickup truck, always a little too fast. Petrocelli hired Pete Ritter, a local cowboy, as his investigator.


Petrocelli worked as a defense lawyer, and each episode followed a similar format, with the client apparently certain to be convicted of a crime of which they were innocent until a late-emerging piece of evidence allowed the protagonist to suggest to the jury an alternative possibility. These alternatives were never established as absolute fact, and the trial of the person onto whom Petrocelli turned the accusation never occurred, but the doubt raised was sufficient to secure the release of his client.

A technique used in the TV series was showing the actual crime in flashbacks from the perspective of various people involved. The flashbacks, naturally, differed depending on whose recollections were being shown. To maximize the drama, the prosecution's version was always the first flashback shown (i.e. what supposedly happened), then the client's version was presented (what the client remembered happening), then, finally, after finishing his investigation, Petrocelli presented his version (generally meant to be what in fact occurred). This final flashback always contained elements of the prosecution's and his client's versions, but with his new-found evidence, it would show both the client's innocence and an explanation as to how and why the prosecution and client's versions differed. In other words, neither side was ever meant to be corrupt or lying, rather, without Petrocelli's new information, both previous versions appeared to be accurate from their respective points of view.


Newman created the role of Petrocelli in a 1970 movie, The Lawyer, which was loosely based on the Sam Sheppard murder case. Diana Muldaur co-starred as his wife Maggie in the 1970 feature film. Petrocelli was produced by Leonard Katzman. In the NBC TV series, Susan Howard played the wife of Tony Petrocelli. Howard was later cast as Donna Culver Krebbs in Katzman's prime-time soap opera Dallas.


Actor Role
Barry Newman Anthony J. Petrocelli
Susan Howard Maggie Petrocelli
Albert Salmi Pete Ritter
David Huddleston Lt. John Ponce

Guest stars[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

Visual Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 on December 16, 2016.[2]


External links[edit]